We had 1,782 new listings of houses and condos last month, in a county of 3.3 million people? And only 1,332 active listings (I believe that is the count at the end of the month). Look at Phoenix and Las Vegas for comparison, where they have 2x and 3x as many listings.
If we get a surge of inventory, it would just make the frenzy conditions even hotter!
We have three more showings today and then almost 200 people will have seen the house since Friday! Next we will engage in open bidding by phone with all interested parties and let the MARKET decide the winner, not the listing agent (which is how everyone else does it).
Here’s a buyer-agent strategy that can be really effective, especially with weaker listing agents:
To demonstrate the imbalance between the supply and demand, look at the view counts of our new listing on the two search portals in the first 33 hours on the open market:
I received three phone calls from agents letting me know that they have interested buyers and will be attending the open house today – part of the rapport-building process that some have included in their repertoire of buyer-positioning tactics. One agent implored me to do a James Bond video, and even though Mitch has his Aston-Martin available, I had trouble getting into my black suit!
There were THREE other agents who requested an earlier showing time, so I’m getting started at 11:30am today to accommodate. On a Friday morning!
How pent-up is the demand coming into 2022?
Sacramento isn’t the same as us, but consider:
If there are multiple offers, what else can buyers do to compete, besides price?
Butter up the listing agent. It doesn’t work with me, but most listing agents want to select somebody who they like to be the winner. They justify it with it being a ‘good match for the neighborhood’ or some other garbage, but it is pure discrimination – though completely unconscious.
Bring the kids, for the same reason above. If you don’t have kids, grab an infant on your way over.
Figure out if there is any predetermined process for selecting the winner. When I ask a listing agent this question, at least 90% of the time the answer is “I don’t know, I let the seller decide”.
Big down payments, and big deposits. Though the chance of the buyers cancelling is the same, the naïve listing agents think those mean something.
Ask for seller disclosures, and if there is anything unusual, then waive that contingency.
Spend a lot of time at the house. It makes you look like you’re serious.
Be one of the first visitors, and the first offer. It impresses most listing agents, and mentally they have designated you as the probable winner.
At an open house last year, an agent brought me a sandwich. He still lost, but I’ll never forget it!
I heard an agent say, “If my buyers like the house, I tell them to offer $100,000 over list. If they love it, I tell them to offer $200,000 over list”. A great example of how dumbed down the business is!
Why do buyers offer $100,000-$200,000 over the list price?
The sellers and listing agents aren’t demanding it.
The home isn’t priced $100,000-$200,000 under value.
Half the homes are selling for list price or under.
There will be others for sale.
There isn’t a threat of transparency either – every listing agent (besides me) does blind bidding, and then just takes the highest offer. It would be understandable if there were rounds and rounds of open bidding and the buyers’ ego kicked in because they KNEW they had to out-bid everyone else to win.
But with blind bidding, you don’t know anything about the other offers (if any).
The extended frenzy is causing buyers to voluntarily sacrifice hundreds of thousands of extra dollars in trade for the hope of ending their frustration – and if they still lose, then they offer even more next time!
The frustration builds over time, and buyers go through a fairly predictable sequence:
Early-on: I’m not going to play that game – I’m not desperate.
After losing 2-3 houses: These people are nuts.
After losing 4-5 houses: Ok, this is ridiculous. I gotta get this over with.
The biggest problem is that it seems there are always people with more horsepower who started the process earlier and, as a result, are MORE frustrated than you.
Once buyers reach the peak frustration level and end up winning a house, they are left in disbelief with the one universal thought: “Oh, what have I done?”
It becomes obvious that buyers are paying tomorrow’s prices today, but they come to terms with it later because there are enough other reasons to buy this house that paying the frustration fee gets forgotten.
If overpaying is part of the environment, what can a buyer do?
Get to the peak frustration level quickly, and/or just buy the first house you see.
If you are going to overpay, then insist on buying a superior home.
Only buy an inferior home if the defects can be fixed with money.
You will have a 15-minute tour to size up the home and make decisions that will affect the rest of your life.
You’d be crazy to attempt that without a solid, experienced agent to assist you!
Yet, even with all this pent-up frustration among buyers, it doesn’t occur to listing agents to go back to all the other bidders and give everyone a chance to overpay.
I said that pricing will likely seem a lot higher this year.
With few recent sales to guide them, sellers and listing agents will wonder how much can they get away with on price. There are tales of a old blogger guy being wildly successful with his transparent open bidding, but other agents aren’t experienced in conducting a slow-motion auction and don’t have the guts.
Instead, the list prices will be getting packed.
When sellers wonder how high, it will be easier to lump 10%, or more, on top of the initial guess (which was probably +5% optimistic already). The zestimate, or other automated valuation, that is higher and supports the dream will be collected as proof!
But it’s the METHOD of selling that makes the +10% possible.
Bidders are turned against one another and compete for the prize. Their ego takes over and directs the bidding……and the contest is on, with no ceiling.
Will a list price that starts at 10% to 15% higher than comps produce the same results as my slow-motion auctions? Maybe, but only with the homes that are highly upgraded with all the bells & whistles and have a superior location. The real creampuffs.
The early buyers will have to tolerate such sloppy pricing, but for those who are already frustrated from not buying a house in 2020/2021, it won’t matter and they will grab whatever they can. It virtually guarantees that the first 1-3 months of the season will be scorching hot.
But there will come a day when we run out of those buyers, and the frenzy conditions will be over.
I’m sticking with my +15% appreciation, and it all happens in the first half of 2022.
Two new laws that address the housing crisis begin today (above).
Baby boomers are another year older, and more will need help with living. The multi-gen home buyers will grow in numbers, and granny flats will be an ideal solution. Many will buy a suitable property with grandma’s money, and take care of her until the end.
Some multi-gen home buyers will cope with finding an existing single-family home and adding their own granny flat. But the real opportunity will be for those sellers of properties that already have an ADU. Because the supply is low and the need is very high (and because grandma’s money came a little too easily), the prices paid for homes with existing granny flats will be excessive. There will be a separate category of comps too – those with ADUs, and those without, with a pricing differential of 10% minimum.
This could be the year that buyers have to pay for their own agent.
I don’t think many agents can make a case of why they are worth it – or at least demonstrate why they are worth as much as 2% to 3%. It would be cool to develop buyer-agent squads who are experts in their field and are worthy of compensation – and can prove it. But most will just fade away, or open up a shop of discount door-openers who don’t offer much, but get paid up front.
Another political season starts in 2022, which means an increase in the vitriol and hate. The perceived volatility will cause a few people to move to areas which are better suited for their political leanings, especially if there are riots – which is what it would take to get laid-back San Diegans to reconsider a move. It may not cause a surge of additional sellers here, but it could create more demand for homes in those politically-friendly destinations.
The difficulty of buying homes out-of-state is already tough enough, and now they are more expensive – with some now 30% to 40% higher. It could be the game-changer for potential sellers and even be the reason why the inventory has been so tight recently.
We don’t know what it will take to get more homeowners to sell.
In the past, record-high prices did the trick, but today’s prices are setting new records every month – and inventory is in decline. How many current homeowners in San Diego wouldn’t sell at any price? 80%? 90%? That’s a problem, and I’ll say that it’s something we’ve never faced before until the last few months.
At the same time, the number of San Diego County detached-home sales in 2021 will probably rank as the #2 of all-time, behind only those in 2003. There were 28,319 detached-home listings last year, and 25,029 sales, which is incredibly efficient. Virtually everything is selling!
But only 12,936 of those listings came in the second half of 2021, and if we continue at that pace or lower, it will be excruciating for buyers – and send prices to the moon.
The optimum number of listings will probably be in the 30,000 to 35,000 range. Having a small surge in listings will drive the market crazy with activity…..and force sellers and buyers to Get Good Help!
We know that media types are looking to sell newspapers, and if it bleeds, it leads. The article in the UT this morning about the San Diego Case-Shiller Index starts with this:
San Diego continued to slide down in rankings of the nation’s hottest real estate markets in October.
The article doesn’t mention the lower inventory in 2021, or offer any other explanation. But it does use the D-word, deceleration, in their headline that everyone is using to describe the last few months.
But are home prices really decelerating?
All of the comparisons are judging the year-over-year changes, without any mention of how the 2020 numbers were rising quickly too. If we add the 2020 monthly YoY increases to those from this year, here’s what the combined 2-year increases would look like:
The indices in the last half of 2019 had flatlined, so the graph above is a pretty good visual on how our local index has been marching skyward since the pandemic started.
We can also note that the month-over-month increases are probably a better gauge of current activity – and they have picked up since we had actual deceleration:
Here’s a graph from a different article that also mentioned how price gains are slowing:
If that’s what slowing looks like, I’ll take it!
But let’s not misinterpret the recent index readings and then give potential home buyers the impression that our local market conditions are changing, because they’re not (or at least not yet).
All that matters in 2022 is inventory. Here’s how prices will be affected:
PRICES KEEP MARCHING SKYWARD:
Ultra-low inventory, or
Moderate surge of inventory (less than normal though)
Big surge of inventory (more inventory than in 2019)
Ridiculous over-pricing of inventory (it’s a fine line too!)
PRICES FLATLINE OR GO DOWN:
Massive surge in inventory
Mortgage rates rise above 4%
We should know by March/April which way it’s going to break!
The latest from Altos data @mikesimonsen: financial markets are correcting dramatically + #mortgagerates are at their highest in 2 yrs. How quickly will this impact #homebuying decisions?: https://hubs.ly/Q012SS230
Jim the Realtor is legit - I interviewed three brokers; he said list price should be $100,000 higher than the other two brokers; listed it with him and had all cash (no financing) offer in two days, five day contingency period, closing in two weeks - and it closed at his recommended list price. I could not recommend anyone more than I recommend Jim the Realtor.
When we moved to San Diego in 2005 we rented a big house on Mt. Soledad (La Jolla) with 180 degree ocean views for the same payment as a mortgage on a dump in Chula Vista. Clearly something was wrong. Yet, the media was full of the usual happy-talk nonsense, so I was glad to find Jim's blog. I've followed his honest assessments and data since.
We decided to sell and move to AZ at Thanksgiving. Dec. 1st we met with Jim to sell our home. We closed today (29 days later). Jim orchestrated a feeding frenzy -- we had 25 showings in 2-1/2 days, multiple offers, and sold for well over asking price. I'd say he earned his commission! We have owned and sold homes in 5 different States always using experienced, productive, full-time realtors. Jim outshines them all.
You don't decide to sell and close 29 days later over Christmas (with COVID lockdown) without some miracles. Donna was amazing at performing lots of those miracles and ensuring that everything was done right and on time. They are a terrific team with a very responsive and professional network.
Where do we begin..2020 has been a year for everyone. When COVID hit and shut down both my husband and my businesses, we were left with a mortgage and very little income coming in. We were stressed, scared and felt stuck. We made the hard decision to sell our home and move out of state. We contacted the Klinges' and spent a good hour going over what we hoped we could accomplish. Jim and Donna came over with comps in hand and suggestions on improvements to get our house ready for the market. It was overwhelming to think about, but Donna was there and one step ahead in every scenario. Basically we just approved what they suggested and Donna handled literally everything. We placed our house on the market and within the first day we had multiple offers well above asking price! We couldn't believe it. We were overjoyed! Jim countered the offers to weed through them, and everyone came back with way more. It was amazing, and we are ?? sure it was because of the staging and repairs the Klinges suggested we do.
Due to unforeseen dishonesty from the buyers lender, we hit a big hurdle when trying to close. We had already moved out of state and were shocked when three days before closing the lender dropped a bombshell on the buyers and us. However, Jim and Donna handled it like veterans, not afraid to play hard ball and represent their clients. After a few phone calls with us, and several between Donna and the lender, they had a plan B-Z to make sure we were taken care of. In the end we closed with even more money than we ever thought possible and with very little work from us. The Klinges handled this entire "2020" worthy event with the utmost professionalism and did everything in their power to not only make this as smooth as possible for us, but we also walked away with more money from the sale of the house than we ever hoped for. After working with Jim and Donna, you don't ever use anyone else. They are hands down the best team to represent you in any scenario.
