Is Country Living your dream?

country living

Are you looking for that country property that has the potential to turn into a magazine cover worthy, beautiful country estate with a pond, white picket fences and everything else you can imagine? You really can turn that dream into reality, but if you haven’t had experience living on more than a small city lot, here are some things to think about as you start your search:

Location, Location, Location. Even in the county, some locations aren’t as desirable as others. When looking at country property, you still should consider distance to grocery stores, hospitals and other needed services. In addition, look at the neighboring properties and see what types of homes are  there and get a feel for the type of people that could be your neighbors. You probably don’t want to be next to properties that have a lot of old junk cars in the pastures or a lot of run down buildings. There are times that you will rely heavily on your neighbors and you want them to be the kind of people that are willing to step up and help when needed. The topography and other features are important as well. Everyone likes some trees and granite outcroppings but you don’t want to be on property that is too steep for livestock, orchards or even a simple garden. Flat land is great for crops, but most people don’t like a property without and trees or variation. Critically look at the property and think about the pros and the cons.

Water. Water is perhaps the most important thing for a country property. Good water and an abundance of water can add tremendous value to a property and allow you many options in further developing it the way you want it. Lack of water is a huge problem. When looking at country property, you will want to consider good output and quality of water for your domestic well. Having at least some irrigation water is also super important. In our area, irrigation water rights are through NID (Nevada Irrigation District) or PCWA (Placer County Water Agency). Depending on what you are doing with the property (how many people live there, if you have livestock, if you have orchards or crops etc.) your water usage and needs can range dramatically. Make sure you have enough water for your needs and enough that will make your property good for resale. Get a well test (output and potability) and check with the irrigation company to determine amount (measured in miner’s inches).
Property lines. Make sure that part of your deal is asking the seller to pay to have a 3rd party survey that clearly marks the property lines. It isn’t uncommon to see some variance between what a seller thinks the lines are and what they actually are. In addition, find out if there are any easements (road, utility, water) that could affect your property. You may also want to research if a property split would be possible that could add value in the future.
Cost of ownership. Owning a country property can involve some costs that you wouldn’t have in the city. Maintenance to your well(s) and septic system are just a couple examples. Depending on where you are, you may be required to carry extra fire insurance and your policy premiums might be higher. Due to the size of the property, other regular upkeep and maintenance can be higher than you would expect. If you have livestock, there are additional expenses you will incur. When living in the country, you will have to dedicate more time and money to the upkeep of your property than you would in town.
Other things to think about. Many times there are out-buildings or other structures (I’ve even seen ponds) that have been built or created without the proper permits. These should be disclosed, but it is worthwhile checking permits so it doesn’t cause problems for you in the future. Most times it isn’t a big deal, but is something you should be aware of. Also, be specific in asking about what is included (or what you want included) in the deal. Many times I have written deals that include tractors, round pens or other items that are considered personal property.
Country living is great and I don’t want to deter anyone that has the dream of that perfect home in the country. Placer County is a great area to find country property that is close to everything, but still out far enough to be “country”. It is important to educate yourself on country property and find the right professional that can lead you through the steps and help you make sure you are making a good decision and great investment. Call me if you have any questions about living in the country or if you want to start your search for your dream home.

Changes

This year marks my 16th year in the real estate business in California. Looking back, it has been quite the ride with the cycles we’ve gone through and the many changes in the way that real estate is marketed and transactions are handled. Here are some of the changes that come to mind that some of the newer agents might have a hard time believing:

Paperwork- When I started, we were still doing 1 page contracts. Now, residential contracts are 10 pages and vacant land contracts are 11 pages. The seller disclosures have changed too. We used to only have 3 or 4 forms that were filled out. Our disclosure packets are now commonly in the 45 to 50 page range and that is the bare minimum.

Marketing and Multiple Listing Service- The MLS was available, but it was very unreliable and outdated even back then. We couldn’t post multiple pictures and entering listings was a real pain compared to how easy it is now. The print outs and screen views looked like some ancient DOS prompt page. As far as marketing, we did property flyers, newspaper ads and newsletters. Color printing was much more expensive and not readily available as it is now. Zillow and other sites were not around and we really didn’t do any internet marketing. The big thing was to have a sign rider that directed people to tune their radio to a certain AM radio station and it gave a property description. I had one of the new VW Bugs wrapped with advertising as one of my marketing tools. Marketing is so much easier now and within minutes numerous people know about a new listing.

Population- Lincoln was still a pretty small town in 2002 with a population of around 19,000. Communities like 12 Bridges and Lincoln Crossing were still dirt and farm land and Sun City was less than a quarter of the size it is now. Our population now is almost 50,000. Grocery shopping could be done at Rainbow Market or Safeway but a trip to Roseville was necessary for other shopping. For home projects you would take a trip down to Tofft’s Hardware store.

Home Prices- In 2002 newer homes were going in the low $200K range. Now, depending on location and upgrades, a new home under 2000 square feet will range in the high $300Ks to close to $500,000.

A lot has changed in the last 16 years, but one constant is that Lincoln is still a great place to live. Although some of the paperwork and ways of marketing have changed, my way of doing business of putting the customer first and exerting every effort to make sure your real estate transaction is smooth and profitable hasn’t changed. I still love what I do and get great satisfaction out of guiding my clients through a purchase or sale of what is usually their largest asset. Contact me, I’d love to put my many years of experience and understanding of Real Estate to work for you.

Also, who thinks I should bring the Bug back??

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Rich History in Lincoln California

In 1859 Lincoln became an official town and many of the original buildings are still downtown. Have you ever been curious about what some of those old buildings used to be? Well, you can visit our local museum and find out about that and much, much, more! The Lincoln Area Archives Museum is a fun place to learn some history about our special city. A few of the volunteers there are actual descendants of some of Lincoln’s early pioneers. When we visited the museum we learned the reason the Zebra is Lincoln High School’s mascot and enjoyed seeing one of the original desks from the school. The items they have on display there range from ancient Native American artifacts to old high school year books. You’ll love looking at photographs and uniforms of the original Potters baseball team. The admission is free and there are “hands-on” displays for the kids to explore.  After your visit you can walk around the corner and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. It’s truly fascinating to see how much history Lincoln has. So go take a look and increase your knowledge of this great little city.

Lincoln Area Archives Museum

640 5th Street

Lincoln, CA

916-645-3800

Mon-Sat 11-3

House Plants- more than just a design accessory

plantLive plants are a popular trend in interior design right now. However they might do more than just make a room beautiful. This article claims they have many health benefits. https://www.healthline.com/health/importance-plants-home#Takeaway8

Interesting Housing Options

 

 

opod

Over the last few years we have seen some interesting housing options. The “tiny house” movement started with stick-built homes on trailers that could easily be moved but also set up to hook into water and sewer systems. Many of them had solar for their electricity. We have also seen storage container houses that have been set up as tiny homes. Today as I was looking through some articles about real estate in Asia, I came across a new option for tiny homes that has been created in Hong Kong. This new option, called the “Opod” was created by architect James Law. He has built a “Tube House” from new spare concrete pipe in Hong Kong. The OPod Tube House, is an experimental low cost, micro-living housing unit constructed out of a 2.5 meters diameter concrete water pipe. The architect injected new ideas into Hong Kong’s housing policy. It has good fire prevention, wind protection, noise insulation and heat insulation. In addition, the structure of the water pipe itself is suitable for being buried in the ground so that it can withstand enormous pressure. As I did a little more research about this new option, I wasn’t able to find out how much they cost for purchase, but I did find out that they rent for between $3000 and $5000. We are lucky where we live that a monthly mortgage payment like that can get us into a decent home. Would you consider living in a Tube House? opod3

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Coming Soon! 1673 Calabasa Drive

1673 Calabasa Drive
1673 Calabasa Drive

1673 Calabasa entry

Coming Soon and won’t last long! This home is as neat as a pin and is a great floor plan with no wasted space. This home has been extremely well-maintained as has new carpet and paint, newer A/C condensor and appliances. Just under 1500 sf, 3 bed/2bath, NO HOA and very low Mello Roos. This is truly a move-in ready home for only $365,000. Call or message me for a private showing. 916 408-2222

Open Saturday 11-2, Best price per square foot in Lincoln!

Okay, someone is going to get a great deal! I haven’t seen a price this low on a home like this in a long time. Whether you are looking for a larger home for yourself or know someone that wants to move into the area, come take a look at this beautiful home. Solar, No Mello Roos and space to spread out!

Beautiful home in Foskett Ranch
Beautiful home in Foskett Ranch

Big & Beautiful! This spacious 5 bed/4 bath home boasts an excellent, open plan & has room to spread out. Quality-built Standard Pacific home with all the right upgrades! Granite counters, gorgeous cabinets, premium plush carpet, surround sound & so much more. You’ll love the generous master suite w/huge walk-in closet, split vanities, oiled bronze fixtures & custom mirrors. The solar allows you to stay cool this summer without worrying about astronomical bills. NEW PRICE and closing cost credits for the buyer! Don’t delay, take a look today.

See additional pictures, property description and video: HERE

Do You Have What it Takes to “Fix and Flip”?

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In the last few years, there have been many television programs that are about investors buying residential properties, rehabbing them and then selling them for a profit. The popularity of these shows has given many people the idea that they can easily buy, rehab and sell and make a quick dollar. While many people are successful, the reality is that it isn’t quite as easy as what we have seen on TV. There are many things that a “flipper” needs to think about before getting into the game. One must not only understand the process of taking a distressed property to its’ former glory, but also understand the local real estate market trends. I have found that the successful individuals or groups have a knack for knowing the construction side as well as the real estate side of these projects.

Starting with understanding the market for your potential flip property is important. For someone that is just a beginner in this kind of project, they need to know the potential value of a property and how much they will have to budget to get it to a point where they will make a good margin. Just because the property price looks appealing doesn’t always mean it is a good flip candidate. Here are some things that need to be considered when purchasing a property for flipping:

-Location. The old adage, “Location, Location, Location” holds true with flip properties. Although you may not be able to find that “diamond in the rough” next to a country club, you still need to be aware of the surroundings. Are the surrounding homes in good repair? Is the property next to a railroad, airport or busy street? Are there other issues that may affect value due to the location? If so, you may think twice about buying. It could affect your eventual sales price and also how long you have to hold the property.

