Category Archives: Development

Adding Value to a Home & to Your Life

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Many have asked me about what adds value to a home when it comes to backyards.  Most people know that a $60K pool will usually not add $60K in value to a home.  In some cases, it can even be a liability, or it highly depends on where the home is located and what is expected in that area of town.   What about fancy landscaping? When it comes to property management, many savvy investors love a yard that has little to no maintenance, saving on landscaping expenses.  Flippers many times just leave a yard like a blank canvas, putting money into the front yard and curb appeal.  When it comes to one’s personal residence, much of the value can be seen in the intrinsic joy a yard brings and the usability for the owner.  I had one client that wanted to make sure the backyard faced a certain direction., was not sloping and had certain feng shui characteristics.  Another wanted to make sure the sun came across the yard in a perfect path for their love of gardening, so she could grow the best produce.  One client had to have a space for pexels-photo-715134.jpega Japanese Maple.  Others are in love with having a fire pit, or an outdoor eating area.  Recently I sold a home where an appraiser called and was curious as to why it sold for $11,000 over asking, relative to other similar homes?  I believe it was due to the high-end landscaping, custom lighting, a water feature, perfected irrigation and watering system, etc.  This stuff is also very expensive and sometimes costly to maintain, but definitely added value to this homes selling price.  What I’m getting at, many times an addition of this or that it’s not a value add to others (or a buyer), but it adds tremendously to your life and perhaps family.  And, if done with some forethought, you may be able to accomplish both.

My backyard has gone through some serious renovation over the last few years, and I can now write this post without feeling shame for having a half finished, project-of-a-backyard.  The first dilemma for many, to hire a professional, or do it yourself.  I tend to be a glutton for punishment, so I took on the “art project,” as I like to call it.  The term gives me room for error – ha ha ha.  Whether it’s a financial thing, or you want to tap into your creative juices, there are so many things to consider before undertaking a project like this.  I found that it can be like pulling a thread… one thing leads to the next… things you have not even considered, whether it be drainage, lighting, plumbing (gas for a grill and water coming in and going out); electrical outlets, furniture, BBQ, shade, space and functionality – the list can be endless.  Again, remember the term, “art project” if you’re a DYI’er.

 

First of all our yard is postage stamp sized –  No football game or kicking the soccer ball around there.  We tried to tend the landscaping that there when we purchased the home, but it either died or became over grown with weeds and ivy coming over the fence.  We’ve tried to plant a garden, but it just does not get enough sun.

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The water feature broke and we just stopped going out there except to dump food scraps into the compost.  With a dog chasing squirrels, rats living in the ivy, and kids in Jr. High, we decided that we needed a 5th Space, or outdoor room – a place to host; an extension of our kitchen; an outdoor living area; a place where our kids and their friends would want to hang out.  This, for us, has added tremendous value to our family’s life and to the value of our home.  During our Christmas party we found a group of people sitting by the fire until late night … mission accomplished!

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I only posted a handful of pictures – let me know if you are interested in seeing more, or any of the particulars of the concrete counters, or brew pub inspired metal fence, or what I choose cinder block over metal, etc.?  I’m happy to share more pics or thoughts on construction, err, artwork.

In addition, check out this cool article from our friends over at Houzz.com – 30 Creative Backyard retreats. I do dream of a little office, or chill spot, or retreat in the backyard – maybe I will convert our garage/carriage house.  These pictures get my juices flowing.  How bout you?  Which one is your favorite?

[See my backyard pics below]

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

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Backyard pictures…

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Excavating and Forming base for cabinet

I managed to get a little help from my oldest

Got some free brick on Next Door

Used a pasta faucet, attached to a funky post I found in the alley.  Built the forms for the counter tops, even thought it looks like I poured in place.

Grabbed the wood siding from someone down the street that was throwing it away

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Drought tolerant lawn, errrrrr, fake grass!

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Fence inspired by Moonraker brewery

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View from our bedroom balcony… 9/10ths complete!

Dart boards are fun!

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Real Estate Growth in Sacramento

 

I found this little article and video on McKinley Village interesting – Let’s go take a look!

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Best,

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker

916.595.7900

Sexy Sidewalks, Curbs and Gutters

Okay, I know the title is a bit misleading, but how else will I get your attention?  Ha ha… just a quick update on my building project.  The sewer lines, manholes, fire hydrant, and water main have gone in and have passed the inspections!  Now to get the sidewalks, curbs and gutters in (Update:  Just got text from my contractor yesterday and said they poured concrete!  “check”).  Next week, repaving the street.  Then maybe we’ll build a few houses if I’m lucky.  Stay tuned.IMG_0097

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New Development in Curtis Park, Sacramento

Yeah, I know what you were hoping for… an article about Curtis Park rail yard development.  Sorry not on this one – no chit chat about gas station wars and dollar stores.  Instead I’m inviting you to follow my own development experience as I build out two houses.  I hope to post some thoughts on the grueling process of splitting the lot / sub-dividing the parcel map.  Could be educational to some – loads of learning from my mistakes and experience.  I’ll be talking about the ins and outs of the scope of work, contracting, and architectural plans.  I’d love some feedback on the design elements when we get to the interior (yeah, everyone loves the interior – this is the sexy part).  Ultimately, these babies will be sold and I will be high-fiving my contractor and business partner.  Welcome to my housing development journey.house rendering

Brief background

If you live in the area, you can check out the progress on 5th Ave., highway 99 frontage road, and Portola Alley.  I bought the house on 5th Ave. in 2008 and got the approval to subdivide the parcel later that year into 3 lots (original house sits on one, leaving 2 to build on).  Oh yes, it came with conditions.  I figured a budget of $25,000 to do curb and gutter work and maybe a few other things.  The City gave me a laundry list of improvements that got bid out between $100,000-125,000 – Yikes!  That killed the deal quickly.  So for the next six years I paid a portion of the property taxes and kept the weeds down.

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Fast forward to 2014… I saw a house sell for a decent price on the alley and knew it was time to build.  I got a contractor on board to share the project and do the work at cost (cutting the improvement work cost more than half).

Contact me if you want to discuss the boring, but essential ins and outs of engineering, special use permits, bonding, traffic plans, dealing with the City/fighting with the City (everyone has their war stories), utilities, etc.

We’ve begun improvement work – manholes, water main, sewer main, fire hydrant, and much more!  At the same time I’ve got an architect putting plans together and submitting to the Design Review Board.  In addition, I just got bids from five structural engineers and Title 24 bids.  Yay, getting serious.

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Scrubbing the lot earlier 2016

 

“Man holes” – or should I be PC and call them “people holes” – might get a few weird looks?

 

Dropping the “hole” in the ground

Jimmy is the MAN!

Never thought I’d be so exited about a fire hydrant.

Water main beginnings.

Stay tuned for the next phase.

Cheers,

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Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker / 916.595.7900

Curtis Park Villiage (Sacramento) is Becoming a Reality

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After years of debate, soil treatment, neighborhood meetings, planning and develop the Curtis Park Village is now in full swing.  Twenty fourth Street is now  open to drive through, and unbuilt/pre-release homes have hit the market.  These stylish “cottage” homes (as they are referred to on the listings) have 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and range from 1790 to  2163 sq. ft., with options of a den, 4th bedroom, and one car or tandem garage.  They are listed from $564,990 to $609,990.

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One of my first thoughts was, “I wonder at what rate will that sell?  Are they going to go like hot cakes, or sit there with  price adjustments, etc.  Currently one has already gone pending, which is a good sign that they are a hot commodity.  It clear that first-comers will get choices of location, different options and amenities, and maybe will get in on the lowest price?  If the sell fast, those prices could go up!

Leave a comment or give me a call if interested and I can forward you the listings, or set up an appointment with the sellers for  more in depth information about the properties.

Truly,

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Keith Klassen, Broker

916.669.9030

Energy Efficient Home In Sacramento CA

I am fortunate to do regular work with the developers, Housing Group Fund, especially in acquiring and selling properties.  They recently partnered with Smud (our local utility company) on a home in a middle to lower-income area to rehabilitate it and make it energy-efficient.  Yesterday they held an open house for the real estate community.  They had the Quad-Lock blocks on display (see an earlier post of mind on this product, on this home).

This home is a great example of what true stimulus can accomplish.  Neighborhoods that usually do not get attention like this, could be transformed.

A friend of mine and appraiser, Ryan Lundquist, was there too and put together a fantastic video showing off the home.  Check it out below.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

New Energy Efficient Technology

This post is not very sexy, but hopefully interesting.  No special windows or solar-power… just insulation.  I work with a (re)developer that is partnering with Smud (our local utility co.) on a rehab project in South Sacramento.  Smud’s claim is that this is the first house on the west coast in which this product has been use.  In layman’s terms, it’s a foam, interlocking block that is stacked up around the outside of the house.  Wire and stucco are then applied.  Supposedly it is extremely easy to install (my kids would love to get a hold of this stuff) and super energy efficient.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030