CLEARLAKE— Thursday at the Judge’s Breakfast in Clearlake, guest speakers David Hughes, manager at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and Mary Benson, a broker at Realty 360 Wine Country, discussed several aspects of the housing market including current trends and statistics, tips on selling your home as well as some recent foreclosures.
Through her position on the board of directors for the Lake County Association of Realtors Benson began writing the monthly market updates sharing, “What I do is I look at: What’s the median price going for in the different towns? And how does it compare with a year ago? I go back one month at a one month period at a time and I look at how many houses are on the market, how long did it take to sell them and by town what is it looking like.”
Benson further noted that in Lake County in the last 30 days there have been 89 houses sold, compared to 122 this time last year. “All of us agents are seeing a drop off in the number of new people who are looking to buy,” she said. Benson continued explaining the median price last year was $328,000, and is currently at $300,000, while the number of days a listing spends on the market went from 17 last year to 23 this year.
“We’re not getting that same kind of buyer anymore, we’re getting a different type of buyer, so I think that we were getting a lot of higher end sales last year because of that and we also had a lot of cannabis buyers last year who were saying I want something on 20 acres and a house capable of getting the permits, and that was a million dollars or more. Now they’re all selling so we are not getting those kinds of sales anymore.”
Benson also offered some advice for sellers as the market has changed significantly in the past year. “If you are ready to sell your house, be ready for it to take a longer period of time, and be ready. You have a one out of four chance that they will do inspections and come back and say you have this, this and this, and we want you to give us more money to fix all these things.” Closing costs have increased by $600, price reductions are now necessary in illustrating your willingness to sell, and changes to insurance that have not only increased cost but have also become very hard to get all have a role in the market changes.
Benson added, “I get calls from people who want to sell their house because they’re being priced out because their insurance is so high.” Some residents have said their insurance has surpassed $10,000 per year, an expense no one plans on, especially in retirement. District 2 Bruno Sabatier said, “One of the most important things to always remember is when a fire district is looking to get your support in expanding, not supporting them and not allowing them to expand like they did in the Kelseyville area, then complaining about insurance just is a very oxymoronic situation.”
David Hughes discussed some foreclosure sales and how they can be nothing like they seem in pictures or descriptions. “I’ve got a good example which was just taken off the market yesterday. I had a foreclosure in Lakeport beside High St. that had an old landslide about 12 years ago and this house had a notice to vacate in 2013,” he said. “It’s been empty for nine years. Fannie Mae tried to get me to sell it, $75,000. First two days on the market I had 30 calls but once I talked to the people and told them what was wrong – we have no offers on it.” This is why Hughes thinks inspections never hurt and a buyer has a right to have an inspection in a traditional contract, although it can go both ways.
The Judge’s Breakfast is held every Thursday at 7 a.m. at the Clearlake Senior Center. Next week’s guest speaker will be Marylin Wakefield from Adventist Health and more information can be found at the Thursday Morning Judge’s Breakfast Facebook page.