Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

Schlage LiNK™

by Samia S. Morgan

The latest technology offered from Schlage gives homeowners the ability to monitor and control their home from anywhere. Schlage LiNK™ lets you remotely control and monitor access to your home 24/7 from any Internet enabled computer and most web enabled cell phones.  This new remote home management offers many benefits, below are some of the things you can do.

•Check the status of your lock and set temporary codes to your home from your Internet enabled computer or cell phone
•Change, add, or delete access codes to your lock remotely
•Access a 90 day history of who has accessed your lock

Some of the benefits:

•No key to hide, lose, carry, or forget
•Ready to use out of the box. Installs quickly, usually in less than 30 minutes
•Powered by a 9-volt battery. If the Internet goes down or the power goes out, the lock still provides you secure access to your home
•Use the keys provided with the lock as a standard door lock
•Ability to program up to 19 unique user codes
•Add, change, or delete user codes in seconds

The system can be accessed via computer or cell phone and you can send a command to your home using the password-protected Schlage LiNK online interface on your cell phone or computer. The command travels to your home via the Internet, using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology, the same security used for online banking

Many cell phones support the Schlage LiNK application. Currently, Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones are supported with the Schlage LiNK phone application on Verizon. A Schlage LiNK application compatible with other Verizon phones is undergoing testing and should be available by the end of 2009. To see if your phone is supports this system, text “phone” to 695465 (MYLINK) on your cell phone to see if it’s compatible.

Home Warranties

by Samia S. Morgan

When your purchase a new home, the expenses can add up and the last thing you need to worry about an unexpected expense. If you are concerned about potential repairs or appliance malfunctions in your new home, you might want to consider purchasing a home warranty. A home warranty is a service contract which helps protect home owners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. A home warranty is a good idea for first-time home buyers with no experience maintaining a home.

The cost for these warranties are fairly inexpensive, typically ranging from $250 to $600, depending on coverage. The policies are usually prepaid for a year in advance, at which time they expire or can be renewed. There are many different plans with different requirements, most tend to operate the same way. If an  appliance or item covered breaks or stops working, the home owner calls the home warranty company. The home warranty company calls a provider with which it has an arrangement and they contact the homeowner to come out to fix the problem.  Typically if the problem can be fixed per the contract coverage than the warranty company pays the contractor directly.

Below are some of the items typiclaly covered by these types of warranties. Each company is different so always obtain a list of items covreed before purchasing a policy.

  • Air conditioner system/ Furnace / heating
  • Dishwashers
  • Doorbells
  • Water heater
  • Garbage disposal
  • Inside plumbing stoppages
  • Ceiling fans
  • Electrical systems
  • Range and oven

Typically outdoor items such as sprinklers, or pool filters/spa systems are not covered unless specific coverage requested

Moving into a new home is expensive and having an unexpected repair can easily drain a budget. While part of home ownership requires dealing with unexpected breakdowns and repairs, having a home warranty can help to covered repairs or replacement easier and less costly.

First Time Homeseller Tips

by Samia S. Morgan

Buying a home for the first time can be a stressful experience but the same is true if you are selling your home for the first time. Homeowners who are selling for the first time will have many questions. Will my home sell? How should I price it? What do I need to do to prepare to sell my home?  Below are some tips and answers to these common questions.  

Hire An Experienced Agent.  When selling your home for the first time it is a good idea to have someone on your side who can answer your questions and provide you with the guidance you need. Selling your home on your own, especially for the first time can be a very difficult process.  By using an experienced real estate agent that you feel comfortable with, you can set a fair and competitive selling price for your home that will increase your odds of a quick sale. Another benefit in working with an agent is that they will work with potential buyers so you don't have to. Agents will also have more experience negotiating home sales.

Prepare Your Home Properly. It is vital to prepare your home for sale and to show your home at it's best. A clean, uncluttered house is the first place to start, Also all repairs need to be addressed, from major to minor. It is not wise to try to hide any problems as they will be found when the potential buyer does the home inspection. Failing to do these things will not only reduce your sale price, but may also prevent you from getting a sale at all.


Be Flexible On The Asking Price. It is important to prepare yourself that you probably wont get the asking price. Most all buyers will negotiate to get the best price, especially in a buyers market. And if you want to sell your home you will have to work with them, especially in a soft market where competition is stiff. It is important to list your home at a price that will attract buyers but you will need to leave some breathing room for negotiations. A successful sale is one where the buyer feels like they aer getting a good deal and the seller feels that they received an amount that they needed as well. 


Because this is a buyers market and competition is tough, it is a good possibility that your home may not sell quickly and may sit on the market for far longer than you expect. Do your research and work with an experienced agent who can help you avoid costly mistakes and help you to achieve a seamless, lucrative sale every home seller hopes for!

Saving On Homeowners Insurance

by Samia S. Morgan

There are many costs involved when you own a home. From repairs, upkeep and insurance it all adds up. Homeowners insurance can be a big part of your budget but the price you pay for your homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from. Here are some things to consider when buying homeowners insurance.

1. Do your homework and shop around

Check with several different companies for the best rates and what type of service they offer. You can look online for different companies and their rates quickly to compare. Check with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) for information to help you choose an insurer in your state, including complaints. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company.

Also check consumer guides, insurance agents, companies and online insurance quote services. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies have the lowest prices. But don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So in assessing service quality, use the complaint information cited above and talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.

2. Raise Your Deductible

Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible; if you live in a state vulnerable to hail storms, you may have a separate deductible for hail; and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.

3. Make payments electronically.

Many companies now charge up to $5 for mailed or phone payments, so have your payments automatically deducted to shave that cost. Sometimes the deductions can come from your credit card, so you don't have to worry if the money is in your bank account when payment time comes.

4. Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer

Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverages from different companies.

5. Make your home more disaster resistant

Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. Older homes can be retrofitted to make them better able to withstand earthquakes. In addition, consider modernizing your heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.

6. Improve your home security

You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren't cheap and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost and how much you'd save on premiums.

7. Seek out other discounts

Companies offer several types of discounts, like senior discounts. Insurance companies have found that retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people. Older people also have more time for maintaining their homes. If you're at least 55 years old and retired, you might qualify for a discount of as much as 10%. Some employers and professional associations administer group insurance programs that may offer a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

8. Maintain a good credit record

Establishing a solid credit history can cut your insurance costs. Insurers are increasingly using credit information to price homeowners insurance policies. In most states, your insurer must advise you of any adverse action, such as a higher rate, at which time you should verify the accuracy of the information on which the insurer relied. To protect your credit standing, pay your bills on time, don't obtain more credit than you need and keep your credit balances as low as possible. Check your credit record on a regular basis and have any errors corrected promptly so that your record remains accurate.

9. Stay with the same insurer

If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive a special discount for being a long-term policyholder. Some insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for three to five years and by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for six years or more. But make certain to periodically compare this price with that of other policies.

10. Review the limits in your policy and the value of your possessions at least once a year

You want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don't want to spend money for coverage you don't need. If your five-year-old fur coat is no longer worth the $5,000 you paid for it, you'll want to reduce or cancel your floater (extra insurance for items whose full value is not covered by standard homeowners policies such as expensive jewelry, high-end computers and valuable art work) and pocket the difference.

Tips For Selling During The Holidays

by Samia S. Morgan

Although some sellers are might be reluctant to put their home on the market during the holiday season, selling your home during this time of the year is actually a great idea with many benefits that can help you make the sale. Selling your home during the holiday season affords you many advantages such as the amazing staging options you have at this time of the year. During the holidays you have a chance to show your home at its very best.  You can use all the holiday decorations to stage your home with all that the season has to offer. Below are some tips to help you sell your home during the holidays!

  • It is easy to get carried away when decorating but try to be tasteful. Too many trimmings may distract buyers. Keep your visuals tasteful, a few twinkling lights and greenery bring out the charm in a home. Simple touches like a festive wreath on your door can work wonders!
  • Brighten and warm it up. When showing your home be sure to turn on all lights so your home will look bright, cheery and welcoming. If the weather is cold, turn up the temp a couple of degrees. Don't overdo it, you want it warm and cozy not hot.
  • Make your home welcoming. Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by lighting a fire, playing soft holiday music and offering homemade holiday treats. If buyers feel welcome they are more likely to spend more time admiring the home.

Holiday staging can help to sell your home around this time of the year but there are also other advantages. 

  • November and December buyers are usually serious due to the fact that January tends to be the biggest transfer month so home buyers shop at the end of the year.
  • Buyers want to receive the tax benefit of purchasing before the new year.
  • There tends to be less competition with fewer homes on the market and showings will be fewer and less intrusive, but more likely to be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.

