Category Archives: real estate

My 2 Cents on the Real Estate Market…

Yes, interest rates are up, but they are still considered overall not that high. And, at this point, the market for prices has come down enough to compensate for the higher rate. The other factor that is keeping the real estate market in the Bay Area fairly stable is that inventory is so incredibly low, there are not very many homes on the market, so that provides a sense of stability, the market didn’t become flooded with inventory.

Yes, inflation is a factor, although it seems to be leveling out.

Yes, Twitter and Meta and whoever else are laying off employees.

Yes, there are also currently more jobs than people seeking employment. Albeit, maybe not all of the available jobs are what people are seeking, but there are still a lot of jobs out there and an opportunity to lock in a job in a less competitive job market, that may have in the past been harder to obtain.

Renting a home is like paying a 100% interest rate, basically paying for a roof over your head with no other benefit. Over time interest rates tend to come down with stability in the market, so at some point, when the time is right, those who buy homes at these rates will be able to refinance. So, a buyer locks in a home at a lower price, due to the softening of the market, and that’s fixed. And, as a bonus, will be able to in the future, refinance for a lower rate. Locking in a home at a lower price also locks in lower property taxes.
Also, over time, owning a home is the best financial investment one can tend to make in years to come. It’s how the majority of people build their wealth, through homeownership and building equity and stability, and being able to have a good tax write off. Overall, most people want to own a home and have that stable life, make their home their own, maybe have pets, or whatever it may be for that more independent lifestyle as opposed to having a landlord that makes all the rules. Most people prefer to own once they can afford to do so, as opposed to renting forever.
Once you buy in a home, unlike rent, the payment is fixed, and won’t go up over time like rentals do. Renters have very little control over rent prices and increases.

 

So, just some food for thought. For those with a stable job and feel financially secure, it’s still a good time to buy, regardless of the increase in interest rate, since the prices have come down to compensate for the rate. Now that the home prices have softened, and the competition is mostly gone, I am seeing more buyers come out that could not afford to buy in the hot market, taking advantage of being able to lock in a home, as opposed to when the market was hot, prices were high, and these buyers just could not compete.

Some buyers that do not have the highest paying jobs now have an opportunity to squeak into homeownership. For those buyers who have stable jobs and feel financially secure, it may be a good opportunity to lock in a home, while prices are soft and buyers are more in control of negotiations and such.

I have found over the years that taking the oppportunity to buy when most people are not buying, really pays off in the end.

On the flip side, in my opinion, the only reason to sell in this market, is to have the opportunity to get a contingent sale through and also buy low and lock in the next home at a lower price. And, often when the market is hot, a buyer who has to sell a home in order to buy, just can’t even get their offer accepted. This would be a time in which more sellers would likely be open to negotiations and taking a contingent offer if they have no other options.

Otherwise, it’s not a great time to sell…unless there is a real need to do so.

Rent or Buy?

Rent or Buy?

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Just Sold in San Jose for $675,000…

For this condo I sold in San Jose for $675,000, I was the agent for the sellers. I sold this condo to the sellers as their buyer’s agent back in 2007! And, I believe this is the 5th time working with these clients over the years!

Where do I start??? This listing was a doozy!!! Ahhh, so much to say, but I’ll try to keep it to the highlights.

Craziness happened even before the condo was listed. When my clients first reached out about selling this condo, the market was questionable at best for sellers. It was a hard call whether they should even list it for sale or just keep it as a rental until the market was more predictable.

We were going back and forth on if it was even the right time to list it. Another condo came up for sale in the community, the exact model and was getting little to no activity. So, we had a discussion that we surely did not want to compete with another condo just like theirs in this market and if they weren’t getting activity, there’s no logical reason we would do any better. So, we were on the road to not listing at all.

Then one day, the listing agent of that condo said she has a better than normal weekend and had 2 offers at once, and actually was able to get OVER the listed price. Come to find out, 1 offer was over the list price due to the competition, but the other offer was under the list price.

So, they took the over list price offer of course. And, that meant there was an actual buyer interested in this model! So, I went back to these clients to let them know the developments. And, that buyer was interested in the condo, so we thought we had an easy buyer!

