“Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air, the summer’s out of reach.” – Don Henley
In the blink of an eye, another summer is gone.
Feeling a little melancholy? It’s OK, Labor Day gives us mixed emotions, too!
But on the plus side, this holiday also marks the end of the lackadaisical home buying & selling season (finally)!
No matter the season, one thing remains consistent: your Realtor’s Weekly Roundup!
Here’s a look at this week’s issue:
- Latest Economic News—it’s (still) all about The Fed
- Summer home sellers survey results are in!
- Current mortgage rates as of this morning.
- These U.S. cities are the best (and least best) for agents.
- How to level up your Google My Business game!
- Another quick tip to improve your video content.
- And, just for fun—what’s the oldest building in your state?
(If you like our newsletter, we encourage you to share it with your SOI. We think they’ll love it!)
From everyone at the Today’s Agent office, we wish you a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!
Latest Economic News—It’s (Still) All About The Fed!
Last Friday, we previewed that Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, would be making comments to end the big Jackson Hole economic symposium that day and that those comments could have the potential to move financial markets.
Well, his comments certainly did move the financial markets.
Powell reiterated The Fed’s commitment to bringing down inflation and actually used the words “unfortunate costs” and “some pain” to describe what he believes is coming for the U.S. economy as they continue to raise interest rates.
This sent the stock markets into a bit of a tizzy last Friday, with the Dow dropping more than 1,000 points.
The “pain” continued on, with all the major stock indexes down this week going into today.
Another important piece of economic news is this morning’s release of employment data for last month.
The labor market added 315,000 jobs in August, which was close to economist’s estimates of 300,000. The unemployment rate went up slightly to 3.7%.
We’re less than three weeks away from The Fed’s next meeting when they are expected to raise interest rates again. The question remains by how much, with estimates ranging from a quarter point all the way to a full-point increase.
Today’s jobs numbers are in the “goldilocks” zone—neither too hot nor too cold. So, they probably won’t have much influence over The Fed’s upcoming decision.
Remember, mortgage interest rates don’t necessarily follow in lockstep with The Federal Reserve’s moves. However, they are influenced by their actions, so we could see mortgage rates continue to increase.
Stay tuned—we’ll keep you updated on the latest financial news affecting you and the real estate market.
Summer Home Sellers Survey Results Are In!
The Realtor.com 2022 Summer Sellers Survey was just released, and it’s a cornucopia of valuable information for any agent looking to understand current real estate trends.
The survey was conducted between August 9th and 12th, and shows a return to more normalcy in the real estate market.
After two plus years of outsized home appreciation and sellers having all the power, rising rates and cooling demand, are bringing back some balance.
Among the survey results we found most interesting:
- Almost 90% of surveyed sellers used a real estate agent to sell their home. Millennials were the demographic group with the highest usage of agents (at 92%) while Baby Boomers were the lowest (62%).
- 80% of sellers used some sort of home value estimation or tracking tool during the selling process.
- The Covid-driven work from home era has affected the real estate market. The top reported reason for selling a home was “After so much time at home, we want different features/amenities.”
- While the market saw a reduction in buyers requiring home inspections during the pandemic, inspections are back in full force. 82% of buyers required an inspection during the time period of 6 to 12 months ago, but that percentage has jumped to 95% in August.
There’s more in the survey results that you’ll want to check out. You can read the full report here. (And this would be a great one to share around the office!)
Current Mortgage Rates as of This Morning
Mortgage interest rates are higher this week, with the 30-year fixed at just over 6 percent.
The current national averages (as of this morning) are:
- 30-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 6.08% (last week’s = 5.88%)
- 20-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 6.07% (last week’s = 5.80%)
- 15-year fixed mortgage rates are averaging 5.25% (last week’s = 5.08%)
- The average 10-year fixed-rate mortgage currently sits at 5.33% (last week’s = 5.13%)
- Today’s average 5/1 adjustable-mortgage rate is 4.45% (last week’s = 4.34%)
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) weekly report for the week ending August 26th showed mortgage applications decreased by 3.7% from the previous week.
“Application volume dropped and remained at a multi-decade low last week, led by an 8 percent decline in refinance applications, which now make up only 30 percent of all applications. Purchase applications have declined in eight of the last nine weeks, as demand continues to shrink due to higher rates and a weaker economic outlook. However, rising inventories and slower home-price growth could potentially bring some buyers back into the market later this year.” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting.
These U.S. Cities Are the Best for Agents
“Location, location, location.”
That catch phrase not only applies to real estate properties, it can also apply to real estate agents!
Because where you do business can make (or break) your success!
The folks at House Method dug into which U.S. cities rank best for real estate agents.
They sliced and diced data from the 100 largest cities, focusing on factors like median home value, days on market, annual wage (and more) to create their city rankings for agents.
