How will the Market change in 2018 sales season?

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Projections for how the national housing market will shift over the course of 2018 are already starting to come to fruition, and real estate professionals will have to keep a close eye on changing data and market conditions in their regions. This may be especially true when it comes to the start of the spring buying season, which is just weeks away for a number of metro areas.

Perhaps the most pressing concern for would-be homeowners at this time of year is how home prices are likely to rise in the months ahead, according to Nerdwallet. Certainly, prices have been rising – for some time now – at well above the rates considered historically normal in the 3 percent range. And while that’s likely to be the case again over the course of 2018, prices will probably only rise about 4.1 percent, down from at least 6 percent in each of the previous two years.

That will likely be driven by an increase in the available housing inventory in a lot of markets – of all sizes. As a result of market pressures that led to the historically significant increases in home prices, homebuilders are finally responding, with more of a focus on putting up lower-cost homes as a means of opening housing options up to first-time buyers who typically have lower-end housing needs. Starter homes, in particular, have largely been absent from housing inventory, getting scooped up quickly when they do go on the market. If builders can address that concern in the months ahead, it could portend a lot more activity for agents.

That, in turn, is likely to lead to at least a small increase in year-over-year home sales, while new home sales are expected to surge by as much as 7 percent.

What about sellers?
Meanwhile, another reason that prices have increased so sharply in recent years is that many current homeowners just haven’t been putting their houses up for sale in the past several months at least, but that could start to change in 2018 as well, according to U.S. News and World Report. With prices continuing to rise and mortgage rates moderating – but still staying below historical and pre-recession norms – there could be even greater incentive for some owners – particularly older ones – to sell as demand remains high.

While a relatively small number of people currently think they’re going to be in a position to sell their homes in the year ahead, any increase over 2017’s rate of existing homes being put up for sale would likely be a boon to many markets.

And while home prices in and immediately around larger urban areas will likely remain quite high, the growing inventory of both new and existing houses for sale in outlying areas will likely make the dream of homeownership reasonable for both would-be buyers and current owners looking to make lateral moves or trade down on the sizes of their properties.

The effects of the changing economy
The housing market and the broader economy are inextricably intertwined, each having massive effects on each other on a continual basis. One way in which this may be most apparent to would-be buyers and sellers alike is in the form of mortgage rate changes, and the general expectation is that these rates will rise slowly over the course of 2018, according to Inman. Of course, it’s always difficult to project even a few months out where rates will end up landing; many projections at the start of 2017 showed that rates could climb as high as 4.5 percent or more, but in fact closed the year under 4 percent once again.

Nonetheless, experts once again believe 4.5 percent is a reasonable average benchmark for the market as a whole for 2018, and approaching 5 percent before the year comes to a close. That will likely come over the course of the whole year, as the Federal Reserve Board plans to incrementally raise basis interest rates at a number of points throughout the year. As a consequence, rates should remain well below that mark at the start of the spring buying and selling season, helping to ensure everyone can continue to lock in historically affordable rates that.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, told Inman that even given today’s higher home prices (which at this point are at all-time record peaks in many markets), rates would likely need to crest 6 percent before they started to become unaffordable in comparison to historical norms. Given that projections to this point are largely targeted for the mid-4 percent range, that helps to ensure high-level affordability for some time to come.

Emerging trends
While inventory is likely to be a major issue in many metro regions, there are some where the changing market forces are likely to have a big impact, The Washington Post reported. For instance, cities where inventory has been tight but construction efforts are likely to loosen things up considerably over the course of the year include major population centers like Boston, Philadelphia and Nashville.

Meanwhile, a number of big Southern markets are probably going to see more robust sales growth as they become attractive destinations for would-be buyers. These include Dallas, Charlotte and Tulsa, among others.

However, the tax reform bill that recently became law and applies to the 2018 tax year could have an impact on sales as well. For instance, homeowners are no longer allowed to write off certain state and local taxes, meaning that states with high property levies – including California, New York, Massachusetts and so on – could end up seeing a more muted growth as would-be buyers start their shopping elsewhere in an effort to save on their tax bills.

With rates rising and more inventory becoming available, it’s likely the market will continue to shift toward being dominated by purchases, rather than the refinances that have made up at least half of the market for most of the last several years. That trend, too, could affect the number of homes for sale, as owners start to see fewer financial reasons to refinance their existing home loans, and potentially seek ways to find more long-term savings through a home sale.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Agents Can Use the Winter Months to Re-Hone Important Skills.

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Though veteran real estate professionals may feel as though they know all the ins and outs of their business and local markets, it never hurts to hone the skills that lead to long-term success. Winter may be the perfect time to revisit those efforts.

Even agents who have been in the industry for years may still have a thing or two to learn about the best practices in the modern real estate market, whether that means doing research on some of the changes taking place in their regions over the past year or how best to communicate with clients, according to Skills You Need. These areas are usually the tools in any agent’s utility belt that make them stand out from the competition, and with business a little slower at this time of year, a bit of work to make sure everything is up to snuff can go a long way in the spring and summer.

Where to begin
One area where many veteran agents may be able to start their winter research is to see if any state or local rules and regulations have changed in the past year because that review is just the sort of thing that can go by the wayside in spring or summer, when sales activity is far more hectic. Small changes in this regard can end up having a big impact on an agent’s sales efforts going forward, so learning the ins and outs of whatever may have shifted is a great way to kick-start the re-training effort.

After that, additional effort to brush up on some of the finer points of social media communications or make connections with the owners of new local businesses could help to lay the groundwork for a successful spring and summer.

A focus on social
For some agents, there hasn’t yet been a huge shift to marketing on social media, but experts say finding footing on those platforms is a great idea at this point, according to McKissock Learning. That’s because the average American spends 40 minutes on Facebook alone every day, and social sites tend to drive a huge percentage of all web traffic. To that end, it’s a smart step for agents to learn how to market themselves on the site with both organic efforts and paid ads. Even if the latter isn’t used heavily, it’s still wise to know the best practices for developing effective ads.

Moreover, any agents who haven’t set up their own professional accounts, and have instead been using their agency’s page or personal accounts, might want to build an individual professional page. That’s another great way for would-be clients to start putting a face to a name and differentiate an agent’s personal life from their professional pursuits.

Even the most seasoned professionals can always stand to learn a little more about how to succeed in their fields. That fact may be especially true in a sector like real estate sales, because so much is changing all the time.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Social Media Ad Marketing in Winter

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Agents may take the slower winter months to ramp up their social media marketing and planning, but that work should include trying to determine what has been most effective in the past and what hasn’t. Certainly, the extra time many real estate professionals have in December, January and even February gives them flexibility to not only maintain and construct creative eye-catching social posts, but also brush up on some emerging industry-recommended best practices.

There’s no real trick to making social media posts stand out in winter versus spring, summer or fall: The same principles that apply then are still in play now, according to Inman. That fact means mixing attractive photos with vibrant descriptions of available listings and adding in some local expertise whenever possible. However, that’s also the sort of thing that most agents do at this point, so a little more might have to be done to truly make a listing stand out.

A smarter path
Instead of trying to appeal broadly to a wide variety of would-be buyers with a listing, it might be wiser to home in on specific demographics, and fortunately most social media platforms allow for that laser-focus. For instance, Facebook ads may allow you to target users by age, location and a number of other different specifications, and that functionality can increase the likelihood that an ad resonates with an intended target.

Indeed, by focusing on particular groups of Facebook users (or those on other platforms), the actual content of the ad itself can be tailored more specifically to those groups so that there’s an even greater chance of success. The difference between these ads and more general ones could be likened to fishing with a spear versus simply dropping a baited hook in the water and hoping for the best.

Getting this specific also allows agents to highlight other parts of a home that may be particularly attractive to the demographics they’re targeting. Along those lines, it’s wise to include not just one picture in an ad, but at least a few, to show off more features per ad; that approach provides a little extra bang for the advertising buck.

A strategy for success
There are likely millions of pages online explaining the best ways to draw eyes with social media ads, but agents likely know from experience that people have largely trained themselves to gloss over any ad they come across online, according to RESAAS. As such, it might be wise at this time to look inward and examine past social advertising efforts. Which ads have worked well? Which haven’t? What do the big performers have in common, and what sets them apart from those that fell short of expectations? That kind of knowledge can shape future advertising efforts, as well as those that are still underway in winter.

Generally speaking, agents can boost their engagement with past and future clients through social media to a significant extent, but the key to ensuring an ongoing online relationship is providing people with what they want or need. Also, regularly revisiting that question can go a long way.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

HUFF Realty Toy Drive!

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For 19 years, HUFF Realty has held a toy drive for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Each year, HUFF Realty agents and employees are able to provide both monetary and toy donations to this great cause.

HUFF Realty encourages members of the community to drop off donations at one of their local offices. Monetary and toy donations are accepted.

The Cincinnati Shriners Hospital is a 30-bed hospital dedicated to the treatment of pediatric burns as well as specializing in plastic and reconstructive conditions such as cleft lip and palate. All care is provided regardless of the families’ ability to pay.

Upon admission, every child receives several toys that provide entertainment and comfort during their treatment.

UC List Flyer

Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Their 22 facilities, located in the United States, Canada and Mexico, provide advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors to continue improving the lives of children.

For more information and drop off locations visit http://www.huff.com/shriners-toy-drive.aspx.

5 Great Apps for Real Estate

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For real estate professionals, apps have become useful and vital tools in conducting their day-to-day business. With the impact of technology within today’s real estate market, there are a number of apps readily available to agents and they may not even know they exist. As a result, a little research can go a long way for agents who want to boost their efficiency just a bit more.

Here are a few app suggestions to get any ambitious agent started:

1) Charlie App

Agents are often only as good as the information they have to connect with clients and leads, and Charlie will help a lot, according to Realtors Property Resource. It cross-references everyone on an agent’s contact list with online profiles to provide info on their professional and personal interests, which agents can use to forge better connections. This app isn’t free, but it can be an invaluable resource if utilized correctly.

2) Cloze

Much like Charlie solidifies a lot of prep work agents would have to do with relation to their contacts, Cloze does the same with their scheduling. It aggregates information across email, calendar, social media and even Evernote to put together a daily agenda of everything an agent has to do, and even links all the necessary documents to specific calendar items. As with Charlie, this app carries a monthly subscription fee, but can also be a big time-saver.

3) Adobe Premiere Clip

Here’s a free one: Many agents know Adobe for its suite of creative software offerings like Photoshop, but this one can be used to edit videos directly on a phone. That’s ideal for on-the-go agents who are trying to publish regular video ads or updates, but don’t always have the ability to sit down at their desk. Agents can even add background music to their videos, directly within the app.

4) Spotio

When agents are collecting leads, it’s not always easy to keep everything organized, especially if they speak with a lot of people in a single day, according to real estate agent Loida Velasquez. With Spotio, they are able to put contact information, their addresses, certain notes and other crucial information into a simple form, and all the data collected over any period of time can then be exported as a spreadsheet for easier organization and data tracking.

5) Everlance

For agents who have to keep careful track of their mileage when driving, keeping exact records can be a challenge. Not so with Everlance, which not only uses a phone’s GPS to get it right, but also tells agents the precise value of the miles they’ve driven on any single trip, or over time. That can be a huge advantage come tax time, because agents won’t have to crunch nearly as many numbers as they used to.

A little research into the best possible apps for organizing information and getting the word out about their presence in the community will go a long way for agents. That, in turn, will likely help them facilitate a larger number of real estate sales, even at this time of year.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Pottebaum Point: Exclusive Hillside Community in Dayton, KY

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Lot 19

Pottebaum Point, an exclusive hillside community, features single family homes located at the top of O’Fallon and bordered by 10th and Walnut Streets in Dayton, KY . The homes are 2,000 – 2,500 square feet in size, and priced in the mid 500’s to mid 700’s.

Enjoy panoramic views of downtown Cincinnati and the river from every lot!  Less than 3 miles from downtown and right up the hill from the new Manhattan Harbor riverfront development.  All homes are 100% custom by Redknot Homes and feature smart home technology, rooftop decks, and high end finishes.

According to developer Mark Pottebaum, these homes are transitional or modern homes and cater to baby boomers, empty nesters or young professionals. These homes are priced lower than they would be across the Ohio River and have the benefit of being located in a walkable neighborhood.

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All sites with premium views of downtown Cincinnati and the river.

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For more information contact:
Ryan Clendenin, The Clendenin Home Team
HUFF Realty
859-653-9614
Ryan@CHTSells.com
www.chtsells.com

 

Can AI Help Agents Boost Lead Conversion?

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Artificial intelligence has many practical applications for real estate professionals, including the ability to help connect with prospective clients in a number of unexpected ways.

AI chatbots are starting to gain a lot of traction both within and outside the real estate profession, but the technology can sometimes feel impersonal; it’s not that AI of this type can’t be effective, but agents are in the people business as much as real estate, so that personal touch is vital, according to Real Trends.

Get on the phone
AI can help in other ways as well, such as by managing and automatically dialing phone numbers collected by other AI operations or more standard lead collection efforts. This allows agents to spend a little less time on figuring out the best person to call, and a little more time actually talking to clients, both current and prospective.

Adopting soon
As with any other emerging technology, AI is likely to be in widespread use within the real estate sector just a few years from now, according to Towards Data Science. The sooner agents can assess how AI may be able to help them, and then move to adopt those options, the more ahead of the curve they will be.

AI isn’t necessarily the kind of “wow-factor” real estate technology that virtual reality is, but it can certainly help agents in their everyday jobs, even if it’s a little more behind the scenes. Doing so, can help them get more clients into the real estate sales process on an ongoing basis.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.