Archive for Realtor

The $8000 Tax Credit Explained

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by realtordebbie

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For First timehome-buyers, this tax credit may mean the difference in afffording a home or not. It is an incentive to stimulate the economy by encouraging those who have not owned a home in the last three years, to make a home purchase before November 30th, 2009. It has indeeed worked in many areas and has stimulated sales of homes under $250,000 especially. Inventories are lower and many areas attribute increase in home sales to the first-time home buyer sales.
This credit will expire on November 30th, so if you are thinking of purchasing a home, you have a narrow window in which to get this done. Dont forget, there is a holiday near the end of November, which will shorten your days to close even more!
Call a Realtor today, and enjoy your home search! If you need a Realtor referral, call me at 850.212.0440, Debbie Kirkland, Realtor, National Referral Agent.

Tallahassee Homes – Marketing Plans That Work

Posted in For Buyers, For Sellers, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by realtordebbie
Tallahassee Homes - A marketing plan that works for sellers and buyers.

Whetehr you are a seller or a buyer, interview your Realtor. Ask the right questions and make sure you can commmunicate with your Realtor. Call Debbie Kirkland, Realtor and referral agent, for a referral to a professional Realtor in your area. 850-212-0440

Interviewing Realtors?  Can we all agree the ulitmate goal of selling a home is ….to get it SOLD!  Statistics show that the majority of buyers will see a home in the first three weeks, after that, “The thrill is gone,” so to speak. 

So, let’s look at a Realtor’s role in a transaction and what it takes to get a home exposed and to make a wise investment  in today’s market.

Multiple Listing Service

  • In our  MLS system, a listing is posted and remains “NEW” for four days! Wow,.. 4 days to show up on the “hotsheet.”  That’s the area most savvy agents look to when they wake up in the AM and before they head out the door. (but face it, busy agents hit the groud running..so let’s hope they don’t miss your “creampuff!”) The hotsheet posts new listings, price reductions and status changes of listings. It’s important to review this, especially if you are looking for properties that are “buyer specific.” By that I mean, you buyer is very specific (picky). It’s ok… it’s a big purchase, buyers should be specific! You want to make sure that your listing is ready to go with as many photos as allowable and a video is shortly following!
  • After those 4 days are up..then what? Again, it’s there, searchable, so make sure it can be found by use of pictures and video and that the description will entice buyers!

Websites

  • Most Realtors have websites, but content is king, so a website that reaches into the community, showcases area information, neighborhood information and features listings with visual and video appeal is what will reach today’s buyers. 87% of buyers begin their serach on the Internet, and most of those buy homes they have found on the Internet. Websites with photos and videos really bring in the visitors!
  • If you’re searching online or in a magazine and find a home with just one picture.. a fuzzy one at that, what conclusion will you draw? If you need to see details and can’t get to the listing, will your Realtor to preview for you? (sellers,..are you listening?)

Local Exposure

  • Is your Realtor a wallflower?  The real estate industry is about networking. I seriously don’t think I’ve met a successful Realtor yet who is bashful, reclusive or introverted. I’m not saying your Realtor should be the class clown, but certainly you want them to talk about your home, share your listings with those who may just have the perfect buyer for that property!
  • There are many ways for your Realtor to showcase your home to other Realtors. Local Board of Realtor marketing meetings. We have them once a month..what a great time to talk about your new listings! Realtor socials and community events, broker open houses, office and top-producer caravans. Yes, they work! People remember homes they see, and they fit the home to those “specific” buyers we mentioned earlier!
  • Don’t forget Social Media tools and networking. In today’s world, if you want to grow a business, any business, people must be able to find you, to see your product and get information with the click of a mouse. If a Realtor is leveraging social networks, people are getting their message, they are exposing products regularly to today’s buyers.
  • I think most would agree.. Realtors are the most social creatures on earth! Most balance home, work, family, community… and they all seem to compliment each other. Realtors are working most all the time, even when it looks like it’s completely unrelated events! (just ask the customer I met last night in line at the movies!) Pick one who likes to have fun and is involved! Remember, Realtors are people too, respect their time just as you would your family or co-workers!

Media

  • Choosing which media is effective today is a challenge. Measuring the effectiveness versus the cost of advertising is very important. A wise agent carefully times advertising  between print media, radio and tv, web exposure and niche database marketing. It’s a combination of all these mediums that are the most effective.
  • Realtors with specialty niche markets may be the best choice for a specfic type property, or in smaller areas it may be the realtor with the biggest tool box, the agent with the tools to attact every type buyer that would be a great fit for your home.

Communication

  • This probably should have been first on the list! What is your preferred method of contact. If you are one-on-one, then let your Realtor know this. If you are a busy student or business person, perhaps e-mail  is best for your updates. If you are on the go, mobile technology, texting and e-mail from the road may work best for you.
  • No matter what method you choose, regular communication, market updates, showing feedback and product information is critical to your success, both for buyers and sellers. Ask your Realtor for a communication plan!

There are many great Realtors from which to choose today. Take time to interview. If you are a buyer, avoid the luck of the draw by simply calling on signs. Do your homework, buying and selling a home deserves sound, educated and professional information and resources. Find a Realtor who will give you the best service as you enter your next real estate transaction.

Debbie Kirkland, Realtor  .  Armor Realty of  Tallahassee .  www.HomeSalesofTallahassee.com

What’s all the Buzz about Twitter?

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, Realtor, Tallahassee, Technology with tags , , , , , , , on July 12, 2009 by realtordebbie
FloridaSunSales, Debbie Kirkland, Realtor

FloridaSunSales, Debbie Kirkland, Realtor

So  you want to  know what Twitter is all about?  TV, radio, newscasters,.. even Oprah is on twitter now!  My kids ask me what the big deal is… imagine that.. My kids asking me about twitter! Suddenly I feel 24 again.  Anyway…Twitter.. no it’s not just 72 characters insignificant things that  people that talk about their walk to the car, or that they are leaving for work. or arrived at work or that are bored at work. It’s the messages that contain a personal message to NEW acquaintances that share something in common. Whether for a moment or longer engagements between those who converse in real time about a deeper subject matter, or even a common interest in music, there is always something to talk to someone about. These messages turn into conversations with other “Tweeple” who “tweet” with a purpose.. or sometimes just to share a laugh. 

When I first started Twitter, within days some of the Tallahassee folks I was following announced they were having a “tweet-up” – the modern day get-together.  I attended, and met 8 very unique, different, quintessential people who were much more versed than I in what was completely foreign to me.  They gave me the low-down on who some of their cool connections were and where to find great applications to make tweeting easier, etc. They also spoke in “twitter-ese,” and I made notes as fast as I could.. but, that really wasn’t necessary.  All I really had to do, was read, connect to the social media gurus,..examine the applications they talked about.. and before you could say “tweet,” I was up and tweeting with the pros. 

Life changed after that.. I am realizing a dream come true soon. I am going to be hosting a series of social media classes along with 4 young men who are fun, exciting and some of the most brilliant minds in the social media and marketing business. I met every one of these young entrepreneurs right on Twitter. I watched them for a long time.. read their material and examined what I thought were their business strengths, etc. We have even met a few times for talks.. about business and at a few more #Tallahassee Tweet-ups. Next month, We will be teaching Realtors and small business owners the power of social media and what it can do for their businesses.  Things seem to move a little slower here, but more and more folks are catching on to Twitter, to Facebook.. now if I can just persuade a few to devote time to blogging, a new concept to many.

Business-wise, I can tell you that twitter has been responsible for 5 real estate customer referrals and resulted in 3 sales so far. Several more are in the pipeline just waiting to close.  Social networking is as much a part of prospecting as the personal telephone calls I make during the week to past customers and my sphere of influence. Devotion of a little time has certainly been productive, educational and mostly, entertaining!

Happy Tweeting… follow me…..@FloridaSunSales!

Dont Just Watch... Tweet!

Dont Just Watch... Tweet!

Making Hay While The Sun is Shining!

Posted in Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by realtordebbie

Realtor's Road SignSo the Sun is shining.. the world is turning and banks are still lending money, and people are still spending. The difference today is that people are being much more discretionary and careful with spending. Not such a bad decision.

You know, I used to *whine* to my  kids about spending gone wild. Now that one is on her own, gainfully employed and supporting herself, all of a sudden the  meaning of “support” has sunk in. I feel like I’m turning into my mama and am waiting for the “I told you so!” to come out of my mouth! Restraint,… slight grin.

This week at the Tallahassee Board of Realtors marketing meeting, our Board attorney gave us the monthly legal update. Always packed with knowledge and useful information, always timely and purposeful. I walked away thinking of a few comments that were made and with three thought provoking  points that were discussed on my mind:

#1  “This is the worst real estate market I have seen since 1969”

Maybe,.. I was born in 1961, so it is hard for me to remember back that far! ; )  In any case.. my earliest memories are this..my father helped build our home. I mean, he swung a hammer, he cleared the property, he toiled every spare moment after his job to build a home for my family. He saved money for a down-payment of 25%. Yes, that is right, 25%… no FHA loans for 3.5% down, no 100% financing. Banks were different then?  The truth is, home buyers were different then!  My parents still reside in that house, they have loved and maintained it, and it is in much better condition than many 3 – 4 yr. old homes that I show on a regular basis, and certainly cleaner. Pride.

The following data comes from the closing statement, on file in the house. Their interest rate in 1967, 6.6%. The purchase loan was $27,500 – not including the $3500 land purchase. My dad’s Salary,..$15,000 Feeding and clothing a family of 5. Their debt to income ratio,..54%. Their closing costs, 3.6% of the Sales Price. Accomplishment.

#2 “Real estate is local”

Boy is it ever.. not just from state to state.. but city to city sometimes, street to street. Striving for appraisal standards, chunk the short sale and foreclosures out of the appraisals is something we are working on. The analogy to me is this:
If you go into a retail store, you see two areas.. the sale racks and the new season’s latest collection. Just because there is a shirt on sale do we think we can expect the value of the new collection to go down? It is after all a “declining” market,.. retailers should be happy to get any offer on that item, right? Haha! Try running that by the sales clerk or even the store manager! So, the point is,.. don’t expect the perfect condition, loved home and faithful homeowner to be thrilled with an offer anywhere close to a run down, dilapidated foreclosure. Common Sense. Get away from what appraisers are doing to our market.. and look at the home as your home. How much is that worth to you? Will your family be happy there in 5 years? Yes.. at least 5 years! (a good  Realtor’s advice)

#3 “Real estate has never experienced overnight losses of over 30% like the stock market!”

