A blog reader emailed me asking why the press says that the number of solds are down but the median home price is up.

I don’t report median home price on my monthly mls statistics because I think it’s misleading. One month could have more higher-end homes selling which doesn’t mean that home values are increasing. On my statisitc pages, I break down the sales by price range in a city which is a better thermometer on the market trends. As a homeowner, the statistics I’m most interested in is what is happening for home types in similar neighborhoods (comparables!).

A few years ago, we had a few million dollar + homes. Now we have those homes that were sold for around a million going for multiple million. Since finding comparables is tough with higher-end homes, the value is truely what a Buyer will pay. When we have some oceanfront homes selling for $3 Million+ in a particular month, it’s going to affect the median home price for the region.

Markets like the Bay Area and Southern California have thousands of sold homes that are used to calculate the median home price. On the Central Coast, the slowdown in the market has dropped us to around 250 homes. A median home price calculation with that few of homes isn’t as strong of an indicator as in larger markets (or as it once was on the Central Coast when there were 800 homes a month selling).

My daughter came home from college for the weekend and brought me a bag of fortune cookie rejects from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory in Chinatown. mmmmmmmmmmmm good! If you are in San Francisco, this is one stop you don’t want to miss. It’s on Ross Alley near the instersection of Grant and Jackson St.

One of the benefits you get from choosing a Realtor is that a Realtor has access to contracts written by the California Association of Realtors (or CAR). CAR has its own legal staff that constant is reviewing and revising the forms to help keep lawsuits from being a normal part of a real estate transaction.

In the old days (4 years+ ago), Realtors would use forms that had to be filled out with a pen. You were doing pretty good if the one filling in the form pressed down on the pen so you could read the copies.

These days, contracts are no longer printed and sold to Realtors. Access to the contracts is done through the Internet. This enables CAR to update and add forms without worrying about printing and distribution. If the CAR legal team revises a form, a Realtor uses that form the next time they login.

If you are presented one of the old forms where they tear off your copy, raise a red flag. Ask that the most updated version of that form be used instead. On the Central Coast, we access the forms from a company called “Winforms”.

Ryan’s Blog:
One good thing that comes from being sick is you get caught up on the news pretty quick. After watching hours of MSNBC and Bloomberg I learned one thing; no one has a crystal ball. I did gather most analysts think interest rates are going to stay where they are for a while, especially with the uncertainty of the housing market. The feds meet next week and there was a rumor they may lower rates sometime over the next 3-6 months, but I think that went out the window with this recent talk that the housing market bottomed out (that’s a another topic). What I do know is that mortgage rates over the last couple weeks have slowly been rising on most programs. When I say slowly I mean maybe 1/8 percent a week (which adds up). People in an adjustable rate will back me up when they sadly see their payments rise a bit. Hope you all have a fun and safe weekend! If you have any mortgage related questions feel free to contact me at ryan@GoMetroLoan.com or 805-540-0866.

I read in today’s Tribune that Chris Pontius from the Jackass movies and tv show is a SLO native. Went to school at Los Ranchos, Laguna Middle School, and SLO High. I know they filmed the tv show at the dunes but didn’t know the tie to the area until today. Wow, the region is reponsible for both Chris Pontius and Zac Efron 🙂

Microsoft has a new map site call local.live.com. Right now, the aerial maps stop right at North Shell Beach and has nothing North of this. But, it does have Shell Beach South maps. Hopefully they will add the rest of the County as this is a pretty cool map.

I created links to a list of South County locations on this page. You can also move the map around just by clicking and dragging the map. Check it out!

Remember the new $1.2 Million listing in Paso Robles that I introduced on the Blog and my websites just 9 days ago? Well, the Seller accepted an offer TODAY.

In the last 9 days, there have been 580 visitors to the property website (www.7725sundance.com) that I created. Some agents don’t receive this many visitors to their own website in an entire year!

If you’re looking to sell your home in today’s market, the photos and Internet exposure makes a BIG difference and the Sundance property just proves this. These marketing services are CRITICAL if you have a home where you need to reach Buyers that are out-of-the-area too. Contact me (byrd@SloCountyHomes.com) to find out how I can provide you with the same level of exposure and professional photography AND have it listed with an Agent that’s local to your area. If you already have an agent in mind, that’s not a problem either. I can complement ANY listing agent’s service and provide the marketing piece that no other agent on the Central Coast is providing today! But, you need to contact me first before you sign a listing contract. You pay for my services only if your home sells vs. having to immediately pay for a photographer, website designer, and the Internet advertising/exposure.

I added some additional links to online home valuations at the bottom of this page. One of the links is to get a “Zestimate” from Zillow. The link I have uses a tool from an agent’s website in Sacramento that I think is better than running a report from the Zillow.com site. I’m looking to having my own Zillow tool developed for the SloCountyHomes.com site.

There is no magic in these online home valuation tools. They use the SOLD information they can get their hands on and use an appraisal formula to come up with an estimated price. While the accuracy isn’t guaranteed, these tools do provide another piece of info as you’re doing your research. I’m including multiple online home valuations so you can compare what each report says. Usually, you’ll see one that is using better comparable data. Some of the online home valuation tools use Solds that really aren’t that comparable to the subject property. If you aren’t using good data to start with, it doesn’t matter what appraisal formula you use!

The “outage” of the online home valuation tool on my site for the last month was due to the vendor switching over to a new data source. It’s supposed to result in more detailed information so they can do more analysis on the data. They tell me that there will be enhancements coming to the tool now that they have the new data.

I was reading an article on what Internet acronyms parents should know that your kids might use. These are some that I haven’t heard of before:

POS – Parent Over Shoulder
PIR – Parent In Room
P911 – Parent Alert
PAW – Parents Are Watching
PAL – Parents Are Listening

It looks like my home valuation tool may be working again. I haven’t heard any updates from the vendor but it looks like some of you are successfully receiving the reports. I tried an address but it didn’t find it so it may not be 100% yet.