Friday, April 13, 2007

Real Estate is Still a Good Investment – REALLY!!

I feel that real estate has & will always be a good investment. Historically, this has pretty much always held to be true. Granted, there are many out there & especially some who were trying to be investors and bought at the wrong time, to say the least, that might feel differently.

I think for the majority of us, our real estate purchases have done very well for us. Especially, in the past several years where we have seen so many either refinancing and cashing out or taking home-equity loans on their property. But now that the market is changing we are hearing a lot of grumbling. I think a lot of people are getting very scared.

Too many have been relying on their property’s wealth. Take this for example, in Florida 16% of new car purchasing in 2006 was paid with home equity loans. That is astounding. Mind you, California was at 30% while the national average is 7%.

Wages have not appeared to have kept pace with inflation. With the increased wealth in our homes & relatively low interest rates, etc; people were making up for this shortfall by refinancing their homes & taking cash out. Now with housing slowdown, taking equity out of your home is not as readily available.

But, Real Estate will still remain to be a great investment in the long-term. It that is what has to be remembered. Yes, some have done great in the short term, but real estate has pretty much always been a long-term investment.

Thank goodness we are in a great industry!

Until next time – Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Home Prices Plunge - Stop the Hysteria!!

Today, the front page headline in the Orlando Sentinel is “Seller Beware: Home Prices Plunge.” We are seeing & hearing this from all types of media. The writer was discussing the Median Sales Price. The unfortunate problem is that many may be unfamiliar with the term and at the same time it is being used as an incorrect standard.

Let’s start with some clarification here. The Average Price is that of homes in any given period being determined by taking all of the prices of homes that have sold, adding them together & then dividing by the number of homes that have sold. The Median Price is the home that has sold basically in the middle. That means that 50% of the homes, during that period, have sold for more & also the other half sold for less than that price.

Therefore, when we discuss median price, we are saying what is selling at that point in time. This does not mean that house values have dropped. But in conjunction with the average price is a good indicator of what homes are presently selling.

Now, granted & I’ve discussed this before, the real estate climate is different all of the country & everything is relative. Here in Orlando we still have a healthy market. Yes, the number of sold homes is less than what we saw in the past few years, but we are still selling homes. With the record number of recorded sales in the past couple of years, it was inevitable that this should slow down to a normal pace.

OK, I know that the world ‘normal’ is used a lot & myself included, but there is in reality no such thing as a ‘normal market.’ The market, as is discussed in Economics 101, boils down to supply & demand – buyers & sellers. We have an oversupply of homes on the market. In Orlando, we’ve hit the highest level recorded – over a 14 months supply.

I track the inventory numbers weekly. I do this for personal knowledge of what is happening in my market. You need to know your market. Last week, the amount of inventory dropped from the previous week and I thought & was also hoping that this was an indicator of a shift in the market. Unfortunately, this week the numbers were even higher.

But, HOMES ARE SELLING! I will reiterate this & it has been my mantra, but you have to show PRICE & VALUE for a home to sell. And as a realtor®, as the professional, you need to service your clients. You need to be realistic as do they. You need to do the proper marketing for a home to sell. Homes are generally not going to sell themselves as they did in the past.

I think that I have an excellent marketing plan. I also have to assume that my clients feel so also. The reason that I mention this is because I consistently see other listings & have to wonder what do they expect to sell. There is either nothing really mentioned about the home in the marketing comments & I’m just reading facts in regard to size, # of bedrooms & baths; the pictures are usually terrible or non-existent; and, no virtual tour! How can you expect to sell a home like this?

I always try to find new avenues to market a home; and, yes, myself. Your listing and you have to be as professional as is possible for you. This is a career & a profession & you need to sell yourself as well as your product. Otherwise, your product will languish on the market. And, that serves no one’s purpose.

OK, so I got off on a tangent – Imagine that!! I’ve stated in my last blog that I was thinking of writing about ‘What is a Realtor®?’ I will do that soon, because there is a great misconception of what it takes to be a realtor® & what a realtor® does. It’s all about education. As a person and realtor®, I believe in further educating myself, but I also feel that it is just important that I educate the public. Without this is why we have so many misconceptions flying around.

Thanks again for the indulgence.

Till next time – MARC IT SOLD!

ps. Thank you Nury!

Monday, April 9, 2007

BEWARE – Deed Scam

Recently, I received a letter in the mail. I was pretty sure it was junk mail immediately, but opened this one up. Inside, I was told that I needed a Certified Deed for my home. I knew right away that this was bs, but had to read on out of curiosity. I was being asked to spend an amount, which I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure that the amount was enough for some unsuspecting people to think that this was legitimate need, yet not too much for them to question the validity. The letter went on to say that you need this to protect your interest in your home, etc.

This is a waste of money. When you purchased your home, you received a Deed and this was recorded in the county in which your home is located. You would have received back from either the closing agent or title company this recorded deed, which you should have placed in a very safe place & hopefully a bank vault. Even if you can’t find this document, it is easy enough to contact your local Official Records office & get a certified copy for just a few dollars.

I feel bad because I know that there are a number of unsuspecting people out there that will get sucked into this scam. I know this is not a scam in that it is harmful to people, but it is a scam nevertheless and should be treated as such.

Until next time – Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Can YOU quantify success?

This blog was originally going to be about ‘What is a Realtor®?’ with this as a second part, but I realize that it would just be too long.

I try to keep upbeat & you have to in this industry otherwise you’ll just sink, but sometimes you just find yourself at a loss.

Take me for instance, many would consider me successful. But what is successful to one person may not be to another. Some may quantify in monetary terms (granted, that doesn’t hurt). Others may in the amount of closings you’ve had. Some may feel it is what you give to others. And then again there is the quality of life that you lead.

I think that it is all of these & more. I’ve been in the business for a number of years. Yes, I do consider myself somewhat successful. I’ve been busy, thank goodness, while others have complained and languished. Last year was probably one of my best years & this year appears to meet if not exceed that.

Let me backtrack for a moment, I am not a boastful person, even though this may appear differently.

So how do you measure success? I was at a loss this morning. Granted, this could partially be due to the fact that the holidays are here. But, I have to wonder. I have some great marketing pieces that I’ve produced. Friends have told me that they don’t know anyone who works as hard as I do. I don’t feel that it is hard work, because what I do is a joy. I really do get a lot of pleasure out of being a realtor®. This isn’t a bunch of bs. I don’t have time for bs & I’m sure as heck not going to try to sell it to you, the reader.

But, there are times, it is like what’s the next step? What can I do to promote more business? What can I do to get that home sold? And, I’m sorry, but I just feel at a loss. And this is when I have to question, am I really successful? Granted, when I do feel like this I just trudge into getting some work done and that does help. I also try to go out and walk/run. Another great help. In fact, that is where I came up with the idea for this blog.

I’m not usually one to put myself out there so to speak. But, on the other hand, I’ve also never denied what I am. I’ve allowed my life to be an open book. I have nothing to hide.

I tell people that are thinking about getting into our industry that you have to have a ‘thick’ skin. We all know that there is quite of bit of rejection in this business. I also tell people that you need at least six months plus living expenses.

I see quite a few people leaving this business now. Many, of course, came in past several years when the industry was riding on a high. And, now that we are settled into a normal business cycle, they are having issues and do not know how to respond. I’m very lucky that I know what a ‘normal’ real estate market is.

As a realtor®, it is too easy to get down in the dumps. We’ve all been there at least one time or another. And for some this is an ongoing situation. But to deal in this business, you have to pick yourself up. You have to remember that whatever you are feeling, you are projecting it onto others around you. People can sense a lot more than you may think. This is whether you are in person or on the phone. What do you think it is said that before you pick up that phone to put a smile on your face. It works. I know this for a fact, I am very good at converting.

I’m also very good at picking myself up, but yet there are times… Yes, I know that we are only human, but… I take my business personally. I know that there are many that do not, but this is just the type of person that I am. I’ve been very lucky lately in that my last two listings have sold within 45 days each. This is great in this market and these two listings were priced correctly; they were not low-balled. Yet, I also have a couple of homes that are quite nice & priced very well. Yet I can’t seem to get them to move. I told I have a great marketing plan. I’m all over the internet. Have great flyers & brochures. Virtual Tours. The whole shebang, yet…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying here at all. And, of course, I’ve gotten a little off of track, but you can understand how I question ‘How do you Quantify Success?’

There are all of these coaches out there selling you expensive programs to make you successful. I have not bought into these. I’m sure that some have many good points to show you. But, I firmly believe that to be successful, you have to have it within you. It has to come from within, otherwise all of this reading, coaching, etc. will be for naught. You have to have the will to be successful. You have to have the desire to be successful. You have to want to be successful.

Thanks again for reading my rants.
Until next time – Marc It Sold!™