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Home Sellers: How To Avoid The Most Expensive Mistakes Smart People Make When They Buy Or Sell A home…

Posted by Pete Sabine on November 30, 2007

Home Sellers: 

Mistake #1: Basing their asking price on needs or emotion rather than market value. Many times, people make their pricing decisions based on how much they paid for or invested into their home. This can be an expensive mistake. Overpriced homes take longer to sell and eventually net the seller less money. Consult with a professional real estate agent. They can assist you in pricing your home correctly from the beginning.   

Mistake #2: Failing to “Show-Case” their home. First impressions are the most important. Experience shows that for every $100 in repairs that your home needs, a buyer will deduct $300-$500 from their offer. Thoroughly clean and prepare your home before you put it on the market if you want top dollar.   

Mistake #3: Trying to SELL their house when buyers come to see it. One of the biggest mistakes enthusiastic home sellers make is to follow buyers around and try to SELL them on the property. This can be a negative for the buyers. The best thing is to stay out of the way, and let people look at their own pace, they’ll get a better feel for the property and whether the house is for them.  

Mistake #4: Choosing the wrong agent or choosing them for the wrong reasons. Many homeowners list their home with the agent who tells them the highest price. Or they list with the agent who works for the biggest company. You need to choose the agent with the best marketing plan and track record to sell your home.   

Mistake #5: Not knowing all of their legal rights and obligations. Real estate law is complex. The contract that you will sign when selling your home is legally binding. Small items that are neglected in a contract can wind up costing you thousands of dollars. You need to consult a knowledgeable professional who understands the in’s and out’s of a real estate transaction. Questions/comments, please post to the blog, call me at 925-407-0606 or visit (c) Copyright 2000. NewInformation!


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Home Sellers: Why Buyers Love Model Homes –And How To Make Your House Show Like One…

Posted by Pete Sabine on November 15, 2007

Now let’s go inside.

Go through room by room and pack up 30% of the accessories. If you doubt the wisdom of this, go back to those model homes and compare their countertops with yours, their coffee tables and end tables with yours. See what I mean? The cardinal rule is this: “The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two different things.” I know this will take some time and may seem like a nuisance, but remember you are in competition with other properties. He who wins the Good Housekeeping Award probably sells his house first… and for the highest dollar. Also look at it this way, you are going to be moving anyway, so just consider this advance packing.By the way, label the moving boxes and stack them easily in the garage – floor to ceiling. Specifically, pack any collections and family photos you have displayed. Too much of your personality in evidence does not allow for the potential buyer to “mentally move in.” Pack everything from the cabinets and all closets that you do not need on a routine basis. You want to create the perception of roominess. In the linen closet, remove everything but a week’s worth of linens. Fold them neatly and color coordinate them. I’m not kidding; this is the stuff sales are made of. In the clothes closets, remove out-of-season clothes. Pack them away and put them inthe garage. Arrange your shoes neatly. Hang your clothes by category: all blouses together, all shirts together and so on. 

Now take another walk around the house. Are there rooms that are cluttered with too much furniture? Remove extra chairs, side tables and maybe even the 100″ sofa which is really too big for the room. (Notice how decorators use small pieces of furniture.) Minor redecorating is recommended. If your carpet and vinyl are outdated colors or style, change them. Off-white carpet and vinyl are best; this makes the rooms look larger and cleaner. If the existing carpet padding is 5/8″ thick or more and is not worn down, reuse it (unless the pets have done a number of it). If replacing the pad, select a very thick one and then install just a modest grade of carpeting. The feel will be plush and expensive but it’s not.If carpeting is in good condition and neutral in color, have it cleaned. If your vinyl flooring is worn or outdated, replace it with off-white vinyl. If the vinyl is in good condition and light colored, scrub it thoroughly paying special attention to buildup of dirt or wax around the baseboards and in corners. Off-white painted walls are best. If painting is required, use flat latex except in kitchens and baths where you will use semi-gloss latex. If walls are dirty, experiment to see if scrubbing them is easier than painting. If you have wallpaper, make sure it is clean and up to date. If not, strip it. (Hint: some wallpaper is easy to strip if first sprayed with window cleaner.) After stripping it, either paint or re-wallpaper, depending on the condition of the walls. Sponge  painting is also an easy, attractive alternative. Repair badly cracked plaster, loose door knobs and crooked light fixtures. Correct faulty plumbing. Leaky faucets can discolor porcelain and call attention to plumbing defects. To remove mineral stains from such leaks, pour hydrogen peroxide on the stain, then sprinkle with cream of tartar. Leave this for 30 minutes before scrubbing. Bad stains may require 2 or 3 applications. 

