Pressures That Dominate Real Estate Value

February 20, 2018

Real Estate

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When people usually think of real estate value they think of two forces; supply and demand. Yes, this is correct; however supply and demand only fall under the one of the four main categories that drive/depress real estate value. Supply and demand fall under the economic category of influences in real estate value. The other three include; social impact, government subjection and environmental forces.

When looking at social impact, there are a few things one would want to consider determining the effect it will have on real estate value. Most of all the value would fluctuate accordingly with population characteristics. This tie into the potential for demand in the economic section of value; the more demand, the more value a property can derive. Population however should be looked at in more depth by breaking down the sample by age and gender, rate of household formation and partition, as well as analysis of the social values such as education, law and order, and lifestyle preferences. Careful consideration of these factors will help establish trends in what would be reflected in real estate values.

Next is the government subjection, accounting for a large aspect of real estate value. This includes political and legal activities on several levels of government. These government influences have the power to overwhelm natural market forces such that you would find in the economic category. Government has their hand in providing facilities and services that affect values as well as a one of the main contributors to patterns of land use (zoning, by-laws, etc). The following are some things to look out for when assessing the government subjection of a market; fire and police services, garbage collection, transportation arrangement, utilities, zoning, building codes, health codes, and fiscal policies. Also the legislation that is set forth by the governmental factor must be accounted for, this would include; rent control laws, rights to farm, rights for managing forest, rights to agricultural land, restriction on ownership, new development laws, control of hazardous and toxic materials, and laws affecting investment power, loan terms, and mortgage lending institutions. All in all this is quite the category and its understanding will provide for a great idea of where values are currently and where they are headed.

In addition to the social impact, as well as government subjection, the environmental forces also play a part in real estate values. These can be natural or man-made and are analyzed by observing several aspects. Climatic conditions (snowfall, rainfall, temperature, humidity) would be an obvious one that would affect the values of building somewhere as well as maintenance and carrying costs, as well as the quality and type of build. Topography, soil and consideration of any toxic contaminants would also be of great importance as well as natural barriers, such as rivers, mountains, lakes, etc.

Just to get out of the 4 factors of real estate value; it is important to mention that there are some overlying factors that would be part of 2 or more of the categories. Once such factor is location, this is the link of a property in time/distance to any given origin or destination of a resident/user of the property. Location could fall under for environmental and economic, if not all categories. Due to the area and property type, properties access to public transport, schools, hospitals, stores, employment, suppliers, recreational and cultural facilities, parks, and places of worship would of importance.

This would also lead us back to the economic factor of influence on real estate value. The fundamental aspects to look for here include: employment, price levels, wage levels, industrial and commercial expansion, mortgage credit availability and cost, stock of vacant property, stock of improved property, occupancy rates, construction costs and rental/price trajectories of existing properties.

And there you have it, the 4 major pillars of real estate value; social, governmental, environmental, and economic. Taking a deep look at each of these sections one would assemble the entire spectrum of current real estate values and more importantly future real estate values.

The Importance of Master Planned Communities

February 20, 2018

Real Estate

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Why Master Planned Communities?

According to predictions, there will be changes around the globe in the future that will challenge the way people live. These changes include:

  • Much higher gasoline prices
  • Greater emphasis on energy efficiency
  • Environmental protection and other green features
  • Growing water shortages
  • A 24-7 world that will demand amenities that are open 24-7

To be able to keep up with the global changes, innovations are needed, especially in the real state industry. Understanding the future requires understanding the demographics and how they influenced the market. Thus the birth of the Master Planned Community.What Is A Master Planed Community?

A Master Planned Community (MPC) is a large-scale self-sustaining residential plan. It has a number of various essential amenities not normally found in a regular housing subdivision. A Master Planned Community gives the ability to work, live and play all within walking distance. Some real estate professionals consider this type of luxury real estate development a “Mixed Use” development since they include retail, housing and entertainment In previous times, clubhouses and pools were at the top of home buyers’ lists. Today, access to neighborhood retail services, high quality restaurants and health care is becoming the top priority according to the latest research. People want to get access to everything they need quickly and at reasonable prices, thus walkable access to civic use areas is in high demand.

Convenience

Master Planned Communities are designed to provide a master planned convenience. In its varied housing within a community layout, homes are designed to conform to the lifestyle of diverse generations. They are created to provide both soft and hard amenities and services in the way people want them delivered. These luxury communities facilitate residents building and living comfortable lives and having more time to spend with their families. This lifestyle also enhances connectivity between neighbors and their surroundings through shared spaces created for everyone across varied demographics to use whether alone or together.

Important Aspects of Master Planned Communities

To highlight the benefits and most significant aspects of Master Planned Communities, listed below are some of the reasons why it is important to the home buyer.

1. Better Access to Important Resources

As mentioned above, people nowadays want to have easy and quick access from their own homes to their most important resources. In regular housing subdivisions, however, people bought all lands and built huge properties to maximize their lots, leaving no space for other amenities. In Master Planned Communities, lots and houses are planned accordingly by providing a required minimum and maximum size. That ensures that there are more open spaces for the building of other amenities. For example, park and play spaces are already built within the community and cannot be removed or replaced by any other infrastructures. In Master Planned Communities, virtually everything a resident needs is within the community or within short distances. This kind of setting is not just good for working parents, young professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, and retiring baby boomers, it is also great for children going in and out of school most of all.

2. A Sense of Community Among Residents

The quality of neighbors defines a community. Not surprisingly, most people living in a luxury real estate development such as a Master Planned Community share a common interest which instantly creates a sense of togetherness among neighbors. As a result, residents feel safer, more serene, and more secure. Community events are organized within MPCs to provide residents with an avenue to socialize, get to know each other, and build strong connections. Additionally, the Master Planned Communities are founded on good governance with the rules and responsibilities of every community member that are declared beforehand. Many Luxury Master Planned Luxury Communities provide different community activities based upon the area within the PUD. For instance, in the luxury area, where homes start at $850,000 or so, you may find high-end marinas, with wet slips and dry boat storage. Some luxury developments even have their own private beach, or other waterfront home aminities in the luxury sectors. In the sections of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) where the homes are in the $300,000’s you may find community activities that involve fishing and pool parties.

3. Incorporated Agriculture

Gardens owned by the community is becoming popular in some Master Planned Communities. MPCs work to assist its residents to have their own local food production through either providing community gardens or incorporating small-scale farms.

4. Best Practices for Handling Transportation Issues

The use of multiple trails for biking and walking as well as the presence of sidewalks are necessary features of Master Planned Communities. And, as a solution to the most frequent and current demands of the community on transportation, MPCs implement various, sometimes combined, options of transporting people such as an electric autonomous vehicle systems, bus transit stops, car-sharing services, charging stations for electric vehicles, providing golf carts for driving within the community, or implementing shuttle services.

Other Significant Aspects

Play spaces, fitness boot camps, sand entry beaches, and co-workspaces are a few additional amenities to present in Master Planned Communities. Health and wellness is also one thing that MPCs are giving special attention to as more and more people are wanting to become healthier. The great outdoors with fresh, local produce and fantastic health care are things they are incorporating into the community in addition to sidewalks, pedestrian ways, multi-use trails, and social gathering places. On top of it all, Master Planned Communities have long-term increase in value which leads to great Return On Investment for home owners if planning to sell or rent their property. Master Planned Communities are also great for entrepreneurs. Business opportunities tend to be in abundance as many new partnership opportunities with companies that offer products and services wanted by the new generation of consumers emerge. For aspiring business owners, office spaces tend to be nearby at reasonable prices. The workers of businesses within planned communities tend to earn higher than average incomes. Many residential buyers look for the best location, easy access, quality neighbors, important amenities, and valuable future developments in choosing a home. A Master Planned Community is the realization of what was once just a dream community for many.

Condominiums

Although much of what has been metioned may sound like a condominium complex, that is not necessarily the case. Condominiums are planned out by a developer and may have similar shared areas, but they are a totally different real estate type.

