Las Vegas/Henderson Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find a wealth of information & knowledge in The Sodhi Group blog, covering topics from local market statistics and home values to community activity. It's because we care about the community and want to help you find your ideal place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to be of help and to speak with you!!!

Aug. 17, 2014

5 Things To Do Right Before An Open House

Preparing for an open house can be stressful, especially if you're in a rush to sell. Here are a five simple things you can do right before showings or the open house to make your home look more attractive to potential buyers.

1. Clear Out the Personal Items

Foyer tables, fireplace mantels and refrigerator doors are popular display spots for loads of personal items like holiday cards, children’s artwork, pictures and trophies. Pare down or clear off these spots for showings.

2. Clean!

Cleaning seems so obvious, and is inexpensive, but the lack of it is one of the biggest complaints agents hear. Hopefully, you’ve done the big scrub leading up to open-house day: carpets steamed, floors mopped, windows wiped, appliances scoured. But on the day of a showing, don’t overlook little details like crumbs on the table from breakfast, toothpaste remnants in sinks, half-full trash cans on display and dust bunnies in rooms you don’t frequent.

3. Make Sure It Smells Clean Too

Besides a home’s visual appeal, nothing triggers more comments than scents. Diffuse cooking, pet and musty odors by airing out the home with open windows or air purifiers.

4. Improve Traffic Flow

Walk through each room and determine if the furniture arrangement contributes to a comfortable flow and use of space, or if it simply is that way because that’s how it has always been.

5. Let There Be Light!

No matter what time of day or year, the home’s temperature, lighting and noise levels should be just right during an open house. Room temperatures should be not too hot and not too cold. Blinds, shades and drapes should be open, and lights should be on.

Are you a seller in the Las Vegas area? Call us for a free comparative market analysis at 702.796.4790.

 

Posted in Tips for Sellers
Aug. 10, 2014

What You Need to Know About Sun City - Summerlin

Many people already know that Sun City Summerlin is a senior community (ages 55+) located in the master-planned community of Summerlin in Las Vegas. What you may not know is that it has tons of excellent amenities designed to keep seniors active and entertained during their golden years.

Where do we even begin? Sun City Summerlin has THREE golf courses (yes, three) and four clubhouses. Each clubhouse features multiple swimming pools, racquetball and tennis courts, and daily group activities. The nearly 8,000 homes in the community range from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet and are all single-story. The main rules for age requirements are that all residences must have one owner/occupant at least 55 years old, and no permanent residents under age 19.

Sun City Summerlin is also conveniently located minutes away from great shopping, dining, hospitals and freeway access to downtown Las Vegas or the Strip. This fabulous 55+ community is perfect for seniors who want make the most of their well-deserved retirement years.

Are you interested in purchasing a home in Sun City Summerlin or another senior community in Las Vegas? Our realtors are experts in the area and can help you find the perfect home. Give us a call at 702.796.4790.

Posted in Tips for Buyers
Aug. 3, 2014

Las Vegas Real Estate Market in Transition

The Las Vegas housing market is in transition, from a situation where investors were swooping up distressed properties to a market of more traditional, owner-occupant sales.

While home prices are up nearly 19 percent from a year ago, they are still more than 40 percent off their peak, according to S&P/Case-Shiller's latest home-price report. Prices in "Sin City" bottomed in January 2012 at a median of $118,000 before rising at a record rate for 19 straight months until September 2013, when prices began to level off again.

Cash buyers made up 34.7 percent of sales in June, down from a peak of nearly 60 percent in February 2013.

Since sales have slowed, buyers are in a better position. There is more inventory and fewer cash buyers that are outbidding traditional buyers, so they're in a position to find a property they really want, as opposed to just buying what they can afford or what they can win a bid on.

"The mix of closings are slanting much more toward non-distressed sales, which has fewer investors picking up properties," said Brian Gordon of Las Vegas-based analytics firm Applied Analysis.

Zillow economist Stan Humphries said affordability is still strong in Las Vegas. Fifty-seven percent of homes sold in Vegas are vacant, and nearly 30 percent of homeowners are still in a negative equity position — meaning the homeowner owes more on the mortgage than the home is worth.

"It's a signal we're continuing to work through distressed assets that remain in the market," Gordon said.

