Homeowners: Are They Stingy?

BLOG VIEW: A highly reliable source indicates there are more people wanting to buy homes than there are willing to sell them. The National Association of Realtors’ Housing Opportunities and Market Experience Survey from the first quarter of this year shows different attitudes between homeowners and potential buyers when it comes to timing. Check out the following differences:

  • 75% of potential buyers believe now is a good time to buy a home; and
  • 56% of current homeowners believe now is a good time to sell a home – down from 61% in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Buyers are ready to go, but nearly half of homeowners don’t seem to want to give up the goods. Real estate and lending professionals have been dealing with and discussing the lack of housing inventory in certain price ranges for quite some time, and many consumers who have been actively looking for and trying to buy a home have experienced it firsthand. The following question naturally arises: “If so many people want to buy homes, why aren’t more people interested in selling?”

I have a theory based on personal experience: I’ve owned my home for 15 years, I have equity, and my house is in a high-demand price range. I also happen to know over 200 licensed real estate professionals that I’ve met, corresponded, done business and become friends with over the last two decades. With the exception of a random, occasional postcard from a Realtor who bought a farm list, I have not been contacted with any type of marketing that provided me with or asked me if I wanted any information. Knowing it’s easy for Realtors to find out that I’m a ripe candidate for a move, I was amazed that I never receive any current market data or even general offers to tell me what my home is worth and discuss options I may have. That tells me there are a lot of successful real estate agents out there who are leaving money on the table by neglecting their spheres of influence. Who else are they missing – and how much more money are they missing out on?

Mortgage loan officers (MLOs) can score points with the public by interpreting and distributing information that points out options and opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise know they had. Doing this consistently, efficiently and with the right calls to action can also win favor with Realtors and balance (or even shift!) the power in your relationships with them. Just about any successful agent will tell you he or she would love to have more listings. The divide between buyer and homeowner attitudes is a great opportunity to send out a co-branded “Is now a good time to sell – why or why not?” letter to past clients and even farm areas to get your names out there and get them thinking. Real estate and mortgage have been regulars in the news for a long time, and they’ve become staple features due to audience interest. People are hungry for housing and market information, and the people who provide it to them on a regular basis in a professional, interesting way look like experts.

I don’t think that homeowners not currently interested in selling are stingy or intentionally obstructing the market – I just think they don’t get enough current, localized information to know why they feel that way. MLOs are perfectly positioned to serve their Realtor partners and consumers using real-time events and conditions. There’s a wealth of statistical, trend and market information available that can be used to educate and motivate consumers to engage – don’t be stingy with it.

Sue Woodard is president and CEO of Vantage Production, a CRM technology provider based in Red Bank, N.J. Prior, she was an award-winning mortgage originator, trainer and speaker. She can be reached at swoodard@vantageproduction.com.


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