I don’t know when I’ve seen more Open House signs than I did today. They were everywhere! Don’t know if it’s because of all the rain we’ve had or what.

It’s hard to say if that one special Buyer is going to stumble upon an Open House and make an offer on that home. The odds are not good but it someones does happen. What Open Houses are usually used for are so the Agents can get the contact info of people that come by that don’t have an agent yet.

Around the Central Coast, you need to look at each home individually and determine what benefits an Open House can provide. You don’t want to do it in areas where the tourists will see walking through your house as something neat to do.

Central Coast Politics

If you read the local newspapers, you’ll see the articles about the most heated issues in a particular city. Here are the ones getting the most press:

1) Los Osos Sewer
While the articles have died down a bit, the sewer dilemma is still dividing the town. The recent articles talk more about fines, a judge throwing out Measure B, septic tank pumping, and lawyer fees. I haven’t seen an article on what progress has been made on a new sewer for awhile now.

2) The San Luis Obispo Marketplace
The SLO city voters said “No” to the Marketplace in the last election. Back then, preserving downtown SLO and developing on ag land at the gateway to the city were the top arguments being given for No vote. Now, there is a petition going around to get the Marketplace on the ballot for County voters to decide. Then a few weeks ago, it was reported that land a little South of the proposed Marketplace is going to be car lots and has already been approved. The articles about the Marketplace have died down a bit since this bombshell was reported.

3) A Disfunctional Pismo Beach City Council
The most entertaining articles are about the Pismo City Council. There’s one councilman saying he has a not-so-nice voicemail from the Mayor about an issue he didn’t vote with the mayor on. Then two other council members are under fire for attending a planning commission and voicing their opinions on a development that the Council could vote on in the future. The latest event is that the Mayor faxed copies of newspaper articles about the 2 other council members to Shell Beach voters and then copies of the fax were thrown (in the direction of the Mayor) by one of the council at a recent meeting.

Reading the local newspaper is always entertaining!

Inventory continues to increase. For the first 19 days of April, we’ve had a total of 742 residential homes go on the market (575 new listings, 167 back on market) and 342 Pending Sales. That’s a net increase of +400 for the entire Central Coast.

Just putting a home on the MLS and waiting for an offer isn’t going to cut it anymore. Another change is the impact of the Internet. The latest Buyer survey reports that 80% of Buyers who purchased in 2005 used the Internet. A GREAT marketing program that includes a strong Internet component is now a necessity if you want your home to stand out from the crowd that’s forming.

If you have a home on the market and aren’t getting many showings or offers, is it because your price is too high or is it because your home hasn’t had good exposure? That’s the question you need to ask before you agree to a price reduction. If a home is marketed the same way as it was in 2004, chances are that it receives LESS exposure in today’s marketplace than it would have in 2004.

Check out this article on CNN about a device that changes signal lights. I didn’t know there was such a device until this article. I hope SLO County signals are protected from this “hacking” device. I’ll probably be more suspicious now if I see a light change unexpectedly!

As the real estate market slows, a Listing Realtor has to beef up their Marketing of a home so it has a better chance of getting noticed and remembered. Virtual Tours is one way of doing this. I ran some reports to see how many homes on the market had Virtual Tours. The results surprised me as there was a big difference between cities. Listing agents in Arroyo Grande were doing the best while San Luis Obispo listing agents had the least percentage. What’s interesting is most Listing Presentations I’ve seen from other agents have Virtual Tours in them. Not sure why there are so few…

Following are the number of available homes and how many had Virtual Tours for them:

Arroyo Grande – 59 homes out of 197
Atascadero – 32 homes out of 272
Cambria- 8 homes out of 78
Cayucos – 3 homes out of 32
Morro Bay – 8 homes out of 92
Nipomo – 25 homes out of 125
Paso Robles – 41 homes out of 447
Pismo Beach – 21 homes out of 93
San Luis Obispo – 10 homes out of 170

The good news is that if you have a Virtual Tour, your home will stand out!

And price reductions continue…

It’s interesting to observe how price reductions happen. For example, today we had an Arroyo Grande home drop from $824K to $769K. It’s been on the market for 33 days. My guess is that there hasn’t been any activity and the homeowner wants it sold. It could have been overpriced to begin with but the homeowner felt that was the value of their home.

Then you have a Grover Beach home dropping from $770K to $760K and a Nipomo home dropping from $806K to $805K. Not sure if that’s going to make a difference other than showing the homeowner that something is being done to try to sell their home.

Then there is the Orcutt home which dropped from $319,999 to $319,990. Then it raised it’s price the $9 dollars back to $319,999. I might say it was a mistake but the same Broker did it with another property too (reduced $9, then rasied $9). When I see that, it makes me think that it’s an attempt to get more exposure to Realtors as it appears on the “hot sheet’ as a price change. Some Brokers may view this as part of their maketing service, others may see it as a way to mess with the MLS system and it may end up backfiring.

The National Association of Realtors released their latest Buyers survey. The top 3 tools used to find the homes they purchased were 1) the Internet, 2) other Realtors, and 3) the yard sign. Getting other Realtors motivated to sell your listing is very important so an agent needs to be careful not to do things that other Realtors may disagree with.

I’ve been in the Bay Area the last few days. One thing I did was to meet with the co-founders of the company that does my MLS map search for me. They’ve got some enhancements coming that you all should like!

What was also interesting was how thin the Homes and Land magazine was for Alameda County. It didn’t have that many pages. I don’t know if the impact of the Internet is causing Realtors to not advertise since they can’t justify the cost anymore. Or it could mean that the magazine really needs to hire a better salesperson.

An ocean view is worth how much???

A 2200 sq foot Shell Beach home on a 2800 sq ft lot came on the market today. It’s being marketed as having the finest ocean views of any home in Shell Beach. Asking $3.45 Million.

I was up in Sacramento this weekend for my daughter’s drama competition (Destination Imagination) and saw how much water is up there. Some flooding has already occured but the rivers are at max so hopefully the next storm doesn’t put them over.

What was also interesting was the only place that had higher gas prices than the Central Coast was a gas station off of highway 5 in the middle of nowhere.