September 24, 2007

Changes In The Market

I have been contemplating the changes in the market recently. It is interesting from a scientific point of view but maybe a little scary to the average person, especially those hoping to buy or sell a home in the near future.

I have been pondering and feeling fascinated at how sudden the market has changed. In Utah County, up until Christmas 2006, maybe just before, it seemed we, as agents, had buyers coming out of the woodwork but no one wanted to sell their home.  If we were fortunate to find a willing seller, we could count on adding about 12 – 15 percent onto the daily current market value and get several full price offers within a few days. Appraisers, it seemed just could not keep up. Homes going under contract at the current “in-demand” price would, show up as sold comparables, too low for the increase in what buyers were scrambling to pay just six weeks later.

This year has seen such a dramatic turn around. Now, instead of desperate buyers looking for almost anything for sale, there are sellers listing their homes in record numbers, but buyers are scarce. Why the sudden change?

I noticed something interesting last night watching TV. There were two back to back commercials for two different car manufacturers. One was offering 60 months, interest free financing. I was amazed at the offer. The next commercial was offering 72 months, interest free. So, not only are consumers not buying homes right now, I come to the conclusion that they are not buying cars either. What causes such sudden shifts in the market? There have been obvious causes in history such as 9-11, but have I missed the most recent cause? There has been nothing so obvious that I can put my finger on. One theory I have is that the sudden high rates of foreclosures nationwide are making a bigger impact than any of us realize. The whole “sub-prime” thing may be taking it’s toll on even those not involved.

I am curious about your opinion on this matter. Please comment with your thoughts or theories.

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 9:41 pm




September 18, 2007

Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR)

As of Friday, I have officially earned the ABR designation.  This is another form of proof that I am dedicated to provide the best, most professional service possible to my clients.    I have no doubt that earning this designation has given me a wealth of knowledge that would have taken me many years to attain through experience alone.  What is ABR?

 Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) is a professional real estate designation recognized by The National Association of REALTORSAccredited Buyer Representative (ABR) is a professional real estate designation recognized by The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

  • The ABR designation is awarded by The Real Estate Buyers Agent Council (REBAC) to REALTORS® who meet all course and professional experience requirements. Requirements include additional education classes, passing exams, and proof of closing a specified number of real estate transactions representing buyers only.
  • The Real Estate Buyers Agent Council (REBAC) was founded to promote superior buyer representation skills and services and is an affiliate of The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
  • The ABR designation helps real estate agents enhance their buyer representation skills, and provides proof to prospective buyer clients of their proficiency at meeting the special needs of buyers.
  • REBAC supports its members through a variety of benefits and publications designed to keep members informed of developments in buyer representation and to assist members improve their business.
Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Personal,Real Estate — Susan @ 8:44 am




September 14, 2007

New Buyer Preferences

The 2007 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences just came out from National Association of REALTORS®. The last survey came out in 2004 and show what features are important to buyers at the time. The survey reports the responses of buyers that purchased in 2006. The top most important features are as follows and are in order of preference:

  • Oversized Garage
  • Air Conditioning
  • Walk-in Closet in the Master Bedroom
  • Hardwood Floors and Granite Countertops

Another interesting finding in the report is that more buyers are remodeling their homes within the first 3 months after purchase. The findings indicate that buyers feel their home is a good long-term investment. To read the report Click on the following link: http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2007/home_buyers_want_oversized_garages.html

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 10:43 am




September 7, 2007

Providing Better Service

The Utah County Association of REALTORS® held a Tech Fair today for it’s members and affiliates.  It was a great fair with many new and innovative ideas.  We had a good turn out, but I wonder why more agents in Utah County would not take advantage of the free opportunity to learn new things that  could help them provide better service to their clients.   I just wanted to praise the agents that did show up and even the ones that would have been there had their schedules allowed.  I am sure many agents had good reasons for not being there.  It is the agents that did not feel the need or desire to come that I want to address here.  There are a lot of agents in Utah County.  So many, that there is no way the industry can really support them.  There are many agents that have a real estate license but they do not earn a living at it.  Not too long ago the statistics showed that when the license renewal came up after the first 2 years, 90% did not renew.  I am not sure what the number is recently but it can’t be much better.  There is even a joke around that if you go out to dinner, your waiter will most likely be a real estate agent. 

With so many agents just in our area alone, how do you find someone that is really going to do a good job?  Do you really want to hire that agent that got his/her license because they thought it would be easy money?  Do you really want to hire the agent that will make one sale in two years then drop out and move on to the next job?  How do you know which are which? 

I think it is safe to say you should choose an agent that works hard to learn.  There is a minimum of 12 hours Continuing Education (CE) required every 2 years to renew your license in the state of Utah.  How many hours of CE does the agent you are considering have at the moment and when is his/her next license renewal?  If he/she is about to renew in only a short time and they have little or no CE for this renewal period, then I think that is a safe bet that he/she does not take his responsibility to protect and serve his/her client seriously.  I am an agent that takes CE classes because of my desire to know more on the subject and about this business…so I can be better prepared to apply the knowledge on behalf of my clients.  I have renewed my license twice now and each time, I have had many more hours of CE than is required and I reached the minimum CE requirement of 12 hours long before my renewal time.  Judging by my own motivation and experience, I believe that choosing an agent that goes above and beyond the required minimum is a good way to judge whether an agent is looking out for your best interest and not just his/her own bottom line. 

Filed under: Real Estate — Susan @ 6:24 pm




September 5, 2007

How to Prepare Your Home to Show in Minutes

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One of the hardest things about selling your home is keeping it ready to show.  It is hard to have it clean every minute of every day.  In a perfect world, agents would call days in advance and schedule showings when it was most convenient for the seller, meaning the day after “spring cleaning”.  With enough notice, sellers would even have time to hire a professional to clean the home just before each potential buyer showed up.  However, this is not a perfect world and even though, as an agent that cares about being considerate of the seller’s time, there are always those buyers that call occasionally and say they are only in town for a few hours and it is urgent that they see a certain house.   

I have seen sellers that do not mind this situation and others that really struggle with the inconvenience of the last minute showing.  Regardless of how annoyed a seller may feel about last minute showings, keep in mind that a buyer is more likely to bring an offer if they have seen the home, however messy it may be, than if they could not see the home at all.   It is fairly common for buyers tonot really take notice of certain homes on paper,  however, when in the neighborhood looking at other available homes,  they suddenly realize that your home may be the “one”.  The possibility of getting a sale from a drive-by inquiry is always greater than an inquiry based on paper or an internet picture.  So, though it may be inconvenient and even annoying, it is best not to turn away a potential that is looking at your home and loving it enough to want to see it…right now.

I have a drill that sellers may use as a guideline for these unexpected showings.  It does take some preparation and I have already written a few posts that explain the importance of cleanliness and how it relates to the marketability of your home. 

My “How to Prepare Your Home to Show in Minutes” drill goes as follows:

There are a few things yo need to do ahead of time so that when agents call and ask if they can show your home in just a few minutes, you can say, “no problem”.

*  Clean out closets.  Making them look organized and less cluttered will be a selling point.

*  Clean out under beds, couches, etc.  If there is no clutter under them, you have plenty of room to throw things in a hurry. Don’t throw things in your organized closets and don’t forget to clean out under the bed again before the next hurried showing. 

*  Put away all kitchen appliances (toaster, blender, etc) that you do not use EVERYDAY.  Buyers are more attracted to clean, open, countertops. 

*  De-Clutter!  Box up things you do not need and put them in storage–not at your house.  Even storage rooms need to appear to have plenty of room.  Buyers love homes with lots of storage.  The less cluttered your home looks, the bigger it will seem.  Remember, you are moving!  Start packing now and save yourself the trouble of doing later. 

*  Keep your dishwasher empty.

*  Keep windows and mirrors clean.

*  Make the bed EVERYDAY as soon as you get out of it.

*  Keep shampoo, conditioner, etc. to a minimum in the tub/shower areas.  Better yet, put it away each day when you are not showering. 

*  Spruce up your entry.  Sweep away leaves and cob webs.  Wash off fingerprints, clean windows on storm door, etc.  You may even want to paint.  Remember, first impressions…

*Keep the garbage taken out.  Don’t wait until it smells and an empty can looks better and will better hold the last minute garbage you may have to throw in it before a quick showing.

*  Keep your clean and dirty laundry put away.

*  Keep up on your cleaning.  Selling your home is a temporary process.  During this time, it is important to get to those things you would rather put off till tomorrow.  If you don’t want your house to wait until tomorrow to sell, this is the time to go the extra mile.  If you have ever been to those “Parade of Homes” type shows, you know the feeling you get when you walk through those beautiful houses?  I used to think t myself, “Why doesn’t my home look and feel like this?”  I finally figured out it was because no one really lives in those homes.  Well, if you really want a fast sell, it is time to roll up your sleeves and do your best t make your home feel like one of those “show homes”.  Now is NOT the time for your home to have that “lived-in” feeling. 

Now that you have taken care of the above items, the phone rings and you tell the agent that there will be no problem showing your home in just a few minutes.  Here is how you manage:

*  Put a pan on the stove, turn the burner on for a few minutes, add a drop or two of vanilla.  Turn the stove off and put the pan away.  Instant “isn’t it wonderful-to-be-home” smell. 
*  Throw all the dirty dishes into the empty dishwasher.  You don’t have to organize them, just hide them.
*  Wash, then wipe counters and sink dry.  Remove clutter and throw garbage into your empty can.
*  Throw any items laying around under the couch and beds. 
*  Throw all clean laundry back into the dryer.  Hide any dirty laundry too  (try the washer).
*  Put toilet lids down.
*  Rehang the bathroom towels that the last person to use them threw on the floor.
*  Turn on all the lights (lamps add a nice ambiance) and open curtains/blinds unless the view is undesirable.  Maybe even open a window or two unless it is too noisy outside.
*  Look around, is there anything else not quite right?
*  Go outside, go for a walk, do yardwork, go anywhere so the buyers can walk through your home and talk freely with their agent.  (If you have children, play with them in the backyard.  Show potential buyers how much fun they too can have in that yard.) 

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 5:12 pm