Important Things That Determine a Home’s Value

Interested in buying a piece of real estate? Many real estate investors and first-time homeowners seem to focus on the style and functionality of their potential purchase, thinking that these aspects help to increase the property’s value. They seem to have forgotten the popular adage, “location, location, location.”

The truth is, the physical structure deprecates as time goes on, it is the land that increase in value. This is very important to note because buying a home is a huge purchase, one of the biggest in most people’s lives. If you don’t look at your investment from all angles and understand everything that drives the value of your home, you can limit your opportunity to increase your wealth.

Land appreciates in value because, as the population grows, the demand for it grows and it’s in limited supply. When you focus on the land underneath the structure, this can help you find more efficient investments that will give you the best return for your money.

It’s not to say that the appearance of the home doesn’t increase the value of the property, but it’s impact is less that you may think. When you understand how location and future estimates of land value will influence property return you can then make better investment decisions.

Here are some considerations of the top things that determine a home’s value to ponder before you purchase your next home:

1. Smaller and/or less attractive home can provide you with more bang for your buck: This is because all homes in a neighborhood, no matter the size or aesthetics, appreciate by approximately the same amount every year

2. Your location within your neighborhood will affect the value of your land: Because they get less traffic and the implied increase in safety for children, homes in cul-de-sacs are more in demand than others with more traffic.

3. The average age of your neighbors can tell you how much your property will appreciate: For instance, neighborhoods with older homeowners are less in demand for home-buyers with children.

4. Future prospects of development can change your property’s value: You must be aware of both the present state of local amenities as well as the future prospects for governmental and commercial development in the area. Both of these factors will influence whether your land will appreciate or depreciate.

An effective real estate investor looks past the physical attributes and the style of prospective purchases and, instead, focuses on the land appreciation potential. So, in order to be successful, you must overlook the more beautiful homes for a great location that provides opportunities for improvement that will increase the value of the land.

(Article originally found on:…)

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

SOLD 1595 Candelero Drive, Walnut Creek

Additional Photos: Video Tour

Listed for: $559,000

Spacious three bedroom two and half bathroom END unit townhouse located in beautiful Countrywood. This townhouse features a large family room, light and bright kitchen, oversized master bedroom with two closets, great entertaining back patio and is conveniently located close to great shopping, numerous restaurants, and easy freeway and BART access.

* Spacious family room with gas fireplace, newer carpet and

* Large front porch entry with room for patio table

designer paint

* Light and bright kitchen with solid surface countertops, room for

eat-in area and ample cabinet space

* Downstairs half bathroom

* Large master suite with two closets, newer stall shower

* Good size spare bedrooms with plenty of closet space

* Backyard patio with two separate entrances is great for


* Newer HVAC System (2014)

* Inside laundry

* Large detached garage with plenty of storage

* HOA is $298/month

Great HOA amenities including pool, green belt area, and Club House.

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

How many of these questions could you answer?

Buying a home is thrilling, scary, sometimes weird, often epic, and never dull. You’re ponying up a huge wad of cash for a place you’ll inhabit hopefully for years to come. As such, you’re bound to have a lot of questions throughout every step of the process. So to head you off at the pass, we asked real estate agents to spill the beans on most common questions buyers ask them—and the answers, of course. You’re welcome.

Q: What home can I afford?

That depends, of course—on your income and other financial obligations; plug them into’s Home Affordability Calculator for a ballpark figure. And do it before you start shopping, says Alyssa Blevins of Pierce Murdock Group in Alexandria, VA. “If you see houses you love outside your price range, it opens you up to disappointment,” she says. Meet with a lender to get pre-approved for a home loan (added bonus: pre-approval makes you much more attractive to sellers).

Q: Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?

Yes, you can—but it’s the real estate equivalent of walking a tightrope. “This is one of the trickiest questions to answer,” says Cedric Viquerat of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Bradenton, FL. On the one hand, if you buy a home before you sell the one you’re in, you’re overextended financially; if you sell before you buy, you might need to rent awhile before finding a new place. But there are ways to do both at once, and one option is to instate a “sale contingency” in your contract. This means you only agree to buy a home if you can sell the one you’re in. The only downside is if your seller doesn’t agree (which is possible if they want the timing set in stone).

Q: How many homes should I see before making an offer?

Up to you, sport! While home shoppers these days can look at hundreds of homes online, they only hoof it to check out 10 homes on average before they put in an offer. But keep in mind, “This varies tremendously for each person,” says Will Johnson, a Realtor® in Hendersonville, TN, and founder of Sell and Stage. “Some people find their home within hours of hunting. For others, it takes months.” If you want to streamline the process, it can help to really hone in on a particular neighborhood you’re keen on; that said, if you feel limited by your options, it may be time to expand to surrounding areas.

Q: What do you think the seller will accept as a fair price?

As a rule of thumb, knocking 5% off the list price won’t ruffle any feathers. If it’s been sitting on the market for months, you can venture below that, but the bottom line is, “You never know how low a seller will go, as they have different motivations for selling,” says Marc Castillo of Coldwell Banker in Atlanta, GA. If the sellers are eager to move, you could luck out and score a deal.

Q: How do I know if the property is a good deal?

While there’s no crystal ball on whether a certain home is a bargain and will appreciate, rest assured that with research, you can keep surprises to a minimum. The best way is to check out comps—what similar properties are selling for in the area—“and whether those prices have been going up or down in the recent past,” says Felise Eber, a Miami Beach real estate associate with Coldwell Banker.

Q: How quickly can I close?

“Typical escrow periods are 30 to 45 days,” says Rina Camhi, a Houston, TX-based agent and founder of 10MinRealty. “This gives you enough time to do the investigation on the property and get a loan completed.” And yes, this due diligence counts (see our next point).

Q: Should I get a home inspection?

While buyers often wonder if a home inspection is truly necessary, most Realtors unequivocally say yes, yes, and yes. “A home inspector takes a weight off of your shoulders by looking into the condition of the roof, electricity, heating and air, plumbing,” says Johnson. “Ensuring these things work prevents you from paying to fix them in the future. If some things are not up to par, you can negotiate with the seller to get those fixed before you sign the paperwork.”

Q: When can I back out if I change my mind?

While buyers can always back out of a deal, doing so without good reason may forfeit their earnest money (the cash put down to secure the offer, typically around 1%-2% of the home’s price). But there are some ways to walk with your earnest money in hand.

“Contingencies are great loopholes,” says Bridges. “For example, upon an unsatisfactory home inspection, the buyer can ask for their deposit back. Another loophole is ‘subject to appraisal.’” That means you can back out if the lender for your loan doesn’t think the property is worth what you offered.

Home buyers aren’t the only ones with questions; home sellers have plenty on their minds, too. Find out what they’re wondering in a new article next week!

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Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:04 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

7 Tips for Buying Your First Home

Entrepreneurs, you know that cash flow is key to your business and peace of mind. Positive cash flow, that is. The same principle applies to your personal budget; every purchase you make affects your available resources.

While homeownership took a dent in the last recession, it remains the American dream for many. But becoming a homeowner comes with a great deal of responsibility. Your home can be both an asset (building equity over time) and a liability (adding greatly to your personal expense column).

The good news is you’ll be eligible for new tax breaks, particularly on the mortgage interest. You can write this off on your tax return and deduct interest on up to $1 million dollars of the debt owed on your home.

You can also deduct the property taxes that you have to pay each year.

Buying a home might be the largest single purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important to run the numbers before you sign any contract. If you’re ready to take the leap and purchase your first home, here are 7 tips to consider before you buy:

1. Know how much you can afford. This may sound elementary, but underestimating the true costs of ownership is a common mistake. Not only will you have a mortgage, you’ll need to pay property taxes, insurance premiums, and other expenses that come with owning a home. Today, a down payment is typically 20% of the purchase price. Think about how much house you will need and factor this into how much you want to put down on a home.

2. Know the score. Your credit score plays an important part in obtaining low-interest financing. Check your credit report and fix discrepancies before meeting with a lender. Your perceived debt can include your credit card limit (your allowable amount you can charge) and back taxes.

3. Avoid large purchases on credit. Accumulating new debt prior to financing a home may impact your debt-to-income ratio and how much you can borrow from a lender. In other words, don’t go shopping for a car or other big-ticket item on credit if you plan to buy a home in the near future.

4. Research financing options. Save time and money by shopping around–there are dozens of websites that can help you do this– to see which lenders are offering the best interest rates in your area. Just like buying any product, comparison-shopping will save you money in the long run–and in a 30-year mortgage the long run is pretty long.

5. Set money aside for emergencies. Many a dream home has turned into a money pit, costing more than budgeted. What if your street floods or your plumbing needs an overhaul? Before the purchase, hire a reputable home inspector, and prepare for the unexpected with money set aside for the unknown.

6. Think green for Energy Tax Credits. Opt for qualifying energy-efficient equipment in your home. Thirty-percent of the cost of solar and geothermal installations can be claimed on your taxes, which can amount to a nice savings.

7. Other renovations may help. While you usually can’t deduct home improvements on your yearly tax return, the good news is that these costs can help when you sell your home. You can include them in your home’s adjusted cost basis. The bigger the basis, the lower your capital gain. To qualify as a deduction, the home improvement must add materially to the value of your home, prolong your home’s useful life significantly or adapt your home to new uses.

In calculating capital gains, you can also exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from the sale of your owner occupied home; $500,000 if you’re filing jointly.

A home can help you build your future or, as some people discovered in the last recession, it can break your proverbial bank. Run the numbers before buying into the dream.

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Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:04 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

Tax Tips for Homeowners

As winter draws to a close, we are reminded that tax time is just around the corner. Those of us who own our own homes are fortunate enough to have many tax deductions and advantageous strategies available to us.

I have some solid advice below, but be prudent and check these out with your tax professional first.

The mortgage interest deduction is the first obvious deduction that comes to mind for many of us. In order to qualify, your mortgage must be secured by your home – and you may be surprised to hear what counts as a “home.” In short, if you can sleep in it and cook in it, and if it has a working toilet, that living space is a home. That includes boats and trailers, so don’t miss out if your home is one of those alternate options.

Interest paid on a mortgage of up to $1 million (or $500,000 each for married people filing separately) can be deducted when used for the purchase, construction or improvement of the house.

Second mortgages (also home equity loans or home equity lines of credit) count toward the $1 million limit if used to improve your original home or to buy or build a second one. If you use the home-secured loan for any other purpose, you can still deduct the interest on loans up to $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately). Use Schedule A to make this deduction.

Prepaid interest (or points) paid when you took out your mortgage is usually 100 percent deductible in the year you paid it. If you refinance and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are deductible in the same year. But if you refinance for other reasons, such as to get a better rate or use the money for something other than home improvements, you’ll need to deduct the points over the life of your mortgage. This deduction can also be made on Schedule A, and Form 1098 (sent from your lender) should list the points you have paid.

Don’t forget your property tax deduction, also on Schedule A. If your mortgage has an escrow account, the amount you paid will show up on your annual escrow statement. Property taxes paid when you closed on your house will also appear on your HUD-1 settlement statement.

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums are deductible as mortgage interest on Schedule A if you itemize your return, but only if your loan was taken out in 2007 or later and if your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately). If your adjusted gross income is above those amounts, your deduction is reduced incrementally until your income reaches $110,000, after which you are no longer eligible for the deduction.

There is also mortgage insurance available from the Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration and the Rural Housing Service. You can usually deduct the cost of this coverage, but I urge you to use a tax adviser or well-rated tax software instead of figuring out these complicated rules on your own.

Capital improvements – work done to increase the value of your home – can also have tax benefits. If you plan to live in your home for many years and make multiple improvements, the odds of you turning a profit when you sell your house are greater. More profit is good news for the seller, but then taxes must be paid on any profit past the first $250,000 for single filers or $500,000 for joint filers.

If the money you expect to make from the sale of your home exceeds these amounts, you can benefit from deducting the cost of your capital improvements. The more of these costs you add, the smaller your profit is in the end and the less you pay in taxes.

The trick is in knowing what improvements are eligible. Basic repairs are not, unless your home was damaged by fire or natural disaster.

Eligible improvements have to last for more than one year and add value to your home, prolong its life or be adapted for new uses. They also have to remain in place when the house is sold, so if you build a new deck but tear it down 15 years later, the cost of building the deck cannot be deducted. IRS Publication 523 has a list of eligible improvements on page 9.

Article orginially found at:…

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:04 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

SOLD! 215 Round House Pl, Clayton

Listed for $599,000

Pending in less then a week!

Additional Photos: Virtual Tour

Beautifully updated three bedroom, two and half bath duet locatedon a quiet court in coveted Oakhurst Country Club. This spacious1,939 square foot duet features abundant natural light, soaringceilings, wood floors, an island kitchen, a two-way fireplace and abackyard perfect for entertaining.

• Appealing island kitchen with tile counters, wood floors, stove top with oven, microwave, and breakfast nook with large windows

• Spacious living rooms with vaulted ceilings, wood floors, two way gas fireplace and ceiling fan

• Elegant formal dining room with designer paint

• Roomy master suite with vaulted ceilings, walk-in closet, dual sinks and tub with shower

• Large guest rooms with plenty of closet space

• Guest bathroom with dual sinks and shower over tub

• Delightful entertaining backyard with deck

• Attached garage with ample storage space

• Great HOA ($274 a month) with amenities that include a community pool, walking trails and playground.

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

SOLD 1267 Honey Trail, Walnut Creek

Offered at $489,000

Sold for $510,000

Additional Photos: Virtual Tour

Beautifully updated two bedroom condo located close to great shopping, restaurants, freeway access and BART. This condo features amazing Australian Cypress wood floors, updated kitchen with plenty of natural light, large bedrooms and a patio area great for entertaining.

* Spacious family room with beautiful wood floors, gas fire place,

recessed lighting and an abundance of light

* Eat in kitchen, with recessed lighting, ample counter space and

plenty of cabinet space

* Large bedrooms with extra closet space and mirrored closet doors

* Upstairs bathroom has two sinks with shower over the tub

* Backyard patio with mature plants and stamped concrete. Great

for entertaining.

* Inside Laundry

* Carport with two parking spots

HOA amenities include: Pool and Greenbelt ($350 a month)

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:02 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

SOLD 1427 Los Vecinos, Walnut Creek

Offered at $639,000

Sold for $655,000

Additional Photos: Virtual Tour

Immaculately maintained and beautifully updated single story two bedroom, two bathroom townhouse located close to great shopping, restaurants, park and trails. This townhouse features remodeled kitchen and bathrooms, with an abundance of natural light.

* Large family room with recessed lighting, gas fireplace and large

patio doors leading to great entertaining area

* Remodeled kitchen with newer countertops, cabinets, appliances

and recessed lighting.

* Elegant formal dinning area

* Large master suite with sitting area, private outdoor patio, updated

bathroom with tile floors, newer vanities and toilet.

* Spacious second bedroom with designer paint and outdoor patio

* Guest bathroom has tile floors, newer vanity and toilet

* Attached garage with plenty of storage

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 7:02 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

SOLD 1517 El Sombro, Lafayette

Offered at $999,999

Sold for $1,350,000

Additional Photos: Virtual Tour

Amazing opportunity to own in Lafayette! This approximately 2,509 square foot, mid-century modern, single story home offers four bedrooms, two bathrooms and two large entertaining areas. An abundance of custom windows allow for natural light throughout the home.

Located on a private cul-de-sac this home sits on an incredible .535 acre flat lot with beautiful mature trees and a serene setting.

* Master Wing of the home features a spacious bedroom with large

windows overlooking the courtyard, a fireplace and private hallway

to the bathroom.

* Additional three bedrooms feature large closets, custom windows

and carpeted floors.

* Distinctive kitchen with uniquely designed cabinets.

* Family room overlooks the sparkling pool and welcomes you to the


Bring your imagination; the possibilities are endless on this extraordinary home and lot.

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 6:59 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized

The Colors That Help (and Hurt) Your Home’s Selling Potential

When decorating a home it’s easy to appeal to your own personal taste: A kitchen painted your favorite shade of red, or a brightly colored statement chair in your living room, can instantly make a new house feel like home.

But, if you’re ever planning to sell your home, you should know how your color choices now will affect a buyer’s view of your home later.

In a recent survey by Better Homes and Gardens, 400 homeowners were polled on the colors they’re most and least attracted to. The results showed strong preferences—not just for color in general, but also for how and whereeach hue was used.

Avoid these three colors

Orange, black, and violet: Of the homeowners polled, 58% said they’re least likely to decorate with orange, claiming it’s “way too loud.” Black and violet followed, snagging the second and third spots on the list of colors homeowners would rather live without.

A fan of these condemned tones? Well, we’re not saying they’re banned. Just try to limit them to small surfaces and keep them off your walls—they can be overpowering for buyers.

Don’t oversaturate your interior

When it comes to color, the biggest fear among homeowners (read: your potential future buyers) is that they’ll get sick of the color they’ve chosen. That means if you’re going to use saturated hues, you’re going to want to see them limited to certain rooms and decor.

Those polled ranked the living room (63%), kitchen (53%), and bathroom (52%) as the top three spots where color is most likely to be used. In other spots, you’ll want to go easy on the saturated shades—specifically, the foyer (36%), dining room (24%), and adult bedroom (24%).

Think accent, not statement

When it comes to buyer-friendly decor, you can still use the colors you want, but small doses are best: 41% of participants preferred using color as an accent throughout the home.

We think you know what this means. Leave large surfaces—walls, floors, and ceilings—neutral to act as a backdrop for your furnishings and accessories. When it comes time for a walk-through or open house, the potential new owners can imagine their life and belongings in the home without being overwhelmed by your design.

Go bold—outside

Have a penchant for color but afraid of the consequences when you go to sell? Take that personality to the exterior of your home and opt for a front door in a shade other than white.

Bringing a touch of color to the front of your home will feel welcoming. But keep it to the front door or shutters—only 8% say a bold-colored exterior would be something they’d consider.

Feeling blue is actually a good thing

When it comes to decor, that is.

The calming shade won the most affection from homeowners, with 62% favoring a palette rich in blues. The fervor for earthy hues continues with green as the second favorite; neutrals follow as the most common choice on interior walls.

So, whether you’re hoping your house sells in the next 20 minutes or you’re planning to put it up for sale in 20 years, you should consider the consequences of your color choices.

During your time in a home, decorate for yourself (and enjoy it!). Opt for a throw or a bright piece of artwork to add personality to neutral-colored rooms. And, if you so dare, paint a room in a bold shade—just be ready to repaint or tone it down with neutral furniture when it’s time to move on.

Article originally found at:…

Posted on January 7, 2019 at 6:59 pm
The Hurlbut Team | Category: Uncategorized