Summertime: The Uncertain Market

It’s every child’s favorite time of year – summertime! It’s one of my favorite times of year in real estate because year after year uncertainty kicks in and we see a market that changes before our eyes, if only for a handful of months. In the past week, multiple real estate professionals contacted me to discuss observations of a slowing trend in their neighborhood. This is not a surprise, as with every summer cycle we see specific trends irrespective of compounding variables such as the current political climate and global uncertainties. Are we experiencing the typical adjustment to the market or is something greater brewing? It is too early to gauge, but I think it is a timely conversation to discuss what you can expect in the coming months and those factors that should get special attention.

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suzanne sarto
What Market Cycle Are We In?

What market cycle are we in and how does that impact my buying/selling decision? It’s a great question, but the answer is more complicated: Which cycle are you referring to? And what action do you plan to take based on the response? You may hear that summer is the best time to sell your property, but are you aware that many bay area residents travel internationally during the summer months and your best buyers may be out of town? How about knowing the right time to buy? There are many variables to consider that will impact timing for your purchase. I argue we constantly have two independent cycle forces in play – Seasonal forces and Climate-driven forces. I will address each, their respective nuances, and ways to maximize your goals within the cycles.

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suzanne sarto
My 2017 Forecast

2016 in Review: I am sure you agree – this has been a year of surprises. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, Britain approved the Brexit and will leave the EU, and the U.S. Presidential Election shocked the world (except for Peter Theil). Additionally, the Fed did not raise the interest rate in 2016, as anticipated.

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Bay Area Rental Market: A Slowing Trend

Would you believe that rental prices have flattened and are lowering in some areas?  If you ask ten people almost all of them will say, “The rental market is hot,” but if you are looking for a rental or have one to lease, you may have a different perspective.

This is not something I expected to see this year – with the strong bay area job market and confidence flying high with all-time peaks in the stock market. I expected the rental market to continue a strong run at least through 2016.

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The Summer Market: My Perspective

Summer is quickly approaching. As we bid farewell to the spring market, we must remember that it has provided a gauge of the market momentum that is likely to continue through summer.  As 2016 progresses, it has been interesting to watch the small nuances and changes that affect the daily climate: anecdotal stories of buyer and seller motivation, sale price fluctuations and an overall paradigm shift in thinking.  How do you adjust your strategy in a changing climate?  Should you buy/sell now, or wait? How long until the market settles?

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Make The Most Of The Market: Must-Do Guide For Sellers & Buyers

The real estate market is dynamic: it goes up, it goes down and sometimes it is flat.  Regardless of its state, Buyers and Sellers can expect the best scenario by being smart – constantly evaluating the current conditions and understanding external variables that may impact the market now and into the coming quarters.

There will be Sellers and Buyers in any market, so how are we going to be the best Seller or best Buyer?  I work closely with my clients to bring them the most up-to-date information on the market, preparing them better than the competition and allowing us to be the best negotiator when it’s offer time.  Below I highlight and discuss the top missed opportunities to get the most out of the market – for both Sellers and Buyers. These are overlooked points I constantly see and things I make sure don’t happen to my clients.

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2016: Back To The Future?

We have seen a remarkable rise in net worth over the last several years recognized by increased portfolios and property values. Since January 2010, the S&P 500 has nearly doubled, the DJIA is up over 70%, and many local communities’ home values have increased over 60%. Our valley has experienced a remarkable transformation from the valley of silicon and chips to mobile technology and cloud computing. Heavy investor funding: from venture capital to private and conventional money, has fueled our innovation hubs and our portfolios. This bullish market is largely thanks to our friends at the Federal Reserve. 

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Common Core Curriculum: 2015 Report Card

California released the highly-anticipated student performance scores from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), also known as “common core,” this fall. Since the previous scoring system, STAR, ended in late 2013, many have been anxiously awaiting the new methodology and how it would impact student performance: will it be a better indicator of student success or create a larger divide among the star students and the students lacking the tools to be successful? These are the first results under the new testing process, so needless to say many districts, teachers and students are learning how to adapt.

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Be Prepared: El Niño 2015

Many forecasters are predicting that our rain levels this winter due to the El Niño weather pattern could be the strongest on record.  I remember the last big El Niño winter, 1997-98, when record storms pummeled the state.  Highway 101 was completely flooded, homes along the coast slid into the ocean, and there were severe flooding in the flats and mudslides in the mountains.  And to top it all off, wherever there was standing water, structural property damage and mold issues occurred.

