Real Estate Marketing & Technology For the Future

By Rey Post, Managing Editor & Associate Broker Sotheby’s International Realty

The sophistication of current real estate marketing, communications, and technology tools and techniques is pretty astounding. Some examples: 3D modeling of properties by New York City technology innovator Floored.com, home management and organization software developed by California based HomeZada, and the online marketplace service that connects real estate agent listings with buyers developed by Philadelphia-based BuyerMLS.

All three of these companies participated in last year’s FWD Innovation Summit hosted by Realogy Holdings Corp at their Madison, New Jersey headquarters. The June 2013 event provided a number of companies with an opportunity to demonstrate who represented the “…most innovative technology product or service designed for the real estate industry.” A panel of judges gave the three companies referenced above first, second, and third place awards (respectively) for their cutting-edge technology innovations. Realogy Holdings Corp is a global leader in real estate franchising with several company-owned real estate brokerage brands, including Sotheby’s International Realty.

The three companies who won awards at Realogy’s 2013 innovation event are meeting the challenge of providing technologically creative ways for real estate agents, home owners, buyers, and sellers to communicate with one another, as well as market properties that are for sale.

Most real estate brokerages are also making sure that their websites are responding to consumer preferences, offering efficiently retrieved and visually appealing information pages. In addition, easily performed and fast online property searches are what savvy home buyers are seeking and real estate websites which offer these functions are the ones that typically get the most Internet traffic.

Also, iPads, smartphones, and other mobile devices continue to grow in popularity as the preferred tools for securing real estate information. This has required that online real estate advertising and information are fully adaptable to mobile device usage – for instance, more than 80 percent of smartphone users will delete messages that are not formatted in an easily read and appealing fashion.

All of us seem to have less time than ever to accomplish day-to-day tasks, let alone address all of the elements of today’s real estate transaction. The process is more complicated today due to – among other things – Federal mortgage lender requirements.

Buying and selling a home requires that consumers, their real estate agents, and every other professional involved in the process be at the top of his or her game. It’s logical that the latest technology and cutting-edge marketing and communications techniques are seen as absolutely essential tools in the process. Add to this the fact that the purchase of a home is probably the single largest expense that any consumer will ever have, so is it any wonder that there is a high expectation by every buyer and seller that real estate professionals employ the best methods, devices, and tools to achieve the end goal of success at the settlement table?

The “All Things Real Estate” (ATRE) marketing and communications platform embraces this marketplace reality and strives to use our unique delivery system – weekly radio show, newsletter, and website – to highlight the newest advances in the field of real estate. Show listeners have come to expect that we offer the latest news and information about trends in real estate, as well as advice on how best to navigate the intricacies of the home buying and selling process.

Our guest commentators – some of the best in their respective fields – come from every part of a home buying/selling transaction: mortgage, title insurance, property management, home inspection – to name a few.  We also offer commentary on the radio show and in our newsletter/blog from experts with extensive knowledge on issues important to every home owner including home construction/remodeling, accessorizing, interior design, landscape design, roof maintenance, homeowner association issues and many other topics. Other professionals who are part of our team of commentators bring valuable real estate related information to ATRE like investment strategies to protect real estate assets, as well as special community events and organizations important to home owners.

We invite you to take advantage of these resources, all of which can be found at our website (www.ATREradio.com), including information on the content of our weekly radio show (which streams to listeners all over the country each Sunday), as well as what our newsletter/blog has to offer on a range of real estate topics.

And lastly, all the latest marketing, technology, and communications tools in the world are only as good as the team that makes them work. Besides our excellent commentators, ATRE is also very lucky to get major support from the Hutton Broadcasting/SantaFe.com team, as well as the highly professional marketing staff at the Santa Fe brokerage of Sotheby’s International Realty. Most significantly, this newsletter and the other parts of the ATRE platform are made possible via efforts of Adrienne DeGuere, our Editor (who is also a Sotheby’s International Realty Office Administrator), as well as Mike Root, IT Support at Sotheby’s International Realty, who manages the online elements of ATRE.

We thank you for using ATRE for all of your real estate related needs. So, for now – and until next month – I wish you good luck and fortune in “All Things Real Estate.”

The House of LOVE

A benefit for Many Mothers by Emily Garcia of Sotheby’s International Realty

Come tour a magnificent and historic Santa Fe Estate and landmark in our skyline and get to know the most nurturing non-profit in our community. The Seller of the Tano Castle and Emily Garcia of Sotheby’s International Realty are proud to host an Open House for Many Mothers.  Present at the event will be volunteers, moms who have received services from the non-profit, and several important Board Members, such as Valerie Plame Wilson, writer of “Blowback” and a beloved member of our community.

A local chef will hold court in the expansive kitchen, offering a special treat and beverages. Come enjoy live music in the Library, the Many Mothers community in the Grand Great Room, and Emily Garcia in the Master Wing, answering questions about this very special property.

Many Mothers provides free, in-home care to any Santa Fe family with a newborn. Over the last 15 years, Many Mothers has provided free, in-home support and mentoring to over 600 new mothers and has helped care for nearly 1,000 babies and their siblings. Come, find out more, and consider joining the organization as a volunteer.

You’ll enjoy panoramic views from the majestic and grand Adobe Castle!  The 10,000 square foot estate has classic Santa Fe Style with Saltillo tile, tongue and groove or hand-carved vigas, soft adobe walls, nichos, fireplaces, as well as hand-carved doors.  You will be able to tour several living areas, a library, gourmet kitchen, formal dining area, and the master wing. Appraised at $3.8 million, now available for $1.5 million, don’t miss this rare opportunity.

Eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy a one-of-kind open house that will open your heart!

Sunday, April 27th 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

14 Tano Point, off of Tano Road

Suggested Donation: $10

All funds to benefit Many Mothers

To learn more please visit manymothers.org, an organization that provides free, in-home care to any Santa Fe family with a newborn.  Many Mothers is being profiled as part of the All Things Real Estate “Unique Destinations” series.

Helping Your Landscape Survive Dry Conditions

By Gene Butler, President, The Firebird

irrigation_drip_demo_gardenUnfortunately, after the early winter snow storms, Santa Fe has had virtually no moisture so far this year.  To make matters worse, unseasonable warmth in February has caused winter bulbs to come up early and some trees to begin budding.

In normal winters, snow on the ground, including snowfalls that have already melted, provide a springtime moisture supply.   Since that is pretty non-existent this year, homeowners need to be proactive now in order to protect their landscaping.

Trees, shrubs, and perennials need some supplemental watering before the spring growing season begins.  Keep in mind most nights are still below freezing; the historical last frost date in Santa Fe is around the middle of May.

You can simply drag out the garden hose and water everything on a warm day.  Do this every week or so.  Underlying soil may still be frozen in shady areas, so don’t overwater.  Be sure to disconnect the hose afterwards so that faucets do not freeze.

An alternative is to turn on your drip system to water landscaping.  If you do so, run the system manually and be sure to drain and disconnect the parts that need to be protected from freezing.

Watering now in one way or another is critical to the health of your landscaping.  It is important to keep your plants adequately hydrated now so that they are not drought stressed when the growing season starts.

REMINDER

Did you buy a high efficiency wood burning stove, fireplace, or insert in 2012 or 2013? Don’t forget to take advantage of the $300 federal Biomass Tax Credit.  Simply file IRS Form 5965 to save $300 on your 2013 tax return.

For more information visit www.thefirebird.com .

 

The Home Builder’s Perspective on New Mexico Legislature, 2014

By Kim Shanahan, Executive Officer, Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe recent conclusion of the 30 day legislative session was more whimper than bang.  Some watchers of the sausage factory that is New Mexico government say that is a good thing.  Our conservative friends say government doing little is government doing its job.  If true, they should be happy.  Our liberal friends are frustrated that wheels of progress are not turning, but must take comfort with “no harm, no foul.”

Home builders, who pay some of the highest worker compensation insurance rates (passed on to consumers), sought a simple reform of rules so that when workers who injure themselves or others while inebriated on a jobsite are not eligible for automatic benefits.  The compromise was that medical bills are paid for injuries, but sitting-at-home benefits are not.

Such a notion seems logical and uncontroversial but it hit the House Labor Committee and was tabled (killed) on a 4-3 vote along party lines.  It was portrayed as anti-worker and anti-family, which is ironic since the same inebriated worker could leave the same jobsite and smash his truck into another vehicle, doing harm to himself or others, and wind up in jail on the taxpayer’s dime.  Yet drunk-driving jail time is not portrayed as anti-worker or anti-family.  Oh well, we’ll be back next time to persuade our Democratic friends this is NOT a partisan issue.

Our Democratic friends did sponsor an excellent bill for home builders that got great traction but ultimately ran out of gas.  Santa Fe Representative Carl Trujillo carried a bill to provide modest state tax credits to homeowners who did energy and water efficiency home improvements.  Home builders have pointed out for years that if we are serious about reducing energy and water consumption we must address existing homes.  Look for Trujillo’s bill next year with full support of our industry and, hopefully, a bipartisan legislature.

Estate Sales Are a Terrific Option

By Stephen Etre, Co-Owner Stephen’s, A Consignment Gallery
(An Interview with Managing Editor Rey Post)

stephensQ. The “All Things Real Estate” radio show audience is aware of the fact that the gallery is known for organizing estate sales. Is this year presenting the public with some good options in this area of gallery activity?

A. Yes, Rey, for many years we have worked with home owners, real estate brokers, estate and trust professionals, as well as banks and real estate attorneys with disposing of the contents of a home via our estate sale services.

Q. And these types of events will occur throughout 2014, correct?

A. Yes, we have already staged several events since the beginning of the year and via our newly designed website, our clients can learn of upcoming events. Just go to the “calendar” page on the site for days and times of upcoming estate sales (www.stephensconsignments.com).

Q. There are many ways an estate sale can evolve, correct?

A. Indeed. When there has been a change in the circumstances of a home owner, perhaps as the result of emotional circumstances like a death, or divorce – or simply via a planned move to another state – we are contacted with a request to handle the sale of the contents of the property.

Q. But isn’t it true that an estate sale is not always the best way to handle the sale of the contents of a home?

A. That’s very true. It depends on a number of issues: the value and array of items at a property (do they warrant a public estate sale), whether selling the home’s contents via the consignment gallery would be a better strategy, etc. Also, there are better times of the year to handle an estate sale due to weather, plus some home locations pose challenges, like insufficient parking, general access to the property, etc.

Q. How do you make that decision?

A. We always need to visit with whoever is representing an estate at the actual home location. We carefully evaluate the contents of the property and make a recommendation about the best route to take. This initial consultation is always complimentary. And if we resolve to go this route, then we put together a major plan (e.g., review and price every item for sale, stage the property for the sale, and devote advertising and promotional work, etc.).

Q. So, for any home owner there are many options for disposing of the contents of a property.

A. Yes, and after 30+ years of being in business, we have a pretty good formula for helping our clients make the best decision on the direction to pursue.

312 East Berger Street

By Adrienne DeGuere, Editor and Office Administrator, Sotheby’s International Realty

312-BergerErected in 1935 by celebrated architect John Gaw Meem, this classic territorial home nestled in Santa Fe’s beloved South Capitol neighborhood sits on 1/3 of an acre with a main house and guest house totaling 3,672 square feet.  Meem built the house for Berkeley Johnson, a World War I veteran and national commissioner appointed by the President of the United States to sign several water compacts, including the Pecos River Compact signed in 1948 to oversee allocation of water from the Pecos River between New Mexico and Texas.

Also of historical interest, the guest house was used at one time by George Blodgett, sculptor and husband of Helen Hyde of Hyde Park renown.

