Welcome to my Blog!
January 8, 2018
Happy New Year! As the New Year begins, inventory remains low - very low! The total homes for sale in Santa Clara County is 366 and 179 in San Mateo County. There will be more inventory in the Spring so no one should give up. The housing market is fluid - always changing. Right now, there are a couple outstanding influences that should not be overlooked:
- TAXES - The combination of capital gains and state taxes carve a significant dent in the proceeds and many Seniors feel 'trapped' by the huge gains and consequential loss to their net worth. They are concerned about their offspring being able to afford to live as they did so they stay in the home as long as they can.
- PROPERTY TAXES - In 2017, only 11 counties in California signed up for Proposition 90 whereby an individual could transfer their current taxes as long as their purchase was equal to or less than the sale price of the home they sold. This limitation could be hindering the livelihood and happiness of Seniors who want to relocate near family members. The California Association of Realtors has proposed an adjustment to this Proposition whic would allow a transference of tax equal to the sale price of their home anywhere in the state with a reassessment applied only to the portion that exceeds their sale amount, which is then added to their taxes. (eg. Home sale price in Santa Clara $1250000 with current taxes at $5000. Home purchase price in Sonoma County $1600000. Taxes are $5000 plus the assessed value for $350000 in Sonoma county. The resulting taxes are significantly less than the $18,000 on a full assessment of the purchase in Sonoma County. This is now a 'proposal by the C.A.R.' as a measure to ease the tax burden to Seniors, allow them more optins and ease the housing crisis hopefully.
- LIMITED OPTIONS IN REPLACEMENT PROPERTIES - "Where do I go?" The housing shortage extends beyond California. I am hearing of multiple offers from colleagues in other parts of the Country. Overbids in Wisconsin? Multiple offers in Ohio? I heard of this in an elevator in Chicago at the NAR Conference. The Broker shook his head, "Can you believe they paid $25,000 over the list price!". I just shook my head, "Amaaazing!".
November 28, 2017
As my year as President comes to an end, I have time to reflect on some of the wonderful experiences of representing the membership of Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR). I have had the honor of travelling to Sacramento, Washington, D.C. and the C.A.R. meetings to represent our group and the interests of homeowners in the Silicon Valley area. If there is one 'most impressive' take-away, it is the strength of the Realtor lobby and the integrity of its purpose. The structure, organization and intellect of the supporting group is amazing. Our briefing paperwork, the structured agenda and the attention from Congress in both Capitols is overwhelming. I am so proud to be affiliated with this group of people. And the Realtors and Brokers are all volunteers. Thank you to all who supported me and allowed me this great honor.
November 14, 2017
The following is a message from our President, Mike Hulme. Upon learning the devastating impact of the wildfires in Northern California, Alain Pinel Realtors extended a challenge to our agents throughout the company that they would match the first $50,000 donated to the fund! See below the stunning results of the campaign.
The last several weeks have proved a tremendous challenge for our friends and neighbors in Napa, Sonoma, and elsewhere in California as fires ravaged homes and communities. We’ve been saddened by the tragic loss of life and now face the hard realities of rebuilding our neighborhoods and putting the lives of thousands of Californians back together.
Despite the devastation, however, I am hopeful. I’m hopeful because in the worst of times I’ve seen the spirit of selflessness and support from strangers, friends, neighbors, and the agents of Alain Pinel Realtors. In particular, I have been awed by your advocacy and generosity through The North Bay Fire Relief Fund we created – and elsewhere – to help others and to restore our communities.
Due to your compassion, hard work, and selflessness, this APR fundraiser met our donation goals. In less than two weeks, you raised $53,490. And all of us at APR are thrilled to meet our company pledge to match dollar-for-dollar the first $50,000 you raised. In a few days, we will present a check for $103,490 to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund to help victims of the fires.
Although there’s a long road ahead for all affected by this tragedy, the support from you, the dedicated agents responsible for APR’s successes, will make a huge difference helping our neighbors rebuild. I want to thank you all for your dedication to our community and for answering the call to help our neighbors in the North Bay. I could not be more proud of the APR family.
Alain Pinel Realtors®
October 2, 2017
Tax reform proposal will shrink middle class and hurt homeownership
An outline for comprehensive tax reform released by a group of legislators and administration leaders known as the “Big Six,” if enacted, could lead to a tax on homeownership for millions of Americans, according to the National Association of Realtors. The plan is opposed by the national Realtor group, the California Association of Realtors, and real estate industry.
The proposed plan doubles the standard deduction and eliminates all personal deductions except the mortgage interest deduction and the deduction for charitable contributions. The plan eliminates the deduction for state and local taxes.
NAR estimates this one-two punch will deliver a crippling blow to middle class homeowners by removing economic incentives for homeownership and raising taxes by an average of $851. By doubling the standard deduction, the mortgage interest deduction would only be available to the top 5 percent of taxpayers.
“This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions. When combined with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, these efforts represent a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners,” said Bill Brown, president of the national Realtor group.
In California, the tax plan would eliminate the incentive for people to buy homes, shrink the middle class, and raise taxes on hundreds of thousands of homeowners. According to the state Realtor association, the average California homebuyer could end up paying $3,000 more a year in taxes under today’s proposal.
“Homeownership has and continues to be the best way for families to grow wealth and increase the middle class. Congress should look at ways to incentivize and increase homeownership rates, not increase taxes on families wanting to buy a home,” said Geoff McIntosh, president of the state Realtor group.
Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, also registered Realtor concerns on what the tax plan would do for homeownership. “The plan would nullify the incentive to purchase a home, bring down home values across the country, and hurt the American dream of homeownership.”
Welsh noted numerous studies have shown the value Americans place in homeownership and its tangible social benefits. “Owning a home has had long-standing government support in this country,” said Welsh. “Historically, lawmakers have understood the value of homeownership in fostering communities, creating social stability, and building wealth over the long term.”
Homeownership helps lower community crime rates and provides more neighborhood stability. Homeowners’ involvement in community quality-of-life issues helps prevent crime, improve childhood education and support neighborhood upkeep.
“For more than 100 years, Realtors have helped people become homeowners,” said Welsh. “Families need a place to call home, and the pride and community engagement that comes with homeownership continues to stand the test of time. Purchasing a home is an investment in the community. People have greater stake in what happens in their local area when they own rather than rent. Families and neighborhoods build lifelong bonds that create strong foundations for future generations.”
This is an interesting article about the strategy for listing your home and obtaining the highest price. Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.
July 16, 2017
One of the biggest challenges we used to face was working with the appraisers - ensuring they understood the value of the home we were selling and the unique amenities that supported the purchase price. All of that changed in 2010 with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. With the passage of that Act, the Appraisal Management Companies (AMC) were formed to ensure there was no 'undue influence' by Realtors or lenders in the appraisal process. So, the common procedure by most lenders is to employ this third party, the AMC, to hire an appraiser for evaluation for the loan. Initially, an agent didn't know who would end up appraising the property or whether they had any knowledge of that local market. An appraiser from santa Barbara wouldd be called to value something in Burlingame! C.A.R. fought to have legislation passed that would require some local experience and proximity guidelines. It helped but now we face a different challenge - the "Cost per Sq. Ft. vs. Quality per Sq. Ft.".
In the past 7 years, many of the distressed properties and older homes that have traded hands in the Santa Clara County have been remodeled either by homeowners or contractors who have made a business of 'flipping homes'. Some of the properties currently on the market are virtually 'new' by the standards of professional workmanship and amenities required in today's tech-driven world. In the older, established neighborhoods, these are compared to some of the shoddy remodels and expansions that include non-permitted electrical, decaying plumbing and tasteless interior designs. A web-based evaluation (such as Zillow, Redfin) will misrepresent the true value of a home with calculations based on statistics and data. Homes are still bought primarily on emotion and with subjective criteria unique to that individual buyer.
Recently, someone said to me, "Realtors hate Zillow because it' going to take away your job"! I responded, "Actually, companies like Zillow make my job more important!". Why? Because when the appraiser shows up to view the home, I have a list of notes on all the homes that have sold recently in that area with notations on the home, the condition and the 'obscure'!!
Have a great day!
July 21. 2017
News in and around Los Altos:
The city-wide pavement improvement projects are about to begin so i have attached the schedule posted by the city