A word on Pocket Listings

29 Jul 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

It seems a very common trend now to hear the word pocket listings. Because of the lack of inventory many agents are using this gimmick to attract buyers and sellers. As the word says its a gimmick. Would be a disservice to you as a seller and kind of shooting yourself on the foot to sell your LOFT as a pocket listing. Most places today sell on multiple offers and thats the reason the market has been going up, higher demand than supply and bidding wars. Bidding wars do not happen on pocket listings and for you to get multiple offers your place needs to have the most exposure as possible.

Also most places that are listed as pocket listings are overpriced and thats why sellers don’t want to waste time putting for sale.

Next time your agent suggests that you sell your place as a pocket listing, think twice.130416153632-pocket-listings-620xa

Davis-Stirling Newsletter advice on buying a LOFT

23 Jul 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

I mention in this forum before about the Davis-Stirling newsletter. Its a great toll for condo owners and buyers on the market to buy a condo. Considering that All LOFTS are condos, this info is pertinent here. This weeks edition had a checklist about what to know when buying a condo (LOFT). I copied and paste below, this is good stuff.

A friend called and said his daughter was buying a condo. He asked what she should look for when buying one. Following are my recommendations. 


1. Maintenance. Don’t assume the association takes care of everything, it doesn’t. Find out what your maintenance responsibilities are so you can budget for them. Inspect the common areas. If the paint is peeling on buildings, trees are overgrown, lawns are shabby, sidewalks are tilting–roofs and plumbing are probably in a similar condition. Poor maintenance means you can expect stagnant property values and special assessments as water starts infiltrating common areas through roofs, windows, water lines and drain lines–leading to mold and litigation. 


2. Reserves. This is an extension of the maintenance issue. Does the association have healthy reserves so it can repair large ticket items? If not, special assessments are inevitable. Reserves in the 70% to 100% funding range are excellent. Reserves below 50% mean probable future special assessments. The lower the reserves, the more imminent the special assessment. If reserves are below 30%, look elsewhere for a condo.


3. Insurance. How much insurance does the association have? If it’s at bare minimum levels, you face a higher risk of a special assessment in the event a claim is filed against the association. Is the development in an area deemed high-risk for an earthquake? If so, does the association carry earthquake insurance? If not, are you prepared to lose your investment in the event of significant damage?


4. Litigation. Ask the seller about litigation over the past ten years. Also ask for the past two years of minutes. A slip and fall lawsuit is not a problem. If the association has had ongoing litigation with members over the past ten years, run for the exit. The association is dysfunctional. There will be no peace until the litigants all move or die.


5. Rentals. Inquire about the percentage of rentals in the development. A high rental population creates problems for rules enforcement, maintenance and oversight of the property. If the rentals are nearing or exceed 15%, you should be cautious. If they exceed 30%, it does not matter how beautiful the condo is, you’re stepping into quicksand. At 50%, the development is in a death spiral.


6. Pets. If they don’t have pet restrictions, is the property a dog patch? If so, barking dogs at all hours of the day and night plus dog doo-doo in the common areas will be a challenge. If they have restrictions, do you have pets that violate those restrictions? If so, are you willing to give up your loved ones for the condo? If your Realtor tells you the rules don’t matter because the association will never discover the violation, get a new Realtor.


7. Parking. Is there sufficient parking in the development? If not, it will create problems for you and your guests. Visit the property on a weekend when everyone is home and see what parking is like.


8. Noise. Ask the seller about plumbing noise, crying babies, TV and stereo sounds, etc. from surrounding units. If there is a unit above yours, ask about noise from hardwood floors. If all the above can be heard through walls and floors, it indicates cheap construction–a harbinger of future maintenance problems. It also means you won’t get any sleep at night.


9. Finances. Ask for a copy of the budget and annual financial statement–and read them. Ask about delinquencies. A delinquency rate above 15% means that higher dues to make up the deficiency are probable. Also ask about past dues increases. If they proudly tell you that dues have not increased for ten years, it means they kept their dues down by deferring maintenance for ten years. It also means large increases and special assessments are looming.


10. Sales Activity. If you see a lot of “For Sale” signs in the association, you better find out why. Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, they might know something your Realtor isn’t telling you.


RECOMMENDATION: It does you no good to sink your last penny into a condo and then lose it the next year when you get hit with a dues increase and large special assessment to cover delinquencies, litigation, artificially low dues and underfunded reserves. Any Realtor can read the MLS and drive you around to look at condominiums. What you need is a Realtor who is knowledgeable of how associations work and respects them. A good Realtor with condo experience will provide invaluable guidance.

When the market goes up…

19 Jul 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Its so funny how this happens. When Real Estate goes up, everyone wants to get into the business. I probably had at least six calls from friends and acquaintances in the past two weeks asking for advice and guidance about how to get into the business. Most of them want to do part time and eventually if it picks up they will go full time. Unfortunately Real Estate is not that kind of business. If you are not 100% committed you probably won’t make it. I saw the same thing happening in 2006 when the market was on fire and everybody was a Real Estate agent, then when the crash came most of them went way. Guess what? They are back!

LOFT Deals Newsletter updated

14 Jul 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

We just updated our Bi-Monthly newsletter with the latest LOFT deals. Now the newsletter is formatted as “Reactive Design”. This means that when you open the email on and phone, iPad or Computer the email adapts to the screen format and you don’t know zoom or scroll back and forth to be able to see. Mobile is huge now and we like to keep up with the times. The webesite will be undergoing that change very soon and will be no need to select the optimized version of the site, the whole site will adapt.

Loftway Welcomes Bill Copper

11 Jul 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Loftway welcomes Bill Cooper, the Loft Expert, to our team. Bill is a very accomplished Realtor and knows the market like no one else. We are very excited to have him. Welcome Bill!!! You can read more about him here.

Real Estate Connect San Francisco

6 Jul 2013 · by ChrisSampaio


Next week I will be attending the Real Estate Connect SF 2013. Its a 3 day conference about technology and the the future in Real Estate. Also I am taking advantage of the trip to scout San Francisco, since Loftway is coming there in about 3 months.