Ivy Zelman: ‘Now’ Is Best Time to Buy a House.

Ivy ZelmanHousing guru Ivy Zelman told CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” yesterday that “now” is the best time to buy a house.

“It’s the best time in the history of our country with mortgage rates that are below 4 percent that [renters] can actually lock in their fixed cost and create wealth for themselves,” she said.

The founder and chief executive of Zelman & Associates is known for calling the housing peak in 2005 and the housing bottom in 2012.

Zelman said this housing cycle is like a “tale of two markets.”

She said the entry-level market is beginning to accelerate, and builders’ trepidation is slowly beginning to fade as more people are beginning to move to the suburbs.

The market would seem to be in agreement with her on that. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) was trading up more than 1.15 percent Monday morning, and on pace for its best day since Sept. 22, when the XHB gained 1.11 percent.

On the other hand, she said the luxury markets in some cities are in the beginning see “a little bit” of a correction.

When asked about whether millennials will ever buy homes, Zelman said they are beginning to buy houses, but mainly those who are starting a family.

“What we’re seeing is that they want to go to the suburbs, millennials are buying and we have nearly 75 million of them just beginning to come through the pipeline,” she said.

Click here to see video.

Does Your Sales Team Help Implement Your Strategy?

Guiding The Sales Process

All too often, the reason a company’s strategy fails is its salespeople focus solely on quotas, targets and bonus levels, ignoring the company’s overarching strategy. If you want your strategy to be implemented by your sales team, you should make sure three things are happening:

  1. Your salespeople are targeting the right people. It’s common for sales teams to chase easy deals, disregarding the ideal client profile. Make sure your sales team is focusing on the organizations/segments you wish to market to, and be assertive about your expectations.
  2. If your strategy changes, your salespeople’s does too. Sales professionals need to break away from old approaches and determine how best to adjust their marketing techniques to the new company strategy.
  3. Your sales team is focusing on client needs. Instead of old-school pitching, sellers need to have deeper conversations with clients about their objectives and provide insight on how the company can help.

Remember, every hour spent developing an opportunity that’s outside your sweet spot is a non-strategic use of time, energy, and resources.

Continue to Scott Edinger’s HBR article…

The Emotions Behind Home Buying

The Psychology of Buying and Selling a House

A home is the biggest investment almost anyone will make, but often emotions get in the way of making the right choice.

It’s a fact of life:  Homes come with far more emotional weight than any other investment we make… writes Matthew Kassel with the Wall Street Journal.

A home is a refuge from the world, a place to raise a family and, for some people, an investment they hope will bring them a good chunk of money down the road. We fall in love with houses in a way that we never fall in love with a portfolio of stocks and bonds.

All too often, though, we don’t realize that how we feel about homes blinds us when it comes time to buy or sell. We let our emotions blind us to cold facts about the market or the realities of ownership. Or we prioritize one set of emotional needs over others that are just are strong but may not be evident at first. And ignoring them can lead us to make bad financial decisions that can affect us for decades to come.

For instance, people might focus on their desire for a house that’s a certain size or style, but ignore the fact that they want to spend as much time as possible with family. So they might buy a “perfect” house that requires them to make a long daily commute to work and keeps them away from home for two extra hours each day.

The home-selling side of the equation brings its own set of thorny issues. Homeowners often have an overly rosy view of their home and expect it to increase in value far beyond reasonable expectations. And when they put it on the market, they often stubbornly cling to their asking price—even if it means leaving it up for sale far longer than they planned, and risking the possibility of not selling it at all.

Here’s a closer look at some psychological missteps that buyers and sellers often make as they wade into the housing market.

Ignoring the big picture
Home buyers are always on the lookout for features—like a longer driveway or bigger backyard—that will make them happier with their home. But people don’t realize that those changes may not make them happier with their life as a whole.

“When people move to a better housing, they think they will be a lot happier overall,” says Shige Oishi, a co-author of a 2010 study on the subject in Social Indicators Research. “When they actually move, however, their overall happiness does not often change because there are many trade-offs in moving.”

One of the biggest trade-offs is commuting. Many move to live in a bigger house, but that bigger house is often farther away from work—so that means more commuting, which tends to add stress and detract from overall happiness. A 2008 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics shows that people who had longer commutes reported “lower subjective well-being” than those with shorter commutes. “If you’re moving to a place far away from your friends, but it has nicer stuff, it’s not a great deal for your happiness,” says Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia.

In another study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Ms. Dunn and her co-authors explored the matter of expectations vs. reality in another way—by looking at Harvard undergraduates who were randomly assigned to different dormitories. The study showed that first-year students incorrectly predicted what would bring them the most satisfaction from their dorms—physical features like location on campus, the attractiveness of the residence, room size and desirability of the dining hall and facilities.

In the initial survey, the students put no weight on social features, such as relationships with roommates and a sense of community in the residence. But when the researchers checked back in with the students after they’d been living in their dorms, the only thing that appeared to matter for their happiness was the quality of the social factors.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing the physical features of the places you’re looking at,” says Ms. Dunn, “but you should really stop to consider how the places you’re considering will shape your social relationships.”

Overlooking big expenses
People who are buying homes tend to compartmentalize their expenses and not add up the total cost of everything needed to fix up and furnish the house, says Alex Tabarrok, a professor of economics at George Mason University. That can lead them to make poor choices about how much to pay for a home. For instance, they may overspend on a down payment for the house itself and leave themselves without enough money to buy the sort of decorations or furniture that they want. “When you’re getting a house, think about furnishing it at the same time,” says Mr. Tabarrok.

Weighing buying vs. renting
The biggest budgeting concern is, of course, whether you should buy a house at all. Research shows there are psychological benefits to taking the plunge—but also to opting out.

Buying a house can give people a psychological boost by making them feel like they’ve “arrived” and are part of the American ideal. Homeowners also may feel as though they have more control over their lives since they’re not dependent on the whims of a fickle landlord.

But while those factors may lead people into buying a house, there are other negative elements that homeowners don’t discover until after they’ve taken the plunge.

Research, for instance, has shown that home ownership can cause undue stress. The amount of work necessary to maintain a home—such as decorating, or mowing the lawn every weekend—may be too much for some people. Others may be overwhelmed by the financial aspect of ownership, such as being tied to a big monthly mortgage, or keeping up with repairs and other unforeseen costs.

Expecting a big return
When it comes to selling a home, most people aren’t in for a huge payday. Yet many are overly optimistic in their home-price expectations, according to Robert J. Shiller.

Dr. Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University, co-wrote a paper, updated in 2014, that looked at the ways recent home buyers around the country think about the future values of their properties.

Using questionnaire surveys, Mr. Shiller and his co-authors found, among other things, that home buyers have extremely high long-term price expectations. That can lead people to buy homes that aren’t a good fit in terms of location or social scene just because they seem like good investments. Or they may stake their plans—such as retirement—on a certain return and find themselves scrambling when they come up short. On a larger scale, this over-optimism can lead to speculative booms that warp the market.

While it isn’t entirely clear why homeowners are usually so cheerful about the future, the researchers postulate it may result from the “money illusion”—a failure to take inflation into account.

“Imagine that your grandmother dies, and you’re managing her estate,” Mr. Shiller says. “Her house is worth $30,000 now, and you look at what she paid—$5,000. You think, ‘Wow, that’s a lot.’ Now why does it seem so big? Because you’re not reflecting that all prices went up sixfold” and you’re basically not making a profit after taking inflation into account.

Not wanting to come up short
People have many reasons for selling their homes, and for setting the prices they do. But research has found that the most powerful emotional drive at work in a sale is loss aversion—not wanting to sell a home for less than what you paid for it.

In a study in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, researchers found that homeowners latch on to the price they paid for their home with the hope that they can get more when they put it on the market. But that isn’t the soundest idea, says Christopher Mayer, a co-author of the study and a professor of real estate and economics at Columbia Business School, especially if your house has depreciated in value. It’s a fallacy to assume that you’ll be able to recoup losses you’ve already incurred. The current market price has nothing to do with how much a person actually paid for it.

There is a nuance here, though. People who stubbornly stick to an asking price above market value risk not selling their house at all. But sometimes they are rewarded.

Mr. Mayer and a co-author analyzed housing data from downtown Boston in the 1990s, culled from a boom-bust cycle. Condominium owners who put their houses up for sale above the market rate—though still below what they paid for them—sold their homes for more than expected, even as their properties lingered on the market for longer than usual.

Mr. Kassel is a writer in New York. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com 

New Coastal-Craftsman Home In NE St Petersburg


646 34th Avenue N., St Petersburg, FL 33704

646 34th Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33704

Exciting times… We just completed our 2nd home in Northeast St. Pete.  Our first house (next door) sold during construction to a wonderful young couple buying their very first home.

Both homes were designed by nationally renowned Sharp Design Studio.  This 4 bedroom, 3 bath two-story Coastal-Craftsman style home, comes with a front porch, 10’ ceilings with 8’ doors on the 1st floor and 9’ ceilings on the 2nd floor.

‘BURG 2:  2,920 AC/SF (4,125 SF Total Under Roof)

The 1st floor has a Great Room with an Open Kitchen and Walk-In Butler’s Pantry, Dining Room, Bedroom/Den and Full Bath. The 2nd floor houses an oversized Master Suite, 2 add’l Bedrooms, a Bonus/Flex Room with Balcony, large Laundry Room and Bath with dual vanities. Sound proofing between bedrooms and floors; energy efficient windows; large open kitchen with stainless steel GE ENERGY STAR® appliances; gas 5-burner cooktop; shaker stained cabinetry with 42” uppers; granite countertops throughout; pre-wired for ceiling fixtures, alarm and speakers; HVAC with programmable thermostat and a gas tankless water heater.

646 34th Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33704The home is connected to a detached 2 ½ car garage with alley access by a covered breezeway leading to the home.
The homesite is sodded and landscaped with a zoned and metered irrigation system.  Located only minutes from downtown and seconds from the shops, grocery stores and restaurants along 4th and 9th Streets N.

Priced at $549,900

For additional photographs and information, please click here or call me at 727-580-4143.

ForeSite Residential Real Estate


Marketing a Home to Wealthy 50+ Prospects

Capturing business from an offline generation

An October 2015 report from Forbes Insights, Engaging 50+ Consumers In A Digital World, examines the consumer behaviors of wealthy Americans 50 years old and above, a demographic which holds $3.6 trillion in annual income, or 49% of all after-tax income in U.S. Created in partnership with Wealth Engine, the report asserts that this demographic has wholly unique values and preferences concerning marketing from luxury brands and service providers. (Reprint from Luxury Insights)

1. Emphasize the property’s quality and craftsmanship.
To speak to the values of wealthy 50+ Americans, luxury real estate professionals should highlight the quality and craftsmanship of high-end homes rather than the related prestige of living in the home or community. The Wealth Engine survey shows that this group considers the most vital aspects of a luxury product or service to be quality (82%) and craftsmanship (66%). These values are even more important to baby boomers (51-70) than older generations, so this definition of luxury will be around for a while. In contrast, more traditional conceptions of luxury—prestige of ownership (19%), brand/maker name (17%), price (11%)—are not top-priority with respondents.

Marketing to Wealthy 50+ Prospects

2. Market online and offline.
While the Internet plays a part in their decision making processes, these consumers are tentative about the ever-changing technological landscape and thus unlikely to make buying decisions solely based on information received online. On the other hand, 50+ wealthy consumers are generally more receptive than younger generations to offline interactions, experiences, and marketing. 50+ wealthy consumers prefer to get marketing and advertising messages: (1) by word of mouth, (2) through an online search, (3) by visiting a known brand or retailer website directly, and (4) via print or direct mail.

While it can be challenging to strike the on/offline balance needed to engage these consumers, the Forbes/Wealth Engine report urges that careful, value-oriented marketing can really pay off: “While [wealthy 50+ consumers] might not be as digitally savvy as their children and grandchildren, they still have more discretionary funds to spend.”

3. Avoid email marketing with unknown leads.
Be cautious about how you use email to engage 50+ leads and prospects. The Wealth Engine survey shows that, while 17% of respondents rank “email from known brands” in their top 3 preferred methods of receiving marketing and advertising, only 8% appreciate emails from previously unknown brands. In fact, reflecting on the proliferation of unsolicited direct and email marketing, 21% say it makes them not want to do business with a brand, and 18% think it indicates that the brand doesn’t understand what they want.

4. Utilize data-driven targeted marketing, but don’t get too personal.
The wealthy 50+ demographic is particularly receptive to targeted marketing. Of respondents who decided to buy from a particular brand or service provider after seeing their marketing: 68% say they did so because “the timing of the marketing message matched when I wanted/needed to buy,” and 52% say that the inciting marketing message included a special offer that appealed to them.

On the other hand, Forbes notes that, “while they like the personal touch in real life, they are not as keen on it in marketing messages they receive.” 50+ wealthy Americans are hyper-sensitive to data privacy and liable to be made uncomfortable by over-personalized messaging. They will likely not appreciate messaging that mentions a birthday, recent purchase, or any personal information that indicates data mining practices.

5. Be direct when seeking referrals and reviews.
Wealthy 50+ consumers are comfortable gibing referrals and recommendations by word of mouth, but very unlikely to sing their praises online. The Forbes survey and report shows that, for referring a brand or business, 84% are willing to share by word of mouth, while only 21% are willing to write reviews online. To capture referrals from this demographic, real estate professionals should directly ask whether the client has any friends or family members who are thinking of buying or selling real estate in the near future. In addition, agents should ask for a written review to include in a testimonial book or in the testimonial section of your webpage.

Posted on February 18, 2016 at 09:17 AM in About, In the News, Institute News, Luxury Home Marketing Tips, Partners & Friends, Research & Statistics

5 Real Estate Ads That Will Air During The Super Bowl


1. Some real estate players are pulling out all the stops to make the major leagues with celebrity cameos and millions of dollars invested into this year’s Super Bowl Commercials.
2. Tech, convenience and change in the industry are common themes throughout the messaging.
3. Both the Super Bowl and the housing industry as we know it are a half-century old.

Which commercial do you like best?

via Inman by Amy Swinderman

How To Sell A Condo… An Introduction.

Helping customers buy a condo requires a lot of information gathering, especially when a property is financed through a lender. First, find out if the buyers are investors or full-time residents.

Will they need a mortgage?

Now compare properties that fit those needs and read the condo association documents. With these answers in place, you can help buyers match financing and investment goals.

Watch this video for more tips.