Return of the Open House

With the surge of real estate information being readily available on the internet, hosting an open house has certainly taken a backseat. The priorities of Realtors have definitely shifted; having an online presence through social media and even a blog has now become crucial to maintaining a great reputation as an agent.

While Realtors holding open houses for listings has seen a slight decrease in the last few years, more agents are beginning to realize that they must not only take on today’s required digital persona but also juggle the traditional ways of the Realtor- such as hosting an open house to the general public. As an excellent method intended to not only market the property but also the agent as a real estate professional, the open house is making a comeback. 

Let’s look at the stats.

According to the National Association of Realtors, almost half of all home buyers attended an open house and regarded it as a crucial part of their search process. Of those attendees, 47% of them found out about the open houses online, demonstrating how important it is for Realtors to make sure that their open houses are listed somewhere on the web.

In 2013, 9% of all buyers found the home that they purchased at an open house, and 6% of all buyers and 4% of all sellers met their agent at one. If done properly, hosting an open can benefit you greatly as an agent.

Holding a successful open house.

If done correctly, the open house can not only be a great way to market your seller’s property but can also be an excellent networking tool for yourself. The biggest mistake that so many agents make is deciding to host an open house at the last minute. Start planning for your open house on Monday, not Friday, so that you have plenty of time to assess what the home needs in order to be in “open condition”. If you can, sending out a mailing announcing the details in advance can also help get the word out.

Talk to your clients about home staging.

Don’t be afraid to offer your professional opinion. It’s an important conversation to have, even if you aren’t exactly not keen on having it with your client. Some clients may find it insulting when you ask them to remove their favorite plaid recliner that one can tell has seen some definite use over the last 25 years, but it’s important to remind them that you’re on their side 100%. As a Realtor, you’ve seen what works and what doesn’t so be sure to give your clients the benefit of your experiences.

Tips: Landscaping can be a major factor; it can either get people out of their cars and into your open or it can cause them to slowly drive by, examining the home and never stopping to come in. Sometimes talking to your seller about investing a little in their exterior can go a long way.

How hosting a Broker Tour can give any Realtor an edge.

If done correctly, a Broker open can be extremely useful in piquing interest in your listing and is a great way to network with fellow agents. It may take some money to make money though- offer eats from a great local restaurant or have a plate of delicious goods from a nearby bakery.  It’s important to elevate the Broker tour from a regular open house.

Reaching out to brokers yourself instead of waiting for agents to come to you is essential. Also crucial is your knowledge of the property; since it’s your listing, you must demonstrate that you have a commanding grasp of its features.

Also, always follow up with your visitors- never be afraid to call them and answer any questions they may have. Having other Realtors tour the home can provide useful feedback when it comes to pricing and how the shows.

One Thing You Definitely Should Not DIY

No DIY

It’s no secret that technology has become a major part of the real estate process. The number of buyers who begin their search online recently rose to 9 out of every 10 house hunters, according to The National Association of Realtors. With third-party data websites like Zillow and Trulia emerging, the temptation to not use a Realtor has never been greater. Although some might think that it’s an option that can save money, it can actually be incredibly risky.

These sites claim to be excellent sources for finding available homes on the market, most consumers don’t take into account the possibility of inaccuracy when they are falling in love with the home at 123 Main Street that they found on Zillow.com. Only when they call the broker’s office to set up a showing do they find out that 123 Main Street has been sold for over three months.

Quite a few homeowners think that not using a real estate professional will save them a ton of money. However, according to Realtor.com, statistics show that using a Realtor results in a higher sale price with enough money for the commission and some left over for the seller’s pocket. The 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that those who listed with a licensed Realtor received an average of $46,000 more than those who sold their homes themselves.

By hiring a Realtor, the seller is placing their home in the hands of someone with access to market data, which can help price the home appropriately. An agent can also help by making suggestions on how to make a home more appealing to buyers and have distinctive insight when it comes to home staging.

Selling can home can be very stressful and not having a representative will only add to that. Having a home For Sale by Owner or “FSBO” can place a seller in a rather vulnerable spot while a Realtor can screen the visitors that enter the home and can make sure that they are qualified buyers and aren’t just checking the place out.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most buyers today end up working with a buyers’ agent. If you are selling your home yourself, you’ll be negotiating with a professional and it will be up to you to finalize the contract, leaving yourself open for potential legal issues.

Let’s just face it: a Realtor sells houses for a living; they’re experts at professionally marketing homes for sale. While a FSBO can be successful in certain cases, 90 percent of homeowners prefer working with a real estate professional instead of taking their chances by going at it alone.

 

 

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Image Courtesy of Realtor.org

The internet as we know it is about to drastically change. After becoming accustomed to everything having its own .com, .net or .org, the online world is preparing for an expansion like we never imagined. Over 1,900 new domains are about to be unleashed; in fact, some are already able to be registered and others can be reserved.

On behalf of its members, The National Association of Realtors has not only reserved the .Realtor extension but is also providing free domain names for the first 500,000 Realtors who register. Registration will begin on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 11:00am. For those who are unable to be within the 500,000 registrants, the annual cost to have your .Realtor name will be $32.

Of course, like anything else, there are some restrictions. For example, the word “realtor” cannot occur before the dot- so that means that something like JoeSchmoeRealtor.realtor will be prohibited. The main requirement is that there must be a full first OR full last name before the dot so something like TopSellerJoeSchmoe.realtor will be permitted. Even Joe.realtor would be allowed, if you can snag it before anyone else does.

According to recent research by NAR, 9 out of every 10 buyers begins their home search online, making maintaining an excellent online presence an essential for every Realtor. Even social media can be a great tool for resourceful agents. Even if you already have your own .com or .net, covering all of your bases as an agent couldn’t hurt, especially if you have a more common name.

So let’s embrace the change and be the first to do so; visit www.claim.realtor on October 23rd to take advantage of this opportunity! For more information about the domain name and a few more of the parameters, go to http://www.dotrealtor.org.

August 2014 Real Estate Market Update

August 2014 brought with it the “Great Flood” in Metro Detroit and impacted the housing market for some of Southeastern Michigan’s markets.

Dan Elsea’s Market Video goes into detail about how things are looking in our area and what might be in-store for this coming fall.

Run on the Town – Saturday, September 13th 8:00AM

Join us for a 5K run sponsored by Max Broock for our Real Estate One Charitable Foundation which supports The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Special Olympics of Michigan, Forgotten Harvest Food Bank, The Alzheimer’s Association and The National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  The run is a great way to support these great causes while getting some exercise. The 3-mile run will take place through some really great Birmingham neighborhoods with beautiful homes. Whether you run or walk it, it will be a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday morning. Register at http://www.runonthetown.com!

RunOnTheTown

May Monthly Market Update

All,

April sales took a nice jump, gaining back some of the delayed sales from January through March. Although spring sales are moving up, the combination of fewer homes to purchase and reduced buying power will keep sales from making up all of the decline we saw in the first quarter (compared to last year). We still see 2014 as a strong real estate year across all markets and price ranges, however about 5-7% down from last year in terms of total homes sold.

One of the biggest logs in the dam holding back a flood of new listings is the seller’s “Move Up Spiral.” With many homes selling quickly, sellers are afraid to put their home on the market until they find a home to buy to avoid an intermediate move. Imagine if all sellers held back for that reason, there would be very few, if any, homes to purchase. On the other hand, if all of those sellers let us know of their intent to sell (even if they did not specifically put their home on the market), our matchmaking skills would take over, creating additional sales and breaking up the log jam. We do see this now, with about 10% or more of our sales “creative,” meaning transactions where the properties were not specifically on the market.

We have successfully used sales contracts with extended closing and occupancy dates to give sellers more time to look for a home and many sellers are arranging for an interim move. Although not convenient, it does give sellers certainty. Our most successful strategy has been simply reaching out to homeowners in targeted areas via mail, social media or even door to door with messages about the new home needs of our sellers (aka hesitant buyers) to find that other reluctant seller whose home fits our clients’ needs. 

One area to watch is some creeping overconfidence on the part of some sellers as a result of media and our own discussion of double-digit appreciation and bidding over asking price. Values are rising quickly and 68% of all home listings are selling in 90 days or less. However, homes are still selling on average at 96% of list price, so buyers are aggressive, but within a relatively narrow value range. Buyer activity is always the best gauge of whether a home is at the right price point. Under the current market conditions if the property is priced correctly, showing activity should be immediate and there should be at least one offer in the first 30 days (markets over $500,000 will have a slower activity pace).

Our monthly charts break down the markets by under and over $100,000 segments. If we move upstream a bit in price the differences in markets become even stronger. Here is a snapshot of the market change from April of 2013 using a $200,000 price point. Both are moving in the same general direction but at different paces: the inventory levels under $200,000 show dramatic declines, while the over $200,000 is more modest. A buyer looking in either segment will experience some inventory frustration.

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