Why are CES Debuts Important for Stockton Homeowners? For Stockton Gadget Lovers and Homeowners, a Heads Up! CES Provides New Ideas for Stockton Homeowners

Last Friday was the final day for the Las Vegas mega-trade exposition: the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Forward-thinking Stockton homeowners have learned to keep an eye on the CES because the public debuts of new appliances, gadgets, apps, and devices that take place there often wind up influencing Stockton real estate. Sometimes, in major ways.

Past examples are numerous. Not too long ago, giant screen TVs were oddities—but today it’s unusual to find a single Stockton house for sale that doesn’t have at least one room configured to suggest an inviting big screen entertainment area. CES is where the latest television advances showed up first—and America bought into big screen in a big way.

CES is also where the newest Bluetooth- and WiFi-ready devices have their coming out parties—important because some older Stockton houses with dense, WiFi-stopping flooring and walls need some serious signal-boosting setups before their listing can promote “WiFi throughout.”

The 2019 CES continued its tradition of providing a launchpad for devices intended to transform the way consumers live, work, and play—but this year did so without a lot of star power in the real estate department. There wasn’t that one single standout that could grab headlines major media attention, at least not one likely to transform the prospects for future Stockton houses for sale.

What did debut were a collection of incremental additions to the roster of gadgets and appliances that listen to you and talk to each other. These gizmos belong under the heading of “IoT” (the Internet of Things). On display was everything from smart refrigerators (by now, they are old hat) to smart bread-making machines (the Breadbot) that send and receive electronic signals.

Overall a surprising number of the new advances were in the voice assistance direction—aided by the industrial clout of the internet giants. The BBC noted the drift toward “voice assistance everywhere.” Their headline read, “Amazon and Google Assistant carve up tech expo.” That was demonstrated throughout the 2.9 million square feet of exhibits, with, as moneycontrol.com put it, voice assistance for everything “from TVs, toilets, or toys.”

As more and more daily household tasks are enabled by voice command—and collected into a single unified memory store—expect that to make inroads on what future prospects will expect in any Stockton house for sale. It’s a future where I hope you’ll give me a call!

What Do Stockton Homeowners Think about Fractional Luxury? Stockton Homeowners May Spot a Flaw in Luxury Home Trend Luxury Home Ownership Gets Fractional  

 

Stockton readers won’t be surprised to learn that anyone able to afford a multimillion-dollar vacation property is likely to be fairly adept at math. It turns out that an emerging trend in the highest end of the vacation home market also calls for some familiarity with fractions.

Closing out the year in style, the Wall Street Journal’s real estate section editors provided an interesting spread delving into the palazzos, castles, villas, and vineyards that make up the second homes of international luxury buyers. This would not ordinarily be especially newsworthy for WSJ readers since their Mansion section regularly offers similar photo spreads.

What made this December entry worthy of crossing over into the news area was what is becoming a growing trend for “some well-heeled nomads” investing in second and third luxury homes: fractional ownership.

The idea is that rather than investing millions in centuries-old luxury villas (there was an example in Tuscany) or , some wealthy vacationers are opting to “hop among bite-sized” private residences in which they have only partial ownership. Since they might visit these real estate acquisitions only a couple of times a year, they are opting to split ownership with similar-minded folks. This is known as fractional ownership strategy. A similar but slightly different incarnation is found in the private residence clubs. Both are gaining traction.

Since there is a myriad of ways the details can be handled, the article was scant on details. It pointed out that a residence club usually costs more than does a typical fractional property—but that higher price tag confers nicer amenities and fewer owners. Both typically have the advantage of dispensing with the tedious side of luxury vacation home ownership: opening up the house, power-washing the patio, etc.

But “there are downsides” which sound similar to complaints heard by some timeshare buyers. Partial owners can find that scheduling the weeks they will be allowed to visit their luxury home is determined by rotational systems that vary from year to year. More significantly for those with an eye to the investment value of their luxury getaways, the Journal quotes one observer regarding the difficulties of trying to sell a fraction of a ski area property. “Listing 1/10 of a ski condo can be as tough as trying to sell one-half of a pair of skis.

For properties for sale with less ambiguous ownership fractions of 1/1 (that’s “one-oneth”—better known as “100%”), check out this week’s Stockton listings, where there are real values to be found. Then call me!

Buying a House in Stockton: Which of the 5 Seasons is Best? Best of the 5 Seasons for Buying a House in Stockton Best of the 5 Seasons for Buying Stockton Houses

If you are a well-organized prospective Stockton house buyer, you have been weighing many factors as you prepare to start serious house hunting. One of the factors to consider is seasonal: that is, which of the five seasons is most favorable for buying a house?

It’s a fact that the most heavily favored among the seasonal choices is the traditional “peak selling season,” Spring-into-summer is the traditional busiest period for Stockton residential activity—and logic dictates that there must be persuasive reasons why so many Stockton house buyers opt to make their offers then. But persuasive counter-arguments also abound—both for selling and buying a house. Briefly, here are the most common leading reasons for choosing one season over another for buying a house:

Winter: least competition with fellow buyers, hence fewer prospects for a bidding war

Spring: traditional popularity brings the widest selection of new listings

Summer: most convenient time for travel and concentrated house hunting

Fall: most motivated sellers: highest volume of new asking price reductions

There they are—each of the seasons along with frequently cited reasons why they tend to foster the best buying opportunities. Since you have probably noted that I promised to discuss five rather than just four seasons, here’s that extra one (it’s my choice):

Your season: that is, the season when your financial preparations are complete, your professional and family schedules coincide to allow ample house hunting time, and it also feels like the time is right to get going to find your new Stockton house.

This fifth season is the one that holds the greatest prospects for buying the Stockton house you’ll be excited to call your own. The calendar provides good alternative reasons for choosing any of the traditional seasons, yet the perfect “house of your dreams” might crop up or disappear in any one of them. Your season will always be the best time to get serious about house hunting—and with any luck, that’s when you’ll land a terrific home.

P.S. That’s also the season when I’ll be standing by to supply maximum effort for the enterprise!

Does a Grinch Lurk for Stockton Home Buyers and Sellers? “Holiday Gift” (and a Grinch) for Stockton Home Buyers A Holiday Gift Surfaces for Stockton Home Sellers and Buyers

Last Thursday, the Washington Post described “a holiday gift” that could find its way to the doorsteps of Stockton home seller and buyers. The Post might not have identified him by name, but there was also a hint that the Grinch could be lurking in the shadows.

Real estate writer Kathy Orton’s headline story described an unanticipated December boon “for those looking to buy or refinance a home.” It was a package that materialized in the wake of wild fluctuations in the stock market. A variety of national and international worries had combined to trigger widespread “investor anxiety.” The result a headline echoed in the Mortgage Bankers Association daily newsletter:

“Mortgage Rates Plunge to Their Lowest Level in Three Months.”

For prospective Stockton home buyers who have been hoping to lock in favorable home loan offers, the news could have seemed worthy of a scene out of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But before that holiday standard’s joyous ending could be echoed in real life, home buyers who were slow to react might be cautioned that another Christmas classic might be called to mind before long. Realistically, the Post’s “holiday gift” could fall prey to a Grinch-like plot twist.

In this year’s real-life Stockton version, that villainous role might be played by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee. “Markets expect another rate hike in December” according to one economist. If so, it could quickly reverse the rate slide. Already, the Post saw hints that “this recent decline may be over.”

Meantime, Danielle Hale of Realtor.com offered a prognosis that wavered midway between Dr. Seuss and Wonderful Life. “Although we don’t see it in this week’s data,” the Chief Economist said, “momentum has started to shift…”

Buying or selling Stockton homes isn’t something that’s hatched in the mind of a creative artist or Hollywood producer—but it can be influenced by plot twists like mortgage interest rate shifts. In every season, I make sure my clients stay informed of all events that impact the buying and selling of Stockton homes. When that becomes your own focus, do call me!

Stockton Home Sales During The Holidays Happen For A Reason! When Santa Really Does Deliver a New Family Home!   Holiday Home Sales: The Ultimate Present?

Okay, granted: a new family home won’t fit under the tree…

This year, Stockton TVs have been filled with commercials that mix Santa with new automobiles. If you believe the ads, a number of automakers apparently offer models that will fly like reindeer onto driveways for big boys and girls who are sufficiently nice. One do-gooder is portrayed stitching up Santa’s ripped tunic in an act of selfless un-naughtiness that earns him a new sedan on the big day.

I’m pleased to say we haven’t seen a National Association of Realtors® commercial with Santa and elves flying a new home onto a surprised family’s driveway, but the idea is no more divorced from reality than Santa’s barn full of vintage Mercedes (it looks like he loves the red gullwing best). If you’ve never thought about shopping for a home during the year-end holiday season, you might be surprised to consider that in some cases this is a very fortuitous time of year for home sales. Aside from the few who can actually give such a fantastic gift (it actually happens!), there are a couple of other reasons why holiday Stockton home sales do take place:

Lower Prices

First of all, nothing typifies the holiday spirit quite like the spirit of generosity—and at this time of year, there are some Stockton home sellers who are predisposed to be more generous than usual. The possibility of their accepting lower offers doesn’t necessarily owe to holiday altruism decking their halls. Fewer visits and fewer offers are made over the holidays, while at the same time there are a number of circumstances that could materially benefit sellers who can close out the Old and usher in the New before calendar year’s end. In some cases, as Forbes points out, home sales may be a matter of the seller wanting to complete the transaction before year’s end for tax purposes—or simply to get the sale out of the way.

Favorable Rates

When you buy in part determines how much you’ll pay, and the waning days of 2014 still offer historically low home loan interest rates. Whether home sales in Stockton during the coming year will long be able to boast the same advantage is a matter of conjecture, but certainly this is one year when beneficial rates are in place. Last-minute year-end shoppers may reap a happier holiday if they’ve locked in the kind of rates currently available.

Asking Santa for a new Stockton home may sound like a bit of an overreach, but for those who make this year’s holiday buying benefits work in their favor, it can be a most memorable season! And for the rest of us who will be leaving a chocolate chip cookie and milk by the fireplace…it couldn’t hurt, could it?

 

5 + 5 Winter and Seasonal Notes for Stockton Households 5+5 Precautions Forestall Stockton Winter Emergencies 5+5 Heads-Ups Prevent Stockton Winter Emergencies

At the same time California’s Santa Ana winds were dealing chaos in the west, the premature arrival of winter weather was pounding the other side of the country compliments of Winter Storm Benji. The unprecedented December snowfall started in New Orleans and worked its way all the way up the East Coast to Maine—all of which made last week’s Consumer Reports’ article unusually timely.

CR happened to have published a heads-up on ways to cope when winter storms interfere with daily routines. Stockton winter weather may not regularly trigger Alaskan-level emergency situations, but it’s still a worthwhile reminder for Stockton householders to be prepared for any nasty winter onslaughts that California might have in store for us.

These five areas were highlighted as most important (they’re also recommended by HUD):

  1. Smoke Detectors—they’re required for every Stockton home, but if you haven’t checked them lately, now is the time.
  2. Carbon Monoxide Alarms—portable fuel-burning appliances produce CO—but so do fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and even water heaters. When all the windows are sealed, deadly accumulations are possible.
  3. Generator—if your house is in an area frequently subject to outages, even a small unit to power at least the refrigerator and electronics can be a godsend—but only when it is properly vented!
  4. Fire Extinguisher—surprisingly few Stockton homes have recently inspected fire extinguishers.
  5. Auto Cellphone charger—communications are more important than ever if the power goes out.

And while we are thinking about safety, the National Safety Council has these Safe Holiday Season topics worth noting:

  1. Wear gloves when arranging “angel hair” (it’s spun glass that can irritate your skin).
  2. Don’t inhale when spraying artificial snow.
  3. Use a proper step ladder when hanging holiday decorations—even if a chair is right there!
  4. Check light strings for frayed or exposed wires.
  5. Make sure paths are clear “so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, and toys.”

Emergency preparations and accident prevention can be easily overlooked as we enter the hectic Stockton holiday season, but timely precautions can result in holiday-saving results. Meantime, I’ll be standing by, too, ready to help should any Stockton real estate matters arise!

 

The Holidays: Once-a-Year Opportunity for Selling a Stockton Home!!! The Holiday Advantage for Selling Your Home in Stockton!!! Singular Advantage to Selling a Stockton Home over the Holidays!!!

I’m always a little surprised that more people don’t take advantage of the holiday season to sell their Stockton home. The spring selling season may be the most popular, but there are a host of reasons why, for a home that is already market-ready, you might think twice about waiting to list it.

Among the leading reasons that make this an especially advantageous time of year to sell an Stockton home is the financial motivation for some prospective buyers. Especially when an individual’s financial picture changes toward year’s end, a few prospective buyers find that the tax advantages of a purchase in the current year are reason enough to speed a sudden purchase. Classical supply and demand forces add another reason the decision to sell a home in Stockton now could be a good one. Since Stockton listing volumes taper off toward the end of the year, the choices are relatively few, increasing the value of each to motivated buyers.

Experience tells us that the average holiday-season buyer does tend to be more highly motivated, if for no other reason than that they are choosing to house hunt over all the other activities the season calls for. In short, this is not the season for lookyloos. There is also the advantage that holiday decorations add. The emotional appeal of a well done (not overdone!) display can augment a Stocktons home’s underlying curb appeal. Add to that the fact that all of us tend to be a bit more emotional during the holidays, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find buyers more flexible in what they are willing to bid. As every merchant has come to realize, the holidays are shopping days.

For those who will be traveling for the holidays, rather than that being a reason to put off listing, those days can be ideal times to sell your Stockton home. The house will be unoccupied, clean and available for showings at any time of day—the perfect situation for turning the otherwise slow holiday season into a standout to those buyers who need a home now.

I will be working throughout, so give me a call if selling your Stockton house is an idea that makes good sense. The more available you make your home during the holidays, the more likely you’ll find a buyer during this hectic time of year.

Listing Your Home During the Winter Months Local Holiday Conundrum: To List or Not To List Listing Your Home in December? Pros & Cons

If you are an area homeowner struggling with the decision about whether listing your home for sale during the winter months is good or bad, there are arguments for either choice.

Let’s start with the “pros”:

One of the best things I like about listing your home for sale in the winter months is that the holidays work to your advantage.  Nothing says “home” better than a house that is well (and tastefully!) decorated for the holidays. By making sure the decorations accent the house rather than overpower it, you still funnel attention where it belongs: on your house!

Another plus that comes with listing your home in town during the winter months is the logistical reasons that keep the proportion of non-serious “shoppers” from occupying your time. I find that the majority of those who are looking for homes during the winter months are disproportionally intent on actually buying a home.

On the other hand, some of those same logistical forces serve as counterarguments against listing your home during the winter. They are the same reasons many real estate agents tell their clients to wait until the spring to list. It’s true that there are fewer daylight hours for home viewings…not to mention spates of bad weather, and the greater chance that holiday travel will interfere with both buyer and seller schedules.

All in all, I think the arguments cancel each other out: I don’t advise you to allow the time of year to prevent you from listing your home in any season. If you are otherwise ready to sell your home this month or next, I say — make the most of the season! Who knows – it has happened more than once that the right buyer is out there right now. I have marketing plans for area homes that work every month of the year — if you are ready to sell, I’d be delighted to help you launch your sale this holiday season!

First Thanksgiving Turkeys: What They Never Told Us Stockton Thanksgiving Turkeys’ Surprising Ancestors Stockton Thanksgiving Turkeys are Descended from…?

If ever your Stockton Thanksgiving preparations cause you to go online seeking some Thanksgiving-related recipe, it will be hard to resist one of the sites that will probably pop up: the Smithsonian Institute’s “14 Fun Facts About Turkeys.”

There are several new turkey insights among the 14. And when it comes to one assumption about the first Thanksgiving that’s probably shared by most everyone in Stockton, Fun Fact #4 is there to correct the record.

Most of the details of that first Thanksgiving aren’t in question. The Pilgrims had survived the ordeal of the journey and had bonded with the helpful native Americans. So after the first successful harvest, everybody thought it was time for a joint celebration as a neighborhood kind of thing. The most bounteous crop had been corn (which the Indians had shown them how to grow). Dried corn was on the menu which included venison, clams, pumpkin, squash, etc..

And, of course, turkeys—which are native to the Americas—which would have been brought to the feast by the Indians.

Not!

It is entirely likely that the most noteworthy turkeys to grace the first Thanksgiving table were ones that had been brought by the Pilgrims. From Europe.

If that possibility causes many Stockton heads to do double-takes, it may be because we haven’t given much consideration to the length of time between Christopher Columbus’ voyage and the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock.

Between 1492 and 1621, there had been 129 years of discovery, settlement, and back-and-forth between the Americas and Europe. They may not have had jets to speed the trips, but after 129 years, there had been quite a lot of those back-and-forths. That was why it was possible for the first Indian to greet the Pilgrims in English. (Squanto had spent five years in Spain and sailed twice to England). But back to the turkeys:

Yes, the estimable bird is actually native to North America, but the subspecies (Fun Fact #3) that is most successfully domesticated is a variety the Aztecs developed in southern Mexico. The Spaniards brought those turkeys back to Europe, and by the early 1600s, they had become gastronomic hits. My guess is that they probably graced many an English baron’s table. Quoting the Smithsonian, “The Pilgrims then brought several of these domestic turkeys back to North America.”

So the rest is Thanksgiving history. Both the Indians and Pilgrims would have hunted and brought to table the eastern wild turkey—but they don’t taste nearly as good. So it’s probable that the Pilgrims were able to impress their native American guests with some European turkey one-upsmanship.

I hope your own Thanksgiving celebrations are equally tasty—and that the year before us is even more bounteous that those that came before. In case Stockton real estate might become a part of it, I’ll be here to help make that happen!

For Stockton Homeowners, Autumn Home Maintenance Ideas Autumn Home Maintenance Ideas Prevent Costly Situations It’s not Spring Cleaning—What is Autumn Maintenance?

Sure, spring cleaning is one thing. Stockton homeowners find it easy to tackle major housekeeping chores they avoided during the winter weather months. When the sun is out and spring is in the air, somehow it’s just more inviting to freshen up the household.

Autumn home maintenance chores may not beckon in the same way, but for conscientious Stockton homeowners who take the time to attend to them, the rewards are just as handsome. The idea is to prevent some expensive fixes.

It goes without saying that clearing rain gutters and drainage systems are high on the list—but that’s a job for later on when leaf fall is the issue. Here are four autumn home maintenance recommendations as Stockton’s autumn begins:

Flush the water heater. This is one job many conscientious Stockton homeowners overlook, but it’s a fact that corrosion-causing sediment shortens a water heater’s service life. Additional reward: that sediment reduces efficiency, so clearing it out will cut power bills all winter long.

Check for water leaks. This one is easy. Take a reading on the water meter, then turn off all appliances that use water (and don’t flush for a couple of hours). If the meter has changed, scout for the leak—leaky hoses are prime suspects. If you come up empty, a plumber’s expertise is probably indicated—better now than in the dead of winter.

Empty the drip pan. Most refrigerators have a drip pan down behind the kick panel. Be careful when you pull it out—it’s probably full of water, and possibly mold. If mold has clogged the drain line that leads down to the pan, shaping a metal coat hanger to clear it is standard practice.

Soak the clothes dryer’s lint screen. If gathering the lint off the dryer screen no longer clears it completely, you can remove the greasy film that develops by soaking it in a dishwasher soap-hot water bath, then gently brushing and rinsing.

An associated but more obscure tip: if clothes are still wet after ending the auto dry cycle, it could be caused by dryer sheet residue that builds up on its moisture sensor bars. Your dryer’s user manual will show where the metal sensors are located—on older models, they are usually found on the back wall of the drum; on newer models, on the inside front near the lint screen. After unplugging the machine, the white buildup can be cleared with some fine grit sandpaper, followed by polishing with a clean rag.

Autumn or spring, I’m standing by to consult on all Stockton real estate matters. I hope you will give me a call anytime!