The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Easy New Listing System?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, what is an easy system I can incorporate into my listing process to get the word out to the neighborhood about my listings? I find that I am reinventing the wheel each time. Sometimes I do a just listed card. Other times I do an open house invitation. I just want something I don’t have to think about!

A:  I have the perfect solution for you! When I was an agent, I had a series of three letters that went out to 100 of the neighbors whenever I got a listing:

Letter #1 – I would tell them about the listing, the address, list price, and if there were any open houses planned. I also indicated that if they were concerned about increased traffic, I would be happy to put out a “slow down” sign in the event there were children or pets at play. I also indicated that I would keep in touch with them when the house pended and when it finally sold.

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Imperfect Homes in Otherwise Perfect Areas

purple home amidst tan ones

I cannot tell you the number of times I have worked with a buyer who had a “discerning eye”. Or to put it more bluntly… who were “picky”!

And well they should be! They are about to make what is likely their biggest investment to date. However, when “picky” gives way to “unrealistic” then it is time to have a difficult conversation and possibly introduce alternative options.

Throughout the country, we are experiencing inventory shortages which translate to lack of options for many buyers in competitive price points or areas. There are some areas where it is rare for a home to be on the market for more than a week. I have written several articles regarding handling multiple offers which you may want to review:

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Ask Denise: No Lockbox Limitations

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, what should I do about a seller who only wants me to show his home? He is not comfortable using a lockbox. We have tried this for a few weeks, but the listing is not getting the traffic it should because it is too difficult to show. It should have sold by now, judging by other comparable listings. What do you suggest?

A: Don’t be afraid to speak to the facts of this situation and clearly lay them out for the seller:

Fact: You are concerned about allowing strangers into the house

Fact: I have to be present for each showing.

Fact: In a busy market, agents want – and expect  – the ease of showing a home with a few hours’ notice, but not 24 hours and not with another agent in tow.

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Custom Homes on the Rise Could Spell Opportunity

a couple looking at construction plans

Custom homes have always been a part of any real estate market and will continue to be. The number of homes being built on an owner’s land with either the home owner or builder acting as the general contractor jumped significantly in 2014. Is it that we are all watching too many home improvement shows and the mystery of building is being simplified or is it because the demand has risen so dramatically? I would say it could be a little bit of both.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB’s) analysis of Census Data from Quarterly Starts and Completions survey indicates the number of starts built on an owner’s land totaled 162,000 for 2014 which is a growth rate of 20% from the 2013 total of 135,000. The current market share of custom home builders is 24.8% down from an industry high of 31.5% in the second quarter of 2009. This number does not include homes intended for sale but rather homes intended to be lived in by the owner of the land.

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Generational Housing Needs and Their Effect on the Market

3 Family generations

There are four distinct generations that are changing the types of homes in demand today. They include these generations:

The Silent Generation: born 1925-1945
Baby Boomers: born 1946-1964
Generation X: born 1965-1980
Generation Y: born 1981-2000

Each of the generations have very specific housing needs which require updated floor plans. This is creating both challenges and opportunities in the real estate industry. These new demands for specific space include more storage and work space, outdoor living spaces, and guest or extended family guest quarters (next generation living space). The demand for remodeling has dramatically increased with bathroom renovations next generational remodels being at the top of the remodel list.

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Ask Denise: Do I Really Need A New Photo?

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, it has been a little over ten years since I had my headshot photo done. I really really love that photo, but a few agents have strongly “suggested” that I get a new photo. I guess I do look a little different… but I really love my old photo!

A:  Many agents – and people in general – feel the same way as you do. However, time marches on and when our photo no longer matches how we show up, there can be a disconnect with our potential clients. If you have people who care about  you suggest that you get a new photo, then it is time.

We all get older. It is a fact of life. Although your photographer may touch up the photo a bit, don’t ask for all your wrinkles to be removed and be airbrushed smooth. We either have or will have wrinkles and gray hair – let’s not forget that these are marks of experience. Own them!

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