For Real Estate Professionals

September Jobs Report Grim for Housing

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 24, 2013

Although residential construction jobs are outpacing overall job growth, construction job gains have been slow. Worse, the job market isn’t improving in the areas where it would most help housing demand: among young adults, and in clobbered metros.

Each month, we look at three measures in the monthly jobs report to see whether housing is helping jobs and whether jobs are helping housing. Residential construction employment shows whether housing is helping jobs. Job growth for young adults (key age group for household formation) and job growth in “clobbered metros” (those hit hardest in the housing bust) show whether jobs are helping housing.

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Did you know? Trulia gives “Insight” into your leads!

Getting leads is a good thing, we all know that. But we also know that not all leads are created equal. We’ve heard from many partners that wading through leads — deciding which one to call first — can be a very painful process. So, we set out to improve this very important part of your business with the addition of “lead insight”.

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6 (Nearly!) Free Tools to Eliminate Office Chaos

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
October 22, 2013

The thing about the profession of real estate sales is that it is simply doesn’t operate on the long lead times and uber-predictable project management time frames that characterize work in other fields. Managing a real estate practice involves potentially hundreds of sheets of paper and versions of documents in each individual transaction, constantly shifting timelines and completely unexpected urgencies which arise due to things you have zero control over, from bizarro underwriter requests to leaky sewer connections.

This creates a situation in which chaos can arise and reign over our calendars, offices and even our lives —despite our best efforts to stay organized. And while the promise of the digital era was that it would make these things easier to manage, many agents find that:

  • the incoming firehose of information from digital devices and apps
  • the next-gen calendar demands of maintaining online marketing channels, and

  • the fact that we’re now constantly reachable in ways agents weren’t 30 years ago have actually made the problem of staying organized worse – not better. continue reading

7 Things Buyers Love & Agents Fail to Mention

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
October 17, 2013

In real estate, we often use the term “under market” to describe a home that is priced or purchased for less than it’s fair market value. But I sometimes see an unrelated real estate phenomenon I think Webster would rank as a second definition for “under-marketing”: to list a home and fail to mention features the homes have, which buyers would have been attracted to, had they seen them in the home’s listing description, flyer or online marketing.

For example, my first home was a very modest rancher, lots of fixing needed, located in a quiet part of town that I’d never heard of. At my agent’s insistence, I finally went to see it. Only then did I realize that the property just so happened to be situated with panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. Bizarrely enough, this massive selling point had not received even a passing mention in the listing!

If your average listing has commercial-grade European appliances, sits on acres of land, or is in the most prestigious neighborhood in town, it’s pretty easy to know what to lead with in the marketing. But if you are listing a normal house in a normal neighborhood, there could very well be things that are easy to overlook (and under-market) which a first-time or relocating buyer might be magnetically drawn to – if you mention it in the listing and marketing materials. continue reading

Government Shutdown Hasn’t Impacted List Price (So Far)

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 16, 2013

How has the two-week shutdown of the federal government affected home prices? The main sales-price indexes won’t tell us until 2014: homes going under contract in October will close in November (or later), and November sales prices will get reported starting in January. But the Trulia Price Monitor shows how asking prices – a leading indicator of sales prices – are trending almost in real time, adjusting for both the mix of listed homes and for seasonality. This morning we analyzed asking prices between October 1 and October 15.

Finding the Effect of the Shutdown on Asking Home Prices
Nationally, asking home prices are up 1.0% between September and the first half of October, seasonally adjusted. This partial month-over-month increase is roughly in line with the month-over-month increases over the past few months. Before the shutdown started, several factors were already cooling down price gains, including expanding inventory, higher mortgage rates, and declining investor activity. Therefore, comparing how much prices have risen in October to date with previous months can’t, by itself, show whether the shutdown has affected asking prices.

Instead, to tease out the effect of the shutdown on asking home prices, we looked at price trends across individual metros. We compared price changes in metros where the local economy is more dependent on the federal government – like Washington D.C., of course, but other metros around the country as well – with prices changes in metros where the local economy is less dependent on the federal government. (Our measure of dependence on the federal government – and therefore likely impact from the shutdown – is the share of local wages coming from the feds.)

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5 Signals High-End Home Sellers Look For Before Listing

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
October 15, 2013

High-end sellers have luxuries middle-income and entry level folks don’t. They can afford to hold, stay put and wait for the market to bring their home’s value to a level that works for them, in market climates where others might be forced to short sale or walk away. And high-end sellers can and sometimes choose to rent a home out rather than take a loss on it.

That said, sellers of high-end homes also demonstrate behavioral patterns that others don’t. continue reading

So You Want to be a Landlord – How to Properly Screen an Applicant: Credit Report

“So, You Want To Be A Landlord” is an informative series brought to you by Trulia Pro member Elizabeth McDonald of The Rental Girl Los Angeles. The Rental Girl is a boutique rental agency with neighborhood branches throughout Los Angeles. Elizabeth has over 10 year experience in the rental business and has put together this informative series to guide you through the process of becoming and being a landlord.

The final step in processing an application is the credit and eviction report. Unfortunately, some landlords only take this step. In my previous posts for How To Properly Screen An Applicant, I’ve discussed in detail how important it is to receive and review a complete application package. With the many applications my company has processed, I have seen it all: applicants with great credit and bad rental history; applicants with mediocre credit and great income and references; applicants who don’t make the best first impression but have stellar application packages, and vice versa.

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Where the Price Is (and Isn’t) Right: New Interactive Maps on Trulia Local

October 10, 2013

As you well know, it’s essential for serious home buyers to understand everything they can about the houses and neighborhoods they’re looking at during their home search. We often hear from users who love our Trulia Local maps, which can help identify everything from the crime in a particular area to where natural hazards are prone to strike. Today, we’re thrilled to announce three new maps we think you’ll find helpful as you coach your engaged buyer clients through their house hunting process: median sales prices, median listing prices, and price per square foot.

This trio of new maps will inform buyers what homes cost across the country—green means it’s cheaper to live, while red indicates that an area is more expensive. Additionally, depending on the zoom level, users can easily view data by county, zip code, and block group (a Census geography suited for high zoom levels). Check out the images below to see how the map works.
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4 Steps for Coaching Buyers to Hot Market Success

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
October 8, 2013

The skill set of a successful agent in 2013 is wide-ranging. Last year, there was a viral video that parodied the Super Bowl “God Made a Farmer” commercial, which somewhat accurately documented the roles we all play, variously, as our clients’ financial advisors, detectives, psychologists and even, if duty calls, gardeners and bed makers.

Then this year happened. And the market began to recover, with home prices ascending at breakneck speed for months on end. In times like this, when the market is ticking up faster than buyers’ expectations can keep pace, agents often find ourselves in the role of cheerleader. Agents find themselves called upon to constantly provide encouragement about how and why buyers should not get discouraged or give up in light of their repeated losses in bidding wars or the emotional upset that comes from the dawning realization that their money won’t go as far or buy as much house as they’d hoped for. continue reading

Market Trend: The List Price Slowdown

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 4, 2013

The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what’s really happening to asking prices and rents. Because asking prices lead sales prices by approximately two or more months, the Monitors reveal trends before other price indexes do. With that, here’s the scoop on where prices and rents are headed.

Asking Prices Jump Nationally in September, but Price Slowdown Continues
Asking home prices increased 2.0% month-over-month in September. However, the quarter-over-quarter increase – which is less jumpy – was 3.0% in September, the smallest gain since February. Although monthly price changes remain volatile, the overall trend shows that price gains are slowing down, despite the fact asking prices were up 11.5% year-over-year – the largest increase since the housing crash. continue reading