What Percentage of Real Estate Houses For Sale Are Sold to Buyers?

If you were thinking of buying a home in a particular suburb, a good place to look before you leap is the local print magazine right? So I had a look in our local magazine, thinking as a buyer, how would I pick a Real Estate Agent that would help me get good value?

Here are excerpts from some ads I found in this month’s magazine:

“Vendors are accepting that the market has moved in favour of buyers and are trimming their expectations as to the price they will accept.”

“Buyers appear to be confidently returning to the more settled and realistic market.”

“Want to sell for top dollar? …The best chance of maximising your sale price.”

“Whether you’re buying or looking to sell your property an d need a successful sale in today’s changing market – Call Us”

“It is a good time to sell before the cold month’s set in”

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I Bought a Two Story House, There was the Story Before I Bought the House and the Story After I Bought The House

Have you heard of buyers remorse?

Wikipedia defines it as ”
Buyer’s remorse is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item such as a vehicle or real estate.”

The most common reason for it, I believe is lack of knowledge, training and experience on the part of the buyer. Real Estate Agents are trained in the art of selling. They are equipped to sell you the house they want you to buy. They know how to sell the sizzle. They know NLP. They know how to create FOMO. They are trained negotiators, they can even play you off against each other.

Unless you have a Buyers Agent, and they are few and far between in some countries, you as a buyer have very little experience. You probably haven’t even read a book about buying a house. You have no systems, you have people around you with opinions and you don’t really have enough money to get what you want.

Many say it’s impossible for young people to buy a house today. That’s not true, people are doing it. But you need to be smart.

In the following short video, I will arm you with some information to help you understand how Real Estate Agents work and some ideas on how you can get them to work a little more to your (and their) advantage.

After you have bought, it’s all yours baby. If you’re not happy, if it doesn’t really meet your needs, it needs too much work, the neighbors are loud and have 4 dogs, the commute to work takes forever and public transport is even worse, guess what? In hindsight maybe you could have been better prepared

The following short video can help you with that. It’s FREE. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m just trying to level the playing field a little in your favour.

If you have bought before, I’d love you to share some tips and experiences. If you’re in the industry, share your feedback. I know there are lots of great Real Estate Agents out there. Tell us why working with you is good for buyers and vendors.

I’m keen for comments and questions from you.

Posted in Australia Real Estate, Buyers Agent, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, Canada Real Estate, commuting, Family, First Home Buyer, home, house hunting, Location Based Consultant, Location Based Education, Millenials, Mistakes Buying a House, neighborhood crime, Neighbors, Neighbours, New Zealand Real Estate, Paying too much for a house, People, Real Estate, real estate agent, Selling a House, The Location Guru, Traffic jam, UK, UK Real Estate, US Real Estate, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I think an Autonomous Vehicle Won’t Be Able to Reliably Guess Where a Pedestrian Will Go

In 2016, Volvo ‘promised’ that we would have ‘Deathproof Cars’ by 2020. That’s next year! You may also recall that about this time last year, an Autonomous Uber Volvo crashed and killed a pedestrian. According to the NTSB the car spotted the pedestrian 6 seconds before it hit and killed her. Volvo then said that their system relied on the ‘driver’ who was watching a movie on the entertainment system to apply the brakes in an emergency situation. Is that reasonable when they are allowed to watch TV. I often don’t hear someone speaking to me when I am engrossed in something.

The insurance industry is very interested in risk with driverless cars, especially given the same brand, Volvo, said in 2015 that they would indemnify drivers of AV’s. That’s pretty cool because imagine if for the lifetime of the car you didn’t have to pay any insurance. That’s a pretty good saving on the premium you pay for these vehicles.

So back to pedestrians. While I’m waiting for approval for my back fusion surgery from ACC, I go for a daily walk. I have found a fairly flat walk to our local beach, which is part of my core fitness regime.

In New Zealand we drive on the left hand side of the road so you would think that pedestrians facing others would also make way for them by keeping left. Not so in my experience. Some think that way, but most just walk where they walk, it may be that they want to be farther away from traffic or they just don’t think about it at all.

In busy urban environments many solo walkers have developed a system where they can avoid bumping into other people. They often make eye contact, make an almost imperceptible move towards the left or right and monitor to see if the other person has likewise recognized this and moves the other way. Usually this works so well we are almost unaware of the communication.

It works a large percentage of the time, but if a hundred people are at a busy crossing, I bet that at least 2 people will do that St Vitus’ Dance where they both go to the left, then they both go to the right and then they stop in front of each other and apologise, like ants sharing information as they march to the food store.

On my walks I find people who are oblivious, deep in thought, or perhaps listening to something through their headphones or noise cancelling earbuds. They don’t move.

There is the Alpha Male (I have fun with them, maybe there is a little alpha in me too). They want to show their domination by deliberately not moving even after that eye connection. They want me to move, but I don’t. That confuses them because it works most of the time. I find that often if I look them firmly in the eye, they will grudgingly move at the last possible moment.

There are the directionally challenged people who can’t walk in a straight line.

There are people who suddenly change their mind. You see them all the time in supermarkets and shopping malls. They are walking in a certain direction as you walk behind them, then they suddenly turn around and walk smack into you, perhaps thinking that they are the only person in their little world.

In those malls you also have the person facing you who hasn’t moved for 5 seconds, pondering their next purchase. Suddenly they remember where they are and why, and march straight into your face.

The same happens with people crossing the road. I think I’ve seen everything. People step on the road and step off. They go half way across the road and change their minds. They go all the way over and change their minds. They stand and move as if they are going to step and don’t. They run across the road. They ‘silly walk’. They stop in the middle of a lane waiting for someone else.

I’m sure you get the point by now. I keep going back to Dan Ariely. People are predictably irrational. How do you train a car AI to understand how people will behave, when the people don’t understand themselves?

Marc Hoag of the Autonomous Cars podcast had an interesting thought about the insurance topic in Episode 83. There are more elements to the human problem. Humans programmed the computer algorithms. People installed the sensing equipment. Someone has to make sure that firmware upgrades are installed. I wonder if Volvo thought of those things when they made their ‘promise’?

So if humans will bump into each other more than 1% of the time and they create the ‘intelligence’ to stop cars bumping into each other; and in an autonomous vehicle crash, they still want to blame humans for the fatality (if I recall correctly they blamed both the pedestrian as a first reaction and then the hapless TV watching ‘driver’). Then there is a risk of human fault inherent in the system, and I haven’t even mentioned the people who built the computer or the LiDAR system as an OEM for the car manufacturer who installed it after having an argument with the boss, or the dense fog or ambient light that stopped it from sensing effectively.

Bottom line? There are many unresolved issues that need to be addressed before insurance companies are prepared to cover driverless cars. I wonder if they will consider them more risky than human driven cars for a time?

So humor me and try this exercise when you get the chance. When you see someone walking the other way on the pavement next. Walk on the same side of the pavement and don’t veer. See what happens. Of course don’t do it when they are supervising children and don’t in any way risk that anyone could hurt themselves. Most of the time we do have a pretty good human radar guidance system, but it takes two to tango and I bet you will do a dance with someone in the near future if you try this.

I welcome your comments.

Posted in accidents, Artificial intelligence, Autonomous cars, Autonomous Trucks, Car 2 car, car accidents, car crash, car insurance, car safety, Car Technology, Communications, Concept Car, connected cars, distracted pedestrians, DistractedDriving, Driverless car, Driverless Cars, driverless vehicles, driving, future car, Futurist, insurance, insurance risk, Intelligence, Intelligent Transport Systems, IoT, ITS, LiDAR, Motoring, People, people tracking, safer driving, safer journeys, safety, Smart Car, Smart Cars, Smart City, the future, traffic design, Transport, truck safety, uber | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thousands of People in England and Wales to be GPS Tagged

I just read this BBC story where after a 17 months pilot, the MoJ is going to put tags on thousands of criminals, mostly in preference to community sentences which are obviously expensive to manage.

