Morgan's Minute - A Blog on All Things El Dorado County

Featured homes, New Home Communities, Tips for Home Buyers & Sellers, "Best Of" posts on local shops, restaurants, hikes, and events. This blog has it all!

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Oct. 13, 2022

Just Listed - 3004 Courtside Dr, Diamond Springs, CA 95619

3 Beds  |  2.5 Baths  |  1,247 Sq Ft  |  0.08 Acre

OFFERED AT $345,000


Wonderful corner lot on a quiet cul-de-sac in convenient Diamond Springs! Spacious open concept first floor is perfect for casual living and entertaining. Fenced in backyard with large patio is private and a blank slate for your dream garden or swing set. Upstairs features an oversized Primary bedroom with large walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. 2 generous sized spare bedrooms are great for a home office, children, or guests. Extra deep 1-car garage allows for tons of storage and the 2 car driveway is a bonus in this quiet, convenient neighborhood!


Posted in Just Listed
Sept. 13, 2022

JUST LISTED - 5637 Vacation Blvd, Somerset, CA

3 Bedrooms  |  2 Bathrooms  |  1796 SQFT  |  0.68 Acres

Offered at $380,000

Dreaming of a home near a river? One of the best homes on one of the largest lots is available in the lovely community of Outingdale with EXCLUSIVE access to the Cosumnes River. Imagine taking a 2 minute stroll and being at a private beach with multiple swimming holes! Featuring cathedral ceilings, open concept layout, extra deep garage, 2 decks for BBQs and lounging, brand new exterior paint, wood burning stove, and TONS of storage! Kitchen has high quality Kraftmaid cabinets, 2 pantry closets, long peninsula AND island. The Primary Suite has it's own private deck, ensuite bathroom with jetted tub, and oversize walk-in closet. Under the home is an unfinished basement area perfect for a TV/Game room, extra guest sleeping area, or home office. Short drives to Fair Play and Plymouth wine countries, Placerville, Sutter Creek and more! This home is perfect to make everyday feel like a vacation!


CLICK HERE for Video Tour

Posted in Just Listed
June 25, 2022

3 Strategies to Get More Eyes on Your Listing

Who doesn’t want more 👀 on their home, right? 

I mean, the goal is to get the very best price you can. And the more showings you have the more offers you get. 

So here’s how to get your UNFAIR share of attention on your home when it’s listed:

☝️ Focus on the Lifestyle: The description and pictures need to tell a story of WHY someone wants to live in that house. After all, people don’t just buy a home because it has 3 beds, 2 baths and 2,000sf…they buy because they feel emotionally attached! So highlight the best features with staging, description, photos and videos done in an intentional & strategical way.

✌️Apply the Magic of Staging: Have you ever been in a model home? Well, let’s just say I’ve never been in one that didn’t make me wanna live there! There is so much power in having a home professionally staged. A Pro knows how to tell a story through furniture and decor…the story always being a welcoming home that almost anyone can imagine themselves living in. Make sure you have THAT magic!

🤟 Price It Right: Even if your marketing is ON POINT, if your pricing is off your home will get ignored. A strategic list price is 90% of the game - so make sure yours lands you with MORE buyers looking, and not less. I mean, you do want them fighting over the home, right? 😉

Wanna work with someone who understands these strategies and more?? Send me a DM and we can get the conversation started 💙

Posted in Home Selling Tips
June 21, 2022

3 Must-Know Tips When Buying a Brand New Home

If you’ve been paying attention, you probably noticed that this is the second time in the last 30 days I’ve had New Homes as the topic. Why? Because with precious little resale inventory for our home buyers to purchase I want to make sure you know there is another option.
We have LOTS of new home subdivisions throughout El Dorado County and the Sacramento Valley Region, and though you will usually need to wait 4-12 months to move into your new home, you won’t have the same complications other home buyers are having getting their offers accepted. So it may seem like more time, but it's actually about the same amount of time. Even better, your equity is growing while you wait for it to be finished. Cool trick, right?
Want to know more? Watch the video and then contact me so we can start working on getting you into your Brand New Home.


Posted in Home Buying Tips
June 20, 2022

Cost of Buying a Home

I've had more than one home buyer come to me completely surprised that there were more costs to buying a home than a down payment. 
So here's the skinny on what it REALLY costs to buy a home.
⓵ Down payment: VA and USDA loans have a 0% down payment - but most loans require between 3 and 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. 
② Loan and escrow closing costs: These costs include what the mortgage lender is paid upfront, prepaid property taxes, homeowners insurance, title insurance, and other fees. Typically these fees add up to 1-3% of sales price. 
⓷ Home Inspections: In our area, it's commonplace for the home buyer to pay for most of the inspections. The 2 most common inspections are a Whole Home ($450-700) and Pest/Termite ($100-200). In rural areas it's normal to also have a Septic inspection ($150-600) and a Well inspection ($500-700). 
④ Moving Costs: If you are doing a local move and using a Uhaul, it could be as little as a couple hundred dollars. But if you are using professional movers and moving long-distance the cost could be anywhere from $3-10k. 
What other questions do you have about buying or selling a home? Send me a DM or give me a call - I'm always looking to answer YOUR questions and get you educated. After all, education is power. 💪

Posted in Home Buying Tips
June 14, 2022

Let's Talk Mortgage Pre-Approval Letters.

