Amazon and real estate – will Bezos’ vision change marketing of home listings

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homesThe big news this week is of course Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post. Why would the man who predicted the demise print media pay $250 million for a regional newspaper and a handful of associated local papers?

If the real estate business is a window into how media plays a role in the daily lives of the average American, then Bezos’ purchase might be a head scratcher. Over the last five years, the National Association of Realtors® annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (realtor.org) has demonstrated how the internet has increasingly played a role in how home buyers actively searched for homes. In 2007, the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers indicated that about 60% of home buyers completely relied on the internet to search for their home, while about 21% did not use the internet at all in their search. Compare those statistics to the 2012 Profile, which reported that 90% of home buyers used the internet to search for homes; and home buyers who were younger than 44 years of age, the use of the internet is reported to be 96%!

It seems as if home buyers relied on the weekend real estate sections of the paper for a leg up on new home listings and open houses. Real estate agents and brokers happily paid to have their listings included in what seemed to be the weekly catalog of homes for sale. In addition to the home listings, print real estate sections also included other related information (such as decorating, renovation, and buying/selling tips).

However, as the NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers indicated, there was a sharp increase in the reliance of the internet to search for homes from 2007 -2012. The time frame is no coincidence; besides the exponential increase in technology and computing power during this period, it also covers the housing bust and subsequent foreclosure crisis. This was a time of tight advertising budgets and the search for efficient advertising modes; the internet offered a bigger bang for the advertising dollar, offering a more robust real estate platform than print could ever offer.

And although there was a colossal increase in the reliance of the internet for real estate listing information in the last five years, there was a consolidation and reorganization of online real estate content during that time frame as well. As the housing market declined in 2007, many sites stopped syndicating their own content and instead partnered with one of the high profile, well organized real estate portals.

It might seem as if the purchase of the Washington Post by an internet visionary who had once foretold the death of printed news might be confusing. But if you understand the Amazon.com business model and how it revolutionized the purchase and delivery of print and recorded media, you would not speculate that the purchase of the venerable news organization was to expand an internet empire to the newsstand – but rather you might believe that the purchase was to acquire a widely recognized brand that generates a considerable amount of content that can be packaged and sold through Bezos’ established model.

Just as the internet revolutionized real estate content and home listings, you might imagine how Bezos’ novel news paradigm could increase the robustness of content and distribution of home and open house listings.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2013

When is best time to sell a home

Housing Market

Buyers aren’t the only ones looking for a deal.  Home sellers are also looking for a good deal – which means they want to sell their home for the most money.  As it seemed as if the housing market had strong sales this year, some sellers are still trying to decide the best time to sell.  But unfortunately, timing the market may not be as easy as it seems.

Some say that spring is the best time of year to list and sell a home, while others believe that summer is better.  Old time real estate agents will tell you about a time when there was a traditional selling season, which basically started in March and ran through June.  In recent history, it seems as if the boom/bust market from 2005-2008 rewrote those rules.  During the “go-go” market, the spring selling season couldn’t start early enough; home buyers made their New Year’s resolutions and shook off the winter fog in early January to begin their home search.  For several years, it seemed as if home buyers started their real estate searching earlier each year to stake their claims on real estate before other buyers got wind of the listing.

However, once the bubble busted, home buyer activity significantly slowed, those who wanted to buy a home became increasingly methodical about their purchase as well as starting their search later in the year.  It seemed as if the best time to list and sell shifted from the spring time to summer months.

Since the downturn of the housing market, sales activity peaked in the summer months.  June has been a consistent contender for year high sale totals – until this year.  The July 22nd news release from the National Association of Realtors® (realtor.org) indicated that June sales “slipped” about 1.9% from May.  Granted, June’s sales are significantly higher than June of 2012, but the slowdown may just be a fluke or an indication of something else.

Maybe the combination of increased inventory (NAR reported that housing inventory was slightly elevated from May to about a 5.2 month supply) along with rising mortgage rates (Freddie Mac’s June national average commitment rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 4.07%) is making home buyers pause.

And surely home prices are making buyers have second thoughts; bargain hunters are having difficulty finding bargains.  June’s national median existing home sale price increased 13.5% compared to last June.  Distressed home sales, foreclosures and short sales that typically sell at lower prices, accounted for 15% of June’s figures (compared to last June’s 26%) and are at the lowest levels since 2008.  And although it may sound like great news, the double-digit jumps in the average home sale price may be a statistical artifact due to declining distressed home sales.

If you’re waiting to list your home for sale this year, you may have mistimed this year’s market.

Research has demonstrated that attempting to time the market may not always yield the best results – timing the market is much easier in hind sight.  Market timing appears to be much more than looking at selling activity cycles.  You should rely on the expertise of your real estate professional for neighborhood sales data and trends to assist you in deciding the price and the timing of listing and selling your home.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2013

Handling home buyer feedback

home buyer feedbackYou’ve spent months preparing your home by de-cluttering, painting, and maybe even making renovations; the last thing you want to hear are objections from home buyers why the home is not suitable for them. Obviously, you’ve had years of enjoyment and you’re thinking about all the benefits the home offers. However, getting honest home buyer feedback when they visit your home is invaluable information to help get your home sold.

Asking for home buyer feedback is one of the tasks that your agent performs throughout the listing period. However, soliciting feedback from agents who bring buyers to your home is often hit or miss; although many agents offer good and honest feedback, just as many don’t respond (for various reasons) to feedback requests unless their buyers are interested in the home. Additionally, home buyer feedback is solicited when they visit open houses and includes questions such as: “What do you find most appealing about the home?”; “What do you find least appealing about the home?”; and “Is the home priced right?”

Ok, it’s nice to hear the good things people have to say about your home; these are obvious benefits and what others find appealing. Buyers may list various home features, upgrades, and/or renovations as appealing or beneficial; but it is also important to put weight on the negative feedback too. All the de-cluttering and neutralizing can make a home look good, but it may not change home features that do not fit other’s needs. Likewise, making cosmetic and minor repairs also increases your home’s appeal; but may not make obsolete systems acceptable.

One of the most common pieces of feedback you might encounter is about the home’s price. Since home buyers typically view similar homes, you get perspective about how you priced your home compared to other similar homes. If there is overwhelming feedback that the home is overpriced, then you should consider reviewing additional comps with your agent and correct the price as needed. It is also not uncommon that buyers may feel that the home is priced well, but for various reasons they are not interested in making an offer.

Keep in mind that the feedback you will receive is subjective and offered from various points of view, so don’t be surprised with seemingly contradictory objections from different home buyers. Some objections can be addressed readily while others cannot.

For example, objections about the size and/or location of the home or yard are not easily overcome; and it may be that buyers offering such objections are looking at the wrong home. However, objections about shabby flooring or lack of updates can be addressed by either taking action or changing the list price to reflect the home’s condition.

Sometimes in pushing their client’s limits, home buyer’s objections may actually be a commentary on their limitations rather than the home’s attributes. In the hopes of getting a great deal, buyers are taken to view homes that are out of their price range and/or in need of updates they cannot make.

Buyer and agent feedback is the easiest way to gauge how your home is positioned in comparison to your competition on the market. Clearly, the home’s positive attributes and benefits should be highlighted as these items would be appealing to home buyers. However, buyer objections should also be considered and addressed if possible to help facilitate a sale.

Original located at https://dankrell.com/blog/2013/05/31/handling-buyer-feedback-and-objection-for-home-sellers/

By Dan Krell

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice.  Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

Pricing your home to sell 2013

by Dan Krell
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DanKrell.com
© 2013

home for saleIt has been a while since home sellers have felt optimism about the housing market. Although many would be home sellers continue to wait before jumping into the market; a combination of inventory shortages and reports of appreciating home prices are making some home sellers push the limits of home pricing.

Consideration for an appropriate list price is vital in any market. However, regardless of current market conditions, setting the right list price today could prove challenging. If your home sells quickly, you might feel as if you priced the home too low; while setting the price to high could make your home languish in an otherwise active real estate market.

Since the home seller decides on the list price, you might be tempted to use the most recent neighborhood sale or list price as a guide for your home sale. However, without deeply examining these comparables, this methodology may result in over or under pricing your home.

