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Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, Bryant, Benton, Sherwood and surrounding areas

Little Rock AR Real Estate

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Thank You – From a Real Estate Viewpoint

As we come upon this year’s Thanksgiving season, I thought I would provide what I am thankful for from a real estate viewpoint.

Buyers & Sellers!  Even though this is what everyone would expect, it is truly the most important.  When it comes down to the basic foundation of my role as a REALTOR, I put buyers and sellers together by acting as their local, professional, project manager for the largest financial decision, and transaction, of their lives to this point.  You see, unlike most of the jobs in American, I don’t create buyers or sellers.  I don’t create homes.  I don’t have a ‘widget’ to sell.  Yet, I serve as a consultant to guide and protect those buyers and sellers who have chosen me to direct them through a very important, and large, finanical decision.
I have people tell me all the time that I’m a good salesman.  And I am, but not when it comes to real estate.  Better yet, I am a good “marketingman”.  I have a degree in Marketing Management and the purest definition of marketing is “Satisfying a customer’s need”.  I don’t have anything to sell as a REALTOR.  As a “marketingman”, my role is to listen and provide a solution to the needs of my clients.  From that standpoint, I’m a good problem solver.  But back to thanksgiving.  My entire family is thankful for those buyers and sellers who see the difference in what a true real estate professional can provide.  We appreciate your trust!
I’m thankful for the country that I live in.  It definitely has some problems right now, but, for now, this is the best country in the world.  Our democratic, and capitalistic, society has provided our country more success (financially, mentally, spiritually, economically) than any country in the history of this World.  I don’t understand why some want to change it to be like everyone else.  I don’t want to be like Greece, or France, or Germany, or Russia, or China.  I want to be the USA!
I am thankful for the importance and value that the residents of the USA place on homeownership.  This may sound simple, but homeownership is a huge component of the pride, and success, we have in America.  It is also associated with higher financial net worth, less neighborhood crime, community spirit, and higher educational success.  The feeling associated with owning your piece of this country is awesome.  Don’t lose this right to be in charge of your property!
I am thankful for all the preferred partners who help me, and my buyers and sellers, daily.  Without all of us working together, doing our individual jobs to the finest of our abilities, this advantage of homeownership would not be a reality in America.  “All you can do is all you can do”.  Art Williams said this year’s ago, but it hold true always.  All that I ask of anyone working with me is to do all they can do.  Nothing less, nothing more.  It is because of these individuals that I get to put buyers and sellers together:
Lenders:  I know this will freak some of you out, but if it wasn’t for some people being very successful financially, then the rest of us wouldn’t be able to do what we want to.  Lending is one of these.  Lenders are nothing more than people, or companies, who have made a great deal of money, lending some of their success to us common folks so we can also experience some of the American dream!  Get over the fact that people are more successful than you.  Without people being successful, there isn’t anything to spread around.  If you want to be more successful, isn’t it great to know that you have the freedom to work harder and reap the full rewards of your labor (for now).
Title:  I don’t know what all they do, don’t want to, but I really appreciate the Escrow and Title officers.  Especially my friend Michelle and Donna at All American Title.  Sometimes I have to use other title companies, but when I use All American, I know, and I can reassure my clients, that Michelle and crew will take care of all that paperwork to make sure that we legally transfer ownership title from one party to the next without someone, or something, ruining a perfectly good opportunity of homeownership.
Inspectors:  When you are involved in such a large financial decision, isn’t it good to do your research on this huge investment?  Yes.  Don’t ever purchase a home without having it properly inspected.  This one element of a real estate transaction could reassure your dream of ownership, or protect you from a costly mistake.  Remember, these guys are looking over everything about your new home so you know everything, no matter how small or how large.  It is always better to make an educated decision.  I’m thankful for the inspectors who protect my client’s investment.
Handyman/Service Provider:  After we find some necessary repairs from the inspection above, I’m thankful for those service providers who get the issues resolved in a timely manner, with good quality work.  Again, these guys protect the investment of my clients.
REALTORS:  I am thankful for most of my cooperating real estate agents.  Unfortunately, many agents feel they are in competition with the other agent involved, but is is not the case at all.  Both agents involved in the transaction, whether representing buyer or seller, are there to manage the transaction between these two parties, with the benefit of both parties in their focus.  You noticed that I said ‘most’ earlier.  It is my opinion there are too many licensed agents who don’t have a clue what they are doing and they shouldn’t be representing either buyers or sellers.  Our industry is plagued with too many licensed agents.  it is too easy to get a license.  I am thankful for the recent housing market downturn because it allowed about half of the licensed agents in Arkansas to get out of real estate industry.  We have plenty of room for others who need to get out also.
Arkansas Real Estate Commission:  Many don’t understand the value of AREC in protecting our industry, our agents, and our buyers and sellers.  Arkansas has been duplicated across this country for our real estate practices, contracts, and legislation.  Arkansas has one of the lowest financial burdens concerning ‘bad’ real estate deals in the country. It is because of AREC.
As your family approaches this Thanksgiving season, don’t forget to be thankful for the power of homeownership in this country.  It is the basis of our economy, our capitalistic foundation, our net worth, our communities, and our jobs.  It should be protected and advanced.

How accurate is Zillow & Trulia?

Today, many of my clients, sellers and buyer, ‘refer’ to Zillow or Trulia to try and pick up some knowledge about their local real estate market.  I agree that both of these sites provide great information about the buying or selling process, but relying on these two sites for accurate, real time, data on the local real estate market is a mistake.
According to a recent study, 36% of the ‘active’ listings posted on Zillow were actually no longer available.  It was 37% for Trulia.  These properties were either already under contract, sold, expired, or withdrawn and were no longer actively for sale.  For buyers, this means you are excited about a property that is no longer available.  Ever been told you can’t have something you really want?  It sucks!  For sellers, only the atual ‘sold’ price provides a true picture of what buyers, lenders, and appraisers, are giving for the home.  Just because something was listed for $200,000, doesn’t mean it sold, or appraised, for that.
In addition, this study found that Zillow only contained 79% of the local market’s active listings anyway.  It was 81% for Trulia.  Hey buyer!  Do you want to know about all the homes available for sale that match your family’s needs, or just 80% of them?  Don’t worry about the other 20%.  I bet they weren’t that good of a value anyway. Oh yeah, seller, don’t worry about the 20% fewer buyers who know about your house.  I’m sure that won’t affect your sales price or time on market much, well maybe by 20%, but that isn’t much, right? (20% x $200,000 = $40,000 less).  Chump Change!
Because Zillow and Trulia are third party, for profit, companies and not real estate firms or agents, they can not provide all the current, real time, information concerning active and sold homes.  Only a local agent, as a member of the local Multiple Listing Service, can provide real time, accurate date concerning your local market.  And local can mean your specific neighborhood.  Each neighborhood is different in style, in demand, in age, etc and each neighborhood has a different real estate market.  Just because a home only 1 mile away sold for X dollars, doesn’t mean your home will sell for X dollars.
Buying, or selling, a home is a family’s single largest financial decision and has great influence on all aspects of the family and its members.  Before making such a huge decision, I recommend that you get ALL the information….All the CORRECT and ACCURATE information, so you can make an educated decision.  Don’t make a decision based upon speculation, or partial data.  This could cost you greatly in the form of higher days on market, and incorrect ‘most likely sales price’.
 

Thinking of buying a For Sale By Owner property?