In some instances, you will see luxury condos inside of a PUD. This is somewhat common with the new influx of mixed use properties being developed. In this case, the full Planned Unit Development may have single family homes, green space, a luxury condo complex, retail and even office spaces included. This newer type of PUD has become very popular as they further create a level of community and leave very few reasons to have to travel outside of your development.

Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value

February 20, 2018

Real Estate

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Every homeowner must do routine maintenance to their home that more or less just maintains its current condition. However, some homeowners decide they want to improve their home’s value and marketability. The amount of value certain improvements cost may not add as much value as the cost to do it.

Homeowner’s are very biased when it comes to their own home, they see the things they have done to it and think dollar for dollar the home’s value should go up with each improvement, this is not often the case. A potential buyer or real estate appraiser may be unimpressed with certain improvements, what you must keep in mind is that what you view as a valuable upgrade may not be the same as what the real estate market sees as a valuable upgrade.

Below I am going to outline Five Renovations That Don’t Increase Home Appraisal Value.

1. Swimming Pools

There aren’t many areas of the world where backyard pools are common place. Before adding a pool think about your neighbourhood, do the majority of properties have pools? Would a potential buyer expect there to be a pool? If pools are not common place in your area and/or have a very short season you likely will not be adding much value to your home, definitely not as much as the cost to put one in. In fact, Many potential home buyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and insurance claims waiting to happen. Potential buyers with small children could really be turned off by there being a swimming pool. In-ground pools come at a very steep price, my opinion is if buyers in your area would not expect a pool then this money is better spent elsewhere as you are not likely recoup the cost in a sale or appraisal.

2. Elaborate Landscaping

Home buyers and appraisers definitely appreciate good landscaping, but there is a line where elaborate landscaping no longer adds its equivalent in value to what it costs. Keep in mind that the next person buying your home may not want to take on the upkeep work of elaborate landscaping and may not want to have to hire a professional landscaper to take care of it. An appraiser will also only assess so much value to landscaping in their report as not a lot of emphasis is put on landscaping by the market, how often have you heard of someone buying a home because it had great landscaping? sure it is a plus but you are better off to just meet the standard in your area than to get too carried away.

3. Overbuilding for the Neighborhood

It is better to have the other homes in your neighbourhood “pull-up” your home’s value than to have them drag it down. Your neighbourhood plays a large factor in your home’s value, you do not want a large, elaborate, two storey home surrounded by older bungalows. The people that will be looking for that type of home will go to a neighbourhood where it will be surrounded by similar properties. Likewise, it will be very difficult for an appraiser to find similar comparables in your area and this could lead to a lower value being assessed.

4. High-End Upgrades

Most people are on a strict budget when it comes to home improvements, so what they will do is they will pick a room and do a complete remodel adding higher end flooring and fully modernize the room. This is good and I understand the strategy, next time you have some extra funds, pick another room and the same and after 5 years or so your home will be fully updated. But does that full remodel of that first or even second room really add as much value to your home as it costs? My opinion is now, if you full remodel one room and then plan on selling or getting an appraisal the appraiser is going to see the other 80 or 90% of the home is still dated and would be considered a project. An alternative strategy might be to take all of those funds that you were planning on sinking into an elaborate bathroom and spread them over the whole home, the cost of a full bathroom remodel could redo the flooring and paint throughout the entire home and this would be look upon much more favorably by a potential buyer or appraiser in their assessment of value than you just having one high quality room.

5. Invisible Improvements

New plumbing, electrical or HVAC might be necessary, but don’t expect to be adding dollar for dollar value for their cost. Home buyers and appraisers simply expect these systems to be up to date and in good working order. These items would be considered more home maintenance than home improvements.

The Bottom Line

When spending money on your home assess why you are doing it, if it is purely for your own comfort and enjoyment with no real intent in adding value then go ahead and add that pool. But if you are consciously trying to add value to your home then where to spend your renovation budget requires much more thought. Consider speaking with a realtor or appraiser and ask them where they feel your funds are best spent to improve value.