Today I checked out what has sold in the last 30 days in the Liberty, MO and Park Hill, MO school districts. (The two most popular districts in the area)
Out of 151 properties sold in the last 30 days, 21 homes were listed for 10 days or less before going under contract. Another 20 or so were new construction or build jobs. With a few skewed numbers from a couple of short sales, the average days on market came in at 103. And the last stat is the average sales price—-$202,717*.
This tells us again and again that if you have a home to sell in this area, now is the right time to call a REALTOR and put it on the market. The really good properties (priced right, good condition, well cared for) are selling like hotcakes and we could use more listings to give our buyers some options.
The new construction numbers look great as well. A few of our subdivisions are selling their model homes so quickly, the agents are begging the builders to build another one so they have somewhere to office. It’s nice to see builders building (and selling) their quality homes again.
If you’re looking to sell in the Northland, jump in!!!
*Stats compiled from a Heartland MLS search are deemed reliable, but may not be exact.
Every blogger gets there. We’re writing post after post after post and getting some attention from it, but not as much as we’d like. After a while, the thought comes to us, ‘does anyone even care what I’m writing?’ or ‘Is it worth it?’ Here’s 5 steps to get you past that mindset:
1. Quit thinking of your blog as a task. Believe me, I know. The pressure is there to write something on a regular basis. Quit stressing yourself out. A blog is an outlet for your thoughts, not a daunting task. If you’re a blogger that has gotten to the point of several posts, you’ve already shown that you like to write, therefore, blogging is a hobby.
2. Analyze your personal internet habits. I don’t always read the same stuff from the same people, do you? Sometimes, I run across a post from someone I’ve never heard of that’s been writing for years. Your posts aren’t meant to hit the same people each time, they’re meant to cast a wide net and pick up a few readers along the way. You never know whose attention you’ll catch next.
3. Think outward, not inward. Do authors write their books to get followers? No, they write because they have a story or thought in their head they want to share. They’re thinking about the story and the readers, not just about the benefit to them. Worrying about who actually cares about or reads your posts is an inward thought. Get out of your head and have fun.
4. Keep a running tally of ideas. We don’t always have time to write an entire post when a thought occurs to us. When this happens to me, I either start and save a draft or I use my Evernote folder called ‘blog ideas’.
5. Share your blog with someone that hasn’t seen it—or somewhere new. Sometimes we need encouragement. One person telling me my blog is great, or that it helped them, can keep me writing for a long time.
It is worth it.
In the words of Fun, Carry On.
Well, maybe not everything…
This used to be a common phrase uttered by my Grandmother (born in 1900, passed in 1993). Back then, I thought but respectively didn’t say, ‘what does she know, the internet is fantastic!’
When was the last time you had the opportunity to have a long conversation with someone that either doesn’t use social/digital media or isn’t connected with you there? If you’ve done this recently, I’m sure, like me, you walked away thinking ‘wow, that was an awesome conversation’. Literally wowed by a conversation. Why?
I’d like to present you with a thought…the internet is ruining the art of conversation.
You’ve been there. You’re out with your friends and you’re all chatting when you start to tell them about something that’s happened in your life to which they say, ‘right, I saw that on Facebook the other day’. So, now what, you’re going through your brain trying to think of something interesting to talk about that you haven’t aired on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, Pinterest, etc, etc. For the Digital Over-sharer, this could make you really uninteresting, quickly.
Not only that, we’re so connected now even talking about the weather is almost obsolete. Take a look at this article from Drake Baer that prompts us to question our digital addiction and it’s effect on our creativity. Or the numerous posts from Jeff Turner about ‘real life’ and social media life. Or listen to the fabulous Maura Neill talk about managing real relationships in a digital world.
The internet is very useful for many things. Business. Connections. News. Yes, even relationships. But, if left unchecked, you may find it ruining, instead of enhancing, your life.
A few very important people in my life have caused me to take a step back and look at my social/digital media self. Yes, I’ve met (and plan to continue meeting) some really great people because of the internet. But, I’ve also made some huge alterations regarding privacy, sharing and time spent online. Every time I think about posting something lately I question it’s relevance, it’s message and my ‘why’. And, honestly, I’m saving a few stories and thoughts for our next ‘IRL’ interaction.
After all, I want to be interesting…don’t you?
One to buy, two to sell.
