Lara Wells Osborn
Q&A Expert
Real estate

Note from Doni: As with all our Food for Thought Q&A experts, I invited Lara Wells Osborn to write this column because I know her, trust her, respect her and can personally vouch for her. Bruce and I first became Lara Wells Osborn fans a few years ago when we were in the market to sell our Redding house and Lara represented us as our real estate agent. She was a joy to work with. She returned calls promptly. She was an excellent communicator. She treated us as if we were her most important clients. She sold our house.Lara was Lara Wells Osbornborn and raised in Redding. During the eight years after her graduation from Shasta High School, she received her bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara and her master’s degree in International Business from Pepperdine. She lived in France, Germany, Florida, the Bahamas, the Bay Area and Portland. However, Lara said that of all the places she visited, Redding is the perfect place.

Three years ago Lara and her husband and their three children returned to Redding.

Today Lara is a multi-million dollar producer, the No. 2 producer in her Westside office for 2007 and is ranked in the top 3 percent of real estate agents in Shasta County. Oh, and she loves her job.

To submit a question to Lara for future Q&A columns, you may e-mail her at laraosborn@ccproperties.com or www.larawellsosborn.com

Q: Everything I read these days talks about how bad the real estate market is. We would really like to move up to a bigger home. Is now a bad time to sell and buy?

A: It depends. It is true that inventory is up, prices are down and no one has the crystal ball to tell us when things will turn around. So if you think you may not live in the new home more than a couple years, now may not be the right time to make a move.

But if you are planning on selling your current home and moving “up” to a bigger, more expensive home – and you plan on staying in that new home for a long time – now actually might be a great time to do it. You may get less for your current home than you could have a year ago, but more than likely you are also going to get a bigger “discount” on the home you want to buy than you would have back then. With the large inventory and selection you can take the time to find the perfect home and you may be able to get it for such a good price that you can get more of a house than you could have before – even when taking less for your current home. And following historical trends real estate will once again appreciate – so if you have it long-term it could turn out to be not only a better home for you, but also a good investment.

Q: Last winter our roof had a very minor leak. We repaired the leak and repainted where it leaked and no one would ever know it happened. Do I need to disclose this to a potential buyer?

A: By law (California Civil Code 1102) sellers are required to disclose known facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property. If you feel you have to ask whether your issue falls under this, then the answer should be yes. Even if you think something is minor to a buyer it may be relevant – so the safest thing to do is disclose, disclose, disclose. There is a saying, “What buyers learn during escrow, they forgive. What they learn after moving in, they sue over.”

Q: We’d like to make an offer on a house but we don’t think the property is worth near what the seller is asking. Should we even bother?

A: I would suggest you ask the advice of a realtor on the specific property in question, but in general my answer would be yes. Definitely make an offer! My opinion is that you can’t get what you don’t ask for and if you don’t make an offer you’ll never know where the seller stands.

There are a lot of factors I look at when a buyer wants to purchase a property such as: How long has the property been on the market? Have they had a price reduction? Is it really overpriced and do I have hard data to present along with my buyer’s offer to support the price they want to offer? What is the seller’s motivation and how much do they owe on the property? I always encourage buyers to write an offer for what would be the ideal situation for them and let the seller counter back on terms that are acceptable to the seller. And to make the negotiation more of a win-win situation choose what’s most important (like price) and try to be as accommodating as possible on the other issues (like if they want a short escrow). Finally, when it is possible, I present my buyers’ offers directly to the seller, with their agent present. This is the most effective way to present my buyer’s view of things and to really push for their position.

Contact Lara Wells Osborn at Coldwell Banker C&C Properties – Westside, 1801 Buenaventura Blvd., Redding, CA 96001. Cell: (530) 276-3026. Fax: (530) 419-1167. E-mail: laraosborn@ccproperties.com or www.larawellsosborn.com.

Lara Wells Osborn

is a Redding Realtor for Coldwell Banker C&C Properties - Westside, 1801 Buenaventura Blvd., Redding, CA 96001. Reach her at 530-276-3026 or laraosborn@ccproperties.com or larawellsosborn.com.

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