Funky Foto Contest Winner Week 106

Not bad…not bad at all! Of course there’s multiple opportunities to pick a street that has a waterfront location in this town and alot of you showed some really good knowledge on Friday! Congratulations to Larrisa Lindval who answered first and wins the $30.00 gift card to Chevy’s. Also arriving with the right answer was Sheetal, Debbie, Edna, Michael, Dana Ferri, Mr. Toler himself, Edward Mayfield, Ellen, Larry Shaine, Alex O, Kirk, Jason, Kirstin, Suresh, Carol, Melissa, Kevin, Jen, and Amruta. Also, Yining Wang and Karen Paganucci on facebook. Great job folks!! See you again on Friday!

Walking on Water?

I read somewhere online that this is a hoax. Who knows? Makes sense that it is…

Funky Foto Contest Week 106

Well, let’s see if we can beat last week’s mark in terms of folks participating. I’m wishing you all the best here today! This weeks question asks you to name one Foster City residential street that offers a waterfront location. I want a specific street name…there’s plenty to choose from too. If you’re first to answer correctly you’ll win a $30.00 gift card to Chevy’s at Edgewater Place…or wherever else you want to go to a Chevy’s.  All the rules of the road are available to view on the left hand margin as well as on the bar above. The winner along with all other correct answers will not be published until Monday morning. Any and all silly jokes, snappy quips and all wrong answers will be published immediately if not sooner. Have a great weekend!!


When you write an offer on a home one of the things you do to protect yourself is to include contingencies that contractually allow you to do certain things inside the contract. Essentially these contingencies allow you to inspect the home to your satisfaction and to get a loan within a time frame. Ultimately, the contingencies are there to protect your deposit and to allow you to back out should you encounter a major problem.

In the case of inspection contingencies, they allow you to do inital or further inspections of the property that may include hiring contrators or other professionals who can help you determine what the  home presents. The contingency also gives you time to research the property’s existing disclosures and to find more if you want to…a permit check with the city comes to mind. At the end of your investigation you either create an addendum asking for a remedy to whatever you’ve found (renegotiation) or you discover you’re satisfied with the home and you remove the contingency from the contract in writing and move forward.

In the case of the loan contingency, you’ll need to have had your appraisal completed and the lender to have told you that your loan is done and in place. That’s typically when loan contingencies come off. Recently, and after hundreds of escrows, I learned something new. What routinely happens in this case is the lender sends either the rep or the mortgage broker a list of conditions…a conditional loan approval if you will, and when the rep or mortgage broker sees it he or she knows from experience that these conditions can be easily met and they give the go ahead to remove the contingency. The conditions, once acquired, are sent back to the lender who them reviews them and sends the rep or mortgage broker a commitment in return acknowledging the satisfied conditions. Again, business as usual has been, in my experience, that once the conditions are sent out it’s sort of taken on faith that they will get satisfied based upon the experience of the mortgage broker or rep and this verbal is given to remove this contingency. I have a very smart client who asked a simple question…”How do we know that the lender is OK with the conditions we sent back?” “Shouldn’t we wait to remove the contingency until we know for sure they’re satisfied?”

That’s a pretty interesting question! In fact, it really is on faith and past experience that this contingecy get’s removed. Not upon written proof that it’s etched in stone. Sellers and their agents are naturally anxious about feeling certain the loan is done so that they can complete their plans to move…etc. They want the loan contingency removed as soon as possible. Heck, for years it was common to not even have a loan contingency at all. You just risked it right from the start! I guess things have changed. It actually seems reasonable to me that a buyer in this market be comfortable removing their contingency based upon the lenders acknowledgement of their commitment. Real estate is an ever changing and evolving business.


I think it’s the suits in this pic that really gets me. It’s been so long since I’ve worn one that I forgot what it’s like…the picture seems weird to me! (Sorry if you wear suits all the time!) I think if there’s any hard and fast rules about buying a house it’s that it’s never over until it’s over. Even in multiple offer scenarios there could very well still be room to negotiate should you want to do that. 

There’s an assumption that once a buyer takes a property in As Is condition that’s it. The negotiating ends and the price and terms are locked in. Many many sellers think this way. They get property and pest inspections up front in order to ensure a clean as is sale. The thing is, on many houses there are open questions that the initial inspections open up that create an environment for renegotiation. In one example I can think of recently, a house I’m in escrow on received 6 offers and went $90,000 over asking, As Is.  The house needs work and even though there were inspections done the buyers did further investigation through an engineer that uncovered some significant drainage related issues that clearly effected the home. We went back to the seller and the price got reduced by $35,000. The weight of the new disclosures that the engineer’s report brought to the transaction put the seller in a position where they had to make a decision…if they said no to the buyer’s renegotiation and the buyer walked away from the transaction they would then have to put the property back on the market and any and all future buyers would need to see the new report. They have to ask the question, “what will that report do to the value of the place now?”  Often, the impact on the future marketability of the property by the new report will be put into serious question and it’s certainly much easier and, in the long run, profitable to work the problem out with the buyer you have in hand.

Last year I had this situation with a seller and agent in a house on the coast. The seller chose to ignore that engineers report and rejected my buyers request to pay for some necessary work. The buyers backed out and ultimately found a much better property. The first house sat for another 3 months and finally sold…for less than it would have if the seller had just taken our renegotiated price. I guess the bottom line is just be careful and don’t be afraid to get further inspections and renegotiate if need be.

