Thursday, October 25, 2018

New Listing - 1710 27th Street, Sacramento, CA 95816

Here is your chance to live in a stunning 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,337sf remodeled home in a highly-sought Midtown Sacramento location! You will love this bungalow's light and bright open layout, hardwood floors, formal dining room, classic built-in hutch, remodeled kitchen with quartz counters and custom wood shelving. It offers an amazing master suite with a walk-in closet, an impressive en-suite bathroom with dual sinks, quartz counters, and a walk-in shower. Enjoy a quaint backyard with lots of sunny space for your garden. It features a freshly painted interior and exterior, newer roof, newer dual pane windows, central heating and air, and a partial basement. This is a sensational location within close proximity to all that midtown has to offer including the R Street Corridor, Winn Park, light rail, breweries, bakeries, coffee, wine tasting, grocery shopping, downtown and more! Don't wait! Offered at $549,900. For more photos, 3D virtual tour, and information please visit 1710 27th Street, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tips for storing items in your home while preparing to sell...

When I meet with potential home sellers, frequently sellers ask me how best to prepare the home for photography and showings. Often, sellers are inclined to remove belongings from the home and just cram every closet full of stuff. Or they throw everything into the garage or the basement. While this is an adequate solution to thinning out what is inside the home, homeowners must be strategic and intentional about how items are stored. While readying the house for photography and showings is super important, filling every spare nook and cranny in your home can really hamper a buyer's ability to do inspections or appraisal. So here I offer a few tips when it comes to storing items.

Tip #1: If filling your garage or basement with items, arrange things neatly in the center of the space. If you stack things up against the walls, you create "inaccessible areas" for termite and home inspectors. Most astute buyer's agents will request you make these areas accessible visually and physically, so if you pile boxes and furniture up against the walls, you will end up creating more work for yourself and just have to move items again later. If you arrange things neatly in the center with an accessible walkway around the perimeter (like in the photo), this is the best way to leave the garage or basement accessible for inspection.

Tip #2: If filling closets, be sure not to stack items on top of a crawl-space access door. Often in homes with raised foundations, the access to the crawl-space is in the floor of a closet. Termite and home inspectors must be able to have access to the sub-area of the home. Depending on the buyer's loan type, appraisers need crawl-space access too. So please do not send everyone on a hunt for access to the underside of the home by covering it. Inspectors and agents will not move items from a closet to create accessibility.

Tip #3: Again, if filling closets, be sure not to block attic access doors. Often, attic access doors are also in closet ceilings and sellers tend to stack items so high that the attic door is blocked. If there is an upper shelf installed blocking access to the attic door, you should remove it to provide unobstructed access. Again, inspectors and some appraisers will need access to the attic.

Tip #4: Have a garage sale and get rid of items! Selling and moving can be a great time to purge unused or unwanted items. Rather than stash things in the garage or closet, if you have time on your side have a garage sale so you don't end up storing or moving stuff you won't use.

Tip #5: Get a storage unit. You will need to pack things up to move them into your next home anyway. I know, I aren't excited to move things twice. But you probably have a friend with a truck who can help you remove things from the house completely. I have a truck and occasionally have helped my clients relocate items as well. Just sayin'.

Most people do not roll out of bed one day and decide to sell their homes, so with a little planning and strategy you can make things easier on yourself...

Friday, October 19, 2018

New Listing - 2664 Aramon Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Adorable updated 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1309sf Rancho Cordova home! You will love the spacious floorplan with laminate flooring throughout, dual pane windows, remodeled kitchen with granite counters and tile flooring, formal dining room, large bedrooms, master suite with remodeled bathroom, updated hallway bathroom with dual sinks and lots of storage space. The backyard has a covered patio area and lots of sunny spaces to garden or play. Located in close proximity to shopping, restaurants, schools, public transportation, and more. Don't wait! Offered at $299,900. For more photos and information please visit 2664 Aramon Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Listing - 7444 Tamoshanter Way, Sacramento, CA 95822

Adorable, well-maintained 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom 960sf home on a large corner lot is ready for a new owner - it is the perfect blank canvas for your personal touches! You will love the light and bright interior, open layout, spacious kitchen, big bedrooms, lots of storage space, dual pane windows, newer tankless water heater, central heat and air, 2-car attached garage. The backyard offers plenty of sunny space to garden or play, shed with shelving and electrical power and light, manicured lawn, and automatic sprinklers. Located near schools, public transportation, parks, shopping, and more. Don't wait! Offered at $209,900. For more photos and information please visit 7444 Tamoshanter Way, Sacramento, CA 95822.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Why I am voting YES on Proposition 5, and NO on Proposition 10

While I was out of town this last week attending the California Association of Realtors policy committees and board of directors meetings, my vote-by-mail ballot arrived at my house. Sacramento County residents now ALL receive ballots in the mail to be mailed back or dropped off at designated locations. And over the next few weeks, voters will have to contemplate their options with regard to a number of local, state, and federal races and numerous California ballot propositions. There are two propositions in particular that could dramatically affect housing opportunities, private property rights, and the availability of affordable housing in California: Proposition 5 and Proposition 10. As someone with a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration, who understands housing issues, who works with buyers and sellers - I want to explain why I support Proposition 5 and oppose Proposition 10 and encourage you to keep this rationale in mind when completing your ballots.

