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My mission at Brett Jennings Real Estate is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, I can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Selling Your Home For Up To 18% More - Part 1 - Preparation

How are we able to consistently sell homes for up to 18% over the market average? Here are the first two steps.

How can we sell your home for 18% more money on average? I know it sounds like a bold claim, but over the next few videos I’ll walk you through the process to show you exactly how we do it.

This process was developed between 2011 and 2013 when I worked with an investor client to buy, sell, and remodel over 150 homes. The investor wanted every last drop of equity out of his homes, so it was my job to look at all the houses and find all those little details that could affect the final sale price of the home. This experience led me to develop this time tested and proven system. There are five main areas we focus on. Today we're covering the first vital step.

There are five main areas we focus on.

So what is the first step in this process?
1. The preparation of the home. Homes that are prepared well for the market, often referred to as “turnkey homes," are selling for 5% to 7% more than the rest of the homes on the market. There is more demand for these homes simply because the average buyer is using every last penny just to buy the home. They typically don’t have a lot of funds left over for remodeling or repairs.

When it comes to preparing the home, the first thing we want to do is an upgrade analysis. We’ll take a look at your home and find out where we can put money in and get a big return. We’ve had a lot of success putting $2,0000, $5,000, or $10,000 into a home and getting $10,000, $15,000, or $20,000 in return. We’re getting anywhere from a 200% to 400% return when we strategically put money into a home like this.

The second important piece of preparing your home to sell for more is to get the inspection done upfront. Once you receive an offer on your property, 80% of the negotiating power flips to the buyer. They get to have their own inspections, make their own requests, and get their own estimates. By getting an inspection done before you list, we can find out what’s wrong with the home and get one of our contractors to repair it at a third of what the buyer’s contractor would charge.

If you want to know what particular cosmetic updates or improvements we recommend, be sure to check out one of our past videos about the 5 home improvements to boost your home’s value or the five key updates you can make to boost your home’s curb appeal.

If you have any other questions for us or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a call or send us an email. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we’ll talk about presenting your home to the market.

Should You Sell your Home or Buy a New One First?

How can you sell a home when you also want to buy another? Today, we’ll go over four options.

Juggling two real estate transactions can seem like a daunting task. In fact, one of my most
frequently asked questions is about how to sell a home while also wanting to buy another.

Many people are confused about the right way to approach a situation like this. Should you buy first or should you sell first?

Truthfully, there are four ways you can navigate this kind of situation.

The first way is by having something called a contingent purchase. What this means is that when you go out onto the market, find a home you like, and make an offer, you will include a condition on your offer that states that it is contingent upon you listing and selling your home.

To put it simply, this tells the seller that your offer will only be valid in the event that you are successful in listing and selling your own home.

However, with Silicon Valley currently in a seller’s market, buyers are facing a lot of competition. Any home you place an offer on will likely be receiving several other offers that are free of contingencies. Unfortunately, this puts your offer at a disadvantage.

The second route also has to deal with contingencies. However, with this option, you sell your home first. In a contingent sale, you, as the seller, would tell the buyer whose offer you’ve chosen that you will only proceed with selling your home once you have successfully closed on another, yourself.

Completing two transactions one after another may be easier than you think.

While this still isn’t the best option, it is better than the first. Sellers have a lot more power to utilize these kinds of stipulations in today’s current market.

Even though this second route is better than the first, our next option is even better still.

A bridge loan is another way you can achieve the feat of completing two transactions one after another. With this solution, you will get pre-approved for your new home while taking equity from your old to help with financing. The drawback to this option, though, is that it will require you to have quite a bit of income.

Finally, you might also consider negotiating a rent-back. By taking this route, you’ll place your home on the market first. This is the most common option and is also very, very effective.

Basically, when you receive an offer on your home, you’ll negotiate with the buyer on an amount of time during which you can rent back your property while looking for your next.

We’ve personally helped dozens, if not hundreds, of homeowners using this process. Completing two transactions one after another may be easier than you think.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

4 Ways to Get Multiple Offers When Selling Your Home

If you want to generate multiple offers for your listing, I have four tips to help you get there.

There are four things to consider to get multiple offers for your home when you put it on the market.

First, you have to prepare your home for sale. Do all the things you’re seeing in some of the best-looking homes on the market. Well-prepared homes are selling for a premium of 5% to 7% more than their asking price. They’re also the homes most frequently getting multiple offers. Some tasks you can do include decluttering, sprucing up your curb appeal and landscaping, and touching up on your home’s painting.

Second, price your home for value. By this, I mean position your home in the market by looking at what other homes are listed and where they’re priced. Your home needs to be the best-looking and best-priced home in order to generate multiple offers, and that typically means pricing lower than your competition.

Multiple offer strategies only work in a low-inventory market.

Third, set an offer deadline. Tell buyers that they can come with offers, but you won’t review any of them until your deadline, which will be seven to 10 days after (ideally) two full weekends of open houses. Our research tells us this is when your home’s marketing peaks with the amount of buyer traffic.

Lastly, know the market before employing this strategy. Multiple offer strategies only work in a low-inventory market. Fortunately in Silicon Valley, we’ve had chronically low inventory, so many listings often end up with multiple offers. There is some seasonality to our market, though, which tends to create a lull near the end of summer.

Also, know what the trends are in our market. Are prices rising, flattening, or falling? Typically, this strategy works best in a rising market, or when prices are steady.

If you have any questions about how to garner multiple offers for your home or you’re thinking about putting your home on the market and need help with a preparation plan, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be glad to help.

5 Ways to Win a Multiple Offer Situation in Silicon Valley

If you want to win the bid in a multiple offer situation for a Silicon Valley, consider these five things.

If you want to buy a Silicon Valley home but you find yourself in a multiple offer situation, there are a few select things you can do to ensure you win the home you want. Consider these five things:

1. Know the competition: Your agent should try to find out how many bids you're competing against and how many disclosures packages have been downloaded. About a quarter to a third of the number of disclosure packages downloaded, will indicate how many offers you can expect to face.

2. Know the market: What's the average list-to-sales price ratio in the neighborhood for the two or three most recent home sales? If homes there are selling for tens of thousands of dollars over asking price, you want to be prepared to offer that much over list price. This might make you concerned about overpaying, but in a market where values have appreciated by 10% a year, you'll easily recoup that extra 2% you're offering in a few months.

Remove as many contingencies as possible to make your offer more enticing.

3. Consider removing as many contingencies as possible when writing your offer: If you're working with a lender, get a full loan approval so you can make an offer with no loan contingencies. If you have a property contingency, you have a couple options. If the seller has provided inspections, review them first. If not, ask the seller's agent if you can do your inspections before making an offer. That way when the time comes to make an offer, you won't need an appraisal contingency or a loan contingency.

4. Get personal: Write a personal letter to the seller telling them why you love their house and how excited your family is to live there. You'd be amazed at how effective this is. We've seen scenarios where a letter was the tipping point that caused our buyers to win the bid despite not even being the highest dollar bid.

5. If you don't win the bid, get a written backup offer in place: Offer prices can escalate quickly in these situations, and sometimes that No. 1 buyer backs out of the deal. A written backup offer will put you first in line if that happens.

This all works if you have a great agent working on your behalf. If you'd like to talk more about buying a home in our market or you're thinking of selling your house, give me a call or send me an email soon. I'd love to speak with you!

We Have a Pie with Your Name on It

Our 4th Annual Pie Giveaway is coming up soon. Here’s how to pick up your free pie.

As a way of saying thank you to all of our friends, family members, and clients, I’d like to invite you to take part in our 4th Annual Pie Giveaway.

We’d like to offer you your choice of either a pumpkin or an apple pie to take with you to your Thanksgiving dinner. This year, the event will take place at my home on Tuesday, November 21st from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Stop by for a cup of hot chocolate, cider, or champagne and pick up your free pie!

We feel very blessed to have all of you in our lives, and help you through your real estate journey in this crazy place called Silicon Valley. Though the job can be demanding at times, we love serving you and feel that we are creating better lives for our clients through real estate and better lives for ourselves as well.

We look forward to seeing you on November 21st!

If you’d like to request a pie, just send us an email and let us know in the subject line whether you’d like pumpkin or apple. Once we get your email, we’ll send you my address so that you know where to pick up your free pie.

Once again, we’d love to thank you for your referrals and support. Our business is growing stronger every year, and you all are a major part of our success. Happy Thanksgiving and we hope to see you soon!

Is the Silicon Valley Market About to Peak?

What is happening with Silicon Valley real estate in the early months of 2016? To find out, it’s important to look at what drives the industry, the economy, and jobs. Nationally, we’ve seen strong job growth, and here in Silicon Valley, it’s been amazing. Here’s what we’ve seen in the last year:

  • 55,000 jobs were created.
  • 34,000 people moved here.
  • 5,559 new permits were issued for construction.

As you can see, the amount of permits for construction falls well below the number of people who have moved to the Silicon Valley area. This has resulted in a shortage of 25,000 homes, which has only exacerbated our already low inventory. The result was the big run up in prices we’ve seen so far this year.

I'm expecting the Silicon Valley market to top either late this year or early next year.

If you want to know where the market is heading, it’s important to take at the five things that drive real estate:

  1. Sales: The number of sales in our area spiked in 2012 when the real estate market bottomed. We’ve seen a decreasing number of sales since then.
  2. Available inventory: The reason sales were so high in 2012 was that there were many homes available. The recession forced many homeowners to sell their homes, and many were scooped up cheaply through short sales and foreclosures. Since then, we’ve been hovering around 1.5 months of inventory, which is astonishingly low.
  3. Prices: As mentioned before, home prices bottomed out in 2012; the median price of a Silicon Valley home at that time was only $551,000. As the market recovered, home prices appreciated rapidly up until 2015, when the median homes price was all the way up to $845,000. That’s a 40% increase in housing prices in only three years, a number that is not sustainable in the long run.
  4. Interest rates: The reason prices have been able to run up is because interest rates have remained relatively low. However, now that the market has made a strong recovery, the Fed has announced their plans to start raising rates -- the only question is when. Most experts anticipate rates to increase throughout 2016 and into 2017.
  5. Affordability: Rising interest rates, of course, will negatively affect buying power. Back in 2013, 36% of first-time home buyers could afford to purchase a home. That number has decreased each year to the current number of only 16% affordability. Last time we saw this kind of decline, affordability dropped to 11% and the market topped.

So, what does all of this mean for 2016? First, I think that sales will continue at a steady pace (+2%); second, I predict prices to continue their rise (+7%) because of the low supply and high demand of homes; third, interest rates are going to continue to steadily rise through the 4% ranges; and lastly, I think that the rise in home prices is going to drop the affordability rate below 15%. I’m expecting the Silicon Valley market to top either late this year or early next year.

Historically, the US economy goes through seven-year cycles. Since the last market top was 2008, we’re due for another one. If you are a buyer, we highly advise against trying to time the market because the longer you wait, the higher interest rates are going to increase. Think of it this way: If the market dips by 10%, and interest rates only rise 1%, your monthly rates will be the same. In other words, if you’re ready to buy, there’s no reason to wait -- get in the market now while rates are low.

If you plan on selling, this year would be a great time to do so. Prices are on the rise and there is a massive shortage of homes in the Silicon Valley area. This demand doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so we recommend selling your home before affordability drops and home prices peak.
If you would like additional advice, information, or real estate assistance of any kind, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always available to help you make a better life through real estate!

Join Our Client Concierge Club

Lately, many people have asked us for recommendations for an architect, contractor, designer, landscaper, and CPA. Of course, we know great professionals we can hook you up with. In fact, we have a particular resource better than Angie’s List, Craigslist, and Diamonds Certified,

Over the last eight years, we’ve curated a preferred vendor list for the surrounding Los Gatos area. We want to share this list with you. It’s easy! Just text BJREX to 38470. You’ll receive a link to download our Homekeepr, complete with the five-star vendor list.

Additionally, the app will connect you with our exclusive Client Concierge Club. It’s an amazing group reserved for our previous clients, friends, and family. It includes some fun events and giveaways throughout the year. Most importantly, it’ll offer you discounts on premium home goods and services from notable brands including Wayfair, Restoration Hardware, Sonos Audio, and Vivint Home Security.

The app will connect you with our Client Concierge Club.

As a token of our appreciation, we’ll send you a Client Concierge Club card preloaded with $5 Starbucks credit. This is our way to express our appreciation for your endorsements, referrals, and overall support. Don’t miss out on a free cup of coffee and more savings!

If you have a question about real estate in the surrounding Los Gatos area, give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to serve your local real estate needs!