August 5, 2012 Realtor's Gossip
I often run into neighbors asking me about homes and their owners. I usually have stop and think if my answer is appropriate or discreet. So I enjoyed reading the article below.
Real estate professionals are often the first to know what's going on in the community. But you've got to be careful about what news you're spreading and how. Working in the real estate business, we want to be consumers’ go-to person. When people want information about what’s going on in the market, we want them to come to us. Why? Because every time we have an interaction with someone, we have the chance to reinforce our expertise and potentially get a new client. But be warned: There’s a fine line between being known as the community expert and the town gossip.
What Information Are You Sharing?
The difference between information experts and gossips is in their motivation. Gossips love to get the dirt on everyone around them. It gives them a sense of control. On the other hand, information mavens like to collect data to be of service to others—their colleagues and customers. Their goal is not to hold something over someone’s head, to feel superior, or to laugh at people behind their back. Instead, the purpose of the information is to give people special insight into a community or a situation.
We all know that coworker who’s the center of all the gossip circles. You know who I’m talking about—the one who’s always in the know about this person’s foreclosure or that person’s botched remodeling job. You definitely don’t want to be that person, or share your private (or even semi-private) information with this type of person. You know that whatever you say is destined to be broadcast to the world.
But are there benefits of gossip? Psychologist Sarah Wert of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., says trading information “is not trivial. It carries with it trust and intimacy.” But at the same time, it presents liability and puts you out on a limb, she says. So in a way, gossip creates trust. But only when it’s combined with a pure intent. And that means using discretion about what kind of news you share.
Sharing positive, upbeat, or interesting information could be a way to bond with clients and show off your connections. For example, while touring a new neighborhood with a client you could say: "I heard there are two different coffee shops competing for that corner retail spot. This could turn into a bustling little strip." Or: "I know the developer of that building, and she told me they're using a team of well-known interior designers for the model units."
But even if you're sharing the fluffiest news, be sure that clients and customers know the reliability of your information. You don't want to be responsible for sharing faulty information that could hurt their decision-making abilities.
Avoid Being the Bearer of Bad News
While it is always dangerous to share negative information, there are times when it's necessary. If you must share a not-so-flattering tidbit with your client, then don't do it gleefully, even if the news is about one of your rivals. It reflects poorly on you.
Apologize for saying it but make it clear that you had no choice if you were going to represent them properly. So the wording would go something like this: “I hate to spread gossip, but it’s important for you to know that I’ve heard that this builder has not been very responsible in following through with the requests from new buyers.”
Same Thing Applies on the Web
I once heard a good piece of advice: Don’t write anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t want to show up on a billboard along the busiest road in town. The same goes for anything you post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog, or any other social media outlet is searchable. You can get burned for anything you write, so type carefully. The goal of these groups, after all, is to create a sense of safety and community, not to tarnish your reputation or become a social pariah.
Ultimately, gossip is social lubricant. We all participate in some way or another whether we’re really conscious of it or not. But it is fraught with pitfalls and dangerous precipices, so we must take care when we are navigating through the conversational jungle. Of course, the safest course of action is to stick with the rule: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
From MARCH 2012 | BY KELLE SPARTA in the RIS News
July 30, 2012 - Younger Buyers are Still Hesitant
While younger folks are oftentimes viewed as being more prone to taking risks than more elderly people, a study found that this idea doesn’t ring true when it comes to buying a home during an economic downturn. The study was authored by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Anat Bracha and Julian C. Jamison, and examined how the recession affected attitudes toward home ownership. The study found that people who lived in hardest-hit ZIP codes in 2008 were significantly more likely to be confident about owning a home if they are older (over 58), but are significantly less likely to be confident about owning a home if they are younger.
According to the authors, one reason for this is because younger respondents have more malleable perspectives, whereas older respondents have a worldview that is more difficult to alter. Thus, older respondents may simply interpret the house price drop as a temporary dip in a market that is bound to become stable again, making the downturn a good time to purchase. A chart in the report showed that the greater the drop in home prices, the less confident individuals under 48 were in the soundness of buying a home. With older individuals, the bigger the drop in prices, the more confident they were in the idea of buying a home.
