I'm a newcomer to the whole real estate buying process, but regardless, I have asked for and gotten (albeit reluctantly) "Lot Lists" from each of the Tri Valley builders I have visited. The lot lists generally show current and future phases by Lot ID, Block ID, Street Address, Plan Model, Base Price (as appraised), Lot Premium (if applicable), Model Upgrades, Easments (if applicable), etc. I match that information to the publically available list and sales prices to conduct a base analysis. With all due respect, I would expect that any Real Estate Agent would do the same, at minimum, given their relatively high commission rate.
Regarding emotion, I have a solid professional background in decision science and will say that ALL major decisions are tainted by emotion. It's the job of the professional (whether Doctor, Lawyer, or Real Estate Agent) to minimize the emotional impact and ensure that a wise decision is made based on specific circumstances and profile of the person involved. In my opinion, any professional who relies on emotion as a pivotal factor should be summarily dismissed.
7076 Emerson Lane Brookfield Santorini to T. & B. Shimizu for $1,134,500 (Plan 3)
7082 Emerson Lane Brookfield Santorini to D. Nguyen for $1,080,500 (Plan 1)
7090 Emerson Lane Brookfield Santorini to R. & J. Lee for $959,500 (Plan 2)
For a plan 2, I would start around 950k, depending on the upgrades.
As for the market in Windymere, I don't think it's stablizing. We are seeing some sales, but prices continue to fall. Once the foreclosure floodgates open, you will see another drop. Right now, you're seeing homes around 3k sqft going for about and below 800k. Those homes are in nice conditions with good upgrades. 3500sqft homes are about 850k. With homes closer to 4000sqft in the high 8's or low 9's. There was a Sera Vista Plan 2, that was about 3800 sqft, front to open space, with great upgrades, including flooring, that you could have bought for about 900k. That home was 100k higher just 6 months ago.
With job loses and San Ramon with so much land, we have another 10-20% decline in the next 2 years. With most people I know, they either already own a home or are too broke to buy another one. There aren't many buyers out there who have 20% down and are ready to commit to a home in this economy. Even foreign buyers are backing off with their own economies having problems.
7076 Emerson Lane Brookfield Santorini to T. & B. Shimizu for $1,134,500
7082 Emerson Lane Brookfield Santorini to D. Nguyen for $1,080,500
7090 Emerson Lane Brookfield Santorini to R. & J. Lee for $959,500
Steve and Tom's responses are spot on. Roughly 75% of the Dec 2008 San Ramon sales involved foreclosure related properties or builders dumping inventory at a discount. Use the link below to view the December 2008 sales and then google map any transaction where the seller was a bank (Indaymac, Wachovia, etc.); you'll see how many of them were in Windemere.
As Steve said, Brookfield is struggling to maintain cash flow and as they state in their financials, they are currently focusing "...on the monetization of our lots ready for house construction to generate cash flow to repay debt in the interim...". Staying in business trumps the desire to maintain high comps, so it's not unreasonable to expect them to drop prices significantly if inventory stalls. Unlike many businesses that can use bankruptcy as a strategy, doing so for a builder spells disaster; they are asset rich and liquidation of their land holdings to meet debt obligations would effectively put them out of business.
One strategy to determine a ball park offer is to ask them for a list of the models (by address) and their appraised values, then map the addresses to the sales info. That way you can do an apples to apples comparison of list to sales price, accounting for things like lot size and upgrades (since the appraisals take these into account). Factor in a credit for closing costs and/or points, which nearly all the builders are paying for these days. If you are not using a realtor, knock another 2 - 3% off the price to re-claim the buyers agent commision.
As George noted below Brookfield has lowered their prices on many of the other models. They closed a bunch of 4,000+sqft houses below $1 million at the end of 2008, which would equateto a price around $250/sqft. By the end ofthe year prices in Windemere should be around $225/sqft, so I would not buy anything out there for over $1 million. Furthermore, people should investigat the builder they are looking to buy from. Brookfield Homes is a publicly traded company, so their financial are available for public review. I would suggest to anyone that they go to Brookfield's website and go to the investors relations part and download the latest form 10-Q. This will give you an idea of the current financial situation for the company. In Brookfield's case you'd find out that they are ina lot of trouble, they have very liittle cash and lots of debt. Therefore over the next year or so they will be more motivated to sell houses to generate cash, making big profits with be secondary to getting cash because if you run out of cash you go bankrupt.
In San Ramon, over 40% of the resale listings are either REO (foreclosure, bank owned) or short-sale.
Take a look at all similar property that has sold in the past 4-6 months. By comparing this information to your subject home, it should clarify what your bottom and top numbers should be,
A local real estate professional will be able to support this initiative and provide other necessary services for you to meet with success.
From the perspective of builder cost, I do not believe there is a major cost difference building plan #1 and #3 even though it has 400 more sf. ft.
It will all depends on how desperate Brookfield wanting to move the inventory and how fast you could close it.
Brookfield recently lowered their list price at Hawthorne down to low 900 and mid 900. They have been lowering their price on their smaller model.
The best way to confirm the closing price is from http://www.pleasantonweekly.com
You may have to go through each week but it has the developer, development and price. This is a good tool to gauge the price trend and developer pricing strategy.
I tend to believe the price will get lower in a year but that will be a price that I believe the developer will go for.