PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Ken Calhoon

Another bubble or sustained growth?

It’s understandable that some real estate pundits are fearful of another housing bubble. After all, most of us remember the 2002-06 real estate bubble when the median selling price of a county home climbed 86 percent in four years. When the bubble popped, property values plunged 50 percent over the next five years. The experience […]

Commissions, bonuses, fees, kickbacks and referrals

“Well, how do you get paid?” It wasn’t the first time I had been asked that question. The couple was in their late 20s and was making an offer on their first home, a modest 2-bedroom home in Pollock Pines. Before reviewing the purchase contact, I prepared an estimate showing the buyers an itemized list […]

What’s not to like?

What’s not to like about our real estate market? The Sacramento region, which includes El Dorado County, is one of the fastest recovering real estate markets in the country. Redfin, a technology-powered online real estate brokerage, released its Fastest Real Estate Market Report last month which tracks the speed of the market as measured by […]

The good, bad and ugly of back-up offers

The listing agent’s explanation as to why my clients offer didn’t get accepted was all too familiar. “Sorry Ken, the sellers accepted a cash offer at a higher price. But you can always submit a back up offer.” Yes, I could and I would discuss that possibility with my clients; however, I’m not usually a […]

Rural life still 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, boating around Folsom Lake or taking the family on a picnic, I’m up to my elbows clearing grass, weeds and brush. My sole recreational activity over the next few weeks will be […]

Property acquisition rules for owners, investors and flippers

Homes are pretty versatile, as has been their transformation over the last 150 years. Housing has dramatically changed from its primary function of providing basic shelter and security. Today, homes offer something for everyone. We sleep at home but many of us also work from home. Homes can be an entertainment venue. They may make […]

Surely, not another housing bubble?

In a recent interview Daren Blomquist, vice president of California-based real estate website RealtyTrac stated, “The Sacramento region is one of a number of markets nationwide that are in danger of some minibubbles.” How could our region be in danger of a yet another housing bubble? After all, we’re just recovering from the effects of […]

Leverage or cash which is better?

Leverage has always been one reason folks buy real estate. It allows homebuyers to own and control an asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for as little as a 5 or 10 percent down payment. Try that the next time you decide to purchase a few shares of stock, municipal bonds or commodities. Leverage […]

Disclosing neighborhood nuisances

A few years back I was the listing agent on a nice house on acreage in Camino. I never met the buyers, who were represented by another agent, but about a year after closing I received a call from their attorney who demanded a significant amount of money from me for my failure to disclosure […]

Median selling price up 20 percent in March

The median price paid for a county home last month was $308,000, up $52,000 over March 2012. It was the highest monthly median price since July 2010. Monthly sales at 250 were up 31 percent from February and the highest number of sales for the month of March going all the way back to 2005. […]

Agents should get their listings out of their pockets

The California Association of Realtors, in response to numerous reports about properties being sold as pocket listings, recently issued a warning to its 160,000 members. “For a listing agent to arrange for a pocket listing to bolster the listing office’s own compensation and disregard the typical seller’s interest to procure the highest and best offer […]

Determining value not so easy on vacant land

The other day my neighbor asked me, “How much do you think my property is worth?” Coming up with a market value for a piece of real estate might take a bit of time but it’s not nuclear physics. Agents will review the recent sales of similar properties in the neighborhood and compare how they […]

Whatever happened to the local independent builder?

The residential real estate market is moving in the right direction. County median sale prices are up 24 percent over last year, foreclosures and short sales are now only a small percentage of our available inventory and interest rates remaining less than 4 percent are helping many buyers qualify for a mortgage loan. The only […]

Should homebuyers buy now or wait?

“I give up,” she said. “Why should I waste my time looking at homes and making offers only to lose out to cash buyers and higher prices?” It had been a disappointing couple of months for Shelly, who had been overbid by other buyers on all the homes on which she had made offers. Frustrated […]

Sustained growth or another housing bubble?

