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Getting a handle on the real estate market

According to Collier International, 2017 was the peak for the U.S. commercial real estate market. However, it is likely that growth will continue into 2018 and beyond. California residents and others who are investing in commercial properties may be able to earn a positive return on their capital. Over the past 20 years, the average return has been 10.1 percent per year. However, it is thought that the average return will be about 6 percent in 2018 and 2019.

One of the benefits of buying and selling real estate is that it is not a liquid asset. Therefore, it may take more time for purchase or sale to be completed. This can work to force an investor to think about whether he or she really wants to buy or sell before making the move, in turn helping prevent a commercial real estate owner from trying to time a market high or low.

Is the ADA really a big deal for your small business?

Starting a small business in California can be a complex process. From finding appropriate space for your operations to putting the necessary legal protections in place, there are many things that you must address before you even open your doors to the public. One of the things you would be wise to consider is adherence to the ADA.

The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it requires certain types of businesses and public places to meet particular standards that would allow disabled individuals to access the facilities. These standards can affect everything from bathroom sink height to dining seats in restaurants. Before you assume that the ADA does not affect your business, you could be wise to fully understand your obligations and your rights as a business owner.

Bitcoin is becoming accepted in the real estate sector

Residents of California may find that bitcoin is useful when making real estate transactions. In 2017, a home in Manhattan Beach valued at $3.23 million was purchased with 3,300 bitcoins. Those bitcoins are now valued at roughly $34 million. Proponents of using bitcoin to make real estate transactions say that it is faster and easier because there is no need for bank involvement.

However, bitcoin has been known for its volatile price swings and the fact that it is vulnerable to hackers. These issues could cause the value of bitcoin to plummet or for bitcoins to simply disappear without a trace. Banks may not give loans to those who want to make a deal in bitcoin while title and escrow companies may not accept them either. A government probe into the cryptocurrency may also make it harder to use bitcoin for future real estate deals.

Home sales sluggish again in January

People bought fewer new single-family homes in January. According to the Commerce Department, sales in this category dropped 7.8 percent during that month to a seasonally adjusted 593,000 units. That was the lowest level since August 2017, and it was the second straight month in which home sales declined. Some believe that this may be a sign of a slowing housing market in California and other states.

The pace of home sales varied in different regions of the country. For instance, the Northeast saw new home sales fall 33.3 percent. Home sales in the South dropped 14.2 percent. One explanation for the decline in sales is a lack of available homes on the market. This has caused prices to rise, which has limited the number of affordable properties available for first-time buyers.

Proposed ballot initiative would revise California Proposition 13

In 1978, California voters passed a ballot measure that caps property taxes at 1 percent of the property's original purchase price and limits increases to 2 percent per year. Proposition 13 applies to both residential and commercial properties, but a new ballot initiative would change the state's constitution to tax industrial properties, commercial real estate and land that will not be used for residential development based on their current market values.

Supporters of the initiative say that it would add between $6 and $10 billion each year to state coffers that could be used to improve schools, community colleges and cash-starved programs. Under the proposed measure, businesses with property holdings worth less than $2 million would still pay taxes under the rules established in 1978. When calculating the financial benefits of passing the ballot initiative, its backers accounted for increased property assessment costs and the impact that the measure would have on income tax revenues.

Emotions add to the price tag of homes for first-time buyers

The purchase of a first home in California represents an exciting achievement. People typically work and save toward this goal for a long time, but a study produced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency reveals that first-time buyers pay more than veteran home shoppers. Two economists looked at data from 1.7 million housing transactions between 2012 and 2016 and calculated that first-time buyers spent an average of 0.79 percent more than people who had bought homes previously.

Commenting on the study, the president of the Appraisal Institute said that emotions such as excitement tend to push first-timers to pursue a home. They downplay negative aspects of a property and focus on the positives.

Is your business entry closed to those with disabilities?

Unless you deal with your own disability, there are likely many things you take for granted. Getting out of bed and into the shower on your own, driving yourself to work and even reading this article may take little effort. However, some citizens of California face a constant challenge to perform these and other activities.

As a business owner, you certainly want to make your establishment as welcoming as possible. One way you do so is by complying with the regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law requires buildings that are open to the public to guarantee access to those whose disabilities may make it a challenge for them to get around. For example, you may have handicap parking spaces in front of your building or safety bars in the public bathroom. However, have you considered the accessibility of your entrance?

Barriers to home ownership for younger people

Society may think that young people living in California don't want to buy a home because it would make it harder to buy other things. However, the reasons why younger people don't want to buy a home aren't that out of the ordinary. For instance, many who went through the last recession may be wary about using credit. Therefore, they may not have the credit history needed to obtain a mortgage.

The fact that many younger people have student loan payments could also be pushing them away from buying a home. In some cases, it may not be possible to add mortgage payments to that debt load. It is also possible that student loan payments push an individual's debt-to-income ratio beyond what is needed to qualify for a loan. Currently, the average student loan debt is $35,000, and that amount may count toward a person's ratio whether they are being deferred or currently in repayment.

An overview of the 2018 housing market

California residents and others who are looking to buy homes in 2018 may face a couple of key challenges. First, mortgages are expected to get more expensive as the year goes on. Rates could rise to as high as 4.5 percent by the end of 2018. Second, any available homes that go on the market are expected to be sold quickly. According to an economist at Redfin, home sales will increase by 3 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

As of December 2017, there was less than a three-month supply of available homes. In a neutral market, the supply would be enough to last for six months. However, this may be offset by the fact that new home construction is expected to increase by 10 percent. It is also expected that builders will start to focus on starter homes and homes in the middle of the market as opposed to just luxury properties.

Tips to keep in mind when buying a home

Buying a home can be an exciting yet challenging time for people in California. Planning a move into one's dream home can be a major accomplishment in life, but a home purchase also comes with major stresses about securing financing, ensuring a proper inspection and concluding a fair deal. As people plan their goals for homebuying, keeping a few tips in mind can help real estate buyers to make a good choice when making an offer for a new home.

It's important to know one's own abilities before launching a real estate search. Being aware of one's credit score, credit report and any challenges can help a potential homebuyer to figure out what kind of a mortgage loan they can secure and what their interest rate might be. It can also be a chance to get to work on improving one's credit score in order to secure more favorable financing terms.

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L. Scott Karlin

L. Scott Karlin

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David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin

David E. Karlin is a California attorney with a primary focus on business and real estate, including law and legal issues...

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Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin

Michael J. Karlin is a Southern California based attorney whose practice primarily focuses on Entertainment Law. Michael began...

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