Health, unemployment, stairs, taxes, finances, politics…….selling your home is becoming the answer for everything!
More than 2.5 million American homeowners have stopped paying their mortgages, taking advantage of penalty-free forbearance periods offered by lenders.
What happens when the free pass fades away next year?
Not much, and certainly nothing approaching the flood of foreclosures that defined the Great Recession, according to the emerging consensus among economists. While some homeowners are sure to feel the pain of forced sales, housing experts increasingly expect the end of forbearance to be a non-event for the gravity-defying housing market.
That’s largely because home prices have risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, homeowners who find themselves unable to pay their mortgages when their forbearance periods end likely will be able to sell for a profit, rather than going into foreclosure.
“If they have equity, they can always sell off the house and pay the mortgage,” says Ralph DeFranco, global chief economist at mortgage insurance company Arch Capital Services. “It’s not a great outcome, but it’s less terrible than letting the bank take it and sell it.”
The U-T asked their twelve real estate experts about the effects of Prop 19:
Q: Will Prop. 19 substantially increase home inventory in California?
Of the local experts, 11 out of 12 said NO, and the justification for the one YES answer could have been just as easily been reasons to say NO. Gary’s answer above was the best and most-accurate. See the rest here:
Anyone surprised to hear there are agents soliciting consumers based on their political beliefs?
At first, Stephanie Morris was nervous about leaving Modesto. She’d lived in the Central Valley her whole life, but her family couldn’t keep paying $850-a-month for her sons to share a living room while she, her husband and the baby slept in their apartment’s only bedroom.
The anxiety faded by the time her family pulled out in a U-Haul bound for Salt Lake City on a smoky September night. Morris, 31, had still never been to Utah — her husband liked it when he worked there as a truck driver — but she had discovered a whole world of people planning similar escapes online. They posted faraway landscapes on Pinterest, smiling family photos on Instagram and memes about leaving “Commiefornia” in Facebook groups like “Conservatives Leaving California.”
“I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not moving out of California to a third-world country,” Morris said. “I’m leaving a third-world country to join America.”
Unaffordable housing. High taxes. A Democratic stranglehold on state politics. The concerns driving transplants like Morris out of the country’s richest state during the COVID-19 era are not new. What is changing quickly is how disillusioned California residents are coming together by the tens of thousands on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere online, fueling a cottage industry of real estate agents, mortgage lenders and political advocates stoking social division to compete for a piece of the much–discussed California Exodus.
Facebook groups like “Life After California” are full of stories about $4,000 U-Haul bills and home bidding wars in Texas, but it’s too early to tell if more people are leaving during the pandemic. People move for all kinds of reasons — a new job, to be near family, to buy their first house — and while many online moving groups target conservatives, a parallel migration of more liberal transplants has also scrambled the politics of some red states.
Early polls show that up to 40%of Bay Area tech workers will consider leaving if remote work continues. Recent tax proposals have alsotriggered familiar warnings about wealthy residents fleeing the state.
Even before COVID-19, California’s population growth had slowed considerably. Since 2015, the state has lost at least 100,000 more people than it gained each year from other U.S. states, including growing numbers of working class and Black residents. But California is still a top U.S. destination for people moving from other countries, plus affluent transplants from other states. From July 2018 to July 2019, California saw a net loss of 197,594 people to other states.
Scott Shepard has watched these forces collide from his new home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The California-bred realtor started relocation website ExitCalifornia.org and a namesake Facebook page early last year, when he saw a business opportunity in the endless stories of friends and neighbors moving out of state. Now, during the pandemic, the site is so busy he doesn’t have to pay for online ads.
“It’s starting to kind of take on a life of its own,” Shepard said. “I would be straight and say that it is primarily political. Then it really does come down to the cost and taxes.”
The anti-California Dream
Exit California is emblematic of a growing number of online relocation companies marketed heavily on social media. They target prospective transplants who skew white, right and over age 30, though renters post alongside members in the market for million-dollar houses. Between photos of tidy brick facades, crystal-clear pools and recommended moving truck routes, the Facebook pages revolve around ominous articles about Black Lives Matter protests, crime, immigration and, of late, pandemic shutdowns.
Prospective movers who click through to the website can pick a state — Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas — and see financial incentives to use selected realtors, mortgage lenders or other service providers. Beyond the mechanics of buying a house, the online groups are a platform for places to pitch fed-up Californians who don’t know where to start.
