THE KITCHEN TABLE • meet Susan O’Brien
At House Real Estate we realize that the success of our city directly relates to the success of our business. For this reason, we love to highlight businesses that make up the best of Sacramento. From the city’s highly curated gift shops to nationally featured restaurants, our locally owned businesses paint the culture of Sacramento.
What’s your home neighborhood?
My family and I live in Curtis Park. I love the old homes, our friendly neighbors, the block parties, the big trees growing in the middle of the street, and the fact that we can walk to get almost everything we need.
What does “neighborhood” mean to you?
“Neighborhood” means being connected to a place and the people there. And I love that today, through social media, I can feel connected to people and businesses that aren’t necessarily physically close but because of shared values and perspectives and aesthetics, feel like a community.
Why did you open your business in East Sac?
My dream was to open a space that would be a neighborhood store, where I would get to know my customers and they would come back, not just to buy a kitchen gadget or grab a jar of local honey, but because they felt welcomed and connected. I wanted a place that would foster a sense of community and inspire people to gather with their loved ones. East Sac is the perfect location for my shop because of the great sense of community already here and the pride the residents take in our city. I feel so fortunate to have found this location right in the heart of it all and am so grateful for the warm welcome I have received. I am so excited about what’s to come!
If you have questions for Susan, email [email protected] or call/text 916-799-5736 (texts will often get you a faster response!).
An Interview With Jason Hartman, Authority Magazine | March 20, 2022
How can you get the best price possible when you are looking to sell your home? Sometimes it’s a matter of timing, the right upgrades, or simply the right negotiation. In this interview series called “How To Get The Best Price When You Sell Your Home” we are talking to successful real estate leaders, who can share stories, insights, and lessons from their experience about how to get the best price when you want to sell your home.
As a particular part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Tomkins.
Alice Tomkins Haltom is a Sacramento-based residential real estate professional with over a decade of experience supporting one of the largest residential land brokers in the local industry. Alice’s work with new home communities has given her extensive expertise in the end-to-end process of homebuilding. She transitioned to real estate following a long career in the legal industry and is passionate about focusing on her clients with integrity, hard work and professionalism.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to your career?
I worked in the legal field for nearly 30 years. I moved forward from there to work with a large land broker corporation and was fascinated to learn how the homes we all live in come to be from start to finish. I quickly discovered it is a lengthy and involved process with many moving parts, working together with lots of people and entities, and oodles of negotiating, compromise, and navigation. I was inspired to become an agent following personally going through the buying and selling process a couple of times and realizing how much my experience could have been more satisfied with a more attentive agent.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away, you took out of that story?
Oh my goodness, it was such a comedy of errors and is funny now to think about but was very embarrassing at the time. One recent Friday evening, I arrived at a new listing to have it professionally staged for the seller. I requested the alarm code but was told the seller would disarm it remotely prior to my arrival. To my dismay, it wasn’t disarmed so upon entering I was met with the request to enter a code. Not having the code, within 60 seconds the shrill sound of the alarm penetrated to what seemed like blocks away — I have never heard such a loud alarm. I couldn’t reach the seller, neighbors emerged from their homes to investigate and offered to try and reach the seller as well. No luck. In the meantime, I had come out to assure the concerned neighbors that I wasn’t a bad guy and to explain the situation and the (self-locking) front door closed behind me with my car keys, purse, phone, and…the house keys inside the house. Sellers had left town for the week and there were no other keys. Fast forward to the emergency locksmith arriving sometime later, staging obviously sidelined to the next day, and me embarrassingly borrowing phones to make all the necessary calls and arrangements because I was hobbled with none of my usual tools at my disposal. After multiple hours later and exhausting all of his tricks, the locksmith was not able to get in because sellers had installed Fort Knox-type security locks so he ends up having to drill out the deadbolt. And after consuming my entire Yeti of water, I really had to go to the bathroom, which I was locked out of so…we won’t go there. All of this is being reviewed closely at some later time by the seller through his high-tech security system. Not my best moment for sure.
Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?