In the past they used GPS to monitor people on home detention, with alerts being triggered if they leave the proximity of a geofence around their homes.

This is smart because a lot of these criminals are recidivists and many are stupid enough to commit more crimes even while wearing the tags, which also have tamper alarms.

This makes it easy for Police to gather evidence after a crime has been committed and I suspect, based on the numbers they are talking about, that this is likely to be more common than sending Police out when these criminals have breached their parole or sentence conditions.

Why? Because tracking the alarms of thousands of people is also very costly and is often the fatal flaw in GPS tracking systems like this. Budget is generally provided for the hardware, but not enough is provided for a security company or other agency to monitor alarm activations. So most people are tagged, a radius geofence is set up around their place of residence and that’s it until its time for it to come off again.

Posted in ankle bracelet, bad gps, best GPS trackers, Best Practice GPS, burglary, cheap gps, cheating GPS, Crime, Crime Prevention, GPS, GPS Accuracy, GPS Ankle Bracelets, GPS Anklet, GPS Anklets, GPS Apps, GPS Excuses, GPS features, GPS Police Tracker, GPS Problems, GPS Test, GPS Track People, GPS Tracker, GPS Tracking, neighborhood crime, people tracking, Personal GPS Trackers, Personal tracker, Police, Police tracking, Prisoner ankle bracelet, track crime, Track parolees, Track Thieves, Tracking Apps, Tracking criminals, tracking missing peopl, Tracking stolen property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Get Notifications and Avoid Traffic Congestion During Christmas and New Year

I don’t know about you, but I hate being stuck in traffic. I live in Auckland, New Zealand where traffic congestion is a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in it. You have choices of time, mode or simply not traveling at all.

Google and Waze are becoming really good at telling you about real time travel times and showing you where the hot spots are and the NZTA has interactive Holiday Journeys information that you can use to plan ahead, providing traffic predictions based on history and other factors, so you can avoid the potentially worst times.

But once you have left, one of the best ways to find out about unplanned events like crashes, floods, slips or other things that will impact on your journey is social media. Departments of Transport all over the world have Twitter accounts where they share information very soon after they know about an event, as well as details such as detours, when it is likely to be cleared and when it has been cleared. They also provide images, video and links to where you can get more information.

Twitter is the social media platform that breaks a lot of news stories. But just because they are on Twitter, doesn’t mean you will know about them.

If you’re like me and follow thousands of accounts (sometimes just out of courtesy because they followed you), it is very difficult to get the information you most need, when you need it.

One of the podcasts I enjoy following is The Science of Social Media from Buffer, and today I was listening to one which was called A Marketers Guide to Decoding Social Media Algorithms in 2019. It was talking about how all social media platforms are constantly tweaking their algorithms. I’m sure you have experienced this. I frequently hear people complaining about Facebook and asking why they are mostly only seeing posts from particular people, when you used to see more from various groups. That’s because they have changed what they feed you, either because advertisers are paying them to, or because they think that’s what you want and you will spend more time on their platform.

Twitter is great for generic breaking news. Today as I write this, they think I want to know about:

  • People calling for President Trump’s resignation
  • Netflix’s Bird Box
  • Demi Lovato’s Recovery
  • A stabbed Police Dog
  • An ACC warning about social cricket and potential injuries ( I did once catch a ball in the goolies so I know about that one)

There is nothing about holiday traffic even though I follow dozens of travel information accounts. So how do I get that information from Twitter?

I get notifications.

Pick the Twitter account you want to get notifications from on your mobile and then at the top of the page click on the icon that looks like a bell. Hey presto you have the notifications page. You can select None, All Tweets or Only Tweets with live video. I have all selected and my iPhone delivers those with a beep whenever the ones I subscribe to post a tweet. Of course you can do that with any Twitter account. For Auckland, the one I get notifications for is @NZTAAkl. 

You can of course subscribe to notifications from as many accounts as you want and you can change these at any time. For example if there was an earthquake, I might subscribe to Civil Defense or a related account until the situation was over, or to the weather service during a severe storm. That way you don’t have to keep going back looking for updates.

If you were planning a trip north on the M1 Pacific Highway from Sydney to Newcastle in Australia right now, they actually have a Twitter Live Video feed for the Christmas Holiday period from @M1trafficNSW which live streams images from their webcams. So from Twitter you can hear Christmas Music, see live video and get updates. That would be great if I was heading up to Forster Tuncurry to see my friends on the coast.

Services like that exist all over the world, so if you are traveling over this holiday period, the way to make sure you don’t miss out on this free information is simply to search for the Department of Transport or equivalent Twitter account for the area you will be traveling in, subscribe to notifications and you won’t have to Tweet that no one is keeping you up to date. preferably do that well before you plan to leave, so that you can avoid an event if you haven’t left yet.

You don’t need an app (besides Twitter), it’s easy to use and free. The tweets also use very little data (except for Live Video, which sucks the juice out of your mobile’s batteries) If you’re in New Zealand, links to all of the NZTA social media links can be found here.

In most cities around the world you will find multiple Twitter accounts that you can follow and subscribe to. There are other places to look, but I would only go to the official ones provided by transport departments or councils because often information shared by other people is either incorrect or out of date. The last thing you want to do is stay home avoiding a crash that was cleared an hour ago!

Under notifications on your mobile there are a lot more settings, for example you can say whether you want to be able to see the notification when your phone is locked and the style of notification and even whether it makes a noise or vibrates your phone. new features are being added all the time and they of course are different depending on the brand and operating system of the phone.

Posted in Auckland, Australia, car accidents, car crash, cars, city GPS travel apps, commuting, congestion, Crash, driving, earthquake, emergency, Emergency Services, Flood, freeway, Google maps, holiday traffic, Intelligent Transport Systems, iPhone, Location Based Servces, Mobile Apps, mobile travel apps, nav apps, New Zealand, New Zealand Maps, News, real time traffic, road toll, road trip, safer driving, safer journeys, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, traffic, traffic congestion, Traffic Information, Traffic jam, Traffic Management, Transport, Travel, Travel Apps, Travel Information, Twitter, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kiwibuild Problems and Buying From a Plan

According to this story from Stuff and many more in New Zealand news media, many of the Kiwibuild homes, the answer for young people, first home buyers and those with low incomes, are failing to sell.

I don’t know the circumstances as to why people aren’t buying them when there is such a housing shortage. Some people are saying that the prices against market rates are still a little on the high side, others are saying that people want something more tangible than a plan, committing to a property that has not yet been constructed.

The new Suburb of Long Bay under Development

I was surprised that Kiwibuild was building in places like Te Kauwhata, given the main growth in the area is Baby Boomers leaving Auckland, who are looking for a mortgage free lifestyle change. Many are looking at reducing debt and downsizing and while some of these people escaping the city can afford slightly higher than local market rates, that’s not their choice. It’s about freeing up capital to retire on.

Some perhaps paid too much for their country homes, given the evidence that median prices have increased, but that may be lack of experience on the part of the buyer or great Real Estate Agents getting a good deal for their vendors, but buyers are getting a bit more wise to that.

I can understand why country houses seem cheap to someone who has just sold in one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. That house that is half the price of the one you left, seems cheap, but it has to be seen in relation to other houses in that town.

In my new eBook ‘5 Top Mistakes People Make When They are Buying a House‘ one of the things I wrote about which is intangible, but hugely important and that’s neighbors.

Many of these houses are built so close together with 3 floors and very little land. There are sections under 400 square meters, where once the house is built, you could high five your neighbour from your bedroom window! 

Now unless you really love your neighbors, that’s not necessarily something you want to be able to do. In fact it could be the last thing you want to do. You have know idea who your neighbors are going to be.

In many cases these properties are apartments or townhouses and most Kiwis haven’t experienced that kind of living. They’ve been in hotels and motels, but if they have a bad experience with noise, they know they are going home afterwards. You can’t go home from your home.

Now buying in a new subdivision isn’t anything unusual, but there are differences between buying on paper, to buying in a subdivision that you can visit and where some of the houses have already been built. You are usually buying from a group home developer with a long track record, where you get advantages from their volume purchasing power when they are building many houses on a larger piece of property that they invested in.

They can tell you something about the people who have already bought the houses being built next door or over the road. It’s not typically something people ask about, although I have often heard sales people talk about things like whether the people next door have kids, pretty important if you have kids yourself and want them to be able to have local friends to play with as well as more people looking out for their safety.

Long Bay in the image above is at the higher end of the market so you at least have an idea of the income bracket of the owner, although a lot of them are also rental investments. These are renting at $800-$1,000 a week, but many have 5-7 bedrooms so shared amongst flatmates, that’s cheap and many people without kids would jump at the chance of renting a new home with built in audio systems, fibre and modern appliances.

“I want to live next door to people like me” is a common catchphrase, yet it is remarkable (but no surprise to me) that when I did a pulse survey of people, asking if they had talked to the neighbors prior to buying their latest home, over 90% said they hadn’t. Several did say they now wished they had!

There are obviously benefits of buying a house that has yet to be built, IF you have some say in the plan. You might want more storage, you might want one of the rooms set up as an office. For me as a musician and also recording training courses, I’d want one of my rooms to be soundproofed. That’s a lot cheaper to do during the build than after. It is a benefit that you can at least to some degree customise the building plan to the way you wish to live in the house, that way you have zero renovation costs afterwards.

It’s something that always amazes me when I go back ‘home’ to Holland. You will see rows of houses that look almost identical on the outside, but inside they are all totally different. Some might be traditional and relatively unchanged from what they might have looked like 50 years ago, others are open plan and ultra modern in every way possible. Many people spend a fortune gutting the inside and starting again. 

Ironically, many Kiwis leave the renovations until they are going to sell, to make the house more attractive to a buyer. Personally I’d not spend that money and invest a little on bringing in a staging company instead who can make the existing house look a million bucks, but that’s another story. In fact I’m waiting on one to provide a guest post for me.

But back to the neighbors. if you invest everything you have and more in a new home, if you don’t get on with your neighbors once everyone has moved in, your castle could become your jail. Whether it’s loud parties, teenagers racing their cars up the street, immigrants who don’t speak English, too many kids, no kids, messy yards, or perhaps you want to have parties and BBQ’s and enjoy an open house environment. There is no right or wrong, it’s about fit.

Once you are in, it’s too late. Plus, when you go to sell, the house now does have neighbors and if they are the kind most people won’t want, you now have a major problem. You are likely to be going to resell at some stage, so best to think about that now. 

As to Kiwibuild, I hope things work out, because we need new housing stock, especially for first home buyers. I just hope that they are consulting with the market and not just throwing money at a problem and expecting that people will want what they offer.

Finally, in case you don’t have a Kindle, or don’t want to buy my new eBook, there is a way to get a free copy. Just point your mouse at www.Firsthomebuyerstraining.com and you can download a free PDF version and get some more useful information from my eList. 

Posted in ageing, Auckland, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, eBook, Family, Finance, First Home Buyer, home, home loan, house hunting, Mistakes Buying a House, Money, mortgage, neighborhood crime, Neighbors, Neighbours, New Zealand, New Zealand Real Estate, Paying too much for a house, property, Real Estate, real estate agent, Selling a House | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kindle eBook Launch ‘5 Top Mistakes People Make When They Are Buying a House

Finally after a little bit of work every day for months, loads of revisions and “that’s not what I thought I said” from the haze of pain medications because of a back injury, my latest book has arrived at Amazon at the end of November 2018.

So, WHAT COULD GO WRONG when you buy  house? What mistakes do people make? How can you reduce the risks?

Buying a house starts with a sense of excitement, awe, hope and is probably the biggest investment you are going to make in your life.

In the good old days, the bank used to share the risk with you but since the GFC, most banks have become risk averse and loans tend to be structured so that if things go wrong and you can’t keep up the payment, THEY WON’T BE OUT OF POCKET. Why, because they were, banks lost billions on real estate loans, in some cases people just walked out of their homes.

You’re probably aware that it still happens. Do you find it interesting that there are websites dedicated to helping people get great deals through foreclosure?

Why do you buy a house? For us, it was about security, pretty much the only thing they can’t take from you (as long as you can make the payments). A safe place for our family and probably the only asset you can own that will increase in value.

Did I say increase in value? Well in the long run that is true. In many countries, if you go back in history you will be able to see that over say a hundred years, properties double in value roughly every 10 years. But what happens in between?

Real Estate markets fluctuate dramatically in between those long term cycles. Whether you are in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia or New Zealand, property is being impacted by all sorts of things that are out of our control. Politics, lending rules, climate change, urban sprawl, Baby Boomers leaving the cities, migrants from other countries, property flippers and more. 

What hasn’t changed fundamentally?

  • Most houses are sold on behalf of the vendor by a Real Estate Agent
  • Real Estate Agents are highly trained in how to sell
  • Home buyers typically have little or no training on how to buy
  • Banks want to lend you money, but they don’t want any risk
  • You need to borrow money and without training are carrying all the risk
  • Everyone around you has an ‘opinion’ and if you dig in, many people offering opinions have made similar mistakes and possibly won’t get it right next time either. 

I am a big fan of Dan Ariely, a famous writer who says that humans are predictably irrational. I agree with him. He talks about financial decision making in this TED video.

When you buy furniture or a car, how much of the decision is rational? 

Dan suggests that we have an illusion of making a decision, but most of the decisions are made for us by external influences. Making decisions, like buying a house, are complex, so complex that we don’t know what to do

In this eBook I provide one ‘SECRET’ that alone is worth tens of thousands dollars to you. I say it’s a secret because almost no one uses this, or even thinks about it probably until long after they have bought a house. Chances are, if you have bought 2 or 3 houses, you still haven’t used it. It took me four.

You would probably rationalise and say “I had too much on my mind, so much information coming at me, Real Estate Agents pushing FOMO at me, the bank, the mortgage broker, the lawyer, my partner, his or her family…..”

We don’t know what to do and in the end, we just DO SOMETHING and hope we got it right. Isn’t that interesting? Think about it. The most expensive investment we will make in our lives, the greatest risk we make in our lives and we end up so sick and tired of the process, that it almost becomes like throwing a dart on a map and seeing where it lands!

But once you pick up on it, it is so obvious. Why don’t you do it? Because you haven’t read this book yet. 

But wait there’s more! The book covers 4 more mistakes and provides lots of answers to help you make informed decisions before you even start looking at specific houses. 

What’s your time worth? This short book took several months of my time. I just wish someone had written it I bought my first home, or my second, my third or my current one. It’s ironic that I’m writing this from my fourth home. What’s changed?

I had time to think about it, to read, watch videos, talk to people and do research. You don’t usually have that time.

This book won’t take you long to read. The things I tell you to do are easy. Maybe that’s why you didn’t think of them. Sometimes the answer stares you in the face as you run headlong into…………………………..

Posted in Auckland, Australia, Australia Real Estate, Banks, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, Canada, Canada Real Estate, children, climate change, eBook, Family, First Home Buyer, GFC, good books, home, house hunting, human logic, Lifestyle, Location Based Education, Location Based Servces, Market Research, Mistakes Buying a House, New Zealand, New Zealand Real Estate, People, Politics, property, Real Estate, real estate agent, security, Selling a House, UK Real Estate, United Kingdom, US Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment