Real Estate can be very confusing these days with negative press, professionals publicly communicating what they "won't do", and confused and misinterpreted information being sent out. Here's some helpful hints to "muddle" through it all:
- The Media - Unfortunately (as many in the media indutry will tell you), "negative sells papers". Take the media with "a grain of salt". The latest in reagrds to this is the mortgage industry and lending. The bottom-line is that when it comes to borrowing, we have to be careful and know all the terms. Secondly, it is easy to think we can cut here and there and afford something that really is not within our budget. And more importantly, have a budget lined up. Know you income and expenses so you really know what you can afford. Is the market really that bad? EVERY MARKET is different and EVERY INDIVIDUAL house for sale is different. And guess what? Houses are still selling, lenders are still lending at historically low interest rates (yes, criteria for lending has tightened up as it should). On average this year, 103 per month here in Palm Coast. What's the difference? They are not selling at prices individuals would like buyers to pay or at the pace individuals would like them to.
- What Professionals "Won't Do" - My recommendation is interview 2 or 3 Realtors if you can not rely on a referral from a trusted source (friend or family member). Keep in mind, you are hiring us. It is your money, your property, and we work for you. Therefore, as a customer when you hear "I don't do . . . ", ask why and look for a valid answer which should include valid statistics to back it up. The biggest that I hear is that "They won't do open houses. Do you?" My response is simple, "Statistically, we are seeing less and less traffic for Open Houses, but it's an option. How about we see what kind of traffic we get within the first 2 weeks and then revisit that idea? What do you think?" Yes, 90% of homebuyers are using the internet first . . . but that still leaves 10% finding Real Estate through traditional means and Open Houses being one of them. So be creative, how about combine that garage sale and Open House into one? In your questioning, look for words like "waste of . . . " What this usually amounts to is "waste of their time" or "waste of their money". Think about it, when's the last time you walked into or called a business and they immediately told what they "won't do for you" and you still wanted to pay them? Again, it's your property and your money . . . it's about you.
- Information - A very new quality to this industry is what's called "transparency". Local market reports, blogs with statistics, terms we never ever hear of before (i.e. sales to listing ratios, absorption rates, etc.), the best way to market, MLS access, and the list goes on. It's new territory for everyone, but like anything else . . . it should be supported. Look at this information in a general way because every property is unique. The information you get gives you a guage, and the two most important are Average Days on the Market and Number of Properties like your for sale. These two bits of information give you an idea of timeframe to expect and wha the level of competition you have. I think the sharing of information is great, and believe me it is not easy because the biggest concern is to insure that the communication is accurate, legal, and ethical. A fine line to walk. Te truth is that the industry has't changed. It's been greatly enhanced by what we can do for customers in regards to marketing, services, communication, etc. Ask what marketing is done, why, what the success, and what support services are offered to you. Again, it's your property and your money . . . it's about you.