Real Estate Agents bear witness… The rise of video is upon us.

If you don’t know what  a vlog is, you will soon.  As Google has just purchased YouTube for $1.65 BILLION in shares.  Apparently, it was not so much that they wanted the name, but more importantly that none of their competitors acquired it. 

What does this have anything to do with Real Estate? Absolutely everything!

The concept of The User-Generated Content Wave was recently brought up on the Inman News Blogs special report.  And explained how sites like YouTube, Google video, Yahoo! Video, and Soapbox (MSN), have been making it easier to upload and watch videos online (I don’t believe they mentioned Eyespot, and it deserves to be on the list too).  Most importantly, they showed how it’s making real estate cooler.

Now that Google, the leader in search engines, has purchased YouTube, you can expect to start seeing some changes in your internet searching.  I would think that after spending a healthy amount of its shares, google will begin to introduce internet videos into peoples daily internet life.  I expect to see them do this by giving better placement to sites that incorporate videos.  And for good reason, as videos are far superior for multiple purposes, take for example the RentVine how to video for their new MapVine.

But it’s not necessarily all peaches and cream for Real Estate Agents.  The total flipside to Google Video making online videos easier for people, is that, google video is making online videos easier for people.  Before most Realty companies have adapted to changing technologies, expect to start seeing some competition from FSBO’s, as the video how to, is easily accessible to all (well….now it is).  I have already found one interesting mashup incorporating videos and Real Estate, and it’s available to anyone for free.

This is it, the video age is officially here, and it’s an exciting time to be in Real Estate.  As new technologies continue to change our market, Real Estate agents are given the choice to adapt, or continue as is and go the way of travel agents.  I have my video camera, do you have yours?

7640555 Angle

Nothing to do with Real Estate

But it does have something to do with my Real Estate blog.

While perusing ActiveRain, I did come across an entry from Maureen McCabe called:  How much is your blog worth?

It had a link to a site that values your blog using the same link to dollar ratio as the AOL-Weblogs Inc deal.  I couldn’t help myself…


  My blog is worth $32,178.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!  Any takers?

Sellers don’t let your listing get bought!!!

Arrrghh!!!!  Well I find myself inspired today to rant and rave, and maybe give away some of the super secret RE agent tricks of the trade.  Today we will cover the lazy agents way to get a listing.  It is what is called “Buying a listing.”

So first let me preface this little lesson with a true story out of my daily life.  So a landlord I’ve worked with for a while decides it’s time to sell her condo.  We have a great working relationship, and she is kind enough to give me a head start, and tell me that she’s going to want to sell her condo, and that she’s going to be talking to other agents as well (which every seller should do, always interview other agents, 3 minimum).

So I get started right away on a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis - looks at recently SOLD similar properties and makes adjustments to derive a current market value).  Long story short, I tell her I don’t think it’s going to sell for more than $360,000 if she wants it to sell quick in this market, she should probably price it around $369,900 unless she is planning on doing some substantial upgrades to it. I am extreemly confident about this price.

So one of the other agents she’s interviewing, (I don’t want to name names of the brokerage or anything, but lets just say it rhymes with Boldwell Canker) talks to her with about similar properties ASKING PRICES …..

(I asked her if she wanted to ASK her property or SELL her property, don’t ever look at asking prices…. I can put a flaming bag of poop on the market and ASK $2 million for it, that doesn’t mean it’s worth it!!!)

Anyway so this Coldwell….. I mean Boldwell Canker agent, sees that other properties are asking for some good money, and tells the seller to list the property at $430,000.

So if you’re a seller, and you have one guy telling you a lower price, and another guy telling you a higher price, who are you going to list with??  Seems like a no brainer to me too. 

And that is a perfect example of Buying the Listing.  The unfortunate fact of the matter is that, this guy is going to get the listing, and let it sit there for a while, and after a while, tell this seller that she needs to drop the price.  All the while the seller is stuck with the carrying costs associated with this unit.  And I thought listing agents were supposed to be working in the sellers best interests.

My prediction is that this property will probably sit for 2-3 months before the price gets lowered to a more realistic price.  By then, the summer buyers will have already bought, it will be too late for her to rent the unit for the winter, and this property is going to sit all winter.  The seller will then get desperate, and will probably end up getting less money for the place than she would have if she listed it at $369,000.  Not to mention probably another $10,000 (minimum) out of her pocket for carrying costs. 

I will follow this and be updating it in the blog as changes occur.  Unless of course I’m wrong, in which case I will have to destroy all evidence of this entry and silence all who are reading this right now.

So sellers, when you interview 3 agents, and one of the quotes is much higher than the other two, chances are that the agent is trying to buy your listing, and is not doing you any favors.  Remember, it it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Months Supply

The Spotlight Blog has yet again breached a new milestone.  We have received our first complaint!!!!!  I know it was you Mark, our reader, you broke my heart.

It turns out I’m using too much jargon.  So as requested, definition of months supply (in the form of a pre-written article by yours truly).


Buyers Market or a Sellers Market?  How to Identify What Kind of Real Estate Market You’re In
By Jon”>”> Jon Ernest
If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in any market, it is to your advantage to know the current trends.  I’ve heard people claim that you can tell that the housing market is softening because there are 20% more homes on the market now, compared to the same time last year.  That is not necessarily true because it only looks at supply.  Certainly a rise in supply could lead to a softening market.   However, the fact of the matter is that, if at the same time there’s 100% more buyers now, compared to the same time last year, the market is hardly softening.

Economics 101 teaches that in order to find the equilibrium to determine price and quantity, we need to know supply AND demand.  Unfortunately, the amount of homes on the market now, compared to one year ago, only looks at supply.  In order to truly understand what kind of market we’re currently in, we need to know demand.   To do this, I look at “months supply.”

What is months supply?  Basically, months supply is the ratio of inventory to sales.  And what it tells us is how many months the stock of homes for sale would last, if sales continued at their current rate.

For those of us that need to see a formula:

# of homes for sale on the market

—————————————– = Months Supply

# of homes sold that month

*important note - if your data for number of homes sold is for a period other than one month, remember to take a monthly average.  Its months supply, not 2 months supply.

What do the numbers mean?

For some reference, in the ’89 US housing market (buyers market) saw around 7 months supply.   For those of us who are more familiar with more recent years, in ’01 the US average was slightly below 4 months supply.  But hot markets like Las Vegas, Boston, and parts of Florida and California should have seen below 2 months supply in recent years.

So anywhere around 4-5 months supply is roughly average.  The further your numbers stray below that, means it’s more of a sellers market.  The higher the number is, then the more the market favors the buyer.
Jon Ernest is the Principle Broker of Spotlight Realty.  A small, independently owned, full service residential real estate agency in Brookline, Massachusetts.”>>” target=”_blank”>Condos for sale

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