Squatter with Papers

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this in from the latimes.com:



When police responded to reports of a squatter at a San Francisco mansion over the weekend, they didn’t expect to catch an alleged art thief believed to have stolen and sold paintings valued at more than $300,000.

While squatting in the home, Jeremiah Kaylor, 39, took 11 paintings from the walls and sold them through social media and pawn shops, said Officer Carlos Manfredi, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department. Nine of the 11 paintings have been recovered.

Kaylor was charged with trespassing and 10 counts of burglary, Manfredi said.

The initial call about a possible squatter at the home on the 3800 block of Washington Street came Saturday just before 11 p.m. When police made contact with Kaylor, he produced documents allegedly showing he was going to be the proprietary owner of the home, police said.

“This individual produced some type of paperwork that looked like it was official, saying he had a right to stay there,” Manfredi said. “It is a little sophisticated … not typical for squatters to do.”

When police were unable to reach the homeowner and sales agent, they left. But the next day, the sales agent called police and said no one should be inside.

Kaylor may have been squatting there for as long as two months, Manfredi said.

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!




Real Estate Tech


Venture capital is pouring into real estate, looking for the next big disruption:


An excerpt:

Many real-estate-tech companies that got into the business early hoped to knock out brokers in both residential and commercial real estate, an ill-fated strategy. The brokerage business has been surprisingly resilient, panelists said.

That is partly because tech firms haven’t been able to replicate the hand-holding that buyers and renters need when deciding where to live or work. “The people who are thinking this is another one of those transactions with a middleman that needs to go away are foolish,” Mr. Svrluga said. “Love your agent.”

But that doesn’t mean the brokerage business isn’t going to change. Panelists predicted that technology and data tools will radically alter the way brokers deal with customers.

“The reason there’s a graveyard of technology companies in real estate is they try to disrupt just to disrupt,” said Robert Reffkin, chief executive of Compass, a technology-driven real-estate brokerage. “Just make it better.”


Inventory Watch

Our active-listing statistics should be settling down for the next couple of months – not because the market is quiet, but because sellers don’t like to make any drastic price moves in the off-season.

We can probably expect that the list pricing will jump right after the holidays, as sellers will think it will be different then.  But as you can see here, reality sets in quickly, and by the end of March, the list-pricing adjusts accordingly.

These monthly numbers are taken from the NSDCC weekly data below, using the LP-per-sf from the last week of each month:


Click on the link below for the complete NSDCC active-inventory data:


Downtown Tour


I mentioned the downtown San Diego open house tour on Saturday, and got there myself for just a glimpse – here’s a sampling of the diverse buildings on this year’s list:

The actual mission-style building that houses the San Diego Chinese Museum was physically moved from a couple of blocks over. They have photos of that and other historic shots when you visit in person. For a youtube tour, click here: https://youtu.be/yUwSrfqu0kE

Seminar Results

laker lion

I was in Las Vegas doing what I could to help Laker great Lamar Odom, and happened to swing by the Z-Group event for their premier agents.

The big wigs rolled out a couple of new features, Stan did his presentation, and then they had breakout sessions that included speaker panels with agents who are devoted customers.

No one could blame them for inviting their most successful agents on stage – it’s what you would expect.  But the numbers they discussed were staggering.

Robert Slack was just a single agent for a couple of decades.

In 2014, he had four agents working for him.  Now he employs 34 agents – and expects that number to be up to 40 agents by the end of 2015.

Zillow sells ‘impressions’ on a listing page, based on zip codes – he has bought exposure in 92 zip codes in Florida!

His team closed 42 sales last month. He wants to close 1,000 sales in 2016!

Robert works in central Florida, and serves Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Sarasota and Venice. He sells houses priced mostly from $100,000 to $400,000 – which is a very affordable price range.  There was another agent from Missouri who had similar success – but his sales were at the same price point.

This team approach built around Zillow buyer leads can be very effective.  The team leaders can build the machine and check out too – the Missouri guy said he spent all summer at the beach.

Could realtors in higher-end areas use Zillow advertising to achieve dominance? It’s so competitive already that it would take a major investment for years, but it is possible.  Such an effort would really clear out the individual buyer agents.

Access to Tax Rolls


You have probably heard of CarFax, the historical report you can get on a car?

Now there is HouseFax:


Warning – if you sign up for the free report, they will pepper your cell phone with solicitations.

The last bastion of protected real estate information is the tax rolls.  They are included on the MLS, but only realtors or appraisers can join that club.

Now for only $19, the public can see everything realtors see, and more – property descriptions, building permits, mortgage history, insurance claims, natural hazards – even cell-phone reception!

The $19 cost is probably the right amount – the public will only spend the money on homes that really interest them, without it being exorbitant.  But it does break down the only remaining barrier of protected information.

If a company like Housefax can devise a realtor-access package for a reasonable amount, it would just about make the MLS extinct.

Kayla has already found that using Zillow is much more effective than the MLS.  The Zillow mobile app is far superior; it shows recent sales nearby, the assigned schools, and an estimate of value – the MLS doesn’t include any of those.

With more agents uploading their listings to Zillow a few days before MLS input, it has become the go-to source.  Zillow is also making portals like Realtor.com and Redfin extinct too, because those rely on MLS data only.

With the tax rolls out in the open, we don’t need the MLS – at least not the old clunky MLS we have now.  But you sure don’t hear about any upgrading being planned to bring the MLS into the modern era!

Saturday Open House Tours

university club

Saturday is the big open house day, with dozens of properties around town available for touring!

Launching this October 17th, 2015, Open House San Diego | Downtown will preview the Open House concept and get the ball rolling towards a city and potentially county wide Open House program in 2017. In conjunction with San Diego Downtown Partnership, 40+ buildings and design and architecture studios will be open for you to explore – for free.


The University Club is on the list too (photo above), and if you’ve never been there, it is worth the trip – great views of downtown!

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