Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
More Links

Are you looking for an experienced agent to help you buy or sell a home? Contact Jim the Realtor!

Carlsbad
(760) 434-5000

Carmel Valley
(858) 560-7700
jim@jimklinge.com


Category Archive: ‘Thinking of Selling?’

Online Auctions of Homes

If these home-auction companies spent $100 million per year on advertising, they could go mainstream – and pressure realtors to justify their existence.  Thankfully, sellers resist anything that sounds like they might give it away:

http://dsnews.com/headline/12-12-2014/purchasing-real-estate-online-becoming-prominent-reality-homebuyers

According to comScore, online sales so far this holiday season (November 1 – present) have risen over 16% against last year’s figures from the same time. Housing prices are also accelerating month-over-month and are predicted to reach pre-recession prices by mid-2015 (cnbc.com). With the average online purchase sitting at $180.94 (as of this year’s second quarter), selling real estate online seems like an unlikely scenario.

However, heavyweights in the online real estate auction space such as auction.com and homesearch.com are thinking otherwise. Both companies use an online auction model to sell homes to investors and would-be investors online; however, during this holiday season, both seem to be testing ways to give online home buying more mass market appeal.

Are we witnessing the marriage of e-retailing to real estate?

One example suggests the answer to this is yes. Homesearch recently brought on a new CEO, Kal Raman whose background as an eBay/Groupon executive may foreshadow where the industry’s headed. Earlier this month, Homesearch joined the Cyber Monday craze by launching what seemed to be the industry’s first Cyber Monday sale packed with discounts and buyer incentives on homes. These properties were auctioned online through Homesearch’s typical online auction process.

Their most recent promotion though consists of a “buy it now” price, similar to that of eBay, so instead of actually bidding for a home through an online auction, consumers will call Homesearch to receive a price via telephone. If a consumer likes the price and the extra incentives offered, they can purchase the property before it goes to auction (Homesearch handles much of the downstream closing process already). As eBay’s strategy made clear, there are masses of people who are uncomfortable joining an online auction but who react very well to bargain-basement fixed prices.

Given that Homesearch continues to grow their network of real estate agents and broker partners, is it a stretch to imagine the day when an agent shows homes in the neighborhood and then takes their client online to purchase?

In a space where nothing like this has been tested before it’s hard to know for certain how successful Homesearch and others will be trying to scale mass-market retailing strategies to real estate. However, if they’re really able to go the retail merchandising route and apply discounts of 20%-50% off the list price of homes for sale, I can see how people might be inspired to buy their next home online.

http://dsnews.com/headline/12-12-2014/purchasing-real-estate-online-becoming-prominent-reality-homebuyers

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Auctions, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling? | 13 comments

Early Offers

Sellers and inexperienced agents are prone to panic when a purchase offer is received during the first 1-2 days the home is on the market.  They usually think something is wrong – like the price is too low.

But this is how the game works – the motivated buyers are automatically notified when a new listing hits the MLS, and they jump right on them.

Buyers may act quickly, but it doesn’t mean they are willing to pay the price.  Their decision is complicated by fewer closed sales, and generally flat prices – plus the sellers still want test new highs.

What do you do when you get a quick offer that isn’t full price?

Here are my three thoughts when deciding what to do:

Posted by on Dec 7, 2014 in Bubbleinfo TV, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 6 comments

New Purchase Contract

gov

The C.A.R does make some minor changes every year to our purchase contract, but according to Gov Hutchinson, the lead attorney for C.A.R., they haven’t made any wholesale changes in 12 years.  Gov was in town yesterday to review the latest version.

Here are my notes:

1.  The form is written by C.A.R. attorneys and is meant to protect realtors.  There are 10x as many lawsuits filed today as there were thirty years ago, yet the State of California’s population hasn’t even doubled in the same time.  Home buyers file more than 90% of the lawsuits against realtors.

2.  Buyers used to have 17 days to release all contingencies, but now the new boilerplate gives 21 days to release the loan contingency.  Most lenders can hit the 17-day mark, but it’s usually tight; so the 21 days is probably more realistic. But it does add a second contingency-release date, and more paperwork.  We surmised that in the real world, all contingencies might drag to the 21st day.

3.  The separate termite form was deleted, and its contents added to the ‘Request for Repair’ form.  Previously it was customary to include the termite costs in the original offer (and assigned to the seller), but now they will be a negotiable item after the inspection, as is the custom in Northern California.

4.  You regularly see these remarks, “Seller is exempt from TDS”, which applies if the actual seller is a bank, or a successor trustee who has in effect inherited the house.  But they are only exempt from having to use our specific TDS form, they aren’t exempt from disclosing everything they know about the property.

5.  There are times when the sellers will occupy the home for days or weeks after closing (a subject to which I will devote a whole post), but it is now stated in paragraph 9F that keys and passwords be delivered to buyer on the day escrow closes, regardless of possession.

