You could feel the turn of the market in mid-summer of last year. While prices continued to be soft in many areas, the close-in markets in Seattle and the Eastside started to show signs of stabilizing as did affordable housing ($300,000 or less) in most of King County. We are now seeing multiple offers in many price ranges. First time home buyers moving out of rentals (or their parent’s basement) and investors who want rentals, are competing against each other in the low end. Move up buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are now coming back in to the market before interest rates and prices rise. High end buyers have regained confidence in their stock portfolios and are coming back in with cash or huge down payments.
What does the market look like for 2012? With inventory down over 20% overall and down 32%+ in Snohomish County, it is a Seller’s market in most areas however the level of distressed properties (24% in King and 35% in Snohomish counties) will continue to put a damper on prices.
How does this impact our businesses? As always, well priced listings are key. Buyers do have fewer choices but are more informed than ever and won’t bother with overpriced properties. If a seller won’t price and prepare their home properly, don’t take the listing. Our brokers utilize a unique 16 step seller process that helps us only take listing that sell quickly. As for buyers, with fewer quality properties on the market, they need to be prepared to act quickly and decisively. Being pre- approved by a reputable lender is a given. Making sure your buyers are fully informed on the market so they have the confidence to write an offer when they see a good value is critical. We use a 10 step buyer process to clarify our buyer’s needs and educate them on the market so they can make a confident decision after viewing 5-8 homes rather than 20+ homes.
So what will your business results be in 2012? The brokers in our office increased their commissions 25% in 2011 using our proven processes even though the market was down. We should all have a plan in place to outperform the market. If you don’t and would like help to create one, please contact me. I would be happy to share with you our practices and help you make 2012 one of your best years ever.
What’s the most important thing you can bring to your clients? Is it your knowledge of the local market? Is it your negotiation expertise? Is it your property marketing skills? While all of these skills are important for your clients, I would suggest they are not THE most important thing you can bring to your clients.
The single most important thing you can bring to your clients is clarity. Whether they are buyers or sellers, clients who are not clear have a difficult time making a decision. If a seller does not have a clear understanding of the current market and their property’s value, will they price their home to sell? Probably not. What about buyers? Do confused buyers make a decision? No, they want to “think about it”.
How do we provide clarity to our clients? Studies show that 60% of the population is primarily visual learners so we know that showing is better than telling for most clients. Simple charts and graphs are much better methods to communicate than text or single line MLS search outputs. So what to use? Trendgraphix charts are an option but can be busy and hard to decipher. We have a program that uses MLS data to show the client their odds of selling and illustrates the inventory flowing in and out of the market using the concept of water flowing in and out of a pond. Both are good/simple visuals for our clients and help them become clear about the state of the current market so they can make decisions.
Compare these charts to a single line MLS report which many brokers use in their CMAs. Which do you think is easier to read, understand, and provides more clarity for a client? Think about what you use to educate your clients on the market. Does it provide clarity or confusion?
All the best,
As we approach the holidays and market activity slows, it makes for the perfect time to plan for next year. Here are a couple ideas on approaches you might take:
For those that are a little ADD (and who in real estate isn’t), this is the short and sweet version. Set aside one full day for your
planning and start with the following three questions:
– What worked for you in 2011?
– What didn’t work for you in 2011?
– What will you continue to do and what will you add to your business in 2012?
Spend the morning noting the answers to these questions and then grab your accountability partner, manager, or skills group member and
share each other’s answers. It makes the planning more fun/ interesting and you may each pick up new ideas to incorporate into your own plans. Work individually in the afternoon creating an execution roadmap and calendar for your plan. What will you do? What can your staff or assistant do? What can you automate? Be sure to record the dates these activities are to be completed each month. I find getting my “to do’s” logged on my calendar significantly increases the odds the task actually gets done on time.
For those of you with a little longer attention span and who like details, a spreadsheet is a great place to start. Expect to spend two to
three days analyzing numbers (income goal, average sale price, average commission, expenses, projected number of leads/prospects, conversion rates) and creating your marketing and contact plan with a calendar of events that will generate the contacts you need. Don’t forget to incorporate your personal and family goals into your plan as well.
If 2011 was not the year you hoped for and you need a better result in 2012, then now is the time to take action. Call me and let’s create a
customized plan (short or detailed) for your success in 2012 and beyond.