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St Louis Real Estate Search

Jefferson County Had The Highest Foreclosure Filing Per Capita Rate Of Larger Missouri Counties in 2018

Jefferson County, with an estimated population of 221,577 during 2018, had 317 foreclosure filings during 2018, giving it the highest rate of foreclosure filings per capita, at 1 foreclosure filing for every 699 in population, of the all the Missouri counties with a population of 50,000 or greater.  As the table below shows, the three Missouri counties with the highest foreclosure rate per capita are all located within the St Louis MSA and Boone County, in the Columia MSA, has the lowest forreclosure rate in the State.

  

 

2018 Missouri Foreclosure Rates By County

2018 Missouri Foreclosure Rates By County

Copyright© 2019 – St Louis Real Estate News – All Rights Reserved – Data Source ATTOM Data Solutions

St Louis MSA Has 8th Highest Foreclosure Rate Among Largest Metro Areas

Yesterday, I wrote an article about the number of foreclosures in St Louis during 2018 dropping to the lowest number in over 12 years, however, in spite of that good news, St Louis still has the 8th highest rate of foreclosure among the 20 largest metro areas in the U.S.

According to data just released by ATTOM Data Research, as the table below shows, during 2018 St Louis had a foreclosure filing for 1 of every 180 housing units.  This rate puts St Louis at the 65th highest rate of the 219 MSA’s in the U.S. with a population of over 200,000 and at the 8th highest rate of the 20 largest MSA’s.  Worth noting is St Louis barely made the list of 20 largest MSA’s coming in at 19th largest based upon population.

  

Number Of Foreclosures in St Louis During 2018 Drops To Lowest Number In Over 12 Years

As evidence of just how much the St Louis housing market has improved since the housing bubble burst a little over a decade ago, as well as a testimony as to the strength of our economy, the number of St Lous homeowners that lost their homes to foreclosure last year dropped to the lowest level in over 12 years.

As the tables below show, during 2018, 6,882 homeowners in the St Louis metro area received a notice of a foreclosure filing from their lender on their property, a decline of 6% from the prior year when 7,323 homeowners received a foreclosing filing notice.   The number of foreclosure filings in St Loius during 2018 was down 68.3% from 2010 when the number of foreclosures in St Louis hit a record high with 21,741 homeowners receiving a foreclosure filing notice.

  

Cheaper To Buy Than Rent A Home In Six Out Of Eight St Louis Areas Counties

According to a report just released this morning by ATTOM Data Research, it’s cheaper to buy a home than rent in 6 of 8 St Louis metro area counties covered in the report.  The data reported also shows, however, that home prices are rising faster than rents in all of the counties, a trend that, if it continues, could make buying a home a less affordable option in the future.  The data also shows, on a postiive note, that in 6 of 8 counties wages are rising faster than rents.  The counties are split when it comes to wages vs home prices however, with wages rising faster than home prices in 4 and home prices rising faster than wages in the other 4.

Affordabilty is determined by the percentage of wages necessary to purchase a home in a given County.  Based upon this criteria, the most affordable county to buy a home is the City of St Louis at 20.1%, followed by Madison County, IL at 27.3% and then St Louis County at 27.6%.  The least affordable county to buy a home on the list is St Charles County at 45.3%

St Louis Home Affordability – 2018

St Louis Home Affordability - 2018

Top 10 St Louis Areas Where Homes Sold The Slowest Last Month

While we still have muncipalities and neighborhoods throughout the St Louis metro area where homes are selling very quickly, there are some areas where it does take longer to sell a home.  The list below shows the 10 slowest selling cities in the St Louis MSA based upon the time it took homes to sell that closed within the last month.

At the top of the list is Herculaneum in Jefferson County Missouri where the average time to sell was 154 days, nearly 5 times the median time of 32 days for the St Louis MSA.  Of the remaining 9 cities on the list, 5 are in St Louis County, 2 are in Illinois, 1 in Franklin County and 1 in Laclede County.

