Facebook
YouTube
LinkedIn
You are here: Home » 2017 » June

USE THE RIGHT TYPE OF AGENT

When you are experiencing an important medical situation, you will normally wind up with a specialist of some kind. The same goes for real estate.

 

A California real estate license allows us to transact business across a wide range of activities. What usually comes to mind is that we can represent sellers or buyers in a residential resale transaction of a single-family home. But our license also allows us to do leases, property management, bare land, commercial transactions, business opportunities, mobile homes, mortgages (with some extra requirements), and more. Each of these transactions can be very different and have their own pitfalls and steep learning curves. When someone takes the required courses and then passes the real estate test, they may be licensed to perform all these transactions, but they likely don’t know everything about all these different type of transactions. Personally, I’ve focused almost exclusively on representing sellers of residential homes, and after almost 20 years I feel like I’m still learning something new all the time!

 

It’s one thing to ask an agent, “Can you help me buy/sell/lease this home/mobile home/commercial building?” They can honestly answer, “Yes,” since our license is so broad. But the better question to ask is, “Have you done this type of transaction before? How many times?” Ask them for a list of their transactions for the last few years. Even if they HAVE done many transactions of that type, do they usually represent buyers or sellers? If you are selling a custom home on 10 acres with a well and septic and your agent usually only sells tract homes in town, that could pose challenges. If your situation is a divorce, have they dealt with divorces before? Probate? Short sale? If they haven’t, make sure they have a mentor to rely on.

LOCAL AGENT?

Over the last few years, many of the Multiple Listing Services across California have started sharing data so agents can have access to areas far beyond where they live. I am NOT a big fan of this! When you are selecting an agent to work with, either to buy or to sell, my advice is to stick with someone who lives in and knows that area.  That may seem like common-sense advice, but I’m surprised how many people use an agent from out of the area. Maybe it’s a relative, or a close friend, or they used them last time they bought or sold and they just trust that agent. This can present challenges, for all parties involved.

 

A perfect example of this is the situation with the golf courses in Brentwood right now. One or more of the courses may close, or combine, or part of them may become vineyards or assisted living, etc. This is information that buyers need to have so they can make an educated decision. This is something that sellers should be disclosing to protect themselves from liability later if the buyer is disgruntled after paying top dollar for a “golf course view” that may go away.

 

I could think of many other examples where a local agent may have knowledge of some local issue where an out of town agent may not: the railroad tracks through town that appear to be abandoned but may be used in the future, rising and falling water rates, E-Bart, areas of high tax assessments, funky school boundaries (there are a few isolated cases where a home with an address in one town is actually zoned for the school district of the neighboring town), etc.

 

I don’t care if the person changing my oil just moved to town that day. Same goes for a haircut. But real estate is LOCAL!

KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE

There have been many burglars willing to share how they target which home to break into. The #1 thing they usually look for is a dark house where it appears no one is home, but they know valuables are inside. There are simple steps you can take to make your home less attractive.

 

Prune the bushes in front of your home so they don’t have a place to hide. Install motion-sensor lights. This one tip can often send burglars scrambling when the lights go on. Get a dog, or at least put up a “beware of dog” sign. Same thing with an alarm, either install an alarm or put up a sign saying you have an alarm.

 

If you buy a new TV, stereo or computer equipment, don’t leave the empty boxes outside or at your curb. You are just advertising, “Nice stuff inside!” Don’t leave expensive items laying around on tables or in view from the front window. Shut your blinds at night. When you are home at night with the lights on, you can’t really see out your windows, but thieves can easily see what you have.

 

When you are gone from the house, especially on vacation, you need to make the house look occupied. Put a timer on a few lights and especially the TV at random times. Ask your neighbors to collect any newspapers, flyers, etc. from your porch. Be sure to tell your neighbors so they can keep an eye out for suspicious people. Ask them to park a car in your driveway now and then. And DON’T post your vacation pics on social media until AFTER you get home! I often see posts with a pic of the whole family boarding an airplane with the caption, “Two weeks in paradise starts today!” You are just inviting thieves to your home!

APPRAISAL WOES

Over the last 30 days, I’ve had challenges on several transactions due to appraisals coming in low. I believe I’m being objective when I say they came in “low” because they were not in contract for tremendously higher than what the recent solds were. The appraisers seemed to be making overly negative adjustments and/or were just flat-out ignoring major positive attributes to our subject property. I’ve checked with other local agents and many of them are reporting similar challenges. This is NOT on every transaction, and most appraisers do a great job, but it’s happening on enough transactions that it’s becoming a common issue.

 

It’s possible that some appraisers think our market is getting over-heated again beyond the fundamentals, and that it’s their job to slow things down by putting their “thumb on the scale” a little bit. I had a situation recently where the same home was appraised by two different appraisers less than two weeks of each other and it came in $25K higher the second time.

 

So what does this mean if you are in the real estate market right now? If you are a seller, you may look more favorably at offers where the buyer is willing to waive some or all of the appraisal contingency. Sometimes the highest offer is not the best offer. If you are the buyer, don’t be surprised if the seller asks you to waive some or all of the appraisal contingency. If you are willing to do that, it helps if you can provide proof of liquid funds with your offer to show that you can pay the difference if needed. In the SF/Silicon Valley, it’s almost expected that the buyer waive the appraisal contingency. We aren’t there yet out here, but it may be moving in that direction.

Return to top of page

Contact Us

  • Sharp Realty
  • 320 Fairview Ave.
  • Brentwood CA 94513
  • P: 925.240.6683
  • F: 925.524.2302
  • E: info@SharpHomesOnline.com
  • DRE# 01858431