Market Update

If, over the course of the past six months, you've had the opportunity to speak to someone who was in the process of looking for a home to purchase, my guess is that you’ve heard a lot of rumbling and grousing about how difficult the process has been. In extreme cases, perhaps even a tear was shed or a profanity exclaimed… It’s true. The market has been tough for prospective buyers, to say the least. It turns out that second quarter statistics in Monroe County show that the number of properties on the market for sale is down a whopping 37.5% from the same period of time last year. Of course, this has greatly impacted the total sales volume and number of properties that have transferred title. That figure has fallen a full 12%.

What's remarkable about these numbers is that they exacerbate a problem that we began to experience last year. As anticipated, the local real estate market began to falter in the summer of 2016. Why? Well, every four years, Americans refrain from making large financial decisions in the months preceding a Presidential election. So, it would make sense that home-buying, one of the largest financial transactions that one makes during the course of a lifetime, would take a hit. And let’s face it – the uncertainty associated with Clinton versus Trump didn’t make things any easier. In fact, last year’s campaign encouraged more people to move to the sidelines and wait to see how things played out than we’ve experienced in elections past.

photo.png

After the election concluded, our country was suddenly focused on the Macy’s Day Parade, Sugar Plum Fairies, and weight loss resolutions. Once the New Year took hold, the pent-up desire to purchase or sell property that had been growing in the preceding six months started to begin its release. Diverging from previous markets, this year’s spring market began, in earnest, the third week of January. This may have been due to the fact that, regardless of one’s political leanings, consumers took some comfort in knowing that, yet again, the peaceful transition of power from one president to another had taken place. This particular set of circumstances helps us to understand the local real estate market during the first six months of the year. Then, everything seemed to change…
 

So why is it that the stock market is dancing with historic highs while home sellers are behaving with a lethargy not seen since 1997?

photo.jpg

My personal theory has to do with the fact that Wall Street, an industry obviously populated by CEOs, tech titans and other big business hot shots, have applauded our current President’s pro-business agenda and as a result, the stock market has been sent soaring upward. Main Street and residential real estate, on the other hand, are industries populated by average Americans whose personal fortunes and sentiments don’t reflect the mindset of New York's financial district. Wall Street, for the moment, seems willing to ignore some of the uncertainty emanating from Washington, hedging their bets on the fact that the President’s pro-business agenda will ultimately lead to higher profits. Ma and Pa homeowners, however, seem less willing to risk potential loss. The President’s underlying “renegade approach” to governing is concerning to many and unfortunately, perpetuates the phenomenon that began to define the real estate market beginning 12 months ago. As a result of this mindset, average Americans are either

a) Remaining in their residences or,
b) If not currently a homeowner, are looking to the safety that is traditionally associated with homeownership.

In other words, high demand and low supply.
 

So where are we headed? 

photo.jpg

In all honesty, for twenty six years, I've written these updates and prided myself on having a very accurate crystal ball into the future of the real estate market. Going back and rereading, I was always pleased to see that, indeed, my previous newsletters and posts were surprisingly accurate. Unfortunately, my crystal ball is now a bit foggy and I’m unable to discern where it is that the market is headed. In the short term, it looks as if the next two and half months will be very strong. Personally, my team and I are listing sixteen new houses for sale in the next two weeks. As a result of the lack of good product, we're fairly certain that these properties will sell rather immediately.

Once November 15th arrives, we will, of course, experience the traditional slow down that sets in during the holidays. That brings us to the New Year and, unfortunately, anything beyond January 15, 2018 is an uncertainty. Your guess is as good as any… That being said, my gut tells me that it won't be all doom and gloom for the real estate market. The stock market continues to do well, unemployment numbers remain low, and despite Janet Yellen's stated desire to raise interest rates, a homeowner's ability to borrow money will still remain an incentive to purchase. An enormous uncertainly remains – Donald Trump. Let's face it. The first year of most presidencies is rocky until our Commander in Chief learns to navigate the hallways of our nation's capital. If the current occupant of the White House is able to learn from his missteps or, at the very least, create a greater sense of stability in the minds of Americans, next year's real estate market could be rather spectacular. Only time will tell! 

Client Appreciation Party

One of the difficulties that my team and I are facing as we approach $70,000,000 in annual sales is the fact that, unfortunately, time constraints prevent us from connecting with our clients in the way that we had grown accustomed. Still to this day, some of my very best friends are people that I met as a result of selling them a house 20 years ago. As our business continues to grow and expand, we are constantly looking for new ways to reconnect with our clients on a personal level in the same way that I was able to many years ago. This is one of the reasons that we created the Client Concierge position. And why it is that I try to take clients out to dinner at the conclusion of a transaction.

That being said, I’ll be the first to admit that we’re not always successful. We still have a long way to go in order to achieve our goal of becoming the “Wegmans of local real estate”. Nevertheless, our intention is always good and we make a solid attempt at providing our clients with exceptional service. If you are a former or current client of our team, please know that you are more than just the next ticket in line at the deli counter. You’re our friends and our biggest supporters. This event on August 20th is simply a means by which we’d like to convey our sincerest appreciation and gratitude!  

I was hoping and intending to have this party last year in celebration of my 25th year selling real estate. Unfortunately, our database was corrupted, so we’ve tried our best to recreate it over the course of the past year. We’re relying on word-of-mouth and social media to help fill in the gaps. Whether you sold a home with us 20 years ago, or are currently in the process of finding your next home with us, we’d love to see you on August 20th and hope that you can make it! Shoot me an e-mail, send me a Facebook message, or give me a call if you’d like some more information! (mark@marksiwiec.com, (585) 218-6275)

 
 

So, who is Howard Hanna?

 
 

Just like Nothnagle, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is a family-owned company. Established in 1957, Howard and Anne Freyvogel Hanna opened a single office in Pittsburgh, PA to start. They are now the 3rd largest real estate company in the nation. Why does this matter? This merger will give our clients access and support from 259 offices and more than 9,000 agents & employees nationwide. The Howard Hanna website (howardhanna.com) has a monthly average of 1 million visitors.

While you may not notice a direct impact or change, this merger is an incredibly advantageous move for our local real estate market. That being said, please know that we are committed to offering the same extraordinary service to our clients and look forward to what our new name has in store for us!

FAQ - Choosing a Realtor

How do I choose a real estate agent?

Okay. I know what you’re thinking… This blog is going to be all about why it is that you should work with the Mark Siwiec Team. Wrong. In fact, one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned throughout my 26 years in the business is that in order to be successful, one must know their strengths and weaknesses. Let me explain…

Just recently, a friend asked if I wanted to take on a listing in Franklinville, NY. A real estate agent who is eager to land their first listing might have jumped on the request. I, however, respectfully declined. Why would I turn away business? Simply put, my team and I were not the best agent for the job. We would not have represented the client in the way that she deserved and to the degree by which we typically operate on behalf of our clients. When choosing who it is that will represent you during the sale of your home, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

  • First and foremost, choose an agent about whom you’ve heard great stories. Pick someone that your sister or your neighbor used and had a fantastic experience. Word of mouth, if possible, is always the best way to choose a real estate agent. It’s why we’re so proud of our business being over 78% referral-based.
     

  • If, however, you’re unable to select an agent based on a recommendation, conduct a simple Google search and identify three real estate agents that you would like to interview. During these interviews, there are a number of questions that you should consider asking. In order to choose who may represent you and your home in the most efficient manner, analyze the following criteria:

o  Does he or she work full-time or part-time?

o  What type of experience do they have, specifically, in your town/neighborhood?

o   How many years have they been selling real estate?

o   How much have they sold annually? Compare this to the annual sales for all agents in the region.

o   How much have they sold annually in your town/neighborhood?

o   What is their marketing plan?

  • During these interviews, resist the urge to go with the agent that gives you the highest number! This is where so many sellers go wrong. Of course, I realize that it may be impossible to ignore the sweet, seductive soliloquy of the agent professing to sell your home for $25,000 over what it is that other agents are proclaiming. However, there are much better indicators to look for that will determine who is the best man or woman for the job. In this moment, pause, breathe, and make two decisions.

1. What is the best list price based on the analysis of all three agents?

2. Who is the best agent to market the property and get it sold?

Finally, after eventually selecting a real estate agent, my last piece of advice would be to, most importantly, hold your agent to their claims and promises. Listen carefully when he or she talks about their marketing plan and be mindful throughout the process as to whether or not it is being executed. Best of luck!

ROC Spotlight Series - Dan Goldstein

What are you reading?  

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.  It’s good, but just finished Shoe Dog by Phil Knight which was awesome!


What are you listening to?

I cannot shake my obsession with Van Morrison…..but have added in some newish stuff like Avett Brothers, and real new stuff like Trapo (young hip hop/rap artist managed by my nephew Steven Goldstein)
 

What is the last album or song that you downloaded?  

Shade Tree by Trapo
 

Do you have a favorite podcast(s)?  

SCL radio on Sound Cloud. Very cool and done by my nephew out of the new Sweet Chick (chicken & waffles) LA location
 

What are you currently watching on TV?  

Stuck in the sit-com era….30 minutes and done!  Modern family and Blackish
 

What is the last movie you saw?  

Beauty & the Beast (with my daughter)
 

Who are you following on Twitter?  

I don't use twitter - I'm trying to cut back a bit on social media!
 

How do you spend your Sundays?  

At my farm with family & friends -  hiking, fishing and riding ATVs as much as possible.