PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Ken Calhoon

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 […]

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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 […]

Increased risks of buying a bank-owned home

“OK, I made a mistake but the price was too good to pass up,” he said. “Isn’t someone responsible?” I wanted to tell him to look in the mirror. Tom was a past client from a few years back who had recently purchased a bank REO at auction. I was a little peeved that he […]

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Two big banks drop reverse mortgage loans

The “Option ARM” or “Pick a Payment Loan” was the second most creative loan program ever designed to generate huge profits for lenders. Negative amortization loans were made popular by the now defunct Washington Mutual. The loan was structured so borrowers had the option of choosing their monthly payment. They could pay the full principal […]

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Still hammering away two years after the recession

He looked determined as he approached me while I was standing in the appetizer line. Vicki and I were attending the Chamber of Commerce mixer at the Mountain Democrat, celebrating the paper’s 160 years of business. It was a little awkward attempting to shake his hand with a peeled shrimp in one of my hands […]

How termites, underwriters and barns can stop a deal

One of my listings recently sold within the first 30 days at close to the listing price. It was a lovely home in immaculate condition with lush landscaping. The sellers had paid cash for their retirement home in 2000 and would have remained there forever except for an unexpected illness that required moving closer to […]

County proposed restrictions for home-based business

The family home has been evolving for thousands of years. Early hunter/gatherers were nomadic and traveled in small family groups. When they found a particularly attractive camping spot with a good water and food source, they might stay there for a while before moving on. Perhaps they carried with them a few animal hides for […]

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House hunting? Don’t fall for these tricks

Every year or two an early morning television show will feature a segment on buying or selling homes that’s not very flattering to Realtors. Two weeks ago it happened again when “The Today Show” host Matt Lauer interviewed New York City agent and author Barbara Corcoran about “tricks that Realtors use to increase buyers’ interest […]

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More hope and less change for homeowners without equity

“You talk more people out of selling their home, than into listing with you.” It was a familiar tongue-in-cheek critique from my wife Vicki. She had overheard a conversation with a caller who had called to discuss listing his home for sale. The caller was relocating and was convinced he needed to sell his home. […]

First-time homebuyers have greater expectations

It was our fourth time together previewing modestly priced homes in Folsom when she asked me, “Do you think I am being unrealistic in my expectations?” My first thoughts were, “Well of course you are! You have looked at a hundred houses online and I have personally shown you over 20 great homes over the […]

Native Sons dedicate Zentgraf House

The Native Sons of the Golden West recentedly dedicated the Zentgraf House in Rescue as a historical site. The ceremony was overseen by NSGW Grand President Jim Shadle of Garden Valley. Jacob Zengraf was a native of Germany (1821-1911) and settled on Sweetwater Creek in 1854, seeing the potential in the wine business. Prior to […]

Survey says no housing recovery in sight until 2014

Property values today are now what they were nine years ago. The entire real estate bubble has been erased. Poof! All that appreciation that made us feel like we were investment geniuses has vanished. We all thought we were so fortunate to have purchased a home that would ensure our financial security for life. It […]

When selling a home hide your guns, drugs and gold

Most real estate agents provide their sellers with advice about what to do when preparing their home for sale. Evidence has shown that clean, bright and cherry homes in good condition will sell faster and at a higher price. Subsequently, agents will frequently suggest their clients clean and de-clutter, paint and spruce up the entry. […]

Many homebuyers clueless about mortgage financing

A newly released study by Zillow found that many homebuyers are ill prepared to take out a mortgage. Nearly half (46 percent) could not answer correctly some very basic questions about mortgages and 44 percent admitted they didn’t have a clue about the mortgage process. As an example, 55 percent of the prospective homebuyers in […]

Valuating properties by comps, CMAs, BPOs and SWAGs

A few weeks ago I had a lender call requesting I perform a BPO on a property located above Georgetown that the bank had recently acquired through foreclosure. A BPO, broker’s price opinion, would consist of a property inspection, market evaluation and taking a few pictures of the house and neighborhood. They were willing to […]

For the times they are a-changin’

Serious changes are about to take place regarding home financing. Most housing economists, who have reviewed the proposals under consideration, agree. Financing a home will be more difficult and costly in the near future. All the proposals will result in increased down payments, more restrictive underwriting and higher interest rates. All that will have the […]

Selling properties by thinking outside the box

The first short sale was probably done by a very creative real estate agent who was thinking outside the box. Short sales are pretty common today but imagine an agent years ago before anyone had heard about a short sale. Perhaps a client needed to sell their home because of a job loss, divorce or […]

Underwater home values with no bottom in sight

Daytona Beach is where I used to spend my college spring breaks. Six of us guys from the same fraternity would share a rarely used motel room. Most of the week’s vacation was spent on the beach playing volley ball, socializing and I used to do a little surfing. The waves weren’t that challenging but […]

‘Know when to walk away, know when to run’

Sometimes our ego gets us into situations where we should not be and our pride keeps us there. If you live long enough you develop the good sense of walking away from bad situations. Years ago I nearly lost a good horse and came close to killing myself while crossing an avalanche slide on the […]

A financing alternative… ‘Show me the money’

If you have any money in a savings account, money market fund or a certificate of deposit you’re probably not thrilled about the rate of return you’re being paid. Whatever happened to the traditional 4 point spread between what you could earn on a CD and the interest rate the banks would loan their money? […]

The long-term problem with short sale listings

“We have heard so many terrible stories about short sales, should we even consider looking at them?” My clients had asked a valid question. Unfortunately, there was no simple answer. There are advantages and disadvantages in considering short sale listings. Navigating through their turbulent waters requires realistic expectations, the patience of a Zen Master and […]

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They just couldn’t leave well enough alone

An autographed picture of four presidents hangs on my home office wall. Presidents Nixon, Carter, Ford and Reagan are standing together in front of the entry door to the Oval Office. The picture was a gift from Max, the West Coast manager of Fannie Mae back in the 1980s. Max was a political operative for […]

Too much negotiating can sour a real estate deal

Some people negotiate for sport. You know the type. The entrée comes with fries and they want to substitute a salad. The grocery store is out of the advertised sale item and they demand another brand. They shop garage sales and ask for discounts on 50-cent items. At craft fairs they ask the vendor to […]

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