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Daily Real Estate News

Home Sales Dip, But First-Timers Return to Market

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2020 - 1:00am

Low mortgage rates entice rookie buyers, and more robust housing starts should boost sales in the near future, according to NAR.

House Bill Seeks to Extend VA Loans to Co-op Buyers

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2020 - 1:00am

“Our veterans shouldn’t be priced out of these housing options because they’re excluded from the VA’s loan program,” one lawmaker says.

Cobuying Gains Traction Among Young Adults

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2020 - 1:00am

Faced with rising home prices and student loan debt, some cash-strapped millennials are teaming up with friends to purchase a home.

Entrepreneur Sues Compass, Claims to Be Cofounder

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2020 - 1:00am

Technology investor Avi Dorfman says he helped create the strategy to get the multibillion-dollar brokerage off the ground but was later shut out of the firm.

Mortgage Rates Inch Up Slightly This Week

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 21, 2020 - 1:00am

Still, the low mortgage rate environment continues to spur homebuying activity.

Home Prices Rise in Nearly Half of Opportunity Zones

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 20, 2020 - 1:00am

The recent upswing could "change on a dime if the broader housing market flattens out or sags," according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

The Burning Question: Can This Home Fit Multiple Generations?

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 20, 2020 - 1:00am

More than 40% of Americans are looking for a home where they and their relatives can live together comfortably, research shows. 

It’s a Better Time to Buy Than 10 Years Ago

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 20, 2020 - 1:00am

While low mortgage rates are improving buyers' purchasing power, the cheaper borrowing costs are drawing more house hunting competition.

2020's Hot Luxury Markets Aren't On the Coasts

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 20, 2020 - 1:00am

A new report notes that the migration of new markets within the high-end sector are being driven by several factors.

Housing Permits Surge to 13-Year High

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 20, 2020 - 1:00am

The housing industry is upbeat about the spring market now that more construction is on the way.

Opportunity Zone Projects Gain More Clarity, Expected to Rise

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 19, 2020 - 1:00am

The Treasury Department’s latest guidelines on the tax-incentive program are finally helping developers feel more confident to move forward, analysts say.

Mall Developers Try to Reinvent in Order to Survive

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 19, 2020 - 1:00am

The nation’s ailing malls are using entertainment venues and restaurants as anchors to attract new business.

Real Estate ‘Micro Investing’ Could Create New Crop of Investors

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 19, 2020 - 1:00am

Curious consumers can try becoming part owners of property on a small scale.

Buyers Drawn to ‘Right-Sizing,’ But Also Leery of Losing Space

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 19, 2020 - 1:00am

Homes can be small without feeling cramped. Strategic planning and smart design can help maximize the space.

Presidential Elections Can Sway Home Sales, Study Finds

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 19, 2020 - 1:00am

A new study tracks home sales over three presidential election years to find out what impact the real estate industry can expect heading into election season.

Eager to Sell Your House? Try Describing It as ‘Adorable’

RisMedia Consumer News - February 18, 2020 - 4:02pm

(TNS)—Mary Beth Hurtado wields a kind of linguistic artistry to describe a house she’s trying to sell.

The good words: Classic. Stunning. Backyard paradise. Turnkey. Newly renovated. Redeemed to perfection.

The bad: Handyman special. Motivated seller. Tiny. Basement.

“Basement sounds like a dirty old stone basement,” said the 20-year real estate agent for RE/MAX in Bryn Mawr, Pa. “You want to say it has a ‘lower level.’ It takes a long time to write these descriptions for me. It takes hours because you have to say it exactly right for each house.”

Certain words and phrases—and even the number of exclamation points in a property listing!!!!!—can help improve the value of a property and reduce its time on the market, academics found through an analysis of more than 700,000 homes listed and sold over a decade in the Charlotte, N.C., area.

The researchers, Sean Brunson and Richard J. Buttimer Jr. of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Steve Swidler, the Hanson/KPMG professor of Business and Finance at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., suspected their conclusions would apply to most real estate markets.

The terms “adorable,” “awesome,” “gorgeous,” “historic” and “luxurious” were helpful in boosting property value, they found. The bigger the house, the more frequently it was described as “beautiful.”

“Adorable,” in particular, could add more than $43,000 to the value of what is often a small, hard-to-sell property, according to the study, “An Adorable Housing Paper: The Informational Content of Agent Remarks.”

Yet the research found that almost 40 percent of homes described as “adorable” also were characterized as “large,” the latter of which was found to reduce its value by $2,601.79.

“Adorable” still increased by 5 percent the chance a house would sell, according to the study. The use of “awesome” raised it 1.02 percent and “gorgeous,” 1.44 percent.

‘Historic’ Adds 18 Days on Market
The research found that though “historic” and “luxurious” were typically considered attractive descriptors, they seemed to have a harder time selling. It took “historic” homes about 18 days longer to get off the market, and eight extra days for homes touted as “luxurious.”

“It’s not unique to Charlotte, the quantitative numbers that you see,” Swidler said, adding that he and his colleagues studied the market in Charlotte after a real estate association there offered them a trove of data, the largest to date for such a study.

The descriptor of “adorable,” Swidler said, was a relatively infrequent term in property descriptions, appearing in just around 1 percent of entries in the Multiple Listing Service, an expansive real estate online search platform.

“It is relegated mostly to smaller-sized homes,” he said. “If you were in a home that was 300,000 square feet or larger, it’s unlikely that ‘adorable’ would be used. The words that you use have to have real meaning. I don’t think you can call a large house ‘cute’ or ‘adorable.’ It doesn’t make sense.”

The use of “investment,” “motivated,” “distressed” and “reduced” would slash the value of a property anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000, according to the study. For listings that included the words “motivated” or “reduced,” it took about a respective 29 and 44 extra days to sell.

Homes described as “large” and “spacious” saw their property values fall by a respective $2,601.79 and $7,351.26, according to the study, which attributed the decrease to a buyer “believ(ing) the REALTOR® is trying to conceal the lack of space by claiming the house or a room show bigger than they are.”

The team conducted the study around what it called the “hedonic modeling of house prices,” or the analysis of factors that contribute to the price of a property, including square footage; the number of bedrooms and bathrooms; location; and the area’s school district.

It did not indicate how important the description of a property was relative to other elements, such as photos of the house or the safety of the neighborhood.

“Using a superior data set with over 700,000 observations, we document the set of most frequently used descriptive terms and show that context is important,” according to the study, which said the size of the data set offset the chance of coming to erroneous conclusions.

The data collected by the team spanned the 2008 financial crisis and crash of the real estate housing bubble. Swidler said he and his colleagues had not studied whether certain descriptive terms could have even marginally helped some houses sell.

“Would ‘adorable’ have helped you during a real downturn?” he said. “The answer is I don’t know, but maybe we should look at it.”

The authors clarified that they did not conduct a “full-blown textual analysis that examines readability of sentiment or structure,” calling it “likely excessive.”

The Power of Punctuation
“MLS property descriptions tend to be relatively short (250 words or fewer) and frequently informal,” according to the study. “They may contain abbreviations (e.g., “SS appl” for stainless steel appliances).”

Even punctuation could prove fruitful!!

“One exclamation mark appears to generate extra excitement about the property and raise its value $6,649.62,” according to the study. “However, two exclamation marks raise the home’s value $4,295.19 and the more exclamation marks used, the less the added value.”

An overzealous real estate agent prone to “overuse (abuse) of exclamation marks” need not worry, the study said, finding that excessive punctuation—as many as five exclamation points—”has virtually no effect on buyer enthusiasm for the property.”

As she sells houses on the Philadelphia Main Line, Hurtado is careful with her use of punctuation. Just one exclamation point is sufficient, she said, “if it’s something really amazing.”

“Use nice words,” she said. “Use powerful, selling words. I think your words should be the exclamation point.”

©2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer
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New Perspectives on the R

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 18, 2020 - 1:00am

An 85-second video takes you into the real estate world created by Havas Chicago and director Brett Foraker.

Caribbean-Style Lagoons Make a Splash As Hot Amenity

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 18, 2020 - 1:00am

They’re cheaper to build than community golf courses and appeal to a wider pool of buyers, developers say.

Single-Family Rentals Continue to See Escalating Prices

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 18, 2020 - 1:00am

Landlords are still finding the niche to be lucrative as economic growth propels demand and record-low vacancies fuel price increases, a new report shows.

Study: Many Homeowners Have No Clue About Their Mortgage Rate

NAR Daily News Magazine - February 18, 2020 - 1:00am

The lack of knowledge may be why 11 million homeowners are missing out on potentially saving $268 per month by refinancing.