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Category Archive: ‘Thinking of Selling?’

No Portal Exposure

Have you noticed that some listings aren’t on the real estate portals?

There are two ways that it can happen.

There used to be an agreement between our MLS company, Sandicor, and Zillow/Trulia, to upload our listings automatically.  But as a result of a dispute between them over the last year, there is no auto-upload.  Some agents don’t know that they have to manually upload their listings, or wait for their brokerage to do it for them.

That’s the reason you’ll see a listing on other portals but not Zillow/Trulia.

But some MLS listings aren’t on any portals – even

How does that happen?  Below is a snip of the actual online listing input form.  The red Rs mean that they boxes are required to be completed, and the default answer is ‘Yes’:

internet listing syndication

If you see a sign in a yard, or get a listing direct from the MLS and can’t find it anywhere on the real estate portals, it means that the listing agent has clicked ‘No’ to several boxes to be excluded.  The agent has deliberately chosen out.

Back in 2012, Jim Abbott made waves about listing syndication (LINK), but he sold his company to Carrington earlier this year.  It looks like their listings are being syndicated now.

But there are still other holdouts.  If you are thinking of selling your home, a good question to be asking a potential listing agent, “Will my home be advertised on the real estate portals?”

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 4 comments

Selling Your Home Around the Holidays

estates sunset 048

If you are thinking of selling your home, it is tempting to wait until spring before going on the market.  Here are reasons why you should drop everything and call me today!

  1. Virtually no competition – Sell when everyone else isn’t!
  2. Inventory is picked clean – Buyers would love to see new choices.
  3. Fewer looky-loos means less showing hassles – Motivated buyers only.
  4. Holiday decorations = Instant staging.
  5. Price Discovery – If no takers, cancel after 2 weeks and try again next year.
  6. Rates have gone up, and the Fed hasn’t done anything yet!  The best way to combat rising rates is for the seller to offer a rate buydown.  The Estates off CV Road is offering to buy down your rate today to 2.625% for a 10-year interest-only loan, which is a nice incentive.  Offering a rate buydown is cheaper when rates are lower – paying to get the buyer a 30-year fixed rate below 4% in spring may be costly.

In other parts of the country where the weather is bad, it’s understandable to take the holidays off.  But here it’s going to be 74 degrees today – which is great home-selling weather!

The bottom of the San Diego market was April, 2009 – we’ve been on a six-year run, and overdue for a burst of inventory. If that happens on your street or neighborhood, you’ll be glad you sold now.

If it helps, we can close escrow in January!

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

Mortgage Rates Higher


Interest rates have been moving higher for the last six days, and have priced in the 1/4% increase that the Fed is expected to do next month.  If the Fed does finally bump the Fed Funds rate, there should be some relief that’s it’s over, but don’t expect that lenders will give much back.

From MND:

Mortgage rates continued pressing into the highest levels since July–themselves the highest levels of the year.  In just over a week, the most frequently quoted conventional 30yr fixed rate has moved from 3.75 to a range of 4.0-4.125%.  Most lenders are quoting the same contract rates as Friday, with the weakness instead seen in the form of higher upfront costs.

What’s with all the drama?  In a word: the Fed.  There had been some remaining disagreement about when the Fed was most likely to begin raising rates after nearly 7 years of the record low 0-.25% target.  Last Friday’s jobs report helped get everyone on the same page.  Unfortunately, the consensus is that the hike is all the more likely.  While mortgage rates are not directly linked to the Fed Funds Rate, most interest rates tend to rise when expectations for a Fed rate hike increase.

When rates rise as much as they have and for as many consecutive days as they have, it becomes increasingly likely that they’ll take a break and bounce back somewhat.  If you wait to lock, you will feel like a genius if that happens, but you could be looking at significantly higher costs if it doesn’t.  In this case, the risk of loss is greater than the potential reward for timing the bounce correctly.  Lenders aren’t likely to give back meaningful amounts of the ground we just lost unless the bounce is sustained and substantial.

“Borrowers and loan officers hoping for a fast rebound from Friday’s sell off were disappointed today, as we lost further ground and rates rose slightly.  Since October 27th, treasury yields have soared from 2.03% to 2.35%.  MBS lost roughly 150 bps during the same period, and our “sub 4%” rates are in the rear view mirror at the moment.  At some point, we’ll level off, and perhaps even undo some of the carnage, but until we do, I’ll be advising locking early rather than risking further losses.”

It wouldn’t take much for homebuyer demand to soften a bit.  Higher rates, fewer foreign buyers, the lack of good buys, and the holiday malaise could send the market into a slumber for the next 2-3 months.


Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 1 comment

Dangers of Overpricing Your Home

pie in the sky

If you don’t have to sell and just want to test the market, is there any harm in listing high?  Just because there is no urgency doesn’t mean some nice young family with 2.2 kids won’t come along and love it like you do.

Around 60% to 65% of the listings sell each year.

I like those odds, and I’m happy to list your home and shoot for the lucky sale.  As long as prices keep going up, it’s possible!

Here are the potential pitfalls:

The Best Buyers Will Pass – The motivated buyers have seen the comparable listings nearby, and they know the market as well as the agents (or better!).  You are left with the casual, inexperienced buyers – the ones who are most likely to fall out of escrow.

The Best Agents Will Pass – Buyers working with great agents will get talked out of paying too much.

Lowball Offers – Don’t be insulted, you knew from the beginning you were pushing the price. You don’t have to take them – but while you have a buyer at the table, you may want to review the results so far and decide if now is the time to make a deal.

Your House Will Be Used to Sell Others – Regardless of your list-price accuracy, you will get lookers – especially when the listing is fresh on the market.  Sellers get encouraged, and think a sale must be imminent.  But you don’t know if your house is just being used by agents to sell better-priced homes nearby.

New Listings Will Undercut Yours – Neighbors will go to school on your price.  When they see that your house is not selling, they will price theirs under yours.

Showings Are a Hassle – The inconvenience of having strangers running through your house with little notice gets old. Keeping the house clean and having to leave the house isn’t convenient – especially if you have kids.

Price is Intoxicating – The higher you go, the drunker you get.  Your ego refuses to back down, in spite of the overwhelming evidence stacking up all around.

One-third of the sellers fall into this predicament, and never sell.

For those that don’t mind the risk, let’s go!

Key point – you need a great listing agent.  The buyers are skittish, the agents are inexperienced, and the appraisal will take a miracle.  Just because you aren’t that motivated doesn’t mean you should compromise on who you hire as your listing agent – Get Good Help!

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 4 comments

PQ Follow Up Part 2


The process of selling a house has many variables – let’s keep examining.

What were the comps used to determine the price?

The most important thing about evaluating the comps is to see them through the eyes of the buyers.  I cannot stress enough how critical this is to selecting an attractive price – every seller has a high opinion about their house, but they’re not the ones buying it.  Today’s buyers are looking for any reason not to buy, and they are being conservative.

Consider those thoughts as we progress here:

A. The last sale of this model closed for $612,000 in June, 2014:

It had been moderately upgraded to sell, and you could say that the backyard was a more normal setting.  My listing on Chaco had superior upgrades, which makes buyers feel good, but they prefer to pay about the same as the last guy for them.  This is where over-improving your house for the neighborhood can get you into trouble, price-wise – you’re not going to get a dollar-for-dollar return for the good stuff.

A discerning buyer would probably call them even at best, because they will be tempted to ignore it altogether because of it being old news   The San Diego Case-Shiller Index has gone up 6% since, so let’s adjust accordingly, even though no appraiser will use it (they want/need comps from the last six months).

Comp #1 adjusted value = $648,720.

B. This is a 5% larger one-story model in Crestmont that closed for $612,000:

The original list price was $645,000, but after three weeks they put it on the range $615,000 – $645,000.  Eighteen days later, the listing agent found his own buyer who paid $612,000 cash, and it closed on September 16th.

The house only had a couple of upgrades, and my listing had at least $100,000 of improvements. We already mentioned that you don’t get full value, but for the sake of evaluating I’ll assign a 50% credit. It means we need to deduct $50,000 off this comp – but then add back 10% because it was a one-story plan which have been selling for a premium over two-story plans because of the older folks.  The ‘cash’ purchase would indicate these buyers were probably elderly on this sale, and they probably ignored or didn’t realize that nobody else was willing to pay $615,000 for this house so they may have been able to grind out a better deal.

Buyers evaluating this sale as a comp may not think that hard, but as a listing agent trying to factor in every variable, I need to consider that the $612,000 sales price here could have been optimistic.  But I’ll subtract the $50,000 for improvements and add 10% for one-story.

Comp #2 adjusted value = $623,200.

C. Same one-story model as above that closed for $605,000 two weeks ago:

This house was in original condition, so I’m going to subtract a little more – $70,000 – and add back the same 10% even though this was an estate sale by the original owners who paid $150,000 in 1988.  The seller was recently widowed and didn’t try too hard to sell, and let’s face it, a quick $605,000 was a big win.  It was listed on the range $590,000 to $605,000, and the buyer went direct to the listing agent, but we can call it a mostly-retail sale of a house in original condition.

Comp #3 adjusted value = $595,500.

There are two pending comps to consider too:

D. This 1,486sf one-story with $50,000 in improvements was listed for $635,000 and went pending in five days:

E. This newer 4 br/2.5 ba, 1,733sf house listed the day before us for $674,900, and went pending in 4 days.  Hopefully it got bid up:

The Wild Card

F.  This 1,681sf two-story house has $120,000 in improvements with pool and backs to the canyon.  It sold for a whopping $730,000, which was above the top of the range ($699-$729) in six days:


My seller has taken a new job out of the area, and wanted a realistic assessment of the market.  Many sellers would ignore the rest, and jump on the $730,000 as proof that more buyers will come along and pay the same.  But given the rest of the evidence, a normal buyer will throw out the high sale and use the rest as the accurate market data.

The realistic range for my listing was $600,000 to $650,000, and because we had the 100,000 in improvements it deserved to be at the top of the range.

I didn’t have a problem with angryPQneighbor expecting a higher sale – I had every intention of selling it for more.  My seller saw my reasoning that pricing the home attractively would create more action and urgency early on, and create a frenzy-like bidding war.

Other Factors:

1. Zillow reported lower school scores on the subject property’s zillow page.  I addressed them in my remarks, and included snips of the actual scores of 10 for each school in my photo galleries.  I think that lends respect to the equation in the buyers’ minds.

2. The zestimate for my listing was $630,000, and after I inputted my listing there, they dropped the zestimate to $614,749.  You have to anticipate that bad things will happen that are out of your control. But price fixes everything.

Chaco zestimate

3. Zillow also has this new local market meter that is positive for Rancho Penasquitos in the small print, but the ‘Cool’ and blue color could dissuade buyers from looking at it much harder:

Chaco Zillow

4.  The biggest factor in my mind was the experience of the buyers’ agents.  Any agent can handle writing an offer on an attractively-priced listing, but the houses priced too high tend to befuddle all but the best agents (who are good enough to lowball you anyway).

It was competitive to the end between the six offers – five submitted their highest-and best offer, and it was close.  We took the buyer represented by an agent who had closed 32 sales in the last 12 months.  The other agents averaged 8 sales in the last year, which was still pretty good.  But if we hit any bumps in the road, I want to take my chances with the most experienced agent.

We still have a long way to go to the finish line. But this is the type of start every seller should appreciate – you got a good price, the hassle of showing the house was over in 6 days, and the chances of it closing are pretty good when the buyers knows he beat out five other contenders!

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 6 comments

Selling to Millennials


Generally speaking, boomers who bought homes to start families purchased what their budgets allowed and fixed them up over time. Nothing could be further from the minds of typical Millennial buyers.

For the most part, Millennials are looking for the finished product and will pay for it. They want what they see in magazines — nothing less. They don’t seem to view themselves living in any one place for a very long time, so there’s no time for gradually rolled out home improvements.

The bottom line: To capture the highest selling price, undertake some key home renovations before listing your house for sale.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Boomers, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling? | 0 comments

Rents Pushing Higher

higher rents

Speaking of newcomers, it won’t just be outsiders who fuel the future demand.

Mortgage rates dipping into the threes make buyers giddy, but today’s low rates are just the sweetener.  Demand is being driven by the soaring rents.

Rich people can choose in or out – I heard the story yesterday about the doctor couple who have been renting a house in Santaluz for 13 years.  But for those with static incomes, the reality is grim.

More on rents here:

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Real Estate Investing, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 5 comments

Boomers Survey

This survey is dated 2014, and they should update it every year – or at least until I’m right about having a boomer liquidation sale coming down the pike!

This survey asks several different questions, but notice how 20% to 30% of the responses seemed to divulge some stress or uncertainty about their future:




Uh-oh.  It looks like this homeownership thing could be a boomer addiction:



It’s still early in the game for most boomers.

But here’s where the game changers start to come out.  Only 58% don’t plan to sell?  Fine, they aren’t going to make the market – it’s the other 42% that will determine our real estate future:


Fluff question below – of course we like our home, at least until selling it becomes a better idea:


Almost a quarter of boomers know they are already short on income, and will be hitting the housing ATM.  How many others who didn’t expect to use their equity in 2014 will eventually need to cash out for various reasons?


Here’s where the real trouble starts below – 46%???





The best question towards the end of the survey once respondents have loosened up – and lo and behold, 61% of boomers aren’t sleeping that well.

If it only ends up being 20% to 30% of boomers who make a move, that’s still at least 15 million people in America who will be deciding our market!

The biggest concern?

Elderly folks who haven’t moved in a generation (or two), who know their money is running out and happen to see a couple of lower-priced sales nearby.  In a effort to bank as much equity as possible, they hit the panic button and grab the first realtor they find who then dumps their house for 95% of value.

It’s a downward spiral that could pick up steam quickly.

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Boomer Liquidations, Boomers, Forecasts, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, This Is America, Why You Should List With Jim | 19 comments

Sentiment Index


Only 1,003 people surveyed but they were asked 100 questions.  From MND:

In case you missed it, last month Fannie Mae began to transition the multi-graph and narrative report detailing results of its National Housing Survey (NHS) into a different format, the Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI).  The Index distills responses to six survey questions about consumers’ home purchase sentiment into a single number which the company says “reflects current and forward-looking housing market outcomes and complements existing data sources to inform housing related analysis and decision making.”

The HPSI summarizes consumers attitudes about whether it is a good or bad time to buy or to sell a house, what direction they expect home prices and mortgage interest rates to move, how concerned they are about losing their jobs, and whether their incomes are higher than they were a year earlier.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 0 comments



The blog post linked below points out the percentages of total realtor listings on Zillow.  The Z Group didn’t take too kindly to such exposure, and they issued a cease-and-desist order, so I’m not sure how long this link will be working:

Zillow and the San Diego MLS do not have an agreement to automatically upload the realtor listings, so those seen on Zillow are manually-uploaded, or by private agreement.  The blog post shows that Zillow has about 90% of the San Diego realtor listings, but the same chart has four cities that show over 100% of the realtor listings.

How can Zillow have more than 100% of the listings shown on

The authors suggest that it could be due to quality issues, but let’s face it, it more likely due to sandbagging – realtors putting listings on Zillow to find their own buyers to double-end the deal, but not sharing them on the MLS.

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment