Saturday, January 11, 2014

New year, New Neighbor?

I've been spending quite a lot of energy giving listing presentations. Negotiation around the crazy weather patterns, not withstanding, I'm feeling very good indeed about getting my message out there to those sellers.

My new brokerage helped by sending me a copy of the latest stats from National Association of Realtors. The NAR puts a great deal of the monies collected from us Realtor-types into some concrete facts surrounding the sale of residential property.

Some highlights?

* Well...How about this? 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a Realtor when selling their home.
Probably because:
** 41 percent of home buyers looked online as their first step in the home-buying process. The use of the Internet in a home search rose slightly to 90 percent. And...for those buyers under the age of 44?  This share jumps up to 96 percent. ((Hint: if your house isn't online, you are losing a lot of potential buyers.))
***89 percent of those buyers purchased their home through a Realtor. That is up from 69 percent in 2001. And 9 out of 10 of those buyers would use their Realtor again or recommend to others.
**** Reasons given for using a REALTOR by homebuyers, whether it is their first or 91st house?? Want to take a guess??? No? It is a really easy answer and, no, you can't have another minute to think about it....
Buyers used Realtors because they don't like to, aren't comfortable with, or simply don't know how to -- NEGOTIATE.

I think this is a big deal. While it did surprise me; it just wasn't something I thought about. I've spent a career, previous to this real estate one, getting in someones business and putting a giant microphone in their face. Granted in some markets, like Buffalo, New York, I had a "Thor-sized" off-duty police officer pulling security duty for the radio station...which does tend to make me a lot bolder. But even in markets where it was no one but me and my press card, I never got too nervous about asking questions. I did get chased to my car more than once while covering city politics, but, hey, that was the allure of the gig.

In this career? Real estate? The most I have to consider is dogs, their, a-hem, leavings and not letting cats out/in during showings. I did have a near heart attack once while showing a house in Mt Vernon: upon opening a seldom used front door, a huge and I mean HUGE spider landed on my head. My quick-thinking client grabbed me, swept her hands over my noggin thus displacing Mr. Big-n-Creepy. I didn't scream until I saw what she'd brushed outta my hair. (( yes that was 2010 and folks in that neighborhood thought the city was testing some new kind of siren that day)).

She didn't buy that house.

Some other interesting tidbits?

### 87 percent of buyers will finance and they will finance 91 percent of their purchase. What this means for sellers? You aren't likely to get a cash buyer....heck, seller's are likely to get a buyer who can put more than 9 percent down!! Its been my experience that buyers will not be putting down anymore than 3.5 to 6 percent down. So...Sellers? Forget the rich Chicago cash buyer. You will most likely be selling to someone getting a mortgage and using a small down payment which means:

FHA, USDA - commonly called Rural Development, or VA. Get cozy with those terms because I sure have. I can also tell you that FHA made a huge comeback last year as government loan of choice for local bankers. USDA has become rife with delays, mind-numbing inspections/appraisals and underwriting combing over the documents using very fine teeth.

First time homebuyers? They are using financing 96 percent...that's up from 81 percent for repeat buyers.

What does this mean?

If you are trying to sell your house, you will be talking to a Realtor: Your buyer's agent. A Realtor who doesn't care one whit for you or your problems.
As a matter of fact, the more you tell that Realtor? The more they will use it to their client's advantage because they don't represent you. You are going into a gun fight with...not even a're going in with your finger pointed like a gun. And you will lose.

My first contact with sellers trying to sell on their own is for information for my buyers. Each and every single one of these sellers has disclosed information they should not have. I -- unlike some of my profession -- will stop you from spilling your guts to me. I will tell you not to tell me stuff. I am only previewing your property for buyers. But this year, I got serious about telling sellers they need to list with me.

The primary reason given by sellers to NAR for not listing? They didn't want to pay a fee.

So...because you didn't want to pay a commission, a fee, you are willing to let good buyers not know about your house ((all those online lookers)) and you will let those non-negotiators pass you up ((because they are intimidated or scared or have an agent who can find them something just as good that's listed)).

Here's one more factoid from NAR that those trying to sell it themselves might want to research:

$$$$ -- Direct quoting the NAR now...."The typical For Sale By Owner home sold for $174,900 compared to $215,000 among agent-assisted homes." That's almost 18.5 percent....I typically charge 7 percent to market and sell your property. Yep. Ya just "saved" yourself paying someone a fee.

And what, exactly, do I do for that fee?

I market your house. I put it on the MLS. I put it on my website:
My office feeds it into nearly a dozen websites including the big Z and Trulia. You should be able to search your address and find it on any number of online sites. Pictures, tours, we put them on YouTube! And, yes, I put a sign in the yard with my name and phone number. Plus, here in SoIL, I get it in the print media that appeals to your property. I facebook it, tweet it, LinkedIn it, and I blog about it.

I pay for all of those things except the last few...Facebook and such is still free. But websites and web runner feeders are not.

Most important to my sellers? I have a dog in the fight. YOU. Your property is now MY property. Let's get it sold.

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