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!

For Stockton Real Estate, Halloween Marks a Turning Point   Holidays in the air? Why Stockton Deals Follow Halloween Halloween Precedes Stockton Real Estate Buys

 

Fa la la la la, la la la la: it’s carol time again!

Not quite? You can’t almost hear those sleigh bells ringing? Well, brace yourself. Halloween is next Tuesday—and nowadays, that means that by Wednesday, holiday advertising will be with us for the duration.

Whether we admit it or not, the Thanksgiving start of holiday season is a thing of the past. Hallmark has already launched its “Countdown to Christmas;” Stockton mailboxes are filling with gift catalogs; store windows are only weeks away from being transformed into snow-sprayed winter wonderlands.

As far as Stockton real estate is concerned, a couple of the advantages to buying during the holiday season will arrive more or less simultaneously. And there are advantages.

One real estate education company, FortuneBuilders, counts five key reasons why “the holidays are a great time to buy.” In short, they are:

  1. Limited inventory. Less activity means fewer competing buyers.
  2. Sellers are motivated. Those who have not sold during the peak season are more likely to welcome offers.
  3. This depends on the particular financial situation of both Stockton buyers and sellers.
  4. Lower interest rates. Historically, interest rates tend to be lower during the holidays—probably because mortgage companies need to pep up sleepy demand.
  5. Faster closing. Although lenders, brokers, and inspectors may be thinking it’s time to take a vacation, when business does appear, they clear the decks and move!

Those reasons may seem like distant abstractions in the week before Halloween, but they are very much in play starting with the first stirrings of November….and Thanksgiving…and all the rest of the holiday onslaught! For those who will be in the market for a new Stockton home—in reality, they’ll be shopping in a “holiday” market environment! As the educators put it, “some of the best deals you can make during the holidays involve real estate, not 72-inch televisions.”

You don’t even have to wait until Halloween for a comprehensive look at Stockton’s current slate of pre-holiday deals, Call me anytime!

Keeping Halloween in Stockton the Safest Kind of Mayhem Stockton Halloween: Controlled (but Safe) Disruption Keeping Stockton’s Halloween Fun…and Safe

Halloween in Stockton is the one day in every year when the regular order of things gets a thorough shaking up. For one thing, it’s the single day of the year when we expect our doorbell to be ringing non-stop for hours on end. It’s certainly the only time when prudence dictates that we stockpile bowls full of treats to serve as ransom payments against demands for booty from an onslaught of pint-sized masked neighbors.

For Stockton’s small fry, if all goes well, Stockton’s Halloween ranks right up there with birthdays in terms of fun and excitement—possibly because of the aura of good-natured bounds-testing that seems to hover over the proceedings. When else does everybody get to dress up in disguises? When else might some perfectly dignified adult don an eyepatch and start talking like a pirate? When else does practically the whole of Stockton agree to engage in a tradition that disrupts the normal order of things for the express purpose of just having some fun? Who thought this thing up, anyway?

For parents who may or may not find themselves costumed this Tuesday, the fun will be somewhat tempered by the grownup’s job of keeping everybody safe amid the spooky mayhem. Without spoiling the fun altogether, the most-noted Halloween safety concerns for Stockton homeowners are:

  • Keep your property’s walks and stairways well-lit.
  • Place pumpkins and other Halloween decorations well off to the side to prevent their becoming tripping hazards.
  • Secure pets away from the mayhem. Even the best-behaved may lose their cool after hours of doorbell ringing and screaming kids.
  • Avoid homemade treats and loose candy—parents can’t trust them.
  • Don’t leave treats outdoors for the kids to take. They can be tampered with.

Health authorities aren’t shy about advising parents to temper their little goblins’ candy intake. One good tactic: reserve a particularly enticing new toy to trade for a goodly amount of the sugary swag.

Here’s hoping your family has a safe and moderately sane Stockton Halloween. As soon as things get back to normal, I’ll be here, ready to assist with your next Stockton real estate venture!

 

 

 

What Surprises Might Millennial Home Buyers Bring? Stockton’s Millennial Home Buyers May have Surprise Plans What Stockton Homeowners Need to Know about Millennials

Millennials are buying homes!

This was what The Dallas Morning News reported last week—but Stockton homeowners didn’t need any Dallas real estate to be interested in the statement. It was based on data from all across the country.

Millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 1997) made up 34% of homebuyers last year—”more than any other age group” according to the National Association of Realtors®. Stockton homeowners probably found that surprising, given all the contrary news that’s been long reported about the group. The stereotype had it that the whole pack of “plastic straw-hating snowflakes” were going to be doomed to a future of nothing much more exciting than avocado toast feasting in their permanent quarters (i.e., their parents’ basements).

Particularly for Stockton homeowners whose properties fall into the starter home category, those assumptions about the entire millennial generation—that they might never even aspire to a home of their own—have been disconcerting. If legions of younger folk drop out of line in the traditional progression of residential ownership, that would constitute a monkey wrench in the whole economics of home ownership. And there had been some evidence that this was in fact taking place…

The latest reports brighten those gloomy suspicions. The non-profit Urban Land Institute finds that millennials have very different plans. Perhaps partially due to the current brightening economic picture, something like 70% expect to live in a single-family home—within a couple of years!

But current Stockton homeowners who look to attract younger buyers might also be wise to note a few changes in some millennial preferences. Many “want community, connectivity and inclusiveness”—translation: the concept of walls and gates “is completely inverted.” Another factor impacting many millennials is an unprecedented level of student and car loan debt, which tends to make them even more cost-conscious than prior generations.

As for the millennial buyers themselves, when it comes to buying Stockton homes, since “they grew up on the internet,” relying on Realtors might at first seem less of a necessity. But seeking expert guidance in ferreting out and negotiating the best buys among today’s Stockton home offerings is still the majority’s heads-up move.

Millennial or not: give me a call!

Stockton Landlords Profit through Considerate Rent Increases Regular Rent Increases Protect Stockton Landlords’ Investment The Delicate Art of Considerate Stockton Rent Increases

Inflation has been barely noticeable for quite a while, but as Stockton shoppers have begun to notice how it’s been creeping up lately. For Stockton landlords, that triggers a subject that directly impacts the profitability of their real estate investment.
Managing rent increases properly—and communicating them in a manner calculated to preserve your tenants’ goodwill—is a subject estate author Kevin Ortner writes about in Realtor Magazine. A few of his insights:
• Raise rents on a regular schedule—usually, this will come at each lease renewal period (or when the agreement specifies)—but for month-to-month situations, once a year is recommended. Small increments on an annual basis are more predictable (and agreeable) than “catch up” raises scheduled less frequently.
• Be competitive. The “sweet spot” you are looking for is the best price you can get for your rental—which is also actually “how much tenants are willing to pay.” That’s subject to compliance with California and local laws in accordance with the terms of your lease. Research by starting with a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual calculation of Shelter Cost Changes—most recently, 3.4% at the end of August. The national trends are good to know but are not as significant as the more important data: the rates similar Stockton rentals are currently advertising.
• Give extra notice. You’re required to abide by the law and your lease, but when you give tenants more time, it makes any raise less burdensome. If the raise is competitive, tenants will have ample time to shop around and see that it’s reasonable.
• Work to keep good tenants happy. The most successful landlords frequently take their best tenants’ situations into consideration. If you decide to cut them some slack as a way of cultivating the relationship, you might even do what Ortner suggests: “show them what the rent increase was going to be”—but with that number crossed out and a smaller one in its place. You should also have determined the operating cost rises behind the rent increase, and be willing to share those facts.
The Ortner prescriptions are aimed at maximizing profitability by keeping rent increases rational—and tenant-landlord communications open. If you have ever considered the investment potential of becoming a landlord yourself, right now is a terrific time to investigate the opportunities our Stockton market is offering. Give me a call—I’ll show you what I mean!

