Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Revisiting realtor Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford - providing the total picture for potential homeowners

Back in 2010, I wrote about a California realtor named Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford. I actually wrote about her in my music blog, for reasons that are apparent when you read the post. But today I'm concentrating on Wilson-Rutherford from a business sense - noting something that she does that smart salespeople do.

As part of what she does, Wilson-Rutherford provides helpful information to potential homeowners. This is a common service provided by realtors and other real estate agents; the realtor who helped me buy my home, Jeannette Ewing, also provides this information (in paper form).

In most cases, neither Wilson-Rutherford nor Ewing actually write the helpful hints that they provide. They get them from companies with which they are associated. But they still have to put their name behind them, and therefore take care regarding what is said on their behalf. Since both of them have been in real estate for decades, this is especially critical.

When you're trying to make a sale, you can take a short-term approach or a long-term approach. Both of these realtors are obviously in it for the long haul. An example from Wilson-Rutherford's blog will suffice. Now if a real estate agent is going for short-term business, you'd expect the agent's blog to be filled with stories such as "Yes, you can buy that house. Just put the down payment on your credit card!" But a recent Wilson-Rutherford post takes a decidedly different approach. Its title? "America's Most Competitive Renters: Why Many Are Choosing To Rent."

That's not the way to get the quick sale.

Across the country, young adults are waiting longer to buy homes, no matter where they fall in the income and credit brackets. They are also delaying marriage and starting families – events that often precipitate a home purchase. In many cases, these renters are also paying off student and credit card debt. Some may have graduated college during the Great Recession and are working their way through lost earning power.

However, some people are choosing to rent, even if they are qualified to purchase a home, as it allows for a flexible lifestyle. They want the option to be able to move for a job or perhaps they are attracted to a hip location full of amenities.

But, even if a renter has the salary, credit and down payment in order, a lack of housing inventory may be the driving factor in continuing to rent over buy. New research found that areas with the most qualified renters also have the fewest homes for sale, which is especially true of areas with strong job markets.

So why would Wilson-Rutherford (or Zillow, who actually wrote the story that Wilson-Rutherford posted) actively promote such a downer for the home-buying crowd?

I can think of at least two reasons.

First, this helps to educate her clientele. If someone is looking to buy a home in the Westside and inventory is low, Wilson-Rutherford can explain that to her clients.

The second reason relates to long-term planning. Maybe these millennial couples aren't looking to buy a home in 2016, but what if they pay their loans off in 2018, have a kid on the way, and are THEN ready to plant roots somewhere? Perhaps they'll remember that helpful realtor who provided good information on her website.

That's why Wilson-Rutherford provides that information on her website.

And that's why Ewing mails that helpful information to me. It's been years since I've seen seen her in person, but if I ever decide to sell this house, she wants to make sure that I remember her.

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