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Marin County Real Estate – A Stunning Transformation: Real Estate Porn Week 2

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Marin County Real Estate – A Stunning Transformation: Real Estate Porn Week 2

Broker’s tour on Thursday, February 24, 2011 brought me to a home in Corte Madera that was previously on the market. I have a few clients and several friends in Corte Madera so when a house comes on the market, or in this case, back on the market I must see it. This home by itself would probably not be classified as “Real Estate Porn” but it’s listing history tells an important story and provides a great lesson for sellers with tenant occupied properties.

Previously on the market, 566 Chapman in Corte Madera, CA was originally listed in June of 2010 for $1,179,000. I went to preview it during the first Thursday Brokers Tour. The agent was lovely, she provided snacks which is always nice, but the house was dark and cluttered and immediately obvious that there were renters living there. Renters living in a home on the market is not always a bad thing however, it’s rarely a good thing.

If you have extremely tidy tenants who are on board with the pending sale and cooperate with showings and open houses and have good taste, nice furnishings and style then not a problem. However, this is not usually the case. Renters are often not thrilled that their home is being sold or that they have to live through the selling process and coordinate with agents and buyers who will be traipsing through their home, open their closets and critic all their stuff only to be kicked out in the end and have to find a new place to live. There really isn’t much incentive for the renters to make their beds everyday, de-clutter their lifestyle, keep the house ready to be shown at all times and disappear on short notice to accommodate showings.

Best case scenario is move the tenants out, make necessary improvements to increase the appeal of the home and then have it professionally staged. Sellers prefer to keep tenants in the home and collect the rental income or may feel it’s financially imperative to do so. 566 Chapman is the perfect case study to demonstrate what happens when you choose not to follow the “best case scenario” plan.

566 Chapman, Corte Madera 94925

566 Chapman, Corte Madera 94925

 

  1. 6/17/10 listed for $1,179,000
  2. 7/12/2010 price reduction to $1,149,000
  3. 7/25/2010 price reduction to $1,095,000
  4. 8/17/2010 price reduction to $1,049,000
  5. 9/2/2010 price reduction to $995,000
  6. 9/21/2010 price reduction to $975,000
  7. 10/10/2010 price reduction to $945,000
  8. 10/22/2010 temporarily off market
  9. 11/3/201 Withdrawn from the MLS (125 days on market with 6 price reductions)
  10. 2/20/2011 Back on market for $975,000
  11. 2/23/2011 In contract

Granted, I am not the listing agent so don’t have the full back story on this property but looking at the statistics alone is very telling. The first time I walked into this home I couldn’t wait to get out. There was nothing super gross or offensive about the house it just felt uncomfortable to walk through someones life on display. There is a reason why we as Realtors are advocates for staging. Because it works! Removing personal effects and clearing clutter allows the buyers to see themselves and their lives in your house. What you want to avoid is them seeing how you are living your life in the house.

Let’s just say the owners had listed the house in June of 2010, vacant, staged and spruced up at the current asking price of $975,000. We have no way of knowing if it would have gone into contract in 3 days. The summer selling season isn’t typically as active as later winter/early spring and current inventory in Corte Madera is low. As of today, there are 27 active, contingent (in contract) and pending listings in Corte Madera with prices ranging from $349,900 to $1,695,000 with only 3 of those between $900,00 – 1,100,000. Not a lot of competition.

Marin County Market Statistics, 94925

Check out this graph. in June of 2010 there were 40 homes on the market so considerably more competition. However, I strongly believe the home would have sold the first time around if it was listed in the present condition, vacant and staged.

Rent was $3,000 per month x 4 months = $12,000. The good news is the owner was able to collect that rental income while testing the market and maybe the sellers are actually fine with the process but…there are costs involved with listing a house for the owners and the listing agent.

You can draw your own conclusions but if the seller’s goal was to sell the house then those 125 days were a very costly experiment.

I was happy to see the same listing agent and complimented her on great work with the clients. She once again had a Delicious lunch. I was thrilled the house went into contract in 3 days. Staging, fresh paint, shiny floors and a complete lack of personal effect really does make a difference!

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