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 I stated that ERA could not survive long term because the system they use is outdated, broken and will not work in this NEW realty market we are in.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

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#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

What is Right With Tampa

Tampa Skyline

Tampa Skyline

With all of the negative publicity surrounding real estate these days, with the government “takeover” of FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC, with record foreclosures in Florida added to skyrocketing homeowners insurance rates and unpredictable gas prices, and with frequent hurricanes (Hurricane Ike is about to hit Florida so hard that they may re-name the state Tina Turner) what is there to like about Florida? Who would want to invest in Florida or Tampa Bay?

With all of the negatives, there is one really good reason to invest in Florida real estate. MONEY. The overall population of Florida is expected to double by 2030. Although builders over extended themselves with all the armature investors on 2005, even those investors who held on to bad investments will soon reap the rewards of their patience! A few things to remember about Florida: There is NO STATE INCOME TAX! That alone offsets most of the things I mentioned in the first paragraph on this blog! No snow! We are the Sunshine State! I’m at the beach the week before Christmas getting a tan while the rest of the country is shoveling snow! The Arts, the nightlife, the diversification of life and lifestyles! Not to mention The Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), The Tampa Bay Rays (MLB). The Super Bowl will again be in Tampa in February of 2009!

I was watching my favorite show last week (The Million Dollar Listing on BRAVO Network) and my friend Chad Rogers (who is the star of the show, a Realtor reality show) was showing property in Malibu and Beverly Hills. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Talk about sticker shock! In Tampa, you can buy a brand new home in The Reserve of Old Tampa Bay (some of the best real estate in Tampa) for less than $1,200,000! I’m talking a 4000 square foot home on the water! Get in your boat and drive to Nassau water! That home anywhere in LA would bring $20,000,000. There are no $20,000,000 houses in Tampa and any agent who disagrees is talking EGO, not reality!

The fact that you can purchase a quality home in Tampa for $300,000 that has 3500 square feet, five bedrooms and three to four baths with a pool and a three car garage in a SAFE, great location (neighborhood) with some of the best schools anywhere in the USA (with a pool) is unheard of! In Tampa it is abundant! Yes it was over developed in 2005 and 2006, but the people are still coming, the jobs are still coming, there will be a time in 2010 where investors will say about Florida, “Could have, should have”. And here we are! To find out more about Florida and Tampa real estate, visit my website at www.headofrealestate.com

A Mortgage Rescue Plan

A great story from the AP today. Please read below. After the article, I have my comments: __________________________________

WASHINGTON (AP) — A mortgage rescue plan to save hundreds of thousands of homeowners from foreclosure drew overwhelming Senate support Monday, inching toward passage despite Republican objections. The Senate voted 76-10 to advance the bill, a broad array of housing measures including overhauls of the Federal Housing Administration, the Depression-era mortgage insurer, and government-sponsored home loan giants Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500). Its centerpiece is a new $300 billion FHA program to allow debt-ridden homeowners who are currently too financially risky to qualify for government-backed loans to refinance into safer, more affordable mortgages. The measure is on track for passage by an overwhelming margin, possibly by week’s end. It has survived several test votes in the Senate, repeatedly demonstrating that there’s enough support for it to override President Bush’s promised veto. But Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is blocking its progress because Democratic leaders have refused to allow a vote on attaching an $8 billion package of renewable energy tax breaks. Ensign has said he wants the tax incentives to hitch a ride on the housing measure because it has a good chance of being signed into law by Bush. “This will be the major achievement and accomplishment of this Congress when it comes to dealing with the underlying economic crisis, which is at its heart the foreclosure crisis,” said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee Chairman who wrote the legislation.

Bill still faces hurdles Beyond the Senate, the election-year package still faces a tricky path. The president has said he thinks a deal is possible, but the White House is balking at key portions of the bill, particularly $3.9 billion included for buying and fixing up foreclosed properties. Democrats argue the money is key to preventing neighborhood blight, but most Republicans call it a bailout for lenders who helped cause the mortgage mess. The two architects of the plan, Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the House Financial Services Committee Chairman, have been negotiating privately to iron out Democrats’ differences on the plan, but the stalling tactics in the Senate have sapped momentum for a quick agreement. 

One key divide is over limits on the mortgages FHA can insure and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy, which the Senate measure sets at $625,000. The House-passed bill set the caps at $725,000, which is preferable to lawmakers from the highest-cost housing markets, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. 

Also at issue is whether the new regulator and tightened rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should take effect immediately, as dictated by the Senate bill. The House-passed legislation delays them for six months, leaving it up to a new president to implement the changes. And the two sides are at odds over which tax breaks to include and whether to pair them with offsetting tax increases to prevent a rise in the deficit – something that conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats insist on. The Senate’s $14.5 billion package falls $2.4 billion short of being paid for, while the House’s $11 billion is fully covered. 

There is broad agreement on using the FHA to help struggling homeowners refinance into mortgages they can afford. The Bush administration has twice broadened the agency’s authority to do so under a program it calls FHASecure. Top housing officials were planning to discuss the expansion – as well as the fate of the housing legislation – on Tuesday.

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 As a real estate agent, I love the idea that Uncle Sam is getting involved. As an American, I not certain they should! About a year ago, we (Real Estate) were all alone in this mess! In 2008, Gas Prices have joined the loop (just filled up my Expedition at a cost of $98.00), skyrocketing property taxes got noticed and our great Governor, Charlie Crist has kicked the insurance industry right in the “mommy / daddy button” and it seems like the world is going to fall apart! NOT SO! Everything is not what is seems!

At our office, we have this big “Sale Pending” board that shows what deals are currently pending escrow. We use color to describe the deal. Bank foreclosures are green, short sales are blue and regular, arms length deals are black. since mid 2007, that board is 95% green and blue! However, in the past week, black has made a glorious return! The past 3 weeks we have been partying like its 1999 (or 2005) as MANY regular deals are starting to close. A CLEAR SIGN that the worst is behind us! If the government wants to get involved (article above) to speed the process, I say “run Uncle Sam, RUN!.”  We have hit bottom and we are turning the corner!  2009, here we come!

As a final note: As the NFL training camp is about to open for all 32 teams, I want to wish my client, Michael Pittman the best of luck playing for the Denver Bronco’s. As a Buccaneer, her was not appreciated enough and like Chris Simms (not in Tampa when the season starts), Michael will shine in Denver. It would be great to see him play in the Superbowl here in Tampa this February!