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Reference Guide for a Home Renovation » RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News



There are many reasons why people choose to renovate homes. First time buyers tend to buy older homes that may be out of date. Or maybe you’ve been in your home for more than a decade and looking forward to getting mortgage free. Investors have made big profits with Fix-n-Flip tags. Whether you are an owner or investor, the idea of ​​repairing an older home has been popular for many years.

Analysis of the US census data shows that at least half of the homes in America are more than 37 years old. New York State has the oldest average home age at 63 and Nevada has the lowest average home age at 26. This means that many roofs, stoves, floors, and appliances have reached the end of their useful life. According to reports, most people planning a renovation intend to spend $ 10,000 or more. For so much money, you need to plan ahead.

1. What is happening in your life? Before making important decisions, think about what you want from the renovation for tomorrow and the next 5 or 10 years. Converting the fourth bedroom into an office probably isn’t a good idea if you’re planning a family or looking to take care of older parents for the years to come. On the other hand, home offices have become very popular as more and more people work from home. Personal needs are important.

2. Preliminary examination:

  • List the renovation projects you are considering.
  • Discuss their home renovation experiences with friends, neighbors, and even real estate agents.
  • Go to some open houses in your neighborhood to see what others have been doing. Do some research on the Internet and in magazines to get a comprehensive overview of possible ideas.
  • Look for rough estimates for ideas you are considering.
  • Inquire about how your planned renovations will affect your home value.
  • If you are planning multiple projects, prioritize them.

3. Cost and budget. Their main costs relate to material, labor and local market conditions. You will need at least 3 estimates and likely the recommendations of contractors hired by people you trust. However, you can work out your rough estimate using online calculators such as Online estimates are just a start, and expect costs to fluctuate significantly depending on your specific needs, desires, and decisions.

  • Once you have some estimates from contractors, it’s a good idea to add another 30% or 40% to cover changes and unexpected contingencies.
  • Whenever you remove or add walls or make foundation changes, you need the professional services of a structural engineer.
  • If you are concerned about recovering your costs in the sale, prioritize your list for renovations that will give you the most return on your investment. Generally, in descending order, these are the kitchen, bathroom, apartment building, master bedroom, and loft bedroom.
  • Find out about financing options if you don’t pay everything in cash. Banks typically lend 20 to 30% of the home value (this depends on your equity). If the home is worth $ 300,000 and your credit is reasonable, expect to borrow $ 60,000 to $ 90,000 for renovations.
  • Common financing options include equity loans, home refinancing (preferably at lower interest rates), home remodeling or personal loans, and credit cards (usually the least preferred).

4. Hire your contractor. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do and how you’re going to pay for it, it’s time to hire a contractor. This is when you set the final estimate. But still keep a 20 to 30% buffer in your budget. Prepare a list of project-specific questions to ask each contractor. General questions are:

  • References list?
  • Experience with your project type and experience close to your location?
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured (their liability insurance to keep you safe)? Check what you are told.
  • Comparable projects you can see? Preferably current finished projects, but at least videos or photos.
  • Deadline and budget performance?
  • Which are the payment conditions? Down payment, milestones, down payment + final payment, materials + milestones, total advance payment (not desired) etc. Do you ask about payments for changes in the scope of work?
  • What is guaranteed and for how long?
  • Do you have a single point of contact for status and how often do you get updates?
  • How do you deal with any necessary changes?
  • Are you asking how other parts of the home / landscaping are affected and protected?
  • Do you ask about subcontractors? Make sure the general contractor takes responsibility for subcontractors.
  • How do you accommodate family and pets (if you live in the house during the renovation)? Be sure to mention if you work from home.
  • Do you call references to ask questions about whether they were happy with the results, budget and on-time delivery, how problems were dealt with, how long ago it was work, and whether they would hire the contractor again?
  • Everything specific to your project and your situation.
  • Listen carefully to all of his answers. Especially in terms of changes, budgets and scheduling.
  • Before starting the work, request a written and signed offer and a contract. In case of doubt, record it in writing. Make sure all specifications are included. Include required permits and regulatory inspections. Have a well-written final acceptance clause.

5. Plan how you will live during the remodeling. How will you and your family live during the renovation? Are you going to move out Do you attach a plastic tarpaulin between the living area and the construction site? Are you going to eat out during a kitchen renovation? How do you protect valuables and heirlooms with workers in the house? Will you and your family be safe from open holes and other obstacles? Is someone allergic to dust or chemicals (paints and floors)? Do you need a storage shed? Can you drive in and out of your driveway? Make sure your contractor cleans up daily. What else has to be planned?

6. Manage contractors. Mistakes will happen. Custom-made products arrive late, inspection appointments are missed and a wall is even built in the wrong place. Be mentally prepared for these and other issues as you build if your patience is likely to be running out. Talk to your contractor regularly and point out these issues as soon as you find them to avoid a ripple effect. Make a list and go back to make sure errors have been corrected. All changes must be made in writing and include costs. Keep all communication sincere. If you lose your temper, apologize. Expect the same from him or her.

Soon you will be cooking in your dream kitchen, showering luxuriously or enjoying the high-tech lifestyle.

What are your renovation tips? Please add your comment.

Additionally, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of real estate experience. Please email your questions, inquiries or article ideas to

Author Biography: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and has been writing about real estate investing for 12 years. He also has over 30 years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives in Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination near a national and Pacific ocean.

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Real Estate News

U.S.-Based CIM Group Enters UK Real Estate Market with Acquisition of Cathedral Square, a Three-Building Office Campus in Guildford



LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE) – CIM Group, a community owner, operator, lender and developer of real estate and infrastructure, today announced the acquisition of Cathedral Square, a three-building office campus in Guildford, United Kingdom. The acquisition is the US company’s first transaction in the Western European market as part of its value-add strategy in Europe.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, CIM Group has a network of offices from which to manage its extensive real estate portfolio, which includes office, residential, retail, hospitality and logistics properties. The company’s initiative in Western Europe is led by its London-based team looking for well-located office, residential, retail and logistics properties in select metropolitan markets with strong demographics, well-connected to public transport and with extensive knowledge – based economies, such as those supported by universities, scientific research, intellectual property development, or technology centers.

“With this acquisition in Great Britain, the CIM Group is launching its value-add strategy in Western Europe and using our community-oriented approach, which is a hallmark of the company. After a comprehensive assessment of the commercial real estate markets in Western European countries, we identified the UK as a target market for expanding our commercial real estate holdings and real estate activities. This thorough process was carried out by our team of professionals experienced in all aspects of European commercial real estate, ”said Avi Shemesh, Co-Founder and Principal of CIM Group.

Cathedral Square corresponds to the acquisition focus of CIM as it has an attractive location in Guildford, a business center about 30 miles outside of London, which is one of the leading production centers for video games in Great Britain.

“Cathedral Square is a premier creative office campus, a type of asset that we are very familiar with as we develop, own and operate similar assets in markets across the United States. The property’s location in a regional innovation hub attractive to technology, science and knowledge-based businesses and in a metropolitan area with strong demographics and public transportation are attributes that match our program criteria when we entered the UK, “noted Shemesh .

Cathedral Square benefits from easy access to the A3, a major regional thoroughfare and connection to London, and close proximity to the University of Surrey, Guildford city center, Guildford Mainline Railway Station and Heathrow Airport. Cathedral Square also provides workers with easy access to the area’s shopping and dining areas, as well as the city’s many recreational and recreational opportunities.

Built in 2000, Cathedral Square consists of three buildings: Buildings 1000 and 2000, which were extensively refurbished in 2017 and are interconnected three-story Category A offices. Building 3000 is a three-story building that is being converted into a class A creative office with a focus on outdoor facilities, outdoor landscape, and health and wellbeing, with delivery scheduled for 2023. Additionally, the entire property will benefit from upgraded facilities including a new gym, additional rental space, electric vehicle chargers and outdoor recreational facilities. Each building has a central atrium and modern, flexible rooms with plenty of natural light.

Cathedral Square offers a staff-centric work environment with amenities like collaborative breakout areas, a manicured outdoor environment, an on-site coffee shop, changing rooms and showers, bike storage and shared electric bikes, and a free shuttle bus. The property hosts a range of courses, services, and events with an emphasis on wellness, including sports and fitness programs, retail stores, and more.

In addition, Cathedral Square is committed to sustainability in the workplace and Buildings 1000 and 2000 have all received the BREEAM rating of “Very Good”. Building 3000 is aiming for a BREEAM rating of “Excellent”.

The CIM Group was advised on the acquisition of Savills.

For more information on Cathedral Square, visit

About the CIM group

CIM is a community based real estate and infrastructure owner, operator, lender and developer. Since 1994, CIM has sought value on projects and positively impacts the lives of people in communities across America by donating more than $ 60 billion in major real estate and infrastructure projects. The diverse team of experts at CIM applies its broad knowledge and disciplined approach to the practical management of real estate from due diligence through operation to sale. CIM strives to make a meaningful difference in the world by implementing key environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and improving every community it invests in. Further information is available at

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Real Estate News

Real estate commission structures do need changing



Earlier this month the editors of the Boston Herald called on the National Association of Realtors to amend a number of rules that they believe are anti-competitive and are designed to keep real estate commissions artificially high.

In response to the editorial, NAR President Charlie Oppler pointed out that commission rates have steadily declined in recent years. The consequence of this decline, according to Oppler, is that the commissions are fully negotiable, which suggests that agent compensation is not anti-competitive. However, a closer look at the commission data actually supports the opposite conclusion; namely, that there is substantial evidence that the current commission structure is against antitrust law.

When analyzing real estate commissions, it is important to recognize that the total real estate commission consists of two components: the broker’s commission and the buyer’s commission.

Because listing agents negotiate their commissions directly with sellers, there are no anti-competitive concerns with this component of total commission. However, this is not the case with the brokerage commission because the brokerage commissions do not negotiate their commissions directly with their buyers like they would in any other industry. Instead, the NAR rules stipulate that when listing the home, the seller must offer a preset, non-negotiable commission to the buyer’s agent who mediates the buyer.

This means that the buyer’s brokerage commission is not dictated by free market forces when the price of a service equals the value of the service. Instead, it is determined by how high the buyer’s commission is in the respective market. This notion of a common price exists because most sellers either from experience or from their brokerage agents know that offering a lower brokerage commission to the buyer would encourage brokers to illegally distract their customers from their offers and towards properties with higher commissions .

The declining commission data referenced by Oppler emphatically supports this characterization of real estate commissions. According to industry news site RealTrends, the average national commission rate has fallen from 5.40% in 2012 to 4.90% to 4.94% in 2020. (For simplicity we assume it is 4.90%.)

However, as explained above, we have to split the total commission into the broker’s commission and the buyer’s commission. According to a Redfin study, the average brokerage commission fell only slightly from 2.8% in 2012 to 2.7% in 2020. It can be deduced from this that the average brokerage commission fell from 2.6% to 2.2% during this period – four times the decrease in the buyer’s average brokerage commission.

It should come as no surprise that the average brokerage commission has dropped significantly over this period. First, the number of active brokers increased by 46% from nearly one million to nearly 1.5 million between 2012 and 2020. It is to be expected that this increasing competition will put pressure on commissions. Second, the average home sale price rose 23% (adjusted for inflation) over this eight year period, more than offsetting the decline in average listing commission. Finally, the increasing adoption of technological tools such as electronic signature software has helped streamline the process.

Therefore, the sharp drop in the average brokerage commission is an indication that free market forces are at play on the listing side. If this were the case on the buy side, we would expect a similar decline in the buyer’s average brokerage commission as the trends described above affect both sides of the deal. On the buy side, the decline is even more dramatic as buyers increasingly find their new homes on real estate websites like Zillow and

The fact that the buyer’s average brokerage fee has changed little since 2012 therefore supports the argument that the buyer’s brokerage fee is dictated by an arbitrary rate rather than free market forces.

Will Fried is a data scientist at REX.

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Real Estate News

Fall Real Estate: Tri-Valley market shifting as 2021 comes to an end | News



Tired homebuyers looking for a break can look forward to something in Pleasanton in 2022.

Buyer behavior changed in the second half of 2021 and is likely to continue into next year, said Tina Hand, 2021 president of the Bay East Association of Realtors.

“In general, homebuyers find less competition when they bid on real estate,” said Hand. “Many buyers are still a bit tired; they have been on the market for a long time and have been much outbid.”

She explained that historically high sales prices have taken their toll and there are simply fewer buyers in the market. Hand said buyers “are still waiting for prices to fall further despite we’ve seen price adjustments.”

The number of pending sales in Pleasanton peaked at 87 in April and then stabilized in May, June and July. Pending sales fell to 57 in August and then to 54 in September. This trend suggests a decline in buyer enthusiasm, which is also reflected in sales prices.

From August through September, the average retail price for a single family home in Pleasanton fell from $ 1.79 million to $ 1.56 million. This change was just one of the few times in 2021 that sales prices dropped month on month.

Hand said buyers are pulling out and sellers are not used to that. When asked how the sellers are reacting, Hand said: “I think they are a bit surprised that in August and early September they are not getting the prices we saw the market is shifting.”

“Sellers had received 15 or 20 multiple bids that were $ 200,000 to $ 400,000 above the asking price, and that doesn’t happen,” she said.

According to Hand, changes in the total cost of living are dampening buyer enthusiasm.

“People are starting to see fuel prices go up, food prices go up. I think that’s another factor in why people might be backing off a bit,” she added. “We have inflation going on and I think that scares people. First-time buyers in particular are a little nervous and will wait and see what happens.

The monthly price changes from August to September are surprising, but do not yet indicate a major shift in home sales prices. The average sale price for a home in Pleasanton in 2020 was just over $ 1.25 million. From January to August 2021, the average retail price was more than $ 1.6 million.

Hand said: “There is talk of a ‘housing bubble’ but the factors are just not there; this is not 2008. What happened then will not happen in 2021.”

Looking ahead, Hand said buyers should be positive with potentially more options. “More inventory in the market will help home buyers moving up or down or first-time home buyers – whatever the case.”

When asked when the 2022 real estate season will start, Hand predicted, “I bet it will start in late December or mid-January. that will make a difference in both residential and commercial real estate. “

Editor’s Note: David Stark is the public affairs and communications director for the Bay East Association of Realtors, based in Pleasanton.

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