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By LessThan6Percent | Broker in San Francisco, CA
  • Selling Your House When You Divorce

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco, Moving in San Francisco  |  June 17, 2014 11:26 AM  |  111 views  |  No comments
    Divorce is a very emotionally draining event that unfortunately many individuals have to go through each year. For those who are divorcing and also homeowners, most will decide to sell their home as the result of the divorce. Here are a few practical tips on how to handle this important sale during this stressful time:

    1. Deciding on the timing of the sale Generally, most couples are better off selling the property while still married simply because a couple is eligible for the $500,000 exclusion on capital gains. Once you are divorced, the capital gain exclusion drops to $250,000 for each person individually. This may not be an issue for most homes, but it is still a valid consideration. Since a sale and preparation for a sale typically takes weeks to months, it is is best to make a decision sooner rather than later. Remember to coordinate with each other on moving dates, and it’s best to confirm in writing so everyone is firmly committed to a window of dates and sticks to them.

    2. Picking an Agent While in general, it’s fine to sell a house without an agent, it’s not recommended when you’re in the middle of a divorce—the added stress is really not necessary. Try not to spend a lot of time arguing about who your agent will be. Furthermore, a real estate professional can be a voice of reason during this emotional time. Couples often have a lot of emotions and memories tied to their home, and these can be exaggerated during a divorce; an independent professional will be better at judging the value and shortcomings of a home. Additionally, a real estate agent knows the real estate market and the values of the homes and sales trend in an area, and can help you set a fair price and market the home.

    3. Settling on an asking price Take the agent’s advice about your asking price—that’s one of the main reasons you’re using an expert instead of selling the house yourself. Turning that decision over to the agent will eliminate one potential conflict. If you think the agent’s opinion is really off-base, you might need a different agent (or a reality check of your own).

    4. Dividing the Cash Finally after the house is sold, you’ll have to figure out how to divide the proceeds. In general, this shouldn’t be too complex—the escrow company can distribute the money after paying off all the obligations on the house and making whatever other payments you’ve agreed to. (For example, you might pay off marital debts with the proceeds of the house sale.) And if one spouse has been making post separation mortgage payments, that spouse has probably been reducing the principal amount and increasing the equity, which may increase the amount to be divided between the spouses after the closing costs and obligations have been paid. The distribution should be adjusted to account for the paying spouse’s contribution - See more at: http://www.lessthan6percent.com/1/post/selling-your-house-when-you-divorce/#sthash.8qRcf9d7.dpuf
  • Marketing Your House for Sale? Get to Know Your Buyer Demographic!

    Posted Under: General Area in Oakland, Home Selling in Oakland, Moving in Oakland  |  June 14, 2013 11:01 PM  |  695 views  |  No comments

    By all accounts, now it the best time to list your home for sale in years. Interest rates are low and home prices are recovering, meanwhile rents are skyrocketing. All this adds up to a wonderful time to sell your house to a qualified buyer! Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors in Los Angeles says, "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity."




    Generation Y is in the Market


    Generation Y (or Millennials) are the largest demographic wave in our nation's history, even larger than the Baby Boomers! They're largely college-educated and the oldest members are in their early 30s, which makes them just the right age to buy a home! Full of enthusiasm for homeownership, 70% of Millennials classify themselves as being just as handy as their parents around the house. Now they're ready to move out of their parents basements and into homes of their own. 


    Last month, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18-35 to get a grasp of their desires in a house. 


    What They're Looking For in a Home


    Just because they've been living in their parents' houses, doesn't mean that Generation Y would buy their parents' homes. Millennials want smaller, functional homes that they can personalize in their own image. Flexible spaces and technology rate even higher than curb appeal for this demographic, and they're not afraid to get their hands dirty. In fact, nearly 30% of Millennials surveyed by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate would actually prefer a "fixer-upper" in which they can build equity. 


    Generation Y doesn't care about the luxury items that sold their parents on a home. Instead of formal living and dining spaces that no one ever uses, they want larger family rooms and spaces in which they can entertain. Every room should have a purpose in a Millennial's house give them a home office instead of a dining room, and if you really want to make a sale, convert your old rec room into a home theatre. Afterall, 59% of survey participants said they'd rather have extra space in the kitchen for a TV instead of having a second oven. 


