Forget Aspen! 10 Great U.S. Ski Towns Where Folks Can Actually Afford to Buy a Home

Winter, as you’ve surely heard, is coming—hard and fast. So why not ride it out in your very own home in the mountains, in a sweet place where the slopes are groomed, the air is clean, and après-ski bars are buzzing? While you’re at it, maybe chill for the summer too! Truth be told, you don’t have to be a second-generation reality TV star, tech titan, or trust-fund kid to live large in a great American ski town. And no, we’re not schussing you. You just need to know where to set your sights.

Hint: It’s not on Aspen, Jackson, Park City, or any of the other snowy playgrounds of the 1%, where median home prices rival or even exceed the most expensive neighborhoods of San Fransisco or New York.

But there are plenty of lower-key, way more inexpensive options around. In fact, just about half of America’s ski towns, as defined by realtor.com®, have a median home price under $300,000. So our data team set out to find the most affordable of the bunch, towns where you can keep the dream of owning a home near the slopes alive, and maybe even have some cash left over for a new snowmobile. Or heck, an SUV!

While you’d be forgoing some of the glam scenes, upper-end nightspots, and world-class powder of the best-known resort towns, these lower-priced mountain meccas are still undisputed winter and summer wonderlands. Some are old mining towns, or small remote cities that built resorts as a means to replace fading industries. They have fewer tourists, and miles of untrammeled nature.

To create our rankings, we started with a list of around 450 ski resorts, as compiled by onthesnow.com, a website that creates snow reports for the ski industry. We then looked at median list prices in the nearest towns or cities to those resorts to figure out which had the least expensive real estate. Only places with at least 50 homes for sale in October were included, and for geographic diversity, we included just one place per state.

So pull on that discount Uniqlo parka, grab a hot toddy or three, and let’s check out the best bargain ski towns in America.Most affordable ski towns

 

Read More:  Realtor.com – Ski Towns

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified

What to consider when purchasing investment properties…

Many Real Estate investors, priced out of the Bay Area but savey enough to know that Real Estate is a solid, long term investment are migrating outside the Bay for oppotunities.  The moment local buyers start seeing the homes and prices just a few hours away from here – they start to get really excited about the prospect of owning Real Estate.

It’s one thing to buy a home you plan on living in.  It’s another thing to buy a home you plan on renting out – even if the end game is moving in down the line.

Here is a short list of things to consider when buying investment property:

  • How strong is the rental market in the area I am looking in?
  • What are rents going for?
  • What have they gone for?
  • What is the forecast of the rental market?
  • Will the cost of the rent cover the mortgage, insurance and upkeep?
  • What happens when I loose a tentant?
  • Do I have enough rainy day money to cover the loss of rent and tenant percurment?
  • How much does home maintenance cost for a rental property?
  • Will I be the landlord who fixes items – or will I want a property manager?
  • Will I manage the home myself?
  • Will I find a tenant on my own?
  • Will I draft my own contracts?
  • How much does a property manager cost?
  • What services do they provide?
  • What happens when something breaks?
  • Will you go fix it?
  • Can you afford to fix?  – By the way YOU have to fix it.
  • Do you want to be a landlord?

 

The list goes on.  Bottom line, sit down and talk with a Realtor you trust.  If you don’t know one – The Caton Team would love to interview for the job.  We can help you understand the local markets and refer you to local Realtors that can help you make an educated decision.  Apps and the net are great for information but nothing beats real world experiance.

Got Questions – The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the upmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

The Caton Team Advantage

How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook *Yelp Us * My Yelp * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – I wrote this – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Testimonials for The Caton Team, Sabrina Caton and Susan Caton

Testimonials From Our Clients

 

Sabrina and team are fantastic.  Responsive, honest, transparent and efficient.  She’s also well-connected in the real estate community on the peninsula – whether buying or selling, you can’t ask for better representation.  I highly recommned her!

– Kenny H.

 

To future clients of The Caton Team,

The Caton Team is made up of Susan Caton and Sabrina Caton, or as I like to refer to them as the Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They are trustworthy, honest, straight-forward, and experts in the real estate business. I might be a little biased, because of my friendship with them, but nothing will test a friendship more than the process of buying and selling a home. As everyone knows when you sell your home you want the most money for the least amount of effort and you want the process to be quick and smooth. The Caton Team will make sure you have all of the necessary information and knowledge to understand how to stage your home and what the process will be along with a realistic timeline of what you can expect. If you follow their directions and listen to what they say, your home selling experience will be painless and quick. For us this ended up being less than a week with our home selling for more than what we expected. The entire process from filling out the required paperwork to negotiating went smoothly and was overall painless on our end. At the end of the day we got more than what we wanted and were in a great position to start hunting for a new home.

This brings me to how The Caton Team helped us buy a new home for what we wanted, while making sure that we got the home that we wanted. Since we had already bought and sold our first home with The Caton Team, using them again to buy another house did not require much thought, actually required no thought. We went into the process wanting the best of the best in the best location, because who does not want that for themselves? They were kind enough to listen to our wants and desires and showed us what we could afford in the areas we were looking. It took a few homes to realize that our expectations were not in sync with the market, because currently in early 2015 homes are going like hot cakes and for more than what they are listed at by a fair amount.

This is when we sat down again and started looking at other areas that were just as nice, but we had ignored initially. The important part here is while they mentioned this information early on, they allowed us to realize it on our own that we needed to look outside of our ideal areas if we wanted our dream house. Once we realized what they were saying we expanded our search and found the home that we wanted. After our initial open house we contacted The Caton Team and informed them that we found the home that we wanted. This is when The Caton Team sprang into action, they immediately started requesting all of the disclosures from the seller’s agent and contacted the seller’s agent to gain any additional knowledge that might not be in the supplied paperwork. They then shared this information openly with us, as one would expect, and started laying down the groundwork of what we would need to do if we truly wanted this house. They supplied us with the tools necessary to make an informed decision and provided us with comparable sales (COMPS) in that particular area, so that we would have an idea of what houses were selling for and where the market was heading (spoiler alert, market was only going upwards). Their attention to detail and understanding of the market allowed us to make the best offer we could, while not overbidding or underbidding and making sure that we would have our offer accepted. As you have already guessed, our offer was accepted almost immediately and we are now homeowners of a home that we wanted in an area that is ideal.

If you have made it this far, then you realize why The Caton Team is really The Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They make sure you are provided with the proper tools and information to make the best decision for yourself. They will work tirelessly with you and will not be a 9-5 agent, they will be honest, trustworthy, and straight-forward. You will not feel like you are getting the short-end of the deal and at the end of the day you will feel great about your decision to work with The Caton Team.

-The Liere Family

 

“I worked with Sabrina and Sue a few years back and they were so professional. I was going thru a divorce and had to sell my condo. I was beyond upset. (Not because of the divorce but selling the condo) haha… Thru this difficult time they were so amazing and made me feel at ease. The housing market at that time was not the best but they did their best to make sure I got a good deal.  The condo wasn’t on the market for too long and I was able to sell it for a decent price. Thank you to both for making that transition in my life a little easier. Definitely will be using them again if and ever I can buy again.”

-Elena

 

“We had a great experience buying a house through the Caton team. Sabrina and Susan were patient in answering our many questions, and helped guide us in the offer process to help win a bid on our second offer even in this crazy market! They are easy to get in touch with over email, text, or phone, and detail oriented to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. We’d highly recommend them!”

-Katherine

 

Hi Susan and Sabrina,

I just thought I’d take a moment to write you both to say how much of a pleasure it has been to once again have had another successful property transaction come to fruition with you both at the helm (yay, three now)!

I can’t say enough how Victor and I have been so happy you’ve been our representatives in both our buying and selling transactions, and that your dedication and hard work, creativity and professionalism have always made a world of difference all throughout the process of buying and selling our homes. From the smallest details like your fantastic web page ads and captioning to your weekly and continuous updates and presence at the property for showings and repairs. You’ve left nothing to chance!

It’s clear that experience counts, and your research and broad-based knowledge of the local real estate and larger markets in general, have always provided us with a solid backdrop from which we could make our decisions. You’ve always provided us with good information, solid recommendations, and I’m grateful that we had you both as our representatives.

Additionally, I want to say on a personal note, that you are both so considerate and thoughtful, and I always feel that we are in good hands when you’re on the job.  Thank you again for this recent and very successful sale of our property, and we look forward to our continued relationship with you in future transactions.

I did not have your Broker’s contact information, but if you would please forward him/her this e-mail, I’d appreciate it, because I’d like them to know that you have permanent fans!

