Isolated Panic amongst some San Francisco Realtors, or something larger?

Recently, we’ve been contacted by more than a dozen Realtors asking if we could “plug” their listings. Typically, this is not something we do as it defeats the purpose, honesty, and transparency of this blog, but we got to thinking…why not? We could make a little $$ from it, and help get the word out about some pretty cool properties that happen to still be available. Truth be told, a lot of “tips” from “tipsters” are essentially “plugs” anyway. Right?

Well, don’t worry, we’re not going to start whoring ourselves out…yet. But what has us thinking is the increase in requests to do so for properties that have only been on the market 2-6 weeks. In any other part of the country having a listing for 4 months is normal, and panic usually sets in around the 6th month that it is not sold, so why such alarm after 2-6 weeks? San Francisco Realtors are so accustomed to homes flying off the shelf, and when they don’t…they PANIC! Remember, a listing isn’t a “Stalefish” until 100 days have passed, so why all the panic?

We still say it all comes down to pricing, pricing, pricing, and location, location, location, and there is no need for panic across the board. We’re still hearing many more reports of multiple offers and properties flying off the shelf than we are of properties sitting, but is the national trend finally starting to hit San Francisco on a broader level, not just the southern districts? We’ve heard reports of homes in the Inner Richmond, Cole Valley, Westwood Park, Bernal Heights, Inner Sunset, Noe Valley (Gasp!), Parkside, Potrero Hill, and a few other nabes getting a bit stale. Properties that previously would have sold in the blink of an eye. So what gives?

We want your thoughts, especially you Realtors. Go ahead and comment anonymously, we won’t tell. And we certainly hope to hear from the Fluj, who, in case you missed it, we caught.

[If you'd like to check out what we've written about other neighborhoods in San Francisco, look to the right hand column and "Browse Site by Category".]

14 thoughts on “Isolated Panic amongst some San Francisco Realtors, or something larger?”

  1. I’ll be anything another part of it has to do with realtors getting bludgeoned in their offices with the need to blog, spam, email blast and generally ratchet up all forms of internet marketing. Honestly, I have had two email accounts just about ruined by the the sfarmls community. Look at what some of th less scrupulous agents did to craigslist. Yuck. Sometimes folks have no shame.

    That said, hey, this is a lot of (at the moment) free exposure we’re talking about. Of course they want some. I definitely think a pay to play rule would be fine, editor. Why not? Does anybody begrudge Google its placement links at the top of the page?

    Regarding panic — yeah, there must be something to that as well. The last four years provided a model. Everybody got used to it. And times, seemingly, are changing. Let’s not forget that there are sellers with much more riding on these sales who feel even more “panic.” I think if everybody takes a step back though, is it really so bad?

    We had what we thought was a $3M+ listing recently. It was a two year project and initially the forecast called for it to sell at around $2.8-$2.9 or so. Well, as things skyrocketed, expectations adjusted. It seems that when the property was finally finished, tho, the client missed the total bull market. The property sold for its initially predicted pricepoint … and the whole thing was financed and the return was terrific.

    So I’m with you. In a nutshell. Yeah, everybody wants free advertising. Yeah, folks are panicked. But in the end is it really so bad right now? Why shouldn’t a house take three months to sell? Especially now that banks and lenders are shifting policies midstream.

    As far as

  2. I think a “sponsored property” entry once in a while is fine. Look at Techcrunch and sfist. You don’t have to secretly “plug” it as part of the editorial since that would be a conflict of interest, but if you just put a picture up [or in whatever form of rich media] in between blog entries once in a while, and label it as “sponsored property” I don’t see why not.

    Beyond sponsored property info, I’d take ads from local plumbers, general contractors, electricians, gardeners, architects, etc., because as a reader I actually want to see more info on these kinds of service providers.

    There are probably some issues to work out — like how to account for the ad display, how to prove you displayed the ad 4000 times, etc… hopefully wordpress has done the job for you…

  3. I think any panic is due to funding. It’s apparently much worse now that it was 10 months ago during the first wave of the credit crunch. Trying to do something at a 90% LTV is nearly impossible and 95% is impossible.

  4. I’m a renter who made the conscience decision to NOT buy — I’m well financed and consider myself reasonably knowledgeable on the subject of real estate. I make no claims or long term predictions about the market, but I do state my opinion from time to time and am more than willing to state my opinion publicly on the subject.

    Anyway, I chose not to rent as I felt pretty strongly that the market was due to correct on some level. I’m not a long term owner in SF and couldn’t justify the potential transaction cost losses due to owning over a short term (i.e., commission & transfer tax). I also feel that most anyone that bought on margin was looking at financial ruin in the event that the market did correct.

    I’ve no idea if we’re correcting or not as I’m astounded at the properties that are flying off the market. But I feel pretty good about my decision to not buy although I’m fairly certain that most of the properties I looked at are worth more now than they were 24 months ago — but not enough to offset transaction cost losses.

    Bottom line… there are a lot of balls still in the air as it related to real estate broadly and San Francisco specifically. That said, the buyers are out there, myself included, and I tend to agree with Alex in that a well priced listing will not last long on the market. I suspect the low ball offers are probably on the horizon if they haven’t already started coming in to listing agents. ???

  5. Depends on the property re: lowballing. I think I saw six properties today. None of them will be on the market very long.

  6. Oh and a bit of an anomaly went pending today, 791 27th st. Like properties in the same area flew off the shelves. For this one I guess you have to put it down to pricing. It’s taken 140 days and one 100K price reduction, but it’s still at nearly 750 a foot. Maybe that high up on 27th cannot command ~800 a foot, and that’s all there is to it?

  7. I’ve had listings in avenues for 30 years.the geographis location of salable

    property keeps moving westward.25th avenue last year was the outer reaches

    of salable property. now its 15th avenue.look at SF Daily for property sales

    and everybody losing money

  8. That would be eastward, right? We see properties selling in the outer avenues daily … like 15 in the last week and a half. You really don’t think that the outer Sunset has actually gotten more saleable in recent years?

  9. Fluj/Alex – Do you have color on 153 Avila St.? This was Chef Sung from Isa’s house on the market. I think he’s about 31 years old now. Nice remodel, says it’s 2,400sqft, but there’s no way for this 1 story bungalow house, unless they are including the 300-350sqft deck off the two bedrooms. Real living area is closer to 2000sqft, as the master bedroom is behind the garage.

    Asking was $2.695mil.

    The property market in District 7 is pretty darn nuts. These 1story bungalow houses use to be AT MAX $2.3-2.4 mil two years ago.

  10. Last real check I did (which was only a couple days ago) didn’t indicate any great strength in the Sunset, at least in the lower ranges. The 2.5M and up crowd may be seeing something else.

    The relative health of multi-million dollar homes aside, I think there is something else going on with regards to desparate agents: lower sales volume.

    As I have mentioned previously, lower volume has a much more deletrious effect on agents incomes then lower prices. As credit continues to dry up, and more and more foreclosures lap upon the shores of our city, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on agents with their own nice homes and nice cars to pay for to keep that cash flow coming in. It’s not as easy as it used to be, and as Alex points out, the panic threshold starts in pretty early when your lifestyle is predicated on moving volume. I think there’s plenty of room for it to get even tougher. We’ll see what happens.

    [Editor's note: Missionite, I went ahead and edited this comment for you and fixed the / you forgot in code. I deleted the other duplicate comment.]

  11. Lower sales volume is definitely hurting A LOT of agents. So long as volume is good, doesn’t matter if prices are going up or down.

    The higher end SF property owner is doing just fine.

  12. Some lower end properties are doing just fine as well. I saw two listings next to each other on 3rd Avenue in the Inner Richmond sell like hotcakes! Both of the properties were great value added opportunities, and sold very quickly. I believe they were both listed just under $1 million. When there is a good deal to be made there is always someone to buy it. I think the areas in San Francisco that will be hurt the most are places were “trendiness” has seriously inflated prices.

  13. We need to educate buyers and agents. It doesn’t really matter how long a property

    has been on the market. Not every property is right for every buyer. We may need

    to adjust the price a bit if theres no action, but the way it is today; over two weeks on

    the market is like the kiss of death. In a slow market; and even a normal market, it

    would be normal to take a few months. Prior to the bidding wars; nobody asked, it

    wasn’t published in the MLS., and nobody really cared. If you found something good

    for your clients that had been on the market for a while; you were just a good agent.

    Clients were secure enough not to think something was wrong with the property just

    because its been up for a while.

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