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!

The Wonders of Social Networking for Realtors- are you in the game?

Jennifer St.Clair & Tom Ferry

Jennifer St.Clair & Tom Ferry

For the second time this month this San Diego Realtor is at an educational Real Estate seminar getting pumped up about my profession for which I have so much passion. Two weeks ago it was Tom Ferry’s Success Summit in Palm Desert, CA and this week I’m in Austin TX at Agent Mega Camp. I’m getting great information that I am going to blog about in coming days. Wish I was better at typing…LOL..

Would you be surprised if I told you one of the main agenda items at both conferences are Social Networking and how to use technology to connect with clients? As my background includes software sales, I am very interested in all the ways that technology and social networking (SN) can help my clients and increase my business and brand name so I listen very carefully when the experts on SN speak.

The statistics on SN growth are staggering and I wish I could quote more of them here but here are a few I managed to write down as they flew by on the screen. Did you know that of every 1 out of 8 marriages last year the bride and groom met online? That 70% of people 18-34 years old watch TV online? That 27% of new renters in NYC didn’t order cable at all, only Internet? That 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations online? That Wiki is a Hawaiian word that means “quick”? Okay, that last one was kinda weak, but the point is folks, that the shift has already happened and you know this, I am sure, because you are reading this blog and probably also blogging.

As Realtors we already know that around 80% of buyers look for their homes online before they ever even begin to think about choosing a Realtor. My online persona defines who I am for first impressions. And how I reach my audience is critical. Those of you who have blogged, FB and Twittered know how much ‘noise’ people tweet and Facebook. The key is to be interesting and relevant. I’ll share some tips on how to do that in coming blogs along with other great websites that can help us build our business and be on top of the game. What I would like to know from you is what are you finding to be the most effective SN tools for your business? Do you Facebook and Tweet? What about UTube? Video is the next big wave of going viral. As for me, I’m still working on that. In fact, I think I’ll make my first video tomorrow here in Austin.

Check these sites out for some added punch to your game. tells you every SN site a person is on or to make premium content or your clients

 Can’t wait to hear your thoughts…..

Is placing American Flags in my farm for the 4th of July Unpatriotic?

Yesterday we, the Wonder Women of Windermere San Diego Realtors, were our placing American Flags in the ground around our farm in celebration of the upcoming 4th of July holiday. We have been doing this for 5 years running now and every year we have homeowners come out and comment to us how great it looks to have the colorful flags blowing in the breeze! We also give away small gift packs with a CD full of patriotic music.

Invarably, however, there is always one Grinch in the crowd who has nothing better to do than berate, belittle and generally complain about our little marketing piece (on the flag pole we have a small sticker with our info). Yesterday was no exception. As I was bent over carefully inserting my little flag in the ground I was ambushed by an angry homeowner yelling at me, vehemently waving one of my flags and demanding to know if I had permssion from their HOA to place the flags in their neighborhood saying our ‘littering’ was Un-American and UnPatriotic. Try as I might to placate her she would not have it. I assured her we would remove them after the holiday so as to not litter, but alas, that was not good enough either.

Keep in mind that this farm is very near a Naval base where thousands of our troops work and live to protect our freedom. As the daughter of an Army Colonel I am very proud of the American Flag, our Armed Forces and our country. I love to show my support every year with a sprinkling of Old Glory gracing ther manicured lawns of Point Loma CA.

C,C & R’s and HOA’s are needed to keep petty garbage from cluttering our neighborhoods, but is placing small American Flags around my farm for the holiday really Unpatriotic??

Happy 4th of July to all of you and your families and may God Bless America!!!

San Diego Homes Prices are on the Rise ending a two yr skid

Not that I needed this Union Tribune article to tell me that!! Everyday I see bidding wars and offers that appraisals won’t support. All my  buyers that are sitting on the fence need to start fishing.

Why is it that they have to see the news in print to believe it? Isn’t the advice of a qualified professional enough?   It is my personal opinion that because our industry does not charge (hourly or daily as do lawyers accountants etc)  for our time or advice when working with clients we create no value for ourselves.   Thus our clients don’t really realize how much time and money we spend on them.  If we charged hourly for the work we do for them they would be shocked at the bills they received! I think our industry’s reputation as a whole was tarnished by the sub prime debacle. Let reinstall confidence in our clients and help the economy by selling some homes.

Here is a link to our local paper’s article this morning about Southern CA home values.  Now if we can only get the loans funded!!

I’d love to hear how your local market is faring.


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

Great lead generating tip & will blogging replace journaling?


Earlier this evening I was wondering Will blogging replace my journaling? Certainly I would not submit my few online readers to the same musings I pen in my private journals. Yet I am finding that even though it is early in my blogging career, I have been neglecting my journaling. Four years ago I began journaling earnestly and regularly to help process the pain of divorce and recovery from alcoholism. I have found it to be very effective and cathartic, and a way to track and review my progress. Will my on line storytelling will be as revealing?

Here’s a thinking outside the box lead generating tip that I would like to take credit for but my sister and fellow San Diego Realtor is the one who suggested idea after I mentioned getting a new buyer lead from the seller of a Rancho Bernardo home I was showing my Real Estate investor clients over the weekend.

The seller’s listing agent was out of the area and she needed a local buyer’s agent. Of course I handed her my card and called her today to set up an appointment. It was my creative sister who suggested calling the out of area listing agent and requesting all of his call in leads on that $1M short sale listing for a referral fee. (This home may be on the market for a long time) This I immediately did with smashing results. The guy was happy to get a referral fee for leads he was leaving on the table and I get all the call ins on a $1M listing in the exclusive community of 4S Ranch in San Diego for new buyer leads.

From now on when I notice any out of area listing agent on my MLS I am going call them up and ask for their call in leads and permission to post on other sites. What do you think? I have a question too? (if anyone is reading) How do you link to outside blogging? I mean you personally? Do you use Eblogger? Rainmaker? I am reading all I can about creating an effective online presence, but your input is welcome. What’s the best thing going folks?

Virtual Jenni-Jenni

Virtual Jenni-Jenni

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