I updated the inventory levels in the cities I have on www.SloWatch.com. What you’ll see is that the inventory didn’t change much in the last few weeks. Some cities had a few more, some a few less. That’s good news if the inventory doesn’t keep shooting up. Now if we could reduce it by 10 or 20% (for a start), that would be even better.

I was asked by a Broker in the Bay Area to photograph a new Los Gatos listing for him. It’s a home built by Steve Wozniak, one of Apple’s co-founders. It was a very interesting home that even included a cave. They are looking to list it around $8 Million. I’ll post some photos of it once I go through them.

News Flash! New Listing in San Luis Obispo as of an hour ago. 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath with approximately 1400 square feet. This is a NICE home. It’s one of those that when you walk through it, you can’t find anything wrong with it (at least I didn’t).

Property website is here: www.1254VistaDelLago.com

An article in Sunday’s Tribune talked about the slowdown in homes going into escrow and the impact on Realtors but they failed to present reality.

There are 3500 Realtor members on the Central Coast. Say we’ll end up with a total number of 1300 homes going into escrow from May 1st – July 31st. This means 2600 representations of Buyers and Sellers (1300 x 2 = 2600). If every Realtor only had one side of a transaction the last 3 months, 900 Realtors would not have made ANY money. Now if you adjusted for “Double Ending” and use the 20/80 rule (20% of the Realtors do 80% of the business) the reality is well over half of Realtors on the Central Coast have not made any money since May 1st.

If the low number of Pending sales continues, there will be *many* Realtors leaving the profession.

It looks like July will end up like the last few months with twice the number of new listings as pending sales and another record month in number of price changes.

I participate in discusssion boards with Realtors across the country. The increased number of new listings is not unique to California. There has been an interesting discussion on why there is such an increase. Following are 4 types of Sellers that may be contributing to the large number of homes being put on the market:

1) Serious Sellers – These are motivated homeowners that want to sell their home and will adjust their price based on what the market is telling them.

2) Speculative Sellers – These homeowners are testing the market and a price. They are hoping they can still get top dollar for their home but aren’t interested in adjusting their price if they don’t.

3) Loan problems – These are homeowners that may have purchased their home using “creative financing” only to find their monthly payment skyrocketing as the interest rates have increased over the past year.

4) Investors – People looking to cash out of their current investment.

Why would you allow an agent to Double End your transaction?

One of the scenarios that still doesn’t make sense to me is a Listing Agent representing both the Seller and Buyer. This is called “Double Ending” the transaction and is one of those things that most agents I know dream of. Not only do they get twice the amount of commission, but they also may get a bonus from their Broker who gives a bigger percentage cut to the agent if they Double End. When I was with a bigger brokerage, everytime an agent double-ended a tranascation, the other agents treated them like they just won the lottery.

Maybe it’s because I come from a business background but I can’t see how representing both the Buyer and Seller in a large dollar amount business transaction passes my “Is this good for the client?” test. I wouldn’t hire a contract lawyer to prepare, review, and negotiate a contract that is also doing the same for the other party so why would I want a REALTOR doing the same???

If they are representing both the Buyer and Seller, how can each party be assured the agent is working in their best interest? If something comes up during the inspection period, will the agent be more concerned about losing their lottery payoff more than what’s best for the Buyer or Seller?

If I was hiring an agent to sell my house, I’d state that I do not want them to represent the Buyer. I wouldn’t want to get a “discount” on the commission if the agent represented the Buyer. I WOULD WANT FULL REPRESENTATION! There are a lot of agents promoting “Full Service” these days but will also double end the transaction. Doesn’t make sense to me.

If a Buyer did approach the Listing Agent wanting to put in an offer, the Listing Agent can refer the Buyer to another agent. I wouldn’t have a problem if the agents were in the same office. Then both parties have their own representation.

When interviewing an agent to sell your home, ask them if they have ever Double Ended a transaction and then have them explain what advantage that gave to the Seller AND Buyer.

New real estate market data was released today by DataQuick. They reported the percentage decrease in Pending Sales between June 2005 and June 2006 in markets in Northern and Southern California.

I’ll be putting this information (and how it compares to the SLO market) on www.SloWatch.com by tomorrow.