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.

 title=

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.

 title=

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…

 title=

Before we start, and sticking with our quote of the week, here’s a little extra for you faithful readers in honor of the Pearl Jam Home Shows. I heard they played for over three hours last night. Great track. Great album. Enjoy.

Anyway, back to business. Here’s the latest NWMLS press release. You should read it, but ignore the quotes.

From the PR:  King County’s number of active listings surged nearly 48 percent from a year ago, rising from 3,465 active listings to 5,116. Snohomish County also had double-digit increases, up nearly 15.8 percent, but 15 counties reported less inventory than twelve months ago.

From me: I do think the surge in new listings represent a large swathe of homeowners who have been hearing the words “escalation,” “multiple” and “inventory” in conjunction with  “clause,” “offers” and “low” for so long they’ve decided to jump into the game.

The true fact remains. Inventory is still way below anything considered “normal” and I think it is going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

For new construction, prices need to stabilize a bit for sure. However (here’s the broken record), land is expensive, sticks and bricks cost more as does the labor.

It’s clear pricing needs to be very sharp right now.  The arbitrary, incremental price increases should take a backseat to strategic pricing and case-by-case evaluations.  And, as always, salesmanship, sound processes, customer follow-up, broker outreach and expertise are still required every day onsite; perhaps even more so right now.

 title=

Zillow and HERE Technologies have released a very interesting analysis aimed to track down the best home and rent values when compared against the commute to downtown Seattle. It’s a slick tool to help answer one of the biggest issues facing today’s homebuyers: “what is it worth to spend more time in traffic?” With the population growing, more businesses opening downtown and traffic conditions almost certainly to get worse, not better, it’s arguably the #1 question for most people.

Here are the big takeaways:

  • 15 minutes from downtown represents a 11.3% savings.
  • Highline is the best value to buy with a median price of $387,700 and a 38-minute commute.
  • South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods are best for renters. $2,356/mo and 27 minutes.
  • Of the MSAs studied, Seattle ranks second for highest dollar savings and forth for percentage when moving 15 minutes out of downtown.
  • “Over a 30-year career, reducing your one-way commute by just 15 minutes frees up five months of one’s life for more rewarding pursuits.” (Geekwire)
  • Seattle’s situation isn’t the same everywhere. “In areas like San Antonio, Las Vegas and Sacramento, home values actually increase when they are located farther from the city’s urban core.”

Of course we all know “15 minutes” is a relative term in this area, but the graphic helps.

Crack open that piggy bank, cash out your Bitcoin investments and sell-off your vintage action figures. Have I got a deal for you!

How about a 157-acre lot on a mountain high above Beverly Hills? Build your very own 1.5 million square foot Wayne Manor with 360-degree views, perfect for spotting approaching super villains. Laugh at the inferior size of Disneyland, which could, “fit within its confines and still have 57 acres to spare.” Be mentioned in articles along side previous owners and interested buyers such as, “Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Merv Griffin, Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, and Princess Shams, elder sister of the late Shah of Iran.”

All of this for a paltry $1 Billion.

Keep in mind that is just for the land, by the way. Dirt is expensive, but this is downright ridiculous. That being said, I would be happy to represent you on the buyer’s side when you’re ready. I’m even willing to reduce my commission on this one.

Photo by Matthew Momberger, courtesy Aaron Kirman Partners
 title=

Keeping with our California theme today, it looks like the living legend, Snoop Dogg, has run into some issues with his recent mansion remodel. The Doggfather is currently suing his contractor for not paying subs and living up to their agreement. This is actually a counter-claim for another lawsuit in which Snoop, and the contractor he’s now suing, refused to pay a $12,385 bill for landscaping-related services. In the counter-claim he is asking for the first lawsuit to be dismissed which could include a lien against his home.

Who knows who’s in the right here. What I do know is it looks like a huge pain and another reason to buy new and avoid the drama.