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Category Archive: ‘Thinking of Buying?’

Home Maintenance Costs

repairs

Back in 2009, we ran the first post entitled, Home Maintenance Costs:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2009/09/17/home-maintenance-costs/

After discussing the need for home maintenance with several clients  recently, I thought it would be a great time to review.

Every condo association in California is required to complete a Reserve Study so they are socking away enough money every month to repair and replace every item needed over time.  Homeowners should do the same!

Examples of things that need regular repair/replacement:  Air conditioning, appliances, BBQ, ducting, faucets, flooring, furnace, lighting, painting, roof, siding, sinks, toilets, windows, etc.

These are pure home repairs and replacements – they don’t include exterior maintenance or home improvements/upgrades/updating, which all matter too.

I came up with my own formula to estimate how much money homeowners should spend each year just on maintenance – try it out:

Age of home X square footage/15 = Annual spend

The 15 was derived from a reasonable number of years it will take to catch up on everything if you start today.  You may want to re-start again in year 16!

My formula is unscientific, but it is close enough.  Spend something!

Doing regular repairs will help you avoid multiple major expenses, and save you from needing a complete redo when it comes time to sell.

The joys of homeownership!

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Repairs/Improvements, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Home Evolution

Great article from our friends at jbrec:
https://www.realestateconsulting.com/starter-home-solutions-expensive-markets/

High land prices in good locations generally force builders to build expensive homes. However, a number of builders have figured out how to build and sell entry-level homes to a growing demographic group. Builders are capitalizing on the rising number of affluent first-time buyers. These buyers tend to be dual-income, college-educated buyers with 10+ years of work experience who have delayed having children in comparison to their parents. For example, 23% of married couples had college degrees in 2014, compared to just 12% in 1990.  Below is our forecast by age group for 5.2 million more homeowners over the next decade.

jb

Many of our clients have identified fantastic solutions to address the demand of this growing demographic. Knowing exactly what this buyer wants and building the right product in the right location is crucial for success. Here are a few solutions:

  • High-density detached can work well. There are many detached products (with private outdoor spaces) achieving 16+ du/acre. Detached homes are generally more desirable for young families and allow for lower HOA dues.
  • Smaller homes. With good design, homes do not need to be large. Entry buyers will trade off size (to some extent) for location and lifestyle.
  • Three-story homes can live well for families—if done correctly. The layout must be open and allow for lots of light. Consider rooftop decks in lieu of private backyards.
  • Energy efficiency can save buyers hundreds or thousands of dollars per year, helping them choose a new home over a resale. Being green can save the homeowner a lot of money. Be sure to include this as a standard feature and market it.
  • More sales success has been achieved at prices below the FHA loan limit. FHA’s low-down-payment options appeal to many buyers.
  • Private outdoor space is crucial. These spaces do not have to be large, just functional. Consider pocket yards, side yards, and rooftop decks.
  • Minimize homeowners association dues and infrastructure bond payments.  Entry buyers are payment sensitive and will usually trade a lower monthly payment for fewer community amenities, especially if the community is walkable to shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

https://www.realestateconsulting.com/starter-home-solutions-expensive-markets/

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Builders, Thinking of Buying? | 0 comments

Buyer Survey – May 2016

buyer survey

Here are Zillow employees discussing with realtors their May survey of homebuyers.  Because Zillow depends on realtors buying advertising, their presentations are increasingly centered around why consumers need realtors.

I only made it to the 25-minute mark – the material is dry and somewhat dubious; maybe it gets better?  But the stat above was note-worthy.

Seven homes?  That’s it?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 0 comments

Buying with Friends

bb

I have bought with friends before, and I’ll never do it again – you have to reach full agreement on everything! 

And don’t do anything quickly! (bottom paragraph)

For some New Yorkers who have been priced out of New York City’s real estate game, pooling resources with friends and siblings has become the quickest path to homeownership. And while sharing a front door can put even the best relationships to the test, some are finding it’s worth the risk.

For Laurie Savage, a writer and restaurant server, and her husband, Garette Henson, a filmmaker, both 36, the arrival of their son, Fox Henson, almost 2, sparked the idea of buying real estate with a friend. That friend was Alix Frey, 37, whom they had met when they were all students at Sarah Lawrence College.

