You the Seller-Which of the following can YOU Control? 1st in a series on Selling YOUR House.

Price? Location? Terms? Condition? Interest Rates, Market Trends, The Fed, Lender Underwriting, Bad Offers, Who buys your Home? The Kelly-Norman Team of Keller Williams Real Estate is asked these questions almost daily. And for good reason; these are the things which will ultimately decide HOW much you get for your House, When it will Sell, and HOW it will Sell?

   Here is the Classic Trinity: Price, Condition and Terms–that’s pretty much it. You can’t influence the Fed to keep rates low; Lender Underwriting is almost as mysterious as figuring out HOW your FICO score is computed. Market Trends? You can buck them by doing SOME things but generally you’re along for the ride. When the market was plummeting back in 2007 there wasn’t MUCH any of us could do about it. Here in Sonoma County, California, The Kelly-Norman Team can ONLY advise you on the marketing “Price” or “range”, how your house will show inside and out through staging, pre-marketing strategies–“Condition” and lastly what “Terms” you will offer your house to the market. Continue reading You the Seller-Which of the following can YOU Control? 1st in a series on Selling YOUR House.

Fun time at the Sonoma County Fair! Running until August 11th.

All Categories of “Foreclosures” down EXCEPT the actual FORECLOSURES category-flat but NOT down!

Sonoma County, California–Note that the “Pre-foreclosure” market place, those 90 days late or “in-default” has fallen dramatically, almost 70% from the previous year, same is true of the “Auction” properties with a BIGGER decline of over 75%. However, the actual “Foreclosed” upon homes is NOT that dramatic year over year, 45% decline but note the “month” it is actually dead EVEN over last year. Hmmmmmmm?

Foreclosures quickly becoming a thing of the past here in Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County, California–June of 2013 has seen the ever accelerating decline of the “distressed” real estate market place. The new “Equity” Seller, or what we affectionately now call-“move arounders” because they go up, laterally and down with a new purchase, are NOW the dominate player in our real estate market. The “dark” days of the foreclosure frenzy are behind. A market of 60% “Distressed” homes (Bank Foreclosures–REO and Short-sales) has now shrunk to a paltry 17% of all sales per month in Sonoma County. Equity sellers are a sign of a healthy real estate market. However, with this increase come pricing which is a tad higher than what the market will bear. Hence Days on the Market, though at a super low, is starting to inch up as is the existing inventory. All in all a very healthy and welcomed change in the marketplace. Here’s a look at the latest Foreclosure Activity:

Call for Action; Tell your Senators to put tax provisions that encourage real estate ownership and investment at the top of their list.

Call for Action: Tax Reform Should Do No Harm

Tax Reform is underway on Capitol Hill. The Senate has adopted a “Blank Slate” approach that initially eliminates every provision in the tax code, including those that encourage real estate ownership and investment.

Senators must submit their tax reform priorities to Senate leaders by July 26th.  REALTORS® , homeowners, concerned citizens, need to make their voices heard now so real estate provisions are on the top of the Senators’ lists.

When approaching tax reform, Congress needs to be careful not to adversely affect the unique legacy of homeownership and real estate investment. It is precisely this legacy that has contributed to our country’s historical prosperity and the revitalization of today’s economy.

We must stand united that tax reform should above all “Do No Harm” and encourage Congress to retain tax provisions vital to real estate.

Here is an editable letter to make it easy.
Please contact your Senators today.

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a REALTOR®, I can tell you that the tax treatment of real estate, whether residential, commercial, or investment property, is an important consideration for my clients.

I understand that as part of an effort to overhaul the federal tax code, the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee are starting with a “blank slate” that eliminates all deductions, credits, and exemptions. I also understand they are asking for your input on what tax provisions should be maintained, modified, or improved in a potential tax reform bill. Now is the time for you to be a voice for America’s seventy-five million homeowners, as well as the tens of millions of Americans who are directly or indirectly invested in commercial real estate!

The current tax system contains many provisions that encourage real estate ownership and investment. Each provision deserves careful consideration in any tax reform effort. The first rule in tax reform should be “Do No Harm.”

At the very least, I urge you to maintain, and in some cases improve, the following provisions in any rewrite of the tax code:

  • The mortgage interest deduction should be preserved in its current form and the limits indexed for inflation.   
  • The exclusion of capital gains on the sale of a principal residence should be preserved and the limits indexed for inflation. 
  •  The deduction for property taxes paid should be preserved.
  •  The temporary exclusion of income from discharge of mortgage debt (mortgage cancellation) should be made permanent. 
  • The depreciation periods of commercial and residential buildings should be shortened to reflect the true useful lives of these assets. 
  • The temporary provision allowing faster write-off  for leasehold improvements should be made permanent. 
  • Provisions that allow for the deferral of gain on the like-kind exchange of real property should be maintained. 

Our nation’s real estate markets are finally on the road to recovery. One of the surest ways to halt this recovery is to create uncertainty about whether the current tax treatment will be eliminated or impaired for real estate owners and investors. Congress must be mindful of the broad impact that the overnight elimination of long-standing and widely utilized tax provisions may have on our nation’s economy.

I hope you will express your support for the vital role real estate plays in our economy to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, as well as to your colleagues, by urging them to retain and improve these important parts of our tax system.
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]



Sonoma County Real Estate Market Update–First 6 months Review!

The “Wine Country” real estate market has many “micro” areas from the blistering hot demand and sales town of Sonoma with its idyllic town square, to the SW area of Santa Rosa which is seeing price recovery slower than any area in Sonoma County. I’ve taken the first six months of this year and compared it to last years first six months. The spreadsheet below demonstrates what’s going on.  We broke up the Sonoma County real estate market into categories or “types” of sales. These are the usual “food-groups” from our Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Across the TOP of the sheet it show “All” which means the entire Sonoma County Real Estate market: Single family homes, Condos and Ranches/Farms. I’ve then broken them out to “Current Monthly” numbers (June). So the REO category shows the “Actives”, “Continue to show” (CTS), “Pending” and then the “Sold” is for the ENTIRE  first six months.  I also broke out the June  “Solds” category which shows total  sales of 529. You can follow this category and note the sales where MORE last year for the first 6 months and also for the Month of June. Median price shot up from $332,000 last year to $420,000 this year or 21%. Not bad. What’s striking is the REO and SS (Real Estate owned and Short-Sales) columns which show substantial declines in the distressed marketplace. This is GOOD news! Many who where under water two years ago are now “land-lubbers”. Note that “Cash” sales are identical for both years at 31% of ALL sales. What does all this mean? Cash buyers are still strong and a detriment to the first time homebuyer who maybe a VET or FHA buyer with a small down payment. More equity sellers (real homeowners and sellers) indicates folks are on the move as there is big demand and little supply pushing median up. Plunging “Distressed” homes indicate stabilizing of the default homeowner OR banks just working with folks longer with loan mods, longer default times and short-sale approvals.