Here are the 6 best U.S. cities for real estate agents, according to House Method:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Gilbert, Arizona
- Chandler, Arizona
- Orlando, Florida
- Henderson, Nevada
- Boise, Idaho
Conversely, here are the 6 worst cities for real estate agents:
- Detroit, Michigan
- Cleveland, Ohio
- New York, New York
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Buffalo, New York
- Chicago, Illinois
To see the full list of city rankings, visit here.
(Rankings like this can be a bit controversial, so if you think your city belongs higher on the list, let us know!)
Level Up Your Google Game (In 5 Easy Steps)!
We know you have a seemingly endless number of options for where you can invest your marketing efforts. And it can sometimes seem overwhelming.
But it’s important to understand which of these options offers the best return on investment for your time, because some are definitely better than others.
We visualize real estate marketing as a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are the must haves—the foundational marketing activities that must be in place before you move on to the “fancier” stuff.
We believe that Google My Business (GMB) is one of those foundational items that needs to be in place to help form the base of your marketing pyramid.
It’s a powerful tool that costs nothing, but many agents seem to undervalue (or entirely ignore) it.
There are two reasons you should take the time to fully optimize your GMB listing:
- Potential clients are searching for agents every day on Google. A well-done GMB profile can help you show up near the top of the search results and land you new business on “autopilot.”
- At some point, anyone who is considering working with you is going to Google your name to see what pops up. How (or even if) you show up in Google can make or break their decision to work with you.
We could write an entire book on Google My Business for Realtors (and actually are), but for now, here are 5 actions you can take immediately to level up your profile today:
- Ensure your name, address and phone number (referred to as “NAP” by SEO professionals) is identical everywhere that it’s listed (your website, broker’s website, Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, etc.). That means down to the way you list your name and how you abbreviate your street address. It all needs to be EXACTLY the same, character for character. It’s an important way to “lock in” your profile with Google and signal your legitimacy.
- Fully complete your GMB profile. Fill in every blank you can. There will be some items that you won’t be able to control directly. Google scans the internet and adds some info based on what it finds. However, focus on controlling what you can and fill in every field you can.
- Add more photos. And once you’ve added more photos, keep adding photos (and throw in some videos for good measure). A study conducted in 2019 (you can read it here) found the average GMB profile had just 11 photos, but those with more than 100 photos received 5 times the phone calls and 10 times the website clicks as their peers!
100 photos may seem like a lot, but just make a routine of taking pics throughout your workday and uploading a group each week. You’ll hit that 100 threshold in no time!
- Reviews are the king and queen of high rankings for your GMB listing. Gather as many as possible and respond on Google to every review you receive (positive or negative). This is an important signal to Google that you are a real, active business worthy of ranking in their search results.
- Utilize the “Post” and “Products” options with Google My Business. Think of these like posts on Facebook or Instagram and you can easily repurpose your social media content for use on GMB. (Keep in mind that Posts disappear in seven days, but Products do not.) Savvy agents use these options to feature home listings, promote open houses, offer CMAs and anything else they can think of to generate more activity on their GMB listing.
If you take the time to optimize your Google My Business profile, it can turn into a lead generating machine—working for you day and night!
Another Cheap & Easy Secret to Better Videos
Last week, we shared a Quick Tip about using a lavalier microphone to improve the quality of your video’s sound. (You can read that article here.)
We heard from many of you that you appreciated the help with your video content and wanted more of the same. So, we’ve got another tip this week to help improve your videos.
If you’re using your phone to capture video of yourself, there are two styles you can go with.
One is holding the phone, either in your hand or using a selfie stick. You’ve probably seen this style frequently on YouTube. There’s a lot of movement and if it’s done right, can be a very engaging type of video.
However, that approach doesn’t work for everyone and every situation. For a more professional looking video, you may want a stable phone while filming, so you can stand (or sit) in front of it with your hands free.
If that’s the style of video you want to film, we’ve got the solution for making it easy. You’ll just need two inexpensive pieces of equipment.
The first is an Adjustable Camera Tripod. Here’s one from Amazon that costs under $20.
The other item on your shopping list is a Phone Tripod Adapter. This one is less than $10 on Amazon.
The Phone Tripod Adapter screws onto the top of the Camera Tripod.
The Adapter is spring loaded, so your phone pops right into it and is held snugly in place. It also rotates, so you can film with your phone in a horizontal or vertical position.
Most Camera Tripods adjust in height from around two feet tall to five feet tall (or even higher) and have adjustments for all three axes, so you can position your phone in a wide range of heights and in any angle.
The combination of these two (and don’t forget your lavalier mic) gives you everything you’ll need to film professional videos and wow your clients!
Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.
Do You Know the Oldest Building In Your State?
The oldest buildings in each of the 50 states include military forts, religious missions and log cabins.
(Spoiler: New Mexico has the nation’s oldest continuously-inhabited community in North America—Acoma Pueblo.)
Click here to find out the oldest building in your state!