Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Odds That a House Will Sell

Most people think that if you list a house that it will eventually sell. The odds right now aren’t very good and it surprises most people to hear what the numbers really are.

These are the statistics from December 1st 2009 to November 31st 2010 for Non-REO or Short Sale Properties:

48% of all the houses listed in Sacramento County last year sold, 16% were still listed, 4% were in Pending Sales status and 32% didn’t sell and were taken off the market.

I thought it would be good to look at it from a neighborhood level as well as the whole county to see if there was much of a difference somewhere like East Sacramento…

Surprisingly, East Sacramento fared a little worse with only 45% of all the houses listed being sold, 16% were still listed, 5% were in Pending Sales status and 34% didn’t sell and were taken off the market.

The best way to insure your house will be in the sold percent is to price it to sell right at the start. The first 30 days are critical…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pricing a Property

Sometimes the process of pricing a home can be a stressful. Many sellers feel like agents try to control the pricing process. Some agents want them to list at a low price so it will sell easily and other agents promise that they can get a higher price than the market will support just to get the listing (and then a month later start the price reduction conversation).

My job is to provide a seller with the best information about what their homes competition is on the market and the recent home sales that other agents and appraisers will be looking at. I give my professional opinion of what I would list the home for if it were mine and what I think it will finally sell for. I also consult with the 50+ other agents in my company and get feedback from those that are familiar with the neighborhood for their price opinion.

After I’ve given all of these opinions and information, the seller tells me what price they want to list your property for. I give my honest opinion and the chance that I think it will sell at that price. The seller sets the listing price and as long as I think there is a decent chance of selling the property I will take the listing and support them and their price fully.

Given that it’s my job to represent my sellers best interests, I always try to help them get the most for their property and the best way to do this is to set the price right at the time of the initial listing.

This is an excerpt from and article titled “Selling Price vs. Timing” from the Consumer Reports in November 2002 and it still applies today.

“Setting the correct price is key to selling your home quickly and profitably.

John Knight, associate professor of real estate at the University of the Pacific, in a study of several-thousand home sales over a two-year period in Stockton, California, found that houses whose prices are changed sell for less than homes with no price revisions.

The longer a house sits on the market, the more it is stigmatized in the minds of buyers.”

Another way to look at it could be seen in this blog entry a while back:
Listing Price and the First Week

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vacation in India

Well, we have returned and finally recovered from our vacation to India.

We spent one week in Delhi attending the most amazing wedding ever. The cousin of our good friends (Shivani and Ashish) got married in the traditional 4 day long Indian wedding that can make the Oscars look like a casual dress event. We were welcomed by our friends family who invited us to stay with them and we were treated like family throughout our whole visit.

Our second week was spent traveling out to see the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Amber Fort in Jaipur and the surrounding countryside. The Taj Mahal is more amazing than any pictures can convey. The sense of peace and tranquility there combined with the perfection of the massive white marble structure was awe inspiring.

My wife and I have been fascinated with India for a long time and as usual when we do crazy travel we did a lot of research before going. I can honestly say that I don’t think anything could have prepared us for India. While it was a great country to visit (and we only saw a little corner of it), we were thankful to return home to all the comforts of America and the beauty of East Sacramento’s tree lined streets.

Writing this blog from the comparatively un-crowded (even if every table is taken) coffee shop of Peet’s on 38th and J St, I have returned with a deepened love for India’s culture as well as a greater appreciation for everything it means to live in America.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Welcome to East Sacramento

The borders of East Sacramento are generally taken to be Business 80 on the west, the Southern Pacific railroad tracks for the north and east (which runs behind Elvas down to 65th/69th Street), the Sacramento Valley railroad line (the Light Rail) and R Street on the south.

There are “Welcome to East Sacramento” signs at seven entry locations into the neighborhood: 30th Street & J Street, 30th Street & Capitol Avenue, 39th Street & R Street, 56th Street & H Street, 57th Street & J Street, 65th Street & Folsom Boulevard and 65th Street & Q Street as well as the one located in McKinley Park on the corner of Alhambra and H Street. These were put up through a partnership of the East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, East Sacramento Improvement Association (ESIA), and the McKinley East Sacramento Neighborhood Association (MENA) in 2009. Did you know that the shape for the signs is inspired from the East Lawn Memorial Park’s clock on Folsom Blvd?

