What we think you will see and how we recommend you act on it in the coming new year!
As my real estate mentor always did tell me, “My opinion and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee.” But for all those who care to listen, here is the way that I see the real estate market as a whole going in 2014, and some strategies that in my humble opinion could benefit our users as well as a little review of some of the highlights of 2013 real estate, and ListedBy.com specifically.
To start, I will give some background to my opinions and what I have done so far to capitalize on the market. At the end of the year in 2011 and the beginning of 2012 I told all of my friends, clients and all those who would listen that I strongly believed that the bottom of the market had
come and gone and that we would look back at 2012 and ask how much did we capitalize on it. If you look at the stats and all of the trends, that has proven to be true. If you are one of our long term members of the site you likely remember my predictions and strategy email blast we sent out last year at the end of the year 2012 where I predicted prices to continue to rise dramatically in 2013 and the stats seem to have backed that up and then some. In 2013 I had projected that you would specifically see BIG increases in home purchase prices in target areas such as California, and Las Vegas. From June 2012 to June 2013 I am thankful and proud to note that condos in Las Vegas were up an astonishing 80%!! You can read the predictions email from last year on our blog HERE if you want to review, and you’ll see that thankfully we did hit it pretty much right on. The market at that time was in a slow upswing nationally that has now turned in to a full on roar as we had projected, and in those target markets we mentioned the increase in home purchase prices has soared beyond even our expectations. This means that now more than ever the market is changing and evolving at a rapid pace, and this creates a BIG opportunity to make a lot of money, but also creates some risk, as the more fluctuation there is in a HOT real estate market, the more you need to really pay attention to your strategy and your execution of that strategy.
The 2014 Real Estate Market represents to us a still powerful buying opportunity, but we advise all real estate investors that are not as experienced to proceed with caution and please do NOT make the mistake of thinking this is simply another boom market that any idiot can buy a house, do nothing to it, and make a huge ROI. If you are experienced, have a strategy, know how to execute and have access to opportunities then THIS is the market for you, because a hot real estate market like this can turn a typical 23% ROI on a deal in to a 200% ROI literally in a hurry. I am projecting that the market continues to have a steady rise in 2014 and we are looking at the peak coming in the summer of 2015 and then either leveling off a bit at that point, or perhaps even crashing to some extent in 2016, or 2017 depending on what happens with interest rates and inflation. Having said that here are a few tips that hopefully help you a bit in the coming year:
- This is the type of market where you want to get more creative with your strategies, search for those off market deals, look at creative structures of the purchase.
- See the deals that others don’t see! When I look at a house, or any real estate investment I am going to analyze it probably from a completely different angle than most real estate investors because my strategy is so different. I can walk away from the negotiation table and have both parties feeling like they got a good deal because I am not focused on the same things the owner is.
- Have a set strategy and STICK TO IT! Don’t try to one week be a house flipper, the next week be buy and hold. It will mix up your buying strategy too much and you risk ending up with neither. If you are buy and hold long term, buy with as much leverage as you can and focus on rapid inflation to kick in at some point. If you are short term, focus all your energy and look for the off market deals, I recommend this awesome little site called ListedBy.com for that.=) Look at your marketing program for your properties after you buy them, and do NOT be cheap with your gameplan. If spending an extra $250 on marketing your properties gets you exposure to an extra 1,000 buyers and from that gets you an extra 5% on your purchase price YOU just made out BIG on that investment.
- This is a business like anything else and this type of market IS going to go up more in the coming year that is all but guaranteed the only question is can YOU capitalize on it. The answer to that question depends on how effective your strategy is and how much energy and time you have to dedicate to the execution.
- That leads me to my last silly little somewhat obvious bullet point which is EXECUTION IS KEY! I have bought apartment buildings where the guy was loosing thousands every month and we turned it around and made it cashflow positive within 2/mo. The difference wasn’t anything with the buildings, it wasn’t the tenants, it was simply we cared, we had a plan, we had a property manager that did their job and as a team we all executed. The plans are important but a great strategy does not guarantee you anything, the execution is what gets you the profits.
Having typed all of that happiness and my rambling as I tend to do I want to sincerely thank all of you once more for all you do as members of our site and our network here on ListedBy.com, and our groups on LinkedIn. YOU and your use of our site is truly what keeps us alive as a site and a company. In 2014 we look for more of the same success we had in 2013 to be continued hopefully the same with even more profitability and we hope that this silly little article might help at least some of you to benefit from the coming real estate market. You can see below some exciting highlights and thank yous for ListedBy for 2013 and some exciting things coming also.
ListedBy.com Thank Yous
- Special thank you to our advertisers that allow us to be free for our site members. We’re still a really small company and you guys help us grow and took a chance on us and for that we’ll always be thankful!
- EquityBuild – Members if you haven’t already you can download their free real estate investing eBook here to help you in the coming year!
- Auction.com – Free home valuation from our partners at Auction.com which is in my opinion worth it’s weight in gold!
- Quicken Loans
- Many Others THANK YOU SO MUCH!
- More than 250,000 hits to the site, and now more than 300,000 active members!
- Partnered with Foreclosure.com to add an extra 2 million foreclosure listings to the web site for our members
- Fastest growing real estate groups on LinkedIn with our 2 groups “ListedBy.com – Online Real Estate”, and “Real Estate Extreme”
- Made the cover of Realty411 Magazine
ListedBy.com Exciting Things To Come
- ListedBy.com version 2.0 to launch with a new site with exceptional features such as live chatting between members, detailed reports of members viewing your user profile and listings to generate targeted leads for agents and real estate investors
- ListedBy Concierge – The much requested program that helps real estate agents and investors get UNREAL targeted exposure for their listings to hundreds of thousands of buyers from around the world! See details HERE!
Thanks so much and sincerely to you and yours have an exceptional holiday and lets hope for the happiest, healthiest and most prosperous year we have had so far! There is strength in numbers and strength in sharing knowledge and helping each other as a group we can achieve exceptional things in the coming year and beyond as we grow. If there is ever any way that we can help you and support your business as you do ours please let us know.
CEO and Founder of ListedBy.com site
Imagine that you have a Bentley you want to sell. The car has been parked for a year, kid stuff on the back seat. Cleats, some dirt, coloring pens and paper, and fast food wrappings. In the front, some used up tissue paper still sits in the console area, the sun glasses nearby and the phone charger dangles. Before you advertise it online, you walk into your garage with a your iPhone, and in the shade of the walls, the car having gathered decent amounts of dust and mud from the last few rides she had been on, you take a couple of photos. One of the inside, the other of the outside.
Back at your computer you upload that photograph and make your posting on your preferred sites.
Now help me understand how you’d expect a buyer to get excited about your car, with all this negligence put in to showing it off? If the concern is not the condition of the car, it is the upkeep of the car. That is if any of the images look clear enough, to begin with. Remember lighting was dim at best when you walked in.
Next to your car posting there are another 3 Bentleys, all sparkling clean, enticing. Each comes with 25 shiny photos of a polished, well cared gem, interior even cleaner. The prospective buyers get this uplifting feeling just flipping through the photos, zooming in to view things in detail, enabled through the well lit, high resolution shots. A video of the vehicle is also set up, to make things even more appealing. The buyers then get set to make a call to inquire further or come down for a test drive.
Meanwhile you sit for days or months wondering why your car isn’t selling. And, if you get the adhoc call, you get frustrated with wholesale agents only calling and trying to low ball you.
Well you answer that one yourself. This morning right on ListedBy I came across a 1.2 million dollar asset listing, with a single photo of the entire project, taken off of a another photo print sitting on the kitchen counter. You could easily tell, because part of the counter was showing in the posted image.
The description of the project was weak at best, yet the seller’s agent expects people to hound them with offers.
This is not the only listing on a real estate website with a single, bad photo, and worse descriptions and details. You see them all over the place on the Web.
Folks, this complacency simply does not work in the world of sales, never mind one that involved assets worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and where the competition is, at best, fierce. Even if you’re marketing REO Auctions or public real estate auctions, marketing an asset adequately is the difference between selling it or not, the ultimate asset value, and your commissions.
We have posted research about the importance of photos several times in this Forum and on the ListedBy Blog. It’s a no brainer. Why I won’t link to these articles to make it easy for some, is for good reason.
For those feeling guilty right now, it’s time to get that camera out, and do your work like a professional. Things will change faster than you think. The effort will always prove to be worthwhile.
In fact right now, I feel a smidgen embarrassed to release an article such as this one. But it just feels like all else has failed and it’s time to tell it like it is. The actions, and non actions of every agent affect not only their sales and business, but the reputation of our industry. Everyone must pull their weight to move us forward. Professional representation is a mandatory step.
We’re undeniably making great strides towards a paperless environment in real estate. With investors snapping up REO auctions and traditional listings, even sight unseen, the last thing high volume or frequent buyers and sellers want is to get bogged down with paperwork and unnecessary back and forth. These investors view this as a complete waste of time. Lost sheets, missing signatures, requests for additional forms, scanning, faxing and so on. It just seems endless. It’s frustrating and technically so not 21st century.
From a broker and agent perspective, cutting out the paper hassle has many positive implications on business that process improvement gurus would slot under the ‘increased efficiencies’ benefit category.
In a relatively high speed market, it literally means higher revenue, because an agent can simply process more deals more efficiently, all online.
In a slow market, it’s a way to stand out and open up time to prospect and generate business instead of the hustle and ‘busyness’ of going through paperwork that takes up half the day.
Virtually all paperless transaction solutions have to date concentrated on the back end of the process, meaning the mid to final stages of processing an offer and signing documents. A significant opportunity however still exists at the very front end of the equation. The initial tender offer and negotiation stage. The stage where a buyer chases shadows for days to reach the actual listing real estate agent, and where the latter needs to go through hoops to bridge buyer and seller minds on price and coordinate back and forth communication. Often days go by for a buyer to get an answer to a simple question. A complete waste of time for everyone involved.
This stage, tackled the traditional way, is unnecessarily counter productive when the entire phase can be shrunk down to hours or even minutes.
Combine a more efficient, one hundred percent online auction and buy now/best offer negotiation process of a site such as ListedBy.com, with cloud-based document signing capability on the back end, and you end up with the ultimate paperless real estate process that is bound to catapult our industry to an entirely new level.
It just seems like the natural next step in the industry’s growth.
It seems that there is a little bit of competition heating up in the online real estate auction sites battle for the top spot, according to www.compete.com stats. Newcomer ListedBy.com entered the race for the top spot with site record Web traffic for February 2013 with more than 50,000 visitors coming to the site during the month, putting it slightly behind direct competing online real estate auction site www.bid4assets.com and ahead of other similar real estate sites such as realtown.com and others.
The month also saw industry leader www.auction.com remain at the top of the pack with nearly 800,000 visitors for the month according to the site but the strong display of traffic for ListedBy.com is a great thing for a site that has still only been around less than a year and has little resources by comparison to the billion dollar entity such as auction.com.
In other news for real estate auction sites, Hubzu.com, formerly gohoming.com, has presented itself as a major competitor in the sector with more than 200,000 visitors.
The ListedBy.com brand that went live no more than 11 months ago on May 2nd 2012 has quickly shown the industry that there is a new way to present the online real estate model to users with all of the users being able to use the site and the marketplace completely free unlike all of the competing auction sites noted here which charge insertion fees and commissions after the transaction.
Below are the official numbers that were reported by compete.com for traffic in February 2013 including all the major sites in the real estate auction segment. As always, thank you to all the loyal users that are helping ListedBy.com grow as the first completely free online real estate marketplace and social network with live bidding auctions.
- WWW.TRULIA.COM – 11,000,000 VISITORS
- WWW.AUCTION.COM – 790,000 VISITORS
- WWW.HUBZU.COM – 298,000 VISITORS
- WWW.BID4ASSETS.COM – 64,000 VISITORS
- WWW.LISTEDBY.COM – 52,000 VISITORS
- WWW.REALTOWN.COM – 27,000 VISITORS
These figures are off of projections and estimates based off of compete.com stats.
We’re quite excited to release the ListedBy Service Provider star and feedback ratings system. To those who excel in their profession, such systems put in the hands of the consumer is a welcome event and a new path to more business.
For those who do not desire such systems, it’s a path to challenging and boosting current practices.
As an industry as a whole, such systems will bring new levels of transparency that can only help further enhance public perception and professionalism.
Here is the full announcement issued to the press earlier today, for our readers’ convenience:
ListedBy Launches Real Estate Service Provider and Agent Ratings
ListedBy (www.ListedBy.com), the first free online real estate marketplace and social network with live bidding public real estate auctions and ‘Buy Now/Best Offer’ functionality now enables members to publish and share feedback, recommendations and rate service providers listed on ListedBy.com, in real time.
The system reflects ListedBy’s goal to provide its members with everything they need to be successful in real estate both before, and after the transaction. Registered users on ListedBy.com can use the site’s Service Providers area to research services and related companies by state, and now rate providers including real estate brokers and agents using a five star rating system.
Users can also offer detailed feedback and recommendations on the same page, and share their feedback through email and social media with a single click, including on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many others.
