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

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

Selling a Home in 2019 vs. 2020

sebfreyCommentary, Local, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

One of the most popular pages on my website in 2018 was an article where I addressed the perennial question, “Is it better to sell my home this year, or next?”  In that posting, I opined that the preponderance of evidence is that 2018 was shaping up to be a pretty good year for home sellers.  Today many sellers are wondering about selling a home in 2019 vs. 2020. In last year’s article, I said that given a choice, it would be better for homeowners to sell in 2018 rather than rolling the dice on 2019, as the economic forecast for 2019 was cloudy. Now that we’ve flipped the page into 2019, I can say it looks like the jury is in on this one:  2018 was the peak year for this real estate market cycle.  The question before us today is, I think:  will 2019 prove to be a good-but-not-great year for sellers – or will it be the year the market falls off a cliff, again? Why The Real Estate Market Has Gone Soft After much thought and analysis, it seems to me that the softening of appreciation in home prices is due to the market finally reaching the limit of affordability.  In Santa Cruz county, only 12% of households can “afford” a median-priced home (with a 20% down payment).  In Santa Clara county that number is 16%.  In Monterey county, it’s 19%. It looks like what we’re seeing today simply comes down to the fact that buyers simply can’t afford to pay more … Read More

Why It’s Better to Sell Your Home Early in 2019

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

The Real Estate Closing Timeline

If you’re thinking of selling your home in 2019, it’s something you’ll want to do sooner rather than later.  Our market is almost a year-round market; things slow down for the holidays but they pick right up again half way through January. The market, though, has softened considerably. My advice to sellers is to have their homes ready for the market by mid-February to get a jump on the spring market.  By listing early in the year, you’ll beat the competition to market and you’ll probably have a much easier time selling. Best Advice for Bay Area Sellers in 2019 Sellers should very, very carefully consider their list price before listing their home for sale on the MLS.  Don’t be greedy – be realistic.  Your home has probably appreciated substantially over the past several years – take the money and run.  Price it where you know it will get offers within 2-3 weeks; any higher than that and you’ll probably end up shooting yourself in the foot.  In a softening market, you don’t do yourself any favors by testing the market with a high price. Prepping your Home for the Market Remember, it’s always the basics that give you the biggest bang for the buck, and what’s great is that they cost relatively few bucks. Empty the house at (“de-clutter, de-personalize”) so it looks as spacious, light, and airy as possible. Paint everything, whether it needs it or not.  Painting makes your home look fresh and clean, and gives it that “new home smell.” Clean everything, … Read More

California 2019 Real Estate Forecast

sebfreyCommentary, Local

Crystall Ball

It’s that time of year, and high-profile prognosticators are breaking out their crystal balls to come up with their California 2019 real estate forecast.  For the past couple of years or so, I’ve given you a blow-by-blow video of Leslie Appleton-Young’s California market forecast (Leslie is the Chief Economist of the California Association of REALTORS, aka C.A.R.).  This year, though, I’m going to skip that and instead give you just C.A.R.’s forecast highlights, and a round-up of other California real estate forecasts for 2019 as well. But let’s start with C.A.R.’s 2019 California real estate forecast…you can get it right from the California Association of REALTORS web site, from their October 11th presentation to REALTOR members. Also, I do have a copy of Leslie’s slides from the presentation she made to the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS on November 16th, 2018 – if you want to download the slide deck as a PDF, you can do so using this link. In a nutshell, here’s what Leslie and the folks at C.A.R. are predicting for the 2019 California real estate market: A combination of high home prices and eroding affordability is expected to cut into housing demand and contribute to a weaker housing market in 2019, and 2018 home sales will register lower for the first time in four years… In essence, the message from C.A.R. is that the California real estate market in 2019 can be characterized as changing “from great to good.”   I’ll break out a few key predictions for you. California Association of REALTORS … Read More

The World’s Greatest Realtor 2018 Award Winner

sebfreyCommentary, Local, North Monterey County Real Estate, Santa Cruz Real Estate, Silicon Valley Real Estate

Realtor Logo

Sebastian “Seb” Frey is the The World’s Greatest Realtor 2018 Award Winner!  This prestigious award was granted to him by one of his clients upon the successful sale of their family home in San Jose, California.  Closing gifts are common in the Santa Clara county real estate market, but it is unusual for a client to buy the agent a gift – usually, it’s the other way around.  So why did this homeowner go through the trouble and expense of getting a custom made closing gift for their Realtor? The World’s Greatest Realtor Case Study Cathy grew up in a quiet, tidy neighborhood of San Jose.  Homes in the neighborhood consisted of single level ranch homes built in the 1950’s – most were around 1150 square feet or so, and the typical lot size was about 6,000 square feet.  Her parents were the second owner of the home.  Mom had died over a decade ago, and dad had just recently died. The home was being lived in by her brother Steve, who was on title.  A third sibling, another sister, was on title as well.  Steve had been living in the home for most of his life – and had a lifetime’s worth of items stored in the house. Actually, he had several lifetimes worth of stuff stored there. To be honest, the home was packed.  Many rooms had boxes and bags of items, stacked from floor to ceiling.  There were storage sheds in the back yard – crammed full of junk.  The garage was likewise completely … Read More

How to Flip Your Own Home

sebfreyCommentary

Hey here’s an idea for you – flip your own home!  These days, house flipping is like a national pastime. It’s happening from coast to coast, and, in fact, it’s probably happening in your neighborhood (or very close to it). The real estate website Trulia reported that in 2017, 6% of all homes that were sold were flipped properties. Why are so many people doing this? The answer is obvious—it’s very lucrative. House flippers can make anywhere from a 10% to 50% return on their cash investment. Now, look at your own house. Are you thinking about selling it? Does it maybe need a little work? Does it have upside potential? If it does, why not flip your own home? You could make tens of thousands of dollars more when you actually sell it. Why leave that money on the table for the next buyer? To help you flip your own home, I’ve written a custom, 22-page house flipping report that’s packed with information and shows just how easy it is to flip your home and make tons of extra money from your sale. It’s a very quick read, and you’ll learn all you need to know to become a house flipping expert. Get the Guide! Download our guide and learn how to flip your own home today! This report has been meticulously researched and laser-focused on the California real estate market.  Any owner in California that’s thinking of selling their home within the next year needs to read this groundbreaking report.  This report covers topics like: … Read More

Time for a Lowball Offer?

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

What is the best time to list your home for sale?

It’s been quite sometime since I wrote anything about lowball offers – the last time was way back in 2006. In 2006, the market had noticeably cooled from the frenzy in 2005, and it was just a year before a historic real estate market meltdown began in 2007. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and if sellers had known then what we know today, I’m sure many more lowball offers would have been accepted! But what, exactly, is a lowball offer? To me, a lowball offer is anything that’s more than about 3-4% below asking price. It could be that 3-4% below asking price is actually fair market value – but fair market value is a debatable number, whereas asking price is a fact. In some markets though, most offers are 3-4% below asking price, so what would be considered a “lowball offer” will vary from place to place and time to time. These days, there’s a lot of talk about a softening – or shifting – real estate market. Given that the California economy remains resilient (for the time being) with growing wages and employment, I am not certain why the demand for housing would weaken. Supply has not significantly increased in many Bay Area markets, at least according to a few random spot checks I’ve made over the past few weeks and months. However, you know the saying – perception is reality. If buyers are perceiving that there’s less competition out there for homes, you can expect they’ll be more inclined to lob some … Read More