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Single Agency

The pandemic is still raging, the President of the United States is in the hospital, the election is right around the corner, and so are the holidays. The frenzy has to slow down at some point, doesn’t it?

So I schedule for 11am, and show up to find today’s list of showings taped to the front door:

The listing agent happens to be there, so we discuss the current market conditions. She is a long-time independent broker like myself (who now also works @ Compass) and we agree that the environment is ripe to convert to single agency naturally, and buyer-agents being eliminated.

It’s not because it’s what best for everyone involved, because clearly it’s not good for buyers and sellers – except maybe for those sellers who live in the house being barraged by showings the first few days on the market. It doesn’t sound like much of a price to pay, but for homebodies, or those with little kids & pets, it can be a major inconvenience.

Zillow is the only entity who spends eight or nine figures per year on advertising, so they will control our destiny – and with them setting up brokerage units manned by employee-agents in all 50 states, you can get a feel for what’s ahead.

In the meantime, consider these developments.

Today’s listing agents are making it harder to show and sell their listings, they are lowering the buyer-agent commissions (and taking the difference), and some realtors are advertising guaranteed cash offers as the better way to sell your house.

As is the case throughout America, the truth doesn’t matter nearly as much as how loud you can scream.

The greed displayed by these listing agents feeds upon itself, because other agents witness these practices happening without any reprimands, and they start to believe it’s acceptable…..and then they do the same thing. The game is evolving into how to beat the buyer-agents out of their commission.

In the short-term, realtors can justify this revolution by pointing to the commercial brokers who have practiced their real estate like this all along. Heck, less competition will slow down the rapid price increases we are experiencing, and help to trim the over-population of realtors everywhere too….so you can say there are good things about it.

But it all plays into the hands of Zillow, and eventually they will be who processes your order.

The October Surprise

Today’s coronavirus news adds a new dimension to our real estate market, doesn’t it?

Or does it?

We can probably count on one thing to happen.

This will be the last straw for those home sellers who have been languishing on the open market for more than 30 days. They have heard how hot the market has been for others, but based on their overly-optimistic list price, their motivation wasn’t that great to begin with – and they are tired of the inconvenience that comes with not selling.

Those would-be sellers will be de-listing their homes, and waiting until next year.

Should buyers pack it in and wait until next year too?  Not really – you’re still looking for the right house, at the right price, and it could happen at any time. Plus, if you were ever going to get a decent price on a home in this era, it would be in the next month or two when the competition should be dwindling.  There will be more buyers in spring – it’s just a matter of whether sellers will come out in droves or not.

But consider this:

Any sellers who are still for sale on October – especially those who go on the open market after today – should be highly motivated to sell.  Nobody is going to casually throw their home on the market just days before the biggest election in history with the incumbent fighting a potentially life-threating virus.

Get Good Help!

Del Mar Sale

Yesterday we closed escrow on our sale of 12911 Biscayne Cove in Del Mar!

I suggested our initial list price of $1,495,000, based on these recent sales:

The Barbados sale was off-market so we don’t know if that was high or low, so I didn’t use as a price gauge.

Though a list price in the low-to-mid $1,400,000s might have been more appropriate, there weren’t any other houses for sale nearby that were priced lower so I’m going to push it and see what happens over the first few days. We had a parade of buyers – 32 showings in the first 17 days on the market – yet no offers.

Originally I thought we’d see a steady flow of retirees flocking to this one-story home, but 31 of the 32 showings were to young families. Del Mar schools are the best, and while the 1,518sf was mentioned in the listing, I think the lack of other homes in this price range caused these buyers to check it out just to see if they could find a way to fit in a smaller home.

After 11 days on market, the 2,542sf Boquita house listed on the range $1,300,000 – $1,399,000, which crushed my chances of getting more. We lowered our price to $1,388,000 a few days later to stay in the game, and after a couple of weeks, we found a single guy to buy it for $1,344,000.

I found great joy in finding out that the seller had read bubbleinfo in the beginning, and it was one of the reasons why he left Michigan before the crash.  Now he and his lovely bride are off to Boise, Idaho to be near the grandkids!

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/12911-Biscayne-Cv-Del-Mar-CA-92014/16765774_zpid/

More Coming Soon

Just when we thought there was a set policy on Coming Soon listings, they change it again.

The IDX is the agreement among realtors to share each others’ listings on our own personal websites, which was a great idea before search portals.  But IDX was written off as a waste of time because now consumers have found better options like Zillow.

Are they going to change to their realtor’s inferior website, just to see the Coming Soons?

Wasn’t the idea of Coming-Soon-listings-on-the-MLS supposed to give realtors the distinct advantage of controlling the distribution?  Oh well, maybe that was just me who saw that advantage, because it sure wasn’t considered in this decision. They are all going to be out in the open now, and we might as well let Zillow have them too.

The water is already muddied by Zillow allowing the Premier Agents to do their own Coming Soon listings separate from the MLS, and by agents ignoring the rules on social media. Who knows if agents are flagrantly abusing the rules or just forgot them already (more probable) but I see the old standard Coming-Soon pitches on social media now that are supposed to be inputted into the MLS by the next day – but they show up a week or two later, just like before.

Here are the new/updated rules for those who care:

No mention of Private Exclusives – which are allowed by N.A.R.’s Clear Cooperation Policy – where any agent in the same brokerage can sell an in-house listing without any MLS or public exposure.

I don’t get the No Showings policy either.  Do they really think an agent is going to deny showing their Coming-Soon listing to a buyer who contacts them directly and promises to pay full-price cash? I’ve already showed Coming Soons listed by other agents to my buyers, and the listers didn’t think twice about it.  If they had a chance to double-end the commission, wouldn’t they just pay the fine and be on their way?  The max fine is only $2,500.

This whole topic was a mess, and now giving buyers direct access to the list is not only going to tempt them to go directly to the listing agent (which is opposite to NAR’s intent) but consumers will also get a better look at how disorganized and unruly we are.

Downtown Encinitas

Our new listing!

Be part of the vibrant Downtown Encinitas scene!  An easy walk to Moonlight Beach and the heart of downtown, this newer townhouse is owner-occupied and meticulously maintained!  The real white-oak hardwood floors are refinished to perfection and just the beginning of a great beach vibe!  High ceilings, granite & stainless kitchen with built-in fridge, family room with fireplace, views, and balcony, plus every bedroom gets their own full bath! 2-car gar + 2 spaces. PRIVATE ROOF DECK WITH PANO OCEAN VIEWS!

145 3rd St., Encinitas

3 br/3.5 ba, 1,705sf

HOA fee = 0

LP = $1,699,000

# of views seven hours after MLS input

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/145-3rd-St-Encinitas-CA-92024/66109631_zpid/

Del Mar One-Story With View

Our new listing of a gorgeous one-story home west of the I-5 freeway in Del Mar!

This is the primary residence of a long-time custom-home builder, and it shows!  There are several high-end finishes throughout the home, including the craftsman front door, deluxe custom kitchen with breakfast bar, hardwood floors, and a terrific master bath bathed in natural light!  Custom fireplace, dual-pane windows, and interior laundry room too. Enjoy the 8,600sf lot with sparkling pool, herb garden and pano easterly views day and night – wow!

12911 Biscayne Cove, Del Mar 92014

3br/2ba, 1,518sf  YB: 1972

LP = $1,495,000.  (we represent the sellers)

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/12911-Biscayne-Cv-Del-Mar-CA-92014/16765774_zpid/

Highest-And-Best Round

We ended up with four offers on our latest listing, and all came in over list price.

I’m always going to do a highest-and-best round – not to work over the already-beleaguered buyers who have probably lost others and just want to get it over with – but to make sure everyone felt they had a fair shot to buy it.

The winners also took the opportunity to submit a SECOND love letter that out-shined their first when they mentioned that they just found out this week that they were pregnant again (they had pointed out in their first love letter than their first kid was about the same age as the seller’s little boy) and they wanted their family to grow up with others they knew who had just moved into the same neighborhood!  My sellers were pregnant when they bought this house so the connection was very real.

The agent who represents the winners was the first to call me about the listing, the first to show the house, and the first to write an offer – be ready!

The motivated buyers are on alert and will drop everything to come over for a look.  Yet how often do we still see few or lousy photos (and rarely a real video-tour), no showings for days or weeks after MLS input, or listing agents who are nowhere to be found?

Get Good Help!

Current Market Conditions

We are 24 hours into having our new listing on the market and it’s already been shown six times and we have three offers – and all are over the list price!

I heard a rate quote today of 2.55% with less than a point cost, which feels like free money.  As long as buyers can get a 2-something rate, the market should be extremely active!

Buyer’s Worksheet for Home Showings

It’s more complicated to look at homes for sale these days.  Open houses have been banned, everyone who enters must sign disclosures for each house in advance promising not to sue realtors if you get the bug, and of course you have to wear the PPE and sanitize before and after the experience.

It was already a challenge before Covid-19 to gather enough information in 10-20 minutes to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life.  Compound the difficulty with a mask that makes it harder to breathe (and fogs up your glasses) while the listing agent is pestering you not to touch anything.

Today’s covid tip: TAKE A WORKSHEET WITH YOU.

Customize it with your own questions – here’s a start:

  1. Is there a suitable downstairs-bedroom suite?
  2. Is there extra space for office(s), or do I need to use a bedroom?
  3. Is the floor plan suitable for longer quarantines?
  4. Do I feel secure? Is it possible to improve security, and if so, how much cost?
  5. Can I go in the backyard and relax day and night?
  6. Does the kitchen have a gas or electric stove?
  7. Is the fridge built-in, and if not, do I want the sellers to leave it behind?
  8. Do I want the sellers leave the washer and dryer?
  9. Does the garage have extra storage?
  10. What improvements need to be done just to move in?
  11. What improvements are needed long-term?

If the listing agent didn’t get the memo that matterport 3D tours are the worst thing for sales and is using them as a substitute for live showings, then use your worksheet while navigating the online tours too.

Our New Listing

Big or small, we sell them all!

Enjoy unobstructed views from this upgraded gem in one of the quietest parts of Rancho Del Oro. The vaulted ceilings & numerous windows fill the home with lots of natural light, and once you get to the family room & kitchen, the view over the grassy backyard will make you start looking for your check book!  Upgrades include flooring, paint, kitchen cabinets/granite counters – this home is tuned up and ready!

Only $599,000 – a model match at 1763 Avenida Alta Mira sold for $627,000 last month – wow!

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1755-Avenida-Vista-Labera-Oceanside-CA-92056/16605049_zpid/

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