Winterizing Your Real-estate Business, Expired Listings

Winterizing Your Real-estate Business #4. Expired Listings: by Rick Guthrie Thanks for coming back to my series on, “Winterizing your real estate Business”. As you remember from our last blog, I blogged about holding 2 opens a week. Today we’re going Winterize by focusing on Expired Listings. I’ve found a common pattern or strategy in […]

Winterizing Your Real-estate Business #4.

Expired Listings: by Rick Guthrie

Thanks for coming back to my series on, “Winterizing your real estate Business. As you remember from our last blog, I blogged about holding 2 opens a week.

Today we’re going Winterize by focusing on Expired Listings.

expired listings

I’ve found a common pattern or strategy in the mindset of a seller is they seem to list around the Holidays. What I mean to say is, that a greater percentage of sellers will purposely have their listing contract expire around the holidays. Their thought is that if their home doesn’t sell before the holidays, they’ll just simply take it off the market and try again in the spring or hirer someone different to get the job done. Now of course people, who have to move, will still have the motivation to get their home sold and will need to relist. However, what’s on their mind is, should I relist with the agent who didn’t get the job done the first time or should I look for a fresh approach?

If you’ve been in the business for any amount of time, you’ll know the reason the home didn’t sell is most likely price. Actually, not most likely, it is price. You coming in as the pinch hitter or second choice gives you the opportunity to price the home properly this time. You’ll get it listed with less pricing objections. If you focus on the expired listing, in your winterization strategy, you’ll find some great opportunities. Here’s what I’ve done that’s worked well for me.

  1. Develop a Great Expired Packet
  2. Set my MLS to Search for New Expired Listings Daily
  3. Drop Off Expired Packets Daily
  4. Follow Up With a Phone Call

Develop a Great Expired Packet – You want to make an expired packet eye catching but very generic. I kept about twenty in my car at all times. That way I could drop of several on my way to the office. The cover of my bound packet said in big letters “Do You Know Your Home May be currently off the Market”? The reason I did this is that some agents don’t keep up with their listings like they should and one will expire without their knowledge. Bad news for the seller but good news for you when you bring it to the seller’s attention. This usually leads to an appointment. The content of the packet should be information about you and also your value proposition for sellers. Testimonials are great here too!

CAUTION: Too much information might have a negative effect. The seller could make conclusions about your marketing and services without meeting you. CLOSE TO AN APPOINTMENT!

Set my MLS to Search for New Expired Listings Daily – Three things I did every morning. Got up early, had my coffee and checked for expired listings. I always wanted to get the jump on anyone else. I pulled them up, searched the address on the MLS to make sure they had not been relisted, plan a route to drop off packets and got phone numbers if I could. Too Easy!

Drop Off Expired Packets Daily – I basically door knocked and dropped off packets in the morning. You’d be surprised at how many people are at home in the morning. I found putting a packet in their hand and asking for an appointment gave me a higher conversation rate than just a phone call. If they were not at home, I would leave the packet and follow up with a phone call or another pop by.

HINT: Roll the packet up and put it in the handle of their garage door. People rarely go in through their front door anymore.

Follow Up With a Phone Call: Always follow up with a call to make sure they got the packet. There are companies that phone lists for expired listings. I guess the key is you’re on the clock. You have to get to them quickly so don’t waste a lot of time.

These are some key elements I used to stay in front of sellers whose listing agreement had expired with their former agent. Remember that good memorized scripts and dialogues for expireds are a must. So take this opportunity to make expired listings one of your tools to winterize your real estate business.

“You have a Great Month Today”

NAHB Housing Market Index Ticks Upward

Spring is almost here, and the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index (NAHB HMI) thawed slightly in March.

NAHB Housing Market Index Ticks UpwardSpring is almost here, and the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index (NAHB HMI) thawed slightly in March.

The current reading of 47 is one point higher than for February, but still indicates pessimism among a majority of builders surveyed. Analysts expected a March reading of 50.

The gauge of builder confidence stayed near its lowest level since May.

March’s NAHB HMI reading remained below the benchmark reading of 50, which indicates that an equal number of builders are positive about housing market conditions as those who are negative.

A reading over 50 indicates that more builders are positive than negative. Last August the NAHB HMI reading reached 58, its highest level since 2005.

Kevin Kelly, NAHB’s chairman said that builder concerns included a lack of land available for development, the lagging effects of severe winter weather and labor shortages.

NAHB HMI Details Show Regional Variances

The NAHB HMI national reading is based on builders’ views of three aspects of housing markets. The March reading of 47 is based on three components. The reading for prospective buyer traffic in new home developments rose by two points to 33.

Builder expectations for present sales of single-family homes rose from 51 to 52. Builder confidence in home sales in coming months fell from a reading of 54 to 53.

Rising mortgage rates and home prices along with inconsistent labor markets influenced builder confidence concerning future home sales.

March Readings For Regional Home Builder Confidence Were Varied:

  • Northeast: March’s reading was five points lower at 29.
  • Midwest: Builder confidence gained three points in March for a reading of 52.
  • West: Builder confidence dropped by five points to a reading of 53.
  • South: March’s reading rose by two points to 48.

In related news, the Department of Commerce reported housing starts for February dropped to 907,000 as compared to January’s reading of 909,000 housing starts and expectations of 908,000 housing starts.

Building permits for February rose by 7.70 percent to their second highest level since the recession for a total of 1.02 million permits. The rise in building permits was attributed to construction plans for condominium complexes and rental units.

Highest Year-Over-Year Increase In Home Prices Since 2005

Two major indicators of home price trends showed a slowing momentum for home prices in December.

Highest Year-Over-Year Increase In Home Prices Since 2005Two major indicators of home price trends showed a slowing momentum for home prices in December. The S&P Case Shiller 10 and 20 city indices reported that of 20 cities tracked, home prices were lower in December than for November.

Case-Shiller’s seasonally adjusted month-to month reading showed that home prices rose by 0.8 percent as compared to 0.90 percent in November.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that “Gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of home price recovery may be over.” He also noted that seasonally adjusted data was showing a loss of momentum for home prices.

December home prices posted a year-over-year gain of 13.40 percent, down from November’s year-over-year reading of 13.70 percent. December’s reading reflected the highest year-over-year increase in home prices since 2005.

Analysts note that a slower pace of increasing home prices may allow more buyers to enter the market, and may also encourage more buyers to list their properties for sale.

This would increase inventories of available homes and relieve pent-up demand for homes. Although home price growth is cooling off, average home prices remain 20 percent below their pre-recession peak in 2006.

Home Prices Face Challenges In 2014

Another factor in slower growth of home prices is regional differences in the rate of economic recovery. Cities including Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado recently set records for escalating home prices.

Five states including Florida and Michigan accounted for almost half of foreclosures completed during 2013. Slow job growth and poor winter weather were also blamed for slower gains in home prices.

New mortgage rules and relatively strict mortgage lending standards may continue to dampen housing markets, but there is some good news as some lenders are easing credit standards.

FHFA: Home Prices Higher For 10th Consecutive Quarter

The Federal Housing Finance Administration reported similar trends in December home price data for properties either financed or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Home prices rose by a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.80 percent in December as compared to November’s reading.

Home prices were 7.70 percent higher for the fourth quarter of 2013 than for the same period in 2012. Adjusted for inflation, this reading indicates an approximate year-over-year increase of 7 percent.

FHFA reported higher readings for 38 states in its fourth quarter 2013 Home Price Index, as compared with 48 states in in the third quarter of 2013.  In order of home price appreciation, the top five states with highest growth in home prices were Nevada, California, Arizona, Oregon and Florida.

These calculations were seasonally adjusted and based on home purchases only.

Case Shiller Price Index Shows Homeowners A Rise In Home Equity

According to the S&P/Case-Shiller 10 and 20-City Home Price Indices released Tuesday, the U.S. Housing Market is on a roll based on year-over-year increases in average home values, but month-to-month results were mixed.

Case Shiller Price Index Shows Homeowners A Rise In Home Equity According to the S&P/Case-Shiller 10 and 20-City Home Price Indices released Tuesday, the U.S. Housing Market is on a roll based on year-over-year increases in average home values, but month-to-month results were mixed.

The 10 and 20-City Home Price Indices showed year-over-year growth of 13.80 and 13.70 percent respectively.

Highlights Include:

  • Dallas, Texas posted its highest rate of annual growth since 2000.
  • Chicago’s average home price rose by 11.00 percent, its highest annual gain since December 1988.
  • The 10 and 20-City Indices posted their best November home prices since 2005.

Top year-over-year gains in home prices included Las Vegas, Nevada at 27.30 percent, San Francisco, California at 23.20 percent, Los Angeles, California at 21.60 percent and San Diego, California at 18.70 percent. Atlanta, Georgia rounds out the top five cities with a year-over-year increase in home prices of 18.50 percent.

The annual readings for the S&P/Case-Shiller 10 and 20-City Housing Market Indices in November suggests that U.S. markets are strong enough to sustain momentum in spite of rising mortgage rates. The month-to-month results show that both indices decreased by an incremental 0.10 percent in November, 2013.

Keeping in mind the traditional slump in home sales during the winter and holiday season, lower month-to-month readings were neither unexpected nor disappointing.

Eight of the nine top cities posting the highest month-to-month growth in home prices were located in the Sun Belt. San Diego, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota home prices remained nearly flat after decreasing in October.

Nine of the 20 cities surveyed posted positive month-to-month growth in home prices. Of the nine cities, only Boston, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Ohio were not located in the Sun Belt.

S&P/ Dow Jones Index Committee Chairman Expects Slower Growth In 2014

David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted that November’s month-to-month readings for the 10 and 20-city home price indices indicated that Phoenix, Arizona, Los Angeles California and Las Vegas, Nevada had each posted 20 or more consecutive months of rising home prices.

While positive in his remarks about increasing home prices, Mr. Blitzer also noted that indicators suggested a slower rate of growth during 2014.

This aligns with previously released economic news citing uncertainty about mortgage rates that may continue to rise as the Federal Reserve continues tapering its monthly asset purchases under its quantitative easing program.

The Fed’s FOMC meeting is scheduled to end Wednesday, January 29, at which time the committee’s customary statement will indicate whether or not the Fed’s monthly asset purchases will be reduced from their current level of $75 billion.

On the positive side, Chairman Blitzer said that the low inflation rate (1.50 percent in 2013) and rising home prices are helping homeowners accumulate home equity at a faster pace.

Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Level In 7 Years

The NAR provided great year-end news as existing home sales in December pushed 2013 sales of existing homes to a 7 year high.

Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Level In 7 YearsThe NAR provided great year-end news as existing home sales in December pushed 2013 sales of existing homes to a 7 year high. December’s reading of 4.86 sales of pre-owned homes came in at 4.87 million on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

Although projections had been for 4.89 million sales, the December reading topped November’s revised sales of 4.82 million pre-owned homes.

December’s reading showed the first gain in existing home sales in three months. NAR reported that existing home sales for 2013 reached 5.09 million, which represented a 9.10 percent increase over 2012.

More Good News: Median Price Of Existing Homes Rises

NAR reported that the national median price for pre-owned homes increased to $198,000, a year-over-year increase of 9.90 percent. The average price of an existing home for all of 2013 was $197,100. This was the strongest growth in existing home prices since 2005 and represented an increase of 11.50 percent.

There were 1.86 million pre-owned homes for sale in December. At current sales rates, this represents a 4.60 month inventory. Real estate pros like to see a minimum of a six-month supply of available homes, so existing homes remain in short supply.

Analysts attributed rising home prices to improving economic conditions and a persistent shortage of homes for sale.

FHFA: Slower Gain for Home Prices In November

FHFA, the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that November prices of homes financed with mortgages owned or guaranteed by the two agencies rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.10 percent as compared to October’s increase of 0.50 percent and an expected growth rate of 0.40 percent.

November’s reading brought year-over-year home sales to an increase of 7.60 percent, but is still 8.90 percent below their April 2007 peak.

Analysts noted that recent reports of increasing new home construction and rising new home sales as reasons why prices of existing homes are seeing slower growth.

Case Shiller Price Index Shows Highest Year-Over-Year Gains Since 2006

The Case-Shiller 10 and 20-City Home Price Indices for October were released on December 31. Although home prices in most cities continued to show year-over-year gains,, the pace of home price appreciation is expected to slow in 2014.

Case Shiller Price Index Shows Highest Year-Over-Year Gains Since 2006The Case-Shiller 10 and 20-City Home Price Indices for October were released on December 31. Although home prices in most cities continued to show year-over-year gains, the pace of home price appreciation is expected to slow in 2014.

Year-over-year increases have been in double digit territory since March 2013, but month-to-month readings suggest that the rate of increasing home prices is slowing.

According to David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, “…the monthly numbers show that we are living on borrowed time and the boom is fading.”

The 10 and 20 city indices are showing that home prices some cities that were showing little or no growth in 2013 are posting higher rates of appreciation, while growth in cities that have shown very high increases in home prices are beginning to lose momentum.

Year-over-Year Growth In Double Digits

The 10-and 20-city indices each posted year-over year gains of 13.60 percent between October 2012and October 2013. These were the highest year-over-year gains since February of 2006.

Home prices recovered to mid-2004 levels in October, but remained 20 percent lower than peak home prices seen in June and July of 2006.

Here are figures for 10 cities showing the highest increases in home prices year-over-year in October 2013:

City                                                                        Y-O-Y Growth Rate

Las Vegas, NV                                                  27.10 %

San Francisco, CA                                             24.60%

Los Angeles, CA                                               22.10%

San Diego, CA                                                 19.70%

Atlanta, GA                                                     19.00%

Phoenix, AZ                                                    18.10%

Detroit, MI                                                      17.30%

Miami, FL                                                        15.80%

Tampa, FL                                                      15.20%

Seattle, WA                                                     13.10 %

Home prices in the 10 and 20-city indices have gained 23.10 percent and 23.70 percent since home prices reached their lowest points in March 2012.

Month-To-Month Readings Indicate Slower Growth

Month-to-month readings show a slowing trend in home price growth. 18 of 20 cities included in the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed slower growth in October as compared to September’s readings.

The Federal Reserve will begin tapering its asset purchases this month and will continue doing so unless economic conditions slow to a point where the Fed considers tapering counter-productive to economic growth.

Concerns over the tapering of “quantitative easing” and higher mortgage rates are seen as contributing to slower gains in home prices.

Although some analysts have identified indicators of economic growth, most seem to agree that home prices are likely to increase by single-digit percentages in 2014.

New Home Sales Show Healthy Year-Over-Year Increase

The holiday season and winter weather slowed home sales in November. Last week, the NAR reported that sales of existing homes had slumped to their lowest level in nearly a year, but this was not unexpected.

New Home Sales Show Healthy Year-Over-Year IncreaseThe holiday season and winter weather slowed home sales in November. Last week, the NAR reported that sales of existing homes had slumped to their lowest level in nearly a year, but this was not unexpected.  

Short supplies of available homes and rising mortgage rates have increased pent-up demand for homes have kept some buyers on the sidelines.

Improvement In The Labor Market

4.90 existing homes were sold in November; this was lower than the 5.13 million existing homes sold in October, as well as lower than expectations of 5.00 million existing home sales in November.

Existing home sales for November 2013 were also 1.20 percent lower than for November 2012; this is the first time in 29 months that existing home sales were lower year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, described the slow-down in sales as a “clear loss of momentum.” The outlook for 2014 is better, as analysts expect continued improvement in the labor market. 

The pent-up demand for homes will ease as homeowners begin to list their homes for sale as home prices increase. Mr. Yun also noted that prices for existing homes are increasing at their highest rate in eight years.

The national median home price of existing homes rose to $196,000 in November, which represents a year-over-year increase of 9.40 percent. There was a 5.1 month supply of previously homes available at the current sales rate.

Housing Market Continues To Progress Over Long Term

The Census Bureau and HUD report that 464,000 new homes were sold in November. This was 2.10 percent lower than October’s rate of 474,000 new homes sold. This represents an increase of 16.60 percent as compared to the 398,000 new homes sold in November 2012.

The national median home price for new homes in November was $270,900; with an average new home price of $340,300. The seasonally-adjusted estimate of new homes for sale in November was 167,000; this reading represents a 4.30 month supply of new homes for sale.

While home builder confidence is up and recent labor reports indicate improving job markets, the Fed’s decision to taper its quantitative easing program in January is generating some uncertainty as mortgage rates will likely rise as the Fed winds down the QE program.

RealtyTrac Foreclosure Report Shows 28% Decrease From May 2012

Foreclosure actions increased by 2.0 percent in May from April’s 75 month low point for foreclosure activity according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released June 11.

However, the good news is that May 2013 foreclosure filings were still 28 percent below May 2012 filings.

