Real Estate News, Tips & Market Trends

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April 15, 2021

More Homes are Coming

Hi, This is Jack Ma w/ Jack Ma Real Estate Group at Century 21 Masters. 
Thank you for Watching this episode of Real Estate Made Simple!   

Quarter 1 was officially behind us.  It's pretty crazy to think that we have been over 1 year into this pandemic.  Other than the few weeks when the pandemic just started, the real estate market has been on a wild ride.  As of April first,  we saw an increase of 17% in home value in the last 12 months in our local marketplace.  Normally housing market is averaging 4% appreciation in a year.  We essentially saw 4 years' worth of growth in a year!  Which is absolutely crazy!    

The primary drivers for this market were historic low-interest rates and historic low inventory.  The law of supply and demand dominated the performance of the real estate market despite a soft economy.    

So the question is ...what's next?  

One thing worth noting is that we saw the number of for-sale increase for the first time since May of last year.  This is pretty normal since the Real estate market is seasonal and March marks the start of spring where real estate sales activities started to pick up.     

Another major factor will be how fast we are seeing the world opens up post-pandemic.  There are a lot of homeowners who were reluctant to put their homes on the market during this pandemic because they do not want strangers coming in and out of their homes.  These suppressed inventories will start being released we go back to our normal life.   

So we can logically predict that we will see an increase in supply and cooling down the market a little bit if the interest rate did not start dropping again.   

Now does that mean the price will drop?  Definitely not!  We are in such a deep seller's market that unless something drastic happens....we will still see prices continue to grow but at a lower pace.    

So if you are on the fence about selling your home,  we may have seen the peak of the seller's market but it is still a fantastic market for sellers.  You will still see bidding wars driving up the price.   

For buyers.... the price is not going to drop.  If you wait, you may be hit with a double whammy - higher price and interest rate than you can.

Posted in Market Updates
April 1, 2021

Can I Buy or Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent?

Today’s real estate market is one of the fastest-moving in recent memory. With record-low inventory in many market segments, we’re seeing multiple offers—and sometimes even bidding wars—for homes in the most sought-after neighborhoods. This has led some sellers to question the need for an agent. After all, why spend money on a listing agent when it seems that you can stick a For Sale sign in the yard then watch a line form around the block?       

Some buyers may also believe they’d be better off purchasing a property without an agent. For those seeking a competitive edge, proceeding without a buyer’s agent may seem like a good way to stand out from the competition—and maybe even score a discount. Since the seller pays the buyer agent’s commission, wouldn’t a do-it-yourself purchase sweeten the offer?       

We all like to save money. However, when it comes to your largest financial asset, forgoing professional representation may not always be in your best interest. Find out whether the benefits outweigh the risks (and considerable time and effort) of selling or buying a home on your own—so you can head to the closing table with confidence.    

SELLING YOUR HOME WITHOUT AN AGENT   

Most homeowners who choose to sell their home without any professional assistance opt for a traditional “For Sale By Owner” or a direct sale to an investor, such as an iBuyer. Here’s what you can expect from either of these options.     

For Sale By Owner (FSBO)   

For sale by owner or FSBO (pronounced fizz-bo) offers sellers the opportunity to price their own home and handle their own transaction, showing the home and negotiating directly with the buyer or his or her real estate agent. According to data compiled by the National Association of Realtors, approximately 8% of homes are sold by their owner.     

In an active, low inventory real estate market, it may seem like a no-brainer to sell your home yourself. After all, there are plenty of buyers out there and one of them is bound to be interested in your home. In addition, you’ll save money on the listing agent’s commission and have more control over the way the home is priced and marketed.    

One of the biggest problems FSBOs run into, however, is pricing the home appropriately. Without access to information about the comparable properties in your area, you could end up overpricing your home (causing it to languish on the market) or underpricing your home (leaving thousands of dollars on the table).   

Even during last year’s strong seller’s market, the median sales price for FSBOs 
was 10% less than the median price of homes sold with the help of a real estate agent. And during a more balanced market, like the one we experienced in 2018, FSBO homes sold for 24% (or $60,000) less than agent-represented properties. This suggests that, while you may think that you’ll price and market your home more effectively yourself, in fact, you may end up losing far more than the amount you would pay for an agent’s assistance.       

Without the services of a real estate professional, it will be up to you to get people in the door. You’ll need to gather information for the online listing and put together the kind of marketing that today’s buyers expect to see. This includes bringing in a professional photographer, writing the listing description, and designing marketing collateral like flyers and mailers—or hiring a writer and graphic designer to do so.    

