REALTORMAG. REALTOR.ORG REALTOR® JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 31
to 60) use smartphones to pull up images and information.
Providing educational information is particularly helpful for
explaining prequalification guidelines to first-time buyers, says
Karen Wentz, GRI, with Prudential Network Realty Wentz—and
for getting the word out that owning can cost less than renting.
FOR $100,000 MORE: Updated kitchen and bathrooms, fourth
bedroom, three-car garage, bonus room, outdoor living space
Sales are heading up, along with prices, in northern Florida
where the median price was $145,500 in 2012. The inventory
is shrinking due to first-time home buyers landing jobs at three
local military bases. Investors are also scooping up “anything
under $200,000,” says Wentz. In fact, most comparably priced
houses sell within 30 days. But she urges a dose of realism:
“Many first-timers may have to accept some outdated features,
and sellers may need to pay all or part of closing costs. Buyers
remain cash poor.”
THIS LISTING: This 1993 brick and HardiPlank-sided, two-story,
1,734-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms was listed in August and went under contract
six days later. Although its kitchen had dated cabinets and
appliances, Wentz thinks the $195,000 price provided the
MEDIAN PRICE: $208,000
(+ 14.5% from 2012)
DESIRED FEATURES: Updated kitchen,
three good-sized bedrooms, two
bathrooms, basement, central air.
BUYER TURNOFFS: Smaller living room, no dining room, no
BEST MARKETING TOOLS: Jason Walgrave, GRI, of RE/MAX
Advantage Plus, hosts a weekly AM radio show, “Minnesota
Home Talk.” He has found radio advertising successful, and it’s
no wonder: According to Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota
has the largest radio-listening audiences in the country.
FOR $100,000 MORE: More upgrades, bigger closets, larger
Prices climbed 15 percent in 2013 as inventory dwindled in the
Twin Cities, particularly among foreclosures. Yet, prices remain
down from the 2007 peak. One of the most eager groups of
buyers is twenty-something singles who like city living, says
THIS LISTING: This one-and-a-half-story, 1951 house on a typical
small city lot was listed in July at $200,000 and went under
active contract quickly despite having only one bathroom.
Walgrave thinks its three bedrooms, two-car garage, central air
conditioning, hardwood floors, and two fireplaces more than
compensated, as did his explanation that a second bathroom
could be added a;ordably on the lower level.
MEDIAN PRICE: $241,400
(median is for Providence, R.I.-New Bedford-Fall River, Mass.,
+ 10.3% from 2012)
DESIRED FEATURES: Good kitchen,
less than one-quarter-acre lot, modest taxes.
BUYER TURNOFFS: Airport noise, small yards.
BEST MARKETING TOOLS: Full-motion video tours for first-time
buyers so they can confirm their online findings. Bill Fooks,
CRB, of Coldwell Banker also says rapidly responding to calls
and e-mails is important. If buyers can’t see a listing “in a
timely fashion”— 24 hours or less—they’ll go after another
house, he says.
FOR $100,000 MORE: Newer house (built after 1980),
1,700 square feet, two full bathrooms.
The Warwick area, near Providence, has seen prices remain
level of late, after an upward tick last spring, a slow start in
September and October, and a little improvement in November,
says Bill Fooks, CRB, of Coldwell Banker. But the overall climate
is tough with the state’s unemployment rate the second highest
in the country, a;ected by a loss of population and high taxes,
he says. Most buyers are people under age 50 who are finding
employment at area colleges and universities, tech start-ups,
and service industries such as banks.
THIS LISTING: This listing reflects the di;culty of the market:
It’s described as in top condition—a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10—
and priced fairly, yet hasn’t generated o;ers. Built in 1955,
the single-level house was listed in September at $164,900
with three bedrooms, one full bathroom, hardwood and
ceramic floors, a full basement, central air, a dining area, a
“great kitchen,” a neat yard, and close proximity to public
transportation and shopping. ”It’s had numerous showings.
Its drawback is that it is a narrow lot, and the house was
built with the gable end toward the road,” Fooks says. To
compensate, he priced it under $170,000, rather than in the
mid-$170,000s, which a di;erent yard and orientation might
Editor’s note: Median home prices are based on NAR’s third-quarter 2013 data.