June 2021 Monthly Note | Spiteful Zestimates Discouraging Adrenaline

Spiteful Zestimates Discouraging Adrenaline | June 2021 Note from Jim

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This month

  • Zestimates and such
  • Spiteful trees
  • Offers on Monday
  • Boundaries
  • Adrenaline and Real Estate
  • Discouraging



Zestimates and Such

From a client, in response to last month’s note

Since we’ve started thinking about the prospect of moving, I’ve been looking on Zillow and found a curious thing about their Zestimates so it was interesting to see you bring that up in your recent note. It seems that the Zestimates are way too heavily reliant on recent sales (or lack thereof).

We bought our house in 2012 for $280K and that’s the only data point for this house.

The house next door, built by the same builder and very comparable, sold several months later for $322K. But then 4 years later it sold for $420K. Right now the Zestimate for our house is $458K vs. $540K for the house next door even though I strongly suspect they’d both sell for a very similar price. Interestingly, this affects the city assessment too, which is currently $450K next door and $389K for us. (I wonder if our neighbor realizes this.) I think that one slightly more recent sale has skewed these numbers. We recognized early on that we ended up getting a pretty good deal when we bought our house, and it seems that’s continuing to save us on our property taxes.

Moral of the story? Question everything. Have questions about whether your Zestimate is accurate? Ask me.



Working from Home

My older daughter’s friend is going back to her office. I asked why, and the response was, “Her boss wants everyone back.”

But … why?

We’re in the midst of a fundamental societal shift. What do you hope changes?



The Farmer and the Trees

Many years ago, I was marketing a rural property. The neighboring farmer drove up one day in his old F-150 (the new one looks amazing), got out in his overalls, and we started talking.

I asked him if he’d mind if buyers cut down the pine trees bordering their properties so that they could take advantage of the amazing mountain views that were blocked by the trees.

His response floored me, and I continue to use this as one of my favorite stories and best descriptors of the value of a good neighbor. “Those? Sure. I planted those 30 years ago because your clients pissed me off.”

That is some rare and dedicated, spiteful, impressive revenge.



Monday offers

A common thing in our market for homes that are great, well priced, and marketable, is that the house will come on the market on Tuesday or Wednesday, showings start on Thursday or Friday, and offers will be considered/evaluated on Monday.

First, I’m seeing a shift to fewer houses doing this, instead seeing verbiage like, “If offers received, they will be considered on Monday.” Some new hedging, if you will.


I tweeted this recently

One of the more infuriating developments in this market:

  • House comes on market Wednesday.
  • “Looking at offers on Tuesday.”
  • Confirm with agent that offers are considered on Tuesday.
  • Thursday morning: House is under contract.
  • And that was the final straw for my client to give up and continue renting.

Agents: Don’t do this. You serve to invalidate the process, piss off agents and consumers, and help to erode the trust we all need in this thing that we do.

Sellers: If you say you’ll wait, wait.

Consumers: I’m sorry. We need to do better.




Adrenaline and Real Estate

A client recently mentioned how calm I seemed when we were navigating what could be seen as a stressful up and down experience. I sent her this.

Something I wrote in 2014, which itself was sent to me by a client who was an ER doc:

“Also, what you said about detachment … competence + empathy = disaster (I paraphrase) resonated with me. In my profession, you have to be competent…and you have to…or should…possess empathy…but you also have to know when to exercise the empathy…or you lose focus, and your judgment becomes clouded. For example, in the middle of a resuscitation (i.e. when a person comes in without a pulse…), you can’t break into tears…you have to be focused and be deliberate in your actions…or the patient suffers… I think the concept is the same in all…or at least many…professions.”



Set them. Learn to say no. Saying no makes saying yes to the right stuff easier. Recently, my younger daughter and I were talking about work, and she said something like, “don’t let work be all you have,” or something like that.


And Next Month

  • Finally going to get to “questions to ask parents before they die”
  • When to not negotiate



What I’m Reading


What I’m Listening To



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