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Review of all things Real Estate: Notes from local real estate marketing meeting

Bob Hillery

CR Properties

In past articles I have referenced the local weekly marketing meeting attended by the area’s 40-ish most active real estate professionals. It is an informative and collegial group as we have been meeting since 2008, so we know each other well.

We learn from each other plus we put deals together during this forum; and we learn a ton of information about real estate and sometimes surprising items that are not real estate related. This past week certain information fell into the latter category which I will share at the end of this article.

First, regarding real estate, the ALTOS Report is a meter of market activity in selected zip codes. I have referred to this meaty, fact-filled report indicating a buyer’s market is when the meter falls below 30 and a seller’s market when the meter is above 30.

My personal thesis is that there must be a neutral market where normal negotiations are expected to be conducted and I put that neutral market between 31 and 55; above 55 is a seller’s market. As previously reported for our market, the meter has hovered between 48 and 52 for the last 5-6 weeks, and this week it was 51. So, in my estimation we are in a neutral market leaning towards the sellers.

But the property must be thoughtfully priced, and it must be market ready, or the property will sit and get stale. Once the days on the market start accumulating, buyers will view that property with suspicion wondering what’s wrong with it and that’s when low ball offers (sometimes insultingly low) start showing up.

What this means to sellers is that this is not the market to make retirement on the sale and try to squeeze every possible dime out of the transaction. If the property has been owned for the last three years and has not been subject to cash-out refinancing (using the house as a cash machine) then the appreciation of these past few years will have driven the value up, a lot!

Price the home well and it’ll sell, even with the higher than comfortable mortgage interest rates. In Fallbrook, relative to surrounding population centers, we have a more active market than most likely because the list agents have coached their sellers to be reasonable in their expectations.

Don’t try to make the market, take what the market will give and be satisfied with that. Buyers are subject to a lot of pressure, and they are kind of scared so make it easier for buyers to want to purchase your property.

On the not-so-much real estate subject, this past Monday was the 22nd anniversary of 9-11 and a group of us from the marketing meeting met and climbed up Monserate Mountain, the site of previous years 9-11 memorial hike.

Once on top, we met three ladies and one of them said to our group, “Okay, I’m just going to tell you.” She identified one of the other ladies as the daughter of the pilot of American Airlines flight 11 which was the first aircraft to impact the twin towers.

I said, “Tom McGuinness was your father?” and she said “No, my dad was John Ogonowski.” I knew Tom McGuinness was the co-pilot of AA flight 11 because he was a Fallbrook resident, but I didn’t remember the name of the pilot in command.

We took a picture together on the summit then started back down when it hit me; how ironic that we hiked up the 9-11 Memorial trail in Fallbrook, California and met a lady, Mary Ogonowski whose family was from Boston, and John was flying with a co-pilot, Tom, from Fallbrook.

This relates to the marketing meeting because in our group one of the agents was a neighbor to Tom McGuinness and she became emotional talking about him after we shared our summit story.

Another colleague in the room talked about a fellow employee who was aboard United flight 175 (the second hijacked plane which crashed into the south tower). She too choked up when she explained why she’ll never forget 9-11. The mood predictably became somber, and we all resolved to never forget those who died that terrible day.

The takeaway: for the nearly 3000 souls who perished in NY that day, including 348 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers, we can never forget. For the 184 people who were killed at the Pentagon and the 40 who died at Shanksville; we can never forget.

For the nearly 7000 military personnel who were killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq for which 9-11 was the triggering event, we can never forget. For the families, we must never forget. America, teach your kids and grandkids; we can never forget.


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