This is a very interesting article (link) showing that real estate listings where photos taken by SLR cameras seem to have an edge over listings where cheaper cameras are used. This is a strategy I have employed for a good number of years. The ability to take better photos and work with them digitally to adjust lighting (and sometimes photo shop out a telephone pole or two) is a key part of my marketing. I have also found that the number of photos combined with the time of day they are taken also impact how they resonate with people. I spend a lot of time with sellers preparing and staging their homes for the market. I work with a professional stager to ensure the HGTV effect. Since technology and photos have effectively replaced the old first showing, getting this part just right is critical. When my listings come on the market I want them to fulfill every buyer’s dream. Rich classic photos do make a difference.

4 Tips for Setting the Right Sales Price

From Realtor Magazine – great words of wisdom!

Sellers think their homes are worth more than their real estate professional recommends, and buyers think these same homes are worth less.

It’s a difficult disconnect that makes selling properties a challenge. Successfully marketing a home requires that the price be set carefully -- or it will languish on the market. Among the considerations:

  • How many homes are for sale in the neighborhood? The more homes on the market, the more important it is to list at the lower end of the scale. "I want buyers to ask why is this house priced so competitively," said NAR President-elect Ron Phipps of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "I want the answer to be an offer."
  • Take short sales and foreclosures into consideration when pricing. If the competing properties are in lousy condition, they are less of an issue, but if they are well taken care of, yet priced 25 percent below market, they can be a serious factor.
  • Negotiate decisively. "Buyers are not interested in back-and-forth negotiations these days," Phipps said. "They are less emotional and more disciplined. They will walk away."
  • Cut the price when you have to. If no one shows up for an open house, if no one calls and if there are no offers, then the price is too high. That means it's time to make a meaningful price cut.

Media Fails to Inform Home Buyers of Windfall!

Little Understood Math Benefits Buyers

Over the past 5 months a huge benefit has quietly snuck in under the radar for home buyers and the media failed to inform anyone. Interest rates have steadily tumbled since June 2010 and the 30 year fixed rate of 5.25% five months later is now around 4.25%. What does this mean to you?

For Buyers - Do the Math
A $200,000 30 year fixed loan at a June rate of 5.25% generated a payment of $1104/m. That same loan amount will now drop to $983 at 4.25% which is a savings of 12.5%. Let me put that into perspective for you. You just saved $121 per month or $43,560 over the life of the loan! But that’s not all you saved. It’s really more like $60,000 when you consider tax write offs for mortgage interest and the effect of compounding interest on your money. It’s also a forced savings plan. Most of us would like to think we could save $120/m for 30 years but life gets in the way and we don’t. In effect this is a forced savings plan ensuring you sock it away every month. This scenario does not even contemplate value appreciation or inflation protection your home provides over the coming years.
Huge Savings!
$200,000 - loan you just saved 12.5% or $25,000!

$300,000 - $37,500 Savings

$400,000 - $50,000 Savings

$500,000 - $62,500 Savings

Additional Buyer Savings
  • Lower sale price on new home also generates closing cost savings of 20%

For Sellers - Do the Math
This works in your favor as well. You will get less for your home today than its peak a few years ago. However, if you purchase a new home you’ll pay much less for that one as well. The gap between sale and new purchase price is usually constant. What is not constant is the interest rate (see savings above) which has dropped. In fact you’ll probably have a lower interest rate on your new home than you did on your old one.
Additional Seller Savings
  • Lower sale price on old home generates closing cost savings of 20%
  • Lower purchase price on new home sees the same savings of 20%
  • Lower interest rates generate savings of about 12% over the life of the new loan

Bottom Line

The best time to buy is when nobody thinks it is. Since we are officially out of recession we are most likely at the bottom of the housing market. We are definitely at the bottom of the interest rate cycle. The moment our economy shows solid signs of recovery you can bet interest rates will shoot up. Low prices, low interest rates, strong regional job market – advantage Buyers!

Who’s the next person you know that could benefit from this opportunity?

What is a Reverse Trifecta?

A: Trifecta is defined as - any achievement involving three successful outcomes.

Q: So what’s a Reverse Trifecta - where you have one successful outcome based on three achievements?

A: Our current real estate market!
Foreclosure homes and distressed properties make up about 25% of the nationwide real estate market (source link). That impact is being felt even in Maryland where regional job security is stronger than most areas in the country. So by my definition here’s the Reverse Trifecta. The three achievements leading to the successful outcome are 1) deeply discounted home prices 2) historic low financing 3) good jobs.

The result is a once in a generation opportunity for home buyers. Call me and let me know if you know of anyone who might want to take advantage of this great market.