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Category Archive: ‘Why You Should List With Jim’

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

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

PQ Follow-Up

Yesterday this comment was left by angryPQneighbor:

Why did you list this one so cheap? The same model sold almost a year and a half ago in a bidding war over $610K!

We are listed for $639,000 in most places, and on the range $619,000- $639,000 in the MLS.  He/she didn’t say what they thought the price should be, just that my price was wrong.  Do we expect double-digit appreciation every year?

They haven’t been following the pricing discussion we’ve had on the blog here, or considered that, given the current market conditions, it is better to price attractively to take advantage of the urgency that a new listing enjoys – at least for the first week or two before going stale.

The attractive list price makes the listing stand out, and grabs the attention of the buyers – have you noticed that most listings aren’t priced attractively?  We were on the open market for six days (including Halloween), and here’s how the market responded:


Chaco stats on Trulia


Chaco on Redfin


Chaco on Zillow

The frenzy died a couple of years ago.  Why?

Because the prices stopped looking attractive.  But using the same pricing principles, a mini-frenzy was created here.

We received six written offers!

However, they were all within the range. Is that it?  Do you just select one?

No – we’re not done yet!

I carefully and respectfully caused each bidder to consider going higher on price, and we ended up over $650,000!

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Bidding Wars, Frenzy, Jim's Take on the Market, Kayla Training, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 5 comments

PQ Update

When presented with multiple offers, most listing agents demand shorter contingency times, no appraisal contingencies, having to pre-qual with their lender, etc., without any thought on how that can agitate the buyers. The time will come when the buyers aren’t going to put up with that type of treatment – in fact, it might already be here.

My job is to assist them with paying as much as possible.  We accommodate all showing requests, include appliances, termite, and home warranty, and deliver full transparency about the process – including price coaching.  It is as close to an auction format as possible.

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 6 comments

New Listing in the PQ!

Chaco map


Buyers who demand top-rated schools and want the convenience of being Carmel Valley-adjacent on the 56 corridor but only want to spend mid-$600,000s for a turn-key house should check out this gem in Crestmont!

Open House 12-3pm on 10/31 (Laker Joe) and 11/1 (Richard).

All three schools (Deer Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Westview) are rated a 10 at greatschools website, and are within walking distance too!

Kitchen recently remodeled with custom cabinetry, granite slab counters, and stainless appliances. Bathrooms have granite slabs and travertine too! Milgard windows and sliders, newer furnace/central A/C, hickory engineered hardwood floors, stamped concrete patio, new landscaping, and a low HOA fee of $12/mo plus NO MELLO-ROOS! All on a friendly culdesac with no houses behind – plus great access to everywhere; get to the beach in 15 minutes! Zillow’s school scores are inaccurate – at the greatschools website, all three are ranked a 10!

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Buying?, Why You Should List With Jim | 6 comments

Best Day to List Your Home

vid 009

Common sense should dictate here.  Listing a home on a Thursday with professional photos and video gives buyers a chance to schedule a showing between Friday and Sunday – probably the most flexible days on their calendar.  Open houses conducted by professional sales people add maximum convenience, and then having a good listing agent handle the results (good or bad) ensures a successful outcome.

From HW:

Selling a home is part art and part science, and any information that gives sellers and their Realtors a leg up is welcome news. Terrace 24 just revealed new data that shows that the best day to list a home is actually Thursday — not Friday, which is most Realtors’ choice.

“Currently, more agents are listing homes on Friday than any other day of the week, but homes listed on Thursday sell faster and for higher prices,” said Mike Minihan, managing broker of Terrace 24.

The company’s data came from sales research in six Atlanta metro counties from Sept. 2014 through Sept. 2015.

From the firm’s analysis:

  • Of the homes that sold without a price reduction, the homes that listed on Thursday sold for the fewest days on market at a median of 19 days. Homes listed on Sunday were on the market the longest.
  • Again, of the homes that sold without a price reduction, the median percentage of the list price that the Thursday sellers got was 97.78%. That is higher than any other day of the week.
  • Homes listed on Thursday were more likely to receive an offer of more than 100%, suggesting there was a bidding war.

Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should List With Jim | 1 comment



Have you seen the remark, “Back on market, no fault of property”?

Well then……..whose fault was it?

The agents.

Somebody allowed the buyers and sellers to believe they had a deal.  Rarely is it intentional – and almost always it’s due to a condition that could have been remedied in advance, if both agents were on their game.

When a buyer does want to cancel, it is their agent’s duty to craft a real whopper of an excuse so there is no conflict in getting the deposit back.  As a result, the real reason for cancelling is rarely known.

The most common excuses:

  1. Buyer didn’t qualify.
  2. Some other babbling, semi-conscious drivel.

There is no excuse for getting offers accepted with buyers who don’t qualify.  The frenzy is over, so there is no reason to rush an offer before the lender has taken a full application and has had it underwritten.

I’m even reluctant to believe that the buyer got laid off – come on, they had no idea that their job was in peril?  It’s hard to believe any employee would be out shopping for homes if they thought there was any unrest at work.

But it is a great excuse for cancelling – how can the sellers blame you?

If the excuse given is just a smoke screen to ensure the deposit is returned, then what was the real reason?  Could there be a solution to the real reason?

Two places where agents screw up:

  1. Don’t verify the prequal (for buyers who really cancel for that reason).
  2. They don’t try to save the deal.

Upon being notified of an impending cancellation, listing agents rush to their computer and quickly mark the listing BOM (back-on-market).  Many will add ‘no fault of the property’ (which is really code for ‘flaky buyers’, ‘stupid buyer’s agent’, or both), and the listing agent goes back to their prayer vigil.

If the listing agent took the best of many offers received during the first week, then you can’t blame them for being confident that other buyers might still be interested.  But if they’ve been struggling for weeks or months to find a buyer, the writing is on the wall – the price isn’t working.

Price can fix anything.  Either agent can take the initiative too.

It happened to me yesterday.  My buyers and I went the conventional route, and conducted the home inspection after our offer was accepted (which included a seller’s counter-offer insisting upon a 7-day inspection period).  We scrambled to complete the inspection promptly, but it revealed enough problems that my buyers said ‘forget it, let’s cancel’.

But because I had also gotten repair quotes on items we thought could be an issue, I was at least able to put a price on it.  I urged my buyers to consider buying the property, if the price was right.

They said they would buy it, if I could get the seller to knock off $20,000.

We had made our offer the first day the house was on the market, and according the the listing agent, there were multiple offers.  The $20,000 reduction seemed like a tall order, but anything is possible!

I went to work on crafting a powerful and compelling case on why the sellers should do it (without including any repair quotes or complaints because those just start a fight over what is worthy).

I included a concession (a must) that if agreed, we would release all contingencies the same day, and that we would close in two weeks.

The sellers agreed to the $20,000 reduction.

For those who wonder why you should have me assist you with your real estate needs – this is it.  In every sale, there are opportunities where agents can make or break a deal.  I know they are coming – I’m looking for them – and I find ways to save deals and create a win-win for all.

Isn’t that what you want?

Get Good Help!

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Why You Should Hire Jim as your Buyer's Agent, Why You Should List With Jim | 7 comments

Avoiding the Inspector Blues

I mentioned here that it would be a prudent business practice to provide buyers with a home inspection prior to making an offer:

Sellers and listing agents don’t want to mess around with repair requests, and it says right in the contract that the house is sold ‘as-is’.  Yet the common practice today is for the buyers to conduct their own home inspection AFTER they have an accepted offer, which means the unknown facts about the house are rarely priced into the deal – and, as a result, buyers want some giveback.  They might endure some inequity in a frenzy, but as the market balances out, the tendency will be to cancel the deal if they aren’t happy.

But here’s another reason for providing a home inspection – to avoid having the buyers hiring an inspector who could put your deal in jeopardy.  You can’t stop them from doing their own second inspection, but at least you’ll have another opinion available if they hire one of these.

The three inspectors everyone wants to avoid:

  1. The bumbling, incompetent inspector who raises more concern.
  2. The CYA inspector, who creates more alarm by insisting that a licensed contractor needs to be consulted for an adequate opinion of the stupid stuff.
  3. The inspector who tells you in person that it’s a great house, and then sends a report loaded with surprises.

The seller-provided inspection is a counter-balance for all three categories!




Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Market Conditions, Realtor Training, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments