Should You Remodel or Move?

By Caroline Abkar, Realtor | January 14th, 2020

Are you wondering if you should remodel your existing home or sell it and buy something new instead? I made this video to help you answer just whether you should remodel your home or move. It is chock full of all the information you need to consider when making this important decision.

 

There is so much that goes into the thought process of figuring out the right answer for you when it comes to remodeling vs moving. You need to first have all this data in hand with the help of your Realtor and lender:

  1. Remodel bid(s)
  2. Current loan balance on your home
  3. Fair market value of your home (appraisal or comps analysis from your realtor).
  4. How much savings you would put toward your remodel/new home
  5. What options do you have for a remodel loan including qualifying amounts (cash out refi, rehab loan, HELOC, etc)
  6. What you qualify for, for a new home.
  7. Net sheets if selling and buying.

Once you have all this information, you will need to determine what it would cost to buy a comparable home to your remodeled home in its future state. In other words, you are now going to figure out if you can get a turnkey home that you will love just as much as your remodeled home, without having to go thru the remodel, which for many people is an extremely stressful event.

 Here are a set of tips and questions to think about for this step:

  • Use your remodel specs (To-Be) as search criteria for a new home
  • Review list of homes for sale or have sold that meet that criteria
  • What is likelihood you will find a home like your To-be that is all done that you love?
  • Do you love your current location?
  • What is the after remodel value of your future home (ARV)? Don’t overbuild.
  • Where will you stay during remodel?
  • Impact on quality of life during remodel
  • Include a $ buffer for unknowns during remodel

 

Hopefully all this data crunching and analysis will give you a good idea of an apples to apples comparison in order to determine if you should remodel, or move!

Caroline

About the author: Caroline Abkar is an established San Diego Realtor and Bay Park resident who is absolutely passionate about the community as well as representing her clients in selling and acquiring the biggest investment of their lives. She will go above and beyond for those who place their trust in her. You can contact her anytime at 619-808-4804.

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Posted on January 14, 2020 at 9:40 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2020 Real Estate Market Forecast

It’s that time of year when Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner dusts off his crystal ball and peers into the future to give us his predictions for the 2020 economy and housing market!

U.S. Economy

In general, the economy performed pretty much as I expected this year: job growth slowed but the unemployment rate still hovers around levels not seen since the late 1960s.

Following the significant drop in corporate tax rates in January 2018, economic growth experience a big jump. However, we haven’t been able to continue those gains and I doubt we’ll return to 2%+ growth next year. Due to this slowing, I expect GDP to come in at only +1.4% next year. Non-residential fixed investment has started to wane as companies try to anticipate where economic policy will move next year. Furthermore, many businesses remain concerned over ongoing trade issues with China.

In 2020, I expect payrolls to continue growing, but the rate of growth will slow as the country adds fewer than 1.7 million new jobs. Due to this hiring slow down, the unemployment rate will start to rise, but still end the year at a very respectable 4.1%.

Many economists, including me, spent much of 2019 worried about the specter of a looming recession in 2020. Thankfully, such fears have started to wane (at least for now).

Despite some concerning signs, the likelihood that we will enter a recession in 2020 has dropped to about 26%. If we manage to stave off a recession in 2020, the possibility of a slowdown in 2021 is around 74%. That said, I fully expect that any drop in growth will be mild and will not negatively affect the U.S. housing market.

 

Existing Homes

As I write this article, full-year data has yet to be released. However, I feel confident that 2019 will end with a slight rise in home sales. For 2020, I expect sales to rise around 2.9% to just over 5.5 million units.

Home prices next year will continue to rise as mortgage rates remain very competitive. Look for prices to increase 3.8% in 2020 as demand continues to exceed supply and more first-time buyers enter the market.

In the year ahead, I expect the share of first-time buyers to grow, making them a very significant component of the housing market.

 

New Homes

The new-home market has been pretty disappointing for most of the year due to significant obstacles preventing builders from building. Land prices, labor and material costs, and regulatory fees make it very hard for builders to produce affordable housing. As a result, many are still focused on the luxury market where there are profits to be made, despite high demand from entry-level buyers.

Builders are aware of this and are doing their best to deliver more affordable product. As such, I believe single-family housing starts will rise next year to 942,000 units—an increase of 6.8% over 2019 and the highest number since 2007.

As the market starts to deliver more units, sales will rise just over 5%, but the increase in sales will be due to lower priced housing. Accordingly, new home prices are set to rise just 2.5% next year.

 

Mortgage Rates

Next year will still be very positive from a home-financing perspective, with the average rate for a 30-year conventional, fixed-rate mortgage averaging under 4%. That said, if there are significant improvements in trade issues with China, this forecast may change, but not significantly.

 

Conclusion

In this coming year, affordability issues will persist in many markets around the country, such as San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Jose; Seattle; and Bend, Oregon. The market will also continue to favor home sellers, but we will start to move more toward balance, resulting in another positive year overall for U.S. housing.

 

 

About Matthew Gardner:

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.


Posted on December 19, 2019 at 7:08 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Market News | Tagged , , , , , ,

Before you dig on your property, call 811 / Digalert!

By Caroline Abkar, REALTOR | December 12th, 2019

Are you about to begin a house project that requires digging?

Did you know that you can call 811 or go to DigAlert.org to submit your request for a free service where utility operators will be sent out to mark the locations where you have utility lines underground? It’s California State Law to call 811 so for any projects that require a permit! Even if your project doesn’t require a permit, it’s still a good idea to submit a request, for your safety and your neighbors’.

 


Posted on December 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Bayview Plaza’s Open House A Success

By Caroline Abkar, REALTOR | November 6th, 2019

 

The news of Protea turning a long-empty parking lot in Bay Park into a new mixed use development called Bayview Plaza, adjacent to the Clairemont Dr trolley station sparked a lot of conversations and questions amongst the community. The plan is not only to offer luxury apartments but also, affordable housing included on-site and a retail and community space that will be open to everyone. Naturally, when Protea announced their 4 hour open house in Bay Park, I attended so I could get some of your most pressing questions answered. I hope you enjoy the read and most importantly, that you share your thoughts and comments. In fact, Protea is very much all ears in listening to the community and will be following this blog post to make sure that your voices are heard!

Bayview Plaza renderings

Bayview Plaza Renderings

 

One of the first things I noticed walking into the open house was the sheer number of staff members that were present to greet the community. In addition to Protea’s president being on site, his entire team was, too. Everyone I spoke to was clearly passionate about the project and they kept asking for feedback. For instance, they had posters on the wall with all of their ideas, and asked people to vote for what they wanted to see and use color coded stickers; green sticker meant high priority, blue meant medium, and yellow was low priority. But first, let’s talk about the concept.

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Posted on November 6, 2019 at 10:42 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Local businesses | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Selling to an iBuyer ? Here’s What You Need To Know!

By Caroline Abkar, REALTOR | October 8th, 2019

 

 

You may have heard the news and seen their ads everywhere. What an iBuyer is, is a company that will offer to buy your property very quickly, all cash, with an online offer, sight unseen. Think Zillow Offers, Redfin Now, Offerpad, Opendoor. These are all iBuyers.

Now why do they do this? Why do iBuyers offer to buy your home sight unseen, all cash? Well, it’s because their model is based on providing you as a seller all the convenience, compared to the traditional models. That way, you can sell very quickly and they claim that it’s almost hassle-free. There is a risk with this model that they need to bear and account for. iBuyers are volume based companies, buying a lot of homes and they’re buying them all cash, but they’re also making their profit up front. They’re not making the profit when they resell the house later on with a markup. Making a profit up-front at the time they purchase the home means that for you as a seller will be netting much less for your home compared to the traditional model. Research shows that we’re talking up to 15% less.

So if you’re a seller who desperately needs the cash, you’re moving out of state, out of country, you absolutely need to move and you cannot wait the 30-45 days or however long it may take on the open market, then you may really be considering an iBuyer’s offer. But again, you need to understand that that convenience absolutely comes at a cost. Take this example provided by Fidelity Title:

iBuyer vs Open market

iBuyer vs Open Market

 

What this shows is that the net difference between using a Realtor in a traditional open market model vs an iBuyer is $93,217 for a home that it worth $680,000. That is how much less you walk away with as a seller in exchange for a quick close. Therefore, it’s very important to understand the cost of that convenience and remember as well that if what you’re looking for is a quick all cash offer, a good established Realtor will have partnerships with local investors who will offer all cash and no contingencies for your home as well to make it hassle free. So don’t forget that option, and make sure that you’re doing your homework and you’re thinking of all the possible scenarios in order to make the best decision for yourself when the time comes to sell your home.

Caroline

About the author: Caroline Abkar is an established San Diego Realtor and Bay Park resident who is absolutely passionate about the community as well as representing her clients in selling and acquiring the biggest investment of their lives. She will go above and beyond for those who place their trust in her. You can contact her anytime at 619-808-4804.


Posted on October 9, 2019 at 4:08 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Time To Buy A House Is Now: Top 5 tips to get a deal!

By Caroline Abkar, Realtor  –  9/23/2019

 

 

 

Buyers always ask me: when is the best time to buy a house? Turns out, realtor.com crunched numbers to figure out exactly when the best time to buy a house for 2019 is and it is… right now, right this week!

Statistics show that there will be north of 26% less competition for buyers out there with many families having already settled in time for back to school. In addition, homes that did not sell over the summer are seeing increased market days which in turn equates to motivated sellers. There is also some new fall inventory hitting the market as we speak, with sellers wanting to close their transaction before the end of 2019. Realtor.com projects a 6% increase in inventory starting this week. Throw in the low interest rates, and it’s the perfect home buying environment out there.

I am sharing my top 5 tips on to get that deal. It’s all in my quick video!

About the author: Caroline Abkar is an established Realtor and Bay Park resident who is absolutely passionate about the community as well as representing her clients in selling and acquiring the biggest investment of their lives. She will go above and beyond for those who place their trust in her. You can contact her anytime at 619-808-4804.


Posted on September 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Market News, Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mission Bay Visitor Center’s Conversion Still Includes Restaurant!

By Caroline Abkar, 9/12/2019

 

Hi everyone,

 

A few days ago, we released an update about the Mission Bay Visitor Center with information on the businesses that are expected to open very soon. You can read that post here. 

 

Mission Bay Visitor Center Latest Update

Kristine Schnell & I outside Bird Rock Coffee Roasters on Morena Blvd.

 

Many of you in the community have questions and so today, I met the founder of playground agency, Kristine Schnell, to get an initial set of answers. Let me just start by saying that what strikes me the most is how much Kristine absolutely loves and cares about our community, and about the well-being of everyone who will frequent the businesses at the Mission Bay Visitor Center.  She is bubbly, full of life, and obtained her WELL certification to ensure that the Mission Bay Visitor Center is built with high environmental standards. WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally. Everything that will be offered is thought through with people’s well being in mind, as I am sure you can already tell from the description of the businesses in my first post.

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Posted on September 12, 2019 at 4:39 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Local businesses | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Are Zillow’s Zestimates accurate?

By Caroline Abkar, 9/10/2019

 

Everyone knows about Zillow’s Zestimate’s and millions of users look them up, but how accurate are they and can you use them at face value?

The key items to remember after watching this video are the following:

  1. Zillow’s website describes Zestimates as a starting point. It should not be used a a final sales price. They also encourage discussing the home price with a professional.
  2. Zillow has not been inside your home and does not know the specifics such as location, lot shape, functional layout, views, upgrades, traffic patterns, and walkability.
  3. Zillow’s Zestimate uses data points from homes in a much larger geographical area than your neighborhood. Each neighborhood has its own characteristics and desirability though, which also need to be taken into account.
  4. Zillow’s Zestimate does not take into account the current market conditions i.e. the other comparable homes for sale at the same time as your home, and how your home compares in price, condition, and location. That will help you ensue you are positioned for success!

Please remember to always partner with a knowledgeable professional who will look out for your best interests, from start to finish!

Questions? Comments? I’m happy to help.

Caroline


Posted on September 10, 2019 at 10:51 pm
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , , ,

Mission Bay Visitor Center Update!

By Caroline Abkar, 9/8/2019

Mission Bay Visitor Center 2019

Hello everyone!

I’m so delighted to share this fresh update with you regarding the Mission Bay Visitor Center. You may recall the meeting I organized a couple of years ago when there were talks about turning Mission Bay Visitor Center into a restaurant, and I am so delighted to say that the project has been brought back to life after a hiatus as I am sure you may have noticed, in a different but oh so exciting form!

I am going to be meeting Kristine Schnell next week for all the details; Kristine is the founder of playground agency and project lead of this endeavor. In the meantime, I wanted to share her letter to all of you in the community. I know many of you have been asking about what is going on at the Visitor Center!

The first business to open at the site will be Virtue Coffee & Juice (clean and responsibly sourced coffee), followed by Summer Afternoons (homemade organic ice cream sandwiches), and Beach Bunny (beach gear and equipment).

You can read all the details about each business below. But first, a word from Kristine Schnell.

As always, I am here if you have any questions or comments!

Yours truly,
Caroline

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Posted on September 8, 2019 at 1:38 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Local businesses | Tagged , , , , , , ,

What is a home warranty?

By Caroline Abkar, 9/5/2019

A home warranty is very different than a homeowner’s insurance. While homeowner’s insurance covers damage to your home, a home warranty will cover the appliances and systems in your home, including but not limited to your refrigerator, oven, garbage disposal, microwave, dishwasher, water heater, furnace, A/C, plumbing, sewer line, pool.


There are various plans and options to choose from depending on what you are looking to get covered. Often times, the cost of replacement your appliance or system is higher than the yearly cost of maintaining a home warranty. Your decision may also depend on whether all your appliances and systems are new and still under manufacturer warranty.

There is typically a service call fee each time you submit a claim for someone to come out and look at your defective item, and it can range anywhere from $60-75/call depending again on which home warranty company you choose.

This table extracted from Home Warranty of America‘s brochure shows the cost of replacement of common items:

Home warranty san diego


There are many home warranty providers to choose from, and it’s a good idea to compare your options to see what makes most sense to you.


I’m always happy to help if you have any questions or need a recommendation!

Caroline


Posted on September 5, 2019 at 12:15 am
Caroline Abkar | Posted in Real Estate Tidbits | Tagged , , , , , ,