Seller Confidence Up!

Buffini Moving
According to a recent study by the California Association of REALTORS®, sellers were much more willing to sell in 2013 than they were in 2012.  And confidence is justified, at least here in the Santa Maria Valley, where values have increased and are still rising.  See for yourself!


happy homebuyerIs it time for your home to be sold?  If you think you’d like to investigate the possibility of a new home, and it would involve selling your current home first, I’ll be glad to help you build a game-plan for success!  Just complete the simple Contact form below, include your phone number or email address, and I’ll be in touch!

Published in: on June 12, 2014 at 12:05 AM  Leave a Comment  

A Dash of Color!

Decisions DecisionsSellers who want to increase the possibility of a quick sale, and are planning to do some interior painting for marketing purposes, should consider their color choices.

Buyers are affected by the color palettes in any home they tour. As they are walking through a home, the colors they see can have a profound effect on their emotions. The thing is, it may be so subtle that they don’t even realize it’s happening, but it can affect their purchasing behavior.

Consider the following:

 Neutral tones – white, grays, browns, and black – seem to be the “go to” colors for people who are painting their homes with the intention of selling. However, the most neutral of neutral colors can make a room seem sterile and lifeless. Browns and grays can be boring and washed out. Black goes in and out of favor, but many interior decorators think that no room is complete without some black accents to bring out depth in the color palette.

Red elevates the energy of a room. It also raises adrenaline, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. In big rooms, red can bring people together. Rich, deep red creates a strong impression. Ideal for: living room, bedroom and dining room.

Yellow is most often associated with happiness, but if used too much, it can cause frustration and anger. Also, a baby’s room should not be painted yellow. Studies show it will increase the amount the baby cries. Ideal for: kitchen and bathroom.

Blue is the opposite of red, in that it slows blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. Lighter blues are calming; darker blues tend to create feelings of sadness. Ideal for: bedroom and bathroom.

Green has the calming effect of blues and the cheering effect of yellow, all the while being very easy on the eyes. Ideal for: bedroom, dining room, living room, and home office.

Purple, in darker tones, can be deep and sophisticated. In lighter shades, it can bring out calming effects, without being chilly like lighter blues. Ideal for: bedroom.

Orange is about excitement and energy. Like yellow, it evokes enthusiasm, but doesn’t bring out frustration.  It’s best used in moderation, and not suitable for a main color palette. Ideal for: workout room.

Isn’t it interesting to discover how color can impact the sale of your home? For more tips on marketing your home for sale, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  I would be happy to offer you a complimentary consultation!


Offers Above Asking Price

CAR_logoAnother cool chart from the California Association of REALTORS® shows that in 2013, there were more “above asking price” offers on homes for sale than at any other time!  In a “seller’s market”, multiple offers generally occur when a home appears to be a good value and there are more buyers than inventory available.  Bidding wars result.  Sellers generally will get more than the price the home was marketed at.  Sometime, it is even a marketing strategy for sellers.  Price the home slightly below market value and get people fighting for it!

April 23 2014

 Sellers love it, buyers hate it, but sometimes it is just a fact of life.

For local real estate information, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Thank you!



stress jokeCute cartoon that makes me smile, but I want to share this article because it’s real and it is something we all deal with.  I don’t know a soul who has escaped stressful situations in every aspect of life.  How we handle it is critical.  Does any of the following sound familiar?

Stress 2-4-5-14
















Reducing stress in our lives can make a huge difference, and should actually increase happiness!

Buying and/or selling property very often is a scary and stressful situation in a person’s life.  I can’t make it perfect, but years of experience have taught me that it can be easier than expected, if someone is there to guide you around the pitfalls, and get you to the finish line with as little hassle as possible.  Every little bump in the road is just a challenge to overcome.  I find one of the questions that helps is “what is the worst-case scenario?”  That usually puts things into perspective, and helps to ease the situation.

If you are considering a sale or purchase, I’d welcome the opportunity to make it a pleasant process for you.  Please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Let’s meet and talk about your goals!


Home Improvements That Matter

According to the California Association of REALTORS®, these are the modifications that will bring you the most bang for your buck.  In a prior post back in November, I shared with you a top-ten list of features that buyers hope to find in their new home — click here to read it, then return to this post by using your browser back arrow.

HomeImprovements for 03-03-14



















Any questions?  Feel free to call me at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below, and I’ll get right back to you!  Comments are also welcome; see below.

Closing Costs in a Real Estate Transaction

Closing-CostsWhen preparing to buy or sell a home, remember that the expense of the sale is more than just the price that is negotiated between the buyer and seller.  Closing costs must be factored in: for the buyer, it means money brought in at the end to cover the additional costs.  For the seller, closing costs are a reduction in the net proceeds of the sale.

What costs are typical in our area?

For the buyer

Costs typically include one half of the escrow fee, which is a percentage of the sale price; a home inspection, which can range from $300-400, usually based on the size of the home; a title insurance policy for the buyer’s lender; wiring fees; homeowners insurance policy; credit report; appraisal fee; and financing costs, as determined by the buyer’s lender.

For the seller

Costs may include one half of the escrow fee; title insurance providing clear title; existing mortgage pay-off and related costs charged by the lender; real estate commission; homeowner association transfer costs, if applicable; repairs negotiated with the buyer, if any; termite repairs, if any; documentary transfer tax; misc. fees such as recording, wiring, etc.; and seller’s share of property taxes up to the date of closing.

Note: the above are some of the typical fees, but there may be more or less in your transaction. Each situation is different.

As your agent, whether buying, selling or both, I will be happy to provide an estimate of your expenses!

For more details, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.


Buy? Sell? Now is the Time!

buy_sell used 01-12-14Why? I can give you at least 3 reasons, whether you are a buyer or seller (or you know someone who is).  To begin, the housing market in the Santa Maria Valley has been steadily improving over the last few years, and although interest rates may creep up, they are still below historical levels.  And while home values are increasing, they are still considered affordable.  So, why wait?

3 Reasons to Buy

1. Low interest rates.  Some predictions were that interest rates would skyrocket in 2013, but 30 year fixed rate mortgages hovered between 4.3% and 4.6% for most of the year.  Experts predict that even if rates hit 6%, they will still be considered affordable by historical standards.

2. Homes are still affordable.  Although 2013 saw home prices post the largest gains since 2006, they are still considered affordable in most areas of the country.  And Santa Maria and Orcutt prices are still the most affordable in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

3. Reap the benefits of homeownership. Owning a home comes with quite a few benefits, including potential mortgage interest tax deductions, and possibility of building wealth over time and the ability to have control over your own space.

3 Reasons to Sell

1. Your home may be more valuable. National home values are expected to increase by 5% year-over-year from June 2013 to June 1014, increasing to levels last seen in August 2004.  Here in the Santa Maria Valley, our market increased a minimum of 12% from 2012, and there is no reason to believe it won’t follow the national trend.

2. The increased competition among buyers may mean that your home will sell for closer to its asking price. Inventory is considered low in many areas, and represents a 5.1 month supply at the national level at the current sales pace; closer to 2 months supply locally.

3. Your family or life situation has changed. Growing families may need more space than couples or families with grow children. If your home no longer fits your needs, it may be time to sell and buy one that does.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, or you want the scoop on the local housing market, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  I’d love to help!


Renovations Don’t Always Increase the Sale Price

CAR_logoSellers sometimes consider certain renovations to be upgrades that impact the market and sale price. Yet I have shown thousands of homes to buyers over the years, and the upgrades don’t always appeal to buyers, and eventually the sellers either accept that their perception of market value isn’t the same as real market value, or they pull the house from the market.  Flooring is something that makes sense — if the carpet is old and worn, for heaven’s sake replace it with a mid-grade new carpet in a neutral tone, and new padding.  Fresh paint always goes a long way towards creating appeal, and is cost-effective.  There are a number of upgrades and updates that will not cost an arm and a leg, and will add to a buyer’s interest in the home, without going all out and spending money on unnecessary projects.

Here are a few remodels that don’t seem to matter to the majority of buyers, according to a recent survey by the California Association of REALTORS®:

December 2013



















If you are thinking of selling your home, and you would like honest suggestions for preparing your home for sale, please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  I would be very happy to help!

California’s Carbon Monoxide Law

carbon monoxide detectorSometimes it feels like government wants to rule our lives, and it’s easy to be resentful.  However, there are times when laws are enacted to save lives, and for that we can be grateful.  The carbon monoxide detector law enacted in 2010, like the smoke detector law already in place for years now, is such a law.  Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it is odorless and invisible.  Here are some facts you should know.

California’s Carbon Monoxide Safety Law

In May 2010, an important public safety measure was signed into law requiring all California homes to be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms. Note: CO alarms are required IN ADDITION to smoke alarms and are not intended to replace them. Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “Silent Killer” because it is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can catch its victims completely unaware. CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States and accounts for up to 700 emergency room visits in California each year.  CO poisoning can cause severe and chronic brain, lung and heart injuries and can lead to death.

The only safe way to know if there is CO in your home is to arm your family with a working CO alarm.

Effective Dates for CO Alarm Installation

Required beginning January  1, 2011

Residential (CA Residential Code, 2010)
All newly constructed detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories in height that contain fuel burning appliances or an attached garage. Also, when such an existing dwelling requires a permit for alterations, repairs or additions exceeding $1,000.

Single-Family Dwellings – Required beginning July 1, 2011

Approved Alarms

New Construction: Must be hardwired with battery backup and interconnected.

Existing Homes: May be battery operated, plug-in with battery backup, or hardwired with battery backup.

Installation CO alarms must be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity, and on every level.

For more information about Carbon Monoxide, visit

Please be aware that if you are selling or buying a home, there must be a carbon monoxide detector in the home prior to close of escrow.  That is one reason to go over to OSH or Home Depot and buy one (they are not expensive), but of course, the most important reason to purchase one (or more) is for safety!

carbon monoxide

Buying or selling in 2014?  Entrust the sale of your home to a Realtor® with years of experience!  I’d love to have the opportunity to discuss your plans, and help you design a plan for success!  Just give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.  Thank you!


What Do Buyers Want?

CAR_logoFrom  the California Association of REALTORS® comes the results of a recent survey asking buyers what features they most hope to find when purchasing a new home.  In our area, we may not have quite as many energy-efficient features as in other weather-driven regions, such as the desert or mountains.  Our beautiful, moderate Central Coast climate means we aren’t necessarily forced to retrofit or build our homes to accommodate extreme weather, although many “green”-conscious people opt to do that, and yes, you can reduce your utility bills by doing so.

Mostwanted features - 11-18-13

For more real estate information, or for advice about buying or selling a home, seek an experienced REALTOR® — with 27 years of professional real estate experience, I am ready to provide outstanding service to you! Please give me a call at (805)937-5777 or complete the Contact form below.