Suburban Renewal: Interest Grows Among Younger, First-Time Buyers

Millennials and young Gen X’ers are flocking to bigger cities to be close to the action. But with the rising cost of city living, they’re being forced to either pay a premium for rent or find affordable housing outside of the city.

These first-time homebuyers aren’t just migrating to any suburb. They’re looking for amenity-rich suburbs that have more of an urban feel with restaurants, nightspots, entertainment, stores and public transportation – all within walking or biking distance. ¬†(I.E. San Carlos!)

They aren’t interested in sinking every hard-earned penny into their house. They prefer smaller, more modest single-family homes and want to allow room in their budget for other things they find important, like travel. And the suburbs are just the place for them to find this.

A shorter commute between home and work is also very important, and contrary to what many may think, the suburbs represent a major share of the jobs base. In fact, in the top 40 metro areas, 84% of all jobs are outside of the center-city core.

Plus, suburbs also typically offer better quality school systems and a safer setting than major metropolitan cities, making them even more ideal for younger families.

To capitalize on this increased demand and make themselves even more appealing, many suburbs will be investing more in their downtown commerce areas and expanding their public transportation offerings.

So, next time you work with younger first-time homebuyers, try to keep these things in mind. Are there amenity-rich suburbs near you that could be ideal locations for them? Are these suburbs close to your clients’ work? Do they offer great school systems and affordable housing? Get back to the burbs and you could get back more happy younger clients.

I know just the towns – Call the Caton Team for all your Real Estate needs!

I read this article at: https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/suburban-renewal-interest-grows-among-younger-first-time-buyers?utm_campaign=newsletter_b2b_feb2016_ahs&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ahsemail&utm_content=agentspotlight_button

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The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ‚Äď Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

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Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold home for much LESS than his own Zestimate!!!!!

You know we Realtors out there are thrilled with this news story. After so many difficult conversations explaining why¬†a zestimate is not accurate ‚Äď for the CEO to sell his home below his own zestimate ‚Äď well it does leave us smiling ear to ear. There is a reason why online, automated home values do not work. In theory ‚Äď they are a great tool and should work. But in actuality ‚Äď they are often very inaccurate and set the bar for disappointment. If you are curious about the worth of your home, contact your Realtor ‚Äď or The Caton Team. We‚Äôd be happy to prepare a custom, accurate and local snapshot of what your home is worth in today‚Äôs dynamic Real Estate market. Thank you for reading ‚Äď Sabrina 650.586.5522 info@TheCatonTeam.com

 

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold home for much less than Zestimate

Clients putting Zestimates on a pedestal? Point them toward this sale

Key Takeaways

  • Agents can demonstrate the Zestimate’s shortcomings by showing the discrepancy between the sales price of a home formerly owned by Zilow CEO Spencer Rascoff and its Zestimates.
  • Luxury home Zestimates are more likely to be off than others due to ‘non-quantifiable facts.’
  • Irregular lot sizes or proximity to ‘arterial’ roads can sometimes throw off Zestimates.

 

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff may have recently given real estate agents a gift they won’t soon forget: a sure-fire way to show that Zestimates can miss by a mile.

How? By selling a property for much less than its Zestimate.

On February 29, Rascoff sold a Seattle home for $1.05 million, 40 percent less than the Zestimate of $1.75 million shown on its property page a day later.

The gap between the Zestimate of Rascoff’s former property and its sales price has decreased only modestly since then.

Zillow readily acknowledges that Zestimates can be inaccurate, but some consumers can still take them at face value, causing headaches for agents.

Citing the chasm between the sales price of Rascoff’s former home and the property’s Zestimate may be one way for real estate professionals to show clients that Zestimates are, as Zillow says, only a conversation starter for pricing a home, not the final word on its value.

 

Zillow CEO sold his home for way less than Zestimate.

 

Philip¬†Gray, a¬†San Leandro, California-based appraiser, is taking this approach. Bringing up the Zestimate of the property Rascoff recently offloaded will¬†help him deal with¬†the frequent pushback he receives from homeowners ‚Äúwho¬†think Zillow is the magic 8-ball,‚ÄĚ he said.

‚ÄėWe missed‚Äô¬†

Zestimates on Rascoff’s former home have certainly been overstating the property’s value, said Zillow Chief Analytics Officer Stan Humphries.