6.  The big-screen TVs have been excluded for a while, yet their brackets remain with the property.  But this version added a second choice, if the box is checked – “[bracket] will be removed and holes or other damage shall be repaired, but not painted.”  This is on the purchase offer that the buyer is submitting, so they will be guessing on whether the sellers intend to leave the bracket, or remove it and repair the holes or other damage.

7.  If the buyer adds a phrase about intending to occupy the property for 12 months, it will negate the 60-day notice required to give a month-to-month tenant who has been living there more than a year. Instead, only a 30-day notice is required.

8.  There are two stigmas that are required to be disclosed – death and meth.

9.  Sellers have to disclose any insurance claims over the last five years – whether they owned it or not.

10.  This is a first – they added verbiage about what happens when a party won’t sign off to cancel a sale.  If either party fails to execute mutual instructions to cancel, the other party can demand that escrow release the deposit.  Escrow shall promptly deliver notice of the demand to the other party, and give them 10 days to object.  If they don’t object, escrow can unilaterally release the deposit to the other party.  The form authors couldn’t resist adding a final paragraph that escrow companies can still require mutual cancellation instructions at their discretion, which we’re guessing that most will do.

11.  This rarely comes up, but if a buyer cancels after releasing all contingencies, and the seller gets their deposit – he has to split the deposit with the listing agent.

12.  It is in the boilerplate that every dispute goes to mediation.  If both parties initial the arbitration agreement, then the dispute goes there instead of going to court.  Arbitration is cheaper, quicker, and private, but it is binding – there is no appeals of an arbitration decision.  If you don’t like that, then don’t agree to arbitrate.  Small-claims court is excluded, so disputes under $10,000 can go there for resolution.

Once a seller has a signed agreement, there are no back doors – if the buyers can perform, then they are buying the house.  Once the buyers release all contingencies, they are committed too – and will lose their deposit if they cancel later.  There is always joking at these seminars that nobody reads the contract – including the agents.  Get Good Help!

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 5 comments

Did She Say Lower Prices?

sean

From PropertyRadar (ForeclosureRadar):

“Earlier this year we accurately predicted that 2014 would be a year of lower sales volume and flat prices because home prices rose too far too fast,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar.

“That’s exactly what’s happened and hopefully by next spring, prices will be more in line with what prospective homebuyers can afford.”

Read full report here:

https://www.propertyradar.com/reports/real-property-report-california-october-2014

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Market Conditions, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 3 comments

Giveaway Meter

We’re in agreement that the local market has seen all its biggest price gains.

You’ve patiently waited until there were a couple of good comps nearby, and you’ve agreed to list for an attractive price – within 5% of the last sale.  You’ve spruced up the home, and are ready to hit the open market.

You understand the logic about taking advantage of the urgency early on, but you don’t have to sell - and you’re not going to give it away!

How will you know?

Here is my Giveaway Meter:

1. Multiple offers the first couple of days: You hit the jackpot, and it was probably more due to your home’s higher quality and lack of good inventory nearby, rather than you under-pricing your home.  Don’t panic, and don’t raise your price.  Thankfully, you have hired an agent who has legitimate bidding-war strategies – let him do his thing!  P.S. Spreading the offers out on the table is not a bidding-war strategy – though it is the standard answer when you talk to realtors.

2. One offer the first couple of days: Drag your feet to see if anything else comes in – and threats of offers don’t count, unless they come from a great agent who might deliver.  Wait until the offer is about to expire, and counter-offer to buy three more days.

3.  Offer comes in on Day Four:  The fourth day is peak urgency - if the offer is full-price or better and the other terms are acceptable, sign it.  Sellers and agents are highly resistant to not countering – but if you get your price, don’t rock the boat.  Three thoughts:

a.  You have a second negotiation coming over repair requests, and buyers who get worked over in the beginning are more likely to exact their revenge after the home inspection.

b.  Buyer’s remorse starts setting in the minute a buyer signs a full-price offer, and they get indignant if you don’t agree.  They might walk out over the smallest counter-offer, so don’t risk it if the price is right.

c.  Happy buyers are more likely to close escrow.

4.  Offers After Day Four: Tread carefully, because your urgency is completely drained by Day Seven.  You’re not giving it away, and appreciate that you have properly tested the market.

5.  You don’t get any offers:  Lower your price 5% to keep the urgency higher.  After 30 days on the market, buyers will already be pricing in a 5% to 10% wrong-price factor, so you might as well stay ahead of them.

You can spend a million dollars on advertising and do open house every day, but if the price isn’t right, the home won’t sell.  Once you have accepted that fact, and realize that you and your agent are conducting a search for what the market will bear, use the Giveaway Meter to guide you.  Yes, there is always a chance for a lucky sale, but if you go that route, you should list in short spurts (1-2 months) so buyers won’t see a long stretch of failed listing period on your record.

