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Jim Klinge
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701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite 300
Carlsbad, CA 92011

Category Archive: ‘Listing Agent Practices’

‘Coming Soon’ Update

Zillow started their ‘Coming Soon’ feature in the summer of 2014, so by now the gimmick is maturing.  Agents have worked every angle of it, and consumers have seen it all too.  Everybody comes to their own conclusions.

Here’s how one consumer described it to me yesterday:

Interesting tactic.  Post a ‘Coming Soon’ sign for two weeks and then drop it on to the MLS when it doesn’t sell.

Makes me immediately think the price is too high.  Couldn’t get it sold as a “Coming Soon”, so now trying the traditional way.

It looks over priced especially after the pictures.

The listing agent could have been playing it straight and was really holding back all buyers until the house was ready, but who would know?  The consumer’s conclusion is that it must be over-priced – is that in the seller’s best interest?

Consumers have never been so skeptical of agent tricks, and are jumping to their own conclusions.  Because agents don’t define their Coming Soon strategy, the rest of us just assume there is none, or the agent is just shopping for his own buyers before MLS input.

A tactic like this burns up any urgency there might be for the home – the necessary ingredient for it to sell for top dollar.  Buyers don’t feel the need to step up because the house isn’t on the open market.  Then once the listing is inputed onto the MLS, those who saw the failed Coming Soon campaign are rewarded for their patience – and will likely wait longer.

The ‘Coming Soon’ campaigns are good for one thing:

The listing agent occasionally pocketing both sides of the commission, while ignoring their fiduciary duty to their sellers.

Posted by on Mar 13, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim, Zillow | 5 comments

Buyers React Immediately

We’ve been on the MLS for about 24 hours, and we’ve already had 600+ views and 14 saves of the new listing on Zillow.  Homes that are presented well, are attractively priced, and whose urgency wasn’t wasted on a Coming-Soon campaign get the maximum attention from buyers immediately.

My listings are available to show right away, and three will be there today.  Listing agents who stall for 5-10 days before allowing any showings are risking that buyers will cool off or buy something else. Why do that?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 9 comments


When homeowners interview more than one realtor for the job of selling their home, how do they select a winner?

In almost every case, they pick the agent who quotes them the highest price.

It’s irresistible for those who aren’t that comfortable, and want to make a quick decision.   Heck, you’d want more money if you can get it, right?

I’m convinced that it doesn’t even occur to people that they should investigate thoroughly – everything else is just a click away, let’s have money be the deciding factor!  Greed is good!

But we’re into the stage of the cycle where if you over-shoot, the market may not catch up with you as fast – or at all.  With fewer comps these days, it’s not easy for buyers to decide if that new listing is worth it, and don’t be surprised if we phase into a more-cautious marketplace.  You’ll know because average market times start extending, and unsold listings begin to pile up.

How can sellers know if they are being high-balled on price?

  1. The listing agent wants a long listing period – more than three months.  We are in the prime selling season, and there are plenty of qualified buyers – especially in the under-$1,500,000 market.  Any good listing agent should have enough confidence in their abilities – and pricing – that they can procure a sale within three months.  Besides, you don’t want it to drag on – buyers will lowball the lingering listings.
  2. When it comes to explaining their price, there isn’t a direct relationship to the comps.  The conversation gets vague, or they make jokes about it.  Pricing is not funny.
  3. Their price is higher than your price.  Sellers think highly of their house, and already have an opinion of value based on realtor postcards and internet evaluations.  But it’s a value goosed with optimism, and if the realtor quote is even higher, something is wrong.
  4. The listing agent has some special formula or new-fangled technology that delivers higher prices.  Buyers have never heard of them, however, and will rely on the old-fashioned ways.
  5. The listing agent wants you to rush your decision.
  6. The listing agent doesn’t have bidding-war strategies, or gets vague.

You can’t tell if you are being highballed by the agent’s length of time in the business.  Inexperienced agents can do it by accident, and experienced agents do it on purpose.  I have had long-time experienced agents tell me that they deliberately go high on price and then take long listings as regular business – in spite of it being a violation of our ‘strict’ Code of Ethics.

How can buyers tell if the price is too optimistic?

