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gene has been a member since April 28th 2014, and has created 34 posts from scratch.

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This Author's Website is http://HomePointBrentwood.com

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Home Point Real Estate for Buying, Selling, Investing

Home Point Real Estate for Buying, Selling, Investing

Welcome to the Home Point Real Estate blog spot. We have information on Buying a Home, Selling a Home, or Investing in Real Estate. We also have up-to-date information on Home Loans and Real Estate Lending. Home Point Real Estate is located in the Contra Costa County community of Brentwood California and provides service to Contra Costa County and beyond.

Kitchen 1

Home Point Real Estate is a leader in Internet and On-Line Marketing, but we also believe in traditional personal service. We answer our phone! If we do not it is only because we are on another line and then we will be back to you in minutes, not hours. Go ahead try us now: 925-260-4321.

Home Point Real Estate is your real estate expert and with our team of Lenders, Title Companies, Escrow Companies, Inspectors, Contractors and others we will help you with your Real Estate Solutions.

Let Home Point Real Estate Point You in the Right Direction.

Buying a Home:

If you are looking to Buy a Home you have come to the right place. Home Point Real Estate offers Free On-line Home Searches, these are MLS Home Searches. Contact Home Point Real Estate and find out about getting our Home Buyers Guide. Home Point Real Estate works with First Time Home Buyers, Move Up Buyers, Relocation Buyers, Buyers looking for a Fixer Upper, Luxury Home Buyers, Real Estate Investors, Golf Course Homes, Homes with Deep Water Docks, Lots and Land, Hobby Farms, and those looking for Active Adult Communities.

Have a Lending Problem? Ask us about some of the great programs our lenders have! Low Credit Score; minimal or no cash; One Day Out of Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, or Short Sale; or other issues? Don’t give up! Give us a call 925-260-4321.

Home Point Real Estate – Turning Houses into Homes!

Selling a Home:

Let Home Point Real Estate Help You Sell Your Home. Contract Home Point Real Estate about Getting a Copy of our Free Home Selling Book that will help you get the most for your home. Get a Free Home Evaluation.  We handle Short Sales and other challenging sales. Home Point Real Estate is a highly committed to modern technology  but with a commitment to personal service.

We know how to get your home the most exposure and quality offers in a realistic time frame. If you are Selling a Luxury Home, Selling an Investment Property, doing a Probate Sale, want to Sell a Home As Is, want to Sell Your Home and Move Up, and Relocation Sellers Home Point Real Estate is here to help you sell. Have you tried For Sale Buy Owner and decided the legal and financial risk are too great? Ask us why it is better to List With Home Point Real Estate and why you may get more for your home using a REALTOR.

Selling a Home is more than putting out a sign and waiting for an offer. We present your home to thousands of buyers over the Internet, both on our Blog and Web Sites, E-mails, Syndicated Real Estate Sites, The MLS, and more. We will show you how to get your home ready for sale, and help you sell in the shortest amount of time for the most more based on current market conditions. More than on line though we will be there in person to answer your questions. Show your home, review your offers with you and guide you through the disclosure process.

For many your home is the most important asset you have. It is more than about Selling Your Home, it is about helping you create your future.

Real Estate Investing:

Home Point Real Estate works with lots of Real Estate Investors. From Buying Investment Properties to Selling Investment Properties. We can show you how to use a 1031 exchange to drastically increase your return on Investment. We work with Real Estate Investors Shopping for Single Family Homes, 2-4 Unit Properties, and Real Estate Investors interested in Buying Apartment Houses. If you are looking to sell an Investment Property we have hundreds of Real Estate Investors that we can show the property to.

Home Point Real Estate works with some of the best lenders in the industry and can get you the right loan for your investment. At this time we can direct you to lenders that offer 15% down non-Owner Occupied Loans. Own 10 Investment Properties and want to buy more but cannot get a loan? We have lenders with programs that will let you borrow on up to 20 properties. We also have work with Rehab Lenders, Bridge Loan Lenders, and Lenders for Apartment Complexes. Learn how to buy an investment property with 3 1/2 % Down FHA Loans.

Request The Free Book of Real Estate Investing.

Real Estate Loans:

Home Point Real Estate is not a Real Estate Lender, but we work with some of the best companies in the business working with premium conventional borrowers, VA Loans, Jumbo VA Loans, FHA Loans, Low Down Payment Conventional Loans, FHA 203K Loans, other Rehab Loans, Investor Loans, Self Employed Buyers, Hard to Place Borrows with Credit Problems or other issues.

When other say, “No,” we say “How.” We are about solutions not NO!

Service Areas:

Our Primary MLS for Residential Real Estate covers Contra Costa County and Alameda County. Coverage areas for commercial is much broader. We also have access to surrounding counties via the MLS Exchange. We work with team members and other trusted Real Estate Partners to provide service to all of these areas.

Home Point Real Estate is in Contra Costa County which includes the following towns and communities:

East Contra Costa County:


Antioch Centennial Park

Antioch Lake Alhambra

Antioch Delta Fair


Brentwood Summerset (a 55+ Community)

Brentwood Trilogy (a 55+ Community)

Brentwood Apple Hill

Brentwood Deer Ridge

Brentwood Garin Ranch

Brentwood Rose Garden

Brentwood Providence Place

Brentwood Visions

Brentwood Pool Homes

Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay Deep Water Dock Homes

Discovery Bay Country Club

The Lakes in Discovery Bay


Oakley Summer Lake Homes

Oakley Pool Homes


Bay Point


Bethel Island


North Contra Costa County






Pleasant Hill


Walnut Creek

West Contra Costa County


El Cerrito

El Sobrante






San Pablo

South Contra Costa County


San Ramon

925-260-4321 Direct – Gene Riemenschneider – Broker

East Contra Costa County Home Prices and Market Trends – Feb 2016

East Contra Costa County Home Prices and Market Trends – Feb 2016

East Contra Costa County Home Prices are on the way up and this is because Kitchen 1East Contra Costa Homes are affordable and quality homes. With BART extended out to Antioch California (and further extensions in the works), with the widening of Highway 4, and the expansion of the bypass; East Contra Costa County Homes are becoming more in demand.

The quality of life in East Contra Costa County is a constant draw to Home Buyers. Some of the highest rated schools in the state are in Brentwood, Summerset Homes and the Vineyard offer fine 55+ Housing, there are homes with Deep Water Docks on the Delta, there is great golfing and water recreation, and the communities set on the edge of the county’s agricultural core.

Here are the East Contra Costa County Home Prices. Let’s take a look at the numbers for Active Homes, Sales for the last 4 months and compare sales from 2015 and 2014:













Sold Jan 2016






Sold Dec 2015






Sold Nov 2015






Sold Oct 2015


















  • Median Days on Market

East Contra Costa County Home Prices are trending up, and were up about 10% based on Median price in 2015. Now there are some ups and downs. Sales dropped in November before picking back up and there was a deep in Median Price in January; but I think the over all trend will continue up. The drop in November reflects that fall of in shopping in the fall when kids head back to school. Often January sees some drops due to fewer buyers in the market in November and December.

Homes priced right continue to sell. My gut feeling is the market is starting to move toward the middle. Lower end homes are still selling, but buyers are looking for a little more and will spend a little more to get a home in the middle of the market. High end homes are selling too, but it takes more time. Hence the Median Price in the Active Market is much higher than sold prices.

Gene lives and works in Brentwood Ca, where he is the Broker and owner of Home Point Real Estate providing service to the East Contra Costa County Communities of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Antioch, Pittsburg and beyond. Give us call regarding Buying a Home, Selling a Home, or Real Estate Investing. Call 925-260-4321.

Should You Really Put as much Down Payment as you can on a Home Purchase? – Buying a Home Part 3

Should You Really Put as much Down Payment as you can on a Home Purchase? – Buying a Home Part 3

There are a lot of great Home Loan Programs, even some programs for Zero Down Front Long View LargePayment Home Loans. Yes you can Buy a Home with No Money Down. Even if you do not qualify for a Zero Down Home Loan, most people can get an FHA Loan with 3.5%. There are lots of Home Loan Programs.

There are lots of Home Buyers that can afford to pay cash for a home; and many that can put down a traditional 20% or more on a Home Loan.

But should you put as much money down as you can? If you can pay cash should you? Or is there a better way to do it? Keep in mind that in general if you put less than 20% down you will have a slightly higher loan rate or mortgage insurance that will make the cost of the loan a little higher. Here are some things to consider when deciding how much money to put down (of even get a loan):

  1. Can you afford the higher monthly payment when you put less down.
  2. If you put all (or a good hunk) of your money into the down payment do you have a reserve left in the event of job loss or disability that might keep you from working; so you can pay your mortgage. Do you have a reserve left for other expenses.
  3. Right now borrowing money is cheap. If you borrow (or borrow more than you have to) can you make more money by investing what you do not use for the down payment. This is especially true when you consider that the mortgage interest is something you can right off on your taxes.
  4. The more money you put down the easier and quicker your loan will be processed (in general).
  5. When you submit an offer on a home, the more money you are coming in with a down payment (or better yet – All Cash) makes your offer look more attractive to the sellers as you look like a more solid buyer.
  6. This last reason for putting down a small down payment is kind of twisted, but sadly practical. I doubt we are going to have any down turn in the market soon, and I really doubt it will be like the one we just came through if it does come; but the less you put down the less you loose. Yep if you are upside down on your home and have to walk away (or loose to foreclosure) the less down payment you put into it the less you loose.

Now every client is different. Every persons situation is different. However, in general, if you have the money and will still have a good reserve, I recommend going with 20% down. No more and no less, for the reasons above. Now if you do not need a Tax Deduction and want a paid for home or low mortgage due to your situation go ahead and put more down or pay cash. If you can put more down or pay cash, but don’t have to, maybe you should leverage your money and buy an investment property in addition to your primary residence.

For those of you that cannot afford to put 20% down (or would have to clean out the piggy bank to do so). Buy with as little money out of pocket as possible. Save your cash.

Yes it is risky to buy a home without a big cash reserve, but it is riskier not to buy a home. Does a home loan cost more without a big down payment? Yes it does, but it will probably cost you more to wait? Read this blog post I wrote some time ago on the Advantages of Home Ownership. If you should ever run into financial Hardship you are probably better off in your own home than a rented property.

Talk to a lender and Realtor about the loan programs available to you and the current housing market and then make the best decision for you.

Let Home Point Real Estate Point you in the right direction. Located in Brentwood Ca Home Point Real Estate provides service to the East Contra Costa County Communities of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Antioch, Pittsburg and beyond. Give us call at 925-260-4321 about Buying a Home, Selling a Home, or Real Estate Investing.

Flipping Homes the Safe Way – Real Estate Investing

Flipping Homes the Safe Way – Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing

Flipping a Home – Money waiting to be made!

Some times a Flip turns into a Flop. Flipping Homes the safe way is very important; especially for the smaller investor that cannot afford to loose money. I think real estate investing is a great way to invest, even for small investors. Over time there is lots of money to be made and it is a physical asset. There are lots of tools and things to consider when Investing in Real Estate. I recommend you request my Book on Real Estate Investing for details. But with any Investment there is always risk.

I once heard a big time real estate investor say that one in six investments ends up going wrong and loosing money. I think the small scale investors I tend to work with have done better than that, but you still need to know what you are doing.

When Buying a Home to Flip basically you are looking for a home that has issues of varying degrees that can range from cosmetic to series defects. The goal is to get the home at a low price, fix it up and sell it for a profit. In general I think flips offer the best short term profits, but also have the biggest risk. What are those risk?:

  1. Your cost of the home and repairs end up exceeding what you can sell the home for. This can happen due to hidden issues you do not see at the time of purchase or bad estimates of cost up front.
  2. Loan cost and other administrative cost, sales cost and such eat up your profits and turn this into a loss.
  3. The market changes. Right now this is an up market and many flippers have been making good money on the rapid rise in prices; but it does not always go up fast, and sometimes it comes down.
  4. Normal risk associated with any business; theft of materials, vandalism, liability issues.

Flipping Homes Risk Management:

My Background before Real Estate was Risk Management. Two basic ways to Reduce exposure to Risk is to Avoid Loss and Mitigate Loss. In short do not experience the loss in the first place, and when you do experience a loss take steps to cut the cost of that loss.

Flipping Homes – Loss Avoidance in Real Estate Investing:

The obvious thing to do is not to engage in the activity causing risk in the first place. But that is not realistic. Everything has risk, including putting your money in the bank or in your mattress. At this point we have assumed that Real Estate Investing is where you want to be, so how do you avoid risk? Let’s look at the 4 points above:

  1. You need to have a good understanding of the cost of home repairs. Be able to spot issues as you walk a home. Be mindful you might not be able to see everything or have utilities on before you buy. In some situations you may not even be able to get into the house. Many people doing these types of investments have a strong background in the trades, or a good working relationship with people that can do the work.
    Keeping cost to a minimum is key. Knowing what buyers want in your market and a good eye for putting in the kind of things that attract buyers at a good cost is essential. For example, in this market Granite Counter Tops sell homes and are generally thought of as expensive. However, there are ways to get Granite Counter Tops economically, by using seconds, left overs, or things with slight flaws; piecing is generally acceptable (as long as there are not too many seams).
    One time I was with a clients and we were looking at a property with flip potential. They had a total of 13 offers. They wanted a highest and best. We looked around and wondered if we won the bidding what we might be missing. We just let it go. I know that who ever bought it had to hold it a long time before they could flip.
  2. Loan and administrative cost can be very expensive. It is not just the interest on the loan (which can be well above market for a flip loan), but points and other cost. There is Title Insurance and Escrow Fees, and lastly those Real Estate Agents need to be paid.
    Every situation is different, I understand the importance of Leverage in Real Estate, but this might be a situation where you might want to pay cash if you can. But be sure to include these cost in your budgeting of the project. If you have a regular real estate agent you should get a good price on the listing fees, but beware of trying to sell it yourself or using an agent that will cut corners when marketing the property. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.
  3. Know your market inside and out. Read and get opinions about where the market is headed. This is where a good real estate agent can be helpful. Most good agents have a gut feeling about the market before the stats make the newspapers. Do not make decisions on hopes and dreams, but on solid evidence. Be mindful know one knows the future for certain, you can make educated evaluations.
  4. First off make sure your property is well taken care of, remove hazards or fence them off (protect and isolate). Make sure the people you hire to work on the property have insurance, including workers comp, and get yourself named as an Additional Insured on their policy for larger job. On small piece work you should get and Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement in the contract.
    Secure your material and property against theft and intruders. Consider an alarm or a security company on larger jobs.

Flipping Homes – Loss Mitigation in Real Estate Investing:

Now in life things go wrong. The more you do the more likely something will go wrong. You flip enough properties and something will go wrong on one of them, no matter how much you do to prevent loss. So let’s look at steps to mitigate your loss when something does go wrong:

  1. If the loss is not too big you can just sell it, take your lumps, move on and make it up on the next property. However, it might make more sense to hang onto the property and even rent it out, selling it at a later date when the property has appreciated more. When buying the property keep the rental potential in mind, in the event something does go wrong. Another problem/consideration is that generally speaking I do not generally believe in upgrading a rental as much as a flip. You may have a lot of flip upgrades into a home before you realize you may be better off renting it. You will have to give some consideration as to how much to fix up the property and how much rent you might get out of it by upgrading more. Financing is a big part of this solution and that is in point 2.
  2. How you financed or purchased the home will have a big impact on loss reduction. If you bought and financed with Investors who are sharing in the risk, well you don’t take all the loss yourself. But they may not be as anxious to get on board for the next deal, or may want more control.
    If you financed the Investment the odds are you have a very costly short term loan. If you find yourself needing to hold the property for a while you need to refinance out of this short term loan. Consider how much you will need to put into the property before you can refinance out of the short term loan; have your emergency exit plan planned in advance. Consider the cost of this next loan.
    Perhaps you put all cash into the property. So you don’t need to finance out while you hold it, but maybe you do need to and should. If you have sunk a lot of cash into the property and need to hold that is money you cannot use on another project (I am very big on leveraging your cash as an Investor.) So maybe you need to now do a cash out finance of your property to get some of your capital back for the next investment.
    If you do the math you might find that the cost of holding and renting out leaves you with just as much capital in your pocket at the end of the day as selling at a loss. But do the math and consider your options.
  3. So what happens if your well thought out and well planned flip all of a sudden hits a market down turn that no one (especially you) anticipated? Well sell at a loss or lease and hold as noted above. Make this decision quick as the longer you wait to move on it the harder (and more cash) it will take to finance into a longer term loan.
    Now there are “Never” and “Never’s” in life, but real estate prices may go up and down, but rents “Never” go down. If your rents can keep you in or near the black on the project you can wait for the prices to head back up.
  4. Make sure you Insure your risk, especially with the right type of insurance. Both Liability and Property insurance. Make sure it is a builder’s policy that will cover your materials. Thinking of hiring under the table labor in front of the Big Box Hardware store? It varies by state, but you still better have Worker’s Comp Insurance in place.
    Lastly when you hang onto the property get a Home Warranty. Those warranties have lots of exclusions and deductibles and stuff, but what they do get you is a reasonably priced service call by a professional if you have a problem. Also if you sell the right home warranty can help prevent litigation or save you some cost in that regard.

When Investing Hope for the Best, but plan for the Worst. Always be safe and consider what you can afford to loose. Never Invest in Real Estate without a REALTOR that knows what he is doing with Real Estate Investments.

Let Home Point Real Estate Point you in the right direction. Located in Brentwood Ca Home Point Real Estate provides service to the East Contra Costa County Communities of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Antioch, Pittsburg and beyond. Give us call at 925-260-4321 about Buying a Home, Selling a Home, or Real Estate Investing. Get the Free Real Estate Investing Book!

Which Came First the Lender or the REALTOR? – Buying a Home Part 2

Buying a Home Part 2 – Which Came First the Lender or the REALTOR?

In part one we covered the obvious – What are you buying a home for? Once you know why you are Buying a Home you need to start Choosing a Home Loan.

Now most Lenders are going to say “Talk to me first” and of course I kFront Long View Largenow many quality lenders and I love it when they send me a client that have been working with to get them ready to buy a home. This seems logical as we need a loan before we can start shopping for a home.

But I do not mind when potential buyers come to me first, without getting a loan arranged. And there is a good reason to maybe start with a quality REALTOR. We know lots of lenders, there are lots of lending programs out there. When one lender tells you “No” either to a loan or a type of loan that does not mean another lender cannot do it.

There are an increasing number or Loan Products on the market and this is a good thing. Also many Lenders put overlays on loan guidelines. What is an overlay? Most loans are resold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac; government backed loan wholesalers, or are FHA Loans (another government program). There are other programs and most are government backed at some level. All of these programs have guidelines (Requirements) that lenders need to use in order to make a loan. Some lenders (especially larger banks) put overlays on the requirements, making their rules more strict than the actually government rules (they do this to protect themselves). Also as I understand it Loan Underwriters do have some flexibility in interpretation of the guidelines, some lenders are more conservative in interpretation than others.

As a REALTOR I know which lender is best for which type of buyer. Which one has the most chance of getting you the loan you need and want. I can point you to the lender that will get the job done right. Many times I have had buyers come to me thinking they could not get a loan and I have pointed them in the right direction. When there is a problem I also know the questions to ask. Also if I am working with a lender I know the level of cooperation is generally much higher.

Here is a hard truth. There are many great and honest lenders out there, that if they cannot help you will point you to someone else that might be able to if they cannot. However, if they can help you but it might not be the best loan program for you they are going to put you in the program they have that works for you (even if not the best for you). (Not all Lenders but some). There is little if no incentive for a lender if they cannot help you get the loan you need.

As a REALTOR I only get paid if you actually purchase a home. I want to provide quality and honest service. I will direct you to what is in your best interest, but I do not get paid if you do not successfully complete a purchase. I am motivated to see that you get the best possible loan for you.

Not all Real Estate Agents may provide you with the help attention or direction you need. Sadly this is often because they do not see you as being part of their “Niche” or just poor service.

My general advise is if one Real Estate Agent or Lender tells you “No” try and figure out what the issues are and make some calls to others. Google Questions and issues. Or just call Home Point Real Estate at 925-260-4321.

At Home Point Real Estate we are helping Home Buyers turn Houses into Homes. Home Point Real Estate is located in Brentwood Ca and provides service to the East Contra Costa County Communities of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Antioch, Pittsburg and beyond. Give us call regarding Buying a Home, Selling a Home, or Real Estate Investing.

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