A Tech Savvy Realtor® Has the Edge

As a Calgary real estate professional I understand the benefits of hiring an agent with a tech savvy edge when buying or selling a home in today’s very competitive real estate market. Both a buyer and seller can benefit immensely by using a Realtor® who understands the complexities of web-based tools, culture, and how to leverage them.

Communication, for example – the best agents, of course, will be in touch face to face or on the phone — but for those who need/want a quick logistical response, a tech savant will no doubt be fast to respond to email, text messages and social media.  For clarity, I’m working on the presumption that you’ve found an agent who will get back to you in a timely manner regardless of medium…but the biggest bang for your buck will come from a professional who also has the technological know-how to communicate with clients who share this expertise.

For contracts and offers? This new breed of agent will harness technology to expedite delivery of an offer to the listing agent or his/her clients.

For Marketing your home? When selling a home it is imperative to use an agent with the online prowess to reach the maximum potential buyer pool.  The tech savvy agent can reach a broader audience through an Internet presence, and by strategically utilizing You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn … and among many others.  This process of creating a “workflow like social media marketing program” is appropriately named Social Media Optimization.

You may have read that 90% of buyers are finding their new home on the Internet.  Given this increasingy growing pradigm shift, it’s imperative to find an agent who can leverage the internet to develop online strategies.  The best “online agents” understand this importance of proper presentation when marketing a home and will optimize this presentation to reach the largest audience possible.

Let’s take a step back and remember that photos are the foundation of any successful marketing campaign.  This is where the best online real estate marketers/agents shine. Through use of premier third party virtual tour companies and using their knowledge of photo editing programs, creation of the most visually engaging images will be par for the course.

The best online marketing agents will have access to the latest listings and will email them to you as they come onto the market.  You will never miss out on any listing that matters to you.

Aside from knowing the market and its inventory, the most Tech savvy Realtors® will also have a a heads up on industry changes — harnessing traditional media and using local trending technology on social networks like Twitter, and Facebook.

In the end, when working with this new breed of real estate professional, it’s certainly important to make sure that they have extensive knowledge about both the local market and about the contract language.  If you’re impressed with their breadth of knowledge, as a buyer or seller, you will unequivocally benefit from the tools the real estate web savant brings to the table.

Crystal Tost, an award winning Calgary Realtor uses a “hands on, tech-centric” approach to provide her buyer and sellers unriveled access and maketing tools.  Visit her today at www.CalgaryListings.com

Washington DC Real Estate Rockin’ – Kinda

Washington DC Real Estate Showing Growth on Year Over Year Gaings – Today’s S&P Case Schiller Release:

Those who have been reading here lately — or followed my commentary on one of Denver’s top real estate blog spots, CherryCreekToday.com (Cherry Creek’s commercial corridor is kinda like a larger version of Friendships Heights for those who care!),  know my feelings about the large area studies. Washington DC real estate….no…REAL ESTATE is a study in “micro-markets.” Regardless, Gretchen (Greater Bethesda Real Estate Maven!) reported on Today’s S&P Case Schiller release so wanted to send you on over to her post on our Greater Bethesda-centric blog over at Koitzgroup.com if you were interested in a little reporting and analysis.

Update July/21/2013:  Two years later, I found this post and wanted to remind you that good news is good news but just remember to take some of it with a couple grains of salt :-).  Reference my thoughts on on LuxuryBethesdaRealEstate, DC Real Estate is “Healthiest Markets” In 2011: Why It Doesn’t Matter?

Washington DC at Dusk

DC Real Estate is “Healthiest Markets” In 2011: Why It Doesn’t Matter?

Washington DC Is On a Real Role? Or just “media smoke and mirrors”…

Hot off the presses, a Forbes Article declared Washington DC the “US city to see the most appreciation in 2011”. From the recent S&P Case/Schiller index, to DC’s recent International real estate investment attraction , it’s been a great week for DC real estate in the press….so what?

Let me clarify: if agents tell you “it’s a great time to buy in the Washington DC”, they better qualify that assertion….Like “what DC Neighborhoods or enclaves”….”what kind of properties are value buys” 🙂

For those who have followed either Gretchen or me for the last 3+ years (on blog, that is!), you know we take these National “Mega-tropoles” or city real estate market market reports with a grain of salt.

The Reason Why?  Real estate can only be responsibly measured by examining micro-markets:


Georgetown DC Townhomes
Georgetown DC Townhomes is an example of a micro-market, one that has fared well through the “melt-down”

Read The Micro-Market Defined & How it Pertains To Washington DC Real Estate

Gretchen Koitz (Nov 30th -2007) >> Greater Bethesda & NW DC Condos Needing To Go Big

Gretchen’s Quote This Week: AOL Real Estate >> “White House Real Estate Value Drops

Continue reading “DC Real Estate is “Healthiest Markets” In 2011: Why It Doesn’t Matter?”

First Time Homebuyers Credit – The Sequel

And when’s the last time you saw a sequel better than the original?  Well, if the New York Time’s has its facts straight, many more homebuyers’ may be enjoying this second iteration of the Homebuyers’ Tax Credit.

There was a tentative deal a couple days ago, as reported by Jolenta Averill, a prominent Madison, WI real estate agent has been doing a wonderful job keeping tabs on the latests news and notes with the proposed tax credit.  You can read many of the proposed details in her tax credit update post from Saturday.

Some of the newest proposed conditions can also  be found at this >> Real Estate News network if you’re interested in the details.  But before you leave me (or if you’re tired of reading!), three of the most notable changes to the Tax Credit would include:

  1. Extended to April 30, 2010 (slated to end in a few weeks)
  2. No longer limited to only first time buyers and
  3. Applies to people with higher income limits.
Edgemoor, Bethesda Home
Beautiful home on a tree lined in Bethesda's Edgemoor subdivision

Better For Bethesda Real Estate & Beyond?

As many have argued, the “First Time” buyer home credit needed to be more inclusive, both in regards to income and prior home ownership status.  $8,000 on an $825,000 Bethesda property wasn’t going as far as an equivalent in most other cities.  With fewer new Greater Bethesda property listings coming on the market (seasonal), this “Homebuyer Tax Credit 2.0” may be a catalyst to help  lower the current absorption rate.  There are other variables that will weigh heavily into a potential home purchase, of course — but “Credit 2.0″certainly wouldn’t hurt.


Even in NW DC & Bethesda, Appraisal Regulations Puts A Wrench in Real Estate Recovery

Note To Appraisers Serving NW DC / Bethesda Area

I can’t help but start this post with a kind reminder to some of the “professional” Appraisers out there

If you “serve” Northwest DC and think “Cleveland Parkis actually a Park in Cleveland, maybe it’s best to ask for help.

And no since I know many of you are wodering, “Georgetown, DC” was not named after our previous president and “The Adagio” in Downtown Bethesda is a condo, not a day spa…

Now That We’re Clear….

It is no secret that there were many different factors that contributed to our real estate economic condition, with questionable loans being awarded to potential homebuyers being at the top of the list. This, of course, leaves one to wonder how these loans were ever approved in the first place. While there were many contributing factors that helped make this possible, one is the fact that appraisers had a tendency to “error” on the high side of appraising a property’s value. The era of exuberance almost “promised” increases in home values…this put many appraisers under pressure from some lenders wanting nothing but “the deal to go to settlement”.

In an effort to prevent what many consider to be the unscrupulous practice of inflating home values, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have established the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, or HVCC. While the HVCC is not a law, anyone who anticipates doing business with Freddie or Fannie needs be certain to follow these guidelines, which require properties to be appraised by an “independent” appraiser.

This may seem like a good idea on the surface, but many are concerned about the timing of the recently enacted regulations. Why? Quite simply because the HVCC guidelines have added one more hurdle to the process of selling a home, which is already difficult enough in today’s economic climate. Not only does obtaining an independent appraiser make the entire home buying process take a week or two longer to complete, it also increases the costs to the buyer. This is because many lenders must go through an independent appraisal company in order to get the appraisal completed in a timely manner. And hiring an independent appraiser through an agency costs more than contacting one directly. Appraisers say that they are actually making less money, as the third party intermediaries are claiming more of their fees.

It probably also comes as no surprise that the HVCC guidelines seem to have resulted in a downward trend in appraised values. It’s yet another example of how the pendulum continues to swing too far. Rather than erring on the high side (or, as many would argue, a “conservative” side) of the value spectrum, appraisers are well aware of why the system has changed and are downgrading the values of the properties they assess. Exacerbating this problem…appraisers used by these third party companies who are unfamiliar with the markets in where they are making their appraisals. Location, location, location? Only if those evaluating a property understand the nuances of specific markets where they practice.  The result? “Underinflated” appraisals and fewer deals going to settlement.

The bottom line is clear: in a time when our country needs to get its housing market moving again, putting more roadblocks on the path toward economic recovery seems to be a bad idea.