Last week I had the privilege of sitting through a broker session regarding issues affecting our local real estate association. Because of my current status as a buyer, I wasn’t surprised to hear the MREC auditor discuss the problems with ownership being correctly addressed on real estate contracts.
What I can’t figure out is why this is suddenly happening. I’ve heard the line ‘one to buy, two to sell’ my entire 12 year real estate career. It simply means that a husband or wife can buy a property on their own, but because of the state’s property rights, we have to have the spouse on the contract when the property is being sold. Sure, there’s a thousand scenarios here, but the rule should always apply.
Here’s a great example: a brother and sister inherit a property upon the death of their parents. The property may only be titled in the brother and sister’s names, but if they’re both married, 4 names will need to be on a contract to list and sell that property. The majority of questions come about in divorce situations. If a couple is legally divorced, but one spouse has never ‘Quit Claim’ deeded the property to the other, they will be required to either do so before closing or participate in signing the contracts.
Title companies will research this as they prepare the title and closing documents. Depending on the situation—-it can hold up a closing. Many times, divorcees are required to bring their divorce decree to the title company to be researched. Believe me, it’s irritating as a buyer and a real estate agent, because it’s an issue that could have been avoided. Instead, it’s another hurdle that extends the closing ANOTHER day.
In my opinion, any real estate agent listing a property should do their homework right out of the gate. Check ownership through the county and then have a discussion with the sellers at the listing appointment. Don’t hold up a sale for anyone because you didn’t do your homework. Hopefully, we can also continue to educate the public about this issue.
When writing a blog post, it’s necessary to think about your audience. This blog is meant to be read by both real estate agents and consumers, so there’s something I’d like us (ALL) to chat about. Web Leads.
Here’s how I see it from a consumer standpoint. (Real estate people, pardon me while I compare house shopping to shoe shopping.) Okay, I’m bored. When I’m bored, I look online at shoes. I love shoes, don’t you? So, I’m looking at shoes and I find a website that tells me I can see these 5 shoes, but they have hundreds more to choose from….all I have to do is create a shopping cart. Alright, cool, shopping cart created—-wow, these shoes are cute, click, add to cart. So are those! Click, add to cart. So, here I am on a Tuesday evening having fun and clicking away on these shoes. Suddenly, my cell phone rings with a number I don’t recognize. Depending on my mood—-I might answer it. How would I feel if this is what I heard, “Hi Joanna, I noticed you logged into our site tonight, can I help you purchase that purple pair of pumps?” I might not throw the phone across the room, but you get the point. It’s window shopping! I’m not saying that I’m in the market for a new pair of shoes—-I was just bored and wanted to dream and flip through some pictures.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
This is how I see it from an agent standpoint. Wow, Mrs. Smith just logged into our website and she’s ‘favoriting’ several homes. I bet she’s going to be interested soon in purchasing a home. I’d better get a hold of her quickly before any other agents have a chance to take her away. The number one complaint about real estate agents is communication—-I’ll show Mrs. Smith I’m the most responsive by calling her right now. 5 minutes later the agent is wondering what they did wrong and why the phone call didn’t go so well. Hmmmm. Raise your hand if you see the problem. :)
All day long I read blog posts, articles and books claiming to teach me the best formula for managing web leads. I think it’s all bunk. That’s right, bunk. There is no formula for reading the mind of the consumer. We can try and analyze their number of clicks, amount of information they provided, area where they’re looking and more, but at the end of the day they are either looking to buy a home or window shopping.
I say, come up with a light touch plan and work that plan like your life depends on it if you want to be successful with web leads. Learn to fully accept that some people are window shopping…or bored…or looking for decorating ideas… But, you also need to fully accept that some people actually want your help and desperately need you to guide them through the home buying or selling process. Your only mission should be to simply connect. Whether you form a series of compelling emails, decide to make that phone call (with different, light touch language), or send a link to your home buying/selling blog/video. Put yourself in the SHOES of a consumer. How would you feel? How do you like to communicate when shopping online? What would drive you to connect? RAISE THE BAR!!!
And to our wonderful, tolerant consumers…please don’t be afraid to be direct. Tell us if you do need us or if you’re window shopping. Either way, we’re happy you landed on our website and like it enough to stay.
I have to admit, I was instantly hurt and on the defense.
My agent said, “I met this lady that met with you and she said you were mean to her.”
What in the world? I’m never mean to people I’ve just met! My agent was more than shocked to hear that someone has a bad impression of me. We got into the nitty gritty of the story a little further and my ‘hurt and defensive’ turned to decisive leader in an instant. You see, I met with this person to interview her as a potential real estate agent to work with my company a couple of years ago. As usual, I Googled her before the appointment, found her Facebook page full of, let’s say ‘interesting’, pictures of herself and other things that gave me pause. I almost called her to cancel before she even wasted her time. But in the land of opportunity and knowing that people constantly grow and change, I wanted to give her a chance.
For starters, she was late and that just doesn’t make a good second impression (keeping in mind her first was Facebook). Plus, she wasn’t dressed very professionally. I don’t demand a dress code, but I believe dressing nice for any interview shows respect. I won’t bore anyone with the rest of the very long interview that felt more like a boxing match. In the end, I wished her well and told her I didn’t think she would be the right fit for our company. She wasn’t happy when she left.
But, you see, there’s a reputation I protect as much my own. It’s the reputation of my company. It’s not my job to hire every person that walks into the office for an interview. It’s my job to meet with and ascertain whether they will be a successful, professional real estate agent, and whether or not they will fit in with our current agents and our culture.
How would my agents feel if I wasn’t selective? They would worry about the reputation of the company and, in turn, their own reputation in the community. We strive to be the most knowledgeable and professional company in the Kansas City area. As one of it’s leaders, I simply cannot put reputation on the line for the sake of higher recruiting numbers….or worry about my personal reputation.
“To be human is to be beautifully flawed.”—Eric Wilson
It’s my fault and I’m sorry.
With the big slow down that happened in real estate sales and the parallel emergence of new technology for real estate, it’s easy to see how we went wrong.
What am I talking about?
For the better portion of 4 years I’ve been helping agents work on their set of tools more than their set of skills. And I’m not alone. Conferences, workshops, webinars, classes, etc have all been focused on tech skills and the more than popular, social media skills. The excuse is that the industry has undergone a massive change. Yes, we do business differently these days. We’re using beefed up MLS’s and search apps and digital signatures and paperless transaction management and social media and digital consumer engagement. <—-THIS has all been happening for years! We’re there. Is there still a need for every single conversation to be about emerging technology?
My answer is a solid NO, and I’ll tell you why. Some agents, not all, have had a decrease in the number of transactions over the last several years during the economic downturn. If each transaction is a learning experience and an agent has only had a few transactions plus classes focused on technology…we have a major issue.
You see, my husband and I have been house shopping. We’ve been through no less than 45 homes in the last 8 weeks. The above issue has been crystal clear for 8 weeks. We’ve wanted to write offers on houses and found out they’re not really for sale. One house was a short sale, but wasn’t listed as one. The seller didn’t want to do a short sale so the listing agent priced the house to accommodate what they needed to break even…even though comps were tens of thousands of dollars less. Then there’s the short sale where we called the agent to get more information and never, ever heard from the agent again. Is it getting foreclosed on? Can we buy it? Your guess is as good as mine. Or the houses that say they’re occupied and don’t give any indication of distress, until you walk through the door and realize you haven’t gotten the whole story. Or the agent that hasn’t been able to reach her seller for months to schedule showings, but still has the property active in the MLS with no warning whatsoever for the buyers or buyer’s agent. About 100 times during our search we’ve said, ‘Thank goodness we’re just representing ourselves and not buyers as these things would be really hard to explain, much less justify.’
Now, I’m not throwing anyone under the bus here except myself. I’m a broker, I regularly train agents, I volunteer my time speaking at our local board, I blog, tweet, email, converse with all sorts of agents regularly. It’s my fault. It’s my responsibility. I’ve been sucked in by the popularity of the training topics. My most recent class at the board was all about cloud storage. People, let’s focus. These are tools. There’s a lot of them. We should use them as needed, but refocus our learning efforts on our skill set. Let’s make sure we’re skilled in short sales, foreclosures, online bidding processes, contracts, inventory numbers, comparative market analysis, multiple offer situations, new construction, financing and so much more. Let’s guide these buyers and sellers through each transactions with SKILLS that put them at ease.
Here I am, flawed. I’d like to make a promise to agents and consumers that 2013 will be the year that I change my focus from tool set to skill set. I’m sorry it’s taken transactions of my own to get me here.
