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

NSDCC Disappearing Market: Under-$1M

The cheerleaders have been saying that the fewer sales this year are being caused by less inventory.  Is that the case?

Looking at the detached-homes between La Jolla and Carlsbad, the number of houses being listed in 2018 looks about the same as in previous years.  But those priced under a million are dropping like a rock.

NSDCC Detached-Homes Listed Between Jan 1 and May 31

Year
Total New Listings
Those Listed Under $1M
2013
2,312
1,044
2014
2,244
865
2015
2,332
822
2016
2,480
697
2017
2,283
590
2018
2,211
433

Questions:

  1. How many realtors can improve their game and adjust to working the higher-end market, when that’s all that’s left?
  2. How will discount brokerages (low cost, low service) succeed in an high-end environment with dozens or hundreds of competing homes for sale?
  3. Will the ibuyers venture into the higher-end market? (companies who do a quick-purchase of your home for cash and resell for a profit)

Home sellers and buyers should take into account how adept their realtors and service providers are at handling different price points.

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Tips For Homebuyers

A recent client who moved to the Bay Area asked for advice on finding a good agent for assistance in buying a home in a hotly-contested area.  My thoughts:

Zillow is your best tool – it shows every agent’s sales over the last 12 months.  Lately a realtor’s goal is to build a big team of agents which helps to boost the number of sales and reviews on Zillow, so having the most sales & reviews isn’t necessarily the best for a buyer.

Here are my tips for homebuyers:

1. It helps if you know the area where you want to purchase, and get an agent who has recent buyer-side sales in that area and price point.

2. Anyone who is reporting more than 50 sales has a team of agents working under them. You will be passed off to one of the less-experienced buyer’s agents, so go through the reviews to see if you can get a read on the underlings.

3. Any agent who has less than 12 sales doesn’t have as much to offer, and may get snuffed out in a bidding war.  But you will get their full attention.

4. Agents who have the bulk of their sales on the lower-end aren’t as much help to buyers in the middle-to-higher end.

5. The Zillow reviews are always 5-star amazing because agents determine which clients get featured there.

6. An agent who has a mix of buyer and seller sales is well-rounded.

7. In San Diego, Zillow doesn’t include pending listings under the listing agent any more. Some areas do, some don’t.

8. Bigger teams who have many listings in your area could slip you an insider deal before it hits the open market.

9. Big realtor teams have hundreds of buyers – you will compete for the agent’s attention, so at least pre-qual with their lender, and be pro-active (kiss butt).

10. You need to keep looking for homes for sale, and bring them to your agent’s attention. They will be using auto-notification systems, and usually not screening/evaluating the new listings as much.

11. Make quick decisions on houses you see, and give your agent feedback on what features you don’t like.

12. Prepare your ‘love letter’ in advance, and the sappier, the better.  Specifically mention the features of this house and why it is such a good match for you.  Include a family photo with a dog – even if you don’t have one. The agent should have copies of other love letters that worked in the past.

13. Your agent should be able to tell you how much to offer on each house, based on personal knowledge of comps and market time.  If an agent recommends, “well it’s up to you”, it’s because they don’t know the market – get a new agent.

14. A tricky question for a good agent is, “What’s it worth?”, because most houses don’t have a boatload of comps to make an easy and obvious valuation, plus we know sellers are always pushing for a price that’s higher than comps.  Can the agent at least make a decent case on valuation?

15. A fresh new listing on the market becomes more about winning and losing, than buying at the right price. If getting a ‘deal’ is more important, then spend your time trolling the older listings.

16. Will your agent make a compelling case on your behalf when submitting your offer?  Most agents just email the signed forms to the listing agent with little, if any, introduction – let alone a sales pitch.

17. Does your agent evaluate the condition of the home while you are there?  This is a big problem with Redfin – they pay their new agents $50 to open the door, and learn on the job.  With them and many others, you have to do your own on-site assessment of the condition of the home, and assign repairs costs.

18. Will the agent go to bat for you on repair requests? Ask them how they’ve done on the last few deals.  I usually find a way to get $5,000 to $10,000 in seller credits for my buyers.

19. Should you ask agents to fill out a questionnaire? Personally, I love clients who do it, though it is rare and most agents will think you are a pain and blow you off.  But if you find one who will answer thoroughly, then you have found an analytical agent and someone who has something to say.

20. Here’s a blog post with an example of searching out an agent using Zillow:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2014/08/03/homebuyer-tips-2014/

Good luck!

Posted by on Jun 11, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 6 comments

Robertson Wrap Up

It was almost four years to the day that the drone visited Robertson Ranch – before the development began.  Here is a post from 4/17/2014 when I was still piloting the drone, and hit my peak elevation:

http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2014/04/17/drone-at-robertson-ranch/

They only have six houses left to sell, plus the models, which means they’ve sold nearly 300 houses at an average of about $1,100,000 (guessing) in the last 2-3 years – or about 100 million-dollar-houses per year:

I’ve sold multiple houses across the street from the R-Ranch for less than $200,000. Now that they can get 13x times that money on what was a strawberry field five years ago is mind-boggling.

Posted by on Apr 14, 2018 in Bubbleinfo TV, Builders, Carlsbad, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Redfin Estimates Based on List Price

It took a glaring mistake by a listing agent to expose it, but it makes what Redfin does all the more obvious.

This listing was inputted this morning with three extra zeros attached, and she didn’t notice for a couple of hours. Maybe because the listing agent hasn’t sold anything since 2016?

In the meantime, Redfin calibrated their estimate of value and 5-year history based not on a fancy algorithm or superior knowledge – nope, they just take the list price and bump it up or down a couple of points.

House Hunters is fake, zestimates are a joke, and ethics sound great until a realtor can double their pay by tilting the table.

The industry is just here to make money off you.

Get Good Help!!

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 9 comments

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

Home Buyer Competition

What today’s home buyers are up against……from realtor.com:

Driven by frustrated buyers who rolled over from last year and record-breaking lows in housing inventory, the 2018 spring buying season is expected to be one of the most competitive in years—but buyers are still optimistic about getting into their dream home, according to a survey conducted for realtor.com®.

“We’re only a few weeks into March and already seeing the market heat up,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®, in a statement. “Holdover buyers hoping for greener pastures this spring are likely to find sparse options that require them to pay top dollar or make other concessions.”

And those holdover buyers are driving a large portion of the demand, according to an online survey of more than 1,000 active buyers conducted in early March by Toluna Research.

The home search has dragged on for more than seven months for 40% of respondents, the survey showed, while 34% have been searching for 4-6 months. About a quarter have been in the market for three months or less.

More than one-third, or 35%, of those surveyed indicated they anticipate “a lot of competition” this spring.

Perhaps because of that, buyers are thinking strategically about turbocharging their home search and getting an edge on the competition.

When asked how they are trying to get ahead, 42% of respondents revealed they are checking listing websites every day, while 40% plan to put more than 20% cash down. The survey also revealed that 33% are setting price alerts, 31% plan to put down a larger earnest money deposit, and 26% are willing to offer above asking price. Only 6% indicated they are not planning to use any special tactics to cope with competition.

“The majority of buyers are aware of the tough competition they’re up against this spring. Having been in the market awhile, they’ve likely lost a few homes to better offers, which has given them more time to save and up their bidding strategies,” said Hale.

Link to Article

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 in Bidding Wars, Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 0 comments

Downstairs-Bedroom Guide

It is a common want/need these days for buyers to desire a downstairs bedroom, either for guests, or the multi-gen groups.  It is a need that is likely to grow, just because it will take more of grandma’s money to afford a house!

But it’s not always clear if a house has a downstairs bedroom.

How can you tell?  Check the number of bathrooms.

Here is my guide for knowing when a listing includes a downstairs bedroom:

Two Bathrooms – YES.  Most likely a one-story house, but if it is clearly a two-story, then it must have at least one bedroom down because you won’t have two bathrooms upstairs, and none down.

Two-and-a-Half Bathrooms – NO. In a two-story house, you need two full bathrooms upstairs for parents and kids.  The remaining half-bath will be downstairs, which is not suitable for a bedroom.

Three Bathrooms – YES.  There has to be one bathroom downstairs, and if it is a full bath, there’s a reason for it – there is a bedroom down too.

More than Three Bathrooms – YES.  You are getting into the luxury homes now, and they will have at least one bedroom downstairs.

Yes, this is only a guide, and there could be exceptions.  But if a floor plan doesn’t conform to these guidelines, then it is one funky house (like the split-level).  You probably won’t like it anyway!

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent | 11 comments

Expert vs. Trainee

We covered in my four-part series that there is a vicious undercurrent of fraud and deceit being imposed upon buyers and sellers alike, and that drastic action is needed to stop it.  But such action is unlikely to happen – at least until the district attorney has a few perp walks to get everybody’s attention.

It means that Brad Inman’s conference needs to come up with a real humdinger of a solution.  In the meantime, maybe we can improve on what we have?

I mentioned that traditional agents are reluctant to say anything in public about how they do their business.  But now that the disrupters are spending millions on advertising, it’s time we step up to the microphone.

The disrupters’ underlying theme is that traditional agents charge 6%, and they will do the same for less.  Here they focus only on saving money on the commission, and never talk about what they actually do to sell your home:

Agents who only talks about their rate, rather than the quality of services they provide, must not have much to offer.  Their website has some data though – this is their main page:

We don’t have to look very far to see how trustworthy they are.  They say Bethany has ’10 YEARS EXP’, but when you go on the DRE website, this is what you’ll see – she has been licensed since 2016 (you can always get a hint from the license numbers, which are issued sequentially):

I’m sure she is a nice person and means well, but to use her as your front person when she barely has two years experience as a licensee probably means that the other agents have less.  Pardon me if I’m skeptical of how ‘intimate’ she, or any of their agents, know their LA/OC territory.

Companies who blatantly lie about the people on their main page will say anything to convince you they are legit. Ask yourself what you are willing to endure – you only have one shot.

Apparently they charge you the $3,200 fee whether they sell your house or not, and they take your credit card number up front.

Rex is another one – they claim to sell your house for 2% by themselves without cooperating with other agents. Here is reality:

Redfin?

You may like their sexy website, but who are the people handling your sale?  I have spoken to both current and ex-Redfin agents, and it sounds like a sweat shop – much like our local IPayOne, which failed twice, or Roxtons.  They are good people, but the employees are being asked to handle a high volume of business with minimal support.

Sellers should wonder if that will equate to a top-dollar sale.

An ex-Redfin senior agent told me that he quit when upper management insisted that he get ‘five more deals out of every agent’ this year.

Here are other opinions:

https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Redfin/reviews

Here is what one ex-Redfin senior agent from Florida said last year:

I worked for Redfin for two and a half years. First as a transaction / hybrid coordinator then as a senior agent in the field. The concept is amazing but the reality will drown you. As a licensed broker who has over a decade of experience my base salary was $20,000 after “bonuses” paid (only after a glowing review from the client) my W-2 showed $42,000 income. Keep in mind I closed over $7 million dollars in real estate transactions last year. If you can’t close minimum of 3 transactions in a given month you are promptly let go for poor performance. With no cushion or savings because again top pay was 42k in the year. Your expected to have your schedule open for tours 7 days a week. Ready to meet a new customer not vetted not approved within a 3 hour window. Vacation is offered but is never approved. And in my market we were required to span over 300 Mile radius covering 4 counties. You are paid for each tour but it’s $35 and again you’re expected to drive 3 counties away at no notice just to be stood up. You will need to have knowledge of that area as well. Because your clients will review per tour and they will not appreciate an agent who is not knowledgeable. Please please please if you are considering joining this company be ready to give away all of your commission and time and learn from my experience. I’ve never written a review before but I’m passionate about getting this out there. Don’t believe their hype. Thank you for reading and considering.

How do they handle the critical points of engagement?

Want to see a house? A trainee gets paid $35 to $50 to open the door.

Sellers hoping for top dollar?  Trainees do the open houses.

The good agents there make around $3,000 per sale between salary and bonuses, while dealing with outside agents who make substantially more.  If you were a great agent, wouldn’t you work somewhere else to make more money selling fewer houses?

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

Bottom-line:

Sellers have one chance to hire a great agent to sell their house for top dollar.  Every agent can sell your house, and heck, you don’t even need an agent – just stick a sign in the front yard and you’ll get calls.

But houses don’t sell for the same price – there is a 5% to 10% range, depending on who is handling the sale.  You’ll hear that the market is hot, and that houses sell themselves – but for how much? Will your agent do everything it takes, AND have the expert salesmanship to get you top dollar?

If not, you are going to feel like a chump for falling for their BS advertising.

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, The Future, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 7 comments

The Buyers’ Struggle

When you find the right home, don’t lose it. Get Good Help!

NAHB regularly conducts national polls of American adults and home buyers in order to understand new trends and preferences in the housing market. This is the third in a series of posts highlighting poll results, as presented during the 2018 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, FL.  See previous posts on tiny homes and driverless cars.

A recent poll revealed that most prospective home buyers actively involved in the search for a home have been looking for a significant amount of time. In fact, 61% have been trying to find a home to buy for three months or more, while the other 39% have been looking for less than three months.

The natural follow-up question to those who have been unable to find a home after searching for three months or longer is why?

Forty-two percent say they ‘can’t find a home at a price I can afford,’ 36% ‘can’t find a home with the features I want,’ 34% ‘can’t find a home in the neighborhood I want,’ and 27% were able to overcome all these obstacles but ‘continue to get outbid whenever I make an offer.’

This result shows there are several important reasons why prospective buyers haven’t been able to pull the trigger, but the most important one is lack of affordability – not being able to find a home at a price point they can afford.

Link to Article

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in Auctions, Bidding Wars, Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment