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Left Behind

It’s highly likely that almost every single one of you already read the Yahoo! Finance article about the survey that Chase recently completed. For the seven people who decided to take a nap under a rock last week, I’m going to share some of the major talking points here – the rest of you can step away and have an ice cream or paint your cat’s toenails.

First off, the survey shows that an ALARMING 68% of Americans are starting the home search on their own (gasp!) with 45% using a computer or laptop (as opposed to some other type of technologically advanced processor like a microwave oven) as the first step in this search and 13% using their mobile devices. (In other related news from the Department of the Obvious, scientists have found that fish still have no use of a bicycle and looking directly at the sun is inadvisable.) With numbers like these, we should just throw in the towel and join the circus, right?

Here’s the weird thing: in the very same survey, they found that homebuyers – after all’s said and done – rely on the pros to get the deal done. In fact, roughly three quarters (that’s scientific talk for “every three people out of four”) of Americans want to meet with a mortgage professional to consider their financing options; these same people feel that a realtor is essential. Yes, you read that correctly: ESSENTIAL!

The survey also reveals a couple of other things that allow us to be optimistic:

• 72% of homebuyers don’t plan on staying in their home for the long term. A big part of that mindset is based on a “fear of missing out” – in other words, homebuyers are viewing their residences more like a wardrobe: it needs to change as their life changes (a starter condo downtown could be the real estate equivalent to a concert t-shirt and jeans while a 5-bedroom rambling ranch in the suburbs might be a Brooks Brothers suit). The key, of course, is for us to be the clothier and the tailor that accommodate ALL of these wardrobe changes (with no wardrobe malfunctions).

• 66% believe that the value of their home will increase over the next five years. Couple that with the “fear of missing out”, and you have a very motivated mindset to help you sell a lot of real estate.

While there’s very good reason to be optimistic (I’ll pause here while you do the happy dance), this doesn’t mean we’re returning to the Pre-Bust days when anyone with a pulse could sell a house or write a loan – and that’s a VERY GOOD thing. Our performances MUST live up to the expectation that we are professionals – that the homebuyer’s belief that we are ESSENTIAL is well founded. How do we do that? We learn that one extra new “thing” each day; we put in an extra hour or two to make sure we know and can do more than the people in the next office over who are off eating ice cream or painting their cat’s toenails.

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