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Carole Schiffer

has been recognized as one of Coldwell Banker's Top 500 agents in the United States -- out of 41,000 agents nationwide according to Bruce Zipf, president and CEO of NRT, Coldwell Banker's parent company. "This is a tremendous honor," Carole stated, "and I am so proud to be a member of the Coldwell Banker family since 2000." Carole has always been one of Coldwell Banker's premier agents in their Brentwood Office. She specializes in the sale of luxury homes in West Los Angeles including gated communities. A dynamic, intensely dedicated agent, she is respected by peers and prides herself on providing the ultimate professional service and intimate real estate knowledge. .

About Carole Schiffer

Call Carole at (310) 442-1384

SchifferLine 15 August 2014

Timely Real Estate News………………………………………………….15 August 2014

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Online shopping grows, but hands-on Realtors are key to buying a house
Digital marketing and shopping have been flooding every sector of America’s retail and real estate industries. There was a Shopping cart - on line shoppingdire prediction in 2000 that 90% of retail sales would be done on the Internet by 2010. It hasn’t happened, but e-commerce today accounts for 16.9% of the total $4.5 trillion retail sales in 2013. But retailers have not disappeared from our landscape. In fact, studies are showing that shoppers in increasing numbers are “looking on line”, but are still going into “brick and mortar” stores to make their purchases because they want to touch/feel a product before they actually make their purchase.

In real estate, the growth of online real estate web sites and search engines underscore the move to digital marketing for real estate agents as well as home buyers and sellers as well. For example, the National Association of Realtors reported that 90% of home buyers searched online during their home-buying process. Real estate related searches on Google.com have grown nearly 300% in the last six years. And 36% of new home shoppers utilize a mobile device while watching television (really!).

online presenceAs for my online presence, I have dramatically seen an increase in the reading of The SchifferLine (the e-version), and I have grown my web site visits by over 250% during the past year. My Facebook page (facebook.com/carole.schiffer.realtor) continues to grow as well as I post original content three days each week. In other words, any successful realtor on the planet has to be in the digital game. And I am there!

So, how are buyers taking to all this digital marketing? We have discussed this in great detail at our weekly Coldwell Banker sales meetings in Brentwood, and what we are finding is that buyers who rely totally on online real estate services to search for a home discover — much to their chagrin — that homes that appear to be “on the market” are actually sold by the time they get to see their prospective home.

Working with knowledgeable and educated buyers is key for any real estate agent “worth their salt”. That being said, it is so much more effective and productive if — after doing their homework on line — buyers work with an experienced real estate agent such as myself to take the information and knowledge that the buyers has garnered on line, then show their clients the property, negotiate the purchase and nurse the transaction through to a successful close. Where your real estate agent really earns their commission is handling the negotiations and the close of escrow.

Another key point in online shopping is that photographs can be — and many times — are deceptive. The interesting showing_property_Aug_15photographic angles and omissions are amazing sometimes! Working with an experienced agent who knows the market and the inventory, will know which properties will really work for their clients and thus save a good deal of time in looking at properties that “just will not work”!

At Coldwell Banker, we have the most sophisticated, most up-to-date online services for searches and support for our buyers, sellers, and agents. Basically, my advice is: Don’t leave home without a qualified, experienced real estate agent on your team. Search online, of course, but when it comes to putting a deal together, you need have a realtor at your side.

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Westside sales activity still strong, but takes a drop in July….
The spring and summer selling season continue the Westside’s strong sales activity performance, although sales for the past month have slowed a bit. Sales activity for the five communities I report on — Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills Post Office, Bel-
Air, Westwood/Century City and Brentwood — was $1.841 billion in total sales for the first seven months of 2014, a 12.5% increase over the same period last year. Sales for 2013 through seven months were $1.636 billion.
Sales activity for July 2014 vs. July 2013, however, was down 22%, from $310 million for these five communities.

Median sales prices, however, continue their growth
We are still not back to our previous highs of the 2007 period when real estate prices reached their zenith on the Westside; however, we are enjoying a gradual increase in median sales prices for the five communities. Beverly Hills median sales prices were up 20% through July 31, 2014 to $4.150 million….Beverly Hills Post Office was up 15%to $2.100 million….Bel-Air was up 24% to $1.875 million….Westwood/Century City was up 24% also for $1.400 million, and Brentwood wsales_up_with_arrowas up 15% to $2.375 million.

These are very strong numbers as we have experienced past months where either Brentwood or Bel-Air suffered declines, but this past spring and summer we have seen strong activity in the number of homes sold across the board. Beverly Hills had six homes over $3 million in July — with the largest selling for $13.7 million. Bel-Air had four homes over $3 million and the largest sold for $8.25 million. Westwood/Century City had five sales over $3 million — one of its best performances for the year – the highest price was $6.6 million. Brentwood had five homes over $3 million with the highest selling for $12.5 million.

