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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
klingerealty@gmail.com
701 Palomar Airport Road, Suite 300
Carlsbad, CA 92011


Category Archive: ‘Realtor’

The Trojan Horse of Real Estate Sales

What never gets mentioned is that every realtor has signed an agreement to share their listings with one another.  This is how realtors are destroying the industry from within – because we foster the illusion of having a cooperative MLS but are happy to deprive our own sellers of open-market exposure in hopes of making two commissions. 

The practice is so common that I don’t think realtors give a second thought to upholding their fiduciary duty to their own client, the seller:

Pacific Union International, California’s second-largest residential real estate broker by volume, is launching a new service this week that will give the public a peek at its “off-MLS listings,” meaning homes for sale that aren’t on a Multiple Listing Service.

It’s the latest in a growing number of ways home sellers can test the market — and maybe get an offer — before embarking on a full-on marketing campaign.

Putting a home on the MLS is usually the best way to get top dollar because it provides the greatest possible exposure. But in a red-hot market, some sellers figure they can bypass the MLS — and the real estate websites that repost their listings for the whole world to see.

Currently, agents circulate these “off-MLS” or “pocket” listings inside their firm and with other agents through Facebook groups or email lists. Some share them with groups such as Top Agent Network or Marin Platinum, which restrict their membership to high-volume agents.

Instead of holding a public open house — with strangers and neighbors traipsing through — agents arrange private showings.

Pacific Union estimates that 20 percent of its home sales in the Bay Area and 30 percent in Los Angeles last year closed without appearing on the MLS.

Mark McLaughlin, Pacific Union CEO, says Private View will help buyers and sellers by giving greater access to his firm’s off-MLS listings: “We are taking secrets in our filing cabinet and exposing them to the public.” He agreed that the MLS provides “maximum exposure,” but for clients who don’t want that, this is “an incredible” alternative.

“Once we get critical mass, I think more sellers will be part of this,” Segal said.

In a market starved for inventory, that may not be welcome news.

Pocket listings have always been used, mainly by celebrities and people selling extravagant homes that only a few could afford. But their use in California has grown since 2013, as the housing market rebounded and bidding wars broke out.

“As inventory goes down, off-MLS practices go up,” said Jim Harrison, president and CEO of MLSListings, the listing service for Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

He estimates that 21.6 percent of all homes sold in those counties in the first quarter did not hit the MLS before they closed. That compares with 12.6 percent in the first quarter of 2012. (Many agents enter a sale into the MLS after it has closed to help establish comparable prices for an area).

The California Association of Realtors discourages pocket listings. In a 2013 press release, it said most sellers want the highest possible price from a well-qualified buyer, and the best way to get that, the association said, is to put the home into the MLS.

Most Multiple Listing Services are owned by local Realtors associations. Agents who join an MLS generally must post homes on the MLS within a few days of signing a listing agreement, unless the seller signs a waiver.

Every member of an MLS has access to those listings. They also go out to real estate websites such as Zillow and Redfin.

Pocket listings can lead to ethical, antitrust and fair-housing issues, the state Realtors association said in 2013.

Sellers typically pay a commission to their agent, who shares the commission with the buyer’s agent. In pocket listings, it’s easier for agents to keep the entire commission to themselves, or within their brokerage firm or a small network of outside agents.

Agents say there are many reasons to keep a home off the MLS, at least temporarily.

“My preferred way is to market heavily off-market for a week or two, and then go onto the MLS,” said Cathy Youngling, an agent with Paragon Real Estate Group of San Francisco. That way “I have built a level of excitement and enthusiasm” before the “time on market” clock starts ticking.

Link to Full Article

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop | 6 comments

C.A.R. Ads


The N.A.R. rolled out a new logo a couple of weeks ago, and the response from agents was so bad they rescinded it. Undaunted, the California Association of Realtors did the same thing today (above), but at least they didn’t reveal the cost (N.A.R. blew $250,000).

They also released a couple of new ads (below). Both end with what must be a new slogan, “Who’s Your Realtor”, which is pretty vague.  But below that is a mention of a website, championsofhome.com, which actually has some helpful information, including videos of real people talking about their experience and providing tips.  Good for C.A.R., at least they are trying to help us!


Posted by on Apr 20, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor | 4 comments

“Losing Steam”

The real estate business has been too easy the last few years, and it appears a tougher market is coming, which will help weed out the agents.  Unfortunately, downturns don’t discriminate – a slower market will cause the retirements of realtors young and old, of every age, and every color.  Be happy it lasted as long as it did, and you made the best of it.  I hope we all make it!

But let’s deal with the reality – we can handle the truth:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Apparently, this is a topic that draws interest.  When first mentioned on Monday, we had the highest readership of the year:

P.S. The 60,949 is the # of comments over the years – thanks for being here!

Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Realtor, Realtors Talking Shop | 5 comments

Dual Agency Case Upheld

Our contracts are ten pages of legalese designed specifically to protect realtors from lawsuits.  Would the outcome have been different if the plaintiff sued his own agent too?

From the OCR:

A Coldwell Banker real estate agent at the center of a dispute that went to the California Supreme Court did not breach a fiduciary duty to the buyer of a Malibu mansion, a Superior Court jury ruled Thursday at a retrial of the case.

Nor did the agent intentionally or negligently misrepresent the property, the jury found.

The Supreme Court ruled in November 2016 that a real estate agent owes a fiduciary duty to the buyer – not just the seller – when one brokerage represents both sides of a deal. The case then went back to the trial court.

The dispute began after Hong Kong multimillionaire Hiroshi Horiike bought a Tuscan-style Malibu mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean for $12.25 million in cash in 2007. The listing agent, Chris Cortazzo, gave him a flier that said the home had 15,000 square feet of living space as well as an MLS listing that did not specify the square footage.

But a building permit indicated there was a total of 11,050 square feet, including a guest house and a garage, while the tax assessor’s records showed it was less than 9,500 square feet.

The square footage question is complicated because Malibu uses a different metric than elsewhere, extending the measurements to garages and other spaces beyond the primary residence.

Horiike, who signed an advisory saying the broker was not responsible for verifying square footage, bought the property without further investigating its size, according to court records.

A couple of years later, seeking a permit to remodel a room, he found out the house wasn’t as large as he thought.

Both Horiike’s agent and Cortazzo worked for Coldwell Banker, so the firm was the dual agent for the buyer and seller. In 2010, Horiike sued Cortazzo and Coldwell Banker, stating they violated their fiduciary duty to him.

The defense argued at the first trial that Cortazzo was the exclusive agent of the seller and didn’t have a fiduciary duty to Horiike. The first judge agreed and dismissed Cortazzo from the case. A jury then ruled in Coldwell Banker’s favor.

The case was appealed, then went to the Supreme Court. While the court ruled there was a fiduciary duty, it did not rule on the merits of the case.

The retrial began on March 19. Horiike sought $4 million in damages plus interest, bringing the total to $7.5 to $8 million. Jurors got the case the afternoon of Wednesday, April 4. The verdict came back roughly a day later.

Cortazzo issued a written statement through Coldwell Banker.

“I am pleased with the court’s decision. I operate with integrity and strive to uphold the highest of ethical standards. As always, I remain completely committed to my clients and bringing them a premier level of service,” he said.

Horiike was not in court for the verdict. Zachary Shorr, his attorney, said Horiike may appeal.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to if I were him,” Shorr said.

Link to Article

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training | 2 comments

Logo To Lead Us

This ought to fix everything!

The REALTOR® brand represents the organization’s unique role and heritage in shaping the real estate industry over its 100-year history, where it has built tremendous brand equity among its members, partners and property buyers and sellers. But after 45 years, even an iconic brand needs an evolution to better represent our multi-faceted members and REALTOR® organization.

Evolving the REALTOR® logo required keeping the equity and recognition of the current bold, powerful and trusted trademark, while modernizing it to meet the realities of today’s marketplace and digital distribution. It also signals where the organization is headed and how it will continue to lead the real estate industry in the years ahead.

Technology, shifting market conditions and consumers are reshaping the real estate industry at a breakneck pace; and when I became NAR’s CEO last fall, I vowed to lead the association into the future and ensure that our members can compete and thrive in a dynamic marketplace. The new brand embodies the association’s rich history, but better reflects our forward-thinking focus and how we’ll stay ahead of industry evolution and disruption and continue to lead the real estate industry in the years ahead.

– NAR CEO Bob Goldberg

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtors Talking Shop | 1 comment

Get Good Help

They had the big meet-up in the desert – where a ‘cohort of startup entrepreneurs; disruptive company founders; top-producing practitioners; owners of brokerages big and small; coaches; executives across new and old franchisors; MLS and association leaders; big data experts; and technology giants’ got together to discuss the future of real estate selling business.

These articles are typically behind a paywall, but here’s the link in case they excluded it and want to reach everyone:

Link to Inman Article

The goals they set out are about what you would expect – simplify the home buying and selling process, be more transparent, enforce ethical standards, insist on diversity, etc.

What wasn’t mentioned was educating the consumer on how to hire the best agent for you.  The associations of realtors, big brokerages and other industry types leave it up to the individual agents to do their own advertising, so all you hear about is how great we are just because we listed or sold another house.

Or maybe no one in the industry wants the truth to be told.

This is an excerpt from someone in the comment section:

My firm analyzes MLSs across the entire country, with coverage of 95% of all residential resale transactions and nearly 1.4 Million member agents. In calendar year 2017, these were the grim production statistics:  Only 65.4% of MLS member agents closed 1 or more transactions annually. (About one-third of agents did not sell a home in 2017).

Of the active agents, consider that:

  1. The median count of closed transactions annually was only two.
  2. The average of closed transactions annually was 8.8.
  3. The top 1% of active agents (or teams) closed 13.4% of all sales volume.
  4. The bottom 50% of active agents closed only 11.1% of all sales volume.

The consumers get blamed for not investigating their choices more carefully when selecting an agent, but they aren’t getting much help.  When was the last time you heard a realtor team or company suggest that you should review an agent’s sales history to learn more about their ability to help you?  Or do anything to educate the consumer on how critical it is to Get Good Help?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtors Talking Shop, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 8 comments

Dual Agency?

If he signed an agreement to represent both parties, he’s got some explaining to do (H/T daytrip):

The owners of a historic Hollywood Hills home have sued “Million Dollar Listing” star agent Josh Altman for fraud and breach of contract for allegedly duping them into a deal to sell the home at a steep discount to one of his friends.

The sale never went through, but the homeowners, Gigi and Paul Shepherd, contend that Altman conspired with his friend, Nicholas Keros, with whom he has worked on previous real estate deals.

Keros filed his own lawsuit against the Shepherds, which the homeowners say has left them “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in debt and forced to declare bankruptcy, according to their suit, filed in LA County Superior Court last month.

Named as defendants are Altman and Douglas Elliman, where he is an agent. Keros is not a named defendant.

The Shepherds inherited the Richard Neutra-designed home on Sunset Plaza Drive from Gigi’s aunt, Josephine, in the mid-2000s. It was was listed for $10.5 million last fall. The property is 1.2 acres and marketed as “a truly unique development opportunity.”

They met with Altman to list the home early last year, and agreed that he would represent both parties if he was able to bring a seller to the table.

A few weeks later, Altman introduced Keros to the Shepherds as a potential buyer, but the suit claims he did not disclose Keros was a close friend.

Shortly after, Altman called the Shepherds and said Keros was a serious buyer, but would walk away if they didn’t meet with him immediately. The Shepherds agreed and met without their lawyers present.

The Shepherds claim that during the meeting Altman “did absolutely no negotiations” on their behalf and instead “forced terms desired by [Keros]” on them. Altman and Keros presented the Shepherds with what they called a “draft” agreement that the couple continually “marked-up and revised” over the course of the meeting. Keros again said he would walk away if they didn’t sign, so they did, the Shepherds claim in the suit.

The couple also claim Altman ignored their requests for copies of the documents and then altered the papers after securing their signatures. At that point, Altman and Keros contend the so-called draft documents were binding.

The Shepherds also signed a “contingency” document with Keros regarding an easement dispute the couple had with their neighbor. The couple say that Altman and Keros misrepresented that document, which Keros later used to sue them.

Altman did not return a request for comment. A spokesperson for Elliman said that the firm does not comment on pending litigation.

Representatives for the Shepherds could not be reached for comment.

Link to Article

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training | 4 comments

How Buyers And Sellers Get Screwed

Another reason for the industry to commit to full transparency and the auction method of selling homes – our Code of Ethics doesn’t help much:

Q: I submitted an offer for a buyer client that was near the full listing price and asked the listing broker if any other offers existed. The listing broker said no. The next day the broker called me and told me the property sold to a different buyer. Shouldn’t the broker have told us that there were multiple offers when the other offer came in and given my client the opportunity to modify the offer?

A: This is one of many misconceptions about handling multiple offers. The primary provision in the Code of Ethics related to multiple offers is Standard of Practice 1-15, which says “REALTORS®, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers, shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property.” You asked if there were any existing offers at the time you submitted and the answer was, apparently, no. Nothing in Standard of Practice 1-15 or any other part of the Code requires the listing broker to go back to any or all other buyers who made an offer should one or more additional offers come in after your offer was submitted.

While it might seem that listing brokers should be required to go back to all those other buyers if other offers come in, a seller may choose not to take that action and may choose another direction to negotiate a sale. It may also seem that going back to previous offers would always be in the best interest of a seller. But, from the seller’s perspective, there might be both price and non-price terms of the other offers that are more attractive. The seller might not want to risk that the later, better offer may be withdrawn in the time it could take to reinform the other buyers and allow them to change their offers.

One tip for cooperating brokers in multiple-offer situations is to ask the listing broker about other offers on more than one occasion during the negotiations. It’s no guarantee that you will hit the right time, but it might give you more information for your buyer client in the negotiation on high-demand properties.

Link to Article

Posted by on Mar 30, 2018 in Ethics, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Why You Should List With Jim | 7 comments

Downsizing Within California

Another reason why the 2018 inventory might stay tight – seniors waiting until this thing passes to downsize. Currently, the counties of Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Tuolumne, and Ventura already permit such transfers, so the additional benefit would be for those who are moving to the other 47 counties.

My fellow REALTORS®,

I have great news to share! This week, C.A.R.’s Homeownership for Families and Tax Savings for Seniors Committee submitted nearly one million signatures to county elections officials throughout California. This will qualify the Property Tax Fairness Initiative (Portability) for the November 6, 2018, General Election ballot. We are one step closer to ensuring that seniors, the disabled and disaster victims can move freely throughout California without facing an unfair “moving penalty.”

This significant milestone illustrates the strength of our REALTOR® Party, demonstrating vision, leadership, and our grass roots campaign to improve housing opportunities for all Californians. Fixing California’s property tax system is critical to people across California and our state as a whole.

As champions for homeownership, REALTORS® face challenges with California’s property tax laws. You probably know a senior citizen who lives in a home that no longer fits their needs, but cannot afford to move and faces a massive property tax “moving penalty.” Our brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents shouldn’t be barred from downsizing or relocating to be closer to family because they cannot afford the property tax increase.

Similarly, severely disabled people may live in homes that are no longer safe or practical for them. Buying a more suitable home is often impossible because they face significant property tax increases when they move, even if they move to a less expensive home. Finally, disaster victims like those affected by the massive northern California wildfires and Santa Barbara mudslides have arbitrary and limited protections. Disaster victims, too, face a moving penalty if they choose to move outside of their disaster-torn county.

Passing the Property Tax Fairness Initiative reforms what is a confusing and inconsistent approach to property taxation. Senior homeowners can keep their existing tax base when they move, but only one time and only when moving to a home of equal or lower price within their current county of residence, or in 11 counties that allow an exemption. Moving to a high cost part of California is nearly impossible, regardless of circumstance. C.A.R.’s initiative fixes these issues so these homeowners can move throughout California and adjusts their property taxes up if their new home is more expensive. It allows people to move more than once, as circumstances may require. In short, it is the right thing to do for people who are already paying their fair share in property taxes.

Nobody should be penalized due to their life circumstances. That’s not right. Not in California.

Read More

Posted by on Mar 26, 2018 in Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Realtor | 8 comments