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At Canopy Realty, we deeply believe in our firm’s mission that we are here to protect your interests.  When we work with clients, we consider you members of our family.  We care about your overall well being, beyond the nuts and bolts of a real estate transaction.

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Lilian Tsang of Tsang Law (  Lilian is a Trusts & Estates lawyer who is an expert in her field.  She offered some wonderful guidance about the benefits of establishing a trust.

Here are three key takeaways from our webinar:

Probate is expensive and time consuming!  If you pass away without having your assets held in a trust (even if you have a will), the distribution of your assets will need to be determined through a lengthy and expensive probate process.  For a $1mn estate that is uncontested, the probate process is estimated to cost $46k.  For a $10mn estate, the minimum probate fees would be $226k.  Your assets would be tied up as your estate goes through the probate process, which can take 1-2 years.

Establishing a trust is relatively easy and cost effective and avoids probate.  If your assets are held in a trust, then you avoid the probate process.  Lilian offers a consultative approach where she will walk you through various scenarios to understand how you would want your estate handled upon your passing.  She will prepare all of the legal documents and can even help with re-titling your real estate assets into the name of your trust.  The base price for establishing a trust plus transferring one property into the trust is $4k.

With a trust in place, you receive so much more than asset protection.  Your trust would include your will so you can clearly identify who is to receive what in the event of your passing.  You would also establish medical directives so you can appoint people to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated or clearly state your wishes if this were to be the case.  While these scenarios may not be the most fun to consider, having a disciplined approach to addressing them ensures that your final wishes are documented and can then be carried out.

Interested in learning more?  Email me ([email protected]), and I will share the link to our presentation.  Want a free consultation?  Sign up to speak with Lilian on her website at  

(Canopy Realty does not receive any compensation if you work with Lilian. We just think she’s super cool and like-minded in wanting to help others with her talents.  And, no element of our presentation or this blog post is to be construed as offering tax advice.  Please consult with your tax advisor to receive information on your unique situation and before making any trusts and estates decisions.)

COVID has caused a shift in buyer preferences.  This has driven pricing up for some product types and in some markets, creating buying opportunities for the speculative investor.

The single family home (SFH) market has been incredibly strong.  With so many families spending extended periods of time at home, we saw our clients pushing for extra space.  Our buyers have been looking for extra bedrooms and/or dedicated office spaces with a door for privacy.  In the past, similar buyers might say an extra bedroom would be nice to have.  In our conversations, the want has become a need.  In the past, an office nook or built in office space was considered great.  Now, with people working from home, we have had conversations about the need for a fully dedicated work space, sometimes with sound insulation.  Outdoor space has also been in high demand.  Kids have been cooped up and in need of a place to safely get out their energy.  People want the option to be social and safe, so the ability to host outdoor activities has grown in importance for buyers.

We’ve witnessed the start of a shift in location preferences.  Many of our clients have been moving away from city centers to the suburbs.  Not only are they seeking more space, but there is less need to live close to the office when so many companies have changed their policies about working remotely.  Families are now considering settling into areas normally thought of as second home markets, like Pebble Beach, Santa Rosa, or Tahoe.  Locations like these still make it possible to pop into the office somewhat regularly but offer buyers space and welcoming surroundings.

With this shift by product type and location, it opens opportunities.  For example, the condo market in San Francisco has been soft.  The sellers of these properties have been the buyers of SFHs in the suburbs, so there is a supply and demand imbalance that is causing San Francisco condos to return to the values seen over five years ago.  Here’s a specific example.  2002 3rd Street #213 in San Francisco just closed for $1.05mn in December 2021.  In January 2016, 2002 3rd Street #212 in San Francisco sold for $1.1mn.  The unit that just sold is arguably better, with peek-a-boo views of the water and more contemporary finishes.

Our hypothesis is that markets like Pebble Beach, Aptos, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Livermore will continue to strengthen.  People will realize that the dollar stretches further in those markets.  Perhaps early mover friends will convince others to join them.  Our bets are that those outlying markets will continue to see favorable growth on a cost-per-square-foot basis.  Over time, those buyers will realize that they want or need to commute into city centers and workplaces somewhat regularly.  So many of us recognize the value of in-person interactions.  We think the demand for pied-a-terres in San Francisco and Silicon Valley will rise.  Some of these commuters may rent crash pads to give themselves a regular place to stay, while others may buy.  Either way, we believe the condo market in San Francisco will rebound, but it will take time for people to feel the pain of those long drives.

Members of our team are capitalizing on our beliefs.  We’re buying or developing homes in outlying markets.  We’re also investing in pied-a-terre-type properties.  Hopefully, our predictions will come true.  

Agree with our hypotheses?  Have different ideas you want to bounce off of us?  We’re all ears.  We live and breathe real estate and are passionate about understanding consumer behavior.  Let’s set up a time to talk.  We’d be happy to partner with you to help you realize your real estate goals.

We recently shared some of these ideas and more during a live presentation.  Join us in 2022 as we roll out a regular series of speaking events.  Stay tuned here, on facebook, and on eventbrite for details.

Despite making progress, we’re still not yet ready to submit plans for building approval in Pebble Beach.

The property came with plans that the city and county had approved, but it was not a shovel-ready project. Our architect and team of engineers have been putting together the “real” detailed plans for building approval.

Big wins: We persuaded the city to allow us to shift the house position on the lot. As a result, we will have more privacy from the neighbors and be more centered on the parcel. Future owners will appreciate the extra yard space and better aesthetic. We are also incorporating the second bedroom suite into the property instead of it being an attached ADU.

Setbacks: Weeds invaded the land and two trees died, suddenly. We must engage an arborist to officially pronounce the trees dead before we can apply for a permit for their removal. When designing the landscape plan, we need to plant two new tree for each one dead tree removed.

While we inch along, the finish line feels like it is shifting further ahead. My hope is that being thoughtful and thorough now will yield positive results. Who knows? Maybe construction costs will decline over time. (Yeah right!)

#1105Wildcat #PebbleBeach #BuildingAHome #DevelopmentProcess

The real estate market has been on fire. During the first half of 2021, Bay Area sellers have realized new price-per-square-foot records. Yet, I believe dynamics will soon shift to more of a buyer’s market, or at least come back into balance. The basics of supply and demand support my hypothesis.

-HOUSING SUPPLY WILL RISE: Typically, there is a surge of inventory after the Superbowl. Sellers are enthusiastic that the weather gets a little nicer. They think more buyers will be in the market, not distracted by football. And, these sellers want to get a head start before more homes come to market. Inventory tends to build in March. For many soon-to-be empty nesters, they consider that they might market the home for a week, a typical buyer will need 30 days to complete the mortgage loan process, and mortgage lenders allow for a maximum 59-day rent-back period. If school is out in early June and you want a buffer to move, then you back into an on-market date of early March. Many sellers want to close escrow on the sale of their home prior to moving because they use their sales proceeds to buy their next homes.

The COVID pandemic changed so many things, including the timing of this surge. Fewer people were willing to show their homes while being owner-occupied. Some students remained in home schooling, and parents did not want to disturb school schedules with showings. The Bay Area market had less inventory this spring, causing pricing to rise, and planting seeds of optimism for some sellers.

In the second half of 2021, I believe pent-up supply will come to the market. School is out, so many families have moved and will soon be selling. My stager is overwhelmed helping to prep homes to hit the market! With recent strength in the real estate market, there might be added inventory from sellers trying to maximize their returns.

More inventory leads to lower pricing.

-BUYER DEMAND WILL FALL: For the first time in over a year, many families are able to travel with less worry. Many would-be buyers will be visiting loved ones or exploring the world this summer instead of looking at houses.

Interest rates are starting to rise. While still at historically low levels, interest rates rising can have a chilling effect on home prices, particularly at entry level price points. Many buyers determine their housing budgets based on how much they can borrow.

Less demand leads to lower pricing.

A shift in the market may take a bit of time. Listing agents will likely see a changing spread in offers. Some offers may be grouped together, and then there will be one or two high-priced outliers from buyers. Those buyers may just want a house after trying for so long. Or, perhaps they will not yet realize the market is in flux.

If you have been a buyer waiting on the sidelines, now is a great time to start exploring, and we can help. If you are a seller, we will share with you our unique strategies and give you a realistic range of what you can expect from this changing market. At Canopy Realty, we are here to protect your interests.

I’m looking forward to sharing progress reports as 1105 Wildcat Canyon Rd in Pebble Beach becomes a gorgeous modern home.

Identifying this opportunity was somewhat easy because the land and concept drawings were posted on the MLS. The listing sat dormant for four months. As luck would have it, once my partners and I started digging into the opportunity, others also took interest. In the end, we became the owners.

The property has been through the planning stage. This means that the town of Pebble Beach and the county of Monterey have reviewed and approved the concept for the home. We are creating a contemporary three bedroom, three and a half bathroom home with an ADU suite and a cool loft that one will be able to access through a secret door in the office. My kids can’t wait to see that door in action.

Now, we need to engage the architect and a team of engineers to develop construction drawings. The building department will review these detailed plans to hopefully issue permits. The general contractor will solicit bids for materials and subcontractors. If all goes as planned, we anticipate the project will be “shovel ready” in about three months.

We have also engaged a construction lender to help finance the development. With a construction loan, we still make a down payment, but we are able to borrow money to build the property. The lender monitors the builder’s progress, and we approve draws on the loan on a monthly. A key component of a construction loan is that we pay interest only on the funds drawn. In the beginning, our interest payment will be low because the project is just starting.

If you have ever been curious about the process to build a house, please follow along as I share the joys and frustrations of the creation process.

#1105Wildcat #PebbleBeach #BuildingAHome #DevelopmentProcess

Someone recently asked for data of my sold price vs. list price for the past year.  This was an awesome opportunity to consider the topic of whether this should matter.  I LOVE data.  After all, I was a strategy consultant and Wall Street analyst. I earned a living parsing through data, then applying my understanding to predict the future.  But not all data is created equal.

Let me highlight two examples for consideration.  A few years ago, a single family home in Palo Alto was not selling.  The listing agent reduced the list price to just under $1mn, which was far below the market value.  An acquaintance thought she could buy the house for the list price. I had to break the news that the house would sell for over $2mn, as it should, and that the list price was a “marketing stunt” to grab attention.  Did the listing agent outperform by listing the house for less than half of its market value? If an agent touts their ability to achieve a significant premium above the list price, I would question whether the agent really has their pulse on the market or whether the agent sets artificially low prices to bolster that particular data point to prospective sellers.

A second example points to the wonderfully human element of selling real estate, which is a core reason why I love my career.  My sellers received numerous offers and chose one offer that left about $20k on the table.  Why?  Because the buyers’ story really resonated.  They were a young family with a newborn.  We learned that the mom was battling cancer, and the family wanted a peaceful home where the mom could comfortably get through her recovery.  The sellers had lost their father to cancer and were immediately taken by this family’s story.  In this case, the sellers were thrilled that they could bring joy to the buyers, even if they did not maximize the price of the home they were selling.

While I love data, what I value above all else is doing the right thing, in partnership with my clients.  You determine what is most important to you, and we will be “Here to Protect Your Interests.”

#listingdata #realestatedata #datageek #canopyrealty #heretoprotectyourinterests

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