The real estate ride: Home prices appreciating, distressed sales decline

By Mike Southwick In my last article titled “The Housing Revolution” I spoke about the shortage of available homes for sale, which continues to remain a major factor in most local real estate markets throughout California. This shortage of homes, and the continued demand from buyers wanting to get in or back into the market, […]

Home equity conversion mortgage loans and uses have evolved

Jennifer Ousley American Pacific Reverse Mortgage With 10,000 Americans turning 62 every day in this country, you can be sure they are thinking about how and when they will be able to retire with enough money to enjoy their retirement. They also want the least amount of stress and worry, and to stay in the […]

Buyers value storage space, in-law suites, NAR survey finds

National Association of Realtors Purchasing a home is an important life decision, and many factors can influence the home choices buyers make. The National Association of Realtors 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences examines the features buyers prefer when it comes to purchasing a home, as well as the differences in preferences when it comes to […]

Ground zero: Appraiser weighs in

I collapse in bed on the verge of a coma after day one of my two-day estate sale. The sale was to clear out the home of my parents, who have moved on to assisted living. That the coma did not come was an ambiguous blessing, because in its place furniture dreams tormented me. In […]

Ground zero: Appraising antiques — old does not equal valuable

“Not for sale,” read the lime-green sticky notes slapped on furniture throughout the estate sale. The Post-Its blare my ambivalence.  Not selling the furniture defeats my purpose, to clear out my parents’ former home to get it ready to sell. But the task is defeating me. “How much for the little nightstand?” the dealers ask […]

January sales hold steady

National Association of Realtors WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Existing-home sales edged up in January, while a seller’s market is developing and home prices continue to rise steadily above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales rose in every region but the West, which is the region most constrained by limited inventory. Total existing-home […]

Message from the president: New real estate laws in 2013

By Karen Larson Welcome to the first monthly Real Estate column of 2013 brought to you from The El Dorado County Association of Realtors ( and focusing on local real estate information and issues.  The American Taxpayers Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law on Jan. 2, much to the relief of Realtors currently […]

Coldwell Banker manager tapped to lead EDCAR next year

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading provider of real estate services in Northern California, announced that Katie Minor, manager of the company’s El Dorado Hills and Placerville offices, has been elected president-elect of the El Dorado County Association of Realtors. Minor was officially installed as president-elect for 2013 during EDCAR’s installation luncheon last month at […]

EDCAR celebrates another successful year

El Dorado County Association of Realtors members spread holiday cheer at the annual Installation and Awards Luncheon held at the Serrano Country Club on Dec. 14. 2013 EDCAR President Karen Larson received the gavel from 2012 President John DiNocco, who was praised for his leadership and given a caffeinated gift for his service. Out-going EDCAR […]

Tales of the fiscal cliff

By Mike Southwick  The words “fiscal cliff” has become a household phrase as we march toward the conclusion of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. The reason that these words have even become such a frequent topic and permeated almost all news reports is that our economy is still considered very fragile. The fiscal cliff in general […]

Intriguing Aberdeen has rustic elegance

At first glance, the Aberdeen’s wide footprint gives it a ranch-style flavor. But the low-pitched hipped rooflines are equally reminiscent of Prairie-style homes, popular in the early 1900s. The rustic stone veneer and clean-lined metal roofing give it a crisp, intriguing look. Passing through the stick-accented, vaulted porte-cochere, you step into a wide, vaulted foyer, […]

Multiple offers and aggressive bidding create competitive housing market, CAR survey finds

Favorable home prices and record-low interest rates combined with high demand and a severe shortage of available housing have created a highly competitive housing market in California, with nearly six in 10 home sales receiving multiple offers, according to the California Association of Realtors’ 2012 Annual Housing Market Survey. Fifty-seven percent of home sales received […]

Local property manager mingles at convention

Bob Thomas, RMP, CRS, GRI, owner of KTB Property Management in Sacramento, a local leader in the residential property management field, has recently returned from the 24th annual Convention of the National Association of Residential Property Managers held in Crystal City, Va., Oct. 16-19. The association celebrated its 24th convention anniversary during the event while the various […]

Readers take reins, ask design questions

As long as I live I will have more questions than answers. In fact, I’ve built this column on my endless design and home improvement quandaries. I run my problems by experts, and report my findings to you. Occasionally, however, the tables turn. Guilty by association, I become the sought-out expert. Two weekends ago, for […]

Golden Bear opens new office

Golden Bear Mortgage marked its 20th anniversary by hosting a Folsom Chamber mixer at its new office, 806 Bidwell St. in Folsom. The opening was made official with a ribbon cutting  ceremony with members of the Golden Bear Mortgage team — Christopher Long, John Arnaz, Joselle Wilson Tully, Connie Tomlinson, Jessica Loer, Brian Olson and Barbara Till. […]