-Market trends. Are the homes in the area going up in value? Is your area more seasonal for real estate sales? Remember, the data that you may look at for “comps” is historical data usually 1-6 months old and may not be a reflection of what is really happening in the current market. Make sure you analyze the data and try to get a good feeling of where the current market for your property is going. If you see listings selling quickly and multiple offers happening, then you will probably be in a good situation depending on how long your rehab takes. Most flippers will put a sign in the property right after they start the project and will create an interest list. If you are in a seasonal area, remember that the market will slow at certain times of year and the weather may be a factor in completing your job. Take it into consideration when buying a property in the late fall.

-Property features. Some features are great selling points and others aren’t. Some features you can easily change and some features can’t be changed. Some interior walls might be able to be moved to make a better floor plan but yard size can’t be changed. Also, some changes can be very expensive and time consuming and can cut into your margin.

Understanding the construction process is extremely important as well. Estimating costs, budgeting and knowing the order in which to complete the project are aspects of the construction side that could make or break your project. Here are some things to consider:

-Inspections. Have a thorough inspection prior to closing the deal. Remember that many inspections are non-intrusive and that there may be some hidden issues. A good home inspection should see indicators of hidden issues.

-Task list. Put together a list of things that absolutely need to be done and a second list of items that can add value but don’t necessarily need to be done. Examples of things that add value and are relatively cheap are things like crown molding and wainscoting.

-Estimate costs and put together a budget. This should be done prior to closing the deal as well. You need to figure your costs so you can determine possible margin and if it is worth taking on the project. I also recommend that buyer (especially inexperienced flippers) add about 15% to their estimate and put it in the budget for unforeseen issues. Also, many buyers forget to include possible permits, taxes and their holding costs in their budget. Always overestimate costs and be very conservative on possible sales price.

-Order of work. There is an order that should be followed to make the project go smooth and have the property look ready to sell when the last touch up is done. There is not necessarily a right or wrong way, but here is a suggestion of how it should be done (after initial inspections and task list is created):

-permits

-rough outside landscaping (grass doesn’t get green in a few days unless it is sod)

-trash out and any demolition

-fix roofing and foundation issues

-exterior doors and windows

-fix/upgrade plumbing and HVAC issues

-repair/replace sheetrock, tape and texture

-paint

-replace fixtures, appliances and flooring

-finishing interior touches

-finishing exterior touches

-finishing landscape touches

 

Taking on, and successfully selling a flip property can be very rewarding but is a lot of work. Make sure you understand what you are getting into before jumping in. Surround yourself with good people you can work or consult with, including good contractors and real estate professionals. Who knows, maybe you’ll have the next “fix and flip” TV show.

Give me a call if you have more questions or need advice about real estate investments. Garth Evans, 916 408-2222

Before and after picture from daytonhomeimprovement.com

3 Common Selling Pitfalls

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 2.42.12 PMThinking about putting your home on the market? Be sure to check out my thoughts on 3 of the most common mistakes sellers make, featured in the Lincoln View.

If you’re looking for an agent with experience and expertise, give me a call!

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Favorite Things Friday- Lake Tahoe

With the mercury rising here in Lincoln, sitting on a sandy shoreline and a dip in the cool water is starting to sound pretty good. Lucky for us in Lincoln, beautiful Lake Tahoe is only a quick drive up the hill. With plenty of beaches and restaurants to chose from, a day trip to Tahoe is a great way to beat the heat.

Whenever we visit Tahoe, we are sure to stop at the kid’s favorite ice cream shop. Located in Incline Village on the North Shore, Susie Scoops is a must visit for a large assortment of locally made ice creams with a delicious flavor to suit any taste. Make sure to grab one of their homemade dipped waffle cones and enjoy some sun on the patio!

From there, there are always lots of options when it comes to enjoying time by the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. Kings beach is a great option, but it can fill up quickly, so be sure to stake out a spot earlier in the day. Perfect for the family looking for a little more excitement at their day at the beach, Kings beach is a hot spot to rent paddle boards or enjoy parasailing or other activities on the water.

North Tahoe beach is another option and is great because of it’s nearby lots of places to grab a quick bite before heading out and the Safeway across the street. We like to stop by and fill up the cooler before we settle in for some time on the sand.

One of my favorite beaches in Tahoe is Sand Harbor beach. The views here are some of the best in the area, and beautiful rock formations and calm water make for a breathtaking spot to kick back and relax.

After a day in the sun, our favorite restaurant to visit is Rosie’s Cafe in Tahoe City. With lots of options, this local spot for homestyle cooking is sure to have something for everyone. Nothing hits the spot quite like one of their burgers!

One of my favorite things about living in Lincoln is the proximity to so many great places. There’s no need to spend too much time in the car or hop on a plane to get away. If you’re looking to get away there are so many great options for day trips this summer- I’d recommend a visit to Lake Tahoe be one of them!