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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: ‘Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer’s Agent’

Offering Too Low

Part of a realtor’s job is to help manage expectations – not only those of their own clients, but expectations of the other agents and their clients too.

Recently I received an offer on a listing that was 25% under the list price.  They also wanted my seller to carry the financing for 30 years – which is unheard of – and oh yeah, it was contingent upon the sale of the buyers’ home too.

I told the agent (whose email-signature noted they were in the Top 10 statewide for their company) that if I was the seller and that offer was presented, I’d fire my agent.

Just like when we’ve seen a home with range-pricing that is too wide, it becomes impossible to bridge the gap – for three reasons:

  1.  Once a buyer puts a number on paper, their mind starts believing it’s real.
  2.  Buyer’s remorse is real too, and they cool off quickly.
  3.  Sellers are skeptical, and don’t feel like negotiating much.

It may be discussed as just a place to start, but once a buyer submits their price in writing, it becomes a comfortable number.  Going much higher than where they start is usually a function of how fast agents respond.  My rule-of-thumb is two counters max for each side, in less than four days.

In this case, my sellers weren’t desperate, they had already determined that they wanted to sell for at least 93% of list and were willing to wait for it.  I told the buyer’s agent that our price gap was too big, and I nicely asked the agent and buyers to go back to the drawing board.

Three days later, I received a new offer with bank financing, instead of seller-carry, but it still had the original price of 25% under list. It came with the buyers’ love letter; a full-page of reasons why my listing was the perfect fit for the buyers.

Was the love going to make the looming price gap surmountable?

In spite of houses around the county selling for 99% of list this year, we countered with a price that is 4% under our list – not bad, considering the original offer price.  On their counter, the buyers came up to 82% of list, but it took two days to arrive.  I knew the remaining price gap and time left wasn’t looking good.

I always want to respond promptly, because of #2 above – buyers cool off quickly.  We dropped another 2% within a few hours, but it wasn’t enough.  Two days later, the agent emailed that they lost interest – no counter, no love.

Five days gone by (seven days since the original offer), and the initial 25% gap killed our chances.  They knew before writing the offer that it would take at least 93% of list to buy the property, and they still offered – so initially there was some willingness to pay that or close.

If they would have started at 82% of list, and trimmed the time spent to 3-4 days, could we have made it to escrow?  I think so!

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 4 comments

Results from Bidding-War Video

The only thing harder than getting a listing is helping buyers win a house.

Last week I mentioned how there still isn’t any uniform process to sell a residential resale home – it is the wild wild west!  Even when a listing agent tells you what they are going to do to you, it is always subject to change!

We found this fantastic video by a Colorado guy who outlines the best ways to handle a bidding war.  Because I know that hardly any agents actually have a bidding-war strategy beyond spreading out the offers on the dining-room table, I have since been sending the video along with my offers.  Because the video is done by a third-party guy, hopefully it is viewed as a powerful new solution by agents who tend to think they know it all just because they’ve sold a few houses in their life.

Here are my results:

  1. The first listing agent who saw it took it well – he was the guy who asked if I utilize the same method (which I affirmed), and then proceeded to at least tell me what the other offers were.  They were too high for us, so my buyers surrendered.
  2.  The next try was to send the video along with our full-price offer (different buyers) into what we knew was going to be a dog fight.  There were at least 50-70 people at the open house when we were there, and the older house oozed with charm and character.  The listing agent insisted that to present our offer, we first had to state in writing that we would not ask for any repairs.  I replied that I’ve never heard that one before, but we complied just to see how crazy it would get. She didn’t respond to my second inquiry on whether she watched the bidding-war video.  She said they would pick a winner on Monday, which came and went with no seller response.  On Tuesday, she emails the buyer-agents stating that she had double-digit offers, and wanted everyone to submit their highest-and-best offer.  Obviously she didn’t watch the video – in which he compared her strategy as being the same as telling race drivers to just keep circling the track and we’ll tell you when the race is over.  My buyers loved the house on Saturday, but by Tuesday were fed up and we didn’t respond further.
  3.  On Monday afternoon a new listing hit the MLS which looked like a good match for a third set of buyers, and we were there on Tuesday morning to view. It met our criteria, and we knew it was hot, so we made a full-price offer that day with no appraisal contingency, no termite, no home warranty, and a month’s free rentback for the sellers if they needed it.  The next morning, the listing agent said he had received four offers in the first 24 hours – and ours was the lowest!  He watched the video but it was too late – the sellers had already signed the offer that was $50,000 over list.

