I can already smell the turkey!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 Working as a solo agent is a decision TLW and I made a long time ago. We truly enjoy our freedom and personally I have a little bit of an issue with control. I am not good at delegating, so having agents and employees just does not work for me.. Since TLW retired from the active side of Real Estate about 5 years ago, I go it alone. The only downside to doing business this way is getting time off. I work out of my home and primarily with Sellers, so I don't really spend that much time away from my home. However, I do spend a lot of time on the phone. My Sellers are guaranteed that I will answer my phone 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm or I will call them back within one hour. I also, arrange all my own showings and handle all the contracts and paperwork. Usually, I have 20+ listings and try to call my Sellers daily. So needless to say I don't have much down time. I haven't had a vacation in seven years.

The way I work does have advantages though. I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want, when it comes to business. The money I save on overhead, by working from home, and not having a staff, is used towards marketing. So even though I am a one man office, I am able to spend thousands of dollars a month on marketing. This keeps the customers rolling in. I never have a problem getting business.

Anyway, today I made a decision. I have decided to take the rest of the week off and to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family. I will still have to arrange showings but judging from how slow the week has started, this won't be too difficult. So, I had to tuck all my Sellers in for the week. If I don't call them everyday, they worry about me. This is the E-mail I sent out this morning.

Good morning folks,

This is just a short note to let you know I am taking some much needed down time over the Thanksgiving Holiday, starting today, Tuesday the 21st. I will be back in full force on Monday the 27th. I will be spending time with my family. However, rest assured that if anyone calls wanting to see your property I will be taking care of it and will give you a call. I do not miss showings, EVER.

This week could go either way. I am expecting it to be very slow but you never know. There are a lot of folks in town over the weekend and some may be wanting to look at homes. So we'll see how it goes. My suggestion is to relax and enjoy this time with family and friends. Unfortunately, the Real Estate market is very unpredictable and this time of the year things are getting more difficult. As of this morning there are 1635 house on the market in Poinciana. This does not include For Sale by Owners or homes that may not be listed in the MLS. So in reality there are probably more like 1800. This figure is up 10% from 2 weeks ago. I currently have 20 homes on the market. On the positive side, all of your homes are priced properly and will sell in due course. As always, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that that happens, sooner than later.

So folks, have a great Thanksgiving. Hey, at least we have homes to sell! That in itself is something to be thankful for.

Make it a great day!

Your friend and Realtor,

Broker Bryant

So what do think? Think my letter will work and I'll get a little bit of a break from the phones? Do you think I will be able to let calls go to voice mail? I sure hope so.

I can already smell the turkey.

**The photo is of 2 of our 5 grandchildren. Caleb Bryant and his new sister Jordynne Raine.

I just want to get paid. What’s wrong with that?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I don't know if this is a trend or not but negotiations with Buyer's Agents seem to be getting really easy. Supposedly a lot of Realtors haven't had a closing in a while and are very anxious to get deals negotiated and pending. Kind of scary I guess if you are a Buyer but being a Seller's Broker, I like it. I was fortunate enough to place a couple of my listings pending this week. The last one I did, caught me a little off guard with the simplicity. The characters were a desperate Buyer's Agent, a willing and able Buyer, a Seller that needs to sell and of course me, the Seller's Broker.

This particular property had been on the market for about 11 months, listed with the Seller's son. The Sellers had moved back up north earlier this year and had hired their son to sell the house. The son works for one of my local competitors. Well, after 11 months of no activity and no communication with their Realtor(son), the listing expired and they called me, off of my expired letter. Originally, the property, was listed at $225,000 and had eventually been reduced to $199,000. Unfortunately, the house is only worth $189,000. Anyway, I listed the property about 60 days ago and Range Priced it from $179,000 to $199,000 trying to sell as close to $189,000 as possible.

This past Saturday I received an offer, coming in from another Realtor, for $175,000. Now this Realtor is an independent Broker, like myself, and owns a small Real Estate company. We've done deals in the past, so I struck up a conversation and we chit chatted about business. I guess things have been a little slow in his neck of the woods (my market) and he hasn't had a closing for awhile. I told him I would present the offer to the Sellers and get back with him the following day. Now, being the good little Realtor that I am, I prepared a Seller's net sheet, attached it to the purchase offer and E-mailed it to the Sellers. I let them know that it was a low offer but they should at least counter offer it, since the Buyers were pre-approved and had a little bit of a down payment. My Sellers were really tempted to accept it but decided to sleep on it. The next day they called me and wanted to counter at $180,000 and asked me what I thought, and did I think the Buyer would balk. The Sellers really need to sell this house. Well, since they asked, I answered, I told them I thought $180,000 was too low and how about we counter at $185,000, if the Buyers balk, we can always go back again.

The Sellers were a little nervous about this but agreed it would be nice to get another $10,000 out of the Buyers, if possible. So we countered at $185,000. That night the Buyer's Agent called me and asked if the Sellers would come done any further. I could tell he was really nervous about getting this deal together so I said "Well, I'm not sure, did your Buyers want to submit another counter offer?" This is the part I like, he said, "Uh, no, no lets just go ahead and do it at $185,000, I want to get it pending" Now folks, I could be wrong, but I got the impression that maybe his Buyers were wanting him to present another counter, verbally, to see what the Sellers would say. Well, I can tell you what the Sellers would have said, they would have said "YES". In fact they would have said yes if the Buyer stayed pat at $175,000. But, because the Realtor was desperate for a deal, we did the deal at $185,000. Needless to say, my Sellers are thrilled that their house finally sold and even more thrilled that they took my advice and ended up with $185,000.

But what about the Buyers? Well, they did get a really nice house for the money, and in reality, they would not have found a better one for that price. So hopefully, they will be happy as well, even if their desperate Realtor may have cost them $10,000.

There are two morals to the story. Please, never, ever put your need for a commission before you customers/client's needs. And if you are a consumer, it would be wise to ask your Realtor when was the last time they had a closing.

So that's it, my little story for today. Is it real or is it make believe? What say you?

A dollar short and many days late!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Last week, I was fortunate enough to get multiple offers, on one of my "short sale" listings. I received three offers on the same day. That's always a real good thing. I discussed the negotiating options with the Seller and we decided to ask for "highest and best" and gave the Buyers 78 hours to resubmit their offers. Well, the strategy worked pretty well, and one of the offers was increased by $11,000, which was just high enough for the Seller to be able to accept it. Being that the property is going to require a "short sale" it was important to get as high an offer as possible and as close to market value as we could. One of the keys in getting the bank to accept a "short sale" is to get them a realistic offer based on current market conditions. Low ball offers will not work.

Anyway, the three most recent sales were at $189,000, $193,000 and $200,000 in that order, from most recent sale. These sales show a distinct pattern of decreasing property values. The price, we have negotiated, is $200,000 with the Seller contributing $7,000 towards the Buyer's closing costs, this is effectively a selling price of $193,00 and is right in line with the recent comps. So hopefully, we will be able to get the Lender to accept the deal.

Here are the specifics relating to this transaction:

  • The house was purchased as new construction in early 2006 for $225,000.
  • It was purchased with $5,000 down including closing costs and the existing mortgages total $220,000.
  • The first mortgage is with Countrywide and had a starting balance of $157,000.
  • The second mortgage is with American Home Mortgage and had a starting balance $63,000.
  • When he bought the house is was probably only worth $205,000 to $210,000. A little fishy appraisal action took place here, in my opinion. 
  • After all costs and paying off Countrywide there will only be about $18,000 left for the 2nd mortgage.
  • There are currently 1,600 active listings and only 125 pendings in this neighborhood and the property has been on the market for 8 months. 3 with me.

So, basically, we are asking the 2nd Lender to take a $45,000 loss on a property they probably should not have financed to begin with.

What do you think? Any hope showing? Or, are we a dollar short and many days late?

The Chicken or the Egg?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

The Chicken or the Egg?

Ah….the age old question. Who really pays the commission? The Buyer (chicken) or the Seller (egg)? Well, let me see if my limited intelligence can come up with a suitable answer, at least from my point of view. OK here goes…..a Real Estate transaction is an equal exchange of value. The Buyer brings money the Seller brings property. Out of this equal exchange the commission is paid. In my opinion, the commission is paid by the Seller from the value of the property from the money brought or borrowed by the Buyer.. The value of the property is based on current market conditions and an appraised value that is determined by using the selling price of recent comparable properties.

We can assume then, that the recent sales included an amount that was used to pay the commission in those particular transactions. Therefore, the commission is in the value of the property. Since the Seller, is the one bringing the property to the table, it only makes sense that he also bringing the commission.

So what we have so far is: Property value + commission paid = recent sales price traded for money borrowed @ 6.5% over 30 years + funds contributed by buyer rebate company – 6% non-negotiable commission (as per DOJ) + 1% discount on listing side commission (due to quick sale) – $395 per transaction fee paid to absentee Broker.

Now that I have cleared up, that 100 year old dispute, I think I’m ready for an omelet. Now if I can just find that damn chicken.

