BRE # 00254845
Northern California Real Estate
Northwest Sonoma County and Southern Mendocino County
Recreational And Estate Properties
We have been doing this since 1976
Thinking Of Selling Your Property?
About 50% of my listings come to me from a referral from a satisfied client. Most times I am not the first listing agent.
DO A LITTLE RESEARCH: Get on the web and identify your competition. Drive by them. Ask agents you are interviewing about them. If they are competent they have seen most of them and can compare them to your property. If they cannot that is a clue.
ADVERTISING: You must spend money to make money.
Over the last 25 years, we have tried everything we could think of. By far, our best results have been from local publications and the web. Most Buyers go into an area that interests them and pick up local advertising material. About 50% of our Buyers come from advertising. The other 50% are referrals. Our budget is roughly fifty percent photo magazines and five percent classified. The forty five percent that goes into our web site now brings us about seventy percent of our advertising responses. The web continues to amaze me and we are continually improving it. About half of the people who respond to our web site take the time to pay us compliments about it.
MLS NOW CALLED BAREIS
All of our listings go into the Sonoma County Multiple Listing Service. Most agents have great difficulty motivating themselves to drive more than 25 minutes from their office. Selling agents receive 50% of the commission. Money motivates, cutting commissions is extremely counter productive as many agents will then avoid those listings. When they see a low commission a common comment is: "That shows an attitude problem and you will find they are very difficult to deal with. They will fight over every nickel." "There is a neighbor problem" "I heard there is a termite problem"
KNOWING THE MARKET
Most agents occasionally have a listing that falls into my parameters. A typical problem is not knowing the market and not being strong enough to show the Seller what is a realistic value. I am strong enough and I can provide good comparisons.
Buyers rapidly become more knowledgeable than Sellers on what is available and can quickly evaluate whether a property fits their needs and is realistically priced.
WHEN TO LIST?
Pulling inventory off the market for a rest or to make it look like new inventory does not work. In late '91 and '92, real estate went through its first recession in 60 years. The in town residential slump was much more severe than country properties and lasted longer. Country held their value. The same thing happened in 2006 thru 2010. Then the few foreclosures in the country hit the country values hard. Then those who are forced to sell found they had to come down to the market. Activity picked up considerably in 2011. There is not a good or bad time of year. In '95, '97 and 2006, the last quarter exceeded the other three combined. April is usually quiet due to taxes. In 2002, it was very good. Spring brings out more traffic and inventory. All you need is one Buyer to fit your property. You can never tell when he/she will come. If he/she is looking in December he/she is probably serious about finding what he/she wants.
The feeling or ambiance you have when you first go onto a property is extremely important. Good properties will move if properly priced and presented.
This is often hard to tell because of listings taken at ridiculous prices. As the poorly priced slowly spiral down to reality, the Seller becomes more and more agitated. This sometimes takes years. It is harder to evaluate country property than a tract house. That is part of the reason I will not give an owner a value the day I look at a property. When you compute the interest lost on the equity not providing a return to the investor, it is usually better to be realistic to a Buyer. Hindsight is always perfect, but sometimes very expensive. Time is money. Today I can take you to a property that came on the market in 2006 for $1,775,000. Today (6/26/15) it is at $999,000. Do you think having your life on hold for 9 years is a problem?
I do not set the values, the market does. I am a very experienced evaluator. If you like how I do things, but you disagree with our conclusions, let's sit down with a good appraiser. His fee is minor compared to lost dollars while carrying properties you are not using.
We are good merchants and good business people. We have averaged over 90% of asking price for years. I sometimes describe what I do as elephant hunting. My office is on my ranch (305 acres) by Lake Sonoma. For every 100 prospects that walk into a real estate office in town, only one might be looking for what I do. Ninety-five percent of my time is spent preparing for the 5% of the time I am with a prospect.
Most properties have problems that must be solved to make a Buyer comfortable. We are good at solving problems because we have a good team. All properties have positives and negatives. It is better to admit the problems and provide solutions if they exist.
Buyers appreciate it.
Knowing the inventory that is on the market is tremendously important to a Buyer. To know your property takes time. It usually means walking it.
We go years between losing a deal from escrow. The escrow should not provide surprises we have not found and disclosed. Sometimes being a hard money broker helps by my being able to lend funds to make a sale work.
You are probably evaluating more than one agent. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Try to look at us as a Buyer sees us. Have someone call each office as a prospect and see what their response is.
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I have the necessary tools like GPS units, laser distance measuring devices, clinometers for measuring grades and a lot of hindsight. I live in the country.
Joe White Updated 6/26/15
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