The study also examined the effects of simply knowing about the recession’s impact versus first-hand experience and how this changes attitudes toward homeownership. The authors found that having information about the market crash is not enough to change individual attitudes. Instead, one must have experienced the crises either by personally enduring a hardship from it or witnessing someone close to them suffer.
“Even an extremely negative experience such as the Great Recession, the worst U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression, was not enough to shift the attitudes of those who lived through the crisis-and thus had full access to information on its effects-but did not have strong first- or second-hand experience of these adverse effects,” the authors wrote.
The study found that older individuals who experienced a market crash were actually more confident in the idea of buying a home over renting, whereas the younger group of adults who had experience with the real estate crash were marginally less confident in the benefits of owning.
July 30, 2012 from DSW News
June 22nd - Is the Phoenix Real Estate Market too Hot?
The rapid run-up in Valley home prices this year could signal that the long-awaited housing recovery is finally happening.
Metro Phoenix's median home price has shot up more than 30 percent in the past year. The number of houses for sale is at a six-year low, and realistically priced homes are drawing dozens of offers, mostly from investors. While those conditions sound similar to the boom that led up to the worst crash in Arizona history, housing analysts say this situation is different.The 2005-06 run-up was driven by investors. Median home prices climbed 50 percent before plummeting 65 percent.
But in the current market, experts say, several factors are keeping prices in check and should prevent another boom-and-bust cycle: tighter loan regulations, a reduced role for investors as prices rise, and the return of more traditional sellers and buyers.One immediate sign that the housing market isn't in danger of overheating is that the median home price in Maricopa County increased less than 1 percent in June. That is attributable to a shortage of homes listed for sale, which has pushed prices higher but is starting to discourage investors from buying.
If the supply of homes for sale starts to increase, the pent-up demand will still push prices higher, but at a moderate rate, for the next few months.
"The housing market is healthy, not overheated," said Mike Orr, real-estate analyst with Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.
A different market.
Buyers, sellers and even the types of homes for sale now are much different than they were during the boom. Fewer buyers qualify for loans, and most sellers owe too much on their properties to make a profit. During the boom, there was little to rein in the market. Loose loan underwriting, a lack of understanding about how much buying was being done by investors and lax lending-industry regulation all contributed to a market out of control. Too many investors put down little to no cash when they bought a home. Too many homes were speculatively built. And too many loans were made to borrowers who couldn't afford them. Those factors led to record foreclosures that triggered the market crash. For almost two years during the boom, home prices climbed 4 to 7 percent a month in a market in which there were hardly any trustee sales, foreclosure resales or short sales. Between February and May 2012, home prices climbed about 5 percent a month before the June slowdown. Orr said the increase in the metro Phoenix median price is being driven by sales of the lowest-priced houses to investors. It doesn't mean all homeowners will see that kind of increase in value. Instead, most people will see a 10 to 20 percent increase in their homes' values since the start of the year, Orr said.
Hot activity in one niche
Over the past few years, lower-priced homes sold by lenders to investors through foreclosures or short sales have dominated the market -- as much as 75 percent in 2009. In contrast, during the boom, the market was dominated by sales of new and existing homes. Investor deals have driven up the area's median resale home price from its recent market low of $112,000 in August 2011. Despite the rise in metro Phoenix's home prices during the past year, the region's median home price of $146,000 still has recovered to only the pre-boom level of May 2003. But the long-awaited transition to a healthier, more traditional market is beginning, analysts say. Foreclosures and short sales have slowed, and the number of regular and new-home sales is climbing. About one-third of 9,700 home sales in May were foreclosures or short sales. In the same month in 2011, more than 50 percent were distressed-property sales. Many traditional buyers and sellers generally have not yet benefited, although market experts say that as sales in the distressed market continue to decrease, normal sales -- and prices -- should rise even more.
"Investors are being priced out of the market," said Chris Broglia of Gilbert-based Solutions Real Estate. "Buyers are being enticed by lower interest rates, and more regular homeowners see they can finally sell again." The median price of a regular home sold by a homeowner reached $174,900 in May, about $50,000 more than bargain foreclosure homes.
"The distressed market is drying up; normal sales are on the rise ... both great signs for the Phoenix-area market," said Matt Widdows, founder and chairman of Phoenix-based HomeSmart.
