Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
of change XXXVIX
As we do each year around this season, we are printing a calendar, and again like each year it revolves around a specific theme. This year we wanted to render homage to the foundations that work in our surroundings. We feel that they are currently playing an essential role in our society, deploying the efforts of large numbers of anonymous people to make up for the role that was formerly played by the Government. We are sure that without their contribution this society of ours would be even more polarised, and would be unable to provide a response to such pressing needs and requirements.
We are aware that this is just a small sample, that we have restricted ourselves to the ones closest to us. We are also aware that in other parts of the world the needs are much more urgent and substantial than ours.
In the end we have chosen those most directly related with the setting of Amat. Download our calendar here
We would also like to thank our sponsors and collaborators for the support we have received in producing this calendar.
We wish you happy festivities and, most especially, plenty of hope, positive outlook and strength for the coming 2013.
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Barcelona Balmes 345 ▪ Sant Cugat Vallès Centre Rb. Can Mora 10 ▪ Valldoreix Pl. Can Cadena 2 ▪ Sant Just Desvern Bonavista 63 central
For many holiday enthusiasts across Orange County, the spirit of the season is most emphatically expressed by the beautifully bedecked boats, yachts, canoes and kayaks that glide across the waters of the Newport Beach harbor every year during the annual Christmas Boat Parade.
For its 104th year, the parade will feature festive vessels that evoke the theme of “Surf, Sand and Santa.” The approximately 14-mile route will begin and end off of Bay Island, parading a plethora of very merry holiday displays in front of restaurants, beaches and homes from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting Wednesday, December 19 and ending Sunday, December 23.
Hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, this year’s event will be made especially bright by a fireworks show on the opening and closing nights.
In addition to the century-old boat parade, many bayside homes and businesses that line the harbor have held their own in the time-honored tradition of holiday merriment, outfitting their exteriors with spirited scenes for the annual “Ring of Lights” contest.
Come one, come all and come see why Clark Griswold has nothing on the residents of Newport Beach.
If you plan to partake in the parade festivities, we'd love for you to share your pictures with us. Send them to email@example.com, and we’ll post all of our favorites on Surterre’s social networks.
One of Southern California’s most sought-after luxury homebuilders, Scott Cross has accomplished more in his 32 years than many people do in a lifetime.
The youngest homebuilder featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Scott is also one of OC Metro’s 40 under 40. Most recently, SC Homes – the company Scott started at the age of 22 – was named the 15th fastest-growing private company in Orange County by the Orange County Business Journal.
Drawing inspiration from his favorite travel destinations, Scott has made a distinct impression on the local luxury marketplace with his creations, which showcase his interpretation of the soft contemporary esthetic, infusing a client’s living experience with the tranquility of an upscale getaway.
The feeling of an island retreat is abundant in several of Scott’s recent projects, two of which are listed with Summer Perry of Surterre Properties®’ BROWN and STOWELL real estate team in Corona del Mar.
1801 Tahuna Terrace is one of the largest homes in Irvine Terrace and offers top-tier creature comforts including a glass wine cellar and a theater room. Offered for $6.1 million, this property is in escrow and scheduled to close in February 2013.
4633 Fairfield Drive in Cameo Shores is another spectacular new construction home by SC Homes. This gem boasts a soft Polynesian flair and unique amenities like a two-story master closet and a spill over spa with Catalina Island views. This property is offered at $6.8 million and slated for completion in late spring 2013.
Will we drive over the fiscal cliff? Whether we do or not taxes and tax breaks are likely to be reconfigured in 2013. So what are the implications for real estate of going over the cliff? And which tax breaks will be the worst for our business (and our world at large) to lose?
I believe 2013 will be a strong year for New York real estate regardless of what the government finally decides to do about spending and revenue. But I do think a plunge off the fiscal cliff will negatively impact our first quarter. On the one hand, business and employment numbers are both improving, and Congress’s inability to resolve its financial plans before December 31 is unlikely to change that. On the other hand, beginning the New Year with no financial plan in place will almost certainly destabilize the stock market, and real estate buyers are far less likely to act when that market is jumpy. By the end of the first quarter the financial issues will almost certainly be headed towards resolution, stocks will calm down, and real estate buyers will relax and remember that THIS is why people buy real estate in the first place. It’s a good hedge against volatility.
So then we will face the question of HOW the need to raise revenue will be addressed. Of all the proposals on the table, the one with the biggest impact is the one we hear the least about: the loss of Federal deductibility of state and local taxes. While not specifically targeted at real estate, this deduction, if lost, will have enormous impact on the tax bill of most New Yorkers, since our state and local tax rates are so high. We should all be calling our representatives in Congress trying to head this one off at the pass.
There is a lot of talk in real estate circles about the mortgage deduction, about which I wrote a couple of weeks back. Honestly I do not think some scaling back in the mortgage deduction will be that impactful for the New York real estate marketplace. First, with interest rates so low, the deduction just doesn’t amount to that much money anyway. If the government was to roll back the size of a deductible mortgage from $1,000,000 to $500,000, the net cost to those with $1,000,000 mortgages would be under $10,000. Similarly, the loss of the ability to deduct mortgages on a second home, while an inconvenience to many (myself included), is not really a game changer. After all, it would only affect those who can afford second homes!
Finally, there is the anticipated increase in the capital gains tax. This will, in my opinion, have a negative impact on the supply side of our market. Our capital gains taxes in New York City are already the highest in the country, with about 12.5% of state and local taxes over and above the 15% top Federal rate. With a 5% increase in the top rate, plus the new 3.8% tax on investment income levied on high earners to pay for health care, some owners and investors could be paying above 35% on their appreciated assets. My prediction: during 2013, until individuals become accustomed to the changes, owners of large properties, with large embedded capital gains, simply won’t sell. They will shut the doors to a few of their bedrooms and stay put.
So this is how I see it – some changes in the mortgage deduction would not do much harm to our market. Loss of the deduction on state and local taxes at the Federal level would be a tax disaster for our state in general and our city in particular. And an increase in the capital gains tax rate will shrink our already inadequate supply of large properties, which will add to the gridlock already in place: the owners of 4 bedroom properties don’t move, so there is less for the buyers who own 3 bedrooms to buy. So they stay put, which leaves less for the people in 2 bedroom apartments to buy. And so on… The tight supply will keep the market strong and fast, even if it is temporarily slowed by volatility in stocks if the automatic tax increases and spending cuts go into effect January 1. No matter what, the events of the next month will tell us a lot about what to expect in the year ahead.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
One of the most integral things to the success of your SOLD home: Pricing. The Dawn Thomas Team is experts at pricing and we take our job, our responsibility to you, the Seller, and to the local market very seriously. If you are thinking about listing your home and have ques tions please feel free to contact us! The following things are extremely important to the success of your home selling for the best possible price...
“My price is high, but make me an offer!”
Getting the Best Price in the Shortest Time: The Role of a REALTOR® in Pricing
There is no “exact price” for real estate
We don’t tell you what we think your home is worth; the market determines value—together we determine the price
We show you a range of prices being paid for homes in your area
You determine the price based on the factors you control
Myth vs. Truth
MYTH:You should select the REALTOR® who quotes you the highest price.
TRUTH:An agent who knowingly takes an overpriced listing usually plans to start “working on you” immediately to get you to agree to a series of deep price cuts.
Here’s why:Every agent knows that agents and buyers avidly ignore over-priced houses. When a home stays on the market too long, com pounding the problem. Soon, there is negative perception attached to a house—meaning, you will have to cut the price far below fair market value to even get anyone to see it
Tara Nelson for Trulia published an article about four common of ten-overlooked decisions for buyers. In the Silicon Valley-we’re still in a relatively hot market with homes going for above asking with multiple offers. The Dawn Thomas Team likes to give our clients and potential buyers all the advice and knowledge we can. The following four points are important points to consider right now in our current market. Have you thought about these things? Do you know someone that can help explain the points below and give you sound guidance? That’s what we do and we’re here to help!
Here are some basic questions Tara Nelson suggests you seriously consider before you start the process:
Mortgage or not?
How much to put down?
Impound account. Or not?
What’s really important to you?
Your agent, attorney, financial advisor and CPA or tax professional should all be involved in your decision-making process.
Dawn Thomas welcomes questions! Call her today at (650) 701-7822 or Dawn@SiliconValleyandBeyond.com
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog the past few weeks, you’re well aware of the many fun and spirited ways that owners of Santa Barbara homes have to make to most of the holiday season. This weekend, the holiday cheer continues in full force with these great events around town.
Una Noche de Las Posadas El Presidio State Park - Friday, Dec. 14th 7-10pm El Presidio Historic State Park was originally a Spanish military outpost built in 1782. From this site, the city of Santa Barbara grew outward, as evidenced by the great number of historic adobes and landmarks in close proximity. This Friday, El Presidio State Historic Park will host Una Noche de Las Posadas, a chance to experience the rich cultural traditions of Santa Barbara’s earliest Spanish and Mexican residents during the Christmas season. Attendees can look forward to enjoying traditional songs, food, and a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter.
Holiday Nature Craft Workshop Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Saturday, Dec. 15th, 10am – noon The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will be holding a Holiday Nature Craft Workshop event this weekend where visitors can make handcrafted holiday decorations such as fresh wreaths, ornaments, and other items inspired by nature while sipping hot cider and enjoying the gardens and natural beauty of the American Riviera.
59th Annual Milpas Holiday Parade Milpas St. (From Canon Perdido to Mason) - Saturday, Dec. 15th, 11am The 59th Annual Milpas Holiday Parade is a fun parade that combines a celebration of the holidays, classic cars, and the youth community of Santa Barbara. The parade will include quite an array of participants, featuring marching bands, dance teams, Boys and Girls Club, bike surreys pedaled by school board members, martial arts groups, schools and retro cars. There will also be live music and a toy drive.
Holiday at the Ranch Rancho La Patera - Saturday, Dec. 15th and Sunday, Dec. 16th, 11am-4pm Rancho La Patera was established in the late 1800s, when the Stow family planted the first commercial lemon orchard in California at Rancho La Patera after discovering that the mild weather in the verdant Goleta Valley, adjacent to Santa Barbara, was ideal for growing lemons. This weekend, Rancho La Patera offers a glimpse back into history during their signature holiday open house with tours of the house which has been decorated throughout, photos with Santa, crafts, cookie-baking, and live holiday music.
Holiday Julefest Performances Solvang - Saturday, Dec. 15th and Sunday, Dec. 16th Julefest (Yule-fest) in Solvang is a celebration of holiday traditions honoring the town’s rich Danish roots. With free live entertainment including local musical groups performing in various locations around the heart of Solvang, this Santa Ynez Valley gem provides a fantastic holiday getaway. Enjoy strolling amongst over 100 festively decorated live fir trees lining Solvang’s walkways or attend the Julefest Nativity Pageant on Friday at 5pm and 7pm.
There's something wonderful to do in Santa Barbara every day, whether you're searching for luxury homes and real estate with us, attending the many events, festivals, and celebrations that our city offers or simply taking in the natural beauty of the Riviera landscape. We hope you'll be able to join us in your search for the best in Santa Barbara homes and real estate in our coastal paradise!
Although I am the grandson of retailers, bankers, and businessmen, I did not expect to go into business myself. As most of you know, I thought I would have a career as a music professor, writing music and teaching classes. Then, when Alexandra and I got married in 1977, she thought with the market SO low it would be a good time to buy an apartment. No one was investing in New York – the city was in the throes of a severe financial crisis, crime was terrible, and many believed that the city was dying. Our decision to buy was economic, since prices were at all time lows, but it was also an act of faith in a city we loved. That apartment search changed my life forever. I was bitten by the bug and it was just a couple of years later that I got my license and became a broker.
In January of 1986 I came to work at Ashforth as a broker and Junior Sales Director. I was 34 years old, but I had a vision. I wanted not only to give brokerage advice, but also to build an environment where people were generous to one another, collegiality was embraced, and where the managers all the way up the line were accessible and well informed. I wanted for myself to work in an environment in which people wanted to do the right thing because it WAS the right thing, and I figured other people might want that too. So a few years later, when the opportunity arose, I bought the company with my shareholders and began trying to put that vision into practice.
Each one of you in this room is here because of that idea, embraced by the entire Warburg management team, of who we are and what we stand for. I don’t know of any other firm which embraces these principals as openly as we do, which really strives to do the right thing, not the expedient thing, even if that can come with a financial cost. It doesn’t always work. There are lapses. But one reason I personally interview everyone who carries the Warburg card is because I believe so strongly in what we stand for and I know that YOU are the daily ambassadors of that message. Each of you was hand chosen for YOUR qualities of intelligence, integrity, and professional skill. It’s a high standard. And as we move forward into 2013, those qualities are more important than ever.
The landscape of our business has changed enormously in the past five years. StreetEasy, Trulia, and a host of other websites have made all our listing information transparent. The recent election made clear that middle class straight white men can no longer decide the fate of the country – the same thing is true of our business. We must honor and respect our past, which is illustrious, while not getting stuck in it. The business world of today is transformed in every way from the one in which I began: our clients and customers come from every ethnicity and background - they are straight and gay, single and married, parents and grandparents and not parents. They are 80 and 50 and 30 years old. They want lofts, they want houses, they want condos, they want co-ops. They want prewar or never lived in before. They want Brooklyn, they want Harlem, they want Fifth Avenue. This new world, which I believe our new marketing represents, is one I am proud to champion. Whatever our ages, we must approach our business with the spirit of the young: embracing change, excited by technology, committed to always revising our business practices to fit the new realities. Change waits for no man (or woman) and we must make a commitment to embrace it or lose our coveted place at the top of the pyramid.