Working with Klinge Realty Group was a great experience! They are very responsive, professional and knowledgable about the real estate market! I would definitely recommend Klinge Realty Group.
Jim and Donna Klinge made the sale of our condo extraordinarily easy. They know the market and gave us sound advice backed by details and very considerable experience, reflected both in the initial pricing and subsequent negotiations. They work together as a team and are always available to talk. We had a few challenges with our property and they were able to coordinate the resolution to everything, including items that I would not think would ordinarily be their responsibility to handle. They made the whole process effortless on our part. They are folks with high integrity and we cannot recommend them highly enough.
Review for Member: Donna Klinge
I cannot believe there are no reviews of Donna yet, ugh!! She is the secret sauce of the Jim Klinge/Donna Klinge combo! I will touch on Jim here, but Donna is why I'm so totally loyal to these two (no offense to Jim :)).
I consider myself a rather savvy buyer/seller. I've bought/sold 7 times in about 15 years. On the buy side, Jim is the PERFECT combo of: completely digitally savvy (he will pull data all day long until you feel comfortable with your chosen house, area, school district, anticipated appreciation rate...anything!), he's super well respected and known in the area by other agents, an amazingly cool but strategic negotiator, is totally devoid of desperation for a sale/commission, and more.
Then once you get into contract phase, Donna literally handles every last and final detail in a concierge-like manner -- totally shielding you from the daily back and forth, noodling and annoyances of the buyer's requests. She solves it ALL; it's miraculous what that woman accomplishes over and above what is even expected in a buy/sell transaction.
On the sell side, Jim and Donna do the same, but even moreso. Donna in particular truly takes everything off your plate: she'll manage getting the house painted, the carpets replaced, she'll go on site (as she Jim both did for me when selling our rental properties) to work with the renters and make sure the house is ready to show -- freeing me to have to take time off of work to do so. They work with A+ integrity, too, so you know you are serving all parties fairly and lawfully throughout.
A home purchase/sale is the most considered you'll ever make. HIRE A SAVVY AGENT, not a friend!, and get what you need out of the transaction. Jim and Donna are our agents for life.
Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community. Jim's vast experience means he has worked with several realtors and knows the market all over north county. Donna is AMAZING in processing everything in the transaction. She scheduled trades people to work on the house in preparation for the sale as well as the repairs needed before closing. She communicated clearly every step of the way about what would be happening. She took the weight off my shoulders for the whole process. I will always use Jim and Donna for my future real estate needs and I whole heartedly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a home.
Jim and the team at Klinge Reality are without a doubt the best in the business! Not only was Jim helpful and extremely knowledgeable, he was patient and determined to help me find my first home. Jim and his team have been in the business for many years, and it shows. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and was my biggest proponent despite the temperature of the competitive market. I ended up getting the perfect property in my dream neighborhood all thanks to Jim. From the day my offer was accepted, Donna was a real lifesaver. She was extremely helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable when it came to every minute detail, and held my hand through the process. As a first time home buyer I had no idea what the process would entail, but Donna curtailed every concern I came across and made the escrow process feel seamless. Jim and Donna provided me the best home buying experience, and I am very grateful for all they did for me. It was truly a pleasure to work with Jim and Donna and I am already looking forward to the next time we work together!
Review for Member: Richard Morgan
Richard is an amazing realtor! He has high integrity and genuinely cares about his clients and their needs. Richard paid close attention to what I was seeking in a home and was very patient in our search to find it. I would highly recommend Richard and will use him for future transactions. Truly a different kind of realtor experience!
Could not be happier with my experience with Jim and his team. He helped me sell a very unique and challenging property. Throughout the entire process he was always available, honest, transparent, trustworthy, and always put my interests as a seller first. A (rare) true professional! During close of escrow Jim went above and beyond to complete the deal. It would not have been possible without his experience, fantastic team, and pure dedication. Highly recommended!
Thanks Jim and Donna Klinge!