Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who's to blame??

Here is an example of the much needed "positive spin" that should be used to generate some activity on specific homes for sale. A suburban Chicago agent managed to get a P.R. piece (or how it should be classified) in over the weekend giving the neighbors and upscale potential buyers a reason to take note of specific open houses. Even though this is not one of my clients, this is an example of what needs to be done on a larger scale:


But then, it's back to the more typical story. The "It's been a bad year" in the real estate market quote. The first words quoted from a realty association official:


Yes - while hundreds of agents are paying dues to this association, its executive is quoted in the local paper about what is NOT selling and "bad year". In the marketing world, we refer to this as needing "damage control".

You can't blame the media. They do sometimes go too far in the positive way, such as the first story about the open houses and giveaways. My feeling is that they don't really go too far with the more common story where an industry spokesperson quotes about lower sales or a bad market. Nobody forced the person to give that quote, whether or not it was the first thing he or she says. It was the first quoted. Considering that a percentage of people only read the first couple of paragraphs vs. the entire article, that was a devastating story to agents in that area.

And, just maybe, you can't blame mortgage rates all of the time, either. I'm still not sure to what extent I agree with the point being made here, but this article does offer some interesting comparisons about home price trends in comparison with the mortgage rates.


I would have to say it is a combination of both, depending upon the marketplace and the buyer's situation. An investor is going to look at the price of the property and the deal he/she/they can get at this time. A potential home buyer targeting a specific area and price range is likely to look closer at mortgage rates, realizing a drop of .75 could mean a couple hundred dollars less each month.

Whichever you think it is (between home prices and mortgage rates), the killer is often the collection of fees associated with the transaction, such as title fees and local taxes. These can add to the buyer's out-of-pocket at the worst possible time. Yet, there is little to no publicity about this nor any type of legislation or regulation proposed, to the best of my knowledge.

(And thanks to Ron H. for the tip on that association story.)

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