This housing report made us very happy

Plus, want international buyers?

Grace Townsley
February 04, 2022

TGIF🕺 💃     

Us Brits love us some royal families. Well, not all royals are British. There are some American ones too. Let us tell you about Her Serene Highness the Principessa Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi. She might just set a record, and not just for longest name.

Principessa was born in Texas, built a successful career in NYC, then fell in love with an Italian prince. When he passed away in 2018, she became the sole owner of Villa Aurora, a one-of-a-kind 32,000-sq foot estate in central Rome. It’s home to the only known ceiling painting by Caravaggio. That alone is estimated to be worth a bonkers $350M! Now she wants to sell the estate for $532 million, which would go down as the most expensive home ever sold.

If she’s looking for an agent, someone tell her to call us 😉

- James and David

It’s now smarter to buy than rent

Source: Clever Real Estate

According to a recent Realtor.com report, in 75 of the 100 biggest U.S. cities, it's now more affordable to buy a home than rent one. Buying does come with extra expenses, but for homeowners who plan on putting down 10% and staying put for at least three years, their monthly out-of-pocket can be relatively low. The average mortgage payment is $1,407 a month compared to $1,651 for rent. 

The top 10 markets where buying beats renting:

  1. Fort Myers, FL
  2. San Antonio, TX
  3. Scranton, PA
  4. Riverside, CA
  5. New Haven, CT
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Cleveland, OH
  8. Buffalo, NY
  9. Detroit, MI
  10. Chicago, IL

Our take

As real estate agents, we love seeing stories like this. You should print them out and send them to every client afraid to pull the trigger on buying their first home. This is a good reminder that it’s nearly always better to buy. Those clever landlords can (and often do) raise rent every year, especially in hot rental markets like LA, NYC, and Miami. There’s more long-term financial security when you buy than rent, and when you buy, you’ve got an asset that keeps getting more and more valuable.

WFH is taking on a whole new meaning

Source: Slate

Instead of working from home, what if you could work from an office that was also your home? Apartment developers are quickly making this a reality, converting more than 12,800 office buildings into living spaces over the past two years. Developers are snagging these giant empty boxes for cheap, and they don’t have to do many renovations. Most important infrastructure pieces – stairwells, elevators, parking – are already in place.

Philadelphia and Washington DC converted the most offices in the past two years, but Los Angeles and Cleveland are currently leading the way this year.

Our take

This is a classic (and modern) example of supply and demand. No one wants offices right now, and there's a low supply of housing in big cities. This is a great chance for you to build your business. New niches mean new areas of opportunity! Start looking up which companies are doing the developments and see if you can partner with them to help find tenants. 

A new take on the old brokerage model

Source: 8z Real Estate

8z Real Estate, a brokerage in Colorado, is changing the game for agents. Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • It's possibly the only employee-owned brokerage in the country
  • Once employees meet certain metrics, they're promoted to full-time and given a salary paid on top of their commissions
  • These partner members also receive 401K matching, healthcare benefits, profit-sharing, and an ownership stake
  • The brokerage’s agents average $12.5M in sales and 21 transactions a year, exceeding national norms

Our take

We’re always interested in hearing about new models and compensation methods like this one. But when it comes to picking a brokerage, we believe brand matters more than compensation. If your brokerage doesn’t have a good (or any) reputation, they could make you feel like the king of the world, but you could be missing out on big listings.

Schematics 

The news that just missed the cut

Source: Realtor.com

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

Now that the borders have been open for a couple months, much of the demand we’re seeing in the luxury market right now is from international clients. If you want to work with this growing group of buyers, follow these best practices: 

  • Network. Reach out to the top agents in other cities, states, and countries. Offer yourself as a referral for their international buyers. That’s a huge source of business!
  • Learn how to handle the complexities. Research how the buying process works for non-citizens. It’s more complicated, but once you’re an expert, the referrals pour in.
  • Work your social media. Market yourself as a go-to agent for overseas buyers. Answer questions, post tips, follow international hashtags, and post your success stories.

Q&A

You asked, we answered!

Q: How do sellers find the right agent for selling their property? What are some major red flags that should cause potential clients to run?

- Laura M., Scotland

A: A big red flag is an agent who overpromises. If they’re telling you they’ll sell your place for waaay over market value, they’re just trying to get your listing. To find a good agent:

  • Research local agents online
  • When you’ve found a potential agent, check out their website and social media to see how active they are
  • Look up their track record to see how many sales they’ve completed recently and at what price points
  • Get referrals from your friends and family

Have a question for us?! Send it here.

Just in Case

Keep the latest industry data in your back pocket with today’s mortgage rates:

Source: Rocket Mortgage

We're always looking for feedback on our newsletter to get better, so if this is your first time reading, or you want to share something with us, hit the reply button and let us know.

Enjoy the weekend.

- James and David

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