listing agent in sacramento
“This is the reason to be a top listing agent in Sacramento,” was written by Elizabeth over a decade ago. An excerpt from the original publication was copied below, in italics. It had me thinking about what I could add to this interesting conversation.
A fellow real estate agent in Sacramento once told me that she prefers to work with first-time home buyers because they are more grateful than sellers. She said they were totally thrilled to be handed the keys at closing, more so than those who are handing over the keys. They didn’t complain. They didn’t nag her about why isn’t their home selling. I guess she moved up a notch or two in their eyes. And that approach works for her.
My basic method of operation is not to worry too much about the buyer’s appraisal when I list Sacramento condos in our hot seller’s market. In other words, I don’t always base the sales price on how much the home will appraise for as much as I suggest a price based on what the market will bear. Meaning, what a buyer will pay. Especially a buyer who might have a big ol’ wad of cash at her disposal. Buyers who don’t need financing can pay whatever the seller will accept.
Condos tend to command lower prices than single-family homes, sometimes as much as 50% less. This means they make a good investment for some investors. Investors often pay cash. So do many 1031 exchange investors. No buyer’s appraisal with these kind of buyers.
Consider a condo I sold in the Arden area a while back. A still slightly underwater condo. Priced it high enough and marketed it in such a way to attract multiple offers. Every top listing agent’s dream. We hoped a buyer would pay cash, and could push the price even higher. That happened. I changed the financing terms to cash. No loans.
But today’s market also includes buyers with financing. Sometimes the buyer’s appraisal will come in at the sales price, even if we can’t find decent comps. The appraiser finds a way. But not all appraisers go to such lengths, and available comps within a 2 mile radius to support the sales price might not exist in this market.
Not surprisingly, a low appraisal allows the seller to receive a copy of the buyer’s appraisal. When the appraised value does not support our pending sales price. Otherwise, if the home appraises for more than the sales price, which is unlikely, the seller would never know.
Unless . . . there is always a big UNLESS. Unless it’s pertinent to the sale. That’s a kicker for ya. Last month a buyer’s appraisal showed different square footage than the number in the public records. It was higher. So, I asked the agent for the appraisal. Turns out the home appraised for more than our sales price due to the increased square footage.
Da-da-DAAAAA. Long-story-short. The buyer paid the higher price.
Of interest to note: the seller is entitled to all reports and inspections a buyer pays for during escrow. Except for the buyer’s appraisal. The seller is generally not entitled to receive the appraisal. Except under limited conditions.
I’ve been working with my sellers for a couple of months, before they even hired me to be their Sacramento agent. Every so often I get a seller who wants to take advantage of the fact I freely share my knowledge, but they don’t know what they didn’t get when they do that and choose a discounter but it’s rare, and they generally come back. The clients who truly win, though, are the sellers who listen to my advice and let me position their home to bring the highest offer.
After two months of work, we put a home into escrow yesterday, with multiple offers and with 4 days on market. That was a lot of preparation to get ready for the market. These particular sellers bought their home at the very best possible time. Mid 2011 was the bottom of the market in Sacramento, and that’s when they bought. Rock bottom. I’m so happy they chose me to be their Sacramento agent, and they seem thrilled with the outcome.
Unlike this poor bird with one leg. I think it’s a sandpiper. I went on an adventure yesterday to find my mailbox for our house in Hawaii and found this sandpiper standing in a driveway. Broke my heart, but then I realized, hey, that sandpiper doesn’t give up. He’s OK. It would have been easy to ask the tenants where the mailboxes are but I don’t want to bother them. And if I had, I wouldn’t have found the sandpiper.
My tenants were kind enough to invite me to the 29th Celebration of Christmas in Music in Kailua-Kona last night. I also met neighbors down the street who are from Minnesota, just like me. I found out where the cool beaches are from another woman; talked with a former Seattle resident, Jan, who moved to Captain Cook and now sings in the choir. And I know where to go for a hairdresser because I met my new stylist at King Kamehameha in town. Plus, I got to sing Christmas carols. My sister is right; I like to sing.
The contractors are still working on the house in Hawaii. My painter is running behind, but the Hawaiian gods are looking down upon us today because my flooring installer hired an extra guy. Instead of needing 3 days to put in the floors, he will need two, so he pushed it out to Thursday. Which gives my painter an extra day to finish.
When I walked in the door after the show featuring the Kona Festival Chorale on Sunday, every flat surface in our house, floors, furniture, was coated in a fine layer of drywall dust. I am fixing the cracks from the 2006 earthquake. I cleaned the important areas so I could prepare dinner, watch TV, use my computer and sleep. I managed to meet my phone appointment at 6 AM yesterday with my sellers to discuss options, and it all worked out. I’m sure the house will come together, too.
I’ve been at this only 12 days. Without any idea that I’d be remodeling the house when I got to our house in Hawaii. I can pretty much do anything. That’s empowering. I wish I had learned that lesson in my 20’s. Imagine what I could do if I thought about stuff at great lengths, like I do about Sacramento real estate.
Before I talk about whether summer is a good time to sell in Sacramento, I’ve got to say how relieved I am to be back in California — where the weather is pretty much the same every day, and the pace of life more even — after my brief jaunt to Minneapolis to say goodbye to my brother. Just when you might begin to take your Sacramento lifestyle for granted, perhaps complain about hot it is, the rush-hour traffic or lack of shopping, going “back east” takes care of all of that, you spoiled little brat, you, and I’m talking about myself. It makes me realize why I love California.
Of course, the other thing is just leaving town tends to generate business. It’s like the law of nature. Step foot on a plane and everybody and his uncle will want you to list a home in Sacramento. I’m witnessing a big uptick in listings since the first of June. Usually this happens in August, when the weather is so hot nobody wants to leave their air conditioned home unless it’s to get away to San Francisco. I read an article this morning based on the predictions of an economist in Florida that the summer months for selling real estate this year might be more conducive for sales than summers of years gone by.
It’s possible we might experience a wild inventory rollover and that summer is a good time to sell in Sacramento this year. We’ve had low inventory for so long that a large number of buyers have not been able to buy a home in Sacramento. These buyers haven’t given up yet. When you look at multiple offer situations in which a dozen buyers or more are submitting offers and only one buyer can win, that leaves a big number of buyers without a home. I also imagine these types of buyers are irritated and frustrated.
Agents tell me when they submit offers for my sellers’ listings that this house might be the 10th home they have tried to buy. New listings are attracting a lot of attention. These buyers have become more hardened and determined. They are still going out to look at homes and they are still making offers. The smart ones ignore the comps and do what they have to do to buy a home, allowing an appraiser to equalize. It’s the laws of supply and demand at work in Sacramento, and demand has not withered. We haven’t had a high of two months of inventory since February of 2015.
If you’re wondering is summer a good time to sell in Sacramento, I’m gonna have to say yes. This year, anyway. If you want a top Sacramento listing agent to handle your sale, please call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
Chart: Trendgraphix, used with permission
Ask any seller if she would like to sell a Sacramento condo over market value, and the answer will undoubtedly be a resounding YES. Sacramento condos are a hot commodity right now because those prices, although rising, are still affordable. I hear some buyers complain that they think the HOA dues are too high. Those are the buyers who don’t always fully appreciate the amenities available through certain homeowner associations. Yet, HOA dues are a factor.
On a side note, as we become less and less connected to our home life as I see this trend, I would not be surprised to see home-care lifestyle packages sold to regular homeowners down the road. Companies will provide in-home meal preparation, housecleaning, car washing, gardening, maintenance and repair, spa services like a workout trainer, hairdresser, masseuse and pedicure specialists, all for one low monthly fee to subscribers. Live like a 21st century Downton Abbey. We are turning into little robots, unable to care for ourselves. But I digress . . . and back to how to sell a Sacramento condo over market value.
The seller had called me from Orange County, expressing a desire to sell a Sacramento condo in a complex that had experienced dramatic price shifts over the years. Since the market crash, many of the units were sold as short sales after the values were slashed. The rebounding market in Sacramento helped to turn around prices, but we are not fully recovered. Prices are not at the high of 2005. Naturally, the seller wanted to maximum her profit potential for the condo.
My suggestion was we eliminate conventional buyers from the process and focus solely on cash buyers, but that was not well received advice. I also pointed out that in our hot Sacramento market, buyers would most likely bridge a gap in the appraisal. Sure enough, just like I predicted, we went into escrow with a conventional buyer who agreed to pay the difference between list price and the appraisal. The appraisal matched my original estimate of value.
The buyer could not close because he had a former short sale on his record from 3 years ago, and the underwriter would not grant him an exclusion. Underwriters are not required to. We switched to FHA and got a spot approval on the condo, but that underwriter denied the file because she did not believe a buyer who works in San Jose would commute. All of this caused delays until we canceled the buyer and received a new offer. The new offer was cash, above list price. The condo was already was listed above market.
Just goes to show that if you want to sell a Sacramento condo over market value, you need to price it over market value. If the condo is attractive enough, a cash buyer will pay your price. The real estate police do not insist a home must be listed at market. If you want to hire a Realtor with four decades of experience, an agent who will work with you to accomplish your objectives, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.