Spring Buying Season Starts Early

Residential real estate is off to the races with spring home buying season velocity driven by strong demand and slight inventory growth, according to realtor.com®’s preliminary analysis of February data. Housing inventory is moving six days faster than last year and four days faster than January. Median listing prices are also up, clocking in at $230,000, an eight percent increase from last year and a one percent increase from last month.

“It looks like the groundhog was correct—spring is coming early this year, and not just when it comes to the weather,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com®. Early readings on February inventory and activity indicate that the spring home buying season has begun. We don’t usually see this type of acceleration until March or April. On a local level, the acceleration is really dramatic with nine of the top ten hottest markets shaving three weeks or more from their median age in January.”

The median age of inventory is now estimated at 96 days, which is down six percent year over year and four percent from January. Median listing price for February is estimated at $230,000, up eight percent year over year and one percent from January. Listing inventory is down 4 percent year over year but has begun its seasonal increase of one percent month over month.

Realtor.com®’s Hottest Markets receive two to five times the number of views per listing compared to the national average.  In terms of supply, these markets are seeing inventory move 44-78 days more quickly than the rest of the US.  They have also seen days on market drop by a combined average of 32 percent month-over-month or an average of 22 days.

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California dominates the list again this month with eight of the top 10 markets, while Florida, Texas and Colorado feature multiple markets.

San Francisco retains the first spot this month, as California maintains its dominance with eight of the top 10 markets and the majority of the top 20. Boulder, Colorado Springs, Portland and Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna are new entrants to the top 20.  Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Boulder, and Portland were the biggest gainers, moving up 11, 8, and 7 spots respectively.  Colorado joins California and Florida as having multiple markets in the 20 hottest markets.

For more information, visit www.realtor.com.

Sell Your Home Fast with Pet-Friendly Amenities

We’re going to the dogs in this next installment with ideas to make your residence as attractive as possible to potential buyers looking for their new dream home in 2016.

It seems like in recent months, pet-friendly amenities have captured the blue ribbon for getting your home sold (or property leased) at Greyhound speed! Our friends at the Urban Land Institute say this trend took off as real estate recovered from the Great Recession.

Back in August 2014, Jeffrey Spivak reported that developers and market observers seeing a new wave of multifamily projects started to cater to populist lifestyles offering more social and communal amenities like craft rooms, gardens, and pet spaces.

In a more recent San Antonio blog, Micah Harper noted that in 2013, Americans spent $55 billion on their “fur kids,” and the American Pet Products Association  says 65 percent of Americans now own pets. For the same period, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports 5,090,429 new and existing homes being sold.

The number of pet-owning Americans and the number of home buying Americans likely overlap quite a bit, Harper observed, adding that basic catteries and dog runs are two more common pet amenities trending as of late.

Around the same time, Washington Post writer Camilla McLaughlin reported how Standard Pacific offered pet rooms as an option at a new community in Brea, Calif.. McLaughlin says prospective buyers and their pets lined up for the grand opening – and since then, Standard Pacific has expanded such rooms and other pet amenities to all 27 of its communities.

In the Big Apple, dogster.com blogger Whitney C. Harris says Chelsea’s Abington House launched its own Dog City, a full-service daycare and spa amenity created by Related Companies in partnership with canine expert Leya Ogihara.This is intended to serve a whopping one-third of building residents, all who are dog owners, according to Harris. In Chicago, Harris says the trendy 500 Lake Shore Drive has its own Dog City, and she even found Blue Apartments in Minneapolis, which provides amenities like outdoor areas and dog-washing stations.

 

Article written by John Voket.

Total U.S. Housing Starts Projected to Hit 1.23 Million in 2016

The fourth quarter update indicates U.S. housing starts are expected to advance gradually to hit 1.23 million this year, with 819,000 of those being single family homes as defined by the Commerce Department, according to the Metrostudy release of the fourth quarter 2015 Home Building Outlook detailing housing construction trends nationwide.

Multi-family housing starts are expected to increase to 418,000 as the rental market continues to exhibit strength. Metrostudy’s proprietary survey database, which consists of data from over 100 CBSAs and consists of hand-counted lots and newly occupied homes, indicates move-ins were 7.5 percent higher in the fourth quarter of 2015 than a year earlier, while new housing starts rose 12 percent.

Nationwide new home sales as defined by the Commerce Department are expected to increase 18 percent to 590,000 this year, up from the preliminary 501,000 reported in 2015. New home sales saw a sharper peak-to-trough decline than overall housing starts, and from trough to 2014 did not increased as much, resulting in a statistical catch-up.

The best overall new home markets are Denver, San Francisco, Sarasota/Bradenton in Florida, and Charleston, S.C., in terms of health and local new home sales forecast. The Sunbelt dominates in terms of sales volume, with the largest new home markets expected to be Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and Atlanta.

“The U.S. housing market continues to gradually expand,” says Brad Hunter, Chief Economist of Metrostudy. “We expect steady growth for the next several years, with slower price gains in the new home sector.” Mark Boud of Real Estate Economics, a subsidiary of Metrostudy, also observes, “Some in our industry have voiced concerns about economic problems in China impacting the housing market, or high new home prices restricting demand. We recognize those factors may have some impact, but it will be not be significant enough to prevent our forecasted expansion in construction.”

For more information, visit www.Metrostudy.com.

Facebook.com/ShelleyBryantVillaRealty
Instagram @shelleybryantrealtor

 

Highlands Ranch Market Statistics for the Week

The median list price this week in Highlands Ranch is $707,500. The average price per square foot is $190. The average days on market was 104.

17% of the properties on the market had a price decrease. 14% of the properties were relisted.
The median house size is 3,970 and the median lot size is .25-.50 acres. The median number of bedrooms is 4.

Did you know that Shelley Bryant specializes in Lone Tree Real Estate and luxury homes and has a niche of selling homes that didn’t sell the first time they were on the market.

Villa Realty serving Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch
www.shelleybryant.com
Facebook.com/ShelleyBryantVillaRealty

Lone Tree Market Statistics for the Week

The median list price this week in Lone Tree is $949,900. The average price per square foot is $206. The average days on market was 186.

26% of the properties on the market had a price decrease. 8% of the properties were relisted.
The median house size is 4,698 and the median lot size is .25- .50 acres.

The median number of bedrooms is 5.

Did you know that Shelley Bryant specializes in Lone Tree Real Estate and luxury homes and has a niche of selling homes that didn’t sell the first time they were on the market.

Villa Realty serving Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch
www.shelleybryant.com
Facebook.com/ShelleyBryantVillaRealty

5 Creative Ways to Improve Your Home’s Ambiance

When you first moved into your home, the walls may have been white with beige carpeting. Although this decor choice is classic for nearly every rental and brand-new home, you don’t have to live with the neutral colors. In fact, there are simple ways to improve your home’s ambiance with just a few creative changes. Take a look at these exciting ways to transform your home and customize your space with flair.

Try Vintage Furniture
Your home’s ambiance isn’t just dependent on paint color and flooring choices. In fact, it also depends on your decor selections. The furniture is a focal point of any living room. Purchasing brand new furniture limits your budget because of high costs, so you might be inclined to buy a basic beige couch. Think outside of the box, and shop around some vintage stores in your area. You can find upholstered chairs, love seats and other items for incredibly low prices. The fabrics that you’ll encounter will be distinct too. Older items tend to have decades-old patterns that can improve a home’s ambiance with one quick glance. As you narrow down your furniture selections, however, be sure to have the item cleaned before you take it home. Vintage furniture can have a lot of dust because of its age.

Decorate Your Glass
Your glass can also take on a decorative look when you try stained glass film. This cover for your windows should be used in strategic ways. Ideally, it should be used as an accent instead of a full-coverage decor option on every window. Select a window that has a high-traffic volume around it. Choose a stained glass film that has complementary colors to your interior. Clean the window and apply the film with strict attention to bubbles forming along the way. In many cases, the stained glass film comes with a tool that helps you smooth out these bubbles. When you carefully apply it, the film should last for many years. The sun shines through the colors and creates a dramatic effect across any room in the home.

Go Green with Indoor Plants
Although you could try artificial plants indoors, they still won’t have the same effect as real plants. Add real plants to your home in nearly every room. There are so many varieties that work well in any shaded area that the choices are endless. Along with adding a distinct look, you also benefit from better air quality. Your home has certain pollutants that leech off of paints, woods and other materials. Plants are constantly absorbing carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen. During this process, the plants also absorb toxins that you’re otherwise breathing in. Choose plants designed as shade-loving or indoor species, and give them a home that they’ll love. Water them regularly and they should flourish.
Lighting Your Rooms with Flair
It’s possible to make any room look fresh and inviting with the right lighting concept. Improve your home’s ambiance with wall sconces along a hallway. You’ll free up valuable floor space with lights hanging off of the walls. You may even use sconces along a living room wall as accent points. Many families are also starting to use glass doors inside their home because of the wonders they do for in-house lightning.

When you want to add a distinct decor point to your kitchen, look for drop-down lamps. These lamps hang from your ceiling and culminate with a subtle lampshade and bulb a few feet above your working surface. Add two or three of these lamps just above your kitchen island, for example. You’ll always have enough light to cook by while adding a creative look to your home. In fact, you might want to connect the kitchen and dining room on a decorative scale with matching hanging lamps. All of these fixtures will draw attention and spark conversations among friends.

Shelve It
Improve your home’s ambiance by increasing your storage space and making a decorative statement too. Add floating shelves under staircases or along living room walls. Use them to store books, but also add in quirky collectibles too. The shelves should appear functional and interesting simultaneously. If you keep a lot of collectibles in boxes within the garage, free up that space by placing them on display. You may have forgotten what’s hidden out there.
When you add shelves to any wall, be careful about the chosen location. Each shelf should be carefully attached to the wood studs or beams inside the walls. Use a stud finder or hire a handy person to install the shelves. You want them to be as sturdy as possible for all of the weight that they’ll carry.

To realize your dream home, create a budget first. Look at the maximum cost that you can afford for your purchases, and try to stick with that amount. When you go shopping for materials, you can be more selective about your choices. With smart material purchases, you can buy more for your home’s enhanced ambiance.
By Mikkie Mills

Shelley Bryant
303-521-7085?www.shelleybryant.com

Facebook.com/ShelleyBryantVillaRealty
Instagram @shelleybryantrealtor

Lone Tree Market Statistics for the Week

The median list price this week in Lone Tree is $959,000. The average price per square foot is $219. The average days on market was 197.

34% of the properties on the market had a price decrease. 9% of the properties were relisted.

The median house size is 4,775 and the median lot size is .25- .50 acres. The median number of bedrooms is 5.

Did you know that Shelley Bryant specializes in Lone Tree Real Estate and luxury homes and has a niche of selling homes that didn’t sell the first time they were on the market.

Villa Realty serving Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch

www.shelleybryant.com

Please follow us on Facebook @ Facebook.com/ShelleyBryantVillaRealty

Highlands Ranch Market Statistics for the Week

The median list price this week in Highlands Ranch is $735,000. The average price per square foot is $192. The average days on market was 94.

29% of the properties on the market had a price decrease. 11% of the properties were relisted.

The median house size is 3,971 and the median lot size is 8,001-10,000 square feet this content. The median number of bedrooms is 4.

Did you know that Shelley Bryant specializes in Highlands Ranch Real Estate and luxury homes and has a niche of selling homes that didn’t sell the first time they were on the market.

Villa Realty serving Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch

www.shelleybryant.com

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8 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

Article written By Barbara Pronin


Improving the look and functionality of your home goes a long way toward boosting its value. But what types of renovation are today’s buyers looking for?

If you are thinking of remodeling, a national survey by Consumer Reports reveals the most sought-after amenities:

  • Kitchens top the list – Buyers want a clean, updated and well-organized kitchen. A new coat of paint or modernized lighting can be inexpensive starts. Increasing the value exponentially are quartz counters, attractive cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances.
  • Workable floor plans – Regardless of the size of your home, strategically increasing the living space is sure to boost its value. A more open floor plan, a finished basement, or a dedicated playroom or office space appeals to the needs of young families.
  • Energy efficiency – Buyers are interested in energy costs and efficiency. Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency windows, and LED lighting help to lower the cost and increase your home’s ‘green’ appeal.
  • Updated systems and surfaces – Central air conditioning and updated mechanical systems, including water heaters and gas heat, can increase a home’s value by 3 to 5 percent.  A newer roof and hardwood flooring are also much in demand.
  • Allowance for aging in place – As people are living longer and the number of senior citizens continues to increase, buyers see the long-term value of walk-in showers, comfort-height toilets, and master bedrooms on the main floor.
  • Color and light matter – Fresh paint, natural color schemes, and window treatments that let in the light will improve the look as well as the value of your home.
  • The great outdoors – Up your home’s curb appeal by keeping lawns and shrubbery neatly trimmed. Also high on buyers’ wish-lists are a water-smart yard, a deck or patio, and a built-in grill.
  • Smart technology – Some high-tech features may lose value as technology continues to evolve. But security systems, whole house generators, and programmable thermostats controllable by smart phones will add value for their efficiency and convenience.

Shelley Bryant, Realtor, Lone Tree Homes, Luxury Homes

303-521-7085

Should I Sell My Home First or Wait until I Have Bought another Home?

A: This is a tough decision, but the answer will depend on your personal situation, as well as the condition of the local housing market.

If you put your home on the market first, you may have to scramble to find another one before settlement, which could cause you to buy a home that does not meet all your requirements.  If you cannot find another home, you may need to move twice, temporarily staying with relatives or in a hotel.

On the other hand, if you make an offer to buy first, you may be tempted to sell your existing home quickly, even at a lower price.

The advantage of buying first is you can shop carefully for the right home and feel comfortable with your decision before putting the existing home on the market.

On the flip side, the advantage of selling your existing home first is that it maximizes your negotiating position because you are under no pressure to sell quickly.  It also eliminates the need to carry two mortgages at once.
Talk with your agent for advice.  Discuss the pros and of each and whether certain contingencies written into the contract can ease some of the pressures.

Lone Tree Activity with the Arts Guild

The Lone Tree Arts Center Guild is comprised of a dynamic group of philanthropists interested in supporting the Lone Tree Arts Center. The Guild will be closely involved in promoting and supporting the Arts Center with ongoing fun and social opportunities designed to raise funds and build awareness.

Please join us on  Monday, February 22nd  at 7 pm to kick off 2016 with drinks and appetizers!  Bring a spouse or friend and help us celebrate the beginning of our New Year with the Lone Tree Arts Center Guild. 
It will be the perfect time to renew your membership and sign up for your favorite committee, while getting to know your fellow Guild Members.  There will be prizes!!

Lone Tree Market Statistics this week!

The median list price this week in Lone Tree is $1,010,000. The average price per square foot is $212. The average days on market  increased to 199.

25% of the properties on the market had a price decrease. 8% of the properties were relisted.

The median house size is 4,912 and the median lot size is .25- .50 acres. The median number of bedrooms is 5.

Did you know that Shelley Bryant specializes in Lone Tree Real Estate and luxury homes and has a niche of selling homes that didn’t sell the first time they were on the market.

Villa Realty serving Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch

www.shelleybryant.com

Shelley Bryant 303-521-7085

Wendy Cutright 720-810-5996

2016 Starts with a Bang

We are still noticing homes are selling quickly in 2016 with many buyers out there looking for homes. We still … Continue reading ?

2016 Real estate marketing is starting with a bang!

We are noticing many buyers out there looking for homes and still some multiple offers coming in on our listings. Hopefully sellers will list their home in the first quarter while inventory is low. Waiting until the summer means a seller will compete with many more homes on the market.

Now is the time to list your home for top dollar!

Lone Tree Market Statistics for this week.

The median list price this week in Lone Tree is $899,000. The average price per square foot went down a …

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Lone Tree Market Statistics for this week.

The median list price this week in Lone Tree is $899,000. The average price per square foot went down a …

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Lone Tree Market Statistics for this week.

The median list price in Lone Tree this week is $899,000.

Average price per foot is $220

Average Days on market is 103 days

The percentage of properties with a price decrease is 42%

The percent of properties Relisted is 8%

Median House Size is 4546

Median Lot Size is 0.25 – .50 acre

Median Number of Bedrooms is 4

( data powered by Altos Research)

Would you like more information on the Lone Tree luxury market?

Interested in Heritage Hills, Ridgegate or other areas of Lone Tree?

Call Shelley Bryant, Lone Tree luxury home expert, 303-521-7085

bryant80111@Comcast.net

www.shelleybryant.com

Lone Tree market statistics for this week.

The median list price in Lone Tree this week is $899,000. Average price per foot is $220 Average Days on …

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Lone Tree market statistics for this week.

The median list price in Lone Tree this week is $899,000. Average price per foot is $220 Average Days on …

Continue reading

Lone Tree market statistics for this week.

The median list price in Lone Tree this week is $899,000. Average price per foot is $220 Average Days on …

Continue reading

Trip to Italy

I just returned from Italy and visited Lake Como, Lake Maggiere and Lake Lugano and the homes/villas are priced a …

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Five Housing Trends for Summer

(MCT)—It may still be hard to find the home of your dreams with the limited inventory for sale. But at …

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7 signs of a soon-to-be-hot neighborhood

Real estate is an industry that’s all about your hyperlocal expertise. As an agent, you specialize in specific ZIP codes, home …

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Tips for Superior Summer Home Staging

Ah summer, the season of grilling, dipping in crisp blue pools, and selling homes. If you want the latter to seem as …

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The Economic Impact of The Affordable Housing Credit

In addition to ensuring the supply of affordable rental housing, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) supports jobs and provides …

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Housing Production Falls 6.5 Percent in May, Single-Family Permits Up

Declines in both single- and multifamily starts pushed nationwide housing production down 6.5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted …

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Event in Heritage Hills

The Living and Aging Well in Lone Tree Committee is having a potluck in Lone Tree! Whether you’re new to …

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10219 Bellwether Lane, Lone Tree, CO

Ridgegate at Lone Tree

Lovely two story townhome located in vibrant Ridgegate near shops, restaurants, cultural center, Skyridge Hospital and more. Open floor plan with extended hardwood floors on main level, slab granite, upgraded cabinets and appliances, rare main floor master, smalled fenced yard with patio.

3 bedrooms – 2.5 bathrooms – 1711 finished square feet – 734 unfinished basement – 2 story – Built in 2011

2 car attached garage – Douglas County Schools – Central Air

10219_bellwether_ln_MLS_HID876824_ROOMMainExterior

Homes in Heritage Hills in Lone Tree

Heritage Hills is a gated community in Lone Tree located near Yosemite and Lincoln. It features custom and semi- custom …

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Twenty Percent of Bankers Expect Lending Standards to Loosen

Expectations among bank risk professionals for the relaxation of lending standards increased sharply in the first quarter, rising from 12.1 …

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Builders Target Families with Multiple Generations under One Roof

Viewed from the street, the single-family home at the entrance to Lennar’s Traditions at Bella Casa community looks just like …

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Study Shows More People Use Internet to Research Homes for Sale

Real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253 percent over the past four years, according to a joint study from …

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Fiscal Cliff Avoided: What it Means for Housing and Home Builders

The fiscal cliff, an economically damaging set of tax hikes and spending reductions scheduled to begin in 2013, has been …

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Trip to India

It was fascinating to see the sites in India and all the people, animals running through the streets. No order …

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Housing in India

I just returned from a trip to New Delhi, India, and Agra where the Taj Mahal is located. Amazing trip …

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Housing in India

I just returned from a trip to New Delhi, India, and Agra where the Taj Mahal is located.

Amazing trip with ancient buildings and great detail marble and stone. I was still surprised at the disparity in housing, from the very poor to poverty, to some middle class and then to the very

upper class mostly for government officials. Some locals still living in straw huts, metal siding huts with no floors, some building small rooms with brick and mortar.

Housing in India

I just returned from a trip to New Delhi, India and Agra, India where the Taj Mahal is located.

Unbelievable buildings, and mass chaos on the streets with cars, pedicabs, animals, vendors, etc.

Huge disparity in housing from the very poor to high income. Some people still living in huts, structures with just metal siding frames or straw huts, some building small rooms with brick and mortar. Of course on the higher end, some nicer high-end condomimiums, small mansions for the

high governement personnel.

Remodeling Market Index Climbs Five Points, Returns to 2005 Levels

The Remodeling Market Index (RMI) climbed to 50 in the third quarter of 2012, up from 45 in the previous …

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Sales of new single family homes rose 5.7%

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 5.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 389,000 units in September, …

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Next Generation of Homebuyers Are Knowledgeable, Responsible and Savvy

Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate recently released the results of a national survey of 18-35 year old Americans that …

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More buyers moving to the country

In the last few months, I am receiving more buyer calls from buyers having an interest in purchasing homes with …

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Home Is Where the Heartland Is

Destination Heartland! That’s where savvy investors should be heading according to the latest rankings of the best real estate markets …

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Industry Advisor: It’s Time to Get Social

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+…blah, blah, BLAH! Two important statistics that should be front and center for every broker and …

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Low Valuation in Appraisals Causing Contract Glitches

The real estate market is recovering but still faces hurdles, notably from tight mortgage credit, but problems with a sizeable …

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List of Improving Housing Markets Eclipses 100 in October

 A total of 103 housing markets across the United States qualified to be listed on the National Association of Home …

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Homeowners Recover 13.5 Percent of Lost Equity Through Q3

Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift …

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Mobilize Your Workforce: 8 Need-to-Have Apps for Your Buyer’s Reps

Gone are the glory days when real estate companies had exclusive access to listing data; people communicated by actually speaking …

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Every Buyer’s Not a Client and Every Seller’s Not a Listing

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article titled, “Family First” that questioned how many people in the real …

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Mortgage Rates Hit All-time Record Lows for Second Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates falling to …

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Housing Recovery Finally Here

Last week, Morgan Stanley analysts predicted the housing market will continue to improve, even in the face of new mortgage …

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Precautions Minimize Do It Yourself Dangers

Bob Campbell has done his own concrete work for years. So the Akron, Ohio, do-it-yourselfer never thought twice about laying …

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Top 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid in Internet Marketing

According to a recent report published by Bing, the total amount of content available online totals nearly 1 trillion pages! …

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Protect Valuable Files in Case of Disaster

When it comes to keeping important papers in a safe spot, insurance agent Gary Hatano vividly remembers one client’s solution. …

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17 Percent of Homeowners Undervalue Their Home

About one out of eight, or 17 percent, of homeowners with a mortgage believes their home is worth less than …

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Despite Thursday’s Increase, Overall Rates Remain Low

Mortgage rates broke their downward trend to inch upward last Thursday for the first time in two weeks, replacing news …

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At Home, on the Road and in the Office, Keep Your Electronics Safe

The Big Apple loves Apple — so much so that about one in seven crimes in NYC involves an Apple …

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The Importance of Creating an Emergency Plan

Emergency action plans keep you and your family calm and safe in case of a natural disaster, fire or terrorist …

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More Buyers Choose Conventional over FHA Loans

The use of mortgage financing in the housing market jumped sharply in the month of August, but the use of …

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More Buyers Choose Conventional over FHA Loans

The use of mortgage financing in the housing market jumped sharply in the month of August, but the use of FHA financing declined, suggesting the government program is losing favor and private lenders are gaining market share. [Read more…]

More Buyers Choose Conventional over FHA Loans

The use of mortgage financing in the housing market jumped sharply in the month of August, but the use of FHA financing declined, suggesting the government program is losing favor and private lenders are gaining market share. [Read more…]

Stress Management tips for top performance!

Structural engineers get paid big bucks to design buildings strong enough to withstand the damaging impact brought on by Mother …

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20 Stress Management Tips for Peak Performance

Structural engineers get paid big bucks to design buildings strong enough to withstand the damaging impact brought on by Mother Nature’s fury. They use computer simulations to help them identify and mitigate stress-fatigue factors, which might contribute to the collapse of the building. Ironically, people, like buildings, are also susceptible to stress-fatigue factors and physical collapse brought on by the crippling affects derived from excessive fear, anxiety and worry.

[Read more…]

A House with Some Assembly Required

The low-slung structure tucked among the unearthly boulders of Joshua Tree looks vaguely like many other modern prefab homes from the last decade — streamlined silhouette, eco-chic materials, indoor-outdoor appeal — but with one key difference. It has Mickey Mouse in its corner.

A globe-eared, white-gloved figurine sitting in the front window is the first, and during a recent sneak peek, only hint the owner is Tim Disney, great-nephew of Walt and a prefab believer. Disney is a board member and investor in prefab builder Blu Homes, and the Joshua Tree house, to be opened to the public for the first time Sept. 15, is Blu’s first in Southern California. It’s also part of the company’s national push to fulfill prefab’s decades-long promise of modern, efficient, affordable houses for the masses.

Many have tried before. A line of prefab houses branded with the Dwell name and promoted in the popular magazine stopped production in 2008. Michelle Kaufmann, a well-regarded Bay Area architect whose smart designs have been used as Sunset magazine show houses, shut down her prefab business in 2009. Others who have stayed in the prefab game have been largely focused on the high end of the market — prefab houses that are so large and so highly customized, they cost as much as architect-designed dream homes.

“It’s a great idea that’s been around for a long time, but no one has really cracked it,” Disney said.

But with the housing market showing inklings of a recovery, earlier this year The Times reported on another prefab design: the C6, touted as an affordable modern offering from the Santa Monica, Calif., company LivingHomes. For its part, Blu Homes has moved its manufacturing facility from Massachusetts to Vallejo, Calif., and raised $37.5 million in capital investment to continue preaching the prefab gospel.

Houses constructed in a factory, transported by truck, craned into place and bolted together have long promised reduced construction waste, faster completion time, better quality control and limited exposure to the elements (and thus less threat of mold and weather-weakened materials). What has changed to make Disney believe that Blu can succeed in a way that others have not?

First, timing.

“The downturn in the market created opportunity,” Disney said, adding that a backlash against overly large, inefficient and costly McMansions has spurred many people to consider the merits of more modest, scaled-down, efficient homes.

“There are all sorts of sociological studies that show people don’t feel comfortable in big open spaces,” he said, laughing. “Seriously, it’s more rational to live in manageable spaces — less distance to walk from room to room, less cleaning, less energy. It just makes more sense.”

The Joshua Tree house also stands apart in that it’s built of steel-framed modules that can fold for transport and unfold on site. The proprietary design means the company can expand the envelope of the building, allowing for wider and taller rooms to be transported on standard shipping-container trucks.

“The ceiling height is substantially higher, and there are a lot of windows, so it feels large, bright and airy,” Disney said. “The Blu homes are relatively small, but the ceiling height changes one’s perception of space.”

Blu has six architectural models, each available in different sizes and configurations, with a palette of fixtures and finishes. Prices for design consultation, construction and installation start at $125,000 for a 432-square-foot studio with fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, and rise to more than $500,000 for a 3,024-square-foot house with butterfly roof, rooms as wide as 25 feet and floor plans that can accommodate as many as five bedrooms.

The Joshua Tree house won’t be for everyone. It uses Blu Homes’ most modest modules, 18-foot-wide boxes with tight bedrooms and even tighter bathrooms.

But during a recent walk-through, Blu Homes West Coast Project Manager Jeffrey Morter pointed out features that might appeal to the modern home buyer: abundant windows connecting to the landscape, glass doors with sliding cedar-slat shades, radiant-heat bamboo flooring and ash kitchen cabinetry.

What may finally sell prospective buyers, a spokeswoman said, is fixed pricing. Whereas traditional construction takes three times as long and costs twice as much as originally expected, the adage goes, Blu prefab buyers are quoted a number that won’t change. Construction cost overruns, she said, are extremely rare when building in a controlled environment with set materials and crew.

Those who head out to the high desert for a peek may be intrigued not only by the house but also by its site in Joshua Tree. “It’s this amazing combination of extremely remote and yet accessible,” Disney said — a seemingly unattainable combination that echoes the challenges of prefab itself.

©2012 Los Angeles Times Distributed by MCT Information Services [2]

Do Your Buyers Need Help with Their Credit Fitness?

Many homebuyers now and into the foreseeable future will face tight lending standards and the need to improve their credit …

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Do Your Buyers Need Help with Their Credit Fitness?

Many homebuyers now and into the foreseeable future will face tight lending standards and the need to improve their credit score to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for mortgages. Be aware of the following steps your prospects can take for some speedy credit repair to gain lender approval and the best possible rates, especially if they are months away from a purchase:

Credit Card Wisdom • Paying revolving credit cards down is generally more beneficial than paying down student, mortgage or auto loans. [Read more…]

Good News for Housing: Home Prices Continue Positive Trend

]The Case-Shiller indexes of home prices increased again when compared to the previous month or the previous year. Both the 10-city and 20-city seasonally-adjusted (SA) indexes rose 1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively from May to June 2012. This is the fifth straight month for steady increases in the SA indexes. Since January, the 10-city and 20-city indexes have risen 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent respectively. All but two metro areas also showed positive SA May to June changes. Dallas and Charlotte declined 0.1 percent.

The year-over-year changes were also much more encouraging than previous reports. At 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent respectively, the 10-city and 20-city annual changes were the first [Read more…]

Good News for Housing: Home Prices Continue Positive Trend

The Case-Shiller indexes of home prices increased again when compared to the previous month or the previous year. Both the 10-city and 20-city seasonally-adjusted (SA) indexes rose 1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively from May to June 2012. This is the fifth straight month for steady increases in the SA indexes. Since January, the 10-city and 20-city indexes have risen 3.5 percent and 3.6 percent respectively. All but two metro areas also showed positive SA May to June changes. Dallas and Charlotte declined 0.1 percent.

The year-over-year changes were also much more encouraging than previous reports. At 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent respectively, the 10-city and 20-city annual changes were the first [Read more…]

Sales of Existing Homes Improve as Prices Rise

Sales of existing homes are strengthening and prices continue to rise, stoking confidence in the housing market’s recovery. According to …

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How to Generate Viable Offers and Start a Bidding War

Instinctively, I know those of us listing and selling properties will benefit from the encouraging news in the media about …

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How to Generate Viable Offers and Start a Bidding War

Instinctively, I know those of us listing and selling properties will benefit from the encouraging news in the media about the recovering housing market because it reassures potential buyers that the time to buy is now. But as Oprah Winfrey often asks her guests: What do you know for sure?What I know for sure is that converting a recovering market into individual home sales has far more to do with how we market ourselves as real estate professionals and the creative ways we generate positive attention to our listings, than it does with good news in the media. Consider these techniques to generate viable offers and start a bidding war on your properties:

Develop a Solid Market Strategy for Each Property: Identify the target market for each property and create [Read more…]

Helping Sellers Maximize Their Profit Potential

For most people their home is their largest investment. It is most likely going to bring the greatest return on …

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Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher For Third Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates following …

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Builder Confidence Continues to Improve in August

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved for a fourth consecutive month in August with a …

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Reading between the Lines: What Homebuyers Really Want

Sure, we all know the unspoken language of sellers. A garden apartment is actually a basement. A European kitchen is, …

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Home and Garden Checklist

Vacation season often sees a spike in home burglaries. How do you keep your property safe (and your peace of …

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FFHFA Reports Mortgage Interest Rates for June

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently reported that the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously …

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Manage a Multiple Offer Market

While we continue to wait on a complete market recovery, positive signs [2]are beginning to materialize. One of them is …

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How to Generate Viable Offers and Start a Bidding War

Instinctively, I know those of us listing and selling properties will benefit from the encouraging news in the media about …

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High Score: Builder Confidence Rises Six Points in July

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose six points to 35 on the National Association of …

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Mortgage Rates Continue Record-Breaking Streak

Record-reaching rates have practically become a weekly mainstay the last few weeks for 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. For the …

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Housing Finance Reform Must Provide Reliable Credit to Home Buyers, NAHB Tells Congress

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) told Congress recently that proposed mortgage lending reforms under the Dodd-Frank Act must …

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Buying a Distressed Home: What You Need to Know

Everyone loves a bargain, the bigger the better. And arguably the biggest bargains of all can be found with distressed …

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Must-Know Tips for Navigating the Housing Market

Studies on homeownership prove that it enhances our lives in many ways, and among them is how we plant deeper …

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Obama Administration Releases June Housing Scorecard

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released the June …

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Housing Survey Shows Consumer Attitudes Demonstrative of Macroeconomic Indicators

Housing market confidence among Americans continues to trend in a positive direction despite stalling optimism about the economy and personal …

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Multiple Offers Return as Buyers are Back

Record tight inventories are making it increasingly difficult for growing numbers of buyers, who are creating multiple-bid environments in markets …

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Tight Inventories Pushed Prices Up 3.2 Percent in May and June

Home prices nationwide increased by 2.0 percent in May 2012 compared to May 2011 and on a month-to-month basis increased …

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Catching the Wave, Real estate !

Recently, while sitting on the beach in California, I watched several surfers try to catch one of the rolling waves …

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Catching the Wave, Real estate !

Recently, while sitting on the beach in California, I watched several surfers try to catch one of the rolling waves …

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Selling Your Home This Summer? Then Make Sure Backyard Is Appealing

Summer time is the outdoor season, and if that is when you plan to sell your home, you can be …

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New Rules of Engagement: The Real Estate Landscape Is Changing…Again

All over the country, as the selling season swings into high gear, green shoots are sprouting in terrain that’s been …

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Why Use Pinterest for Business?

Why Use Pinterest for Business If you’re currently using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for business marketing, Pinterest is a new …

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Home is Where the History Is?

As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day next week, thousands of them will flock to places like Mount Vernon, Monticello …

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Pending Homes sales up in May!

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2012) – Pending home sales bounced back in May, matching the highest level in the past two …

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Existing-Home Sales Constrained by Tight Supply, Prices Continue to Gain

Limited supplies of housing inventory held back existing-home sales in May, but sales maintained a strong lead over year-ago levels …

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Existing-Home Sales Constrained by Tight Supply, Prices Continue to Gain

Limited supplies of housing inventory held back existing-home sales in May, but sales maintained a strong lead over year-ago levels …

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What does your door say about you?

I’ve been asked the color of my eyes, my mood and even my parachute. But no one’s ever asked the …

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Rent or Buy a Home?

Today is a tempting time to buy a home with interest rates and prices at their lowest levels in years. …

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Why our work life balance is improving!

You may feel that modern life is a constant juggling act between the commitments of work and home. But apparently, …

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Saving on Energy Costs in the Summer Starts with Home Inspection Services

Summer is heating up quickly. Many homeowners don’t realize that properly preparing a home for the summer is just as …

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Home Builders Research- Colorado

Market Snapshot from Home Builders Research – Colorado Providing Housing Data Analysis Since 1993… Denver Metro Area, El Paso Co/ …

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Does advertising in the newspaper still work?

Anyone in the real estate profession in the earlier years of this century knew the importance of advertising constantly. That …

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