Thursday, May 29, 2008

Article or Advertisement?

This article from the Asbury Park Press reads more like an advertisement for using a realtor to buy a shore home rather than an article about a couple relocating. The story about the couple is really quite bland - he works in Westchester and she works in Basking Ridge, they will now commute from West Long Branch. Oh, how sweet, he will get to sit on the Parkway for hours during the summer. Of course the article did not discuss the cons, and the biggest pros discussed is how great working with a shore realty company can be.

Even the title sounds like it was written by a Realtor "Low Rates Help Young Couple End High Rents and Build Equity." With the market still falling there is very little chance of building equity in the next few years. More likely they will be lucky if they do not end up underwater. Well, here are some of the most "informative" snippets:

George Asfendis said, "We were paying over $1,800 a month rent. We wanted to stop paying rent and build equity. We felt we were ready to buy — the prices were affordable and the interest rates were low. Mary and I both love the Jersey Shore area. We decided that was where we wanted to buy our home and raise a family."

The couple looked for a few months before deciding on a West Long Branch home. They credit their Realtor with helping them find the right house.

"Being busy and over an hour away from the area we wanted to buy in made it difficult. We really relied on our Realtor," said George Asfendis. "She was able to zero in on what we were looking for, help us find the right home and make the transition easy. She was instrumental in guiding us through the whole process. She was entrenched in the area and gave us a lot of good recommendations and contacts."

Now maybe the realtor was terrific but having the meat of the article discuss how wonderful she was is a bit much. The article never discusses the low rates they found or what kind of loan they received to build up the equity. At least it did mention the commute:

The Asfendis are pleased to be in their new home and feel it is in a great family neighborhood and definitely worth their daily commutes. The couple has made some improvements since purchasing the property such as updating the kitchen and half bath and replacing a roof and furnace.

The couple probably spend another $100,000 minimum fixing up the place. Once the summer comes it would be interesting to find out if the daily commute is still worth it. If an hour is a long commute to visit an area and see the houses how much fun will sitting on the Parkway be for 4 hours per day at least, and that will be without accidents.

Now to the really important part of the advertisement, I meant article:

Ellen Kale, president of the Monmouth County Association of Realtors (MCAR) said, "The Jersey Shore offers many opportunities for home buyers like George and Mary. It is a great place for families. Working with a Realtor who knows the area and market can help a buyer focus on what is important to them and save time in finding the right home."

MCAR is a trade association serving 7,000 Realtors and Realtor associates and more than 12,000 Monmouth/Ocean Multiple Listing Service (MOMLS) users.

This sounds like a press release rather than an article. If APP also discussed some FSBO sites and other ways to find shore properties than it may be more objective and informative. Overall the article sounds like a Realtor advertisement. MCAR and MOMLS should feel good about the free advertising.

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