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?

Craigs List and Lazy Realtors

OK, I go to put some of my listings on Craigslist today and what do I see but MY LISTING listed with another brokerage firm! I was flabbergasted to say the least! I know it is common to share information in this new Internet wave (for website searches etc) but to have an agent actually sit down, steal your pictures from MLS, put them into Craigslist and mislead the public into thinking that they are the listing agent? That is a new one to me! Is it a violation? I called MidFlorida MLS and they told me “as long as at the very bottom of the listing it says “Listed with Exit Realty Foundations” that this was OK”. After I got up off the floor I started thinking……….

What kind of REALTOR would do this? LAZY ones. When I was a new agent, there was no Internet access. In those days, you had to work to get your business. You got off your deadbeat ass and WORKED at your business. Today, the prototypical LAZY REALTOR can sit in the A/C and post listings that not only don’t belong to them, but not even their office! A shortcut so they think, HOWEVER, if they do this, it tells me all I need to know about them. They will never make it long term in this industry. One thing that has not changed in my 20 years in this business is that “the extra mile still has no traffic jams” and that is the motto of most successful agents.

Those LAZY Realtors might think they are being smart, but when the meet the client who contacted them on the $600,000 listing only to get to the property and see MY SIGN on the lawn, I’ll let them explain to those buyers how “slick” they really are.

My question to NAR is this: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO SELL CLAUSE IN OUR LISTING CONTRACTS? Somebody better wake up on this or it could be the beginning of the end for the real estate industry as we know it today.

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USF & Jim Leavitt

This Sept. 26, 2009, file photo shows University of South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt arguing an officials call during an NCAA college football game against Florida State, in Tallahassee, Fla.

Yesterday I was SHOCKED to see USF (South Florida in Tampa) fire Jim Leavitt over an alledged “choking” of a player.  He is THE guy who put USF on the map as a football program and is the ONLY head coach they have ever had.  Everyone knows he is short-tempered on the football field but for USF to terminate his “as if” he was going to hurt a football player in the locker room at halftime of a football game with the entire team and staff there as witnesses.

Jim Leavitt is a pillar of the Tampa Bay community and has volunteered his time and energy into many causes in Tampa. I saw him last year at a United Way benefit.

What is wrong with football in Tampa Bay?  First The Buc’s let Jon Gruden go and we got………..errrrrrr ………. oh yea, Raheem Morris! We went from play-off contenders every year to 3-13. Morris got another year, Gruden goes 9-7 and gets fired. Go figure.

Now Leavitt. On the verge of the BIG TIME. Ranked in the top 10 six times in recent years before falling late in the season.  How are they going to recruit higher quality players from THE Gators, THE Seminoles and THE Hurricanes in the Florida hotbed of talent? Who would go to USF now?

Unless they have Steve Spurrier or Jon Gruden waiting in the wings (and they don’t because they don’t have that kind of money to spend on a coach), I say letting Leavitt go will turn out to be the biggest mistake USF has ever make in their athletic history.

A Positive Outlook

Well, I just did my part to stimulate the economy and took the family to Disney for the weekend.  It was pretty crowded considering the economy is supposed to be so bad.  They say the first ones hit are the first to recover and my friends in LA, Phoenix, Miami and here in Tampa (the hardest hit when the real estate bubble popped) are all saying we are seeing drastic improvement over the same time periods in 2008.  I can’t agree more as the Tampa Bay market appears normal, except the prices are about 50% less than they were in 2005, but they are moving.

Some Realtors say that Short Sales and foreclosures are carrying the market and I say TRUE, however that segment of the market will remain for at least two to three years AFTER the market is in full recover and it is now part of the real estate landscape.

I feel like the rest of the country will follow Florida and 2010 will be a year of gentle, slow, steady recovery.  I think NOW is the time to invest again and I’m getting all my investors back into the game to offset losses from 2005 and 2006.

EXAMPLE: If you bought new construction in 2005 (say a $200,000 home) and you have a tenant. You did 100% financing. You owe about $200,000. You can buy another one for say $100,000, maybe TWO for $200,000.  Now when the market returns to $200,000, say in 2020, you rented two of your three homes for a positive cash flow, one at a loss.  The two positive cover the spread on the one negative for a few years.  This will offset the loss on your bad purchase and actually make you a six figure PROFIT as opposed to waiting 15 years to “break even” on the original purchase.  Then, all you need to do is “lather, rinse and repeat!”

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Football Season Tampa Bay Style!

Am I the only one in Tampa dancing today? The Tennessee volunteers’ LOST yesterday and everything is getting RIGHT about football again! I used to pull for Tennessee because we have family that lives in Cookeville and they were fans. That was until Lane Kiffin decided to wreck the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. First, he tried to be an NFL coach. Al Davis saw that Lane was not a high caliber coach and promptly FIRED him. The, he got a job in Tennessee. HOW? He tells the athletic director that he will bring his “daddy” in to help him.

His dad was defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Buc’s were 9-3 and right in the hunt for a Super Bowl shot. With 4 games left in the NFL season, Lane Kiffin decided to “leak the word” to others in Tennessee that Monte would resign from the Bucs at the end of the season and join his boy at Tennessee. Well you can imagine what happened in Tampa! The Bucs defense threw in the towel and the Bucs lost four in a row to end the season.

Lane and Monte relocated to Tennessee and left Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen to deal with the MESS Monte and Lane created. The Glazers did not want to spend any money in the free agent market, Jon is already frustrated, pops off a bit and gets fired! Now we have Rakeem Morris, a 32 year old defensive backs coach who was at the right place at the right time. Overnight he is now head coach. He revamps the team, lets some veterans go, fires his offensive coordinator ten days before the season starts and as expected, the Bucs open the season by getting hammered by a slightly above average Dallas team.

It will be a long, long season in Tampa Bay and I wish the Volunteers the exact same record as the Bucs (since college plays fewer games, I will say the same winning percentage). Had Lane handled his new job as a MAN and not a boy, the Buc’s win the NFC South last year, they run deep into the play-offs, Jon Gruden is still here and the Bucs make another run in 2009. THEN they could have announced Monte was leaving and Buc fans would have supported them. We deserved better. I hereby put the “foo-foo olay” curse on Tennessee and vow that they don’t win enough games to get a Bowl until the Buccaneers are a play-off team again!

Putting It All Into Perspective

Picture from Pewter Report

Picture from Pewter Report

As I watched Matt Bryant kick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory yesterday against the Green Bay Packers, it put life into perspective for me. The man lost his son. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. As I watched the game, Matt did not look like he was there. Like Brett Farve a few years ago on Monday Night Football, Matt was rolling aces, nailing the victory for the Bucs. I don’t think he was really there. Instinct on the field is what made those kicks automatic.

The stock market crashes, the Senate did not pass the bailout plan today, the housing crisis is ongoing. Matt and Melissa Bryant don’t really care. When you lose a child, it puts it, money, into perspective. The market will be back, the Bryant family will never be the same.

May GOD bless the Bryant family and help them through this difficult time.

Suddenly, the market crash is not such a big deal. I will hug my kids extra hard and extra long tonight and thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that I have this day with them!