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Mar 5

Foundation Repairs–Should You Flee or Stay?

by Mary Teresa Fowler
House Foundation Repairs

When a home inspector lists 'foundation repairs' in the inspection report, those two words shock home buyers. Yet knowing that your potential new home has foundation problems puts you one step ahead in the game. At least, home inspections alert buyers to major (or minor) concerns about a home's condition.

Professional Help

Buyers need professional advice before they buy a home in need of foundation repairs or a house with a repaired foundation. In both cases, a buyer has reason for concern. Before home buyers commit, they have a choice whether or not to purchase the home. They can weigh their options and explore the solutions.

Second Home Inspection

For peace of mind and a sense of security, buyers could consider getting two home inspections completed before closing. Sometimes, a second home inspection is required as part of the official process of buying a home. A second inspection carries an extra cost but it will give the home buyer another professional opinion. Home inspection is not regulated in all U.S. states. Especially in these unregulated regions, a second home inspection is a smart decision.

Inspections help avoid unpleasant surprises

Repaired Foundation

A home inspection in a previously owned home could reveal foundation repairs. Buyers should not feel at ease with that report. Finding foundation repairs means that a repair has been done to correct earlier damage.

Early failing of a foundation is not a good sign and could be an indication of future damage. As well, surface water and plant life cause foundation damage. While these conditions remain, the foundation is in danger.

Home foundation repair information

Foundation Repairs

When a home inspection reveals a need for foundation repairs, buyers cannot ignore these findings. The problem cannot be delayed and a repair completed somewhere down the line. Foundation repairs are expensive but a St. Louis engineering firm warns buyers not to ask sellers about fixing foundation repairs. The engineers advise that many sellers will choose the cheapest repair option. With a foundation settlement concern, that move could be catastrophic for a new home owner.

Foundation Problems

Complete Fix

Buyers can choose to buy a home with foundation repairs or in need of foundation repairs but they must be prepared for a substantial repair bill. Earlier problems could resurface and current problems must be addressed without delay. Engineers explain that partial piering is not a smart solution. The rest of the piers will have to be replaced at a later date. Choose a reputable company because inadequate piers will cause problems in the future.

Winter Inspections

The Challenge

Sharon Marinaccio, of LeConte Realty in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., raises the issue of home inspections in a wintry climate.

"Home inspections can be more difficult if snow covers decks and the home's foundation. And buyers won't be able to have the air conditioning tested or the pool inspected," says Sharon Marinaccio ~ realtor

The Solution

If a complete home inspection becomes an issue because of extreme winter weather, the buyer does not have to be left out in the cold. Marinaccio explains the solution.

"Agents recommend that buyers ask the seller to put aside money in escrow or supply a home warranty in case repairs are needed later." ~ Sharon Marinaccio

Winter needn't freeze out home sales

Would You Buy A Home In Need Of Foundation Repairs?

Image courtesy of foundationrepairdallas.biz

Feb 24

Real Estate – Driving Factors

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Market Driving Forces

The real estate market fluctuates continually and values vary from region to region. Yet one constant remains amidst all this flux and diversity; specific factors drive the real estate market.

These factors have tremendous influence on society. Keep in mind that real estate accounts for a substantial percentage of people's wealth. Almost one-third of the average North American's net worth can be attributed to real estate. The value of the entire market amounts to about $20 trillion. Obviously, real estate is a lucrative market for investors especially in global centers such as New York City and Washington.


The demographics (data describing a population) affect real estate prices and the types of property in demand. Demographics include age, race, gender, income, and migration patterns, as well as population growth. Huge shifts in the demographics of a nation can have a major impact on real estate.

Indeed, significant changes can affect real estate trends for decades. Demographics make a big difference. For example, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are impacting the market as they start and move forward in retirement.

In this instance, investors are looking at the probable popularity of second homes in vacation hot spots as this group reaches retirement. Will baby boomers prefer smaller homes? After all, their children have flown the nest and they might have to rely more on that nest egg as they live on retirement pensions.

Baby boomers stated to retire in 2010. Yet savvy real estate investors anticipated this shift long before and geared their investment to match the approaching trend. They targeted the types and location of properties of interest to baby boomers.


Obviously, interest rates drive the real estate market. Rates matter to individuals and the market. When interest rates fall, the cost of a mortgage is lower, and there is a higher demand for real estate. Of course, more demand means increased prices. Rising interest rates will have the opposite effect.

In addition to residential real estate, interest rates affect real estate investment trusts (REITs). When interest rates fall, a bond value increases with the more desirable coupon rate. With falling interest rates, the value of REITs rises and their high yields look attractive to investors.


No doubt, the economy affects the real estate market. Economic indicators (GDP, employment data, manufacturing activity, prices of goods) are used to measure the economy. The old adage holds much truth – as goes the economy, so goes real estate.

REITs in certain investment areas can suffer during an economic downturn. A REIT centered on hotels might not perform as well in economic turmoil as a REIT focused on office buildings. Hotels are sensitive to economic setbacks because they are considered "short-term leases."

Under economic stress, an entrepreneur might reduce the number of corporate business trips and hotel room rentals. Yet the business owner will still hold on to his office (a longer-term lease). Real estate is sensitive to economic activity.

Check out additional factors that drive the real estate market.

Four key factors that drive the real estate market

Which Factors Do You Think Drive The Real Estate Market?

Image courtesy of landthink.com

Feb 22

Buying a Home – Basic Steps

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Buying a Home - Basic Steps

Buying a home is a big decision and step-by-step process. Real estate agents can handle the details and see if a purchase suits your needs. Yet ultimately, this house will be your home so you should prepare yourself for the process. Be ready to invest the necessary money, time, and effort. The investment is well-worth taking the time to follow a few careful and considered steps.


Buying a home should not be one of those 'spur of the moment' times in life. These spontaneous times have their place but not when it comes to purchasing a home. A huge commitment requires careful consideration of various issues.

Do you have your finances in order? Can you access the necessary funds for the entire process – down payment, purchase, closing? Can you handle the commitment beyond the closing including maintenance and mortgage payments? The decision to buy a home has to be right for you.

Of course, home ownership has advantages but the buyer has to be able to handle all aspects of the commitment. Home ownership has benefits including building home equity and receiving tax benefits. If buying a home suits you at this time in your life, it has an advantage over renting in that the monthly payment goes towards your mortgage.

Real Estate Agent

A reputable real estate agent will be one of your most valuable resources throughout this process. Choose carefully from excellent sources. Try to find an agent that you feel comfortable working with through these important steps. Actually, finding a real estate agent whom you feel at ease with should not be too much of a problem. Reputable agents will treat you with the utmost professionalism and have your interests as their priority.

They have a valuable and varied role to play in this purchase. Agents will let you know about the market, discover your preferences, and find a property to match your needs. They are familiar with the neighborhoods and prices and have a whole list of professionals they can draw on for any reason. Real estate agents should have expert negotiating skills and be diligent about checking documents and dealing with any issues in a timely manner.


Buyers must be able to get the necessary financing. In order to receive funding, you have to find a lender, submit an application, and get pre-approval. There are various financial steps to go through before you own your dream home. Figuring out manageable payments and loan options, forwarding an accepted purchase offer contract to your banker, appraisal, title commitment, and money for closing – all are examples of financial-related steps in buying a home.

Pre-approval should be square one for home-buyers


Obviously, you need to have a fixed idea about your preferred neighborhood. You do not need to know from the start about the exact street for your perfect home. Yet you do need to know your general preferences for the area such as near schools or public transporation.

Home Inspection

A home inspection done by a professional who will look for hidden problems in a house is an invaluable service for homeowners. The living room might look fashionable but it will lose its appeal quickly if you move in and discover a faulty foundation. Every step in the home buying process exists for a reason. Don't try to rush, bypass, or ignore any significant details in this monumental purchase – your new home.

Do You Have Any Tips To Offer About Buying A Home?

Image courtesy of realestatecare.co.uk

Feb 19

Real Estate Values - Think Green

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Energy Efficient Home

Doug Overholt of BC (British Columbia) Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program is the latest official to encourage home owners towards energy-efficient products. Overholt points out the benefits of 'green' homes and insists that energy-efficiency is a factor in resale real estate value. The greener the house, the higher the resale value.

Think Green

Of course, saving energy also translates into more comfort, extra savings in the short and long term, and taking care of the environment. The BC Hydro representative makes a point that we discussed here previously at estaterebate.com. Despite the fact that almost everyone understands the benefits of being green, sometimes we get sidetracked with other purchases. Our earlier post referred to them as "eye candy." Several home owners would sooner pay extra for the gorgeous granite countertop than high-performance windows.

Are 'Green' Homes Worth The Price?

Overholt says that green homes are worth the price. He explains how rising energy costs will cause more homeowners in the future to look for energy-efficient homes. Even though if a homeowner makes simple alterations, they can save on energy bills in the meantime.

"Sometimes new home buyers overlook two important aspects of energy efficiency. First, an efficient home is going to cost you less to operate every month. That's money in your pocket - you can pay down your mortgage faster. Second, we live in an era of rising energy costs. Down the road, a house that's an energy pig won't sell as easily, or appreciate as well as one that costs less to operate," says Doug Overholt of BC Hydro's Power Smart New Home Program.

Sometimes people get off track because they think that green homes will cost more. No doubt, certain features such as heat pumps can come with considerable initial cost. Yet these smart purchases pay for themselves with savings in the long term.

Anyway, everything 'energy-efficient' does not have a high price tag. Usually, extra insulation or air sealing will not break your budget. As well, there are energy-efficiency grants out there to help Canadian and American homeowners. With high energy costs and an economy emerging from a downturn, many people need help and providing energy grants goes in the right direction.

Energy-Efficient Programs

Sometimes the programs may not go far enough, however, in the right direction or the path may be too complicated for certain groups. For example, specific programs encourage homeowners to buy energy-efficient products and receive reimbursement from the government. That plan does not always work for families living on low incomes because they cannot pay the upfront cost. That won't be because they are spending it on "eye candy." Their income covers only (or maybe does not even cover) the basics.

Yet everyone should check with state (provincial in Canada) and federal officials to see if there is an energy-efficiency program to suit your needs. Thinking green can save you money today and in the future.

For resale real estate value, think energy efficiency

estaterebate.com has also provided information in another post about Prince William's new 'green' home at Harwood Park Estate. A few interesting green details here! Let us not forget, however, that every family, regardless of income, should be able to live in a comfortable and energy-efficient home.

At Home with Prince William & Kate Middleton

Are You Planning Energy-Efficient Improvements?

Image courtesy of immaterial-labor.com

Feb 17

Hot U.S. Real Estate Markets

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Hot Real Estate Markets

Looking for a hot U.S. real estate market? Everyone is – especially those living through a cold and stormy winter. Buyers in a wintry climate might be looking literally for 'hot' U.S. real estate.

Hot Market

Of course, realtors in sunny climates recognize the plight of winter-weary potential buyers. Savvy real estate agents rev up their advertising campaigns to attract homeowners tired of shovelling snow. So, the 'hot' markets like Florida are popular with U.S. home buyers.

Manhattan Market

Manhattan is a historically-sound and hot real estate market. Even hotel properties are flying off the shelves in New York City. According to a February 16 report by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, the Big Apple will see double the volume of hotel deals in 2011. This report does not include the expected volume of residential transactions.

Probably, most people are not surprised about tropical climates and dynamic centers like New York City rating as hot real estate. Yet more than a few buyers are surprised by the Bloomberg News announcement about a very hot U.S. real estate market. After all, not all U.S. regions are in their peak period. One specific sector, however, is doing better than expected as the country comes out of a recession.

Growing Market

According to Bloomberg News, farmland in the middle of the country's agricultural belt is a hot real estate market. On February 15, the Federal Bank Reserve of Kansas City said that fourth quarter farmland prices in the US are up the most in two years. Keep in mind that potential buyers must be interested in these properties considering the effort they make to arrive at auctions.

Bidders will not be flying first-class to a tropical paradise to view this type of real estate. Interested parties will be travelling over snowy and icy roads to look at the properties. Recently, bidders took that trip to bid on one of the most coveted properties in the U.S. Midwest - 120 acres of farmland in Greene County, Iowa.

Winning Bid

The winner of a January auction in Jefferson offered $8,200 an acre (about $1 million) for land in Scranton Township. According to Iowa State University data, that price is 44% higher than the $5,701 per acre estimate for average values in the county. Residential and commercial properties in these areas sell for low prices.

Reason to Bid

Losses of manufacturing jobs have caused economic stress in this region and resulted in a drop in housing prices. Yet farmland is a different story. As commodity prices increase, farmers and investors are bidding at farmland auctions. Farmers are buying for the long term and investors recognize a potential profit.

Rising Values

During 2010, values in Iowa rose 16 per cent. Iowa is the largest corn-and-soybean-growing U.S. state. If commodities stay at current levels, values in Iowa might increase an additional 10 per cent. It looks like more investors might be travelling over icy roads to farmland auctions.

Farmland Boom Provides Boost to Slumping U.S. Midwest Real Estate Market

Would You Be Interested In Buying Farmland In Central USA?

Image couretsy of bloomberg.com

Feb 12

First-Time Home Buyer – Fix Up or Move In

by Mary Teresa Fowler
First Time Home Buyers

Do first-time home buyers prefer to buy a "fixer-upper" or a "ready to move in home?" Obviously, the choice will vary from buyer to buyer. Yet it is an interesting topic to explore on different levels.

Fix Up or Move In

On the average, do today's first-time buyers respond differently than a generation ago? Do urban buyers make different choices than rural buyers? Does modern society encourage home owners to want 'instant' results – the perfect home right from the start – no "fixer-uppers."

Starting Out

The traditional perception of the 'first-time buyer' is the newly-married bride and groom just starting out in life. Of course, in our enlightened world, we don't (or shouldn't) put limits on our definition of couples. Yet still, many of today's first-time home buyers are young couples who are just setting up their first home together. Others might have lived previously in apartments as a family.

First-time home owners, however, are not always couples. Three friends could purchase a home. Individuals could even just pool their resources together and buy a home as an investment. Obviously, people must exert caution in all steps of such a major transaction.

First-Time Home Owner

Regardless, buying a home for the first time is a new and 'starting out' experience – whether you are 20 or 40. Remember that not every first-time home buyer is just a few years out of high school. First-time home owners can be nearer middle age. Many people rent for years before buying that first home. Actually, for the purposes of qualifying for the expired Federal First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit, home owners could be real first-timers or people who had not owned a principal residence for three years.

First-Time Survey

The results of a recent Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey shed a little light on the contemporary first-time home buyer. In many housing markets with low prices, first-time buyers can afford to pick and choose, and they do not have to select that home in need of renovation. If prices were higher, maybe first-timers would make a different choice. For example, young families could be carrying a heavy financial load. Probably they would go for the 'fixer-upper' in a market with more expensive houses.

With affordable prices, however, starter homes with imperfections get left behind for a more 'ready to move in' type of home. According to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey, first-time buyers are not even searching for homes in need of repair. Eighty-seven percent of home owners who purchased their first home in the past year mentioned that a move-in-ready house had mattered to them.

Almost all of the 300 first-time home owners in the survey said that they had been pleased with the purchase price. The new home owners found that they could stretch their dollar and get a home to suit their lifestyle. Sixty-seven percent said that market conditions allowed them to buy a home sooner than their original expectation.

Half of the home owners found homes in a better neighborhood than they expected and 61% bought a home at a more affordable price. Many home owners (40%) said they got more space for their dollar and 43% of respondents locked in a lower mortgage rate. According to this survey, first-time buyers do not have to fix up before they move into their new homes.

First-time buyers forgo starter homes: survey

Do You Prefer A "Fixer-Upper' Or A "Move-In-Ready" Home?

Image courtesy of house2uonline.com

Feb 10

Sky-High Real Estate

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Sky High Real Estate

This week in real estate news, two stories on the same day (one Canadian, one American) focused on 'sky-high' debt and real estate prices as well as 'high in the sky' connections.

Sky-High Debt

Since 1999, TD Economics has been gathering Canadian data and creating special financial reports. Their latest edition gauges the financial vulnerability of households in regions across Canada. TD organized this report as a response to growing worries about high debt levels and the overall financial state of Canadian households. The index of financial vulnerability measures six key metrics of household financial position.

TD Economics assigned a weight to each metric based on its perceived importance. The metrics include debt-to-income ratio (combined total of mortgages, lines of credit, and additional loans as a percentage of personal disposable income), debt service (percentage of income), and the proportion of households with a debt service ratio of 40% or more. The index is not a predictor. Yet it tries to determine which region would be most vulnerable financially if faced with an economic shock.

The report considers circumstances such as a rise in unemployment or interest rates as well as a housing downturn. The report noted increasing vulnerability across Canada but no sign of a household debt crisis in the future. British Columbia showed as the most vulnerable province in case of economic shock. Actually, this result is not shocking to residents of that province.

British Columbia has been the most vulnerable every year since TD Economics started these reports. Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are ranked as second, third, and fourth most vulnerable followed by Quebec and the four Atlantic Provinces. Manitoba is the least vulnerable province.

Sky-High Housing Prices

Why is British Columbia the most vulnerable for economic shock?

Sky-high prices are part of the answer to B.C.'s vulnerability. As well, the province's household debt-to-income ratio is 160.5% - way above the Canadian average of 127%. In addition, British Columbia is the only province to have a negative savings rate. Every available dollar is directed toward mortgage, additional debt, or living costs.

B.C. most vulnerable to economic downturn TD report Debt-to-income ratio high

Sky-high real estate makes B.C. most vulnerable to shocks: TD

Sky-High Real Estate Prices

In yet another February 9 news story, there was talk about 'sky-high' real estate prices with a 'high in the sky' connection.

Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot touted as a hero for landing his plane safely on the Hudson River, and his wife, Lorraine, are accusing a bank official and a real estate broker of overinflating a purchase price. In 2002, the couple bought a building in Paradise, Northern California, for $935,000. Sullenberger and his wife claim that the price was far above market value.

The suit requests that the original loan be nullified and the couple reimbursed for alleged overpayments. The real estate broker, Cherie Huillade, claims that the appraisal was an accurate representation. If mediation fails, a trial is set for September.

Hudson pilot Sully sues over real estate deal

Do You Have Any 'Sky-High' Real Estate Stories?

Image courtesy of xhland.net

Feb 8

Real Estate Values – What Do You Value?

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Real Estate Values

Everyone knows that neighborhoods affect real estate values. When it comes to property values, location, location, location, seems to be a true statement. ZIP codes matter in the real estate game.

Positive and Negative Factors

Living close to a beach or residing in the trendy part of town can be considered a plus. Having a home in a flood zone or near major traffic will not be viewed in such a favorable light. The market value of your home will reflect the location. Your neighborhood can affect property values in a positive or negative manner.

Generally, people can agree on whether specific factors are good or bad for real estate values. Usually, the decision does not require much thought. A high crime neighborhood harms real estate values. Being voted 'the city's best neighborhood' would be an asset.

Confusing Factors

Sometimes though it can be difficult to decide whether a factor is a benefit or a detriment to a neighborhood. Even the official spin on the story can be confusing for homeowners. For example, wind turbines are an addition to a neighborhood that can cause intense debate.

Of course, most homeowners will never be faced with decisions about wind turbines in their neighborhood. Yet for those homeowners who encounter this circumstance, the situation can be confusing on many levels. Of course, environmentally-conscious homeowners can recognize the green benefits.

Be Green or Be Gone

Questions surface, however, even for the 'greenest' homeowner. Do I want the wind turbines in my neighborhood? How will they affect the look of the area? How will they affect my property values? On the other hand, isn't a green project a positive development for a neighborhood?

Looking for answers can be as turbulent as the wind itself. Green groups will welcome the development. Other parties will worry about the possibility of the turbines causing harm to birds. Health associations could be concerned about possible health risks associated with living too close to wind turbines.

The municipality in question might be pleased with the extra revenues. The company in charge of the turbines will claim that there is no negative effect on real estate values. Will wind turbines be an advantage or disadvantage to a neighborhood?

Sometimes it is not so easy to figure out how a factor is going to influence a neighborhood. Most likely, a homeowner's individual position will be determined by one's own values and the information at their disposal. People will be forced to debate issues such as green vs. aesthetics, revenues vs. animal protection, and much more.

Real Estate Values

In the meantime, how would wind turbines affect real estate values? The answers to that question are a mixed lot. Yet the National Association of Realtors has recognized that the issue is of utmost importance to many homeowners. The association has organized a wealth of resources on the topic. There were enough wind turbines in operation in the U.S. at the end of 2009 to generate electricity to power 10 million homes.

Field Guide to Wind Farms and their Effect on Property Value

Will Wind Turbines Affect Property Values?

Do You Think Wind Turbines Would Affect Real Estate Values?

Image courtesy of claycreekdecor.com

Feb 1

2011 – Year of the Landlord

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Year of the Landlord

2011 is shaping up to be the "Year of The Landlord." As many people face the winter winds, we are reminded of a wise old saying.

"It's an ill wind that blows no good." ~ John Heywood (1497-1580)

In the case of the winds of change in real estate, falling house prices and slow sales have challenged many sellers but benefited more than a few apartment building landlords. More people are choosing to rent but others can find no suitable alternative to apartment living. Everyone has their own reason for deciding to rent property rather than buy a home.

Rent or Own

Sometimes renting is the best choice for an individual. Indeed, many renters prefer the apartment lifestyle. After all, renting a luxurious NYC condo does not seem like such a bad deal. Even renting any apartment has its perks such as more flexibility in relocation and less maintenance responsibilities.

Of course, other renters would sooner own a home. Often foreclosure forces homeowners to become renters. Sometimes potential first-time buyers discover that they cannot afford the financial commitment of a home. The Federal First-Time Homebuyers' Tax Credit is no more and not everyone has an "angel investor."

Whether people choose to rent or have no other choice, landlords are gaining tenants. Banks and lenders are also smiling – especially if the apartment building owner had been previously under financial duress. Borrowing has become less expensive with low interest rates.

This effect is noticed with commercial real estate of all types. The low rates have a positive effect on borrowing for office buildings, retail outlets, and company warehouses. The apartment market, however, is the healthiest of the commercial categories – mainly because of cheap financing.

Investing in Apartments

Obviously, investors are interested in apartment buildings. Actually, 'flipping' properties is coming into vogue again. The practice of reselling quickly for profit is somewhat prevalent at all times.

Yet 'flipping' is as popular now as in earlier thriving economic periods. This practice can have its place - if done responsibly for the right reasons. Illegal flipping, however, is a different matter. It involves scams, disregard for others, and a goal of profit at any cost.

Higher Values

Apartment building values have risen to levels not seen since the middle of 2007. According to the brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap, values of apartment buildings rose 16% in 2010. Green Street Advisors, a research company tracking REITs, say that present values are now within 10% of their 2007 peak value.

Of course, apartment values in major centers such as New York and Washington, D.C., have shown signs of recovery since 2009. Currently, increasing apartment values can be seen in additional markets including Los Angeles and Seattle as well as other U.S. cities. At the end of 2010, TIAA-CREF paid $62 million for the 261-unit Newbury Commons in Stamford, Connecticut. According to Real Capital Analytics, this sale price was 65% more than the amount paid by Seaboard Properties in February 2009.

Apparently, even Las Vegas is seeing the high values. Keep in mind that Las Vegas was affected greatly by the economic downturn. Yet in December 2010, the Croix Townhomes complex in the Las Vegas Henderson suburb sold for nearly $20 million - $143,000 for each unit – a price even far above the national average. The 'apartment advantage' might be the start of the next big trend in investment property.

Housing Woes Fuel Apartment Surge

Will 2011 Continue To Be The "Year Of The Landlord?"

Image courtesy of architecturelist.com

Jan 27

Google Gives Up The Search

by Mary Teresa Fowler
Google Real Estate Search

Ok, Google fans, no need to panic, you can still search for everything though your favorite search engine. You can no longer search for real estate listings, however, on its Maps portal. Everyone can continue to find real estate websites and related content via Google. Maybe that's even how you found this blog!


Actually, interested parties can still find real estate listings on Google Maps - until February 10, 2011. After that date, everyone has to revert to their previous method of searching for property. Yet Google does not expect potential home buyers to be too upset with the loss of this service.

Despite the search engine's tremendous popularity, few people were using the real estate feature. Now the news about low usage might seem odd to many observers. After all, Google holds a dominant market position. Yet in their recent statement, the corporation acknowledged the reason behind the lack of response to real estate listings on Maps.

"We recognise that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible. We'll continue to explore this area, but in the meantime, Google offers other options to home-seekers." ~ Google Inc.

Tough Competition

As well, Google's response noted "the proliferation of excellent property search tools on real estate websites." There is much truth in that statement – at least real estate statistics point in that direction. A 2009 National Association of Realtors survey showed that 90% of modern home buyers use the internet in their property search. Buyers sift through photos and take virtual tours of properties in their preferred location and price range. Consumers make short lists for viewing based on their online observations.

Although Google is a force to be reckoned with, this corporation has competition. Yet in this instance, the presence is not Yahoo or another search engine. Google is forced to compete with quality real estate websites.

Indeed, it makes sense that real estate websites can challenge Google in this area. Expert realtors and industry leaders know real estate. There is truth in saying - knowledge is power.

Of course, Google executives are not shocked by this recent development. They knew the score going into the game. As well, officials in the real estate industry expected this result. Former REA chief executive Simon Baker mentioned the probability of failure in recent days as well as at the time of the original announcement about the venture.

"The issue is that it's hard, but not necessarily impossible, but the thing is you need to have a coordinated and thought-out approach. I think they had something partially thought out, but there were elements they didn't understand," says Simon Baker, former REA chief executive.

Revised Feature

Yet Baker thinks that a revised model could meet the needs of the consumer. To a certain extent, this venture was an experiment for Google – complete with experimental apps and programs. In reality, the elements of search with this feature were not as advanced as on popular property sites.

Bad Timing

Timing is a big deal in real estate. With Google's real estate feature, confusion cropped up about the status of the listings. Is this a current listing?

Up-to-the minute data matters in the real estate industry. It matters to the person conducting the search. Finally, the consumer's needs decided the fate of Google's real estate feature.

Friendly Realtors

Of course, do not count Google out of the real estate game. Such a powerful entity does not reach its present position by ignoring facts or not learning from failures. If Google does try again, they will have to convince the real estate industry that listing on their Maps portal will bring in more sales. Many leading realtors did not participate in this initial project. Maybe next time, Google Inc. will find what they were searching for in the real estate listings.

Real Estate Search

Just one question! Recently, Google bought the former Port Authority Building at 111 Eighth Avenue in New York City for $1.9 billion. Did they use their Maps feature to find the listing or did they search at a real estate website?

Google dumps real estate research on Maps

Would You Search For Real Estate Listings On Google Maps?

Image courtesy of distilled.co.uk

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