Are you Prepared for a Downturn in the Real Estate Market?

We have become spoiled. Whether real estate agent or real estate seller we have come to rely, even become lazy with this fast paced market. Well times could be changing! Over the past few months, in Kitsap County Washington I’ve noticed the inventory begin to grow. Nothing drastic yet, just a small dust cloud on the horizon. It could be that we are just going into the winter months, could be that interest rates have been moving upward, could be gas prices are high, could be the ¼ hike in prime yesterday……could be a little of a lot of things. None the less a few of the signs are there.
So… does this affect me?

If you are a Seller:
You may not sell your home in 4 days. Historically in Kitsap County 60 days was the norm. Only in the past couple of years have we seen such quick sales. You may not want to over price your homes as much as you have grown accustomed to. In fact if the market turns sharply the worst place you can be is to find yourself chasing the market down. Few Sellers have the guts to cut prices fast enough to get ahead of a falling curve. Make sure you’ve covered the basics: Interview and choose the best agent. Don’t base your decision solely on the lowest commission. Many low commission, low service companies have sprung up in this market and they may not have the resources, momentum or tools to market your home or provide you with the personal service a normal market demands.

If you are an Agent:
Pricing - Have the tough love discussion with your seller about pricing. In the past you may have been able to over price a home by 10 to 15% and get away with it. The theory was to just wait…..the market will rise to meet our price. This is dangerous thinking in a changing market.

Marketing – Get back to basics. Priced right. Staged to the 9s. Host Brokers opens…..feed the ones that are working with the buyers. Make sure you have a good web presence. Take lots of pictures. Write three ads and rotate them in the local paper. Identify and work the top selling agents in your market.

Your own business – In a normal market buyers and sellers do not spring up as perhaps they have been. Again…..get back to basics. Return all calls by the end of each day, call 20 people every day, send thank you notes every day, communicate regularly with everyone in your sphere of influence, work un-represented sellers (there will be more of them…aka FSBO), watch your hot sheets and call expired and withdrawn listings, circle prospect every listing, 50 people, 4 mailings, 4 phone calls.

After having read this post you may think I think the market is falling……not true. In Kitsap County we are due to slow, after all anything is slower compared to the crazy market of this past year. Regardless of why it is a little slow now, as professionals we need to keep our ear to the ground for change in the market. We owe it to our selves and most importantly to our clients not to get caught in a falling market without letting them know. Stay tuned……I promise it will change!!!!!

Real Estate Statistics

Watching stats like these will help you determine what kind of a market you are in.

For Kitsap County Washington as of 10/31/2005

933 Active Listings
51 Homes went Pending last week
51 Average Days on Market
$273,723 Average List Price
$274,119Average Sale Price
100+% List price to sale price ratio
18.29 weeks of inventory

Learn more about Defining Your Market.

Books to Recommend

Over the past week I've had several requests for books that I would recommend. Here is a list of books that I've given to our agents over the past few years as Christmas gifts. As with any book, there are going to be some people who love it, a few that hate it and most who enjoy it. I think I've been able to get everyones attention in one way or another over the years with this list.
Please......let me know what you think and if you have any that you would recommend.

Frankly Reading Book List