Friday, March 23, 2007

A Chat With Redfin

I chatted briefly with the folks at Redfin.com yesterday. Oddly enough, the call came shortly after I watched part of a video interview of Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman on The Scoble Show (via Sellsius Real Estate blog).

The call, spurred by my last post, was a friendly discussion on the differences in services and style offered by their online realty service versus that of the traditional broker. We both agreed that the main difference is that Redfin.com, as most other online firms are, is geared more toward the Do-it-Yourselfers, and that although they service a certain niche of the market, there is room for both types of brokerages. In fact, although that was supposed to be the point of the last post (sometimes the online business model works out in a deal, in this case it didn't appear to), the little chat made me realize that I hadn't clearly communicated that.

Thanks to Max in Redfin's San Francisco office.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

You Get What You Pay For: How a "Discount Agent" Fails in San Francisco

Parlaying from my last post on the re-birth of multiple offers in San Francisco, here is a tale of a recent multiple offer situation where one buyer lost out using the discount online broker Redfin.com.

Redfin.com's home page claims that buyer's work with experienced local agents who are experts in negotiating. They also offer 100% satisfaction and a 66% commission refund. Since the birth of Redfin.com, I have not yet met one of their agents.

Yesterday a Redfin.com agent put in an offer for a buyer on a single family home in the Inner Parkside. Ocean views and decently priced, with an offer date of 15 days after it had hit the market.

The Redfin.com agent never went to the property prior to submitting the offer for his clients. He never personally spoke to the listing agent and faxed the offer in. The offer was below asking price. The property received 12 offers and went into contract way over asking.

We aren't sure why the agent submitted an offer under list price. Perhaps that was all the buyers could afford. Or perhaps the agent didn't do his homework; if he had at least called the day before final submission, he would have known there was tremendous competition for the property and either helped the buyers be more aggressive or realize they had to bow out.

Of course, the possibility does exist that one can work with a physically available, local, human agent here in San Francisco and still receive the same lacking service, dedication and skill. My advice: get a new agent fast. When it comes to real estate agents, you get what you pay for.

Have questions about the real estate market? Ready to buy or sell a home? Contact me today to work with an honest, experienced agent.

Amy Blakeley, Realtor
McGuire Real Estate
www.amyblakeley.com
ablakeley at mcguire.com





Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Offer Dates: Back with a Vengeance

Just on the heels of news that San Francsico's February '07 housing sales volume was down compared to not only Feb '06 but also January '07, comes the return of every buyer's nightmare: The Offer Date.

Since the beginning of March, more and more houses I tour or see on MLS have set offer dates. An offer date is a day, 10-14 days after the first open house, on which all interested parties need to wait (or in some cases rush) to get their offers in by. Every offer I have submitted for clients in March has had a set offer date and resulted in multiple offer scenarios of anywhere from 3-7 offers.

Yes, offer dates and multiple offers are back, despite news of problems in the sub-prime lending sector and February unit sales down 12% from last year.

Actually, the lower sales volume in February is directly associated with the fact that inventory overall is low - in every price range. Sunday open houses since mid-February have been very well trafficked, with middle-range priced homes seeing up to 150 visitors on a Sunday. Buyer demand is still incredibly strong, but the lack of inventory to meet that demand is pushing the market back into the frenzied state we saw a year and a half ago. That's once again good news for Sellers, especially if they are the only home in the neighborhood on the market.

Have questions about the real estate market? Ready to buy or sell your home? Contact me today to work with an honest, experienced Realtor.

Amy Blakeley
Realtor
McGuire Real Estate
www.amyblakeley.com
ablakeley at mcguire.com