Funky Foto Contest Winner Week 288

Well, this time the pic worked! Nobody got it…but that’s OK. There’s always this Friday. See you then. Oh yeah…it was Isle Cove.

 

Funky Foto Contest Week 288

Nice looking residence, huh? This week’s question is what project in Foster City are we looking at? If you’re first to tell me that you’ll win a $30.00 gift card to Subway. As usual, 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 The winner, along with all other correct answers will not be published until Monday morning.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.

Is Staging Worth It?

This debate is still going on…a post from a few years ago that needs repeating:

 

In the past 5 to 10 years the phenomenon of staging has become a big part of selling a house in this area and as the market softens the question of it’s value will inevitably come up. My answer to this question is, yes…if you want top dollar for your home.

The concept of staging came from developers who wisely created environments in new model homes that really showed off the possibilities of their product…and sold a bunch of them as a result. As a response to that success several entrepreneurs began to offer the same services to Realtors and sellers to enhance the look of their homes prior to marketing them. It’s really an art and often includes things as small as towels, dishes and even a random negligee strewn suggestively over the corner of a bed. The idea being to create an emotional appeal to a property that, hopefully, would subtly make someone want to buy it. The cost for a full staging will typically run from between $3000-$5000 and, naturally, a really big property would be more expensive than that. That doesn’t include expenses for things like fresh paint, or upgrades that may be useful like new light fixtures or kitchen counter tops.

I’ve read in other blog posts the suggestion that buyers are smart enough to be able to see through staging and that it is an unnecessary expense and I used to believe that myself for quite awhile. Here’s two stories that changed my thinking.

I was competing for a listing in San Mateo once and when asked about staging I said I thought it was not that important and if we just cleaned the place up a bit we would do just fine. I told them I thought they could get $900,000 if they did what I said. My competition recommended staging…he won and got the listing. They both painted the house, inside and out, and fully staged it. It got 15 offers and went well over $1,000,000…the first house in that area to do so! I was amazed…and I also began a relationship with a stager that week. The stager I use, is really outstanding with both design and color implementation. She really understands what creates a mood and how that mood inspires action.It’s an impressive talent!

My second story was a short time later. I had a listing on a busy street in South San Francisco and my clients were going to paint the interior, as well as do some other upgrades and eventually we were going to stage it prior to listing it. Myself, Mr. Seller and our painter all thought we should use off white with white trim…Mrs. Seller wanted more color. I had Claudia come over and she immediately recommended “Monroe Bisque” for the base and “Shaker Beige” for the trim. (She has this thing about color memory, go figure!). All the guys shut up and listened to her. At the first open house three people said to me “What color is this? I love it!” There were four houses on the market in that neighborhood at that time and we had the worst location on that busy street…yet we were the only listing that got multiple offers. The house went $31,000 over asking.

I think there’s a very real question about the expense of staging right now since it is possible that a home could take more than a month to sell but I’m a firm believer in creating a plan to sell a listing…and staging is part of that plan. Even in the slower market of 2007 I had several listings sell quickly that were staged. My listing on Lurline in Foster City was a good example. The sellers painted everything inside and out, including the kitchen cabinets and put a new granite counter top on and of course we staged. The end result was 11 offers and $129,000 over asking.

Funky Foto Contest Winner Week 287

Yes indeed, one of the shots from last Friday was Bayfront Court…the other Sand Harbor. Congratulations to Debbie Yeung who arrived first and wins the $30.00 gift card to Trader Joes. Also answering correctly was Shruti, J Kwan, Janny Lee, and Birgit. Thanks for playing folks!! See you again this Friday.

Funky Foto Contest Week 287

We’re back! This weeks question is multiple choice. Name either of the projects shown in this pic. If you’re first to tell me that you’ll win a $30.00 gift card to Trader Joes. As usual, 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

The Million Dollar Townhouse

The title above says it…but I’m sure plenty of you (me too!) can’t quite wrap our heads around it. That’s the prospect of townhouses in Foster City selling routinely for $1,000,000. Surely you jest you say! I clearly remember selling a townhouse on Juno Lane in Isle Cove that we listed for $395,000 and got the astonishing price of $402,000 for. We were absolutely amazed and I recall a neighbor being sort of annoyed with me because he thought we were crazy to be asking such an outrageous sum as $395,000 in the first place. I was clearly an idiot in his eyes.

Now we’re seriously looking at those same townhouses approaching the 1 million dollar mark…and I don’t think it’ll be long until that happens. Of course they’re already there at Promontory Point…but I’m not talking about Promontory Point! I’m talking about Winston Square and Bayfront Court and Bay Vista and Treasure Isle. Don’t believe me? Since the first of 2014 two units have gone over $900,000. A waterfront at 1115 Lord Ivelson sold for $930,000 (but the waterfront thing is sort of expected) and a unit in Treasure Isle at $728 Chebec that was listed for $868,000 sold for $955,000. That’s NON WATERFRONT townhouses.