Stayed tuned for our final post in this series where we’ll have a real estate tip – “How a 25 Cent Upgrade Could Earn You $500 – $1000 More When You Sell”

Questions/comments, please post to the blog, call me at 925-407-0606 or visit 

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Home Sellers: Why Buyers Love Model Homes –And How To Make Your House Show Like One…

Posted by Pete Sabine on November 12, 2007

One of the major factors in getting your house to sell quickly is simply put: make it attractive. Most buyers select their home based on emotion and then justify the decision with facts, so it is important to make the house inviting and pleasant. Yours is not the only property the prospective buyer will see. Your are competing with model homes, homes that may have been professionally decorated and homes that have no children, no pets and Mr. and Mrs. Perfection as owners. 

Start with the outside.

Are shrubs overgrown? Oil in the driveway? How does the grass look? Do the flower beds need weeding and mulching? Try very hard to see your grounds through an independent observer’s eyes. Trim the shrubs or plant new ones if they are lacking. Houses with no landscaping in the front lose thousands of dollars of value in the mind of the buyer. Adding a few well-placed blooming flowers also adds appeal. If the grass in the front yard is particularly non-existent, consider sodding. Do some price shopping on this; sod is not cheap but there are some good prices available. Let’s say it cost $1000 to sod the front yard, but your house payment is $2800 per month. If you save one month of selling time, you are $1800 ahead. (By the way, you can probably get away without sodding the back yard.) Kitty litter in the driveway will absorb the oil and grease stains. (Then remove the kitty litter.)  

Next, go around and clean up the yard.

Remove any toys, tools and/or building supplies. Here’s the acid test: if you don’t see it in a model home yard, don’t have it in yours. That goes for the bag of charcoal by the grill, too; however, the (non-rusty) grill can stay. If your grill has rusted, remove the rust spots by scrubbing with a wire brush or with coarse steel wool dipped in kerosene. After the rust is removed, clean the entire piece with mineral spirits. When the grill is completely dry, paint with a brush or spray paint.  Now look at the exterior.Is the paint fading or chipping? Is the color outdated or too personal? Is mildew or mold growing? If the house needs painting, choose a neutral color. White, cream (not yellow) and lightgray are good colors for appealing to most people. If you want some ideas for paint combinations, go look at 3 or 4 model home communities that cost $50,000-$100,000 more than your  neighborhood and copy one of them. One last note on painting: always give the front door and door trim a fresh coat of paint or stain even if you paint nothing else. Buyers stand at the front door waiting to get in; give them a good first impression.

Stayed tuned for our next post where we’ll have real estate trade secrets for preparing the interior of your home for sale.

Questions/comments, please post to the blog, call me at 925-407-0606 or visit

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Home Seller Secrets-You’re About To Learn Marketing Secrets That Not One In A Hundred Home Sellers Knows — And It’s Going To Give You A Big Advantage Over your Competition!

Posted by Pete Sabine on November 12, 2007

For the next few weeks,  I will be providing real estate trade secrets for home sellers.  This revealing title and some of these upcoming posts are compliments of colleague of mine from c) Copyright 2000. NewInformation!

If you would like these seller secrets delivered to you by email,  just click on the “Subscribe via Email” button and each post will be emailed directly to you.

If you have any questions/comments, please post to my blog, contact me at 925-407-0606 or visit 

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Discover Why Most Real Estate Advertising Will Never Sell Your House

Posted by Pete Sabine on November 6, 2007

Most real estate advertising will never sell your house because it’s speaking to the wrong people at the wrong time.        

When people are looking through the real estate section and calling on ads, they are looking for a house right now, and less than 3% of the time do people actually buy the advertised house for sale.        

