Buying a Fixer-Upper – 5 Facts to Consider

Fixer Upper House That Needs a Lot of WorkMost buyers are lured by the low asking prices and the opportunity to buy a property they can afford in a good neighborhood, school district or with a larger lot to expand. However, it’s often less costly to buy the more expensive house.

Here are some reasons why:

#1 Fundamental repairs to foundation, structure, plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.can be huge ticket items. These issues need to be addressed first. Meanwhile buyers are really dreaming about on the granite counters, designer paint colors and creating their spa bathroom retreat with all the luxury bells and whistles they see on HGTV.

#2 I work with excellent contractors who really know the costs of remodeling; however, even so they cannot predict all unforeseen ‘surprises.’ Unanticipated costs of 10%-25% are more the norm than the exception. For instance, states a middle-of-the-road bathroom remodel runs from $100-$200 per sf. An average kitchen costs approx. $60,000. and HGTV estimates a gourmet kitchen over $80,000. Buyer frankly can run out of money.

#3 Yes, there is the FHA 203K loan. But, there are specific time lines, approvals, appraisal required to utilize this loan program. mortgage company guidelines restrict how much money a buyer qualifies to receive. Also, good contractors are busy in summer making it hard to coordinate the FHA required estimates and deadlines.

#4 Fixers tend to be older homes. And with older homes come potential health and safety risks such as lead based paint or asbestos. Remediation can be costly and your contractors must have the appropriate EPA certification.

#5 Sellers would often rather find a buyer using all cash that can close quickly with no contingencies rather than working with a 203K loan scenario.

After major renovations are complete buyers will have a custom home, exactly to their liking and tastes, but it won’t come cheap. And, I always caution clients about over improving. An option to consider might be a more ‘cosmetic’ fixer as old appliances, fixtures, faucets, wallpaper, shag carpet and linoleum are easier and cheaper to renovate!

Ready to go “bargain” hunting?

It’s About Time! 4 NEW TIPS for Home Sellers

If you live in Contra Costa County, you know it’s been a Seller’s Market for awhile now. Values are up, inventory is down and interest rates are still around 4%. Even so, it takes more than plopping a sign in the front yard to successfully close an escrow. Since the time is right to sell for top dollar, here are 4 things to get homeowners up to speed on this fast and furious market:

#4 Price it Right: What is the average amount of days on the market now? Answer: 18 days. If your home is still sitting on the market over a month, will buyers assume something is wrong with your house? Today’s buyers are well informed and savvy and know when a home is overpriced. Your agent will help you determine the right price, the market price, what makes sense.  Statistically, if you ask 10% over fair market value, you just lost 30% of potential buyers who would have looked at your property. And, you will be required to drop your price when new, lower priced listings pop on to the scene.

#3 Pay to Stage: Bare rooms look sad and well, empty and unappealing. Staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more. (2015 Profile of Home Staging Survey) Cannot afford $2,500. – $5,000? At least consider staging the public rooms and master bedroom, as the kitchen, living and master bedrooms are considered most important to buyers. You should get a substantial return in this upfront investment.

#2 Market for Maximum Exposure: Professional photography is a must, and now videography is also the norm. It allows buyers to virtually walk through your home before getting in their car. I’ve heard 1 in 5 buyers purchase their homes sight unseen! We also make use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other forms of social media. You’ll want to spread the word to your social media ‘friends’ as well. Our team also has access to over 600+ real estate-related websites so your listing will be seen across the nation and the world.

#1 Prepare for Multiple Offers: You and your agent should have a strategy for how you wish to respond to more than 1 or 2 offers. It’s really what is important to you. Have you already moved out, or do you need to rent it back? Sometimes the highest offer isn’t the best offer. There are a multitude of ‘terms’ that are also negotiable between buyer and seller. Contingencies, closing date and the type of financing, etc. all can play a part in how a seller decides to respond.

Let’s sit down together and discuss your personal situation and your options. You know why you need to move; I just want to help you get there faster.

Transition Thursday – Tips for Prepping Your Home for Sale

A house in the suburbsWith the high inventory of homes on the market today, home buyers can afford to be choosy. Buyers are looking for the best, so a home for sale can easily slip through the cracks if it’s not in pristine condition. Use these 10 tips to whip your home into shape and wow potential buyers. >>


DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

What is Universal Design?

It’s basically a home designed and setup to function and be accessible to anyone of any age, regardless of difficulties or disabilities with vision or mobility. The concept was introduced in the 1950s.

In 1992, the Americans with Disabilities Act required that all public buildings be reasonably renovated to accommodate people with disabilities. As the baby boomers enter their golden years, they’ve begun embracing the idea of universal design in residential homes, too.

The most obvious design example is a single level home with no steps to enter or inside. Other examples include proper lighting and no-glare surfaces. Everyone is familiar with grab bars, and to take it a step further in making the bathroom safe and functional for all, universal design concepts incorporate lipless showers, wider hallways, and doorways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. My downsizing clients are seeking homes with easy access coming and going from both the front door and the garage.

Drawers, storage, and appliances at the proper level is another adjustment that can be made to avoid deep bending or reaching. For instance, I’ve worked with clients who are coming back from hip surgery and are instructed to avoid bending more than 90 degrees as they heal.

Owners who consider their current home to be their forever home should consider incorporating universal design upgrades that will allow them to manage if mobility becomes more challenging. My brother and sister-in-law are completing a major remodel in their Lafayette, CA home and are considering all these issues as they plan to age in place.

Even younger homeowners may consider adding some aspects of universal design if an elderly or disabled family member moves in. Adding universal design elements can add value when selling your home.

7 Things That Can Delay Close of Escrow

The May real estate market is fast and furious with most listings receiving multiple offers. Anyone can sell a home, right? Then why is it that I recently read 25% of all transactions fall apart before closing escrow?

Consider what happens when a transaction gets a bit, well…complicated. In my experience, most real estate transactions are anything but “normal.”

Here are 7 reasons I see most often that can cause an escrow to be delayed or not close at all:

1) The buyer discovers major issues with the home via inspections that either need to be repaired or credited for repairs to be done at a later date.

2) Buyers request repairs, and sellers in turn can agree to all, some or none of the requested items. When an agreement is made that seller will complete repairs and they aren’t done correctly or on time, this also delays closing.

3) The home can’t be insured, perhaps due to a safety issue, like knob and tube electrical wiring, leaving the buyer high and dry and not able to close until insurance can be secured.

4) The appraisal comes in below the offered purchase price. If the buyer can’t come up with the funds to close, and the seller won’t’ agree to sell their home for less than the offered amount.

5) Incorrect information on the loan documents or the final settlement statement.

6) Title issues can appear, including such things as liens filed by unpaid contractors. This must be rectified before the transaction can be closed.

7) Final walk through or ‘verification of property’ is another sticking point that can occur if buyer finds something different from the last time they saw the property or junk has been left inside or in the yard. The closing can again be delayed.

You owe it to yourself to hire a seasoned real estate professional who will manage your risk, successfully negotiate on your behalf, effectively communicate to all parties on a consistent basis and who takes their fiduciary responsibilities very seriously.

SEMINAR May 2: Selling Your Home in Today’s Market

FREE SEMINAR: Selling You Home in Today’s Market

Get the facts about what is involved in selling a home in today’s market and the Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid! Whether you are planning to sell this month or not for a few years, do your homework now and be prepared!

REGISTER: By phone 925-788-6582 or online

Join us for additional candid conversations with local experts focused on the unique and complex housing-related issues facing California’s mature homeowners & families.

January 17th – 55+ Senior Living Options
February 7th – Tax, Legal & Financial Issues
March 7th – Senior Scams
April 4th – Aging in Place-AKA Stayin’ Put
May 2nd – Selling your Home in Today’s Market
June 6th – How to Pay for Senior Living
July 11th – Assisting Living Options
August 15th – Understanding Continuing Care Retirement Communities
September 5th – The New Reverse Mortgages-Fact vs. Myth
October 3rd – Independent Living Options
November 7th – Estate Liquidation Strategies
December 5th – Downsizing Lessons from People Who’ve Done It

FREE SEMINAR: October 3rd: Independent Living Options

Elderly LadyREGISTER NOW FOR THIS FREE SEMINAR: The “Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series” presents “Independent Living Options” on October 3rd.

Learn what independent living is and isn’t…and what people can expect when moving to an independent living community. You get to ask ANY question you have on your mind and we will answer it to the best of our ability.

We realize that as you are making choices about where to live in future years, being educated and informed is key. You’ll leave with answers to the following questions, including:

  • Where do I begin looking for independent living options?
  • What do independent living communities offer me as a senior?
  • What will it cost to live in an independent living community?
  • Are there independent options for purchase? For lease? What are they?

Admission is free. Location: Lafayette Library Community Hall, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Time: 10 AM – 11:30 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

Here is the full seminar schedule for 2018:

January 17th – 55+ Senior Living Options
February 7th – Tax, Legal & Financial Issues
March 7th – Senior Scams
April 4th – Aging in Place-AKA Stayin’ Put
May 2nd – Selling your Home in Today’s Market
June 6th – How to Pay for Senior Living
July 11th – Assisting Living Options
August 15th – Understanding Continuing Care Retirement Communities
September 5th – The New Reverse Mortgages-Fact vs. Myth
October 3rd – Independent Living Options
November 7th – Estate Liquidation Strategies
December 5th – Downsizing Lessons from People Who’ve Done It

5 Home Safety Tips for Boomers and Seniors

Baby Boomer Couple

Here are 5 home safety tips for Boomers and Seniors:

  • Set the thermostat on the water heater no higher than 120° F to prevent scalding
  • Add a “clapper” light switch to control lamps or check out other remote control switching options.
  • Remove throw rugs. If carpet is necessary, installing low-pile rug can be better than shag. Having carpet   stretched or removed can eliminate bumps.
  • Paint the bottom step a different color to better distinguish the last step from the basement floor.
  • A device that enables a ringing doorbell to trigger a flashing light — including existing house lamps and special  strobes for rooms where lamps aren’t generally used — lets your loved one know if someone is at the door.



Need to find a real estate agent near Walnut Creek CA? Dayna Wilson serves the East Bay communities of Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton and Martinez. A certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist ®, Dayna helps boomers and seniors with the financial and emotional challenges encountered when selling a long-held family home.


Senior Segment is Reshaping Real Estate Dynamics in Walnut Creek, Ca. and Beyond

Baby Boomer CoupleImagine the different kinds of expertise involved in helping a first-time buyer purchase a home, versus helping a last-time seller to downsize. First-time buyers and 65+ sellers face a vastly different set of options, expectations, concerns and challenges, but too often, the real estate industry has taken a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach to serving clients.

Demographic trends are pointing to seismic shifts ahead for housing in this country. Aging seniors are projected to move out of an estimated 11.3 million homes between 2010 and 2020, and in the next decade, that figure is expected to reach 15 million. Every single one of those millions represents a unique individual who deserves to have his or her move handled with the utmost compassion, integrity, attention to detail and connectedness to the full spectrum of professionals who are often involved in ensuring a seamless transition for seniors and their families.

Dayna Wilson’s Savvy Seniors Division is committed to a proactive approach to understanding the big-picture trends that have an impact on our community and our clients. We also understand that distinct expertise is needed to meet the needs of various segments of our community.

cshp_logo2e35c3This is why I’m thrilled to have completed the rigorous requirements to achieve the Certified Senior Housing Specialist (CSHP) designation. This prestigious designation awarded only to a select number of elite real estate professionals in any market by the Seniors Real Estate Institute® represents completion of a competency-based curriculum as well as ongoing education and training. CSHPs are held to the highest standards of professionalism and most importantly, they are passionate about serving senior clients with dignity and compassion.

Demographic shifts and improvements in life expectancy have given rise to senior housing options that far exceed those of previous decades. CSHPs are not only in touch with the full range of options within their communities, they have the specific skills needed to help seniors to get where they want to go – unraveling the complexities involved in downsizing and selling a family home.

“Despite the fact that seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, this segment of the market remains largely under served. 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 60 every day for the next 18 years. At the other end of the senior spectrum, the 90-plus segment of the population nearly tripled over the past three decades, and is expected to quadruple over the next 40 years.

“The expertise, combined with our passion to ensure the dignity of elderly clients, is not just a benefit to our senior clients but also their families,” Dayna emphasized. “Our goal is to be a profound asset to the entire community.”

Dayna’s Dash of Real Estate

Dayna's Dash of Real Estate