750kI’ve been asked by sellers who want to list their property “how long will it take to sell my house here in Santa Fe”?

Yes, we have all heard the universal real estate mantra that it’s all about location, location, location. And location is still a big deciding factor, but since the real estate crash, it’s been more about “how much less than the asking price can I pay for this property?” Most buyers today are worried that we could see another downturn in the market and if they pay too much, they may not be able to get their investment back should they need or want to sell. Buyers recognize that owning your own home is still a smart investment and, as we have seen, with limited rental availability in Santa Fe rental market prices are going up. Try renting a “casita” on the east side of town. It’s not uncommon to pay upward of $1500.00 a month which is a mortgage payment for $300,000.00 with today rates.

Yet when it comes to selling, the buyer comes equipped with reams of paper from their research on the internet from Zillow, Realtor.com and endless websites that communicate what your neighbor sold their house for, regardless of the condition. Mostly buyers talk about cost per square foot these days. So, if your home is priced above the neighbors selling price per square foot, your realtor best know that your neighbor’s home was decorated with Home Depot fixtures while yours has designer upgrades. With the exception of the newer developments like Rancho Viejo, Nava Ade and the Centex homes, as Realtors, we have to sift through neighborhoods looking for the perfectly priced home that will meet the buyer’s dream of Santa Fe living.

And if that dream is finding an original adobe home close to downtown or “the square” rather than the “plaza” the education starts there. When they understand that most of the homes just look like adobe, but in reality are framed homes with stucco or sto, they start asking why homes are so costly if they’re built pretty much the same way as their home built in Texas or wherever they may live. They have now forgotten the clean air, beautiful skies, the four seasons, the cultural and art events and are focused on getting a great deal, damn it!

Making the right impression when your house is on the market is all about the marketing. From the photos taken by the Realtor for the listing to creating the, “do the owners live here” during the Sunday Open Houses is just part of what will sell your home. In my 25 years of selling, when I get the buyer who says WOW in the first 30 seconds, we have a good chance they’re going to buy.

Bottom line, it comes down to price.

Finding the right balance

balancing act300Many sellers have asked me if they need an appraisal or will the free CMA (comparative market analysis) I provide work just as well?  Each is a different report and each serve different functions.  In most cases, Realtors are not appraisers and Appraisers are not selling Real Estate. The Realtor deals with the inventory of property today while the Appraiser deals with what has been sold in the past few months.  Both have different licenses, but when it comes down to lending money, a mortgage company or bank will recognize only the appraisal.

The CMA provides a competitive analysis comparing similar properties that are presently for sale and properties which have sold recently.  Prior to listing the property, I may actually recommend an appraisal by a licensed appraiser.  In truth, both reports utilize comparable properties, but in different ways.  Ironically, some appraisers will contact the Realtor to understand the listing price calculation and if the Realtor has comps to back it up.  I am always happy to provide my CMA and any new “sold” MLS (multiple listing services) reports.  If I’m the listing agent, I meet the appraiser at the property and point out items that enhance the listing.

This doesn’t mean the Realtor has anything to do with the final analysis the Appraiser provides to the lender, but it’s helpful for all parties to be aware of the pluses, such as new improvements, upgraded appliances or anything that has enhanced the property since the property went on the market.  Most lenders require the new buyer have the home inspected prior to closing and if there are problems reported, the appraisal may fall below the offer price.  In the event the property didn’t “appraise”, the buyer has the right to renegotiate the price or walk away.  Of course the seller may not want to sell at the new appraisal price and may choose to terminate the agreement as well.

A good CMA will lessen the risk of a terminated agreement.  Sellers who want to price their property over market value may lengthen the time for an offer or require price reductions until the listing is positioned correctly.  In some planned communities, CMA’s are easier to do, because the homes are much the same in style, number of rooms, lot size and location.  Areas in Santa Fe such as the east side are more difficult to analyze because of site specific amenities.  It’s not uncommon to find a 5,000 sq. ft., 6 bedroom, and 4 bath home next to an 850 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 1 bath house that was built in the 1920’s.  Further down the street, you may even find a duplex built in the 1950’s.  How can you compare these properties?  This may be a time your Realtor would recommend using an Appraiser to compare recent sales of comparable properties and assess whether the property in question is properly positioned in the market.

A CMA provides information to assure the property is competitive with similar homes.  Your Realtor should be watching the market trends.  Are prices moving up because the supply is shrinking or have homes been on the market for extended months with no sales?  This may be why your Realtor is asking you for a price reduction.  No offers, no showings equate to possibly overpriced property.  A good CMA shows active listings of what is for sale today.  More importantly, the CMA should identify comparable homes that have sold in the past 6 months. Why 6 months?  An appraisal is only valid for six months.targe100t

A good CMA prepared by your Realtor and a good appraisal should assure both seller and buyer they are right on target for the property under consideration.

Remember the old yellow pages ad”let your fingers do the walking”? With today’s computer access to endless web sites selling homes, future buyers are letting their fingers do the walking while they study the market to find the best deal. Buyers are becoming smart consumers knowing what they want and learning the fair market value of homes selling in their area of interest. And now, consumers can access this information on their smart phones. Remember my free app?

Is it time to list your property? Many clients have asked me when the best time is to sell property in Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico. Some worry about selling a home in the middle of winter because they think there are no buyers looking for a home during holidays or cold February weather. Truth is, during this time of the year the inventory of homes is at an annual low compared to the competition one may see during the summer season. I have found during the winter months, serious, motivated and qualified buyers are in need of a home for a variety of reasons. Since inventory is lower they are willing to face the cold weather to get a home quickly if it’s priced right in the first place. It may well be worthwhile to show your home to serious buyers and be tolerant of a few wet feet. Remember, “You can’t sell a secret.”

Early spring from mid-February until the end of April is “go time” to get your home ready to be listed. Get the property on the market; the earlier the better to get in front of summer inventory. But there are rules for getting your property on the market.

absorption rates 2-1-16-50First, let’s price it right. Homes sell at fair market value. Neither you nor I set the fair market value. The process starts when I prepare a CMA (comparative market value) report for you. Computer data are derived by comparing “like” properties that have sold in your area of town. It can become the baseline comparison buyer’s use as well. If your property is not listed at fair market value property, it may sit on the market for a long time regardless of your hopes for a sale. Savvy Realtors may visit it once and never show it again until the price is within the fair market value range. It is also helpful to understand the absorption rate of “like” kind property. The absorption rate means the length of time it will take to sell your home or to be absorbed by the market. Presently we are seeing the timeline coming down, in certain price ranges. For example currently a home that is being sold for under $500,000 is taking about 6 to 9 months to sell whereas last year it would have taken up to a year, while homes over a million dollars may take as long as 2 years because of the over-abundance of inventory in that price range.

We are not yet in a seller’s market but as inventory gets absorbed, prices will start to go up. If you’re thinking about selling your home, now is the time to contact me for a market evaluation. Keep in mind, a well-priced and well maintained home always sells. Sitting on the fence waiting for the best time to sell or waiting for the value of homes to increase significantly is a long time away. Mom always told us as children, “Thinking about it doesn’t get it done”.

Let’s sit down and talk about it. I’ll buy the coffee.MLS map_coffee_cup


MLS map_coffee_cupIn Santa Fe, the 2015 market varied depending on the area of town. The median property sale was $320, 00.00 in 2015, which means half sold below that amount, while the other half sold above it. Most homes priced above a million dollars struggled to get their listing price. In fact, in 2015 the majority of the million dollar home sales were on the east side of Santa Fe. If you were in that market, it was a great year to buy since most sellers were faced with taking offers below their asking price. Overall the year ended with more sales than the previous year. In 2014, 1,848 residential homes sold compared to the 1,975 residential homes sold last year. Raw land and lots did poorly again last year. The majority of building permits from the County and City were for renovations and updating of homes. There was little new construction because existing homes were selling at an average $205.00 per square foot. If you want to be specific to your area of town go to www.truheo.com/searchMLS.htm and track each area of town by Zone number. Or if you want, just give me a call and we can visit about the performance of homes in your neighborhood.
I’ll buy the coffee.

Santander Lane

Hidden in the quaint eastside streets of Santa Fe, this little adobe is perfect Santa Fe. Less than a 5 minute drive to Canyon Road or a casual stroll to favorite gallery or restaurant, this 2 bedroom 2 bath has all the right Santa Fe touches. There is a two car garage with an attached 525 sq. ft. room ready to be finished as a separate casita, studio or workshop. The property has a gated driveway with lush vegetation, with an automated irrigation system. The flagstone patio is perfect for outdoor entertaining. Combined with the potential guest house, there is plenty of room for weekend visits with friends or family just in time for all the Santa Fe summer events.

Fall is here.

Santa Fe found some cooler weather with early morning temperatures dropping below the 40’s.  The fall color has been wonderful with Russian Sage leading the way followed by the Chamisa that make some sneeze.  The aspens are turning and the soon we’ll be pushing the snow from our driveways.  Real Estate is still moving with outstanding prices that compare to the days when I first started in the 90’s.   Make sure to check out the video of the property availabe off of Rodeo Road. If you know someone whose looking for a great investment, this is one the best I’ve seen for quite some time. 


The Best of Santa Fe evenings

The Best of Santa Fe evenings

There’s been a lot of talk about the falling prices in real estate.  If you’re a seller, this means you have to make sure your home is priced right to compete in today’s market and that your home is in tip top shape.  Let me show you why my experience in marketing is showing success in selling my customers homes.  If you’re a buyer, this is a great time to buy!  I’ll show you why my customers say, ” there’s not another Realtor who knows Santa Fe better”!

The questions most people asked me is, “how’s the market here in Santa Fe, where’s the best place to live and what do you think my house is worth”?  There are so many beautiful places to live, it wouldn’t be fair for me to say.

I decided to dedicate this site to providing answers about Santa Fe.  On the right is the video room with video relating to housing issues.  Each menu tab helps navigate you to the area of town.