Friday, November 30, 2012

What happened to the 3 Thanksgiving offers?

I've been asked about the property offers I had out for three separate clients when I left for Thanksgiving.
- One offer died in a multiple offer situation with 15 other offers.  The sellers took an all-cash offer considerably over the asking price. Quite a disappointment, but not unexpected.
- Another offer was in a multiple offer situation with 7 other offers.  The sellers accepted an offer considerably over asking with no appraisal contingency.  This, too, was a major disappointment for my buyers, and was less expected since they offered over the asking price.
- The third offer is a go.  Whew!  We had to jump through hoops to get it, including putting the buyer's current home on the market and selling it in two days.  And even then it took the sellers several days to say yes.  Stay tuned...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why you trust the internet for homes for sale info

I entered a listing -- the new one below at 2101 N. Rose in Burbank -- into the Combined Los Angeles Westside multiple listing service this a.m.  It is supposed to go to the other area multiple listing services right away (there are about three in So. Cal. and different Realtors use different ones for various reasons).

Four hours later, the listing is still not coming up on the other mls's.  But it's on Redfin!  And probably Zillow, Trulia, etc.  No wonder clients want to search for properties themselves -- they're getting info faster from the internet than from the Realtor community. (Yes, I've called the other two mls's to let them know.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This weekend only -- not on the mls -- 3+1 in Burbank for only $435,000!

Update for Monday, 11/26: this is on the multiple listing service after all.  It went on about 10:30 this a.m. You've heard of pop-up restaurants and pop-up about a pop-up house for sale?  2101 N. Rose is offered for sale this weekend only and is not on the mls.  It's an adorable three bedroom, 1 bath, 1016 sf house with a two car garage and a big backyard.  The owners are designers and the house is way cute with custom paint, custom lighting, hardwood floors, cool lino in the kitchen and more.  Yes, it's close to the airport and has all the airport sound retrofitting including new windows, a/c, etc.

Why is it offered only this weekend? The sellers of 2101 N. Rose have made an offer on a new purchase and sellers of that home do not want to negotiate with us unless the owners of Rose have an accepted offer on their property.  Will it be on the multiple later this week? Unsure -- but if $435,000 is your price range and you're a solid buyer, you'll want to check it out sooner rather than later.  More pictures will be on my website at later today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I have three offers outstanding...

...and I'm leaving town for the holiday.  One of the many, many things I'm thankful for this holiday is the internet so I can keep in touch with my business!  Please think good thoughts for my buyer clients.  And by the way, what are you thankful for?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The parrots are back in Burbank!

I saw the famous flock of wild parrots yesterday at Burbank and Orchard Blvds.  I wonder where they've been for the last six months?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Do You Feel Lucky? from the Wall Street Journal

From this past weekend's Wall Street Journal.  I just encountered this when a potential buyer wanted to include $888 at the back of an offering number and I said, "Wha?"
Do You Feel Lucky?
In Vegas, home sellers love listings with 7's, but in Asian neighborhoods, beware of 4's. When pricing in residential real estate is purely a numbers game
Just like the lottery, real estate can be a numbers game in which superstition plays a role. According to research by real-estate website Trulia, "luck" is frequently linked to the last nonzero digit of homes for sale (the eight in $528,000, for example). In Asian-majority neighborhoods, 20% of listings end with a lucky eight, compared with 4% of listings in areas where Asians are a minority.
It's not just Asians who rely on luck. Home-sellers in Nevada—especially Las Vegas—look to lucky seven to unload their homes. Listings with a seven before the zeros are 37% more common in Nevada than in the rest of the U.S.
In the Bible Belt, defined as the Southeast and south-central U.S., homes are 27% more likely to include 316 in the listing price, a nod to John 3:16, a touchstone New Testament verse. Surprisingly, the numbers 666—considered to represent evil—are 39% more common in the Bible Belt than elsewhere in the U.S. And throughout the country, the number 13 is about 15% less likely to appear than either 12 or 14.
But the listings superstition appears to be strongest in neighborhoods where Asians make up more than 50% of the population, according to Trulia data of all homes listed for sale, excluding foreclosures, from October 2011 to the present. The affinity for eight comes across most frequently in luxury homes over $1 million, with 37% of listings ending in an eight before the zeros.
The Chinese pronunciation of eight is similar to the word that means "prosperity" or "wealth," says Zili Yang, professor of economics at Binghamton University. Four sounds similar to the Chinese word for "death," making it a very unlucky number in Chinese culture, Prof. Yang adds. "All businesses try to avoid it in all occasions. We don't even want to put it onto our car plates," he says.
Brent Chang, a real-estate agent with his mother, Linda Chang, with Coldwell Banker San Marino in California, says his clients stay away from fours in nearly all circumstances. He says about 85% of his Asian clients use numerology when buying or selling. "If we suggest $2 million for a property, they will want to price it at $2,188,888. They'll put as many eights in there as possible," Mr. Chang says.
Manoj Thomas, a marketing professor at Cornell University, says lucky numbers are a subconscious strategy used by sellers: If a person believes one number brings him luck and uses it more frequently, it will seem intuitive to him, and he will feel more comfortable using it.
But numbers—and their placement—have a subconscious effect on buyers, too. People tend to look at digits on the left, says Prof. Thomas, who studies the psychology of pricing. Prices with lower left-hand-side numbers give buyers the impression that they're getting a better deal.
That's why prices are often listed with multiple nines, like $19.99, says Alan Cooke, a marketing professor at the University of Florida. "People mentally round down, dropping the cents off of $19.99 and seeing it as $19 and not $20," he says.
The same strategy can be seen in homes priced under $1 million, where 54% of homes have prices ending in a nine, according to the Trulia data. But the picture changes for homes at the higher end: Only 25% of homes that cost more than $1 million end in a nine. One theory: Nines are associated with mass consumer goods, making them less appealing to high-end buyers, says Jed Kolko, chief economist and head of analytics at Trulia.
And pricing psychology may be a tougher game as prices go up. "It's harder to make a $3 million home sound inexpensive," Mr. Kolko says.
Instead, high-end home sellers gravitate toward the number five. With homes over $1 million, 55% have a final nonzero digit of five, such as $2.5 million. Under $1 million, only 26% of listings have the five. Five is a common default number when people end their price listing, Mr. Kolko adds.
"Five does have a special status in our minds," Prof. Thomas says. "We see it as the midpoint on the 1 to 10 scale, and we tend to spontaneously compare any single digit as higher or lower than five."
After a homeowner arrives at an approximate value of his house, he can fine-tune the price by changing the numerical pattern, Prof. Thomas says. "The makes a difference," he adds.
Using precise numbers can give the sense of a bargain, he says, because precise numbers are usually used for lower-cost purchases, like a grapefruit, while round numbers are reserved for bigger purchases. "You can list a house for $500,000, or you can list it for $505,550," he says. "The second one seems like a better deal."
But the strategy can backfire if the number is too precise. A sale price of $1,328,972, for example, can turn potential buyers away, Prof. Cooke says. Since that kind of "bizarre" number isn't used often in daily life, it seems harder to work with, and people may subconsciously reject using it.
For some, lucky numbers are purely a way to stand out in the real estate scene. Triple sevens are three times more common in Nevada than in the rest of the country, but Tina Ott, who works with her family within the Coldwell Banker Woodbury office in Minnesota, has been listing homes with the lucky trio since 1995. "Instead of $319,900, we'll do $319,777," Ms. Ott says.
The strategy works twofold: it bumps the 777 listings up before the 999s when listed by price, and it also puts clients at ease in what can be a stressful process.
"When we're getting ready to get to the pricing part, which can be a tense subject, it helps soften the process," Ms. Ott says. "We try to make it a little lighter by asking, 'Shall we try our luck?' "
Crazy 8 Effect on Addresses
The impact of numbers goes beyond pricing. The street address matters, too.
In a paper presented two years ago, called "Superstition in the Housing Market," Nicole Fortin, professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, found that home buyers in Chinese neighborhoods in the metro Vancouver region were willing to pay a premium for lucky numbers in their street addresses.
Ms. Fortin says buyers paid a premium of 2% to 3% for homes prices that ended with an eight, while sellers had to accept a 2% discount if they were selling a house that ended with a four. The trend was most pronounced among luxury homes.
"It's a luxury to get that number. It's considered to be prestigious," she says.
Brent Chang, a real-estate agent in San Marino, Calif., explains the thinking: "If you have a listing, and the address is 180, you know Asian buyers will be very interested in the house because it's so hard to change the address."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ask the home appraiser

Have you been curious about some of the finer points of home appraisals? I have -- and although I deal with them all the time, things change.  My office recently brought in an appraiser to speak, and here are some of the more pertinent questions and answers.  Remember, these answers were given for a Realtor's perspective.  The comments in italics are mine.

  • Is there a difference between independent appraisers and bank approved appraisers? How do you get to be an approved appraiser? Answer: Banks get their appraisers from appraisal management companies.  For an appraiser to get approved he has to submit a resume package like anyone else looking for a job.
  • What do you do if you get what you consider an undeserved bad appraisal? Should you challenge it with comparables or demand another appraisal? Answer: It is very much better to challenge it with your own comparables.  The management company will ask the appraiser to respond and defind his values.  (Personally, I always give an appraiser comparables before the actual appraisal.)
  • On second appraisals (often done if there is a value question), does the 2nd appraiser know what the 1st appraiser came in at? No.
  • How much does an appraiser credit a house for on the following? Answer: extra bedroom $5-10,000; extra bathroom $5-10,000, pool $10-15,000 (except in Beverly Hills, where it's $50,000 (the extra bedroom credit is much lower than I had previously thought).
  • How do you define baths? What does it have to have? Answer: 1/4 bath means sink only, 1/2 bath means sink and toilet, 3/4 bath and full bath are the same for valuation purposes and mean shower and/or tub, sink and toilet.
  • Under what circumstances does a convertible den count as a bedroom, assuming there is a closet? Answer: If it has a closet it counts as a bedroom if it is larger than 80 square feet.
  • When looking for comps, would an appraiser extend the radius of surrounding comparables or would the appraiser go back further than 90 days. Answer: The appraiser would extend the mile radius.  He would NOT go back more than 90 days.
  • What is the value of "multiple offers" on a property to the appraiser? For the appraised value, only the closed sales figures can be used.  Actives and Pendings are important for the appraiser to note on the appraisal as a matter of interest for the big picture and to see how the neighborhood is trending.
  • Can you use new construction as a comp for non-new construction? Answer: no.
  • Can you use non-new construction as a comp for new construction? Answer: yes, with an adjustment for the age value.
  • What about a total remodel? Answer: No, you cannot use new construction as a comparable.
  • Can you count unpermitted structures, unpermitted work, or unpermitted useage or square footage in the value? Answer: No.  All the appraiser can note is that the work was done in a workman-like manner and there is no health hazard.
  • What can a seller do to make the property the most appealing? Answer: Appraisers are now required to take a picture of every room, so sellers should prepare the house as if they were having it must look as good as possible for the appraiser.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

4484 Stansbury, Sherman Oaks has had a price reduction already!

Since you guys didn't jump on it at the old price of $780,000, we've reduced the Stansbury price to $680,000.  Yup, $100,000 off the price.  But wait, there's more.  It's now a short sale.  Come and get it while it's hot!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Open today, Sunday, 11/4, 1-4 pm: 4484 Stansbury in Sherman Oaks

This delightful 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with units and a pool will be open today from 1 to 4.  Steve and I will be hosting.  The main house features a redone kitchen, redone baths, tons of closet space, hardwoods, an adorable side patio and more.  The unit above the garage is a gorgeous studio with a full kitchen, redone bath, pull down bed and open-beam ceiling.  The pool house has a 3/4 bath too!  We're asking potential buyers to do their own inspections on permits.  The property also has a 2-car garage, redone pool, shared laundry space, and a wonderful location close to all Sherman Oaks has to offer.  It's listed for $780,000 and I hope to see you there today.