Working in real estate
Do you only sell Los Gatos homes? That’s a question I hear a lot as a Los Gatos Realtor and resident. Typically, there are perhaps 35 closed sales a month of houses in Los Gatos 95030 & 95032, and maybe 15 per month more of condos and townhomes. Just now I ran the closed sales of single family homes, townhouses and condominiums for the last 365 days in this area and it was a mere 453 units sold & closed. Most of the time there are two agents involved, one for the buyer and another for the seller, so that means 906 total “transaction sides” at most. There are more than 906 Realtors in town – the last time I counted, it was around 1,000. For that reason, I think it’s fair to say that all of us sell outside of Los Gatos as well as within in. (If you look at all the Los Gatos Realtor ads in the local news paper alone, you do get the sense that you cannot throw a stone 5′ without hitting a real estate licensee – this area is saturated with Realtors.)
My own sales are mostly people-centric in that I really do focus on working with “nice people” rather than those with a certain budget or strict geographical boundary. Normally I limit myself to Santa Clara County generally and focus on the west side, primarily Los Gatos, the Cambrian area of San Jose, the Almaden area of San Jose and other nearby communities such as Saratoga (where I grew up), Campbell, Cupertino, etc. But I have sold in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Los Altos, San Jose (many areas, including downtown, Japantown, Blossom Valley, Silver Creek, etc.), Milpitas…. A few times I have gone much further at my clients’ request (going the extra mile that’s not my target): Scotts Valley, Redwood Shores, Livermore, Morgan Hill and a few other more remote areas.
What should you expect to find with a Los Gatos Realtor? Here are a few things:
- Hopefully, it’s clear that Realtors in Los Gatos are working areas broader than just our town
- An agent who is paying attention to the housing market in town and has a sense of what areas and price points are moving and which are market challenged or sluggish
- A real estate professional who understands what kinds of offers are being presented on homes for sale and what pricing and terms are winning the bids – for example, are there overbids? if so, what kind of amount or percentage over? Are buyers able to have any contingencies? Do sellers need to stage and underprice to get top dollar? What worked a year or two ago may not work now – a good Los Gatos Realtor will keep a pulse on the market and be able to relay what’s happening now
- A realty sales person in Los Gatos should know what kind of challenges are creeping up in the escrows: are homes not appraising to the contract price? Are there issues from the drought, from floods, from past damage to the property? If the home is vacant, have their been squatters (sometimes happens in the mountains)? Are buyers having trouble due to a recent stock market correction? Or is there difficulty getting money to Silicon Valley from another country? The better versed your agent is in the hurdles of the sale process, the better prepared you can be, whether buying or selling.
- Networking within one’s own office and with the local companies is very common for both Realtors working with sellers and those working with home buyers. Friendship and word of mouth can both open doors and make either selling or buying go more smoothly (and often profitably).
If you want to buy a home in Los Gatos, it does help to have a Realtor who is working in a Los Gatos office because he or she is going to hear more about what is happening with the market and the inventory by virtue of that affiliation, especially if that person attends office meetings when everyone shares their “wants and needs”. Recently I was able to get some home buyers into a beautiful Charter Oaks Townhouse by the Los Gatos Creek Trail by networking within my office. This would be far less likely for someone not so connected.
All that said, I’ve mapped out some of my sales to offer a sense of where I work and have worked with Los Gatos real estate sales and sales in nearby areas (not comprehensive – a sampling). Of course, my real estate experience goes far beyond the closed sales and includes previewing properties for sale, talking with potential seller clients, showing my buyers homes, bidding with my buyers on homes they didn’t actually get (due to multiple offers), touring office listings, attending the real estate board tour’s open house for agents, etc. – if every home I’d ever seen were on this map, you’d be unable to read any street names at all!
If you are looking for a Realtor who both lives and works in Los Gatos, hangs her license in a Los Gatos office, is highly experienced (20+++ years), sells in this town, and loves this town, I may be a good fit for you. Please read through the articles on this Live in Los Gatos Blog site, check out my neighborhood descriptions, photos and videos, and check my web presence for Los Gatos real estate market statistics and other information. Please drop me a line by email or give me a call (please don’t text as a first means of saying hello) and we can set a time to chat and see if we might be able to work together.
Most consumers don’t realize that there are two sets of real estate forms used by Realtors and other real estate professionals in Silicon Valley and nearby areas. The California Association of Realtors provides the paperwork found throughout most of the state (“CAR forms”). The Peninsula Regional Data Service authors a more local set (“PRDS forms”); these are seen from Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino up through the Peninsula to just south of San Francisco. The logo of one or the other will be displayed so you’ll know which one you’re looking at. By the way, real estate brokerages often have their own paperwork too, whether it’s a final walk through form, an explanation about something such as arbitration, disclosures they don’t believe are adequately covered elsewhere (such as one regarding parking and storage for use with condominium and townhouse purchases).
Did you realize that the CAR and PRDS contracts, addenda, disclosures and forms are a little different from each other, and each provides different protections and “teeth”?
Here are a couple of the key differences within the purchase agreement between buyer and seller:
- The CAR purchase agreement is an “as is” form; the PRDS purchase agreement states that the home will have certain basic conditions met (no termites, no leaks, no broken glass, all systems functional)
- The CAR purchase agreement allows repairs to be done by a handyman; the PRDS form requires that repairs be done by a licensed contractor
- One has more penalties built in for defaults; one allows the seller to cancel more easily on a buyer who’s not performing
- Using a “contingent offer” addendum (for the sale to be contingent on the sale of another house)? The CAR permits a protection period before the seller can use the “kickout clause”, but the PRDS does not
- The listing agreements vary too – one protects the agents’ position better than another.
There are pros and cons to each of these sets and individual forms. When you go to list, sell, or purchase a home, be sure to discuss the plusses and minuses of each with your agent. One set is not 100% better for you as a buyer or a seller. There are clauses in each, though, which may protect your interests best. Continue reading