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!

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!