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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What are the benefits to open houses around the holidays?

December 15, 2014
Agents Sound Off

Greg Celotti
Palo Alto

Question: What are the benefits to open houses around the holidays?
Answer: There are pros and cons to having an open house during the holiday season, including some of which may sound a bit contradictory. The advantages include very little competition (inventory levels can be about one-third of what is typically on the market), plus some of the available homes may choose not to be held open. As in most businesses, less competition and more exposure is a good thing for a seller.
Additionally, there is an influx of out-of-area buyers who are here to visit family with the intention of moving here. Often, it’s easier for them to conduct home searches around social visits during their holiday vacations.
In terms of the disadvantages, some buyers will discontinue their search during the holidays due to travel plans, social events, and other seasonal commitments, thereby reducing the buyer pool.
For sellers, it can also be difficult to balance showing the home and still find time to enjoy the season for the very same reasons. Plus, in keeping with the conventional wisdom of staging/presenting a home in a neutral way, it may inhibit them from decorating like they normally would.
These are just a few of the factors to consider whether to hold a home open during the holidays. However, with the strong market, low inventory and large quantity of buyers, if you want to sell your home, you might want to do it.
Read more opinions of SFGate.

APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Do buyers or sellers typically have more leverage during the holidays?

December 1, 2014
Agents Sound Off

Monica Corman
Menlo Park

Question: Do buyers or sellers typically have more leverage during the holidays?
Answer: In general, the market slows down during peak holiday periods. Buyers are busy with holiday activities and sellers are waiting until the new year to put their houses on the market.
But in spite of the typical seasonal trends, either buyers or sellers can have the upper hand.
If a property has been on the market for a couple of weeks or more, is in a good location and in a popular price range, it should have sold by now. The seller may be getting anxious, and buyers can have more leverage because sellers don’t want to have an unsold property in January.
Sellers can have more leverage if they don’t wait until the new year to list a good property, although there is risk in doing this with fewer active buyers in the market. But with so little new inventory in December, and serious buyers looking even during the holidays, sellers who don’t wait may do well.
Last year I listed a Palo Alto property on Christmas Eve, with a plan to show it after New Year’s. I was inundated with calls and there was so much interest we decided to accept offers on Jan. 3 — and received 16. The seller was thrilled.
So if you are a buyer, stay active during December and you may get a better deal than during other times of the year. And if you are a seller, ask your agent what the best market timing for your property would be. The answer might be Christmas Eve.
Read more opinions of SFGate.

Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights Sales Insights

Staying in Front of Your Clients Online This Holiday Season

December 12, 2013

Author: Diane Bravo, Director of Technical Training at Alain Pinel Realtors.
Did you know that according to the National Association of Realtors® surveys of buyers and sellers in 2011 that over 90% of real estate consumers never hear from their Realtor again after closing? Be different. Get more future business by keeping in touch!  The holidays are a perfect time for you to reach out to past, current and future clients in a natural way –and with online tools, it has never been easier.
Here are 5 easy was to get more exposure online this holiday season with the click of a button:

  1. Send a holiday card from your contact management tool.  Want to avoid the religious connotations of some of the season’s holidays?  Select a classy New Year greeting to ring in the New Year!
  2. Post a holiday tip on your favorite social networking site.  This can be anything from a decorating tip, to gift ideas, to recipes, to general entertaining ideas.  Just Google “holiday tips” and the possibilities are endless.
  3. Send a Facebook Gift. Facebook Gifts were launched late last year as a way to send gifts to celebrate the special moments millions of people share on Facebook each day.  It couldn’t be easier and can cost as little as a $5 for a Starbucks gift card. This is a thoughtful and easy way to really surprise your clients and connections in an unexpected way. And it’s simple for them – a message and redemption code is emailed directly to your friends.
  4. Share an online magazine or article. The Autumn 2013 Exquisite Living magazine is the perfect example of an online read to share. The magazine was designed for ease-of-use for the consumer to flip through luxury trends, market updates, community spotlights and some of Alain Pinel Realtors most impressive homes and estates.
  5. Sharing local holiday happenings in your area is another great way to touch base, while at the same time providing useful information. If you don’t already know some in your area – try checking out your local Chamber of Commerce, community events calendars and local news sources and papers. From holiday wine events, art exhibitions, parades and lightshows, to visits from Santa, who wouldn’t want to see a list of nearby events at a glance? In today’s fast paced environment, people seldom have the time to go out and look for things to do. Do it for them!

Whatever method you choose, remember keeping in touch ultimately lead to more sales. Do something today to cultivate more business and fill your pipeline for 2014.

About Author:

Diane Bravo brings 20 years of technical training and implementation experience to Alain Pinel Realtors. In her current capacity as Director of Technical Training, she is responsible for helping all APR agents improve their business through the use of real estate software. Before moving to APR, Ms. Bravo worked for Integrated Device Technology as Business Systems Analyst.

Buyer / Seller Information

Don't Take a Christmas Vacation On Selling Your Home

November 26, 2013

Author: Dan Mirsky, Director of Marketing at Alain Pinel Realtors.

Like clockwork, as soon as the Christmas ads ramps up – inundating your tablet, TV and mailbox – the real estate market slows down. When traveling around to our offices this time of year, I often hear the line: “My client wants to wait until after the holidays when the market picks back up.” Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t wait until next year to list your home:

  • More serious buyers: The people dedicating their time to searching for a home instead of holiday shopping are motivated buyers. They’re the ones who are looking to ring in the New Year in the warm embrace of kith and kin in your home.
  • Less supply = More demand:  Inventory is markedly lower during the holidays because many sellers take their homes off the market. This means more competition for your property, which potentially means a higher selling price for your home.
  • More service providers available: Inspectors, appraisers, stagers, etc. are not as in-demand during the holidays, so they’re more flexible this time of year to meet your needs and busy schedule.
  • Staging / Decorations: Homes look better this time of year when they’re decorated for the holidays.

Speaking of staging, when decorating your home for the holidays, don’t go overboard with the lights. This not only goes for the outside, but the inside, as well. John Jenkins of Alain Pinel Realtors in Saratoga says, “Your home looks its best during the holidays. Seasonal decorations and cozy fireplaces help make your home feel warm and inviting.” Be careful not to clutter up your house with too much of your cheesy holiday décor. Jenkins adds, “Stay away from displaying religious holiday items” as they may be a turn-off to some buyers. Bring them back out next year when you’re in your new house.
Here are some other tips for decking your halls during the holidays:

  • Make sure your decorations compliment your home’s décor, not detract from it.
  • When choosing a Christmas tree, make sure it fits your living space without overwhelming it.
  • Have a beautiful view? Don’t cover up the window with adornments like snowflake decals or fake snow spray.

Often, it makes good financial sense to hire a professional to do the staging for you – and that includes your holiday decorations. Rather than doing it yourself, here are a few Bay Area companies that offer holiday light decorating services for the exterior of your home:
Holiday Lights Bay Area
The Christmas Light Pros
Jack Frost Designs

About Author:

Dan Mirsky began his career with Alain Pinel Realtors (APR) in 2003 and brings over 10 years of marketing, advertising and communications experience to the company. In his current role as the firm’s Director of Marketing, he is responsible for defining the corporate marketing strategy and communicating that message across multiple channels – both internal and external.