YeeHa! Broker Bryant rides the bomb. Giddyup!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 Yesterday, I wrote a post about a closing scenario and a request for solutions. As promised, here's what happened. By the way, if you haven't read my post from yesterday this one will make no sense. I'll wait…….OK, so here we go. First, my biggest problem was that it was late on Friday and I couldn't reach the other agent or the LO. They had both disappeared. Redoing the contract or the closing docs was not an option (remember the dual closing). My Sellers were in another State, sitting at a closing table, waiting on funds from this closing. My Sellers, so far, were not aware of any issue and were waiting to hear from me, that the deal was done.

The Buyer, the agent and the LO had been fighting for days. Who was at fault? Don't know. Don't care. All I knew is, it was ugly and none of them were speaking to the other ones anymore. I won't get in to how unprofessional that was.

Anyway, as Lenn Harley, stated, it was a "no brainer", I paid. My only goal was to get the house closed for my Sellers. I ended up contributing $1,800 of my commission and the title co. reduced the costs by $400. The deal closed.

The Buyer said he would give me a note for the money, as Bill Leider had suggested, but I declined, for two reasons. One, I was not sure if that would be legal or not (probably not) since it basically would be a loan outside of closing. And secondly, chances of me getting paid back were probably slim anyway, so why put myself through the stress. Chip in and be done.

The title co. contacted the lender direct and they said they would allow the Seller to pay the property insurance in the amount of $1,800. The insurance was switched to Seller's side of the HUD and I reduced my commission accordingly. The Seller was informed of all of this when I called them and faxed over a new HUD for signatures. They were very pleased that I solved the problem without getting them involved in it. This entire process took about 15 minutes, from the time I was made aware of the problem, until it was solved.

The Buyer got his house and my Sellers got their money and their new house. Instead of making $7,500, I made $5,700. I never heard back from the other agent or LO. They got paid all of their commissions and fees.

Why would I do this? Why not make a stink? Well, my Sellers had hired me to get the job done. They were counting on me. We had also become friends and there was no way I was going to leave them hanging with their other closing. I needed to get this deal closed as painlessly and as quickly as possible and I did. I didn't "lose" anything. I made $5,800.

Three weeks later, I got a call from my Seller's old neighbor wanting to list his home. He was given my number by my Sellers. I listed his house and sold it in a couple of weeks for full commission. It was a very easy transaction and I made $6,800 from it. Moral of the story is: Don't get caught up on dollars, solve the problem and move forward. It WILL come back to you. Was that fun?

Almost forgot, the Buyer called me last month to list the house. He closed on it in June and is already in foreclosure. Unfortunately, since values have dropped, he owes way more than the house is worth so I turned him down. Made me kind of sad actually. He was raped by the LO and the REALTOR®. No one looked out for the Buyer. It was all about the dollars. Please don't conduct your business that way. Broker Bryant says, "Real Estate is about people(relationships) not money." What say you?

***FOR THOSE TOO YOUNG TO KNOW. THE PICTURE IS OF DR. STRANGELOVE RIDING "THE BOMB"

Oink, Oink! Welcome to my sty!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Hello my fellow Rainers. As you may know we have quite a few consumers who visit ActiveRain on a regular basis. Yesterday, I received the following Email from one of our regular visitors.

  • Hi Broker Bryant, I am getting closer to listing my home for sale. One of the things I do, when I can, is check out local open houses to see what my competition or sold comps will be. I came home so disgusted today I looked on AR to see if this subject was addressed anywhere. I did not find anything and I hope you will be willing to post about it. Of the several opens I viewed today, two were in DISGUSTING condition. I know you would not take a listing if the seller was not willing to put effort into putting his home in show condition. But, what about other realtors? Apparently two listing agents were desperate enough for a listing that they signed sellers who did not even clean bathrooms before open house. Dirty dishes in sink, filthy walls, piles of clothes and blankets stuffed in a crib. A Christmas tree still in living room! Both of these homes smelled bad. Sadly, one of these will be considered a comp to mine when I list. This will hurt my selling price. It angers me. No appraiser evaluating my home is going to know that these two are priced so low because they are dirty and in poor repair as opposed to the declining market. What are these agents thinking? Can you help educate your Rain buddies please? Thank you.

Now folks, what do you think about this? How would you like to be one of these two REALTORS? Would it be good for your business to have the consumer feel like this? Can you get any clearer reason, than this e-mail, to make sure your listings are show ready prior to placing them on the market?

Did you catch the part where she looked at these homes yesterday and one of them still has a Christmas tree up? How about dirty dishes, filthy walls, dirty bathrooms and laundry everywhere?

