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REAL ESTATE NEWS – Monthly Update – June 2019

June 2019

REAL ESTATE NEWS

Brought to you by Carlos F. Camargo, Ph.D.

Gen Xers Driving Multi-Generational Housing Trend

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MultiGen LivingThis Is Us. Jane the Virgin. Black-ish. What do they have in common? They are all family television programs that have members of multiple generations living under one roof. But the reality of multi-generational living is more than sitcom fodder. 

According to the 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), multi-generational housing continues to be a growing trend among homebuyers. This trend is driven largely by Gen Xers, who are the second-largest band of homebuyers today at 24%. Of that cohort, one in six purchased a multi-gen home, half of whom cited accommodating adult children as their reason for doing so. 

When it comes to millennial buyers, nine percent purchased a multi-generational property they could share with aging parents, per the report. 

Whether you’re looking to accommodate aging parents or making room for your boomerang child, these tips will help you find the right place to make it work. 

Look for a home that was built with multi-generational living in mind.
Schumacher HomesLennar, and Plantation Homes are just a few of the builders offering a multi-gen solution in a brand-new residence. 

Tailor your home search.
If custom built multi-generational home isn’t doable, look for a home that’s easily convertible. A downstairs bedroom and bath is key for older residents, and an en suite bathroom is even better. A home with a basement or attic may seem like an ideal place to turn into a grandparent’s haven, but stairs can be dangerous and obviously wouldn’t work for a parent using a walker or wheelchair. 

A property with a guesthouse or enough land on which to place a granny suite or tiny home is another option. Just make sure the land is zoned properly to accommodate this type of structure. 

Make smart renovations.
Taking down walls to create an open floorplan is a smart move that can have a positive impact on your home’s value and also make it more accessible for aging parents. 

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Aging-In-Place Remodeling Checklist recommends a “5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom.” They also suggest wide hallways that measure a minimum of 36-inches across, good lighting, and non-slip flooring.

6 Kitchen Design Trends Inspired by Restaurant Kitchens

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Not all kitchen design trends stand the test of time, but a restaurant kitchen is meant to be as functional as possible for as long as possible. Taking a few cues from restaurant kitchens can help you create a residential kitchen that you’ll be sure to love for years to come!

Restaurant Kitchen

1. Forget the Island
A kitchen island allows for lots of prep space and storage but can also make even a large space seem cramped and crowded. A work table in place of the kitchen island still provides plenty of room to work, offers shelving underneath for storage, and can be moved easily when not in use.

2. Consider a Stainless Steel Backsplash
Stainless steel is durable, doesn’t absorb microbes, and is fire-resistant, which is why it’s long been a popular material for commercial kitchen backsplashes. It’s also easy to clean and coordinates with most kitchen styles.

3. Hang Utensil Rods
Rarely do restaurant kitchens keep utensils in drawers, as this is a surefire way to create a cluttered, jumbled mess. A utensil rod or two will keep all your kitchen tools organized, in plain sight, and close at hand.

4. Install a Magnetic Knife Strip
Much like utensil rods, many commercial kitchens include magnetic strips along walls to hold chefs’ knives. Storing knives on a magnetic wall strip reduces the risk of cutting yourself while rooting around in a drawer and also allows you to easily see each knife blade type and size. A magnetic knife strip also eliminates the need for a bulky knife block on the countertop.

5. Use Wire Shelving in Your Pantry
Wire shelving allows for air circulation around your stored foodstuffs, reducing damage from heat and humidity. Wire shelves also don’t need cleaning as often as standard wood shelves.

6. Install an Open Shelf Over the Stovetop
Many commercial kitchens feature an open shelf or two over the stovetop, for holding pots and pans, spices, timers, and even a recipe or prep instructions. Consider asking your kitchen contractor about an open shelf over your new stovetop, for added convenience and to break up the look of a bare wall behind the stove.

QUESTIONS? VISIT http://carlosfcamargo.agent.rpeastbay.com/

 


Posted on June 14, 2019 at 11:49 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Newsletter-CFC, Real Estate Market Update |

Five DIY Projects to Tackle this Memorial Day Weekend

The long Memorial Day weekend is often considered the unofficial start to summer, but it’s also known as one of the biggest home improvement weekends of the year.

Not only do you have an extra day off from work to devote to a significant home improvement projects, many big box hardware stores hold some of their biggest sales of the year over the Memorial Day weekend.

Check out these five affordable, do-it-yourself projects that will add value to your home, and, better still, can be completed over the long weekend:

 

  1. Paint: A quick coat of paint, whether interior or exterior, is one of the easiest ways to spruce up your home with a big return on investment. If you’re looking to sell your home, consider selecting neutral shades. Depending on the size of the space and how much prep work is needed, painting can take as little as one to two days. Be sure to budget about $50 on average per 12-foot by 12-foot room for paint and supplies.

  2. Revive an old deck: A fresh deck not only beautifies your home but also sets the stage for a world of outdoor activities. Wood decks require regular waterproofing to keep them preserved—and, best of all, it’s a relatively low-cost project that will give your home a major facelift. No deck yet? There are many excellent and affordable options for building one from scratch—or consider alternative patio solutions, such as pavers. 
  3. Refresh interior doors: Several things can quickly reveal your home’s age, such as once-trendy finishes, out-of-date carpet and old appliances.. But one often overlooked tell-tale sign of your home’s age are the interior doors. Consider swapping out plain-looking flat-slab doors for more decorative, Colonial style six-panel doors or one of the many other styles available. Updating the trim around the door casing will add a fresh sense of style as well. A full door with casing can cost $90 to $250 a piece. Be sure to measure before you buy—many entries are not made to standard sizing.
  4. Replace light fixtures: Why throw money away with your electric company when there are so many exceptional low-wattage lighting options. While you’re at it, consider how and why you’re lighting your rooms. Perhaps a corner accent light is all you need in your living room? Or maybe you’d like to replace those bright strip lights in the guest bathroom. Whatever your decision, be sure to consult an electrician before diving too far into any electrical projects. 

  5. Install Drip Irrigation: Save water by replacing your old, outdated sprinkler system with drip irrigation. Not only will you be save money, you’ll improve the look and feel of your yard. While you’re at it, remove any dead or less-than-attractive plants. And, if you’re in hotter climates, consider replacing water-thirsty sod with water-efficient landscaping. You’ll improve your curb appeal and save significant money in water and maintenance!

Posted on May 24, 2019 at 4:56 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Home Care & Maintenance |

ACHIEVE MORNING PERSON STATUS

ACHIEVE MORNING PERSON STATUS


Ever wish you could become one of those rare morning people? The ones that wake with a start, feeling refreshed and energized. The ones that get in that morning workout or wrap up some work before many of us even hit the snooze button for the first time. Here are five tips to help you achieve that early bird status!

  1. Create a morning schedule. Physically write down the things you’d like to complete in the morning and set a time for each. Then stick with it. Once you force yourself out of bed early one or two weeks consistently, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to do. 
  2. Let the light in. Whether natural or artificial, light tells your brain its time to get up and get going. If your room lacks large windows where you can open the blinds up, consider investing in a timed lamp or alarm clock with a light. 
  3. Prep and eat breakfast. Although there are many of us who chose the skip breakfast, it is key to perking up your energy in the morning. Try prepping protein-focused meals the night before or grab a yogurt or fruit and try to consume it right after you wake. 
  4. Get your body moving. Whether it’s a short walk around your neighborhood or a rigorous 5:30 am spin class, getting your blood pumping will help wake up your body and has a ton of other benefits, like stress and anxiety reduction. 
  5. Feed your mind. Stimulate your brain and do something you enjoy first thing in the morning. Try reading a favorite book, catching up on the news, doing daily meditation, or setting intentions. 

Posted on May 22, 2019 at 11:22 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Home Care & Maintenance |

To Turf or Not to Turf

May 2019

REAL ESTATE NEWS

Brought to you by Carlos F. Camargo, Ph.D.

To Turf or Not to Turf
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Installing TurfYard care is a big consideration for homeowners. Real grass is high maintenance, a water hog, and expensive to replace. Artificial grass may be a good alternative for some households. Here are some of the pros and cons of turf:

Pro: No maintenance.
Artificial grass does not require mowing, edging, seeding, or watering. Once you lay it down, you’re done.

