Impulsivity and caution in home buying

What’s your home buying style?  Impulsive? Cautious? Analytic?  Deep bargain hunter?

A few times in my real estate career, I’ve worked with Silicon Valley home buyers who were so anxious to purchase a home that I was concerned that their impulsivity might be a cause for buyer’s remorse later.  When that happens, I try to slow them down a little – I’ll suggest “let’s look at least a few homes” if it happens that they want to buy the very first home they saw. Part of my fiduciary duty is to look out for my clients’ best interests, and sometimes that means putting the brakes on just a little (or telling them what they don’t want to hear).

Home buyer caution and impulsivity More commonly, it’s the other extreme that I see in our very well educated, extremely analytic population: paralysis by analysis or an overabundance of caution. (Sometimes it’s overabundance of bargain hunting.)

The vast majority of successful Silicon Valley home buyers are somewhere in between: they set up their priorities and goals (“I want to buy in the next 4 months at this price with this location or school and this type of property and size of home”). The clearer they are on their goals, wants and needs, the easier it is to help them get it – as long as they have realistic expectations. That is key!

Once – only once – I sold a Los Gatos house in which the husband purchased without the wife’s physically seeing it.  This is rare!  They had moved so many times that he understood precisely what mattered to her, and if the house met that list, he was good to go. (more…)

The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market Update, November 2009

The post below was published in November of 2009. For a more current look at the Monte Sereno real estate market, please see:

The Monte Sereno Real Estate Market



monte-sereno-homes-for-sale-median-list-priceThe Monte Sereno real estate market is trickier than most Silicon Valley markets to gauge because it’s so tiny.  With just four thousand residents, there simply aren’t that many homes for sale in Monte Sereno at any given time and there are even fewer solds.

Monte Sereno Real Estate Trends at a Glance

The info below is from my Silicon Valley REReport, which comes out monthly. Click on the link to see the full report on October’s home sales activity in Monte Sereno.


Trends At a GlanceOct 2009Previous MonthYear-over Year
Median Price$1,450,000$1,641,000 (-11.6%)$1,322,500 (+9.6%)
Average Price$1,450,000$1,689,750 (-14.2%)$1,322,500 (+9.6%)
No. of Sales1(-75.0%)(-50.0%)
Pending Properties4(0.0%)(+33.3%)
Active2324 (-4.2%)29 (-20.7%)
Sale vs. List Price104.6%97.3% (+7.5%)95.3% (+9.8%)
Days on Market977 (-88.3%)81 (-88.9%)

Home Values in Monte Sereno

Sellers often want to know, perhaps more than anything, what is happening to home values. “What’s my house worth?” is a perennial question because the answer can change from month to month.  Buyers want to know what any particular property should be worth – and often do not see eye to eye with sellers on this point.  Hence, few homes go into escrow (or under contract) each month. (The months supply of inventory has averaged 19 months in MS this year – more on that below – which indicates that there’s a bit of a standoff between buyers and sellers. Buyers aren’t buying in the vast majority of cases.)