A couple of weeks ago Sylvia and I found ourselves standing in a homeless encampment off of South Congress with her two brothers, her neice, her ex-sister-in-law, and the homeless residents of this location, who were most gracious hosts. We were there mainly seeking closure. It was 2 days after the death of Sylvia’s oldest brother Doug, whom we had not seen nor heard from in 12 years. For reasons of his own, he chose to be seperated from his family. We never knew exactly where he was or how he was getting by, except that he once drove a cab and no longer did. Now we were standing in front of his tent – his home – while his chosen family – his homeless friends – told us about him and his recent life living “on the hill” as they called it.
When talking with buyers and sellers lately I spend a lot of time explaining the “Hot Market Factor”. What this means is that when doing a market analysis for a buyer or seller, we are looking at Sold data, but we give much more weight to Active and Pending listings than we would in a neutral or flat market. The Sold homes have actually closed and we know the price paid, so they are always most important to look at. But we also look at Pending and Active listings to see what current activity is like in the subject area. After we arrive at an average price sold for similar properties, we decide if a “hotness factor” needs to be added to the list or offer price. This can result in list prices or offers that are “over market value” based on the sold comparables, but which are reflective of the actual immediate activity and market demand of an area and/or price range.
For example, let’s look at Austin MLS Area SW, which is Southwest Austin, and see if it is “Hot” or not.
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Sylvia and I have been married 15 years today. She woke me early this morning with the tender, romantic words “sweetie, you need to get up and take out the garbage”. And so I did get up and drag the trashcan to the street. Now isn’t that what marriage is all about?!
In 1989 when Sylvia was a leasing agent in Austin, we met through mutual friends. For me, it was love at first sight (but not for her). When she learned I was looking for a place to rent, she told me about a garage apartment she had listed. I liked the place (and her) so I leased it. Meanwhile, the main house was still for rent, so she had a sign in the yard with her name and phone number. Each day as I came and went, I would see her name and phone number there next to my driveway. Finally one day I got the courage to call her.
I recently received a $700+ phone bill from SBC. About $600 of this was long distance charges for calls to one of our buyers in Germany. SBC billed me $4.99 per minute for these calls. I called to protest and the girl on the phone cheerfully removed all the charges and changed my account so that I now pay $0.12 per minute for those calls. She was unable to provide an answer to the question of why I was charged $4.99 to begin with. In the era of VoIP phones, Skype, etc., nobody charges $5/min for international phone calls, but SBC tried to do it to me. The way I see it, they tried to rip me off.
I came across a listing tonight that has “Hurry! Won’t Last!” typed into the listing remarks. The listing has been on the market 299 Days. Wow, you’d think after a couple of months the agent would remove the comment, since the market has rendered it false. This made me curious.
Do comments like these help homes sell faster or motivate other agents to hurry over to preview or show a listing? I can speak only for myself in saying, no. I decided to see what the data says though, so I did a quick test search to see if listings that have comments such as “hurry” or “won’t last” and “priced to sell” typed into the Realtor Remarks section actually do sell faster. What do you think I found?