What's There to be Thankful For?

In this age of information overload and severe political divisiveness, it is easy to overlook the things we have to be thankful for especially in the real estate world. Here is my take on some of the things we have to be thankful for:

A stable economy and real estate market! Let us remember back to 2008-2013 when as many as 9 out of 10 sales were short sales. You had to be especially careful of where you bought on the volatility curve or six months after you bought you could be completely underwater with the equity in your home. Our market has now essentially been stable for almost 5 years. We have shown spurts of rapid appreciation and have fluctuated from a buyer’s market to a heavily seller’s market and essentially back to close to a neutral market in those times! Appreciation in the 3-7% range has been the average. This is all considered to be normal!

We still do a few short sales but most of those are either leftovers from the big crash or unique financial situations on the part of those borrowers. I here less and less every year, “When is the real estate bubble going to burst again?” This growing consumer confidence has greatly improved the stability of our market in many ways. Buyers are purchasing with confidence that if they stay in the home for a few years, they will have equity. Appraisals are coming in within reasonable estimates of value, much less of a guessing game. List price to sale price ratios are in the upper 90 percentiles (of course ours far exceed the average) All in all, this all points to stability. Since our current level of demand is not based on wild speculation like it was in the late 2000’s, the bubble may not even exist!

Access to information: With all of the information available out there on the various websites, it is easy to come to the conclusion that a traditional real estate agent is simply not needed. This simply isn't true. It may shorten the time that it takes you to locate a home that suits your needs and it may save you and I from having to look at as many homes before choosing one. These are all processes that a professional and experienced agent could accomplish before this information dissemination by reading between the lines. We spend hours every week with inquiries from potential buyers from these websites on homes that already have a contract on them or carry over information from two or three listings ago. Your best source of information still comes from the traditional real estate agent themselves. Even with the assistance of this information, you still need the professional and fiduciary advocacy of your real estate agent. Those websites cannot guide you with what to offer, what to accept or what is wrong with the property you are

trying to sell. Also please remember that the agent that works for the new home builder or liquidity real estate buyout program, does not work for you! They work for their client and represent their interests.

Fair Housing and Lending: I am not naïve enough to think that there are not still fair housing issues across the country. I can only speak to how commonly, I potentially run into this type of issue. When I first started in this business over 30 years ago, it was not uncommon for a seller or buyer to inquire about the racial or country of origin makeup of a neighborhood. Of course, I had to recuse myself from working for these people as a result but although not prevalent, it would happen once or twice a year. The fair housing infringement that I do see regularly is the question “Are there any children in the neighborhood?” This appears to be an innocent question but is still a question I have to refuse to answer because it could represent discrimination based on familial status.

Salesmanship: The level of salesmanship has improved greatly over the years but for many agents is still a lost art! Many, many agents see their role as simply processing the steps in a transaction. At our team, we realize that this salesmanship is truly what you hired us to do. I equate it to calling in wild turkeys or fly fishing. Some times you make a single sound or throw any fly and the turkey or fish make a beeline to you or the fly. Sometimes the fish or turkeys are extremely wily and you have to be very subtle about your calling or fly presentation. You have to get in the right position, say the right things and never make a mistake in order to be successful. Sometimes on turkeys that means just sitting still and scratching in the leaves when suddenly the wise old tom (buyer) appears. You can’t know all of these tricks or be able to accurately read the situation unfolding in front of you without years and years of experience. At our team, we literally have all the turkey calls and thousands of flies in order to be able to attract your buyer and we know how to use them! I’m just saying that we are serving wild turkey (the bird not the whiskey) at our house for Thanksgiving!