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Where Are We Now: A Normal Cycle Or A Transitioning Market?

This summer was busy for global economy: the Greek bailout, China’s devaluation of currency, global market indexes on a roller coaster, tanking oil prices, and more Fed uncertainty about interest rates. What impact do these have on our local real estate market?

Locally, you may have noticed homes in your neighborhood taking a bit longer to sell or the selling prices seem lower than what you witnessed in spring.  Are these local factors stemming from the global occurrences from the summer?

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suzanne sarto
Foreign Investors vs. Millenials: The Future of Real Estate

You have likely heard about foreign investors buying up real estate in mass volume with suitcases of cash.  Experts and articles suggest this newer phenomena is driving the market with no end in sight with statistics supporting these claims.  I hear this conversation continue at coffee shops, dinner parties and the like.  I would like to suggest that the fear-mongering mentality of the news media has the goal to get the attention of the audience by selling stories, so I would like to provide an alternative perspective that I have assessed through my daily interactions with clients. 

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The Market’s Achilles Heel?

It has been an exciting time to live in the Silicon Valley.  Over the past decade we have seen new technologies change the way we (and the world) work and live.  We have robots cleaning our floors, semi self-driving cars and drones with high-definition cameras capturing the most precarious angels.  You may wake up to your friend’s current status updates on Facebook, or check the overnight emails from your team overseas.  Either way, we are in a dynamic environment that is ever-changing, so it makes sense that real estate does the same. 

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A Strategy To Sell Highly Appreciated Assets

I thought it was timely to discuss a strategy for selling your home for those families sitting on huge capital gains when they sell.  I have been working with a Financial Advisors, Advanced Trustee Strategies,  for many years that specializes in a unique strategy; it is not a 1031 exchange, or installment sale.  I have seen this strategy first hand and several years after the fact.  It is not a simple process, but I have helped many families navigate the details and successfully sell their homes utilizing this means with support from ATS.  This particular article is jointly written in order to bring this information to you.

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Walking On Thin Ice

Most would agree the stock market, company valuations and real estate values have seen a historic increase in recent years.  This increase has created a huge amount of wealth that otherwise may not have existed.  This wealth has enabled businesses and individuals to buy new cars, fund college accounts, re-invest in the market and upgrade their homes.

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A Summer Market or A Changing Market?

It’s like clockwork.  During summer you typically hear conversation about the real estate market being surprisingly slower than springtime.  The water cooler conversations and hypothesizing of what’s causing the change tends to fuel the fear mongers.  Your neighbor’s home didn’t have twenty offers like the other neighborhood sale just two months prior or the open house didn’t have two hundred people through, so the market must be cooling down.  Is the market shifting downward, or is it just summertime?

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It’s A Better Investment…

If you are investing in anything, the end goal is to make money.  Assuming this is your goal, we need to decide the best means to accomplish this result.  Over the past few quarters and I believe into the next several quarters, I hear talk about investing in other areas because of cash flow.  If you are in this position, this article is for you.  I’ve been told: “I’m buying investment property in other areas because it’s a better investment.”  This is a great way to start a dialogue about investing in real estate.

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More Boom, Less Gloom?

The market has been on quite a ride.  With continued historical low interest rates we have seen values exceed that of the last boom peak of 2008.  Fortunately, interest rates are still approximately 1.5% lower than the same time in 2008, but with many experts betting on the rates inching up we are left at a crossroads: take advantage and lock in the low rates or bet the rate increase exceeds affordability.  Keep in mind the local affordability in 2008 was in the 18-22% range.  I think this is a timely topic because a reasonable argument can be made for either decision.

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Remodeling: Lesson Learned

Remodeling. Does this word terrify you or excite you?  Remodeling your house is the second most difficult thing next to planning a wedding, so I’m told.  And while I don’t offer help with wedding planning, I certainly can help with the remodeling process.   I’ve enjoyed every opportunity to help my clients transform their home into their dream.  I’ve completed many remodels for my own properties, but until now there is one remodel I hadn’t completed: my personal home remodel.  After our wedding last October, Melissa and I started our journey through remodeling our family home.  My experience helped as a solid base for how to tackle our upcoming project, but through our remodeling journey I learned a number of things I wanted to share with you.

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