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Napa Real Estate Q&A : Winter 2012

Q: When I sell my home I don’t want to be responsible to the buyer for any repairs. How do I sell my property “As-Is”?
A: You can certainly sell your property As-Is but there are a number of qualifications and pitfalls that you need to be aware of. The term “As-Is” is normally used to denote the purchase of a property in its present physical condition with no liability on the part of the seller to make repairs or upgrades to the property as a condition of the sale. However it all depends on how your contract reads.
Not all purchase agreements are created equal. For example the California Association of Realtors purchase agreement provides that the property is to be sold in its present physical condition, but another publisher’s standard purchase agreement states that the seller agrees to deliver the property with its major systems (e.g. electrical, plumbing) in working order, its roof free of leaks and all windows and shower enclosures in good repair. In the latter
case you would need to use an As-Is addendum to the purchase agreement.
Even if you have an As-Is agreement, the purchase contract will usually provide the buyer with the right to investigate the condition of the property as a contingency of the purchase. Further the seller must disclose known defects, maintain the property during escrow, and California law obliges sellers to attend to certain items such as smoke detectors and water heaters. Therefore it is important to consult with a real estate professional or legal counsel to insure that your purchase agreement meets your needs and that you are complying with relevant laws.
Call (707) 258-5200 with your real estate questions.

Q: We read that the government once again adjusted FHA and VA limits for Napa County, could you please comment on the changes?
A: Congress did indeed recently pass legislation that adjusted both FHA and VA loan limits throughout Napa County. For a single family residence, the new FHA loan limit in Napa County is $729,750 through December 31, 2013. In regards to VA loans, the loan limit for the Napa County was decreased from $530,000 to $460,000, effective January 1, 2012.
For answers to your questions about home loans, contact Mortgage Solutions, Inc., (707) 259-5272.

Q: I have been trying to buy a home and find myself in many multiple offer situations. How can I be sure that the terms of my offer aren’t divulged to my competitors?
A: While your agent, as your fiduciary, probably has a duty to keep confidential the terms of your offer except as necessary to present your offer to the seller, the seller and the seller’s agent usually do not owe you the same duty of confidentiality. In other words, the seller can shop your offer. Policies differ from broker to broker on how this sensitive issue is handled, so before you write your offer make sure that your agent determines what the listing broker’s policy will be regarding the confidentiality of your offered terms. You also may consider requiring the seller and seller’s agent to sign a confidentiality agreement with you prior to presenting your offer. The California Association of Realtors prints a simple confidentiality agreement which prohibits all parties from disclosing the price and terms of an offer (and even the buyer’s name) to anyone else prior to, during the pendency of, or after completion of the transaction except as required by law or MLS rules. If you plan on using a confidentiality agreement, make sure it is signed by the seller and seller’s agent before the offer is presented.
Send your real estate questions to Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley, 1775 Lincoln Ave., Napa, CA 94558.

Q: How do the new loan limits affect our potential purchase of a home?
A: Effective October 1, 2011, FHA reduced the maximum FHA loan limits from $729,270 to $592,250. Therefore, assuming that you elect to put down the minimum FHA required down payment of 3.5%, the maximum sales price using FHA financing in Napa County would be $613,730. Be advised that a borrower can always elect to increase their down payment and purchase a home in excess of the aforementioned figure.


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San Francisco Bay Area home prices fell 4.3 percent

San Francisco Bay Area home prices fell 4.3 percent last month from a year earlier as distressed properties made up a greater share of sales,DataQuick said.

The median paid in the nine-county region declined to $363,500 from $380,000 in November 2010, the San Diego-based research firm said today. Prices rose 3.9 percent from October.

A slow-growing economy and limited loan availability hampered home sales in the Bay Area last month, according to DataQuick President John Walsh.

Interest rates may be at record lows, but the types of mortgages that are available have been drastically reduced and qualifying is a true grind,” Walsh said in a statement. “Many potential buyers and sellers appear to be in a frame of mind that says, ‘When in doubt, don’t.’”

A total of 6,317 houses and condominiums sold in the Bay Area last month, down 2 percent from October and up 3.4 percent from November 2010. Homes that sold for $500,000 or more accounted for 31 percent of deals, little changed from October and down from 37 percent a year earlier, DataQuick said. Sales of foreclosed homes and other distressed properties, which typically are discounted, made up almost 48 percent of transactions, up from 45 percent in October and 47 percent in November 2010.