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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who stole what?

They STOLE my buyer!

Agents mutter that to one another all the time, day in, day out.  Once in awhile it's true.  I would know.  

At my former office we had two desks in the front lobby.  One for the office admin, another for the duty agent.  On one particular day I was up front talking to the admin about something (can't remember what) when a woman walked in.  She asked for an agent who had just left for an out of town appointment. Specifically asked for the man by name.  The duty agent stepped up and said 'Can I help you'?  I pay pretty close attention to how my cohorts conduct themselves, today was no exception. I watched to see how she would handle this.  She heard as I did when the woman asked for the other agent.  The walk-in repeated 'I was looking for Mr. So and So but he is not here'.  

Now, protocol would be to say something like - can I get your name and number and have him call you?  Or, would you like me to see if I can reach him?  Was he expecting you? (obviously not)...something along those lines.   

Looks sweet doesn't she? 
Nothing like that was said - she looked at me, smirked, and said - 'Come to my office, maybe I can help.'   I was appalled, partly because Ms. So and So felt I would approve!  No, it wasn't my customer, but it COULD have been. One day it would be All it would take would be for me to get a call about a property, an email,  a delicate relationship begun.  Said contact swings by to meet me without an appointment and as sometimes happens I could be out WORKING somewhere.  Greedy cow agent 'steals my customer'.   You can't expect John Q. Public to police REALTOR behavior. Generally they assume we are all doing the 'right' thing. Some know better and will throw the other agent under the bus as soon as they see you! "Guess what Mr. or Ms. So and So said when I asked for you'! (gotta love loyalty)  Those precious little pot stirrers, always love to hear about the confrontation later lol. 

As you would expect, one day an opportunity presented itself for me to 'return the favor'. She had already set protocol, hadn't she?  A call came in and I heard Ms. So and So on the phone with a 'cold call'.  She informed the caller that a particular home was sold but she had a lovely mobile home listed!  I heard her say the young mans name (HARK!  a friend of my sons since grade school).  She asked him some qualifying questions.  I could tell she didn't like the answers because she gave him the number for ERA Mortgage and turned him loose.  

I snuck outside with my cell and called my son.  Told him to call his friend immediately and tell him if he were thinking to buy a house to call me, at the very least do NOT call a 1-800 number for mortgage assistance.  

PRECIOUS STOLEN BUYER called me.  Full of apologies for not calling me first-just wanted to know the price of a house he was driving by.  He was 21 years old, didn't think he could buy, but he was LOOKING!  Classic.  

A local lender that I trusted met with PRECIOUS STOLEN BUYER and qualified him as a first time home buyer.  Too young to have messed up his credit!  Down payment assistance.  A flipped REALTOR listing.   We cake-walked that PRECIOUS STOLEN BUYER right into a 3BR, stick built home with hardwood floors in a decent school district.  

So there you have it.  I am as corruptible as the next guy.  And with a SMIRK on my face. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Casa clásica

Something we have in abundance is vintage homes!  Out of 181 active residential listings - 56 were built between 1900 and 1959.  If you are looking for vintage bungalow, retro ranch or elegant eclectic we have offerings from $43,000 - $499,900!
A number of these properties are (but not always) estate properties. This means the property is being sold by the heirs.  Often a multitude of heirs.  No issue there really, however, it can muddy the waters.

As I have said before, I am not 'from the area' originally.  My grandparents came off the boat from Italy, they weren't living in the Burg back before the streets were paved. I don't have those "Old Orangeburg" ties so to speak.  I am one of those 'RELOCATION' clients from years back that stayed to make a home and a living.  No worries - like my grandfather - I can work for what I want.

Soooo...on a certain day my BIC (Broker in Charge) called me into to her office and said she had received call from a gentleman who wanted to list his 'family home' now that his brothers had passed.  She shrugged-'interested?', I said sure.  Kind of odd - most people have local ties, but not always.  Sometimes everyone else has moved away and things are left flapping.  So I called, sounded like I had a shot at something I don't usually have an opportunity for.

The heir that had Power of Attorney said 'they' would be in Orangeburg on Saturday at 10 and would I meet them at the house?  They would be meeting an appraiser at the same time.  HAPPY DANCE!  An appraisal would be invaluable on this 1930's original condition home!  This was going enable me to ensure a sellable property!  I knew we weren't going to replace the original coal furnace, tile roof, or copper screens.  BUT we could position the home to sell to a buyer that could love everything this home was in it's current condition.

Old Goat Appraiser
I showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed Saturday morning to meet everyone.  An appraiser (whom I had heard of by reputation only-who didn't know me from ADAM, or EVE) stood there and told them at least FOUR times that they needed to list with MS. SO AND SO from my very office.  Right there in my face, bold and stinky as you please, TOLD them to list with another agent.  Can you say awkward?  For the sellers, I was just plain stunned (more than a little ticked off).  The son nicely guided me by my elbow to the basement at that moment to take a look at the fascinating coal furnace.

After the VINTAGE APPRAISER had collected his 'data' and left we sat and discussed the partially filled in listing papers (assumptive).  I gently told him that it would be just fine if he wanted to list with Ms. So and So, the paperwork that I brought would be the same, she would just sign her name instead of mine.  He apologized, said he didn't know when he spoke to me that  were with the same company. I quickly addressed my marketing strategy and beat it.  I expected never to darken that doorstep again!

Nothing left to do but head to Columbia for the remainder of the day and go shopping.

Monday morning I shared my experience with another agent.  Low and behold he had received the SAME property as a referral some 3 months earlier.  We compared notes and it was placed by one of the other heirs.  They had asked him to meet them on a Saturday as well, he was unable to and he never heard anything further.   Ms. So and So came to see me, she had declined to meet them on Saturday when she learned yet another agent was coming in at 1:00!  sigh (I hadn't heard about that one).

Ms. Beloved REALTOR  (also known as Ms. So and So) also revealed OLD FART APPRAISER had contacted her prior to meeting with the seller requesting COMPS from her, (he didn't have access to our MLS).  interesting  I asked what she had given him and she said she pulled up everything that sold 'in the neighborhood' and gave them to him.   I had found exactly TWO sales in the entire county that were similar in size, condition and lifestyle.  None of them were located 'in the neighborhood'.  I am not an appraiser, he may know something I don't know...who can say?   It certainly explained WHY he felt compelled to insist they list with Ms. So and So.  They obviously have a relationship (there is that word again).

I received a call some time later - I got the listing!

My vintage listing has been a JOY to work on, my sellers are as supportive as I have ever had!  Everyone falls in love with the property when they go through it (whether they would consider buying it or not).  I can easily visualize the buyer for this exceptional home-a purist, appreciative of everything this property stands for, willing to maintain the homes integrity!  Considering a real project?  Check out our community - we have lots to offer in the way of casa clásica!

Play VisualTour
¡Adoro casas más viejas! (I love older homes!)    I periti di Dirtbag, non così molto.  (you get the general idea)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My seller is attracted to me, she just doesn't know it

The listing paperwork has been completed.  I am just waiting for my seller to get the finishing touches done around the house so I can go out Sunday and take the MLS and visual tour photos.  Once I finish those up - we will be good to go!  On the market before Spring!  Ahead of the game!  YIPEEEE!

A few years ago a friend mentioned a friend of hers that would be needing to sell her home-life change situation.  It was a lead, I didn't know her friend from Adam.  'Send her a letter', she said.  So I did.  I never heard anything from her or her husband. I really wasn't terribly confident and so I didn't pursue it. The top producing agent in the market got the listing (I was pretty new).   I did however land a similar property just a short distance away! Sadly, the sellers had interviewed 3 other agents and me being the newbie I was and having so few listings I went for the unreasonable, difficult, I will do things MY way seller.

I watched, and I waited.  Updating my seller on their competition every chance I got.  We were higher priced (of course), they had a pool and more amenities.   Theirs was brick, nicer location...but I pushed and prodded, visual tours, open houses.

I watched, and I waited.   Lots of calls, there were TWO homes on the market with 5 bedrooms and in-law suites.  I had ONE of them.  

My listing never sold.  They didn't take advantage of my recommendations for updates or reductions.  The other listing didn't sell either.

The home was transferred to another top producer in our office.  When she left the business and referred the seller to me (remember those relationship referrals I mentioned).  I was pleased as punch.   We didn't get it sold in spite of many showings and two offers so rather than allow it to start to smell, off the market it came.  We didn't want to become SHARK BAIT!   For over 12 mos. we sat and let the market scramble around looking for what cannot be found at this price.  SIX BEDROOMS and a mother in-law suite.  

We have become friends, pretty good friends I believe.  We are buddies on FACEBOOK, text back and forth now and then.  Have even enjoyed the occasional 'girls night' (movies) that sort of thing.  I don't think she knows the power at work that brought us together. I have never asked if she read the letter, I suspect it was viewed as 'junk mail' and thrown in the trash.   She thinks it was an agent referral that brought us together.  I know better.  It was  The Law of Attraction  All that energy I sent her way, focusing on HER home while I was working to get my listing sold.

I know, like I know, like I know - this home is going to sell quickly!  The agent next to me just asked...'Do you still have P----'s house?  I have someone who needs 6 bedrooms'.  I waved my listing papers and smiled, 'We are back on the market!'  My client feels it too, positive energy all around, working together with a common goal and reasonable expectations. I can FEEL that buyer right there waiting for us to hit the market.   I'll share the tour with ya'll next week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just Call Tina: Shark Bait

Just Call Tina: Shark Bait: An agent sat down with me to discuss a former listing of his the other day.  He'd had it listed about 18 mos, replaced carpet, power washed ...

Shark Bait

An agent sat down with me to discuss a former listing of his the other day.  He'd had it listed about 18 mos, replaced carpet, power washed the exterior, professionally cleaned the interior, yard work completed, exterior paint touched up, visual tour, video, CMA results and pricing options.  You name it - he did the works.  Even advised them to remove the dated, heavy dark drapes to let in some light and show off the fabulous views.    Two weeks after an incredible agent luncheon the sellers transferred the listing to another agent in the same company.  He wanted to know why I thought he didn't get it sold.  (well shucks Sweetie - it STILL ain't sold)!

I have shown said property many, many times.  More while he had it listed, less now.  Qualified buyers, they could buy and did buy (something else), no issues with financing at all.  Four of them were relocation buyers - absolutely buying and closing QUICKLY!   They all liked the home at first blush, some put it on the list of possibilities.  They all changed their minds when it came time to make the hard decision, IS THIS THE HOUSE?

Recently I had a buyer call and ask to return with her husband on a Sunday and take a second look at his former listing.  They spent a good 2 hours on site (its furnished but 'vacant').  Oh how they loved it, it was THE house.  In order to buy they must sell first so after a sad goodbye they went home to dream and wait.  Two weeks ago they called.  The Christmas holiday brought considerable interest in their current home and they thought it wise to return for a second look.  Look at a DIFFERENT house, one listed approx $120,000 higher.

Why, when they began to seriously consider buying did they choose another home?  The location of the former property offered an excellent opportunity to live on one of the finest streets in our market - at the lowest historical price in (as Taylor Swift might say) EVER. The VALUE appears to be there, they HAD seen it!  But they changed their minds when it became time to actually spend the $$$$

None of these buyers offered a definitive reason to take the home off their list. I have a theory.  It goes back to that relationship issue.  The original listing agent provided guidance, recommendations, and market projections.  The problem was - and as a buyers agent over the course of those months I can attest as to when the sellers cooperated or 'bought into' his plan.  It was NOT prior to list, but under duress, as the months went along.  And it was never in it's entirety.  Piece by piece, bit by bit, I would see changes as I brought one buyer after another through the home and tried to 'sell' the home.  I have begun to realize that I am having to work too hard to sell that home.  I am beginning to feel as though I am losing credibility with my buyers.  I have fallen out of love with the listing that I had such confidence in.  If that is true for me I imagine it is true for other agents.  Except for the agents  that pride themselves in finding just such properties.  The listings that have gotten weak.  They will check the history in MLS, put out feelers, sniff around.

This house is dead in the water.   I truly believe that if the sellers had bought into the entire marketing plan, worked with their original agent FROM DAY ONE it would have sold in a reasonable time to achieve their goals.  

I expect this to end badly.  The property will sell well below market value and the original CMA price (what a traditional resale at that location would sell for).  The concessions will be hard - closing costs, a roof, extensive repairs.  They will tear it to shreds.  It's inevitable, buyers will smell blood in the water.  They will wait, circle and someone will gobble it up.

The first question that buyer will ask is...'is this a foreclosure'?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Just call Tina didn't mean YOU!

Real estate is not a service industry.

So many try to make it into one.  Granted we ARE expected to deliver service.  We do enjoy helping people when we can, but there is a GOAL in place with that.  It's business. We are working or growing our business.     You will find real estate identified as a business or industry on most pull-downs for surveys etc.  

As you may have read last week I was the duty agent for 1/2 a day or so.  Now that is a complex role, task, assignment whatever you want to call it.  Answering calls about listings, financing, buying and selling is what we do, with a GOAL in mind!  To identify people who are buying or selling - or thinking about buying or selling real estate.   We like talking about real estate, not always with future clients, often it's just with friends, family or colleagues.  It's all good.

I had someone call in asking about commercial properties (remember?) the two that couldn't be found in MLS.   She was a fast talker, knew what she was looking for - very specific.  Gave me her cell, direct line and email address.   I took all of that, it was a contact - no biggie.  It might, might not lead to something.  I did some small work - figured I'd ask around and if it produced - fine.  I wouldn't kill myself on it - if the listings were available I would call her back.  From there we would go to financing and time lines etc.

Well HELLO!  She actually called back later that afternoon.  Did you find anything? - (no sorry).  She threw some other maybes at me - do you have anything like so and so...time for me to look a bit deeper for something that will fit.  I asked her, are you a REALTOR? Oh noooooo, she is not a REALTOR!!  She is a consultant for a developer.  She is finding commercial property for a developer.  uh huh.   I am thinking perhaps she is a wife or girlfriend?  Deliberately vague as to what she is actually doing.

I did a bit of research, emailed her some details on a potential opportunity, 'Would this work...'?  Oh yes, it might at that! (I did not send her the property address or MLS #)  She was responding nicely, just so appreciative.   Would I have some time so she and I get together and preview it on Monday, go over things so she could tell her developer about it?


Time to really nail this one down.   Lets try this again... are you a real estate agent?

Dead silence.  For two days.

First thing Monday morning she emails 'I am not a REALTOR, but I am working the developer as a client'.   Who is the listing agent so I can call him?  

I see.

Google the words real estate consultant.  They sure look like licensed real estate agents to me.  

So, I checked.  She is not licensed in the state of SC.  But she is consulting/offering advice as to the purchase of commercial property to a someone she calls CLIENT.  Someone actually hired her?

I GET IT NOW (see below) ...she is #1  Consulting a REALTOR and then advising her developer client (how silly of me).  I wonder how SHE gets paid?

 [kuhn-suhltkon-suhlt, kuhn-suhlt]verb (used with object)
to seek advice or information from; ask guidance from: Consult your lawyer before signing the contract.
to refer to for information: Consult your dictionary for the spelling of the word.
to have regard for (a person's interest, convenience, etc.) in making plans.
Obsolete . to meditate, plan, or contrive.
verb (used without object)
to consider or deliberate; take counsel; confer (usually followed by with  ): He consulted with hisdoctor.
to give professional or expert advice; serve as consultant.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Healthy eating in Orangeburg!

I'm Italian.  I like my Italian food, and a REAL Italian restaurant (not a chain).  Family owned, where you know the whole crew by name.  Who their parents are, where they live. All of that.  And they know YOU!

Graziano's was THE place to eat in Lisbon, Maine.   I could walk there from my house, get a take out pizza.  Everyone knew everyone else.  We went to school with one another. The kind of place you still think about 23 years after moving away.  The first place on the list to eat when you go back to visit.

Luckily we have just such a place here in town, House of Pizza.  It is technically a GREEK restaurant but they do serve Italian food too. Locally owned.   My children went to school with their children, we talk about where they are and what they are doing, and their friends.I believe I have eaten there at least once a week since I moved here 23 years ago.  That's a whole lotta PIZZA!  I recommend this place to all my relocation buyers.

My sweet server knows what I order. (lousy photo of her - I took it with my phone)  It is an ongoing joke - silly but it makes me happy, I love her for it.  They have a great menu but I am a creature of habit and rarely change up my selection.  Large pepperoni pizza, fries for an appetizer (fried hard), water. Unless I am there earlier in the day then I might go out on a limb and order coffee to keep me going through the afternoon.  We have been known to have a glass of wine now and again too on very special occasions.

Not long ago I learned the restaurant had been SOLD!  I was devastated and a little ticked off.  It would never be the same.  Where would I go on Wednesday for a long meal with my bestie before Bible class?  Where would we be comfortable lingering over our meal, checking our lessons, catch up on the drama of our days?

My office is across the street - I watched the changes come within DAYS!  The addition of some kind of sun room thingy.  I refused to go check it out.

My curiosity got the better of me and  I broke down and we went back this week.
There were obvious structural changes, had there been changes in staff as well? Supposedly the menu was the same but what about the the TASTE?

The first question in the door was - 'Would you like to be seated in the SUN ROOM?'  Well sure, why not?  We were the only ones out there.  Check it out...a fireplace, with a fire.   My daughter and I as per usual were discussing the menu, what we MIGHT have, when our server arrived and asked 'Pepperoni pizza?'  She was STILL HERE!

My dear friend was being very good.  Following up on that New Years thing and all.   A salad for her, Romaine lettuce only if you please.  I told her there was NO WAY I was having a salad.  I had eaten one already for lunch.   She pointed out it was probably best not to combine two salads a day with SLIM QUICK!  Now that's a friend!  Always looking out for your best interest.  She asked for a take out box as soon as her plate arrived, she was taking 1/2 home for lunch tomorrow!  Good girl.

She ate what remained on her plate like the pro-active healthy thing she is.  What I did not document however, was the pizza she ate after the salad.   BUT, that IS what all of the weight loss pros say to do. Drink a ton of water or something good for you like the salad BEFORE you start on the stuff you really want to eat so you don't over do.  Personally, I start with the fries.

They are open for Sunday brunch now too!  I am thinking to swing by before worship.  Time for a new 'routine'.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Here I sit, broken hearted...

Can you finish that line?

I spent many Saturdays 'downtown' in Barre, Vermont  with my mother as a child.  At the laundromat, Green Mountain Diner and inevitably making a pit stop at the 'Pay a Dime' restroom in Fishmans Dime Store.  We'd go in together - and she would spout out 'here I sit, broken hearted, paid a dime and only farted'!  I would laugh every time like I had never heard it before.

Don't pretend this offends your sensibilities.  With all the garbage  on FACEBOOK, youtube, television, on and on and on.  A fart is NOTHING.  And frankly - that about sums up how many REALTORS feel on any given day. Here I sit... It has played through my mind many times and I know if my mother were alive today to listen to my rants at the end of the day she would laugh and recite it again!

Wednesdays are my longest day.  I wake up pretty early, usually between 5-5:30 a.m.   DO NOT imagine that I am ready to face anyone personally, but I am drinking coffee in bed, checking the web and stuff. Social media is fine at 5 a.m. - being sociable is another thing entirely. I am focusing on business in one form or another, it's always with you.

At 8:48 a.m.  I sit at the office...waiting on a  buyer to call (since 8:00) to go over the offer he wants to write.  We already have spent 3 hours 
discussing said paperwork over a week ago.  He needed to go home overnight and think about it.  Of course I understood.  He knows I have to leave to meet another client at 9:00.  Is he going to write, will it be today, next week, ever?  Minutes are ticking, I have to go meet with the seller, get back to meet my BIC (broker-in-charge) at 10:20 for a conference on how things are going.

The seller for the 9:00 appt asked me to call at 8:50 a.m. before I head to  meet him at the property in case he forgets.  We played phone tag for a week to establish that connection so I am a bit apprehensive.    He ANSWERS!!!   'Is it that time already' (oh no) he asks. Yes, I tell him.  'Are we good to meet?'  He says he is fine and as I grab my keys guess who calls?

Former said buyer has only a few questions, I stop and go over them with him.  He will call later when he gets in town so we can get the 'paperwork' done.    Off I go.

Lovely meeting at 9 with super nice elderly gentleman who may or may not list.  It depends on what the market indicates he can expect for the property.  I take my info - shake his hand and off I go.  I'll call back and we will go over the market analysis next week - see what can or cannot be done.

At precisely 10:20 I meet with my broker to discuss my activity.  Yes, I have been showing houses.  Yes, they can probably buy.  No, they haven't done anything.  I said this, they said that.  Good stuff, just nothing on PAPER!  Nothing on PAPER means no $$$$.  We discuss strategy and make encouraging noises.  All in all - not bad.

Mandatory call time.  The agent on duty handles incoming calls and questions.   I get an exciting call on one of my listings.  Oh yes, I WILL show my own listings -  regardless.  If nothing else - I owe it to my seller to get in front of all potential buyers, get feedback at the very least.  See if they CAN put something on PAPER.   It's a cool house - great showing! As we talk and walk they are all over the house.  Financing, what can and can't be done. Sounds sooooo good!  Then he writes down his email address and I recognize the name. They have been around looking and looking for years.  To rent.  Can't buy squat.  Won't buy squat.  I say nothing.  I will go back and email the additional info they asked for, it's really warm (almost 80) but something may have frozen over somewhere.  It could happen.

I don't believe I have mentioned the referral I am chasing, the seller I called earlier for our weekly update (the one that I was hoping to write an offer on-thankfully I never mentioned it to her), a commercial agent from out of town is driving around, wants info on 2 properties she saw with signs (for her clients).  I can't find them in MLS.  I'll email her later too.  It goes on and on.

The phone could ring at any time.  WHO KNOWS WHAT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES will present themselves.  I am not so enthused by the end of the day.

By 5:00 p.m. I hope not to be sitting here broken hearted ...I still haven't heard from the buyer who was going to bring in the paperwork.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

If you can't go home - CRAFT

Our office has an Advisory Committee.  Comprised of three agents - selected from amongst those in the office to represent us to the 'management'.  The ballots were not tallied  by the voting agents so we have to trust that those who were appointed are indeed true representatives and not just placed by management.  Drama, drama, there are those who doubt, and those like myself who don't give a squat.  It is what it is.

The committee has  come up with an innovated and entertaining idea!   At each Tuesday morning Sales Meeting (attendance mandatory) one agent will do a presentation.  Topic of their choice, it might be business related, community service, something they have a particular interest in or as in some cases, another JOB (GA$P)!  We are not allowed to have another job, real estate MUST BE OUR PRIMARY FOCUS!!!!  It's been amusing to watch them come forward presenting their sideline occupations.   We've seen preachers, printing companies, high school refereeing, all manner of clandestine operations!

We've had some interesting presentations.  I did mine today on something that represents me just as truly as my social security number.  CRAFTS! 
I believe I have mentioned previously the manner of some in my field.  Shall I say they are less than gracious on occasion?  I arrived early and set up all of my creations and went back to the kitchen for coffee before our meeting.  A bit later when we all took our seats the agent next to me enjoyed some nasty comments about  the display (she thought it was another agent doing the presentation - seriously?  Like YOUR talk was earth moving about the private school?  I never looked her way when the BIC called me to take the floor.

 I work a lot of relocation business, or as much as I can get my hands on anyway.  The reason I believe I can best represent a buyer moving to South Carolina aside from the obvious skills needed as a REALTOR is because I have actually done it myself.  Relocated under duress when my husband was transferred.  I packed up my family, cat, belongings and moved light years back into the past and relocated to the South.  I'm kidding, but not really.  Moving from New England was a shock!  Now Maine isn't exactly cosmopolitan but it was within driving distance of Boston and New York.  I was lost in S.C.  I couldn't understand a thing they were saying!

Management at Hughes Aircraft told my husband not to let me visit home for 18 mos.  Make her stay here and MAKE friends.  It was good advice.  Through a mother of my daughters friend I learned counted cross stitch that first summer.  The ladies at church showed me how to do a friendship quilt.  From that I moved on to porcelain dolls with the Newcomers Club.  Basketry at the State Park...on and on.  Grew to a craft group in my home, we sold our handiwork at craft fairs and in a little boutique in the Prince of Orange Mall.

More than 20 years have gone from that first sampler.  Dear friends have moved in and out of Orangeburg, I  remained.  It's my home.  We aren't fancy, don't have high end fashion (Atlanta isn't far), talk funny (we talked funny in Maine too), and never mind the cow in the chair next to me...they aren't all catty.

Bless her heart!

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

DINOSAURS: Fascinating but not if they are your REALTOR

Back in the day...

That phrase really grates on my last nerve.   It was cute and trendy for a little while.  Killed me when I would hear 20 somethings say it.  Back in WHAT day?  Diaper days?   They aren't even old enough to go back in the day.   My grandmother owned a nursing/boarding home, she passed in 1979.   Operated it in her own 9 bedroom home in Maine.   I spent summers with her and the old people (yes OLD people) told stories from back in the day... if it's newer than 25 years, it's NOT BACK IN THE DAY!  It's almost yesterday.  geez

REALTORS are whiners, some winers, but almost all are WHINERS!   Habitual whiners about  back in the day... 

Dripping off the tongue of almost every agent in my office, all day long it has become an excuse rather than a reflection.   From the early birds around the coffee pot at 8 a.m., Tuesday morning sales meeting, call time leads to updates for clients.  It has become the catch all for why they can't, by referring to back in the day...back when they could!   

This nation has been through depressions, recessions, even a civil war!  Fortunes won and fortunes lost - many times over.  So what exactly is the point in bemoaning back in the day...
Waiting for the market to improve?  Chasing interest rates and market trends?  Sheep.  Looking for someone to show them what to do, where to go and please feed me on the way.   

Home buyers and sellers don't need REALTORS who behave like sheep, or worse yet DINOSAURS  (cavemen) from back in the day...  We have listings in our MLS that are older than Methuselah  

Try this for innovative marketing.  Can you picture this in the next Showcase of Homes magazine ad: 

Remember this one from back in the day...? Listed 975 days ago and STILL STANDING!  See this one today.  (imagine the sellers response-buyers will smell blood in the water)

Don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against agents that have been in the business since EVER.  Lord willing, that will be me one day.  But please, WORK like you are young and make it for TODAY!  The market you enjoyed and profited from back in the no more.   Start living and working for your clients NOW!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The 3 R's: Real Estate & Relationships = Referrals

The three R's, fundamental in early childhood education  is easily adapted to the world of real estate.  Real estate builds on relationships and grows into referrals.

An instructor at the real estate school where I received my licensing is still my mentor and dear friend.  He has said more times than I can count and often at times when I would prefer a pity party because of some meanie rather than advice that "real estate is a relationship business".  In other words, suck it up and move on.

There will always be obnoxious real estate agents to bang heads with during a deal.  They make their listings difficult to show, lack the ability to educate their clients, cannot work through a difficult home inspection - whatever.   I try to play nice in the sandbox but it doesn't always work.  Sand is thrown at one another, toys are stolen, and sometimes they run home and cry to mommy (their Broker in Charge). I just KNOW that one day I will face them again on another deal and that old baggage cannot follow me into future dealings.  Some relationships are just plain nasty.  Not an easy way to earn $.  Agents have been known to shy away from difficult contemporaries.  They know from experience their clients don't have a prayer of getting the contract to close.

Agents leave the business, the economy has had a impact on our local board of REALTORS.  While we have leveled off a bit, we are down a good 20% .  Doesn't really break my heart, more for those of us left.  Where do their past clients go?  If I have maintained a decent, workable relationship with one or two - they may send  them to me as a referral!  Or, say perhaps I know an agent in another market - they don't want to travel all this way - or they are WAAAAY far away - Egypt or something, and they know someone in my market who wants to buy or sell a home.   They refer them!  Easy money for them - good money for me too.  A nice relationship.  The tour below is a referral from an out of market agent - GREAT home too!
Play VisualTour

Imagine $2,000,000 sales price
Personal relationships can provide referral IN-come too through outgoing referral placement.   An excellent source for me has been my ex-husband.  While he relocated from our home, he still remains a source of business for me!  If he can find a way for me to place a referral - he DOES IT!   A friend in Ohio wants to sell - he persuades them to let me refer them to a listing agent in that market.  He wants to buy a garage to store his vintage autos, he calls me and I place him as a buyer referral.

Now, see that little gem on the right (that's his current home).  Say it sells for 2 mil.  I have no clue what it will list at - he has done lots of renovations etc...but just suppose it does.  This lovely little pie chart will demonstrate what kind of fee can be gained.  Keeping in mind the company takes (GASP) 1/2 of the incoming check.  I always appreciate his help - even if the buyer or seller end up not actually doing anything it's kinda fun to say I got the business from my ex.  And when they do close - it's an excellent source of additional income.   Taking that a step further - Mr. Ex-Husband has me place him as a buyer after the sale of current referred listing, in TWO markets.  Things being as they are the income from a sale in Cali will still enable him to purchase a retirement property as well as a primary residence.  That's THREE referrals from one source.   I never left my desk.   He gets to feel good for helping me out - I get to feel gooder as my bank account grows.   The kids don't have to feel their parents are at war.

Why wouldn't I beat my children, family, church members, FACEBOOK friends, past clients, REALTOR pals, absofreakinglutely every person I KNOW for leads?   The income gap between closings for personal clients must be filled.   When it comes to the well known and oft worked 'Who do you know who is interested in buying or selling a home?'  I mean ANYWHERE on this planet.

Lastly, lets revisit that first paragraph and my personal rant about real estate is a relationship business.  While I often have had to 'suck it up' from irresponsible agents, intolerable, demanding buyers or sellers, eventually even they learn sometimes the relationship is with TINA!

Friday, January 11, 2013

El Presidente And Social Media

The world of real estate needs another blogger like they need another real estate agent!   However, while I may post tips, advice, insights and listings that I hope to be of interest and relevant in the Orangeburg real estate market, my real mission is to provide some humor for John Q. Public.   

I have long waited for a sitcom that would reveal what is really going on in the business, good, bad and VERY UGLY lol, but so far that is not to be.  Soooo...I will post occasionally on this topic instead. 

I am President of the Southern Midlands Association of REALTORS for 2013 it is a mission of mine to bring my partners in RE crime up to speed on the benefits of Social Media while growing my own sphere and knowledge at the same time.  Make $$$ spend NO $$$.  I hate to say, our monthly meetings have become a belly up to the food bar, rush through the business and speaking portion and out the door in under an hours time.  

 My Board of Directors was supportive enough and so the first REALTOR luncheon planned for January 2013 we agreed to have a speaker come in and provide the basics for setting up a FACEBOOK Fan Page.   

Surely most would already have a profile page and we could have them bring ipads, iphones, laptops etc and we would provided step by step help for anyone who wanted it.  They would see MY valuable page - enjoy the REACH and see the benefit!  Then, we could all like each others page, grow and grow and grow.   Simple, easy and fun. Given that the average age of agents in our Association is BABY BOOMER+ I had what I wanted!  A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE.  

Three people brought devices.  One agent with the laptop didn't bother to open it - plead ignorance (really?) duh.   How about just plain lazy? In all honesty, they did all pay very good attention.  Nobody left early or whispered on the sidelines.  I believe they actually enjoyed the meeting.  The feedback over the following days was very positive.  

My car was less cooperative after the meeting...Isabelle refused to leave the Country Club.  I like the food too but geez...move your butt girl!  She simply had to show her backside (battery) to all the lustful males.  And they doooo lust after my lovely little car.  Any excuse to touch her and check under the hood.  Never mind the battery is in the trunk (which I disclosed).  They have been cropped out to protect the privacy of the guilty.  (many thanks for staying to help though :>)  

I exported every single email address for members of the Association and sent them invites to preview my FB Fan Page over the weekend.  Guess how many responded?  Exactly three.  It's been over a week since the meeting.  Either they haven't looked at email or they are boycotting.

Four days after the Associate luncheon our office had our annual retreat.  The imported speaker (who was awesome) from Washington DC advised us to bring in a speaker on Social Media and have them show us how to set up a FB Fan Page (go figure).  I sat quietly smug while my BIC (broker in charge) shared that we had done exactly that not four days prior.   I think my point was made.   A prophet in it's own country and all that. 

Not to worry - I have 11 months left and will continue to offer them the opportunity to catch up with their grandchildren.