Have a Question? Ask Us. Need Real Estate Help? Contact Us.


Your question has been submitted and will be answered shortly.

What's Critical About the Next 90 Days in Real Estate? [VIDEO]



 Considering Selling?
Click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation
 

As we enter the fall and winter months, the next 90 days are crucial if you are looking to buy or sell real estate in Silicon Valley. Here's why:

Buyers

  • Inventory has remained steady, which is unusual for this time of year. Sellers have been motivated by a recent run-up in prices, so we have higher than normal inventory heading into the fall and winter months.
  • Price appreciation is slowing down. It's still high and continues to rise, but the market as a whole is slowing down a bit.
  • Seasonal buyers are pulling out of the market. This means there is significantly less competition vying for great homes.
Sellers

  • Prices are at all-time highs. We just recently surpassed the all-time highs for Silicon Valley we saw in 2005.
  • It's still a seller's market. Even though many buyers have pulled out of the market, inventory is still between one and two months. A seller's market is anything under 6 months, so sellers clearly have an advantage right now.
  • Interest rates are still low. It's looking like rates will rise sometime in 2015. There's a great opportunity right now to sell your home at top market value and lock in a low interest rate on a new home.
There's no telling what will happen when rates rise next year. That's why the next 90 days are crucial for Silicon Valley real estate. If you are interested in taking advantage of our current conditions or have any questions about the market, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'll be right here, ready to help you create a better life through real estate!

Has the Real Estate Market Peaked?



 Considering Selling?
Click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation
 



Market Update for Los Gatos, Willow Glen and Saratoga Areas


Many people here in Silicon Valley are asking if the real estate market has peaked. If you know anyone who has sold their home recently, they are probably thrilled with their sale price; on the other hand, people who recently bought a home probably feel relieved just to get their foot in the door. But to truly understand if the market has hit a peak, we need to understand what pre-peak conditions are like, so we can determine where prices are heading going forward. 

Typically, two things happen when any asset reaches its peak: a significant run-up in price and a simultaneous decrease in the volume of units sold. For example, if Apple's stock price rises at a steady pace over a long period of time, buyers will begin to lose interest in the stock. When the price continues to rise but the number of shares start falling, the stock price will peak.

So, what are we seeing in real estate? A few things:
  • Significant increase in price. Year-over-year, prices have jumped 13% to 17%, depending on the neighborhood.
  • Decrease in the number of sales. Home sales have fallen 24% compared to this time last year. 
  • Increase in price reductions. This year there has been a 90% increase in the number of homes that come on the market and later reduce the price to effect a sale. 

Have prices peaked? The data seems to support that conclusion. We're still seeing multiple offers for homes that are priced well in some of the best neighborhoods, but not as many as we've seen in the recent past. Again, we are also seeing  more cases of homes coming on the market, receiving no offers, and having to reduce the price - which indicates prices are trending downward. 

What does all of this mean for you? If you are a seller, now is probably the best time to shoot for a high market price, as we may see prices drop significantly in the future. If you are a buyer, you may be able to get a great price on a home because many sellers are pricing their property more competitively.

If you have any questions about conditions in your neighborhood, or are interested in real estate in Silicon Valley areas such as Los Gatos, Willow Glen or Saratoga, reach out to us. We're ready to help you create a better life through real estate.

What Zillow Isn't Telling You Could Cost You




As one of the top real estate websites in the country, Zillow plays an important role in our industry. On the one hand, it's a good source for Los Gatos real estate trends. On the other hand, it isn't so good at providing accurate value estimates or up-to-date information on homes for sale. 

Why is Zillow not as accurate as people expect?

For starters, Zillow gathers some data from tax records and some data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). While the MLS is the true, accurate market for real estate data, tax records are not a reliable source for home evaluations. For instance, sales that occur off market, such as inter-family transfers, cause property to sell for less than full market value.This skews the data enough to make the Zestimate nothing more than a broad estimate. 

If you're trying to sell your home in Los Gatos, Willow Glen or Saratoga, Zillow isn't going to be much help getting an accurate value estimate. Zillow's algorithm only accounts for things like bedroom and bathroom count and the square footage of the property in relation to the particular neighborhood's market values. If you've made gorgeous improvements to your home - marble counter tops, new cabinets, etc. - they won't be factored into the Zestimate. This could cause your home to be undervalued by as much as 10-15%. 

If you are looking to buy a home, you need to know that Zillow's data is typically delayed anywhere from 24-72 hours. At best, Zillow is a convenient starting point. Once you have your feet on the street shopping for a home, it's time to hire a local expert. We're here to help with real-time market information and listings.

As always, give us a call if you are looking to buy or sell a home in Los Gatos, Willow Glen or Saratoga, or anywhere in the Silicon Valley area. We would be happy to provide you with the most updated and accurate information.

San Jose Mercury News Interviews Brett Jennings on Bay Area Housing Market

Brett Jennings Interviewed by San Jose Mercury News


Pete Carey recently interviewed me regarding the affordability of homes in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. 

Here's the quote featured in the article:

"I believe we are probably hitting affordability limits," said Brett Jennings of Keller Williams in Los Gatos. He said his typical buyers are a husband and wife in tech, making a combined $240,000 a year, who still can't afford a basic home in some parts of the valley.

"When the median home price is no longer supported by the median income, we're near top," he said.


If you're looking to buy a home in Los Gatos, Willow Glen, Saratoga or anywhere in Silicon Valley, it's important to work with an agent that knows how to locate off-market properties and negotiate the best possible price on your new home.


Click here to access off-market properties for sale. Currently features over 100 properties not available on the MLS, including builders, developers, investors and private parties who are open to offers. 

Contact us today to start your home search, we'd love to help.

How to Finance Major Home Improvement Projects



Trouble finding the perfect home?
Click here for off market properties list


How to Finance Major Home Improvement Projects

In our last blog we spoke about the five most valuable home improvement projects that you can do on your home (see below). We realize that some of these projects can get pricey, and because of that we're going to provide you with ways in which you can fund them.

Most of the repairs that we mentioned in the last video would cost $50,000 or less, and are all common fix-ups that you would do prior to putting your home on the market. If you do plan to sell your home after making these repairs, my team does offer an in-house financing plan. These costs can be carried through the close of Escrow so they don't have to come directly out of your pocket.
Other options for funding projects (less than $50K) would be to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). This is basically a second mortgage that goes behind your first mortgage and allows you to draw money for your project.

For home repairs that are a little more extensive ($50K-$250K), such as when someone wants to mold a property into their dream home, you will have a few different financing options. You can either take a HELOC like we have just talked about, or you can opt for a Cash Out Refinance Option. The major downside to a HELOC is that the loan is adjustable, so as the loan amount increases you might pay more and we are also in a market with rising interest.

The Cash Out Loan is preferable for these projects because it is fixed-rate loan and it's all one simple payment. If your current loan is above 4% then the Cash Out Loan is probably your better option, and if it is in the low 3's then a HELOC is probably a better consideration.

The third type of project we're seeing in Silicon Valley is where people are completely rebuilding their homes in order to compete with soaring home values of newly-built properties. You would want to consider a Construction Loan in this case. Generally these projects are $500,000 and more. These projects are highly expensive and require special funding.

Hopefully this information has been useful to you. If you're interested in learning more about this type of financing or would like to speak with me about Silicon Valley real estate, then please do not hesitate to give me a call.

5 Home Improvements to Boost Your Home Value



Trouble finding the perfect home?
Click here for off market properties list


5 Improvements Guaranteed to Raise Your Home's Value

Our topic today comes to us from people asking about the recent increase in home values throughout California and Silicon Valley. I wanted to show you 5 different ways that you can increase your home's value through home improvements.

  1. Front Door: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. A new front door can cost anywhere from $700-$5,000 but on average, you can expect a 125% return on the replacement of a front door.
  2. Interior Doors: Interior doors are relatively inexpensive but can add a lot to your home. There is a company in Silicon Valley (Interior Door Replacement Company) that can replace your doors for $100-$200. This is a very inexpensive way to upgrade the look of your home. It's amazing what new door handles can do as well.
  3. Garage Door: This will typically increase your home value and your curb appeal substantially. I recently replaced my aluminum garage door with a wooden one, and it made a world of difference on the curb appeal of my home. This is another project that will return well over 100% of the money invested.
  4. Kitchen Remodel: While this is more extensive than my other suggestions, kitchens sell houses. A kitchen remodel can dramatically upgrade the appeal (and market value) of your home. In my opinion, a good kitchen remodel can return 2-3x the cost, making it one of the best investments you can make in your home.
  5. Bathroom Remodels: Bathroom and kitchen remodels go hand in hand. Consumers love seeing updated kitchens and modern bathrooms. You can spend as little as $3,000 dollars on a half bathroom, or you can spend as much as $15,000 on a full bathroom remodel. Little changes to your bathroom can also add a lot of value.
For a FREE report on the cost vs value of home improvements, visit: 
http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/pacific/san-jose-ca/

If you're considering a specific project for your Silicon Valley home, be sure to look at that report and also consult with a professional real estate agent. Most remodels don't raise your home's value and will cost you both time and money. A local real estate expert can help you determine where your home would benefit the most from key improvements.

Please don't hesitate to contact us. We'd love to take a look at your property to discuss the improvements you're considering and how they will affect the value of your home.


How to finance your home improvements


David Lawver and Brett discuss three ways to finance your upgrades.


 
Please don't hesitate to contact us. We'd love to take a look at your property to discuss the improvements you're considering and how they will affect the value of your home. 

How to Move Up: Buy First or Sell First?


Trouble finding the perfect home?
Click here for off market properties list


I am back today with David Lawver from Kal Financial discussing how to get from your current home and into your next one. Should you buy first? Should you sell first? Or should you own 2 homes at once?

There are typically 4 ways to get from your existing home to your new one.

 

1. Temporary Rental: This might be the simplest, but not the most convenient. You sell your home, rent a property for 3-6 months, and then move into the home you eventually purchase. This involves moving twice, which most people like to avoid. This usually leads to other options.
 

2. Make a Contingent Offer on Your New Home: This means you start by locating your next home, then write into the offer that the purchase of that property is contingent on the sale of your current home. In the market we're experiencing in Silicon Valley with low inventory and high demand, this offer doesn't stand a good chance of being accepted.
 

3. Contingent Sale: In this option you would start by listing your home for sale, but the sale would be contingent on locating and purchasing your next home. Basically, you would tell the buyer who presents the final offer that you can only sell your home once you have found another. This option has a higher possibility of working in our Silicon Valley market, but it still puts you at a disadvantage when you're buying because your offer would still be contingent on closing escrow on your current home.
 

4. Sell Your Home and Rent Back until You Buy: In this option you would sell your current property but request that the buyer rent the home back to you while you find your next home. Usually lenders will not allow rent-backs for longer than 60 days, so you have to be swift if you're going to do this. If you add in the 30-day escrow period, you would have around 90 days to locate and move into a new property, which is manageable with the help of a skilled agent.
 

The final option would be to utilize a bridge loan. This works best for people who are equity-rich and cash-poor. They get a loan against their equity to provide a down payment on the new purchase. They are then able to buy and close on a home while still living in their existing home. This allows people to sell at their own pace. Neither escrow is contingent upon the other. The downside is that you must qualify for two mortgages.

So, a bridge loan is your best option, but you have to have a large income and great credit. The second best would be to sell your home and then do a rent-back. These are the two best options in our Silicon Valley market, so consult your local real estate expert for the best options if you're operating outside of our local market.
 

If you're nervous about this process, keep in mind that we are willing and capable to provide you with assistance. Feel free to contact me to discuss your situation, or to talk about real estate in Silicon Valley in general.