An Insider's Guide to North San Diego County's Coastal Real Estate
Jim Klinge, broker-associate
617 Saxony Place, Suite 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
Klinge Realty
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Are you looking for an experienced agent to help you buy or sell a home? Contact Jim the Realtor!

Jim Klinge
Cell/Text: (858) 997-3801
701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite 300
Carlsbad, CA 92011

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$2 Million-Dollar View

Are you thinking of buying a home in 2019?

There are a lot of choices when deciding how to go about it.  In fact, there has never been so many different options – everything from a bot-realtor who refunds almost all of the commission, to the glossy high-end agents who offer plenty of polish.

But once you get in the game, there is one common denominator.

When you go to open houses, the attendant will insist that you sign their visitor registration log, at the seller’s request, of course.  Then once they have your contact info, they will pitch you on the standard realtor ploy – insider deals.

They will romance you with the dream of buying the perfect home off-market, and because they get so many of the new listings, you’ll get the first crack!  A great agent in north county told me that they sell half their listings that way – and they pitch it to the sellers as an advantage too!

What’s the reality?

There’s about a 90% chance that you are going to buy a house off the MLS.

With that being the case, then you should work with the agent who is best equipped to assist you with purchasing a hot buy that’s publicly listed on the open market.  What does it take?

Here’s what worked on this property at the top of the hill in Olde Carlsbad.

  1. Recognizing a deal when you see it.  The view photos were understated, and I knew that this location is similar to Skyline Rd., where houses start at $2,000,000.  My buyers dropped everything and met me at the property.
  2. Tie It Up Right Away.  If you’re going to offer on the first day, then you should offer full price.  Ideally, I’d rather offer less and get the seller to make a counter-offer, because you don’t have a binding agreement until the seller signs something.  But if you offer less, it’s too tempting for the seller to wait and see what else comes in, if anything.
  3. Make the Offer Irresistible.  The seller wants all the money, and every listing agent wants to make sure it closes – they want certainty.  This is where buyers shoot themselves in the foot when going with an assistant-agent, or discount/new-fangled realtor – listing agents don’t trust them, especially if they have multiple offers and the other buyer-agents are more reputable.  We offered full price, by a known entity (me) who had done business with the listing agent several times before, and backed it with a pre-approval letter by a well-known lender that included proof of funds, plus a family photo.
  4. Buyer-Agent Has To Sell It.  Here’s my letter that accompanied the offer:

Dear Agents,

Please find attached our full-price offer on 2220 Sara Way!

We have been searching for the perfect home for Bob, Suzanne and family for more than a year.  They really value a quality view location on a culdesac near Carlsbad HS, and your home fits the bill nicely!

However, we have been frustrated with process. We have made offers on three others, but have been unsuccessful, due mostly to the belief that there might be two in the bush.  Two of the three houses we offered on later sold for less than our original offer, and the other hasn’t sold yet!

My clients just want to buy a house!

We think your home is priced fairly, so in an effort to strike a friendly deal, they are willing to pay $1,300,000, as long as we can agree by 6pm Friday.  If for some reason that is unacceptable, we will part ways and wish each other luck, but we think it’s a fair proposition!

Thankfully the sellers chose you to guide them in this process.  I think the price represents full retail in a softening market, and you guys must feel the same.  I’m glad we all can agree!

It would be a pleasure to wrap up a successful sale with you before Christmas!

It happens at least 90% of the time that listing agents just forward the letter directly to the sellers, so I know it has a chance to directly influence the outcome.  I tugged at their heartstrings first, then did some education on the perils of the current market, agreed that the price was fair, and then complimented the listing agents.

Ask any listing agent – they never get much of an intro letter from a buyer’s agent, let alone one that does the job.  Heartstrings, Education, Agreement, Compliment is a great combo, but I also had to draw the line – this offer is only good for 24 hours, which isn’t too demanding but makes the point – there might not be two in the bush, and you don’t want to lose a sure thing.

The sellers made the deal.

I didn’t stop there, however.  We did a thorough investigation of the property, and made a solid case why the sellers should do a little more for us, in spite of other buyers waiting in the wings, allegedly.

They agreed to give us a $10,000 credit in lieu of repairs too.

How carefully do buyers investigate their choice for an agent?  Do they just sign a guest register and see what happens?  More and more agents will be insisting on you signing a buyer-broker contract, which locks you in to that agent no matter what you buy.

Do your homework – your agent makes a difference.

I can help you too!


The listing remarks, with my photos:

5 br/3 ba, 3,046sf  YB: 1989  LP: $1,300,000

TOP OF THE HILL location in timeless Ezan w/ Panoramic Ocean Views throughout property! Beautiful 5BR/3BA estate on .34 acre lot. Updated kitchen w/ gorgeous wood cabinetry, granite counters, large island, stainless steel appliances & built-in fridge. Full bed and bath downstairs. Jaw dropping Pacific Blue views throughout upstairs! Dream yard w/ large stone patio area, fire-pit, private spa, lush mature landscape & long private driveway leads to 3 car garage. Cul-de-sac location. No HOA or Mello Roos!

Lie-down view!

Ocean views from first and second floor

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Dec 16, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 0 comments

Comparing to 1994

As blogger-in-chief here, I’ll stay on the lookout for the positive housing news – because you won’t have any trouble finding the alternative, like this guy who has been calling for home prices to drop 10% to 30% for several years now:

Link to Doom

Here’s a Bloomberg essay that draws some comparisons to the 1994 market, which is another time we had a spike in mortgage rates.  We had neg-am and no-doc mortgages then, and were coming off a multi-year downdraft of housing prices due to the S&L crisis, but if mortgage rates are the big decider, then it’s a fairly good comparison – note the 20% drop in new-home sales:

Housing market softness in the back half of 2018 has investors and the public wondering how bad things might get. It’s understandable that people would be worried, considering that the last housing downturn led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

But housing market fundamentals in this cycle are nowhere near as risky as they were in the mid-2000s. Real-time data on mortgage applications suggest a milder path. Coincidentally, it looks a lot like 1994.

Read More

Posted by on Dec 15, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market | 8 comments

Master Bathroom Trends

Earlier this week the grays were on their way out, but it may take a while.  Can you believe that 34% are removing the bathtub? From Houzz:

Anticipating Aging Needs: The majority of baby boomers (ages 55 or older) are addressing current or future needs of aging household members during master bathroom renovations (56%). One-third of boomers are addressing current aging needs (35%), while nearly a quarter are planning ahead for future needs (21%).

Curbless Enthusiasm: Nearly half of boomers change the bathroom layout and one-third remove the bathtub (47% and 34%, respectively). Other upgrades include installing accessibility features such as seats, low curbs, grab bars and nonslip floors in upgraded showers and bathtubs.

The Suite Life: Homeowners are focusing on the master suite as a whole, with nearly half of master bathroom projects accompanied by master bedroom renovations (46%). Master bathrooms command the second-highest median spend ($7,000) in home remodels, behind kitchens ($11,000), while master bedroom spend rivals that of living rooms ($2,000 versus $3,000, respectively).

Premium Features Galore: A surprising one in 10 master bathrooms is the same size or larger than the master bedroom (11%). Beyond size, premium features in master bathrooms are on the rise, with dual showers, one-piece toilets, vessel sinks and built-in vanities showing significant increases in demand in the last three years.

Bathed in Gray: Gray palettes continue to lead in walls and flooring and are increasingly popular in cabinets. Newcomer styles continue to overtake contemporary style, with farmhouse more than doubling in popularity, from 3% in 2016 to 7% in 2018. Matte nickel and polished chrome are the most common metal finishes.

Link to Article

Posted by on Dec 14, 2018 in Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Repairs/Improvements, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

2019 Market Outlook

Above is the summary of yesterday’s housing and economic outlook sponsored by First American Title.  Click here for the full report:

SoCal Outlook Dec 2018

Let’s mention those who will be making the market in 2019:

  1. Those with the least amount of experience and education.
  2. Those who don’t own a home here yet.

People in these two categories aren’t hampered by the over-analysis that comes with owning a home here currently.  Those who already own a home in San Diego have paid less, and have a lower mortgage rate.  We are trying to make sense of giving that up, and paying more!

It’s a burden that thwarts most attempts to move by current homeowners.

But those who don’t study it too hard, or don’t already own a home will forge ahead.  They have already decided that buying a home make sense in this environment, and have their own personal consequences if they don’t buy.  They aren’t going to be talked out of it either.

Figure out how many people are in that group, and you can predict the future.

Here are the categories:

  • First-timers
  • Down-sizers
  • Up-sizers with strong needs
  • Incomers from out-of-county/state/country
  • Affluent people

Everyone else will enjoy their comfortable spot on the fence and wait-and-see what these folks will do.  Let’s acknowledge though that people in these five groups aren’t tethered with the same restraints as the rest of us – it’s just a matter of how many people are in these groups.

How many?  My guess is 80% of those who bought in 2018.

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 in Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, North County Coastal | 5 comments

Apple Expands in SD

Now if they could just get along with Qualcomm:

Apple today announced a major expansion of its operations in Austin, including an investment of $1 billion to build a new campus in North Austin. The company also announced plans to establish new sites in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City and expand in cities across the United States including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years, with the potential for additional expansion elsewhere in the US over time.

Apple plans to grow its employee base in regions across the United States over the next three years, expanding to over 1,000 employees in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City each, and adding hundreds of new jobs in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Boston and Portland, Oregon. The company recently opened its newest office in Nashville, Tennessee and Apple’s Miami office is projected to double in size.

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market | 1 comment