All posts by "Mary Pizzimenti"

Perks of a Buyer’s Agent

Mary Pizzimenti 07/18/2014

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Title Image | Who's Who and Who Pays for What When Buying a Home

Are you in the market to buy a home? Finding the right home at the right price can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the necessary experience or knowledge to negotiate a good deal. If you have the right professional team that knows how the process works from beginning to end, it can help make your home buying experience far more enjoyable.

Who Pays For A Real Estate Agent’s Commission?

There are many people involved in the home buying process, including the seller, buyer, listing agent, and possibly buyer’s agent. The seller almost always uses a listing agent to put the home on the market in hopes of attracting a buyer. The seller is responsible for paying the listing agent through commission out of the selling price of the home. In addition to the listing agent on the seller’s behalf, a buyer’s agent can (and should) be used by the buyer. The buyer’s agent represents the buyer’s best interest when buying a home. This agent is paid out of the same commission given to the listing agent.

If you’re the one looking to buy a new home, having a buyer’s agent on your side is always a great idea. By using a buyer’s agent, you will have a knowledgeable professional who will be able to negotiate the best deal for you, not the seller. You’d think that hiring a buyer’s agent would cost you money, but since a buyer’s agent is paid through the commission on the home, neither you nor the seller will have any additional costs. Instead, the listing agent and buyer’s agent will split the same amount of commission in half. This allows you to get the best deal at no cost to you at all.

We hope you enjoy our Info Graphic, “Who’s Who (…and Who Pays for What) When Buying a Home?” If you have any questions or would like to talk about any of this information we’re available to chat. Call or Email us Today!

Leave Us Your Comments

Did you know how real estate agent commissions were paid? Was there something you believed about the commission that isn’t true? Do you have any further questions about real estate commission? Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to leave us your comments. We’d love to hear what you think. Or feel free to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Infographic explaining why you shouldn't purchase a home without representation. In California Real Estate a Buyer's Agent doesn't 'cost' the buyer anything. Since the home costs the same price whether you have an agent or not why shouldn't you have an expert on your side?
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Small Town Atmosphere Close to Everything

Mary Pizzimenti 03/21/2014

There’s something nice about living in a small town. You know everybody. You feel safe. Everybody roots for the same high school football team. When you look at homes for sale in Grass Valley, these are things that make you think it’s a good place to live. 

Then again, there is that nagging voice in the back of your head, the one that says small towns are insulated and can’t offer your family the cultural exposure you want them to have. That voice asks you about art museums and concerts, multi-cultural cuisine and intellectual discourse. Now’s the time for you to tell that little voice just how wrong it is. 

The homes for sale in Grass Valley aren’t thousands of miles from civilization. In fact, Nevada City is just 10 minutes away. Visiting an artist or other cultural offering barely means having to leave home! For a little excitement, there’s a thriving nightlife that the San Francisco Guardian said was reminiscent of Savannah or New Orleans, and any of the regions’ wineries are sure to provide an outlet for your need for a little culinary exploration. 

And let’s be honest, shall we? 

How often do you really take advantage of those so-called opportunities in the city? Between fighting the crowds and hunting for parking, not to mention the cost of tickets, events can be burdensome. But that little voice keeps telling us that at least they are there if we want them. 

Tell that little voice the big city attractions will still be there, but in Grass Valley or Nevada City you’ll also have the option of small town festivals, friendly neighbors and quiet nights. What more could you ask for?

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Finding a Rocklin Home for Your Family

Mary Pizzimenti 03/21/2014

Finding the perfect place for your family to call home can be difficult, but Rocklin homes for sale have all the charm of a 1950s television show, with all the modern amenities you want and need. 

We may not really want to live in the ‘50s, but those old black-and-white television shows sure made their neighborhoods look appealing. People knew their neighbors, children rode their bikes in safety, and Saturdays were meant for mowing the lawn and barbequing in the backyard. That idyllic dream of a safe place to raise your family, complete with beautiful homes and nice neighbors, doesn’t have to be a daydream or wishful thinking. 

Rocklin homes for sale can meet almost any family budget, and the community is close enough to outdoor recreation options that an afternoon spent hiking in the nearby Sierra Nevada Foothills or fishing at Folsom Lake with the family isn’t out of the question. You just might want something a bit more modern than an old cane pole! 

Enjoying the natural beauty of Rocklin doesn’t mean forgoing the culture of the city. You can treat your spouse to dinner and a show in Sacramento, knowing your children are safe at home just half an hour away. 

To enjoy the advantages of small city living, from Little League to the PTA, your home in Rocklin has all the advantages of Leave it to Beaver, without the need to travel through time. Your perfect home may be awaiting you in a neighborhood where children still play outside safely and your commute doesn’t take all weekend!

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What Your Grass Valley Real Estate Agent Can Do for You

Mary Pizzimenti 03/21/2014

A real estate agent is more than just a person who helps you buy a new home. Your real estate agent acts as your concierge, neighborhood welcome committee, and your advocate when you shop for a new house. When you look for Grass Valley homes for sale, be sure your real estate agent can give you all of these services. 

Real estate agents understand the communities where they sell homes. This means they know where the best restaurants and schools are and where you can find furniture, lighting and home décor accessories. When you move to a new neighborhood or city, you might not know where these businesses are or where to turn for help. Your real estate agent gives you this support when you need it. 

When looking for a new home, you need someone who can help you find the right house, not the most expensive one. Believe it or not, real estate agents want to put you in the best home for your budget. Your agent will be able to help you find out the pros and cons of each home. Is there enough closet space? Do you need a home with more than one bathroom? What is the school district like and will it meet the needs of your family? Real estate agents are experts at matching you with a home that has all the features you are looking for at a price that meets your budget. 

When you shop for Grass Valley homes for sale, be sure to choose a Realtor who wants to be your partner in finding a new home. You should be able to rely on your agent to help you find your home, not just a house.

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How to find Your Dream Home or Condo in Roseville

Mary Pizzimenti 03/21/2014

In today’s housing market, homes sell incredibly fast. Whether you are looking for condos in Roseville, CA, or a single family home in Placer County, it can be overwhelming to attempt to locate your dream home if you just jump in blindly.  Our listings normally receive an offer within a week which means that if you find the home of your dreams, you must act quickly! 

The first step to finding your dream home is to determine exactly what you are looking for in a home. Do you want the advantage of a community pool or exercise room in your condo community? Is it necessary that you be in a certain school district or have a room to use as a home office? Make a list of your requirements before you begin looking. This will help narrow down your search. 

Check online realtor listings and enter some of the things you are looking for in a dream home. This will produce a list of possible homes that meet your needs. You can use online search tools to create a list of the homes you would like to see so that you can present this information to your real estate agent. Your agent will show you the homes you are interested in, and he or she may even have listings you didn’t know about that fit your criteria. You don’t just stumble across a dream home; you have to know what you want in order to find it. 

The more information you can provide to your real estate agent about what you are seeking, the better he or she will be able to find the right home for you. A real estate agent who specializes in condos can help you find your next home in this beautiful area. 

As mentioned previously lets take the links out of the body of the article and place them in the related links. Our blog module provides up to three related links to be entered per post. They should be… 

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Looking Out for My Buyer: A Lesson in Purchasing Rural Property in California

Mary Pizzimenti 10/16/2013

There is a tremendous amount of rather contentious debate about the value (or lack there of) in purchasing Real Estate with a Buyer’s Agent representing you. As a California Real Estate Broker it is obvious where my opinion falls in this debate. Although I do believe there are individuals who are capable of handling the transaction on their own, most individuals DO NOT belong to this group. I’m not here to debate this matter. I’d rather tell you about an example of what it is that a Buyer’s Agent does to protect their Buyer’s best interests; about what it is that I do and what value I bring to the relationship.

A recent client of mine had entered in to a contract to purchase a home on a 3 acre parcel of land in Colfax, CA. The property was an older home and his plan was to remodel it and resell the property in a few years. Our offer was accepted and we were working our way through the Contingency Period. During this period it is the Buyer’s responsibility to do his or her due diligence to make sure they know the condition of the home they are about to purchase. This means it is my responsibility to make sure my client is informed and aware of the results of the various inspections that determine the condition of the property.

One of the last contingencies that had to be cleared was the Domestic Well Inspection. This well inspection tests the property’s well for drinkability and the volume of water it yields. Often rural properties in Placer County are not on sewage or water systems and so septic tanks and leech fields are required to address the waste and well water is required to supply water to the property. If the well doesn’t supply a large enough volume of water, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), it will be very difficult for the well to provide enough water when it is needed by the people living on the property. Generally speaking, anything less than 10 GPM is highly undesirable and would probably require the addition of a storage tank or the drilling of a deeper well.

When I received the Well Inspection Report from the Listing Agent I noticed that the first page was missing. The first page is the page that contains the results of the GPM test. So I contacted the Agent and asked for it. She told me that she had sent it. I informed her that I did not receive it and that she needed to resend it, she eventually did. When I saw the report’s results I was shocked. The inspection results measured the well’s yield at 1.6 GPM. This is well below (no pun intended) the 10 GPM needed to supply water to the Colfax property on demand. Even if the Listing Agent and Owner had no idea the GPM would measure so low, it should have been brought to our attention as soon as the report was received. Instead, they tried to sneak the report past me and my buyer.

Anyone who knows anything about buying and selling rural properties knows that 1.6 gallons per minute would create a very difficult and uncomfortable living situation for my client and his family of five. Costly and time consuming work would need to be done to the property in order to remedy the situation. And even that is shaky at best, as there’s no guarantee that drilling the well deeper would necessarily improve its performance. This meant the Placer County property was no longer as valuable as we had thought and it certainly looked like the Agent had done everything possible to prevent us from discovering this detriment. Needless to say my client and I were terribly unhappy with the deception and we canceled the contract within hours of reading the report.

Yes, it is entirely possible that Randy, my buyer, could have noticed this discrepancy himself. But it’s also possible that with all the changes going on in his life he may have been distracted and missed it. He would’ve ended up purchasing an overpriced property and still have had to spend $20,000 to $40,000 to improve the condition of the well. Or even worse yet, it may have been impossible to improve the performance of the well. The Listing Agent did go out of her way to prevent that information from being seen. That is of course if we are assuming that she didn’t “accidentally” forget to include the ONE page of information that would make the property practically unsellable. But it doesn’t matter if Randy would have noticed their ruse or not because I caught it and we immediately called them to task.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in Real Estate, and in business in general, it’s that there is always something that can go wrong; that WILL go wrong. Staying alert and always looking out for your interests, being prepared for those problems that will arise, and knowing how to fix them; this is what I do. When I am representing you I am looking out for your best interests in your California Real Estate transaction, just like a lawyer looks out for his client’s best interests in court. And you know what they say about someone who represents themselves in a court of law.

I am very well informed concerning purchasing properties that have wells, and I was pleasantly surprised that Mary and her team were as well informed as I was. I am interested in protecting my own interest, but, in my experience, it is rare to have a team that is fighting for my rights as hard as I do. Thanks Mary and team!
~Randy Bivens, PHA Realty Client

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New FHA Program Shows Promise for Consumers Who’ve Suffered from the Housing Crash

Mary Pizzimenti 10/15/2013
Short Sale, Bankruptcy, Foreclosure

In an effort to boost the economy and the housing recovery the HUD announced this week the creation of the FHA Back to Work Extenuation Circumstances program. By recognizing that the credit situation that many consumers currently find themselves in, may have more to do with the irresponsible and possibly illegal actions of others than with poor financial decisions by the consumers themselves, FHA seeks to give a reprieve from the current waiting period that exempts borrowers from qualifying for FHA-backed mortgages for a certain number of years after a bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale, or deed-in-lieu foreclosure. The letter released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on August 15th states, “FHA recognizes the hardships faced by these borrowers, and realizes that their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

Borrowers who can…

  • Provide evidence that an “Economic Event”, “beyond the borrower’s control”, such as a job loss or other serious reduction in pay, impaired the borrower’s credit.
  • Demonstrate full recovery from the event.
  • Complete an hour-long, one-on-one counseling session with the goal of addressing the cause of the Economic Event and the actions taken to overcome and reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence.

…will be granted exemption from FHA’s waiting period for bankruptcies, foreclosures, deeds-in-lieu, and short sales. This period previously lasted up to two years for bankruptcies and up to three years for foreclosures, short sales, and deed-in-lieu of foreclosures.

One of the key phrases is “beyond the borrower’s control.” This demonstrates a willingness to acknowledge that after a serious economic crisis, a consumer’s credit can be severely affected by forces beyond their control and that credit scores should not be the only benchmark used to determine the ability to repay debt. Responsible borrowers can easily find themselves the unwilling victims of the negligent or irresponsible actions of the general public.

It’s too early to tell if the required hoops will be too difficult to jump through and since this Letter released by HUD only loosely defines the qualifications, we will have to wait and see what the net result of the program will be.

The New FHA Back to Work Extenuating Circumstances Program will allow more Homebuyers to Qualify for FHA Backed Loans

Hopefully programs like these will help give a boost to the housing market and the economy, allowing hard-working and responsible consumers to get back in to the housing market and to start rebuilding their credit much quicker. “We have to applaud HUD for reducing the time to get back into the market for the people hit the hardest. An event beyond your control that forces you into another event like foreclosure is a double blow and these people should be allowed to be homeowners again.  Although this will not help everyone it is a step in the right direction,” says Sean Safholm, Regional Vice President with Land/Home Financial Services, Inc.

To learn more about the specifics of this program or to help better determine your eligibility we strongly encourage you to speak with a Loan Specialist at a Mortgage Lender or Mortgage Broker. They will be able to provide you with the knowledge and support to help you decide if the program is right for you and to guide you through the process of completing the application.

You can contact Sean Safholm with Land/Home Financial Services directly, for advice from a trusted member of my business network. Sean can be reached at (888) 415-2000 or

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Nevada County Fall Colors Come to Life

Mary Pizzimenti 09/20/2013
The Fall Colors of Nevada County set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

It’s that time of year again, the last vestiges of the summer heat are slowly fading away and the days are getting shorter. In Nevada County that means it’s time for the hills and mountains to spring to life with vibrant shades of oranges, yellows, and reds. Weather conditions at 2,500 feet in the Sierra Nevada foothills are perfect for the formation of the brilliant colors the area has become known for. As temperatures begin to drop and the days shorten chlorophyll production is slowed in plant life. For many trees and plants this means that colors other than green can become visible. For residents and visitors of Nevada County it means a lively celebration of the colors of fall painting the hillsides and decorating the streets.

Fall is already a great time to visit the bucolic foothill cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City. The area’s rich Gold Rush history, the reduction in visitors due to the cooler weather, and the abundance of gourmet restaurants and boutique inns and hotels makes this a perfect time to visit the area. Add to that the splendor of bright yellow, orange, and red that blankets the cities and it’s not hard to see why the locale is such a hidden gem.

Serious enthusiasts or those looking to make a weekend of their Fall Colors tour have the 160 mile Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway that loops through the foothills, up to Donner and Yuba Summits, and back down circling the Tahoe National Forest. This route starts in Nevada City and follows State Highways 20, 49, and 89 as well as Interstate 80, and offers a wide variety of foliage and scenic backdrops.

It is impossible to predict the peak color weeks during which the Fall Colors are most lively but the middle of October through Thanksgiving is generally considered the best time to visit. Both the Nevada City and Grass Valley Chambers of Commerce encourage visitors to call ahead and inquire about conditions. They will be more than happy to help you determine how to plan your trip and can provide you with info on some of the best places to view the breathtaking foliage.

The link to the Fall Colors Brochure located after the article provides a map of some scenic views of autumn foliage found around Grass Valley and Nevada City.

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CoreLogic Credit Card and TransUnion Mortgage Equity Reports Demonstrate Lessons Learned from Crash

Mary Pizzimenti 09/11/2013
Less homes underwater in 2013

The number of upside-down mortgages continues to fall nationwide along with delinquent credit card payments. American consumers are demonstrating the lessons learned from the buy-now-pay-later, get-rich-quick days of the first decade of the 21st Century.

CoreLogic’s 2nd Quarter 2013 Equity Report, released today, shows that nationally 2.5 million residential properties returned to positive equity from Q1 through Q2. This means that in 3 months’ time more than 5% of residential home loans were able to reach the surface, though 14.5% of mortgages in America are still underwater.

 Credit reporting giant TransUnion released its quarterly credit card debt and delinquencies report in August and their numbers are positively down as well. The number of delinquent credit card payments fell to 0.57%, a near record low, while average American debt continued to hover just above its all-time low.

The Scars are Healing and We Are Stronger

These numbers from opposite ends of the credit spectrum have a lot to say. American consumers are willing to put in the work, paying their credit cards on time, and continuing to make their mortgage payments as the value in their homes is re-established. This attitude is a stark contrast to the “now now now” voice that seemed to be driving the housing market and consumer sentiment less than a decade ago. Perhaps we are learning from our mistakes.

