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December 2007

November 2007

Do Homes Sell In The Winter?


This is a question that is asked a lot by Buyers and Sellers at this time of year, especially here in the Poconos where winter conjures up images of being snowed in, huddled around the fireplace, drinking cocoa by candlelight.  The fact is, though, that we do manage to live fairly normal lives here in the boondocks, snow and all =)   March_2007_003

In a normal market, believe it or not, sales through the winter are fairly steady.  Traditionally my best income comes in in the second half of the year.  I am not sure what makes this so here in Monroe County, but the dead of winter does not mean sales are dead.  In a normal market.  Honestly I don't know what to expect this year as it has been anything but a normal market in 2007.

There are lots of reasons why people may choose to take their house off the market for the holidays and re-list in the spring...probably the main reason is just pure convenience.  Selling a home is tough, especially if you live in it.  And keeping it in showing condition over the holidays and through the slop of winter can be tough.  But, if you are able to stick it out and deal with the hassle, you could be rewarded with a sale, yes, even at this time of year.

One of my best-est, favoritest clients sent me this article and I thought it was interesting enough to share (thanks, Bri).  Unfortunately, I can't find the source to give proper credit, or a link.  If you're the owner, please send me an email so I can give you some link-love! The comments in parentheses are mine:


11 Great Reasons to.... LIST YOUR HOME DURING THE HOLIDAYS (and through the subsequent Pocono Winter!)

1 - People who look for a home during the holidays are more serious buyers. (Those who finagle their appointments in between January snow storms are serious too!  One does not trudge through the snow to look at homes because there is nothing better to do)

2- Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you. (Truly, even this year when inventory is up there are not all that many really nice listings on the market right now.  Those who were listed late summer and fall are now off the market and waiting for spring.)

3 - Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home.  Less demand means less money for you. (Competition is bad, very very bad.)

4 - Houses show better when (tastefully) decorated for the Holidays.  (Save the romper room look for your new house.)

5 - Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays so they are more likely to pay your price. (Nothing like a beautiful new home as a gift for the family!)

6 - Buyers have more time to look for a home during the holidays than during regular weekdays.

7 - Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax purposes.

8 - January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait until Spring to buy, you must be on the market during the holidays to capture that market.

9 - You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings during the six or seven days during the Holidays. (Keep the restrictions to a minimum if possible, though.  As stated previously, buyers out looking at this time of year are pretty serious.  So accommodating them can be in your best interest.)

10 - You can sell now for more money and we will provide for (aka negotiate into the contract) a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year.

11 - By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring when many more houses are on the market for less money!! This will allow you to sell high and buy low. (Life doesn't get any better than that, baby!!)

Community 'Get out the Vote' Effort

I thought you'd like to see what our awesome Volunteers on the Penn Estates Government Relations Committee are up to.  What an energetic, enthusiastic group!  Each year our voter turnout gets bigger than the last and this Committee is determined to get the Community to flex its political muscle in order to get the attention of officials in Stroud and Pocono Townships of Monroe County, PA.  Call me an optimist but I think it's working!

Identity Theft Prevention Tip

Recently my 82 year old mother became a victim of identity theft.  Someone from Kentucky stole her name and social security number and opened a credit card with Capital One.  The culprit not only received the card, but they charged it to the limit and never made a payment. 
All of this was discovered when she inquired into moving into a different apartment.  Upon inquiring into her credit, the landlord informed her of this account with Capital One which had been placed for collections.  This is where the fun begins.
Viking Both my mother and I have spent countless hours on the phone  being transferred between departments at Capital One.  From one ignorant or unhelpful representative toe the next, each time resulting in an ultimate transfer direct to their collection agency.  Needless to say,  this has become a very stressful and frustrating situation.  These so-called "Customer Service Representatives" either hung up the phone or refused to transfer our call to a supervisor.  When asked to speak with the fraud department, they asked for the account number of the credit card, and transferred the call right back to the collections agency.
Now I know why Capital One has that commercial about vikings pilaging a suburban mall.  After several unsuccessful attempts to reach the appropriate individuals in the fraud department,  I felt like pillaging Capital One's corporate offices myself.  The truth is that Capital One is just as guilty as the person who stole her identity in that they granted this credit without asking for any identification.  This whole situation destroyed my mother's credit in the process.
The one thing I learned from all of this is that you can avoid identity fraud.  You need to write to all three credit companies(Equifax, Trans Union, Experian) and ask to add a "Consumer Statement" to your credit report.  This is a statement that tells any potential creditor, who is inquiring into your credit, that you must be notified by telephone before extending credit.  This is a safety net in the event that someone is using your identity.  Each time your credit is inquired this statement will appear on your credit report. 
At least this can avoid any potential future problems.  The next time someone asks you "What's in your wallet?", tell them it's none of their business.

Contact info for the three credit reporting agencies: