Posts Tagged ‘ advertising ’

Not Even Two Months Of Inventory!

I was sniffing through the latest real estate data for our area out here in Northern Virginia, and I saw something that shocked me, even as a rookie agent.

Inventory Right Now–Under TWO MONTHS!

In real estate, we have what’s called “inventory.”  We measure inventory in “months”–as in, if no new homes were listed on the market beginning right now, how long would would it take to sell them all?  Six months’ inventory means just that–it would take six months to sell all of the homes.  (Six months, by the way, is generally known as a “balanced market”–if the number rises or falls too far from six months, the market will become tremendously out of whack.)  It’s basically supply vs. demand;  three or five years ago, when this area had 14 months’ worth of inventory, there were too many homes for the amount of people there were to buy them.  Back then, it was a “buyer’s market,” which means that buyers were able to get closing costs (and plenty of other things) paid by sellers, who were practically begging someone to take their property off their hands for them.If you click on the link above, scroll down to the second-to-last graph, labeled “Inventory vs. Closed Sales.”  You’ll notice on the right side that the graph shows that we have just under two months of inventory in Fairfax County.  Inventory here is almost three times smaller than it should be in a balanced market, making the market very decisively in the seller’s favor (or, a “seller’s market”).  We (real estate agents) are seeing more and more commonly very-well-equipped properties which are priced well staying on the market for three or five days, and selling under five or eight competing offers.  It’s very competitive right now to find great homes for your clients.

If you happen to find yourself looking to buy a home in a market as intensely comeptitive as this one has become, here are some tried-and-true tips to win against everyone else.  And if you are looking within the Washington, DC area, you need to get me on the horn as soon as possible, so I can help you find a house that feels like home when you first open the front door.  (I know, I know, and I’m sorry…I’m working on trying to find a picture of my mug that will fit there…but in the meantime, feel free to browse the area’s inventory at your leisure!)

I’m glad that I was able to find a great place for my clients (we are under contract and working toward a mid-March close date), and I understand now why we were out-competed in the first three properties they wanted to buy!  Lesson=Learned!

Human Business Works

I.    Am officially.   A “startup.” startup

In the business world, a “startup” is just that–a brand new company with an idea, product or service which hasn’t quite gotten going.  It needs to have its affairs in order, begin drawing as many customers as possible to it, build buzz around it by word of mouth or other marketing techniques, and most of all, start making money.  A startup almost (emphasis on almost) always runs in the red for a period of time before its revenues overtake initial launch and operating costs (read: “makes more than it spends”).

Well, all of that applies to me, at the moment.  Since beginning in real estate, I’ve had relatively small startup costs, but I do owe it to those invested in me to repay them in short order, and do with their funds exactly what I said I would.  (I’m working on it, and I have.)  I’ve convinced my first few clients to hire me as their Realtor, and I’m busting my butt to provide the highest level of customer service that I know how to, in hopes that they will like me enough to refer others to me.  What more can I do, right?

Well, there is something.

Besides staying informed by reading blogs like Seth Godin’s, Marcus Brotherton’s and Mark Cuban’s (among others), there are ways to boost business.  Chief among them is to partner with someone who knows what they are doing (which I’ve done at Keller-Williams Capital Properties by hiring a 20-year-veteran mentor).  Well, after doing a lot of homework, here’s the next big thing for me.
ChrisBrogan

If you are running a business–or WANT to run a business–you need to sign up for this newsletter.  This guy’s name is Chris Brogan, and the man is unbelievable.  His newsletters show up in your email once a week on Sunday mornings, and they are the perfect way to open up the day:  I literally make my coffee, then sit down and start reading for about 4-5 minutes, and come away uplifted and motivated and creative.  His messages aren’t canned, and probably 90% of the time, they aren’t even sales pitches.  Hell, looking back on it–I didn’t even know what he was selling until about 4 weeks in, when I went to the site on my own.  The guy just puts down in words the ethos that he lives each day, and if you can harness some of his (err, actually, your own) energy, it really sets you up to face the week positioned well from the outset.  I’m serious–it’s one of the highlights of my weekend.

He’s got a brand new book (which I’ll be getting on order this weekend), and no, he hasn’t paid me to say any of these things.

He responds to emails when you have questions, he’s an established businessman…it’s like having an even BIGGER mentor, in my opinion.  Seems like a smart, logical next-step for a startup like me.  I’ll be “leading with revenue,” of course, but I’ve got my eye on some of the courses on the Human Business Works website.

Are any of you out there already affiliated with Chris or HBW?  Have you ever taken any of the courses?  What did you think??

 

The Great Unknown…Returning To School and Career Change At 30.

The time has come to stage my coup.

I’ve been accepted into The American University’s Kogod School of Business, and I can’t wait to get that ball rolling in the fall.  Further, the time has come for me to transition out of aviation (for now) and into a subject that I began focusing on and learning about over five years ago now:  Real Estate.

Business and Real Estate–two things I have no formal experience or education with yet.  I’m leaving the comfort of showing up to work every day at 8am (or 7, or 5, or 6pm), punching the time clock, working on tangible, mechanical things and seeing tangible results…the truth is that I have no idea what will happen in the next couple of months.

It’s both exciting and terrifying.

But you know what?  Nothing will happen if I don’t do it myself, right?  I’m ambitious–sometimes too much so, according to some–and I’ve been waiting for five years to be able to act on this.  I only put it off that long so my wife could properly finish her graduate degree in Arizona, and we lived on my salary alone before we moved out here to Virginia.

Frankly, I’m nervous about how we will survive here while I’m in school.  Our bills aren’t exorbitant, but our cost of living here is.  A nice place in a relatively safe area has been running us nearly $1700 per month in rent, and that isn’t unreasonable out here.  We have basic cable, two sensible, reliable vehicles, and some credit card debt to deal with, but otherwise, we aren’t spendthrift.  We had smartphones (which I got us for cheap during a free upgrade period with our provider), but we downgraded them to save $60 a month on the (required) data plans.  We’ve held off on buying an iPad, despite how handy we would both find one to be–and how much we salivate every time another iteration of it comes out.  We’re getting rid of cable, because it makes more sense to rely on Netflix or Hulu than to pay out the nose for three hundred channels of “WasteYourTimeHere.”  We’re trying to find a cheaper place to move, but we don’t want to dig up $3400 to break our lease early–and that’s if we could even find something.  The occupancy rates at apartments are so high out here that we didn’t even bother looking at several of them because we simply couldn’t find parking near the leasing office.  It’s a great time to own an apartment building.

We’re downsizing as many of our expenses as possible to keep our bills within my wife’s salary alone, in anticipation of my starting school, and the income lag from starting in real estate.  I’ll pick up a job to get through it if I have to, but I’d prefer to have the ability to focus my energy on schoolwork, internships, and networking opportunities if I can.

And then there’s the real estate.

I plan on being a licensed Realtor by September, when school starts.  I figure it will pay off because I’m pretty decent at networking, I talk to everybody, and being in classes with hundreds of students every day gives me the chance to build a friendly rapport with a captive audience.  This will let me capitalize the most out of my time there, because look at this:  The average price of a home in Muncie, IN is something like $185K.  The average price of a property here in the DC area is nearing $400K.  Some of the contacts I have figured out that it would take literally three times as many homes sold in Indiana as it would to make the same money here.  DC will treat me well, if I can wiggle my way into it, and figure out what makes it tick.   As it stands right now, though, almost no one knows me, and I have but a few people in my address book here in the area.  That, of course, is up to me to change, and I intend to; it’s just that everything takes time.

I’m excited about my prospects, though.  I’ve been doing my homework on these choices for years now, and I’m confident they are the right way for me to go.  In five years, I expect to have achieved my goals.  I am standing on the precipice of a turning point in my life.  I know I’ll do it–I know I need to–but it doesn’t stop me from being consumed with trepidation of the unknown, and frustrated by the constant juggling I’ll have to do until I cross the finish line.  I guess that just means I’m human.

Enough about me–what’s new in your life?  What’s the next Great Unknown project you are tackling?  Has it gone according to plan for you?  Did you anticipate the issues you ran into, or were you blind sided by some of them?

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