Your San Diego Real Estate Resource
Jennifer St.Clair

Baby can you spare a 3% commission?

In the San Diego Real Esate market we are faced with multiple offer situtations with all our our buyers in the below 500K price range unless there i something really wrong with the home. This creates a dynamic where agents and buyers are frantically rushing from one new listing to another as soon as they pop up writing offers on anything that closely resembles their requirements even sight unseen.

This also has created a dynamic where listing agents and their clients, due to the demand, have decided that they are cutting their commissions so it is not uncommon to see 2% to 2.5% CBB.  At the higher price points this is not as challanging but when you have a 100% VA 1st time home buyer that fell in love with a $200K home paying 2% CBB after you have taken them to view 70 homes and written offers on 10 properties this quickly becomes a huge issue! We buyer’s agents ought to be paid more in this crazy market! At the very least we ought to be earning the standard commission!

Through my networking I have access to investors with pre-MLS listings that only pay 2%CBB and I require my buyers to bring 1/2% if they want to shop these homes.  This is a solution that has been accepted by every buyer and, though it still isn’t 3%, it is only a 16% redution in CM instead of a 33%.  I have one investor client who pays only 3.5% total CM because he can!  That’s 1-1.5% to listing agent and 2-2.5% to the selling agent.  I’ve never been one in all my 25 years of sales to cut my commissions, yet in this crazy marketplace who

Personally, I have focused as much time and energy into developing relationships with asset managers, top agenicies and investors as I do prospecting because it doesn’t help to have 20 qualified buyers if there is no home to sell them. This has been a successfull strategy with my last wo buyers getting their first offer accepted.

San Diego may not be a unique marketplace right now but we sure have to get creative to service out clients needs these days.  It’s about adaptation and change, creativity and perseverance.  Baby can you spare a 3% commission?

Games People Play in the wild, wild West!

Have you heard what is going on in the San Diego housing market?  A feeding frenzy of frantic investors and first time home buyers all trying to get their little slice of heaven before the market turns and the tax credit expires.   It is common to see 50 or more offers on any bank owned property within two days of listing on the MLS.  Even short sales are getting multiple offers in record time.   Open houses are drawing people by the scores!   We are down to only 2 months worth of housing inventory compared to over 10 months worth one year ago!  It can only get crazier as we near the deadline unless a wave of foreclosores hits the market.

So we San Diego Buyers Realtors find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of competing with dozens of other offers, making offers well above what the home could ever possibly appraise for just to get ours client’s offer accepted. In this marketplace it’s who you know and to be an agent with a reputation of getting the deal done. I have been networking with investors and that has opened up opportunities for my buyers to bid on properties pre-MLS.  One other deals I call and have a frank discussion with the listing agents and let them know I am not interested in making frivolously high offers that will not appraise, but I AM interested in bringing them a solid buyer that will perform. Those flowery cover letters of yesteryear do not work in the San Diego market right now. This frank talk has worked very well getting my offers accepted but I still had to offer 30K above the nearest comp (100% VA financing). Let the games begin!

It’s the wild wild west out here right now and you’ve got to saddle up and get creative, riding with guns blazing!  Folks are staking their claim to their little slice of heaven and who wouldn’t want to live in America’s Finest City.  And BTW, the Mythical Green Flash is real! I saw it myself for the first time recently while enjoying a La Jolla Sunset. Life sure is sweet!

Shrinking Housing inventory in the San Diego Market makes for frustrated buyers

My ACT! database is full of qualified buyers clamoring to find their dream home, their “bargain” home now selling for 50% off their value two years ago. Many of them are at a price point of $200-350K which in San Diego is the first time home buyer level for which thousands of other buyers are also competing, driving up the bidding to levels that the comps and the appraisal won’t support. It is common to see listings with literally dozens of offers!

On May 20 our local MLS, Sandicor, added a new status of contingent to reflect all of the short sales that are pending approval. This, we all agree, is a great idea to save time and more accurately reflect the truely Active listings . Then this morning California announced another 90 moratorium on foreclosures insuring that going into our bread winning, hay making summer months it is going to be a nightmare finding homes for these buyers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am happy that CA is mandating that banks focus on loan modifications for deserving homeowners. The problem is that a very large percentage of those loan mods are re-defaulting 6 and 9 months later because they couldn’t afford the home in the first place and their principle balance was not reduced. Sad and painful as it is in the short run, if the banks are not going to do principle reduction then would it not be better to simply foreclose and put other qualified buyers in to these homes and clean up this mess quicker? Would this be better for everyone involved? Sometimes I get slightly envious of Realtors in markets like Phoenix that have a plethora of choices for their buyers.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.


Jennifer- San Diego REALTOR

A Rare cloudy day with a silver lining in San Diego!

Some of you may be as surprised as I was when I moved here from Atlanta in 2004 to learn that some of the coastal areas of San Diego have heavy cloud cover or what is known locally as “The Marine Layer” a significant part of the year and remain cool also. In fact it was too much for one couple that came to my open house in Chula Vista two weeks ago seeking warmer climes and more sunshine than their current home on Coronado where they claimed to have endured 10 years of an average of cloud cover 8 months out of each year!  My sister just moved to Coronado so I’ll let you know if she feels the same.

This topic is significant and relevant when showing homes to buyers that are relocating to San Diego like a couple I am showing homes to this weekend from Tucson, AZ.  The climate in inland Chula Vista, CA is vastly different than that in coastal Coronado which is different than mountainous Alpine.  In fact, San Diego has three distint waether bands and forecasts due to the huge difference between the temperatures on the coast the arid inland valley and the high mountains.  Here is some Clifford Clavin (remember ‘Cheers’) trivia for you.  San Diego County is the most biologically and ecologically diverse county in the United States. At least that’s what they taught me at the Sierra Club when I took their Wilderness Survival Course. Pretty cool!

As I told you yesterday in my first ever blog, I am an Army brat and I have some experience traveling and living in many different states.  For and active outdoorsy person like myself San Diego has it all.  You can snow ski in the same day you ride dune buggies in the desert!  You can surf world class waves and hike mile high peaks in the same day.

Certainly the fact that I had my spiritual awakening in La Jolla adds to my love of life in San Diego.  You see, three years ago I nearly lost my four year battle with alcoholism. Instead of dying as my Granny died and so many others that have chased the illusion that they can drink normally to their grave, I was given a second chance at life through Alcoholics Anonymous.  I haven’t had a drink since Feb 8th, 2006.   I choose to break my anonymity here because there are few among us who have not been touched by this fatal disease at some point in our lives.  There is so much unwarranted guilt and shame for he family and the alcoholic, so much misunderstanding of the true nature of the disease.   The only reason I am blessed with a great life that I love as a San Diego Realtor is because compassionate, caring, selfless people reached out and shared with me how I might save my life and recover from alcoholism.

When we choose to stand next to our fellow man, lift them up and offer assistance instead of standing in judgement of our fellow man and offer scorn amazing miracles can and do happen. I see it happen every day in AA.  Now every day I pay it forward and one way I get to do that is by helping people achieve their dream of owning a home.  Beautiful!

Hello world! It’s time this San Diego Realtor started blogging

I Twitter, Text and Tweet.  I Facebook and Linkup.  I MeetUp, MySpace and Plaxo. All of this social networking for my San Diego Real Estate business is exhausting. However my newly hired Coach has told me to Blog. So here I am exhausted at 11 o’clock at night squeezing it in before my next coaching call with her tomorrow.

I have been avoiding Blogging because, though I love to read, gain knowledge and share with others,  I never learned how to type (keyboarding I think they call it nowadays) and spelling errors are a pet peeve of mine.  Short cuts while texting are socially acceptable.  Well here goes folks……

As this is my first post I will introduce myself as Jennifer St Clair, Realtor extraordinaire, with Windermere Pacific Coast Properties in stunning Point Loma California which is part of America’s Finest City, San Diego. Did you know that less than 3% of the world enjoys perfect weather like San Diego?   Anyway, currently I mostly focus on the plethora of new and existing home buyers out looking to scoop up Blue Light Home specials of 50% off your Single Family Residence and up to 75% off of your San Diego condo conversions.

My leads take me all over the county.  It is staggering to look at a  brand new 5000 Square Foot home in a gated community with $100K in upgrades, a $10K CA new construction tax credit, and $50K in flooring concessions for less than $900K!!  These homes sold for nearly $2M two years ago folks! They back up against a preserve with stunning views for miles.  The area I am referring to is called Chula Vista, CA and it is not your Father’s Chula Vista.  We are talking great schools, great weather, low crime, easy access to downtown San Diego and top notch shopping.  This area of San Diego was hit hard by the sub prime debacle so there are a disproportionate amount of distressed properties to choose from, especially in the affordable for first time home buyer category of $250K-$350K.

I love being a San Diego Realtor! Because I grew up an Army brat I had the privilege of moving every year which involved buying and selling another home every year.  Seems like I’ve been in the industry forever!  My Mom was a Realtor in Northern Virginia.  My sister is a Realtor here at Windermere. My brother is a Real Estate Investor with multiple properties in Florida and Georgia. My ex-hubbie and I had a home inspection and appraisal business back in Georgia before I relocated to CA in 2004.  Now to sell homes in one of the world’s most desirable locations is so gratifying.  Business is booming!

That’s enough from me for now.  I am sure there is some socially acceptable and expected way to sign off, add tags, get points, SEO, yada yada yada, but I’m gonna have to learn as I go. This only took me half and hour.  Guess I’ll get better.  Let me know how I did, will ya?

More will be revealed………

Jennifer St.Clair