RealtyTrac Foreclosure Report Shows 28 Percent Decline From May 2012

Foreclosure actions increased by 2.0 percent in May from April’s 75 month low point for foreclosure activity according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released June 11. However, the good news is that May 2013 foreclosure filings were still 28 percent below May 2012 filings.

RealtyTrac reports that approximately one in 885 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in May. This does not mean that 1 in 885 homes was lost to foreclosure, but it does indicate that documents related to some phase of foreclosure (Notice of Default, Notice of Trustee Sale, and Bank Reposession) were filed.

Actual lender repossessions (REO) increased by 11 percent in May, but were down by 29 percent as compared to May 2012. 33 states reported increases in REOs with North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin having the highest numbers of REO properties added.

Judicial Foreclosure States Lagging In Clearing Foreclosure Inventory

Foreclosure starts were up by 4 percent in May, but were 33 percent lower than for May of 2012. States using judicial foreclosure proceedings were 5 of the top 6 states for foreclosure filings. The state of Nevada, which uses non-judicial foreclosure proceedings, was second after Florida and ahead of Ohio, South Carolina and Illinois.

In general, judicial foreclosure proceedings take longer to complete than non-judicial foreclosures. This results in homes being unavailable for sale for longer periods of time. Lenders are required to complete the foreclosure process and in some cases, they must await expiration of a redemption period before a foreclosed home can be repaired and sold.

In states using non-judicial foreclosure proceedings, the time between the initial foreclosure filing and the foreclosure sale can be as little as three to four months. Quickly turning over foreclosed homes is helpful for improving regional housing markets and making more homes available for purchase. Economists have recently cited low inventories of homes as holding back housing markets in some areas.

Bank Owned Properties Provide Buying Opportunities

Lender-owned properties provide potential opportunities for first-time buyers and others seeking affordable homes. Mortgage lenders tend to offer attractive sale terms on REO properties, as their objective is to move these homes out of their inventories as quickly as possible.

Some foreclosure properties are also lacking current maintenance and are often sold as-is. DIY enthusiasts can buy and renovate foreclosed homes for owner occupancy or investment. 

It’s a good idea to discuss your interest in the opportunities available for buying a lender-owned home with a trusted real estate professional.

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 17, 2013

Last week’s news was relatively quiet with no data significant to real estate and mortgage lending released until Wednesday, when the federal government announced a $138 billion budget deficit for May.

What's Ahead This Week - June 17, 2013Last week’s news was relatively quiet with no data significant to the mortgage lending released until Wednesday, when the federal government announced a $138 billion budget deficit for May.

According to the U.S. Treasury this figure is 11 percent higher than for May of 2012, but the federal budget is expected to come in with less than a -$1 trillion deficit for the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from October to September.

The Treasury estimates that the 2013 budget deficit will come in at approximately -$642 billion, well below fiscal 2012’s deficit of -$1.1 trillion. The federal budget has been running deficits over -$1 trillion since 2008.

Employment Market Continues To Strengthen

On Thursday, the Weekly Jobless Claims report brought good news; jobless claims fell from the prior week’s 346,000 jobless claims to 334,000 jobless claims. This was also less than expectations of 350,000 jobless claims. As more workers gain steady employment, this will enable more would-be home buyers to become active buyers.

May Retail sales also showed slight improvement as they moved from 0.60 percent from April’s 0.10 percent.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), the average mortgage rate for a 30year fixed rate mortgage rose from last week’s 3.91 percent to 3.98 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.70 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose from last week’s 3.03 percent to 3.10 percent with discount points holding at 0.70 percent.

Whats Coming Up This Week

Next week’s economic news schedule has a number of reports due including Wednesday’s FOMC statement and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s press conference. This meeting and press conference are significant as any move by the Fed to reduce or cease its current quantitative easing (QE) program could cause mortgage rates to rise further.

Monday’s news includes the Home Builders Index for June. Tuesday brings the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May and the Core CPI, also for May. The indices measure prices paid by consumers for goods and services; the Core CPI eliminates the volatile food and energy sectors included in the CPI. Rising or falling consumer costs influence how much discretionary income consumers have for saving toward buying a home.

No news is scheduled for Wednesday other than the FOMC statement and press conference.

Thursday brings the Existing Home Sales Report, Weekly Jobs Report, Freddie Mac PMMS and Leading Indicators. These reports are expected to provide news about U.S. housing markets, mortgage rates and economic influences impacting consumers.

There is no economic news scheduled for Friday.