“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
— Mohandas Gandhi: was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement
WHY INVOLVE A LENDER IN THE HOME SELLING EQUATION?
One thing many real estate agents have learned is the importance of having a team of professionals to facilitate a smooth transaction. Having a lending expert on the team, can make available the following services to you…all for FREE:
• They stand ready to screen all potential buyers. Today’s lending landscape is a rapidly changing environment. Programs and requirements are changing regularly. A good loan officer should have a reputation for being on top of current guidelines and finding the best solutions for prospective clients. You need to know that when you accept an offer, the buyer can actually close.
• Financing is an important component to getting a home sold. Whether it’s marketing flyers, carrying costs, unique mortgage strategies (such as buy-downs and Sales Concessions) or even loan programs to differentiate your home (ex. loans that can incorporate monies for the purchase and renovation of a home), the best loan officers take pride in their ability to help increase the number of people for whom your home could be a fit. More prospects equals higher sales prices.
• In so far as a professional loan officer is seen as an educator, they would want to offer you the chance to tune into some of their online seminars (called webinars) and videos. As an example, some lenders have webinars with topics ranging from “How Lenders Look At A Mortgage Application” to “Renovation Lending” to “Getting Your Optimal Credit Score”, as well as videos that can fully explain your Good Faith Estimate. They are constantly striving to be a resource for everyone they come in contact with.
• Lastly, your loan officer knows that most home sellers become home buyers. Not only will they run your credit and analyze your income and assets, but they will also pre-approve you for your next mortgage, typically free of charge.
Both your agent and the loan officer on their team are committed to the highest level of advice and integrity. Reach out to them for any questions you may have.
4 TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR BUSINESS IN 2012
Become a specialist and target a niche market in your real estate business in 2012, suggests Alan Shafran, with Prudential California Realty in San Diego and president of ShowingSuite.com, in a recent article at RISMedia. Shafran offers some of the following tips for creating a business plan in real estate for success in the new year:
1. What’s working and what isn’t? Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing plan. Identify your talents and skills and try to match new strategies to take your business in 2012 that matches your skillset. “If you want to try something new — for example, the mailing of postcards to reach a new farm — make sure you have enough resources to cover the cost of the project for a period of at least six months,” Shafran suggests. “If you don’t have the budget, don’t start the project. Implementing a new marketing strategy without giving it enough time to succeed will only dilute the effectiveness of your other marketing programs, because it will sap you of your time, effort, and energy.”
2. Hone your sales skills. Jot down a list of the areas where you feel you need improvement in the new year. Vow to become more educated and try role-playing exercises to allow you to speak with more confidence and knowledge.
3. Re-evaluate your branding and the demographics you’re targeting. “To be successful, it’s important to constantly evaluate what types of homes people are looking for in your area and what they are willing to pay,” Shafran says. “After you figure out what type of clients you want to target, take the time to adjust your marketing strategy according to their preferences.”
4. Update your profile and marketing materials. “Chances are, if your pictures and business cards make you look like you are 25 years younger than you actually are, then it’s time for an update,” Shafran says. “Shocking the customer is typically not a good idea.” Also, make sure your resume and Web site reflects today’s customer, given the financial environment, he adds.
THE EVIDENCE IS IN ON THE CHOICE OF LOCKBOX
Brought to you by: Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D. — Florida International University (FIU) and Editor of the Journal of Housing Research
Does the choice of a lockbox matter? Do the older type lockbox systems influence the final transaction price or the marketing time of property? These questions are often pondered by real estate professionals. Older key and combination systems are low tech, easy to employ, and less costly to the broker. Newer electronic lockboxes are often more complicated, provide additional information by way of technology, and are slightly more expensive than their low tech counterparts. The trade-off is therefore between ease of use, information, and cost of operation.
If the different lockbox systems do not influence transaction outcomes (price and marketing time), then the choice of the lockbox system can be left up to the broker without costs to the sellers of property. On the other hand, if one system produces either a pricing discount or extended marketing times, then brokers need to be aware of these differences in order to better serve their clients.
Recent research by Benefield and Morgan answer these questions. The researchers directly test for the impact of lockbox type (newer electronic versus older systems) on property price and property marketing time. After controlling for other difference in listings such as location, age, size, seller motivation, and quality, Benefield and Morgan find that older lockbox systems, on average, do not influence the time it takes to market property. Property pricing, however, is another matter. Specifically, Benefield and Morgan find a negative impact on price from the use of the older lockbox system. More to the point, older lockbox systems appear to not influence marketing time but result in lower selling prices. The pricing discount was a staggering seven percent on average.
There is now statistical evidence (not just professional speculation) that indicates the inferiority of the older lockbox systems.
Therefore, wherever financially practical, brokers should stop their use of older key and combination lockbox systems in favor of the newer electronic systems. It now appears that these newer electronic lockboxes lead to a better sharing of information and feedback between listing and showing brokers resulting in better prices.
Benefield, J. D. and J. M. Morgan, Ease-of-Access, Home Prices, and Marketing
Times:The Choice of Lockbox Type, Forthcoming in the Journal of Housing Research.
 The authors believe that at least part of this discount is related to the type (mostly lower priced, lower demand) properties on which the older systems are employed.
REAL ESTATE: TODAY’S GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
Everyone wants to comment on the current real estate market. They want to talk about how now is not the time to buy a home. Some even argue owning a house has never been a great investment. Most say it will be a long time before real estate again begins to appreciate. It all sounds so familiar to us. It was just a decade ago that many made the same arguments about gold as an investment.
Gold had dropped from over $400 an ounce to $250 an ounce (a 40% decline) from February 1996 to August 1999. People ran from gold as though it was a plague.
Lord William Rees-Mogg, the current Chairman of The Zurich Club, in 1997 said:
“No investment has been so thoroughly exploded as gold; most people think that there will no more be another gold boom than there will be another boom in tulip futures in The Netherlands.”
Two years later in 1999, Don Wolanchuk author of the Wolanchuk Report explained:
“Everybody hates gold. You can’t have a bottom until everybody is out. And everybody is out of the gold sector.”
Everyone knows what happened next. The proclamation of gold’s death was rather premature. Gold rose from $250 an ounce to over $1,500 an ounce in the next twelve years. We see the same situation with real estate today. We are not predicting that real estate will see the same levels of appreciation. I do believe however that the market will rebound strongly.
Those who continued to believe in gold as an investment were rewarded. Those who continue to believe in real estate as a sound investment will also be rewarded.
Here is what Adam Hamilton wrote in October 2000 in an essay titled Is Gold Dead?
The road for gold investors has been long and parched in the last five years. They have wandered through a seemingly endless desert, occasionally tempted by what proves to be an illusory mirage. Many have fallen beside the sun-cracked path, their white bones picked clean by buzzards and gleaming in the sun. Nevertheless, a brave contrarian core continues to march forward. They have studied history, currency, gold, investments, economics, and finance. They understand the timeless value of gold, the cyclical nature of the markets, and the vagaries of human psychology. They realize it is darkest before the dawn, and the journey most difficult right before the homestretch is reached. Gold is in an INCREDIBLE position, and it will have its day. Nothing goes up in price forever, and nothing goes down in price forever. Investments are cyclical. Gold is NOT dead, it is simply biding its time, waiting for its next earth-shattering mega-rally. The spoils that go to the few remaining gold investors when that day inevitably arrives will be fantastic. The stunning victory will quickly blot out the painful memories of the long struggle…
You could replace the word ‘gold’ with the words ‘real estate’ throughout this essay and it would apply today.
We originally ran this blog back in March. We believe it still applies. By the way, Gold closed yesterday at almost $1,600 an ounce.
WHICH SELLER INCENTIVES TEMPT BUYERS?
Sellers trying to get buyers attention are offering up plenty of incentives, everything from closing-cost assistance to remodeling credits — even hot tubs, home theatre systems, flat-screen TVs, and cars, reports The Washington Times.
But these incentives “don’t actually make the deal,” says Michael Labout, regional vice president for the National Association of REALTORS®, who recalls one seller who offered up his 1970s Cadillac El Dorado in a real estate deal. “They’re as much to get buyers and agents to look at a house as anything.”
But sellers may be convinced that the extra buyers these incentives may bring in to view their home may be worth it. Some popular seller incentives catching on:
• Offering a gift card to a home improvement store or a local flooring company if the property you’re trying to sell is in need of some remodeling work;
• Covering some or all of the closing costs;
• Offering home warranties, which will cover HVAC systems and other major appliances., usually for a year — although more home sellers are offering warranties that last longer, possibly even up to 4 or 5 years;
• Paying the homeowners association dues for a year or more or covering the first year’s property taxes or condo fees;
• Offering a selling agent bonus, such as $2,000 or $3,000 bonus to the buyer’s agent may help get the property shown to more potential buyers.