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

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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

Exit Convention in Washington D.C.

Just got back from a week of fun and learning at the Exit Realty Convention in Washington D.C. and I am just blown away by the entire organization. From the regional owners to the trainers to the Brokers and agents to management and staff.  I spent about 18 years with ERA and went to many a convention, but never have I experienced the overwhelming SUPPORT the Exit organization gives to its membership!

I learned more in 6 days than I have in the past 6 YEARS! Exit Realty really cares about US and my move to Exit was the best decision I could have made for my family…… for my retirement!

I am just blown away by the Forbes family, by the support I get from them, all the way to the top of the food chain in Exit.  I feel part of the family, like I belong.  That is how Exit treats their agents

That was before they rolled out the red carpet for ALL of us in Washington D.C.  Steve Morris is a first class of a man and a GREAT leader and a great motivator.  I could not believe the access we all had at the convention.  The breakout sessions were the best I have ever been to and a special call out to Valerie Reyes who just blew the crowd away with her “Summit” session.

If you are burned out with the same old same old, give Exit a look!  My Team was #1 worldwide with ERA in 2008, like #4 or 5 the year before.  I was never treated like anything other than another number, another fool that paid them $30,000 to $40,000 a year in franchise fees and nobody knows your name!

Moving to Exit was the best decision I have EVER made and as I watched Steve Morris hand out a $100,000 check (like they do every year) to the lucky guy whose name was randomly pulled out of a barrel, I thought to myself, “wow, it’s nice to belong to a company that actually gives something back to the agents that made the company what it is.”

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

The HOA in YOUR Community?

As the real estate industry in Florida (and the country) is in the process of trying to find it’s way to their feet again, there is an issue that hinders property values in many communities. The HOA or Homeowners Associations that regulate the rules and regulations (and deed restrictions) of PUD’s (Planned Unit Developments, a.k.a.: subdivisions). These organizations are run by property owners in those communities. You know, the guys who send you all the hate mail that you have a spot on your driveway, or that your home needs to be painted, or your grass is too high and needs to be cut. In most cases, there is a Property Management firm that HOA dues are paid to. The problem with many, and in my almost 20 years experience in this business, MOST of the HOA’s is that they DO NOT operate as designed. You have people serving on those Associations who have regular jobs, usually not at the top of the food chain at their company or who have a spouse who they are afraid of at home, or they are frustrated by life. Who do they take it out on? YOU, the person they are supposed to be representing.

The delivery of the message is key. As in ANY REPUTABLE BUSINESS, the first message received by one person sets the tone for the exchange. In most cases, the HOA sends a very strong letter to the homeowner, who in most cases are not even aware there is an issue until they get the letter from the HOA. Instead of a friendly reminder, they immediately go on the “attack” and threaten litigation, liens and sometimes foreclosure! They have WAY too much power. They are unregulated, there is way too much EGO involved.

As in many communities, it’s all about who you know. I usually “farm” or market the community that I live in heavily. The members of the HOA are constantly getting my “Just Listed” and my “Just Sold” postcards. I know it must irritate many of them. But it always seems that top Realtors are targets of the HOA. The more outspoken you become of their negative tactics, the more “hate letters” you will receive.

My next door neighbor cuts his own grass and maintains his own yard. The is a M.D. so his time is limited. His yard shows it. The grass gets very high, the bugs eat sections of his yard, he never edges the common areas. He SHOULD be getting letters weekly. He does not. Has never received one as far as I know. I purchased one of the biggest eyesores in the community. I had the home professionally renovated and updated. My yard is cut by the finest landscape company in Tampa Bay (Rusty’s Lawn 813-404-1114). I try to make certain my home is better maintained than all my neighbors because of my “target” status. I still get letters more often than I can open my mailbox! It’s like an HOA member’s wife kicks his ass for not taking out the trash, he goes to the office and his boss kicks his ass for doing a poor job. He gets mad, comes home and wants to get the HOA to kick somebody’s ass in the community so they can feel better. Why else would they do the job (unpaid?). NOT because they care about the community or their neighbors, because if they did, they would use better bedside manor to deliver their message. They deliver the message with too much Mojo, Macho authority in my opinion.

The problem is, they create more problems than they solve. Potentials Buyers get wind of these cantankerous Associations and avoid these communities. They hear that a community dues check was lost, or the property owner forgot to pay that month for whatever reason. They get a foreclosure threat by the association’s attorney. Again, those attorneys’s LOVE those HOA’s because they get instructions to send the hate mail to property owners and THEY GET PAID! And guess who pays them? You guessed it, the property owners!

So who is a fault? Those HOA mamebers usually go up for re-election on a yearly basis. The problem is, the most capable, knowledgeable individuals available, don’t want the job (who wants the unpaid position). Nobody good wants the job! I for one would rather keep fielding the letters and washing the one inch speck of discoloration off my mailbox. Who gets burned the most for their immature actions? The homeowners in that community because their homes become more difficult to sell.

When I get a Buyer who calls my office and says “don’t show me any homes in subdivisions that have an HOA”, I completely understand. That needs to change. It seems like the IRS is teaching the class on bedside manor and the biggest client they have is your HOA!