Once someone is interested, you’ll need to offer virtual showings and develop a COVID safety protocol. You’ll then need to schedule an in-person showing (or in some cases, two or three) for each potential buyer. In addition, you’ll be on your own when evaluating offers and determining their financial viability. You’ll need to thoroughly understand all legal contracts and contingencies and discuss terms, including those regarding the home inspection and closing process.     

While you’re doing all of this work, it’s likely that you’ll still need to pay the buyer agent’s commission. So be sure to weigh your potential savings against the significant risk and effort involved.       

If you choose to work with a listing agent, you’ll save significant time and effort while minimizing your personal risk and liability. And the increased profits realized through a more effective marketing and negotiation strategy could more than make up for the cost of your agent’s commission.      

iBuyer     

iBuyers have been on the scene since around 2015, providing sellers the option of a direct purchase from a real estate investment company rather than a traditional direct-to-consumer sales process. iBuyer companies tout their convenience and speed, with a reliable, streamlined process that may be attractive to some sellers. 

The idea is that instead of listing the home on the open market, the homeowner completes an online form with information about the property’s location and features, then waits for an offer from the company. The iBuyer is looking for a home in good condition that’s located in a good neighborhood—one that’s easy to flip and falls within the company’s algorithm.      

For sellers who are more focused on speed and convenience, an iBuyer may offer an attractive alternative to a traditional real estate sale. That’s because iBuyers evaluate a property quickly and make an upfront offer without requesting repairs or other accommodations.      

However, sellers will pay for that convenience with, generally, a far lower sale 
price than the market will provide as well as fees that can add up to as much or more than a traditional real estate agent’s commission. According to a stud conducted by MarketWatch, iBuyers netted, on average, 11% less than a traditional sale when both the lower price and fees are considered. Other studies found some iBuyers charging as much as 15% in fees and associated costs, far more than you’ll pay for a real estate agent’s commission.     

In a hot market, this can mean leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table since you won’t be able to negotiate and you’ll lose out on rising home prices caused by low inventory and increased demand. In addition, iBuyers are demonstrably less reliable during times of economic uncertainty, as evidenced by the halt of operations for most iBuyer platforms in early 2020. As a seller, the last thing you want is to start down the road of iBuying only to find out that a corporate mandate is stopping your transaction in its tracks.      

If you choose to work with a real estate agent, you can still explore iBuyers as an option. That way you can take advantage of the added convenience of a fast sale while still enjoying the protection and security of having a professional negotiating on your behalf.    

BUYING YOUR HOME WITHOUT AN AGENT   

According to the most recent statistics, 88% of home buyers use a real estate agent when conducting their home search. A buyer’s agent is with you every step of the way through the home buying process. From finding the perfect home to submitting a winning offer to navigating the inspection and closing processes, most homebuyers find their expertise and guidance invaluable. And the best part is that, because they are compensated through a commission paid by the homeowner at closing, most agents provide these services at no cost to you!      

Still, you may be considering negotiating your home purchase directly with the seller or listing agent, especially if you are accustomed to deal-making as part of your job. And if you are familiar with the neighborhood where you are searching, you may feel that there is no reason to get a buyer’s agent involved.     

However, putting together a winning offer package can be challenging. This is 
especially true in a multiple-offer situation where you’ll be competing against buyers whose offers are carefully crafted to maximize their appeal. And the homebuying process can get emotional. A trusted agent can help you avoid overpaying for a property or glossing over “red flags” in your inspection. In addition, buyer agents offer a streamlined, professional process that listing agents may be more likely to recommend to their clients.      

If you decide to forego an agent, you’ll have to write, submit, and negotiate a competitive offer all on your own. You’ll also need to schedule an inspection and negotiate repairs. You’ll be responsible for reviewing and preparing all necessary documents, and you will need to be in constant communication with the seller’s agent and your lender, inspector, appraiser, title company, and other related parties along the way.        

Or, you could choose to work with a buyer’s agent whose commission is paid by 
the seller and costs you nothing out of pocket. In exchange, you’ll obtain fiduciary-level guidance on one of the most important financial transactions of your life. If you decide to go it alone, you’ll be playing fast and loose with what is, for most people, their most important and consequential financial decision.      

SO, IS A REAL ESTATE AGENT RIGHT FOR YOU?      

It is important for you to understand your options and think through your preferences when considering whether or not to work with a real estate professional. If you are experienced in real estate transactions and legal contracts, comfortable negotiating under high-stakes circumstances, and have plenty of extra time on your hands, you may find that an iBuyer or FSBO sale works for you. 

However, if, like most people, you value expert guidance and would like an experienced professional to manage the process, you will probably experience far more peace of mind and security in working with a real estate agent or broker.     

A real estate agent’s comprehensive suite of services and expert negotiation skills can benefit buyers and sellers financially, as well. On average, sellers who utilize an agent walk away with more money than those who choose the FSBO or iBuyer route.3,5 And buyers pay nothing out of pocket for expert representation that can help them avoid expensive mistakes all along the way from contract to closing. 

According to NAR’s profile, the vast majority of buyers (91%) and sellers (89%) are thrilled with their real estate professional’s representation and would recommend them to others. That’s why, in terms of time, money, and expertise, most buyers and sellers find the assistance of a real estate agent essential and invaluable. 

QUESTIONS ABOUT BUYING OR SELLING? WE HAVE ANSWERS    

The best way to find out whether you need a real estate agent or broker is to speak with one. We’re here to help and to offer the insights you need to make better-informed decisions. Let’s talk about the value-added services we provide when we help you buy or sell in today’s competitive real estate landscape.    

Sources:   

1. National Association of REALTORS -  
https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyersand-sellers

2. Washington Post -https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/09/factors-consider-when-determining-whether-use-anagent-buy-or-sell-home/

3. National Association of REALTORS - 
https://www.nar.realtor/blogs/economists-outlook/selling-your-home-solo-to-save-money-you-ll-actuallymake-less-than-you-think 

4. Seattle Times -
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/redfin-is-first-major-ibuyer-to-sell-in-seattle 

5. MarketWatch - 
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/selling-your-home-to-an-ibuyer-could-cost-you-thousands-heres-why2019-06-11 

6. Forbes - 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nataliakarayaneva/2020/03/19/billion-dollar-real-estate-businesses-ibuyersuspended/?sh=c7f59f921747

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
March 24, 2021

Market is not crashing but were the best day behind

The Lakers reached the playoff 10 years in a row between 1995 to 2004 and when Shaquille O'neal traded to the Miami Heats, that playoff streak ended.  The housing market is in its own playoff run and has been a hot seller's market since June of last year.  It is the longest and hottest streak since the 15-month streak in 2012.  What ended that streak?  The interest went up in mid-2013.   

In 2013,  there was very little supply and low mortgages were fanning up demands.  Sounds familiar?  Low supply and high demand.....that sounds like what we are looking at today!  The only difference is that we are seeing even less supply and higher demands today.        

In the below chart you can see that the number of listings generally goes in the same direction as the interest rate.  When the interest rate increase, the number of home listing goes up.   

So,  the Feds said that the interest rate will remain low until 2023,  there is nothing to worry about, right?  Well..yes and no. While that decision will keep the short-term interest rate at or near zero,  it directly affects credit card lending and car loan. The mortgage interest rate is tied to the 10-year treasury bonds.  Mortgages are repackaged and sold as securities on the stock market. When treasure yield rise, investors in mortgage-backed securities demand higher rates to compensate for their risk for keeping their money out of the treasury bonds.  As a result,  the mortgage interest rate increases. 

So what can we expect?  This is my opinion on the market...   

Demand will drop..... 

1. Interest rates won't stay low forever with treasure yields increasing.  We can expect it to remain relative at the same level throughout this year with weekly ups and downs but we are seeing signs of it going up.   
2. Affordability will decrease as the interest rate goes up and the price goes up. 

Supply will go up.....   

1. With the eviction moratorium ending soon, the landlord can now sell their homes 2. Some homeowners will have financial stress and put their home on the market 3. With a fear of COVID aside,  many of the homeowners will be more comfortable with the idea of putting their home on the market
4. It's the spring selling season. We always see an increase in supply between March and August   

No, the market will not crash, and no there will not be a wave of foreclosure coming but we may have seen the peak of the market this time if the price continues to grow and demand to continue to soften.  Bear in mind that these shifts are a motion.  Think of it as a light switch.  The market doesn't go from a seller's market to a buyer's market with a flip of a switch.  It's more like a dimmer which will slowly transition from one to the other.  

I still see it being a seller market from now until the end of the year and prices will continue to grow but the days where buyers are adding 10, 15% on top of the listing price may be behind us.

Posted in Market Updates
March 12, 2021

COVID Vaccine are rolling out so is the remedy for housing shortage problem

Hi this is Jack Ma with Jack Ma Real Estate Group at Century 21 Masters.  Thank you for watching Real Estate made simple.    

By now you probably had heard the real estate market is hot, homes are selling in days and prices are going up.  That’s an understatement.  Unless you are actually in the market, you will not believe how hot the market really is.  It is very common to see listings getting 10, 20, or even 30 offers.  Buyers are frustrated and pulling their hairs out trying to get into a property.  Often time 5 or 10% above the asking price is not even enough to secure the purchase.  That is an inventory problem!      

As the COVID vaccine being rolled out,  we are seeing a remedy for the inventory problem too - The spring season is coming.  It is a time when more real estate activities occur than any other time of the year.  It is when inventory rises and demand surges and peaks.  Many people think that summer is the best time of the year for real estate but it is actually Spring.  More homes are listed, more homes and sold and more homes closed in Spring than any other season.     

Spring 2021 will be no different.  The problem now is that there are simply not enough homes to satisfy the buyer's demands.  We are sitting on the lowest inventory since 2012 and we are seeing 16% less home compare to March 1 of last year.  So any increase in the available homes for sale is a welcome sight!    

So when will we see more homes coming to the market?  The historic record shows that we will see that in March, the beginning of spring.  An elevated number of homes will hit the market from March through August, peaking in June.  It will bring a sigh of relief from the buyers in the market.  

So how will that affect the market?   Does that mean the price will soften?  Probably not.  The discrepancy between the numbers of available homes for sale vs buyers on the market is huge.  More homeowners will put their homes on the market.  Buyer demands will remain high.  We probably will see a bigger increase in supply than demand.  The market will remain hot and prices will continue to appreciate.  It will just be slightly easier for the buyer to secure a property and appreciation will be slightly slower than the last two months!

Posted in Market Updates
March 1, 2021

Is the Real Estate Market Going to Crash?

While many areas of the economy have contracted, the housing market has stayed remarkably strong. But can the good news last?      

When COVID-related shutdowns began in March, real estate brokers and clients scrambled to respond to the shift. Record-low interest rates caused some lenders to call a halt to new underwriting, and homeowners debated whether or not to put their houses on the market. However, those first days of uncertainty ushered in a period of unprecedented demand in the U.S. real estate market, which ended the year with increasing average home prices (up 13.4% from the previous year) and shrinking days on market (13 fewer than in 2019).     

Now, as the spring market approaches, you may be wondering whether the good times can continue to roll on. If you’re a homeowner, should you take advantage of this opportunity? If you’re a buyer, should you jump in and risk paying too much? Below we answer some of your most pressing questions.     

How is today’s market different from the one that caused the 2008 meltdown?      

At the beginning of the pandemic, fears of an economic recession and an ensuing mortgage meltdown were top of mind for homeowners all across the country. For many buyers and sellers, the two seemed to go hand in hand, just as they did in the 2008 economic crisis.      

In reality, however, the conditions that led to 2008’s recession were very different from those that triggered the current downturn—and this time, the housing market is the source of much of the good news.2 This is in line with historical patterns, as housing prices traditionally hold steady in the face of recession, with homeowners staying put and investors putting their money into bricks and mortar to ride out uncertainty in the stock market.       

This time around, because of lessons learned in 2008, banks are better funded, homeowners are holding more accrued equity, and, crucially, much of the economic activity is focused on financial factors outside the housing market. As many industries quickly pivoted to work-from-home, early fears of widespread job loss-related foreclosures have failed to materialize. Federal stimulus payments and the Paycheck Protection Program also helped to offset some of the worst early effects of the shutdown.     

Are we facing a real estate bubble?      

A real estate bubble can occur when there is a rapid and unjustified increase in housing prices, often triggered by speculation from investors. Because the bubble is (in a sense) filled with “hot air,” it pops—and a swift drop in value occurs. This leads to reduced equity or, in some cases, negative equity conditions.    

By contrast, the current rise in home prices is based on the predictable results of historically low-interest rates and widespread low inventory. Basically, the principle of supply and demand is working just as it’s supposed to do. In addition, experts predict a strong seller’s market throughout 2021 along with increases in new construction. This should allow supply to gradually rise and fulfill demand, slowing the rate of inflation for home values and offering a gentle correction where needed. 

Effects of low-interest rates

According to Freddie Mac, rates are projected to continue at their current low levels throughout 2021. This contributes to home affordability even in markets where homes might otherwise be considered overpriced. These low interest rates should keep the market lively and moving forward for the foreseeable future.   

Effects of low inventory

Continuing low inventory is another reason for higher-than-average home prices in many markets. This should gradually ease as an aggressive vaccination rollout and continuing buyer demand drive more homeowners to move forward with long-delayed sales plans and as new home construction increases to meet demand. 

Aren’t some markets and sectors looking particularly weak?   

One of the big stories of 2020 was a mass exodus from attached home communities and high-priced urban areas as both young professionals and families fled to the larger square footage and wide-open spaces of suburban and rural markets. This trend was reinforced by work-from-home policies that became permanent at some of the country’s biggest companies.    

Speculation then turned to the death of cities and the end of the condo market. However, it appears that rumors of the demise of these two residential sectors have been greatly exaggerated.      

