What Is Step-Up Basis?

Step Up BasisRecently, a good friend had her mother pass away suddenly. When I got the call, I reached out immediately, having been through a similar situation with my own parents. Aside from wanting to express my sympathy and support, I did also want to make sure my friend and her siblings were aware of an important tax ramification that my sister and I had learned about – that being the step-up basis.Read More

Is It The Right Time to Buy?

Is Now the Right Time to Buy?

One of the ever-present questions in real estate is “is now the right time to buy?” There are so many variables that people can look at. Some will confidently support “no” while others will champion “yes”. So how to make that decision on if it’s the right time to buy?  Ultimately, it’s a personal decision, but there are some sold financing points that are worth taking a look at in order to make a well-informed decision.Read More

Property Taxes 101: Props 13 / 60 / 90

Property Taxes Prop 13 60 90If you’ve ever lived in California or owned property here, you know there are some significant propositions that have been voted in over the years which greatly impact property taxes and ownership.  I remember as a kid when Prop 13 was on the ballot. While I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant, I did know that we were TOTALLY behind it and worked hard to get others to support it. All these years later, I understand why my parents wanted this proposition to pass, but I also see the impact that it’s had over 40 years on the state, the economy and the housing market.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