Monday, August 1, 2016

It Should Be A Peak In The Valley.....

When it comes to home sales, the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles) has always had its share of controversy going back many years.

Recent home sales have pushed the median price for the area to more than $600,000. Keep in mind this the median price, NOT the average sale price, which means that the majority of homes sold are well over a half-million dollars.

And, again, home sales have gone up over the past four months.

We understand that agents want and need listings in order to make a living. However, complaining when there are not "enough" listings casts a less than positive light on the market. It's not necessary.

Simply let the report go that home sales continue to rise at impressive prices. Let potential buyers see that they have a better chance of showing increased value of a home they purchase over the next few years. Let current owners see that if they do decide to sell, they have a much better (than earlier years) opportunity to generate a profit on their home.

If there were a ton of listings available, and it was like the days when every block had multiple "For Sale" signs aligning it, potential buyers could think that the neighborhood has become less desirable and that they can hold out for price reductions because so many owners are anxious to sell.

It's all about supply and demand. Quotes and comments should reflect that.


http://www.dailynews.com/business/20160731/why-the-summer-home-buying-season-is-better-than-2015-so-far

Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's Not About Housing Inventory

Here is still another story about local (Cincinnati area) home sales and median prices going up over recent weeks, which, of course, is a big positive.

However, it's the quote about how "the market would be better if there was more inventory" that appears in this story, as well as many others like it from around the country.

The more homes available in a given community, the more likely it becomes that sellers need to lower the price in order to get their home sold. Lower sale prices usually do more harm than good.

When home prices rise, it tells potential buyers that the value of the home they are considering has a strong chance of increasing over the years.

There are still millions of homes with underwater mortgages that were wrongly damaged by the foreclosure boom over the past 10 years. Give them a chance to recover their losses!

Having fewer listings selling for more money is the ideal solution.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/money/2016/07/28/home-sales-so-far-2016-high-competition-low-inventory/87292876/

Friday, July 15, 2016

New Condo Legislation Should Help

The National Association of Realtors is pleased with the Senate passing of the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act" on Thursday night.

In plain English, it eases the FHA recertification process and reduces the owner-occupancy requirement for condos. In the long run, it should help condos to be more affordable for more people.

The NAR went as far as to issue a Press Release about its passing to increase awareness.

One thing we don't agree with is the Association's constant references, including in this release, to the "lack of inventory" of property listings in many areas. They have the "fewer available properties means fewer buyers" approach.

From our point of view, it is supply and demand. More people going for fewer listings means multiple offers and sometimes a bidding process for sellers. From here, that's a good thing.

People are more likely to move into a specific community with more evidence that their property will become more valuable within the next five years. Too many properties for sale means lower sale prices and often conveys a message that the neighborhood is less desirable.

Would love your thoughts on this.

Here is the NAR's press release about the bill which passed:


http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nar-backed-condo-legislation-passes-us-senate-offers-relief-for-homebuyers-300299228.html

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why Advertising Homes For Sale Matters: Bolingbrook IL


Researching the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook provides more evidence of how important researching the current local market is to advertising and selling new listings as soon as possible.

 

A new listing on Truman Street, which just came on the market within the past week, has 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a 2-car garage among its features. It is listed at $379,000, is within the Naperville (next suburb over) school district and the brief description boasts about the hardwood flooring and fireplace.

 

Technically, there is nothing wrong with this listing advertisement on Realtor.com, and the photo spread is well done.

 

The problem is that this ad does not address the “competition” from other available homes within this community.

 

Five days prior, another Bolingbrook listing, this one on Danube Way, also has 4 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, and has a 3-car garage, while the home itself is literally shown as being 1,000 square feet larger, while also boasting of a large yard and patio. This home is price at $375,000.

 

This is exactly why agents (and in some cases, the sellers) need to do even more homework about the local market before creating their ads.

 

Chances are that if you are an agent working with a buyer or a buyer acting on your own, you would choose to pursue the Danube Way property first of these two. A much larger home, bigger garage, more yard and patio space, and a price that’s $4,000 less would sway a lot of potential buyers in that direction. Both of these homes are within the Naperville (neighbor suburb) school district.

 

My concern is that the ad for the home on Truman was posted five days after the one on Danube Way, which appears to have the advantages for potential buyers. This shows the importance of both creating listing advertisements which sell against the “competition” (other similar local homes) as well as the need to research what is currently out there.

 

While we are not meaning to say that the home on Truman does not have selling points in comparison with the one on Danube Way, the problem is that they are not made readily available to potential buyers.

 

Meanwhile, both of these homes have other local competition. Our search of 4 bedroom homes within the same zip code as the Danube Way listing shows a 4 bedroom home with 3 baths (compared to 2 ½ baths in the other two), and a 3-car garage. This home, on Danhof Drive, is 800 square feet larger than the one on Danube Way, while the entire lot it sits on is literally triple the size of the Danube home – while being more than four times the size of the lot with the home on Truman Street. It does sit within the Plainfield (another neighboring suburb) school district. The price for this one? $375,000.

 

This larger home on Danhof, however, has been on the market for quite some time, and in fact has been reduced from $397,400 back on April 2015.

 

Thus, it is curious for a potential buyer. As so often happens, there is no urgency when a home has been on the market and gone through multiple price reductions over the previous 15 months. Yet, this advertisement, also on Realtor.com (same source) has not been updated to show how much more home and land the buyer could get for the same or less money than the two most similar properties within the community. The series of price reductions should not be the key selling point, in this instance.

 

My point is not to say that one of these homes is better or worse than any of the others. Rather, it is to show that advertisements for properties need to be more than just unique. They need to fit the current marketplace, and be kept up to date.

 

At press time, one of these homes appears to have an advantage as a first impression for anyone searching this community and price range for a 4-bedroom home. These properties all have unique selling points when compared against each other. This needs to be reflected.

 

Which is currently the "best" advertisement? In my opinion, none of them. The home on Danube Way, which has the "advantage", also has the shortest description of any. None of these advertisements refer to the current marketplace.

 

For the Danube Way home, the ad should be highlighting "New Listing!", the large size (for when compared with the other brand new listing in the community), and the 3-car garage for starters.

 

The home on Truman needs to have more description copy with more details about the kitchen and the interior. It also could point out its proximity to the park with a playground, which means that the owner does not need to maintain a big yard. (That could be an advantage for the working family which may not have the time to handle a yard for the children.) And, of course, it is also a fairly new listing.

 

And, the home on Danhof (which has been on the market for well over a year) needs to emphasize that it is now "the largest home and property in this price range" with the added ability to immediately add a 5th bedroom before everything else.

 

Again, all three of these 4 -bedroom homes are in the same suburb and priced within $4,000 of each other. They, like so many other properties, need to be advertised and promoted based on what the current marketplace has to offer.


See for yourself:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 




Monday, June 13, 2016

How One House in Chicago Could Shape the Market

A bungalow on Chicago's far north side on the verge of being sold for the 2nd time within less than a year should be setting a wonderful example for the entire real estate community. Let this serve as proof positive that distressed properties and stagnant neighborhoods do not have to continue to hinder the residential market any further.

Within the past year, this home has gone from three to four bedrooms, has a fully finished lower level added (including the 4th bedroom), an entirely new kitchen put in, new bathrooms, outdated carpeting turned into shiny hardwood flooring, and a rebuilt 2-car garage among its many improvements.

Those of you that know Chicago will also appreciate this location, which is very close to public transportation and shopping, along with having a square block sized city park just one-half block away. There is free parking available on the street which does not have any form of Permit Parking which is dominant within much of the city limits.

As a result, this property, as of press time, shows as "Contingent" for sale at a price which is literally more than double the price paid for it within the past 12 months. The dollar amount spent to engage all of the improvements and amenities was most likely significant. Even so, it is safe to think that the current seller is doing well on the deal, while the eventual new owner will have one of the most valued homes within the entire Hollywood Park community of Chicago.

Late last year, the current seller purchased this home for $225,000. The contingency sale now posted is at $459,000. A study of this community shows this to be more than $100,000 above the current median price for homes.

The added significance to this price is that Chicago continues to rank among the highest cities in the nation in terms of the percentage of homes which are still underwater on mortgages.

Because of all of the work done to improve this house, the entire community benefits from the rise in property values. Yet, the new owner will benefit from an upgraded property, and the current seller comes away with what is likely a nice profit. Everybody wins.

This seller made it happen by making this home what it is today. This owner did not sit around and wait for magic beans to appear and fix the real estate market for everyone. He/she/they made it happen, and in less than one year.

Yet, this is only a part of this important story. It so happens that this home was foreclosed upon during 2015 for less than $200,000. In so many instances in Chicago and around the country, people sit back and allow that low price to harm and reduce property values for the neighborhood. By taking action, the recent owners increased the value of this very same home to the point of RAISING the home values for the very same area.

Now I can reveal that I had been inside that very home within the past three years due to my personally knowing the earlier owners who were foreclosed upon. Their circumstances were such that a severe disability of one of them limited their ability to maintain the home, let alone even consider any upgrades. Frankly, it was a mess with parts not cleaned regularly. That gives me the knowledge of exactly how much work and effort it took to upgrade this property to the point of increasing its value.

If only I had known that they could lose their home before it happened. Maybe I could have helped them to work with a contractor to make these improvements and share in the profits to benefit all concerned. And to help keep neighborhood home values from dropping (for no reason) because of the foreclosure price.

Maybe we can cause other homeowners in trouble and the big banks to see the benefits of taking action to upgrade instead of hurting all concerned with foreclosures. Now we have proof in Chicago that it can happen!

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/5846-N-Christiana-Ave_Chicago_IL_60659_M85010-53368

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Another Reason Why Agents Need To Monitor Their Property Ads

An NFL player lists his home - and the advertisement for it has a car in the photo!

It is always considered a "no - no" to have a car included within an advertising for a residential listing, primarily for security reasons. When a home is still occupied, there are people who could watch the property for times when a pictured vehicle is not in the driveway or carport.

While doing research for agents and brokers around the country, finding cars in photos is actually only one of the things we find "wrong" with property ads.

As bad as having a car in the primary photo is, it becomes even more significant when the home currently belongs to what could be termed a celebrity, since it belongs to a current NFL player. Worse yet, the home is located within minutes of the stadium where this player has played for the local NFL team!

Jermaine Gresham, just signed as a tight end with the Arizona Cardinals, has listed his home across the river from Cincinnati, with the Bengals being one of his former teams.

However, part of a recognizable vehicle appears in the driveway in the primary photo of the home. What makes this so incredible is that this appears on Realtor.com, which is the real estate advertising site with the most credibility of all.

While it is bad enough that a professional real estate photographer could not work around a vehicle in the driveway when taking photos, the fact that it appears on such a major web site, monitored from around the country, shows the scope of this problem.

For example, because of his fame, the story about Gresham looking to sell his home, including this photo, made the "Celebrity News" section of the site, thus giving it even more views.

This never should have happened.

http://www.realtor.com/news/celebrity-real-estate/jermaine-gresham-selling-kentucky-home/

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Realty Firm Hiring As A "News" Story?

The journalist in me is fuming this afternoon. After I was tipped off to this, I went to the web site for the NW Indiana Times newspaper to see for myself.

On the front page (on the afternoon of 3/16), one of the local "NEWS" story links was headlined "McColly Real Estate Is Hiring Now". Again, this was a "NEWS" story link.

After clicking the link up came the "story" which is nothing more than a press release from this firm that they are looking to hire. And, how is this for a coincidence?

At the top of the page is an obvious ADVERTISEMENT for, you guessed it, McColly Real Estate.

It is bad enough when the news media simply runs a press release verbatim without checking facts or adding their own touch. But running a blatant advertisement as if it is a news story hits rock bottom.

How are its readers supposed to believe anything positive about a local business from here on out?

If I was a real estate agent in this area (which is technically a part of the Chicago metro market), I would start sending announcements and press releases to the News Editor. When it doesn't get published (since you are not an advertiser), I would bring this to the attention of others, such as the FTC or even local government.

As of March 16th, this is the link to the story:


http://www.nwitimes.com/mccolly-real-estate-is-hiring-now/article_87d0c2be-f39d-5cca-bfe5-940c7f1df1c2.html

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Nine Year-Old Photo On A Current Home For Sale Ad?

Here is another example of what happens when agents advertise listings and don't bother to check every source.

A 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath home on Chicago's West Side being listed "As Is" for $52,000 would seem to be able to attract attention from contractors, investors, and flippers throughout the region.

However, the advertisement remains online 255 days later (as of press time). If the listing agent doesn't care enough to update the ad, it only adds more doubt to a potential buyer.

The first impression a potential buyer sees is the primary photo with a huge tree blocking the view of the front of the house (other than the stairs and front entrance). Under the photo is a date from November 2006, more than nine years ago.

Further down, the statistics show a population listed as being 41,845 along with additional household statistics. The street address shown is in Chicago proper, which has more than 3,000,000 population.

If the first statistic people see is nowhere near accurate, how can any of the others be trusted?

This advertisement indicates there may be liens and/or violations that a buyer would be financially responsible for. Someone thinking about this type of property would likely know how and where to perform the research to determine what the other costs may be and can make some decisions as to whether or not to proceed.

However, when the information is not accurate, the photo is years old (or the date is wrong and was not corrected), and the photo gives a poor view, chances are a potential buyer will not even bother to pursue anything further.

Swapping an updated photo from a better angle and editing a few facts could make a huge difference in presenting this property to potential buyers.

And there is more that is wrong with this listing. Further down, under loan information, rates are shown from a local Chicago bank (not a regional or national bank), yet the disclaimer refers to a "California Department of Real Estate" license number. Again, this home is shown as being in Chicago, more than 2,000 miles away.

How is this allowed?

http://www.homefinder.com/IL/Chicago/3411-West-Fulton-Blvd-123229038d

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When A "Price Reduction" Ad Is Not Enough......

Here is more proof that it sometimes takes more than a $20,000 price reduction to get some action on a home for sale. In this case, not much more.


While researching Chicago's north side, I came upon an ad for a home which showed this price reduction announced within the past 10 days. I clicked on it to see what the listing agent had to say about it within her listing ad description.


The price reduction showed as having been implemented on Feb. 4th. I looked at the ad on Feb. 16th.


What were the FIRST words of the description copy?


I quote: "OPEN SUNDAY 11/29/15, 1:00-3:00! May not be yard sign installed yet."


Sorry to report that this agent, while updating for the price reduction, and having appeared to have an updated primary photo (always a plus), totally overlooked adjusting the description copy in the process:


http://www.homefinder.com/IL/Chicago/2917-West-Jarvis-Avenue-129292842d


This home has some outstanding features. However, when one can easily get the first impression that it has been on the market for more than two and one-half months and still hasn't sold even with a $20,000 price reduction, it makes a potential buyer wonder if it is even worth reading the remainder of the description.


All that was needed here was to remove the first part of the copy, and (hopefully) do some updating of the current content, and this ad would have been a respectable (at worst) representation of this property.


Instead, it becomes more of a negative than a positive. This has nothing to do with the latest local trends or home sale statistics. Plain and simple, it has everything to do with how it is marketed.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Agents Should Be Well "Schooled" In Their Community

As my office continues to research the real estate market and property ads around the country, it's good to notice that more information than ever is available about many of the school systems. For many families, the neighborhood they will look at for a new home is often influenced by the quality of the schools.


Those areas with especially solid schools could easily benefit by this type of publicity, especially within specific home sale advertisements.


Here is one example of research now available, as presented for a county in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area:


http://blog.cruvita.com/top-20-elementary-schools-for-home-buyers-in-washtenaw-county-mi/




If it were up to me, every two or more bedroom home for sale within these top three schools (out of 20) should be pointing out its proximity to that school within the property description!