Many buyers think that purchasing a property from an ‘unrepresented’ seller, without buyer representation, will save them money on the overall cost of purchasing a property.  Sure that can happen.  But it can also cost you more.
Most of the time ‘unrepresented’ sellers actually have their property priced above market because they don’t have the correct data for pricing to ‘today’s buyers’.  Most of the ‘unrepresented’ sellers get their pricing from either what they ‘need’ to get out of the property to cover their mortgage, PLUS the profit they want (profit?  in this market?  ha), OR, they have priced their home based upon the rumors spreading throughout the neighborhood from other home sales.  I’m sure none of my readers have ever done this, but people are know to exaggerate what you tell your neighbors.
Even outside of asking price, not following the ‘represented’ process managed by a licensed REALTOR, can cost you greatly when it comes to hidden or unknown issues of the home, title problems, survey problems, etc.
And don’t forget about seller concessions, and negotiating skills.  Not knowing the ‘game’ could cost you thousands!
Most of the time, when I represent a buyer who is interested in a FSBO, I am able to get the seller to pay my real estate fees for the buyer.  Yes, I represent the buyer, protect the buyer, manage the buyer process….and get paid by the seller.  It’s a great thing!
Here is the recent letter that I sent to a potential buyer who was looking at an ‘unrepresented’ property, or commonly referred to as a FSBO.
Hello, Danny
I am Elizabeth’s real estate agent, and she let me know that you have been looking at a for sale by owner property.  If you are interested in representation for that transaction, I would be glad to assist.  At this point, the seller may not pay my real estate fees (but I will definitely ask).  I guarantee you that I can save you money on the purchase.  We can work it out so my real estate fees will be less than the amount of money that I can save you on the purchase of the property.  This way my representation is no cost to you, but provides you the full legal protection and guidance.  With my pricing & market knowledge, along with my negotiating skills, I promise to save you thousands of dollars on the purchase.  Plus, I have all the legal paperwork and will manage the entire transaction for you to make sure you get clear title to the property without any problems.
Yep, I said it, and I meant it.  If I don’t get the seller to pay all my representation fees, I guarantee that I will save my buyer more money on the ‘unrepresented’ property than they will pay me in my service fees.  Guaranteed!  How can I do this?  I’m a professional, and I know what, when, where, why, and how to ask.  I also know what to do to protect my buyer’s interest when it comes to some of the hurdles – repairs, title, survey, financing, etc.
How about this?  I guarantee to save my buyers at least $5000, or I will actually pay my buyer $500.  Either way, my buyer wins!
Why am I writing this?  I am in the process right now of helping a young family purchase an ‘unrepresented’ home.  Guess what?  Saved them $6,150!  Oh yeah, the seller paid my real estate fees.

Where are the buyers?

A recent study showed the Top Three issues preventing buyers from completing purchases, and the top issue was one that hasn’t been around for the past few years.
According to the survey, the #1 reason keeping buyers from purchasing real estate for 2012 is “Economic Insecurity”.  While difficulties obtaining financing were cited as the leading challenge among buyers in 2010 (61 percent) and 2011 (65 percent), in 2012, the percentage noting this challenge dipped to 49 percent. Problems selling their current homes, similarly, declined in 2012 to 43 percent, down from 59 percent in 2011 and 57 percent in 2010.
Economic insecurity was not in the top three in 2011, nor 2010.  I was telling this to a seller of mine just yesterday.  Recent buyer activity has dropped drastically in Central Arkansas.  Since January 2012, the current inventory in Central Arkansas has risen from 1.7 months to 5.98 months of inventory!  That is a 250% increase in just 6 months.
There is a good amount of inventory now and some at great prices.  We all know that interest rates are at an all time low, again.  So what is the problem with the slow down in buyer activity?  We had experienced increases in the number of closed transactions til May 2012, but saw a drop in June, and I would expect another drop for July as activity has been slow so far this month.
It is actually getting easier to obtain financing, and most buyers know that pricing probably won’t continue to go down since 2010 & 2011 were the worst real estate years for our state in 15 years, and Arkansas prices actually increased by around 1% (not much, but better than the other alternative).
I did some recent research on my own to see what is going on.  Here is what I found out.
The number of buyers to active listings in January 2012 was 1 buyer for every 2 listings.  We experienced a huge January 2012.  For June 2012, it is 1 buyer per every 6.25 active listings.  Wow!  The listings are out there, but the buyers have shut it down!  I couldn’t understand why, but my guess was the economy and current policy.  Didn’t have any proof, until this survey was released today.