This month we would like to give you the top 10 reasons why you should choose Carolina Realty Group when you are ready to sell your home.
Reason Number 10 – We’re a team.
One of the core principals of Carolina Real Estate is to offer the public the highest degree of professionalism and expertise possible. We think the best way to serve the public is to have experts in each segment of the market. We have 15 agents, each with a specific area of prowess. Whether you’re looking for an ocean front home, a private golf course community or just getting started with your first purchase, one of our agents specializes in your area of interest.
Reason Number 9 – We’re experienced.
Our agents average over 15 years in experience. Even before we started selling real estate many of us were in real estate related fields. One of us has a background in property management, another in community administration, one in mortgage banking, another in insurance and yet another in new home sales. Our real estate experience goes beyond selling real estate.
Reason Number 8 – We share our knowledge.
It is said that knowledge is power and people aren’t always willing to give up their power. In some larger companies, there are no designated areas of expertise for the sales staff. That’s why you might find two agents from the same company competing for the same business. Think of it this way – you’re an agent intent on developing a following in a particular community but the person in the next office is targeting the same area. How willing would you be to share knowledge with that agent when they’re actually your competitor? Because our agents have been assigned areas of expertise, we readily and happily share our secrets to success.
Reason Number 7 – Business begets business.
When one of our agents has a client interested in a property that is outside their area of expertise, there’s another agent in the office who’s ready to help. The end result is the consumer gets the best advice from a source they can trust. Our clientele are attracted to us because they know their interest is being put first, and we recognize that if your interest comes first the income will take care of itself.
Reason Number 6 – Communication
When we’re being interviewed by a home-owner getting ready to re-list their property, it’s amazing how frequently we hear that their agent hasn’t kept them informed. We pride ourselves on communication. When you list your home with Carolina Realty Group we have a four-point system that assures you that you’ll know not only who has visited your home, but what are their impressions.
Reason Number 5 – Communication
No, this isn’t a typo. We just think that communication is doubly important. Not only do we have automated systems in place that keep you informed, but we’re intent on promptly answering every call we receive. When someone calls our office about a listing or real estate question they won’t get an answering service. All of our phone calls are answered by a real person during business hours,
weekends and evenings. Your listing agent will even know who is going to show your property before it gets shown.
Reason Number 4 – Our Support Staff
A lot goes on behind the scenes when you list your property for sale with Carolina Realty Group. Our marketing program is multi-faceted and requires a collaborative effort when introduced for sale. Whether it’s getting your home professionally photographed and filmed, optimized for presentation on the internet, designing and printing brochures, or the scheduling of showing appointments our staff is hard at work for you.
Reason Number 3 – Print Marketing
A good marketing plan is multi-dimensional. You may have noticed that you get less marketing mail today than you have in years past, especially when it comes to real estate. While we have an internet marketing plan that is beyond compare, we realize that promoting your property requires more than just that. We have a full in-house production center that enables us to produce, print and mail all of our own marketing pieces. We send out over 20,000 pieces of mail per month. No wonder our name is so well recognized throughout the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton area!
Reason Number 2 – Internet Marketing
Everyone has a web-site, right? This might surprise you, but having your property on a web-site does not guarantee that it will get exposure on the internet. Technology is ever changing. Dare we say that what worked last year may already be out-dated. With 94% of all home purchasers using the internet at some point during their home search, the number of “portals” and the quality of presentation are paramount to getting your home recognized. Our listings appear on over 60 different web-sites, which in turn drive traffic back to our web-site, www.thebestaddressintown.com.
Reason Number 1 – You’re Number 1
By making you and your home our foremost focus, we have attained an incredible stretch of success. We have been the number 1 sales team in the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton market for an incredible 7 years in a row. We’ve accomplished that, not by virtue of our own talents or acumen, but because we are committed to giving you the highest standard of service. As long as we hold fast to the belief that our clients are number 1, we believe the sales will take care of themselves.
There is no doubt that the real estate market has found stable ground over the past three years and in some markets values have appreciated rapidly. However, a closer look at some social and economic elements indicates that a more robust nationwide recovery is eluding our grasp.
First, as employment numbers improve it is apparent that the figures are not translating into higher mortgage applications for home purchases. Applications fell for the fourth straight month last month, despite the average rate on the 30-year fixed still hovering below 4 percent, a historically low level.
At the same time the percentage of homes sold to first-time buyers remained at 29 percent for the second straight year, which represented that demographics lowest market share since 1987, according to a study from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In addition, overall existing-home sales dropped 3.1 percent from 2013, although median home prices increased to their highest level since 2007. This comes at a time when home-ownership affordability remains at near historic highs.
So, why isn’t an improving jobs market translating into more demand for real estate? The answer seems to have several dimensions.
Researchers at Freddie Mac looked at homeownership rates by profession and correlated them to the professions seeing the most and the least job growth. "What we find is that many of America's fastest growing careers (in terms of numbers of workers) have average or below average homeownership rates," said Leonard Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. "At the same time, the professions with higher homeownership rates are generally headed for average or subpar growth."
Most of the job openings projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics over the next decade are in retail sales, food preparation and cashiers. Workers in these professions have homeownership rates below the national average.
"Over the long run, it's not going to be supportive of a big pop in homeownership," said Kiefer.
Meanwhile, professions with homeownership rates above the national average, like engineers, lawyers, doctors, computer and math professionals, are seeing only average job growth. Some with especially high homeownership rates, like business managers, have subpar growth rates. The glaring exception is nurses, who have both a high homeownership rate and high job growth rate.
Secondly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the youngest of the home-buying public has been hit hard by the Great Recession and their participation in a recovering housing market is likely to be lukewarm at best. The latest report from the US Census Bureau shows that 30.3% of Millennials (young adults age 18 to 34) are living at home – the highest rate since these types of statistics started being kept in 1980. This surpasses the previous rate of 23.2% set during the first decade of the millennium.
“Millennials are taking a big hit in this economy,” says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, an economic research think tank at George Mason University. “Recessions are always rough on younger people, but this one has been particularly rough.”
The combination of high unemployment for those coming out of college and the lack of upward mobility for those lucky enough to land jobs is going to have a long-lasting effect on Millennials, says de Rugy.
“The other major problem that we’re going to see in the…next 40 years is the fact that the biggest increase in your expected income, future income, comes the first 10 years of your career,” said de Rugy. “So if you start slow, it means you’re basically losing out a lot in the long run. So it’s been rough.”
Finally, a substantial share of potential homebuyers is now sitting on the sidelines and will be for the foreseeable future. Those who lost their homes to foreclosure are approaching 6 million since 2006, according to risk management and credit analyst giant, Moody’s Analytics.
Combine these two points – (1) most lenders won’t consider a mortgage applicant with a foreclosure on their record in the last seven years, and (2) just over 5 million new homes and re-sales exchanged hands in 2014, and you get a sense of just how much this portion of the consumer public is missed.
Suffice to say, there is a substantial amount of good news when it comes to real estate, but expectations of a substantial rebound have some serious obstacles to overcome.
The following analysis is for homes on Hilton Head Island only. It does not account for villas or lots. The information is based on new listings that appear during the specific research period and what happens to them. It does not account for pre-existing inventory that slides from one period to the next. The research periods are from January 1 to October 21, 2012 through 2014. For example, 650 homes have sold on the island this year, but only 342 were listed since the beginning of the year. This means 308 of those sales were listed before 2014 began.
What is the current state of the real estate market on Hilton Head Island? You might find the answers surprising.
With a few exceptions, home values on Hilton Head Island have remained relatively flat over the last 24-months, while the number of sales has slowed by 10% when comparing this year to last. In light of such a trend you would expect that asking prices would also remain the same, staying consistent with consumer demand, but that is not the case.
In 2012 the average asking price of homes that were listed for sale between January 1 and October 21 was $795,547. During the same time in 2013 it jumped to $829,398 and this year the average asking price for new listings is $846,960. That’s an increase of 6.5%.
At the same time the average selling price of a home on the island has barely changed in 36 months; in 2012 the average selling price was $604,577 and this year it is $609,929. Last year it was $594,647. What’s interesting is that the average list price of the homes that are selling has also remained consistent, too. In 2012 the average list price of a home that came on the market and sold was $648,126. The average list price of homes selling this year is $654,190.
So what’s happening to the inventory that falls outside this trend? It is lingering and probably contributing to what might best be described as a slack market.
The condition of the distressed sales market makes the current state of affairs even more odd. One would assume that as the chaff is cleared from the market, values would gain momentum. But that just hasn’t been the case.
