Tuesday, June 2, 2015

3 Tips for Moving with Kids

Moving is complex. Moving with children is even more challenging. Some of their anxieties and fears over relocating may seem petty to adults, but they are nevertheless real. You could probably tell your children they are moving to Disneyland and, after the initial ecstasy wore off, they'd still feel torn.

Let's take a look at some tips for making a smooth transition when moving with kids.
1. Talk to Your Child
The circumstances that brought you to packing up your home and relocating have a lot to do with how your children feel about the situation. Divorce, death and other traumatic events leave them with more questions than they would have if the move is to take a job or for other, happier reasons.

Regardless of the circumstances, the best way to prepare your children is to communicate with them. Ask probing questions to get to the root of their fears, and urge them to talk about them. Answer all questions honestly. "Children require play-by-play explanations and day-by-day reassurance," says Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D at PsychCentral.

Although it's OK to let the kids know that you too are sad, according to Hartwell-Walker, try to get the focus off the sad or frightening aspects by sharing the more exciting possibilities of the move.
2. Get Your Kids Involved
It's easy for children to feel like the move is being forced on them, regardless of how they feel about it. If you involve them in the process, they'll feel more invested in it.

Let them help in the hunt for a new school or new house. Ask for their opinions about what type of neighborhood you should choose and what they want in a new house.

One fun way of involving the children is to make a family wish list, according to Kate Brophy of Parents Magazine. "This will help you reach a consensus on some of the things you all want from your new home: a bigger backyard, a basement playroom, separate rooms for the kids," Brophy says.

If it's possible, take the kids house hunting in the new area. Let them see the school they'll be attending. This makes the new town less of an unknown and far less scary. If it isn't possible to take them with you, sit them down and show them online photos of the new community.
3. Help Them Say Goodbye
One of the hardest parts of moving, even for adults, is saying goodbye to friends and family. Older children, such as preteens and teens, seem to have the most difficult time, according to the experts at The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

"In general, the older the child, the more difficulty he or she will have with the move because of the increasing importance of the peer group. Preteens and teenagers may repeatedly protest the move, or ask to stay in their hometown with a friend's family," they claim.

Throw a goodbye party so the entire family can say goodbye en masse, or just throw a kids' party. "Be sure to have a special address book at the party where friends can write down their contact information," says Allison Bisbey Colter for HGTV Front Door. She goes on to mention a mom who placed self-addressed stamped cards in the goody bags. The child "got mail (at the new address) for a long time," she quotes.

Help the kids say goodbye to the places that mean a lot to them as well. If the family spent a lot of time at a park, visit it once more. Restaurants that you frequent deserve one last visit as well.

Saying goodbye to all that is familiar is challenging for children, and experts say that it will be at least six months in the new location until the grief and anxiety wear off, according to Caroline Schaefer of Parents Magazine.
Help them through this transition by assisting with letter writing, setting up Skype so that the kids can see and talk to their old friends, and getting them out and about, discovering the new city.

Your Local Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group
Direct: 619-250-4541  
DRE #01443193

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Don't Let Your Home Fall Out of Escrow

It’s that moment you’ve been waiting for. The offers have rolled in for your home and you’ve finally accepted one. You open escrow…but what happens if something goes wrong?

Check out this article from RealtyTimes about what to do so that your home doesn’t fall out of escrow!

When you're ready to buy a home, contact your local Real Estate expert, Stephen Nissou & Nissou Realty Group! I will help you make this a smooth transaction so that you don't fall out of escrow!

Give me a call today! 619-250-4541 or Stephen@StephenNissou.com!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group
Direct: 619-250-4541  

CalBRE #01443193

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The 6 Most Essential Homebuyer tips!

Are you ready to stop renting and start owning your own home?  A survy of 400 real estate professionals found that these are the most important tips for homebuyers. Here they are!

1. Get a home inspection to evaluate the safety, overall condition of your new home. 

2) Before you start house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

3) Direct all communications with the seller through your real estate agent.

4) Get the seller to put every component of the deal and any verbal agreement into writing.

5) Include important contingencies, such as financing, and property inspections with your offer.

6) Come up with a realistic wish list - what you can afford in terms of house size, neighborhood, and amenities. 

But here's the top property for homebuyers: WORK WITH A REAL ESTATE AGENT!
Real estate agents are...

- Pricing experts! Agents will know if a house is overprices or underpriced.

- Financing Whizzes! Agents can help you understand your many financing options.

