Bluegrass market update & fun with a calculator

I’ve always been a number person.  When I was a kid, my dad gave me a calculator.  I would make pretend budgets, figure out things like compound interest, and do things like type 77345 and flip the calculator upside down to see that I spelled ShELL.

So I guess I am not surprised that I get excited when my local real estate board publishes the statistical info once a month.

It is also nice to see if my own experience is echoing what is happening in the whole market.  It usually is.

For example, I hardly show any houses any more because there is so little for sale.  I used to be out 3-4 nights a week and ALL weekend just showing houses.  Now I may show 4-5 a week and have the same amount of buyer clients……on a busy week.  There just aren’t enough houses to show people, and buyers are making fast decisions because they don’t want to lose a good house while waiting for a great one.

In Fayette Co, sales from Jan 18- April 18 are down 11% from the same period in 2017.  Listing are down 9%.  You’d think a decrease in sales would be bad, but since listings are down by a similar number, it is still a super tight market, especially in the sub $200k range.

All the Bluegrass counties have a big decrease in listings.  Most have an equally big decrease in sales too.  Makes sense.  If there are fewer houses to buy, there will be fewer houses sold.  Unless you are in Scott, Madison or Jessamine Counties.  Those places are the only ones where sales have increased from this same time last year while listings have decreased.  I know, I know.  How can that be?  This is just my gut, but I think those counties had more on the market last year that just sat and didn’t sell.

I also feel like I am spending more time in surrounding counties than I have in a long time.  When I first got into this business, there were a lot of people moving to Jessamine Co in search of a cheaper house.  But then gas prices went crazy and nobody in Fayette County wanted to leave.  Now gas is fairly cheap and people have returned to moving outside of Fayette Co again.  Jessamine County has the tightest market under $180k.  There is literally next to nothing for sale there.

Just this past March, we had a net loss of 61 households in Fayette County.  Scott and Jessamine Counties were the only ones that saw much of a gain in new households.  Yep, Fayette County folks are back at it.

I still play with my calculator a lot.  Only now I’m using it to determine what a house is worth before listing it or making an offer.  Maybe with all this extra time I have from not showing houses every night, I can figure out some new words my calculator will spell?

Was this my biggest mistake?

The LEXpert.

That’s a name I’ve been called for a long time, even before I got my real estate license in 2005.

It began when somebody was impressed that I knew where just about any street was in Lexington.  Somebody mentioned a street and I knew what neighborhood it was in.  They said I was quite the LEXpert.

It’s stuck with me ever since.

So, when I left a nationally franchised real estate brokerage to start my own brokerage a couple of years ago, I needed to pick a name for my company.

Most real estate company names either sound like a law firm or a bank….there is even one that sounds like a landscape company and dry cleaner.

I wanted something that would convey what the client was getting, which was me.  So, I picked The LEXpert.

Only problem is people are thinking I only work in Lexington now.

I’ve always worked in Nicholasville, Winchester, Georgetown, Versailles, Paris, Richmond and Frankfort.  I occasionally even have people look in Lawrenceburg/Anderson County, Sheby County and Montgomery County/Mt. Sterling.

Maybe I should have named myself The BluegrassPERT?  Not sure if that would even fit on a sign unless it was so small you couldn’t read it from more than 3 feet away.

Now that almost all of my work comes from past clients or people who have been referred to me from past clients and/or friends, it doesn’t matter all that much.

I am not sure what I will do.  I occasionally think about changing the name of my brokerage.

I guess if this could possibly have been my biggest mistake, I am still in good shape.

It was fun to be me this week

I kind of like the crazy days.

It’s been a busy week for me.  I’ve sold 3 houses, have 9 pending sales, and have been out with several new buyers.

This time of year always reminds me of that scene in Bambi where all the animals come out on the first day of spring.  I’m meeting new people and seeing old friends.  The days are getting longer and I am close to being back in shorts.

 

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Many of my past clients are calling to say they are thinking of moving.  Several of my past clients and friends have referred their friends or family to me.

I had one especially busy day this week.

I had to show a new construction home to a friend who has used me 3 times so far.  There was not a lockbox on the model home, so I had to find another model home with the same key, then return that key after the showing.

Then I had to rush to Winchester to see a house a friend and past client may sell.  It was out in the country in a beautiful setting.  I took my little M Roadster.  Back roads from Masterson Station to deep in Clark Co.  Lots of fun.

The whole time I was at that house, my phone was going crazy with texts and calls.  One was an agent telling me she was sending an offer on a listing of mine.  I already had an offer so I had to tell the other agent we were getting a new offer.

I check my email before pulling out of their driveway.  17 emails.  One was a new client who was referred to me from her daughter, who has used me a couple of times.  They were ready to make an offer on a house I had shown them in Clark Co the day before.

It was already well past dinner time and I had to get some work done, so I did the only thing that made sense.  I got a pizza and ate it in my car while I returned calls, texts, and emails.

 

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I’ve never eaten pizza in the dark, nor in such a small car.  All I can say is that I am glad the interior is black and I was wearing a red shirt.

I got home, wrote the offer for the Clark Co property, worked on the offers for my new listing, and finally got done about 10:PM.

This weekend looks pretty calm since I crammed about 3 days worth of work into that one day.  Saturday is Cars and Coffee, then Sunday I am going for a long drive in the country with some other car enthusiast friends.

The busy days make the not so busy days even better.

Glad it is almost spring!

The first house you buy is the most important one ever

First time buyers.  I’ve been working with a few of them lately.

Most first time buyers are thinking about finding a place they like.

I like to show them that their first house is so much more than that.

Every house you are ever going to own is impacted by that first one.

It is really the most important house you are ever going to purchase.

Why?

Because eventually you will sell that first house.  How well of an investment it turned out to be will impact how much money you have to put down on your next house.  It just keeps going until you are middle aged and in your forever home.  You know, the one you sell to help fund your retirement when you downsize to a cheaper home.

My dad called this compounding.  He was mainly referring to interest when he was teaching me this stuff in middle school, but it applies to real estate too.

It really reminds me more of bowling though.  To get a strike, you don’t knock down every pin with the ball.  You just hit one of them right and the pins begin to knock down the remaining pins.

“Local agents won’t show your house if listed with a Lexington agent” T or F?

Maita yardsign

I was heading to Mt. Sterling today to stick a sign in the yard of a new listing.  I took Route 60 all the way from my neighborhood in Lexington.  It was a beautiful day to put the top down, so I did.

As I am driving down there, I was thinking about how some sellers believe agents when they say stuff like this:  “If you list with a Lexington agent, none of the (insert small town surrounding Lexington here) agents will show your house.”  I guess in the old days when agents were the gate keepers of info, that might have been true for a very small percentage of selfish realtors.   Today, buyers are seeing the houses online and they tell their agents which ones they want to see.

Even now when I list houses outside of Lexington, many sellers ask me if that is true.  All I know is that I have never met an agent that would let where the listing agent was from stand between them and selling a house.  A few years ago, I even did a some research on a little town just outside of Lexington.  I wanted to see how many houses were listed by Lexington agents verses local agents, then compare the average days on market between the two.  Well, the Lexington agents actually sold their listings faster than the local ones.

So if you live outside of Lexington and would like your yard sign delivered in a 1990 Miata, have no fear.  Local agents will show your house because that is their job and their buyers will see it on every real estate website that exists.