Monday, February 11, 2013

When The Maine Idea Is To Sell Houses

Of course I realize that the Northeast continues to recover from and dig out of perhaps the worst snow storm ever which hit during the past few days.

I also realize that if it were my job in any of those communities to sell real estate that I wouldn't let a major snow stop me from updating and promoting those properties.

Chances are that real estate investors as well as those who are truly motivated to buy a home in these areas are not going to stop because of the snow storm, whether or not they live within these areas. In other words, the show must go on.

The saying "The early bird gets the worm" should be the motto of the day. If I were an investor looking to buy and flip, or perhaps buy in order to rent out houses, I would know that today (the Monday after the huge Friday and weekend storm) would be the day to be in hot pursuit. It's not as though the listing agents are going to be visiting their listings today or conducting business outside. Many do not go to a physical office location at all even on the nicest of days. Either way, they should have the ability to work online. Selling listed homes and properties is still their job, no matter what the conditions are.

I decided to use the hard-hit (with snow) Portland Maine area as my "test" market, and went on the Portland Press-Telegram (largest local newspaper) web site to begin my search, as if I was an investor.

Unfortunately, I was not surprised when I didn't find even ONE listing advertisement, out of close to 100 I looked at, which had entered even the slightest adjustment to their advertisement which referenced the huge winter storm.

In other words, the same real estate agents who insist on utilizing the latest and most up-to-date technology are not even using it to help their clients. If this were 20 years ago when advertisement publishing deadlines were a couple of days in advance of the publication date, I could understand. But it is 2013 when agents have easy access to their listings and advertisements online. And if they are advertising on a source which cannot be easily updated, they should think again.

Since so many people have cameras, even if on their phone, it is no longer a challenge to get a "current" photo of a home, have it sent by e-mail, and uploaded within minutes or hours. Yet, out of all of the 100 or so "home for sale" ads I looked at, not one of them had so much as a photo updated to show the snowy conditions. Not to mention that some had no photos at all, but that's for another day.

You just know that there are some communities which were plowed and shoveled reasonably quickly so that the owners and residents could get out and go about their business. What a GREAT way to promote a home for sale, if you can immediately show that "If you lived here, you'd be out shopping now", or "Our streets are well maintained, even in the worst of storms".

If you are the seller or the agent, all you need is one buyer. This storm could and should be creating opportunities for those with homes for sale. 

As I see it, today and this week is the best opportunity an investor and a buyer would have in Portland, and in Maine, CT, MA, and points beyond. You can get the attention of an agent or seller today who should have significant time on their hands to discuss and hopefully be able to show a property, and listen to offers.

Otherwise, some buyers and investors might be waiting a couple of weeks for the coming great meltdown of the snow, and be able to see for themselves where the flooding, poor sewer systems, and communities which don't plow or clear their streets very well are. It is possible both the quantity and quality of offers could suffer within those communities.

Instead, a potential buyer or investor, looking in Portland, and using the real estate site of the largest newspaper in the area, continues to find advertisements such as this:

Not only does this advertisement not mention anything about the storm, but the poor photos included tell all that it's an empty house. The Zillow ad is linked directly from the Press-Telegram web site, therefore alerting potential buyers that this house was listed last summer and didn't sell.

Since it is empty, what happens if water from the melting snow gets inside?

It's one thing that the advertisements for the same area were not "updated" from the storm. But it's another that this particular advertisement is so set up to fail.

The main point here is that there continues to be missed opportunity in the selling of homes and other real estate. Hip deep in snow or not.

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