Saturday, September 17, 2016

When To Keep Quiet While Promoting Home Sales

It's not only poor advertising and marketing of individual properties which can negatively impact the real estate market. Here is still another case where it goes as far as reporting of statistical information.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution, the largest newspaper in all of Georgia, took the most recent information release from the Atlanta Realtors Association and presented the negative about the current market right along with the positive.

This news story begins with the information about the dip in both home sales and home prices during the most recent full month of August. The story goes on to say, in the first couple of sentences, that the "number of homes for sale is still much weaker than the amount of buyer demand for homes".

A local consumer reading only that part of the news story sees "dip in home sales" and "number of homes for sale is still much weaker....", and comes away thinking that the local real estate market is miserable.

All because of a story based on information provided by the local realty association.

I'll bet you that a percentage of the members of the Association would tell you individually that some houses "sell themselves". While the very same Association is putting out negative sounding information to local consumers.

How do we solve this problem? It's actually quite easy. Only report the positive statistics.

Had the Association simply reported that "A total of 5,191 homes were sold within the month of August alone!", and how that was an increase over the number of sales during August 2015, it would have been much different.

Local consumers would then come away thinking there is growth in the local real estate market, and perhaps consider looking into selling or buying.

Chances are that the local media would have picked up the positive spin just as easily and run with it. Instead, many realty associations, and it is far from being just Atlanta, continue to churn out negative facts as if they are necessary.

Let's see if some houses really can sell themselves.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Two More Bedrooms For The Same Price - In Same Zip Code?

Here is still another example of why market research is so important even when advertising one specific property listing.

Let's take the Ferndale MI zip code of 48220. As of press time, there are two homes listed for sale, each within that very zip code, and each listed at $129,900.

The 4 bedroom 1 bath home at 675 Camden Street is a 1,374 square foot home. The advertising description includes "quiet street", "just down the road from downtown", and "close to shopping centers". Included within that same description are interior highlights such as "living room that is open to the dining area", "fully updated bathroom", "totally updated kitchen with granite counter top and new cabinets", and "floor is newly tiled".

There is nice photo spread, although a couple of the photos are not overly flattering to this home. Overall, a decent ad which does the job of making the property attractive to someone looking in that area and price range.

Meanwhile, yesterday (as of press time), a new listing appeared in zip code 48220 at 462 E. Troy Street, at the same price. Keep in mind that this listing just appeared.

This 462 E. Troy property is only TWO bedrooms with one bath, with a listed size of 772 square feet.  The description ad includes "short walk to downtown",  "covered front porch", and "fenced yard with shed" for the exterior. The interior description includes "large living room", "Renovated bathroom with subway tile and granite floors" and "first floor laundry".

The photo spread with this ad is thorough, but also contains a couple of photos which are not overly flattering for this home.

Chances are potential buyers in this area will also see both of these properties appear on their search. Why would someone choose to pursue a home which is more than 40% smaller in size and offers two fewer bedrooms than the other for the exact same price?

While the advertisement for the (smaller) Troy property is reasonable, some basic local market research prior to placing this advertisement would have helped this agent to present and hopefully sell the property more quickly. By not doing so, there is little chance of any movement until or unless the home on Camden sells or comes off the market.

If the agent handling the Troy listing had been my client, this ad never would have hit the public eye.
First, a home more than 40% smaller than its same-priced competitor would be "easy maintenance".

After all, it is two fewer rooms to clean and maintain. The fenced yard and covered front porch result in "more privacy" for the owners, something which could be a factor in a potential buyer's consideration.

Granted, I don't live in Detroit, but I'm not familiar with what "subway tile" is. A description only saying "Renovated bathroom" would be sufficient. I would look to highlight unique features of the home. Maybe there is extra shelf space, an extra closet, room for a garden, and/or some other features that would catch the eye of a potential buyer.

Instead, this ad looks like a typical home for sale ad. And, with a home with two more bedrooms and similar advertised features for the same price within the same zip code, typical just doesn't cut it.

Frankly, that agent should have known his competition before placing that ad. The value of a little local market research is greater than the value of a much slower commission, if it happens at all.