Category Archives: Marketing

What Your Realtor Should Really Be Sending You…The Goods

I am pleased to announce the launch, and early adoption by Paragon Real Estate Group, of the newest addition to the San Francisco real estate scene “The Goods“, real estate marketing made simple.

The goal of this new offering is to make it easy for real estate agents in the San Francisco/Bay Area to provide their clients with what they need, and should expect, from their agent…time sensitive, factual, market data that pertains to the area in which their property is located, or the area where they would like to be. We’d like to put an end to unnecessary print marketing (think of the trees!), stop the sending of mugshot branded magnets, notepads, Zagat Guides, coffee mugs, and all the other crap clients don’t need, or necessarily want from their real estate agent. Keep in front of your clients with valuable real-time market data they can use.

The Goods will provide your company with a new link every two weeks to newly listed, as well as recently sold property data your clients can browse by location, property type, price, beds, baths and DOM. You can include the link in your marketing pieces, and also receive a raw html snippet/preview of the data to include in your marketing, inviting your clients to click through and track sales in their area.

Paragon Real Estate Group is the first to adopt and use this great new product for their agents’ clients, and positive feedback is already rolling in.

-The Goods is a terrific tool for our agents to deliver to our clients: It’s fast and easy to use and it provides our clients with extremely timely and valuable information about new listings and what’s selling in the market, which is at the top of the list of resources our clients want most from us. -Patrick Carlisle, Chief Marketing Analyst, Director of Business Development, Paragon Real Estate Group

Here is a sample of how Paragon incorporates it into their marketing. You’ll notice they call it “Market Watch”. You can call it whatever you like.
ParagonMarketWatch

In this age of Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and the countless apps hitting the market which afford your clients the luxury of tracking the market without your help, you can’t afford to let this opportunity slip you by. Brokers of every company in the Bay Area should be jumping on this offering, as simply put…it’s a no-brainer.

For more information about The Goods, visit www.theGoods-SF.com.

$302,000 Worth Of Furniture Comes With This House…Sort Of

Originally listed for sale in the Fall of 2012 for $1,850,000, price chopped, relisted a mere 11 days ago, now asking $1,798,000, this property apparently has an “expansive, unobstructed view of the City and the bay”, but that’s not all.

From the “agent only” remarks we occasionally can’t help but to share with you. It’s a “beautifully remodeled home in Diamond Heights, with the option to buy the house furnished for $2,100,000.00. Show this house blind.”

21ora

Are we the only ones that are confused by the marketing of a home that apparently has a fabulous remodel, great views, and great furniture ($302,000 worth), none of which we get to see?

Oh…hold on, hold on, hold on. It’s there…”Show this house blind“. Now we get it.

-21 Ora, San Francisco [MLS]

Hey Buyers! Turns Out There’s More Inventory Than You Thought

Have a look at what hit our email in the past couple months, and the companies heavily marketing “pocket listings”, “off market” property, or “not on MLS” opportunities.

You, the buyer, would probably like to know about these opportunities, wouldn’t you? Well…you can’t. Not until these brokerages wake up and join the year 2013, move beyond “private” or internal email as the method of choice for delivering these opportunities, look to social networks for some guidance as to where the buying (and selling) public lives, and get with the program!

Pacific Union, McGuire, Zephyr, Paragon, TRI Coldwell Banker, Vanguard, Sotheby’s, the list goes on and on…you ALL have pocket listings, and you’re all marketing them “privately”, so let’s make an effort to encourage each other to participate in an alternative marketplace to bring these opportunities to your fellow agents and the public, rather than continuing to shove this growing marketplace under the massive bureaucratic rug that is our National, State, and Local Association of Realtors. And for heaven’s sake, quit throwing your colleagues (Climb Real Estate) under the bus for taking a step in the right direction! (You know who you are.) It’s high time an alternative to the MLS takes shape, and the opportunity is right here and now.

[The same properties shown above, with links to the site:]
-Dominican Estate [Decker Bullock/Sothebys]
-53 Clifford Terrace [Vanguard]
-1299 Bush Street [Vanguard]
-219 Brannan [Vanguard]
-524 Roosevelt [Vanguard]
-2876 25th Ave [Vanguard]
-466 Hill [Vanguard]
-2509 Polk [McGuire]
-855 Folsom [McGuire]
-2094 Bush [McGuire]
-66 Parker [McGuire]
-2200 Pacific [McGuire]
-171 Caznea [McGuire]
-615 Buena Vista West [Sotheby's]
-2245 Francisco [Sotheby's]
-29 Oak Springs [Sotheby's]
-26 Sanford Lane [Pacific Union]
-1200 Laguna [Zephyr]
-1278 Stanyan [Zephyr]
-50 Lansing [Zephyr]
-Nob Hill Secret address [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-2325 Divisadero [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-2220 Sacramento [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-465 10th St [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-6 Emlin, Kentfield [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-595 12th Ave [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-850 Powell [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-287 Mangels [Barbegelata]

[Editor's Note: Some of these properties were placed on PocketListings.net, and others have since hit MLS and are now sold, but they did land in our email a very short time ago. You can expect some of these links to be killed by day's end, due to panicking brokerages.
Finally, if you'd like to be alerted when these opportunities hit our inbox, drop us a line, and we'll figure out a way to get them to you.]

-PocketListings.net: How To Tutorial [blog.pocketlistings.net]
-Climb Real Estate, PocketListings.net Join To Bring You More Buying And Selling Opportunity [theFrontSteps]
-It’s not listed, but it’s definitely for sale [New York Times]
-Remaking Real Estate, Again [SF Gate]

1 Ecker (16 Jessie) Sellers Very Happy With Their Sale…Who’s Next?

It’s been busy…so let’s share some testimonials, get back to blogging, which in turn will create more testimonials. Sound good? Cool…

Alex knows the San Francisco market very well. This helped us, as sellers, to understand what different buyers value and what to expect. He is also adaptable and efficient. Our sale was the first resale in a new condominium, but Alex did not let that slow things down. He successfully navigated the administrative overhead of the situation. In addition, when we sold our home, privacy was of absolute importance. To meet our needs, Alex came up with an agent-first marketing approach that leveraged his pocket listings network (PocketListings.net). He also used social media (Facebook, Twitter, theFrontSteps.com Blog) to get the word out before and after our open house. In under a month from initial contact, even over the seasonally slow Christmas holiday, Alex obtained multiple offers for us. He then helped us identify the most suitable buyer, which ensured us a fair price and a smooth close. We would highly recommend working with Alex for anything real estate in San Francisco.

-Milla and Chad

[Editor's note: Links to websites were added by us.]

Thanks guys! Glad it worked out so smoothly for you, and the buyer. And very happy we were able to navigate all that “administrative overhead”…nice way to put it.

Sellers, let’s get your place on the market! We not only need the inventory, but you stand to make substantial gains.

How To List Your Home When The Master Suite Is “Unwarranted”

Following on the heels of a recent post we did about what makes a room a bedroom, this email came to me, as did the replies.

Scenario:

You have a new listing in Bernal Heights that’s about to come on the market. Legally, it’s a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom Single Family Home, but your seller added a very nice bedroom and bathroom suite without the benefit of permits downstairs. The structural engineer signed off on the plans, but the city never issued a permit.

Do you list the property in the MLS as:

-2 Beds/1 bath with a description that there is an unwarranted master suite in the marketing remarks?
-3 beds/2 baths with a description that the room is unwarranted?

The general consensus from replies:
Five agents thought that the home should be listed as a 2 bed/1 bath
Six agents thought that the home should be listed as a 3 bed/ 2 bath

Clearly, as was the case with “What Makes A Room A Bedroom”, the jury is still out on this one. Bottom line…READ THE DISCLOSURES! Know what you are buying and be 100% confident with your decision to purchase. It’s not like you’re choosing which coffee to drink. It’s a BIG decision. Don’t just roll the dice.

-What Makes A Room A Bedroom [theFrontSteps]
-Winner: The Best Coffee House In San Francisco [theFrontSteps]

BFD Price Reductions

A post wherin I look at price reductions that seem to be pointless.

1. Courtesy of SF Schtuff, 1001 California St., #3 is a super lux condo in the old Hitchcockian San Francisco splendor. (MLS gallery offers house porn to die for, here.)

The original price here was $7,250,000. Now it’s $6,950,000. Indeed, one could argue a $300K price break is nothing to sneeze at. But really, the person who can afford the new price could also afford the old price, especially since this home includes an HOA of $5886 per month. So, $300,000? Big  ****ing deal. The monthly payments are still going to top the GNP of certain third world countries.

Here’s another reduction I don’t think makes any difference. 2421 Clement St. This is a 10 unit building, “fully rented,” originally priced at $1,435,888. More than 50 days later, it’s reduced to $1,398,000.

In this case,  it’s not so much the amount of the reduction. I just wonder who would ever want to buy a 10-unit building in SF when every other day a law here makes being a landlord a bigger headache than it already was. In fact, this Examiner article highlights the dubious joys of landlords who are currently suing the city to block such laws. Good luck.

So I wonder, in the world of real estate, if price reductions aren’t sometimes just not that much of an incentive after all.

—————

Photo of 1001 California, #3 via listing agent Betty Brachman, Brachman Group.

SF Cool Lifestyle for Sale. Condo also Included!

Condo complexes aren’t really selling condos these days. Instead, they sell a feeling, an image of the lifestyle that would too become yours if you buy in. And by “buy in” I mean in both senses, because first you’d have to buy that owning a condo at, say, the Hayes, would make you instantly urban-chic-hip; second, you’d actually have to buy the condo itself.

 

Adbusters points out that advertising hasn’t always been such a blatant appeal to pathos. The first print ads are dense with type because every possible fact has been disclosed.

The image used, if any,  is a straight forward depiction of the item for sale, very different from imagery we see today that seems to package the item with our greatest fears, insecurities, hopes, and desires. To quote from Kalle Lasn’s book “Design Anarchy,” Advertising moved from simple factual announcements into status symbolism and the stimulation of desires.”

Condo marketers really go for this style. The Hayes, for instance, employs a webpage that stimulates multiple responses. The music is ambient, the tasteful choice of post-rave kids who are now upwardly mobile adults. Images are a collage of hip style and urban culture (“techno and opera,” they promise). There’s even a film, rich in quick cuts and fast-speed camera work, that conveys the ultra coolness of the area, and by default, of those who live in these condos

Missing from the site is info on prices, among other deal breakers.

I would argue that the missing details are the most important. I know that there may be a host or “selling strategy”-related reasons for not releasing the price of homes in development, like these at  Arden Estates, but some of these condos have been for sale awhile now, and many of the units in the complexes have sold. Presumably then, a price has been agreed on and should not be treated as irrelevant info to the prospective buyer.

Similar “lifestyles” are for sale at Blu, The Infinity, and One Rincon Hill(the latter is more upscale. Notice the jazz music instead of the techno). Otherwise, aside from the music and respective addresses, the ad campaigns are synonymous.

As the likely target market of these ads, let me opine that I don’t need them. I already have a lifestyle, and I’m too experienced to know it will stay as disorganized and blighted by dog hair as it is now, no matter where I move. I already have a culture too, and I have my own definition of hip. What I need is a condo. So tell me: what are the square feet? What is the HOA? What is the asking price? Tell me quick, or I’m moving on to the next website. And please, kill the music, as the only real emotion it inspires in me is boredom. And boredom is not…”cool.”

 
 

Ad credits: CI Advertising & Old Fishing Stuff

 

Road to Real Estate Recovery

When I was working at C__________, my boss was a big coke-head. As a result, the atmosphere was, to understate, lax. Everyone drank and ate copiously (never paying for it), sat down and/or danced randomly in the middle of the restaurant, swore, and slept with one another. All of the aforementioned took place during open-for-business hours. None of us were very surprised when an accountant appeared to “audit the situation” since the owners were confounded, and not at all pleased, that such a busy place could simply not turn a profit. The list of solutions thus generated included: uniforms, Michael Bolton CDs, crafting our famed sangria with boxed (as opposed to bottled) wine, and a NO DRINKING ON THE JOB POLICY.” Nowhere was it suggested that coke-head boss might… cut back, abstain, cease, or desist. And so ended my tenure at C_______.

The relevant thread here is that ailing businesses oft must look within to cure what ails. In the case of real estate, a national convalescent, such introspection cannot come too soon. Perhaps this is why Inman is sponsoring a “Roadmap to Recovery” program, part of which includes an essay contest, with prizes such as $500 and a free pass to the upcoming Real Estate Connect conference.

One recent essay asks how Realtors can redefine “full service.” The author, Jack Harper, has a thesis that what’s missing in real estate is transparency: a term he defines as the client having full understanding of what the agent does for his/her commission. He laments not only a lack of clear communication regarding those services, but also a lack of agreement by the industry as a whole as to what those services entail.

Commenters have opinions aplenty on this essay. Most turn out to be thinly veiled ads for the agents commenting, masturbatory “I am so good at this and that as well as that and this; and by the way, here is my contact information and website!” type stuff. But most of the ideas echo Harper’s.

As a potential client to any realtor, I would like to add that “transparency” also implies a level of honesty and freeness with information your industry is not famed for. We need to trust you again. Bringing that trust back to real estate could be one very important step on the road to recovery.

Photo credit: Active Rain.com

Coming Soon! And, Coming Later!

Realtor Kevin Gueco writes a very sunny review for the coming soon Mosiaica 601 condo project (pictured above) in his SFNewDevelopments blog. There’s definitely some room for pleasant surprise in the announced price  (pleasant to me, anyway, since I selfishly find all condos I cannot afford to be unpleasant):

“Mosaica 601 announced last week that it plans to start pricing of its 3 bedroom / 2 bath condos in the low $600s!  This is an incredible value considering each home is around 1400 square feet.”

Of course, putting aside Gueco’s near-by  restaurant list, the area (where Mission meets Potrero) is a little rough, but the price still seems all right to me. Perhaps the developers see the price cuts so many other condo developers have had to make recently, and are starting lower to begin with?  

Also coming soon (but not as soon) are a more mysterious set of housing units. Just off West Portal and 16th Ave., in front of Arden Wood, you can see the pushed-up dirt, huge bulldozers, and thin wood skeletons that signal housing to come, and their sectioning looks multi-unit. Thus I suspect these are the long awaited condos that were subject of news and speculation in 2006. In fact, that’s still the only information I can find on this construction: 2 years old, via SFHomeBlog and J.K. Dineen. Someone has to have a more updated scoop here. Anyone?
 
Meanwhile, still a pipe-dream (ha ha! Really, Haight Street, how many pipe stores can one street support?), but with the supervisorial green light is the Whole Foods/condo complex, slated to replace long-dead Cala Foods at the corner of Stanyan and Haight. The Chronicle outlines the plan here:

 “The large, four-story project, which also includes some 60 high-end, market-rate housing units, was expected to be controversial, but the commission voted 6-0 to approve the conditional use permit – a result supporters think had a lot to do with their organized turnout.”

Right, agreed: Haight could use a face-lift and perhaps a gentle reminder that THE 60’S ARE OVER. Also, I like Whole Foods, but I’m saving for one of those condos, so I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s (with a new one also coming soon!). I’m curious what “market rate” will be when those units go up, since so many new developments are struggling to sell out units already. The Frontstep’s own banker/blogger, aptly known as “The Banker,” says: “We are overbuilt. . .and it is next to near impossible to get financing!”

What do you say?

—-

Construction photo via SFNewDevelopments

As a realtor in these times, I get a s#*tload of spam, BUT …

Most of it is hot garbage. However, this one struck me as something that might actually come to pass”

“Dear Kenneth,I am sure that you have read about the $700,000,000,000 government bailout of the financial markets and you are probably wondering what this means to you as a real estate professional.

Well, I have good news and bad news for you.

This bailout is bad for the taxpayers but good news for REO agents and here’s why. After the financial meltdown of the 1980’s the RTC took over 748 Savings and Loans and liquidated their foreclosed properties for pennies on the dollar. The taxpayers were left holding the bag for hundreds of millions of dollars. This time things are going to be different.

The new governement rescue plan, Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, will purchase defaulted loans from financial firms, freeing up cash so that they can continue making new mortgages. The big difference is that the government will leave the banks and lenders responsible for managing and selling their own foreclosed properties.

This is the big opportunity for you and I. You see, there is a huge back log of defaulted mortgages right now because most lenders do not have the cash to foreclose. They have been waiting for months for the government to come to their aid and bail them out. I’m sure that you’ve seen many of these vacant homes in your area. They’re easy to spot, newspapers in the driveway and weeds as tall as a NBA player.

As soon as these lenders get their hands on their share of the 700 billion dollars they will begin foreclosing on these bads loans as fast as they can. And they will need trained REO agents to manage and sell them.

If you’d like to learn how to become the agent of choice for these lenders and get REO listings click here: http://www.reorenegades.com/ .

If you are already a REO agent and you’d like to get more listings click here:

http://www.reo-companylist.com/.

Right now REO’s make up 42% of all real estate sales in the US. The number of REO listings is likely to continue to increase into 2012 before leveling off. If you’re not an REO agent you’re missing out in nearly half of the business opportunities in real estate today.

I have been an REO broker for over 8 years and have sold over 1,000 REO properties. Last year I closed 214 transactions. I can teach you how to get REO listings even if you got your real estate license yesterday. And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, right now you can get started for less than the price of a tank of gas.

Click here and get training from a real live REO broker. This is not an ebook, and I’m not from some “guru” who just jumped on the REO bandwagon last night.

http://www.reorenegades.com/

To your success!

Frank Patrick

REO Broker

PS. Many companies will only list their REO’s with one agent per office. Join me today and get started before the other agents in your office find out..

PPS. Join today and get access to 117 of my REO clients for FREE.”

I’m really not cool with this type of marketing, and I’m not going to sign up or anything. I also don’t think this is particularly applicable to SF. But will this go down? I think it’s likely.