homes in sacramento
Closing escrows on homes in Sacramento lately has not been easy, but they are closing. Repairs have been complicated as have the requests for repairs. During Covid19, some buyers are asking for repairs. Depending on the property, some sellers with motivation to close are being more patient by offering to complete some repairs and / or offer credits.
Of course, credits are the preferred way for a seller; however, some things cannot be fully diagnosed without opening up the ground, such as a septic inspection and repair in Sacramento rural real estate. Also, pest inspections requiring further inspections can go on and on without fully definitive answers.
An agent from a real estate website asked when is it a good time to reduce the sales price, meaning if a home doesn’t sell within a certain time period, at which point should a seller drop the price. Trying to establish set guidelines is pretty much impossible because every home is different and the temperature of your local real estate market varies with the seasons, among other criteria.
For example, some homes are simply more difficult to sell than others. Sacramento homes in challenging locations are hard to sell, like homes that back up to a school or a basketball court. Sacramento homes without updates in an area of remodeled homes makes them difficult to sell. Sacramento homes with weird layouts, white appliances, old carpeting, no first-floor bedroom or full bath, tiny yards, deferred maintenance . . . you get the idea. And let’s not even talk about short sales in Sacramento, which fall to the bottom of a buyer’s wish list since most need to sell at market value but take 3 times as long to close.
I’ve sold homes that have been on the market for 90 days at list price, and we never reduced. Sometimes it takes the right buyer. I never discard a home as “impossible to sell” especially when the seller loves the home because it means there is another person somewhere else who will also love it. I just need to find that person and appeal to that buyer. Nobody is that unique.
However, in today’s Sacramento real estate market at this particular period of the year, a good time to reduce the sales price is NEVER. When buyers see a price reduction, the immediate thought that pops into buyers’ heads is “how much lower will they go?” They think a seller is desperate and maybe the seller is. They show no mercy and head straight for the jugular with a sharp knife.
The best way to reduce the price is to take the home off the market and put it back as a brand new listing. You hit the market just right, at the right time with a new set of buyers, and BINGO. The home sells. It’s a bit more work for this Sacramento Realtor, transferring documents, photographs, lockbox settings, so forth, but it works. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t advise my sellers to do it.
Perhaps a better question to ask is not when do you reduce the sales price but when do you reassess the marketing, the length of time on the market and make adjustments? At least monthly. Certainly, initially, at the 21-day mark. Some homes just take longer to sell.
I called the FBI in Sacramento yesterday, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First, there is a real estate agent who lives in Land Park and supplements his income by renting out his house while he sleeps in a trailer of sorts in the driveway. I don’t know the guy but I read about it in the Snewzer. He does this through airbnb, which is based in San Francisco. It works for some people but it’s not a service I would probably use when traveling unless, of course, the owners were willing to show up at breakfast and dinner to cook for me.
Renting out my house is also not something I would ever do myself because I would not like strangers sleeping in my bed. In fact, I’ve had thoughts about maybe buying a vacation home, and agents always say, well, you can rent it when you’re not using it. Why would my husband and I do that? We don’t want strangers living in our house.
Which reminds me, a few weeks ago at Nordstrom my personal shopper asked me the strangest thing. After I had selected a few dresses to ring up, she asked if it was OK to let a customer in another fitting room try on one of my dresses. Apparently, I was about to buy the last size in that dress. I’m a fairly accommodating person and I almost said sure, then the reality of the situation, well, it hit me that it possessed a sort of ick factor. No, I did not want my dress placed on somebody else’s body before she rings it up, thank you very much.
We all have our personal boundaries. I’m the kind of person who answers her phone when it rings and, if the person on the other end of the phone is an individual I have no reason to talk to, who is wasting time that could be better spent selling homes in Sacramento, for example, I don’t show a lot of patience for that individual. I am very quick to say that my number is on the do not call list, don’t ever call me again, and I block the phone number. I’m surprised my own sister can get through to me, I’m so fast to block. My phone is for business, friends and family.
This is where the FBI comes in. A guy named “Ed” called from 850-933-0098 yesterday and insisted he was representing my cellphone service provider. He demanded payment, claimed I was past due, and threatened to shut off my phone. Well, that was just plain silly. That’s not how a cellphone provider acts. He wanted to argue with me, insisting I could go to the website to see my delinquent account, and I refuted his claim so many times he hung up on me. That’s why I called the FBI.
You might think that the FBI is not the right place to report these types of crimes but they are absolutely the right place to go. A very nice FBI agent took my report. I had Googled the crook’s phone and there were many victims he had tried to rip off. After the FBI completed my report, the agent asked me to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission as well. I complied.
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Although, I still don’t want any strangers sleeping in my bed or trying on my clothes.
You can buy just about any kind of product, even an illegal product from overseas, and receive it within 3 days. If you were to refinance a mortgage, that takes 30 days generally, but even when all is said and done and they are ready to close, that’s when they are required by law to ask a borrower: are you sure? Are you really, really sure you want this loan? Because we’re gonna give you 3 days to change your mind and rescind.
Yet in our neck of the woods to close escrow on a piece of Sacramento real estate, we enter into 30-day escrow periods, sometimes longer when underwriting is said to drags things out — but a delay is often not due to underwriting but because the mortgage loan officer (MLO) did not carefully scrutinize the loan application at inception or possess enough experience to predict the problem. I see some situations that never should have progressed to the point they made it to if the MLO had been more competent, but I digress.
Back to closing Sacramento real estate within 3 days. It would add certainty to transactions and definitely reduce the number of cancellations. Of course I’m looking at this solely from a seller’s perspective and how anxious sellers become when a purchase contract is signed, but then they go through 30 days of uncertainty and anxiety, never knowing whether the transaction will close. Buyers have 10 ways from Sunday to cancel a contract. They don’t even have to sneeze and trip over their own feet. They can just cancel.
Part of the reason home buyers cancel is because they’ve had too long to think about buying that home. Why, if they only had 3 days before they were in their new home, sitting back on the sofa and putting up their feet on the coffee table before the realization hit: What in the hell did we do? Well, it would be too late.
They would walk through the door expecting to love the home. They had already developed feelings for it from the moment they laid eyes on it, and were more likely to overlook a small defect. Buyers were much more positive and carefree. Why, they could fix that, their uncle could take care of that, their mom would help them do this. Not so today, I’m afraid. The mindset of home buyers has changed today.
Home buyers are cautious. They don’t want to get burned. They don’t want to make a mistake. When they enter a home, their first thought is not how utterly gorgeous we must own this, it is what is wrong with this home? There must be something wrong somewhere, and they walk through the tour looking for drawbacks that do not fit their objectives.
If they have their heart set on a kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances, they are less likely to want to remodel a kitchen with ceramic counters and white appliances. Plus, you know, the flippers have ruined it for many of us as I hold flippers primarily responsible for the changing attitude of today’s buyers. But that and a dime won’t get me a cup of coffee.
When I spot a drawback that can cause a buyer’s emotions to move from the positive to negative, I convey that information to a seller. I also send my sellers showing feedback from other agents. Sometimes it’s a little thing that a seller can do to remove buyer objections such as painting a wall or replacing a light fixture. It is hard for a seller to believe that a buyer would, due to such small infractions a) not buy her home, or b) offer less than market value, but it’s precisely the small infractions that can get in their way.
That small fix might cost $200 but if it sells your home or returns an offer price of $5,000+ more, it might be worth considering. Because sometimes selling AS IS costs more than making a small improvement in the home. Perhaps try looking at it from the mindset of home buyers and ask yourself why wouldn’t you buy another home instead of this one?