Moisture Damage; What to look for

Century 21 M&M Realtors say that now would be a good time check your home for moisture problems due to the heavy rains we’ve had in Northern California. As you know, the cumulative effects of moisture can not only have an adverse effect on your health, but also cause structural damage to your home.

Did you know that breathing the spores from mildew and mold can lead to toxic, mold-related reactions such as; immune disorders, pathogenic diseases and cancer? Allergic reactions to mold and mildew may cause a multitude of physical symptoms including: painful headaches, disorientation, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, chronic asthma, rashes, open sores and chronic fatigue.

With these health hazards in mind, you should be inspecting your home regularly for moisture damage. And, addressing the moisture issues early on can reduce water related structural damage and problems.

Where to look for Moisture Problems –

Bathrooms – If the water is not draining properly in your tub or shower, there may be serious damage to the plumbing system. Watch for soft areas and discoloration around the tub or shower surround, walls or bathroom flooring, you may be looking at signs of water damage. If the water is not draining properly in your tub or shower, there may be serious damage to the drains or pipes. Don’t forget to inspect the caulking, is it cracked or discolored?

Kitchens – Does the sink seem to drain too slowly? Inspect the backsplash above the sink, are there any cracked tiles, missing grout, or discolored caulking? And, check out the area under the sink, is there evidence of a leak from the trap or sink seals?

Around the toilets – Search for leaks around the toilet seat, check the water lines behind the tank and check for leaks coming from under the tank. Look for signs of moisture on the floor around the toilet. Is the toilet flushing properly? Is there any discoloration, softness or buckling on the floor surrounding the toilet?

Roof – take a look at the roof from the street, if your roofing materials are curling and cracking you probably have a moisture intrusion and damage to the support structure especially around chimneys and exhaust fans. If your chimney isn’t protected by a chimney cap, there may be water damage to the interior areas of the chimney.

Foundation – Check for standing water around the foundation and beneath the floors of your house, not only during the rainy season, but also after you water landscaping. This type of moisture problem could be causing damage to your home’s foundation, and may also be a breeding ground for mold, mildew and insects.

Roof Gutters – Are your roof gutters and drains clogged? Clogged roof gutters will push rainwater under shingles, possibly causing moisture to travel down the walls internally. Clogged drains on a flat roof may cause the water to pool increasing the risk of collapse of the entire roof under the weight. It is important to make sure that roof gutters are emptying far enough away from foundation.

Windows – Check for discoloration and a soft or spongy feel to the walls around or under your windows. And, if you feel outside air leaks coming in around windows and doors, you may have damaged or missing seals which allow moisture penetration.

Attic – If you have a leak in your attic, you may first notice a stain on your ceiling. Check out the structural beams in your attic, do you see evidence of water stains? Is the insulation damp?

Basement – moisture in the basement is caused by moisture dripping through the foundations and in through the walls. The most obvious sign is standing water, however, an increased humidity and a musty odor also indicate evidence of moisture, mold and mildew. And, watch for discolorations or a spongy feel to the wall finishes.

As you can see, if you are inspecting your home regularly for moisture damage you should be able to reduce water related structural damage and problems.

The Other Big Game, by April Joyner of Inc. Magazine

Here’s another news feature about the CENTURY 21  Super Bowl ad, written by April Joyner, a reporter for one of the nation’s most prestigious business publications, Inc. Magazine. In her piece titled “The Other Big Game,” Joyner highlights three brands who are using online media to promote their Super Bowl ads. When talking about the CENTURY 21 spot, Joyner reveals:
“CENTURY 21 wants to reach Gen-X and Gen-Y viewers—the groups most likely to make a big move—and plans to post teasers on Facebook and YouTube before the game.”
In addition to reaching homebuyers in advance of the Spring selling season! Read all about it…

Century 21 M & M and Associates Finished on Top

Clarence Oliveira, Turlock (209) 988-5254 Coliveira

Mei Ling, Cupertino (408) 829-3994 email-mei

Mei Ling, Cupertino(408) 829-3994

Century 21 M&M and Associates is looking forward to 2012’s Century 21’s International Convention, March 3-5 in New Orleans. Thousand of Century 21 Realtors, friends and families will be traveling to this convention to network and have some fun.

Recently, we got a chance to take a look at the 2011 National Rankings, and we just couldn’t wait to share the good news!
Century 21 M&M and Associates finished out 2011 at the top, qualifying for the #1 Century 21 Company in the United States in both units and AGC (Adjusted Gross Commission).

