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“The Times They Are a Changing….”

March 6, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Columns No Comments
Carl Fischer headshot

That’s what singer-songwriter Bob Dylan named his third studio album, released in January 1964 by Columbia Records. And that phrase holds real significance in looking at our real estate market here in Northern Virginia today. With these “changing times”, our industry is experiencing a sea-change in how properties are marketed and sold these days.

Here are the October 2011 Real Estate Market Statistics for the Mid-Atlantic Region (MRIS)

As you can see, the region continues to be challenged. In the month of October, dollar volume in the Washington-Baltimore region declined 13.22% year-over-year! And historically, the next two months tend to be some of the most sluggish months of the year.

That said, I’ve personally just logged the busiest two months of my twenty-three years, and am on track for an equally active remaining two months…. for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. Residential listings and sales are well up, and commercial leases and closings are setting new records.

What I do know is this:

With the continued decline of print media and direct mail in our society, agents need to do something different to get their sellers the most visibility in the market today, so that those properties stand out above all the others when real buyers began to seriously consider a purchase.

How the real estate market has changed:

It is no longer possible to “put a sign in the yard and wait for the phone to ring”, which was the rap on the real estate industry during the boom years. Now, the only thing that gets you is a chance to “tread water” and hope for an offer, any offer…. and if one comes, it’s not usually one you’re going to like.

What’s the alternative?

In a word: VISIBILITY

Your property has to be visible to the real buyers who will pay a fair price for your home. And to do that, you need to be seen by those buyers in the best possible light, when THEY (the buyers) are ready to make a buying decision.

“Well, my agent promised me a web page….”

That’s good, but at any given time there are over 15 million web pages advertising real estate on the web today. If your page isn’t showing up on the first, or at worst, 2nd page of your “organic” Google search (i.e. use Google on your browser, and type in the words that reflect what your searching for….), then you, and your property, are invisible to the buying public. The only way anyone will ever see it is if you give them the URL for that page.

But a buyer will NEVER find you that way.

How important is that?

In an age where we, as consumers, shop for EVERYTHING on the web before we buy, you need to do whatever it takes to get that kind of visibility. And that includes using social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Viddler, etc. When you decide to sell you home, you need to reach your buyers WHEREVER they may be, be it locally, nationally, or internationally.

How about QR (Quick Response) codes?

No longer a novelty, todays tech-savvy buyers don’t want to wait to have their interest in your property satisfied. If they can’t snap you yard sign or newspaper ad with their iPhone or Android and immediately get what they want, they simply move on…. You may not agree with their demands, but that’s who’s writing checks for home purchases in our area today!

As tough as our market has been over the past three years, it is still head-and-shoulders above most other areas of the country, and we should be very thankful for that.
Don’t put your life on hold while the “market sorts things out”. Failure to act right now may deprive you of one of the best opportunities you will ever have to get the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

For more information, call me.
Carl Fischer, Broker/Owner
United Country Northern Virginia Commercial and Investment Real Estate Northern Neck of VA Waterfront Distressed Residential Properties
carl@uc-nova.com www.uc-nova.com 703-727-5025

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