Central Va’s changing market

One of the greatest benefits of blogging is finding the online relationships (no, not in that way!) that can be developed. I read the following at Merv & Pam’s blog focusing on the NoVa. market.

There are a lot of parallels and clear correlations between the NoVa and Central Va markets. As my readers and clients know, I try to look at the real estate market from a macroeconomic point of view and apply that knowledge to the local market. It is important to learn from others’ experiences; the NoVa market is usually a little bit ahead of ours …

This is part of a recent mailing they sent to their clients regarding this shifting market:

• Be realistic. Buyers are now buying the best for their money. Either show better for the price or reduce the price. Investing in paint, new carpet and staging when necessary yields a big return on investment. Also, Location, Location, Location are always the top 3 real estate priorities.
• Be flexible. Buyers are being more selective and expect more from sellers in price negotiations and perhaps subsidies for closing costs.
• Be logical: This is market dynamics. What your neighbor sold for last spring or last year has nothing to do with market value today.
• Be professional: Generally, work on your home done by a professional will be worth more in the long run. Buyers will be picky.
• Be patient.

In summary, the heady times are no longer with us. Normal used to be a few days to a couple of weeks on the market to get a ratified contract. Normal is now an average of 45 to 60 days. More for some properties.

There is much more at their site, and is worth reading. I will be posting more data soon regarding longer marketing times, extended days on market and more negotiating flexibility in sellers’ pricing.

Another neat thing about them is that we have similar marketing:

• Our internet marketing is second to none. We showcase all listings on realtor.com, homesdatabase.com, Yahoo, MSN, washingtonpost.com among others.
• Every property has a VisualTour (75% of buyers look at homes with Visual Tours or those with more than 1 picture first.) Our VisualTours are among the best in the industry. We average over 300 total views per week for all our listed properties. Our properties get exposure.
• Our website and blog get over 1000 unique visitors per month and is growing rapidly.
• If you do a Google Blog search for Virginia Real Estate or Northern Virginia Real Estate, we come up at the very top of the first page. This means exposure for your property.
• Our properties are posted to “craigslist” and soon on Google Base (beta in test now) as well as Google and Yahoo maps.

This, and all competitive businesses require constant innovation, idea implementation and ultimately, consistent execution.

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5 Comments

  1. Andy Kaufman November 18, 2005 at 01:06

    Hey Jim,

    Thanks for the link. Both of your blogs are great & I really identify with a lot of your postings.

    I just left a similar comment on Merv & Pam’s blog, but I also have a very similar online marketing strategy & it’s amazing how much extra exposure we can provide our clients.

    One of my VisualTours has been viewed 1252 times in the past 10 days & I can show a report to my client veifying this. Technology is wonderful!

    You have a fan out here in the Bay Area. Keep up the great work.

    –Andy

  2. Jim November 18, 2005 at 07:46

    Andy –

    Thanks for the kind words. Technology is a good thing (for the most part) and, used efficiently, can be a real boon to us as agents. Maintaining that edge over the competition is the tough part!

    –Jim

  3. Andy Kaufman November 18, 2005 at 12:00

    Jim,

    Having the edge is only part of the equation. We also need to get in front of a potential client so that we can communicate our value. There are a ton of new licensees out here in California who’s main value proposition is cutting their commission. Having a blog and the amount of accessible information that a potential client can easily access about me is really changing my business.

    I’m just pumped about offering great service. I’m putting that energy out & now I’m working with people who have found me and want to work with me.

    It makes doing your job that much more exciting when you know your client is 100% on board & trusts you from the get go.

    –Andy

  4. Jim November 18, 2005 at 21:48

    Andy, you are absolutely spot-on. If you’re not focused, on and driven to provide, top-quality service, then all the technology in the world won’t help garner repeat business. Clients’ trust is invaluable. Have you read Raving Fans? These values have helped drive my client goals for the past year or so, and I have found great success by always putting the client first, technology or no!

  5. Merv November 29, 2005 at 18:16

    Jim, Andy:
    We are of ONE mind on this. Case in point:

    (1) We have a $1.35M listing that we were awarded because of our blog (and perhaps because we are nice people). Clients loved our market research and reporting. No one else does it and I don’t know why! In the listing presentation we focused on “What we are going to do for you.” They called us. They interviewed FIVE other big name agents and they all did the ME ME ME thing. The end.

    (2) (my engineering background gets the best of me sometimes) We have a $400,000 listing that was referred through a friend who watched us perform service acrobats for a neighbor in the same neighborhood. She also appreciated our straight forward, no sales approach and we brought more research on her potential home value and the market than anybody else she interviewed.

    Moral of the story: Just DO more than anyone else and be sure all your ducks are lined up (another saying from a past career). This business is not about me. It is about the client. To be the best in any service delivery business one must exude knowledge, deliver on commitments and say you are sorry when you screw up (and, by the way, tell them how you are going to fix it). Trust is a wonderful, precious thing that can never be violated.

    Thanks for letting me rant!!
    Regards,
    Merv