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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Every home’s a stage and on stage

Whenever folks hear about my living situation they either respond with envy: “Where do I sign up?” Or horror: “You mean you have to make your bed every day?” Although being a live-in home stager has its perks — no mortgage, no binding lease, and the chance to live in a cool house for considerably […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Welcome to the 32nd annual El Dorado County Home and Garden Show

As we mark our 32nd year of bringing the best of our home improvement businesses together, well feel a sense of excitement in the air. New ideas and a reinvigorated economy lend to this exciting event! The El Dorado County Home and Garden show, April 27- 29, will be held the fairgrounds on Placerville Drive in […]

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 […]

Dog talk with Uncle Matty: Assuring a place in the 95 percent

The right professional dog training can solve 95 percent of dog problems — the majority of which might better be described as people problems. But there are some problems training can’t touch, and often that’s because people ignored the warning signs and put off getting help. Keep reading: Last week, Seven, our 10-year-old German Shepherd, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

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 […]

Welcome to the 31st annual El Dorado County Home & Garden Show!

We are moving on into our fourth decade of bringing the best of our home improvement businesses together, unbelievable! This is an opportunity for our residents to come to one beautiful location, our very own county fairgrounds, to peruse the displays of companies that want to share their products and services. They will all be […]

The personalized options business: Act 1 Video & Music

In Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he wrote that one of the first secrets of success is to smile at another person. Everyone who walks through the door at Act 1 Video & Music in Placerville is greeted with a smile. It is just the beginning of the great customer service […]