Friday, March 25, 2016

What Buyers DON'T Want

You've seen it over and over before.  What do Buyers want in a home? What 'special' item is important to most buyers?  Well, believe it or don't, there are actually some amenities that will chase Buyers away.  Here's a guide on things to avoid when putting in that 'special' thing that you're certain will make just the perfect difference.
Much has been written here (and elsewhere) about the most desirable amenities in a home.
But what about design features that homebuyers don’t want — amenities that will send potential purchasers to that other home for sale down the street? It’s better to know this now, before you spend money on that pet-washing station, thinking it will add value to your home (see below).
We presented a brief list of “home design don’ts” a few weeks ago, but a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders went into much greater detail, exploring unnecessary amenities overall and also broken down by age groups. The NAHB’s study is titled “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers,” and it tabulates results from a nationwide survey of more than 4,300 recent and prospective homebuyers. The four generations surveyed are millennials (born 1980 or later), Generation Xers (born 1965-1979), baby boomers (born 1946-1964), and seniors (born 1945 or earlier).

First off, take a look at the overall tastes of American homebuyers across all age groups. Here are the top 12 items they said they don’t want in a new home:
  1. Elevator (63 percent say they don’t want one)
  2. Pet-washing station (54 percent)
  3. Wine cellar (53 percent)
  4. Golf course (53 percent)
  5. Daycare center in the community (52 percent)
  6. High density — smaller lots and attached or multifamily buildings (46 percent)
  7. Cork flooring on the main level (45 percent)
  8. Dual toilets in the master bathroom (44 percent)
  9. Two-story family room (43 percent)
  10. Wet bar (42 percent)
  11. Two-story entry foyer (40 percent)
  12. Laminate countertop (40 percent).
But these results vary by age groups. It may come as no surprise that millennials and Gen Xers have no need for an in-home elevator, but senior citizens are not so dogmatic on that front. Seniors are unimpressed with an in-home day care center or a pet-washing station, with millennials slightly less so.
Curiously, wine cellars have no juice among seniors, baby boomers, and Gen Xers, but millennials probably wouldn’t rip one out if it was already there. (Note to Bay Area connoisseurs: Pay no attention to this particular finding. This was a nationwide survey, and people outside of Northern California don’t know what they’re missing.)
One final, curious observation: Millennials and Gen Xers hold laminate kitchen countertops in the same disregard that seniors hold for nearby baseball or soccer fields. Go figure.

Need more help? Give us a call! Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Bay Area Still HOT!

Well, one reliably consistent good thing about living in Marin is the continued position that its towns and cities have as being in very high demand.  If you're a Seller, this can only be good news!
For the seventh time in the past eight months, the San Francisco metro area ranked as the nation’s hottest real estate market in February, with other Golden State cities also experiencing high demand amid limited supply conditions.coit_rushill_small
That’s according to’s latest monthly analysis of the country’s most sought-after real estate markets, which it determines by calculating the number of listing views on its website and the fastest pace of sales. Nationwide, homes sold faster in February — an average of 96 days — on both a monthly and annual basis, as buyers returned to the market in droves, perhaps buoyed by interest rates that remain historically low.
“The people who didn’t buy last year were frustrated because they were outbid or couldn’t find a home that met their needs,” Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said. “So they more or less took the holidays off, and are back with way more intensity.”
Nowhere in the U.S. is demand for real estate as intense as it is in California, which claimed 12 of the 20 spots on’s list. The San Francisco metro area topped the hot-markets list for the fourth consecutive month, with a median-priced $774,000 home selling in an average of 25 days, the second-fastest pace of sales among the cities included in the analysis.
San Jose ranked as February’s second-hottest housing market — and also the country’s most expensive and fastest moving: a median list price of $898,000, and the average home snapped up in 19 days. In Vallejo, the country’s fifth most in-demand market, homes are considerably cheaper, with a median-priced $384,000 property taking 46 days to find a buyer.
California’s other red-hot real estate markets: San Diego (No. 6), Santa Cruz (No. 7), Santa Rosa (No. 8), Stockton (No. 9), Oxnard (No. 10), Sacramento (No. 11), Los Angeles (No. 12), Modesto (No. 14), and Eureka (No. 15). The latter was a newcomer to the list, replacing Yuba City, which dropped off from January. recommends that homebuyers seeking a leg up in the country’s hottest housing markets hit the streets now, particularly given that current interest rates offer more purchasing power than they did just a few months ago. According to the latest numbers from Freddie Mac, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.62 percent for the week ended Feb. 25, down on both a monthly and annual basis.
So, if you're giving thought to selling, this is a very good time!  Even if you're a Buyer, there's opportunity here.  Yes, the demand will cost you more than it might elsewhere.  But acting quickly on this news can still help you in two ways. First, if you act quickly, you can acquire your next home before the increases in value get more costly with the passage of more time.  Second, by buying now, you will own your home and be in a good position to benefit from future increases in value.
Need help? Call us now--you know the numbers: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What Sells Homes Fastest

You've probably seen it many times before--maybe even experienced it yourself.  One home will sell almost immediately, while another in the same price range with similar characteristics just sits on the market unsold.  You probably asked yourself "why".  Well, the following will give you some solid information as to what things can help move a house quickly or lead to it just sitting there.
What makes one home sell overnight and another languish on the market for weeks on end? A recent study identified a half-dozen attributes such as architectural style and amenities that caught the interest of homebuyers, and the results, while hardly scientific, open a window on current trends in real estate.
If you’re a homebuyer, or a seller, that’s useful information.
The study was conducted by, and homebuyer interest was measured by two metrics: the number of days a home stayed on the market and the number of page views it received on the company’s website. Here are the results:
SPANISH-STYLE HOMES SELL FASTEST: They made up only 1 percent of the listings on’s website, but Spanish-style homes sold quickly: a median of 47 days, or half the national average (93 days). It was followed by traditional-style homes (84 days), ranch-style (95 days), Craftsman (103 days), and Victorian (122 days).
ROOMS WITH A VIEW: URBAN SCENERY PREFERRED: Cityscapes or ocean views? You may be surprised to learn that homes with city views sold in a median of 83 days, compared with 90 days for golf course views, 95 days for lake views, 96 days for mountain views, and 98 days for ocean views.
STAINLESS STEEL AND GRANITE STILL POPULAR: What are the hottest amenities today? Homes with stainless-steel appliances sold in a median of 79 days, followed by homes with granite counters (82 days), open kitchens (83 days), finished basements (89 days), and fireplaces (94 days).
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: What public facilities attract buyers? It’s no surprise that good schools rank No. 1, with nearby homes selling in a median of 76 days. Other top attractions included a sports stadium (77 days), shopping centers (79 days), transportation (88 days), and hospitals (95 days).
‘DREAM BIG, BUY SMALL’: We often dream of living in a sprawling homes with many bedrooms and entertainment centers and multicar garages, but reality is a bit different. The fastest-selling home size was 1,500 to 2,000 square feet (a median of 86 days), followed by 2,000 to 2,500 square feet (90 days), 3,000 to 3,500 square feet (101 days), 5,000 to 5,500 square feet (127 days), and 100,000 square feet and higher (173 days).
LOWER PRICES EQUALS HIGHER SALES: What is the hottest price range? (Remember, this is a national average, not reflective of the Bay Area.) Homes priced from $200,000 to $250,000 sold in a median of 83 days. They were followed by those priced from $150,000 to $200,000 (86 days), from $250,000 to $300,000 (89 days), from $1 million to $2 million (118 days), and from $2 million to $5 million (133 days).

Need help prepping your house to sell and sell quickly? Give us a call. We have 60 years combined experience in helping folks just like you sell their homes for the highest price in the shortest time!  Take advantage of that expertise! You know the numbers: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.


Friday, March 04, 2016

Kitchens--A Social Center

Well, now more than ever the kitchen has continued its evolution to a major social center.
As homeowners spend more time entertaining, socializing, and working in their kitchens, remodelers are finding that their jobs are all about enhancing the flow to both indoor and outdoor spaces.openkitchen
Almost half of all homeowners who recently renovated their kitchens were motivated by the desire to open it up to surrounding rooms, according to a new survey from Houzz. Eighteen percent were opening their kitchen to outdoor areas, and 66 percent of remodeled kitchens will have some sort of connection to the outside world. That’s a trend that could surely affect kitchen-renovation jobs here in the Bay Area, where a moderate year-round climate promotes an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
To be sure, food is still the primary purpose of the kitchen, with 98 percent of respondents saying they cook in the new space and 69 percent using it to dine. But leisure wasn’t far behind; 49 percent of homeowners will entertain guests in the renovated kitchen, while 43 percent said that they will use it to socialize. Given those numbers, it’s hardly surprising that more than two-thirds of those polled spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens.
When it comes to optimizing the design of the kitchen, a multipurpose space once again falls near the top of the list, with 40 percent of homeowners reporting that a kitchen that was easy to work, play, and live in was a priority. Thirty-four percent want a kitchen that makes it easy to entertain, and one in five plans to watch television in the new space. Other top additions to promote a leisurely lifestyle include barstools, window coverings, and wall art.
Countertops are by far the most common basic kitchen elements to receive an overhaul, with 93 percent reporting this upgrade. Houzz notes that granite competes with engineered quartzite were among the two most popular material choices for countertops, particularly in Western states.
Improved faucets, sinks, backsplashes, lighting, cabinets, and appliances were in the project plans for more than 80 percent of kitchen renovations. Dishwashers, microwaves, and refrigerators were the most likely appliances to be replaced, and 75 percent of homeowners opted for stainless-steel ones.
If a kitchen renovation is on your list of home-improvement projects this year, make sure that you have realistic cost expectations; one-third of homeowners spent between $25,000 and $50,000, and an additional one-third spent in excess of $50,000. And since the average American only upgrades their kitchen once every 16 years, consider going with the majority and sticking to classic colors like beige, white, grey, and natural wood.