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God’s Word Regarding Real Estate Debt from Walter Sanford

Great information, so I wanted to share:
God’s Word Regarding Real Estate Debt
 
PROVERBS 22:7 – The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower servant to the lender.
If only I had been a student of God’s word sooner…. The pain I could have avoided and the good I could have done! Now, in a position to coach some of the top agents and make presentations all over the world, I’m careful in what I endorse.
Here are 15 changes that I would have made early in my career had I been a better student of the Bible:
 

  1. Lose the “big hat, no cattle syndrome.” I went into debt for big houses in multiple areas, fancy cars like a Rolls Royce under the false teaching of “fake it till you make it.” People respect your hard work and goodness, not your car.

 

  1. The real estate industry is still pushing for lower down payments and loans open to more people. When they cannot afford the payments, people find themselves being a slave to the lender.

 

  1. Keeping what you own and not risking your holdings on more leverage can be a little boring, but, in the end, it is the smartest financial move. Worrying about making payments lessens your availability for other important matters.

 

  1. Do you have enough money to tithe? You need to have better systems in real estate and less debt, if you do not.

 

  1. From now on, don’t bet on the market. Bet on the income. Sure, flippers make it when it’s good, but investors make it always. You can buy to flip, but it better have a long term cash flow just in case.

 

  1. Being positive after taxes is a misnomer. If you don’t have taxes to pay because of a bad year, then that means it is negative (negative cash flow.)

 

  1. Don’t borrow short on long term assets. You might own things longer, or their completion may take longer. Always go for the fully amortized loan.

 

  1. Before going into debt for the fancy office, assistants, third-party lead generators, and buyer’s assistants — learn how to generate leads by yourself and for yourself.

 

  1. The old ways are the best. Save for taxes, pay your insurance, and have a rainy day fund before you invest.

 

  1. Make it a goal to have no interest rate higher than the loan on your cash flow piece of real estate. Miss a payment at Lowes and it is 20.4%.

 

  1. Did you know the expense factor on a piece of free and clear real estate can approach 50% of its gross income? Know how to figure net cash flow on real estate.

 

  1. Make sure your weekly “perfect week” reflects your core principals of how you want to live your life. Is there enough time blocked for faith and family?

 

  1. What good are you doing with your money? After the income starts rolling in, let’s invest in God’s work rather than adding more feathers to our nest.

 

  1. Can you afford to give that good tenant a break this month?

 

  1. When you do get rich from this great business, do you give God the glory?

 
The funny thing is–I have always had all the breaks, the training, and the backing. I have been blessed in real estate and life. The only times that I have felt pain in my life is when ignored God’s word. Following the rules become easier after accepting Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to coach you.
I can give you the real estate systems through books, software, speaking events, and coaching. What you do with your success and to whom you give the glory will be a matter of how good a student you are.

In Search of Excellence in Real Estate

Read a recent article from Rismedia where the author was talking about “The Consumer’s Search for Excellence” in the real estate industry.  The author, Verl Workman, has hit the target.  See the link below for the full article.
When I opened my own agency in 2006 after 2 years as a new licensee, my goal was to change the mindset & professionalism of the real estate industry.  Our communities and our clients have less than ‘great’ thoughts and feelings about real estate agents and their practices.
Most of the thoughts about REALTORS focus around: (1) overwhelming consensus that people don’t feel they need a REALTOR®,  (2) lack of communication, (3) very little work for too much money, (4) unethical, dishonest, not trustworthy, and (5) more interested in the commission than actually helping the clients.
I teach every new agent of mine the “COFFEE” concept.  Each letter of this acronym is an area of focus for any agent to develop their business.  The last “E” stands for Excellence.  If you want to make it in this industry, every aspect of your business must strive for excellence.  Notice I used the word ‘strive’.  Everything won’t be excellent every time, but if you strive for excellence always, then you will make steps toward that.
Every day, I want to defend our industry with passion, enthusiasm, professionalism, and irrational service.  Many agree that this perception will not change, unless we change, unless we take the level of our professionalism to a much higher level.  We must communicate to the world that we are professional, valuable, and focused on doing the right things all the time.
I have made it my personal mission to bring a higher level of professionalism to this industry and communicate that “REALTORS are a dime a dozen, but we are not all created equal!”  I agree with others that unless we make significant changes to our industry, the consumer is going to demand significant changes in our profession. The responsibility for earning back our reputation as professionals falls on us.

