Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A "Motivated" Marin Seller

So I'm poking around the listings looking for a good entry for my Marin POS blog and I find this San Rafael cottage (864 sq ft, 2 br 1 ba, asking $735,900). I don't think it quite makes it into POS territory. But what captured my interest was that it is described by the listing agent as being sold by a "motivated seller" but the price reduction history looks like this:
Price Reduced: 09/14/06 -- $775,000 to $749,000 (-3.4%)
Price Reduced: 09/22/06 -- $749,000 to $747,000 (-0.3%)
Price Reduced: 09/27/06 -- $747,000 to $735,900 (-1.5%)
It looks to me like they are certainly "motivated" to sell for maximum profit but not sufficiently motivated to price it to sell.

FYI -- this one last sold on July 18, 2003 for $595,000. It's 2005 assessed value (for property taxes) was $606,900.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I believe I've seen this question asked before, but haven't seen it answered.

How/where are you retrieving the sales price (reductions, previous sales prices & dates) information?

If you decline to answer, would you please say "decline to answer"? if this compromises you in some way.

But I would find this data very helpful in my (longterm) search for a suitable retirement farmette for my husband and I in the northbay.

And no, this seller doesn't appear especially motivated

Oct 11, 2006, 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

I assure you there is no "compromise" as I am not in any way affiliated with any industry that has anything to do with RE. But for some reason people don't seem to want to believe that. Whatever.

There is no secret on how I get this info (you just have to want to put in the effort) and I dedicated a past post on this blog on exactly how to do it.

Basically, I was looking down the listings of all houses for sale in Marin via I set my search parameters to look only for houses within $100K and $10 mill asking price range (and no constraining parameters like minimum number of bedrooms, etc) and that are flagged as "price reduced". The price reduction history is right there and I copy-and-paste it into my posts.

As for how much the house last sold for you have a number of options but you do have to put in some effort:

One is to find a real estate agency (e.g., Vision RE in Marin) that has a publically available compilation of addresses (and prices and dates, etc) that have sold through them.

Another option is's address lookup functionality. Zillow also gives you property tax assessment values and a whole lot more. I can make no claims about the accuracy of their data but it seems reasonably good to me.

Oct 11, 2006, 1:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is also a good place to retrieve previous sales prices but it only goes back to 1987.

Oct 11, 2006, 1:55:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

I should also say that one of the main reasons why I make posts like this one is to encourage more people to do this minimal sort of research on their own so as to make more sensible offers on houses where ever they are. There is a lot of good info out there on the Internet.

So, I don't mind explaining the methods at all. If I were a buyer this is what I would do at the very minimum.

Furthermore, if anyone has done this sort of thing for Marin houses I would be pleased to post your work if you send it to me.

Oct 11, 2006, 2:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed your posting, but thank you so much for the answers. Now I have to download a new browser to see Zillow (old Safari user, me, and dismissed by Zillow).

BTW, I never believed you to be associated with RE, just that I was attempting to be gracious in my request.

Thanks for all the info you have lead me to, these past few months. I have found numerous helpful and informational sites via this blog.

Oct 11, 2006, 3:25:00 PM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

"if anyone has done this sort of thing for Marin houses..."

A while back, I sent you some data on more motivated sellers a while back, with reductions (sofar) up to 28%.

Oct 11, 2006, 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

ms hawkes -

Only the latest Safari is worth using as older versions have too many bugs. IE for Mac is very buggy and is no longer supported by MS I believe; so ditch it. If you have a Mac then I strongly suggest Firefox or Netscape Navigator 7.2 (or whatever is the latest version). If you have a PC, then I would suggest both Firefox and IE and use which ever one works best for the site you are visiting.

I myself use Firefox for everything and IE only on those sites that don't like Firefox. I am sure I will drop Firefox as soon as the new IE comes out because I find FF to be too annoying.

Oct 11, 2006, 5:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, zillow is way too high in the way they estimate value. Many I've researched have "zestimates" way above current (and too high) listing prices. Zillow is useful only for the historical data. Not a total surprise as it's driven by the RE industry, which still says "remain calm - all is well!"

Oct 11, 2006, 6:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Zillow is a fluffy Pillow for the RE industry.

They still have MV properties going up even when the stats are going down.

Can we trust no one?

Oct 12, 2006, 12:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Price reduced" is a new gimmick to make you to think you're getting a deal.

Oct 12, 2006, 1:21:00 AM  
Blogger peterbob said...

Actually, this house was reduced by 5% in two weeks. While I agree that each incremental reduction is small, at this pace, the house will lose 40% of its value within 4 months, which seems pretty reasonable.

Oct 12, 2006, 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

I think Zillow's "Zestimate" is full of caca. I use Zillow for its historical info only and only then after I have repeatedly, over time, verified its accuracy from other sources. So I trust Zillow's historical data but think the "zestimate" is marketing nonsense.

Oct 12, 2006, 1:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zillow is plain odd. There data is not consistent right now. I have priced places I know that are too high on zillow, and then places which were simply way low because their system comp'd wrong and had wrong data, off by even 25% from somewhat realistic numbers.

Zillow's problem is how their system is picking up the comps and applying them, plus the basic home data can be off.

I certianly would never considered Zillow an authority on pricing property.

Oct 12, 2006, 3:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this site.

Marin county must be one of the most obnoxious housing markets on the planet ... I know, because I live in Vancouver. We get to be - far and away, the most expensive place to live in North America.

Thank you, Marinites -- you make it look like there is an endless supply of Greater Fools where you live. Just like Vancouver.

Oct 12, 2006, 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Above poster: you obviously don't get out much. Vancouver - and Canada in general - has always been dirt cheap compared to North America's most expensive cities: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are also some of the world's most expensive cities. Vancouver actually ranks a few slots down after Atlanta.

Oct 13, 2006, 1:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Vancouver is an armpit and Marin the garden spot of the world. Get real.

Oct 13, 2006, 2:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yeah, Vancouver is an armpit and Marin the garden spot of the world. Get real."

How do make a statement like that when it has NOTHING to do with what was posted????

Oct 13, 2006, 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

"far and away, the most expensive place to live in North America."

Uhh...really? Are you talking about Victoria, VI or Van? Surely it can't be costlier than parts of NYC, can it?
I realize it's a tangent, but you got me curious.

Oct 13, 2006, 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger johnnyrent said...

Hey folks, another Vancouverite checking in here. I think the first poster from Vancouver was talking about affordability, not absolute cost. Of course land costs more in New York, parts of the Bay area, parts of LA etc.

The real measure of "expensive" however is what portion of a median income in a given city is required to purchase a median priced home. By this measure, Vancouver is off the dial. 68% of gross income is now required to buy a bungalow here. What's more, we can't deduct our mortgage interest or property taxes so the net effect on affordability is even more severe. Can you top that? I doubt it.

When this RE thing starts gaining some real downhill momentum (stayed tuned) look for Vancouver to be amongst those cities leading the race.

Oct 14, 2006, 9:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More info on the vancouver crazyness:
Van-housing blog

Nov 11, 2006, 8:01:00 PM  

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