Category Archives: Buyers

Last week in SLO and a bigger picture too

Last week in real estate is the weekly notice for what happened in the San Luis Obispo  real estate market as interpreted by Dominic Tartaglia of Tartaglia Realty.

This week I want to address our county-wide market but not without giving you the weekly snapshot of single family homes in San Luis Obispo from this past week. From last Monday 09/09/13 to today the market was fairly slow with just 4 new listings, 3 Pending listings and 7 Sold listings. Median prices for each category in order were $578,000, $649,000 and $575,000 for a total average of $589,857 for last weeks real estate movement. The average Days On Market (DOM) dipped down to 29 from last month’s average of 45 suggesting that there are still plenty of buyers in the game looking for a good price and interest rate yet our inventory is tightening up. If you will remember back to last weeks article I mentioned that we are in a time period of significance in relation to what the effect the Feds will have on mortgage rates; so far nothing significant has happened but we did see a slight relief on the 30 year fixed rate conventional loans with an ever so slight decrease back down to 4.75%, down .125% from last week.

In the coming month or two I expect that we will continue to see a diminished amount of inventory of existing homes and hope to see a few more new construction units introduced to the market by the way of Serra Meadows and Moylan Terrace. In looking at the historical data we see that the real estate supply cycle for the time of September through January has a negative correlation, as we get closer to January inventory decreases each month. That being said, in looking at San Luis Obispo and SLO County we have seen a diminishing supply of “New Inventory” since July but are still seeing increasing numbers of “For Sale” homes. That suggests to me that there is some hesitance from buyers to pay for the higher priced listings and the higher priced listings are still on the market while the more affordable homes are selling quickly (hence the avg. DOM of 29). As the number of New Listings decreases I would expect the number of For Sale homes to follow in that trend. If you are considering selling your home in this market, with a fair price; this is a good market to sell in because buyers are looking for value. I used to see buyers looking for bargains for investment purchases but today my sense is that buyers are buying for personal use now as opposed to investment previously.

Now let’s talk about the county. Q3 of 2013 saw a slight increase of Sold inventory from the previous year and a significant increase in the number of New Listings in the county, up 16.5%. That being said, inventory county-wide was still down nearly 6% from Q3 in ’12 with an increase in median home prices county-wide of 16%. Even more interesting to me was the statistic posted by the California Association of Realtor®s that our county’s sold homes were comprised of 90.9% equity sales in July. That means that 9.1% of the homes sold in July were distress sales. This is a huge swing from years prior where most of the inventory county-wide was distressed in some capacity. If we compare those numbers to Los Angeles County we see that LA County had 83% equity sales and 16.9% of homes sold in January under distress. Statewide, only 82% of home sales in July were equity sales. San Luis Obispo County is making a strong recovery and is ahead of the state in clearing out our distressed inventory and has turned the corner and is stabilizing well ahead of other counties.

Despite posting strong numbers San Luis Obispo County still ranks at 13th in the state according the California Association of Realtors. The CAR bases their ranking system on a variety of metrics which includes median home price which can offset other shortfalls in other counties. For example, Marin County is ranked second in the state yet its DOM is approximately 40 days as opposed to SLO County at 29 but it’s median home price is $1,000,000. For  San Luis Obispo County to be 13th out of 41 counties, it’s safe to say that we are doing well. Putting all of this together, I think of a SCUBA diving concept known as the slack tide. A slack tide is the point at which water in a bay is calm, it’s not rushing in to fill the bay and it isn’t emptying out of the bay back to the open sea. That is the optimal time do dive in a bay because the water is clear, it isn’t moving erratically and you have less of a risk of being taken out to see.

I see our market at that point today. It’s safe to play and get into the market and buy or sell investment property as well as property for a personal residence without getting taken out to sea. Right now the market is pretty transparent and has a trend that is currently suggesting two things without question. First that prices are appreciating and secondly that inventory is at a slight shortage. Granted, each person and each transaction has individual circumstances that may differ from this article but I would be glad to consider your particular instance should you or somebody you know be considering making a move.

Setting City Budget Goals

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege of representing the SLO Downtown Association as the board chair to petition our City Council for allocation of resources to help our cause at a public outreach forum. Our organization was among many different organizations in the community that were there to give input as to how they wanted to see the budget reflected to support causes that are important to our community, there were 8 different organizations by my count. The goal was clearly to hear the public and to get a pulse on what the community felt was important to continue the growth and/or sustainability of our community. From the Downtown Association standpoint this was a great opportunity to thank our City Council and Staff for having been such a great help with all of our causes in the past decades and to come to them with more ideas to improve our community. Issues that I addressed were transient disruptions in our retail core of the Downtown and differentiating that between homelessness. While our organization supports homeless services and has taken a very strong position to continue to help our homeless population in whatever capacity we can, we stand against allowing transient delinquents to commit crimes and harassing our patrons to one of the City’s strongest revenue generating districts. Well, there is a lot more about what we feel and support but that isn’t the premise of this post. If I got into that I’d be writing all week and you would probably lose interest quite soon. No the point of this is to provide a graphic to show where our community stands on community issues.

I was one of the first speakers to address the Council and Staff and as such, I was able to record notes on each topic brought forth. By my records I have the following graphic which breaks down the topics addressed in one axis and how many times it was mentioned by different speakers. Keep in mind that some people only addressed one cause and others addressed multiple. The same goes for the non-profit representation where some people represented multiple organizations. So what did I take away from the meeting? Good question. I took away that we have a very passionate and involved community. Not only did we have an entire auditorium filled with concerned citizens but they stayed well into the night on a Tuesday night in order to express themselves and to hear what others were concerned about. It’s no wonder why, when you step back and look at this situation, we have the reputation of the “Happiest Town in America”. It’s because people here care about our town and they expend large amounts of time and resources in the spirit of improving our community. I am proud to be a part of this community and to say that selling homes here is a privilege that not all REALTOR®s are afforded. It’s a privilege to work with citizens that take pride in their homes, neighborhoods and greater community as a whole. I thank you all!

Here is the graph, please take from it what you want but understand that it is based on my recollection of the facts and not a statement to be all inclusive or complete. It is based merely on observations at a meeting and jottings on a legal pad and transcribed into Numbers on my iMac.

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Many topics were addressed by concerned citizens of San Luis Obispo pertaining to budget.

SLO Housing Market

What is going on in the SLO housing market?

There is a lot going on in the market here. When I look at the charts and data I can’t help but think that it’s a good time to buy or sell. I would call the market at an equilibrium/upswing and base it on a few simple things, which I will explain in a second. When the market is in a space like this it serves both buyers and sellers because as a buyer you are still getting good prices compared to where they were back at the peak of the market and as a seller inventory is moving pretty quickly and competition is strong. In a sense, both parties have some difficulties to deal with and some advantages that offset one another. So let’s break those down and explain my call on the market.


What I see as an advantage for buyers right now is most evidently, purchasing power. When we look at the median home price in San Luis Obispo city today, median home prices for all residential sales are up 11.7% from a year ago. However, they are down 2% from 15 months ago. To me this signals that prices are recovering at a pretty good pace and that would be a sign that it’s a good time to get in the market before things heat up. Interestingly enough, if we look at the difference in the SLO County Median home prices we are down 33% county wide from January of 2006 which suggests that home prices are discounted significantly and that buyers can stretch their dollars a lot further today than they could before. Now, couple the power that the buyer’s wallet has with the availability of money at cheap rates and you have a good position for any buyer to step up and get a good deal, provided they were able to survive the recession and maintain their credit score and save for a downpayment. The flip side to all of this is that inventory is at a low and properties are moving on and off the market quickly so buyers need to be ready to move.


What I see as an advantage to buyers right now is that there is an increased level of demand for homes. As buyers are realizing that they have strong buying power they are buying up homes and inventory is clearing out quickly which creates a great environment for sellers to list their homes. The average months inventory index for San Luis Obispo is a measurement that shows the number of unsold homes expressed in time as months that it would take for the house to sell at current rates. A falling index, which we have, is an indicator of a strengthening market and depending on a high number or low number shows whether the market favors buyers or sellers. A low number, like what SLO has at 2.8, suggests that the market favors sellers right now. I agree that it is a sellers market in terms of the index and competitive inventory numbers but we need to keep in mind that a lot of properties are selling for discounted prices from the peak of the market back in ’06 so some sellers may not be in a position to sell and feel like they are coming out ahead. The silver lining in this is that prices are coming back up, the November ’11 to November ’12 YTY average sold price is up 13.2%.

By no means is this analysis all encompassing of the market but I definitely think it represents the market right now in a very straightforward explanation with just a couple simple graphs and looking at what is happening in our office. If you have any questions about a particular portion of the market please call me and I will gladly help you look into that sector. You can also click on over to our home search function of the site and start looking at property on the market to see what I’m talking about.


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Wooing the Seller

I like to think of myself as a real estate enabler.

That means I enable people to achieve their home ownership dreams with my personal and professional knowledge and experience. Some days, it means showing homes and other days it means drawing up contracts but my day always starts with reading a few real estate articles. Today I read an article by Tara-Nicholle Nelson from Trulia titled, Six Elements of a compelling seller love letter, and it was funny because I didn’t realize what I was about to discover. You see, I like to have my buyers write a letter to sellers explaining who they are and why they want to buy the house they are putting an offer on and that is what I expected this article to be about. Instead, the article was about SELLERs writing a letter to BUYERs! You can read that article here…

What is ironic about this is that I have never thought of a seller presenting my buyers an article telling about their home and the wonderful stories and memories that home has but it made me wonder if my clients would buy a house that had a letter attached to the listing detail over a home that did not. I can say that when my buyers have put letters on their offer they have faired quite well in the purchase process because it allows the seller to see who they are talking with and what my clients see in their house. Let’s face it, we all want to be complimented to an extent but when we are talking about sellers and their home, nothing makes them happier than a buyer paying them compliments… well maybe a buyer paying them a lot of money but let’s not go there today.

When a buyer gives a brief description of who they are, where they are coming from with this offer and their plans for the home and why they love it, it leaves a lasting impression on the seller. If the seller has multiple offers that are pretty close or comparable they (based on my experiences) tend to go with the buyer that has a story. I can only think of handfull of times when a buyer’s letter did not get them the house and each time it was because our offer got completely blown out of the water by somebody willing to give WELL above asking price. (buyers, I generally do not advise offering well over asking price) Here are a few things to think about if you are planning on writing a letter to a seller.

  1. Greeting with compliments on their home
  2. Explain who you are (name, let them know you have a family [room mate, dog etc], hobbies, career
  3. Tell them what your plans for the home are
  4. Inform them that you are qualified, ready and excited to love their home the same way that they have.
  5. Thank them for considering your offer and hopefully accepting the contract.

If you didin’t notice, the acronym is GET IT. The letter is meant to Greet, Explain, Tell, Inform and Thank them so that they learn about you, your intentions, your preparedness to be the next homeowner at 123 Their St. and thank them for considering your offer more carefully.  A simple, direct, one page letter is plenty to get your foot in the door with any warm blooded seller. If you’re dealing with banks, that’s a different story and you have a lot more hurdles to get through. The letter might get to the negotiator but often times will not.

Alright guys, don’t forget… GET IT!

California Real Estate Broker License# 01138936
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