Friday, July 28, 2017

More Homes Sold In Indy Area - Even With Fewer Listings

Finally! Indianapolis area firm F C Tucker reported on home sales in that area for June, and reported a nice increase in the number of homes sold by county.

What makes this report seemingly so different and so positive is that the story also points out that this happened even though there are fewer listings on the market.

This is how it should be. None of this "Low inventory hurts the market" stuff which has been damaging the market by guiding consumers to think that people are afraid to put homes on the market.

A report such as this one puts a positive slant on the market. Good for them!!


http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/35987210/june-home-sales-jump

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Getting The Maine Listing Info Across

As we prepare for our upcoming Chicago area advertising/marketing workshops, our focus will be on specific advertised properties and where there needs to be improvement.........

This example is a listing in Riley, Maine:

http://www.mainelistings.com/RealEstate/Details-Page/1/Index/1#leaf

The photos in this listing ad are excellent - with one significant exception. The problem is that the exception is what shows up as the primary photo. The all important first impression.

While the description copy starts out highlighting the views and proximity to the nearby river and mountains, the primary shows mostly bare trees and bare tree shadows and nothing to indicate any of the supposedly wonderful views.

Those that stay on the page to review the remaining photos will see some very flattering interior shots, and a couple of exterior shots which do provide an idea of the surroundings.

The lesson is to make certain that the best photo available comes up as the primary photo, and that the description copy supports or reinforces the photo.

Although the need for energy and heating is important for a large sized home in Maine, this should not come in place of a more detailed description of the nice looking interior!

All the copy refers to is the "beautiful gourmet kitchen, dining area, living room", as if just that information makes this home special or appealing.

Yet, there is nothing in the description about the covered deck which appears in the primary photo.

Based on our search at press time, there were no other properties in this general price range listed in this area. I'd like to think that whoever took the two minutes to throw an advertisement together and hope someone would respond to this limited and unappealing information would have verified this is the "lowest priced home in the area with....." and listed more features. 

Sorry, but people aren't as concerned about the heating methods ahead of everything else for a nearly half-million dollar property in Maine.

In addition, this advertisement shows the listing real estate office, yet does not have the name or any information about who the listing agent is.

Not exactly the personal touch. Houses do not sell themselves. Marketing them does.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another Problem Listing Ad

Just because this is a small 2 bedroom home in Salt Lake City is no reason to not put an effort into how it is advertised.

The primary photo shows how poorly the exterior is landscaped and, frankly, is not overly flattering to the building itself. The second photo in the spread shows the unit without window dressings in the living room and how very close the neighboring unit actually is.

Photo spreads are supposed to enhance the listing ad, but in this instance the first two make this home look worse instead of better. Not having window dressing is bad enough, but showing how close the neighbors are does not make for a favorable first impression.

Even though the remaining photos are reasonable, chances are that any potential buyer that looked as far as the second photo didn't stick around to pursue this home any further.

Those that do go as far as the description see the headline of "Great remodeled condo with a fabulous location.....".

That is some remodeling job when the very first photo shown of the interior doesn't include any window dressing or even highlight any ability to hang curtains or install blinds without an additional cost and/or effort on the part of the buyer. If that ad said "Needs remodeling" it would be acceptable.

In the remainder of the description, we are told that the "amenities are a hot tub and fitness center", and that the building has a "shared laundry room".

This means that none of these listed "amenities" are within this supposedly remodeled unit.

When you consider that the headline - the first copy a potential buyer sees - is about this "Great remodeled condo" goes on to have NOTHING about exactly what had been remodeled after the first two photos fail to enhance this listing.

Yet, this listing ad shows as having been updated within the most recent five days of finding this.

Sorry, but listing advertisements are supposed to contain reasons to entice a potential buyer to inquire. This one does not.

http://www.homes.com/property/742-s-400-e-salt-lake-city-ut-84111/id-700017793809/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How To Sell A House During A Blizzard

Agents should not let the big snow storms which have hit the upper Midwest and (especially) the Northeast coast today totally shut down their sales efforts.

This is a time to be aggressive about selling a listing and/or generating a buyer for one while the other agents are sitting around waiting for the snow plow.

Check on your current listings. Are any (or, hopefully, all) of your listings on streets which have been plowed clear?

Suppose one of your listings is on a "cleared" street. Get over there ASAP, and take a photo from the street. Let viewers see that cars can get by on the street and that the driveway to the home is cleared. (For that matter, if you have to, spend $50 and get someone to plow the driveway to make this photo happen!)

Next, as soon as you possibly can, update your online ads and listings for the home with the new photo. Change your copy to read something along the lines of "The seller went to the grocery store twice on Tuesday!" (or whatever day it is) and show how the path is clear.

What this tells a potential buyer is that even during extreme weather conditions, if they owned (or lived in) this property - they could get out and make it to work, school, shopping, etc. when others can't.

Call any potential buyers you have shown the property to or who have expressed an interest in the property to let them know that the driveway and street are clear for coming and going at this property.

And if you noticed that other homes on the same block have not yet had their driveways plowed, point it out!

Of course, this doesn't even tap the potential of putting the photo and the "all clear" notice out via your social media and/or e-mailing to your entire database!

What if you don't have a listing which has been cleared? That's still no reason to sit around. You can do one of two things.

You can pick up the phone and pay someone to plow it clear as soon as possible so that you can perform the steps described above and push for the sale. Or, you can find a home or row of homes which can get out from the snow, and offer to bring potential buyers to see the home(s) that very day. Let them know that you can get them into a property which does not get stopped by the weather.

If nothing else, having your property listing advertisements up to date within the week shows how both you (as an agent) and the sellers are motivated and updating as you need to. After all, the ad for the home for sale down that same block has a photo with no snow on it. That's not how the property looks at the moment. Your ads and postings reflect this.

It's your choice. You can have potential clients think that you are hiding out waiting for the storm to end. Or, you can have them all thinking about how you are working with sellers and buyers no matter what in order to get the job done.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hiding The Better News

Here we go again. The realty association announces that home sales are down while sale prices are up more than 5% from a year ago.

It figures. The media story leads with home sales being down. The reader/viewer that glances at the headline and doesn't read the story accepts this as a downer for the local real estate market and moves on.

If only the association had ONLY reported that home prices in the Pioneer Valley were up more than 5% from last year. Consumers seeing that information, whether they read the article or not, come away thinking that local property values are going up.

That's a reason to look into selling or buying in that area.

No one is forcing the local realty association to publish "negative" news.



http://businesswest.com/blog/pioneer-valley-home-sales-slightly-january/

Friday, February 24, 2017

95 Days Is Average?

Here we go again. It's the story about how local home sales went up again for the month of January in a rural area southwest of Chicago. That's good news.

However, the local realty association also "reports" that the "average" home sale took 95 days, which is one week less than a year ago.

Why can't they simply tell us all how many homes were sold, and if sales are up, report that, and be done with it?

Ninety-five days as "average"? This is still February (at press time). This would tell me, as a homeowner, that if I decided to sell and picked up the phone today, that my home would sell sometime in June. And that's if it takes the "average" amount of time.

June???

Had the association report focused only on the rise in local home sales, it would leave area residents with a  positive spin.

http://www.morrisherald-news.com/2017/02/23/january-home-sales-up-in-will-and-grundy-counties/autu8nc/

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nashville Home Sales Should Be Music To Our Ears, But.....

The Nashville area received great news with the announcement that the month of January set a home sales record for the area.

Yet, for some reason, the story gets treated like one of those TV commercials for medications with side effects that are worse than taking the drug.

Perhaps in the medical community, doing the "good" and then the "bad" is necessary. But in real estate, it doesn't need to happen.

This story about it is typical. The first paragraph gives the great news, before the very next paragraph expresses concern. This takes a consumer right back down.

If this story didn't tell people that "inventory is down 10%", chances are the typical consumer would have no idea. The writer might as well have told them "But it won't last!".