  1. There’s not a supporting comp for miles.
  2. The listing agent has a recent history of listings taking longer to sell – and virtually no listings that sold quickly.
  3. It doesn’t appear that anyone else is looking at it.
  4. The condition of the house isn’t great, and no effort was made to stage it or make it presentable.
  5. You felt the price seemed high from the beginning.

If you’ve been seeing a lot of homes in person lately, then your brain is a natural computer full of relevant data that gives you ‘gut instinct’ on pricing.  It’s as good as anything else!

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Selling Strategies That Can Backfire

Good tips from

When you’re selling your home, you might imagine you hold all the cards. And you do—sort of. But it’s easy to become overconfident in a seller’s market. If  you don’t do a reality checkpronto, you could end up sabotaging your sale. So much for that straight flush!

Here are six common home seller negotiation tactics that can totally backfire if you don’t approach them carefully.

1. Starting a bidding war

Bidding wars are the stuff of home sellers’ dreams. And there’s nothing wrong with fueling a little competition among buyers in order to get the best deal for you. But this tactic can easily backfire if you bungle it.

“If mishandled, people may assume the worst, and the best offer may walk away,” says Sep Niakan, owner/broker at Miami-based HB Roswell Realty.

Common bidding war bungles include the following:

  • Not clearly explaining upfront how you intend to handle multiple offers.
  • Giving an offer deadline that is too many days away. Some buyers might not want to wait for you to make a decision, especially if other homes are in contention.
  • Already having a strong offer on the table, but then insisting that all potential buyers come back with their highest and best bid. There’s no guarantee buyers will play ball and, if that strong offer walks, you’re stuck with lower offers to choose from.

Bottom line: Proceed with caution before turning up the heat on the competition, lest you risk losing out on a dream deal.

2. Haggling over repairs

What if the buyer completes an inspection and comes back with a long list of requested repairs? If sellers get too tough here, they might send a buyer walking.

The sellers should consider how good the overall package is for them before refusing to do repairs, says Lucas Machado, president of House Heroes in Miami. “When the buyer’s offer is high, and the seller tries to negotiate away from legitimate repairs, the buyer may feel the seller is taking advantage of them.”

3. Threatening to put your home back on the market

If negotiations aren’t quite going your way, you might be tempted to call the buyer’s bluff. Hey, if they don’t want to ante up, you can always put your home back on the market and find another eager buyer to squeeze.Right?

Yes, you might find another taker quickly. But beware of this move—it might not go according to plan.

That’s because there’s often a stigma associated with putting a home back on the market, and it might be harder to get buyers to take a second look, says Realtor® Michael Hottman, associate broker at Keller Williams Richmond West in Richmond, VA.

“Exercise caution with this tactic, because real estate markets can change quickly from hot to cold, leaving you without all those buyers you were expecting,” Hottman says. “And the ones who you had initially thought were legitimate prospects may have moved on to other homes in the time between your property originally going under contract and now coming back on the market.”

4. Being stubborn on the closing date

You’ve decided you’re not going to allow the new people to move in until (insert future date) because that’s when the closing date is on your new home. Or, they can’t possibly take possession this spring because your kids are still finishing school.

Guess what? Your buyers have scheduling issues of their own, says John Powell, chief development officer at Help-U-Sell Real Estate in Tucson, AZ.

“Sellers need to understand that they may have to move twice, since buyer and seller schedules seldom work out perfectly.”

5. Getting greedy over what comes with the house

Planning to take your beautiful custom light fixtures with you? Not so fast, Hottman warns. Often, he finds that sellers have expensive fixtures in place to show the home, but plan on taking them when they move. And that can cause trouble at the negotiating table.

The buyer “might have decided to buy the ceiling fan, and the house happens to come with it, or they get so upset that a fixture they fell in love with is now missing that they won’t buy the home,” Hottman says.

Avoid this confusion by replacing anything that won’t be staying with the house before you show it. If that’s not possible, be prepared to leave the prized fixture behind, or negotiate a comparable replacement.

6. Refusing to pay closing costs

So, you’re coming down the home stretch and this deal is almost done. Congratulations! But the buyer asked you to cover their closing costs.

