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Monday, March 31, 2008

Stay positive when selling your home in today’s real estate market

It is hard to remain optimistic when you need to sell your home in today’s market. Most sellers I have spoken to during my listing appointments plan to sell their home because of a NEED to sell it rather than to make a profit on it (or ‘flip it’). In this market, there are only two factors that come to play, PRICE and CONDITION. Your home should be priced at or lower today’s market value AND should show well. A home that is priced well but turns off the buyer at first glimpse will not work; neither a home that shows like a model but is overpriced.

Even when both factors are considered, it doesn't hurt when your realtor does some innovating marketing. When the inventory is extremely high, you have got to show the home at its BEST. Good isn’t good enough right. Hire a professional photographer to take photos of the home and have colored flyers in the information box outside the home. A vacant home that has been cleaned and has passed a white glove inspection needs to be staged by a professional; A seller with a small home which is attractive to first time home buyers may have to give 3% seller concessions. Since many buyers are computer savvy, increased internet presence is mandatory rather than necessary. The more sites the home is exposed, the better. Go back to the basics. Impress a potential buyer through photos to get them to come to the house.

The interest rates are still low though underwriting has tightened ship. There are buyers out there! Yes! People are buying! Is it a surprise to you if I mentioned that residential sales in Central Texas on February 2008 is only 10% lower than last February? That isn’t so bad compared to the rest of the country.

If you are thinking about selling a home, your mindset has to change or the negativity will bring you down. Call a real estate agent that can give you the specifics; ask for statistics in your area; get the facts; ask for a comparable market analysis on your home! This way, you have an expectation, there will be no surprises. Hire a realtor that is willing to communicate to you on a regular basis about the market and the mortgage rates. Since when did “over” communication hurt anyone?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

February 2008, Central Texas Real Estate Market Measure

In Central Texas, Single Family Home Sales are down 10% compared to same time last year according to Austin Board of Realtors. The average sales price is $248,705 according to Alamo Title. The information herein has not been verified.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fellow agents, want some MLXchange tips?

MLXchange is a computerized MLS system Austin realtors use for property searches, comparative market analysis, etc. Unfortunately, the software has alot of bugs and the realtors are furious because our business is hurting. As a result, the company who owns/wrote/created MLXchange called a meeting to hear the concerns on March 3rd.

I attended the MLXchange Town Hall meeting. Almost 3 hours later, I left the meeting with a headache and a handful of MLXchange tips from Willie. MLXchange customer service representatives think that most of our issues are user issues not software issues. Hmmm. So here are some tips that they shared with us in the hopes of making our woes disappear.

#1 Expanding the Window

How many times have you clicked on the Back button during an MLXchange session and lost your search? To help eliminate this impulse, click F11 and this will maximize your screen. The Back button or entire Windows tool bar disappears. Click F11 once again to make the tool bar re-appear.

In case this does not work (depending on the Windows version you are using), you can right click on your mouse and in the small window, select Auto-Hide.

In case this STILL does not work, grab a post it and attach it over the Back button!

#2 Open a 'N'ew session

Let's say you are in a middle of a search and because it has taken so long to return a list of properties, you have fallen asleep in front your keyboard. Well, nap no more since Cntrl N is here! That is correct, you may open a new MLXchange session by holding down the Ctrl key, hit 'N' and you will get a new MLXchange window. So now you can have 2 sessions going. You will not be asked to re-log in. And yes, you can have 3, 4, or 5 more MLXchange sessions going. Sorry but this means no more nap time for you!

#3 Clean out your computer regularly

Wait, before you yank out the Windex and squeegee, I meant clean out your cache or delete some internet files/cookies. To do this, in your Windows Menu bar, select Tools, Internet Options, under General tab, select Delete. Depending on your Windows operating system, the selection choice may vary. But you will need to delete your Cookies and Internet Files.

Under Settings, ensure that your computer searches for the most up to date web page each time, select the radio button that states "Every visit to the page".

#4 Make sure you have all the ActiveX Controls used by MLXchange installed

All I can say is ActiveX Controls are a pain but Microsoft had to add them in there for the security of our PC. After you have logged in to MLXchange, in your URL address, enter /ax as follows: This loads a MLS System Component Manager window. Click on Install to check if you have all 8 ActiveX components installed on your PC (see a red check mark on the right). If you do not have all checked, you will have to select the yellow bar (line where it asks to Install the Active X). You will be prompted by a series of permissions windows. Just keep selecting Allow until all 8 are checked. Once done, remove the /ax from the URL address line and you may resume your MLXchange session.

#5 Where to find more MLXchange tips

In your MLXchange Home page, under MLS Resources, Instructions, are at least 9 links of instructions on using MLXchange.

#6 Quickly Edit your listings

Instead of going to Tools, Listing Manager and entering the MLS id of your listing (which I know you haven't gotten it memorized because you have enough trouble remembering the new list price on your listings you just reduced 6 times), in the Home page, select Active Listings (or depending on what Status the listing is under), hover over the information bubble and select the Edit icon (pencil and pad).

Let me know if any of these tips help you out so you can sell more! Since you're time has become so efficient with these tips, you've decided to retire early and give me all your referrals!