Business / Economy

What is it with HOAs, Zillow, and the San Benito County market?

The latest snapshot of San Benito County real estate

What is it with Homeowners' Associations?

If you live in a condo, townhome or planned community you probably have a Homeowners' Association (HOA). This is an entity managing the landscaping, painting, maintenance of common areas, etc. When you buy in one of these developments, you automatically become a member of the association and pay dues which pay for day-to-day expenses and reserves for emergencies. 

All this is good. But when you go to sell your property, you will be legally required to provide your potential buyer with all the pertinent information about your association.

And guess what? You pay hundreds of dollars for this information and wait for up to 10 days.

I question that. Isn't all this information on their computers? Should they not be able to send it to you almost immediately with the click of a button via email? What should be that expensive about the process?

In the twenty years I have been a Realtor, the change in technology in my industry has been tremendous. But the HOAs are still doing business the same way they did in 1995. Really? REALLY? Yep. A copier and five reams of paper. 

What is it with Zillow?

As Realtors, we applaud the information found online by our clients. It helps them be better informed buyers and sellers. But what to do when that information is inaccurate?  

The LA Times did a good piece on the problem. When the info found on a real estate website is not accurate, it causes buyers and sellers to think they are pricing too low or buying too high.  After all, they read it on Zillow! But Zillow says they have a median price error margin of 8 percent. Many agents have done studies indicating it is indeed higher than that. And in rural counties across the U.S., the error margin is even bigger.  

And clients often call us to say they want to look at a specific home or property, only to find out it was sold weeks, months or even years ago. This disappoints the consumer which is never a good thing.

The Internet is good, but your local Realtor is better. 

What is it with the Real Estate Market in San Benito County?

Whoa, doggies! Good question. As of late afternoon Feb. 10, there were only 92 properties for sale in the county listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  They range in price from $159,000 to $8.8 million.  Since the beginning of the year, nine properties have closed escrow and changed hands. Currently, there are 90 properties going through the sales process.

What does this mean for you, the consumer?  It means if you want to sell your home, you should jump on it now while there is not a lot of competition.  If you want to buy a home, you will want to get all your ducks in a row (like pre-approving your mortgage) so you can put in a competitive offer on the home you want.

Either way, you should talk to a real estate professional early on in the process. They can help you avoid costly mistakes. How many homes have you sold in your life?  How many has a seasoned agent sold?  You probably could use a mentor here!

It's a good life.

Nants Foley is a Broker Associate (CalBRE 01222234)with Flora Real Estate Group in Hollister, CA.  Contact her at 831.801.5110 or email [email protected]








Nants Foley - Broker Associate

Nants Foley is a real estate broker DRE 01222234 and writer who works throughout California. She makes her home at Quicksilver Farm in San Benito County.