Slide Image

SCSH Real Estate News

Now you see it . . . now you don`t!

SCSH Real Estate Activity, April 2021 -- The story of the real estate market in our valley and here at SCSH is one of scarcity and pent-up demand. Only 31 median days on the market for properties here and most often, much less. They are selling within 1% of asking price in general and sometimes OVER asking price when there are multiple bids. This is true all over the valley and elsewhere around the country.

For buyers the message is: If you see something you like, you should make a solid offer backed by cash and/or pre-approval from a verified lender. Don`t waste time! Otherwise, you will lose your chance.

For sellers: Tidy up and make the property ready to show. Know where you are going to move. Be prepared to move out in 30-60 days at most because once you list your property, it is likely going to sell soon and for a record high price!

Below are a few details for you from April`s statistics.

Selling? How to Make Your House Look Great in Photos

Improve your home’s shot at a sale by maximizing light, removing clutter and refreshing plants before the photo shoot.

A house hunter’s first view of your property is often online, and if the photos of your home’s listing don’t impress, you probably won’t get a second chance to lure in that potential buyer — meaning your real estate photos are valuable assets when it comes to selling your home.

The following tips can help your home put its best foot forward on picture day.

Check out agents’ listings.

Before diving into photo-day planning, it’s important to be sure your real estate agent is prepared to deliver quality listing photos.

Study a potential agent’s listings to get a feel for the quality of the photography.

Here are a few questions you may want to ask about how the agent handles photos:
Do you use a professional photographer?

If you take the photos yourself, what do you use — professional camera and tripod or just a cellphone?

Will the agent or photographer bring in additional lighting if needed?

How much time is typically allotted for the photo shoot?

What can I do to make my home look its best in photos?


Higher Demand, Fewer Homes, Driving Shadow Hills` Prices Up

On May 1, 2020, there were 89 homes on the market in our community. On May 1, 2021, Shadow Hills hit a 12-month low of 19 active listings.

Nevertheless, there were 30 homes sold last month compared to 19 at this time a year ago.

One surprising aspect of SCSH’s sales surge during the pandemic was that home sales reached a 12-month high of 35 properties in December, a month in which normally sales drop because of the holidays.

Conversely, a 12-month sales low of 11 units occurred in May 2020, a month in which home sales in our area usually are peaking.


 Prices Moving Up  

Further evidence of demand exceeding supply at Shadow Hills is higher sale prices. 

Last year in April, the median sales price was $307,000 while last month the median topped $472,000!

Of note were two sales last month in $650,000 to $699,999 range.

The year before, the highest were 2 sales in the $550,000 to $599,999 bracket. 

Last month at Shadow Hills, homes generally sold for almost 100% of their asking price, which implies multiple, full-price or higher offers.

The average days in the Multiple Listing Service has dropped to 50 from 81 days during the past year.

At SCSH’s current sales’ pace, it would take only 0.79 month to sell our entire home inventory.

In April 2020, our absorption rate was 4.4 months.


Clean the windows and open the shades.
Ample light can go a long way toward


making your home shine in photos, so get those windows sparkling clean, and open the shades and curtains wide.


Perk up the houseplants.
Fresh green plants add a feeling of life and vibrancy to interior photos. Ailing plants, not so much. Trim away dead leaves with a pair of sharp scissors. Dust large-leaved plants with a soft cloth. 


Remove counter clutter.
Gleaming, clutter-free counters will make your kitchen look more spacious. Put away everything, then clean counters well. It’s fine to leave out one or two small appliances, such as the toaster and coffee maker, but stash anything extra, as well as small appliances that have seen better days.

Polish wood floors, clean grout on tile, shine up appliances.
Wood and tile floors can be a major selling point, so be sure they look their best in photos by treating them to a thorough cleaning, and finish with a product that is safe for your floors. The same goes for those stainless steel appliances — using a product designed for stainless steel, buff the surface until it gleams.


Hide toiletries and freshen bathrooms.
Aside from a fresh bar of soap at the sink, the bathroom should be completely free of toiletries — too many products crowding the sink and shower suggest that there’s not enough storage space. Pull open the shower curtain, clean the mirror, put the toilet seats down and turn on the lights. Remove old towels and put out fresh, fluffy white towels if you have them. If not, just leave the towel racks bare. 


Neatly tuck in the bedcovers.
Photographs seem to pick up every little imperfection, so spend a few minutes straightening up the beds on picture day.

Fluff up the pillows, pull the bedcovers taut, and clear away clutter and personal items from the bedside tables.

Do a photo-ready walk-through. The aim on photo day should be to make your house look as spacious, clean and inviting as possible — so it’s in your interest to declutter as much as possible.

Here are some under-the-radar items you may want to stash before the photographer arrives:
Shoes in the entryway
Piles of mail and paperwork
Remote controls
Kids’/adult toys that can’t be neatly put away
Front-of-fridge clutter (magnets, cards, etc.)


Switch on all lights.
Unless your home is flooded with natural light or you know that your real estate photographer will be using portable studio lighting, the general rule is to turn on all lights.

Don’t assume that photographers will do this for you because they may miss some or may not find every switch. So, take a moment before you go to turn on lights and double-check that curtains and shades are pulled open as well.

  •   Pet food bowls, beds and litter boxes boxes (temporarily move these to an area that won’t be photographed)

Highlight special features.
Have a lovely working gas fireplace or an outdoor fire pit? Make sure it’s lit on photo day.

Likewise, if you have a hot tub or a pool in the backyard, make sure it’s uncovered and clean for the photos.

Focus on the first impression.
This isn’t the time to worry about major landscape changes or reviving a dead lawn.

Instead, focus on the quick fixes that will make a positive impression in a head-on photo of your home.

Deadhead flowers, rake leaves, clear away porch and driveway clutter, and set out a few pots of blooming flowers. You may also want to leave your own car parked in front of the house until the photographer is ready to shoot the street view — otherwise you could wind up with your neighbor’s SUV blocking the shot!


Last but not least, check that all outside areas are neat and tidy, with outdoor furniture in place, tools put away and garbage cans tucked out of sight.

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz.com Contributor





April Fool: Christine likes grapes but not potatoes. She likes squash but not lettuce, and peas but not onions. Following the same rule, will she like pumpkins or apples?

For the first five correct entries, we donate $10 in each of the winners` names to the Galilee Center in Mecca which helps impoverished families with food baskets, rental and utility assistance and other essential needs.

Answer: Pumpkins. Christine only likes things that grow on vines.

We congratulate Ellen Gold and Barbara Ross who provided the only correct answers to this difficult puzzle. Let`s see how all of you Brainiacs do with May`s riddle (evil laughter heard in the background).

May’s Riddle: Where does today come before yesterday? 
For the first five correct entries, we donate $10 in each of the winners` names to the Galilee Center in Mecca which helps impoverished families with food baskets, rental and utility assistance and other essential needs.



Bonnie and Hank Steele began work as Realtors in 1983, They have successfully listed, staged and sold homes in suburban New York City, St. Simon`s and Sea Island, Georgia, and the Palm Springs area. To sell your home safely in the shortest possible time at the highest possible price, call 760-219-1450