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Fighting Over Dirt

Posted by John Hathorn on February 20, 2020
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According to a recent Harris Poll survey –

77% of home buyers and 71% of home sellers say they’ve argued with a loved one during the process. That seems like an accurate stat to me.

I wonder if Lauren Sanchez and Jeff Bezos got into it when he paid $165,000,000 for his new Beverly Hills pad a few weeks ago. The house cost him just 0.13% of his net worth. Then he bought the one next door for $90M. Maybe if Jeff and Lauren argue, one of them can go next door for a time out.

Btw – Did you know that Jeff Bezos has pledged $10 billion towards fighting climate change through his new foundation. Starting this summer, the Bezos Earth Fund will help back scientists, activists, non-government organizations and any other effort that “offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” (WSJ)

Back to arguments –

It’s not surprising to me that cracks in relationships appear under the stress of buying or selling expensive things like real estate. I have seen it firsthand.

Once when in the middle of a negotiation where I was repping a Seller, I thought we were down to waiting just a few hours for the signed acceptance of a soft counter offer to the Buyer. After not getting it back, nor hearing from the Buyer’s agent overnight, I got worried. When she finally called back, she told me that her the Buyers were not accepting the counter. I was shocked and disappointed. Initially she would not give a reason (nor was she required to provide one). I finally practically begged her for some insight as I needed to be able to tell my clients, the Sellers, something. She finally said that they were splitting up as a couple- that the process of what to buy, when to buy and what to spend got the better of them- they were calling it quits from each other and breaking up. This was a first for me. I made sure that the agent knew how sorry I was for them and said that maybe they just need a break- to step away from it, take a beat and then reconsider. She didn’t think they would. Lucky for us, she was wrong. They did patch things up a few days later, signed the counter offer and the escrow closed a few weeks later…and lived happily-ever-after.

Another, more personal story; when my wife and I were selling our previous home I called her one morning and asked if it would be possible to show the house that day at 4:30 (not a good time for families with little kids like ours at that time). Wife was cool and said, ‘sure no problem’. Later that day when I got home for dinner at 6:00PM-ish she was glaring at me and finally said “Well???”. I replied, “Well what?”….“Well how was the showing”, she asked. I told her “oh, yeah, sorry, it’s not for them”. They didn’t like it. She then said “Do you even qualify these people? Do you know what I go through to get this house ready for a showing? Do you know that they were in and out of here in less than 5 minutes! That’s right, I took the dog and the kids for a walk around the block and they were leaving before we even got to the corner! That’s it! No more showings!”

Oof! I had forgotten that my wife was not a real estate colleague and that I needed to treat her like the homeowner / client that she was. Most real estate people know that most showings are duds and I was treating her like a real estate person and not a client.


DID YOU KNOW? Millennial habits have the potential to impact real estate trends moving forward. Here are some things that are changing amongst this generation (and remember not all millennials are the same):

1)  Millennials use doorbells less and less, preferring to text when they arrive. Most live in apartments, not houses.

2)  Millennials are not using traditional large gyms as much as smaller, more specialized gyms.

3)  Millennials do not use landlines, cinemas or napkins the same way older generations have and do.


DID YOU KNOW? Solar power costs less to generate in India than the cheapest competing fossil fuel—coal—even with subsidies removed and the cost of construction and financing figured in, according to the Indian government and industry trackers. Technological innovation and falling solar-panel prices have made solar power inexpensive enough to compete on its own with other fuel sources in some regions when it comes to newly built plants. That could turbocharge the growth of renewables in the global energy industry, especially in fast-growing Asian markets where much of the world’s energy infrastructure expansion will take place….and where much of the world’s worst polluters exist. 36% of the world’s CO2 emissions come from China and India (Both countries comprise 36% of the world’s population and 21% of the world’s GDP. Several recent Pence Hathorn Silver listings and sales have solar panels on the roof by the way 😊.


Here is some more pertinent real estate info:


The least expensive home sale listed on the MLS in the 90402 zip code in the last year was 430 7th Street. This was for a 2,149 sq ft home on a 6,220 sq ft lot that closed at $2,450,000.

The most expensive was 306 Georgina Avenue a 4,459sq ft home on a 21,107 sq ft lot that closed for $9,250,000.

The fasted sale happened at 421 17th Street with a sale price of $6,749,000 after a reported “zero” days on the market. Of course, what this means is that the players were negotiating well before the house was on the MLS and once it closed, it was reported to the MLS for comparison purposes.

The sales so far this year have been brisk. My new listings on 22nd Street, and 18th Street sold within 10 days of hitting the market. We had multiple offers on both of them and both have sold for full price, or more.

There are currently 11 active listings ranging from $3,188,000 (326 9th Street which is expected to sell with multiple offers by the end of next week) to $13,499,000 (436 Georgina Avenue which has been on and off the market since May of last year).

There are 5 properties currently under contract.

Three closings since my last blog:

716 21st Street– Sold for $2,875,000. Originally listed for $3,500,000.

1531 Georgina Avenue– Sold over asking for $4,352,000. Originally listed at $4,295,000.

533 24th Street– Sold for $4,480,000. Originally listed last March for $5,150,000.

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