YES on Proposition 5
Proposition 5 is the "Property Tax Fairness" initiative and would remove the "moving penalty" from California's property tax system. It would allow seniors, the severely disabled, and victims of natural disasters (think California wildfires) to transfer their existing low property tax base value when purchasing another home located anywhere in California. These people would be permitted to purchase a more expensive property if needed and pay a blended rate that incorporates a slight property tax increase from the difference in value from the home sold and the home purchased.

There are several seniors I have talked to over my 13 years in real estate who would love to sell their current home, but they'd suffer a "moving penalty" and cannot afford to sell. Huh? Let me explain. One such Sacramento couple has lived in their home for 30+ years, their children long ago moved out, and both are retired and living on fixed incomes. They own their home free and clear but no longer can maintain it. They no longer need the quarter acre yard where their children once played, and what used to be manicured lawn and gardens is now mostly overgrown weeds. The wife has mobility issues and has not been upstairs in a few years - because she physically can't get up the stairs. There a couple of empty bedrooms. The house needs a new roof. The home is drafty and grossly energy inefficient, and needs those improvements and other cosmetic updates. The expense of making those repairs would more than wipe out their savings. They would love to move to a newer single level condo in Alameda County, near their adult children and grandchildren, with no yard to maintain and that requires little upkeep. Their current property tax bill for their paid-for Sacramento home is roughly $1200 per year, kept low by Proposition 13 from 1978, which bases property tax on the home's acquisition value. Their home is worth about $400,000. The type of condo they'd like to buy is about $500,000. Current law allows for one-time property tax base transfers and within the same California county (or to few other counties that allow incoming transfers), and only to purchase a lower priced home. Purchasing a new condo for a higher price in another county would quadruple their annual property tax to $5,000 per year (over $400/month). This is an expense they cannot afford. And because of this, they stay in their home even though it no longer meets their needs. Moving from their current home would also free it up to allow another family to come in buy it, and renovate the property, better maintain the yard, and use the home's full bedroom capacity.

Because I see this scenario first hand everyday, I want to support helping homeowners like this couple avoid the moving penalty and be able to purchase a more suitable home in a different area. The elderly couple I described would pay $1200 plus another $1000 (the value of property tax for the difference between their $400,000 sale and $500,000 purchase). The new owner of the home they sold would pay $4000 of annual property tax instead of the $1200 the sellers paid.

The social benefits of this proposition are many - parents can be closer to adult children. Adult children nearby can help care for aging parents. Conversely, grandparents can help care for their grandchildren instead of hired babysitters or daycare. The positive economic spillover effects of these moves are also many. The buyer of the sold home will likely spend money to renovate the home, hiring local contractors. They will spend money at Home Depot and other local suppliers. Their kids again will attend the local schools. They will eat at local restaurants and spend money in other local stores. They will infuse new capital and economic activity into the local area.

I could enumerate many other examples of other people who are locked into their homes by the low property tax base. These people need to sell and cannot afford the moving penalty. This is why I am voting YES on Proposition 5 - to help these people afford to move and to free up their existing home for another more suitable buyer.

NO on Proposition 10
Proposition 10 is a repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The California Legislature enacted Costa-Hawkins in 1995 to place parameters on how local governments can apply rent control ordinances. The parameters imposed by Costa-Hawkins prevent rent control from being imposed on new construction (rental units built after 1995 when the legislation went into effect). It prevents rent control from being applied to single family homes and condos. It also allows for "vacancy decontrol", such that when a rent-controlled unit is vacated by a tenant, a landlord can charge a new incoming tenant market rent. That market rent would be the new baseline for the rent control pricing. Proposition 10 remove these parameters, thus enabling the wild west of rent control ordinances.

Oh gosh, where do I begin to describe how devastating Proposition 10 would be to housing in California? It's such a bad idea that both Gavin Newsom and John Cox, candidates for California Governor, are opposed to Proposition 10. The California Legislature defeated a bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins earlier this year. And a vast majority of economists agree rent control is bad for renters having the opposite effects intended.

First, Proposition 10 would allow rent control to be applied to new construction. At a time where the California Department of Housing and Community Development reports we need at least 180,000 new housing units constructed each year -- an annual number California has been far behind already for a decade -- Proposition 10 would gut every effort to construct new units. We need builders to build in California. Builders in turn need to be profitable. If Proposition 10 passed, what builders in their right minds would build rental housing in California knowing at any time their profitability could be threatened by rent control? They would take their resources to other states and build there. We already have a severe housing shortage in California and this would exacerbate the housing shortage.

Second, Proposition 10 would allow rent control to be applied to single family homes and condos. This could result in rent control applying to homeowners who rent rooms in their own residences. It could allow bureaucrats the ability to mandate homeowners pay a fee to take their own home off the rental market. Why would voters want to handcuff the use of their own homes? Further, I know a lot about Homeowners Associations (HOAs - my masters thesis topic actually), and nearly one quarter of Californians live in properties governed by HOAs. Private associations have the ability to limit or restrict an owner's ability to rent out their units. If Proposition 10 is passed, HOA's are likely to respond by passing rules cease the rental of properties in their neighborhoods. This will further limit how owners can use their properties, and prevent homes and condos that might be turned into rental units from doing so. This again would limit the availability of units for rent and result in curbing owners' private property rights.

Third, Proposition 10 would eliminate vacancy decontrol, where landlords can increase the rent of a unit to the current market rent when a tenant moves out. If landlords must continue to charge the same low rent to subsequent tenants in rent-controlled property, this would further constrain ability of landlords to make any profit on their rentals. MOST landlords in California are mom-and-pop owners whose rental properties are part of their long-term retirement portfolio. Making rent-controlled units perpetually price-fixed for eternity is extremely unfair to landlords who already are burdened by increasing maintenance and utility costs, and rent price ceilings. It would likely result in decreased property values as well as create a perverse incentive for landlords not to maintain or improve their units for new tenants because they will just not be able to afford it.

There are many other negative implications to the repeal of Costa Hawkins as well, but I think you get the idea. At a time when California desperately needs more housing units, this is NOT a way to increase the supply of housing. This does not help renters. There are about 15 cities in California that have some form of rent control. Recent studies from Stanford have linked the current rent control ordinances in San Francisco with as much as a 15% reduction in available rental housing units. The results of not constructing new housing units and pillaging the property rights of owners will make a bad problem worse. This is why I am voting NO on Proposition 10.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Quoted in a Sacramento Bee article about the local real estate market conditions...

I was quoted a few days ago in a SacBee article this week about the cooling home market. But is this really news? I am not sure this is anything to get hot and bothered by. We have 2.2 months of inventory right now. For the sake of comparison, there was 15 months of inventory in September 2007 when the market turned south. Peeps, I have been in real estate for 13 years, and the market today is nothing like it was then.

Contrary to what many would think, it is normal for the Sacramento real estate market to seasonally slow down a bit in the months of July, August, and September. For the past several consecutive years, the available number homes for sale has tended to spike during the summer months while demand calms down slightly. This is normal. I think it probably has to do with our super hot summers...people go on vacation in July. Schools resume in August...people just have other priorities during Sacramento summers. And then after Labor Day the market picks back up a bit again until the holidays.

In fact if you look at a graph examining months of inventory in Sacramento County, you will see the same trend each summer...inventory increases. Then it decreases.

And the same has happened this summer. This is not unusual. In fact, if you look at the increase in inventory from summer 2014, the increase in inventory then was much higher than it is now. And everything was peachy keen.

I think buyers have a nice opportunity until the buying frenzy picks back up after the holidays. Relatively speaking, there is a little less competition from other buyers (and if this season is anything like past ones, there probably will be a bit less competition through the holidays). Relatively speaking, there are more homes to choose from. Key word here is relative. 2.2 months of for sale inventory is still not a lot. But this is definitely more inventory than what Sacramento home buyers have grown accustomed to. Sellers, don't expect to overprice your home and sell it quickly with multiple offers. Be realistic. Good marketing and exposure is key. The fundamentals matter. (For the record, all of my current listings are in contract with buyers)

The reality is that good homes are still in high demand.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New Listing - 5400 Robertson Avenue, Carmichael, CA 95608

Lovingly-maintained 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 960sf Carmichael home is ready for a new owner! You will love the spacious layout, updated kitchen with tile counters, big bedrooms, lots of storage, attached 2-car garage, central heat & air, dual pane windows, nearly quarter acre park-like backyard with newer fencing and HUGE 12x18 workshop with electrical, additional storage shed, large covered patio. Freshly painted exterior, pest clearance and 2-year roof certification. Located near schools, parks and shopping. Don't wait! Offered at $309,900. For more photos and information visit 5400 Robertson Avenue, Carmichael, CA 95608.

Monday, September 17, 2018