February 2017 Market Report

Here’s a conversation that real estate professionals have on a regular basis:


“How’s the market?”

“Great question, my friend! I hear it all the time. All I can say is that it depends.

“Way to skirt the subject. Seriously, you call yourself an expert? Come on…give me something real. What does it depend on?”

“It depends on whether you are buying or selling! Tell me a little more about your current needs?”


And the chat progresses from there into rhetoric about how it’s a crazy seller’s market. Homes are getting multiple offers the minute they hit the market and selling for over asking price! Buyers have little to nothing from which to choose and a settling for far less home and paying a whole lot more for it to boot.

Sounds awful, right? It depends. Are you buying or selling? 

A seller’s market is defined as an economic situation in which goods are scarce and sellers can keep prices high. So, if you are planning to sell a house, the market is great! If you are buying, it’s a jungle out there.

In my experience, buyers are literally stacking up and having a really tough go at finding homes that meet their needs at an affordable price. There is only one way to remedy this situation and that is to inundate the market with more homes for sale! This can be accomplished in two basic ways. Sell more existing homes and build more new homes.

If you or anyone you know has had even the slightest thought of selling, now is a fantastic time to invite me over to help you find out what your home may be worth. With inventory at historic lows across the state, homes are getting top dollar in next to no time on the market. I would be so happy to help you cash out of an investment property or even sell your starter home to trade up before prices get even higher!

If you are planning to buy, now more than ever you need the advice of a seasoned real estate professional to help you put forth your best offer. Now is not the time to lowball a seller. Most offers under asking price are being flat out rejected because sellers know that multiple more offers will not be far behind. Now is the time to show all your cards and make your strongest offers up front. Your agent can help you with that strategy and negotiate on your behalf to increase the chances you’ll come out a winner.

Take a look at my most recent market report and contact me right away of you have any questions about buying or would simply like an estimate of how much you can profit from the sale of your house.

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Cheers!

Erica

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November 2016 Market Report

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November was a doozy of a month! From an election that’ll go down in history, to the stock market getting a little boost, to the fed finally pulling the trigger on rate increases, the state of home buying and selling has become a bit unpredictable…unless you have expert info at your fingertips!

Take, for example, increases to interest rates. This is scary, no? Sure, no one wants to buy when rates are high and rate increases mean rates are now high, right? NOPE! Here’s a little history lesson to put things in perspective.

Rates started being tracked by the government in 1971 and the average mortgage interest rate for that year was 7.5%. Rates hovered around there for a decade or so, but thanks to the mid-70’s oil crisis and other economic factors, inflation went NUTS in the early 80’s. In a mad dash to minimize the damage, the fed went crazy and jacked rates up higher than we have ever seen in history. This led to mortgage rates as high as 18% (and higher in Canada) during the entire decade of the 8o’s!

When the decade turned, rates were much more manageable at around 10%, so people got pretty comfortable again. The market bounced back, credit was getting cheap, and those baby boomers who survived the financial misery of the previous few years, found themselves ready to buy buy buy again. And buy they did. The next 15 years BOOMED! I mean really boomed. Thanks to rising wages, falling unemployment, and cheap rates everyone and their uncle could suddenly afford to buy houses, cars, fancy toys, vacations, etc. The 90’s saw interest rates of around 7.5%-9%. Darn cheap, comparatively speaking.

Then the bankers went and got too greedy. Remember that fuzzy term “mortgage back securities”? Well, I’m not going into that here, but just know that it stood for greedy investment bankers ruining it for everybody. The next thing we know…wham bam, thank you ma’am…another recession. THE GREAT RECESSION! Housing values plummeted, huge corporate entities failed, got bailed out, failed, got bailed out, failed again. People who refinanced their homes to pay off all those cars, vacations, and toys that were so easy to buy due to cheap credit suddenly found themselves underwater on their mortgages and totally insolvent. Foreclosures happened. Bankruptcies happened. Jobs started disappearing as business folded. Unemployment was sky high with no view of the ground floor.

The fed had NO CHOICE! No choice, I tell you. They dropped rates so low, so fast, lenders may as well have been paying dividends on credit instead of receiving interest. The exact opposite of the action taken in the 80’s. This was imperative in order to stimulate the economy and get things back on track for healing the nation. And there you have it. Credit was basically free as the millennials came of age. An entire generation has never even seen mortgage rates over 3.5%, but that is not normal, people. NOT NORMAL!

So, you tell me? Is 4.175% really too high for a 30 year fixed mortgage??? I think not.

It’s still a great time to buy and an even better time to sell. Don’t even think twice about it. No one is being gouged by rates at the moment, I promise.

Cheers, my friends.

Erica

 

Day 77: It closed!

I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!

I closed my first deal! Woo hoo!! I have to tell you, it feels good. I have a long way to go and my head is still firmly out of the clouds, but I think I may be able to do this job yet.

Honestly, aside from being a huge boost to my ego, the best part of this success is knowing that I was able to help a lovely person get into a new house before the holidays. It seriously warms my heart in a big way.

Here are a few pictures of the house for your viewing pleasure.

 

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Thanks for following me on this journey!

Cheers,

Erica

Day 40: I’ll Take the Master

 

I met a lovely family while showing a home in Northeast Fresno. Having outgrown their current home, they wanted to see this super cute house on Muncie, thinking it would perfectly fit their needs. I did not know these folks prior to showing them this house, so my plan was to build rapport to the best of my ability in hopes that they would choose me to represent them as their Realtor.

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“Come see this Mediterranean designed home. The open floor plan is great for entertaining and will wow your guests. We have completely updated this home with granite counters, distressed brass, marble, travertine, engineered wood floors, a new spa tub with fireplace, and much more. The backyard is a tropical oasis, with relaxing waterfall and an in-ground pool. This property has it all for the buyer looking for the Northeast Fresno experience.”

Luckily for me, I discovered that they are an Armenian family! Instant connection in most cases. I, too am Armenian, if you didn’t already know. I stuck the Hye card in my back pocket ready to play it at the right moment. When we arrived at the house and my clients exited their car, I saw that they had with them the most adorable baby girl! I think she was around 5-6 months old. I LOVE BABIES! Double score for me.

It turns out that this family planned to combine three generations under the same roof, which is why they needed to upgrade their home. When all is said and done, living in the home will be three adults and three children, comprised of a mother, her son and his two children, and her daughter with her baby girl. They wanted a house that would not only have enough bedrooms to accommodate all three generations but also enough separation in living areas to allow for some privacy within each family unit.

I hung back taking pictures for my blog while the family looked around. I didn’t hear everything they discussed, but the major theme of their conversation revolved around bedroom size. Since each family unit would essentially be contained in a bedroom, with the living room and kitchen as common space, the daughter was very concerned that the bedrooms were too small. My favorite comment from her was “Well, I really think I will want the master.” Oh, the look on mom’s face… It was loud and clear without a word uttered that there was no way on Earth anyone other than the grand matriarch of the family would be getting the master! Sorry, dear daughter, not gonna happen. Good try, though!!

I chatted with mom a bit while son and daughter wandered around and measured rooms. We talked about being Armenian (I’m telling you, it comes in handy!), about babies, about how lovely this house would be to host their extended family at Christmas. She is a delightful woman! Time will tell if mom and daughter can figure out who gets the master, or if we go back to the drawing board on house hunting. There are certainly houses out there with dual master suites!

Genatzt!

Erica

 

Day 38: Million Dollar Baby

A million bucks

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What would you do if you had a million bucks to spend on a house? Move to San Francisco where you can get yourself a charming 900sqft apartment? Move to SoCal where you would have to be in the suburbs to even find a townhouse for that price?

I know what I would do…find a McMansion right here in Fresno County and live the high life in a budget-friendly paradise. Yes, I actually do consider my hometown to be a paradise. All cities have their shortcomings. ALL OF THEM! But where else will you combine some of the most majestic mountain ranges, close proximity to adorable beach towns, rich agriculture that feeds the world, and reasonable living expenses? No where. Fresno is it.

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One million dollars buys the most amazing houses around here. I had the privilege of attending an open house at a North East Fresno mini-mansion and let me tell you, it was breathtaking. I wanted nothing more than to grab a cocktail and lounge in the backyard while listening to the relaxing sound of the waterfall flowing into the pool. Money may not buy happiness, but if money can buy this oasis, it’s darn close.

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Let’s take an even more intimate look!

With housing prices all across California skyrocketing and the median price to purchase in San Jose and other metro areas at over $1 million, even middle-high income earners are being priced out of those markets. Even rents are too high for comfort in many areas. For the same price or less, California residents can have this kind of luxury with ease. If that doesn’t convince people to try FresYes, I don’t know what will!

Cheers!

Erica

Day 37: Gaining Steam!

So, guess what! Remember that adorable country house I blogged about back on Day 2?

I just listed it!

Yep, this girl is gaining steam in the business with a listing of her own!

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Real estate photos courtesy of Rees Photography

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It truly doesn’t get better than this, folks. This house is ah-mazing, with a recently updated gourmet kitchen and unique touches that give it a mid-century modern meets Craftsman feel that you simply won’t find elsewhere!

It’s an understatement to say this is a gem in Easton. I can’t wait to find buyers for this house! If you or anyone you know has the dream of experiencing rural living in a luxury setting, please contact me!

 

I can’t even follow this up with a house tour. Next house will get a post of its own!

Cheers, my friends!

Erica

 

Day 36: A Mural to Remember

What do you get when you cross a real estate blogger with an open house hosted by an unfamiliar agent? A very awkward experience.

 

I really wanted to get some good footage of this house.  I had been watching it on MLS for a while and was delighted when an open house came up. I naively believed that it would be simple for me to just go to the open house, take a look around, snap a few pics and a bit o’video and call it a day. Well, every new encounter is a learning experience at this stage of the game and what I discovered is that some real estate agents follow open house visitors around as they tour the house…even when said visitors have identified themselves as realtors. Like I said, awkward.

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Regardless, I did manage to get a feel for this house and put together a fine little mini-movie to give all my faithful readers a tour. The flooring in this house is really spectacular. I love the combination of wood and tile in the great room. The granite kitchen countertops nicely coordinate with the floor as well. From a design perspective, this house has a lot to offer. The current owner clearly has an affinity for sage green…nearly the entire interior in painted that color. It is a very soothing color, but may alienate prospective buyers as painting those extra tall walls could be a daunting task if green isn’t your thing.

The ground floor layout is quite functional and pleasing. There is a bonus room/den off the front entry, which leads into the gourmet kitchen and breakfast nook. No separating walls between the kitchen and living room allow for a lovely great room with a very open feel. It would be excellent for entertaining. A downstairs bedroom and bathroom could easily be an office setup or mother in law suite for a multi-gen family.

Heading up the stairs, you will find a very interesting waterfall mural painted at the top landing. I suppose it pairs nicely with the green walls for an earthy, nature motif. But again, it may be a turnoff for potential buyers who like the floorplan, but are neither thrilled with the decor nor up to the task of repainting. The rest of the second floor is quite nice with a spacious loft overlooking the living room, a decent sized master suite, and standard secondary bedrooms.

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The backyard is lovely wth a bridged creek and koi pond. Additionally, there is a lawn area and nice sized patio. I would probably go out on a limb to say that the landscape would likely appeal to families without young children as any open body of water could be a danger to little ones. Not at all a problem for kidless households, but the size of this house presents as more likely a home for large families.

There is a lot of good in this property. Given that this house has been listed for quite a while, whether its price, decor or something else, the  market seems to be sending a clear message that something isn’t quite right here.

Take a look for yourself. I’d love to hear feedback. Every opinion and point of view will help me become more in-tune with buyers’ desires and also helps me coach sellers when prepping their homes for listing. Thanks for watching and reading!

Cheers!

Erica

Day 35: Cozy as a cottage

Do you know what today is?

If you guessed that it’s Thirsty Thursday, you might be partially right. The truth of the matter is that today is the Autumnal Equinox. For those of you non-earthy types out there, that means that this morning at approximately 10:00am PDT, fall began. It’s fitting that we had some lovely weather on this joyous day. It may be a tad on the warm side still, but as I write this there is a lovely breeze coming in through my bedroom window. If only I could smell wood burning fireplaces and hear the pitter patter of rain drops to round out the changing season. Autumn bliss.

As we know, Fresno doesn’t see much change in the seasons. On the calendar, it technically lasts for three months. In reality, we only get a few weeks of mild weather before the fog rolls in. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. Soon the holiday season will consume most of us with abundant shopping, baking, planning, and working long hours to pay for it all! After months of smothering heat and bad air, I hope you find a smidge of joy in the fleeting Central Valley autumn season .

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Today’s house is a cozy Clovis charmer. Located near Sierra & Villa, it’s tucked away on a clean and quiet street and would be a perfect house for small family or investor. This 1955 cottage has the look and feel of the ever popular mid-century modern style, but with modern touches throughout, including a brand new roof! The kitchen has been nicely upgraded with new appliances and fixtures. The bathrooms have updated as well. It’s larger than one would expect for the price point and even has a man-cave worthy shed in the backyard!

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“Updated kitchen and baths, newer flooring, paint, re-dash exterior, roof installed 2016. Large family room with open floor plan to kitchen. Detached 280 sq. ft. building with 3/4 bath. Could be man cave, craft room or just storage.”

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As you can see by the photograph of my hand, the ceilings are not very high at all. My reach is not much higher than 6′ and my fingertips could nearly graze the ceiling in the kitchen. People have clearly gotten taller in the last few decades. Well, everyone except for me, that is.

Features that I love include a sitting/living room with a fireplace right when you enter from the front door. It’s nice to enter the house into such a cozy space before approaching the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen. The backyard has decorator touches such as wrought iron railings and lantern-style light fixtures hanging from the covered patio. There is plenty of space in the backyard for kids to roam or a garden to grow. This house is a hidden gem. I hope it gets some love from a forever family soon.

Cheers!

Erica

 

Day 34: The sound of silence

Silence is golden. The endless chatter of our busy lives can be incredibly overwhelming at times. I dare anyone to dispute that. Kids, jobs, housework, personal care, exercise, hobbies…the list of responsibilities creating noise and havoc goes on and on. Sure, there are some enlightened ones out there who have discovered the key to balance and peace, but most of us are not those ones. Most of us stumble through our noise lives grabbing bits of relaxation whenever the opportunity arises; searching for silence.

What in the universe does this have to do with real estate? Well, for me it has everything to do with it.  The fact of the matter is that for the past two weeks the noise in my life has caused me to falter in my goal of daily blogging. I realize there are precious few of you, my dear readers, who are keeping such close tabs on me. I’m sure no one is wagging a finger to shame me for my neglect, wondering where my apology is hiding. But I keep pretty close tabs on myself and the apology owed is more to me than to my faithful followers (although you may also consider it yours).

Here’s the deal. I have over a week’s worth of houses ready to go to be written up and shown to the world. The problem is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it done! My children: the light of my life, the cherry on my sundae, the creamer in my coffee, the butter on my baked potato…those two adorable little boys started soccer season.

I’m sure most parents understand the significance of this. Soccer is a wonderful skill and confidence building sport that SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF FAMILIES. Two practices per week times two kids and games at two different schools every Saturday, nevermind FIVE games for seeding weekend. When, WHEN can there possibly be time for anything else? Ugh. So, I let myself get sucked up into the chaos of soccer and something had to give. I had to find a few moments of silence to preserve my sanity. Unfortunately, the blog is what ended up on the cutting block in order to make that happen. But no more! I’m back. Just cut me some slack every now and then during the next eight weeks of soccer insanity.

I still have 11 months to go on this journey. There is plenty of time for me to catch up. Mark my words…this soccer mom / Realtor WILL succeed in seeing 365 houses in 365 days. I’ll get on it right after tonight’s soccer practice :/

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Preview of coming attractions:

A cozy Clovis cottage

An impressive bird mural

A Northwest Fresno single story house with a pool

My first listing (whaaaaaat???)

And many more

Cheers for now!

Erica

 

Day 32: Christmas in September

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Anyone who has lived in Fresno for a stretch of time has probably been to Christmas Tree Lane. Am I right? It’s grown since I was a kid, but so much has remained the same and even gotten better! I now love taking my own kids on a drive down Van Ness when it’s all gussied up for the holidays. The thing about old Van Ness is that it’s a beautiful street all year long. I remember cruising down the lane as a kid and wishing with all my might that I could someday live in one of those grand houses that looked like mansions to my young eyes. Oh, what a fairytale it would be to call that street home.

Well, my wish has not come true (yet), but I did get as close as about two blocks away while living at home with my mom as a teenager. In those days, traffic during the holiday season was still two-way for the entire length of Van Ness and cross streets were still open to turn off at any time, so I would often detour onto the winter wonderland for a couple of blocks on my way to or from my house just to soak up the beauty of the season. What are some of your favorite memories from Christmas Tree Lane?

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From time to time homes on Van Ness hit the market and I just got lucky to find one that is vacant and available to tour.

Insert an absurd amount of excitement here!!!


“Wonderful Old Fig family home on Christmas Tree Lane! The location is prime,on a corner lot on Fairmont and Van Ness,for easy access during Christmas. This home has been extensively updated throughout, but still maintains the classical charm of the neighborhood. There are several windows in the home offering great natural light,and lots of storage. The kitchen features granite,upgraded cabinets,a gas burner stove,a sub zero refrigerator,and a nook area. Off of the kitchen is a formal dining room, family room,and a living room off of the entry. The master suite has two closets,and a balcony overlooking the backyard. There is a large room upstairs that has its own private stairway and entrance, that would be perfect for an office,game room,media room,or mother in law suite. This room also has its own bathroom with shower, laundry hookups, bar sink,and stove! There is a basement that could make a great potential wine cellar.”


This house is about half a block from where Van Ness lets out onto Palm, just before Shaw, in other words, just past Santa. I was in heaven while walking through the house. I have a major soft spot for homes built in the early to mid 1900’s and this one squeaked in at the mid-point, built in 1950. There is so much charm in these older homes that you just won’t find in newer tract home developments. This one did not disappoint one bit! There was so much to see and talk about here that my video is more of a short film this time.

(Pardon the shaky video, I was having some technical difficulties with both my iPhone and DSLR cameras.)

I hope you enjoyed this. Please share it with anyone you know who might like to see this beautiful house.  I would love to help a lucky family make this their new home!

Cheers!

Erica