Homeownership Rate Rises for First Time Since 2004: Wall Street Journal

Homeownership Rate Rises for First Time Since 2004: Wall Street Journal

The homeownership rate in the United States last year rose for the first time since 2004, according to a report we read in the Wall Street Journal. This is such exciting news, and we hope the trend continues.

We’ve previously mentioned how real estate is a fabulous tool for building wealth. But the Recession, which didn’t officially start until the end of 2007, ground the market to a standstill and made it incredibly difficult for Americans to harness this tool.

The markets were flooded with foreclosures. Banks all but stopped lending money for some time and then began lending only under very tight restrictions at first.

We’ve seen evidence in other areas of the housing market that the industry wheels may finally be gaining some momentum, which is why seeing the homeownership number rise for the first time in 13 years is such a big deal.

The rising homeownership number also indicates that more homebuyers are ready to make their move. If you’re looking to sell your house, we can help. Contact us to learn more.

Redux Realtors: Don't spend money needlessly; sometimes less is more

Redux Realtors: Don't spend money needlessly; sometimes less is more

At Bobbett & Associates, we look for ways to enhance our clients' homes before putting them on the market. We make very strategic improvements that will bring the best results (aka, best price) for the least amount of investment on the part of our clients.

Our motto is: We make a home 'move-in' ready for new buyers. Over time, the new owners can make the big improvements, such as remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms.

Our latest home project belongs to a 93-year-old woman moving to assisted living after living in the home for more than 55 years. Her son is assisting with the sale and contacted us to help them make a few upgrades and updates before putting the property on the market.

After estate sale was completed and all personal items were removed from the property we began a three-week renovation of the property that included: interior paint; removal of popcorn ceilings; new flooring throughout, including carpet in the master bedroom and family room additions, and the refinishing of the original wood floors in the remainder of the home.

We could have made many improvement suggestions, but this property is located on a busy street. We considered this factor when advising on home improvements because we didn’t want the owner’s son to spend his money needlessly. Sometimes less is more, as the saying goes.

Various handyman repairs were also made, including changing out the yellowed and cracked kitchen ceiling light covers, among other things. All told the seller invested less than $15,000. We are now listing the home this week at $699,800.

Stay tuned for updated photos and as well as an update on the sale!

How we prepare when listing your home for sale

Watch our video to learn how we prepare a listing before it goes to market.

First we assemble our team of contractors: the carpet people, the painters, the plumbers, hardwood flooring refinishers, electricians, etc. We then get bids and bring them to the sellers for their approval. And once approved, we get to work.

Roughly 7 to 10 seconds is all we have to make a first impression. That's true of meeting other people, and it's also true for houses.

Builders use model homes to showcase their houses in the best possible light. We bring the same advantage to resale sellers.

Pay off mortgage loan to build wealth; be cautious of HELOCs

Nearly a decade since the Great Recession decimated wealth in American real estate, we’re seeing the return of a major contributing factor that had all but disappeared from the industry. The home equity line of credit is back.

A HELOC is a line of credit backed by a homeowner’s real estate equity. Once approved, consumers can essentially charge their expenses to the HELOC like a credit card and then pay back the balance each month – usually with a much lower interest rate than a credit card.

Many consumers who bought homes in the early 2000s came to believe the good times would continue to roll and their home values could only increase. At the same time, many banks were practically giving away HELOCs to any property owner with a pulse.

HELOCs became like automated teller machines to many homeowners who would take out equity to pay for lavish vacations, fancy cars and other luxuries. When property values began to nose dive and loan interest rates reset at higher rates, they found themselves with no equity left.

“Underwater” on their homes (owing more in loans than their properties were worth), with monthly loan payments they could not afford, foreclosure became the only option for many. Consumers were bankrupted, while banks pleaded for the federal government to bail them out and save the U.S. and global economies from total collapse.

Needless to say, we don’t want to relive that nightmare again. Yet we’re feeling a bit of déjà vu lately, seeing more marketing mailers for HELOCs in our mailbox. A recent U.S. News and World Report article stated that HELOC originations increased nearly 5 percent from last year, while originations are up 190 percent since their low point in 2011.

Don’t let a slick marketing gimmick, visions of dream kitchens or vacations, rope you into a HELOC. We suggest leaving the equity in your home unless you absolutely need the funds.

The best way to build long-term wealth through real estate, what we tell our clients, is to pay off your first mortgage as quickly as possible – and exercise extreme caution when exploring the option of a second loan such as a HELOC.

As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Please contact us should you have questions about HELOCs or other real estate matters.

Redux Realtors: Don't underestimate the power of presentation of a home

Redux Realtors: Don't underestimate the power of presentation of a home

For our latest project, we were asked to look at the home of a past clients' parents in La Mirada. The parents are elderly and no longer able to live alone.

While the home had been loved, it had not been updated in many, many years. The parents were not too keen on the idea of spending money on a home makeover given that there was no firm guarantee as to what the home would actually sell for.

We got the bids and showed the homeowners that by spending a relatively small amount of money on improvements they would net a much higher amount in a sales price.

The daughter, who was handling the parents' move from the home and responsible of clearing out all their personal items, was a little overwhelmed. We assured her that if she and her parents gave us the green light to do the work, she could walk away and come back in time for the first open house.

She took a little convincing that it could be that easy.

So upon receiving approval to start the Redux, we got busy. The painters started interior and exterior painting. Then the old, tired carpet was removed and where there were hardwood floors, our hardwood floor finisher brought the floors back to their original glory!

Then the gardener started a big clean up in the yard - front and back. Next came the new carpet installation on the slab floors in the living and dining rooms, and on the stairs. Window cleaners and general house cleaners completed their work, and we were ready for staging.

Martina had already created her design concept for the home, so in approximately three days the home was ready to be professionally photographed and go on the market.

We pushed the price $10,000 higher than we had taken the listing at upon seeing the transformation of the home. And the offers started coming in. We opened escrow seven days after listing the home at a sales price $10,000 higher than our asking price.

Please don't ever underestimate the power of proper presentation of a home. The money spent on a makeover is definitely going to bring a higher sales price.

House hunters like homes that are move-in ready, and that's what James and Martina of Bobbett & Associates strive to provide on every one of their listings.

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Company License #01272441

Company License #01272441

DRE #01189723 (Martina Bobbett)
DRE #01272441 (James Bobbett)