Con: Initial expense.
Turf prices range from $8–14 per square foot. You can find some sales and deals, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The upside is you won’t need to replace or re-seed it.

Pro: Long-term durability.
“The life expectancy of artificial turf can be upwards of 25 years,” says Gardenista, “making it a less costly alternative to real turf over its life span.”

Con: It might be against the rules.
If you live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), be sure to get permission first. Turf is becoming more common, which is convincing more HOAs to approve its use, but check first. You don’t want to make a big investment in turf only to be told you have to rip it out and replace it with grass.

Pro: It’s eco-friendly.
The water savings element is huge if you’re looking to live a little greener. Some manufacturers even use recycled materials, such as old tires or plastic bottles.

Con: It’s not biodegradable.
Artificial grass will end up in a landfill some day.

Pro: It’s pet-friendly.
“The good news is that pet waste won’t negatively impact your artificial grass, and turf is easy to clean,” says Purchase Green. There are also specific types of turf that are designed for animals.

Con: It’s hot.
“Real grass has a cooling effect when the air temperature is high. Artificial grass lacks this cooling quality,” says SFGATE. “The grass itself may become hotter than the air and can make the surrounding air feel hotter.”

Pro: It looks great all year round
If you live in an area where the lawn is dormant in the winter, it will be a nice change to see your lush, green (faux) lawn, even in negative temps.

My Loan Was Sold. What Gives?
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You’ve just moved in to your new home. You’ve unpacked, and you’re starting to settle in when you receive a letter informing you that your mortgage has been sold and is being serviced by a new institution. Is this allowed? Have the terms of your mortgage changed? Why would your lender sell your mortgage?

Mortgage Bricks

Among the many documents you signed when you first applied for a loan was a Mortgage Servicing Disclosure. This document tells you what percentage of the lender’s loans are sold. More often than not, the majority of loans approved and funded by a particular mortgage company will be sold to someone else. It’s important to note that just because your mortgage has been sold, this does not change the terms of your loan. Your loan payment and interest rate will not, and cannot, be impacted. 

You’re probably wondering, “Why go through all the effort of originating, approving, and funding a loan just to forgo all the interest that new loan provides?” The answer is surprisingly simple. If not for selling the loan, the lender would soon run out of money to lend.

Mortgage companies today work with a line of credit. It’s not as if the mortgage company approves a loan then opens up a vault full of money to fund your mortgage. When it’s time to fund your loan, the lender taps into the line of credit for the necessary amount. In order to replenish this line of credit, the lender sells the loan to a third party. Once the loan is sold, the lender now has more funds to make more loans. Who is the loan sold to? Many times it’s sold to other mortgage companies, but ultimately the loan is sold either to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

The marketplace for all this loan buying and selling is called the secondary market for mortgages. This secondary market is robust and active and keeps the mortgage market liquid. Without a secondary market, there would be fewer loans issued and still fewer choices. When your loan is sold it’s not because your original lender doesn’t appreciate your business, it’s so they can continue to service other home buyers and make more loans.

QUESTIONS? VISIT  www.carlosfcamargo.net


Posted on May 20, 2019 at 11:38 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Home Care & Maintenance, Newsletter-CFC, Real Estate Market Update |

3 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A BUYER’S AGENT

BUYERS AGENT SERVICES – Shopping For a New Home?

3 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A BUYER’S AGENT

Buyer Representation:
Many buyers work directly with listing agents, feeling that they have a broad enough understanding of the market and available properties that they will be able to help them find their dream home. The only problem is that listing agents are middle players. It’s one of their responsibilities to connect buyers with homes, but they’re far more invested in protecting the seller’s interest.

Negotiating on Your Behalf: Having a professional buyer’s agent negotiate on your behalf when it comes to buying real estate is a smart decision. A buyer’s agent is skilled in the art of real estate negotiation. Most folks shopping for a new home, even though they may have experience, can rarely match the skills and outcome of a professional buyer’s agent. This translates into helping you to get the home you desire on terms that will benefit you the most.

Knowing What to Look For: Here is a common scenario. Let’s say that you have certain features that you are looking for in your new home. So after reviewing several properties you finally find what appears to be the home of your dreams. This is where many home buyers make their biggest mistake. Is not seeing the entire picture. The house itself may seem 100% perfect on the outside, but there are flaws that may be difficult to see. Having a buyer’s agent can help save you the massive headaches and frustration that you may experience from not seeing the whole picture! This has to be one of the biggest benefits of having a buyer’s agent. Is helping you to avoid the pitfalls that many unfortunately receive from their purchase. A buyer’s agent has the knowledge and skills to know what to look for. Having them help you in the process is the smartest decision you could make when buying a house.

_____

Carlos F. Camargo, Ph.D., REALTOR®
DRE #01988431  |  510.798.5016 
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE – RELIANCE PARTNERS
#NoPlaceLikeHome_EastBay | @carlosfcamargo
What’s my home worth? www.carlosfcamargo.com
Looking to buy a home? www.carlosfcamargo.net

Posted on May 18, 2019 at 12:24 AM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Buying a House, First-time Buyer |

Monthly Real Estate Statistical Update (May 2019)

Lower mortgage interest rates to help keep licensees afloat

+ The rise in mortgage loan originators slows
+ Buyer purchasing power rises with falling interest rates
+ California’s Largest Brokerages
 
• LOOKING TO BUY OR SELL A HOME IN THE EAST BAY?
I can help! Visit: www.carlosfcamargo.net or CALL 510-798-5016
 
#BHGRE #carlosfcamargophd #RealEstate #RealEstateAgent #RealEstateBroker #RealEstateInvestor #RealEstateInvesting #RealEstateLife #RealEstateForSale #RealEstateExpert #Realtor #Realty #Broker #HomeForSale #HouseForSale #PropertyForSale #HouseHunting #homeimprovement #ExpectBetter #BHGGrandLake #LakeMerritt #GrandAvenue #homebuyertips #bayarea #oakland #needabiggerhouse #housegoals #FeelEstate #alamedacounty #contracostacounty
 
 
 

Posted on April 30, 2019 at 9:58 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Newsletter-CFC, Real Estate Market Update |

Down Payment Dilemma: How Do You Know How Much to Put Down On A Home?

April 2019
REAL ESTATE NEWS
Brought to you by Carlos F. Camargo, Ph.D.
Down Payment Dilemma: How Do You Know How Much to Put Down On A Home?
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Down PaymentFor many prospective home buyers, the down payment is the most daunting hurdle in the race to buy a home. Even for people with decent credit and a healthy paycheck, the down payment can be the great homeownership killer.

The big question for all prospective buyers is: how much should my down payment be? Most lenders will tell you that 20 percent is the standard, but is that really necessary?

The short answer is no, but of course there are some caveats.

“It’s a myth that all homebuyers must have a 20 percent down payment to buy a home,” says Nancy Herrera-Siples, a Riverside, CA, branch manager at Primary Residential Mortgage. So why all the fuss over having 20 percent to put down? “Because if you don’t, it usually means you’ll have to shell out money for either private mortgage insurance (PMI) or government insurance, which is usually financed by the Federal Housing Administration,” according to Herrera-Siples.

Still, when a low down-payment is your only option to buy a home, PMI might literally be a small price to pay. Remember that PMI goes away eventually when your loan balance is 80 percent or less of the home’s value. If you’re in an area where homes are rising in value, this could happen sooner than you think.

Still confused about the ins and outs of down payments? Here are a few reasons to go high… or low. 

When to make a substantial down payment:

  • When you’re looking to keep your monthly payment as low as possible and have cash to spare.
  • When you’re approaching retirement age and can envision a reverse mortgage sometime down the line.
  • When the interest rate is lower with a higher down payment. “The more you put down, the better position you are in for negotiating a lower interest rate,” says Credit.com.
  • If you’re worried about being underwater. If the market should drop in your area, you run the risk of owing more than your home is worth.