The effect this has, is that IF these homes sell, the Buyers are going to discount their offers based on the crud. IF the Sellers are able to negotiate a deal, the lower selling prices WILL affect the property values of similar homes, whether they are in pristine condition or not. So, folks get your listings in show condition prior to placing them on the market. If not:

  • It will be difficult to sell.
  • It will damage your reputation.
  • It will affect property values in your area.
  • You are not doing your job as a professional REALTOR®. And in my opinion you have no business taking the listing

"But Broker Bryant, my Sellers don't have the time or the money to get their house ready." Well, I know this is the case sometimes. Maybe they work two jobs and have kids running around trashing the house all day. They may be absentee or elderly Sellers. Here's what I do:

  • If they are not able to clean for whatever reason, I will gladly pay my cleaning crew $250.00 to go through the house top to bottom including cleaning the carpets.
  • Sit the children down at time of listing and give them jobs to do. In most cases I have found that the children are excited about moving and are more than willing to participate. Make a game out of it. Give them a reward of movie tickets or something if they keep their end of the bargain. The parents will love you for this.

The bottom line is get proactive. Wouldn't it make more sense to spend a few bucks, out of your pocket, to get the house ready to be shown than wasting money advertising a dirty house? Price it right, clean it up and get it sold. I can assure you this will do wonders for your reputation and your business.

So what do you think? Want to step it up a notch? What are some things that you do?

Photo compliments of http://www.geekphilosopher.com/.

Meet the new owner of GOOGLE, Broker Bryant!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 OK, today, I'm going to write about a subject I am an expert on. Yes, that's right, AN EXPERT! OK, I'm lying. I'm going to write about something I truly know next to nothing about, SEO(search engine optimization). Is that right? Oh well, I think it is. Anyway, if you really want to learn about SEO read Karen George's Blog or Mary McKnight's RSSpieces.

BUT, I own Google! Yep, that's right, I OWN Google. Maybe, I don't really own Google but I do own the first 6 or 7 pages for my name and also for Broker Bryant. "Broker Bryant, what's' the big deal? Who's going to search by your name?" Well, that's a good question. It turns out quite a few people do. They see my ads or they get my name from a friend and they Google me. I also tell folks when they call or Email me to Google me. Why not? It's a great advertisement. Don't believe me? Try it:

                                                     Bryant Tutas       Broker Bryant

Would you hire me as your REALTOR®? I think so. Usually the call goes something like this. "Hi Bryant this is Mrs. Sell. M. Quick, can you come over and put our home on the market?" "Well of course I can. How did you get my name?" She says, "We saw one of your ads and Googled you. Can you come over today and put our home on the market?" "OK" CHA…CHING!!!

So, I have the name thing tied up. Like I said, I OWN Google! All of these results came from Blogging on ActiveRain and entering Blog Carnivals. I have spent 9 months getting my name out there and it worked. By the way this has NOTHING to do with writing featured posts. It has everything to do with being consistent and writing about what I know, Real Estate. I have spent a lot of time working on my web presence. Not by linking or key words or anything really. Just good plain old fashioned hard work. Well written, consistent content. By consistent I mean, consistent topic(real estate) and consistent postings(4 to 5 week).

Now let's look at some results that really matter. Generic searches(is that a SEO term?). What a minute, maybe it's called "organic searches". I guess it doesn't really matter. Anyway, lets look at these "suckas".

  • Poinciana Fl #9 Very generic search. Not bad positioning. Only REALTOR® on page 1.
  • List a house in Poinciana #s 1-4 Now we're getting somewhere! Hey look at #1. It's the last Google post I did. So I guess this post will help too.

OK, how about the loooooooong tail?

  • Range Pricing #4 Does that make me an expert on Range Pricing? Hmm….

OK, so here goes, Broker Bryant's excellent SEO advice. Blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog. So, how did I do? Do I really own Google?

Broker Bryant's Real Estate Ramblings. All original, all the time! All content copyrighted © 2007

"Door openers"wanted. Supra key needed!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Yesterday, I received a call from a REALTOR® ( I think) who wanted to know if I wanted a referral. I never get too excited about referrals but thought I would at least ask the details. Turns out it was a Buyer referral….well, almost. They basically wanted to offer me a 25% referral fee to meet a Buyer at a property (not my listing) and let him in with my electronic key. What a deal!!! 25% for opening a door! Anyway, I said no thanks and then decided to do a little research on this particular company.

They actually have a pretty nice web site. It seems they are an ABM (alternative business model) that offers a menu of different services, ranging from listing for a fee, buyer rebates to full service. I guess the referral they offered me was part of the Buyer rebate program. Since they offer the Buyer a 50% rebate and the door opener 25% they can't be expected to actually show properties for the remaining 25% commission.

I wonder what they do for their 25%? Probably just paperwork. So I started thinking that I must be handling my business completely wrong. What if I could just sit behind the computer all day and handle Buyer leads this way? What if all I ever had to do was fill out a contract and Email it over to the listing Broker? It actually sounds kind of appealing. I would never have to leave my house. I could work in my underwear everyday. In my market, Poinciana FL, where the average sale is about $200,000, I would make approximately $1,500 for every deal I did. If I could do a few deals a week I could make a pretty good income. Sounds good doesn't it?

But what about the Buyer? I wonder how much that $3,000 (or so) rebate really ends up costing him? Can a REALTOR® really negotiate the best deal for his Buyer on a property he has never seen? I know when I first got my license, 13 years ago, one of the cardinal rules of real estate was "Never, ever sell a property you have not seen." How could you possibly know the true value of a property with out at least looking at it? Maybe, they figure the appraisal will protect them. Well, we know that's not true. In my market, right now, there could be a huge difference between appraised value and market value. A 90 day old comparable sale has nothing to do with today's market value. I guess they just don't care if the Buyer over pays or not. It's not about the Buyer, it's about their 25% cut and doing lots of business.

I think I'm going to get on this band wagon. I'm really tired of actually working for a living. So, I've been trying to come up with a name for my new company. I wouldn't want to put my name on it, so my current company, Tutas Towne Realty, Inc won't work. How about:

  • Me Lazy Agent, Inc
  • Paper Work for a Fee, LLC
  • Buy Today, Pay Later, Inc
  • You Likey, We Typey, Inc.

Well, those don't work for me. So I guess I'll just keep WORKING, for you. What say you?

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

Broker Bryant’s Bodacious Leads!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Ok Folks, you’re going to like this one. Brian Brady wrote a post earlier about getting ripped off by a lead generator. I left a comment on his post and at TLW’s request it inspired this little video today. So folks, cut your speakers on and enjoy!!!

 

Please send you cash or money order to:

Broker Bryant’s Marlin Fund

123 SunRay Marina

Costa Rica 336666

1-800-555-9999

***Shipping and handling fee of $29.95 may apply.

 

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

 

Are you "hulking" up your business plan?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

 

Hi folks. As most of you know, my market Poinciana Fl is in the middle of a major decline in property values and REALTORS® working this market are really struggling to make ends meet. It's brutal and getting worse. But what can you do? I've been selling real estate in Poinciana for 13 years and have no intention of changing my market area. Homeowners in Poinciana are going through a difficult time and they need me. It's my market and I will ride it out and help as many people as I can until it changes around. Might take a couple of years but "it is what it is".

One thing is for sure, the strong will survive and I am as strong as they get. Not bragging….just fact. This difficult market will make me better at what I do. It will force me to reevaluate the way I do things and help me to improve on my techniques and marketing. To me that's a very good thing. There's nothing worse, when you own a business, than to get stagnant and too comfortable. Change is good. Challenges are even better.

So, over the last few months I have been redirecting my business plan. Here are some of the things I have been doing.

  • Increased my advertising dollars.
  • Started directing more of my marketing towards generating Buyers.
  • Hired a Buyer's agent to handle these Buyers for me.
  • I'm working diligently to increase listing inventory.
  • Spending time, daily, educating my Sellers on current market conditions and getting price reductions.
  • Increased exposure for my listings on Craigslist, Postlets, Trulia, etc….
  • Aligned myself with a property management company that will pay me referral fees for management contracts.
  • I have a couple of new websites in the works including a point2agent site to help with getting Buyers.
  • I'm brokering a new company, starting in September, for family members who are in the Timeshare business(Disney Vacation Club). Stay tuned for more info on this.
  • Working on getting my data base of Investors excited, about getting back into the game, now that prices are coming down.
  • Reorganizing our own rental properties to free up equity.

All of these things are designed to increase my market share and provide additional income streams. Will these things work? Well, in the worse market EVER in Poinciana I did over 1.5 million worth of business in July between new listings, closings and pending sales. Folks, when things get difficult it's time to take action. This is the perfect time to gain market share. When the market does change, I'll own it and be ready for the next boom. Will you?

***Picture compliments of Robert Schwabe. Thanks Robert! I LOVE it!

All content copyright © 2007 – Broker Bryant Real Estate Ramblings

About us

I am a licensed real estate Broker in the state of Florida. My opinions on real estate have been formed from my experiences and 15 years of working in the business. My opinions are in line with Florida Real Estate laws and the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics. Your State’s laws may differ. So do your own homework before implementing any of my business practices into your business.