Thanks again,  Helen and Victor

 

“Susan and Sabrina, The Caton (Dream)Team –

Thirteen years ago, we met Susan Caton who so kindly helped us find our first home in the Bay Area.  She was mindful of our budget and attentive to our wish list.  We landed a great starter home fit to our needs and close to work.  In 2012, when it came time to relocate into a neighborhood with great schools, we once again called upon Susan, who now was partner with her daughter-in-law, Sabrina, to find the right house for our growing family.  First, Susan and Sabrina helped sell our house within 2 weeks time at a price within our expectations.  Then, they delivered BIG by helping us find our next dream home in a competitive market with little time to spare knowing Facebook millionaires would soon bring stiff competition to the housing market.  All along, even when our first two offers fell through, Susan and Sabrina helped us keep our focus and always had our best interest in mind.  Settling for less than our hearts desired was not the answer, and our patience combined with our trust in Susan and Sabrina paid off when we stumbled upon our dream home.  We can honestly say that working with The Caton Dream Team has been a true pleasure as it has enabled us to find a wonderful place to call home, not only once, but twice.  When the time comes, we will gladly call upon their services again, and we highly recommend them to anyone looking to find their first or next dream home.”

– Fredric and Heather R.

 

“I recently worked with The Caton team (Sabrina and Sue) to purchase my first home. I was referred to the team by a co-worker who had just purchased a condo with them. He had a great experience, and recommended them for their honesty, responsiveness and availability (even at night and weekends). I found this assessment to be 100% true.

I first met Sabrina and Sue when I was interviewing realtors. They recommended I come to their office for the interview. They were the only ones to recommend this, which already set them apart in my mind. During the interview they shared their process and approach and how our relationship would work. I decided to work with the Caton team for several reasons. 1) A great referral 2) Their open and honest personalities 3) Their sincere concern that I find exactly what I am looking for 3) Their combined years of experience and specialization in the peninsula.

After our first meeting, they set up their home search for the criteria we discussed. Part way through the search, my criteria changed, and they updated the search for the new criteria. Periodically, they would check in to see if I saw anything that I liked. We narrowed the search by going through what I liked and disliked about each listing that I reviewed online.

Sabrina and Sue answered all of my questions along the process. They came to the home inspection and to sign papers at title company. The title company representative that I signed papers with commented on how lucky I was to have my realtors there, looking out for my best interests, as a lot of first time buyers come alone, signing papers they don’t understand.

After receiving keys to my new home, the Caton team continued to support me. They referred me to painters their colleagues had worked with and found multiple contractors who would do the work I needed.

Sabrina and Sue are really easy to work with. It’s like talking with friends when I reach out to them. They are very approachable, trust worthy and hard working. They always answer questions I have or research to find the answers if they do not have them right away. I highly recommend them and will use them again for future real estate needs.”

– CJ T.

 

“The Caton team is awesome! Susan and Sabrina were an awesome fit for my husband and I as first-time homebuyers, but I highly recommend them for anyone at any stage of buying a home. They went above and beyond to help us locate a wonderful home and took us step by step through the often confusing short sale process. It felt less like we were working with realtors and more like we were working with good friends or family! Thank you, thank you, Sabrina and Susan!”

-Marie B.

 

“If anyone can get it done quickly it would be you two. By far the best Realtors west of the Mississippi.”

– Josh L.

 

“The Caton Team is A-Number-One in our book.  Susan and Sabrina are consummate Pros.  They do exhaustive research, they know how to price a home in today’s competitive market, and they know how to stage a home for maximum buyer appeal.  They’ve sold two homes for us, and we’re completely satisfied with everything they do.  You go, girls!”

-Russ & Elena H.

 

“I met Sabrina and Susan during our recent rental home search.  As we were not prepared for a move (current homeowners informed us that they were selling the house after 1 year of listing the home as a rental) we needed to act quickly and diligently to find our new home.  My initial communications were with Sabrina as she was hosting an open house.  Her emails were prompt and friendly and I got to know her a bit through email.  When I met up with her for the open house, she was just as friendly in person as was her partner, Susan.  They were welcoming throughout the process and provided wonderful thorough follow up on behalf of the homeowner.  Susan made herself available on a Saturday morning for the signing of the lease and has been in contact with us as we prepare for the move-in.  We have very much enjoyed working with the Caton Team and would recommend them for rental guidance and hopefully in the near future, home ownership!”

– Angela J.

 

“The Caton team has helped me find my perfect condo within a month of looking! And then later found me great tenants to rent it out. They work quickly and are very professional. Plus, these are just a pair of wonderful women to be around. They are very trustworthy and have their Clients’ best interest in mind. I will be using them again for all my real estate needs, and I recommend them to everyone else! Thank you so much!”

-Caitlin G.

 

“The Caton Team are the best. They are very easy to work with and know what they are doing. Made a very stressful time much easier! I would recommend them to all. First time buyers and people that have sold many times will enjoy working with these wonderful ladies!”

-Chris & Gary C.

 

“The Caton Team has helped us many times. Susan and Sabrina are wonderful and we will use them again when the time comes. They know everything about the bay area and never pressure you about making decisions. We couldn’t ask for a better team.”

-Elisa D.

 

“I’m pretty sure without The Caton Team we wouldn’t have been able to buy our house. We started looking right before the housing market crashed and was going back and forth on qualifying for a loan.   They made it happen-it’s a long story and I can make short and sweet. Please use The Caton Team for you house buying needs!  Really!”

– Nisi C.

 

“I can’t say enough about what an incredibly professional job Sabrina did; she went above and beyond the call of duty! We would not be in our house today were it not for her tireless efforts. She’s so knowledgeable and works tenaciously for her clients. 
Thank you Sabrina!

-
Rip R.

 

“Great working with you guys!”

-Aaron B.

 

“I have worked with many realtors during my 15 years as a mortgage broker and Sabrina Caton is by far one of the best real estate agents I have ever had the pleasure of working with on a number of purchase transactions over the years. She is upbeat and personable with a great sense of humor. She consistently works with her clients best interests in mind and is not afraid to tackle the tough deals. I have personally seen her negotiate to lower the purchase price by $25,000 after the contract was already signed when the buyers’ appraisal came in below the purchase price. You can count on Sabrina for high energy, professional real estate services!”

-Melanie Flynn – Windsor Capital

 

“Susan & Sabrina did an excellent job, I am very happy.  I highly recommend them.”

– Heidi & Robert M.

 

“Susan & Sabrina were great, very helpful, and understanding.  They were never pushy and made sure we were making the right choices at all times.  We would use them again for our next property purchase.”

– Anthony D. & Elisa L.

 

“Susan & Sabrina did a wonderful job, they are easy to communicate with, they were willing to put in extra time and work in getting our house ready to sell.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

 

“I knew I wanted to work with Susan   immediately because she actually         listened to our needs, and gave sound, practical advice and information without a sales pitch. I would recommend her to anyone. She was absolutely helpful and made the whole thing easy and painless. I didn’t worry about anything as long as she was working on it.”

– Alicia S. and John G.

 

“Sabrina did an excellent job, she went above and beyond from the beginning to the end of the transaction making sure we understood every detail. She made things very easy on us – we appreciate all her hard work. We used them for both our real estate deals.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

 

“When we need to sale our home – we definitely will call them again!”

– Loyda C. & Carol J.

 

“We loved working with Susan. I feel I have gained a new friendship. She was totally honest and trustworthy. She made selling our home a pleasant                   experience.”

– Ken & Elain S.

 

“Susan went above and beyond what she had to do. She was the only help I had getting my parents home cleaned and emptied so I could sell. I live in           Sacramento and didn’t have the time to get down to San Carlos. She truly was a “God Send”. She is FABULOUS! I can’t say enough about her! Please know you have one hell of a woman working for Prudential. Please make sure she receives kudos for a job well done!”

– Andrew R.

 

“Susan was always available to us, providing information and assurance during the selling process of our home. Thank You!

– Leo & Carlotta O.

 

“We felt very relaxed and trusted their personality.”

– William & Helen G.

 

“They did an excellent job and we would recommend them!

– Steve & Stacy G.

 

“Thank you – Flawless Service!”

– Danielle C. & Thomas G.

 

“Very honest.”

– Fredric & Heather R.

 

“I will recommend them to all my friends and family.”

– Diane S.

 

“We wanted to work with Sabrina. She was wonderful. She put up with lots of emotions / family dynamic around the sale of this home, as it was our families house. I appreciated her sensitivity and solid knowledge. We would be happy to work with her again and pass along any new clients as well.

– Nancy R.

 

“I highly recommend them!”

– Derek H.

 

“Susan helped us so much. She       advised us and “rode” with us though the entire ordeal. She is a very “real” person and shares concerns. She        advises and makes one feel extremely comfortable. I would recommend her to another person unconditionally. She is an excellent agent who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

– Russ & Elena H.

 

“They were great. They made the     entire process as fun and easy as it could be. Thank you!”

– Matthew S.

 

“Susan was extremely helpful in   making our first move in 44 years painless. It was a major undertaking. Thank you!”

– Betty C.

 

“Very thorough. Informed me of the newest listings. Made intelligent     recommendations and opinions on listings without being pushy. The attention given to me made me feel as if I were the only client. I am extremely satisfied with the service.”

– Toshinari K.

 

“They were very professional and helpful. We could not complete the   transaction without them.”

– Takeshi & Nana M.

 

“We selected Susan over two other agents because we liked her better.”

– Daniel S.

 

“EXCELLENT JOB! Lots of support throughout the process! Great             personalities and professionalism! Very responsive to our concerns during the sale – thank you!”

– Mike & Lynn A.

 

“Sabrina is a highly effective real-estate agent. She has in-depth of knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills and provides highly personalized service…she really listens to the needs of her client and delivers based on those needs.”

– Elif S.

 

“I was impressed with the attention to detail throughout the sale process. True Professionals!

– John K.

 

“We were very happy with Susan as she helped us through a difficult situation. Thanks is just not enough to say for what she did!”

– Donald & Roseanna M.

 

“Definitely an asset to your company!”

– Rosemary P.

 

“They are such real / genuine people. I felt I could lean and trust them               particularly with some very important but difficult to understand questions. They are WONDERFUL!”

– Patricia P.

 

“Susan has impeccable integrity, what a great individual. Thank you for a         wonderful transaction.”

– Pamela G.

 

“What a great experience. I live 4 hours away and shopping for rentals is not easy. The Caton Team made my shopping experience less stressful. Always ready to answer any questions I had, anytime I had them. I highly recommend this Team.”

– Julienne E.

Think You Cannot Afford to Buy in the Bay Area – Think Again…

When the SF Chronicle published that in order to buy a home in the Silicon Valley a buyer needs to earn a minimum of $150,000 a year, the groan was heard across the Bay Area as 1st & 2nd time homebuyers cringed when they looked at their w-2’s.  Trust me – I know the feeling.  Born and raised in beautiful San Carlos I knew it was only a matter of time before our property values would tip $1,000,000.  Of course I was just 16 when I made this prediction and sadly no one listens to the young.

Now that I am a professional Realtor, going on 11 years in this competitive industry, people start to listen.  Finally!

Yes, in order to buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath home on a 5000 sqft lot in just about any town on the peninsula it is going to take a lot of pretty pennies.  But before the 1st and 2nd time homebuyers give up – lend me your ear for just a second.

As a 2nd time homebuyer myself.  (Just sold my 1st place last year), I’ve been saving my money like crazy – and it doesn’t seem to add up to much when homes in the area are selling for over their listed price with multiple offers.  Trust me, I feel the sadness so many buyers are feeling right now.  However there is hope!  We just need to change our goals.

So the Silicon Valley is getting very very pricey.  When clients think about buying their first place, they often think of buying the home they plan on living in for the next 10 years.  Which is a wise plan, but if you are not raking in the $150,000 income – don’t think you cannot buy.  Just think outside the box.

I recently sat down with my broker to chat about my plans to buy another property and the sentiment I’ve heard from prospective home buyers around the peninsula.  His advice – buy investment properties.  Maybe not in the immediate area, but down South or the East Bay where there are MANY well-priced opportunities to buy.  So you might not be planning to live in Antioch – but there are many people who are and buying an investment property gets your foot in the Real Estate door.  Yes, you will become a landlord with home responsibilities.  But then again, if you wanted to buy a home in the first place you are pretty much signing up for a lifetime of being your own landlord and caring for any property you purchase.  So the flip side here is – you are the landlord and you reap the benefit of INCOME on your investment property.

That income can be used to buy another property.  Once you become an investor, you can 10-31 exchange one investment for another, convert it to a primary residence (consult with your tax advisor for restrictions) or simply continue to pay the mortgage and keep collecting your income.

Don’t have enough money to invest by yourself?  Find other like-minded individuals with capital and form an investment group.  There are some restrictions so I do advise you consult a Realtor (I am always available)  and a Real Estate Attorney to draft an investment agreement.

The benefits of buying your first investment property are similar to buying your own home.  There are tax incentives and there are headaches.  But in the game of Real Estate – the only way you can advance is to become a player in the game.

What are your thoughts on investing in Real Estate or forming an Investment Group – I’d love to hear YOUR opinions!

I wrote this article – thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

 

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ Office BRE# 01499008

Is Market Recovery Slowing Down? Great Article from SF Gate

Great article about our local Real Estate market – is recovery slowing down?  Or is supply holding back the reins?

Signs of possible slowdown in housing recovery


By: Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle & SF Gate

Bay Area home prices rose on a year-over-year basis last month, albeit at a slower pace than earlier in the year, while sales fell to their slowest pace for a December since 2007, DataQuick reported Wednesday.

It was another sign of a potential slowdown in the housing recovery.

On Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association lowered its forecast for 2014 mortgage originations, citing higher interest rates and uncertainty over new mortgage rules that took effect this month.
DataQuick attributed the sales slowdown to a lack of supply, not a lack of demand.
“Demand has been impacted by a roughly one percentage point increase in rates since spring. But we think the bigger deal is the lack of inventory,” DataQuick spokesman Andrew LePage says.
In the Bay Area, 6,714 new and resale houses and condos were sold in the nine counties last month. That was up 0.8 percent from November but down 12.7 percent from December 2012.
Sales are typically higher in December than November, but the seasonal increase is normally much higher – around 8 percent.
The December sales figure was the lowest for a December since 2007, when 5,065 homes sold.
The median price paid for a Bay Area home last month was $548,500. That was down 0.3 percent from November, but 23.9 percent higher than the same time last year. From April through August last year, prices rose 30 percent or more on a year-over-year basis.
More sales in spring

LePage says there will be more homes on the market in spring and summer, when the market typically heats up. Rising home prices will leave fewer homes underwater, so more homeowners will sell because they could make enough to pay off their mortgage. Also, there has been “a little more construction,” LePage says.
“Waiting (to buy a home) will get you more choice, but all bets are off on prices,” he says.
If the current rate of appreciation holds, “the typical home would be selling for $50,000 to $60,000 more by spring.

Perhaps twice that at the upper end of the market,” DataQuick President John Walsh said in a news release.

Tight inventories are also hurting the mortgage industry.

In its forecast Tuesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted that only $1.12 trillion in home loans will be originated this year, down 36 percent from $1.76 trillion in 2013. In October, it predicted that 2014 originations would drop by only 32 percent.

The forecast came out hours after mortgage heavyweights Wells Fargo and Chase announced big drops in fourth-quarter mortgage originations as part of their earnings reports.

The numbers “just kept getting worse through the end of 2013,” says Michael Fratantoni, the association’s chief economist.

The association predicts that home-purchase mortgages will rise just 3.8 percent to $677 billion this year. In October, it was expecting a 9 percent increase.

Refinance originations, it says, will hit only $440 billion, down 60 percent form last year. In October it expected a 57 percent drop.

Higher rates a drag

The main culprit is higher interest rates. Mortgage rates were around 3.5 percent at the beginning of last year but jumped by a full percentage point in May and June. They have been hovering around 4.5 percent since then.

The immediate effect was to slash refinance volume, but home-purchase originations also suffer from a low-rate “hangover,” Fratantoni says. The ultra-low rates that persisted before May “pulled forward some (purchases) that might not have occurred until six months or a year later. Now we are now we are seeing a bit of a payback in terms of lower activity.”

The association predicts that the average 30-year mortgage rate will be above 5 percent by the end of this year and above 5.5 percent at the end of next year.

It also predicts that fewer mortgages could be made this year as lenders narrow their product lineup to conform with the new mortgage rules designed to outlaw some of the abusive lending practices that led to the financial crisis.

The new rules give lenders some protection from borrower lawsuits if they make what is known as a qualified mortgage and the loan goes bad. A loan is not qualified if it has certain features, such as interest-only payments, or if the borrower’s total debt payments (including the mortgage and other debt) exceed 43 percent of gross income.
Over government limit

The new rules apply only to jumbo and other nonconforming mortgages, because all loans that could be bought or backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and other government agencies are automatically deemed qualified.

Government loans account for the vast majority of the mortgages nationwide but a smaller percentage in the Bay Area, where many borrowers exceed the government limit, which tops out at $625,500 for Fannie, Freddie and FHA loans in high-cost areas.

In the Bay Area, 15.4 percent of home-purchase loans exceeded $625,500 in the fourth quarter, but this number ranged from less than 0.4 percent in Solano County to 32 percent in San Francisco, according to DataQuick.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Net Worth runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. E-mail: kpender@sfchronicle.com Blog: http://blog.sfgate.com/pender Twitter: @kathpender

I read this article at: http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/Signs-of-possible-slowdown-in-housing-recovery-5146631.php
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5 Inspection Problems Buyers Shouldn’t Ignore

I enjoy posting my own artciles and sharing others.  This one from the Real Estate Daily News is very share-worthy – enjoy – Sabrina

5 Inspection Problems Buyers Shouldn’t Ignore

Home buyers need to be extra vigilant about inspections in the early stages of a purchase because if problems are discovered too late in the process, it can “dash home owners’ dreams and budgets,” writes Yahoo! Finance in a recent article.

One home buyer in Long Island, N.Y., explains in the story that she didn’t discover the fixer-upper she bought needed $225,000 in repairs until after she purchased it.

Jonathan and Drew Scott, who educate viewers about transforming fixer-uppers on HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” offers up a checklist of five things buyers should look for to ensure they don’t buy a lemon.

  • Mold: Buyers should note any musty smells in the home and be on the lookout for any mold. Mold can be caused by improper air circulation as well as water leaks.
  • Pests: Termite damage can be widespread and costly to repair.
  • Outdated fixtures and wiring: Electrical problems in a home can cause fire hazards. Buyers should take note of any indication of faulty wiring, such as cable coming out of drywall.
  • Poor DIY jobs: Buyers should make sure that the previous home owner’s do-it-yourself projects were done correctly and are up to code. For example, poorly done flooring and painted-over wallpaper can be time-consuming and costly to fix.
  • Drainage problems: Sloping sod can cause flooding problems in a backyard, and a slow-draining sink could be an indication of a bigger problem. Buyers should test sinks and flush toilets to test for any potential problems.

Source: “Property Brothers: Don’t Buy a House Without Checking These 5 Things,” Yahoo! Finance (Aug. 19, 2013)

I read this article at:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/08/22/5-inspection-problems-buyers-shouldn-t-ignore?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BSFlH2B80sQKxz&om_ntype=RMODaily

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Bay Area Real Estate Market is Sizzling!

Found this great article by Carolyn Said of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Had to share and add my 2 cents are in italics.

Tight inventory – a dearth of homes for sale – is driving bidding wars throughout the Bay Area, sending prices up and leaving scores of disappointed would-be buyers. Homes that do hit the market sell within days.

So few homes are listed for sale that agents are resurrecting old ways of drumming up business – going door to door, leaving cards and flyers and writing personal letters, asking owners if they’re interested in selling. Social networking and e-mail blasts are being used to increase inventory as well.

This is all too true.  The Caton Team has started targeting areas, condo complexes, neighborhoods and individual homes to find the right home for our buying clients.  It’s that tough!  And with some first time buyers, the window is closing as prices creep up.  Not to mention we are on the edge of our seats worried if interest rates rise.

“People are going old-school, farming their territory,” said Lynda D, an agent in the East Bay, using real estate agent slang for canvassing neighborhoods.

While tight inventory is a national trend, it’s especially pronounced in the Bay Area.

Alameda County, for instance, had 949 homes for sale in February, down 64 percent from the 2,617 on the market at the same time last year, according to data from Realtor.com, the listings website of the National Association of Realtors. Contra Costa County had 899, down 58 percent from 2,152 in February 2012.

“Those are striking reductions in inventory,” said Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com.

While inventory numbers did tick up slightly from January to February, that was a normal seasonal change, not an indication of the logjam loosening.

“After seasonal adjustments, inventory is still falling; the underlying trend is still downward,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist with real estate site Trulia.com.

However, he thinks the rate of decline is slowing.

“Inventory tends to fall the most sharply after prices bottom, as no one wants to sell at the bottom, they just want to buy,” he said. Trulia shows that Bay Area prices bottomed more than a year ago.

Price a factor

Sellers remain reluctant and elusive for several reasons. Those who are still underwater – owing more than their house is worth – have the obvious impediment of not wanting to do a short sale.

But many others “feel underwater based on the price they paid,” Samuelson said. That is, someone who paid $700,000 for a home in 2007 won’t feel good about selling it for $625,000 right now, even though the sale would cover their remaining mortgage.

Some potential sellers, seeing prices surge, are hoping to hold out for more. Others who might want to move up to a bigger house fear that the market frenzy means they won’t be able to find or afford anything else.

This is such a dilemma.  If a seller has enough equity, finally, to sell – the next question is – Where do we go?  If a seller wants to stay in the Bay Area, selling now means jumping into the buying pool – and that pool is man eat man!  So this truly creates a problem.

Now that it’s spring, the busiest real estate season, more homes should start hitting the market. But many agents have been taking matters into their own hands, making pitches directly to potential sellers about why it’s time to get off the fence.

Although there are numerous online sites to track homes for sale, “the way the market is set up now is forcing us to go back to the beginning where (agents) walk up to a door and knock and say, ‘Hi, how are you, my name is … ‘ ” said Adelaida M, a Realtor in San Francisco.

Personal touch

She recently worked with a client seeking a home in San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights neighborhood, above Cole Valley. After losing out with bids, she walked the neighborhood with him and identified houses he particularly liked. Mejia looked up the homeowners and wrote personal letters to each, explaining that her client loved the area and was seeking a house there.

“Three weeks later, one person called me back and said ‘We loved your letter, we’d love to talk even though we’re not on the market, come on over,’ ” she said.

Rich and Renee G, the homeowners, said they received two or three agent solicitations a week after unsuccessfully trying to sell the house last year, but ignored them because they were form letters.

I couldn’t agree more.  The Caton Team has taken this stance and only solicits a seller when we have an actual buyer for their home.  We’re not trying to just get listings.  We are trying to unit buyers and sellers.  I personally experienced what it feels like to be a seller for the past three years.  Back and forth with my loan modification paperwork, we placed our home on the market and with no offers, pulled it off the market for a spell.  During that time I got stacks and stacks of form letters.  Truthfully, it was starting to frost my cookies.  It was evident all us Realtors are trying to drum up business, but the form letters were bothering me.  They were heartless and actually hurt me – because we didn’t really want to sell – but had to.  In the end we listed our home in October of 2012 and sold it within weeks!  Now, on the other side of the fence, I consider how a homeowner would feel when they get a form letter.  Therefore The Caton Team takes the time to write a real letter, talk about the buyers we are representing and take it from there.

“Adelaida’s note was different; more personalized,” Rich said. “We were planning to put the house on the market again, but the note just pre-empted that.”

Her client ended up visiting the house, making an all-cash offer and buying it. “It was a really stress-free experience for both” the buyer and seller, she said.

If you do ask The Caton Team of your Realtor to solicit homes for you – be prepared to pay fair market value or more because if you aren’t willing too – the seller will simply put the home on the market, get multiple offers and sell for top dollar.  So in other words, you need to ‘make them an offer they cannot refuse.’

Beating the bushes for sellers is an about-face from just 18 months ago, when the challenge was to find people who wanted to buy.

A corresponding trend is that homes are selling very quickly.

‘Unbelievable’

“The median days on market in Contra Costa is 13 days – that’s unbelievable,” Samuelson said. A year ago it was 33 days.

Redfin has identified another trend it calls “flash sales” – homes that sell within 24 hours of being listed, usually because a buyer swoops in with an offer too good to refuse. Often, those are buyers who have lost other bidding wars and are determined to land a property.

In the past six months, almost 1,000 Bay Area properties went under contract within one day, Redfin said.

That’s the truth.  The Caton Team has started showing homes the day they come on the market and are prepared, right then and there, to write an offer if our client likes the home.  Gone are the days, for now at least, that you could see a home, think about it, maybe sleep on it, then write the offer.  Lately it’s felt like – ‘you like it – let’s write’!   And with each offer we write for each buyer, we’re doing everything we can to make the offer more likable to the seller.  We are using every tool in our toolbox and the toolbox of our clients. 

“I just had that experience at a house in the Oakland hills,” DiVito said. “I held the brokers’ tour just before putting it on the market. A buyer and agent walked in and offered us our list price in cash on the spot.”

Underscoring how much the market has changed, she said her sellers had tried to sell the house a year ago “and could not move this property, even though they lowered the price three times.”

Been there done that.  It is amazing how much our real estate market has changed in one year alone.  In 2010 and 2011 I had my own condo to sell, and nobody was interested.  October 2012 – put it on the market and within days I had several offers.  In the end, 20 offers on the same condo.  Amazing what a year can do.

Same-day offer

The sellers, who were buying a new home and needed to sell quickly, were happy to take the same-day offer since a cash deal meant it couldn’t be derailed by problems with financing or appraisals.

“Flash-sale terms tend to be really good because (buyers) really want to lock down that property quickly,” DiVito said. “They’re more willing to meet the sellers’ needs to scoop it up before anyone else gets it.”

What happens next with inventory is a big question hanging over the real estate recovery.

“My best guess is that you’ll see an orderly return of inventory to the market,” Samuelson said. “I don’t expect that you’ll see the floodgates open and torrents of properties hit the market. But for each percentage point increase in price, there will be some people who for life reasons have wanted to sell for the past five years – their kids moved out, they got divorced – and now feel that the time is right and they have enough equity.”

Don’t be discouraged if you are a buyer out there.  Don’t sit back either.  The best education a buyer can have is living the market.  So if you are thinking of buying a home, get pre-approved, call The Caton Team or your Realtor and come up with a plan.  The more active you are today – the better prepared you will be tomorrow.

I read this article at: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Homes-sell-faster-than-ever-in-Bay-Area-4375058.php

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina