Planning Real Estate Games for Next Year’s Holidays

We’ve just made it through another extended holiday season. This was one of those where Christmas and New Year’s fall in the middle of the week. For some families who are hosting the celebrations, that can tax their entertainment resources to the max. When it gets to the point where anyone’s best idea is to watch “Die Hard” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” for a second time, you know new thinking is called for.

Even more dire, next year the situation will be compounded. Stockton’s holidays will fall on a Friday—for host families, the most extreme holiday predicament. It will call for the utmost entertainment ingenuity. Here is an absolutely original suggestion for next year:

Hold a family Real Estate Word Game competition!

Since it’s unlikely previous real estate word game competitions have been held in the past, here are some suggestions to spark the creativity that will be necessary by 2019’s year-end:

Real estate riddles—like,

“Why did the real estate agent cross the road?” (Answer: to put up an Open House sign).

“What do you call a sprinkler system that won’t turn off?” (Answer: A source of constant irrigation)

“If two antennas on a house for sale get married, what’s the result? (Answer: a brilliant reception)

“What three letters are the opposite of ‘FSBO?”   (Answer: REO).

“What does ‘REO’ stand for? (Answer: Real Estate Owned)

“What the heck does that mean? (Answer: a bank owns the property)

“Why is that important? (Answer: because the bank probably wants to sell it ASAP!)

Real estate knock knock jokes—like,

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Needle.

Needle who?

Needle little help selling this house!

 

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Police.

Police who?

Police stop with these real estate jokes!

——————

Needless to say, it’s a good thing that next holiday season is a year off—we’ll all need at least that much time to work on less groan-producing examples. But in the meantime, whenever you need some real estate expertise that’s no joke—call me!

 

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR LOYAL CLIENTS, FOLLOWERS AND READERS!!

As the year winds down we enjoy reflecting on all of  the blessings that have come our way in  2019. We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of our clients, followers and readers for their business and referrals for all of their real estate needs this year. 2019 has been another banner year for Bright Side Real Estate and we are looking forward to 2020.
In 2019, the market improved with values up 11% in most areas of Stockton. Over 3900 homes have been sold in the last 12 months and we were very excited to be part of that.
Best wishes to all of you for this Holiday Season and Happy New Year!

The State of Mind Called “Christmas”

This holiday season finds Stockton’s streets and stores humming with as much activity as has been seen for some time—which brings us to a particularly upbeat year’s end. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa that’s spelled out in overhead banners, this is the one time of year when the commercial activity that marks all the big holidays is accompanied by a special spiritual overlay.

The hustle and bustle that’s led up to this week may have kept most of Stockton’s parents, grandparents and everybody else busy collecting gifts and preparing for the gatherings we reinvent annually, but it’s nearly impossible not to also call to mind some of the indescribable wonder from childhood days.

That must have been in mind when, nearly a century ago, then-President Calvin Coolidge opened his holiday season message to the American people with,

Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.”

“Silent Cal” nailed it in just those few words; he was famous for that! Today in Stockton we call it a mindset—and that’s probably why this time of year it’s permissible to share such high-minded thoughts without fear of being judged overly sanctimonious.

Taking full advantage of that license, here is one author’s incisive counter to the season’s excessively materialistic trappings:

Christmas gift suggestions:

“To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.

— Oren Arnold

 

In the same spirit, I wish you all the beauty, all the blessings—and especially all the joy the season can bring!

Does a Grinch Lurk for Stockton Home Buyers and Sellers?

In a recent article, 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.

Last year, 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 do not expect another rate hike in December” according to one economist. In fact, there could be another decline in rates early 2020. This will be a boost for real estate sales in spring.

”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.

Autumn Leaves Signal Home Improvement Season High Time for Improving Homes in Stockton Less-Than-Obvious Stockton Home Improvement Ideas

Ah, November! Down every street we see the familiar sight of homes in Stockton, yards displaying evidence of the fall leaf drop and — yikes! — Winter is coming!

Beyond the unavoidable home maintenance issues: leaks in roof, cracks in windows, heating system checks, fall is also the best time to consider other, less obvious improvement projects.  Whenever the weather (and busy schedules) allow, whether or not yours is one of the homes in Stockton that will soon have a ‘For Sale’ in its front yard, a few less attention-demanding home improvement ideas that could merit your attention:

Fireplace Inspection! A crackling fire is a worthy antidote for winter blahs, but if you have a good, old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace, when is the last time you actually had it inspected? Experts say that chimneys should be examined annually for cracks, blockages, and ventilation issues.

Flooring Renewal! If you have one of the many homes in Stockton that features beautiful hardwood floors, refinishing them may not be high on your To-Do list this fall. Yet whether you are considering selling anytime soon or not, consider the advantages of re-finishing floors sooner rather than later. With the holidays on the way, who doesn’t want a home in sparkling shape for entertaining? The look of floors has an outsized impact on the way a home appears. And if you have been thinking of actually replacing any flooring, according to George Moore, a contractor and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers,  “Some types of flooring adhesives need the temperature of the house to be between 75 and 80 degrees. It’s for that glue to adhere properly.  Cold air can be a little more damp and can stop the glue from drying properly, so you could have a bonding problem.”   With energy prices rising, replacing flooring now may be a more practical solution than in the depth of winter.

Painting! For the same reason, homes in Stockton that could use a protective exterior painting should be attended to now – at least if temperatures hold within recommended limits. Indoors, once it’s time to crank the heat, other reasons apply. A heated home means closed windows and re-circulating air – far from ideal conditions for anyone trapped indoors with the smells and paint fumes.  Moreover, should a significant amount of cold air enter through doorways or windows, it could negatively affect proper drying.

The bottom line?  Because many improvement projects are well suited for the fall, it is also true that contractors and vendors are busiest this time of year. So, if you’re thinking about any that take outside help, get on the books now!  Whether you’re looking to sell a home in Stockton — or just keeping yours in top shape, this is a great time to get started. I’m here, too, whenever you feel like chatting about the local real estate market!

Stockton’s Thanksgiving Traces Back to – What, Exactly?

This Thursday, at some point in the festivities we’ll be remembering the Pilgrims and their Indian guests on that first Thanksgiving Day in the New World. After all, that gathering was the genesis of today’s Stockton Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Or was it?

This momentary doubt surfaced when someone mentioned the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. When you think about it, how likely it is that our Neighbors to the North would create a national holiday to memorialize some ancient Massachusetts get-together? Pretty unlikely.

So if their Thanksgiving doesn’t celebrate the day the Pilgrims feasted with their new Wampanoag friends, what does it celebrate?

The Canadian version is said to be offshoots of the Old World’s “Harvest Festivals.” According to England’s Metro News, “Harvest Festival in Britain is the ancient festival that celebrates a successful yield.” It’s a “Sunday of Thanksgiving” observed on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon (this year, it came on September 23). European Harvest Festivals are said to be remnants of pre-Christian harvest festivals, during which corn dolls are traditionally fashioned from “the last sheath of the harvest.” You can find many pictures of the corn dolls (they call them ‘dollies’). No Indian tribes. No turkeys.

Pagan festivals and dollies? Does this put the accuracy of all Stockton elementary school bulletin boards with their Pilgrim hats and turkey displays in jeopardy? Fortunately, there’s a problem with the Pilgrim-less version.

According to the British press, the corn dolls are “meant to symbolize the pagan goddess of the grain”—which would definitely predate Christianity altogether. But the fact is, corn was unknown in Europe until it was brought by Columbus from the New World. So the corn doll/pre-Christian link doesn’t work, time-wise.

I think we can safely bypass other Thanksgiving legends and just stick to our own story. Stockton’s Thanksgiving can continue to be the once-a-year occasion to remember its true spirit—a day we celebrate our gratitude for all we have and love.

Here’s hoping your celebration is delightful and fulfilling. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

6 Reason Why November is High Time to List Your Stockton House

Your reasons for when you decide to list your home can be dictated by personal events that you set in motion—or by others that just come along. Then again, when you have a good deal of leeway on the decision, at this time of the year, you might be tempted to wait for Stockton’s “spring selling season” before listing your Stockton house. Yet there are several real-world reasons why delaying might not always be in your best interest. Here are six persuasive ones:

  1. Determination. Buyers who appear during the end of year months are almost by definition more determined to find and buy their new home. The holidays make such extra-curricular activities less convenient, so looky-loos and next-year buyers are largely absent.
  2. Waiting for next spring’s expected onslaught of new Stockton buyers makes less sense when you consider the expected accompanying onslaught of new Stockton listings. Fall and winter sellers face sparse competition.
  3. Yard work. With the peak growing season behind us, the coming months require significantly less attention to keep garden and lawn—hence, curb appeal— in showing-ready condition.
  4. Moving expense. With their peak moving season far in the future, many professional Stockton moving outfits offer discounted rates. It makes sense for them: in an average year, more than 40,000,000 Americans will move—and 80% do it between April and September!
  5. Focus. Fewer sellers and fewer buyers mean both get more attention from all quarters. Loan officers, home inspectors—and just about everybody else whose offices contribute to completing the sale—all have clearer calendars and less competing demands on their time.
  6. Kismet factor. You don’t have to be a fatalist to realize that sheer luck is often a factor in selling any Stockton house—the uncontrollable factor that makes your ultimate buyer “just happen” to be looking for a home like yours. If you wait for spring to list, you’ll miss all the buyers who are looking between now and then.

These six are all convincing reasons to consider listing your Stockton house sooner rather than later—but it’s also true that some determined autumn prospects have been waiting to see if better bargains will appear. The takeaway: in any season, a realistic asking price is the best way to draw a crowd. Any time of year, for a no-obligation consultation detailing where your Stockton property fits into the current market, give me a call!