The group recently moved into a three-story two-family townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Ms. Frey, the director of the Blum & Poe gallery in Manhattan, occupies the top level while the couple have the lower level, including the basement and the backyard. The parlor level is divided between the Savage/Hensons and Ms. Frey.

For assistance in their search for a place to buy, the three, who had rented apartments in the same brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for eight years, turned to Marina T. Schindler, a saleswoman at Compass real estate and one of Ms. Frey’s close friends.

“It’s a really good way for people to work the system,” Ms. Schindler said. “Not everybody has that money for a down payment. They realize if they team up, they get more bang for the buck.”

It’s a complicated process, she added, “because they’ve got to have an agreement between each other, they have to trust each other, but it’s a great way for young families to make a bigger, better investment.”

The friends had originally looked at properties separately, almost immediately concluding that they were priced out of Fort Greene. As they expanded their searches to Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, the numbers still seemed shocking. “Alix was looking at a one-bedroom for $750,000. She wanted a two-bedroom for less than that,” Ms. Savage said.

“We realized we can get a better space if we buy together,” she said. “The apartments priced at what we’re each getting our units for were like tiny boxes. It was startling, the difference in the quality of what we could get. So very quickly we said we’re open to it.”

Read full article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/realestate/when-friends-buy-a-home-together.html?_r=0

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Thinking of Buying? | 3 comments

More on Millennials and Home Buying

tt

The lightweight reporters who nibble around the edges don’t ever get to the point.  It doesn’t matter who wins the election, rich people are taking over.  Millennials and others will have to find a way to buy a home, or be at the mercy of rich people for the rest of their lives.

http://www.npr.org/2016/07/26/487470787/fewer-young-people-buying-houses-but-why

Trevor Burbank is single, 27 years old, and has been house hunting in Nashville for the last year.

“My rent’s going up in August, so I have to figure out what I’m doing,” he says.

The last time Burbank looked for a place was five years ago. He decided to use his down payment to start a business instead.

“There was a house that I really liked that was going for $60,000, and I saw the house being sold in the past few months for just shy of $300,000,” Burbank says.

There’s a big debate in real estate over where home ownership rates are headed, and whether Millennials — people who came of age around 2000 — will get into the housing market the way generations before them did.

Read More

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, The Future, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 7 comments

Lowball Strategy

typical agent

Have you seen a home sale close at a surprisingly-low price, and you said,

“Geez, I would have paid that!”

Usually the house has been on the market for months, and everyone else has forgotten about it. The seller doesn’t want to lower the price, but tells his agent, “Just bring me an offer”.

The agent revises the MLS remarks, adding gems like ‘Extremely Motivated’, and ‘All Offers Considered”.  A buyer who saw it earlier with another agent decided to approach the listing agent directly with an offer 20% below list – take it or leave it.

With visions of two commissions twirling around in their head, the agent tells the seller this is the best they could do. The seller really is motivated, so after months of failure at a too-high price, frustration sets in and he signs it.

If any seller is tempted to take a lowball offer – more than 10% below list – they should instruct the listing agent to immediately lower their list price to the midpoint between the offered price and current list price.

Let’s see who else is out there!

Watch how many you see that close at 15% to 20% below list and the listing agent represents both parties.  It isn’t enough to change the market, but a notable strategy.

You shouldn’t burn your old agent though – there are enough listing agents who are wimpy about dual agency and prefer that you have your own agent anyway. It is the same net to the seller, so he won’t care either.

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Ideas/Solutions, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 0 comments

Multi-Gen Paradise

Lakeside isn’t far – it is centrally-located in San Diego County, and is a straight shot down the 52 and 67 from La Jolla.  It might be a reasonable compromise for those multi-gen buyers who would treasure two houses on a quarter-acre lot with citrus and avocado trees.  This property has been lovingly-maintained and owner-occupied for the last 30 years!

lakeside

Here is a feature-length YouTube video tour:

Pueblo Road satellite photo

Posted by on Jul 17, 2016 in Boomers, Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, Thinking of Buying? | 0 comments

2016 Renter Survey

rentsurvey

Worried we might run out of buyers? Plenty are waiting in the wings – and working with their parents to achieve!

Current renters value homeownership and want to buy a home but many are encountering affordability and financial obstacles that prevent them from buying, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2016 Renter Survey.”

Nearly half of renters (48 percent) plan to buy a home in the future, with 10 percent saying that they plan to buy within a year. For those not planning to buy, an improvement in finances, lower housing prices, and saving enough for a downpayment would motivate them to buy now.

Of the 28 percent of renters who don’t plan to buy in the future, 50 percent said they can’t afford to buy, 20 percent will not buy because they prefer to rent, 19 percent said they can’t qualify for a mortgage, and 15 percent lack a downpayment. Job uncertainty (9 percent), economic uncertainty (12 percent), and housing market uncertainty (6 percent) were among other reasons renters cited for not buying a home.

Homeownership remains important to renters, with nearly half (45 percent) rating it 8 or higher in importance on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extremely important. The average was 6.8. Nearly all renters (95 percent) see advantages to homeownership; freedom to do what you want with your home, building equity, and having permanence and stability were the top benefits mentioned by renters.

One of the surprising findings of this survey is that more than one in four millennial renters said they plan to purchase a home that will accommodate their parents, and about one in five millennials indicated they plan to pool funds with family members to buy a home.

Other key findings from C.A.R.’s “2016 Renter Survey” include:

  • Forty-six percent of renters claimed they currently rent because they can’t afford to buy, and 13 percent said they have poor credit and can’t qualify for a loan. The remaining renters choose to rent because they like the flexibility, freedom and ease of renting, are concerned about the maintenance costs of owning a home, or are not interested or aren’t ready to buy.
  • Nearly four in 10 renters (39 percent) indicated they plan to purchase a home in the same county where they currently reside, and 23 percent plan to buy in the same neighborhood.
  • Fifteen percent of renters plan to buy a home out of their current area, with 7 percent planning to move to another state, 7 percent to another county in California, and 1 percent to another country.
  • Of the renters who are planning to leave the area where they currently reside, 27 percent are moving to find lower housing prices, 24 percent are moving for a better neighborhood, 14 percent want to be closer to family, 9 percent want a shorter commute, and 7 percent are moving for a better school district.
  • Two in three renters have made some kind of preparation to buy a home: 25 percent have searched for homes, 16 percent have searched online for information about the homebuying process, and 12 percent have spoken to a REALTOR®.
  • Thirty-one percent of renters previously owned a primary residence, and 9 percent currently own real estate. Of those who previously owned a home, the reasons for selling included family reasons (37 percent), financial difficulties (28 percent), and work (13 percent).

survey
http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2016releases/2016rentersurvey/?view=Standard#

Posted by on Jul 17, 2016 in Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 0 comments

Farm at Home

farm

Being self-sufficient today can include growing your own food.  Here is a new-home tract that includes farmland within the community:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-farmland-may-become-a-more-popular-neighborhood-amenity-than-a-golf-course-2016-07-11

Amy Fahey tends to a backyard garden at her suburban Chicago home, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, peppers, Brussels sprouts, beans and herbs. But never squash.

“Three years in a row I’ve been struggling to grow squash,” she said. The reason it won’t take, she thinks: There aren’t enough bees to pollinate the plants. “We’ve killed off parts of the environment that could naturally make this happen,” said the retired J.P. Morgan executive who lives in Elmhurst, Ill., with her husband and teenage daughter.

But the neighborhood in which the Faheys are building a home offers new hope.

Set in Hampshire, Ill., about 50 miles from downtown Chicago, Serosun Farms is a new home-conservation development, restoring wetlands, woodlands and prairie, and preserving farmland throughout. Already, the frog population has grown exponentially from the conservation work done onsite, and monarch butterflies are also on the rebound, said Jane Stickland, who is working on the project with her brother, developer John DeWald. Their efforts also are boosting the bee population.

It’s very early in its development, but Serosun plans to incorporate about 160 acres of working farmland, making farm-to-table a way of life for residents through regular farmer’s markets. The community also offers eight miles of trails, an equestrian center and fishing ponds: 75% of the development will be reserved for farming and open space.

The 114 single-family homes range from $700,000 to $2 million; the median listing price for homes in Hampshire, Ill., is about $238,000, according to Realtor.com.

Read full article here:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-farmland-may-become-a-more-popular-neighborhood-amenity-than-a-golf-course-2016-07-11

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Building?, Thinking of Buying? | 0 comments