Posted in Real Estate News
July 27, 2014

4 Reasons to Move to Las Vegas

Most people love visiting Las Vegas, but have you ever considered living here? Despite what many tourists think, Vegas is actually a very livable place once you go beyond the Strip. Here are four reasons to consider making this amazing city your official home.

VEGAS IS TRULY A 24 HOUR CITY

And no, we're not talking about night clubs. Although if you ARE looking for a 24/7 party, Vegas clearly has that covered. What we're referring to here is little conveniences that aren't available in many cities. Need to run to the grocery store at 4 am? No problem. Can't sleep and want to hit the gym at midnight? Most here are open 24 hours. Need to get a spray tan in the middle of the night? That's not a problem either. Same thing goes for restaurants. While many other cities literally shut down at 11 pm, in Vegas you can pretty much find whatever you need, regardless of what time it is. And there's definitely something to be said for that.

NEVADA DOESN'T HAVE STATE INCOME TAX

This is a major plus, especially from people hailing from high income tax states like California. Thanks to tourism and gambling, legal residents of Nevada don't have to pay state income tax. Clearly this is beneficial regardless of how much you make in a year, but for those that are making over a certain amount, this can equal VERY significant savings. Which leads us to reason number three....

LAS VEGAS HAS A LOW COST OF LIVING

Aside from not having state income tax, Las Vegas is a very affordable place to live compared to other cities. Home prices are still relatively low and rent is cheap, as are other things like gasoline and groceries. Despite that, most employers here still pay their employees more than the national average.

THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO DO HERE

In many ways, Las Vegas has the best of everything. No matter what your thing is, whether it's shopping, dining at fine restaurants, hiking, going to night clubs, going to art galleries, kid-friendly events, etc., Vegas has it covered. There's never a shortage of fun things to do here, even for young children. And if somehow you DO get bored with Las Vegas, there are a ton of other fun things to explore within a day's drive.

Are you considering making the move to Vegas? Give us a call at 702.796.4790.

July 21, 2014

Tips for Relocating

So you've found the perfect home, and you're ready to start planning your move. Seems like a pretty daunting task, no? Don't stress! We've compiled some helpful checklists to make your move a little easier.

CHECKLIST 1: RELOCATION EXPENSES

1. Track all of your expenses – travel, food, hotel, mileage, etc.

2. Keep a file of all receipts

3. Check with your Accountant on what is tax deductible and what is not

4. If using a Corporate Relocation Package find out what is reimbursed and what is not, what is billed directly, what expenses are covered (if any),and how to handle receipts

CHECKLIST 2: QUESTIONS FOR MOVERS

1.When can you pack and move us?

2.What are the standard and extra charges?

3.What does insurance cover?

4.How do you handle boxes I pack myself?

5.How long will you take to get my stuff to my new home?

CHECKLIST 3: TO DO

1. Be sure to keep a list of To Do’s and Questions to be answered –Evernote, Hard Copy, Your iPad

2. Keep a timeline or calendar of key dates – packing, moving, travel, move-in, closing dates on current/new home

3. List services to be opened/discontinued

CHECKLIST 4: RELOCATING WITH PETS

1. Talk with your vet and have your pet(s) examined

2. Get copies of all vet records

3. Plan for how you are moving your pets – car? plane?

4. Make sure you have suitable carriers if traveling by plane and checkairline requirements and costs

CHECKLIST 5: PREPARING FOR THE MOVE

1. Determine when you have to be out of your house

2. Hire your movers and determine packing/moving dates

3. Plan your travel (Plane? Car?) based on when your household goods willarrive at your new home and you will have access

4. Verify coverage for travel, etc. if using a Corporate Relocation Package

July 16, 2014

4 Tips for Buying an Investment Property

Buying an investment property continues to be one of America's favorite ways to invest, especially in places like Las Vegas. An investment property should be about increasing your wealth and securing your financial future. There is however, a common misconception that property investing always delivers positive returns. While this is true most of the time, it certainly isn't an instant road to riches. Keep in mind that how effectively you manage your investment will determine whether or not the investment helps you reach your financial goals. The cost of owning an investment property can be surprisingly low after you take into account your rental income and the tax deductions you'll be entitled to.

Here are four tips for first time investors.

1) Choosing the Right Property at the Right Price

Investing in real estate is usually all about capital growth, so choosing a property that is more likely to increase in value is the most important decision you will make, so buying at the right price is absolutely critical. If you're not familiar with the location where you're interested in purchasing, find a trustworthy real estate agent in the area who specializes in investment properties. They can help you find the steals that are currently on the market. They are there, you just have to know how to find them.

Whatever you do, never make a decision to buy an investment property based on getting a tax deduction - always focus on making the right investment choice.

2) Remember That Cash Flow is ALWAYS King!

Investing in property is a proven path to long-term wealth. However, you should consider it a medium to longer term type of investment, so you'll want to make sure that you can afford to maintain your mortgage payments over the long term. You do not want to have to sell your investment property until you are good and ready, and if you were to encounter some financial stress this could force you to offload the property at the wrong time.

Once you own an investment property it can be quite inexpensive to keep it and service the loan because you earn rent and get a tax deduction on many of the expenses associated with owning the property. Remember that over time rents tend to increase as does your own income - so expect things to get easier over time.

3) Pick the Right Type of Mortgage for You

There are many options when it comes to financing your investment property, so get sound advice in this area as it can make a big difference to your financial well-being. It is surprising how many people spend too much time researching mortgages in an attempt to save a few dollars a month, rather than spending that time on researching their local real estate market where much bigger gains can be had.

Interest on an investment property loan is generally tax deductible, but some borrowing costs are not immediately deductible and knowing the difference can count. Structuring your loan correctly is critical and this should be done with the help of a trusted financial advisor.

Whether you choose a fixed rate loan or a variable rate loan will depend on your circumstances, but consider both options carefully before you decide. Over time variable rates have proven to be cheaper, but selecting a fixed rate loan at the right time can really pay off. Remember that rate usually rise in line with property prices, so increasing interest rates are not always bad news for property investors as they have more than likely had a win on the capital gains front.

4) Check the Age & Condition of the Property

Needing to replace the roof or hot water service in the first few months of ownership could make significant difference to your profits and really damage your cash flow. It is therefore advisable to engage a professional building inspector before you purchase (and then once a year) to conduct a thorough property inspection to find any potential problems. It's not always a bad thing to buy a property that is not in peak condition, because you get the opportunity to improve the value of the property by fixing the place up and this can increase your returns. Now you can't do that when you buy stock!

If you're looking for investment properties in the Las Vegas area, contact us today. We're experts here in the Valley and can help you find the right property for your needs!

Posted in Tips for Buyers
July 9, 2014

Senior Communities in Las Vegas

sun-city-summerlin

Thanks to the sunny, warm climate and favorable tax laws in Nevada, it's no secret that Las Vegas is a great place to retire. Luckily, there are many age-restricted communities in the Valley that are perfect for active seniors. Many even offer recreational facilities, golf courses, clubs, restaurants and so much more.

The most popular senior communities in Las Vegas are the Sun City communities, built by Pulte & Del Webb. There are four Sun City communities in town, including:

Sun City Summerlin: Located in Summerlin on the west side of the Valley, this was the first Del Webb senior community in Las Vegas. It has 7,800 homes ranging in price from the low $100,000's to high $800,000's. It also contains four clubhouses, three golf courses and three restaurants, in addition to many other world-class amenities. Just one clubhouse alone boasts amenities such as an outdoor lap pool, indoor spa, exercise room, racquetball court, ping pong tables, tennis courts, miniature golf course, shuffleboard and an outdoor walking track.

Sun City Anthem: This community is located in Henderson, which is adjacent to Las Vegas. It contains 7,200 homes that range in price from the low $100,000's to $1 million. Located in the foothills of the Black Mountains, it has excellent views of the Valley and Las Vegas Strip. The elevated location also means slightly cooler temperatures than the rest of the Valley. With three clubhouses, two 18-hole golf courses and over 50 clubs and interest groups, there's never a shortage of activities to keep community residents entertained.

Sun City Aliante: This Del Webb community is located in North Las Vegas and contains 2,000 homes, ranging in price from the low $100,000's to $300,000's. Aliante is only about 15 miles from the Strip and is close to the 215 beltway, which makes it convenient for those looking to experience all of the pleasures Las Vegas has to offer. The community clubhouse is the focal point for all social and fitness activities in Sun City Aliante. Not to mention, the community is surrounded by a host of great attractions that include a brand new casino, a highly acclaimed golf course and plenty of shopping and dining options.

