Home purchase agreements jump nearly 20 percent in January, Ohio REALTORS report

contract keys and pen

By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations

The Ohio Association of REALTORS reports the number of single-family homes and condominiums put under agreement in January 2015 increased 19.5 percent from the level posted during the month a year ago.

The rate of purchase contract signings in January fell 7.2 percent from the market’s December 2014 pace.

Ohio’s January Pending Home Sales Index of 136.7, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 19.5 percent from January 2014 (114.4). Activity in January decreased 7.2 percent from the pace of agreements reached in December 2014 (147.2).

“It’s apparent that interest in the Ohio housing marketplace remains strong among buyers, as we posted the best-ever rate of home contracts entered into in January,” said OAR President Greg Hrabcak. “Additionally, the Ohio market has now tallied nine consecutive months of year-over-year gains.

“A lingering concern looking forward is the tight inventory of homes currently being marketed for sale across Ohio,” Hrabcak added. “We’re hopeful that as we enter the spring marketplace we’ll see an uptick in the number of for sale signs in front yards.”

Compared to 2008, a historically healthy market that marked the end of five consecutive record years for existing home sales and the onset of the recession, January’s Index score of 136.7 marks a 36.7 percent increase.

A pending sale or a sale “under agreement” is when the buyer and seller agree on terms of the sale of a home and have a signed purchase and sale agreement, but have yet to close and be recorded as such. Refer to the following report to view the pending home sales index and methods.

OAR, the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 28,000 members, is the only organization that compiles this state wide information from selected Multiple Listing Services each month. The tracking of “pending sales” provides reliable information about where the market is heading in coming months.

Tags: pending home sales, research

Coaching Corner: Take the temperature of your business

By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

It’s time to get your thermometers out, not because you are sick but to see how healthy your business is. If the norm is 98.6, is your business running hotter or colder than that number? As we (hopefully) are approaching spring, it is an opportune time to rate your business. Although the colder months can still be busy, warmer weather seems to open up more opportunities for buyers and sellers.

So…how healthy is your business? Here are some questions that may give you further insight:

  1. Are you feeling completely confident about your current activities?
  2. Do you have a plan in place that is still relevant?
  3. Are all of your systems running as efficiently as you need them to run?
  4. Do you have a speciality that would create more consistency for you?
  5. If so, is there anything that you need to change/add to this speciality?
  6. If not, is there a certain area of real estate that you find most fulfilling?
  7. Are you generating an income that exceeds your basic needs?
  8. Where are the “gaps” in your business? In other words, what needs to be tightened up?
  9. Do you feel appreciation for what you do?
  10. And finally…are you having fun?

Take some time to re-evaluate and determine the state of your business health. Be honest with yourself and do not be afraid of the answers you get. Determine from those answers what actions you want to take so that the health of your business is vibrant and is ready to fully bloom with the coming of spring!


Marilou Butcher Roth is the owner of The MBR Group, a coaching and training company working primarily with REALTORS who have a desire to work and live from a more inspired place. She is also the Broker/Owner of Group REALTORS in Cincinnati.

Marilou is a member of the OAR Executive Committee and immediate past chairman of the organization’s Communications Committee. Feel free to contact Marilou to see if coaching is right for you: Marilou@mbr-group.com


Tags: Coaching Corner, training

Ohio Market Watch: Ohio’s renters increasingly more interested in purchasing a home

By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

Slightly more than six in 10 Ohio REALTORS responding to the Ohio Association of REALTORS most recent Housing Market Confidence survey indicate they are seeing an increase in the level of interest renters are expressing toward buying. This is a 12 percent increase from the 49 percent indicating an increase when the same question was asked one year ago. More specifically, the recent survey shows 59 percent of respondents noticing a slight increase, 2 percent noticing a significant increase and 35 percent seeing no change in interest. Only 4 percent notice a decrease.


Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future OAR Housing Confidence Surveys

Tags: Ohio Market Watch, research

Ohio’s January housing report: Low inventory levels helping to push prices higher, shrink market time

realtor giving keys

By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations

The latest snapshot of the Ohio housing marketplace shows a steep reduction in the number of homes for sale, rising list prices and shorter time frames that  properties are being marketed compared to where the market stood a year ago.

According to REALTOR.com’s January 2015 Housing Report, which tracks inventory of for-sale single-family homes and condos, median list prices, inventory levels and days on the market for 200 cities across the country:

The realtor.com January National Housing Trend Report shows that inventory has decreased 6.7 percent month over month and 8.7 percent year over year.

In January, homes spent approximately 103 days on the market, which was an increase of 4.6 percent month over month and a decrease of 4.6 percent year over year. Median prices remained at $211,000, and while there was no movement month over month, prices did see an increase of 8.8 percent year over year, continuing the upward trend seen in the latter half of 2014.

Compared to the findings from a year ago, all Ohio markets saw a decline in the number of homes on the market. Five of the six Ohio markets tracked experienced an uptick in the median list price in January. Additionally, homes across the state are being marketed for shorter time frames compared to 2014.


January 2015 vs. January 2014

Median List $
Total Listings Median Age of Inventory
Akron -5.3% -8.5% -4.0%
Cincinnati 13.0% -24.7% -5.5%
Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria 5.9% -11.1% -2.3%
Columbus 4.2% -34.2% -5.9%
Dayton-Springfield 7.1% -19.0% -8.2%
Toledo 10.2% -1.5% -6.8%
U.S. Average 8.8% -8.7% -4.6%


“Without question, the biggest challenge facing Ohio housing market is the extremely tight inventory of homes listed for sale throughout most of the state,” said Greg Hrabcak, president of the Ohio Association of REALTORS. “The limited number of homes listed for sale is undoubtedly contributing to rising list prices and reducing the amount of time that homes are being marketed for sale.We remain hopeful that there will be an increase in our inventory levels as we move into the spring marketplace.”

Tags: research

Tech Talk: Reinventing the “wheel”

By Julie Beall

It is an honor to be the newest contributor to the OAR Daily Buzz — offering a regular Tech Talk column. Wow, there’s a substantial amount of information to discuss when it comes to tech. In fact, it is so overwhelming I didn’t know exactly where to start and delayed writing my first blog post for several months. That is until a few things happened to my business clients in social media, which surprised even me and I thought, “I need to write about this!” I don’t suppose any of you have ever put off blogging have you ;)?

I will chat about these surprises, tech tips, social media stuff, online strategies etc. over the coming year but today it’s important for us to understand the underlying strategy for ALL tech and, for that matter, all business decisions. I call it my strategy wheel and IF I had developed it earlier in my career I would of protected thousands and thousands my hard earned dollars! I would have also eliminated loads of stress and functioned in a more productive manner. You should know, I’m what they call an “early adopter” and that really means overly excited, hyperactive tech and social media lover who has squandered away many, many dollars!

So what is a strategy wheel? It’s simple and it looks like this:


It is simply a visually targeted plan using precise tools that work best for that specific target. In other words, all the tech and social media in the world will not benefit you unless it is used as a tool to reach your target. Buying software, apps, hardware etc. that aren’t necessary to target a precise NEED in your business or marketing plan is like buying an expensive bow and arrow, and shooting it into the sky over the ocean. It was fun shopping, researching and discussing in chat rooms the bow, it was expensive to purchase and it was really cool to see how far that arrow shot up into the sky but it caught nothing and was lost forever into the ocean. You might have even taken a video on your phone that you showed your friends. In the end you are left with a nice bow, “no arrows and nothing to eat.”

The most important part of the strategy wheel is the TARGET. I no longer plan a marketing strategy using tech, social media, and phone calls, video etc. without understanding my target first. Duh! I should have known this years ago. It is such a simple concept, but is it?

Let’s talk about TARGET. Target is who and what you’re aiming for? No, really…WHO and WHAT you are trying to target! Now, don’t stop reading here because I haven’t offered the newest, and latest apps for real estate. I promise to do that in later posts. So, to be successful you must examine and understand your target as much as you understand a close friend. When you know this, you will be able to use your current tools or purchase tech tools and marketing material to assist you in zeroing in on your target. For example, if you are targeting a neighborhood to gain market share, begin to answer questions such as what are the demographics, the average age, average income, average number of children, which school, what do they do socially, do they have pets, is there a neighborhood watch or neighborhood events, is it a move up neighborhood or is it an area of only two bedroom homes and who lives in a two bedroom home. Are there many Ohio State flags hanging on football Saturdays, is it all new construction etc.?  If you use RPR, they have great demographic info that maybe helpful for some of your target areas. The point of this is KNOW YOUR TARGET before you use your tech tools. If you know your target you can speak to them socially about what interest them not you. When you know your target, you will no longer make blanketed statements on your social media channels and look silly, boring and like a salesmen. You’ll post thoughts that are important to your target. And you will find it is much easier to have a conversation when you find common ground. This is common sense off-line but online we struggle. A statement on your Facebook page that says “market update” is ok but not engaging. A question or comment about something very specific that is happening in the neighborhood usually starts a conversation. I recently asked about something that happened locally when I was growing up and I had a firestorm of responses, reconnected with old friends, and laughed until I cried, met two for lunch and looked forward to reconnecting with others.

