Tag Archives: real estate prices

For now and the foreseeable future . . .

“For now and the foreseeable future, the very best advice still comes from human beings.”

— CAROLYN BLOCK ELLERT, co-owner/broker of Premier Sales Group,
on online home-value estimates vs. an agent’s judgment

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Quality Photography and Your Marketing

by Rob Wicker

When you are marketing what to most Americans is their biggest financial asset, you need to do it right. Columnist Phoebe Chongchua explains how great photography can help you sell homes. http://bit.ly/wcRTJs

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Why Branding Is Effective

by Rob Wicker

Most Realtors understand the value of branding. Consumers see your name/image over and over and they become more comfortable with the idea of working with you. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, as the adage states, it breeds something more desirable—security.

But why?

There is an extremely interesting book on the current bestseller list called Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman is a Psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his theories on how human beings make decisions. (At heart, we are not as rational as we’d like to believe, even in money matters.)

In the book, Kahneman states that the relationship between repetition and liking is an important biological fact, and it extends to the animal world too.

For example, to survive in a dangerous environment, animals must react cautiously to new things, because the new thing may be dangerous. As a result, when something new shows up, animals get scared and run away. The prospect of an animal surviving without this trait is not good because sooner or later a predator will arrive.

However, through repetition the fear of the “new” subsides. Repeated exposures to the “new” brings nothing bad, and the animal eventually gets the safe signal. It feels secure.

This is one of the reasons brands like Coke are so powerful. In blind taste tests, consumers don’t have a strong preference for the taste of Coke over other colas, but once a soda is identified as Coke, the preference becomes high. We feel secure with Coke because we’ve been exposed to the soda and its advertisements all of our lives.

What does this mean to you? Realtors help people buy and sell a huge financial asset. The emotion you want to elicit in your prospects and clients is security. Repetition of your name, image and services is one of the best ways to generate this sense of security. We all know agents who have built a strong personal brand, and they are usually top producers.

If you don’t have a strong personal brand, your Homes & Land Publisher is a great resource for helping you build one.


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Housing Is At Its Most Affordable in 20 Years

Gino Blefari, President & CEO of Silicon Valley based real estate company Intero Real Estate Services, explains the housing affordability index and why now is the time to buy in his recent blog post Housing Is At Its Most Affordable in 20 Years:

As far as real estate statistics go, one of the most useful and interesting is the housing affordability index. What good are sales numbers and prices if not put into context? The affordability index provides that context, telling us the percentage of homes in a given location that a family earning an average income can afford – by traditional standards.

The Housing Opportunity Index released earlier this month by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo shows that housing affordability was near its highest level in 20 years in the third quarter. A near-record 72.9% of all new and existing homes sold during this time were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200.

What’s fueling this feel-good statistic are major price drops in markets across the country and record low interest rates: two factors that obviously bode well for home buyers (especially first-time home buyers who aren’t depending on the same market conditions to sell a house). Interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage are still hovering around 4.2%, which means borrowing is cheap by historic standards. And while prices have stabilized in some markets, they’re still much lower on average nationwide than they were five years ago.

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WSJ Reports on the “Fuzzy Math” of Home Valuations

by Adrian Amos

The Wall Street Journal reports that Internet home value services like on Zillow and Trulia can be 20% to 50% higher or lower than eventual sales prices. And since these online services have gained in popularity, consumers have used the estimates as factual basis for accepting offers, refinancing and remodeling decisions. Which hasn’t always worked in their favor.

The sites make estimates based on algorithms and collected data, but as WSJ contributor Alyssa Abkowitz reports, that doesn’t ensure accuracy:

“Appraisers and real-estate consultants say the online models can veer off target with alarming frequency. Most data for the models come from two sources: records from tax assessors and listing data for recent sales. Collection is a challenge, however, because not every county tracks properties the same way—some calculate home size by number of bedrooms, others by overall square footage. And automated models aren’t designed to account for the unique construction details that often make or break a deal, or for intangible factors like a neighborhood’s gentrification.”

Read the full article here.

HomesAndLand.com also has a home valuation tool, which advises consumers that it is not an actual appraisal and states: “Determining the most accurate home prices is best left up to a real estate professional.”

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