Wouldn’t every party be better served if there was a uniform process?

Wouldn’t a live auction be the best solution for sellers and buyers?  It would take all the uncertainty out of the equation, and allow all bidders to compete face-to-face, and be driven by the animal spirits to pay what it took to win!

A side note, and fourth example: Buyers who are moving here from out-of-state put their current multi-million-dollar home on the market last week in a town that has had a similar frenzy environment as San Diego.  They were impressed with the immediate buyer traffic, and on Sunday an agent reported that he had a buyer who wanted to make an offer.  He, like me and every other buyer’s agent, was inquiring how the listing agent was going to handle the process, to which she responded, “We’ll be reviewing all offers on Wednesday”.  The buyer didn’t like that response, and went away. Here we are on Thursday, and no offers have been received.

While I need to keep getting listings just to maintain my own sanity, I will always have time for buyers who are blog readers here!  Congrats to our frequent commenter Eddie89!  We made offers on five houses before finally succeeding on the sixth.  We offered 9% under list price – a daring low offer on a new listing – and when the sellers countered 3% below list it was close enough – we’re in escrow!

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 in Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 7 comments

Check the Master Bath

PoH

From January, 2016:

Anyone who has looked at homes lately can attest to the surprising conditions in which people live.  The lack of maintenance transcends all price points too.

But it’s nothing money won’t fix.

Buyers should surrender early on……and expect to spend at least $25,000 to $50,000 on any house they buy.  It’s easier than trying to find the perfect house that doesn’t need anything.

But looking at houses then turns into a job of making lists of the repairs required. Is there a way to short-cut that process, and just use one simple gauge to know if the house could be a money pit?

When I enter a house, I still walk straight to the backyard first.  It is there that you will find the items that are hard or impossible to fix; yard too small, road noise, neighbors looking in, over-sized pools, etc.

Once we’re past that test, and everyone is getting comfortable with the interior layout, I make my way to the place where you can find the most clues about the seller’s pride of ownership.

The Master Bath – a place where the sellers spend time every day.  The most extreme conditions exist too – high use of hot and cold water, steam and mold conditions, multiple plumbing functions, venting, several appliances in use, laundry processing, etc.  There’s a lot of action going on in the master bath!

With all the action, is somebody keeping up with repairs?

If any room is going to be well-maintained, it is the master bath.  It’s not that big, and the moving parts are simple – a towel rack, a toilet-paper roller, lighting, fan, grout, window, sinks – easy stuff.

Plus, every guy wants to keep his wife happy – so if he is going to fix anything, it will be here.

No need to get into any personal items – just checking the hardware:

  1.  Are the towel racks secure?
  2.  Toilet-paper roller intact?
  3.  Drywall outside the shower or tub wet or damaged?
  4.  Adequate electrical outlets?
  5.  Toilet secured tightly to floor?
  6.  Toilet works properly?
  7.  Sinks drain normally? (two sinks are a must)
  8.  Adequate water pressure at sinks and shower?
  9.  Fan is quiet? Window works well?
  10.  Any sign of biological discoloration?
  11.  Baseboards are dry and tight?
  12.  Mirrors look good?
  13.  Ample lighting?
  14.  Mineral deposits on glass doors?
  15.  Shampoo bottles have a home?
  16.  Solid coat of semi-gloss paint?
  17.  Crisply-applied caulk, especially around the shower faucet?
  18.  Solid and tight grout lines?
  19.  Door that locks easily?
  20.  Is the floor of the sink cabinet dry?

