Archive for the ‘Home Sellers’ Category

What The Shortage Of Homes For Sale Means To You

San Diego is in the midst of a BIG home inventory shortage right now, so I wanted to write up a post about what exactly that means for home shortage of homes for sale in san diegobuyers vs. home sellers, and how you can win in either position.

According to the San Diego Association of Realtors, from May 2015 to May 2016, the number of homes for sale went from 8,147 to 6,542 (a 20% decline, approximately). This reduced the months supply from 2.8 months to only 2.1 months, a 25% drop during the same period. This has a number of implications for both buyers and sellers, which I’ll break down below:




A home shortage can make buyers very frustrated. They may feel like they are having a hard time finding a home to purchase in their price point since it drives prices up.  This is because limited inventory means fewer houses for qualified buyers to offer on, often resulting in multiple offers and higher prices (and sometimes out of the buyer’s budget).  In order to come out ahead, buyers should get pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) BEFORE starting the house hunt.  When a buyer does find the perfect home, if they are not pre-approved, that will delay his ability to offer on a house by a couple of days (or more). It will likely already be in escrow by the time they have the pre-approval letter in hand.

Also, rather than starting with a lowball offer, come in with an aggressive first offer to show you are serious about the property. While the strategy of a lower offer can work in a buyers market, you are at a huge disadvantage in today’s environment. The exception to this would be if your Realtor advises that the home is significantly overpriced.  One final way buyers can win in this market is to get CREATIVE!  Have your Realtor try to find out if there are any special terms the sellers are looking for, such as a long Escrow (or very short Escrow), rent-back period, willingness to keep current tenants in place until their lease is up, etc.



As a seller, overall, you will benefit from the inventory shortage.  As mentioned above, limited inventory often means multiple offers for you.  It is important to have your Realtor carefully explain the pros and cons of each offer received so you can make a great decision about which offer to move forward with.  One thing to note is that if you are selling AND buying, you will face the same challenges on the “buy side” as other buyers.  One way to remedy this is by making the sale of your home contingent upon the purchase of a new property.  That way, if you do face road blocks or difficulties on the buy side, you have a way out of selling your current home.

San Diego housing inventory levels

This graph shows the number of active listings in San Diego from 2013-2016.  You’ll note how much the inventory has declined throughout these three years.


It is possible for both buyers and especially sellers to have great success in San Diego’s home shortage.  However, it helps to know the state of the market in order to figure out how to best position yourself to get the most for your money (or the most for your property).  Let me know if you have any questions about the San Diego real estate market and I’ll be happy to help!

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How Should I Price My Home When Selling?

When setting an asking price, there are two schools of thought: In one, agents overprice properties in the belief that a higher asking price will draw higher initial offers from potential buyers. Some real-estate agents take the opposite approach, pricing homes below nearby properties in hopes of starting a bidding war.

In an interesting study done by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization:

Sellers who listed their homes…

  • …10% to 20% higher than other homes in the neighborhood saw a slight increase of 0.05% to 0.07%, on average, in the sale price.
  • …10% to 20% lower than other homes in the neighborhood saw a slight decrease of 0.5% to 0.8% in the sale price.
  • In 10 sample listings, real-estate agents recommended underpricing homes at a frequency of 70.4%.

This same study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization in May, found that homeowners who set the initial asking price 10% to 20% higher than similar houses in the neighborhood see a slight increase of $117 to $163, on average, in their sale price. Pricing a home 20% or more than similar houses leads to an impact three to four times as big.

how to set an asking price for a home when sellingAs a real estate agent, I tend to be more in the middle of these two varying strategies. While under-pricing a home will draw in more interest and bring in more offers (see chart above), many of those potential buyers are hoping to score a “deal.” When they find out the house is going to sell for 10-15% more, they will drop out and move onto something else. On the other hand, overpricing could lead to the home sitting on the market longer. It will receive less offers, but it ultimately may fetch a slightly higher sale price when it does finally sell.

I normally advise my San Diego home sellers to price their home close to the actual market value of the property. This will bring in serious home buyers that are less likely to drop out and cancel the transaction during escrow. Of course, the homeowner is the one who has final say in determining the actual asking price of the home, their real estate agent is simply an adviser. As an adviser, it is my job to determine what is best for the homeowner in their own unique situation. This must also be taken into account with current market conditions, in order to work out a strategy that represents the best interests of my clients!

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Getting Your Home Ready For Sale

When it comes time to sell a home, it can feel like a big job – tons of small tasks required to get it done. But many sellers make the job harder by ignoring or avoiding some of the biggest factors that contribute to a faster sale. The following tips will help get that infamous “sold” sign in front of your home sooner than later.

1) Price is paramount.

With the housing market climbing out of its slump, many sellers are expecting higher sale prices. Just make sure you don’t reach too far when pricing your home, and rely on a good agent to help you find the “sweet spot” for the sale. Go too high and you’ll risk the house sitting too long. And once your home has sat on the market for a long time, buyers tend to become suspicious. Even though your home might look great, buyers will notice the listing’s “time on the market” and think “there must be something wrong with it”

2) Tour your home like a to sell your home

Many sellers make the mistake of looking around their home with the eyes of someone who knows it well and loves it dearly. Realtors call it an “emotional connection.” But buyers don’t care about that. So walk through your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time, taking note of everything that might give you pause as a home buyer. Never assume that a potential buyer will be able to overlook what you perceive as small flaws in the house and consider getting it fixed.

Staging your home with the help of a professional stager (or a friend who’s great at interior design and organization) can create positive word-of-mouth with Realtors and buyers. While you’re staging the house, put away all or most of your family photos and other personal items that make it “yours.” The goal is to make it look like a model home, so buyers can envision themselves living there. Don’t wait until it’s already listed to schedule property repairs, staging and de-personalizing. As President Error Samuelson said, “Web appeal is the new curb appeal.” According to a study done by, homes with 6 photos posted online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as homes with fewer than that.

3) Let them in!

Nothing is more frustrating for an agent than a seller who doesn’t want to let potential buyers in to see it. Yes, last-minute requests for showings are a pain. Yes, it’s hard to keep the house clean all the time. Yes, it’s tough to do showings when you have kids and pets at home. But the homes that sell fastest are the ones that are able to see quickly and easily. If you have lots of requirements for showings or long wait times, agents are likely to skip your house and take their buyers to the house down the street.

4) Be social.

In our increasingly social world, take advantage of connections by inviting your neighbors to take a tour of your house. It might encourage them to spread the word to friends or family who may be looking for a house in the area. And ask your Facebook friends to help out by sharing photos of the house you’ve posted on their timelines. Some sellers even create video “love letters” to their homes and post them on YouTube to introduce the home to potential buyers.

When priced correctly, looking great, easily accessible, and with proper social connections, you’re well on your way to the “sold” sign you’re working toward.

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10 Reasons Why Your Home Won’t Sell

It’s frustrating when your home is still sitting on the market after weeks-or even months-of showings? Can’t figure out why your open houses have plenty of people show, but nothing ever comes of them? Or maybe nobody is coming to your open houses at all? There could be many reasons why your home won’t sell, so by identifying which ones they are, do the work to correct them. Hopefully, you will be accepting an offer in no time!

1. It’s priced way too high. Like or not, the market dictates how much home sellers will get for their home-regardless of how much you think you’re home is “really” worth. Buyers will be looking at similar homes in your area and seeing how yours compares, and if your asking price is much higher, it will work against you. Again, your home is really only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

2. Your timing is off. More people house-hunt in the spring, summer and early fall than they do in the winter, even here in southern California. Families with kids normally like to move in the summer, when the kids are now in school. Unless a buyer needs to find a home ASAP, many put their searches on hold over the winter. That’s not to say you can’t sell your home during the wintertime, but you need to take the season into consideration.

3. Buyers can’t find it. Most all buyers are searching online, and if your home isn’t listed in all the places they’re looking, they could be missing you. Make sure your home is listed on major real estate sites like, Zillow and Trulia, as well as on the local multiple listing service (or MLS).

4. Your photos a horrible. When buyers do find your home’s listing, your photos (or lack thereof) could be turning them off. Buyers want to get a good feel for what a home has to offer before they spend time arraigning a showing, and they can’t do that if you have no photos, only a few photos, or photos that are just plain bad.

Why your home won't sell5. It needs some work. While some DIY type buyers may be willing to take on a home that needs work, most of them won’t-especially if you’re asking a similar price as homes that don’t need any repairs. From big things like a leaky roof to little things like a broken garbage disposal, you don’t want your buyers making a long list of projects they need to complete if they buy your home.

6. It’s too personalized. You want people to be able to see themselves living in your home, and they can’t do that if too many of your personal touches are staring at them. Stash away those family photos in the living room and your kids’ drawings covering the fridge. Repaint bold-colored walls a more neutral color. Remove any statements pieces that may not be to everyone’s liking. If you’re a big collector, take some of your souvenirs and knickknacks down and box them up-you’ll be moving anyway!

7. You’ve made some weird changes. You might have loved the idea of turning your garage into a play room, but most buyers would rather have the space for their vehicles and garden tools. Converting that spare bedroom into a huge walk-in closet might have been practical for you, but most buyers would rather have the extra bedroom for kids or guests.

8. Your curb appeal needs help. If buyers don’t like the state of your home from the front, they’re not as likely to come inside to see the rest of it. If the front doesn’t look great, buyers will wonder what’s happened to the inside. Unswept paths, overgrown lawns, and cracked driveways all of these things tell buyers that you haven’t maintained your home very well, and they may decide to keep driving.

9. You’re smothering buyers. As much as you may want to help “sell” your home, being around to answerWhy your home won't sell questions makes buyers uncomfortable. You need to let your real estate agent handle things. Go out shopping, go see a movie, go do anything that gets you out of the house (and out of buyers’ hair) when your home is being shown. They will spend more time in your home when you are not there.

10. You’re trying to go it alone. Real estate agents’ fees can take a decent amount out of your total net proceeds. But if you try the FSBO (for sale by owner) route, you run the risk of getting zeroproceeds if it doesn’t sell at all. If you’re having trouble selling your home yourself, it may be time to call in a professional.

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Agent, Broker, Realtor®-What’s The Difference?

I have been asked that question many times before so I decided to write an article to break down the differences. Many people use agents, brokers, and Realtors® interchangeably, but they aren’t the same!agent broker realtor what's the difference san diego

A real estate agent is a real estate professional who is licensed to be a real state sales person. Getting such a license requires taking some classes, passing a test and paying some fees. Real estate agents must work under a licensed broker. A person can not get a real estate license and go out on their own and sell real estate. The license is actually held under a broker. The agents license can be transferred from broker to broker, but can’t be with more than one at a time.

Technically it is the broker who owns all of the agent’s listings and are acting on the broker’s behalf.  Most real estate agents are independent contractors who work on a 100% commission basis. Depending on the brokerage, the agent gets a percentage of each commission the agent earns on a closed sale. Thus a real estate agent can only be paid directly by their broker.

realtor, agent, broker what is the differenceA REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. They actually trademarked the word. Generally all a person has to do to become a member is pay the dues.  Members of the national association are also members of the state and local associations. For example I belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the California Association of Realtors (CAR), the San Diego Association of Realtors (SDAR). In addition to paying dues, Realtors® agree to adhere to a code of ethics.

A real estate broker has continued his or her education past the real estate agent level and passed the real estate broker license exam. Real estate brokers can work as independent real estate agents or have other agents working for them. Some brokers get their license so they can work on their own independently, and not pay part of the commission to another broker. On the flip side, some brokers see the value in working for an established real estate brokerage, and work under them as an associate broker. So to clarify, a broker can work on his or her own, while an agent or associate has to work under a licensed broker.

Even though brokers are supposed to provide oversight, there are several large companies where one broker is responsible for literally hundreds of agents. They will normally hire additional licensed agents or brokers to manage many of the daily operations.


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How Is Selling A Condo Different Than Selling A House?

selling san diego condo versus selling a single family homeListing different types of San Diego properties have their own unique challenges. From the initial marketing to the final price negotiations, everything needs to be tailored to the type of home being sold. And because of their main differences, this process can look very different when selling a condo vs. selling a single family home.

Reason #1: The Homeowners Association or HOA

As we all know, almost all condos come with some type of HOA, or homeowners association. The HOA generally handles common areas like swimming pools, the exterior of the building like the roof, and landscaping. Sometimes, the HOA holds various social events for their residents.

However, all of this comes at a few costs. The first is money; the HOA carries various operating expenses, which comes in the form of charging residents a monthly fee. The second is freedom; most HOAs have various rules that all residents need to follow.

Reason #2: Real Estate Investors

When selling a condo, it’s normal for a number of investors to show interest in purchasing the unit. After all, renting out condos is a big business. As a result, selling a condo could mean a faster closing, a cash offer, or even multiple offers.

Reason #3: The Type of Buyerhome buyers in san diego

Different types of buyers look at a condo vs. a home. For starters, condos are generally smaller, don’t have yards, have all landscaping handled professionally, and frequently come with amenities like a swimming pool or fitness center.

While a good majority of potential buyers with children would love a swimming pool with zero maintenance, they aren’t willing to make the trade for a smaller space. This means that when selling a condo, potential buyers will generally be single adults, newly married couples, or retired professionals looking for a place with less maintenance.

Reason #4: Location

Every real estate agent knows that one factor, above all others, is most important when selling a property: location. Being close to town versus far away from traffic, near downtown excitement versus in a quiet neighborhood, or near shopping centers versus far away, all come into play for a property’s value and demand.

Generally speaking, condos tend to be closer to urban areas, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. This also means that their price per square foot is frequently higher. As a result, owners looking to sell their condo should carefully consult with their real estate agent about the best way to market their property and at a competitive asking price.


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