Let's Ask Katie - May 2023

Let’s Ask Katie
Expert advice for all your real estate questions from Katie Machoskie

Hi Katie,
We are relocating to be closer to our grandchildren and have been in our home for 20+years. We understand staging and decluttering, but what improvements should we do to help us sell for the highest price possible? –Bill, Newport Beach

Dear Bill,
How wonderful to spend time with your grandchildren and be involved in their lives! First, I’d recommend you hire a professional inspector to thoroughly inspect the property so you are aware of any issues that may concern a buyer. Any issues related to water intrusion should be resolved immediately. Next, fresh paint (interior or exterior) is a relatively inexpensive way to freshen up a home, as is new carpet or flooring. Updating the kitchen and bathrooms are some of the highest return on investment projects and also are projects most buyers appreciate. Pro-tip: consult an agent or designer for insight as to what colors and finishes appeal to most buyers. For more ideas and information on what updates are likely to have the highest ROI, check out this article:

Dear Katie,
I was at a dinner party and someone was saying the seller on the home they purchased helped them with a buy down? What is that?
Sue, Corona del Mar

Dear Sue,
When mortgage rates began increasing, we started seeing more buy downs as a way to help buyers obtain lower mortgage rates. A buydown is a mortgage financing technique where the buyer obtains a lower interest rate for at least the first few years of the mortgage, or possibly its entire life of the loan. A 2-1 buydown, for example, is a specific type of mortgage buydown that allows homebuyers to save on their interest rate for the first two years of the loan. Buydowns can also use a 3-2-1 structure as well. Some lenders require payment of an upfront fee if the buydown involves purchasing discount points.

A seller can contribute funds to an escrow account that subsidizes the loan during the first years, and results in a lower monthly payment on the mortgage. Builders or sellers offer a buydown option to help increase the chances of selling the property, by making it more affordable.

Read more about this option at

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