Four of Century 21 M&M’s offices also ranked in Century 21’s Top 100 Offices Nationally; #17-Turlock CA, #18-Modesto CA, #27-Cupertino and #79-San Jose.

John Melo and Larry Matos would like to Thank and Congratulate all of the Century 21 M&M and Associates for all of their hard work in making this possible.

Good News for Real Estate Investors; More Foreclosures to Come

Foreclosure activity was down overall for 2011. In 2010 about 1 million homes were lost to foreclosure, and only 804,000 homes were seized in 2011 due to the legal scrutiny of the foreclosure practices slowed down by the documentation crises, known as robo-signing, that surfaced in October 2010.

The increase if foreclosure proceedings that began in the second half of 2011 will likely continue this year, which means that the number of home repossessions is likely to increase by about 25%.

In California there were 71,275 Notices of Default recorded at county recorders offices during the 3rd quarter of 2011, up 25.9% for the 2nd quarter. The defaults by price segment show that lower-cost neighborhoods are bearing the brunt.

California Counties with the highest probability of default were Sacramento, Madera and Stanislaus, while Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties mortgages were among the least likely to default.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

So what does all of this mean to the Real Estate investor? According to USA today, “Cash buyers are snapping up homes in markets nationwide, betting that deals won’t get much better.”

Elise Erwin, Sales Manager, Century 21 M&M San Jose

Elise Erwin, Sales Manager, Century 21 M&M San Jose

Elise Erwin, Century 21 M&M San Jose Sales Manager, when it comes to multiple offers on a property, “The cash buyer always wins!”

In the San Jose area, Elise says there are plenty of cash buyers available to buy homes at the lower price range; $200,000 – 250,000. In this price range, cash buyers are snapping up Condominiums and Planned Unit Development’s (PUD).

David Rivas, Realtor-Century 21 M&M Sunnvale

David Rivas, Realtor associated with Century 21 M&M Sunnyvale says, “I have 6 buyers lined up to buy REO’s. These buyers are also looking to buy home at the lower end of the price point. Homes in that price range just don’t become available that often.”

Marya Pimentel, Century 21 M&M Modesto Sales Manager says, “The banks prefer to work with cash buyers because there are ‘no appraisals’, ‘no conditions’ and ‘no required repairs’ with cash buyers. And, the banks don’t have to wait for the mortgage to close.”

Marya Pimentel, Sales Manager for Century 21 M&M Modesto

Marya Pimentel, Sales Manager for Century 21 M&M Modesto

“For that reason, the banks are like to accept a smaller offer from a cash buyer that can close in a few days,” says Marya.

“There are plenty of cash buyers available for properties in Stanislaus county for investment properties closing at the lower price point – under $100,000, upwards to $120,000”

According to Marya, “There is light at the end of this housing crisis…not a beacon, but at least a light.”

Smart Phones; The Modern Tool for Real Estate Shoppers

Century 21 M&M QR code signIf you purchased a home 10+ years ago, chances are you drove through neighborhoods searching for homes with FOR SALE signs, or you checked out the newspapers, maybe even searched the yellow pages looking for a real estate agent.

Fast-forward to today, with technology, times have changed. These days, many people start their real estate search online. In fact, Century 21 M&M spends their advertising dollars promoting their Agents listings online. And, many of our real estate agents have a website with all of their listed properties are on that site.

But having a website is not enough these days. More and more people are accessing the internet with their smart phones.

Century 21 M&M  not only has a regular website, they have also created a stand-alone mobile website which is simpler and tailored to give the user optimal information, formatted for a smaller screen.

With a smart phone, home buyers can access listing information, including; list price, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, information on schools, and most importantly pictures.

One of the tools used by Century 21 M&M Realtors to provide access this information quickly is a QR Code. For those of you that don’t know, a QR Code can be encoded to take the phone user to a web page, a virtual tour, a business card, even a comparative market analysis (CMA).

This comes in handy if you are driving by a property and you want more information. Just access your QR code reader on your phone and get instant access to information about the property.

Another tool available is SMS text. Once someone pings the sign, the Realtor captures the home buyers email address and can effectively communicate with the prospective home buyer.

Century 21 M&M Realtors know that when they receive a communication from a prospective buyer, whether by phone, SMS text or email, they have about 20 minutes to respond. If they don’t respond in that time frame, the prospect is likely to move onto the next Real Estate Agent.

Smart phones make home shopping easier, not only for the prospective buyer, but also for the Realtor selling the home and even the Seller and Sellers Agent. Smart phones provide quick access to the listing information and an efficient way for all of the parties involved in a real estate transaction to communicate.