Right now we have pending sales at 845 Balboa (Water…listed for $899,888), 391 Catamaran (No water…listed for $865,000) and 881 Cabot (no water…listed for $858,888). They’re all going to close over asking. I can’t wait to see where. It might not be this month or next…but sometime this year we’ll see a closing at or over a million for one of these townhouses. That’s absolutely freaking unbelievable! What’s more incredible though is the fact that we’ll get used to it and the standard for townhouses will be a million dollars. Just like the standard for single family homes is now about $1,300,000 in Foster City. You can be sure I’ll report on the first one that does…and don’t be surprised if it’s sooner rather than later.

 

Funky Foto Contest Winner Week 286

You guys are great! Really! Indeed, it was the sculpture of kids called Stilts near the Rec center and the first to arrive with the right answer was Larissa Lindval who wins the $30.00 gift card to Safeway. Also answering correctly was Shruti, Anu, J Kwan, Bill Hastings, Janny Lee and Birgit. Thanks for playing folks!! See you again this Friday.

Funky Foto Contest Week 286

OK, we’re back at it and maybe with some consistency too. I hope. This weeks question…where are these leg like things? Maybe what are they too? If you’re first to tell me that you’ll win a $30.00 gift card to Safeway. As usual, 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

Time Wasters

I’ve been real, real busy lately. Super busy actually, and its been sort of hard to stay consistent writing here. In the last week I’ve looked at offers on three different listings I have. All of them got a ton of interest and sold well over asking. The first one in San Francisco got 17 offers and sold for more than $500,000 over the asking price. A house I had listed in San Mateo…a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house as well, got 9 offers and sold for $270,000 over asking. The third one in Foster City sold for over $110,000 over asking. Two of the three were all cash and all of them had no contingencies of any kind.

While all of these scenarios are amazing maybe the most amazing thing to me in each situation is the fact that buyers in them stubbornly refused to accept reality now and went ahead and wrote their offers under the asking price with tons of contingencies. In the case of the SF building, I had handed out 42 disclosures and made it very clear to everyone that we were getting multiple offers. In spite of that I get an offer $100,000 under asking. To top it off, the agent drove to San Carlos to present it to me in person. Exactly why would both the agent and buyer do that? Who knows…but what a waste of time! In both other single family house scenarios the same thing happened. In Foster City, with full knowledge that we were getting 6 offers I have one party bring their offer under asking in 3 hours after the deadline when they knew they had a ton of competition. Again…why? Why waste your time? Plus, these crappy offers all have crappy terms! That makes it even more futile if you ask me. Weird, in fact.

Folks, don’t do that kind of thing. Not only is it wasting everybody’s time, but it’s actually contributing to the inevitable high overbid price. Plenty of agents wait to find out how much competition there is before they submit their offers. When a serious buyer hears 6 offers are coming in you have to assume that the competition is as serious as you are. You bid more because of it. When you write a crap offer you support these elevated prices you’re complaining about. Of the 6 offers in Foster City…3 of them were serious and good. The other 3 were awful and embarrassing….but I’m grateful for them because they assisted me in getting top dollar.

True Life

This pic is sort of what it’s like to be a buyer right now…isn’t it? It’s nothing short of amazing. Here’s a couple of horror stories: a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house on Edgehill in San Carlos came up a few weeks ago at $849,000. It had a small problem…actually not a small problem, it had a $250,000 foundation and drainage problem. I don’t think I ever saw a $250,000 foundation problem before. Is that enough to stop this insane market? HA! It closed yesterday at $1,200,500! Unbelievable! Once upon a time this kind of problem pretty much killed your deal. Not now!

You like that one? Here’s another. a 1770 sq ft house on Valparaiso just west of El Camino in pretty much original condition came up last week at $1,398,000. Because it’s on the north side of the street it’s technically in Atherton. Across Valpo is Menlo Park, which is crazy too of course. Valpo is a busy street for crying out loud! Anyway…3 offers came in yesterday over $1,900,000!!

I have a listing myself at 765 Sequoia in San Mateo. It’s a real nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath house in a great location. A couple of days ago I got a call from a buyer who essentially begged me to help her get the house. She told me that she and her husband had sold their townhouse over a year ago with the hopes of moving up. They’ve been staying with relatives for awhile now and are exhausted. She asked if I would work with her, as her agent, to help her achieve her goal of buying. Unfortunately I won’t do that dual agency thing so she’ll have to use an agent. Still..it’s the begging that surprises me.

There’s never been a market like this.