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APR in the News

How can you tell when a property is overvalued?

February 2, 2016
Agents SOUND OFF
 

Matt Tenczar
San Jose – Almaden Valley
408.605.8124
tenczarteam@apr.com

Question: How might Warrior arena in Mission Bay affect our real estate market?
Answer: My initial response: “Is there such a thing in the Bay Area?” Consider Santa Clara County, where only 545 single-family homes and 171 condos/townhouses are actively for sale and the average home sells at 102 percent of its list price. Is it possible there might not be such a thing as an overvalued home? I often tell buyers when they ask me if a home is worth it that if it isn’t today, it will be tomorrow.
Having said that, the question remains how do you tell if a home is overvalued. It turns out there really is such a thing in the Bay Area. When looking at the statistics of home sales, the average home takes 35 days to sell, so that means not every home sells in one week and receives multiple offers that are hundreds of thousands of dollar more than the list price. So how do you tell? If you are a buyer, you start with looking at the days on market.
Any home on the market for more than 30 days possibly has something wrong with it, and whatever the “it” is, the price will be part of it. Homes that have been on the market for a long time sell for a lower price. So I would define an overvalued home as one that’s been on the market without receiving any offers for more than 30 days.

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APR in the News

How might Warrior arena in Mission Bay affect our real estate market?

October 20, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

Mark Neuterman
San Francisco
415.885.9986
mneuterman@apr.com

Question: How might Warrior arena in Mission Bay affect our real estate market?
Answer: Our real estate market continues to thrive with projects like the new Warriors stadium in Mission Bay. It’s one more example of an area ready for revitalization and development.
There will undoubtedly be some logistical hurdles like traffic, noise and parking to contend with. However, local commerce will certainly benefit from the influx of additional sports fans.
Any opportunity to increase exposure and revenue to our amazing city of San Francisco is advantageous for homeowners and business owners alike.

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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What do low interest rates for the foreseeable future mean for Bay Area real estate?

September 30, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

Hazel Carter
Tiburon / Belvedere
415.730.9445
hazelc@apr.com

Question: What do low interest rates for the foreseeable future mean for Bay Area real estate?
Answer: It is a relief for buyers to hear that interest rates are holding for the time being. However, when buyers think rates could be on the verge of escalating, it does motivate them to purchase. Sellers are certainly relieved, comforted by the concept that money is relatively easy to come by and should continue to keep buyers motivated.
Conversely, when I first began my career in real estate, interest rates were 18 percent — a good reminder that it is important for those considering buying to take advantage of these current rates.

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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?

September 8, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

Tom Dreyer
Mill Valley
415.412.3443
tdreyer@apr.com

Question: Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?
Answer: If the Fed continues to hold rates at present extraordinarily low levels, it should support and enable the hot local sales market. Low rates provide a clear incentive for all types of buyers as they are able to leverage additional buying power — and are able to borrow more without dramatically increasing their expected payments. With a stable rate, buyers willing to hold a property for at least five years can increase the chances of making money on the eventual sale.
That said, a small, incremental increase in rates by the Fed over several quarters typically will create a spike in buyer activity, while they fear their “buying window” may be closing. Over the long term, it also may price out some buyers until the market becomes more balanced.
The past weeks’ volatility in the stock market, should it continue, is a greater concern to me insofar as consumer confidence is concerned. If consumers do not feel financially stable, it can have a large impact on the real estate market.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Home warranty: Good idea?

August 3, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

John Jenkins
Saratoga
408.741.1111
jjenkins@apr.com

Question: Home warranty: Good idea?
Answer: Home warranties are often an inexpensive way to give recent home buyers peace of mind.
The relatively cheap plans will protect homeowners from having to cover the cost of repairs to most major appliances.
Additionally, the warranty will handle all aspects of the repairs — meaning no headache of dealing with different vendors.
However, as with any insurance plan, there is always the possibility you will not need it, and there can be other limitations.
Home warranties will not cover issues determined to be pre-existing. Depending on your plan, they often may choose to repair appliances rather than replace them — no matter how out of date the appliance is.
It might sound simple, but one of the most important elements to getting worth from a home warranty is remembering its value and using it. If you have a problem and try to fix it yourself before calling in the issue, that can void it being fixed through the warranty.
It’s important to look at the specifics of the plan and the condition of the home you are purchasing when assessing if a home warranty plan is for you.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What are the pros and cons of earthquake insurance?

