Fencing can Make or Break a Home Sale

Fencing can make or break a home sale. Century 21 M&M N CaliforniaA Century 21 M&M Realtor will tell you that, a falling down fence will lower your property value. In fact, the condition of a fence can make or break a home sale. Fences are important to home buyers because they provide privacy, security and landscape appeal. So if you are thinking of upgrading your fence, there are a lot of things to consider and choices to make.

There are three main types of wood fencing; privacy, picket and rail:

•Privacy fences, usually six to seven feet tall, surround a yard to create a private and secure living area used for both recreation and entertainment.

•Picket fences, usually three to four feet tall, are an American tradition. Pickets are not intended for privacy so much as enhancing the curb appeal.

•Rail fences, commonly thought of as ranch style, are more typical in rural areas where animal containment is necessary. They commonly consist of a couple of horizontal rails attached to upright posts.

Vinyl Fencing, is bit more expensive than other options and has a couple of major benefits; it’s durable and maintenance free. There are many styles available including picket, privacy, ranch and pool fence style.

Chain link fencing, constructed of metal mesh and metal posts (usually coated with galvanized zinc), is another durable option. This type of material, ranging from a couple feet in height to really tall-sometimes as much as 12 feet tall, provides affordable security and is often found in not only residential, but also commercial settings.

Ornamental Fencing (a.k.a. Iron) has combined both beauty and function for centuries. It was originally made from wrought iron, however today, steel and aluminum are the common materials used; steel for commercial applications and aluminum for residential applications.

You may want to have a survey of your property done prior to getting started. Be sure you know where your property ends and your neighbor’s begins. You really don’t want to find out after installation that your new fence is installed six inches over your property line.

It is always a good idea to ask your Century 21 M&M Realtor about local code requirements and building permits. In Northern California if you are going to build a fence more than six feet tall, local code sometimes requires a building permit.


5 Simple Techniques that can Improve Neighborhood Home Values

Okay, you’ve been sprucing up you house getting it ready to sell; painting, planting, pruning, getting rid of the clutter, updating the appliances and countertops, etc., in fact your home looks better than any other home on the block. And, because it looks so good you are noticing that other homes in the area are looking a little shabby.

Talking to your  Century 21 M&M Realtor, you find out that your home is not worth as much as it could be because of where it is located. Obviously you can’t move your home to a new location, so what can you do?

Be creative when it comes to your neighbors issues. Say your neighbor, right next door, is recently disabled, and not only that but she recently had to quit work and can no longer take care of her landscaping. The lawns are knee high, the paint is peeling and the shrubs are dead. And, the condition of her property is affecting the potential sales price of your property.

Consider mowing her front lawn at the same time you mow yours. Get together with your fellow neighbors, or your church, and paint the front of the home, put some plants into the ground and make sure that everything gets watered on a regular basis.

If the condition of her property is going to cost you thousands in the selling price of your home, then a couple hundred dollars and a bit of your time is money (and time) well spent.

Go to your Homeowners’ Association for help. If you have a homeowners association, then you have a perfect mechanism to address blighted homes that are lowering the value of your home.

These days, many developments across the country have Homeowners Associations (HOAs), not just condominiums but also single family residences. What happens is, over the years the HOAs become inactive, especially if there isn’t community property involved such as a clubhouse or swimming pool.

So what do you do? If there are meetings and a monthly fee, then most likely you have an active HOA, and if so you need to attend the Board meetings regularly. Ask the Association to review the rules, and speak up about the condition of your neighbors properties. You probably should volunteer to be part of a committee to look at what action can be taken.

Form a Neighborhood Action Committee. If you don’t have a HOA you can organize a Neighborhood Action Committee (NAC) with your neighbors in order to get positive things done. There are some limitations with a NAC as compared to the legal remedies of a HOA. However, with a NAC you can suggest, prod and help.

Prior to your NAC meeting, get some accurate information from your Century 21 M&M Realtor to find out what the average price of a home in your area is. Then, with the help of your real estate agent, compare that to similar neighborhoods that are in much better shape and much higher average prices.

Ask your Century 21 M&M Realtor to join in your next meeting and present their findings.

Address the graffiti. Actually this problem has a simple solution. It is a known fact that if graffiti is painted over (or cleaned up) quickly and regularly, the perpetrators will give up and move there activities to another place. So take the initiative to clean up graffiti whenever it happens, and get your neighbors to do the same. If your neighbors are unwilling or unable, get their permission to clean up the graffiti. It’s as simple as that!

Get the City officials on your side. In other words, be proactive in preventing the downgrading of your neighborhood. Be diligent, pay attention to notices in your mailbox or announcements in the news. Investigate and find out what is planned.

If you have an HOA or NAC, get involved and alert the other property owners that theirs is something afoot. No matter what, there is power in numbers, get your neighbors involved. If there is a public hearing and/or opportunities for written or vocal input, find out when the deadlines are and be sure your neighborhood input is there.

Blighted commercial or industrial property owners are often owned by out-of-town landlords that are completely unaware that their properties are in bad condition. Many times all you have to do is let the owner know that their properties are a problem and they will address the problem right away. If the owner (or manager) is aware and just doesn’t care, then get other neighbors involved to flex a little muscle at city board meetings.

Get public support and don’t overlook the power of the press. Call the newspaper or local television station and invite them to your committee meeting. You could even paint signs and protest on a busy street close by your neighborhood.

There are a lot of things you can do as a neighborhood homeowner to improve the condition of your community. However, you have to get involved, organize if necessary and stay diligent. Don’t forget the power of information and feel free to call your Century 21 M&M Realtor to assist with the information you need to increase the value of your property.

$25 Billion Settlement will help One Million Distressed Homeowners

On Thursday, January 9th, 2012 – 49 State Attorneys General and the federal government reached a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s five biggest banks with regard to the Foreclosure crises that came to light late in 2010.

“First, the basic terms of the settlement: Under the deal, $20 billion will be allocated to principal reductions and mortgage refinance assistance, and $1.5 billion to homeowners who were improperly foreclosed upon — victims of the so-called robo-signing scandal. About 1 million homeowners will qualify for principal reductions of up to $20,000, and some 750,000 who were foreclosed upon between January 2008 and December 2011 will receive $1,500 to $2,000 checks. The rest of the settlement will be distributed to the states and federal government for foreclosure prevention programs.” www.moneyland.time.com

The settlement provides benefits to borrowers whose loans were foreclosed on, as well as home owners who still own their homes but are facing foreclosure. However, only loans serviced by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial are eligible under this settlement.

Loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which account for more than half of US home mortgages – aren’t eligible. And, if your mortgage was funded by any other bank (then the big five), or is held by a private investor, you are not eligible under this settlement.

John Melo, CEO

That being said, the architects of Thursday’s agreement feel that this settlement will make loan modifications more widely available to the distressed homeowners not eligible. And hopefully, homeowners seeking help though the short sale process will find the process easier.

John Melo, CEO for Century 21 M&M says, “The distressed housing market is beginning to clean itself up. Home sales are starting to pick up and I think we are beginning to see the end of the mortgage crisis.”

Century 21 M&M Realtors providing property information directly to your Smart Phone

QR code -> c21mm.com

More and more buyers are turning to their smart phones for information, especially when it comes to a Buying a home. In response, Century 21 M&M Realtors are changing the way they are promoting their listings and printing their signage.

QR Codes

Over the last year and a half, QR codes have started showing up everywhere. For those of you that don’t know, QR codes, also known as quick response codes, are a fast way to access the internet via your smart phones. They pop up in magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards, etc.

Century 21 M&M has been featuring these small square codes on their real estate signs for over a year now.

QR codes, when scanned with a smart phone, can provide very specific information that the home shopper will find useful. This little square code may be linked to a website that gives additional details about the property, it can be linked to a virtual video tour that can be viewed instantly, or even a webpage with a simple short message.

With a couple clicks on a smart phone reading the QR code on the real estate sign, you, the potential Buyer can arrive at a website that provides all of the information you need to evaluate whether or not you would like to talk further with a Realtor.

SMS Text

Another method of getting information on your phone is through SMS text messaging. You, the Buyer call a provided number and then send a simple text message found on the real estate yard sign, usually just 5 digits, and the SMS provider service delivers photos, pricing, and extra information directly to your mobile phone! And, in turn the SMS provider service sends the Realtor your phone number to the Realtor while you are in front of the property!

Many Century 21 M&M agents are using this technology today, just look for the “Text: ###### To:#####” for instant information available on your smart phone.

Bluetooth Proximity

One of the newest up and coming mobile marketing tools available is referred to as Bluetooth proximity marketing. Bluetooth works on a short range wireless system that is supported by many mobile devices. This makes it a mode of the transmissions used for proximity marketing.

If a proximity advertising pod is installed inside a property for sale, the Realtor can create a slideshow of the house with information regarding the property (bdrms/bths, square footage and more), local amenities and most importantly-the price!

One of the advantages of this type of mobile advertising is that it not only provides information to potential buyers, but you can also reach passersby as well. The only requirement is that your Bluetooth be turned on.

So, if you are a Buyer or ‘just looking’, be sure to look for smart phone messages (on the real estate sign) to get information instantly regarding a specific property. Read the QR code, opt-in to an SMS text or turn on your Bluetooth – Century 21 M&M Realtors may be sending up-to-date information right to your smart phone.