Don't Leave Your Common Sense at Home When Buying a Home in Land Park

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

shopping in land parkThe Land Park car wash people showed up over the weekend to wash my car, and I had forgotten to pull it out of the garage. So, I asked my husband to do it. When he came back into the house he asked, "When was the last time you had your car in for service?" Uh, oh. He said it shook vehemently upon starting and the engine light came on. Of course, when I later turned the key, it was fine, but that dang engine light is still on. I wonder how long I've been driving with the engine light illuminated?

I sure hope it's not time to buy a new car. I probably deserve a new car, but I don't have the time to shop for a new car. Too many choices. It's very time intensive to shop. Believe it or not, I rarely shop. I buy almost everything online, never step foot into a grocery store -- because my husband handles the meal planning and grocery runs -- and, if I must buy clothes, I favor a specific designer's line. Shopping is pretty much a leisure activity. When I have time for leisure, I don't spend it shopping.

Now, looking at homes, that's a different story. I love to show property. That's because a home is more than four walls and a roof. It's a collection plate of memories and emotions -- past, present and future. Buyers tell me they know within 3 minutes of entering a home whether they want to buy because "it feels right." So I try to pay close attention to the way a home feels. In fact, many senses are involved. Sight is only one.

After listing a short sale in Natomas this morning and attending a closing in Midtown this afternoon, I am showing homes in Land Park, which I dearly love. Thank goodness I can borrow my husband's car. I find that buyers for homes in Land Park sometimes pay too much attention to the characteristics of the home, its architectural detail and curb appeal, and sometimes not enough attention to the most important sense of all -- common sense. Because price points for homes in Land Park can be all over the map. Some are priced too high so it's easy to overpay. Even in a market with HVCC which, knock on wood, is being revised. As a Land Park agent, I've listed and sold homes for a few sellers that probably should have never sold for the prices buyers paid. I live in Land Park. I know what's market and what's not.

Common sense says a buyer should ask his or her agent to look at the comparable sales before writing a purchase offer. In this market -- heck, in any market -- it makes sense to also look at the pending sales and active short contingent prices because they are indicative of the way the market is moving. The low-end market in Land Park is being hammered at the moment. Some homes are for sale at prices lower than their comparable sales. That gives me something else to focus my attention on than whether my car is about to explode.

Photo: Big Stock Photo

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

If your car explodes, I highly recommend the Camry Hybrid.  I love this car.  I will never own anything else as long as they keep making it.  As for your keen sense of the Land Park market, new buyers sometimes have a hard time wiith looking at comps before writing offers.  But you and I know that you have have to have a target to know where you are going to aim.

Jul 26, 2010 03:30 AM #1
Terri Adams-Scott
J. Rockcliff, REALTORS - Walnut Creek, CA
Realtor, Walnut Creek CA Real Estate

Sounds like you need a higher-tech that talks to you when something needs attention!  Ha!

Common sense...I think this is something a REALTOR should automatically do without their clients asking them.  When we specialize in a certain area, we have a good idea when something is not priced right.  I know that, you know that...but the buyer needs to 'see' that in the form of comps. 

Now that your clients are being taken care of, go get your car checked out!  It's fire season and we don't need your car exploding!  Ha!

Jul 26, 2010 04:37 AM #2
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

The check engine light is often just from a faulty sensor, particularly the NOX sensor. Take it to your favorite automotive shop...or find one that will come to you. It's probably not going to be an expensive repair. As for comps, I want buyers to know everything that has been going on in the market in the recent past. That includes not just raw sales numbers, but some analysis of what is behind the numbers. That's where we are earning our keep as buyers' agents. If the sellers can manage to fool some buyers, shame on the buyer's agent in that transaction.

Jul 26, 2010 06:47 AM #3
Cari Anderson
Danville, CA

Elizabeth: I agree - shopping is a leisure activity and one I wish I had more time (and money) for! How lucky that you have a service that comes to you to wash your car - I read the linked post about them and it's a great convenience for your area.

Jul 26, 2010 07:50 AM #4
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Elizabeth.....If the check engine light is not a malfunction and you've been driving for quite awhile with it on, maybe a new car is in your future.  I agree that looking at the entire market to ascertain the correct value of a property is just plain smart for any buyer.

Jul 26, 2010 09:03 AM #5
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

That's why I love my Honda Accord- over 100,000 miles and it still starts everytime I turn it on. Thank heavens, because I hate car shopping. If this one ever goes, I'll just go and get another Honda, maybe in a different color!

But shopping for houses, that's another thing.  I love to show buyers houses! And I do comps on every house they're interested in. They need to know what a realistic offer is before they start lowballing the sellers too much!

Great post.

Jul 26, 2010 10:22 AM #6
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Elizabeth, Don't ignore that check engine light. Sometimes we get so preoccupied in our busy lives. You have to take some time out for the necessities too.
After hearing of all your successes on short sales, and I am sure other types, you can afford to reward yourself.

But don't neglect that big piece of metal that helps you get around.

And we HOPE that the HVCC is being revised. There is nothing in stone yet.

Jul 26, 2010 11:02 AM #7
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Ugh - I just spent a bundle having my car fixed. I can't afford to have it break down while showing property. New cars are EXPENSIVE and you are right, that mandates a lot of research.

Jul 26, 2010 11:12 AM #8
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Elizabeth:  I've had the "check engine" light come on before in the past and it's been inexpensive to fix ... so don't panic yet and don't head out looking for anything new until you had your present car looked at.  You bring up another problem not so easily faced though ... and that's the possibility of being able to appraise a sale out.  It's becoming a bigger and bigger problem that is happening more and more frequently for me.  THIS issue needs to be addressed immediately ... if not sooner!  Good luck with the car prognosis ...


Jul 26, 2010 11:29 AM #9
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Elizabeth, you probably need to assign another job to Adam.  He should be in charge of car maintenance along with the cooking.  Bet he'd love it!

Jul 26, 2010 03:26 PM #10
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey, that check engine light cost me $250 to fix, no joke. It was the number one spark plug wire. Two hundred and fifty bucks for a wire? I asked if that was the "number one" wire, what about the number two wire, number three wire . . . were those replaced? Nope. Because they might not go bad. I would have paid to have them replaced, though, if Stephens Service had called me to discuss it because the last thing I want is to be stranded somewhere. My service guy, Tom, says Mercedes is rolling out a new computer and software for the 2011 cars that will cost $40,000, not counting software updates. So I can sort of see the $250 fee for the computer to diagnose the problem. Whatever happened to the good ol' days of a mechanic sticking his head under the hood and tinkering around?

Jul 27, 2010 02:21 AM #11
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Hey Elizabeth - You can buy a car on-line.  When I bought my new Toyota Camry, I went on-line, determined what I wanted loaded on it, and the color.  I also made certain to check prices.  I then emailed Folsom Lake Toyota, and told them when they got the car in stock, to let me know.  A few days later, their internet salesperson called me to let me know it was in.  The only thing left was to haggle on price - which really wasn't any haggle at all.  The salesperson asked "How much" and I said, I'll pay $500.00 over Invoice.  Make certain to ask for the invoice - it is quite different than the dealer sticker typically pasted to the car windows.

There was no quibble, and I was in and out of that dealership within an hour and a half.

Jul 27, 2010 03:19 AM #12
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