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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
The Federal Reserve Dilemma

Whether financing a television, a car, a home, we have been enjoying the fruits of historically low interest rates for several years.  These low rates have significantly increased our purchasing power and affordability.  That new car became exceptionally more attractive with a 2% interest rate than at 7%.  Would you have bought the new home for the same price if the interest rate was 6% instead of 4.25%?  Conversations about the economy’s health have become synonymous with interest rates.  To raise, or not to raise, that is the question facing the Federal Reserve and a dilemma they are faced with at each meeting in recent months.  With a strengthening economy, manageable unemployment, and increased confidence, determining the right time to pull back on the buyback program and start raising rates is a sensitive situation with many moving parts.

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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto
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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suzanne sarto