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3 “Don’t Do’s” if You’re Selling Your San Carlos Home in 2014 – Part III

Now

Part 3 of 3.

Are you selling your San Carlos home in 2014?   If so, congratulations!  You’re going to reap the benefit of two consecutive years of unprecedented home price growth here in the Bay Area.   As we discussed last week in the 2013 Year in Review, home prices have appreciated over 30% on average in San Carlos since 2011, and the economic conditions are still in place for another solid year in the real estate market in 2014.   Interest rates are still low, and there are still far more buyers than there are available homes for sale.

But just because this market still strongly favors sellers, it’s still critically important to adhere to the basic best practices of selling your home.  In this three-part series on the White Oaks Blog, we’ll highlight several common mistakes that sellers should avoid in this frenzied market.   Earlier this week, we discussed not massively under-pricing your home just to attract a boatload of offers

Here’s “don’t do” #3:

#3:  Don’t Wait too Long.

If you were to ask someone when the best time of the year to sell a house is, you’d probably get the answer “In the Spring” about 99% of the time.  Conventional wisdom has pre-programmed us to believe that Spring is best time of the year to put a home on the market, and consequently, more homes are listed and sold during the Spring than during any other time during the year.

But does this truly make Spring the best of the year to sell a home?  Not necessarily.   The best time to sell anything is when you have a combination of a) the greatest number of buyers and b) the least amount of competition.  So while it’s probably true that you’ll have the greatest number of buyers during the heart of the Spring real estate market, you’ll also have the greatest amount of competition — and this year should shape up no differently than any other year.

So when will you find a time when there’s peak interest in your home, and virtually no competition?   Ummm, how about right now?

Yes, surprising as it may seem, right now is probably the best time to put your home on the market this entire year.   Why?  Because you have the best combination of those two factors that we talked about — there are only 4 single family homes for sale in the entire City of San Carlos right now, and even though it’s still early in the year, buyers are out there in droves.   The holidays are over, and most kids are back in school.  So there are no distractions (vacations, holidays) that are keeping buyers away.

So following conventional wisdom and waiting until everyone else lists their home later in the Spring is Mistake #3 that you should avoid if you’re selling your home this year.   I believe there will be a significant wave of inventory hitting the market this Spring as other sellers who have been sitting on the fence look to finally cash out on peaking home prices.  Waiting to list your home until then that just means you’re jumping into the market when everyone else is.

But those who decide to do things a little differently and list their home early this year should be rewarded handsomely.
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3 “Don’t Do’s” if You’re Selling Your San Carlos Home in 2014 – Part II

cutting-money

Part 2 of 3.

Are you selling your San Carlos home in 2014?   If so, congratulations!  You’re going to reap the benefit of two consecutive years of unprecedented home price growth here in the Bay Area.   As we discussed last week in the 2013 Year in Review, home prices have appreciated over 30% on average in San Carlos since 2011, and the economic conditions are still in place for another solid year in the real estate market in 2014.   Interest rates are still low, and there are still far more buyers than there are available homes for sale.

But just because this market still strongly favors sellers, it’s still critically important to adhere to the basic best practices of selling your home.  In this three-part series on the White Oaks Blog, we’ll highlight several common mistakes that sellers should avoid in this frenzied market.   Yesterday, we discussed resisting the urge to cut corners in preparing your home for sale.

Here’s mistake #2 to avoid:

#2:  Don’t Massively Under-Price Your Home.

This is a practice that I still see with alarming regularity, and if you’re a regular reader of this site you know that I have strong feelings about it.    Whether it’s an intentional marketing strategy,  or simply a misjudgement on buyer demand, there seems to be a home listed just about every week that’s so far below the current market value that it raises the eyebrows of both buyers and Realtors alike.

I’m not talking about listing a home 5-10% below market value.   It’s the ones that are obviously listed 30-40% below what they are worth that baffle me — the 3BR/2BA home in the flats that’s listed for $999K, or the occasional 4BR home for $1.2M, when everything else similar is selling for so much more.     Is it that the listing agent simply doesn’t know the market, or is it an intentional strategy to get as many offers as possible to drive up interest?

