We Specialize In These Des Moines Area Communities

Altoona - Ankeny - Carlisle - Clive - Des Moines - Johnston - Norwalk
Urbandale - Waukee - West Des Moines - Windsor Heights

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Website Warnings: Why You Shouldn’t Trust Sites Like Zillow

Unfortunately, most listing websites out there feature inaccurate information. Today I want to talk about how you can avoid being misled by them.

Today I’m joined by Amy Schafer, our lead buyer specialist, to discuss something that applies to you whether you’re a buyer or seller: website warnings. When we talk to both buyers and sellers, one of the first questions that we ask is how they find their homes. More than 90% of people nowadays start their search online, with Zillow and Trulia being two of the most popular listing websites. When we list a house, we send that listing’s information to roughly 300 different websites. While all this exposure can be a great marketing tool for sellers, it can be counterproductive for buyers to search all these different websites in the hope that they’ll find a different listing they haven’t seen before. What happens when listing information is exchanged between so many online sources is similar to the game of telephone you probably played in kindergarten—the actual information gets diluted to the point where whatever ends up on Zillow is wildly inaccurate and highly unreliable. A key factor you should be wary of when it comes to this is timeliness. In our market, homes can sell very quickly. Many times, we’ve sold a house before its information even reached Zillow. If you’re relying on a site that’s even further down the line than Zillow, you may end up chasing a home that’s already been sold.

Don’t get caught chasing phantom listings.

If you frequent Zillow exclusively, don’t trust their Zestimates—they tend to be inaccurate because they’re determined by a preset algorithm rather than current market activity. You’ll also see a lot of what we call “phantom listings.” For example, they’ll list a home on there as a pre-foreclosure and act like it’s for sale, but in reality, it’s only an indication that a seller has simply missed a payment on that house, and it’s not actually for sale. Where should you go for your real estate information? Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you should always go to experts like us. We have a brand-new website called www.sarconeteam.com that’s updated daily with a hot sheet of new listings. We also have some mobile apps that are available for you to download. For buyers, another great source of information is the MLS, which we use during all of our buyer consultations. That way, when we have a property that matches your criteria, we get notified about it right away. If you have any questions about this or any other real estate-related topic, please feel free to email us or give us a call. We’d be happy to help!

Our 2016 Preliminary Market Wrap-Up

As we near the end of 2016, our market has leveled out considerably. However, as you’ll see, there is still good news for buyers and sellers heading into the last part of the fourth quarter.

2016 is almost over, so it’s time to look back on what’s happened in the real estate market over the past year to get a good idea of what you should expect heading into the last months of the fourth quarter. At the start of the year, the market was so strong that we couldn’t list homes fast enough. Current sellers have the perception that the market is still that strong, but it’s actually slowed down since then. There are still a few hot areas in our market, but that’s more due to the attractiveness of specific price points. In general, we’re seeing price reductions across the board. Since perception is what we’re dealing with, it’s worth mentioning that many people assumed that the market must have been crazy year over year during the summer, when in fact the third quarter numbers (July to September) tell a different story. Compared to the third quarter of last year, the difference in the number of homes listed was literally just one house: 4,771 in 2015 vs. 4,772 in 2016. As you can see, after the initial onslaught, things leveled out considerably.

It’s still a great time to buy or sell in our market.

In predicting what will happen for the rest of the fourth quarter, we look at seasonality and year over year numbers. We’ve been talking about an impending downshift for the last 18 months or so, and now with the election over and interest rates beginning to rise, we should see that downshift happening soon. However, there is still good news. Though they’re beginning to increase, we still have great interest rates. If you’re a buyer, you can still save a lot of money by buying a house now. Not only that, but you’ll have less competition from other buyers. If you’re a seller, you should see a lot of buyers entering the market very soon because they thought they couldn’t compete in the previous quarter’s market. These buyers are less likely to suffer from buyer’s remorse, and during the inspection period, they’re less likely to get cold feet and flake out. As with buyers, you should also face less competition. Stay tuned for our full 2016 market recap coming in January. In the meantime, if you have any questions or you’re thinking about buying or selling, please reach out to us so we can help you be on your way!

How to Jumpstart Your Real Estate Career

Our team has had a record year and will likely be growing. Here’s how you can get involved.

I am happy to be joined today by Amy Schafer, our lead buyer’s agent, to talk a little about our team and how we help those who are interested in a career in real estate get started.

This year has been crazy. It’s been a record year for our team. Since we’ve been growing so fast, we have been getting a lot of questions about how to get into the industry. We’ve got a lot of different roles on our team, and some of them don’t even require a real estate license.

We have a school here at Keller Williams to help you get licensed if real estate is a career you’re considering. We have regular career nights here at KW and also teach a live class for the 60-hour pre-license. We also teach listing practices, buying practices, and developing professional ethics, which are the three classes you need to complete to get your license.

We'll help you get your real estate career started!

The total time for the classes is 96 hours, but we make it fun with Amy as your instructor. Another good contact for you to have if you’re thinking about a career in real estate is the Professional Licensing Bureau, which deals with the Iowa Real Estate Commission. Gaby, our agent services coordinator, is also available to help walk you through the process.

If you have any questions for us or would like to talk about getting a career started in real estate, give us a call or send us an email. We can send you some information so you can determine if it’s the right fit for you. We look forward to hearing from you soon!