Thursday, July 18, 2019

This Home Has Better Bait Than A Fish Tank

Marketing a $3.5 million dollar listing is always a challenge, especially when it is located within a busy Chicago north side community away from Lake Michigan.

The push for this home is to promote the less common amenities, which for the featured Cortland Street property include a large wine cellar and a 300 gallon fish tank.

Although these are among the unique features of the home, marketing this listing is not being done for the entertainment value. Of course, it is 'fun' for people to have that daydream of having a 300 gallon fish tank in their home.

However, creating that daydream actually fails to bring the proper attention to this as a real estate listing. To put it bluntly, the number of potential buyers actually looking for a fish tank of that size for their home is most likely lower than the number of potential buyers looking for a $3.5 million home in that neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the prominent photos in the property profile also do not do this property justice. The top photo of the exterior actually reveal what appears to make this a smaller property than one would expect for a multi-million dollar home in the area in which is located.

As a general observation (without statistical backing), there figures to be a percentage of qualified potential buyers that would seek a home in this price range which is closely surrounded by neighbors and has limited space.

For example, the photo of the pool makes it look to be more like an expanded bathtub placed outside rather than a place to totally relax.

There are better ways this listing can be promoted. Not having an exterior photos within the presentation would be a start. Highlighting interior photos would better serve to make potential buyers want to see the inside. At the very least, when they see how cramped the location is, they would be at the property and could still fall in love with the interior amenities.

While a 300 gallon fish tank is interesting, perhaps other amenities of this property would be an even better fit for the right audience.

The idea is to have the most effective copy and photos, and have them compliment each other. In this case, right fish but so far it's the wrong bait.

Take a look:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Opportunity Zones and Capital Gains Relief

Opportunity Zones are called that because they bring financial gain to investors with large capital gains.
While this is not a commission opportunity for licensed agents and brokers, there is a definite "service" opportunity for clients who have recently invested. It costs you nothing to fill in your clients about this opportunity. If you save him or her thousands of dollars they would have otherwise handed over to the IRS, you increase your chances of that client referring business to you.
Let’s show you how this works, and how you can benefit with thousands and thousands of dollars in tax savings.
We start with a couple of “Would You Rather” questions……

Would you rather pay taxes now, or invest your money NOW and push off the taxes until later?

The answer is to invest now. Take out most of your money now, tax free, and only leave a little of your money tied up.

Would you rather pay NO taxes on the new investment OR continue doing what you are doing and pay the taxes?

The answer is “Pay No Taxes”

Welcome to the Tax Cuts & Job Act of 2017. This is the biggest tax reform in years. It’s more innovative program is the Opportunity Zones.

How does this work?

You roll over Capital Gains into an Opportunity Zone Fund. It does not matter how you got the Capital Gain. It could be from the sale of a property, the sale of a business (not just assets), or selling of stock.

The fund must invest the money inside an Opportunity Zone.

By doing so, you PAY NO CAPITAL GAINS TAX NOW. What you are able to do is to defer those taxes for 7 years. Then, you pay them, but with a 15% discount in 2026.

Within 30 months of the time, the money goes into the Fund, although some money can be held in reserve.

There are plenty of Opportunity Zones around the country. In fact, there are more than 8,000 of them. All of them have one thing in common.

They are all underperforming areas, whether they are in metropolitan areas or in the middle of nowhere.
What do you get by investing in an Opportunity Zone?

Once the money is invested, you can do pretty much anything you want with it. This Act was written by people who believe in Capitalism. Let the market do what it does best. Find opportunities and maximize return. Let the government get out of their way.

By investing in these depressed areas, you pay NO Capital Gains taxes on the new investment. You MUST hold the asset for 10 years from the original date, and you MUST substantially improve the asset.

You can’t just park your money there for 10 years.

How does it work?

What you can do is take out the money as long as you continue to own the asset. For example, by refinancing. Once the property improvements you make are done, you can refinance and take your money back out. You are still tax free.

Just to clarify, there are some things you cannot do within an Opportunity Zone. These include not being able to invest in what are considered to be “sin” businesses. These would be gambling establishments, liquor stores, or adult entertainment establishments. You also cannot invest in marijuana distribution establishments.

There is nothing else to it!

Of course, there are a ton of regulations, since this is the IRS.

However, the idea is that you have an incentive to put your money into an economically depressed area. You help make something happen there, and you pay no tax on it.
If you or your client has Capital Gains of six figures from 2018, the "deadline", per the IRS, to secure an Opportunity Zone is June 28, 2019.
The has information about a "ready to go" Opportunity Zone Fund, which saves you time and effort and can get your program started as soon as possible. This also becomes a passive participation, as their people handle the bids, permits, rehab, rentals, and property management.
There is also more info about this on the IRS web site:
Please let me know if you have questions or need more information about this "Opportunity"!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Buying Leads Or Finding Great Deals?

Real estate agents and (unlicensed) real estate investors are all wanting to make money in real estate and are looking for their next transaction to be involved in. In my role of providing a variety of marketing services for both on a regular basis over the years, I continue to notice differences in how they each operate.

From a business standpoint, it might be more important to be aware of those differences, whether you decide to adjust them or not.

A large percentage of agents, based on my experience, talk about "getting leads", whereas a large percentage of real estate investors talk in terms of "getting properties".

To be perfectly honest, this is one aspect of marketing from which agents can learn from investors.

If you are an agent, you are confident that you can bring a buyer to a "good deal" and "have no problem selling a good deal". However, I have many agents, whether marketing clients of mine or not, ask me about "getting more leads". In this case, "leads" are people and not properties. People may or may not be considering buying or selling at any point in time, and may take months to act even if they are.

All day long, marketing companies are pitching agents with "leads" opportunities, with some making a big deal about "exclusive leads". What they really mean is "exclusive to you through our company".

Either way, you get names and contact info on people who may or may not actually have serious or immediate interest in pursuing a deal and become a part of your database.

Compare this to what a real estate investor does. They aren't spending hard earned dollars paying Zillow (or other "lead generation" sources) for a list of people who selected their zip code while browsing one of many web sites. Investors are looking for their next deal, if buying, or next buyer or investor if selling. Their time and effort is spent on research, whether on their own or by having an agent that knows their criteria and finds potential deals for them.

The point is that you do not have to rely on lead generation companies to find sellers and/or buyers. If you have the properties with the best deals, buyers and sellers will find you.

As an agent, you should never accept the "There is no inventory" claim. If investor groups know how and where to find distressed property owners, so should you. It takes some digging to come up with lists of properties facing foreclosure, under a tax lien, in a probate, or coming up for auction.

Investors find these, make offers when it makes sense for them, and are on their way toward rental income, a flip for profit, or toward rehabbing a property to increase its value to sell for a bigger profit.

Events happen in peoples' lives, such as job loss, medical emergencies, relocation for employment, divorce, and family concerns. The "flip"houses are not just in the crappy neighborhoods you don't work in.

Suppose you can uncover a distressed property for which the owner needs $100,000 and the comps show it would sell now for $175,000. That owner doesn't have time to wait for weeks. However, you know that you could sell it right away for significantly less while helping a satisfied seller.

That seller is not going to go on some web site and click for a brochure to become a lead for an agent. You would not find that seller if you didn't do your research. The more hidden "good" deals you can find, the more likely you are to attract buyers and sellers.

How does doing this attract sellers? As soon as you close on a great deal you found, especially one not found on the MLS, you have your local success story. By spreading the word through your marketing channels, you let others know that if they have, or know someone that has, a problem property, that you are the local agent who can get it sold before it ever reaches the MLS.

THAT is the best kind of lead you could develop, and it is all yours, truly exclusive.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Big Loss For The BIg Unit - Why Brag About It?

Randy Johnson, the Hall of Fame pitcher (known as The Big Unit), just had his mansion sell at auction for $7.3 million dollars. While commanding that much for a mansion of that magnitude normally commands media attention, this one actually got the attention for the wrong reason.

It seems that this 25,000 square foot home which sat on five acres at the base of Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley, had no takers last fall when the price was reportedly reduced to $16.5 million. The auction of this property resulted in a purchase price which was less than half of the listing price following a price reduction of more than $3 million.

What does this have to do with real estate marketing?

Unfortunately, there is an answer to this question. Had this story appeared as a result of investigation by a reporter, that would be one thing. News which is not positive gets published, especially in the age of social media and fewer secrets.

However, this information got out because of a Press Release issued by the agent team of the real estate firm which had the listing. Say what?

While looking to make news to promote the sale of a multi-million dollar property is understandable, that is far from the case here.

In real estate marketing, the adage that "any publicity is good publicity" does not apply.

This agent just told owners of the mansions in this area that his firm couldn't even sell a listing they voluntarily took for half of the price. Worse yet, this additional publicity could wind up costing nearby property owners millions in lost revenue if they decide or need to sell in the near future because of how this damages local comps.

At the same time, it's hard to imagine a potential seller looking to work with this listing agent in the near future based on this result. There is more to it than getting less than half of the price. It shows a savvy seller that this agent team accepts listings which are not priced correctly.

Adding to the mix is that the sale of this mansion was the result of bidding at auction, and not even a negotiation involving the agent and/or his team.

How an agent (or agent team) markets their listings and how they market themselves are ideally tied together.

Bragging about a failed listing, especially one of this magnitude, is poor marketing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Say It Ain't So

Must the industry continue to shoot itself in the foot? Unfortunately, as we begin 2019, consumer confidence in the housing industry is not what industry professionals hope it would be.

However, the issue remains that industry associations need to keep it quiet when the statistics are not in their favor.

Take this actual headline from a release this week from Fannie Mae:

Housing Confidence Down as More Americans Believe It's a Bad Time to Buy a Home

This headline is more damaging than the information it provides, yet they put it out anyway!

If these statistics were not published, or, at the very least, if this headline wasn't so blatant, consumers considering purchasing a home and investors looking for "deals" wouldn't be seeing that people "believe it's a bad time to buy a home".

Even though consumers most often purchase a home because of their living situation, the hope is that real estate will also be an investment which will pay off for them down the road. Take out part of that equation - and you give potentially thousands of people a reason to rent instead of buy, or stay put.

Real estate investors look for "deals" to wholesale or to fix up and sell at a higher profit. If industry agencies and associations are putting out data to discourage buyers, they have fewer reasons to invest, thus harming the income of real estate professionals and affiliates.

There are (or should be) two possible ways to handle this, whether it's a national organization such as Fannie Mae or the local realty association telling people that local sales are down.

One way is to not publish negative statistics. Only hit the positive elements. The other way is to tone down both the headline and the delivery of the story.
For example, just say "December 2018 Home Sales Statistics" and let it go. Let those who will take the time to look come up with their own conclusions. At the same time, those who purchase property based on their own financial, investment, or living needs that don't base it on current market trend statistics wouldn't even know that it's a "bad time to buy".

With all of the uncertainty at the moment, the takeaway from the Fannie Mae story (and others like it) should only be "IT'S A BAD TIME TO PUBLISH THIS INFORMATION".

Friday, November 23, 2018

Really? A $1 Price Reduction?

Price changes are often a part of marketing a property. However, there is supposed to be a solid reason for showing a price change which helps agents and potential buyers to consider a property they might not have to that point.

Reasons for a price reduction for a home are often, and are supposed to be, well thought out, even if they are only for a few thousand dollars.

For example, let's take a house initially priced at $207,000. Part of the strategy for this price could be that someone searching in the $200,000 to $225,000 range from "low to high" would see this property ahead of similar homes priced closer to $225,000.

