Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tight Inventory Tops Winter Home Buyers’ Challenges

Home buyers unable to find a home earlier this year are taking to the market this winter despite the colder weather and limited inventory, according to’s Winter Home Buyer Report. More than 1,300 people looking to buy a home during the winter months told that lingering conditions from the past home-buying season, including inventory challenges and all-cash offers, continue to set the tone for them as they enter the winter season. “This summer and spring home-buying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time home buyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at “In fact, a quarter of the winter home buyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last home-buying season.” While the majority of winter home buyers describe themselves as relocation buyers, downsizers are also a large portion of those looking to buy a house in the next four months, according to the report. There are advantages to looking for a home in the winter, Schwartz said. “Motivated sellers, better prices and less competition between buyers are some of the top reasons winter home buyers are interested in purchasing a home during the colder months of the year,” she said.

Here are more highlights from the Winter Home Buyer Report:

Biggest challenges when searching for a home during winter:

 45 percent of respondents said there is not enough inventory within price range;
 34 percent said there is not enough inventory on the market;
 29 percent said winter weather makes house hunting unpleasant;
 7 percent said there are too many buyers in the market.

Top reasons consumers are looking to buy a home in winter:

 26 percent of respondents said sellers are more motivated to sell and willing to negotiate;
 24 percent said they think home prices will be better;
 24 percent said they were unable to buy a house during spring or summer;
 20 percent said they think there will be less competition between buyers.

The current purchase status of those surveyed includes the following:

 28 percent of respondents said they are relocation buyers;
 19 percent said they are existing homeowners downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home;
 19 percent said they are first-time home buyers;
 15 percent said they are current homeowners moving up to a bigger or more expensive home.

Amount of cash winter home buyers are planning to use for their down payment:

 13 percent of buyers are planning to put down 3.5 percent cash (United States Federal Housing Administration loan);
 23 percent are planning to put down 10 to 20 percent cash;
 22 percent are planning to put down 21 to 99 percent cash;
 19 percent are planning to put down 100 percent cash.

Of those planning to use all cash, the respondents fall into the following categories:

 29 percent of respondents are downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home;
 26 percent are relocation buyers;
 11 percent are moving up to a bigger or more expensive home;
 11 percent are buying a vacation home.

Copied from a article

Monday, February 18, 2013

Customer Satisfaction with "My Pleasure"

Have you ever walked into a Chick-Fil-A, asked for a meal and when the cashier gives you change for your payment provided a response that made you feel good about giving your business to Chick-Fil-A, if you said thank you?

That magical response is always "My Pleasure".  I've gone into several Chick-Fil-A stores around the United States and deliberately said thank you after receiving my change and have never failed to get the same response.  Why does that happen no matter what Chick-Fil-A store in any town in the U.S.?  Because that is what is taught to all the employees that serve the public.  It's Chcik-Fil-A's customer service mantra.  Make the customer always feel welcome and that their business is appreciated.

Standardized customer service is the way to develop a consistent brand with the public.  Insisting each of your employees show your customers the same level of attention will ensure a repeat customer that leaves your business always satisfied. 

Standardizing sounds simple, but it is harder than you think.  If you think about the habits you've developed over the years that have become second nature, you'll understand why it is difficult to get employees to deliver the same level of customer service every time a customer gives you their business.  People require repetition to learn something new.  If you don't reinforce a pattern of behavior you expect of your employees,  you won't get consistent customer service.  Also, action does speak louder than words.  So, if you want your employees treating your customers a particular way, then make sure you are providing an example for everyone. Standard written procedures of expected behavior helps to cement that behavior in an employees mind, as well.

If you don't believe me about Chick-Fil-A's mantra, try walking into any of their stores and say thank you after you receive your meal and see what happens.