California home sales decline in August; median price hits four-year high

California Association of Realtors California home sales declined in August but continued to maintain a strong pace, recording five consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains, while the median price reached a four-year high, the California Association of Realtors reported. “A lack of inventory remains an issue, as the housing supply fell more than 30 percent […]

CAR gives thumbs up to Boxer, Menendez bill

The California Association of Realtors commends California Senator Barbara Boxer and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez for reintroducing a measure that would allow millions of homeowners to more easily refinance their mortgages at lower rates. “We applaud Senators Boxer and Menendez for reintroducing this bill and recognizing that it benefits all parties involved,” said C.A.R. […]

Tight housing inventory, slower economy constrain California pending home sales in June

A continued lack of housing inventory and slowing economy sent California pending home sales lower in June, but pending sales were still higher than the previous year for the 14th straight month, the California Association of Realtors reported this week. Pending home sales data CAR’s Pending Home Sales Index fell 3.8 percent from a revised […]

Entertaining with old-fashioned charm

One is more delightful for being told one is delightful. – Katharine Gerould, American writer Ladies and Gentlemen, please put down your smart phones. Better yet, silence them. I need your full attention: Americans and their homes are having a charm crisis. Our collective attachment to electronics — whether to our high-definition televisions, laptops or mobile […]

Building your new home: Now is better than later

Residential construction is on the rise in 2012, with the industry experiencing the highest growth in residential sales it’s seen in more than 30 years. According to the U.S. Census, building permits for privately owned homes rose to an adjusted annual rate of 715,000 in April 2012, a 23.7 percent increase from April 2011, when […]

California pending home sales rise on annual basis

Pending home sales in California were flat from April but posted double-digit gains from the previous year for the fourth straight month, the California Association of Realtors recently reported. Additionally, the share of distressed sales continued to decline from year-ago levels, signaling a return of non-investors to the housing market. Pending home sales: CAR’s Pending […]

A window of opportunity could soon close

Some El Dorado Hills homebuyers could soon miss out if they don’t act. Let me explain. For years now the United States Development Agency has offered “Rural Development” loans designed to help home buyers in “rural” areas throughout the United States. The USDA defines “rural” as a community with a population base of approximately 20,000. […]

Richmond blends traditional and modern, elegant and informal

The Richmond blends traditional and present day Mediterranean styling in a plan that is at once elegant and informal. Traditional elements include a tile roof, arched windows, and stucco relief. Bold columns, a cameo window and planters overflowing with vegetation provide contemporary flavor. Vaulted ceilings create a sense of openness in the formal living spaces […]

Low-interest county loans available for home repairs

El Dorado County has funds available as low-interest rate loans for home repairs to income-qualified homeowners in the unincorporated areas of the county. Funding is provided through the State Community Development Block Grant Program and the county’s Housing Rehabilitation Revolving Loan Funds. These Housing Rehabilitation loans must be used to correct health and safety issues […]

Coldwel Banker prez pounds the pavement for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Kris Vogt, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Sacramento/Tahoe, embarked on a 24-hour run to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. May 4-5 Vogt ran through Sacramento, Folsom and Elk Grove as part of his Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year program. “It has been nearly 10 years […]

Programs help homeowners avoid foreclosure

The Obama administration has implemented a number of programs to assist homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and otherwise struggling with their monthly mortgage payments. The majority of these programs are administered through the U.S. Treasury Department and HUD. Distressed homeowners are encouraged to contact their lenders and loan servicers directly to inquire about foreclosure prevention […]

Tahoe area market beginning to rebound

Significant Improvement seen in lower-segment of Tahoe market Zephyr Cove, Nev. — First quarter home sales at Lake Tahoe show an improved market compared to last year’s numbers for the same period, according to a quarterly report released by Lake Tahoe-based real estate firm Chase International. One noticeable and positive statistic was an impressive 15 percent […]

Keller Williams opens luxury/commercial office

Guests celebrated the grand opening of the Keller Williams Luxury Homes and Commercial Division office in El Dorado Hills last week. The office is located at 4359 Town Center Drive, Suite 110 and  houses an exclusive group of real estate consultants who will serve El Dorado, Placer and Sacramento counties. Also, Evangeline Scott with Big Valley Mortgage will serve […]

Jane Layton has luck on her side

Jane Layton believes in the Golden Rule: “You treat other people like you want to be treated.” Following this rule has undoubtedly helped Layton become a successful RE/MAX Gold Realtor. Since 1991 Layton has helped clients find their dream homes. She started with O’Bryon Real Estate, moved to ERA and 10 years ago joined RE/MAX […]