Foreclosures and short sales, as a percentage of market activity, have dropped dramatically in just three years – from 22.6% in 2012, to 13.7% in 2013, to 6.7% this year. The height of distressed sales was 2010 when 27.8% of all sales were a foreclosure or short sale.
With that kind of dynamic at work you would expect values to show more improvement than they have, but they haven’t. Why? It is apparent that there is still an ample supply of motivated sellers to service buyer demand and there is no evidence that buyer demand is increasing. This, coupled with an uptick in new listings, has put a stall on the hopes of appreciation.
The message is that while things are better than they were in 2008 through 2011, they are not improved enough to warrant the apparent direction of increased asking prices. In the past, appreciation has occurred when absorption rates, (i.e., the number of new listings being purchased on a yearly basis), are well over 80%. The absorption rate this year and last is just about 60%.
To put that into perspective, the absorption rate for new listings in 2006 was 93.5%. The appreciation rate over 2005 was 7%. The absorption rate for new listings in 2008 was 20.1%. Values depreciated 16.75% from 2007.
Again, over-valued listings do impact the market and contribute to an overall impression of malaise when buyers come to the island in search of property. Today’s buyer is not that much different than the ones that helped us climb out of the bottom of the market – they are cautious, well-informed and only willing to act when they perceive that they are spending their money wisely.
The Carolina Realty Group has been the top selling team in the Hilton Head Island MLS for six years in a row and based on current statistical trends the honors will again be bestowed on our small, tight-knit group of professionals at the end of this year.
With competitors typically employing 70, 90 and even 100 agents, it’s not unreasonable to ask, “Just how can 12 agents be so effective?”
Last month we touched on some of the strategies that we employ in our business model, but this month we’d like to address the philosophy of what makes us tick and why that’s so attractive to our clients.
Here’s our secret – we don’t know it all! In fact, we can take that statement a little bit further. We don’t want to know it all.
That may seem like hyperbole, but the truth is when the foundation of Carolina Realty Group was formed it was laid on the principal that no single agent can be all things to all people. To take that thought a step further; we at Carolina Realty Group believe that by directing an agent’s focus to specific areas of expertise our “team” is capable of serving a broad spectrum of interests without compromising service or knowledge.
Let’s face it, for 95% of the consuming public purchasing a home is the single most important and expensive proposition they’ll entertain. Whether someone is purchasing their first home or a multi-million dollar second home at the beach, the process is as equally significant and important to both.
We believe that the broad spectrum of diverse real estate interests representative in our area deserve not just a peripheral understanding of the dynamics at work, but an in-depth knowledge of specific market conditions. We also understand that there are just not enough hours in a day for a single agent to assimilate the nuances required to effectively represent the interests of sellers, first-time home buyers, investors, golfers, boaters and vacation property owners.
A case in point - while prices and transactions in our overall market have stabilized over the past two years, values in some portions of our community are improving so quickly that some buyers are in jeopardy of being priced out of the market. The townhome market of Bluffton has seen average selling prices jump from $95,700 in 2012 to $119,889 this year. Meanwhile the average selling price of homes on the island have increased just 1.2% during the same time frame. The point here is that if your focus is the market as a general whole, valuable information like this may get overlooked and a client’s interests not properly served.
The power and effectiveness of our “team” concept is also self-evident in our well-recognized and renowned Monthly Market Reports. If you aren’t currently receiving one of these 39 reports, click here and sign up for your area of interest.
Every month 20,000 local residents receive a copy of one of these reports. The reports are designed to be very specific and the responsibility of compiling each report is taken on by one of our 12 “team” members. Some of these reports have been reaching communities for well over 10 years. The reports themselves have become integral data at homeowners meetings and in property management offices.
The responsibility to gather, edit and disseminate this data has helped to develop a niche understanding of these markets for each agent. And that’s why you’ll find in some cases our team is responsible for 25% to 30% of the sales in a given area; pretty remarkable when you consider we represent just 1.3% of all local Realtors.
The Carolina Realty Group approach affords us an effective workplace where each agent can call on the experience and knowledge of our fellow team members without concern of forfeiting trade secrets and losing business as competitors. The success of this model is demonstrated by the fact that we’re about to be the number one selling team on the island for a seventh consecutive year.
We believe that a run of success like that makes it apparent that we are in the business to serve you, our clients, with the highest level of competence. Give us a call today and ask us how we can help you.