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Category Archive: ‘Why You Should List With Jim’

14 Staging Tips for Smaller Homes

These days it seems like everybody wants a tiny house. But what if your home isn’t adorably tiny? What if it’s just sadly small?

Don’t worry—it’s not your square footage that matters most; it’s how you present it. Even if you’re tight on space, you can fool buyers into thinking things are bigger than they appear—you just have to have some smart tricks up your sleeve. Keep reading for our experts’ savviest and sneakiest tips for seeing big returns on the petite place you currently call home.

1. Throw a reverse housewarming party

The less clutter, the bigger your home will look and feel to potential buyers. To get rid of your unwanted items, throw a party before your first open house, suggests Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving.

“Instead of having your friends bring a gift, have them pick one of your items and take it home with them.”

2. Go down to the bare minimum

Still feel like your home is full of stuff?

“Box up everything you don’t need on a daily basis and anything that’s smaller than a football,” suggests home staging expert Lori Matzke.

Sift through your glass cupboards and built-ins, and clean off your countertops.

“Leaving just the bare minimum will create the feeling of more space,” she says.

That goes for your beloved tchotchkes, too.

“A smaller space tends to favor a more minimalist design, so having all of your collectible figurines on display on the shelves, side and console tables will bring the room in rather than opening it up,” says Bee Heinemann, marketing director and interior decorating expert at Vänt Wall Panels.

3. Take your doors off their hinges

Remove all your interior doors, besides those that lead to bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets, suggests G. Brian Davis, director of education for SparkRental. “The farther the eye can see, the better.”

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Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Staging, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment

Seller & Buyer Testimonial

A key point here is that the local neighborhood experts gave them no chance of selling for the price they wanted, even after making improvements.

It sold for full price, on the first day:

Many thanks to our clients for doing this!

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 in About the author, Bubbleinfo Readers, Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Buyer Representation, Jim's Take on the Market, Remodel Projects, Repairs/Improvements, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 3 comments

The Big Stagnation

 

On the Facebook bubbleinfo, in response to the idea that the bubble won’t be bursting, Matt asked ‘what constitutes the big stagnation when it happens’.

My response:

The Big Stagnation? You’ll know it when you see it.

We used to consider 6 months’ of inventory to be normal, but the new norm is probably 3 months with most of San Diego being 1-2 months today. Rancho Santa Fe is our exception, and has 8 months’ of inventory currently (only because there was a slew of sales last month). I think we can consider stagnation being any market with more than 6 months’ worth of inventory, and/or 100+ average days on market (Avg. DOM in RSF now 129 days).

When the market slows, most of the homes not selling can be explained – bad locations, inferior condition, etc.  Start worrying when you see houses that have it all, including a decent price, not selling.

Other outside influences that might cause the market to stagnate include:

  1. Mortgage rates get back into the 5s. Rates have been under 5% since the end of 2009, which seems like a million miles ago.  Buyers would want to stall their plans for at least six months to see if sellers would compensate by lowering their price.
  2. An occasional bad comp.  This happens today when a lowball sale occurs (usually an inside job), and buyers and sellers wonder if it is real.  Because there is usually scant information about it, the bad comp ends up being a mystery, and we forget after a few months, but another seller has to go first to prove it was an anomaly.
  3. Immigration is halted.  This would have seemed impossible up until a few months ago, but if it happened, we could feel a significant impact on the demand side.
  4. Recession hits locally.  An economic slowdown may not bring more supply right away because those out of work would wait 1-2 years before they believed they couldn’t get another job, and decide to move.  A more immediate impact would be felt on the demand side – we’d be losing buyers right away.

The prime reason for a market stagnation is the resistance that sellers and agents have about lowering their price – they would rather wait and see if it will be different tomorrow.

We might see a 5% or 10% drop without much fanfare, because most every seller around here has gained more than 30% appreciation since 2009 and wouldn’t feel it much.  They might give up a couple of bucks, but if a heavy discount is needed to sell, they will dig in.  It is very likely that the only reason they are selling is to hit the big-money jackpot.

