Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I don't think he gets how this works

Now, admittedly, the housing market in San Francisco is out of whack. It's always been expensive, but in the last ten years its been just down right insane. Mrs. Angrybell and I have been continually shocked, stunned and amazed at the stuff people put on the market at outrageous prices.

For example, the house in the Outer Sunset where, hand to G-d, there were holes in the ceiling and a bathtub laid across the hallway downstairs, some unidentifiable substance on the floors and the walls of the upstairs bedrooms. I'm not even going to try and describe the kitchen. Let's put it this way, I've seen tenenments owned by slumlords which had kitchens which were hygenically superior, not to mention functional. And they wanted $800,000.00 for the property.

During the course of all this, I have come to some conclusions. Before I started looking for a home this time around, I was convinced, based on my experience, that there was no profession lower, lazier, and most like locust than social workers. I've worked with a lot of them. I do not have to take my shoes off to count how many I think were actually worth their salaries, or my time to deal with them.

Then I met San Francisco area realtors. I'm not sure what they do these days. In San Franicisco, virtually everything is on multi-listing service (more on that later). Now, its not very accurate, but its accurate enough to give you the price that the various houses are listed at as well their address. In the old days, the multi-listing, or so it has been explained to me, is somethign that was hidden and used only by the professionals.

At the open houses, most times the agents know almost nothing beyond the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that are on the property. Ask them a question about things like, when was the roof done, what kind of heat, or if there is hardwood under the carpet, and the answer I usually get is "I don't know." Occasionally, they'll know if there are hardwood floors.

Lately, especially in houses in the Sunset, the open houses I am going are in a condition that would not pass my inspection for cleanliness, much less Mrs. Angrybell's. My grandmother would have had a coniption fit. I mean seriously, how hard is it to get the broken bathtub out of the hallway before the open house starts? In most cases, the person is looking at asking for more than half a million dollars. Would it kill them to do a litty tyding?

Now, let's go back to the MLS. In theory, it should be a good thing. The only problem is, it seems as if no one seems to be bothered to be accurate. I truly believe that among realtor agents in San Francisco, truth is something that they unnacustomed to. Yes, I know they are supposed to advertise the good aspects of the property, but I am sure that there are ways of doing that without outright lies.

Lies? Pretty strong word. Possibly even actionable. Then again, I'm not sure how else to describe some of the malarky that is posted on the MLS. For example, there is a house in the Sunset. It is listed in the $800K as a 3 bedroom and 2 bath. Of course, what they are doing is counting the "finished" basement room as a bedroom, and a semi-function bathroom that you can use if you are willing to brave the spiders and darkness. Neither of them, if you press the agent representing the seller are legal (meaning the work was done without permits). And this is not the only one.

If the agents were honest, properties like this would be advertised as what they are: 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Its simple, if there is no permit, then it is not legal. If it is not legal, then when you buy the place, and should you ever need to have work done with a permit and an inspectors shows up, then you could get tagged. Yes, DBI has a lot other things to do, but they're not above tagging things if they see it.

By the way, I'd like to know why out City Attorney, current or past, has never investigated this. It would seem like this is a fraud being perpetrated. It also serves to bolster the prices of properties, becaues the agents tell people "Oh its a 3 and 2, you should bid high for it."

Fracking malarky.

So back to those I to the locusts, I mean agents. Not only do they decieve people willfully with their advertisements, they also can't be bothered to get good pictures up on the MLS. They can't bebothered to fill oout the basic information much of the time. How hard is it to get the estimated square footage? I mean really, would it take you away from sipping lattes and doing... what do they do again? ... to pull out a tape measure and get the information?

And the buyer's agents... well they seem as useless as the seller agents. I've worked with a fair number. Simple things like getting comparables out of them is like pulling teeth. To make it worse, they don't seem to know how to do it right. When I worked with an agent back east, I asked for comps on a property and he produced comparable pieces of property (as in the comparable stats were based on properties with the same/similar floor plan, same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, roughly the same square footage and usually in the same neighborhood or close to the neighborhood). When I ask here, I get comps for a Sunset property or a Westwood Park property that include sales in Presidio Heights.

Then there is my favorite part. They only show the most expensive properties they can find. I've gone through a number of agents for the simple fact that after three tries, they cannot or will not show properties to me that are in the price range I've specified. (Remember, I've also been looking on the MLS so I know that price range is good and I'm not being unreasonable for the type of property I am looking for).

So that brings us to the title. Not only are the agents useless, people have bought into this mindset. Such as the person I am dealing with now. Their house has been on the property for a long time. In San Francisco, properties move fairly quickly. This one has been for almost a football season (regular not inclusing post-season). That's a long time in San Francisco. The place is a bit of a mess. Most of the appliances do not work. There is disgusting carpets (I think they had a pet. Pet probably died to get away from this place because they would not keep it up. Or maybe because they took as good a care of the pet as they did the house.) The house also has a significant amount of damage that will need to be done. The number has 4 zeroes attached to it. However, it is in a good location. Not a perfect one, but close enough to being very good.

Since the property has not moved in a long time, they have dropped their price. This sort of indicates that no one has been willing to pay this person price. The last price drop brought the property into our range.

So we think... let's take a look at it. So we do. And we run the numbers. And figure that we could do it. So we put in an offer for a little less than the asking price. Not a lot less, but a little less because lets face it, there is a major job that needs to be done and will require permits to be done. For the sake of this, we'll use round numbers which are clearly fake, but will be in proprtion. Our offer was at 89,000. The list was at 99,000 (with the original list at 125,000). We expected a counter.

We got a counter.

Their counter?


Huh? They set their price at 99,000, after the market told them that no one would buy the property at a higher level. From what we know, there is no one else bidding on the property.

I hope this nimrod likes his dump. Because no one is buying it.

Bottom line: I hate buying a house.

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