Ready to SELL Your Home, Las Vegas?

With phenomenal work by Las Vegas area native, Anne M. Creative we’re very proud to be rolling out new yard signs in the Very Vintage Vegas Realty brokerage style.  While the majority of Anne’s work is now in the web design arena, her skills for print are still evident in this work.

You’ll notice two subtle things: 1. Jack’s color scheme plays well with my last name (anything we can do to help buyers remember YOUR home when they see 6 that day, helps us get more offers & sell for more money) and 2. This sign isn’t designed for you, as a client looking to sell your house.  It’s welcoming your buyer to their new home, gently guiding them into picturing their new life there.  One of the many subtle, yet effective shifts in our perspective when marketing your home for a quick and top-dollar sale.  To hear more about how we can differentiate our services from so many licensed agents in Las Vegas, and to get a clear picture of what you can expect to net from your home sale, contact me here.  If you’d like to connect with Anne for design services, you can reach her at her website

VVVYardSignSteveChristmasWeb

 


Defeating Spring Weeds, Without Exposing Pets & Kids To Roundup!

A quick, easy, & SAFE solution to spring weeds & HOA Violations that pop up out of nowhere!

The other week, your part of the Las Vegas valley may have gotten a lot of rain. I know in Mountain’s Edge it was a more glorious downpour than any irrigation system could provide. The good news, any lawn or trees happily had much needed drink. The bad news; weeds you didn’t even know were there started popping up all over the place too! While this represents a few hour task of digging them up (and possibly a few hand blisters) there is a better way! Roundup kills all sorts of stuff, dandelions, unwanted grass, and unfortunately has been shown to cause cancer.

So that’s not a good option to be dumping on your property or back into our precious desert water supply. There’s got to be a better way to avoid an ugly lawn, violation notices from your HOA, and poisoning our tap water right? YES! After some research online, a few clicks at Amazon, and a previous trip to Ace Hardware, I had everything I needed & I’d like to share it with you to help save your back, your hands, and your bank account from the HOA violation police. There is a natural solution and it WORKS!

Here’s the required solution pieces and sources:
1) 2 Gallon reusable garden sprayer from Amazon, or Ace Hardware (about $14 there if I remember right)
2) 30% Horticultural vinegar from Amazon ($23.99)
3) Standard white vinegar
4) Table salt
5) Dawn Dish soap
6) D-Limonene 100% FOOD GRADE Citrus Solvent (Amazon $8)
7) Respirator mask & vinyl gloves for safe mixing & application

The recipe (Use a face mask & gloves while mixing/applying natural, but very acidic mixture) :
1. Dump the full gallon of 30% Vinegar into your sprayer
2. Dump 1/2 gallon of standard white vinegar to make it last longer while still being very effective
3. Dump 1 cup table salt into your sprayer
4. 1 tablespoon D-Limonene
5. 1 tablespoon blue Dawn dish soap (helps mixture get into roots & cling to weed)

Cap your sprayer and shake it up well to mix. Spray, being careful to spray only weeds, not foliage you’d like to keep. 2 hours later, your weeds will dry & shrivel up down to the root looking like the picture above.

Happy home maintaining & let me know how it works in the comments below. Remember to be careful not to breath the fumes or get it on your skin. It is natural, but it’s a powerful acid! I’d keep any pets & family inside until it dries and does it’s thing. I’m not a chemist, just a Realtor & homeowner who’s sharing some knowledge I found that worked well for me. Please be careful & exercise caution when mixing any substances. One thing I do know is it works & it’s not Roundup!


Two Books For Understanding Financial Calculations – Without an MBA

Without a doubt, investing in real estate is best done with a firm grasp of the financials involved. Financial calculations can appear daunting to say the least. With a quick look at the HP-12C financial calculator shown above you’ll quickly begin to wonder what the heck all those buttons do. While I don’t use all of them, using a similar calculator to quickly and accurately assess your costs and returns involved in real estate can help you immensely when evaluating investment opportunities. Is it better to invest in a vehicle that returns 16% annually but compounds only every three years, or an investment that returns 12% but can be compounded every two?

I recently did calculations for this example above & found, though compounding interest periods are a vital component of assessing how your money will grow or shrink overtime, the 16% return that compounds every three years is indeed a better investment for my 18 year horizon. In order to do this I had to use both my HP-12C and an excel spread sheet. Excel has many of the calculations the 12C does built right into it, but I’ve been really enjoying using the HP after reading a book that is basically half education on how money works, and half instruction manual to the HP-12c. This book relies heavily on the use of this exact calculator to illustrate it’s figures & if you’re looking for a solution you can carry around in your pocket without needing to lug your laptop around, I’d highly recommend reading it. The title is “Taking The Mystery Out Of Money” by Lonnie Scruggs, a now deceased investor who focused on flipping mobile homes. You don’t need to be interested in mobile home investment to benefit from his knowledge about how money works, and the material is so beneficial I’m left wondering why this book isn’t required reading somewhere along the education cycle of a high school senior.

The second book is definitely more real estate focused in-depth, but uses Microsoft Excel Read More


What is a SID? What is a LID? Why Is My Mortgage Payment Going Up?

SIDs and LIDs are additional taxes levied on homes that exist within a Special Improvement District, or a Local Improvement District that benefit from the improvements to that district. If you live in Mountain’s Edge Master Planned Community, your additional taxes are paying for things like Mountain’s Edge Park, and Exploration Peak Park. If you live in Summerlin, they are paying for things like Summerlin Parkway. The idea is that not all of Clark County will benefit from these expensive improvements, but the homes in the area will, so they will pay for the improvements through these taxes in addition to the regular Clark County Property taxes that fund things like our police force, firefighters, and teachers that we all benefit from.

Just like regular property taxes, SIDs and LIDs need to be paid, if they aren’t, a first priority lien can be placed on your home an you could be foreclosed upon over an unpaid bill of a few hundred dollars, usually charged twice a year until the total assessment is paid off; even if you’d been paying your mortgage and HOA dues. Many times, a SID or LID can be requested to be paid off by the existing homeowner prior to transfer to a new buyer. This, like many points of negotiation is highly variable in every real estate deal.

Take for example our most recent purchase in Mountain’s Edge. We purchased a home that didn’t include the very nice washer, dryer, and refrigerator and had a SID amount of about $2,800.00 left on the home. We asked to keep the appliances, and in return would assume the remaining SID balance. I look at it this way, the cost of replacing these appliances + interest if we put it on a credit card, even at 10% would be more than the balance of the SID, so in our case we were coming up a little over $1000.00 + the savings on interest if we chose to finance the purchase.

These payments in our situation are due June first and December first in the amount of $***.** until the balance is paid off. Many times your mortgage company may not make these payments out of your escrow account, and you would need to make a separate payment before those dates to the county assessor. Sometimes, the mortgage company will make these payments, though if they discover they haven’t included their collection into your escrow account, your payment may go up from when you initially purchase the home until the debt is paid. Remember, either way you are going to pay this tax or loose your home for a fraction of it’s worth, so be sure you know what’s required of you.

The company that auctions off your SID/LID taxes to investors in the Las Vegas area is a company called Assessmentt Management Group. You can visit their site to check your balance and payment history & be sure that if payments need to be made, someone is making them, whether it’s rolled into your mortgage payment, or you need to make payments yourself. Remember, we are not tax, or legal professionals, only sharing our experience to increase awareness. If you need to consult a professional in these areas, always be sure they’re qualified to help.


The Four Pillars of Real Estate Investment

Hopefully, you’re someone who owns not only their own home, but also another asset that generates cash flow.  If you are a real estate investor, you’ll realize many benefits when done correctly.  The four pillars of real estate as an investment vehicle are:

  1. Cash flow:  Simply put, if you can rent the home or apartment out for more than it costs to pay the mortgage, keep it in good repair, and account for vacancy (months with no income, but still expenses) you have an asset that is making you money while you sleep.  If you want to invest in rental property, having an agent like myself who personally invests & understands the costs are more than (rent) minus (mortgage, taxes & insurance) is vital!  Things like vacancy, repair, capital expenditures, and management are important to consider, even if it’s a new home and you plan on self-managing.
  2. Mortgage pay-down:  Simply put, if you’ve answered yes to the previous criteria, your tenants are paying off your property a little bit every month.  If you’re on a 30 year fixed mortgage, your payment is the same every month.  Initially, most of that dollar amount is going to interest, but as time goes on, more of it pays down the amount you borrowed, called principle which by the end of year 30 will have a balance of zero.
  3. Tax-favored investment environment:  Residential improvement on property is calculated by the IRS to depreciate to nothing in 27.5 years (though the value of the land does not depreciate).  That means every year you can write off 1/27.5th of the amount you purchased the home for (minus the cost of the land), as well as the mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance and repairs.  Due to new tax law changes, the first 20% of your income is tax free.  Meaning if you made $10,000.00 in one year, the basis for taxation begins at $8,000.00 before those other benefits.
  4. Appreciation: We suggest buying for cash flow not speculative appreciation like so many did in the early to mid 2000’s (especially on Adjustable Rate Mortgages!).  However let’s dig a little deeper into how this works, as it is a potential benefit of Real Estate investment.  Let’s say you buy an investment property for 25% down; you’re into it for 1/4 of the cost and the rest is financed (with tax-deductible interest). If the property appreciates 5% in one year, the appreciation applies to the entire purchase price, not just the 1/4 of that you paid for in cash.  So this means your actual return on cash put down would be four times that.  For simple math, lets say your bought something for $100,000.00, put $25,000.00 down, and it appreciated 5% in one year; or $5,000.00.  Now that $5,000 is 5% of $100,000.00, but it’s a 20% return (or 4 times that) on the $25,000.00 you put down.

Understand that there is so much more to all of this, and this brief synopsis is only meant to start you thinking.  In no way are we offering legal, tax, or investment advice.  Please consult your professionals in those areas for specific advice as it applies to your situation.  If you’d like to speak with me directly about these or any other real estate related ideas, we’re happy to share more of our personal experience, contacts for professionals, resources & real estate sales experience with you. Reach me directly on our Contact page & let’s speak soon.


We Need to Talk About HOA’s & Las Vegas Real Estate

The majority of homes in Las Vegas have Home Owner’s Associations. This can be a benefit or a detriment when shopping for a new home, or selling one. In theory, the HOA will provide at a minimum, protection for your home’s value based on the homes around it being kept up rather than falling to disrepair and negatively affecting your home’s value. In reality, the HOA can be seen as an additional cost to home ownership that can vary in benefit as widely as buying a great or terrible stock of a company. In a way that analogy is very on point, as management of the HOA and it’s assets, legal status and financial standing can cover a wide range.

Using a Realtor who understands HOA’s is a great starting point in helping you find the right community to live in, but now your due diligence doesn’t have to end there. When you buy a home you’ll have an independent, qualified, licensed home inspector verify the condition of the structure and it’s components. You’ll have an independent, qualified, licensed appraiser verify the value of the home. When you buy in a HOA, you’ve previously received a sometimes 500 page resale package delivered to you before you close. It’s really been on you personally to read and interpret the bylaws, restrictions, and financial condition of the association your buying into. Sure a Realtor can give you their opinion of a community’s standing.. but they are not qualified or licensed to interpret legal documents for you. Read More


Bonnie Springs Development Near Red Rock National Park

Bonnie Springs Ranch, nestled between the quaint town of Blue Diamond, and Red Rock National Park in West of Las Vegas’ Valley has been contracted for purchase by developers. Many Las Vegas locals are upset, recalling their childhood memories of riding the train to the petting zoo and old mining town recreation. We are loosing a bit of Nevada history, a family outing that provides something of value to those looking for a fun family afternoon with a bit of historical culture for the area.

https://youtu.be/9q_5drSVtd0

We’re also loosing a bit of the pristine natural wilderness and the feeling of being ‘out there in the desert.’ One thing is certain, Las Vegas has always developed from the center, out. As time goes on, the newer suburbs are always being built out where ‘just a few years ago there was nothing but one road, and open wilderness.’ As you move to the center of the city, the older homes become a bit of a time capsule, as my broker, Jack LeVine at VeryVintageVegas.com employs a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor with our still relatively young city while promoting the benefits of these older homes. Things like bigger backyards, unique mid-century architecture, and central proximity to the vibrant energy of our entertainment capital. If you were to look at a maps of the Las Vegas area throughout the decades you would see these concentric circles of development.

Many families have been flocking out to Bonnie Springs Ranch for another visit, one last chance to enjoy the site of their childhood memories. We were among those visiting last weekend, taking our one year old son even though he likely won’t remember. We wanted to at least give him the experience while we could. It was great to spend the day with some friends & family enjoying the glimpse of Nevada’s past, but I can’t say I’m upset that the nature of development is taking it’s course. Maybe not everyone will be in the market for one of these 2-3 acre home sites, but on a macro level, if development weren’t to take place, competition for homes would be outrageous as supply and demand would drive home prices through the roof.

At the end of the day, what we have is a seller wanting to sell, a buyer wanting to buy, and we wound up with a situation that is much better than it could have been. This proposed development will be much less crowded that previous proposed developments in the area have been. Yes, we’ll be loosing a piece of our history, but the area will be much more open than even zoning would allow.

There will be restrictions on what can be built there aimed at preserving the natural beauty of the area, including a lack of fencing around each home site’s perimeter as is so common in our more dense subdivision tracts in town. Also at least 8.5 acres of the land is planned to remain public use. More of details can be found here: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2019/jan/10/planned-housing-at-bonnie-springs-wont-kill-charm/


Las Vegas Economic Forecast, or “I’m going to wait until the market crashes!”

I’ve heard it from a few people. One of them is sitting on over $130,000.00 in cash. Waiting for another 2008 market collapse.  The thing is, that money under your mattress, it’s loosing value every year due to inflation. Sure, real estate goes up & down cyclically but nobody knows exactly when those cycles hit.  There were a lot of investors in 2000-2005 who cashed out, assured we were at the peak.  I’m not telling you to time the market.

What I am saying is that the devaluation of your money is non-cyclical, and certain.  Grandpa always says when he was your age a gumball was a penny, not 25 cents.  Are you planning on buying a home, moving in, making it your own & moving out next year?  Probably not.  5-7 years maybe.  Long term inflation average between 1913 & 2013 according to InflationData.com is 3.22%.  Here’s the kicker.  Inflation of 3.22% doesn’t seem that bad to those who don’t understand the power of compounding, but as the article goes on to mention, that compound effect means an actual item that cost $100 in 1914 would now cost you $2,375.00.  As we keep printing money, homes will always be built from materials, on land, the cost of both will be affected by inflation.  So, if you need 200 2×4’s, 2,000 sq ft of flooring, etc. to build a home, and then the cost of the land.. it’s total price is all affected by inflation or the compounding devaluation of the dollar.

So yes, home prices will go up, and they will go down.. and then they will go up again but buyer’s aren’t getting homes at the prices of 30 years ago. What won’t change is your need for a place to live.  If you’re currently renting a decent 3 bedroom home in Las Vegas, and say you’re paying $1,600/month.. you’re paying $19,200/year and when you move you’ll have nothing to show for it but a U-haul bill.  If over that statistical 5-7 years you’d be in the place, you could have been paying $96,000-$134,400 towards ownership of an asset that will adjust with inflation (among other factors).  Yes, there are other factors that will adjust the value of your home than inflation, however when you look at something like gold, which some say is a solid hedge against inflation… there are other factors that affect the price of gold as well (such as stock market dips and advertisements on how safe gold is); and you can’t live in your gold.

“I’m waiting for the price of homes to drop due to rising mortgage rates!”  This is another one I’ve heard.  Thing is for most primary residence buyers, if there were a direct correlation of price reduction to interest rate hikes, the result would be no change in your monthly payment.  Unfortunately for those who haven’t dug a little deeper, there is actually an inverse correlation historically.  I could explain, but there is already a good article posted here on First American’s website.

The link above references a strong economy making housing less affordable.  As we look locally, the Las Vegas area economy is seeing over 13 billion in new capital investment, and people moving here (your competition when home buying) are younger and wealthier than before.  For more of these figures and data, see research posted here at California Credit Union League’s research on Southern Nevada.

