Day of Service – Be a Part of the Community

Day of Service San Carlos

This Sunday, September 23rd, is the annual Day of Service in San Carlos. This is a fantastic event where there are multiple opportunities for people to help out their neighbors and the community.  You can learn more about the volunteer opportunities at the Day of Service website.

Historically, community service was a regular part of people’s lives. Communities would regularly come together to help with beautification programs or building projects. To help a neighbor who might have fallen on hard times or to help the local school. As the world has gotten busier, and a bit more isolated by technology, the regularity of these programs has fallen off. But San Carlos, The City of Good Living, has been striving to bring back this “all for one” sense of community.Read More

Putting Together Your Basic Home Tool Kit

home tool kitEveryone who lives somewhere, needs a basic home tool kit.  Unless you live in a place with Schneider the Handyman, there are some things you’ll just have to do for yourself. Whether you own or rent, live someplace large or small, there will always be those moments when you just need some tools.  Now I’m not a handy person, but I have embraced the basic set of tools I’ve put together and am always grateful to have them. So if you don’t have your home tool kit yet, let’s get you started!Read More

Down Payment 101: Getting Creative With Savings

down payment ideasOne of the most daunting things to think about when considering buying a home is how you will afford the down payment.  Once you own a home, this usually becomes a non-issue as you use the equity from your existing home to help you. But when you’re going for your first home, this nut can be overwhelming.  This is especially true on the Peninsula, where “starter homes” can cost upwards of $1,000,000 – that means a 20% down deposit is $200,000. That’s a lot!

Don’t despair! In addition to mortgage programs that require less than 20% down, there are also many ways that you can bring in money to get you to your down payment amount much quicker than you ever imagined.  Let’s look at some of the more creative options:Read More

Closings 101: 5 Tips to Avoid Wire Fraud

real estate wire fraud

It’s sad to say, but there’s always someone out there looking to make a quick and easy buck.  There’s the “prince” from Nigeria, your “friends” who have gotten stranded in a foreign country and lost their wallet, even “grandchildren” calling their grandparents in despair needing cash.  All scams called wire fraud.

Thieves have even figured out how to have a big payday by scamming people during escrow closings, making off with thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, in down payment funds.  How often does this happen, you ask? In 2017, the FBI reported over $5.3B in wire fraud losses, with over 10% of that being in real estate alone.Read More

Need More Space? Fast Facts on ADU’s

ADU accessory dwelling unitHere on the Peninsula, people are needing to get creative about housing. With limited space, rising populations and multi-generational families, finding housing that fits your needs can be tricky.  San Mateo County is making a considered effort to promote and encourage residents to explore developing second units, or ADU’s. So what are ADU’s all about?

What is an ADU?

The term ADU stands for “Accessory Dwelling Unit”. This could be anything from a garage conversion to a free-standing structure on the property.  Regardless of type, they are all self-contained and smaller than the primary structure on the property. Often known as in-law units, cottages or garage apartments.Read More

Financing 101: Down Payment Under 20%

down payment

One of my favorite lenders, Jonathan King at Private Mortgage Advisors (PMA,) shares a quick and useful breakdown of ways to buy a new home without a 20% down payment…

As the market appears to shift (which seems evident by the number of offers we see on properties getting into escrow,) it would be a great time to remember about mortgage options that require less than 20%. The minimum down payment requirement is determined by loan amount and loan type (conforming or non conforming). For higher priced homes, minimum down payments offered by PMA are 10% up to a $2M purchase price. Above $2M, a larger down payment is required, generally 15% or more. For lower priced homes, minimum down payments can be 5% for a purchase price up to $715k which can be attractive to condo buyers in our area.

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Top 5 Tips for Decluttering

Decluttering Tips

My friend Karen Wray works for a great company called Managing Moves and More on the Peninsula that specializes in decluttering, downsizing, and relocation, particularly for seniors.  I love talking with Karen about these topics because I always get such great insight and amazing tips. As a project manager, Karen spends her time helping people prepare for life’s transitions, or to just make their lives a little less messy and stressful.

During one recent chat, I asked how I could cut down on the junk that I feel follows me wherever I move. Here are some of Karen’s tips to help cut down on stuff:

Shop a little less

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Financing 101: Equity Lines

Equity Lines - What's a HELOC

Financing can definitely be one of the most complicated parts of the home buying process. Even after you purchase the home there are financing considerations.  I’m fortunate to have some great financing resources who make complicated things easier to understand.  One of those is Jonathan King with PMA Loans.  I asked Jonathan to share a bit about equity lines, aka HELOC’s (Home Equity Lines of Credit).  It’s a term we all hear, but many people wonder “What’s a HELOC?”, aren’t sure when to procure one or how it can be used.

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5 Tips for First Time Homebuyers

First Time HomeBuyer TipsSo you’re thinking you might be ready to be a first time homebuyer?  That’s so exciting – and totally overwhelming. Where do you start? How much is it going to cost you? How do you make sure you can get the home you want?

Take a deep breath, I’ve got you covered.  These 5 tips will help you to be ready to roll once you get serious about finding your first home.

Make A Hobby Out Of Open Houses

Long before you start actively looking for a house, you should start going to open houses.  It can be your weekend thing – a hike, brunch, open houses. So why would I tell you to go to open houses if you’re not remotely close to being ready to buy a place?  Think of it as similar to an SAT prep class – you’re not ready for the final exam, but you are ready to learn how to take the test.

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4th of July – The Hula-Hoop Connection

Real Estate SearchGrowing up in the small Menlo Park neighborhood of Felton Gables, 4th of July was a big deal.  A really big deal! We had the greatest neighborhood party – all the kids would gather at our house to make homemade ice cream, then run home to decorate themselves and their bikes for the parade.  We had face painting, games, hula-hoop competitions and neighbors coming together to support each other, cook for each other and celebrate our country and our neighborhood. It goes without saying that 1976 was the biggest one of them all.

It was pretty idyllic.Read More