With the first vaccine rollouts, renters have begun returning to major urban centers, attracted by the sudden rise in available inventory and newly discounted rental rates. In addition, buyers who were previously laser-focused on a single-family home responded to tight inventory by taking a second look at condos. While nationwide condo prices continue to lag behind those of detached homes, they’ve still seen significant price increases and days on market reductions year over year.  

In addition to these improvements, the 2020 migration has spread the economic wealth to distant suburban and rural enclaves that normally don’t benefit from increases in home values or an influx of new investment. As many of these new residents set up housekeeping in their rural retreats, they’ll revitalize the economies of their adopted communities for years to come.   

How has COVID affected the “seasonal” real estate market?    

Frequently, the real estate market is seen as a seasonal phenomenon. However, the widespread shutdowns in March 2020, coming right at the beginning of the market’s growth cycle in many areas, has led to a protracted, seemingly endless “hot spring market.”     

While Fannie Mae’s chief economist Douglas Duncan predicts slower growth from 2020’s historic numbers, the outlook overall is positive as we embark on the 2021 spring selling cycle.9 Duncan anticipates an additional lift in the second half of 2021 as buyers return to business as usual and look to put some of their pandemic savings to work for a down payment. Thus we could be looking at another longer-than-usual, white-hot real estate market.    

How will a Biden administration affect the real estate market?    

Projected policy around housing promises to be a boost to the real estate market in many cases.10 While some real estate investors bemoan proposed changes to 1031 Exchanges, the Biden plan for a $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit aims to increase affordability and bring eager new home buyers into the market. In addition, Biden-proposed policy pinpoints low inventory as a primary driver of unsustainable home values and is geared toward more affordability through investments in construction and refurbishment.    

Overall, according to most indicators, the real estate news looks overwhelmingly positive throughout the rest of 2021 and possibly beyond. Pent-up demand and consumer-driven policies, along with a continued low-interest-rate environment and rising inventory, should help homeowners hold on to their increased equity without throwing the market out of balance. In addition, the increase in long-term work-from-home policies promises to give a boost to a wide variety of markets, both now and in the years to come.     

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? WE HAVE ANSWERS
While economic indicators and trends are national, real estate is local. We’re here to answer your questions and help you understand what’s happening in your neighborhood. Reach out to learn how these larger movements affect our local market and your home’s value.   

Sources:

1. Realtor.com - https://www.realtor.com/research/december-2020-data/
2. New York Magazine - https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/why-this-economic-crisis-wont-be-as-bad-as-2008.html
3. Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/11/2021-housing-market-predictions/
4. Freddie Mac - http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20210114_quarterly_economic_forecast.page?
5. Wall Street Journal - https://www.wsj.com/articles/housing-market-stays-tight-as-homeowners-stay-put-11611226802?mod=re_lead_pos1
6. Marketwatch - https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-home-construction-activity-soars-to-highest-level-in-over-a-decade-as-builders-rush-to-produce-single-family-homes-2021-01-21
7. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/noahkirsch/2021/01/14/signs-of-a-rebound-new-york-city-rent-prices-are-climbing-back
8. Washington Post - https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/07/condo-sales-rebound-amid-dwindling-inventory-houses/
9. Mortgage Professional America - https://www.mpamag.com/news/fannie-mae-chief-economists-forecast-for-us-economy-housing-market-in-2021-244045.aspx
10. Inman - https://www.inman.com/2020/11/09/what-a-joe-biden-presidency-means-for-real-estate-and-housing/

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 24, 2021

No Top in Sight in housing price or is a bubble coming?

At beginning of COVID,  everyone rushed to the market and purchased toilet paper.  There wasn't enough supply to sustain the sudden demand.  Shelves were empty in no time.  People got desperate and started buying toilet paper at a price that is higher than what they normally would pay.        

Sounds like the real estate market today.  Inventory is scarce and there are way more buyers than homes for sale.  10, 15, 20 buyers fighting over the same property became the norm.  Buyers that really have to buy get desperate and pay a price that is higher than others.  Home value climbing rapidly.      

Let's quickly recap how we got to this crazy market.   Prior to the lockdown, the interest rate dropped from 3.75% to 3.5%, the lowest since 2013. Throw in the fact that many millennials are at the age of purchasing a home, it's no surprise that the market was hot in February 2020.  This was Pre-Pandemic.     

Then, a pandemic happened.  Demand and supply both stalled. Until the interest rate dropped further to a record low.  As matter of fact, we saw a 16 record low last year on the interest rate.  Savvy buyers taking advantage of the market swarm the market.  Demand heated up causing the available inventory to decrease even further.  The lower the rate dropped, the hotter the market became.   


Homes priced close to their fair market values are getting a swarm of activities, multiple offers.  One agent inquiring on a listing of mine told me 10 offer is considered "workable".  Since when 10 offer is considered workable?!      

Now comes the popular belief that a crash is coming.....is it?  I don't think so and here is why.....
       

There were over 6 times more homes to purchase in 2006 (a year before the crash).  Homes were actually far less affordable with an interest rate of 6.5%.  Don't believe me?  If you borrowed $400,000 at 6.5% with a 20% down, you can purchase a home up to $500,000 in 2006.  You will be looking at a mortgage payment of around $2500.  With today's interest rate of 2.75%,  the same payment of $2500 can allow you to borrow up to $625,000 and a purchase price of $781,250 with a 20% down.    

Prior to the crash in 2007,  Lender qualifications were loose, and selling a lot of subprimes (less qualified) loans, zero down, or interest-only loan.  When the economy shifted,  a lot of these sub-prime borrowers cannot keep up with the payment and have to let the house go in foreclosure.    

A combination of already high inventory,  low affordability, and irresponsible lending is what caused the crash in 2007.  The housing market today has an extremely strong foundation with years of tight lending practice, large downpayment, plenty of nested, less supply, and better affordability.  .  We have none of the problems that caused the crash in 2007.        

Buyers should not worry ab out paying too much in todays market.  The underlining reason that sustain the market is not going to change soon.  Instead buyers should look at their family budget and determine how much they can afford comfortably and then aggressive pursue a home.  Waiting really is not an option as the home value will continue to go up and mortgage rate still low! 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 6, 2021

How I Applied What I Learned From Toilet Paper Shortage To Buying A House In Today's Market

Hi, this is Jack Ma w/ Jack Ma Real Estate Group in Brea.  Thank you for watching Residential Real Estate Made Simple.

When you see the title,  you probably were thinking...Jack. you must be out of your mind...what does toilet paper shortage anything to do with buying a house?  What did you learn?  Well...There are more similarities than you think so let's have some fun and hear me out!  

They both started with a discrepancy in supply and demand.  There are a lot more buyers than sellers on the market.  Sellers have more control and leverage thus the price goes up.   When COVID-19 broke out last year,  people panicked and rushed to the stores and bought all the toilet paper they could get their hands on and started hoarding.  As a result paper towels are so hard to come by and people ended up paying for more than they normally would.  

So what did I learn and how will that help you buy a house today? 
 

1. Be the first one to know the inventory - I used to check the inventory status throughout the day to see if the store restocks on the toilet paper.  Similarly set up notifications to receive listings as soon they are on the market.  Join Real Estate groups in social media to find any coming soon listings. 

2. Expand your search area -  When I couldn't find toilet paper in say...target...I would go to Walmart or Costco to see if they are available.  When it comes to real estate...are there similar cities that you don't mind buying? The more cities of choice you have, the more houses you can choose from. 

3. Be Ready to pay more and make decisions fast - There were times when I was struggling with deciding if I want to pay extra for toilet paper and the next thing I know...it went out of stock.  So when you see a house you like, act fast and be more aggressive with the price.  Your competition or a buyer that is more motivated may not give you the time to wait and be conservative on the price.  

4. Find alternative source   - I remember asking a few friends in the restaurant industry to see if they can get toilet paper from their vendors.  How does that work in todays real estate market?  Find home owners that are thinking about selling buy are not yet on the market.  You not only can avoid the competition, you may also get a better price. 

Ahhh...what did I say?  There are more similarity than you think right?  

I am doing this topic today because I know a lot of buyers are extremely frustrated being outbid and  weren't able to get into homes.  Hope these tips will help.  

Also,  as part of my job as a real estate agent,  I talk to 20-30 home owners about real estate and I come across people every day that are thinking about selling.  So I may have a alternative source for you.  If you have an area that you are looking,  I can help you find a seller.  Give me a call!  

Did you enjoy this fun topic today?  As always, if you like this video, like my Facebook page,  subscribe to my YouTube channel and I look forward to talk to you soon!

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 1, 2021

5 Inspiring Home Design and Remodeling Trends for 2021

We’ve all spent a lot more time at home over the past year. And for many of us, our homes have become our office, our classroom, our gym—and most importantly, our safe haven during times of uncertainty. So it’s no surprise to see that design trends for 2021 revolve around soothing color palettes, cozy character, and quiet retreats.

Even if you don’t have immediate plans to buy or sell your home, we advise our clients to be mindful of modern design preferences when planning a remodel or even redecorating. Over-personalized or unpopular renovations could lower your property’s value. And selecting out-of-style fixtures and finishes could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

To help inspire your design projects this year, we’ve rounded up five of the hottest trends.  Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate your property, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.  

