Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can a Professional Photographer Sell my House?

Okay, so you're ready to put your home on the market, you have cleaned, painted, repaired, landscaped, staged and have your home looking downright perfect!  As you interview the prospective REALTORS® one states that they will have a photographer come out and photograph your home.  They tell you that visually, this is what is needed to really make your listing standout online.  You think to yourself, "self - that sounds hard to argue with" so you hire that agent and their brokerage and then....wait - and then... wait - and then...well, you get the idea.  You notice that your listing is online, but there are no photos - and since this is such a popular service, you have to wait for up to 14 days before the photographer can get to your home.  Meanwhile, in listing land, numerous buyers have passed up your listing, quite possibly never to return, because you have no photos.  When was the last time you bought a pair of boots online with no idea of what they looked like?  Right, me too.
Pro Nikon Photographer at Morro Rock 04 Dec 2007

So, how do you avoid this?  Simply, make sure your agent does not put your listing in until all photos are taken and approved by you, for one.  But there is more at work here that you need to be aware of.  Are these "Photographers" really photographers?  Or are they just someone that was hired to take photos?  In my experience with professional photographers - well, they're expensive.  They kind of need to be since one of those little cameras can cost upwards of $10,000 - not to mention the lenses, the lighting, the stands, the training, and the trade organizations.  Yes, that's right, just like REALTORS® Photographers have organizations that they belong to.  They are not required to belong to them, but much like Home Inspectors, I don't know that you would want to hire one that wasn't a member.  My point, make sure you know what you are getting.

There are, for example, the Professional Photographers of America, the American Society of Media Photographers, or more locally,the Professional Photographers of Ohio.   While membership to these organizations is not mandatory, it at least tells you that this photographer is serious - these things cost money after all.  Your first question when bringing this up should probably be to see the photographer's resume and go from there.  Also, question if they have liability insurance, and ask to see it.  If they're coming into your home, lugging equipment around, you want to know they have coverage before they knock over that gargoyle fountain your mother-in-law gave you as a wedding gift. *ahem*

Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, do NOT put your listing in the MLS or online, without having images to go along with it!  No one will look at it, in fact they will say, "clearly something is wrong with that one.  There must be a reason the seller doesn't want to show anyone what the house looks like".  Trust me - that's what they're saying.  So while a professional photographer is great, do you really need one?  With camera technology today, most agents can take pretty good photos of your home and property.  Just make sure that they do and that they get them online when the listing goes active!  Otherwise, what are you selling?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Say Goodbye to Summer - and Hello Odd Real Estate Market

Let's start with a chart, shall we?  I keep hearing about prices in the area improving - why would that happen?

If we think about the laws of "Supply and Demand" we see that our supply of residential inventory is quite low and has been ALL year long.  Considerably low.  In fact, if we follow the same trends as the previous two years....we may not have any inventory at all! (That's not likely to happen).  What this does indicate is that prices will hold steady, and more sellers will be encouraged to step into the market.  This also indicates to me, that if you are a seller right now who is not on the market but wants to be...GET THERE!  Get your house looking perfect - price it right with a professional and you could spend much less time on the market.  A telling figure; August Days on Market are down comparatively nearly 15%.  Average Continuous Days on Market is sitting at about 154 for August.  Many areas will experience much less.

Need more proof that low inventory helps housing prices?  Take a peek below:

My guess is that when I post this again in October that our September numbers are going to be in the positive from the previous two years.  One thing is for certain - 2012 housing prices in the Cincinnati Area have stabilized this year.

Another promising sign:

The blue line in 2012 is when the first time home buyer tax credit went away, so buying slowed considerably after June.  This chart shows we're back on the right track moving more inventory.  A fact that should encourage home sellers, because as I showed up top - this is with not much inventory compared to the two previous years.  Think about that...Low inventory, but Selling more Units than previous years.  This could be a very good Fall indeed!

As always if you would like to see how your home compares to the charts above - where it fits in, give me a shout.  Or, go here: www.chrisjwood.com  and fill out the form.

Chris W.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I couldn't possibly put a price on my home

I'm getting lots of calls about listings - which I love. And in this weird/odd/bizzaro market the longest conversations are about pricing. As it should be - beyond staging your home it's the one element that can most immediately dictate a sale. Price too high and you're hosed - price too low and you may feel like you left some money on the table...so how to price it...Just Right?

For Sale SignAs a seller, pricing has to be the single most difficult issue to deal with.  “How do I price my home”?  The simple answer would be, of course, to hire an agent, but I find that answer a bit flip.  The truth of the matter is that pricing a home is NOT an exact science.  Sure, some agents are better at it than others, but in reality, we simply review the data that is made available to us.  We look at the sold homes and the pending homes and attempt to identify a trend and then assign value to your home.  This may, in fact, not be what buyers are willing to pay for it.  Things like that change, and can change quickly.

So what do you do?  First of all, when talking to your agent, be realistic and be honest.  Be upfront with what you owe on the property and take a good look at the cost of selling your home.  Any good agent will work up an Estimated Net Sheet which will estimate how much money you will have in your pocket once the sale is complete.  In the end, it shouldn’t matter what you sold the house for - Did you end up with enough money in your pocket to do what you wanted to do?  If yes, then you were successful!  Conversations with your agent can determine if your home’s value is solid enough to compete in this market.  Most agents I know, are happy to provide you with this information at no cost or obligation.  I know I do!  This is at the heart of what I do as your real estate consultant.

Looking for a place to start your research on home values near you? Look no further

Chris W.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Is that a listing in your pocket...?

Pocket Listings are simply properties where a seller wants to sell, but is not ready for the active market yet.  There can be several reasons why a seller finds themselves in this position.  Perhaps they have quite a bit of work to complete on the house prior to listing it or maybe it's a timing thing where they want to wait until Spring to list it publicly.

As real estate agents we often find ourselves privy to this inventory and we know that if a serious buyer can't find what they're looking for on the market, somewhere there is an agent that likely has this listing in their pocket.  Just think, as a seller, rather than spend time and money fixing up your house - you just sell it for an acceptable price without ever having to "actively" market it to every buyer and website out there!

Well, it happens - right here in river city.  As agents we have access to a website www.agentpocket.com where we can enter your property and market it to other real estate agents.  From there we can potentially help connect you with buyers who are frustrated looking at the same old inventory.

If you find yourself thinking about selling, but are not quite ready to jump into the active market - give me a call and we can discuss the values of a pocket listing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Buyer / Seller Home Tools

In today's online world there are tons of available options to help you find your home's "value" or as a buyer find a "good value".  Not all of them are all that local though and this can present quite a few unseen problems in the data that they give you.

Teacher's Desk
With the way our counties and school districts are sorted out in the Cincinnati area you need to have tools on hand that can help you sort through the clutter and get to the reality.  For example, many foreclosure related home search sites do NOT have up to date data.  In fact, their data can be many months old.  So that foreclosed home you are looking at and thinking of driving by could in fact have been sold several months ago.  They'll leave these homes on their site because they know they will attract potential buyers and traffic is what they're looking for - they do not have your best interests in mind.

Focus on local tools and real estate sites as they tend to be connected with the Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati  These sites are up to date because they are connected at the source.  Now, I suggest using a site like www.chrisjwood.com but I'm a bit partial obviously.  This site however, provides you with accurate listing data, including foreclosure properties, auction properties and short sales.  Plus, if you are looking to sell your home you can get some very helpful information on what is going on in your zip code.  An you can know that I am only an email away should you have any questions or concerns.

So check out the site - sign up for a Market Insider newsletter to get information delivered right to you inbox!