By Lynn Minnick
Late this past spring, fellow Connecticut YPNer Carl Lantz had the opportunity to be on HGTV’s popular series House Hunters. To celebrate the episode, Carl hosted a huge viewing party, and I’m sure he’s added something along the lines of, “as seen on House Hunters” to his marketing! I sent him House Hunters Bingo cards as a fun party favor. It was a really memorable experience for him that brought a lot of attention to his business and brought additional exposure to listings from other agents. He was kind enough to share his experience with me in a quick Q&A session:
Q: How did you get involved? Many agents tell me they’re always applying but don’t hear back.
Lantz: I got involved vicariously through my clients who were on the show with me. In general, House Hunters picks the buyer clients. Then the agent working with them gets to be part of the production. My clients had applied months earlier, and were picked finally around early November. The production company asked me to make a demo video and share it with them. Then about a week later, they gave us an episode number and told us we would be filming in late January.
Q: What was the process and how long did it take start to finish?
Lantz: Once I heard from the producers, we started talking about the two houses beside the one my people already had a contract on. They do their best to pick other homes the clients had seen, and liked, to make it more like the actual process. We filmed for a week in Connecticut and then they filmed a couple days in San Antonio with my clients at their home there.
Q: How were the homes picked? Did the buyers choose them or was it you or the producers? Continue reading »
By Alex Milshteyn
Unpredictability is a big part of our careers as REALTORS®. I have been selling real estate for nearly 12 years and as soon as I get comfortable with, the market the rug is pulled right from underneath me and my business is thrown into disarray.
After five years of negative media coverage on our market and a downward pricing of homes, I was used to the negativity. I was used to calling my sellers every week and not having anything to talk about other than the need to drop their price. I was used to buyers taking their sweet time with no sense of urgency to find a home. I was used to showing 50+ houses to a buyer just to get through the short list of houses meeting their criteria. I was used to negotiating the deal then renegotiating the deal after inspections then renegotiating the deal at the appraisal and then again renegotiating the deal prior to closing. I was use to apologizing for this market. And last but not least, I was use to being content with what my job had become.
Like many REALTORS®, I think we got use to the negativity and we did the best we could. I saw many friends go out of business, and the sad story is I saw some friends lose their homes like many of our clients because of this market and the economy.
All in all, what we all went through was sad. But we all knew things would eventually change. I am happy to report that the rug was pulled from underneath me once again. This time it’s for the better.
In my travels throughout the country, I am happy to report that it seems most markets are rebounding, especially in the hardest hit states like Florida, Michigan, Nevada, California, and Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
With the market picking up steam, buyers are out there scooping up homes and they’re counting on you as their agent to help them navigate the treacherous waters of their transaction. When they are buying a condo, that path can be filled with even more landmines, and you have a whole new realm of elements to account for when advising your buyer clients. I’ve outlined some best practices for agents below who are representing buyers purchasing a condo.
Understand the Financials
Nothing will make you look more foolish than advising your client to make an offer, having it accepted, and then finding out there is something wrong with the building that prohibits financing. Review condo documents and know what’s going on with the overall health of the building your client is interested in — this is not just your attorney’s job post contract execution — it’s your job before your client ever puts pen to paper! Request a 22.1 disclosure, call the management company, speak to the listing agent — do whatever you need to do to ensure that the building your client wants to buy in qualifies for the type of loan your client is applying for.
Know Your Client
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a listing that gets put under contract, only to have the deal fall apart for ridiculous reasons that could have been brought to light long before an offer was made. Again, as the buyer’s agent, your job is to stay on top of these situations to ensure that you come across as a professional and that your client isn’t wasting their time. The only way to do this is to ask the right questions!
Do your clients have a dog or are they planning to buy one during their residency in the building? Are they planning to smoke inside their unit? Do they like to host company during very late hours? These can all be potential issues for a client as the rules in condo buildings can vary wildly, so it’s never safe to assume anything!
All of the above are examples of questions you should be asking to ensure that your client isn’t wasting their time. Get the right information ahead of time and call the HOA or listing agent personally to ensure that your client’s unique needs will be met by the building.
