13,000-Plus Listings Sell Every Day…Is Yours One of Them?

listings_sell

It’s very exciting when a homeowner entrusts you with the marketing and ultimate sale of their home. Yes, you got a new listing!

Fast-forward a couple of weeks or months, and if the listing hasn’t sold, then you have some explaining to do. In a recent Existing-Home Sales Report from the National Association of REALTORS®, annual home sales are listed at 5.04 million homes. In order to put that number into perspective, let’s divide it by 365 days, and you’ll find that there are 13,699 homes sold every day in the United States on average (not accounting for seasonality).

With all of these homes selling across the country daily, blaming the economy or the local market for an unsold listing isn’t going to be a strong position with the home seller. It’s far more likely that you’ve made one or more common mistakes when pricing your listing.

Here are three common pricing mistakes that prevent listings from selling in a timely manner:

1. Overpricing from the Start

It’s extremely common for sellers to overvalue their homes compared to other homes in the same neighborhood and price range. Our job as local market experts is to advise and counsel home sellers on the correct pricing strategy.

One of the most important steps in correctly pricing the home is to take an honest look at similar homes in the area that have recently sold. While the seller may feel that their home deserves to command a higher relative sale price, the market determined these comps to be a fair price, so buyers will expect your asking price to be in the same ballpark.

An overpriced listing is a sure way to scare off plenty of potential buyers and waste a lot of your time.

2. Ignoring Search Ranges

These days, almost every buyer searches for homes online. If a potential buyer searches for homes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range, they won’t see your listing if it’s priced at $305,000.

Even if your listing is a perfect fit for the potential buyer, he or she won’t know about it, even though it’s only $5,000 above their price range search.

You want to make sure you’re not pricing your listing just outside of someone’s price range, so be sure to avoid pricing just over common increment breaks.

3. Not Being Open to Offers

There’s an old saying in our business that the first offer is the best offer; however, you should advise the seller to carefully consider any and all offers that come in, even if they’re well below your asking price. Negotiation is the name of the game. It’s not where an offer starts, it’s where mutual acceptance ends.

Do you want your listing to be one of the 13,000-plus homes that will sell tomorrow? Review your pricing strategy today!

Wendy Forsythe is the executive vice president and head of global operations at Carrington Real Estate Services.

 

Protecting Your Nest Egg as You Age

Retirement savings golden nest eggPeople pondering their retirement years often conjure images of spending more time on a favorite pastime or traveling around the country or the world.

Health concerns can intrude on those idyllic scenes, though, not only affecting enjoyment of life but also punching a heavy dent in retirement savings.

“As we age, usually our medical or long-term care expenses increase, sometimes depleting our assets to a level of crisis,” says financial advisor Jake Lowrey, president of Lowrey Financial Group.

“It’s important for retirees, and anyone planning for retirement, to become educated about what the pitfalls are and what they need to do to avoid losing their life savings.”

Long-term care especially can burn a hole in savings accounts. In 2012, for example, nursing home care averaged $74,800 a year, according to a report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, assisted living facilities averaged $39,500 per year, and home-health services averaged $21 per hour.

More than 10 million Americans need some sort of long-term care, the Kaiser report says. That number covers all ages, even children, but about half are people 65 and older.

“Those older Americans had looked forward to enjoying their golden years,” Lowrey says. “They should be able to have actual golden years instead of what can end up being scary years, both personally and financially.”

Certainly, being able to maintain good health is a key factor in protecting savings and making retirement enjoyable and satisfying, he says.

But life doesn’t always work out that way. Fortunately, there are strategies seniors can use to lessen the impact of expenses brought on by long-term care needs. Lowrey says some of those include:

• VA benefits.
Military veterans may be able to offset nursing home or assisted-living expenses through benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. A veteran’s eligibility for long-term care services would be determined based on his or her need for ongoing treatment, personal care and assistance, as well as the availability of the service in the area where the person lives, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other factors, such as financial eligibility, a service-connected disability, insurance coverage, and/or ability to pay may also come into play.

• Medicaid compliant SPIAs. A SPIA is a single-premium immediate annuity. Typically, a SPIA is a contract with an insurance company where you pay the company a sum of money up front (the premium), and the company promises to pay you a certain amount of money periodically for the rest of your life.

A Medicaid compliant SPIA is a specially designed annuity that pays out over the person’s “life expectancy” and has other specific characteristics. A couple who put money in a Medicaid annuity are able to avoid having the income from that annuity count against the financial assistance a spouse receives for nursing home care.

• Setting up a trust. Trusts can help shelter wealth from the look-back periods in Medicaid requirements and assist in qualifying for VA programs, among other advantages, Lowrey says.

Source: www.lowreyfinancial.com

Sotheby’s International Realty Network Reports Significant Gains for 2014

MADISON, N.J. (Feb. 26, 2015) – Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today reported that in 2014 its affiliated brokers and sales professionals achieved $70 billion in U.S. home sale transaction volume (transaction sides multiplied by average sale price). This is the highest sales volume performance in the history of the brand’s franchise system, and marks a 17% increase from the prior year. Driven largely by an 11 percent gain in transaction sides, the growth experienced by Sotheby’s International Realty far outpaced the overall U.S. housing market as compared to the one percent increase in sales volume and a three percent decrease in home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors®.

Global Growth

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand also reported growth in its global network, which now encompasses 60 countries and territories worldwide. At year-end, the network totaled approximately 760 offices, a gain of 8.5 percent, and more than 16,570 sales associates, up 14 percent.

“The Sotheby’s International Realty network grew substantially in 2014,” said Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “The luxury sector continues to outperform the overall market, which reflects the value consumers see in high-end real estate to grow their wealth, as well as the increasing level of international buyers in key luxury markets.”

Outside the United States, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand expanded its network in 2014 to provide its real estate services in: Belgium, Beijing, Belize, the Canary Islands, Luxembourg, India, Hainan, St. Martin, Poland and St. Moritz. The Sotheby’s International Realty brand also added 13 new residential real estate firms and 45 net new offices to its network across the United States, including the following markets: Houston, Texas; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.; Sunset, S.C.; Richmond, Va.; Marblehead, Mass.; Wilmington and Topsail Island, N.C.; Kailua, Hawaii; Woodinville, Wash.; Malibu, Calif.; Lancaster, Pa.; Brookline and Jamaica Plain, Mass.; and Pleasanton, Calif.

In 2015 and for the eighth year in a row, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand won Franchise Business Review’s Best in Category for Real Estate Franchisee Satisfaction award. In addition to its real estate ranking, the brand in 2015 moved to first in the overall top 50 from fourth in 2014, and first among the Top 50 “Systems with 250 or more units,” up from third in 2014. Last year also marked the launch of the Sotheby’s International Realty Global Referral system, which was designed to streamline the transfer of referrals electronically within the brand’s worldwide network. The Global Referral system, which the brand developed with Immobel, allows Sotheby’s International Realty network members to assign referrals, manage them through closing and run detailed reports. The system also features language translation and currency conversion.

Marketing

From a marketing perspective, the brand’s 2014 campaign delivered more than 800 million impressions. At the core of the Sotheby’s International Realty 2014 strategy was its relationships with pre-eminent media powerhouses in both the print and online arenas including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph Media Group, Google, Architectural Digest, Bloomberg.com, the Hong Kong Tatler and the Financial Times, developed to showcase unique properties from the brand’s worldwide network.

In 2014 the brand also launched “Extraordinary Angles,” a lifestyle video series showcasing unique properties and lifestyles from around the world. Each three to five minute “webisode” takes viewers on inspiring tours through some of the finest properties represented by the Sotheby’s International Realty brand in the world’s most distinct locations. The series is available on the brand’s website by clicking here.

Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the sothebysrealty.com global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm’s brokers and their clients benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs. Each office is independently owned and operated.

A Stunning $441 Billion Paid in Rent

A Stunning $441 Billion Paid in Rent | Keeping Current Matters

A recently released study revealed that a whopping $441 Billion was spent on rents in the U.S. in 2014. This represents an increase of over $20 Billion from the year before. As shown on the chart below, rents have increased consistently over the last 20+ years.

Median Rents Since 1988 | Keeping Current Matters

However, the recent increases have been astounding.

Why such a jump?

Many Millennials have postponed the purchase of their first home while waiting for the economy to recover. This has increased demand and dramatically lowered vacancy rates. In a recent article on the MarketWatch, economics reporter Ruth Mantell explains:

“Landlords have ramped up rents by the fastest pace in six years, with national vacancy rates the lowest in two decades.”

Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries let us know that increases will continue:

“Another increase in total rent paid similar to that seen this year isn’t out of the question. In fact, it’s probable.”

Thinking Of Selling? Now May Be The Time

Thinking Of Selling? Now May Be The Time | Keeping Current Matters

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off putting their home on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.

The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed which months and days of the year most people list their home. Here is a graphic showing the results:

Top 10 Listing Dates of 2014 | Keeping Current Matters

The circles represent the ten most popular listing dates in 2014. We can see that all ten days are in the second quarter of the year. The months in red represent which months most people put their home on the market. Again, the three months in the second quarter are most active for listings. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,880,000.

That number spiked to 2,350,000 by July!

What does this mean to you?

With the job situation improving and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring. They are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you are putting your house on the market at a time you will have the greatest competition for your buyer. It may make sense to beat that rush of housing inventory to the market and list your home today.

Original Article

Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007

Home Values Compared to the Peak of 2006-2007 | Keeping Current Matters

There is no doubt that the housing market has recovered from the meltdown that occurred just a few short years ago. However, in some states home values still have not returned to the prices we saw in 2006 and 2007. Here is a breakdown showing where current prices are in each state as compared to peak prices.

HPI Price Since Peak

 

Boothbay Harbor restaurateur buys Bartley’s Dockside Restaurant in Kennebunk

Maine Real Estate

A Boothbay Harbor restaurant owner and New York City chef have purchased the former Bartley’s Dockside Restaurant, a central spot in Kennebunk that was known for having President George H.W. Bush and his family as longtime customers.

The 4 Western Ave. building was sold for $1.15 million to Sante Calandri, owner of the Ports of Italy restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, and German Lucarelli, according to broker John McCarthy of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. The deal closed on Jan. 15. Read more…

 

MAINE HOME SALES UP 8.6 PERCENT IN JANUARY

SOUTH PORTLAND (February 23, 2015)—Maine real estate sales continued to climb in January, fueled by second-home buyers and those not deterred by the weather. Maine Listings released monthly statistics today, which show that sales of Maine’s single-family existing homes jumped 8.60 percent last month. The median sales price (MSP) for those sales dipped 3.9 percent to $160,000. The MSP indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

The National Association of Realtors reported a nationwide sales increase of 3.9 percent in January, while prices rose 6.3 percent to a national MSP of $199,800. Regionally, sales in the Northeast were up 3.3 percent and the regional MSP increased 2.7 percent to $247,800.

Marie Flaherty, 2015 President of the Maine Association of Realtors, said, “The January sales data is further proof of a stabilizing real estate market in Maine.” Flaherty, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northeast Real Estate in Westbrook, added that even though temperatures were quite low, “The weather appears to be having less of an impact on home buyers decisions this year.” She also pointed out that nine of ten homebuyers search the Internet at some point in their home search process, with mainelistings.com and realtor.com having the most comprehensive, accurate information for online research.

Below are two charts showing statistics for Maine and its 16 counties. The first chart lists statistics for the month of January only, statewide. The second chart compares the number of existing, single-family homes sold (units) and volume (MSP) during the “rolling quarter” the months of November 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014 and November 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015.

Maine Real Estate

New York Times: Homeownership is Best Way To Build Wealth

New York Times: Homeownership is Best Way To Build Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

The New York Times recently published an editorial entitled, Homeownership and Wealth Creation.” The housing market has made a strong recovery, not only in sales and prices, but also in the confidence of consumers and experts as an investment.

