Today in this video we share the areas of the wildfires in the Greater SF Bay Area. We also discuss the importance of creating a Wildfire Safety Plan for Older Adults who are living alone. Also, please note that if you and your family have evacuated Intero has a special discount with Country Inn and Suites – Address: 1350 N 4th San Jose Phone: (408) 467-1786
If you or a loved one are in need of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call.
(831) 346-2743 text anytime
LMACFARLANE @ INTERO .COM
Thank you, take care & be safe.
Packing an emergency kit: Assemble an emergency suitcase your family elder can quickly grab in the event of a fire. When a wildfire requires evacuation, every second counts.
Establishing good practices: Developing precautionary habits can keep an older adult safer when it comes to a home fire or a wildfire. Put glasses and hearing aids on the bedside table. Always have cell phones charged. If an older adult uses a wheelchair, walker, or cane, encourage them to keep it nearby.
Purchasing an emergency radio: In the event of a power outage, an emergency radio allows older adults to stay connected. Whether it is a crank radio or a battery-operated one, there are a variety of options to choose from.
Planning evacuation routes: It’s also important to plan escape routes from every room in the house. For rooms upstairs or homes on a higher elevation, you may want to order fire escape ladders that attach to windows. If your loved one may have trouble climbing down a ladder, they should stay close to the ground floor.
Creating a neighborhood escape plan: Just like you need two escape routes from the senior’s home, you also need two separate ways out of their neighborhood. If one is blocked by fire, they won’t lose time trying to figure out what to do. When the order comes to evacuate, it’s also important to know where a safe place to retreat is.
California Fire Resources
If you or your friends are affected by the California wildfires, below are links to some helpful resources:
Fire Resources for Realtors®
General Fire Resources
We’re all trying to figure out life during this health crisis. We all have different needs, our priorities have shifted and our lives have been permanently been effected. We’ve learned how much our lives are intertwined with services, businesses but most importantly, our friends and family. How has your life changed since March 2020?
My focus is helping others in transition so that they can focus on what’s important in their lives.
I’ve experienced multiple transitions in my life and I know that when one must make a move, it is not easy AND the last thing you want to worry about is the physical move (prepping a home, the sale of a home, where will I live, etc…)
If you’re considering a move and change in life, feel free to reach out, we can talk over the phone or on a Zoom or Facetime chat. I can assist with not only the sale of your home (and educate you about the real estate market and home’s worth) but help plan what’s the next steps and discuss your options. I’m a Professional Fiduciary Association California ( #PFAC) affiliate member and a senior resource specialist in real estate #SRES ready to help you or family members.
Lynne Watanabe MacFarlane, MCDM, SRES | Realtor
PFAC Silicon Valley affiliate
Intero | A Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate
Residential real estate is considered an essential service, but we no longer host public open houses during health crises.
You may wonder how realtors show properties these days. Well, we do this mindfully with our clients’ health and safety in mind. Firstly, before entry, all visitors must sign a PEAD-V form and we schedule a private tour with agents. All buyers/visitors need to sign the PEAD-V every day they tour properties.
The rules outlined by the new posted pictogram which are posted in homes simply state everyone to:
a) wear a mask
b) stay six feet apart
c) wash your hands upon entry
d) discard all PPE after visit
e) Do not touch anything unnecessarily
The PEAD-V form includes an eight page “Best Practices Guidelines and Prevention Plan for Showings.”
It requires all listing agents to ensure:
1) That the “rules” are followed during showings (no touching surfaces, masks worn, ext.)
2) That handrails, light switches, clipboards, knobs, toilet handles, keyboards, and other commonly touched areas need to be wiped down with disinfectant before and after showings (soap/towel, Lysol wipes)
3) Soap or sanitizer needs to be available
4) Doors must be left open to outside to allow for fresh air
5) Doors throughout inside must be left open to decrease need for opening by visitors.
Learn more: https://www.car.org/legal/Recent-Lega…
If you have any questions about buying or selling under these conditions, don’t worry, give me a call and I’ll share with your our best practices to keep you and your family safe and healthy!
