All Cash Real Estate Sales by State

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We recently came across a great infographic by Keeping Current Matters that outlined where in the US the most all cash real estate sales are taking place. This is great information to know; not only to see how your state sizes up, but to learn how common all cash sales are where out-of-town buyers are coming from.

cash sales by state
via Core Logic

First, let’s take a look at the percentage of all cash real estate sales nationwide over the years. Pre-economic-crisis (pre-December 2007), all cash sales made up 25 percent of all real estate transactions. After the economy began to recover, all cash sales bumped up to 46.1 percent in January 2011. Over a year later, all cash sales dipped to 40.2 percent in September 2012. The latest statistics find that as of September 2013, 37.4 percent of real estate sales nationwide were all cash purchases.

In these latest statistics it was revealed that, from west to east, Nevada, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and New York were the states with the highest rates of all cash buyers (over 44 percent). New York rang in at number one with 56 percent all cash transactions, with Florida and West Virginia as close seconds at 54 percent.

cash sales shares
via Core Logic

The states with the lowest rates of all cash purchases (from 18 to 30 percent), again from west to east, were Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. Maryland had the lowest rate at 18 percent, with Colorado, Virginia, and Massachusetts the second to lowest at 24 percent.

The rest of the states rang in between 31 and 43 percent all cash purchases.

According to Core Logic, from January 2000 to July 2013, real estate owned (REO) sales had the largest cash sales share, followed by resales, short sales, and new construction.


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BizSugar for Realtors

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bizsugar logo
via BizSugar

BizSugar is a website that promotes content by and for small business owners, managers and entrepreneurs. It’s a great site to submit articles and gain online visibility! Here is what the site lists as its two main functions and advantages:

• You share your business blog posts, videos and other content, so that others can learn from you. Benefits: you reinforce a reputation as a thought leader and bring online visibility to your content.
• You discover what others have shared. Benefits: you make networking connections with other business people and stay informed.

BizSugar not only allows you to share your content and discover like-minded individuals’ content, it ranks pieces based on a user voting system. The most “sugared” content goes to the front page. Topics include marketing, finance, social media, customer service, technology, self-development and more.

Not only is BizSugar a great place to find tips and tricks for your small business (real estate) site and marketing efforts, it’s a great place to submit your blog posts and drive more traffic to your site!

Simply sign up, find some friends (like HouseHunt!) and start submitting articles. How many votes your posts receive will determine how many articles you can submit a day. Therefore, the more quality content you produce, the more votes you will get, and the more you can share daily!

Make sure to link to your real estate website, blog site, YouTube channel, StumbleUpon page, LinkedIn profile, and Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts from your profile.

This account will be relatively easy to maintain, taking five to ten minutes a day depending on how many articles you submit and if you write lengthy descriptions.

Are there any article submission sites you’re a part of? Please let us know what they are in the comments section.


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3 Websites to Recommend to Your Clients

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Here are some great resources, in both website and phone app form, that can really help your clients navigating both the home buying and selling experience.

Glossre.com

glossre.com logo
via Glossre

Glossre stands for the glossary of real estate. The site and mobile app make up a social network for your home, because “the story of your home is worth sharing.” This site and app can be great assets to both new homeowners and those selling a home. It allows you to document everything about your home from a coat of new paint to a remodeling project. The app is free and allows users to take, upload and organize photos by room, add text, tags and annotations to pictures and track receipts, bids and prospective purchases.

Recommend this to your buyer clients who’ve recently purchased a home so they can document everything about their new home from the start. Also, tell your seller clients to use it to go around their home and visually capture every remodeling project they’ve carried out since the initial purchase of the home.

 

Nextdoor.com

via Nextdoor
via Nextdoor

Nextdoor is “the private social network for your neighborhood.” The app is free, available on both iPhone and Android, and allows you to stay informed about what’s happening in your neighborhood. Only real neighbors are allowed and users can receive notifications about important neighborhood activities or alerts. The app is great for organizing a neighborhood watch group, finding a trustworthy babysitter, or asking for help to track down a lost dog.

Recommend this website and mobile app to your relocating buyer clients. This is a great introduction to any neighborhood and allows those new to an area to find and feel a sense of community.

 

NeighborhoodAppeal.com

via NeighboorhoodAppeal
via NeighboorhoodAppeal

Neighborhood Appeal is a website that “uses a proprietary algorithm and a ‘crowd sourcing’ approach to provide grades of a neighborhood’s appeal for any city, town or zip code in the United States.” Plug in your city, state and zip code and receive a grade ranging from A+ to F. A neighborhood’s appeal is calculated based on scenic beauty, weather, crime rate and air pollution. It also allows site visitors to grade their own neighborhoods and calculates this into the score. This site also allows users to discuss what’s going on in their community (local activities, volunteer opportunities, fundraisers, best places to eat, etc).

Recommend this site to your buyer clients. This site can be a great tool for finding out how prospective neighborhoods your buyer clients are considering compare to one another.

 

Have any more phone apps or websites to recommend to your clients? Please let us know in the comments section.

 


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10 Twitter Accounts to Follow for Real Estate Professionals

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We’ve talked before about how Twitter serves as both a great marketing resource and a platform to engage with your customer base. But Twitter can also be an opportunity for you to learn from others and stay on the cutting edge of your industry.

To help get you started, here are a few of our favorite Twitter accounts to follow relevant to real estate. We’ve shared their personal Twitter bios, and a little bit about why we love them in particular.

 

twitter phone

@InmanNews

The leading independent source of real estate news, commentary & education.

This account cranks out all the best industry insight, from helpful apps to major shifts in mortgage laws. Be in the know when it comes to all things real estate.

@HuffPostHome

We’re bringing design down to earth.

Great tips for your clients on design, including home staging. Also includes the real estate leg of Huffington Post.

@msnrealestate

Home and rental listings. Expert advice. Simple tools. We’re here to help!

This is your best stop for market trends. This is perhaps HouseHunt’s most trusted third party source for industry research. They also include a lot of insight about your clientel with list journalism including, “What First-Time Buyers Look for in an Agent,” “What Women Buyers Want in a Home,” etc.

@HomeAdvisor

The nation’s #1 free resource for background-checked and customer-reviewed home service professionals.

On the surface, HomeAdvisor may not seem like they have a lot to do with real estate; they’re more about home improvement and customer service. But they constantly offer tips for improving resale value and what buyer’s are most often looking for.

@massrealty

One of the top 5 RE-MAX agents in MA for the last decade. Social media/SEO junkie.

This is the personal account of Bill Gassett, who has guest blogged for us (and we for him!). With over 16,000 followers, he’s obviously got a knack for sharing his real estate wisdom. Known especially for his cutting edge marketing strategies, there is plenty to learn from this guru.

@Century21

Century 21 Real Estate LLC is the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization.

We like these guys because they’re not afraid to show some personality. They take what’s big in pop culture – from the Breaking Bad finale to Justin Bieber egging his neighbor – and give it a real estate twist. Plus naturally they post plenty of helpful marketing and customer service tips for agents.

@MadisonMortgage + @MortgageUpdated

Between these two sources, you’ll know everything there is to know about mortgage. Furthermore, these accounts understand social media etiquette better than anyone else in the Twittersphere.

@HouseHunt + @HouseHuntAgents

Let’s just be real, we have everything you could possibly be looking for: market trends, design tips, insightful articles, easy-to-share infographics, and more. The HouseHunt side is more for homeowners and the Agents side is for real estate professionals, but both will serve as beneficial resources.

 

So what do you think? Who did we forget? Maybe you can teach us about accounts we didn’t know to follow yet! Let us know in the comments below. 


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Boomerang Buyers Return

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Boomerang Buyers, former homeowners who have gone through a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy in the past few years and are saving for a down payment in order to purchase a home again, are returning to the market.

For our infographic introduction to the subject, click here.

boomerang buyers

“Why now?” you may ask. The return of boomerang buyers in 2014 may be due to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s announcement last August. HUD’s “Mortgagee Letter” stated that:

As a result of the recent recession many borrowers who experienced unemployment or other severe reductions in income, were unable to make their monthly mortgage payments, and ultimately lost their homes to a pre-foreclosure sale, deed-in-lieu, or foreclosure…FHA recognizes the hardships faced by these borrowers, and realizes that their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage…Borrowers that may be otherwise ineligible for an FHA-insured mortgage due to FHA’s waiting period [for aforementioned reasons] may be eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage.

The waiting period mentioned is normally three years, but if borrowers meet the necessary requirements, the waiting period is only one year. Therefore, as the economy continues to recover, more and more former homeowners will be looking to buy again and be able to get a mortgage through the FHA.

Of course there are some caveats, like the opportunity only applies to those with case numbers assigned on or after August 15, 2013 through September 30, 2016, but this policy change means an influx of boomerang buyers in the market within the year.

In order to get to know boomerang buyers better, we give you a few statistics provided by Keeping Current Matters and AfterForeclosure.com:

  • 79% of people who have lost their homes are interested in buying again
  • 41% have incomes higher than when they first purchased
  • 63% report that their other debt obligations are lower
  • 46% report the desire to purchase a home in a lower price range
  • 81% have never heard of the aforementioned FHA policy change

The takeaway? Get the word out that former homeowners can purchase a new property as soon as twelve months following a short sale or foreclosure provided they can prove their default was due to financial hardship.

Reach out to those who have lost their homes; they want to buy, and with this new policy, now they can.


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FREE eBook: “Turning Online Prospects into Closed Sales”

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Click to Download
Click to Download

With the majority of home buyers and sellers going online to look for an agent, it’s important to know how to work online prospects. How do you market to potential clients depending on where they are in your pipeline? How do you shorten the length of the sales cycle? How do you qualify and close internet prospects?

Find out how to identify, manage, nurture, qualify and close online leads in HouseHunt’s FREE E-Book Turning Online Prospects into Closed Sales.

Please follow this link to sign up for your free eBook!

Enjoy!

 

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Old School vs New School Real Estate

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Agents who have been in real estate for a while have methods that are tried and true. The agents newer to the scene have technology that makes them more efficient than ever.

So what is better for business?

In the battle of the “old school” versus “new school” way of thinking about real estate, who proves most effective? What can each camp learn from the other?

There are two primary consumer-facing aspects of real estate for any agent: marketing and customer service. We will look at these two facets through the lens of classic versus contemporary methods to determine where each shines and what’s best for YOU!

young and old 2

MARKETING

The old school method to marketing was often summarized in the Four P’s: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion. These are measurable factors used to determine the success of a good or service. What you may also notice about the Four P’s is that they are focused on the company. These are things determined solely by the person offering the product or service.

In terms of advertising and brand awareness, the old school methods were great for being conveniently tracked and organized. If something didn’t work, it was easy to pinpoint the weak link and remedy it.

Unfortunately, the old methods relied heavily on interruption. You would get the attention of the prospective client regardless of where they were or what they were up to. This concept is demonstrated in something like the door-to-door process. There’s perhaps no more effective way to raise awareness of your presence in the community than door-to-door meet and greets, but they are not always well received. Anyone who has tried to sell anything door-to-door or with cold calls knows that it often annoys the target market.

The new school method of marketing is based around the Six C’s: Contact, Connection, Conversation, Consideration, Consumption, and Community. These things are not business centric, but rather consumer focused. They don’t simply push the message of your product on the people within earshot. These words emphasize the idea of building a relationship with people so that maybe someday they’ll use your product or service.

The more modern Six C’s method is not “interruption based” like the old school advertising, but rather “permission based.” Marketing guru Seth Godin defines permission marketing as, “the privilege…of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”

The average American sees over 1,000 commercial messages a day. It’s more than your brain could possibly process. It’s not enough anymore to simply let people know you exist as a real estate agent. You have to be a constant resource to people.

Real estate tends to be a more socially outgoing profession, so the idea of building relationships probably doesn’t intimidate you. You obviously have people skills and love to help others. So you could, for example, set up a website or blog that answers questions about mortgage, escrow, and other elements of realty that your constituents may not understand.

But how do you let people know about something like your super helpful blog? No matter how innovative you are in marketing with the Six C’s, you are still going to have to use the old-school means to get the word out initially.

The art of your marketing strategy is to find a balance between the old school fundamentals and the new school efficiency. Simple brochures or flyers borrowed from yesteryear could be all you need to propel your website awareness and be considered the real estate authority of your community.

Your goal is to be the first name that comes to mind when someone is getting ready to buy or sell their home. You can’t do this without incorporating old fundamentals into new systems.

young and old

SERVICE

After you draw a customer in, you must have the customer service skills to keep their momentum through the entire real estate transaction.

The methods behind the customer service aspect of real estate haven’t really changed in the “new school” mentality. Only the mediums have changed.

Now, instead of hounding your clients with phone calls, you can communicate over texts and emails, allowing consumers to have power over when and how they are able to give you their full attention.

The primary drawback of new technology being utilized in customer service is that there are so many platforms you can be available on. Most agents are taught not to go to bed with messages in your voicemail; you want to be constantly responsive to client needs. But now you can’t go to bed with messages on your voicemail, text message inbox, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

The many ways to reach a client is a great aspect of the digital age, but therein also lies one of the key arguments against the new school mentality: It’s not personal anymore!

If you’re constantly replying with 160-character text messages, are you ever really connecting? Maybe you should just pick up the phone and give them a call! There’s no point in investing so much in building relationships and then never showing genuine care for a client.

With old school methods, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Sure, you’re subject to annoy a few people whom you’ve interrupted with a phone call or by showing up on their doorstep. But the others will be grateful for the human interaction. When younger agents rely solely on digital communication, many prospective clients will be thrilled for your genuine attempt to make contact.

Whatever mediums by which you make yourself available, you must stay active on. You should rarely be automated. Make your connection personal. You’ll receive many referrals because you go out of your way to be available for customers. That has always been the mark of a good agent, old school or not.

THE VERDICT

One thing should be made clear: new methods of advertising and engaging are not a product of the new methods of marketing. The new marketing comes from a need to shift methods of advertising and engaging.

This means that, for the most part, the new way of going about real estate is going to be more beneficial for the customer – but only because it was built upon the old way of doing things. It should not be viewed as a battle of old school vs new school in real estate, but rather how the two can work together.

It’s like the saying; you have to know the rules to break them. Some Realtors may think the young kids are breaking the rules. But be open-minded to the idea that maybe they just knew what rules to break.

 

What do you think? Did the new school mentality simply expound upon what was working well for agents in the past? Or do young agents seem to be disregarding the key elements of marketing and customer service set by older agents? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Do You Know Your Real Estate Association’s Lock Box Rules?

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Lock box rules and regulations vary depending on what real estate association you’re a member of, so make sure you’ve read the fine print. Failure to follow the lock box guidelines of your association can lead to hefty fines.

In addition to the National Association of Realtors, lock box requirements can be made by local real estate associations or recognized lock box vendors.

According to Realtor.org’s lock box security requirements, “eligibility for coverage under NAR’s blanket errors and omissions insurance program is contingent on compliance with the following security measures.”

Here’s a quick run-down of NAR’s 10 requirements:

  • Keys must not be duplicated or “duplicative” (meaning cannot be easily copied).
  • Keys must be obtained from the original manufacturer, a recognized vendor or other legitimate source.
lock box
  • Lock box systems need to be designated as an “activity” of “an association of realtors or an association-owned and operated MLS.”
  • Associations must maintain current records of all keys issued and in inventory.
  • Associations must require a “substantial” deposit from each key holder (between $25 and $300).
  • Lock boxes can only be placed on a property after the seller gives written consent.
  • Key holders and co-signatories must immediately report lost, stolen, or unaccounted for keys.
  • “Associations shall adopt written, reasonable, and appropriate rules and procedures for administration of lock box systems which may include appropriate fees, not to exceed $15,000.” (Amended in November 2013).
  • Associations and multiple listing services may sell electronic lock box keypads or programmers to MLS participants.
  • If the lock box is authorized by the seller and occupant, MLSs may require placement of an approved lock box on listed properties.

Pay attention to the requirement that’s been bolded. This rule allows for local real estate associations to make their own rules, which is exactly why it’s important to read your association’s regulations.

One popular rule many associations make is that you must have an appointment to view the property. If you’re caught using the lock box to enter a home without an appointment, you can be fined. For example, Illinois’ Peoria Area Association of Realtors’ SentriLock policy states:

Realtors must contact the listing broker to disclose their agency status and to arrange [an] appointment to show listed property unless stated otherwise on the MLS computer listing. The fine for entering a property without [an] appointment shall be $500.

Similarly, Park Hill, Missouri’s Mineral Area Board of Realtors’ “Rules and Regulations for Using the Supra/Kim System” states “Fines up to $1,000 may be levied for entering a property without first making an appointment.”

So, make sure you cover yourself and read the fine print of your local real estate association’s lock box regulations. You may find some rules you didn’t know existed, or that you’ve been unknowingly violating!


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10 Quick Marketing Tips for Real Estate Agents

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We recently stumbled across a great infographic by MyProperty and decided to share what we learned from it. Here are 10 quick marketing tips for real estate agents, both on and offline. Make sure your real-world and virtual efforts are balanced—don’t focus too much on one arena and forget about the other!

 

Offline

offline marketing
  1. Create brand recall with business cards, personalized mugs, pens and other things to give away to prospective clients.
  2. Employ word-of-mouth to publicize your work. Talk yourself up!
  3. Showcase your skills in the biz through open houses. Show off your real estate know-how to prospective clients.
  4. Make brochures, flyers, and other literature promoting your listings and success and pass them out to everyone (local businesses, homeowners, etc).
  5. Run ads about your real estate business in newspapers, local magazines, and other print outlets.


Online

online marketing
  1. Launch a well-designed website to increase your online visibility and enhance your online reputation.
  2. Create a blog on your site and post creative, relevant and updated content on a regular basis (at least three times a week).
  3. Start an e-newsletter on your site and promote it to visitors via a pop-up or fixed subscription box.
  4. Create profiles on multiple social media sites and promote yourself, your services and your website on these platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Active Rain, etc).
  5. Engage with other agents, brokers, inspectors, home stagers and other professionals on other blogs, social media sites, and forums.

 

 

If you are already doing these things, you’ve got a great head start! Keep up the great work: continue your real-world efforts offline, and keep engaging and posting online.

If you don’t quite have the above list checked off just yet, don’t worry. The fact that you’re even reading this is the first step. Pick what you most enjoy from the list and tackle those things first!

 


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