6/17/2011

Know Your Local, Local Market: A Call to Confidence, for Buyers AND Sellers

Don't short change yourself.

Sometimes people act as if they are just looking for a reason to feel bad, and any attempts to correct, or just gently push away, negative assumptions are met with even stronger resistance.  Twice in four days, the negativity virus has struck people I'm talking to. (The open house rate can be much higher.) One person believed he has the worst looking house possible and that it will never sell, when in fact, a few immediate corrections, including some paint, costing $1000-$1500 would probably put the home on its path to a motivated buyer in at least his house price median. Unfortunately, this owner has fallen prey, over and over, to the repetitious negative media message about "the bad market", all the while knowing nothing about his neighborhood statistics. He couldn't believe he actually had an opportunity somebody out there is looking for: a solid little house with a large back yard in a nice neighborhood under $350,000. Instead, he was looking backwards at perceived complications and difficulties, not forward into the light of a sold property. Maybe he's just not ready, but just in case he's reading this, the light of a sold property can be a very happy light.
This is the real job of a real estate agent: educating the client, which in turn would fire them up with more enthusiasm and motivation about taking action. It's a shame to see a person get into a real funk, a downward spiral of mopiness, when I'm hearing there are buyers looking and looking for certain opportunities. Repetition of the message is where it's at.  The media knows this, and feeds on the human tendancy to embrace fear.  So Realtors have to know it also: We have to be prepared over and over, to show, act and tell wherever and whenever, the postive truths about a client's local market, and show them what solutions could work best for them, over and over. You can't convince someone of something they really don't want to be convinced of, however, repeating things over and over is the key to all learning. Yes, it's a challenge. 
I tried to explain to my prospective seller that the first time buyers are out there in great numbers, in fact, in Los Angeles County, about 60% of first time home buyers can afford a median-priced home (at the height of the market it was about 10%).  At the end of 2010, the LA County median priced single family home was $323,000 (per CAR), and for April 2011, it was $333,000 (per tax data).  And then I tried to explain that investors with all or 50% cash have been very strong in the market also, composing 30-50% of all sales in some markets, actually making it tough for the first time buyers who get outbid.  So Mr. Seller, for the right property in the right area, there's competition out there. Our unsold inventory in Long Beach is recently at 2-3 months (that used to be called a seller's market), the housing affordability index is now where it was in 1999 and 2000. The trickle up effect is that the higher end homes are selling more--those over $750,000 in Los Angeles County have decreased in supply of inventory compared to one year ago.

Just give peace a chance.

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