The media is accurately reporting that inventory is at an all-time low, which is why it’s more important than ever to have a real estate agent as your partner in your home buying search.
Last week I managed to get two contracts accepted, no small feat in the competitive real estate market of San Francisco! Laura and Cliff were referred to me by clients that I helped buy a home a couple of years ago.
They were ready to move to San Francisco from Marin County. When they moved to Marin they thought that the peace and quiet was what they wanted. But, they have both changed jobs, the commute is inconvenient and they miss the activity of the city.
My usual process is to find out what a client needs and wants in their new home and then strategically search for homes that meet those requirements. In the case of these clients my strategy was to find a property that was either not on the market publicly (real estate agents call these pocket listings) or, find a property that was flying under the radar of the hoards of other buyers.
What I found was a condominium that was flying under the radar. It was listed by an out of town agent (more on why you should always list your home with a local agent in another blog) and was not marketed properly. That is the kiss of death to a listing in San Francisco.
Buyers and agents for that matter have come to expect a property to look like something out of the pages of Architectural Digest and have glossy marketing brochures and a separate website with professional photos.
This listing didn’t have any of that. In fact it didn’t even have photos in the MLS (multiple listing services that agents use to find property). The information in the MLS didn’t even contain the basics, such as the HOA dues.
When I see a listing without photos it piques my interest! I guess I tend to react the opposite to most. Even if there were photos, sometimes the place looks better, sometimes worse. You have to evaluate the property in person, so that you can see what you have to work with. It allows you to feel and imagine what the property could be and find its hidden potential; in some houses it hides very well!
I called the agent repeatedly and finally got an appointment. The condo showed horribly but I was able to help Laura and Cliff see past the dated finishes. After a bit of negotiating and information gathering, such as the HOA dues, Laura and Cliff got an offer accepted at what I believe is about $25k under market!
They are now going to be able to move back to San Francisco to have the city life they were missing and be closer to both of their new jobs. They also have the potential to make their new home into exactly what they want.
Just remember when you are competing for properties you have to be strategic and have the ability to look past what can be easily changed. To find out more about finding the right property for you read “When You Can’t See Your Dream House for the House”