If you are in a hurry or tend to get caught up in the excitement of looking at houses, then just concentrate on what you see in the master bath.

If you check off every item above, then the rest of the house should be in good shape too.  But if the sellers aren’t maintaining this room that has complex features but simple fixes – especially when on the market – then they probably haven’t done much to keep up the rest of the house either.

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 4 comments

Bidding-War Report

I am fortunate and grateful to have a group of home buyers willing to make offers during the off-season.  To give you a feel of what to expect ahead, here are the results of offers made since December 18th:

Purchase-offers submitted: 11

Bidding wars: 9

Bidding wars won: 3

My buyers tend to prefer the premium properties, so no surprise that other buyers would also be interested.  But to have multiple offers on 9 out of 11 properties during a historically quieter time in the market probably means that the selling season will be raucous and highly competitive – and it starts Monday!

I usually have a better win ratio with bidding wars, but we strive to get the right discount for fixers.  Today’s frustrated buyers make hasty offers without properly assessing the cost of repairs needed, and once the bidding war breaks out, they end up paying too much just to win a house.

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Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in About the author, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 3 comments

Ridic

I had a buyer refer to our market as ‘ridic’, and the point is painfully obviously to anyone who has been looking to purchase a new home for months or years – the pricing seems to get more ridiculous every day.

Today’s goal is to buy the least-ridiculously-priced home!

In the last post, you could see that the government may have some ideas, but they won’t be implementing any effective relief measures for a while – if ever.

What can buyers do?

You have two choices:

  1.  Go up in price.
  2.  Compromise.

For those who have resources, going up in price is probably the easiest way to solve the problem.  Add more down payment, get a co-signer, have the seller buydown your rate, or buy more lotto tickets!

Tip for self-employed:  You can qualify for a Freddie Mac loan with one-year’s tax return.  You are getting ready to file your 2016 returns now – bite the bullet and don’t include so many write-offs this year!

The thought of compromise makes every buyer cringe – Chris Rock says that women don’t like to go backwards in lifestyle, but try to give it a shot.  A smaller home, yard, garage, or fewer other features may be worth it to stay in the same area.  Or widen the target area – consider going farther out.

There are elementary schools rated a 10 in several areas:

We know the elementary schools in the Del Mar School District (Del Mar and Carmel Valley) are all rated a 10, but they are among some pricey real estate.  But there are other ’10’ rated elementary schools in the Solana Beach and Encinitas school districts, and here are four ’10’ rated elementary schools in Carlsbad too, where, if you don’t mind driving 5-6 more exits up the 5, you money goes further!

For those who prefer no maintenance, buying a pimped-out condo or townhouse might be a better choice than an older house!

I think we could see the move-up market come alive with people who bought a temporary residence.  If you have more horsepower coming your way in a few years, buy something that will last you for now, and get the forever home later!

I’m happy to discuss your situation, and help you find solutions!

My cell phone is (858) 997-3801, call or text!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 1 comment

My Speech

Donald J. Trump is president, and his 140-character tweets seem to be his preferred method of communicating with the public.  Millennials prefer texting over phone calls, and could live without a phone if needed:

According to research released by Open Market in June 2016, 75 percent of about 500 millennials polled could live without the call function on their device as long as they were still able to text. Seventy-six percent prefer texting to talking, because it is convenient and fits with their schedules better. Sixty-three percent responded that texting is less disruptive to their daily lives than voice calling. And a startling 19 percent never check voicemail.

The world is fast-paced and attention spans are lower.  Have you tried to have a conversation with a millennial lately?  It probably didn’t last long.

But it’s not just the millennials who are in a hurry – everyone is having to process more data faster than ever.

Whether you are buying or selling, or both, you will most likely find yourself making snap decisions that could end up lasting you a lifetime.  Those who lead a busy life want and need someone they can trust to assist them.

I am here for you, and I want to help you make the best decisions!

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments