Proud to serve

The Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS (PSAR) recently announced the 2018 Board of Directors.  I was honored to be nominated and elected to serve our members for 2018.  PSAR is an organization that is dedicated to serving our REALTOR and affiliate members and provides a much needed voice to local and statewide matters affecting real estate and home ownership.

According the the PSAR website, “The Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS® exists to enhance the real estate profession, to protect private property rights and improve the regulatory environment. The Association maintains a leadership role today assuring each REALTOR® member the opportunity to seek new heights in their professional lives. Being a REALTOR® is a source of pride and prestige.

Congrats to all the incoming Board.  For more information please visit PSAR here.


Welcome to Real Estate Life.


Hey everyone. Man, it’s been a minute since I updated my blog!  So long in fact, that I decided to completely scrap the old and relaunch with a new look and updated design.  So welcome to Real Estate Life!

Of course I spent several years publishing The Real Estate Rap, and decided to keep all that content (well most of it anyway) in tact.  So there are a ton of old posts you can check out…or not…if you’d like.  I am making a commitment to post twice a week, with a different flavor than I previously did.  The focus will be more on the lifestyle of an active real estate professional in San Diego.  And really more like the lifestyle of a family of Realtors, who live, work, and play everyday in our amazing part of the world.

If you didn’t know, my wife Kathy, is a fabulous Realtor as well!  In fact she is a Top 10 performer with Keller Williams in La Mesa.  She works all over San Diego, mostly by referral, and is one of the best negotiators I know.  Our son, Cooper, just graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship.  Cool, right?  Oh, and he also just got his real estate license making him the 3rd generation of Realtors in our family.  Kathy’s mom and step dad got it all started for us way back in the day.

So there you have it.  A newly revamped blog, some background on who the heck we are, and a look into what you can expect going forward.  I hope you’ll check in later as I promise to share some shenanigans from a fun event I’m going to tonight sponsored by the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors.  Fun fact…in real estate, if you play your cards right, you’ll get plenty of free food and drinks!  Later!


What is the # 1 challenge facing the San Diego real estate market today?


We Reward Entrepreneurs!

CarringtonWe believe it is time to challenge the status quo. Today’s real estate agents deserve leadership and innovation from their brokerage. As an entrepreneur you need to join a company that can provide real business opportunities, solid leadership, mentoring, and 24/7 access to resources that assist you in reaching your maximum potential. You also need a business partner that supports your financial goals. That is why we would like to introduce you to our Entrepreneur Reward Plan. This aggressive 90/10
compensation package with a low yearly cap will only be available for a limited time. We encourage you to take action today.

We are wisely investing in entrepreneurs who are confident in their abilities, optimistic about the market, and open to new ideas that could take their business to the next level. Carrington Real Estate Services is a young, aggressive brokerage who in only five short years has been named in the top 12% nationally for transactions in the 2013 RISMedia Power Broker Report and have proven that our entrepreneurs are 56% more productive than the industry average.* If you are looking to REfuel your business and take it to the next level — we need to be talking.

Plan Overview
• 90/10 compensation package…with ability to attain 100% after meeting annual CAP
• Qualified agents must have closed a minimum of six self-generated deals in the last 12 months
• Offer available from 5/15/2013 to 8/15/2013
• Other terms and conditions may apply
*Figures based on CRES/National Association of REALTORS® Annual Member Survey 2010, 2011 data.

Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate re-brands as Carrington Real Estate Services

I’m excited to announce, and be a part of, the re-branding of my company.  The name changes reflects the diversified and growing company Carrington Holding Company has become.  For more check this out.

Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate Re-Brands


The Searchers…a look at real estate search experience and results

syndicationLet me start by saying, “Boy are there a lot of choices when it comes to searching for real estate online!”  I mean just looking at this graphic makes me realize that it can be overwhelming  for consumers.  It also helps to illustrate why most folks looking at real estate online tend to stick with the Big 3, REALTOR.COM, Trulia, and Zillow.  Each of these sites offers basic & advanced search functions, as well as additional data that may be of interest to homeowners or potential buyers.  Think school and crime stats, and even pricing on other homes that recently sold and demographics on who lives there.  Over the past few years more real estate brokerage sites have also developed interesting search tools.  Upstart companies like Redfin have launched platforms consumers rave about.  Heck even  Century 21 and RE/MAX have redesigned their sites in hopes of luring more visitors and inquiries . All fine and dandy, but when it comes to pure property search, who is the best?

As an example.  When searching any of the big 3 portals, it takes several clicks to get what I want.  If I type in a search like I would on Google, “3 bedroom in La Mesa, CA with a pool”, I get nothing, zip, nada.  Of course these sites, like most, have been built to help people who may not know exactly what they are looking for, find it.  I get that.  But I still wonder why more property search sites don’t make it easier for people to find what they want?

In this day and age it all starts and ends with Google in terms of search.  If we want to find something we just go to Google and type in, “Best seafood restaurant in San Diego”.  Then we scan the results, read the reviews, look at menus and decide where we will spend our money to satisfy our hunger.  What we don’t do is go to Google and select “Restaurant” from a drop down menu, choose “Seafood” by checking a box, and then enter a price we would pay for a meal.  We just type and expect to see what we asked for.  Why can’t real estate sites work like this?


Enter Smart Search from Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate, part of the Carrington family of companies.  Smart Search is exactly that…a property search that works just like those Google searches we do everyday.  That same,  “3 bedroom in La Mesa, CA with a pool” search we did above displayed 85 properties using the Smart Search!  That gives me a starting point that is exactly where I want to be, and I still have the option of filtering the results by clicking those boxes and drop downs if I want to.  So while this may be a bit of a shameless plug, as I work for Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate, the fact remains that when it comes to online property search, both results and experience play a big part in how online consumers want to access information.  Give it a try and share your feedback, see poll below, on what you like and don’t like about online real estate search sites.

Is cash really king? A case study…

Cash-Bonus-293x300So maybe you didn’t hear it here first.  And perhaps there is some trepidation as you read about how the market is picking up.  I get it.  Real estate has been hit hard the past several years.  But like a punch-drunk boxer taking a standing 8 count, the market is digging deep and finding its equilibrium. So here’s the thing…It’s back!  Like every cycle before, the housing market is cutting through and leading the economic recovery.

And if you think cash is king…think again.  In some markets nearly half of all transactions involve cash buyers, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.  With the right agent in place you can find a great property and beat out those cash buyers.

The Right Agent

I read a blog recently that questioned the value of relationships between agents.  I’m here to tell you firsthand that it matters…A LOT!  Working with an agent who is not only well-connected, but also well-respected, can make the offer, negotiation, acceptance, and closing details go much smoother.  It’s like anything else really.  Why do we shop at certain stores?  Why do we take our cars to a certain mechanic?  In many cases it’s because of the relationships we have with the people there. You also must work with an agent who knows what you want…and knows the local market you are interested in better than anyone else.  In addition to knowing what’s available, and that’s not much these days, they need to know what’s under contract and if there are circumstances that may cause it to fall out.  Again, relationships and connections.

Case Study Part 1:  On St. Patrick’s Day we met with a client who expressed an interest in buying a property.  After a short discussion about their needs, I ran an MLS search and found only 4 homes that were active on the market and met their criteria.  Now, because we constantly monitor the market and talk with other agents, I knew there were 2 other homes under contract that also fit their needs.  I called the agents and guess what?  One of them just cancelled escrow and was going back on the market that evening.  I called the buyers, met them an hour later, and wrote the offer.

timing-is-everythingTiming is Everything

We’ve all heard this expression.  But you must understand that timing can be the key to beating out the cash offer.  Here’s the reality of cash offers.  They usually come from investors and what do investors want?  The best deal (lowest price) possible.  So all things being equal when it comes to price, the terms you offer, along with the timing, can make all the difference.  And it’s not just about taking the home in “as-is” condition.  A great strategy should include the best terms and timing important to the seller.

Case Study Part 2:  Back to our St. Patrick’s Day buyers.  Since I had a good relationship with the listing agent I was able to ask some questions about why the home fell out of escrow, and what were the important issues facing the seller.  I was informed the seller had just moved to an assisted living facility and was concerned about her children having time to come in from out-of-town and being able to get her belongings out.  Simple fix.  We offered to give them extra time after closing to handle this…at no cost to them.  Piece of mind goes a long way!  I also discovered the seller wanted to close ASAP.  Again, an easy fix as we offered to close on their time frame.  As you can see it’s really just about communication and a meeting of the minds.  Thing is buyers have to come to grips with the fact that this is a seller’s market and sometimes that takes losing out on a few places to get it.  The right agent and strategy around timing and terms makes a world of difference.

The Right Terms

Every buyer has their own set of circumstances.  So I want to remind you that you should do what you feel is best when it comes to your situation.  But you need to think about what you can, and cannot, live with and how can you make your offer the most appealing to the seller.  Here are some common terms buyers offer up:

  • Closing time frame
  • Inspection time frame
  • Appraisal and loan contingency removal
  • Who pays for title, escrow, repairs, warranty, etc
  • Deposit amount

Agents tend to draft offers based on local custom.  What happens is they often use a “Contract Template” with the same default settings.  Real estate is not cookie cutter and you should discuss with your agent what you can do differently to make your offer stand out.  If that also matches up with terms and timing the seller has mentioned, you could be the winning bidder.  You may want to offer to close faster, or pay for things like warranties and termite reports vs. having the seller pay for them.  Make it as easy as possible for the seller to accept your offer.

Case Study Part 3:  After talking with the agent we knew why the property had fallen out of contract, when the seller wanted to close, how much time they needed after closing to remove personal belongings, what they did not want to pay for, and who the agent liked to use for services such as title and escrow.  We also knew there were competing offers and one was cash.  After considering all this and reviewing the sellers counter offer, and speaking with their lender, the buyer decided to make it easy for the seller to accept their offer.  They came in a little higher than their initial offer, increased their deposit, agreed to take the home in “As-Is” condition, and offered the seller even more time after closing to clean the place out.  The end result?  Cash is not always king!