Archive for December, 2006

How not to scare off buyers…

There is a decent article today in the NYT (free registration required), discussing how sellers can help the sale of their property, or how they can kill the deal in ten seconds flat. Some highlights from the article…

• Sellers can sabotage themselves with “evil lawyers and twisted brokers.” They can also unwittingly alienate potential buyers by attending their own showings, restricting access too much, tussling over whether they’ll leave window treatments and light fixtures, and engaging in clumsy or high-handed negotiations.

• Restricting access to a buyer who wants to make a repeat visit with a contractor, architect or decorator is another mistake. Sellers who perceive such intrusions as a put-down of their tastes and lifestyle ought to swallow their pride.

• Sellers can undercut their own cause by simply refusing to leave their property during showings. It’s the surest way, say brokers, to cut a buyer’s interest off at the jugular.

• If you’re priced at $1 million and someone offers $925,000 for an apartment on the market for four months, that’s not a bad offer. If you come down to $995,000, you’re apt to get resistance from the buyer and they’re likely to go somewhere else if there’s something on the market.” Countering with $975,000 would be a better response.

We’ve seen inventory levels in San Francisco cut nearly in half in the past 60 days (from MLS data, the high in 2006 was 1811 active units on Oct 23rd, compared to 1065 units this week, and it will drop even further next week), but that doesn’t mean that buyers feel a shift in the market. They would just like to feel (just as the seller would like to feel) that the deal is a fair one.

The biggest challenge I’ve seen this fall is the nearly-guaranteed buyer credit request prior to their removing the last of their contingencies. These credits are rarely anything more than just symbolic, but since a seller likely didn’t get the mind-blowing, 27-offer parade of buyers, they are likely to feel like they’ve already given the buyer a break.

The best thing to do at that point is to look at the big picture. A seller who is willing to walk away from a $1M sale over a $500 credit “out of principle” is not looking at the big picture. That property would have garnered tens of thousands of dollars less if it had gone back on the market. Ultimately, focus on the end result. The seller wants to sell, and the buyer wants to buy. There’s almost always an equitable way to make that happen.

Even if that means the seller gives up a couple thousand dollars to appease the buyer.

How Not to Scare Off Buyers [New York Times]


Developer bails on building condos at Arden Wood

From today’s SF Business Times,

Developer Union Property Capital has dropped plans to build 200 condos on a Christian Scientist enclave in West Portal, after a deal with the property owner fell apart.

“We still believe the project has great fundamentals,” said Marty Dalton, a principal with Union Property Capital. “However we could not come to mutually agreeable terms with the seller.”

In July, Union Property Capital was selected to build a cluster of transit-oriented condos on part of a lush 12.3-acre private campus in West Portal. The Wawona Street property, which opened in 1930 as the Christian Science Benevolence Association on the Pacific Coast, is home to a senior housing and care facility. The owner, Arden Wood Inc., is looking to develop about half of the land to raise money for capital improvements.

Builder Mark Nelson, who was hired by the property owner to oversee the development, said he would select a new developer before the end of the year. He said at least five qualified firms are interested in taking over the project. He declined to name them.

“In Arden Wood’s eyes, there is not a runner-up,” he said. “There are several likely developers.”

Nelson said despite the setback, he thinks the Arden Wood development will continue to move through the planning process.

“We still feel, and the neighbors have given us positive indication to believe, that they will approve a condominium development here,” said Nelson. “It’s just a question of how big, how many units, and how it will be configured.” [more…]

Eight large single family homes are still on track for construction along 15th Avenue, however.

Developer drops condo plan at S.F. enclave [SF Business Times]
S.F. religious campus to sell open space for housing [SFHomeBlog]


Treasure Island vote in two committees on Wednesday

From today’s Examiner,

Two Board of Supervisors committees will hold a joint meeting Wednesday to vote on the development plan for Treasure Island.

The $1.2 billion plan would transform the 403-acre island and the smaller nearby Yerba Buena Island into a community of 6,000 homes and 300 acres of open space.

The Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee will vote on the development plan Wednesday, at 4 p.m., at City Hall, Room 250.

City Hall News [Examiner]