    How to Sell to Them


    • Stage your home so that every room appears to have a daily use. Turn your formal spaces into rooms that a young professional can use to entertain, work, or relax. 
    • If you're going to spend some money on upgrades, make them technological instead of cosmetic. 77% of Millennials surveyed want homes equipped with the technological capabilities to which they've grown accustomed. 
    • Save a little money on commission with a LessThan6Percent approved real estate partner. Remember, when agents compete, you win! 


    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Our Featured Brokerages: Part II

    Posted Under: Home Selling in San Jose, In My Neighborhood in San Jose, Moving in San Jose  |  June 6, 2013 1:38 PM  |  685 views  |  No comments

    We Work With the Best


    In this conclusion to our featured brokerages series, we will profile four of the most productive and impressive real estate firms to date. From independent firms that have worked their way up the market ladder to nationally recognized brands, these agencies have one thing in common: a desire to deliver the utmost in customer care and cost efficiency to their clients.


    Pacific Union International


    Founded in 1975 and now boasting more than 20 California offices, Pacific Union was founded by three real estate dynamos, John Montgomery, Peter Stocker, and William Harlan. Recently ranked as the third largest real estate firm in the San Francisco Bay area, Pacific Union International consistently boasts the most productive real estate professionals in their market area. Not only do they partner with the best agents, but they provide them with the best tools available to serve their clientele.


    Headed up by CEO Mark McLaughlin, Pacific Union is pleased to partner with Christie's International Real Estate, which provides them with a global network of real estate exposure. Their innovative menu of web-based options for real estate professionals means that your agent is never far from your listing -- even if he or she happens to travel halfway around the world.


    Prudential Real Estate


    Lead to continued success by President Earl Lee, Prudential boasts more than 1,400 offices and 47,000 in North America. Lee, who has been a Prudential leader for more than a decade, has served on the National Association of REALTORS Real Estate Advisory Board and its Executive Committee, and has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders for the past two years.


    Prudential follows an entrepreneurial business model, which fosters a culture of success and individualism, and keeps every affiliate office in the hands of local market experts. Active and passionate community members, Prudential affiliates have chosen The Sunshine Kids Foundation, a Texas-based organization dedicated to helping children cope with cancer through group engagement and emotional support.


    RE/MAX


    Founded in Colorado back in 1973, Re/Max has developed a global network of franchisee owned and operated offices that boasts more than 90,000 trusted sales associates. Re/Max began when Dave Liniger, along with his wife Gail and their core team, founded the company based on a network of hard work and resolve. The central belief of Re/Max? Anything is possible when a group of hardworkers comes together and treats real estate as a profession, not a hobby. The internationally recognized hot air balloon became the company's official logo in 1979, and is now listed as one of the most recognizable logos in the world.


    The Re/Max brand continues to grow today, with a recent expansion into China, and still stands for excellence in real estate. And you can rest easy knowing that your Re/Max agent is an active leader in his or her community, through Re/Max's involvement with such organizations as the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Operation Re/Max which supports those who have served or have spouses who are serving in the military.


    Zephyr Real Estate




    Zephyr Real Estate was founded in 1978 by four young real estate agents who were swept up in the entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco. One of these original founders and the current president of Zephyr, Bill Drypolcher, says, "There were plenty of brokerages that made their agents feel like just another number, but we knew we could build a company where the agents could really be a part of the team." They began with ten agents in what is now their flagship location and have expanded into six state of the art office facilities.


    With a current roster of over 200 full-time real estate professionals on hand to help you with your next real estate transaction, Zephyr is committed to providing the same high level of service to every client, be they first time home buyers or multi-millionaires. And this community spirit is evident in their support of EdMatch, a charitable organization that sources educational funding from businesses, and Project Open Hand, which delivers meals to homebound people.


    Your Next Step


    Now you see why we've chosen to feature these brokerages -- they not only represent the best in real estate, they represent the best in people. If you're ready to start working with one of our featured brokerages today
    , simply submit an request on LessThan6Percent.com and you will receive multiple listing proposals from the top real estate professionals in these brokerages. We make the process of finding the best agent easy for you. And when the best agents compete for your business, you win!

    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html

  • Our Featured Brokerages: Part I

    Posted Under: Home Selling in San Jose, In My Neighborhood in San Jose, Moving in San Jose  |  June 6, 2013 6:08 AM  |  629 views  |  No comments
    LessThan6Percent's Agents Come From the Most Trusted Brokerages in the Business

    Our featured firms represent the best in the real estate industry. From independent start ups to nationally recognized brands, we are proud to work with some of the most trusted names in the world. What do they have in common? A desire to bring you, the real estate owner, the best and most competitively price real estate representation available. 

    Alain Pinel Realtors



    Founded by Mr. Paul Hulme, Helen Pastorino, and Alain Pinel in 1990, Alain Pinel Realtors is ranked the 5th largest residential real estate brokerage in the nation by volume, and they're growing every year. Mr. Hulme remains the President and CEO of APR, and began his business career at the age of 8, when he delivered newspapers and shouldered responsibilities on his family farm in Utah. By 24, Mr. Hulme had received a bachelor's degree, completed his tour of duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, and was accepted in the University of Utah's medical school. Ultimate, he chose a life of business over medicine, and has been a life-long entrepreneur. 

    APR was developed with a pioneering vision that changed the face of real estate: that the principles of innovation, networking, and market research that bred success in other industries would also apply to real estate. Known for taking risks and challenging the status quo, Alain Pinel embraces the high-quality marketing materials that have kept them on the cutting edge for 23 years. In keeping with this standard, APR partners with international marketing associations and networks, insuring that your property will be highly visible around the world.

    First Team Real Estate 



    First Team was founded by Cameron Merage with one office and five real estate professional in Huntington Beach, CA back in 1976. Quickly rising to the top of the city's market, they were ranked the #1 independent real estate company in all of Orange County, CA based on home sales. Consistently setting the bar in residential and commercial real estate, First Team remains the statistic leader among Southern California real estate companies, and is ranked #10 in the nation. The company was founded on the premise that the real estate market is cyclical, which breeds opportunities for solving new challenges. Motivated by these opportunities, First Team has been innovating unique products and services to handle the new challenges in any given market climate. 

    For over 30 years, First Team has been developing a culture of information sharing and collaborative success. Aligned at many levels, the result is a powerful network of knowledge and team work that First Team leverages for powerful, positive results for their clients. Consistent with this vision of teamwork, the First Team Real Estate brokerage partners in support of the First in Our Hearts Foundation, which provides food and safe haven to children; builds homes for those in need; collects food for the hungry; and sends care packages to our troops overseas. Other charities supported by First Team include: Habitat for Humanity, Music for a Cure, Orangewood Children's Home, and Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family. 

    Intero Real Estate Services 



    Founded in 2002 by Gino Blefari, Tom Tognoli, and John Thompson, Intero Real Estate Services was conceived in the heartland of innovation: Silicon Valley. In just a few short years, Intero grew from a start up real estate firm into the top-selling real estate company in Silicon Valley, employing the latest technology and old-school customer service values to provide their clients with the best real estate experience available. Currently, Intero has more than 50 offices serving California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and London, with plans to to further expand into the international market. 

    Intero's accomplishments are many. They were awarded the "Best of Silicon Valley" award in both 2011 and 2012, the EcoBroker Community Service Award in 2006, and have donated more than $1.5 million to community children's organizations. In association with Intero Real Estate is the Intero Foundation, a non-profit organizations founded in 2002 that has raised more than $2 million to benefit children living in the communities they service. A vehicle for expressing the founders' meaningful and longstanding commitment to their community, the Intero Foundation has lent support to over 120 regional charities and is funded, promoted, and governed exclusively by Intero real estate agents. 

    Keller Williams Realty



    The largest real estate franchise company in the United States, Keller Williams was founded by Gary Keller and Joe Williams in 1983, and began franchising in 1991. From a single office in Austin, Texas, Keller Williams has grown into a real est ate powerhouse with over 700 offices and more than 80,000 agents. The current CEO of Keller Williams, Mark Willis, expanded Keller Williams beyond North America, awarding the first overseas Keller WIlliams franchise in 2012 in Vietnam. With divisions in luxury and commercial properties, Keller Williams is poised to be the only real estate partner you will ever need.

    And 2012 was a banner year for Keller Williams. In addition to awarding their first internation franchise, they were honored with the J.D. Power and Associates award for Highest Customer Satisfaction Among Home Buyer and Seller Segments; named the Inman Innovator of the Year; and listed as one of the Top 5,000 Growing Private Companies in America. Their commitment to quality service and community outreach is best exemplified by their charitable initiative, RED Day. RED (Renew, Energize, and Donate) Day is the second Thursday in May, when tens of thousands of associates from across the continent participate in a wide range of projects, devoting their time and energy to renewing the communities they serve. 

