Yahoo Homes – Home prices posted their first annual increase in five years, according to a report by Zillow. This is good news for homeowners who have been waiting to put their houses on the market. But before that happens, there are a few simple spruce-ups that can help get the asking price.
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Builder: Bridge Housing
Stories: 2- and 3-story units in 4-story buildings; parking
Bath: 1.5 to 2.5
Bedrooms: 2 to 4
Unit Size: 1,113 – 2,157 sq.ft.
Price: From the Mid $200,000s
Completion Date: 2010
Sales Phone: 415-495-HOME (4663)
NEW CONSTRUCTION. Located in San Francisco’s sunny Bayview District, Armstrong Townhomes are located in the vibrant Third Street Corridor. The community is just one block from the Carroll Street MUNI station, and a new grocery store (opening soon), restaurants, shops and art studios are all close by. The spacious townhomes offer high-quality finishes, such as stainless steel appliances, Caesarstone countertops, in-home washer and dryer, private patios and balconies and plentiful natural light. Homes are arranged around appealing common areas: a central courtyard with play area and community gardens and smaller courtyards with picnic tables and sitting areas. These are available under the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Affordable Homeownership Program to qualified first-time buyers.
It doesn’t happen very often, but I am offering something today that will help all of us improve our attitude about the economy. It’s not as bad as we have been led to believe. I have the numbers to back it up.
You will see why I am so excited about what I have discovered. After all these years, my degree in economics is finally paying off.
I am about ready to quit reading monthly housing reports. Instead, I plan to focus on listing and selling homes. I am asking my readers to join me in this movement.
It’s a big step, because it means I will have to quit complaining and worrying and go to work, which no one should be expected to do cold turkey.
That’s why we should start reading market news only in part. The key is to focus on today’s numbers, not the trends. We are salespeople. We don’t make things.
I understand why companies that make appliances, Sheetrock and carpet would care. After all, they have to plan and make projections. We don’t. We sell homes.
Our long-range plan is a pile of short-range ones, ranging from the next phone call to the next email or text. We are real estate agents. We don’t plan. We are first responders.
The secret is to focus solely on this year’s numbers. Do not read or heed the comparisons to last year or projections for next year. They do not matter to you.
Try it. It will change your entire outlook.
The Census Bureau reported last month that the seasonally adjusted annual sales pace for new-home construction stood at 319,000 homes in May. But what does that mean? Is it great news or bad news?
“I can’t tell without comparing them to last year’s numbers,” say the purists, most of whom are just waiting to spew some high-sounding, emotionally debilitating analysis around an office filled with commission salespeople.
We live in the moment. Next year’s projections don’t make our house payment or fund this summer’s vacation. Our attitude — not the market’s altitude — is what makes the difference to us. That’s why we need to purposely protect what we see and what we think.
Last year’s number can cause your attitude to harden, and next year’s numbers can be discouraging. Fortunately, neither comparison matters.
Let’s take it further:
New-home real estate agents make about one sale for every 10 prospects who register in their sales offices without a broker (I am being conservative).
If 319,000 new homes are going to be sold in 2011, that equation means that about 3.19 million people will shop new homes this year! I don’t know what your sales-to-prospect ratio is, but annualized sales for resale homes are projected to be in the neighborhood of 4.81 million homes sold this year.
The secret is to not compare this year’s numbers with last year’s or next year’s projections. They do not matter. We are commission-based sales agents.
Numbers tell us all kinds of things about out business.
There are about 1 million Realtors, so that means there will 4.8 resale homes sold per agent, based on projections — and the National Association of Realtors expects the median price of a resale home to be about $168,800 this year.
Since you are not average, because you don’t worry about what you cannot control, you stay focused on what makes you money: listing and selling real estate.
Here is an example taken from a blog post that lists 12 months’ worth of sales for three ZIP codes in the Pittsburgh, Pa., area:
Existing-homes sold: 1,080, for an average price of $132,000. New homes sold: 94, for an average price of $303,000. I have no idea how these numbers compare to 2010, and what could I do about it if I did? Let’s assume that sales are down 10 percent, or whatever percent you want to use. So?
You may find yourself in a conversation where the economy is being discussed, and a cloud of hopelessness hangs over the conversation.
I always wait for the opportunity to ask this question: “So, what do you think we can do about it?” And there the conversation turns to sports or politics. It’s true. We cannot do one thing about last year, next year or even the inventory.
But there is one thing we can do. We can quit making excuses and believing that “nobody is buying.” The numbers prove us wrong.
People in your market are buying. The good news is that you can do something about it: Start prospecting harder and smarter, and watch your own local market share grow.
Wall Street Journal – CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — As home prices fall and rents rise, some investors are plunking their money into real estate, chasing the cash flow that comes along with becoming a landlord.
“For the first time in a long time, you can buy that home and can get a cash-on-cash return immediately,” said William King, director of valuation services for Veros Real Estate Solutions, a supplier of housing data to the country’s largest banks, as well as government organizations. “There are a lot of places in the country where an investor can buy a single-family home, rent it, and get a positive cash flow.”
In fact, investors bought 20% of all the homes sold in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. Some of them are buying with cash.
But even if they do finance part of the purchase, they’re able to turn around a profit much quicker than they would have been able to in the past, King said. And the return on rentals can be much better than returns on other investments these days, he added.
In the past, investors would subsidize their monthly payments on a property with the rent they were able to collect, and the big payoff was the price appreciation he or she would accumulate, he said. Now, investors can come in with a 25% or 30% down payment, finance the rest, and the rent they collect often can cover the mortgage payment, taxes and insurance — with additional cash left over, he said.
“Investors are looking at these properties on a monthly income generating basis,” said Alex Villacorta, director of research & analytics at Clear Capital, a firm that provides data for real-estate asset valuation and risk assessment to financial services companies. “They can start to realize instant profit margins, even as the market goes down more.”
“There’s a turning point where the cost of owning a home is less than the cost of renting,” he said. “When that disparity grows … we will see a push from investors to pick up investment properties.”
In general, that investors are beginning to snap up rental properties is a good thing for the stabilization of housing markets, King said. It’s also one of the ways that a floor on real-estate prices can be established; as more investors spot opportunities in residential markets, prices could bottom.
“Once investors come into a community, you’re seeing the beginning of the end of the decline,” King said.
What to look for
“There are some people who think it’s glamorous, but when you get the wrong tenants, it can be a nightmare,” he said. That said, when you get the right tenants and the properties perform as expected, it can be a “tremendous” way to make a buck — and he believes the “smart money” is now working its way into the marketplace.
Before considering any purchase, decide if you have it in you to be a landlord. You have to be willing to set expectations and consequences to ensure rents are paid on time, and you have to ready for the possibility of evicting non-paying tenants, he said. Plus, you’re responsible for the upkeep of the property, no matter how your tenants treat it.
From there, it’s a numbers game. Get a sense of what rents are in the area you’re considering, the vacancy rate, and consider your costs of financing, Villacorta said. Don’t forget the other costs of owning a property, including taxes and upkeep. Some investors may want to enlist the help of a real-estate agent to assist with analyzing the market.
Remember, often the best investment is a home you wouldn’t necessarily buy to live in yourself, Litzner said. These days, foreclosures can be snapped up at bargain prices, and as long as you have the means to make required repairs, they can represent good opportunities.
Each year, about 15 million American households move, with the majority changing households between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Unfortunately, this same time period also is peak season for moving company scams.
Wall Street Journal - Home buyers sitting on the fence wondering if now is the right time to buy should consider five factors when making this decision: Jobs, recent sales activity, construction, mortgage availability, and anecdotal evidence. Each of these issues can help consumers make the best choice for their situation and financial circumstance.
MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY
The Consumer Confidence Index declined in October to 47.7 (1985=100) compared with 53.4 in September, the Conference Board reported yesterday. The Present Situation Index decreased to 20.7 in October from 23 in September and the Expectations Index declined to 65.7 from 73.7 last month, according to the report.
“Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions has grown less favorable, with labor market conditions playing a major role in this grimmer assessment,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The Present Situation Index now is at its lowest reading in 26 years. The short-term outlook also has grown more negative, as a greater proportion of consumers anticipate business and labor market conditions will worsen in the months ahead. Consumers also remain quite pessimistic about their future earnings, a sentiment that will likely constrain spending during the holidays.
“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was less favorable in October, with those claiming business conditions are “bad” increasing to 47.1 percent in October from 46.3 percent the previous month, while those claiming conditions are “good” decreased to 7.7 percent in October compared with 8.6 percent in September. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market also was less favorable, and their short-term outlook also was slightly more pessimistic, according to the report.
From the San Jose Mercury News as reported by California Association of Realtors in their newsletter:
Facing foreclosure? Beware when looking for help.
Due to the large number of foreclosures, many financial institutions have created mortgage modification programs to help homeowners in default modify their existing mortgage loans into fixed-rate, more affordable loans. Many banks are overwhelmed with borrowers applying for mortgage modifications, resulting in some private companies, real estate brokers, nonprofit organizations, and attorneys offering to serve as the liaison between the homeowner and the bank, sometimes for a fee. With the numerous options available to homeowners, it can be difficult to determine which consultants are reputable. Individuals and companies that charge a fee prior to providing the mortgage modification service must register with the California Dept. of Real Estate (DRE). Consumers can verify that a company’s contract has been approved by visiting www.dre.ca.gov or by calling (916) 227-0770. Individuals and companies that charge fees after the service is performed are not required to register with the DRE.
To read the full story, please click here.
Don’t miss your chance to win pair of FREE Giants Tickets next Tuesday, May 6th. We are holding 1011 23rd St. #5 open for public viewing, and everyone who leaves a card will be entered into a drawing for a pair of tickets.
We sent this notice out to San Francisco Realtors so they could give their clients a chance at the drawing. If you haven’t heard about it, ask your real estate professional why they didn’t let you know!
This is a chic, contemporary, loft style condominium with dramatic high ceilings, a fireplace and sliding doors that lead to a private patio. There is a gourmet kitchen, one and one-half baths, in-unit laundry, and parking for one car.
- Janis Stone
Late last year, my computer died and I had to get a new one for work. Problem is, everything off the shelf had Vista. My first thought was, “I’ve had pretty good luck with XP and previous operating systems. How bad can it be?” That question has been answered every day since.
You know those PC and Mac commercials where Vista is a little rotund guy in a suit and glasses while Mac is the hip young “dude”? That commercial works because it’s true. All I want to do is get back to work. Real estate changes on a dime and I need to be able to update the website or blog on a moment’s notice. So what happens? I end up troubleshoot computer problems caused by Vista. Or like now, I have to have an XP desktop to perform the tasks I can’t complete on my SONY Vista laptop.
Today my cursor went crazy as it does at least once a day and activates and deactivates programs at will until it decides to stop, usually for a full minute. This morning I ended up printing 3 pages of a website I hadn’t even visited!!! To call it annoying is minimizing how I really feel. For example, we bought a new computer for our assistant last week and ordered it from DELL with XP Professional on it. That should tell you something.
Anyway, what I wanted to write about is the new real estate show on KSFO 560 that airs 10-11 Sunday mornings with Jim Ross who also has his own website. What a pleasant surprise to hear someone talking positively about real estate instead of the usual gardening shows, stock market investing shows or computer shows (though with my Vista problems, it might be helpful!) The host has some really down to earth talk about real estate investing, and I look forward to hearing more of his commentary.
- Mick Orton