Tag Archives: listing inventory

Agent of Change

transformationI was talking with a client this week after a particularly unsatisfying trip out to look at new listings that just came on the market.  Here’s her situation.  I have a feeling it might sound a little familiar to some of you.

She sold her condo a few months ago and moved into a rental. She’s been looking ever since. Still searching for a move-up house that will become her home for a long time to come.

There are days she’s hopeful. Days she’s frustrated. Days she’s anxious.  Days she wonders if somehow she’s traded in the dream of homeownership for a permanent spot on the rent rolls. Days she wishes she could paint the wall in the kitchen. Days she wishes some of her stuff wasn’t in storage.

Days she can’t believe there isn’t more on the market to chose from. Days she’s convinced the universe is plotting against her – personally.  Days when the promise of a new listing magically floats up on her computer screen and she gets excited all over again.  And of course, some days with all of the above.

It wasn’t the original plan to relocate temporarily into a rental.  At least not Plan A – which would have been: Take advantage of the spring surge in market activity when multiple offers started flying. Get her condo into escrow with some really tight contingency timelines. With a really good, all-cash buyer. Or at least one with a solid, slam-dunk loan process in front of them.

From there she, would open herself up to the fates.  Or luck. Or divine intervention. Or the rule of karmic law.  Or the mysteries of synchronicity. Or the vagaries of quantum possibility.  Hoping she could find just the right house at just the right price – quickly.

Then, she’d make an offer. Beat out the competition. And get it accepted. We’d choreograph everything so that there could be a reasonably simultaneous closing on both places (or a short rent back period on the first).

No, Plan A is not a very easy task these days. I’m not sure it ever was. It was easi-er in the past though.

The Plan B we discussed long before we ever listed the condo was exactly this.  Sell it. Liberate the equity. Get rid of the hassle. Take the plunge. Suffer through the indignities of having to live in a home while it’s for sale.  In the middle of the fishbowl. In anything but normal fashion. On a staged stage you are supposed to leave every time someone wants to come over and look.

If there’s anyone who actually enjoys the process of selling the house they are living in, they should have their head examined.

There was also a Plan C of course. There always is.  Plan C is the one where you simply don’t do anything.  You make the default  choice to not move at all.  Much easier in the short run. You just breathe a long sigh of relief. And resign yourself to hunkering down in a place where you aren’t happy. May even be miserable in.

It’s funny how often people choose to accept what they know is not working in their lives. Instead of choosing to face something far more terrifying – the unknown of change. Specially when it has to do with home and all things familiar. The stuff.  The routines. All the established patterns we surround ourselves with and anchor our lives to – for good and bad, better and worse.

That’s the beauty of this business which isn’t really a business so much as a calling – if you view it in the right way.  It puts Agents in touch with some of people’s deepest fears. It includes us in their intimate stories.  It invites us to become Agents of Change.

And ultimately it provides us with proof positive over the years, that it’s possible to choose change. Confront our resistance to the unknown. Embrace it.  Actually come to view it as an adventure rather than an arduous and awful journey.  And to come out the other side. Happy. Healthy. Balanced. Safely ensconced.

She will find the right place. I don’t have any doubt.


Number Wonking

I’m never going to be a very good numbers wonk.  Or geeky statistics guy.   It’s not my nature.  I’m much more comfortable wandering off-leash in the obscure realms of tortured introspection, existential angst and abnormal psychology.

I can crunch a dozen zen koans at a time and make sense of them all. I can distill one single universal truth out of the hundreds of universes that populate 2,000 pages of the Urantia Book.  But when it comes to those sales figures the real estate market provides us each month, I’m not sure I can determine anything useful.  My perceptions just don’t seem to jibe with the rest of realty.

This week, I’m throwing caution to the wind. Going against my own grain. Undoubtedly rubbing some of you the wrong way in the process.   I’m foisting my own list of real estate stats on you – those that I personally find most interesting.

I’ll keep my editorial comments to myself and let the numbers speak for themselves. I invite you to log onto the blog. Register your opinions. Contradict my data with your data. Or tell me why I’m full of it.

But first…my all-purpose CYA disclaimer. The following information is not exact. There are many ways that info can be pulled off the MLS System. There are often mistakes Agents make inputting their listings that throw off the results.  Like all aggregate compilations these numbers may be subject to spin, the sins of (c)omission or errors in interpolation or extrapolation. You might not like what you see.  You may find the right side of your brain in vehement disagreement with your left.

I don’t speak for any group or officially represent any organization.  I have no particular allegiance to any thing other than my own thing . Proceed at your own risk. But if you do go forward, be advised that you might want to do so in the company of an experienced real estate attorney, a licensed CPA, a braniac cousin or a well-balanced idiot savant.  Feel free to enlist a priest, shrink, shaman or bartender or, of course, a real estate broker. Moi? I’ve really got no expertise in analyzing numbers. I only know what my gut tells me.

It’s May 22st.  Five more business days till the end of the month.  We’re rooting for you May. Real estate is cheering you on. You’ve got a long way to go in a short period of time if you want to boost our spirits and continue to shore-up our optimism. We draw hope and solace from the fact that a lot of closings often get crammed in right before the end of the month.

As of 11am yesterday, 98 homes had sold in the County during May.  Of those, 3 closed for a million dollars or more, 2 closed between 900 and 1 mill, 10 in the 800’s, 8 in the 700’s, 13 in the 600’s, 17 in the 500’s, 16  in the 400’s, 14 in the 300’s. And the rest…lower. All the way down to a $30,000 shack in the boonies.

Of the 98 properties sold 14 were short sales and 21 were REOs. Eighteen of the properties sold were listed above $800,000 at the time they went into contract. All but one of those 18 sold for less than what they were listed for, at the time of sale.  Most  sold for far less than what they were originally listed for.  Going back to the original listings of all 18 properties, the average property sold for  $316,961 less than what someone was hoping to get, in the beginning. These 18  properties had an average time on market of 254 days.

There are approximately 680 active single family listings (homes not in escrow) on the market – 212 are listed above a million dollars.  Let’s reiterate: 3  properties above a million have sold in May, 9 sold in April,  12  in March, 6 in February, 7 in January.

There are approximately 414 properties currently in one form of escrow or another – euphemistically known in the real estate world as Status 2, 3 or 4 (pending release, pending show, pending no show.) Of the 414 properties under contract, 16 are listed above a million, 11 are in the 900’s, 19 in the 800’s, 33 in the 700’s, 39 in the 600’s, 46 in the 500’s, 72 in the 400’s, 61 in the 300’s.

Of the 414 properties in escrow 216  are short sales and 56 of them are REOs.  Roughly 65% of all properties in escrow are officially – distress sales.

There’s my shorthand synopsis of the stats. What do you make of it all?  Time to roll up our sleeves and apply a little transactional analysis to the marketplace?