- Master Negotiators! Agents can get you the price and terms and conditions you want.

- Skilled House Hunters! Agents know of unlisted homes for sale and have personally visited many listings.

-Paperwork-tacklers! Agents can easily tear through 100 pages of closing documents.

For more tips about home buying, or to schedule a consultation, contact me today!

Your Local Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group
Direct: 619-250-4541  

CalBRE #01443193

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Red Day at Keller Williams Realty 2015

Nissou Realty Group is celebrating #KellerWilliamsElCajon #REDDay! RED Day, introduced in 2009, is KW’s day of giving back to the community! RED stands for Renew, Energize, and Donate! Each year on the second Thursday of May, associates from all over the world spend the day away from their businesses serving worthy organizations and causes in their communites. RED Day is just one more example of our commitment to one another and to the cities and towns where we live and work!

Today, we are out beautifying Lake Jennings Park! Be part of all the fun!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Avoid These 5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

According to the dictionary, a mistake is an error resulting from deficient knowledge or carelessness. While we can't do anything about carelessness, when it comes to counseling first-time homebuyers, the real estate agent is a tremendous resource to help overcome knowledge deficiency.

That homebuyers lack knowledge about the process only makes sense when you understand that shopping for a home may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some. Certainly, it's not something most Americans do frequently. The process is foreign and the pitfalls are hidden. This is why it's so important to find the right real estate agent to assist you along the way.

Let's take a look at some of the most common first-time homebuyer mistakes.

Mistake 1: Not Being Clear About Money
Going into a home purchase with your eyes closed to your finances is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the process. Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, yet that's what you open yourself up to when you are ignorant about where you stand financially.

If you are unsure about your credit-worthiness, order your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. By law, Americans are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months. You can order your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only authorized website, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Look for errors on the reports and dispute any erroneous information. Pay off what you can to help lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Then, see a lender to determine exactly how much you can borrow for a home.
Finally, when you have that figure, don't be tempted to shop for homes priced at the limit. Give your post-purchase budget some monthly wiggle room by purchasing at the middle of the price range, or a bit more.

Mistake 2: Not Being Clear About Your Wants and Needs
While you may not get everything on a wish list, it's a good idea to compile one – especially if more than one person will be living in the home.

Understand that your wish list isn't set in stone and you can plan on it changing once you start viewing homes. During the home-shopping process, you will get a better idea of which items are feasible with your budget and which will have to be struck from the list. Knowing what you want and need in a home is vital to your long-term satisfaction, so it's worth the time it takes to sit down and make a list.

Don't neglect the neighborhood wish list either. Do you need to be close to public transportation? If you'd like a family neighborhood with lots of kids for yours to play with, put that on the list.

The bonus to getting clear on your wants and needs is that when you share the list with your real estate agent, your time won't be wasted by viewing homes that don't fit your criteria.

Mistake 3: Not Reading the HOA Documents
If the home you decide to make an offer on is managed by a homeowners association, you'll be presented with a stack of paperwork to read over and approve. These are the HOA documents and, although terribly boring, they hold a wealth of valuable information that you must be privy to before making the final decision to purchase the property.

These documents govern how you can use your home, and they give you an idea of how much and how often your fees might rise. You'll learn about common and ongoing problems the association deals with and how financially solvent the association is.

Don't be like the couple that purchased a condo without reading the HOA documents and found out, three days after closing, that they - along with all the other homeowners - were being assessed $7,500 to remedy construction defects.

If you don't feel that you can read and understand the information in these documents, it's important to hire an attorney to help you wade through them.

Mistake 4: Making Big Changes
The best part of the home-purchase process is that point during the transaction when inspections are complete, all the contingencies have been removed, and it feels like smooth sailing to the close.

Unfortunately, this is a danger zone for rookie homebuyers. This is typically when they start picturing themselves actually living in the home and the urge may be overwhelming to shop for furniture, appliances and other big-ticket items.

Just before closing, many lenders perform what is known as a "soft pull" of your credit reports. It's called "soft" because it doesn't impact your score in any way. It's the lender's way of making sure all the circumstances under which it approved the loan haven't changed.

Any big changes you make, such as large purchases or getting a new job, may derail or delay the purchase. If the new debt you've taken on is substantial enough, it may change your debt-to-income ratio and you may be forced to reapply for the mortgage.

Keep your pocketbook closed and remain on your current job until you walk away from the closing table.

