April 30, 2016

Just Listed: 242 25th Ave, Santa Cruz

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate at 8:38 am by Gina Odom, Realtor


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Located in the coveted 26 avenue neighborhood, this 3 bedroom, 3 bath home is just steps to the beach. As you walk in you will immediately be greeted by a large, open gourmet kitchen and light filled living room that leads to the backyard with a wrap-around deck. The kitchen features ample cupboard space, gas stove, wine storage, granite counters, automatic skylights and a large kitchen island which makes it great for entertaining. Or have your guests join you on your deck outside that offers privacy from the neighbors. Indoors or outdoors you will have an exceptional time!

Through the kitchen you will find a separated family room with a fireplace, bay windows and high ceilings. A wonderful space to watch the game or see a movie. The second and third bedroom located off the living have hardwood floors, custom closet and built-ins and are nicely situated near a full bathroom.

Need a break? Off the kitchen and up the gorgeous tiled staircase you will retreat to your very own sanctuary. Enjoy a warm bath in your claw foot tub or save water and share a shower in your over-sized dual-head shower. Built-in cabinets, peek-a-boo ocean views and a custom made wave sink are just a few the amenities to enjoy in your luxurious master bathroom. Retreat to your light filled master bedroom with a book and some bubbly and cozy up to a fire. A perfect retreat after a night of entertaining.

Other amenities include a detached office studio, 1 car garage, outdoor shower, and storage shed and vacation permit. Offered at $1,499,000

For more information, Contact Gina Odom at Bailey Properties at 831-331-9455.



February 2, 2016

Thinking of investing out of state?

Posted in buying, real estate investing, Santa Cruz Real Estate at 7:40 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

Being that our prices are so high in the Bay Area, I have many folks asking me about buying an investment property out of state. Because of our large, trusted network of agents throughout the world I can help you find a great Realtor should you decided to jum ship and invest elsewhere.  Here is a great article I just read at Inman.com that I wanted to share.

This is not an exhaustive list of considerations for buying out-of-state investment properties. However, if those three points look solid, odds are you will produce positive cash flow in that area.

How to locate a good out-of-state investment property

If you have a good idea of your best city to invest in, how do you know which under market value property to buy? Most investors go one of two routes:

  • Find a great real estate agent or investor who knows how to scout for good under market value properties. Hopefully, he or she will network with top-notch property inspectors, rehabbers, title companies and a real estate attorneys.
  • Find a reliable turnkey property company. These under market value properties have been 100 percent rehabbed and often have tenants already in place.

Which route do you choose? It depends. Many out-of-state property investors want zero headaches or stress. So they purchase turnkey properties.

Other investors want to save money, so they find their own under market value properties and coordinate their own rehabs and property management.

To read more, go to: http://www.inman.com/2016/01/29/buy-state-investment-property/

December 22, 2015

‘Paradoxical’ Mortgage Interest Rate Move Perturbs Experts

Posted in Bay Area Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate tagged , , at 10:32 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

When you are close to buying a new home in Santa Cruz, one news item that definitely becomes more interesting than usual is the status of current mortgage interest rates. All those little ads on the side of the screen that blink at you with Mortgage Interest Rate Alert! and Lock Lowest Home Interest Rate NOW! that you are accustomed to ignoring may also suddenly rate a second look—although you quickly learn that the promised Santa Cruz mortgage interest rate won’t be revealed unless you surrender a lot of personal info to the advertiser. I do have many trusted lenders who can help you determine the rates without the fear of getting hammered by many marketing emails afterwards.

If you decide to avoid blabbing your email address to the internet (certain to put you onto yet another advertiser’s database), you probably do what I do—which is to check the legitimate news sources for their mortgage interest rate commentaries. When you do that, it’s reassuring when you find words and phrases like widely expected and as predicted (or even minor correction or following recent trends). When you are not quite ready to apply for your own mortgage, sudden interest rate lurches make budget projections less reliable.

So you would have expected it to have been reassuring when last week, as predicted, the Fed raised its Fed funds rate—the basic interest rate banks pay—by just a teense: a quarter of a point. Pretty much as had been widely expected. That may be an understatement; such a move had been thought imminent by many experts for years.

But last week’s Fed action didn’t quite follow through on the as predicted and widely expected fronts. Instead, we got words like ‘paradoxical’ (Mortgage News Daily); ‘fear mongering’ (CNN Money); ‘volatile’ (themortgagereports).

The good news for potential mortgage applicants was that the disarray the commentaries were describing had nothing to do with what homebuyers were likely to encounter. Instead, it described the problem the commentators were having explaining what the initial fed funds hike had caused: a slight fall in mortgage interest rates!

Lenders easing up on home loans” and “Fed hike no biggie for mortgages” were stories from CNBC—and they were typical. “Mortgage Rates Slightly Lower Ahead of Holiday Week” was what Mortgage News Daily had found to be the paradoxical descent—eventually deciding it could be explained at the bond market level (traders had erred on the side of caution before the Fed’s announcement).

By Friday, loan originators were unanimous in suggesting that ‘today may be a good day to lock’ (but then again, to loan originators ‘today’ is always a good day to give them business). There was an underlying theme to most of the commentaries: expect a bounce in mortgage loan rates before too long. Probably, but not certainly—especially if you kept in mind Motley Fool’s “3 Predictions That Were Totally Wrong in 2015.” In addition to the Fed Funds rate and Treasury Note miscues, there was one we all would have shared: a barrel of crude oil ended the week priced at $40…about half of what the experts projected last January.

One fact that doesn’t involve any guesswork: by historical standards, today’s Bay Area mortgage interest rates remain in the ‘very low’ range. That means it’s still a good time for buyers and seller to give me a call if you are thinking about making a move. By Gina Odom, Realtor for Bailey Properties in Santa Cruz.  ginaodom@gmail.com, 831-331-9455 www.santacruzdwellings.com

December 8, 2015

Capitalizing on Santa Cruz Rental Investment Opportunities

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate at 7:12 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

It’s a good thing that the human body is constructed the way it is, which is to make it difficult to do any real damage by kicking yourself. Particularly after many of us recall quite clearly how incredibly low Santa Cruz County prices dived during the last decade’s real estate meltdown. When you see the bounce back the intervening years have brought, if you are at all investment-minded, you want to at least smack your forehead…

The good news isn’t just that the rebound is progressing still, but that in the realm of Santa Cruz rental investments, the wished-for growth in underlying value of any investment property may be only half the goal. There is also the ongoing cash-generation to consider and due to lack of inventory rents are pretty darn high right now.

If you were to set out to search for a property to become one of the Santa Cruz rental investment income producers, one place to start out is to think about a two-part qualifying question:

Part 1: will you be actively managing the rental investment property? Realistically, do you have the time and inclination to do so? As a true investment rather than a sideline avocation, the answer to that question should take into account what your time is worth elsewhere. Whether you are a fully-engaged professional or a massively-overstressed soccer mom (or, heaven forbid, both!), the cost of hiring a professional management firm might be the better choice. Zillow notes a starting point for estimating management services at around 6%-8% of the rent number (which may or may not include services like re-leasing services) and in the Santa Cruz area it runs about 10%

The answer to that Part 1 consideration will give you a firm basis for estimating the answer to Part 2: What is the price range of the properties you should consider. Managing the rental yourself will increase the bottom line, but that’s only one of your rental’s operating expenses. The complete operating budget will include maintenance (generally ballparked at 1% per year of the property’s value), insurance, taxes, and any HOA and gardening fees.

The next step is to investigate what the income stream is likely to be. The craigslist.org will show what comparable Santa Cruz rentals are going for. There are also a number of online information sources like Rentometer, craigslist, Zillow and Trulia that should supply a good approximation of today’s market. Once you find where those rates stand, you’ll be able to pencil out the cash-generating potential of candidate property.

At every step of the way—from first looks at the many promising Santa Cruz rental investment properties, to introductions to the kind of reliable local tradespeople who make a landlord’s life easier—I offer my clients fully-engaged service and advice. Give me a call at 831.331.9455. www.santacruzdwellings.com    


December 1, 2015

Figuring the true costs of ‘For Sale by Owner.’

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate at 4:55 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

If you go down to any Santa Cruz hardware store, you’ll be for sale by ownerat has all the ‘GARAGE SALE’ and ‘BEWARE OF DOG’ placards. They’re the ‘FOR SALE BY OWNER’ signs.

They cost about $8.99 ($17.98 for two). Or, it is also possible to buy a couple of “For Sale by Owner” signs online for about the same price (although getting them delivered to Santa Cruz might run extra).

No matter which way you would get hold of the signs, you should be alerted to some possible extra costs. I don’t mean ‘shipping and handling’ charges you sometimes find tacked onto other offers. These are extras that have cost other sign purchasers thousands of dollars.

Naturally, anyone who buys a ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign has decided to sell their Santa Cruz house on their own rather than going with the crowd and listing through a Santa Cruz Realtor®.

The sign purchaser has probably made that decision for one of two reasons. The first is the less likely—namely, being convinced that he or she will do a better job. Selling your house without the specialized tools—the marketing connections, office backup, support of the professional real estate community—lacks most of the appeal of other Do-It-Yourself projects. Even just handling the technical details (hmmmm…where am I going to put the deposit money so it’s in escrow—or whatever they call it…).

The second reason is much more likely: saving commission dollars! Just thinking about the car you could buy with the savings makes for an appealing daydream…until you remember that you will probably have to pay half of the intended savings to the buyer’s agent. Maybe it’s a used car you could buy…after you’ve paid to post the listing; bought media advertising; maybe printed up some full color marketing materials…

But those aren’t the most crucial ‘extra’ costs associated with those ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs. The extras are head-turning. The latest figures from the NAR show that the ultimate price paid for a FSBO home was $39,000 less than for agent-assisted sales (which typically sold for 98% of their listing prices). The reasons may be many—the most frequently cited being that real estate professionals are experts in attracting qualified buyers. It is, after all, what we do!

So the all-in cost for a couple of ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs could be calculated using a whimsical formula like:

FSBO Cost = 2 x $8.99 + Y

Where Y=a total unknown, but it well might be as much or more that the cost of the car the sign buyer had been hoping to save.

More seriously, though, only 8% of U.S. homes wind up being sold by owners acting alone. Something like 70% of homeowners who tried to sell their homes themselves eventually go with an agent. Then their outlay for ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs is a 100% loss (the hardware store won’t pay anything for the used ones). The good news is, you can avoid all those costs—hidden and otherwise. Just call me: I’ll provide the signs, the disclosures, the contract, the marketing, and qualified buyers. By Gina Odom, Realtor with Bailey Properties. 831-331-9455 ginaodom@gmail.com

November 24, 2015

Is Listing in Santa Cruz in Winter a Good Idea?

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate at 4:45 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

If you intend on listing your Santa Cruz home sometime soon, this is the time of year when you may well be uncertain about whether you should go ahead right now, or hold fire and wait. The question is whether winter is a reasonable time to enter the market when, after all, it’s common knowledge that spring and summer are the most active real estate seasons. Is that fact alone reason enough for not listing now?

I happen to know the answer it’s “maybe” and depends on your price point and location. But since that’s only my opinion, in the interest of including a wider sampling of opinion, here are some experts’ ideas gleaned from extensive research on the subject. (Okay—there are 155,000,000 Google entries for ‘should I list my house in the winter’, but this research only took about five minutes):

  • From some sources: yes (“Homes listed in winter sell faster–46 days vs 55 days”—Redfin).
  • From the other sources (especially when you ask in spring): no.

As is clear from that extensive research, expert opinions are divided, probably based on when you’re asking. If you come to the conclusion that no conclusion is likely to be valid, I share that. But that doesn’t mean you have no basis for making your own decision. Here is why ‘maybe’ is not just a correct answer—it’s also a helpful one.

The fact is that winter is a season when the number of buyers drops off, which results in fewer total sales. The same fact creates an atmosphere that causes fewer sellers to decide to put their house on the market. In fact, some sellers who have had properties on the market actively withdraw them from the market, figuring that they might as well wait until spring to reintroduce them. Fewer properties for sale also means that buyers see less variety available, so some of them also decide (you guessed it) to give up the search until spring.

If this sounds like a vicious circle, it is.

But there is also a counter fact that’s easily overlooked. Those who begin house hunting at this time of year are more likely to be more determined to find a home, pronto. Those who are doing their real estate scouting amid all the holiday hustle and bustle are likely to be responding to some kind of time pressure or in our case lack of inventory.  And from the sellers’ standpoint, there are fewer Santa Cruz listings— thus less competition. Serious buyers …less competition… EUREKA!

So winter is the best time to list a Santa Cruz property, right?  No. The answer is still ‘maybe.’

The reason has to do with your own individual situation, your price point and location.

The bottom line is if time is a factor—and you have reason to want to sell now rather than at some time in the future, this winter is the right time to enter into the market. If there is no pressing reason why it’s important sell as soon as possible, you could as easily hold fire until later.

That’s why ‘maybe’ is as valid an answer as you are likely to get. And no matter how you decide, when you are ready to sell (actually, a bit before you’re ready) it’s definitively the right time to give me a call. By Gina Odom, Realtor with Bailey Properties in Santa Cruz. 831-331-9455, ginaodom@gmail.com. www.santacruzdwellings.com


October 20, 2015

Selling Your Bay Area Home can Use Emotional Detachment

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate at 7:44 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

When you read up on the dos and don’ts for selling your home, there is one piece of advice that’s universal when it comes to negotiating a successful deal: don’t let emotions get in the way. It does seem peculiar that something that is so obvious about any negotiation would have to be stated at all—much less repeated so often. You have to conclude that it happens a lot.

It does, and there are deep-seated reasons. Although selling your Bay Area home is primarily a business venture, it’s one with some of the emotional overtones usually associated with creative endeavors. When an artist or sculptor, jewelry designer or photographer—any creative professional—decides to offer works for sale to the public, it’s nearly impossible for him or her to remain completely objective about how it is received. Or to avoid forming feelings about those who accept or reject the creation.

Selling your Bay Area home seems to be all business. It begins with preparing the property, and concludes with negotiating to close the deal. Every step of the process may seem to be all business. But in reality, it’s almost unavoidable for emotional cross currents to seep in from the very first step.

One of the great advantages to having a local agent by your side when selling your home is to have an experienced intermediary working on your behalf. By working with me, I can put you at a professional remove from the direct negotiations with buyers—and their emotions! I will also offer friendly reminders to keep your eye on the prize and do not rule with pride. If you will be selling your home in the Bay Area this winter or fall, I hope you’ll give me a call. By Gina Odom, Realtor with Bailey Properties. 831-331-9455 cell. ginaodom@gmail.com

October 13, 2015

Buyers: This new change could affect your closing date.

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate tagged at 8:30 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

Sometimes referred to as the “know before you owe” rule, the new TILA-RESPA integrated disclosure, or TRID, has taken affect as of October 3rd. The TRID is a consolidation of four existing documents including the Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure, the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) which have been combined into one single disclosure call the Loan Estimate (LE). The final TIL and HUD-1 Settlement Statement have been combined into a single disclosure called the Closing Disclosure (CD).  The Loan Estimate must be delivered to you no later than the third business day after the receipt of loan application. The closing disclosure (CD) must be provided to you at least three days prior to closing with a minimum waiting/review period of 3 days after the initial CD was issued.

The intent of this is to make it easier to read and understand the type of loan and fees associated with the loan you are obtaining. The Closing Disclosure (CD) new three day time frame may potentially impact your closing date. If you got into contract after October 3rd, you may want to speak to your lender in regards to this new policy. If you are thinking about buying a home, contact me and I will refer you to a great lender. By Gina Odom, Realtor with Bailey Properties in Santa Cruz. www.santacruzdwellings.com 

October 6, 2015

Santa Cruz Homeowners Heads-up: El Niño is Happening!

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate tagged , , at 6:12 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

With fall newly arrived, it’s a time of year when Santa Cruz homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief; relax and take it easy. With summer behind us, most gardens require less attention. The demands harsh winter weather will make are off in the distant future— or are they?

This year it might be prudent for Santa Cruz homeowners to mentally remove a month or two from their home maintenance timetables. The reason comes in two familiar words (and they aren’t English): El Niño.

California Coastal Storm History Part One – Santa Cruz County

California Coastal Storm History 

They answer the question, “How strong is this El Niño now?” with, “it’s pretty strong.”  In August, it ranked second all-time (behind August 1997) in the Equatorial Southern Oscillation Index, which is one way of measuring its power. El Niño is the condition where weather shifts occur due to a change in warm ocean currents in the Pacific.

What this means to Santa Cruz homeowners is as unpredictable as…well, as the weather! What is acknowledged is that normal patterns can be disrupted to varying degrees. The reason we can never get much clarity about how it’s going to affect us is that (unsatisfying though this answer may be), winter could be markedly more—or markedly less—stormy than usual. Since the maximum effect is expected in late fall through December (hence the Christmas allusion of the ‘El Niño’ name), Santa Cruz homeowners might consider getting on with their winter maintenance preparations earlier rather than later.

So here—a bit earlier than usual—are some regular fall maintenance heads-ups:

  • Check and fill the exterior gaps where critters, bugs, and cold air might enter
  • Chimney maintenance: if you sweep once a year, schedule now
  • Rain gutter check: even though leaves haven’t begun to fall in earnest, cleaning out the mucky old debris now will make later leaf removal a breeze
  • Inspect the roof: if damage has happened, now is the time to schedule repair
  • Ditto the driveway: fill cracks before winter
  • Now is the perfect time to clean and stain the deck. Depending on how much sunlight it gets, it may need to be renewed annually (no matter what the stain can says!)
  • Replace worn weather stripping around doors and windows—your winter heating bills will reward the effort.
  • Trim the trees so you there is less of a chance that they will fall.
  • Take pictures before now so you can prove damage with your insurance company.

As a check of comments on the weather sites confirms, Santa Cruz County homeowners have differing memories of how previous El Niños have affected them. But since we are now officially in an El Niño year—it can’t be a bad idea to prepare ahead of time (and if you have Santa Cruz real estate plans in the offing, now would also be a good time to give me a call). By Gina Odom, Realtor at Bailey Properties Santa Cruz. Email: ginaodom@gmail.com Website: http://www.santacruzdwellings.com

September 24, 2015

Bridge the gap to home ownership – Join us at the Taste of Santa Cruz Nov.12th

Posted in Santa Cruz Real Estate tagged at 7:44 am by Gina Odom, Realtor

The Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors Housing Foundation (SCCARHF) is a local, non-profit organization focused on bridging the gap to home ownership for low-income individuals and families in Santa Cruz County. They offer the closing costs assistance program, and the Community Heroes Grant Program (for local police, firefighters, EMTs, and Vets.

In its 11th year, The Taste of Santa Cruz, will be held November 12th from 5:30-9:00. Over 30 restaurants, wineries and breweries will be showcasing their food as well as silent and live auction items. Come join us for a night of good vibes and help the SCCARHF “Bridge the Gap” for homeownership in our county.

Santa Cruz Association of Realtors Housing Foundation:

To purchase tickets for Taste of Santa Cruz:

Contact Gina Odom, Realtor with Bailey Properties for more information regarding home ownership grants. 831-331-9455, ginaodom@gmail.com, http://www.santacruzdwellings.com

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