Sure, sellers know potential buyers must be willing to invest much-needed TLC in their home after the purchase. The tough part is getting them to price their home properly, based on the true cost of necessary fixes.
You can help them be more realistic about repair costs by branding, printing, and hand-delivering a free article, How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the March “Position Yourself to Be a Better Buyer” article package. Share all five today:
How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House
When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix. Read
6 Tips for Buying a Home in a Short Sale
By preparing for a real estate short sale, you can emerge with a great home at a favorable price. Read
4 Tips to Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford
By knowing how much mortgage you can handle, you can ensure that home ownership will fit in your budget. Read
7 Tips for Improving Your Credit
Here’s how to clean up your credit so you get the least-expensive home loan possible. Read
7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home
By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home. Read
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
The REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.
A bit of fun on a Friday: the trademark roof hump of the Pizza Hut franchise store exterior is visible all over North America and the world. With more than 6,000 store locations in the US and nearly that many in 94 countries around the world, the chain’s store look is as familiar to millions as any of the most valuable brands in the world.
But that shape isn’t dedicated to only the pizza and breadsticks. Plenty of other businesses have moved in to Pizza Hut stores once the original franchisee has moved on. It’s a testament to the success of the Pizza Hut brand that the repurposing of Pizza Hut stores — into other restaurants, pawn shops, family practice clinics and many other types of businesses — doesn’t fool us. The recognition is immediate.
That recognition has spawned an irreverent blog called UsedToBeAPizzaHut.com that I had fun flipping through this morning, and I thought I’d share. It’s not the most sensitively-written thing in the English language, but when it comes to a unique look at repurposing of familiar commercial real estate, it’s a hoot.
(Photo: UTBAPH)Related articles
By Christian Zarif
I almost didn’t answer my phone. I was in San Francisco for our national REALTOR® convention and rushing to get out of my room to an engagement (running 5 minutes late, of course). The strange number called twice in a row so I figured it must be urgent. When I answered, I could hardly make out the gurgled voice on the other end. I understood that the caller was inquiring about my new listing. I later learned the caller, Richard, had suffered a stroke a few years ago that affected his speech, among other things. I made out most of what he told me: He and his wife were interested in seeing the home I had listed as well as a few others in the area. They had called four other agents and all of them either wouldn’t return his calls or refused to show them any homes since they didn’t have a pre-approval letter. He was positive he could get a loan and was approved for a VA loan, but just waiting on his eligibility paperwork. I told him I was out of town until Monday but would be happy to set up a time Tuesday to show them homes.
Over the course of the weekend they called a handful of times to make sure I was still willing to meet them…you could hear the strained optimism in their voices. Each time they called, they had eliminated another home (they drove by all of them daily). We were down to only seeing one: my listing.
Tuesday rolled around and having just arrived back in town, you can imagine how insane my calendar looked that day. Driving the 45 minutes each way to show them one house wasn’t ideal, but I made it work.
The first time I met Richard and Connie in person I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew there something absolutely special about them. At 70 years young, they still had the twinkle of first time buyers. I spent about an hour with them (much longer than I had planned given the home was a small three bed/two bath ranch). They wanted to check out every nook and cranny. I learned they had owned a home about 10 years ago but the neighborhood had become overrun with a gang. After pouring everything they had into that home to fix it up, they were forced, by gun point out of their home in the middle of the night and told to never return unless they wanted to be shot. They had lost everything. I also learned that Richard had served in Vietnam and was a POW. And Connie shared with me a picture of their 40 lb. cat…Baxter. They had moved into a local retirement community about a year ago to be near Richard’s ailing mother. She passed away last Fall and they decided it was time to live out their American Dream and buy a house they could enjoy in their golden years. One problem: they had very little money and a fixed income. However, they had done the math and knew owning a home was far less expensive than the outrageous rent they were paying (in the end, they are saving almost $900 a month!).
We talked every day after I met them. They had fallen in the love with the home. It offered the wheelchair access he would someday need, the yard he yearned for and it had a large finished walk-out basement Connie could use to continue offering quilting classes to her friends at the retirement home. I had urged them to go ahead and speak to a bank or lender to start the pre-approval process. Richard was sure his VA paperwork would come any day and was certain he needed it before starting a conversation with the bank. Richard and Connie live in a paper world. They don’t have cell phones, don’t own a computer and certainly don’t have Internet access/or web-a-ma-thingy knowledge. They needed paper in their hands. His eligibility paperwork had gone missing in their last move and they were patiently waiting for it to arrive in the mail (and I’m pretty sure as I write this, they are still waiting for it in the mail. We figured out a way around it).
While they waited, my seller received another offer. Being close to full price and a 30 day escrow, the seller had no reason not to take it. I called Richard and Connie to break the news to them. You can imagine their devastation. We still spoke about once a week. They would call to see if the deal had fallen through since the sign was still in the yard. Every week I explained to them it was set to close on December 20th and the sign would be up until it does. December 20th came and went without a closing due to some issues on the loan side.
I had been in touch with Richard and Connie to let them know the home might become available again. Sure enough it went back into “active” status on Saturday. I met them at the home on Sunday so they could take some more measurements and one more look around. I urged them again to talk to a lender and get that ball rolling. This time they took me seriously. Monday afternoon they called from the lender’s office. They were pre-approved and ready to write an offer. Since they don’t do highways and certainly don’t have GPS, I offered to come to them. In an effort not to make this story a mini-novel, I’ll save the details of the hysterical story about me driving around the city of Lee’s Summit for an hour trying to find the “Lakeside Grill” only to learn it was the name of the cafeteria attached to their apartment building.
Better late than never! The first thing Richard did was pull a handful of $100 bills out of his pocket: their earnest deposit. That was a first for me. I spent three hours with Richard and Connie that afternoon. Most of that time was spent chatting about their lives, how cautiously excited they were and greeting their friends as they arrived for dinner at 4 p.m. And then, Richard pulled out about 10 vinyl sleeves of pictures. Pictures from a trip to Vietnam he took in the 90s. It was unbelievable to sit with him and look through these pictures.
I left and called my seller. Although he was still disappointed that the previous deal fell apart, he was pleased with their offer and accepted. Richard and Connie were one step closer to making their dream a reality.
Through our 30-day escrow period we talked frequently…always by phone of course. Not being able to shoot them a quick email or text was occasionally a hassle, but only out of my own selfishness. I knew when I called them, I had better have 20 minutes to chat. I’d love to say I’m a saint, but there were a few times my patience wore a little thin and I’d have to fake another call coming in.
The entire process could not have been smoother. Every professional that came in contact with Richard and Connie couldn’t get over their pure joy and their unique story. In the majority of transactions today you don’t get that personal connection. Our sellers and buyers are more often than not relegated to just names on a piece of paper. Richard and Connie we are stark reminder for everyone what a privilege it is to do what we do as real estate professionals.
We were approaching closing and Richard was nervous as all get about the appliances not working. When my clients ask how late they can call me, I always tell them that I turn my ringer off at night and half joking, tell them if they wake up in the middle of the night stressed about something and need to get it off their chest, just call and leave me a voicemail. No one has ever taken me up on that…until Richard and Connie. He had nightmares that the portable dishwasher would leak and flood the entire house. To ease their mind and ensure the house was perfect when they moved in, I asked my go-to contractor, Sean, to make a trip out there the weekend prior to closing to get the old washer and dryer hooked up and make sure the dishwasher that was in the garage actually worked.
A week prior we had experienced two big snow storms. Knowing the seller rarely went by the house (he had already moved out), I called to ask if he could shovel the driveway or certainly make arrangements to have it done. Richard and Connie knew that the contractor would be out at the house on Saturday. They drove by that morning and saw the driveway hadn’t been shoveled. There were drifts and piles for the plows that topped two feet. They were worried the contractor wouldn’t be able to get in or would fall. So what did this 70-year-old couple do? They went and bought a shovel. She cleared a path big enough for someone to get down the driveway.
After Sean met them that day, he made it his mission to get them the stove they needed. The current stove was gas and Richard is on oxygen (hello hazardous situation). They needed to convert the stove and didn’t have the funds to buy one. They were planning to use hot plates until they saved up enough money. I put a message out on Facebook to help get them an electric stove. Thanks to the quick generosity of friends, Sean and I went on a covert mission the night before closing and installed an electric stove that was donated. We also installed an American Flag that brought them to tears when we pulled up at the house after closing. Richard looked at me and said, “You know, I’m not used to being on the receiving end of things like this.” That struck a chord. The night prior as we drove out there, Sean said something to effect of, “Their generation just gives and gives and gives. It’s nice to see them getting something for a change!”
We are now working on getting a new battery for the old riding lawn mower the seller left behind. Richard “can’t wait to get on that bad boy!”
Selling a home to Richard and Connie was more than just selling a home. It brought me back to center. It reminded me of what I get to do every day and what an honor it is to help families realize their dreams. Such an oddity today…A 70′ish young couple moving from a retirement community into a home. I’m honored that I got to be a part of their American Dream. In the last 45 days, I’ve also realized that so many times during real estate transactions, we only focus on the numbers; what’s on paper; what’s the bottom line. In an effort to save time, we depend on emails, electronic signatures, endless texts and every time-saving shortcut we can. With Richard and Connie, there were no short cuts. As much as I love how fast paced my career is, I stand reminded of why I love what I do…it’s the connection I make with my clients. You can’t get that connection through an email or an electronic signature. The hours I spent face-to-face with them is priceless. This entire transaction has been priceless. Thank God while rushing around my hotel room in San Francisco, I decided to answer my phone….
Congratulations Richard and Connie! An American Dream for an American Hero!
*This blog was reprinted from ChristianZSellsKC.
The story so far: the Federal Reserve in Kansas City mid-2013 published that irrigated cropland in its district rose 30% in 2012, while the Chicago Fed reported a 16% increase. Last year’s drought in Iowa last year notwithstanding, farmland prices have nearly doubled since 2009 to an average of $8,296 an acre. Prices in Nebraska, says the Fed, have also doubled during the same period.
There’s a complicated set of factors joining together to drive up farmland prices. Drought, institutional buying, ethanol mandates from the federal government, rising food prices and population concerns are all having their say in a steadily rising price for irrigated cropland. Some are saying the trend is unsustainable and shows all the signs of a classic market bubble. Troublingly, different looks at the market come to similar conclusions about a coming price collapse even if there’s disagreement about cause.
As Reuters reported recently, a report by The Oakland Institute documents a “global land rush of unprecedented scale” and estimates $10 billion in institutional dollars is chasing the fixed amount of US cropland. Pension giant TIAA-CREF, Hancock Agricultural Investment Group and UBS Agrivest were singled out as key drivers of a surge in farmland prices. This financialization of food-producing land is identified as “speculative” by the report.
Generational Turnover And Tight Credit For Small Farmers
Another trend feeding the charge toward institutionalized demand for land is the plight of the young farmer. A 2011 survey published by the National Young Farmers Coalition found that 78% of young farmers cited lack of capital as their biggest challenge. Depending on off-farm income to make ends meet only further sweetens the deal to a young farmer when an institutional player comes calling to pad its asset holdings.
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, setting the stage for later mandates by the Environmental Protection Agency to compel an increase in the production of ethanol, the corn-based fuel. The EPA’s RFS and later RFS2 programs sought to almost quadruple ethanol production. The effect of government policy into land prices is highlighted by one analyst at Seeking Alpha when he points to a spike in land prices that occurred in the 2005 quarter the bill passed.
While that price move explanation seems valid, what’s less clear is any similar ongoing related effect of ethanol mandate on corn-producing land prices in the intervening nine years. As per usual, when it comes to explanations of prices from institutional sources, only some actors get attention. The Wall Street spin evident in the above-linked piece focuses only on Washington and ignores totally the fact or any possible effect of $10 billion Wall Street dollars wading into the market, as well as the plight of the farmer strapped for credit and capital.
Prices Stabilizing For Now
The Fed reports that land prices in late 2013 only gained 3%, but also touched on the farmer’s plight, indicating cash rents (and food exports) were in fact up:
Cash rents, another key indicator of farmland value, were also steady to higher as farmers negotiated contracts in the fourth quarter that will cover the 2014 season, according to the St. Louis Fed. Values were buoyed by a gain in farm incomes in the quarter, including crop insurance payments and much larger harvest supplies even at lower prices.
In recent years, both crop and farmland prices have set records as the boom in biofuels and food exports fueled demand. But the sharp drop in second-half 2013 grain prices ahead of the record corn harvest had bankers fretting that farmland prices could also plunge.
With land acting as security on most loans to farmers for equipment, and a persistent credit crunch facing farmers quarter after quarter, signs are piling up that the value of mortgaged food-producing land is headed for a slip. When, as WSJ reports, tractor company John Deere revises its farm equipment sales projections to 5% from the 10% thought a year ago, that’s only one of a set of signals that a land boom driven by Wall Street may be coming to a close.
Every once in a while, when I’m reading something wholly unrelated to work, I come across the most interesting insights into property ownership.
This week I’ve been wading through the terrifying, foul-smelling world of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. The book is a muckraking (and I mean that in the best sense of the word) look at the meatpacking industry of Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century. Not even a third of the way into the book, I find the immigrant family I’ve been following through the harrowing process of settling in Chicago’s Packingtown neighborhood are screwing up the guts to buy a home. They’ve only been in America for something like a week, they can’t speak English, and they’re already counting up the downpayment. The process is fascinating; I recommend reading the whole thing (you can access it for free online at the Gutenberg Project; the whole home-buying storyline begins in chapter four). But I wanted to share with you a portion that occurs after they buy the place and begin “feathering their nest” in chapter five. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve bolded the parts I loved:
They had bought their home. It was hard for them to realize that the wonderful house was theirs to move into whenever they chose. They spent all their time thinking about it, and what they were going to put into it. As their week with Aniele was up in three days, they lost no time in getting ready. They had to make some shift to furnish it, and every instant of their leisure was given to discussing this.
…The next day they went to the house; and when the men came from work they ate a few hurried mouthfuls at Aniele’s, and then set to work at the task of carrying their belongings to their new home. The distance was in reality over two miles, but Jurgis made two trips that night, each time with a huge pile of mattresses and bedding on his head, with bundles of clothing and bags and things tied up inside. Anywhere else in Chicago he would have stood a good chance of being arrested; but the policemen in Packingtown were apparently used to these informal movings, and contented themselves with a cursory examination now and then. It was quite wonderful to see how fine the house looked, with all the things in it, even by the dim light of a lamp: it was really home, and almost as exciting as the placard had described it. Ona was fairly dancing, and she and Cousin Marija took Jurgis by the arm and escorted him from room to room, sitting in each chair by turns, and then insisting that he should do the same. One chair squeaked with his great weight, and they screamed with fright, and woke the baby and brought everybody running. Altogether it was a great day; and tired as they were, Jurgis and Ona sat up late, contented simply to hold each other and gaze in rapture about the room. They were going to be married as soon as they could get everything settled, and a little spare money put by; and this was to be their home—that little room yonder would be theirs!
It was in truth a never-ending delight, the fixing up of this house. They had no money to spend for the pleasure of spending, but there were a few absolutely necessary things, and the buying of these was a perpetual adventure for Ona. It must always be done at night, so that Jurgis could go along; and even if it were only a pepper cruet, or half a dozen glasses for ten cents, that was enough for an expedition. On Saturday night they came home with a great basketful of things, and spread them out on the table, while every one stood round, and the children climbed up on the chairs, or howled to be lifted up to see. There were sugar and salt and tea and crackers, and a can of lard and a milk pail, and a scrubbing brush, and a pair of shoes for the second oldest boy, and a can of oil, and a tack hammer, and a pound of nails. These last were to be driven into the walls of the kitchen and the bedrooms, to hang things on; and there was a family discussion as to the place where each one was to be driven. Then Jurgis would try to hammer, and hit his fingers because the hammer was too small, and get mad because Ona had refused to let him pay fifteen cents more and get a bigger hammer; and Ona would be invited to try it herself, and hurt her thumb, and cry out, which necessitated the thumb’s being kissed by Jurgis. Finally, after every one had had a try, the nails would be driven, and something hung up. Jurgis had come home with a big packing box on his head, and he sent Jonas to get another that he had bought. He meant to take one side out of these tomorrow, and put shelves in them, and make them into bureaus and places to keep things for the bedrooms. The nest which had been advertised had not included feathers for quite so many birds as there were in this family.
Let me know if you have any favorite fiction that addresses the real estate industry. I’m always looking for an excuse to read!
By Sam DeBord
When I started out in the real estate business, my biggest fear was probably the same as many other agents’: “What if they ask me how many homes I’ve sold?” There was an almost inescapable fear that every new client I met would find out that I hadn’t been selling for very long, and abandon me for a more experienced agent.
The interesting part, looking back, was that I’ve probably only ever been asked that question a half-dozen times by the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with. Those that did ask, always kept working with me, whether it was in my first year, or after five years. The fact that I didn’t lose clients over that single question isn’t nearly as satisfying today, though, knowing how much mental stress it put me through in my first year, as well as how it was detrimental to my ability to concentrate on my clients at the start of my career.
Being experienced in real estate is a big advantage. To downplay it would be disingenuous. However, a calm, practiced response to questions about experience can make the real estate transaction much more relaxed for the new agent and to the clients. More importantly, it allows the agent to focus on what the client really wants – a partner who is easy to work with, listens to their needs, and follows up professionally.
It’s very easy when you’re new in the business to try to craft the perfect answer to every client question. You may feel you need to know everything, and if you can’t answer a question about a certain home or property type, you’ll be exposed as inexperienced. In reality, most home buyers and sellers would prefer that you have an affable personal relationship with them, and let them know that you’ll “look into it a bit and get back to them.” While your knowledge is important to the client, your ability to make them feel comfortable is even more important. Nobody likes to spend their day with a fidgety, nervous wreck of an agent.
If you’ve really never sold a home before, it’s okay to tell your clients, “I’m working with my managing broker on your entire transaction. He/she is backing me up and will be reviewing everything in the contract to make sure we keep your home purchase/sale stress free.” To be honest, if you haven’t written many contracts yet, there’s really no excuse to not have that second set of eyes. Your clients will appreciate it, and your confidence in your working relationship will improve.
In the end, the number one reason my clients work with me and stay with me: We get along. When you can ignore your worries, genuinely smile and greet a client, have an entertaining conversation, and enjoy the in-between moments of your transaction relationship, you’re going to be much more successful in getting new business and creating return business.
Remember that the No. 1 reason people hire an agent is because a friend referred them. Home buyers and sellers want a relationship with someone they can count on, and someone they can get along with. Be honest with yourself and your clients about your experience, and you’ll not only gain more business – you’ll enjoy your career much more in the process.
The flight from urban centers to the suburbs that characterized much of the latter half of the 20th century is seeing a reversal. Collar communities across the US are facing rising vacancy rates as a generation of thirtysomethings and younger are breaking the pattern of previous generations by seeking life and work spaces close to each other, without long maddening commutes.
The urbanization trend has a lot of factors driving it. Depending on who you ask, the answers given to explain this shift point to the rise of always-connected technology-enabled life- and working-styles. Some point to somewhat fanciful ideas about “Generation Y” kids growing up in over-secure, helicopter-parented childhoods looking for the risks of urban life as a way to establish independence at long last.
Whatever the reasons, the shift in urbanization is real. Market research by IBISWorld highlights the trend in terms of hiked multifamily construction starts and other growing measures like rentals in urban centers. Put simply, a city apartment boom is underway, and a lot of industries are going to feel the benefit.
“As the US economy picks up during the next five years, both the rate of urbanization across the country and the per capita income of urban residents are expected to accelerate,” according to the IBISWorld report, titled “Moving on up: Top industries to benefit from urbanization.” Along with apartment construction, these shifts will lead to growing demand for testing and educational support, single location full-service restaurants, apartment rental, street vendors and public transportation.
Although operators in these industries are not anticipated to encounter a lack of demand in the next five years, “they are expected to face more intense competition among peers for market share within the rapidly growing urban markets,” the report states. “The benefits of urbanization, though, will increase the number of workers and establishments operating in these industries.”
Driving the demand apartment boom in part is the rapid growth of companies in the healthcare, technology and finance sectors. “These industries are attracting an increasing number of young professionals and college graduates, a demographic that has boosted the population of urban areas,” according to the report.
Accordingly, IBISWorld expects revenue for the apartment and condominium construction industry to increase at an annualized rate of 3.7% in the five years to ‘19. Profit margins for the rental industry have lagged the 9.1% annualized growth seen by the construction sector since 2009, though, and will continue to lag over the next five years, albeit not quite as dramatically: 2.5% annual growth, compared to 3.7% for builders.
The Takeaway For Multifamily Professionals
Suburban apartments and condominiums can only feel the most disruption from the interruption of the decades-long migration pattern from downtown to the boonies; multifamily markets markets in many collar communities are likely to get tougher to rent, and building starts are likely to become harder to finance.
Aggressive marketing in billboards (as in above, a campaign in Chicago promoting the western suburb of Berwyn) and on public transportation is likely to pick up in major cities; professionals working suburban markets should be organized into effective Chambers of Commerce to mount such campaigns. The suburbs can’t count on old migration patterns any more.Related articles
REALTOR® Magazine needs your help to identify nominees for the 2014 Good Neighbor Awards. The program–celebrating its 15th anniversary–recognizes REALTORS® whose extraordinary commitment to volunteering has helped make their communities better places to live.
Five winners will be announced and recognized at the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans. They will receive a $10,000 grant for their community cause, travel expenses to the convention and extensive publicity to benefit their cause. In addition to the winners, there will be five honorable mentions which will receive $2,500 grants.
This year’s Good Neighbor Award deadline is May 16, 2014.
For more information and to nominate please click here.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
What’s trending in bathroom remodels? Houzz recently released its 2014 Winter Bathroom Trends Study showing the top bathroom remodel preferences of more than 7,500 home owners in the U.S. and Canada. The report shows that 60 percent of home owners are targeting the master bathroom for their bathroom remodels. The two main drivers for their remodels: To upgrade features and fixtures as well as to make space more functional.
Here are some of the growing trends that emerged from the Houzz report:
#1 Goodbye, bathtubs. The bathtub is starting to move out of the master bathroom. More than four in 10 – 43 percent – are forgoing a bathtub in the master bathroom, according to the report.Contemporary Bathroom by Mansfield Kitchen & Bath Designers Kitchen Views at National Lumber
#2 Frameless glass is “in.” The majority of the home owners surveyed say they prefer glass shower enclosures and frameless glass. Glass block is “out,” according to the report.Contemporary Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Designers Feldman Architecture, Inc.
#3 Let there be lots of light. Adding light was one of the top goal for home owners with their bathroom remodels, from adding windows to skylights to LED lights in the showerhead.Traditional Bathroom by Duxbury Design-Build Firms ARCHIA HOMES
#4 Showing showerhead preferences. Rain and multiple showerheads are the clear choice for home owners under 45, while the 55-plus age group tends to prefer hand showers and sliding bars.Contemporary Bathroom by Glen Ellyn Kitchen & Bath Designers Drury Design
#5 Seeing white. White cabinets are the top choice in master bathrooms (with medium and dark wood coming in No. 2 and No. 3, respectively). Maple is the most common type of wood used, followed by cherry and oak.Traditional Bathroom by Dc Metro Interior Designers & Decorators Liz Levin Interiors
#6 Silver bling. Silver-tone faucets remain the most popular, with brushed nickel topping the list. Polished chrome is also popular, while brushed bronze came in as the least popular choice for current bathroom remodels.Contemporary Bathroom by Portland Kitchen & Bath Designers Kirstin Havnaer, Hearthstone Interior Design, LLC
#7 Unique powder rooms. The powder room is getting more unique features than other bathrooms. Hardwood floors, wallpaper, pedestal sinks, and furniture-like cabinets are more commonly used in these spaces than in other bathrooms.Traditional Powder Room by Rockford Interior Designers & Decorators KannCept Design, Inc.
While a few U.S. Olympians in Sochi, Russia, are celebrating bringing home the gold, their real estate families back at home are making room on the mantle for their prestigious awards.
That seems to be a familiar storyline in Park City, Utah, where a number of members of the Park City Board of REALTORS® are watching as their sons, daughters, and brothers compete in the Winter Olympics. They’ve got a lot to be proud of: Two Olympians with real estate families in Park City have taken the top honor for their events, while a third isn’t coming home with a medal — but she landed in the history books.
Barry Van, GRI, AFR, BPOR
Keller Williams Park City Real Estate
Daughter: Lindsey Van
Lindsey’s Olympic results: Ranked 15th, Ski Jumping Women’s Normal Hill
Lindsey Van might not have had the greatest showing at her event on Feb. 11, but she can still claim victory. This was the first year ever that ski jumping — traditionally a male sport — was open to female competitors at the Olympics. And Lindsey was one of the trailblazers who helped to break the barrier.
A few years ago, she was one of several plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought against the organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. At the time, only men were allowed to compete in ski jumping events at the Olympics, and the plaintiffs argued that the policy was a violation of their rights. The lawsuit wasn’t successful, but the Olympics Committee announced in 2011 that a female ski jumping event on the normal hill would be hosted at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“I’m glad that it’s an event, but they still need to add the large hill and team event,” Lindsey’s father, Barry Van, says of the International Olympic Committee’s role in opening up ski jumping events to women at the Games. “Work’s not over.”
Still, he’s celebrating the accomplishment Lindsey made this year. He says he’s even used her status as an Olympian in some of his real estate marketing materials. Heck, maybe she could even use it to her own advantage in real estate. After all, she might have some skin in that game.
Lindsey is a licensed referral agent, having gotten her license in 2004, Barry says. “I sent my brother and daughter to real estate school so they could get their license, because this is important stuff you need to know,” he adds.
But does that mean she’s eyeing a future in real estate?
“Probably not, but who knows?” Barry says. “She keeps her license current.”
Steve and Blaze Kotsenburg
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Son, brother: Sage Kotsenburg
Sage’s Olympic results: Gold medalist, Men’s Snowboarding Slope-Style
Sage Kotsenburg took home the first gold medal of this year’s Winter Olympics, and his family couldn’t be more proud. His father, Steve, and brother, Blaze, both agents with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City, have been celebrating Sage’s win with their REALTOR® friends and family.
“It’s still crazy with all that has been going on since Sage won the gold medal — but a good crazy,” Steve says. “I think we’re still speechless and taking it all in.
“The REALTOR® community has been very supportive from here in Park City and all over the country,” he continues. “We have gotten emails from other REALTORS® from around the U.S. and celebrating with us. It’s amazing and means so much to us to hear from them, and also that they share this with us as a fellow REALTOR®.”
Sage’s brother, Blaze, says he was just excited to see Sage go to Sochi and represent the talents of his snowboarding community back home. “Park City is built around the skiing and snowboarding lifestyle, so it means a lot to the whole town that Sage brought the gold home for snowboarding,” he says.
Though both Steve and Blaze say they don’t know Sage to have any aspirations to enter the real estate world, they’re grateful for the positive impact his celebrity is having on their businesses.
“I think we have seen a little more action in leads after Sage won, and that probably has to do with the name recognition,” Blaze says. Steve agrees that Sage’s name has given his and Blaze’s real estate businesses some attention, but added that they had no plans to include Sage in their marketing plans.
“Sage is all about having fun and enjoying what he does,” Steve says. “Blaze and I are the same with our business: We enjoy and have fun with the many people we have met, and we focus on being honest and trustworthy and doing a good job for all our clients.”
Bill Ligety, GRI, CRS
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Son: Ted Ligety
Ted’s Olympics results: Gold medalist, Alpine Skiing Men’s Giant Slalom
Bill Ligety, an agent with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, was a little nervous for his son, Ted, as he set off for Sochi. Ted was a surprise winner of the Men’s Alpine Skiing Super Combined competition during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
“This year, there was a huge expectation that Ted would win at least one medal — and maybe three,” Bill says. “Ski racing is very unforgiving, and favorites often do not win.”
So when Ted pulled off winning the gold medal for the giant slalom competition in Sochi, Bill and his real estate family erupted in celebration.
“I am lucky to have many friends and supporters who have known Ted since he was born. My real estate associates got together the night Ted won for a party to watch the event on TV. The son of another associate in my office, Sage Kotsenburg, also won a gold medal in Sochi, so the town has plenty to celebrate.
When sellers finish up their painting in preparation for sale, suggest one more tactic to improve their odds of a quick sale for maximum value. Lighten up!
Email them a free article, Matching Room Color and Lighting to Get the Effect You Desire, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the February “Bright Ideas for Lighting Design” article package. Share all five today.
(New!)Matching Room Color and Lighting to Get the Effect You Desire
Light changes color, so your lighting design — a top priority for any remodel — should help guide your color choices. Here’s how. Read
Light Bulbs for Energy Efficiency and Beautiful Light
We decipher light bulb labels so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting in terms of brightness, color, and energy efficiency. Read
Want to Add Sconce Lighting?
Sconce lighting offers excellent illumination and practicality, and installing some models is a simple DIY job. Read
9 Ways to Increase Daylighting to Fend Off Seasonal Affective Disorder
Adding skylights, solar light tubes, windows, and other means of daylighting can brighten your winter and help alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Read
Solar Tubes Beat Traditional Skylights for Low-Cost Daylighting
Get the natural light that skylights provide — but with less cost and less hassle — by installing solar tubes instead. Read
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.
Attention commercial speakers:
Have something that needs to be said at this years conference? If you’re looking for a chance to speak at a session this year time is running out to submit the call for presentations form which are due next Friday, the 28th of February.
HOW ARE SPEAKERS CHOSEN?
Proposals are reviewed by a team of industry experts with expertise in real estate topic areas. Reviewers evaluate proposals based on six criteria:
- Relevance to today’s real estate professional
- Well-defined topic focus
- Practical application of material
- Timeliness of topic
- Overall program quality
- Speaker credentials, including references
Each speaker may submit up to 2 sessions.
For more information and to submit please visit the website http://www.realtor.org/speakers.nsf/pages/CFP .
Speaking generally and in nationwide terms, the commercial real estate market has been undergoing steady, uneven improvement for at least three years. What are the indicators of this recovery? CIT in association with Forbes Insights has an answer in the form of a handy infographic and report detailing the “cautious recovery” – check it out below. (Click for full-size of the partial graphic, or download the entire report here.)
- Real Estate Experts Mixed on Market Future
- Commercial Real Estate Market Recovery
- Investors ‘Optimistic’ About U.S. Real Estate Markets
- Supermarket Expansions a Boon for Real Estate
I write this post on what is a “holiday” for many people: President’s Day. A three-day weekend, the most joyous of “holidays.” Meanwhile, my wife – who is now a REALTOR® in Chicago – is running around prepping for another day because three day holiday weekends only means an extra day to be with clients looking for homes in a market starving for inventory. She has realized what many a real estate pro already has known: There are no such things as holidays for REALTORS®.
This, after a marathon Saturday of showings where half the houses she saw sold by the end of the day, turned into a night of presenting four offers to her seller only for the elation to quickly wear off when said sellers realized they have no home to move into once their condo closes in two months. Let’s face it, the market realities today mean that the hours real estate professionals work may not be the hours they’d LIKE to work.
There’s lots of “work-life-balance” talk on the interwebs, but unplugging may be hard to do when you’re in a multiple-offer situation, or if you NEED to show that listing that just came up on your MLS radar. However, the time you DO have with your clients will prove to be the most valuable, and squeezing every bit out of time with them might mean a make-or-break deal. Some tips…
Audit Your Productivity Processes Now:
No other technology can position the client/agent team better in today’s hot market than mobile technology. How mobile are you? How mobile is your broker-tech, MLS, and forms technology? These entities are not created equally, and if you realize you’re working in the tech dark-ages, literally make it better, or carry contracts with you. Recognize that “being mobile,” actually means “being productive.” Know how to use DocuSign, Dotloop, zipForm or whatever your broker or MLS’s technology is that allows you to write offers on the fly. Dropbox and Evernote collaborations with clients may save your listing sanity. Sometimes having a MiFi hotspot and a laptop is all you need to be productive, whether your next office might be a Starbucks or the passenger seat of your car. The words, “I need to go back to my office to…” should never be enter into your lexicon.
Bonus: Brokers, make your next sales meeting a workshop, one in which your agents practice writing mobile contracts. For example, practice writing and sending forms to each other. Broadcast it live with about.me. Record it and throw it on your Youtube page. Your time is valuable too!
Make Your Orientation Customer-Specific, Rather Than You-Specific:
Ask your clients at the orientation about their real estate experiences so far, and find out what “a day in the life of their real estate search” looks like. Ask the same of attendees at your open house – you might not pick them up as buyers, but what you can glean from them could be eye-opening. Ask your prospects how “savvy” they are at the orientation. Re-education is inevitable, so do it here. Educate them on the market, not you.
Train them: Once prospects become clients, train them. Get them familiar with YOUR processes and techniques; especially those that put them in a favorable position come offer-time. Train them on all of your processes; this is when their savvy meets yours. Train them on how to use Docusign/Dotloop/zipForms/etc. at the orientation. Set expectations. What’s cool is that many real estate consumers have spent a TON of time searching and gathering information – you know, doing real estate stuff. They know how hot the market is by now and they want to keep busy being pro-active, so give them something to learn.
Google the listing: This seems to go without saying but I’m constantly amazed at how many of my clients used to focus on only what they chose to focus on when it came to listings, until it hit me: The agent perspective is always MLS-centric, while our clients tend to be Google-centric. Google together. Anticipate pain points by Google’ing the homes in your next home tour, or with a seller’s home. Do it live at the orientation, with your prospect’s favorite house. Launch your MLS and perform a live comp with your prospective seller to demystify the MLS and answer, once and for all, why the “five bedroom, three bath McMansion four miles away that sold three years ago, doesn’t make a difference in the market value of your two bedroom bungalow, Mr. Seller.” Your goal is to get your clients to be decisive, to anticipate the market with you and to get them to realize that what they’re seeing online is mix of advertising and yesterday’s new listings.
Bonus: Make all of this content for your website. Checklists, how-to videos, a glossary of real estate terms, market updates, your value proposition, all should be there. There is – literally – a website called “Let me Google This For You,” which you could use to record how to properly Google something. Make your website first contact, pre-meeting homework. That prospect who emails you to cancel their appointment because they “didn’t realize what they were getting into,” just saved you a couple hours of wasted time. “No problem! Stay tuned to my website for more updates and I’ll check in with you in a couple weeks!” Education and awareness content is your new lead-generation. Speaking of which…
Marketing and Lead-Generation:
Start talking to sellers. “How’s the market?” The one question every real estate professional gets but none seem to answer. The one reason why the Zestimate is the most compelling and polarizing number in real estate. One could (and should) be addressing this with their marketing to address widespread lack of inventory issues, but the crazier the market gets, the farther on the back-burner marketing seems to get pushed, and that needs to stop. Get in the habit of taking 15 minutes each week to answer the “How’s the market?” question. Use your MLS and association’s monthly market updates on your website. Knock it off with the “I’m at my association, learning about the 2014 economy, yay!” Facebook selfies and instead distill what you learn for your Facebook friends. Prove, day in and day out, that you are a market expert. Your clients and Google, for that matter, will love you for it, and your funnel will be filled for your next business cycle.
Bonus: When I was an agent, Thursday was my “MLS and association day.” I dug into my MLS data and pulled the top 10 hottest markets, neighborhoods, zip codes – even home-types sold – and with it I honed my market expertise and got into the habit of downloading association videos and market reports to find marketable data. Integrate the same mindset into your business! Throw the data up against history and spot trends, then write about it on your site or share what surprised you on social media. Focus your marketing on these and their outlying carry-over markets. Hosting an open house Saturday or Sunday? Pull up that same report but make it more centric to that home’s neighborhood or market. Save reports to your Dropbox to email to prospects at the open. As a friend of mine once put it: “Earn trust, get traffic.” Gain mind-share now for market-share later.
Whatever you do with these and other tips, get into a rhythm of business. Get your clients and prospects into the act to set expectations and get them into the rhythm as well – whether they’re tapping into your savvy, your processes, your marketing, or your expertise. Make every bit of that time with them worthwhile. Your sanity just might thank you for it.
By Patti Stern, guest contributor
Whether an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a first-time remodeler, a remodeling project can be intrusive and overwhelming to every aspect of a person’s life. That’s why hiring a professional can save time, money, and a lot of unnecessary stress.
Recently, my husband and I decided to finally remodel the last room in our home that remained untouched by my interior decorator hands –- our master bathroom. My vision was to transform our 1969 master bathroom into a modern, stylish space, but I didn’t want to do anything too custom as we may look to sell our home in a few years. The design and décor needed to appeal to potential future buyers.
The first step of the renovation was deciding whether or not we could knock down the wall between the master bathroom and our guest room closet to maximize the space and upgrade to a double vanity and larger shower — the most important elements of the project. Once my talented carpenter determined we could, I was off and running with the design.
As my own general contractor, I managed every element of the project and deciding on the design elements was particularly daunting, since this was a project for my family and me. I ultimately decided on a modern, spa-like design with an earthy color scheme — dark espresso, glass tiles, and a stone shower floor.
The actual renovation involved taking the original bathroom down to the studs and building from scratch (remember, this shower had lasted 44 years!). Working with a talented carpenter, excellent vendors, and my own knowledge of renovation projects helped the process along to final completion just a few weeks before the New Year.
The final reveal, pictured below, features a frameless shower door, which opens up the space, accent glass tiles on the walls and floor, modern eight-inch faucets, and jeweled light sconces fixed to the wall-to-wall mirror. We also added a silent ceiling fan for additional air flow and circulation in the space.
4 Tips to Getting Through Any Home Renovation
Throughout the process, I kept a journal and noted some key tips and advice for all home owners when taking on any renovation project including:
1. Have a written plan. Be sure that you are absolutely clear with your interior decorator, contractor, and carpenter — whomever you are working with — regarding the remodeling job and have a written plan and contract.
2. Plan ahead. Make sure you have all of your design plans and materials for your remodeling project ahead of time (including windows if applicable). Sometimes, though, things do have to change once the remodeling starts. For example, I opted for one large mirror instead of two as originally planned. Be flexible and plan for an additional 10- 15 percent above your budget for “just in case” scenarios.
3. Don’t skimp where it’s important. When putting in a shower floor, for example, make sure your contractor is using the right materials to prevent leaks, mold, and mildew. Sometimes spending a little bit more on better quality items will save you money in the long run.
4. Think about the big picture. How will your remodeling project affect other rooms or even future plans for your home? Will a wall being knocked down impact another room? If so, you may have to consider painting or repairing any walls in the impacted space. Are you thinking of selling your home in a few years? If so, you’ll want to make changes you’ll enjoy now but that also will appeal to potential buyers in a few years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC , and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit www.pjhomestyling.com or www.facebook.com/pjandcompanyhomestyling.
By Randolph T. Mason, CCIM, SIOR
Let’s face it, no one is going to buy or lease your commercial property unless they know about it. So, when there is a plethora of properties and opportunities for tenants and buyers to look at, how do you make your property stand out? Here are a few tips.
A simple and cost effective way to expose your commercial property is to have a video created. Videos can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Well-crafted videos, can show the surrounding area, explain features of the property, and dive into specifics such as: what the interior looks like, condition of the roof, office visuals, warehouse and other areas within the building. If the property looks interesting on video, the prospect may want to physically tour it which would allow you to personally sell and close the transaction. In addition, out of town clients appreciate the visual experience and get a good understanding of potential properties to either purchase or lease saving
time and travel.
Websites can show all of the floor plans which then can be printed in a PDF format and other ancillary bits of information. You can then use a QR code placed to place on signs and other marketing materials.
Once all of the other traditional marketing such as adding a property to the multiple listing services, E-blasting the brokerage community, advertising, etc, it’s important to get people through the property. It’s happened more than once, I have scheduled a time to tour a property with a client and told the listing broker needed to be present, and when we arrived at the property the listing broker was nowhere in sight and the building was locked up-too bad for that property. We moved on.
A simple and effective way to get around that problem is to place a lockbox on the property. My recommendation is to use a combination lock box so that when the listing broker is unable to be at the property during showing time, with multiple buildings on a tour timing can be challenging, the combination can be provided so the procuring representative can get into the property and expose it to the client.
Another way to create buzz for your property is to provide broker incentives to the procuring broker. Ideas can include $50 for a property tour or $100 for a bonafied offer. A very motivated landlord once offered $5 a square foot as a leasing incentive provided the lease was signed within 2 months. The reality is that it normally would take longer than 2 months to consummate a transaction so the landlord had little exposure but it created an enormous amount of buzz amongst the brokerage community. The landlord ended up leasing the property outside of that time frame, and compensating the procuring broker $2 a square foot. Money well invested.
Randolph T. Mason, CCIM, SIOR is the Managing Partner for Commercial Realty Specialists.
Exploding demand for online shopping is the driver behind a Jones Lang LaSalle finding that sophisticated warehousing and logistics space will see a big bump in 2014 according to today’s Craig Meyer piece in REJournals:
“2014 is starting off with high demand from e-commerce and other users who are in the market for large, sophisticated space, and lots of it,” said Craig Meyer, president of industrial brokerage at JLL. “This will make 2014 the ‘year of the distribution center.’ Modern space with proximity to population centers and a robust logistics infrastructure will dominate the industrial real estate sector in 2014.” JLL anticipates the overall national vacancy rate will settle at a cyclical low of 7.5 percent in 2014.
3PL Set To Take Off
Increasingly, traditional warehouse space and portfolios of owned facilities don’t offer what e-commerce needs: build-to-suit of third-party logistics (3PL) facilities are springing up in secondary and tertiary markets stronger than ever, locations hugging rail lines to avoid the rising costs of trucking. In a new report from CapGemini, the revenues for 3PL across the entire US market are shown at $170 billion in 2012, up 6.7% from the previous year. Outsourcing is a major driver of the trend. Cost reductions for inventory and logistics are reshaping the warehousing start picture across the US as facilities are suiting an outsourced operations profile.
Collaborating With Competition
How much outsourcing is sought might be explained by one alarming trend identified by CapGemini: in the hunt for efficiencies and savings, shippers are collaborating with competitors to improve service and cut costs in logistics.
Interest in collaborating with other companies, even competitors, to achieve
logistics cost and service improvements: Slightly more shippers (48% compared
with 41% last year) express interest in collaborating with other companies, even
competitors, to achieve logistics cost and service improvements. Substantially more
3PLs (70%) indicate they are engaging in this type of collaboration. As with gainsharing, it
is likely that this approach is more suitable in certain types of shipper-3PL relationships
than in others.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
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NAR President Steve Brown in a meeting yesterday with new Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt shared REALTORS®’ concern over the continued availability of safe and affordable mortgage financing and thanked the director for postponing a decrease in the size of loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can back. Watt also postponed an increase in the guarantee fees the companies charge lenders, a position NAR shares.
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“Director Watt listened carefully to our concerns and took the prudent step of delaying any changes to loan limits and the guarantee fees,” Brown said after the meeting.
NAR supported the nomination of Watt, a former U.S. representative from North Carolina who was a senior member of the House Committee on Financial Services. It was Watt’s first meeting with a professional trade group since his confirmation.
“Based on our very productive meeting, it’s clear Director Watt understands the crucial role of residential real estate to the economy,” Brown said. “We are eager to work with him and promised to keep him apprised of what our members are seeing in markets across the country.”
Brown talks about his meeting in the video above.
SunState Realty, LLC
Waldeck’s home has the coolest features — the kind that she hopes will fetch nearly $460,000. Waldeck and her husband have their sweet custom-built Florida spot on the market with that price tag, and it’s easy to see why they’re asking that much.
“What I love most about our home is simply how unique it is,” Waldeck says. “There are many architectural features in this custom home you do not find in typical production homes, such as the floating staircase with wrought iron railing, designer ceilings, and his-and-her garages.”
The home has a wide-open floor plan, so much so that you can “see the entire house while standing in one spot — except for the private areas, of course,” she explains. The home sits alongside a saltwater canal, and it has a boat lift. All of that is outdone, though, by the two-story swimming pool that Waldeck’s granddaughters love.
“The best part of living here is how it suits the Florida lifestyle we love,” Waldeck says.
So why sell? “Of course, knowing us real estate folk, for the right price, it’s for sale!”
Send us a video tour of your home, and show us why you’re proud of it! Here’s how.
If you or your commercial real estate firm or brand runs a Facebook page, and you read The Source, then you probably know that the reach of your page – that is to say the sum total of the visibility and engagement your page delivers – has been on the decline.
Some of this is acknowledged by Facebook. New posts today get less attention than before, and that’s on purpose, according to Facebook itself. The “organic reach” of your posts, a measure once determined by the number of “likes” your page has – aka the number of people who want your content – has been falling because Facebook wants it to. Facebook’s purpose is to generate revenue through advertising, and if 1,000 people ask to see your content, Facebook thinks it’s good business to show that content to fewer than those 1,000 people, and to thereby lead people toward the purchasing of advertising on Facebook.
Buying Your Way Out Of The Problem Might Not Work
A new wrinkle to the problem has been that even the advertising terms and outcomes are now thrown into suspicion. A video blogger has found through experimentation that even after he paid Facebook for advertising, the “likes” he got back from the process were from accounts that didn’t look like the accounts of real people. And when clicks that come from sketchy-looking accounts pile up, it’s almost always the result of click fraud, using click farms.
The videoblogger’s “Virtual Bagel” and “Virtual Cat” experiments in Facebook exposure are easily understood, well-controlled, compelling and in the end, pretty damning stuff. It makes you wonder how is it possible that Facebook, a social media platform with over a billion people on it could take such wild success at connecting people and think it was a good business model to keep actual people away from each other.
A tip of the hat to Agent Genius who posted about this recently.
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