Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Offers over asking price in California.

To keep in perspective:

How many houses sell for over their asking price throughout California, over time?  This may answer your questions on this matter:

 
Thanks for reading!
Francis
 
Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates
A place worth noting: Our Brother's Home in MountainView


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

America's Rental Housing

America's Rental Housing.

It is no secret that finding a place to call home in the Bay Area has become a problem, both as a purchase and as a rental.  Rents have gone up very significantly in the past 3 to 4 years, with a steep acceleration as early as mid 2012.  The front page of the San Jose Mercury News today 4/16/14 talks about it and prints: " Region's average asking rent is now $2,043 after three years of double-digit annual growth".

But this is not limited at all to our area. Nationwide, there is a similar problem, as studied and explained in the Rental Housing Report of the Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (Dec. of 2013). In many ways, the situation has to give us pause.

  • Half of US renters pay more than 30% of their income on rent,
  • 19% of  all renters 10 years ago were paying more than ½ their income on rent; they represent 27% now.
  • 31 % of Americans were renting in 2004, they are 35% in 2012.
  • Between 2000 and 2013, median rents nationally (adjusted for inflation) increased by 6%, while the median income of renters dropped by 13%. 
  • The shortfall in the number of units affordable to extremely low-income renters in the U.S. (those earning no more than 30 percent of the area median) more than doubled from 1.9 million in 2001 to 4.9 million in 2011.
Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies Article.
If you want a copy of the SJ Merc. article let me know.

Francis
Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

non-profit organization worth noting: Partners for New Generations.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Privacy trees...



I recently sold a house for which a row of privacy trees was quite important, as a brand new development of apartments is slated to be built on the back side of the lot.

This “privacy screen” turned out to be quite useful in this case, as it will continue to grow and provide a clear separation between the new buyers’ home and the large complex in the back.

What kind of trees can you use to build such a protection, both from sight and from noise?  I thought that this page from the “fast-growing-trees.com” web site was quite informative, as well as their blog.

Do you have any local suggestions for any specific trees that work well here in the Bay Area?

Thanks for reading,

Francis

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Refinancers to Save More than $21 Billion in Interest

Refinancers to Save More than $21 Billion in Interest
Borrowers who refinanced in 2013 will save on net approximately $21 billion in interest over the next 12 months, according to Freddie Mac’s fourth quarter 2013 quarterly refinance analysis.

Of borrowers who refinanced during the fourth quarter of 2013, 39 percent shortened their loan term, up 2 percent from the previous quarter and the highest since 1992. Borrowers who kept the same term as the loan that they had paid off represented 56 percent, and only 5 percent chose to lengthen their loan term.

The net dollars of home equity converted to cash as part of a refinance remained low compared with historical

volumes. In the fourth quarter, an estimated $6.5 billion in net home equity was cashed out during a refinance of conventional prime-credit home mortgages. The peak in cash-out refinance volume was $84 billion during the second quarter of 2006. Adjusted for inflation, annual cash-out volumes during 2010 through 2013 have been the smallest since 1997.

The average interest rate reduction in the fourth quarter was about 1.5 percentage points -- a savings of about 25 percent.  More info on
this page of the Freddie Mac website.

On another note, about 2 in 5 borrowers shorten their loan terms when they refinanced last year, and over 95% of refinancing borrowers chose a fixed-rate loan.

Thanks for reading; if you like it, let your friends know!
Francis

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

Our next Ewaste and Shredding event will be April 5th, at my office:
161 S. San Antonio Rd
Los Altos

Monday, March 17, 2014

New to the Silicon Valley? This blog's for you!

FUN FACTS

- Silicon Valley has the nation’s second highest concentration of wealthy people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Money Magazine named Cupertino one of the nation’s best places to live in 2012.
- Forbes ranked San Jose No. 6 on its 2011 list of “America’s Safest Cities”.
- The name “Silicon Valley” originally referred to the region’s large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers, but eventually applied to all of the tech companies in the area.
- The “mouse” was invented in Silicon Valley in 1963.


Francis
Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Best countries to grow old...

I have found this fascinating article about what places are best, and worst for older people, and wanted to share it here on this real estate forum.  After all, a lot of people are looking into where to go to as they enter their "golden years", and this includes going to other countries in some
instances.  I think it can definitely trigger some more research down the line for some of us; many people purchase, or consider purchasing a secondary residence abroad to spend at least some of their retirement years in a different place.
In the US, about 13.3% is over age 65.

No denying older people are increasing in numbers throughout the world, although not in a uniform way at all.  A lot of the research is done here by an organization called HelpAge International which developed the Global AgeWatch Index, a series of reports available on this web site:  Global AgeWatch Index, for those who are interested in looking into the details.

Coming back to the article in question, from Shan Li at the LA times:
... and the winner is.....:
Sweden. 
Feel free to browse through the other pictures and Countries, showing the 2nd etc... best places to grow old, and the worst places to grow old.  Sobering article...  it can give us all a powerful reason to reflect...
Thanks for reading,
Francis

Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Property for sale: holding off on offers, or not?

Property for sale: holding off on offers, or not?

As a seller, you and your agent prepare the house and the file carefully, you do everything right and the big day comes: it goes on MLS, you have a Realtor tour, and an open house during the week end.  The critical marketing exposure time has started, and between the paper advertising, the internet advertising and all the promotion, the world is starting to learn about your house.

The big question at that point is: do you hold off for offers until a certain date (hoping for multiple offers), or do you take offers as they come? 


Holding off for offers is a good strategy, if the house is well priced: it ensures that the house has been seen enough, and that potential buyers have had the time to review the file and decide what they want to do, after looking at all the disclosures and reports you carefully prepared upfront.  This way, when offers come in, chances are they are informed and well thought-out, and you can have a choice between good offers.  Odds are high the transaction will close without problems.

But the down side of this strategy is that some buyers are turned off by the process, and do not want to participate in this competition.  Also, if you hold off too long, other competing properties will come on the market and you will lose some potential buyers.  Finally, with this strategy comes the difficult choice to make if someone brings you a “preemptive offer”, which is likely much higher than the asking price.  If you take it you are not going to see what the other offers could have been (the ones that followed your instructions and waited for the “offer date”).  If you do not take it you could lose that high offer.  Hint: it is a gamble.

So the alternative is to “take offers as they come”.  But what do you do when one comes too fast, may be even higher than your asking price, and you have the feeling that either 1/ the buyers did not read the file carefully just to go faster or 2/ not enough people have seen the house? 
Could you have a higher or better offer by waiting for more people to have the time to see the property and work on an offer?  In real estate we say that the first offer is often the best one.  But this saying goes in a typical market, and our market is anything but typical.

Two key elements are in play here: 1/ the (pricing) strategy you prefer to use, and 2/ the quality of the advice you have with your Realtor and how good the information you get is.  I explain to my clients how important it is to have someone on your side during this critical period, to assess the real interest that exists out there for your property.  The tools your Realtor uses are critical too.  It is essential to know: - number of showings, and feed-back, - number of page views on the various web sites, - how many people are looking at the disclosures online, and what exactly they are looking at.  Not all tools get you this information, and not all agents take the care to sift through it. Finally, it is critical that your Realtor follow closely any interested party (agent or principal), and answers questions as best as possible; indeed any unanswered question has a dollar amount attached to it.  Better informed buyers will bring you an offer, and one additional offer may mean a big difference in your final sales price.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and if you like what you read, let your friends know!
 
Francis
Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates

non-profit organization worth noting: Partners for New Generations.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Falling in Love, ... with a house

Why We Fall in Love—With Houses


A survey by Realtor.com shows that 69% of respondents have had a home crush by falling head-over-heels for a house. A home crush is defined as being drawn to the same house again and again, in a study conducted between Jan 9 and Jan. 20, surveying 1,082 individuals.
House hunting can be like dating for many people: you check compatibility, and fit, and then, the crush may happen !

Find out some of the surprising finds of the study, from this article by Sanette Tanaka of the Wall Street Journal.

Have you had an experience like that?
Happy Valentine's Day!

As always, thank you so much for reading, and if you like what you read, let your friends know!
 
Francis
Silicon Valley real estate specialist
Detailed, local trends etc...
Current mortgage rates
A place worth noting: Our Brother's Home in MountainView