It is unlikely the Federal Reserve will be increasing interest rates this month after a weak May job report (only 38,000 jobs created, 117,000 less than expected and the worst month for job creation in nearly six years). According to experts, the likelihood of a rate hike is down to a measly 4 percent, and that trend may carry over into July.
Thus, this summer could prove to be the hot time to buy or sell a home. In California – specifically the East Bay – selling season tends to be in the spring. Once we move into the middle of May, buyers and sellers become distracted with graduations, weddings, etc.
And once school is out everyone moves into vacation mode through mid-August, before families start getting ready for going back to school. Usually, we see an uptick in the number of homes that are on the market in the summer compared to the the spring. With continued low rates, this summer might buck that trend with buyers out to purchase.
To prepare, buyers should be pre-qualified for a mortgage before they start shopping and, ideally, desktop underwritten. It is best if buyers don’t make an offer contingent on the sale of their own home. For sellers, they should be ready to make themselves and their homes available for show. At minimum, have a staging consult done. Try to have your home staged before a showing.
Statistics show clean and pristine homes that are staged properly sell faster and for more money than ones that are not. Necessary improvements, such as new painting, replaced fixtures and refreshed house plants are huge for staging.
It is about getting it show and picture-worthy and keeping it neutral, not spending a lot of money on upgrades. As is the case with personal preferences, “What you think is a nice improvement is another man’s gold shag carpeting.”
The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) report that 69 percent of Americans are looking for ways to simplify their lives. Furthermore, they say, 74 percent of Americans will walk out of a store – even if they have exactly what that person is looking for – if the service is poor. And 45 percent of U.S. consumers say they are likely to pay for a service that provides extra convenience in their lives. See their graphic below:
So, what’s the conclusion here? Consumers value time, and therefore convenience. This also translates to buying a home. Home buyers these days, especially millennials, want updated and move-in ready homes. They want properties conveniently located nearby public transportation or in an area with a high walking score.
As a seller, taking care of deferred maintenance, updates or remodeling will appeal to these convenience consumers. Though you can’t change the location, you can highlight positive conveniences. As a buyer, know that living without some of these things may either get you a home or a better deal.
Good luck reading this blog and not drooling everywhere. In the most recent issue of Walnut Creek Magazine, they laid out a long list of new restaurants coming to town. Here is a quick run down of twelve new places to eat.
As part of Walnut Creek’s transition from sleepy suburb to must-see Capitol of the East Bay, the already thriving restaurant scene is getting another injection of new, hip hot spots.
First, let’s talk about pizza. As if we weren’t already spoiled by good pizza joints in Walnut Creek, MOD Pizza is moving into The Orchards, Slice House – from the world-famous Tony’s in San Francisco – will set up shop right below Teleferic and Rooftop, and Pizza My Heart will snag Project Pie’s old space on California.
The artist formerly known as Pyramid is going to be (highly-anticipated BBQ joint) Sauced, McCovey’s is turning into brunch king Momo’s, and the Hubcaps team is transforming their space into Broderick Roadhouse.
Lemonade, a SoCal chain that serves fresh California cuisine, is coming to the old La Boulange space, and the aforementioned Rooftop is already enjoying a swell of crowds every night to dine and drink under the stars.
Looking for comfort food among all the fancy feasting joints? Hops & Scotch on Treat Blvd. will bring a restaurant and bar with mac n’ cheese, chicken strips, fried cheese curds and more.
And just to pile on top of the never-ending sushi craze, Kona Grill will enter at The Agora on Main, and also offer burgers and pasta.
Lastly, look for Limon Rotisserie and Lokanta Mediterranean Grill & Bar on Locust St.
Whew … just in time for summer dining!
One of the greatest joys of my job is presenting my clients with the key to their new home or telling a seller their home is SOLD. Below are some pictures of celebrating with my happy clients as they receive those keys, sign their loan documents and enjoy their congratulatory “let’s celebrate” baskets after closing!
2015 was a great year for many reasons. Celebrating with some Better Homes and Gardens colleagues at our awards ceremony – I was Emerald Elite in the company and #3 in our office. From left to right: celebrating with Laura Wucher, Vyana Chain, me, and Rose Brudigan. Cheers! (I love the phone and purse on the table and the wine in Rose’s hand).
As prices for housing, hotels and, well, pretty much everything continue to skyrocket in San Francisco, travelers are starting to realize they can stay in the East Bay and BART to and from the city in order to save a lot of money. This will have a direct effect on Walnut Creek, which is right on the BART line and becoming a hotspot anyway.
New hotels are being reviewed for Walnut Creek, including a 160-room business traveler-targeted Marriott Residence Inn near BART (where the Jaguar/Range Rover dealership and Bank of the West are currently situated) that would open this time next year. The city has also reportedly discussed a boutique hotel being built in the downtown corridor.
On one hand, this means more visitors discovering our beautiful little city and, therefore, more of a boost to the local economy. On the other hand, it means even more crowds and traffic. Higher prices for food, movie tickets and shopping. More loud, rowdy party-goers hopping from Crogan’s to Tiki Tom’s to Stadium Pub. You take the good with the bad.
Either way, if this hotel boom in the East Bay continues, it will accelerate Walnut Creek’s transition from small suburb to a must-visit Bay Area destination. I have already heard a few opinions of how people feel about Walnut Creek’s growth…please share your comments too! It’s always a hot topic.