“There appears to be no stopping this runaway real estate market. Home prices are increasing monthly and there are multiple offers on nearly every listed property. With low interest rates and many creative financing programs, nearly everyone is focused on buying real estate.” That was taken from a column I wrote in June 2005 when […]

The plight of the fixer-upper

When shopping for a home, most folks look for the nicest home they can afford. They like lush landscaping, attractive flooring, granite counters and new kitchen appliances. It’s natural that they want the finest home they can afford. Selecting a home is a reflection of their lifestyle and personality and where they are going to […]

Why some real estate deals never close

Once an offer is accepted and escrow is opened, everyone involved works really hard to ensure that the sale closes. Buyers are put through the financing wringer to qualify for a loan and sellers start physically packing their belongings, looking forward to their next journey. When a sale unravels, everyone involved walks away with nothing […]

The bank of mom and dad

The No. 1 challenge for today’s would-be homebuyers isn’t their credit score, their income or how long they have been on their job. What’s holding back many young families from buying their first home is they just don’t have enough money for their down payment. It must be frustrating for young families who should be […]

Reconsider before making a low ball offer

After previewing an exceptionally nice home in Cameron Park, I wasn’t surprised when my client said, “Let’s make an offer.”  It was a perfect match for John who was already pre-approved by a lender, comfortable with the price range and had long-term ownership plans. We would need to move quickly, however, before another buyer snatched […]

Successful home buying strategies

OK, you want to buy a house. Your job and financial position are stable; you have sufficient savings for the down payment and you have been pre-approved for a loan. You’re the perfect candidate for home ownership. There is just one small problem. You can’t find anything that you really like and when you do […]

Where are all the homes for sale?

There are currently more buyers looking for homes than homes for sale. El Dorado County only has about 425 current active residential listings. A few years ago, it was not unusual for that many homes to be listed in a single month. During the last two months only 200 new listing came on the market. […]

Encroachment conflicts: You be the judge

Mr. Appleseed purchased a two-acre hillside lot in Camino in 2006 where he intended to build his retirement home. In 2009, after retirement, he hired an architect to design his custom home and spent other money in preparation for building. Prior to issuing a building permit, the county required a survey of the property. The […]

What happened to our cat?

Despite using my GPS, finding rural properties can be challenging. My appointment was tucked far back from the road, accessed only by a narrow dirt drive, blocked by a field livestock gate and obscured by trees and brush. I had to stop and exit my car in order to read the faded numbers on the […]

New Year’s game plan for buyers and sellers

Looking back, my New Year’s resolutions have been pretty much a failure. They were well-intended at self-improvement like losing some weight, exercising more, spending more quality time with my wife Vicki and being more organized. But life happens and those good intentions get displaced by the moment. We often fail early at our resolutions because […]

Crunching the year-end numbers

The most unsettling aspects of living through a declining real estate market is the uncertainty as to when the bottom will be reached. If we all knew that property values would bottom out on a certain date, more folks would have held on to their homes and fewer would have walked away from their mortgages. […]

Coming home for Christmas

The news of the passing of jazz music legend Dave Brubeck earlier this month brought back memories of my most eventful journey home for Christmas. My high school years were spent attending a military academy not too far from Knoxville, Tenn. In the 1960s it was not unusual for parents to send their boys off […]

Realtors survey buyers, sellers

This past election was a confirmation once again of the accuracy of political polling. As much as some of us resent the intrusion of strangers surveying our inner feelings, sampling public opinion has become a frequent occurrence on all manner of topics. In the case of the presidential race, the 35 major national pollsters averaged […]

It doesn’t get any better than this

  I hesitate to make a list Of all the countless deals I’ve missed; Bonanzas that were in my grip – I watched them through my fingers slip; The windfalls which I should have bought were lost because I over-thought; I thought of this, I thought of that, I could have sworn I smelled a […]

Divide community group asks for help

A coalition of builders, church pastors, business leaders and homeowners all came together at the Mother Lode Church in Coloma last week to tell county elected leaders they could use some relief from the county’s excessive permit and impact fees. The meeting was sponsored by the Rural Communities Recovery Cooperative, a group of Divide area […]

FHA is a victim of its own success

My first home was financed with a FHA mortgage. I had applied for a conventional loan but was turned down because I didn’t have the required 10 percent down payment.  That’s when my banker suggested we try FHA. Two months later, I was moving into my first home. I kept that house and FHA mortgage […]

