Banks are Checking that Loan Application…REALLY CHECKING

We all know the days of the stated income stated assets (SISA) are gone.  If you want the bank to loan you part of the money to buy your new home, they actually want to know you can pay it back! 

According to recent reports, that might include looking at where your take-out pizza was delivered; who pays the power bill at the address you say you live at; and other methods of validating that you actually live in the home you say you do (say, for a refinance).

On-line shopping habits might give them a clue as to your income and spending habits.  Do you order from the high price boutiques or from the discount bins?  Do your purchases match the average person’s with your claimed income?

Lenders are actually pulling official copies of your taxes.  Do they match the copies you provided?  Same thing with bank accounts.  Are the numbers in agreement?

Credit score is no longer THE measure of credit worthiness in their eyes.  Private firms are being hired to discover “all that can be legally obtained” about you according to sources.  As long as it is not protected information or they do not discriminate on a protected basis (race, national origin, religion, etc) they are within their rights in their opinion.

To read an article on this very topic recently printed by the Los Angeles Times go to Yuba-Sutter Homes and Loans and click on the HOT NEWS icon.

Saving Energy means Saving Money

No real news there, right?  Just look at your utility bills for the proof.  In this area it’s A/C in the summer and heating in the winter.  Of course, if you are fortunate enough to have a pool, then you have that cost year round also.

We have all heard the old standbys: turn your thermostat back, turn off lights; shorten pool pump run times; etc.  But one can only set the thermostat back so much!  How do you stay comfortable AND save?

If you are building a new home, or doing a major remodel, you are being presented with a perfect opportunity.  Not only will you save on utility bills, I believe you will greatly increase the selling price of your home when the time comes.  I also believe that as energy becomes more scarce and expensive, these energy saving features will become even more important in selling price and a buyer’s decision over which home to buy!  To read more about how to get the most from your investment click HERE.

Are you looking to buy a home?  Looking to save money on those utility bills from the start?  Read the article above to get some good pointers on things to look for, then click on over to Yuba Sutter Homes and Loans to begin your search.  To go directly to all listings currently on the MLS services click HERE.


Give us a call at 530 315-2808 or send an email and we will do the research for you, FREE.  No cost, no obligation; FREE.  Of course, we would like to be your choice when it comes time to buy.  That’s why we are willing to EARN that trust, and we will offer you a FREE home warranty when that time comes.

Summer IS HERE, with a vengeance

With the heat in the 100s the last few days, we thought maybe some tips on staying cool for less money might be nice.  Try this article: Keeping it Cool with Air-Conditioning Tips

Don’t forget the lawn!  It is feeling the heat to:.  7 Lawn Care Tips for the Summer Season .

Conserve water while taking care of the lawn and staying cool?  10 Tips to Conserve Water

And if you have any energy left, or need a break: Top Five Tips for Summer Entertaining

And to keep your cool AND conserve energy  with real estate transactions, depend on Yuba Sutter Homes and Loans.; home of the FREE home warranty!  Where service and value DO work together.  And just for YOU!

I Want to Sell My Home…Now What?

Whether you are selling your home because of life’s events forcing a change upon you NOW or you just want a change, you still want to get the most you can from your home.  Procedures and timing will change, but some things are consistent across the board.

To help your home show well (meaning interest others (read “buyers”)) removing personal items, clutter, and of course a super cleaning are all necessary tasks.  Kitchens and bathrooms MUST be spotless (think hotel room).  A place sometimes overlooked is the closet.  If your closet is packed it will look small to a perspective buyer.  For additional ideas click HERE.

Another thing you need to have is of course a price.  What do you sell for?  What is your home worth to others?  You may have many fond memories in your home that are invaluable to you but a perspective buyer does not.  Generally, the market price is determined by the market.  Sound confusing?  It can be! 

An often used (and sometimes the best) procedure is to hire an appraiser to come in, look at your home, and give you their report.  In our area prices for this service generally run $300-$500.  If you go this route, be prepared to work with the appraiser.  He (or she) will need to view your home in detail, and your input about what makes it special will help them.  For more on how to prepare for and work with an appraiser click HERE.

An alternative to this, or a preliminary step is to consult your Realtor®.  At Yuba Sutter Homes and Loans we will provide you with a FREE home valuation, sometimes referred to as a CMA (comparative market analysis).  Whereas an appraiser might look at things like the cost of building or replacing your home, a CMA looks at home comparable to yours that have sold recently for the selling prices.  This gives us a very good idea of what another person might be willing to pay for your home. 

Of course, it is much more complex than that, and many factors are considered.  If you would like a free CMA call us or send an email to  Be sure to include your address and a phone number might help speed things along if we need to contact you.  If you need help getting started please contact us HERE.

If you prefer to call we can be reached at 530 315-2808.

The Home Improvement Rules have Changed!

Nothing new there, right?  The method for getting the most for your money is a moving target, and home improvement is certainly no exception. 

For many years upgrading your kitchen and bathrooms was the way to add the most value to your home.  During the most recent new-home building boom, things like granite counter tops and tile floors became the expected norm rather than a high end upgrade. 

Then prices began to fall!  Now how do you make your home more appealing than the rest of the market?  For quite a while price seemed to be the foremost (maybe even seemed like the only) selling point.  There’s not much you can do when shaving every penny off the selling price is required to get the buyers to even look at your home.  If you wanted to remodel during this time the guiding factor seemed to be to do what made the home more desirable to YOU because YOU are the one that is going to be living in it for a white.

Now prices seem to have stabilized, maybe they aer even going up a bit.  OK.  Remodeling is again plausible.  But, what is going to pay off?  What are buyers willing to pay for?  What will make a perspective buyer prefer your home over the one down the block?  These are all good questions, and need to be answered before you spend that hard earned money.

While this varies by area, neighborhood, price point and other variables, some basic guidelines can be deduced by watching the market.  According to RISMedia (a major news source for Real Estate) some of the things that pay best are:

Tip 1: Remodel your kitchen
Tip 2: Add a Garage
Tip 3: Remodel your bathroom
Tip 4: Install the right flooring material
Tip 5: Install granite counter tops
Tip 6: Increase curb appeal
Tip 7: Add natural light
Tip 8: Open up the space
Tip 9: Apply a fresh coat of paint
Tip 10: Clean up clutter

To get more detail or read the complete article click HERE

While we can not guarantee that any remodel will pay off in increased selling prices, keeping an eye towards yur neighborhood and the type of things that seem to work there will usually be your best bet.  How do you know what is working in your neighborhood?  Ask around.  Ask your neighbors.  Ask at the home improvement stores.  What pleases you?  Do your plans fit the neighborhood?

You can also spend a lot of time digging through the lists of sold homes to see what sold for what price, then compare the amenities and upgrades, accounting for time sold, conditions of the sale … the list goes on and on. 


You can ask your Realtor®.  At Yuba Sutter Homes And Loans we are happy to help you sort this information.  And we do it with no cost to you.  Why?  Because we believe that by helping you we help the neighborhood.  By helping the neighborhood we help our communities.  By helping … you get the idea.  Of course, when it comes time for you to buy, sell, or refinance (yes, that can still be done) we would like you to consider us as your professional assistant.  But we are willing to earn that trust rather than just wow you with big company names and expensive ads or empty promises.

What does a Realtor® do for the Community?

In the past you have heard me state that as an organization, Realtors® work for the benefit of the whole community, not just acting as a union to strengthen our own position.  In addition to the many charities and community help programs that we contribute to and participate in, we are a strong voice for Home Owner’s Rights, in fact the strongest voice out there for YOUR benefit.

Below is an exerpt from a recent (this morning) message sent to all Realtors®.  It does demonstrate some of the recent property rights we have been instrumental in protecting.

July 13, 2010


Dear C.A.R. Member,  [California Association of Realtors®]


Good news bears repeating.

President Obama recently signed a bill extending the closing deadline for the federal
home buyer tax credit to Sept. 30, 2010. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® estimates that as many as 17,700 home buyers in California would not have received the tax credit without the extension. Perhaps you know someone who now will benefit from this legislation.

The president also signed HR 5569, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010, funding the program through Sept. 30, 2010—good news for homeowners in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley and other 100-year floodplains. As you know, flood insurance is required for mortgages on properties in a 100-year floodplain. Congress has allowed the program to lapse three times this year, forcing many real estate transactions to be put on hold and, in some instances, cancelled. What happens in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., really does matter to your business.

The passage of these two pieces of legislation—which C.A.R. and NAR advocated for—demonstrates the importance of REALTOR® involvement in government. Legislative wins such as these require a focused and relentless presence at the state and national levels.

C.A.R.’s advocacy in the political arena this year also helped preserve property profiles after title companies stopped providing them in reaction to a letter issued by the Department of Insurance; thrice defeated a 3-percent independent contractor withholding proposal that would have accelerated income tax payments for our members; and defeated point-of-sale retrofits proposed through several pieces of legislation that could have added as much as $20,000 per home prior to closing escrow.

Price is no longer the Only Concern when Buying a Home

One of the good things to come from the recent crash in the economy is that people are once again buying their new home with an eye towards the livability of the home.  It is not just a piggy bank, or even just a long term investment (although is really is an investment).  That new home is where you are going to live for the next few years.

I have seen this in our area, and apparently it is happening across the nation as well.  The Wall Street Journal just published an article on this very issue.  To read that full article and more go to and click on the “Hot News” icon.  Or, to read only this article click HERE.

 Remember to check our web sites: and

30-year mortgage rates down to new low

As sales have slowed a bit due to the discontinuation of the federal tax credit, banks have looked to other ways to boost new loan sales.  You guessed it…lower interest rates.  Not the Tom Foolery that caused the crash, just an honest reduction from the rates that were already low.

 Would you believe 4% for a 30 year fixed rate loan?  Is this a great time to buy?  YES!  To read the full story just published by the LA Times click HERE.

To read more Real Estate news check out our web site at

To search for homes for sale right now click HERE.

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And you can always respond to this blog with the comment box below.

Yuba-Sutter Grapevine Newsletter Just Released

The July issue of the Real Estate newsletter of choice for the Yuba-Sutter area was just released this morning.  If you don’t already receive your own copy sign up today.  It’s easy, quick, and secure.  No hype, no sales pitch, just news that’s relevent and important to you.  Your email address is secure with us; we will NEVER sell or disclose your information to others.  To subscribe today just send your name and email address to  It’s that easy and tottally secure.

This month’s articles include: Transferring loan on inherited home; How pros drill through masonry; Fixing to sell: Don’t go overboard; Design tips for updating 1950s tract home; Find property problems before you buy; and MANY MORE!  We try to have what you want, so if you don’t see something you are interested in let us know with a quick email to and we will see what we can do.  Chances are that if you are interested so are others, so it is something we want to publish.

Still not sure yu want to subscribe?  Like a preview first?  Click HERE.  You may also subscribe directly from the newsletter.  GET YOURS TODAY

Short Sale Consumer Alert

Short Sales are a great way to help a home owner sell a home that they can no longer afford and is worth less in the current market than what they owe the bank.  This is the situation many have found themselves in after the recent economic events.  A reputable Realtor® can assist a distressed home owner in this process.  Unfortunately, like any process that involves money, there are the bad apples out there who take advantage of those needing and looking for help. 

 The laws are evolving to help protect the consumer.  But laws alone are not enough.  Even though many improper procedures may be in an honest but uninformed attempt to help the home owner, laws usually come into existence AFTER the fact.  And, crooks, by very definition, break the law.  What is the answer?  Education is possibly number one.  Does this mean you need to know everything about short sales?  NO!  Just be aware of a few red flags, and always work with a reputable and knowledgeable Realtor® like those at Yuba Sutter Homes and Loans.

To aid this education process, the California Real Estate Commissioner, Jeff Davi, announced the issuance of a Consumer Alert by the California Department of Real Estate.  To read the article click HERE.


Of course, you can always contact us for all your real estate questions, needs, and help with your purchase or sale.


Don’t forget our monthly newsletter of the Yuba-Sutter Grapevine.  You can have it delivered directly to your inbox.  No hassle, no searching.  To request your FREE copy send your request to