Friday, September 20, 2013

Age Makes A Difference in Your Home Choice

We all are probably aware that as you age, your needs and desires in a home likely will change. If you have children, for instance, once they grow up and move away, you probably will find yourself looking for a smaller home. Retiring often causes people to move to a new locale for health or weather reasons.
Beyond these instances, however, there are many other connections between what you buy to live in and why.
A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors found sharp differences in the choices made by younger and older homebuyers, reflecting different life situations and changing priorities.
For example:
Younger buyers choose older homes. As age of the buyer increases, the age of the home declines, with younger buyers tending to choose single-family homes and older buyers opting for townhouses and condos.
Among homebuyers age 32 and younger, 79 percent are buying their first property, compared with only 5 percent among buyers ages 67 to 87. The percentage drops reliably as homebuyers get older, until those age 88 and above. Then, curiously, the trend reverses course. Among the eldest senior citizens, 13 percent of homebuyers are finally ready to take the plunge.
There are many reasons for purchasing a home, but younger buyers tend to want a home of their own, while older buyers want to downsize and also to be closer to family and friends.
Younger buyers don’t move far from their previous homes, often staying within 10 miles. Older buyers move longer distances, typically more than 20 miles from their previous residences.
Commuting costs are important to younger buyers. Older buyers place a higher importance on landscaping for energy conservation and environmentally friendly community features.
As buyers get older, they are less willing to make compromises with their home purchase. Younger buyers tend to make sacrifices on the price, size, and condition of the home purchased.
Older sellers are more likely to reduce the asking price for their home but are less likely to offer other incentives such as home-warranty policies or assistance with closing costs.
Younger sellers typically want their real estate professional to help sell their home within a specific time frame, while older sellers are more likely to want help marketing the home to potential buyers.
So, when you feel it's time to move, you have more reasons than ever to use a good Realtor to help. Call us and you tap into a combined 45 plus years of experience in Marin real estate. Even better, if you're one of the 'move away' retirees, call us anyway. From our long experience with transferees, we have developed numerous contacts with real estate agents across the country, and, in a few cases, overseas. Whatever the need, we can help.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Values Go Up In Smoke

Trying to stop smoking? Still having trouble? Looking for another reason besides your good health to do so? Well, pay attention!  A recent survey of Realtors showed that the lingering smell of cigarette smoke can have a very negative affect on the sales price of a home. Of those surveyed, 44% said the smell of cigarette smoke will reduce the sale price of a home. The average reduction in value of all surveyed was about 20%, but a full third of the Realtors being asked stated the reductions in value could be anywhere from 20-29% over the same home without the smell of smoke. To put that into actual Dollars, if your home would be worth $1 million, a twenty per cent cut would cost you $200,000. Carrying this further a 29% reduction would be a full $290,000! That's a mighty expensive bad habit, to say the least!
Even if you own a condo whose value is 400,000, the 20% cut from smoke smell is $80,000, and the max from the survey, 29%, is $116,000--still quite a bite out of your wallet.
So, if concerns for your health aren't enough to get you to stop puffing, take a look at the health of your bank account and act accordingly.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Home Prices & Home Improvements

Both subjects for this installment of our commentary are important for you to know. In the former, the levels and directions of prices can be very helpful if you're trying to decide to sell, and they can equally give you a push to get your home buying into gear before the same house costs you more than you'd planned on paying.

In the former, values. here's the latest.
Year-over-year increases in U.S. home prices continued for the 17th consecutive month in July, according to CoreLogic.Stacks of coins
The company’s monthly Home Price Index (HPI) report found that home prices–including distressed sales–grew 12.4 percent year-over-year in July and 1.8 percent from the previous month. Home prices are now within 18 percent of their all-time highs, set in April 2006, according to CoreLogic CEO and President Anand Nallathambi.
Western states led the country in year-over-year price hikes, with Nevada placing first at 27 percent. California came in second with 23.2 percent, followed by Arizona (17 percent), Wyoming (16.4 percent), and Oregon (15 percent). 

Even more important in this regard is the fact that Marin County homes have been climbing even more rapidly. While the pace has slowed somewhat from the spring, we are still inventory short, and that, coupled with fears of higher interest rates, is still driving people to buy and pushing prices higher as the competition for homes surges ahead of interest rates.

As far as the second item in our heading, improvements, is concerned, there are ways to achieve this without getting heavily into actual construction. One of the best of these is upgrading to a 'smart home'.
Many new homes today have “smart home” technologies already wired into their walls, offering a range of automated options that were unthinkable even 10 years ago. And owners of existing homes will soon be scrambling to catch up, if they haven’t already done so.
Smart homes have home-security and energy-management devices that can be controlled from a smartphone or over the Internet. Some of these devices allow homeowners to control or monitor their homes’ thermostats or door locks from anywhere.

Furthermore, while some smart-home technologies  call for new wiring in the home and expert help, you can still bring your home into the 21st century all by yourself. made news earlier this week when it opened a Home Automation store, selling programmable thermostats, smart locks, sensors, video monitors, and more. The online store also offers introductory guides for those of us not expert in the latest networking and automation technologies.
Meanwhile, Apple is seeking a patent on new technology that can turn a device like its iPhone into a smart-home remote control, according to a report last week from the tech website SlashGear. Soon, taking photos and sending text messages with your phone will take a backseat to remotely managing your home theater and audio systems–even changing the lighting in your living room or kitchen.
Technology is already available that allows an average homeowner to set up and manage a variety of smart-home services that require only a network connection and a smartphone or tablet.
The Babble website recently profiled six such “mobile-controlled gadgets and services” for the home: smart-lock technologies, wireless cameras, security and motion-sensing systems, home automation systems, media servers, and wireless speakers. For details check with your contractor.