Real estate agents adjust to cooling trend They have to work smarter to match homebuyers and sellers.Byline: Randi Bjornstad The Register-Guard
Unlike some places in California This list of current cities, towns, unincorporated communities, counties, and other recognized places in the U.S. state of California also includes information on the number and names of counties in which the place lies, and its lower and upper ZIP code bounds, if applicable. , homebuyers in Lane County probably won't get a 42-inch plasma television with their housing purchase. But local real estate agents say they are having to work smarter to match buyers and sellers in a market that's slowed down but is still active.
In some ways, it's back-to-the-future in the real estate market, with agents peppering their conversations with words such as "networking" and "open house" to describe their latest sales tactics.
"In this market, we're doing a lot more one-on-one with other agents, and we stay in really close contact with both buyers and sellers," said Janie Wright, principal broker with Barnhart Associates Real Estate. "It's really important to know the inventory - it's not a time for sitting at desks, looking at pictures of homes on computers. You have to be out, seeing houses and meeting people."
Realtors at Keller Williams Keller Williams (also known as K-Dub or just Keller) (Born February 4, 1970) is an American singer from Fredericksburg, Virginia who began performing in the early 1990’s. accomplish that with their new, weekly "Paint the Town Red" effort. Agents gather in a headquarters conference room on Thursday afternoons to hear a rundown Rundown
A summary of the amount and prices of a serial bond issue that is still available for purchase.
A list of available bonds in a municipal issue of serial bonds. of houses available in that week's selected neighborhood.
Then they fan out, many sporting matching red T-shirts, going door-to-door to let residents know there will be multiple open houses in the neighborhood on the weekend, urging them to attend or tell friends or family who might be house hunting - and presenting a friendly face that they hope will be remembered if someone needs an agent.
Stephanie Lebold recently canvassed a Santa Clara Santa Clara, city, Cuba
Santa Clara (sän`tä klä`rä), city (1994 est. pop. 217,000), capital of Villa Clara prov., central Cuba. neighborhood with fellow Keller Williams broker Tina Arsenian. Lebold not only handed out brochures about the open houses but quickly turned one of her door-knocking contacts into a possible client.
"She's a mother with three little kids and another on the way," Lebold said. "She's hoping to be in the housing market in about a year, but she's concerned about financing and credit and what to do when."
After encouraging the young mom to start working right away on monitoring the family's credit scores and saving for a down payment, Lebold jotted down the woman's name, telephone number and e-mail address See Internet address.
e-mail address - electronic mail address , promising to get back in touch with information about a first-time homebuyer First-Time Homebuyer
An IRA owner who is exempt from the early-distribution penalty (which applies to IRA distributions that occur before the IRA owner reaches age 59.5) for distributing funds from his or her IRA to buy, build, or rebuild a home when having had no interest in a program.
Arsenian also met a potential client, a woman from California who had just moved to Eugene to be nearer her children and grandchildren GRANDCHILDREN, domestic relations. The children of one's children. Sometimes these may claim bequests given in a will to children, though in general they can make no such claim. 6 Co. 16. .
"This is a good way for all of us to get more exposure to listings and neighborhoods and meet more people who might need our services," Arsenian said. "And these multiple open houses are really convenient for buyers, sellers and agents to be able to see a lot of things in the same area on the same day."
The Keller Williams approach to open houses is just one example of how the old has become new in real estate sales tactics, said John Hoops, principal broker with Windermere Real Estate Windermere Real Estate, a real estate company based in Seattle, Washington, was founded by John W. Jacobi in 1972, when he purchased an eight-agent office in the Windermere neighborhood of Seattle. Lane County and president of the Eugene Association of Realtors.
He remembers 25 years ago when longtime Realtor Jean Tate Jean Tate was a fictional character in the ITV soap Emmerdale. Family
"It's an interesting thing, though - the way people respond to this slower market depends hugely on how long they've been in the business," Hoops said. "Somebody who started in real estate four or five years ago, just before the big escalation in the market, will say, `What's going on What's Going On is a record by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. Released on May 21, 1971 (see 1971 in music), What's Going On reflected the beginning of a new trend in soul music. here? Why is everything so slow?' But people who've been doing it a long time just say, `Hmm, the market's changed again.' '
The recent cooling of the housing market mostly serves as a reminder "that in real estate, relationships are everything," he said. Except in a superheated su·per·heat
tr.v. su·per·heat·ed, su·per·heat·ing, su·per·heats
1. To heat excessively; overheat.
2. market, "you can't just put an ad in the paper and stick pictures on the Internet. If you haven't talked to all the people in your sphere of influence within the past six months - people you know who might want to buy a home or know people who do - then shame on you."