You have to give to get. Give your time, your love, your attention, your care, your knowledge, your kindness — it comes back multiple times over. A recent transaction in which my buyers were in contract for more than $100k over list price and had waived appraisal on a fixer they fell in love with presented such a lesson. The appraisal fell much shorter than anticipated and I humbly requested the sellers reduce the purchase price, which they were in no way obligated to do. I had done a few things during the transaction to assist the sellers and their agent, which I wasn’t required to do but for which they were very grateful. In return, the seller volunteered to reduce the price and my buyers were shocked and literally brought to tears. They didn’t hold out high hopes the request would be granted and would have no way of knowing that the things I had done may have influenced the decision, but the bottom line is it doesn’t matter because that’s my job — to directly or indirectly, conventionally or unconventionally, always advocate for my clients.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Always working on ways to continuously provide value to people through staging, my personal experiences, improving my social media presence, staying educated on the market and current events impacting our local communities, supporting location businesses and charities, maintaining a listing of vendors homeowners may need — the list goes on. Not sure how exciting it all is. I tell my clients it is my hope that they will consider me a real estate resource in perpetuity. When they do and I continue to get calls and referrals from them year after year, that’s exciting!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our entire crew is what makes us stand out. Both individually and collectively we are incredible, dynamic, smart, kind, thoughtful, and extraordinary. An acquaintance I ran into recently told me that our office has so many great agents that it would be difficult for someone to pick who to use if they knew more than one of us.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
None of us is an island, true. There are quite a few of those people in my life, in fact too many to list here. If you really need this one answered let me know and I’ll work on refining it and narrowing it down somehow.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, can you please tell us why you are an authority about the topic of getting the best price when selling a home?
To the extent anyone can legitimately call themselves an authority, I believe I am well qualified based on a number of factors. My office collaborates and shares all things real estate so we all benefit from the groups’ collective knowledge and experiences. I do exhaustive, thorough (sometimes bordering on obsessive) research on current and historical stats and data to present a seller with information to help them arrive at a healthy and sane listing price. The goal is for the home to sell swiftly, for the highest price possible, with the fewest amount of speed bumps and/or surprises along the way. That takes us to the importance of listing prep, which is vital — have inspections done, make sure curb appeal, house and its contents are in the best possible condition. Eliminating as many unknowns or surprises prior to listing is clutch. A part of my job is to prep the house so it presents itself in such a way that buyers find it irresistible and feel confident and comfortable with it. Beyond prep and price, communication with potential buyer agents is vital, which usually entails listening twice as much as speaking — a lot can be learned from what isn’t said as well. Always answer or return calls, texts or emails as promptly as possible. Never be rude, make your boundaries and expectations clear, confirm things in writing to commemorate important things agreed up on the phone. Be kind, considerate, and respectful even when you are being firm or delivering unpleasant news.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry, as it is today? If you can please share a story or example.
- Now that I am beginning to learn more about it, the new tech tools are pretty darn groovy and helpful. I can be old school and was tech reluctant. My brokerage has been such a patient and helpful guide in leading me into the many helpful benefits of real estate tech. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting there.
- I am super pumped that more younger folks and single people are buying their first homes and owning an appreciating (hopefully) asset. I would guess that at least half of my clients in the past year have been either younger (30ish or under), first-time homebuyers or single, never-been-married people who are excitedly and bravely buying a home. It seriously makes me so proud and stoked for them.
- I’m excited for the opportunities ahead of me to work with more wonderful clients, much like the clients I have worked with up to this point.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry as it is today? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.
- Transparency, regulations and oversight are a concern of mine. Although at times I believe as a society we can be sometimes overregulated, I think that buyers and sellers are often in a vulnerable position and should rightly expect that their agent is truly representing their best interests, first and foremost. Brokerages should make sure they have oversight and are holding their agents accountable and to the highest possible standards. I respect this industry and am frustrated when I learn that a buyer or seller has a had a bad or unsatisfactory real estate experience that could have been prevented had the agent done their job properly and with integrity.
- Homes prices/affordability. I’d love to see more people own their homes. While I don’t think it should be something that is too easy to do, it also shouldn’t be a Herculean effort.
- It’s too paper/form intensive. I feel like there are too many superfluous forms that most clients don’t truly read and understand, despite our instruction to do so, before signing them. I’d really like to see the required paperwork get streamline and simplified. The revamped RPA in California is a great start and I think was a significant step in the right direction.
Based on your experience, what are a few of the biggest mistakes you have seen people make when they sell their homes? What must be done to avoid them?
- Overpricing. Some sellers won’t be swayed and have a price in mind — come hell or high water that’s what they believe it is worth. That’s challenging, but not impossible. If they are basing their price on sensationalized headlines and articles, discuss that and work together to verify or debunk the alleged facts and data they are based on. Knowledge is comforting and powerful. I find that providing sellers with credible comps, historical data and asking them questions rather than just giving your opinion of value is the best way to have them arrive at a list price that will ultimately serve them well and make them happy with the end result.
- Not doing of the requisite house prep. Taking short cuts and assuming that the market is so on fire that buyers will just buy it regardless and overpay for it is arrogant and not fairly participating in the process. Again, you have to give to get!
- Not making the house easily accessible while it is on the market. I find that with many of the iBuyer/seller programs which is so frustrating and I don’t think serves the sellers of those homes well.
I know this question has passionate opinions on both sides, but we would love to hear your opinion. Engaging a realtor is costly. Should people use a realtor when they sell their home? Please explain why you feel the way you do.
I imagine there are a select few who are capable of managing a real estate transaction without a realtor. I think the stats speak for themselves on this question — FSBO listings typically don’t yield the seller the same results, financially and otherwise, as using a qualified real estate agent. Hiring an agent affords sellers the benefits of marketing and syndication of a listing, depending on the brokerage the benefit of a legal, marketing, and other departments that promote a listing and support the agents and their clients. Plus developing a relationship with a good realtor is a potentially lifelong relationship and resource for real estate and real estate-related needs — priceless!
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider.” Can you please share five things you need to know in order to get the absolute best price when you sell your home? If you can, please give a story or an example for each.
- Hire a smart, trustworthy, hardworking real estate agent. Before deciding to work a realtor, ask friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. for recommendations based on their experiences. Meet with multiple agents before making a decision. I encourage everyone I meet with to speak to multiple agents before making a decision. It is a relationship that requires mutual respect, trust, open and honest communication and work. It is imperative that an agent have a good working relationship with the seller as well as with all of the other parties involved in a transaction — other agents, inspectors, other vendors, title company, lenders, transaction coordinators, etc. Pay attention to how the agent treats others.
- Price the home correctly. Over pricing a home is worse than most people might imagine. Even in a hot seller market, buyers aren’t stupid and likely have good agents representing their best interests. If prepped properly, the market and buyers will determine the value. It is worth what the highest bidder is willing to pay for it. Is that the market value? No, not the same thing exactly.
- Preparation! Preparation! Preparation! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to properly prepare a home for sale. Don’t compromise and take short cuts just to get it on the market soon. As a seller you want your house to stand out to buyers, possess things and make buyers feel in ways other houses do not. A lot of that is done through preparation.
- Hold a pre-listing open house for neighbors, friends and family is a great way to prep the house, maybe get some feedback and input, and also this begins to spread the word that you are selling your home. If it has been prepped and priced well it is surprising how the news spreads like wildfire, especially in this low inventory market.
- Be reasonable and informed with your expectations during the transaction. You may need to adapt and adjust at times depending on situations that arise. Did I mention that proper prepping before listing goes a long way to avoiding many of these situations and surprises?! Do what you say you will do and when you say you will do it. Be respectful of all parties involved in the transaction. People often times consider a real estate transaction to be adversarial, when in fact I don’t believe it should be.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’m a big fan of simply being kind. That doesn’t mean being a doormat or allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. It means don’t be a jerk. Or if you are going to be a jerk, try to keep it at a minimum. We are all playing in this big sandbox together, let’s share the toys and don’t throw sand at each other.
Tina Suter – Broker Associate
The question is often asked… should I stage? It’s not often that we say no… and there’s good reason.First Impressions are felt, not thought. We need to keep in mind that buyers want to feel at home as soon as they walk in. Granted they will take time to think about their lives in any certain house, but we can never replace that initial feeling. So yes, staging matters. Even in the most competitive of markets. Take a look at the video below for a glimpse into that before and after feeling. This property is currently pending almost 14% above list price.
BY MARIAN MCPHERSON, Inman News
Sacramento-based agent Jessica LaMar shares her winding journey from Lululemon manager to rockstar rookie in the midst of a pandemic — and what she’s learned about herself in the process.
Throughout the pandemic, the real estate industry has remained robust, with established agents and brokers easily busting their pre-coronavirus sales records and raking in more money than ever before.
So, it’s no surprise more than 80,000 Americans tried their hand at real estate in 2020, with a similar number in 2021 hoping to capture some of the success they’ve seen on social media or one of the many TV shows that reveal what’s possible with the right mix of passion, know-how and grit.
