There is an interesting relationship between a broker and a licensee.  Their perspectives are curiously shaking-hands-by-beneath-b1ue-skiesskewed in different directions, even though their goals appear to be the same.

An agent’s career is all about promoting themselves and being responsible to their clients needs.  Their days are filled with the day-to-day concerns of showing property, holding open houses, writing and negotiating contracts and attending inspections of every kind.  When they aren’t working on specific escrows, sellers or buyers, they are dedicating their efforts towards making sure their name is out there prominently in the public arena.  The one thing that an agent is not concerned about is being certain that their broker is happy and content.

A broker’s concerns couldn’t be more different.  A broker is concerned with the day-to-day issues of legal updates, contract reviews, the solving of their agent’s problems.  A broker’s responsibilities are to their agents.  Education, technology and the most up-to-date information is pivotal in making certain their agents are as equipped as possible to deal with the daily issues they face.  The one thing that a broker is concerned about over everything else is that their agents are happy and content.

So, who is responsible for your success?  Both of you.  An agent is an independent contractor.  This means they are responsible for how intelligently they conduct their business.  Part of the choice they make is selecting a broker who reflects the kind of business model that is most like their own.  The broker then is responsible for giving the agent the kind of atmosphere that can promote the very best in what the agent has to offer.

So, next time an agent grumbles because a broker isn’t giving him/her business, they should think long and hard…who is responsible for their business?  Are they really looking for someone to blame for not doing their best? And the next time a broker is disappointed in the production of an agent, maybe they should think long and hard…is the broker giving the agent the best atmosphere for success?


Photo from Flickr by Beneath blue skies


We have, for the past several years, been advocates of preparing a home for a maximum sales price.  We remodeltook a buyers view and weighed what improvements and changes were needed in order to have a quick, yet profitable sale.  These updates quite often included paint, flooring, new light fixtures, maybe a kitchen or bath update, landscaping, etc.  It was never questioned as to whether these things would gain the seller a better listing and sales price….until now.

A new fact must be added to the scale.  Time.  Yes, there are still things we should do to maximize the sales price.  Paint? Absolutely.  Replace stained or worn carpet? No doubt.  Update kitchens and baths…maybe.  In a day when sales prices are dropping by 20% and 30% or more, we need to weigh how long it will take to complete these updates against the continuing drop in sales prices.  Upgrades that take a week or two are certainly a positive move.  Upgrades that take a month or two?  Probably not.

We must no longer assume that all upgrades are a good idea when preparing a home for the market.  We are not doing our sellers any favors by continuing business as usual…because our business is not “usual” any more.  Next time your seller asks what they should do, think long and hard about the time element…it could make a significant difference.

The Sacramento County Tax Assessor, Ken Steiger, spoke to the Finance Forum of the Sacramento Association of Realtors this week.   In it, he spoke of 10 things every property owner should know about their property assessment and taxes.  I thought it would be a great list to share with fellow Sacramentans.

  • Land and Improvements can only be reassessed if there has been a change in ownership, new construction or a decline in value.
  • If you are an owner occupant you may qualify for a homeowners exemption on your property.  This is currently a $7000 reduction ($70 savings per year) reduction from the assessed value of your home.  This can be checked on your tax bill to find out if the property has one.
  • Remodels or repair and replacement of existing items on your property do not cause reassessment unless you have renovated the building to the extent it becomes substantially equivalent to a new building.  Additions are assessed at fair market value.
  • Refinancing does not cause a reassessment of the property.
  • Any transfer between spouses will not cause a reassessment of the property.
  • Declines in value of the property resulting from a natural cause (fire, flood, earthquake) or market declines can reduce your property assessment temporarily until the condition is remedied.  Requests and/or applications for reduction can be made with the County Assessor. *You can do this yourself…don’t buy into the offers of doing it for you for a fee!)
  • Supplemental Assessments occur whenever a change in ownership or new construction occurs.  These are sent separately from your annual October bill.  Since they are not paid automatically through your impound account, be certain to either pay it yourself or contact your lender to see if there is enough in the impound account for them to pay it.
  • Transfers of title between parents and children, or in certain circumstances Grandparents and Grandchildren, may be excluded from reassessment if an application is filed with the County Assessor and certain conditions are met.  Each individual owner can transfer property up to 1 million dollars worth of assessed value in addition to their primary residence to their children/grandchildren.  In these uncertain times of government budgets, check with your CPA or the Sacramento County Assessor to find out if these numbers are current.
  • If one owner of your residence is 55 or older, and you purchase a residence of equal or lesser market value within the same county (there are some other counties who honor this…check to find out the counties that cooperate), you may transfer your old property tax base to your new property, if an application is filed with the County Assessor and certain conditions are met.
  • If you have a concern that your property is assessed too high, you can contact your County Assessor’s office to try to resolve the issue.  If this doesn’t bring the results you want, you can file an appeal with your Assessment Appeals Board under the County Board of Supervisors.  You must file the appeal within 60 days of the date the bill or notice was sent, or for the annual main roll bill, between July 1st and November 30th of each year.

Now, if you have further questions, the Sacramento County Tax Assessor’s office has an award winning website at  Feel free to check it out!