The article explains:

“Homeownership long has been central to Americans’ ability to amass wealth; even with the substantial decline in wealth after the housing bust, the net worth of homeowners over time has significantly outpaced that of renters, who tend as a group to accumulate little if any wealth.”

Many of the points that were made in the article are on track with the research that the Federal Reserve has also conducted in their Survey of Consumer Finances.

The study found that the average net worth of a homeowner ($194,500) is 36x greater than that of a renter ($5,400).

One reason for this large discrepancy in net worth is the concept of ‘forced savings’ created by having a mortgage payment and was explained by the Times:

“Homeownership requires potential buyers to save for a down payment, and forces them to continue to save by paying down a portion of the mortgage principal each month.”

“Even in instances where renters have excess cash, saving a substantial amount is difficult without a near-term goal, like a down payment. It is also difficult to systematically invest each month in stocks, bonds or other assets without being compelled to do so.”

Bottom Line

“As a means to building wealth, there is no practical substitute for homeownership.” If you are a renter who is considering making a purchase, sit with a local real estate professional who can explain the benefits of signing a contract to purchase over renewing your lease!

Original Article

Sotheby’s Acquires an Ownership Interest in RM Auctions, the World’s Leading Auctioneer Of Premium Collectible Automobiles

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NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sotheby’s and RM Auctions are pleased to announce the formation of a new strategic partnership as Sotheby’s acquires a 25 percent ownership interest in the world’s foremost collector car auctioneer, which will now be known asRM Sotheby’s.

This long-term investment comes as the more than $2 billion market for the finest automobiles continues to grow, presenting increasing opportunities for both companies. Sotheby’s and RM have previously collaborated on a number of successful sales in both the United States and Europe, most notably the November 2013 Art of the Automobile auction in New York, which achieved nearly $63 million in just two hours and saw a new auction record set for a Ferrari 250 LM at $14.3 million.

Today’s announcement grows those previous partnerships and unites the two businesses for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. The first RM Sotheby’s sale will take place in Amelia Island, Florida, March 14, with additional auctions in Fort Worth, Texas, Lake Como, Italy, Monterey, California, London, England and New York among others scheduled for later this year.

“Sotheby’s is thrilled to join the clear market leader in this field,” commented Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby’s President, Chairman, and CEO. “RM has established a formidable position that will only be strengthened by this new phase in our relationship. Just last year, RM set a new benchmark for a collector car auction with their flagship Monterey sale totaling more than $140 million, eclipsing the previous record they had established in 2013. The incredible synergy between our businesses, including significant overlap of top collectors and a focus on new markets, will be further strengthened as we work together to expand the classic car collector base. RM’s ownership of the high end of the market coupled with our global client network positions us for great success at a time when the market for investment-quality motor cars has never been stronger.”

Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions added, “The partnership that has been formed between RM Auctions and Sotheby’s is undoubtedly the most effective way for us to reach the ever-growing worldwide audience of collectors who take a keen interest in the collector car asset class. No other organization in the world has a client base as far-reaching as Sotheby’s and since we have worked so closely and successfully with them in the past, it makes perfect sense that we form a strategic partnership that creates a truly worldwide platform for collector cars. It’s an exciting time in our company history, and for the hobby at large.”

Initially Sotheby’s will have a 25 percent ownership position in RM, governance participation and a comprehensive partnership agreement to work together to drive growth in the business. Over time, Sotheby’s will have opportunities to increase the ownership stake as the partnership evolves and grows.

FOR MORE NEWS FROM RM SOTHEBY’S

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About Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in eight different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids in real-time from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, as well as Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine. Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).

About RM Auctions

RM Auctions is the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. With 35 years’ experience in the collector car industry, RM’s vertically integrated range of services, from private treaty sales and auctions to estate planning, and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and an international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. RM proudly holds four of the top ten all-time records for the most valuable motor cars sold at auction.

Images are available upon request

All RM Sotheby’s catalogues are available online at www.rmauctions.com. If you are interested in attending an RM Sotheby’s event as a member of the media, please visit www.rmauctions.com/credentials to register for media credentials.