Well, turns out, not so easy…The buyer was a VA buyer, and did make an offer, but I personally know that a there are certain things that need to be in order for a VA loan, so I advised my clients that we should not accept the offer until we know the VA will give a loan in this community.

I asked the agent to talk to the lender and make sure the VA would approve this community and that it would be a solid deal.

In the meantime, we decided to list the condo on MLS, knowing we had this buyer who wanted to buy the condo and then to see if there was anyone else out there in case this didn’t pan out.

The open house weekend was extremely slow, basically no real buyers even showed up, so we were very hopeful for the VA buyer. Come to find out, the VA has a requirement that the community is at least 50% owner occupied. And, this community falls short by literally 2 units!

The pending unit was going to be owner occupied, and then this VA buyer was going to be a owner occupant which would bring it up to 50%, but that’s only if the VA would accept this buyer to make it 50% AND we would have to wait for the pending sale to close.

Well, the VA buyer’s agent went MIA, just pretty much stopped communicating, which I thought was a bit rude, but also tells me that they didn’t want to move forward.

So, back to square one. At that point, we were getting just random showings, buyer’s agent calling with questions, and a few saying they thought they would be sending an offer, but then nothing would come of it. And, we did get a low ball offer that we countered, and then they changed their mind and nothing came of that offer.

And, then it went to just basically no showings at all. And, nothing was really happening.

So, once the listing was about to expire, and the sellers didn’t want to lower the price to see if that would spark interest, it seemed to just be a sign to take it off the market and rent it out again.

The listing expired, and within 1-2 days, a buyer’s agent calls me asking about it! He said his buyers had been looking for some time, were very interested, and my thoughts were…Where have you been the last 60 days??? Apparently, they were looking in a lower priced budget, but not finding anything, so were looking a bit higher in price for more options.

I had literally just removed the staging and was about to grab my lockboxes. I let the agent know he was welcome to show it, but the staging was gone, they could check the MLS photos and tour, but physically, it was empty.

He showed it, they loved it, and they made an offer. We negotiated a bit and then came to an agreement.

The transaction itself was a HUGE headache at multiple levels, it seemed nothing went smoothly. The buyer’s agent put in various contingency removal dates, rather than just have all contingencies removed on a date, or maybe 2 dates, but there were like 5 different dates! Who does that??

The buyers wanted updated HOA info since we didn’t have a most recent copy because we were taking it off the market. So, we had the bulk of the HOA docs, but not the last couple months in which we didn’t think we would even sell the place. The HOA was HORRIBLE in getting us the updated docs, so that took FOREVER and many calls, emails, texts, etc.

And, that caused delays in contingency removals not only for HOA, but also the loan.

Once we received all of the HOA docs, the buyers asked for a ridiculous credit because they claimed that the HOA was not financially strong. The HOA gets everything needed done, all is in order, the seller said they are always maintaining the community and it looks great. The sellers are not responsible for the health of the HOA financials, so the answer was a hard “no” for the seller to credit the buyer due to the HOA!

Also, the buyers had a home inspection, which is perfectly fine, but they were SUPER picky about nothing items. I understand if something reasonable comes up, but if it’s just small little maintenance items, not cool! And, they asked for a crazy credit for these little items. The sellers gave a generous credit, just to show they cared and proceed in good faith, but surely not what they asked for, and frankly, they should have never asked.

Also, I was chasing the buyer’s agent to remove their contingencies. None were removed on time, and since there were too many, I was reaching out for every single one, on multiple occasions to get me the contingency removals, or extensions, or whatever applied.

One of the sellers was out of the country, so he had to sign his final docs at the American Consulate. And, the other seller was mostly in the area but travels frequently. So, with all this extra paperwork floating around due to the contingencies and such, it was a lot for myself and my clients to have to sign more than usual paperwork and keep this contract together.

I worked on this listing even well before it was listed. And, then worked on the transaction pretty much every single day until the closing day. It was just one frustration after another. It’s in my top ‘worst transaction experiences ever’ category. The sellers were troupers going through this whole experience from pre-listing, listing, and then this crazy transaction.

But, in the end, we got it done! Praise God!

Just sold in San Jose for $675,000

Just sold in San Jose for $675,000

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Just Sold in San Jose for $1,200,000!

For this home I sold in San Jose for $1,200,000, I was the agent for the seller. I have sold a number of homes with this family and this sale was dear to me because it was a client that I worked with many years ago who passed away (the reason for the sale). The family members wanted me to be the realtor and even said my client who passed would have wanted me to be the realtor. So endearing and heartwarming! I just love this family! This home was owned almost 50 years by the original owners!

The timing for putting a home on the market was questionable at best, in that the interest rates went up and the market had drastically slowed down. And, it was at the cusp of not quite knowing exactly what buyers would be willing to pay in the market coupled with the higher interest rates. We priced the home where I felt the home would sell fast in this unpredictable market and we did quite well! It was important to the seller that the home sold quickly…so…no pressure at all…LOL.

Given the uncertainty of the market, we didn’t post an offer due date, only asked to get through the open house weekend for exposure purposes. It was pretty incredible in that we had a good open house weekend, with lots of positive feedback, but no offers. Then Tuesday came along, and lots of calls, emails, etc but no offers. Wednesday came along and out of nowhere we had 3 offers! Competition! And, the home sold for OVER the list price with the buyer waiving ALL contingencies. Go figure! Basically, if any of the 3 buyers would have made their offer on Monday or even Tuesday, they would have been able to get the home for a lower price, but….yay for the seller!

The transaction itself was very smooth and seamless. And, we were able to sell and get this done quickly for the seller.

Just Sold in San Jose for $1,200,000

Just Sold in San Jose for $1,200,000

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Just Sold in Capitola for $2,300,000!

For this home I just sold in Capitola for $2,300,000 I was the agent for the buyers. This is my 4th time working with these clients over the course of many years!

Their dream has been to have a beach home and their dream just came true! They have been looking over time, but inventory is often so low, and beach homes tend to be in such high demand with a lot of competition. But, due to the softening of the market, this opportunity popped up and they jumped on it!

There was still competition on this home, in fact, there were 2 other offers. 1 of the other offers was not competitive, but the other offer seemed to want the home as much as my clients, so the competition was fierce.

Both my buyer and the other buyer had very similar price and terms. Both buyers were all cash buyers. Both were willing to close quickly. Both were willing to buy in ‘as is’ condition.

God was with me on this one, because this listing just coincidentally happened to be the home of a colleague in my office and the home has been in the family for many years and is cherished by their family. I have a great relationship with my colleague so they swayed our way. Both offers were basically the same, so without any emotion or pull involved, it was a coin toss. But, luckily for me, I know the owner’s family and was given the opportunity for my clients. Praise God!

The transaction itself was super smooth and seamless…that is usually how it goes with all cash buyers and no loan/bank or appraisal to deal with and be at the mercy of. 🙂

Just Sold in Capitola for $2,300,000!

Just Sold in Capitola for $2,300,000!

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Just Sold in San Jose for $2,025,000…

For this home I sold for $2,025,000 in San Jose, I was the agent for the buyers. This is my 3rd transaction with the buyers so we go way back! There were 3 offers on this home. One offer was actualy under the listed price, so that buyer was pretty much eliminated immediately. However, the other 2 buyers were in fierce competition to get this home, 1 of which was us.

My clients had been looking for a long time to find ‘the one’ and for them, this was ‘the one’. Apparently, the other buyers felt pretty much the same. And, apparently, both offers were quite similar in price, terms, and strength of finances. By the grace of God, I know the listing agent and we also go way back and worked together on a transaction many moons ago. So, he worked with me to make it happen for my buyers and swung it our direction. Yay!

The transaction itself was smooth overall and all went well. There was some frustration with the lender that was a bit annoying, especially since the lender was out of state. But, the buyers muddled through dealings with the lender to get it done.

After the many, many months of searching, the buyers are in their what can be ‘forever’ home.

Just Sold in San Jose for $2,025,000!

Just Sold in San Jose for $2,025,000!

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Just Sold in Fremont for $1,200,000

For this townhome I just sold in Fremont for $1,200,000, I was the agent for the buyers, who were referred to me by clients that bought a home with me in the past.

This is a crazy story. The buyers had been casually looking at open houses and we chatted on the phone as our initial introduction. I sent them some listings and they went to open houses that weekend.

There were 2 townhomes in the same community that came on the market at roughly the same time that they liked, but both homes back to a street that is fairly busy, both were the same overall floor plan.

Although the market was not as crazy as prior months, there were still homes getting multiple offers. Both of these townhomes had offer dates within a day of eachother. For the 1st home, they were still deciding and let that one go. But, after taking more time to consider the busy street, driving by in the evening, getting a sense of the street, they decided to go for the 2nd one.

There was 1 other offer they competed with and our offer was actually LOWER than the other offer, but the agent was also the seller, and we had a lot of communication and I kept in touch and she just felt more comfortable with our offer and presentation, so rather than countering us to match the other offer, they accepted our offer at the lower price! Also, the other place received 2 offers as well and went for WELL over the one we went for, so the buyers ended up getting this home for LESS than the other one and also LESS than the very recent comp that has just sold. And this was their very first offer on basically their very first weekend with me as their agent!

The craziest part is that I never even met these buyers before they went into contract! Due to the circumstances and timing, and the fact they went to the open house weekend, then was casually there to see the neighborhood in the evening and the seller happened to be home and let them in for a second look, and then offers were due shortly thereafter, we had only talked on the phone and communicated via text and email! So…I sold a home to clients I never even met in person!

Even after 27 years of being a realtor, I still to this day have 1st experiences and this was a first to sell a home to clients I didn’t even meet in person first.

The transaction itself was super smooth and easy with no hiccups.

Just Sold in Fremont for $1,200,000

Just Sold in Fremont for $1,200,000

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Just Sold in Oakland for $760,000

For this home I just sold in Oakland for $760,000, I was the agent for the seller who was referred to me by a gal I met at church! Praise God! 🙂

There were a lot of question marks for this home that made it a bit difficult to price and also know how things would play out. So, we priced it aggressively and let the market take it from there. The seller actually thought our list price was high at $649,000 and then when we were able to obtain a $760,000 sales price with 8 offers, she was just amazed! So, that was very exciting to get a price well beyond her expectations.

The ‘question marks’ for this home were as follows: The home is directly across from a cemetery, so we didn’t know how much of a role that would play. It makes for a lot of peace and quiet, but some people don’t want to live across from a cemetery.

Also, her father died in the home, hence the sale. That also can play a role in that some buyers do not want a home that someone passed away in.

And, there was quite a bit of work that needed to be done…like a lot…The home is adorable with so much character, but there’s a lot to do, it needs some foundation work, termite work, remodeling, etc, etc. So, again, we didn’t know how the level of activity would be especially with needing foundation work, that can sometimes scare away buyers.

On the flip side, it has a ton of opporunity and is a great home. Those were just the items that made it hard to know what would play out.

But, we had a huge success as noted, 8 offers, sold for WAY over the list price, ‘as is’ sale, the buyer waived ALL contingencies, and it was a VERY smooth transaction. The seller was elated.

One thing to know about Oakland is that when a seller goes to sell an older home, the city requires a sewer lateral AND sidewalk inspection and if there is work to do, it has to be done by either the seller or the buyer, there is no way around getting the work done. In this case, the BUYER is doing the work.

Just Sold in Oakland for $760,000

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Just Sold in San Jose for $1,025,000

For this condo I just sold in San Jose for $1,025,000, I was the agent for the seller, who was referred to me by one of my clients.

Pricing was a bit tough in that there are very few units with this floor plan and none have sold for a few years. It’s a beautiful unit, it has 2 bedrooms and a huge loft. So, I was going back and forth with advertising as a 3 bedroom vs. a 2 bedroom, just wanting to make sure everyone would know there was that huge loft with a big closet, and someone could use that room as a bedroom, office, etc. I wanted to ensure no potential buyer missed that feature.

Since there was not a recent sale, it was hard to know how much ‘value’ buyers would give the loft as opposed to having a true 3rd bedroom. But, pricing a bit low, just ensures we will get the price that the market will cap out.

We had a huge turn out, lots of people through the open house weekend. Buyers loved the place itself. I thought for sure there would be a good number of offers. The only negative feedback pertained to the stairs to get to the unit. This is a “2nd” floor unit, but you actually climb 3 sets of stairs to get to it because the first floor is the garage level, and then there are 2 more sections of stairs that lead to this unit. Some buyers literally came to the door a bit out of breath, and about 90% of buyers through were in their 20’s and 30’s.

Come to find out, the number of stairs ended up being a deal breaker for more buyers than I anticipated, but we still did very well, we got OVER the listed price, the buyer waived ALL contingencies and the transaction itself was very smooth. The buyers used a program called Landed. The program is designed for essential workers, so any essential workers out there, you may want to look into it, buyers that are teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses, etc.

Just Sold in San Jose for $1.025,000

Just Sold in San Jose for $1,025,000

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Just Sold in San Jose (Willow Glen) for $2,150,000…

For this home I just sold in the Willow Glen area of San Jose for $2,150,000, I was the agent for the sellers, who bought this home with me as their buyer’s agent only 3 years ago, and decided to move out of the area.

The prepping of the home was the intense part, in that once I got the call to sell, the sellers wanted to move pretty quickly. I had to jump through some hoops and do a lot of begging and pleading to get some pretty booked up photgraphers and stagers on board. But, we made it happen.

We received multiple offers for this home and it went for well over the listed price and the buyer waived ALL contingencies. Overall, it was a very smooth and seamless transaction, not much to report, which is the best kind of sale!

Just Sold in San Jose for $2,150,000

Just Sold in San Jose for $2,150,000

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Just Sold in Sunnyvale for $1,600,000…

For this home I just sold in Sunnyvale for $1,600,000, I was the agent for the seller, who was referred to me by an agent I know who lives out of the area. The seller interviewed me and a couple of other agents. In those interviews, at least one other agent pumped up the pricing pretty high, so it was a little tough for me to encourage the price I thought the home would sell for. It can be challenging when other agents do not know the market values and then I come along and have to nicely burst that bubble without actually losing the listing to another agent!

Since other agents had really pumped up the price, the seller was pretty set on those high prices, which is understandable. So, we did list higher than I thought was a good idea. But, it is a bit of a Catch 22 for me as an agent, in that if I don’t price it along those lines, and then the seller doesn’t get that pricing because they feel we priced too low, it looks bad on me. And, they feel we should have priced higher to get what they wanted, when in fact, it doesn’t work that way.

At some level, I have to price where they want to be and try my best to get that number, or higher, and then reconvene if things don’t go as the seller hopes they will. Most sellers go with my pricing, so this situation almost never comes up for me. But, because other agents were ‘off’, it just put me in a bit of a predicament this time.

We listed the home for the price range the seller hoped for and I did do my best to get that price, of course, but predictably on my end, we had no offers after the open house weekend, even in this crazy market.

The sellers were pretty surprised to see no offers after the open house weekend, asked me what we should do, I advised we go with the price I suggested, had another open house weekend, and woudn’t you know, I had an offer that was OVER the listed price I advised, and done deal! Sold! Frankly, the sale price wasn’t even that far off of what we listed in the first place, but it attracted the right buyers. It was a great offer, over the list price, waived all contingencies, and a super smooth transaction.

The reasoning behind my pricing is that the home is on a very busy street, plus the home is only 2 bedrooms. For sure, if the home was 3 bedrooms (and I did explain this to the sellers), then we would have gotten the pricing they wanted in the first place, but the buyer pool is MUCH lower for a 2 bedroom home than it is for a 3 bedroom home. There is just no comparison for buyers looking for at least 3 bedrooms, and FAR fewer buyers that are willing to buy a home that has only 2 bedrooms, especially at this price point. Plus, this home is unique. Bedrooms are downstairs and the main living area is upstairs. So, with all that in mind, that’s why price came in where it did. There is nothing I want to do more than to EXCEED price expectations of a seller client, but sometimes expectations are just too high…

Just sold in Sunnyvale for $1,600,000

Just sold in Sunnyvale for $1,600,000

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