A stagnant market could last for months or years – they tend to last until people subscribe to the fact that price will fix anything!

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Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 2 comments

No Chance of Bubble Bursting

I was asked yesterday about the chances of the bubble bursting.

My answer was, “No chance”.

But these things run in cycles, and eventually won’t the market will cool off?

Yes…..some day…..and when it happens, our market will stagnate, rather than see prices decline.  Sellers would need to be desperate to sell for less, and there are too many other alternatives and stop-gaps in place now to prevent desperation.

A. Reverse mortgages – The H.U.D. backed down the loan-to-value last week, but for anyone who is 62 or older, the reverse mortgage will be a viable – though costly – alternative to selling and moving. The average borrower at current interest rates will be able to borrow roughly 58% of the value of their home, down from 64%, and allows them to take the equity out of the house through lump-sum withdrawals, regular payments, or a line of credit.  The loan does not need to be paid off until the borrower dies, sells the house, or moves.

What about the younger, working folks who don’t qualify for a reverse mortgage and could be impacted by the next recession?

B. The foreclosure rules have changed, and the banks would rather let you slide, than kick you to the curb.  Don’t feel like making your payments for months or years?  No problem, just send in what you can, and they will kick around your loan-mod application until things get better.

Want to sell quick?

C. Discount your price 20% to 30%, and a flipper will cash you out in a week.  But that doesn’t tank prices, because the flipper will apply some lipstick and sell it for retail in the next 2-3 months, keeping the neighborhood values afloat.  Could flippers get stuck with some dogs?  Yes, but they are flush and full of ego – how many do you see already who just keep re-freshing their listing at the same price, and holding out for those six-figure gains?  Plenty.

Don’t want to discount?

D.  There are thousands of realtors who will take your listing at any price and hope for the best.  This is how the market will go stagnant – and Rancho Santa Fe is the example, where today there are 213 houses for sale.  They just wait for someone to come around and pay the seller’s price.

The best reason of all for why our housing market won’t burst are the high rents.  If the next recession hits hard, and distressed homeowners think about cashing out, they need to leave town to make it worth it.  If they want to stay in the same neighborhood, the rents are so high that it makes more sense to stay put.  Remember how the layoffs at Qualcomm caused a big concern around Carmel Valley?  Yet prices haven’t tanked – and the 92130 has 85 active listings and 61 pendings today.

Everyone who financed a purchase in the last few years had to qualify through strict guidelines, and, as a result, the affluent have ruled the market.  They won’t get the jitters if the ride gets bumpy; no, they are in for the long haul.

Stagnant City is the worst that will happen.

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Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 12 comments

Off-Season Selling

The pricing triangle above demonstrates the importance of an attractive list price.  These percentages are probably cut in half during the off-season, but there are still buyers – I’ve run into two bidding wars this week!

https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2016/02/29/how-to-get-the-most-money-when-selling-your-house/

Excerpted:

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. In that way, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but instead will have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.

Realtor.com, gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

“Why Are You Selling?”

From realtor.com:

http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/why-are-you-selling/

“Why are you selling your house?” might seem like a perfectly innocent question from home buyers, but watch out—if you’re the home seller they’re asking, this is one of the diciest questions you can answer.

The reason: Pretty much any explanation you give is bound to contain revealing info that these home buyers could use against you, thereby compromising your negotiating power.

So, what’s a bad answer?

Well, there are many, actually, like these doozies below.

  • ‘I got transferred for my job’

This is one of the most common reasons why people sell their house. In fact, 17% of people surveyed by the moving company Allied Van Lines said they’ve been relocated for a job. Nonetheless, revealing this to home buyers could make them think that you’re desperate to sell fast and, in turn, lead them to make a lowball offer.

  • ‘Our family needs a bigger house’

Trading up? Don’t relay that to home buyers. The reason is pretty simple: “You don’t want to give buyers the idea that the house may not be enough room for them, either,” says Crawford. Similarly…

  • ‘Now that our children have left the nest, we’re ready to downsize’

Downsizing makes total sense for empty nesters and retirees, but likewise, you don’t want home buyers to think that your house is too large and difficult to maintain.

  • ‘We need a smaller mortgage payment’

There are a couple of reasons why this response is a bad idea. First, you don’t want to give the impression that the house is too expensive or overpriced. Second, you don’t want home buyers to presume that your finances are in such poor shape that you’d accept a lowball offer. Put simply, “Never discuss your financial situation,” says Beckman.

  • ‘We’ve already bought our next house’

If you want to fetch top dollar for your house, don’t divulge that you’ve already purchased your next home. “It makes the home buyer think that there’s a sense of urgency and that you have to sell quickly,” says Crawford—which is a valid assumption, considering that a lot of people can’t afford to carry two mortgages at once.

  • ‘We want a quieter neighborhood’

Steer clear of saying anything that could paint the neighborhood in a negative light. Even saying that the area is quiet could backfire. “You don’t know what a home buyer wants,” says Beckman. For instance, some people are drawn to areas with a hopping night life (and the noise that entails), or at least a place where the streets aren’t barren by 8 p.m.

  • ‘We need to move closer to our parents to help care for them’

Many people move to be closer to family—and in some cases, it’s out of necessity. However, there’s no need to share that information with home buyers, since this suggests you have to sell your home pronto.

  • ‘My back problems make it too difficult for me to climb the stairs’

A number of home sellers move out of two- or three-story houses for health reasons. However, you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that there are a lot of stairs throughout the home, since it could scare off older home buyers or home buyers with young children.

  • ‘Our utility bills are through the roof’

Energy-efficient home features are all the rage nowadays, which makes sense when you consider that home owners spend on average $1,945 a year on their energy bills. But some home buyers still overlook utility costs when they go house hunting. So, the very last thing you want to do is draw attention to the fact that your gas or electric bills are expensive.

  • ‘The house is too difficult for us to maintain’

No one wants to buy a money pit. So, even if you’re selling a clear fixer-upper, don’t mention maintenance costs to a home buyer. Also avoid talking about repairs that you just never got around to making, like repairing the bathtub caulking, as well as big projects like replacing the 20-year-old water heater—all reasons for home buyers to think twice about making an offer.

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 10 comments

Bubbleinfo on Facebook Live

My first attempt at Facebook Live, with no warm-up.

I’ll hold the phone horizontally next time, and shoot the video out the back of the phone because this view is reversed (be patient, it rolls out slowly here):

Jim the Realtor on market conditions

Posted by bubbleinfo.com on Thursday, August 3, 2017

If you want to follow, here is the link to the Bubbleinfo Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/bubbleinfo/

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, One-Story, Thinking of Buying?, Thinking of Selling?, View, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments

Dumbing Down of Real Estate

It’s not just Redfin, most other agent teams are known to have newer realtors on the front lines these days.  Another start-up gives the lockbox code to buyers so they can take their own look around.  A recent survey showed that 1/3 of buyers are making offers on houses they haven’t seen in person!

Experienced agents are doing less and less, and in some cases, they aren’t involved at all.  We are being told that it’s good for the consumer too, because now they get to interact with ‘specialists’ for each phase.

But it appears that consumers may not care that much about getting good help!

Hat tip to GW and MF who both sent this in:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/14/almost-half-of-americans-have-buyers-remorse-about-their-house.html

Of those surveyed, 42% of buyers regret the size of home they bought – but only 15% wish they had more information?!?!?!  You have to be kidding!!

Are consumers watching a few HGTV real estate shows and then wandering into their real estate experience thinking they know enough?  It appears so!

Good or lousy help costs the same – but the other prices you pay could be huge!

Posted by on Jul 17, 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