Thinking of Adding a Firepit to Your Backyard?

There is nothing quite as nice as sitting by a fire on a cool autumn night and in Las Vegas on any winter night as well. Of course, not everyone lives where they can just build a bonfire or even set up a little campfire at a moment’s notice. It’s a good thing that there are options available for those who want the ambiance and experience of sitting by the fire without the hassle that goes along with building bigger fires. Your best option is installing a firepit in your yard for those days you want to just relax by the fire.

You should know that not all firepits are created equal. While you could pick up a cheap firepit somewhere and just set it up, if you really want to maximize the experience and get the most out of it, then you may want to do a bit more planning and create an area where you can really enjoy it. This will also help to ensure that the firepit is set up safely, so you don’t accidentally create a fire hazard or other dangerous situation in your yard.

Firepit Considerations

The most important consideration is that your firepit is safe. This involves not only installing a firepit unit that is structurally sound it also includes installing it in a place that is stable. You certainly do not want the firepit to tip or shift in such a way that it could spill its contents or fall over. Regardless of whether the firepit is being placed on a surface, or buried in the ground, safety and stability should be your primary concerns.

This could mean that you might have to do a bit of construction around the firepit or add stone or concrete underneath it to create a solid and stable surface for it to sit on. Once the firepit is in place, you’ll want to try moving it in different directions to make sure that it doesn’t shift or wobble. You should also inspect it for dents, cracks, or other signs of damage that could become a bigger problem down the road; you’ll want the firepit to be structurally sound before it’s installed, and if you see signs of damage now then you’ll want to get those repaired before you finish the installation.

Cozy On Up

Once you have found the perfect place to put your firepit and that it’s safe to operate there, you’ll want to build out the area around it. While you could just use folding chairs or other temporary seating, it’s almost a shame to go through all the trouble of setting up a firepit just to then skimp on the seating. A better option is to get matched seating to go around the firepit to help add ambiance to the location while also giving you somewhere to sit.

This can come in a wide range of forms. You could go with nice wooden seating, Adirondack chairs, metal seats with cushions, or even wicker seating to go around the firepit. Rounded benches or other connected seating are also a good idea, giving you multiple seating options, while also being stylish and literally making the firepit the center of attention. Regardless of the type of seating you go with, try to match the colors and style of the firepit to your seating, and you’ll really be able to tie it all together.

Setting Up Your Firepit

After you get everything else sorted, setting up your firepit is largely a matter of getting it in place and securing it or otherwise ensuring that it’s stable. If you have a firepit that runs on propane or other gas, it will usually come with some kind of rocks or fake logs. To personalize it, you can buy multi-colored glass from a variety of places. Mine came with very basic lava rocks and I replaced them with blue, white and aqua glass squares! So even though mine was a basic kit, mine looks unique!

If all of this seems like more work than you’re comfortable taking on, though, you can always call in a professional. I can help you connect with contractors and other pros that can get your firepit installed safely and ready for you to use.  So contact me, Jeff Howard, your realtor for life!!!

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Busting the Myths of Home Appraisals

We all know that when it is time to purchase or sell your home, some parts are pretty stressful. Trying to find the perfect home, then securing the financing, and everything that takes place up until closing.  However, for most transactions, everything, absolutely everything, hinges on the home appraisal. This is most likely why so many myths and misconceptions have grown around the process. The following list is to help you sort the truth from the stories.

Myth #1: Home Appraisals and Home Inspections Are the Same

Not true! The one and only purpose of a home appraisal is to determine the value of the home, at that moment, in the market conditions of that time, and in the shape that home is currently in. A home inspection, on the other hand, determines the condition of the home, along with any defects (major and  minor), at the moment when the home is being inspected.

The situation gets muddy when buyers are securing FHA or USDA loans, which requires an additional loan-specific inspection to be performed by the appraiser. This particular kind of inspection is there to ensure that the home meets the loan’s minimum standards, not to determine the overall condition of the home. Always have a home inspection, but it’s now what we are discussing here.

Myth #2: Home Appraisers Create Market Values

The home appraiser will assign your home a rough value, however, the work they do is actually based on a thorough study of the current real estate market’s conditions.  Plus the condition of the home, the value of each component of the home, the value the neighborhood contributes, and countless other factors, and lastly the fact that a buyer was willing to pay the amount of your contract for the home.

While any individual home appraiser could be considered to be contributing to market values, they in no way set them. Think of them more like a reporter, simply telling the story of your home and the things in it, for better or for worse. They see homes every day and understand what a dollar will buy in their particular markets.

Myth #3: If You’ve Had an Assessment, You Don’t Need an Appraisal

An assessment is a type of valuation of a home for the purposes of determining tax responsibility, that is all the assessment is for.  They don’t go into the kind of depth an appraisal does. Do you remember the last time someone went onto your property and into your home to perform a tax assessment?  That never happens since they’re simply not that thorough. Tax assessments have to be done quickly due to the sheer number performed at once, so they are often given a wide berth.

Appraisals, on the other hand, can easily take several hours, including the time the appraiser is on-site examining the home’s interior. This is why when someone believes their assessment to be incorrect, they can challenge it using a home appraisal. The appraisal is simply more accurate. Never use an assessment for sales or purchase purposes, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Myth #4: The Appraiser is on the Bank’s Side

An appraiser is a neutral third-party expert who is contracted by banks to determine the value of your home so they can use this figure in making your loan. This doesn’t mean that appraisers are working on behalf of the bank or that they’re simply there to make the numbers work out every time. Sometimes, appraisers come back with very bad news about homes, determining that they absolutely cannot be appraised for the transaction price, or that there’s something about them that means they cannot meet the minimum requirements of a given loan type. In fact, because of the mortgage meltdown in 2006, the banks aren’t even allowed to communicate directly with the appraiser. They are required to use a go-between called an Appraisal Management Company or AMC. The appraiser gets paid the same amount regardless of the value they arrive at, so they definitely don’t choose sides.

When It’s Time to Buy a Home…

Although you can’t pick your appraiser, you certainly can choose the lender you work with who will help you make the best financial decisions about your future home.  When you’re not sure whom to call, wow it’s time to contact JEFF HOWARD, your realtor for life.  I will be happy to recommend a lender that will guide you through the entire process as smoothly as possible.

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Caution: 4 Ways to Quickly Diminish the Value of Your Home

Feeling great – you’re a homeowner now, and you can say goodbye to consistency the moment you turn your apartment keys over to your now-former landlord. The world is your canvas — at least, the home that you now are obligated to pay a monthly mortgage payment on or better yet fully own.

You most likely have big dreams for your new home; however, be realistic.  Although there are lots of changes you can make that will update or upgrade your new home, there are others that can potentially devastate its value. This is no small thing.

If you thought that ugly entryway light fixture was a real turn-off, just read on to learn about things potential buyers will find extremely unappealing down the road.

There’s Good, There’s Bad and There’s Ugly

The fact is every homeowner will leave a mark on the homes they own, this is inevitable. The only question you need to ask yourself is if your mark will be a good one. Will you be the homeowner who planted the gorgeous maple tree that eventually turns into a beloved climbing tree or are you the one that glued neon green shag carpet to the hardwood floors?

Here is a short list of some of the most dramatic ways to destroy your home’s value without even trying that hard.  Hopefully, you will have avoided these problems when you go to sell someday.

This is an important point to note: if you’re in your forever home, you can decorate however you like. Plus you don’t need to sell that puppy. Just be aware that your outrageous choices could prevent things like refinances and even reverse mortgages down the road.

Having made those disclosures, let’s talk about home value-destroying projects!

4 Things That Can Lower Your Home’s Resell Value

Learn to tune out all the advice from random people that are not pros in the field of home ownership.  Most people own two or three homes in their lives, which doesn’t give them a whole lot of experience with market values and making upgrades that will make a house special.

Realtors, general contractors, and other home pros, on the other hand, make it their business to know what’s just in vogue and what’s a classic, the sort of modification that will stand the test of time. These are the people to ask when you really need a second set of eyes.

But, before you even get that far, let’s count down some of the worst ideas for your new home.

#4 Over-Personalizing the Place

Everyone wants to make their house their own. However, step away from the orange wallpaper and the lime green tiles, just for a minute, and think this through. Some buyers can see past over-personalization, while others cannot. There’s a reason Realtors used to advise sellers to paint everything beige, it creates a blank pallet for a buyer to start from.

If you want to use quirky wallpaper, choose something easy to remove when you go to sell. You should choose a mostly neutral tile that can go with any color scheme. In short, tone it down a bit. However, feel free to paint to your heart’s desire — just plan to repaint before you put the house on the market. (I have a client right now whose home we just put on the market, and before we did, she repainted the self-proclaimed ‘rainbow bedroom’ a neutral color).

The amazing thing is that some personalization can be very expensive. I saw a property once where the owner had put over $50,000 worth of Italian Marble in the bathroom… but the design was so specific, that it was like a custom painting. When it was time to sell, he wanted to get that much more out of the house… but the buyers were all wondering how much it was going to cost to remove it all…

When a buyer walks into your home, the first impression they have informs every other thought they have as they walk through. They’re simultaneously calculating two things in their heads: “How much can I afford to pay for this house?” and “How much will I have to pay to fix this place?” And every intolerable thing they encounter is another thing that goes into the repair budget. As it grows, the price they’re willing to pay shrinks.

Oh, you left the flamingo wallpaper in your bedroom? The repair budget’s getting pretty heavy. And these are just the immediately visible things, they haven’t yet gotten to the inspection period. The point here is: do you do it in a way that can be reversed before potential buyers see the house?

#3. Converting the Garage to Anything Else

There’s a difference between using your garage as a gym and making it a gym permanently. When it’s a permanent gym, you can’t push some stuff out of the way and pull the car in really quick to get it out of the rain. You probably don’t even have a garage door anymore!

Many people have made this hasty decision, turning their garages into master suites, home gyms, playrooms, and home offices.  They are not considering the long-term ramifications. Then, after dumping thousands of dollars into the project, they find out that it’s extremely difficult to resell their home.

No matter how professionally the conversion was done (and some are done very well), the buyer says to themselves, “Where am I going to park my car and store my holiday decorations?”

Buyers come into a transaction with a certain set of expectations and, frankly, when they’re looking at houses in certain areas or certain prices that typically come with garages, it is quite disturbing to find one that doesn’t quite fit the model. That’s the beginning of the price-chopping spiral. Eventually, you’ll discount the house much more than you ever intended or just give up on selling, and either and rent it out or not move at all.

#2. Tearing Down (Some) Walls

This one is not a hard and fast rule. There are sometimes walls that should come out. But don’t make this call without consulting with an architect, or a general contractor, and probably an interior designer as well, since there are several things to consider, including the structural integrity and flow of the home.

The walls that you definitely should never tear out are the ones that reduce the bathroom or bedroom count; unless you have something like five or more bedrooms and three or more bathrooms. At that point, you have a little wiggle room. As long as you maintain the American standard of a three-bedroom, two-bath home (or whatever is standard in your neighborhood), you’re probably ok.

However, turning a three-bedroom home into a two-bedroom home because you wanted to expand a bedroom is a value killer. If you think about it from a market perspective, it might make a bit more sense. A larger, or more mature, family is most likely to buy a three-bedroom home. They’re going to have a bigger budget because there are two incomes, they need more partitioned spaces because there are possibly teenagers involved.

The same house with the same square footage, but with two bedrooms, is more likely to be shown to young families with small children, possibly only one income while one parent stays home to raise the toddlers or even single people. Their budgets are smaller, which means that the two-bedroom market simply doesn’t support the higher prices of the three-bedroom market.

When your home is appraised, your appraiser will be pulling comparable homes based on things like the neighborhood, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and baths. So, if the other two-bedroom homes are selling for $30k less than three bedrooms, that means yours is going to appraise somewhere well below where you might expect, maybe even below what you paid for it.

Bottom line: Don’t knock out walls without professional consultations with your Realtor and an architect or general contractor so you can understand the full impact of this decision.

#1. Unprofessional DIY Repairs

There are two kinds of DIYers: those with significant trade experience and those without. If your main qualifications involve eighth-grade shop class, you probably should not try to handle any big jobs on your own. Start small and work your way up, watch lots of YouTube videos, practice on test materials that don’t affect your home and for the sake of your house and your financial future, and recognize and accept when you’re in over your head.

A home pro is often less expensive than you might imagine if you just call them in first. When they’re asked to clean up a bad repair and still make the original correction, it can cost a lot extra.

Finding these sorts of obvious DIY repairs in a home is a distressing vision for potential buyers. When buyers see these, they wonder what else you’ve tried to repair on your own.   Their thoughts go to – did you rewire the electrical box? Is the house going to burn down in the night because you did something to the HVAC?

Since they don’t know you or your level of competency, they just see that one botched repair and hyperfocus on it until they either walk away or submit an offer significantly lower than what you were expecting.

Protecting Your Home’s Value is Simple

It’s really quite simple to protect your home’s value, despite how this article may make it sound. Just ask yourself two simple questions: “Can I do this myself?” and “Is this decision one that will stand the test of time? If not, is it easy to undo?”