Sun City MacDonald Ranch: Located in Henderson right off the 215 beltway, this is the second senior community Del Webb built in Las Vegas. It has 2,500 homes which are priced affordably from the low $100,000's to high $300,000's. It is more intimate than the larger Sun City Anthem and Sun City Summerlin communities, but the cozier feel and ideal location is precisely what residents of Sun City MacDonald Ranch cherish most about their community. The main clubhouse offers a fitness center, aerobics and dance studio, grand ballroom with a stage, several meeting rooms, billiards room and a library. There are also several hobby and craft studios such as a sewing and quilting room, arts and crafts center, ceramics room and a multi-purpose studio.

If you're interested in retiring in Las Vegas, contact us today! We can help you find the home of your dreams in the right community for you.

 

July 2, 2014

Is Using Bitcoin to Buy Real Estate in the US a Reality?

Several days ago, digital real estate website RedLuxury.com published an article about Chinese investors using Bitcoin as currency to purchase European properties. According to the article, currency restrictions imposed by the Chinese government make Bitcoin particularly attractive to Chinese investors because it's digital peer-to-peer payment method with no single administrator and no central repository. Basically, Chinese investors are able to circumvent the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government by using Bitcoin.

So would something like ever be possible in the United States? In our opinion, probably not. First of all, Bitcoin values fluctuate significantly from day to day. If you're in the middle of a transaction, those could potentially pose a huge problem. $1000 might be worth $600 twenty-four hours later.

Second, Bitcoin transactions can have fees of up to 2%. For high-value properties, this could end up being a significant chunk of change that buyers and sellers balk at.

Third, the US government doesn't have the same strict currency regulations that the Chinese government does, which makes the currency less attractive to American buyers and sellers.

Nevertheless, it sounds like Bitcoin may be here to stay for awhile and we will definitely continue monitoring its effect on the US real estate market.

Posted in Tips for Buyers
June 22, 2014

5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re planning to buy or sell property this summer, you may want to work with a real estate agent to guide you through the process. While you may have a neighbor or cousin who works in real estate, it’s a good idea to vet potential agents to ensure the best fit for your needs, since it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all proposition. Here’s a look at questions to ask.

1. How long have you been in the business? First, ask about the agent’s experience. "For me, the first thing I want to know is how long have they been in the marketplace," says Rick Harris, regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors and owner of a Coldwell Bankers office in Ashland, Oregon. "Not just how many years, but how many buyers do they work with that have similar needs."

Also consider the difference between a part-time real estate agent who sells a few properties for friends and relatives and someone who treats it as a full-time business venture. As Mirtha Barzaga, a Realtor with Davidson Realty in St. Augustine, Florida, points out, "there [are] a lot of agents out there that do this part time, and they can't provide the level of service that somebody who is doing this day in and day out can provide."

2. What geographic areas and types of properties do you handle? For buyers’ and sellers’ agents, neighborhood expertise is key, because neighborhood markets can have different quirks. For instance, Harris lives on a small ranch, so he knows the ins and outs of rural properties. "I focus very specifically on my county because rural regulations differ by county," he adds. Historic homes are another area that may require special expertise because of the additional challenges and potential restrictions involved.

Consider not only what agents tell you but also the way they brand themselves online. Herman Chan, a real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco, says many agents are now active on social media with YouTube channels, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and more, allowing you to do your own research. "If they're branding themselves as a condo specialist and you want to buy a house, they're probably not the right agent for you," he says. An agent who focuses on condominiums may have more familiarity with specific condo buildings than someone who mainly handles single-family homes.

Ask about other types of expertise, too. If you’re a veteran or active duty military member, you may want to work with someone who has special training to understand how Veterans Affairs financing works and the challenges of frequently relocating. If you’re a first-time buyer, you may want to find someone who works with lots of first-time buyers and has the patience to do some hand-holding.

3. How will you communicate with me? A communication lapse of a few hours can mean the difference between an accepted offer and a missed opportunity. With that in mind, choose an agent who responds quickly in the mode of communication that works for you, whether it’s email, text, phone or fax. "Quite frankly as Realtors, our job is to be able to communicate the way the consumer wants," Harris says. "Finding a Realtor who will work with you in the way that you need to work is great."

Communication is especially important for buyers house-hunting from afar. Chan has clients in London or Asia who communicate with him via Gchat or FaceTime. He’ll also record tours of potential properties and upload the videos to YouTube with a private link.

Also ask who will be your main point of contact, because some busy real estate agents use a team of assistants or sub-agents to handle day-to-day tasks, and you may not have direct access to the agent you choose. "Maybe some people don't care, but I think that's an important question to ask," Chan says.

4. Can you share references? In addition to interviewing potential agents, talk to their buyers or sellers. Barzaga says she has a list of clients she can share with potential clients as needed. "I have had some of my previous clients take them out to lunch and talk to them without me being in front of them so they can get a real picture of that area and the work that I have done for them," she says.

Harris agrees that talking to past clients is a good idea. "By doing that, you take out the self-promotion that everybody in business has to do and get to that relationship to help you understand how well they actually did," he says.

Also ask what portion of business comes from referrals or repeat business. If an agent mainly works on referrals or repeat business, that can be a positive indicator that prior clients were satisfied.

5. What will it cost me to sell this property? Buyers often don’t pay commission directly, but sellers often do and the costs can vary from agent to agent. For buyers who worry that bringing up the commission topic will be uncomfortable, Chan suggests phrasing this question as, "What will it cost me to sell this property?" Also ask for a breakdown of estimated closing costs. "If they feel that it's appropriate in your market, some agents throw in free staging or pay for your moving expenses, but you have to compare apples to apples," he says. "If you get someone who's charging less, are you getting reduced services for reduced commission?"

Barzaga suggests asking where the property will be listed and how many websites the agent participates in. Will the agent list the property on his or her YouTube channel or Facebook page too? And if so, how many followers does he or she have?

These questions can help you get a sense of the agent’s process and personality, but the right decision may depend on your instinctive reaction. "Follow your intuition," Chan says. "If they feel too slick, it's not a good sign. It’s a good sign when you find an agent who can tell it like it is."

(Source: money.usnews.com)

If you're buying or selling property in the Las Vegas area, we'd love to speak with you! Give us a call anytime, 24/7, at 702.796.4790.

June 10, 2014

Switching From Renting to Buying: 5 Things to Know

So you’ve decided it’s time to leave the world of renting and buy a home. If you’ve always rented, you’re in for quite a few changes as you look to buy. Here are five things to look out for as you start the process of buying a home.

Get Your Credit in Check

Before you start dreaming about white picket fences or painting the walls your favorite color, you need to make sure you have a credit score that will make the banks want to give you a mortgage. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate, which means your credit score can save you thousands of dollars.

Budget, Then Shop

You shouldn’t even think about house hunting until you have your finances sorted out and understand the newly implemented mortgage rules. Many first-time homebuyers make the mistake of finding a place they love and then sorting their mortgage around it.

Before you start looking at houses, meet with the bank to determine what interest rates and mortgages you can afford. A good real estate agent will only show you homes in that price range.

Take the Inspection Seriously

Before you get your heart set on the home of your dreams, you need to have the property inspected. When you rented, inspecting the property meant checking to see if the appliances worked or if there were holes in the walls. If anything major came up, such as a drainage or mold problem, the landlord or superintendent handled it. But now, it’s up to you and your home inspector to spot everything from mold to leaks before you buy the home.

Inspections vary by region. While home inspectors in the South look into hurricane standards and sinkhole possibilities, inspectors in California are checking for earthquake structural damage. Talk to the inspector about which issues are specific to your region, and accompany the inspector and ask plenty of questions.

Factor in the Extra Costs

Once you become a homeowner, you’ll have to pay property taxes, which in some cases are part of your monthly payment. Remember that even if you have a fixed-rate home loan, your property taxes could increase and raise your monthly housing payment.

Another extra cost of owning a home is homeowners insurance. Lenders require that anyone taking out a home loan have homeowners insurance. The cost depends on the location of your home, the materials used to build it and other factors.

Repairs are Your Responsibility

After everything is signed and you’re standing inside your new home, it will hit you: Anything that goes wrong in that home is up to you to fix. This is one of the most daunting tasks that differentiates homeownership from renting. If there’s a leak or the refrigerator breaks, there’s no calling maintenance to fix what’s broken. It’s up to you to fix a leak (or call and pay for a plumber) or to fix or buy a new refrigerator. The home is your baby, and it’s your job to keep it alive and livable.

(Source: Redfin.com)
Posted in Tips for Buyers