If this price point is not successful after several weeks, the listing agent is likely to reduce it by $8,000 to $10,000 in order to show it listed for under $199,999. The reasoning is that by doing so, this house would now appear in searches of under $200,000 instead of over. This reduction of less than 5% is designed to open up the marketing potential to a "new" group of potential buyers.

However, the amount of a price reduction also plays a factor. Think of those times you are in the grocery store and see a "Sale" sticker on an item you regularly purchase. Then you see that the item you usually purchase for $1.79 is on "Sale" for $1.69. Saving ten or twenty cents on one or two of the items doesn't thrill you to the point of calling your friends to let them know of this sale.

Over the course of Thanksgiving day, this unit in downtown Chicago, which has been on the market since August (3 months earlier) showed up on the "Price Reduction" list the next morning. The fact that the next morning happened to be Black Friday, the biggest sale day of the year, seemed like a solid marketing approach, since properties are for sale, too.

Imagine the shock upon discovering that this home was reduced by a grand total of (Are you ready for this?) $1.00. Yes, all the way down from $180,000 to $179,999. 

Oddly enough, despite the Black Friday approach, only one other downtown Chicago property showed a price reduction on Thanksgiving. However, the other listing, which is located a few blocks from the $1 reduction, posted a $40,000 price reduction.

In other words, the agent representing the $1 price reduction took a good idea (a Black Friday reduction) and wasted the time of other agents and potential buyers. The savvy agents are likely to remember this agent and might not bother to look at his future price reductions. At the same time, it's hard to believe that the seller is jumping for joy about the prospect of chipping in $1 toward getting their property sold.

Their $1 didn't even buy any favorable publicity.

(Here is the link to the listing)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tulsa Marketing Strategy Not OK

The city of Tulsa just joined a list of cities offering incentives to gain new residents, with their approach of offering $10,000 to 'employees' who move there.

In theory, this would attract attention. However, as we know in real estate, attracting attention isn't always a positive, while this is an industry that needs a lot more positives from day to day.

CNBC's story about this provided details about the requirements, which were clearly not well thought out.

Their concept is that its "Tulsa Remote" Grant program will pay an employee $10,000 over the course of one year for moving to the city or County of Tulsa, and work remotely for an out of area employer.

From a financial standpoint, the structure doesn't make sense. The first part is a $2,500 "relocation fee".  By the time someone from a long distance away deals with moving expenses, that amount could be gone and then some.

That amount does not take into account a security deposit or 'last month' rent on an apartment, and certainly is zero help when it comes to a possible down payment on a home.

Remaining funds would be paid off at $500 per month with a "final" $1,500 check at the end of the one year period. It is difficult to determine whether this would be enough of an incentive to keep someone living there for one year if they wind up not liking the city.

However, this program was put together without considering the marketing and real estate impact this publicity stunt gives. From here (well outside of Tulsa), this is NOT a well thought out approach. And how the $10,000 is paid out has no bearing either way.

First of all, those who are skeptical will take the approach of "They couldn't pay me enough to live there!" and see this as desperation to attract more residents.

Employees that work remotely often do so because of family or other personal considerations and are not able to relocate. Employers may not wish to have remote employees work beyond a certain distance or out of area regardless of performance

More importantly, the real estate aspect of this is all wrong.

If Tulsa wants to increase the population and the economy, this offer should be coming on behalf of employers in the area. A "Get Hired by Tulsa Business and Get $10,000" Campaign would spur activity for this Grant.

It might also lead to more employers wanting to participate, and perhaps building or expanding their office, store, or factory to or within Tulsa County. Which, of course, means more commercial development and helps the local economy.

This was not well thought out. Or, it could be that they don't want to pay out any money, thinking that this will be a favorable publicity stunt. They seem to have overlooked the "favorable" part.

Here is the story:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

When High End Living Doesn't Fit In

The situation with the Bayside project in Milwaukee is worth paying attention to, especially for investors and real estate professionals in large cities with a variation in the residential market.

On one side is the developer seeking to dominate a community with a mixed use community which would include 280 high end apartments. The developer has shown how its property tax money and eventual retail revenue would have a positive financial impact on the entire community.

The other side has the area residents of middle income residents with comparatively "simple" one and two bedroom single family homes, who are looking to retain the community they are living in without this large development.

To its credit, the city has delayed its decision either way while seeking more input and analysis. Frankly, not all municipalities would delay a project of this magnitude and actually listen to area residents. Instead, many would have pushed the development proposal through and started planning on how the millions of "new" dollars will eventually be spent.

However, one important factor is that a large number of area residents have attended the meetings and made their views felt. Often times it appears that hardly anyone cares until the change goes through and people complain when it is well after they had their chance.

It will be worth tracking this story for how this plays out, as well as for how both sides present their case.

Here is the story:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Only One In A Million?

It was good to see that Leslie Rouda Smith, a presidential candidate for the National Association of Realtors for 2020, was in the Chicago area and appearing at two days' worth of meetings and presentations. Her 30 years of experience appear to make her well qualified for the role.

However, there is cause for concern, and it is not a reflection on Smith or her qualifications. The real estate market is changing again. Renting instead of owning is "in" these days. Home owners in many areas have little to no incentive to sell only because of profit potential. Technology and security concerns continue.

With all that needs to be done to address the current residential real estate situation locally and around the country, the fact remains that Smith is running unopposed for NAR President for 2020.


Out of approximately 1,000,000 Realtors around the country, no others are interested in a prominent industry leadership role. Does everyone agree with everything she says and does?

Consumers are swamped by advertisements and marketing campaigns by real estate companies and individual agents all the time, as if they should constantly be "thinking about" selling or buying a new home. Some agents are more prominent and more aggressive than others.

Many agents take pride in finding solutions, negotiating, and going the extra mile for their current and potential clients.

But only ONE of them wants to lead the pack?

Smith could be the ideal candidate, but that is not the point. She should need to be CHOSEN as the right candidate, and not default into it.

Make the hundreds of thousands of voters have to choose her if they all think she is such a good candidate. Her running unopposed brings an element of "I give up. I can't compete with that." to the mix.

If not even one out of roughly one million Realtors is not stepping up to oppose Smith and lead an effort toward improvement, what kind of message does this send to millions of homeowners?

Most of these Realtors spend countless dollars to give the public reasons why you should choose "me" over all of the other agents.

At this moment, NONE of them, except Smith, have pursued the most prestigious role in the entire industry.

Smith, however, can boast to potential clients that she is, literally, one in a million. Shouldn't she be "one of the choices" instead?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Make Inventory A Positive

I know I keep harping on this, but it is so important to not have negatives when marketing real estate. Here is another example in the (below link) story about home sales in York County.

It's not about whether you live in that area. This is the situation in many other areas of the country. The most recent local home sales report shows that homes are selling faster and that prices are rising.

What this shows is that the area is desirable, and that means that prices are likely to continue to rise, however slightly. What this tells a potential buyer is that he/she/they have a better profit potential a few years down the road. Thus, buying for the situation (schools, job nearby, transportation, family involvement, etc.) is ideal for now, but a profitable investment is possible down the road with reasonable maintenance and upkeep.

The ability to demonstrate that homes in these areas are selling "more quickly" is also a plus. However, this is a plus for a potential buyer, and NOT for a potential seller.

Yet, with this article and many others I see, the real estate community continues to complain about "lack of inventory". 

If numerous homes are for sale within the same community, this, quite frankly, is often seen as a sign of neighborhood distress by potential buyers. "Why are so many people looking to move out?" is a question I have been asked, and I am not a licensed agent. 

On the other hand, if only a couple of homes are for sale, it shows as being a steady area with the occasional "opening" that someone needs to pounce on.

This talk of "lack of inventory" makes people think that something is wrong if people aren't looking to move out. 

All they needed to do was to release the information about homes selling faster and for higher prices. Make the area look good. Keep the negative out.

Monday, August 6, 2018

They Ames To Please

Exemptions from a rental cap in Ames IA normally wouldn't be a big concern for real estate professionals and investors around the country. But this is not your typical debate.

This past Friday (8/3) the city council voted one way and then changed its mind following another vote within the same session. As this story details, now that exemptions are in place, some local politicians and area attorneys are still reportedly seeking further clarification.

If the lawmakers aren't clear, how are landlords supposed to be?

What makes this more noteworthy for those of us around the country is that much of the controversy about this comes from rentals surrounding the college campus.

It is easy to see where all sides are coming from and why everyone has a valid point toward what they want.

How this plays out could be significant for other college towns....


Friday, August 3, 2018

Will Other Communities Follow Oak Park?

Oak Park (a west suburb of Chicago) is now allowing coach houses, per the article link below. This community already has some unique features which enable Oak Park to stand out beyond neighboring suburbs as well as the Chicago communities nearby.

It will be interesting to keep watch over this for the next few months. The question is whether this will be another "Oak Park thing", or if coach houses will take hold and be allowed in surrounding areas in order to attract residents to those communities.

My hunch is that it won't go beyond Oak Park in the near future.......

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Nice Lesson From The York County School Districts

If you take out the first paragraph of this local (for York County) article about the real estate market, you have something that other cities should be doing INSTEAD of the typical "no inventory" story which is often discouraging to readers.

Showing which school districts have the best home sales is an excellent way to draw attention to a neighborhood. Even if a potential buyer does not have school age children (at the time of potential purchase), it shows them those neighborhoods which are drawing buyers.

The idea is, or should be, to make a potential buyer feel like they are getting a good investment which will bring them solid returns years down the road. This is one way of doing that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Similar Home Sales Stories Show A Different Message

News stories within the past 24 hours show how much interpretation of information makes a difference when it comes to the real estate market.

On one hand, a story about how some experts consider some Dallas area homes to be "overvalued" by at or above 10%, based on statistics they judge by.

On the other hand, a story out of Roanoke VA about how strong the real estate market is and how the median price is at record levels in some parts of the state.

What we have is opposite reactions to a similar situation. 

If only more people within the real estate community would think about the message they send to consumers BEFORE these statistics and "reports" are made public.

From here, the Virginia story sends a positive message to consumers. It tells potential buyers that they stand to gain value when they buy a home in these areas, thus making for a solid investment in addition to the desired living conditions.

The Dallas story just served to make buying a home in those areas less appealing, making a consumer feel that they would or could overpay for what they get. This sentiment hurts both those trying to sell as well as to buy.

And for what? 

This many homes in different zip codes can't ALL be "overpriced". 

If only the writers of the Dallas story had used the theories of the Virginia story writers. They might have done local sellers and buyers a nice service, instead of hurting their chances.

See for yourself:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hawaii Mansion Sales Look Good As You Go Higher

Here is still another example of why real estate firms and associations need to look at only publishing those statistics on home sales and prices which are favorable.

The intent is to show one area of "promise" for the largest of mansions in Hawaii to potential buyers around the country. 

However, this article, based on research from the local Coldwell Banker officials, focuses way too much on the "down" areas.

In this case, the research shows positive trends for homes priced at over $3 million. However, while doing so, it points out the reduction in sales and/or prices in the $1 million to $3 million range, which is more discouraging than helpful.

Just point out the improvement in the $3 million and up range. As I figure it, if a potential buyer that actually buys based on statistical trends wants to know who "their" price range is doing, let them contact their local real estate office to find out.

See for yourself:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Knowing Which Home Prices Are Rising Makes A Difference

What makes this summary so interesting is that it details how rising home prices in this area are not the luxury listings and/or the higher priced listings.

The fact that this data comes from Flagstaff AZ is not as important as the trend it shows. Flagstaff is far from being the only community, whether large or small, that has this type of single family home structure.

This is where market research comes in to play for the savvy agent. Instead of wasting time pulling realty association statistics about dropping home sales, there is opportunity for a positive comparative analysis in many markets. 

If you are a potential buyer or investor, you might be able to use this research data in your favor in places where market conditions are or can be similar. If you are a real estate professional, this is the type of research which can bring you buying or selling points within appropriate communities:

Monday, November 6, 2017

Think Before You Post Real Estate News

I certainly understand realty associations wanting to keep both the membership and consumers informed of upcoming news and trends.

However, I have a hard time with the so-called "news" story put out by the Florida Association of Realtors.

The story is about how driverless cars are "coming", which is quite possible. This story even acknowledges that this will be in the "next 10 to 20 years".

It's enough of a stretch that this "news" is even a part of the real estate feed at this moment in time. In today's "overnight delivery is too long" society, it's not as though a large percentage of readers will stop and take heed over what could be the case in 10 years. (Unless it is financial news which could impact long term, retirement, etc.)

Instead, the angle of this "news" story is really that this change could have a significant impact on commuting, suggesting that drivers could instead concentrate on their work or a form of relaxation.

While there is a point to be made in that regard, it's hardly a game changer for real estate. If the purpose of this "news" story is to combat that, it does a poor job of it.

There is actually a quote from an expert real estate consultant about how "two and three car garages are a thing of the past". The quote does not say "could be a thing of the past".

What does this have to with real estate marketing?


Both real estate professionals and the public need to be updated about real estate news and trends, especially those which can help them make decisions.

Here is a realty association wasting time on this story, when there is so much other valuable information it should be putting out.

Now we have an expert consultant saying that large garages "are a thing of the past". How much confidence does a current home owner with a two car garage have about possibly selling when they see this "expert" quote?

This does not even factor in the number of commuters who already take the train, bus, or ride share and ALREADY do not drive while traveling these long distances. It's a number which is in the millions.

Funny, but the last time I checked, many of these millions of people who already do not drive a long way to work remain a multiple vehicle household.

How about quotes from experts about what can be done to sell the thousands of properties currently on the market?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Importance of Marketing and Advertising Listings - 2

Some real estate agents don't like it when I point these things out publicly, and I understand that. Some home owners appreciate it when we point out that agents need to monitor ALL of the advertising, marketing, and publicity they put out when representing a property.

Let's take this bungalow for sale in Salt Lake City:

As you can see when you look at the first link (from, this is a more than 100 year old bungalow with two bedrooms and one bath, including a photo spread.

The description copy, frankly, could make this property seem a lot more desirable, even though it is written more for other real estate professionals than for potential buyers. (Note the "Easy to show" at the end of the description.)

Starting a description sentence with "Garage can be used for car and storage" is a head scratcher. Show me a garage that can't! Then, it tells us that this home is "minutes from the Columbus Library".

How do those facts make this home unique?

There are a few more facts about the home, however non-distinct it appears, along with several photos which do make the property look better.

Although not exactly a standout ad in terms of appealing to potential buyers, it is far from a disaster.

However, this is what appears to someone searching by way of Another national web site,, also features this same property.

That's where the importance shows. The listing agent clearly, after 37 days listed (as of this writing) failed to monitor its appearance on

The version, even on the area search page, shows "Photo Not Available" in every one of the 12 available photo slots for this property. Although the description copy is the same, lifted from the one on, being told that "Garage can be used for car and storage" and "minutes from the library" within further edited copy make the ad a total head scratcher.

Anyone searching this area and price from anywhere in the country on probably won't even click on this ad, since it shows "Photo not available" on the search page. If someone does click on it, thinking maybe it's a brand new listing, the primary description says little about the interior or any specific selling benefits.

Yet, the page also says this listing has been on the page for 37 days (as of this writing), even though this very ad was "Most recently changed on 10/31/17".

Thus, if that change date is accurate, it means that the listing agent or someone authorized "changed" this listing ad more than a month later. Yet, there is still NO photo available??

Makes me wonder if the listing agent is too busy complaining about the lack of inventory being a reason for homes not selling.

This is why agents (and sellers!) should monitor ALL marketing and advertising - for every property!


Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Importance of Marketing and Advertising Listings - 1

Whatever happened to a simple "Coming Soon"?

I can understand that a listing agent wants to get a property up online for the public to see as soon as possible, but experience should teach that you need to be careful doing so.

On Nov. 4th, I found this listing in Bloomington IN online for the public to see: 

As of press time, the entire 19 photo spread consisted of "Facsimile" photos. Every one of them. There is no property description at all.

And this is still up there in DAY 4 on this site.

It would be one thing if this temporary page was visible for an hour or two in order to establish the presence on the internet, for the world to be able to see.

This property is listed at $459,900. Yet, four days later there is no information and not even a real photo. Even the "virtual tour" is taken from these Facsimile photo.

If properly advertising and promoting a new listing isn't important, what is?

Even with advertising, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Why would anyone possibly check back to see about this property?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Risking Your Home For A Package Delivery?

I'm waiting to see how the various realty associations will react to the news story about how Amazon is actually going ahead with a delivery method which will allow its delivery drivers to actually get inside homes just to make deliveries.

Here is a chance for the associations to step up on behalf of the home owners their members are representing.

Although I understand the intent of this service is a good one, having Amazon create more serious problems just to be able to have what they consider to be a more secure package delivery method is going way too far.

Real estate agents take pride in the security measures in place for agents to show properties when no one is home (usually a more ideal situation) with a lock box or other secure private entry system.

Amazon will probably argue that their method is similar. I beg to differ.

They seem to think that there won't be any problems with a clearly marked Amazon truck parking in front of a home so the driver, probably in uniform, can use a "one-time" security code and be seen entering a residence.

Just watch a local newscast on any TV station and tell me that no one would ever follow an Amazon driver into an upscale neighborhood and be "waiting" while they enter a half-million dollar home at which there is clearly no one home.

As soon as this actually happens, there goes the safety and crime rate for an upscale neighborhood, which comes right back at property values.

Let's not forget that deliveries get made in rain, snow, and other noteworthy weather conditions. You also can't tell me that drivers won't be walking into those homes, even for a few steps in and out, and not leaving footprints or possibly letting in flies, bugs, or debris.

If the driver leaves the door open for the few seconds, there is no stopping anyone else from entering someone's home. If the driver shuts the door, you have a complete stranger in "your" home, even if for a few seconds.

Are these drivers bonded? Do we know that even if and as the delivery goes smooth that they didn't take photos of a security alarm system or valuables "on display"? Or that they won't be bribed to plant a bug or a small camera?

Think about what could happen to your home, or to homes in your neighborhood and how it could impact you. All for a $50 package?

Frankly, it's Amazon's problem (and Wal-Mart and other companies looking to do this) to make sure that orders safely reach their destination. If they want people to have their packages efficiently, either schedule delivery when someone is home to receive them or make them available at their stores (or arrangements with a local retailer) to be dropped off.

The realty agents also should not overlook that this "service" would increase the number of delivery trucks in many communities.

Here you have an agent looking to sell a family home "on a quiet cul de sac" promoting it all over the place, and now you have delivery trucks on the "quiet street" every day with these drivers able to just walk in to surrounding houses.

Would you want to buy an expensive home in a community in which "anyone" can watch and see how many neighbors are not home during a given weekday?

Furthermore, we have all seen the recent stories about huge companies and web sites being severely hacked, including large retailers and even a large credit bureau.

Can you honestly assure me that the "secure method" of providing these drivers with one-time codes for entry to homes won't be hacked? You can bet the ranch that the trackers will reveal thousands of hacking attempts every second.

Personally, I'd like to see the realty associations take a stand against this on behalf of their homeowners and clients.

And, I'll point out that instead of paying extra for the "privilege" of faster delivery you could get an account at a mail drop location and not have to go through any of this.