June 22, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Kristan Marie Lynch
San Francisco
415.713.3547
klynch@apr.com

Question: What are the pros and cons of earthquake insurance?
Answer: As a realtor specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area, the topic of earthquake insurance comes up often, especially with first time home buyers. As far as I know, I only have one client that has ever purchased earthquake insurance. Property owners complain that the cost of earthquake insurance is prohibitively expensive and include very high deductibles. However, should your home suffer substantial damage when the ‘big one’ hits and you have earthquake insurance, I doubt you’ll be complaining about those insurance premiums.
Every property has different risk factors depending on where the home is located, when it was built and how it was built. A homeowner would be well advised to weigh these factors and the associated costs before making a decision.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

How much should clients believe what they read in online reviews about a Realtor?

April 29, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Rainy Hake
Executive Vice President
408.741.1111
rainy@apr.com

Question: How much should clients believe what they read online about a Realtor? How can they determine fact from fiction in online reviews?
Answer: Without question, asking friends, family or neighbors that you trust about an agent will always give you a more accurate impression of an agent than online reviews. Online reviews of real estate agents are often tricky to sort through. Unlike a restaurant that deals with thousands of customers a year, agents often deal with only a handful. As a result, because the sample size is so low, it’s very rare to get a complete picture based solely on online reviews. To add to this, sometimes the reviewers aren’t even the clients of the agent; they are just people who interacted with them in another capacity. While some sites (Zillow and Trulia) verify that the reviewer was involved in a transaction with an agent, many sites like Yelp, Google Places, and reviews on Facebook pages feature no such verification.
I would say that if there are numerous reviews and a pattern emerges that fits with your previous perceptions and interactions with an agent, they may have some credibility – both positive or negative. It also never hurts to ask the agent about any reviews you have concerns about; how they respond might shed some light.
When all else fails, choosing an agent that is affiliated with a respected brokerage with a professional, solid reputation in the community is typically a safe bet.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

When should I stage and professionally photograph?

April 20, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Nick Granoski
Palo Alto
650.269.8850
ngranoski@apr.com

Question: When should I stage and professionally photograph?
Answer: The speed at which our market moves makes it critical to get everything right from the start.
Many times buyers need to make up their minds about whether or not to make an offer after seeing a home just one time. With only one chance to make a first impression, I always recommend staging and professional photography.
The degree of staging will vary based on the home. The condition of the interior and exterior along with the price range are all factors in making a decision regarding how much staging to use.
If the house is barely inhabitable and needs all new electrical, plumbing, roof, etc., it doesn’t make sense to stage. You want to make the home look livable, but no need to overdo it.
On the other end of the spectrum, a high-end home may already have custom furniture and paint colors picked by an interior designer, but it will still need some degree of staging to make it shine. The art of staging and photographing a home to sell is unique to each transaction, but all homes will benefit.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Do I Still Have A Chance if I’m Not the Highest Bidder?

March 30, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

David Gunderman & Andrew Raskopf
Oakland Hills – Montclair Village
510.205.4369
dgunderman@apr.com
araskopf@apr.com

Question: Do I still have a chance if I’m not the highest bidder?
Answer: The highest bid almost always wins. Almost.
If you have the ability and the wherewithal to match your competition, there are ways to approach the terms and presentation of your offer to secure an opportunity to prevail in a counter offer phase (but never assume you will get that opportunity as you draft your initial offering.) One of your agent’s responsibilities is to try to find a way to get the seller to give you the opportunity to match or beat the best offer if it is not yours. There are also instances where the seller values something more than top dollar (i.e. a smoother closing, better terms, or they choose to bequeath the home to someone who has tugged at their heartstrings). In addition to assessing value and analyzing disclosures, it is important that your agent find out what the seller values and you should consider including a letter with your offer that builds emotional bridges to the seller while remaining true to who you are.
Lastly, relationships matter in real estate. Lower offers can prevail when the listing agent and seller trust the lender and/or the buyer’s agent to get the job done, especially if the highest offer seems uncertain.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What do buyers and sellers often fail to account for?

March 23, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Nick Granoski
Palo Alto
650.269-8856
ngranosk@apr.com

Question: What do buyers and sellers often fail to account for?
Answer: The power of live conversation can be underestimated in this age of technology, especially as it relates to fast-moving real estate transactions.
Buyers and sellers are using technology to be faster and more efficient with communicating via text, e-mail, etc. While this does facilitate faster communication, it’s important to remember that real estate transactions can also be emotional, and technology does not always translate emotions effectively. Feelings matter, and deals come together (or fall apart) based on what is communicated or interpreted.
Live conversation during transactions can quickly clear up misconceptions or assumptions faster and more cohesively than an ongoing exchange of e-mails or text messages back and forth. Tone of voice, clarity and questions that evolve based on the flow of conversation can be assessed quickly, accurately and will save both buyers and sellers lots of money and time when done correctly. Don’t underestimate the power of communicating the old-fashioned way when it comes to effective real estate transactions.
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