Funky Foto Contest Winner Week 105

I was chatting with Lydia on Friday and she was ribbing me about making the contest too easy. Here’s what I said…alot more people get to participate when it’s a tad easier. Friday the blog had almost 1100 hits (pretty good!) and 41 people answered the question. Congratulations to first time winner Yee Sakai, who answered first and wins the $30.00 gift card to Baja Fresh. Also arriving with the correct answer was Shrikant, Dana Ferri, Ranjana, Nicole, Kavita, Suju George, Sheetal, Debbie, Roger, Trisha, Tina W, Cathy, Kirk, Asif, Jim, Erika Jahnke, Raymond Wong, Ellen, Lola, Michael, Mr. Toler himself, Chris Hsiung, Nancy Haddad, Jeff Pounder, Jorge, Stephanie, Brian, Grace, Carol, Monica Martines, Julie, Kirstin and Melissa. Not to mention Veronica on facebook. Three of 4 others answered both on facebook and the blog. Great job guys!! Quite a week. See you this Friday when we’ll do it all over again!

Just How “Lost” Are You?

Final Season Of ‘Lost’ Promises To Make Fans More Annoying Than Ever

I hate to say it…but this one’s true!

Funky Foto Contest Week 105

Simple, right? Maybe, maybe not? This week I want to know a couple of things. First, where is this directory and second name two (2) businesses in this project. If you’re first to do so you’ll win a $30.00 gift card to Baja Fresh. All the rules of the road are available to view on the left hand margin as well as on the bar above. The winner along with all other correct answers will not be published until Monday morning. Any and all silly jokes, snappy quips and all wrong answers will be published immediately if not sooner. Have a great weekend!!

Poker Face

I don’t know, there’s something about this zany viral world we live in that never ceases to amaze me. Ultimately, it’s just flat out wacky. Things happen that were totally impossible just a few years ago and transparency has sometimes reached absurd new levels. Let’s take the obvious, facebook, for example. Here’s a couple of actual updates from my news-feed today:

“Just had my carpets and windows cleaned. Everything is spring fresh!”

“My wisdom tooth! ow, ow , ow! I think it weighs like a pound!”

“looking forward to hangin’ with John Stepanek tonight :)”

“People are driving funny today…”

“Love my friends, love coffee… this morning I had coffee with friends, what a great morning.”

“Excited about the new comforter/bedding set I got yesterday. TOTALLY changing up the colors/shades of the MB.”

It’s deep stuff, huh? Where would we be in life without the knowledge gleaned from social media? We may actually have real conversations or something. Not that I’m judging or anything…I’m on facebook all the time.

Well, into this transparency fray leaps the wonderful world of Trulia Voices. Have you seen this site? Trulia is a real estate search site and when you’re there you should check out the tab “advice”. There you’ll find Voices and it’s Q & A section. Why do I mention this? Well, because this week we have an entry from a real live Foster City homeowner who takes real estate transparency to a new level. The first three words on this “Voices” entry…HAVE TO SELL.  Hmmm…the seller goes on to share that they listed the home on May 1 and took a price reduction earlier this week. The seller then asks “When should I lower my price again?” The seller even suggests a new price $10,000 lower than the recently reduced price! Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself. Now that’s a poker face! Or not! It’s not exactly a realtor’s dream come true. Your client negotiating downward in the public domain for all the world to see.

What’s really funny to me is the answers! A bunch of folks from out of the area chime in, including one from the Chicago area. But really, you’ve got to take your hat off the the wonderful Vicki Moore of San Mateo’s Alain Pinel office who says “My suggestion is that you delete this question immediately.”

Like I said…only in the brave new virtual world! I love it! Oh, yeah…if you’re a buyer this may be a decent opportunity?

A Real Relationship

When it comes to selling your home there are a number of relationships that are important to you. It’s obviously pretty important exactly who sells the place for you for one, but ultimately maybe the most important relationship a seller has is the relationship between the asking price of the home and it’s perceived value. If that relationship is out of whack or disfunctional your chances of getting top dollar are lost.

The truth is, it’s a fine art to get this relationship right. Months can be lost attempting to get it right too. Any given house, condo or townhouse has it’s pluses and minuses. Every home has a flaw of some kind. What every home needs when it’s on the market is for the buyer’s to have this experience…”I don’t really care about______________________, I just want this place!” When homes get overpriced the feedback is almost never “The price is too high”. Typically the feedback contains alot of very specific, detailed analysis of the flaws of the home.

“The yard’s too small”

“The windows are original”

“The bathrooms are original”

“The bedrooms are too small”

This type of list can be infinite. Here’s the thing…every home has value. At some price houses with very significant defects will sell with multiple offers. No defect is large enough to frighten anybody. Conversely, when a home is priced too high, every defect is magnified and ultimately blown out of proportion. Buyer’s intuitively understand the relationship between real value and the listed price. A great example of this came up in Foster City this week. Jan Majeski of Alain Pinel has a listing at 717 Widgeon that has 6 bedrooms, 2 baths, is an REO and is listed at $769,900. There’s isn’t really any question in my mind that this place is going to get multiple offers. It doesn’t really matter what issues this place presents either….they’re going to be eliminated by this value price. Of course it’s a different animal pricing a foreclosure over your own house, there’s no emotional connection that would argue against a lower initial price. It’s on the normal sales where this all really becomes an art. Homes that are listed a little lower than the market tend to get alot of attention right now and in many cases are receiving multiple offers. Others that have erred on the high side are sitting.

It’s sort of a strange dance. Recently I saw a house in San Carlos that was in almost original condition list for a price of $1,098,000 and that price represented a discount. They got 5 offers and it ultimately sold for $1,210,000. I really believe that if they had listed for $1,200,000 they would never have stood a chance of getting it. The houses flaws would have been exaggerated and it would have languished. Maybe it would have sold for $1,098,000!