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Bruce Avenue Closed!


Here’s the follow-up to the Glendale story that started here:

As you can see in the video,  the house was all original from 1941. There was a deliberate attempt by the trustee and agent to price-in the condition, and select a list price towards the bottom of the range.

This is the type of neighborhood that can vary block to block, depending on upgrades – so you’d like to have comps within a block or two, ideally.  The most recent comp on the block was the $685,000 for a 4br/2ba, 2,114sf house across the street that closed in April, 2015:

bruce comps

(the $707,000 is a pre-foreclosure)


There were others further away in the $600,000s, so starting with an attractive list price of $624,999 made sense (the subject property is green dot on map).

The half-hour open house took place on a Sunday, and bidders had until Wednesday to submit their offer.

18 offers were received, and six were all-cash!

The cash offers were asked for their highest and best, and not one but TWO offers of $730,000 were submitted – one was from the next-door neighbor!  But his agent struggled with the paperwork, and there was some mis-direction too. But the other buyer had made the best initial offer of $725,500, and had upped it to $730,000 just to add a little extra mustard.

With the identical cash offers and both with short escrow periods, it came down to the agent – who best had their act together.  The neighbor didn’t get it – which could lead to some frosty conversation over the hedge!

Seven days later, the escrow closed at $730,000 as-is (no repairs requested).

It shows the power of the auction format, and how turning the sales process into a competition gets buyers fired up about winning – usually at all costs!

Two cash buyers were willing to pay more than $100,000 over list!

The good things that happened to assist:

  1.  There was one comp at $740,000.
  2.  It must have been a fair competition.
  3.  Prices are going up so fast in these older but quality neighborhoods that it feels like a runaway train to buyers, and they are desperate to grab anything.

But more than anything, it shows that with a good agent and a proper bidding process, it makes sense to put an attractive price on it.  If they would have listed for $729,000, they would still be sitting there!


Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Auctions, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 4 comments

Effects of Prop 13 on Selling Your Home

The low-inventory conditions have several contributing factors, one of which is the Prop 13 cap on property taxes.  The long-time owners sure don’t want to pay what would be much-higher taxes if they move up, thus the turnover has slowed considerably:


Moving down, price-wise, to keep your old tax basis isn’t easy either.  Though this graph shows that twice as many people would move if they could take their tax benefits with them, it’s not enough to get older people to sell.  By the time you are 65, the chance of you selling is less than 4%, and that’s with the tax benefits transferring:


Move before you get old!

Here is the big concern – how many younger folks are coming up that are ready, willing, and able to buy your house for what you think it is worth today?

Your house comes with a stifling property-tax bill, and fewer are going for it:


The residual effects of prop 13, combined with the high federal and state income taxes paid on the profit above $500,000 will cause fewer and fewer long-timers to want to sell.  Eventually, it means the inventory will be stocked with estate sales and sellers who NEED to sell.

The full report on Prop 13 is here:


Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Boomer Liquidations, Boomers, Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market | 12 comments

Inventory Watch


The inventory dropped across the board this week, but it still feels bloated – the decline was only 1.7%, leaving 1,072 houses for sale.

Anyone who has their house priced on the higher-end and has been trying to sell for months should cancel and wait until next year so we can focus on the sellers who want and need to sell for what the market will bear.

At least then we would have some certainty about market value – with hundreds of listings lying around not selling, we really don’t know anything except what they aren’t worth.

(There are 523 NSDCC active listings priced above $2,000,000, and 45 have sold in the last 30 days).

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

Read More

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market, North County Coastal | 1 comment

Smart Selling Tips


When you’ve decided to sell your home, the last thing you want to do is spend money to spruce the place up. After all, whoever buys it is going to replace those outdated kitchen cabinets and grungy bathroom tiles anyway, right?

“We’re often asked why any money should be spent freshening,” said Mickey Conlon, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “The answer has to do with the psychological effect of assessing a renovation on a prospective purchase. Buyers assign dollar values to repairs that typically exceed the actual cost of remediation.”

To get the best return on your investment — and avoid turning off potential buyers — you need to ensure your home looks its best when it hits the market. At the same time, you don’t want to waste effort or money on improvements that won’t pay off.

Read full article here – good tips:

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Thinking of Selling?, Tips, Advice & Links | 3 comments

Real Estate ADD


The iPhone 7 is out!  Smart phones and other mobile devices now dominate the landscape, and are practically part of the family.  Thankfully, they don’t need their own bedroom and bath!

Most people scroll so quickly that they only take split-seconds to decide which homes to consider.  Having limited inventory might be a good thing!

The first impression of the home needs to be incredible just to capture their attention for a few seconds.

Home Selling in the Mobile-Device Era

  1.  Staging – The photos are already small enough on these phones – they become much more appealing with the right decor.  Once the buyers arrive for their minutes-long tour, it’s easier for them to visualize too.
  2.  Pro Photos Only – Buyers are frustrated enough, and they won’t tolerate poor-quality photos. It’s too easy for them to keep swiping.
  3.  Colors need to be current.  In the minds of fast-moving buyers, out-of-style colors = fixer.
  4.  Powerful Remarks – Listings with the usual mumbo-jumbo in the remarks won’t get read.
  5.  Responding to Inquires – Zillow recommends that agents respond to inquiries within five minutes – otherwise, consumers will forget the property!
  6.  Comps – Buyers are moving (too) fast, and there aren’t as many sales so it’s tougher to track the values easily.  Give them a hand – list the comps in the remarks!
  7.  Sell with Less – Don’t include 25 photos of beddings and local attractions.
  8.  Old Listings are Toast – Buyers ignore old listings – they want new meat.

This is the era of sensory overload.  There are so many advertising images coming at us every second that our go-to is to ignore first.  But those clear, clean, sleek, easy-to-read listings with great photos and an attractive price still have a good chance of selling!


Posted by on Sep 17, 2016 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Tips, Advice & Links, Why You Should List With Jim | 0 comments