Home Inspection – Eyes Only!

Home Inspections are a necessary part of the home buying process. Take your time to get a really good look or two, hire a pro to help you and ask questions. It’s all about the all-important peace of mind when buying and selling a home.

My latest podcast has a some tips and info help you gain that peace of mind.

April 2018 Orange County Real Estate Info

The active inventory increased by 4% in the past two weeks.

The active listing inventory continued to climb in the past two weeks, adding an additional 189 homes, up 4%, and now totals 4,609. The active inventory is increasing at its fastest pace since 2014. It will continue to climb as the market moves deeper into the Spring Market, and will climb through the summer, peaking sometime between July and August.

After starting the year with 674 fewer homes compared to the start of 2017, 12% fewer, the year over year difference has drastically diminished. Today, there are only 107 fewer homes compared to last year, a 2% difference.

Demand increased by 5% in the past two weeks.

Demand, the number of new pending sales over the prior month, increased by 121 pending sales over the past couple of weeks and now totals 2,538, a 5% rise. The last time demand was above the 2,500 pending sale level was back in September 2017. The Spring Market is in full bloom and demand will continue to rise, peaking sometime between April and May.

Last year at this time, demand was at 2,664 pending sales, 126 more than today, or 5%. The number of pending sales has dropped this year because of a serious lack of inventory of homes priced below $750,000. This price range is significant as it represented 62% of all closed sales in 2017. So far this year, there has been 12% fewer homes that have come on the market below $750,000. The lack of homes in the most affordable price ranges has seriously undermined potential demand.

The expected market time, the amount of time it would take for a home that comes onto the market today to be placed into escrow down the road, decreased slightly from 55 to 54 days in the past two weeks, a hot, seller’s market. Last year at this time, the expected market time was at 53 days, very similar to today.

The luxury inventory and luxury demand increased in the past couple of weeks.

In the past two weeks, demand for homes above $1.25 million increased from 343 to 353 pending sales, up 3%. The luxury home inventory increased from 1,704 homes to 1,797, up 5%. From here, expect both demand and the inventory to rise throughout the Spring Market. The current expected market time for all homes priced above $1.25 million increased from 149 to 153 days over the past two-weeks.

For homes priced between $1.25 million and $1.5 million, the expected market time increased from 78 to 88 days. For homes priced between $1.5 million and $2 million, the expected market time decreased from 149 to 142 days. For homes priced between $2 million and $4 million, the expected market time increased from 193 days to 202. In addition, for homes priced above $4 million, the expected market time decreased from 338 to 296 days. At 296 days, a seller would be looking at placing their home into escrow around mid-January 2019.

Choosing a Neighborhood

Location is most likely the one feature that adds most value to any real estate property. Therefore, much consideration should be given to the neighborhood where that home is located. Here are some items to consider:

Property Taxes

Property taxes can play a huge role in your overall cost of living. In California, we have Proposition 13, so property taxes have caps on how much they may go up each year. But there may be special taxes associated with the property above the base rate. It may be a good idea to check out the Orange County  Tax Collector site ; they provide an interactive map with multiple layers for your use.

Safety and Crime

Before you sign on the dotted line, search sites like City-Data.com and CrimeReports to get a sense of the safety level of a particular neighborhood. As with all homebuying decisions, determining what level of crime you feel safe with is all part of the process of choosing a neighborhood.

Topography and Geography

Geographic features like views and privacy can add value, but they may also include additional costs and/or considerations. Are you in a special flood zone or a seismic zone that could impact your insurance costs?

Schools

School zones come to mind when thinking of location, especially if you have children (or plan to have them soon), as they tend to affect home values. If schools are important to you, evaluate the schools in your neighborhood and which homes fall into which district. Additionally, there may be community centers or parks that increase the value of the neighborhood.

If you are targeting Mission Viejo, I have a great site where you can check out the schools, homes, parks, etc. in the area. Check it out here.

There are other things to consider when choosing a home and and neighborhood such as current and future property values, access to area amenities, public transportation, hospitals, etc. I can help you research your target neighborhood so you can make the best decision possible as a home buyer.

Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff

Buyers these days DO expect to see a property in good shape, and better yet, in model shape. But if it’s not in your budget to update your home that may be slightly stuck in the 1970’s or 1980’s, don’t sweat it! There are lots of little things you can do to make your home put its best foot forward when you are on a budget.

I would say that most homes don’t feature all the latest in decorating and/or updating trends. So if you are selling your dated home, you are in good company! The key is to make your home’s best features and ANY updates stand out as much as possible, and perform a few affordable updates that can breathe new life into your living space.

In a dated kitchen, new appliances will go a long way in making it seem more modern. Plus it will add value in a buyer’s mind; perhaps more value than the cost of installing the appliances. Even new drawer and cabinet pulls are great affordable updates.

In bathrooms, consider installing new vanity lighting and/or new mirrors. New drawer and cabinet pulls are great, too. New faucets can also detract from dated vanities, older cabinets and maybe even wallpaper in that bathroom!

Paint! If you can’t afford to paint the whole house, pick a room or two and paint! Best choice would be to pick a room where new paint would have the most impact; maybe the room the buyer will see first or the kitchen.

Another general word of advice: go with the flow and feel of your home in its current state.

A home stuck in the 1970’s may feel more current if you decorate or at least use colors from the 1970’s.  Fortunately, those colors and the style is in right now. A home from the 1980’s may benefit with some toning down. There may be lots of gold trim and hardware throughout the home. Try and remove and replace as much of it as possible. If there are lots of 80’s pastel colors that can’t be replaced, try and decorate with neutrals and organic pieces.

Change out throw pillows and bedspreads to more neutral/organic ones. Implement classic styles and colors so they don’t clash with any decade. Pack away all the little collectibles that make your home look cluttered. Use just a few quality, larger pieces to decorate with.

And clean, clean, clean! Top to bottom, windows, baths, kitchen, floors; everything should shine like new even if it isn’t.

Have a home like this? I have so much experiencing transforming spaces on a budget! 949.525.5905.