“From free access to rental and for sale property data, REO auctions and traditional listings, to clearly identifying the true listing agent and their contact information, to publicly displaying bids, bid history and bidders, to now agent and real estate related service provider ratings and feedback, ListedBy continues to move towards accelerating the real estate process through transparency and better access to information,” said Stephan Piscano, CEO and Founder, ListedBy.
“The time currently wasted at any stage of real estate buying and selling is unacceptable, as is the level of transparency on many real estate auction and traditional property portals, especially in this day and age. Everything that we do at ListedBy is designed to move the industry towards a higher level of efficiency,” added Piscano.
Concluded Piscano: “People who get exceptional service are always happy to spread the word. We’re introducing tools that make it easy for ListedBy members to share their experience and opinion, which benefits their service provider and works to drive higher levels of service in the industry.”
Service Provider pages on ListedBy have also been upgraded as virtual miniature Web sites, to further enhance service provider exposure and branding to ListedBy’s growing audience.
ListedBy launched its Service Providers module in January. The self-managed, self-populated free directory is designed to give ListedBy.com users convenient access to information on local real estate related services across the United States.
Traffic on ListedBy.com is expected to surpass 60,000 unique visitors for March 2013, with visitors spending an average of over five minutes on the site.
While the figure indicated above may not be statistically valid, it should nonetheless worry brokers and raise some flags. Mainly because it is based on a real, recent experience a close business partner of mine had when attempting to purchase investment properties.
Another reason for concern is that responsiveness has been an ongoing issue in the industry. Considering it is well known that one of every four consumers will do business with the first real estate agent they connect with, one would think agents across the board would have by now figured ways to bank on the statistic.
The story I’m about to share is actually scary.
This cash-ready investor was out to make several property acquisitions about four weeks ago, in different parts of the United States. During one morning, he called one hundred real estate agents (yes, ONE HUNDRED) to inquire about one or more of their active listings. The intent was in fact to place offers on the properties, not just ask questions.
The shock came when most of the calls went unanswered. You’d think that 75 percent of calls in any sales oriented business would be picked up. If that was your guess, you were wrong. In fact not 50, 40, 30 and not even 10 percent of the calls were answered. Only ONE out of the one hundred agents contacted that morning actually picked up the phone!
Now if that shouldn’t sound the alarm, not sure what will.
It gets worse though.
This buyer left messages to all 99 remaining agents clearly stating his wish to place an offer on a property. I repeat. He told the agents to call him back because he wanted to BUY their listing. Most were traditional for sale listings, others were REO auctions or regular residential real estate auctions.
Not to belabor the point, only five agents returned the call at some point that day.
This puts six percent of agents at a clear advantage over the remaining 94 percent, with only one percent set to truly clean up.
The difficulty in answering the phone in real estate remains a mystery and obviously an insurmountable challenge. But if the industry is to edge forward, someone has to figure this out.
Maybe it’s time brokers took a closer look at the issue – and perhaps a more active role addressing it.
One thing is certain though. Sites like ListedBy that allow buyers to instantly place offers online are a breath of fresh air and great time savers. But even these would only be of real value if agents are more click than phone friendly.
You know a site is hot when advertisers try to push the envelope. They run the same property ad multiple times so they’re always at the top of the views. Many also hire inexpensive overseas labour to stay on top of their listings and ensure they flood each site with their properties each day. Mainly those that generate the best and most leads.
New York got a special treatment from Craigslist a few years back, if you recall. It became the first city where Craigslist real estate posters would have to pay to advertise their listings. A reasonable and smart play by Craigslist, since listing duplication in New York got unbearable.
While the practice spoke tons to Craigslist’s power to generate leads, it affected user experience and annoyed honest brokers and agent – and consumers. Well, that happily turned into a new revenue stream for Craigslist. A nice turn of events indeed.
ListedBy.com today turned on a new tool that enables its admin staff to not only halt user accounts that push the envelope on the site, but also to delete all previously added listings by the entity. REO auctions, public real estate auctions and otherwise.
Since ListedBy is a free site, we opted to go this route to neutralize all the effort and expense the user goes through to create their account and post and re-post listings, than to start charging honest users for posting.
That’s how we chose to go about it and it seems to be working.
Shrewd advertiser #1 down, a few others to go. Thanks for the compliments anyhow.
Traffic to ListedBy hit 35,000 unique visitors in February and is on track to hit nearly 50,000 this month. Anyone can and is invited to add their listings for free. Just start a free profile then click on Sell on the blue menu bar at the top of the page to add listings.
On behalf of our management team, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal users and industry followers for their support as we too push the envelope in real estate. But in a good way.