Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Real Estate: Last weekend to tour the St. Jude Dream Home

(Courtesy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Rendering of the St. Jude Dream Home built by De Young Properties.)

The St. Jude Dream Home in Clovis will be open for viewing one last time this weekend before it is raffled off for charity.

Built by De Young Properties, the 3,300-square-foot,  four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in the CountryCourt community, at Gettysburg and Armstrong avenues, will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The $100 tickets, for a chance to win the house, are available until all tickets are sold or up to Nov. 10 when the drawing will be held during a live television special on KMPH (Channel 26.1).

This is De Young’s seventh St. Jude Dream Home. The builder has raised more than $5.4 million for the children’s research hospital.

Real Estate: Music group buys Bob Wills House from Granville

(Photo courtesy of Granville Homes. The Wills House ready for transport.)

The Central California Music Association has bought the Bob Wills house for $1 from Fresno homebuilder Granville Homes.

The group, a new nonprofit led by president Lance Tullis, plans to have the one-story wood-frame house moved from Clinton and Armstrong avenues in Fresno to a 20-acre property less than 15 miles away in Prather. The move is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6.

“Bob Wills was a major contributor to western country music,” Tullis said. “We’d like to open (the house) up as a museum of country music in the foothills.”

Granville wanted to raze the house, which is falling apart and has problems such as bee infestation, asbestos and lead paint, to build a housing project in its place.

But the city’s Historic Preservation Commission intervened to preserve the home where Wills — the King of western swing — and his family lived in the 1940s.

Granville in turn offered to sell the house if the buyer moves it at no expense to the developer.

Tullis answered the call by forming the association and then starting a campaign called “Raise the Roof” to raise the $75,000 needed to move the house and restore it.

The first fundraiser was on Saturday, and attended by Wills’ daughter, Carolyn, Tullis said. For more information or to help, visit

Real Estate: M Street Arts Complex opening in downtown Fresno

A new artist venue is getting ready to open its doors in downtown Fresno.

The M Street Arts Complex, a collaboration between local artists and Fresno homebuider Darius Assemi of Granville, will have its grand opening on Saturday in conjunction with its first exhibition.

The complex was built in an old warehouse space on the corner of M and Tuolumne streets. Granville bought the property a few years ago with plans to convert it into commercial, retail and office space.

But the plans changed and an idea to create gallery space and artists studios with security and private parking took its place. The 10,000-square-foot complex has a large gallery, five galleries with attached private studios, three warehouse style spaces with roll up doors, and seven other studios. The curators are artists Christina Rea and Julia Woli Scott.

The grand opening will include a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m. followed by the unveiling of two public art installations. The exhibition, “Spectacle, A Closer Look at Fresno,” highlights the work of 13 artists. The event is free to the public.

Real Estate: First-time homebuyer workshop in Visalia

Community Services Employment Training will hold a free First-time Homebuyer workshop in Visalia on Nov. 2.

The daylong event will provide buyers with information about the homeownership process and downpayment assistance.

Low-income buyers who are interested in purchasing a home within the city should also attend to learn if they qualify for the city’s gap financing program, or second mortgage, which can be used as part of a downpayment on a home.

The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the CSET office, 312 N.W. 3rd Ave. To reserve a seat or for more information, call (559) 741-4641.

Real Estate: Lennar Homes will unveil new Next Gen floor plans in NW Fresno

(Submitted photo. Lennar’s Omnilliant Next Gen floor plan.)

Lennar Homes plans to unveil two new Next Generation home floor plans during the grand opening of its latest development in northwest Fresno this weekend.

The Next Gen home offers multi-generational families a private suite that includes a bedroom, kitchenette and full bathroom. The suite has a separate front entrance and one into the main house.

It was first introduced to the Fresno market in October 2011 to fit the changing demographics of buyers and has quickly become a best selling product for the national builder.

There are now five Next Gen floor plans. The two newest models include the 2,600-square-foot Omnilliant, a single-story, four bedroom, three bathroom, three-car garage home. The second is the Revelation, the first model to have a two-bedroom suite in a 3,404-square-foot, two-story home with three to four bedrooms, three ½ bathrooms and a three-car garage.

“There are so many uses for this concept,” said Susan Wilke, vice president of sales and marketing. “Grandma can have her own space. Or maybe it’s your teenagers abode when he starts college or returns from college.”

The plans are available at Elderberry on the Bluffs which celebrates its grand opening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Real Estate: Fresno County home prices inch up in September

The pace of Fresno County’s home price appreciation is slowing down, but the median home price of an existing single-family home still inched up higher in September compared to the month before, a monthly report said.

The median home price of a home in Fresno was $185,830 last month compared to $184,000 in August, the California Association of Realtors monthly housing report said.

In September 2012, the median home price was $159,130.

Madera and Tulare counties followed a similar trend with home prices increasing nearly 12% and 3.2% month-over-month respectively. Kings County, however, saw an 8.4% fall in home prices.

Real Estate: Investors make money flipping homes in Fresno

Real estate investors flipped more homes in the Fresno metropolitan area in the third quarter of this year compared to last year and made a sizable profit, according to a report released Thursday.

Investors bought, renovated and sold 182 homes in Fresno during the third quarter, a 47% increase from 124 properties at the same time last year, the quarterly home flipping report said.

RealtyTrac, an online housing data company, compiled the report showing a 13% drop nationally in home flipping, but an increase in the average gross profit of each home sold.

In Fresno, the average purchase price of a house was $141,908. Investors then renovated and sold the home for an average of $192,585 — a profit of $52,704, or 36%. That’s quite a jump from last year when investors made a profit of $29,977.

Nationally, home flips were down 13%. Investors made an average profit of $54,927 off each home — a 12% increase from last year.

As the inventory of cheap homes falls, investors are being driven to more high-end homes, which sell for $750,000 or more, allowing them to make a bigger profit, RealtyTrac said.

“Increasing home prices over the past 18 months combined with decreasing foreclosures have created a market less favorable to the high quantity of middle- to low-end bread-and-butter flips,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president.

“But the sharp rise in high-end flipping indicates there is still good money to be made for flippers willing and able to take on the additional risk of buying and rehabbing more expensive homes.”

Real Estate: Granville Home of Hope winner to be announced Saturday

(Courtesy of Granville Homes. Rendering of the Mia model, this year’s Home of Hope.)

Granville Homes will announce the winner of its eighth Home of Hope giveaway on Saturday.

There’s still time to grab your $100 ticket for a chance to win a two-story, 2,216-square-foot home valued at more than $270,000. The three bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom, two-car garage is located in the Sunnyside Grove community near Fowler and Church avenues in southeast Fresno.

If you don’t win the house, don’t worry. There’s a bunch of other prizes available including a helicopter ride, a tennis membership, use of the Save Mart Center Skybox for 16 Fresno State men’s basketball games, a massage package, a television and gift cards to spend on gas or at local businesses.

Granville has built and given away a house every year to raise money for eight charities since 2006. The builder has raised more than $2.4 million.

The charities are: Community Food Bank, Poverello House, Hinds Hospice, Assistance League, Renaissance Scholars at Fresno State and the foundations for Clovis, Sanger, and Central Unified schools. To buy a ticket, call (559) 440-8388.

In November, builder De Young Properties will also hold its drawing for the seventh annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. The winner will be announced on Nov. 10 during a live television special on KMPH (Channel 26.1).

De Young has raised more than $5.4 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The St. Jude home is a 3,298-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in the CountryCourt development at Gettysburg and Armstrong avenues in Clovis.

Banks working with furloughed federal employees to defer loan, mortgage payments

Bank of the West is giving furloughed federal employees a break on paying their loans and mortgages.

The bank, which has five offices in Fresno, is granting one month deferrals on consumer loan payments and one month forbearance on mortgage payments.

“We are committed to helping our customers succeed financially through the ups and downs of life,” said Paul Wible, head of the bank’s National Finance Group.

Bank customers with auto, recreational vehicle and boat loans, credit cards and home equity loans and lines of credit can call (800) 653-0362 to request help.

Other banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo are working with customers on a case-by-case basis.

“Federal government employees and other workers whose jobs are directly impacted by the government shutdown may be eligible for forbearance programs or other mortgage payment assistance depending on their individual circumstances,” a Wells Fargo spokeswoman said.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America customers, who are furloughed federal employees, are encouraged to contact their banks to work on a solution.

Real Estate: Golf course housing development to get started in Dinuba

A long-awaited housing development surrounding a golf course designed by a former PGA-level golfer is finally coming to fruition.

No, it’s not Running Horse, the defunct southwest Fresno project once courted by famed developer Donald Trump. This project is south of the Valley at the Ridge Creek Golf Course in Dinuba.

The Dinuba City Council approved the site map this week and took a look at the first renderings and floor plans for the custom and semi-custom development on the city’s western edge.

“The recession delayed the project but we feel the time is right now,” said Mark Davis, managing partner of Ridge Creek Partners. “Dinuba is growing and there are no homes like this in the greater Dinuba area. The golf club has a great reputation and we will build on that.”

Ridge Creek Partners is the developer. The builder is Ted Intravia of TTI Development in Los Banos.

The development will have two communities. The Golf Estates at Ridge Creek will be a gated community with 55 custom homes on lots ranging from 10,000 to 26,000 square feet.

The Golf Villas at Ridge Creek will have 115 semi-custom homes from 1,780 to 3,400 square feet. Buyers can choose from eight floor plans designed by Visalia architect Stan Canby of Teter AE. Prices will range from the $200,000s to $400,000s.

The project is expected to be developed in four phases. A boutique hotel and recreation center are also proposed for the community.