‚ÄúThe fact that we missed and there are empirical reasons we missed ‚ÄĒ that‚Äôs a great conversation that real estate agents should have‚ÄĚ with consumers, he said, citing the property‚Äôs irregular lot and location¬†on a¬†busy¬†road as partly responsible for its Zestimate‚Äôs inaccuracy.

But he¬†expressed hope that, in the same discussion, agents¬†also won‚Äôt¬†instill ‚Äúdata nihilism‚ÄĚ in consumers, and¬†that they acknowledge¬†that humans¬†also can miss the mark.

Smaller gap at start

In July, the Zestimate of Rascoff’s former property wouldn’t have raised the eyebrows of anyone who’s familiar with automated valuation models (AVMs). At $1.388 million, the property’s Zestimate was 7.3 percent higher than its listing price of $1.295 million at the time.

Since Zillow only shows revised historical Zestimate data on property pages, the home’s property page currently indicates that the property’s Zestimate was around $1.6 million in July 2015, somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 more than the Zestimate that actually appeared on its property page on July 17, 2015. For all anyone knew in July 2015, the property might have eventually sold at a price closer to its Zestimate than its listing price.

But that didn’t happen. The home later sold for $1.05 million, 19 percent below its July listing price. Undergoing a number of price cuts, the property was listed and de-listed several times between when it was originally listed on July 7, 2015 and when it sold on February 29, 2016.

If Rascoff thought his home was worth its July listing price, the outcome of the sale might have come as a disappointment. But if the success of the transaction were judged by the property’s Zestimate, it was a failure.

The home’s Zestimate was $1,750,405 on March 1, the day after the property sold for $1,050,000.

If that Zestimate were accurate, it¬†would mean the chief of the biggest name in real estate and the recent¬†co-author¬†of a book about ‚Äúthe new rules of real estate‚Ä̬†would have¬†sold his home for 40 percent less than it was worth.

Automated valuations vary

In addition to highlighting the shortcomings of Zestimates, the Zestimate of Rascoff’s home also brings into focus the potential for some automated valuations to be more accurate than others.

Unlike Zillow‚Äôs property page on the home the day after it sold, Redfin‚Äôs page on the home showed that the sale had occurred. At the time, it displayed a valuation of $1.1 million¬†‚ÄĒ¬†much closer to¬†the¬†property‚Äôs sales price of $1.05 million.

 

On Thursday, May 5, Redfin’s estimate of the home’s value was $1.3 million.

So while Zillow’s estimate had come down by around $140,000 since the home sold, Redfin’s had increased by about $200,000. Both differed from the price the home sold for a little over two months ago by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Zillow has since added the sales price of Rascoff’s former home to its property page.

The property’s Zestimate had slipped from $1,750,405 the day after it sold to $1,608,670 on May 5, but its Zestimate on May 5 still only represented 65 percent of what the home sold for a little over two months before.

To judge the Zestimate’s accuracy based solely on the gap between the sales price of Rascoff’s former home and its Zestimate would probably be unfair. The discrepancy is unusually wide, according to what Zillow says is the Zestimate’s median error rate.

Zillow puts the Zestimate’s national median error rate at 7.9 percent, meaning half of Zestimates nationwide are within 7.9 percent of a home’s sales price and half are off by more than 7.9 percent. The listing portal claims an even higher level of accuracy in Seattle, where Rascoff’s former home is located.

There, Zestimates for half of homes are supposed to be within 6.1 percent of their sales price, while half are supposed to be off by more than 6.1 percent. This suggests that the Zestimate of Rascoff’s home missed by much more than normal in Seattle.

Why was that?

One reason is that the home’s Zestimate was comparing Rascoff’s former home, which is located on a triangular lot, to recently sold homes located on rectangular lots, according to Humphries.

Since rectangular lots provide more utility than triangular lots, he said, that meant the Zestimate was overvaluing the plot of Rascoff’s home.

Another reason was that Rascoff‚Äôs home was located on an ‚Äúarterial‚ÄĚ road while nearby recently sold homes sat on quieter streets.

Zillow continues to research how to program Zestimates to account for such factors, but¬†‚Äúwe haven‚Äôt fully cracked the nut on that one‚ÄĚ yet, Humphries said.

‚ÄėThe classic luxury homes problem‚Äô

Zillow Senior Economist Skylar Olsen added that the Zestimate of Rascoff‚Äôs home represents ‚Äúthe classic luxury homes problem.‚ÄĚ

Zestimates can‚Äôt take into account ‚Äúnon-quantifiable facts,‚ÄĚ such as layout design or lighting, and these facts can have much¬†more of an effect on the values of luxury homes than less expensive¬†properties, she said.

Real¬†estate agents can see how¬†special features impact a property‚Äôs¬†value, but the ‚ÄúZestimate algorithm can‚Äôt know‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúat this point in time, it‚Äôs not designed to know,‚Ä̬†she said.

The reason why the Zestimate of Rascoff‚Äôs former property hasn‚Äôt dropped dramatically since selling at a much lower price than Zestimates leading up to the sale is that the Zestimates have a ‚Äúsmoothing function‚Ä̬†designed to keep them¬†from¬†overreacting to recent property sales.

The Zestimate on the Rascoff’s former property will gradually come down to more closely resemble its sales price. And upcoming updates to the Zestimate’s algorithms will adjust the smoothing function so that the Zestimate of a home that sells will come to more closely mirror its sales price much faster.

Also worth noting is that Zillow does not have access to sold listing data from the¬†Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the MLS that covers Seattle. Automated valuation models (AVMs)¬†that crunch¬†sold MLS data¬†can have an advantage over AVMs that only use public sales records ‚ÄĒ¬†which are the only sales records used by Zestimates covering Seattle.

While Zillow says on its website that¬†most consumers understand that Zestimates truly are only estimates, the listing portal concedes that, sometimes, ‚Äúsomeone will come along that insists on setting the price they are willing to buy or sell for based solely on the Zestimate.‚ÄĚ

Zillow goes on to say¬†that ‚Äúeducation is the key‚ÄĚ and that, armed with knowledge of how Zestimates are calculated¬†along with their local median error rate, agents can¬†explain ‚Äúwhy the Zestimate is a good starting point as well as a historical reference, but it should not be used for pricing a home.‚ÄĚ

While¬†Zestimates can¬†create¬†hassles for agents, some agents would certainly agree with Zillow‚Äôs assertion¬†that¬†understanding how a Zestimate is¬†calculated,¬†along with its strengths and weaknesses, ‚Äúcan¬†provide the real estate pro with an opportunity to demonstrate their expertise.‚ÄĚ

The gap between the Zestimate of Rascoff’s former property and its sales price may have made it easier for agents to seize that opportunity.

Zillow‚Äôs Humphries‚Äô hopes¬†that, when putting Zestimates in perspective for consumers, agents¬†will also acknowledge¬†that Zestimates do have a scientific basis, and that¬†nobody‚Äôs perfect ‚ÄĒ even trained professionals.

He noted that a study¬†released by Zillow in 2012 showed that the typical¬†gap between a home‚Äôs Zestimate and its sales price wasn‚Äôt that much larger¬†than the typical gap between a home‚Äôs initial list price ‚ÄĒ¬†which is often set based on a¬†real estate agent‚Äôs recommendation ‚ÄĒ and its sales price.

‚ÄúWe acknowledge humans¬†are great at this, and we‚Äôre great too ‚ÄĒ but they‚Äôre greater,‚Ä̬†Humphries said.

 

I read this article at: https://www.inman.com/2016/05/18/zillow-ceo-spencer-rascoff-sold-home-for-much-less-than-zestimate/?utm_source=20160521&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weeklyheadlines

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading ‚Äď Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ‚Äď Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Home Buyers

Top 10 Cities for First-Time Home Buyers‚ÄĒand Not Just Because They‚Äôre Affordable

 

OK, let’s get it right out there: It’s a seriously tough time to be trying to buy your first home. Yes, in most respects the housing business is doing great. But the dazzling nationwide sales boom cuts both ways: Across the U.S., low inventory has put the squeeze on potential home buyers, driving prices up to nosebleed-inducing levels and sparking scary bidding wars. And first-time mortgages? They’re harder than ever to snag.

The numbers tell the tale: The National Association of Realtors¬ģ reported in November that the share of first-time buyers had declined in 2015 for the third consecutive year and remained at its lowest point in nearly three decades. First-time buyers made up 32%¬†of all buyers in 2015, down from 33% the year before.

So where can today’s committed-but-oh-so-frustrated housing newbies turn?

We’ve got you covered! Bypassing today’s unabashed and unbowed metro seller’s markets (See ya, Seattle! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Dallas!), we set out to find  places that are still newbie-friendly. But we weren’t just looking for the cheapest places. Yes, affordability is key, but if you’re doling out your life savings on a new home, you want an area where you’ll actually enjoy living! Right? So we made sure that our top 10 cities bring something extra special to the party, lifestylewise.

We focused on the 25-to-34 age group, which is the vast majority of first-time home buyers. We filtered the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas using the following criteria:

  • Affordability,¬†measured by home price to income ratio for 25- to 34-year-olds (the lower the better)
  • Inventory, with¬†enough houses available that you don‚Äôt have to camp out at open houses or sell your firstborn to get your chance‚ÄĒmeasured by the number of homes for sale per 1,000 households
  • Mortgage availability, measured by the¬†share¬†of home loans¬†purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds
  • Job growth, measured by lower-than-average unemployment rate¬†(because unemployment and new homes are a lousy combo)
  • Livability, measured by the number of restaurants, schools, retailers, health care facilities, and arts and entertainment venues per 1,000 households

 

  1. Portland, ME

Median price: $304,000

Unemployment: 3.3%

What you don’t know about Portland: Yeah, sure, the West Coast’s Portland gets all the press, the hipster cred (and notoriety), and even a decent TV show to call its own. But here’s the deal: The largest city in Maine is no less hip, cool, and fun to live in. And it has way better lobster.

A foodist‚Äôs¬†paradise nestled on the Atlantic coast, Portland has a slew of catch-of-the-day seafood restaurants and a¬†thriving microbrew scene‚ÄĒAllagash Brewing Co. produces 45,000 barrels of beer each year. And check out that unemployment rate‚ÄĒone-third lower than the national average of 5.2%.

 

  1. Philadelphia, PA

Median price: $222,000

Unemployment: 4.8%

What you don’t know about Philly: Plenty of New Yorkers are fleeing the City So Nice They Named It Twice for Philly, with almost 27,000 people making the transition per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many seem to relish escaping the crazy real estate prices of NYC without giving up big-city amenities.

So what’s the appeal?

Well, you‚Äôve got Ukee Washington, Denzel‚Äės second cousin and quite possibly the coolest news anchor in America. You have perhaps¬†the most loyal sports fans in the country. And you can get a ‚Äúcitywide special‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒa can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam‚ÄĒfor just a few bucks across town. The United States‚Äô first capital is rich in history and has recovered from a bad patch‚ÄĒno longer known as ‚ÄúKilladelphia,‚ÄĚ its violent crime rate declined 20% from 2009 to 2014, according to the FBI.

 

  1. St. Louis, MO

Median price: $164,000

Unemployment: 5.2%

What you don’t know about St. Louis: Besides the Cardinals and the city’s namesake barbecue, there’s plenty more to celebrate in St. Louis.

Led by Washington University, more than a dozen universities and colleges boost the city’s IQ and keep the vibe young. You dig nature? You can spend weeks hanging in Forest Park, which is nearly 50% bigger than Central Park. And the city has two separate downtowns, each with its own gestalt. Housing prices have been low, partly because of the sluggish economy after the recession that erased thousands of jobs. But the city has finally made a comeback, adding 6,900 jobs in February and posting a declining unemployment rate. Eight Fortune 500 companies now call St. Louis home.

 

  1. Allentown, PA

Median price: $188,000

Unemployment: 5%

What you don‚Äôt know about Allentown:¬†While the song ‚ÄúAllentown‚ÄĚ by Billy Joel reminds us of the decline of¬†the coal and steel industry (and still makes us sob), Allentown is en route to aggressive economic redevelopment.

Today the city hosts multinational companies such as Pennsylvania Power and Light and Air Products & Chemicals. Allentown also has Pennsylvania’s highest beer production by volume, and the Lehigh Valley area makes up the state’s fastest-growing wine region. And contrary to its grungy/gritty rep, there are more acres of parkland here than in any other city of this size. Take that, Billy!

