Old house/New house & my latest car

M3 S2

Cars and houses.

Those are my two things.  I can’t talk about too much else.  I don’t keep up with politics, pop culture or sports.  Get me on either of these two items though, and I am hard to shut up.

I recently added another car to my collection…..if you want to call a bunch of cars that aren’t old enough to be classics a collection.  Junk yard or used car lot is probably a more accurate term.

Sure, I’ve got a new car I use for work.  It looks good.  Is fast.  Gets lots of compliments.  But to me, it is sterile and generic.  It isn’t anything special because you can go to the dealership and buy one just like it.  I don’t feel anything but comfortable when driving it.

What gets my blood circulating is older BMWs.  I love the way they handle.  I love the way they look.  To me, the 90s-early 2000 BMWs were the high point for the brand.  An era I want to celebrate.

They don’t build them like they use to.

That is a phrase you often hear about older houses too.  Just like some people are into older cars verses new ones, some people also prefer an older house to a new one.  Old house people think all new houses are build poorly and lack any character.  The people who like new houses don’t want old house problems or floor plans that don’t work as well for today’s lifestyle.

Whether it is cars or houses, it is cool to like whatever you want.

As a realtor, the task at hand is getting in the mindset of your client and figuring out which they want.  When I buy a car, it is about what I want.  When I am trying to make a real estate love connection for a client, it is all about what they want.  Sometimes they don’t know yet and you need to help them figure it out.

After 12 years of doing this, I can pretty much tell if a client is really wanting to build a brand new house.  If you show them perfectly good move in ready houses and they don’t like any of them, they probably want to build even if they don’t realize it yet.   Another obvious sign is if their previous houses were brand new.  You would be amazed at how many people build a brand new house with each move.

The old house people will sometimes look at new houses, but they don’t like that the trees are small, or comment about the lack of character or perceived quality.  They walk in a perfectly good new house and don’t have any reaction at all.  It is just a structure with 4 walls to them.  Take them in an older house and they light up.

What do I like?  Both really.  In my dream world, I have an old house in a cool part of Lexington.  In that same dream world I have a super modern beach house.  The kind that is mostly glass.  In the garages of each place, I have a couple of older BMWs and also a new car because sometimes it is really nice to hop in a new car with really good air conditioning, comfortable seats and an awesome stereo with bluetooth.

 

Will technology make Realtors obsolete?

Many people seem to think realtors are going to be replaced with a bunch of apps on a phone.  I don’t see it happening, but changes are bound to come.

I can see a day when, instead of touring several houses in person, buyers use virtual reality to narrow down the ones they want to see.  I am sure any buyer will still want to see whichever one they pick in person before signing a contract.

I can see sellers and technology doing more on the listing side of a sale.  I can see more for sale by owner listings and various businesses popping up to help sellers navigate the process alone, but I don’t see the same for buyers.  Buyers will always want help from a pro.  The seller is dealing with one house, their own.  The buyer is dealing with making a wise decision.  Artificial intelligence won’t ever replace the voice of a pro.

I can see a day when there are far fewer realtors than we have now.  The lame ones who don’t do more than open doors, fill in blanks and who just tag along to get their check will go first.  All that will be left are the really good ones.  We’ll make less per transaction, but each transaction will take less time.

I can see a day when a realtor hardly has to see their client in person, or actually go in many houses.

What I can’t see is there ever being a day when people don’t want a realtor.  People will always want a real live person to help them navigate through something they don’t understand, or when they have a problem they can’t solve.  Don’t believe me?  Then why does Apple have live people to help their customers when all the self guided trouble shooting tips don’t help?  Also, short of new construction, no two houses are alike.   People are always going to want to see a house before they buy it.  It is something most people do only a few times in their lives.  They are concerned about resale potential.  This isn’t like ordering a pair of shoes online where you will wear them and then dispose of them when they are worn or out of style.

I am sure there will be things I welcome as real estate evolves.  There will also be things I miss.  Until then, I will just keep doing my best for my clients and laughing every time I read an article that predicts I will be replaced with an app.

Why NOW is the scariest market ever

I think right now is the scariest real estate market we have seen in a long time, for buyer’s at least.

I know, it seems crazy when prices are going up and there is a frenzy to buy any house as soon as it comes on the market……but that is what makes it scary.

When the market was so bad years ago, a buyer had their pick of dozens of houses.  They were able to make a good choice.  If the market dropped even further, you knew it would eventually come up.  You don’t have that luxury when you are at the top of the market.  You just hope it continues to go up more and more and more.  You never know where the peak is until it starts going down the other side of the hill.

I cut my teeth in real estate in the bad market.  Many people who did not use me as their buyer’s agent contacted me to sell their homes when times were tough.  Many of them had bought in the early 2000s when the market was hot.  They would tell me how they had lost several houses and they didn’t want to lose again so they bought the house they now wanted me to sell.  They’d say the market was booming so they didn’t think they could go wrong with a full price offer because that was the only way to get a house.  They were thankful to have even gotten their house.  The very house that at the time they were saying all this, had become a noose around their neck, preventing them from relocating for a better job, dividing families because one spouse had to start a new job while the other stayed behind praying the house would eventually sell.

The market they bought in was just like it is today.

While I don’t think we will ever see the market crash again any time soon, you know the market will go back and forth from being a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.

That is why I think being a buyer in today’s market must really make a wise decision.

Many buyers today, again, feel lucky to have gotten their house that backs to a business, is on a busy road, has a terrible lot.  They just feel lucky to have even gotten a house.  Period.  Many of them will call me when it isn’t as easy to sell because the agent that sold them the house is no longer in real estate.

I wish they’d call me now instead of using their uncle’s neighbor’s cousin’s babysitter who just got into real estate last month.

Here is what I would tell them:

“This market is tough.  There is no easy way to get a good house.  Yes, you will pay top dollar.  Yes, you may lose some houses.  Yes, you may even have to find temporary housing while we wait for a house that will be a good investment.  This market will cost you something-you can be burdened now and end up with a great house, or you can be burdened when you go to sell.  Whatever house you buy should set you up for your next bigger and better house.  You want to build equity to use as your next down payment.  You don’t want to have this house ruin your life should you have to sell in a buyer’s market.  So, let’s pick a winner that you will enjoy and that will be a solid investment for your future.  It isn’t going to be easy, but I am committed to making this happen for you.”

The perfect day in real estate

I just love warm weather.  I love being outside.  Feeling the sun and seeing the blue sky.  Driving with the top town.  Meeting clients.  Looking at houses.

I had one of those perfect days this week.

It started out by showing a fixer-upper to some friends who want to get into the rental market.  We always have a great time and they always pick interesting houses.  The one I showed them this week had two baths, which is normally a good thing…..only the 2nd bath was where a closet use to be.  I am glad I took a picture because there is no way I could possibly describe it.

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From there, I drove with the top down in the M Roadster to see a house on 10 acres with a pool.  I had to wear a hat to keep my forehead from burning.  I normally would have been a little anxious about having “Hat Head” but the buyer is a repeat client that I really like….he knows I am no fashionista.

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I had a couples hours of down time before heading to Jessamine County to show the next house.  I took all back roads to get there because I’d rather have a pretty view and be moving than stuck in traffic.  This place sits on an acre and was a super cool house.  My clients have two young sons that are always a lot of fun to talk with.

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I wrapped up that showing close to sunset.  I had a nice drive home with the cooler evening temperatures on the same back roads, only this time heading towards home.

Great clients.  Great properties.  Great day!

What working with buyers is like now

Working with buyers these days feels like this guy:

You beat the same bushes everyday in search of something for your people.  It is even harder if somebody needs a certain neighborhood or school district.  It is the toughest market I have ever seen for buyers.  It is harder right now to be a buyer than it was to be a seller after the market crashed.  Most houses get multiple offers.  The deciding factor often comes down to something minor like which buyer has a better closing date, or which buyer has stronger financing.  That is about all you have left to differentiate one buyer from another when all the offers are full price.  I recently got 7 offers on a listing.  The top 4 of those offers were the exact same price.  We went with the one that had a local lender I knew.  That was what got that buyer a signed contract.

 

And when you do finally have a house to show your people, this is what it feels like:

When a house that meets your buyer’s criteria hits the market, you get them in it ASAP.  If they like the house enough to make an offer, you rush to make sure you’ve got a current preapproval letter, you find out when the sellers would prefer to close, what their occupancy needs are….anything the sellers want that might help your buyers look more appealing since you know the best offers are going to be similar in price.

Being a buyer’s agent these days is equal parts boredom and excitement…..but it is all very rewarding when you do get your people a home they love.