Hi….Thanks for taking time to checkout this somewhat timely article I saw today on US News & World Report. I cut and pasted into my blog to save you from the super annoying video ads that kept running out of nowhere…Man, those vids bug me! Sorry, I digress….As I was saying,
this piece about why real estate is usually a safe "long term" bet spoke volumes. With the Stock Market craziness over the last few days, some
of my stockbroker friends have been sending out "Settle down…everything is OK" emails to clients. That seems like a good time to drop one of my own discussing the "safe" investment real estate can be. Feel free to call or email if you have questions or would like to discuss some long term investement strategy. There are quite a few solid investment properties available right now. You just have to get someone on your team that knows where to look….In case you're wondering…Yes, I know a guy.
Have a great week…Enjoy! SS
By Kristin McFarland – US News & World Report
Once you're on track with your financial goals – such as retirement contributions or repaying student loan debt – you may find yourself exploring real estate investments in lieu of the stock market. Buying real estate as an investment can be lucrative, but it's also cash-intensive and carries risks.
As you weigh your options, consider the following points in your analysis.
Risk versus expected returns. Whether putting cash into the market or purchasing real estate, you need to assess the risk versus expected returns. Traditional equity investments are much easier to analyze in this way. You have historical data, and although past performance is not indicative of future results, you have a bit more control over how much risk you're exposed to when deciding what amount to invest, the asset allocation and so on. Investing in single stocks versus an index fund is a calculated risk some are willing to take in search of higher expected returns.
The risks when buying real estate can be much harder to quantify. While there is data available, such as comparable home prices in the area and average rents, unpredictable changes in the market can be costly. When investing in the equity market, your risk of loss is limited to your initial investment. This isn't the case with real estate – you could wind up owing the bank more than the value of your property if the market experiences a downturn, or even due to changes that negatively impact a neighborhood.
For landlords, vacancy and repairs can eat into profits. Once you calculate your expected mortgage, operating costs, taxes and maintenance, how much can you expect to earn in net rental income? The answer for every investor will be different, but for some, the anticipated return will not be worth the risk and effort involved in owning real estate.
Required capital. Virtually anyone can invest in traditional equity assets. Some shares can be very inexpensive and you can often determine the volume as well. The same cannot be said for real estate. To purchase a property, you need to either come up with a down payment yourself, or enlist partners to invest with you. Typically, you need to put down 20 percent for a traditional mortgage, and although various programs can help you to put down a smaller percentage, there are fewer options for investment properties.
The initial cash outlay is what deters many would-be real estate investors, as you could easily spend upwards of $100,000 on a down payment and initial repairs. Furthermore, real estate requires additional capital to maintain the property, often not at the owner's behest. With stocks, you can make a one-time investment or purchase additional shares later, at your discretion.
Taxes. Another aspect to consider when deciding to invest in real estate or the stock market is taxes. If you own property, you will be required to pay property taxes every quarter, based on the assessed value as determined by the city or country. This is included in your mortgage payment. Whether you want to flip the property or hold onto it as a landlord, you will also have to pay tax on the sale or rental proceeds.
There are certain tax benefits unique to owning real estate as a landlord, however. The interest expense on your mortgage is tax deductible, along with operating expenses, property taxes, insurance and depreciation. Exactly how much you can deduct will likely depend on the rental income. In most situations, under the passive activity loss rules, you cannot write off deductions that are more than the rental income, which would generate a loss. Working with a CPA can be very helpful, particularly when investment properties or multiple residences are involved.
Stocks have tax consequences as well; first, you are required to pay a capital gains tax on any profits you made from selling stock. Furthermore, even without a sale, you are also required to pay a tax on any dividends you receive.
Inflation. Real estate can be a potential hedge against inflation as historically, rental rates and home prices rise with inflation. This provides a potential inflation hedge for both your rental income and sale of the property. Since your mortgage payments will not increase with inflation, it offers a benefit over time.
Traditional equity investments are not as directly linked to inflationary measures.
Although prices do tend to rise over time, the market cannot offer the same potential
inflation protection as real estate.
Time. Another factor to consider when choosing to invest in real estate or the stock market is to factor in your time as a cost during the analysis. While you do need to do some research when deciding which funds to buy, you can purchase traditional equity investments in a matter of moments. There is a lot more time required in buying and maintaining a property, as well as managing any improvements. As a Landlord, you
will be on call for the tenants as problems arise. Hiring a property manager is an option, but depending on the size of your property, could eliminate your profit margin.
With the right property, neighborhood location and cash reserves, investing in real estate can be a great option. Many investors are drawn to the ongoing "coupon" payment of rental income, and as a long-term strategy, the ultimate sale of the property can fund a large portion of their retirement. If you're considering whether you should invest in the equity market or buy an investment property, carefully weigh these factors and determine whether your expected income is worth the risk it carries, especially in light of other investment options.
Steve Sloboda – Managing Broker – Windermere Real Estate – Professional Partners
stevesloboda.com – 253-988-3120 – firstname.lastname@example.org
In the world of real estate marketing, new technology seems to come out every week and frankly, it can get a little overwhelming. I tend to let the fads show themselves before jumping 100% on board. However, in the case of this new 3D walkthrough technology, I'm all over it from the start.
You can tour a property like you're walking through it similar to Google Street View. Take a look at downstairs then upstairs, and then take a look upstairs again. Take a look at the floorplan….Then take a look like it's a dollhouse. All those options are there for the viewer.
It really is a remarkable tool that could change the way pictures are used for real estate listings. Take a look at my latest version here. Walk through the house and let me know what you think. I love to talk about the latest and greatest technology tools.
Pretty much the best day ever on Tuesday. I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend to attend a special "Media Preview Day" for the 2015 US Open Golf Championship at Chambers Bay Golf Course. The event was hosted by the USGA with all the local tournament directors and national media representatives. We started the morning with a continental breakfast and an informational presentation by Danny Sink who is the US Open Tournament Director here at Chambers Bay.
After the presentation we all headed out to the course for a guided tour. We hit six or seven points on the course to learn about changes being made, special viewing locations, and inside information about how tournament preperations are coming along. One of the highlights was seeing the US Open Tournament Trophy being placed throughout the course for photo opportunities. Well, I though that was the highlight until what happened after lunch.
From the tour we headed up for a finishing presentation and a very nice lunch in the tent overlooking the Golf Course and the beautiful Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. At lunch we were told to hang out for a special surprise on it's way. That surprise turned out to be the real Super Bowl Trophy from the recent Seattle Seahawks victory in Super Bowl 48! Wow! Now we're talking…How cool is this? I was lucky enough to attend the Super Bowl and I've seen pictures of some of my friends holding the trophy but I haven't yet been able to be in it's presence. It's cooler than I thought it would be.
An old buddy of mine from my time working for the team Lane Gammel of the Seahawks Media Department was the "Lombardi Keeper". He was pretty good at his job. We followed the thing all over the course for photo ops w/ the maintenance staff, the USGA guys, and most of the media there. One thing stayed consistent….Nobody touched the trophy. I got a few great shots with both trophies but the one I wanted hadn't happened. I had to have it in my hands! Like I said earlier, I'd seen too many of my friends in position to hold it. I had to make it happen.
So, cut to the finish. The day was coming to and end and we headed up to the Clubhouse. When most people moved along I nicely asked my old friend if I could "hold the trophy". He said I could and showed me where to touch it so my grubby hands didn't mess it up. I grabbed it and perched it up and had another friend take what will no be my favorite picture ever!
It was a great day out at Chambers Bay. I was able to connect with some old friends and make some new ones. I had opportunity to talk about chambersbayhousing.com and what we are doing with private home rentals for the tournament. Special thanks to Chris Johnson for the invite. I'll be your caddy any day. Also, a big thanks to Lane Gammel…Thanks for allowing me the chance to hold that iconic trophy… Wow!
Pretty cool article in today's Tacoma News Tribune referencing our recently launched 2015 US Open Housing Website www.ChambersBayHousing.com. It was nice to see my comments were in context and there wasn't much in need of correction. That isn't always the case, so seeing it in place was refreshing. If you haven't seen the article it's linked HERE.
If you want to see the actual 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay House rental webpage we've setup click HERE. As always, feel free to call me direct if you have questions or just want to talk golf, sports, local news, etc. I'm not one to shy away from a phone call. 253-988-3120 is my number.
Thanks for taking time to read this.
Excitement is building for the US Open Golf Championship being played at Chambers Bay in 2015. Tickets went on sale to the general public June 9th. Take a look at the link below for information from King 5 News.
Contact me direct If you'd like information on how to rent your home to US Open spectators or if you're looking for a list of homes available to rent while you're in town for the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay.
If you're like me, making resolutions is something you try to do every year but they don't last. This year I decided to challenge myself on a few things rather than "make a resolution". The link below helped me come up with some fun challenges for myself and my family. Take a look and see if something catches your eye. Good luck and may 2014 be your best year ever!!!
Fall is upon us! Soon the leaves will be falling and the days will be shorter. The change of the seasons is always a good time to go over some home maintenance items that may need attention. Checklists are my favorite way to stay on top of these potential problems. Hopefully there are some things listed here that will be helpful to you.
- Inspect your furnace or heat pump to ensure that it can achieve maximum efficiency
- Check to make sure your thermostat works properly
- Schedule to have your chimney serviced and cleaned
- Clean your gutters and downspouts throughout the season
- Repair and window cracks or holes in weather stripping or caulking.
- Check your crawlspace for flooding after the first long rainfall
- Make sure you have new batteries in all flashlights and you have a specific place to keep them.
- Have your lawn irrigation system professionally drained and winterized
- Make sure your attic and crawlspaces have adequate insulation
- Clean out your bathroom fan
- Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor of the house and in the garage
- Make a fire escape plan for your house and take time to review it with all family members
- Disconnect garden hoses and drain water still in faucets
Paying attention to these items will help prevent costly and/or emergency repairs and will allow you piece of mind as the weather changes.
Steve Sloboda is a Managing Broker & Premier Associate with Windermere Real Estate in University Place, WA.
Want to Sell Your House This Fall?
If you're looking to sell your home this Fall you'll want to do everything you can to make your house look its best. Contrary to popular belief, Fall can actually be a great time to sell. Keep these tips in mind and you're likely to achieve positive results:
- Curb appeal. A home shopper's first impression is everything. The moment they pull up to the curb, they'll make an instant judgment. You'll want to be sure it's positive. You can begin by making sure leaves are raked, and your shrubs and bushes are pruned. Hang a festive fall wreath on your door.
- Make sure your walkway is free of leaves and debris.
- The Northwest is rainy…Be sure you have a good doormat so visitors can wipe their feet and not traipse mud and water through the house.
- Make sure gutters are free from debris and drain properly.
- Keep the house cozy. Entering a cold house could leave an unfavorable impression. Instead, set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.
- Make sure the back yard and your roof aren't covered in leaves.
- Make sure your windows are sparkling clean.
- Keep wall colors neutral and light. A light yellow or beige will make the room feel cooler than a brick red or dark taupe.
- Let the light in. Open blinds and curtains so plenty of light can brighten up the home's interior.
- And, just like any other time of year, get rid of the clutter throughout your house. And get rid of any odors that might be a distraction.
University Place, WA, June 27, 2013:
Steve Sloboda of Windermere Real Estate – Professional Partners in University Place has closed University Place's first million dollar listing of 2013. Only the fifth residential property in University Place city limits to sell for more than a million dollars since 2008, this magnificent home located in the gated neighborhood of Augusta lasted only five days on the market.
"Homes like this with a rare combination of size, location, and elegance don't often become available" said Steve Sloboda. "In a real estate market like we're currently experiencing, even luxury homes can sell fast if they're priced right and marketed correctly."
The residence checks in at 5822 square feet with five bedrooms and five bathrooms. It's situated on a 1.5 acre lot above Chambers Creek. Features include a temperature controlled wine cellar, a master suite with separate sauna, a billiards room, and a commercial quality HVAC system. The new owners, also represented by Windermere, are already residents of University Place.
- Steve Sloboda is an award winning Residential Real Estate Broker with Windermere Real Estate – Professional Partners in University Place. He was voted "Best Real Estate Agent" by readers of South Sound Magazine and is one of only two Windermere Premier Associate Agents in Pierce County. The Windermere Premier Program is specialized to luxury homes priced $700,000 or higher.
- University Place is located in Pierce County, Washington. It's home to beautiful parks, highly rated schools, wonderful views, and Chambers Bay Golf Course – Host of the 2015 US Open Golf Tournament.
Steve Sloboda Windermere Real Estate – Professional Partners
2700 Bridgeport Way West, Suite F University Place, WA 98466
Kirkland, WA, January 17, 2013 – Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service tallied 64,624 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums during 2012, improving on 2011’s volume by 8,332 transaction for a gain of nearly 15 percent.
Last year’s completed sales included 55,699 single family homes and 8,925 condominiums. Together, these sales were valued at more than $19.9 billion, which compares to the previous year’s total of around $16.7 billion (up nearly 19.6 percent).
Median prices area-wide increased by $10,000 (about 4.3 percent), rising from $235,000 to $245,000, although not all areas reported gains. Mason, Snohomish and King counties reported the healthiest jumps.
Prices on single family homes rose, while condo prices fell. The median price for single family homes that sold last year was $255,000 across the 21 counties, improving on the previous year by 8.5 percent. King County claimed the highest median prices for single family homes ($365,000), while the most affordably priced homes – based on 2012 median prices – were located in Pacific County ($111,000).
Condo prices declined about 2.7 percent, with the area-wide median price falling from $180,000 in 2011 to $175,200 for last year’s sales.
Inventory also shrunk from 2011 levels year as a result of stronger sales and fewer new listings. Over the course of the year, brokers added 10,071 fewer new listings to the Northwest MLS database when compared to 2011 for a drop of 9.9 percent.
In its annual statistical summary report for its 20,000-plus brokers, the multiple listing service examined various indicators of activity. Among the findings:
- Single family homes accounted for about 86 percent of the sales volume as measured by units, and nearly 90 percent of the dollar volume.
- About 40 percent of last year’s sales were for homes in King County.
- About half the homes that sold last year (48.8 percent) had 3 bedrooms, while more than three-fourths of condos (77 percent) had 2 or fewer bedrooms.
- Last year’s sales included 7,710 newly built single family homes and 930 newly built condominiums. Of this new construction component, new condos fetched a higher price ($331,888) than newly built single family homes, which had a median sales price of $299,950.
- Northwest MLS brokers reported 1,254 sales with prices of $1 million or more, including 1,116 single family homes and 138 condominiums. More than half the top-end homes were located in Eastside communities, including Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Sammamish.
- The highest priced single family home in the MLS system that sold last year was on Mercer Island (with a selling price of $21.625 million), while the most expensive condo ($4.25 million) was a penthouse in a downtown Seattle high-rise.
- Northwest MLS members reported 93,778 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2012. That marked an increase of about 15.6 percent from 2011 when members logged 81,109 pending sales. (Note: Not all pending sales become closed transactions. Failed home inspections, mortgage loan rejections, low appraisals and contract contingencies are among many factors that cause transactions to be cancelled.)
- The pace of sales as measured by “months supply” (an estimate of how long it would take for all inventory of active listings to sell at the current pace assuming no new inventory is added) showed a system-wide total of 3.15 months, which compares to a figure of 5.02 months for 2011. Based on this barometer, both King and Snohomish counties averaged less than two months of supply during 2012. (Analysts consider a supply of 3-to-6 months to be a balanced market, meaning the market favors neither buyers nor sellers.)
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 20,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.
Are you still with me? If so, Here's the complete report……All 37 pages of it. Read and enjoy! As always, I'm here if you'd like some of this information broken down into details. Don't hesitate to drop me a line….