Just let the word get out that the past month was a home sales record. I'm confident that knowing this would get more people to consider the sale of their home if conditions are good. Expressing an immediate concern keeps doubt in their minds.

Keep this "low inventory" stuff a secret. If you must tell someone, alert your doctor if the inventory is still low after 4 hours.


http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/real-estate/2017/02/07/nashvilles-january-home-sales-breaks-record/97598478/

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Keep the Dallas to Houston Train On Track

We still have people on both sides of the tracks in Texas between Dallas and Houston. Literally.

Having a high speed train allowing for passengers to get from one of those cities to the other in roughly 90 minutes makes solid business sense.

However, there is the "not in my back yard" aspect to it.

Here is a suggestion for those who don't want it. Make a request. "If you come through this town, put a station stop in it."

Even if it takes two hours, instead of 90 minutes, to get to/from Houston to/from Dallas this is still a huge benefit over driving through traffic and rain storms. That "extra" half hour (or less!) could be because of stops along the way.

If you research property values near a major train station around the country, you'll see why. Businesses can prosper with a prime location with a captive audience. Home sales benefit from people who could easily commute by walking to the train station.

Not to mention all of the jobs created by such a project.

https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/tierra-grande/Courts-Trains-Eminent-Domain

This is something that should happen!

Monday, December 19, 2016

How One Sentence Can Ruin A Marketing Piece


There are still too many examples out there of why a business person needs to stay on top of and maintain control of his or her own marketing.

 

Since much of my business deals with real estate marketing (both agents and properties), I receive and review a ton of newsletters, marketing pieces, and advertisements in this regard. However, in this instance, any publicity is not always “good” publicity.

 

Here is another case in point I received just a couple of days ago from a Chicago area agent. I received an e-mail from him with the subject header “Just Sold! West Loop Gem!”.

 

Upon opening it, the headline of “Just Sold!” also appeared above a four page photo spread of a specific property, with the street address (with a unit number) still included. Two of the four photos were of the building’s exterior, while the other two show the interior – even though the unit number was included and the property was sold.

 

I could understand this photo spread if there were other units within this property for sale. However, there is no mention throughout the e-mail to that effect. As a result, anyone who sees this that is impressed with that unit has absolutely zero call to action in the event that at least one other similar unit were still available. (I still don’t know if any other units in that building are or are not currently listed, which is part of my point.)

 

However, that is not the biggest problem with this marketing piece. Just above the specific address and the photo spread is the headline, “Purchased well under list price in hot (name of area) market!”

 

Why is this a “problem”?

 

Based on the “Just Sold” headline, this e-mail blast is intended more for sellers, looking to alert them to his recent sale in a “hot” neighborhood. Since the headline says “Purchased well under list price…..”, it tells other potential sellers that this client failed to get anywhere near the asking price.

 

If someone was considering a selling a property, why would they contact an agent to just told me his most recent big sale was for “well under list price”? It’s not as though there are not plenty of agents selling homes in that area.

 

At the same time, if someone was considering buying a property in that area (and saw this e-mail), all they see is how a property was “Just Sold”, with nothing about him (the agent) helping buyers for that same neighborhood. This is not to say that he doesn’t or wouldn’t, but there is no call to action for potential buyers.

 

Based on how nice the appearance of his e-mail is, my hunch is that he either used a marketing service (not my office!) or a template to put this one together. He (agent) or someone needed to pay closer attention.

 

The “headline” in his e-mail, should have said something like “Looking to buy or sell in this building? Call me today!”, instead of admitting that the seller didn’t get the asking price would have made a huge difference.

 

Instead, one line of copy destroyed his marketing attack.

 

 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

When To Keep Quiet While Promoting Home Sales

It's not only poor advertising and marketing of individual properties which can negatively impact the real estate market. Here is still another case where it goes as far as reporting of statistical information.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the largest newspaper in all of Georgia, took the most recent information release from the Atlanta Realtors Association and presented the negative about the current market right along with the positive.

This news story begins with the information about the dip in both home sales and home prices during the most recent full month of August. The story goes on to say, in the first couple of sentences, that the "number of homes for sale is still much weaker than the amount of buyer demand for homes".

A local consumer reading only that part of the news story sees "dip in home sales" and "number of homes for sale is still much weaker....", and comes away thinking that the local real estate market is miserable.

All because of a story based on information provided by the local realty association.

I'll bet you that a percentage of the members of the Association would tell you individually that some houses "sell themselves". While the very same Association is putting out negative sounding information to local consumers.

How do we solve this problem? It's actually quite easy. Only report the positive statistics.

Had the Association simply reported that "A total of 5,191 homes were sold within the month of August alone!", and how that was an increase over the number of sales during August 2015, it would have been much different.

Local consumers would then come away thinking there is growth in the local real estate market, and perhaps consider looking into selling or buying.

Chances are that the local media would have picked up the positive spin just as easily and run with it. Instead, many realty associations, and it is far from being just Atlanta, continue to churn out negative facts as if they are necessary.

Let's see if some houses really can sell themselves.



http://www.ajc.com/news/business/atlanta-home-prices-sales-and-supply-all-chill-in-/nsZKk/


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Two More Bedrooms For The Same Price - In Same Zip Code?

Here is still another example of why market research is so important even when advertising one specific property listing.

Let's take the Ferndale MI zip code of 48220. As of press time, there are two homes listed for sale, each within that very zip code, and each listed at $129,900.

The 4 bedroom 1 bath home at 675 Camden Street is a 1,374 square foot home. The advertising description includes "quiet street", "just down the road from downtown", and "close to shopping centers". Included within that same description are interior highlights such as "living room that is open to the dining area", "fully updated bathroom", "totally updated kitchen with granite counter top and new cabinets", and "floor is newly tiled".

There is nice photo spread, although a couple of the photos are not overly flattering to this home. Overall, a decent ad which does the job of making the property attractive to someone looking in that area and price range.

Meanwhile, yesterday (as of press time), a new listing appeared in zip code 48220 at 462 E. Troy Street, at the same price. Keep in mind that this listing just appeared.

This 462 E. Troy property is only TWO bedrooms with one bath, with a listed size of 772 square feet.  The description ad includes "short walk to downtown",  "covered front porch", and "fenced yard with shed" for the exterior. The interior description includes "large living room", "Renovated bathroom with subway tile and granite floors" and "first floor laundry".

The photo spread with this ad is thorough, but also contains a couple of photos which are not overly flattering for this home.

Chances are potential buyers in this area will also see both of these properties appear on their search. Why would someone choose to pursue a home which is more than 40% smaller in size and offers two fewer bedrooms than the other for the exact same price?

While the advertisement for the (smaller) Troy property is reasonable, some basic local market research prior to placing this advertisement would have helped this agent to present and hopefully sell the property more quickly. By not doing so, there is little chance of any movement until or unless the home on Camden sells or comes off the market.

If the agent handling the Troy listing had been my client, this ad never would have hit the public eye.
First, a home more than 40% smaller than its same-priced competitor would be "easy maintenance".

After all, it is two fewer rooms to clean and maintain. The fenced yard and covered front porch result in "more privacy" for the owners, something which could be a factor in a potential buyer's consideration.

Granted, I don't live in Detroit, but I'm not familiar with what "subway tile" is. A description only saying "Renovated bathroom" would be sufficient. I would look to highlight unique features of the home. Maybe there is extra shelf space, an extra closet, room for a garden, and/or some other features that would catch the eye of a potential buyer.

Instead, this ad looks like a typical home for sale ad. And, with a home with two more bedrooms and similar advertised features for the same price within the same zip code, typical just doesn't cut it.

Frankly, that agent should have known his competition before placing that ad. The value of a little local market research is greater than the value of a much slower commission, if it happens at all.


http://www.homes.com/property/675-camden-st-ferndale-mi-48220/id-600033115340/


http://www.homes.com/property/462-e-troy-st-ferndale-mi-48220/id-600033112888/ 

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.