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Tips for selling homes during the winter months

Selling a home during the holiday season may be a challenge for homeowners in California and throughout the country. Part of the challenge of selling a home in November or December is that real estate agents, loan officers and others may have limited hours. This means that there is a higher likelihood that an inspection or an appointment with a loan officer takes more time to schedule or gets postponed.

Homeowners are encouraged to make their homes look and feel as inviting as the holiday season itself. For instance, it may be a good idea to bake cookies or put poinsettias out on the front step. However, it is important to decorate in a manner that doesn't create a lot of clutter. It is also important to ensure that the interior is painted and that minor repairs have been made.

Pros and cons of buying a relatively expensive home

People in California who are in the market to purchase real estate might fall in love with a home that puts the others in the neighborhood to shame. The highest-priced home on the block, though, is sometimes the worst with regard to future value and potential gains. There are pros and cons to buying the most expensive house in the area; homebuyers would do well to consider both before making a purchase decision.

One advantage of buying one of the more expensive houses in a neighborhood is that it is less likely to require significant improvements. The buyer will probably not have to deal with in-home construction projects soon after moving in. Another advantage is that the resale value of the place is likely to be higher. Finally, there is less pressure to try to keep up with the neighbors when a person buys the highest-priced home on the block. If the house is already one of the nicest, the neighbors' properties are less likely to be a source of envy.

Commercial real estate insurance rates on the rise

Commercial real estate owners in California may be concerned about the growth they could face in property insurance rates. In 2019, there were 14 severe weather incidents across the country, including tornadoes, flooding and heavy winds that caused billions of dollars in damages to homes and commercial properties. According to an insurance broker, commercial property investors are paying higher premiums than they were a few years previously due to escalating costs attributed to natural disasters. Over the past eight quarters, property insurance rates have escalated for commercial real estate owners.

In past years, property insurance rates declined over 16 straight quarters, or four full years. Three major hurricanes, Irma, Harvey and Maria, caused commercial real estate insurance rates to begin to increase. In 2019 alone, office, industrial, hospitality and multifamily properties have seen their insurance premiums rise by 16% as an average. California property owners may be facing even greater increases than others because the state, along with Florida and Texas, faced more substantial losses linked to hurricanes and other natural disasters. Property owners in these areas have seen a 22% increase, but those in areas that have directly experienced weather damage have been paying rates of up to 50% higher.

Reasons some are putting off a home purchase

Only 21% of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a house according to a poll conducted by Fannie Mae. This is down from 28% from September, and the new data follows a summer in which the overall housing market was strong. Buyers in California and throughout the country feel that homes are becoming less affordable. Prices have been on the rise in recent months as mortgage interest rates have fallen and a larger number of buyers entered the market.

However, as demand increases, mortgage rates are starting to go up as well, and that often leads to higher mortgage payments even if home prices stayed flat. According to one economist, stagnant wages are also making it difficult for individuals to afford homes in many cities. Prices are expected to rise in 93% of metropolitan markets according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

Tips for selling small homes

Tiny homes have become popular in California and throughout much of America. Generally speaking, these homes offer about 400 square feet of living space, and they are designed for those who are seeking a minimalist lifestyle. While they may be attractive to their current owners, tiny homes can be difficult to sell. This is partially because they won't be included on the multiple listing service, or MLS, which means that sellers have to reach out to buyers directly.

In many cases, sellers will find buyers through social media or through other networking channels. While finding buyers may be harder when trying to sell a tiny house, preparing a house for sale is the same no matter how large it is. Ideally, homeowners will make repairs, create a proper list price and create a video tour of the property. It is also a good idea to take good photos of the home and to stage it correctly.

Click-by lawsuits may target your hotel website

If you own a hotel in California, you are probably aware that you are a target for drive-by lawsuits for non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act requires you to provide access for those with disabilities to all public areas of your building. A drive-by complaint typically involves someone who comes to your establishment specifically looking for areas in which you are not conforming to ADA standards.

Even if you are diligent about keeping your property compliant with ADA, you may be overlooking something. In addition to drive-by lawsuits, hotels are frequently the subject of click-by complaints. These accuse the hotels of running websites that are not accessible to those with disabilities. Since ADA laws regarding websites are vague, such lawsuits are growing at an alarming rate.

Buyers may not know that their homes are haunted

If California homeowners believe that their homes are haunted, they may not share that belief with potential buyers. A poll from found that 60% of those who purchased an allegedly haunted house didn't know about its haunted status prior to doing so. The poll also found that home buyers weren't necessarily concerned about living in a haunted house or living next to a house that neighbors thought was haunted.

Individuals may mistake eerie shadows or weird noises as evidence that a ghost is living in a house. They may also believe that the presence of hot and cold spots in a home could be evidence of a paranormal phenomenon in their houses. Finally, some believe that they have actually been touched by a ghost or a spirit. According to the poll, about 20% of respondents say that they have lived in a haunted house at one point in their lives.

How the economy impacts real estate

California residents may have heard predictions of an upcoming economic slowdown. However, there is no way to tell when the economy may start to slow, and there are many signs that the economic conditions may remain strong through 2020. Regardless of what the economy does, real estate professionals say that the housing market has upside to it. This is partially because there is a lack of homes available to buy today, which means that more will need to be built.

As a general rule, recessions don't tend to occur when housing starts and permits are on the rise. Regardless of what the economy does, buyers should take their own needs and finances into account when shopping for a home. Those who feel as if they may lose their jobs in the future may want to hold off until they feel more secure about their employment status.

Unique lending options can support commercial investors

When people plan to get involved in the California real estate market, they may be planning to finance their investments in a variety of ways. Some people might be investing cash, while others may use FHA loans or home equity loans to get started buying commercial real estate. There are also special commercial real estate mortgages that are especially designed for investors. Unlike a traditional residential mortgage, these types of loans close quickly and qualifications are based on rental income and investment history. Typically, they offer shorter lending terms and some are designed specifically for short-term financing processes.

Hard money loans are one type of a commercial real estate financing vehicle. They are backed by the value of the property being purchased, and lenders will be interested in its value after repairs and potential on the market. In addition, medium-term and bridge loans are designed for periods of several months to several years and are meant to finance short investments. These loans are not issued by traditional mortgage lenders like those used to finance a home purchase. An investor's application is evaluated on the basis of the investment itself and their history in real estate more than on their credit score.

The challenges of buying a first home

Buying a home is often synonymous with realizing the "American Dream." However, a recent study shows that a home purchase often induces anxiety in first-time buyers.

There are several reasons why people might find buying a new home to be nerve-racking. One reason why people become so nervous when buying a home is that they are unfamiliar with the process and find it to be difficult and confusing. Interestingly, only about 30% of surveyed homebuyers had actually taken a homeownership class before beginning the process of buying a new home.

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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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