Happy New Year! I am thrilled to be welcoming 2021 after such a challenging 2020.
With a new year comes new goals. I’ve spent the last week planning my business and life goals, and have consulted with about a dozen clients and friends who are planning renovations or estate changes and have a lot of questions about where to start. You may also be cooking up some moves and wondering where to begin.
Here are a few real estate activities you may be considering for 2021, and what you can do now to make them happen:
Renovating or repairing: Ready to spruce up that kitchen or bath—or add that ensuite bedroom? Need to paint, replace the roof, fix the foundation? Now is a good time to get names and contact info for related professionals, and then get in touch to schedule a consultation. Larger renovations need a lot of lead time, and the good contractors, architects and engineers are in demand. Exterior painting or roof work are seasonal, which means it’s important to get on the calendar early.
Transferring property within your family: Recently passed Prop 19 will reduce or eliminate some generous tax breaks that families get when property is transferred from parents to children. These new rules go into effect starting February 16th, so now is the time to consult your estate attorney and your CPA if you need to take any action. And do that as soon as possible, as the SF Assessor’s Office is expecting a high volume of document submissions in mid February and recommends early submission.
Buying your first home: Priority number one is getting your financing in order so you know how much you can afford. Now is a good time to contact a mortgage lender and get preapproved for a loan. Let the lender run your credit, and submit all requested documentation. Your goal is to end up with a letter from the lender that specifies how much of a loan it will grant. You can then take next steps with your Realtor to see what inventory is available and within your price range.
Trading up from your current home to a new one: You may have outgrown your present home, or have different needs now. Do you have to sell first in order to buy? Can you swing what’s called a bridge loan, so you can buy first and sell after you move? It’s a good time to consult your Realtor and your mortgage lender. You’ll need to have a handle on your current home’s value, as well as how much your targeted new home will cost.
Moving from your longtime home to the next one: If you’re 55 or older and are aiming to downsize or move within California this year, now is the time to get straight on the other part of Prop 19—the property tax transfer rules. Prop 19 now lets you move anywhere in the state and carry your current property tax base with you. It’s a great time to talk with your Realtor about your home’s value, and also get a referral to a great agent in the area to which you’re moving. You can then make a step-by-step, organized plan for making your move happen.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org | 415.823.4656 if you’d like recommendations for the tradespeople and professionals you’ll need to achieve your goals this year. I am also able to schedule a time to chat if you’re just starting to plan your home purchase or sale. This is all part of my job, and I am always happy to meet my readers!