Taylor Morrison helps homeowners discover their trademark

SACRAMENTO — Taylor Morrison believes that your home is your trademark (TM), a place that you can call your own. During the unveiling of their all-new Trademark initiative, Taylor Morrison is encouraging potential homebuyers to uncover their inspiration. Whether it’s Together More, Two Mastiffs or Transcontinental Move, Taylor Morrison has a home perfectly matched to […]

Economical Elwood loaded with charm

The Elwood’s nostalgic railed and covered porch extends a warm welcome, and Craftsman-style double-hung windows add to the appeal. An old-fashioned porch swing would fit in nicely here. This small three-bedroom, two-bath home is well suited to the needs of singles, young families, and empty nesters interested in reducing their maintenance chores. Entering, you step […]

State’s housing affordability climbs

SACRAMENTO — Housing affordability continued to increase in all but three of the state’s metropolitan areas included in the report and reached the highest statewide level since the California index was developed in 2007, the California Building Industry Association recently announced. On a statewide basis, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index […]

Report: G’town-Garden Valley fire merger prospects dim

On Jan. 18, at the Georgetown Fire Protection District’s monthly board meeting, a “final draft report” from the joint consolidation committee of Georgetown and Garden Valley Fire was presented. The report began by providing some background information on why the report was being made in the first place. “In the early part of 2010, the […]

February 10, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Replies

2011 marks third-lowest year on record for California housing production

SACRAMENTO – California saw the third lowest yearly housing permit total and the worst yearly total on record for single-family units in 2011, the California Building Industry Association announced. CBIA officials said a total of 47,015 permits were issued statewide last year for new homes, apartments, condominiums and townhomes, up 5 percent from 2010 when […]

Spacious Northshire is designed to be built into a hill

The Northshire is a spacious prairie-style home designed for construction on land that slopes up at the rear. The home is actually cut into a hillside. Its driveway climbs to the garage, near the entrance on the upper level. Family members can enter through the garage. Two-story stone veneer columns highlight the covered front porch […]

Abbie Gillespie joins Z Group Real Estate

Z Group Real Estate is very pleased to welcome Abbie Gillespie as a new sales  associate. She fell in love with El Dorado County while visiting in 1999, and within months moved here with her husband and two children. Gillespie has been a Realtor since 2004. Gillespie moved back and forth between California and Colorado while […]

Spacious Littlefield a delight to behold

Visually exploring the European-style Littlefield is downright enjoyable. Rectangular stacked stone veneer covers much of the front facade and flanks the garage door. Soldier courses of raised brick contribute outlining and textural contrast, as does the wavy wrought iron railing that rims the porch. Classic keystones accent the arches that highlight two front windows, the […]

HUD offers housing counseling grants

Deadline to apply is Jan. 12 WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced that more than $40 million is available for a broad range of housing counseling programs to help families find and preserve housing. These grants will be awarded competitively to hundreds of HUD-approved counseling agencies and State […]

Santa Rosa embodies Southwestern spirit

A bright tile roof caps the smooth stucco of the Southwestern-style Santa Rosa. Designed for construction on a slope, this home has three levels. Gathering spaces are on the main floor, and bedrooms are above. A roomy two-car garage and two large storage areas are below, and some of those spaces are windowed. An inviting […]

Pricey design home offers ideas on the cheap

In pursuit of my mantra, Look rich, be cheap, I go on every design-house tour I can. You know those fundraising events where a bunch of designers consume a lot of caffeine, then converge on a house like a swat team. Each takes a room and turns it into a personal showcase. They say they […] goes global with launch of international site

The National Association of Realtors and Move Inc., the leader in online real estate and operator of, extended the lead of as the world’s largest online destination for real estate listings with the launch of the International Website. Available at, the new site delivers the 4.4 million for-sale property listings displayed on […]

New pier marks first step in Tahoe development

STATELINE, Nev. — A new pier installation at Tahoe Beach Club will underscore the lakefront lifestyle at the first fully owned residential lakefront development on Lake Tahoe in 25 years, and mark initial phase construction at the eagerly awaited project. The new 159-foot pier will be just one of the few floating piers on Lake […]

Remodel a room for the cost of a fill up

As prices at the pump remain high, it’s making other things look downright cheap. One of them is interior painting. Always inexpensive, the cost of painting a room is now about the same as the cost of a fill-up. According to Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute, “Even the highest quality interior paint […]

Fern View is spacious yet economical

Open and welcoming, the Fern View’s front porch spans the front façade of this contemporary ranch-style home. Slender posts provide graceful accents. Having a basically rectangular footprint makes this home economical to build, heat and maintain. For young families, this makes a stunning starter home. For empty nesters it promises lower maintenance chores and costs […]