The author asked “What can we do” and provided these suggestions:
• Adhere to our code of ethics. There can’t be any grey areas. Do the right thing every time, regardless of how it may or may not affect your commissions.
• Become students of real estate. We must be true experts in our communities and in the types of property we list and sell. The attitude of “fake it ‘til you make it” is what got us here.
• Deliver more than the client expects. Exceed their minimum level of expectation. They think most agents are weak because too many don’t take their professions seriously. Over-deliver by providing better service, knowledge and expert representation.
• Communicate. One of the most consistent complaints I hear is that agents do not communicate. This blows my mind! With text messaging, emails, smart phones, Skype, snail mail and many other automated ways to communication, there is NO excuse for not exceeding this minimum expectation! Stop shopping for and buying technology for the sake of owning technology and start using your tools to communicate more effectively and efficiently.
• Learn how to sell. Ok, I said it! We are sales people. No matter how you try and spin it, we are in sales. We sell ourselves, we sell homes, we resolves concerns, and we offer solutions to our clients’ needs. As I interview the audiences at my events, I ask, “How many of you are in sales?” and the answer is eye-opening. Less than 25 percent of the agents I survey believe they are in sales. Let’s step up and own the fact that we are professional sales people! We get hired to sell our clients’ properties—or on the buyer’s side, we get hired to find the right home and negotiate a fair deal for our buyers. Stand up as agents, brokers and brands and be counted as sales people; be proud of the service we provide and raise the bar.
I added this to the list: 
• Lower the number of licensees. Yes, this will make some angry, but the National Association of REALTORS is the largest trade organization in the country with around 1.2 million members, yet the average member makes an annual salary of $15,000!  Most consumers wouldn’t consider a person taking home $15,000 annually as a viable, necessary and professional resource.  It is too easy, and inexpensive, to obtain a real estate license in most states.  A REALTOR peer recently got mad at me because I used the word ‘most’ when talking about the poor reputation REALTORS have among the public.  But the reality is that ‘most’ of the licensed REALTORS across this country are not professional, aren’t striving for excellence, aren’t focused on the real estate industry, and get into the market to make a little ‘extra easy’ money.  Now ‘most’ of NAR’s members are ‘part time’ licensees, but being part time doesn’t mean you are the problem.  I have part time agents in my agency, but I teach them to be professional, knowledgeable, and service oriented, with the goal of focusing on real estate full time.  I personally mentor and coach them in their business development.  Most of our industry’s members are creating a huge disaster for our industry.  When most of its members don’t pursue real estate professionalism and excellence, how can an industry protect its value?   A big focus needs to be on reducing the number of broker licenses also, especially in the state of Arkansas.  We have too many agents, with no solid transaction history, and even less business management experience, who are opening their own real estate office, and trying to manage other agents with no experience managing their own business.
I love this industry and want to protect it, its integrity, its service and its value!  I love being able to interact with families while they experience a very large and important financial decision.  Do you?
http://rismedia.com/2012-12-03/the-consumers-search-for-excellence/#more-75075

October Housing Market – Things are looking better

The state of Arkansas, and the nation, are seeing some consistent positive housing activity.  Arkansas experienced a slight increase in the number of homes sold statewide in October 2012. The number of homes sold in Arkansas in October rose by almost 6% over October 2011, while the average price of those homes sold rose by over 7 percent. The average price of the homes sold in the 43 county area surveyed by the Arkansas REALTORS Association increased from $145,959 in October 2011 to $157,267 in October 2012.
Pulaski county experienced an increase of almost 14% in the number of homes sold over October 2011, with a 4% increase in the average price of those homes sold.
Year to date, the state has experienced a 2.4% decrease in the number of units sold compared to the same time in 2011, but the average price index has increased over 10%.  Pulaski county has experienced increases in both units sold and average price YTD compared to 2011.

According to CNNMoney, in another sign of a housing market rebound nationwide, home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the third quarter, according to the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index.
The 3.6% increase from a year earlier is more than three times the rise in the previous quarter and was the biggest jump in prices since the second quarter of 2010. But that 2010 rise was much more of a temporary blip caused by a homebuyer’s tax credit of up to $8,000 on homes purchased in late 2009 and early 2010.
This latest rise comes as the housing market has shown numerous other signs of recovery in recent months. The rebound is spurred by a combination of record low mortgage rates, an improving jobs market and a drop in foreclosures to a five-year low, reducing the supply of distressed homes available. There is also a tighter supply of both new and previously owned homes on the market.

