Are You Ready to Build a Custom Home?

Posted on February 09, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

We can usually get the little things in life just the way we want them: our coffee can have the perfect amount of sugar; our pizza, the perfect toppings. Unfortunately, when it comes to the big things, we’re expected to compromise. We’re supposed to ignore the little flaws of our partners, muddle through the less-than-glamourous parts of our jobs and accept the fact that there’s no such thing as the perfect home…or is there?

Rather than deal with the continual maintenance of an older house or attempt to shoehorn remodeling plans on a pre-existing structure, some people choose to build a custom home from scratch. Read more

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How to Shop Online for a Home

Posted on January 31, 2017 by James Florence

If you’re like most home buyers nowadays, you probably started your search online, but what you found may have raised more questions than answers. This is because consumer-oriented portals (i.e. real estate websites like Trulia and Zillow) operate in very different ways and, consequently, can produce very different results. By gaining an understanding of how listings are published online, you’ll be able to avoid common pitfalls and shop for properties with greater accuracy and efficiency. Read more

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Castles on the Ground: How to Build Your Dream House

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Jennifer Chan

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ―Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to January. Last month, you cooked up your dream home in a heady mix of holiday punch, gingerbread and champagne. Now, both metaphorically and literally, it’s time to build those foundations. We’ve written often on this blog about how to get started on a house remodeling project (for examples, see “How to Choose a Contractor” and “Choosing Appliances for a Kitchen Remodel”). Carefully choosing a licensed contractor, budgeting attentively and understanding local building laws are all important preliminary steps, Read more

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Maximizing Your Credit Score for a Home Purchase

Posted on November 03, 2016 by James Florence

If you’re planning to purchase a home in the near future, you’ll need to address your credit score beforehand. A credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 350 to 850 (with 850 being the best) that lenders use to evaluate an individual’s capacity to repay a loan. Consequently, your credit score will play a central role in determining the kind of home loan and interest rate you get approved for—and whether you can get approved at all. That’s why it’s important to be proactive about maximizing your credit score long before you apply for a home loan. Here are some tips on how to do so:

Find out your credit score. Many people assume they have good credit, Read more

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Diamond Certified Experts: Dispelling Real Estate Myths

Posted on June 07, 2016 by James Florence

To the uninitiated, the real estate industry can be complex and confusing, which is why it’s common for first-time buyers and sellers to have ill-founded notions or unrealistic expectations. So, we asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to set the record straight about some prevalent real estate myths. Read more

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Frequently Asked Questions about Real Estate Agents

Posted on April 21, 2016 by Jennifer Chan

Ready to dive into the deep waters of Bay Area real estate? Your first (and possibly most important) step is finding a guide, helpmate, champion and problem-solver: your real estate agent. Not sure where to start? Read on…

What does a real estate agent do?
What is the difference between a real estate agent, a Realtor® and a real estate broker?
Do I need a real estate agent?
How do I find a real estate agent?
How does a real estate agent get paid?
What are some of the qualities I should look for in a real estate agent? Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Real Estate Tips
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Savvy Consumer Tip: Rental Scammers Are Taking Advantage of a Tight Housing Market

Posted on April 01, 2016 by Chris Bjorklund

People scrambling to find apartments and rental houses often pay for rental listings. Sadly, some of them find that the lists they buy are worthless. One man paid more than $200 for a list of homes to rent, and when he visited three of the addresses, he discovered they were occupied. Applying for a refund was equally frustrating. The agency said the agreement he signed allowed them to take up to 90 days to issue a refund. Three months later, their phone was disconnected and the company disappeared with his money.

Another common scam is to require people who respond to a phony rental ad to pay for a credit report. The con artists collect a commission or simply keep the fee. Read more

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