How to Effectively Leverage Technology When Selling Real Estate

sebfreyMarketing, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

The real estate industry has always been a very human one. Successful REALTORS must gain an understanding of people to make their real estate dreams come true. It’s the sort of business that perhaps doesn’t appear to lend itself to technology – the combination of a firm handshake, an understanding ear and honest, bespoke advice is difficult to create out of zeroes and ones. But while the real estate industry isn’t one that is a slave to technology, it can certainly be enhanced by it. Modern tech can make the process of matching property with a buyer and make it even more human than it already is, by providing insights and avenues that improve the quality of the realtor/buyer connection. How can you leverage technology when selling real estate? Let’s take a look at four of the most effective ways. 1. Be everywhere on social media Social media is proving to be an incredibly valuable tool for REALTORS. A visual medium designed to facilitate connections, the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are right in the sweet spot of real estate professionals. The value of social media will entirely depend on how well you use it. There are several mistakes that many realtors make, and some opportunities that tend to be missed. To maximize the effectiveness of social media: Know your niche and talk specifically to that audience. Give them a reason to follow you by offering value – post tips and tricks, share helpful articles, and give them a reason to laugh every once in a … Read More

How to Safely Sell Your Home During a Pandemic

sebfreyBlog, Marketing, Sellers

Sell Your Home Safely During Coronavirus

While a global pandemic of a potentially lethal virus may be a challenging time to sell your home, there are creative ways to do it without compromising safety. From cleaning between showings to using technology to connect with potential buyers, there are plenty of options for home sellers—despite being in the midst of a health crisis. The importance of staging A crucial piece of selling a home is staging, and often, sellers turn to professionals for help. Right now, it’s difficult and could be risky to invite a staging company into your home, but luckily, there’s technology that can help stage your home. Virtual staging has traditionally been a great option for people who have very little furniture in their home. Rather than dragging in new couches, beds, and tables, virtual staging can allow you to drag-and-drop furniture into a room, digitally. The cost is typically much lower than traditional physical staging companies, and allows for endless arrangement possibilities without the challenge of finding new furniture and heavy lifting. It’s a great option to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic – in fact, it may be your only option as some counties in California still do not allow traditional stagers to do their work in your home. Make the most of technology When it’s not feasible to show your home in person, you can also turn to online tools. One great option for a no-contact showing is a video-chat tour, which is a win-win for both parties. This method ensures no contact for the buyer and seller, … Read More

COVID-19 Mortgage Forbearance

sebfreyDistressed Owners, Mortgage

Mortgage Forbearance

With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people have suffered reduced income – for many, income has gone down to zero. The response from the U.S. Government has been substantial, and the CARES Act, enacted in March of 2020, provides relief for many taxpayers. The CARES Act also provides for COVID-19 mortgage forbearance for many borrowers, and we will explore how that works in this article. Please bear in mind that this is a very fluid situation. COVID-19 mortgage forbearance is new, and it’s rapidly evolving. What is true today may not be true tomorrow. Update May 19, 2020: the rules have changed in favor of those receiving forbearance. This article (and video) mention that conventional loan borrowers need 12 months in a row without a missed or late payment. The new guidelines say that if you have been in forbearance but have made at least 3 on-time payments since exiting forbearance, you can then refinance your mortgage or get a new one. See this article on CNBC. COVID-19 Mortgage Forbearance Presentation Video What is Mortgage Forbearance? Mortgage Forbearance is a temporary freeze on your mortgage payments. Your Loan Servicer Must Agree to the Forbearance. A Servicer is the Bank/Lender/Company that collects loan payments. What does Forbearance mean under the CARES Act? Borrowers are entitled to a temporary freeze of mortgage payments up to 180 Days – if you say have been impacted by COVID-19. No documentation is required to prove you have been impacted. Please know that many servicers will only initially offer you 90 days … Read More

How Multiple Offers Affect Sale Price

sebfreyBlog, Charts and Statistics, Commentary, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Sellers, Silicon Valley Real Estate

