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Hindsight is 20/20 – what do you wish you had done differently?

Friday, June 13th, 2014
Issue 24, Volume 18.
John Occhi, Mike Mason
Special to the Valley News

So you just moved into your new Temecula house after months of online research, followed by another month or two of searching for the perfect home every weekend with your real estate agent, and yet another six weeks in escrow jumping through hoops with your mortgage company and you’re feeling like the whole experience is anti-climactic and you’re wondering why it doesn’t appear to be one of life’s greatest moments.

You are not alone according to a recent survey published by Chase Bank which found that about 9 out of 10 buyers went into the process feeling like their ducks were in a row and that they were prepared for the ordeal and yet 56 percent of them wished they knew more about the process, especially the financing.

It’s amazing how powerful the internet is and how much we, as a population, have come to depend on it for everything. It’s almost impossible to fathom the world without an internet today. It would be like giving up our cars – we just can’t survive without it.

The truth is I don’t think the real estate industry could survive – certainly we could not thrive like we do today. And yet, the internet is full of outdated and misleading self-serving information everywhere we look. We do our Google searches for all the right key words and we find what appear to be relevant results and we dive into the websites that have been instantly provided to our fingertips…and what do we find?

It seems like most of the REALTOR® sites are agents screaming how wonderful they are as you look for the picture of them walking on water. Sure, they need the business, but so does everyone else. They all have (or should have) one thing in common – the ability to search California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) sponsored Multiple Listing Service (MLS); and that’s important.

What about third party searches?

If you spend time on any third party searches, they have convinced you that their data is better than the actual MLS. They claim to pull information from other sources as well. What better source is there than the MLS? These third party sites are notorious for leaving listings active in their database for months, even years after ownership has changed.

What about the free automated price valuations? Do you think that’s valuable? Well it is to the third party sites, but no one else – at least no one else who makes a living in real estate.

Read the fine print and you’ll be shocked by what they will admit. Here is a quote from Zillow on the accuracy of their Zestimates – "Nationwide, Zestimates are currently within 5 percent of the final sale price 38.3 percent of the time." That’s a hard pill to swallow, and yet so many rely on this as the gospel truth.

Did you get the right house?

The Chase Bank Survey reported that 39 percent of all homebuyers wish they had chosen a different house.

They would have preferred a different size home than what they bought; or they wish Advertisement
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they were in a different price bracket (and surprisingly, that doesn’t always mean less); others just wish they were in a different neighborhood, or even a different city.

Over one third (34 percent) of the surveyed homebuyers found out that maintaining a home was a bit more expensive than what they planned, and over half (51 percent) "got that sinking feeling" once they realized the actual ongoing maintenance costs.

What is even more revealing is that the quest for the "turn-key" home usually doesn’t turn out like one plans. Four out of five new homeowners considered their new home to be "move-in ready" and yet 76 percent of new homeowners have either completed or are in the planning stages of a significant renovation.

Regrets…I’ve had a few

Sounds like the old Frank Sinatra song. Unlike Ol’ Blue Eyes who had too few to mention, Trulia did their own survey about a year ago (March 2013) asking homeowners if they had any regrets on buying the home they bought. Well, they did mention a few…

* Over one third (34 percent) of homebuyers regretted not buying a larger home;

* Over a fourth (27 percent) wish they "had done more remodeling on the home" than they had;

* More than one out of five (22 percent) regretted not having "more information about the home" before they purchased it;

* Nearly one out of five (18 percent) wished they had "made a larger down payment" than they had;

* A significant number (16 percent) of new home owners regret not being more financially secure when they bought their new home;

* A number of new homeowners (15 percent) have regrets about the commute and wish they lived closer to their work.

All real estate is local and your REALTOR® should be, too

With the vast amount of information available at our fingertips it’s easy to become overwhelmed. We have more computing power in our smart phones than NASA had in 1969 when they sent the Apollo to the moon, so it’s no wonder we think we are so


The problem is it still takes an expert to interpret the data – trust me, I will never attempt to send anyone on a trip to the moon. With that being said, why is it typical consumers consider themselves to be local real estate experts because they have access to data? I’ll never know, I


Yes, the role of a REALTOR® has evolved from having exclusive information on which homes are for sale to becoming the expert at analyzing local real estate data and understanding local trends. In addition, REALTORS® provide months of self-directed internet research that makes sense so you can buy the home of your dreams with no regrets.

Call us today and get the information you need to make the right decision. The information is free, call now at (951) 296-8887.

Questions regarding available inventory and/or other real estate matters please contact me, Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR), Traveling State Director, California Association of Realtors® (C.A.R.).



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