The real estate market is the focus of Thursday’s Judge’s Breakfast – Lake County Record-Bee.

CLEARLAKE—Thursday at the Judge’s Breakfast in Clearlake, guest speakers David Hughes, manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and Mary Benson, Realty 360 Wine Country broker, discussed several aspects of the housing market, including current trends and statistics, tips for building your home, and some recent news. Selling Blocks.

From her position on the board of directors of Lake County Realtors Benson began writing monthly market updates sharing, “I’m looking at what I’m doing: What’s the average price in different cities? And how does it compare to a year ago? I go back a month in a month and see how many homes are on the market, how long it took to sell, and what the city is like.

Benson went on to say that 89 homes sold in Lake County in the past 30 days, compared to 122 at this time last year. “We’re all seeing a decrease in the number of new people looking to buy agents,” she said. Benson went on to explain that the average price last year was $328,000 and is currently in the $300,000s, and the number of days on the market went from 17 last year to 23.

“We’re not getting the same type of buyer anymore, we’re getting a different type of buyer, so I think last year we were getting a lot of top sales and we had a lot of cannabis buyers. Last year they were saying, ‘I want something on 20 acres and I want a house that can get the permits, and that’s a million.'” It used to be a dollar or more. Now they’re all sold out so we’re not getting those kinds of sales.

Since the market has changed dramatically in the past year, Benson has some advice for sellers. “If you’re ready to sell your home, be prepared for it to take longer, and be prepared. One in four chances are they’ll do an inspection and come back and say you have this, this, and this, and we need you to give us more money to fix all these things. Closing costs have increased by $600. You’re willing to sell.” Price reductions to show are now necessary, and changes in insurance have become more difficult to not only increase prices, but also to play a role in market changes.

Benson added, “I get calls from people who want to sell their homes because they’re being priced out because their insurance is too high.” Some residents have their insurance exceed $10,000 a year, an expense that no one expects, especially in retirement. “One of the most important things to always remember is when a fire district wants to get your support to expand, don’t support them and let them expand like they did in the Kelseyville area and then complain,” said District 2 Bruno Sabatier. Insurance is a very oxymoronic situation.

David Hughes discusses some shutter sales and how they may not be what they seem in pictures or descriptions. “I got a good example which was taken from the market yesterday. “I had a condo in Lakeport near Lake St. that had a landslide about 12 years ago, and that house had a vacate notice in 2013,” he said. “It has been empty for nine years. Fannie Mae tried to get me to sell it for $75,000. I had 30 calls in the first two days in the market but once I spoke to the guys I told them the mistake – we don’t have any offers. That’s why Hughes thinks inspections never hurt, and a buyer has the right to inspect in a traditional contract, though it can go either way.

The Judge’s Breakfast is held every Thursday at 7 am at the Clearlake Senior Center. Next week’s guest speaker will be Marilyn Wakefield from Adventist Health and more information can be found on the Thursday morning Judge’s Breakfast Facebook page.

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