Author Archives: Karen

Just Sold in Capitola for $1,100,000…

For this home I sold in Capitola for $1,100,000, I was the agent for the buyers, who wanted to buy a vacation home. This is my 2nd time working with these clients. Years ago they bought their first home with me in San Jose.

I won’t even sugar coat it, this sale was frustrating from Day 1 and continued to be frustrating to the very end and beyond. The sellers were completely off radar for the reality on the current value of the home. They listed the home for $1.2m, my clients were interested very soon after the home went on the market and we made an offer for $1.1m, being the max the buyers felt the home was worth.

Well, come to find out, the sellers listed at $1.2m, expecting to get at least $1.4m, so they would not even consider the $1.1m offer. Ok, no problem, it was newer to the market, so we just sat back and waited. We figured, if it was meant to be, it would be. I reached out to the listing agent periodically to see if the sellers achieved a reality check over time. Well, not only did they not have a reality check, but were upset and felt they listed to low, even though they only got our 1 offer and nothing else! So, they actually raised the price to $1,350,000. How well do you think that went??? Not good…so they again lowered the price to $1.2m and then did manage to get an offer higher than our $1.1m offer, but lower than the $1.2m list price.

So, we figured it was not meant to be and moved on. Well, come to find out, that deal fell through, and it was back on the market. The sellers at this point felt more motivated to sell, and 93 days later…they accepted our $1.1m offer and we were in contract.

The transaction itself was rocky at best. The sellers were just not easy to deal with and frankly I had hoped another property would come along that was the perfect match, because I personally didn’t want to deal with these people. But, emotions aside, the buyers loved the home and location, so we needed to make this happen, regardless of who we were dealing with as sellers.

Long story shorter, through trials and tribulations, we managed to get through it all, including a sewer lateral upgrade during escrow that almost wasn’t completed in time, the seller wanting to leave things behind so that they didn’t have to go back to pick them up, and then when the buyers didn’t want all their stuff left behind, but would take some of it, the sellers decided to get back at them by taking items that the buyer said they could leave and actually wanted.

The good news is it all worked out and the buyers are really happy with the home and excited. It’s their dream to have a home near the beach. It’s an amazing location. And, I’m sure they will make countless wonderful memories there.

Just Sold in Capitola For $1,100,000

Just Sold in Capitola For $1,100,000

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Just Sold in Fremont for $575,000…

For this condo I sold in Fremont for $575,000, I was the agent for the seller, who told me that his mom actually found me on the internet. Yay for mom! This is a great condo and meticulously maintained by the seller. There were 2 items that made things a bit more challenging to spark a lot of interest, 1 is that the owner occupancy is SUPER low in the community, there are actually more tenants living in the community than there are owners. So, not only there is a bit of a stigma to some buyers for that scenario, but also banks aren’t thrilled with it either. So, there just are not as many buyers or loan options when there are more tenants than owners.

The other item that some of the buyers had a hard time with and couldn’t get past is that there were absolutely no doors on any closet, so not the bedroom closets, not the hall closets, nada. The place looked great and very clean, and it actually made the place look bigger and gave more space, but the lack of closets was an issue for some, and although they can be added back, of course, some buyers just don’t have vision or want to do it, I guess. Not only all the doors were missing, but so were the tracks both on top and bottom. So, it would be a bit of a project, not huge, but a bit of a project to add in the tracks top and bottom and then also the doors again. It looked great without them, but yet, most buyers want closet doors so that their stuff is not showing.

For the transaction itself, let’s just say it would have been nice to have other options. The main negative anytime there is only 1 offer on a home, is that even if you aren’t thrilled with that buyer or agent, you are kind of stuck with what you get for the most part, if that 1 offer is basically acceptable overall in price and terms. And, between the buyers and their agent, it just did not go well, at any level, and by the end, I just wanted this to go away. The buyers were ridiculously picky, did not remove contingencies on time, and then would not send the necessary paperwork to extend contingencies and escrow and such. I could write pages just about the details of the transaction and all that did not go right, but it would be such a long story and frankly, I don’t want to re-live it.

It was horrible, I was constandly chasing the buyer’s agent to simply stay in contract and not let dates just pass by with nothing in writing! But we got through it. I felt confident the transaction would close. I knew the buyers were just scared and misguided, but things would work out in the end. Although, during the process, trying to explain to a client…don’t worry, it will happen…when you don’t have any hard evidence to prove it, except your gut feeling and experience, is not really ideal.

Just Sold in Fremont for $575,000

Just Sold in Fremont for $575,000

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Just Sold in Newark for ~$1,078,000

For this home I just sold in Newark for ~$1,078,000 I was working with the buyers in a brand new community. The process started back in January of 2018 and their home was not ready to move in until March of 2019! It was absolutely absurd. When the buyers originally locked in this home, they knew there would be a decently long wait, but it was never supposed to be this long. Basically, it was just one thing after another, delay, after delay, after delay, excuse, after excuse, after excuse. It was simply maddening. Time and time again, we would get a timeframe for the home to be ready, and then there would be yet another delay. When the home finally did close, it was almost surreal at that point. To top it off, after such a long wait for this home to be built, the contractors still managed to make mistakes on what the buyers had picked out as materials, which had to be redone. Wow!

The below pic is from the community, not this home itself.

Just Sold in Newark for ~$1,078,000

Just Sold in Newark for ~$1,078,000

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Just Sold in San Jose for $1,575,000…

For this home I sold in San Jose for $1,575,000, I was the agent for the seller. This is my 4th transaction with this client, and was her buyer’s agent for this home! This is a gorgeous home and very lovingly cared for, although, there were a few factors for this home, that made it a bit on the challenging side. For one, the floor plan is not that open feel type, personally, I love this floor plan, but it does not have the open type plan in which a lot of buyers are looking for these days, and it would be a bit hard to open it up for this particular plan. Also, this home sits on a T lot, so there were a number of buyers that did not want a home on a T lot. And, there was also a couple of cracks in the foundation, although, not a big deal for this particular case, easily fixable, but sometimes buyers are just leary of foundation cracks and it can be a bit scary to buyers that maybe don’t fully understand the situation at hand for this particular case. Those things, coupled with the fact the market has slowed down, and not the frenzy of early 2018, were factors in the turnout in the number of buyers for this home.

We did get buyers that fell in love with this home, just like my clients had fallen in love, and we did get an offer about list price, and the buyers were willing to give the sellers a FREE rent back. So, the sellers did do quite well, they bought the home barely 2 years ago, and did pretty well in 2 years, especially given the fact that the market has slowed down.

The transaction itself was overall smooth, although we did enter a hiccup, but we got through it. We supplied the buyers with inspection reports and explained the cost for the foundation to be repaired. I had talked to various foundation contractors who quoted me rough prices for the fix, we gave that info to the buyer’s agent. So, we were all on the same page, or so we thought, going into the transaction in regard to the foundation repairs. But, it seems that when some types of buyers have a way to re-negotiate, they just take that opportunity to do so, even if it’s not kosher, and even if they had the info in initial negotiations. I find that it’s taking advantage of the situation, so NOT cool, but some buyers just do what they do. We managed to get through that hiccup and completed the transaction. We really did everything on our end to avoid this type of mishap, but sometimes you run into a buyer that just doesn’t care about what’s right.

Sold in San Jose for $1,575,000!

Sold in San Jose for $1,575,000!

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Just Sold in San Jose for $1,100,000…

For this home I sold in San Jose for $1,100,000, I was the agent for the buyers. This is my 2nd time working with this couple. They bought their first home with me about 10 years ago and now wanted to move up to a larger home. This home had been on the market for a bit, although, the seller had received offers, just not an offer that they felt was acceptable. At the time my clients made an offer, another buyer came out as well with an offer. So, there was a little anxiety in regard to the other offer being considered as well, but thankfully, the seller chose our offer.

The overall transaction was very smooth and seamless, my favorite kind…nice and boring…no frills or drama.

Just Sold in San Jose for $1,100,000!

Just Sold in San Jose for $1,100,000!

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Just Sold in Union City for $1,125,000…

For this home I just sold in Union City for $1,125,000, I was the agent for the buyers, who were referred to me by another client who also used me as their agent to buy a home. When the buyers saw this home, it was very apparent that it was ‘the one’ and they really wanted it, so much so, it was a bit stressful on my end, because their enthusiam to get this home and their desire to do what it took to get it, put a lot of pressure on me to ensure they got this home, no matter what!

This home was just one of those ‘special’ homes. The home was immaculate. It’s a nice neighborhood. It has a great floor plan. It has nice upgrades. It has a lovely backyard. And, it was just a home that was going to spark a lot of interest, because it was the type of home that does not come up too often. And, to top it off, the listing agent listed the home at an aggressive price to just really spark a lot of interest.

There were 7 offers on this home, so that is a lot of competition, and it was rough! It seemed that a few of the other buyers wanted the home as badly as my clients, so competition was fierce. The buyers went in well OVER the listed price, waived ALL their contingencies, wrote a beautiful personal letter to the seller, and I just tried to be as up close and personal to the listing agent as possible. The agent gave very little info, so it was really difficult to know where we stood in relation to the competition.

But, thank God, we were the lucky ones! The agent called to tell me that we were the chosen offer. He mentioned that it was a super difficult decision because a few of the offers were so close. He told me that what helped to get our offer picked, was obviously overall price and terms, but also what swayed the seller our way was the buyer’s letter and also my persistence and being on top of things and keeping in constant communication. The listing agent told me that was the combination of things that tipped the scale in our favor. I ended up meeting the seller and she also mentioned to me that she loved the letter from the buyers and it really did make a difference in her decision.

This sale was the result of the actual homeowner’s death and the home was left to an heir, so it was bitter sweet. The buyers were excited to get this home. The seller, on the other hand, was dealing with a loss and it was a very sad and emotional time for her, as you can imagine. The seller just wanted to walk away and not deal with anything she didn’t have to deal with. So, there were a few challenges, nothing major, our side was trying to be compassionate and understanding, although, still with the desire to have things be properly handled per the contract. We got through it and made it happen, but it was a little rough toward the end.

The seller ensured us that everything would be out by closing day, and that a final pick up of some trash would be taken the day after closing. Well, the seller left items in the house and around the house, that she was not supposed to leave. The trash was NOT picked up the next day. And, the seller didn’t leave the house as clean as maybe a seller would for a sale that was more the result of a positive reason to sell. I personally had the trash hauled off as soon as I got word it was still there. The seller made a deal with the buyer to leave a $7,000 sauna for the buyer, if she didn’t have to come back or deal with anything else in regard to the house and items that were left. The buyers took that deal. So, it all worked out, just a few hiccups due to the general situation and reason for the sale. On a brighter note, the home actually appraised for HIGHER than the buyer’s paid, so even competing with 7 offers, the home still appraised for HIGHER than what they paid!

Just Sold in Union City for $1,125,000!

Just Sold in Union City for $1,125,000!

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Recently Sold in Fremont for $950,000…

For this home I recently sold in Fremont for $950,000, I was the agent for the buyer, who was referred to me by another client who also bought a home with me. For this particular home, it seemed timing was everything. The home was showing on MLS as active, and then just disappeared when we were going to set an appointment to view it. I found that the listing agent had taken the home off of the market, called him, and he stated that the seller was still willing to sell the home, but had taken it off the market and was planning to put it back on in a few months. Being that the home was not even on the market anymore, it gave the buyers an advantage in that likely no other buyers would be coming out of the woodwork since it was not showing that it was for sale, so there was very little chance we would run across any kind of competition.

We were able to get the home for well UNDER the listed price, it was a very good price for a 4 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms home. It was a unique home, in that very few homes in that size range and price range have 4 full bathrooms. It’s almost like finding a unicorn. There weren’t really even any comparables in the area that had that many bathrooms.