 

Moving With Pets

by Samia S. Morgan

Moving to a new home can be a stressful time for people so when it comes time to pack up your pet, you need to take their needs into consideration. All pets require special attention and it is a good ideal to make a plan ahead of time to make the move for your pet a smooth transition and less stressful.

Pre-planning is the key to an easier move, travel arrangements should be completed as far in advance of moving day as is practical, keeping departure day tasks to a minimum. It is a good idea to appoint one person in the family that will be in charge of the pet. This will eliminate any confusion as to who has responsibility and will help for a smoother move. Below are some tips that can help you to get organized and make your move a calm transition for your furry members of your family.

  • Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian a few weeks before your move for a check up. Be sure to attain your pet's veterinary records so that they can be forwarded to your new veterinarian. Certain localities may have stringent requirements or restrictions regarding pet ownership. You may need permits or registrations.
  • When you arrive at your new home, designate a unused room with a door that is quiet and just for them. Provide them with fresh food and water and their bed or favorite toy, something that is familiar to them. This will keep them safe and calm while the move is going on. 
  • If you are moving your pets by car be sure to plan for several stops along the way. Pets may find car travel extremely distressing and stopping for fresh air and breaks can help. Don't forget any medications your pet might need as well as a leash.
  • If you are traveling long distance and plan on staying overnight at a hotel, be sure to call in advance to make sure that pets are accepted.
  • If you are moving your fish, be sure to check with your local Aquarium or Pet Store ahead of time on the best way to safely transport your fish.

 
If your pets are not micro-chipped be sure to get a new pet ID tag with your new address and contact phone numbers and if they are micro-chipped be sure to update the info with your
microchip company.   
 

Holiday Events In San Mateo and Bay Area

by Samia S. Morgan

What better place to celebrate the holidays than the San Mateo and Bay area! From charitable events to fun events for all members of the family there is plenty to do. Below are some events you won't want to miss!

Firefighter's Toys for Tots Program                                   December 1st through the 23rd - please drop off a new unwrapped gift at any City fire station or at Hillsdale Shopping Center Toy Collection site which is open daily 10 AM to 8 PM

King Community Tree Lighting 
On December 11th come for this annual holiday tradition. There will be singing,  holiday crafts, hot cider & cookies all while the big 50 ft. Redwood tree outside the center will be lit. Santa will also be there!
Address: 725 Monte Diablo, San Mateo, CA 94401 Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Hours: 6:00-7:00pm

Breakfast with Santa 
Enjoy a delicious breakfast, games, crafts, stories, singing, and visit with Santa this Saturday, Dec. 12th. Address: 725 Monte Diablo,San Mateo, CA 94401
Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center Hours: 9:00-11:00am
Contact: (650) 522-7470 Cost: $8 per person.

Holiday SIng-A-Long 
Celebrate the holidays at the 
Holiday Family Sing-A-Long at Grace Cathedral.Gather your whole family for one of two Saturdays in December (December 12 and December 19) to join the Pacific Boychoir as they sing all your favorite holiday songs. This event takes place at Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church, and is great fun for everyone! Ticket prices range from $5 to $25.

 
Holiday Ice Skating 
Enjoy skating at the Holiday Ice Rink in
Embarcadero Center. The West Coast's equivalent to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, skaters have been enjoying this large outdoor ice skating rink for more than twenty years. Open to the public through January 3, 2010. Ticket prices range from $5.50 to $9 plus skate rental. Also available are rink rentals for private parties and birthday celebrations.

Improving Air Quality In The Home

by Samia S. Morgan

In some studies of air quality in the home it has been suggested that the air we breathe in our homes is often more polluted than the air breather outside. This is of course an alarming realization especially if you have children or family members who have a fragile immune system. The good thing is that according to National Geographics Green Guide there are a number of things we can do to improve air quality in our homes.

  • Ventilate your home regularly
  • Vacuum weekly
  • Use a good quality air filter on your furnace and replace it regularly
  • Maintain ventilation systems (If your home has one) and dehumidifiers
  • Run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • If you're considering an air purifier, avoid devices that generate ozone, as these can make lung problems and asthma worse.

In addition to these tips, you should also pay close to attention to the indoor chemicals that you may be using. The two more commonly identified chemicals in our homes include formaldehyde which is present in home renovation products and solvents from fresh paint and phthalates which are used in soft plastics and synthetic fragrances such as air fresheners and dryer sheets. Even common cleaning items used such as bleach and ammonia result in poor air quality.  There are many alternatives on the market today that offer bio-degradable and safe to use cleaning products for the home.

.

Making The Decision To Rent Or Buy

by Samia S. Morgan

Even in a buyers market, a common question I often am asked from potential homebuyers is whether or not they should continue to rent or make the plunge and purchase a home. And my answer usually comes down to this: It depends on you--your situation and your goals for the future.

Some questions I ask are: Do you think you’re ready to move into the world of homeownership? Does your job require you to relocate frequently? Are you ready to “settle down” and raise a family? Not sure what you want to do yet?

As a real estate professional, I do know that buying a home has real advantages in today’s market: Realtor.com reports that housing affordability is the best it’s been in nearly 30 years. Right now buyers can cash in on hefty price drops and rock-bottom mortgage interest rates--and many people don’t realize just how great the market is!

So should you rent or should you buy? The Our Family Place Home Buyer’s Information Center lists some of the pros and cons noted below, and I’ve added some of my own:

Buying Advantages:

* You gain equity in your home through mortgage payments.
* Your home could be one of the best long-term investments you will ever make.
* You can decorate and remodel the way you want.
* You get homeowner tax breaks.
* You build your credit standing.
* You can improve your property using home equity loans.
* You gain independence and pride as a homeowner.
* You can transfer your property through your will.

Buying Disadvantages:

* Your costs are variable.
* Your equity may change due to market conditions.
* You usually must sell your home to move.
* You handle maintenance and upkeep.
* You usually need more cash to get in.

Renting Advantages:

* Your costs are fixed for the term of your rental.
* You don’t lose equity.
* You can move at the end of your lease term.
* You have fewer maintenance worries.
* You need less cash to get in.

Renting Disadvantages:

* You never get equity.
* You can’t always decorate or remodel the way you want.
* You don’t get any tax breaks.
* Your lease is for a limited time period determined by your landlord.
* Your rent may go up at the end of your lease and other terms may change.
* Your landlord may not fix problems or invest in routine property maintenance.
* You normally can’t transfer your lease without the landlord’s OK.
* You may face eviction if you and your landlord have a dispute.

There are many of variables to consider, and you’ll need to do your homework to decide what’s right for you. Please be in touch if you have any questions. I am always available to assist potential buyers debating the “rent v. buy” decision.

San Mateo and Bay Area Thanksgiving Events

by Samia S. Morgan

Giving thanks and giving back is what this time of the year is all about. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the San Mateo area offers many events for you to have fun, give back and enjoy all while kicking off this holiday season. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

"Shop, Enjoy & Give"

"Shop, Enjoy & Give" starts every Tuesday beginning November 24 through December 22, from 6:00-9:00p.m. You are invited to enjoy wine and food pairings plus receive incredible discounts at Santana Row shops and restaurants. Best of all, proceeds will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.

Your $20 ticket includes food and wine tastings inside Santana Row shops and restaurants, a signature wine glass, and exclusive holiday shopping discounts. Extra Bonus: bring a non-perishable food donation to the Santana Row Concierge when you purchase your ticket and receive $3 off your entry.

Tickets are available online or at the Santana Row Concierge Center.
Must be 21 years or older to attend. For more information, contact the Santana Row Concierge at 408.551.4611.

Lucky, Food Maxx, or Save Mart Holiday Food Drive

You can support the Food Bank while shopping at your local Lucky, Food Maxx, or Save Mart store. From now until Januaray 5th you can simply drop non-perishable items to donate in our Food Bank barrels. All Save Mart and Lucky stores will have $10 and $20 bags of their pre-selected food items that you can buy and place in the barrels.

5th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

Work up an appetite on Thanksgiving morning by partaking in the annual Turkey Trot, an event that supports Second Harvest and other bay area charities. There are several runs and walks available to choose from in the 5K and 10K range, a kids' fun run, and a new Costume Run. To sign up for an event, visit the official Turkey Trot site.

Winter Carnival

On November 21st starting at 4pm enjoy a family carnival with games, arts, crafts and music. Street Level of One, Two, Three and Four Embarcadero Center.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Contact Information

Photo of Samia S. Morgan, Inc. Real Estate
Samia S. Morgan, Inc.
dba Samia Realty Group
BRE# 00967165
San Mateo CA 94403
650-678-3633