Viewing entries tagged
Market

Comment

U.S. Residential Sales Expectations Hit 8-Year High

Residential sales in Seattle—in fact, all real estate dealings anywhere—remain the most local of commercial transactions. If your house is in San Francisco, a price spike in suburban Newark is probably of little interest, unless you plan on moving anytime soon. Even so, the new projection for overall U.S. residential sales had to perk up area homeowners’ interest.

The “best home sales market in eight years” was the forecast—along with “mortgage originations that will likely rise” and “larger gains in newly built home sales.” Puget Sound residential sales may make up but a tiny fraction of the data contained in CoreLogic’s analyses and data announcements, but any local homeowners looking for a strong spring market couldn’t help but be buoyed by last week’s prognostications.    

 The basis for the surprisingly robust residential sales prediction was supported by a number of other data sources which have gradually confirmed solidification of the overall economic picture. With many economists agreeing that the U.S. economy “is poised to grow by close to 3%” this year, a heightened level of housing demand is bound to result. If that mark is achieved, it would be for only the second year in a decade. Gains in employment (in the 3-to-3½ million person range) are also expected.

The improving economic projection for 2015 was ascribed to three forces. The halving of energy prices which began last summer was deemed “unlikely to jump back up this year.” Anyone who’s been enjoying the freefall in prices at the pumps will appreciate the immediate impact that has on family wallets.

The second positive force is psychological, and very real. The rise “in consumer and business manager confidence” in the recovery has been widely noted: the Conference Board (“up 4.9 points”); U.F.’s Confidence Index (“the highest reading in 10 years”); Small Business Optimism Index (“3rd highest reading since 2007”).

CoreLogic’s third factor was one that hasn’t been much talked about until now: governmental. Apparently, tax receipts have been stronger than expected, freeing state and local governments to spend more. That’s an unexpected economic stimulus—and of a kind that should be more welcome than some of the previous “let’s just create more money” variety.

CoreLogic puts residential sales growth in the area of 5%. Will our Puget Sound numbers match those projections? One reason to think so is the local mortgage rate phenomenon. Rates remain tantalizingly low—but apt to begin creeping upward. That’s the kind of spur to home buyers that is apt to work as effectively as merchants’ “limited time sale” technique: tick! tick! tick!

If you have been delaying wading into the local residential sales arena until the time is right, 2015 certainly looks like that time has arrived. I’m standing by to help you take advantage of the many opportunities this spring market is offering. Why not give me a call?

Comment

Comment

Photos That Make (or Break) A Listing's Success

Your home listing is, hands-down, the most likely place prospective buyers will get their first glimpse of the home you are selling. Most serious prospects will go online as an early step in the process of winnowing candidate properties by area, asking price, number of bedrooms, etc.—so the photos in your home listing will be your offering’s face to the world.

You probably already know that—and that not all pictures are created equal. What’s important to realize is that some home listing photos actually scare away buyers! Whether you are preparing for a professional photographer’s shooting day or just helping your REALTOR® choose the shots that will be included in your area home listing, here are some red flag/don’t go there/bad idea/just-say-no off-kilter ideas for real estate photos. If you steer clear of these approaches, you home listing will benefit:

Adorable Pets in the Shot

Resist the temptation to make your home more appealing and homier by include the cuddliest member of the family—your pet. “But,” (your may be thinking) “half the commercials on TV have a dog or a cat in them! Apparently, animals sell!” Madison Avenue might be able to use four-legged actors to promote some products, but the sight of Fluffy or Fido in a home listing will turn off most buyers. Although no one can smell your pet through an online photo (at least not yet), many people can imagine what smells might be associated with that pooch or feline. “One of the biggest reasons people will or won’t buy a house is odor,” says Don Aslett on the MSN Real Estate website—and few REALTORs would argue the point. So be on the safe side—leave pets on the cutting room floor.

Odd Camera Angles

It can be tempting to shoot photos from a low angle, pointing the camera toward the ceiling. The idea might be to make rooms look as if they have higher ceilings—or to fit everything into the shot—and sometimes the result does look fine. But equally likely is a photo that ends up looking, well, odd. Off-balance shots can make viewers feel uncomfortable, as if something’s just not right. You want your photos to look as realistic as possible, as if it’s what everybody sees on a home tour. IOW, if a photo is in any way jarring, opt for one taken from a normal point of view.

Focus Misdirection

Most listings show everything in acceptably sharp focus: in photographer jargon, they exhibit wide Depth-of-Field. But where lighting or lens dictate shallow depth, only part of the shot will be in sharp focus…and that’s the area that will attract the viewer’s eye. Use this to your advantage. For instance, it’s good to show pictures of the master bathroom—especially if it resembles a spa retreat—but it’s bad to focus on the commode instead of the Carrera marble vanity.

Putting together a killer listing is an important part of the comprehensive service my clients receive.

Comment