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Pacita Dimacali's Blog

By Pacita Dimacali | Agent in Alameda, CA
  • Home buyers: look at your total cash outlay and monthly payment, not just at list price

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Alameda County, Home Buying in Alameda County, Property Q&A in Alameda County  |  January 23, 2014 1:35 PM  |  878 views  |  1 comment

    When home buyers are timid about writing a stronger offer, it's almost always about price. But should you walk away? Take another look. This time, look at the total cash outlay to get in contract. Then look at your monthly payment (principal, interest, taxes and insurance). How much of a difference is it to write a higher offer to buy that house? I use a calculator to give quick estimates of the differences. It can be quite an eye opener. For this example, consider a 30-year mortgage at 4.5%, with 10% downpayment.

    Sales Price





    10% down payment





    Fixed/pre-pay closing costs





    Total cash outlay





    PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance)





    Interest rates are still considerably low, relatively speaking. Homebuyers, take note:

    Primary Mortgage Market Survey Archives --- 30 year fixed interest rates.

    January 2003, interest rate was 5.97%

    January 1993, interest rate was 7.99%.

    January 1983, interest rate was 13.25%

    January 1973, interest rate was 7.44% 


    Homebuyers: you can write a winning offer in a highly competitive situation. There are all kinds of blogs and other information on this subject. But when it comes to price, at least you have another tool to help you make a decision.


    - See more at: http://activerain.com/blogsview/4308546/homebuyers-compare-cash-outlay-monthly-payment-not-just-list-price#sthash.t62OEla1.dpuf
  • Preparing to sell a house: doing the Cs' can result in more C (cash)

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Alameda County, How To... in Alameda County, Property Q&A in Alameda County  |  April 2, 2012 6:33 PM  |  640 views  |  No comments

    Preparing a house for sale: Do the C’s to get the most C (Cash)

    People will always ask, what can they do to improve the marketabllity of their property in order to get the best price. We will walk with them throughout the house, point to several things that need attention. Sellers take notes. Is there an easy way to remember what to do?

    Here’s an easy chart to show what sellers need to know, where to get the information, and what they can do.

    Do the C’s, and the seller can count on getting another C -- more CASH!

    The C’s Description

    Major clean up. Does anyone not understand what “clean" means?  

    See How to Clean Practically Anything.

    A house should look clean, it should also smell clean. Get rid of unpleasant odors such as tobacco smell, pet “accidents”, lingering food smells like fried fish or days old garbage that needs to be thrown out.


    There should be practically none. I tell my sellers to get rid of at least 50% of what they have in the house. Store, sell, give away -- whatever. Just get them out of the house. They should pack to move anyway, so they might as well start now.

    For practitioners of feng shui, you may want to take a look at Mary Lambert’s “The Declutter Workbook” . This gives excellent tips and an actual checklist on what to purge to regain needed space both inside and outside the house.

    “Less is more” translates to less clutter is more appealing to the potential buyer


    We always say that colors should be neutral.  That’s the safest way to tackle this. A touch of accent colors can’t hurt, but the wrong colors can.

    Here’s a link to an article that has some really good ideas on Interior Paint Colors That Help Sell Your Home

    The article says “According to HomeGain's Prepare to Sell 2009 national survey, the average price to paint interior walls is $500 to $750, but that increases a home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000 -- which can be a 250 percent return on investment.”


    There are all kinds of resources but they all boil down to doing some essential repairs. We already know to replace burnt-out light bulbs, replace broken or rusty fixtures, replace/repair broken windows and doors, etc.

    MSN’s Real Estate section itemizes the 10 Must-Do Repairs Before Selling

    Curb Appeal

    Realtors know that our buyers will decide within SECONDS of seeing the exterior of a house whether to even go in or drive away.

    Curb appeal is a combination of many things that again incorporates the other C’s: color, condition, clutter and clean.

    Messy front yard? Terrible exterior? Garish color? These are all turn-offs.

    HGTV has several ideas about Creating More Curb Appeal

    Cost of improvement

    Choose your battles.  Decide on a budget as to how much you’re willing to spend, and see what you can expect to recoup.

    An excellent resource is Remodeling Online’s annual Cost vs Value --- it even provides regional costs

  • Often requested configuration: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-car garage

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Alameda, Home Selling in Alameda, Property Q&A in Alameda  |  March 12, 2011 9:21 AM  |  863 views  |  No comments

    Whenever buyers are asked what they're looking to buy, it seems the most requested is a single detached home with 3 bedrooms,2 baths, 2-car garage and a yard.

    It's a start, and then we determine the budget range and the preferred locations.


    There's a lot to love about this wonderful island, starting with having wonderful weather, blue skies, mild temperature most of the year. Then there's the proximity and easy commute to San Francisco and other surrounding cities. Add to that our high-rated schools, low crime rate, walk-ability, the beautifully restored Alameda Theater and many wonderful restaurants.


    Back to what people are asking for. Well, there are certainly quite a few available for sale today,

    Take a look at this wonderful English Tudor, literally just a couple of blocks around the corner from the beach, and near the Alameda Town Center with its many retail stores, restaurants, and more.

    See: http://www.2516otis.com/

    Lots to love about this wonderful home, starting with its many improvements that were carefully selected to enhance its delightful Old World Charm.

    Come take a look!
  • Invoking Zillow in my listing presentation and when working with buyers and sellers

    Posted Under: Property Q&A in California  |  August 13, 2009 1:11 PM  |  595 views  |  No comments

    If you can't fight them, join them...or CORRECT them!

    I occasionally visit Zillow to check the value of my property which can rise and dip $50K-75K within any given week. So yes, I admit...I look at Zillow.

    In the beginning, there was a raging inferno of protests when Zillow first launched. But as Zillow has grown more mainstream, it may be foolish to refuse to acknowledge that they provide a service that our buyers and sellers will and do consult.


    Today, even before my clients bring it up, I will do a pre-emptive statement about what Zillow says, and then provide more in-depth information that will either support or debunk the Zillow's estimate.

    STARTING POINT -- a source, but not THE ONLY source

    Remember that the Zestimate is, in their own words, a "starting point". They do provide a lot of good information including the last time it was sold (or the last change in ownership), trends in the local and national levels. They also provide an opportunity for the homeowner to claim his home and update the information, as well as put his own estimate of the property's value.

    Listing agents can also claim the property and put up our own photos and descriptions.

    ERRORS -- An opportunity to provide correct information

    In my listing presentations, I always include a printout of the latest Zillow Zestimates. I also include Cyberhomes' estimate.

    They are very rarely the same, and oftentmes, the differences are so vast that it helps to illustrate why it's so important to have a comprehensive Comparative Market Analysis

    Here's another saying that we should remember: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.


    And by the way, if you haven't seen this blog and video yet on Understanding the Zillow Zestimate then you should. Agree or disagree just keep in mind that thousands of your buyers and sellers are looking at Zillow. And so should you.

    By the way, Zillow gives a guide for real estate professionals and how to market yourself on Zillow 

    Can't hurt to check them out. It will hurt not to know.

  • RENTERS BEWARE! Scammers on craigslist, yahoo, etc

    Posted Under: Property Q&A in California  |  July 27, 2009 9:29 AM  |  629 views  |  No comments

    Keep telling folks to WATCH OUT for scammers who say they are out-of-town/out-of-country landlords who want to rent their homes.

    This is an ongoing problem. For the last two years, unscrupulous scammers and thieves copied and posted my for sale listing as "for rent". All these posters claim to be out of the country (Africa, England, etc.).

    This is not an isolated case as other agents have reported the same problem.

    Potential renters looking for a "good deal" respond to an ad. They communicate via email with the "landlord" who sends them an "application form" which looks almost official.

    Renters drive by the property, see a FOR SALE sign. They call listing agent who confirms the property is for sale, not for rent. But by this time, the renters have provided personal information on their "application".

    I have reported each case to craigslist and yahoo. I even posted a RENTER BEWARE post on craigslist but it was flagged and deleted. Craiglist, to their credit, do have a link on how to prevent scams. They even provided samples of scams. And they did try to warn people on what to look out for, to wit:

    • "DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99% of the scam attempts on craigslist.
    • NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
    • CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, guarantee transactions, provide escrow services, or offer "buyer protection" or "seller certification"
    • NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)

    Spread the word!

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