It's a big day for me; I've just passed 300 rides on my Peloton. Like many others stuck at home, I ordered a bike just before the pandemic hit, and luckily, it was delivered a year ago, just a few months before SIP took place and Peloton's massive waiting list rapidly developed. While I haven't ridden every day, I HAVE clocked my fair number of miles - more mornings than not.
Not that you would necessarily know it to look at me. Sadly, I haven't morphed into the stunning 30-year-old professional instructors I ride along with . . .
"Thanks for your input," the email said, "but we've decided we're okay with the stairs to the front door, the steep lot, and the hillside location."
That's great. In fact, it's better than great, as long as you've taken all of those components into consideration. Given that real estate is a long-term purchase, AND given that it's likely to be your single-largest investment, AND given that you may NOT want to spend your weekends on home improvement projects, it's important to look at the the pluses and minuses of a property, absent rose-colored glasses.
"What do you think the value of my house is?" AND "What do you think this house sells for?" are both questions I'm asked on a daily basis and while I'd like to give you a definitive answer, the truth is "I don't know," AND NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE!
Because “value” is a moving target . . .
"I see you've been on the market for 106 days," I wrote to the listing Agent. "What's going on with this home and is the Seller willing to take less? I may have interested Buyers, but the house is WAY overpriced."
"No," she said, "the Seller has countered EVERY offer presented and we've lost every single Buyer as a result. The listing expires this week, and I can't wait."
There's a Halloween tale no one needs.
As an Agent, an unsuccessful listing represents not only hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing dollars, it's also equates to countless hours and wasted time that could have been better spent on Sellers that are actually intent on selling, and that's a spooky tale . . . .
"How are you doing?" I said to my neighbor as she passed by my garden, children and dog in tow.
"I'm living the pandemic dream," she said, "and like everyone else, doing my best trying to keep it together."
I hear you.
We're eight months into the pandemic, and it's been an interesting market to say the least. (It's been an interesting moment in history.) What seemed to be a precursor for a housing correction, has, thus far, resulted in just the opposite as well-qualified Buyers fleeing the City in pursuit of greener pastures (quite literally). If I hadn't already teamed up with Sarah (a match made in heaven), I'd be looking to do so now, given the amount of work that's come our way.
My garden is a reflection of every mistake I've ever made. You wouldn't know it to look at it, but it's true. Most people come to my home and are immediately impressed by the garden in particular, which encompasses lush, blooming beds, rose-covered arches, winding pathways, flea market finds, an outdoor kitchen & fireplace, mounted mirrors, and a drive-through portico. The hydrangea bushes that wrap around the porch, coupled with the Sally Holmes roses winding their way through the white-picket fence put on an amazing show throughout the spring and summer, and they alone are enough to stop passersby on a daily basis.
"Your garden is beautiful!" (Why, thank you.)
What they don't see are the MANY plants that have failed to thrive, the ones that were decimated by deer or disease, and anything that's struggled to gain a foothold.
I didn't know this until I had kids and they were old enough to attend the school fairs and win goldfish at the pingpong toss (a prize they were excited about for a day or two before I had to take over their care), but it seems that goldfish will grow to the size of their bowl. The BIGGER the bowl, the BIGGER the fish!
Not that I'm a minimalist, mind you, I've spent years accumulating decorative cake plates and Stoneware pitchers at the flea market to artfully display on my kitchen shelves, but I'm always a little taken aback when I see how much "stuff" people hold on to, and just how quickly their storage spaces FILL UP. In my role as a Realtor, I've noticed the bigger the house, the more homeowners collect. . . .
As you all know, I rarely invite guest authors to this forum as I consider it a bit of a cheat, but when Alex Capozzolo, of Brotherly Love Real Estate in Philadelphia, contacted me out of the blue (or should I say brown, given the wildfires?) to contribute to his blog, The Roundup, I happily complied to his request knowing just how difficult it is to publish regularly.
Here was Alex's question: "What are the biggest Real Estate buying and selling mistakes?
That's a hefty topic to answer in a few sentences (which is all I had) but gratefully, Alex extended his invitation to several other Agents around the nation, and so today's Perspective is more about what they had to say . . . . So listen up! It's full of good, practical advice and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Cliff and I closed on the cabin at Fallen Leaf Lake earlier this week and it's been both exhilarating and nerve wracking to finally realize the dream we've aspired to for more than 30 years. The thing is that when you buy a vacation property, it typically comes with the furnishings, accessories, dishes, and the linens inside - lock, stock and barrel! That's all well and good, but what we hadn't expected was 20 years of accumulated "stuff" that the Sellers (and their renters) had left behind . . . cabinets, and cupboards and closets, OH MY!
"We're not convinced the price-per-square foot comps out to other sales in the neighborhood," the text said, "but we know that comps are usually hard to parse, and often bear no relationship to what the market will bear."
Thank you, I couldn't have said it better myself.
If price-per-square foot was all that was required to sell a home, Realtors would have gone the way of the Dodo long ago . . .
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.