Friday, December 18, 2009

PocketListings.net: No More "Secret Stash"

“Pocket listings” are properties that are not publicly advertised but are considered for sale. Advertising for these homes is typically done through the Realtor’s and the seller’s networks, by word of mouth, and increasingly with a property-specific website. Pocket listings are a subject of much debate in the real estate world: whether the seller is serious about selling, if the asking price is realistic, and if the Realtor is able to properly do his job of getting the most exposure possible for the property.

The exposure debate is about to be laid to rest. Expected to launch in January 2010 is PocketListings.net, a nationwide website exclusively for Realtors to promote properties that are not listed in their local MLS (multiple listing service).

The website will have a basic set-up where the general public can peruse these off-market real estate offerings and, when interest is piqued, have his or her agent contact the Realtor. No addresses will be published. Only licensed Realtors are able to enter property listings, which will preserve the site’s goal of becoming the go-to place for additional housing inventory, rather than a free for all for FSBO’s.

If you are too excited to wait for the website to go live, visit PocketListings on Twitter, which is already brimming with inventory.

Amy Blakeley, REALTOR® McGuire Real Estate www.AmyBlakeley.com ablakeley at mcguire.com

The Affordable Solar Option

We’d all like to pay less on our energy bills, right? Most of my clients don’t mention solar power as a desired amenity. Why? Solar panels are few and far between on homes in San Francisco; basically they are just too expensive to consider. But not anymore.

CBS Evening News recently presented a segment on how some solar companies are making solar panels affordable for homeowners. I contacted SolarCity to see how the program works. Companies such as SolarCity, who lease solar systems to customers, do consultations on homes and determine the system and the rental rate. Once installed, the customer pays his (now reduced) PG&E bills plus a monthly rental fee for the system. Although the CBS news segment quoted the monthly rental fee to be $100 per month, a spokesperson from SolarCity stated that the monthly rental rate is based on the size of the system, and indicated that the monthly rate for San Francisco County would most likely be less.


Lease terms for solar panels are 15 years, with small increases in the rental rate annually. The annual increase can also be bought down at the beginning of the lease term to reduce the percentage of annual escalation (currently about 3.9%).
What if you decide to sell your home before the 15 year lease is up? The leases are transferable. You can also choose to pre-pay the remaining amount of the term, which would be a great perk to the new buyer. At the 15 year mark, customers may negotiate a fair market value and purchase the current equipment, or enter into a new lease.


Amy Blakeley, REALTOR® McGuire Real Estate
www.AmyBlakeley.com
ablakeley at mcguire.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Whole Foods Signs Lease for Stanyan Cala Location

The Haight Ashbury will finally get its own full-service grocery store, which has been lacking from the neighborhood since Cala Foods closed its doors over 3 years ago. Whole Foods Market has signed a lease to occupy the Stanyan Street Cala location, according to a letter distributed by Mark Brennan to Haight Ashbury neighborhood groups. Different than the original proposal to build a flagship Whole Foods market and a housing development above, the current agreement calls for Whole Foods to occupy the current building without making changes to the building size or the parking lot on the site. This is great news for residents, as it means the Whole Foods will open sooner - Mr. Brennan estimates late 2010 - than anyone anticipated.


Amy Blakeley, REALTOR® McGuire Real Estate www.AmyBlakeley.com
ablakeley at mcguire.com

Monday, November 09, 2009

Let's Make a (Multi Million Dollar) Deal

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article recognized an increase in default notices in the Bay Areas’ high end markets – noticeably missing from the list: any of San Francisco’s most expensive zip codes. A quick look at foreclosure stats on this chart show only a few foreclosures per high end neighborhood for Q2 2009, and some of those rates were lower than their stats the same period of 2008.

The good news for buyers is that there is an overabundance of high end properties on the market, a total of 20 exquisite homes on the north side of the City ranging from $4.1 Million up to $65 Million. Although 45% of these properties have had at least one price reduction since they first appeared on the market, sellers still appear unrealistic about what buyers are willing to pay in the current climate. With a combined average of 225 days on the market, some sellers may be growing weary of the selling process, which, combined with the continuation of low interest rates while 2009 coming to a close, makes this an opportune time to aggressively negotiate a great deal on a high-end home.


Are you ready to buy or sell your home? Contact me today.
Amy Blakeley, REALTOR®
McGuire Real Estate
www.AmyBlakeley.com
ablakeley at mcguire.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SFopenhome.com: New Online Open House Search


The San Francisco Association of Realtors has launched a website, sfopenhome.com, that draws its Open Homes information directly from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Open home information in newspapers and their websites, as well as in specific realty company websites, typically are an additional step or expense that the Realtor must make to market a home to the public. Since sfopenhome.com pulls information directly from open house information that Realtors enter into the MLS listing information, the site has the opportunity to offer many more open house profiles than any newspaper or realty site can.

Sfopenhome.com operates on the same platform as the San Francisco MLS, which is simple once you understand San Francisco's real estate districts and sub-districts. The website offers a clean, consice map of the districts, and you can click through from a district to its sub-districts. From there you will have to go back to the main search page and enter the information you gleaned. The result is a complete summary list of properties with open houses within your parameters. You can select to see more details on each listing, and you will be shown the public MLS listing information.

There are some downsides: first, whether you are computer-savvy or not, the search fields are cumbersome and the set-up could be more efficient/user-friendly (but I also feel that way about the MLS platform). Secondly, if the Realtor never bothers to enter the open house details into his or her MLS listing, then that open house won't be pulled into the sfopenhome.com database. Overall, this is a good one-stop shop for the weekend open house warrior.


Are you ready to buy or sell your home? Contact me today.
Amy Blakeley, REALTOR®
McGuire Real Estate
www.AmyBlakeley.com
ablakeley at mcguire.com