1. Uplifting Colors    

Colors are gravitating toward warm and happy shades that convey a sense of coziness, comfort, and wellbeing. This year’s palettes draw from earthy hues, warm neutrals, and soothing blues and greens.    

While white and gray are still safe options, expect to see alternative neutrals become increasingly popular choices for walls, cabinets, and furnishings in 2021. For a fresh and sophisticated look, try one of these 2021 paint colors of the year: 

Aegean Teal (coastal blue) by Benjamin Moore  
Urbane Bronze (brownish-gray) by Sherwin-Williams 
Soft Candlelight (muted yellow) by Valspar   

On the opposite end of the spectrum, indigo, ruby, sapphire and plum are showing up on everything from fireplace mantels and floating shelves to fabrics and home accessories. These classic, rich hues can help bring warmth, depth, and a touch of luxury to your living space.    

To incorporate these colors, designers recommend using the “60-30-10 Rule.” Basically, choose a dominant color to cover 60% of your room. For example, your walls, rugs, and sofa might all be varying shades of beige or gray. Then layer in a secondary color for 30% of the room. This might include draperies and accent furniture. Finally, select an accent color for 10% of your room, which can be showcased through artwork and accessories. 

2. Curated Collections      

After a decade of minimalism, there’s been a shift towards highly-decorative and personalized interiors that incorporate more color, texture, and character. Clearly-defined styles (e.g., mid-century modern, industrial, modern farmhouse) are being replaced by a curated look, with furnishings, fixtures, and accessories that appear to have been collected over time. 

This trend has extended to the kitchen, where atmosphere has become as important as functionality. The ubiquitous all-white kitchen is fading in popularity as homeowners opt for unique touches that help individualize their space. If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, consider mixing in other neutrals—like gray, black, and light wood—for a more custom, pieced-together look. And instead of a subway tile backsplash, check out zellige tile (i.e., handmade, square Moroccan tiles) for a modern alternative with old-world flair.     

3. Reimagined Living Spaces      

The pandemic forced many of us to rethink our home design. From multipurpose rooms to converted closets to backyard cottages, we’ve had to find creative ways to manage virtual meetings and school. And designers expect these changes to impact the way we live and work for years to come.

For example, some home builders are predicting the end of open-concept floor plans as we know them.5 Instead, buyers are searching for cozier spaces with more separation and privacy. Cue the addition of alcoves, pocket doors, and sliding partitions that enable homeowners to section off rooms as needed. 

The necessity of a home office space is also here to stay. But what if you don’t have a dedicated room? Alternative workspaces have become increasingly popular. In fact, one of the biggest trends on Pinterest this year is the “cloffice”—essentially a spare closet turned home office. Searches for “home library design” and “bookshelf room divider” are on the rise, as well.    

4. Staycation-Worthy Retreats       

With travel options limited right now, more homeowners are turning their vacation budgets into staycation budgets. Essentially, recreate the resort experience at home—and enjoy it 365 days a year!

Bedrooms should provide a soothing sanctuary for rest and relaxation. But this year, minimalist decor and muted colors are giving way to bolder statement pieces. To create a “boutique hotel” look in your own bedroom, start with a large, upholstered headboard in a rich color or pattern. Layer on organic linen bedding and a chunky wool throw, then complete the look with a pair of matching bedside wall lights. 

Carry those vacation-vibes into your bathroom with some of the top luxury upgrades for 2021. Curbless showers and freestanding tubs continue to be popular choices that offer a modern and spacious feel, and large-format shower tiles with minimal grout lines make clean up a breeze. Add a floating vanity and aromatherapy shower head for the ultimate spa-like experience.  

5. Outdoor Upgrades    

From exercise to gardening to safer options for entertaining, the pandemic has led homeowners to utilize their outdoor spaces more than ever. In fact, backyard swimming pool sales skyrocketed in 2020, with many installers reporting unprecedented demand.8 But a new pool isn’t the only way homeowners can elevate their outdoor areas this year.

The home design website Houzz recently named 2021 “the year of the pergola.” They’re a relatively quick and affordable option to add shade and ambiance to your backyard.4 Another hot trend? Decked-out, custom playgrounds for exercising (and occupying) the youngest family members who may be missing out on school and extracurricular activities. 

But don’t limit your budget to the backyard. Landscapers are reporting an increase in front yard enhancements, including porch additions and expanded seating options. These “social front yards” enable neighbors to stay connected while observing social-distancing guidelines.      

DESIGNED TO SELL

Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Buyer preferences vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share our insights and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

1. Good Housekeeping  - https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/g34762178/home-decor-trends-2021/

2. The Spruce –  https://www.thespruce.com/timeless-color-rule-797859 

3. Homes & Gardens –  https://www.homesandgardens.com/news/interior-design-trends-2021

4. Houzz –  https://www.houzz.com/magazine/36-home-design-trends-ready-for-takeoff-in-2021-stsetivw-vs~142229851

5. Zillow - https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-end-of-open-floor-plans-how-homes-will-look-different-after-coronavirus-301080662.html

6. Pinterest - https://business.pinterest.com/content/pinterest-predicts/more-door/

7. Homes & Gardens -https://www.homesandgardens.com/spaces/decorating/bedroom-trends-224944 

8. Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-pools/pool-sales-skyrocket-as-consumers-splash-out-on-coronavirus-cocoons-idUSKCN2520HW

9. Realtor.com - https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/2021-design-trends/

10. Realtor Magazine - https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2020/12/09/4-outdoor-home-trends-that-may-gain-steam-in-2021

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 28, 2021

It's boiling hot!

Have you heard about the frenzy on Playstation 5 or Xbox this past holiday season? These gaming systems with an MSRP of $500 were selling for $1500 on eBay.  Why?  The number of buyers that want one outpace the number of units available for sale and a bidding war started to happen.    

Sounds familiar? That is exactly what happens in the real estate market. When a commodity drops to a price that is too good to pass up or it's offering a lot of value,  everyone flocks to purchase. It's not that the housing market had dropped 40%, instead,  the historic low-interest rate had lowered the holding cost of a loan by 25%. Essentially it is 25% cheaper to own a home today vs 2 years ago.     

With 25% cheaper to own, would you jump on it? Probably! This is exactly why we are seeing the demand for housing boiling over.  


If you have been following my blogs or youtube channel, you will know that in 2020,  the total home equity in the United State has gone up by 1 Trillion dollars!  That's trillion with a T!  Not Billion.  Not Million... Trillion!  In Southern California,  the home prices had gone up slightly over 10%.  Why so much so fast?    

If you look at the chart below, you can see why buyers are willing to pay more for a house which led to the rapid appreciation of value.
     


With the historic low-interest rate,  buyers' buying power simply increased also by 25%!  In a bidding war situation,  they have more "bullets" to compete with other offers.     

To make the situation more interesting, the inventory had dipped to a historic low level as well. There are less than 7606 homes for sale in LA county today compare to 8770 last year. It's even worse in Orange County with a current inventory at 2627 compared to 4023 last year. That's almost 50% less homes for sale.    

With rock-solid demand and exceptionally low supply,  the market is unbelievably hot and heavy in the seller's favor.    

The bottom line is that if the rate climbs up, we will see demand dropping and the market cooling down,  homes will take longer to sell which as a result increases the number of supply. Is there any logical reason to see the interest rate go with all the uncertainty out there? 

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 21, 2021

5 Bold Prediction for 2021

Happy new year everyone,  its Monday the week of January 18,  welcome to Residential Real Estate Made Simple.  This is Jack Ma with Century 21 Masters in Walnut.   

With 2020 finally behind us and we are now two weeks into 2021,  what are we seeing now?  Well... Exactly the same with the exception that we are more used to this new way of life.   

We are at the beginning of the year so I want to offer five bold predictions for 2021 for you all that are wondering what will this year look like. 
Let's jump right into it... 

1.  Home prices will continue to rise - as you may know, the supply is at all-time low,  and the demand is the highest since 2013.  Based on the law of supply and demand, the price will continue to go up.     

2. Inventory will remain tight -  The cost of moving up for most sellers who become buyers is too high.  Prices have gotten so high but income is not rising fast enough.  It becomes very difficult for sellers with equity to be able to finance and buy a new larger home at a price they would like.
         

3. Most listings will sell and sell quickly - Motivated sellers who priced somewhat reasonably will see a flurry of buyers and offers.       

4. Interest rate will remain low - There just simply no logical reason to see the interest rate go up significantly.  If anything,  it will continue to decline.     

5. Number of transactions remain steady - We had strong years in real estate in terms of the number of transactions done in the nation and there shouldn’t be any major ups and downs in that number.   

There you have it......it’s always fun to come back to this video at end of 2021 to see how many of these come true.   

In the meantime,  if you are thinking about buying or selling, or just have questions about real estate,  feel free to reach out to me at 909-324-8584 for a free quick chat or consultation.     

As always, if you find this video interesting, like it, share it, and subscribe to my YouTube channel and Facebook page below!

I look forward to talking to you soon!

 

Posted in Market Updates