Sacramento Real Estate and Yoda: Times They are a Changin’


Sacramento River in South Land Park Hills

As I look over my listings and escrows in Sacramento this morning, I see a pattern. I’m not talking about those free flashbacks we were promised and never received — what a rip. No swirls and dots nor peacock feather trails. Nope, the pattern I see is every single one of these listings and escrows has a challenge, for lack of a better term. All of the challenges are different, but they are challenges just the same. Not insurmountable, either, but it’s not the same for a Sacramento real estate agent in 2014 as in previous years. Selling real estate the last half of 2013 and early 2014 is harder. The times they are a changin’. You wonder where Yoda got his manner of speaking? I tell ya, he stole it from Dylan. But I digress.

For example, one Sacramento short sale presents a peculiar difficulty with Chase Bank. To provide you with further clarity, consider the fact that every short sale agent probably felt like that Meg Ryan scene in When Harry Met Sally when Chase Bank last year began using Equator. However, this year, its HELOC department is stuck in bureaucracy and over the course of two months can’t seem to open the file. I kick, I nudge, I push, I sweet-talk, I escalate; I set that Chase short sale underwriting department on fire and run out the back door, and they aren’t budging. Feet glued to the floor. It’s as though they are lobotomized. But eventually, Chase will get it together; it’s the Peter Principle in action.

Another escrow is stuck in limbo until the bankruptcy court releases the home or authorizes the sale. The court date has been pushed forward, just when I had hoped it would be resolved. Are you involved in bankruptcy proceedings is not usually a question I ask a seller when I accept an equity listing. I imagine in this economy the bankruptcy lawyers are doing a ton of business, though.

The ripples of the past are still present. We Sacramentans haven’t completely emerged from the sea like Bo Derek: all cornrows and smiles and tan. Nope, we’re more like Tank Girl coming home to discover the earth looks like steaming lava fields on Big Island and treasuring that baby tree sprout, straining toward the sun from a sidewalk crack.

I have another escrow that’s nearing 45 days and the buyer’s loan is still not approved. That’s because the buyer wasn’t actually approved by the bank at the inception — like most of the bogus crap passed off as meaning something, the pre-approval letters make better paper airplanes. The buyer also could not satisfy loan conditions for the longest time, and it seems like nobody really pushed the buyer to perform, except for my sellers. Hello? Clock ticking.

Experience has taught me that these issues will get worked out, and we will close. Moreover, eventually the overpriced listings will be reduced or we’ll find one of those tasty Bay area buyers. Sacramento real estate is a fairly tight market that often moves in circles, it can be like a roulette wheel. Make sure you have a good real estate agent at your side. Sellers today need a smart agent who can offer sensible advice on such matters like always double your odds on craps and let’s not overlook Kenny Rogers: know when to fold ’em and back off. This is a great time to sell if you know what you’re doing!

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