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Good and Bad Publicity - At The Same Time

This newspaper story about Corpus Christi home sales is an excellent read, talking about how nearly 1,000 homes within one single zip code were sold in 2015. That is a positive for that area, and the additional research showing home sales in various local zip codes is one of the more interesting statistics provided on home sales data.


http://www.caller.com/news/building-our-future/growth/nearly-1k-homes-sold-in-corpus-christis-78414-in-2015-2af4854e-3f99-50bc-e053-0100007f47ea-368100921.html 




However, for whatever reason, the newspaper decided to use a photo for the story which shows garbage dumpsters, garbage cans on their side laying in the street, and porta-potties. Not exactly a flattering photo for their area.


After all, I saw this story from more than 1,000 miles away, and have personally never been to Corpus Christi. No matter how many homes are selling in certain areas, the photo used along with the story doesn't exactly make me want to go there. How would this help someone to want to buy a home there?


Just as with property advertisements, real estate content needs to have the best possible photo, with some thought behind it.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Why Homes For Sale Ads Need To Be Updated More Often


It is no secret that the majority of real estate professionals embrace the new technology. However, there still needs to be plenty of change when it comes to adapting the new technology to how properties are marketed.

 

As you know, parts of the east coast, especially the Washington D.C./Baltimore region, was socked with a severe snowstorm less than two weeks ago. Those of us who have experienced a significant snowstorm know that some communities are able to dig out more quickly and/or become more functional faster than others when this happens.

 

Chances are that you have an opinion, one way or the other, on how your community handles recovering from a major storm or weather event.

 

If you are happy with how it is handled surrounding your home, and are looking to sell, this is something worth pointing out to potential buyers. At least it should be.

 

Those of you who have been reading this column over the past seven years know that I have often done a search days after a major weather event in order to see how many property advertisements have been updated to show any “positive” results.

 

With this in mind, this afternoon I did a specific price range search, using Homes.com, for the Washington D.C. suburb of College Park MD, one of the hardest hit areas of the recent major snow storm.

 

I wanted to see for myself, nearly two weeks later, how many of the property ads were updated, or even just added, since the big storm.

 

My search turned up 23 homes currently available and which had addresses and a primary photo within the advertisement.

 

Of those 23, I then counted how many of those primary photos had snow in them. The total number that did: ZERO.

 

Instead, we see these homes with their lawns in full glory. Of course, this is far from what the outsides of these homes look like this afternoon!

 

Perhaps I’m being harsh, but I happen to not think so. If even a few of these ads had snow in the photos, I would have an idea that people are able to navigate through College Park without a problem and that the storm recovery is going smoothly.


Instead, my impression is that not one agent or seller wants anyone outside of the area to see how bad conditions still are in that area. Sure, that may be an unrealistic assessment.

 

However, it is far from unrealistic to expect that nobody cares enough to update so much as a photo. We are past the days when you would have to get a photo in to the local paper four days ahead of time and it simply “isn’t ready” yet.

 

Remember, the “instant” technology exists. I have personally driven and taken a couple of new photos of a marketing client’s listing, driven back to my office, and updated ads online within one hour’s time. As helpful as I can be, doing that is not a unique talent. Especially when I’m not even a realty agent!

 

I’ll take this one step further. One of the properties I found is this one:

 

 


This is a supposed “motivated seller” featuring an empty house that shows nothing but a green lawn outside. These photos are MONTHS behind. How motivated is that seller and his/her agent?

 

While it is true that Homes.com often does not update as much as other sites which advertise properties do, believe me when I tell you that you will find the same thing happening all over if you search the areas impacted by the recent storm.

 

Photos of properties for sale should be updated as often as possible to reflect current conditions. Let’s take advantage of this technology.

 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Welcoming 2016 !!

This looks to be a most exciting year for myself and for First In Promotions (for which I have been Marketing Director since 1992), and hopefully for you as well!

I am very excited to take on a new project smack in the middle of our home office area, the prestigious northern suburbs of Chicago. My office has been selected as Publisher of the new Chicago North Shore edition of "Real Estate Agent Magazine", which will soon be sent via monthly print and digital editions to more than 10,000 real estate agents and brokers (and affiliated services) within this area.

It will be my pleasure to help provide local content ranging from news about agents and offices to "Realtor of the Month" to hundreds of tips to help agents and brokers secure even more business. I'm looking forward to having a "hands on" look at all things Chicago real estate, including visiting many of the offices and their affiliates in the weeks and months to come.

Of course, this will benefit my current (and hopefully future!) clients around the country, along with my faithful readers of this blog.

Our social media news and comment will continue with featured real estate stories and links from around the country via our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Although there were no posts on this blog over the past few weeks, I'm happy to say that there will, once again, be regular posts here. We hope you will enjoy the slight change of direction. (If not, please let me know via your comments!)

There is still plenty of room, and need, for improvement in many of the advertisements and presentations of properties for sale. However, instead of pointing out the bad ones, I'll make the effort to highlight the better ones. The focus of this blog will now be more specific to agents and brokers, after years of being for consumers as well as real estate professionals.

Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.........




Friday, October 30, 2015

A Health Care Benefit While Selling Your Home?

Some property listings and advertisements for listings provide information about the local school district, most likely when it is a school district worth bragging about to potential buyers.


While that makes sense and has its merits, so does providing helpful information about what is nearby to the appropriate demographics. Other than schools, that doesn't seem to happen, and that needs to change.


Of course, the quality of a school district is important. But not if it is a smaller home which does not have room for a family with children, and/or a home in an area which does not cater to school age children.


Just as the school district is a concern for potential buyers with children, there are aspects of a community which appeal to different age groups, even though they are rarely pointed out in a sales situation. Not doing so can cost some home sellers an edge they may have when buyers compare with another property.


Listing agents need to find and utilize more factors about the community when promoting a home for sale. The idea is to sell "this" home ahead of "homes" in general.


These days, the information needed is more readily available than ever before, and should be taken into consideration.


For example, for potential buyers either without children, with grown children, or whose children do not live with them, could very well be in need of convenient health care. To that point, the quality of the local hospital is as important to some potential buyers and sellers as the school district is to others.


Why can't home sale listings include something like "close to 'A' rated West Central Hospital" within the description?


To further the point, here are the recently updated statistics for the 100 largest hospitals within the State of Illinois:




http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org/search?findBy=state&zip_code=&city=&state_prov=IL&hospital=




This information is generally available for every state. Right now, your home could be close to the top hospital in your region.


If you are looking to sell your home, and it is nearby to one of the top hospitals in the state (or within 50 miles, for example), shouldn't that be pointed out to potential buyers? If you didn't know about it, how do you expect them to?


Frankly, that might be more helpful to a potential buyer than learning about the "vaulted ceiling in the upstairs bedroom".


Providing a possible health care "benefit", especially at no additional cost, to a potential buyer just might make the difference when the potential buyer compares their needs vs. other properties they might be considering.


If you are a realty agent, this should become an element of your presentation. If you are a potential or current seller, you should research this ASAP in hope of finding another solid reason for a buyer to make an offer. It could be better for your health.







Monday, October 12, 2015

Why Are Las Cruces Home Sales Really Better Than "Reported" ??

The idea should be to promote the sales of homes and not break it down by category if you don't have to. However, this report for Las Cruces NM fails to do so. Even worse, it is the Las Cruces Association of Realtors which issued the report.


It shows that "new" home sales are up, and prices up an impressive 10%. However, the same report shows that "existing" home prices decreased over the same period, even though sales were up slightly. This report also shows that short sales and bank owned property sales are also down over the same period.


What could and should have been a positive report for the market instead becomes a negative for current and potential home sellers in the area. This report should have been ALL homes, whether they are new or "existing".


There is no "total" figure, so we don't know for sure, based on this report, whether or not home sales in total are up, along with prices. As a guess at interpreting the statistics, they are, but it is not worth doing the math that we (as consumers) should not have to do.


I'm sure that some agents will argue with me that with existing home prices being down that it makes those a better buy. However, from the standpoint of a potential seller, this means they likely won't get a more realistic (and higher) asking price than they would have if ALL home sales and prices were "up".


If it were the local home builders association putting out this sort of publicity, I could understand that they want to bring more appeal for their new construction. However, this is a report through the Association of Realtors, which is supposed to be representing home sellers just as much as buyers.


They don't have to lie. Just tell the public that "home sales and prices are up", and not break them down publicly to the detriment of a larger segment of the local population.


It's time to turn a positive into a positive.






http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/money/industries/real-estate/2015/10/12/real-estate-connection-new-home-sales-rise/73446022/





Friday, October 9, 2015

Never Mind The Forecast - Stick With The Facts

Here is another example of why there are still so many problems, which should not be "problems", plaguing the real estate community.


I'm finally seeing positive results from certain parts of the country. The key word is "results". More and more communities are able to show that both home sales and home prices are on the rise. This shows that the particular community has a demand, and that a buyer stands a chance to actually be able to profit if they choose to sell in a few years. If not, real estate becomes less of an investment for the future and more of a way to gain tax benefits from basically paying rent with control over the "lease".


Then, I see "reports" such as this one. Leslie Appleton-Young has been a real estate expert in California for many years, and is well respected around the country by experts in the business, including myself.


However, the "story" from this week (10/8/15) does exactly what drives me nuts in this still challenged real estate market.


This story features "projections" for the coming months and into 2016 over and above the number of homes which have actually sold and where prices are going. Furthermore, her quote of “We still have a slightly troubled housing market” doesn't exactly make investors drop everything and call their real estate agent.


The "We still have problems, but expect them to get better" approach is, frankly, one of the things that is hurting the real estate process. And this one is not necessary.


Some publicity is not better than no publicity. This kind of publicity could have, and should have, been a lot more positive. You don't have to be a respected expert to realize that.






http://www.pe.com/articles/percent-782891-sales-forecast.html

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Agent's Newspaper Quote Hurts His Own Business

Obviously there are still some realty agents around who think that any publicity is good publicity. When I provide Media Coaching for agents I always stress the importance of being ready to say the right thing at the right time.


Unfortunately, an agent in Washington provides an example of why. Skagit County home sales showed a decline for the month of September. A local agent, given the chance to comment on the story, clearly didn't think before he spoke.


He is quoted in the local newspaper saying: "People do not want to list through the winter months,” “The perception is that things slow down. You don’t have as many buyers during the winter months.”


No wonder they "don't have as many buyers"! If I was a potential buyer within that area reading the local paper or reading it online, I would now think that there won't be any properties to choose from over the next four months.


If I were an owner in that area and considering selling soon, this agent just told me there "aren't as many buyers". According to him, I'd be stuck.


Although this is one small news article, the point is that it is another instance of an agent doing more harm than good.


I can't help but think of the large number of stories in the media about a property up for sale or just sold, especially involving celebrities, in which the agent "would not comment". Those are lost opportunities for major publicity.


This time, the agent was getting publicity for himself and his company, and blew it by not thinking. If that were me, my response would have been "With all of the desirable properties in this area, I'm confident that more people will be looking to come here", or something to that effect.


We need more positive thinking when it comes to getting more homes sold.




http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/skagit-county-sees-slight-decline-in-home-sales-for-september/article_8b876f09-f35f-589e-b41a-ca775d9404d2.html

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Movie "99 Homes" A Revealing Real Estate Adventure


I saw the movie “99 Homes” last night and find it to be one of the most compelling movies to come out in a long time. The writers most definitely know the seedy side of real estate, giving precise attention to how much the big banks and the government have screwed up the industry and the impact it continues to have.

 

While set in Central Florida a couple years ago, the film clearly has the element of “this could be in your community” as it shows what happens when people are at risk of losing their homes. We see the realty agents wanting their next commission, the banks wanting to close out “bad loans” they originally chose to make, and how the government gets ripped off in the process.