How Can You Achieve a Bigger Stockton Kitchen Simply? When the Goal is Creating a Bigger Stockton Kitchen Simple Tips for Achieving a Bigger-Looking Kitchen

 

Probably because any “achievement” is something that’s honored and rewarded from kindergarten on, the word automatically triggers a positive reaction.

So for Stockton readers who happened upon last week’s Realty Times article about how to “achieve a bigger kitchen” without busting the family budget, the piece would have been worth a look. And in fact, author Brad Miller actually did offer up some creative approaches. Here are some wallet-friendly ideas for Stockton sellers looking to increase the value of their kitchen:

  • Go for a slimmer fridge (the tall, thin 28-inchers hold a lot of food).
  • Ditch double sinks (a single large one takes up less space; actually makes washing large pans easier; allows more counter space).
  • Use a compact dishwasher (appropriate for condos—but we might question this one for the average Stockton family).
  • Remove some hardware (press-activated cabinet doors and drawers provide a less cluttered, expansive appearance).
  • Light the cabinets (eliminating shadows makes a kitchen “feel roomier”) There are a wide range of possibilities (glass-doored cabinets can even be handsomely lit from the inside).

The Realty Times layout included photos illustrating the bigger-looking kitchen ideas in action—and they really did look convincing.

If you are planning to sell your own Stockton home, identifying the least costly approaches for making needed improvements is a fine place to start. I can help there—as with all the other facets that go into a successful sale. I hope you’ll give me a call!

 

 

Stockton Real Estate Good News/Bad News/Better News for 2019 Stockton Real Estate: Scoping a Clearer Picture for 2019 For Stockton Real Estate, Optimism Peaking in 2019

It’s irresistible: peering into the new year, trying to guess what the Stockton real estate landscape will look like in the coming 365 days. At the close of an outstanding 2017, although it’s always a little foolish to assume too much about details in a world that changes as rapidly as ours does, I think there are some more-probable-than-not real estate good news/bad news scenarios likely to come our way:

GOOD NEWS:

·       New-home sales increased an astounding 17.5% in November, creating “the exact kind of new-home sales numbers the market has been desperate for” according to Economist Aaron Terrazas. Builders report that they are selling homes before they even start building them, while (per the Wall Street Journal) “The housing market is showing strength across the board.”

·       For Stockton homeowners looking to sell in 2018, it’s common knowledge that the housing supply has been in seriously short supply for a long time. One result is, as website Trulia says, “homes are being snapped up at the fastest clip” since they started keeping records.

·       If claims for the tax overhaul signed into law last week prove justified, a majority of wage earners should see fatter paychecks as early as this February. If consumers react accordingly, Stockton real estate is likely to see positive collateral fallout. When consumers build confidence about their own financial futures, Stockton real estate activity usually benefits.

BAD NEWS:

·       When real estate affordability measures are positive, potential buyers find they can comfortably acquire the home of their dreams without breaking the family budget. But as mortgage interest rates rise as is widely expected, they are likely to find less wiggle room.

BETTER NEWS:

·       Those interest rates may well rise throughout 2018—but as the year begins, they are still incredibly low by historical standards. In other words, Stockton real estate’s buyers still have a window to make deals that should look extraordinarily shrewd in years to come.

·       The National Association of Realtors®’ “Game Changer Number One” prediction for the coming year is “Supply finally catching up with demand.” They forecast that the tight housing inventory situation will continue for the first half of the year, but finally “ease up in the second half of 2018.”. When you think about it, that’s an extremely unusual prescription—one that’s encouraging for both buyers and sellers!

If the coming year does turn out to be even brighter for Stockton real estate, at least in that respect, next January should find Stockton’s populace in truly good spirits. For now, here’s wishing you and yours good health, good company—and a most Happy New Year!

 

Will Cuisine Impact Future Stockton Real Estate Trends? Could Food Become a Future Stockton Real Estate Trend? Developers in Competitive Markets Lure Foodie Buyers

For Stockton real estate watchers on the lookout for the latest trends, here’s some food for thought. According to last week’s Wall Street Journal, it’s one formerly overlooked amenity that is now evident in the increasingly competitive luxury condominium market. It’s gastronomic: the addition of exclusive residents-only gourmet restaurants.

Multiple examples are evident in Miami, where the 60 stories of the Porsche Design Tower aren’t its only sky-high features. With units listing for anywhere from six to thirty-two million dollars, PDT’s developers decided that enticing potential buyers’ taste buds would be a useful addition to its other amenities. Already included are robotic car lifts to owners’ private sky garages; two oversize swim-spas; 24-hour concierge and valet service; a virtual golf facility and a two-seat race car simulator. The added amenity is Fuel, the owners-only restaurant, where menu offerings like the truffle pasta purses and lamb osso buco are providing a competitive edge.

Another rival, Fisher Island’s Palazzo Del Sol where condo prices start at $7,300,000, the gourmet addition is Café Sol. This oceanfront aperitivo bar is where residents can snack on homemade biscotti, tea sandwiches and Aperol spritzes throughout the day. There’s never a call for “check, please”—that’s included as part of the monthly maintenance fee.

It’s true that new Stockton developers will think twice before jumping on the residents-only restaurant route, which is admittedly an expensive amenity. Any Stockton restauranteur will readily agree with the real estate consultant quoted in the Journal. If quality isn’t top-notch, “the restaurant will not get used much.”

Yet the idea of including some form of enhanced food availability—whether it’s a posh owners-only eatery, a common facility for cooking club get-togethers, or an HOA-sponsored meal delivery service—may one day become an accepted Stockton real estate trend. The frenetic pace of daily life does seem to open that possibility.

I offer more immediate relief from the many time-consuming aspects of any upcoming Stockton real estate ventures. Call me anytime!

Sell Your Stockton House for What it’s Worth Sell Your Stockton House for More Than It’s Worth? Selling Your Stockton House for More Than It’s Worth: Not!

        In my capacity as Stockton real estate information-gatherer, I really couldn’t pass up last week’s, “How to Sell Your House for More than It’s Worth.” 

I know; I know: that’s the kind of web clickbait we’ve all learned to avoid—like popups announcing “New Law Cuts Stockton Residents’ Tax Bill in Half!” or “Secret Diet Miracle Food Celebrities Won’t Tell You About.” By now we’ve learned that the “new law” will turn out to be an obscure exception that applies only to some very small group and the “secret miracle diet food” is water. But despite all that, the “Sell Your House” essay turned out to be thought-provoking—although not in the way the authors probably intended.

 

First, about the article itself: its how-to guidance was organized into subtitles like “Quick Fix” and “Face lift.” The “sell your house for more than its worth” premise hinged on surface maintenance coverups. A final “Important Tip” turned out to be a whole bundle of tips—all of which boiled down to the caution, “selling a house is not easy.” I would add, especially if you ask for more than your house is worth.

 

But the authors were onto something—which is why their title works to attract readers. It is a fact that most otherwise sensible Stockton homeowners would be all ears if only it was possible to sell their Stockton house for more than it’s worth. Why not? And on first blush, it might actually seem possible—probably because of the free-floating nature of residential real estate price-setting. But there are two ironclad reasons why that’s an illusion.

 

First, in a free market like Stockton’s, a house is worth what it sells for. When someone actually pays X dollars, the house is worth X dollars. That may seem like a word game—but it is in fact definitory.

 

More persuasively, just about every one of today’s Stockton home buyers will make their offer contingent on an inspection—and our Stockton home inspectors are extremely talented when it comes to uncovering any of the article’s “quick fixes” and “facelifts.” Those were at the core of the “more than its worth” come-on.

 

Long story short: it’s more astute to plan on selling your house for what it’s worth. Those who try to sell for more than that will probably find themselves drumming their fingers, waiting for a buyer who agrees.

 

Right-pricing means getting an analysis of the latest Stockton market returns for homes similar to yours. Give me a call for an up-to-the-moment property analysis!