Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Foreclosure Activity

Foreclosure Radar publishes some interesting statistics about foreclosure activity on a county-by-county basis.  Their overall California report for June paints a somewhat encouraging canvas:
Their July statistics for San Francisco shows the number of Notices of Default (the first step in a bank foreclosure) declined almost 22% from the previous month and declined 22% compared to July of last year.
See the full report here.
Graph of Foreclosure Filings in San Francisco,CA

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NEW FEATURE: What's Wrong with This Listing?

First, the easy stuff.
Here's the description in the MLS:

Eligantly remodeled custom mediteranian tri-level home re-built from the ground up. Fantastic skyline and bay views, chef's kitchen w/viking appliances, oak flooring throughout, lg. master suite with walk in closets, den/office, multi terraces, surround sound and wet bar are just some of the many ammenities. A must see!
Come on, folks. There's a spell checker built right in to the form as you enter the information. All you have to do is CLICK IT!

Size Matters
The advertised size of the property:
Approx Square Feet:  2304                        Sq Ft Source:   Per Owner
The city's tax records show the property is 850 square feet. What accounts for the difference? Digging a little further into the city's permit records, numerous building permits have been issued for the property including moving bedrooms, adding an additional level with master suite and bath. The trouble is, none of the building permits have been finalized.

Location, Location, Location:
It may have "fantastic skyline and bay views" out the front. But the property backs up to the 101 freeway. It's a short lot -- only 58 feet deep so there's not much distance between the back of the house and freeway sound wall.

Type of Listing
So far, all of this is information than anyone can figure out from public records.  What you can't get from the public records is the type of listing -- "Exclusive Agency".  Most listings in our local MLSs are "Exclusive Right to Sell".  The main difference between the two is that "Exclusive Agency" lets the seller avoid paying a commission if he/she finds a seller on their own rather than through the listing agent. This creates a potential  disincentive on the part of the listing agent to do any marketing beyond the very basics of putting up a for sale sign and entering the listing in the MLS. 

Short Sale
The property is being sold as a short sale (asking price is less than the total of all liens/loans so the lender/s will have to agree to a less than total payoff).  To complicate matters, there are two lenders so each much agree to the short payoff.  The second lender, typically, gets a much smaller percentage of their outstanding balance than the first and can often be the major obstacle to approval of the short sale.

Surprise Deal?
On the same day the listing hit the MLS as "active", its status was changed to "active-contingent" meaning that it went into contract the same day the listing came on the market.  Interesting, when you take into account there is a tenant and showings have to be scheduled 24-hours in advance according to the listing.  Obviously the listing agent had a buyer already lined up to make an offer.  It's likely that the buyer and seller are being represented by the same agent/broker -- creating a dual agency situation.

The MLS listing is still encouraging other agents to "bring backups" but you have to wonder how aggressively the listing agent will be in presenting a backup offer when there is already an accepted offer where they will get both sides of the commission.  Short sales take a lot of work on the part of the listing agent (or the specialist they hire).
.  .  .

Lessons to be learned?

For a seller --
  • work with an agent who is knowledgeable about your market and transaction type
  • don't create disincentives for the listing agent, they will only work to your disadvantage
  • review all marketing materials including the MLS listing information
For a buyer --
  • work with an agent who is knowledgeable about your market and the type of transaction
  • like any investment, balance the risks involved against your risk tolerance level

Friday, August 12, 2011

July Sales Reports

Earlier this week we posted our monthly sales reports for San Francisco and Marin counties.  You can see the full report for San Francisco here and for Marin here.

Generally for single family homes and condos in San Francisco, inventory, number of sales and average sales price was down compared to June.  For 2-4 unit buildings, inventory is also down but number of sales and average sales price are up.

Our report is based on several specific configurations of condos and single family homes (e.g. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths) rather than averaging all residential properties from the largest, most expensive to the smallest, least expensive.  Nevertheless, the total number of condos and single family homes we survey represents approximately 70% of all listings and sales.  For 2-4 unit buildings, we survey all listings and sales.

The last page of the report shows annual results back to 1996.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Gift for San Francisco Listing Agents

The San Francisco MLS just implemented a new feature called "on market date".  This feature allows you to enter the listing into the MLS as soon as it's signed but set the "on market date" for sometime in the future.  Until that future date is reached, the listing can only be seen by the listing agent.  In the meantime, you can set brokers tour and open house dates and you can upload your photos.  Days-on-market (DOM) doesn't start counting until the "on market date" is reached.  If necessary, you can always extend the "on market date".

When entering a listing, users should put the true listing date in the MLS as the list date, and then indicate which date the property should be available as On-Market. The On-Market Date represents the date that the listing will be available on the MLS for listing searches. Prior to this date, the listing will only display to the listing owner(s). The On-Market Date can be updated at any time prior to the property going On-Market. 

This new feature will allow listing owners to upload photos and add open houses and tours in advance of the property being made available for other users to see.  Also, system reports have been updated to reflect both the List Date and the On-Market Date.  Days on Market (DOM) will be calculated using the new On-Market Date.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Activity Level

This is a quick snapshot of total sales of single family homes, condos and TICs month by month.  There are seven years of data so the graph is getting a bit crowded.

The good news is that the number of sales in June was the highest for that month since 2007.  However, July sales were the second lowest in the last seven years, only slightly ahead of last year.  Some of the reduced July sales numbers can be attributed to the normal slow down this time of year.

For the first seven months, sales are at essentially the same level as last year. 

We should have the detailed sales reports for July for both San Francisco and Marin counties ready to publish by early next week.