The main challenge for this transaction was that the county records were incorrect for the number of bathrooms. They had made a mistake in their computer and it was not showing properly, even though, there were permits and plans and everything was done legit. We did get the county records updated and corrected during the transaction, but I wasn’t so sure it could be updated in time, since the city/county can be a very slow process.

Also, the seller had put up an extra wall with a permit in the past to make for another room, but when she went to sell the home, she took out that same wall with no permit to open up the space again and make for a beter floor plan for selling. So, the buyer did request that since the seller had done all the other work with permits and such, that it would be good just to have everything in order and match the floor plan given and have a permit for the wall she then removed.

Again, knowing how slow the city/county can be, I was not so sure that could happen during our transacton process, but the seller was very on top of things and determined to make it happen and have everything in order by closing.

Most of this transaction was mainly dealing with corrections and finalizing drawings to match what the buyer was buying and that the permits and plans were all in order. I knew it could all be done, but the main stress of the sale was making sure all of this could be done by closing day, sometimes these types of changes can take months. And, amazingly, it all got done in time and we had a successful closing.

Sold in Fremont for $950,000

Sold in Fremont for $950,000

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Just Sold in Gilroy for $851,500…

For this home I just sold in Gilroy for $851,500, I was the agent for the buyer, and this was our 3rd transaction together! He bought a condo with me back in 2004, and then sold that condo with me as his listing agent a few months ago after 14 years, to buy this home!

This is a brand new community. I have to say, I am not fond of how the new communities work. They are so pro themselves and have so little regard for the buyers. They have a builder contract that gives them every loophole on the planet to protect themselves, but then are very strict on buyers and force them to be basically at their mercy. If the builders don’t stay on track, they have so much cushion of protection, if the buyers don’t stay on track, they kick them to the curb and/or even make buyers pay penalties.

For this sale, we were told the home would be ready in mid October. We were told that for months. In fact, they forced the buyer to sell his condo WELL before it was beneficial timing for the buyer to sell his condo. Again, they wanted to protect themselves and make sure the condo sold, even though on the buyer’s side it was way too early to put on the market and sell to coordinate the timing for this new home.

But, we managed and coordinated the timing. All the way through listing the condo, being in contract, and even right before closing, the new builder said we were on track for mid October. On closing day of the condo, the rep tells us there is a delay! What???? We had put in a cushion for timing just in case this type of thing would happen, over a month, but then not only was this new community a month delay, but it was more than a month delay!

It was a super stressful and aggravating situation, especially since we had asked for months and up to the end of selling the condo if they were on track, built in a month cushion for possible delays, even though we were told there were none. When it was too late to do anything, THAT was when the rep told us there was over a month delay. There was even talk of a delay until December, which was just insanity. Both the buyer and I just kept after the rep and community relentlessly and we think it worked at some level, but not to the level of being on time for mid October. It ended up closing in November. The worst part about these new home communities is they just do what they want to do, and there is just no preparation in advance for this type of thing, no matter how hard you try. Buyers are just at their mercy and you just feel so helpless.

Of course, a buyer can cancel and tell them to take a hike if the delay is too long, but typically, the buyer really loves and wants the house they are buying, so they just go along with their shenanigans to the end. And, buyers also tend to stick with it, because most often, the prices are on the rise and they have locked in a better price than the current values at the current market time.

The buyer was a trooper and scrambled around to made arrangements in coordination to move into the new home. It was such a relief when the home was ready to close, because once they break their promises, you feel that you just can’t trust them on anything they have to say. The good news is that this family can have their first Christmas in their new home! This picture is not of the exact house itself, but of the same model.

Just Sold in Gilroy for $851,500!

Just Sold in Gilroy for $851,500!

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1 in 4 Homeowners Are Now “Equity Rich”

I thought this was very interesting and wanted to share:

Rising home prices are helping homeowners get richer and richer. Equity-rich properties represented 25.7 percent—or nearly 14.5 million—of U.S. properties in the third quarter, a record high, ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate research firm, reports. “Equity-rich” means the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value.

“As homeowners stay put longer, they continue to build more equity in their homes, despite the recent slowing in rates of home price appreciation,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. “West Coast markets along with New York have the highest share of equity-rich homeowners, while markets in the Mississippi Valley and Rust Belt continue to have stubbornly high rates of seriously underwater homeowners when it comes to home equity.”

The following metros had the highest share of equity-rich properties in the third quarter:
• San Jose, Calif.: 73.9%
• San Francisco: 59.8%
• Los Angeles: 47.6%
• Seattle: 41.2%
• Honolulu: 40.8%
Source: “Equity Rich U.S. Properties Increase to New High of 14.5 Million in Q3 2018,” ATTOM Data Solutions (Nov. 6, 2018)

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The Long Term Benefits to Buying a Home at a Younger Age…

This is a good read and I wanted to share:

Buy young, earn more: Buying a house before age 35 gives homeowners more bang for their buck

Today’s young adults are less likely to own a home compared with baby boomers and Gen Xers at the same age. Our recent work has investigated why millennials have lower homeownership rates than prior generations, but the long-term consequences of homeownership delays are not well understood.

Our analysis starts the conversation about these consequences. We find that delaying homeownership may reduce the wealth that millennials generate over their lifetime.

Most of today’s older homeowners bought their first homes before age 35

Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a dataset that has followed US individuals since 1968, we tracked people who reached age 60 between 2003 and 2015. The PSID switched to a biannual survey in 1997, so we used information at age 61 for those who were not surveyed at age 60.

Today’s older adults became homeowners at a younger age than today’s young adults. Half the older adults in our sample (bought their first house when they were between 25 and 34 years old, and 27 percent bought their first home before age 25 (figure 1). But only 37 percent of household heads ages 25 to 34 and 13 percent of those ages 18 to 24 owned a home in 2016.

figure 1

Those who bought earlier got the biggest bang for their housing buck

The impact of these earlier purchases is significant. Those who bought their first home between ages 25 and 34 have the greatest housing wealth by their sixties. At age 60 or 61, their median home equity (in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars) is close to $150,000 (figure 2).

Those who bought their houses later have significantly lower housing wealth. Ten years of appreciation alone can make a big difference. There is a $72,000 difference in the median housing wealth of those who bought their first home between ages 25 and 34 and those who waited until they were 35 to 44. If they wait until they are 45 or older, the median wealth is more than $100,000 lower.

And while those who bought their houses before age 25 have a median home equity of $130,000, it’s important to understand why those who bought the earliest don’t end up with the most median home equity (table 1).

The youngest buyers have lower incomes, are less educated, and buy lower-priced homes. The median first-home value for these buyers is less than $70,000, while the median first-home value is around $125,000 for the other three groups.

But even though these younger homeowners ended up with less median equity, they have the largest return on their housing investment. The ratio between the median home equity at age 60 or 61 and median price of the first home decreases with the first age of homebuying: the ratio is highest for those who bought their first home before age 25 (1.93) and the lowest for those who bought their first homes after age 44 (0.36).

The bottom line is, those who bought houses before age 25 got the biggest bang for their housing buck.

figure 2

table 1

Those who bought earlier live in more expensive houses and have less mortgage debt in their sixties

For those who bought their first homes when they were younger, greater home equity came from home price appreciation and paying down their mortgage debt. Those who bought their first home between ages 25 to 34 live in more expensive houses in their sixties than those who bought earlier or later. Their median house value at age 60 or 61 is $240,000.

Those who bought before 25 have lower median house value when they are older (as would be expected from their lower educational attainment) but have lower mortgage debt because they have owned their home longer. Their median remaining principal is less than $11,000, considerably lower than the other three groups.

Our analysis shows that those who bought their first home earlier are financially better off in their sixties. This suggests that deferring home purchases could have long-term economic consequences for millennials and the nation’s economic well-being.

As people age into retirement, they rely more heavily on their wealth rather than their income to support their lifestyles. Today’s young adults are failing to build housing wealth, the largest single source of wealth, at the same rate as previous generations.

While people make the choice to own or rent that suits them at a given point, maybe more young adults should take into account the long-term consequences of renting when homeownership is an option.

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