Stock Tank Pools

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For many of us, summer means pool time. But if you usually visit a community pool or recreation center, that might not be an option right now. Building a traditional pool at your home is a big and expensive project. That’s where the stock tank pool comes in.

“These inexpensive farm staples were originally designed as water troughs for livestock,” said Country Living “but that’s part of their country-chic appeal. Nowadays, stock tank swimming pools have been popping up in backyards across the country.”

Here’s how to make a splash with a stock tank pool in your own backyard.

Pick your size
Round stock tanks come in 10ft, 8ft, and 6ft diameters. As popularity has grown, the larger sizes have become more challenging to secure. There are also oval options, but they don’t necessarily provide the same kind of swimming experience.

Pick your spot
Where you’re going to put your stock tank pool is just as important as the pool itself. Without a level foundation, you’ll have leaks. “Job one is obviously selecting the site for your stock tank pool. You’ll need to prepare the area by creating a solid, level base,” said Tractor Supply. “You could use compacted sand, or even crushed granite. But, it’s very important to ensure that it’s a smooth surface, free of any rocks or sharp edges.”

Add your accessories
And by accessories, we mean design and function.

Function first. A stock tank pool isn’t as easy to set up as a kiddie pool. You could just fill it with water and call it a day, but you’ll end up swimming in gunk. Take a cue (and detailed instructions) from the Hey Wanderer blog, and keep your pool clean all summer long with proper pumps and chlorine.

Once you’ve got your stock tank set up, it’s time to make it fancy. While the tank alone has its own distinct vibe, it can be dressed up in any number of ways. Paint the metal, build deck seating around it, hang lights, and incorporate tikis to create a tropical getaway feel—the sky’s the limit!

What Will Homes Look Like In A Post-pandemic World!

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A lot has changed in just a few months, and for many that includes the idea of what a ‘dream home’ looks like. Not long ago, buyers were showing preference toward smaller homes and open concept spaces conducive to gathering. After a few months cooped up inside, those features don’t seem so appealing – and developers have taken note.

“While the coronavirus still rages on, it’s hard to predict what post-pandemic abodes might look like,” according to Barrons. “Yet, developers around the U.S. are already rethinking projects, anticipating residents’ needs and preferences that Covid-19 would spur. In doing so, they are re-evaluating current in-unit aesthetics and in-demand amenities.”

Dedicated Home Office Space

Here are just a few areas of home design where trends may shift in the coming years:

Home size
Homes had been trending smaller, but that may be over. With so many families spending (way) more time around the home lately, there’s never been more need for personal space. Expect homes to grow in size accordingly.

Prioritizing the home office
As more and more businesses relax work-from-home policies, or shift to full-time remote work entirely, the home office will become a near-essential for many buyers. A space that was once an after-thought now will need to offer privacy, good lighting and be pre-wired for telecommuting.

Return to the closed-floor plan
For some buyers, the appeal of the open-floor plan was already trending down prior to 2020, and the past few months have only made the reasons why more evident. Sharing more time and space at home demands privacy for school work, hobbies, and entertainment. With more meals being cooked at home, an open concept kitchen becomes noisy epicenter practically all day long. Builders expect a rise in demand for closed floor plans, where rooms are partitioned for purpose.

Smart technology
This is already one of the fastest growing trends in home design, but smart home technology will soon move from a ‘plus’ to a ‘must’. Temperature and lighting control can now be voice or motion-activated. Touchless faucets, once thought superfluous, are now an inexpensive and health-conscious upgrade. Systems that filter air and monitor air quality will become more common and affordable.

 

The economy is tanking. So why aren’t home prices dropping?

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COVID-19 has caused volatility in seemingly everything but housing

By Jeff Andrews  May 21, 2020, 12:00pm EDT

More than 38 million Americans have lost their jobs since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay-at-home orders have ground much of the economy to a halt, prompting trillions in stimulus spending by the federal government in hopes of keeping industries afloat.

But anyone hoping a silver lining to the economic chaos would be deals in the housing market have thus far been disappointed; for the week ending May 9, the median listing price in the United States was up 1.4 percent year-over-year, according to Realtor.com. Existing home sales in April fell by almost 18 percent, but prices rose 7.4 percent compared to a year ago.

Why isn’t the tanking economy bringing home prices down with it? It’s a reasonable question given that so much of the economy moves in lockstep, and the last economic crisis in 2008 sent the housing market into free fall.

So what’s different this time around? Let’s break it down. The price of anything is a function of the relationship between supply and demand. Generally, home prices have been pushed up over the last 5 years by high demand created by a then-booming economy and a low supply of housing for sale, due in part to relatively low levels of housing construction and available land on which to build.

After the outbreak of the pandemic, housing demand fell as buyers lost their jobs, part of their income, or simply didn’t want to be shopping for a house in the middle of a viral outbreak and what figures to be a period of great economic uncertainty.

Demand dropping was evident in a number of metrics. Although a weak indicator of buyer demand, traffic to real estate portals like Zillow and Redfin dropped significant in the beginning of the outbreak, as did more reliable indicators like pending home sales and weekly mortgage applications.

Usually, a huge drop in demand would put downward pressure on prices; home sellers would be competing with each other to attract a limited number of buyers by dropping their asking price. But while housing demand has dropped substantially, housing supply also dropped in lockstep as potential home sellers pulled out of the market for many of the same reasons buyers are.

New home listings is a good indicator of housing supply, and after stay-at-home orders were enacted, new home listings cratered by as much as 80 percent year-over-year. Redfin reported that 41 percent of offers were subject to a bidding war over the last month, suggesting demand is outpacing supply—just as it was before the pandemic.

While both supply and demand have dropped, the relationship between the two went largely unchanged, meaning the drops in supply and demand were generally proportional to each other. Furthermore, home sales also dropped after the pandemic hit, and it’s hard for prices to move when there aren’t as many housing transactions to make prices move in aggregate. Together, this leaves prices much where they were before the pandemic.

This is consistent with how housing markets have fared in previous pandemics. A Zillow study looked at housing markets in cities hit by previous pandemics in Asia and found that whole activity dropped, home prices didn’t move much. A good way to think about the housing market at this moment is that it’s on pause—buyers and sellers have left the market, transactions have dropped in response, and prices aren’t moving.

For a comparison point, the relationship between supply and demand was very different before and during the 2008 financial crisis. Prior to the collapse, shady lending practices created excess demand for housing by bringing unqualified buyers to the market. Home builders responded by increasing construction to meet this demand.

When the financial system locked up, it brought the excess housing demand to a halt because banks weren’t able to lend in the same volume—not to mention the recession the collapse induced, which caused unemployment to rise and buyers to drop out of the market.

At the same time, banks foreclosed on houses in the millions. Given housing supply was already high from home builders constructing in excess, this sudden pile up of foreclosed houses created a nightmare scenario for the market—low demand and very high supply. Home prices plummeted.

This scenario is highly unlikely to play out again for two reasons. First, there was already a housing supply shortage prior to the pandemic, so any addition to the housing supply wouldn’t be exacerbating an existing over-supply problem, like in 2008.

Second, a foreclosure crisis on the scale of 2008 is unlikely, at least in the near-term, because the federal government has placed a moratorium on foreclosures on federally backed mortgages and directed the mortgage industry to offer mortgage forbearance for up to a year to homeowners who have been impacted financially by the pandemic.

Assuming this stays in place, a wave of foreclosures won’t lead to a supply spike that puts downward pressure on home prices, but given the situation is fluid, it can’t be ruled out that the federal moratorium is lifted.

And historically, the financial crisis was an aberration with regard to how recessions typically impact housing markets. While 2008 obviously destroyed the housing market, previous recessions have barely moved at all. If anything, prices went up.

While the current conditions haven’t led to a short-term price drop, the long-term economic trends induced will likely effect prices in the future. Zillow economist Skylar Olsen says Zillow is forecasting a price drop of 2 to 3 percent through the end of 2020, depending on the city, compared to where prices were in February.

“We don’t expect prices to fall by too much, at least nothing like the last crisis because housing in general is much more resilient than it was last time,” she says. “We didn’t have excess building driven by excess credit that drove excess homeowners. We don’t have excess in housing.”

There are faint signals that housing markets are slowly building back up. Demand metrics like mortgage applications are up, and pending home sales have returned close to their normal in cities less impacted by the pandemic.

However, pending home sales in cities hit hardest on the coasts remain down significantly year-over-year. And markets across the country remain supply constrained, as new home listings remain down year-over-year even in cities that haven’t been hit has hard by the pandemic.

Current State of Real Estate

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Real Estate Deemed An Essential Service

 

I hope this message finds you and yours safe and healthy.

This pandemic certainly has turned our world upside down. And in many ways, it’s made us recognize everything we are grateful for. For me, that’s my health, my family and my role as your real estate advisor.

As you can imagine, I am sitting in on numerous conference calls, zoom meetings, webinars, podcasts, etc. with California Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, mortgage professionals, fellow real estate associates, Sonoma County Alliance, County Supervisors, etc. etc. to stay current on all facets of the business.

The “short story” is we are absolutely open for business. Real estate has been deemed an “essential” business.

Some quick answers and insight…

Will housing values crash?
No, locally our market continues to be low on inventory. My perspective is the data will show a “flat spot” of activity… not a change within the overall values of properties. I do acknowledge there will be some folks who have been forced to dip into their financial reserves just to survive… exhausting their would-be down payment money. These buyers will be “on hold” until they replenish funds. In short, I do not see any significant shift(s) within our local real estate market as a result of COVID-19.

Is now a good time to buy or sell?
Yes, the people who are transacting now are serious players. This is reminiscent of a November/December market… there are very few “tire-kickers” in the current environment. We are experiencing both buyers and sellers being respectful and reasonable with their expectations. We know that life is still moving forward despite the pandemic, people will continue to do what’s best to achieve their goals.

Can I still get a loan?
Yes, however, know the last two months have been a perfect storm in the lending world. First, with the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic, mortgage interest rates dropped to all-time lows in February. When Shelter-In-Place orders came through in March, mortgage lenders had to quickly adapt to new guidelines to accommodate for temporary unemployment, furlough, forbearance, and a host of other issues on the secondary market. Needless to say, the mortgage and real estate markets are experiencing unprecedented changes. Even still, mortgage rates are at all-time lows and it is a great time to refinance, purchase or sell.

Will it take longer to gain offers on listings?
Yes, we are seeing homes taking longer to receive ratified contracts. This is understandable, as many buyers have been “on hold” with their search for a place to call home.

Will closings be delayed?
Possibly yes. Clients should know that closing may take longer than the usual 30 days, while appraisers, home inspectors, and trades professionals adjust their workflow and availability. Again, the key is to have realistic expectations and understand the variables that are playing into the equation.

Conclusion
For those who are serious about buying a home right now, there are still properties on the market eagerly awaiting their new owner. We were, after all, at the start of our traditionally robust spring market when COVID-19 appeared on the scene. Although you might need to view a home a bit untraditionally by means of a virtual tour, many are finding this method to be just as successful – and with added convenience. You might even find that there’s less competition in the market, giving you a better chance of securing your new home.

For home sellers, the story is the same. While our lives have been shaken up in many ways, one thing remains true: Home is our sanctuary. There are still plenty of interested buyers out there. People still need to move up, downsize or relocate. If you’re a seller, the process will likely take additional time however, you will prove to be successful in this market.

I am grateful to be working in this industry and backed by the nation’s strongest residential real estate company, benefiting you directly by giving you access to a plethora of unsurpassed marketing tools that are critical to success in today’s market.

Know that I am here to help in any way needed!