The Future Of Real Estate

Wells Fargo is ‘suspending’ their jumbo-loan funding of all correspondents today, and the others (like Chase) are sure to follow.  It’s one thing to stop funding loans for mortgage brokers, but to shut down the credit lines to the big players like Loan Depot, Quicken, and Guaranteed Rate is going to effectively end the jumbo-loan market as we know it.

Expect that this will become the industry trend, and blamed on the corona.

But the root cause is the industry contraction that has been going on for a couple of years now as sales decline and there isn’t enough business to go around.

The result?

Wells Fargo will still be funding jumbo loans. You’ll just have to get them directly from Wells Fargo.

You’ll be able to purchase the best homes for sale. You’ll just have to buy them from the listing agent.

The Clear Cooperation Policy is still scheduled to begin on May 1st, and listing agents will either have to input their listings directly onto the MLS within 24 hours of any public advertising, or sell them in-house.

 In a desperate, fearful environment, take a guess at which will be the favorite.

We can predict how the real estate market will behave as this country gets a grip on handling the coronavirus (we’re not close yet).  During the last crisis, the first buyers to jump in were those who weren’t concerned about timing the market, they just needed a house – and the 2013 market exploded well before the data said it should have.

The first-timers will be fueled with down payments from parents or grandparents, and with very few comps available to the contrary, they will just pay the seller’s price to get ‘er done this summer.  It is certain that the corona fright will be the latest reason to hurry up and hunker down in a better home, and if the Fed can goose the MBS market and keep mortgage rates in the mid-3s, the market will come out fast. If rates are in the mid-4s, then it will be a slower ascent.

Broker management will encourage agents to keep those hot new listings in-house.  Listing agents will want to be a hero within the office and get acknowledged at the next sales meeting for selling off-market.  Office Exclusives will be sold to sellers as a price-discovery device, but when a few agents in the office want to give their waiting buyers an early preview, sellers will oblige. Surprise – we have an offer!  The next thing you know we have a deal – and the sellers are grateful that they didn’t have to be bothered with open house or strangers prancing through with little or no notice.

Civility, and fiduciary, in our society was crushed by the quote in the movie Wall Street.

‘Greed is Good’.

Expect it to be on full display once the corona is over. Or sooner:

MLS Allows Video

One of the most insane MLS rules prevents agents from including videos in the remarks.  The MLS police is afraid that agents will slip in their contact information, and buyers will rush to purchase direct from the listing agent – but they can do that anyway.  How hard is it to find a listing agent’s phone number in 2020?

Our MLS is temporarily allowing virtual tours and virtual open houses, but let’s hope it will be a permanent change.  The real estate world is well on the way to eliminating the buyer-agents that provide no value, and those that give good advice don’t have to worry about losing a client to a video message.

In addition, allowing video tours in the remarks would cause more agents to do them!

Coronavirus Addendum

The California Association of Realtors published their coronavirus addendum/amendment today.

Those with an existing contract aren’t obligated to sign it, but they mentioned the ‘Force Majeure Clause’, which is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, crime, plague, or an event described by the legal term act of God (hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc.), prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

I did whip through our standard contract, but didn’t find the words “force majeure” anywhere in the text, but it is probably in the Civil Code. In practice, most force majeure clauses do not excuse a party’s non-performance entirely, but only suspend it for the duration of the force majeure.

The CAR form suggests a 30-day extension, but whatever works for you.  If the good-faith deposit is at risk, they are asking the sellers nicely to give it back to the buyers if they can’t qualify due to COVID-19 issues.

Let’s hope none of these get contested.

MLS Games Agents Play

Glad to see the NAR promoting this point – considering what other agents think of you:

David Weldon empathized with his client’s growing desperation to sell her home, a three-bedroom house in Southern California’s Riverside County.  But he was uncomfortable about her suggestion for boosting the listing’s appeal.

The seller listed the home with Weldon last July at a list price of $600,000. After nearly 70 days on the market, the property hadn’t received an offer she would accept. She also was under contract to purchase another property contingent on the sale of her home, which added to the pressure. The seller asked Weldon, a broker-associate at RE/MAX One in Moreno Valley, Calif., to take steps that sounded to him like “gaming the MLS” to draw more eyes to her listing and get it sold faster.

She had learned from another agent in a prior transaction that there are ways to manipulate MLS data to the seller’s advantage. Loopholes in many MLS systems make it possible for real estate professionals to reset a property’s recorded days on market—making a listing appear newer than it is—or surface a home on an MLS’s “hot sheets” with, say, a $100 reduction in list price. While these practices can help raise the visibility of listings in the MLS, they’re also deceptive marketing techniques that have the effect of skewing real-time MLS data—a problem the real estate industry is working to solve—and cast a poor light on agent professionalism.

“The MLS platform is not the tool to refresh a listing,” says Rene Galicia, director of MLS engagement at the National Association of REALTORS®. “You’re not treating the underlying issue—perhaps you need to revisit your pricing strategy, for example—if you’re relying on gaming the system to get action on your listing.”

Weldon says it’s not uncommon for agents in his market to inappropriately cancel and resubmit a listing to the MLS with an inconsequential edit to the property’s address—such as changing “Street” to “St.”—which resets days on market in the system. That’s the type of action his seller was requesting.

“There’s no way to do what the seller was asking me to do that I’m comfortable with,” Weldon says. “I said, ‘You want me to cancel the contract and start over after I’ve put in a considerable amount of time marketing your property.’?” When his client was unrelenting, Weldon decided to end his professional relationship with her. The seller relisted with another agent, and as of mid-January, the property had been on the market for 106 days—more than a month longer than Weldon had the home listed.

Your Good Name Is on the Line

While not necessarily a violation of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, these types of tactics may “work against the duty of honesty in Article 1, and the ‘true picture’ mandate for all advertising, marketing, and other representations in Article 12,” says Rodney Gansho, NAR’s director of engagement and staff executive to the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee.

Not all practitioners see it that way, though. “In some markets, people consider these practices to be wrong, while in other markets, it’s tolerated,” Gansho says. “Most agents can look up a property’s history to see exactly what’s changed or when it was first put on the market, so gaming the MLS is a limited strategy anyway.”

Galicia takes particular exception to the idea of lowering a list price by a minuscule amount to boost its standing on MLS hot sheets. “Most MLS technology will display the dollar amount of the price reduction, and savvy consumers can see that a $100 price drop is not a legitimate strategy,” he says. “If a listing shows up on a hot sheet all the time, that could be a sign of data manipulation rather than true changes to the terms of the listing itself.”

Such a pricing strategy also could damage your reputation with other agents who find it offensive and could ultimately hurt your ability to find a buyer. “I’ve seen properties reduced by $1,” says Dan Halperin, GRI, an agent with Gagliardo Realty Associates in River Forest, Ill. “It’s just a waste of everybody’s time. It irritates clients, and it doesn’t leave a good impression on the public.” Halperin adds that many of his buyers feel an urgency to be among the first to visit a new listing, so he keeps a watchful eye on turnover in the MLS. “I want to be able to tell my clients whether it’s been listed six times or had several price drops in the past,” he says. “I want them to know when it’s not the hot property they think it is.”

So what’s a smarter approach? Instead of resorting to MLS gaming tactics, focus on using professional listing photos from the start and adding virtual home tours and floor plans to listings in order to refresh them, Galicia recommends. Gansho encourages agents to revamp listing descriptions as a way to capture interest from people who may have previously overlooked your listing. These changes won’t appear on an MLS hot sheet, but sharper marketing may get buyers to pay closer attention.

Link to Article

Selling Homes By Video

There isn’t a central website for viewing videos of local real estate for sale, so let’s do it here.

This home has been on the market for a while, but the price is now down to $9,395,000:

If you’re an agent who wants extra exposure for your listings, send me your videos of homes for sale!

Ben Faber, formerly of Redfin but now at Compass, has this home for sale in Berkeley:

This is a fantastic new home in Del Mar, priced at $14,995,000:

Let’s welcome Gary and team to Compass – this is priced at $1,199,900:

The former model home at Fiore, priced at $1,995,000:

One-story houses in Encinitas have been hot – this one is priced at $849,900:

This is the one-story plan plus granny flat upstairs in La Costa Ridge – priced at $2,100,000:

Kayla’s team has this loft listed for $4,495,000 – here are her two bosses:

Compass Private Exclusives

When we joined Compass in the summer of 2018, it was clear that the evolution of residential resales was trending towards off-market sales.  I said then, “we have to make sure that we’re on the right team”.

The National Association of Realtors tried to affect the outcome with their Clear Cooperation policy by making off-market sales acceptable as long as they are done in-house with no public marketing. Like all policy-making done by ivory-tower types who don’t relate to the reality on the street, they have legitimized a new opportunity for gaming the system.

I think the intention of NAR was to allow for the occasional private sale by celebrities.  What they must not have considered was that all brokerages would design their own in-house system to provide privacy for anyone who wants it.

Then the coronavirus starts sweeping the country – won’t every seller want their privacy today?  Are you going to let dozens of strangers into your house?  You and your family could die!  You need to sell your home privately.

The NAR policy makes sellers and listing agents pick a path – either the property gets listed on the MLS within 24 hours after public marketing begins, or you sell it off-market. If the private sale doesn’t work, sellers can opt for the more-public MLS sale later, so trying the safer route will be an easy choice for many.

Who do you list with?

What brokerage has the best chance of selling your home for top dollar now?

Compass has the in-house system, over 800 of the top agents in San Diego County, and we are ranked #1 in market share in Carlsbad and Encinitas.  We are ideally suited to serve the private-sale market, and now we’re advertising it publicly.

Eventually, the MLS (and Zillow) will become the online marketplace of last resort like Loopnet, and buyers will be forced to work with an agent in every brokerage if they want to see all the inventory.

Why didn’t NAR see that coming?

Open Houses Cancelled

What do you do when you receive a full-price cash offer with a noon deadline on Saturday morning?

You take the deal and cancel the open houses.

Consider the evidence:

  1. I’m watching the lockbox notifications and the agent had been there three times.
  2. Twice I spoke on the phone with her, and also bumped into her at the property too.
  3. The agent is known to be a competent, trustworthy high-producing agent in north county.
  4. The buyers flew here yesterday from out-of-state just to see this property.
  5. There might be two in the bush.

Solid buyers working with great agents know that they should move fast if they see a hot new listing.  But there’s more to it than just moving quickly – anybody can do that.

Buyers need to know the comps, and feel comfortable about the values.  They need to review the data again under duress, knowing they have a specific property they are trying to evaluate. Then their agent needs to be crafty and know how to present a case that makes it irresistible for the sellers to sign.

That’s why you want to Get Good Help.

Good agents want to work with other good agents who they can count on.

Sure, I was drooling at the idea of my open-house extravaganza at the beach all weekend.  I probably would have had 100+ people attend each day.  Why not do the open houses anyway?  Because I don’t want to buyers thinking I’m shopping their deal, plus I’ll always remember doing open house after accepting an offer that morning, and a potential buyer making the point that pretending to have a property for sale only to squash the possibility of buying it once he got inside was disingenuous and unethical in his mind.

Besides, with the stock market bouncing around like a yo-yo and a pandemic threatening our very existence, are you going to take the chance of blowing this deal for the two in the bush who might pay a little over list?  Risk it all for an extra what, $25,000? $50,000?

No way, not when you have a bird in the hand.

Sequoia Pro Video

Homes on Carlsbad Blvd. north of Tamarack are at street level and those residents are looking through car windows to see the ocean – and it’s a sliver, relatively, compared the view from our listing. Our building is 25 feet above the street, and set back another 20 feet so any road noise is manageable.  You barely see the cars passing by, and out of sight is out of mind.

Petition Against Clear Cooperation

How to justify pocket listings, in one paragraph:

A broker from The Agency is hoping to mobilize support against the National Association of Realtors’ controversial ban against pocket listings, drafting a new petition to urge the repeal of a policy that many agents feel will disrupt the market and hurt their livelihoods.

“It feels as if it was done without a whole lot of thought for the person impacted the most, which is the seller,” said Jamie Waryck. “I, along with several colleagues, find that very frustrating.”

NAR’s policy, which was approved in November and is scheduled to take effect May 1, requires brokers to submit a listing to the Multiple Listings Service within one business day of publicly marketing a property.

NAR argues it will help make the business more transparent, but brokers, particularly in high-end markets like Los Angeles, Miami and New York, argue that pocket listings help protect sellers’ privacy and allow agents to be more flexible with asking prices.

“A homeowner should have the right to work with a realtor and decide for him or herself whether the home is sold with full exposure to the public, with limited access to the public, in total privacy or through a combination of any of these based upon the homeowner’s personal wants and needs,” the petition reads. “The National Association of Realtors has decided to remove this right from you.”

Top L.A. agents have previously spoken out strongly against the policy, including Agency CEO Mauricio Umansky and Hilton & Hyland’s Gary Gold.

“I think we should be policed somewhat,” Gold said in October, “but not treated like children.”

Link to Article

 

Pin It on Pinterest