PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

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 […]

Most common mistakes sellers make

Home values in El Dorado County are rising. The median selling price of a county home in July was $285,000. That’s 11 percent higher than June and 8 percent higher than July 2011. Of the 230 monthly sales, about half sold in less than 30 days at or above the listed price. With only 650 […]

Clear signs that we’re in a seller’s market

It was love at first sight. While showing homes, some will be OK, most will be discounted from consideration and eventually my clients find one that they really like enough to write an offer. It’s always a pleasant surprise when my clients discover a home that matches their personalities, expectations and price. But this time […]

Negotiating techniques in multiple offer situations

My clients had finally settled on a house. They had been previewing homes on the Internet for four months and in the last three weeks we previewed 30-plus homes scattered from El Dorado Hills to Camino. During this time we had seen some very nice homes and homes that met every specification my clients had […]

Every home has a dominate personality

All houses have a personality. There are happy homes and abandoned lonely ones. There are homes where you feel relaxed and comfortable and homes that have an intimidating attitude. Some homes are built around children. They are nurturing and protective while others have been neglected. There are homes nearing the end of their useful life […]

Housing shortage on horizon with no help from traditional sellers

Homebuyers who have been patiently waiting on the sidelines for the real estate market to hit bottom so that they could jump in precisely at the absolute lowest price have likely missed the opportunity. It’s still a great time to buy with prices and mortgage rates at unprecedented lows but county home values have been […]

Expect the unexpected when previewing homes, land

Whenever a seller or their agent open up their home to prospective buyers there is always a chance of unintended consequences. Stuff happens when strangers go wandering around an unfamiliar home or property that’s listed for sale. I was reminded of how freak incidents occur while reviewing a decision by the United States District Court […]

Meeting the needs of a very special group of people

Is listing and sales of homes for seniors any different from any other real estate transaction? But of course. While the mechanics are the same: for sale signs, flyers, MLS, previewing properties and writing offers, there are recognized differences in working with this very special group of people. Paying special attention to the needs of […]

Lawmakers should stop tinkering with housing market

Our Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is a rising Democrat star. She is no stranger to politics, as the former girlfriend of San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and one of President Obama’s top surrogates in California. Harris recently introduced a package of legislative bills she calls the Homeowners Bill of Rights which, according to her […]

May sales and low inventory point to market recovery

There is conclusive sales data showing the county’s housing market is rebounding. After seven years of declining prices and anemic sales, it’s a welcomed change. The median selling price of a county home last month was $285,000. That’s up $30,000 from April’s median of $255,000 and $35,000, or 14 percent, above the median selling price […]

The customer is always right unless they’re wrong

Prior to the 20th century customer service wasn’t all that important to trade and commerce. Today consumer spending accounts for nearly two-thirds of our GNP but it wasn’t always like that. In the 1800s consumers had a limited selection of goods and services. Products and skilled services were so in demand that those who controlled […]

Rural life not for everyone

This is the time of the year when I feel my 10 acres is nine 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 […]

Welcomed help from friendly neighbor

My clients told me about the home they wanted to buy before it was listed for sale. A friend of theirs knew the owners who needed to sell and relocate out of the area. When I received the information, I called the owners to inquire if they were indeed planning on selling and needed an […]

No celebration for this anniversary

It was six years ago last month that the median selling price of a county home reached the highest point ever recorded at $521,000. It’s been downhill from there. Last month the county’s median selling price was $256,000. Looking back six years ago, most of us in the housing industry knew we were long overdue […]

False expectations led to housing collapse

He was reviewing the terms of his offer, initialing each page of the purchase contract when he abruptly stopped, shoved aside the papers, looked me in the eye and asked, “If we pay the listing price do you expect this home to be worth more five years from now?” What I wanted to say was […]

Lenders fear big increase in walk-aways

Ask any actively engaged real estate professional and they will confirm the county’s real estate market continues to improve. March sales were 20 percent better than March of 2011 and the most active March since 2006. The county’s median selling price of $252,000 was down slightly from a year ago but was higher than both […]

Granny flats and in-law apartments are viable options for seniors

“Where’s mom going to live?” Asked my wife Vicki one evening during dinner. “What do you mean? She’s getting along just fine where she is,” I said. “Besides she loves that old house. She would never want to move.” “She can’t take care of that place. She has health issues and forgets to take her […]

Contract cancellation and its consequences

It’s often more difficult getting out of a contract than getting into one. At one time or another during my real estate career, I have been a party to a number of contract cancellations. Most of them were mutual, some were not but were resolved with time and others required arbitration or litigation. Most everyone […]

The unintended consequences too much regulation

My first land development was pretty easy. Two buddies and I purchased 100 acres of grazing land from an old rancher back in the 70s. We hired a surveyor who divided (paper platted) the property into four equal parcels. Then we filed the new plat map with the Recorder’s Office and received four new parcel […]

Playing to win with multiple offers

Multiple offers are happening more frequently. Sellers like it when buyers compete against each other for their property. Multiple offers nearly guarantee sellers will get full price or better without giving up huge cash concessions or paying the buyer’s closing costs. Multiple offers are changing the direction of the market. Last month nearly one-third of […]

A good time for an adjustable rate mortgage

It had been a difficult five years. The rent they received was $500 shy of the mortgage payment. Then the letter came from the lender saying their initial low adjustable rate was expiring and their payments would be recalculated. They decided they could no longer hold on to a bad investment. If the lender would […]

April 04, 2012 | Posted in Real Estate | Tagged | 1 Reply

Failure to launch the boomerang generation

“What size home are you looking for?” I asked. “About the same square footage that we just sold but this time we want a two-bedroom home,” she said. “Why a two-bedroom? You just sold a big five-bedroom home. Isn’t that a big difference?” “Well it is but we don’t want all the kids thinking about […]

Ken Calhoon: The work begins when the client says yes

Finally there was the connection I was looking for. As soon as I drove up in front of the house, I knew this was the home my clients were going to buy. More importantly, they did too. It had taken several weeks of searching for the right property. Despite the enthusiasm of many first-time homebuyers, […]

Homebuyers rediscovering El Dorado County

While visiting the Coldwell Banker office this week, I noticed the back room sales board was nearly full for the month of February. One of the sales associates passing by said it was their best February in years. That tracks with the 200 home sales reported through the MLS for last month. The county’s recorded […]

Is it time to invest in a vacation or second home?

My first experience with a vacation/second home was the purchase of a condominium on the island of Maui in Hawaii. This was back in the 1970s when we were living in Anchorage, Alaska. Maui’s lush green golf courses and sandy beaches looked pretty attractive to many Alaskans around February. The purchase price was $79,000. I didn’t […]

Second chance financing for foreclosed homeowners

Everyone deserves a second chance. We have all made a few mistakes in our lives where we had the benefit of a do over. I had a few failures early in my business career and started up again wiser from the experience. I suspect all of us have learned from our mistakes or the bad […]

The changing responsibility of real estate agents

Bud Zeller is a local real estate broker who also teaches real estate at Folsom Lake College. Bud was one of my most vocal supporters when I first began writing this eclectic real estate column for the Mountain Democrat seven years ago. Initially, there were some concerns that I was exposing insider information that would […]

Big commercial deals not for every agent

Most of us who list and sell real estate primarily deal in residential properties rather than commercial. There are valid reasons. Selling homes and land is easier when working with motivated buyers and sellers, financing is available, our out-of-pocket marketing expenditures are small and 99 percent of the time we get paid. It doesn’t always […]

A homebuyer’s shopping guide

My wife Vicki has banished me from grocery shopping with her. We are no longer compatible. To her shopping is like an archeological adventure. Her map is the weekly advertised specials. She journeys up and down each aisle of the store frequently checking her list until she discovers the location of the item. Then she […]

Strong finish for fifth year of declining home prices

Before I close and file away the sales numbers for 2011 I thought it might be of interest to take one last look at yearly listing and sales activity across the county. Perhaps studying the past will give us a glimpse of the future. According to the sales numbers furnished by the El Dorado County […]

Traditional sellers hurt by short sales and REOs

This year will be the most difficult since the beginning of the real estate recession for conventional sellers. Six of every 10 county homes closing escrow are now short sales or REOs and that percentage will steadily increase. It will be 2014 before the percentage of shorts and REO listings and their subsequent sales will […]

Attempting to organize papers and people

Making New Year’s resolutions wasn’t a priority for me this year. After all, I’m still working on the ones I made in previous years. Looking back, with the exception of the quit smoking resolution I made back in 1982, I haven’t done all that well keeping the promises I made to myself on New Year’s […]

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