Boy do I have a lot of new stuff to tell you about this month including a real surprise in December’s sales. An easier way for you to sign forms when you’re not here, a way to look at the exceptional deals I post on my site on your smartphone – but as usual I’m going to start out with a market report for December.
Typically December has an increase in sales over November which is what I expected last month but with the trend we’ve been seeing since July I expected the total sales to be lower than last December but higher than December 2007 and 2008.
The big surprise last month was that not only were the sale higher than the last 3 years in December but they were also the 2nd highest month from January 2007 onward except for April of this year (the month the tax credit ended for contracts). This is a very good sign and reinforces what I’ve been saying about the market stabilizing and starting to trend back upward. From what I’m experiencing, I attribute this increase to the fact that homes, condos and townhouses have become so much more affordable that more buyers are coming back into the market.
Here’s the graph so you can see for yourself (blue is 2007, red is 2008, green is 2009 and purple is 2010):
That was quite a pleasant surprise and hopefully a good sign for 2011. A lot of my clients have taken advantage of the market now and have been able to get some incredible deals and there are still more out there.
Since a lot of my clients are from out of town, it’s not uncommon to have to do some of the paperwork when they are back home. I’ve found that doing this can be time-consuming and a waste of paper because I have to email the client contracts to sign, then have them print them out and sign and date them, then fax them back to me. And sometimes this occurs a few times. I have one client in particular that is purchasing several properties and I wanted to see if there was anyway to streamline this whole process.
I had heard a while ago about digital signatures and how they are accepted as valid, so I checked on the status of this currently and found that it is an acceptable method, very easy to do and that it greatly simplifies things for my clients and saves them on paper. So I found a service that works with our local MLS and their forms and have now implemented this service. It is called DocuSign.
So far I’ve had 2 clients who have been able to use it and it really is much easier. Basically I prepare the paperwork and put ‘tags’ in all the places you would need to sign, date or initial. I email the paperwork to you and then you do a few brief setup steps and then, after reviewing the paperwork, just click on the places you need to sign, date or initial and then send the paperwork back directly from your computer. No paper to print out if you don’t want to, no need to have a fax or scanner and this works with most paperwork related to submitting an offer and going to contract. Some banks have additional paperwork (especially with foreclosures) and some don’t accept digital signatures, but for the most part this can be used.
In addition to this, I’ve now set up my website (searchclearwaterhomes.com) so that you can access a lot of it on a smartphone. It is mostly the blog portion that works on mobile phones but that is where you can read my monthly newsletter and see any new exceptional deals I post. Unfortunately I can’t get the Search MLS or Personalized Search sections to work on mobile phones, but don’t forget that I have the mobile app you can use on your phone to search the MLS.
That’s all I have for right now but keep watching as the year goes on because I think it’s going to be a very interesting year and I will likely have more tools for you to make things even easier as we progress through 2011.
I hope we all have an even better year than 2010.