Our amazing neighborhood features McKinley Park, East Portal Park, Bertha Henschel Park and several school parks plus easy access to the American River Bike Trail. In McKinley Park alone you can find a library, duck pond with fountain, swimming pools, children’s playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball field and an amazing rose garden.

The tree lined streets and walkability of the neighborhoods contribute to why this is one of the most desirable neighborhoods to live in Sacramento. The quality and amazing architecture of the homes make strolls or drives through the area a popular activity, especially in the “Fabulous Forties” where many of the homes are truly mansions.

One of my favorite things about living here is that there are so many great places to eat and shop, many of them family owned, and it’s all tucked in and around the wonderful homes. I figure that I’m never more than half a mile from a coffee shop no matter where I am in East Sac.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t other great neighborhoods in Sacramento (I’ll have to write about all the things I love about Land Park sometime), it’s just that I live in this neighborhood and love exploring and sharing the depths of it. I hope you enjoy it too!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Time to blog about my second office. The first is in my home/car, the second is Peet’s Coffee and Tea on 38th and J St in East Sac and the company office comes in third. This is where you can often find me working on all sorts of real estate stuff.

It is an amazingly friendly crew that runs the store, the drinks they prepare are superior and the internet is free. Add to that a great crowd of regulars to chat with and you have a very inviting environment.

Try a Hazelnut Cappuccino and tell them that Nathan sent you.

Sorry to all my great Dunnigan compatriots, but I doubt any of you can make a cappuccino like Nicole does!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Visiting East Sac

If you want to visit East Sac in the best form possible, don’t stay in a hotel, stay in one of the quintessential homes close to McKinley Park.
While I haven’t stayed in this Vacation Rental By Owner, I have been through the property many times. It is a charming property and made it to my short list as soon as it was listed for sale earlier in the year. I had the honor of representing the buyers who purchased this property.
It is all that makes East Sac wonderful. A complete canopy of trees covers the street, the original windows have been professionally restored, beautiful hard wood floors and arches throughout the house and a oasis of a back yard. Walking distance to McKinley Park, Orphan’s for breakfast, Peet’s Coffee, Roxies Deli for lunch and all the great restaurants on J Street for dinner. It’s on one of my favorite streets in my favorite corner of my favorite neighborhood. If I didn’t already live 3 blocks away, I would stay here myself!
If you are looking to move to the area or return for a visit, consider staying at this amazing little East Sac Cottage.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Travel Med Inc.

While I love East Sac and all the great properties here, there is a vast world out there with many wonders to explore. My wife and I have been invited to go to India and meet up with some friends who will be visiting their home country and attending an amazing wedding there.

We can’t pass up the opportunity to see a 1000+ person, 4 day wedding, the Taj Mahal and so many other great experiences that country has to offer. But travel to India brought up the question of “do we need any shots to make sure we don’t bring an unexpected mosquito borne souvenir home”?

We looked at the out of pocket expense if we were to use our health insurance to ask questions and get the shots and we were surprised to find out that our insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations. Insurance would cover treating Typhoid Fever if we got it, but it would cost us hundreds of dollars to see someone about getting a vaccination against it, plus an unknown amount for the shots themselves!

East Sac’s own Travel Med Inc to the rescue! For $45 dollars each we spent over an hour and a half with the very knowledgeable staff finding out about everything that we could catch in India, getting shots to prevent the worst of it and finding out how to avoid all the other things we don’t want to ruin our trip. Not only did they educate us about how to avoid the mosquito’s that carry disease (I didn’t know that mosquito’s are attracted to perfume and black clothing), they sent us away with a personalized booklet about India and what to expect there from a health perspective.

Ok, no feeding the monkeys (rabies is painful, amazingly expensive to treat and deadly if you don’t treat it), we will pre-treat all our clothing with a natural mosquito repellent, no eating raw fruits and vegetables and a slew of other little details, but now we are ready for our upcoming and amazing adventure!

Thanks Travel Med!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Run to Feed the Hungry

Run To Feed The Hungry happens every Thanksgiving day and it’s something that you shouldn’t miss if your are in East Sac (and it’s hard to miss). 30,000 runners/walkers take over East Sac for Thanksgiving morning and it’s quite an event to get out and watch.

The other side of the event is that if you live here and you need to drive anywhere, you will have to be very strategic about your escape plan.

Here is the link to their web site and at the bottom it has links to a Map and Exit Plan:

And this is the link to the Exit Plans:

This gets posted and sent out in various ways, and I just got the posting in the Inside East Sacramento newspaper Wednesday. Hopefully you won’t be surprised if you are here and need to run to get cranberries Thanksgiving morning and find the roads blocked off.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It’s been too long…

I’ve been busy with clients and haven’t posted to my blog in over a month.

Since my last post we have closed on that great listing on Ole Ct in the Rosemont neighborhood and three more clients have put properties under contract. One of those, a 5 bedroom 4 bathroom, 3500 square foot home in West Sacramento is scheduled to close this week.

I doubt it will ever fail to amaze me home much of a difference there is in neighborhoods.

Right now a great 3,500 square foot house built 5 years ago in West Sacramento or a wonderful 1,000 square foot house built 75 years ago in East Sacramento both can be purchase in the low $300,000’s. It all depends on what you’re looking for in a home and neighborhood.

On the other hand, there are plenty of good homes in the area for under $150,000. At the current amazingly low interest rate the payment (PITI – Principle, Interest, Tax and Insurance) on $150,000 house is just under $1,000 per month. My buyers are loving that!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Welcome to East Sacramento!

Out of about 100 properties for sale in East Sacramento there is usually 10-20 that I have on my short list. I try to get inside about 80% of all the listings in the neighborhood, partly for product knowledge and partly because I love seeing these older homes (and the new properties tucked in amongst them). The short list is properties that I have been in and think they are great properties for their price, condition and location. Some of them have been on the market for quite some time and have finally dropped in price enough to make my list, some come on the market and go straight to the list.

409 41st Street was on my short list for being a great home on a great street with 2100 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and priced less than $500,000! I brought several potential buyers through this property because I knew that it was a good deal but was suffering from poor timing and exposure. Another reason I went through it so many times is the owners had one of the friendliest cats ever and I loved an excuse to visit Obe the cat.

409 41st St, East Sac

I had the pleasure of helping a great family purchase this property and it closed just a couple weeks ago. The “Welcome to East Sacramento” Feeling for one of my short list properties ranks right up there with the New Property Feeling and the Pending Sale Feeling.

I love my business!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Great things about Sacramento

One of the great things that I love about living in Sacramento is all the things to do outside of Sacramento. Don’t get me wrong, we have lots of great restaurants, the American River to raft down or take the bike trail along for so many miles and countless other wonders of this great city.

But it also has easy access to so many other great places. You can take a short 2 hour drive to Lake Tahoe for a great day trip. If you want to go to San Francisco, it’s only 2 hours away. Take a 3.5 hour drive to Yosemite Valley if you want to see one of the most amazing natural wonders of our country and the start of the National Parks system. Drive 3.5 hours to Carmel and Monterey Bay (and while your there, you have to eat at Nico’s in Carmel!) if you want a tranquil getaway to the ocean. Drive 4.5 hours and camp in the Redwood National Forest if you want to see some of worlds tallest trees.

All in all, I’m very happy with living in East Sacramento and being able to get away to so many great places. My wife and I have done each of these this year and are constantly reminded that we have a great life. Returning home to our sun soaked city is never a problem at the end of a little getaway, it’s just another great opportunity to take the raft out or go for a long bike ride or hang with friends on the patio of a wonderful restaurant….

Life is good!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

East Sac Chamber of Commerce at Gonul’s

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t posted in a while. Business is good and giving quick responses to my clients take a high priority over posting to my blog.
I’ve been itching to post about last weeks East Sac Chamber of Commerce lunch and now have a moment to put it together. We met at Gonul’s J Street Café and it was a delight. If you’ve never been inside to eat, you will still recognize the location if you are at all familiar with East Sac. It’s just west of Mercy Hospital on at 3839 J Street and has a very distinct red awning.

East Sac Gonul's Cafe
What amazing food. The owner/chef is Turkish and the food is a wonderful international mix. Having spent a little over a week exploring Turkey with my wife a few years back, this was a delightful reminder of one of the many great things about that country.
There were plenty of good Chamber of Commerce discussions and meeting other great business people of the neighborhood, but I’ll leave this post mostly about that great food…

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I’ve Lost That New Listing Feeling

It’s not that the new listing feeling doesn’t last very long, it’s that the listing itself didn’t last very long on the market. It went live late Sunday night and by Friday evening a great offer was accepted for the property.

Amazing how well a house moves when it is priced right and the sellers have done everything to make it shine. Add in over 20 professional glamour shots and lots of marketing and easy showing access for a very quick transaction.

The Pending Sale feeling is even better than the new listing feeling.

9468 Ole Ct Pending Sale

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Master at the Art of Living

One of my favorite quotes, enough for me to have it posted at my desk…

The person who is a master in the art
of living makes little distinction between their
work and their play, their labor and their leisure,
their mind and their body, their education and
their recreation, their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace in whatever they
do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing.
To them, they are always doing both.

Shaun White Snowboard Master & Gold Medalist

Monday, August 30, 2010

That New Listing Feeling

There is all the planning, analyzing the competition, bringing out a staging expert and a professional photographer and trying to fit all the great details of an amazing property into the 500 characters allowed for the property description.

Finally the magical day when all the planning comes to fruition and the new listing goes live!

You’re pretty sure that with all of the work, planning and pricing, that Team Seller & Agent have an amazing offering. On opening day the activity is great and the feedback is all that you were hoping for. It looks like the public agrees with us and we’ve got a hit on our hands.

Since it’s such a good start to the week, I think I’ll try my hand at the Ratatouille recipe I’ve just found in September’s issue of Inside East Sacramento…
The Finished Dish!

Got to love that new listing feeling.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Listing Price and the First Week

In response to my Pricing Your Home to Sell blog someone sent me an article on the Wall Street Journal about how critical the first week is for a listing. This article detailed out the number of online visits a listing received on their website and how that declined over time. Here is the graph and link to the article.

I keep a book of all the properties for sale in East Sac and update it when there is any change in status. Out of about 100 properties, about 10-15 make it into my short list of “great house, condition and location for its price”. Some houses will only make it onto the list after many price reductions over several months.

I was recommending one such property to someone at a recent open house and she had commented that she saw that house a couple months ago but wasn’t interested in it. She couldn’t remember why she wasn’t interested in it, just that she dismissed it and now it wasn’t worth looking at.

After talking about it we discovered that she liked the house when she first saw it, but thought it was priced too high to put in a reasonable offer on it. The high initial listing price made many buyers dismissed it, and then when its price was reduced enough to be reasonable, most people just remembered that they dismissed it and didn’t give it a second look. Between this phenomenon of remembering the rejection but not the reason and “it’s been listed for 90 days and no one else has bought it, so there must be something wrong with it” syndrome, a high initial listing price can be the greatest detriment to a property selling.

Monday, August 23, 2010

East Sac Eats!

One of the reasons I live in East Sac is that there are so many great places to eat here. I’ll do my little reviews of them as I continue to eat my way through this part of Sacramento. Dinner tonight is the answer to a day that started with showing houses and putting in offers and then went straight into holding an open house.
China Café delivery! If you blink you would miss them at 3653 J Street tucked between Bonn Lair and the Shabby Shack. Lunch specials here will run you $5-6 and you’ll have leftovers, and dinner is a great price for a huge portion too. Tonight’s delivery was 15 minutes and the food was great, as always. Shrimp Fried Rice and Sweet and Sour Chicken. Life is good!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Open House Sunday

Many of my Sundays are spent holding open houses. This Sunday I’ll be at 1055 57th Street from 2:00 to 4:00 showing a great East Sac house that just needs a bit of paint and refinishing the hard wood floors to make it shine. The price per square foot is amazing for the area with 1,730 square feet for $359,900.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pricing your home to sell

I get regular questions on how to price a home to sell. Location and Condition are very important, but if it’s not priced right, it won’t sell.

This article speaks to many of the points in pricing, but I think it leans a little heavier on the Sold comps than the For Sale competition in the market. Most buyers will look at all the properties for sale and compare your listing to them and only after they have made the decision to purchase your property will it be compared to what has recently sold. If you aren’t competitive, you won’t ever make it to the point of being compared to past sales.

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home
Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My first blog

I’ve been told that blogging is good for the soul, so I’m going to give it a try. When I’m not holding open houses or previewing the newest listings in East Sac I’ll take a moment to post relevant (or not so relevant) thoughts that run through this Realtors head. :)