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August 2009

July 2009

Virtual Home Staging

Staging a home is so important, but not always possible. 

In homes with unfortunate furnishings that can't be replaced or rearranged, one option is to have an interior designer or decorator do a "decorator board" which is a presentation board featuring renderings of the space with the ideal decor and arrangement -- hopefully designed to appeal to the lifestyle and sensibilities of your carefully targeted buyers.  This would also be an option for an empty home when the marketing budget does not allow for staging.  

There is another option...



Over at the Zillow blog, Sarah Greenleaf has an interesting post about virtual staging.  As she notes,

"You no longer need a warehouse full of art or access to a furniture rental store to stage your home....Instead, just send in photos of your empty room and see them come back digitally staged."

High quality digital rendering of interiors are now commonly used by developers, but are less commonly employed by agents.  Have you done this with any of your listings? 

Friends and Family


From The Savoy in London to The Plaza in New York, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has some really beautiful--even iconic--properties in great cities and destinations around the world. 

We all know that one of the perks of working for a company like Fairmont is that employees and their families get to stay at all these great hotels at incredibly low rates. 

Wouldn't it be great if you could pick any of their hotels or resorts and stay at the "Employee Family Rate"?

Well, Institute member and friend Laura Duggan has a real treat for you.  Laura's daughter Kerry Duggan works for Fairmont Hotels and they are sharing the love. 

Now through the end of the year you can enjoy HUGE savings off their best published rates by using the Friends and Family discounts they are sharing with us. 

Laura's always said that being part of the Institute feels like being part of a big family.  It sure feels good to get treated like family.  Thanks Laura!

(Disclaimer: We don't work for Fairmont or have any affiliation or relationship with them.  Nor do we profit from this offer.  We simply thought it was a really great deal and a wonderful thing for Laura to share.  If you have questions about it, or just want to say "Thanks!" email Kerry.)

Jumbo Loans: How's the Market?

It's tough to get a jumbo loan these days. 

Over at Altos Research, Scott Sambucci thought it might be interesting to crunch some numbers and look at the overall market trends in the top price quartile to see if the action in the market might reflect this.  You can see his analysis in the post Jumbo Mortgages & Housing Market Prices. 


His conclusions from the data: 

  • Fewer new listings are coming onto the market at the higher end of the top quartile.
  • The homes that are selling in the top quartile are mostly at the lower price points around $650,000--within the bounds of conforming loans.
  • The listings that are coming onto the market in the top quartile are priced, "above the price of homes exiting the market, but are also priced below the Jumbo mortgage threshold."

What might this mean?

  • Buyers that may have bought a more expensive homes are bargain-shopping while taking advantage of the tax breaks and mortgage products in the conforming market price range.
  • Non-distressed sellers in this price range may have decided to simply stay out of the market this year.

Keep in mind that that data he's looking at is a National index, and like an "average national temperature" in a weather report, it might give a good sense of the overall trend in global warming, but it sure won't tell you if it's particurarily hot in Houston. 

So, with this in mind, I ask YOU:

How's the market?

In your market are you seeing what Scott's seeing? 
What IS happening in YOUR market?

Discussion lamp lit.  Post a comment.

Most expensive sale of the year and other rumblings

Yesterday the Aspen Times reported the sale of a 21,400 square foot home  on four-and-a-half acres for $43 million in a cash deal.  At $43 million, this is would appear to be the most expensive home reported sold in the U.S. so far this year.  The Wall Street Journal has picked up the story here.

In a skim of the headlines for other cheery news, we see Bloomberg reporting Rich Russians Returning to U.S. Property Lured by Lower Prices and China Daily reporting robust luxury home sales in large Chinese cities.  In Beijing Q2 sales in the city's 30 most expensive residential projects were up 100% year-over-year.  The story suggests that the strong market is being driven by overseas buyers and a concern for wealth preservation.  As one buyer notes, "You have to find a place to invest your money, and high-end property is the best investment choice to maintain the value of assets."

If your market is seeing more distressed homeowners than foreign buyers, remember that our upcoming August Webinar for members will cover the new rules for Short Sale Success.  Watch your email for registration information. 

New Partnership with Napa Consultants, International

We're pleased to announce a partnership with Napa Consultants, International, a leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm specializing in personal and company branding, website design and internet/social media marketing.

Many of you already know managing partners Ron & Alexandra Seigel from the recent Stand Out or Bow Out! conference call we did with them (recording here) and their Language of Luxury blog. 

This partnership will bring more opportunities to collaborate on calls, webinars, and videos, as well as new benefits for Institute members.  Members can find more details on the new Napa Consultants, International page in the "Members Only" section of our website.


Ron & Alexandra love to talk branding and marketing strategy and host Language of Luxury discussion groups on many of the popular social networks:

Twitter: luxurymarketing
, BrokerAgentSocial, Plaxo, Linked In, ActiveRain, RealTown, Facebook

Drop by and say "Hello!"

Are YOU the MVP?

Our friends at Proxio and Inman News have launched a search for the 100 "most connected" Real Estate professionals -- the first annual Proxio Most Visible Professionals (MVP) in Real Estate Challenge

If you are a master of social networking, tally up your connections, and show them how connected you really are!

The 2009 Top 100 Most Visible Professionals will be featured on Proxio’s international website, and the Top 25 will be recognized in a press release and at a “MVP Mixer,” co-sponsored by Inman News, at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on August 4, 2009, the evening prior to Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2009. 

 The search concludes July 24th, so time is of the essence. 

Happy networking!

(Hint: if you are planning on attenting Inman Connect SF 2009, you'll find a VERY nice registration discount on the MVP page too.)