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 I stated that ERA could not survive long term because the system they use is outdated, broken and will not work in this NEW realty market we are in.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



#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?


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!

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

The clock is ticking Mr. Next President

O.K., so we now have the bailout! This seems odd, that millions of Americans who are in trouble are passed over and $700 Billion goes right to the people who caused this mess to begin with. Now Wallstreet will breathe a sigh of relief, hold on to the money for a while before they are pressured to lend again in 2009.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM AMERICA IS OVERLOOKING: The banks are still not aiding those in need. They are “Short Selling” homes to investors, but not the home owners. Many homeowners are filing bankruptcy to force lenders to renegotiate loans that the lender should be doing by their own free will. Now here is the clincher and the trigger that will drain our economy for the next 5-7 years if something is not done:

As you may know, President Bush passed legislation in 2008 to waive any IRS taxes on the shortfall for those who sell via short Sale or are foreclosure victims. Everyone seems to think that EVERYONE is included and they could not be further from the truth. That law ONLY applies to those who did not pull equity or refinance their home. In other words, if you paid $300,000 for your home in 2003 and in 2005 you pulled $100,000 out to pay off bills, etc. (you owe $410,000) and the home is now worth $290,000 and you sell for that number (Short Sale), you will NOT be exempt from the $110,000 shortage and you WILL receive a 1099 for this amount.

This law needs to be revised and updated for the NOW situation facing this country. No, it’s not fair to the ones who are paying on time, but this law must change and all of those IRS penalties must be waived across the board……… and I’ll take a beating for saying this, but it should apply to ALL properties including investors.Wallstreet was bailed out, now (as Obama and McCain put it) Mainstreet will need a bailout as well. Otherwise, one in six Americans will face another financial disaster and the economy will be impacted again in another way because those people will not be able to SPEND and BUY things. And that is the medicine for the economy to recover.

This will be another disaster if the legislation is not changed again. America needs the bailout worse than Wallstreet ever did. The clock is ticking Mr. Next President

For more information, go to http://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.


 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!

Captain Credit

I have said this again and again in past Blogs, but I am making this the focal point of this write because it is the truest thing you will ever read on the Internet. EVERYONE with a heartbeat and a brain knows what caused this real estate mess we are in………. EASY CREDIT or “lose credit” as we call it in our office. Without reliving the past, we all know that anyone with a pulse got a loan in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, they tightened the criteria to anyone with a pulse and who was conscious. In 2007 however, everybody got a taste of old school America. You actually had to have some skin in the game. You needed a down payment!

A mandatory down payment requirement in 2004 would have been great protection from this disaster. Even with loose credit, if the Buyer had say 5% or 10% of their own money (or mommy and daddy’s money), they would not be so quick to abandon ship. Like I said, EASY MONEY got us into this mess and EASY CREDIT can get us out! If the Fed’s would loosen up the funds to loan and require down payments, especially with the market being close to the bottom, banks have added protection from the market. Buyer puts 10% down, lender has a 10% cushion. They put 0% down and you have the 2008 real estate market.

The mistake was not EASY CREDIT, the mistake was the zero down payment AND easy money! This combination was a disaster waiting to happen. Take one away from the other and you have a stronger loan, a stronger buyer, creating less inventory and a recovering real estate market…………. and a recovering US economy! In Florida, we already have made property tax adjustments, we have another on the ballot in November to raise the sales tax .01 and replace the school portion of property taxes. The insurance industry has allowed homeowners to drop “sinkhole” coverage under certain conditions (and since the odds are slim you will get one and it is VERY expensive) bringing down insurance costs down to manageable levels again. New construction is at a 25 year low. The climate is perfect for a real estate recovery!  The money needs to be readily available to buyers with down payments and there will be some takers for all of this stagnant inventory. As the inventory dissipates, prices will stabilize, then rise. As it stands today, there are not enough credit worthy buyers, under the current system, to even touch the amount of available inventory in or on the market. It’s called supply and demand (retail 101). In 2004 and 2005, there was SO MUCH credit available that it created a supply shortage  …….. thus the skyrocketing of real estate prices! Take away the credit……………..CRASH!

It’s all about the money availability! America was built on borrowing money. That will not change overnight. As long as real estate remains flat, so will our economy. As soon as real estate makes a recovery so will the US economy………….faster than you can say “what recession?”