Now it’s time to contact me, Jeff Howard, your Realtor for life.  I will be happy to recommend a company to fix the DIY things that need a professional touch before we put your home up for sale.  This way we eliminate any worries by would-be buyers.

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

In Downtown Summerlin, For Halloween There is the Parade of Mischief  

Who doesn’t love a parade?  Downtown Summerlin has announced the return of its annual Halloween parade, Parade of Mischief!

The parade with take place every Friday and Saturday night in October at 7 p.m. and is filled with excitement and lots of fun for the entire family featuring floats, dancing zombies, ghosts, witches, wizards, wild creatures and there is a cast of 80 local youth, filling the streets of Downtown Summerlin. The parade is free, open to the public and takes place along Park Centre Drive. Parade of Mischief is one of several seasonal parades at Downtown Summerlin. For additional information, visit

In the past several years Downtown Summerlin has become known for producing incredible family-friendly parades that mark a variety of annual celebrations, including the holidays in December; Lunar New Year in February; Lei Day, marking Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May; and Parade of Mischief in October.

Halee Harczynsk, senior executive of this area of Summerlin stated “Downtown Summerlin is especially well-configured for parades of all kinds given its wide, roomy sidewalks and private streets that can be easily closed and managed for community celebrations like these. Many Summerlin and area families have come to consider Downtown Summerlin their go-to destination to mark holidays year-round given our parades, our seasonal decor and our 30-plus restaurants.” And Halloween is no exception!

Summerlin is now in its 32nd year of development and as a master-planned community  delivers more amenities than any other community in Southern Nevada. These include more than 300 parks of all sizes; resident-exclusive community centers, pools and events; 200-plus miles of interconnected trails; 10 golf courses; 26 public, private and charter schools; a public library and performing arts center; Summerlin Hospital Medical Center; houses of worship representing a dozen faiths; office parks; and neighborhood shopping centers. Downtown Summerlin offers fashion, dining, entertainment, Red Rock Resort and office towers. City National Arena is home of the NHL’s Golden Knights practice facility. Las Vegas Ballpark is a world-class Triple-A baseball stadium and home of the Aviators.

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Avast Ye! Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

I just earned my sea captain’s license. To be specific, 50-ton Master Near Coastal with a Sailing Endorsement. I also happen to love pirate culture (the fantasy pirates that is… there are still real pirates on the seas and I am not a fan of them). These terms will have you talking like a pirate in no time. From greetings to insults, you’ll be ready for anything, so get a little silly today and pepper these into any conversation you can. It’ll be fun, I promise!

Greetings and Exclamations
Learn to say “hello” the pirate way!

  • ahoy – hello
  • Avast ye! – Stop you!; pay attention!
  • blimey – something said when one is in a state of surprise
  • heave ho – instruction to put some strength into whatever one is doing
  • Savvy? – a question that means, “Do you understand?”
  • Shiver me timbers! – an expression used to show shock or disbelief
  • Sink me! – an exclamation of great surprise
  • yo ho ho – possibly from yo-heave-ho, a chant when doing strenuous work, but also can be used to call attention to the speaker

Insults, Threats, and Dark Omens
Need to threaten or insult someone in pirate lingo?

  • bilge-sucking – an insult indicating someone drank dirty bilge water from the bottom of the ship
  • black spot – a death threat (found in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • blow the man down – it possibly means getting knocked to the ground or killed (found in a 19th-century sea shanty)
  • cleave him to the brisket – cut a man nearly in half with a sword
  • dance with Jack Ketch – to hang (Jack Ketch was slang for the hangman)
  • dead men tell no tales – the reason given for leaving no survivors
  • give no quarter – show no mercy; pirates raised a red flag to threaten no quarter
  • landlubber – a person who is uncomfortable, or not incredibly skilled, at sea
  • lily-livered – an insult for someone who displays cowardice
  • keelhaul – a punishment in which someone was dragged back and forth under the ship
  • mutiny – a situation in which the crew chooses a new captain, sometimes forcibly removing the old one
  • scallywag – an inexperienced pirate, considered an insult
  • scurvy dog – an insulting name
  • shark bait – If you’re made to walk the plank, chances are you’ll be shark bait. Also, a dying sailor whose body will soon be thrown into the sea
  • son of a biscuit eater – an insult
  • walk the plank – A punishment, probably more myth than truth, which entails making someone walk off the side of the ship along a plank. The person’s hands were often tied so he couldn’t swim and drowned (and then fed the fish).

Understand what pirates have to say with popular pirate slang.

  • briney deep – the ocean
  • cackle fruit – hen’s eggs
  • clap of thunder – a strong alcoholic drink
  • dance the hempen jig – to be hanged
  • Davy Jones’ locker – mythological place at the bottom of the sea where drowned sailors were said to go
  • feed the fish – if you lose a sea fight, your body will feed the fish
  • fire in the hole – a canon that is loaded and ready to fire
  • hang the jib – to frown or scowl
  • hearties – friends and comrades
  • hempen halter – the noose used to hang people
  • hornswaggle – to cheat, swindle
  • no prey, no pay – an agreement meaning the crew wouldn’t get paid but took a share of any loot
  • peg leg – a wooden leg
  • run a rig – play a trick
  • sea legs – when a pirate can walk comfortably on a moving ship
  • scuttle – to sink a ship
  • scuttlebutt – a cask of drinking water; slang for gossip
  • swashbuckler – a daredevil
  • three sheets to the wind – someone who is quite drunk

Phrases Related to Pirate Ships and Crew
Next time you’re aboard a ship, you’ll be able to speak like a pirate.

  • all hands hoay – everyone on the deck
  • batten down the hatches – a signal to prepare the ship for an upcoming storm
  • bilge – the lowest decks of the ship, often filled with water.
  • binnacle – where the compass is kept on board the ship
  • black jack – a pirate flag; a large tankard
  • buccaneer – name for a pirate mainly found in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries
  • coaming – a surface that prevented water on the deck from dripping to lower levels of the ship
  • coxswain (pronounced cox-en) – the helmsman
  • crow’s nest – the place on the ship where the lookout stand is built
  • duffle – a sailor’s belongings and the bag they were carried in
  • dungbie – rear end of the ship
  • flibustier – name for the American pirates found around the West Indies during the Golden Age of Piracy
  • freebooter – a pirate or looter, from the same origin as flibustier, someone who took loot or booty
  • head – toilet on board the ship
  • Jacob’s ladder – rope ladder that was used to climb aboard ships
  • Jolly Roger – the famous pirate flag with a skull and crossbones on it
  • man-o-war – the name used for a pirate ship that is heavily armed and ready for battle
  • old salt – a sailor that has a great deal of experience on the seas
  • orlop – lowest deck in the ship where cables are stored
  • poop deck – deck that is the highest and farthest back
  • privateer – a sailor sponsored by the government, paid by what he could plunder from an enemy, technically a step up from a pirate
  • rigging – the lines and ropes that held the sails
  • seadog – an old sailor or pirate

Terms About Money and Weapons
Of course, no pirate conversation would be complete without the right words for weapons and treasure.

  • booty – treasure or loot
  • bounty – the reward for a deed
  • cat o’ nine tails – a whip with nine separate strands on the end
  • chase gun – a cannon at the prow, or front, of a ship
  • coffer – a chest full of treasure
  • cutlass – type of sword used by the pirates
  • doubloons – Spanish gold coins
  • pieces of eight – Spanish coins

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Home Sellers’ Tax-Free Profits Aren’t A One-Time Opportunity

Did you know this important detail? The tax code authorizes “exclusions” that allow home sellers to completely avoid federal and state income taxes on sizable portions of their profits when they sell the principal (main) residences. That means tax-free profit on the first $500,000 for married couples who file joint returns and $250,000 for single filers and couples who file separate returns.

Plus contrary to what many sellers believe, the exclusions aren’t one-time opportunities. They can avail themselves of the exclusions as often as every two years. And you no longer need to buy a replacement home to qualify! (many, many years ago, you did)

The law allows a seller we’ll call “Barbara” to qualify for the exclusion, and she only has  to satisfies two requirements:

  1. She has owned and lived in the property as her principal residence or main home for at least two years out of the five-year period that ends on the date of sale.
  2. She can’t have excluded the gain on the sale of another principal residence within the two years that precede the sale date.

An accommodating Internal Revenue Service cuts the seller some slack on the two years that they occupy the home. Plus the two years don’t have to be consecutive; they can actually be off and on for a total of two full years. Like maybe you lived there for a while, and you moved out and turned it in to a rental for a couple of years, then you moved back in and then you sold it. As long as it was your main home for 2 of the previous 5 years, you’re good!

What about short temporary absences for vacations or other seasonal absences? No problem, says the IRS. It’s OK for the seller to count them as periods of owner use. This holds true even if the seller rents out the property during the absences.

The IRS doesn’t limit exclusions to sales of conventional single-family homes.

It considers Barbara’s principal residence to be any of the following:

  1. A condominium.
  2. A cooperative apartment.
  3. Her portion of a multi-unit apartment building.
  4. A house trailer.
  5. A mobile home.
  6. A houseboat or yacht that has facilities for cooking, sleeping and sanitation (although boats and mobile homes don’t usually go up in value).
  7. A vacation retreat that she moves into full time after retirement.

Another plus: The location of her principal residence doesn’t matter. It can be outside the U.S.

Partial profit exclusions.  Let’s say Barbara sells another home within the previous two years or fails to satisfy the ownership and use requirements; all is not lost. She may be able to claim a partial exclusion.

Primary reasons for sales.The IRS permits sellers to avail themselves of reduced exclusions only when the primary reasons are health problems (for example, if Barbara  moves to a new school district for her special-needs child); changes in employment; or certain unforeseen circumstances, broadly defined to include divorces or legal separations, or natural or man-made disasters that cause residential damage — floods, for example.

An example: Barbara is single and has lived in her dwelling for just 12 months before she moves to a new job in another city. She can exclude a gain of as much as $125,000 — 12 months divided by 24 months, or 50% of her maximum allowable $250,000 exclusion.

The bottom line? Don’t make assumptions about what you may or may not be taxed on if you decide to sell. Talk with a tax professional to make sure you get everything you’re entitled to understand the rules. I have had a few clients over the years decide to go ahead and sell because they found out their profit is tax-free!

(BTW – if you want to sell your investment property and legally defer the taxes indefinitely, there is a way to do that too, but we’ll save that for another day – or you can call me)

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Industrial is the ‘Darling’ of Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate industry in Southern Nevada began 2022 on an upswing despite the lingering pandemic effects, supply chain constraints and threatening inflation.

Looking at the end of the third quarter, we are seeing headlines today that are contradictory.

Is it Inflation or stagnation? Are we in a recession or has the definition changed? The jobs report is healthy; however, some companies are laying off hundreds and thousands at a time.

Let’s review where we are today and speculate what the outlook for the rest of 2022 looks like. Should you hit the gas, or pump the brakes?

■ The Fed increased interest rates to offset the high inflation rate. In the short run, that has slowed down transaction sales volume, especially so in the runaway residential sector, and for levered buyers in the commercial sector. Given the limited supply of quality products and high demand to place capital, pricing should hold or be slow to decline until sold comparables have a chance to reset the sellers’ expectations. Expect softened pricing over the medium to long term.

■ The local office sector started waning midyear after experiencing a significant upswing during the first part of 2022. Southern Nevada’s inventory expanded by more than 382,000 square feet of new office space. With 41 percent of this space pre-leased, this will add as much as 225,000 square feet of vacant space to the local market. Look for vacancy rates to increase, with the understanding that this is a healthy increase. Southern Nevada has not added quality inventory since the Great Recession.

■ The industrial sector is expected to remain strong as the “darling” of commercial real estate through the remainder of 2022. Prompted by the exponential growth of e-commerce, Southern Nevada’s industrial inventory recently expanded by more than 753,000 square feet, while 1.3 million square feet of space was absorbed. This brought industrial vacancy down to 1.3 percent.  That is the lowest industrial vacancy rate ever recorded in Southern Nevada. Plus, demand remains high, keeping developers busy and bringing capital sources to the market.

■ Southern Nevada’s retail market just had its strongest quarter since the fourth quarter of 2021, with net absorption surging to 459,545 square feet. Deliveries of new retail space were light, bringing vacancy down to 4.8 percent, the lowest rate since the Great Recession. Looking toward the end of the year, the local retail market should continue to do well, despite high inflation, and supply chain disruptions.

■ Commercial developers look to be positioning themselves for an expanding market in 2023 and beyond. Local land sales remained solid in the second quarter of 2022, with residential land dominating among all land types and industrial land sales falling significantly (most likely because parcels have been picked off). The average price per square foot for land in the Las Vegas Valley changed a little to $497,891 per acre, compared to $500,069 per acre during the previous quarter. On a year-over-year basis, the average price of land

■ Hospitality metrics for Southern Nevada saw room inventory increase by more than 3 percent, from 146,723 units a year ago to nearly 152,000 rooms through May 2022. Over the last year, Las Vegas saw the completion of Resorts World and the renovation/rebranding of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, and the re-opening of the Palms Casino Resort. These properties added over 5,700 rooms and 540,000 square feet of convention space to the local inventory. Room occupancy averaged 83.3 percent through the second quarter of the year, an increase from 77.3 percent for the last quarter of 2021. Through May 2022, year-to-date visitor volume stood at 15.3 million people, representing 45.1 percent annual growth.

■ Business tourism figures are still down 34 percent compared to 2019. Las Vegas has not seen a complete return of its international business.  That is not expected to recover until 2024. Despite these gloomy stats, Harry Reid International Airport set a new record for passengers in June 2022 (4,683,156), a 22.9 percent increase from June 2021. By midyear 2022, the airport has seen 52.4 percent more passengers (24,279,867) than the same time last year.

If you only look at the economic numbers, you’d be hard-pressed to find a problem with Southern Nevada’s economy. At worst, you could point to growth being slower in 2022 than 2021. This isn’t surprising, given that 2021 was being compared to 2020, the year of lockdowns.

Over the past three years, we have matured and added capacity in many ways.  Newly completed projects include the West Hall expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Resorts World, Circa Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium.

Pending projects in the pipeline are MSG Sphere, Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Hard Rock Las Vegas, UnCommons and Durango Casino &Resort by Station Casinos. Formula 1 is coming for sure. Major League Baseball is still flirting, and the NBA is like an imminent speculation.

When most economy experts look at what’s happening and what’s to come, they like the odds. As Las Vegas continues to navigate the current economy, the city will continue to do what it always does; we reinvent ourselves, bigger and better!

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Some Homeowners ask: How Can I Package My Home to Impress Buyers?

Even the hardiest shopper has difficulty remembering each home they visited after a full day of house-hunting. As a seller, you want to feature your property’s benefits as a great way to be sure your home stands out. The following marketing strategies have been used successfully in selling many homes. They could very well work for you too!

Creativity Counts

You can make a poster or photo album or even a loose-leaf binder showing your home’s best attributes which can be attractively displayed on your dining table or near the front door. Home shoppers appreciate take-home flyer as a memory-jogger, for later study. The flyer should always include the property address, price, and a brief description .

Focus on Features

Every home a buyer is looking at has its own outstanding features. When you and I talk about a marketing strategy for your home, we will consider what to include in your display and on the flyer. Here are some worthwhile ideas.

  • Capital improvements. Including project description, year completed and your investment in the improvements.
  • Upgrades or replacements. List new appliances, paint, wallpaper, attic fan—anything you’ve accomplished that buyers won’t have to do after they move in. You can mention special features and benefits. For example: “Easy-care kitchen range with self-cleaning oven, sealed burners, electronic ignition, digital controls etc.
  • Energy-saving features. Important to list money-saving extra insulation, high-efficiency heating/cooling system, and thermal double-pane windows.
  • Mention affordable property taxes. Buyers want to know!
  • Provide a floor plan. Room arrangement and dimensions are important when the buyer is thinking about their furniture. Home builders and renovators can often provide floor plans, or one can be drawn for your home.
  • Gardening highlights. Have pictures to show the work you’ve done. Identify trees and plants, especially if you have unusual ones. Provide photos of bushes and flowers in full bloom, if you’re selling off-season.
  • Pre-listing home inspection report. Impress buyers with proof of your home’s excellent condition. Show receipts for correcting any problems the inspector noted.
  • Neighborhood map. Highlight nearby schools, convenient transportation, shopping, parks, libraries, hospitals and any other amenities or points of interest.
  • School data. Feature excellent schools. Mention honors and awards, good student-teacher ratios, sports and athletics, drama presentations and special programs (i.e. for learning disabilities or English as a second language).
  • Neighborhood information. List HOA dues (if any), annual community events, Neighborhood Watch programs etc. If yours is a friendly, quiet neighborhood, be sure buyers know it!
  • Community services. Include helpful information such as days for recyclable material and bulk trash pick-ups, availability of swimming pools, children’s summer day camps, adult education and so on.

For more ideas on making a lasting impression with potential buyers, CALL me Jeff Howard, your realtor for life.  I have many ways to make your home stand out when you decide to sell so potential buyers will have a great impression of your home.

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

What is a HELOC and Why Would I Want One?

Home values have risen dramatically in the last few years, and many homeowners would like to tap into their equity to make home improvements or go on a great vacation or even payoff some high interest credit cards, but they don’t want to refinance their primary mortgage because the rate they have is much better than today’s rates. If you purchased your home 2 years ago or more, chances are you have significant equity. Or maybe you have paid so much of the mortgage down that you’ve and now you wish you had held onto some of that cash.

Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) are a very popular option for homeowners in this very situation. They’re flexible loans that give you a lot of options and time to decide what you want to do with your equity.  However they can also be a bit confusing because they don’t work like a more traditional home loan.

HELOCs Are Lines of Credit

HELOCs are unlike a traditional home equity loan, where you borrow a set amount all at once, and then repay it. HELOCs are lines of credit that they work much more like a credit card than a mortgage. You’re approved for a maximum amount that represents the most money you can charge to your HELOC (just like with a credit card), and your payments are based on how much of that line of credit you’ve used.

If you max out your HELOC, you can pay it down and charge again, just like with a credit card. Unlike a credit card, however, your home is being used as the security for this loan, so if you get in over your head, your home is at risk of foreclosure. So you must be very careful with this particular kind of credit line. Of course rates are almost always a lot lower than your credit card rates.

HELOCs Have Two Separate Loan Periods

HELOCs start out as open lines of credit, allowing you to charge or pay off as much as you wish at any given time. You’re usually expected to make at least an interest payment each month, but beyond that, you can charge a lot or a little and only pay based on the percentage of the credit line you’ve utilized. This is known as the “draw” period.

This period of the HELOC, where it functions as a line of credit, is usually about 10 years, but can be more or less, depending on the specific terms. Immediately following this period, your HELOC becomes a set loan, and you can no longer charge anything else to the line of credit.

In this repayment period, your HELOC becomes much more like a traditional second mortgage, with a payment that’s based on the amount of credit you ultimately used during the draw period. From here on, your payment is more or less fixed, but can vary if you have an adjustable-rate loan. The repayment period is usually about 20 years, but, again, can be different based on your agreement with your bank.

There is often a balloon payment due at the end of the repayment period, so if this is a concern for you, make sure that your loan either will fully amortize or that you’re paying extra each month to ensure your last payment takes your note to a zero balance.

HELOC Requirements

Just like other home equity loans, you’ll need to qualify for a HELOC with a reasonable credit score (ask your lender for specifics), a debt-to-income ratio of about 40% or below, and a high amount of home equity. Most lenders won’t lend more than about 85% of your home’s equity back to you, in case of default.

There are exceptions to all of these rules of thumb, so it’s very important to understand the specifics of the loan program you have chosen. You’ll also need an appraisal to assess the current value of your home, as well as minimal closing paperwork to finalize and record the loan and there is typically an annual fee.

Need Help  to Find Your HELOC Lender?

If you need a recommendation for a lending company to use for a HELOC – CALL me Jeff Howard, your realtor for life. I have a list of great lenders that I trust and I would be happy to recommend.

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Stock Investors are Considering Multifamily, Commercial Real Estate as Another Way to Invest

The primary place to investment in the United States has always been stocks and bonds. In fact, the 60/40 stock/bond portfolio is a standard that many investors follow, however this trend of investment points to one of the most stable long-term investments out there: real estate.

In the last 12 months, ending June 30, 2022, all aspects of the stock market were down. The S&P 500 was down 11 percent, Dow Jones Index was down 14 percent and Nasdaq was down 22 percent. The volatile Bitcoin went down 68 percent.

In the meantime, the real estate rent amounts continued to increase during that same period, meaning profits continued to climb for investors.

The annual rent for multifamily properties grew an average of 13.5 percent during 2021 (which is admittedly higher than historical increases) so multifamily properties generated the highest average returns among real estate classes in 2021.  This is a trend that has been going on for the last 40 years.

A point you should consider is that real estate does not follow the typical stock market swings. Stocks and bonds follow the stock market ebb and flow, and multifamily properties are independent of those swings. While this may mean that real estate doesn’t see large swings in gains and losses like some stocks do, it does mean that return profits are more stable and consistent.

Multifamily properties give the strongest average total return (9.75 percent), according to a 2017 report by CBRE Research, however, there are also other types of properties that give average total returns over eight percent as well; hotel (9.61 percent), industrial (9.57 percent) and retail (9.44 percent) & office properties (8.38 percent).

The main reason that multifamily properties top the list is that millennials have a solid desire not to own their homes properties, and now baby boomers have started renting more, as well.

Lease agreements for multifamily rentals also typically last just one year, allowing for faster increases over office, industrial and retail leases, which are typically five years or more.

I remember one of my real estate mentors once telling me “The stock market is a great place to have your money… when it’s not in real estate”.

Do you have a need for commercial/industrial/retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want a guaranteed cash offer? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff