Monday, August 11, 2014

Houses Still Don't Sell Themselves

The real estate market continues to be in crisis, but there continues to be virtually no crisis management. Another case in point from Toledo Ohio.

Unfortunately, the City was recently faced with a situation from which residents needed to be warned about not drinking from the local water supply. A reporter for the Blade got my attention with a follow up item about how much better the situation could and should have been handled:

The writer's focus was not on how all of this could negatively impact the Toledo area real estate market, but that wasn't his role. With my belief that realty agents and home sellers should be proactive from even the most negative situation, I decided to check 'homes for sale' a few days later to check on this.

I would like to think that some communities or developments would be offering some form of solution to the problem, such as access to alternate water supply, in order to entice a potential buyer to look in that direction.

Let's face it. People from outside of the impacted areas are not going to be looking to move 'immediately' into an area and home which doesn't have a useable water supply. This is not a problem which can or should be swept under the rug.

It is also possible that investors might be looking to pick up a big bargain with a lower offer to frustrated sellers looking to get out of an even less appealing area. (Not saying Toledo itself is not an appealing area - but a location with questionable drinking water is.)

Local realty agents (and sellers) need to be updating their property advertisements to address this situation.

Incredibly, the FIRST Toledo home ad I looked at, on August 11th, has an exterior photo with SNOW on the house. On August 11th?

This means it has either snowed in Toledo months more recently than anywhere else in the Great Lakes area, thus making the region less appealing than hundreds of others. Or, it means this agent and seller have given up on ever getting an offer and no longer bother to update their ad. Either way, this is not exactly a method of fighting negative publicity from a water supply problem!

This advertisement features the 'washer-dryer' within its primary ad copy:

If the local water supply is in question, why do you leave a 'washer-dryer' as a major enticement toward buying a house?

Actually, there may be an answer. As the photo spread for this property reveals, the home is vacant. That now means no one is there to monitor the water flow in that unit.

This is an extreme example, but it demonstrates the need to constantly update property advertisements for numerous reasons. If local properties are not appealing to potential buyers, the economic impact could be even worse than a shaky water supply.