Real Estate Insanity

Living in ‘Silicon Valley’ is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is the zaniness of the housing market. Having grown up here in the 60’s and 70’s, I was oblivious to this phenomenon, thinking that it was normal. That is until I moved to Arizona for more than a decade and returned.

When we returned in 2014, we knew that we were in for a shock. When I moved away in 2003, the condo I bought in 1999 for $249K, sold easily for $350K, an amazing return on my investment.

the original stove
The stove when we bought the house – note the drip trays

We bought our current house in 2015, and we got lucky. The prior owners were absentee landlords, had moved to Texas, and wanted to liquidate this property to re-invest in Texas. Thus, they spent absolutely no dollars on tarting the place up. The back yard was a mess, trash, debris was everywhere, and two of the fences were original (nearly 50 years old). The kitchen appliances were low end Roper’s that were disgustingly dirty. Hell, the floors were even dirty, so they hadn’t even done a good post tenant “cleaning”

47 years old, long past its best-by date, the fence was first to go

It was listed on the market for $675K, we offered $695K (knowing that you had to go above asking in this market), and we won the house. When we had the appraisal done, and it came back at $725K, we knew we had gotten a pretty good deal.

A significant contributing factor to the insanity here is the limited inventory of properties for sale. There are truly far more people in the market to buy, than there are houses for sale. That has driven the market to new heights. Houses just like ours, are selling for $1M now.

And that gets me to the point of this post. The lack of inventory means that agents are scrounging through their “territories” looking to find houses to list. In the last few weeks, we have had several ring our doorbell, drop flyers, mail us pleas to “sell”, and a lot of persistence.

Average days on the market is less than 10, anything listed under a million dollars is a hot property. I hardly need Zillow to tell me that my neighborhood is a “HOT” market.

But, should I succumb to temptation to cash out of my house, where the hell will I move? I can’t afford to buy a bigger house. I also don’t want to trade a worse commute for a nicer house. Hell, Morgan Hill and even further south in Gilroy doesn’t buy me enough “better” to make this move. I would have to move out of state.

Seriously, do these door-to-door efforts actually lead to people listing their houses?

Besides, if we ever did decide to sell, we would contact the agent we worked with to buy this, the absolutely amazing Derrick Oh.

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