Today's Headlines - Realty Times
Posted On Tuesday, 12 December 2023 10:22
Posted On Monday, 11 December 2023 10:22
Posted On Monday, 11 December 2023 09:59
Posted On Monday, 11 December 2023 09:17 Written by

To create the next great product or service, it has been standard practice to ask the customer questions like: “What do you want? What do you need? What will make your life easier?”

These simple inquiries should lead to a simple answer. It is then our responsibility as businesses and organizations to respond with products, services, or processes that meet customers’ needs while increasing our margins and market share. This has been the process of the past and has worked for generations, but does it truly work in today’s accelerated, technology-driven business environment?

In my many years as a strategic advisor and futurist, I have concluded that asking the customer what they want is no longer reliable. First, customers are telling others in your industry the exact same information, which leads to a high level of competition. Unfortunately, a professional footrace to a perceived finish line is not beneficial to anyone, especially the customer.

Second, customers rarely know their true wants or needs or what can really be achieved to satisfy them. They under-ask because they do not know what is possible. But in switching from reactionary to Anticipatory thinking, our job as business leaders is to show them what is possible. This is not as difficult as it may seem. We can show them what the future can be!

Underinflated Confidence in Current Products and Services

Now, looking for customer problems that need solving or listening to customers for new ideas can go only so far. This is a reactionary, “lead from behind” mindset that puts you at a disadvantage — not only with your competition, but with your customers as well.

What you need to do — similar to what serial entrepreneurs do — is look for pain points you already know about. These can range from a mild annoyance to a complete inconvenience. Let’s have a look at a simple product nearly everyone in this world has had an experience with at one point or another: bicycles.

Bicycles have been around longer than anyone now living can remember. And throughout the many different iterations of this two-wheeled vehicle, what makes it a vehicle and allows a cyclist to move forward on it are the tires.

With the mechanics involved in a bicycle, something is bound to break or require repairs, right? Well, the inner tubes inside bike tires sustain punctures frequently, ultimately being a pain that cyclists worry about.

One thing is for sure: customers are certain to worry about a popped inner tube at one point or another. Indirectly, bicycle manufacturers know that this is a concern without customers directly telling them about it.

Looking Beyond the Surface of Perceived Customer Problems

My Skip It Principle states that the perceived problem a customer faces is not the real problem. In the way of anticipating customer problems, the perceived problem is the worry surrounding what may happen, whereas the real problem is the event itself.

Solving the perceived problem of a flat bicycle tire is a bicycle business simply providing affordable tires, or perhaps a roadside service that will come to a customer and change their bicycle tire for them. Solving the real problem is eliminating the possibility of a bike tire going flat altogether, as the company Tannus has done with their new airless bike tires, made from puncture-proof multicell foam.

Here’s another example: iRobot. Customers were searching for a more effective vacuum and an easier, low-maintenance way to clean and sweep. The issue was not that households wanted to pick up more dirt. No, the time spent cleaning was the real problem. But again, this ask was not a literal, word-for-word request. iRobot looked at the pains of having to clean a house and created a product now that solves the problem.

And even now, iRobot has yet again solved a problem that autonomous vacuuming encounters with regard to pet “messes,” so to speak. They created a feature that detects incidents and avoids the possibility of making a bigger mess.

The Future Is Determined Today

Determining what a customer base needs without them telling you directly is being Anticipatory. Tannus and iRobot both looked to Hard Trend future certainties, which in this case are future problems customers will continue to have. They then used science (Tannus) or digital technology (iRobot) to show customers what is possible, which led them to realize the problems they were facing and put a level of trust in the company.

They are leading from the jump rather than leading from behind!

Not only should you hopscotch over your initial reaction of solving the top layer of customer wants, you also need to anticipate what needs and desires are to come next. Progress waits for no one, and if you want to be at the head of that progress as a leader in your industry, it is essential. Being the first to find a solution to a real problem shows customers that you are at the cutting edge of innovation and have a commanding lead in your industry.

To be more Anticipatory in identifying and meeting customer wants and needs without them asking you directly, instead ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What challenges are your customers currently facing? (Think: bicycle inner tubes going flat.)
  2. If a solution is posed to these challenges, what will be a potential problem that results from this solution? (Think: iRobot avoiding the pet messes.)
  3. If a solution is posed, what will be the next challenge customers face? (Nothing is perfect — what issues will an airless bicycle tire have?)

 

Also, consider these points:

  • Where are your customers headed?
  • Where is the market headed?
  • What future certainties will affect your customers?

 

If it can be done, it will be done. And if you don’t do it, someone else will! So be proactive in identifying the issues your customers are currently having, as well as the ones they are going to have, and use Hard Trends and my Skip It Principle to pre-solve them before they happen!

Most do not realize they are having a problem. You have the unique opportunity to show them what their future can and should be.

Posted On Tuesday, 12 December 2023 00:00 Written by

We have about a week or so left to put together and close deals in 2023. Everyone should be beating the bushes and shaking the trees to take advantage of the opportunities available and the ability to exercise your speed advantage to help those who really need to get things done before the year ends. It is also a great time to keep having all of those conversations that can continue to show your abilities as others around you have to sit on the sidelines and wait for 2024!

A solid week in the bond market and rates continue to improve slowly but surely. We saw a continuation of weaking jobs numbers this week as the ADP numbers were significantly below expectations and if supported by today’s initial and continuing claims numbers will set the stage for Friday’s BLS jobs report for November. I expect that the economy is showing signs of weakness as more and more the consumer is running out of ability to just keep accumulating debt as they deal with higher debt loads. There was also a slowdown in the number of people leaving their old jobs for newer and improved opportunities. Once again, this could be the consumer trying to get into a more stable situation or possibly a lack of confidence in the future.

Mortgage applications were up by 2.8% in the last week and refinances led the way, seeing a 13.9% increase, and are just 10% under what they were at the same time last year. While I don’t see a coming refinance boom soon, refinances are one way the consumer is trying to stabilize their monthly cash flow as they deal with high credit card balances and the return of student loan payments.

Congratulations to those who have really pushed hard these past few weeks to set up a really strong December closing schedule and help build a solid pipeline for January! You trusted that the effort would be worth it, and it really paid off as you were ready and prepared to do the deals the others didn’t see coming! One more week to drive it all home, and then close the loans and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

I am looking to add one or two new teams (depending on size) to the program. If you are interested, please feel free to reach out and we can schedule a call to discuss your needs and budget. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 11 December 2023 00:00 Written by
Posted On Friday, 08 December 2023 10:43
Posted On Friday, 08 December 2023 10:10

Prices are falling from a year ago in four Texas metrosAustin, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worthand in Portland, OR. Redfin predicts price declines will become more widespread in the new year.

Homebuying is becoming more affordable as mortgage rates continue declining—the median U.S. housing payment was $2,561 during the four weeks ending December 3, down $177 from the record high they hit in October. This according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. That’s spurring action from sidelined homebuyers and sellers.

Mortgage-purchase applications are up 15% from the 28-year low they dropped to at the start of November. New listings are up 7% year over year, the biggest increase since August 2021, and the number of homeowners contacting Redfin for help selling their home is up by double digits from a year ago.

Mortgage rates are coming down because economic events are tilting in the housing market’s favor. This week, a softer-than-expected report on job openings is another piece of evidence on a growing pile that the Fed may cut interest rates sooner than anticipated. The daily average 30-year fixed rate was 7.04% on December 6, down from 8% six weeks earlier and its lowest level since the start of August.

“With the hope of a few more homes coming on the market, buyers who can afford 7% mortgage rates or pay in cash have some bargaining power,” said Phoenix Redfin Premier Van Welborn. “People are taking their time looking at multiple homes, and they’re able to back out if the inspection uncovers problems because they can wait for something better to come on the market. But there isn’t much wiggle room on price: I’m advising buyers to be reasonable with their offers because home values are still relatively high and sellers don’t want to let go of their home for less than what they feel it’s worth.”

Home prices are falling from a year ago in five of the 50 most populous U.S. metros. Redfin predicts prices will start declining in more metros in 2024, though they still have room to grow in inexpensive parts of the country.

Leading indicators

Indicators of homebuying demand and activity

 

Value (if applicable)

Recent change

Year-over-year change

Source

Daily average 30-year fixed mortgage rate

7.04% (Dec. 6)

Down from 7.22% a week earlier; lowest level since beginning of August

Up from 6.33%

Mortgage News Daily

Weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage rate

7.22% (week ending Nov. 30)

Down from two-decade high of 7.79% six weeks earlier

Up from 6.49%

Freddie Mac

Mortgage-purchase applications (seasonally adjusted)

 

Unchanged from a week earlier (as of week ending Dec. 1)

Down 17%

Mortgage Bankers Association

Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index (seasonally adjusted)

 

Up 3% from a month earlier (as of the week ending Dec. 3)

Down 7%

Redfin Homebuyer Demand Index, a measure of requests for tours and other homebuying services from Redfin agents

Google searches for “home for sale”

 

Down 4% from a month earlier (as of Dec. 2)

Down 4%

Google Trends

Touring activity

 

Down 30% from the start of the year (as of Dec.3)

At this time last year, it was down 37% from the start of 2022

ShowingTime, a home touring technology company

Key housing-market data

U.S. highlights: Four weeks ending December 3, 2023

Redfin’s national metrics include data from 400+ U.S. metro areas, and is based on homes listed and/or sold during the period. Weekly housing-market data goes back through 2015. Subject to revision.

 

Four weeks ending December 3, 2023

Year-over-year change

Notes

Median sale price

$364,166

4.1%

Prices are up partly because rapidly rising mortgage rates were hampering prices during this time last year

Median asking price

$371,163

6.7%

Biggest increase since Sept. 2022

Median monthly mortgage payment

$2,561 at a 7.22% mortgage rate

15%

Down $177 from all-time high set during the four weeks ending Oct. 22. Lowest level since August.

Pending sales

59,434

-7.4%

 

New listings

61,465

7.1%

Biggest uptick since August 2021. The increase is partly because new listings were falling at this time last year.

Active listings

853,529

-6.2%

Smallest decline since June

Months of supply

4.1 months

+0.1 pt.

4 to 5 months of supply is considered balanced, with a lower number indicating seller’s market conditions

Share of homes off market in two weeks

31.4%

Up from 28%

 

Median days on market

35

-3 days

 

Share of homes sold above list price

26.7%

Up from 25%

 

Share of homes with a price drop

5.5%

+0.3 pts.

 

Average sale-to-list price ratio

98.7%

+0.4 pts.

 

Metro-level highlights: Four weeks ending December 3, 2023

Redfin’s metro-level data includes the 50 most populous U.S. metros. Select metros may be excluded from time to time to ensure data accuracy.

 

Metros with biggest year-over-year increases

Metros with biggest year-over-year decreases

Notes

Median sale price

Anaheim, CA (18.6%)

Fort Lauderdale, FL (12%)

Newark, NJ (11.4%)

New Brunswick, NJ (10.5%)

San Diego, CA (10.3%)

Austin, TX (-9.6%)

San Antonio, TX (-2.1%)

Houston (-0.9%)

Portland, OR (-0.8%)

Fort Worth, TX (-0.5%)

Declined in 5 metros

Pending sales

San Jose, CA (7.3%)

Austin, TX (2.1%)

Milwaukee (1%)

Fort Worth, TX (0.6%)

Los Angeles (0.4%)

Cleveland, OH (-21.9%)

Cincinnati, OH (-21.8%)

New York (-17.9%)

Providence, RI (-17.4%)

Boston (-16.1%)

Increased in 5 metros

New listings

Orlando, FL (27.6%)

Phoenix (20.7%)

West Palm Beach, FL (16.2%)

Las Vegas (14.8%)

Miami (14.7%)

Cleveland, OH (-17.8%)

Atlanta (-16.1%)

San Francisco (-15%)

Oakland, CA (-7.2%)

Boston (-7.1%)

Declined in 12 metros

To view the full report, including charts, please visit:

https://www.redfin.com/news/housing-market-update-mortgage-rates-decline-listings-increase

Posted On Friday, 08 December 2023 08:45 Written by
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