I’ll be back showing houses next week.  The time I’ve been out has allowed me to reflect on where I think things are and where I need them to be in the future.  We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time, but we can always improve.

One of the things we have been working on has been our research department.  Our first press release went out Monday, St. Louis County Home Prices Show 5 Year Consecutive Growth Trend.  I’m happy about it because we keep quite a large amount of proprietary data for research, but we haven’t always shown any leadership in this area around St. Louis.  I don’t know what the point is of having all this data if we aren’t going to use it, so expect to see more of this across our marketing.

With access to so much real estate data, it is easy to get overwhelmed.  This is one area where you want to be working with an agent who is in the field every day, because it is possible to be “ahead” of the data.  For example, If I am showing homes to buyers all week long and everything we see is going under contract quickly it will show up in the monthly market numbers but that won’t be for weeks after the fact.

The same thing happens when looking at data to sell your home.  Seasonality is just one issue when it comes to pricing your home for sale.  There could be other factors at play, and certainly seller emotions can also get in the way of pricing your home for sale.  As an example, let’s say that the data is showing a very hot market.  As the seller, you want the most possible for your home so you set an asking price many thousands higher than anything has sold for in your neighborhood recently.  The house doesn’t sell.  Why did this happen?  You used the data your agent gave you and it didn’t work.   Well, it’s about how you use the data.  If your real estate agent has been in every house that was listed for sale in that neighborhood before you listed yours, they wouldn’t have agreed to price it that high because they would have seen the differences.  Small things can make a big impact on housing.  In high end homes, the appliances better be high end.  In certain parts of the city, off street parking is worth thousands.

We understand the traps of data, and that’s why we previously didn’t bring it up very often.  In one of the real estate offices where I worked previous, we had a 5 ring binder of data that we were required to go over with our sellers.  After about the first 100 pages, most of the buyers eyes would glaze over and they just wanted to get out of the room!  I think we can balance that, however, and I look forward to bringing our research department back over the coming months.