Where are Housing Prices?


Conducting a Marketing & Sales Plan

conductor_6It started when I was 14. It was my first opportunity to conduct a symphony orchestra. I took the conductor’s score home, following along with a recording of Mozart’s ‘Andante & Allegro’; I identified whom I needed to communicate with, so that the melody would be clear to the listener. Hours of perfecting my patterns, and my movements, so that the orchestra would know exactly what I wanted them to do. Phrasing and rhythm had to be internalized so that I could communicate and control the entire group. Everything needed to be memorized… all the parts… all the phrases… to assure a gorgeous timbre was played by all. Yet, I couldn’t make a single sound…

Even at 14, I knew what I expected. No one would get away with giving less than what was needed to serve the music. I can remember some instrumentalists complaining that I expected them to play the 16th note runs, in tempo. Of course, I did! How else would the phrase be propelled as it needed to be?

After 25 years of leading, directing, creating, performing, I have found myself doing the same job but with a new set of players, and a new checklist. No longer do I have to verify that the trumpets are playing in Bb or C. I, now, verify if I am hitting our target buyer’s needs and wants. Telling the story about a home, a neighborhood or a lifestyle is up to me – just like conducting an orchestra. Again, I don’t make any of the sound, but the message has to be tailored to the recipient and to make sense, no, to captivate them.

Though, there is a small minority of buyers (typically investors), that do not engage emotionally in the buying process. Most buyers make a decision based on emotion and subsequently, solidify their choice with logic.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Why our properties sell is because we pay attention to the story that the home, the neighborhood, and the lifestyle provides to the next owner. Technology delivers the message immediately; the speed of the message is lightning fast (in real time). For properties on the market today, the first impression is almost always the ONLY impression.

Another reason my team’s marketing works is because we understand human nature, in that, we all want significance. Many of the orchestras I conducted were made up of volunteers. My job was to make the many sound as one unit. This is counterintuitive to most ego-driven performers. To do that, I had to make sure the musicians felt important and valued. When the 2nd violin playing in the 4th row felt valued, she performed better. When she played better, we would all sound better. The reality is; this was about them, not me. When they sparkled, the music was served. When the music was served, we all won!

When the buyer’s values are identified and met, they are emotionally engaged. This is crucial to ensuring that buyers commit to a property, and stick with it until the closing.

We are all in sales. Teachers, parents, politicians, lawyers, even you! What you need to remember is; IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! It is about THEM!

What your bachelor pad says about you [infographic]


Harvard Study Warns of Rent Bubble

housing_bubble_861feFor renters, the national recovery could be very bad news. That warning came from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies’ latest report on America’s rental housing. Rental markets are now tightening, with vacancy rates falling and rents climbing. With little new supply of multifamily units in the pipeline, rents could rise sharply as demand increases. Regardless, affordability is likely to deteriorate further over the next few years as persistently high unemployment limits renter income gains.

When job growth regains momentum, the number of renter households could climb quickly. Given the long lead times needed to develop new multifamily housing, a sharp increase in demand could quickly reduce vacancy rates and put upward pressure on rents. While this would be good news for owners and investors in rental housing, it would also fuel the intense affordability pressures, the study warns.

A variety of rental market indicators suggest that the worst repercussions from the recession may be over. While this is good news for most of us, especially property owners, the recovery may increase the rent pressures on households still struggling in an environment of sluggish job growth. The ongoing foreclosure crisis should continue to spur growth in the number of renter households as former owners switch to renting. Single-family home foreclosures will also add a steady flow of units to the rental market. The ability of renter households to occupy these homes will be an important factor in maintaining the stability of distressed neighborhoods hard hit by the foreclosure crisis.

Although there appears to be an excess supply of rental housing at present, this could change quickly as the economy recovers and household formation among younger adults returns to a more typical pace. An upsurge in demand could outstrip the available supply and push construction activity back up, the study says.

One of the most important questions going forward is whether mortgage financing will be available to fuel rental property purchases and investments. Even before the financial crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were an important source of financing for both multifamily and investor-owned single family properties. And during the crisis, the GSEs—along with FHA—accounted for the vast majority of new financing. As Congress takes up debate about what, if any, role the GSEs should play in the mortgage markets, policymakers must consider the vital importance they have as a source of capital for rental housing.

By Steve Cook