Do Your Homework
The time to find out whether or not the building has a pool or how nice the gym is should not be when you show up to the property with your client. Continue reading »
By Brooke Wolford
It could just be me, but are you questioning why we still run into bad photos and poor property descriptions? It seems like a slight epidemic in my world lately. Every single time I run into this I always get a little frustrated and wonder how this happens.
A few examples:
1. A listing description that said, “Great starter home, just needs a little loving care.” When I arrived at the property, there was extensive fire damage and I would assume it was unlivable. The pictures shown were obviously taken prior to the fire, but when I spoke to the agent to schedule the showing, there was absolutely no mention of it.
2. A showing note: “Small/friendly dog (Tinkerbell) on the property.” When my clients and I walked in, the dog was not even close to small, it was a large Rottweiler and we were not able to view the property at all because the dog was in attack mode.
3. I once saw an agent do a drive-by to take a photo in my neighborhood. Get out of your car, people!
4. Some really great listing photos…
It’s frustrating to me that this still happens. How does this serve your seller? Nonetheless, how does any of this help the listing sell and get you paid? I provide the same basic services to all of my sellers regardless of price or condition. How does this help you get buyers? I just don’t get it! Take some time and do some work. It really shouldn’t be this difficult.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.com.
By Anand Patel
Now that I have your attention, let me explain!
Last month my wife and I took our three-year-old daughter to the Disney On-Ice show that came to our town (Tampa, Fla.). It wasn’t until the day of the event that my wife decided to tell me this show, which was called Disney on Ice: “Dare to Dream,” was going to feature various Disney princesses and their stories. I wasn’t too excited, but anything for your little pipsqueak, right?
As we were walking up to the arena entrance I saw a swarm of little girls seemingly attack a Disney vendor hawking all sorts of princess paraphernalia. I thought to myself – ok, this is strange. Once inside the arena as we were escorted to our seats, I again was confused and shocked as to why all these girls were dressed up from head to toe in princess clothing. Halloween wasn’t for another five months! Throughout the show, as the arena filled with screams of little kids cheering for their favorite princess, I sat there looking around in awe at the powerful business machine that is simply Disney. They had come up with a way to create a very profitable revenue stream from their old characters!
An Idea is Born
Being the business nerd that I am, when I got home I googled the Disney Princess franchise and discovered that the idea of the Disney Princess line came from a man named Andy Mooney. Disney hired Mooney in 1999 to help their consumer products division improve their dropping sales. At that time, while attending his first Disney on Ice show, he found himself surrounded by young girls dressed as princesses in generic, non-Disney costumes. That’s when the idea of capitalizing on Disney’s existing cast of princess characters hit him. The Disney Princess franchise was born. In my opinion, this was genius!
What’s the point?
What does any of this have to do with real estate? As I thought about it some more, I realized how many times I find myself (and many others fall into this trap as well) looking for an outside “shiny object” to help with our business. Continue reading »
By Rob Reuter, YPN Manager
It’s official: 2012 has kicked into full gear. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start your business planning. Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2012 chair of NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee, recently asked YPN members what kind of statistics they consider when forming their annual business plan. From my former selling days, I focused mainly on two statistics:
- Absorption Rate: Focus marketing in areas/neighborhoods/price ranges that have high turnover rates and low time on the market.
- Frequency of Income-Producing Activities: Where does my business come from and how much time/energy do I put in these areas?
Several other YPN members have great ideas as well:
Dollars/Hour Earned (Brian Copeland): How much are you earning per hour? Take your gross annual income and divide it by the number of hours you worked. Increasing this number means you are making more and working less!
Months Supply/Inventory (Nobu Hata): Communicating this information to the consumer effectively will help ensure more accurate pricing.
80/20 Rule (Tiffany Curry & Kate Koplinka): Are you part of the minority doing the majority of the business?
Market Share (Lena Williams): Increase the percentage of your market share if geographical farming is part of your plan.
Average Sales Price (Kenny Parcell): Continue reading »