A real estate blog from Saint Louis, Missouri written by Kimberly Cameron, CRS.
A unique St Louis perspective on the local housing market as well as advice and things to do. Kimberly is a licensed real estate agent in MO with RE/MAX Properties West.
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 July 4th and the real estate market

Thu, Jul 3rd, 2008 1:13 pm

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
~William Faulkner

It seems that each Summer around the July 4th holiday weekend, the real estate market in our area comes to a screeching halt. Very few new listings are entering the MLS this week, unless they were Re-entered after expiring on Monday due to EOM. We also see an influx of price reductions with Mid-Summer approaching. Sellers are getting anxious in the notorious "Buyers Market" diatribe that you hear at every corner you turn.

In my experience, I love holiday weekends as buyers looking to buy a home tend to be quality, not quantity. I just had a long discussion with our Buyers Specialist this week about the advantage of following up with our 800# calls during the holidays. They tend to be very serious or drunk neighbors [LOL].

If I reviewed our sales history, I wonder the following:

How many homes have gone under contract during the major Summer holiday weekends (Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day) the past 5 years?

Would we find sales happening during those weekends independent of the market or is it truly a quiet weekend and time for family (i.e. turn off your phone & return calls on Monday?

What are the statistics within my own market for listings achieving a contract?

I, myself, don't have the ability to turn off my phone nor ignore email. I just can't do it....Email comes to my phone and I feel the need, the urge to respond immediately...It eats at me until I reply as I know those buyers (especially On-Line) are looking for immediate response and top notch service. When Sid (My husband and business partner) and I were on our honeymoon in 2005, we checked our email to make sure leads were not ignored. We now have systems in place for instant email to our phones and support in place to handle that during vacations. This is our livelihood, so we don't want to miss an opportunity.

Is the holiday weekend buyer more serious and "in the zone" , ready to buy a home if they are contacting you or do they just have time on their hands?

Okay, yes, I ran our numbers from these weekends over the past 5 years. Not that easy as the holidays are not on the same date each year. My statistics are not exact, but from what I can ascertain, we seem to be selling, on average, one home during 3 of the 5 major summer holiday weekends each year...CONSISTENTLY!

So, now you're thinking "It was easy when the market was hot. How are sales this year?". Maybe there is something to it...maybe it was just rainy those weekend, so plans for outside picnics and art fairs were cancelled and Moms decided to look at homes. That will take more research than I'm interested in doing today. However, I bring up this topic as you hear of agents getting involved with July 4th Parades, giving out flags to neighborhoods they farm, etc.

Is marketing to Buyers during these weekends an effective use of your marketing budget or do statistics just tell us that you'll most likely have sales during these weekends based on the law of averages?

My team is not a traditional real estate team. We do not Farm subdivisions. We do not sponsor neighborhood Garage Sales or hand our American Flags. We do not send out Postcards to neighbors telling them how wonderful we think we are in real estate. We do not stalk our family and friends begging for referrals and new business like a starving artist. We are strategic about our efforts and have grown our business by utilizing corporate sales strategies and applying them to real estate. We track our sales, our opportunities and past clients. More importantly, we are training our past clients how to provide a good referral to us. A great course on referrals is CRS 210  http://www.crs.com/Education/287?cid=RS210. Ed Hatch is a terrific instructor if you haven't had an opportunity to take his course. Our business is very technology and internet driven with our new clients exclusively generated from referrals and organic internet leads to our web sites.

Should we, as realtors, consider marketing strategies specific to the holiday weekends...similar to Best Buy or Circuit City with appliances and TVs?

If the buyers are not working, is this a good time to get them out looking at houses?

Now, here's a twist! We find that the majority of our internet leads come in during business hours (Mon-Fri) when buyers are at work or late night, after hours. Buyers seem to be looking on-line more during the business week, at times unrelated to a holiday weekend.

NAR research shows that 84% of of buyers in 2007 did their home searching on-line. (Source: 2007 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers )

If the majority of buyers are searching on-line for their next home, why do we, as agents, bother with our time & the expense of going after the other 16% who are not looking on line?

Again, law of averages may be more worth focusing your efforst. I'm not sure of the answer. I know, in my experience, we tend to utilize print advertising (Homes Magazine & The Real Estate Book) for Call Capture, picking up buyer prospects and satisfy our sellers in the process. We do not find it as a viable outlet to actually procure a buyer for a listing.  We haven't had that experience to date.

I will leave you today with many questions to ponder. Feel free to comment. I'd love the feedback and input.

Have a safe and relaxing weekend!

All the best,

Kimberly Cameron
CRS, Allen F. Hainge CyberStar ®
The St. Louis Agent Team
RE/MAX Properties West
http://www.stlagent.com

Experience is not expensive, It's PRICELESS!

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Kimberly Cameron, CRS

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Kimberly Cameron earned her real estate "street creds" working as a mortgage broker in residential lending while rehabbing over 40 residential investment properties and running a small property management company. After working in new construction as a sales manager for a local home builder, Kimberly decided in 2004 to start her own real estate team, The St. Louis Agent Team of RE/MAX Properties West.
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