Thinking of adding a pool to your home? Things to consider before you start.

We can all agree that we are having some unusually hot weather this summer in the Tri Valley. Nothing better on a hot day than to slip into that new swimsuit and dive into that crisp, cool oasis in your back yard.

Before you google the best pool builder in your area and break out your check book, let us help you with a few options and factors to consider when planning the design of your new pool, like types, shapes, water, extras and costs. Your pool type, style and cost may vary depending on weather conditions, frequency of use, topography and a number of other factors.

East Bay Pool Types

Here are the most common Pool types’ materials. Ask your pool builder which will be the best for you. Sometimes soil and topography are major factors when choosing:

– Concrete
– Fiberglass
– Vinyl

And of course, most importantly, which style of pool would best suit your lifestyle and family needs? Here are a few of the popular styles today, and are illustrated in some of the photos.

– Infinity Pool
– Lap Pool
– Plunge Pool
– Exercise Pool
– Indoor Pool

Chlorine or Salt Water Pool??

Salt water pools can be more expensive, mostly due to the need for a specific salt water generator. Now, remember that even a salt water pool has chlorine in it, but much lower levels so it doesn’t dry out your skin as much. The good thing is that you don’t have to add the chlorine yourself. It is actually created by chemical electrolysis, which happens within a salt water chlorinator (or generator).

Even though upfront is more expensive to build your Salt water pool, the money you save monthly will add up and depending on the link that you have your pool, you will end up saving money long-term by not having to buy as many chemicals.

Pools in Pleasanton California

A few extras to consider when making your budget:

– Fencing? Sometimes required by code
– Slide or no slide?
– Diving Board?
– Hot Tub attached?
– Bar? Especially if you plan on entertaining
– Cave attached? Sometimes fun for kids and a shaded area from the sun.
– Lighting, for night time enjoyment
– Rock Structures for maybe a waterfall or plant features
– Automatic Cleaners. Ask your designer about the best for you
– Tile Trim. Like any design, it can be the small extras that pull it all together and express your taste and style.

Most of all! Remember to enjoy the creation and design of your new pool. It’s like adding a new addition to the family.

www.armariovenemahomes.com

The quicker the sale the better!

3 Strategies for a Quick Home Sale

Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.
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Most sellers have a specific goal when it comes to their transaction: a quick sale and top dollar. But sometimes fast action doesn’t align with achieving the highest and best value.

There are multiple schools of thought on this subject and the perspective varies not only with where you are in the country, but also by price point, neighborhood and even down to the block. When it comes to pricing and the search for a quick sale, it’s always best to get help from a local agent.

Here are some strategies you can use to get offers fast.

1. The Theory of Under-Pricing

Under-pricing means that you go to market with a list price that is just below what the comparable sales in your area support.

You can’t pinpoint the exact market value of a home until it sells. But before you list, there’s always a range. If you price your house at or below the bottom of the value range, you are under-pricing the home.

In many West Coast markets this strategy will work effectively. Take this San Francisco home, for example: priced at $1.1 million, it received 10 offers and sold for $1.425 million in less than a week.

Risk alert: If you price your home low, this plan could backfire — big time. If you don’t know your market and this strategy doesn’t work, you’d better be ready to accept that list price.

2. Staging and Market Presentation

Well-priced homes that also show well sell quickly. If you want a quick sale, you need to invest some serious time in getting the house ready.

Prepping the home means taking out large pieces of furniture and personal items, painting, replacing carpets, finishing floors and even doing some minor renovations.

Enlist the help of a home stager and take their advice, and you can be assured a quicker sale. The investment of time and money will pay itself back.

Risk alert: If you go overboard on staging or you don’t spend the time and money in the right places, it could be a waste. Don’t make staging decisions in a vacuum. Focus on kitchens and bathrooms, de-cluttering and cleaning. When in doubt, ask for help.

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Not a US citizen? Here’s what you need to know about buying a home…

Buying a Home When You’re Not a U.S. Citizen

comks82479Comstock Images(Royalty-free)   Couple consulting with a businesswoman in her office, both man and businesswoman are s
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Immigrants are having a significant impact on the U.S. housing market. According to the Research Institute for Housing America, immigrants accounted for nearly 40% of the net increase in U.S. homeowners from 2000 to 2010. Meanwhile, the same group estimates that U.S. homeownership rates among Latino immigrants will hit 50% by the year 2020.

Overall, the number of immigrant homeowners is still relatively small, representing only 11.2% of owner-occupied homes in 2014, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Even so, that’s up from 6.8% 20 years earlier.

So immigrants are clearly buying homes. But what sort of obstacles and challenges do they face that native-born homebuyers do not?

There are no legal barriers to foreign nationals buying property, owning homes or obtaining loans in the U.S.

Foreign investors buy U.S. property and do business with U.S. banks all the time — getting a mortgage and buying a home is simply more of the same, on a smaller scale.

“Residency of any kind is not a requirement for home ownership in the U.S.,” said Jason Madiedo, president of Alterra Home Loans, in Las Vegas. “The challenge for the consumer is to gain financing.”

Documenting Foreign Financial Info Can Be a Challenge

For a legal immigrant with an established employment and credit history in this country, the process of buying a home is much the same as it is for a citizen. However, there are still certain challenges that non-citizens may face when seeking to buy a home in the U.S. that native-born borrowers are unlikely to encounter.

“It becomes a little more difficult for a foreign national to buy an owner-occupied property unless they’re here with a job in the U.S.,” said Bill Ashmore, president of IMPAC Mortgage in Irvine, California. “The longer somebody’s here and the more they can document their income through tax returns, the better off they are.”

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Super helpful tips for starting out your home search…

10 Things I Wish My Realtor Would Have Told Me

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Ah, home ownership—the dream we all chase. Owning your own home is freeing, but it certainly catapults you quickly into the adult world of bills, brokers, and banking. There are so many things to know before buying a home, and even if you have owned and sold homes in the past, there may be things that your realtor never revealed to you.

Here we attempt to share with you the tricks of the trade, and perhaps the secrets behind the scenes, revealing what may really be happening when you hire your realtor. Here are the top then things that you will wish your realtor would have told you:

modern floor plan windows lights

 1) Spend A Bit More Than You Planned

While this seems to defy logic, there is some merit to spending a wee bit more than you initially intended. Say your budget is $250,000 USD. Well, it really won’t break the bank to buy that dream house for $275,000. Why?

Well, for one— your monthly mortgage payments will really only be around $15-20 more per month (depending on interest rates). Perhaps just give up your daily high-end coffee? Plus, that dream house has everything you want; it has the granite countertops; the walk-in closets; the finished basement.  These are the things you will eventually add to the less expensive house; thereby, spending that $275,000 in the long run. (Although, always be sure to stay within your means—see affordability calculator below)

outdoor porch built-in patio

 2) Buy In A Growing Neighborhood

Maybe you are single and buying your first home. Most likely, this isn’t going to be the home you raise kids in. We still encourage you to buy in a growing family neighborhood where schools are established or are in the phase of being built.

This is the perfect investment scenario. A home where families are flocking and schools are growing is only going to go up in value. So buy that family home even if you don’t plan on staying in it for the long haul—your wallet will thank you in the end.

Are you Mr. Roper-ready?

6 Things to Know Before You Become a Landlord

Real estate agent at work
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As the housing market continues to recover, you may hear about renting mavens who capitalize on the increasing rental market. Renting can be a great way to make some extra income, but it’s important to consider the appropriate preparations before you get on board. If you are thinking about renting out your home, here are some tips to consider.

1. Know the Laws

Not every state operates with the same landlord and tenant laws so be sure you know the laws that will govern your property before listing it. Your neighborhood may also have rules about rentals. Not only is your responsibility a huge obligation, but there are legal implications involved in becoming a landlord. It’s a good idea to study up on your rights and what you can or cannot demand from your tenant, including when you can legally enter the home. (Also keep in mind that federal housing law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and family status — such as whether children will live in the home.)

2. Create a Contract

A simple lease drawn up with the accurate legal jargon can go a long way toward protecting you. It’s a good idea to have every adult who will be living in the home sign the document before moving into the rental. The lease should include details about the length of the rental term, security deposit, due dates for rent, maintenance responsibilities, rules of behavior and eviction terms. This can save you thousands in court fees in case something goes wrong. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have the numbers of emergency contacts for your tenant.

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We think you’re ready for a Realtor…

The growth of online real estate listings means consumers are equipped with information very early in the home buying process. A generation ago, to get listing information and access to historical data, home buyers needed to connect with a real estate agent much sooner — sometimes even prematurely. But today’s home buyers can do a lot of the legwork themselves, conducting research online and using home search and research applications independently, in addition to attending open houses.

But this access to information doesn’t mean home shoppers can entirely go it alone. Buying a home is a major transaction, and all the data in the world can’t replace a knowledgeable and experienced local real estate agent.

Here are some signs that you are ready to engage with a buyer’s agent:

You think you’ve found the home of your dreams, and you don’t know what to do next.

If you’ve been looking at homes for some time, you likely have a good feel for what you get for the money. You’ve gone to some open houses and have a few homes or searches saved online. Home shopping has become a hobby. But once you find the home of your dreams, it becomes a part-time job.

Independent shoppers get comfortable with the market until their dream home hits them like a ton of bricks. The house is the motivator to take things up a notch. Reaching out to an agent will take you out of the dreaming phase and move you in the direction of actually buying a home.

You’ve found a home that appears too good to be true, but you can’t figure out what the problem is.

Suppose you stumble upon a house that seems like a great deal. It’s priced accurately for the neighborhood, but has been sitting on the market for weeks, if not months. You may have reached out to the listing agent to see the home in person or asked some questions of the agent at the open house. But that agent represents the seller, so you are not sure what the story is.

In this case, you don’t know what you don’t know. That uncertainty, coupled with your curiosity about the home, is the best reason to pair up with a good local agent. They may know the house, its market history or, via their network, have access to information about the home.

The house may have some major structural issues. Or the agent might point out that it is on a less desirable road or in a tough school district. These are the types of things that new, uneducated buyer wouldn’t know on their own.

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Staging on a shoe string…

Staging a home for sale is simply preparing a house to be sold. There are many different aspects to staging, but there is a simple foundation to all of it.

Hiring a professional stager is worth the investment because they address all aspects of staging. But what if you have no staging budget?

There are several steps you can take to stage your home for sale — and many of them don’t cost a dime. Here are five free things you can do to prepare your home to sell.

Clean, clean, clean

Sparkling counters and appliances go a long way in home for sale.

The number one thing people think about while in a home is whether or not they believe it is clean. A home that is absolutely pristine presents as well cared for.

Clean all windows inside and out. Dust all door frames, light fixtures, ceiling fans and blinds. Don’t leave a single spot in your home untouched. Potential buyers look everywhere, so make sure the entire home is clean.

Depersonalize the house

Just furnish the room with the absolute minimum items. Source: Zillow Digs.