There's no question that home sales have softened in the Lane County area, but it's not stagnant, and it's not plummeting the way markets reportedly have in California and some other regions of the country, he said.
"We're actually still doing OK here. In the upper end of the price range, we have months and months and months' worth of inventory, but if a seller lists a home in the right place in the range, it will sell."
Lower-priced homes are still moving quickly, as long as the asking price is correct for the kind of home it is and the neighborhood it's in, Hoops said.
There's no doubt that the housing market has cooled since 2005's frenzied fren·zied
Affected with or marked by frenzy; frantic: a frenzied rush for the exits.
fren sales activity.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Regional Multiple Listing Service in Portland, for the first seven months of this year, active listings in Lane County have gone up over the same period last year, to 5,000 compared with 4,600. Houses have sat on the market longer - an average of 70 days this year compared with 51 in 2006 - and the number of closed sales dropped by 100, to 2,600.
However, unlike the horror stories horror story
Story intended to elicit a strong feeling of fear. Such tales are of ancient origin and form a substantial part of folk literature. They may feature supernatural elements such as ghosts, witches, or vampires or address more realistic psychological fears. from other places where prices have dropped substantially, prices in Lane County have continued to rise at a respectable - many agents call it normal - rate; the median price of homes for the year increased 10.3 percent for the 12 months ending July 31 to $234,900. The appreciation during the previous 12 months - which ended July 31, 2006, and included much of the recent real estate boom - was 20 percent.
One other measure of a slump - the number of real estate agents in the industry - has not changed significantly statewide.
Selena Barnes, manager of the licensing section of the state Real Estate Agency, said Oregon had 21,203 active real estate brokers as of Aug. 31. That's down about 800 from the number in 2006 but 400 more than 2005.
Hoops said he doesn't have comparable numbers for Lane County but that the association he heads has not lost as much membership as he expected.
"We've been budgeting for a downturn in membership, but we haven't seen much of a drop-off," he said. "We've actually had more people join this year than we expected."
That's why Coldwell Banker broker Kathie Robidou says she's frustrated frus·trate
tr.v. frus·trat·ed, frus·trat·ing, frus·trates
a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart: by the barrage of doom-and-gloom reports about the national housing market.
"Those things are not happening here, but unfortunately, perception can become reality," Robidou said. "People need to realize that we're still selling houses here. Things are slower, and we have to be more innovative than we were a couple of years ago to make sure houses get shown, but that's just back-to-basics real estate."
Open houses continue to be important sales tools, and staging - ranging from removing clutter and rearranging furniture to refurnishing entire rooms - has become a popular way to gain a competitive advantage, Robidou said.
Sellers got spoiled a couple of years ago, when they could expect to move even high-end homes in 40 days or less, she said. Now, buyers are spoiled by all the choices they have on the market and the lack of urgency they feel to make up their minds.
But proper presentation, realistic asking prices and energetic showings still result in strong home sales, Robidou said, and she's optimistic op·ti·mist
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.
2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
op that it will continue. "We really should be grateful about just how good our market really is," she said.
Kevin Clark Kevin Clark is an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Rhode Island. He is probably most well-known for his stint as the head coach at St. John's during the 2003–2004 season. / The Register-Guard
Stephanie Lebold goes door-to-door in a Santa Clara neighborhood to let people know about open houses in the area. Tina Arsenian of Keller Williams Realty talks to resident Bonnie bon·ny also bon·nie
adj. bon·ni·er, bon·ni·est Scots
1. Physically attractive or appealing; pretty.
2. Excellent. Carlson about homes for sale in the area. Carlson recently moved from California and is looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a home. "We really should be grateful about just how good our market really is." - KATHIE ROBIDOU, COLDWELL BANKER