It’s that time of year again! Early in the year, inventory is low – but there’s no shortage of eager buyers looking to purchase a home. While an imbalance of supply versus demand is not uncommon in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, it’s especially acute early in 2020. New inventory is trickling onto the market, and it will continue to ramp up as we get into spring. But at the moment, there’s nowhere near enough new inventory to meet demand. Sellers with well-priced homes across the region are being rewarded with multiple offers from prospective purchasers. That is of course a wonderful situation for a seller – but it’s more like a nightmare for buyers. Many of these buyers will have been looking for months, even years, before they finally put an offer in on a property…only to find out that the seller has a number of competing offers to choose from. A buyer never knows how a seller will respond in a multiple offer situation. Will they accept just one offer from the “best” buyer? Will they make counter offers to specific buyers? Will they ask all buyers to respond with their “highest and best” offer, knowing that there are multiple offers on the table? What’s more, a seller can make different counter offers to different buyers, with different prices and terms. I’m helping clients manage a few multiple-offer situations at the moment, as listing agent and as buyer’s agent. Working with buyers in a multiple offer situation is especially fraught, because of course, … Read More

California Real Estate Forecast for 2020

sebfreyBlog, Local, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate, Video

As you may have heard, I recently became a Broker Associate with Compass in Los Gatos (the former Alain Pinel REALTORS). There are a lot of benefits to working with a large, upscale brokerage – one of them being that you can get access to valuable information before the competition. Yesterday, our office had the first meeting of the year and it featured a feature presentation by Jordan Levine, the Deputy Chief Economist for the California Association of REALTORS. I have also seen many presentations by Jordan’s boss, Leslie Appleton-Young, and I even had her as a guest on an episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast. Jordan, by the way, is also a podcaster as he is the co-host of California Association of REALTORS Housing Matters podcast. Video of California Real Estate Forecast for 2020 The presentation was about 40 minutes long, as there was a lot to digest in there. The bottom line is that the 2020 real estate market is expected to look a lot like the 2019 real estate market: tight inventory, low interest rates, poor affordability, but with slightly more sales at somewhat higher prices (statewide, but the greater Bay Area should be an exception). Key Points for California’s 2020 Real Estate Forecast Housing prices may be up, but actual mortgage payments are down Lowest Unemployment in 50 Years Prices at the very high end softening, lower priced homes rising in price. Higher-end homes taking longer to sell U.S. 2020 GDP Projected @ 1.6% (down from 2.2% in 2019) U.S. Inflation … Read More

Why I Moved to Compass

sebfreyBlog, Commentary

On November 1, 2019 I joined Compass as a Broker Associate. This is only the third brokerage I have been affiliated with in nearly 17 years in business. I was with my first broker for ten years to the day, before I opened up my own brokerage in early 2013. For almost seven years, I operated as a Broker/Owner, Captain of my ship, with complete freedom to run my business as I see fit. So why did I trade in my autonomy and throw my lot in with Compass? To answer that, I’ll begin by explaining what Compass is. Compass is a real estate start-up company based in New York City. They’ve actually been around for seven years or so at this point, but they have really grown in the last couple of years, fueled by massive investments from a number of blue chip firms and private investors. You can see a list here. Compass has a goal of achieving 20% market share in the top 20 U.S. markets by the end of 2020. As I understand it, they’re very nearly there already. Locally, they purchased a few high-performing northern California brokerages in 2018 and 2019 – Pacific Union International, Paragon, Alain Pinel Realtors, and Central Coast Realty Group. Their current agent count nationwide tops 12,000 with about 250 offices coast to coast and over 2,000 employees on staff. Compass is not a franchise. Every Compass office is 100% owned by the company. They have a number of “organic” offices throughout the greater Bay Area in … Read More

Talking AB1482 on the Radio

sebfreyAudio, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

On October 18, 2019 I appeared on KSCO Radio in Santa Cruz as a guest on the Mike Young Radio Hour. Mike is a REALTOR I have known virtually my entire career in real estate. He has a weekly radio show and he usually has another Santa Cruz REALTOR, Dennis Casey, as his wingman. For the October 18 2019 airing, I was invited on as a guest to discuss the recently-enacted California AB1482 legislation, which establishes rent control state wide in California. We touched on a few other topics of interest to followers of Santa Cruz and California real estate as well – so if you want to learn more about AB1482 and rent control, please listen to the audio of the radio show below.

Stop the Madness! Just say NO on AB 1482

sebfreyCommentary

The good folks at the California Association of REALTORS (C.A.R.) have sounded the alarm bell. They are urging all California REALTORS to call their state representatives and tell them to VOTE NO ON AB 1482. They have also asked that we REALTORS ask our clients to do the same. I recorded a quick episode of Seb Frey TV so you can all see just how easy it is to call your Senate and Assembly representatives. Contact Info for some Local Politicians State Senator Bill Monning: (916) 651-4017State Senator Anna Caballero: (916) 651-4012State Senator Bob Wieckowski: (916) 651-4010State Senator Jim Beall: (916) 651-4015State Senator Jerry Hill: (916) 651-4013Assemblyman Mark Stone: (916) 319-2029 Issue Background Under current law, unless a local government has enacted rent control, there is no statewide cap on rent. Additionally, current law allows landlords to end a tenancy without cause when a lease expires. That is to say, when a tenant’s lease is up, the landlord can ask them to move out, for the only reason that it’s because the contract has ended. As introduced, AB 1481 and AB 1482 – previously combined into one bill, AB 1482 – would have established a rent cap of 5% plus regional CPI, as well as “just cause” evictions after 6 months of tenancy, through 2030 on all rental properties; required relocation assistance up to 3 months when a tenant is evicted under specified conditions (that is, the landlord pays the tenant to move out); and included insufficient vacancy decontrol language. C.A.R. had negotiated with our government to soften 1482 into … Read More

2019 Mid-Year Real Estate Update for Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Commentary, Local, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

And here we are, just past half-way through 2019! Happened so quick, I’ll bet you feel a bit of whiplash. It’s been an interesting half-year so far, especially when it comes to the Monterey and San Francisco Bay Area real estate market. For this 2019 Mid-Year Real Estate update, I took a dive through the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to dig deep through the numbers for Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey counties for the first six months of the year. So how is our real estate market doing, at the mid-point of 2019? One that comes through loud and clear is that just like politics, all real estate is local. The story told through these numbers is much different in all three counties.  If you want, you can skip down to the county that interests you most:  Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, or Monterey. Seb Frey Talks Real Estate Mid-2019 on Seb Frey TV Santa Clara County Santa Clara County is the heart of Silicon Valley – what happens there affects the real estate market for a large portion of northern California, and all of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas.  The numbers for the first half of 2019 are markedly different than the first half of 2018.  In particular: Homes are taking almost twice as long to sell this year (93% longer) Price Per Square Foot has dropped 6.76% Average Sale Price has dropped 6.63% Median Home Price has dropped 8.95% Sale to List Price Ratio down 8% Home Sales are down 9.5% this … Read More

Silicon Valley Real Estate Prices Drop Sharply in Q1 2019

sebfreyCommentary, Local, Silicon Valley Real Estate

A couple of days ago I attended a regional meeting of local REALTOR Association leadership. We had officers and staff from around the greater San Francisco Bay Area all gathered in a room. Folks from San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties all got together to talk about how we can better serve our customers. I sat next to a broker from Santa Clara county, and I asked her how the Santa Clara County Market is doing. “It’s bad,” she said. “Bad?” I asked. “How bad?” And she said home prices are down 10-12% versus a year ago. That would be pretty bad – if it were true. I hear stuff like that a lot from different agents. But then when I go and dig into the stats, I usually find there’s more to the story – or a different story altogether. So imagine my surprise when I dug into the stats and found that actually, prices were down by much more than 10-12%. Houses took about twice as long to sell in Q1 2019 vs. Q1 in 2018. And the number of sales has dropped by nearly 10%, while the number of new listings is up by almost 4%. Santa Clara County Q1 2019 Real Estate Wrap-Up Video In case you’re not a regular consumer of my social media, you may not know that I have a “TV” show called SebFrey.TV – I made a special episode where I did a wrap-up of the Santa Clara County real … Read More