sacramento listing agent

Should We Be Afraid of iBuyers like Zillow?

Should we be afraid of iBuyers like Zillow

Should we be afraid of iBuyers like Zillow? Have you have heard the crazy news about Zillow Offers, which is owned and operated by Zillow.  The popular real estate website, that makes near-instant cash offers on homes – a practice known as iBuying? Zillow basically buys the house online directly from the seller, slaps on paint, makes a few repairs, and then turns around and sells it. Many of us in real estate and mortgage lending was starting to worry this could create an unfair market advantage.  Zillow could buy multiple homes in a particular area and then manipulate or artificially inflate home prices. To be fair, Zillow and Redfin have issued statements denying this.

The experiment has failed as Zillow, the country’s 2nd largest iBuyer in the country, has shut down its home-buying operations. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Zillow reported it had lost $420 million and had to lay off 25% of its workforce, about 2000 people, right before the holidays. Effectively ending their attempt at flipping homes using their famed technology coined “Zestimate,” aka the estimate of a home’s market value. 

What is the point of all this, and why is it so important to me? Selling and buying real estate is a relationship business. Having been in mortgage lender for almost 20 years now, it always comes back to relationships. Home selling should not be an automated process in my opinion. We need to remember this is someone’s most significant asset in most cases, and they should be working with a local, professional, reputable realtor, not a Zillow robot. 

Zillow went against this model, and it failed. I have been telling clients and referral partners my stance on Zillow for years – not a fan, as you can imagine. Still, they have become a necessary evil for many of us because of their market share and advertising dominance. Personally, I hope this recent fail on their part is a wake-up call for the masses – Get back to being local and build the people and business around you, in your own neighborhoods! I know we all love Amazon, but I am begging we don’t go down that road with the Zillows of the world. Let’s bring this back to the relationship piece, based on real people, with actual knowledge of your area.

Should we be afraid of iBuyers like Zillow? Now, there is still an opportunity for institutional buyers where that “iBuyers” platform might be the right path. But let your realtor, the professional, guide you on all your options and be part of this decision-making process. The seasoned agents I work with every day, take California law and their fiduciary duty to heart; they are genuinely there to give you helpful advice and counsel.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home please contact Weintraub & Wallace Realtors with RE/MAX Gold. We can be reached at 916-216-5224. Another very interesting blog from our preferred lender, DanTharp. 

Cheers and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
~~Dan Tharp
Dan Tharp – Branch Manager – 916-257-1470
NMLS# 280913 | Company NMLS # 3274
Should We Be Afraid of iBuyers like Zillow?

A 2-Minute Guide To Flood Insurance: Do You Need it?

Blog - A 2-Minute Guide to Flood Insurance: Do You Need it?

Blog – A 2-Minute Guide to Flood Insurance: Do You Need it?

This is a timely blog by our lender Dan Tharp– JaCi Wallace. When I heard a powerful “bomb cyclone” storm was hitting Northern California last week, I instantly thought about my Flood insurance. For many, they assume their property is covered for any type of detrimental occurrence that can take place. However, not all homeowners in Sacramento know that home insurance policies don’t necessarily cover damage related to a flood, as the risks are too great. As a result, homeowners must purchase flood insurance through a private company.

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the US, costing billions of dollars in damage to properties every year. And more importantly, if you are in the process of shopping for a new home in Sacramento or anywhere in California for that matter, budgeting that monthly payment, it’s good to know if flood insurance will be required.

What Is Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance policies are typically made available to homeowners in flood-prone areas. The majority of insurance policies cover some form of water damage, from things like leaking faucets to bursting plumbing pipes. However, such policies don’t cover water damage due to flooding of rivers or sewers that cause water to ruin a home. Instead, specific flood protection is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Standard flood insurance policies cover “direct physical damage” to a property resulting from floods.

A separate policy must be purchased to protect the belongings inside the home or building. Homeowners can buy up to $250,000 in coverage for the home and $100,000 in coverage for possessions. Even renters are permitted to purchase flood insurance to cover their possessions.

How Does Flood Insurance Work?

Flood insurance isn’t sold by FEMA directly but rather is sold to customers through private insurance agencies. The government determines premium rates, and they remain consistent from one insurer to the next.

How much a homeowner pays for their specific flood insurance depends on a number of factors, including how prone the neighborhood is to floods and how much coverage a homeowner wants. Natomas, where my office sits, is in a flood zone and my clients are required to get flood insurance. The yearly premium on my last quote was $516 annually. I can direct you to some very qualified local experts in flood insurance if you need a quote.

Filing A Flood Insurance Claim

The claims process is like any other insurance claim. Once the claim is filed, the damage will be analyzed by an adjuster assigned by the insurance company. A “proof of loss” form will need to filled out and submitted to the insurer within 60 days of the flood occurrence.

