Press Coverage

PrivateCommunities.com Press Coverage

Publication: Deadline News
Article: "Selling Strategies That Ease the Squeeze"
Issue: March 1, 2008

To help get the housing market rolling again, you might have to get on the bus, hold an auction, lease back a model home or consider equity sharing, among the growing number of existing, new or lesser-known marketing strategies.

Take the bus and make it the "F" Line.

The "F" is for the growing number of foreclosure properties that have become bus stops along motor tour routes designed to put home sales on the fast track.

The Keenan Carter Group in Pismo Beach, CA became the darling of the bus tour set when its version was featured on "Good Morning America" on ABC-TV and a segment with Neal Cavuto on Fox News.

At $20 a seat, the tour bus also becomes a school bus between stops, serving up information packages on each property. Riders get spreadsheets on mortgage payment options, potential rental income properties could yield and refreshments.

The special focus on marketing foreclosures is not surprising, especially in California where the number of foreclosures exceeded the number of sales in January, according to foreclosure figures from ForeclosureRadar.com and sales numbers from DataQuick Information Services.

Other bus tours are driving into Florida, Las Vegas and other hard hit housing markets that have been flooded with foreclosures.

Driving a bargain on a bus isn't new, but using the strategy as a vehicle to move foreclosures is part of a current trend in special marketing, designed to help turn the housing market around.

Auctions are hot too.

• The fastest growing segment of the auction industry's real estate sector, residential real estate auctions, on or off line, experienced a gross revenue growth of 5.3 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to the Overland Park, KS-based National Auctioneers Association. In 2007 the association created NAARealEstateAuctions.com, a real estate auction multiple listing service (MLS) to handle the volume. Many, but not all, auctions are listed there.

Coordinated open house events are big.

• In Silicon Valley, April 13 will become "The Biggest Open House Day Of The Year," as sellers queue up to offer incentives and accommodate -- on the spot -- buyers who make an offer that day.

Second home marketing is getting a renewed spin too.

• Elisabeth Miller-Fox, president of PrivateCommunities.com says little is known about "model sale lease backs," a spin on lease options typically found in master planned communities.

The tight market is giving this tactic a higher profile.

"In second home communities the developer builds a model home which is fully furnished and beautifully appointed. The developer sells the model home to a buyer who is not yet ready to have a second home, but will be in a few years. The developer then leases the model back from the buyer for 'X' amount of time and continues using the model to generate more sales for the community. It's a win-win for both parties," says Miller-Fox.

Bozeman, Montana's Black Bull Golf Community; Quechee, Vermont's Quechee Lakes; and Ocala, Florida's SummerGlen adult community are just a few communities offering model home lease back deals.

"This is a very different segment of the market and not well understood by the media or the average buyer. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) & HGTV have done a great job of helping people understand the general real estate market and how it works, but there has not been a good conduit for information for the second home buyer in a private, master-planned community. This is a very different animal and a different type of purchase," she added.

• Home shoppers should also be on the look out for some financing flash to give savings-poor but income-rich buyers an edge.

Quincy Virgilio, president elect of the Santa Clara County association, says expect to see a return to equity sharing.

The creative financing strategy includes two parties -- one who occupies the home, another, an investor, who foots the bill for the down payment.

The symbiotic relationship has flourished during past periods of buyer-seller separation in the housing market.

Las Vegas-based Creative Real Estate Online publisher, J. P. Vaughan, also a trial lawyer and real estate investor says everyone can benefit from the strategy.

One person becomes a homeowner with little if any money down, the investor, with the down payment, can get a joint venture-like return on his or her money and a seller, in a slow market, could become the investor or otherwise use the technique to quickly seal a deal, says Vaughan.

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