A one year journey through real estate, Week 5

A one year journey through real estate, Week 5

Week five ends on another dreary Friday.  Snow, rain, freezing rain and sleet mixing on and off today and tomorrow.  Except for my broker in charge, my office is empty today.  The roads are not too bad, but better safe than sorry.  Besides, most of us can do anything from home we could do in the office.

This past week, I spent a great deal of time trying to get my buyers to close.  We have had major difficulties with HUD.  They are saying the condo complex where my buyers are trying to close, is not FHA approved.  This seems odd and no one can get a straight answer.  The lender says this would not be an issue if we closed in 2009, but because of the new FHA regulations that went into effect January 1, we now have problems.  Yesterday, HUD told us it could take weeks to straighten out the issues.

So, my buyers have elected to go with a conventional loan.  Hopefully, they can close in one week.  Luckily, they have excellent credit scores/reports and family able to help with the higher down payment.  It has been a lesson for everyone involved.

I also had a listing presentation earlier this week.  Once again, the weather played a big factor.  To say the least, it was quite an adventure trying to find their home.  I felt the presentation went very well, but they are still trying to decide if they want to put their home on the market and move up to a larger home.  They would qualify for the $6,500 tax credit, so I hope they are able to take advantage.   After all, how often does our government give us free money?

Other than that it was a quiet week.  Phone duty once again did not prove to be effective.  I’ll keep trying though. 

I am preparing to farm my neighborhood.  I know that there are a number of brokers living in the area and several have tried farming it, unsuccessfully.  I received a flyer from another agent farming here this past week.  i thought it was the perfect example of what not to do.  Am I biased?  I suppose so, but to me it was a waste of the agent’s resources.  I believe my approach to be quite different to any marketing materials I have received at my home.  So, only time will tell if it is effective.  Now, i really can’t tell you just what I’m doing, or else you might use it.  🙂

That’s it for this week.  Please let me know what you think of my journey here.  Any comments would be appreciated, especially suggestions for boosting my business.



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A one year journey through real estate, Week 4.

A one year journey through real estate, Week 4.

Here I am snowed in for the second day.   It’s still very icy and snow covered on many roads, so it’s not worth taking a chance driving.  So, I’m sitting here catching up on all of my social networking sites, including this blog which is two days late.

It has been a somewhat busy week for me.  I have been doing everything in my power to have a closing take place.  It was originally scheduled for four days ago, then rescheduled for Friday.  That didn’t happen and now it’s rescheduled again for Tuesday morning.  Since we are still waiting on HUD, I have my doubts as to whether it will happen then.  I have been fairly frustrated with the underwriter on this loan and even more so with HUD.  As many of you know, HUD is never in a hurry.  I do feel bad for my buyers, but luckily this was not a critical date for moving in.

Other than that, I was on phone duty at the office three times this past week.  unfortunately, I did not get a single lead.  I will however, continue taking as much phone duty as possible.  It is how I found my above mentioned buyers, so it does sometimes pay off.

I also spent an afternoon on-site at a subdivision.  Yet again, no traffic.  The day before, the on site agent had three potential buyers come through.  Perhaps I need to wear a chicken suit and wave traffic in.  Hmmm.

Earlier in the week, I spent some time in a training class for liability training.  It was enough to make one want to run as far away from real estate as possible, especially if new to the business.  I however will just tread carefully.  Very, very carefully.  It was good training and I did learn a great deal.

That was essentially my week.  I spent a good part of Friday preparing for the snow.  One can never have enough milk and bread when snow is predicted.  For once the predictions were correct.  We had about seven inches of snow, our second big snow of the season.  I do live in North Carolina don’t I?

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A one year journey through real estate. Week 2.

A one year journey through real estate. Week 2.

Well, here I am at the end of my first week of this blog.  It’s been a fairly busy week, though not as busy as I’d like.

Last weekend started off great.  I took a couple of first time buyers to see a second condo in the same complex where they had just mad an offer on another unit.  The sellers on the first place were not very willing to come down much from their asking price.  So the couple asked to see this other condo.  They were pleased with it and decided to make a final counter on the first place.  Later that day, the sellers agreed to their counter and we signed off on the contract.

As I mentioned, these were first time buyers and they need a lot of guidance through the process.  Hopefully, I have been beneficial in that guidance and have offered them good advice.  It really is gratifying to see their joy and excitement over becoming home owners.  That is truly one of the best things about my job.

The rest of the week was divided between working on my web site for better SEO, working at all of my social networking sites, phone duty at the office, which didn’t produce anything, and filling in at a builder neighborhood.  Unfortunately, no one showed up that day.

At the advice of a friend and colleague on the commercial side, I went out visiting several new construction neighborhoods.  I ran into an old friend, who has been working for several production builders over the years.  He was a bit frustrated because of slow sales, but confident he would have a busy spring.  He was however concerned that sales would die off after the tax credits end in June.  I’m not sure I disagree with him.  So far, I have seen an impact from the first time buyer $8,000.00 tax credit in the lower end of the market, but no activity from move up buyers from the $6,500.00 tax credit.  Hopefully, they are going to be out in droves this spring.

The end of the week has been pretty uneventful.  I will head into the office for phone duty this afternoon.  I can just hear the phones ringing off the hook now.  Hey, we have to be optimistic in this business, right?

