PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Ken Calhoon

County home sales and prices slipping

According to the El Dorado County Association of Realtors, the number of county home sales has declined 11 percent during the first six months of this year in comparison to the first half of last year. Every month since January has seen fewer sales than the corresponding month in 2013. Declining sales, yes, but year […]

Avoiding the deal killers

Most real estate sales close. There may be delays but when all parties are motivated to get a deal closed, necessary compromises are made and sales close. Not all, however. Today, about 10 to 15 percent of sales don’t close. That percentage had been as high as 25 percent back in 2009 and 2010, when […]

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

We all make a few mistakes along life’s journey. Most of us would do things a little differently if we had the opportunity — perhaps chosen a different career, traveled more or spent more time with our families. The process of buying a home is no exception. Global marketing and research firm Ipsos recently published its survey […]

Where are all the first time homebuyers?

First-time homebuyers have been noticeably absent from our real estate market. Their lack of interest in owning a home is preventing a full recovery of our housing market and a big reason for fewer sales this year. A few years ago, first timers were the largest percentage of homebuyers. Today, the group is one of […]

Looking back at the way things were

It has been five years since the end of the Great Recession which officially began in December 2007 and, according to the economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research, ended in June 2009. Most of us in real estate sales or mortgage financing knew long before the recession began that we were in for a […]

July 11, 2014 | Posted in Real Estate | Tagged ,

Lower prices for longer listings

While previewing properties over the weekend, I was surprised to see a sold sign in front of a home that I recognized as having been listed for sale for more than a year with different agents. Curious about the selling price, when I returned to my office I checked the MLS and discovered, not surprisingly, […]

Market running out of steam

A few weeks ago my wife Vicki and I drove to Carson City where we boarded the historic Virginia and Truckee Railroad on a narrated tour of the Comstock Lode. The replica 19th century wood burning steam engine chugs and puffs through the high desert to Virginia City. Five miles before our destination is the town […]

Expect the unexpected when previewing homes and land

Most of the time, showing homes to buyers is pretty routine but occasionally the unexpected happens when I least expect it. Stuff happens when strangers go wondering around an unfamiliar home or property that’s listed for sale. I was reminded of how freak incidents occur while reviewing a District Court case, Campbell v. Federal Home […]

Another real estate bubble or just a bounce?

A real estate bubble can happen for a number of reasons. One example is when there is a rapid increase in property values, not supported by solid economic factors such as rising wages. Eventually prices reach unsustainable levels and then decline, often rapidly. That’s what happened beginning in 2003 when in May the median selling […]

Rural life is not for everyone

This is the time of the year when I feel my 10 acres is 9 too many. While my friends are playing golf, fishing or taking the family on a vacation, I’m up to my elbows clearing grass, weeds and brush. My sole recreational activity over the next few weeks will be weed-whacking. It’s a […]

Cash is king

Real estate transactions have different degrees of difficulty. What makes them so stressful is the uncertainty that something will derail the deal during the escrow. The two most common deal killers are undisclosed property issues discovered during the inspection period and the borrower’s ability to obtain financing. Resolving property issues before a house goes up […]

Keeping El Dorado County rural

Over the last few weeks, I have attended several candidate forums featuring the eight candidates running for District 4 El Dorado County supervisor. At the forums, questions are asked of the candidates about important issues facing the county and District 4, in particular, those that affect portions of El Dorado Hills, Shingle Springs, Cameron Park, […]

Rookie mistakes of first time homebuyers

We all make mistakes. Some of us more than others. Looking back over the last 40 years of practicing real estate, I have certainly made my share when buying and selling real estate. My three biggest bloopers were selling rather than buying in a down market, holding on to a property too long in an […]

Homeownership rate continues to fall

The nation’s homeownership rate slipped to its lowest level in 19 years in the first quarter as more households decided to rent. This disturbing trend is holding back home sales while the demand for rentals has increased the nation’s median rent to an all-time high with vacancy levels to near record lows. With the economy […]

Previewing homes today with Ken

Welcome to my office on wheels. As you get comfortable, I want to review a few suggestions to ensure you get the most benefit from our tour of homes for sale. First, I don’t want you to feel under any pressure to buy a house today. We are not buying anything today. If you see […]

Spring statistics suggest slower sales

There is less demand for county homes this year than last. The number of existing homes closing escrow in March was 18 percent less than a year ago, according to the El Dorado County Association of Realtors, and April sales are tracking 20 percent fewer than April of last year. The pace at which homes […]

Faster sales with spring staging

It is a recognized fact that our behavior is influenced by the seasons. We may be more active in the spring, moody during the winter months and a little bit lazy during the hot summer. When marketing homes for sellers, my advice on its presentation will vary depending upon the season. During the fall I […]

Clueless in Sacramento

It is a fascinating phenomenon how often elected leaders can openly profess their commitment for one thing and do the complete opposite. Three recent examples are: State Sen. Leland Yee, a long-time gun control advocate, recently indicted on illegal arms trafficking; Sen. Ron Caldera, now under federal indictment for bribery who supported increased ethics legislation […]

What’s happening with my earnest money?

While experiencing a lingering case of writer’s block for this weekly column, I received an e-mail from a long-time reader with questions about his earnest money deposit. His problem was the return of his deposit after he decided to cancel the purchase contract after serious property defects were discovered during the inspection period. The seller […]

Helping Millennials with their first home purchase

Last week’s column reviewed why many young Americans were putting off buying a home. Many are burdened with student debt, employment opportunities are tight and living with mom and dad doesn’t have the stigma that it once had. The Millennials, born after 1980, should be taking advantage of owning California real estate at historically affordable […]

Why Millennials are not buying homes

This spring will reveal the direction of the real estate market for the balance of the year. That’s good because January and February sales haven’t been so great. January’s sales were less than a year ago and the median selling price declined 11 percent from December. February’s home sales were off 18 percent from last […]

Every home has a story

Matching up buyers to the right home is a journey of discovery. Every experience in the home-buying process is new and different because every situation is so unique. That’s what makes the process interesting. The first discovery for an agent is finding out who the next buyer will be. Much of a salesperson’s time is […]

Land sales and values not what they used to be

My first real estate purchase wasn’t a home; it a parcel of vacant land. I was 23 at the time and discovered the property while touring country back roads on my Suzuki Trail motorcycle. It was a one-acre parcel with beautiful mountain views. I called the number on real estate sign and with $500 for […]

Looking for answers for weak home sales

January home sales were pretty slow in comparison to the last three years and February sales appear to be about half of what they were last year. You can’t blame the weather. Most of January and February has been sunny and unusually warm. How about faulting interest rates? Mortgage rates are slightly higher. A year […]

Ten most common seller mistakes

Working with buyers can be unpredictable. One week they are convinced they want to live in the country and the next week we are in Folsom looking at new track homes. They wouldn’t consider paying more than $400,000 but all the homes they want to preview are priced at more than $450,000. Two-story homes are […]

Love it or list it

HGTV has a popular reality series called “Love It or List It.” The show features homeowners who can’t decide whether to remodel and stay in their home or sell it and move. Helping them make the decision is a real estate agent, who is in favor of selling the old place and buying another and […]

More difficult times ahead for borrowers

The average homebuyer has encountered countless obstacles while attempting to buy a home over the last few years. Back in 2009 and 2010, when nearly half the listings were short sales or bank REOs, getting an offer accepted was nearly impossible. Banks had no idea how to cope with their huge number of bad loans. […]

Who will be the future homebuyers?

Sales activity is likely to be much slower this year than last. December sales for El Dorado County were off by 24 percent from December 2012. It was the fifth straight month of declining sales. That’s pretty much the same story for the rest of the state. According to DataQuick, Sacramento County home sales were […]

Start early preparing home for sale

The unusually warm weather this winter has eliminated my normal excuses for not undertaking household projects that need to be done around our house. During past winters when it was cold or stormy, I had good reason to stay inside by the fire and watch a football game or read a Tom Clancy novel but […]

Does less mobility hurt the economy?

As a kid growing up, we moved a lot. My father was a career military officer and about every two or three years he was transferred to another military installation. One year we were living in Tampa, Fla., and the next I was in Chicopee, Mass. I attended school in five states from Alaska to […]

Saying goodbye to a great year

Last year was really pretty good for El Dorado County real estate. Traditionally, the January is a time we celebrate new beginnings and look forward to the new year. But while boxing up our Christmas decorations, I felt a little remorse saying goodbye to 2013. It was like saying goodbye to a good friend. There have […]

What a difference a year makes

At the end of last year, the median selling price for a home in our county was $289,000. This December it’s 21 percent higher at $350,000. A year ago the average selling price of a home in El Dorado Hills was $467,000. Today it’s up to $575,000. Cameron Park homes were averaging just less than […]

Unexpected property damage

I don’t usually find myself marketing small entry-level homes in Sacramento but when my friend and past client Jack called, I willingly accepted the assignment. After all, how much trouble could it be selling a $150,000 house? Besides, at this time of the year, my business had started to wind down and small sales are […]

Memories of home and Christmas Past

There’s no other time of the year with so much emphasis on the family home. Be it ever so humble, it’s where everyone wants to be for the holidays. I still have flashback memories of Christmas past whenever I hear Bing Crosby’s singing “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays” or “I’ll be […]

The good, bad and ugly of FHA loans

I spent much of the day after Thanksgiving in my garage untangling last year’s Christmas lights and taking down the decorations from their perch in the garage. While replacing bulbs and wrestling down boxes, I was listening to a radio infomercial on FHA mortgages. The talk-show host was bloviating about all the benefits of a […]

Determining property value an art and a science

The online Seattle-based real estate brokerage Redfin reported that our Sacramento metropolitan region is the 16th speediest in home sales among 23 major metropolitan markets. During October, 28 percent of area homes were under contract within two weeks or less. San Jose led the October list with about half of the new listings going pending […]

Time to bring back the stated income loan

Bob and Mary were purchasing their retirement home in a senior community in El Dorado Hills. Both had credit scores above 800, a modest pension and, after their 50 percent down payment, they still had a $1 million in a diversified investment portfolio earning healthy returns. Their loan originator said my client’s loan was a […]

So what’s wrong with cash?

At one time in my life, I thought I would add “land developer” to my résumé. After all, for several years I had assisted many developer clients with their land acquisitions and later helped them sell finished lots to builders. From my perspective as their broker, it looked easy enough. Buy some land at a […]

“It’s the economy, stupid”

James Carville was the brilliant campaign strategist for Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign against a sitting president, George H.W. Bush. Carville used this phrase to his political advantage showing Bush was out of touch with voters who were still feeling the aftermath of a recent recession. The irony was that by 1992 the […]

Pending sales slump no surprise

According to the most recent U.S. Pending Home Sale Index, fewer Americans than forecast signed purchase contracts for existing homes in September. The index was down 5.6 percent; the biggest drop in more than three years. “This tells us to expect lower home sales for the fourth quarter, with a flat trend going into 2014,” […]

Foreclosure crises over but more changes on the way

The most difficult part of writing a weekly column is choosing the topic. It shouldn’t be too technical, like attempting to explain a capitulation rate, it shouldn’t be too legal because there are always two sides to every story and it shouldn’t be too personal. Too many statistics are mind-numbing and much of what we […]

Maintaining balance in an uncertain environment

The $340,000 median price of a county home closing escrow last month was a bit of a decline from July and August. However, selling prices are still 21 percent above where prices were at this time last year. Over the last year we have experienced the highest rate of price increases since 2006. While homeowners […]

A birthday gift from Ty Russell

It was my mother’s 90th birthday and, as her eldest son, it became my responsibility to host a celebration party for Mom on this special occasion. She lives 2,500 miles away in The Villages, a senior community in Central Florida, and over the last few months, and with the help of one of her good friends, […]

Who wants a massive Mello-Roos?

Like most county residents, I am aware we have a Board of Supervisors. Five elected individuals from different county geographic districts and charged with setting policy and appropriating our tax dollars for various county services. I don’t usually attend the weekly meeting but when the board is considering issues that affect property taxes and home […]

Single women do it better

Single women are buying a lot of houses these days. According to a survey from the National Association of Realtors, single women are purchasing homes at twice the rate of single men. The California Association of Realtors reports that 15 percent of all owner occupied purchases this year were made by single women. So why […]

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