Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher

Archive for October, 2009

According to everyone with a microphone, now’s the best time to buy a home in decades. The recession has pushed home prices and mortgage interest rates so low that affordability has never been better. We’ll even throw in a few free Bernanke Bucks to help you cover closing and commission costs, and rebate you the remaining dollars even if you didn’t pay them in taxes. Between all the rebates, freebies, price reductions and home inventory options, doesn’t it seem strange that the market isn’t roaring? Sure, there’s a bit of unemployment rising here and there, but 9 out of 10 Americans still  Read more

The real estate industry is ripe for a serious game changer. By that, I don’t mean some company that comes along fiddling with  commissions or cutesy technology marketing. I’m talking something that causes customers to stand up and say,  Wow! I’m definitely working with that company. We’ve talked about this before in our blog, but the timing is  better than ever. In fact, I’m thinking of making an appointment with Richard Branson, in the hopes that he’ll  take up my suggestion and do for real estate what he’s done for the airline industry. It’s time for him to open Virgin  Read more

According to the Wall Street Journal real estate blog, a “W” or “U” shaped recovery is shaping up to be the most likely curve for the real estate industry, if not the economy as a whole. According to one property mortgage insurance group, there’s still another 12% drop to go in most markets. And even though some economists think prices will remain flat as inventory stabilizes – and we all know that’s also to be tempered with regional biases, since some housing markets have remained reasonably healthy – the chance for another full year of slow or flat growth will  Read more

Real estate is essentially a research industry: trouble is, most agents and brokers think the most important research is about houses, prices, square footage and such. Considering the data that sits in most MLS systems – unverified and incomplete – you’d think they would know better by now. In fact, the best research for any sales industry isn’t the commodity data but the customer specs and competition capabilities. Knowing everything there is to know about the consumer – and the competitors who are trying to beat you to their door – is far more fascinating. And given the state of  Read more

Peter Drucker said that the purpose of marketing is to make sales superfluous. That should come as welcome wisdom to the real estate industry that is comprised of so many reluctant salespeople who won’t telemarket, interact at open houses or even join Facebook (latest numbers show less than 35% of REALTORS with a social networking presence). So what can be done to improve the pathetic listing sheets, the photo-less listings or sea-sick virtual tours that are undermining so many sales? Perhaps a quick art lesson could help.