Million-Dollar Nabes

Pricey listings flock together in cities like San Francisco and San Jose; the low square footage factor.

In some parts of the country, $1 million buys a starter home.

Nationwide, 4.6% of homes are priced at $1 million and above, according to an analysis of home listings by real-estate website Trulia.

In San Francisco, a whopping 43.5% of listings are priced at $1 million and above. Fairfield County, Conn., ranks second, with 29.7% of homes listed over $1 million, followed by San Jose, Calif., with 25.7% of listings topping the million-dollar mark.

“In terms of million-dollar listings, there has been a huge, huge influx,” says Paul Ybarbo, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco. “If you’re in a nice neighborhood and live in a nice building, it most likely will command a million-dollar price point.”

According to Trulia, San Francisco homes listed for roughly $1 million have a median size of 1,774 square feet, but can be much smaller. Mr. Ybarbo has a $1.15 million listing, currently under contract, for a one-bedroom apartment in Nob Hill that measures just over 1,000 square feet.

Do the million-dollar listings translate to million-dollar sales? Typically, homes that sold for more than $1 million made up 1% of total U.S. home sales for the past decade. Since mid-2013, that number has risen to 2% of all sales, says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogicCLGX -1.27% which specializes in mortgage and real-estate information. He expects the percentage of million-dollar sales to continue increasing so long as the stock market continues to improve and interest rates remain low.

Mr. Khater points out that two of the top three locations for high-price listings—San Francisco and San Jose—have thriving tech industries. “That says a lot about the changing nature of the economy,” he says.

The spread between markets in the share of million-dollar listings is much larger than the spread in other home-price measures, like price per square foot, says Jed Kolko, chief economist and head of analytics at Trulia. “The prevalence of million-dollar listings shows how different the markets are at the extreme high end,” he says. “Million-dollar listings are 50 times more common on Long Island [New York] than in Rochester, even though the median price per square foot is only 2.5 times higher.”

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Over the course of the last 25 years, Executive Homes Realty has developed a reputation as one of the most successful real estate agencies in the San Francisco area. The founder of Executive Homes Realty, Joseph Sabeh, has been named the premier realtor in residential sales on seven separate occasions by the Southern Alameda County Association of Realtors, indicating that he exceeded $20 million in sales in each of those years.

There are a number of steps an individual must take in order to become a professionally licensed real estate agent. The first step towards a license is, of course, education. Aspiring agents will need to a pass a license examination, so it’s critical to study the required material.

The second step, selecting a brokerage or real estate agency, must be completed before obtaining a license. After that comes test time – the individual must complete both a national and state exam in order to gain a license, and test fees can exceed $200.

After joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and becoming familiar with the local market, new agents should expect to spend at least $1,500 on new clothes, business cards, additional sales and real estate courses, and more. After that, all that is left is to build a credible portfolio.

Preparing a House for Sale

Committed to high-quality customer care and service, Executive Homes Realty has been a prominent luxury real estate company in the Fremont Tri-Cities area since its founding in 1989. With a highly-skilled team of contractors, agents, and interior designers, Executive Homes Realty works closely with clients to ensure that their homes look appealing and desirable to buyers.

When selling a house, it is common for many individuals to overlook what the house looks like. This is unfortunate, because appearance plays a vital role in a potential buyer’s decision making process. It is important for a house to look maintained and inviting in order to get the best price possible and to attract buyers. However, sellers should spend as little money as possible when preparing the home, completing minor touch-ups instead of full renovations.

The interior of a home should be cleared of all clutter and should be thoroughly cleaned. If there is too much in the house, it can distract buyers, preventing them from picturing their own furniture and possessions within the home. Repainting dingy or strongly colored walls with a neutral color can also help attract more buyers, as can replacing old and stained carpet. Since many buyers are looking for a home that is ready to inhabit, the idea of having to repaint or install new carpet is frequently off-putting.

When it comes to the outside of the home, the lawn should be watered regularly, cut, and edged, and hedges should be nicely trimmed. Cleaning and aligning the gutters further improves curb appeal, as does repairing damaged roof shingles or loose siding. Old vehicles should be kept away from a house while it is on the market, the front door should be freshly painted, and the garage door should be closed.