These numbers are through October 2012 only.  Our local market activity seems to have come to a hault in November and with very little pending contract activity in November, I don’t see heavy closing activity for December either.
Seeing positive numbers are great, but these numbers are positive compared to the bottom of the barrell.  We are nowhere near the peak activity.  I believe we are beginning a recovery nationwide, but remember that Arkansas always ‘lags’ behind the rest of the country concerning these indicators.  When the nation reached it’s bottom in 2009, Arkansas didn’t reach it’s bottom until 2011.  Arkansas is seeing some positive activity, but it may be a few more years before we see a true recovery in Arkansas.  I pray that the Arkansas market holds on to the coat tail of the national market and enjoys the ride.

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.

5 Ways to Vividly & Painlessly Prove the Dangers of Overpricing

Sellers’ inclination to overprice their homes can seem as formidable and ever-present as gravity or any other law of nature. In some ways, it is the most natural thing ever – everyone wants to maximize the value of their possessions, especially when it comes to their largest assets.
But because overpricing can be so deadly to sellers’ ultimate goals, it’s our responsibility to leverage every strategy at our disposal to vividly paint the picture of how dangerous and counterproductive overpricing truly is, before they experience the pain and expense of a listing that won’t sell. Here’s how:
1. Show the list price of the lagging pending vs. the list price of the quick/solds.
When we pull comps, we often focus on the Sold properties, and their list vs. sale prices. If we can get some information from insiders about the pending comparable homes, that’s also useful – sometimes even more useful than the Solds. While many agents take a glance at the Active homes just to get a sense for the competition, when your Seller client is in danger of overpricing, it is worth scrutinizing the Actives more intensely.
You might be inclined to weed out Active comps that are clearly overpriced to stop your client from construing them as indicating the right price range for your home. I argue that we should be doing the exact opposite: look and see whether there are Active comps for your client’s home which have lagged on the market for a much longer time than the average DOM for the pending and solds in the area and seem to be significantly overpriced – maybe even falling into the same range as your client would like to list theirs. If you can find even one or two such overpriced, lagging outliers, consider showing them to your Seller as powerful examples of why they should not to list that price range.
2. Deep dive into the “slow” Sold comparables.
As you’re exploring the comps, spend some time talking your seller through another frequently overlooked subset of properties: those that sold, but sold very slowly when compared with the average number of days a home in your area stays on the market.
Often, these “slow” Solds will have been overpriced and will have sold way below asking – even below their reduced price. Pinpointing the:

  • original list price,
  • list price at the time the      home went off the market,
  • sold price and
  • number of Days on Market      (DOM)

on even a few slow Solds can paint a vivid picture of the path of an overpriced home in a seller’s mind, very efficiently.
And the opposite is true: if you can find a few examples of Sold comparables which were listed low and sold high, those two types of examples, together, make the picture even more powerful.
3. Help your seller see what buyers will see, online.
Visit your local Board or MLS’s website and get a read on how many homes in your area sell in the price range/bracket your seller wants to list at, versus how many sell in the price range you’re recommending. Say, for example, your client wants to list at $415,000 and you think the home would do better at $385,000. If there were 200 homes sold last quarter at $350,000-$400,000 and only 75 sold between $400,000-$450,000, chances are great that buyers in your area are much more likely to be conducting their online home searches in the sub-$400,000 range, statistically speaking.
You know the rest: the more buyer search results the listing falls into, the more buyers will want to view the place – and the more viewings you get, the better the chances of getting an offer.
Additionally, take the opportunity before the list price is set in stone to sit down with your seller and slip on the virtual shoes of the average buyer you’ll want to court for their home. Run online searches at several different price points – including the one the seller believes in and the one you are recommending – to see what the competition looks like online, and how the seller’s home will measure up against the other in terms of the specs buyers use to pick the homes they want to see in person (e.g., beds, baths, square feet, location).
The two-part goal, as you discuss it with your seller, should be to list the property at a price point which:
(a) falls into the broadest possible bucket of online searchers and
(b) makes every buyer who sees it in the context of the other homes in the same price bracket put your seller’s home at the top of the list of places they want to view.
4. Take the seller on a tour of competitive properties.
In some situations, the specs of the comps simply don’t make it crystal clear that a seller’s home would be overpriced. This happens most often when a property’s condition or location pale in comparison to the competition. In these instances, when you feel strongly about your pricing recommendation, consider taking your seller on a short tour of the competition – physically taking them to view competitive properties, in real life.
Show your Seller what their home will be up against, by touring them through one or two of each of the following:

  • homes in the price range they      want, in their neighborhood
  • homes in the price range they      want, in other parts of town which buyers will likely also be considering
  • homes in your recommended      price range, to show how their home is poised to compete well against      these properties.

Showing your Seller the competition in real life can also be a powerful segue to a conversation around property preparation. If you think your Seller’s home would be fairly priced at the range they want to target with $25,000 in improvements, show them the homes which have the improvements you suggest and are listed/selling at their desired price point . That puts the Seller in the driver’s seat on how to proceed: invest some dough, or price it more appropriately.
5. Be strategic with your past client references.
If you know a particular seller-to-be is fixated on a too-high price, be strategic with the past client references you give them. Ideally, you want to connect them with past seller clients who were similarly situated to where they are now; people who are highly likely to do two things:

  • Share relatable experiences      about their own thoughts and actions from property preparation through      close of escrow, painting a positive picture of the ultimate outcome they      had working with you; and
  • Discuss their experience      setting – and later, lowering – their home’s list price, as follows: “We      were wrong. Your name here was right. And we could have saved ourselves a      lot of stress if we’d listened to your name here from the beginning.”

Other sellers who have been in precisely the same spot as your current client have a level of credibility in vouching for your pricing skills that you can simply not ever have or get in talking about yourself. Having come out the other end of escrow with a favorable result, they can also talk to the overall legitimacy and soundness of your professional advice, and can do the heavy lifting when it comes to countering every Seller’s fear: that their agent is suggesting a lower price just to make their own job of getting the place sold easier.
As you can see, there are themes here to the categories of overpricing pitfalls you’ll want to illustrate for your seller – it poses the dangers of: making a home lag on the market; eventual, painful price cuts and excruciating lowball offers. The worst danger? Many overpriced homes simply don’t sell at all. But before they fail to sell, they suck up just as much time, energy and cash in preparation and marketing as right-priced homes, causing an above-average amount of woe, hand-wringing and sleepless nights for both agent and seller.
It might seem time-consuming, but pulling out all the stops to prove the hazards of overpricing in advance saves everyone, in the long run.

What about our housing crisis President Obama and Governor Romney?

What about our housing crisis President Obama and Governor Romney?

We have just witnessed the last of three presidential debates in anticipation of elections now just 2 weeks away. Considering the depth of these debates and the months of political advertisements in this campaign, it is discouraging that there has not been a serious discussion about housing. As leaders, you ignore housing at our peril.

Although the economy is recognized as the single most important issue in this campaign,

The Real Costs of Halloween Home Disasters: Serial Killers, Phantasms, and Floods of Blood

Looking back at some of the ‘classic’ horror home disasters, lets estimate the home repair costs in Poltergeist, Scream, The Shining, and other horror classics.

The Shining

When little Danny Torrance saw a river of blood surging down the hallway, there’s one thing that was probably not on his mind: What’s it going to cost to clean up this mess? He was a little more concerned with evading his possessed, axe-wielding father. But the answer depends entirely on whether the Overlook Hotel was covered for flood insurance. Let’s just hope they opted for maximum blood coverage.
Disaster: Flooding

  • The average flood claim for a residence is about $33,000.
  • The average annual cost of flood insurance for a residence is $540.

Poltergeist
When considering a new home, save some money, have it inspected—and make sure it’s not on an unmarked burial ground. You’ll disrespect the dead, and as we learned in Poltergeist, phantasms can get pretty miffed. They’ll suck children into other dimensions and even push coffins through the back yard, ripping up the landscaping and inflicting serious damage.
If ghosts do turn your yard into Swiss cheese–and your house doesn’t get sucked into a void like the Freelings’–you’ll need to redo your landscaping. Consider hiring a certified landscape architect to design a plan that includes irrigation, lighting, soil conditioning, and repotting (or removing) those pesky coffins. You might also want to consider planting a few new trees which, when properly placed for shade, will save you up to $250 a year in energy costs.
Disaster: Destroyed landscaping

  • A landscape consultation costs about $100 to $150.
  • A detailed plan can run from $300 to $2,500.
  • New sod installation is 30 to 50 cents per square foot.
  • Total sod cost for the average suburban yard: $2,000.
  • Three 15-foot trees cost a total of $300 to $600.

Scream
 
Going up? When Ghostface caught this beered-up victim in the too-small cat portal of a garage door, he scored a memorable kill, but shorted out the garage door opener in the process. While this party girl never made it to a sequel, the home owners lucked out with an easy repair. So easy, they might even consider a whole new garage door. But, of course, spring for a bigger cat door.
Disaster: Broken garage door

  • A replacement garage door opener costs about $300.
  • Installed garage doors range from $550 to $1,650 for a single door, and $800 to $2,500 for a double door.

The Amityville Horror

Bolts of lightning might have blown out the windows of this infamous Amityville residence, but whole-house surge protectors would have kept the lights on and things running smoothly—at least until Father Delaney and the Devil battle it out over who has to pay for window replacements. Spoiler alert: bet on the Devil.
Disaster: Broken windows

  • Replacement windows cost $250 to $800 each.

Interview with the Vampire
 
Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had a great time slurping the life out of the residents of New Orleans, but you wouldn’t want the same drain on your homestead. That’s why you need to be vigilant about the waste caused by vampire energy, also known as standby power consumption—unneeded electricity usage that sucks up to $100 out of your wallet annually.
Most common culprits are computers, monitors, printers, and stereo subwoofers. Try plugging devices into a power strip and get in the habit of turning them all off at once. Or try a “smart” power strip that senses when you’ve shut off your computer and cuts the juice. It works much better than garlic.
Disaster: Energy drain

  • Power strips are $10 each
  • “Smart” power strips cost $30

Thriller video
 
When Michael Jackson and his zombie buddies broke into an old house to terrify his girlfriend, costly damage ensues—destruction that could have been avoided if only the undead had turned the doorknob.
Unfortunately, zombies aren’t too dexterous, and the hapless home owners got stuck with the cost of a new steel exterior replacement door. If only they had installed a home security system, those zombies would be singing an entirely different tune.
Disaster: Zombie attack

  • A replacement door costs about $1,200.
  • A home security system installation costs $500, with a monthly fee of $35 to $75.

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’.
 

Houses sell in Fall and Winter too!

Every year about this time, I hear the same thing, “Houses don’t sell in the Fall and Winter”, or “We want to take the house off the market until next Spring.”  Sellers seem to think that the buyers disappear during the Fall and Winter months, but this simply isn’t true.
Yes, there are less transactions during the fall and winter months, but selling a home from October – February is still a very common occurrence.  Why?  It really comes down to simple supply and demand.  I know it may be hard for some of you, but try to remember back to your high school or college basic economics class.  Supply and Demand.  A little political side note:  Our country’s economy is based on the supply and demand functionality.  If people want something, they will pay for it, and based upon the supply of inventory, the price will be determined according to the demand.  This principle has stood the test of time, and it will stand during fall and winter for the local real estate market as well.
During the fall and winter months housing inventory is typically lower, which means less competition for the seller during the fall and winter months.  But, during these same months when inventory is lower than any other time of the year, life still happens.  Life changing events continue even when the leaves are changing color, snow is falling, or you are celebrating Christmas.  What are life changing events?  New babies.  Deaths.  Divorce.  Loss of Job.  New Job.  Relocation.
All of these life changing events create demand for housing.  If the demand is there, and the supply is lower than it is possible to not only see shorter days on market, but better pricing as well.  Yep, I said it.  It is possible to sell a home at a higher price and shorter time frame during the fall and winter months.  The typical fall and winter buyer is ready to make a decision, either due to these life changing events, or to get a fresh start by or around the new year.
2011 was a classic example of this for Central Arkansas.  Throughout the Greater Little Rock area, October 2011 thru February 2012 was HOT with real estate activity.  Don’t miss this wonderful time to sell your home!
Here is some research I conducted over 2012, for West Little Rock and Maumelle, to show that the numbers may support a better selling time is during the fall and winter.  In January 2012, there was 1 buyer for every 2 active listings.  In July 2012, there was 1 buyer for every 7 listings!  Inventory, and competition, had increased greatly so there were more sellers fighting for the active buyers.
New Article just published:

