Saturday, March 24, 2007

Soft Market...Not so Fast

I have recently been encountering the impression that the market has crashed and buyers can offer any price at all for a property and be taken seriously.
I think this may be a misconception that is looking at the National news and applying certain trends as a general blanket, and I don't know as though that is a correct assumption.
I too watch the nightly news as well as other news analysts and have heard all of the housing statistics that are not necessarily possitive. Although this morning MSNBC recorded that last month housing sales were up 3.7% nationally. With that said, the average selling price was down by 1.8%.
This is a good example of what I believe we are seeing here in the Adirondacks. We have this conversation what feels like weekly, "what should I do to get more activity...Reduce the price". Homes up here all selling all the time and things are constantly going under contract. Homes that are priced fair to the market that is. We all lived in '04 and '05 where interest rates were low and the stock market was doing well and real-estate sellers were very happy. I think we have come back to reality in '06 and '07.
As opposed to saying that it is a buyers market, which I don't believe we are there yet, I would say that we are in a more balanced market. Properties that are not shooting for the stars on their list price are still selling quite frequently, and alot of investment properties such as multi- families are selling in a realistic time-frame as well.
I truely believe that as a buyer it would be more beneficial to ask your Realtor if the national trend applies to the area you are shopping in. I know myself that I am very candid and would have no problem telling a client when a listing is too high, and the other agents in this office are also under the same level of honesty. It happens, some sellers want what they want and wont budge, and that is fine, but we may suggest at that price to keep looking at other comparable properties more realistically priced.
Post your opinions...

Jodi Gunther

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Whats YOUR area of expertise?

It's funny, I never thought much about this until today, when I was updating my active rain profile. I was always confused about what to say because I help so many different people on a daily basis, that I feel I am knowledgeable about many different areas of Real Estate. To focus on just one, in my opinion, would be doing a disservice to past and present clients. Ultimately, I think this question may depend on where you live and work. The generic answer to make myself, or any other agent look good would be to say:

"I am an expert in second homes" - To get as many second home owners as possible, more $$!

"I am an expert in first time home buyers" - and hope to get as many first time buyer business as possible, more business!

"I am an expert in finding large tracts of land for my clients" - to become an expert in all areas of land acquisition and sales.

This may work in certain areas of the country. If you live/work in cookie cutter suburbia you may, in fact, be an expert in first time buyers. Alternately, if you live on the shores of the Atlantic in Florida you may be the local expert in finding second homes for people.

But for those of us that live in diverse areas of the country, say the Adirondacks, what is our area of expertise? I know agents that specialize in only helping second home owners, or those that just want to buy large tracts of land to break up and sell off. My broker could be classified as someone who enjoys, and is darn good at, helping those looking for the fantastic second home or recreational property, but would not shy away from helping anyone find their first home. His area of expertise is diverse and that is precisely why he is, where he is today, running a highly successful firm that services all types of buyers and sellers and all types of property, commercial and residential.

I realize now that he imparted that on me, and my colleagues, without us even knowing it. To be successful at Real Estate in the Adirondacks may take more then just being a 4th or 5th generation Adk'er and going on 'who you know'.

It takes going after the foreclosure.

It takes following up on the 1 acre parcel, an hour away, that may list for $8K.

It takes doing everything we can to get that multi-million dollar waterfront listing.

It takes helping first time buyers, while also helping a client buy their third investment property.

We need to be an expert in 100 acres parcels we have listed, and which clients are interested in buying. We need to know the difference between a dug well and drilled well. We need to know the set backs for the APA. We have to know about Commercial and Residential properties because we have a big mix of both. We need to be an expert in all areas, because who knows what that buyer wants that just called or sent an email.

So now when asked "whats your area of expertise?" I can say with confidence that I am in an expert in helping first time buyers, as well as third time buyers. I know rules and regs about vacant parcels, and I know what that one acre lot an hour away should list for. I help all buyers and sellers in anything they need. Most importantly all agents in our firm are knowledgeable about all areas of Real Estate, and we have to be in order to make it up here because it is so diverse. If I don' know the answer, I'll find out for you, then I'll be an expert in that.

At the same time I have a deal on a mobile home, I am going after the waterfront listing which is currently a FSBO, and next week going to the closing for my investor friend who is buying his 5th multifamily home, but dropping off the proposal to the client interested in listing their vacant parcel beforehand. Oh, and that phone call is about the commercial building listed on main street.

-Josh Pratt

Monday, March 5, 2007

Positive Vibes

Some we know may call it "mojo", others just believe in the power of positive energy.

My new vision for this blog is to have discussions and feedback on different questions and thoughts that arise in the day to day of real estate.

This may take a little longer to come up with than my usual rant and rave.....

To Be Continued....
Jodi Gunther

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Yo Homeowners! Count your pennies!

I am by no means a rental agent. I really don't know the first thing about vacation rentals, what they go for, or what is involved in the process. I do know however, that you should never steal from the homeowners who you rent for. It just seems like a bad idea, and eventually no matter what, you are going to get caught.

That's why I was sort of surprised to see that in fact a local broker was arrested on charges of stealing from the very people she lived among, and rented for.

I think people need to be held accountable for their actions. I want to keep them honest here in the North Country. I don't want brokers, associates, agencies, even homeowners taking advantage of one another. That is what gives the general public a bad taste for Real Estate agents and rental agents. Homeowners who rent or list with ANY company that steals from it's clients has the right to know about it and make their own informed decisions about how they go about renting or selling. It's really none of my business whether they stick with the company or find a new one, but everyone needs to know.

A local rental agent I know, says the best thing homeowners can do who rent their properties through an agency, is to have a CPA manage the books to make sure the numbers add up. She feels at this point that it is "egg on the face" of rental agents, and that beyond damage control, establishing a new level of trust is of the utmost importance in a small community like our own. Because it really doesn't matter if it is only one agency that is doing something wrong, it has the potential to ruin it for the rest of them. Whats that old saying again?

-Josh Pratt