“There’s a fair percentage of them that don’t know where they wanna go,” said Scott Fuller, an Arizona transplant and real estate investor who started LeavingTheBayArea.com and LeavingSoCal.com three years ago. “They just know they want to go somewhere else.”
That’s not surprising to Bill Bishop, author of “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.” He’s studied how over the past several decades, neighborhoods across the country have become increasingly politically homogeneous. Where people choose to live has become “a stage,” he said, to flaunt their values as old anchors like a one-company career fade into a blur of unstable jobs, anxiety and dwindling time with family and friends.
“What they’re doing is selling a way of life that then corresponds to political choice,” Bishop said. “It’s kind of pathetic, actually, but what the hell?”
It’s not just real estate agents using social media to reach jaded Californians. Sometimes, the California Exodus content is bankrolled by people in high places.
Take the YouTube video “Fleeing California,” which has racked up 2 million views since it was posted in March. It starts with sweeping L.A. views of palm trees and Spanish-tile roofs, then fades to a grainy montage of sidewalk tent cities and a person being pushed in front of an oncoming truck. A moment later, in Texas, viewers see happy kids getting off a school bus and a golden retriever bounding down a jungle gym while Republican Sen. Ted Cruz talks in the background.
The video was made by PragerU, a conservative digital media nonprofit that produces other titles like “Make Men Masculine Again” and “Dangerous People Are Teaching Your Kids.” The California video was commissioned by a donor, producer Will Witt said: Texas ranching and oil scion Windi Grimes, a board director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and member of Trumpettes USA, a women’s group formed in Beverly Hills five years ago to boost President Trump as the country’s “savior.”
How many people are persuaded to pack up and move by similar videos, social media content or Joe Rogan’s recent podcasts on moving to Texas could help shuffle the country’s electoral map at a pivotal moment. Some of California’s last Republican strongholds, like Orange County, are seeing their residents decamp for other states — a net loss of nearly 25,000 people last year alone — along with notoriously liberal urban areas like L.A., which posted a net loss of more than 97,800 people.
The anti-California political spectacle playing out online has become a hobby for 30-year-old Texas country singer Charley Austin, who started the “Conservatives Leaving California” Facebook group last year. Some members post memes warning newcomers “Don’t California My Texas.” But Austin, who says he has campaigned for Trump, sees an opportunity to keep the state red as cities like Austin (“the San Francisco of Texas,” he said) go farther left.
“There’s nothing really we can do to stop people moving here,” Austin said. “The best thing you can do is help people that move here get acclimated to the state.”
San Diego didn’t make the NAR list of vacation-home areas (counties where 20% of the housing stock is for seasonal use), but our market should be enjoying some additional second-home purchases:
Vacation home sales are outperforming total existing-home sales. Sales of homes intended for vacation use rose to 109,100 in the past three months of July-September, a 44% gain from the level of 75,600 sales during the same period last year, according to NAR estimates based on information gathered from the monthly REATORS® Confidence Index Survey and NAR’s existing-home sales estimates. In comparison, total existing-home sales during July-September rose 13% year-over-year (1.72 million in July-Sept 2020 vs. 1.52 million in July-Sept 2019).
The pandemic and low mortgage rates have increased the desirability and affordability of owning a vacation home. Buyers may be desiring a vacation home as a weekend getaway as urban-based leisure activities are still constrained by social distancing. The ability to work from home also means buyers who can work from home can spend more time at and enjoy their vacation home. Historically low mortgage rates have also made a home purchase more affordable, while rising prices in past years have yielded larger home equity gains that can be tapped (through say a home equity loan) to use for a down payment.
There was additional distribution of my moving survey after the previous report last week.
Of the 2,872 visitors who have looked at the survey, 130 (or about 5%), at least answered a question, which is typical. Here are the final results:
Q1. I liked that 28% of the respondents live outside of San Diego County. Thanks for playing!
Q2. Most people aren’t planning to move (70.34%). But of those who are planning to move, MORE THAN ONE-THIRD ARE LEAVING CALIFORNIA!
Q4. The traditional April-Sept time frame was preferred by 60% of those planning to move. But 23% of those who are moving next year will jump right on it in the first quarter.
