Are we in an housing bubble?

Yes.

Well, no.

Well, maybe.

Well certainly not like what you’re talking about.  That’s right.  If you asked that question you are thinking about 2006 and we are not in that kind of bubble right now.  Great!  Now let’s all head out to yoga class and find our namaste.

Not so quick there Bucko!

You can go back to the beginning of my musings and you will find me saying “Business is cyclical”.  Over and over again.

What does that mean?  It means, and if you paid attention in your economics class you can skip over this part, businesses expand and contract in the natural course of their life.   How they react in times of contraction determines the length of that life.  Businesses that did not save for a rainy day and/or over-leveraged may find their life shortened by those decisions.  Real Estate is a sector in the economy.  It is cyclical.  It expands (goes up) and contracts (goes down).

At the end of the day, unless you’re going off the grid, you’re going to need to live indoors.  When we are talking about where to live, that matters right now.  Right now regardless of what the market is doing.  If the market is super high and you’re not planning on going anywhere and you can afford the payment, ride it out.  Why?

Real estate is the only asset that you can purchase that will never depreciate to zero.  In the US at least.  I would caution about other countries and their practices regarding foreign nationals, for instance, American cannot own real estate in Mexico under many circumstances.  But that’s another article for another day.

Let’s take a look at the cost of waiting.

cost-of-waiting

Can you afford to wait?

Now let’s add your mortgage interest deduction into your tax picture, can you afford to wait?

Alright, fair enough.  Now consider the capital gains exemption of $250,000 or $500,000 for a couple.  Now can you afford to wait?

 

 

 

Integrity and Real Estate

Last time we talked about how all Realtors are not the same.  Now you know you don’t want the Rex Grossman of real estate.  You want the Joe Montana.

How do you go about finding your Joe Montana?

Go to yelp!  Right?  Well, not exactly, although I can’t blame you for relying on that goodness.

Go google.  Right?  Well, not exactly.  As someone who painstakingly manages their online presence I can tell you that it is possible to manage what you, the prospective client sees.  It’s a cottage industry.

Ask your friends.  Warmer, but not there yet.  Your friends may recommend a great professional to you.  Or they may recommend their cousin Joe-Bob who just got his license, after all it was jail time and not prison so he’s not a felon and he can get a license.  Well, no he didn’t exactly finish high school, he’s not real good at tests, but he’ll sell your house for you, yessiree bobcat tail!  Now I’m a big fan of redemption and maybe Joe-Bob was just misunderstood as a lad and now has made good, but before you get too far down the line, how many homes has he sold in the last year?  What does his online presence look like?  Is it managed and sounding all markety or can you tell that Joe-Bob is a good guy, has turned his life around and genuinely cares about his clients?  Does his Facebook profile have him buying all sorts of new toys and living the life?  Or is it sprinkled with stories about great people and how he helped them buy or sell real estate?  Is Joe-Bob the kind of guy you want to align yourself with?  Do you want to hook up your cart to his horse?  Or is it a burro?  Never confuse a thoroughbred with a burro.

Now check them out.  Google.  Facebook.  Twitter.  LinkedIn.  Instagram.  Pinterest.  Tumblr.  ActiveRain.  Trulia.  Zillow.  Are they on there?  Are the using the platforms?  Some not all?  That’s ok.  I don’t use them all either.  Still they need to have a presence.  Why?  If they can’t market themselves, how are they going to market your home?

Did you google “Code of ethics violators”?  You should.  Although there is plenty of questionable activity that never makes it to the COE page.  Joe-Bob isn’t there is he?  Good.

Now, how are they performing against your market?  How do their listings perform?  Do they get over asking consistently?   Do their listings sell quickly?  How do their listings look online?  Were the pictures taken with a cell phone or do they look professional?  Are the narratives inviting?  Great.

Next, do you like them?  Do you think they will represent your interests and fight for you?  A great negotiator picks your pocket and you thank them for returning your wallet.   If you are beating them in negotiating on the commission, are they a great negotiator?  I earn my commission back and then some on every single transaction.  What does that mean?  I average 12% over asking.  My commission is much less than that.  I pay for myself and I have the numbers to prove it.

Do you believe them to be honest and operating from a place of integrity?  I almost hate the word “integrity” as much as “gourmet”.  It was painful to use “integrity” in the last sentence but it was the right word.  Those two words have been cheapened by over use by individuals who have no business uttering them.   I am committed to protecting my client’s interests.  So committed that I often overlook my own.  It is my goal to win every negotiation I can on my client’s behalf.  I want to finish ever deal and say “I can’t believe they went for that!”   That way I know I’ve served my clients the best I possibly could.

 

#TBT Beauregard sitting poolside at Camp Dowhachuwannado.  The best damned dog.  Ever. – Version 2

 

The word I hear most by people describing me is “bulldog”.  As a Doberman Pinscher rescuer it’s kind of annoying, bulldogs feel kind of pedestrian next to the majestic creatures I work with normally, but I understand the commonality.  I believe that “no” is not the final answer when it’s the wrong answer.  I strive to arrive at the correct answer in every single instance.  That’s what sets me apart.  If that makes me a bulldog, then so be it.  I think it’s the difference between a Real Estate Professional and a Rex Grossman.

 

 

 

All real estate agents are not all the same.

Who was the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL?  If you are in the Bay Area chances are you answered Joe Montana.  And I would concur.  But what made Joe great?  His footwork?  Not exactly.  He ran like a duck with a potato chip up his butt.  His speed?  He’d lose a foot race to the duck.  His impeccable form?  The duck wins again.   None of that.  Joe was great because he could see things on the football field that no one else could see.  And he could react to those things and capitalize on what he saw.  That skill took him to the Hall of Fame.

Behold my bike seat.

IMG_20150528_053201

Looks great right?  This seat tells a story.  I had not one but two professional bike fitters work on my bike this month.  Both looked at this seat and knew that there was something off about my bike and I was carrying most of the load on my left side.  I cannot for the life of me see what they see.  They are two of the best in the business and they can see it.  They see something that no one else sees and they know how to react to it.

Real estate is the same.  An agent that sells twenty houses a years sees something that an agent that sells four houses a year does not.  An agent that sells twenty homes per year sees things clearer.  That agent sees the pitfalls before they happen.  They see the play develop and they know what the next move is before it presents itself.  They are like Joe Montana.  They are like my bike fitters.  They will save you time and money because they have seen that play develop before and they know where to put the ball.

My friend and lender partner Zack Cooper likes to call it Deal IQ.  It’s what you know because you’ve been there before.  A dabbler may not have been there before and may not be able to make the play.  Pick an agent that’s been there before.  Pick a closer.  On your two minute home closing drill do you want Joe Montana or Rex Grossman?