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Bidding Wars, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 6 comments

First Offer Is Best Offer

Zillow and other internet tools are helping to generate maximum urgency early in the listing period.  But the industry doesn’t do a great job of educating - and sellers can be surprised to see an offer in the first few days.  There is temptation to wait for the two in the bush.

There is an old adage that the first offer is the best offer.  But that sounds like sales talk, and is easy to shrug off.

Let’s change it to the first BUYER is the best BUYER.

The old adage makes it sound like you have to accept the first offer, but even the most motivated buyer wants a deal and will offer less than they might pay.

Sellers should recognize that anyone who makes an offer in the first few days must be on high alert, and is ready to buy.  They have probably made offers on others, and lost out or couldn’t come to terms. Frustration is creeping in, and they want to get it done – these are the folks who pay top dollar.

Here are some qualifiers:

1.  Timing is the key. If the market is hot and prices are trending higher, then it might get better, later.  Generally, San Diego’s pricing trend is flat today.

2.  Is it a clean offer?  Be cautious about offers that are contingent on selling another property, or have other complications.  They are worth considering, but drag out the negotiations to see if anything better comes along.

3.  The motivated buyers have been in the game for a while, and have seen the comps.  They will pay a fair price, or maybe a little more.

If your house is super spectacular, then a higher bidder might come along later – those are the houses that are the hardest to find.  But if yours is a regular offering, get it done early while you have urgency on your side!

Here are more thoughts:

http://www.chicagonow.com/getting-real/2014/09/first-offer-is-your-best-offer-fact-or-fiction/

Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 3 comments

Why Sell Early

Sellers expect their listing agent to toil for weeks and months searching for the right buyer for their home.  Let’s face it, that’s how other jobs work - the desired result comes at the end of the effort.

But it’s the opposite when selling a house.  The tight inventory has left anxious buyers waiting for the next new listing to come along, and when it does, they pounce on it in the first few days.

This is why Zillow has become the go-to website for buyers.  Zillow provides transparency with several great features (and the zestimate is down the list):

1.  Zillow shows how long the property has been listed for sale, and how long the property has been on Zillow.  The ‘re-freshing’ of listings isn’t fooling buyers, because Zillow divulges the truth.

2.  They track how many times the property has been viewed on Zillow, which is a secondary ‘sniff test’, much like the days-on market stat.  Once a property has been seen hundreds of times, the buyers start wondering why it hasn’t sold (much like the DOM count):

stale meter

3.  Savvy buyers know that the zestimate is a rough guess of actual value.  But Zillow backs it up nicely with three similar listings nearby, AND the last three closed sales – all on the same page!

4.  They also show how much the seller paid, and when.   Buyers will grant sellers the right to make a profit, so only the greedy are harmed here.

5.  The categories of homes for sale on Zillow are prioritized by date listed.

These data points are all in a seller’s favor during the first few days the home is on the market – use them wisely!

The best thing that could happen to the market is a mass marketing campaign by Zillow (or anybody) to explain to sellers that the urgency created in the first few days on the market should be used as a selling tool.  Then, at some point, maybe we can convert to an auction-like format to sell houses!

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Auctions, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 14 comments

Housing Costs and the Future

In the last video, the presenter speculated that prices could go up 700% by year 2027, which would make homeownership all but impossible for regular folks.

Prices seem likely to rise over the long-term – what could keep a throttle on their gains?  Building more homes could slow down prices, and this week L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti suggested a host of ideas and changes in order to achieve 100,000 new housing units by 2021:

http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-affordable-housing-20141107-story.html

The two best ideas?

1. The permitting of more granny flats is a viable solution for homeowners with larger lots.  An excerpt:

Dana Cuff, director of cityLAB at UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, has spent years studying so-called backyard homes — or “granny flats” — that can house a renter, an in-law or a still-at-home 20-something. They exist all over town, often illegally, and regulations make them hard to build in many neighborhoods. Permitting more could go a long way toward helping L.A.’s housing shortage, Cuff said.

“There’s a half-million single family-houses in the city of Los Angeles,” she said. “If 10% of those added a granny flat, we’d be halfway [to Garcetti's goal]. And it’s free land.”

2. The lack of available land located within driving range of San Diego is a real problem.  If there was a concerted effort by governments to make it easier to change zoning from commercial/industrial to residential, they could unlock additional parcels for development – like this one:

http://www.cbs8.com/story/26788497/upscale-residential-development-proposed-in-place-of-wal-mart-in-scripps-ranch

It’s likely that any new developments would be higher density, which would provide an interesting choice for future homebuyers. Are you willing to live like sardines to get a new or newer home, or will older homes on bigger lots be preferred – and retain their value better?

Rob Dawg said in the beginning, “Forget all previous assumptions about real estate”.  With the cost of living on the rise, will the newer, smaller, and less expensive homes topple the traditional SFR as the preferred choice of tomorrow’s homebuyer?

Posted by on Nov 9, 2014 in Market Conditions, The Future, Thesis, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling? | 2 comments