Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Shelly's Top Green(ish) Paint Colors

We recently held a “50 Shades of Green” themes St. Patty’s Day party, to which we invited several of our trusted vendors to showcase eco-friendly home improvement options. In keeping with the theme of going green, we also had our resident interior designer, Shelly, select 6 of her favorite shades of green paint colors (all from Benjamin Moore’s selection). Admittedly, these colors are only vaguely green (the subtle green hues don’t show well online), but if you’re going to paint part of your home green, you’re better off going with an earthy understated tone rather than full on shamrock green. But hey! It’s your home, and if you feel like celebrating St. Patrick’s Day year-round then that’s your prerogative.

With Spring officially upon us, now is as good a time as any for a new look in your home. If you think any of these colors would look good in one of your bedrooms, as an accent wall in the living room, or anywhere else, stop by the RealSmart office (50 Edgewood Road, Redwood City) and pick up a sample!

We have plenty of each of the 6 colors shown. Please note – the images below are computer generated conceptual renderings pulled from Benjamin Moore’s website.

Cloud Nine: 2144-60 (walls)

Silken Pine: 2144-50 (Fireplace Wall) 

White Marigold: 2149-60 (walls) 

Mellowed Ivory: 2149-50 (walls) 

Old Prairie: 2143-50 (walls) 

Camouflage: 2143-40 (walls) 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

What Does Legal Marijuana Mean for CA Real Estate?

Thanks to a yes vote on Prop 64 in 2016, recreational marijuana became legal on January 1 of this year. While local governments grapple with how to regulate the once illicit industry, and community leaders struggle to reconcile their disdain for the devil’s lettuce with its status as a revenue generating crop... some real estate investors are licking their chops at the opportunity they feel is headed their way.
Luckily for investors in California, the precedent for legalization has already been set. Colorado voted for legalization 4 years ahead of us, and since that time the real estate market has been thriving. The most obvious growth has been in industrial real estate, where growers look for warehouses to set up shop. According to DCT Industrial Trust, a company specializing in industrial real estate investment, marijuana legalization drove up the cost of warehouse space in the Denver Area by 60% in 2015, and lease renewal rates by 25%. Of course, here in the Bay Area where industrial space already comes at such a premium, growth will not likely be as dramatic. Less impacted markets just outside the Bay Area might offer more alluring opportunities.
The residential market stands to benefit as well, though in a less quantifiable way. The job growth created by legalization in warehouses and dispensaries, but also in auxiliary industries like HVAC and security, can increase the demand for housing. It’s much like how the tech boom in the Bay Area led to dramatic growth in trades like plumbing, electrical, and carpentry. This isn’t to say a weed boom could impact the market to the same degree the tech boom has, but it could have similar effects on a much smaller scale. However, investors need to be aware of local regulations around the industry, as they vary from city to city, and could limit or even prohibit the use of land for cultivation or sale of marijuana.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fed Raises Interest Rates Again - What This Means for Your Loans

On Wednesday, March 21st, The Federal Reserve raised interest rates (prime rate) by a quarter percent. For people with a traditional 30-year fixed, this has no effect on their loan. But it could affect those who have ARM loans that are adjusting, equity lines of credit and credit cards. Those loans are tied to the prime rate, and will see the actual increase show up within 60 days.

Items such as mortgages and credit cards are benchmarked against the prime rate, and banks are in charge of implementing such Fed Rate changes. Higher rates have already begun hitting the housing market, and though still low by historical standards, mortgage rates are on the rise at a time when inventory of affordable houses is low.

You may see an increase in your monthly payments if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage that is maturing, a home equity loan, or balances on credit cards. Furthermore, with the new tax changes that have occurred, the interest you pay on Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC’s) are no longer a tax deduction. Given that information, now may be a good time to consider refinancing into a 30-year mortgage to avoid this increase in payment or to consolidate your 1st and 2nd mortgage into one affordable fixed payment.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

7-Story Residential Project Approved Just Outside Downtown RWC

The Redwood City Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a 7-story, 125 unit housing project just outside of downtown Redwood City at 353 Main Street.  The project will stretch 2 stories higher than the adjacent Township Luxury Apartments, and will take the place of an existing 1-story office strip.
353 Main will include 19 units of below market rate housing, fulfilling the city's 15% requirement for new residential development.   Also, since the project will offer 7 units to families earning less than half the area income ($60,000/year for a family of 4), it will qualify for a state density bonus allowing the building to increase its size to 143 total units.  Those 7 units are expected to rent for $888/month.
All of the below market rate housing will be retained as such for 55 years after occupancy
Commissioners requested the Developer, ROEM Development, make 20% of the units BMR and maintain the housing protections for 99 years, but they did not mandate it.  As such, the those conditions will not likely be met.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Office Cap Reached in RWC - Still, Developers Pushing for More

Artist's rendering of the proposed project at 847-851 Main

A 500,000 square foot cap on office space that was intended to guide development in downtown Redwood City for 20 years, was reached in just 6.  Now, a developer is hoping Redwood City Council will raise that cap to allow another new office complex on Main Street.

The Acclaim Companies wants to build a four-story mixed-use building with 78,832 square feet of offices and 6,900 square feet of retail on three contiguous parcels at 847-851 Main, 855-857 Main and 852-860 Walnut St. While buildings will be razed at two parcels, the one at 847-851 Main will only partially be demolished because the city has ruled that some portions of it are a historical resource. The project also includes two levels of underground parking with access along Walnut Street and valet parking for 246 vehicles.

In order for this project to move forward, Redwood City will need to amend the General Plan.  There is a possibility this will happen, as the city is set to release a study on the impact of allowing more than the 500,000 S/F of office space called for in the 2011 Downtown Precise Plan.  Stay tuned...

You can find more information on the project on the city's website: 851 Main Street

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Rules on Short Term Rentals, Including Hotel Tax, Approved by RWC

A set of regulations for rentals under 30-days was approved by Redwood City council last week.  Among them are: a requirement for homeowners to live in the residence they are listing for rent, limiting the number of days a renter can stay in the home without a host present, prohibiting rentals for special events, requiring on-site parking for renters, and collecting transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) on short term rentals.

A 12% transient occupancy tax would be applied on top of what homeowners charge for their rentals.  The tax would be collected on short term rental platforms like Airbnb, who would periodically dole it out to the city.  The city estimates that this tax would generate roughly $400,000 annually, which would be dedicated entirely to an affordable housing fund.

Though the ordinance was approved by a 4-0 vote by city council last week, won't take effect until 2019.  It will be brought back to council for a second reading in February, as three Councilmembers were absent from last week's meeting.

For more information, read this San Mateo Daily Journal release

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Redwood City Approves Affordable Housing Complex, Pursuing Another

Artists Rendering of Project Planned for 707 Bradford

Late last year, Redwood City approved a 7-story 117-unit residential complex for low-income seniors at 707 Bradford Street, and now they are close to commissioning proposals for additional affordable housing at a vacant lot on 611 Heller Street.  Both the Bradford and Heller lots were purchased by the city with redevelopment funds for affordable housing before state Redevelopment Agencies were dissolved in 2012.

Mid-Pen Housing, a non-profit affordable housing developer, is taking on the project at 707 Bradford, which will include an 8,000-square-foot child care facility to accommodate up to 70 children, and a new public trail along Redwood Creek with trees, lighting and bike racks. Redwood City Council is expected to authorize staff to obtain development proposals for the Heller lot sometime late January.

To ensure there are funds for similar projects in the future, City Council is also considering dedicating hotel tax revenue generated from short term rentals (i.e. Airbnb) towards affordable housing.

The council also recently approved new rules making it easier to build small living units on properties that include single-family residences. It also approved revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan that dedicated 375 units out of a a maximum of 2,500 to affordable housing.