In real estate news from Nashville, Tennessee, the market there took its worst hit in 10 years when home sales went through the basement in February. According to a report from The Tennessean, home sales feel over 12% compare to February, 2010. A report from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors showed homebuyer interest in Nashville at an all time low.
Tennessee is simply not faring well where home sales are concerned. Our own Joe Spake, one of Memphis' most experienced Realtors tells us every day how shriveled and chaotic that market is, but we thought his experiences in Memphis, and the stores from there, were somewhat exclusive to that market. Jim Tew, Administrative VP for American Mortgage Service Co. and treasurer for the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association, told The Tennessean:
"February was slow, but it seems to be because it was colder and there was more snow on the ground."
Somehow a little snow on the ground does not seem like enough to cause such a landslide. Looking at what Realtors convey online at least, it is easy to tell most agencies are just not going the extra mile, digitally at least. Every time I start to report on a firm, or simply report a deal, the mediocrity of Realtor engagement online strikes me like a fist. I often think; "If Realtors are this lazy about the social sphere?"
It looks like even condo and land sales have slid into the cellar, and anyone who knows Nashville has to worry when condo sales fall silent. House prices are up, condo prices are down, and no one is buying either.
Ironically, another report from The Tennessean talks about Nashville, technology, PodCamp and BarCamp, and all manner of progressive thinking in the land of country music, but real estate must be the last bastion of traditional thinkers. The graphic below shows 3 of the top real estate firms online, and how these companies fare at engaging buyers online.
Grant Hammond did a decent job at one point, adding Facebook and Twitter, reaching out a bit, but the numbers do not lie - 80 people a day visit his website, and 290 Twitter followers is not exactly up there with Charlie Sheen. Marcie Sweet has a piece of a Keller Williams website, and quite a few Twitter followers, but her follows are twice her followers and she is broadcasting only. Morris Property Management sits alongside Hammond traffic wise, but their site is pitiful by comparison. At Homes Greater Nashville, the site will not even load for me, and no apparent online endeavor is being made socially?
I need not go on. Independent Realtors in Nashville may have reason to be suffering besides the economy. Those listed above are mainly the ones who "engaged" the social web by filling in information for Google maps etc. The City Search listings at the end of that trail tell a tale most home buyers would cringe to see. The reviews of some of these agencies are horrible. Morris Property Management up there has 14 negatives that read like "used car salesman hell" - This Company Is A Joke!, Scandalous Tactics, Poor customer service/liars, RENTER'S BEWARE, What exactly do they manage ?, Horrible Horrible Company, A Joke...Enough said...., Dishonest and UNETHICAL Property Managers, and so on. No wonder Realtors don't speak in the "conversation!"
To be fair, Morris does have 7 decent reviews to water down the 14 horrific ones. And so you know, I tried to find at least one independent agent who maintains a decent digital footprint. The only brokers in Nashville remotely serious about selling you a home online are affiliated with Realtor dot com, Zillow, and etc. That is save one entity, a company called French Christianson Patterson & Associates, which has a very nice website ranked in the top 3 Google results for homes in Nashville.
Tech savvy Nashville? More answers to the February home sales dive? Wondering if real estate professionals are largely archaic bison too set in their door to door selling ways to make progress. Okay, that was a bit mean. But you get the point. In hard times the old saying goes; "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." If this is true, clearly Nashville's real estate professionals ain't very tough. Someone tell me I'm wrong.