When to go low:

  • When you don’t have the funds for a higher down payment and can’t earn or borrow them quickly enough.
  • When the rate on your FHA or Fannie or Freddie loan is comparable to that you’d get with a higher down payment.
  • When you need to escape a high-rent situation and the monthly payment on a house is lower than what you’re currently paying, even with the PMI factored in.
  • When you’re confident your home will appreciate quickly, allowing you to refinance and get rid of PMI quickly.
Should You Buy a Home Warranty?
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“I’m buying a house. Should I buy a home warranty?” Seems like a relatively tame question, right? But post it on Facebook or Nextdoor and watch the impassioned responses roll in. You might as well ask, “What political party should I belong to?”

Broken Pipe

Everyone has their own experience, so expect to hear a few people call them “a scam” or at the very least a waste of money. Others will regale you with their tale of how having a warranty saved them from a freezing winter because they couldn’t afford to fix their furnace without it.

In the end, the decision is personal and largely based on how comfortable you are paying out of pocket if one of the more expensive items in your home, like the furnace or hot water heater, needs to be replaced. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Know the cost

“A basic home warranty costs about $350 to $500 a year or more,” says Money Talks News. A warranty typically covers plumbing, hot water heaters, and heating/electrical system components. More expensive, ‘enhanced’ plans can provide added coverage for things like your washer/dryer, air conditioning system, refrigerator, septic tank, and garage door openers.

You can typically break down the annual cost into more manageable monthly payments, but the cost of the warranty itself isn’t the only thing you’re responsible for paying. Most home warranties include either a service call fee or a deductible, so it’s important to consider those factors in addition to the home warranty plan itself. 

Consider your peace of mind

Many homeowners opt for a home warranty for major “just-in-case” scenarios. Just in case the air conditioning unit crashes and burns. Just in case the hot water heater dies. With the cost of some of these items running into the thousands—the average cost for a new air conditioning unit and installation, per HomeAdvisor, is $5,413!—the peace of mind factor is huge.

“For a homeowner who doesn’t have an emergency fund, or who wants to protect their emergency fund, a home warranty can act as a buffer,” says Investopedia. Home warranties also make sense for people who aren’t handy or don’t want to deal with finding a contractor. 

Understand that not everything is covered

There’s always a chance that the item you need repaired is not covered under your warranty for one reason or another. Some problems simply won’t be covered by a warranty, and most home warranties won’t cover components that haven’t been properly maintained.” The lesson here: Read the fine print, so you’re prepared.

QUESTIONS? VISIT http://carlosfcamargo.agent.rpeastbay.com/

 


Posted on April 19, 2019 at 12:20 AM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Buying a House, First-time Buyer, Newsletter-CFC, Real Estate Market Update |

SPRING CLEANING: DO IT YOURSELF, BUT DO IT RIGHT!

So you are planning your upcoming spring cleaning blitz? Great! How hard could it be?

You head to the store to purchase a few cleaning supplies, but quickly become overwhelmed.

How many products could there possibly be? A bunch! Many of them rely on perfumes and harsh chemicals to clean and cover odors. Some are “green,” some are “all natural,” some say they are safe for babies, some emphasize the ingredients they do NOT contain.

On the other hand, the internet (and Pinterest, in particular) is overflowing with DIY cleaning supplies and recipes. Some work, some don’t. And some mixtures can be dangerous or deadly!

Cleaning shouldn’t be so complicated. Here are a few basic supplies and recipes to keep on hand, using natural ingredients that work!

First, when making your own cleaning products, here are a few general need-to-knows:

  1. Home cleaning recipes rely on components that are either acids or bases. When combined, acids and bases cancel each other out. Pick one or the other, but don’t mix them.
  2. Mixing bleach with vinegar or ammonia creates highly toxic chlorine gases.
  3. Mixing bleach with hydrogen peroxide can cause an explosion!
  4. Borax is an excellent cleaner, but it’s also toxic. Keep it away from children, pets, and absent-minded adults.
  5. Any acid can etch the surface of any kind of stone (marble, granite, etc.).

Common Components

If you want to start making your own cleaning products, stock up on these basic supplies:

Weak Acids

White vinegar (acetic acid) – If you can handle the smell (which won’t last too long), this is a great all-purpose cleaner! Do not, however, use apple cider vinegar for cleaning purposes.

Lemon juice (citric acid) – If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, substitute lemon juice.

Alkaline Bases

Baking soda – More often used in kitchen recipes, baking soda is a relatively safe and gentle alkaline base.

Borax – Remember, this is a toxic substance.

Bleach – Does not play well with others. Mix it with nothing other than water to avoid toxic gasses and explosions.

 

How To Use Them

Dealing with Limescale

If you live in a hard-water area, you’re all too familiar with the white, alkaline crust that forms on anything exposed to hot water. Here are a few natural ways to eliminate limescale.

 

  • Coffee makers. Mix 3 cups water and 1 cup white vinegar. Run this through your coffee maker, followed by a cycle of clean water. You may have to repeat these cycles a few times. Don’t leave vinegar-water sitting overnight in the water tank, as this might harm your device.

 

  • Faucets and knobs. Soak cloths or paper towels with white vinegar, wrap them around the affected areas, and leave them in place for an hour. Then, remove the cloths and wipe clean. If you prefer, use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Another option is to mix a baking soda cleaning paste (1 part water to 3 parts soda). Apply the paste to the faucets, let it sit for an hour, then wipe clean.

 

  • Toilets. Pour at least a cup of white vinegar into the bowl and let it soak for an hour. Spray vinegar-water under the rim too. (Equal parts vinegar and water.) Once the time is up, scrub with a toilet brush. Do not leave this mixture sit overnight, since any acid, including a mild one like vinegar, can etch porcelain. Note that you can prevent limescale buildup by spraying your toilet with vinegar-water every day or two. Vinegar is safe for septic systems too.

 

  • Showerhead. To remove limescale from shower heads, pour white vinegar into a food storage bag and attach the bag to the showerhead with a rubber band. Let the showerhead soak for an hour. Rinse and scrub with a brush. Repeat if necessary.

 

Freshen a Stinky Dishwasher

  • Remove any food debris from the trap.
  • Pour a cup of white vinegar inside the tub and run it through a hot water cycle.
  • If the door seals have mold or dirt, scrub them with a paste of borax and water using an old toothbrush to get down into the crevices. Rinse and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

 

De-Stink Your Washing Machine

  • Using a vinegar-water solution, spray and wipe everything down.
  • Clean the seals with soap and water and an old toothbrush or use a borax-water paste if you discover discoloration, mold, or mildew.
  • Remove dispensers and wash them with soap and water or run them through your dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar.
  • If you have an older top-loading machine, you’ll want to clean its lint trap. (Check your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure how to find it.)
  • Add 2-3 cups of white vinegar to the drum and run it (with no clothes and no soap) on a hot water cycle.
  • Prevent the stink by leaving the door open when not in use. This is especially important on front-loading machines with water-tight seals.

 

Remove Hard Water from Glass Shower Doors

  • Spray vinegar or lemon juice on the glass, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub thoroughly. If the stain is stubborn, you can use eraser-type sponges to help get the glass clean. Remember: Don’t let any acid sit on glass surfaces for more than a few minutes and be sure to rinse thoroughly!
  • Don’t be tempted to use abrasive powders on your glass. Initially, it may look great. However, you’re also creating small scratches that give future stains a foothold, making it harder and harder to clean.
  • Preventing water stains is the best option. Use a squeegee or a microfiber cloth to dry the glass (and the tile) and reduce the hard work of removing spots later.

Mold on Grout

You can use any of the methods below, but DO NOT combine them. These products should not be used together.

 

  • White grout and bleach. Full strength bleach is an effective cleaner on moldy grout that isn’t colored. Keep the room well ventilated and use gloves, a mask, and eye protection. Use a stiff bristle brush to apply the bleach and scrub the grout. Work in small sections and take breaks, leaving the bathroom. After scrubbing, let it sit for 30 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

 

  • Colored grout and white vinegar. Spray full strength vinegar on the grout, let it sit for 30 minutes, then gently scrub with a bristle brush. Re-spray the grout, let it sit another 30 minutes, then rinse well with warm water. Repeat, if necessary.

 

  • Any color grout and baking soda. A baking soda paste, using just enough water to make it spreadable, will help lift mold and mildew. Spread the paste on your grout, wait 10-15 minutes, then scrub the mold/mildew with a brush. Rinse with warm water and repeat, if needed.

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:21 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Home Care & Maintenance, Selling a House |

SMARTMOVES NEWSLETTER – APRIL 2019 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 4

Brought to you by Carlos F. Camargo, Ph.D., REALTOR #01988431 @ BHGRE Reliance Partners

SMARTMOVES – APRIL 2019 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 4 | #1

+ Patios to Pergolas: Give Your Backyard a Facelift
+ Homeowner Tip: Deep Clean Your Kitchen
+ Tankless vs. Traditional: Which One is Better?
+ Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Mini Toasts


Patios to Pergolas: Give Your Backyard a Facelift 

From patios to pergolas, you can transform your outdoor space into a charming oasis. Get ready to spend time outside with family with our favorite outdoor design ideas.

Outdoor Great Room – An arched pergola with bistro lights creates the perfect area for entertaining on warm summer nights. Pergolas have a flexible design, allowing you to truly customize it and bring your imagination to life.

Patio-Pergola Pleasure – This patio-pergola duo beautifully accents the home by staying consistent with the color scheme of the home’s exterior. The relaxing seating area right outside the back door is perfect for enjoying morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Breezy Outdoor Dining – Design a beautiful outdoor dining area by expanding your home’s living space. Covered patios protect you from the sun, rain, and prevent leaves and debris from falling on your furniture. Perfect for hosting summer gatherings for family and friends, an outdoor haven lets you enjoy the warm weather and stay outdoors longer.

Cozy Refuge – There’s nothing like putting your feet up at the end of a long day and unwinding next to a cozy outdoor fireplace. Convert a desolate patio into an elegantly decorated space you’ll want to inhabit every day. We can’t think of a more perfect ending to a summer day than making s’mores with the family.

Laid-Back Oasis – Fancy a getaway but don’t have the time or resources? Create your own relaxing oasis in your backyard with a comfortable lounge chair in a charming pergola. This is the perfect hideaway for unplugging from the world and taking time for yourself. You deserve it.

No matter how large or small your backyard is, don’t be afraid to use your imagination and transform it into the retreat of your dreams.

Tankless vs. Traditional: Which One is Better? 

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your water heater or simply want to be well-informed when it comes time to replace it, we’ve got you covered.

Traditional – Traditional water heaters can hold anywhere between 20-80 gallons of water in a large tank and cost around $900. Most traditional water heaters are constantly heating water, making them less efficient with higher energy costs. And they’re big! Traditional tank heaters occupy a decent amount of square footage in garages or closets and usually last between 10-15 years.

Tankless – Tankless water heaters give you an endless supply of hot water whenever you need it. These heaters are the size of a carry-on suitcase and can be installed in any convenient place inside your home. While they don’t store heated water like traditional tanks, they heat your water only when you need it. Tankless water heaters cost more initially, but last twice as long (up to 20 years) and can save you up to 40% on your energy bills.

Although there are more advantages to owning a tankless water heater, it ultimately comes down to which type will best accommodate the needs of your household.

Homeowner Tip

Deep Clean Your Kitchen
Prepare to deep clean your kitchen! Clean out the garbage disposal, remove wall and backsplash stains, scrub the floors, and disinfect your kitchen trash can. Organize your cabinets and drawers and throw out all expired food. Regular maintenance = less work later!

Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Mini Toasts

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, sliced
2 c. shredded white Cheddar

Instructions:
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add Brussels sprouts, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Arrange baguette slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top each with cheddar and Brussels sprout mixture.

3. Bake until cheese is melty, about 5 minutes.

Photo & recipe courtesy of delish.com
https://warranty.life/2E7A69g 
.

April Calendar
4/1 – April Fools Day
4/21 – Easter
4/22 – Earth Day

 

 

WHY I SHOULD BE YOUR LISTING AGENT? www.carlosfcamargo.net

When you have made the decision to sell your home an experienced Real Estate professional can save you both time and money. When listing your house for sale, your top goal will be to get the home sold for the best price possible! There are many small projects that you can do to ensure this happens!

