It always seemed to me that if ADUs were selling for $50,000 or less, there would be lots of interest. Literally the first one I ran into (below) at the Tiny Fest was priced at $50,000, and people were standing in line to experience this 8.5 ft x 30 ft home with kitchen and full bath (seen in right window).
If baby boomers have to sell their home because they need the money, this will be a great alternative – and could help to dry up the housing inventory, especially if you can build an ADU for less than $50,000. Homes with bigger yards would be more valuable too.
Today, Samara is announcing a new initiative called Backyard, “an endeavor to design and prototype new ways of building and sharing homes,” according to a press statement, with the first wave of test units going public in 2019.
It means Airbnb is planning to distribute prototype buildings next year.
The name “Backyard” might imply that Airbnb just wants to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), those small cottages that sit behind large suburban houses and are often rented on Airbnb. Gebbia clarifies that is not the case. “The project was born in a studio near Airbnb headquarters,” he says in an interview over email. “We always felt as if we were in Airbnb’s backyard–physically and conceptually–and started referring to the project as such.”
Backyard is poised to be much larger than ADUs, in Gebbia’s telling. Yes, small prefabricated dwellings could be in the roadmap, but so are green building materials, standalone houses, and multi-unit complexes. Think of Backyard as both a producer and a marketplace for selling major aspects of the home, in any shape it might come in.
The “van life” movement has been gaining momentum for years, but it seemed like 2017 really saw a variety of intriguing new vans (and van build-outs) to inspire would-be road-dwellers to get out there and live the life. The year also saw a few very compelling motorhome introductions for those looking to go bigger and farther – without losing much homestyle comfort. The best of the best include everything from big, angry all-landers to compact, versatile everyday commuters that weekend as rolling vacation homes.
Whether is be fires, earthquakes, floods, or nuclear attacks, we are all susceptible to being in a disaster zone. How does it affect real estate? Let’s keep an eye on the recent fires to gauge what we might expect if disasters came our way.
I mentioned in a tweet that I thought the Santa Rosa real estate market would be invigorated. There should be more demand for the homes for sale from the affluent folks who don’t mind buying another home, rather than rent. We can also imagine that contractors have rushing to the scene to offer their rebuilding packages, and/or buyouts.
Hundreds of people are probably setting up temporary living arrangements on-site, and many if not most will eventually rebuild. But it is the ones that don’t rebuild that will make the market for the next 1-2 years – and the speculators who buy them out and rush new product to market will be the ones who bring back the old values quickly.
A snapshot of the first effects – the less affluent are hit hard:
Last week, Jeff Sugarman escaped his burning home in Santa Rosa, California. This week he faced the horrors of the region’s housing market.
One of the first inquiries Sugarman made was about a rental house nearby that was listed for $3,700 a month on Zillow. But when he emailed about seeing it, the owner told him the price had soared.
“He said insurance companies had been calling him all day and they were willing to pay $4,700 to $5,000 (to house fire victims) so I’d better be prepared to pay more,” Sugarman said, adding that he told the landlord he was “appalled” and “this was wrong”.
Sugarman passed the communications to the local newspaper and the US justice department, which he said was investigating price gouging in the wake of the northern California fires that killed at least 42 people and destroyed 8,400 buildings.
A spokesman for the California state attorney general’s office said investigators planned to enforce a price gouging provision in the state penal code that prohibits anyone from raising prices more than 10% following the declaration of a state of emergency.
Noting that Santa Rosa had declared a state of emergency about a year ago over the housing shortage and the homelessness crisis, councilwoman Julie Combs said: “Now we’ve lost 5% of our housing and 15,000 people have lost their homes.”
Sonoma County supervisor Susan Gorin, wearing a respirator and boots as she sifted through the ash of her destroyed home last week, said it was her lower-income neighbors who were most likely to be displaced from the area.
“We are so successful as a tourism destination,” Gorin said. “We produce a lot of lower-income jobs – in wineries, in restaurants, in hotels. It’s going to hurt our economy if we don’t get temporary housing for the people who lost their homes in the fire, as well as those who were already on the edge of losing their homes and the homeless.”
Adrienne Lauby, who runs Homeless Action, an advocacy group in Santa Rosa, said there were at least 3,000 homeless people in the area before the fires and the numbers were going up.
“People are already becoming homeless,” Lauby said, adding that she knew of several people who had been kicked out of informal housing arrangements so that the people they were staying with could take in family members displaced by the fire. “There are pop-up encampments all over the city. People are sleeping in the parks, they’re staying in their cars – there are still 425 people in the shelters.”
“All of these people,” she said, “are at risk for homelessness and the winter is coming.”
Gorin said the board should look at options such as trailers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), recreational vehicles and cargo containers converted into homes.
Here’s another guy who insists on ‘disrupting’ real estate. While the mobile devices are handy, are people – especially the affluent baby-boomers who are making the real estate market, going to give up their more-traditional homestead to live in a 320sf tin can?
You can tell immediately that Jeff Wilson, the 42-year old founder of Kasita, an Austin-based micro-housing start-up, has been courting venture capital. He has his sales pitch nailed—which is pretty impressive for a former university dean and professor who used to live in a dumpster.
When I ask Wilson what fundamental problem his company is solving he tells me without flinching: “Kasita is on the verge of disrupting the urban housing market in ways not seen in real estate and development in 150 years.” Wilson’s confidence may just be spot on. And perfectly timed.
Over the past decade my wife and I have asked each other countless times why everything else we own is completely mobile with the glaring exception of real estate. It’s not an unreasonably philosophical question. Every current aspect of our personal and business lives—from banking and corporate communications to reading the news or planning a vacation—now runs entirely off of five mobile devices and a wireless hotspot. So why do we still sleep in a house every night with two-foot thick brick walls that hasn’t moved an inch in 128 years?
Seeing a massive, mobility-starved void in the dead center of one of the largest segments of the US economy (while living in a dumpster), Wilson is betting that his tech-stuffed, 320-square foot, portable living capsule (a.k.a. casita, or “small home”) is poised to transform the fundamental concept of what real estate means to a new generation of Millennials, empty nesters, and upwardly mobile creative types (e.g., us) who are looking to trade-in their 30-year mortgage for mobility, simplicity, and financial independence.
Hat tip to ocrenter who sent this in from Bloomberg – a prototype new home that generates its own energy that they think they can sell for around $250,000:
The youtube remarks are somewhat critical of the idea – you still have to purchase the natural gas to run the ‘powercell’, so can you sell enough excess electricity back to the grid to cover?
They talk about systems, but didn’t flat out say that these are modular homes. They show the prototype house being stick-built towards the end of the video, but isn’t the natural progression to build the houses off-site and deliver?
It’s not every day you see up to 60-foot-long, factory-built pieces of a home trucked, lifted and stacked over a course of two days.
Nine pieces that make up a multi-million dollar “green” project named Casabrava took shape on a prepped site in La Jolla on Thursday and Friday after a trip from a factory in Utah. Over the next two weeks, workers will “stitch” together the pieces to prepare for finishes.
The project’s vision: Homes made on factory lines can look and feel as sophisticated as traditional homes built on-site, said Heather Johnston, an architect and future occupant of Casabrava. Johnston added that prefabricated construction is also more efficient and more environmentally friendly.
“This is not a manufactured home, which are used for trailers and mobile-homes,” said Johnston, who will live in the home with her husband, David Dickins.
“We’re building a prefab home,” added Johnston, who took a year off to do the modular project. “They’re basically house parts. And the parts have to be stronger than a normal house because they have to be transported and lifted by a crane.”
She said prefab construction — which has been around for decades but has yet to gain wide acceptance — is more time efficient. It will take roughly nine months to finish Casabrava, from factory build time to finishes on site. A custom home takes about 18 months to be completed, she said.
“This can really affect the bottom line,” she said.
Savings also come from prefab homes being precision-cut, so there’s less waste. Plus, everything is built indoors, so there are fewer delays. The company that manufactured the pieces of Casabrava was Irontown Homes in Utah.
Building Casabrava will end up costing $220 a square foot, based on Johnston’s figures. The home takes up 4,100 square feet, including a three-car garage. The per-square-footage cost is significantly lower than the per-square-footage cost of a home resold in La Jolla. In July, the median price was $518 a square foot, DataQuick numbers show.
The hard costs of the project, including construction and land but not things like permitting, will total roughly $2.6 million.
Over time, Johnston expects to save money on energy by just the way the home is positioned on the site.
The design is meant to increase ventilation and nix the need for an air conditioner. Other “green” features include rain-catchment systems to water plants and recycled materials.
Mortgage rates moved up significantly last week. Will rates continue to rise? Expect mortgage rates to go up this week closer to 3.1%. Freddie Mac will release the 30-year fixed mortgage rate tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.
Jim the Realtor is legit - I interviewed three brokers; he said list price should be $100,000 higher than the other two brokers; listed it with him and had all cash (no financing) offer in two days, five day contingency period, closing in two weeks - and it closed at his recommended list price. I could not recommend anyone more than I recommend Jim the Realtor.
When we moved to San Diego in 2005 we rented a big house on Mt. Soledad (La Jolla) with 180 degree ocean views for the same payment as a mortgage on a dump in Chula Vista. Clearly something was wrong. Yet, the media was full of the usual happy-talk nonsense, so I was glad to find Jim's blog. I've followed his honest assessments and data since.
We decided to sell and move to AZ at Thanksgiving. Dec. 1st we met with Jim to sell our home. We closed today (29 days later). Jim orchestrated a feeding frenzy -- we had 25 showings in 2-1/2 days, multiple offers, and sold for well over asking price. I'd say he earned his commission! We have owned and sold homes in 5 different States always using experienced, productive, full-time realtors. Jim outshines them all.
You don't decide to sell and close 29 days later over Christmas (with COVID lockdown) without some miracles. Donna was amazing at performing lots of those miracles and ensuring that everything was done right and on time. They are a terrific team with a very responsive and professional network.
Where do we begin..2020 has been a year for everyone. When COVID hit and shut down both my husband and my businesses, we were left with a mortgage and very little income coming in. We were stressed, scared and felt stuck. We made the hard decision to sell our home and move out of state. We contacted the Klinges' and spent a good hour going over what we hoped we could accomplish. Jim and Donna came over with comps in hand and suggestions on improvements to get our house ready for the market. It was overwhelming to think about, but Donna was there and one step ahead in every scenario. Basically we just approved what they suggested and Donna handled literally everything. We placed our house on the market and within the first day we had multiple offers well above asking price! We couldn't believe it. We were overjoyed! Jim countered the offers to weed through them, and everyone came back with way more. It was amazing, and we are ?? sure it was because of the staging and repairs the Klinges suggested we do.
Due to unforeseen dishonesty from the buyers lender, we hit a big hurdle when trying to close. We had already moved out of state and were shocked when three days before closing the lender dropped a bombshell on the buyers and us. However, Jim and Donna handled it like veterans, not afraid to play hard ball and represent their clients. After a few phone calls with us, and several between Donna and the lender, they had a plan B-Z to make sure we were taken care of. In the end we closed with even more money than we ever thought possible and with very little work from us. The Klinges handled this entire "2020" worthy event with the utmost professionalism and did everything in their power to not only make this as smooth as possible for us, but we also walked away with more money from the sale of the house than we ever hoped for. After working with Jim and Donna, you don't ever use anyone else. They are hands down the best team to represent you in any scenario.
