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Are Zillow’s Zestimates a Deal Killer?

February 26th, 2015 · Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Real Estate, The Real Estate Scene

Zillow’s Zestimates a source of conflict reports Kenneth R. Harney in the LA Times on February 8, 2015.

When CBS’s Norah O’Donnell asked Zillow’s CEO Spencer Rascoff about the accuracy of his company’s automated “Zestimates” - she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.  Zillow is a popular online real estate website that recently merged with one of its competitors Trulia.

Buyers and Sellers routinely quote “Zestimates” to real estate agents. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers asking price of $425,000. Or, a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.

Disparities like this are what Westlake realtor Tim Freund called, “the bane of my existence! If either the buyer or seller won’t budge off Zillow’s estimated value that will kill a deal.”

The issue is how accurate is Zillow? Not very.  The average Zestimates have an error rate of 8% nationally says Spencer Rascoff Zillow’s CEO.  What Rascoff did not share is that the localized error rate sometimes far exceeds 8%.

That’s a problem!

The localized error rate in Manhattan is 19.9%, San Francisco 11.6% (it’s actually much higher since approximately 25% of San Francisco’s listings do not ever go on the MLS which is where Zillow gets it’s data),  and the error rate is an astounding 26% for some rural counties in California?

Zestimates are hardly gospel – and often far from it! The video below is from a real estate broker in San Diego that explains why professional real estate agents are not pleased with Zillow.

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How Not To Market Your Property

February 24th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Real Estate Humor

Here are some examples of how NOT to market your property. Amazingly many of these tired worn out pitches are still used by some real estate professionals. Why?!  Here’s a humorous take on real estate marketing phraseology.  Hope you enjoy!

Will Not Last!      Not to burst your bubble, but those 347 days on the market are telling a different story

Seller Says Sell!  No way, I thought you had snuck this listing on the MLS without their knowledge!

Big Deck in Rear!  This is just one letter away from a whole heap of embarrassment, use only with extreme caution!

Needs TLC!  What’s the difference between Tender Loving Care and Tile, Lumber, and Concrete? Tons of Loose Cash! TLC!

Pottery Barn Decor!   The Pottery Barn is a store, not a style. And the sellers will be taking their decor with them!

Cozy  Which means small. C’mon let’s just call it what it is: an itty bitty nook.  You know a twin size bed won’t fit in there.

Priced to Sell! Well geez, I’d certainly hope so cause if it weren’t –  there wouldn’t be any point in selling it!

Mr. Clean lives here!  Does he come with the property?

Hot Water Heater!  Sorry, but technically it’s a water heater. Saying hot water heater is redundant.  If the water was hot you wouldn’t need a heater.

Updated!  This is cool to use if say the home was updated in the last couple of years.  But if the home was updated in the eighties I’m sorry it’s outdated again.

Better Than New Construction! Textbook example of hyperbole “C’mon down, these houses are better than new!”

Walking Closets! Ahh, that’s why we keep shoes in there!

Don’t Let This One Pass You By!  Why, is it on wheels?

Show and Sell!  So I’m showing just for kicks, and not try to sell a buyer a house? You have a wonderful grasp of the obvious…not!

Open House This Weekend!   Which weekend?

Room for a Pool!  There’s nothing like advertising something that it doesn’t have (but could). Why not room for a goat farm or ferris wheel? Doesn’t have it now, but it could?!

Rancher!  Ranchers have cows.  It’s a Ranch Style home.

Too much to list!  Not it’s not. C’mon give it to me.  I’d rather spend a few more seconds  reading your listing description than visiting your listing and have it underwhelm my client.

Honey Stop the Car!  Last time I saw that line, the house was being AUCTIONED!  Keep driving!

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Santa Barbara “Live” Real Estate Statistics

February 23rd, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends, SB Real Estate Statistics

real-time real estate market research
Something new for Santa Barbara Real Estate! Live Statistics! Sales asking prices for the last 7 days, and the last 90 days. If you’d like to take the “Pulse” of today’s market here’s where you’ll find it.

Iif you’re not familar with Santa Barbara’s Zip Codes, here they are:
Carpinteria: 93013, Summerland: 93067, Montecito: 93108, SB Westside: 93101, SB Westside: 93109 , SB Eastside: 93103 (Riviera), SB Eastside: 93105, Hope Ranch: 93110, Goleta:93111. Goleta/county: 93117, and Santa Ynez: 93460

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Steve Martin’s Spectacular Concrete Home

February 15th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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He’s a wild and crazy home collector, but Steve Martin has lately been letting some real estate go.

The comedian and writer listed a villa in the French West Indies in 2013, and now he’s listed a home in Santa Barbara where he’s lived for at least two decades.

He’s asking almost $11 million for the modern-style home in eastern Santa Barbara, near Montecito. The house sits on 5.86 acres and was designed by Roland E. Coate, Jr.

The 7,377-square-foot home is built largely of concrete — including the walls and outdoor cylindrical sculptures — with views over the hills and to the ocean. It has 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, plus a detached 2-bedroom, 1-bath guest house and a 3-car garage.

The listing is held by Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information text, call, or email us today! Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe

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Montecito Real Estate

February 14th, 2015 · Montecito Real Estate, Montecito Realtors

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Comedian and political commentator Dennis Miller has listed his oceanfront home (seen above) in Santa Barbara for $22,500,000 almost twice what he paid in 2003, and already has an accepted offer (Pending).  Sothebys International Realty recently listed Rancho San Carlos, a 237 acre ranch with 29,483 square foot Monterey Colonial manor (designed by Reginald Johnson) for $125,000,000 and it has an accepted offer (Pending). And lastly, a George Washington Smith estate that boost a 12,000+ square foot home with pool and tennis court was listed for $29,000,000.

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Fight Over “Giga Mansions” in Los Angeles

February 13th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Real Estate News


World News Videos | ABC World News

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The Starbucks Effect

February 9th, 2015 · Hope Ranch Real Estate, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

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Follow Starbucks for Neighborhoods with Rising Home Values!

Looking for the next up and coming neighborhood?  Look for a new Starbucks coffee shop.   Seriously!    A new book, Zillow Talk:The New Rules of Real Estate, by two Zillow executives says that the opening of a Starbucks store is a remarkably accurate predictor of rising home prices in the area.  “Starbucks equates with venti-sized home value appreciation.  Moreover Starbucks seems to be fueling – not following – these higher home values,” according to Spencer Rascoff (Zillow’s CEO), and Stan Humphriews (Zillow’s Chief Economist).

Rascoff and Humphries looked at the database of Starbucks locations and nearby Zillow housing data, comparing homes within a quarter mile of a Starbucks franchise to homes further away over a period of 5 years after the store opened.  They found homes closest to Starbucks appreciated 21 percent over 5 years, while homes slightly farther away appreciated 17 percent.

According to Rascoff and Humphries Starbucks has a team of 20 analytical  experts who examine maps and geographical information systems data to assess an area’s traffic patterns and business before they decide to move in.  Ultimately, whether Starbucks itself raises nearby home prices or its analytics team gets the credit for spotting up and coming neighborhoods is beside the point.  If you’re scouting Santa Barbara neighborhoods likely to gain in value, relax and have a cup of coffee – at Starbucks!

Starbucks has 12 locations here in Santa Barbara!

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Santa Barbara Online Weekend Open Houses

February 7th, 2015 · American Riviera, Carpinteria Real Estate, Ennisbrook, Hope Ranch Real Estate, Montecito Real Estate, Open Houses, Property Search, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Realtors, Summerland Real Estate

 Weekend Online Open Houses for Santa Barbara

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Sotheby’s in Santa Barbara

February 1st, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Sotheby's Real Estate

A Day in the life of Santa Barbara, California

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Santa Barbara Real Estate

January 29th, 2015 · Carpinteria Real Estate, Ennisbrook, Hope Ranch Real Estate, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Summerland Real Estate

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An exciting end to 2014 here in Southern Santa Barbara as the average sales price went from about $1,400,000 in 2013 to $1,700,000 in 2014 for an 18.5% rise.  However, the number of single family homes sold was down significantly by about 17%.  Sales price is up, number of sales are down.

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