Tom Bollum with California Oaks Real Estate Selected as a Top Real Estate Agent in Sacramento for 2012

17 Feb

Wexford Custom with Unbelievable Views and Timeless Charm – Just listed

12 Aug

 5182 Prior Ridge   $1,549,000

Outstanding property w/city lights and Sutter Butte’s views! Escape to your own European oasis! Outdoor Italian terrace and kitchen with granite bar, double kegorator, and entertainment area. Pool, spa, sauna, immense workout room, billiard room w/wine room, chef’s kitchen opens to mahogany-wrapped family room & wet bar also with sunset views. Living Room with huge rock fireplace w/french doors opening to covered veranda. Romantic master retreat on main level. Timeless design and old world charm.

Check out the Virtual Tour

  T his could be your new home in Wexford!!  

Housing Market’s Siver Lining!!

21 Jun

Amid the clouds of gloom hovering over the nation’s housing market there is a silver lining. Steven Liberati sees it. The 28-year old heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems salesman and his fiancé are about to purchase their first home — a co-op apartment in White Plains, New York — for a fraction of what they thought it would cost just a couple of years ago.  More

A “10” in Rancho Del Sol in Camino just listed

16 May

WOW – this is a 10!    Remodeled 3BR/2 bath custom 2642 sq. ft. home on 6 forested acres in gated Rancho del Sol! A cook’s kitchen with stainless appliances, Wolf range, Miele dishwasher, hardwood, slate and Pergo floors, your own spa-like master bath with stone counters, slate floors and rainforest shower and jetted tub, game room and wet bar, rear deck and spa. The quality of workmanship shows! Bring your fussiest buyers!!

Not an REO or Short Sale – quick response and quick close!

To get a good idea of this great home watch the Virtual Tour.


FDIC proposes new rule to require borrowers put a minimum of 20% down – or pay much higher rates!

29 Mar

We are hearing from sources that federal regulators are considering new definitions for a qualified residential mortgage that would require a 20% minimum down payment. This is the biggest news to hit the mortgage market in many years, and it would have a severe and noticeable impact for borrowers in a number of ways.

Homeowners who do not qualify for a loan that meets the new definition (mortgage insurance doesn’t appear to be part of the equation) would be forced to pay substantially higher rates. Early market estimates place that number as much as 3.00% higher than the QRM equivalent rate (on a $200,000 loan, that’s almost $400 more a month). Put in another way, loan costs to borrowers will have  increased by up to 36%. We do not expect the change to occur overnight, and it would take at least one year for enforcement on behalf of the eight government agencies involved in drafting the final definitions.

There is clearly a lack of understanding of the impact this would have on the market by regulators. For 2002-08 vintage origination (origination year of the loans), moving from 5% to 10% minimum down payment would result in approximately 7%-15% of the market becoming “non qualified.” Moving further to 20% down payment, that means as much as between 15-35% of the market or more could be affected.

We’ll keep you updated as more comes out and this “rule” becomes better defined.


Vaiano Trattoria tuscan eatery opens in Granite Bay

1 Mar vaiano-logo

Vaiano Trattoria has opened!!!  Next to Lakeside Beverages, on Douglas Blvd. near Auburn Folsom Blvd, Vaiano Trattoria is completing their first week of serving great Tuscan food!  While it was supposed to be a “soft” opening, without any advertising, they found themselves with full tables and even a short wait on Friday and Saturday nights.  Of course waiting isn’t such a big deal as Lamya and Sam Malhotra, of Lakeside Beverages, have great wine tastings every Friday and Saturday right next door!  You’ll be surprised how many friends you will see in this small center on the weekends.

Lunch is also served Monday – Friday, but no one really knows yet that they are open for lunch.  The word will get out and this friendly, cozy restaurant will soon become the local place to eat!

Vaiano Trattoria is the creation of two couples and longtime friends, with origins from Italy:  Marcello and Sarah Nolivo, and Patrizia Russo-Hickok and Nathan Hickok.  Born and raised in Italy, both Marcello and Patrizia grew up in the  small Tuscan foothill town of Vaiano, knew each other as schoolmates, and remained in contact after Marcello moved to the United States in 1989.  Marcello came to this country in hopes of realizing the “American Dream”, and began his journey toward realizing this dream as a dishwasher in a restaurant, where he met Nathan, who also worked there.  The two became fast friends; and, when Patrizia then came from Italy for a visit, she met, and later married, Nathan.

Over the years, Marcello worked his way through the restaurant industry in every aspect from dishwasher, to chef, to owner of several venues, including The Club Car Bar & Restaurant in Auburn, which he still runs with his wife Sarah Nolivo, a native New Yoker.  His heart, however, lies in the kitchen, where he is a natural at creating authentic Italian dishes. Not a classically trained chef, Marcello grew up in a family with five children, and his job was to help his mother cook.  Making pasta from scratch was an every day endeavor in the Nolivo household, as were daily trips to the store for the freshest of ingredients.    This experience, though probably detested at the time, has proven to be an invaluable gift, in that creating wonderful food is inherent in Marcello.  As his wife Sarah will attest, when Mamma Pina comes to visit from Italy, both mother and son share their time in “la cucina”, creating the most mouthwatering aromas!

Nathan, on the other hand, spent his time in the restuarant industry climbing the ranks into corporate restaurant management, and boasts a twenty-six year career managing the nuts and bolts of the business. Desiring to follow his entreprunurial ambitions, it only made sense that these two couples and long time friends, with roots from Italy, and years of restaurant experience, joined forces to create Vaiano Trattoria.  Naming it after Marcello and Patrizia’s hometown was a no-brainer, as the two Italian transplants found it difficult to find in America,  the type of Italian cuisine they grew up eating, and are dedicated to creating such cuisine at Vaiano Trattoria.

Some of the dishes may be familiar, and others are regional and family recipes, not found on any other menu.  The Rigatoni Siciliana is an example of this, as it is one of Marcello’s Sicilian born mother’s own creations!

7160 Douglas Blvd Granite Bay CA 95746
916-780-0888 <>


Mon: 11am – 9 PM
Tues: 11am – 9 PM
Weds: 11am – 9 PM
Thurs: 11 am – 9 PM
Fri: 11am – 10 PM
Sat: 4:30 PM – 10 PM
Sun: 4:30 PM – 10PM

The Mortgage Interest Deduction Could Disappear!!!

17 Feb

You may already be aware that Congress and the Administration are looking into scaling back or eliminating the Mortgage Interest Deduction as part of the debate concerning our nation’s fiscal future. The consequences would be devastating to the recovering housing market and the tens of millions of Americans who benefit from the deduction.

Save My Mortgage Interest Deduction (SaveMyMID)  has been created by the National Association of Home Builders to raise awareness about the threat to the mortgage interest deduction and the dire consequences that could result if it is eliminated or reduced. These resources help people understand the widespread economic ripple effects  – far beyond the individual home owner – that could occur if the mortgage interest deduction is eliminated or scaled back.

I hope that you’ll help spread awareness about what is happening in Washington!

Here is a useful site that you’re welcome to check out and borrow resources from:  SaveMyMID


4 Feb

Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Index Includes Sacramento As Nation’s Most Affordable Markets to Buy Compared to Renting

SAN FRANCISCO, January 24, 2011 – (, a top site for homebuyers, sellers and renters, today released its latest Rent vs. Buy Index which found that it is more affordable to buy than to rent a two-bedroom home[1] in 72 percent of America’s 50 largest cities[2]. Meanwhile, a nation of renters has emerged as more Americans rent by choice or due to unforeseen financial difficulties. In contrast to this nationwide trend, renting is only less expensive than buying in four of the cities included in this study – namely New York, Seattle, Kansas City and San Francisco. The remaining 10 cities are locations where buying may still be a financially sound long-term decision despite the relative affordability of renting.

Since the start of the ‘Great Recession,’ many former homeowners have flooded the rental market. Following the principles of supply and demand, renting has become relatively more expensive than buying in most markets,” said Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia. “Though necessary for achieving true economic recovery, stricter bank lending practices have also further aggravated the struggling housing market in the short term. Even highly-qualified homebuyers face intense scrutiny on their income, savings, existing debt and credit history before they can get a mortgage loan.”

Cities overwhelmed by foreclosure filings and unemployment, including many cities in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and central California, typically correspond to more affordable markets for prospective buyers; however, there are exceptions. Oakland and Los Angeles, which are experiencing similar rates of unemployment or foreclosure filings as Phoenix, Miami and Sacramento, are still more affordable to renters. Moreover, close proximity to economic centers with promising job growth projections has propped up both the demand for homes and costs of home homeownership in Oakland and Los Angeles.
“Although owning a home is relatively more affordable in most cities, market conditions have caused an interesting demographic swap between traditional renters and buyers,” said Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Consumer Educator for Trulia. “For example, lifelong renters are seizing the opportunity to become homeowners while affordability is high. At the same time, a growing number of long-time homeowners are finding themselves tenants – some by choice and others by necessity.”
Top 10 Cities to Rent vs. Buy.

For the complete article and charts click here.

Do We Really Need a Loan Pre-Approval Before Shopping for Our New Home?

17 Jan

Confused about what getting pre-qualified or pre-approved means? You’re not the only one. There’s a big difference between a mortgage pre-qualification, a pre-approval and an actual mortgage approval.

Getting Pre-Qualified for a Mortgage

Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage helps give you an idea of how much you might qualify to borrow. But since you have not actually applied for a loan, and the lender only has your word on your credit, income, assets and liabilities, a home loan or mortgage amount is not guaranteed. With a pre-qualification, no information has been verified. If you receive a letter from the lender, it may only state that you are likely to be approved for a mortgage.

A Better Solution – a Loan Pre-Approval!!!

While it’s helpful to be pre-qualified for a home loan, it doesn’t always guarantee you’ll be approved for a loan.  The pre-approval involves a complete loan application, running all 3 credit bureaus, verifying employment and assets, clearing up any questions or discrepancies that the lender may find and then issuing a pre-approval letter.  It really means that you are pre-approved, up to a specific amount, for a loan and all that remains is finding a home that fits your loan amount, and then the home and the home’s value qualifying.  In most cases, the lenders that we work with can provide a pre-approval quickly.  However, if my buyers are self-employed, or business owners, it could take several weeks to get all the documentation together for their pre-approval.   And if by some chance a potential buyer I’m working with doesn’t qualify, the lenders I recommend can outline a plan to get them in better fiscal health so they can buy a home in the future.

A pre-approval is based on your real credit score, and really puts real estate agents and home sellers at ease. At the same time, you’re in control when making an offer to a seller. They’ll know you’re a serious buyer who’s ready and able to make a deal.

In this market, buyers need to get pre-approved for a loan for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:

1.     Sellers want buyers to be pre-approved.

2.     Buyers won’t be disappointed if they find a house they really like, then find out after the fact they don’t qualify for a loan.

3.     Buyers won’t waste their time, or others, looking at homes they don’t qualify for.

4.     With tighter underwriting requirements, Buyers may not be qualified for a loan they could have gotten a year or two ago.

5.     A lender can advise on various loan programs that can help a Buyer get the best loan option for them and save them money!

6.     Many homes are “under-priced” to encourage multiple offers.  In this case, if you are not already pre-approved this home may go ‘pending” even before you can submit your offer, since the pre-approval will not be ready in time.

Why are Buyers Reluctant to get pre-approved?

The reason is simple. People don’t like to hand over personal information to complete strangers.  Many buyers, especially if they are doing this for the first time, don’t understand what a pre-approval is.  I like to think of it as an instrument of confidence. Buyers who have a pre-approval from a reputable lender can walk confidently into any property in their price range and decide whether or not they want it and not wonder if they can afford it. Also, many buyers don’t realize that a pre-approval from a reputable lender is not a commitment to take out a mortgage with this lender. It is not a commitment for a buyer to take out a mortgage at all. It just means that if the buyer sees a house in his/her price range that he wants to buy, a reputable lender said he/she could.  Remember,  you are only discussing your personal finances with the lender, no one else.

It is our job as a Realtor to explain this.   
There are a lot of buyers out there looking at a lot of homes. When a buyer writes an offer to purchase a home, the seller gives more gravity and consideration to the offer that is accompanied by a pre-approval from a reputable lender. Even in today’s climate in real estate, at least in my area, it is not unusual for properties to have multiple offers. In fact, it is becoming more common.  Many sellers/banks are pricing their listings lower than they know it will sell for to encourage multiple offers! Why not as a buyer try to give yourself whatever edge you can?


Some people think that a pre-approval will affect their credit score – This is a myth. Like all myths, it is grounded in some truth. When you say “yes” to a cashier when she asks you if you would like to open a credit card account with them and save 15% on your entire purchase, the inquiry that occurs will go on your credit report and this can potentially affect your FICO score. You are looking to open an unsecured loan that carries high interest. However, when a reputable lender pulls your credit report when trying to get a pre-approval, the three major reporting agencies review who has pulled a copy of your credit report and they see it is “Reputable Mortgage Lender, Inc.,” they know what is going on and will not have it reflect poorly against you and damage your FICO score.

It’s way more fun for a buyer to look at houses than it is to apply for a mortgage!

1st time homebuyers are very educated today when it comes to finding a home on the Internet and calling an agent to see the listing, but they are still learning the process of buying a home. They want to find a home 1st because they still have control of the process rather than being told by a Lender or Realtor what they can really afford.  Unfortunately, this prevents many people from even making an offer in a multiple offer scenario and I am not doing my job for my clients if I allow this to happen.  We have even seen some listings that require proof of the pre-approval before we can arrange a showing for our clients.

Of course, there are those buyers who are extremely confident of getting financing – but it’s still up to your Realtor to explain today’s lending and buying environment and the reasons a pre-approval is necessary.   

As a former lender, I think the whole concept of pre-qualifying is useless. By having our clients go through the pre-approval process we know exactly how to write the contract; we know if they need seller contributions to closing costs, if their loan program has parameters that the property must meet, and we have a loan approval letter (or can get one immediately) in hand to submit with their offer. 

If a buyer refuses for whatever reason to get pre-approved, how can we as a real estate agent possibly serve their best interests?

A Realtors Job:

As Realtors, our job is to take a leadership role in the home search process and explain to our prospects/clients exactly what happens in the process of buying a home (getting the loan, finding the home, writing an offer, negotiating the offer, ordering inspections, getting the repairs from the inspections, making sure the appraisal is approved, setting up the title company, getting the home closed on time.)

By explaining what a buyer can expect from us as their Realtor and the process of buying a home, they will tell us that they are either ready to buy or they are just looking.   Chances are the “Lookers” will become Buyers once they find a professional who’s taken the time to explain the process of buying a home to them, rather than an agent who opened a door to a property they found on-line.

Realty Times – 10 Reasons to Buy

21 Dec

Buying a home or property has always been a step towards achieving the American dream. If you are still unsure whether or not buying is the right step for you,  review these reasons for owning a home, and it may help you take that step. (Carla Hill, December 8, 2010, RealtyTimes)



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