Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Buffalo Still Lost In The Shuffle

Here we are in "spring market" and with May almost here we are closing in on six months since the severe snow storm which crippled the Buffalo area in November. The temperature in Buffalo at press time was 51 degrees.

Time to follow up and see how the local real estate market is presenting itself. I went on through the Buffalo News web site, chose a price range of "homes for sale", waiting to see how 'with it' the agents are in terms of promoting available properties.

If only my findings were anywhere near what I hoped for. Or, if I was a seller in the Buffalo area, what I would expect. Instead, the advertising is still as much of a disaster as the snow storms.

The first ten properties came up. As usual, the primary photo is the first impression. On April 29th, TWO listings showed primary photos with snow on the ground. The one at 11 Cedarbrook Drive in 
Lancaster, New York showed a huge pile of snow engulfing the home. On April 29th??

Three other properties (in just this one price range!) had either no photo at all or a generic one which had nothing to do with the properties they represent. Total those up, and my random search starting at $225,000 for 2+ bedrooms came up with HALF of the first web page of properties starting with a bad impression.

Just as I pointed out the same week after the big storm hit, the technology is in place to be able to update photos and property information with regard to weather and other factors which impact the potential sale of homes. Those homes on streets which were plowed and/or had easy access to grocery stores and other necessities should have had updated information to demonstrate that to potential buyers that very week.

However, seeing this poor representation literally months later for the same area has no excuse. Those ten listings I looked at are from a variety of local realty offices and agents. Even the "good" ads for homes for sale get tarnished when a potential buyer sees snow covered lawns and careless generic photos for a first impression.

What makes this even more insane is that the Cedarbrook Drive property is shown with "PRICE REDUCTION" as the headline. So let's get this straight. The home with a primary photo (at the end of April) showing it surrounded by piles of snow and with "Large front porch perfect for warm weather relaxation" in the description copy hasn't sold at a higher price.

Because of this, that seller is "forced" to accept less money?

This listing is just one example out of thousands where poor advertising and marketing is the culprit. However, it is not just this seller that loses out. Thousands of other home owners lose out because of crap like this.

If and as the Cedarbrook Drive home sells for less money, it will serve to lower the value of nearby homes, and so goes the cycle. Long time home owners then lose out on money they should be entitled to because some agents don't bother keeping their listing advertisements up to date.

Something needs to be done about this.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Home Sales Statistics Don't Lie..... They Disagree

The one real estate statistic I believe hasn't been proven yet. But I think it is safe to estimate that at least 99% of consumers do not make purchase or selling decisions based on the market statistics they read.

Within the past 24 hours (at press time), we have had another set of examples that you can believe what you prefer to believe.

Last night, the National Association of Home Builders issued a "story" about how much existing home sales have risen this year, especially in March (2015) when compared with previous months and with March of 2014.

The story tells us how first-time buyer shares have increased, how there is more inventory than in recent months, and how the number of distressed home sales have dropped.

The very next morning, the Associated Press published a story headlined "New home sales collapsed in March".

Although the AP story also reports that new home sales were higher, the very same story also says new home sales dropped 33% percent in the Northeast and 15.8% percent in the South. And that the median sales price fell 1.7% since March 2014.

Seeing these "stories" within hours of each other makes me feel the same way as the times I received those "Now is the time to sell!" mailers and e-mails from real estate agents at the same as my home was more than $100,000 underwater.

For the millions who cannot buy or sell a home due to circumstances beyond their control, this arranging of information is in the same category as the drug commercials with potential side effects much worse than the purpose of the drug.

Unfortunately, this is how it goes in real estate these days. Too many people working statistics in their favor and not enough of them concentrating on actually fixing the market.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Sell The Only House In Town

Suppose you had the only residential listing in town. Would it would "sell itself"? Some realty agents seem to think so. That is not how it works.

As of the week of this post, the home at 100 N. 5th Street in Beaver Creek MN was literally the ONLY house for sale listed for the entire town, according to as well as Even the "nearby homes for sale" feature on these sites did not have any other Beaver Creek properties.

This 3 bedroom home had been on the market for more than one and one-half months at press time. If the law of supply and demand truly applied to real estate, this home would have been long gone.

What makes this even more interesting is that the advertising copy is very well written, and includes a lot of positive and helpful information about the property. Recent upgrades are profiled and the spacious elements of the home are featured.

There was a 14 photo spread with the majority being flattering interior photos (as of press time). It is possible that not having updated the exterior photos is a slight negative. There was still some snow on the ground on them even though the temperature for the current week was in the mid-60's. It is possible that the interior photos revealing that the sellers appear to be devoted to their religion could be preventing potential buyers from inquiring, but the majority of potential buyers would be making changes to decorations and art work anyway.

Another selling point should be that it is the only residence in town for sale. That should indicate a motivated seller. This is different than being on a block lined with "For Sale" signs and a massive exodus from a community.

Why hasn't this house sold? Why is this one now the only one in town on the market?

It is because, even with the favorable copy describing the home, potential buyers also need to be sold on the surroundings. And, in this instance, they are not.

The population of Beaver Creek is less than 1,000 people. There are no "true" towns with residences which border it.

Chances are, with this home having been on the market for close to two months, that everybody else in town knows it is for sale, and no one local has stepped up to buy it. This translate into needing to bring in a buyer from another community.

However, there is NOTHING in the advertisement profile of this property which gives anyone one or more reasons to consider Beaver Creek. This is why this house hasn't sold - and why it will not "sell itself".

It seems that Beaver Creek is right there at an exit from I-90, while being less than a 30 minute drive from much larger Sioux City SD. Thus, a family could be, say, 20 minutes away from employment, shopping, and the amenities of a bigger town.

In addition, there are reasons that people that live in Beaver Creek live there and enjoy the community (since none of them are looking to move!).

A few well chosen words about WHY potential buyers should consider Beaver Creek would go a long way toward getting this house sold. Perhaps to a buyer who is looking in Sioux Falls and would consider the "right" home a few minutes away.

It is not "just" the house. It is, often times, the reason to live there, that can make a difference. This house won't sell itself until there are specific reasons to consider it.