Death Of The McMansion

McMansion 1

By Shane Thompson, Asset Vu Real Estate Brokerage, Roseville, CA

In the years leading up to the housing bust of 2008 the average size of homes being built and sold went up substantially. From the year 2000 to 2007 the average home size within the Western United States went up by more than 12% in gross living area. If you were to extract data for only the Greater Tri-Counties Area (Placer, Sacramento, El Dorado) this numeric value would be closer to 23%. This is a huge number and the driving force behind it was consumer confidence coupled with access to easily obtainable high loan-to-value ratio purchase funding. People felt good about buying big too. It was an ego boost for some who were walking into large-scale tract homes with price tags in some cases breaching the million dollar mark. For some buying big was a symbol of success.

Before I get too far ahead of myself let’s discuss the term McMansion. McMansion refers to homes that are considered ostentatious and lacking in architectural integrity. They don’t adhere to design characteristics of any particular style and usually consist of less expensive building materials. It is common to see these homes clad in siding or stucco. For builders this was great because their construction cost was reasonably low while the per unit selling price was high. These were nothing like design appropriate custom-built homes outside of the fact that they were large and had many upper-end surface treatments on the interior to give them a more luxurious appearance. During the early 2000’s I can remember seeing many McMansion style tract developments go up that were situated closely to custom home developments where the average selling price was already high. This provided the developer with comparable sales figures for their project.

In today’s real estate environment there are much fewer buyers who are out shopping for high budget real estate. The reason for this results from tighter lending pr20248299-161024actices, average household assets, and trending consumer budgeting practices. That being said we have seen a substantial drop in the average home size being built and purchased today. Many of today’s developments are now multi-family style communities such as courtyard homes, town-home projects, and small to moderately sized detached single family homes. These developments are much more affordable for buyers and builders can turn each unit fairly quickly due to the lower final selling prices.

Many families are on a mission to find financial freedom. The latest recession was a wake up call that shed light on just how unstable things like employment, income, and investment based retirement assets can be. That said we are seeing a huge wave of buyers who are seeking to downsize. We are not just talking about retirees here either. Many young families are downsizing to manage tighter budgets allowing them more financial freedom. This is a huge trend right now that may be here to stay.

It was almost certain from the start that the architecturally non-conforming jumbo tract homes would die out like the dinosaurs. They only filled a niche when money came easy and homes couldn’t be built fast enough. Will their time come again? Who knows, but I don’t think it will be any time soon. Don’t get me wrong, these homes still sell, but the number of buyer prospects are so much lower now that it has really discouraged a lot of builders from building these developments in our area. A bigger footprint means more land is needed to build each unit. Being that a developers goal is to make money another project type would almost certainly be more advantageous.


If you have questions about a particular housing development or anything relating to the purchase or sale of real estate feel free to contact the author directly at:  (916)223-8119 or

Asset Vu Real Estate Brokerage is licensed by the CA BRE – ID 01803537


What Every Home Seller Needs To Know Regarding Realtor Keyboxes!


by Shane Thompson, Asset Vu Real Estate Brokerage, Roseville, CA

For most the thought of installing a keybox on their home for property access by real estate professionals is one of mixed feelings. They don’t want to restrict access to their home if it will reduce the number of potential showings to buyer prospects, however the thought of unauthorized access to the box is one of concern. Now you are probably thinking that this unauthorized access would come in the form of someone breaking into 900-4the box by force and removing the key during a time in which you are away from the home or sleeping. Well, if the box is a Supra iBox BT like the ones Realtors currently use in the Greater Sacramento and Placer County region I can tell you with all certainty that this would not be an easy task for one attempting it. These keyboxes are constructed of solid steel and are jacketed in a very thick and dense rubber coating. Can they be broken into? Sure they can, however the tools needed and the time it would take is a strong deterrent for most.

Where the actual highest number of incidents have occurred regarding keybox security has arisen from misuse by real estate professionals. I know, hard to believe, right? All real estate professionals should hold themselves to a very high level of ethical and professional standards when conducting their day-to-day business activities. Unfortunately not all real estate professionals take this commitment seriously and fail to realize that some actions they take may not only be unethical, but illegal. The number one issue experienced by many listing agents has been a failure to schedule a showing appointment on property which is specifically identified as shown by appointment only listings. This is an example of unauthorized and illegal entry and should never occur by a real estate professional, yet it does occasionally.

The great news is that there is a solution to all of this! The new Supra iBox BT keybox has a number of programmable security features that enable real estate professionals to customize the keybox to the clients specific access requirements. For example, these newer units can be programmed so that they only open during certain hours of the day. The listing agent can also program them to require a customized seven digit code entry by any selling agent trying to access the box. This code would only be issued to a selling agent by the listing agent or their seller (client) during the showing appointment confirmation so the likelihood of unauthorized entry is nearly non-existent.

There are also a number of programmable management features that enable listing agents to monitor access in real-time via their smart phone. I happen to enable this feature on all of our listings and each box is programmed with the specific property address so images-1that I get immediate notification of any use of the box. This is not only a great sales tool for the listing agent, but it enables them to take a more proactive approach to managing appropriate use of the keybox. If a client would like ongoing showing feedback the listing agent can even program the keybox to require feedback from any selling agent who accesses the keybox to show the home. It is absolutely amazing what these new keyboxes can do and it has changed the landscape for real estate professionals and sellers alike.

If you are thinking about selling your home and have concerns over the installation of a keybox be sure to consult with your listing agent about the options available to you. Installation of a keybox may not be for everyone, however with the number of new security and management features available to real estate professionals today on the new Supra iBox BT there are many solutions to past concerns that may make your decision a little easier. We hope this short article helps you in making an informed decision on whether the installation of a keybox is right for you.

For more information about keyboxes or buying and selling real estate please feel free to contact the author directly at:  or by phone at:  (916)223-8119.

Asset Vu Real Estate Brokerage is licensed by the California BRE – ID 01803537