It is officially my final blog post of the year!
With the week falling between Christmas and New Year’s Day, we find activity with both buyers and sellers is at its slowest this time of the year. The same goes for real estate news and data.
That all will change quickly beginning next week with the conclusion of the 4th quarter. Next week, I will bring you my annual “Fearless Predictions” blog post followed by Q4 data the subsequent week to help you make the best buying and selling decisions in 2022.
Today, I reflect on the past year and share how grateful I am both personally and professionally. Additionally, I will share “real estate resolutions” for South Bay residents to consider as we head into the new year.
2021 Professional & Personal Growth
The past few years have been a wild ride in the real estate business. From slowing markets in 2019 to the ups and downs of 2020 with the Coronavirus pandemic, it was nice to experience a year with fewer curveballs.
In 2021, I was fortunate enough to close over $40 million in residential sales, the highest performance of my career. Our small but mighty brokerage of a dozen awesome agents were able to close over $76 million in total sales.
We are so thankful to all of our clients who have put their trust in us over the past year.
On the personal side, my incredible wife gave birth to our second son in February. We are so in love with our boys and could not have pulled off 2021 without the remarkable support we received from family and friends. It truly takes a village.
All in all, and as I stated before, I am so grateful to our clients, family/friends, and my rockstar wife for enabling 2021 to be an outstanding year for professional and personal growth.
Resolutions for South Bay Residents
For the final post of the year, I am creating some resolutions for South Bay residents.
This is mostly for fun due to another short and slow real estate week, but my hope is that you will take some of these to heart to help you prepare and thrive when pursuing your real estate aspirations in 2022.
Get Fully Underwritten
Buyers need to gain any edge they can find these days. Writing an offer on a listing with a simple pre-approval just does not standout. Work with your lender to get fully underwritten as an approved loan to close quickly. This will help you to squeeze contingency periods and operate in a similar manner to cash offers.
Consider Interest-Only Loans
I have written about this in the past as well as discussed it on my podcasts. Interest-only loans are a great way to get into homes and keep overhead low during your first few years of ownership. Save more money, invest more money, and you can refinance down the road into a P&I loan (or never).
Buy When You Are Ready
Some buyers try to time the market. Some buyers buy because they think renting is bad. Some buyers want to keep up with the Joneses. Plain and simple, buy when you are financially ready to own/support a house payment…and tune out the noise. As the kids say, “you do you” on your own timetable.
Do NOT Sell Off-Market
In the hottest housing market, maybe ever, it does not make much sense to sell with little exposure off-market. Listing your home on the open market will fuel competition from desperate buyers and drive your off-market buyers’ price even higher. In the current market, 99 times out of 100, it is ill-advised to sell without going to the MLS.
Paint, Carpet, Stage
Even in an incredibly hot housing market, your home needs preparation to look its best. If you are not in a rush and have the means, installing fresh paint, carpet, and staging will yield top of the market sales. The time and money are well-worth the investment.
The Market is the Market
While we are in the hottest market of a generation, the market will bear what your property is worth (given you prepare and expose the property correctly). The worst thing you can do is over-price your property and not sell. Have confidence in efficient markets that if priced correctly, you will have a fruitful and efficient sale – just don’t push too hard on price or it will come back to bite you.
Find a Great Landlord
Believe it or not, there are great landlords out there. Ones that are fair, reasonable, and provide an excellent place to live at market price. If you have a landlord that provides great service or keeps your rent under market, then enjoy! If your situation is otherwise, start hunting for a new landlord. It will make a huge difference both mentally and financially.
Save for an Income Property
Renting your home is not a bad thing! However, not working to own property in one way or another can be a mistake. I have clients that are lifetime South Bay renters and that have accumulated 10 homes in the Midwest with big cash flow. Avid readers know that I am a renter but own Los Angeles area income properties / covered land plays that I believe in.
It is too easy to fall prey to the pressure of others buying homes, a landlord that provides poor housing or rent gouges, and even your own thoughts of what success might look like. Work hard and be confident in yourself, whether you are on the verge of buying, need a few years, or never buy at all. Trust the process and the right real estate opportunity will present itself when you are ready.
While income property prices rose in 2021, the market is still held back by a few dark shadows created by the Coronavirus pandemic. There are plenty of tenants with 18+ months of past due rent, eviction court backlogs, and other uncertainties facing apartment owners. Once those concerns clear out in the next 12 to 24 months, the income property market should accelerate even higher.
Juice Your Cash Flow
Much like I advise home buyers, investors should consider interest-only loans. Why pay off crazy cheap debt in an inflationary environment? Switch to interest-only and go hunting for more great investments or just enjoy higher cash flow.
The past two years have been tough on nearly everyone mentally and financially. I find landlords that are kind to their tenants, give them fair property management services, and work with tenants as valued customers typically are the most profitable landlords.
This past year was a crazy year and short on time. That said, I am proud that we got the podcast off the ground in a meaningful way. In 2022, it will be the year of consistent podcast episodes. I am committing to at least two per month, so you always have in-depth thoughts on the local South Bay real estate market.
Highlighted Blog Emails
The weekly blog has been consistent for about six years straight. That is a lot of blog posts to read! This coming year, I want to highlight the top blogs (and podcasts/YouTube episodes) each month via email so you can keep track of what you missed in an easier way. Please subscribe and we will begin the monthly email highlight in January.
Our humble WordPress website has served us well over the years. It has been a work in progress and labor of love for our small boutique. This is a tall order but I have a 2022 goal to begin a refresh/rebuild of the website to give you more tools and insights into the South Bay market. I am intimidated to build a highly functional residential website, but we will do our best to deliver for you!
I am grateful for the 2021 developments in my life both personally and professionally. Thanks to all of you for making this year so special.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2022.