Ringing The Bell

Last year, a large 4 bedroom, 3200 sq ft house on Gloucester in Whalers sold for $610,000 over asking. Remarkable for sure, but it’s a big house, it was priced low to begin with…and it’s on the water in Whalers. It closed at $2,010,000. A couple of days ago a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Plum Isle at 934 Aruba, in all of 1810 sq ft closed at $1,750,000. $462,000 over asking. That’s simply astonishing. To add some perspective…the most money ever spent on this floorplan in Plum isle was $1,160,000. That place closed on July 22 of this year! 10 days ago! OK, the Aruba place is nicer than the other one on Grenada…but WOW!

Real Estate is a lot like baseball. You never really know what you’re going to see every day you go out. Amazing!


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.

Note to Buyer…Do Not Do This

So I got an offer on the house I had listed in El Granada and it was so astonishingly bad that I can’t resist writing about it. Think of it as therapy…for me. Maybe think of it as an object lesson for you if you’re a buyer. Since the place was on the market for close to three months I sort of expected a low offer. That’s OK. We did indeed get a low offer…$75,000 under asking actually. Again…I get it, no problem. We also got an offer with 17 day contingencies for all categories and this part written in the “other terms and conditions” section of the contract:


” All furnishings including, but not limited to: window coverings and related hardware, drape mounting hardware over the closet and the drapes themselves, refrigerator/freezer, stove, microwave, kitchen table and chairs, coffee pot, TV, coffee table the TV sits on and the bed frame and mattress”.

My internal response to this? “You’ve got to be f%$#&*O kidding me!” Nothing like insulting a seller. Of course we said no thanks. Oddly enough, 3 or 4 days later I get a call from another agent who is writing an offer too. The guy who had written the charming offer above calls and tells me his folks want to try again. Now after 90 days we have multiple offers. This time our friends come in with a full price offer but have the same terms and furnishing requests. The seller requested a rent back of up to 60 days but was willing to pay the Buyer’s principal, interest, taxes and insurance and put up a deposit. In other words they are willing to cover the buyers expenses during the rent back period. It’s worth mentioning that rent backs occur all the time. I’ve closed 25 escrows this year and I had a rent back on 15 of them. No big deal.

Not to the buyers who want the coffee pot though. These folks told us that they simply couldn’t allow a rent back. They said they didn’t want renters in their home. I asked the buyers agent to think through this process for a minute. The people they’re talking about are the homeowners who’ve made the place they like so much attractive enough for them to write an offer on it. What do these folks think is going to happen? This nice family with 2 small kids is suddenly going to host multiple toga parties as soon as escrow closes? Start throwing half full kegs through the picture window? That argument didn’t work. We ended up taking the other offer, even though it was less money, just because these folks seemed normal.

Folks, if you’re about to write an offer on a home…don’t write one like this. I guarantee you that you will offend the seller. Also…you’ll be looking at houses and writing offers for a LONG TIME!

More Horror Stories 2

I swear, I didn’t intend to make this a daily post! This is fast becoming a Funky Foto Contest kind of thing.  I just can’t resist though when I hear these stories…and it seems I hear them every day! Yesterday a house on Hiller in Belmont looked at offers. This place is an 1190 sq ft 3 bedroom, 1 bath house on a 4968 sq ft lot just south of Ralston. It’s listed for $499,994. It’s pretty much in need of an overhaul. It has a $26,000 termite report…among other things. Last year a similar size 3 and 1 on Elmer was on the market for 67 days before selling. It was spotless, new kitchen, bath, landscape and refinished hardwood floors. It’s price came down twice and it closed at $525,000. This was in January 2012.

OK, $499,994 for a fixer vs $525,000 for a remodeled little gem? Yes, the market’s hot after all. Well, guess what? The listing agent gave out 100 disclosures on this place. The place got 39 offers yesterday. 39 OFFERS! It had been on for a whopping 8 days. I think it’s really safe to assume that it’s going over $525,000. Like maybe $100,000 over $525,000? Who knows with 39 offers!

Are you feeling creepy yet? I sure am!

More Horror Stories

It really is pretty horrifying out there, that’s for sure. Seems like every day I’m hearing some new story that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It’s simply amaing what’s going on out there right now. Every house I call on seems to have the same story, 20 disclosure packets are out, wild overbids and no contingencies are the rule. I keep writing about this so I guess you’re getting used to it? Well, I’m not. Here’s a story to make your blood run cold:

There’s a short sale in San Mateo on Palm that was listed on Friday at $615,000. It’s a 1720 sq ft 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house with an alley right next to the building. No side yard at all, the alley begins just outside the window. No virtual tour or photos. In the listing’s agent notes it says in big capital letters:


So I drive by the house with my client, she likes it and I call the listing agent on Saturday morning and wants more info. I call the listing agent and she tells me she has 5 offers on it. Less than 24 hours into the listing. “Has anybody seen the house?” I ask. “No” she says. All the offers have come in subject to seeing it. 2 of them are all cash. Who buys a house sight unseen? I guess at least 5 people!

I think I may make this a weekly post and category. “Horror Stories”.