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Monday, April 26, 2010

You can't be beat if you don't quit...

Today's saying from Jack's Winning Words, my favorite source for thought provoking quotes is from Babe Ruth, who said “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” I'd say it's also hard to beat down a person who never gives up and life certainly triers to beat us all down from time to time.

In my real estate business, when I'm talking to potential listing candidates; I stress that they have to be a partner in the marketing process and that they must have a commitment to the 3-P's - Price, Patience and Persistence. The price point is fairly obvious - the place needs to be priced to the market or it just will not sell. And prices need to be reviewed and adjusted as needed to match an every changing market.

The patience that is required is often well beyond the seller's initial expectations. I'm selling in a market that is averaging over 200 days on market - averaging.That means that a significant portion of the market is above that average. I generally set the expectation that it will take 12-18 months to sell in this market, if the house is above the $250,000 price level. If it is above $400,000 it will be 18-30 months in our area. It's been that way for about 2 years now, with little sign of letting up, yet. Lack of patience is one of the leading causes of agent change in our business. If you have a good agent - one who is doing all of the right things to market the house - then be patient and let them work for you. That work and your patience will eventually pay off.

The persistence component is maintaining that day-to-day routine of getting the house ready to show, everyday and at all hours. That is especially hard in homes with small children and sometimes those with pets. There is a real discipline required to do what is required before leaving for work everyday or to be ready for the 1/2 hour fire drill to get the place ready when the showing appointment call comes in. That requires persistence - a commitment not to give up.

So, maybe sometimes you feel like that inflatable punching bag with the weight at the bottom (one of my grand children's favorite toys when they visit). Maybe you feel like everyone and everything just wants to take a swing and knock you down. But you know what - it always pops back up and at the end of the day it's still standing. It was never beat because it never quit popping back up, ready to go at it again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mixed messages from the local market…

Everyone, including me a few times in this very forum, has been trying to call the bottom of the real estate market. We search for any consistent sign that things have bottomed out or stabilized and may be headed back up. There is anecdotal evidence from appraisers in the area that prices have stabilized a bit…at least in some markets.

That’s the maddening thing. All real estate is local and the various local markets are all over the map.. Just take a look at the charts that I keep on my Milford Team web site to see what I mean -

As you will see, Median sold home values in Milford is up – Yea! But Highland Twp. Continues to be in a home value free fall – Boo! Commerce is up, but White Lake has turned down again, after a brief up-tick. Brighton too had its upward turn, but fell back into a decline. Lyon seems to be a bright spot with a sustained upward swing over the last month or more.

Inventory continues to fall in every market but Brighton where it has been up for a couple of weeks. Lyon too is about to turn positive (more homes being listed than have sold) on inventory.

One bright spot is the Days on Market statistic which appears to have peaked in March and is headed back down across the board. That may well be a temporary thing as last-minute first time home buyers scoop up anything that they can afford as soon as it comes on the market.

So, what does this all mean? Maybe it mans very little, since the market is currently being skewed by the rush to cash in on tax breaks. We shall see what happens when the tax credit deadline passes on April 30th. What we still aren’t seeing are consistent listings and sales in the mid-range houses – those “move-up” houses between about $250 – 400K that used to be the backbone of the market. That segment appears to still be frozen in this area with many houses that used to be in that price range now selling as foreclosures or short sales.

Speaking of short sales, we are starting to see somewhat better behavior and performance by the banks in dealing with short sales. It isn’t taking months to get an answer on offers like it used to, but there are still “problem banks” that just don’t seem to have their acts together.

I’ll report back in May on what happens to the market when the tax break ends. Right now first time buyers make up over 50% of the buyers in the market, with investors and people looking to lease making up another 25% or so. That doesn’t leave a lot of traditional move up buyers in market.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I've been away for a while...

Any long-time readers of this blog, and I have no idea if there are really any, have noticed that I've been away for quite a while. I haven't been posting for about a month. That's because I decided to embark on a new career away from Real estate. Actually it would be a mis-statement to really call it a new career, since I had 30+ years of IT sales prior to my last 8-9 years as a real estate salesman. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I've returned to those roots. I've taken a job as a salesman for the local Xerox Agent - the Digital Document Store. I will be selling Xerox products and services in this area.

I intend to keep my real estate license active and to refocus primarily onto listings in real estate, rather than soliciting buyers. I will still deal with buyers, as opportunities come up,but I'll focus my active solicitation for new business in real estate on sellers. I'm also going to try to be very conscience of the level of service that I'm able to give listing clients - I'm not willing to compromise on what services that I would give a client, if I did not have another job.

So stay tuned and we'll see together how this new "dual-career" thing works out. Wearing two hats is something new for me. Since I have railed int eh past about this very topic, it would be hypocritical of me not to acknowledge now that I never thoguht that this was a good idea. We shall see if I was right then or if I'm right now to give it a try.