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Homebuyer Torture

You’ve been thinking about moving for a while, and are sensing that 2017 is going to be your year.  What can you expect from the sales process?

We already know that to buy a house, you need four things:

  1.  Right house
  2.  Right price
  3.  Right seller
  4.  Right listing agent

How hard can it be? Won’t agents be helpful?

We know that most agents don’t sell enough homes – half of them haven’t sold anything in the last year – and that bumbling incompetence is everywhere.  In most cases, they literally don’t know how to get out of their own way.

Here’s what you can expect to happen:

  • Seeing houses won’t be convenient for you, they will be convenient for the sellers and listing agents. Last weekend I had two different agents tell me I couldn’t show their listing because their assistant was out-of-town, and many want a 24-hour notice to show vacant houses.
  • When you hear that a seller is motivated, it means that they are motivated to get their price.  They’re not going to give it away!
  • Have questions about the property or the process?  Rarely can you get a straight answer. Agents think they might give something away, so they specialize in vague responses so no one can pin them down later.
  • If you do make an offer, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a timely response. All offers have an expiration date, but it is regularly ignored because listing agents think you will put up with anything.
  • Expect a counter-offer. It is extremely rare that a seller will accept your offer outright – mostly because the listing agent feels they have to tweak it, just to say they did something.
  • It won’t matter how many hundreds of thousands – or millions – of dollars the seller stand to profit at your offer price, they will want more.  It will get ridiculous too, probably down to a difference of 1% to 2%, and everyone will just expect you to pay it.  Heck, every other buyer has.
  • The dickering won’t be just about price either.  The last time the listing agent had a buyer, they remember getting beat up on every term, so this is their chance for revenge.  I just had a listing agent counter over the home-warranty company on a million-dollar deal.
  • Don’t expect to move in to the house once the sale has closed.  The seller will need time to vacate, and that becomes your problem.  They will expect at least a few free days to gather up their stuff, or they will want to rent back for weeks or months at a below-market rate.  And no security deposit either – it’s not like they are a tenant or anything.
  • Repairs? You expect repairs for the outrageous price you paid? Fat chance the seller will agree to do much, and if they do repairs, they will cut corners.
  • Close on time? The buyer will be expected to close on time, unless the seller doesn’t feel like it. I saw one where the seller – who was an agent – refused to move out of the home because her new one wasn’t finished yet, and she made the buyer close the deal and stay in a hotel for a week-plus.

It’s been a seller’s market for so long now that agents think there will always be another buyer; so if you don’t like the way they treat you, too bad.  Unfortunately, the inventory is so low that buyers are more likely to endure, rather than object.  Usually the agents don’t intend to be so unappreciative, they just don’t know any better.

Enjoy your beating!

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices | 6 comments

Janet Says Three Hikes in 2017

Home sellers should get on their horse.

Janet Yellen just gave the markets a wake-up call — the Federal Reserve does intend to raise rates three times this year, and possibly even in March.

Bonds sold off and their yields jumped as traders reacted to the Fed chair’s vague statement that the central bank will likely need to raise rates at an upcoming meeting and that “waiting too long for accommodation would be unwise.”

“She’s less cautious, that’s for sure,” said John Briggs, head of strategy at RBS. He said her comments and tone reinforced the Fed’s forecast for three rate hikes, even if she did not exactly speak to it.

“Normally, Yellen talks about downside risks,” said Briggs. “She just talked about the upside risk.”

Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, noted Yellen dropped concerns about the economy in her comments.

“This turns on its head the default stance of Yellen and the doves for the last several years. … What she said today is that the economy currently justifies further rate hikes unless something changes. I view that as a low bar to rate moves. And note that she uses the phrase ‘at our upcoming meetings,’ which very clearly puts a March rate move on the table,” he wrote.

The two-year note yield jumped to as high as 1.25 percent from a low of 1.18 percent earlier in the day. The 10-year yield rose to 2.50 percent from 2.43 percent before her remarks were released.

Read More

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Interest Rates/Loan Limits, Jim's Take on the Market | 1 comment

SD is 8th Hottest in America

Hat tip to Richard!

Housing markets in the western part of the United States remain hot. Data released on Tuesday by brokerage firm Zillow showed eight of the 10 hottest US markets are located west of the Mississippi River. Additionally, five of the markets are within the state of California.

“The overall recovery has been more robust in many coastal markets, especially on the west coast, with fast home value appreciation, strong job growth and solid income gains,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said. “Many of these markets are also experiencing above-average housing demand coupled with limited inventory, putting sellers in the driver’s seat.”

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions | 0 comments

Zestimate Accuracy

Have the zestimates gotten any better?

We were surprised how bad they were last year.  Let’s see if they’ve improved once a custom house has been sold for a while:

This was the zestimate before the listing was inputted – way off:


Here’s what it was after the listing was inputted on Zillow.  Even though the list price was entered as $2,199,000, the zestimate INCREASED!


The sale closed for $1,900,000 on September 7th.  How about that – five months later, and the zestimate has adjusted accordingly!


Zillow says they have improved their zestimates.  The median error rate is 5.1% in San Diego, which means half of the zestimates are within 5.1% of being right, and the rest are worse than that – you just have to figure out which is which!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Zillow | 5 comments

Pets and Real Estate

Animal Owners:

  • Ninety-nine percent of pet owners feel that their animal is part of the family.
  • Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations.
  • When finding a home, 95 percent of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals and 81 percent of U.S. households say that animal-related considerations will play a role in deciding on their next living situation.
  • Twelve percent of pet owners have moved to accommodate their animal.
  • According to REALTORS®, 61 percent of buyers who own animals say it’s very difficult or difficult to find a rental property or a home owner association that accommodates animals.

When it comes to selling, 67 percent of Realtors say animals have a moderate to major effect on selling a home. Approximately two-thirds of Realtors say that they advise animal owning sellers to always replace things in the home damaged by an animal, have the home cleaned to remove any animal scents and to take animals out of the home during an open house or showing.

Nearly half of all survey respondents, 52 percent, indicated that they had completed a home renovation project specifically to accommodate their animal. Of those who undertook projects, 23 percent built a fence around their yard, 12 percent added a dog door and 10 percent installed laminate flooring. Ninety-four percent of consumers indicated that they were satisfied with their renovation; 58 percent indicated they have a greater desire to be at home and 62 percent enjoy spending more time at home since completing their renovation.

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, This Is America, Tips, Advice & Links | 0 comments

Inventory Watch

Oops, we only had 89 new listings this week, down 12% from last week. But we had the same number of new pendings – 55!

They are forecasting rain for the next two weekends – will the weather be an excuse?  It hasn’t been so far.

Here is the action for the first seven weeks of the year:

NSDCC New Listings & Pendings, First Seven Weeks of the Year

Number of New Listings
Number of New Pendings
NL:NP Ratio

We’re going strong, in spite of everything!

Click on the ‘Read More’ link below for the NSDCC active-inventory data:

Read More

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

Traffic Report

Would you let traffic dictate where you live?

And the freeway bridges are just the beginning. The $700 million Phase 1 work will include:

? Adding a single carpool lane in each direction by cutting into the freeway median from Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach to state Route 78 in Oceanside.

? Replacing single-track wooden railroad trestles across the San Elijo and Batiquitos lagoons with double-tracked, concrete bridges.

? Building bicycle and pedestrian bridges and connected trails, as well as a wide range of wetlands and lagoon restoration projects.

All of the Phase 1 construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. The price tag includes $480 million for the highway improvements, $140 million for railway improvements and $80 million for environmental work.

Doing the work all together minimizes the disruption to travelers and the environment, said Allan Kosup, director of the North Coast Corridor for Caltrans. Also, it allows the coordination of large projects with small ones.

“It’s a holistic approach,” Kosup said. “In doing so, you are finding once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise. A perfect example is the bike and pedestrian bridges.”

Commuters, however, are certain to feel some pain before they see the gain.

Though most of the work requiring lane closures will be done at night, Kosup said, any large construction project along the freeway causes disruptions.

“Anytime we are doing that amount of construction, people slow down,” Kosup said, adding that even during the day drivers sometimes hit the brakes just to look at the work under way.

The freeway between La Jolla and Oceanside carries an average of more than 700,000 vehicle trips a day, according to SANDAG. Growth forecasts vary, but the county’s population has more than doubled since the freeway was built, and traffic is certain to increase in the decades ahead.

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017 in Bubbleinfo TV, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor | 5 comments