The Next Housing Crisis?

More and more of my clients are asking me “Are we at the top of the market?”  It’s a good question.  An even better question is why they think I would know any better than any schmo on the street, but we’ll set that aside for the moment. Last year I wrote an article titled...

Dracula’s Castle is For Sale

If you love real estate (like I do) then you want to know when new and significant properties come on the market. You may not know that I love vampires, too.  Not the cheesy made-for-teens vampires like the Twilight series, but like the vampires that Bram Stoker or Anne Rice wrote about. So this new...

Will 2016 Bring a Housing Bubble?

Most of us still remember the housing crash of 2008 – vividly. Housing prices, driven by ever-more-creative financing and frenzied demand skyrocketed higher and higher in a positive feedback loop that everyone knew would crash one day, but few knew where to jump off. Today’s market feels “frothy” (as Alan Greenspan would say) like the...

When to Avoid Buying a Condo

I am often asked whether buying a condo is a good investment. The short answer – I own one in New Mexico and yes, they can be a great investment. If you are buying a condo to live in it, it’s great to have all your exterior maintenance taken care of, and nice to have...

Home Improvement Activity Spiking

I just finished teaching a class at The College of San Mateo about financing home improvements. The experience of teaching the class confirmed what I’ve observed anecdotally – many families are considering the benefits of home improvement over “buying up” these days. Now the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has come out...

Will Home Prices Jump in Five Years?

It’s not too hard to guess at the general direction of home prices in the near term. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, with low inventory, a huge surplus of buyers with great salaries and stock options, and multiple bids on almost every property, it’s safe to say home prices are still going...

How Many More Bad Loans Are There?

We’re done with getting rid of all the underwater home owners with bad loans, right? Not by a long shot.  Today’s Mortgage Servicing News reports that non-performing loans are down significantly from the peak in 2010, but still three times higher than the pre-crisis level.  In other words, still quite high. According to Jackie Stewart,...

Want to Buy a Private Island?

Here’s a fun little item from SFGate  today: Price for private island in San Francisco Bay drops to $5 million By KRISTIN J. BENDER SAN FRANCISCO — In a city with some of the highest home prices in the country, a private island in the San Francisco Bay is now for sale for $5 million....

The Newest Trend in Luxury Homes – Hidden Pools

This is just a fun post.  I came across a video about hidden pools that piqued my interest.  With an average home on a small lot in San Jose going for $1 million now, we’ve hit the luxury market category.  So why not a pool? But I’ve seen many backyard pools in our area (remember...

This Old House Redux – Kitchen Installation

Investment properties perform best when you keep expenses down over the long term.  Keeping ongoing expenses down in this old house (well, apartment) has proven to be a challenge.  The point of the work I’m doing is to change that. These posts simply chronicle my journey. The kitchen cabinets finally came in (see my previous...