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Real estate market analysis

The Lock-in Effect: How Low Mortgage Rates Are Freezing the Housing Market

Interest rates trapped home

Trapped by a Good Deal: The Lock-in Effect Gripping the Housing Market The American dream of owning a home has always been a central part of our culture. However, recent events in the housing market

Trapped by a Good Deal: The Lock-in Effect Gripping the Housing Market The American dream of owning a home has always been a central part of our culture. However, recent events in the housing market have created a peculiar situation where many homeowners find themselves "trapped" in their homes, having secured incredibly low mortgage rates during the pandemic. Just when you thought you had learned all the real estate vocabulary out there, there is a new term known as the "lock-in effect," which is causing ripples throughout the housing market and the broader economy. What is the Lock-in Effect? Imagine you bought (or refinanced) a house a few years ago when interest rates were at historic lows, say around 3%. You're now sitting pretty with a fantastic mortgage deal. However, interest rates have since skyrocketed to around 7%. If you were to sell your home and buy a new one, you'd be forced to take out a new mortgage at this much higher rate, likely increasing your monthly payments. This financial reality is discouraging many homeowners from moving, even if they want to. This hesitation to sell is causing a ripple effect throughout the housing market. Fewer homes are being put up for sale, leading to decreased inventory and increased competition among buyers. This, in turn, drives up prices, making it even harder for first-time buyers to enter the market. The lock-in effect is estimated to have prevented around 1.3 million home sales from spring 2022 to the end of 2023. Why is This Happening Now? The lock-in effect is not a new phenomenon, but its current scale is unprecedented. Several factors have contributed to this situation: Historically Low Rates: The pandemic-era interest rates were exceptionally low, enticing many to purchase homes or refinance existing mortgages. Rapid Rate Increase: The Federal Reserve's efforts to combat inflation have led to a rapid increase in interest rates, creating a stark contrast with the locked-in rates many homeowners enjoy. Long Mortgage Terms: Most mortgages in the US are 30-year fixed-rate loans, meaning the low rates secured during the pandemic will remain in effect for many years. The Impact on Homeowners While having a low mortgage rate might seem like a blessing, the lock-in effect has created several challenges for homeowners: Limited Mobility: Homeowners who want to move for better jobs, downsize, or upsize find themselves financially constrained by their low mortgage rates. Missed Opportunities: They may be missing out on potentially better housing situations or career advancements due to their reluctance to sell. Financial Stress: The knowledge that moving would significantly increase their housing costs can cause stress and anxiety. Broader Economic Consequences The lock-in effect doesn't just impact individual homeowners. It has far-reaching consequences for the economy: Decreased Labor Mobility: The inability of homeowners to relocate for better job opportunities can hinder economic growth and productivity. Wage Stagnation: When workers are unable to move to areas with higher wages, it can contribute to wage stagnation. Reduced Economic Activity: Fewer home sales mean less spending on furniture, appliances, and other related goods and services, impacting various industries. What Can Be Done? President Biden has acknowledged the issue and proposed temporary tax credits to incentivize new home buyers and sellers. However, the effectiveness of this measure remains to be seen. Some economists argue that the lock-in effect is likely to persist until interest rates decrease or stabilize, which may take time. In the meantime, homeowners who are considering selling their homes need to carefully weigh the financial implications. While moving might mean giving up a great mortgage rate, it could also open up new opportunities and improve their overall quality of life. It's essential to consult with financial advisors and real estate professionals to make informed decisions. The Bottom Line The lock-in effect is a complex issue with no easy solutions. While it presents challenges for homeowners and the housing market, it also underscores the importance of understanding the long-term implications of financial decisions, especially when it comes to something as significant as a mortgage. As the market evolves, it will be interesting to see how this phenomenon plays out and what measures will be taken to address its consequences. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Understanding Property Taxes: How They Fund Education and Impact Communities in California

Property taxes and schools

Understanding how local education is funded in California is not just crucial, it's empowering for homeowners, parents, voters, and even those in real estate license schools. One of the key components

Understanding how local education is funded in California is not just crucial, it's empowering for homeowners, parents, voters, and even those in real estate license schools. One of the key components of this funding comes from property taxes. I wanted to write an article to explain how property taxes contribute to local education funding, what that means for your community, and why every Californian should be informed. By understanding this, you gain the power to influence and shape your community's educational landscape. Understanding Property Taxes Property taxes are levied on all real estate by governments and primarily used to fund various local services, including schools, roads, and public safety. For homeowners, understanding property taxes is crucial as it directly impacts their financial obligations and property values. In California, property taxes are calculated based on the assessed value of your property, with rates varying by location but typically set at around 1% of the assessed value due to Proposition 13, which was passed in 1978. The Connection Between Property Taxes and Education Funding Allocation of Funds A significant portion of property taxes are allocated to public schools. The exact percentage can vary depending on the municipality and the community's needs. Generally, these funds are used to cover expenses such as: Teacher salaries School supplies Building maintenance and repairs Technology upgrades Extracurricular activities Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) In 2013, California implemented the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), significantly changing how state education funds are distributed to public schools. LCFF aims to provide a more equitable, student-focused approach to school funding and increases the importance of local property taxes as they contribute to the base grants that every school receives. Before 2013, all public schools in California got money from the state based on a system that some people thought was confusing and unfair. In 2013, California started using a new system called the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF for short, to make things more fair. Here's how LCFF works: More Money Where It's Needed: LCFF ensures that schools receive money based on their students' specific needs. Schools with more students who need extra help (like those learning English as a second language, coming from low-income families, or being foster children) receive more money. This helps ensure that all students have a fair chance at a good education. Local Control: Under LCFF, local communities have more say in how their schools use the money. This means parents and teachers can have a more significant impact on deciding what the school needs most. Property Taxes: The money that schools get from LCFF includes a base amount that comes partly from local property taxes. This means that the money collected from homeowners in the area helps to fund the local schools. Since each area might have different property tax income, this still ties school funding somewhat to a neighborhood's wealth, but LCFF helps balance it out with extra funds where they're needed most. In simple terms, LCFF was created to ensure that money for schools is shared more fairly, focusing more on what students in each school actually need to succeed. This system, with its focus on fairness and equity, should reassure you that every child, regardless of their background, has an equal opportunity to succeed in their education. Impact on Quality of Education The quality of local schools often reflects the community's property tax base. Neighborhoods with higher property values generate more tax revenue, which can lead to better-funded schools and, typically, better educational outcomes. This disparity highlights the importance of understanding and participating in local tax discussions and assessments. In California, the relationship between property values, local property taxes, and school quality is complex due to the state's unique tax laws, specifically the implications of Proposition 13. Passed in 1978, Proposition 13 caps the amount that property taxes can increase each year, regardless of increases in property values. This means that, unlike many other places, rising property values in California do not automatically lead to proportionally increased property tax revenues. However, areas with higher property values still tend to have better-funded schools for a couple of reasons: Higher Baseline Taxes: Even with Proposition 13, neighborhoods with higher property values start from a higher baseline tax amount, which provides more funding to local schools. Local Funding Measures: Communities with higher property values often pass local parcel taxes or bond measures to fund schools, which go beyond the limitations set by Proposition 13. These measures are typically voted on in local elections and can significantly impact school budgets. A prime example is Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. Despite Proposition 13's limitations, the city's schools benefit from a community with high property values and strong support for education, often reflected in local voting patterns favoring school funding measures. This results in Palo Alto schools having more resources and generally better performance compared to schools in less affluent areas. Why Every Californian Should Care Educational Equity Understanding how property taxes impact local schools is key to addressing educational equity. Advocating for fair property assessments and equitable funding formulas can help ensure all children receive a quality education. Home Values Good schools increase property values. Homeowners should understand how supporting their local schools through property taxes can help their long-term value. In many communities, a cycle begins with high property values, which lead to better-funded schools through higher property tax revenues and community support for school-related funding measures. As these schools improve — with better facilities, more resources, and qualified teachers — they enhance the educational outcomes and reputation of the district. This reputation for excellent education increases the neighborhood's attractiveness to prospective homeowners, particularly those with children, looking for the best possible schooling options. This demand further drives up property values, enhancing the tax base and providing even more school funding. Thus, a self-reinforcing cycle is established: higher property values finance better schools, which in turn boost property values even more. Homeowners benefit from this cycle, as the continuous improvement in school quality helps sustain and increase their property's value over time. This makes support for local schools through property taxes and other funding initiatives not just a matter of civic duty but a wise investment that promotes a cycle of mutual benefit between educational institutions and property owners. Why Real Estate Agents Should Care Educating Clients: Real estate agents need to provide accurate and comprehensive information to their clients. Knowing the specifics of property taxes helps agents explain potential costs associated with owning a property. This is especially important for buyers moving from different states or regions where tax rates and structures might differ significantly. Assessing Property Value: Property taxes are often based on assessed property values. Agents who understand how these assessments are conducted can better evaluate and compare property values, which is essential for advising clients on buying and selling properties. Budget Planning: For many homeowners, property taxes represent a significant portion of their annual housing expenses. Agents must be able to help clients estimate these costs accurately so they can budget appropriately. This is particularly important in areas with high tax rates or where property values rapidly increase. Understanding Community Benefits: Property taxes typically fund critical local services and infrastructure, such as public schools, police and fire departments, and public parks. A real estate agent who can articulate what these taxes contribute can provide deeper insights into the quality of life in a particular community. This knowledge can be a deciding factor for buyers considering different neighborhoods. Negotiating Deals: Knowledge of how property taxes impact a real estate deal is vital. For instance, if an area is due for a tax reassessment or has pending tax legislation, this could affect the buyer's willingness to close a deal at a proposed price. An informed agent can negotiate better terms by anticipating changes in property taxes. Investment Insight: Investors often look to real estate agents for advice on properties that offer the best return on investment. Understanding property taxes helps agents recommend investments wisely, considering the long-term tax implications and the potential for property tax hikes. Market Trends: Changes in property tax policies can influence real estate market trends. Agents aware of these changes can better predict market movements and advise clients when to buy or sell to maximize their financial outcomes. Overall, an in-depth understanding of property taxes enhances a real estate agent's professionalism and capability to provide strategic advice, thus fostering client trust and credibility. Property taxes play a crucial role in funding local education in California. By understanding this role, Californians can make informed decisions that support their communities and foster educational environments where all students thrive. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

What if the Appraisal Comes in Low? A Buyer's Guide to Navigating Your Appraisal Contingency

Low appraisal contingency buyer guide

Finding Your Dream Home: The Joy and the Jolt You've done it. After countless open houses, endless online listings, and what felt like an eternal waiting game, you finally found your dream home. The

Finding Your Dream Home: The Joy and the Jolt You've done it. After countless open houses, endless online listings, and what felt like an eternal waiting game, you finally found your dream home. The excitement was palpable as your offer was accepted, the contract signed, and the future seemed to paint itself in bright, hopeful colors. But then, a twist in the tale: the appraisal comes in, and it's lower than your purchase price. This news jolts you, shaking your excitement. It's a scenario many homebuyers fear, yet few are prepared for. It's not just about numbers; it's about your dreams, hopes, and vision for your future. The Safety Net: Understanding the Appraisal Contingency In these moments of uncertainty, your appraisal contingency becomes more than just a clause in a contract; it's a lifeline. This contingency is a crucial aspect of the home-buying process, designed to protect you, as the buyer, from overpaying. But what exactly is an appraisal contingency? In simple terms, it's a condition in your home buying contract stating the purchase is contingent on the property being appraised at or above the agreed-upon sale price. If the appraisal falls short, this clause gives you the power to renegotiate or even walk away from the deal without penalty - more on that later. More Than Just Money: The Psychological Impact Beyond its financial safety, an appraisal contingency is also about peace of mind. It's a buffer against the unforeseen, a guard against the unpredictable nature of real estate valuations. When the appraisal comes in low, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure. This clause serves as a reminder that you have options and are not locked into a potentially unfavorable situation. Navigating the complexities of a low appraisal can be challenging, but understanding the role and power of your appraisal contingency is the first step. As we delve deeper into this guide, we'll explore how to handle the gap between appraised value and offer price, examine your options under the appraisal contingency, and equip you with the knowledge to make the best decision for your future. Dealing with the Gap: Understanding and Managing the Discrepancy The Dilemma of Differing Values When faced with a lower-than-expected appraisal, you encounter a fundamental dilemma: the gap between the appraised value and your offer price. This discrepancy isn't just a set of numbers but a potential challenge to your home-buying journey. Appraised Value vs. Offer Price The appraised value of a property is an expert's opinion of its worth, whereas the offer price is what you're willing to pay for it. These two figures ideally should align closely, but when they don't, it's crucial to understand what each represents. The appraised value is grounded in thoroughly analyzing the property and market conditions. At the same time, the offer price can sometimes reflect more subjective factors like personal desire or market competition. Common Reasons for a Low Appraisal Understanding why appraisals come in low can help you navigate this situation more clearly. Here are some common reasons: Market Fluctuations: Real estate markets are dynamic, and rapid changes can lead to disparities between current market conditions and recent sales data used by appraisers. Property Condition: If the appraiser notes issues with the property that you, the home inspector, or the seller might have missed, it can affect the appraisal value. Comparable Sales (Comps): Appraisers generally use recent sales of similar properties in the area (comps) to determine value. If there are few comps or if they sold at lower prices, it can impact your appraised value. Inaccurate Listing Information: Sometimes, discrepancies in square footage, room count, or amenities between the listing information and the actual property can lead to a lower appraisal. Navigating the Appraisal Report with Your Agent There needs to be more than just knowing the appraised value; understanding why it is key. This is where reviewing the appraisal report with your real estate agent becomes invaluable. Your agent can help interpret the report, point out areas that might be disputed, and provide insight into the appraiser's reasoning. This knowledge is crucial for your next steps, whether challenging the appraisal, renegotiating the deal, or even deciding to walk away. Your Options with an Appraisal Contingency When faced with a low appraisal, your appraisal contingency clause becomes a critical tool, offering you several paths to consider. Each option carries its own set of considerations and potential outcomes. Option 1: Walking Away: This option offers a clean break. Assuming you still have your appraisal contingency intact, you reclaim your earnest money deposit and walk away from the deal, free to explore other opportunities. Consider this path if the gap between the offer and the appraised value is significant, exceeding your budget, or if the appraisal highlights major concerns. While finding another suitable home in a competitive market might take time, the financial and emotional security gained can be invaluable. The Benefits of Opting Out Financial Protection: Assuming that your appraisal contingency is still in play, walking away allows you to reclaim your earnest money deposit, safeguarding your finances. Avoiding Overpayment: You avoid overpaying for a property, which could have long-term financial implications. Opportunity to Reassess: This situation allows you to reassess your options and find a better fit. Considering the Drawbacks Market Challenges: In a competitive market, finding another suitable property might take time and effort. Emotional Impact: Letting go of a home you've become attached to can be emotionally challenging. Option 2: Paying the Difference: This option demands serious financial consideration. If the gap is manageable and aligns with your long-term budget, it can still lead to securing your dream home. However, be meticulous in your calculations. Factor in additional costs like closing fees, potential repairs identified in the appraisal, and the impact on your future financial stability. Consulting your financial advisor is crucial to ensure this decision is manageable for your resources later. Financial Implications Immediate Costs: Paying the difference (the amount between the contract price and the appraised amount) means more upfront cash, which can strain your budget. Long-Term Considerations: This decision could impact your property equity. Making a Responsible Decision Financial Planning: Carefully consider your financial situation and future implications. Seeking Advice: Consulting with trusted advisors can provide clarity. Option 3: Renegotiating: This option leverages your appraisal contingency as a negotiation tool. Armed with the appraiser's report, you can present a compelling case to the seller highlighting the discrepancy between the offer and the property's actual market value. Be prepared to compromise – offering alternative solutions like a lower price, closing date adjustments, or repair credits in exchange for a price concession. Remember, a win-win outcome benefits both parties and increases the chances of reaching an agreement. The Power of Negotiation Leveraging the Report: Use the appraisal report findings to negotiate a fairer price with the seller. Finding Compromise: Aim for a win-win situation where both parties feel satisfied with the outcome. Strategy and Compromise Presenting Your Case: Be clear and factual when presenting your case based on the appraisal report. Flexibility and Creativity: Consider other aspects of the deal where you can compromise, such as closing dates or repair credits. Ultimately, the best decision is the one that aligns with your unique circumstances and risk tolerance. Consider these factors: Financial Situation: Can you comfortably absorb the difference in price or additional costs? Market Conditions: Is the market hot or cooling? Is finding another suitable property feasible? Emotional Attachment: How attached are you to this specific property? Is it worth compromising for? Alternative Options: Have you explored other properties that suit your budget and needs? Timeframe: Your appraisal contingency period sets a deadline for making a decision. Utilize it effectively to gather information and weigh your options. Remember, your real estate agent and advisors are valuable allies in this process. Feel free to use their expertise and experience to analyze your options and make the most informed decision. With a clear head, careful consideration, and the power of your appraisal contingency, you can navigate this unexpected turn and confidently choose the path that leads to your ideal home. Negotiation Tactics with Your Appraisal Contingency in Play With a low appraisal comes the opportunity to flex your negotiation muscles, and your appraisal contingency is your secret weapon. Here are some tips to wield it effectively: 1. Know Your Numbers: Thoroughly understand the appraised value, its reasons, and how much you're willing to budge. Present factual evidence from the appraisal report to support your arguments. 2. Be Assertive, Not Aggressive: Approach the seller confidently but maintain a respectful tone. Remember, your goal is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, not to burn bridges. 3. Focus on Solutions, Not Demands: Instead of simply demanding a lower price, offer alternative solutions like extending the closing date, taking on some repairs identified in the appraisal, or contributing a closing cost credit. 4. Be Prepared to Walk Away: While compromise is key, know your bottom line and walk away if the seller isn't willing to meet your needs. Your appraisal contingency empowers you to do so without penalty. 5. Leverage Your Agent's Expertise: Your real estate agent can act as a mediator, facilitating communication and helping you reach a fair deal. Feel free to rely on their experience and negotiation skills. 6. Consider Professional Appraisers: If you have doubts about the original appraisal, you can hire a second appraiser for a different perspective. However, weigh the cost of a second appraisal against the potential benefits of its findings. 7. Keep Emotions in Check: While feeling attached to the property is natural, don't let emotions cloud your judgment. Stick to your budget and financial goals, and decide based on logic and data. 8. Use Time to Your Advantage: Your appraisal contingency gives you a timeframe to gather information, negotiate, and make a well-informed decision. Don't feel pressured to rush into anything. 9. Document Everything: Keep clear records of all communication with the seller and your agent, including any proposed settlements or agreements. This protects you in case any disputes arise later. Remember, successful negotiation is a balancing act. By presenting a solid case, remaining flexible, and strategically leveraging your appraisal contingency, you can turn a low appraisal into an opportunity to negotiate the right deal. Embracing the Crossroads A low appraisal can feel like a roadblock, throwing a wrench into your dream home journey. But remember, it's not a dead end; it's a crossroads. With your trusty appraisal contingency by your side, you have the power to navigate this unexpected turn and choose the path that leads to your ideal future. Whether you walk away with your deposit intact, bridge the gap and secure your dream home, or negotiate a win-win with the seller, remember that this decision is about more than just bricks and mortar. It's about your finances, emotional well-being, and long-term goals. This unexpected curve in the road might lead you to a better destination than you imagined. Another property awaits, perfectly aligning with your needs and budget, with an appraisal that sings your praises. Or, after careful consideration, you decide that this house, with its quirks and charms, is worth the extra effort. So take a deep breath, trust your instincts, and embrace the crossroads. While filled with twists and turns, the journey to your dream home can be enriching when you chart your course. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

What Is A Real Estate Appraisal?

Uncover property value secrets

What is a real estate appraisal? In real estate, an appraisal is a cornerstone. A real estate appraisal is a professional assessment of a property's market value conducted by a licensed real estate

What is a real estate appraisal? In real estate, an appraisal is a cornerstone. A real estate appraisal is a professional assessment of a property's market value conducted by a licensed real estate appraiser This report is important to a variety of stakeholders in various situations, whether you're buying, selling, refinancing, or managing real estate investments. For buyers, an appraisal offers a clear picture of whether the property is worth the investment. While the listing agent typically recommends a list price, sellers also can gain insights into setting a competitive and realistic price based on location, size, and condition. Most commonly, lenders use these appraisals to determine the viability and value of a property as collateral for loans. Real estate appraisals provide a snapshot of a property's worth in the current market, offering a critical data point that influences decision-making in the dynamic real estate landscape. Whether you are preparing for the real estate license exam a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a curious reader, understanding the nuances of real estate appraisals is an invaluable part of navigating the property market successfully. What is a Real Estate Appraisal? Real estate appraisals, a fundamental subject taught in real estate school, play a pivotal role in the dynamics of property transactions. They influence the decisions of buyers, sellers, and lenders in distinct ways by providing an objective basis for decision-making. This ensures that all parties are well-informed about the actual value of the property in question. Key components of a real estate appraisal include several critical elements: Property Inspection: The appraiser conducts a thorough examination of the property, assessing its condition, size, location, and unique features. This physical inspection is a significant part of the appraisal process. Market Analysis: The appraiser analyzes current market trends, including comparable sales data of similar properties in the area. This comparison helps evaluate how the subject property stacks up against others in the same market. Documentation and Reporting: The appraiser compiles the data collected during the inspection and analysis into a detailed appraisal report. This report outlines the appraiser's findings and provides a final estimation of the property's value. Professional Expertise and Standards: Appraisals are conducted by licensed professionals who adhere to standardized methods and ethical practices. Their expertise in property valuation ensures that the appraisal is reliable and compliant with industry standards. A real estate appraisal is a comprehensive, pivotal real estate market evaluation. It provides a clear, professional assessment of a property's value, taking into account various factors like location, property size and market conditions. For anyone involved in a real estate transaction, understanding the intricacies of the appraisal process is key to ensuring fair and informed decisions. Who Typically Hires the Appraiser? Lenders are who commonly engage appraisers in real estate transactions, particularly for mortgages, to assess the risk associated with the loan. This process ensures that the amount of money lent aligns with the property's actual market value. The appraisal, conducted by an independent professional, objectively evaluates the property's worth. This is crucial for the lender to determine the loan-to-value ratio, a critical factor in loan approval and risk management. Essentially, the appraisal safeguards the lender, ensuring they do not extend more credit than the property is worth, thus protecting their financial interests. Imagine you want to buy a house that's listed for sale at $300,000. To purchase this house, you approach a bank for a mortgage. The bank, before lending you the money, wants to make sure that the house is really worth $300,000. So, the bank hires an independent appraiser to evaluate the house's value. The appraiser looks at the house, considering factors like location, size, condition, and compares it to similar houses that have recently sold in the area. Suppose the appraiser determines that the house is indeed worth $300,000. The bank then feels confident to proceed with the loan, knowing that if you fail to pay the mortgage, they can sell the house and recover their money, as the house's value matches the loan amount. However, if the appraiser finds that the house is only worth $250,000, the bank faces a higher risk. If they lend you $300,000 but you later default on the mortgage, the bank might not be able to recoup the full loan amount by selling the house. In such cases, the bank might offer a smaller loan or ask for a higher down payment to reduce their risk. This shows how appraisals protect lenders from loaning more money than a property is worth. The Appraisal Process Explained Understanding the step-by-step process and some basic real estate terms can significantly demystify what goes into determining a property's value. This insight is crucial whether you're a buyer assessing a potential investment, a seller setting a price, or a lender evaluating loan risk. Central to this process is the role of a licensed real estate appraiser whose expertise and impartial assessment are vital for an accurate and fair appraisal. Engagement of a Licensed Appraiser: The process begins when a licensed appraiser is hired, typically by the lender or sometimes by the buyer or seller. The appraiser must be a professional with the credentials and knowledge of local market trends to ensure a reliable appraisal. Collection of Preliminary Data: The appraiser starts by gathering basic information about the property, such as its location, size, and unique features. This initial data forms the foundation of the appraisal process. Physical Inspection of the Property: The appraiser conducts an on-site visit to inspect the property thoroughly. This includes examining the interior and exterior, noting the property's condition, size, layout, and any improvements or unique features. This step is crucial in assessing the property's current state and its impact on value. Market Research and Analysis: The appraiser then delves into market research, analyzing current real estate market trends and comparable sales data. This involves studying recent sales of similar properties in the area to help determine a fair market value for the subject property. Preparation of the Appraisal Report: After the inspection and research, the appraiser compiles their findings into a detailed appraisal report. This report includes an analysis of the property and the market and the appraiser's final estimate of the property's value. Review and Finalization: The completed report is then reviewed for accuracy and compliance with industry standards. Once finalized, it is submitted to the client thereby providing a professional, unbiased property valuation. The appraisal process is a blend of professional evaluation, market analysis, and reporting. It is a critical component in the real estate industry, providing assurance and clarity to all parties involved in a property transaction. Factors Affecting Property Value in an Appraisal In real estate appraisal, understanding the factors influencing property valuation is critical. A real estate appraiser considers numerous aspects during the home appraisal process, each significant in determining the outcome. Let's delve into some of these crucial factors: Location: Often touted as the most critical factor in property valuation, the location of a property significantly impacts its appraised value. This includes the neighborhood's desirability, proximity to amenities like schools, parks, and shopping centers, as well as the overall safety and accessibility of the area. Property Size and Layout: The size of the property, including the square footage of the living space and the size of the land, is a primary consideration. Additionally, the layout and functional utility of the space can also affect its value. A well-designed layout that maximizes usability can enhance a property's appeal and value. Condition and Age of the Property: The current state of the property is a vital component in the appraisal. This includes the home's age, its structure's condition, and any wear and tear. Properties that are well-maintained or recently renovated typically fetch higher appraisals. Market Trends: Real estate market trends significantly influence property valuation. The appraiser considers the housing market's current state, including supply and demand dynamics, interest rates, and economic factors that could influence property values. Market Analysis: A real estate appraiser conducts a Market Analysis, comparing the subject property with similar properties recently sold in the area. This comparison helps in gauging the competitive market value of the property. Additional Features and Improvements: Unique features such as a swimming pool, a large garden, high-quality finishes, or energy-efficient appliances can add to a property's value. The appraiser assesses these additional features and considers how they contribute to the property's overall appeal and functionality. Zoning and Future Development: The zoning regulations and potential for future development in the area can also impact a property's appraisal. For instance, a property in a zone with potential for commercial development may be valued differently than one in a strictly residential area. A professional real estate appraiser meticulously evaluates each of these factors during the home appraisal process. Their assessment provides an objective estimate of the property's fair market value, reflecting its true worth in the current real estate market context. This comprehensive analysis ensures that all stakeholders in a real estate transaction have a clear and accurate understanding of the property's value, guiding informed decision-making and fair negotiations. The Role of Appraisals in Real Estate Transactions Real estate appraisals play a pivotal role in the dynamics of property transactions, influencing the decisions of buyers, sellers, and lenders in distinct ways. These appraisals provide an objective basis for decision-making, ensuring that all parties are informed about the actual value of the property in question. For Buyers: Making Informed Purchase Decisions Risk Mitigation: A professional property valuation helps buyers understand the actual worth of a property, reducing the risk of overpaying. Negotiation Leverage: An appraisal can be a powerful negotiation tool, particularly if it reveals that the property's market value is lower than the asking price. Investment Validation: For those purchasing property as an investment, an appraisal confirms whether the investment is sound based on current market trends and property potential. For Sellers: Setting Realistic Selling Prices Market-Driven Pricing: Sellers can benefit from appraisals by gaining insights into how to price their property competitively. Justification for Price: A higher-than-expected appraisal gives sellers the evidence to justify their asking price or even adjust it upwards in a strong market. Quick Sale Facilitation: Reasonably priced properties, backed by appraisals can attract serious buyers, potentially speeding up the sale process. For Lenders: Determining Loan Values Loan-to-Value Ratio: Lenders use the appraised value to determine the loan-to-value ratio, a critical factor in loan approval decisions. Risk Management: By ensuring the property is worth the loan amount, lenders mitigate the risk of loaning more than the property's actual value. Regulatory Compliance: Appraisals are often required for lenders to remain compliant with regulatory standards, ensuring that they are not issuing loans that exceed the value of the collateral. As the real estate market continues to evolve, the role of a well prepared appraisal remains steadfast, offering clarity and confidence to all parties in a real estate transaction. Whether you are stepping into the market as a buyer, seller, or lender, understanding the value and implications of a professional real estate appraisal is crucial. It is not just a formality but a critical step in ensuring that the investment in real estate is sound, well-informed, and aligned with market realities. In essence, real estate appraisals are not just about assigning value to a property but about building trust and transparency in one of life's most significant financial decisions. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Redfin Eliminates Salaries

Commission shift

Since its inception, Redfin has carved a unique niche in the hyper-competitive real estate landscape. Unlike its contemporaries—Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Compass, and others—Redfin bucked traditional

Since its inception, Redfin has carved a unique niche in the hyper-competitive real estate landscape. Unlike its contemporaries—Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Compass, and others—Redfin bucked traditional industry norms by offering its agents a salaried position. This model, a significant departure from the commission-based income structures prevalent in real estate brokerages, was one of Redfin's signature moves, ensuring a steady income for its agents and ostensibly fostering a client-first service where agents might feel less pressure to close deals merely for the sake of their earnings. However, on January 1, Redfin is introducing a new commission-based program called Redfin Max, initially to be rolled out in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Despite the market slowdown due to rising mortgage rates, Redfin is not presenting this shift as a cost-cutting measure but as strategic planning for growth. The thought is that this change, aimed primarily at attracting and retaining high-performing agents, can earn up to a 75% commission split without incurring business expenses, a significant shift from their fixed salary system. This new strategy is particularly appealing to agents who have recently passed their real estate test and are looking for lucrative commission structures, a route often taught as advantageous in real estate school. The initiative responds to feedback from agents who want more earning potential, especially those with substantial client bases who could bring in more business. Despite this change, Redfin agents will remain full-time employees with benefits, maintaining their W2 status, which is rare in an industry where many agents work as independent contractors. Jason Aleem, Redfin's vice president of real estate operations, sees this move as a way to compete for top talent, noting that salary limitations previously deterred some leading agents. The change aims to attract new agents, particularly those fresh from real estate school and eager to pass the real estate exam, and increase the earnings of current top performers, potentially pushing their compensation to $1 million. This approach aligns with the company's view that rewarding high performers will increase profitability. The company anticipates positive outcomes from this change, though it's also a departure from its traditional model, signaling a new era for its operations and compensation structure. If successful in California, Redfin might consider expanding this model, prioritizing its growth and market share aspirations.
Real estate market analysis

How Insurance Caps in California are Shaking Up the Real Estate Market

Real estate insurance

In the wake of escalating wildfire risks and a rapidly changing environmental landscape, major property insurers are taking steps that could drastically alter the state of homeowner insurance in California.

In the wake of escalating wildfire risks and a rapidly changing environmental landscape, major property insurers are taking steps that could drastically alter the state of homeowner insurance in California. Farmers Insurance, a significant player in the state's insurance market, has recentl
Real estate market analysis

Real Estate vs. Stock Investing: Comparing Pros, Cons, and Tax Implications for a Balanced Portfolio

Pros and cons

In today's ever-evolving financial landscape, investors are often faced with the challenging decision of where to allocate their hard-earned money. Two popular investment avenues, real estate and the stock

In today's ever-evolving financial landscape, investors are often faced with the challenging decision of where to allocate their hard-earned money. Two popular investment avenues, real estate and the stock
Real estate market analysis

U.S. Housing Market Trends: High Mortgage Rates, Low Inventory, and Opportunities for Real Estate Professionals

US housing market

A question a have been getting regularly lately is “If interest rates are so high, why aren’t prices coming down?!” I get this question from students in our real estate license school as well as

A question a have been getting regularly lately is “If interest rates are so high, why aren’t prices coming down?!” I get this question from students in our real estate license school as well as from past and potential clients. This is a totally understandable question to ask, especially given the fact that interest rates have more than doubled in the past few years. The real estate market is experiencing high mortgage rates and an unprecedented housing inventory shortage - the market seems to be at a stalemate. This isn’t just true in southern California where we operate a real estate school and provide real estate crash courses to prepare folks for the real estate exam - this story is true all across the United States. The reality is that most U.S. homeowners remain tethered to their current homes due to significantly lower mortgage rates locked in over previous years. A recent analysis by Redfin revealed that nearly 92 percent of homeowners with mortgages have an interest rate below 6%, much lower than the current average mortgage rate of 6.71%. "Why would I want to sell my house when I have a really low 3% interest rate on my mortgage? If I buy a new house, I might end up with an interest rate that could be twice as high as my current one!” is the sentiment of many. As a consequence, the lack of available homes for sale has led to the housing market entering a very odd place, as noted by Redfin's Deputy Chief Economist, Taylor Marr. The reluctance from homeowners to list their properties, fostered by the significantly higher current mortgage rates, is stagnating the market, making it difficult for buyers to find suitable properties. There just isn’t enough inventory. A bit of bright news for the market is that the Federal Reserve in its most recent meeting opted against an 11th consecutive interest rate increase, which signaled a "hawkish pause" as it evaluates the impact of the previous rate hikes. However, the Fed indicated the likelihood of two more quarter percentage point increases by the end of the year, pushing the median expectation to a funds rate (not mortgage rate) of 5.6% by the end of 2023. The pause in interest rate hikes is intended to allow the Fed to monitor the impacts of its policy moves as it battles uneven but optimistic signs of inflation being under control. The decision resulted from various factors, including solid labor market performance and, as previously mentioned, slowing inflation rates. The future outlook suggests the possibility of rate cuts beginning in 2024, with raised expectations for economic growth and an optimistic outlook on unemployment rates. The inflation projections were also adjusted, but the overall impacts of the policy adjustments are yet to be fully realized in the economy. It has been said that an economy as large as the United States’ is like turning an aircraft carrier. To move in another direction requires turning the wheel miles and miles ahead of time. On a national level, regions where the inventory shortage is particularly acute include Hartford, Connecticut, and Buffalo, New York. Housing inventory hovers near record lows in these markets, where new construction is scarce. Hartford had just 1.4 months of housing supply in December, while in the past, a balanced housing market was considered to have between four and six months of supply. "Months of housing supply" is a metric often used by real estate professionals to measure the balance between supply and demand in the housing market. It's calculated by taking the current inventory of homes for sale and dividing it by the current sales rate (the number of homes sold per month). In this context, if Hartford has 1.4 months of housing supply, it means that at the current sales pace, all the homes currently listed for sale would be sold in approximately 1.4 months, assuming no new homes are listed. On the other hand, a balanced housing market is typically said to have between four and six months of supply. This means that it would take four to six months to sell all the homes currently on the market at the current sales pace. If the months of supply are less than this (like 1.4 months in Hartford's case), it generally indicates a seller's market because demand is outpacing supply. If it's more, it could be a buyer's market because supply exceeds demand. Therefore, Hartford's low 'months of housing supply' indicates a significant shortage of homes for sale compared to the number of interested buyers, leading to increased competition among buyers and potentially higher home prices. It’s the same story around much of the United States as low inventory continues to squeeze the housing markets all across the country. California is no exception. In addition to high mortgage rates, other factors contributing to low inventory include older Americans opting to age in place, investors purchasing homes for renting purposes, and the lack of new construction. Buyers priced out of major markets are relocating to smaller cities, creating demand in areas traditionally not associated with a housing crunch. This leads to emotionally charged house-hunting experiences, buyers are left with few options and the prospect of waiting long periods to find their dream home. Meanwhile, investor activity is also altering the market dynamics, with the proportion of single-family homes purchased by investors increasing from 15-16% each year from 2012 to 24% in 2021 Cities such as Austin, Nashville, and Dallas, which experienced bidding wars and price hikes in recent years due to low inventory, are now seeing a leveling off of prices due to increased available homes. The U.S. housing market currently presents a bittersweet scenario. With homeowners holding on to their homes and the housing inventory at record lows, it's a challenging time for those looking to enter or navigate the market. As things stand, the market remains skewed, favoring neither buyer nor seller, and it's a situation that appears likely to stay the same in the immediate future. It's essential to understand that such fluctuations and shifts present unique opportunities for those interested in the world of real estate. Yes, mortgage rates are high, and inventory is low, but this only increases the need for competent, understanding, and proactive real estate professionals who can navigate this challenging terrain. Obtaining a real estate license isn't just about selling homes; it's about understanding market dynamics, providing sound advice, and adapting to changing circumstances. This unique state of the market offers a wealth of learning experiences and the potential for lucrative returns. Moreover, as the market stabilizes and evolves, there will be a strong demand for qualified professionals to guide clients through their real estate journey. Remember, every market condition brings its own advantages and opportunities – the key lies in being prepared and willing to leverage them effectively. So, don't be discouraged. Embrace the opportunity to learn, grow, and become a valuable player in the real estate industry. Love, Kartik TLDR: The U.S. housing market is currently experiencing a unique state characterized by high mortgage rates and an unprecedented low inventory, leading to a market stalemate with homeowners reluctant to sell due to lower locked-in mortgage rates. However, the market's fluctuations are seen as opportunities for competent real estate professionals to navigate these challenges, understand market dynamics, and leverage changing circumstances to their advantage.
Real estate market analysis

Drake Bids Farewell to America, Lists Last US Property for $88 Million.

Beverly Hills home

I never imagined that I'd be writing an article on the entertainer Drake for our real estate school blog, yet here I am. I previously authored an article discussing the trend of individuals relocating

I never imagined that I'd be writing an article on the entertainer Drake for our real estate school blog, yet here I am. I previously authored an article discussing the trend of individuals relocating from California to other states, specifically during the COVID pandemic. However, the news of Drake reportedly putting his final US property on the market has piqued my interest. First, for our real estate school students who are interested in breaking into luxury real estate, this is particularly appropriate as the same licenses that you would need to sell a small condo in southern California is the same license that allows you to sell a mansion like the one discussed in this article. Canadian-born rapper Drake is reportedly saying goodbye to America as he lists his final US property, an $88 million Beverly Hills estate, for sale. The Grammy award-winning artist has allegedly decided to return to his hometown of Toronto, where he resides in a custom-built mansion. The Beverly Hills estate is a stunning Tuscan-style home boasting luxurious features and amenities, increasing appeal to what is certainly a narrow buyer pool. The KAA Associates designed property Drake is selling has a celebrity ownership history, with British pop star Robbie Williams initially purchasing the property before Drake acquired it for $75 million in 2022. The sprawling estate is situated on a roughly 19.7-acre lot in the verdant hills of Benedict Canyon. Public records indicate a structure size of 24,260 square feet featuring 10 bedrooms and 22 bathrooms, offering ample space for both living and entertaining. Its resort-style landscaping and incredible city, ocean, and mountain views create an atmosphere of luxury and relaxation. According to sources, the property is stacked with lavish amenities, including a circular motor court with water fountains, a grand columned entryway, a double-height foyer, and a sweeping grand staircase. The living spaces feature two fireplaces, a library with built-in cabinets, a formal dining room, and a gourmet kitchen with a breakfast room. Additional features include a professional screening room, wine cellar, gym, game room, hidden tennis court, and an 11-car garage. The estate also boasts a pool/guest house with a mosaic-tiled pool, an indoor-outdoor kitchen, and an orchard with mature olive trees and ancient oaks. The 11-car garage is appropriate as the musician is known to have a car collection consisting of a 2016 Ferrari LaFerrari, a 2010 Mercedes SLR McLaren, and even a coveted Bugatti Veyron, according to British GQ magazine. Drake has recently sold off a string of US properties totaling $26 million. The sales include a trio of properties in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, purchased by various buyers, including LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and former US assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim. In Toronto, Drake's custom-built 50,000-square-foot mansion serves as his primary residence. The property features an NBA-regulation size indoor basketball court and numerous other lavish amenities. The rapper's intention behind the home's design was to create a timeless, monumental structure that would stand firm for 100 years. Drake's decision to sell his final US property and focus on his Canadian roots demonstrates his commitment to his hometown of Toronto. With no known plans to purchase any other properties in the United States in the near future, the rapper's luxurious Beverly Hills estate is now up for grabs, offering a rare opportunity for potential buyers to own a piece of celebrity real estate. As always, if you are interested in a career in real estate, reach out to our school at or call us at 888-768-5285. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Understanding Los Angeles' Controversial Mansion Tax and Its Implications

Mansion tax and large homes

Los Angeles is currently grappling with a significant homelessness crisis, and city officials are searching for ways to address this pressing issue. One idea that went into effect recently is the so-called

Los Angeles is currently grappling with a significant homelessness crisis, and city officials are searching for ways to address this pressing issue. One idea that went into effect recently is the so-called “mansion tax”, a controversial policy that has generated considerable debate among residents. While some argue that the tax is necessary to alleviate the city's housing crisis, others contend that it unfairly punishes wealthy property owners and successful individuals. I wanted to write an article that delves into the complexities surrounding the mansion tax, exploring both the benefits of the tax in addressing homelessness and the concerns about its potential negative consequences. Most of our real estate classes are now on Zoom and done virtually, but I taught at a couple of real estate schools on the Westside of Los Angeles for many years and several of our students wanted to break into luxury real estate and I’m curious to know what you think. Understanding the Mansion Tax On April 1, 2023, a so-called “mansion tax” was enacted in Los Angeles. The tax applies to property sales at or over $5,000,000, with an increased rate for sales of $10,000,000 and above. The tax was approved by voters in November 2022 as a city-wide tax, implementing a 4% tax on properties that sell for $5 million or more and 5.5% on properties that sell for $10 million or more. The mansion tax aims to raise about $900 million yearly for affordable housing, homelessness programs, and other related initiatives. However, the tax has faced criticism from real estate brokers, developers, and property owners. Arguments for the Mansion Tax Proponents of the mansion tax argue that it is a much-needed source of revenue to address the affordable housing crisis and homelessness in Los Angeles. The tax is expected to generate millions of dollars earmarked for subsidized housing, housing acquisition and rehabilitation, rent assistance, and homelessness-related programs. Advocates say the tax will help bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and provide resources for those in need. A 2022 UCLA study found that the mansion tax's potential impacts on new construction would be minimal, suggesting that the tax will not significantly deter developers from building new properties in Los Angeles. The mansion tax in Los Angeles, despite its drawbacks, offers several benefits that could potentially help address the city's homelessness problem: 1. Generating Revenue for Affordable Housing and Homelessness Programs: The mansion tax is estimated to raise about $900 million annually, which can be directed towards various initiatives focused on tackling the housing crisis and homelessness. This additional funding can support the construction and preservation of affordable housing units and provide rent assistance to those in need. It can also help fund comprehensive homelessness programs, such as emergency shelters, permanent supportive housing, mental health services, and job training programs, essential in addressing the root causes of homelessness. 2. Progressive Taxation: The mansion tax is a form of progressive taxation, as it targets high-end property sales and wealthier individuals who can afford to pay a higher tax rate. This approach can help reduce income inequality and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. By imposing a higher tax on luxury properties, the city can allocate more resources to support vulnerable and low-income residents, often disproportionately affected by the housing crisis. 3. Encouraging Efficient Use of Land: The mansion tax might encourage more efficient land use in Los Angeles. Luxury properties often occupy large plots of land, and the mansion tax could motivate property owners to either downsize or sell their land to developers who might build more affordable housing units in its place. This could ultimately increase the overall housing supply, alleviating the pressure on the city's housing market and potentially reducing homelessness. 4. Increased Awareness and Involvement: Implementing the mansion tax has generated significant public debate, raising awareness of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. This increased attention could lead to greater involvement from residents, businesses, and other stakeholders in finding long-term solutions to the housing crisis. This collective effort could result in developing more effective policies, initiatives, and partnerships to address homelessness in the city. 5. Demonstrating Commitment to Social Responsibility: The mansion tax conveys that Los Angeles is committed to addressing its homelessness problem and working towards a more equitable city. By using tax revenue from luxury property sales to fund affordable housing and homelessness programs, the city demonstrates its dedication to social responsibility and the welfare of all its residents. The mansion tax in Los Angeles presents several potential benefits that could help alleviate the city's homelessness problem. By generating additional revenue for affordable housing and homelessness programs, promoting progressive taxation, encouraging efficient land use, raising awareness, and demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility, the mansion tax might contribute to creating a more equitable city and ultimately reducing homelessness. Arguments Against the Mansion Tax Critics of the mansion tax argue that it may slow the number of new apartment complexes built in the city. The tax applies not only to mansions but also to apartment complexes, retail and industrial buildings, and other structures. Real estate brokers and developers, including those with real estate licenses from real estate school and those who have passed the California real estate exam, warn that the tax will disincentivize developers from building new housing. Moreover, the tax has faced backlash from wealthy homeowners, including celebrities, who rushed to sell their properties before it went into effect. Some critics argue that the tax may depress property values and force sellers to cut prices to complete deals before the deadline. Additionally, opponents of the tax are concerned about the transparency of how the revenue will be spent, and they argue that the tax may dissuade people from moving to Los Angeles. Higher Costs: Wealthy individuals considering purchasing a luxury property in Los Angeles might be deterred by the additional costs associated with the mansion tax. In comparison, other cities or states without such a tax might become more attractive for high-end property buyers, leading them to choose alternative locations for their investments. For example, a prospective buyer might opt for a luxury property in Miami, Florida, with no state income tax or mansion tax, making it a more financially appealing option. Reduced Investment: Investors might also be less inclined to purchase properties in Los Angeles subject to the mansion tax, as it could potentially reduce the profit margin on their investments. This could result in a decline in the city's overall demand for luxury properties, further impacting the real estate market and potentially leading to reduced property values. Consequently, the city could experience a slowdown in real estate investments, which could negatively affect the local economy and limit available resources to address homelessness and other social issues. Impact on Business and Talent Attraction: Businesses, particularly those in the entertainment and technology industries, often attract high-income employees and executives who might consider purchasing luxury properties. However, implementing the mansion tax could discourage some individuals from moving to Los Angeles. In turn, this could make it more difficult for the city to attract new businesses and retain existing ones and limit its ability to draw in top talent across various industries. Celebrity Exodus: Los Angeles is known for being home to numerous celebrities who often own high-end properties. The mansion tax could potentially prompt some of these high-profile individuals to sell their properties and relocate to areas with lower taxes, as seen in the backlash from wealthy homeowners who rushed to sell their properties before the tax went into effect. This exodus could further contribute to the decline in property values and negatively impact the city's image, tourism, and the overall economy. In conclusion, implementing Los Angeles' mansion tax has stirred a significant debate in the city's real estate market. Advocates argue the tax will generate much-needed revenue to address the city's affordable housing crisis and homelessness issues. However, opponents contend that the tax will dissuade property development, negatively impact non-luxury properties, and ultimately harm the real estate industry in Los Angeles. As real estate professionals with real estate licenses from real estate schools, and those studying for the California real estate exam, monitor the situation, the long-term implications of the mansion tax on the city's real estate market remain uncertain. Time will tell whether this tax proves to be an effective solution to Los Angeles' housing challenges or an obstacle to the city's real estate growth. As always if you are interested in getting your real estate license, visit or click here for a real estate exam crash course. Or if you’re old school - call us at 888-768-5285. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

5 Housing Market Trends to Watch in 2022

Real estate trends

The U.S. real estate market changed significantly during 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most obvious change is that many owners fled crowded cities to suburban and even rural areas fueled

The U.S. real estate market changed significantly during 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most obvious change is that many owners fled crowded cities to suburban and even rural areas fueled by the possibility of remote work. A consequence of this was that home inventory was tight and prices soared. Buyers who were lucky enough to purchase and obtain financing in 2020 or 2021 enjoyed ultra low rates on their home loans. Many are wondering if the 2022 market will be tumultuous or if things will normalize. The following are five housing trends to keep an eye on this year. 1. Housing inventory will increase® predicts housing inventory will see a 6.6% increase in 2022, which is good news for everyone. More sellers are comfortable putting their homes on the market, and they’ll still enjoy a market that is favorable to them. However, it’ll be competitive since first-time homebuyer percentages are expected to outpace any recovery in inventory that occurs this year. Buyers will have more home options to choose from as more sellers list homes and new construction continues to be on the uptick. Homes will still continue to sell quickly, and sellers will definitely retain the market advantage. Although, experts both concede and caution there may be levels of uncertainty ahead in 2022 and beyond. 2. Mortgage rates will climb dramatically Throughout 2020 and 2021, the U.S. experienced breaking-record mortgage interest rates, with an all-time low for a 30-year fixed mortgage occurring in January 2021 at 2.65%. This situation is slowly correcting itself, and rising inflation and consumer spending are contributing to the recent boost in interest rates. While rates are still lower than previous years, early in 2022, experts predict interest rates will continue to inch back up throughout the year and with inflation rising at a record rate we may see rates get into the 6%+ range by summer of 2022. 3. Home prices will stabilize or decline As more housing inventory comes on the market and interest rates rise downward pressure on prices is likely. The best properties based on price and condition will continue to see bidding wars, but these might be more isolated. As price appreciation finally slows down, this will result in some level of home prices cooling. 4. Demand for suburbia continues The COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone into isolation as people fled from city apartments and townhomes into the suburbs to buy homes, enabling them to have more space to work and play. As levels of normalcy returned in 2021, urban living has become more popular again, but the suburbs are still taking the real estate market by storm. predicts urban areas will “continue to be pricier and faster-paced,” but people moving to the suburbs will receive “better bang for the buck,” especially since the housing inventory is creeping back up. Many Americans will continue to work remotely so this will play a significant role in their housing decisions – and many of them want the amenities and lifestyle suburban areas offer. 4. Demand for suburbia continues The COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone into isolation as people fled from city apartments and townhomes into the suburbs to buy homes, enabling them to have more space to work and play. As levels of normalcy crept back in in 2021, urban living has become more popular again, but the suburbs are still taking the real estate market by storm. 5. Technology’s role in the market will increase Whether you are taking our real estate courses by Zoom or self study, you already know that technology plays a significant role in the real estate market. Don’t expect this to slow down as tech-savvy millennial buyers dominate the buyer pool and the older members of Gen Z are right behind them. These two generations are highly drawn to tech and have come to expect it in most areas of life. Today’s buyers expect the ability to hop online, increasingly doing so from their mobile devices, to find, view, and purchase homes. Using features such as 3-D virtual tours, interactive floor plans, and other types of touchless services will continue to be the norm. I wrote an article about the use of Matterport cameras when COVID first hit, feel free to check it out. Additionally, technology will play an important role in other aspects of the home buying process, such as obtaining mortgage approvals and home appraisals through digital channels. Agents are also getting into the action with digital transaction management tools – the market can also expect to see more data analytics and artificial intelligence integration. The year 2022 will continue to be a hot market like the previous two years but appears to be on the road to normalization. Bottom line, the U.S. real estate market should essentially expect a whirlwind year with some hiccups. If so, this will be due to the pandemic continuing to play a role in market demands, along with supply chain and labor disruptions for new housing. An important thing to remember is that whether the market is appreciating, declining or staying flat, real estate agents are simply in the middle of a transaction. Up or down we still get paid. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

The Benefits of Owning Real Estate

Owning Real Estate

You don't need to attend a real estate school, such as ADHI Schools, or pass the real estate license exam offered by Crash Course Online to understand that investing in real estate can be highly rewarding.

You don't need to attend a real estate school, such as ADHI Schools, or pass the real estate license exam offered by Crash Course Online to understand that investing in real estate can be highly rewarding. In this article, we'll delve into the many benefits of property ownership and discuss how furthering your education and obtaining a license can enhance your ability to capitalize on these advantages. Steady Passive Income Many view real estate ownership (particularly home ownership) as a practical solution – no rent payments and stability for years. However, the benefits of owning real estate extend far beyond that, regardless of your investment goals or motivations. Even if you are starting your real estate journey, you know that real estate offers significant financial rewards, including tenant-paid passive income. Besides the recurring monthly income, property values typically appreciate faster than inflation rates. Over the past 30 years, real estate values have risen by over 5% annually, with recent years showing even more significant increases. This growth makes real estate an attractive option for those looking to establish roots, stabilize their family, or invest in rental properties. Financial Security Whether you are discussing owning a single-family home as a primary residence or a rental, real estate ownership is a powerful tool for achieving financial security, as it serves as a tangible asset with the potential for long-term appreciation. By investing in real estate, you can build equity, increasing as you pay your mortgage and the property value rises over time. This equity can be utilized in various ways, such as securing loans or providing a cushion during challenging times. Additionally, rental properties generate a steady stream of passive income, which can contribute to overall financial stability by offsetting mortgage payments or supplementing your primary income source. Moreover, real estate investments typically offer a hedge against inflation and can diversify your investment portfolio, reducing risks associated with economic fluctuations. Owning real estate paves the way for long-term financial security by providing multiple avenues for wealth generation and protection. Tax Benefits Owning real estate offers numerous tax benefits that can significantly enhance an investor's financial situation. One of the most notable tax advantages is the mortgage interest deduction. Up to a specified limit, homeowners can deduct the interest paid on their mortgage from their taxable income, reducing their overall tax liability. In the early years of a mortgage, when the interest payments are generally higher, this deduction can be particularly beneficial. Another tax benefit of real estate ownership is the property tax deduction. Homeowners can typically deduct up to $10,000 of their local and state property taxes from their taxable income. This deduction can result in substantial tax savings, especially for individuals residing in areas with high property tax rates. For rental property owners, there are additional tax benefits. They can claim deductions for expenses related to their investment properties' management, maintenance, and operation. These expenses may include repairs, property management fees, insurance, and travel costs associated with maintaining the property. Check out our blog on DIY repairs here if you are a handy investor. Furthermore, rental property owners can take advantage of depreciation deductions, which allow them to recover the cost of their investment over time. Depreciation essentially acts as a non-cash expense, offsetting rental income and reducing the taxable income derived from the property. For investors, another valuable tax benefit of real estate ownership is the 1031 exchange. This provision allows investors to defer capital gains taxes when selling an investment property, provided they reinvest the proceeds into a like-kind property within a specific time frame. By deferring taxes through a 1031 exchange, investors can rapidly grow their wealth and maintain a more diverse real estate portfolio. Stability Imagine a future where you enjoy unparalleled stability and peace of mind, all thanks to a single wise decision: real estate ownership. Unlike the uncertainties of renting, owning a property secures your position, allowing you to take control of your living situation and financial destiny. When you own a home, you eliminate the need to rely on landlords, worry about rent hikes, or face the constant threat of eviction. Instead, you're planting your roots, taking charge of your life, and laying the foundation for long-lasting stability. In contrast to the precarious nature of renting, real estate ownership allows you to build equity over time. As you pay down your mortgage and your property appreciates, you'll accumulate wealth that can be used for various purposes, such as funding your children's education, financing your dream vacation, or serving as a cushion in times of financial hardship. Furthermore, owning a property provides a sense of accomplishment and pride, knowing you've made a wise investment in your future. This investment offers financial stability and contributes to your emotional well-being as you enjoy the satisfaction of having a space to call your own. Moreover, real estate ownership offers protection against market fluctuations, making it a relatively stable investment compared to other options like stocks. While the value of stocks can swing wildly based on economic factors and global events, real estate has historically demonstrated consistent growth and resilience, even during periods of economic turmoil. This stability is further amplified by the real estate being a tangible asset backed by the intrinsic value of land and structures, ensuring it will always hold some value. Stronger community ties One persuasive argument for the belief that homeowners have stronger community ties than renters is rooted in the long-term nature of homeownership. When individuals or families invest in purchasing a home, they acquire a physical structure and become a part of the local community. This long-term commitment often leads homeowners to develop a vested interest in the well-being and success of their neighborhood. Consequently, they are more likely to engage in activities that contribute to the community's stability, safety, and overall development. Even as a real estate professional, you’ll want to learn how to host these community events to tap into the residents in the area and the community at large to brand yourself as the go-to-agent in the area. Homeowners are also more likely to form deeper connections with their neighbors, as they share common concerns and goals for their community. This sense of belonging fosters cooperation and mutual support, strengthening social bonds and collective action to address local issues. For instance, homeowners may join neighborhood associations or participate in local events, helping to create a sense of unity and shared purpose. These connections ultimately contribute to a safer, more resilient community better equipped to face challenges and celebrate successes together. Furthermore, homeowners who take pride in their property are more likely to maintain and improve their homes, yards, and surrounding areas. This investment in the local environment enhances the neighborhood's aesthetic appeal and sends a powerful message about the community's values and priorities. As a result, areas with high homeownership rates often experience lower crime rates, increased property values, and a greater sense of safety and well-being among residents. In conclusion, the long-term commitment and shared interests that come with homeownership encourage individuals and families to invest their time, energy, and resources in their communities. This increased investment leads to stronger community ties, improved neighborhood stability, and a safer, more vibrant living environment for all residents. While renting may offer certain short-term advantages, homeownership fosters a more profound sense of connection and responsibility that ultimately benefits the individual homeowner and the entire community. Retirement security A compelling argument favoring homeownership as a means to secure financial stability during retirement revolves around reduced or eliminated housing costs. For many retirees, housing expenses constitute a significant portion of their monthly budget. By owning a home that is fully paid off by the time they retire, homeowners can effectively eliminate one of their most significant financial obligations, freeing up resources for other needs and desires during their golden years. In contrast, renters will likely continue to face rent payments throughout their retirement, which can be particularly burdensome when living on a fixed income, especially if the rent increases with regularity. In addition to reduced housing costs, homeownership can also provide retirees with a valuable financial asset. As the value of a home typically appreciates over time, homeowners can benefit from the increased equity they have built up in their property. This equity can be accessed during retirement in several ways. For instance, retirees may choose to downsize by selling their current home and purchasing a smaller, more affordable property, thus freeing up cash to supplement their retirement income. Alternatively, they may opt for a reverse mortgage, converting a portion of their home's equity into tax-free income without selling or moving. Moreover, homeownership offers retirees the flexibility to generate income by renting out a portion of their property. This option can be particularly advantageous for those with additional space, such as an in-law suite, a finished basement, or a separate dwelling unit. By renting out this space, retirees can establish a steady stream of income that can help them maintain their quality of life and cover other expenses during retirement, such as healthcare costs and leisure activities. Homeownership provides retirees with significant financial advantages contributing to a more secure and comfortable retirement. By eliminating or reducing housing costs, offering the opportunity to access built-up equity, and presenting options for additional income generation through renting, homeownership serves as a reliable foundation for financial stability in one's later years. Contrastingly, renters may face ongoing housing expenses and a lack of financial flexibility, potentially leading to a more challenging retirement experience. The end of the day, the numerous benefits of homeownership solidify its position as a superior option to renting and a practical path to wealth creation. By allowing individuals to build equity, providing long-term stability and control, and offering tax benefits, owning a home is a wise financial decision. Moreover, homeownership fosters stronger community ties, ensures privacy, and instills a sense of pride and accomplishment. Additionally, real estate ownership demonstrates its enduring value as a hedge against inflation and a means of securing financial stability during retirement. Investing in real estate empowers individuals to take charge of their financial future, transforming their living space into a tangible asset that can generate wealth and security for years. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Will California’s Home Prices Continue to Rise?