For Sacramento-based House Real Estate agent Jessica LaMar, the leap into real estate was years in the making. Although she loved her career as a store business manager for Lululemon, changes in LaMar’s personal life and a growing desire to follow her entrepreneurial goals pushed her to say goodbye to corporate America and start over as a rookie sales agent with Tim Collom Realtor Group.
“I got my degree in business management and entrepreneurship, so I kind of always knew that I wanted to have my own business venture,” she said. “I just didn’t know exactly what that would look like until I was blessed to meet Tim [Collom] and join his real estate team.”
Below, revisit LaMar’s first year as an agent through the prism of some of the most remarkable numbers of her rookie year.
Number of decisions before she took a leap of faith: 1
“I had been interested in investment properties for just like our long-term financial growth as a family,” she explained. “I mean, [real estate investing] was very new to me, so I said, ‘Okay, How can I learn about that industry? How can I get established in it?”
LaMar reached out to Sacramento broker Tim Collom, who moonlights as an award-winning artist and Lululemon brand collaborator, for advice about real estate — a connection that would prove to be useful when LaMar realized corporate America was no longer for her.
“I reached out to Tim and he actually offered me a job based on our previous experience with each other,” she said. “It ended up just being the perfect fit where I was like, ‘Wow, I actually really love being on the sales side of this industry.’ It just happened really organically.”
Although LaMar and her husband were excited to start a new chapter in real estate, some family members questioned the aspiring real estate agent’s sudden leap of faith, especially as an established professional with a young family.
“To be totally honest, my decision was definitely met with mixed reviews. My husband was super supportive and he said, ‘That will be the perfect thing,’” she said. “But then my mother-in-law was like, ‘I don’t know how you’re gonna do that with a family and everything.’”
Instead of rethinking her decision or getting defensive, LaMar pointed to the thousands of headlines explaining the real estate industry’s hot streak, even as the pandemic brought other industries to their knees.
“After I explained everything, they were kind of like, ‘Oh, that makes sense,’” she said with a laugh. “Like, everything’s on fire right now. Why not just jump in while it’s hot? But, I’m not someone that’s going to worry too much about negative opinions.”
“I push past that if there’s something I really want to do, and I wanted to do real estate,” she added.
Number of months of intense studying: 2
After saying goodbye to Lululemon, LaMar had to clear the first hurdle of her new career: passing California’s real estate licensing test.
“I actually did practice tests every day for two months,” she said. “Because I knew I really wanted to do this, I wanted to make sure I could pass on the first try, and so I put all my effort into doing all those practice tests and learning as much as I could.”
LaMar said she enjoyed learning about tenant occupancy the most, thanks to her longstanding interest in investing. “That was a really natural thing for me just to be curious about,” she explained. However, learning the history of real estate in California was an unexpected thorn in her side, as she struggled to memorize dozens of dates.
“I think the hardest thing for me just was learning the history of real estate,” she said with a tinge of lingering exasperation. “There are so many dates!”
LaMar’s dedication paid off with her passing the licensing exam on the first try. However, she said she quickly realized a greater challenge still laid ahead when it came to learning how to apply what she studied.
“I’m just really thankful to have a great support system with our team,” she said. “I am still learning. There are different rules and laws and ins and outs to writing offers. It’s a continuous learning process because every circumstance is so different from one another.”
Number of home tours before her big break: 3
To build her clientele, LaMar spent much of her first months helping host open houses. As she did with her real estate licensing test, LaMar spent hours studying every detail about the listings and recalling her sales skills to connect with potential buyers.
“My first open house was in Elmhurst, a little neighborhood in Sacramento. I just studied the detail about the property and the listing before going into it,” she said. “When it came down to it, it was just a matter of connecting with the people that came in the door, and honestly, that’s what I focused on a bit more than even knowing all those details.”
“That really paid off because I did actually get one of my first clients through that open house,” she added.
LaMar was ecstatic to find her first clients, a couple looking for the perfect home for their family of three. The process went quickly, she said, with the family only seeing three homes before making an offer and winning — with no other buyers making a bid.
“We actually only had to look at three [homes] before we found one that was a good fit for them, and it was pretty seamless from there because they were actually the only offer,” she said. “I got pretty lucky.”
Number of questions posed by second client: ‘1 million’
Although LaMar got “pretty lucky” with her first sale, her next one was much more challenging.
“I met another family at an open house in Fair Oaks and they were actually not thinking about buying, but they walked into the open house, just kind of curious,” she said. “Then after talking it turned into, like, ‘Oh, maybe we do want to do this.’”
After finding the perfect property, LaMar’s clients were ready to make an offer — except it was contingent on them selling their current home. With the market moving so fast, LaMar admitted she was worried about losing out on the property to other buyers with non-contingency offers.
“Obviously, contingencies can be a much more complicated process, by just making sure the timelines line up and everybody remains happy in the process of it,” she explained. “My client was super eager, super detail-oriented, and I was asked a million questions all the time.”
LaMar said there were times she felt flustered, but she was ultimately thankful to encounter a more exacting client early on.
“He made me make sure I double-checked what I knew, and really make sure I was giving him the correct information,” she said. “When I didn’t know something or messed up, I just acknowledged it and made sure I gave him the correct information. It was definitely challenging, but in a very good [way.]”
Deadline to get it all done: 24 hours
When it comes to her schedule, LaMar said she’s adopted a “freeform” approach where she focuses on simply completing her high-priority tasks for any given day — whether that means waking up early to check on escrow or staying up to take late-night phone calls from clients.
“A lot of people need a lot of structure in a day. I’m more freeform. I look at my checklist and focus on priorities,” she said. “If I have a house in escrow, like that’s going to be more of my focus — helping my current client work through that.”
“Then everything else after that is more like email and getting calls done,” she added. “Then during afternoons I usually plan showings for my clients and I do open houses on the weekends. That’s kind of the bare bones of the structure of my days.”
LaMar said new agents will have to figure out what schedule works best for them, but whatever they do, they must be consistent.
“I feel like I’m still figuring that out,” she said regarding making time for other tasks, such as being active on social media and making cold calls. “The one thing that will have the biggest impact is just being consistent. Show up for people on a regular basis and just be consistent with the presence of ‘Hey, I’m in real estate. I’m here if you need me or have any questions about what’s going on in the market.”
Minutes she allows ‘Cocomelon’ to occupy toddler: 30
Like many, LaMar’s home doubles as a workspace with her taking phone calls, sending emails and attending video meetings as her precocious two-year-old plays in the background. Although her husband often keeps their toddler preoccupied, there are times where LaMar must balance being an attentive mom and real estate agent.
“The transition has probably been hardest on my husband. He’s seen me walking around the yard at 8 pm at night on a call for an hour trying to work through something,” she said. “We have a toddler, so I’m very thankful that I have him around. But when he’s not around and if she’s not in daycare, it’s like sometimes I have to throw on ‘Cocomelon’ and say, ‘Watch this for 30 minutes while I touch base with my clients.’”
LaMar said she’s still navigating a work-life balance, and making time for her hobbies, which include creating art.
“You just kind of make it work with your family’s environment and just do the best you can,” she said. “If I have my daughter and she’s in the background, generally everyone’s really understanding about that.”
She added, “As for my own hobbies, it’s just a matter of making time for them and making sure that time is allocated in my day. I’m not going to show up the best for my clients if I haven’t taken care of myself too.”
2021 sales volume: $2.9 million
Despite some challenges, LaMar sailed through her first year with $2.9 million in sales — a figure she hopes to double by the end of 2022. “My goal for 2022 is to double my sales and double my client base, and that might be a little bit tricky because our circumstances are a little bit different,” she said. “I’m actually pregnant with our second baby so that’s thrown a curveball, but I’m still very determined to make that happen.”
LaMar said she’s leaning on her mentor Tina Suter to help her become more agile and create a step-by-step plan to reach $6 million in sales volume this year. Although she’s still working on the specifics of that plan, LaMar said she’s focusing on doing more of what works, cutting out what doesn’t, and challenging herself to try new marketing methods.
“My main mentor Tina Suter has been by my side through the entire time,” she said. “I can text her or give her a call any time of day if I have a question or I’m writing an offer. So I’m really lucky to have her at my fingertips, just to give me guidance.”
Keys for first-year success: 4
As she heads into year two, LaMar said there are four main keys to success: being fearless, continuing your education, avoiding the comparison trap and using criticism to fuel improvement.
“The first thing you have to grasp and master is being fearless because you have to be the one talking to people and asking for their business. And they’re gonna say no, a lot,” she said. “But it builds resilience. Know if somebody tells you no, it’s okay. Maybe the next person will say yes.”
Along with embracing “no’s,” LaMar said it’s important to avoid comparing yourself to other new or more established agents who seem to be having better luck than you.
“Don’t compare yourself to where other agents are at,” she said. “I think this can be easy to do when you see how much business someone is getting,” she said. “It can get a little bit daunting to see where someone else is at, but don’t worry. Just focus on how you can grow yourself and your business.”
Lastly, LaMar said new agents must master handling criticism and objections, which come a dime a dozen as clients and others question your skills and knowledge.
“Try not to take criticism personally because a lot of times people just aren’t sure about you,” she said. “Ask them, ‘What do you need from me to prove that I can do this for you?’ I think if you come from a place of being really curious and wanting to get better, people are really receptive to that.”
Number of years she’s planned into the future: 10
With a successful rookie year in the books, LaMar said she has her sights on becoming one of the top 10 agents in her market.
“I want to be in the top 10 real estate agents in Sacramento, and that is definitely going to be a goal of mine, especially five to 10 years out,” she said.
“It’s weird thinking that far ahead,” she concluded, “but I feel like that’s a lot of time to be able to grow and establish myself in the industry.”
Tina Suter – Broker Associate
With any change in the market, comes a change in the rules. Gone are the days of leisurely showing homes and clients having a few days to “think it over”. It’s either your feverishly rowing, or you’re sinking.
For sellers, that’s good news and bad news and kicks off the first new rule in this rapidly moving market: be ready to leave. In years past, we had an equal amount of buyers and listings. If a seller put their house on the market, they’d be warned there would be a showing every other day or so until they got an offer, and then a normal closing period. That gave sellers time between showings to be at home, and time to prep for a move during escrow. Right now, it’s basically put your house on the market and be prepared for full days of back-to-back showings, then don’t be surprised if it’s a quick escrow that comes your way.
Second major new rule: Cash isn’t always king. We’ve heard over and over about how low-interest rates are right now in comparison to years past. Because of that, a lot of buyers are taking advantage and borrowing instead of shelling out the cash upfront. It’s a smart move on their part and they are just as qualified as a cash buyer.
Last but not least, Price your property according to the market, not what is on the news. If a local sale made the news because of how many offers it received or how high over asking price it was, there’s likely something you don’t know. Underpricing can be a strategy to get a higher offer, but you have to be very careful to follow the market or you’ll end up losing money in the long run. House Real Estate did 330 transactions in the last year and just like everyone else, we’ve learned a lot. $275 million in volume for a team of 13 selling agents taught us to buckle up and be ready for quick moves, pay extra attention to the interest rates, and of course price properties with precise market knowledge so we can get the most for our sellers.
Today is National Puppy Day! And as most of us at House Real Estate are dog owners ourselves, we wanted to extend love to all of our canine besties today.
National Puppy Day actually began in 2006 to encourage people to adopt dogs (and to honor all the dogs that provide us with their unconditional love.) So in light of today and all the paw-fect doggos in the House Real Estate family (pictured here), we wanted to share five of our team’s favorite Sacramento dog destinations for you and your family to explore.
1. Sacramento SPCA
Given that National Puppy Day was originally created to encourage dog adoptions, we’d be remiss if we didn’t start with Sacramento’s local SPCA. Whether you’re looking for a playmate for your current pup or new addition to your family all together, we can’t emphasize enough the amazing job the Sacramento SPCA does with helping people throughout the Sacramento Region (East Sacramento, Land Park, Arden Park, McKinley Park, Carmichael, etc.) to adopt a rescue dog that fits their family dynamic best. Given COVID protocols, adoptions are by appointment only so visit this page to learn more about the process.
2. Healthy Hounds
Co-founded by local chef Billy Ngo (Kru and Fish Face Poke Bar), Healthy Hounds serves freshly cooked meals for canines in McKinley Park and the entire East Sacramento, Midtown, Downtown, and Land Park neighborhoods. With dishes such as chicken & russet potatoes, turkey and brown rice, and venison with lentils, Healthy Hounds (3608 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento) uses only human-grade meat and produce to create the best dog food possible.
3. SacYard Community Tap House
A dog-friendly, family-friendly gathering space in Sacramento that serves some of the best beers the West region has to offer? Clearly there’s no question why this destination makes the House Real Estate list. The yard is always filled with families and furry friends ready to enjoy some great food and drink while they enjoy the beautiful Sacramento weather. Centrally located between East Sacramento, Curtis Park, Midtown Sacramento, and Elmhurst, SacYard Community Tap House is an accessible location for you and your pup no matter where you live in Sacramento. Follow them on Instagram or grab your pup and head over.
4. Partner Dog Park
With over 30 dog parks in the greater Sacramento area, we’re happy to say that Sacramento is a very dog-friendly place to live. And although there are a lot of great dog parks throughout the region (Sierra 2 Dog Park in Curtis Park, University Dog Park in East Sacramento, Howe Ave Park Off Leash Dog Park in Arden Park, University Park Dog Park near Sierra Oaks, etc.) one of our favs is Partner Dog Park in the Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento. All breeds and sizes, from Pomeranians to St. Bernards can frolic about at this two-acre, fully fenced park. Although there isn’t a separated area for big and small pups, Partner Park’s rolling hills and shady trees provide ample space for off-leash play. (5699 S. Land Park Dr., Sacramento)
5. Grateful Dog
Spa days aren’t just for humans. At Sacramento’s Grateful Dog you can pamper your pup with a Dead Sea Mineral Bath, a Dog-Friendly Facial, or a Deluxe Pawdicure. Every dog is groomed one at a time to assure their stay is short and sweet. Whether you go with standard grooming or specialty grooming packages, your dog is bound to emerge feeling like a million bucks. Catering to dogs from throughout the Sacramento Region (East Sacramento, Curtis Park, Land Park, Midtown, Downtown, and more) Grateful Dog also offers cageless boarding and in-home dog walking services. (430 17th Street, Sacramento)
Why was Sacramento named the #1 housing market in the country in 2021 and what does it mean for you?
You may have been hearing a lot of buzz around town that Sacramento has been ranked as the hottest 2021 housing market in the U.S. by Realtor.com. Your next two questions were probably, “How did Sac end up being on top of the list,” and perhaps more important, “What does that mean for me?” In this blog we hope to give you some of that background as well as a few perspectives on the impact this will have on you as a buyer or seller in this market.
The ground rules behind being ranked #1
To start, it’s helpful to know how Realtor.com approaches their ranking. First, they factored in past sale prices and number of sales. They then look at the rate of new construction along with previous and anticipated economic, household, and income growth in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. (Metros include Sacramento proper, as well as nearby smaller towns and urban areas.)
On average in the U.S., all the cities that made the top of the list were expected to experience higher price growth and more sales than the rest of the country. Median home list prices were anticipated to rise 6.9% in these metropolitan areas, compared with 5.7% for the rest of the nation. And, sales were expected to increase 13.1% annually versus 7% nationally.
For Sacramento to top the list, we had a median home price of $554,000, an anticipated home price change of 7.4% (1.7% higher than the rest of the nation), and an increase in home sales of 17.2% — which was an impressive 10.2% higher than the national average.
Clearly this is due in large part to Sacramento feeling the fallout of the Bay Area exodus. Buyers have been flooding the Sacramento market to flee the ultra-expensive Bay Area in search of more reasonably priced homes with land, yards, and more. In Sacramento, buyers can lock up homes at roughly $284 per square foot — compared with $679 in San Francisco. (That’s 139% cheaper if you’re wondering.) Given the heavily tech-based workforce these new buyers also tend to be white-collar workers who are now able to work remotely and don’t want to move too far from their offices in the Bay Area.
Ok, got it. So what’s a hot housing market mean for me?
For starters, it depends on whether you’re a buyer or seller. So, let’s break things down from both perspectives:
I’m a buyer
If you’ve been looking to buy in the Sacramento region, this won’t be a surprise to most of you. Inventory is in short supply and when great homes go on the market it’s an overwhelming competition to come out as the buyer of choice. Put simply, Sacramento has weeks of listings but months of buyers. You can do the math.
To accentuate the state of the current market, think about this: Almost half of the sales in 2020 got into contract in 10 days or less. What this means for buyers is that you have to be ready to move fast in this aggressive climate. Anyone not ready to move immediately after a home is listed is practically out before it begins. At House Real Estate, we’ve been fortunate to have helped our clients win the vast majority of their offers. Whether it’s pre-approvals, limiting contingencies, or helping our clients close quickly — buying in Sacramento requires a thoughtful strategy in order to come out with the win.
I’m a seller
If you’re looking to sell, obviously you’re looking to maximize your take during this unique time. In order to do that correctly, you have to start by making sure you know the true value of your home in this market. Although there are dozens of online calculators, the most accurate way is to work with a realtor to prepare a comparative market analysis. Every client at House starts with an evaluation of similar homes that have recently sold in their area in addition to factors such as their property’s age, condition, features, lot size and so on. Through this data we can provide a more accurate fair market value.
And although Sacramento’s hot market does mean a faster sale at or above asking price, don’t think there aren’t pitfalls to avoid. If you want to maximize your profit, you’re going to need (and want) multiple offers on the table. So don’t overlook the importance of home-staging and leveraging virtual home tour technology that really brings your home to life.
Given that you can anticipate selling quickly with short contract deadlines, you also should be prepared to have documentation prepped and ready for your potential buyers. Have disclosure documents prepared and ready to go before the house goes on the market. Ideally, line everything up so it appears you’re ready to sell immediately — helping to usher a buyer to make a quick closing offer.
Last, don’t undervalue working with professionals to help you market your house. To attract the right buyers and as noted before, quite a few competitive offers to breed some healthy competition, you still need to maximize your home’s exposure. The best way to do so is to hire an agent who is seasoned at doing just this. At House, our marketing program includes layers of digital search, advanced CRM platforms, outbound digital marketing, personal referrals and outreach, and much more.
Whether you’re buying or selling in Sacramento these times are unique. (Maybe even never-seen-before.) Like any unique situation, there’s a lot to be excited about as well as worthy of your consideration. It’s impossible to simply know it all on your own, even with hours of online research. Half of finding success in these crazy markets are the nuances that fall outside of standard practices — familiarity with neighborhoods, networks of referrals and buyers, true assessments of home values based on a deep understanding of the neighborhoods, etc. The Sacramento marketplace is now moving at light speed, you need professional partners who live, breathe, and study the changes that are occurring on a daily basis. It’s the only way to allow you to fully take advantage of these opportunities.
About House Real Estate
Tim Collom and his group of agents have built House Real Estate on the foundation of client relationships and their extensive knowledge of Sacramento. The group’s leadership, drive, astute negotiation skills, top-tier creativity, social media prowess, and superior marketing have earned them a stellar reputation. But it’s the simplicity and ease of working with this team that clients remember most. The door is open at House Real Estate. To learn more, visit houserealestate.com.
While people all over the country hunker down to avoid winter’s frigid temps, those of us in Sac are usually able to spend a good amount of this time outside enjoying, for the most part, relatively mild weather and sunny skies. We’re going to need that good weather more than ever right now, since almost everything fun to do for (at least) the next couple of months will either take place outdoors or in our homes.
We’re asked all the time what we’re doing to keep ourselves from going stir crazy. Given that, the House team put our heads together to create a list of our go-to spots in Sacramento during the stay-at-home order. From food, to artistic viewing, there’s a place in Sacramento for everyone.
- The first and most popular place, for good reason, is McKinley Park. With a little bit for everyone, this is our go-to family day outing — tennis and basketball courts, a rose garden, duck pond, and a great jogging trail makes this a perfect escape from cabin fever. Whether you’re getting fit or just looking to relax, this gem never disappoints.
2. To get your body moving, we highly recommend the American River Trail. Extending from downtown Sacramento up to Folsom lake, the multi-use trail is great for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all skill levels.
3. We believe art should be a part of everyone’s daily life. One of the best upsides to living in a town like Sacramento is that you get to watch the maturity of the art grow right in front of your eyes. This quarantine provides a perfect opportunity to see some of the art that’s transforming our city, literally. So, take a day and tour Sacramento’s mural art scene. From pieces like the one pictured here in East Sacramento (on Folsom Boulevard right at Canon and Fitness Rangers) or a Wide Open Walls self-guided tour of downtown Sacramento, you can get a taste of renowned artists like Shepard Fairy and Shamsia Hassani in addition to powerful new up-and-comers.
4. If endless nights of home cooking have become painfully dull. Take a masked venture outside and check out the pandemic food truck scene at SacYard Community Tap House. SacYard hosts a variety of different and delicious food truck vendors almost every night of the week. See their calendar here or follow them on Instagram (@sacyard.beer) to receive daily updates.
5. Last, but certainly not least, the quarantine has engrained the idea of takeout food and beverages as a part of regular life. Whenever possible, we encourage folks to buy direct from the restaurants and hit up their curbside pick-up offerings. Now, more than ever, Sacramento’s restaurants need our help. The top takeout options the team at House Real Estate Group has been frequenting are Kru Sushi, Selland’s Market andNaked Coffee. You can’t go wrong. Another great way to help is Downtown Sac’s “Dine Downtown 2021” program going through January 24th. However you choose to indulge, every dollar helps our beloved food scene.
– House Real Estate