Drop in New Home Starts Helps Resale Market

Around the country there are a lot of opinions around the housing market. And there are also a lot of facts and numbers. Noone will debate that new housing starts (the number of new homes initiated to be built) are down around the country. This is, of course a national trend, as local housing starts in some areas are still up.

 new-construction-graph.jpg housing-starts-national.gif

**Side by Side- the National Trend compared to Utah’s**

When new starts do decrease in an area, that’s not always a bad thing for the economy, especially with a market like the nation is in now. The current national decrease in housing starts is different from the decreases we’ve seen in the past as this time it’s mostly a correction.

BusinessWeek says:

“…this housing cycle is different. In the past, housing downturns have been the result of high interest rates and broad economic weakness leading to rising unemployment. This time, housing is going through its own cycle, largely independent of wider economic conditions. The economy outside of housing remains solid: Unemployment is low, household incomes are growing, and 30-year fixed mortgage rates, at a bit over 6.5% in mid-August, are hardly onerous.”

And when new construction slows down it can help the resale market by making it easier to sell an existing home because there are fewer new builds to buy.

If you want to sell your 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with 2000 Square Feet that was built in 1998 for $325,000, but around the corner is a new home development selling 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom homes with 2000 SF for $315,000 it makes it tough to sell yours when buyers could just buy a brand new home for the same price. But if those new homes are all sold and there aren’t any new homes in the area to buy- it makes it easier (in general) to sell an existing home.

And if more people can sell, and put some of that money back into the economy, that helps the seller and the economy. There is a case to be made on the side of the builders- that when builders are building they are employing people and paying wages, but the current unemployment rate is very low, at 4.8 percent. So these people are still finding work.

Advantages of Working with a New Agent

                

First, let me say that I think there are WAY too many people in the business and WAAAAY too many people getting into the business. I’ve posted about that recently.

I’ve been in the real estate industry for over thirteen years and I’ve sold hundreds of homes and I believe that I offer quality, professional, high-touch service for my clients. I’m available on my mobile phone day and night and on weekends and I return phone calls promptly.

My experience gives me the ability to guide my clients and negotiate well and I have a real knowledge about the markets I serve. This comes from years of experience and successes and failures and the examples and participation of hundreds of people I’ve worked with.

                  

So why would someone choose to work with a brand new agent? Or even an agent who has been in the business less than a year or two? Are there advantages to working with these newbies?

Please keep in mind that this is an extreme generalization and of course, does not apply to everyone. Having said that- here are possible advantages of working with a newer agent.

They’re hungry. They need the business and the money. If agent A has twenty homes under contract and seven listed properties and they list your home and it doesn’t sell, they’ll still be able to pay their bills. But if you list your home with a full time agent who doesn’t have any other business and they spend money and time marketing your home and it doesn’t sell- that’s going to hurt them pretty badly.

They’re determined.Real estate is a business where reputation means something. That’s why there are so many Divas in the business. Some agents get their names in the newspaper all the time and are recognized every week at their company sales meetings as being a top agent and people in the business get to know their names. My wife was just featured on HGTV’s House Hunters (now I get to hear about her gruelling shooting schedule and the life of a movie star for the rest of my life). And new agents, especially with bigger companies, see these agents getting all that attention and they want it too. They want to build a name for themselves and have their names in lights.

They have free time. As much as I pride myself on the high-touch service I give to my clients and as available as I try to be, the reality is- I do a lot of business and that means I am in meetings and working with clients and have things to do. Someone who doesn’t have much else going on could call a seller twenty times every day just to chat, and they could do open houses Wednesday- Sunday every week from 10am – 6pm each day or they could stand out in front of Albertsons and hand out flyer’s about the property if they wanted (not that too many people would). But I couldn’t do that even I wanted to. And if a buyer wants to look at every home that comes on the market for the next seven months I am not the right agent for them. But a new agent with nothing else going on maybe wouldn’t mind because they’d be able to learn the area and get the experience and learn the inventory.

They don’t have bad habits yet. After doing something, anything, for a long time we develop certain habits. Many of these habits are good, for instance when I take a listing I have certain steps that I take to make sure all the marketing is ordered in a timely manner. I have done it so many times that it’s just habit now. But there can be bad habits that form. Some agents tell a seller what to price a listing at- even though it’s the seller’s home and money. Or some agents have the habit of only calling their listing clients once every two weeks because that’s how they’ve done it for years. Or they don’t return phone calls or even answer their phones. New agents don’t have these bad habits yet so they can be molded and you can tell them the way you want them to work with you.

They’re friendly. I’m a pretty friendly guy and I’ve always been a people person. I enjoy crowds and I’m very social. And many Realtors are, but many are not. Many agents are unfriendly and impatient and just plain mean. And many of the Divas think the world revolves around them and they don’t really care about other people because clients are just numbers to them. But new agents need the business and they need the money and want to help so you’ll refer them to your friends and they know that they don’t have the experience, so they’ll kiss your butt and wait on you hand and foot to please you. They want you to like them and that’s not a bad thing.

                   

All things considered, I would rather have an experienced agent helping me with such an important transaction, but every top agent was once a newbie, and this is for all those getting into the business who really do care about doing a great job for their clients.

New on the Market in Sugarhouse

         browning-front.jpg

We have just listed this beautiful home in Sugarhouse. It’s at 1188 E. Browning Avenue (1420 South)- just three blocks from 15th and 15th. The home has three bedrooms and is offered at $325,000. The gate on the side is powered and comes with a remote for your car, allowing access to the garage.

         browning-back.jpg

The front and back yards were professionally designed and installed recently, and they include a large stamped concrete patio and a large additional patio at the end of the property. The back yard is completely private with no neighboring houses looking in on it.

         browning-kitchen.jpg

The kitchen is updated with new cabinets and counter-tops, hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances. And there is a large family room off the kitchen.

         browning-living.jpg

The living room includes newer carpeting and tile, skylights and a fireplace. The home also features new windows and a jetted soaking tub and the entire property has been very well maintained and shows pride of ownership.

For more information call BlueRoof at 801-264-6610 or click here.

The Code of Ethics Doesn’t Require Being Ignorant

                 

As members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), we Realtors all adhere to a Code of Ethics, which is the most fundamental difference between being a Realtor and a real estate agent.

This “Code” gives everyone guidelines and rules and conduct. It also prevents Realtors from telling lies to try to get business. It’s not a perfect code, but it’s important and it makes a difference.

Section 1-3 of the Code says that Realtors won’t puff the value just to get the listing, or try to take the listing for less than it’s worth to get a quick sale. Do some agents do that anyway- yes. But I’m glad we have a code that many of us care about and abide by.

Article 15 reads:

“REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about competitors, their businesses, or their business practices. (Amended 1/92)”

This means that they will not lie or speak without integrity about any company, including their own. But this does not mean that Realtors can not point out differences in their company and their competitors. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t have our own opinions.

There are some business models I do not agree with. That is my privilege to disagree and it is important that consumers know what the differences are. When I speak to clients I tell them differences in a respectful way and also acknowledge that different people prefer different ways of doing business and there is no ONE right way. That’s important. But it is important to educate people about the differences because they should know if I offer them more/different services than someone else.

                    

And I think it is appropriate and healthy for me to discuss my opinions and have conversations about what I believe and how I think we, as an industry, can best serve the client. It is important in a free society that consumers have choice. And with choice comes differences, and naturally when there are differences, people will have differing opinions. Is that bad? Of course not…

Some agents want to hide behind the Code, or their own moral high-browing, and say that noone should say anything but positives about everyone else. That is ridiculous and those people may have something to hide. Others take it too far the other way and lie about the competition and that’s even worse.

The Code is a guideline. And a guideline that I would hope most of us should not need because we use common sense. And it is also not a shield against open discussion and education. Blogging is all about opinions and open dialogue. I allow commetns on my blog because I encourage people to voice their opinions about my posts, even when they oppose my views. That is one of the things I enjoy about blogging- the open and honest discussion.

Why I Don’t Like Help-U-Sell and Assist2Sell

Look, I’m all for alternative business models and I understand that we’re all just doing the best we can and everyone is trying to make a living for their families. But as far as real estate professionals go, I don’t care for the philosophy that many Help-U-Sell and Assist-2-Sell agents take with regard to the business and their marketing. Of course there are agents at all national brokerages that offer better service than others, and it is not these two companies I don’t like, it’s agents who subscribe to certain business practices.

An example; There’s a home in the next neighborhood from ours that has Help-U-Sell signs all over the place. And this is a nice home and homes in this area are selling fast. But this one isn’t. And the sellers probably don’t realize why.

But I’ll tell you why I think it isn’t selling…

They’ve just paid thousands of dollars to be a FSBO. They are not on the MLS and the websites they are on are only Help-U-Sell sites, not top area sites like Realtor.com, utahrealestate.com, BlueRoof.com, saltlakecityforsale.com, etc.

Not many people go to Help-U-Sell’s awful website in this area to buy a home because they don’t have many homes there. I did a search in my city to find this home I am talking about and it’s the only home that is for sale on their site in the entire city (not to mention I had to register to get any info about it). Nothing wrong with placing the home on the site, but why would buyers register and look there when they could look on thirty other sites and see over 10,000 homes for sale, hundreds in that particular city?

But the sellers probably don’t know this. They paid $Thousands thinking that all these buyers will see their home, but really they just got a few flyers and some signs and their home gets put on a bad website that doesn’t get much traffic. And if they signed an agency agreement- that’s even worse because now the seller doesn’t have the option of hiring a Realtor who will give them additional exposure on the MLS and on websites that get a lot of traffic.

At the very least, they should make an impressive website so people will want to use it for their home searches.

If you’re going to be a FSBO and you want to pay a company thousands of dollars for flyers and signs that’s okay- it’s a choice sellers can make. Of course, you can get flyers from Kinko’s and signs from Home Depot for a whole lot less- and if you want someone to look over the contracts you can hire an attorney for about a grand. But if they feel comfortable with an agent from one of these companies, or any company, that’s okay.

The part that I really don’t like is how many sellers (of many different brokerages) don’t realize that their homes are not being listed on the MLS. They assume that it is because they are paying a real estate agent to assist them. And they don’t realize how it’s actually hurting them to be in this situation. No agents showing their home because they are not on the MLS and most of the people who buy FSBO homes (investors, looky-loos) think they’re listed because of the company signs.

We’re all trying to making our way, but representing our clients means giving them the best marketing exposure possible so we can bring them the highest price possible.

And at the very least, no matter which brokerage an agent works with they should inform the sellers what they mean when they say they “list” a home for sale so consumer do not confuse having someone to sit the open house with a Realtor who will market the home in every possible way, including the MLS.

—————————————————————————————————-
Tired of a template website that doesn’t bring you business?

If you are looking for a custom real estate website with lead management (CRM) system and more, contact BlueRoof360 (http://blueroof360.com) at 888-850-4867 Ext#1 or sales@blueroof360.com.

Increasing Your Value Propositon is NOT About Good Service

                        

What is value-proposition? It’s what you do that’s different/better than your competitors. So how is giving good service going to make your value any better than your competitors? It’s interesting how much marketing in the real estate business is devoted to saying what nobody cares about wants to hear.

“Top-notch Service”

“We put YOU first”

“FREE! Market Analysis”

“First-Class Service”

“Two Realtors for the Price of One”

“I Sell More Homes in (Add your city name here) Than Anyone”

“Top 1% Internationally”

Any of this originality sound familiar? They should- they’re plastered on bus benches and shopping carts in every city across the country. And, a side note- those 1980’s glamour shots make you look ridiculous (public service announcement).

                           

Conduct a poll of 1000 home buyers and sellers and ask them how many of them chose to work with that particular agent because their marketing said that they offer “First-Class Service” or were in the TOP 1% Internationally and you’ll probably have agents lining up to throw rocks at your results because they won’t believe them.

“What do you mean NOBODY listed with me because of my “Selling Homes One Yard at a Time” marketing? Of course they did!

Agents won’t believe this because we all want to think that other people care about how creative and clever our slogan’s are or about how successful we are. “If they know that I’m a top agent they’ll know they can trust and respect my service”- or maybe they’ll think you’re too busy for them. Or maybe they’ll think that you have a slew of twenty assistants doing all the actual work in the office and they’ll never hear from you again after the contract is signed.

Increasing value proposition is not about good service or being an agent who knows what you’re doing. It’s not about being one of the best in your field at negotiating or about how amazing your CMA looks. These things don’t matter because they are all expected.

If you’re looking for a landscaper would you be impressed with someone because they advertise, “We plant trees” or “Number one in sod- laying for the last five years”, or if they had a slogan that said, “The Grass is Always Greener on our Side of the Fence” ? Or would be more impressed by seeing a list of past clients and referrals who loved that their jobs were done in less time, and on time, and for thousands less than other quotes you’d gotten?

Increasing value proposition is about giving people choices that will make/save them time/money/frustration. It’s about surprising and delighting the consumer so that they are compelled to say, WOW! So they actually say, out loud, “Wow!”. That’s an increased value proposition.

Maybe it’s an amazing website that allows them to find what they want more efficiently and increases their experience so much that it’s actually really FUN searching for hours on-line for homes. Maybe it’s a price point that surprises them and delights them so much that they say it. Or maybe it is the act of your service and the incredible attention you give them so that at the end of the transaction the culmination of your efforts draws out that validation of “Wow!”

                               

Whichever way you do it- increasing your value proposition will be relevant in the RE 2.0 realm and it won’t happen by giving the client what they would expect from anyone else.