Let's Talk Mortgage Pre-Approval Letters.
So long as you have your financial documents accessible, it’s easy to get a mortgage pre-approval letter.
So why are so many home buyers insistent that they’ll do it after they find “The One”?
I may never know the answer to that question. 🤷🏻‍♀️
But I can say that in my 12 years of selling real estate I’ve never seen a home seller accept an offer from a home buyer who doesn’t have a pre-approval letter OR wait for a home buyer to get one.
If you are serious about buying a home this year, let’s start working on getting fully pre-approved. This means submitting tax returns, bank statements and other pertinent financial documentation to a mortgage lender and then having a loan underwriter review them.
Once reviewed, you’ll have a much clearer picture on how much you can borrow and what your monthly payments will be. AND you can actually buy a home!!
Pre-approval letters last 60-90 days and are easy to update if necessary.
So again, if you are even thinking about buying this year, there is no harm in getting pre-approved now so that when you are ready to home shop you are truly ready!


Posted in Home Buying Tips
June 13, 2022

Investing In A Short-Term Rental

It’s Summertime and we’re all thinking about the adventures we’d like to have and places we’d like to go. AirBNB has become quite the sensation over the last several years and I know more-and-more people starting their own short term rental businesses either as a side hustle or a full time gig. Even I have been considering getting in the game!
In fact, one of my listings, 5637 Vacation Blvd, Somerset would be a PERFECT short term rental, and I’m going to use it as an example when considering purchasing your own.
What do you need to consider when investing in a short term rental?
Down Payment: If you will be purchasing a separate property from where you live it will be considered an investment property. Investment properties typically require 20-25% down payment. With a home like Vacation Bed you’d need between $85,000 and $106,000 as a down payment.
Prepping the Home: Almost any property will need some prep to become a short term rental. Remember, the homes that do the best have a “personality” that you’ll want to infuse in your property. Vacation Blvd could use some interior paint, new flooring, and a bathroom remodel. Plus most properties need furniture and household items. I’m going to guesstimate a budget of $30,000 for this particular property.
Between Down Payment and Prep the initial investment is somewhere between $115,000 and $131,000.
Next you need to consider your monthly expenses. Mortgage payment, taxes and insurance going to run approximately $2,535 per month. 
You’ll also want to do some research on going rate and average days rented per month. With Vacation Blvd I sourced another nearby rental commanding $215 per night on average. They could only sleep 6, whereas our example home could sleep up to 10 people. Also, the other home could use a lot more cuteness! And with our “remodel” and staging Vacation Blvd would surely beat them out on attractiveness. For that reasonI’d conservatively estimate $235 per night (and you may be able to get more). Also, I noticed the comparable home was renting around 20 nights per month. I’d want to do more research, but this is the number I’m going to use today.
20 nights per month X $235 per night = $4,700 per month.
$4,700 - $2,535 PITI = $2,165 profit per month, or $25,980 per year. Not bad!!
It’ll take 4 1/2 to 5 years to recoup the initial investment. But remember! You’ll also be gaining equity at the same time, thus it’ll actually be faster.
I don’t believe owning short term rentals is a walk in the park, but I do think it can be an amazing opportunity to build wealth, have profitable investments, and have a meaningful business.

Ready to begin your real estate investment journey?


June 7, 2022

Real Estate Planning Sessions

Though I'm excited and optimistic for 2022, I'm not oblivious to the fact that 2021 was a challenging year for home buyers AND home sellers! Home buyers had to wage an all out war to get into their new home - battling multiple offers, waiving contingencies, and often getting beat out on their dream home. Sellers were extremely worried they wouldn't be able to find a replacement home quick enough after selling their current home in a matter of hours. What has always been a stressful scenario (moving) became seemingly impossible. Kudos to all the people that made it through in 2021! 
To those of you still wanting to buy your first home, change living situations, or even move out of state, I'm doing something NEW this year. I'm offering one-on-one strategy sessions where we can discuss practical steps you can take to make your real estate goals happen. This is a conversation personalized to your situation - so come with all your questions! 
Whether you are looking to move now, in 6 months or even a year-and-a-half, it's not too early to start planning. The earlier you begin the less stress you'll have when you are actually ready. 
Schedule directly through my Calendly link and choose whether you'd like a phone call, Zoom or in person session.
I serve El Dorado County (El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Shingle Springs, Placerville, Pollock Pines), Folsom and surrounds (Sac County and Placer County). Looking forward to hearing from you!


June 6, 2022

Utilizing Your Home's Equity


One of the top reasons to own a home is to build up your family’s wealth and net worth. As your home’s value appreciates and you continue to pay down the principal on your mortgage, you quickly gain equity in your home.
Can you use this “forced savings” for other things? And should you?
If you’re like me, you probably get emails and letters in the actual mailbox every other day about how you could be utilizing your equity. They sure make it tempting!!
I get a little wordy in this video! But it’s well worth the watch if you are considering taking advantage of one of these offers. I go over the ways to use your equity - HELOC, 2nd mortgage, cash-out refi, reverse mortgage - and the potential consequences of doing so.
May 31, 2022

Should I Wait to Buy a Home?

Today I'm answering the eternal question, the question that I've been getting for twelve years. But I think every real estate agent has been getting since the beginning of time. Should I wait to buy a home?

Basically, is now the wrong time to buy a home? I don't know that there ever has truly been a wrong time to buy a home.

Now, there's wrong times for personally to buy a home if you're not in a financially stable position, if you don't have the income stability, if you don't know for sure that you want to stay in this location for five plus years, and if you don't have anything saved for a down payment and an emergency fund, then yeah, now is not the right time to buy. You need to work on those factors in order to be prepared to own a home, because stuff comes with that.

But from a market perspective, I haven't seen a time where someone comes out a loser unless they take a big gamble. The biggest gamble is time. If your plan is to buy a home and sell it in a year or two, well, that's a big risk because all markets across everything Tshirts, groceries, gas, cars, houses, stocks, it all goes like this.

Up, down, up, down, up, down. But if you notice my ups, the peaks are a little higher than last time and the downs come down.

Every market is cyclical. There is no steady upward rising market across anything. It all takes some dips. And so the dips in a real estate market can last anywhere from two years to seven years, theoretically longer. But those historically are the lengths of time that a down market last. And by down market, I mean the prices are going down. But people always say, hey, these prices are just absurd. And I get it. But you know what? People said that in 1981 houses were $35 to $75,000 in California. And those people right now are super happy that they bought their house, even though the interest rates at the time the year I was born, the interest rates were 14%, 14% insane amounts of money to put on your interest each and every month, each and every year. And yet those people have come out winners so long as they didn't turn around and sell in two years or sell during the downward market. So you've got to look at buying a home as a long term gain. Gain and gain, really. If you're doing it that way, then you will come out of winner.

So quick story. My now husband bought his first house. It was our first house in 2006, December 2006 for a price of 222. He thought he was winning because they actually had dropped the price a little bit. And interest rate at the time, five and three quarters. He thought that was magnificent. So did I. We all did. We thought he got a great rate. And what happened in 2000 and 7-8-9, the market crashed. We had one of the biggest recessions, one of the biggest real estate crashes ever in the history of the United States in the next following years. And so the value of that home went from 222 down to 150 ish nothing exactly. We were able to refinance during that time, and I think we got our rate to around 4%, a little hard for me to remember exactly at this point. And we hung on. We paid our payment. We just kept paying the payment. In fact, we actually always paid a little bit extra and say whatever you want to say about that. It always has worked for us. There were a lot of people who couldn't hang on and no shame in that. There was a lot of stuff going on in the economy at the time, but we were able to hang on. We just kept paying our payment. We stayed there eleven years. In the end, we sold for 283. We didn't do any major remodels. We kept the ugly pink carpet. We didn't really replace anything. We just cleaned it up and maintained the home. And in the end, we made a fairly good percentage.

You have to think about things as percentages. And we came out with equity of $120,000 or something just by paying down the payment, which helped us afford the home that we're in today.

So real estate is a long game.

Is now a bad time to buy? I don't think so. Interest rates are still historically low. Yes, prices are high, but affordability is kind of in the middle.

When you look at all the Historics. And if you could get into a house right now, even if you have to ride out a downward wave in five to ten years, it's going to be worth more than what it is today. And if interest rates change in the meantime, if you get, say, 5% today and they happen to go back down to four or 3% in the future, then by all means refinance, save that money, invest that money elsewhere.

So there's lots of options if you get in the game, but you have to get in the game.

So personally and professionally, I think now is still a fantastic time to buy. And remember, right now, the longer you wait, the more likely those interest rates are going to go up, making things less affordable. And there's no signs that prices are going down in the next year. So if you are in a position that you're thinking about buying, do it. Do it now so that you can get those gains faster in your life for your financial stability.
Trust me, none of people asked me this question five, six, seven years ago and then chose to buy regret it. They obviously have done well. But people have asked me this entire time, and I think people will continue to ask so you have to look and say, is now the right time for me? Don't worry so much about the economy so long as this is going to be a long term thing for you.

If you have questions or you want to know more about whether you're in the right spot to buy a house and what it looks like for you, give me a call or send me a DM and we can start that conversation.


Posted in Home Buying Tips