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.

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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?

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.

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

Can I get An American on The Phone?

I want to SCREAM!  It seems like……….. well it does not SEEM like, it IS! EVERY TIME I make a call to a lender for a Short Sale, to get a pay-off  or for any reason, I get a foreign call center and speak to a person who can’t really speak english or understand my questions.  Why are Americans not getting those jobs?  No wonder Short Sales are so difficult!  I don’t care if those call centers were on the Island of Peaky Peaky and they were answered for FREE!  The lenders are losing out and getting false information in the translation.  You ask a question, they pause…………… so they can look up the “canned response” on the computer screen and then they READ a reply back to you!

The President ran on this platform last year (outsourced American jobs).  Now he is in power and I want to know why this is on the back-burner?  This is a giant mess and as they say, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link and brother, that is not a weak link, it is flat out BROKEN!

Wake up lenders, loss mitigators, Bank CEO’s, decision makers and stock holders!  The first line of communication between your client and your company has fallen……. and it can’t get up …….until those jobs are given to Americans or at minimum, people who can actually speak the language of the clients they are speaking to! 

That is the way I see it!

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A Stay of Execution?

Something happened on the way to “Old Sparky” this week! The Florida real estate market got a stay of execution! For the first time in 2008, real estate prices did not fall from one month to the next! Could this be the slowdown we have been waiting for since 2006? In Tampa Bay, prices inched up almost 1% from March to April. This could be a slowdown in the meltdown! Don’t be so quick to shoot this number down! From March to April 2007, sales went DOWN. This same time period in 2008, the number of homes sold was up almost 17% (but still below 2007 numbers).


This is good news and shows the decline is flattening out…… maybe! Once we hit the bottom of the curve, most economists predict a “V” spike to the higher profile areas of Florida. I think we still have a way to go to reach the day to day stability that most Realtors, including myself, like, but this is a sign that we could be closer to that day than previously thought!

With absorption rates still at around 6% (up 2% from January), Buyers and Sellers are still far apart. Lenders need to loosen up their grip on the money, Sellers need to be more reasonable, banks need to make proper adjustments on short sales and MOVE INVENTORY and Buyers need to get some “skin” into the game (as in down payments). But if this big greedy machine, also known as the Untied States of America gets rolling again, there could be some bright days ahead………. baby steps to start mind you, but moving forward!

Now, could somebody put me into a drug induced coma until we are completely out of the woods? (just kidding). Happy Buying and Selling!

And don’t forget to visit my web site at And “hey, Florida, keep those property tax reductions coming and hey insurance companies…….. don’t talk trash about the oil companies. you are just as greedy! Can everyone work together here to keep Florida going? If we can’t work together (all of us), then would the last person leaving Florida turn out the lights?

Builder Beware!

To the exit doors they go! All those real estate agents that got into the business for the easy money are gone, or heading for the exits! Same goes for lenders! Only the reputable few remain! Some of those cocky sales reps for the builders, the ones who were asking veteran agents to “leave” the model centers because we were working with “investors” in 2005 are now working where? The few that remain? In 2005, they were very cocky, not wanting the investor business. Flash forward to 2008. If I brought Osama Bin Laden into the model center, not only would they sell to him, they would ask if any other Al Qaida members were looking in the area.

Those builders I hope learned a lesson. Don’t shut down the veteran agents. When you need the sale (like in 2008), we can’t keep your reps out of our office! If I want to go to a football game or a concert, I can get myself tickets. I don’t need a builder to entertain me to obtain my loyalty. All we needed was to be treated with the respect we deserve, not the disrespect and cocky attitude that you told your reps to dump on us in 2005.

Many agents have long memories, I know I do. As the market slowly recovers, Veteran Agents will remember who took care of them in good and bad times, and who had the attitude. Nice job guys, I guess you thought those good times would never end. As your model centers close and as you lay off yours reps, always remember that you have to pass those agents you stepped on as you go down the ladder that you went up.

To the ones that treated us right, we have and will continue to do business with you, like we always have. Funny how fast time flies from 2005 to 2008!

Message to the consumer: When you hire and agent, make certain you go with a veteran. Over the years we have established relationships with all vendors. If you purchased a home in 2005 or 2006…… the good times, those builders that I mentioned above are not going to be very happy about fixing your cracked tile or leaky roof in 2008. Rest assured, the reputable builders will still honor their work. Funny, how in this unstable market, how the ones who were steady the past 10-20 years are still steady. Realtor, Builder, Lender, Bank. Experience the difference.