Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Big Banks Still Not Helping

Here we are one year after the big banks succeeded in their efforts to reduce the number of mortgage brokers and add to the challenges many consumers have when it comes to getting a mortgage.

Think it has made a difference for consumers? Then get this. Wells Fargo has MORE deposit revenue in recent months. How does it respond? By issuing FEWER mortgage loans:

During the same time period, the real estate market in California, one of the most monitored states in the country, has taken still another dip:

Along these same lines, another major monitored state, Florida, maintains a high level of cash buyers:

At the same time, Florida has one more of its politicians in "action":

While all of this is going on, there are still millions of home owners whose homes are considered to have LOST value, even though many have been well maintained and/or bolstered by home improvement projects.

Although I can't speak for other home owners (as much as I would like to!), I would suggest that home owners give a lot of thought to where they deposit their money these days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Home More Than Double The Price In Same Zip Code?

What happens when two 3-bedroom homes in the same zip code are listed and one is more than double the asking price? From what we see, nothing in more than four months.

Let's compare these two listings, as they appear simultaneously on, located within the same zip code and same school districts, in Stevens Point WI.

1409 4th Ave. is a 3-bed 2-bath home listed at $103,900. Again, within the same zip code, 175 Old Wausau Rd. , a 3-bedroom 2 1/2-bath home, is listed at $239,000. Small town, large discrepancy!

This situation helps to demonstrate the importance of presenting each property as unique and being willing and able to make comparisons against "competing" homes. These two homes are listed by separate local realty offices, and have each been on the market for more than four months (at press time).

The issue of "location location location" is reduced because these are, again, same zip code and schools for both. For those shopping by price, one would think that the high and low end of the price spectrum would produce some activity for both. Some potential buyers will look at the lowest priced home to see what they get "for less", while those in a better financial position might at least consider the degree of luxury available for more than twice the price.

Both of these homes have unique selling points and positives which we can see from the respective advertisements as they appear on the same web site and within the same local search (3 bedroom 2 bath in zip 54481).

It is no longer a matter of putting up the advertising information and forgetting about it until or unless a potential buyer comes along. At least, it shouldn't be. These are prime examples of why property ads need to be adjusted and/or updated to adapt to the very latest in the market. Neither of these ads do.

The "overview" description copy for 1409 4th Ave. makes no mention of being the lowest priced 3-bedroom home in the area on the days that we searched. The copy does highlight several positives, such as the updated kitchen and finished lower level, along with specifics about the location and nearby amenities.

In this instance, the "updated kitchen" takes on added significance if compared to the Old Wausau Rd. listing, which mentions only "dishwasher" for appliances and shows only one photo of a cramped kitchen for more than double the price! Wouldn't you like to know that you could get a larger and more updated kitchen in the same area for over $100,000 LESS?

Yet, unless a potential buyer does that comparison (and it is not likely with that large of a price spread), that selling point goes untouched.

So why is the lowest priced home still available after more than four months?

The answer could be in the photo spread. Every interior photo shows a significantly brighter light from a window dominating the picture. This only serves to make this home appear dark and dreary inside. These are not professional photos, and that hurts big time. We see clutter on tables and shelves. The even bigger "no no" is that the garage photo not only shows a parked car, but we can read the license plate on it. (This is severely frowned upon by agents due to security reasons.) Again, this listing has been online for more than four months!

Also in the photo spread are hand written instructions above the laundry room sink, a blurred photo, a portable fan (which makes us wonder about ventilation in warmer temperatures), and what appears to be a very tiny bathroom. Frankly, these photos do nothing but make this property appear to look like the lowest priced 3-bedroom home in the area, and could scare off a potential buyer.

Why hasn't the higher priced home sold in more than six months?

Granted, it could be the higher price, although this home being on over 3 acres with a pond, garden, and a separate "heated" shop located near the river provides a strong indication of why due to the amount of space and land value.

However, the photo spread of 26 pictures includes on seven interior shots, including just one of what appears to be a tiny kitchen area. The other interior shots make the rooms look small. The message this photo spread sends is that this is for someone who wants to live in the great outdoors, enjoy the yard, the garden, the pond, and the land.

Let's also keep in mind that these photos all show green grass and a garden and sunny days. These photos that appear in this ad during December in a town in Central Wisconsin, where the average temperature is below freezing this time of year. For someone to pay a higher price for a 3-bedroom home in this area, they should get a better idea of living there during the four months (minimum) of the year that the outdoors isn't feasible.

It is not the location. It is not the price, since we went to extremes. It is the same story for two much different properties. One that needs to be updated.