Rising home prices

The California housing market stayed blue-hot through 2021, leaving many potential home buyers waiting in the wings. Whether you are getting your real estate license or are a retail consumer, you might

The California housing market stayed blue-hot through 2021, leaving many potential home buyers waiting in the wings. Whether you are getting your real estate license or are a retail consumer, you might be wondering if home prices will continue to rise through 2022. On the flip side, you’re undoubtedly interested in whether or not the market might cool off, so you can finally make your big purchase. To figure all that out, you just have to take a peek at this guide to learn all you need to know about the housing market conditions in California. 2021 Housing Market Outlook All across California, the already expensive housing market got even pricier as 2021 went on. This was a surprise to most people, as many thought that the pandemic would wreak havoc on the real estate market. To be fair, I have been a bear since 2018 as evidenced in this YouTube video. In reality, quite the opposite has occurred since this recording. Prices have continued to rise through the pandemic with record jumps in home prices in the suburbs outside Sacramento, Riverside, and other urban centers. Inside the city centers, property prices continued to rise as well, although not quite as fast as the suburbs. Most people attribute this to the desire for social distancing and being a little further away from one another. Overall, reports indicate that single-family home prices rose by over 12 percent through 2021 in many areas, landing thei median price tags in the $800,000 range by year’s end. Although that’s double the median sales price for homes across the United States, certain areas of California have even higher typical home prices. In San Francisco, for example, homes sit at $1.5 million on average, while homes in upscale Montecito often have an eye-watering $6.5 million asking price. Cooling Ahead in 2022 The price hikes naturally result from low housing inventory and high demand, which will probably change at least a little in 2022. The always rosy-eyed California Association of Realtors projects that the cost of homes across the state will increase by a rather moderate 5.2 percent. Their housing and economic forecast points to the economic recovery, remote workforce, and overall supply/demand status as the factors driving the continued price increases. These price increases will likely be tempered by rising interest rates. Mortgage interest rates have continued to stay at historic and unsustainable lows for more than a decade. The likelihood of rates staying at these low levels is extremely low without triggering massive inflation. The combination of increased inventory coupled with decreased demand due to higher interest rates will likely cause the housing market to cool in 2022. Should you buy now? If you have the means and truly want to buy a home in California, consider getting all your ducks in a row and taking the plunge. Over the long run, California home prices have continued to march ever upward, after all, as California continues to attract people from far and wide. While rates will likely rise significantly in 2022 and there might be short-term downward pressure on prices this will only be for a period until prices rise again. Timing the market is an impossible feat. Not sure if it’s smart to start looking for a home to buy? Reach out to me at the office or through Instagram direct message. Either I or a member of my team will be able to guide you appropriately. We can discuss your options and help guide you through your home buying journey. If you’re reading this as you study for the California real estate exam I suggest you read more of my blogs to get acquainted with the real estate market. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Buying a house?! Be warned - Wire fraud is on the rise!

Internet security link

Hi all: I wanted to give my readers a bit of a public service announcement with this article. Recently, 74 people were indicted on wire fraud related to real estate purchases. How does this scheme

Hi all: I wanted to give my readers a bit of a public service announcement with this article. Recently, 74 people were indicted on wire fraud related to real estate purchases. How does this scheme work? Hackers are locating people who are in the process of buying a home or other real estate. The hacker then spoofs an email from the escrow company that you are using for your particular home or building purchase. Wiring instructions are sent saying something like, “Your down payment’s should be sent to our escrow company. Here are our routing number and account numbers.” As it turns out, that’s not the routing number nor is it the account number of the escrow company, and hardworking Americans send their money to these scammers. If you’re in the process of buying a piece of real estate my hope is that your escrow company is shares this information with you. It is absolutely mission critical that you call the escrow company, speak with the escrow officer, and verbally verify the account number and routing number. Don’t just rely on things that have come via email. You could find yourself the victim of wire fraud. I’m so happy that almost 100 people have been indicted and taken off the streets so that they can’t harm future purchasers. The tip here involves ensuring that you call the escrow company directly. Another pro-tip is not to call the phone number on the wiring form that comes via email as that could also be fake. Call the number that you find for them on Google or on Yelp, and verify that you’re talking to the right person before you wire that money in. Better yet – stop by and talk to someone face to face if possible. Here is a link to the news article about the 74 people that have allegedly committed this crime. If I haven’t gotten to know you on Instagram, I would love to. I’m @kartikspics. Also, we have a YouTube channel linked here – make sure you subscribe to the channel! As always if you are interested in taking real estate classes online or even live real estate classes let us know. If you need state examination prep, we also have you covered! Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

What’s more important: Cash flow or appreciation?

Real estate investment

Many of you taking our real estate classes to obtain your real estate license are probably also interested in real estate investing. I recently came across a real estate deal that I want to tell you

Many of you taking our real estate classes to obtain your real estate license are probably also interested in real estate investing. I recently came across a real estate deal that I want to tell you about. Some things make it a good deal, some aspects of it make it less desirable, and I'll let you know about many of these in this article. There is a local airport with some adjacent land that was deeded to the city on the condition that the property is used for either airport or retail use. The city owns the land, and a real estate investor went to the town and said, "Hey, I'll lease this land from you." The investor's ground lease totals about $1,000,000 per year to the city and he proposed a very long-term lease. The city agreed. After securing the ground lease from the city, the investor went to the hardware store Lowe’s and told them, "Hey, you can rent this land from me, and you can build another Lowe’s. I’ll lease the site to you for $2,000,000 per year." Lowe’s agreed. The investor is now in a “sandwich” position between the city and Lowe's. That is, Lowe's is paying about $2,000,000 a year to the investor, and the investor is then paying roughly $1,000,000 per year to the city. This ground lease produces about $1,000,000 a year in net operating income to the investor. The financial benefit to Lowe's is that Lowe's gets the site built and can start operating in the location. The advantage to the city is that they collect ground rent, and the benefit to the investor is that they profit from the difference between the two leases. Now the question becomes, "What are the risks associated with this investment? What are the benefits? What are drawbacks?" Well, one real risk the investor has is that if Lowe's goes bankrupt or decides to close the store rent may stop. We've seen many retailers, even major ones, close over the last several years. Consider Mervyn's, Circuit City, Borders, and Fresh and Easy. There are a ton of examples of large retailers with their back to the ropes. Giants like Macy’s and Sears and getting squeezed as the internet pounds away at these traditional brick-and-mortar retail models. In my investment example, the ground lease expires in 2053, so the person that's leasing from the city has contractual obligations for a good number of years. Before making a decision, an investor would have to look at the Lowe's lease abstract. An essential examination of the lease would investigate the length of time Lowe’s remains obligated to pay. Do they have any outs in the contract? For example, do they have the right to terminate the lease before the expiration? Imagine if Lowe's terminated in 2035, the investor might still have another 18 years remaining on their ground lease. This could be horrific for the investor. As of the time of this writing, the investor is selling their position in the lease at an asking price of $11,400,000 as of the time of this writing. The question is, is this a good investment? I've pitched this to a couple of my investor clients, and many initially seemed interested. However, after they slept on it they start to think, "I don't own the real estate, so it's just a pure cashflow play - I don't want to pay $10,000,000+ for it”. Number two is when you own the real estate, of course, you benefit from depreciation and a lot of other tax advantages. You don't have that in this instance because you're not buying the fee simple ownership. I wanted to write this blog and open your eyes to the fact that there's not only one way to invest in real estate. You can invest in cash flow plays. You can invest in appreciation plays. Hopefully, you're getting a little bit of both, but this is a deal that is not an appreciation play in all. It's the exact opposite. Remember that as time goes on, this deal becomes less and less valuable because Lowe’s lease obligation decreases as time progresses. The cash flow is finite and as time goes on, the time you have to collect the rent from Lowe's decreases. So, if you're interested in investing in real estate, I'd love to talk to you. I come across a ton of deals each week that I'm calling people on. There are flip opportunities and investment opportunities and syndication. If you want to bounce a deal off me and talk, I'd love to hear from you. If you want to know how to pass the California real estate exam or are interested in taking real estate classes anywhere in California check out You can also visit our state exam prep site at for more information. Our office can be reached at 888-768-5285. Don't forget to connect with me on Instagram personally @kartikspics. I'd love to see what you're up to on and offline. I will catch you on the next one.   Love,   Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate Down

Bank of china building

Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate Down Some of the most significant players in the U.S. real estate market are Chinese investment groups. In fact, if you check out our Foreign Investment Study,

Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate Down Some of the most significant players in the U.S. real estate market are Chinese investment groups. In fact, if you check out our Foreign Investment Study, you’ll find that 1 in 14 residential properties that sold for over a million dollars was sold to either someone from Hong Kong, mainland China or Taiwan. Chinese investments in U.S. real estate have long brought health and vitality to the U.S. real estate market. That said, Mark Heschmeyer from CoStar reports in his article Already Down, Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate Evaporates in First Quarter that if you compare the first quarter of 2017 with the first quarter of 2018, Chinese investment in U.S. real estate has gone down a staggering 75 percent. This is a significant piece of news for real estate investors and agents for a lot of reasons — one of them being that Chinese investors have long been stimulating the U.S. economy. When 85 to 90 percent of foreign investment in U.S. real estate slows down, so can development and job creation. Mixed Signals and an Update Just a disclaimer: Nobody knows for sure if this trend is likely to continue or if in a few quarters things will return to the way they were. In fact, recently Costar reported that the American arm of Wanxiang Group Cos. acquired the Prudential Plaza Office Complex in Chicago for a cool $680 million, exceeding all the investments made in the entire first quarter of this year. As you can see, this situation is still very much up in the air. What’s Causing This Overall Decrease? Heschmeyer suspects that one factor that may be causing Chinese investment in real estate to dwindle is that the Chinese government has enacted new legislation that has pushed a lot of Chinese investment toward Europe and other parts of Asia rather than here in the United States. Selling Current Holdings Another trend is that these groups are selling their current U.S. holdings – thereby increasing supply. Recently many large deals have involved Chinese investment groups acting as as sellers-disposing of their U.S. real estate assets.Right now these are just large investments. For example, in February 2018, a Chinese investment group sold New York’s 1180 Sixth Avenue for $305 million and 19 East 64th Street for $90 million. These are just a couple of the large U.S. holdings that Chinese investment groups have sold off. What If You’re Investing on a Smaller Scale? If you’re an investor in smaller properties, you may be watching this situation closely to see if it will eventually affect you. As an onlooker, here are some questions you may have: 1. Is this an ongoing trend? Are Chinese investors going to be continually pulling money out of the U.S., or is this just a short-term reaction to legislation and things will return to normal in a few quarters? 2. Will this start affecting smaller deals? Is this the catalyst of a trend that will eventually trickle down to smaller properties like a $500,000 home or a $2 million building? Will we lose out on these smaller investments that help our economy and development? In reality, nobody has definitive answers to these questions at this time. The only thing that we can be sure of is that Chinese investment in U.S. real estate has dropped precipitously, but we’re not sure if it will stay this way. Tell Me What You Think Do you think that this trend will trickle down to smaller assets? Do you think this drop is only temporary and that it won’t affect smaller holdings? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? How do you think it will affect the overall economy? Current Events and Real Estate Great agents stay on top of what’s going not only locally but also internationally. This awareness helps them tailor their sales and marketing strategy. Starting your real estate education off on the right foot can make all the difference in the world. Learn how great real estate agents operate in the landscape of constantly changing legislation, buyer behavior and marketing trends at ADHI Schools. Love, Kartik
Real estate market analysis

Zillow To Start Buying Houses

Brand new home sold in new housing development

Zillow has recently announced that it's going to start buying and selling houses. This is a surprising move because it feels like the website is jumping 2 to 3 steps ahead of what it's currently doing

Zillow has recently announced that it's going to start buying and selling houses. This is a surprising move because it feels like the website is jumping 2 to 3 steps ahead of what it's currently doing with the "Make Me Move" offer system, which is merely a seller's way to gauge what the interest would be for their home if they listed at a certain price. What are the details of this new development with Zillow? How will this affect buyers, sellers, and real estate agents? Zillow Instant Offers This is a concept that Zillow is currently testing only in the Phoenix and Las Vegas area. The company is basically acting as the principal in real estate transactions. Zillow is launching their Instant Offers concept in these specific markets to offer homeowners "greater control over the selling process" and a "more predictable time frame" for the sale. This program bears some similarity to the way Opendoor or OfferPad work, offering convenient and quick sales at the expense of the best sales price. Speed is the name of the game. What It Looks Like on the Seller's Side A homeowner in the area who wants to sell their home can give Zillow their address and answer an online questionnaire about the home. Zillow will then make an offer on it. If the seller agrees to the price, then there will be a home inspection. Then, a Premier Agent will be chosen as the listing agent to close on the deal. The Buyer Side If a private buyer is interested in a property that's for sale in those areas, he or she can send an email to Zillow and tell them they want to buy it. If the numbers make sense to the company, then they'll then wire the money over to the owner. The buyer gets the house, and the seller gets to move. It's all meant to be a quick and seamless process. What about Real Estate Agents? In short, Zillow intends to keep agents in the selling process, but the program will benefit a select pool of agents. However, the company is confident that they're giving agents highly motivated leads, saving them time and hassle. If Zillow buys the home, the company will pay a real estate commission to a premier agent that they'll select as the property's listing agent. This means that ordinary agents who haven't paid to be promoted on the website will be excluded. Zillow explicitly states that the program will benefit only "pre-selected partner Premier Agents and brokers" at this time. As you know, it costs money to get into this inner circle, so it will be up to the individual agent to determine whether this investment will be worth it. Another detail is that Zillow will be teaming up with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona. As we find out more about this partnership, we'll let you know about it. What happens to the home if Zillow buys it? If Zillow buys the house instead of a private buyer, then the company will fix up the property and resell it. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the company aims to buy the houses below market value in order to flip them for a profit. This naturally means that the seller might not profit as much as she could have if she sold her home in a more traditional way. If Zillow's offer is turned down by the seller, then the homeowner is free to sell the home through an agent on the open market. The company's Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman expresses the modern homeowner's need for a quick sale at the expense of not selling for top dollar,"[Homeowners] want help, and while most prefer to sell their home on the open market with an agent, some value convenience and time over price.” Tell us what you Think What's your take on Zillow's latest move? As a homeowner, would you sacrifice profits for convenience? In today's fast-paced world, there are always going to be attempts to make the process of selling a home become quicker. The Value of an Agent Though selling in the open market with an agent from the get-go may take longer, homeowners get the peace of mind that they are going to sell for the highest price possible and have access to expert real estate advice throughout the whole process- not just the closing phase. If you have any comments, please post below.  Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for all the latest news and information on the real estate market.  I recorded a YouTube video on this Zillow development. You can check that out here. If you are interested in becoming a real estate agent and taking real estate classes through our company, please visit or call us at 888-768-5285.  
Real estate market analysis

End-of-Year Foreclosures Continue to Fall

Foreclosure for sale sign in front of house

Recent foreclosure data published by CoreLogic details a lengthy trend of declining completed foreclosures and mortgages at risk for foreclosure. Take a closer look at a few key figures that show some

Recent foreclosure data published by CoreLogic details a lengthy trend of declining completed foreclosures and mortgages at risk for foreclosure. Take a closer look at a few key figures that show some good news about 2016’s housing market. Nationwide there were just 30,000 completed foreclosures in October 2016—that’s down from 40,000 in October 2015 and 3.6% fewer than September 2016 (a significant decline). The number of mortgages in serious delinquency, and thus at greatest risk for future foreclosure, fell below 1,000,000 to 997,000. What does that do to the overall foreclosure picture? Well, as of October only 0.8% of homes nationwide were in foreclosure—and that number is falling. November showed even more progress in this area. The number of completed foreclosures fell further to 26,000, down 30.0% from November of 2015. This is a 14.1% drop from October. Better yet, this means that the number of completed foreclosures year-over-year (2015 to 2016) is down 25.9% with 61 consecutive months of year-over-year (e.g. November 2015 vs November 2016) declines in foreclosure inventory. CoreLogic also published a promising figure on housing prices—year-over-year housing prices are up 7.1% through November, with projections of 4.7% increases by November 2017. December finished out the year in similar fashion. There were just 21,000 completed foreclosures in December 2016, 29.5% fewer than December of 2015. This leaves just 0.8% of all homes with a mortgage in the foreclosure inventory, the same percentage as October. These numbers are clearly great for homeowners right now and are encouraging to many in the industry. A healthy housing market is great for the economy and the consumer, promoting further engagement with the housing market. This is part of the reason that real estate professionals are encouraging people to buy and sell—they are witnessing a strong housing market. There are those that point out that the national foreclosure rate was very low before the housing crisis that kicked off the Great Recession. We would be remiss to ignore this data. The housing market is one of the most important markets in the U.S. economy, but the economy itself is of course complicated and never invulnerable to decline. Housing affordability and rent affordability issues are legitimate and contribute to analysts’ long-term worries for the housing market. Adhi always recommends that our readers obtain as much information about the housing market as possible in order to assess different housing markets. The market conditions in Los Angeles may vary from the market conditions in New York City. These foreclosure and price numbers are, for now, a sign of a healthy market with improving conditions for a great many Americans. What does this mean for your market? Have you seen these stats reflected in your market? Are foreclosures down, or are they up or stable? Any signs of upcoming changes? Let us know, we would love to hear more about your market conditions!  
Real estate market analysis

Crucial Legal Updates for California Real Estate Professionals

Real estate agent showing potential property to young couple

Find here a summary of important legislative updates affecting California real estate professionals. Assembly Bill 1650—Disclosure Requirements on Solicitations New legislation has been signed

Find here a summary of important legislative updates affecting California real estate professionals. Assembly Bill 1650—Disclosure Requirements on Solicitations New legislation has been signed into law by the governor that affects disclosure requirements on real estate solicitation materials. A.B. 1650 is concerned with real estate licensees disclosing when they are performing a task that requires a license if it is intended as a first point of contact with a consumer. Thus any publishing or distributing of materials that advertise a product or service that requires a license must state that a license is required for that activity. For example, if a REALTOR® wants to advertise his or her listing services, their distributed material must make it clear that listing a property requires a real estate license. All of these “first point of contact” materials are also required to include the licensees license identification number and apply to mortgage loan originators as well, not just real estate salespersons or brokers. The new law provides examples of materials that will require this disclosure. It specifically states that covered materials “includes business cards, stationery, advertising flyers, and other materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer”. Note that this is not an all-inclusive list and any other material intended as a first point of contact with consumers would be subject to the same requirements. The real estate commissioner has the power to define the list further. This law’s reach does not extend, however, to “an advertisement in print or electronic media” or to for sale signs. SB 710 Clarifies Team Name Laws Current California law requires the listing of the company name and responsible broker’s license number on all team advertising materials, which was not the intent of legislators when they originally wrote the law. Enter Senate Bill 710, which, effective immediately, changes the requirement from both the “name under which the responsible broker is currently licensed by the bureau and conducts business in general or is a substantial division of the real estate firm” and the associated license identification number, to that name or that name and the license identification number. Those wishing to refrain from listing the broker’s identification number on advertising materials may now do so. Again, this law is effective immediately. For any further information, the text of the legislation can be found here AB 2330 Updates Broker Associates Searchable Information and Broker Notification Requirements The California legislature has unanimously passed and Gov. Brown has signed into law AB 2330 and goes into effect January 1st, 2018. This new law requires brokers to “immediately notify the Commissioner in writing” when a new real estate salesperson hangs their license under the broker or is terminated by the broker. “Willful or knowing” violation of this provision is punishable as a misdemeanor. Brokers must also report to CalBRE if a licensee is an “associate licensee” and if so, which broker the licensee is contractually associated with. CalBRE will be required to publish this information as well. AB 197, SB 32: Greenhouse Gas Legislation A seemingly unusual law for inclusion in a real estate-centered legislative update, but this law actually has the potential to be quite important. This law requires the State Air Resources Board to “approve a statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit equivalent to the statewide greenhouse gas emissions level in 1990” to be achieved by 2020. By 2030 greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced to 40% below 1990 levels. The board is also required to “protect the state’s most impacted and disadvantaged communities” while creating these regulations. This means that more steps will be taken to lower emissions—steps that have not yet been decided. The economic impacts are not yet known. Housing is clearly an issue that disadvantaged communities are concerned with, perhaps lending strength to the argument that policies that would directly affect the housing market will not be included. Yet, there is not yet any such guarantee. Real estate professionals should watch this law and its impacts as they assess their markets. Adhi encourages our students and readers to pay attention to politics and the state of the economy as our industry is dependent upon consumer confidence and a healthy economy. AB 73: Clarifications Upon Disclosures of Death, HIV This law, which took effect on September 25th, 2016, updates the wording of the law to clarify required disclosures. One such clarification is the confirmation that owners and agents are not required to disclose an occupant’s death or cause of death on the property if it occurred more than three years prior “to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the property”. Previously the law only stated that failure to disclose under these circumstances provided no cause of action. This law also clarifies the disclosures surrounding HIV/AIDS. Owners and agents are not required to disclose that “an occupant of the property was living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or died from AIDS-related complications” at any point. It is of crucial importance that California real estate professionals fully understand these disclosure requirements in order to fulfill their duties to their client and not violate the law. AB 2406, AB 2299, and SB 1069: “Accessory Dwelling Units” These laws change some requirements for the zoning and creation of “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ABUs), formerly referred to as “Second Units”. AB 2406 permits a “local [housing] agency” to “provide by ordinance” for the creation of ABUs in single-family or multifamily residential areas. This includes “Junior” ABUs within a single-family home. Any proposed ordinance to permit these ABUs must include “among other things”, building standards for the creation of said ABUs, “required deed restrictions, and occupancy requirements”. Additional parking requirements for the unit are prohibited by this law. AB 2299 and SB 1069 work together to change the term “Second Unit” to “Accessory Dwelling Unit” as well as establish guidelines for ADU permit review processes and restrictions with the declared hope of increasing housing supply in the state. Cities and counties are permitted to identify and/or evaluate potential sites for the creation of ABUs. Cities and counties will be able to substitute ABUs for up to 25% of “the community’s obligation to identify sites for any income category” (meaning that communities that invest in housing may include ABUs as part of said investment, with further requirements.) The laws also mandate that local agencies approve or disapprove applications “ministerially without discretionary review” unless they have adopted their own ordinance in accordance with this law—incentivizing local agency cooperation. Local agencies can adopt certain restrictions to accommodate other zoning laws. For specific requirements and details of these laws, visit them here: AB 2406,  AB 2299, SB 1069 We welcome feedback and commentary from our readers on these important new laws. Do you foresee important market impacts? Will any of these laws affect your business in any way? Let us know in the comments. And as always, for any questions or clarifications feel free to reach out to
Real estate market analysis

