Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Newest Challenge To City Homeowners?

After reading about an upcoming development in downtown Houston, I'm thinking that The Oakmont Group is on to a great opportunity. The "catch" is that I'm also thinking it will eventually bring even more harm to home owners, and chances are it will not be only those in the Houston area.

The story is about what will be a 400+ apartment development, all within a 40-story building downtown and across the street from a large park and near shopping. Apartments will reportedly range from small studio units to oversized 3 bed and 3 bath suites including more than one penthouse.

Amenities planned include a TWO pools, a banquet room, screening room, half-court basketball court, and even a virtual golf simulator.

By now, you may be wondering why this "hurts" area home owners. Think about it.

It is tough enough right now, no matter what city you live in, even without this being built. Distressed property sales continue to have a lingering and damaging impact on property values, making it not practical for millions of home owners to be able to sell without losing money. Even with spending thousands of dollars for improvements and/or additions, there are no guarantees of making a profit if you can sell.

Many consumers who would "normally" look to buy are not able to qualify for a mortgage to do so, even though in some cases they could afford the monthly payments.

Now along comes an apartment building in an excellent downtown location with a variety of units to fit the needs of single people on up to executive suites. With shopping being very close, and a large park directly across the street, a percentage of tenants would not even need to own a car, increasing their monthly spending ability.

It is possible, if not likely, that a percentage of tenants would have employment nearby in downtown Houston, whether walking distance or even a short bus ride away. When this happens, it takes away literally hours of commuting time every week.

Sure, the tenants will pay a hefty monthly rental for these amenities and features. But look at it from their point of view.

While there is likely a security deposit and other move-in costs, there is no having to qualify for a mortgage and no down payment of $50,000 or more involved. They save hundreds of dollars by not needing to put gas in the car and/or purchase bus/train tickets. They have extra hours each week to enjoy an indoor swimming pool, screening room, and recreational activities. If they wish to entertain on a big scale, they can rent a banquet facility and not have to deal with hours of cleaning and labor to make it happen.

They don't have to mow the lawn, worry about the storm windows, maintain a pool and/or excercise equipment, and so on.

And they don't have a 15 or 30 year commitment to tie them down to their home no matter what happens in the real estate market. In other words, they won't be at risk of losing thousands and thousands of dollars, for no fault of their own, if they wish to or need to move in five years.

Thus, "Johnny and Jane" can live in a large luxury apartment with a view, a pool and recreation facilities, walk to work, not spend a minute on property maintenance, be able to shop close by, not have costly property taxes to pay, and without a long-term committment, why would they want to "buy" your home?

I'm hoping I get a lot of positive answers to that question. Houston is far from the only city where this is happening or already available.

Let me know how you feel about this "challenge".



http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/07/huge-downtown-apartment-tower-to-break-ground-soon.html?ana=e_hstn_rdup&s=newsletter&ed=2014-07-15&u=rCGEl8jjeIiGi7gRMxcOVKLwBjo&t=1405433311





Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another Way To Bash The Competition

If you are looking to get your home sold, you need to keep in mind that other homes for sale in your area should be treated as competition. No one else does. Your agent wants to sell a house today, but doesn't care if it is yours or another of his/her listings. It's up to you.

I constantly remind sellers to keep this approach in mind. Be watching the news and your favorite online sources for ways to be able to bash the competition.

Here is another example. A web site, clearly with plenty of time on their hands, developed criteria and put together a list of "the most boring towns" in Illinois. (At least this is the one I came upon this morning.)

As expected, most people just laugh this off, and maybe tease someone they know who lives in one of these communities.

My point here is that if you are looking to sell your home, THIS is the type of story that could be promoted in your favor.


http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/most-boring-places-in-illinois/


Suppose you live in a neighboring community and your home is for sale. And the community that you live in is NOT among those listed here.

If that is the case, you should be e-mailing and sending this story to everybody you can think of. You have no idea of how many potential buyers might be considering your home, and how your home could be up against a similar home in the "boring" community nearby.

Even if for a few moments, you can give them the chance to see your home in a more favorable light. Maybe you can point out that your home is in the "more exciting community of ......" and show the link.

Of course, if you don't live in a nearby Illinois community, this blog is still for you. You need to be on the lookout for any story that could give your home for sale an edge over other properties in the area. Yes, you!

Your real estate agent is NOT going to do this for you. Don't even bother with him/her. Why? Because they don't want to risk offending a current or potential future client by 'bashing' their community. That is understandable.

The point is that he/she also does not see these other homes as competition to yours, since he or she makes their living selling houses. Note that is plural. You have the much greater interest and urgency to get your home sold than they do.

Look for any and every edge you can!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Using Business News Toward Selling Your Home

It's another example of why sellers with active listings, as well as realty agents, need to monitor the local business news and be ready for news items which could benefit their sale attempt.

A news story in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn got out today which has absolutely nothing to do with home sales. At least directly.

One of the avenues I point out to sellers and agents (and is discussed at length in my book) is about looking for ANY possible advantage toward getting your home sold.

This news story is about how this suburb is about to undergo a roughly 50% increase in energy costs beginning this August (less than 60 days away). The Village of Glen Ellyn did nothing wrong, by the way. It's just that city officials were not able to generate any bids lower for their next electricity contract, with the current one expiring on August 1st and a significant cost increase looming.

How does this help anyone selling a home in Glen Ellyn? Frankly, it doesn't.

However, if you (or your client) is looking to sell a home NEAR Glen Ellyn (and there a several suburbs within 10 minutes), this is what I refer to as "news you can use".

In all honesty, I have no idea if neighboring communities have already faced this large of a rate increase or are facing one later this year. But I don't see that as important. This story about Glen Ellyn facing the price increase is out TODAY.

Thus, if I am trying to sell a home nearby, I'm going to relay this news story to as many people as I can, especially any potential buyers. All you need to do is send out the link to the story:


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/glen_ellyn/ct-aggregation-glen-ellyn-tl-612-20140610,0,679038.story

Of course, with a note saying that "If you are still considering Glen Ellyn, it's going to cost you even more to live there". You can do that without spending any time (or money) to investigate further. Your time is spent in gathering the e-mail addresses to send the story and your comment to. It is more important that you get this done within 24 hours, while the story is still fresh and current.

If you want to be more aggressive about it, you could investigate where your nearby community is on this matter. Maybe your local rate increase won't hit until next year. Perhaps your increase has already hit, and it costs less for electricity than it soon will in Glen Ellyn. You could find out all you can, and then use any and all favorable "facts" to your advantage. Even if you can't find anything to use to your advantage, you can put out this "news" story to others and be find that hardly anyone is going to take time to investigate this in detail like you may have.

Either way, mission accomplished. You have been able to smear the competition and do something to make your home look at bit more appealing, even if it is a few dollars per month.

You never know. A potential buyer could be considering your home up against one in Glen Ellyn, and now you give them a reason to doubt Glen Ellyn, even if for a few minutes.

Obviously, the majority of you do not live close to, nor are looking to sell a home, near Glen Ellyn IL at the moment.

My point is that if you are trying to sell your home right now, you should be checking the local business news on a regular basis. You could find your "Glen Ellyn" attack story at any moment. Make something negative about a neighboring community a positive for the potential sale of your home.

On the other hand, if and when there is positive news about your community, even if it has nothing to do with your home, point it out to others in this same way.

Don't forget that if you are looking to sell your home, you are selling against competition. Potential buyers are looking at a number of properties and using a number of factors. You need to think of your sales effort as if it is a political election. You want to get that "vote", and finding anything that casts your opponent(s) in a negative light is going to be used.

In the case of being near Glen Ellyn, every type of light will cost more there. Show that!









Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Should Your Home Be Staged Before You Sell?

As much as this topic is debated among industry professionals, too many people think that there should be a definitive answer to this. Frankly, there is not.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review just picked up an article on this subject which does a solid job of presenting all points of view:


http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6160014-74/staging-says-buyers#axzz32pnNENt4


There are some homes for sale which most definitely would benefit from professional staging. But at the same time, there are definitely homes which do not. It doesn't mean that the opposing side is right or wrong. It really depends on the specifics of the property, as well as the seller(s).

I address this quite a bit in my book, "8 Hours To Sell Your Home". The majority of homes for sale could use some degree of "staging" in preparation for potential buyers and realty agents to be walking around and evaluating for a major purchase. This does not mean that every home needs a pro to assist in that effort.

The real problem with this is that too many realty agents are set in their ways regarding professional staging. Those who prefer that are likely to recommend it even to sellers who do not need to spend on professional help. While those agents who do not preach for staging are likely to overlook it even on listings which could use a serious makeover.

For these reasons, I encourage sellers to take command of the situation and be realistic in assessing their home's appeal before even one potential buyer sets foot inside.

There are many aspects to "staging" your home, ranging from painting of rooms to renting fancy furniture and all points in between. What works in one home might not help in the "house next door" because there are several variables.

In other words, the reason you pay to bring in a professional staging expert should be because of something needed to help get your home sold, and NOT because the agent you choose happened to have sold a house three blocks away after hiring the same person. Again, the seller needs to be in control of this aspect, regardless of what the agent thinks.

Some of the "staging" tips I mention can be done, for little to minimal cost, without having to bother with hiring a pro stager. It could be little things, such as leaving a book (with a bookmark sticking out) out on a table about how to build or operate something. Something requiring a lot of expertise. You don't even have to really be reading the book. Just have it look as though you accidentally left it on the table, while your other books are neatly put away on the roomy bookshelves.

To make it even more simple, 'just happen' to leave out a N.Y. Times Book Review section of the local newspaper on the table, or something similar and upscale. Think about it. If you are entering someone's home and see one portion of a newspaper on the table, seeing the Book Review section will increase your impression of the owner (or resident) than if you saw an ad for the local dollar store instead.

Same theory with any food or beverages you have "showing" in your kitchen. A fine wine bottle looks a whole lot better to a visitor than a can of 'off-brand' cola on the same counter.

Another theory is that some sellers are better off to spend a few hundred dollars on rented upscale furniture for a couple of weeks (for showings) than to spend that amount on a person to tell you that you need 'better' furniture and then not be able to afford any.

To me, these are just a couple of examples of "staging" your home. The more professional and upscale image that sellers present of themselves, the better the home looks because of who is living in it.

If you are selling and your home is already empty or partially empty because of your move, you need to be ready to entice potential buyers. Your sales presentation should indicate that, for example, "the living room can hold a 3-section sofa" and so forth.

You need to keep in mind that the idea is to allow for potential buyers (and realty agents) to see how more expensive and upscale contents will look inside the home, instead of plastic furniture and paper plates.

Whatever decision you make as a seller, make that decision with an eye toward having everything about your home look its best to the potential buyer. Paint the picture with THEM in it, regardless of your "real" furniture, what you are reading, and what you have for dinner.











Friday, May 9, 2014

No Reason To Head For The Hills

Like most people, I was amazed about the findings of a Bankrate.com story showing that, of all states, South Dakota came in at toward the top of their list of best states for retirees to live. I couldn't help but think that realty agents throughout that state should already be all over this and have already updated their listings which could be appropriate for retired couples.

After the (predictable) few minutes of not finding anything even remotely close to this happening, I stumbled upon a current listing in the Rapid City area which is actually geared toward a young family. But you wouldn't know it from looking at the advertisement, which is shown on a "national" web site.

The ad for this home, at 19 Surfside Drive in Rapid City, frankly doesn't seem to be targeting any potential buyers.

Agents and sellers need to take a more serious approach to advertising a home for sale, and this listing ad, unfortunately, is a perfect example of why.

First, the primary photo makes it difficult to tell whether or not we are looking at the front or the back of the house. It took seeing another photo of the back (which shows a pile of bricks at an angle that makes it appear they are holding up the porch) to make a viewer realize it is the front. Finding this ad during the first week of May and seeing patches of snow within each exterior photo does not make this home attractive for relocation prospects, unless they love snow and frigid weather.

Not to mention the photo taken looking down the long driveway to the ONE car garage for this 3-bedroom home while there is snow on the ground. The next interior photo has a snow patch in the front and shows what looks like a "dead" garden spot. All of the exterior photos were taken on a cloudy and dreary day.

One of the interior photos clearly shows a water dispenser by the kitchen. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having that service, but to anyone from out of the area it could put doubt in to their mind about the local drinking water. Not exactly an ideal first impression either.

But it gets worse. One of the bedrooms has a wild blue wall on one side and a gray wall on the other, and this is the same room in the same photo. I feel safe in assuring you that no one would want to keep that room the way it looks in that photo. Thus, all this photo does is put the thought into a potential buyer that there is work to be done in order to make at least the one room liveable.

Without going into the problems with every photo, I will comment about the lone basement photo in this ad. It shoes multiple foot tracks in the carpet, and the couch is covered by what looks like a bed sheet. Frankly, I wouldn't allow visitors to see this, if it were my home, let alone anyone in the world who might be thinking of buying.

As for the description copy, let me quote one of the sentences: "With the roomy 1 car garage, you also get extra space off to the side for your toys." Which part of this is worse? Is it promoting the "1 car garage" for a 3-bedroom home with snow on the exterior? The space for "your toys" (as opposed to the kids toys, tools, etc.)?

Putting all of this together, I think I know what will happen with this listing. Based on this advertisement, the sellers might wind up having to retire in this home!


http://www.homefinder.com/SD/Rapid-City/19-Surfwood-Dr-106290719d




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Here's Why There is a "Shortage of Inventory" Of Homes For Sale.....

The headline on a Chicago Tribune article (on 4/22/14) is "Chicago Area Home Sales Fall Again In March", while the article goes on to provide IL Association of Realtors statistics about it. But they still don't get it.

Now that thousands of local readers think "Houses still aren't selling", those that do read the article are provided with more comparative statistics and theories about the reported 11% drop.

While thousands of real estate professionals fail to FIX the problem. After all this time, we seem to disagree about what that "problem" really is.

This article, like so many others before it, goes on to attribute the drop to the decline in the number of short sale and foreclosure sales.

My issue with this is that these distress sales should not ever have been counted toward true home sale prices in the first place. It is not a fair comparison! But it is a potentially costly comparison for thousands and thousands of current home owners who are stuck and can't sell.

Short sales and foreclosure sales are to satisfy a loan and NOT the actual value of the home. Yet, these same realty agents who are blaming everyone else, continue to act as if these distress sales ARE a reflection of property values.

Articles and news stories such as this one also always seem to quote realty association officials and/or supposed leading local agents acting as if a "shortage" of inventory is to blame, and then give us the "Now is a good time to sell" crap.

My point is that this "shortage" of inventory exists as a direct result of the distressed property sales being lumped together with "real" property sales. Home owners wanting to sell can't even get what they paid for their home years ago, let alone make a profit that would lead them to sell and then buy elsewhere.

THAT is why there is a "shortage". Potential sellers have to fight the realty agents telling them "We'll never get this much for your home".

I know and have done marketing and advertising work for hundreds of realty agents from coast to coast over the years. I have recently written a 60 chapter book geared toward home owners focused on getting their home sold at a fair price. I have many friends in the real estate community who want to do a good job and the right thing. Yet, I'm not happy with where the industry is going.

Suppose you are a professional performer or writer, or an athlete. You seek an "agent" to get you work, and for the most money possible. If you hired an agent to represent you in a negotiation and he/she came back to you and said "I won't be able to get you anywhere near what you are asking!", how many seconds would elapse before you would send him/her packing?

Sorry, but shouldn't we think the same way about a real estate "agent"?

Let me explain. I'm a victim of this too. Because a couple of similar units in the development I live in were sold, as distress sales, for a 40% discount, realty agents and appraisers now act as if my home is also worth 40% less than what I paid for it.

These same agents make a big damn deal about local home prices going up 1% here and 2% there. As I pointed out last month, the MLS database contains WRONG information about my home. Some major realty firms have the nerve to publish "estimates" about my home's value which are still more than 33% BELOW its actual value.

And now, these realty agents have the nerve to tell me "Now is a good time to sell"? Not unless they are going to pay me the $100,000+ in value they have taken away by honoring the distress sales!

Instead, they are sitting around wondering why there is "so little inventory". Sheesh.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/chi-chicago-home-sales-march-20140422,0,865739.story



NOTE: Kohl's book, "8 Hours To Sell Your Home" is available by download at www.8HoursToSell.com, or on CD at Amazon.com.











Monday, April 7, 2014

A Home Price Reduction Gone Bad

Here is how a $30,000 mistake in a property advertisement can be damaging.......

 

First, I personally believe that more properties for sale should be increasing the price when not sold after a few weeks, by showing a new upgrade, improvement, or addition to easily justify the added cost. For example, the idea of “new $5,000 furnace” to justify a $3,500 price increase means that both buyer and seller benefit. (The buyer gets a “deal” on a new installation, while the seller appears to be adding more incentive.)

 

However, the home listed for sale at 5319 Clairidge Rd. in Knoxville TN was looking to show as a major price reduction, but something was lost in the translation. A national advertising web site shows this home as having just had a $30,100 price INCREASE instead.

 

The ad for this home, as it appears on a national web site, refers to “New heat pump”, and “full bathroom has been remodeled” within its brief description copy. A couple of the photos in the photo spread within the advertisement show a nice looking bathroom countertop and fixtures. But for an "additional" $30,100?

 

If I were a potential buyer looking at this property, I would be long gone by this point. There are many other homes in this community listed within a few thousand dollars either way of this price.

 

Yet, the “problem” is really that someone made a serious mistake with this advertisement. I do not know whether or not Homes.com made the error or if this is how it was sent to them.

 

What happened is that the price of this home, per the data below on the property page on Homes.com, was actually DECREASED by $30,000, even though it shows as if it was an increase of that amount.

 

What should be a major decision on the part of an obviously anxious seller is marred due to an error. An error which has gone unnoticed for more than 10 days.

 

If the selling agent and the seller of the property are not motivated to check all of the advertising, how is this property going to get sold? Or when?

 

This is another lesson for sellers and agents everywhere. Always check every advertisement every time. Don’t be another example of costing time and money.

 

 
http://www.homes.com/property/5319-clairidge-rd-ne-knoxville-tn-37918/id-600028205534/
 

 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When The MLS is Wrong

If the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is not entirely accurate about your home, you need to know if you are or have lost money because of it. It’s not your fault that your house isn’t selling, or currently would not sell for a profit it you were to list it today. But I am finding more and more that there is something you can and should do about it.

 

You need to perform your own research whether you are looking to sell or not. It has been bad enough that real estate professionals have not gone to bat against property values dropping significantly because of foreclosures and short sales, which has contributed significantly to this mess.

 

The advertising and marketing of properties continues to suffer. Even with all of today’s instant technology, too many agents fail to update photos and property descriptions and/or put any urgency into attracting potential buyers.

 

Just weeks after publishing an 8-hour audio book helping home owners to sell or prepare to sell their home, I decided to research a property that I own. What I found should either by an added chapter or even a follow up.

 

Several web sites had inaccurate information about this property, although every one did have that it is not currently for sale. (That was only consistently accurate information, however.) Granted, some of these sites use estimates, although these estimates factor in local foreclosures and short sales just as many agents and appraisers also do.

 

However, a couple of the sites with profiles of this property take their data from the MLS database.

 

One site showed the home, which is a dedicated address (direct entrance, not shared with other units, etc.), as having a unit number. There is not and has never been a unit number. The “last sale price” shown is approximately $2,000 LESS than what it really was. There is no asterisk or notation that this is an estimate. It is printed as if it is a fact. Yet, the commission paid was based on a percentage of the actual price, which was higher. Too bad I found this out NOW.

 

The “Property Details” portion shows the square footage for the entire building, which consists of several units, all with different street addresses and completely separate transactions.

 

The primary photo, still being used in March of 2014, is more than seven years old. There is a new lawn, fence, and two more common property parking spaces which exist today, and are not in this outdated photo.

 

And there is more. The “Year Built” that is shown is the WRONG YEAR.

 

Let’s sum this up. Technically the wrong address, since there is no unit number. The wrong “last sale” price. The wrong square footage. The wrong year built. And a photo outdated by more than seven years which fails to show important improvements.

 

Where did I find this? On the Re/Max web site. As you probably know, Re/Max is one of the leading real estate firms in the country, so it’s not as if this is a one person shop. In fact, Re/Max reportedly increased its revenue by more than 10% in 2013 from the previous year and reported the firm has 93,228 agents working in its franchised offices. Personally, I have worked for numerous agents from there, as well as on a couple of marketing projects for separate regional offices.

 

Next, I found the property shown on the site of Weichert, which is a very prominent east coast realty firm. On their site, I found this very same property shown on two separate web pages. Although both showed the same listing price, this same property came up under TWO separate MLS listing numbers. Same property, two listings, and it is not for sale.

 

Neither of these firms ever had this property listing, which provides added confirmation that they simply take the data from the MLS. However, this shows they don’t verify this data either.

 

Upon further researching this property, I came upon a site (which I had not been familiar with) known as NeighborCity, which exists to help potential buyers and sellers to find “the right” agent. It features advertisements from agents in various geographic areas.

 

This site actually had a much more recent exterior photo of the home, showing the lawn and garden improvements not seen on the Re/Max shown photo, and managed to have the street address correct. NeighborCity also shows the correct agent and realty firm which handled the most recent sale of this property.

 

But before you jump to that site, there is more. They do show the “sold” price as being the same $2,000 less than actual. But that is far from their biggest mistake. For “lot size”, this site shows “0.00 acres”, and it shows, in TWO places, ZERO bedrooms, which is definitely not the case. And there is still more.

 

For “Garage Type” it correctly shows two cars, yet for “Garages”, this site shows TWO. This home does not have two garages, it has one garage which holds two cars. It is not that difficult to comprehend.

 

At this point, instead of going further into my search, I went to the site of the real estate office which last represented the property to see what I could find. They did not have this property on there, as the company does not show information about properties not for sale.

 

Now, at this point it is tempting to raise the point about whether or not to do business in the future with Re/Max or Weichert, or other firms which show inaccurate data to the public. How do you know they would get it right about your home?

 

But in all fairness, this is not completely their fault. They are trusting data provided by the MLS. I can’t blame them for that. At least not yet.

 

As of this writing, I have only done this for the one property, because I have the facts documented and can prove that the information portrayed is not accurate.

 

This is why it becomes so important to do your research about your home and continue to do so periodically, even if you have no thoughts of selling within the next five years.

 

If and when you find things that are not accurate, report them to “your” real estate agent. That is why I said “not yet” in terms of whether or not to do business with certain realty firms. If the thousands of agents representing these companies are not willing to help make their information accurate, you need to keep that in mind.

 

And this does not even take into account the horrible “estimated value” that appears on the Re/Max and Weichert web sites. The Re/Max site quotes the Homes.com web site as showing the property valued at more than $100,000 under its previous sale price. The Weichert official site shows a Zillow “estimate” which is more than $180,000 LOWER than that same previous sale price.

 

That these so-called estimates are based on area foreclosures and short sales is another story.

 

Here is why you need to research your property. Agents, appraisers, investors, and consumers take MLS information and the data from these sites, and others, to be factual.

 

As a result, OTHER property prices are being determined by inaccurate information. Your home could have lost thousands of dollars in value because of a wrong year, wrong number of bedrooms, photos outdated by years, wrong square footage, units where none exist, and who knows what other reasons.

 

Obviously, even the best real estate agents are not doing this for us. Yet.

 

Instead, they are blaming the economy, the market, and using every other excuse to convince you that your home isn’t worth what you paid for it. While our money paid out in commissions is funding the MLS.

 

What good is all of this technology if the information is wrong?

 

Let me know what you come up with.

 

 

Monday, March 17, 2014

If The Agent Doesn't Care, Why Should A Potential Buyer?

It should not be as difficult to buy this resort area house no matter how hard the listing agent tries to make it. Or any house, for that matter.

There is what is actually a very nice property available in the resort community of Sundance UT (yes, by where the famous film festival takes place), but it is being marketed as poorly as possible.

The nationally available advertisement for this home is a prime example of what not to do, which is unfortunate for the seller.

The primary photo, as well as several others, show the exterior during a time of day when there is no sunshine, to the point where we can see lights on in the house itself. Several of the other exterior photos do not show any part of the house or the property, with some showing bright sunshine over the fields while another shows it as snow covered. Huh?

Meanwhile, the few interior photos are excellent, but are mixed in at a seemingly random order, and lack the continuity needed for a potential buyer to get a feel for the property.

Next, anyone who starts to read the property description copy (as of this writing) sees a major spelling error in the second sentenced, as the word "priced" is clearly misspelled. Before you start to contact me to tell me that spelling errors can happen, check this ad and realize that this very property has now been advertised on this web site for MORE THAN ONE YEAR.

The highlighted price decrease in this advertisement is not even the most recent one.

In other words, this careless agent just puts in the newest (and lower) price, and seemingly doesn't bother to check spelling, the photo layout, or anything else.

If you read further into this description, to the part about the trails and mountains and other features of the nearby park areas, you will see the "enjoy incredible natural beauty and occasional forest critters" part.

By show of hands, how many people considering purchasing in a resort area want to be where there are "forest critters"?

My point exactly. Especially when there appears to be several interior selling points which go ignored within the same description.

Ah, but there is more.

Here is more of what this advertisement actually says:
 

Square footage figures are provided as a courtesy estimate only and was obtained from county records. Buyer is advised to obtain an independent measurement. Call list agent for update on sq. ft.”

 

Is this an agent you would want to talk with about a $295,000 property?

 

While I can understanding needing to say that the square footage is an estimate, just how much does this listing agent expect a potential buyer to do? What has been “updated”? Why should a potential buyer obtain “an independent measurement”? Does that impact the price or the ability to buy?

 

Chances are a potential buyer, either for this same geographic area or seeking a resort area property, has plenty of other choices, and just one click away.

 

That’s not fair to the seller of this property, who is probably wondering why their property remains unsold after more than one year. But it’s also not fair to potential buyers, one of which could get an outstanding deal at a lower price, primarily due to the carelessness of the listing agent.

 

Frankly, this seller should “resort” to hiring someone capable.

 

 
http://www.homes.com/property/3349-old-bridge-rd-wallsburg-ut-84082/id-182504263/
 

 

 



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Home Sellers' Biggest Problems - part 1

A huge reason that so many home owners can't sell their homes is because of how homes are marketed, and not necessarily because of anything being "wrong" with their own home.

For some reason that continues to baffle me, all purchased home are lumped into a single statistical category, whether they are, to use the term, distressed properties or not. Let me put it this way. Suppose a current year $25,000 car was repossessed by the lender and sold for $10,000 to recover the cost of that specific loan. If you took "proof" of that sale and went to your nearest car dealer and attempted to buy that current year for $10,000 because "that's what it is selling for", do you think the dealer would come down that far with the price?

I don't think so, either. However, for whatever reason, realty agents and real estate appraisers fail to do that when it comes to homes. Worse yet, realty associations across the country openly support this.

You see, the home sales figures, home price trends, and other comparative statistics released each month to the news media, treat foreclosed upon homes and short sale homes in the same realm as a paid up home seller looking to profit or needing to move. These foreclosure and short sale homes are sold for amounts designed to cover the outstanding loan, and are really less, often significantly less, than the actual value of the home.

Suppose there is a development with 20 houses which sold new for $300,000 each a few years ago. Now let's suppose that three of the owners of those 20 houses all defaulted on their monthly mortgage payments, forcing either foreclosure or short sales. Investors bought those three homes. One at $160,000, another at $170,000, and the third went for $180,000 in order to satisfy the outstanding loan amounts.  Now suppose you own a home in that development, have made all of your mortgage payments with no problem, and get a new job that creates the need for you to sell and move to a different area.

Guess what? An appraiser and potential buyers will point out to you that the "average" home sale in your development within the past six months was for $170,000, which is the middle and average price of those three distressed homes. While you continue to pay the mortgage and successfully maintain your home. Perhaps you have upgraded to increase its value. However, if you sell your home at a more than $120,000 loss, you might even owe money to get it off your hands, when you haven't done anything wrong.

At the same time, based on those three so-called sales, the local real estate report will include how local sales are "up", based on those three homes in your development which were documented as having been sold. Let's say there is another foreclosure next month, and THAT house is sold by the bank for $200,000. Guess what? You'll have realty associations spreading the news that home sales in your neighborhood are UP 10% over three months ago. And guess what? YOU would still lose at least $100,000 in order to sell your home under those conditions.

THIS is what is happening in much of the country. Even though foreclosures and short sales should NOT count toward home sale statistics and pricing, they still do. And for whatever bizarre reason, realty associations publish the sales and price increase statistics every month no matter what the consequences. They seem to think this is a positive. It is not.

They must think that people actually buy and sell homes based on monthly and yearly comparative statistics.

However, this all ties in with marketing. Anything to tell people that home sales are up and prices are good for buyers, when it hides how many legitimate sellers, who can pay their bills, are being screwed by the foreclosures and short sales. That's why marketing is a problem. People are being made to think the market is better than it is, all because of distressed properties.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Now "Lou Grant" Has Spunk

As much as we thank and respect Ed Asner for his TV work over the years, at the age of 84 he deserves a ton of credit for his real estate prowess. Stories like this were once commonplace, especially in Southern California, but these days all too rare.

Asner just sold his Studio City estate for more than double what he reportedly paid for it back in 1996. The reported amount is near $800,000. 

This is wonderful to see, especially in this era of homes stuck being sold at or under what was paid for them only a few years ago. 

Frankly, THIS is the story that should be published by the local realty associations in California, instead of the usual data about home sales and prices, even when they decline.

Way to go, "Mr. Grant"!


http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-hotprop-20140302,0,3714979.story#axzz2ujLMypns 


NOTE: Mr. Kohl's new book, "8 Hours To Sell Your Home", is specifically designed to help home owners prepare to sell their home for a higher price.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Short Sale Instead of A Museum

The old saying, "It's what you make of it" certainly applies based on a short sale opportunity on Chicago's South Side.

The last I heard, the two-flat apartment building at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. in Chicago was in the process of being sold to a buyer who, understandably, wanted to (reportedly)  turn the building into a Museum.

That building was the home of blues legend Muddy Waters for more than 20 years, during which he inspired artists such as The Rolling Stones and countless others.

Now, the Chicago Tribune reports that the deal has fallen through, and that this property is now listed as a Short Sale in the $100,000 range. The seller is Waters' great granddaughter.

This is one heck of a Business Opportunity for someone. People will come to see this 19th Century structure, especially with the musical heritage that has been within those walls.

Yet, for some unexplained reason, this is just a blurb in the newspaper. (Not even the headline of the story.) In a city that heavily promotes tourism.

All it takes is for someone to turn this into the shrine it should be. It would be one heck on an income opportunity for whoever does. But for some reason it's a big secret.

That's enough to give me the blues.











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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's Not Too Cold To Update Listing Ads

Most of us have suffered from the winter weather thus far in 2014, including parts of the country that rarely have cold weather and/or snow cover.

However, it is not too cold to update advertising and marketing information about properties for sale to reflect this. This is the age of instant communication and technology. That should apply to listing ads as well.

For example, the development I currently live in has a snow plow and snow removal company under contract to plow at scheduled intervals during and after snow storms. (That company is getting rich this season, but that's another story.) During a recent big snow storm, the development as among the first to have the streets plowed, ahead of the village's plows for the surrounding streets. As a result, my neighbors and I were able to drive out and take care of business faster and more easily than others who live nearby.

This should be treated as a big selling point.

If I were selling, I would hope that all online advertising my agent has in place for my home would be updated to indicate that the streets were cleared before most others in the community. Plus any other ads, such as for the coming weekend's newspapers (if before a deadline) should also be updated for this purpose.

If I were a potential buyer in the area, knowing that "this" development is well maintained might make me take a closer look, since I'm looking during the winter time when bad weather is prominent.

If I were the listing agent, I would want to provide a most current selling point at every opportunity. It shows potential buyers that we (agent and sellers) are motivated. If I were able to, I'd try to get a photo of the exterior of the home showing the plowed street and post it on my web site, if not adding it to online advertisements.

If I were an investor, I would know to check a region which has had its share of bad weather, figuring that there would not be offers coming in and try a lowball offer approach. Seeing this type of current information might entice me to check out this community.

Instead, I went online to search my area, and actually found several exterior photos showing a green lawn as if it were the middle of summer outside. That tells me that these homes have been on the market for a long time, and thus lack urgency. Might as well wait until the weather gets better or see what else is for sale.

This concept is not only for the hours after a blizzard. It goes for extreme weather or temperatures, or for specific events which have immediate impact, positive or negative, upon the community in which a listing is in place.

If one home on "3rd Street" is now advertised as having "no flooding issues" after a heavy rain, but a similar advertised home over on "7th Street" makes no mention of the area flood, which home would you respond to first?

In this age of "Call me on my cell", "text me", "Facebook me", and constant personal status updates, it is time for properties to be sold with this in mind.







Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Does Re/Max Report Negative Statistics?

We all know how awful this winter weather has been for at least 90% of the country and for a lot of reasons. It doesn't take a genius IQ to realize that the real estate community is being impacted as a lot of people are not up for going house hunting in the snow and/or cold weather.

Yet, Re/Max went ahead and issued its "report" showing how home sales across the country declined during January from one year ago and even the previous month of December 2013.

It is bad enough when realty associations do this. But this from a company whose business it is to SELL homes. Not provide people with less than positive information.

Instead of spending time and labor to produce these "reports" that don't tell us anything home owners want to know, why not make a better effort to market the current inventory?

Go ahead. Look up current advertisements for listed homes in cities which have recently had a ton of snow. See if ANY of them address how the home has survived the recent storm. Instead, you are more likely to see exterior photos with the lawn showing or only a little bit of snow. This tells potential buyers that the advertisement is outdated and/or that the property has been on the market for a while, thus lacking urgency.

Suppose you are selling your home, and the street you live on was well plowed and clear just after a big snow storm. Shouldn't your CURRENT advertising reflect that the owner of "this" home was able to go shopping and to work all week? Especially when other homes in the neighborhood do NOT indicate this.

That is one example. There are times when sellers need to ride herd on their realty agent, instead of the agent referring to "how bad the market is".

Here is that fresh report:



http://files.a2.remax.com/content/REMAX_National_Housing_Report_Feb_2014.pdf




NOTE: Mr. Kohl addresses issues such as this in his new audio book, "8 Hours To Sell Your Home", now available via Amazon.com.