Mistake 5: Waiving the Home Inspection
Although foregoing a home inspection was unthinkable a few years ago, in a seller's market where multiple offers are common, it's tempting to agree to waive the home inspection as an incentive for the seller to pick your offer. It's also not very wise.

A professional inspection, even of a newly constructed home, may be the only way you'll know whether you're buying a lemon or a plum - a money pit or a smart investment.

When you forego a professional home inspection, you're essentially buying the home "as is." Without the inspection contingency, the buyer waives his right to ask for repairs or money to make the repairs.

Waiving the home inspection is never worth the risk.

Knowing how much home you can afford is paramount to a successful home purchase. Making the decision to remain within a certain budget, doing all you can to clean up your credit to get the lowest interest rate possible, and becoming clear on your desires and expectations all help to make the home-buying process as error-free as possible.

Your Local Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct 619-250-4541   |   Office 619-873-2772

CALBRE # 01443193

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

3 Easy Home Improvements to Help You Sell

Forget, for a moment, about market trends and interest rates. At any given time, no matter the state of the economy, someone somewhere is selling their home. In any market, homeowners can up the odds that a home sells as quickly and as profitably as possible by giving it a facelift.

Sellers should focus on home improvement projects that either add value to the home or that attract buyers' eyes and pique their interests. Make them forget any other houses they viewed and want your house instead.

Don't randomly select home improvement projects based on your own tastes or suggestions from friends, either. You won't be the one living in the home, after all. Research houses in your community and compare features and appraisals to get a better idea what people in your area want. A swimming pool may be a popular upgrade in a Southern suburb filled with young couples and families, for instance. But in the North, a hot tub will have greater appeal. A community with older people, no matter where in the country, will probably value a car port or garage over a pool or spa.

Here are three home-improvement project categories that almost anyone can tackle without a large capital investment.
1.Boost Your Curb Appeal
You'll never get a second chance to make a first impression. When potential buyers drive up to your home, if they don't like what they see immediately, they may not get past the exterior to find the great things inside.

It's not about planting expensive trees, installing fountains or other fancy upgrades. In fact, some of the most value-added outdoor home-improvement projects cost little to nothing, except for your time. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) suggests some of the following property improvements:

Get out your pruning shears: If your home is on the market, keeping the lawn mowed is a given. Keeping plants and flowers watered is also essential. Pruning trees, shrubs and other greenery is more easily overlooked, but it is one of those touches that will make your home stand out. Follow a pruning guide, like the one provided by Better Homes and Gardens, to get the most out of your efforts.

Dig into some mulch: Mulching is another often overlooked landscaping project with a tremendous impact. It helps conserve moisture, protects roots, discourages weeds, and other benefits. You can choose between all-natural mulches and decorative mulches, such as stone. You can even use compost that you create yourself or mown grass and fallen leaves.

Show off your green thumb: Purchase outdoor containers that complement your home's style and plant something unusual or interesting, NAR suggests. Place plants on the patio or around the home's entrance to immediately create a more appealing exterior. Plant bright flowers and foliage to provide a splash of color.

Clean up your home's exterior: Spend a weekend cleaning your gutters, windows and especially your siding, among other exterior items. Rent or purchase a power washer for a very affordable price to really make your home shine.
2. Add a Coat of Paint
Like a wash and wax for your car, a new coat of paint makes anything look better and brighter. To improve your home's value and attract buyers, consider a fresh paint job, inside and out.

The "safe" advice is to choose neutral colors, such as beige and off-white, and to avoid vibrant or gender-specific hues such as orange, purple or red. However, safe isn't always the best bet, argues real estate agent Todd Kroepel. "Keeping a home vanilla so that buyers can choose their own style and décor … ignores the fact that most buyers lack the ability to visualize the home differently," he cautions. Don't be afraid to add splashes of color and a touch of texture—it can be good to leave a dash of style evident.

Consider painting an accent wall in your living room with a contrasting color, or add some texturizing product instead. Adding hand-painted borders in the bathroom, by using stencils that run vertically or horizontally, is another classy touch.

Before painting, outside or in, ensure that the surface is clean and properly prepared. Use a primer to cover previously unfinished areas or bare wood, to better cover over dark or bold colors, or to block out stains. Inside your home, sand surfaces slightly if you don't use a primer, to help paint adhesion.
3. Update the Kitchen or Bathroom
Everyone appreciates a well-put-together and comfortable bathroom or kitchen. Renovations to these two rooms usually generate buyer interest and offer a high rate of return on investment when it comes time to sell.

Updates don't always require a large expenditure and a messy, lengthy remodeling period either. Some of the simplest things can change the entire feel of the room. Do as much, or as little, as you choose—just don't get too attached to the results.
Replace sink and bathtub fixtures: Switch out generic faucets and handles for newer, better-quality hardware. Think about using brass for a startling contrast, or select a style completely different from the current one.

Install a new sink: As long as you're replacing faucets and such, why not replace the bathroom or kitchen sink as well?

Refinish the cabinets: Solid wood responds well to sanding and refinishing with stain and a polyurethane top coat, or even paint. Newer cabinets often require refacing with veneer instead. Veneer kits make the job fairly simple: Adhere the material to the cabinet box (the portion left after removing doors and drawers) and then purchase new drawer fronts and cabinet doors to complete the makeover.

Upgrade your countertops: Replace laminate with stone, tile or even a concrete countertop. If you have old ceramic tile, clean or regrout to refresh the look.

Add lighting and accessories: Think in layers when it comes to lighting. Adding accent lights or task lights in any room of the house makes it more visually appealing. Other little touches include changing door knobs, light switch and outlet covers, or installing ceiling fans or a medicine cabinet. Consider swapping old light switches with dimmer switches or energy-saving, programmable lighting controls.

Highlight energy-savers: Speaking of saving energy, programmable thermostats, upgraded insulation and proper weatherproofing are music to many home buyers' ears.
While you can hire professionals to do the work for you, rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself will increase the amount you recoup when you sell your home. Each project will increase the value of your property, no matter where you live, and help you sell your home faster.

Your local San Diego real estate expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct 619-250-4541  |   Office 619-873-2772
CalBRE # 01443193

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Bring Nature Inside

What do you love most about nature and the outdoors? Is it the first sign of spring blooms, the colorful autumn foliage, or maybe the smell of fresh cut grass on a warm summer day? Do you enjoy the soothing sound of a trickling creek or a bright blue sky on a sunny day?

Incorporate these organic elements into your décor and invite nature into your home.
Don't Block Natural Views

One of the easiest ways to invite nature into your home is to ensure a direct connection through glass doors and windows. Leave them undressed to welcome in sunlight and enjoy unobstructed views of the outdoors. When safety and privacy are concerns, dress windows in airy, natural fibers that allow daylight indoors and can be easily opened. Ensure that windows are operable so that you can enjoy fresh air and relaxing breezes.
What Is Your Natural Color?
Choose a natural color palette for your home interior that represents your connection to the outdoors. Warm browns or hues of gold will evoke a hotter, arid climate. Shades of blue or green will remind you of the sky, water, tree foliage and grasses.
Incorporate Natural Elements
It is important to pull in natural elements for capturing an organic look and feel in your home design. Varieties of stone can work well for countertops and flooring. A stone hearth would make a fantastic addition, and consider incorporating an entire accent wall of stone or simply adding detail to archways.

Wood is another natural material that can provide a direct connection to the outdoors. Wood makes an excellent flooring option and is also durable and easy to maintain. Plan early to incorporate wood beams into your design, and leave rafters exposed for a rugged, organic look.
Nature-Inspired Décor
Another easy way to invite nature into your home is through natural décor. Consider furniture, window treatments, pillows and throws made from natural materials and fibers such as wood, cotton, wool, rattan or natural grasses. Stick to an earthy color palette.

Display items that are found in nature such as sea shell varieties, birdhouses made from bark, or hurricane vases filled partially with river rock and topped with candles. Add beloved animal figurines and photos exhibiting some of your favorite outdoor scenes or personal memories.

The easiest way to add a touch of nature to your home is with houseplants and flowers. They also improve air quality, so be generous and add them throughout your home. Decorative terrariums in beautiful glass containers are an elegant option. For an eclectic look, create vases using glass jars and bottles in varying sizes, shapes and colors, and use them to hold seasonal flowers or even sprigs of ivy.

Stimulate your senses by adding scented candles to mimic your favorite natural scents, such as lavender, basil or pine. Consider purchasing or constructing a water feature if you enjoy the sound of a trickling creek or a rushing waterfall.

To bring your relationship with nature into your home, create an indoor environment that represents your most beloved outdoor experiences.

For more tips and decor style, please visit our Pinterest page!

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
Direct 619-250-4541  |   Office 619-873-2773
CalBRE # 01443193