    Next Time...

    Stay tuned for Part Two of this feature article on the LessThan6Percent featured brokerages, when we'll take a behind-the-scenes look at four more of the top indepedent and nationally franchised firms in the world! 

    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html



  • Top Real Estate Companies in California

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in San Francisco, Home Selling in San Francisco, Moving in San Francisco  |  May 30, 2013 4:24 PM  |  776 views  |  1 comment
    Real Estate is Making a ComebackTop Real Estate Companies


    The real estate market has finally turned the bend. Business journals and economists are reporting an upswing in number of home sales and the average sale price over 2012, and some of California's top producing real estate companies are turning this into great news for home owners looking to sell. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, 10 of the top 25 grossing REALTORS hail from California. 




    National Full Service Firms

    One of California's top producing real estate companies is Keller Williams Silicon Valley. Keller Williams won the J.D. Power and Associates awards for "Highest in Overall Satisfaction for Buyers and Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms" for 2012, and the Silicon Valley franchise boasts some of the most motivated and productive agents available in California. Among them is Jim Holt, who is using new tools, including websites like www.lessthan6percent.com to promote his services and listings online. 


    Representing the American Riviera, Santa Barbara, is Sotheby's Santa Barbara Coastal, which houses several of the top grossing REALTORS in the country. Sotheby's, a brand which specializes in fine and unique properties, is best known for its auction houses, but has been steadily developing its international real estate reputation. Not only is Sotheby's known for providing top notch real estate marketing and representation, but their agents participate in Conservation International's "Protect an Acre" program to help protect precious rainforest acres and the species they contain. 


    With perhaps the most top grossing REALTORS on the Wall Street Journal's list, Coldwell Banker makes an astounding impression on anyone seeking real estate representation. Six of the top 25 agents come from various California Coldwell Banker offices, which means that wherever you live, there's a reputable Coldwell Banker brokerage ready to help you sell your home for profit. The oldest, most established residential real estate franchise in North America, Coldwell Banker has an international network of real estate professionals to promote your listing worldwide. 



    Independent Real Estate Firms


    There are a number of benefits associated with choosing an independent real estate firm to handle the sale of your property. Often, you'll be able to do business with the company's direct founder, so you know that you're always getting the best information direct from the source. Independent real estate firms are also free of corporate rules, making them a good choice for a long-term real estate partner.


    If you're in the South Bay Area and looking to go independent, Shorewood Realtors is the firm for you. With the top grossing real estate salesperson in the entire state of California on staff, Shorewood Realtors is equipped to handle your entire real estate portfolio. They handle properties for sale or for rent, and are actively involved in their community. In business for over 50 years, Shorewood has more than 350 highly trained real estate professionals available to work with you, making even the most complex real estate transactions trouble-free. 


    Alain Pinel Realtors, in Saratoga, also brings the results. Two of their real estate professionals were on the Wall Street Journal's top 25 list, and they've been in business for the last 20 years. Since opening their doors, Alain Pinel Realtors has averaged no fewer than five awards for service per year, including Best Broker for Luxury Homes by San Jose Mercury News. They have in-house mortgage advisors, relocation and client services, a proprietary investment group, and an international network of referring real estate agents. Now you can take your confidence with you, wherever you go. 


    Making the Right Call


    The California Association of Realtors has just launched a new TV, Web, radio, and print campaign which highlights the positive impact of REALTORS in California's economy. Regardless of whether you decide to go with a nationally-recognized brand like Coldwell Banker, or a powerful independent firm like Shorewood Realtors, make sure that you choose a real estate professional that is a licensed REALTOR, educated in the ways to save you money and hassle, and registered with www.lessthan6percent.com, so you know that you're being connected with a top agent from a top firm.


    About Us:

    LessThan6Percent was born out of the belief that there could be a more transparent, efficient and cost-effective way for home owners to search for and hire a real estate agent when they are ready to sell their home. With a founding team possessing experience in building online marketplaces and developing online real estate communities, we set out to create an amazing, "so-satisfied-that-I-gotta-tell-my-neighbor" experience.

    So that's our story: making the process of home selling better, faster and easier, one home at a time. Read about us on WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130429-912590.html


 
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