Real Estate Complexities

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Why is that strange family in my master bedroom?

This quote from Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR’s chief economist, in this morning’s San Diego Union Tribune:

For sellers, because inventory is so much higher than it was a couple of years ago, the advice is don’t list your home for sale unless you are really interested in selling your home.

This is a highly complex economic strategy written in technical economist speak, so let’s summarize in lay-terms. Take this simple test to determine if the time is right for you to list your home for sale.

  • I want to sell my home. a)True b)False

If you answered (a), “True”, you should offer your home for sale.

Tomorrow, Ms. Appleton-Young will be addressing the tricky business of the home purchase. “Do not buy a home unless you want to buy a home.”

Real estate forensics

There is more from our paper’s Currents section this morning:

Hair shafts taken from 10 of the giant beasts yielded a surprising amount of undamaged genetic material, even from one specimen that had been sitting in a room-temperature museum exhibit for 200 years.

Those open houses just seem to drag on forever! If the owners were only really interested in selling, the woolly mammoth could have closed up early and caught the end of the Chargers game. Or, maybe it was the buyers who were the problem.

Long in the tusk

Speaking of the open house, while I have flopped like a bad comb-over on this issue, I am now convinced that this timeworn tradition has seen its finest hour. My strongest argument in defense of the prehistoric ritual has been that the Internet has given the home buyer not the tools to render the agent extinct, but certainly the tools to get a jump-start on the process. We know that buyers are doing more research on their own and finding the need to personally view fewer homes before making a purchase as a result. Consequently, I am also seeing buyers wait until they are much further into the process before establishing a relationship with an agent. Therefore, the open house provides access to the uncommitted, but it is often the blind date.

The counter argument is much stronger. If the open house buyer has not committed to representation, how serious are they about making a purchase? At this point in time, not very. The motivated buyer and the buyer with agent representation will see the homes they want to see with or without a Sunday open door policy. Just maybe, by virtue of the buyer taking a few extra, inconvenient steps to secure a viewing (like making a phone call and scheduling an appointment), they will be demonstrating sincerity and commitment.

Extending courtesies

This, from a phone call to one of our buyer’s agents recently:

Buyer: “I would like to see the house.”
Agent: “Are you working with an agent?”
Buyer: “Yes, I have an agent.”
Agent: “Then why don’t you have your agent show you the home?”
Buyer: “I’m not that serious yet. I don’t want to bother her.”

So, my advice (and since Ms. Appleton-Young just may have the makings of a book, I authorize reprint without permission) is this:

If you don’t want to be a museum exhibit for the next 200 years, do not sentence yourself to open houses. If the buyer wants to see your home, it has been exposed to the world on the Internet and through the Multiple Listing Service, you have a yard sign and shiny brochures detailing every feature to attract attention, you have a website linking photos and tours and your floor plan, and you have an agent aggressively promoting to those who want to purchase a home like yours.

That is, unless you hired the giant beast.

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