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

It’s necessary to find out if you are eligible for flood insurance before buying it. For residents of a community to be eligible, the community needs to enforce floodplain statutes to lessen the chances of flood damage, after which FEMA ensures that such regulations are followed.

Only those who reside in a community that participates in NFIP can buy insurance – today, about 20,000 communities across the country participate in this program.

FEMA offers maps that outline what areas are at high risk for floods, and those at moderate-to-low risk. The law requires homeowners to have flood insurance if the properties are located in a high-risk zone and have a federally-backed mortgage. This is because properties in these high-risk areas have a 26 percent chance of suffering flood damage during the 30 years it would take to pay off a mortgage. If you are currently shopping for a home and are not sure if you are in a flood zone, just give us a call with the home address and we will find out for you.

Homeowners are not required to buy flood insurance if they reside in a moderate-to-low-risk zone, though it may be a good idea to purchase it anyway. Properties outside the high-risk areas make up over 20 percent of NFIP claims. Homeowners in these areas can purchase up to $200,000 in flood insurance.

The bottom line is, even if you don’t necessarily live in a high-risk zone, this doesn’t mean your home won’t ever get flooded. Many conditions can result in flood damage, including clogged drain systems, flash rainstorms, and damaged levees.

In Gratitude,

Dan Tharp – Branch Manager – 916-257-1470 NMLS# 280913 | Company NMLS # 3274 Guild Mortgage
A 2-Minute Guide To Flood Insurance: Do You Need it?

Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn’t Be a Dilemma

Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn't Be a Dilemma

This article titled: Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn’t Be a Dilemma, was written by Elizabeth for another publication back in the sorry years. Enjoy. — JaCi Wallace

Many Sacramento listing agents are receiving multiple offers, and not just on REOs or short sales. Any attractively priced, well appointed home in a desirable Sacramento location is likely to draw the attention of more than one buyer. The listing agent plays an important role toward helping the seller figure out which offer to accept because the highest offer isn’t always the best offer.

On top of that, sometimes the listing agent will bring his or her own buyer to the table. In that case, the agent is operating in dual agency but it does not relieve the agent from protecting the seller’s interests.

Take, for example, California taxation on debt forgiveness. Although the federal government will not tax mortgage debt forgiveness on an owner-occupied dwelling in 2009, the state of California is no longer exempt. The exemption expired Dec. 31, 2008. That means it is extremely important for a short sale listing agent to get the seller the highest price. A higher price equals less debt forgiveness. The lower the short fall, the lower the tax.

Yesterday an agent emailed to say she was about to write an offer on one of my Sacramento short sale listings. I told the agent that a buyer had expressed interest in writing an all-cash, full-price offer, so she would need to beat that offer. Fortunately, the buyer hadn’t yet contacted me directly to write the offer, so I had no fiduciary relationship to the buyer. Giving the seller highest and best as a listing agent means exactly that.

The thing is I don’t know if most agents would sabotage the chance to double-end their own deals just to net the seller more money, but that wasn’t my first thought. I was focused on getting the seller the highest price. After I clicked “send,” I watched my chances of earning twice the commission slip silently away. I thought about it before I clicked the send button, so it’s not like it just dawned on me, yet it was the right thing to do. I don’t think we can ever go wrong in this business by listening to our conscience and doing the ethical thing.

Having been on the other end as a buyer’s agent, I’m wondering how many agents would agree with me. Giving the seller highest and best is what we do.

Call us today Weintraub & Wallace Realtors at RE/MAX Gold. We can be reached at 916-233-6759.

Elizabeth Weintraub Land Park Real Estate Agent in Sacramento
Elizabeth Weintraub
Elizabeth Weintraub
Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn’t Be a Dilemma

Should a Listing Have a Pending Sale Sign?

pending sale sign

Should a listing have a pending sale sign in the yard? It depends. We have a Sacramento listing that recently had five offers. We are pending sale and have two back up offers. One of these two buyers signed a back up addendum and a multiple counter offer form. This buyer is ready to go into a sales contract if the first offer fails for any reason. In this case, the seller wants a pending sale sign in the front yard as soon as possible. The home sold in 5 days, so sellers are thrilled and want the neighbors to know how fast it sold.

So in contrast, if we did not have multiple offers, the answer to, should a listing have a pending sale sign in the front yard, is no. We get calls daily from people driving by our listings. If a pending sale sign were in the yard, they would never call us as inquiring minds want to know. In essence, a pending sale sign stops the phone from ringing.

A friend of mine, Realtor Kim Pacini-Hauch, had a large property for sale on the river. A gentleman had flown into town for business. He was driving out along the river on the Garden Highway one sunny afternoon. He saw her for sale sign and called her. She drove out immediately to show it to him as he was flying out at 8:00 PM. She wrote a contract on the house and sold it on the spot. It was $3,725,000. He told her he was not looking online had just been driving an area he thought was beautiful. Without a for sale sign, or if the property had a pending sale sign, he would not have called either way.

The moral of the story is if pending sale sign were posted in the yard, he would not have called Kim. A back up offer is always warranted. If the property had been a pending sale, she would have shown it. As we say in Sacramento Real Estate, ” it is never over until it is over,” so sellers should always take a back up offer.

If you would like to have a pending sale sign placed in your yard, call us today Weintraub & Wallace at RE/MAX Gold, 916-233-6759.

— JaCi Wallace

Pending sale sign
Weintraub & Wallace
Should a Listing Have a Pending Sale Sign?

Selling a House Three Times to Get Paid Once

Undoubtedly, when I am selling a house 3 times to get paid once, I am doing it solely for the benefit of the seller. Other agents seem to intensely dislike that kind of attitude. They are used to listings agents who rollover and do whatever it takes to close a transaction. It confuses them when they discover that I am not one of those agents who will rollover.

For starters, I care deeply about my fiduciary relationship to the seller and doing what is best for the seller. How do I do that? Well, here’s a hint for ya, I don’t count my chickens before they hatch because even if they never hatch, I don’t care. I care solely about making my sellers happy. It’s a recipe, albeit a weird one for many, but it’s a successful recipe for me. I don’t really know how to better explain it than if you take yourself out of the equation and try to do only what is best for a seller (I know, strange concept), as an agent you will win in the end. And so does the seller. I won’t go so far as to say win-win because that’s not really a concept I subscribe to, and I used to be married to the guy who coined that phrase. In real estate, generally one side, seller or buyer, fares better than the other. That’s the reality.

When I first sold the fixer home I wasn’t planning on selling a house 3 times to get paid once, but it happens. It happens more often than you might think. Because I generally advise my sellers to just say NO to opportunists. It’s hard to tell who is an opportunist and who is serious when presented with an offer.

The first buyers for this particular fixer home in Sacramento appeared to enter the contract in good faith. But when we were scheduled to close in a few days, and the buyer’s agent called in the middle of the day, it was only bad news. I happened to be at my neighbor’s house in Hawaii when I saw the call come across my Apple Watch.

This is only bad news, I whispered to my neighbor, but I gotta answer. Sure enough, within a few seconds, the buyer’s agent launched into: we did our due diligence and we found a lot of problems . . .

I’ve been through this so many times. I cut her off at the chase. The home is sold AS IS, and if your buyer doesn’t want to continue with the transaction under the present terms of the contract, send us a cancellation. The agent on the other end of my Apple Watch could not believe what I said. She didn’t know I’ve heard it all before.

This is the ploy to ask for repairs or a price reduction. Not gonna happen. My seller agreed. I knew he would.

Don’t you want to know what the buyer found? She asked.

No, we don’t.

If I know what he found, I’ll have to disclose it to the next buyer. Also, it doesn’t matter. The home is sold AS IS. If the buyer doesn’t like the house in its AS IS condition, don’t let the door hit ya in the butt. I don’t care about the buyer’s reason for canceling. I care about getting the seller the money the seller deserves. I was not wrong on the sales price.

This is a perfect example of an agent who expected the listing agent to “hold the deal together,” and I won’t do it. To hold it together is to cost the seller money. I know full well I can sell it again, Sam, to somebody else. This is where experience pays off. So while agents might not understand the concept of selling a house 3 times to get paid once because they feel their time is “more valuable” or whatever, they are probably not top producers.

Enter next buyer. This buyer also goes into contract quickly. I drill the buyer’s agent. Are you sure they know what they are buying? Do you know for a fact they can handle the repairs? Well, long story short, regardless, the agent did not know a thing about the buyers as they also canceled. Criminy. OK, third time’s a charm.

Sometimes sellers get really upset when two escrows cancel. They think it’s not time to sell or the listing agent could have done something differently. Well, yes, we could do something differently, we could throw the seller under the bus. But we don’t. We have no control over buyers. None at all.

So when the third buyer came along, the seller was prepared and ready. At least they did not try to renegotiate. I really dislike the stupid strategy of buyers who think, oh, let’s just get into contract, and then when a couple weeks go by, we’ll renegotiate. We’ll find something to grind the seller over.

Nope. Not on my watch. And that’s how sometimes I end up selling a house 3 times to get paid once. I am honest with my clients. If I think making a concession is a good idea, I’ll say so. But if I think they can sell to a better buyer, I will say that, too.

We closed on January 4th. At list price.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of a dying breed in Sacramento real estate. I hope somebody else will raise the bar after me; after my time is up.

Elizabeth Weintraub
Selling a House Three Times to Get Paid Once
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