Category Archives: real estate appraisal

Redfin tries out 1% home listing fee in San Diego

Real estate website and brokerage Redfin has launched a 1 percent listing fee in San Diego that could save home sellers hundreds of dollars in commission costs.

It’s not the first time the website has rolled out the feature — or the only city — but this is its first time in California. It previously had an already below average listing rate of 1.5 percent.

Low listing fees are often associated with agencies that don’t do as much for clients. But, Redfin says its business model allows it to charge less and do as good of a job as traditional agencies.

The typical listing fee is about 2.5 percent, which can mean thousands of dollars in a high-priced market, and also usually means an additional 2.5 percent for the buyer’s agent.

For a San Diego County median priced home of $525,000, a buyer would typically expect to spend around $26,000 in commission fees. Under Redfin’s deal, one could conceivably save nearly $8,000.

Redfin spokeswoman Alina Ptaszynski said the move is possible because of its emphasis on technology and a different real estate agent model.

“We’re delivering the same level of service — we would argue higher level of service,” she said.

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What to remember when considering an HOA property

With a homeowner association, people tend to over look the fact that a lot of home maintenance issues are not their problem, in most cases. The HOA is often responsible for all the big items that single family home owners fret about: the roof, foundation, outside of the home, landscaping.

The drawback is that you pay a monthly fee. If you consider how much they take off your hands in terms of responsibility, the fee is a good thing. Another possible drawback is that you will be involved with the HOA to review projects and plans and vote on decisions.

Buyers should review with their agents the reserves in the building as well as the projections for when major systems will need replacement. In conjunction with this, buyers should read all past meetings to see what’s being discussed in the HOA and how they handle issues. Is it a smooth-running HOA or are there issues?

Another item to review is their policies on rentals. These policies are subject to change, and if you plan on renting the place out while you go on a long trip, that may not be possible.

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Defining home equity

Home equity is an important source of wealth for homeowners. According to a study by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), access to home equity contributes to the purchasing power of homeowners. The study also suggests that home equity has a larger impact on consumer spending than wealth derived from stock equity.

Market Value

Home equity derives in part from the market value of your home. The basic market value of your home is based on the price a buyer is willing to pay and the price a seller is willing accept. Market value is influenced by prevailing economic conditions, the supply and demand for housing and the cost of mortgage loan funds. To account for the effects of all these factors on market value, compare your home to the sale price of similar homes in your neighborhood.  Contact the appraisers at for your home value questions.

Outstanding Debt

The market value of your home is compared against the outstanding debt on your mortgage. The outstanding debt on your home is based on the principal of your loan. The principal is the amount you borrowed to finance the purchase of your home. Your monthly mortgage payments pay down the principal and pay your lender interest.

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