Sacramento Real Estate Resource Guide - Sacramento County, El Dorado County and Placer County Realtors

Monday, November 27, 2006, 06:25 PM
Real Estate Lingo: What's a Country Kitchen?
Source: Newsday, Sylvia Adcock
Daily Real Estate News | November 27, 2006

When you're working in the real estate business, you need to be able to cut through marketing language that sellers use in ads to find out what a property really is like. The staff of Newsday newspaper in New York interviewed several Long Island real estate professionals to come up with these commonly used terms, and their somewhat unexpected definitions:

. Country club landscaping: The land is flat and has been landscaped.
. Handyman's dream: "It's better to say 'fixer-upper' than 'in a serious state of disrepair,'" says one practitioner.
. Investor's delight: The property's best bet may be if the new owner just knocked down the building and started over.
. Country kitchen: Warm and cheery kitchen with maple or pine cabinets.
. Do not windshield: Means don't just drive by this one. It has no curb appeal, but there's something good inside.
. Rolling acres: Extremely hilly; no place to put a pool or playset.
. Victorian: This can mean a range of things. Either it's built in Victorian era (turn of the 20th century), or it could mean a brand-new home with peaked roof, turret, and maybe some gingerbread trim.
. Winter water views. Don't expect to see any water except for a brief period in the winter when all the leaves are off the trees.
. 3-4 bedrooms: Three bedrooms, with a fourth room that you could put a bed in if you had to.

Although real estate ads are known for their euphemisms, practitioners say they're careful to not be misleading and they ask sellers to do the same. "I always advise clients to be truthful because we have a very litigious society," says Lita Smith-Mines, a real estate lawyer in Commack. New York State law prohibits false advertising. "You can be flowery," she says. "But don't exaggerate."

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Monday, November 27, 2006, 06:09 PM
Energy Costs to Become Top Buyer Concern
By Camilla McLaughlin for REALTOR® Magazine Online
Daily Real Estate News | November 27, 2006
— REALTOR® Magazine Online

Look for “house miles” to become an important consideration in home purchases in coming years, say land-use experts who gathered for the Urban Land Institute’s recent meeting in Denver.

“A new generation of home buyers is looking at the world differently, and to them, green building will be a given," says John McIlwain, a senior resident fellow of ULI. "The issue of energy savings will be a fundamental driver in their decisions on what and where to buy."

The cost of distance, along with heating and cooling, has a direct impact on housing affordability, McIlwain pointed out, noting that “miles per house” — the number of miles a home is from employment, retail, education, and entertainment — could become a standard measurement of location desirability.

A 2005 ULI survey of consumers found them willing to combine more trips and use mass transit more to cut down on fuel consumption, said Robert Dunphy, who's also a senior resident fellow of ULI. Transportation spending is the second largest component of consumer expenses, currently taking up an average of 19 percent of their monthly income (monthly home mortgage payments generally at least 33 percent).

As the cost of energy plays a more important role in home-buying decisions, house miles will become a deal breaker or maker. That trend will drive the development of sustainable housing and "green" communities. The land-use experts discussed some designs that are now gaining traction, such as close-in infill projects, more downtown housing, and more mixed-use projects in urban centers and on the urban fringe.

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Monday, November 6, 2006, 05:51 PM
Research - What's New
— REALTOR® Magazine Online

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Monday, November 6, 2006, 05:44 PM
Pending Home Sales Down Slightly in September
Daily Real Estate News | November 1, 2006
— REALTOR® Magazine Online

Home sales are expected to hold fairly steady in the months ahead, according to the latest reading on pending home sales published by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in September, slipped 1.1 percent to a level of 109.1, following a 4.7 percent gain in August. The index remains 13.6 percent below September 2005.

The index shows home sales will not be moving much in one direction or another, says David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist. “The present level of home sales is relatively high in historic terms, and we can expect generally minor movements around this level,” he says. “We don’t expect to see any changes of note until early next year when we’re likely to see a modest lift.”

The market currently is a little lower than expected as buyers try to time their entry, Lereah adds. “In the meantime, there’s some build-up in demand that will move when consumers realize that conditions are optimal for them.”

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 05:27 PM
Economists Say Housing Downturn Isn't So Bad
By Kenneth R. Harney, Washington Post Writers Group
Daily Real Estate News | October 16, 2006

New mortgage applications are up. Pending home sales are up. The economy is expanding. Unemployment is at 4.6 percent. And mortgage rates are still historically low.

What kind of housing bust is this anyway?

All the dismal reports about the real estate market overlook the realities in the market place, some housing experts say.

The housing correction — expressed through new home starts— "may be closer to [its] trough than to [its] peak," says Federal Reserve vice chairman Donald L. Kohn.

Today's "unusually low" long-term mortgage-rate environment "stands in sharp contrast to some past downturns in the housing market that followed actions by the Federal Reserve to tighten credit conditions significantly," Kohn adds.

James Glassman of JP Morgan Chase is equally optimistic. He says 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at 5.75 percent are a distinct possibility if long-term rates in the global bond market keep easing. The current cyclical downturn in housing "is not your classic interest-rate story" he says.

Perhaps the most blunt appraisal comes from Mike Moran, chief economist of Wall Street’s Daiwa Securities America. Moran says the financial press is taking a normal and long-predicted cyclical rebalancing and “portraying it as a catastrophe.”

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