Meadows Blog

This BLOG is designed to pass information to residents of Hidden Meadows in a more timely fashion than our monthly newspaper. The opinions are those of the author(s).

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Name: Allen Hemphill
Location: Escondido (Hidden Meadows), California, United States

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Real Estate Broker 32 years, former CEO KBSC-TV in Los Angeles, Chairman, Oak Broadcasting System, Core Adjunct Prof. of Computer Science for 14 years

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Perhaps the time has come...

Perhaps the time has come to resurect this Blog:

I have been a real estate broker for more than 30 years -- I am not an investment broker!

I know that it is the common perception that real estate is an investment – it is not. At least not primarily. Your spouse is not an “investment!” Your car is not an “investment!” Your jewelry in not an “investment.” They are all good, and useful, but you did not purchase them as an “investment.”

There are two times when you should check the value of housing, when you buy your first home, and when you sell your last home to move to a retirement center. In between, a home is to keep you warm and dry -- but if you want to move the value of your house AND the value of the home you are interested in buying are most likely both moving in the same direction, at about the same speed!

No one should move just for the heck of it -- in any market -- but if you have sufficient reason to move, the house you are buying probably went up (or down) by the same amount!

That said, if you want to buy in this market – get an outside appraiser and offer 10% less, with the premise that if the home stayed on the market, unsold, that would be the September price.

If you wish to sell, get an outside appraisal and price your listing at NO MORE than that number.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


After years of laboring in the fields at the RB Sun, I have agreed to write as a regular columnist at the Pomerado Newspaper chain -- the Poway Chieftain, Rancho Bernardo Journal, The Corridor, etc.

Basically, my column will be published twice as often, and have six times the readership each time.

While this is a good "career move" for me, it is with some regret that I leave the RB Sun who published me for many years.

A new chapter has been opened...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December Real Estate

The real estate market is not getting any better, or worse for that matter. It is stable at "bad."

The good news is that other areas are selling, and in fact some are selling pretty well considering this is always the slow time of the year. Even in the meadows, a few REALLY well-priced homes continue to sell, although at a $50,000 or more reduction than last year or the year before.

Still, if you must sell, you can do so. My opinion is that the maket is stable, just at a lower rate than previously.

AFTER the Christmas Holidays, we can better analyze the market. Nothing much happens at Christmas -- although I did once sell a home on Christmas Day. If a Buyer really needs a home, no day is sacrosanct.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mid November Real Estate

Mid November Comments

As the old saying goes, where you stand on an issue depends upon where you sit -- and when someone is going bad they think the world is going bad...

Jean and I have been working North Poway and Rancho Bernado and we are doing well -- so we would naturally think the "market" is doing well. We have seen the Zip Code 92128 market go from 230 listings to 197, and many of those are actual sales. We had just four people through an Open House in an early November Open House, which is not bad for a Saturday -- and more importantly three of the four were semi-serious. Right now we have $2.2 million in Escrow.

BUT, Hidden Meadows is still dead, and it will remain so at least until March. The RB market has to decrease the inventory substantially before HM gets to its feet.

Last month I thought that time for HM would be almost 18 months away, but I think now that it is POSSIBLE for that turnaround to be as early as March.

Buyers have been out of the market for months, but people who could hold off buying for months may not be able to hold off for years. cannot wait forever. People who commute and need new and closer housing cannot wait forever. People whose fortunes have changed and can now move from a condo to a single-family home cannot wait forever...

There is some pent-up demand. How much and how soon, we don't know, but at least there is a change in the RB market...and we can only hope for a change in this market in March...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mid October Analysis


The reality check is here, and new homes being listed/relisted are being priced more realistically to meet the market. So far this month, one home sold at auction for $449,900 and one has had a price change to $450,000.

Obviously, no one is losing money, except from the paper profits they had hoped for, but the reality is that housing is a market, just like commodities and stocks, and like all markets, the housing market goes up and down.

Still, it would be hard to lose money in this market. It is very possible to not make as much profit as anticipated. If Sellers do not need to sell, this is a good time to wait out the market. We will know more about the market in February/March.

A home was sold on Indian Creek on Sunday, August 8, for $449,500. It was 2,200 s.f. – a 3/3 with a waterfall and a Jacuzzi. It was a pretty nice house.

That sale is obviously NOT the norm – few people have to auction off their home, and they are usually in some dire straight financially.

I do not know the details of the reasons this particularly home was auctioned off, and at such a low price, but the history of the home is interesting. It has been on the market a long, long time – and it has gone through numerous Realtors.

That home was a relatively nice home, but like many custom homes it was designed primarily for the person who built it. It was not a bad design…it just was not an ideal design. The home was in generally good shape – not absolutely perfect, but pretty nice.

But it had been vacant for a very long time. With so many homes vacant there may be others.

It is an object lesson, demonstrating the difficulty of selling a home today in the Meadows. And this personal message to any Sellers who are considering changing Realtors – it is the market, not your Realtor.

We are Realtors, not Magicians. Right now no one can do much. Anyone willing to sell WELL below what they think is the market, can probably sell.

Here are many local offers of increased commissions and trips to Hawaii for the selling Realtor. Cars, and swimming pools for Buyers.

Nothing works if there are no Buyers. They do exist, but they are rare in Hidden Meadows.

If you must leave a home empty, seriously consider leasing your home for the next 18 months

Thursday, August 31, 2006

From Bad to Worse -- Then Comes Winter!

The market continues virtually without sales in Hidden Meadows, and even well-priced homes do not sell. Worse yet -- now comes the winter period when things always slack off.

Without question, the newer listings have recognized reality and have been more rationally priced than has previously been the case but it makes little difference because there are simply no Buyers at (almost) any price.

Our next big opportunity will be in late February, but homes listed today are flying in the face of reality.

Last week I showed 11 homes to a Virginia couple with whom I have been dealing for several years. Some of those homes were well-priced, but my Virginia couple had no need to jump -- those same homes will still be available in December when they return and they may even be reduced in price.

In effect, even Buyers who are serious do not HAVE to buy...and, in truth it is in their enlightened self-interest to wait unless they find something that is just too good to pass. Buying homes is not like buying blouses -- you can't take it back if it doesn't fit, and at a million dollars a copy the Buyer had better be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN>

When there is pressure that someone else may take the house before you can make up your mind, that tends to focus the mind. Right now, there is no pressure to buy. None.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mid-August Market

The market in Hidden Meadows continues to disappoint, and the cool time of the year (and the market) is right around the corner.

Some localized markets continue to sell, but those are ones in which there is some "draw" -- beach and school districts come immediately to mind. Once the beach weather is over and children are safely in schools, their markets will also slow until the lure of the beach or a good school invades the consciousness.

I have been working out of our Rancho Bernardo office for several months, and it is apparent that the Poway Unified School District is a great drawing card for that area. Their lowest scoring school rates higher than the highest scoring Escondido school!

It makes a difference. There is also a "hand in glove" relationship between Realtors and the school district -- each supports the other, and it works for both.

There is simply nothing left until next year to generate any need to buy. Right now, even that 3.000 s.f. brand-new home on Pinion Trail that was reduced from $920,000 to $729,00 HAS NOT SOLD!

(That tells you how bad it is!)

At some point, hopefully next year, the urge to buy will return and so will the general market.