Real Estate News: Holiday Edition

December 6th, 2017

The holiday season is upon us, and there’s magic in the air. There’s also quite a bit of real estate news! Here’s a look at some of the biggest recent stories.

HOW THE PROPOSED NEW TAX PLAN COULD AFFECT HOMEOWNERS

This might be the most important news in Bay Area real estate right now. A new tax plan is being proposed right now that, if implemented, could have far-reaching economic effects. The article lays out some of the potential effects on homeowners…the changes in the capital gains tax are particularly significant. I’m following all developments with this tax plan very closely, and I would advise all homeowners to do the same.

TIPS ON SAVING FOR A HOME DOWN PAYMENT

Purchasing a home in the Bay Area is an imposing task, especially for first-time homebuyers. It is not impossible, though, and with proper planning one of the most difficult elements-saving for a down payment-can be a good deal easier. Here are some actions people can take to make their home ownership dreams come true!

2018 HOME SUPPLY FORECAST

Some interesting observations here about projected home sales in 2018. In most of the country, relief for the current low inventory should be on the way…but the Bay Area may be the exception. Experts expect home supplies to remain low, and thus, prices to remain high. And I mean HIGH…the median sale price for a home in Santa Clara County just hit a new record high.

DECORATING TIPS FOR SELLING A HOME DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Holiday Scene

On the lighter side, here are some great tips for those of you looking to sell your home during the holiday season. Not only is it a great time to go on the market due to lower competition for the scarcity of other listings, but festive decor can give your home the extra edge it needs to look cozy and inviting to potential buyers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief glimpse at some of the most notable real estate news stories on this last day of November. As always, I am available by phone and email to answer any questions you may have, or help you with your home buying, selling and staging needs. Happy holidays!

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 1137 MOUNTAIN QUAIL CIRCLE

November 22nd, 2017

Today, I’d like to take a look at my latest listing, on Mountain Quail Circle in San Jose’s Almaden Valley area. Allow me to present to you:

1137 MOUNTAIN QUAIL CIRCLE, SAN JOSE 95120

Mountain Quail 1

Located in the Glencrest Patios Almaden development, this 2 bed/2 bath/1,612 square foot home is just lovely. A highly desirable single-story Shapell home, you’ll love the amazing, Kinkade-like curb appeal. Inside, its open, flowing floor plan, huge family/living room with a built-in bar and fireplace and abundant natural light lend it a calm, relaxing feel.

Mountain Quail 2

French double doors lead to the kitchen, which features a gas stove, tiled counters, new linoleum flooring, a bright bay window and a breakfast room area.

Mountain Quail 3

The full master bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet, private patio and large master bathroom with a brass shower enclosure, his and her sinks and a soak-in tub! The second bedroom has a private patio/atrium and is near a second large bathroom.

Mountain Quail 4

Outside, the spacious backyard is a private retreat with a dining patio, mature trees, low maintenance vegetation and ample room for parties or quiet recreation.

Mountain Quail 5

In addition, the location is absolutely ideal. Families will benefit from the top-ranked local Almaden schools, and anyone will enjoy the easy access to great shopping and dining options. Commuting is a breeze as well, with convenient freeway access. With such an array of features, this home is a true 10+! In fact, the home proved so popular that, within a few days of hitting the market, it was already in contract! This simply provides more proof that, in this Bay Area real estate market, the right home at the right price will sell incredibly quickly. I am so happy for both the Sellers and the new future owners!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 1137 Mountain Quail Circle! If you would like to learn more about this property, please visit the listing’s website HERE. To find out how I can sell YOUR home for similarly excellent results, contact me today. I’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

Real Estate Heading Into the Holidays

November 8th, 2017

Last fall, I did a blog post for other Realtors, explaining how to capitalize on the real estate market shifts that tend to accompany the last couple months of each year. The fact is, this is a situation that is not only beneficial to real estate agents, but to informed Buyers and Sellers as well. Allow me to explain. Looking at this year as whole, there have generally been very few homes on the market at any given time. Even summertime, when inventory typically hits its yearly peak, brought a relatively paltry number of listings on the market. As such, the listings that have been on the market have been selling for previously unheard-of prices. If you’re a prospective home buyer, there’s a good chance this has proven to be a frustrating year.

Holidays

So now we’re heading into the holidays, the time of year when real estate activity tends to bottom out. School is well underway, the weather is cooling down and rain is moving in. Especially once we pass the Thanksgiving threshold, real estate will be the furthest thing from many people’s minds. There’s a reason real estate offices tend to get very quiet in December.

What Does This Mean for Me?

The thing is, this situation presents a unique opportunity. That is to say, the limited market activity can benefit wise buyers and sellers alike. Look at it like this: we’re at the beginning of what is most likely, in a year with far fewer homes for sale than usual, the time of year in which the fewest homes yet will be available. So if you’re looking to sell, you could have your home be one of these few gems on the market, and get a much higher share of attention than you might at other times as a result. This increased attention, if leveraged correctly by your real estate agent, can result in a substantially higher sale price for your home.

Don’t be fooled, though: the holiday market can benefit buyers as well. You will note that I mentioned leveraging a home for sale correctly. This is because, historically, there just aren’t that many buyers around during the holidays. With the numerous events, responsibilities and distractions the end of the year brings, people often lack the time or energy to shop for homes. As such, as a Buyer, you’ll suddenly find yourself with less competition. If you’re vigilant, aggressive and act on the advice of your agent, you might just be able to ring in the new year with a new home as well.

Naturally, everyone’s situation is different, so please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding home buying or selling, during the holidays or the whole year ’round. I’m always happy to help!

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 5901 MOUNTAIN MEADOW COURT

October 25th, 2017

This week we’re going to take a look at my new listing, a lovely home in San Jose’s red-hot Evergreen area. 5901 Mountain Meadow Court, San Jose, CA 95135 is another gorgeous example of the wonderful homes in the area.

Mountain Meadow 1

5901 Mountain Meadow Court

Located in on a safe, private cul-de-sac, this 4 bed/2.5 bath/2,540 square foot Single Family Residence epitomizes beauty with incredible upgrades and breathtaking views. A single-story home, it boasts a breezy open floor plan, creating a lovely, flowing environment. The list of upgrades within is extensive, including gleaming hardwood floors throughout, a surround sound system, a built-in bar area with a sink and storage and much, much more!

Mountain Meadow 2

Mealtime is always a joy in the gourmet kitchen, featuring a stainless steel refrigerator, LED lighting, under-cabinetry lighting, corian counter tops and a convenient center island with gas stove.

Mountain Meadow 3

The master bedroom is a private retreat, complete with a newly remodeled master bathroom with an elegant free standing Neptune bathtub, and a walk-in closet.

Mountain Meadow 4

This park-like estate lies on a massive lot (over an acre!) with a serene, amazingly large backyard with magnificent oak trees. Relax and enjoy the three large patios and new lawn. There’s even sufficient space to plant a vineyard or fruit trees! A large driveway and three-car garage provide plenty of room for parking and storage.

Mountain Meadow 5

On top of all this, the location couldn’t be better. The views from nearly any point on the property are exceptional, providing sweeping vistas. It also lies within the district of top-ranked schools: Silver Oak Elementary, Chaboya Middle and Evergreen High School. You must see the property for yourself…and you can, at one of the open houses this weekend! From 1-4:00 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, Mountain Meadow Court will be open for your viewing pleasure. Come by and take in its striking elegance!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 5901 Mountain Meadow Court! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the property and would like any more info, please visit the listing’s website HERE, or contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Real Estate News: Halloween Edition

October 19th, 2017

Witches and skeletons have been popping up in store windows, and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air. It must be Halloween season! In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, here’s a roundup of some real estate news with a spooky twist. Enjoy!

For Sale by Owner Horror Stories

Halloween 1

Though selling your home by yourself can seem a tantalizing prospect, the results can often prove scarier than even the most fearsome ghosts and goblins. Here are some horror stories from sellers that saw their worst FSBO nightmares come to life. Real estate sales are not for the faint of heart! But not to worry…an experienced agent (like myself) is merely a phone call or email away, to save you from suffering through one of these chilling tales!

California Real Estate Forecast for 2018

Spooked the thought of buying a home amidst the current high real estate prices in California? A recent housing forecast predicts that buyers who take the plunge are in for a treat next year. It’s no trick…home prices are expected to continue to rise in 2018! If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a starter home or moving to one that better fits your lifestyle, now is as good a time to buy as any. As a bonus: the incoming distractions of the holiday season often cause potential buyers to cease their home search until the new year. Take advantage of this by continuing to browse for your perfect home through the fall and winter! You could scare up an incredible deal.

The Amazing Halloween Pumpkin House

Halloween 2

Want to see the ultimate in Halloween decor? Check out the astonishing “Pumpkin House” in Kenova, West Virginia! The hundreds of grinning jack-o’-lanterns outside serve as the ultimate inspiration for some DIY decorations!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief glimpse at some of October’s most notable real estate news stories. As always, I am available by phone and email to answer any questions you may have, or help you with your home buying, selling and staging needs. Have a happy Halloween!

Mortgage-Free!…Now What?

October 5th, 2017

Here’s an interesting fact: according to the latest census stats, 29% of homeowners in California are living mortgage-free. That’s right, more than a quarter of all owner-occupied residences are free and clear, unencumbered by those pesky monthly mortgage payments. This is a pretty surprising statistic, given the frequently gloomy news about housing affordability in the Bay Area.

Mortgage Free

So what does this all mean?

Well, it means that for a lot of homeowners out there, they have some decisions to make. It’s important to weigh those options, as being a free-and-clear homeowner provides numerous opportunities.

For many people, it almost certainly was not easy to get into this position…home loans usually take decades to pay off, and there has been some incredible upheaval in the lending sector in the meantime. Weathering this storm has to feel incredibly rewarding, especially given the skyrocketing values of homes in the part few years. For others, the solution to free-and-clear ownership was simple: paying all-cash for the home from the start. A simple and elegant solution, to be sure, but one available only to a very limited number of buyers.

However they may have arrived there, being mortgage-free is certainly a relief for any buyer. It also means that they own outright a substantial form of wealth in the form of their home. The question is, what next? They can of course choose to remain in their home for as long as they like. Retaining their old property tax rate is a definite plus, the ability to save money each month due to the lack of a mortgage is certainly appealing, and besides, everyone needs a roof over their head, right? Once you’re living mortgage-free, why move at all?

However, the sheer value of a home means that ownership opens up a plethora of options for those thinking of maximizing their investment. If you’re comfortable with taking on a new loan, selling your home and not having to pay back a lender generates a huge amount of cash that can make purchasing the home of your dreams an attainable goal. For those looking to downsize, selling a free-and-clear home presents a tantalizing option: the possibility of buying a smaller home, or a home in another area, with all cash up front, and retaining the balance as money in the bank. In some situations, one could even turn their mortgage-free home into two homes: one a dwelling and one an investment property! Savvy buyers can transform an already fruitful investment into an even more profitable one.

Of course, these are not easy decisions to make. As with any real estate transaction, one must consider numerous complexities and calculations before making a decision. As a real estate professional, I am here to answer any questions you may have about this, and help you formulate a plan. I’ll be happy to consult with you to determine the best course of action for you, and how you can maximize your investment. You’ve worked hard to eliminate those mortgage payments…now is your chance to make that money work for you!

Of course, not everyone owns their home mortgage-free (at least, not yet…the percentage of free-and-clear homes has been going up every year). But even if you’re not quite there yet, it is a worthy goal to strive for. Finally reaching the goal of paying off your mortgage feels great…and it may be just the beginning of your real estate adventure!

Now Offering One-On-One Sessions!

September 21st, 2017

As you’re likely aware, the Bay Area real estate market has been in a unique state lately, to say the least. With the historically low inventory of homes available for sale and the all-time high record prices being set (which I have personally experienced with some of my listings), it can seem overwhelming. But never fear! I am more than happy to help you sort everything out and determine the best course of action for you.

Based on feedback from my latest experiences, I would like to announce that I am offering one-on-one real estate strategy sessions for those interested. Through these, I hope to simplify the home buying and selling process, and help people stay informed on current trends.

For example, the rising cost of housing (and of course, the rising values of homes for sale) often leads to situations in which buyers have to sell their home while simultaneously purchasing another. This can seem like quite an intimidating process! In our session, I will go over the benefits and drawbacks of this situation, and break down how, working together, we can simply and efficiently move you seamlessly into a new home while selling your old one.

Another common concern is whether one should sell their current home or rent it out…which carries the most economic benefit? I’ll be happy to sit with you and analyze your own unique situation, helping you determine what the best course of action is to maximize your personal profits. I will break down these complex scenarios into clear and simple terms, to guide your way forward.

That’s just the the tip of the iceberg in terms of  the potential real estate topics we can explore. Whatever you need to know to operate most effectively in this market, we will go over. If you or anyone you know lives in the Silicon Valley area and is interested in learning more and booking your own individual one-on-one customized sessions with me, please email me at ejohal@kw.com.

In addition, please don’t forget about the referral program offer I mentioned a couple weeks ago. Just as a refresher, I am pleased to offer a $100 Amazon gift card to anyone who refers a client to me! They’ll be in great hands, and I will be more than happy to provide you with a token of my appreciation…it’s a win-win! If you’re interested in taking advantage of this offer, please contact me for more information.

Thanks everyone! I hope to be hearing from you soon to book a one-on-one session!

Starting Over

September 7th, 2017

Real estate is a funny business, one that by its very nature is ever-changing. And I don’t just mean the industry itself; I am also referring to each individual agent’s business. For example, I have had an excellent 2017 by nearly any measure. I have listed a number of great homes, many of which have sold for record high prices in their neighborhood. So why do I feel unemployed right now? Why does it feel like I’m starting over?

For the first time in…I don’t know how long, I don’t have any listings in the pipeline. My inventory is cleared out. This is simultaneously a tremendous relief and extremely nerve-wracking. Selling homes is a strenuous process, after all, and it’s nice to pause and reflect on several jobs well done. But there’s that pesky lingering thought of where the next paycheck will come from that threatens to ruin everything.

This is not at all an unusual occurrence; indeed, I would go so far as to say this is the situation in which a real estate agent’s true ability is tested. Though it would be a stretch to say that anyone could sell a home effectively, the fact is that I work in the Bay Area. This area, quite frankly, does a lot of the selling for you. People want to live here, arguably more than any other place in America. That goes a long way when it comes to selling a home.

No, this is the time when an agent’s ability to sell themself is put to the test. This is a multifaceted process that requires dedication, innovation and plenty of effort. There is no one correct way to do this, but there are plenty of incorrect ways. Fortunately, as a seasoned agent, I have developed my own individualized marketing plan. In some ways, the lack of listings is even a blessing, as it allows me more time to expand this plan’s scope and build my client base. And, most significantly, it gives me more time to work on the most important part of real estate: my relationships with my clients, family and friends. It is all these wonderful people that prevent a lull between listings from actually signifying “starting over.” An established base of satisfied clients is the surest way to keep my real estate business moving forward, no matter what.

Referrals like these form one of the pillars of my business, and I am always thrilled to help out aspiring home buyers and sellers. And speaking of appreciation, I’d like to take a moment to express how truly grateful I am for the referrals I get from all of you. As a token of my appreciation, I am pleased to offer a $100 Amazon gift card to anyone who refers a client to me! If you’re interested in taking advantage of this offer, please email me at ejohal@kw.com for more information.

Starting Over 1

While speaking about this topic, I would be remiss to not mention my Zillow page here. If I have ever helped you in any way related to your real estate goals, please consider taking a moment and leaving me a positive review. In this day and age, these reviews are hugely important for any agent looking to grow their business, and I always appreciate them immensely.

Well, that’s about it for today. Thanks for taking the time to read about this interesting period in the real estate business cycle. I’m off to pound the pavement, ramp up my marketing and go hard as the fall settles in around us. Being “unemployed” is hard work!

Listing Spotlight: 88 Park Oxford Place

August 24th, 2017

Summer may be winding down, but the Bay Area real estate market remains as hot as ever. Today, let’s take a look at a great example of that in my latest listing. This home is located in the Blossom Valley area of San Jose, CA. Please join me for a brief tour of…

88 Park Oxford Place, San Jose 95136

88 Park Oxford 1

Located in a tranquil neighborhood, this 5 bed/3 bath/2,563 square foot home presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a model with the neighborhood’s most popular, rear open floor plan home. It has a fresh coat of paint and is newly remodeled throughout, with a host of impressive touches: hardwood flooring,  dual-pane windows, beautiful lighting fixtures, marble tiles and more! The floor plan is so desirable because of its flowing feel, combined with an abundance of soothing natural light. The moment you walk in the door, you distinctly notice that it feels like home.

88 Park Oxford 2

The lovely gourmet kitchen comes complete with granite countertops, a large bay garden window, breakfast bar, pantry and an open view of the large dining and a family rooms.

88 Park Oxford 3

The home is spacious and versatile, suitable for a variety of needs and configurations. A downstair guest suite and a large upstair master bedroom-plus three more upstair bedrooms-provide all the space you need for family and long-term guests!

88 Park Oxford 4

Outside, the beautiful backyard features a patio, mature trees and plenty of space for a play structure or Jacuzzi. It’s the ideal place for quiet relaxation or a barbecue with friends.

88 Park Oxford 5

The home’s location is sensational as well. This quiet cul-de-sac is conveniently situated within walking distance of grocery stores, public transportation, a phenomenal elementary school, tennis courts, a playground at Hayes Mansion Park, the library and more! And its close proximity to Highways 101, 87 and 85 makes commuting a breeze. All in all, the home is not to be missed!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 88 Park Oxford Place! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the property and would like any more info, please visit the listing’s website HERE, or contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Great San Jose Tech Expansion

August 9th, 2017

If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you’ll know that real estate news lately has been pretty one note. Basically, the predominant news story, day in and day out, is that Bay Area real estate is in the middle of a historic seller’s market. It’s been this way for a while now, and can give one the impression that not much is happening out there. On the contrary! One of the biggest real estate stories in years in currently unfolding in San Jose, related to developments in the tech industry.

The Great San Jose Tech Expansion

Tech 1

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/08/how-big-can-google-get-its-aggressive-push-for-elbow-room-in-the-bay-area/

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/19/adobe-leases-downtown-san-jose-offices-amid-expansion-quest/

The two articles above are related, and concern a massive ongoing event in Silicon Valley: the looming expansion of some tech giants in San Jose. With Adobe’s recent lease of a mass of office space in the area, they’re making a serious statement about new growth, new jobs, and all the infrastructure demands that come with that. And Google’s “game-changing transit village” will be occupied by people numbering in the five figures. Make no mistake, these are massive developments.

The commercial real estate implications of this are staggering, and Google’s acquisition of commercial property in particular has been hugely impactful already. But the effects these enterprises will have on residential real estate should not be ignored. For one thing, the employees occupying these new facilities will need a place to live. And as any Bay Area resident will tell you, with traffic the way it is, the closer your home is to work, the better. As such, a whole new swell of demand for homes near these areas is going to raise prices. Anyone living in the area (or desiring to) would do well to make note of that. Downtown San Jose is on the move, and property values are likely to skyrocket as these projects near completion.

This development is really a microcosm of the Bay Area as a whole, as ever-growing tech companies gobble up more land. We certainly have some precedent for the predicted effects of this expansion. The scale and location of this one, however, may mark one of the biggest shifts yet in property values. Silicon Valley continues to grow and develop, and home prices keep setting record highs. It will be truly fascinating to see where everything ends up.