Our seller’s market is still here. For the fourth straight consecutive month, the pending sales are on the rise, confirming that Sacramento Real Estate is definitely continuing to support sellers over buyers. The first quarter shows closed sales increasing every month.
What does this mean for the Sacramento housing market? Does it mean Sacramento real estate is a continuing seller’s market? We are experiencing continuing price increases, based on high demand and housing shortages. Each neighborhood can be a bit different as this is the greater Sacramento county averages.
For example, we have certainly seen a housing shortage in the south county of Elk Grove. Multiple offers continue on well priced property. The listings have been steadily decreasing since October of 2018.
Yes, Sacramento real estate is a continuing seller’s market. If you would like to sell your property, this is a fantastic time, so please call the Weintraub & Wallace team today at 916-233-6957.
Weintraub & Wallace
Fixing Bay Area offers without offending the parties involved often means stepping back and putting your client’s needs first and foremost. There is no easy way to tell a Bay Area agent that so much stuff in the agent’s buyer’s offer is wrong. At first blush, I was tempted to quickly judge the parties as not being serious. They made demands that nobody asks for in our Sacramento seller’s market. The buyer asked the seller to pay for things no other seller pays for. In fact, it was about as one-sided as a buyer’s purchase offer that I would have written myself in 1978, but certainly not in today’s market.
To make matters worse, it wasn’t just a matter of fixing Bay Area offers, there were also 2 or 3 other offers on the table. After talking to the sellers, it was clear to me they would like to find a way to make the Bay Area offer work. After all, it was cash, so no appraisal. Getting an appraisal on this home would be difficult because there were really no comparable sales. The home was a white elephant. Overbuilt for the neighborhood.
After every open house, buyers would ooh and ahh over the upgrades and improvements. But after driving the area, they said no thank you. It was one of the nicest homes in the area. Plus, with cars parked up and down the street, basketball hoops blocking driveways, well, it didn’t present the neighborhood in its finest light. However, we knew that walking into the situation. The sellers were patient because they didn’t have to move until the end of October. They felt now would be a good time to sell over October, and they were right.
I decided to try to find a way to make the purchase offer work because that’s what my sellers desired. The buyer was doing a 1031 exchange, although the home would not be a rental. It would be occupied by family. Not even about to argue how it is not a 1031. Not our problem. So, I asked the buyer’s agent if the buyer would consider renting back to the sellers until the end of October. The buyer said yes and named an agreeable rental amount. This was a hugely important benefit to the sellers. Not moving twice.
OK, the dilemma was how to handle the fact the buyer refused to purchase the home in its AS IS condition. The way I saw it, we could argue over the black-and-white verbiage in the purchase contract which clearly states the home is sold AS IS. Or, we could find a way to make it work. The agent said the buyer expects all repairs from inspections to be completed. What? And we didn’t even have a home inspection yet. How could we agree to do all repairs when we don’t know what they are? That sounded like a recipe for disaster.
Well, what we could do is have the seller pay for a home inspection from a reputable home inspector. Not some fly-by-night idiot. There are idiots doing home inspections in Sacramento because they don’t need to be licensed. Anybody can pretend to be a home inspector. An teenage mouth-breather can be an inspector. So I drew a counter offer that included the seller paying for a home inspection, subject to successful negotiation of a Request for Repair. We agreed not to open escrow until the Request for Repair is executed, and if it can’t be, then the offer is void and canceled.
Seemed like a perfect solution. We signed all the counter offers and the purchase offer. A few days later, the buyer’s agent noticed we were holding an open house because our status was changed to Active With Release Clause. The agent accused us being dishonest and underhanded. What? The agent threatened if we did not cancel the open house, the buyer would cancel the offer. Then, the agent tried to cancel the offer.
However, the offer could not be canceled until the terms and conditions were met. We had a binding agreement.
But they do things differently in the Bay Area, and not every Bay Area agent sells a lot of real estate. Many sell only a few homes a year. So you really can’t hold it against the agents. Some agents just don’t know what they don’t know. All I really wanted to do was spare my sellers the anxiety and drama. Very difficult under the circumstances. I was fully prepared for the buyer to make more unreasonable demands, especially after receiving all of the inspections.
However, suddenly we received the Request for Repair from the buyer and it was not completely unreasonable. Very surprised and excited over this. In keeping with fixing Bay Area offers, I also rewrote the response to the Request for Repair to make it very specific. The Bay Area agent copied the numbers from the home inspection report but it was not easily understood and could be misinterpreted. The report did not identify how to make repairs, and it alluded to further inspections. After laying out each specific repair, we went into contract. We signed the Request for Repair, which also stipulated the buyer would immediately release all contingencies.
By being very clear from the beginning, we can often avoid misunderstandings later.
This is also the first escrow I’ve ever closed in which we entered escrow ready to close. I’ve closed thousands of sales over my 40-some years in real estate, not one like this. Twenty-day closing. No monkey business, no weirdness. Oh, and it sold over list price.
Our market has favored home sellers for such a long time that it’s hard to recall when it wasn’t a Sacramento sellers market. You know, like back in the days of short sales. Back when we had to beg buyers to please buy a home at this fabulous discount. Although the discount was not always there. It was tough. I also recall managing 75 listings at one time. Talk about being super organized. Paramount. Nowadays, I can sleep in another 3 or 4 hours in the morning.
I just adapt to the market at hand. As a sole listing agent (I work with buyers only through my team members), I have learned to offer a different menu to my sellers in a Sacramento sellers market. If I sense the seller does not want to fix up the home or put much work into preparing the home for sale, I don’t force the issue. Why? Because I will sell it and for top dollar.
My advice to sellers is to talk with an experienced Realtor who has closed enough transactions to properly advise. Everybody has an opinion. It’s not the opinion a seller needs; it’s the facts. In a Sacramento sellers market, a seller can get away with murder, sans the blood and gore. My sellers often look at me with a wide-eyed expression, as though they can’t quite believe their good luck. But they can.
If you have a home in a bad location, I will sell it. If your home is not updated, in the hands of the right agent, it will sell. What about a home that needs repairs like a fixer? Super hot commodity! Plenty of salivating flippers. Moreover, in case you’re wondering, your home won’t sell itself. Not at top dollar. But that’s what a top agent can do for you.
After a buyer completes a home inspection, most of my sellers never lift a finger to fix anything. It’s an AS IS sale, and I help them to enforce that purchase contract clause. Buyers’ agents can whine all they want, but no repairs. No credits. I don’t care what’s wrong. They can stuff their health and safety issues you know where. Because this is a Sacramento sellers market. If buyers give us any grief, we’ll find a way to raise the price, ha, ha, ha.
Further, if you’re a seller looking for an experienced listing agent to sell your home, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Get a full-service Sacramento Realtor on your side. You’re likely to walk away with more money that way, say, over a discounter. Because the commission is not the determining factor in a transaction like the discounters expect you to believe. It’s hiring an agent who knows what you can get away with in a Sacramento sellers market. Put my 44 years of experience to work for you.
You might wonder why about 50% of the homes are selling in Sacramento this spring and the other 50% of homes are not selling — especially when you read that we are experiencing a seller’s market for 2014 — and, as usual, this real estate agent has an explanation for our Sacramento housing market phenomena. For starters, this is not really a seller’s market for all Sacramento housing, because it doesn’t fit all of the criteria for a seller’s market. To have a seller’s market, you’ve got to have buyers, and we don’t have as many as buyers as we probably should for the amount of inventory available.
This means if a tree falls in the forest does it make it a sound?
Yes, our inventory is very low as compared to previous years but I don’t see as many buyers out and about our town. I’m not receiving as many multiple offers as I used to a few years ago, it takes longer to get an offer, and the days on market seem a bit longer as well. So, that would make for a pretty balanced market, wouldn’t you agree? Plus, let’s not forget, prices are up! You can probably get $100,000 more for that home than you could have a few years ago. It’s a great time to sell. Rates are low, so it’s still a good time to buy.
If you need to sell and buy a home, the good news is contingent offers are back! Little signals a normal Sacramento real estate market than contingent offers.
It’s also a Sacramento housing market in which some homes in Sacramento will sell very quickly because there is a high demand for that particular type of home, location, price range — or a combination of those factors. Other homes will take longer to sell. Especially those homes that are overpriced. I realize some sellers are exuberantly enthusiastic, let’s say, and optimistic to the point that they’ve priced themselves out of the market, but by golly, they sure do have that sign in the front yard.
I closed a home in Roseville earlier this week in the West Park neighborhood for sellers who are moving to the Midwest. If they had waited another month, they probably would have received the price they wanted, but since it didn’t sell within 2 weeks, they elected to reduce the price a bit to entice an offer. Bam. Flew into escrow with that price reduction. Of course, then they worried that they sold too low — that’s human nature — but they didn’t. They sold at market value, and we negotiated with the buyers to let them stay for a few weeks free of charge.
So, it all boils to if you’re planning to sell, you need to think about which side of the fence you want to be on. Do you want to be on the side of the fence that is receiving offers, going into escrow and closing? Or do you want to sit on the other side that, well, sits. Because only about half of our inventory is selling right now. But low inventory with low numbers of buyers is still a somewhat balanced market. Could this be the new normal for Sacramento real estate?
A Sacramento home buyer called yesterday to lament about her attempts to buy a home. She asked me if this was a good time to buy or a bad time to buy. It’s not as simple as that, I’m afraid. It’s a good time to buy if you can conform to the market, and if you can buy a home. That’s because interest rates are low and prices are very affordable. But it’s a lousy time to buy as well because you might not be able to buy a home at all. It’s not like a buyer can make a full price offer and expect that offer to be accepted. Come on, this is not the middle of the Mojave desert — even though that’s how Bay Area investors see us — this is Sacramento.
Sacramento — a severely distressed real estate market that is beginning to rebound. Prices are inches up. Prices are not kissing the sky like Jimi Hendrix. Yet home buyers are making crazy offers like Charlie Sheen on a bender. I can quietly list a home and slip it into MLS and within 24 hours, I’ll have a pile of offers on my desk for $20,000 to $50,000 more than list price. If this isn’t madness, I don’t know what is. If those Charlie Sheen offers were cash, I’d be dancing naked on my desk, but they aren’t. They are financed offers, and if the property won’t appraise to get that loan, they may as well be offering us a cart filled with gold bullion, which we all know will never leave the vaults at the U. S. Mint.
I can’t tell you if this a good time to buy a home. It depends on how much stamina you have and your appetite for rejection. It depends on your type of mortgage, too. It depends on who you are working with, which Sacramento real estate agents you choose to represent you. I can tell you the Elizabeth Weintraub Team is closing deals. I can tell you that some of the largest real estate companies in Sacramento tend to list most of the homes for sale in Sacramento. Some of the real estate companies do not put every listing immediately into MLS. If you are lucky enough to be working with a top producer in Sacramento, you might gain a bit of an edge.
It doesn’t mean that going to the listing agent ensures that buying edge because no reputable listing agent in Sacramento would put her seller at a disadvantage. No way, Jose. We want our sellers to get the highest and best offer; there are no compromises. No favorites. Everyone has an equal chance. But you might get a chance, and that’s the important part.
In this seller’s market in Sacramento, hitching your wagon to a top producer might be the wiser decision.