July 2008


Posts, I wrote them!  Publish, I did not last week.  I shall call last week the bad attitude week…or just a simple buckle to the negativity pressure or maybe just melting in the heat.  Whatever the reason…I was a lady who lunched.

I spent some time with dear friends and enjoyed a delicious salad with grilled chicken.  My friends are fellow Realtors and we discussed (of course) the real estate market.  What sticks out in my memory the most is the brilliant Mary proclaiming that she simply waits for the proclamation that, “Its over”.  Then, the world can get back on course.

Who shall give us this proclamation?  And, how will they know it is indeed over?

I spoke with a gentlemen last week who gloomed and doomed me, it took a day to shrug it off.  Funny, I know there to be some incredibly savvy individuals out in our midst right at this moment making some shrewd and diligent buying decisions–yet his negativity got to me–I blame the heat.  And, there are my first time buyers who got a signed deal last week…so happy, effervescent and enthusiastic…I am sticking with them.  Their joy is contagious.

Then there is the grilled chicken queen, Mary!  In a world where attitude is everything, hers is consistently upbeat, so when she says “Its Over!”, I am on that bus.

Say it Mary!

Guess what…I am a trouble maker!  I am about to share a little secret that some shrewd buyers might already know:

Days on Market stats are not always accurate

For awhile I hesitated in putting them into my per town updates because I contend that it can give the shopper a negative either way…too new, not ready to negotiate, too long ready to negotiate BIG.  I added them because the quarterly review and annual wrap-up use the days on market statistic.

As a mad Multiple Listing watcher, some might say stalker even, I peruse the hotsheet some 4 times a day (me, attempting to minimize).  I know that listings get withdrawn, expire and cancelled and then come back on the market…days on market start at zero with each re-list.

I have no quarrel with this practice, agents doing it are providing a service to their sellers.  The hotsheet view is a great way to have other agents take another look at a property, a freshen up, if you will.  And many times, the re-list comes with a price reduction.

My point is the Days on Market stat is not wholly correct and if it is important to you, I recommend you seek out the history perspective on the property for a true depiction of what has been going on.  I assume why buyers are interested in this number is to determine the degree of seller motivation.  I am here to tell you that would not be the best indicator…you can have a 2 day old listing with a highly motivated seller and a 212 day listing with a seller whose heals are firmly in the ground.

The DOM question is number 1 of the 2 asked just inside the door (by everyone).  I suggest it might be wise to ignore this number…each house only needs one buyer, maybe this one was waiting for you?   If you like the house, make your offer and let the negotiations begin. 

Can you guess question number 2?

It has come to my attention via the Voluntown website that this towns population doubles in size during the summer months…I had no idea it was such a tourist attraction!  But apparently Voluntown is a hub for camping, boating, hiking and swimming with nearly 70% of its land being state owned.  Lessons learned!  You can visit the town web site at www.voluntown.gov .

Here are some other interesting facts straight from the town’s site:

Estimated 2005 population – 2598

  • Land area – 39 square miles
  • State of Connecticut owns 70% of land (Pachaug State Forest)
  • Population per square mile – 72
  • Households – 952
  • Median Age – 37
  • Total Students Enrolled in Voluntown Schools (pre-K thru grade 8) – 334
  • Student/Teacher Ratio – 13
  • Total Students Enrolled in Designated High Schools (Griswold High and Norwich Free Academy) – 140

And, the real estate market looks like this:

Current Active listings:  18                 Range of value:  $90,000 to 767,000

Current Pending listings:  3                 Range of value:  $209,900 to 339,900

Closed in the last 90 days:  10            Range of value:  $160,000 to 321,000

Average days on market:  85.2

Average sale price:  $260,190

miss libertyI have been googling a little American History.  Once, I may have known this stuff off the top of my head (sure I did), but who I have become fascinated with is a fellow named Thomas Paine who penned the best selling pamphlet called “Common Sense” back in the days immediately prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

“Common Sense” was a call to action to the settlers of the colonies and one of his fundamental points of provocation was that the colonists should have the right to own property and use it as they saw fit, freely.  Well, he managed to get the citizenry riled up and the feisty little nasty gram to the King soon followed and a revolution began, just 232 years ago.

I visited the United Nations a little over a month ago and since I am not smarter than a 6th grader, I (re) learned that the United Nations has a little document called “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and item #1 is “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others”.

It is said that homeownership is the American Dream, but clearly the United Nations would like it to be a worldwide goal.  With 68.3% of Americans being homeowners, we are leading the charge! (googled statistic)

So be Independent, build wealth, buy real estate!

Happy 4th of July!

So many Sunday’s from 1 – 3 pm I have spent manning the open house!  A great deal of new construction…Voluntown, Gales Ferry, Lisbon, Preston..and the re-sale property.  I know the amount of work that goes into the event for sellers; cleaning, mowing, vacating the premises…all on a hopefully lovely Sunday afternoon.  It can be a pain in the…

Is it Worth it?

I say yes but not for statistical reasons!  The stats, I suspect, are dismal.  My own are at nearly 25 years, 2 resale houses sold immediately from the open house.  Statistically it would be impossible to track whether word of mouth from an open house sold the property, but I think that information would be more impressive.

This information does not apply to the new construction open house. (that is a long process and many, many times sales are a direct result of ongoing open houses)

The following are my reasons why the open house is an invaluable marketing strategy for the seller of real estate:

1.  Advertising – using contemporary methods and traditional print, it pulls the property to the front of the competition

2.  Agent focus – I have learned a tremendous amount about real estate shoppers from the open house.  Concentrating exclusively on one property which amounts to far more than 2 hours, I can truly focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the property and play to the strengths from a PR and marketing stand point.

3.  Anonymity – New potential buyers love it, freedom to look without commitment.  Even if they are not the one for your house, they may know the one and tell them about it.

4.  Neighbors – Who better to help sell your house?  They come to see how their house stacks up but may just know someone in the market who they would like for a neighbor.

5.  Genuine, immediate feedback – My favorite part!  I love to hear the thoughts of the serious and just looking alike..some of it can be invaluable.  There is no accounting for taste, but if I hear the same thing repeatedly..I know there is a selling issue that needs addressed.  It is my wish to hear all about the other houses they have seen and how this one compares.  People are honest at the open house and that is the marketing equivalent of striking gold. 

So…it is all about Public Relations and Marketing.  The open house for sellers can keep the marketing fresh and the public aware you are most interested in selling.