Working with Klinge Realty Group was a great experience! They are very responsive, professional and knowledgable about the real estate market! I would definitely recommend Klinge Realty Group.
Jim and Donna Klinge made the sale of our condo extraordinarily easy. They know the market and gave us sound advice backed by details and very considerable experience, reflected both in the initial pricing and subsequent negotiations. They work together as a team and are always available to talk. We had a few challenges with our property and they were able to coordinate the resolution to everything, including items that I would not think would ordinarily be their responsibility to handle. They made the whole process effortless on our part. They are folks with high integrity and we cannot recommend them highly enough.
Review for Member: Donna Klinge
I cannot believe there are no reviews of Donna yet, ugh!! She is the secret sauce of the Jim Klinge/Donna Klinge combo! I will touch on Jim here, but Donna is why I'm so totally loyal to these two (no offense to Jim :)).
I consider myself a rather savvy buyer/seller. I've bought/sold 7 times in about 15 years. On the buy side, Jim is the PERFECT combo of: completely digitally savvy (he will pull data all day long until you feel comfortable with your chosen house, area, school district, anticipated appreciation rate...anything!), he's super well respected and known in the area by other agents, an amazingly cool but strategic negotiator, is totally devoid of desperation for a sale/commission, and more.
Then once you get into contract phase, Donna literally handles every last and final detail in a concierge-like manner -- totally shielding you from the daily back and forth, noodling and annoyances of the buyer's requests. She solves it ALL; it's miraculous what that woman accomplishes over and above what is even expected in a buy/sell transaction.
On the sell side, Jim and Donna do the same, but even moreso. Donna in particular truly takes everything off your plate: she'll manage getting the house painted, the carpets replaced, she'll go on site (as she Jim both did for me when selling our rental properties) to work with the renters and make sure the house is ready to show -- freeing me to have to take time off of work to do so. They work with A+ integrity, too, so you know you are serving all parties fairly and lawfully throughout.
A home purchase/sale is the most considered you'll ever make. HIRE A SAVVY AGENT, not a friend!, and get what you need out of the transaction. Jim and Donna are our agents for life.
Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community. Jim's vast experience means he has worked with several realtors and knows the market all over north county. Donna is AMAZING in processing everything in the transaction. She scheduled trades people to work on the house in preparation for the sale as well as the repairs needed before closing. She communicated clearly every step of the way about what would be happening. She took the weight off my shoulders for the whole process. I will always use Jim and Donna for my future real estate needs and I whole heartedly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a home.
Jim and the team at Klinge Reality are without a doubt the best in the business! Not only was Jim helpful and extremely knowledgeable, he was patient and determined to help me find my first home. Jim and his team have been in the business for many years, and it shows. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and was my biggest proponent despite the temperature of the competitive market. I ended up getting the perfect property in my dream neighborhood all thanks to Jim. From the day my offer was accepted, Donna was a real lifesaver. She was extremely helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable when it came to every minute detail, and held my hand through the process. As a first time home buyer I had no idea what the process would entail, but Donna curtailed every concern I came across and made the escrow process feel seamless. Jim and Donna provided me the best home buying experience, and I am very grateful for all they did for me. It was truly a pleasure to work with Jim and Donna and I am already looking forward to the next time we work together!
Review for Member: Richard Morgan
Richard is an amazing realtor! He has high integrity and genuinely cares about his clients and their needs. Richard paid close attention to what I was seeking in a home and was very patient in our search to find it. I would highly recommend Richard and will use him for future transactions. Truly a different kind of realtor experience!
Could not be happier with my experience with Jim and his team. He helped me sell a very unique and challenging property. Throughout the entire process he was always available, honest, transparent, trustworthy, and always put my interests as a seller first. A (rare) true professional! During close of escrow Jim went above and beyond to complete the deal. It would not have been possible without his experience, fantastic team, and pure dedication. Highly recommended!
Thanks Jim and Donna Klinge!