To give you an example, comparing June 2014 to July 2014, we saw that Westwood/Century median sales prices had a 46% jump while Bel-Air dropped 10%. Brentwood was up 2% over the previous month, and both Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Post Office were up 9% and 8% respectively. In my office, an agent had a home in Brentwood that was on the market last year, that just sat and sat, and after six months was finally taken off of the market by the sellers. A few weeks ago, it was put back on the market for a more appropriate price ($100,000 less), and was sold with multiple offers in days and will be closing in about a week!

While the recent sales activity was down a bit, we anticipate that the balance of the year will remain a good selling season. We have the buyers — no doubt about that. And “days on market” continue to drop, meaning that homes properly priced are not staying on the market long. The big variable is as always properly pricing the property. Because buyers are “shopping on line”, they know the value so as we are seeing time and time again, when a property is not properly priced for its condition, and/or location — it just sits, and sits. At the end of the day, these properties languish and end up selling for less than it would have sold if it had been properly priced to begin with!

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Life can be humbling…especially in a room of 3,300 agents
I want to be very frank with you: Being a successful real estate agent on the Westside of Los Angeles surely makes you feel success_summit_2014that you’ve climbed some very challenging mountains and so there is a sense of assuredness when mingling with other agents from around the world. Last week, I was humbled to be in a room full of 3,300 agents who are clients or potential clients of internationally known real estate coach Tom Ferry who brings us all together for our “annual checkup” each August. I heard such amazing stories about agents who are making big impacts in small markets where the average sale might be $250,000 – how they dominate a market with smart marketing, online and offline….how they can average over 100 transactions or more a year…and who utilize every marketing tactic available to them. In other words, there are some very remarkable real estate agents in our country, and frankly, I am very proud to be part of this industry. Creativity, hard work, and professionalism are the hallmarks of these agents. Bottom-line: One never stops learning and these conclaves have become a “must do” for me every year. Here’s to “never stop learning”. I love it!

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Housing prices are growing slowly, which is a good thing
If you’re scanning the Los Angeles Times or online newspapers, you’re seeing that home prices are still rising across the
United States, just not at the rate we have seen in recent months. An online reporting firm stated that home prices were still growing and of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, 97 recorded year-over-year price gains in July, which is not usual for this time of year (summer), and that we are now five years away from when the Great Recession ended in June 2009. Home prices were growing at an annual rate faster than 15%, and only the Inland Empire remained in the top 10 fastest growing markets for price.

slow_growthThe Inland Empire and many of its Highway 5 cousins from Modesto/Stockton south were the hardest hit in loss of home
equity during the early parts of the recession. Equity losses were as much as 75% in the northern part of California, and those areas heavily “under water” felt the effects of abandoned homes and shopping centers where boarded-up homes and weed-filled front yards were the norm. It was ugly.

Fortunately for the Inland Empire, increased prices are returning some of their lost equity. Prices in Los Angeles County
were up 9.3% (year over year) but just 1.6% over the last three months. As reported here in the SchifferLine, sales activity has slowed down when comparing July 2013 vs. July 2014 — a drop of 22% for the five communities I report on. But median sales prices remain strong, as I have said so many times, the Westside is unique unto itself. And that’s a blessing.

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Helpful hints to get your home ready to sell!
A top designer recently shared his tips for getting your home ready to sell….1) “Curb appeal. Enhance the exterior color and helpful hintslandscaping”. 2) “The front door is the first impression. Statistically, you have just eight seconds at the front door to get a favorable emotional response from the buyer”. 3) “Don’t create psychological barriers. Make sure placement of furniture encourages ease of walking into the room”. 4) “No clutter. Too many objects and the wrong scale furniture can easily distract the buyer from the room size”. 5) “Mirrors are a very important tool for opening up small spaces and bringing in the light, energy and views”.

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Remodeling my own home
As I have now lived in my home for the past 20 plus years, I have from time to time updated my house (kitchen, living room remodeling_bathroomwindows & doors, changing my skylight and of course interior and exterior painting). Many times when I am visiting someone’s home, I see things that I like and want to include in my own home. This past time I did some work in my Master bathroom, changing the floor, fixtures, cabinets, shower doors, and hardware. It has been an exciting and somewhat rewarding process; however I think made a mistake.. I really do not like the new cabinets… product and color… so while I will give myself a rest for a bit, I find myself once again looking at cabinets, styles and possibly even the floor! Bit of advice… please make sure the changes you are making are what you really want to spare yourself the hassle of doing it again.

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Invitation!here_to_help
Please do join me on my Facebook page (facebook.com/carole.schiffer.realtor) and let me know how I might assist you with any of your real estate needs, (currently I am working with some buyers on finding homes for themselves in the Venice/Santa Monica area as well as some condos in the Brentwood/Westwood/Santa Monica areas). Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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