Update: H.R. 3700/ S. 3083 Signed into Law

Signature on new legislature

As we predicted on July 20th, H.R. 3700/ S. 3083, the bipartisan housing legislation that passed through Congress without receiving a single “no” vote, was signed into law by President Obama on Friday,

As we predicted on July 20th, H.R. 3700/ S. 3083, the bipartisan housing legislation that passed through Congress without receiving a single “no” vote, was signed into law by President Obama on Friday, July 29th. The new law will reform HUD’s Section 8 housing voucher program (and any other family rental assistance programs) by requiring public housing agencies (PHAs) to develop new systems to properly review the incomes of families receiving assistance, to cease assisting families with assets exceeding $100,000, and a cap on project-based vouchers (those vouchers tied to the unit, not the tenant). The FHA mortgage insurance eligibility requirements have also been changed. The FHA has now been instructed to make recertification of eligible condominiums less burdensome and to lower the required percentage of units occupied by owners in a development from 50% to 35% in order to qualify. Loan approval authority for the USDA Rural Housing Service’s single family housing guaranteed loan program will now be made available to preferred lenders, streamlining this program. As noted earlier, we predicted that this legislation would pass due to its broad bipartisan support and common sense reforms to important government policies and programs. We supported the legislation, as did the National Association of REALTORS®, California Association of REALTORS®, California Association of Mortgage Professionals, and other professional organizations. The reforms to FHA condominium approval processes are particularly promising and have the opportunity to open up more affordable housing opportunities for Americans while incentivizing the development of more housing, something we desperately need. The full text (with summary) of the law can be found here. Or view our previous article summarizing some of the key impacts. For any questions or comments, reply below or reach out to the writer at
Real estate market analysis

The majority of real estate offices in California have 4 or less agents

Brown office desk inside a small real estate brokerage office

In this month’s Real Estate Magazine, the official publication of the California Association of Realtors, an article was published about the size of most real estate companies in California. To my surprise,

In this month’s Real Estate Magazine, the official publication of the California Association of Realtors, an article was published about the size of most real estate companies in California. To my surprise, over 86% of all real estate brokerages comprise four or fewer agents. How does this statistic affect a new agent? My recommendation has always been to affix your license to a market leader. In most cases, the market leader is going to be a large organization with fifty or more agents. Most of these larger firms have a systematic training program and scale built up. This is especially important for a new licensee with very little to no real estate experience. When sitting across the negotiating table with a seller, it’s comforting to be able to lean on what your firm has done to help fill in some of the holes in your own experience. Besides being able to lean on the accomplishments of your office, it’s also helpful to be in a large office if you can develop synergies within the organization. If you want to to pick up buyer leads by holding a property open, for example, it’s easier to do that when you have 100 agents to approach and hundreds of listing to choose from. Also, being in a large office allows you to learn from the mistakes and failures of colleagues that have been in your shoes before. Check out this video of veteran Realtor, David Hurtado, talking about how he chose an office to work with when he was a new agent. Also, this video might help you decide on what office to work for.
Real estate market analysis

Undisclosed Short Sale Payments May Be Illegal

Short sale sign on top of for sale sign outside of home

Just got this email from CAR. Glad our industry is keeping an eye on things. UNDISCLOSED SHORT SALE PAYMENTS MAY BE ILLEGAL Undisclosed payments in short sale transactions, especially those paid

Just got this email from CAR. Glad our industry is keeping an eye on things. UNDISCLOSED SHORT SALE PAYMENTS MAY BE ILLEGAL Undisclosed payments in short sale transactions, especially those paid outside of escrow, may violate the law, including RESPA, laws against loan fraud, and licensing laws. Short sale agents have increasingly reported to C.A.R. about requests for agents and their clients to pay junior lienholders and others, oftentimes outside of escrow. One common scenario is when a short sale seller's senior lender authorizes a payment of $3,000, for example, to extinguish a junior lien, but the junior lender demands that the buyer pays an additional $9,000 outside of escrow. Not only would it be risky for a buyer to pay outside of escrow, but concealing this additional payment from a federally-insured senior lender may constitute loan fraud, which is a crime punishable by 30 years imprisonment plus a $1 million fine (18 U.S.C. section 1014). Furthermore, omitting from the HUD-1 Statement any charges paid at settlement by either a buyer or seller may violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) (Appendix A to 24 C.F.R. Part 3500). Depending on the specific circumstances, carrying out these payment requests may also violate other laws and regulations, and an agent's participation in the scheme may be subject to license revocation by the Bureau of Real Estate or other disciplinary action. Agents and their clients are encouraged to file any complaints regarding fraudulent activities to the proper authorities, including the following agencies: Attorney General's Office California Department of Justice 800-952-5225 Phone Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HUD Office of Inspector General Hotline (GFI) 800-347-3735 Phone Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 202-324-3000 Phone
Real estate market analysis

Can't refinance? You're not alone.

Home owner making calculations for refinancing mortgage

A recent article I read in the Wall Street Journal talks about a common problem homeowners face when attempting to refinance their homes.Today, shows an average 30 year mortgage rate of 5.03%.

A recent article I read in the Wall Street Journal talks about a common problem homeowners face when attempting to refinance their homes.Today, shows an average 30 year mortgage rate of 5.03%. Pretty killer deal, right? This is likely much lower than the current rate on your home loan and you may be tempted to refinance.The issue that at least a quarter of all homeowners will have in attempting to refinance is a lack of equity due to declining home values. This isn't such a big surprise - everyone knows real estate values have dropped and many owe more on their homes than they are worth.But what I liked about this article is that it shed light on the fact that if people were actually able to refinance it would have a positive impact on the economy. The following is the chain of logic I had while I was reading this article.If people can refinance their home, it becomes more affordable.If more people can afford their homes, there are less foreclosures.If there are less foreclosures property values will stabilize.If property values stabilize, this could stabilize other facets of our economy.If other facets of our economy stabilize, our country may recover faster.This is kind of a chicken-and-the-egg scenario. You can't refinance because your home value has dropped, but if banks refinanced borrowers this may stabilize home values.Of course, the problem of declining home values isn't something that appeared out of thin air. It's a purge of the gluttony that the real estate industry partook in from 2003-2006. The Wall Street Journal article closed by reporting that the Obama administration is looking into whether or not FHA can help refinance homeowners that don't meet the traditional loan-to-value requirements necessary to refinance.
Real estate market analysis

$8,000 first time homebuyers tax credit - vote - email received

Hundred dollar bills

I just got this email from our Government Affairs Director. Subject: IMPORTANT Message from NAR President Charles McMillan From: Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 12:24:19 -0400 TO:

I just got this email from our Government Affairs Director. Subject: IMPORTANT Message from NAR President Charles McMillan From: Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 12:24:19 -0400 TO: State and Local Association Presidents, Executive Officers, Government Affairs Directors, Communications Directors FROM: NAR President Charles McMillan, NAR Government Affairs Senior Vice President Jerry Giovaniello DATE: 27 October 2009 RE: Tax Credit Extension and Expansion The United States Senate is expected to vote, later today, on a bill to extend Unemployment Insurance benefits. This bill will contain the Dodd - Lieberman - Isakson Amendment to Extend and Expand the $8,000 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. The Extended and Expanded Tax Credit will contain the following provisions: Amount: $8,000 Eligibility: ALL HOME BUYERS (Step-up buyers will have to have lived in their current home for SEVEN* years to be eligible) Income Limits: $125,000 for single filers/$225,000 for joint filers Time Frame: December 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010 plus 60 Day extension if binding contract is in place by April 30, 2010 *The 7 year ownership requirement is designed to lower the "score" or cost of the tax credit. This is still open to change. The Congressional Budget Office is going to "score" the cost of 3 year and 5 year requirements. We are continuing to push for step-up buyers to be required be in their current home for three year period. NAR will be monitoring the progress and any potential changes to the bill. NAR will send out a notice when the legislation is voted on tonight--regardless of how late into the night or early into the morning the debate continues.********************Let's keep our fingers crossed that this passes! Would definitely help!
Real estate market analysis

Renting versus buying

Red and white for rent sign on sidewalk in front of irvine home

Owning a home is a big piece of the puzzle known as the American Dream. Despite this, there is a group of people who believe that owning a home is a bad decision no matter what the market is doing or

Owning a home is a big piece of the puzzle known as the American Dream. Despite this, there is a group of people who believe that owning a home is a bad decision no matter what the market is doing or no matter who you are.I had an agent that I used to work with that was consistently making over $300,000 per year and - rumor had it - didn't own a single piece of real estate. Not even his principal residence.People that maintain this position typically point to the fact that renters don't have to make repairs to a home and are free to move whenever they want. They also note that the responsibilty for paying for utilities, property taxes and insurance rests with the owner not the tenant.All this would be fine except for one fundamental point - control. When I first got into the real estate business my broker gave me an article about a woman that had been living in Newport Beach for years. Her rent started at $400.00 per month or thereabout. Over the years she found herself in a position where her rent had jumped up so much that she could no longer afford to live there. She was forced to move out of an area that she had planted roots in for much of her life. The irony of this story is that if she would have just bought the property - my recollection about this story is that she was in a position to do so at some point during her tenancy - it would have been completely paid off. Life changing decisions like "Should I rent or buy?" should not be taken lightly. I get that. I also understand that there is no one size fits all solution to anything.I just think it's tragic when we get in our own way.
Real estate market analysis

Is the real estate market still strong?!

For sale sign in front of white and brown bungalow house

As some of you may know, I don't just teach the real estate courses. I am a real estate broker that has actively bought/sold/represented over the last 6+ years. The president of a large real estate company

As some of you may know, I don't just teach the real estate courses. I am a real estate broker that has actively bought/sold/represented over the last 6+ years. The president of a large real estate company called me up about 6 weeks ago with the following situation:"I have access to an REO portfolio with the opportunity to buy properties directly from asset managers. I need to know what price I should pay to make money and insulate myself from further market fluctuations."He gave me a list of properties and asked for my opinion on pricing. I told him what I thought and he ended up buying one of the properties at the recommended price and I relisted it for him. The property ended up selling within two days for almost full price! I went there today to see if the utilities were on and I found fifteen cards there from real estate agents! FIFTEEN people came and saw the property either with their buyers or previewed them for their buyer. It is in escrow now for 98% of list price and the buyer is putting 50% down! There is hope yet!