The home’s features include a loft/library overlooking the living room graced with 15 foot ceilings, clerestory windows, and original oxblood concrete floors.  The modernized kitchen offers handmade cabinets and a corner kiva fireplace set level with the granite countertops.

Set on a corner lot with close proximity to the Plaza, Canyon Road and the Railyard, this property includes four bedrooms, three baths, office and sunroom, attached guest house and brick courtyard for outdoor entertaining.

Exclusively represented by ASHLEY MARGETSON
505.920.2300 ashley.margetson@sothebyshomes.com

January 2014 Home Sales

By Abigail Davidson CRS, ABR, SRES, CLHMS, CNE  Broker Associate, Sotheby’s International Realty

The following information has been compiled to provide you with updated information on sales in Santa Fe and its surrounding areas for January 2014. These statistics are for all Santa Fe residential home sales including single-family homes, condos, and townhomes.

There were a total of 141 home sales in December and 100 in January.  December prices ranged from $76,500 to $2,119,000. January prices were from $55,000 to $1,825,000.  Total sales volume for December was $54,488,959.  January’s was $42,409,153.

The average sales price in December was $376,446 and January’s was $424,091. The median sales price for December was $276,525 and January’s was $310,000.  The average number of days on the market in December was 164 and January’s was 170.   Here is how the number of sales per price-band reported in January 2014:

  • 58 Homes sold for under $350,000
  • 14 homes sold from $350,001 to $500,000
  • 23 homes sold from $500,001 to $1,000,000
  • 5 homes sold from $1,000,001 to $1,825,000

The Sales to List Price Average was 95.79 percent. 35 of the 100 homes sold were cash transactions and accounted for $16,149,497 of the total dollar volume – 38 percent. This is consistent with what we saw in 2013.

 

Interior Designer or Interior Decorator…Is there a difference?

lisa-sam2By Lisa Samuel, Owner, The Samuel Design Group

I thought you would never ask! Yes, there is a difference. An interior designer is an individual who has a college degree in the field of Interior Design, such as a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. The laws of each state will govern either a Title Act or a Practice Act in the field of Interior Design. There are levels to achieving the “professional” status of Interior Designer. Appellations such as ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) or IIDA (International Interior Design Association) set apart the individuals who have become certified by the National Counsel for Interior Design Qualifications.

One of the other big differences is that a licensed interior designer is required to document and prove that he/ she has completed approved continuing education credits. There are health and safety issues to consider as well as building codes that must be known by interior designers.

An interior designer can make the best decisions in your home whether it is new construction, a re-model, or even re-decorating.  The skill range of a trained interior designer is vast and varied. Some interior designers have acquired additional education in different areas of expertise. One example is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, in which the designer becomes certified in the field of making homes functional as we age, utilizing wider doorways, better lighting, etc. So, not only can an interior designer decorate your home but a designer can also do much more with flair and knowledge and skill. Please refer to the American Society of Interior Designers for more information on this subject.

The Importance of Creating a Will

Michael Anaya and Eric Schultz, Agents, New York Life Insurance Company

A will is one of the most important documents you’ll ever create in your lifetime. Your will can clearly state who will be guardian of your minor children, who will inherit your assets, when they will inherit your assets, and any conditions that must be met for them to receive your assets. Yet, according to a legal services website RocketLawyer.com, almost 50 percent of Americans do not have a will.1

If you die without a valid will, the court does not have your instructions to follow, and it has no way of knowing how you may have wanted to distribute your assets. The state where you lived steps in and makes the decisions for you, according to the distribution schedule set forth in its intestacy statutes. The state’s decisions may or may not conform to your wishes, or do what is best for the people closest to you. And your loved ones will likely have to hire an attorney and incur delays to determine who will receive your assets.

Common misconceptions.

My assets are so small that a will is not necessary.

You are generally worth more than you think. Even if some possessions do not hold great monetary value, they could hold an enormous amount of sentimental value—and that’s something you can’t put a price on. Failing to indicate who receives these treasures in your will can cause friction among family members that lasts for decades.

