In my 22 plus years in the real estate business I have never seen such a strong opportunity for buyers to invest in real estate. There are any number of factors that have all come together in a “perfect storm” of opportunity for buyers. Interest rates are still low enough to be affordable by many, inventories are high enough to give buyers in most markets some real choices, prices are down in almost all Bay Area Counties according to today’s San Francisco Chronicle and the two year long Presidential election process is finally over, removing a major cause of buyer indecision.
The first time buyer segment of the market is growing according to the NAR 2008 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers which was released yesterday in Orlando at NAR’s 2008 REALTORS Conference & Expo. Here are some of the key findings:
The 2008 National Association of Realtors(R) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is the latest in a series of large national NAR surveys evaluating demographics, marketing, preferences and experiences of home buyers and sellers.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a higher share of first-time buyers makes perfect sense, and it’s a trend he expects to grow. “First-time buyers are much more flexible in entering the market because they aren’t concerned about selling an existing home,” he said. “Given low home prices, plentiful supply and affordable interest rates, it’s been an optimal time for entry-level buyers with a long-term view.
“Considering the temporary first-time buyer tax credit and improvements to the FHA loan program, we expect stronger entry-level activity as the flow of credit improves — that, in turn, should free more existing owners to make a trade in 2009.”
The number of first-time buyers rose to 41 percent from 39 percent of transactions in last year’s survey and 36 percent in 2006. “Although modest, this is a meaningful gain for the 12-month period ending at the close of June, and more recent independent data show a stronger up trend in first-time buyers who are helping to reduce excess inventory,” Yun said.
All that is needed now is for someone to seek out potential home buyers and educate them on how and why to buy some Bay Area real estate! Given that most of us haven’t worked with first time buyers for quite some time, it might be helpful to review some essentials. NAR has a page that lists over 50 resources to help you work more effectively with first time home buyers and also to help you assist sellers that need to sell.
One of the things that you can do to develop business for yourself and to be of genuine service to buyers and sellers both is to offer educational seminars. In the “olde” days, that meant holding live First Time Buyer Seminars or Live Seller Seminars in a hotel or office conference room, but hey, this is the Web 2.0 world that we live in. Why not hold a teleseminar and record it? The idea behind this is that buyers (and sellers) can attend from the comfort of their homes and offices, and you can be at home too. You simply advertise your seminar on Craigslist under the community that you wish to work in, and have people sign up for the seminar via email. Let them know that as soon as you reach whatever number of people registered that you are seeking that you’ll email them details on how to login.
On the afternoon/day/night of the event you log in to the free (or low cost) teleconferencing web site that you have previously set up and put on your seminar using your computer. The participants watch right along from their computers and can ask questions either over the phone or on the screen. And, most of these services allow you to record the whole event and place a link to the recording on your website where it can be a permanent resource for you to use to exhibit your expertise.
Here are a few such services:
GoToMeeting: http://www.gotomeeting.com ~ Offers a free 30 day trial, then as low as $39.00 per month thereafter on an annual plan.
InstantPresenter: http://www.instantpresenter.com/ ~Offers a free 14 day trial then offers a variety of plans by the month and by the minute.
WebEx: http://webex.com ~ Offers a free 14 day trial then as low as $39.00 per month thereafter on an annual plan. Also offers a pay as you go on demand plan for .33 per minute.
Yougma: http://www.yougma.com ~ All the bells and whistles of the bigger providers in their paid accounts but has a free account that will let you do most of what you need for free.
Get your presentation together, investigate these services, pick one and get on with helping first time home buyers snag their share of the American Dream!