Monday, September 28, 2009

Cincinnati Seen as Great Value

From the Ohio Board of Realtors:

Some of the best public schools in the country are in very affordable housing markets., in cooperation with real-estate marketer Cyberhomes, identified 25 locales nationwide where the price of homes is moderate and schools are A-rated.

Quality schools tend to go hand-in-hand with high real estate prices. David Figlio, a professor of education, social policy, and economics at Northwestern University, recommends that concerned parents with limited funds choose a B-rated school that just missed getting the top grade. "If a school barely missed getting an A, you might be getting the biggest bang for your buck," Figlio says.

The top-ranked schools chosen by the magazine were in these communities:
Vandergrift, Pa.; Lake Worth, Fla.; Middletown, Md.; Longmont, Colo.; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Louisville, Colo.; Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.;Cincinnati; Nanuet, N.Y. and Clayton, N.C.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top Ten Misconceptions about Buying/Selling

10.  Only the Realtor with the sign in the yard (Listing agent) can show me that house.
  • Actually, any Realtor can show you pretty much ANY property on the market.  Through the Multiple Listing Service, agents agree to allow other agents access to their listings.
9.  If I use a Realtor to help me buy a house I'll have to pay him a commission
  • All commission are typically paid by the seller.  Buyers have very little reason not to use a Realtor to guide them through the process.  Brokerages typically charge very low flat fees for buyer services (under $200) and the agent can (and if they're good) will negotiate the best deal possible for their client.  Why spend all your time looking up houses.  Let an agent do it for you!
8.  Realtors get kick-backs if you use businesses affiliated with their brokerage.
  • Simple not true and simply illegal.  Our network of affiliates is simply one more tool to make buying and selling as stress-free as possible.
7.  Any agent can place my house on the MLS so it doesn't matter who I list with...
  • While all agents will place your home on the MLS, that is where the similarities end.  A good agent will have pictures, videos, and text descriptions that leave a standard agent's effort in the dust.  2 pictures vs. 15 pictures, no video vs. video on Youtube, 2 sentences of text vs. a paragrapgh.  You get the idea.
6.  After my home is listed the agent sits back and waits for his big payday.
  • The sub-par agent might just sit back... but then he will never see that big payday.  A good agent is positioning your home on the internet and every other available avenue for traffic.  He is giving you updates weekly and keeping you informed.  He is also helping you navigate the closing process.  Then, and only then does he or she see that payday.
5.  All Realtors have access to the same stuff... afterall, they're all on the MLS
  • A good agent has the power of his brokerage, his own marketing strategy, and his knowledge of the market.  For example, my brokerage (Coldwell Banker West Shell) gives me access to a worldwide network of other Coldwell Banker agents.  My clients benefit from national advertising and brand recognition, and I benefit from excellent training and educational materials.  A good agent knows the For Sale By Owners in his area and that is something you WILL NOT find on the good ol' MLS.
4.  If I use an agent to help me buy he'll only show me listings in his company.
  • An agent is hired to be YOUR agent.  We will show you and sell you the houses that you are interested in making your home.  Thanks to provisions in the listing agreement, agents for buyers get paid a commission from the seller whether the listing is with our company or not.
3.  The lower commission, the more the seller will make off the sale.
  • In real estate, you get what you pay for.  A broker may take a listing at a cut-throat commission rate, but the services rendered are often much less.  Think about it, would you work as hard at your job if the boss wanted to pay you half as much?  The end result could mean your house stays on the market for much longer or even worse the listing expires without the home selling.  If your home takes several more months to sell at the lower commission then the cost associated with carrying your mortgage and other costs (not to mention the stress) far outweigh the money you saved with your discount brokerage.
2.  I should just sell it myself.  People do it all the time.
  • It is true that people try to sell their homes without any help all the time.  Some are successful, and we wish everyone nothing but success.  The hard truth is that most are not trained in real estate and are trying to sell their most valuable asset without the help of a professional.  A good analogy:  some people try online investing (especially with smaller amount of money) but trust their big stuff (retirement, college funds) to someone that is trained to handle these large assets.  Your home is no different.  This is why eventually almost 90% of FSBOs list with a Realtor.  If you know your stuff then by all means... have at it, but if you're nervous a Realtor is well worth the money.
1.  Agents will say anything to get the sale.
  • Most importantly, most Realtors are governed by their own set of high ethics and values.  We are here to help you, not make a sale.  If our own ethics aren't enough to convince you we care, we are also governed by our national, state, and local boards and governments.  There are strict regulations regarding what we can and can't say or do.  In the end, a good agent is there to help you and be your resource for life.

Cheesy Real Estate Advertising

The following blog is a tribute to all the just terrible real estate ads that are in the marketplace. Hope you enjoy.

Cheesy Realtor Ads

Their website reads:
"Here at the Real”ad”tor Awards headquarters we are working around the clock to showcase the most superb talent from the men and women in the Real Estate advertising world. Together we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve had the best of times and the worst of times. But in the end, victory comes only to those that persevere.

We here to recognize and share with you those that have fought their way to the top and are finally getting their day in the sun.

If you recognize this level of talent, please send your submission to"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Warning Live Snake in Office!

A good lesson in showing spaces...

My first real estate internship was a great opportunity I happened to find on craigslist as my junior year at Miami ended.  I was a temporary leasing agent at a small office community which consisted of me showing and leasing small offices to business owners in Cincinnati.  I hadn't had much luck all summer, but the experience and confidence gained from the position helped me tremendously.  And then the day came...

I thought I had a lease in the bag... the wife liked the complex and brought her husband back to see the office.  I had done a good job finding them a deal on a large space in the basement of one of our buildings.  As soon as they arrived we took off with keys in hand to show the husband the unit his wife had already fallen in love with a week earlier.  As we approached the front door we noticed something taped to the door...

The neighboring tenant had posted a giant poster saying, "warning! Live snake seen in this unit" and the date the terrible snake was seen slithering around my vacant unit.  Needless to say, not a good start to a showing.  All three of us stood there for what seemed like an hour until the large Eastern European husband said, "Well come on, I'm not scared of any snake... Open the door."  I opened the door, let him walk in first, and didn't see a single snake in the unit.  Of course, the couple did not lease the space, and I hung the poster on the wall of my bosse's office to commemorate my retirement as a leasing agent.  As I transition to real estate sales, I can sure tell you one thing... I'll check my open houses for "snakes" (anything that might surprise any visitors) before I ever let the first prospect in the door.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Everyone gets a boost

As time runs out for the $8,000 stimulus for first-time home buyers we see a lot of press coverage on the real estate market- good and bad. Most notably, we have seen a throng of articles about how the buyers in our market today seem to be young, first-timers. While activity in the office seems to back this notion up, we shouldn't forget those of you that may be more "young at heart," than young in age. Everyone, young, old or in-between is in an advantageous position.

Sellers across the market are pricing their homes more aggressively, and we can almost guarantee this will continue as we near the deadline for the tax credit. While this is an obvious advantage for those who qualify for the credit, it has far-reaching benefits for the entire industry.

ALL buyers are benefiting from the buzz created by the tax credit. Think about it... Sellers are pricing their properties to compete for those first-time home buyers. Typically, these buyers are going to buy in a price range under $200,000. Of course, not all buyers in this price range are first time buyers, but they will all benefit from the competition between listings in this range. Whether it's your first or your fifth, you can probably locate a great deal on a reasonably priced home.

Three words: Lookers to Buyers
As the economy struggles people are often seperated by their aversion to risk. Those who tend to be fearless will benefit from great opportunities in foreclosures and undervalued assets. Those who fear the sky may fall will surely avoid any large purchases such as homes and cars. My big point is this: what about those in the middle? Steady job, decent savings, but nervous about the risk. These are your open house lookers and your internet crawlers. They probably know the inventory better than most Realtors, but something is keeping them from buying. The tax credit may be just the right push to get that looker to be a buyer of your home. Be excited if you're a seller right now! The worst is hopefully over and people are buying more every day.

In additon to the advantages to the buyers and sellers of homes right now, the tax credit benefits all industries associated with real estate: mortgage, home improvement, appraisal, etc. The benefits are far-reaching to say the least.

Last but not least, when the credit is finally over the market will be in a better place. The inventory of homes will be more appropriate and the market will start making strides to operate as it should. Stay tuned, it's going to just keep getting better.