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Builders Spearhead Change & Sellers Get Creative in Market Slowdown
Category - Real Estate Information Sources - Real Estate Articles

Necessity Conjures Up Creativity

A quick search on Google for a combination of three simple words speaks volumes about what sellers are willing to do today to get their homes sold – actions that only a year ago would’ve have been considered completely ludicrous.

What are these words?  “Desperate”, “sell” and “home”.

A mere 15 million+ sites matched those keywords, more than sufficient evidence to put an end to any doubts about the uphill battle many sellers are now facing in their common aspiration to firmly plant that “SOLD” sign on their front lawn. MSN writer Bill Fleckenstein laments, “Back on June 12, 2005, Time Magazine chose this headline for its cover: ‘Home $weet Home: Why We're Going Gaga Over Real Estate.’  I said that Time's cover would be shown in retrospect as basically having marked the peak. That real-time view little more than a year ago has been validated, regrettably.”  Fleckenstein hit the nail on the head, but only until recently, it seems, has the real estate industry admitted a slow down.

Confronting Oversupply

So although there is no doubt that the market has cooled, the latest numbers announced this week by the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, seems to indicate that the market is still holding reasonably firm. The national median price for an existing home was $230,000 last month, up 0.9% from one year earlier while existing home sales including single-family houses, townhouses, condos, and co-ops were down 4.1%.

Sellers, however, are being forced to confront a new dilemma: an oversupply of inventory. The number of “Houses for Sale” has continued to rise, and at the end of July there were 3.86 million existing homes on the market - equal to a 7.1 months supply, the highest since 1992. This is leading creative homeowners to try and sweeten the pot with everything from vehicles to stereo systems to family vacations – and that’s only the beginning.  A new sense of urgency is driving many homeowners to develop innovative gifts that distinguish them from the competition and add a perception of greater value to their home.  These creative methods fall into three basic categories: 1) property-oriented amenities, 2) non property-related perks, and 3) financial or contractual bonuses.

All About Incentives

The freebies don’t stop with property-oriented amenities, either.  Across the country, non-home-related incentives are creeping into contracts.  As far as homeowners are concerned, an extra few thousand dollars is a small price to pay for a quick sale.    Agents are now offering to include vehicles in the sale, with marquee brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche adding sizzle to the negotiations table.  Some are giving away season tickets to sports fans, others are offering multiple trips to the local day spa, or even getaways to idyllic vacation spots for buyers with families.

The slowing market and creative selling were the lead debate issues on the industry’s leading blog RealBlogging this past weekend, while other interesting postings included details on the latest TV real estate reality show entitled Million Dollar Listing, How to Improve Your Credit Score, Different Ways for Agents to Become More Productive and Why Brokers Do What they Do. Visit to engage in an ongoing discussion over 30 industry pundits who regularly blog on a variety of topical and eclectic real estate issues.


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