Market Surge

We’ve been actively engaged is selling these two listings over the last 45-60 days, and then found buyers for both houses this weekend.

The Bridge House went pending just ten days after a 10% price reduction, which got us down into the next lower bracket of buyers who might not have seen us.  The second listing was purchased by people who had their house in escrow, and needed to find a replacement – movement in the move-up market!

Interesting similarities:

  1. Both buyers saw the house during our open houses, and then went to get their realtor.
  2. Both relied on advice from long-time veteran realtors.
  3. Both offered under list, but were willing to come up.

Most importantly, we are on duty and pushing the product, which makes it easier and more convenient for buyers and agents to see the potential!

For those who are interested, I still have another listing:

Sexy Realtor Video?

Here’s a steamy new real estate video that isn’t as sexy as the previous ones we’ve seen, yet the reaction was so strong that the brokerage took it down and cancelled the open house.

The big complaint was that the woman featured wasn’t the woman in the photo, but the guy was visiting her, not the other way around.

The original video was copied before it was taken down, and now this version has over 1M views and 300+ comments:

Open Bidding

Realtors are fighting the idea of open bids? Agents prefer no rules:

Ontario real estate agents are lobbying the province against the mandatory disclosure of offers among competing home buyers in transactions involving multiple bids.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) sent a bulletin to its 78,000 members this week urging them to contact their MPPs to oppose the compulsory sharing of offer prices and conditions among competing buyers. That’s something the province has said it is considering as part of its planned update to the 2002 Real Estate Business Brokers Act (REBBA).

“Buyers and sellers should have the choice of using an open, transparent process,” said the OREA email.

It says that sharing information about competing bids could lead to the disclosure of personal financial information to any interested parties.

“The government should not force consumers to gamble their life savings in an experimental, mandated open offer process,” said the OREA email signed by association president Karen Cox.

“Hard working realtors like you would face increased red tape,” it warned.

Under the current rules, a real estate agent can only share the details of offers with the property seller.

But consumers should have a choice if all the buyers and the seller agree, said OREA CEO Tim Hudak.

Making the disclosure of offers mandatory “would be a radical change in the real estate market that does not exist anywhere else in North America,” he said.

“This would invoke a brand new process for every real estate transaction where brokers would have to distribute offers to all the other buyers,” said Hudak and that means sharing prices, deposit and closing information, right down to who gets the fridge.

The buyers’ addresses would be included in each of the offer documents, as well as conditions around the need to sell another home or the amount of cash that buyer has on hand for a deposit.

Some sellers would agree to share offer information based on their ideas of fairness for buyers, said Hudak. But all sellers should seek the advice of their realtor, he added.

At least one Toronto agent says his advice would depend on whether he was representing a buyer or seller.

“If I were representing my seller I’d say, ‘no.’ Unless I was mandated to do it, I wouldn’t do it. It’s our job to protect our clients,” said Royal LePage’s Desmond Brown. “If I had a buyer I would want to know as much information as possible.”

Among its 28 recommendations for modernizing the real estate act, OREA is proposing that the government eliminate bully bids — offers that pre-empt the time the seller has set to look at bids on their home. It is also recommends the elimination of escalation clauses, offers that specify the buyer will exceed the best bid by a certain amount.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) said it understands, “the fairness angle,” of disclosing competing offer details. “But this will also be a tricky area for the government to attempt to legislate,” said a statement attributed to board CEO John DiMichele.

“Disclosing bids puts realtors in conflict with their seller clients,” he said.

In regard to bully bids, the government would need to either require sellers to look at all offers as they come in or not accept any until a certain date.

“We prefer less government intervention in the marketplace,” said the statement.

Link to Article

Over List

This is testimony to what works.

Carmel Valley is known to have plenty of drab, older tract houses that lack the snappy look that buyers expect when paying upwards of $2 million dollars.

But when a fully remodeled home comes on the market, buyers take notice.  There were multiple offers on this one, and it closed for $51,000 over its $1,699,000 list price. It is the highest price ever on this street by +11%:

Realtor Class-Action Lawsuit 2

A few readers have sent in articles regarding the class-action lawsuit filed about commissions – an excerpt:

A class-action lawsuit is seeking to upend the way homes are listed for sale and the commissions paid to agents. The goal, say the plaintiffs, is to make home selling more affordable by challenging how agents share commissions on local Multiple Listings Services known as the MLS.

The focus, the suit claims, is on NAR’s “Buyer Broker Commission Rule,” which, according to the complaint, requires “all brokers to make a blanket, non-negotiable offer of buyer broker compensation” in order to participate in the MLS, which is what brokers traditionally use to list for-sale properties. Brokers who don’t participate in the MLS can’t effectively market their properties, according to the lawsuit.

NAR, however, has no such “Buyer Broker Commission Rule” as described in the lawsuit, according to Mantill Williams, vice president of communications at NAR.

“The only requirement imposed by NAR rule is that the listing broker advise all other MLS participants what the amount of compensation to the buyer’s broker will be,” Williams says. “That amount is determined by the seller and the seller’s broker – not by NAR or the MLS.  It can be expressed as a percentage of the sale price or as a fixed dollar amount – as low as $1. Under NAR policy, a buyer’s broker is free to negotiate the amount of the commission with the seller’s broker.”

