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Keith Parrett's Blog

By Keith Parrett | Agent in Brentwood, CA
  • Thank you to all the Heros that have served or are serving this country!

    Posted Under: General Area in Contra Costa County, Home Buying in Contra Costa County, Home Selling in Contra Costa County  |  November 11, 2011 10:45 AM  |  779 views  |  No comments

    “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

    Joseph Campbell

  • Understanding Real Estate Representation

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Contra Costa County, Home Selling in Contra Costa County, Foreclosure in Contra Costa County  |  October 18, 2011 5:39 PM  |  735 views  |  No comments

    Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to choose representation that meets your needs in the transaction.
    Article From BuyAndSell.HouseLogic.com

    You have choices when selecting representation in a real estate transaction. Here are five tips for understanding which type of legal relationship with a real estate professional, called an agency relationship, will best protect you when you buy or sell a home.
    1. Buyer’s agency
    When you’re buying a home, you can hire an agent who represents only you, called an exclusive buyer’s representative or agent. A buyer’s agent works in your best interest and owes you a fiduciary duty. You can pay your buyer’s agent yourself, or ask the seller, or the seller’s agent, to pay your agent a share of their sales commission.
    If you’re selling your home and hiring an agent to list it exclusively, you’ve hired a selling representative–an agent who owes fiduciary duties to you. Typically, you pay a selling agent a commission at closing. Selling agents usually offer or agree to pay a portion of their sales commission to the buyer’s agent. If your seller’s agent brings in a buyer, your agent keeps the entire commission.
    2. Subagency
    When you purchase a home, the agent you can opt to work with may not be your agent at all, but instead may be a subagent of the seller. In general, a subagent represents and acts in the best interest of the sellers and sellers’ agent.
    If your agent is acting as a subagent, you can expect to be treated honestly, but the subagent owes loyalty to the sellers and their agent and can’t put your interests above those of the sellers. In a few states, agents aren’t permitted to act as subagents.

    Never tell a subagent anything you don’t want the sellers to know. Maybe you offered $150,000 for a home but are willing to go up to $160,000. That’s the type of information subagents would be required to pass on to their clients, the sellers.
    3. Disclosed dual agency
    In many states, agents and companies can represent both parties in a home sale as long as that relationship is fully disclosed. It’s called disclosed dual agency. Because dual agents represent both parties, they can’t be protective of and loyal to only you. Dual agents don’t owe all the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, they owe limited fiduciary duties to each party.

    Why would you agree to dual agency? Suppose you want to buy a house that’s listed for sale by the same real estate brokerage where your buyer’s agent works. In that case, the real estate brokerage would be representing both you and the seller and you’d both have to agree to that.

    Because there’s a potential for conflicts of interest with dual agency, all parties must give their informed consent. In many states, that consent must be in writing.
    4. Designated agency
    A form of disclosed dual agency, “designated agency” allows two different agents within a single firm to represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction. To avoid conflicts that can arise with dual agency, some managing brokers designate or appoint agents in their company to represent only sellers, or only buyers. But that isn’t required for designated agency. A designated, or appointed, agent will give you full representation and represent your best interests.
    5. Nonagency relationship
    In some states, you can choose not to be represented by an agent. That’s referred to as nonagency or working with a transaction broker or facilitator. In general, in nonagency representation, the real estate professional you work with owes you fewer duties than a traditional agency relationship. And those duties vary from state to state. Ask the person you’re working with to explain what he or she will and won’t do for you.
    Other web resources
    More on hiring a real estate agent (http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/article-30016.html)
    More on real estate agents’ roles (http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/mrec/mrecrep.shtml)
    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who zealously protected her clients’ interests as a lawyer. A frequent contributor to many national publications, including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

    By: G. M. Filisko
    Published: March 29, 2010

    Have a Great day,

    Keith Parrett
    Realtor
    Realty World Pigati and Russell
    Direct: (925) 580-4650
    Efax: (866) 404-4934
    Email: keith@keithparrett.com
    www.keithparrett.com
    License No: 01714500

  • Appeal Your Property Tax Bill

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Contra Costa County, Home Selling in Contra Costa County, Foreclosure in Contra Costa County  |  September 14, 2011 12:46 PM  |  656 views  |  No comments
    Article From HouseLogic.com

    By: Barbara Eisner Bayer
    Published: October 08, 2009

    To successfully appeal your property tax bill, you first need to do a bit of sleuthing into your real estate assessment.
    Owning a home is an expensive proposition. There’s maintenance, landscaping, utilities, renovations, and, of course, taxes. It’s your civic duty to pay the latter, but it’s also your right not to yield a penny more than your fair share.

    It’s possible to trim your property tax bill by appealing the assessed value of your home. But making a case against your real estate assessment, the basis for your property tax bill, requires doing a bit of homework. Initial research can be done online or by phone over two or three days, but the process can stretch out for months if you’re forced to file a formal appeal.

    Read your assessment letter

    A real estate assessment is conducted periodically by the local government to assign a value to your home for taxation purposes. An assessment isn’t the same as a private appraisal, and the assessed value of your home isn’t necessarily how much you could sell it for today. Real estate assessment letters are mailed to homeowners annually, or perhaps every two to three years, depending where you live.

    The letter will include some information about your property, such as lot size or a legal description, as well as the assessed value of your house and land. Additional details-number of bedrooms, for example, or date of construction-can often be found in the property listing on your local government’s website. Your property tax bill will usually be calculated by multiplying your home’s assessed value by the local tax rate, which can vary from town to town.

    If you think your home’s assessment is higher than it should be, challenge it immediately. The clock starts ticking as soon as the letter goes out. You generally have less than 30 days to respond, though the time frame varies not just between states, but within each state. Procedures are often outlined on the back of the letter.

    Gather evidence

    Start by making sure the assessment letter doesn’t contain any mistakes. Is the number of bathrooms accurate? Number of fireplaces? How about the size of the lot? There’s a big difference between “0.3 acres” and “3.0 acres.” If any facts are wrong, then you may have a quick and easy challenge on your hands.

    Next, research your home’s value. Ask a real estate agent to find three to five comparable properties-”comps” in real estate jargon-that have sold recently. Alternatively, check a website like Zillow.com (http://www.zillow.com/) to find approximate values of comparable properties. The key is identifying properties that are very similar to your own in terms of size, style, condition, and location. If you’re willing to shell out between $350 and $600, you can hire a private appraiser to do the heavy lifting.

    Once you identify comps, check the assessments on those properties. Most local governments maintain public databases. If yours doesn’t, seek help from an agent or ask neighbors to share tax information. If the assessments on your comps are lower, you can argue yours is too high. Even if the assessments are similar, if you can show that the “comparable” properties aren’t truly comparable, you may have a case for relief based on equity. Maybe your neighbor added an addition while you were still struggling to clean up storm damage. In that case, the properties are no longer equitable.

    Present your case

    Once you’re armed with your research, call your local assessor’s office. Most assessors are willing to discuss your assessment informally by phone. If not, or if you aren’t satisfied with the explanation, request a formal review. Pay attention to deadlines and procedures. There’s probably a form to fill out and specific instructions for supporting evidence. A typical review, which usually doesn’t require you to appear in person, can take anywhere from one to three months. Expect to receive a decision in writing.

    If the review is unsuccessful, you can usually appeal the decision to an independent board, with or without the help of a lawyer. You may have to pay a modest filing fee, perhaps $10 to $25. If you end up before an appeals board, your challenge could stretch as long as a year, especially in large jurisdictions that have a high number of appeals. But homeowners do triumph. According to Guy Griscom, Assistant Chief Appraiser of the Harris County (Texas) Central Appraisal District, of the 288,800 protests filed in his Houston-area district in 2008, about 58% received reduced assessments.

    How much effort you decide to put into a challenge depends on the stakes. The annual U.S. median property tax (http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/1888.html) paid in 2008 was $1,897, or 0.96% of the median home value of $197,600. Lowering that assessed value by 15% would net savings of about $285. In some parts of New York and Texas, for example, where tax rates can approach 3% of a home’s value, potential savings are greater. Ditto for communities with home prices well above the U.S. median.

    There are a few things to keep in mind as you weigh an appeal. The board can only lower your real estate assessment, not the rate at which you’re taxed. There’s also a chance, albeit slight, that your assessment could be raised, thus increasing your property taxes. A reduction in your assessment right before you put your house on the market could hurt the sale price. An easier route to savings might lie in determining if you qualify for property tax exemptions (http://www.houselogic.com/articles/property-tax-exemptions/) based on age, disability, military service, or other factors.

    This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but is not intended to be relied upon by readers as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Readers should consult a tax professional for such advice, and are reminded that tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.

    Barbara Eisner Bayer has written about mortgages and personal finance for the past 15 years for Motley Fool, the Daily Plan-It, and Nurse Village, and is the former Managing Editor of Mortgageloan.com and Credit-land.com. She has successfully challenged her real estate assessment.

    Have a Great day,
      
    Keith Parrett
    Realtor
    Realty World Pigati and Russell
    Direct: (925) 580-4650
    Efax: (866) 404-4934
    Email: keith@keithparrett.com
    License No: 01714500

     

    Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
    Copyright 2011.  All rights reserved.

  • Urgent new law in CA – Important Carbon-mon​oxide informatio​n for homeowners

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Contra Costa County, Home Selling in Contra Costa County, Foreclosure in Contra Costa County  |  August 10, 2011 4:18 PM  |  461 views  |  No comments
    Just updating you with a new law in CA. You might already know this but every home in Ca is required to have carbon-monoxide detectors as of last month. I have attached a link that breaks down the specifics for you. http://www.car.org/legal/disclosure-folder/carbon-monoxide-detectors/ As always, call or email if you have any questions.
     Have a Great day,
    Keith Parrett Realtor Realty World Pigati and Russell
    Direct: (925) 580-4650
    Efax: (866) 404-4934
    Email: keith@keithparrett.com
    www.keithparrett.com
    License No: 01714500
  • Looks like interest rates will be low for the next 2 years

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Contra Costa County, Home Selling in Contra Costa County, Foreclosure in Contra Costa County  |  August 10, 2011 4:16 PM  |  195 views  |  No comments

    The Feds said  that they vowed to keep rates low for at least the next two years. This is great for home news  buyers. How will it affect the economy? 

    Fed officials “are very nervous about the economy,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “This is unprecedented for the Fed to indicate they are ready to keep rates low for two more years.”

    See the full story: Fed says it will hold rates fast until mid-2013
    The Federal Reserve says it will likely keep interest rates at record lows for the next two years after acknowledging that the U.S. economy is weaker than it had thought with increasing risks.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44064023/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/t/fed-says-it-will-hold-rates-fast-until-mid-/#.TkMJ9JPtHK1.email

     

    Have a Great day,
     
    Keith Parrett
    Realtor
    Realty World Pigati and Russell
    Direct: (925) 580-4650
    Efax: (866) 404-4934
    Email: keith@keithparrett.com
    License No: 01714500

  • Good news for short sales.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Contra Costa County, Home Selling in Contra Costa County, Foreclosure in Contra Costa County  |  July 18, 2011 3:38 PM  |  419 views  |  No comments

    LAW AGAINST SHORT SALE DEFICIENCIES EXPANDED

    In a major victory for REALTORS®, Governor Brown signed into law today a C.A.R.-sponsored bill, Senate Bill 458, prohibiting a deficiency after a short sale for one-to-four residential units, regardless of whether the lender is a senior or junior lienholder.  Effective immediately for transactions closing escrow from this day forward, both senior and junior lienholders cannot require a borrower to owe or pay for a deficiency in a short sale.  This law also prohibits any deficiency judgment to be requested or rendered for senior or junior liens after a short sale of one-to-four residential units.  Any purported waiver of this rule shall be void and against public policy.

    Although a lender cannot require a borrower to pay any additional compensation in exchange for a short sale approval, the new law does not prohibit a borrower from voluntarily offering a monetary contribution to a lender in hopes of obtaining a short sale.  A lender is also permitted under the new law to negotiate for a contribution from someone other than the borrower, such as other lenders, agents, relatives, and the like.

    Exceptions to the new law include a lender seeking damages for a borrower’s fraud or waste; a borrower that is a corporation, LLC, limited partnership, or political subdivision of the state; a lien secured by a bond as specified; a public utility lien; and additional rules apply if a note is cross-collateralized by more than one property.

    This law is fully set forth as Senate Bill 458 (Corbett) at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

    Brought to you by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.



    Keith Parrett
    Realtor
    Realty World Pigati and Russell
    Direct: (925) 580-4650
    Efax: (866) 404-4934
    Email:
    keith@keithparrett.com

  • Happy Mothers Day!

    Posted Under: General Area in Contra Costa County, Quality of Life in Contra Costa County, In My Neighborhood in Contra Costa County  |  May 6, 2011 11:26 AM  |  779 views  |  No comments

    Hoping all you Moms have a great weekend!

    Keith Parrett
    Realtor
    Realty World Pigati and Russell
    Direct: (925) 580-4650
    Efax: (866) 404-4934
    Email: keith@keithparrett.com
    www.keithparrett.com
    License No: 01714500
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