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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 2-1-14.

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The Super Bowl of Real Estate.

To the relief of home buyers everywhere, the Super Bowl has finally come and gone.  Why?  Because history has taught us that many home sellers will wait until after the Super Bowl to list their home for sale.  This statistic is especially noticeable when a local team is participating in this grand event.  Nobody wants to host a Super Bowl Party in a home that’s listed for sale, right?    Because of this phenomenon, it’s widely accepted that the end of the pro football season marks the kickoff of the Spring real estate season (pun intended).   And buyers everywhere are hoping that this year is no exception to that rule.

For home sales that closed escrow this week, the sales price/list price ratio dropped below 100% for the first time in months.   But don’t let that fool you into thinking that home prices are suddenly leveling off just yet — this week’s data was skewed by one large sale.   Quite to the contrary, multiple offers and aggressive bidding are still the norm in San Carlos, and in surrounding communities.  Most of the 6 homes below that are in the pending sales list garnered multiple offers — one got 10 offers after the first week  on the market — and sold significantly higher than the asking price.    I was involved in a multiple-offer frenzy on a home in Belmont this week that attracted 15 offers.   So don’t let this week’s data lead you to believe that the fire is out under this market.

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 2-1-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 2-1-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 3 4
Average Sold Price $1,670,000 $1,377,500
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $708 $731
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 97% 103%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 95 9
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 12 9
Inventory of Active Listings: 6 8
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,170,481 $1,278,972
Average DOM of Active Listings: 7 27
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $702 $633
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.5 : 1 089 : 1

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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1-25-14.

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Homes for Sale?

Not much changed this past week as far as the inventory level of homes for sale in San Carlos.  As I predicted last week, the rate that homes are coming on the market is being matched by the rate at which they are going into contract.  Consequently, the inventory is staying flat and stuck in the single digits.  This means that open houses were very busy over the weekend.   If you were out and about in either San Carlos or Belmont, then you know exactly how difficult it was to even find a parking spot to see what few houses were open.

Next weekend marks the end of the professional football season with Super Bowl Sunday, and the “traditional” start of the Spring real estate season.   Believe it or not, many sellers opt to wait until after the Super Bowl to list their homes for sale, especially if a particular team happens to be playing.  (And no, I’m not talking about the Raiders.)   Here’s to hoping that this year will be very traditional in that respect.

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 1-25-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 1-25-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 4 1
Average Sold Price $1,377,500 $1,300,000
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $731 $695
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 103% 100%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 9 21
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 9 10
Inventory of Active Listings: 8 7
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,278,972 $1,379,120
Average DOM of Active Listings: 27 30
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $633 $670
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.89 : 1 0.7 : 1

>>> Click Here to Read the Full Post
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1-18-14.

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Homes for Sale?

You know the housing market is pretty sparse when the inventory in a single community doubles within a single week — yet the number of homes for sale is still in the single-digits.   But that is the reality of the San Carlos real estate market right now, and without a significant surge in inventory that number is going to stay low for a while.

Most, if not all,  of the four homes that made their debut this past week (see below) will be gone in the first 7-10 days on the market.  They are priced well, and if the flood of people at the open houses this weekend was any indication, they should have no problem garnering multiple offers.    It will be interesting to see how much this imbalance and pent-up demand will drive the prices skyward on the homes that do go into contract this week.

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 1-18-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 1-18-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 1 6
Average Sold Price $1,300,000 $1,641,833
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $695 $784
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 100% 102%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 21 19
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 10 11
Inventory of Active Listings: 7 3
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,379,120 $1,349,333
Average DOM of Active Listings: 30 60
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $670 $560
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.7 : 1 0.27 : 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 San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1-11-14.

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Desperately Seeking Inventory.

The first full week of the new year didn’t bring buyers what they have been desperately looking for – new inventory.  As of this morning, there are only 3 single-family homes for sale in the entire city of San Carlos, which is the lowest level that we’ve started off a new year in recent history.

As we discussed last week in Part III of our seller’s series, the ideal time to sell your home is when you have the combination of maximum demand and the least amount of inventory — which perfectly describes the market conditions in San Carlos right now.   But these prime selling conditions won’t last forever.  There’s no doubt that more listings will be coming up.  It’s just a matter of who is going to get their home on the market first and take advantage of these conditions.

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 1-11-2014:

San Carlos Housing Data 1-11-14 Prior Week
Closed Sales for the Week: 6 3
Average Sold Price $1,641,833 $1,575,333
Average $/Sq Foot (Sold) $784 $809
Sold Price vs Orig List (%) 102% 115%
Average DOM of Closed Sales 19 7
No. of Homes Pending Sale: 11 14
Inventory of Active Listings: 3 5
Average Price of Active Listings: $1,349,333 $1,264,568
Average DOM of Active Listings: 60 64
Average $/Sq Foot (List) $560 $595
Active-Pending Ratio: 0.27 : 1 0.38 : 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.
Get the best coverage on the San Carlos real estate market delivered right to you!
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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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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 – Part II

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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.
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The San Carlos Real Estate Week in Review: 1-4-14.

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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
_____________________________________________________________________________

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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