What Is 2020 Doing To Las Vegas Real Estate?

It Depends On Who You Are

This has certainly been a unique and challenging year so far for many of us, particularly in Las Vegas. How 2020 has impacted our housing market depends a lot on where you are in the market. While there are as many particular situations as there are clients; for our purposes here, we’ll break them down into the following categories: Sellers, Buyers, & Homeowners .

Sellers – Possibly The Biggest Winner?

Those looking to sell their home this year have seen very little competition. The demand may not be quite what it was last year, but it is still well-outpacing available inventory supply. Many areas in Las Vegas are seeing 2-3 weeks as a median time on market. Historically, this is incredibly low. This demand is raising home values & in some cases for well-marketed homes, in show-ready condition, even creating bidding wars.

Yes, selling this year has it’s own set of hurdles to overcome, but in a cost-benefit analysis is still heavily benefiting sellers. There are particular challenges to selling a home today if the seller may be working from that home. This creates limited hours available for buyer showings. In homes with children, we could see school from home, or daycare from home further restricting showing availability. There are some excellent options available for initial showings including a 3-dimensional virtual walk-through such as this one from one of our office’s listings under contract already. Innovative solutions like this reduce intrusions for the seller & expand the buyer’s ability to get a feel for the home prior to in-person showings while keeping everyone safe.

There are also other things we can do to keep your home’s residents & potential shoppers safe as well. Requiring masks & providing booties at the entry point are some we’ve used. Keeping the home not only show-ready clean, but pandemic-clean with sanitizer at entry & disinfecting wipes for light switches, door handles & other surfaces after showings can also go a long way to keeping everyone safe & pleased throughout the process.

The Other Side Of This Coin, Of Course – Home Buyers

Buyers are seeing a lot of competition for the home of their dreams, & yes prices are rising. You may think if the sellers are coming out so far ahead, it must be at the loss of the buyer. However, for those mortgaging their purchase, the drop in interest rates is creating a win-win for both parties. In many cases the lower rates mean buyers making the same money this year as last, on average, can afford about $30,000.00 Read More


The Little-Known Secret of a Mortgage Recast, And How to Use it To Time The Real Estate Market

While over the long haul, home values will always go up due to inflationary pressure on the value of a dollar, we understand that there are times each year when homes are at a premium due to demand.  Yes, there are cycles (usually around 16 years for a complete cycle) of up-swing and down-swing on home values, but most of us can’t plan our major life events (births, deaths, job-changes, relocation, marriage, divorce, or inheritance, etc.)  around these larger market conditions.  What we can do is capitalize on the seasonal trends throughout the year we find our life demanding a change.

Generally speaking the months around the end of year holidays and the first few months of the new year see less demand for real estate than April through August.  Things like gift buying, travel for a family get-together, tax season, and just wanting to hibernate when its cold & dark outside restrict demand for most folks.  As things get warmer, brighter, and those with children see a break in the school year as an ideal time to relocate, demand and therefore prices, see a peak.

  • Buy NOW, Sell Later: If you are thinking of moving this year; and have savings to buy before you sell, you may be able to take advantage of the turning seasonal differences involving supply and demand.  You may implement a plan with your Realtor that will take advantage of buying at the tail end of when there is less demand, and selling when demand starts approaching its seasonal peak.  Depending on your current monthly payment, the average time in your neighborhood to sell, and seasonal swings anticipated in your price ranges this could save you a lot of money.
  • RECAST, don’t Refinance: There is a little known, little advertised feature of many loans backed by Fannie-Mae or Freddie Mac (Not available on FHA or VA loans)  called a “Mortgage Recast”.  What this enables you to do, is generally spend a few hundred dollars in fees to your mortgage servicing company to apply a lump sum of equity from your current home’s sale to your newly purchased home, without needing to spend thousands of dollars of fees on a more common and expensive refinance.
  • How a mortgage recast works (a hypothetical example): Your rate and term (say 30, or 15 year amortization) stay the same as they were (as will the date of your last payment) but your monthly payment will lower significantly when
    Read More

Listed on Monday, in Contract on Wednesday, Closed for 100% of Appraised Value!

My listing in Arden Park had a lot going for it. The sellers had already purchased their new home, always kept it clean & well maintained, and they were realistic about their asking price. They didn’t imagine the Raiders football team hoisting their home’s value through the clouds. They were open to hearing what homes in the neighborhood had actually sold for, how long those listings took to sell, and implementing a plan to quickly sell for maximum profit.

Being right on the border between two neighborhoods, with very different valuations, they understood a professional who can extrapolate the data into a real asking price that will motivate offers can make all the difference. The average days Listing to Close for the area is 89 days. We sold at 45 days LTC with an in-contract extension to make some repairs to satisfy the 1st-time (but well qualified) home buyers; almost 1/2 the average time from putting it up for sale to collecting a good check!

How were we able to beat the market timing by almost 50%? First & foremost, Read More


Relocating to Las Vegas, NV and How to Buy A Home Out of State.

We just helped Debbie & Peter purchase a home in Spanish Trail; a gorgeous, well-established golf course community here in Las Vegas, NV. I’d spoken with Debbie, who was a referral from a friend of mine. She’s his mother & was looking to move to Las Vegas to be closer to her new grandson. Her husband also just got a relocation here with his company. There are a lot of great reasons to move to Las Vegas. Lower taxes & more affordable housing is a big one we’re seeing from many Californians making the move. For Debbie & Peter, being close to family, having the job-relocation opportunity, & being able to say goodbye to those frozen New York winters were main motivators.

We’d done all the leg work to figure out what she & Peter were looking for in a new home, had her pre-qualified with Charles Christmas at Gold Star Financial, and were prepared to make a confidant offer when the right home appeared. Something low maintenance, secure, and comfortably appointed with great amenities were all on the top of the list. Fortunately, Spanish Trail community was not only checking all these boxes, it was a short drive from family already in town.

Debbie’s son & I had walked a few properties together, using Facetime to give a live feed to Debbie and Peter, while her son gave commentary on how he thought the space & design elements would
Read More


Just Listed Near Durango & Sahara! 8296 Arden Ladder Place – 3 Beds, 3 baths, Pulte-Efficient Beauty!

Nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Arden Park, just over a mile from Desert Breeze Park, with it’s soccer, baseball, skateboard & aquatic community offerings, this corner lot is the largest one in the tract. It also provides even more privacy with no neighbors directly behind you & beautiful mountain views from the master suite. Pulte builds a great home & this one is very energy efficient as well, reducing your on-going costs of enjoying life every month.


Upon secured entry (Iron gate & alarmed) you’ll notice a beautiful open floor plan with ceramic tile throughout the great room, dining room, & kitchen (with island), all the way to the granite counters, reverse osmosis filter system & stainless steel appliances. Pre-wired for surround sound, the Great Room makes even more use of the 2,100 square feet offered. As you head out of the kitchen, find a convenient half-bath to your right, & an enormous walk-in, lighted pantry to your left. Continuing to the garage you’ll notice plenty of space for two cars, and a tank-less water heater promising endless hot showers.

Continuing up stairs, a good size loft dividing the master suite from the two other bedrooms appears to be the perfect spot for a home office, a craft area, or play-zone. The full bath with shower/tub combo leads the way to bedrooms 2 & 3. All bedrooms have ceiling fans & bedroom 2 has a walk-in closet for that extra stuff. Down the hall from beds 2 & 3, we find the large 19’x15′ Master Suite with beautiful mountain views to the North & West. Continuing on to the large Master Bath room, a separate Tub & Shower provide relaxation just the way you need it. Large dual sink vanity with plenty of space for everyone’s items leads you to a HUGE Walk-In Closet with not only plenty of room for everything, but two bolted safes for those very important items.

Coming back down stairs & heading out to the paver-stone patio you can take a deep breath.. no neighbor’s yard is backing up to yours. You found a little privacy in suburbia. To the right you notice a huge, efficient York A/C system & smile knowing it’s been maintained every year. To the left you see a gas-stub for that BBQ you’ve been wanting to buy & start imagining game days at home. This side yard is huge you think envisioning how well an in-ground spa would compliment the low maintenance landscaping environment.

This can all be yours, but you’d better hurry. Homes in this area are going quick & the seller already has an offer only 1 day after listing it with Stephen P Christmas of Very Vintage Vegas Realty! Nevada Licensee #S.0182878. If you’re interested in touring this home, contact me now!

To View on GLVAR MLS Click Here!


Will a Refinance Now Make Sense For You?

We bought our current home in the beginning of 2018, home values have gone up and mortgage rates have gone down. We initially put 10% down on our purchase, bumping our rate up a little from what could have been had we put down 20% lowering the bank’s risk and our interest rate. Since then, home values have continued to rise and our balance has been payed down about $6,000.00 . We’re just at the crest of seeing comparable homes selling for 20% more than we owe on our current home.

By speaking with a few lenders (let me know if you need a good referral) I’m finding that for about $3,000.00 all in we can do a rate and term refinance and get our rate down to about 3.8%. However, we can also spend about another $3,900.00 or so and buy our rate down to 3.5%! This combined effort would chop off about $308.00/month from our housing expense forever and cost about $6,900.00 today.

However.. when you look at the $308.00/ Month we’ll be saving, remember you need to go earn that money and then pay tax on it, and then make that payment. A dollar saved is not a dollar earned, it’s a dollar saved is a dollar + your tax bracket earned. So, if we’re in a 22% tax bracket, $308.00×1.22=$375.76 saved every month in pre-tax dollars (we don’t need to go earn & pay taxes to make that payment).

Let’s multiply that by 12 & see how much we’ll save each year, and how long it’ll take to recoup the cost of a refinance. $375.76×12=$4,509.12 saved every year. Ok, so lets take $6,900.00 and divide it by $4,509.12=1.53 This means in 1.53 years we will have received all of our refinance-cost investment back, and as we plan to hold this home forever (whether we stay or move) the rest is all savings of $4509.12/year in after-tax dollars, or a 65.34% annual return on your dollars spent. That’s a pretty good return!

It may or may not make sense for you to refinance. A few things to consider would be:
1. When did I buy my home?
2. How much more equity is now in my home? (do not trust zillow, speak with a professional)
3. What % did I put down? If it’s less than 20% & comparable home values have risen, you may able to eliminate your mortgage insurance (which is no longer tax-deductable)
4. What is my current interest rate & what can it be today if I refinance?
5. How long do I plan to stay in my home & how much would I save every month if I do refinance?
6. If I’m planning to stay for awhile, does it make sense to buy my rate down even further? (points paid are tax-deductable)

I am no longer a lender, never was a tax professional, and I am not providing advice as either. That being said, my previous experience as a lender benefits me personally in this case, and can benefit you if you’re looking to buy or sell as well. If you need a referral to a good lender, please let me know! If you need to buy or sell now, please consider me on your short list of licensed Realtors to interview!


Las Vegas Home-buyers, You DON’T Need To Pay a Realtor! How We Just Saved a Buyer $19,700.00 On a $190K Purchase.

Many people are shopping for homes right now and there is a LOT that goes into buying one.  As a home buyer in Las Vegas, you do NOT need to pay your Realtor!   Whether you’re buying a pre-existing home, or new construction, the SELLER pays YOUR agent! 

Why would you not take advantage of the experience & advice of some one who lives & breathes real estate, especially if it costs you nothing?! Some agencies do charge a brokerage fee to cover the overhead of a large office, staff and the broker’s profitability.  Our brokerage operates by sharing commission between your agent (myself) and the agent’s broker rather than adding fees to your transaction.  We also operate with streamlined overhead costs so we remain profitable without needing to tack on small fees you would be required to pay for.

So now that you know you can have an agent, who’s constantly updated with market statistics, ever changing laws regarding real estate, and brings years of experience to the table at no cost to you, why would you not take advantage of this?  The seller or builder (if buying new), is paying commission to your agent.  This is a cost the seller, not the buyer will save if you don’t have representation.  Then there’s also the potential for you to loose money or buy a home it turns out is a lemon, because your contract is not written in a way that protects your unique situation.

Even in for sale by owner situations of previously owned homes, the seller is trying to save the same commission that you’re hoping to save, and now you’re both negotiating the sale of an asset with a LOT of moving parts & contractual nuances that could cost you thousands if not familiar.  Statistics show you’ll be able to get a much better deal by using a Realtor.  I’ve even heard that appraisers don’t value a home the same way if it’s sold FSBO, which can complicate the deal even more.

The Story

Let me give you an example of client’s we’re closing a purchase for today.  Let’s call them Frank and Julia.  Frank and his wife have lived here a long time and already own a home that’s bigger than they need.  The market being where it is; now is an excellent time for Frank & Julia to downsize to a condo now that their kids are moved out and self-sufficient.  They weren’t in a rush, as they have a place to live, and wanted to get a great deal on something perfect for them.  We looked at dozens of condos over 3 months & even wrote offers on two that didn’t work out for different reasons, one of which was otherwise perfect, but had POLYBUTYLENE (PB) TUBING PIPE, as found by my favorite master inspector (referrals to other phenomenal professionals is an added benefit to working with a great Realtor).  This plumbing represented a risk of pipe bursting and future flooding.  We recovered our earnest money & moved on.

($5,000.00 saved in instant equity)

Next we found a great condo, a little dated in the finishes & appliances but in the perfect neighborhood & right next to the pool & spa with a 2 car garage.  We got it under contract for $190,000.00; it appraised for $195,000.00 (we did this by analyzing the seller’s motivation against our buyer’s position & presenting our offer in a way that allowed both parties to win).  Again our master inspector found that while the A/C (27 years old) was currently working, it was likely on it’s last functional year.

($6,000.00 Saved in professional negotiation)

We brought in a quality A/C contractor for expert opinion & he agreed in writing for negotiation.  We also found the water heater was at the end of it’s life cycle, though still functioning at time of inspection.  A water heater that ruptures while you’re out of town represents much more in potential loss than just replacing the unit, that had to be accounted for as well.  The window panes were mostly in good shape, but upon close inspection the seals (glazing beads) were giving out due to age & sun exposure.  I contacted four different window companies to get an estimate of repairs for my clients.

In total to remedy these items we were able to negotiate a $6,000.00 closing credit, offsetting all of Frank & Julia’s additional costs, such as lender fees, escrow fees, title fees, recording fees, pro-rations for taxes, HOA costs, and everything else that you may not even know you need to pay to buy a home (again, a good realtor can give you estimates of what these total costs will be so you’re prepared to not just buy the home, but actually close the deal).

($8,300.00 saved in financial strategy)

Now, Frank and Julia have worked hard all their lives and are good with their finances.  They were prepared to put down 20% on their purchase, have good credit, and were planning about $18,000.00 in remodeling expenses post-closing.  As we neared close, Frank’s mortgage lender suggested putting down another 5% ($9,500.00)  to avoid the bump in his mortgage rate due to the property being a condo.  As I know Frank & Juila planned to live here for about 5 years, the difference in rate would save about $20.00/month or over the life of their loan, about $1,200.00 saved over projected 5 years of ownership for a cost of $9,500.00..  Not an ideal scenario.  I spent years as a loan officer, originating mortgages & really educating myself on returns on investments in real estate in particular over the last 3 years every. day.  I pointed out to Frank that as we’d negotiated more than we needed for closing costs in seller concessions, the best thing to do would be to buy down his rate with the remainder of the $6,000.00 and keep the $9,500.00 in his bank, especially since their plans to remodel had gotten more elaborate & expensive than initially projected.

(A bonus $400.00)

We had a problem.  A good problem.  Frank & Julia still had more money in seller concessions than we had closing costs & buyers aren’t allowed to just keep the difference for no reason.  However the remaining $400.00 or so is just about the total Frank spent on inspections & estimates.  I suggested to my client’s loan officer that since Frank had already paid these inspections & I had invoices showing payment related to closing the transaction, but paid outside of escrow; that Frank may be able to be reimbursed for these costs.  Now Frank & Julia just got their inspections paid by the seller, leaving them buying a condo for nothing more than their original 20% down payment and the cost of an appraisal.

Every transaction is unique and I can guarantee your deal won’t go exactly like this, every seller is different, every home is different, and every deal is different.   I can guarantee that given your unique situation, I will put your needs first, take care of you and your transaction to the best of my ability & capitalize on every opportunity we find in your interest.

(Total savings $5,000.00 + $6,000.00 + $8,300.00 + $400.00 = $19,700.00)

(Total Cost to Client of using a Realtor = $0.00)

In this market; wouldn’t you like to work with me?  I’d love to work with you.  Even if you’re THINKING of buying or selling and not quite ready, Call Me Today as time to prepare can only benefit your bottom line.

 


Ready to SELL Your Home, Las Vegas?

With phenomenal work by Las Vegas area native, Anne M. Creative we’re very proud to be rolling out new yard signs in the Very Vintage Vegas Realty brokerage style.  While the majority of Anne’s work is now in the web design arena, her skills for print are still evident in this work.

You’ll notice two subtle things: 1. Jack’s color scheme plays well with my last name (anything we can do to help buyers remember YOUR home when they see 6 that day, helps us get more offers & sell for more money) and 2. This sign isn’t designed for you, as a client looking to sell your house.  It’s welcoming your buyer to their new home, gently guiding them into picturing their new life there.  One of the many subtle, yet effective shifts in our perspective when marketing your home for a quick and top-dollar sale.  To hear more about how we can differentiate our services from so many licensed agents in Las Vegas, and to get a clear picture of what you can expect to net from your home sale, contact me here.  If you’d like to connect with Anne for design services, you can reach her at her website

VVVYardSignSteveChristmasWeb

 


Defeating Spring Weeds, Without Exposing Pets & Kids To Roundup!

A quick, easy, & SAFE solution to spring weeds & HOA Violations that pop up out of nowhere!

The other week, your part of the Las Vegas valley may have gotten a lot of rain. I know in Mountain’s Edge it was a more glorious downpour than any irrigation system could provide. The good news, any lawn or trees happily had much needed drink. The bad news; weeds you didn’t even know were there started popping up all over the place too! While this represents a few hour task of digging them up (and possibly a few hand blisters) there is a better way! Roundup kills all sorts of stuff, dandelions, unwanted grass, and unfortunately has been shown to cause cancer.

So that’s not a good option to be dumping on your property or back into our precious desert water supply. There’s got to be a better way to avoid an ugly lawn, violation notices from your HOA, and poisoning our tap water right? YES! After some research online, a few clicks at Amazon, and a previous trip to Ace Hardware, I had everything I needed & I’d like to share it with you to help save your back, your hands, and your bank account from the HOA violation police. There is a natural solution and it WORKS!

Here’s the required solution pieces and sources:
1) 2 Gallon reusable garden sprayer from Amazon, or Ace Hardware (about $14 there if I remember right)
2) 30% Horticultural vinegar from Amazon ($23.99)
3) Standard white vinegar
4) Table salt
5) Dawn Dish soap
6) D-Limonene 100% FOOD GRADE Citrus Solvent (Amazon $8)
7) Respirator mask & vinyl gloves for safe mixing & application

The recipe (Use a face mask & gloves while mixing/applying natural, but very acidic mixture) :
1. Dump the full gallon of 30% Vinegar into your sprayer
2. Dump 1/2 gallon of standard white vinegar to make it last longer while still being very effective
3. Dump 1 cup table salt into your sprayer
4. 1 tablespoon D-Limonene
5. 1 tablespoon blue Dawn dish soap (helps mixture get into roots & cling to weed)

Cap your sprayer and shake it up well to mix. Spray, being careful to spray only weeds, not foliage you’d like to keep. 2 hours later, your weeds will dry & shrivel up down to the root looking like the picture above.

Happy home maintaining & let me know how it works in the comments below. Remember to be careful not to breath the fumes or get it on your skin. It is natural, but it’s a powerful acid! I’d keep any pets & family inside until it dries and does it’s thing. I’m not a chemist, just a Realtor & homeowner who’s sharing some knowledge I found that worked well for me. Please be careful & exercise caution when mixing any substances. One thing I do know is it works & it’s not Roundup!


Two Books For Understanding Financial Calculations – Without an MBA

Without a doubt, investing in real estate is best done with a firm grasp of the financials involved. Financial calculations can appear daunting to say the least. With a quick look at the HP-12C financial calculator shown above you’ll quickly begin to wonder what the heck all those buttons do. While I don’t use all of them, using a similar calculator to quickly and accurately assess your costs and returns involved in real estate can help you immensely when evaluating investment opportunities. Is it better to invest in a vehicle that returns 16% annually but compounds only every three years, or an investment that returns 12% but can be compounded every two?

I recently did calculations for this example above & found, though compounding interest periods are a vital component of assessing how your money will grow or shrink overtime, the 16% return that compounds every three years is indeed a better investment for my 18 year horizon. In order to do this I had to use both my HP-12C and an excel spread sheet. Excel has many of the calculations the 12C does built right into it, but I’ve been really enjoying using the HP after reading a book that is basically half education on how money works, and half instruction manual to the HP-12c. This book relies heavily on the use of this exact calculator to illustrate it’s figures & if you’re looking for a solution you can carry around in your pocket without needing to lug your laptop around, I’d highly recommend reading it. The title is “Taking The Mystery Out Of Money” by Lonnie Scruggs, a now deceased investor who focused on flipping mobile homes. You don’t need to be interested in mobile home investment to benefit from his knowledge about how money works, and the material is so beneficial I’m left wondering why this book isn’t required reading somewhere along the education cycle of a high school senior.

The second book is definitely more real estate focused in-depth, but uses Microsoft Excel Read More