 

“99 Homes” also raises several moral questions, addressing the angle of “They stole from you, so you need to steal it back” and the pro and con of the choice. At the same time, we see how much the real estate industry still needs to be cleaned up.

 

This is how movies should be made. The writing is superb, and the acting is equally as excellent and convincing, especially during the many emotional scenes. Although some of the camera work is too shaky, in this instance it adds to the impact of making this seem like “real” experiences throughout this highly believable film.

 

The directing is solid, and the lighting is excellent as well. More importantly, this film shows that we don’t need special effects or name actors to make a film great. The only music was in the background and for impact, and not a bunch of popular songs to keep the audience awake and tapping their feet, like too many other films find necessary. It is the writing and how it is conveyed that make all the difference.

 

That is also without considering my personal emotional attachment of knowing two people who have lost their houses within the past 18 months. Every home owner can clearly relate to those portrayed in the movie on some level.

 

My only complaint would be that, at just under two hours, there should have been more time so that the story could have been carried out. As much as I liked the ending, this did not have to be one of those films where you know what “probably” happened. There were a couple of plot related questions not answered while the film should have easily been over two hours.

 

However, what turned to be the end was an ideal finish to an excellent plot. This film is clearly worth leaving home for!

 

 

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Poor Reflection on Coldwell Banker


Real estate advertising and marketing has enough challenges these days, but this incident in Orange County reflects even more poorly on the entire industry. The story in the Orange County Register showing two upscale realty offices in the same area taking jabs at each other hurts on several levels.

 

This is supposed to be a story about a couple of managers and an undetermined number of realty agents moving to a local competitor. First of all, this happens quite frequently and in many parts of the country on a regular basis, and more often than not and is not “reported” via the local media.

 

What this tells me is that someone provided the reporter with information in a serious effort to get this “story” out there. The core of the story is that two managers reportedly left First Team and went over to a three office group of Coldwell Banker offices.

 

This story goes as far as quoting Jamie Duran, the President of CB’s Orange County and San Diego operations, as saying that one of the managers they hired “was working for a non-luxury brand”. In the next paragraph, Jeff Gibson of First Team points out that company’s position as a luxury brand.

 

In addition, the story quotes representatives from both offices as disputing the exact number of agents who have “moved” from First Team to Coldwell Banker, with one side claiming it was 45 agents and the other claiming it was “only” 15 agents that he knew of.

 

We are not talking about an assembly line here. Having two executives of competing real estate companies acting like this is kindergarten is another poor reflection on the industry as a whole. Coldwell Banker’s competitor did not do anything illegal or unethical, yet their highest ranking executive has no problem taking a jab at a rival?

 
Real estate companies are under close government scrutiny, in addition to held to Realtor Association standards on both a local and national level. That should include being factual when making a public comment!


Perhaps Duran also overlooked the fact that agents representing home buyers can help clients buy homes listed by ANY real estate firm. The quote from Duran should have been more along the line of “We are happy to have these quality people on our team…” and shown some class.

 

Then there is the matter of the number of agents that followed the managers over from First Team. Unfortunately, the reporter failed to clarify which person was right (or if either was) and tell us how many agents joined Coldwell Banker as a result of this.

 

As a result, we have management people from two “leading” real estate companies, which serve the same communities, each telling us a different number with regard to the same situation.

 

If these companies can’t count their people accurately for a newspaper story, how can they be trusted to handle millions of dollars in real estate transactions? How do consumers know that the agent they are supposed to trust with their home will be representing the same company a week from now?

 

What happens the next time an agent from one company is negotiating a sale of a home with an agent from the other company? Will a buyer get screwed because the manager has another hissy fit?

 

We cannot and should not have it come public that upper management can become so unraveled over something that is common within their industry. But in this instance it did. Here’s hoping the real estate community will learn from this mistake.

 

Keep the comments positive, and more importantly, accurate. That is not a "luxury". It is a necessity.