Last week’s NWMLS press release was filled with some great quotes. Let’s run down a few:

  • J. Lennox Scott states, “We’ve gone from being virtually sold out in many areas close to the job centers to healthier inventory levels.”
  • “Contrary to recent media reports, the sky is not falling,” says Mike Grady, President/COO of Coldwell Banker Bain.
  • George Moorhead of Bentley Properties stated there is a, “significant uptick in buyer activity during the past three weeks” as buyers “test the waters.”
  • Moorhead’s answer when asked about chance of a housing bubble is, “Absolutely not.” He continues, “When you look at the big picture, inventory is still below what we call a balanced market, the economy is performing above average, and home appreciation is still increasing.”

Basically, we’ve seen prices level out and some inventory is spending more time on the market. Buyers have the ability to make choices again and Sellers are re-adjusting to life as it once was. Inventory and prices are both up year-over-year, but there are ongoing concerns about affordable inventory and the rise of interest rates. Overall, it was a positive report heading into the holiday season.

Speaking of the Holiday Season, I would like to take this moment to say I am thankful for the Grace bestowed upon my family and me, and I wish that same grace be bestowed upon you this holiday season. So, from my family and the entire family here at TeamBuilder Worldwide Headquarters (HQ1), we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and continued blessings for this year and for many more to come.

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Amazon finally made the announcement the country has been waiting to hear. HQ2 will be split between two locations, New York and Virginia. For the cities in the running to be chosen, I’m sure it was a tough pill to swallow after working so hard to lure the business. Around here, I think it’s a relief to hear the final decision. Not only do our current Seattle Amazon workers have a clearer picture of what their own future holds, but also Seattle remains the larger focus of Amazon’s attention and hiring here should continue.

It has also become evident Amazon used this process to gain a ridiculous amount of data about the 238 prospective locations for basically nothing. Information about residents’ lifestyles, education, infrastructure, local governments, tax structures, etc. was handed over in the hopes for a piece of the pie. It’s a very smart move, which will certainly guide how they do business in the future. The above article also states, “An Amazon representative said the company will not use any data from cities to target customers for products or advertisements.” Color me a little skeptical on that one.

If you’ve ever been backstage in a theater, you’re probably familiar with, “The Green Room.” This is the place where performers can go to wait before they go on. For some this is a place of rest and meditation, but for most it’s just a place to sit and feel powerless and anxious with anticipation.

Right now, many Amazon and T-Mobile employees are stuck in The Green Room. A combined workforce numbering in the tens of thousands is waiting to hear what their work situation may look like with the announcements of the location(s) of Amazon HQ2 and the Sprint/T-Mobile merger. Many are unsure whether they’re headed to New York, DC, Virginia or Kansas City, and they are understandably hesitant to move ahead with anything with long-term ramifications. We’ve heard it time and time again as these well-qualified buyers sit on the fence and watch their dream home slip through their fingers.

However, once the curtain goes up and the news is finally out, all of this pent-up anticipation will spill out on to the stage. We will be awash in the beautiful sounds of keys jingling and movers moving. I’m sure it will be a great show and I’m ready to buy the t-shirt.

Maybe you caught this interesting stat when this story was first written about a month ago, but it’s worth mentioning. In Seattle, one in ten homes are now single-room residences. In fact, “The number of one-room units, which now stands at about 37,000, has gone up nearly 80 percent since the start of the decade,” according to the story.

With the rise of these “Micro Units”, many companies have seen the increased demand for more efficiency in homes. In other words, all of our junk has to go somewhere, and robots can fix anything, right?

Enter Bumblebee Spaces. Bumblebee has been showing-off their new products at a Seattle apartment as of late. Their solution is to put all of your stuff on the ceiling when it’s not in use. Everything from the bed to the closet are tucked up out of sight and controlled from a central control panel. The software can even keep track of where you stored your belongings thanks to an elaborate system of cameras, like the Amazon Go store.

We’re going to come to appreciate systems like this more and more as the space crunch continues. What looks like overkill now will likely be commonplace in just a few short years. The future is knocking, but your end table may be blocking the door.

Read this.

Now, read between the lines.

The market has shifted and we don’t know for how long.  Now is the time to sharpen up. Your pricing should be perfect for right now, not the two-month projection. Your onsite presentation should be flawless and the homes should look immaculate. The sales team should be an elite strike force, well-trained and armed with all the tools and knowledge to make a sale. And, finally, you are probably going to have to start putting more emphasis on marketing again to nudge some additional traffic your direction.

Don’t panic! The market is fine. Inventory is still low and it will be for a bit.  Interest rates are going to climb a bit. Prices need to be reset a bit. Just hold on to your…horses.  It’s going to be OK.

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No, that’s not a passive-aggressive comment about your new haircut. Today, I thought I would add to what Ray and La’Cee started last week with their sales tools/techniques sections by focusing on identifying personality types.

Understanding personality types is key to effective communication with others, especially in the sales field. Because of this, we need to understand what makes us tick and how to interact with others who may do things a little differently. There are many different systems out there (Myers-Briggs, AVA, MMPI, DISC, etc.) and it’s worth trying more than one to compare and contrast.

Here’s an interesting one I found the other day to get you started. Once you take the test, read through the other personality summaries to see how to best relate to others from a sales point-of-view. Try thinking back to interactions you’ve had and how a different approach may have changed the outcome. Once you know the personality types, you’ll recognize the characteristics much faster and be able to craft a more personal, effective presentation.

Just try not to use your powers for evil.

With so many great online sales tools floating around out there these days, it’s easy to forget about the time-tested sales methods. Whether it’s having great signs, or making an actual phone call (God forbid), certain sales techniques never go out of style or lose their effectiveness. And, they certainly shouldn’t be ignored.

Case in point: The humble Thank You Note.

Recently, Professor Amit Kumar, who studies wellbeing at the University of Texas, created a study to discover the effects these little tokens of gratitude have on their recipients. The outcome was quite eye-opening.

Some takeaways are:

  • Senders typically thought the recipients would rate their happiness level at a three out of five (five being the highest) after receiving the notes, but most were actually in the four to five range, or “ecstatic”.
  • Recipients didn’t care much about how well the note was phrased, nor did they heavily scrutinize it, as the senders thought they would. The thoughtfulness of the act was enough.
  • The average writing time was about 5 minutes.

So, go buy some stamps and envelopes and start sending those thank you notes. See if you can get some stationary for added professionalism and branding benefits for your builder. It’s really not all that expensive. Sure, a customized email is OK, but there’s just something special about receiving a hand-written letter, and now the science is there to prove it.

Have you ever spent time onsite selling in an old, busted, smelly, funktified trailer masking as a “pre-sale information sales center”? I have. I was locked out of one once, too, which I don’t recommend. Perhaps the days of these depressing holding cells are numbered.

Check this out

From the press release: “The Salesbox solves the builder’s situational needs for a sales center without sacrificing a full functioning state of the art sales center,“ said Shawn Oliver, director of business development.

I don’t know the cost yet, but I love, love, love the concept. I kinda wish I had thought of this myself. I’d recommend the keypad entry upgrade.

Images courtesy of Marketshare Inc.

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I think the headline is having some fun with me here, but whatever. I’ll allow it.

We’re a little late, but it’s better than never.  And, we’ve attached the chart this time, so we’re super excited. Everything’s coming up Milhouse.

The latest NWMLS press release came out a couple weeks ago.  Check it out here.  

I get asked fairly often about the market; as in, “Paul, what’s going on with the market?”  or “Paul, what is going on with prices?” or “Paul, why aren’t we selling more homes?”  Here are some quick thoughts also reiterated in the release:

  1. Inventory across the board is still low.  We are still not in a “balanced market.”  An aside: I don’t know what “balanced market” really means. If we don’t sell enough homes, we get yelled at for not selling enough homes. If we sell too many homes, we get yelled at for not raising the prices.  Perhaps one of you faithful readers will enlighten me, not on what a balanced market means, but what a balanced market feels like.  You know, ‘cuz it’s about feelings.
  2.  We did see a bunch of new homes come online recently.  And, that’s a good thing.  However, I do think a chunk of sellers thought it was time to cash-in and the chorus of “INVENTORY IS UP” rang across the land.  Yeah, “up” to 2 months of supply.
  3.  We’re just coming out of a historically slow time of year.
  4.  Prices have risen so fast and so quickly the laws of the universe will demand the madness to slow down a bit. Not stop, mind you, but at least slow down.
  5.  There still aren’t enough new homes being built.
  6.  Prices aren’t going anywhere but up. Sure, we’re seeing some adjustments, but I think that’s about some builders willing to make 25% margins versus 30-35%.  A little facetious here, but you know what I’m saying.
  7.  We need to be really sharp right now on prices.  We cannot price aspirationally. Price for today and to the needs of your monthly absorption requirements.

Here’s that wonderful, glorious chart…

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