So with a growing local economy, rising interest rates, rising home prices year over year, your savings devaluing annually, and about $19,000.00 you’re paying in rent each year, tell me again why you’re waiting to buy?

As you drive around the valley, I’m sure you’ll notice a ridiculous number of apartment projects being built.  Do you think the companies pouring millions into those projects didn’t do their homework?  They know plenty of people won’t take action today, and will be mailing them checks every month so we can ‘afford’ to live and work here.  Don’t be one of those income streams for these corporations.  Call or email me today and let us help you get on a better path to financial freedom and home ownership, Las Vegas.


It May Be Cold Outside, But January is a Hot Time To Buy Las Vegas Real Estate.

This time last year, our family purchased a new home in Mountain’s Edge, a great community in the South West of Las Vegas.  We were scouring the MLS for two months looking for a perfect place to call home for an expanding family.  Our first contract was on a home a bit bigger than we needed.  It was owned by a California investor who’d let deferred maintenance pile up and was unwilling to negotiate for repairs that would be needed.  The balcony had a crack in the flooring that the inspector said may or may not be a big issue.  Luckily it rained two days before the end of our due diligence period & I was able to bring a moisture meter to check the absorption.  Turns out the entire plywood surface under the stucco had absorbed so much water it would present and un-safe structural issue.  This repair alone would total about $10,000.00.  The rest of the drywall, plumbing, and stucco repair would be about another $10,000.00!

Because of this blessing in disguise, we had already been approved by our lender’s underwriter, meaning they had checked off all of the boxes they needed to be sure they could loan us all the money we’d need.  Once we decided we weren’t going to buy a home that the seller wouldn’t concede on cost to make it fit, we canceled the contract.  What we lost was the cost of inspection, and appraisal; about $1,000.00 in total.  What we kept, by navigating our contract properly was our earnest money deposit.. and our underwriting approval.

We took both and continued our shopping.  Viewing a few more homes with more clarity on what was necessary, and what was negotiable in our wish list. We found a home more nicely appointed and certainly more well cared for in the same area.. for $40,000.00 less.  Because we’d narrowed down what we really needed and where we wanted to be, we found our new home before the sign was even up in the yard (use the MLS, not Zillow!)  We submitted an offer with prior underwriting approval from the last deal that went south.  This isn’t the same as coming in with cash, but it is a close second meaning the likelihood of our contract coming to fruition is much better than those competitors who have only a pre-qualification.

By getting the home under contract in January when competition is less than the peak season, we were able to purchase the home before the busy summer months when it had already appreciated $15-$20,000.00 due to the competition driving prices up.  By having our financing in a more secure position than many others, our seller’s agent told the 4 other offers that came in to not even bother submitting.  Assurance we CAN close can be better than even a few thousand hypothetical more dollars to the seller (it’s not always about the highest bid!).

If you’re thinking of buying a new home at any point this year, the best time to start getting a plan together is right away.  There is a lot to consider and a lot to prepare, especially for your financing if you’re not planning to buy with cash.  A good Las Vegas area Realtor can assist you with this checklist so you’re in the best position to buy, be it this month or further down the road.  I look forward to hearing from you & seeing how we can best prepare you for a great transaction, and a smooth transition to your new home.  You can contact me at SteveChristmas@gmail.com or call me at the number listed in our Contact section.


Bonita Rental

Thanks for your interest in our downtown 3 bed/ 2 Bath rental home.  604 Bonita sits on just under a quarter of an acre & has new ceramic & LVP flooring through out.  This home boasts a large kitchen with double ovens, plenty of counter space, custom cabinets, a dishwasher,  and upgraded cooktop.  Appliances are included in the $1,600.00/ month rental price.

Large family room and living room provide plenty of living space, and a formal dining room is also featured.  All bedrooms are ample sized so all residents will have a comfortable space to call their own.  It is pre-wired with ADT security system, as well as exterior security cameras, and custom iron bars on all points of entry, making it one of the most secure living options in the centrally located downtown area.
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