How to Shop for your next Neighborhood

choosing the right neighborhoodA Realtors job is more than finding the Buyer a dream home, it’s also about finding them the perfect neighborhood. Besides answering their questions about schools, shopping, restaurants and entertainment, Century 21 M&M Associates advise buyers to explore prospective neighborhoods.

Before you even contact a real estate agent you need to think about what kind of neighborhood you want to live in. Does it need to be close to schools and shopping? Is public transportation important? What about restaurants, entertainment and sporting events?

Once you have narrowed the location down to a zip code, then, take some time to get to know the neighborhoods.

  1. Walk the neighborhood. Better yet, take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood. Talk to your potential neighbors. Find out why they live there and what they love about the area.
  2.  In addition to getting to know potential, future neighbors, head into the town or city center and chat with local business owners. Ask these people why they decided to open a business in the area, and, what do they like best about owning a business in this location?
  3. Shop close to the neighborhood. Pick a few places in their prospective neighborhood such as a restaurant, a super market or a coffee shop and spend some time hanging out in the area. Ask yourself –  can they see yourself fitting in? Do you enjoy spending time there? Can you picture yourself being a part of that community?
  4. Go online and check out the city’s website. Does the city make real-time updates? Do they list local events? How about sport and recreation activities?
  5. If you have children, check out how the local schools rate. The easiest way to find and compare local California schools is at http://local.ratings.com.

Contact a Century 21 M&M Realtor you can ask more questions about the neighborhood. These real estate agents live in the communities they serve. They can answer questions about the local politics, tax structures and utility providers.

So if you are thinking of buying a home in Northern California, call a Century 21 M&M Realtor today at (800) 530-1548.

7 Reasons to Hire a Century 21 M&M Real Estate Agent

Hire a Century 21 M&M Realtor in Northern California1. Did you know that contacting a Century 21 M&M Realtor won’t cost you anything? No, the Seller pays the Agent fee. So house hunters, you are crazy if you don’t use the help of a Real Estate professional, especially if you are a First Time Home Buyers.

2. A Century 21 M&M Realtor can direct you to the pool of properties likely to interest you, and steer  you away from the totally unacceptable houses that will not only waste your time and energy.

3. The great thing about Century 21 M&M agents… they know the communities they live and sell houses in. They know if there is a Little League in town, they know where to shop and what your property taxes are likely to be.

4. Century 21 M&M Realtors know the school districts, the safety of the neighborhoods, and the recreation facilities that are nearby. Use their knowledge to help you choose one neighborhood over another within a town.

5. Century 21 M&M Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service MLS, so they know where nearly all the property that is for sale is in the community. They know the price and all of the pertinent sales information. This will make your house hunt less tiring and a lot more thorough.

6. One of the best services a Century 21 M&M Realtor can provide is telling you, the buyer, what price comparable homes in the neighborhood have recently sold for, also known as Comps. These Comps will help you in the Offer process an prevent you from overpaying.

7. Your Century 21 M&M agent will be there through each step of the buying process, telling you what to expect and answering all of your questions.

Finding the right agent can take some time. If you are considering properties in different cities, it is probably a good idea to work with different agents in each of those locations. It’s important to find someone that is not only knowledgeable, but also a hard worker.

Century 21 M&M has a list of 1400 agents in Northern California that not only specialize in specific communities, we also have agents that speak different languages and specialize in different types of properties.

Call Century 21 M&M toll free at 800-350-1548, and getting started finding your dream home today!

Announcing a Free Ag and Ranch Seminar on New Food and Safety Laws

Next week, Century 21 M&M Ag and Ranch Division is offering a Free Seminar on the New Food and Safety Laws at 9:30am in Turlock at 331 East Main Street. The featured speakers are Janet McDonald, FDA Public Affairs Specialist, and Pamela Sweetin, Scoring Ag.

Janet McDonald is the Senior Public Affairs Specialist with the San Francisco District of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a position that she has held since 1986. She holds a BS degree in Institution Management and Dietetics from Simmons College in Boston, and completed a Dietetic Internship at U.C. Berkeley. She was a Registered Dietitian from 1969 to 2003 and now has Retired RD status.

In McDonald’s Capacity as Public Affairs Specialist, she serves as the first line of communication between the FDA and the general public, including the media. Her principle responsibility is public education in all matter pertaining to the FDA. Except for a one-year stint with the USDA’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center, Janet has spent her entire career in the U.S. Public Health Service, including three years at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologists, and the Western Association of Food and Drug Officials.

Pamela Sweeten attended California State University Stanislaus in the heart of the great San Joaquin Valley. Having grown up in such a diverse agricultural area she found it of little surprise that she ended up in an agriculture related industry.

Pamela has been marketing almonds for growers since th early 1990’s and feels that what she does for growers growers is a vital link from the field to the fork. Just as the ScoringAg system plays in the long-term sustainability of production agriculture, not only to ensure safe domestic consumption, but also in terms of sustaining a valuable export market, and creating added value at the farm level.

Sweeten has also been active in California Women for Agriculture and American AgriWomen, where she serves as the specialty crop committee chairperson. She believes the Scoring Ag system will be a valuable asset to both the crop and livestock industries for record keeping, traceability, inventory management, disease monitoring and control, as well as third party certifications.

ScoringAg is a complete interoperable database with Site-Specific Record keeping and standardized records that includes food, feed ingredients, and SSOP and HACCP as well as containers and machinery records in one simple world-wide working system.

So, come join the Century 21 M&M Ag and Ranch Division on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 at 9:30am for a free seminar on New Food and Safety Laws at 9:30am in Turlock. We look forward to meeting you and sharing this seminar.

Do you have what it takes to be a Real Estate Investor?

do you have what it takes to be a real estate investorWith home prices at record lows, many people are jumping into real estate investing.

Donald Trump said on Fox News the other night that now is a really good time to invest in real estate, so he is buying and feels fortunate to be in a financial position to do so. But not all of us are Donald Trump.

Ask yourself these questions if you are thinking of becoming a real estate investor:

How much do I need to know about real estate investing ahead of time? Take the time to learn about investing before you pour your hard earned money into it. Surround yourself with books, research on the internet, join clubs and organizations.

What kind of personality does it take to be a real estate investor? It’s important that you are tolerant of risk and willing to commit time and effort. Beyond that, if you have an aptitude for learning, attention to detail and work well with a team, real estate investing might be a good fit for you.

How much capitol do I need? It turns out that there are people investing in real estate that are using other people’s money. However, once they sign the mortgage, they are still responsible for the debt. So ask yourself… how much debt can I carry and how much interest can I afford to pay?

What are my long term financial goals? If you are the kind of investor that wants a 10% ROI in a few weeks, real estate investing probably won’t work for you. If you are looking for a higher profit, real estate investing requires a long term commitment and you need to be prepared to wait it out for a year, sometimes longer.

Think about what types of real estate you want to invest in –

In other words, determine ahead of time what your buying criteria is, decide what types of property you are willing to risk you hard earned money on:

  • Property type (single-family, condo, townhouse, multi-family)
  • Number of bedrooms & baths
  • Approximate size (i.e. 1000 – 2500 sq.ft.)
  • Maximum purchase price
  • Retail Sales price
  • Construction Rehab costs
  • Expected profit, or income potential.

With this buying criteria in place you can objectively analyze a deal and make an informed decision on whether or not to move forward with the purchase.

With that being said, now is a good time to get into real estate investing. Home prices haven’t been this low in at least 7 years and mortgage rates are at record lows.

Call a Century 21 M&M agent in Northern California if you are interested in buying investment properties. Many of our agents specialize in working with real estate investors and would be happy to answer your questions and consider your buying criteria.