As public information is widely available on the internet, you might find yourself searching the ‘net for recent neighborhood sales to assist you in making a decision on a list/sale price. However, public records usually post dates of deed transfers as recorded in the courthouse, which are usually after the actual closing (sometimes several months or more).  Additionally, public record home descriptions can sometimes contain incorrect or outdated data on home interiors and living area. Relying solely on data found on the internet could make you miss out on more recent and significant sale comps –again possibly leading you to under/over price your home.

For relevant comparables, ask your real estate agent to prepare a market analysis based on comps found in the local MLS (which contains real-time data). Although the market analysis is not an appraisal, its purpose is to assist home buyers and sellers in deciding on a list/sale price. An experienced agent preparing a market analysis will search for comparables that are most similar to your home by considering home factors such as: location, type, style, size, age, condition, interior amenities, exterior amenities, room count, basement, updates, etc.

Additionally, since the comparables used in the market analysis are as analogous to your home as possible, finding recent comps within your neighborhood are ideal not only because of the proximity to your home, but also because homes within the same subdivisions usually have many similarities (including age, style, lot size, upgrades, additions, as well as functional obsolescence).

Even though many home sellers are optimistic about home prices, you could still encounter appraisal issues. Appraisals are opinions of value by an independent party typically requested by lenders to verify the home’s market value in underwriting a home buyer’s mortgage application. And although appraisers use a standard methodology to derive a market value, some appraisers may exercise caution and seek the conservative value in ensuring the appraisal meets the loan guidelines. Issues can also arise when the assigned appraiser is unfamiliar with your neighborhood and surrounding area.

Pricing a home to sell has been described as a skill by some and an art form by others. Deciding on an appropriate list price not only establishes buyers’ expectations for an offer, it can also set the tone for a smooth sale or a bumpy protracted ride in the marketplace.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of March 11, 2013. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

Home Selling Tips

Because not all listed homes sell, you should be strategizing how to make the most of your sale. What to do? Here are some home selling tips .

Think about the basics that go into a successful home sale. The first is to price the home according to the comparables in the neighborhood. The second is to consider the condition of the home. The third is to have a marketing plan. And lastly, you should have a close working relationship with your Realtor.

Home selling tips

Of course your home should be priced according to the comparables in the neighborhood, and progress should be gauged with the other homes on the market in the neighborhood. That means besides pricing according to the homes that are comparable, your Realtor should expect results within the parameters based on those sales also. Regardless of what you hear, the seller sets the selling price. Your Realtor is only an advisor providing you the data and opinion.

Sale price

Comparing your home to similar homes that sold is critical in deciding a sale price. Comparables are homes that match your home in style and size. If you have a three bedroom rambler, you should compare your home to other three bedroom ramblers in then neighborhood.  Typically, comparables are restricted within a subdivision or within about 0.5 mile to 1 mile. And sales not older than six months (unless there is a lack of home sales).

Home condition

Why is your home’s condition important when deciding a sale price? If your home has deferred maintenance or hasn’t been updated for twenty years, it’s not going to get the same price as the renovated similar home across the street. Be honest with yourself about the home’s condition.  If your home is not in move-in condition, think about the cost of renovating in the price along with market conditions.  If it’s a buyer’s market, you may have to consider a lower price or the home will languish waiting for a buyer.  If it’s a seller’s market, there are more home buyers willing to buy a home with the intention of renovating it.

Marketing plan

You need a roadmap to success. If your Realtor has not yet presented you with a marketing plan, ask for one. Your Realtor should have a plan of action to sell your home. Putting a sign in front of your home and entering the information in the MLS is not typically enough sell a home. Market conditions frequently change, and your Realtor should have a concrete plan to sell your home. The plan should include not only how the home will be marketed, but how the agent will take you from contract to closing.

Your listing agent

The final aspect that is important in selling your home is the relationship between you and your Realtor. Besides having confidence in your Realtor, you should feel comfortable being honest (for good and bad).  It’s not a good sign if your Realtor is often defensive when you express concerns and needs. Your Realtor, on the other hand, should also be honest, as well as timely with information concerning your home. Besides communicating the activity of the potential home buyers, they should also keep you up to date with the neighborhood market keeping an eye on the other homes on the market.

How will you market your home and what will you do if the market changes? When you are interviewing Realtors to sell your home ask about their marketing plan. Ask about a home pricing strategy.  Ask how your home’s condition affects the price.  Ask how the agent communicates and what you should expect from them.