MIXED MESSAGES!

Who will forget the week of messages we just experienced!  First the (phony) message that set off innocent Hawaiians about ballistic missiles causing panic when instructed to  to seek immediate shelter!  Then football watchers at this Sunday’s Minnesota Viking game wearing Apple Watches being sent messages by their Apple Watch that they might have a heart issue which was actually caused by the excitement (and resulting increase of blood pressure) from the miracle play that resulted in the Vikings victory over the opposing Saints.  Messages people!!!  These events were one more reminder to me that STICKING TO THE PLAN is the only thing we can ever depend on.  This summer I was managing a single family remodeling project that was in its early stages.  An agent and a painter came over to look over the house and told me that I would be lucky to get around $525,000 when the house was finished.  I disagreed.  I told them that the house would be undergoing several floor plan changes that would re-create how the house could be used, thus giving it greater value.   Eyes would roll as you can imagine.  This didn’t deter me.  I was the one with plans in hand and after s

eeing how several similar remodeling projects had performed in the marketplace my plan was grounded reasonable expectations.  The target future value I held onto was $575k.  At times the project didn’t go well.  Work was slow because of the crushing summer heat and the workers just weren’t as productive as when temperatures were cooler.  Labor costs began to exceed budget.  It severely tried my patience.  But by the time the ‘heavy lifting’  was finished, opinions changed.  Agents and vendors alike remarked that $575k would be a good asking price.  Then, a nice break from the heat helped further advance progress so that hardwood flooring and kitchen cabinets could be installed.  The tide had turned.  In the end we finished over budget, with the house taking three months to sell and earning a $595k sales price at closing.  Sometimes you’ll work a project and you’ll field options that will differ from your plan.  If you’ve done your homework, those options are unqualified and should be disregarded as nothing more than a mixed message.  Mixed messages can cause chaos and confusion because they often lack clarity and grounding in facts!  My job was to maximize the value of the house so that when I finished the house it would have a value of at least $575k, potentially more.  When we sold the house above my target value it was one more reminder that STICKING TO THE PLAN is the only thing you can ever depend on.

PS.  I thought you would appreciate the before and after pictures this house project!

Advertisements

Housing Affordability Trends

Studio Apartment

California’s passing of SB1069 (link here: http://sd10.senate.ca.gov/news/2016-09-27-gov-brown-signs-wieckowskis-accessory-dwelling-units-bill-provide-more-affordable) took the old concept of renting out one’s garage/storage space and made it legal.  Although restrictions exist, the new law is one more sign that housing affordability is just as much a concern for Californians as housing availability.  Homeowners looking to reduce the cost of home ownership have always considered whether to rent out a room or make an illegal garage conversion.  With the law being put into effect it is likely to keep the residential fixer-upper contractors busy for a while.  There are 3 BIG advantages a garage conversion has over renting out a room in your main house.  My top three are:

PRIVACY – There is nothing more odd than sharing a space with a roommate in your home, if its your home and its been years since you have non0family roommates.  The occasional run in at the bathroom or refrigerator can be as meaningless or annoying as you make it out to be, but you have to prepare for it either way.  For some that will feel odd and even find yourself asking “why am I sharing this house with this person?  Oh yeah, that’s right – Because its the only way I can pay the mortgage and have enough money left over to have a life!”  The detached garage/storage space solution eliminates the social complexity of sharing space because everyone has their own space and well defined boundaries.

SCHEDULES NEVER CONFLICT – Come and go as you please in a detached garage/storage space situation but NOT so when you rent out a room.  If you have a renter that keeps off hours, to some extent so will you.  An owner really needs to focus on lifestyle questions in the renter interview process to better understand if a roommate will functionally “work out” or result in a toxic living environment.  Additionally, schedules can change.  A change in a persons job, profession, relationships, etc. can turn a once functional lifestyle arrangement into dysfunctional arrangement if both parties are not willing to make compromises.

PAYING YOUR FAIR SHARE – A detached garage/storage space arrangement makes it easier for the renter and the owner to determine what a fair rent is because the market can be compared much more easily for a converted garage.  Renting a room is almost impossible to find a comparable rent because no two houses are the same.  Additionally some owners do not want renters using in-home laundry facilities and would rather they go to the local laundromat to help keep utility usage down.  Splitting utility billing can also be tricky because renting a room (maybe 100 square feet) is not really renting a room but also the hallway, the living room, the family room, the kitchen, etc.  By going the converted garage/storage space route an owner and renter can agree more easily on what parts of the property will be included in the lease and which ones are not.

Thanks for reading!

 

The Seller Carry-Back Solution

seller-financing

So now you have made years of payments to your mortgage and slow steady appreciation of the market has improved housing prices.  But a recent layoff has just caused a sudden job loss.  The severance being offered will only last a few short months.  A review of personal finances reveals that the house payments that the job supported will be almost impossible to carry through the transition from your outgoing job to a new one.  So you make the decision to downsize your lifestyle till you get solid footing with a new job.  However after you put the house up for sale you notice the offers are well below your asking price.  This is where selling TERMS through a Seller Carry-Back could make the difference between selling your home and not at all!  This is a real scenario:

Selling Price = $400,000

Bank Loan = $150,000

Seller’s Equity = $250,000

You up one morning to find an email from a local builder that believes the house has tons of potential.  Their plan is to add square footage and remodel the kitchen and bathrooms based on the pictures in your listing.  But the buyer thinks the price is too high.  Additionally the builder already has multiple projects in process and cannot borrow all of the funds he would need to finance the purchase and remodeling.  What can you do?  Offer TERMS.  Here is how this recent sale took place.  A seller made an offer to the builder buyer, so that, if the builder would pay the $400,000 asking price, the seller would offer a promissory note of $250,000 with no interest and no payments for the amount of the Seller’s Equity till the builder completed the remodel and sold the house.  The builder would assume the payments on the sellers existing $150,000 Bank Loan.  The builder took the deal and opened escrow.  With the house payments being assumed by the builder, the seller could breathe a sigh of relief.  The whole project would last six months, and resulted in the creation of a newly remodeled home that sold for over $730,000!  The seller closed with the builder for the $400,000.   The builder paid back the $250,000 promissory note (the house equity) and the $150,000 Bank loan when he sold the house to a couple that was looking for a new home in that neighborhood.   By selling the house with TERMS the seller created several opportunities:

  1. The seller was able to sell the house for $400,000.
  2. The buyer builder did not have to qualify or apply for a $400,000 loan to buy the house.
  3. The builder assumed the monthly payments on the Bank Loan.
  4. The builder was obligated to a “Promissory Note” for the seller’s equity ($250,000) with No interest and No payments till he finished and sold the house.
  5. The builder only had to obtain a construction loan for  $125,000 to remodel the house to improve the property.  This reduced the builders out of pocket borrowing costs and reduced the amount of leverage he would need to re-sell the house.
  6. The buyer builder made a profit in the tens of thousands of dollars by only borrowing $125,000 using a seller-financing and a seller carry-back strategy, instead of borrowing the entire $525,000 to achieve the same sales price of $730,000!

This deal is an example of a complete WIN-WIN for both buyer and seller and solved the problem for each party involved!

Bathroom Remodeling Tips

bathroom

I thought this was a great read.  Bathrooms show a potential buyer/tenant how serious a seller/landlord is about quality.  My favorite remodeling projects include enough resources for kitchens and bathrooms and can make the difference between a house and a home.  Read here—>http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/11/14/home-trends-to-watch-the-free-standing-tub/#sf43720767

Bright Kitchens are In!

Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Veneer Designs.

I stumbled on this kitchen from Veneer Designs – it’s this fabulous home in Playa Vista that is such a classic boho Southern California style. The best part of this kitchen is the antique rug. It adds such a bright spot to this bright white kitchen.  Read on —>

Bright Kitchen

(Maybe)The Biggest Real Estate Bubble?

bubble

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin made his fortune in the country’s real estate market — and now he’s warning that it’s spiraling out of control.

It’s the “biggest bubble in history,” he told CNNMoney in an exclusive interview Wednesday.    Bubble is a sensitive word in China after the dramatic rise and spectacular crash in the country’s stock market last year, which wiped out the savings of millions of small investors who thought Beijing wouldn’t allow the market to drop.   After struggling to contain the fallout from the stock market debacle, China’s leaders could face a similar headache in the real estate sector.  READ MORE HERE—>

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/28/investing/china-wang-jianlin-real-estate-bubble/index.html?sr=twCNN092916china-wang-jianlin-real-estate-bubble0335AMVODtopPhoto&linkId=29325063

Lower Rents Ahead?

Renters may soon get some relief. In the third quarter, apartment rents in some of the most expensive markets in the U.S. showed a decline. This marks a notable turn from the six-year boom streak occurring in the rental market, according to a new report released by MPF Research, an apartment tracker firm. MPF says a flood of new units hitting the market is one main reason behind the slowing of rents in some high-priced markets.  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/10/06/rental-market-shows-signs-cooling#sf38067327