WOW – what a COLD week we just experienced in southeast Michigan! We are about to experience a 65 to 70 degree swing by Sunday and it will feel like spring. I fully expect our real estate market to continue strong through 2019, but an adjustment is inevitable as we are now in our 7th year of strong recovery and growth. I don’t think we will see a lot of the crazy overbidding we’ve seen in recent years. Interest rates are ticking back and forth and Buyer interest is still very strong. But I think we will see a slight increase in available homes for sale once spring hits. All indicators I see every day is for a very good market here in this area. If you know anyone looking to sell or buy a home, let us know so we can give them the “wow experience” that we strive to give. We helped dozens of families sell and buy homes in 2018 and we love our real estate family. Let us make you or your friends part of ours. Make it a great weekend!
As our real estate practice continues to grow we are proud to announce our official name change. The scope of our team goes far beyond Jennifer, Michelle and myself as we continue to add trusted sources to confidently refer to our clients. Mortgage lenders, title company, contractors, movers and more. We don’t refer a source unless we have 100% confidence in their abilities so our clients can trust that they will be serviced properly, ethically and honestly. Real estate is a profession and not a hobby, so we continually strive to better our services and systems for our clients. In a thriving real estate market thousands of people get their real estate license to try and quickly sell some homes but at the first sign of a market downturn, they are off doing something else. The same goes for contractors and many market related services. I grew and thrived from 2008 to 2010 when we experienced the worst real estate market in our lifetime. So when the market adjusts, we will be here giving our clients the same great service we do now.
Another year has rocketed past and we find ourselves in reflection of 2017 and great anticipation of 2018. From a real estate perspective it was another fantastic year of continued home value increases, driven by another 12 months of listing shortages which equates to a frustrating market for home buyers. Interest rates remain very good and all indicators tell me that we will experience another year of low listing inventory. Even though new construction is up, the price per square foot is sky high given the fact that those homes do not include window treatments, landscaping, patios/decks, finished basements and in many cases even sprinklers or sod/grass seed in the entire yard. Adding up those additional costs can tack a large sum on your home purchase. Ranch home sales are being driven by Baby Boomers who want to eliminate stairs and have everything on the ground level. Those Boomers are paying cash in many instances or a conventional mortgage with a huge down payment, so young buyers/families trying to buy that type of home is challenging especially if they are purchasing with an FHA loan (small down payment). Those are just a few examples of the things driving this market and in a nut shell, it is likely to continue through 2018. They keys for Sellers: make that home “show ready” in as many ways as possible getting a real estate professional’s opinion early. For Buyers: get a STRONG pre-approval or full approval letter from a reputable mortgage lender and be ready to act FAST. Many of our homes have sold in a day or two and for multiple offers which will likely continue in 2018.
We are witnessing what always happens in a recovering real estate market. New Realtors, new real estate offices, contractors, etc. pop up everywhere to try and make some fast money. Then when the market cools they will disappear, close and go out of business just as quickly, moving on to make fast money somewhere else. When choosing a real estate or construction professional, do your research! No matter who you choose, trust your assets to those that represent the industry through good times and bad. Those of us that work even harder in bad times to maintain as much of our values as possible, then to help them recover. These are the professionals that work for our local values, not to make some fast cash and move on. It baffles me how someone will trust their most valuable asset to a nephew that “does real estate on the side.” Would you trust a surgeon who dabbles in his trade to do your major surgery?
Many people think a recovering real estate market is all positive news. However a recovering market creates more opportunity for unethical contractors. Contractors with good reputations are booked for weeks and even months, so this is the time when tradespeople come out of the woodwork and we see an increase in poor workmanship and even homeowners being scammed. Try to use contractors who have strong track records and are referred from friends and Realtors. It’s the contractors (and Realtors) that make it through the bad times that are usually your best choices! I see lots of contractors and Realtors resurface when the market recovers, having left to do something else when times get tough. We also see a lot of people get their real estate license when the market is hot because it’s easier to sell homes then, and those same people normally disappear just as fast when things slow down and you have to work harder for your clients. My suggestion is to go with the experienced when selling your home. Would you trust your stocks and investments to a first year financial advisor? Your home may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars so why trust that investment to someone with no experience?
In my opinion, real estate transactions should be a win/win for both parties. In most instances, the sale of a home and the purchase of that same home have intertwined emotions. Possible years of family memories of a growing family with the promise of a new family hoping to do the same. Sadly so many agents see the transaction as a “sell it as fast as I can and move to the next one.” Honest and ethical negotiation processes are becoming a thing of the past and that, my friends, is very sad. There is nothing more rewarding that leaving the closing table with Sellers and Buyers exchanging phone numbers, giving each other gifts, smiling and laughing. That is what makes my career rewarding. Making a living in this industry is easy. Changing lives is the true reward.
As 2014 ends, my thoughts are naturally on an upcoming and exciting 2015. My number one goal every year on my goal list is always the same – professionalism. Every year should be exciting from a business perspective because it gives us a clean canvas to re-paint our business goals but most importantly, how we do and grow our business.
Let me take this a step further….. I see the biggest mistake companies in EVERY industry are making is putting less emphasis on professionalism aka, customer service. Customer service (overall) is getting absolutely horrible in every industry I can think of. Are there exceptions? ABSOLUTELY! So don’t come through your laptop, tablet or phone screen to strangle me. And we could go into incredible detail regarding companies that outsource their customer service departments but we don’t have the time here.
My favorite company for customer service? Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare and Gaylord (Michigan). Their customer service is off the charts! And my opinion is it is almost impossible to “teach” great customer service. You “hire” people with the heart, attitude and personality to support your goals of customer service. Jay’s does it better than anyone.
How does that relate to real estate? It really doesn’t but every time I stop at Jay’s, it reminds me that no matter how good we are, we can always do better in servicing our clients.