The good news is, our commitment to flexibility and to doing the right thing is also good business. I am proud to tell you that 2012 has been, as far as we can determine given that the year is not quite over, our second best year ever! And while I hope the management team, the staff and I have succeeded in setting a tone which makes you proud to be at Warburg, I can tell you with certainty that we are extraordinarily proud of you! Your hard work and dedication to only the highest standards of integrity and professionalism made this great year possible. So thank you. I am humbled by the honor you have all done us by putting your faith in Warburg, in your management team, and in me. We won’t let you down!
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
It’s round 3 for Intero Real Estate Services’ Intero Prestigio virtual magazine. Still a combination of the innovative, tech savvy power of the Silicon Valley based real estate company and their division specializing in high-end real estate, it looks as if the program has exploded overnight.
The magazine offers enhanced and global promotion for Intero’s most exclusive homes and estates. Designed with ease of circulation in mind, it can instantly be shared through social media websites and email. As if reading a handheld magazine, online viewers can browse through gorgeous pictures and find the property information of the unique homes featured. The virtual magazine aims not only to raise awareness of properties offered in the Prestigio collection, but also to exhibit their finest qualities––and the magazine is only one aspect of the Prestigio marketing program.
Renowned real estate entrepreneur Alain Pinel, senior vice president and managing officer of Intero, is the primary mastermind who pioneered and launched Intero Prestigio as part of his goal of expanding Intero’s luxury brand. From local print advertising to international display, properties in the Prestigio collection have an elevated level of exposure to help them sell quickly and efficiently. On the release of the first virtual magazine issue, Alain excitedly stated, “It is wonderful to see how Intero’s luxury brand has taken off. The release of this magazine shows Intero is established in the global high-end market, and attests to Intero Prestigio’s growth.”
About Intero Prestigio
A luxury division of Intero Real Estate Services, Inc. Intero Prestigio provides an elevated level of service through its elite selection of marketing tools set up to expose homes and estates to relevant markets locally, nationally and globally. Intero Prestigio hosts a quarterly virtual magazine featuring its current luxury listings. Find the current issue at www.InteroPrestigio.com
About the Intero® Brand
Founded in 2002, Intero Real Estate Services, Inc. has quickly become one of the premier real estate brands in the U.S. In 2004, Intero Franchise Services Inc. began franchising and currently is operating in many of the western states. In 2009, Intero International Franchise Services, LLC embarked on developing territories in Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. The companies are private and headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley
Courtesy of McEnearney Associates
It’s December 1, 2006, and a couple making $140,000 just found a great house for $600,000. They call their mortgage lender and find that if they put 10% down, they can squeeze into that house. With 30-year mortgage interest rates at a very attractive 6.1%, they can just barely qualify for the monthly principal and interest payment of $3,272. The household budget may be a little tight, but they’re thrilled to be able to make their move. That was then.
And this is now. Another couple with that same income finds their dream home for $600,000 – but they’re cautious and aren’t looking to “squeeze” into anything. They’ve been talking about doing this for months, and they still blink twice every time they see that mortgage rates are less than 4%. Way less. Heck, their grandparents never saw the 3.32% loan that their lender says they can get. In fact, that rate means they can get a $770,000 loan. They’re really tempted to set their sights a little higher, but think about the cushion a $2,400 payment will give them, and they’re thrilled to be able to make the move.
Now is better. Now is unique. No one living today has ever seen mortgage rates this low, and the real estate market has turned the corner after some pretty rough years – prices are starting to rise. And that means the window of opportunity for buyers is wide open. First-time buyers can get in the game without having to push the envelope on their monthly income and can lock in a rate that few ever thought possible for as long as they live in that home. Move-up buyers can look at homes that a few years ago would never have been in their reach.
Years from now, we think we’ll look back on the winter of 2012-2013 as the best time to buy a home in a generation.
Courtesy of Ewing & Clark
According to the NWMLS’ newly released statistics, the hot topic is that inventory is extremely low in King County residential real estate. King County single family homes for sale (excluding condos) are down 43% from last year. At the end of November there were 3,720 listings for sale in the county, compared to 6,487 last November.
This lack of inventory is causing prices to increase. Median prices are up 20% from last November ($424,900 vs. $355,000), and average days on the market decreased 9% from this time last year (115 days in Nov. 2012 vs. 126 days in Nov. 2011).
Most real estate experts believe the reason for the low inventory is that rental rates continue to rise, and even with the recovery in price many home values are still only matching up to what prices were in early 2005. Many real estate experts are suggesting that if you bought your house any time the last 8 years, it is likely a good to stay in your home if you can.
Questions about the Greater Seattle real estate market? We can help. Contact Ewing and Clark.
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