One of our clients had recently contracted with a local web development firm to create a site for her. We often host sites for clients as courtesy and we agreed to do so this time as well.
We called the folks she’d hired and when we told them we have our own servers, without the typical “point and click” type interfaces you get with the major hosts (like GoDaddy, etc), there was silence on the other end. Sure enough, within an hour, they said they preferred to host it themselves (thereby incurring more charges for our client).
This might be sort of “get off my lawn”-ish, but our firm has been around 10 years & our head tech guy has been writing code for 20 years. Look, we like new technology and love automation. But at some point, SOMEONE has to know how a web server works.
We strongly recommend that before you hire anyone to build a website for you, ask them a simple question: DO YOU WRITE CODE? If the answer is “uhhhh,” we humbly suggest you call someone else. And if you ever want a sanity check, feel free to call/email us. We are good at sniffing out the sharks. 🙂
Yowza, it’s been over 6 months since we’ve blogged! So much for leading by example, eh? Let’s try to make up for it with some rock-solid analysis of the Charlotte market.
Now that’s a healthy market. But how about some areas within Mecklenburg?
Okay, so Union County has seen a slight decrease from 2014, but other than that, there isn’t a shred of bad news in here!
Both Charlotte & Mecklenburg County are sitting with just over 5 months of housing inventory. That means in many areas we are in a full-blown seller’s market. There are a whole lot of subdivisions with fewer than 4 months of supply: Collins Park, Barclay Downs, Sedgefield, Merry Oaks, Elizabeth, Madison Park, and Chantilly, just to name a few.
If there are sellers in there considering selling, now is a great time. Or, so says the postcards you should be sending… 😉
It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen seller’s markets, so enjoy it! Even the areas with high inventory are typically not more than 9 or 10 months. Just a few years ago, 9 months inventory would have been considered very good.
If you’ve been in the business for a few years, we don’t need to tell you that we’ve gone through many years of a strong buyer’s market in most areas. But the tide seems to be turning.
As of May 1, the following popular neighborhoods in the Charlotte area have fewer than four (4) months inventory:
Stone Creek Ranch
To put in perspective — 6 months is considered a “balanced” market, i.e. neither seller’s or buyer’s market. For most of the past 4 years or so, inventory around Charlotte was anywhere from 9-14 months or so. But suddenly, inventory is very low in a lot of areas.
What do I do with this info?
Farm, farm, farm! If there are homeowners in those areas who are even considering selling — now is a great time. Many (if not most) homeowners have no idea just how much the real estate market has changed in the past year. The agent to deliver this news may very well be the one to get the listing(s).
And don’t forget that our IDX service comes with an “Absorption widget” that you can put on any website. This allows you & your clients to see inventory stats for any neighborhood in the Charlotte metro.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, you know that the entire country has gone through a real estate downturn. Across the country, the “market peak” varied from 2005-2008 or so, and in some areas (i.e. Las Vegas, Phoenix, areas of Florida, etc), values in 2013 are still up to 40-50% lower than they were at the peak.
For the metro Charlotte area, on average, current values are around 13% lower than they were in 2007 (which, in general, was the market peak for the region). Overall, not too bad. But surprisingly, some areas are doing quite well.
Neighborhoods such as The Peninsula, Cedarfield, Midwood, and Birkdale have actually surpassed their 2007 values. Others, such as Baxter Village, Chantilly, and Piper Glen are within about 5% of the peak.
Given how low inventory is right now (under 6 months in many popular areas), now is a great time to encourage homeowners in hot areas to put their homes on the market. Use our market stats plugin or the graphs available in neighborhood analyzer to create content for your blog and/or postcard campaigns. It’s been a long, long wait, but in some areas it’s actually a seller’s market!
In this day & age, buyers and sellers want information, and lots of it. And you have an MLS membership with ability to pull any sort of statistics you like. So we now have a quick & easy way for you to transform those numbers into a neat & tidy chart, like this one:
We’ve had a couple clients lately who have told us that a web firm they were considering hiring told them that our IDX is “incompatible” with the website they are proposing to create.
Let’s make 1 thing clear. An IDX is a property search. There are many ways to implement it, but there is no such thing as an “incompatible” IDX. So why are web firms saying this, then? Well, 2 reasons.
Some of our national IDX competitors offer affiliate programs. Meaning, if your web firm gets you to switch to “Globo IDX,” they receive a chunk of your monthly IDX fees. It’s the same as you steering a client to a particular appraiser or mortgage broker because you’re getting a kickback (except in your case, you have to disclose it!)
A web firm might be fantastic at visual design or information architecture, but often they are operating with a “plug & play” content management system, such as WordPress, Joomla, etc. These are great systems, and allow a “non-programmer” to configure a pretty nifty website. However, they sometimes lack the ability to do much “out of the box” customization. And so, not only do they want the affiliate revenue (see above), but they would just prefer a “push-button” IDX that they don’t have to tinker with.
Here’s the problem. Real estate is, at its heart, a very local thing. No national IDX firm will offer the sort of Charlotte-specific data metrics we do. They aren’t going to take the time to figure out that Dilworth is both in Area 5 and Area 6, or that “Ballantyne” isn’t a neighborhood, but a large area of South Charlotte.
We usually don’t use this blog to pimp our products, and we obviously have a vested interest here, but right is right, and some of these web firms are just not being honest. Bottom line, any time someone tries to steer you to a particular product, ask if there is an affiliate relationship. And if your new web guy can’t/won’t integrate a product they aren’t familiar with, ask us. We’ll be glad to help.