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.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Market Update

July 27th, 2017
     We’re now well into the summer of 2017, and it has certainly been an interesting seven months so far. As a real estate agent, one of my jobs is to analyze trends in the market, and observe how the number of homes on the market, list/sale prices, days on the market until sale, etc. change as the year progresses. The interesting part is that, this year, there has been very little variation in the market in general. Specific numbers may change, and there are some variations in activity, but all-in-all, this year has been one of remarkable consistency. In fact, when people ask me about the market, I’m beginning to feel like the proverbial broken record. Here now is my Silicon Valley real estate market update as of late July, 2017.

Market Update: July 2017

July 2017 Market Update

      Spring and Summertime are generally the peak of real estate activity, and there is no denying that the market is hot. But frankly, it’s been hot all year so far, and there’s no end in sight. In general, listings sell quickly and for high prices. I personally have sold several homes in the last few months that have gone for record high prices in their neighborhood. And though I believe my skills as a real estate agent have certainly helped, the fact remains that this is an intensely strong seller’s market. In fact, I would go so far to say that at this point, looking at annual trends is not nearly enough to predict future market fluctuations. We are currently in an unprecedented situation, and though we can make some educated guesses as to where things end up, the market is headed into uncharted territory.
     What does this mean for you? Well, basically what it has meant all year: if you are considering selling your home, now is a good a time as there has ever been. The amount of homes on the market continues its pattern of historic lows, with new listings going into contract incredibly quickly. Buyers have to be willing to go above and beyond in this market to purchase a home. Statistics are showing that they are. With this level of disparity between supply and demand, and my abilities as an expert Realtor and marketer, your home could very well fetch a price you wouldn’t have dreamed of even a year ago. I’m always available as a resource to show you how I can help you achieve this.
     Buyers might be similarly advised to move quickly, depending on their needs and desired price point. If you’re a potential first-time home buyer, it’s worth noting that traditional “starter homes” as we know them seem to be going extinct in the Bay Area. For an example of what I mean, look at the results of this study. Sales of homes over a million dollars have been climbing, as sales of homes in lower price ranges has diminished. This isn’t a result of lack of demand. The cheaper homes are simply ceasing to exist as the availability of homes of any sort dwindles. Again, this is an unprecedented situation, and if you’re thinking about buying, feel free to consult me to determine what the best course of action would be for you. The longer you delay, the higher the prices may go, with no end to the increases in sight. There are still some great deals out there, but the clock is ticking.
     That’s my real estate market snapshot at the end of July. We’re in the middle of  a historic period, for better or worse! Though inventory is extraordinarily tight, opportunities abound for both buyers and sellers if you know what you’re looking for. As always, I am here to help you find these opportunities and make them work to your benefit.

Listing Spotlight: Two Brand New Listings

July 20th, 2017

Today’s post is a two-for-one, as I have the pleasure of unveiling to you my pair of brand new listings! First, please allow me to proudly present to you…

2689 Glenbriar Drive

This 5 bed/3 bath/2,719 square foot estate is absolutely one-of-a-kind, meticulously remodeled to represent the pinnacle of elegance. Some of the incredible upgrades include white oak hardwood floors throughout, a handsome wrought iron grand staircase, new Milgard windows and doors, LED recessed lighting and a Traverstone mantel fireplace.

The gorgeous gourmet kitchen comes complete with top-of-the-line appliances, including a Thermador six burner gas stove, designer Vent-a-Hood, Thermador convection microwave and oven, Taj Mahal Quartzite and custom mosaic by Da Vinci Marble.

Downstairs, a full guest suite leads to a lush garden with fruit trees, rose bushes and plenty of space for entering family and friends. With great school and an incredible location, this home is truly special. For more information, please visit the property’s website HERE.


My second new listing is at The Ranch at Silver Creek in San Jose. Let’s take a look at…

 1398 Thornbury Lane

This 4 bed/3.5 bath/2,905 square foot home is a unique builder’s model with extensive upgrades using only the finest, most luxurious materials, such a hand-cut travertine flooring, crown molding and custom window coverings and shutters with designer glass inserts.

Other features include a wine cellar with wrought iron door, designer chandelier and matching sconces in the formal dining room. The kitchen is a model of elegance, with granite countertops, a travertine decorative tuscan mosaic backsplash, a kitchen island with wine fridge, a cabinet paneled Sub-Zero refrigerator and spacious butler’s pantry.

The backyard is incredible as well, an amazingly large space with kitchen island with a built-in fridge, fish pond with  waterfall, courtyard, built-in barbecue, flagstone patios, and lovely fruit trees. This one has it all!

For a closer look at 1398 Thornbury, please visit the listing’s website HERE.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in either (or both!) of these properties and would like any more info, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule a private showing.

Listing Spotlight: 190 Bersano Lane

July 6th, 2017

Today I’d like to take a look at my latest listing, which is a true stunner in Los Gatos, CA. Located at 190 Bersano Lane, this home is quite literally one-of-a-kind!

Bersano Front

When this home was built in 2007, its location was set aside by the builder at a $400,000 premium for the owner, who wanted a unique abode. The defining trait of the vacation-like beauty: breathtaking unobstructed 180 degree views!

Bersano 1

These views are absolutely gorgeous, encompassing Vasona Lake County Park, the hills beyond and even downtown San Jose. There’s simply nothing else quite like it, and seeing it in person is an awe-inspiring experience.

The home itself is equally beautiful, as no expense was spared in optimizing the home with a full suite of elegant touches. A flowing, open floorplan lends the home a comfortable, airy feel, and three French doors leading into the backyard allow for a true indoor/outdoor experience: the epitome of California living!

Bersano 2

The upgrades within are almost too numerous to mention: hand-carved hardwood floors and rare Botticino marble hand-crafted floor tiles with European tumbled marble floor insert mosaics are among the opulent touches. The gourmet kitchen comes complete with mahogany cabinetry, a six burner stainless steel Wolf stove, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Italian Mascarello granite kitchen countertops, oversized center island, and butler’s pantry.

Bersano 3

The fabulous master suite is a private retreat, with a spa-like master bath, walk-in closet and large balcony with spectacular views!

Bersano 4

In addition to its spacious bedrooms, the home includes a handsome study with a built-in bookshelf.

Bersano 5

Other features include handmade European tiles in the half bathroom, two Spanish tile patios with tile inserts and more! Finally, in addition to the incredible views, the outside area boasts fruit trees, roses and a fire pit for nighttime stargazing. It’s a veritable paradise that feels like home from the instant you step onto the property.

Bersano 6

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 190 Bersano Lane! 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 in the News: June 2017

June 21st, 2017

It’s June 21st, the first day of summer, and we’re nearly halfway through 2017. It seems like only yesterday we were popping champagne on New Year’s Eve…now we’re facing scorching temperatures and short nights. What better time than now to take a broad look at the state of real estate? Here are some great articles that can help you get up to speed with all the latest developments!

June News 1

Home sales rise in May, but buyers see sharply rising prices

First, let’s take a look at the current real estate market. As this article indicates, leading into June it continues to be a seller’s market. In fact, the consistently low inventory and ever-rising prices of homes have proven to be sources of frustration for many buyers. Far fewer homes are on the market than this time last year, and those that do come on tend to sell extremely quickly. Essentially, if you’re looking to buy a home, you’re going to need a few things: money, patience, and an excellent Realtor!

On the other hand, if you’re selling, things couldn’t be better. Demand is so high and supply is so low that any seller is likely to have little trouble selling their home (as long as they follow their real estate agent’s advice!). The situation does certainly require some analysis though, as this sort of market does not last forever. Anyone on the fence about selling absolutely must give serious consideration to moving forward now while things remain so favorable.

What’s the best air conditioner for you?

Home improvement and remodeling projects are an important part of real estate. One element that often gets neglected, however, is your home’s climate control. It may not be as flashy as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances or crown molding, but in the summer heat, effective air conditioning greatly increases your home’s livability and your own quality of life. This article gives a good rundown of what sort of a/c setups work best for different people and styles of homes.

Boomers Look To Real Estate To Afford Retirement

As I mentioned above, it can be hard out there for a buyer right now, but this article shows the importance of keeping a long-term view of things. It’s never too early to start planning for the future, and as the boomers profiled in the article above have proven, there are few better investments for your long-term financial well-being than real estate. Real estate is not only an investment with great gains over the years, but is also a tangible resource you can physically get involved with. It will forever remain an excellent addition to people’s financial portfolios.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into June’s real estate news! As always, I am happily available as a resource. If you have any questions or would like more specific advice about your own personal real estate situation, please don’t hesitate to ask me!