Friday, August 5, 2011

Humboldt County, California Real Estate Statistics, July 2011

How is our local real estate market in Humboldt County, California performing, in the midst of all of the gloomy national and world economic news? Kinda yucky.

Our housing inventory, the number of homes for sale on the market, has been creeping up all year. We're not high beyond normal, but we are high enough that we might start seeing some downward pressure on prices.

The more homes we have that are selling, the better support we will have for prices. While we are up off of some of the scary bottom figures we've seen earlier in the year, we are not selling so many homes that it looks like prices are going to start moving up again any time soon.

And sure enough, our average sales price continues our ooze downward. Our average sales price has been lower than the year before for 5 of the last 7 months, and 25 of the last 31 months. But don't panic. This too will pass. We won't know it's the bottom of the market until we've already passed it.

The median price has graphed similarly to the average price.

There is no little man that comes out and rings a bell on the day that the market hits bottom. It could be next month, or today, or last week. We have a great selection of homes, the best interest rates in years, and you gotta live somewhere. And rents are very strong relative to price. We will look back some day, and say, "I sure do wish I had bought real estate in Humboldt County in ___," and there will be a date in that blank. We just don't know if it's today's date, or tomorrow's!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good Video, Bad Video, for Luxury Homes

The marketplace is changing, and no place faster than real estate. One of the hot new developments in the marketing arena is the use of video. All of the guru’s are saying that we as Realtors must use video to show off our listings. Is this a good, necessary thing? If it’s done correctly, yes!

Many agents are using smart phone technology to do a video “walk through” of their listings. Beware. These are often of a poor technical quality and not well thought through. I’ve actually experienced the beginnings of motion sickness after watching some of them, and others don’t really give a good overview of the selling features or the feel of the home.

Other agents are using photo viewers to give the appearance of video, utilizing the basic still photos they’ve already taken of the home. This serves the purpose of “using video,” but little else. On several occasions I’ve noticed people standing, frozen, in the “video.” This is no better, and perhaps worse, than some good, quality photos.

Video shouldn’t take the place of good photos or virtual tours, but should show off an aspect of the home that can’t be captured through these other media. Video is great at showing movement and character and interaction. That’s why I employ a professional videographer experienced in the medium. He can capture the features and ambiance of the home in a way that best shows it off to prospective buyers.

Sometimes he will interview the owner or builder of the home, using their vast knowledge of the property in a tour through the home. (See the video link at for an example.) This enables us to communicate a historical or personal angle easy to miss through traditional media. It also allows the seller or builder to highlight features that only he knows about.

Other times my videographer will video the actions of the home itself. A fire burning in the fireplace; a creek rippling across the land; wildlife admiring the view; raindrops falling on a pond; trees swaying in the breeze; waves crashing on a beach. All very provocative images that help imbed your home in the hearts and minds of potential buyers. You can see a great example by pressing the video link at .

Other times he will create a webisode, a program featuring characters and a plot line, with the house as the star. This shows people interacting with and enjoying the home in a way that potential buyers can relate to. A luxury home is just as much about a luxury lifestyle as the home itself.

Using video, especially bad video, won't help to sell a home. Good video, done right, will hook that buyer's heart and mind, giving my listing that little edge over the competition.