Walking Distance to a “Wet Woody”

View from the Carnelian Bay Lakefront

If incredibly convenient access to Garwoods restaurant and bar and its iconic drink, the Wet Woody, is your cup of tea (or your cup of Wet Woody – and yes, that’s the last time I’ll use that phrase in this article), this lakefront property may be for you. Not only is this house right next door (stumbling distance) to Garwoods, but like the Carnelian Bay favorite, it is also right on the Lake.
A nice place to relax

The most amazing part of this story? You can own a prime piece of Tahoe north shore lakefront property for $1,325,000, or maybe less, $1.325 mil is the “asking” price.
Carnelian Bay Tahoe Lakefront

One million three hundred twenty five thousand dollars is a screaming deal for anything on the lake, let alone on the north shore in a protected and centrally located bay. While some may not appreciate having Garwoods as a next door neighbor, it doesn’t diminish the fact that the property sits on one of the most beautiful sections of one of the world’s most beautiful alpine lakes.

Carnelian Bay Lakefront Interior

Obviously its owners have come to the point where they are very, very serious about selling, but looking at its asking price history, that has not always been the case. The 4 bedroom, 2 bath home (with a 2 car garage) was originally listed at $2.5 million on March 6th, with the price coming down to $1,999,000 on July 28th. Its current price reflects a huge drop from the almost $2,000,000 asked in July, and a gargantuan drop from the original 2.5 million dollar original asking price! I asked Paul Smith, the listing agent, about these very substantial price drops, and his answer was simple: “They just want to get it sold!” If this price doesn’t do that, I don’t know what will.

Carnelian Bay Lakefront, Lake Tahoe, $1,325,000 [Lake Tahoe MLS]

[Chris Anderson is a Tahoe based writer and real estate professional. You can contact him at chris@tahoetruckeehomes.com or go to TahoeTruckeeHomes.com.]

Dear Seller: You Have Options When “Listing” And Marketing Your Property For Sale. Did You Know That?

It would appear that the San Francisco Association of Realtors (SFAR), California Association of Realtors (CAR), and by default the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is again realizing agents want to have control of their listings, clients deserve an alternative place to market their properties for sale, and new technologies can actually foster a healthy real estate environment that could lead to more transactions. Therefore, they don’t want you using them.

Recently the SFAR issued their latest “Advantage Online”. In the latest issue they had this to say:

Participation in Private MLSs and MLS Clubs Involves Risks

With apps commonly available, and the increased use of social networking sites, private MLS groups, such as [losers], have been formed that operate outside the MLS.

Frequently, these private groups set up rules for membership, such as requiring listings taken by club members to be marketed only through the club and not through the MLS, that only select practitioners can participate, and that offers of compensation must meet certain minimums. Furthermore, these private group members are, for the most part, members of established MLSs governed by MLS rules and the REALTORS® Code of Ethics (COE).

In response to this growing trend of online private MLS groups, the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) has developed a legal brief reminding agents and brokers of the various MLS and COE rules that can come into play by participating in these private MLSs, as well as the legal concerns and risks.

The Association encourages its members to review this briefing document, found [right here], for specific guidance.

Those are pretty powerful and scary words, aren’t they? Not really. Sharing a picture on Facebook of yourself half naked doing keg stands involves risks, getting listings and allowing your seller the option to market their property alternatively should not.

If you actually click through and read the “briefing document” you’ll notice a lot of talk about the “fiduciary duty” of licensed real estate professional to client. Essentially do right by your client and advise them on the best path. This is the year 2011!

Every Realtor’s fiduciary duty at this time should be to advise their clients they may be able to get as much, or more, exposure marketing their property for sale on any number of new media sites, like PocketListings.net, Twitter, LinkedIn, Trulia, Zillow, etc. They should also be advising their clients about the potential pitfalls of hanging their property out to dry on MLS, the thousands of “bottom feeders” out there trolling MLS for price reductions and 100+ days on market, the fact that a listing on Trulia will return more hits to the property than any MLS exclusive listing could ever dream of receiving, that more than 90% of all home buyers begin their home search online and that online search is quickly going more social (heard of Facebook?).

Real estate practitioners should also make it clear and let it be known IT IS NOT ILLEGAL OR UNETHICAL for an agent to market a home “not on MLS”, and it is the decision of the seller where they choose to market their property, not the decision of the agent or local real estate governing body.

The MLS Rules make an exception to mandatory submission only in the event the seller refuses to permit the listing to be disseminated by the service and signs a certification to that effect. Since any decision to forego the marketing opportunities of the MLS is supposed to be driven by the seller, the MLS takes the extra step of requiring the listing broker to provide evidence of the seller’s instruction to keep the listing off the service. In instances where the seller refuses to allow the listing to be submitted, to avoid sanction by the MLS, a listing broker is required to submit a seller-signed exemption to the MLS within the same time period listing broker would otherwise be required to submit the listing.

Betcha didn’t know that. Translation, if you don’t want to list on MLS, you don’t have to. It’s as simple as a one page “Seller to Exclude Listing from MLS” form submitted to the local MLS. You can refuse, and you can force your Realtor to earn their commission by actually putting effort into marketing your property for sale.

Many agents out there will pressure clients to sign a listing and force them on MLS arguing that there are no other ways to get property sold. The logic being, sign the listing, get it on MLS, then go back to the client to get a price reduction, followed by another price reduction, and eventually get down to market price and earn their commission. Has the agent actually “marketed” the property? Often they have not. They simply put it on MLS and consider it marketed. That doesn’t sound very fiduciary, does it?

Don’t think I’m saying the MLS is worthless and that all agents do what I just described. MLS is an extremely powerful tool and still the most popular way to get your property sold, and should certainly be the current #1 recommended choice for “listing” a property for sale. However, these new services are popping up, and gaining traction. It’s not only important that agents and clients recognize this fact, it’s your agent’s fiduciary duty to let you know about them, and give you the option to use them, not hide them from you.

There is no longer one magic bullet (MLS) to sell a property. The economy is staggering, home sales are suffering, and millions of homeowners would love to sell. The internet is here to stay and “social networking” isn’t going away. Realtor Associations across the nation should be working with these new companies to encourage market activity and technological innovation to foster more transactions, not attempting to stifle them. The phrase “off market” isn’t accurate. It simply means “not on MLS”. If a property is for sale, it’s for sale. So market it! Get exposure. Get it sold!

I remember when I got into this business about 10 years ago and my broker was hesitant to even contact her clients via email. I also remember when I started a “newsletter” (sfnewsletter) that quickly grew to many thousands of readers when I was told “postcards are more effective”. Then I started a blog and was told “blogging won’t get you anywhere” (have a look in the right hand column…every transaction there came as a result of this here blog). Now, from my very same colleagues, I’m hearing “MLS is the only way to get property sold”.

It’s just a matter of time before everyone realizes just how powerful a marketing tool sites like PocketListings.net will become, just like they eventually have come to embrace email, the internet, and little sites like Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve said my peace. Have a great weekend!

San Francisco Association of Realtors Statement on Private MLSs
PocketListings.net [An MLS Alternative]

When San Francisco Shakes, People Search For Bedrock And Landfill

Check out the top search terms for theFrontSteps since this second Berkeley quake hit about one hour ago.

It appears there is a bit of concern out there given the recent one on top of the other quakes over there near Berkeley.

I believe this is the post y’all are looking for:
San Francisco Neighborhoods Prone To Liquefaction And Earthquake Induced Landslides (Bedrock vs. Landfill Take Two) [theFrontSteps]

Wanderlust: Villa De Montaña In St. Helena. It’s Only $16,950,000

I mentioned this one a bit ago, and you can’t deny it “sounds” wonderful. But we never had a look inside the home, let alone inside the gates. That is until now.

Have a look at Villa De Montaña in St. Helena an let your imagination soar!

Currently not marketed on MLS, this home is on 20+ acres and surrounded by 1,000 acres of the Mayacama Mountains. Asking $16,950,000, it is a 32 room estate with 2 master suites, 4 guest suites, 3 offices, 10 bathrooms, a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, breakfast room, sun room, wine cellar, exercise studio, library, and the list goes on and on.

Although not decorated to my standards, the home is quite lovely indeed, especially this killer patio…

I’d love to come visit you on occasion and (insert British accent here) sip a lovely glass of Napa Valley wine on your lovely estate, and marvel at the exquisitely manicured grounds, enjoy delicious meals from your private chef, and form extraordinary friendships with your undoubtedly, absolutely delightful friends. Cheers…

For more details, visit Villa De Montaña, St. Helena, $16,950,000 on PocketListings.net.

More Wanderlust [theFrontSteps]

Wanted: John Maniscalco (Designed Home)

It’s good to be loved…especially when you have buyers out there looking for one of your previously designed homes. In this case, the love is for a John Maniscalco designed residence like this…

…or perhaps, since it did just snow up Tahoe way, a little ski hut to get you through the winter…

Property owners looking to quietly part ways with your John Maniscalco drool home, your buyer is out there and they have $2,100,000 to burn. Nobody has to know.

John Maniscalco Architecture [Highly recommend you take a look at this site if you are a fan of modern, clean, beautiful designs.]
Buyer looking for John Maniscalco designed residence [PocketListings.net]

PocketListings.net Version 2.0 Goes Live: Introduces Real Estate Match™; Privacy Options; Sharing; Saved Search; Email Alerts; Principals Only; More!

I’m pleased to announce the rollout this past weekend of PocketListings.net version 2.0!

It is jam-packed with new features to help you, the agent, do more deals, and give you, the client, more options when selling and searching for real estate. There is a fabulous tutorial on all of the great new features and how they work, so please take five minutes of your day and check it out.

Some major new features to highlight:

Real Estate Match™: As buyers and sellers post to the site, we do a little Match.com magic to match criteria and facilitate a potential transaction. Agents can post any property they have that is not listed on MLS, and ALL of their buyers looking for homes. If no matches are found immediately, when some do show up, emails will be sent. It’s online dating for real estate.

Privacy Options On Posts: Pocket listings are tricky in that some clients want the most exposure possible, while others want little to none, but they still want their property sold. When an agent posts a pocket listing on our site it is immediately searchable, but agent controls what information about the property to share, and with whom.

Principals Only: Inspired by our friends in commercial real estate, we give you the option to request anybody that contact you act as a Principal.

Saved Searches For Members: Do a search, save it. Refer to it later. Get emailed when posts fitting that criteria show up on our site. Simplifying your success.

Sharing with Social Networking: Whether you are the person that posted, or you’re someone browsing our site and you come across an opportunity that you absolutely must share, we make it easy. Using third party applications you can “Like” or “Send” any posts via Facebook, and share or repost via Twitter, LinkedIn, email, Digg, Stumbleupon, and so much more. Do a post, spread the word, and tell those in your circle to spread the word too.

Email Notifications of New Matches: Whether you save a search, or posted to our site and we’re looking for matches for you, we’ll notify you via email when something shows up on our site that might be a match.

How We Use Twitter To Get Posts More Exposure And Deliver Results In Real Time: It’s pretty simple really. Every post that hits our site is fed to our Twitter profile. It becomes searchable and we create hashtags for the city (#city) and a unique hashtag for our site that allows Twitter followers to see results only in their city of interest (#plcity). The more followers we get (and we’re getting a lot), the more exposure you get to your post (respecting your privacy options).

Those are just a couple of the big new features we released with this version. We actually have several more features lined up that we’re hoping to release as soon as possible.

We’ve already been written up in Top Agent Magazine, and press inquiries are coming in. The bottom line is that there is more real estate opportunity out there than what is on MLS, and clients deserve an alternative. Please help us help you by spreading the word and using our site today!

PocketListings.net Tutorial
Top Agent Magazine