A Secret Amenity Couples Want: 2 Masters

If your house has two master bedrooms, you may very well have a highly desired feature that many couples want in their next home and are willing to pay extra for.

Among the top 10 percent of markets nationwide, active listings that include multiple master bedrooms are priced, on average, about 9 percent higher than those with just one master, according to a realtor.com® analysis.

Luxury home builders are taking notice of the growth in demand. A 2016 survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting found that nearly one in three potential home buyers in the $2 million and above price range said they wanted dual master bedrooms.

“This was the first survey where we asked about a dual master—prior to this year, it wasn’t on the radar at all,” says Pete Reeb, a principal with John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Some couples are finding separate bedrooms a must.

“There has been this stigma about people sleeping apart,” says Wendy Troxel, a clinical psychologist and senior behavioral scientist at the Rand Corp. “But perhaps we are moving more toward this acceptance that there is not one-size-fits-all.”

Some people desire two masters because they’re struggling to get to sleep, such as due to insomnia, snoring, or REM sleep behavior, says Rafael Pelayo, a clinical professor of psychiatry and sleep specialist at Stanford Sleep Medicine Center.

“Separate bedrooms are a reflection of the fact that it’s an older population with more disposable income, and that they value their sleep more—and are ready to invest more in it,” Pelayo says.

Also leading to higher demand for extra masters: multigenerational living. Elderly parents and boomerang offspring are expressing more desires for larger separate bedroom areas, housing analysts note.

Source: “The Secret to a Happy Marriage? Two Master Bedrooms,” The Wall Street Journal (March 16, 2017)

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Best Summer Home Renovation Projects

santa-barbara-Modern-Beach-house-loft-style-interior

Summer brings pool parties, ice cream and popsicles, playing in the yard…and renovations. Many homeowners find that some home upgrades are best completed during the warm summer months. The weather is much nicer, contractors have longer daylight hours in which to work, schedules tend to slow down, and labor costs might actually be lower.

Which renovations work best during the summer? Here are some of the most popular ones, ranked from simplest to toughest (or longest).

Small DIY projects

Remember all those little projects on the back burner? Now is the time to tackle them. Everything from staining the deck to installing a new porch railing is fair game. You can do some work in the house too, renovating closets to create more space or creating a study area for the kids. Speaking of the kids, now that they are home for the summer, you can enlist their help in smaller home upgrades that give them a sense of accomplishment.

Painting the house

Whether you are painting inside or outside, summer is the best time to get the job done. When painting outside, summer means you don’t have to deal with spring or winter storms. When you are doing the work inside, you have the advantage of keeping all the windows wide open for the best ventilation and drying. Small jobs can be a do-it-yourself venture, while large projects call for a contractor.

Paving the driveway

Working with asphalt is much easier during the summer months, which is why you so often see contractors working on driveways in the intense heat of the season. The asphalt hardens more slowly, which means a flatter, smoother surface. A good contractor can get the job done in a day; after a few days of curing time, your driveway is ready to use.

Landscaping

If you want to know what your landscaping will really look like, now is the time to set it up. Plants and shrubs need the warm months to become acclimated to their new home. You have the freedom to move flowers around a bit before giving them a final new residence in the yard. Since the ground is easier to dig into during the hotter months, you might also find it easier to install irrigation systems or garden lighting, as well as garden ponds.

In-ground pool installation

This serious home improvement project requires digging through a large part of your yard. Since the job is easier in the summer, you can find a contractor more willing to tackle it. Since it’s faster work, you get your job done sooner, and perhaps you can even enjoy that new pool by the time the hottest dog days roll around.

Kitchen upgrades

During a kitchen renovation, the contractor will kick you out of the space in order to complete the job. So what will you do about eating meals? During the summer months, that is a problem solved by a small refrigerator in another room of the house, a tiny prep area, a few disposable dishes, and a nice grill. Enjoy the great outdoors and have dinner al fresco every night while the kitchen is out of commission.

Adding a home addition

A major home addition requires serious commitment from you and your family. Most home additions take several weeks to several months to complete. During that time, part of your home will be at least somewhat exposed to the elements. No, you (hopefully) won’t deal with rain or wind, but your home will be affected by the outdoor temperatures. You will understandably want this upgrade over as soon as possible, which is another reason why summer is a great time: The days are much longer, meaning that your contractor has more daylight to work on the project.

And that’s not all…

Remember that these projects are just a sampling of home improvements you can do during the summer. Caulking windows, trimming trees, repairing fences or cleaning out gutters are just a few of the other options you have during the long, lazy days of summer. Start your planning early for those long weekends, and enjoy your new renovations before the autumn leaves fly.

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends – March 2015

Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends - March 2015 —————————————————-

Looking to buy or sell a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Let me help you find everything you need to know about buying or selling a home. Call or email me today!

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Another Happy Seller!

Annelie Russell

Without a doubt, Jon & Natalya are the best Realtors in town! We interviewed a number of other Realtors and they stood out amongst their peers. Jon & Natalya worked their magic and sold our home in 10 days! Their exceptionally knowledgeable, due diligence and hard work ethic comforted us throughout the entire process. They even interviewed a Realtor in the State we planned to move to and helped us find the home of our dreams. Thanks for all of your help. We couldn’t have done it without you.

 

Best Regards

James and Annelie Russell

5059 Rhoads Ave – SOLD FOR THE ASKING PRICE IN 7 DAYS!

Rhoads - Just Sold 5059 Rhoads Ave – SOLD FOR THE ASKING PRICE IN 7 DAYS!

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Looking to buy or sell a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Let me help you find everything you need to know about buying or selling a home. Call or email me today!

—————————————————-

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

5 Serious Tips to Attract the Serious Fall Home Buyer

santa-barbara-homes-for-sale-2014 Home sales typically cool down along with the weather in the fall and winter months – but realtors say that some savvy sellers can quickly sell a property for a decent price this time of year.

Because fewer people are on the market in the fall means you have less competition. Plus, people on the prowl for houses at this time of year tend to be more serious shoppers, compared to the browsers and neighborhood nosy bodies who might make a day of hitting open houses just for fun in the spring.

People who are house hunting now are the real buyers. They wouldn’t be out there if they didn’t need to be.

Some other forces are bringing buyers out now: While it’s still tough to get a mortgage, lending standards are starting to loosen up. The average FICO credit score on conventional loans used to purchase homes in August was 727, down from 738 a year ago, according to Ellie Mae. That, combined with the exit of big investors, should bring more buyers to the market. At about 4.2 percent, mortgage rates are still relatively low.

This market is also a boon to trade-up buyers, many of whom were sidelined when the housing bust left them without enough equity to sell without bringing cash to the table. About 950,000 homeowners regained equity in the second quarter of this year, according to CoreLogic. The National Association of Realtors actually expects home sales to be stronger in the second half of this year.

For a quick sale, try these steps:

1. Take photos ASAP.
Get a few shots of the exterior now. That way, when you’re ready to list, you won’t be stuck with photos of bare trees and a lawn.

In general, it’s better to list your property earlier in the fall anyway. Thanksgiving is a dead week, and things are slower during the holidays. Not only are buyers home celebrating with their families but realtors are, too.

2. Price your home correctly.
Yes, it’s a seller’s market right now but the pace of price increases is slowing. Bidding wars are becoming less frequent and tend to occur when homes are underpriced, realtors say. The best way to sell a home quickly is to price it correctly at listing. Otherwise it may sit on the market until you cut the price, which could push you into the competitive spring selling season with a stale listing.

3. Keep it warm.
Have all the curtains drawn back to provide as much light into the home as possible. That, combined with a constantly open front door that lets in potential buyers, can make for a chilly house. Be sure to keep an eye on the thermostat so that the temperature remains comfortable. Even better than turning up the heat: Start a fire in your fireplace, to show off that feature.

4. Go easy on the holiday decorations.
You may want to put your holiday cheer on hold this year, at least when it comes to sprucing up the homestead. Holiday decorations add clutter and religious-themed décor could turn off some buyers. A simple understated wreath or a basket of acorns and gourds is plenty. Nobody wants to see ten inflatable ghosts on your lawn for Halloween.

Clear out non-holiday related clutter, too. Start now; the process can take longer than you think. Remove as many personal items as possible to make it easier for potential buyers to see themselves living there. Aim to clear away about 50 percent of your belongings. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year, and put extra furniture or other large items in storage.

5. Refocus on curb appeal.

Make sure your home is well-lit from the outside, too. Buyers often drive by potential homes after work; since it gets dark earlier in the winter, you want them to see your house easily.

Also, consider a few minor upgrades on the inside, like new cabinet hardware or light fixtures. Small projects can freshen things up and help set your home apart. Consider getting a home inspection to make sure there are no surprises that could derail a sale.

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Looking to buy or sell a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Let me help you find everything you need to know about buying or selling a home. Call or email me today!

—————————————————-

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

Goleta Real Estate Market Trends – October 2014

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Looking to buy or sell a luxury estate, home, condominium or investment property?

Let me help you find everything you need to know about buying or selling a home. Call or email me today!

—————————————————-

Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

www.JonMahoney.com

The Evolution of the Dining Room

Elegant-Wooden-Dining-Room-Sets-Jon-Mahoney-Santa-Barbara

Some builders, architects, and real estate pros have said dining rooms are a thing of the past — a relic of older homes, like avocado green kitchens and shag carpeting.

Not so fast! Maybe dining rooms aren’t as passé as thought in recent years.

While eliminating the concept of a room devoted only to traditional dining may appeal to more home owners, many still want to purchase a house with a separate dining space. The reason? It can work in a multitude of ways, depending on a family’s interests.

You should understand all the possibilities, along with the risks, if you want to make permanent changes to a home’s layouts.

Think open-style or great room.
New home construction, which often indicates current buying trends, reveals that the living room could either disappear or merge with other rooms, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders about the 2015 new home. This is hardly surprising given that informal living and dining continues to gain fans, even among home owners residing in existing traditional houses, condominiums, and townhouses.

Many will take down walls for an interflowing, all-in-one kitchen-dining-living room. Keeping all areas open to one another offers another advantage: The space tends to look larger.

Know the niche.
The open layout may not appeal to some buyers. The size and price range of houses often determine whether a traditional or more modern layout is preferred. In smaller homes, under $600,000, dining rooms are being combined with breakfast nooks as the main dining space, though a kitchen countertop may include bar seating where people can also dine. However, in more expensive homes that are 2,500 square feet or larger, a separate dining room still is the trend.

As the size and price of the home increase, buyers have to make fewer compromises. What’s important is that a home owner make their house work for them, not future buyers. Few know when they might move again, who will purchase their home down the road, or what design trends may surface in the meantime.

Transform dining room square footage into…
Some home owners are converting a separate dining room to a more needed use — perhaps a homework center for multiple generations to work in or a super-casual family room with big-screen TV and billiards table. Some owners also transform the dining room into a music room for their children who play the piano, drums, and guitar, allowing the family to host recitals. Others are reimaging the dining room as guest quarters for overnight visitors or aging parents, especially if there’s a bathroom nearby.

Go multifunctional.
For those buyers who still favor a traditional dining room for holidays and special events and are reluctant to give up their favorite good china, crystal, and flatware, there’s another alternative. A traditional layout with a table anchored by a chandelier overhead and area rug underfoot can work in a corner with some adjustments. Home owners might forgo chairs all around and opt for a banquette to fill the space fully, or do away with the chandelier and go with sconces or floor lights, so it doesn’t look off-center, even though it is. Then, the leftover space can be devoted to other functions, such as a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and seating, which can look smashing as a backdrop during those occasional dinners.

With computers and tablets shrinking, smaller desks are the trend. Many would prefer that the dining room be converted at times rather than totally giving up a bedroom for an office.

A round rather than rectangular table often functions better in versatile layouts since it’s easier to navigate around and more conducive to a single conversation.

Don’t ignore outdoor space.
Depending on the area of the country you work in, the climate might not always cooperate, but a terrace, deck, or balcony can become a favorite al fresco dining spot. Protect it with an awning or umbrella overhead, or you can partly enclose your outdoor seating so its use can be extended into nippier fall weather.

The bottom line:

Retrofitting and making changes is way more expensive — two to three times or more, depending on the changes and particular geographic market — than building from scratch.

DO NOT rush to make huge layout changes willy-nilly. Sometimes, it’s best to live in a house as it exists, then decide if you should adjust the room layout through remodeling to better meet your needs.

 

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com

Tips For The Prospective Landlord

Luxury-House-Design-Great-Room-Santa-Barbara-Real-Estate

Investing in rental real estate looks like a great idea on paper. You just buy a place in a nice area, find tenants and let the cash roll in. However, there are some matters you have to consider before buying a property and putting a “for rent” ad in the newspaper. Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of owning rental property and a few tips on how to turn a profit as a landlord.

Advantages of Rental Real Estate
The advantages of rental real estate are quite substantial. One that is not listed below is the fact that when you own rental real estate, you own a tangible asset. You can paint it when you’re happy with it and throw rocks at it when you’re not.

Many people who feel uncomfortable investing in financial instruments have no qualms about investing in real estate. This is a psychological distinction, as a bad stock and a bad rental property are equally capable of losing money, forcing you to sell for a loss. That said, here are the advantages that show up on paper:

Current Income – This refers to the rent money that is left over after the mortgage and related expenses have been paid. Current income is basically monthly cash that you did not have to work for – your property produces it for you.

Appreciation – This is the increase in value that properties generally experience as time passes. Appreciation is not guaranteed. However, if you own a property in a stable area (cities like Santa Barbara), the property will likely increase in value over the years. Even properties in sparsely populated and less desirable areas may appreciate due to general inflation.

Leverage – Rental properties can be purchased with borrowed funds. This means that you can purchase a rental property by putting down only a percentage of the total value. Essentially, you can control the whole property and the equity it holds while only paying a fraction of its total cost. Also, the property you purchase secures the debt rather than your other assets. You may lose the rental property, but you shouldn’t lose your own home.

Tax Advantages – Your rental income may be tax free if you do not receive net cash flow after expenses are deducted. This means that your mortgage is being paid down and you own more of the total value of the property (rather than just controlling it), but you do not pay taxes on the money that is doing this for you. In addition to this, you can also pull out tax-free money by refinancing your loan if the property appreciates and the interest rates have fallen. Lastly, you may be able to avoid paying taxes on the sale of a rental property if you sell it and reinvest the money in another property (called switching or tax-free exchange).

Disadvantages of Rental Real Estate
For every upside, there is a downside, and rental real estate is no different. Rental real estate may expose you to the following:

Liability – What happens if a stair breaks under your tenant’s feet? With the increase in frivolous lawsuits and the unquantifiable nature of “emotional distress”, liability can be a scary thing. Providing someone with shelter in return for money puts you and the tenant in a relationship where both parties bear responsibility. You have to be certain that the property you are renting out meets all government codes.

Unexpected Expenses – What do you do when you pull up the basement carpet and find a crack that opens onto the abyss? It is impossible to prepare for every expense related to owning rental property, so there are bound to be some unexpected ones. Things such as boilers, plumbing and fixtures often need to be replaced and are not prohibitively expensive. However, faulty wiring, bad foundations, compromised roofing and the like can be very expensive to repair. If you can’t find a way to pay for repairs, you will be left without a tenant and with the grim prospect of selling the property at a significant discount. Also, as building codes evolve over time, lead paint, asbestos, cedar roofing tiles and other materials that passed inspection in the past may be reevaluated to your disadvantage.

Bad Tenants – No one wants to have to use a collection agency to collect overdue rent. Unfortunately, almost every landlord has a story that involves police cars escorting his or her tenant out of the property – erasing all hopes of getting the five months’ worth of overdue rent. Bad tenants can also increase your unexpected expenses and even hit you with a lawsuit.

Vacancy – No money coming in means that you have to make the payments out of your own pocket. If you have an emergency fund for the rental property, you will be able to survive long vacancies with little trouble. If you don’t have one, you may find yourself scrambling to pay the rent to the harshest landlord of all – the bank.

Tips
Minimizing the disadvantages of owning real estate is actually quite simple. While you won’t be able to eliminate the pitfalls completely, following these guidelines will take the teeth out of their bite.

Keep Your Expectations Reasonable – Have the goal of positive cash flow, but don’t expect to be purchasing a new yacht at year’s end. If you keep your expectations in check, you won’t be tempted to jack up the rent and push out good tenants.

Find a Balance between Earnings and Effort – Are you “hands on”, or should you work with a property management firm? Current income doesn’t seem so great if you are putting in another full-time shift working on your rental property. There are property management firms that will run your rental property for a percentage of the rental income.

Know the Rules – Federal and state laws outline your responsibilities and liabilities, so you can’t claim ignorance when something happens. You will have to do some reading; nevertheless, it is better to spend 20 hours in the library than in the courtroom.

Have the Property Inspected – One of the best ways to avoid unexpected expenses is to have the property inspected by a professional before you buy it.

Make Sure Your Leases Are Legal – If you make a mistake on the lease, you will find it more difficult to litigate if a tenant violates the terms.

Take the Time To Call References and Run Credit Checks – Too many landlords rush to fill a vacancy rather than taking the time to make sure the prospective tenant is a better option than an empty property. If you have time, you may want to drive by a prospective tenant’s current living space – that is what your property will probably look like when that tenant lives there.

Join the Landlords’ Association in Your Area – Joining an association will provide you with a wealth of experience as well as sample leases, copies of laws and regulations, and lists of decent lawyers, contractors and inspectors. Some associations may even allow you to join before you buy a rental property.

Make Friends with a Lawyer, a Tax Professional and a Banker – If you find that you like owning rental properties, a network including these three professionals will be essential if you want to increase your holdings.

Make Sure You Have the Right Kind of Insurance – After learning the rules, you will need to buy insurance to cover your liability. You will need the help of an insurance professional to select the proper package for your type of rental property.

Create an Emergency Fund – This is essentially money earmarked for unexpected expenses that are not covered by insurance. There is no set amount for an emergency fund, some say 20% of the value of the property, but anything is better than nothing. If you are getting current income from a property, you can pool that money into an emergency fund.

Conclusion
Investing in a rental property can be an excellent decision if you go into it informed. Consider these words from Donald Trump: “It’s tangible. It’s solid. It’s beautiful. It’s artistic … I just love real estate.”

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Jon Mahoney

Director, Luxury Homes Division

Professional Financial Planner

Keller Williams, Santa Barbara

(805) 689-0532

BRE# 01269717

info@JonMahoney.com