Contingent Offers. Do they Work? Part 1

So you are thinking you want a new house, but you have to sell your place first. What can you do?

First, give up on getting a great deal. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but a contingent offer is a sure fire way to NOT get a good deal. Why you might ask?

Because good deals just don’t last on the market for very long. There are multiple buyers out there competing against each other at any given time. While not all places get multiple offers, it is only because they are not priced below the market.

Houses priced considerably below the market value will almost ALWAYS get multiple offers. And if you are a seller, would you rather take an offer contingent upon someone selling their house, or not. The contingent offer will pretty much always lose. The amount one would have to offer over asking price would take the good deal…and make it not a good deal anymore. And there is still no guarantee that a seller would accept it.

Best way to get a contingent offer accepted is to look for a house that has been on the market for a LONG time. Something that is definitely priced above the market, and put an offer on that one. The seller might be motivated enough to get their price that they are willing to take the gamble.

But again…there goes the great deal.

There are ways to get contingent offers accepted….even when competing. Look for part 2 of this post.

Inventory Up Stats

Very interesting stats just came out about available homes on the market per buyer. Which could speak to what will be happening in 2019.  Whether it is attributed to the general economy, or the fallout of 2 straight seasons of smoke in the valley remains to be seen. It is most likely a combination of both.

Ashland has seen a 30% increase in the total available homes on the market, and a 20% decrease in the number of buyers over the year. This has resulted in a jump in the available homes per buyer from 2.6 a year ago, to 11.7 at the end of January 2019.

Nine of the reports MLS areas saw an increase in the available homes per buyer, while 4 areas saw a decrease. Overall across Jackson County there has be a 50% increase in the number of homes available per buyer over last year. The current numbers show a fairly stable market. So at this time it is neither a buyers’ or a sellers’ market.  But if the trend continues, we could be headed into a buyers’ market.

Graph and diagram, chart for data illustration

The 6th month trend of sales price to original listing price has been decreasing. This will be seen by an increase in the number of price reductions that are happening in the market. We are seeing that pricing homes trying to lead an appreciating market is no longer a workable strategy.

At this time there has not been a noticeable decline in average sales prices. But we are also keeping our eye out for that.

On the up side, there has been a small increase in the number of pending sales. And a decrease in the number of days on the market.

2019 will prove to be an interesting year.

 

Sellers Home During Showings

I have been showing houses for years, and have shown hundreds of people thousands of house. And in that time, I have learned and observed many things.

There are a number of things a seller can do to make their house show better, and just as many they can do to make it show worse.

In my opinion, the worst thing a seller can do is be home during a showing.  I have seen over and over sellers getting in their own way with all the best of intentions. I get it too. Who knows more about the house than the seller. Who better can point out the little details that make this home special.  It is a huge investment for the seller, and they are definitely invested in the process. It is just important to know when the best thing they can do is to step out for a walk at just the right moment.

Here’s the biggest reason why. Buyer’s are uncomfortable when the seller’s are there. They already feel a little weird about walking through someone else’s house, opening their cupboards, flushing their toilets, etc….  So when the seller is lurking, 95 times out of 100, they will try to get out of the house as fast as possible without being rude. And the other 5 times, they feel overly trapped by politeness listening to the seller regale stories of how the grandkids used to play in the creek, etc…  But even when they make the connection with the seller, the house gets blurred in the background.  And that isn’t what a seller truly wants. Unless they have listed the house  as a ploy to make new friends. lol

I understand that some houses are complicated. Unique features that might be missed by a prospective buyer. Or complicated rural property with questions about property boundaries, well production, etc…  Instances like those, I have seen how having the seller’s around is beneficial. ON THE 2ND SHOWING. Buyer’s need to be able to feel themselves in a place, and that is a personal space equation most of the time. And if they don’t have a chance to do that during their 1st impression, they won’t be back for a 2nd one.

via GIFER

A good buyer’s agent knows how to give the buyer’s the appropriate amount of space, while pointing out things that might be less than obvious. (And of course keeping track of the seller’s personal property). I personally know a buyer is serious about a house when they sit down on the couch and view the home from there.  This will NEVER happen when the seller is home.

Worse yet, I’ve actually heard stories of sellers being at open houses, or showings, pretending to be other buyers of the home. They walk through talking the place up…what a great value it is…and how they are going to try to go put an offer in on it right away.  Thank goodness I don’t think this has ever happened to me. And I know my sellers would never do this.

I believe this is part of the reason I have been so successful over the years. I try to never rush anyone. These are huge decisions, and everybody has their own pace at going through them. I’ve seen people make the decision in 5 minutes, and others that take months.

So please…if you are selling your home..give the buyer and their broker the courtesy of being able to take their time, and progress at their pace. Even if you are the kind of person who wishes the seller was their to hear their stories, and answer their questions, most buyers aren’t. Go with the odds.

 

Statistic Geeking – How Low is Too Low

Every once in a while, I fall down a statistical rabbit hole. And today was one of those days.

I had another agent who was trying to figure out how to explain to their client about why the low offer they wanted to submit was not really a good use of anyone’s time. As a buyer’s agent, I am always wanting to get the best deal I can for my clients…and will negotiate my tuckus off to do the best I can for them.

However, after years of experience and a knowledge of statistics, I know that some offers are just too low to even get a response. So the buyer wastes time, their agent wastes time, the seller’s agent wastes time, and the seller is insulted and has their time wasted.

So today I ran some actual statistical probabilities on what the chances are a low offer will be accepted. Using mean, standard deviation, T-tables and the internets….this was my conclusion.  Of course this can change as the market changes…so this is for Josephine County for July of 2018. Sample size of 119 sales…so significant.

Sellers mindset in our market is they have to decide to lower the price, they don’t accept low offers.

So the average sales price to list price was 96.98%. However the sales price to original list price was 94.61%.

There is a 33% chance that an offer at 96.98% will be accepted, but only a 9% chance that an offer of 94.61% would be accepted. Even though that is the average overall from the original listing price.

So deeper down the hole.  Here are the probabilities.

At 92% of asking price the odds of acceptance are 4.5%

At 87% of asking price the odds of acceptance are .27%

at 82% of asking price the odds of acceptance are .006%

at 78% of asking price the odds of acceptance are .0001%

So when looking to make an offer anywhere below 90% of asking price, the odds are so long!!!!!

As I council my clients….I want them to know that it isn’t me who wants them to pay more for the house. The best deal I can get them is what I want. But when I say an offer is too low to be considered, I now have some statistical background and facts to back that up.

Thanks for falling down my rabbit hole if you got this far.

Talent, Oregon- Not So Hidden Gem Anymore

Used to be that when one couldn’t afford Ashland, that they went to Talent…so they were close to Ashland. While it is cheaper, it is hard to find a house there. And anymore, it just isn’t that much cheaper.

Looking at statistics in Talent, Oregon. There are currently 13 houses for sale with a median asking price of $335,000. 19 houses are under contract with a median price of $298,500. And in the last year, 76 houses have sold with a median sales price of $289,000.

My interpretation of those number is a market that is rapidly appreciating. Or that sellers are feeling the market is hot, and testing the prices.  When you have a day on market of less than one month, and only 2 months worth of housing stock available, it is the logical conclusion to see what the market will really bear.

Those ratios show a market that is short on listings.

Of the 13 houses on the market, over half of them have been on less than a month. So it is a little early to tell if the sellers will be getting their increased asking prices or not.

This is just one of the many micro-economic areas in the Rogue Valley.

I specialize in analyzing property values.

So right now if you are looking to sell a home, if it is priced right we should be able to sell it pretty quickly for a fair market price.

Anywhere in Jackson County, send me your address and I will get back to you and help you determine the value of your home.

When Organized Chaos Just Becomes Chaos!

When organized chaos just becomes chaos!

Here are some simple ideas for a clutter free life…

There’s a reason real estate agents always advise home sellers to remove all clutter when selling their homes: The difference is remarkable. The clutter-free home often looks like a new one entirely, and homeowners even wonder how their home could look that good. You don’t have to wait to sell your home to make it look better. Plus, clutter can physically and mentally stress us out. By breaking your decluttering down into five-minute sessions, you can slowly conquer your clutter.

Put a stop to the endless piles of paper: Pick one place for incoming papers, and don’t put them anywhere but that spot until you can sort and file them. Make at least one day per week that you commit to sorting and filing.
Everything should have a home: Pick up five things and find places for them every day. These should be things you actually use, but which don’t have a good spot to live.
Do you love it?: Take everything out of a drawer, evaluate it and sort it into three piles: stuff that really goes in the drawer, stuff that belongs elsewhere and stuff to ditch. Only touch it once! Don’t think, just quickly sort it.The pile it goes in is where it stays.
Feeling indecisive?: Create a “maybe” box. When you’re organizing, you often know exactly which items you want to keep and which you can trash or donate. But there are always a few malingering items haunting you. Things you just don’t know where to put. Put them in the “maybe” box and pull it out every six months to re-evaluate. If you didn’t miss it, send it on!
Keep it going: After you’ve decluttered, don’t just immediately get more. It is so much easier to acquire than get rid of things. Instead, put yourself on a temporary buying pause of any non-essential items. It feels good! After that make a list of any non-essentials you really want with a date next to it. Check the list in 30 days and if there are any you still really want, go for it!

Modern Roots Foundation February 2018

The 501c3 Files

‘Tis the Gift to Be…Playing Music from The Ashland Sneak Preview

By Sophia and Adam Bogle

I was walking in Lithia Park one beautiful summer day when I came across about a dozen kids all holding fiddles! They were (mostly) paying attention to a grown up with another fiddle who was obviously giving them a lesson. Then they all lifted their bows together and began to play a song! Ok, it would have made a better story maybe if they had played something amazing and perfect, but no, it wasn’t perfect. However, it was lively and joyful and the kids were obviously having a good time. I spent a long moment wishing I were ten years old again so I could be a part of that class. Apparently I had come across the Creekside Strings Summer Fiddle Camp.

Actually, I only found out what it was called after I sat down with the Director of Modern Roots Foundation (MRF), Dee Fretwell. Dee lives up in the Green Springs and we met at the GreenSprings Inn over a fantastic breakfast. I was there to find out more about MRF and Dee had all the answers for me including one I did not expect. When I first heard about this charity I thought that since there was music being taught that there must be some sort of recital fundraiser to attend, so I was actually a bit shocked when she said there are no recitals required of them. She explained that while performing is definitely a part of musicianship, that they didn’t want to put pressure on the kids to focus on that. They want the kids to just have their own relationship with the music. Wow. That just speaks to the heart of why this is such an important and honorable program. I found this great quote by Dee on the MRF Website:

“One of the most magical things I’ve ever seen is the sparkle in children’s eyes when they realize they’ve just made music. You see, music explains what words cannot, and children need to be heard.”  

So you see, MRF is serving a bigger purpose than just making sure there are enough banjo players in the world. They are gifting children with the ability to make their own magic for themselves.

The camp I ran into is just one part of the services offered by the Modern Roots Foundation (MRF). They also offer workshops and private lessons for a number of instruments including banjo, acoustic guitar (electric upon request), upright bass (electric upon request), ukulele, mandolin and of course, the violin/fiddle (These are the same instrument in case you were wondering… I know I was wondering.) They have instructors in Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Medford so far. Here is a list of their workshops and camps:

  • Wintergrass Youth Academy (Washington, every February)
  • West Coast Country Music Festival Youth Workshops (as offered)
  • Rogue Roots and Strings Spring Break Music Camp (every Spring Break)
  • Creekside Strings Summer Fiddle Camp  (Rogue Valley Only, every summer)

The name Modern Roots is based on the musical genre called American Roots. The music includes several genres we are all familiar with: folk, country, bluegrass, the blues and others. Basically, we are not talking classical music here. The word Modern in their title makes it clear that this is not about being stuck in the past though. Fresh music!

Every year MRF offers a limited number of scholarships for kids  ages 8 -18 who have the desire to play a musical instrument but would otherwise not have the opportunity to take music lessons. MRF is dedicated to helping kids have access to musical instruments and instruction, regardless of their family’s economic status. They started in 2013 and serve all of Southern Oregon helping kids to rent instruments, take lessons and attend music camps.  

One of the fun things about MRF is that while you can donate in all the usual ways, like one time donations or sponsoring a child’s tuition, you can also donate a used musical instrument which will help fund the music scholarships! For more information go to ModernRootsFoundation.org or e-mail: info@modernrootsfoundation.org.

 

 

 

Resolved to Living More Sustainably?

While we are on the subject of resolutions, if you are resolved (see what I did there?) to make your home a more green and sustainable one, there’s no better time to incorporate energy-saving measures than during the cold months. Here are five simple things you can do to make your house more efficient…

#1 Install a Programmable Thermostat
The advice is usually to turn down the temperature during the winter, but wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a warm house?

Programmable thermostats let you pre-set temperatures and schedule when the furnace goes on and off. If you use them correctly you could see up to $180 in savings each year.  More sophisticated devices like the Nest learn your daily routine an automatically adjust temperatures based on your habits. We got a NEST at our house a couple of years ago. I like it, even though it turns the heat on about 30 minutes too early in the morning for me. It wants the house to be of a comfortable temperature for when I get out of bed, but makes the room too warm to sleep in.  Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to fix that.

#2 Install Ceiling Fans
Fans move cool and hot air around your living space, allowing you to turn the temperature down in winter and raise it during summer. During the wintertime, you can reverse the fan’s direction to clockwise to keep the warm air moving down. Plus you can hang your clothes on them for a winter air dry. (Okay…that was a joke)

#3 Eliminate Air Leaks
Use a door draft stopper and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows to cut down on the cold air coming in.  I actually have the worst door ever for this. I’ve got to get someone out to fix it. We took the weatherstripping off when we had our house painted. However, the weatherstrip was installed wrong because the door jam need to be completely re-done. I just talked to a contractor today get him on the schedule to come fix that.

#4 Use Power Strips
Did you know that many of your appliances use electricity whether they are on or not?Standby power is electricity that’s being used by things like TVs, computers, appliances, and phone chargers, even when the devices are in stand-by mode or even off.

Plug electronics, chargers, and appliances into power strips and switch them off when you’re not using the devices. You could save up to $200 per year! Or you can buy outlets with a remote control that allows you to turn the whole outlet off.

#5 Change Your HVAC Filter
If you change your filters monthly, you may lower your energy bills by 5 to 15 percent. Plus stop that annoying wheezing sound they make when they get dirty.

Simply put, dirty, clogged filters make the HVAC system work harder.
The savings can be substantial if you keep your filters clean as the average household spends approximately $2,200 on heating and cooling costs every year. Getting the HVAC system regular yearly maintenance is also beneficial.

Resolve January 2018

New Years Resolve from The Ashland Sneak Preview

The 501c3 Files

By Sophia and Adam Bogle

Happy 2018 everyone! What a perfect time to be talking about resolutions. Have you chosen one yet? Here is the one I am considering: “I will transform the way I communicate in order to manage and resolve conflict and to help myself and others heal from harm.” A little wordy maybe, but a pretty good goal, eh?  But I can’t take credit for it. This is a paraphrase of the mission statement for Resolve Center for Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice, known simply as Resolve.

Recently I met with Deltra Ferguson, the Executive Director for Resolve, to find out more about how they are making a difference in Southern Oregon. I was impressed to learn that Resolve has been doing mediation work here for over 27 years now. They were formerly known as Mediation Works.

One of the most exciting programs Deltra told me about is their Restorative Justice (RJ) Services for schools. About three years ago, the Resolve education team came up with the idea to introduce RJ into the schools as a way to bring it to more of the community on a day to day basis.

In the last three years Resolve went from only being in only one school to being in twelve! And there are more schools interested. When a school commits to restorative justice it means they are regularly practicing the skills of dialogue and connecting. These skills help to strengthen their school community so that when a harmful incident occurs, the community is ready and has a way to contend with it.

This isn’t just about crimes or bad behavior either.  Sadly, earlier this year one of these schools faced a major tragedy when a student lost her life. There were a lot of emotions about this, and significantly, it was a group of students who called for a restorative circle to talk about it. They had the tools in place from Resolve’s program to help each other connect, to be heard and to heal.

Another part of the RJ school program is that, if a person has caused harm, they are still recognized as part of the community and they are supported to take responsibility for their actions. It is about shifting the culture from punitive to restorative to help keep kids in school. Those that have been impacted by the harm are also involved in a respectful process where their needs get met so that they can function in the community as well.

Without resources like this, kids can sometimes get lost in their emotions and disconnected from the world, and this can lead to dropping out of school. Resolve hopes that these RJ programs, which include Conflict Education and “Choicepoint” Bullying Intervention, will help schools to lower their dropout rates. Did you know that in 2016, Oregon ranked 48th in the nation for students graduating from high school! It literally doesn’t get much worse than this.

It can’t address every issue that the students have who are dropping out, but the Restorative Services program is a good foundation to build on. The schools who partner with Resolve do help with some of the funding needed but it doesn’t cover cost so Resolve has been fundraising like crazy to keep these programs and to add more of them.

Resolve is an amazing resource for all of us here in Southern Oregon. Here are just a few of the situations where they might be able to help.

  •         If you have a conflict with your neighbor or a family member
  •         If you are facing foreclosure
  •         If you are being bullied at school or are witnessing bullying
  •         If you would like to bring mediation training to your workplace

Coming Up! Resolve is holding a Basic Mediation Training in February. It will be a five day immersion course. These skills can help you in many situations, even everyday things like negotiating with a neighbor about how high the fence should be, or talking to your coworkers about who drank the last cup of coffee and why no one made any more yet.

Resolve is located in Medford at 1237 N. Riverside Ave. in the Cobblestone Village, Suite 25,

or you can call them at 541-770-2468. For more information, or to donate, go to:  resolvecenter.org   They have a “Donate Now” button through PayPal so it is super easy for you to help these programs to flourish. It’s sort of like voting if you think about it. You are voting with your $10 (or whatever) to say that you want this sort of thing to continue. Every vote counts!

 

Ashland New Plays Festival December 2017

 

The Gift of New Stories: Ashland New Plays Festival from Ashland Sneak Preview

The 501c3 Files

By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle

 

Imagine you lived in the time of Shakespeare. Would you have supported that unknown (and sometimes controversial) playwright? Thank goodness someone did or we probably wouldn’t be here in Ashland today. Whether we attend the Shakespearean theater here or not, this town is run on plays. It goes without saying that the old world plays will always have their place here because they are constantly being reinvented for modern audiences. But what about new stories for our current time? You will be happy to know that the Ashland New Plays Festival (ANPF) is providing an oasis for modern playwrights right here in Ashland. They started in 1993 and have become a major play development resource on the west coast.

The main event for ANPF is a one week festival that happens in October. This highlights the four best plays selected out of the hundreds of submissions that ANPF gets from all over the world. The process starts this month by gathering together the play readers. How would you like to be the one to find this new Shakespeare?

My mom came to stay with me one year and to keep busy she became a reader for ANPF. She had been in theater all her life so she really enjoyed the chance to connect with other people in this way. You see, being a reader isn’t just about reading the plays, you also get to meet the other readers to discuss the plays and vote. They need about 50 volunteer readers to get this job done and it must be fun because most of them return year after year. I remember my mom getting so excited about the plays, both the good and the bad. She was very thorough in her assessments, writing copious notes in the margins. (She used to teach English too.) The live readings at the Festival were a wonderful way to celebrate all that hard work.

The ANPF is dedicated to helping their playwrights succeed beyond the October festival. One of the ways they do this is by partnering with other west coast regional theaters. Many of the playwrights go on to have their plays produced in other theaters across the country.  Meredith Friedman, one of the winners from 2015, has her play, The Luckiest People, being produced next March in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s 29th season. Some of them are even produced at our own Oregon Shakespeare Festival such as Destiny of Desire by Karen Zacarias which is coming up in 2018.

I know you may not have heard of these playwrights yet, but that’s what is so exciting about it all! I know that Kyle Hayden would agree. This is his third season as the ANPF artistic director. He sat down with me at Cafe 116 to tell me about ANPF and I was most impressed with his passion for making sure that these written works are given life on the stage. Kyle had a lot to share with me about the creation of plays and at some point in our conversation, he said something that just made me stop and think: Plays are not movies. Ok, this seems super obvious, and I might have just glossed over it too. But he went on to explain that what it means is that plays demand something of their audience that movies cannot. Going to a live theater is a chance for us to put down our little blue screens and be a part of the live creation of art. It is a literal “con-spiracy” in that the audience is breathing together with the actors on the stage. And that is why the ANPF is so important. It is bringing us some fresh air!

While Ashland New Plays Festival is a great incubator for the future of theater, its success depends greatly on the theater lovers of today to make it happen. You can’t go back in time to support Shakespeare but there is bound to be a new Shakespeare someday. With your help, we might just find them through the Ashland New Plays Festival. For more information go to www.ashlandnewplays.org.