Frequent Single Family Home Advice

As good income properties are growing harder to find these days (though not impossible!), the single family home market is picking up. Here’s some advice I give most often to home buyers:

1) If you need a loan, you also need to plan for 15-30 years of mortgage and expenses. Bidding wars are scary for buyers. A good agent will have your financial interests at heart. I make sure my clients can handle all their new expenses, and my first job is helping you plan for them.

2) Being aggressive in this market is just as important as getting on the good side of sellers. Coming out strong doesn’t always mean the highest price, it could also mean the best terms. And you can only discover the best terms (rent-backs, escrow periods, inspection times, etc) if your agent knows how to read and approach each listing agent in their preferred way.

3) Manage your emotions. Buying a house is an emotional business, and falling in love with a house that’s not yours (yet) makes you do funny things. A good agent helps you keep perspective.

Please reach out if you are looking!

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A Review from a Client

I know I sometimes bash Zillow, but I also don’t mind getting nice reviews from clients. While I don’t talk about single family homes much because there’s so much more nuance to multifamily income property, this client benefited from my “investor’s approach” to home buying, including a lot of due diligence:

“From the first phone call to closing, David was exactly what I hoped to find in a realtor: professional, reliable, insightful, thorough, and a true advocate every step of the way. He was always prompt in his responses and easy to contact. I thought it would take me a year or more to choose and  close on a house, but with David’s guidance and pro-active approach, I was able to find the perfect place and close in less than three months.

Along the way, David connected me with countless people who moved the process forward: a great lending company, home inspectors, roofers, a geotech specialist, and many more. David also functioned as a liaison between me and the seller’s agent, which was much appreciated. My questions were always answered right away. He was a well-informed, well-connected, unflappably honest voice of reason. Anyone lucky enough to have him as an agent will understand why I bothered using so many superlatives in this review. He’s a great, very smart guy who looks out for people. If I ever move, I look forward to working with him again.”

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“Bullish on Drones”

Los Angeles Magazine wrote a piece on drones which features Yours Truly. The funny thing is, you’d be surprised how many listing agents won’t shell out for drone footage. Of course, all of my listings get drone videos for free, if requested.  Here is the paragraph in the article about real estate:

Comparatively inexpensive aerial footage is also changing the way real estate agents market properties, whether palatial estates in Beverly Hills, starter homes in Echo Park, or condos in downtown L.A. “It’s not like every buyer needs a drone video, but you don’t want to alienate anybody because they feel you weren’t selling them hard enough,” says Coldwell Banker realtor David Brundige. He’s so bullish on drones that he formed a company last year,, with a former airline pilot.

Of course he didn’t quote the part of my interview where I describe the value of videos in marketing a property. The truth is, certain properties are served better from drone footage than others, depending on what that drone footage reveals. I’ve even used a drone to scout the roof of a property for a buyer. That could reveal good things or bad things. When you market a property, it’s always about what you want to highlight. Drones provide a special angle, and one that can pay off if used correctly.

Here’s the article. Here’s a video for my listing that sold for $130,000 over what top agents at my brokerage considered an ambitious listing price:


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Add 40% for Zest

spencer-rascoffs-former-homes-historical-zestimates-768x621According to this recent article that’s been going around my office, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold his Seattle home for 40% less than its Zestimate this year.

Why are real estate agents happy? Because one of the most common obstacles we face in pricing a house is the owner saying “but my Zestimate says [40% higher than the actual price].” Now there’s ironic proof that Zillow plays games with us.

Why does Zillow inflate prices? If you think your house is worth more, you’re more likely to sell with them. This is the fallacy: “If the Zillow agent thinks my house is worth X => he is more likely to get me X.” I know agents at other firms who are famous for this, as well. To them, if they win the listing, they don’t mind having their name outside your house for eight months while you reduce the listing price down to its actual price, eventually. It’s free marketing for them, and in the end, they still get the commission.

Why don’t I do that? My clients are smart, and finding actual comparable sales is part of my job. When the evidence is there in front of you, I don’t have to do any convincing. I don’t stress about Zillow or Redfin or any of that. I’m not a flashy agent so I know my clients come to me for knowhow and honest feedback.


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Speaking of Single Family Homes

If anyone knows someone in the market for a mid-century modern classic in Brentwood, 1115 N. Norman Place is on the market for $2,450,000.

If you ask any Brentwood agents, this property will move fast. Check out for details.


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