Selling Key Lime Pie

This economic crisis has affected the entire nation, but as far as the housing market is concerned, Florida was the first hit and has been the hardest hit and yet, property is flying off the lists here in Port Saint Lucie.

Our brokerage currently has 147 listings out of a total of 1608 properties on the market, which includes vacant lots. In an industry that has 1200 brokerages in the Tri-County area (Saint Lucie, Indian River and Martin Counties), Preferred Realty Executives ranked #11, making them the #1 boutique brokerage in Saint Lucie County!

How do PRE agents manage to stay on top of this competitive market? If asked if they think outside the box, these dynamic agents will tell you that they are so far ahead, they no longer HAVE a box! Instead, they have learned to MAKE KEY LIME PIE!

You’ve all seen them ~ virtual tours that show a picture perfect home in a picture perfect yard, but what you can’t see is the community…. the surrounding area, the state of the streets and road verges, what the area has to offer and what proximity the property is to features such as stores, museums, freeways, entertainment and if applicable, beaches.

When selling property, the surrounding area is just as important to the buyer, as the interior of the home, which in many cases has been ‘froofed up’ by a stager or interior designer. Hello????? All that ‘froofie’ stuff is going away, and what you’re left with is an empty house and…. Yup! .. the surrounding area! That’s the key lime pie!

When asked what the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) was, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz replied: “The experience!” That’s right… what draws people to Starbucks is not the delicious brews or the tasty mid morning snacks, but the whole experience and THAT is why Starbucks can afford to charge more for it’s products!

Preferred Realty Executives agents don’t charge any more for their services, which include commercial, industrial and residential sales, Title, Mortgage, Property Management and Business Investment, and that is why all 35 agents are busy! They GET IT ~ they believe that if you give the customer what the customer wants, and in this case, it’s information, education and exemplary service, the customer will be happy!


Althea GarnerREALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):Education Vice Chair – 2009

Is your buyer on the Government’s ‘Blocked’ list?

There are many documents that form a contract in a property transaction and by the time the property is ready for recording, the pile measures about 4″ or 5″ in height!

One of those documents, recently added by the Federal government, is the AFFIDAVIT OF NONFOREIGN STATUS – a one page declaration of who the buyer/seller is and this document is sent to the lender for screening ~ to be measured up against the 480+ pages (3 columns per page) of persons who are not permitted to purchase property in the US!

According to the Federal Secrecy Act, certain individuals are barred from buying property in the US, because they are at risk of money-laundering, either for purposes of terrorism, drug trafficking or on-line fraud, and this forms part of the 911 Homeland Security process.
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/default.htm

“Pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act and requirements specified by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), seller will not engage in any transaction with an individual and/or entity that either a) appears on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, Specially Designated Terrorists, Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers, or b) that Seller suspects to be involved in suspicious transaction or a transaction in violation of federal law………..”

Although this document applies to all who enter into a property transaction, there are certain ‘red flags’ that would escalate such an investigation, one of which is the reluctance on the part of the buyer or seller to provide identity information or who provides incomplete or incorrect information.
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/pages_manual/OLM_106.htm

If you think about it, sellers who accept cash deals without an agent, are placing us all at risk, because this vital step would be by-passed, thereby possibly risking the lives of innocent Citizens. Do YOU know who bought the ‘For-Sale-By-Owner’ property on your street?

In addition, the Internet is fraught with offers from outside the US to buy property, usually offering to do so through their ‘attorney’, and these almost always turn out to be fraudulent deals!

One of the ways that these chancers get FSBO information is through advertising and as most FSBO listings are advertised on Craigslist, this is the most common point of contact.

It is only by being vigilant and using an agent who is aware of the many and frequent changes imposed by government, that YOU, the buyer or seller can safely close Escrow without putting others at risk! In the event of a ‘For-Sale-By-Owner’ property passing to a blocked person, the Federal government would hold both buyer and seller responsible, so while the owner might save money on the brokerage commission by not using a licensed agent, is jail time really worth it?

Don’t take a chance ~ ONLY do business with a qualified and licensed agent, one who is a member of the real estate Board (a REALTOR ®) and one who makes it their business to stay up to date with the law!


Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Murder ~ The New Plague On REALTORS(R)

More and more we read about real estate agents found murdered at vacant properties and with the rising number of foreclosed properties, agents have become easy targets for rapists and killers!

A California agent was found stabbed to death a couple of months ago … two weeks ago two agents were murdered in Ohio and we have to ask ourselves what we are doing to protect ourselves and our clients? How many agents carry mace or weapons?

One can argue that our GE keys can track our whereabouts, based on the last Supra I-box that was opened, however, most vacant foreclosed properties have combo boxes, which do not have radio frequency.

Ted Cernak, of Costa Mesa, California designed a GPS ‘fob’ device compact enough to attach to one’s key chain, which would silently summon law enforcement at the press of a button! This device can be used anywhere, at any time: in the parking lot late at night, on vacation in a foreign country or in the event of a fall, heart attack or car accident.

I would invite Mr Cernak to give readers more information on this life-preserving device, by posting his response at this blog.

Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Dear Mr/Ms Seller

Dear Mr/Ms Seller,

Your property has been on the market for 498 days without a price change. Tell me something …. Have you HEARD from your listing agent in that time? Do you know if they are still alive? Did you ever see a marketing plan? Did your agent ever do Open House and if so, how many were held and with what result (did you ever ask, assuming that they didn’t contact you afterwards)?

Has your listing agent advertised your property (you would know this by Googling the listing address – I have!)? How many prospective buyers has your agent brought to your listing and what was the buyers reason for not signing a purchase offer?

Mr/Ms Seller….. if your property hasn’t sold in 498 days, might I suggest that you either change your list price or your agent – one of them is not working for you!

Signed:
A-good-agent-who-can’t-believe-how-slack-agents-get-good-business-and-do-nothing-with-it!

[aka:]
Althea Garner

REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida)
Exit Beach Cities Realty (California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Top Gear, With the Top Down!

My philosophy has always been ‘If it isn’t working, turn the page, close the book and move on’ and this week was no different, as I moved to a new brokerage.

In the three months that I have been in Port Saint Lucie, I have been wooed by many brokerages, however, in the final analysis, I felt that the one I chose, just wasn’t a good fit for me. Let me explain:

As a digital REALTOR(R) I do a lot of my work on the computer. Like today’s buyers, I use the computer to source suitable properties for them to preview, I look up tax records, square footage and property history using the computer and I stay in touch with the property market (both in my area and nationally) using my computer.

In order to sell the listings entrusted to me by my clients, I advertise on all the major property web sites and develop virtual tours, electronic magazines, unique ‘single property’ web sites and videos in order to attract buyers.

I am glued to my Blackberry in order to source property information while on the run and to keep in touch with my sellers via phone, e-mail and text message.

Because I am licensed in both Florida and California, I employ digital signatures for document signing, so being on the cutting edge of technology is vitally important for me to serve my clients ~ both buyers and sellers! Working with a team of people who still do business ‘the old fashioned’ way, is like being the only person in the world, with a phone – there’s no-one on the other side to talk to and this doesn’t help my clients!

From the moment I walked into Preferred Realty Executives on Port Saint Lucie Blvd, I felt as though I had arrived ‘home’! I could ‘smell’ technology and it was like a breath of fresh air after being under water for too long – it was like coming back from the dead! It’s as simple as this: you can have the fastest computer in the world, but if your office connection is as S-L-O-W as molasses, you will work as slowly as the slowest person in the office! If there are 6 people in the office and only 2 phone lines, how many clients can you contact? This is not what today’s buyer or seller expects of their agent, right?

I have achieved more in my first two days at PRE, than I have achieved in the last two weeks and it feels GOOD to be moving at my old pace ~ I only have one speed and that is ‘top gear’. Anything less is like pushing a new Corvette on the freeway!

So now that I have the keys in the ignition, hop in and let’s take that ride together – top gear, with the top down!

Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Preferred Realty Executives
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

Property: Last week in the news:
http://wp.me/p8JO4-9L

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 2:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Last Week in the News

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index was unchanged in September at 13. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in August rose 10.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 598,000 units. The increase was largely due to a boost in the construction of multi-family homes. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, rose 1.8% to an annual rate of 569,000 units.

Existing home sales rose 7.6% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.13 million units from an upwardly revised 3.84 million units in July. The inventory of unsold homes on the market declined 0.6% to 3.98 million, an 11.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 12.5-month supply in July.

The index of leading economic indicators — designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months — rose 0.3% in August after a 0.1% increase in July.

Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 1.3% in August after increasing a revised 0.7% in July. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly increase of 2%.

New home sales were unchanged in August at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 288,000 units, matching July, which was revised up from 276,000. Economists had expected a pace of 290,000 units.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose by 12,000 to 465,000 for the week ending September 18. Continuing claims for the week ending September 11 fell by 48,000 to 4.49 million.

Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on the housing price index on September 28 and construction spending on October 1.

Althea Garner
REALTOR(R)
For all your property needs in Florida and California!

http://www.houseofhomesonline.com
http://isellpslhomes.com
http://www.355socean805.com

Will work for food!

There’s just nothing like standing on the center median of a busy intersection, holding a sign that says “WILL WORK FOR FOOD!”, but I did! It didn’t feel good, but this really IS what our economy has brought us to and there’s no escaping the fact that some folks can’t afford to feed their families.

Last week, a Huntington Beach, CA teen (18) went to school on his birthday and returned home to find that his parents had moved – without him! To be sure, it’s not just pets that are being abandoned in these troubled times.

Two months ago, 12 real estate agents at Exit Realty All Professional, Port Saint Lucie, got together to organize a food drive in conjunction with the Treasure Coast Food Bank – We called it ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’. Two weeks ago, there were only 5 of us left. At set up this morning, there were only four us involved and by 10am, three of us remained, not counting the management.

Having handed out over 2,000 flyers in the community, advertised on radio, social networks and in the newspaper, the ONLY people who turned up to this free bar-b-q event, were two vendors who arrived heavily laden with food for the needy. This is so sad! A dollar…. that’s all it would have cost to support needy neighbors!

I will say this: Standing on the corner of Port Saint Lucie Blvd and Airoso, twirling my hand scrawled “Will work for food” sign, brought some quizzical looks! Most of those who stopped and handed me a one dollar bill, did not make eye contact, but I was grateful, all the same. For those readers who live outside of Florida, let me tell you that it was H-O-T out there and extremely humid and I now have far greater respect for the homeless people on various corners who do this daily!

Yes, we have to walk a mile in their shoes, to understand just how hard it really is, so next time you see someone begging for food, offer a cheery smile and cough up a dollar – they might not be the dead-beat you thought they were and who knows ~ God forbid that next week, next month or next year we could be collecting food for you!

My very sincere thanks to Beckie and Robert Fordin of ABOVE & BEYOND CLEANING SERVICES (772) 237-2267 and Danielle and Howard Schweitzer of Kleen-Rite Restoration Inc.. (561) 997-2212, for their tremendous support and very generous donations!

Althea Garner
REALTOR(R)
(772) 626-1768
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Hutchinson Island, FL, FOR SALE, $399K Fully furnished 2 bed/3bath beachfront Penthouse w/360 degree views.UPGRADED! http://ping.fm/fOlJo

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 1:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Last Week In The News

New home sales rose 23.6% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000 units from a revised rate of 267,000 units in May. Economists had expected a pace of 310,000 units. On a year-over-year basis, sales of new homes have fallen 16.7%.


The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index — on a seasonally adjusted basis — rose 1.3% in May after a 0.9% increase in April. On a year-over-year basis, property values increased 4.6%, the largest gain since August 2006.


The consumer confidence index fell to 50.4 in July from an upwardly revised 54.3 in June. Economists had anticipated a reading of 51. The index was benchmarked at 100 in 1985, a year chosen because it was neither a peak nor a trough in consumer confidence.


The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending July 23 dropped 4.4%. Refinancing applications fell 5.9%. Purchase volume rose 2%.


Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — fell 1% in June after decreasing a revised 0.8% in May.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 11,000 to 457,000 for the week ending July 24. Continuing claims for the week ending July 17 rose by 81,000 to 4.57 million.


The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 2.4% in the second quarter of 2010. Economists had expected a slightly larger 2.5% increase. This follows a revised 3.7% pace of growth in the first quarter of 2010.


Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on construction spending on August 2, pending home sales on August 3 and consumer credit on August 6.


Althea Garner
REALTOR (R) MBA, MCI, e-Pro
Exit Beach Cities Realty
Exit Realty All Professional
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-905-9133

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009