Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stimulus plan and the current real estate market

I am feeling optimistic for the first time in two years. Since Obama passed the stimulus plan I have been showing houses like the old days! I am working a 7 day work week happily. Whether you agree with this new president or this stimulus plan, I have to admit my phone is ringing. I feel like the market is picking up and that I may actually have a good year. This feels so much better than the downward spiral my business was experiencing. The good news is that all the pencil sharpening I have done will help expedite my recovery.

I don't know if the worst is over yet. I do know that I have seen some changes in the real estate industry since this downturn began. Gone are the days when an agent would run a contract to close it at midnight. Brokers opens that used to be packed with agents looking to see the latest listings, have become an outdated method of selling. Along with Thank Goodness! Open houses. Yes, you still can get a few buyers through and yes you can still sell a house through an open house. Open houses also have a bad side in that it invites complete strangers into your home to wander through, and depending how busy it is sometimes unattended. If the home is vacant it puts the agent in danger as we have just seen two attacks on Realtors in the recent news. The Internet has made it easier to view listings on line helping to eliminate a lot of homes that just would not do.

The biggest change is the way the agents are doing business. They have also lost that urgency. It used to be you would write a contract and get it presented usually in person. Now you fax it off or email it to the listing agent and wait to hear the outcome. With the invent of cellphones, email,text messaging,scanning the real estate agent can handle the contracts anywhere. In the past I have missed my sons second birthday party, Left a dinner party or a picnic, that I was giving, cancelled a date with friends all just to close a deal. Because when that buyer decided to write an offer it wasn't closed until delivery. Delivery meant that like superman I would drive through a snow storm to get an initial on a contract(which I have done).No wonder I've been divorced twice! Now we simply email it off and fax it forward. This is good news.

With all this technology we have also gotten some lazy Realtors out there. This past weekend I was denied 5 showings! With all the news about how hard it is to sell a house in this market you would think that you would at least be flexible about getting people in to see your home. I talked with several other agents and they have complained about the same thing. Some of these homes have been on the market for over 300 days. Maybe they are just tired of showing it. One was removing wallpaper so we rescheduled. There are still some many houses on the market that you don't always get a second chance. If I try to show it a second time and they can't accommodate me I just take it off the list. One agent I talked with said, oh well my buyers wrote on something this weekend(lucky her) so whoever denied a showing lost out.

There have been big changes over the last ten years. I think that this market has made me a stronger agent. The thought of a seller having to write a check at closing to get their home sold used to be unfathomable. After losing money myself and taking the hit I can only sympathize. It just is, what it is! I have watched people pay off their credit cards with the equity of their home and live large off the equity and expect to sell with no consequence. I find myself saying frequently I am no magician! Hopefully this stimulus will get buyers not only out there but buying. That will help get things moving such as the banker and the title company, the movers and the carpet industry. When people buy new homes thry spend more money in decorating, and landscaping ect. Hopefully this will employ more people which starts the cycle moving round and round instead of plunging further down. I am no economist. I do believe if people are buying homes, that means people are spending money on other things related to their home purchase.
I'd love to hear your comments! Sandymaline@gmail.com

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