St Louis MSA – Slowest SOLD Cities in Past Month

(click on table for complete, current list)
St Louis MSA - Slowest SOLD Cities in Past Month

Top 10 St Louis Cities Where Homes Are Selling The Fastest

It may be the slow season for real estate but there are still plenty of areas in St Louis where homes are selling fast!  As the table below shows, the cities where homes have sold the fastest in the past 30 days are scattered throughout the St Louis metro area.  From number 1 on the list, Wright City in the far western area of the metro area in Warren County to number 2 on the list over on the east side of the Mississippi River in Waterloo Illinois.

10 Fastest SOLD Cities In St Louis Metro Area in Past 30 Days
(click on table for complete, live list)10 Fastest SOLD Cities In St Louis Metro Area in Past 30 Days

After Christmas Sale On Real Estate! Lowest Prices Of The Year!

Early Christmas evening, the commercials began for “after Christmas” sales by anxious retailers that couldn’t even wait until after Christmas to tell everyone what great bargains can be had.  Well, the same holds true for residential real estate in terms of bargain prices at this time of year.  It’s no secret that the number of homes sold, as well as prices, decline during this time of year, but I don’t know that would-be home buyers realize just how much they can save if they buy a home during this slow season.

As the STL Market Chart (exclusively from MORE, REALTORS) below shows, the median price of homes sold (the red line) dropped to the lowest level of the season in January earlier this year and in February the year before.  The number of homes sold (the pink line) always hit its lowest level around the same time.  Historically, this happens every year around the same time when the market is good as well as when it is not.  As the chart shows, the home prices in November remained the same as October, but the number of home sales dropped significantly and prices will follow no doubt.  Worth noting is that in January of this year, home prices hit their seasonal low at $168,444 but then by April, just 3 months later had increased 12.5% to $189,500 and finally peaked in June at $204,900, a 21.6% increase from January’s low.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family and loved ones a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

St Louis Home Sales Remain Steady But Trending Downward

In the last week, I’ve seen several reports indicating declining home sales on both a nationwide basis as well as for the St Louis market.  The reports vary widely but one local report indicated single family home sales were down 6 percent from a year ago, which, of course, should cause some concern for both agents as well as consumers since a 6 percent decline is significant.  However, this is why, for this very reason, MORE, REALTORS® developed their own proprietary software to analyze and report the market data (the same MLS data as the aforementioned report was based upon) and present it in a manner that more accurately depicts the market conditions and is more applicable than many of the other reports out there.

Before I go further, I’m not picking on anyone reporting market information, as most are simply reporting the data that is available to them and doing so in a common manner which is to look at data for one specific month (in this case November) and compare it to the same month a year ago.  I’m just suggesting that due to fluctuations that can be caused by, for example, weather during the month, the number of Friday’s during the month (a popular day for closings), etc. looking at a single month doesn’t paint a true picture of the market.  It also matters what area the data is for, is it the St Louis MSA (which includes 8 counties in Illninois) or the city of St Louis, or some other combination?

As you will see from our STL Market Report™ tables I’ve prepared below, the St Louis real estate market is actually holding fairly steady in terms of sales when we look at the past 12-month period and compare it with the prior 12-month period.  In terms of home prices, St Louis home prices have increased about 4% – 5% in the St Louis area, depending on how we look at the area.

Forecast Says Eighty Two Percent Of St Louis Listings Will Sell Below List Price

A report released by Knock, a company that buys homes, forecasts that, nationally, 77% of current listings will sell below the original list price during the first quarter of 2019 and in St Louis, 82.61% of the listings will sell below list price. The report goes on to forecast that, on average, during the first quarter of 2019 homes in St Louis will sell for 5.2% less than the original list price and will take an average of 22 days to sell.