Sellers can negotiate the amount of commission they pay to their own agents. Although sellers traditionally pay the commission, that commission is typically split with the buyer’s agent. The seller might end up passing on the commission costs to the buyer in the form of a higher listing price.

There are two problems that contribute to the situation; 1) The commissions aren’t disclosed to buyers, and 2) In spite of the statement in bold above, the commission rate offered to the buyer-broker is non-negotiable, according to the Code of Ethics:

Standard of Practice 16-16
REALTORS®, acting as subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers, shall not use the terms of an offer to purchase/lease to attempt to modify the listing broker’s offer of compensation to subagents or buyer/tenant representatives or brokers nor make the submission of an executed offer to purchase/lease contingent on the listing broker’s agreement to modify the offer of compensation. (Amended 1/04)

The lawsuit wants to cause the buyer-agent’s commission rate – and who pays it – to be more negotiable (it’s not negotiated by the buyer now). What this lawsuit will include, but not solve, is buyer-agents steering their clients to listings that pay 2.5% or more in commission.

The attorneys will sensationalize the facts during their jury trial, and NAR will probably end up agreeing that buyers have more access to commission rates.

We will ignore this basic premise though: sellers should be free to offer a bounty to buyer-agents to sell their house, and the listing agent should convey that message, and encourage sellers to offer a rate that causes buyers to be steered to their house.

It sounds edgy, but it’s how it works in real life.

I said previously that this will likely cause more buyers to go directly to the listing agent, which will destroy the broker cooperation model we enjoy now.

But we could solve all of these issues with one answer.

If we did auctions instead, we wouldn’t have these problems.

The commissions would be obvious in advance (it’s been the 10% premium, paid by buyers), and all buyers would have an equal chance to buy the home.  The sellers would be the big winners – no commissions, and eye-to-eye competition to drive the price higher, with no shenanigans!

Private Listing Clubs – Facebook

To further examine the off-market phenomenon, here are the first few entries snipped today from Facebook realtor groups:

 

I don’t fault the listing agents – this is realtor marketing in 2019, and everyone is doing it so it must be ok.  Agents who represent buyers need to be well-connected and searching for homes in other places besides the MLS.

Private Listing Clubs

The largest agent club in Southern California is growing its membership quickly, as the erosion of the cooperation between brokers continues.

We’ll hear more about the disrupters, discounters, and consolidation, but the underlying theme is that agents are only going to be sharing their listings with one another as the last resort if they can’t sell them off-market.

The realtor groups on Facebook are bursting with off-market talk, though we don’t know how many deals are actually being done.  But with so much focus on the off-market space, it is inevitable that more transactions will result.

The PLS only has five listings in San Diego, but it’s just getting started here.  One of the five is an active listing on our MLS, but the rest look like they expect some off-market action as a result of being listed here:

With no one in the industry objecting, expect more of this in the future.

Realtor Sales History

When evaluating which agent to hire, the best thing a consumer can do is check their sales history to help determine the agent’s level of experience.

We’ve known that Zillow has the 12-month sales history of each agent, but those sales are inputted manually by the agents, and can be manipulated.

https://www.zillow.com/agent-finder/real-estate-agent-reviews/

Homesnap provides the MLS mobile app to agents, and, as a result, has the direct connection to the sales history.  They publish the data on each agent from the last 24 months, which provides a more extensive track record, and:

  • Helps to iron out any hot and cold streaks
  • Shows the average days-on-market and sales-price-to-list-price ratio
  • Shows listings that didn’t sell (labeled ‘off-market’)

The average days-on-market and sales-price-to-list-price ratio gives you a good sense of the agent’s pricing accuracy.  If listings languish too long on the market, there is an increased likelihood that buyers will offer less.

We know that 40% of all listings don’t sell, so failure can happen. Select an agent who has done better – in my case, one seller decided not to move, two decided to rent instead of sell, and the fourth was when I was mentioned as Richard’s co-agent on a listing.

If they have a huge number of off-market listings, they are probably a serial refresher, which means they like to manipulate the market time – which aggravates other agents and buyers.

Bottom line: An agent’s sales history verifies how successful they are at getting clients to the finish line.  With the market changing, buyers are putting up a fight now, and you want an experienced agent on your side to ensure success.

Here’s the link to Homesnap (their mobile app is better):

https://www.homesnap.com/

Get Good Help!

HGTV Influence on Buyers

Home sellers have a lot to worry about: Will anyone want to buy their property for its full asking price? How long will it take to find a buyer? Is it really worth the expense and trouble of staging a home to boost its desirability with buyers?

“Heck yes” is the answer to that last question, according to an overwhelming number of buyer’s agents polled for a recent National Association of Realtors® report. About 40% of the agents surveyed said that staging had an impact on most buyers, while 52% said it affected at least some of the folks interested in the abode.

“Buyers’ expectations have changed and risen. They want to see the types of homes they see on TV in person,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of research.

Styling a dwelling with some well-placed furniture makes it easier for buyers to imagine the home as their own, according to 83% of the buyer’s agents surveyed. And home shoppers are more likely to visit a property in person if they liked what they saw in photos online.

Link to Full Article

Pin It on Pinterest