Where We Go From Here

Welcome back, I hope you had a great Christmas!

I’m looking forward to 2010, more so than any other year. 


Because I’m convinced that people want the truth, we’re going to keep serving it up here at bubbleinfo.com.  Taking the high road is wrought with challenges however, primarily when trying to sell short sales and REOs.  There aren’t any rules or regulations on how the deal with these, so listing agents make them up as they go along.

When I write an offer on a short sale, I call the listing agent first, looking to get his commitment – if I can narrow down the target, it’s easier to hit.

Example:  Two weeks ago I had a listing agent agree that if my buyer was willing to write an all-cash offer at the price specified by the listing agent, he would have his sellers sign it, and submit it to the bank – let’s call it a pre-negotiated deal. 

It’s not easy getting listing agents to commit on short sales; when there are no rules, they like to play around.  Sure enough, we submit the offer as agreed, but two weeks go by and he’s not calling back, not responding to emails, etc. – the usual ploy. 

I finally caught him on Wednesday, and he said that he’s giving a female agent more time to try and sell this seven-figure property because he got the feeling that he might be able to score with her – and I’m not talking Chargers’ touchdowns here.

While he was probably joking (hopefully?), it’s another of hundreds of examples I could give you about how difficult it is to buy a house in this environment.

What am I doing about increasing your odds of buying?

1.  Numbers game– You need to see a lot of homes – the vast majority are priced wrong, and the few that have a decent price are hotly contested.  It’s likely that you’ll lose a few to other offerees, or to the condition of the house.  In 2009, we had a number of accepted offers cancel due to the property’s condition after a thorough inspection.

The addition of Richard Morgan to the team this year brought an added dimension to our ability to show more properties, and between us we’ll make sure that we can meet you at any house, any time – no problem.

2.  Selling your offer – It is imperative that I submit a compelling case to the listing agent on why he should take my deal.  Any quality property that’s listed for an attractive price is going to have competing offers, and ours has to stand out.   

3.  Trustee sales – My primary goal in 2010 is to be able to offer trustee sales to my buyers.  It won’t be for everyone due to the risks, but having more homes to consider will be helpful in this low-inventory environment.

4.  Keep bubbleinfo running– One of the agents on the board of realtors told me the other day that he thought bubbleinfo.com was unethical. 

It would be unethical if I didn’t do this website – I know critical facts about the market, and feel compelled to disclose them.  I think I have tempered the presentation here to comply with the Sandicor MLS rules and regs, and conduct a free educational experience here which can benefit consumers and agents alike.  But I realize that there will be more people gunning for me than ever in 2010 – but I plan to endure.

How I intend to expand bubbleinfo.com:

A.  More interactive opportunities – the pizza and beer party should happen at least a couple of times per year, and I’d like to do more blog talk radio if I can keep the call-in costs down to participants.

B.  More personal interviews on video, like the series with Adam on trustee sales.

C.  Show more of the intricate details of selling real estate on video.

D.  Tell more stories.

I am always interested in what you’d like to see here – ideas are welcome!

Merry Christmas to All

Thank you for helping create a virtual real estate laboratory here for people to explore and educate themselves about home buying and selling.  I appreciate you, and your participation!

Merry Christmas!

Benefit of Tax Credit

As we wind up 2009, here are more sales statistics.  You don’t see much extra benefit from the tax credit in the November closings – there was only 10% increase in SFR sales, Y-O-Y, and 29% increase in condo sales.  Did more pending sales get pushed into December or beyond?

Or without the tax credit, would sales have declined Y-O-Y?


2010 Expectations

What can we expect for 2010? Let’s review the stats (2009 numbers are up-to-this-morning):

SD County Det. 2007 2008 2009
Total listings, year 46,056 42,567 33,573
Total closings, year 15,713 19,103 21,594
4Q Closings 2,965 5,450 4,891
4Q $$-per-sf $329/sf $233/sf $244/sf
4Q SP:LP 95% 98% 100%
4Q Avg. DOM 71 62 58

Even though we’ve had 20% fewer listings this year, detached closed sales have already surpassed last year’s total. It looks like the intensity is rising, but is it? We saw on video a bunch of high-enders get marked pending recently, has the whole market been cooking?

Here are the number of detached homes that were marked pending each month:


This month’s decline of new pendings could have been due to buyers rushing to buy in the previous months due to the tax credit, or just sheer exhaustion of seeing few deals and lots of junk all year.  Plus, 92% of this month’s new pendings are still pending, where most of the previous months have already closed.  The final tally for December is likely to be under 900.

While there’s been a flurry of activity since the first quarter of 2009, it looks like we lost some momentum right here at the end.  But if there were more good homes for sale at attractive prices, sales would be better.  The latest tsunami warning from B of A is to expect an upsurge in REO listings around April 1st, which will likely be another cruel April Fool’s Day joke. As long as the inventory is restrained, the market’s urgency is likely to stay like we’ve been seeing it – full of frustration and anxiety!

Bah Humbug

This guy received his first NOD in April, 2006, and has been working the system ever since.

Yesterday he listed the house on the MLS for the first time in almost two years with a broker out of the 916 area code.  With his next trustee sale date being January 14th (the original date was 4/9/09), his generous free-rent program must be winding down, and listing it for sale was a last-ditch effort to extend it further.

It doesn’t look like it’s been a humbling experience though, this is the main MLS photo:


Hopefully 2010 will be the end of the road for the crooks and deadbeats!

More December Action

It was mentioned that these listing agents might be giving the sellers a holiday break, but most of these were marked pending in the first week or two of December.  Hanukkah maybe? 

I guess it’s possible, we will have to see what happens right after the holidays. Let’s follow-up in a few weeks.  The house on Stone Haven (with moving van in front) closed today for $1.38 – list price was $1.449M.

Here are a few more:

More December Heat

Part Two – A listing that gets marked ‘pending’ probably doesn’t mean much, other than there are buyers and sellers that have found agreeable terms, for now. 

But two things are somewhat surprising:

1.  The time of year for activity to spark up.

2.  What you get for the money.

These sellers aren’t really dumping on price to effect a sale – none of these look like “giveaway” pricing.  Could it be that “waiting it out”, worked?

Here’s a youtube tour around Del Mar and Solana Beach:

P.S. The second house (on the corner) had lowered its price from $2,090,000 to $1,749,500.

4Q09 Stats

Local Boy wondered how Carlsbad was holding up – here’s a snapshot of the fourth quarter detached stats for North SD County Coastal region. The area category called ‘High’ is RSF, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and La Jolla. The 2008 stats were based on Oct. 1st to Dec. 18th:

Area/Year New Listings Inputted Closed Sales $$/sf DOM Active listings $$/sf
CBD 08
CBD 09
ENC 08
ENC 09
CV 08
CV 09
High 08
High 09

With roughly 10% declines in pricing, sales have increased 28%, 40%, 38%, and 74%, respectfully. It appears there will be some momentum rolling into 2010!

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