Month: October 2014

Writing a Home-Offer Letter: Is it a Good Idea?

offer letterThe most important letter you’ll submit to a home seller is the one you’ll get from your lender stating that you are preapproved for a mortgage. Savvy listing agents will counsel their clients to refuse offers from unapproved buyers, so all the flowery prose of a home-offer letter will mean nothing without loan preapproval.

Assuming you have your lender’s letter, whether or not you also submit a home-offer letter depends a great deal on the type of market in which you’re buying and the competition.

The Market

When the real estate market has lots of buyers looking for homes and few houses for sale, it’s a seller’s market. With the seller in the driver’s seat, purchase offers tend to get cleaner, with fewer demands from buyers. Offering prices typically come in at or even over the asking price. When supply is low and demand is high, it’s challenging for buyers.

Several regions of the country are currently in seller’s markets. In some of the more in-demand areas of California, for instance, there are so few homes for sale and so many buyers in the market that almost 6 in 10 homes are selling in multiple offer situations, according to the California Association of Realtors®. In the second quarter of last year, home sellers received an average of 4.2 offers.

In San Antonio, Texas, homes are selling quickly and for over list price, according to Marilyn Moritz of KSAT-TV. The head of the state’s Realtors® association cautions homebuyers in these types of markets that they shouldn’t be picky and that time is of the essence when making an offer.

The Competition

If you’re unfortunate enough to have fallen in love with the same home that three other people are smitten with, be prepared to do battle. The chances are good that they, too, are preapproved for a mortgage, which puts you on equal footing. If any of them is waving cash, however, all bets are off, as the table is tilted in the cash-buyer’s favor.

There are several reasons for this, the most significant of which is that the seller doesn’t have to worry about a loan falling through if the house becomes overpriced in a bidding war. There is no appraisal with a cash offer. There is no lag time, waiting for final loan approval. Cash buyers are streamlined buyers, and they usually prevail in a bidding war.

Home-offer letters, however, have been known to sway some homeowners in this situation – especially those with an emotional attachment to the home.

The “Pick Me” Letter

The home-offer letter was created years ago to help sellers stand out from the competition. The problem now is that so many buyers use them; they may be losing their effectiveness.

Since there is no harm in trying, however, let’s take a look at some tips for the ideal home-offer letter:

Don’t be robotic. This isn’t a form letter, it’s a letter that you hope will tip the scales in your favor, so put as much personality into it as possible. Start by using the seller’s name in the salutation. “Dear John and Mary” is far better than “Dear Seller.”

Make it emotional. Tell the seller how the home resonates with you. Even if it’s just the color of the walls, tell the seller how much you appreciate her taste and how close it matches yours. Be sincere in telling the seller why you fell in love with the home and why you want to live in it.

Explain why they should pick you. Point out your strong points as a buyer, such as few contingencies, your willingness to increase the offered price, or your strong credit score that will help your loan approval zip right through.

Keep it brief. Try not to go over three to four paragraphs.

Keep it upbeat and positive. Sellers don’t care if theirs is the ninth house you’ve made an offer on. They don’t care that you need a one-story because of health issues. Accentuate the positive and leave the complaints out of it.

Don’t forget to include photographs to help cement the fact that you are far more than a signature on a purchase agreement.

There’s an old saying that is frequently tossed around in business circles: “People do business with people they know, like and trust.” Helping the seller get to know you, like you and trust you is a tall order for a short letter, but it should be your goal nonetheless.

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,


Nissou Realty Group Thanksgiving Can Food Drive with The Salvation Army of El Cajon

Food Drive Instagram 2
It’s that time again! Nissou Realty Group has partnered with The Salvation Army of El Cajon to host our 2nd annual Thanksgiving Canned Food Drive to help feed 2,000 families this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season! This weekend, we will be delivering brown bags to homes all over Rancho San Diego! Fill them up with canned food & non-perishable item and on Thursday, November 20th, 2014 Stephen Nissou & the team will be coming around picking up your food donations. 
The most needed food items this holiday season are:
-15 oz Can of Pumpkin
-Chicken OR Vegetable Broth
-Cornbread Mix
-Cream of Mushroom Soup
-Black Olives
-Bread Crumbs
-Cranberry Sauce
-Milk Powder
-French-Fried Onions
-Green Beans
We sincerely appreciate all the donations! If you would like to volunteer to help pass out or pick up donations, please contact us!
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,
Stephen Nissou
Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty

Gorgeous Jamul Home For Sale!

3154 Miramontes Rd. Jamul, CA 919356 Bedroom, 3 Bath, 3118 Sq. Ft

Need a big home with all the amenities? This 6 bedroom, 3 bath, 3118 sq.ft home features a large backyard with a pool, spa, and large patio that is perfect for entertaining! There is also plenty of room for horses or a large shed. Step inside this open concept floor plan with a drop-dead gorgeous kitchen with all the bells and whistles, including a large center island, sub-zero refrigerator & freezer, jenn-air grill, and high quality cabinets. Also features a wet bar with wine cooler in the down-stairs family room, and private bedroom that’s great for parents or a nanny. Home is close to schools.
Priced at an impressive $699,000 – $749,000.
For more information about this home, and to schedule a private viewing, please contact Stephen Nissou today!
Direct 619-250-4541
Office 619-873-2772
To view this home on the MLS:
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Home For Sale in Santee!

Santee was ranked #10 for the best cities to raise a family in Southern California, and now you can live there too with this beautiful 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 1375 sq.ft home! Located as a corner lot in the sought after Vista Este Complex in Santee, this beautiful home is move-in ready! Built in 2005, it is neat, clean, and renovated to meet your needs! With a 2 car attached garage and low maintenance yard, it’s the perfect home for a first-time home buyer, or someone looking to downgrade! Near the community pool, easy freeway access, and close to shopping! Priced at an impressive $380,000 – $410,000.
For more information and to schedule a private tour of this property, please call Stephen Nissou today! 
Direct: 619-250-4541
Office: 619-873-2773
To see this home on the MLS:
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Condo For Rent in El Cajon!

1490 Naranca Avenue, #14, El Cajon, CA 
2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom, 824 Sq Ft. 

Just listed in El Cajon – a gorgeous fully remodeled condo for rent in El Cajon! All remodeled 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with laundry room inside unit – 2nd floor unit! This is a must see unit with newer carpet and paint, granite kitchen counters and stainless steel appliances! Great location and quiet complex with only a few neighbors. Pool in complex is great for entertaining!

Move-in Ready! Available 10-15-14! $1200 /month Rent with 1 year lease term. $1200 security deposit. 
For more information and to schedule a viewing please call Stephen Nissou today!
Office 619-873-2772
Direct 619-250-4541
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Short Sale Listing in Ocean Beach, California!

4826 Orchard Avenue, #B, San Diego, CA 92107
SHORT SALE – $565,000 – $599,000
3 BED   |   3 BATH   |   1294 Sq Ft

Want to be just a block away from the ocean?
Check out this great move-in read home with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 1294 sq ft of beautiful living space! With a covered balcony off the upstairs master bedroom, skylights in the kitchen, washer and dryer, and cozy fireplace, it’s the perfect beach property! Listed at an impressive $615,000!
For more information please visit my website:
To contact me to schedule a viewing:
Direct 619-250-4541
Office 619-873-2772
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October 2014 Calendar of Events in San Diego County

There’s so much to do in San Diego everyday – but October is one of our favorite months because of all the awesome events around town!

October 3 – 5: La Mesa Ocktoberfest
Spring Street and La Mesa Blvd. Check out

October 3 – 5: MCAS Miramar Air Show
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

October 4: Pacific BeachFestPacific Breach Boardwalk between Diamond Street and Thomas Street

October 4: Oktoberfest – A Harvest Celebration 421 Aqua Lane

October 4: Carlsbad Oktoberfest
Chestnut Avenue and Pio Pico Drive

October 4: Happy Hatching Day
1000 Gunpowder Point Drive

October 4 – 5: Art & Craft Show Old Town San Diego
2415 San Diego Avenue

October 4 – 5: Julian Apple Days Festival
1150 Julian Orchards Drive

October 5: 2014 Taste and Art Stroll in Del Mar
Downtown Del Mar

October 10 – 11: Ocean Beach Oktoberfest
Newport Avenue and Abbott Street

October 11 – 12: La Jolla Art and Wine Festival
Girard Avenue and Prospect Street

October 12: Little Italy FESTA!
2210 Columbia Street

October 12: Celebrate the Craft
11480 North Torrey Pines Rd.

October 19: Escondido Fall Street Faire
Grande Avenue, between Center City Pkwy and Ivy

October 24 – 26: Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival
Christimas Circle Park

October 25: The Blvd Boo Parade
59th Street and El Cajon Blvd.

October 25: Hallo-wine and Spirits Party
El Paseo

October 26: Dia de los Muertos, Oceanside
4050 Mission Avenue

Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,

5 First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid


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, 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,
Realtor ®

Nissou Realty Group   |   Keller Williams Realty
680 Fletcher Pkwy # 100
El Cajon, CA 92020
Direct 619-250-4541
Office 619-873-2772