However, he said prices haven't risen enough to motivate many traditional buyers and sellers to return to the market, and that's why the number of homes for sale is so low. Only about 8,000 homes are on the market that don't already have a contract from a buyer.
New breed of investors
Leading metro Phoenix's housing market out of the crash, large investment companies and smaller-scale buyers have paid cash for foreclosures and short sales, improved the properties and rented them out. Most are investing for the long haul, but their impact is forecast to diminish. During the boom, a different type of investor dominated: speculators who put little to nothing down on a home. When they saw prices stall and then fall, they walked away and lost very little. Since 2009, investors paying cash have been able to win most bidding wars on metro Phoenix's foreclosures and short sales because they don't need an appraisal to match their offer price, and they can close on the sale faster than a homeowner using a mortgage to buy. These wealthy investors and investment groups ranging from Wall Street investment funds to private foreign investors won't walk away from their homes and money, housing analysts say.
But as prices climb and foreclosures slow, the number of investors purchasing in the area is expected to shrink.
"Investors will soon be priced out of the housing market," said Beth Jo Zeitzer, a real-estate attorney and president of Phoenix-based R.O.I. Properties. "Consumer confidence and normal home sales have taken over the market." Home sales that don't involve a foreclosure or short-sale deal now account for more than half of all sales.
More signs in yards
Getting traditional buyers and sellers motivated again seems to be the combination needed for the market's continued recovery.
Interest could be growing. Housing-market watchers say more homeowners who don't have to sell are putting up "for sale" signs to test the waters. Supply hasn't climbed yet but could in the next few months. Zeitzer said it's finally the regular homeowner's chance to sell and make some money. But of course the market isn't favorable for all sellers. People who bought before 2003 and didn't take out second mortgages have the best chance to sell for a profit.
Phoenix real-estate agent Diane Watson of Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty recently said she was going to start going door to door to talk to homeowners about selling because so many don't realize prices are up and they can finally sell for a profit, albeit a small one.
"I have lots of potential buyers but wish I had more sellers," she said. "But with the market turnaround, I think we will soon see more regular sellers. Some homeowners are waiting until it (the weather) cools down to try to sell."
Mary Brierley-Peterman of HomeSmart is working with a homeowner who bought in 1999 and is ready to make a traditional sale.
"Regular houses priced right in the best locations are drawing offers," she said. "Both regular buyers and investors are looking at these homes."
Mark Stapp, Master of Real-Estate Development program director at ASU's W.P. Carey School, said today's 30 percent annual appreciation rate "isn't sustainable. ... But housing appreciation will continue as long as demand persists."
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 1, 2012
It's Still a Buyer's Market in Luxury Home Sales
It’s still a buyer’s market for properties selling for more than half a million. Tight inventories driven by negative equity and slow foreclosure processing and rising prices are having much less impact on luxury homes than on less expensive homes.
According to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s weekly market report, the average days on market were 186 for luxury homes. Inventories for the luxury segment are about the same as they were in November. Median prices in the 31 markets that ILHM tracks have stayed fairly stable. Days on market range from a low of 111 days in Silicon Valley to 268 in New York.
By contrast, the national median age of all homes in the June REALTOR.com® inventory dropped to 84 days in June, down -9.67 percent on an annual basis. The size of REALTOR.com’s ® inventory of homes for sale was 19.35 percent below a year ago. Prices are up 2.68 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to the Realtor.com Trend Data released today. List prices increased in 101 markets of the 146 markets covered by REALTOR.com®, held steady in 26 markets, and declined in just 19 markets.
Several factors are causing the inventory drawn down among lower price properties. Negative equity is keeping many potential sellers out of the market, which keeps a lid on inventory and complied with the reduced flow of REO properties has led to much tighter market conditions for lower priced properties, particularly in the hardest hit markets, according to CoreLogic Economist Sam Khater. Khater estimates that lower tier properties are appreciating three times faster than expensive homes as a result of tighter inventories.
Luxury brokers around the nation report little change in their markets in recent months, unlike the tight inventories and rising prices among entry-level homes found in almost market in the country.
For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com
May 7, 2012
If your looking for that bargain - better hurry !
Buying a home may never get any cheaper than this. Several housing experts are predicting that this year will be the last chance for bargain hunters to cash in on the best deals of the weak housing market. With home prices down 34% nationally since 2006 and mortgage rates at historic lows, homes have never been more affordable -- but it won't stay this way for much longer.
Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services, said he expects home prices to flatten out by the third quarter and start climbing by next year. A number of factors will help bolster the housing market, he said, including a decline in the number of foreclosures and continued job growth. In addition, homebuyers will have better access to mortgages as they get their finances in order and improve their credit scores. "This is a strong indicator that we will start seeing home price indexes, like the S&P/Case-Shiller, start to report home price increases this summer," he said.
Prospective homebuyers who've been sitting on the fence shouldn't worry if they aren't quite ready to make the leap. Analysts are predicting that the initial price gains will be modest, at least, in most markets.
From Les Christie - CNN Money
April 12, 2012
Foreclosure Proceedings Can Make or Break Local Market Recovery
The housing market seems to be on the upswing, and some experts say that by 2014, the market will be back on track. Last week NAR noted that investment properties are on the rise, and the National Institute of Home Builders reports that contractors have high expectations for remodeling this year.. According to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, home price indexes for 38 states ended 2011 above their early-year lows and 30 states reported more than two quarters of growth by the end of 2011.
However, Kiplinger.com notes that how each individual state recovers will depend largely on how it deals with foreclosures; in states that require judicial review before signing off on a foreclosure, backlogged properties can slow down the progress in the market. States that do not require judicial review—like Texas and Delaware—are speeding through foreclosure processes in impressive time. In Florida, it can take over 800 days to complete a foreclosure; in Arizona, it can take less than 200. This may be part of the reason Phoenix gained 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter, despite its 55 percent plunge from 2006 levels.
Posted By susanne On April 2, 2012 @ 4:01 pm In Consumer News and Advice
April 12, 2012
Survey Finds Women and Men Make Home-Buying Decisions with Head and Heart
Square-footage and price are important elements to consider when selecting a home but according to a new survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate of 1,000 men and women, they both also rely on how they feel and how their lifestyle fits into a home when looking for a place to live. The survey found 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men put more emphasis on their feelings about a home than they do on the layout, square footage, or price. The majority of women (62 percent) and men (61 percent) also know within the first visit if the home is right for them.
“A home is more than square-footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and this survey shows just how much emotion can play a role in home buying process,” says Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist. “When two people are looking for a home together, there are many considerations to take into account. Of course, price and layout matter, but ‘feeling at home’ is an important factor.”The survey also reveals insights into the roles men and women play at home and finds some interesting differences between age groups.
Women Take Charge of Making a House a Home:
Over half of women (54 percent) say that they take the lead when it comes to decorating.
However, younger men play a larger role in décor decisions than their older counterparts. Forty-eight (48) percent of younger respondents, age 18-44, say decorating is mutual; this decreases to 36 percent for respondents 55 and over.
Women also cook it up in the kitchen. Sixty-eight (68) percent of women say they are the “primary chef” for their household. Not to be outdone, some men are also putting on the apron—occasionally. Nearly a quarter of men (23 percent) say cooking is their job.
Age Changes How Men and Women Feel “At Home”
Sharing financial decisions may get easier over time. Fifty-four (54) percent of people age 18-44 say major financial decisions are mutual, compared to 60 percent of those 45-54. This increases to 70 percent for people 55 and over.Interestingly, as age increases, so does contentment with the current status of the home. Almost half (45 percent) of those older than 55 say they are very happy with their home just the way it is, compared to 25 percent of those age 18-44.
More men seem to be focused on making significant changes to the home (9 percent) compared to women (5 percent).
For couples entering the home-buying process, here are Edwards’ tips for harmonious house-hunting:
• Each person should come up with a list of a few things that are most important and then come together as a couple to decide on a list of the top three to five things that are important for the home.
• When looking for a home, communication is key. Consider designating a point person for different aspects of the home-buying process, so that information is not delayed or communicated to just one part of the couple.
• Don’t get too many people involved; typically more people means more stress and what is most important is that the couple is happy with the decisions being made.
• Don’t forget to have fun! Remember that this home will be the place to build memories and a life together.
This article was Posted By susanne On April 1, 2012 @ 1:03 pm In Consumer News and Advice