Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things Sellers Do That Real Estate Agents Hate

This article appeared on YAHOO but was written by a realtor in San Francisco....
I have to for the most part agree with what he has to say! Pretty much right on the money...
good blog about things sellers do that drive real estate agents crazy!

Home sellers today are under a lot of stress. It's a tougher market, home prices have fallen a lot, and many are trying to get as much money as possible to recoup their investment. Real estate agents feel sellers' pain and we're on their side. But sometimes, sellers do things that make it harder to for an agent to sell a home for what it's worth.

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Here are five not-so-great things sellers do that make their real estate agents cross their fingers and hope for the best.

1. Sellers who think their property is unique, thus worth more money.

Sellers consider their homes special; most likely they've put a lot of heart, soul, and money into fixing it up. It may be where they started a family or built a lifetime of memories. Real estate agents get that, but trust me, unless it's the Winchester Mystery House, most properties aren't that unusual.

When a seller believes their home is unique, however, they also believe it's worth more. Sellers then end up fixating on an asking price that's too high, despite the advice of an agent. If it's priced too high, a home will sit on the market for months. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 times, the seller will end up selling for less money than they would have gotten if the home was listed at an appropriate price from the start.

2. The home is a mess.

Sellers: It's important to pick up the home before a showing. Potential buyers touring a home usually don't appreciate stepping on a child's toy and fail to see the charm of a dog's discarded tennis ball. Buyers want to feel that a home is clean and well maintained. If it's not, they'll likely move on to the next.

3. Sellers who hang around during an open house.

There's a reason why real estate agents don't want sellers sticking around when potential buyers arrive. While a seller may be perfectly friendly and agreeable, they can alienate buyers or make them feel uncomfortable without even knowing it. I have one horror story involving a seller attempting to shoo a cat out from under the bed just as buyers were arriving. He'd just gotten out of the shower and wasn't appropriately dressed, needlessly repelling potential buyers.

4. Holding out for extra money at the last minute.

Say a buyer made an offer that was $40,000 less than what the seller wants. The agent and the buyer's agent have gone back and forth with a series of counter offers. The seller is only about $3,000 from their dream price but they insist on trying to squeeze another $1,500 out of the buyer.

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During escrow, the buyer may find a reason to ask for that $1,500 or more back in credits anyway. In demanding more money, the seller may have created bad will, as well as stressed those involved in the purchase. When it comes down to it, extracting that last $1,500 may actually cost the seller more at the end of the transaction.

5. Sellers who don't clean up before turning over the keys.

Sellers should imagine themselves as the future buyer. Would they want to walk into their new home and find twelve cans of old paint in the garage? Or an old sofa with a broken leg in the attic?

The tip to sellers is to try to make the home as spotless as possible for the new owners. They'll appreciate it and so will the agent. And besides, it's good karma.

Brendon DeSimone is a realtor based in San Francisco. He is a contributor to Zillow Blog, has collaborated on multiple real estate books, and is often quoted by major media outlets.

Monday, June 20, 2011

10 most expensive housing markets

Well I am a little surprised but we made CNNs most expensive housing market even after the downturn at #2!!
At least we still all know it is a great place to live right?
With the huge hit we have taken the last 2 years we should also be considered one of the most likely to appreciate!

2. San Jose, Calif.2 of 10

For $745,000 buy a three bedroom home in a gated, San Jose community.
Median home price: $545,000

Silicon Valley's tech millionaires and other residents have seen their home values plunge dramatically, but they're still holding some of the most valuable properties in the nation.

Home prices in the region have fallen 36% from their peak, according to Wells Fargo. Still, the metro area market is anything but cheap.

Prices in many coastal California communities have remained high due to tight regulations, strict building codes and the tough-to-build-on hillsides and mountains that surround places like the Silicon Valley. That, added to a post-World-War II population boom during which many engineers, scientists and other technology experts flocked to the emerging semiconductor industry here, has kept demand for homes high.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Silicon Valley Real Estate Facebook Page

As I am a big believer in SOCIAL MEDIA, I am in the process of having a professional design my facebook page....It will have all the bells and whistles you would expect from a realtors facebook page. I will also be advertising it on facebook soon after he gets it done.

I like Facebooks cutting edge advertising, in that they target people who seem to be interested in a certain subject. I think this is the wave of the future for small businesses and big busness has been doing it for a while. You notice how amazon for instance sends you targeted emails on what you have been most recently looking at on their sight. They must do it by giving you those slightly toxic cookies we are all so enamored with =) Here is to the next wave of SOCIAL MEDIA on facebook. I will post the link and most likely seo it when I get it done.

silicon valley homes exploding in price

Here is the original article from bloomberg
I would agree that prices have been going up but they make their point a little hard.
Palo Alto prices have certainly spiked to high levels....
It is a great time to buy in silicon valley!

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- A surge in wealth from technology stock sales and initial public offerings is spilling into the Silicon Valley real estate market as newly rich workers bid up home values in suburban cities south of San Francisco. Bloomberg's Cris Valerio reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

A sold sticker is displayed on a for sale sign outside of a home in Palo Alto, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The Hoover Tower stands at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
A surge in wealth from technology stock sales and initial public offerings is spilling into the Silicon Valley real estate market as newly rich workers bid up home values in suburban cities south of San Francisco.
The median price of single-family houses sold in Palo Alto, home of Facebook Inc., climbed 20 percent in May from a year earlier to $1.63 million, the biggest jump since 2008, according to preliminary figures from research company DataQuick. In Mountain View, the base of LinkedIn Corp., prices rose 3.1 percent to $957,500, the ninth year-over-year gain in 12 months.
The advances are defying a U.S. housing slump that has sent national values to an eight-year low. Share sales such as the IPO of LinkedIn -- which doubled on its first day of trading -- and an expected offering from Facebook will fuel a boom in some Silicon Valley cities into 2013, said Kenneth Rosen, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.
“It’s just the beginning of the story and I suspect we’ll see an explosion in the next couple years,” Rosen, chairman of the school’s Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, said in a telephone interview. “You’ve got young people with real money, and it’s not surprising they want to have a house.”
IPO Filings
Almost 300 companies have filed for IPOs in 2011, the most for any year during the same period since 2000, and more than 10 percent of those are in California, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Silicon Valley is the U.S. hub for early-stage companies, receiving almost 40 percent of the $23.3 billion in venture-firm investments last year, estimates from the National Venture Capital Association show.
Pandora Media Inc. climbed 8.9 percent today as shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The online radio company, based about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Silicon Valley in Oakland, raised $234.9 million in its IPO. Shares were priced at $16, above the expected $10 to $12 range.
The real estate gains in Silicon Valley, located primarily in the San Jose metropolitan area, are mostly occurring in towns where million-dollar values are already the norm. The median price in Cupertino gained 12 percent last month from May 2010 to $1.08 million, and values in Saratoga rose 4.7 percent to $1.62 million, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
U.S. Price Declines
Housing in much of the rest of the nation is struggling as foreclosures and unemployment of more than 9 percent weigh on consumer sentiment. Home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped 3.6 percent in March from a year earlier to the lowest since 2003, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values. The measure has declined 33 percent from its 2006 peak.
In Palo Alto, traffic at home showings has tripled in the last three weeks, with the average age of potential buyers dropping from about 50 to the mid-30s, said Daniel Siciliano, an associate dean at Stanford Law School who attends the tours because he’s in the market for a bigger house.
“People at startups have a lot of pent-up demand and tend to spend a portion of their new liquidity pretty quickly,” Siciliano said of his newfound competition for residential real estate. “They want to manifest their wealth.”
Past Silicon Valley property booms started in Palo Alto, adjacent to the Stanford campus, and Cupertino, home of Apple Inc. (AAPL), because of those institutional links and their coveted public schools, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. Buyers from China have also been drawn by education resources in prestige valley locations and pushed up demand.
‘Happening Place’
“We’re a happening place because of the university and a lot of the folks that have been buying are relatively young,” said Levy, who has viewed downtown condominiums selling for double what he paid in 2005. “We have the best train service to San Francisco. I can be downtown in 35 minutes.”
Sean Scott, head of sales for Redwood City-based software firm Ingenuity Systems Inc., looked at a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Palo Alto last month priced at $1.8 million. The house has “soaring ceilings and generous living spaces,” two patios and a “lush backyard garden,” according to a marketing flyer.
A sale is pending for more than 20 percent above the asking price, or at least $2.2 million, after five bids were received, said Denise Simons, the listing agent at Alain Pinel Realtors.
“The market seems to be returning to the crazy days and the question is whether or not it is a false recovery or a sustained recovery,” Scott said in an e-mail after viewing two more homes at $1.25 million or more, and declining to make any offers. “I suspect that it is a sustained recovery, given the planned liquidity events with social-networking companies.”
Facebook IPO
Speculation that Facebook will go public in the next year is mounting even as the world’s largest social-media site remains silent about its plans. The company may have an IPO in the first quarter of 2012 with a valuation as high as $100 billion, cable channel CNBC reported June 13, citing people familiar with the matter.
Some investors have already cashed in equity in their companies through private share sales, boosting Silicon Valley housing demand and contributing to price gains, Rosen said. Stakes in closely held firms can be sold on secondary exchanges such as SharesPost Inc., which connects buyers and sellers. The exchange values Facebook at almost $53 billion.
Shares granted to employees of public companies can’t be sold until 180 days after the IPO, under U.S. securities rules.
New Millionaires
“You will probably see hundreds, if not thousands, of newly minted millionaires in the next two or three years,” said Steve Eskenazi, a tech investor in Hillsborough, north of Palo Alto, where the minimum lot size is a half acre (0.2 hectare). He sold his portion of an online advertising network to Sunnyvale-based Yahoo! Inc. in 2007.
“Most people in their 20s who find themselves millionaires feel it’s their inalienable right to buy real estate, and they’re typically not price sensitive,” Eskenazi said.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 27, bought a house this year in Palo Alto, said Larry Yu, a company spokesman. He declined to disclose details. Zuckerberg paid $7 million for a 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter), seven-bedroom home in a “leafy and affluent” neighborhood, the San Jose Mercury News reported May 5, without saying where it got the information.
The purchase was made before Facebook’s scheduled move to Menlo Park, just north of Palo Alto.
15 Miles
As more firms go public and workers cash in shares, real estate within 15 miles of the office will climb, said Rosen, who gave a presentation at Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Mountain View headquarters before the company’s 2004 IPO to educate employees on housing. Sales are usually concentrated in the “middle to upper end,” he said.
In Cupertino, about 12 miles from Palo Alto, a three- bedroom home listed for $908,000 got more than a dozen offers and sold for $950,000 on June 8, said Albert Kao, an agent at Giant Realty Inc. in the city. The prior owner, who bought the property in 2002, decided to sell after her children graduated from the public schools. She made a $290,000 profit before commissions, Kao said.
Lower-priced areas are still struggling with weak demand. In all of Santa Clara County, which encompasses some Silicon Valley cities, prices decreased 5.1 percent in May from a year earlier to $498,000 as distressed sales pulled values down in the broader market, DataQuick said in a report today. The drop was smaller than in the rest of the San Francisco Bay area, with the nine-county median in the region tumbling 9.3 percent.
Groupon, Zynga
Groupon Inc., an online coupon provider based in Chicago, filed for an initial share sale June 2 and is hiring engineers in California, according to its website. As early as March, Groupon was in talks with bankers about an IPO that would value the company at as much as $25 billion, two people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Zynga Inc. of San Francisco, the largest maker of games for Facebook and valued at $8.8 billion on SharesPost, may file for an IPO by the end of the month, a person with knowledge of the matter said June 3.
Those firms are among the companies that will help Silicon Valley grow by about 20,000 workers in 2011, said Levy, the California economist. Software publishers and Web portals accounted for 5,600 of the 13,400 jobs added in the year through April in the San Jose metropolitan area, according to the California Employment Development Department.
“We’re at the beginnings of an expansion of the job base,” said Levy. “There will be a lot of hiring.”
Simons, the agent for the four-bedroom Palo Alto home, said there were five “excellent” offers for the 2,257-square-foot residence. It was constructed in 1973 by California developer Joseph Eichler, who built thousands of “progressive” tract houses in middle-class neighborhoods, according to a website devoted to the properties.
“There are people who want to get in and they’re willing to pay,” Simons said outside the home, which was repainted, landscaped and staged with furniture before the public showings. “We’re just starting to see the market come back.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

YAHOO is now completely BIPOLAR....just days ago they published an article from
saying that silicon valley prices were a they publish the truth =)

Silicon Valley real estate market sizzling

By Yahoo! Local – 2 hrs 37 mins ago
Pueng Vongs, Y! SF Editor
While the rest of the country is mired in a housing slump, sales in the Bay Area high-tech hub couldn't be hotter, according to a report from Bloomberg News. This is even while sales in Northern California overall are down.
The report details surging prices in the South Bay, crazy traffic at open houses, and million dollar homes with multiple offers -- often above the asking price.
Read the full report.
The rush is fueled by new IPOs and anticipation of Facebook's offering next year. In fact, big money is already being made on the social media giant in private share sales pre-IPO.
The report states that the median price of single-family houses in Palo Alto, home of Facebook, increased 20 percent in May from the previous year to $1.63 million, the biggest jump since 2008, according to DataQuick. Bidding wars are common.
Other areas also seeing a sizable bump are Cupertino, which gained 12 percent last month from May 2010 to $1.08 million, and Saratoga, which spiked 4.7 percent to $1.62 million, according to DataQuick.
"The market seems to be returning to the crazy days and the question is whether or not it is a false recovery or a sustained recovery," says one home hunter.
The high-tech, young, newly-monied set favor owning a house and picket fence, says the report. One observer in Palo Alto says he estimates the average age of buyers has dropped from about 50 to the mid-30s.
The report also expects the hi-tech resurgence to spillover into more jobs.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Median Prices June 4th 2011


Short sales getting faster

Contra Costa Times
Posted: 06/01/2011 10:10:59 PM PDT
Updated: 06/03/2011 05:09:45 PM PDT

When it comes to short sales, the real estate transaction involving a mortgage that is worth more than the home it is tied to has long belied its name as a quick deal.
That is starting to slowly change, thanks to increased bank staffing, a Department of Treasury program that aims to speed up the transactions and more of a general acceptance of the deal.
Just ask first-time homeowners Michael and May Manlapeg, who were renting a house in Walnut Creek a few months ago. After signing a pending sales contract for a home in Pleasant Hill in late January, they thought it would take as much as six months for the deal to go through. Escrow ended up closing in slightly less than three months. Regular home sales typically take 30 to 60 days to close escrow after a pending sales contract is signed.
"I knew it could it could be a long, difficult process. It went faster than we expected," said Michael Manlapeg, 34, of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom property in Pleasant Hill they purchased in a short sale for $550,000.
The family moved to the Bay Area five years ago after Michael Manlapeg accepted a job as an information technology manager at an employee-benefits administration company in San Francisco.
The Manlapegs were looking for a home in the Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill area that could accommodate their four young children, but they found places that fit the bill were out of their price range. So, they turned

to a short sale, which allows for a home to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage -- provided the transaction is approved by the lender.
Unlike foreclosures, which can sell at substantial discounts, short sales tend to be priced closer to fair-market value. Still, some short-sale bargains can be struck by negotiating down the price based on work that needs to be done on a property.
The $550,000 price the Manlapegs paid reflected a $50,000 negotiated discount to offset needed roof work and minor repairs.
The couple financed the property with a 30-year, fixed-rate Federal Housing Administration loan with a 4.75 percent interest rate and a 3.5 percent down payment. Their new home features a pool and creekside deck area; it was once listed as a regular sale for $1.1 million in 2008. "We got a great price," Michael Manlapeg said.
Short sales are taking less time to do now than a year ago, said Kevin Kieffer, a real estate agent with the Danville office of Keller Williams Realty, who represented the Manlapegs in their purchase. "Banks have staffed up and put systems in place," he said.
Still, Kieffer said time challenges can pose a problem for short sales. "I generally tell (buyers) to be prepared to wait up the 120 days to close, and it could go longer. Those who are renting can be the ideal candidate."
In April, short-sale transactions accounted for 18.6 percent of existing Bay Area home sales, up from 17.6 percent in April 2010 and up from 12.9 percent two years ago, according to MDA DataQuick, a real estate tracking firm.
Work in progress
While some short sales are not taking as long as they used to, there is room for improvement, said Colleen Badagliacco, head of the California Association of Realtors' short sales task force and an agent with the San Jose office of Altera Real Estate.
A California Association of Realtors survey conducted during the last two weeks of 2010 found that fewer than three of every five short sales in the Golden State closed last year.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said that it took more than 60 days for lenders to provide a written response that approved or rejected an offer from a buyer.
However, many large lenders have begun streamlining the process in response to changes made earlier this year to a voluntary Department of Treasury program that aims to speed up short sales, even though that program has seen less than 5,500 short sales completed since it began in April 2010.
Banks participating in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA, are making progress in speeding up short sales, Badagliacco said.
"One of the key components (of HAFA) is that lenders will give a response to an offer within 45 days. "... Because of that, they have had to streamline their processes, which is helping them respond faster to loans that are not in the HAFA program. That certainly is a step forward," she said, adding that most smaller lenders have not done as much streamlining.
HAFA provides financial incentives to lenders and $3,000 in relocation assistance to sellers to encourage short sales. It is geared to homeowners who qualified for a trial loan modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program but were unable to obtain a permanent modification. Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages can request to be evaluated for the HAFA program.
When HAFA was launched in April 2010, there was no time requirement for participating lenders to provide a yes-or-no answer to homeowners seeking approval for a short sale.
That changed Feb. 1, when a new requirement required an answer in 30 calender days, which has since been increased to 45 days starting June 1. The 45-day deadline also applies to homeowners not in the program who already received an offer and want it to proceed as a HAFA short sale.
The program applies to loans that are not backed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rolled out their own short-sale programs in August. While some differences exist, a $3,000 incentive paid to sellers who close a short sale applies to all three programs.
Many homeowners who fell out of the Home Affordable Modification Program now are turning to short sales, said Anastasia Stephanopoulos, a real estate agent with the Walnut Creek office of J. Rockcliff Realtors, an East Bay brokerage. Most of the short sales her office is handling are not HAFA short sales, she said.
"The banks are becoming more automated with how they are approaching the process. (Short sales) are moving much more quickly," she said. "It's really more cost effective to accept a short sale than to let it go to foreclosure. "... I'm finding a lot more short sales and fewer foreclosures."
However, she noted, short sales can be complicated when there are two or more loans on the property.
Tax advantage
Normally, when a loan amount is forgiven by the lender as a result of a foreclosure, loan modification, or short sale, the amount is typically treated as taxable income.
But a temporary change to the tax code revised that through tax year 2012, which means forgiven debt can be excluded from taxable income at the state and federal level if the loan was used to acquire, build or substantially improve the taxpayer's primary home. Consult a tax professional for more details.
The seller's credit score also may be affected, although not as much as it would be in a foreclosure, Stephanopoulos said.
Even though the seller may face some financial drawbacks from a short sale transaction, "They are able to sell their house and put some closure behind them. I think sellers are happy to put it behind them," she said.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-952-2690.
A short sale doesn't necessarily mean a great deal.
A buyer who needs to be in a home by a date certain should not attempt a short sale purchase.
Sometimes at the 11th hour, a buyer may be asked to participate financially to provide fees for short sale negotiators or money to the second lien holder.
Sometimes foreclosure proceedings are also taking place. Because of the length of time required for bank(s) approval, it may be foreclosed upon before the short sale can be successfully completed.
Live in the home or have lived there in the past 12 months.
Have a documented financial hardship.
Have not purchased a new house within the past 12 months.
First mortgage is less than $729,750.
Obtained a mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
Must not have been convicted within the past 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud or forgery, money laundering or tax evasion, in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.