"Do It Now! Buy a Maryland Home" is the battle cry of Realtors who will be hitting the streets January and February with a campaign to encourage homebuying in the state.
The campaign is designed to "tell the public that this is a good time to buy because fixed-rate mortgages are below 10 percent for the first time in several years, and there is a large inventory of available homes and sellers are anxious to sell," said Michael Yerman, president of the Maryland Association of Realtors. Mr. Yerman is chief executive officer of Meredith Real Estate Better Homes & Gardens and president of Mycor Development Co. in Baltimore.
Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors inventory statistics of available homes in the Baltimore metropolitan area show that in November 1987 there were 7,274 homes on the market, down from 10,670 in November 1990.
"The market is stable. People don't realize the opportunity. Everything you could want from a cottage to an estate is available. You have to go out and look," said Carol W. Taylor, director of communications and public affairs for the Realtors association.
Mr. Yerman also pointed out that because there is a slowdown in residential building, the inventory of available homes will shrink, driving up the value of existing homes. "By spring prices will go up," he predicted.
The Maryland Association of Realtors will kick off the sales pitch Jan. 3 at a rally in Annapolis, and Gov. William Donald Schaefer will deliver a proclamation.
The $50,000 campaign was funded and organized by the Maryland Association of Realtors in the past two months. "It's like a birth of a baby, and I'm not sure its not triplets," Ms. Taylor said.
Twenty local Realtor boards will receive bumper stickers, advertising copy, campaign logos to use in newspaper advertisements, press releases and tape for radio and cable television advertisements from the statewide parent organization.
A key campaign event will be an open house event Feb. 23-24. The 26,000 Realtors in the state will be encouraged to staff open houses that weekend, and those attending an open house will be eligible to win a free gift.
Maryland is not the first state to hold this kind of campaign. The Greater Springfield, Mass., Association of Realtors created a "Yes, You Can" promotion last year.
"Last summer the campaign ran statewide, and we got a lot of recognition," said Ben Scranton, public relations and government affairs director of the Greater Springfield Association of Realtors. "We were not prepared for the calls from about 22 states" asking us about the campaign, he said.
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors in Waltham, Mass., last summer, designated June "Yes, You Can Buy a Home in Massachusetts" month. That campaign was focused on first-time buyers and houses priced at less than $150,000.
Spurred by the success of the local campaigns, the National Association of Realtors in March will create a "Buy Now Campaign" for state and local boards.
Information detailing the success of similar efforts and literature for
brochures and articles will be sent to member organizations, said Carol Bahr, creative services coordinator for National Association of Realtors office in Chicago.
Mr. Yerman, the Maryland association president, attributes the general sluggishness in the current real estate market to the prospect of war in the Middle East.
The uncertainty, he said, has dampened the enthusiasm of many potential buyers.