Where Is Real Estate Going?

The past six weeks have been chaotic to say the very least. The coronavirus has disrupted our lives in so many ways, and we are learning to adjust, but it can be scary. A recent common topic of conversation between myself and clients, the public, and other Realtors® has been: “What do you think will happen to the real estate market after all of this? Where are we headed?” I thought it might be nice to jot down some of my personal thoughts and beliefs on the topic!

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Here in Humboldt County, we face the issue of a fairly consistent housing shortage. What this means is that there are fewer homes available than there are people needing housing. This goes for renting and homeownership alike. Why? Because we have limited space available to develop further. There are some areas like McKinleyville and Fortuna that have been infilling, which is great. In Eureka and Arcata, however, we are faced with development difficulties such as greenbelts and marshland that prohibits more housing from being built. What this does for our housing market is stabilize the prices. We have seen a steady incline in the past several years (the 2008-2009 recession caused a hit, just as it did everywhere else).

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If we take a step back and just look at basic principles of economics, low supply and high demand will always cause prices to increase or at least hold steady. I feel that, even in the midst of another nation-wide recession, Humboldt County will be less affected in our housing market than other metropolitan areas simply because we have such limited supply of housing.

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Another factor that is somewhat new, is that people are realizing through this pandemic and Stay at Home order that they can work remotely! They may not need to live in metropolitan areas to work corporate jobs that are based there. In fact, some companies have decided to continue working entirely remotely into the future! I have already heard of several people who have decided to relocate to more rural areas (such as Humboldt County) and continue to work for their corporation of choice! We have so many awesome qualities that would draw folks from the cities, some of which are: clean air, no traffic, countless outdoor activities to enjoy, and relatively cheaper housing and standard of living.

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Bottom line is, there are a lot of reasons that support the continued health of our housing market in Humboldt County. I feel truly lucky to live in such a beautiful area that allows us the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and other positive aspects of living “rurally.” I understand that this season we are currently in is scary, and nothing about the future is promised. I also see this as a chance to appreciate where we live. I would rather be self-quarantined here than pretty much anywhere else! Stay safe and sane Humboldt, we will get through this together.

Sincerely,

Mallory and Charlie

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*Photos courtesy of CKC Image

The Power of Buying Local

This blog post is not on the topic of real estate specifically, but it is about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Supporting local businesses has always been a very important thing to do, whether you live in a small rural community or in a large city. These business owners and employees all count on the patronage of people who live in and around their same communities.

Coming from a long line of small business owners, I know the amount of work and passion that it takes to create a successful and flourishing local biz. It takes an incredible amount of hours, money, networking, self-sought education, and devotion to take an idea and turn it into a profitable and top-of-mind business. Every day is looked at as an opportunity to grow and become better.

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When facing an unprecedented scenario like the one we are currently in, COVID-19, the vast disruption to “business as usual” can be incredibly destructive to our local businesses. So many of these businesses are operating on limited funds as it is, they do not have the reserves necessary to withstand being closed for weeks on end, let alone pay their employees and other bills that do not disappear (utilities, rent/lease, taxes, etc.).

Since the beginning of this sequence of events that the virus has caused, I have noticed so many businesses seize this opportunity to be there for the public. Restaurants are remaining open with take-out/drive-up options available, auto shops (shameless plug for Eureka Brake & Automotive and Old Town Auto Service) are offering pick up and delivery options for those who choose not to leave home but still need vehicle maintenance done, and local wineries are offering free delivery, right to your door (does it get any better?). This is amazing! It goes to show you that these people who have adapted, and will continue to adapt as this pandemic progresses, are truly here for their community.

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We are so lucky to live in such a county with such deep roots, and now more than ever is the time to keep our local businesses supported. These businesses have found ways to be there for you in this time of uncertainty, so let’s be there for them! This could be as easy as purchasing gift certificates from restaurants or local shops to use at a later time (or make early Christmas shopping a cinch!). We live in a time where almost anything is available to us from our smart phones, so use them!

I see this temporary pause to life as usual as an opportunity to alter some of our spending habits and really focus on building each other up as a community, rather than focusing on the fear of the unknown. One thing is for sure, we will get through this. My hope is that once the coronavirus pandemic is over with, Humboldt County will bounce back and local businesses will be stronger than ever. Let’s do everything we can to make sure that happens.

Here are a just few of the local businesses that I would like to thank for what they are doing:

Eureka Brake & Automotive

Old Town Auto Service

Septentrio Winery

Land of Lovely

Jitter Bean Coffee Co.

Humboldt Cider Co.

LoCo Fish Co.

Fieldbrook Winery

Salt Fish House

Ramone’s Bakery and Cafe

Humboldt Soup Co.

Larrupin Cafe

Brick and Fire Bistro

Esmeralda’s Mexican Food

Sammy’s BBQ

Babe’s Pizza & Pasta

Chin’s Cafe

Pho Thien Long

Old Growth Cellars

Luis’s Mexican Restaurant

Redwood Curtain Brewing Co.

If you can think of any other local businesses that need mentioning, I encourage you to leave a comment and I will add a link for them as well. And, as always, thank you so much to the medical professionals and first responders that we rely on so heavily. Your efforts are so greatly appreciated!

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Wishing you all the best in health and happiness!

 

Yours truly,

Mallory and Charlie

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Travel Bug

We are currently in the heart of winter, and the cold, wet weather has me daydreaming about visiting a warm sandy beach with a cocktail in hand, or perhaps being on a snowy ski slope with my best friends, snowboarding all day until we finally retreat to our cabin to spend the night hot tubbing and dancing to Usher. Either way, I think a winter vacation is long overdue!

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After the busy holiday season, I think we all tend to get back into our grooves with work and get so busy with normal routines that we forget to take much of a break. I know I’ve felt this myself. The days are shorter this time of year, we “just don’t have the time” to do some of the things that truly make us happy and this can sometimes result in a winter slump. Taking a vacation this time of year probably isn’t the first thing on most people’s minds, but I think it should be somewhere on the list!

IMG_0401 A winter vacay doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive. It could just be a weekend spent a few hours away from your hometown with friends or your sweetheart (Valentine’s Day is coming up). Recently, I had the opportunity to do just this with my besties and my sister. Sometimes all you need is just some quality time with the ones closest to you. Activities don’t necessarily matter, since we have no matter what we are doing, but a little wine tasting never hurts! This time away is so important for your relationships, whether your friends or significant other. It puts everyone in a different frame of mind and allows you to step away from the normal stresses and potential monotony of your every day life.

I encourage you to plan a winter vacation of some kind! Whether big or small, plan a trip that gets you out of your normal routine and allows you to spend quality time with loved ones. Reconnect with yourself and with them. It’s so important to get a little refresher every now and then, even in the cold months!

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What My First Year In Real Estate Taught Me

If you’ve been following my journey at all, you probably know I am a rookie in the real estate world. I got my real estate license on November 1, 2018 and have spent the past year with my nose to the ground. I’ve faced challenges that I didn’t know could possibly exist. Most of these challenges have been mental and emotional. I’ll get into that soon. Some challenges have been financial, and others have been social. If you are someone who has considered changing directions in your life, leaving the security of an hourly wage job for a purely commission-based one, or are just someone curious about what I’ve experienced over the past 12 months, keep reading!

Challenge #1: Mental

I am someone who does well with routines. I was so accustomed to the 7:30-5:00 Monday through Friday work schedule that when I left my hourly wage job, I felt a little lost with my time. I knew that being a Realtor® meant that I would likely be working nights and weekends, but what I didn’t plan for was scheduling time for myself. I would feel extremely guilty if I took a few hours mid-day on a weekday to relax or take care of myself. To tell you the truth, I still feel that guilt sometimes. I was so used to the “typical work day” hours defining when my free time was and, more importantly, when it was not. The mental guilt that I felt and still sometimes feel can be overwhelming, but I am starting to get better at not caring what others think. I work very hard and do my best in my business. That’s all that matters.

Challenge #2: Financial

Aside from the routine challenge, I felt so much pressure to perform well. I had heard horror stories of people getting started in real estate and not making any sales in their first year, which translates to having no income. This wasn’t an option for me. I am lucky to have a strong support system at home, with a partner who could take on more of the financial burden than before, but the pressure to be bringing in my own stream of income was and still is very apparent. I have learned that the typical amount of time it takes for someone new in real estate to feel comfortable with their income can be anywhere from three to five years. That’s a long time to feel uncomfortable! I am learning to cope with it and be grateful for what I have. So many people often think that all real estate agents immediately make large amounts of money, and I am here to tell you that it’s just not true.

I also had not fully taken into account just how expensive it can be to get started. Marketing and advertising is so expensive, and it is incredibly important to get your name out there as fast as possible to generate business, right? I would recommend saving at least 6-8 months in expenses before making the jump to a fully commission-based job like real estate. Having a sizeable cushion will help alleviate some of the financial stress and allow you to focus your energy on kicking ass in your business! One of my first clients told me, “You can’t afford to worry about money in the beginning, just focus on taking care of your clients and the money will follow.” Good advice from a very wise man.

Challenge #3: Social

I don’t have a large amount of friends. I have my small network of my closest friends and I pretty much stick to those people. I have had to step really far outside of my comfort zone, not just with clients, but with new co-workers, other Realtors® and affiliates, industry peers, etc. I can definitely say that it was not easy, and it probably never will be for me, but I feel so good about the progress I’ve made in creating new relationships with people! A quote I heard from my sister recently sums it u: “If you are comfortable, you’re not growing. If you’re growing, you’re not going to be comfortable.” -Unknown.

Real estate is my passion, and the past year has definitely taught me that even through the ups and downs, I love what I do!

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Planting Hobbies

There is something about the promise of sunny days and spring air that makes me want to get some plants in the ground. Living in Humboldt County, our winters sometimes seem to drag on for eternity. The long, wet, gray days get a little bit ominous, and as soon as we get a beautiful sunny day, I find myself headed straight to the garden shop to get my seeds and starts! (I should preface this with the fact that I am by no means a green thumb. I’ve killed more plants than I’ve grown, definitely.)

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Because I am so ready for spring to show itself and for winter to go back into hiding, I tend to jump the gun so to speak when it comes to planting. I usually rush things. (Gardening may not be the most ideal hobby for me since patience is not easily a virtue of mine.) I’m really a novice at vegetable growing. I started last year and became hooked. This year, I planted seeds rather than starts. My thinking is that I can get them in the ground sooner than starts and forget about them for a few weeks while we ride the rest of this rainy season out. I have no idea if this method will be successful. “Trial and error” is my life motto.

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Even though I am not always successful in my gardening endeavors, I still enjoy it deeply. I am always so excited to plant new flowers in the front yard, to see the new colors and textures. Veggie growing is another animal, and I love the challenge of growing all different types of food. I feel like there will always be something to learn with a hobby like this. There will always be variety and variance between seed types, weather variations, watering patterns, etc. A good hobby is one that doesn’t get monotonous over time. I don’t think I will have a problem with this one! I think Charlie enjoys it, too!

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What is a hobby of yours that will continuously push you to improve over time? Do you have anything that you absolutely love to do, even if you’re not particularly good at it? Maybe you share the same love for gardening with me! I’d love to hear. Let me know what hobbies hold your passion!

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What Your Front Door Says About You

It’s starting to feel more and more like spring! I think the turn in seasons from cold, wet winter to bright and cheery spring may just be my favorite time of the year. It reminds me how much the sunshine improves my mood and feels instantly refreshing! This time of the year also makes me excited to get to work on my own home which has been somewhat neglected during the rainy season. It’s time to give it a face-lift! Each year, I tend to have a different project to improve the curb appeal of my home.

A couple of years ago, I decided to jump in and paint my front door black. This was a bold decision because the door was previously white and tan, and the color of the rest of the house is dark gray with cream colored trim. I bounced around ideas of what color to paint the door for a few months. I originally thought dark blue would be the one, then I changed my mind and settled on a red door…what a statement! Finally, while driving around doing errands one day, I saw it. I saw a home with similar coloring to mine with a BLACK door. The idea of a black door seemed dark and uninviting.

Until I saw it in reality, I didn’t think this was the color I wanted for my home, which is a cheery place! The sheer class that the black added to the home I saw surprised me. I remember thinking, “Yeah, that’s it!” I went down to the hardware store that same day and bought the paint. My parents thought I was crazy when I told them what I had decided on for paint color. I didn’t have any doubts though. I’ve never given it a second thought!

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*Disclaimer, this picture was taken before I knew how to properly pot pretty flowers in my entryway!

It is interesting to me the importance of the color of a home’s front door. The entrance into a person’s home says a lot about them and their personality. I’ve found that a pop of color added at the front door adds excitement to the overall look of the home as well as makes the guest excited to come inside! Right now, I’ve seen many teal or aqua colored doors. This may be less classic than a deep and vibrant red or canary yellow, but adds plenty of interest nonetheless! A red front door will always be one of my favorites. It just stands out so much compared to other typical housing colors like grays, whites, tans, and other neutrals. I would suggest adding a red front door to a white home, light or dark gray, or even a deep navy color!

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Check out this article to find out what the color of your front door says about you! And don’t be afraid to get creative with this on your own!

The Dollars and Sense of Homeownership

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It’s tax season! This is the time of the year to be reminded of all the things that we can use as tax write-offs in order to get a little extra cash in our wallets. The tax system is set up in a way to encourage investing in ourselves, our businesses, and our future. I want to talk about one way to really benefit largely from this system and give advice on why homeownership is a financially wise decision.

There are so many benefits to owning a home. The obvious one is having a place to live that is truly yours. Some not-so-evident perks to those who have never owned a home are the financial benefits. Sure, we’ve all heard saying like “it’s good to build equity” and “real estate is a good investment for your future.” What I’d like to talk about is more specifically why these sayings are true and what they really mean.

Buying may seem like the expensive option when you have a choice between that and renting. No doubt, it very well might be more expensive in the short term. However, in the long term, buying is definitely the way to go. The first reason why is because each month when you write that check, you aren’t paying for someone else’s mortgage payment. You are essentially paying yourself by putting money away and thus building equity bit by bit each month.

Other financial benefits of owning a home are tax-related. Many people don’t understand the amount of write-offs possible when you are a homeowner. These write-offs translate into cash directly back in your pocket! Firstly, you can write off all of the interest paid on your home. This is especially important during the first few years of homeownership because those are the years most people pay the highest amount of interest. Secondly, you can write off property taxes. Again, this means more cash back to you during tax season! Who doesn’t love the sound of that?

For more details on why homeownership is financially beneficial, check out Forbes’ article: 7 Benefits of Homeownwership This Tax Season

 

Business is Personal

In the days of Internet purchasing and virtual business, which both play such a huge role in the way we live our daily lives, visiting a regular brick and mortar storefront starts to leave our brains when it comes to making a purchase. We almost automatically go to Amazon.com to search for our every need. And I understand why, it’s so darn easy! Even though the sheer convenience of shopping online is enough to steer away from shopping locally and experiencing face-to-face interactions, I encourage everyone to go out and make your purchases the old-fashioned way whenever possible. *EDIT (while wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing) And this is why…

We live in a comparatively small community. Humboldt County, and even more specifically, Eureka, California, rely so heavily on the support of local businesses to keep everyone afloat. We don’t have very many mega-corporations in this area. Arcata has even fewer (if any) than Eureka does. We rely on the locally owned businesses for most commodities. One example of this that hits home for me is the automotive industry. Even the big brand-name shops like Les Schwab and Firestone are locally managed, meaning the guys or gals who run those locationslivehere, right where you live! We also have several mom-and-pop owned shops who strive so hard to create a positive experience for those who we share the community with. Going the extra mile and then some to create the best possible experience for their customers is a giant part of their business, aside from the actual car repair itself. The point of creating a wonderful experience when visiting these small businesses is to make customers want to return to them in the future and to encourage people to share how great their experience was with others. Locally owned businesses understand how important maintaining reputation is because they, too, are part of the community whom they serve. And in a small town, word of mouth is everything.

So many people cultivate personal relationships with these local businesses and the people who run them. As they begin to make regular visits to the stores, everyone begins to learn about each other’s lives. This creates an affinity for that person and the business associated with them. It becomes more of a personal visit rather than purely business-related. This relationship building aspect is so important to our local economy! I fear that sometimes we tend to forget about this aspect of doing business.

I wrote this mainly to remind everyone of how important having face-to-face *EDIT* (wearing your masks, of course) interaction is in business. Don’t take the easy route and order everything from your couch. Get out there and talk to people! You will be happy to make those connections with those in your community, I promise that you won’t regret it.

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*Pictured above: the crew at Eureka Brake & Automotive, my family’s business in Eureka, CA

Overcoming the Boundaries of Budgeting

“Budget” can be a scary word for a lot of people. It often reflects limitation and lack of opportunities. Many people think that determining a budget and allocating personal finances strategically puts them in a confined box.

The truth is, determining a plan for your income is the best way to make the most of your money. You will be able to save more money for the things that bring you joy rather than barely catching up with your monthly bills. By planning out your spending, you can better achieve financial freedom and a less stressful life!

The way to do this is to come up with a plan for every dollar you earn. By this, I mean calculate all of your expenses and subtract them from your monthly net income. If there are any elective expenses that you can eliminate, do it! I find that once I write a list down and calculate the total amount being spent each month, it’s a lot easier to narrow down and cut out unnecessary expenses. I should also add that I include paying myself in my expense column. This money goes directly into investment accounts that I do not access. You know, planning for retirement or whatever! I also calculate planned vacation expenses into this total as well. If you don’t plan it ahead of time, the cost of going on a vacation can seem impossible. Don’t let this happen. Everyone needs a vacation!

After you subtract all expenses from your monthly net income, you will find out exactly how much you have left over. Whatever is left, allow yourself some fun money. Everyone needs some spending cash. Whether your budget allows $100 per month of $1000 per month, stick to that. And lastly, the remaining funds should be stored in a separate savings account. I like to think of this account as my usable reserves. If an emergency were to arise, those funds are available, but they’re not as easy to access.

Here are some quick tips on how to keep your budget on track:

  1. Pay yourself first. Even if it seems impossible, make it a habit to put money away for your future. You are the most important thing to spend your money on. Invest in yourself and you will grow!
  2. Withdraw grocery money and fun money in cash. Keep each amounts separate, and stick to the allocated amounts. You’ll notice you spend that money slower when it is in physical form rather than swiping a card.
  3. Cut out unnecessary expenses. If you’re still paying for that gym membership but haven’t visited in over a year, maybe consider cancelling (or better yet, just go to the dang gym!).
  4. Live below your means. Just because you can afford it doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. By living below your means, you will experience more financial freedom and a much more stress-free way of living.

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