|On average, a Sacramento home sells for 100% of its listing price...but be sure to focus on the micro market that applies to you!|
|I like to meet with new clients at my office first before we ever go look at property to review the process, and among the topics we discuss are the market dynamics for whatever area and price range of interest. Often, my clients have preconceptions about the market that developed as a result of media coverage, advice from a family member, or a friend's past real estate experience. |
So I may hear things like "my dad told me to make lowball offers on every home because sellers over-price homes assuming they will negotiate the price" or "my friend got a house for 10% less than the asking price" or "I saw on the news that every home is in a bidding war." Well...everyone has an opinion or a past experience. I let current data speak for itself.
Let me tell you first, that our Sacramento real estate market is a tricky beast. It is full of micro-markets, and no two areas have the same market dynamics. It is very important to look at the market as a whole, and then focus in on the micro market that applies.
So as an example, this first table is a look at the entire Sacramento real estate market as a whole with regard to average days on market, and the average listing price to selling price ratio. On average, in Sacramento in May 2017, a single family home in Sacramento County sold in 20 days on the market for 100% of its listing price.
Clearly, these are averages - so for every home that sold in 5 days for 5% over its listing price, there is another home balancing out the average that sold in 35 days for 5% less. You get the idea.
But then compare that data to that for Folsom homes under $500,000 in this second chart. In May 2017, a single family home in Folsom sold in 12 days for 101% of its listing price. Those may not seem like big differences, but those are significant! That means that buyers have to be prepared to act faster when a property hits the market, and more often than not be prepared to offer an amount over the listing price.
Even the Folsom table is still probably too broad, and if there is a specific neighborhood or tract that interests you, be sure to specifically examine those sales and trends. It is important for both buyers and sellers to arm themselves with data. And not just any data -- but the correct and most current data.
|Quoted in an article in Sactown Magazine about listing strategies in the current Sacramento real estate market...|
|In this month's Sactown Magazine I was quoted extensively about the Sacramento real estate market. In many areas and price ranges, the market conditions favor sellers. As such, it is imperative when listing a property to employ strategies that will maximize exposure to buyers, maximize disclosure to potential buyers, and maximize net proceeds...and minimize surprises. |
Surprises are expensive, and they may cost a seller big-time when conditions are discovered mid-transaction. I wrote a blog post about disclosure versus discovery a couple years ago. You might think -- "oh but this is a seller's market so why would I need to do anything like that?"
The very best advice I can give a home seller to maximize selling price and net proceeds is to obtain pre-listing inspections for the property, and disclose the reports to potential buyers in advance, BEFORE responding to any offers. With our current Sacramento real estate market favoring sellers, it is most advantageous for sellers to disclose as much as possible in advance -- when the home goes on the market -- so that buyers may make informed purchasing decisions while they are still in competition with other buyers. Often times, with the heat of the market, while competing with other buyers, many buyers will offer to buy the property as-is with full knowledge of the findings of the reports.
That is the key...while buyers are still competing with other buyers...because often once the seller accepts an offer and the house is marked pending, most buyers move on and get excited about other property. Alternatively, if sellers do not disclose inspection reports up front, and then buyers complete their own inspections a few weeks into the transaction and discover issues not previously disclosed, this provides the opportunity for a secondary negotiation which often leads to price concessions or seller-paid repairs.
Sellers -- to maximize your net proceeds: disclose, disclose, disclose. I provide my sellers with a few key pre-listing inspection reports as a part of my listing services at no added expense (in addition to many other things). I can not tell you how many times these reports have earned or saved my clients tens of thousands of dollars.
|New Listing - 2042 58th Street, Sacramento, CA 95817|
|Adorable 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,098sf remodeled home near Tahoe Park and Elmhurst! You will love the spacious open layout, remodeled kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances, wood floors, big bedrooms, large master suite with large walk-in closet. Dual pane windows, shutters, central heat and air, composition roof. Large landscaped backyard, detached garage/bonus room. Close to shopping, schools, parks, freeways, SMUD, Sac State, UC Davis Medical Center, and more! Don't wait! Offered at $599,000. For more information visit 2042 58th Street, Sacramento, CA 95817.|
|New Listing - 3536 Riojo Way, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670|
|Elegant Stone Creek 3 bedroom + den, 2 bathroom, 1,612sf home on large corner lot in Rancho Cordova! You will love the spacious open layout, vaulted ceilings, separate living and family rooms, laminate flooring, remodeled kitchen with granite counters, full backsplash, remote-controlled undercabinet lighting, and stainless appliances. Large master suite, dual sinks, multiple closets, doors lead to backyard. Ceiling fans and recessed lighting throughout. Den/possible 4th bedroom off front entry area. Exterior recently re-stucco'd, covered patio, and newer fencing. Short distance to parks, schools, bike trails, recreation, shopping, and more! Offered at $369,900. Don't wait! For more photos and virtual 3D tour, visit 3536 Riojo Way, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.|
|Do not skip your "final walk through" before closing escrow on your new home...|
|I have written in the past about the importance of the final walk-through to verify the condition of a property right before closing, and this last weekend was a good reminder why it is so critical for buyers to take one last look at the house after the seller moves out and before closing. |
Paragraph 15 of the California Residential Purchase Agreement addresses the final verification of property condition...this is not a contingency of the sale (meaning, the buyer can't cancel the contract), however it gives the buyer the right to verify the condition of the property within 5 calendar days of closing. So if the seller has agreed to make repairs, the buyer can use this as an opportunity to visually verify the repairs are done. Or that the appliances that are included in the sale are indeed still in the property. Or that the seller has been maintaining the property in substantially the same condition as when the buyer's offer was initially agreed upon.
I could post lots of photos from my final walk-through with my buyers this last weekend, but this one is probably the most telling. The carpet is a creamy white color, and this particular room was filled with rugs and dining room furniture before the seller moved out. Now that the property is vacant, we can see that the carpet is horribly stained. This condition was not disclosed.
Aside from that, the home was pretty filthy, there were some holes in walls that were not there before, there was a large previously concealed stain on the vinyl flooring in the master bathroom, all three of the flat screen television brackets were removed and holes not patched, texture not touched up, etc. Again, thankfully we discovered these conditions BEFORE closing the transaction. While the final walk-through is not a contingency of the sale, the seller should turn over the property to the buyer in satisfactory condition.
How was this situation remedied? The seller did not want to delay closing, and did not want to do any additional work or repairs. We negotiated a $1,000 credit to the buyers to offset the costs of these newly discovered issues.
Had we not done a final walk-through and discovered this before closing, it would have been very difficult to negotiate any sort of compensation for the buyer for the condition of the house after closing, short to taking the seller to small claims court.
|New Listing - 7733 Dannon Court, Citrus Heights, CA 95610|
|Adorable 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,630sf home in Citrus Heights on a cul-de-sac lot! You will love the spacious open layout, separate living and family rooms, high vaulted ceilings, remodeled kitchen with maple cabinets, granite counters, and stainless appliances. Custom painted interior, large master suite with walk-in closet, remodeled master bathroom with granite counter, dual sinks, tile floor, and new stall shower. Cute front and rear yards with lots of space to play or entertain, two decks for relaxing! Located close to shopping, schools, parks and more. Don't wait! Offered at $345,000. For more photos and a 3D virtual tour visit 7733 Dannon Court, Citrus Heights, CA 95610.|
|New Listing - 8212 Lee Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95610|
|This well-loved property is the perfect blank canvas for your personal touches! The main home is 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,719sf, and there is a separate manufactured home on a permanent foundation that is 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,056sf all on nearly a one acre lot in a rural setting in Citrus Heights. Main home has wood flooring, big bedrooms, dual pane windows, composition roof, and central heat and air. The manufactured home was recently renovated in 2014 with new kitchen flooring and a newer composition roof. Large detached garage has a huge room/workshop and skylight. Dead-end street and a truly serene setting. Don't wait! Offered at $335,000. For more photos and detail please visit 8212 Lee Drive, Citrus Heights, CA 95610. |
|New Listing - 3224 Normington Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833|
|This cute 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,220sf fixer home near the South Natomas area has tons of potential and is the perfect blank canvas for your personal touches. you will love the cute front patio, ample living areas, wood flooring, inside laundry, big backyard, newer fencing, possible RV access with paved side driveway. Great location near shopping, freeways, and public transportation. Don't wait! Offered at $189,900. Probate sale, not subject to court confirmation. For more photos and detail, please visit 3224 Normington Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833.|
|New Listing - 7731 Rio Estrada Way, Sacramento, CA 95831|
|Elegant 3 bedrooms + loft, 2.5 bathrooms, 2,582 home in prestigious Dutra Bend at Riverlake in the Pocket / Greenhaven area. You will love the open floorplan with soaring ceilings, remodeled kitchen, bar, shutters, downstairs master suite with 3 closets, dual sinks, jetted tub, and separate shower. Loft/possible 4th bedrooms with built-in entertainment center, professionally landscaped front and back yards with brick patio and fountain. 3-car attached garage, whole house fan, newer central heat and air, spa hook-ups. River access is across the street, HOA includes roving security, access to a private lake and more! HOA dues $54.91/mo. Offered at $659,900. For more photos, 3D tour, and information visit 7731 Rio Estrada Way, Sacramento, CA 95831.|
|Family fun at the 2017 SF Giants Home Opener...|
|Gotta love my annual family tradition -- I have attended 18 of the last 19 Giants home season openers in San Francisco. So much fun...and the Giants won this year, which was a bonus considering they have been beaten up a little bit to start the season. For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year!|
18 out of 19 years...My brother Matt and I started our little tradition by going to opening day in 1999, which was the last season the Giants played at Candlestick Park. He has not missed one since, and sadly I could not go in 2010 because I was being installed as the Treasurer of the Masters Club and could not miss the installation event. My parents (who are divorced btw) joined us in 2000, and for the last several years one or both of them joins us, and of course my husband Greg, and Matt's girlfriend Vanessa have been coming with us for several years too. Love my family, and love my Giants. <3 p="">3>
|Sacramento Ranked 6th Hottest Housing Market in United States|
|Realtor Magazine today ranked Sacramento the 6th Hottest Housing Market in the country, which is up one notch from 7th last month. In fact, six of the top ten markets are in California. This is not at all surprising, since the market is hitting its spring fever time of the year. There are A LOT of buyers in the market, and not nearly enough homes to satisfy the demand. My listings are getting multiple offers and selling above their listing prices. I attribute that not only to the heat of the market, but also to my stellar property marketing that involves staging, professional photography, virtual tours, and all kinds of other cool stuff. And I am advising my buyers on how to strategically craft their offers to stand out from the other ones, without going too crazy on price. Anyway, if you are interested to know how much your Sacramento home might sell for, click here and I am happy to provide you with an analysis. And if you are looking to buy a home, click here and I am happy to set up a custom portal for you that will notify you of new listings that match your search criteria. Happy spring!|
|My clients and I quoted in a Comstock's Magazine article about millennial home buyers in Sacramento suburbs...|
|Last week Comstock's Magazine ran a little teaser online for their story that appears both in print this month and online -- "The Great Millennial Migration."|
Millennials, if you aren't in the know, were born between roughly 1980 - the mid 1990's.That would put their ages in the mid 20's to mid/late 30's. I work with lots of homebuyers of all ages, including many millennials. Contrary to some common stereotypes that most of them still live in their parents' basements, LOTS of millennials do buy homes. Yes. A lot of them. And their wants and needs aren't all that dissimilar from other Sacramento home buyers I work with. It's a matter of priority. What's important?
For single or partnered (millennials), they frequently value the ability to walk to happy hour and want to be somewhere conducive to that lifestyle...for those who have or want kids, they more frequently ditch happy hour in favor of being able to walk their kids to a good school.
So check out the article...it features quotes and a completely adorable photo of some of my clients, Aaron and Jamie, as well as quotes from clients Jonathan and Suzie.
|New Listing - 7110 Stella Lane, Unit 13, Carmichael, CA 95608|
|Adorable ground level 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,000sf condo unit tucked away in a serene complex in Carmichael. You will love the easy access, spacious floorplan, cozy fireplace, newer carpet and paint, laminate flooring, updated kitchen with newer cabinets and granite counters, updated bathrooms, inside laundry. Big bedrooms, lots of storage space. Master suite has private patio. Nicely manicured setting, homeowners association has private pool and clubhouse. Located minutes from shopping and American River access! Don't wait! Offered at $164,900. HOA dues $335/mo. For more photos and information please visit 7110 Stella Lane #13, Carmichael, CA 95608.|
|Featured in Comstock's Magazine Online Edition today...|
|I was featured in Comstock's Magazine's online edition today...this is a teaser for a couple of articles my buyer clients and I are quoted in that will run later this month. I was asked these two questions -- (1) What is the biggest change in your industry in the past year?, and (2) What do you see as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?|
No, I didn't say anything snarky about the Cubs 2016 World Series victory and how the Giants pitching acquisitions will help them in 2017. To read the piece, click here.
|Scam alert -- do not pay for a copy of your grant deed after you close escrow!|
|One of my recently closed buyer clients texted me this week asking about some mail he received. The mail looked pretty official and claimed for $83 the service would mail the new owner a copy of the newly recorded Grant Deed. It went on to list several reasons having a copy of the deed would be important...but there is a key issue with this letter -- it is a total scam. |
New owners will receive a copy of the recorded Grant Deed directly from the Sacramento County Recorders Office within a month or so of closing at no added expense. Letters like these typically come within a week or so of closing, before the deed is received in the mail.
Buyers and new homeowners -- keep in mind that once you purchase a property, that record of ownership becomes public and your information will be purchased by 3rd parties. New homeowners receive all kinds of solicitations in the mail for things like life insurance, homeowners insurance, refinancing (already!), alarm installation, and other nonsense like this.
My client commented that this offer looked "very official." It does...but thankfully they were suspicious because they read the fine print that said "this offer has not been approved, or endorsed by any government agency." I warn my clients to be on the lookout for stuff like this and let them know they can always contact me with questions. Don't be fooled!
On another note, if one of my clients ever does need a copy of their grant deed and can't find their copy, I can easily obtain a replacement copy at no expense. Or you can request a copy from the Sacramento County Recorders Office by mail and pay a small fee ($13 for the first page, $2 for each additional page).
|How to get an accurate measurement of a home's size and square footage when public records are incorrect...|
|Generally when I list homes for sale, I pull data out of public record to get an idea of the number of bedrooms, bathroom, parcel size, and square footage. Occasionally though, the data in public record is inaccurate. |
Recently, a potential seller client contacted me about listing a home in the Arden area. According to the Sacramento County Tax Assessor's records, the home was 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,440sf. So I reviewed similar comparable recent sales in the neighborhood and then met the seller at the house a few days later. Immediately I could tell that the home was significantly larger than the assessor's records. The home had an addition. This particular addition was not permitted...however sometimes even permitted additions do not get updated in the public records.
Another seller contacted me who owned a home in Natomas that he purchased new directly from the builder. Assessor's records showed the home was 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,519sf. For whatever reason, the builder reported a different floorplan than the one my client had purchased. His home was actually 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and the flyer he had from the builder said the home was 1,805sf.
So what do we do about this? In these situations I hire a professional property appraiser, at no added expense to my clients, to come out and measure the property. Getting an accurate measurement of a home is important, because even a small difference of perhaps 100 square feet may change the value, or change the buyer's perceived value of a home. In addition to having accurate square footage, a floorplan sketch can be a valuable marketing tool as well, since home buyers like to have room measurements.
In these two instances, the Arden home turned out to be 2,243sf, and the Natomas home turned out to be 1,838sf. Clearly those are large differences and those accurate figures definitely helped to properly market the homes and get top dollar. So I say, when in doubt, measure it!
|New Listing - 2701 Bronco Creek Way, Sacramento, CA 95835|
|Stunning, better than new 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 1,838sf Natomas home! You will love the open layout, recessed lighting, tile flooring downstairs, kitchen with cherry cabinets, granite counters, and stainless appliances, formal dining room. Large loft/separate family room area upstairs, large master suite with walk-in closet, separate tub and shower, dual sinks and granite counters. Owned solar lowers utility bills! 2-car garage with epoxy flooring. Low maintenance yard. Adjacent to brand new charter school under construction. Low $60/month HOA dues covers front yard care. Don't wait! Offered at $339,900. For more photos and information please visit 2701 Bronco Creek Way, Sacramento, CA 95835.|
|California Transfer On Death (TOD) Deed -- avoids probate, less expensive, faster...|
|Thanks to California Assembly Bill 139 that passed in 2015, as of January 1, 2016 a real property owner has a new way to avoid the Probate process. AB 139 created the "Transfer On Death" Deed. Why is this significant? Let me explain...|
Generally, if a property owner dies and does not have a Living Trust, any real estate owned must go through the Probate process in order to be sold. This applies even if the property owner has a Will...so don't be fooled into thinking that property named in a Will avoids the Probate process. IT DOES NOT. The Will only serves to specify who the deceased person wants to pass the property along to. Probate is a court process to actually transfer ownership of the property. Probate is expensive, extremely time consuming, and can be highly emotionally charged...trust me, I have helped several clients through the process in order to sell homes of deceased loved ones, and it is not a process I would wish on anyone.
So I am frequently asked -- how can we avoid Probate? Up until this last year, my answer was -- talk to an attorney, form a Living Trust, and do not forget to deed your real estate into the trust. Creating a Living Trust sets up a mechanism that transfers responsibility for real estate to a Successor Trustee, which makes selling a home after death pretty simple. There are two downsides to setting up a Trust though. The first is that forming a Trust is pretty expensive -- an attorney will charge $2,500 - $10,000 depending on how complicated your estate is. The second is that Trusts take time to plan properly -- so it could take a few weeks to a few months to form your Trust and deed your real property into it.
With the passage of AB 139, there is now an inexpensive and faster option -- deed your property into a "Transfer On Death" Deed -- aka, a TOD Deed.
One of my past clients called me in September when her mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Her mom had just weeks to live, had no trust and no will, and owned a home in Carmichael. I immediately thought of the TOD Deed. With a TOD Deed, the owner remains the owner while that person is alive, and it names a beneficiary that the property is transferred to upon the death of the owner. She called an attorney who prepared a TOD Deed for her mom, had it signed and notarized and recorded with Sacramento County. She passed away just days later.
The entire process to prepare, execute, and record a TOD Deed was just days and a few hundred dollars. Once her mom's death certificate was available, an "Affidavit Death of Transferor" had to be prepared and filed with Sacramento County. So within a short period of time, and for a few hundred dollars, daughter had full authority to sell the property. No Probate. No excessive costs. Way less stress.
I always suggest getting tax and legal advice before doing something like this, but what I can tell you is that this is a streamlined way to take the expense, time, and stress out of what is already an emotional time. And as a side note, an owner can file a TOD Deed, make changes to the beneficiary during his/her lifetime, sell the property, or deed the property into a trust later. No need to wait until a fatal illness to get one done. In fact I would recommend being proactive.
|Want to list your Sacramento area property on AirBnB or VRBO? Here's what you need to know...|
|"If I buy this downtown condo, can I just list it on AirBnB and rent it to legislators when they visit the Capitol?"... "What if I turn this detached garage into a 'granny unit' and rent it out on AirBnB?" Hmm...good questions.|
I get asked pretty often about transient occupancy and short-term rentals. Just to clarify, a transient occupancy or short-term rental is one that is for a term of less than 30-days. Think of a place that might be rented using AirBnB or VRBO -- probably more commonly thought of as vacation rentals. This type of short term arrangement is becoming more common these days thanks to these websites, and can be a nice alternative for travelers who perhaps want to stay somewhere other than a hotel. (Side note: a rental in excess of 30 days does not fall into this category. A landlord-tenant relationship is created in that case, and an entirely different set of laws apply.)
For example, my family and I stayed in a home for 5 days that we rented on VRBO in Scottsdale when we attended the SF Giants Spring Training a couple years ago. It was a nice place and the convenience of having a home where 6 of us could all comfortably stay, with amenities like a kitchen and laundry facilities were great!
It sounds appealing -- and a nice way to supplement income renting out part of your home, or perhaps you have a rental property and you'd like to offer it as a short-term rental instead of leasing for a longer term...People visit Sacramento, right? But as a property owner, what are the local rules? Well, right now the rules differ all over our Sacramento region.
City of Sacramento: for properties within the city limits, the City requires owners to obtain a Short-Term Vacation Rental Permit and pay a fee of $125. Owners must also collect and remit 12% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). And there is a different set of parameters if you are renting out space in your own primary residence, versus renting out a vacant/non-primary residence (such as a 90 days per year limit).
County of Sacramento: for properties within the unincorporated areas of the county (like Antelope, Arden, Orangevale, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, other non-city Sacramento areas, etc.), the county requires owners to obtain a Vacation Rental Permit and pay a fee of $270.66. Owners must also collect and remit 12% TOT. The county does not allow short-term rental of vacant/non-primary residence property.
City of Galt: it seems there is no specific ordinance regarding short-term rentals within the city limits, however if you own any Galt rental property you are required to get a business license from the city. They also require TOT.
The Cities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Elk Grove, and Rancho Cordova all require collection and remittance of TOT, however it seems they have no specific policies governing short-term rentals right now. You may want to defer to the county's policies here.
Keep in mind that just because the city or county may allow short-term rentals, if your property is located in a Homeowners Association (HOA), the HOA may specifically prohibit short-term rentals. I have started to see this in a number of HOA documents for my transactions. Also, speaking with a local insurance agent, be sure that your property insurance policy covers this sort of activity. Most policies specifically exclude coverage for short-term rentals.
|New Listing - 952 Q Street, Sacramento, CA 95811|
|Elegant updated 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 1,013sf unit in the Saratoga Townhomes in downtown Sacramento at 9th and Q Streets! You will love the great location and modern amenities; updated kitchen with granite counters and new stainless appliances, new laminate flooring downstairs, new carpet upstairs, freshly painted interior, new light fixtures. Private balcony with awning off upstairs bedroom, private patio off living room downstairs. Attached garage with direct access to unit. Bonus - Zone E parking permit included. Close proximity to all downtown has to offer - The State Capitol, Golden 1 Arena, Roosevelt Park, R Street Corridor, art galleries, great restaurants, and other nightlife! Don't wait! Offered at $339,900. HOA dues $269.44/month. For more photos and information please visit 952 Q Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. |
|Disclosing death on a property....|
|It seems a few times per year, I list property where someone has passed away at the home. Death at a property is one of those things that will not bother some people, and for others it will be a deal breaker when deciding whether to purchase a home. But how should it be disclosed? Where should it be disclosed? And for how long is it relevant to disclose?|
In late 2016, legislation passed clarifying disclosure obligations in California for death on a property.
The provisions in AB73 are pretty simple: any death in or on a property MUST be disclosed if it occurred within 3 years from the date of the purchase contract. After 3 years has passed, the death, and the manner in which someone passed away, will no longer legally be considered "material facts" and disclosure is not required. Additionally, this legislation clarifies that no disclosure is required if an occupant who lived at the property had HIV, or died from HIV-related complications.
As I assist sellers to fill out their property disclosures, when we get to this question in the Seller Property Questionnaire, usually the answer is no and the "no" box is checked accordingly. However when the answer is yes, just checking the "yes" box that there has been a death on the property within the last 3 years, is usually not enough. I would recommend noting, if known, the location within the house where the death occurred and circumstances. Something like "Previous occupant passed away by natural causes in the master bedroom" is appropriate. It's also something I put in the agent comments section in MLS, so that it can be known to buyers before they view a property. If buyers have additional questions about the death, I generally suggest they ask in writing so that the seller can respond appropriately.
I also ask my clients to think about other notable deaths that may have occurred at the property. I recently had a seller who buried a 60-pound dog in the backyard, and after some discussion we agreed was a good idea to disclose that burial. What new owner wants to start landscaping and unexpectedly find buried bones in the backyard? Providing appropriate detail may save everyone from surprises later.
|Verify wiring instructions before you wire funds to escrow...|
|So luckily I have not experienced this first hand with any of my clients, however I know other agents who have clients that have fallen victim to this. Beware...falling victim to this scam can not only derail your home purchase, but also completely derail your life.|
BUYERS: WHEN YOU WIRE YOUR DEPOSIT OR DOWNPAYMENT FUNDS TO ESCROW, BE SURE TO VERIFY THE WIRE INSTRUCTIONS AND ROUTING INFORMATION WITH YOUR AGENT AND ESCROW DIRECTLY.
I can not emphasize this enough. If you receive an email with wiring instructions, call and personally talk to your agent to verify the information is correct and legitimate.
Sadly enough, there is an online email scam that seems to be getting more prevalent. Criminals will hack into a real estate agent's email and just sit back, read the emails, and monitor activity and the progress of transactions...then, when it comes time for a transaction to close, the hacker will use the agent's email and send wiring instructions to the client -- impersonating the agent. The wiring instructions lead to offshore bank accounts, not to escrow. One funds are wired to an offshore bank account, they can not be recovered.
Again, this is not some rumor. I know real people this has happened to. I know an agent whose client wired over $100,000 to Nigeria -- lost and gone forever. Don't let this happen to you! I have recommended to my buyers NOT to wire funds at all, and obtain cashiers checks and deliver them to escrow directly. The California Association of Realtors has a new advisory/disclosure document that addresses this as well. Just be careful.