 

  1. Albany, NY

Median price: $238,000

Unemployment: 4.5%

What you don‚Äôt know about Albany:¬†The capital of New York state is having a renaissance.¬†The effort to build a ‚ÄúTech Valley‚ÄĚ since 1998 has paid off with thriving new businesses, residential development, entertainment, and a cultural scene. Every spring, Albany celebrates its Dutch heritage with the Tulip Festival, featuring more than 200,000 tulips, fine art shows, crafts, and gardening exhibits. And you haven‚Äôt lived until you‚Äôve tried an Albany fish fry. Or at least you haven‚Äôt lived well.

 

  1. Harrisburg, PA

Median price: $168,000

Unemployment: 4.2%

What you don‚Äôt know about Harrisburg:¬†Tech may not be something this central Pennsylvania city is known for, but it may be in the future. In the past few years, at least¬†18 tech companies have sprouted in¬†this midsize city. Benefiting from the tech wave, downtown Harrisburg has become a hugely popular northeastern destination stop for great live entertainment, especially music‚ÄĒfrom jazz to indie to hip-hop.

 

  1. Baton Rouge, LA

Median price: $217,000

Unemployment: 4.8%

What you don’t know about Baton Rouge: With a median age of 34.7 for its population, Baton Rouge is Louisiana’s youngest major metro area (the credit goes to Louisiana State University, which is based there).

About 80 miles from New Orleans, Baton Rouge knows how to do Mardi Gras right. Each year thousands flock to the city for festive carnivals, costume balls, and six different parades (including one just for pets). Increasingly a nouveau hipster haven, the city has the highest share (52%) of mortgages purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds among all the markets we studied.

 

  1. Dayton, OH

Median price: $115,000

Unemployment: 5.2%

What you don‚Äôt know about Dayton: Bike culture may be awesomely hip¬†now, but Daytonians have been biking en masse for a long, long time. They drafted the¬†nation‚Äôs first regional bikeway plans, which were adopted in 1973. Since then, the 300 miles of scenic Miami Valley Trail‚ÄĒthe nation‚Äôs largest paved trail network‚ÄĒhave seen generations of cyclists. With a median home price of just $115,000, Dayton is no longer¬†a place to fly over or drive through‚ÄĒit‚Äôs a place to stay and live large.

 

  1. Minneapolis, MN

Median price: $294,000

Unemployment: 3.9%

What you don’t know about Minneapolis: America’s second fittest city, Minneapolis boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and 5,000 acres of parkland. Twelve Fortune 500 companies, including Target, and numerous small businesses keep unemployment low and income high.

America’s (purportedly) most literate city also hosts Open Book, the country’s biggest book art center, and the Chanhassen, its largest dinner theater. And Mary Richards lived here. Questions?

 

  1. Virginia Beach, VA

Median price: $256,000

Unemployment: 5%

What you don‚Äôt know about Virginia Beach:¬†Pharrell Williams was¬†born and raised here, and his song ‚ÄúHappy‚ÄĚ could easily serve as the official town anthem¬†. After all, with sun-drenched beaches dotted with swimmers, sunbathers, and volleyball players, how could anyone not be happy? Plus, the city‚Äôs majority of low-density neighborhoods are¬†perfect for those who hate crowded city living.

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ

We’re in such a celebratory mood, we almost hate turning our eyes to the worst markets for first-time home buyers. Almost.

New York and San Francisco, you say? If the two cities had a penny for each time someone complained about their sky-high housing prices, the money could probably fund many buyers’ down payments. But for many people, the excitement and job opportunities of those cities are worth the price.

By our calculation,¬†the worst markets are where climbing¬†home prices and plunging inventory are¬†not sustained by¬†employment and¬†infrastructure‚ÄĒor any real sense of fun. Because fun rules!

Spoiler alert: The bottom five markets are all in California. As Jonathan Smoke, our chief economist, points out,¬†those markets are affected¬†by the ‚Äúspillover‚ÄĚ effect of being in California‚ÄĒfilled with people looking for alternatives to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  1. Stockton, CA

Median price: $340,000

Unemployment: 8.8%

  1. Fresno, CA

Median price: $262,000

Unemployment: 10.5%

  1. Bakersfield, CA

Median price: $222,000

Unemployment: 10.9%

  1. Sacramento, CA

Median price: $428,000

Unemployment: 5.4%

  1. Riverside, CA

Median price: $344,000

Unemployment: 5.8%

What are your thoughts on the subject?

I read this article at: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-10-cities-for-first-time-home-buyers/?identityID=9851214&MID=2016_0415_WeeklyNL-comafter23&RID=353497822&cid=eml-2016-0415-WeeklyNL-blog_1_topcities-blogs_trends

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading ‚Äď Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ‚Äď Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

Buyer Cheat Sheet for a Seller’s Market – TAKE NOTE!

Hello Blog Readers – I jumped for joy when I read this article and thought I’d share it! ¬†Read on if you want to be an owner and not just a buyer in this Bay Area Real Estate Market!

 

Buyer Cheat Sheet for a Seller’s Market

 

In a seller’s market, home buyers need to be willing and able to act fast to snag the home they want. This spring, areas across the country are facing a limited number of homes for sale. Realtor.com¬ģ offers up a cheat sheet for surviving a seller’s market.

  • Be on call. “If you’re only looking now and then when it’s convenient, you’re probably wasting your time,” says James Malmberg, a real estate professional in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He suggests treating house hunting like job hunting. If someone calls with a lead, follow up promptly to gauge whether it could be a good fit and don’t linger.

I have to laugh – I just texted my buyers to show them a house BEFORE the open house! ¬†Waiting till the weekend doesn’t work! ¬†Get out and see homes during the week – when you¬†competition doesn’t even know about the house.

  • Bring the paperwork. To be taken seriously, buyers would be wise to get a mortgage pre-approval letter as well as a “proof of funds” form from their bank to show they have enough to cover a down payment. They’ll be able to act quicker when they do find the right house.

This is where I draw the line. ¬†The Caton Team will not show¬†property to a buyer until they are totally pre-approved. ¬†I know this might sound mean – but when you go house hunting –¬†guess what? ¬†You will find a house! ¬†And in order to compete with other offers – you need to have that loan DONE! ¬†There is not time to get approved when you find the one – we hardly have time to review disclosures and write the offer. ¬†So – if you truly want to become an owner – you need to get¬†pre approved, submit all the¬†necessary documentation and then – you are ready to buy!

  • Limit the contingencies. In a seller’s market, buyers may need to drop some of the contingencies to score the house. Sellers prefer the fewest number of hurdles to closing as possible. If your buyers come in with several contingencies ‚ÄĒ such as “if” they secure financing ‚ÄĒ the sellers are more inclined to bypass their offer and take another with less hassle. Also, “don’t waste your time lowballing a seller,” advises Sean Kelley, a real estate professional with Howard Hannah in Pittsburgh, Pa. “Always put in an aggressive offer.”

INDEED – The Caton Team will inform our buying clients as to where the market¬†could take the offer. ¬†You must put your best foot forward –¬†because you may not get a chance at a counter offer. ¬†As for¬†contingencies – each¬†home has its own story – and we approach each offer the same way. ¬†Depending on how many inspections and disclosures are provided in advance will guide each client on how to¬†tackle¬†contingencies. ¬†

Cast a wide net. Search for homes outside prime locations if faced with limited or high-priced choices. Buyers need to carefully consider what they’re willing to compromise on. “Sometimes properties sit, even in a seller’s market, because of a problem that is scaring other buyers away,” such as some renovation work that may need to be done, Malmberg says. Those “flaws,” however, might not be a big deal to your buyers. “Finding a house this way can also cut down on the amount of competition you will face,” Malmberg adds.

As I always say – buying a home is a processes of elimination – not a process of selection. ¬†So look up, look down, look side to side. ¬†Consider areas that are close to your¬†target but may be overlooked. ¬†You won’t know what you’re missing till you try.

The Caton Team is happy to sit down with anyone thinking of buying and discuss the market, how to save, how to be prepared to buy and come up with a plan that works for you!  How can the Caton Team help you? 

Thanks for reading! РSabrina

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/04/08/buyer-cheat-sheet-for-sellers-market?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BXGTFCB9Mw0oOt&om_ntype=NARWeekly

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading ‚Äď Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ‚Äď Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

When Warren Buffet Speaks – We Listen… Buffett: There is NO Housing Bubble

Hello readers!

When Warren Buffet speaks – we listen. ¬†I just had to post this article right away. ¬†And I would love to know YOUR thoughts on the Bay Area Housing Market….

 

Buffett: There is No Housing Bubble

 

As home prices continue to surge upward, many in the industry are beginning to wonder if a housing bubble is imminent, or worse, if yet another financial crisis is in the making.

Warren Buffet, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multi-national conglomerate holding company, believes that the chances of home prices collapsing are very low, according to a recent report from Fortune by Stephen Gandel.

Although now may be a good time to buy a house, it is not as good a time as it was four years ago, Buffett stated at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Fortune reported that Buffett thinks the chances of housing prices collapsing are very low.

Fortune reported:

‚ÄúI don‚Äôt see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all,‚ÄĚ said Buffett.

Buffett made remarks at the annual meeting Berkshire Hathaway,¬†which took place on Saturday in Omaha. ‚ÄúIn Omaha and other parts of the country people are not paying bubble prices for real estate,‚ÄĚ says Buffett.

Although home prices continued their upward trek all over the country, they are doing so at a much slower pace, according to data on the recent U.S. House Price Index (HPI) released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

The report showed a national 0.4 percent month-over-month increase from January to February, and a 5.6 percent annual jump between February¬†2015 and February¬†2016.¬†January’s HPI report showed a 0.5 percent increase, which was revised downward to reflect a 0.4 percent increase.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index (HPI) found that home prices rose for the 43rd consecutive month in November 2015. According to the HPI report, home prices rose 5.3 percent year-over-year in November, slightly up from the 5.1 percent increase recorded in October 2015.

‚ÄúHome prices extended their gains, supported by continued low mortgage rates, tight supplies and an improving labor market,‚ÄĚ said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. ‚ÄúSales of existing homes were up 6.5 percent in 2015 vs. 2014, and the number of homes on the market averaged about a 4.8 months‚Äô supply during the year; both numbers suggest a seller‚Äôs market.”

The topic of bubbles forming in the housing market is something that has been thrown around for quite some time. As home prices soar to new heights‚ÄĒwith no sign of decline‚ÄĒhousing bubbles appear to be popping up in many markets and may be here to stay, according to¬†Zillow’s Home Price Expectations Survey.

“Without 20/20 hindsight, it’s difficult to identify bubbles as they’re happening, but it is very clear that nationally we are not seeing a return of the conditions that caused the last national bubble,” said Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist. “Tighter lending restrictions today mean we aren’t seeing buyers get loans they realistically can’t pay back, like we did in years past. It’s significant that some experts are starting to worry about bubble conditions, but in my opinion, there’s no real danger of a severe crash like the one we all remember from the last decade.”

My two cents – talk of a¬†housing bubble is a buzz here in the San Francisco Bay Area. ¬†Though no one has a¬†crystal¬†ball – and as much as I want to tell my home buyers to hold tight – prices will come down – I cannot because I don’t see that in the forecast. ¬†

Here is what we are¬†experiencing¬†the San Francisco Bay Area – We have had a BOOM in¬†population due to job growth. ¬†Most are in the tech¬†industry – but we¬†also have a strong Bio-Tech job market. ¬†So we have a great job market – and yes I am taking into account the lay offs in Silicon Valley – but we also have very low inventory and very high demand for the past couple of years. ¬†Loans are harder to get – meaning we cannot expect a crash due to bad loans. ¬†In fact, the interest rate is¬†still low though there is talk of¬†raising it. ¬†And while interest rates are low – borrowed money goes a bit further. ¬†The¬†only sign I see is the stock market. ¬†With its drops – some of the cash buyers were counting on has¬†disappeared – for the moment. ¬†But that’s not enough to stop the housing¬†market. ¬†

I know my selling clients are figuring out ways to sell their home now.  And I see my buying clients getting discouraged with the pace of the market.  But if there is only one piece of advice I can bestow to you now is this Рif you can and want buy a home in the San Francisco Bay Area Рdo it now.  Even if there is a slow down in the market, even if prices level off, historically Рsince the dawn of time, Real Estate has always recovered and always at a higher price than before the fall.

I don’t see a crash coming. ¬†I do see a market adjustment as buyers dictate what they are willing to pay for a home. ¬†And as money gets tight and the dream of home ownership stays strong – we will see a change. ¬†But I wouldn’t hold my breath for a crash. ¬†

I read this article at: http://www.dsnews.com/news/05-02-2016/buffett-there-is-no-housing-bubble

 Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading ‚Äď Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ‚Äď Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

 

Down Payment Assistance Programs…

The California Association of Realtors has a wealth of information for buyers and sellers Рnot just us Realtors.  I thought I would pass along the Consumer Page Рfor the most important link in any buyers life РDOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS!  Yes, you read the correctly Рdown payment assistance.  Not every area has programs, and of course you must qualify.  However, I posted the online search to my Facebook page Рso please feel free to click on:

https://www.facebook.com/TheCatonTeam

And of course, when you need a Realtor – please call the Caton Team!

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important transactions a person will ever make in his or her lifetime.¬† Nothing less than a qualified, trained professional should be entrusted to assist in that process.¬† This site is dedicated to educating consumers about the intricacies of buying and selling a home, and how a REALTOR¬ģ can help:

First-Time Home Buyer? Here’s What You Should Know About Your Appraisal‚Ä®

Home ownership is the ultimate dream for many in the United States, but going through it for the first time can be a daunting process. First-time home buyers often misunderstand one of the key components of the home buying process: the appraisal. It is one of the most important tools to ensure buyers pay a fair and equitable price for the property they purchase.

To learn more, read this financial education article in the Huffinton Post, by David S. Bunton, President of the Appraisal Foundation.

 

The California Down Payment Resource Directory

The California Down Payment Resource Directory is a powerful search tool that identifies current down payment assistance programs in communities throughout California. Buyers can search by city or address for public- and private-funded assistance programs including FHA/VA, HUD, affordable fixed-rate mortgages, rehab loans, and more. Start your search for down payment assistance now!

http://www.car.org/aboutus/forconsumers/downpaymentresource/

 

Homeowner Legislative Facts‚Ä®REALTORS¬ģ don’t just help you navigate the home buying and selling process.¬† They also are tireless advocates for homeowners, buyers and sellers¬†in¬†the legislative process.¬† Please see our newly presented website, Homeowner Legislative Facts, to learn about some of the many policy issues now being considered in Washington D.C. and Sacramento, which we monitor on your behalf.

 

Residential Energy Audit Program

The California REALTOR¬ģ’S Energy Audit Program (R.E.A.P.) provides up to a $250 rebate on a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) home energy audit conducted by a certified HERS rater.¬†To qualify for the R.E.A.P., applicants must¬†purchase a home between Oct. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2014,¬†conduct a HERS home energy audit of the home before the close of escrow (as part of the Energy Efficient Mortgage) or no later than 60 days after the close of escrow, and they must use¬†a California REALTOR¬ģ in the transaction (referrals do not qualify).¬†The program applies only to¬†primary single family residences purchased in California.¬†Learn more about R.E.A.P..

 

I read this article at: http://www.car.org/aboutus/forconsumers/#

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? РThe Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

VISIT OUR INSTAGRAM PAGE: http://instagram.com/thecatonteam

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me: http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading ‚Äď Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ‚Äď Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008

Are homes affordable across California?

An interesting read – thought I would share it…

Keep Your Home California

Editor’s note: Zillow has provided a special blog for Keep Your Home California, detailing the financial challenges of owning a home in California.

By Satinder Haer

California’s real estate scene has received a lot of attention over the last few years. While prices skyrocketed in San Francisco, 10.2 percent of homeowners in Riverside are facing underwater mortgages. For many individuals, rising home prices coupled with stagnant wages in the last decade have caused concerns about the affordability of homes across California.

Check out these five markets where Zillow calculated whether a median priced home would be affordable for a family earning the median income for that city.

Aerial Southern CALos Angeles

Los Angeles boasts a median home value of $586,000 as of February 2016. A simple mortgage calculator shows that a median-priced L.A. home with a traditional 20 percent down payment and 3.5 percent mortgage rate would result in a $2,760 monthly…

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