Monday, March 30, 2009

What's With All the Lazy Real Estate Agents?

What's with all the Lazy Real Estate Agents?

I work hard to give my clients the service they deserve. When listing real estate, marketing is one of the major concerns that a home seller has - exposing their property to the maximum number of potential buyers and enticing them to set up appointment to come see it.

That's why I don't understand properties I see listed with only one photo. Just as bad, a listing with multiple photos but with every one so out of focus you can't even make out any of the details (taken with a camera phone?) I can't think of any other reason not to have at least 15 to 20 quality photos on each listing other than the fact that the listing agent is just plain lazy. A loaf. A slacker. A hack. Take your pick...or use all of them when describing these agents.

It is well-known by anyone in the real estate industry (who keeps up on the latest trends) that multiple photos are the #1 reason that someone clicks on a listing when searching online. Might I add that according to the latest survey, 87% of home buyers now search online. So wouldn't you think that it was important to have the property well-represented with a nice photo array to this huge segment of the home buying population?

Maybe they do it on purpose? If they had multiple photos it might generate phone calls from buyers. Next thing you know they would have to interrupt their game of computer solitaire and actually get off their ass and show the property. Heaven forbid!

While I'm on the subject of lazy agents (you know who you are), here are a few other pet peeves of mine concerning real estate listings:

  1. Bad grammar - There should be a rule where you have to have a basic grasp of the concept of grammar. This includes punctuation. I have seen many listings where you would swear a 5 year wrote the copy. Actually, I apologize to the 5 year old because they can write better than some of the adults in the business. If you know you have bad grammar, have someone else check it for you before it is posted.

  2. Bad Spelling - No excuse here. I know MLS doesn't have a spell check program built in. So write the text in Word (other word processing program) and spell check it before you copy and paste it in MLS. I'm a decent speller myself, but when typing sometimes my mind goes faster then my (4.5 words a minute) hands. Don’t be lazy, run your copy through spell check!

  3. Poor descriptions of the property - "nice sf home w/2 br & 1 bth near train. nice yard. must see" - this was an actual description I saw on a property listed in Salem. First of all, get rid of the abbreviations! This description is going to be posted on the internet to be seen all over the world. Just because we in the industry know what they mean doesn't mean that the buyers do. The MLS allows 500 characters in the property description field. I never have a problem filling it to capacity with information about the properties I list. Keep your lazy-arse fingers typing until you have filled the field. Do the right thing for your clients!

There are many more similar issues I could write about, but I have clients to attend to. After checking the new listings this morning and seeing several properties that fit this description, I just had to get this off my chest. Evidently the sellers of these properties either don't bother to check to see how their properties are listed, or they don't realize there are big differences in marketing capability between agents. Most agents do a good job when it comes to listing a property. But if you were selling your home, wouldn't you want a great job?

By the way, I ran this through a spelling and grammar check and found 8 mistakes. I guess I am only human.

Jim Armstrong

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hurry up and Buy - Home supply going down.


North Shore, MA - The inventory of homes has been steadily dropping on the north shore since the begiining of the year. Typically as we get closer to spring we see the supply increase, but that is not occurring this year. It seems that savvy homebuyers and investors are snapping up properties left and right with the mind set that we are at the bottom of the market and it doesn't make sense to wait. Add to that the very low mortgage interest rates (below 5%) and the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers, and the result is a frenzy of people trying to get the best real estate deals.

According to MLS, the number of homes (condos, single family and multies) currently on the market on the north shore of massachusetts is 3,877. Last year on this same date (March 27th) there were 4,988 homes on the market. That's a drop of 22% over 2008!

Although inventory dropped for all types of homes, multifamily homes dropped the most. In 2008 there were 658 multies on the market, today there is 350! That is almost a 50% drop in the number of 2, 3 and 4 family homes available to choose from over last year. I'm not supprised by this because the list price of multies has dropped over 35% since 2005. You can actually buy a 2 family home as an investment and have positive cash flow from it - something you haven't been able to do in several years.

Here is a link to a video from WBZ TV in Boston about the current market:
Jim Armstrong

Monday, March 23, 2009

Existing-Home Sales Rise In February
WASHINGTON , March 23, 2009

Existing-home sales increased in February, reversing losses in January. Even so, sales activity remains relatively soft, reflecting additional layoffs and buyers waiting for housing provisions in the economic stimulus package to take effect, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 4.72 million units in February from a pace of 4.49 million units in January, but are 4.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit level in February 2008. Seasonal adjustment factors are more volatile in winter months, but sales rates over the past few months show dampened sales activity.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said first-time buyers accounted for half of all home sales last month, with activity concentrated in lower price ranges. “Because entry level buyers are shopping for bargains, distressed sales accounted for 40 to 45 percent of transactions in February,” he said. “Our analysis shows that distressed homes typically are selling for 20 percent less than the normal market price, and this naturally is drawing down the overall median price.”