Don’t forget about the garage

The most overlooked and an under-appreciated room under our roofs is the garage. Garages are either too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. They are dark and cluttered with all manner of junk. Garages have cobwebs on the ceilings, oil and transmission fluid on the floor, sharp instruments and half-filled liquid […]

Property values bounce up

The $324,000 average selling price for a county home closing escrow during October was 18 percent higher than a year ago. That was the highest average purchase price for October going back to 2008. The year-over-year increase was consistent with increasing property values that have been climbing since they hit bottom in October 2011. This […]

Undecided about marketing a local business

Normally, I can make up my mind about something pretty quick. Yes, no, now, later, red wine or white. Making timely decisions allows me to focus on the future rather than ponder what it might or might not be. Recently, I have been frustrated by my procrastination. I have spent too much mental energy (something […]

Obama tax to take effect next year

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” — President Obama, Sept. 12, 2008 Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, Obamacare imposes a 3.8 […]

Flipping without flopping

At 26 I made my first property flip. Another agent had listed an old vacant three-story Victorian house in a neighborhood that was transitioning from single-family to multi-family. The house was in OK but dated condition. The expensive components, like the roof, siding, HVAC system, electrical and plumbing were all in serviceable condition. An investor […]

Who can you trust to value your home?

Determining the value of a property is an art, not an exact science. We all see properties differently as depicted by the old cartoon showing how differently buyers, appraisers, sellers and the tax assessor view our homes. When someone asks me for an opinion as to their home’s value, I must guard against injecting my […]

Getting lucky with a back-up offer

It’s sometimes better to be lucky than good. There are a number of things I have accomplished in my life because I studied, worked hard, saved for a rainy day, heeded the advice of others with greater wisdom and made a good decision. But there are a number of successes I have had simply because […]

What happened to the scary shadow inventory?

After a few weeks of looking at nearly every home in her price range, she told me, “I’m not finding the type of home I’m looking for. Maybe I will hold off buying something until there are more homes to choose from.” That’s a valid complaint I frequently hear from folks shopping for a home. […]

Zillow says region has housing shortage; taxes on the way up

The most frequently asked question of me when I meet folks who are readers of my weekly column is “How do you come up with all those different topics about real estate?” Writing a weekly column can be a little challenging. For instance, newspapers have hard deadlines. In my business, if I am running a […]

Saying good-bye to a great summer

It was a great summer for the real estate market in El Dorado County. The 281 home sales reported in August were 21 percent better than July and 28 percent ahead of August of last year. From June 1 through Aug. 31, the El Dorado County Association of Realtors reported 800 residential sales. Last year during […]

The view is somewhere between the trees and weeds

How much is a view worth? Are lake and river views more valuable than views of the Sierras? What is the difference in value between homes with views from interior rooms and homes with views from exterior decks? While property owners with views generally have an inflated opinion of its value, appraisers and homebuyers are […]

Not always easy turning an offer into a contract

Finding the right home in El Dorado County isn’t getting easier as the number of available homes for sale continues to decline. As an example, if you were in the market to buy a three-bedroom, two-bath home priced less than $350,000, there are only 245 in the whole county to choose from. A year ago […]

Too many cooks can spoil the broth

No matter how smooth a real estate transaction may be going, at some point somebody or something is likely going to try to screw it all up. It’s one of those universal real estate laws when trying to close an escrow. There are just too many parties involved in the whole process, many acting independently […]

Choosing the neighborhood is often about price

“What are we doing in Pollock Pines?” I asked smiling as she adjusted her seat belt. For nearly a month we had been previewing homes between Folsom and Placerville. Finding a home that would qualify in her entry-level price range had been difficult. We had already lost out on three homes despite our full price […]

Rookie mistakes of first time homebuyers

Last week my column offered a few suggestions for sellers looking to take advantage of the best seller’s market in six years. Record low interest rates and a shortage of available homes for sale have contributed to a mini price bubble. About half of all listings are selling at or above the listed price. July’s […]

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