Before you say “no way,” consider it this way: Buyers sometimes roll the amount of those closing costs into their offer. For instance, let’s say your home is listed for $200,000. A buyer might then submit an offer for $204,000, but ask you to cover the $4,000 in closing costs.

“Some sellers will hold firm at the $204,000 offer and refuse to pay the closing costs because they want this higher price the buyer offered,” Hottman says. “Some sellers can’t see the net is nearly identical between a $200,000 offer with no closing costs and $204,000 with $4,000 in seller-paid closing costs, and they miss out.”

A good deal comes down to doing the math, keeping your ego in check, and putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. After all, when you sell your house, you’ll probably be buying one, too.

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Treehouse Vibe

It’s only money!


San Francisco’s housing market is so out of control, the new owners of a cavernous hillside home in the city offered nearly $1 million over asking in order to pre-empt a bidding war.

1 Miguel Street went into contract after just two days on the market, closing for $2.6 million. The out-of-state buyers made the deal before any other bids were placed, according to the realtor.

This kind of over-bidding shows the extent of the housing bubble in San Francisco, where a perfect storm of demand, speculation, and exuberance drive real-estate prices sky-high.

Built in 1957, the mid-century modern home sits on an oversized lot surrounded by trees in the Glen Park neighborhood. Featuring three beds, two and a half baths, and roughly 2,040 square feet, 1 Miguel Street offers panoramic views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Wood-paneled walls, exposed beams, and a wrap-around deck give it a distinct treehouse vibe.

The residence was a custom commission from local architect Worley K. Wong. The kitchen and bathroom went through a renovation before hitting the market, according to the listing.

Glen Park is a southern enclave of San Francisco that draws wealthy buyers because of its seclusion, picturesque streetscapes, and suburban feel. The median list price in the neighborhood is $1.8 million, and homes typically sell for 124% of the list price.

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Bidding Wars, Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices | 0 comments

This Week’s Disrupter

This start-up has the right ingredients, but their auctions do have a reserve amount and no buyer-agent commissions, which cuts out other agents.  They say  “No Double Ending’, but when the buyers are unrepresented it puts the listing agent in an agency position – if the buyers ask a question, and the agent replies, an agency relationship has been created. 

Every start-up wants to beat out realtors, and think that the consumers will trust their faceless, unproven venture instead:


TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2017 — There is a new way to buy and sell real estate in Ontario. With today’s official launch of On The Block Realty, the uncertain and often frustrating process of trying to navigate the home market has taken an innovative step forward. This brand new real estate brokerage based in Toronto, has opened its doors to the public, offering new unique approaches to the industry.

Chief among these advancements is the development of a cutting edge online auction platform that is aimed at bringing much needed transparency to buyers and sellers. The home buying process has been protected by silent bids in many situations, leaving buyers confused about what price to pay, and sellers concerned that some buyers may not have offered their best price. Inspired by the successful practice of real estate auctions in countries like Australia and the UK, this new system offers an exciting alternative for sellers who want to be certain they have maximized every bid from prospective buyers. It also ensures that every buyer has an equal opportunity to buy without any secrecy guarding the process.

“This isn’t about changing or fixing anything, it’s about evolving,” says CEO Daniel Steinfeld. He adds, “People deserve a choice when they make the biggest financial decision of their life. They also deserve clarity about every aspect of the transaction. We provide that.”

While the auction platform is the most distinguishing feature of this premium brokerage, there are several other features that the company believes will set it apart from the traditional brokerages in Ontario.

There is a ‘No Double Ending’ policy that ensures both sides of a transaction are never represented by the same Realtor. President and Broker of Record Katie Steinfeld says, “It is impossible to fathom that people with perfectly opposite financial objectives could have their best interest adequately represented by the same person.” She continues, “This is especially so when that individual stands to make more money by being on both sides of the transaction.” While the Ontario government and real estate industry have diverted from the point of protecting the consumer’s best interest, On The Block has done what makes the most sense – disallow the concept from their business model.

Prospective buyers without representation can still fully participate in a purchase or bidding process, but will not have a client relationship with On The Block – and if they choose to purchase without representation, there is no additional commission payable by either the buyer or the seller. “Buyers are entitled to an understanding of how commissions work. Just because it is widely positioned that the sellers ‘pay’ commissions, that cost is directly coming out of the sale proceeds, and ultimately a cost to the buyer,” Mrs. Steinfeld explains. On The Block’s Transparent Commission Policy explains that buyers should only pay for the service they receive, and so purchasing without representation shouldn’t cost them the extra 2.5% that often get baked into the purchase price.

Beyond the increase in transparency, the company provides a first of its kind ‘all inclusive’ approach to selling a home. One of the most unique included features is that homeowners are given a week in a partner hotel during the selling process to take away the stresses of cleaning and constant vacating that come with showings of the property. This is in addition to perks including professional photography, home inspections, and one of a kind custom signage for every property. “We are trying to sell a home, not ourselves,” Mr. Steinfeld says. “The high end signage is the largest legally allowed, and it is completely focused on the property it is trying to sell, not the brokerage or the name of the sales representative.”

Interested sellers are invited to use the platform at an introductory rate that includes all the bells and whistles, but costs less than half of what traditional Realtors charge.

It has been well documented that the real estate market could use a new approach. Perhaps this is the big change everyone has been waiting for.

About On The Block

On The Block is a premium real estate brokerage and auction house offering prospective home sellers the option to sell by auction or traditionally. As platforms like Uber and Airbnb have disrupted their spaces, On The Block is positioned to challenge a real estate process that for too long hasn’t seen significant change. With home prices continuing to fluctuate widely, and affordability diminishing, it’s more important than ever to give people some choice and power in the biggest selling and purchasing decisions of their lives.

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Auctions, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

‘Coming Soon’ Defined

The ‘Coming Soon’ tactic has been around for a few years now – long enough that it’s become an accepted part of the murky, unregulated landscape, just like short-sale fraud. Because there is no enforcement of the rules or laws, we have to trust that agents handle it ethically. Here the National Association of Realtors cops out and pins the decision on the seller:

From N.A.R.

What does it mean to advertise a property as “coming soon”? The answer to that seemingly simple question varies among agents, brokers, MLSs, and state regulators nationwide. While the real estate industry has not agreed on a definition of “coming soon,” one thing is certain and consistent — a broker’s decision to market a seller’s property as “coming soon” must always be made based on the client’s informed determination of what best serves the client’s interests.

Some “coming soon” advertisements involve unlisted properties that may or will be listed with a broker in the near future, while others relate to properties that are subject to listing agreements where property is available to potential purchasers only through the listing broker and not available, temporarily or indefinitely, for showing or purchase through other MLS participants. In either case, “coming soon” properties are commonly withheld from the MLS.

The first important step in advising a seller-client on whether to advertise a property as “coming soon” is to identify the client’s best interests, as defined by the client. Failing to act in the client’s best interest and failing to disclose the pros and cons of a limited marketing plan, such as “coming soon” advertising, can violate state real estate license laws and regulations, MLS policies, and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

For most sellers, getting the highest possible price on the best terms is their “best interest,” and maximizing exposure of their property to potential buyers advances that interest. Multiple Listing Services promote the interests of sellers by compiling property information in an orderly manner and distributing that information to MLS participants who have buyer-clients actively seeking to purchase property in the location served by the MLS.

Restricting the marketing of a seller’s property to only small networks, private clubs, or even to national websites without also making it available to other area brokers and agents and their buyer-clients through the MLS results in the property not being exposed to the widest group of potential willing and able buyers, and may not provide the seller the best opportunity to attract offers at the highest price.

It’s important that sellers understand the implications of various ways of marketing the property so that they can knowingly determine the choice that best serves their interests.

If a broker determines that “coming soon” advertising is in the client’s best interest and confirms that the client understands the possible consequences, then it’s imperative for the broker to know the state’s real estate license laws and regulations to ensure that such advertising is in compliance. A broker who fails to comply with state laws and regulations risks facing disciplinary action from licensing authorities, as well as the possibility of litigation from unsatisfied clients.

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Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices | 3 comments

Off-Market Sales

Two things never discussed about off-market sales:

1) Every agent signed an agreement to share their listings with other agents.

2) Nobody reads the forms before signing.

When Barbara Hendrickson’s 90-year-old neighbor needed to sell her Berkeley home, crammed with 40 years’ worth of belongings, Hendrickson, a real estate agent, sold the house for her without putting it on the market.

“She was not up to the task of cleaning out all that stuff,” said Hendrickson, an agent with Red Oak Realty. The off-market sale enabled the neighbor to quickly dispose of the house and move to Baton Rouge to be closer to relatives. The buyers took on the onerous job of clearing out the accumulated furniture and possessions.

In general, selling a house off-market isn’t the best approach, experts say. The California Association of Realtors recommends against it, as do East Bay agents including Hendrickson. But sometimes, as in the case of Hendrickson’s neighbor, there are exceptions.

To be clear, “selling off-market” means not listing the house on the local Multiple Listing Service, and is also described as off-market sales or pocket sales.

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop | 6 comments

Off-Season Selling

The pricing triangle above demonstrates the importance of an attractive list price.  These percentages are probably cut in half during the off-season, but there are still buyers – I’ve run into two bidding wars this week!


Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house., gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

“Why Are You Selling?”


“Why are you selling your house?” might seem like a perfectly innocent question from home buyers, but watch out—if you’re the home seller they’re asking, this is one of the diciest questions you can answer.

The reason: Pretty much any explanation you give is bound to contain revealing info that these home buyers could use against you, thereby compromising your negotiating power.

So, what’s a bad answer?

Well, there are many, actually, like these doozies below.

  • ‘I got transferred for my job’

This is one of the most common reasons why people sell their house. In fact, 17% of people surveyed by the moving company Allied Van Lines said they’ve been relocated for a job. Nonetheless, revealing this to home buyers could make them think that you’re desperate to sell fast and, in turn, lead them to make a lowball offer.

  • ‘Our family needs a bigger house’

Trading up? Don’t relay that to home buyers. The reason is pretty simple: “You don’t want to give buyers the idea that the house may not be enough room for them, either,” says Crawford. Similarly…

  • ‘Now that our children have left the nest, we’re ready to downsize’

Downsizing makes total sense for empty nesters and retirees, but likewise, you don’t want home buyers to think that your house is too large and difficult to maintain.

  • ‘We need a smaller mortgage payment’

There are a couple of reasons why this response is a bad idea. First, you don’t want to give the impression that the house is too expensive or overpriced. Second, you don’t want home buyers to presume that your finances are in such poor shape that you’d accept a lowball offer. Put simply, “Never discuss your financial situation,” says Beckman.

  • ‘We’ve already bought our next house’

If you want to fetch top dollar for your house, don’t divulge that you’ve already purchased your next home. “It makes the home buyer think that there’s a sense of urgency and that you have to sell quickly,” says Crawford—which is a valid assumption, considering that a lot of people can’t afford to carry two mortgages at once.

  • ‘We want a quieter neighborhood’

Steer clear of saying anything that could paint the neighborhood in a negative light. Even saying that the area is quiet could backfire. “You don’t know what a home buyer wants,” says Beckman. For instance, some people are drawn to areas with a hopping night life (and the noise that entails), or at least a place where the streets aren’t barren by 8 p.m.

  • ‘We need to move closer to our parents to help care for them’

Many people move to be closer to family—and in some cases, it’s out of necessity. However, there’s no need to share that information with home buyers, since this suggests you have to sell your home pronto.

  • ‘My back problems make it too difficult for me to climb the stairs’

A number of home sellers move out of two- or three-story houses for health reasons. However, you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that there are a lot of stairs throughout the home, since it could scare off older home buyers or home buyers with young children.

  • ‘Our utility bills are through the roof’

Energy-efficient home features are all the rage nowadays, which makes sense when you consider that home owners spend on average $1,945 a year on their energy bills. But some home buyers still overlook utility costs when they go house hunting. So, the very last thing you want to do is draw attention to the fact that your gas or electric bills are expensive.

  • ‘The house is too difficult for us to maintain’

No one wants to buy a money pit. So, even if you’re selling a clear fixer-upper, don’t mention maintenance costs to a home buyer. Also avoid talking about repairs that you just never got around to making, like repairing the bathtub caulking, as well as big projects like replacing the 20-year-old water heater—all reasons for home buyers to think twice about making an offer.

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 10 comments