Doesn’t the listing agent have to show it to me?

Telephone Photo with dialogue between a caller and listing agent - Doesn't the listing agent have to show it to meIf a buyer wants to view a property, does the listing agent have to show it to him or her outside of regular open houses? The answer might surprise you!  Here’s a quick overview:

  • The listing agent and seller decide about showings that the listing agent is expected to do. Does the listing agent have to show it privately, or during open houses, or only on one weekend before offers are reviewed?
  • The listing agent will make showings possible for buyer’s agents with instructions on scheduling in the comments that members of the MLS can read.
  • In many cases, the real estate licensee working with the home seller will hold the property open for the public on the weekend and sometimes mid-week as well. It may or may not be the listing agent holding it open.
    • For safety reasons, many listing agents will not have private showings with buyers whom they don’t know and who aren’t clients of theirs. Realtors are harmed every year in the line of duty.
    • For agency reasons, a listing agent who plans to only represent the seller may not want to have an appointment with a buyer who plans to write the offer with someone else.
    • There are many other reasons why the listing agent will not personally show the home for sale outside of open house times, but may be able to arrange for the buyers to see it with another agent.

When does the listing agent have to show it?

The most important thing for buyers to understand is that the accessibility of the home for viewings depends upon the agreement, verbally or in writing, between the owner of the property and the agent/brokerage hired to market, negotiate, and sell the real estate as to whether or not the seller’s agent is obligated to show it privately.

It’s not an “on demand” situation where an interested buyer can insist on seeing the property as desired. To make an absurd point, no one would say “doesn’t the listing agent have to show it to me at 10 p.m.?” Without any thought, we know that’s unreasonable.
(more…)

Why didn’t my San Jose home sell?

Why didn't my San Jose home sell.“Why didn’t my San Jose home sell?” or “Why didn’t my Silicon Valley home sell?” is being heard from frustrated sellers in Santa Clara County as the days on market rack up. They remember that just a few months ago virtually every home flew off the market.

If you’ve had your San Jose home listed for sale with a real estate professional but after a long while on the market it hasn’t sold, you are probably tired, discouraged, and maybe even angry. What went wrong?  Isn’t this still a hot seller’s market?

In brief:

  1. The peak of the hot seller’s market was in April – May 2022 for closed sales. Those homes were on the market in March or April. Spring is normally a better market than fall, but this year a lot changed to cause prices to fall since that peak.
  2. Affordability took a triple hit for buyers: home prices rose extremely fast, the Fed raised interest rates quickly and steeply (nearly doubling in 6 months), and the stock market tanked. Buyers’ budgets have shrunk and many of them decided to wait until conditions are more favorable.
  3. Buyers still looking are pickier than they were in Spring. Homes that aren’t perceived as the best value are getting passed over.
  4. Most of the time when homes don’t sell, it’s due to them being overpriced for the current market. Prices are down about 15% from earlier this year, perhaps more for homes in less desirable locations such as near high voltage power lines or on busy roads.
  5. We will consider options that sellers have to turn things around from “why didn’t my San Jose home sell” to “wow, that was a great response from home buyers!

Why didn’t my San Jose home sell? Pricing confusion is the most common culprit.

Neither the sellers nor their Realtors control the market, but it is imperative that we understand the market if your home is to be properly positioned for a sale. Your own area may not be reflective of the city of San Jose as a whole, but this should give you some ideas on how things are faring, and you can check the link below for your area, whether it’s Berryessa, west SJ / Campbell area, Almaden, downtown, etc.

Sellers are having some whiplash over the change in prices.

Average Sale Price for San Jose houses in August 2022

(more…)

How to quickly get your Silicon Valley home ready to sell

Tips to Sell FastIf for some reason you find yourself in a very big hurry to get your Silicon Valley home on the market, you may not know where to begin or how to get it done.  Today I’ll give you a quick list of the best things to do, and in order, too!

First, hire a great, full time real estate professional.  This Realtor or other sales person will be your partner from the beginning and can give you insight and advice on the best place to spend your time and money for the best return on investment – and which items are the most important in your house or condo’s particular case, given the time restrictions. Your Realtor can also help you with time lines, managing pre-sale inspections (worst case, they can happen after your home is on the MLS), etc.  Sometimes home owners begin on their own and make less than ideal choices when choosing paint colors and so on.  Since part of the service provided when you sign a listing agreement is good advice, do hire first!

Second, think clean, uncluttered, and “good working order”.  The rest of the tips all fall under the broad umbrella of staging – mostly de-cluttering, cleaning, and making sure that things work as intended.  Perhaps you won’t be able to make everything immaculate and perfect, but in many cases, with even a  few days you can hit the biggest areas fast.

Make a list of everything that needs some kind of minor repair or adjustment. Getting those items fixed will send a message to home buyers that your house or condo is turnkey and not a “fixer”.   It may not be conscious, but if home buyers find doors that squeak loudly, doorbells or lights that don’t work, they begin to wonder if there are any big ticket items that are in need of repair or replacement, too.  Hire a handyman or contractor as needed so that your home gives the right first impression.

Moving at lightening speed, with the listing signed today and the home on the MLS tomorrow? This isn’t fun, but I’ve done it with sellers at times.  In those cases, you may have one frantic 24 hour period. Think of it like you do when entertaining relatives who may go anywhere in your home…

What would you do if you had one hour’s notice before company would be arriving at your doorstep? Here are some quick fixes for the hurry up sale:

  1. Be armed with large boxes or laundry baskets so you can begin to collect things where are where they do not belong and get them at least generally to where they do.
  2. Get the floors, counter tops and surfaces almost completely clear.  If it’s newspapers, throw them out (show no mercy!).  Have a box or basket for each bedroom or room of the house and put the items into the correct basket as you go through the house.  For example, you could have one box for the garage, another for the master bedroom, another for the hall bath, etc.  Bring all boxes into each room that you are “clearing” and take just one room or area on at a time.  You may be moving 6 or 8 boxes or baskets from one room to the next, but it’s a faster way to sort and move things.
  3. If there’s no time to actually put all of these items away, do what most of us did in college: put the basket or box in the closet.  And then close the door.  No, it’s not ideal. It’s a quick fix and it will do the job 90-95% of the way.  If you’re in a rush, it’s got to be good enough.  Ditto that with the garage.  If all else fails, put things into the garage.  Some buyers may chuckle, but yours will most certainly not be the only house where they see this happen.  If you have a truly excessive amount of stuff, get a pod or use a service such as Door to Door, where they bring a container to your driveway, you load it, they then take it away and you get it back when you’re ready to move. (more…)

Understanding Descriptions in the Listing Remarks

glassesYou’re browsing through the online list of Silicon Valley homes for sale and only want a turnkey home. How can you tell, from the description, what the home’s true condition is? (Photos are often the biggest help, but some agents don’t post enough of them, or the quality is poor.)

Often it’s not what the Silicon Valley real estate agent says, it’s what he or she doesn’t say.

For example, when a home’s been remodeled, normally the agent will try very hard to convey this in the allowed words in the public remarks section. If anything has been replaced or updated, it will be in the remarks unless the agent is really not good at marketing the home. The comments should say “remodeled kitchen and baths” if that’s the case. If the kitchen and baths aren’t mentioned at all, normally that means that either they are original or are otherwise in need of remodeling now.
(more…)

Searching for distressed properties? Not all of them are for sale!

Consider thisThis week I was emailed about a home mentioned on Trulia which seemed “too good to be true”.  It was a distressed property and the reader thought it was for sale for about $650,000 but it is in an extremely upscale suburb on the Peninsula and she could not find the home for sale on our MLS.  She didn’t want to pay to find out if this was a hoax or what, so she asked me to please have a look.

I clicked on her link and saw that it was a feed into Trulia from one of the companies which provides foreclosure information to consumers by paid subscription.  No where did it say the home was for sale, but instead it indicated that $650,000 was the home owner’s loan amount – and that the property had a Notice of Default filed against it.  The house wasn’t worth anywhere near $650,000, of course – instead it’s valued at more than $2,000,000.  (So this would NOT be a short sale – there’s tons of equity in this property.)

Some consumers think that if a home has a NOD, it is for sale.  That is simply not true.  Many homeowners (including some of my clients) have at times missed a payment and then found themselves scrambling a little to get caught up.  It’s not easy but it can and does happen sometimes. (more…)

Water Heater Strapping for Earthquake Safety

Today I was showing homes in Santa Clara to my buyers and saw one home with very “funky” (non compliant) strapping around the hot water heater. It was weird enough that I took a photo!

 

Unusual here – and confused – is the slanted lower strap that is in the top half as well as the bottom half of the water heater and goes around the ducting. Really bizarre!

What water heater strapping DOES require is a hefty strap in the top third and another in the bottom third of the water heater. Blocking may be required too. To see all of the requirements per the State of California, see the online directions for strapping water heaters (a how-to).

Water Heater Strapping Collage