Real Estate

U.S. Vacation Rentals And COVID-19

As we all know, the impact the pandemic has had in the travel and tourism industry has been one of the greatest.   According to the U.S. Travel Association, as of April 30, 2020, the national weekly travel spending went down from $19.8 billion on 3/7/20 to $2.3 billion on 4/25/20.  That is a difference of $17.5 billion!  The states hit the hardest were the ones with higher tourism and international travel.  For instance, their Total Weekly Travel Spending table reported that for this same time period, states like:

California went from $2,488 million to $298 million

Florida went from $1,883 million to $152 million

Hawaii went from $481 million to $18 million

Nevada went from $712 million to $97 million

New York went from $1,461 million to $170 million

Texas went from $1,423 million to $218 million

Consequently, vacation rentals have been impacted.  Travelers cancelled plans and although not all vacation rental owners have been flexible, most have worked with the consumer in providing refunds.  This means vacation rental owners have been severely affected.   On May 5, 2020, the CEO of Airbnb announced they would be letting go of nearly 1,900 employees, about 25% of their workforce.  The two reasons he stated for determining this were they do not know when travel will return and when it does return, it will look different; so they need to start taking action now.  For instance, as of April 29, 2020, Florida’s governor, issued an executive order extending the prohibition on vacation rentals due to concerns that infected people were going to the state.

This pandemic also affected major theme parks such as Disney. The parks had to close and they are a major tourist attraction in 50% of the six states mentioned above. According to The OCR, Disney theme parks face a $21 billion loss through 2022. According to ClickOrlando.com, as of May 5, 2020, Walt Disney Co. had not revealed when its U.S. theme parks will reopen. However, they are working on safety guidelines so they can gradually reopen the parks. This is probably why on May 11, 2020, they announced they were taking reservations for their Florida attractions in July.

So, in summary, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the travel and tourism industry, which consequently, has affected the short-term vacation rentals.  In my opinion, it will depend on how soon people start feeling safe to travel and the safety guidelines implemented in the major tourist attractions before we can see the vacation rentals coming back as closely as possible to normal pre-COVID-19.   And, when it does, it will be very different from what we’ve known.  Operators/Owners will need to be up-to-date with local health and safety guidelines and make appropriate modifications in the operations, cleaning and maintenance of the rental.  

It is possible that owners who have experienced a major loss and who are not able to maintain the property while the occupancy is low, might need to sell or pivot to a different type of rental (i.e. home insurance, coronavirus quarantine, corporate leases, etc.).

As always, reach out to me for your local real estate needs. You can schedule you 15-minute online session with questions on selling your investment property.

Real Estate

Selling Your Home Safely During COVID-19

It is understandable for this time of uncertainty to cause homeowners to consider holding back on selling. However, if you are looking to sell, this should not be what holds you back. In fact, according to a survey from the National Association of Realtors, 77% of homeowners are preparing to sell their homes at the end of the stay-at-home orders.

Don’t stay behind and click below to schedule your 15-minute online session on your home’s value and how to safely sell your home during COVID-19.

Real Estate

WHAT FIRST-TIME BUYERS SHOULD KNOW

During this video, I give you an overall view of some things you need to know to be ready to purchase your first home. I would also like to add that in addition to the down payment mentioned, I would also like to mention that buyer closing costs could be up to 2-2.5%. This might seem like a lot at a glance but there are options available for you. Ask me what are your options.

Also, there are some banks who will still lend under a 640 FICO score and might still have down payment assistance programs right now, but with changes in the industry due to the current pandemic, most banks got stricter on their requirements. However, don’t get discouraged by this. An experienced Realtor in partnership with a good lender can help you through the process.

Remember you can always contact me with questions on purchasing your first home.

Real Estate

Has COVID-19 Affected California Real Estate?

Many are wondering how the real estate market will be impacted with all this uncertainty. In March, the unemployment rate in California rose to 5.3, which was a 1.4 jump from the previous month — this means a lot of people are either completely unemployed or their hours were reduced. So, it’s understandable that the real estate market will be impacted somehow. The question is how much and for how long.

The California Association of Realtors has been following the trends and recently released the following sales and price report:

This chart means the home sales decreased in March and, as of the date of this report, they were expected to be even lower in April. However, according to their research, median home prices increased. This could be as a result of less inventory. If less homeowners put their homes on the market, the demand becomes higher. Since interest rates are still at their lowest, serious homebuyers are searching for homes. Therefore, there is demand and prices increase.

So what does this mean for you? If you are a seller who has been on the fence about selling, this is the perfect time to sell because you have less competition and there is still demand. If you are a buyer, it is also a great time to buy because interest rates are at their lowest –the lower the interest rate, the lower your mortgage payment and the higher your buying power.

I believe the length of time these trends will continue will depend on how much longer the pandemic affects unemployment. This is a public health crisis, but unfortunately, it is impacting the economic stability of our nation. As of right right now, if you are in a position where you can sell or buy, I would recommend you do it. This pandemic is changing everything every day if not every hour, so waiting too long to see what happens, could be a costly decision in the future.

Real Estate

Tips for Home Staging Your Home for Sale

So what is the difference between a home that sells quickly and one that takes three times as much to sell when they have the same characteristics and are in the same neighborhood?  You guessed it–home staging.

Did you know that staged homes sell 80% faster and up to 20% more than non-staged homes?  The thought that home staging can be expensive might overwhelm home sellers.  However, remember your home is now a “product” that you are selling and, in the long run, it will cost less to invest in home staging because the home will be less time on the market and will sell for more. 

If you are planning on selling and simply cannot afford to home stage your home, here are some things you can do yourself to prepare your home for sale:

De-clutter – Go room by room with a box or large basket and throw in anything that doesn’t belong.  Organize your closets and drawers (buyers do look in there).

De-personalize – Walk around the home and remove ANY item that is the size of a football or smaller.  Remove all family pictures.

Paint – Paint a neutral color and repair any damaged wood, doors, or walls.

Space – Buyers want to see a spacious home.  Remove any bulky furniture as well as furniture that blocks walkways or features of the home.

Natural Light – Make changes to allow for natural light in the home.

Pets – Remove any pets, pets’ beds or toys, and pet odors when people are touring the home.

Clean – Do a deep cleaning of the home.  A clean house is always inviting and more appealing.

Pandemic Response, Real Estate

How is Your Mental Health in the Midst of COVID-19?

It’s been a while since I wrote in this blog. I got busy with my daily routine and responsibilities and gradually forgot about writing just like the many other simple and important things the busyness of this world has taken away from many of us. Unfortunately, it had to take an order to stay home for me to remember about writing in my blog. However, in the midst of all the ugliness this pandemic has brought to the world, there are some good things happening. People are turning back to the simple things in life: love, kindness, and compassion.

There are too many things going on at the same time right now. The world is changing rapidly and this can cause lots of anxiety and worry. For those of us who tend to suffer from anxiety or depression, it can be hard to balance everything at once. We can easily get overwhelmed by the new normal we are having to adjust to. Some are overwhelmed with having to balance working at home, homeschooling children and keeping up with the house chores. Others are stressed with working too much, constantly being exposed to the virus, and trying to keep their family safe. While others are worried because they either already don’t have a job or are afraid they will lose it in addition to the major impact the economy will have after all of this has passed.

We don’t really know what is going to happen or how bad it will be, but the first thing we need to do is live day by day, have faith, and not worry or fear. We need to implement some self care! I am not a mental health expert, but I can share from experience what has worked for me. Here are a few things that might help:

  1. Keep your medicine routine. You might need to set an alarm to remember but you need to keep your daily routine and not forget to take your medicine.
  2. Keep a journal. Even if you don’t feel like writing, make the time to write how you are feeling throughout the day.
  3. Set boundaries. When you are hurt, sad, or angry by someone’s actions towards you, it more likely means a boundary has been violated. Find out what it is and make changes.
  4. Watch what you eat. Eat a balanced diet. Be intentional about what you eat. Don’t eat out of anxiety or boredom.
  5. Have some “me” time. Don’t isolate yourself, but do have some time on your own to recharge. You know what works best for you. Listen to happy music. Pray and meditate. Exercise. Watch a funny movie. Read a book. Bake. Work on your garden. Listen to calming sounds and just relax. Whatever works for you…as long as it’s healthy.
  6. Lean on your support. It can be a friend, a family member, a spiritual leader, or your therapist but you need to have someone you can talk to when you are feeling down. Make it a point to talk to someone about your feelings, don’t bottled them up.
Real Estate

Giving Back 2018

Thank you for trusting me with one of the most important decisions of your life. You have made possible for me, as the owner of HomeShield Real Estate, to continue my donation pledge in 2018.

A percentage of the commission I earned when I or one of the agents in my office sold a property went to the following non-profit organizations this year (listed in no particular order):

American Cancer Society – “To Save Lives by Helping People Stay Well, Helping People Get Well, by Finding Cures, and Fighting Back.”

EveryOne Free – “Ending Human Trafficking One Soul at a Time”

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital – “Finding Cures. Saving Children.”

Rising Stars Equestrian Therapy – “Helping Special People Start Horsing Around.”

I look forward to a 2019 where I can continue to give back to causes making a difference in people’s lives.

DRE#01513573

Photo Credit: Besame Mucho Photography

Real Estate

Selling Your Home During the Holidays


XMas pic

It’s the season for Christmas lights, family gatherings and spending time with special friends. So, why would you list your home for sale during the holidays? Contrary to traditional belief, this might be the ideal time to sell your home.

LESS COMPETITION
The contemporary belief has been to wait until after the holidays to list your home for sale.  This in turn, leads to less competition for those who do put their home on the market. With the right staging and the proper marketing your home can be the perfect home for those serious buyers looking to buy now.

SERIOUS BUYERS
You will have serious buyers viewing your home.  Technology nowadays makes it easier for buyers to continue their online search any time. Your scheduled showings can be posted online so these buyers know when your house is available to view.  The holidays will not hold back serious buyers from owning their dream home. 

I CAN HELP
If you have been thinking of listing your home, contact me to talk about your options. This way, you can enjoy your holidays while I take care of your real estate needs.

Real Estate

How Is Your Market Doing?

4th of July

There has been a lot of talk about how hot the market is right now.  Have you wondered how your market is doing?  Whether you are a buyer or a seller, this might be the best time to make the move.

SELLERS, home prices are at its highest.  This might be the right time to sell an investment property, downsize, or relocate.

BUYERS, have you been on the fence about buying waiting for prices to go down?  If interest rates continue to increase, even if prices were to come down, your monthly payment might be the same or higher.

Take a look at this list of cities and their median home sales price.  Click on the cities to see live data trends going as far back as one year.

 

San Gabriel Valley

Pasadena, Duarte, Monrovia, Arcadia

Alhambra, Rosemead, San Gabriel

Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, West Covina

Pomona Valley/Inland Empire

Claremont, La Verne, Glendora, San Dimas

Pomona, Diamond Bar, Walnut

Rancho, Upland, Ontario, Montclair

Chino, Chino Hills, Corona

Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino, Riverside

High Desert

Victorville, Hesperia, Adelanto, Apple Valley

 

Real Estate

Selling Your Home in This Digital Age

 

How many times a day would you say you go to your phone to either search something online or check your social media?  According to a study by Asurion, Americans check their phone 80 times a day about every 12 minutes, on average (NYPOST.COM, Americans Check Their Phones 80 Times a Day: Study. 11/08/17). Yikes!  I was surprised too, but honestly, I am guilty of this as well.  It almost seems like having information at our fingertips is a necessity nowadays.  And, as the years go by, I believe we will rely more and more in technology.

Technology changes so many things, including how fast and for how much you sell your home!  Have you wondered why some homes that compare to each other in features and price will sell in different time frames and even prices? According to the National Association of Realtors’ Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report, in 1981, 22% of home buyers would look at newspapers to search for homes.  By 2016, 44% were looking for homes online as their first step in purchasing a home.

So, why wouldn’t the way your home is marketed change too?  The first impression a home buyer will get of your home will be online –more likely, on their phone … so, would it be fair to say professional or high quality photography, drone and video of your home will make a difference in how soon you sell your home?

In this digital age of social media and internet blogs and vlogs it is key to have the right real estate agent doing all this work for you.  Oh! And, it’s not just about posting your home online, it’s about strategically posting your home online.  So, next time you interview a real estate agent about listing your home for sale, ask about his or her strategic marketing plan.

As always, contact me if you or anyone you know is looking to sell or buy.

909-346-3610

LupeRuizRealty@yahoo.com

http://www.luperuizrealtor.com

CABRE#01513573

Real Estate

Is Our Real Estate Market Shifting?

Do you know what your home is worth

Not too long ago, I was reading a CoreLogic’s Special report that gave a nice chart on the sales trends since the Great Recession. It said the average nationwide home prices are about 1% higher than what they were at its peak in 2006 –with the West Coast States having the greatest price growth. (CoreLogic. Evaluating the Market Since the Great Recession. February 2018). As we know, the high unemployment rate between 2007-2009 had a major impact in the crash in addition to other known reasons (luckily, that is not the case today).

However, there is still uncertainty. As many other things in life, real estate trends function in cycles. So, rumors have been that we are overdue for another market shift. Perhaps, we are…Perhaps, we are not. I understand data speaks for itself but as our country has experienced recently, data can still surprise us. We have experts who believe we are bound to continuous growth; while others believe the recession is coming soon. Zillow recently published an article, which said that half the experts interviewed believe the next recession is starting in 2020 and price growth will begin to slow down. (Zillow.com. 2020 Vision: Experts Say Next Recession Looms at Decade’s End. May 2018).

Thankfully, we have recovered and many homeowners have had the opportunity to sell their homes and downsize or relocate while investors have had the business opportunity to invest and flip for profit. We can only forecast and rely on data. We do not know for sure what will happen in the next few years. But, we can make decisions based on the information we do have. Personally, I have already started to see some changes in the market that have led me to believe we will see a shift in the next few years.

So, if you have been considering selling your home and have been sitting on the fence, today might be the time to sell.  Contact me if you or anyone you know would like to sit down and strategize on the best price and marketing plan for your home!

 

Real Estate

Home Ownership For DACA Recipients?

4th July

Is your dream to become a homeowner interrupted because you are a recipient of the Deferred Action for Early Arrivals (DACA) policy? Perhaps, you have been told it is not possible because you are not a permanent resident. Do not be discouraged! It is possible to become a homeowner if you are a non-permanent resident.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “A borrower who is a non-permanent resident alien may be eligible provided:

  • • property will be the borrower’s principal residence;
    • the borrower has a valid Social Security Number (SSN), except for those employed by the World Bank, a foreign embassy, or equivalent employer identified by HUD;
    • the borrower is eligible to work in the U.S., as evidenced by the Employment Authorization Document issued by the USCIS; and
    • the borrower satisfies the same requirements, terms and conditions as those for U.S. citizens.

    The Employment Authorization Document is required to substantiate work status. If the Employment Authorization Document will expire within one year and a prior history of residency status renewals exists, the lender may assume that continuation will be granted. If there are no prior renewals, the lender must determine the likelihood of renewal based on information from the USCIS.“ (HUD, 3/27/18, Do borrowers have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for FHA financing? hudgov.prod.parature.com).

You would still need to qualify under the same credit and debt-to-income rules as any other permanent resident or U.S. Citizen. But, if you meet those rules you may still be able to qualify.  Although a few bumps on the road may be that not all banks will lend to a non-permanent resident and you may not qualify for down-payment assistance programs; there are still banks willing to lend under their respective financing programs.

Do not be discouraged! Follow your dreams! If you do not know of a lender who may be willing to qualify you for a loan, ask your REALTOR! We are always a good resource to start off your home search.

 

Real Estate

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I would like to wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving Day. I give thanks for those things in my life that many times I take for granted but that are so much part of my life.

True happiness is not about how much success we have or how much power and recognition we are given. It is about the healthy relationships and memories we create in our lifetime. It is about having a second chance at life when given a life-changing diagnosis or having food and shelter no matter how humble it may be. It is about creating memories with those we love. It is about being content with what we have despite the circumstances. It is about the simple things in life.

Enjoy this day with those you love!

“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.” ~~Ann Voskamp

Real Estate

Thank you Veterans!

Thank you Veterans for your sacrifice and dedication.  We honor you for your love and commitment to our country.   You put aside yourselves, your family and your friends to serve this country and ensure we enjoy the freedoms we have.  Thank you for your service!

For those of you looking to support our Veterans by going to a parade, here is a list of parades in California.  For those around the country, here is a list of festivals you can go to.

Real Estate

Happy 4th of July

Thanks to all of those brave women and men who have fought for our freedom since the inception of our nation. Our nation allows us to enjoy the right to speak freely, assemble peacefully, and choose our religion amongst other important rights.  Our nation allows us to obtain the American Dream, to be successful and to improve our lives regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

We have the freedom to pursue happiness whether this includes material or non-material goals.  We all have our own values and vision as to what really makes us happy.  Let’s pursue it if it means finding your inner self and making personal, health, or spiritual changes.  Or, if it means furthering your education, securing a better job, or purchasing your first home.  Above all, lets not take for granted the blessings we enjoy daily in this beautiful country.

Have a blessed and safe 4th of July!

Real Estate

Looking to Buy a Brand New Home?

Have you ever driven by a new community and fallen in love with the model homes?  The staging, the ambiance, and the thought of being able to customize your new home can be very tempting.  In the excitement of things, you might not consider the need for REALTOR representation.  But, why should you? You are buying directly from the builder whose sales representative will take care of everything!

Well, purchasing a home, whether it is brand new or a resale, is one of the greatest investments in someone’s life.  The salesperson at the sales office is representing the best interest of the builder.  Not yours.  Consequently, you might want to consider having your own representation.  Most builders will cooperate with REALTORS as long as your REALTOR is present the first time you visit their sales office.

If you happen to stop by without your REALTOR, ask the salesperson if the builder cooperates with REALTORS and inform him/her you are represented.   If possible, provide your REALTOR’s business card. Do not fill out a registration card or sign any contracts without your REALTOR being present.

Your REALTOR can not only assist you in negotiating but also in advising you on what is or is not customary in purchasing a brand new home, what to expect during the process, how to compare your financing options, the pros/cons of upgrades, timeframes, and what inspections are required versus recommended.

Although you may purchase a brand new home without REALTOR representation.  You might want to weigh in representation vs. non-representation before making a decision to purchase a brand new home.

Real Estate

5 Tips for Sellers

pic two sofa chairs

Are you thinking of selling your home but do not know where to start?  The first recommendation would be to meet with your REALTOR® to get your home ready to sell.  You may also want to consider the following 5 tips to get your home ready to show:

  1. Declutter:  Organize closets and kitchen cabinets.  Buyers will look through them to get an idea of storage space.  Having a yard sale or donating to a thrift store may be the way to go.  There are also some apps where you may sell used items such as letgo, Varage Sale, or OfferUp.
  2. Clean:  Dust on top of the fireplace mantle, cabinets, and ceiling fans.  Clean windows and closets.   If you are too busy, hire someone to do some deep cleaning.
  3. Paint:  Paint the walls a neutral color.  This will help buyers visualize their furniture and decor in the home. Replace outside fascia and paint externally as well, if needed.
  4. Depersonalize: The idea is to allow buyers to picture themselves in the home. Remove personal pictures or other personal belongings.  Also, consider removing  pictures and magnets from the refrigerator.
  5. Stage:  Less is more. Move furniture around to create good flow in the room.  Create vignettes and highlight focal points.  Also, first impressions start with curb appeal.  Trim the front lawn and work on your garden.

These are only a few tips.  Put yourself in the buyers’ place and consider making repairs or other simple fixes which would encourage buyers to submit an offer.  These may be what makes the difference in getting top dollar for your home.