Q5. The pandemic didn’t cause 92% to move, mostly because Covid-19 is temporary, and moving is permanent. People might think about moving because of Covid-19, but the pandemic won’t drive the truck up to the house.
Q6. The answer of ‘Getting My Price’ bumped up nicely from its last-place finish previously. Going Through My Stuff is still a big concern, but Finding Next Home is #1, and rightfully so.
Here are some of the anonymous comments left – thank you for the warm thoughts!
Jim, so sorry I’m late to the survey. I appreciated the results you’ve already shared. I own two properties in OC, (reside in one, rent one) and have been a home owner for 15+ years. I have read your blog for 10+ years, but only check it weekly, rather than daily. I enjoy your video tours, thoughts on home layout and thoughts on how to help increase the value of one’s home. I like learning about the SD area and market through your blog. FYI, the biggest thing keeping my family in CA is our three school-aged children and an older parent who is nearby and will eventually need help. It’s hard to uproot. My own parents, lifelong Californians, retired and left for Arizona two years ago and are very happy. Last year, my husband’s job offered to relocated us to Utah. We seriously considered leaving, but eventually declined and he found another job internally at the same company so that we could stay where we are. When we thought of the pros and cons, we would very much miss the CA weather and strong ties to our community. We are thankful to live in a proudly red city in OC. We are not happy with the direction CA as a state is headed, but will stay for the sake of our kids and the sunshine. Thanks for your blog. I enjoy your expertise and also your levity!
People may be moving because of covid but what I have found more of is people wanting to move because they are trying to get away from far left liberal policies in Cali.
We love Jim & Donna who helped us buy our first home together.
Jim Klinge is an awesome realtor. We love his videos and he’s spot on when looking at local real estate trends. Jim is great to work with and we have already recommended him to our friends.
Best lock pick ever.
You and Donna are the best. Stay healthy so if we decide to sell decades from now we can depend on you!
Bad neighbors aren’t just annoying. They can cost you real money when it’s time to sell your home.
A nearby property’s overgrown yard, peeling paint and clutter can easily knock 5% to 10% off the sale price of your home, said Joe Magdziarz, the president of the Appraisal Institute and a real-estate appraiser with 40 years of experience. A true disaster — a junky home in deplorable condition and a yard packed with debris — could cost you even more.
Even when real-estate markets were in better shape, messy neighbors caused problems. Kamie Dowen put her Harrisburg, Pa., home on the market five years ago but had problems selling because of a nearby property.
Toys littered the lawn, even in winter. The porch sported “a pumpkin that was two years past due,” Dowen said. A garage door, damaged after the owner ran into it with his car, was never fixed.
Frustration can lead to guerrilla tactics. Jeanine Brydges Watt of Windsor, Ontario, got so fed up with her neighbors’ yard that she waited until they went on vacation, then mowed the lawn and threw out the trash, which included old diapers and split-open bags of garbage.
Watt said she wasn’t worried about being arrested for trespassing. The messy neighbors were renters and probably thought their landlord had done it, she said. And Watt’s other neighbors were thrilled.
“If they had been asked, none of the other neighbors would have ratted me out,” she said. “They were happy we cleaned up the eyesore.”
You may not be willing to risk arrest, but there are other tactics you can try if a neighbor’s property is hurting your home’s value.
If your neighbor is elderly or disabled and simply not able to maintain her property, for example, you may be able to help her find free or low-cost services that can help. Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program offers exterior painting, landscaping, weatherstripping and minor repairs to low-income homeowners who can’t care for their homes because of age, disability or family circumstances.
You can check with the Eldercare Locator to find other resources for home maintenance in your area.
If your neighbor is simply messy or indifferent, you might want to try these strategies:
Start with a conversation. If your neighbor is a drug dealer, owns dangerous dogs or is otherwise belligerent, you won’t want to risk knocking on the door. Otherwise, approaching your neighbor in a friendly, low-key manner can be a good start.
The script could go something like this: “We’re going to be putting our house on the market soon, and we really want it to show well. But we’re afraid that people who don’t know what nice neighbors you are might be a little put off by the condition of your yard right now. It’s so hard to keep up with everything, isn’t it? We’d be more than happy to help you tidy up a bit if you’d like.”
