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Savannah GA real estate market: are you finding the same thing?

I will be cutting back on my contributions here because of time constraints, but I wanted to offer what I have found in the Savannah, GA real estate market and see if others are experiencing the same thing.

Looking at the first six months of 2006, 2007 and 2008, I used new home sales for each year from west Chatham and Effingham counties—where most of the new construction is taking place.

This year there have been 186 homes sold with an average sales price per square foot of $110.75 with an average sales price of $222,363, 145 days on the market and a 98% sales price to listing price.

In 2007 there were 350 homes sold with an average sales price per square foot of $119.05 with an average sales price of $220,410, 130 days on the market and a 100% sales price to listing price.

In 2006 there were 421 homes sold with an average sales price per square foot of $114.63 with an average sales price of $212,633, 131 days on the market and a 100% sales price to list price.

The biggest changes have been the number of homes sold and sales price per sq ft. Buyers are getting much more for their money, but fewer buyers are buying.

I then looked at resales in midtown Savannah to see how resales compare with Continue reading this post


Posted by: Mike Farmer on July 1st, 2008 under Market Trends, Regional


Selling Homes? Of Course, But There’s More To It

Yesterday I was having a cup of coffee and a slice of blackberry cake in a coffee shop downtown Savannah. When everyone else finished their drinks and snacks, they left the plate and cup. Not me, no, I pick up behind myself, so I took my plate and cup to the front like I always do at such places and offered it to the person behind the counter. Now, a person who has a scintilla of service running in their veins would have accepted the plate and cup, thanked me and smiled.

Not this person posing as a customer service employee, no, she looked at me, slightly annoyed, and said, “Actually, would you take that down to the end of the counter?” I started to ask her if she wanted me to wash it, too. I just laughed and took it down to the end of counter, knowing no thanks was forthcoming (and there wasn’t).

This is an example of someone wanting a paycheck with no clue what it means to provide customer service. Did I get my coffee and blackberry cake? Yes. Was it good? Yes. Will I go back? I doubt it. The reason I won’t go back is because I can get the same good coffee and cake down the street with better, more personable service. I tried this place out and it failed to make me want to go back.

When I hear people confidently say about our profession—“I’m in the business of selling homes, dammit, not in the service business or socializing business or friend-making business, but the home-selling business!”—this appeals to my Hulk Hogan side, but it also leaves me unsatisfied with the posture.

Two people can be good at selling homes, yet one will be successful long term and the other will fade away into obscurity and mediocrity—why? Because of service. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Mike Farmer on June 20th, 2008 under Best Practices, Guest Bloggers

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Real Estate and Social Media Marketing – Join the Evolution

After the bust it appeared the initial promise of the internet was vanquished and the naysayers were right, that only geeks were using the internet and that business on the web couldn’t be conducted for profit.

So much for naysayers. The internet is now used by every bubba, grandma and you-name-it around the world. The internet is fulfilling its promise and rapidly becoming a standard tool of business, advertising and communication.

The argument is over whether real estate agents should be using the internet to conduct business. I’m sure there are successful hold-outs, and it’s probably true that many agents don’t have a comprehensive internet plan to conduct business, but it’s now pretty much a no-brainer that the internet is the place to be for real estate business.

NAR is addressing the issue, agents are getting their own websites, brokerages are putting together plans and every conference, workshop and seminar has something to say about it.

Many of us are way beyond all that and our main concern is just how best to utilize all the possibilities now that we’re in the middle of it. For those just starting, I’d suggest catching up fast by reading blogs like Bloodhound, Agent Genius and, Continue reading this post


Posted by: Mike Farmer on June 11th, 2008 under Blogging and Social Networking


Good Rule of Thumb in Real Estate: Be Prepared

If I am showing homes to a buyer and have plenty of notice—this is usually with out-of-town home buyers—I preview the homes I haven’t already seen. This has saved me from many embarrassing situations.

Working with buyers entails knowing the area and having an idea of what the house is about, but more importantly, you discover all the quirks about getting into the home, surprise dogs, surprise odors, surprise messes, and so forth.

At times I have gotten busy and didn’t preview and invariably there were surprises—wrong showing instructions being one, alarms not noted in the listing info being another—one time it was four Great Danes in the master bedroom. I thought the buyer was going to have a heart attack.

Stumbling on these surprises with the home buyer is not a good idea, because it causes the buyer to start having doubts. When you preview and take notes and you inform the buyer ahead of time of what to expect, it makes you look prepared, which you should be. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Mike Farmer on June 2nd, 2008 under Best Practices, Guest Bloggers


Holding Real Estate Deals Together: Earning Our Keep

This week has been a week of baling wire and duct tape trying to keep deals together. Patience! Oh, what a wonderful virtue.

Patience to deal with the shifting numbers that inch closer to Yes!, patience with personalities that run the gamut of kind and understanding to rude and arrogant, patience with real estate agents who are slow to respond, patience with lenders who change the rules at a drop of the hat, patience with attorneys who hire temps, patience with home sellers who think their homes are made of gold—why do we do this?

Because that is what we are paid to do, have patience and keep deals together.

For all the do-it-your-self home buyers and sellers doing it themselves for the first time—BEWARE! there are dangers ahead.

How can deals go south?

Financing problems, cold feet, inspection problems, newly disclosed information, buyer buys a Harley before closing, on and on and on, but we must have patience.
Take a deep breath and look at the situation—break it down—then look for a solution.

Sometimes the situation calls for a little Continue reading this post


Posted by: Mike Farmer on May 25th, 2008 under Realtor


New Agents Working With Buyers: It Takes A Commitment

Working with buyers is difficult. It’s no wonder most real estate agents would rather list homes and avoid spending a lot of time dealing with buyers. Home buyers are demanding, fickle, sometimes emotional, sometimes unrealistic, but always there waiting for an agent to help them.

Even though many home buyers think they want to do it alone, I’ve found most eventually ask a Realtor for help. They may not want a contractual relationship with a buyer agent, but they want assistance.

Many have gone from listing agent to listing agent and they are tired of looking for homes that way, so the buyer is in between, they don’t want to sign a buyer agent agreement but they want guidance.

If you decide to work with home buyers you will have to capture them soon and you will have to impress them with service. Most buyers don’t know what they can get from a real estate agent until they get it—then they like it.

Buyers now are going online and making a request to an agent with a website, or going through a company like HomeGain that offers help—they want listings or information about a listing or area—they are sticking their toes in the water, to see what the response will be.

If the response is immediate and it offers help, then the buyer will likely go further.

Upon the first significant contact is the time to impress the buyer with service. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Mike Farmer on May 12th, 2008 under Best Practices, Buying or Selling a Home


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