Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Resolving the Real Estate Crisis in Cleveland

One of the greatest traits that I see in Clevelander’s is their love for the city. Everyone takes pride in the unique corners the city has to offer, and we are eating up all this positive attention the city has been getting.  Cleveland has JUST been listed by Fortune as one of the top 3 cities to flee to in order to build wealth, to build a nest egg and to be able to afford a home you love and can create a future in.

As attention is given to the positive aspects that this city offers, it is important to keep the hurdles in mind so as to not forget to take them into consideration when approaching current listings. 
Millennial Demographic Shifts in Inner-City Cleveland

What happens when you mix a generation that values freedom, uniqueness, and excitement? You get a cultural shift that changes how the game is played. This shift we are seeing in Cleveland has sent ripples into every corner of the pool, affecting jobs, family life, and yes, even real estate.

Millennials are making moves into the downtown areas, as companies move from the suburbs to inner-city.  These companies are shifting because they know that millennials are looking for exciting atmospheres, so management creates unique spaces right in the middle of the hustle and bustle to attract this new talent.  As millennials take more and more jobs downtown, they are also looking to shorten their commute and so will look for apartments that are closer to work and to the nightlife.

While the rule-of-thumb in the past has been that most generations would rather own than rent, millennials are more interested in renting since it gives them flexibility to move around.  Additionally, as more areas are getting renovated -- such as the Flats -- millennials are flocking to these newer areas, and will often wait for current construction projects to finish before leaving their more suburban flat and making the move downtown.

What this means for you is an audit of the values you are selling a house or a unit on.  If your current listing has a great social community, that’s of value to the millennial crowd and will get their attention more than a renovated porch will.

With new residential units comes the entertainment.  The Punch Bowl Social Club offers locals a new place to socialize at in the Flats district. For more, visit

Ohio & Cleveland Housing Sales

Overall, the nation’s housing sales have been slowly stabilizing, and Ohio has been no exception. Ohio’s housing sales have been in cadence with the nation’s slow and steady growth, leading to the state’s busiest September in years.

Sales have been slow to grow, but the data is there to prove the confidence is inching back into the real estate market. Pricing for these sales has not grown at the same pace, but at least we are seeing growth in the right direction.  

As an agent operating in and around the Cleveland area, you can take this knowledge and apply it to your selling method. Be confident that market confidence is there, but take heed at how aggressively priced your listings are. 

Urbanization in Cleveland

With the Republican National Convention coming, the city’s organizations are in high-gear getting prepared.  Everyone is getting ready to make changes, such as improving the downtown lakefront.  In an article recently published by Michelle Jarboe of The Plain Dealer, she states that the city is looking to employ a new financial tool that will allocate property tax revenues to pay for roads, landscaping, and parks.

This kind of urban expansion creates a more interesting cityscape, one that more people want to be in and around as much as possible.  

As more of the Cleveland landscape changes, with it will come economic and social impacts. As more people are drawn to be closer to the city, renovations on apartment buildings that have long been away from the public eye will need to occur.  

You as a realtor should be keeping an eye and ear out of new projects happening around the city, with the knowledge that any renovations in a neighborhood will increase its appeal for prospects.

The anticipated renovations for Public Square in downtown Cleveland. More about this project can be found at

Real Estate Technology Available

The technology landscape changed.  A lot. Are you up to speed?

It’s hard to be. Keeping track of multiple social media accounts while also trying to balance your listings.

One major way to stay on top of your tech game is get involved in social media channels. Share content that your potential buyers will find useful.  On Instagram, share pictures of a family in front of their new home they just bought, or cute seasonal porch ideas. Pinterest is a great place to turn to for creativity on how to engage with potential buyers.  You can also create boards that will provide your followers with decorating ideas for specific rooms, seasons, or events.

Getting yourself out there and letting it be known that you are there for their benefit will go a long way with your clients.  But it’s not just social media you need to be aware of -- new technologies are adding a new edge to real estate technology.

Virtual tours and 3D models of home are gaining popularity in every business sector. In real estate, it is without question the best way to highlight a space on your website.  Not only do they allow users to interact easily, but they help ensure that people coming in the door for a tour or open house know exactly what they want -- and that this house could very possibly have it. Virtual tours also look sleeker, so it is luxurious upgrade to typical photos done by most real estate agents.

From an organizational standpoint, apps like GoConnect equips real estate agents with a simple software that allows for easy listings management. As apps similar to this come to the market, managing your listings can be done more easily -- so don’t waste any more time, get these apps and start managing smartly -- or other people who are using it will beat ya to it.

The Tour Builder created by Virtual Compass allows you to easily create an affordable virtual tour to highlight your latest listings.

Cleveland’s Income Inequality

By nature, larger cities will always have more income inequality than others. Though Cleveland may not be as large as Los Angeles, we are having similar issues, just slightly scaled down.

It is important to remember that housing is not just one, simple market -- it is affected by virtually every economic indicator you can list. As disposable income has been increasing post-recession, home renovations and selling have been increasing as well.

High-income buyers have not felt the recession nor post-recession effects as much, partly because they rely less on financing due to their personal levels of wealth.

Despite the modest growth we see in housing confidence, getting a loan or a line of credit for a new house is getting harder for the poor and easier for the wealthy.  

What does this mean for you? It means working more with your prospects, and not for them.  Take the time to get their “big picture” dream, but be realistic with their budgets.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of 5 factors affecting Cleveland’s real estate, get out there and close some sales!