So let’s look at a few examples. If your target were an independent living area for citizens over 65, you would probably remove the Twitter spoke of the wheel above and add the area’s Senior Living Magazine as a spoke to your strategy wheel. If you are targeting an area of young professionals you might add a meet up spoke to the wheel. If you are targeting Michigan fans it is hopeless. Just kidding…I love the state of Michigan. I just wanted to see if you were still with me!

By the way, and this is important. Your target is not always a neighborhood. That is where most REALTORS start however. We are taught to farm, right? When I first started the business I thought farming meant you sold farms — I remember asking a colleague how many farms do they have listed! How ridiculous, we’re told to sell ourselves to an area without being taught to understand exactly who and what is in that area. So think about your target a little deeper. For example, it can be things like wine lovers in Columbus, and you could tweet wine tastings, start a Facebook page called “Wine Lovers in Columbus.” Your target could be runners in Dayton or dog lovers in Springboro. So open your mind then NARROW down your target. I have many, many secret groups I have started on Facebook that are very specific and targeted. Most of the groups are things that interest me also. Several of my groups were built to help non-profit organizations and local community groups. (I will discuss the power of Facebook groups in an upcoming Buzz post!)

So once you know, understand, bleed and breathe your target the most difficult part of targeting using tech is done. Now onto the fun stuff! Think about what content would fill the spokes of your wheel if you want to target Ohio State fans in Springboro — write down ideas for as many Facebook posts for this audience as you can come up with; each will serve as content for what you are going to post every week. You will have part of the Facebook strategy spoke done. Post them or schedule them for posting when its appropriate. My presumption is if you are a fan and you find others who are fans you will have an amazing engagement online and make numerous friends with a common interest that will lead to offline experiences. The following is a FB posting plan targeting OSU fans in Springboro:

  1. Who is your favorite quarterback for OSU in 2014?
  2. Who has the coolest OSU room in Springboro?
  3. Announce photo contest for best OSU house, or best-dressed OSU Springboro fan? (To develop FB contest you must use a third party app like wobox.com)
  4. Post a OSU meet-up
  5. Discuss game
  6. Give away tickets or a very cool OSU flag
  7. Photos of you at game or ask for photos of them at the game.
  8. Share an article on OSU, use snip.ly for call to action.

Ok, now open another document for photos. I prefer to use a folder I have created in iPhoto on my Mac called OSU Fans in Springboro. Every time I take a cool OSU photo or someone sends me a photo I store it here. Now when it is time to post a photo on instagram, twitter, email, Facebook etc. I am not searching and being distracted by other non-relevant photography. I have folders like this for all of my targets and groups. It is much easier to implement your marketing plan if you have photos stored in targeted photo folders. In other words tech is not useful when it stands alone but it can make you tons of money if targeted correctly.

Now move on to the next spoke of your wheel and plan your email spoke, flyer spoke, postcards and so on and so forth. Remove any spoke to the wheel that is not appropriate and add another spoke if needed. Woola! Your Strategy Wheel is done and you have used your technology to specifically target your market instead of it directing you and your wallet. The best part of this is you can assign each spoke to someone else like an assistant or virtual assistant or one of your kids, if you would like to do so.

So from today forward, every single piece of technology must have a target audience. Practice several Strategy Wheels for fun on a whiteboard. They are a blast and it trains your brain to become a more productive entrepreneur. I offer workshops on this if you or your agents need help — http://www.heartofthestrategy.com/


Next month: Is Facebook Secretly Killing your Business


Julie Beall, CRS, RN, BSN, MBA, is a Ohio native (Go Bucks!), Broker/Owner of Julie Beall Inc., a small investment real estate firm, digital marketing director for several small companies and national public speaker on social media, and entrepreneurial strategies.

Julie started her entrepreneurial career in 1984 owning crafts stores, peanut companies (yes peanuts, just ask her), advertising firms and pet care facilities, all while investing in real estate. In1998 Julie finally obtained her real estate license and was a top producing agent/manager for 15 years.

Julie is passionate about helping the entrepreneur use targeted realistic digital and non-digital strategies in their local market. And after a life defining illness she incorporates business, health, and spirituality in every presentation, the piece that is missing in most entrepreneurial conversations. Her presentations and blogs are unique, cutting edge and sometimes uncomfortable but can be life changing. If you, your company or association would like to grow your entrepreneurial skills professionally and personally, please contact Julie at:

Website: http://www.heartofthestrategy.com/
Twitter: @juliebeall
Email: Julie@juliebeall.com
Facebook Business: https://www.facebook.com/heartofthestrategy
Facebook Personal: https://www.facebook.com/JulieBeallTeam
Instagram: juliebeall
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/juliebeall/
text: 937-546-0222

Tags: Tech Talk

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