Category Archives for Investors

#1 Reason to Buy Now

Prices continue to rise and we have not seen interest rates follow suite. Act fast because once interest rates take off, we will see the market dip just like we did in August and September of 2013.  We probably have another year and a half of upside so Buy now!

Should We Wait or Should We Go?


I'm being asked over and over, " Should we list our home now or wait till the Spring? "   In answering this question, I have always been cautious in advising a Seller to first get a home perfectly prepared for a sale and then go on market.   Prepare, prepare, prepare has been my motto and it has served my clients well.  We are now seeing the Livermore real estate market changing.  As a result, I am now advising Sellers to quickly prepare a home and hit market before winter when inventories will slow and rise in the Spring. 

Now that we are at the beginning of August and the market for listings in Livermore is heating up, we are seeing more competition from other Sellers.   Unfortunately, with the increase in inventory we are seeing it becoming slightly more difficult to sell some homes.  By Winter I suspect that we will see homes sit on market for a period of time.  This is unlike anything we have seen over the last year and 10 months.  The Spring of 2014 will seem like a more "normal" market where supply and demand is more in line. Instead of 15-20 offers on some listings we will be lucky to see 5 or 6.  This has already started to occur. 

If you are considering a sale, I can help you prepare quickly. I work with an incredible team who is waiting to assist you.  Contact me for a complimentary appointment today.

Natalie Swanson


Creative Buying in Livermore


Rent backs, appraisal contingencies or lack thereof, offering over list-price, and Buyer paid Seller closing costs are all open for discussion in this market.  If you are not discussing whose paying for these items when you make an offer on a property you are possibly putting yourself at a disadvantage.  We have customary ways of doing things but nowadays, that's all thrown out the window.  I sometimes call it " paying the piper " or " chips all in " mentality.  When you find the right house, lay it all out on the line.  Offer a price so that you have no regrets later for not having offered $1,000 more.  You need to know and feel like you did what you could.  

Frustration can come when you don't learn these things early on. Regret and remorse starts to creep in.   I try to explain this to people yet there are still some that stick to the last several sold properties to determine their estimated value.  The problem with this is that the target  you are aiming to hit is moving in the upward direction .  My suggestion is to determine the top of value and then offer higher.  If you lack cash, if your agent is inexperienced and doesn't have relationships with the other agents, or if your offer package is incomplete and presented poorly, the chances of your offer being selected is low. 

Using an expert in the area pays off. Ask them what they would offer if they were wanting to buy the home. Consider the use of a nicely worded Buyer cover letter.  Consider using  a " smart offer". Don't know what that is?  Call me.   When the day finally comes when you are the lucky bidder, you will have a sense of elation and then a sense of " Did I pay too much? "  In this market you will feel like you over-paid.  I can guarantee that 6 months from now, in this rising market, you will look back and think ….wow…I got a deal. 

Thinking of buying?  Thinking of Selling?  Call me. I'm happy to discuss the best plan of action based on your situation.


Natalie Swanson 925-580-9829

Coming Soon! Home for sale in Jensen Tract Livermore

Coming soon to Livermore – 237 Cambridge Way

1,284 sqft 3 bdrm 2 bath home is located in the heart of Livermore.

Fresh and clean, ready for new owners. This home features remodeled kitchen

and baths. Manicured front and backyards and much more!

Always available to answer questions.

Natalie Swanson


Coming Soon! 565 Leah Ln. Mountain House

Beautiful 2 story Turnkey home in great location near park and school.   This 2,865 sqft home features 4 bedroom 3.5 baths, granite countertops, 18 inch tile. 

Check back for more details on this super clean home.   If you know anyone needing the market knowledge and experience to get things done quickly, please contact me today. Whether selling your home or buying, we can help!

Natalie Swanson


Obama Signs American Tax Payer Relief Act

The now signed bill includes a provision to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which will for one more year exempt the taxation of mortgage debt that is forgiven when homeowners and their mortgage lenders negotiate a short sale or loan modification (including any principal reduction).  While debt relief has been extended at the federal level, the California exemption expired at the end of 2012, so forgiven mortgage debt is considered taxable state income for now.

Here are other housing-related provisions included in the federal law:

  • The “Pease Limitations” that reduced the value of itemized deductions, including the mortgage interest deduction, are permanently repealed for most taxpayers but will be reinstituted for high income filers.  This provision reduces a taxpayer's itemized deductions by 3 percent of the amount of his or her adjusted gross income (AGI) that exceeds the threshold amount.  Under the new law, the Pease thresholds are $300,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $250,000 for single taxpayers (i.e., a married couple with an AGI of $400,000 would be $100,000 over the threshold; the couple’s deductions would be reduced by $3,000 which is 3% of $100,000).  No matter how high a taxpayer's AGI, the Pease reduction cannot exceed 20 percent of the amount of itemized deductions otherwise allowable for the year.  
  • The restoration of a tax deduction for mortgage-insurance premiums, including premiums paid to the Federal Housing Administration and private mortgage insurers.  This provision expired at the end of 2011 but has now been retroactively extended for all of 2012 as well as 2013.
  • 10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012.
  • Capital gains rates will remain at 15 percent for those earning less than $400,000 (individual) and $450,000 (joint).   Gains above those income levels will be taxed at 20 percent.  Gains on thesale of principal residences will remain unchanged and continues to exclude the first $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 taxpayers filing jointly.
  • For more details contact your accountant or real estate attorney.

3290 Maguire #101 Dublin: NEW LISTING

Very nice 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo at the Terraces in Dublin.  Don't miss this ground floor unit.  It has a great location with courtyard access.   Community amenities include pool, work out room, theatre room, and more!  Close to park, bart and every important place you need to go!!  Traditional Sale!  Call me for details.

Natalie Swanson

homes@natalieswanson. com

8 Hot Tips on Buying Livermore Homes in a Tight Market


Tips on Buying in a Tight Market    

Increase your chances of getting your dream house instead of losing it to another buyer, with these easy steps.

  1. Get prequalified for a mortgage BEFORE you do anything.  Nothing is more frustrating to a buyer as when they see a house they like and find out later they can't afford it.  A good agent helps a buyer put first things FIRST.

  2. Stay in close touch with your AGENT to find out first about new listings that come on the market. BE ready to act QUICKLY.   You cannot afford to wait in this type of market. 

  3. Scout out new listings yourself. Look at Internet sites, newspaper ads, and drive by your favorite neighborhoods frequently.  Your agent isn't the only one who can locate " pocket " listings.  Work together to find the perfect home. 

  4. MAKE A DECISION QUICKLY.  Spend lots of time in advance deciding what you must have so you won’t be unsure when you have the chance to make an offer.  This isn't the time to wait for Grandma, and Aunt Sally to come see the home before you decide to make an offer.  No laughing matter, this happens frequently.  In the mean time, the Seller is quickly signing another buyer's offer. 

  5. Bid competitively. You sometimes may not want to start out offering the highest price you can afford, but don’t try to go too low to get a deal. In a tight market, you’ll lose out.  Is losing your dream home over a $1,000 going to bother you?  If so, present your "highest and best" offer and don't worry about the other guy.  You may not get a second chance.

  6. Keep contingencies to a minimum. Restrictions such as needing to sell your home before you move or wanting to delay the closing until a certain date will make your offer unappealing. In a tight market, you’ll probably be able to sell your house rapidly.  To take advantage of this market, plan on staying in interim housing until you find the perfect home. 

  7. Don’t get caught in a buying frenzy. Just because there’s competition doesn’t mean you should just buy anything. And even though you want to make your offer attractive, don’t neglect inspections that help ensure that your house is sound.  

  8. Nothing is more important than working with an area specialist.  Using local agents gives you an inside track with these same local listing agents.  Looking for  home today?

  9. Oh,  and the last tip???     Call me.    I can help.   I'm local expert.   Natalie Swanson   925-580-9829

What Are Tri-Valley Real Estate Investors Facing Today?

Investors are facing fierce competition,  lots of cash buyers, and a trend that has curbed the tide of foreclosures.

If you are just now trying your hand at buying investment property in Livermore and Pleasanton,  you may have missed the boat.  It seem the boat  left last year.  Back when regular folks were lamenting about the horrible market, savvy investors were picking up sweet deals left and right.  Fearful buyers worried why nobody else was bidding on the property they seems interested in.  Boy, how quickly things change. One smart client who picked up two great deals in Livermore last year in the $219k-$230k range now would see these same two homes sell for at least $240k – $260k.  To say she did well, is an understatement.  The lower end has jumped.  This jump was inevitable.  

Entering the market today you will find that the savers have come out of the wood-work.  They are flush with CASH, CASH, CASH.   Multiple offers are not only common in the Tri-Valley, they are being seen all over the California.  Investing has become quite popular and if you enter the arena you will be met with fierce competition.   What might be stopping investors now??   Bulk purchasing, that's what.

Bulk foreclosure purchases are competed by hedge funds and large organizations. They are being allowed to purchase large quantities of foreclosures at deep discounts.  They will probably be renting these homes out in a hot rental market.   I'm sure eventually they will be fixed up and sold for a hefty profit as well.  This shrinking of "potential inventory" is taking it's toll on the middle investor. The middle investor is the guy who works on a team at the county courthouse helping others buy homes,  or the one who tries to  " flip " homes by purchasing in the resale market.   The courthouse auctions are getting bid up with the inflow of "green" investors, making the good deals less and less likely.   Unless foreclosures get released singularly,  we will continue to see a battle go on with buyers trying purchase their investments.  Simple supply and demand dictate this. 

If you are interested in picking up your first investment property please contact me.  Although it is challenging,  it is not impossible.  With some due diligence and preparation, you too can take advantage of some fantastic deals. 

Natalie Swanson


1 2 3