When I die, my spouse will get all of my assets.

Maybe, and maybe not. Any assets held jointly with right of survivorship automatically pass to the joint owner. And assets with a beneficiary designation, such as IRAs, life insurance, and annuities, pass as stated on the beneficiary form. What happens when your surviving spouse dies? What happens if your beneficiary form is outdated? Will your children receive their share at too early an age? Does your spouse have the financial skill to manage the family wealth?

I can create a will on my own and save the legal costs.

“Do-it-yourself” wills often do not contain all of the necessary components as required by state law. Anyone who might benefit from an invalidation of your will can contest it, and if the courts decide in his or her favor, your estate may have to pay for all legal costs. The few dollars you save now can cost your loved ones thousands of dollars later.

I don’t want my final wishes to be set in stone. I’ll create a will later in my life.

The terms of a will can change as often as needed. Legal experts agree that you should reexamine your will periodically to make sure it is up-to-date. A will should receive a “checkup” whenever there is a substantial change in your life.

How to create a will.

Drafting a will is difficult and is not an endeavor you want to tackle single-handedly. It’s important that you call on the services of an estate-planning lawyer. A lawyer might help you:

  • Determine what type of will you need
  • Make the right decisions as to how your assets should pass
  • Change the terms of an existing will, if appropriate
  • Save on estate taxes
  • Take advantage of estate planning opportunities people often overlook

Life insurance and wills.

How does life insurance fit into the picture? Life insurance is a vehicle you can use to help make sure your estate has the cash needed to pay expenses at your death, such as funeral costs, debts, and estate taxes. Without liquid assets, the estate may be forced to sell assets—securities may have to be sold in a down market and other assets may have to be liquidated at a discount. In most instances, life insurance proceeds are paid income tax-free to your beneficiaries. If desired, life insurance can be owned by a trust or a third party and also not be subject to estate taxes.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Creating a will forces each of us to come face-to-face with our own mortality—and dealing with death is difficult. But it will be much more difficult for your loved ones if you don’t have a will. To ensure that your will is legally viable, seek the services of a qualified attorney to draft and refine it.

Neither New York Life, nor its agents, provides tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, or accounting professional before making any decisions.
1Yahoo! Finance, “Half of Americans with Kids Set to Die Without a Will,” May 6, 2012, Lisa Scherzer, The Exchange, http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/half-americans-set-die-without-193140015.html.

 

Architectural Review: Benefit or Burden?

By Tom Simon, Managing Member, Westgate Properties, LLC

Architectural Review (AR) or the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) or Architectural Control Committee (ACC) all refer to the same thing: maintaining visual harmony in the community through peer review of your architectural plans.  Whether the AR is a benefit or burden has much to do with the process by which AR is implemented in your community.

Like any human relationship, good communication is key, beginning prior to a homeowner purchase.  The AR regulations should be provided to the purchaser as part of the disclosure process during the purchase transaction.  Once buyers becomes homeowners, they should receive a welcome package that includes information about AR, including under what circumstances they need to seek permission to make changes to their home, the application necessary to get the process started, what they need to provide with the form, and an estimate of how long it will take for the association to respond.  This process will go far in communicating the expectations of the association to new homeowners and will also give them some comfort that the association will respond to their request promptly.

The ARC or ACC is the governmental body that reviews the application, and in New Mexico, it must include at least two board members.  I recommend adding three non-board members to the committee for a total of five.  If you have a five member board, I recommend that they not also serve on the ARC if the ARC is a busy committee.  There are two primary reasons for this: (1) you don’t want to “burn out” your board members by giving them too much to do and (2) if the homeowner doesn’t like the response of the ARC, the homeowner can appeal the decision to the full board.  This is a good mechanism for all committees in that it gives the owner a grievance option, other than litigation.

These steps will go far in making Architectural Review a benefit that helps preserve the visual and interpersonal harmony of the community.

Tom Simon is a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS) and Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) and Managing Member of WestGate Properties LLC.  Email him at tom@westgatepm.com