Let the Fall Buying, Selling Season Begin

Daily Real Estate News |      Friday, September 28, 2012

The fall housing market isn’t known for being as robust as the spring market, but there are different motivations that tend to attract consumers during this season, experts say.”We’ve observed in seasonal household buyer patterns that there is a higher ratio of first-time buyers and childless couples in the fall,” says Walter Molony, economic issues media manager at the National Association of REALTORS®. “Families with children time their purchase based on school-year considerations, so they peak in the spring and summer.”
According to a recent Real Estate survey, based on 30,000 of broker and agents, about 20 percent of buyers are emotionally driven in the fall to purchase a house so that they can be in a new home by the holidays. Ten percent are motivated by tax benefits.
Sellers in the fall tend to be highly motivated too and face less competition with smaller inventories, says Shaun White, vice president for corporate communications for RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colo.
“Some sellers will opt to lower their price in the fall because they’re afraid of missing the boat and being stuck trying to sell during the holidays,” says White. “Buyer traffic drops in the fall, too, so buyers may have less competition as well as better prices. You find motivated sellers and motivated buyers in the fall, especially as you get closer to the holidays.”
In some areas of the country, such as in Arizona and Florida, the prime selling season doesn’t even begin until the fall as snowbirds come in from the cooler climates looking for new homes, White says.
Source: “Homebuying: Fall Is the New Spring,” HSH.com (Sept. 26, 2012)

What it takes to sell your home!

What it takes to sell your home!
This is not rocket science these days, but it isn’t always what you see on HGTV either.  Today’s market is a “Price War” and a “Beauty Contest”, the first time we have been in both, at the same time.
Everyone thinks their home is the best in the neighborhood, but for most of us living in a developed neighborhood or subdivision, in a home built by a generic builder, your home is most like 99% of the homes in the neighborhood in terms of features (flooring style, crown molding, trimwork, etc), and probably the same exact house as yours is every 3rd houses down the street.  It is a big ‘awakening’ when I take my sellers and show them other homes for sale in their neighborhood.  Usually, the comment is “yeah, our house is just like theirs”.
In Central Arkansas for 2012, we are experiencing a high inventory of homes for sale, which has kept us in that “buyer’s market” mentality.  I say ‘mentality’ because whether your neighborhood has a stable, declining, or increasing market, the buyers today still think it is their market.
So, what does it take to sell your home?  Focus on the main areas:  Curb Appeal, Kitchen, Bathrooms & Staging/Detailing.
The goal is to eliminate any ‘negative’ thoughts from a buyer.  Yes, ‘any’!  Why, because most people ‘overestimate’ the cost of fixup by at least double the actual amount, and if they get ‘negative vibes’ from your home, they will just go to the next one.
Curb appeal is your first priority.  If it doesn’t appeal to the buyers from the outside, it will be hard to convert them with the inside.  Not impossible, but definitely a challenge.  I had buyers recently, who didn’t even want to go inside just because the outside was not appealing to them.  Good lawn, good landscaping features, clean exterior, pickup, fresh colorful flowers, fresh mulch, etc.  Most of this is easy stuff.
Once inside, buyers go ‘ga-ga’ over kitchens and bathrooms.  To have the limited buyers choose your home over the others, look into updating plumbing and lighting fixtures in these two areas, and keep them spotless.  New cabinet knobs and hinges go a long way.  What about a fresh paint job on cabinet doors, and maybe a little effect like ‘glazing’.  It seems stained cabinets are the ‘in’ trend right now for buyer preference, with granite countertops.
Finally, stage the home.  Clean it, declutter, properly place furniture to maximize space perception and flow.  You may even have to eliminate some furniture.  Put it in storage, or move it to another room that doesn’t have enough furniture.  This would be an excellent opportunity to bring in an interior design professional.  (Insert ad here – Have I mentioned that all my clients have access to a licensed Interior Designer, at no charge.)
Buyer are different these days.  They want the perfect house at a fair market value….maybe even a little discount!