I am a student of people and when I take buyers out I frequently take mental notes of their comments, habits, and overall energy when they view homes. Frankly, those insights come in more handy for me in prepping my sellers on getting their homes market ready or preparing for an open house than any of that advice you see on real estate websites or DIY shows.
Why? I personally believe one size doesn’t fit all in homes and neighborhoods and understanding what consumers are looking at can completely change how you would advise a seller. In my neighborhood of East Nashville, many of my buyers take time glancing at the homeowners art pieces, perusing their book shelves and admiring artistic family photos. They make comments like “these people are like parallel us” and “do you think they might consider leaving their pez collection?” Obviously, advising my sellers to paint their walls egg shell and depersonalize their homes would be horrible advice. My point is that most neighborhoods attract a specific type of individual and understanding who that may be obviously helps to both target where you promote but also how you and your seller present the home.
Imagine my complete disappointment in my having completely missed the boat on that useful tidbit as I have worked diligently the past few years to earn green business. I have listed green homes, spent countless hours in open houses and sales centers for green projects and not once have I quizzed any of my guests on what appealed to them about this project nor did I take really take a good look to see if there were patterns in the demographic. This is a reality I came to when I recently listened in on a Webinar about green buyer statistics made available to members of the Green Resources Council. The presenter was The Shelton Group, an advertising firm who has spent a great deal of time and effort polling consumers about environmental and energy issues the past few years. They then work with green businesses and curtail the marketing campaigns around what consumers are concerned with. Novel eh?
And the Survey Says!
One of the surveys they shared with us was called eco pulse and there are a number of really relevant tid bits for green real estate practitioners to consider from the results of their study. For example, one question was has the current economic climate affected whether or not you purchase green products(assuming most green products cost more than their counterparts)? Nearly half said they are buying the same amount they were buying a few years ago and over 20% said they are buying more which shows consumers still see some additional value to environmentally friendly products.
Topping the list are environmentally friendly cleaning products, appliances, personal care products, lawn and garden products, home improvement products, automobiles, and electronics. It certainly seems like this is a tremendous opportunity for Realtors to provide relevant information about where these types of products can be purchased locally and maybe even some anecdotal thoughts on how they are performing from you or your clients.
Some other interesting points were that the average consumer probably knows less about green features in a home than you might think. When asked to name one in fact, the majority of the survey takers offered up solar panels. Nearly half the respondents believe they are using less electricity than in the past and about half believe their homes are somewhat efficient even though many had homes older than 20 years. When asked to name the highest value (i.e return on investment) green improvement a homeowner could make, most offered up windows followed by high seer rated heating and cooling units. Interesting, we actually have consumers who may be interested in purchasing a green home or doing green improvements but may be holding off because they assume that having a green home means more of the higher ticket products such as windows or solar panels. Many are not taking in to consideration the additional technology, computers, tv’s, and extra refrigerator that are standard in the American home sucking kilowatts nor do they understand some of the more basic cost effective efficiency strategies have to do with sealing your home and changing some basic habits. It sounds like we have a tremendous opportunity to provide very practical useful information to our warm market and clientele.
What about clients who do know a fair bit about green homes? The majority said they would be more likely to seek out a Realtor with specific training in green housing. Energy efficiency is a bigger priority then owning a “green” home. Most would use a search engine or website to find a green home. Of those wanting to use a green credentialed Realtor, 40% would pay 5-10% more for a more efficient home and 38.5% would pay 20-30% more for a green home.
Do with this what you may. It has certainly inspired a complete change of strategy in my online and personal approach to this niche. I have gone from a very real estate specific www.greenhomesnashville.com to a more organic lifestyle oriented www.greenerlivingnashville.com. I am curious if any of this is news to you all or am I not the progessive, forwarding thinking, early adapter I think I am?
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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