These are the signs of true economic recovery. Signs that the American public is waking up and deciding to take charge of their economic future instead of living beyond their means in the present. Destructive habits we are seeing less of include overspending on credit cards and failing to make the payments and buying an overpriced home you can’t afford because you KNOW it will be worth more soon. In 2005 the consensus was that you could buy a home and turn a profit on it in as little as 12 months.  Our society believed that you could live the life you WANTED right now and pay for it later because you’d be making more money soon, or because your home would be worth more. The problem was systemic, from credit consumers, to homebuyers, to the lenders. By 2008 it was obvious that this was not sustainable. And now we have been shown the results of unsustainability. Indeed, we have lived through those consequences for the past 5 years.

Infographic: Q2 2013 Credit Card Delinquencies Continue to Fall. Debt Remains Low

One of the most shocking revelations of the TransUnion report is that these delinquency rates are just above the historical low not seen since 1994.  20 years is about the length of a generation and it appears that the Credit Generation is coming to terms with the consequences of overabundant credit while also using it for empowerment. TransUnion’s Ezra Becker, Vice President of Research and Consulting in their Financial Services Business Unit said, “Despite recent improvements in the employment situation, consumers continue to value their credit card relationships as a primary means of liquidity.” We are using credit cards differently than in the past but with a better understanding of its uses and impact. Becker states that our willingness to pay the credit card first shows that “consumers will continue to prioritize their credit card relationships over other credit obligations”, demonstrating an awareness to the varying effects of late payments.

Missing a Credit Card Payment Could Cost You a Lot More than a Mortgage Payment

Credit card delinquencies have a significantly quicker impact on credit rating and, more importantly, on the amount of debt owed. Late payments on credit cards can quickly cause a Default on the credit card which initiates radically high default interest rates as high as 29%. This hastily increases the amount of debt that is accrued each month which soon spirals out of control.

American Consumers are pyaing their credit cards on time

Mortgage lenders, however, are not nearly as reactionary. In many cases, mortgage payments can be missed for several months before eviction even begins or before any damage is done to your credit score. And that certainly doesn’t increase the amount owed on the loan either.

The CoreLogic report attributes the drop in negative equity to rising home prices, which is true. It is also driven by the homeowners who decided that the right move (or in some cases the only move) was to keep making their mortgage payments even though they were underwater. If they didn’t need to go anywhere, why not stick things out and let the market return value to your home. These homeowners are becoming empowered by their patience, as many will now have the opportunity to sell their homes or to leverage the equity they have rebuilt.

This represents a tremendous shift in public behavior and its results will be beneficial to all. Ultimately these two trends are going to mean more homes coming on the market as their value continues to climb out from the crash and new homebuyers are becoming empowered by improving their credit. A more responsible, pro-active, and informed public is the basis for a healthy and consistent housing market and economy.

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The 2013 Nevada County Fair Kicks Off Tomorrow

Mary Pizzimenti 08/05/2013
2013 Nevada County Fair Poster

Nevada County is an area that is particularly well-known for hosting a wide variety of community events throughout the year. Well, it’s time again for Nevada County’s piece de resistance, voted the Best Local Event in Nevada County 12 years in row by the Sacramento Union newspaper, The Nevada County Fair.

The Nevada County Fair opens tomorrow August 7, 2013 for five fun-filled days of animals, rides, contests, and food for the whole family to enjoy. The theme this year is “Under the Big Top” so attendees can expect to see many circus themed attractions mixed in with the usual fare.

Be sure to take the kids down to Cirucs Imagination, where children become instant stars by stepping out of the audience, putting on costumes, and stepping on to the stage to perform in a spontaneous circus. The Zip Line is always a crowd favorite as parents and children alike get the chance to fly across the fairgrounds 28 feet up in the air.

Keep an eye out for the members of Boy Scout Troop 232 who will be stationed at the fairgrounds, selling books of 30 ride tickets for $20, a $10 discount. For other ways to save on admission or ride tickets be sure to visit the Nevada County Fair Website (linked below) to get all the details.

For those new to Nevada County, the fair provides an excellent window in to life in the region. People from all walks of life can be seen at the fair enjoying time with their family and friends. It’s also a great way to encourage children to learn more about animals and even local agriculture.

So grab your family and your friends and head on over to the Nevada County Fairgrounds August 7-11 for the 2013 Nevada County Fair.

Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for kids age six and older.

Nothing says family-fun like the County Fair.

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