Neither of those reasons are acceptable in my book, because in both cases you run the real risk of leaving money on the table.    If your agent isn’t local nor well versed in the micro-variations of each neighborhood in San Carlos, there’s no way that they will have an understanding of the true value of your home, let alone what the demand for it will be.   That usually results in pricing it too low.

But the intentional strategy of listing a home far below its market value is simply gambling with your profit.   As we have discussed before, buyers begin to focus too much on how much over the asking price that they are bidding, and not on what the true value of the home actually is.    This practice has become the norm in the super-heated Palo Alto real estate market — but not here in San Carlos.    You’re far more likely to be padding the listing agent’s statistics than you are maximizing your profit.

The bottom line is that you should do a thorough and timely analysis of the market value of your home, and price it close to that value (*slightly* below is OK, too.)   After all, if there’s a price you have in mind for your house and you don’t ask for it, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it.

Part III:  Don’t Wait Too Long.

Later this week on the blog in Part III of this series, we will talk about the 3rd mistake to avoid if you’re selling your home in 2014 — waiting too long to put it on the market.   Traditional wisdom tells you list it in late Spring when everyone else does the same.   In the third and final installation of this series, we’ll discuss why this may not be your best strategy.
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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3 “Don’t Do’s” if You’re Selling Your San Carlos Home in 2014.

Dont-do-it

A 3-Part Series.

Are you selling your San Carlos home in 2014?   If so, congratulations!  You’re going to reap the benefit of two consecutive years of unprecedented home price growth here in the Bay Area.   As we discussed last week in the 2013 Year in Review, home prices have appreciated over 30% on average in San Carlos since 2011, and the economic conditions are still in place for another solid year in the real estate market in 2014.   Interest rates are still low, and there are still far more buyers than there are available homes for sale.

But just because this market still strongly favors sellers, it’s still critically important to adhere to the basic best practices of selling your home.  In this three-part series on the White Oaks Blog, we’ll highlight several common mistakes that sellers should avoid in this frenzied market.

#1:  Don’t Cut Corners.

When you’re selling a home in a market that favors sellers as much as this one does, it would be very easy to adopt the attitude of “I can just put a sign on the front lawn and it will sell tomorrow.”   While this sentiment may be true in some respects, it’s a dangerous mindset to adopt, because it could easily lead to cutting some costly corners that you would never think of doing in a normal market.  Here are two of the most common areas where I see it happening:

Home Presentation:  It seems like the first thing that goes out the window in a hot, seller’s market like this is the proper presentation of the home.  I can’t tell you how many homes that I’ve been through the past few months that were obviously rushed to market with absolutely zero effort put into preparation.    From something as basic as de-cluttering and staging of the house, to simply cleaning it, it’s appalling how much of this is simply getting skipped over.

Staging is one of those preparation expenses that sellers still have difficulty comprehending the return on investment, especially when homes are selling so quickly in this market.   But it’s even more important than ever to achieve that “wow” factor when people walk into your home, because they are more likely than ever before to stretch their budget to get into the right place.   The $5,000 (or less) that you’ll spend on de-cluttering, staging, and cleaning your house will almost always come back multiple times over when you sell it, especially in a strong market.

It’s inexcusable to expect top dollar for a house that’s devoid of furniture, has an inch of dust everywhere, and the windows are so dirty that you can’t see the million dollar views that you’re being asked to pay for.   But sadly, that’s how some homes are being marketed today.

Disclosures:   That same dangerous, complacent mindset that persuades people to cut corners on preparing the house for sale is also becoming pervasive in the quality of the disclosures that accompany the house.  That’s pretty evident when you read through some of the disclosure packets lately — if they’re even filled in completely at all,  every single box is checked “no”.  You’d think your buying a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood.

It’s understandable to wonder why one should take all of the time and effort to fill in the disclosure documents completely and honestly when the home will sell with multiple offers and no contingencies.    If the buyer doesn’t seem to care about the condition of the home, why should you?  Right?   Here’s one great reason why you don‘t want to do that:

The statute of limitations on known and discovered items will far outlast this seller’s market.   In other words, you can very easily get sued years down the road for things you didn’t bother to disclose today.   This will be especially true when this market begins to level off.   People will not hesitate about taking legal action if they don’t think they were dealt with fairly — even years after the fact.

The bottom line is that the same fundamental rules always apply when you’re selling your home, regardless of the market conditions.    Unless you don’t care about getting top dollar for your home or getting sued years later when the market cools off, it’s imperative that you exercise the same level of care and diligence in preparing your home for sale as you would in any other market.

In other words, don’t cut corners.

Tomorrow:  Don’t Under-Price.

Tomorrow in Part 2 of this series, we’ll talk about the importance of resisting the urge to massively under-price your home to get multiple offers.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
Get the best coverage on the San Carlos real estate market delivered right to you!
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1-4-14.

Calendar

Bring on 2014.

The first weekend of the New Year was relatively light, as may have been expected since we’re just coming out of the New Year’s holiday.   Having New Year’s Day on a Wednesday this year meant that many people took Thursday and Friday off to extend the holiday through the weekend, so that explains why traffic was light all week, and listings few.

This coming week marks the first full week of the new year, so expect to see the activity in the market ratchet up significantly in the coming days and weeks.   Sellers who accelerate their home to the market in early January should be rewarded handsomely, since there are only 4 homes for sale in the entire city as of this morning.    The city needs listings almost as badly as it needs rainfall!

Here are the details from last week…

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 1-4-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 1-4-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 4
Average Sold Price $1,575,333 $1,579,375
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $809 $715
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 115% 103%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 7 42
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 14 16
Inventory of Active Listings: 5 3
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,264,568 $1,514,650
Average DOM of Active Listings: 64 99
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $595 $557
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.38 : 1 0.19 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The Year in Review: San Carlos Real Estate Market in 2013.

2013-2

ECON 101.

If you ever needed a real-life example of the basic economic concept of supply and demand, then you need to look no further than the San Carlos real estate market in 2013, because it literally took a page out of the econ textbooks.   2013 was a phenomenal year for home valuations in San Carlos on every conceivable metric, as the market rode a rapidly rebounding economy and job market in the Bay Area.    Add to this mix an endless supply of nearly free money, and you’ve just created a demand for housing that we haven’t seen in almost a decade.

The inherent limitation of San Carlos (and every other community on the Peninsula) is that there is will always be a finite and predictable housing stock because of the fact that the Peninsula is land-locked.  Unlike the east bay or south bays where new expansion is possible,  the total number of single-family homes in Peninsula communities has only seen an infinitesimal increase over the past decades.  So no matter how many people suddenly want to move into the City of Good Living, there will only ever be a fairly predictable number of homes for sale during any given year.

To exacerbate this problem, the number of single-family homes that were listed for sale in San Carlos on the MLS actually dropped in 2013 from previous years, which created the perfect storm for home sellers:  If you couple high demand with low inventory, prices will increase.

And boy, did they ever.   Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Going Up, Up, Up.

You’ve seen the following chart numerous times in the many price analyses that I do on the blog.   Average sales price is the most commonly used metric to gauge the growth of any housing market, and is a good starting place to show the dramatic growth in house prices in San Carlos. >>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 12-28-13.

calendar 2014

A New Year Ahead.

There wasn’t much real estate activity this past week in San Carlos, simply because there was literally nothing new to look at.  The inventory is stuck at a year-low of three homes for sale, and they are the same three that were for sale last week.   Any buyers who decided to take the week off from looking for homes certainly didn’t miss anything.   But don’t let this temporary lull fool you.  There’s quite a bit of activity happening behind the scenes, and you should see a good, solid start to the new year with some great new listings in San Carlos.

Until 2014, have a safe and happy New Year celebration!   And thank you for being loyal readers of the White Oaks Blog once again this year.   You’ve made this site the go-to source for straight talk and real data for buying and selling homes in San Carlos.

Here are the details from last week…

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 12-28-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 12-28-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 6
Average Sold Price $1,579,375 $1,450,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $715 $702
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 103% 106%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 42 7
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 16 20
Inventory of Active Listings: 3 3
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,514,650 $1,514,650
Average DOM of Active Listings: 99 74
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $557 $629
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.19 : 1 0.15 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 12-21-13.

Calendar-holiday

Cleaning House.

As we head into the final full week of the year, the inventory of homes for sale in just about every community on the Peninsula has been pretty well picked over.   San Carlos now only has  3 homes for sale in the entire city, and they have been on the market for a combined average of 93 days.   Belmont has only 4 home for sale as well, while San Mateo has 12, and Redwood City has 25.

These are all remarkably low numbers, even when you consider where we are in the calendar year.  I can’t recall a time when there were only 3 homes for sale in San Carlos – ever.   But it’s important for buyers to not let this void of listings allow you to lose focus on the task at hand.   As I’ve stated before, I believe the market will come charging out of the gate in early January, and faster than you can say “Happy New Year”, there will be quite a few more homes to choose from.   Those buyers that remain on task over the holidays should be rewarded when the new year starts.

Happy Holidays from the White Oaks Blog!    Here are the details from last week…

By The Numbers.

Below is a high-level snapshot of the market performance for single-family residences in San Carlos. This data is for the week ending 12-21-2013:

San Carlos Housing Data 12-21-13 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 11
Average Sold Price $1,450,000 $1,076,091
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $702 $743
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 106% 106%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 7 22
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 20 21
Inventory of Active Listings: 3 6
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,514,650 $1,281,658
Average DOM of Active Listings: 74 49
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $629 $636
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.15 : 1 0.29 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
_____________________________________________________________________________

Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Latest Fed Move Bodes Well for the San Carlos Real Estate Market.

print money

Tapering, But Not Tinkering.

In your haste to finish up all of your holiday shopping and get those last minute cards out, you may not have noticed that the Federal Reserve concluded its winter meetings yesterday, and announced some key changes to its stimulus plan as we head into 2014.   In a move that was widely anticipated, the Fed announced that it will begin to pare back its ongoing massive purchases of government bonds, treasury Bonds, and mortgage-backed securities in 2014.    The USA Today has a great summary of the details of the meetings, and how the Fed plans to proceed later in the year.

As the economy continues to strengthen from the Great Recession of 2008, it has always been expected that the Fed would start to remove the training wheels from its stimulus plan,  as key indicators showed that the economic recovery finally had some legs.   It was really not a matter of “if”, but rather “when”.  With the stock market climbing to new highs virtually every day, and unemployment now below the target of 7%, the Fed used this opportunity to start the process of cautiously extracting itself from its “easy money” policy.

Rates To Remain Low.

The big news for the real estate market, aside from the fact that the Fed will spend $5B fewer each month on mortgage-backed securities, is that they have decided to keep their benchmark short-term interest rates near zero, even though they had previously indicated that they may alter that policy once the nationwide unemployment rate dropped below 7%.   As part of yesterday’s announcement, they indicated that they may keep the zero-interest policy in place even after the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%.

This news should bode well for the local real estate market, at least for the first part of 2014.    Even though mortgage interest rates have inched upward over the past 12 months, they are still near historic lows — and the Fed’s continued position should remove any incentive (aka, excuse) for banks to increase rates on conforming and high-balance conforming loans stable for the near future.

The cautious approach by the Federal Reserve seems somewhat counter-intuitive when you consider the blistering pace at which the Silicon Valley economy (and housing market) is growing.  But our perception of the economic health of the entire country is understandably somewhat distorted from our perch inside one of the hottest micro-economies in the entire world.    The rest of the country is simply not growing anywhere near that fast.

So the bottom line is that the local economy will simply continue to reap the benefits from the Fed’s conservative position.   And this in turn will keep the fire stoked underneath what is already a white-hot San Carlos real estate market — at least for a while.  Because while the decision to keep rates unchanged is good news in the near term,  a line has definitely been drawn in the sand by the Fed that this gravy train will not go on forever.
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Are you ready to step up to the most comprehensive data available about the San Carlos Real Estate market? Then subscribe to the White Oaks Blog for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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