Lynne Watanabe MacFarlane, MCDM, SRES Realtor
PFAC Silicon Valley chapter, affiliate member
Lmacfarlane @ intero. com
831.346.2743 text/voice anytime
Here are some ways to add value to your current home. Some are relatively inexpensive, such as painting trim or adding new bark for curb appeal, but solar panels are expensive and depending on the next home buyer, it may not get the direct return as expected (plus solar technology is always advancing).
There are certainly many other ways to add value to a property, one of them involves creating more space by adding an ADU (attached or detached) or adding a carport or garage. I’ll soon be posting my interview with Bob Harrison, owner of Creative Design Builder who specializes in building high-end luxury properties with design considerations working on steep mountain grades in Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto Hills, Hillsborough and others.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
I’m never too busy for your referrals. Thanks!
Concerns about the impact COVID-19 will have on the global and local economy are real. They’re scary too as the health and wellness of our friends, families, and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar.
While we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver as it was in 2008.
A Recession Does Not Equal A Housing Crisis:
- The COVID-19 pandemic is causing an economic slowdown.
- The good news is, home values actually increased in 3 of the last 5 U.S. recessions and decreased by less than 2% in the 4th.
- All things considered, an economic slowdown does not equal a housing crisis, and this will not be a repeat of 2008.
As our country begins to collectively roll out shelter in place, I hope we can come together, take the time to share gratitude; let’s remember that this will pass. As a country we’ve experienced multiple divisive events such as Civil War, WWII, and more recent traumatic events as 9/11. The concerns about an impending recession are real, but housing isn’t the driver. During the Dot.com bubble starting in late 90’s, a period of massive growth of Internet & telcos, in 2002 (the dot.bomb) I personally would have lost my entire wealth because I was young (& mostly naive) never imagined stocks could crash! The only thing that helped preserve it was a little Los Altos house we divested. I sure am grateful for owning real estate – I am not a financial planner by any means, but I am conservative and because I’ve seen these recessions I advise my buyers to diversify their portfolios; try to have 6 months to a year’s worth of savings, have savings that are a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds but work towards owning property. the SF Bay Area our homes are not only places to live, but a wonderful wealth generating asset over time. With our current ongoing global uncertainty, including a U.S. stock market correction, no one could have seen coming. We first should do what’s best for our country, and for our families and that is to take care of one another.
Let’s fight this COVID-19 epidemic together by staying indoors & practicing social distancing, and checking up on loved ones and neighbors.
Take care of your needs now & let me know if I can help in anyway!
We’ve got this!
Lynne MacFarlane, MCDM, Realtor, PFAC affiliate
(831) 346-2743 text/voice anytime
Homeownership has its benefits, especially when tax filling time comes around. But the rules have changed in recent years, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with what deductions and credits are currently available.
Understanding Prop 60 & 90
Proposition 60 & 90essentially have the same provisions and qualifications, however Prop 60 applies intra-county, which means the transfer is within the same county, whereas, Prop 90 is inter-county and applies to transfers from one county to another county in California, if the county where the replacement property is located has enacted Proposition 90 to authorize such transfer. According to the Board of Equalization, as of Nov. 7, 2018, ten California counties that have adopted Proposition 90.
- Age – The claimant or a spouse residing with claimant, must be at least 55 years old when the original property is sold.
- One-time benefit – The is a one-time benefit. If Prop 60 or Prop 90 relief was filed and received, neither claimant nor spouse are eligible for filing again.
- Primary Residence or Disabled Veterans’ Exemption – The original property must have been eligible for the Homeowners’ Exemption (i.e. was the primary residence) or the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption at them time it was sold or within 2 years of the purchase or construction of replacement property.
- Reappraisal of Original Property – The original property must be subject to reappraisal at its current fair market value as the result of its transfer.
- Principal Resident of Replacement Property – The replacement property must be the claimants’ principal residence and must be eligible for Homeowners’ Exemption or the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption.
- Value – The replacement dwelling must be of equal or lesser value than the original property.
- Time – the replacement dwelling must be purchased or newly constructed within two years (before or after) of the sale of the original property.
- Filing Claim – A claim for retroactive relief in must be filed within three years of the purchase date of the replacement property or the new construction completion date of the replacement property.
**Ask me if you’d like a list of real estate CPA specialist and financial advisors. Tax season is around the corner, don’t wait!
Lynne Watanabe – MacFarlane, MCDM, Realtor
INTERO REAL ESTATE SERVICES | a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate
(831) 346-2743 text/call
Outside of a strong economy, low unemployment, and higher wages, there are three more great reasons why you may want to consider buying your dream home this year instead of waiting.
1. Buying a Home is a Great Investment
Several reports indicate that real estate is a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps build equity, a form of investing for you and your family. According to CoreLogic’s Equity Report,
“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”
This means the average homeowner gained approximately $5,300 in equity over the past year. If you want to start building your equity, put your housing costs to work for you through homeownership this year.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Low
The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have fallen since November 2018 when they hit 4.94%. In their latest forecast, Freddie Mac expects rates to remain low, leveling out to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.
When you purchase a home at a low mortgage rate, it will impact your monthly mortgage payment, giving you the opportunity to buy more house for your money.
3. Investing in Your Family is a Win
There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you’re paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.
Today, rental prices continue to increase, and when you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage instead of your own, you’re not the one earning the equity. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ you can use later in life to reinvest in your family. You can use it for a variety of opportunities, such as saving for your children’s education, moving up to a bigger home, or starting your own business. As a renter, it can be more challenging to achieve those types of dreams without home equity working for you.
Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings and long-term financial growth for you and your family. Let’s get together to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you this year.
Lynne MacFarlane, MCDM, Realtor
With the recent lower interest rates, many homeowners are wondering if they should refinance.
To decide if refinancing is the best option for your family, start by asking yourself these questions:
Why do you want to refinance?
There are many reasons to refinance, but here are three of the most common ones:
- Lower your interest rate and payment– This is the most popular reason. If you have a 5% interest rate or higher, it might be worth seeing if you can take advantage of the current lower interest rates, hovering below 4%, to reduce your monthly payment and overall cost of the loan.
- Shorten the term of your loan– If you have a 30-year loan, it may be advantageous to change it to a 15 or 20-year loan to pay off your mortgage sooner.
- Cash-out refinance– With home prices increasing, you might have enough equity to cash out and invest in something else, like your children’s education, a vacation home, or a new business.
Once you know why you might want to refinance, ask yourself the next question:
How much is it going to cost?
There are fees and closing costs involved in refinancing, and Lenders Network explains:
“If you were to refinance that loan into a new loan, total closing costs will run between 2%-4% of the loan amount.”
They also explain that there are options for no-cost refinance loans, but be on the lookout:
“A no-cost refinance loan is when the lender pays the closing costs for the borrower. However, you should be aware that the lender makes up this money from other aspects of the mortgage. Usually pay charging a slightly higher interest rate so they can make the money back.”
If you’re comfortable with the costs of refinancing, then ask yourself one more question:
Is it worth it?
To answer this one, we’ll use an example. Let’s assume you have a $200,000 home loan. A 4% refinance cost will be $10,000. If you want to lower your interest rate from 6% to 4%, then refinancing is going to save you $244 per month. To break even ($10,000/$244), you need to continue owning your home for over 40 months.
Now that you know how the math shakes out, think about how much longer you’d like to own your current home. If you plan to stay for more than 3 years, then maybe it is advantageous for you to refinance.
If, however, your current home does not fulfill your present needs, you might want to consider using your potential refinance costs for a down payment on a new move-up home. You will still get a lower interest rate than the one you have on your current house, and with the equity you’ve already built, you can finally purchase the home of your dreams.
There are many opportunities for growth in the current real estate market. To find out what’s right for your family, let’s get together to help you understand your options and guide you toward the best decision.