I can help you:

– Navigate the whole ordeal with a smile & sense of humor
– Choose the right time to list your house or condo
– Determine the value and set the price of your home
– Prepare a marketing plan
– Increase curb appeal and make your home more marketable
– Arrange showings of your property
– Explain and negotiate Offers

When you are ready to sell, contact me and we can begin the process. 510-798-5016

_____
LOOKING TO BUY OR SELL A HOME? www.carlosfcamargo.net


Posted on April 3, 2019 at 3:50 AM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Home Care & Maintenance, Newsletter-CFC |

Making Sense of Conflicting Housing Market News

Making Sense of Conflicting Housing Market News

Inventory is rising – The market is still inventory constrained.
The Feds are raising interest rates – Rates are holding steady and edging down.
Sales are down – Home prices are up.
The market is softening – The IPO market will make a hot market hotter.

It seems that whatever “story” one wants to weave about the real estate market, there is plenty of evidence to support it regardless of the point of view.  So are there any solid, reliable takeaways we can glean from all of this?  Here’s my take on things:

Inventory
Inventory is rising.  Through the end of 2017 and into 2018, inventory was hitting consistent, low levels where we were barely teetering on 1 month inventory levels for stretches at a time.  With consumer confidence on an upswing, we anticipated a burst of activity as Q1 2019 unfolded.  There was a “burst” of activity in the first two months of 2019, where inventory creeped into the 2 month level – something we hadn’t seen for a long time, and only briefly midway through 2018.  Thus, inventory was rising – a little.  But inventory levels seem to be hanging on the edge of 2 months and threatening to drop back into the 1 month range so inventory is, in fact, still constrained.  

Mortgage Interest Rates
The Feds were raising rates and Q3 2018 was on an upswing where rates consistently began with a 4 (percent) for 30-year fixed rate mortgages.  But, as the inflation threat receded and the housing market momentum waned, predicted multiple rate hikes did not materialize.   It’s more probable now that a single rate hike will be imposed versus several.  Thus, while rates were rising, they began to hold. We saw a slight downward trend that stabilized in the lower 4% range, and lenders sometimes still surprise us with an occasional rate in the high 3’s. 

Sales Volume
Overall, market volume is down in comparison with previous years.  That sometimes strikes fear in those following the housing market as it imparts a sense of home value instability.  However, volume relates to the number of homes sold and at what prices.  We are seeing consistent, multiple offers (and I mean multiple) in our more affordable home range prices.  Depending upon which micro-locale you are in around the Bay Area, the affordability range for a single family runs from about $900-1.2M in certain neighborhoods in the East Bay, to $1.1 – $1.5M in the greater SF area and parts of the Peninsula, and $1.6M – $2M in other neighborhoods.  With higher number of sales in the affordable ranges, our overall volume of sales dips but we can readily report that the market is abundant with ready, able and well-financed home buyers.  

A Softening Market
Amidst all the chatter of a housing bubble, the housing market softening, and a slow-down in the market, the headlines are also awash with news of Bay Area IPOs. Lyft just hit the markets.  Uber, Slack, Airbnb, Pinterest, and a host of other IPOs are also lined up for 2019 (approximately 12 when I last counted) and are anticipated to create an abundance of new, wealthy buyers.  Thus, there is anticipation brewing about how this will affect affordability and home values in the next couple of years.  We have already seen properties that not long ago sold for $700k now selling well above $800k, with associated anecdotes in the higher price ranges.  What will the IPO market do for Bay Area housing in upcoming times?  

As we can see, while market news does seem to straddle both sides of the fence on given housing topics, the rationales behind the storylines do seem to line up when examining the details.  I hope I’ve been able to give you a little clarity behind what it all means.

Please feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss your real estate needs, it will be my pleasure helping you and your family as always.  

Happy Spring!

 

 


Posted on April 1, 2019 at 4:13 PM
CARLOS CAMARGO | Posted in Newsletter-CFC, Real Estate Market Update |