70% of St Louis Listings Sold For Less Than Original Price During Past 3 Months…

As our exclusive STL Market Chart tables below show, during the past 3 month period, 5,055 of the 7,240 (69.8%) homes that sold in the St Louis 5-County core market, sold for less than the original asking price.  Therefore, Knock’s prediction that this percentage hits 82.61% during the coming 3 months is not a stretch.  Nearly half (46%) of the 8,883 active listings on the market have already had at least one price reduction.

Houses and Condos for Christmas Presents?

Every year around this time is when many homeowners that have their homes listed for sale discuss with their agent whether they should just take their home or condo off the market as Christmas approaches, then come back on the market after the beginning of the new year.  Many homeowners that are thinking of selling contemplate the same thing trying to decide whether to come on the market before the holidays or wait until after.

It is a well-known fact this is a slower time of the year for the St Louis real estate market, but does that mean it’s so bad that you should remove your listing from the market and take a break?  Well, while a lot of people may decide to do this, often because they will have family and friends visiting or staying with them, one can make a decent argument for staying on the market around Christmas if it’s possible.

Homes and condos do sell during Christmas week…

To address the issue of whether it makes sense for a seller to stay on the market over Christmas, I pulled stats for Christmas week last year, to see how many homes and condos went under contract that week.  As the MORE, REALTORS® exclusive STL Market Reports™ table shows, there were 291 listings that went under contract Christmas week 2017 in the St Louis 5-County Core real estate market.

St Louis Home Mortgage Originations Drop Five Percent In Third Quarter

There were 9,983 home purchase mortgage loans originated in the St Louis metro area during the 3rd quarter of this year, a decline of 5% from the prior quarter and a decline of 3% from a year ago, according to a report just released by ATTOM Data Services.  This is the lowest number of home purchase loan originations for the 3rd quarter since 2015 when there were 9,731 home purchase mortgage loans originated.   As the historical table below shows, the peak for loan originations in St Louis was in the 3rd quarter of 2005 when there were 17,698 purchase mortgage loans originated.

St Louis MSA Purchase Mortgage Originations

St Louis MSA Purchase Mortgage Originations

St Louis MSA Historical Purchase Mortgage Originations

St Louis MSA Historical Purchase Mortgage Originations

St Louis Real Estate Market Update VIDEO – December 2018 – Months Supply On the Rise

The St Louis real estate market is lagging a little behind last year in terms of home sales and the inventory of homes for sale is on the rise.  While some of this is, of course, seasonal, perhaps some of it could be related to home prices increasing over the past year or so at a higher rate than the historical “norm” as well as may be reflective of the higher interest rates we are experiencing now versus last year.

While it’s still a seller’s market in some areas of St Louis and in some price ranges, our market indicators have more markets shifting to a buyers market or, at a minimum, a changing market.  Seller’s won’t like to see this but it could be some welcome relief for home buyers that may be growing weary from bidding wars, getting beat out on the home they want and the like.

Find out more, as well as get information on some of St Louis’s best resources for home buyers and sellers in our just-released market update video.

In our MORE, REALTORS, 5 Minute St Louis Real Estate Market Update video below, you can quickly and easily get the latest information on home prices, home sales, trends and more for the entire St Louis area!  


Thinking of selling and want to know if your neighborhood is a seller's market? Contact us and we'll  answer that question for you.
You can now subscribe to our ITUNES Podcast Channel to receive our updated market videos via podcast automatically each week! Just click here, then click on "Subscribe Free".) St Louis Real Estate Market Update Video - St Louis Home Prices

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Nearly 1 In 5 St Louis Home Sales In Past 12-Months Were Cash Deals

There were 37,721 homes sold in the St Louis metropolitan area during the past 12 months as reported by MORE, REALTORS.  Of those, as the chart below illustrates, conventional financing made up the lion’s share of the sales.  Conventional mortgages accounted for 18,967 home sales (50.3%), followed by cash transactions with no financing that accounted for 7,109 sales (18.9%), then 6,353 (16.8%) sales with FHA loans, 2,333 (6.2%) with VA loans, and 770 (2.0%) sales financed with USDA financing. The remaining 5.8% of the home sales were financed with one of roughly 30 other lessor popular financing methods.

St Louis MSA Home Sales By Financing Type – Past 12 Months

(Click on chart for live, interactive chart)

St Louis MSA Home Sales By Financing Type - Past 12 Months.
By St Louis REALTORS, MORE, REALTORS

Date source: MARIS

The Number of Flipped Houses In St Louis Drops, As Do Profits On Them

There were 752 home “flips” in the St Louis metro area during the third quarter of this year, representing 6.5% of the homes sold during the period, according to data just released by ATTOM Data Research.  This is a decline of 7.4% from the prior quarter and a decline of 2.0% from the same quarter last year.

What is meant by “flipped” home?

ATTOM Data considers any home or condo that was sold during the third quarter of this year in an arms-length sale that had previously had an arms-length sale within the prior 12 months as well as a “flip”.  Since homeowners don’t tend to buy a home only to turn around and resell it within a year, when this does occur it is typically the result of an investor buying a property, renovating it, then reselling it.

  

Fastest Selling Cities in St Louis

It’s no secret that home sales slow down this time of year in St Louis however, there are still plenty of cities in St Louis where homes are selling quickly!  As the table below shows, Rock Hill is at the top of our Fastest Selling Cities list with the current supply of homes for sale being on the market for an average of just 29 days.  Of the 10 cities on our list, all but one are in St Louis County and, of the 9 in St Louis County, 5 are in North County.

St Louis’ Fastest Selling Cities

(click on the table to see the complete table with current data)St Louis' Fastest Selling Cities

What is the housing market like in St Louis’ Fastest Selling City – Rock Hill?

Continue reading Fastest Selling Cities in St Louis

Strong Economy’s Impact On Housing Market Shows In REALTOR Survey

The impact of the strong economy the U.S. is currently experiencing can be seen in the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) 2018 Member Profile.  In the NAR report when agents were asked about the most important factor limiting potential home-buyer clients from completing a transaction, the answers given in the most recent survey show a strong improvement in economy-related issues from the 2015 survey. For example, below are some highlights from the survey for the most important factor limiting potential buyers in completing a transaction:

  • Difficulty in obtaining financing dropped from 26% in 2015 to just 12% in 2018
  • Low consumer confidence dropped from 5% in 2015 to just 1% in 2018
  • Ability to sell existing home dropped from 6% in 2015 to 3% in 2018.

Median Price of Homes Sold in Franklin County In Past 12 Months Remain Flat And Sales Fall

The median price of homes sold in Franklin County during the 12 month period ended October 31, 2018, was $150,000 according to the STL Market Report™ from MORE™, REALTORS®.  As the STL Market Report™ below shows, this is exactly the same as during the prior 12-month period. During the most recent 12-month period, there were 1,282 homes sold in Franklin County, a decrease of 2.29% from the prior 12-month period.  There is currently a 4.13 month supply of homes for sale in Franklin County and listings have been on the market a median time of 98 days.

STL Market Report – Homes – Franklin County

(click on table to go to live report)

STL Market Report - Homes - Franklin County

Median Price of Homes Sold in Jefferson County In Past 12 Months Hits $169,000 – Sales Down Slightly

The median price of homes sold in Jefferson County during the 12 month period ended October 31, 2018, was $169,000 according to the STL Market Report™ from MORE™, REALTORS®.  As the STL Market Report™ below shows, this is an increase in the median price of homes sold of 2.42% from the prior 12-month period. During the most recent 12-month period, there were 3,407 homes sold in Jefferson County, a decrease of 0.7% from the prior 12-month period.  There is currently a 2.78 month supply of homes for sale in Jefferson County and listings have been on the market a median time of 119 days.

STL Market Report – Homes – Jefferson County

(click on table to go to live report)

STL Market Report - Homes - Jefferson County

Median Price of Homes Sold in St Charles County In Past 12 Months Hits $230,000 – Sales Up Slightly

The median price of homes sold in St Charles County during the 12 month period ended October 31, 2018, was $230,000 according to the STL Market Report™ from MORE™, REALTORS®.  As the STL Market Report™ below shows, this is an increase in the median price of homes sold of 4.55% from the prior 12-month period. During the most recent 12-month period, there were 6,081 homes sold in St Charles County, an increase of 1.11% from the prior 12-month period.  There is currently a 2.52 month supply of homes for sale in St Charles County and listings have been on the market a median time of 74 days.

STL Market Report – Homes – St Charles County

(click on table to go to live report)

STL Market Report - Homes - Charles County

Happy Thanksgiving! How It Began…

Thanksgiving began in the U.S. in 1789 after the issuance of the proclamation below made by President George Washington and was initially a harvest festival.  Thanksgiving did not actually become a federal holiday in the U.S. until 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator, and Ruler of the Universe.”.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” Continue reading Happy Thanksgiving! How It Began…

Median Price of Homes Sold in St Louis City/County In Past 12 Months Hits $185,000 – Sales Flat

The median price of homes sold in St Louis City and County combined during the 12 month period ended October 31, 2018 was $185,000 according to the STL Market Report™ from MORE™, REALTORS®.  As the STL Market Report™ below shows, this is an increase in the median price of condos sold of 5.11% from the prior 12-month period. During the most recent 12-month period, there were 16,841 homes sold in St Louis City and County combined, just 6 sales more than the prior 12-month period.  There is currently a 2.67 month supply of condos for sale in St Louis City and County combined and listings have been on the market a median time of 64 days.

STL Market Report – Homes – St Louis City and County Combined

(click on table to go to live report)

STL Market Report - St Louis City/County Combined

 

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls To Lowest Level In More Than 12 Years

The overall mortgage delinquency rate in the U.S. fell in August to the lowest level in over 12 years, according to a report just released by CoreLogic.  According to the report, 4.2% of all St Louis home mortgages were 30+ days delinquent in August 2018, a decline of over 14% from a year ago when the rate was 4.9%.  During the same period, seriously delinquent mortgages, those that are 90+ days late, in St Louis dropped from 1.8% a year ago to 1.4% in August 2018, according to the report.

 

Number of Equity-Rich St Louis Homeowners Increases In 3rd Quarter

According to a report just released by ATTOM Data Solutions, 16.9% of the homeowners in St Louis with a mortgage are “equity-rich”, meaning their loan balance is 50% or less of their home’s estimated value.  As the table below illustrates, this is an increase from 15.8% during the 2nd quarter as well as the 1st quarter of this year.

St Louis increase in equity surpassed the U.S. average but fell behind Kansas City and Chicago…

As the table below shows, during the past 2 years, the percentage of equity-rich homeowners in St Louis increased from 16.0% to 16.9%, an increase of nearly 6%.  However, in Kansas City, the rate went from 12.0% to 21.0%, an increase of 75% and in Chicago from 15.0% to 16.8% for an increase of 12%.  Nationally, however, the rate increase just 1% during the same period, from 23.4% to 25.7%.

St Louis Equity-RIch Homeowners 3rd Quarter 2018

St Louis Equity-RIch Homeowners 3rd Quarter 2018

 

Number of Underwater St Louis Homeowners Falls To Lowest Level Since Last Year

During the 3rd quarter of this year, 14.4% of the homeowners in St Louis with a mortgage were “seriously underwater”, meaning they owe at least 25 percent more than the estimated value of their home, according to a report just released by ATTOM Data Solutions. This is the lowest rate this year, down from 15.6% in the 2nd quarter and down from 14.7% in the first quarter of 2018.  For the last quarter of 2017, St Louis homeowners that were seriously underwater had fallen to 13.8%.