So I suppose we should shut up..quit complaining, give a quick pat on the back.. and learn to love our jobs and ourselves once again. We are not responsible for the market collapse.  It seems ironic that the Realtors I know are working 60 -100 hour work-weeks and keeping families together, restoring dignity to those who have lost hope, and stimulating an economic recovery. Realtors don’t punch clocks. Perhaps if they did, the public would understand the hours that go into our jobs. Realtors have it harder than most actually. We are self-employed 100% commission, all business expenses, taxes and continuing education come from that commission. We will recover, we will work to recover and we will support one another through this market, because… We Care.

Help us help you! Turn the TV off.. take in the big picture, think locally, save money, live within your means and most importantly,  Hire a Professional Realtor.

Will Customers Hire Me from an Open House?

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Realtors, Real Estate Advice, Realtor, Tallahassee with tags , , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by realtordebbie
 

200187506-001 Nearly every Sunday I sit open houses for my sellers here in Tallahassee, FL.  While the goals of open houses are to expose a home to potential buyers, often times it is an opportunity for buyers to meet hardworking, professional and educated Realtors. It’s the perfect time to engage perfect strangers.  It’s also a time to let your personality shine through. When I am working with newer agents I try to remind them, not only must you be the most educated “kid” in the industry, but the most animated, exuberant and genuine Realtor they will see during their open house tour day.  It’s often your one shot to shine above the rest of your competition.

 Buyers have more homes to look at today than ever before. They are also going to meet more Realtors than ever. How are you going to stand out? Do you need a wiener-mobile, (although I have asked my kids for years to submit me for “Pimp My Ride” – I wouldn’t refuse!), a musical business card, or top hat and tap shoes? It’s really not that hard. Being prepared, and being able to recognize 3 simple kinds of open house visitors are all you really need. (That and a good breakfast!)

 

 I pretty much think you can classify open house buyers in three categories:

 

 First, Buyer’s who are just looking, we know them as the “tire-kickers”, not to be insulting, but basically, they are just “kicking” around thoughts in their heads. TireKickerPerhaps they are looking for ideas from new construction on how to fix up their homes, perhaps they are weighing their options of up-sizing or down-sizing. I love these folks! They are the ones that often enter with closed minds. not intentionally of course, but hopefully leave with something of value. In this instance, I provide a simple service whether a summation of industry news, market conditions, or at the very least a free valuation of their home. I believe in “remembrances, some call them freebies. I want these folks to remember me for taking the time to provide them with a service. A list of your services is a necessity for these folks. A perfect Brochure: “My Full-Time Realtor Service Portfolio.”

 

 Secondly, I see telmer-bugsstandoffhe standoffs. They rush in, pull back at “hello,” and rush out.  These will be the hardest customers for someone to deal with.  They do not understand Realtors, they are misinformed and often have pre-conceived notions whether from a bad experience or a predatory salesperson from the past, or they simply know it all anyway. Best to let these folks pass through and continue to call on every sign, they do not value your services or your time. A perfect flyer for these customers on the fly: “Why Use a Realtor and on the back, “How Realtors Get Paid.”  

 

 Thirdly, there are the wide-eyed wonders. Generally, these folks are excited, easily enamored and also easily disappointed. They want a new home, but perhaps bungee-jumper1have not been introduced to Realtors properly. They don’t have a clue how to begin a transaction or how to work with a Realtor. These folks are also your Easter eggs. These brightly shining, colorful folks are the ones you want to collect in your basket and watch over. With proper guidance, they will hatch into to happy, grateful customers who will produce more happy, grateful customers. For these folks, it is all about subtlety and education.  Have the tools they need on hand. The perfect package for these folks: An appointment card (for your Buyer Orientation), Why use a Realtor and how a Realtor Get’s Paid, A Buyer’s guide to FLORIDA Real estate (what to know about your state’s insurance, how your State Association is working to protect homeowner’s real estate interests), a first time home-owners package, and give them as much information as possible on a frequent basis. Register them to your website, your blogs; put them in an automated listing notification system. Call them when they get these notifications, review the listing that was sent and give them feedback before your ever show it. Let them know you know about this property even if you have to call the other agent to discuss it ahead of time. These are the customers that will eagerly research on their own, weed out the listings that are not of interest, and take your cards to other Realtors when they visit open houses, because… you will have trained them to do so! After all, it is great for customers to hear from other agents that their Realtor is a great Realtor! (I hope you reciprocate this!)

 

So, organize your thoughts and materials prior to your open house. Put your game face on for the kickers, bring the shield for the darts flying around the standoffs, and be ready to dance with the wide-eyed wonders! Ask yourself, “Would I pick me?” If not, well, that’s another article.