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A one year journey through real estate. Week 1.

A one year journey through real estate.  Week 1.

This will be my first post of the next fifty-two weeks.  It will follow my journey through real estate in 2010.  I will post once every week, usually on Friday.

I will document everything that occurred during the previous week, from the mundane to the meteoric.  It will be geared toward those in general brokerage.  I have recently returned to general brokerage, after working for builders for the past seven years.  I sold for production builders and most recently for a custom builder.  I’ve sold starter homes in the $150K range through custom-built homes selling for over $700,000.

General brokerage is a different animal.  Things have changed greatly since I started out with Century 21, in 2001.  Contracts have changed, the rules have changed and the market has changed drastically since then.  The term “short sale” was unknown back then.

I am now with Coldwell Banker in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Compared to some of the local real estate agencies, it’s a fairly small office in terms of the number of agents.  That was one of the reasons I chose to affiliate with them.  Their sales for 2009 were better than many competitors.

I now feel settled in here.   I tend to do a great deal of internet marketing and prospecting.  Will that be a good approach?  Only time will tell.  I also fill in here and there for fellow CB agents who are on site at builder communities.  Traffic is fairly slow, but I attribute that partly to the economy and partly to the time of year.  Several of these communities are priced right for first time buyers.  I believe the first time buyer $8,000. tax credit will bring buyers in this first quarter of 2010.

I also take as much “phone duty” as possible.  Because we don’t have a huge number of agents in our office and there are some agents that just don’t like phone duty, I’m able to get a fair amount of it.  Last night, I wrote an offer for a young couple, buying their first home.  They became my clients through phone duty.  So, it just goes to show that it pays off.

I also attempted to keep up with all of the social networking sites and getting my website ranked higher in the search engines.  The technology seems to change by the minute.  Luckily, I am a bit of a tech geek and enjoy working on it.  However, it is easy to spend too much time on the computer.  I need to make sure I am getting out networking and selling my services.

Please follow my journey.  I would appreciate your comments and hopefully some suggestions for improving my business.

Thanks and see you soon.


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Stay Focused!

Stay focused!  It’s easy to say, but harder to do, especially this time of year. 

We are surrounded by social events, office parties, holiday planning, shopping, etc.  It’s so easy to lose focus on your goals now.  You may think, “Oh, no one’s thinking about buying or selling a home now.  It will get busy again after the first of the year”.  So, you spend a few more hours catching up on your Christmas shopping,  shooting the breeze in the break room,  joining friends for a holiday drink, or just going in to the office less.

Well, guess what.  Someone is buying a home this week.  Someone else is putting their home on the market.  Someone just found out they are being relocated to your town.  Interest rates are still historically low.  Now, more people than ever will be eligible for tax credits when they purchase a new home.  Inventory is high, so your buyers should be able to find their dream home.  Your Aunt Sally, who’s been thinking of downsizing, only has one other home for sale in her neighborhood.

So, what are you waiting for.  Let the other guy wait til next month to get cracking.  Stay focused!

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It’s The Perfect Storm

It’s The Perfect Storm, but a good storm, no, a great storm.  Now is probably the best time to purchase a new home in many years.

Interest rates are at historic lows.  This week, thirty year conventional mortgages are hovering around 4.71%  That is phenomenal!  How many of you remember rates at 18%?

The government’s tax credit has been extended to almost all buyers.  First time buyers still get the 8% tax credit and buyers that have been in their current home for at least five years get a 6.5% tax credit.  It’s a gift from Uncle Sam, no potential home buyer should pass up!

Inventory of existing home and new construction is still high.  Whatever you are looking for, it’s out there!

Prices of homes are down.  There are some amazing bargains to be found. 

So get on out. Call a Realtor.  Get into that dream home now while the perfect storm for home buyers is here!

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I’ve seen the trickle down effect.

I’ve seen the trickle down effect.  As a builder’s rep, I have seen the effect of the recession first hand.  Sales have been down considerably in the last year.  Many of our competitors have gone under.   Many of the local sub-contractors have closed shop.  There just isn’t enough construction work for all to survive.  It’s truly a shame.  Good, hard-working people, just trying to make a living, feed their families and put a roof over their heads have lost everything.

This past weekend, I worked with some new potential home buyers.  One worked for a local retail furniture sales firm.  It’s a very large company, that’s been in the area for many years.  Although the couple is looking at homes, they are very hesitant to make a move for two reasons.  First, they have a home to sell and are concerned that it may remain on the market for a very long time.  Also, furniture sales have plummeted because homes are not selling.   So, the poor economy and in particular, the housing slump has effected this couple and many like them.

Those that stay in home construction, struggle on and hope they can make it through to the bright side.  But, when will it come?  Many in home construction and real estate sales saw a glimmer of hope, with the $8,000 tax credit to first time home buyers.  It did help for some and bumped housing figures for several months.  But, it didn’t help enough or those selling upper end homes, especially above $300,000.

Now, there are two bills in congress that would extend the tax credit.  One would extend to first time buyers only and end next March.  The other would extend the credit to all buyers and extend it through June of 2010.  Anything is better than nothing, but both fall short of what is needed to truly bring housing back to a level that would put all the American people back to work, who were in this industry.  We need more and we need it now.  Make your voices heard and bring housing back.

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