By Dave Robison
“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson is an easy but great read. The narrative is a simple story that describes the trials and tribulations of two mice—Sniff and Scurry—who always rely on getting their cheese from the same source. When the cheese source is moved, they wonder why it disappeared and promptly go in search for more. But cheese was easy to find when they knew just where it would be, and Sniff and Scurry had much more trouble locating food once they weren’t sure where to look.
And so it is with the real estate industry, especially as it relates to REO/short sales. We had some mice who were in the right place at the right time and knew exactly where to find the cheese so they could feast. In this case, the mice were some advantageous REALTORS® and the cheese was the REO/short sales market. In my opinion, the REO/short sales industry seems to have come and gone. When the market flourished, the top producers of the REO/short sales boom were certainly finding their cheese, (and why wouldn’t they? They knew exactly where to look). Today, with the boom waning, the REO/short sales top producers are telling me they’re going to have to sell real estate the “normal way.” What’s the lesson learned here? Now that they’re not sure where to find the cheese, they’re having much more trouble making a sale.
What are the clues as to when there will be cheese and when the cheese will be gone? Marilyn Wilson with the WAV Group recently spoke to our Utah Associaiton of REATLORS® and left many clues. The following are statistics she quoted from her research, (mainly conducted in the Houston area):
1. Based on her own survey results, when the general public of Houston was asked about the first company that comes to mind when they hear the words “real estate,” the most common answer was Zillow.
2. Only 12 percent of those surveyed said they would rather work with a REALTOR® instead of a real estate agent.
3. WAV Group called 1,000 listings and only reached 30 percent of agents immediately. Another 30 percent never even returned the phone call.
So, if you’re type of mouse who banks on the fact that cheese—or the latest hot trend in real estate—will never go away, you may say these facts are interesting and move on with your life. However, if you’re the type of mouse who knows the importance of dwindling cheese sources in the real estate industry, you may sense the winds of change from these bits of information. Which type of mouse do you want to be? Where do you see change happening now? What’s the latest real estate trend ready to disappear?
Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is broker/owner of UtahDave.com Neighborhood Experts.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Shades of gray, quartz finishes, and energy efficiency are all growing in popularity in kitchens and baths this year, according to a National Kitchen & Bath Association survey of 2013 design trends.
NKBA reports that home owners this year are spending, on average, $47,308 on making over their kitchens, and $18,538 in bathrooms.
Here are the top 10 trends emerging from this year’s report for kitchens and bathrooms:
1. Gray color schemes
2. Quartz finishes for counter surfaces
3. Transitional styles — a blend of traditional and contemporary
4. White painted cabinetry in the kitchen
5. Glass blacksplashes
6. LED lighting
7. Touch-activated faucets
8. Satin-nickel finishes in kitchens
9. Ceramic or porcelain tile flooring
10. Undermount sinks in bathrooms
Calling all real estate and staging professionals: I’m looking for your best photos showing how you staged a front porch or deck of a home! Some of your photos may be used in an upcoming issue of REALTOR(R) Magazine or online (credited to you of course!). Please e-mail your outdoor staging photos to Melissa Tracey at email@example.com. Please include your name, company, and what you did to spruce up the front porch or deck to turn it into a selling point to potential buyers.
By Wade Corbett
It never ceases to amaze me how REALTORS® can treat each other sometimes. I recently had an experience with a buyer’s agent who could not have been more rude or bullheaded. I never like to talk poorly about anyone as it’s not my nature and I don’t think it’s very professional, but in this case, it may be necessary for today’s lesson. There are loathsome people throughout all walks of life and it’s impossible to avoid all of them. Why though, do some real estate professionals think that being difficult to work with helps anyone? Our primary duty is to provide our client with quality service in a lawful manor. After all, we wouldn’t make it too far without our clients, would we?
Recently, I sold a property that had a cracked septic system. Knowing that replacing this system would be financially impossible for my clients, I opened my bag of saved favors to ensure they would be able to sell their vacant home. I was able to convince one of my best contractors to replace the septic tank for less than cost, (yes, she actually lost money replacing it), as a massive favor for me. With breakneck speed, we obtained the appropriate permits, and the job was done in just a few days. Even so, the buyer’s agent was not impressed, and without going into any detail, was very unprofessional during the entire ordeal. The other agent actually called my favorite contractor to fuss about the pace of the work being done. Meanwhile, this agent called me horrible names and insulted my real estate abilities to my contractor!
The property did end up closing after continued scrutiny from the buying party. My sellers, a married couple who live several hours away, knew nothing of the troubles mentioned or the ugliness of the buying side. All they knew was that I was going to do everything in my power to ensure that the property sold. I ended up calling in a lot of favors and I took a significant loss on my commission. However, my hard work paid off. Since the deal closed, the sellers have referred me additional business, given me marketing space on their website—at no cost—and called me many times to thank me for all my help!
All in all, the buyer’s agent was very difficult to work with and at some point impossible to communicate with. It was clear from early on that this agent was only interested in making a commission and not on her client’s well-being. So what’s the lesson here? We should all try to be friendly and courteous to one another. There’s no reason to ever be hurtful to a fellow REALTOR®!
Have you ever had a negative experience with the other party in a real estate transaction? If so, how did you handle it?