Realtors Without Lockbox Keys

10% of the Realtors sell 90% of the homesI posted on Face Book last week this entry: When the agent calls and says “Vince, I’m Whoever with XYZ Realty and I don’t have a lockbox key, can you open your listing for us” I IMMEDIATELY HIT THE DELETE KEY.What I got were 58 comments of varying viewpoints. Although I respect the real estate profession, I do not respect Realtors who ask the listing agent to show their buyers your listing either because they don’t have a lockbox key (a basic tool of the Realtor) or because “they are out of town.”

This is a despicable request for them to make and I immediately disqualify a buyer who would work with such an inept agent. I used to always accommodate those requests and I NEVER got an offer…… or a thank you, from the other agent.

Some agents said I was doing my seller a disservice by not showing to every possible buyer. I DISAGREE. I notice that the other agent NEVER says “I’m sending my buyer with a pre-qualification letter or proof of funds” because the other Realtor never checked. They run their business by the seat of their pants and just hope and pray I could close this buyer of theirs that they can’t close on any other deal. It is a disservice to my client not to carefully screen each potential buyer to weed out the ones that will be a problem later.

To those agents that DISAGREE, I will ask you: Have you ever had a seller load up their furniture and clean out the house and on the DAY of closing you find out the buyer can’t close? I know I have NOT because I am taking care of my sellers by screening those deadbeats out.

Agents that don’t have the basic tools or even the office support to help them show office clients available listings will not be in the business long. I can’t imagine asking another agent from another firm to show MY buyer their listing. How unprofessional to the BUYER is that? At least have another agent from your own office cover the showing for you.

Realtors sometimes get a bad rap……. and sometimes it’s our own fault.

For more information, go to: http://www.headofrealestate.com

Why Exit Realty OWNS THE NEXT DECADE

I have been with Exit Realty THREE YEARS NOW! Often you hear people in Exit talk about is the, residual income we all get from sponsoring agents into Exit. Everyone wants to bring agents into our company for the single level residual money, but as wonderful as Single Level Residuals are…….I think we lose focus on why our company as a whole is so much BETTER than the other brands.

After 18 years with ERA, I finished my last year with ERA, #1 worldwide for them. I realized then that I had spent 18 years climbing a ladder that was on the wrong building. I wanted to come to Exit so bad that I skipped the ERA Convention and did no get my award because I wanted to leave ASAP and start this new chapter in my career. Looking back, I spent close to $100,000 in franchise fees my last three years with ERA. What did I get for that? Access to a VIP tent at the ERA convention where I could get free coffee that lesser producers did not have access to. Management did not know my name despite consistently being in the top ten for them worldwide, year after year after year? I often wonder what kept me there so long? Why do agents not see the light? Why are we so loyal to people who clearly benefit from having us, but we don’t get anything in return? In Exit………. E V E R Y B O D Y WINS!

I wrote a blog in 2009 that if you go back and read it here on WordPress came 100% true (so far) for Tampa. I stated that ERA could not survive long term because the system they use is outdated, broken and will not work in this NEW realty market we are in. Well, in 2011, there are ZERO ERA franchises left in Tampa. One, ERA The Polo Group, was one of the most successful in ERA and the broker, Mario Polo is one of the finest real estate minds you will ever know. He did not fail ERA, ERA failed him by not changing with the times. Most of the major badges fail to look at the overall picture. THE AGENTS ARE THE COMPANY AND YOU BETTER TAKE CARE OF THEM.

With Exit, and this is the point of this blog, you get STATE OF THE ART MARKETING TOOLS, you get the best trainers in the industry and the level of support is so much better than I could have imagined. EXIT REALTY is the Rolls Royce of realty brands. Steve Morris is THE MIND of real estate and has been the leader of our badge since he gave birth to her over 12 years ago. With ERA, I thought CEO stood for “Career Ending Opportunity” because every time they announce a new CEO, they were gone before I could remember their name. At Exit, we have a solid foundation, solid leadership, solid marketing materials, leaders that DO HAVE A CLUE and are in front of the curve instead of always chasing it. Exit e-Listings, Exit Promo Shop are the best marketing tools in the industry bar none. Jeff Lobb is 100% on time with what is happening in the word of technology and we all know that changes hourly, Valerie Reyes can teach you how to bring in more agents and secure your and your family’s future, Bob McKinnen, Tami Bonell, Joyce, Steve Morris and on and on! Hands on management that truly cares about the brand, the agents and the image of what they are building.

I landed on real estate paradise when I landed on Exit. Yes, we have the residuals…………… but we have much, much more to offer than “just” residual income. I’m proud to be here! EXiT OWNS THE NEXT DECADE and beyond!

http://www.headofrealestate.com

#1 On Google? A Waste of Time of worth the Time?

OK, here we go again. Three new e-mails today with the promise to get me on the first page of Google. I saw another seminar invite with the subject the same. I know the Internet is now the #1 place most BUYERS start to search for listings……. but do they REALLY search Google looking for an AGENT? I would say 100% NO.

I understand that this Internet Google “guru” is touting numbers like “95% of buyers today start their home search on the Internet” and so fourth. But the fact is, MOST of that 95% starts on the Internet alright, but that traffic and “hit number” is driven by sites like Realtor.com and homes.com for example. The buyer finds the house and calls the agent that has the listing. Investing on the enhanced listings on Realtor.com for example and having a good amount of listings to input is MY #1 source of buyers leads.

Don’t be misled. Most of those touting this Google deal have never sold real estate before. I drive traffic to my own website with my own marketing. In 2010, in Tampa Florida, one of the worst realty markets in the USA where unemployment is around 18% and over 60% of homeowners are upside down, I had 115 sales sides. NONE of that business came from Google.

I’m not saying a good position on Google will not look good on a listing presentation, but I can easily overcome such a minor obstacle in my interview process.

To learn more, visit my website at http://www.headofrealestate.com

A Word to My Friends in The Print Media

Here it comes! The doom and gloom! Sales this September, October and November are going to be WAY down from the same time period as last year! Before you report that the market is CRASHING and that real estate is getting worse, PLEASE consider the following!

The ORIGINAL end to the first time home buyer tax credit (that was also being used by non-first time buyers, thank you Mr. President) was originally supposed to end on November 30th, 2009. Needless to say, everyone was in the hunt to get the “free money” our government has been giving away to people who don’t really need it the past two years.

The bottom line is this. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HOUSES SELLING IS ALMOST EXACTLY ON PAR WITH 2009. The volume of sales was just spread out more evenly as opposed to peaking every time the government established another extension of the tax credit. Further, prices, at least in Tampa, have remained very steady over the past year and I only see the luxury market poised to take another hit in values at some point in the future if the economy does not get any legs to her SOON.

To report a bottoming out real estate market, even though the wires will be full of such information, it will pay to do the homework and look at the entire number of sales, YEAR TO DATE from 2009 when making such comparisons. Although I love stories on real estate, sometimes all that negative press scares away the buyers and that has a huge impact on our economy nationwide.

Why should the investors make a killing while the average Joe is apprehensive to buy those great deals. I have not seen so many investors buying up real estate since the early 90’s. THEY are not impacted by the national media and are making a killing. Realtors that represent those investors are also along for the ride. But the average American needs to know, that over the course of history, buying a home is one of the best investments you can make!

A house in Tampa that was built in the 1970’s for $20,000 in now worth over $200,000 (and was worth $400,000 in 2005). A person RENTING that home paid almost the same payment except the buyer has long since paid this home off and received a great tax break while he had a mortgage. The rate was fixed for 30 years (so the payment never changed) while the renter got price hikes at every renewal. Look at that house value over time. Even with today’s value, that homeowner would tell you that buying a home in the 1970 was one of the smartest financial moves he made in his life. The SAME THING that buyers who bought in 2009 and 2010 are going to be saying in the future.

Will somebody PLEASE run a story on the long term value of real estate and the trends in has run over the last 100 years? THAT would be a great story, a feel good story that would actually HELP the situation out. After all, the media was certainly fanning the flames in 2004, 2005 and 2006 giving consumers the confidence to all walk off that cliff together. Now we need that type of reporting going the other way to ease concerns of those who bought and got burned.

To those investors who bought in 2005 for example and own a home in a community worth 50% less than what you paid for yours…… go buy two or three more of the same model NOW at 50% off and put your renters in their. Those values will rise in the future and the huge profit you make will more than offset the loss on the one you bought. Just like the stock market! You bought stock in a company you have confidence in too early and it is down 50%……. if you believe in the product, go buy more at the discount to offset your loss. THAT make perfect sense to me………..

What say you?

http://www.headofrealestate.com

Listing Agent Must Accompany?

The dumbest thing I see in MLS today is “Listing Agent Must Accompany Showings” in MLS. If you are a Seller, here is a message from Vincent Arcuri: I will NOT be showing your house to my potential Buyers.

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller: You are asking why your Realtor attending the showings is not a good idea? I can give you a truck load of reasons why they SHOULD NOT be there but I will keep it short. #1) Nobody in real estate is ever on time. Either I will be running late because the buyer took longer than expected to look at each house or the agent meeting us there is running late so all the showings get pushed back. #2) Your Realtor wants to tell my buyer about every little detail of the house “here is the master bedroom” and “look at that chair rail” and drags what should be a regular showing into this 45 minute DRAMA of an agent trying to show off their real estate knowledge. #3) NOTE TO THOSE REALTORS: Buyers are emotional. They will not buy a house over another because yours is better built and the trusses are commercial grade. They like the pool, they like the location, they think this is the coolest house for the money? SOLD. You being there is not making one ounce of difference in the sale price or if my buyer is going to purchase the house or not. #4) When my buyer is late and you throw attitude around, it further puts your listing in the doghouse.

Locboxes today are safe, effective can be set for showings during certain hours and have the security needed to protect sellers. I set mine from 9:00AM to 8:00PM and deactivate the box at night. After each Agent that opens the box, I will get all the data on-line from MLS. I leave as much information as possible about the home IN THE HOME for any interested buyers to take with them. My listings are EASY to SHOW. That makes them SHOW MORE and the chances of a higher sales price and a faster time to sell are much better.

EGO should be left out of the process and that is what some agents are trying to do when showing up for every showing. Some top producers not have their assistants show up for them! AS IF! Who do WE as AGENTS make the home selling process so difficult on each other! We talk about the banks and how horrible they handle the short sales and REO’s and we do no better as a group.

Making listing difficult to show is a mistake and is not the best representation for your seller or buyers in the marketplace. We can do better.

http://www.headofrealestate.com

Why Not Buy Now?

Interest rates are at an ALL TIME LOW. Prices are at a 10 year low. Inventory is being bought by investors who are not flipping, but HOLDING. You can buy a home as an investment, put 20% down and rent it for far more than the mortgage payment.

What is always comical to me is when all of those “sheep investors” come out to play “big shot” like in the Stock Market boom 12-14 years ago when all of those lose “Day traders” came out of the woodwork. They were the big shots one day, then begging to dump the houses they bought when the stock market bubble broke. The slithered over to the real estate side……. 2004-2006 boom in real estate and everyone became a big shot again buying new construction to flip. The bubble broke in real estate and 2009 to today, the “Short Sale” guru’s (same guys) are trying to buy those “Short Sales” and not disclose to the lender that there is a higher offer on the table and they think they are NOT going to go to JAIL? (a few of those guys doing it in Tampa, driving a Lamborgini one day, behind bars now).

REALTORS: Out of the woodwork new agents in 2005 became overnight stars! The market crashed and they did not know how to sell real estate for real, so now they are out of the business. Here come the new group……. the ones that know more than all of us!

What the general consumer needs to understand is that a VETERAN BROKER and VETERAN AGENTS, the ones that are here for the long run are the most stable source of information and guidance from the jungle of this real estate mess! Check the resume’ of your agent before you follow them off the cliff. the real estate cliff that so many sheep have fallen off of since the beginning of time. There is money to be made, slow and steady if you follow the lead of an experienced agent!

Short Sales: Some Realtors Hurting Sellers?

Everyday as I comb the MLS, I see Expired Listings from Realtors that were “Short Sales” or as we called them in the late 80’s and early 90’s, “Short Pays” (after the Savings & Loan Scandal). There is NO WAY that after 365 days OR MORE that those listing should not have been successfully sold. Certainly there are exceptions (I have one with an AMEX lien that will not go away and the lien has to be paid by the Buyer outside of closing) that is taking longer than expected and there are exceptions to this rule, however my issue is THIS:

An inexperienced Realtor will take this Short Sale listing knowing they don’t know how to put a deal of this magnitude together. They fill the homeowner up with the “Yes We Can” speech (and we all know how good that is working for our country) but they really don’t know what to do or where to start. And WHO wants to help them in their office without getting 50% of the deal?

The BEST thing an agent that is not a veteran of Short Sales, to do is to give this listing to another agent for a referral fee so the homeowner can escape the mess they are in. That is the best thing to do for the client. Pretending to be a Short Sale Expert when in fact you are not is against the ethics of our business and gives ALL REALTORS a bad name.

We need to clean this mess up and come down hard on those agents who don’t know what they are doing and either train them like we do at Exit Realty or help them, regardless of if we get a cut or not. And I’m not talking just to new agents. In Tampa, many of the Luxury Home Realtors of yesteryear are giving Short Sales a try. With luxury homes in such poor demand, they think they can learn something new. One Luxury Home Specialist (self-proclaimed the greatest Realtor who ever lived) only closed 10… T E N houses last year! His active listings reads like a who’s who of Tampa and he has a HUGE number of ACTIVE listings, but he averages LESS than one closing a month. But WHO are they helping by giving the perception that they are something they are not to sellers? Some of this falls on the homeowner who picks up a magazine and assumes that agents who have those listings must be good so they list with them, not knowing that the agent they select may have Active Listing Inventory that FAR outweighs the number of homes they sell in a given year.

Homeowners need to investigate how this business is run before they select an agent to sell their home ESPECIALLY if they owe more than the home is worth. The truth is, they may not even qualify for a Short Sale. We need to be honest with the homeowners and tell them the TRUTH, not what they want to hear so we can just land another listing. It is not right and we need to police this internally and keep the market going in the positive direction it is going in now. I’m tired of cleaning up other Agents messes.

What say you?

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