Whether you think the current housing crisis is a cause of a symptom of the economic meltdown in the United States and abroad, there’s no denying that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about how long this recession will last , how deep it will cut , and what this means for people looking to buy a house in Santa Cruz today. I’ve said it several times in various postings to this blog, but I think it bears repeating: I think home prices in Santa Cruz county will continue to drop for the foreseeable future – and by that, I mean the rest of this year, at least. … It’s not a new thing – as I mentioned a blog entry or two ago, this multiple-offer feeding-frenzy has been going on at least 18 months, I don’t see that it is more common today than it was a year or so ago – but perhaps it’s being talked about more in the media, as there is now more effort into talking up the economy rather than talking it down. … I had seen it when it had come up (I send myself e-mails from my automated system for every bank-owned home that hits the market), but at the moment, I had a number of deadlines I was working to meet so I didn’t look at the particulars to see that it was really an incredible deal. … Actually, when it started out, I don’t think it was a short sale – but as the months went by, the price was reduced until finally the owner owed more on it than the market would pay.
A month ago, I wrote a blog entry about a homeowner in Soquel who was having a blue light special on the sale of his home. I guess it didn’t work out so well – his Soquel home is now back on the market – for $829,000, or about $79,000 more than it was on for sale about a month ago. … Of course, this home is in Soquel, which is considerably more expensive, but the median there is only $610,000 (although the average is $843,000). This time around, rather than trying to catch the buyer’s eye with a lowered price, the seller is trying to catch the Realtor’s eye – with a juicy 4% commission to the buyer’s real estate agent. … A strong incentive, to be sure – but of course, we Realtors are duty bound to hold our clients’ interests above our own, and persuading your client to over-pay on a real estate purchase in exchange for a healthy commission seems like a breach of fiduciary responsibility to me.
After all was said and done, the seller’s agent and I agreed to meet for coffee and to exchange some final documents and so I could get the key to pass on to my buyers. You may not be aware of this, but Keller Williams are kind of messianic about their company. … A few months back during the Watsonville REO tour that we had, I had met another KW agent, and she spoke in glowing terms of her company, and in particular about this training that they had, which was open to agents from any brokerage, not just Keller Williams. So when I was sitting down for coffee with the seller’s agent, I started talking to her about Keller Williams and the training that they provide. … In an appreciating seller’s market, it’s not such a bad thing to over-price your property by 10% – sooner or later, the market will catch up to you, and you’ll probably end up getting that extra 10% if you wait long enough.