By Patricia Kennedy
How do you market a house that’s beyond awful?
You price it right.
But it’s more important to lower the expectations of colleagues and buyers – and to do it in a way that still gets them in the door and makes them laugh.
In one of Washington, D.C.’s worst ever markets, some dear friends called. Both architects, they had purchased an old fixer-upper in Dupont Circle, a chic and trendy D.C. neighborhood. But instead of fixing it up, they moved to Ireland and rented to a bunch of graduate students at a prestigious nearby university. Now they wanted to sell, and they didn’t have cash to invest in preparing it for the market.
After our conversation, I went by to take a look at this wonderful wreck, and I was pretty appalled. The future diplomats who lived there had trashed the place – beer cans, pizza boxes, and large bags of Goat Chow for the house mascot.
It looked awful. It smelled worse. Still, I took the listing, against my better judgment.
In the MLS information, my marketing materials and the Washington Post ad, I wrote:
Abominable Condition: 4-level Dupont Circle bay front Victorian has seen too many toga parties.
Then I added the price and open house information.
I had a mob scene, and three offers. The people who came in couldn’t believe that a real estate agent would write this kind of ad. They had to see for themselves.
If I’d accentuated the positive – the great architectural details (at least the ones the goat hadn’t already eaten), the convenient location and the size of the property – people would have come by and walked out disappointed. By using humor to prepare them for the realities of this abused former beauty, I had much better luck.
Patricia Kennedy is an associate broker with Evers & Company Real Estate.Visit Pat’s blog: www.housepat.activerain.com.
By Heather Soldonia
Despite the condition of the nation’s real estate market, California still holds some of the strongest property values in the country.
Forbes Magazine recently released its annual article of America’s 500 Most Expensive Zip Codes. And it’s actually easier to identify which San Francisco Bay area towns aren’t listed. The median home price in Sunnyvale (#498) was $499,000 and the median home price for Atherton (#2) was $3,850,000.
Simply put, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the toughest housing markets for first-time home buyers to break into. Entering this market requires strategy. It’s not for the faint-of-heart and it’s not for the uninformed.
The following are things I believe will help your clients succeed in this, and any market:
- Manage your clients’ expectations.
- Get them pre-approved before you show them a $700,000 home when they are only approved to finance a $500,000 home.
- Remind them that their first home DOES NOT NEED TO BE THEIR DREAM HOME!! It is just a step to get them in the game.
- Direct them to ethical mortgage brokers.
- The Life of the Loan is the most important aspect to consider. If they have no intention to grow old in this starter home, it’s not imperative to obtain a conservative loan.
- Creative Financing is what will get them into a $500,000 home here. It’s important that you direct them to someone who will educate them about the financing process and potential problems so that they can make informed decisions.
- Suggest Home Buyer Programs.
- Local Programs: http://www.hud.gov/local/ca/homeownership/prgmscity.cfm
- State Programs: http://www.calhfa.ca.gov/homebuyer/programs/index.htm
- Federal Programs: http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/2009/index.html
Heather Soldonia is a Broker/REALTOR® in the San Francisco Bay area with Windermere Welcome Home. She can be found at www.heathersoldonia.mywindermere.com.
By Lincoln Crum
In the early days of my career I would get so excited about being in the business and the pursuit of success. The highs were really high, but unfortunately the lows were just as low. I would go weeks where I was on fire, listing and selling like crazy. Then, I’d hit a slump and couldn’t secure a listing appointment to save my life.
It has taken me quite some time to figure out one of the most important secrets to the real estate business. The secret has been there all along, right in front of my face and I didn’t even know it until recently.
The secret to success in the real estate industry lies within the boring, monotonous, day-to-day tasks associated with running your business. We all know what I’m talking about…cold calling, signage, flyers, e-mails, open houses, blogging, networking, juggling finances, working community events, the list goes on and on.
I used to think the business was only about the appointment and the closing. Now I’m convinced that it’s really about everything in between. The quote by the late Arthur Ashe says it all: “Success is found in the journey, not the destination.”
If you think about your business on a daily basis, the sum of all the little things you do on a minuscule level add up to the check received at the closing. I think about the definition of success all the time. I’ve determined it’s possessing the ability to do that one extra thing that no one else is willing to do.
As you move through every transaction I challenge you to think about what you can do to set yourself apart and make the journey that much better – for yourself, your business, and your clients.
Lincoln Crum is REALTOR, auctioneer, and entrepreneur based out of the Louisville, Kentucky area. Lincoln can be found at www.ReachLincoln.com.
If the first step is admitting I have a problem then I have a problem. Now what?
I’m on vacation this week; you know what vacation is, right? It’s that cultural ritual that says thou shall not work, giving your mind that required time off so it can relax into a zen like state and give you the necessary recharge so we can again work like the obsessed maniacs we have all become.
The problem is I have yet to stop returning e-mails let alone turn off my iPhone, and as you can see now, this blog is being written on my MacBook.
I have issues!
It would seem I am incapable of getting unplugged. So, I ask you, my YPN family, no I plead: Help ME! I need an intervention and I need it now.
I await your response.
Darrin Friedman is the branch vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chevy Chase, Md. and a member of the 2009 YPN-national Advisory Board.
By Dave Robison
A short sale would have you think it’s going to be a quick and short closing. The problem is they all have too much Junk in the Trunk. In a race, their tail end is dragging along the ground, which makes the vehicle go about as slow as my kid in a wagon.
Here are two examples of what is going wrong and what you can do about it.
First case involves Aurora. We submit an offer in to the bank on our listing from a buyer. It goes 60 days or so before we get a negotiator from the bank. In the meantime a couple comes in with an offer for higher than what the current offer is. Aurora approves a sale price and we should be good to go right? Wrong!
The bank will only take the offer they reviewed. You can’t switch it out for a higher offer. If you do, you have to cancel the offer, resubmit another offer and guess what …. wait another 60 days for a negotiator. Too much junk in the trunk! All of these policies in their trunk are making the banks lose even more money.
Second case involves Fannie Mae. Banks appraisal at $230,000. FannieMae wouldn’t accept less than $270,000. Really? That’s right, Fannie Mae won’t take anything less than $270,000 when the purchaser owes $255,000. That is just plain silly that they think a buyer is going to come up with $40,000 more than what it appraises for.
This home got foreclosed on. Today, it is on the market for the same price it could have sold for 8 months ago. They could have cut their losses 8 months ago but now their cut is getting deeper and deeper.
Third case from various lenders. They approve the short sale but want the seller to sign a note for the difference. The sellers are going into bankruptcy. This doesn’t make any sense. If they could make payments for the difference, they would rent it out and make payments for the difference.
I have three deals right now with different banks that the banks want a note and the buyer won’t sign. The buyers attorney said don’t do it. We are doing bankruptcy.