The below is an article by Craig Knizek that appeared in the November 2012 issue of Ventura Blvd magazine.
The real estate market here in the San Fernando Valley and LA’s Westside is undergoing a robust rebound from the multi-year lows of the past recession. Buyers are once again encountering the all too familiar scenario of frenzied bidding, often competing with multiple investors whom are offering all cash.
The Federal Reserve’s recent announcement that they were going to expand their quantitative easing initiative by purchasing mortgage-backed securities will, in my opinion, inflate real estate assets, particularly so here in Los Angeles. Since “cash is dead” earning less than inflation, investors are being forced to make their money work in other asset classes, with real estate being a smart, and safe, choice. Owner/users, or “retail buyers” (someone actually looking for a home to live in) have a daunting task to try to stay ahead of the professional real estate investor, find an available home, and act quickly.
These factors, along with the dearth of inventory, creates an atmosphere of intense competition for desirable properties. That’s a primary reason for a buyer, all buyers, to be working with a full-time professional real estate agent. It doesn’t cost the buyer anything for this valuable service. A good agent will also provide their buyer client with information about upcoming inventory, often before it hits the market. This gives the buyer client a tactical advantage to go by the house, see where it sits on the street, check out the neighborhood -“see” the house, even before there are photos or available access.
Another tactical advantage a sharp agent provides to their client is information about off-market inventory, or “pocket listings.” This is a situation where for a variety of reasons, the seller does not put the house on the MLS, but has an agent marketing the home for sale nonetheless. There is no sign on the property, nor are there any open houses. The Listing agent informs other agents in the brokerage community about the property, and will arrange private showings with qualified buyers thru their agent. Thus, the active agent, who constantly stays in touch with other agents, is apt to know of this privileged information. This type of “off market” marketing scenario does not provide bargains for the buyer, but rather an opportunity to purchase something that the majority of the marketplace doesn’t know about. It also relieves the buyer of the competitive pricing pressure that multiple offers presents.
Although this quiet marketing strategy usually doesn’t produce the quickest results or sometimes even the best price for the Seller, there are a variety of reasons that may choose to pursue this less efficient route.
Sometimes the seller doesn’t want their family or children to be aware. Or the Seller doesn’t want to endure the hassle of Open Houses, but wants their broker to show the property only to vetted buyers.
These “off market” listings are leading to a great many transactions for the fortunate buyer who has access to the information.
Craig’s newest listing, 16144 High Valley Place, is a gated 6,500 sq ft estate on quiet cul-de-sac in prime Encino’s highly coveted Royal Oaks Estates and close to Studios, shopping restaurants and the Westside. The exquisitely maintained home offers a flexible floor plan including 3 downstairs bedroom suites including original master suite and spacious living and family rooms opening to the lush private grounds.