Ken Calhoon

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 […]

A few real estate predictions for 2012

Welcome the re-entry buyers. Three years ago Mark and Julie lost their home through foreclosure. Last week they closed escrow on their newer, larger, nicer home in the same neighborhood. Their new home was about half the price of what they had paid for the home they lost. They are among a new category of […]

Looking to mom and dad for help when buying a home

Bad things sometimes happen to good people. Some real estate problems don’t have a solution. When that happens, it’s often best to accept the situation and move on than dwell on our misfortune. Most of the time, when I’m asked for advice on real estate or a financial matters, there are clear alternatives: Buy, sell, […]

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 […]

December 23, 2011 | Posted in Real Estate | Tagged | 1 Reply

California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day

Where do you suppose all the “no-growth” advocates have disappeared to? You remember, all the folks a few years back who were alarmed about the area’s exploding rate of growth. Perhaps they have moved someplace else, along with a substantial number of former residents. The anti-growth movement should be pleased with the direction our state […]

Bad comparables killing too many home sales

It was October and my Cameron Park sale was progressing as expected. The termite inspection revealed some dry rot issues that the sellers agreed to repair and my clients waived a few issues pointed out during the home inspection. It was all normal stuff that I had seen a hundred times before. Most property issues […]

Lessons buyers can learn from the housing bubble

All the mistakes leading up to the collapse of the real estate market seem so obviously clear today. Although we live in the present and plan and worry about the future, history provides us the opportunity to learn from our past mistakes and move on with new ones. In many respects we were all partially […]

Survey results from homebuyers and sellers

I am generally skeptical of most opinion surveys. There are far too many surveyors asking us about our opinions on anything and everything and then treating the results as factual. Just because 70 percent of us have a favorable opinion about something doesn’t make it right. Many great leaders ran afoul of public opinion. Jesus […]

Questions and answers on refinancing

The last few weeks I have received an unusual number of calls and e-mails having to do with refinancing. Seventy-nine percent of all mortgage applications in October were for refinancing, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The increased interest has partially been the results of the president’s reintroduction of the Home Affordability Refinance Program, HARP […]

Broken promises and missed opportunities

Back in the day, when property values were increasing 15 to 20 percent a year, one of the most popular loans was the adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). They were attractive in comparison to the ordinary 30-year fixed rate mortgage and came dressed in various seductive attire. The voluptuous ARMs flaunted low “teaser rates” with different […]

Solving the housing problem and saving the country

It was 4 a.m. I couldn’t sleep and so I got up and went upstairs to my home office and began searching the MLS for appropriate homes to show my weekend clients. Then the phone rang. Me: “This is Ken Calhoon, may I help you?” Caller: “Yes Mr. Calhoon. Would you please hold for the […]

Five stages in the life of a short sale

Short sales are more common today. Of the 227 home sales reported last month by the El Dorado County Association of Realtors 53, or 23 percent, were short sales. Homebuyers are attracted to short sales by their lower prices. The median listed price of a non-short sale property is $164 a square foot while the […]

The softer side of real estate

Occasionally, I am reminded that buying a home isn’t all about price, mortgage rates and square footage. That’s important but it’s not the primary reason most people buy a home. A few weeks ago I was showing a young couple a modestly priced home in Cameron Park. They loved the house and asked me the […]

Some people can’t handle the truth

Betty Jo was in a real mess and, after reading her e-mail, I knew I had the story for my next column. The names and places have been changed but her situation is a real-life example of tragedy, bad luck and poor decisions. Betty’s husband Dick had always wanted to live in the mountains so […]

October 14, 2011 | Posted in Real Estate | Tagged | 1 Reply

Small signs of the housing market’s recovery

“I’m about as busy as I have ever been,” said Jason Jackson, owner of Sierra Home Inspection Service. We were both attending a Chamber of Commerce mixer held at Crystal Basin Cellars in Camino. Jason was replying to my standard conversation starter for business owners: “How’s business?” The home inspection business should be better this […]

Coming to terms with the housing recession

It often takes time to put things into their proper perspective. A certain amount of objectivity is gained over the years when looking back on significant events in our lives. On occasion, I have pressed too hard to gain things I should have passed up and I missed opportunities that I should have pursued  An […]

| Posted in Real Estate | Tagged | 1 Reply

Be alert for games people play

The offer was short of the listing price by $10,000 but the purchase contract contained a clause that was very attractive to my seller. It said, “Buyer is purchasing property in as is condition.” That was important. My client was a single working mom, with barely enough equity in her home to pay selling expenses. […]

Real estate market has hit bottom. Time to buy!

The real estate market bottomed out in our county in February of this year when the median selling price on 137 home sales was $230,000. Since then, home prices and the number of monthly sales have been gradually increasing. It’s going to be a slow and sporadic recovery but at least it has begun. Last […]

Costly mistakes that sellers and their agents make

It continues to amaze me why some sellers bother to list their property for sale when the probability of the house selling is slim to none. The past few weeks I have been showing a variety of homes to different clients. About half of the homes we previewed are in fair to good condition and […]

Never ever volunteer for anything

After 30-plus years of practicing real estate, I have been in just about every situation. I have worked with some wonderful professional agents and some real air-heads. I have represented hundreds of buyers and sellers who still call me their friend and a few who wish they had never met me. With all this experience […]

Ken Calhoon: How to prevent buyers from walking away from the escrow

Last week my column focused on walk-away buyers. A new survey by the National Association of Realtors discovered a surprising number of buyers were failing to close their escrows. Some deals fell through because of low ball appraisals, some because qualifying for a mortgage is increasingly difficult ,but many Realtors reported buyers are simply having […]

Spike in walk away buyers worrisome to Realtors

The National Association of Realtors reported a spike in the number of buyers walking away from their escrows. According to a recently released NAR survey of their membership, one in six Realtors polled in June reported having signed contracts canceled before closing. That was dramatically up from just one in 25 the month before. According […]

Feds should quit tinkering with the housing market

If past results are any indicator of future performance, the housing problem isn’t going to be solved at the state or federal level. All the attempts by government to stimulate new construction and stop the obscene number of foreclosures have not had any significant or prolonged effect. Some housing economists would argue that federal and […]

Show me the money … Ka-ching!

What’s the most important thing you need when buying a home? Good credit? A stable job? Handyman skills? While all that helps, if you’re planning to be a homeowner what you really need is money and lots of it. First-time homebuyers typically underestimate the amount of money required of them during the home buying process […]

With home sales on the rebound when will prices follow?

The median selling price of an El Dorado County home last month was $279,000 — $53,000 lower than it was in June 2010, $65,000 less than June 2009, $120,000 under June 2008, $216,000 below June 2007 and a whopping $240,000 off the median selling price of a county home back in June 2005. County homes […]

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