Most real estate sales occur because a person has built a trusted relationship with a Realtor dedicated to show them the houses on the market that meet their needs and wants in a home.        

The truth is many Realtors use real estate advertising as a short-term marketing plan to placate the seller, hoping to advertise the home on Sunday, have someone call on Wednesday and come out to buy that house on Saturday.        

The sad thing is that a sale rarely happens from advertising in a “retail environment” such as classified newspaper ads. Most serious buyers rely on their Realtor’s network and resources to find the right home in the best areas at a price supported by recent sales of similar homes nearby.        

The key lies in understanding that for every one buyer that’s looking in the real estate section and calling on an ad today—there are ten buyers who are just beginning to consider buying a house and will buy in the next six months…        

The secret is to tap into the buyers who are just starting to explore the market – and most Realtors don’t use anything but traditional advertising to attract buyers. These Realtors are missing a huge segment of the buying public.        

These people are not calling on properties yet, but they are looking to educate themselves about local real estate values, financing options and community information.        

How do you attract these buyers?        

You have to offer them something of value to them at the stage they are now. That means offering them free reports and guides designed to give people an education that will help them get to the point where they are ready and able to buy a home.        

We started attracting buyers for your home over six months ago using something called “direct response “ advertising tied directly to our internet web site.         

Making contact with these buyers at this stage gives us an opportunity to build a relationship with them far upstream in the sales cycle with useful and accurate information. We provide them with the resources to empower their decision to buy a home.        

The net result is a steady pipeline of qualified and educated buyers that may be the perfect match for your home. 

Call Pete Sabine (925) 407-0606 for a consultation or visit

RE/MAX C.C. Connection.

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Don’t Be Clueless About Your Home Owner Insurance

Posted by Pete Sabine on October 25, 2007

Leaky roof? Stolen bike? Broken rain gutter? You may want to think twice before even calling your insurance company. 

Many home insurers count inquiry calls – calls in which homeowners simply ask informally whether their policy will cover certain damages and are told that it won’t – as unpaid losses. 

Most insurance companies file loss information, paid or unpaid, into a centralized database called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, better know as CLUE. 

Even if a policyholder just makes a phone call and doesn’t report any damage, there’s still a chance the call will be logged into the CLUE database as an unpaid loss. The information stays on the record for five years, and can mar homeowner’s chances of obtaining a standard policy the next time they apply for insurance. 

When a homeowner applies for a new policy, the insurance company usually orders a copy of his or her CLUE report. Two or more reported losses, depending on severity, can cause an applicant to be charged a double or triple premium or to be denied coverage altogether. 

While lawmakers in several states are trying to rein in insurers over this issue, there’s not much consumers can do to fight back. But homeowners can take basic steps to protect their CLUE reports:

Know the specifics of your insurance policy and the deductible. Refrain from calling your insurance company to ask about coverage questions that can be answered elsewhere.

Avoid preliminary calls to your insurance company. It’s not necessary to call the insurance company unless you plan to file a claim and know the damage will be covered.

If you do need to call the insurance company, don’t mention actual damage unless filing a claim. Any mention of damage will likely be recorded as a loss, regardless of whether it’s covered.

When in doubt, call a professional repairman first to get an estimate. Insurance companies will often send out a repairman to estimate damages before committing to covered damage anyway.

Report only major damage. Reporting small damages can add unnecessary claims on your report.

Check your CLUE report. Make the effort to clean up any disputed claims before it has a negative effect on selling your home or renewing your policy.

If there is an error on your CLUE report, the disputed item will be sent to the reporting insurer for verification. If the item is not removed, you have the right to append a statement to the report. CLUE reports can be ordered by calling Choice Point (866) 527-2600 or on-line at The cost is $12.95 for California residents. You can’t get a CLUE report for someone else’s home. However, if you are buying a home, the sale can be made contingent upon your approval of the CLUE report provided by the seller. 

Call Pete Sabine (925) 407-0606 for a consultation or visit 

RE/MAX CC Connection

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Sell Your Home:Choosing the Right Purchase Offer

Posted by Pete Sabine on October 22, 2007

Most sellers would be delighted to receive multiple offers from prospective buyers. However, figuring out which offer to accept is not always as simple as you might think. Suppose you receive three purchase offers. One is for $495,000, your asking price. Another is for $10,000 more. And the highest offer is for $525,000 – $30,000 over the list price. If you consider all the factors of each offer, then the best offer might not be the offer with the highest price. Let’s look at each offer a bit more closely. 

Offer 1:There’s more to consider about an offer than the price. The $495,000 offer might be from a pre-approved buyer who has a $250,000 cash down payment and no appraisal contingency. This means that if the house appraises for less than the offer price, the buyer may not use this reason to back out of the contract without the risk of losing their good faith deposit monies. The lender should have no problem granting the buyer a mortgage for approximately 50 percent of the purchase price, even if the appraisal comes in low. The larger the cash down payment, the more likely the lender will approve the loan.  

Offer 2:The highest-price offer might be from a buyer with a 5 percent cash down payment and an appraisal contingency. This means that if the property appraises for less than the purchase price, the buyer has the right to back out of the contract without forfeiture of their deposit to the seller. Even if the buyer doesn’t want out, the lender won’t be willing to grant a mortgage in the amount the buyer needs to complete the sale.  With only 5 percent down, there’s a good chance the buyer won’t have enough extra cash to make up the difference between the appraisal value and the purchase price.  

Offer 3:The third offer could be contingent upon the successful close of escrow of the buyer’s current home that is now under contract. If the transaction on the buyer’s home fails to close, the buyer can withdraw from your contract without penalty and forfeiture of their deposit to the seller. If this happens, you’ll be back on the market searching for a new buyer.  

Counteroffers:In terms of a risk analysis, the lowest price offer appears to be the offer with the best terms. One negotiating option would be to counter the lowest offer with a higher price, based on the fact that you have two offers higher than offer #1. Before making a counter offer, consider that the buyer could reject your counter offer and disappear from the negotiations leaving you with two riskier offers to choose from. If you have already purchased another home, you might be better off leaving the price alone on the lowest offer and asking for a short close of escrow date. A quick close could save you the cost of interim financing, which would effectively put more money in your pocket with less risk. When analyzing offers, the fewer the contingencies, the better. Contingencies can complicate a contract by providing more opportunities for a transaction to fall apart. In general, you’re looking for the highest price, the quickest close and the least number of contingencies. 

Call Pete Sabine (925) 407-0606 for a free consultation or visit 

RE/MAX C.C. Connection  

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San Francisco Real Estate: KTVU Interview With Real Estate Consultant, Pete Sabine, and Ross McGowan – #2 in a series

Posted by Pete Sabine on October 15, 2007

During this 4 minute interview,  Ross McGowan poses questions of Bay Area Real Estate Consultant, Pete Sabine.  Topics covered include: the Bay Area real estate market as compared to the national market,  jumbo loans and their limitations in the San Francisco Bay Area, the recent interest rate cut by the Fed and it’s probable impact on the real estate market, and finally advice given by Pete Sabine to buyers and sellers of real estate in the Bay Area.

Click on the photo to view this interview on YouTube.



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Investment Property: Is your investment property keeping you from doing the things you love?

Posted by Pete Sabine on October 15, 2007

Are you looking for an opportunity to defer capital gains tax and retire from managing your income property? Many income property owners are comfortable with real estate investments and have had good returns in the past, but they do not like the daily management headaches that accompany property management. If so, discover the benefits of a 1031 tax deferred exchange and the tenant-in-common exit strategy.


Internal Revenue code section 1031 provides an excellent strategy for the deferral of capital gain, which would ordinarily arise from the sale of income real estate. Exchanging defers the tax, leaving the property owner with substantially more proceeds with which to purchase a replacement property, gain greater leverage, diversification, improved net cash flow, geographic relocation or property consolidation.


A 1031 exchange is a three-way transaction in which an intermediary is used to facilitate the transaction. The exchange allows the investment property owner to exchange their management-intensive property for professionally managed real estate with the potential to generate steady income tax benefits and appreciation.

When the exchange is complete, you will own a tenant-in-common interest in one or more quality income properties. Your income from the replacement property will likely be higher than you were receiving from your relinquished property.


Some of the benefits from this solution include:

  • Increase your depreciation tax credits

  • Increase your net asset value and invest in high quality multi-unit apartment properties with possibly no cash out of pocket

  • Capture profits from highly appreciated real estate and take advantage of other markets with strong upside potential

  • Reduce or eliminate your property management duties

  • Consolidate or diversify your real estate portfolio

  • Simplify your estate planning while paying no tax

  • Maintain or increase your monthly net cash flow income

How does it work? The basic steps are:

  1. Determine the current market value of your property
  2. List and market your property for sale

  3. Facilitate the sale through a qualified intermediary

  4. Assure proper contract and escrow language

  5. Meet the 45 day deadline to identify the replacement property

  6. Transfer sale proceeds to the qualified intermediary

  7. Open the acquisition property escrow

  8. Complete the exchange within 180 days of close of escrow of your relinquished property

The end result is relief from your real estate management burden while you enjoy more free time as well as the income and capital appreciation from your investment.


Call Pete Sabine at 925.407.0606 for a consultation or visit

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Real Estate Tip: Mastering Your Next Move

Posted by Pete Sabine on October 9, 2007

Spread moving day over several weeks to avoid the hassles of a last-minute scramble  

5 Weeks Before The Move

  • Take an objective look at what you own, and decide what can be left behind.  Extra weight  on the moving van costs more.
  • Draw a floor plan of your new home, and consider where you’ll want to place the furniture. Mark and label specific pieces of furniture on your diagram.  If a piece of furniture won’t fit, don’t take it with you.
  • Make any personal travel arrangements—flights, hotels, rental cars—for your trip.
  • Organize a garage sale if you have items worth selling.
  • The mover will do all he can to make your move as smooth as possible.  Ask for estimates to include the option of having the company pack some or all of your belongings.  While the mover is liable for breakage to any items it packs, you’re responsible for damage to items you have boxed.
  • Start a central file for all the details of your move. Collect all receipts for moving-related expenses.  Depending on the reason for your move, you may be entitled to a tax deduction.  

4 Weeks Before The Move

  • Select your mover and discuss dates and costs.
  • Decide now whether you want to pack your things or hire the mover to do it.
  • Start gathering boxes if you decide to pack.  Your mover can provide boxes best suited for moving, including special containers for clothing on hangers, lampshades, and dishes.  

3 Weeks Before The Move

  • Notify the post office, magazines, credit card companies, friends, and family of your change of address.  The U.S. Postal Service offers a kit to make this process easier.
  • Call utilities to schedule disconnection on the day following your move.
  • Talk with your mover to schedule, a few days before your move, disconnection and service of the major appliances being moved.
  • Arrange for utilities and services needed at your new home.
  • Start your self-packing with seldom-used items: fancy dishes, specialty cookware, non-essential clothing, curios, decorative items. 

2 Weeks Before The Move

  • Decide what you will discard.
  • Start your serious self-packing.  Label contents of all boxes.
  • Arrange to clean your new home as close to before your move-in as possible.
  • Arrange for copies of school and medical records and make bank safe-deposit arrangements in your new town.
  • Hold a garage sale.  

1 or 2 Days Before The Move

  • Expect movers to arrive to start the packing process.
  • Empty and defrost refrigerator and freezer; clean both with disinfectant and let them air out.  Put baking soda inside to keep them fresh.
  • Empty your safe-deposit box.  Plan to take important papers, jewelry, cherished family photos, irreplaceable mementos and vital computer files with you.
  • Arrange for payment to the moving company.  Write directions to your new home for the van operator, provide the new phone number and include numbers where you can be reached  in transit.
  • Leave your forwarding address and phone number for your new home’s occupants.  

Moving Day

  • Remove blankets and pillows from beds and pack in an “open first” box.
  • Review all details and paperwork when movers arrive.  Accompany van operator to take inventory.  Verify delivery plans.
  • Leave electric garage door opener and all the spare keys for new residents. 

While moving is one of life’s most stressful events, proper planning and preparation can ease the way. Call us to help you orchestrate a smooth move into your new home. 

For a consultation, contact Pete Sabine (925) 407-0606 or visit 

RE/MAX CC Connection

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