Kansas City and Chicago have fared better over the past 5 years…

As the table below illustrates, our neighbors to the west and northeast, Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL, have both seen a greater margin of improvement in their underwater homeowners over the past 5 years.  Kansas City went from 23.1% of their homeowners with a mortgage being seriously underwater in the 3rd quarter of 2013 to 9.8% during the 3rd quarter of this year, a reduction of 58% in the rate of underwater homeowners.  Chicago, during the same period, went from 35.8% to 13.2%, a reduction of 68%. Meanwhile, here in St Louis, the rate went from 25.4% to 14.4%, a reduction of 40%.

St Louis Seriously Underwater Homeowners – 3rd Quarter 2018

St Louis Seriously Underwater Homeowners - 3rd Quarter 2018

 

 

St. Louis’ 10 Fastest Selling Cities In October 2018

Not only did the beautiful fall weather of October draw St Louis area families to the popular apple and pumpkin picking festivities at Eckert’s Millstadt Farm, it also brought out home buyers putting Millstadt, IL at the top of our fastest SOLD cities in the St Louis metro area for October.  As our table below shows (an exclusive feature of MORE™, REALTORS® feature), homes in Millstadt took just an average of 8 days to sell in October.  The next nine cities on the list were all in Missouri with 5 of those in St Louis County, 2 in Jefferson County, 1 in St Charles County and 1 in Warren County.

St Louis Metro Fastest SOLD Cities – October 2018

(click on the table to see the complete table with current data)

St Louis Metro Fastest SOLD Cities - October 2018

            Copyright 2018 – MORE, REALTORS – All Rights Reserved

New Home Prices Have Increased At Higher Rate Than Overall Housing Market Over Past 15 Years

I had lunch yesterday with a long-time friend who is a St Louis home-builder who shared with me the continually rising costs of construction he faces.  Our conversation was consistent with conversations I’ve had with other builders as well, who cite a variety of things responsible for the ever-increasing costs of new home construction.  The areas most often mentioned relate to regulatory and compliance issues,  material prices as well as rising labor costs.  According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average cost to build a new home has inreased 56% over the past 15 years.  According to the NAHB, over the past 15 years construction costs accounted for a median of 57% of the cost of a new home.

The gap between new home prices and existing home prices widens..

As the chart below illustrates, over the past 15 years, the median price of a new home has increased 68% while, as the bottom chart shows, the price of homes in the U.S. (according to the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index) has only increased 43.6% during the same period.  During the past 15 years, new home prices have increased 56% more than home prices overall.

Median Sales Price For New Homes Sold In The U.S. – Past 15 YearsMedian Sales Price For New Homes Sold In The U.S. - Past 15 Years
S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index – Past 15 Years
S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index - Past 15 Years

Will Zillow Put Real Estate Agents Out of Business?

It would be an understatement to say that Zillow® has many real estate agents nervous about their future.  It’s not just Zillow® though, it’s Amazon, big banks, and dozens and dozens of new real estate start-ups and changing business models.

A true dysfunctional family…

The most common name that comes up in real estate agent circles when discussing the impact of the internet on the real estate profession topic is Zillow®, and usually in the context of “the enemy“, so to speak.  It seems to me the biggest fear among agents about Zillow® is that they want to eliminate real estate agents and instead give consumers a marketplace to buy and sell homes without the need for an agent.  What is most interesting to me about this, is that Zillow® made something like nearly $1 Billion last year from selling leads to, guess who? Yep, real estate agents. So, the group that is afraid Zillow® is gunning for them, is lining their coffers with cash to do so, see the dysfunction?  To be clear, I’m not blaming agents here for doing business with Zillow®, nor am I saying what Zillow® is doing is wrong, I’m just commenting on what I see and find it rather fascinating.

But wait there’s more…

Going back to Zillow® and all those leads they sell to agents, what makes it even more interesting is the fact that Zillow® is able to generate all those leads as a result of getting more than 1 million real estate agents in the U.S. to send their listings to them and give them permission to market them.  Hmm…

Homeownership Rate In U.S. Hits Highest Rate Since 2014

The homeownership rate in the U.S. hit 64.4 percent during the third quarter of this year, according to data just released from the Census Bureau.  This is the highest rate of homeownership in the U.S. since the third quarter of 2014 when the rate was also 64.4%.

As the chart below shows, homeownership rates increased in the Northeast and West regions during the 3rd quarter, from a year ago, but declined slightly in the Midwest and the South.

Homeownership Rates By U.S. Region – 3rd Quarter 2018 vs 2017

Homeownership Rates By U.S. Region - 3rd Quarter 2018 vs 2017

 

Real Estate Agents Are In The Goldilocks Zone – What Does This Mean For Their Future?

Will technology send real estate agents into near extinction like it did with travel agents and may be doing with taxi-cab drivers today?   This is a topic of frequent conversation in our industry, especially with dozens of new, well-funded startups, many with new and different business models, all gunning for a piece of the residential real estate industry.

I don’t like Kool-Aid® and don’t drink it..

Don't Drink the Kool Aid Before I start, for the naysayers out there that may think since I’ve spent my entire adult life in real estate that, of course, I’m going to come to the conclusion that real estate agents are critical and you can’t live without one.  Well, to quash those fears, just read some of the articles I’ve written here over the past 10 years, you’ll know I don’t drink the Kool-Aid®.   I do not recite the chant of REALTOR® cheerleaders or anyone else unless I completely believe what I’m saying and feel qualified to speak on the topic.  In fact, there have been many times my opinion on a topic, such as on the mortgage interest deduction, was in direct contrast to that of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Real Estate Agents serve as “The Goldilocks Zone” for consumers….

Goldilocks Zone - Rea Estate Agents in the Key ZoneForgive me for dragging a science lesson into this real estate conversation, however, it makes for a good illustration of one of the first areas of significance of a real estate agent I want to discuss.  In astronomy and astrobiology, there is an area around the sun that is habitable, by not being too close to the sun, nor too far from the sun, that is referred to as the circumstellar habitable zone (CHZ), or by it’s “street name”, The Goldilocks Zone.

I think this is a good metaphor for a real estate transaction.  Think of the sun as the buyer and the seller as earth. The seller needs the buyer however, they really need to keep their distance from one another otherwise it will most likely not end with a successful tranasction.  The reason I say this is homeowners often have an emotional attachment to their home and, believe it or not, often think their home is worth worth more than it actually is.  The buyer, on the other hand, has zero emotional attachment to the home, sees flaws and imperfections in it that are invisible to the current homeowner and, in most cases, thinks it is worth less than the seller.  So, with this in mind, if the buyer and seller, with their diametrically different thoughts on the home are put together in one room to negotiate a sale, odds are it won’t end well.

There is a better way!  Real estate agents operate in the “Goldilocks Zone“, that safe place that is close enough to each party to the transaction to be effective, but not so close so as to hinder the negotiation process.  When a buyer and seller are both represented by real estate agents, they (the buyer and seller) normally do not have any direct contact with each other no do any negotiation between them, but instead allow their respective agents to handle those things.  This keeps the emotion out of the picture and also filters what is said through a professional that will filter the message removing anything that wouldn’t be in their clients benefit.  An experienced agent, without an emotional attachment to the transcation, will be able to think and act much more objectively, than their client typically and their experience will help them know when and how is the best manner and method to convey offers, negotiate, etc.

There are many more reasons while agents are critical to a successful real estate transaction, some of which I’ll cover in future articles over the next few weeks, but here’s the first one:

Because real estate agents can operate in the “Goldilocks Zone” which is a critical zone to be in for a real estate transaction to have a successful outcome.