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New home sales: 'Really good news'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sales of newly constructed single-family homes spiked 11% in June to an annualized rate of 384,000 homes, according to a report released Monday.

The gain over May was much greater than expected. A consensus of housing industry analysts had forecast seasonally adjusted sales of 352,000, according to Breifing.com.

However, sales are still 21% below the levels of a year ago, when new homes sold in June at an annualized rate of 488,000, according to the report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Four years ago, during the height of the housing boom, the sales rate for June was 1,374,000, nearly three-and-a-half times higher than last month.

Still, the report was very positive, according to Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland who had forecast June sales to be at the 350,000 level. "That is really good news. Considering what's going on in existing home sales, with all the foreclosure activity sending down home prices, for new homes to jump like that is a good indicator that the economy is bottoming out."
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Vacation Home Blog and News

June 8, 2009

Does Your Agent Have A Marketing Plan to Sell Your Vacation Home?

When looking for an agent to sell your home, they should present more than just a Comparitive Market Analysis of your home. They should also have a comprehensive and effective marketing plan.  Your agent should also have some statistics to back up their methods.

At this particular point in time, don’t expect a huge, expensive program, particularly when it comes to print ads. Many agents have been forced out of the business, and a lot of them are barely hanging on. Do make sure that your home is priced correctly for this market. If it’s overpriced, no amount of marketing is going to sell your vacation property. But here’s what you should find in your agent’s marketing plan.

  1. Feeds to Major Real Estate Portals. Naturally, you’ll want to work with an agent that belongs to an MLS. Many of these MLS systems also provide feeds to dozens of the top real estate portals such as Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and many more. If not, your agent should be connected with ListHub.¬† As of this posting, Listhub will send your property listing¬†out to more than 40 major real estate portals, giving your vacation home much more exposure.
  2. Vacation Home Web¬†Portals. Your agent should be a vacation home specialist, and they should be a member of the largest Vacation Home Portal on the internet when it comes to sales (not rentals). That would be¬†ResortScape. In fact, I use their listings in the Vacation Real Estate section of this site because it’s the most comprehensive. And, there are many other vacation sites that use their listings, too, so the exposure is quite extensive.¬†
  3. Virtual Tours. Your agent should be able to place virtual tours or videos of your home on the web. The home should be staged for the photos or videos used for the tour. No clutter. Add flowers and decorative items. If the rooms are empty, add a chair and table, and add a bed to the bedrooms to give a sense of scale. Your agent can easily make tours using VisualTour¬†or even YouTube. VisualTour is a paid service that allows you to make 360 degree tours out of still photos. But, you can now buy reasonably priced video cameras that are all set up to upload your videos directly to YouTube. Most digital cameras can also produce videos, though they’ll need to be edited down to size, or they’ll take so long to download, no one will watch them.
    If you’re vacation home is in a resort area, amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, ski trails, etc. should also be included in the tour.
  4. A sign and brochure box. Despite drastically changing marketing techniques¬†due to the internet, signs with a brochure box of flyers will still generate a substantial amount of interest in your property. In the age of cell phones, potential buyers will stop, pick up a brochure, and call your agent right at that moment if they’re interested in the property. Make sure your agent has their cell phone number on the brochure or the sign. Otherwise, the flyer could easily get lost, or the buyers could find other properties where they can get an immediate response. That’s right! If we can get it now, we want it now! Otherwise, we’ll go elsewhere.
  5. Postcards. Postcards are still effective and¬†should be sent out to the agency’s list of potential vacation home buyers,¬†neighbors near your property¬†or other owners in your resort in case they’re interested in buying. Your agent should have access to this information through the local tax assessor’s office, town or city hall.
  6. Know Your Competition. Your agent should be familiar with competitive resorts/vacation areas in your vacation home’s market. He or she should be knowledgeable about¬†property values in each area whether it be a home, condo, or building lot, and be able to explain the differences to potential buyers. If your¬†vacation property¬†is priced competitively, it should sell. Also consider that in the current market, the best-priced property may be the only one that sells. Know your competition as well as your agent does.
  7. Print Ads. Print ads remain the most expensive form of advertising. At the same time, they’re by far the least effective in comparison to cost. The more expensive your home is, the more likely it should be for your agent to use well-placed print ads. In a resort community where¬†most of the homes are used strictly for vacationing, you’ll want a display ad of your home during the height of the vacation season. Classified ads can also be effective during this time.
  8. Statistics. Your agent should be able to show you what has worked best to sell properties in the past year including all advertising mediums. They should be able to show you the percentage of sales through personal connections, specific web sites, the MLS, signs, newspaper ads, magazines and real estate guides, walk-in traffic, and properties sold due to their reputation.

Many real estate agents don’t even have a marketing plan. Most experienced agents do. So, if you’re unfamiliar with the agents in the area of your vacation home, make sure you get a marketing plan from each agent you plan to interview. The best practice is to have 3 experienced agents evaluate your home and demonstrate how they would sell it.


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