Find the owner. If your sloppy neighbors are tenants and the direct approach doesn’t work, or if the home is vacant, you’ll want to track down the owner. A real-estate agent can help you, or you can visit your county property-tax assessor’s office.
Then send a letter to the landlord or lender, complete with photos of the problem, and request action in getting the property cleaned up, says Ilyce Glink, the author of several books on real estate. If you get no response, consider giving the contact information to other fed-up neighbors and ask that they send letters as well.
“If a property has been foreclosed on, you can complain — loudly — to the lender to take care of the property. Go all the way to the top of the food chain, to the chief executive officer, and ask for assistance,” Glink said. “You should also complain to your state mortgage regulator as well to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, if it is a big national bank.”
Enlist help. If you have a homeowners association, make a formal request that it take action. If it’s reluctant and you run out of other options, you can sue the homeowners association in small-claims court, Glink said.
Before you do that, however, try to enlist local government officials. Your city or county public-health department may be able to step in, particularly if trash or other unsanitary conditions are attracting vermin. The city or county building department should be notified of other obvious hazards, such as holes in a roof or a collapsing porch.
If you can’t get local agencies to help, appeal to your elected representatives at the city or county level. Sometimes these folks can kick the bureaucracy into gear. A real-estate attorney can tell you if you can pursue a lawsuit against the neighbor, but typically these are expensive and can drag on for months if not years, making them impractical for most people trying to sell a home.
Practice mitigation. If your best efforts don’t work, a privacy fence or tall hedge, if allowed, could help screen the problem. Otherwise, do what you can to make your own property shine and divert attention from the neighbor’s mess.
Peter Anderson of Shakopee, Minn., who runs the Bible Money Matters blog, said he had a “fun time” selling a town house a few years ago because of neighbors across the street who had garbage in their driveway, a truck up on blocks “and a hundred wind chimes hanging from their garage.”
“Despite that, it was a nice enough neighborhood,” Anderson said, “and we finally were able to sell because we priced our home realistically, we staged our house to make it look like a model, painted, fixed up any problems and just made the home a very nice place to be.”
If you think you have it bad, well, it could be worse:
While the 2020 is winding down and we look forward to next year, I’ll occasionally repost the unique factors that will have impact on the 2021 selling season. Let me know of any others:
Ultra-Low Mortgage Rates – Rates around 3% are expected to continue through 2021, and they are probably the #1 factor that keeps buyers interested – because you can buy more house! This is especially helpful for those who are trying to move up – if their current rate is higher, then getting 3% or lower helps to offset the increase in price.
Vaccine News – Just the thought of Covid-19 coming to an end will energize the populace, and the motivated buyers & sellers will want to get a jump on it – even before any actual vaccine is readily available.
Work From Home – This trend frees up many to move.
Unemployment – Older homeowners will grapple with taking a pay cut or quitting the job-search altogether. Retiring earlier than expected won’t seem so bad when their home’s equity has never been so high, and more boomer moves that would have happened in 2022-2025 will be pulled forward.
Eviction Ban – With both tenants and landlords being affected, this new frustration could cause more transactions that are rushed (buyers pay too much/sellers giving it away).
Politics – No matter who wins the presidential election, it will be the last straw for some.
Divorce Rate is Up 34%YoY – Technically, this could add more buyers and sellers, but realistically those coming out of a divorce will be more likely to split their equity and take a break.
Prop 19 – Our association swears that more 55+ seniors will move if Prop 19 passes, so if it does, we’ll have more sellers and buyers. I still expect Prop 19 to be soundly defeated.
Capital-gains tax. From the WSJ: Biden will raise the tax on the capital gains of high earners to the same rate as wage income, increasing the rate to 43.4% (39.6% plus Medicare 3.8% investment tax) from 23.8%. Mr. Biden on Thursday estimated that these increases on high earners would raise $92 billion, but that’s before they put their tax lawyers to work. Biden has also said he will eliminate the 1031 exchanges, but all of the above will need Congressional approval. Just the thought could cause landlords to hurry up their plans of selling.
Don’t Own Here Yet – Renters, first-timers, and out-of-towners have a different look at our home values because they don’t own here yet. They are more motivated to get their hands on something, and will pay more than those who are just trying to do better than what they already own. The market will hinge on buyers in this category!
Those are TEN reasons why 2021 will be the most exciting real estate market ever!
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