I've been a regular writer of market reports for years. The first of every month starts off with an overall Warren County snapshot (just a quick hit on the pulse of the market), followed by deep dives into various communities in my immediate county that we track.
We DO NOT write market reports about EVERY city in our county. Some cities aren't in our ideal market and lesson learned is don't blog about places and types of housing you do not want to work. Blogging works and you WILL get calls about foreclosures and rentals and $40,000 homes. Those aren't the most productive use of my time, so I avoid them now.
IMO, market reports serve two key purposes:
Educate me about my market. It's a forced review of DATA. Not my perception based on my personal activities, but what the market is ACTUALLY doing. That knowledge is extremely useful. Knowing "off the cuff" that there are ONLY a total of 6 Mason Ohio condos not under contract makes it much easier to let a buyer know why it's critical to visit quickly when a new condo enters the market and why it's critical to act quickly.
Educate the consumer. Again, back to my opinion, but your typical home owner wants to know two things: how much can I get for my home AND how quickly can I sell. While a market report can't cover the exact details for an individual home, a market report can provide critical information about trends. Are prices going up or down? Selling faster or slower? Is there something special driving the market? Answer these questions well and the home seller just might think you know what you're talking about :)
What should go in a market report? ActiveRain provides a template for market reports (just copy the html into your blog editor and you'll have a starting point).
Me personally, that format isn't what I use, but I'm an engineer and want more data and we tend to attract data driven clients.
So for me, the key elements of our market reports are:
1. Intro summary of the month prior. (VERY top line, just a hook sentence or two).
2. Some discussion of the area the market report covers (defined by school district, zip code, etc.) (template building block, does not change month to month).
3. Summary charts for Total Homes Sold by month, and Median Price Sold By Month. I prefer bar charts over line charts.
4. Data review: homes active, pending, sold, days on market, average and median prices, min and max sold prices, % sales to list price, new construction info, etc. followed by key highlights
5. What does this mean to sellers?
6. What does this mean to buyers?
7. Links to pertinent home searches on our IDX site
8. Sprinkle in pertinent pictures to that community
9. Links to past market reports
10. A link to a Home Valuation Request page on our IDX site
A market report for me typically runs about a 1000 words, BUT large portions of this don't change month to month. Advice to buyers and sellers doesn't tend to change monthly.
The main sections to update: intro, charts, data & highlights.
Total time isn't much more than 30 minutes to update a market report.
- About 10 minutes to pull fresh data (I have form I use with all needed fields, so I can pull data for multiple reports quickly and use over the next few days).
- 5 minutes to update my Excel workbook for my two charts and screen cap my charts
- 10-15 minutes to summarize
End result is an updated market report. I'm up to speed, and if I get a question about "How's the market", it's easy enough to email a link to the latest applicable market report.
Do market reports get comments? Not many, but that's okay. I do not write market reports to get comments from fellow Rainers. If you happen to look and determine that I know my market, fantastic! But if you don't look, that's okay too. My target audience is myself and local consumers that seek the information AND the interpretation.
MOST of your competition won't bother writing market reports, but those engineers, scientists and accountants are looking for this kind of information. Be their source and you've got a good chance of getting their business!
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you have questions.
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz