Monday, June 25, 2007

Farm Equipment on the Road.

Why is all this farm equipment on the road … shouldn’t they have to move at night?

Welcome to Carson Valley and all its charm. The farm equipment moving down the highway this time of year helps to make the Valley what it is. A farmer moving a swather or harrowbed from field to field is actually fun to watch. They must move the equipment from field to field during the day and night as their schedule and the schedule of nature dictates. This is what makes the Valley green and maintains the open spaces you enjoy.

Most of the roads in the Valley are secondary agricultural roads. They were designed and built to carry occasional traffic and farm equipment. The traffic we see on them today was inconceivable when they were built. That not only makes for tight quarters when you see a swather on the road, but it also contributes to unexpected traffic flows at times. There aren’t traffic lights to break up the now-seemingly-constant flow of traffic. That is resulting in people having to enter the traffic with less lead time than before. If somebody is entering traffic ahead of you and you have to slow to allow them to enter please think before you react. You can honk your displeasure at somebody having the audacity of pulling out in front of you, or you can understand that it is a growing pain and you might be in their shoes next week and would appreciate the consideration of the driver letting you in to the traffic flow. Let’s leave the honking to the city, folks, and understand that we all need to get somewhere. Common courtesy.

Our Advice: Appreciate the agricultural heritage of the Carson Valley if you live here. The local farming was started to support the mining industry located elsewhere in the region. There are but remnants of it now, and those people are doing what they can to work with the incredible influx of people that has occurred over the past 20 years. Appreciate the farming you see now for, economics being what they are, you might not always see it. Farm equipment is very expensive and the price paid for crops hasn’t gone up much accordingly. It is more of a way of life than a real profit center. Enjoy the results of this way of life – the beauty of the fields, the big equipment moving and working, the seasonal farming activity changes, the peace of working with the land. The more you relate to it the more you will enjoy where you live. It is a major part of what makes living here special.

Just like the zoo – who’s watching who? Watch the farmers play and understand … they are watching you, too. They are inevitably considerate to your needs when they see you around. It’s easy to coexist when you respect one another and one another’s needs. Do your part and your life will be that much more joyful.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates,, 775-781-5472.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Water Under Our House ... Now What?

The inspector found water under our house but we live in the desert … how can that be?

Water is an amazing thing and proliferates in many ways in the desert. It is important when you sell that your home be inspected for water leaks, standing water, and potential or existing water damage. As innocuous as it seems, water can become a nuisance and possibly terminate your sale – even in the desert. Inspections protect both Buyers and Sellers.

Water in a house can only come from a few sources- leaks in the water system, surface water flow, or underground water. Leaks in the water system are usually quite evident. They can be hard to track down if concealed, but the leak can ultimately be found, and once identified, the problem can be corrected.

Surface water, too, is usually quite evident. A stream of water flowing towards a dwelling is not that hard to notice. This isn’t always a torrential flood situation, but can be a neighbor watering too much, a broken pipe on another property, etc. In such cases the water flow itself is evident if witnessed, but if not seen, the path the water followed is usually apparent. Unless a catastrophic event, this is also usually easy to mitigate.

Underground water can be a bit trickier to identify. Is the source a spring or is it migrating water? Water will flow to the lowest point ergo water migrating to a crawl space from over-watered lawns is not uncommon. This can usually be identified and remedied easily. It is a bit more difficult to identify water migrating down to your property from up the street because of a clay strata that prevents the water from percolating. In that case the water just appears in a pool under your house with no apparent source. Frustration is then spelled w-a-t-e-r. Call in the experts – there is an answer to the problem.

Our Advice: Check your crawl space periodically to make sure that you don’t have an unknown water problem. Be sure to do this after a big rain, or during the summer months when everybody is watering their lawns. Make sure you don’t "excavate” while gardening around your foundation as you could create a negative grade that would allow water to flow under the footing. If water does pool under your home be sure to move it out with a sump pump that takes the water a good distance away from your foundation. Occasional water isn’t a bad thing if you get it out in a timely manner. If you allow it to linger, or flow steadily, you will ultimately have substantial damage to your structure that will be costly to repair.

Accept the paradox of water problems in the desert, and protect yourself and your investment. The term “liquid assets” does not apply to real estate unless you are prepared to price it appropriately.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates,, 775-781-5472.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Buy now and adjust our payment later.

How can we buy now and adjust our payment when we sell later?

You are fortunate to be in the position of buying now and selling later. It is the ideal scenario for this market, and, unless you are paying with cash, can present challenges if you don’t plan and execute correctly. One of the biggest things Buyers consider is their monthly payment. If you are counting on the equity from your existing home to make your payments comfortable, the traditional thought is that you must sell before you buy to achieve this efficiently. Today, however, you could be better off buying first and selling later.

It is understood that you stand a better chance of getting a better price if your offer is not contingent on selling another property. Even if you have two house payments for a period of time, the negotiated savings of a non-contingent offer often offsets a large part of, if not all of, the additional carrying costs. When you sell and want to reduce the payment on your new house is the rest of the puzzle. Traditional thinking is that you get an adjustable-rate or interest-only loan that will adjust the payment amount after you make a large principal reduction. This can be a good way to go, but there are some items to consider: 1. The rate can adjust before you make your principal reduction. 2. You could pay a 1% conversion charge to convert to a fixed rate. 3. There can be a prepayment penalty for a reduction that large, as much as 6 months interest.

A good alternative is to tell your lender of your intention to make a big principal reduction in a short period of time. Your lender can place your loan with investors that will allow your loan to be “recast”, recalculated. They will look at the loan balance after you pay it down substantially, and adjust the payment according to the new balance and remaining term of the loan. Your interest rate is unchanged, you have minimal paperwork, the fee is usually a nominal $250, and you have the peace of mind of a lower payment for the life of the loan. This is a relatively new practice that isn’t widely known. Approval by the ultimate investor is essential. Be sure to work it out up front as there are other criteria that can limit your options, ie.- it can’t be a HELOC, can’t be an ARM or Interest Only with an adjustment scheduled in next two years, is subject to the terms of the original promissory note, etc..

Our Advice: If you are looking for long term payment stability and are frozen from acting on a new home until you sell, consider one of these alternatives. It is a great time to buy. If you are certain that you will be buying in the Carson Valley then we suggest that you figure out how you can do it now. All things considered, when the market again rises it is doubtful that we will see buying opportunities like this ever again. Discuss your options with your agent and plan a course of action. Look at least six months ahead in your real estate plans. Look at the total cash flow picture. When the dust settles what will your results be? You might find the well executed circuitous route the best in these times.

With a good plan, and by taking action, you can add to your net worth while moving forward with your moving plans. You could be settled while others are still watching … wondering what to do.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates,, 775-781-5472.