In the current housing market, sellers are trying to make up for lost ground from the housing bubble burst, and buyers are trying to snatch up properties for rock-bottom prices. Both are understandable positions to take.
But how do you get the former to list their homes at competitive prices and the latter to make realistic offers? Here are a few thoughts from Rodeo Realty agents.
Ron Tanzman of Rodeo Realty’s Calabasas office said it’s important to suss out the educated versus unrealistic buyers and sellers.
For the “unrealistic” ones, find out how they came up with their numbers. Are they basing those numbers on pure emotion, desire to make up for lost ground in the economy or what?
Tanzman said in most cases he can get buyers to list at a competitive price by simply showing them comparables in the area. If not, he pulls the “Sale or sit close” – e.g. If it’s priced at X amount you can plan on selling. If it’s priced at Y you can plan on sitting on the home.
Homes in the under $500,000 segment are netting multiple offers when priced right, he said. Those in the $700,000+ are moving when priced competitively. Otherwise, they may sit for five or six months and go through multiple price reductions.
For buyers, “winning” is often more of the objective than price alone. So Tanzman points out multiple ways they can win right now. Historically low mortgage rates and the benefits of home ownership are a couple examples. If they’re still not willing to budge from an unreasonable offer, and that offer isn’t gaining traction with the seller, it might be time to show them another property.
Denise Nelan of Rodeo’s Studio City office said one of the hardest factors to contend with is buyers and sellers thinking they know about real estate. Unfortunately, many get their information from friends or web sites that are out of touch with specific market realities.
She stresses comparable sales in the area. When dealing with a buyer who’s asking for everything under the sun during the negotiation, she also may ask them to put themselves in the shoes of the seller.
Nelan recalls one multiple offer scenario where a buyer asked the seller to “pay for any and all repairs.” Needless to say, the vagueness and potentially expensive nature of that statement didn’t go over so well.
Agents have to learn to count to 10, take a breath, and write or lose offers until they get the one that sticks, said Nelan. Sometimes you also have to know when to pull back. Agent’s communication skills are certainly being put to the test right now, she added.
Scott Cort of Rodeo’s Beverly Hills office lists properties ranging from $600,000 to $13 million. Despite money being dirt cheap right now, there has been very little activity on some of his listings – a fact he chalks up to some sellers not being willing to drop their prices.
In contrast, he recently listed a short sale property for $699,000 (Mind you, all of his properties are A-A+) That listing netted more activity than some of his others combined
Cort said you have to be realistic with sellers up-front and have a lot of patience.
He draws up Excel spreadsheets for sellers and lets the comparables speak for themselves. In one case where a seller was asking too much for a property, it took a month of e-mailing back and forth for the seller to digest the realistic asking price. He finally came to terms with reality and dropped the price.
By Eric Billingsley, publicist, Rodeo Realty
Rodeo Realty’s Joe Babajian is listing the former Beverly Hills abode of fashion designer Bob Mackie. It is located in the desirable “Crest” streets in prime BHPO. Recently renovated designer interiors include: a dramatic living room with fireplace and 12’ ceiling; showroom-quality kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances that opens into a family room; formal dining room; and separate office. The master suite features a sitting room, dual closets and master bath with spa tub. There are four other bedrooms including a staff room with separate entry. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the house provide plenty of natural light and prime views of the city. Other features include wood floors, integrated audio visual system and security system. And the grounds? The property is on a street-to-street lot that offers a tranquil and private setting. It also has a large patio and fire pit for entertaining. List price: $2,695,000. See more at: http://www.9314lloydcrestdr.com/
June 2010 was a great month for Rodeo Realty, said Syd Leibovitch, founder and president of the company. The number of sales and total production were good for all levels. And most striking was the number of sales for homes in the $1 million and more category.
High-end sales in 2010 versus 2009 are up significantly, he said, and several homes have sold in the $6 million plus range. These are great signs, because this segment of the market wasn’t very active from mid 2008 to the beginning of 2010.
The California Association of Realtors reported the median price of an existing home in California in May 2010 increased 23.2 percent from May 2009. But Leibovitch said it’s obvious those increases are not sustainable.
Although sales have been moving along at record levels, there’s a bit of grumbling about sales slowing down slightly in the mid-range segment.
With a bit of research it’s evident that listing prices are much higher than previous sales, he said. This might have worked last year when prices were increasing quickly, but it’s not going to work now that prices seem to be leveling off.
As the market stabilizes, listing prices need to be closer to sales prices. The ones who push list prices are the ones who will end up sitting on their homes.
What do you do when a reporter from the local newspaper, or a national publication, calls asking for quotes about the real estate industry? A) Run for the hills. B) Put off the call until a later date. C) Claim that you don’t want competitors to know your trade secrets.
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you just lost an opportunity for the best free advertising on the planet. And, you lost the opportunity of potentially being that reporter’s trusted source in the future, the real estate pro that he/she calls first.
Knowing how to respond to media inquiries and pitch story ideas to reporters is an important marketing skill for one big reason: The public is more likely to take notice and trust a news story written by a credible publication than spend the same time scanning your paid advertisement through and through.
I worked as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade. The media world moves fast; deadlines are often the same day or hour. Anytime I dealt with story sources who couldn’t get it together enough to call me back, I moved on.
It’s sad, because many of those people who didn’t take the call, played “gatekeeper” to their boss, and the like, lost out on the possibility of increased revenues and future interviews.
That said, real estate agents should also know a few rules of the road when dealing with the media.
The Do List:
1. Do call reporters back immediately. If you get their voicemail, leave a cell number. Set up a protocol in your office to make sure calls from the media are forwarded to a live body that can talk on the record.
2. Do provide substantive quotes and content. This may make the difference between you or your competition getting in the paper. Remember that good reporters call multiple sources.
3. Do be proactive and call reporters when you have an interesting story idea. Ask them about the types of stories they prefer to write and the types of information they prefer. Meet their needs.
4. Do get to know the real estate reporters in your area. Offer to meet for a cup of coffee to discuss trends you are observing in the real estate market. Reporters can pick up on story ideas that you would have never thought of.
5. Do offer to provide other resources and interview opportunities that can help the reporter accurately cover his/her beat or story, even if those resources aren’t directly linked to you.
The Don’t List:
1. Don’t ask to speak “off-the-record” when you are being interviewed. The line between on-the-record and off-the-record can get blurred. Also, reporters are looking for information and quotes that can be used in their story.
2. Don’t say things that you would feel uncomfortable having viewed by thousands of readers. If you are bound by a confidentiality agreement with a client, do not break that agreement.
3. Don’t ask reporters to let you see the story before it goes to press. But you can ask to review your quotes and context of the story over the telephone. Some reporters are open to this idea, and some are not.
4. Don’t pitch bad story ideas. That’s the quickest way to lose a reporter’s ear. Trends that nobody else has written about, human interest stories related to the housing market, and significant transactions are typically good bets. Charity events, average real estate listings, and your latest marketing gimmicks are not worthy of a story.
5. Don’t, and I repeat DON’T, ever try to bribe a reporter or editor to write a story. Generally speaking, reporters cannot accept gifts, lunches, etc… that exceed $20 in value. And some reporters and editors cannot accept anything other than your quotes and insight.
In the world of social networking, Facebook is one of the most popular sites to connect with friends, family, businesses and more. The site has more than 400 million active users, and 50 percent of those active users log-on in any given day, according to Facebook.
A huge opportunity for spreading the word about your work as a real estate agent, right? The answer is yes. But agents would also do well to think before they post a Facebook profile and kick the marketing machine into high gear.
First of all, Facebook personal profiles are meant for people; Facebook Pages are meant for businesses, organizations, products and brands. It only takes a few minutes to set up either. And once you create a profile, you can add information, photos, links to your favorite past-times and more.
Personal profiles can be a blast, but also a little awkward. Once you put your name into the system you start getting “friend” requests from people you haven’t seen in years. You can accept or deny each friend request, and you can establish privacy settings to limit the amount of info available to the public.
The Huffington Post recently ran a useful story on Facebook privacy settings. Check it out at: www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/facebook-privacy-settings_n_598968.html. The number of friend requests adds up quick.
If you want your personal profile to be a fun social outlet, I recommend focussing on just that. Sure, mention in your stats that you’re a real estate professional and even link to some of your favorite real estate groups. But steer clear of posting your latest home listings and using the forum to hard sell your old buddies from high school.
As an avid Facebook personal profile user, I have deleted numerous connections as a result of being bombarded with marketing material.
The people that get the most attention and followers on personal profiles are the ones who are funny, relevant and above all…social. Many business professionals I’ve spoken to say their Facebook personal profiles have netted business connections and deals. But the latter is more a result of networking and socializing than selling.
If you accept both business colleagues and old aquaintances as “friends,” know that your business connections now have a view into your personal life. Make it a policy to accept only colleagues, no colleagues, or just the ones you feel comfortable sharing your personal life with. And make sure all of the content on your profile is appropriate for public consumption.
Setting up a separate Facebook Page is one of the easiest ways to focus just on your business. You can do it by visiting www.facebook.com/advertising/?pages.
Once you create a profile, you can send a note to your personal profile friends encouraging them to become “Fans” of your business page. And -this is an important point- you can place a Facebook icon on your company’s home page that links directly to the Facebook profile. Facebook also offers an advertising option that can increase your number of connections.
The same rule applies for business pages as personal profiles: The ones that get the most attention post relevant information, stay up-to-date, and make an effort to socialize versus just hard selling their fan base. The point is to stand out from the millions of other people and companies trying to do the same thing.
By Eric Billingsley, Publicist, Rodeo Realty, Inc.
Oh the celebrity history of homes in Bel Air and the Hollywood Hills…It never gets old. Just got word that Joe Babajian of Rodeo Realty is listing a Bel Air home that Robby Krieger from the iconic band The Doors had built in 1971.
The architecture of the 6,600 square foot, four bedroom, five-and-a-half bath abode is a blend of Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner. The entire home wraps around an interior courtyard pool and spa surrounded by tropical greenery. Everything, from lighting to stereo, is state-of-the art. It also sits on a 1.5 acre knoll with amazing panoramic views. Asking price? $6,195,000.
And the home’s history even gets more interesting. Babajian sold the pad to Fred Durst -who is primarily known as the front man for rock band Limp Bizkit- in 2001. Babajian sold it again in 2002 to the current owner.
To see more of this property, visit http://www.bellagioarchitectural.com/.
In October 2001, actor/pop singer, Jennifer Lopez (a.k.a. J.Lo), and dancer boyfriend, Cris Judd, exchanged wedding vows in a ceremony on a private estate located in Calabasas, Calif.
One report described the outdoor wedding as having a “heady aroma of 10,000 roses.” The New York Post reported the couple’s after-vow smooch supposedly wowed the crowd. “Everybody who saw them was enchanted,” said one guest.
The Lopez and Judd union didn’t last, but the sprawling estate where the celebrity wedding took place is alive, well and as beautiful as ever. And, it just hit the market for $8.85 million.
Located on Thousand Peaks Rd. in Calabasas, the French Chateau is situated on 10-acres of land, has a circular motor court, six bedrooms, library, family room , den, three ponds, flower gardens, orchards, and infinity pool overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains, to name a few of its attributes.
Lou Woolf of Rodeo Realty is listing agent on the property. For more information about the Thousand Peaks Rd. estate, visit www.thousandpeaksrd.com.
Located in the heart of Calabasas, Avalon Ranch is a 190-acre equestrian estate currently owned by Jim Wilson, an Academy Award winning producer who worked on the movie “Dances with Wolves.” The property includes a 7,500 square foot traditional farm house built in 1999. Hardwood floors, stone fireplaces, slate floors, wainscoting, built-in bookcases, beamed ceilings, country gourmet kitchen, French doors, wrap around porches, and stunning views are just a few of many of the home’s features. The property also includes two guest homes, a 16 stall barn with full amenities, swimming pool, spa, tennis court with viewing pavillion, secondary barn, utility building, duck pond, expansive pastures and corrals, sand ring, more than 1,000 trees planted, and hundreds of fruit and citrus trees. For more information, visit www.avalonranch.us/ or e-mail JimPascucci@RodeoRE.com. Jim may also be contacted at (818) 222-7707 or (818) 653-2691.