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New Orleans Condos, Open Houses do work…Just takes some Effort and Creative New Ideas…

Today I did an open house in the Warehouse District of New Orleans to help me get a unit sold at 333 Julia or Julia Place #310.  It ended up being a lot of fun, but I do have fun doing real estate.  Had to have a helper take people to the condo while I greeted people and handed out flyers.  I even gave them out to residents as they entered and left the complex. Just another way to get the message out.

Had to bring a potted plant to have to sign stand up on the side walk and managed to get the other by the door. It was very hot so I had to wear shorts to stay a little cooler.  Shannon and I took turns taking people to the unit while the other waited for the next couple.  We had it from 1-3 pm but had a decent turnout.

We did a line ad in the paper but most people just came on their own by seeing the sign.  Running it on the WWL-Real Estate Digest TV show will also bring in more folks.  Next time I am going to leave flyers in the gym so even more people will notice.  People already living in the complex is a great source of potential buyers as it is easy to sell their friends on coming to view the unit.

Open Houses do work in New Orleans

    I ended up meeting two clients that I have been working with over time.  You never know when your prospects are ready to purchase.  Many agents will not go to the trouble to do these open houses and tell their sellers they do not work.  My Idea is to make them work for my seller by getting the word out.  It felt like a success when we packed up and left.  I should have put some cold drinks in the ice box but I will do that on the next open house.

    Another idea for the future is to do a twilight open house to catch people on their way home from work as there are a lot of renters in the Warehouse District of New Orleans.  Always open to old and new ideas to get your place sold for the highest possible price based on the numbers….

Eric Bouler, Gardner Realtors does Open Houses in Warehouse District...

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In this Rising Real Estate Market, Some Sellers are getting Unrealistic on the Price…

    The market has been very strong for condos in the city of New Orleans so far in 2013.  The market is good as it has been since 2007 when things were going really well.  One of the main differences is the number of second homers who are interested in all areas of the city.  This coincides with people paying high rents and want to take advantage of the low rates currently around 3.5%.  

    When you have very few units for sale in all categories you see the prices rising.  The prices are above the same time as last year.  However it has to be within reason when you price your condo or else it will sit on the market missing many buyers that would otherwise be viewing it.  When I see something overpriced  I tell my clients to wait for the price to drop.  Buyers are much more educated with all the information  on the Internet.  They know right off its too expensive…..

   The agent should be able to give the seller a price range that they will likely get factoring in the past years and the up market.  With fewer properties you will get the condo more showings.  The agent may not know the numbers or the seller is just being unrealistic.  It could be both.  Some agents push the number to just get the listing so ask to see the track record of their listings.

Sellers Foggy on Prices , Foggy Jackson Square 2013 2

 The Condo Becomes Stale on the Market

    Many sellers just want too much and are not motivated til the condo gets harder to sell.  They miss too many buyers when they are listed 10% above the market.  Its much eaier to see in condos as the comparisons start with comparing sales within the building and the chosing like complexes.  In the end the appraiser will do the same thing.  Lets just call it being too greedy….

     I tend to take a different approach and go much closer to the price we will end up getting.  If I think the condo is worth $205,ooo the we can list at 209,000 as fewer condos are priced in the category.  My last couple of listings prices and sale prices were much closer….255k-250 sales price, 249k-245 sales price, 209k-sales price 205k, 189k sales price 185k , 279k and sales price of 275k and so on.  No reductions were needed and all the units were shown a lot.  Purchasers are going to give you a lower bid but it is much easier to strike a bargain in this market… 

     Telling your client what they are going to get as a sales price makes the process go smoother and makes the agent review the figures and fully explain the market to his or her client.  The majority of agents that are top of there game do this…

Sellers Pricing, Mississippi River Bridge in New Orleans1

Keep the Gap between the selling price and sale price closer. 

You get the condo sold Faster and for a Better Price…

    The condo seels faster and at a better price because you not miss the season are a group of buyers that would be your buyers.  People will look but will not take out the check book and as it gets stale people will want an even better deal…. 

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New Orleans Condo Market is Healthy, But Beginning to see Sellers Listing too High…

      The New Orleans Condo market has had the best run in 2012 this year since 2007.  Things that are priced correctly are selling fairly well.  The demand is there for most condos.  The selection is much smaller than I can ever remember it.  The top of the market was in 2007 and we are getting back to those numbers except where some buyers overpaid.

     Sellers must be thinking that since the inventory is low that they are price above the market and attract an offer.  This is rarely the case these days as buyers know the numbers and their agents do as well after having a rather flat market since 2010.

    They look at the past sales and must be discarding most of them.  They are more likely picking the one that makes there case while disregarding the others.  The other thing that some sellers are doing is looking at the things that have not sold yet and justifying their price off of those competitors.  Its like ” Fools Gold” as the appraisers are not interested in things that have not sold.  They base their appraisals on the past sales only.

    The sellers that over priced miss the pool of buyers that are ready to buy.  They look and know the prices.  The condo becomes stale at some point as the sellers then know that the price was too high in the beginning or that they needed to improve the unit to make it more attractive.  There are those lingering on the market as well.  The “Best Buyers are the First Ones”

New Orleans Condos, Best Buyers are the First Ones

      Buyers will eventually purchase those at a bigger discount because the unit has gone stale.  This is just normal when a seller lists too high.  The Process repeats year after year.  I am guilty of pricing some things on the high side thinking I will get the owner to come down to reality.  If they are not looking at the numbers then the property will sit for much longer and the seller will end up with less.  They will also have more expenses as nothing good happens to an empty unit.  The bills keep coming.

     Not all condos are equal so there is always going to be a segment that is slow.  This year it is the condos that have the 1970’s feel of an apartment complex.  I think one of the large reasons is that second home buyers want that “New Orleans Feel” and they are a large segment of the market.

      I have sold a lot this year the first week the condo has been on the market as it was priced right and I was able to review the prices with my clients before we started looking.  Many will do it on their own as there is a lot of info on line.  Experienced agents now dominate the market as all the “Would Be Agents” have dropped out over the last several years. Tough times make you better….

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There is only one first Impression for pricing….Want top dollar for your condo, then prepare to price Correctly…

     Selling your New Orleans condo is all about preparation.  You only get to have one first ” price impression” and only one “Look’s First Impression” at how your condo looks.  You have to make both impressions  count in your favor to get the unit sold.  Studying the numbers is a must.  When a property  is first listed it gets a lot of looks.  Peole that have been looking see it, buyers that are just beginning see it as well.  Most buyers know about prices via the internet and their agent.  So price with this in mind.

    The initial  pricing of the condo is very important if you are serious about selling.  The sales price has very little to do with what you paid for the unit when you bought it.  The sales price has nothing to do with what you owe on it.  The prices may have risen or declined since that point in time.  The price is determined by the current market.

    Pricing and appraisals are done by comparisons.  The appraiser is going to be looking for similar units that he can compare to your unit.  The most recent sales are the ones that will be used.  He is looking for something that has sold in the last 6 months.  The best com-parables are units that have sold in the same building.   The way appraisals are ordered these days, the appraiser will not have seen any of the units he is comparing your condo with.  His main focus will be on square footage.

    When you price to sell you view all the intangibles as to how they compare with all the listings that you are competing with.  The views, the location, the updates, the windows, parking, high ceilings, upkeep and the overall feel of the condo.  This is where you see the biggest differences in your competition. This is  where you have to work to make you condo shine.  The cosmetic issues become important.  How does my property show……Is it dressed up or still in shorts….

    Recent updates need to be written down and shown to prospective buyers.  These are your positives and they really do count.  Buyers are going to be looking at 5-6 units and of course want the most for their money.  Many buyers have been in the market for a while and are waiting for the right one.  They compare your condo with ones they have seen in the past and those currently on the market. a Many will be just starting are are ready to buy now when they find one that has all the things that they will want.

     Buyers are willing to pay more  for premium condos so sellers to to do what they can to make the unit a premium unit.  This is enough info for a complete blog.  Buyers do shop in brackets.  They will say “175” to 200k”.  An agent will show a little above the range.  An experienced agent may show the condos a little about the range, maybe to 215k.  He knows some people may overpriced a little.  He will not show those that are not not priced correctly above the numbers.  Its like not even being on the market unless you just have a buyer that likes to look.

    Its must easier to sell your unit if you price it correctly.  Its much easier if it looks as well as it can.  Most sellers know this but most will not practice it.  It means money if you do… 

    307 Cotton Mill Condos Kitchen, New Orleans Warehouse District

 

307 Cotton Mill Condos, Warehouse District Condos Views

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Motivated sellers often give you the best deals in your New Orleans condo purchase!

    When you are looking to buy a condo you want to get the best deal possible.  You can get great deals with short sales and bank foreclosures but the numbers are limited in the New Orleans condo market.  I work the Warehouse District fairly hard and there may have been only a dozen successful sales through banks in the last 3-4 years.  This would be a combination of short sales and foreclosures combined.

    Banks do not make it easy to purchase but motivated sellers surely do.  Their desire is strong and will work with buyers and agents to get the necessary things done to get to a successful sale.  This can be the subject of the next blog.

     The motivated seller knows the price has to be right.  The sellers motivation can change over the coarse of the listing process.  Your agent needs to know that things change quickly and suddenly when people are selling.  It may be the new job or lack of job.  It may be a new purchase.  It may be a divorce.  It may be a need to free up cash.  It may be a graduation or marriage.  Whatever the reason certain sellers are highly motivated to sell from the start. 

    They will price the condo to be the best in its price range so each buyer looking in that price range knows its a fair buy.  Buyers can easily find out the purchase of the condo through the buyers agent so in a flat market the value just does not go up unless positive changes are made to the unit.

   The motivated seller will make the condo easy to show.  The seller will do all the little things needed to have the place looking the best it can be.  This may be done with updates, repairs or using a professional stagger.  The seller will know these are important factors.  Some may just think its the price and they will be disappointed.

     One of the best sellers for a buyer is one who has a lot of equity and just needs to sell for a variey of reasons and just wants his money out of the property.  Just saying your motivated is not going to work as a seller, you have to do it.  An experienced agent should know and spot the changes that have been made and be able to feel the motivation.

New Orleans River

    The listing agent may or may not know if his seller is motivated strange as that may sound.   Your buyers agent needs to know as it can be money in your pocket.  Another oddity is that it does not always show up in the asking price. 

    I recently made an offer on a 200 k condo on Magazine Street that was priced OK.  It was on the market for a week and we ended up getting it for 175 k.  There were a couple of defects and the seller took care of those as well. It even surprised me that we got it for that price.  It was a two bedroom with parking with lots of quality updates.

    Another great motivation may come from a developer who has one condo left in a complex and just wants to finish up with the project.  Sometimes he is motivated to get the first units condo sold and will give extras.  You just never know…..

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The value of the Views !! Views Matter in the New Orleans Condo Market ?

      The value of Condo views in New Orleans condo market  may not be determined by some math equation or could it be found !  The value of the views is what someone will be willing to pay for what is considered a big plus in any condo complex.  In many complexes that sell from a developer you can see what units sell first and which ones sell last.  Simple:   Better views generally sell first !

     Many of the developers will  sell on square footage rather than location within the complex.  Early buyers get the prizes and end up with the higher prices when they go to sell their condo.  Some developers will sell the best views for more as they know they will demand more money. 

    The 3915 St. Charles condos or St. Charles Gardens did exactly that selling the condos on St. Charles Ave for $40,000 more.  At the time I could not see the value. As resales have come up the margins have help up or actually increased as the the lesser view units.  Five years later I was proven wrong.

1020 Esplanade Condo Views, French Quarter

     So, how do we go about figuring the value of a view when you are buying something you desire.  If you are buying a 200k condo would you pay $5,000 more for the best view?  How about $10,000 more?  How about $15,000?  Then you get to $20,000 more and then you say no because that is too much.  If that is the case then the answer is between 5% and $7.5 more for those units.  

   It is not always not that easy since most condos will have varying degrees of great views.  People do buy condos with bad views but when the market slows then they become harder to sell as buyers become more particular and want more for their money.   

1020 Esplanade Condos, Courtyard View

     I recently sold this French Quarter condo pictured above because it had the best views of any condo in the French Quarter for the 225k range.  The unit was not in good shape and will have a lot of updating to be done but the views are rare when you have 4 French doors overlooking the historic French Quarter. 

    In the end that was  the rare feature of this condo that could not be found in units costing $100,000 or more.  It did not hurt to have several balconies and a large 3rd floor patio.  The buyers and I knew it had a great future.   It was a condo located at 1020 Esplanade in an improving complex. 

French Quarter Update 2008

    As you move up in the price ranges of the condo views will become even more important to the buyer and they can buy what they can afford.  They know what they want and the extra money is generally worth the price. 

    In the French Quarter you do the same thing with the value of balconies that have street views.  That can be another blog within itself.  Second floor balconies are my favorite unless you can get Mississippi River Views.

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That one thing you might be missing to set your New Orleans Condos above the rest.

    With over 90% of home buyers searching online for a new home your home must make a great first impression. 
 
    The first impression is a lasting impression!  In a buyers market sellers compete with sellers.  If buyers are not impressed what they see online they will move on to the next listing. Ready, Set, Stage! works with you and your Realtor to put your condo or home on the “must see” list for today’s home buyers. 
 
Cotton Mill Condos #303, Extra Like Room
  
     Ready, Set, Stage! will help you prepare your condo and home’s sale and help you get the maximum return with minimal investment.
      Staging your home or condo  for sale has an average 343% Return on Your Investment and is recommended by 91% of Realtors.*
 
    What is Home Staging?
      Home Staging is the art of preparing your home to sell. It is not about decorating; Staging creates a lifestyle that buyers are looking for and helps them make an emotional connection to your home. In today’s competing market this is essential.
 
     Why should I Stage my Condo?
           
     When you make the decision to sell your Condo it becomes a product.  Staging sets your condo apart from competing condos in the New Orleans Market.. Today’s buyers are lookingfor “move-in” ready homes and condos. Staging is a marketing tool. When added to your Realtors marketing plan you have homes that sells faster and for more of the asking price!
 

 

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Staging Advice pays off big time ! Getting your New Orleans Condo in top shape is very important!

    I just had a young couple, Lauren and Taylor that called me to list their condo in the New Orleans Warehouse District at the Cotton Mill Condos.  They had already called a stager-decorater to come give them advice on how to make the condo look better in the sales process.  I got  there before they started to unclutter and repaint a portion of the condo.  I reviewed the plans and everything she said made a lot of sense.  We added a few things then the sellers were ready to start their work.  They wasted little time as you want the resign to be finished before the first buyer comes.

    The  owner of  Bella Home Staging  is  Suzanne Gindy.  Her expertice was in telling  the sellers on the things they could do to make their condo sparkle in the buyer’s eyes.  She charged for her time and advice.  Her initial charge was only $100.  The sellers did all the things she was asking for.  Many will need a follow up visit but Lauren and Taylor did not need one.  The basics were

     The focus here was on the wood floors, large windows and high ceilings as these is why people like the Cotton Mills as a place to live.  You want the buyer to say ” I want to live here and can see myself  settling in very quickly”.

Cotton Mill Condos #303, Extra Like Room

     The best thing about the this approach is that it works and pays big dividends if you follow the plan.  Once Lauren and Taylor finished the makeover and cleared the clutter we were ready for out first showing.  The very first buyer that looked at the unit make an offer and it was accepted.  Rather than taking less and staying on the market for a much longer they followed the plan and it worked to perfection.  The condo sold and both the buyers and sellers were happy.

    Today’s market is such that you want to be in the top three of your class so people will consider your condo.  The positives have to outweigh the negatives in the eyes of the buyers.  There are fewer buyers so you have to feature the positives of the condo so you will be the best in your class.  Many buyers will not see past a junkie place or one that is not ready for sale.  It just takes more work.

    Suzanne  Gindy knows more than I do about the staging business so why not look for advice from one of the best.  She has a variety of programs but this initial step is well worth the money.  I fully support any effort to make a condo more ready to sell in a much shorter time frame.  My job is to get people in the unit through marketing the condo in the best possible light.  Working on a premium unit makes the photos, flyer’s, videos, Internet ads all look so much better.  People start off looking at pictures and staging gives you some great photos.  Its is very much like a beauty contest so looking and feeling best  is the way to go !

Cotton Mill Condos #303, Breakfast Area and Kitchen

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New Orleans Condo Trends for June! Bits and pieces of knowledge!

     The market is odd for a couple of reasons.  The most suprising is that you never seem to have more than 4 or 5 good choices in New Orleans when you consider all your criteria.  There are not a lot of new units coming on the market but not a lot selling either.  Buyers are looking for the premium units where nothing has to be done.  They of course have to be priced right as well.

     Sellers have to Stage and Update !  I recently listed a condo at the Cotton Mill Condos where the owners hired a young lady to give them tips and ideas to get their unit ready for sale.  Some was painting and getting rid of the clutter.  They followed her directions to a great degree. 

     It was time and effort but it worked.  It sold within the week and I know this is why it did.  Both units in their final choices were down this way.  I was even surprised at the effectiveness and I do this every day. 

     Sellers have to slot their unit to be competitive !  This means knowing what your competition is and what the final choices are going to be before you list.  You need to be slotted to be one of the best in that class.  A seasoned agent that works the market can show you where you need to be.  Selling a place is all about timing.  Take the steps to make you unit compete like the Cotton Mill couple.  This save time and make you money in the end. 

       Tax credit rush is over but interest rates are at 4.625% this week !  That means the cost of money is as cheap as it has been for 30 yeas or more.  Borrow a 100k and you principal and Intersest is around $520.  The tax credit di create a flurry of activity and many who would have bought in May and June pushed up their buying to April.  Once the flurry ended there will be a lull.

Warehouse District Street of Small Office Buildings

      The weakness is still in the one bedroom unitsThe weakness is in condos that need to be updated.  The premium units are getting all the action as things have reached that lull.  The Louisiana Oil Spill has not helped but may mean if you are buying the sellers may just say yes to a lower offer than they would have taken in April.

     The photo above is in the New Orleans Warehouse District where a lot of renovations are being done. I can easily count 8-10 complete renovations in the initial stages of work.  This was not the case in the last three years so I know someone has confidence in the New Orleans market. 

      Maybe its the “gone factor” of no longer having Mayor Ray Nagin running the show into the ground week after week.  Breath of Fresh Air Now!

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FHA ends spot approval for Condos 2-01-2010! Now financing is more important than ever! It means more buyers for your condo! If you are on the FHA list.

The FHA spot approval process ends today. In the Metro New Orleans Market you can borrow up to $287,500 for a purchase of a condo or home used as a primary residence.  The value of an FHA loan is the low down payment of 3.5% and the lower mortgage insurance fees.  The interest rates are generally the same as a conventional loan.  The VA loan generally follows the FHA list as well.

Most of the condos that I sell will no longer qualify for the FHA loan unless they are on the approved list. Few associations have been added to the list in the last ten years. With easy money it was not needed. Times have changed and many companies will not lend on condos unless you have 20% to put down. This will slow sales and end up decreasing values in certain segments of the condo market. This is the under 300k market.

fha-loans-on-new-orleans-condos

If you live in such an association where most of the sales are under 300k you need to ask the management company and the homeowners association to look into getting you condo association to be put on the list.  Its not an easy process and takes at least two months.  Why Would you want your HOA to pursue this ?   Read the rest of this entry »

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Eric Bouler Realtor
Gardner Realtors
Metairie - New Orleans, La. USA