Encinitas Fixer Discount

This house first listed for sale on November 1st for $1,650,000, and got all the extras; one Coming Soon, two Holds, four price changes, two Pendings, and finally closed today for $1,397,500.

The listing agent gave it a good go, but it just looked like too much work at the higher prices. A similar-sized home nearby sold for $1,675,000 last month which demonstrates the disdain for the fixers:

Keeping the House In Divorce

Good tips from a local certified divorce financial analyst – if you give up your share of the house, make sure your spouse refinances in his/her name only. Just because you get quitclaimed off title doesn’t mean your responsibility for the old mortgage is relinquished. Qualifying for the refinance is usually a tipping point.


NEM3 Changes in Solar

Solar is probably the most desirable upgrade for buyers. Hat tip to Eddie89 for sending this in:

Defying overwhelming public opposition, state officials voted in late 2022 to make drastic changes to California’s rooftop solar rules (called “net energy metering”).

Solar users under NEM3 will get 75% to 80% less from the utility for the extra solar energy they share with the grid. Compensation for that extra energy will go from an average of $.30 / kWh to around $.05 / kWh. NEM3 solar users will also be put on a rate plan with higher evening electricity rates. These changes will extend the payback period for a solar investment from an average of six years to more than ten years.

Here are some FAQs about the changes, often referred to as NEM3:


What if I have solar and sell my home?

If you are a NEM1 or NEM2 customer and you sell your home, the new owner will take over the remainder of your 20-year lock-in period.

However, this will be different under NEM3, which has a shorter, 9-year lock-in period that is lost when a home is sold. This is another incentive for a home seller that has a fully paid off solar system that’s under either the NEM1 or NEM2 rules. The buyers get more solar bang for their bucks!

Condition Is Most Important

It would be natural to assume that home buyers are much more concerned about paying the right price today.  Certainly, they will be perusing the recent sales very carefully, won’t they?

I’m not so sure.

Putting a sharp price on a home stopped being a priority about 25 years ago with value-range pricing.  Then the frenzy obliterated it when paying $100,000 to $1,000,000 over the list price became the norm.

What now?

Have we succumbed to relying on the zestimates? Pretty much, and buyers who are in a hurry and think the zestimates are close enough will proceed with the purchase unless the spread between the zestimate and the list price is more than 10%.

What matters more is the condition of the home.

Back in the day, people were more tolerant of doing home repairs – but not now. They don’t have the time or know-how, and if they have to pay these prices, they expect more…and you can’t blame them.

Maybe the idea about pricing your home attractively isn’t for you.  If the plan for selling your home in the spring is to set a new record-high list price, then it would be smart to fix everything that is visibly wrong.

Because at this point, we can say that buyers prefer to purchase an immaculate home in top condition, more than they worry about getting the price exactly right.

If you hire a salesman (like me) who knows how to pit buyers against one another to run up the score, the attractive pricing is the critical part of the equation. But if there is a struggle with attractive pricing, then doing more to spruce it up will at least ensure that you’ll get more eyeballs.  Hopefully, that will be enough!

Notice to Buyer to Perform

Buyers have become more reluctant about executing the terms of the contract – and the NBPs are back!

Here is the explanation on how they work:

Q. My buyer was sent an NBP on Wednesday. My question is does the NBP expire 48 hours from delivery/reception, or at 11:59:59 Thursday night?

A. The Notice to Buyer to Perform (“NBP”) provides for a two-day notice to performance (it is not calculated as forty-eight hours – there is a difference).  For example, if the NBP was issued on Wednesday, day one is Thursday, and the deadline for performance would be Friday at 11:59pm. The seller may issue a Cancellation of Contract (“CC”) at 12:01am Saturday.

Conversely, if the NBP was issued Thursday, then day one is Friday and day two would end at 11:59pm on Saturday BUT the last day for performance cannot land on a weekend or holiday.  In this example, the buyer would have until 11:59pm on Monday (assuming Monday does not land on a legal holiday)  to perform (except under the  the San Francisco Purchase Agreement).

Remember the NBP can be issued no earlier than two days prior to the Scheduled Performance Day in order for the NBP to be served in accordance with the purchase agreement. If the NBP is served improperly it would have to be sent again thereby extending the timeline for performance.

Another Listing Strategy

When it comes to selling your home, there are a few strategies to consider – and the most important point is to select one, any one!

  • There is the old traditional PPP plan – Put it in the MLS, Put a sign in the yard, and Pray.
  • My favorite is to spruce it up, price it right, and have a great realtor sell it promptly.

But a third option is available that is sort of a hybrid of the two.

If you worry that pricing attractively might leave some money on the table (mostly because you lack confidence in your realtor’s ability to conduct a proper bidding war), and really want to start at your aspirational price and hope for the best, then consider this plan.

List Your Home With Two Planned Price Reductions Built In

Generally speaking, the problem with price reductions is that sellers and agents don’t make them big enough to impress the buyers, and hence, you’re just throwing money away.  Dropping the price in any amount does get you back on the realtor hotsheet for the day, but we are more annoyed than impressed with sellers who are dinking around over a few thousand dollars when we’re trying to sell a house today.

The amount of the perfect price reduction is 5% of the list price.

It follows my regular guideline of knowing when your list price is right:

List-Price Accuracy Gauge

  1. If you are getting showings and offers, your price is about right.
  2. If you are getting showings, but no offers, then your price is about 5% wrong.
  3. If you’re not getting any showings, your price is at least 10% wrong.

It’s just common sense.  If no one is coming around, it’s because buyers think that the price is way off, based on how the home is being presented.  There is a glimmer of hope that improving the presentation might get some lookers, but in this market, once buyers take one look at the listing, they will cast you aside and forget all about you unless there is a drastic change in price.

I’ll understand if you don’t want to commit to any price reductions today – heck, you haven’t even signed the listing agreement yet.

But hear me out.

There will be an initial burst of activity once the listing hits the MLS – everybody jumps on the fresh meat, and hopes they are reading the presentation/price combo correctly.

But after 7-10 days, it will be crickets. Showings dry up like an old peach seed!

Plan for two price reductions in advance as a strategy to re-energize the urgency.  Put it right in the listing agreement that the price is to be reduced by 5% on Day 14, and another 5% on Day 24.

As long as the initial list price wasn’t more than 10% crazy, then this strategy will get you into escrow within 30 days. If you let the listing languish for more than a month, it will only invite the lowballers, and they will be hacking off more than 10%.

Pick a plan that gets you into escrow early!

Revised Estimates of Value

Just a quick reminder of the constant grift in real estate.

Before the listing was entered onto the MLS:

After the MLS listing was inputted – at least they didn’t recreate the history graph…..yet:


Before the listing hit the MLS:

After MLS input:

Why does it matter? Because too many people – both buyers and sellers – are relying too much on these to be their accurate value estimators. People are moving too fast, they don’t want to spend much if any time investigating, and it’s too hard to get good help. Everyone just wants to grab and go!

The second set says they are based on recent home sales? How can it fluctuate 20% in one day? These revised real estate values aren’t a result of an algorithm; they are purely derived from the list price.

You are being manipulated by the Corporate Warlords – watch yourself!

Horrifying Home-Decor Trends

Every year, there are new and evolving home design fads that should “scare” you to death. Last year, there were moss-covered accent walls (gasp!), acrylic furniture (shriek!) and Tuscan-style kitchens (yelp!). This year, it’s the “cloffice”—a pandemic-era closet-turned-office—and many others.

With Halloween around the corner, Styled Staged & Sold presents its annual countdown of the top 10 home trends of 2022 that are haunting our nightmares:


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