Sunday, September 22, 2013

A (lifetime) weekend of Open Houses

I have always asked, "How did you hear about the Open House?" and historically the majority have answered that they saw and followed the signs. More and more though the answer has changed and now the vast majority find an Open House on the internet and the directional signs are a convenience, but not the cause. The majority of folks find open houses on Redfin with Trulia a close second, Zillow and RE/MAX third. At least, that was true for the visitors this weekend. 

The benefit to this change is that the majority of visitors to an open house are there because they intend to be... they didn't just happen upon it. They already know the number of bedrooms and it already has the number they need. They already know the price and it already is within their range. This is a house they already know they would consider buying. 

If your Realtor is not holding your house open and doing it often then call me. Historically I haven't sold a lot of houses at the Open, but I have a feeling that is changing and changing fast. The age of real estate information is creating a "new normal", indeed. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To go, or not to go - to an Open House

I can think of a few very good reasons to visit open houses even if you are not in the market to buy. I can think of  a few bad reasons to avoid open houses. I can also think of one very, very good reason NOT to go to an open house.

Good reasons to go:

  1. Get to know your neighborhood and community - Even if you are not planning to buy or sell it's good to be knowledeable about your neighbohood, and in fact, about the surrounding communities. You will learn market trends, find out about community events, and tons of information that you'd miss out on if you stayed home. 
  2. Find a pro you like - You just never know when you may get the bug to move or need to move. It's best you have some idea of who you'd call when/if that day comes. Open houses are a terrific place to meet Realtors in a professional, but relaxed setting. 
  3. Share the info with friends and colleagues - Real estate is a topic that comes up often in social and work settings. It's likely you will hear from someone who is in the market to buy a home and you can tell them about your community, including specifics on houses you've visited.
  4. Pick you neighbors - If you do find yourself telling someone about a home you visited you are in effect choosing your neighbor. Who better to influence who lives nearby than YOU?
Bad reasons to avoid open houses.
  1. Realtors/sellers don't want nosy neighbors rooting through their houses - Quite the contrary. We do want you to visit. We want to introduce ourselves and to be of service. We want to tell you what we know about your community. Sellers want exposure and neighbors talking about homes for sale in their community is a great way to achieve that.  
  2. You don't want pushy Realtors calling and emailing you - Fair enough. I personally do not call unless I am asked to. I do not do mail or email marketing either. But if I did and you asked me not to solicit you I absolutely would not. Just politely let the Realtor know that you prefer not to be added to any marketing programs and they will oblige. They won't be mad . They will understand. 
  3. You can't afford that house - No? But someone you know might. Or someone your teenager knows. I once sold a house to a family who learned about it from their 13 year old daughter's friend who was spending the night at their house. 
One excellent reason you should NOT to go to an open house.
  1. If you are in the market to buy and you've chosen a Realtor to work with you should not under any circumstances go to an open house that you would consider buying. In real estate we have something called "procuring cause" which basically means that the Realtor who caused the buyer to learn about the house gets the sale. So if you are driving by, see a sign, and walk in, that means the Realtor hosting the open caused the sale. Which means your agent can technically still represent you, but would not be paid for his work. Obviously no one wants this confusion so it's best to only visit homes that you are interested in with your chosen Realtor. You want to be represented and you want your pro to be paid, so let them do their job of showing you houses rather than visiting opens on your own. 
If you like real estate and you enjoy visiting open houses then you should go. If open houses bore you and you can think of better ways to spend an afternoon then by all means do what pleases you. But don't think that we don't want you or that your presence at our open would be unwelcome. 

So... see you Sunday?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Difference One Year Makes

I've just returned from two weeks of camping deep in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. My husband and I really love that area. We find ourselves there several times a year and plan to continue to visit for many years to come. Naturally, we've window shopped for a cabin. Last year we took the wild step of driving past a house and we nearly called a Realtor. Crazy... I know.

But, we decided we didn't want to have to go there and that we would feel we had to if we had a house there. Ultimately we've realized that we don't go anywhere else because we like it there so much and that a cabin would be a nice thing to have. So I looked on today. Trulia looks quite a bit different now than it did last year.

This is the house we drove by, walked around, and had to stuff our cell phones deep into our pockets to hold ourselves back from calling on. It sold in November 2012 for $37,000.

This is a similar house a few miles away. There are a few small differences - like it only has 1 bedroom and the one last year had two. It is also further from the highway and further from the activities we enjoy. Oh, and it doesn't have electricity. It was just listed for $82,000.

Seriously kicking myself.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Look, New Start

Since there could never be too many forums for me to vent, rant, brag, or otherwise share my days, I've spent the early morning hours giving my old blog a new face. I really like the new look!