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate isn’t just the fastest growing real estate brand in the country, they’re also really good at putting on a convention. I was able to have a great time and also learn quite a bit.
One of my favorite sessions was a panel of successful agents sharing the top 5 things in their business. Their common threads included:
*Running their business as a business and working at it every day
*Consistent marketing efforts, digital, social, print, etc. Do whatever you’re comfortable with, but do it consistently.
*Manage your reputation—-it’s your most important asset. Not just your reputation with clients, but also other agents.
*Study, study, study!! Know your market, know your numbers, know your numbers as they compare to others. Did I say study? :)
I also liked the fact that no matter where I turned at the convention, I saw green BHG items and I also saw the company’s core values all over the place. (Talk about brand awareness!) Check it out:
We also had an excellent class on video—-one tip I’ll definitely be using from here on out: Hold up the camera and start smiling before you hit record. It’ll take away the ‘weird video face’ problem. Special thanks to Matt Singer from Videolicious for giving his time!
The awards program was pretty cool because we’re the newest company with the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand, and our office was up on the awards board several times throughout the ceremony. How great is that?
I had a short amount of time one evening for some sightseeing. Here’s the obligatory Vegas photos.
For my Twitter followers…thanks for not unfollowing me during the convention.
Come back for KC Market updates next week!
I recently attended the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate convention in Las Vegas. During the convention, I had the pleasure of participating in the Certified Home Marketing Specialist class, presented by Martha Webb.
Over the course of 4 hours, the class learned a ton of tips on how to ‘present’ a home to buyers. Having your home on the market is much like a production. Every time buyers come through you’re putting on a show. This isn’t how you live every day!
Here’s a few of my favorite tips:
1. Control all of the senses you can at the front door. Squeaky door, fresh mulch, clean door handle, music inside, etc.
2. Keep a ‘stay ready’ kit in every room. Glass wipes, air freshener, etc.
3. Make a list of all your ‘I was going to fix that’ items and Get Them Done!
4. Lighting is very important. Go through each room and see how it looks it’s best, blinds open or closed, lights on.
5. Neutralize your paint colors. Buyers need to feel like their furniture will work in the space.
(As you can see below, this was a popular class!)
So, I’m happy to announce I’ve been chosen as a Brand Ambassador for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
Wait, what? Brand Ambassador, what does it mean? It does NOT take me away from my current position as a broker for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Kansas City Homes, so you can still count on my regular real estate market info. It means a lot to me to have been chosen as a Brand Ambassador. It means someone has noticed me in this huge social media world and has selected me to help usher in a fresh, new brand. It means, my efforts haven’t been for nothing.
You may have missed it, but I’m quite enthusiastic, and when it comes to our new brand, I’ve been even more so. You see, I’ve been in real estate 12 years. I’ve been through the company change of location and ownership, but I’d never experienced a brand change until December. The ownership of my company found out that our previous real estate brand was going away, leaving the real estate business. They spent a year on research and found the freshest most forward-thinking brand in the business today. That brand, of course, is Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. I had attended a national event where I had the privilege of interacting with some fantastic Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate agents, brokers, marketers, etc., and I was impressed. When I came home, I was fired up about this brand. 2 weeks later, I was told our company would be aligning themselves with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
Couple all of this with the fact that I had just read the book, Brand Delusions, and the fire within was re-lit. Talk about a company that ‘gets it’. From the top down, everyone with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate understands the brand, the message, the attitude, the role and so on. Their core values are:
Sometimes the core values of a company disappear and are even forgotten. That’s not the case with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. The core values are communicated often and used as their foundation.
See, I could give you 100 reasons why I dig this brand, but here’s just a couple. They’re social media giants that understand today’s modern consumer. They understand the real estate world has changed, along with how buyers and sellers receive information and interact with REALTORS, and in turn, offer stellar tools to help our real estate agents list and sell. Oh, and let’s not forget, their brand color is green. I LOVE GREEN!
But today, I’ll end by sharing this beautiful shot from one of the coolest real estate conferences, Inman Connect. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate hosted an after party at the Grand Hyatt New York, and in true BHG fashion, turned the entire lobby green. Talk about brand awareness. Wow!
Special thanks to my green friend Chris Drayer (RealSatisfied) for snapping this pic.