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      Leonard Steinberg

      The Death of the Vacant Listing?

       

      The Death Of The Vacant Listing?

      About fifteen years ago after attempting to sell a vacant, unfurnished loft, we broke down and took a trip to IKEA to buy a basic set of furniture to stage the property. Style-wise we kept everything mostly white with some black accents, simply to help prospective buyers visually 'scale' the home.

       

      We created an appealing living room and dining area, added some cowhide rugs and bought a Le Corbusier chaise to 'up' the look a bit. It worked! The loft sold rather swiftly after that. Later we added staging 'artwork' - framed blown-up photos that I'd personally taken that were abstracted enough to potentially be 'real' art - as we found so many blank white walls looked cold and uninspired. We re-used that suite of staging items dozens of times afterward with great success. Flash forward and today, I cannot even imagine showing an unfurnished home ever again. It would be marketing suicide, especially on the high end. Professional staging has elevated this from my IKEA-fueled days to an entirely new level where buyers (even at the $20m+ level) are askiing to buy the staged homes fully furnished.

       

      I recall meeting with Rob Lehman about two years ago. He asked me what the one cost-distracting item was that was most critical to what we do and of course I answered STAGING. If we could stage all our listings, and offset the cost for the seller, I thought we'd have a winner.  At the time I envisioned a warehouse full of furniture, but of course that would have been unmanageable.  Of all the value-adds that we bring to the table, I truly believe that COMPASS CONCIERGE's role in providing us the ability to stage by financing the up-front cost is a game-changer for our industry. Anything that makes our role easier and takes away the stress of our clients is a certain winner.

       

      Furnishings not only help buyers scale a property: now, professional staging creates an aspiration lifestyle too. Competing against a staged property with an unfurnished property is almost a waste of time unless deep discounting or a super-hot sellers market is a consideration.

       

      #CompassComingSoon

      #CompassComingSoon

      What is it exactly about Compass COMING SOON listings that is important for you as an agent individually, as well as for all of us at Compass collectively - agents and staff - in every region of the USA? Here are my TOP 10 reasons:       

      1.  Human Beings are by their very nature attracted to having knowledge first, even more so in to-days day and age where there is so much information out there.   

       2.   Like a movie, who wouldn't want to see a movie before the crowds see it? While we like to get information first, we also like the excitement and exclusivity of knowing we were there first. As marketers creating some sense of excitement and energy has a great value and fuels energy behind a marketing campaign. It adds an additional marketing moment of substantive value. 

      3.  COMING SOON listings - if they appear on compass.com first - drive traffic to compass.com. We are all beneficiaries when there are more eyeballs focused on our website.                 

      4.  COMING SOON listings are not exclusionary of other agents within Compass or at competing brokerages. We encourage ALL agents to see our coming soon listings, show them and sell them! All agents benefit by this. They are NOT off-market listings at all.             

      5.  COMING SOON listings take away from 'days on market'. For those of you lucky enough to be in super-fast moving markets, this may not matter to you....yet. Having a COMING SOON listing out for 10 days without the clock starting has value in a world where many search engines automatically list properties in priority of newest.           

      6.  Most Broadway productions are tested in smaller markets before coming to Broadway. Like a Broadway Show, a COMING SOON listing allows you to test the market too. Should you lower or raise the price? Did several agents point out a flaw or feature you may not have noticed or focused as much attention on?                                               

      7.  Clients and Sellers love creative marketers. A COMING SOON listing demonstrates agent innovation and adds to your marketing arsenal. It demonstrates additional value agents bring to the table.       

      8.  In a world where aggregators and technology entities continue to make every effort to minimize or eliminate the human agent, COMING SOON re-captures our essential role in the brokerage equation. It is something these antagonists do not have and may break the consumer's addiction to them. We have evidence it's doing so already.   

      9.  Social Media requires many impressions to have an effect. Many consumers search for newness via social media. COMING SOON affords your followers a reason to follow you more closely....and add followers! In New York a disclaimer is essential, so be sure to check your area what the local MLS rules require: "All listings are simultaneously syndicated to the REBNY RLS. Compass is a licensed real estate broker. All material herein is for informational purposes only, was compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors and omissions. Compass makes no representation or guarantees that Coming Soon properties are available in your region, or that its use will result in the benefits described herein. This is not intended to solicit properties already listed. Equal Housing Opportunity."                 

      10.  In markets where there is a growing inventory, a COMING SOON campaign can draw attention to your new listing in a crowded sea of options. Slower markets are finding the exhausted buyer who has seen everything to be the most inclined to pounce on the newest. In fast-moving markets with limited options, a time advantage is always a plus.                                                                       

      Have a wonderful day and MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. Drive carefully if you are driving and please take care!     

       
       

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      DID YOU KNOW? Existing-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual 5.19 million rate in April, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That was 0.4% lower than March and 4.4% lower than a year ago. The median selling price in April was $267,300, a 3.6% annual increase. First-time buyers made up 32% of transactions in April, while individual investors accounted for 16% of buyers. (Marketwatch)


      DID YOU KNOW? Those living in Minnesota have an average score of 713. South Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts round out the top 5 US states with the highest average credit scores for 2018. The lowest score, 652, belonged to those living in Mississippi. Louisiana, Nevada, Georgia, and Texas are all in the bottom of Experian’s ranking as well, with scores of 659 or below. (CNBC)

      DID YOU KNOW? Over the past year, 22% of respondents in a survey of 2,200 US adults say the average credit card balance they carried was between $100 - $500, while about 10% of people say they had a balance over $5,000. At close to 18% interest.

      DID YOU KNOW?  Over 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. Use subtitles and text. Make the visuals SING!  (INMAN)                                                                                           

      DID YOU KNOW? 25% of American jobs - belonging to about 36 million people - are at risk of being replaced by automation or artificial intelligence over the next 20 years, according to a Brookings Institution report issued in January.

      DID YOU KNOW? New York City’s economy grew 3% from January through March 2019, a bit more than the 2.7% jump in gross city product recorded in the first quarter of 2018. (Crain’s)  

      Compass Contemplations for Tuesday

      DID YOU KNOW? Is Madison Avenue retail rebounding? Since January 17 new stores have opened on this corridor that 4 years ago commanded rents up to $1,600/sf. Now, this number is closer to $1,000/sf. There is a growth in wellness, beauty, sustainability, and brands that have prices reaching broader markets. One thing missing from the Avenue that has helped drive retail traffic in other parts? More food. Stores are collaborating with one another. What is the biggest trend worth watching?  Several brands are BUYING their buildings or retail spaces. By doing so they remove the risk of future rent escalations beyond their control. (WWD)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? The homeownership rate among households headed by someone under 35 was 35.4% as of the first quarter of 2019, according to the Census Bureau. In 1999 that level was about 40%.  WHY?

      * The Great Recession caused the Millennial unemployment rate of those aged 20 - 24 to go as high as 17% in 2010. It would have been even higher if more young people hadn’t opted to continue schooling instead of joining the labor force or simply stopped looking for work.

      * This delayed entry into the workforce is taking them longer to develop the financial wherewithal to buy a home. 

      * Many are saddled with higher levels of student debt than previous generations, making mortgage approvals more daunting. 

       * The tough labor market they faced early in their careers may have delayed other life events that often coincide with the decision to own a home: Millennials have been getting married/having children later.

      * The 2017 tax cuts reduced financial incentives for homeownership. 

      * Banks have become more risk-averse since the crisis, more eager to extend pricey mortgages to wealthier clients than to lend to those seeking smaller home loans, as do many first-time buyers.

      * A greater share of millennials live in the central city of a metropolitan area with a population of 500,000+ than did Generation X at the same age...where buying a home is less affordable.

      * Fewer urban millennials have decamped to the suburbs in their 30s than previous generations.  (WSJ)

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      Good morning,

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Small business confidence ticked up and remains at a high level for the second quarter. The CNBC|Survey Monkey Small Business Confidence Index reading of 59 (up from 58 in the first quarter 2019) indicates that small business owners are optimistic about the direction of their business over the next 12 months. 77% of 50+ person small businesses described business conditions as good and only 1% said conditions are bad.

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Japan’s bullet trains can reach nearly 200 mph and date to the 1960s. They have moved more than 9 billion people without a single passenger causality. America's ACELA is the fastest and averages 65 mph between NYC and Boston because its lines (created in the late 1900's) were never designed for high-speed systems. China built 19,000 miles of high-speed rail all in the past 10 years. The USA virtually abandoned rail-served infrastructure with highway-served infrastructure mostly dedicated to the automobile. (CNBC)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Sellers who sold their homes in June - meaning June was the sale date on the deed of the house, so they likely put the home on the market in spring -  got 9.2% more than what their home was valued at, according to data released this month from real estate analytics firm ATTOM Data Solutions. Sellers got a premium in other spring and summer months too: May (7.4%); July (7.3%); April (6.4 %); March (6.1%); August (5.8%); meanwhile December, January and October sellers got less than a 4% premium. Demand is much higher in spring and summer in part because school is out and winter is over so people are out and about. (Marketwatch)

      Make Every Day, Earth Day!

       

      Earth (EVERY) Day

      Yesterday was EARTH DAY another great way of reminding all in the world just how important our awareness has to be in improving our environment and minimizing the negative effects we humans have on it. While I love these days of awareness, I thought I would write about it today - a day later - to emphasize how doing something for one day pales in comparrison to the effect we can have when we are aware of something - and do something about it - EVERY day of the year. So here are some simple suggestions - primarily focused on our real estate world - on how all of us can contribute to improving our planet for future generations:

      1.  Avoid Plastic wherever possible. It is extremely toxic. There is enough science behind what plastic does to the environment, so even if you don't care about that landfill 'over there' know that microscopic - and not-so-microscopic - plastic particles are finding their way into our food. And you don't want to be eating plastic! Avoid plastic water bottles. They are toxic for you and the planet.

      2.  Take public transportation, or try never to be alone in a car.  Not easy in out profession at all! So when you cannot do this, try to be driving a car that burns as little fossil fuel as possible, or an electric car. Shared rides and cars help too. Walking and cycling is good for you as long as you aren't completely distracted by your tech!

      3.  Encourage green energy sources by subscribing to them personally and encouraging builders and homeowners to install geo-thermal, solar and other non-carbon energy into their homes.

      4.  Use LED light bulbs. There are many now that emulate almost the exact light quality of an incandescent bulb and they dim well. Use 2,700K temperature bulbs. We don't have to look ugly to be responsible. Turn off lights when not needed, even in your office. Use natural light wherever possible.

      5.  Avoid clothing made of fibers that aren't bio-degradable. Much of what is in your closet could possibly take decades to biodegrade. And chances are those un-natural high-tech fibers are not good for the environment.

      6.  Take a look at what you throw away and cut it by half. We waste SO MUCH! Try to re-cycle everything. Compost.

      7.  Try to eliminate as much unnecessary paper mail. Yes, we are agents and need to do mailings to market ourselves and our properties, but be aware of what this does to our environment. Plastic-wrapped mailings are not good for our planet.... Pay bills online.

      8.  Eat local, organic food that has not been subjected to pesticides and chemicals/antibiotics. This will encourage less use of these products that are known to be ultra-harmful, especially when they make their way into our drinking water. Transporting food long distances is not great for the environment.

      9.  Love that super-green lawn?  Use organic fertilizers and soils. Yes, those chemical-infused additives are very effective, but are also very harmful. Maybe plant a small vegetable or herb garden.

      10.  Conserve water, especially in areas that are prone to drought. It may be as simple as not running your water non-stop while brushing your teeth! Fix leaky faucets and toilets. Collect rainwater.

      11.  Insulate, insulate, insulate. Most homes are energy-inefficient because of poor sealing and inadequate insulation. Use programmable thermostats to increase efficiency.

      12.  Clean your air at home with house plants. Plant trees. Eliminate artificial, toxic odors. PS: many candles emit toxins into the air.... There are organic alternatives.

      13.  Buy energy-efficient appliances and use them with efficiency in mind.

      14.  Buy used/existing products to avoid unnecessary waste. Used furniture is a good example.

      15.  A shared living environment is GREAT for the planet, ie: apartments. Renovating an old house - and retro-fitting it for energy efficiency - is far better for the environment than tearing it down and replacing it with a new home.

      Imagine if we ALL did these things EVERY day, or as much as possible!.....Let's love our planet and do our share to keep her alive!

       

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      DID YOU KNOW? About 85 million families own a pet, up 50% from 1980. Are homes being engineered better to accommodate pets? Are building and neighborhood pet policies/amenities adapting to this?  (Inman)

      DID YOU KNOW?  US News' list of the 10 Best places to live in the USA just came out:

      1. Austin 

      2. Denver 

      3. Colorado Springs 

      4. Fayetteville, AR 

      5. Des Moines 

      6. Minneapolis-St. Paul 

      7. San Francisco 

      8. Portland 

      9. Seattle 

      10. Raleigh-Durham

       

      DID YOU KNOW? 2 million people fall asleep in a stranger’s home EVERY NIGHT through an Airbnb rental in 81,000 cities/towns and 191 countries. Since 2008, there have been over 400 million guest arrivals. The fastest growing Airbnb demographic?  Seniors! 60% of reservations are for an entire home. 54% of users are female and 46% male.

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  Canada remains the largest foreign real estate investor in the USA, sinking $20 billion into U.S. real estate last year, followed by Singapore, France, China, and Germany.

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Fort Worth's Crescent Real Estate LLC with Starwood Capital Group and High Street Real Estate Partners has announced plans for a 721-room hotel project next to Nashville's convention center. Starting in the next few months they will build two hotel towers joined by a 4-story lobby and conference center building on 1.3 acres next to Nashville's new $ 625 million 2.1M s.f. Music City Center convention complex. The development will include a 30-story Embassy Suites by Hilton and an 18-story 1 Hotel tower, the new Starwood Capital brand. Nashville draws more than 15 million visitors a year and is one of the country's top hotel markets. (Dallas News)

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      WELCOME, WELCOME to Alain Pinel Realtors who over the past 30 years have become leaders in the Bay Area, known for their luxury offering and strong culture. 

      DID YOU KNOW? More than 50% of the executives recently surveyed by KPMG said Silicon Valley will cease to dominate global tech innovation within the next 4 years, as New York, Boston, Beijing, London and other cities continue their evolution into tech innovation powerhouses, citing factors that include an expansion of tech investing in cities and regions outside of San Jose, Palo Alto and Menlo Park, Calif. Their top pick for the next leading source of technology innovation was New York—up from No. 3 in 2018—followed by Beijing, Tokyo and London. Other U.S. cities that ranked in the top 10 were Boston and Austin, Texas. Washington, D.C., placed 13th. 23% named the U.S. as having the biggest global impact on technology, down from 34% in a similar survey last year. (WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  Speak to any developer or builder and they will let you know how their costs have risen in the past 12 months: American consumers have been saddled with $69 billion in added costs because of the tariffs the U.S. imposed in 2018, including on $250 billion on Chinese imports as well as levies on steel and aluminum, according to a study released by a quartet of economists working on a National Science Foundation grant. (WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? About 63% of the world’s wealthiest said they grew richer in 2018, thanks in part to stock market gains and global economic growth. These individuals also expect their wealth to increase over the next year. Confidence was highest in the U.S., where 80% of individuals worth $30 million and more expect to be better off over the next year. Over 47,000 people in the USA are worth $30 million plus. (WSJ) 

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  I have personally never witnessed more creative photography angles than those being used to photograph 220 Central Park South - the uber-tower that houses the USA's most expensive penthouse sale:  all are either blocking out - or photo-shopping out - it's next door neighbor that looms several hundred feet taller.....

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

      Good morning,

      DID YOU KNOW?  In the mortgage business, about 70% used to be focused on re-financing and only 30% on new mortgages. As rates rise and pressure from automation and online financing options also rises, this ratio is changing fast!

       

      DID YOU KNOW? I am especially thankful that Compass has ZERO DEBT: Total US corporate debt has swelled from around $4.9 trillion in 2007 to nearly $9.1 trillion in 2018, surging 86%. Why should debt worry us? Rising interest rates make this debt more expensive to service. Several of our competitors carry enormous debt. Realogy (Coldwell Banker, Sotheby's, Corcoran, Century 21, Better Homes and Gardens, etc) has over $3.5 billion in debt. (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association). Realogy's 20% stock plummet yesterday, may well be a barometer on the changing housing market and shifting trends in the brokerage business. As well as growing concerns about mounting corporate debt.

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Total emigration from California to other states between 2006 and 2017 was 1.24 million, according to the Census Bureau, yet only third highest in the nation behind New York and Illinois. More people are leaving New York City for California than moving in, but the ones who move either way tend to be between the ages of 18 - 34. Only 3,000 people older than 35 moved permanently from California to New York City in 2017. More than 15,000 people (6%) moved to New York City from Florida and Texas. These figures do not factor in wealthier people who may keep multiple residences. (WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Walmart's e-commerce Q4 2018 sales rose 43% and for 2019 it's calling for internet sales to be up another 35% becoming the most potent threat to Amazon's e-tail dominance, not too shabby for a 57-year old company!

      Compass Contemplations for Wednesday

       

      Good morning,

       

      And a very happy VALENTINE'S DAY to you! 

       

      DID YOU KNOW? J.P. Morgan Chase moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called 'JPM Coin,' the digital 'cryptocurrency' token created by engineers at the bank to instantly settle payments between clients. (CNBC)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Signs that the Federal Reserve may be done with its yearslong campaign to raise interest rates are sending ripples through fixed-income markets, holding down interest rates for a wide swath of borrowers. Low Treasury yields are a boon for stocks because they hold down borrowing costs for companies and push some yield-seeking investors out of government bonds and into other types of assets. They also could provide a lift to the housing market. (WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW?  Airbus will cease production of its monster-sized A-380.....maybe planes are not that dis-similar to houses where jumbo-sized is also waning in demand? (WSJ)

       

      DID YOU KNOW? Housing investments make up as much as 18% of the U.S. growth rate, so why is housing not faring as well as the robust US economy? Here are some reasons:

      1. Student Debt: Home buyers 36 years old and younger comprised some 34% of the market in 2016 (NAR). Millennials are the largest customer base for mortgages, but student debt continues to weigh heavily on their personal finances with 46% having a median student loan balance of $25,000. According to a survey, 49% of home buyers said that student debt prohibited them from obtaining a loan.

      2. Housing shortages: There aren’t enough houses on the market. In 2017, there were 1.25 million new homes in the country, yet the U.S. requires 1.62 million houses each year. The 370,000 shortfall puts intense upward pressure on home prices. Because of the surge in prices, home purchase sentiment has fallen - a 12% decrease in Fannie Mae’s sentiment index - home buyers aren’t as keen on purchasing a home, opting to rent instead. 

      3.  Low Interest rate addiction: home buyers enjoyed super-low-interest rates for almost 10 years. New mortgages and refinancing was more affordable. Now financing has become more expensive, and home buyers are highly attuned to the increase in their payment amounts. Add in rising operating costs due to higher inflation and higher real estate taxes..... (Marketwatch)   

       

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