As a Northern California real estate expert witness and veteran of the business, I have seen many clients hurt by the very person who should have been protecting them. The following true story, from a real estate legal dispute where I was the plaintiff’s expert witness, illustrates how much damage the wrong agent can do and why you need to be extremely thoughtful when you choose one.Read More
Tag Archives: Buying
By Don Dunning | June 17, 2016
At a time when real estate prices are at an all-time high, understanding quality is essential. Despite this, homes which lack important benefits and features are sold for recording-breaking amounts every day.
Although home buyers have individual preferences, real estate professionals view certain attributes as adding value and, conversely, specific deficits as diminishing value. There is a long list of variables, some more relevant than others. These need to be recognized by sellers in pricing the property and by buyers in deciding how much to offer.Read More
By Don Dunning | April 29, 2016
In sports, particularly basketball, analytics is the study of every conceivable aspect of a player’s performance. This includes how often he shoots, from where, accuracy from various positions and distances, and a long list of other variables. There is heated debate about the degree to which this information correlates with a player’s value to his team.
Analytics has come into vogue, mainly in the past five years, with the advent of sophisticated computer measuring techniques. Similarly, there are now numerous algorithms that relate to buyer lifestyle preferences and the cost of owning a home in relation to various features and systems. As in sports, there is a question about how valid these measures are and to what degree they should or will affect future home buying decisionsRead More
By Don Dunning | October 9, 2015
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
– Warren Buffett
As a buyer, it is hard to say “no” in a seller’s market where it appears that waiting will cost you a lot because prices are rapidly rising. When working with buyers, I suggest they avoid properties with problems that diminish value. Although location is the key determinant of value, the pressure of the market allows too many other considerations to be brushed aside by buyers.
The following are some concerns that either cannot be rectified, or, even if they can, the cost would likely not make sense.Read More
By Don Dunning | February 23, 2015
“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”
– Thomas Berger
Buying and selling real estate continues to get more complicated. The questions sellers and buyers typically ask their agents are not necessarily those that will help them avoid trouble or get them the most useful information.Read More
By Don Dunning | December 16, 2014
“Change is such hard work”
– Billy Crystal
Reams of small-font paperwork can cause your eyes to water and brain to swell, yet you need to understand what you are signing. There is a new, ten-page, California Association of Realtors residential purchase agreement containing numerous changes that could make a difference in your next real estate transaction.Read More
By Don Dunning | November 5, 2014
“There are many shortcuts to failure, but there are no shortcuts to true success.”
– Orrin Woodward
When a real estate agent takes shortcuts this often compromises the position of the person he is representing. Sadly, it is common for some agents to skip necessary steps to protect their buyers and sellers; this is not doing the best job for them.Read More
By Don Dunning | June 21, 2014
“Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.”
– Jeff Cooper
Few buyers think about safety when purchasing a home. Some items, like “trip hazards” outside the house, or hitting one’s head walking down stairs to a lower level, are worth noting. Nothing, however, compares to the danger and possible disaster of you or family and friends being badly burned or dying of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is something that can happen in rooms used as bedrooms that are unsafe for sleeping.Read More
By Don Dunning | January 24, 2014
As a Bay Area and East Bay real estate expert witness, I continually see specifics of how agents fail their clients. I have written many articles about agency because it is the most important function of a real estate licensee. Unfortunately, few buyers and sellers understand what an agent should do for them and too many licensees are not clear about agency.
Clients, usually buyers, generally find this out when it is too late and it has cost them money and heartache. This has not changed in my 34-plus years in the business.Read More
By Don Dunning | November 25, 2013
If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.
– Michael Crichton
2013 has been an excellent year for sellers because low interest rates and insufficient inventory have led to high prices. Buyers, conversely, have found this to be a challenging real estate market.
I hear many opinions about local prices. With so much information online, it is easy to draw conclusions, but are they correct? Some say prices have surpassed highs of our previous seller’s market, others think not.
To answer this question, I chose three popular Oakland zip codes, 94602, 94611 and 94618, and charted Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics back to 2005, the peak year for closed sales.Read More