With all of the bad news surrounding the California real estate market, you would think that most home sellers got the memo that things have changed. Apparently, there are still some sellers who think it is still 2005 and that none of these market changes affect them. Because I am “the giver,” I want to do my part to help some of these sellers realize that things have changed.

Here are some examples of how things have changed since that 2005 market:

Then: Sellers hoped for multiple offers on their homes.
Now: Sellers hope for multiple showings per month (i.e., more than one).

Then: Buyers wrote cute, heart-wrenching letters about how badly they want the house.
Now: Sellers write desperate, heart-wrenching letters to potential buyers hoping they buy the house.

Then: Listing agents put a “Coming Soon” sign rider on as soon as the sign went up.
Now: Listing agents put a “Price Reduced” sign rider on as soon as the sign goes up.

Then: Sellers informed buyers that they would look at all offers a week from Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Now: The lender informs the seller that their home will be sold a week from Tuesday at 4 p.m. on the courthouse steps.

Then: Smug Realtors would tell someone who works at Starbucks that they don’t make enough money to qualify to buy a home.
Now: Desperate Realtors working at Starbucks learn that they don’t make enough to refinance out of their option adjustable-rate mortgage.

Then: Sellers worried when their homes were on the market for more than five days.
Now: Sellers are relieved when their home sells after only five months on the market.

Then: Thirty-year-old homes with green shag carpeting and harvest gold appliances are “retro cool.”
Now: Thirty-year-old homes with green shag carpeting and harvest gold appliances are expired listings.

Then: Sellers wanted to interview three top-producing Realtors to list their home.
Now: Sellers have a hard time finding three top-producing Realtors.

Then: Homeowners used their homes like ATMs.
Now: Homeowners realize their home is overdrawn.

Then: Appraisers did drive-by appraisals, and didn’t even bother to go inside the houses since values were going up.
Now: Appraisers do drive-by appraisals and don’t bother going inside the houses because they want to avoid getting beat up by angry, unhappy sellers.

Then: Buyers bought houses “as is” with minimal or no inspections.
Now: Buyers order 27 inspections, including soil samples, air samples, written interviews with neighbors, deposition-style interrogation of sellers over the disclosures, satellite images (from multiple angles at different times of day), and a comprehensive inspection from that hyperactive guy on “Extreme Home Makeover.”

Then: Buyers had a minister or family priest bless the house after they closed.
Now: Sellers have a minister or family priest perform an exorcism on the house after it has sat on the market for eight months.

Doug Buenz is a real estate broker associate with Alain Pinel Realtors in Pleasanton, Calif. He can be reached via his Web site, 680Homes.com. Buenz maintains a real estate blog, The 680 Blog, which contains analysis, insights, opinions and commentary on the Pleasanton and Tri-Valley real estate market.

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