Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Isn't Technology Wonderful?

It's 4pm(EST) and I have received no less than 3 e-mails, on my "Blackberry", alerting me to the Fed's decision to purchase "X" amount of mortgage backed securities and the subsequent effect this announcement has had on interest rates. Isn't technology wonderful? In order to verify this information, I went to Inman News and sure enough; here's their release...Isn't technology wonderful! Then, I log on to activerain and see that Rob Rauf (see Rob's post here) has already posted this news...Isn't technology wonderful?

So, if technology is so wonderful, why aren't more real estate agents in Toms River, NJ, using it to get this exciting news out to all their buyers and buyer prospects? Well, let me give you my hypothesis:

They would rather be basting a turkey secure in their own rationalization that NO business is ever conducted over a Holiday Weekend, let alone this year. And yes, I know Thanksgiving is still two days away!

Now, please let me clarify; I have nothing against Holidays, especially Thanksgiving. I too am looking forward to loosening my belt a notch and fading in and out of a "stuffed" slumber during football...BUT NOT UNTIL THURSDAY!

Alas, have no fear; for if we are the statistics? And we are! I find comfort in the knowledge that 13% of us (real estate agents doing business in Toms River, NJ) will be busy taking advantage of; the Fed's decision, lower interest rates and technology. The same 13% will enjoy their turkey just a little more than their peers this Thursday, secure in the knowledge that while everyone else was in "Holiday Mode", they were e-mailing, texting and CALLING their buyers and buyer prospects with the GOOD NEWS!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Riddle Me This, Batman...

Within the last 2 weeks, I have been questioned by a couple of our better Listing Agents as to why our company does not list RENTALS. Apparently, there are a significant number of unsuccessful sellers in the Toms River, NJ, market that would like the "option" to rent their home if they cannot sell it at their price.

So, let's look at this conundrum from the three significant perspectives; first, the Agent's Perspective:
  • It's a tough market out here. We have 14 months of inventory here in Toms River and none of my listings are selling, so why can't I make a few bucks renting it for them?

Yes, it is a tough market and discretionary sellers who are still in denial over the market value of their home are only making it tougher! The potential return on investment for "spot rentals" is NOT worth the time, aggravation and liability involved. Are we NOT fooling ourselves into thinking we're busy, and thinking we're making money, instead of staying FOCUSED on our goals and the true value of our TIME?

Next, let's look at the "Bewildered One", the perspective of today's Accidental Landlord:

  • "I'm not giving my house away! Maybe I'll just rent it until the market changes and then sell it? I don't have to sell!

If you don't have to sell, do EVERYONE and this country a service and take your home off the market! These "sellers" are half the reason we have 14 months of inventory in Toms River, NJ. Just be aware; because of all the "tightened standards" in the mortgage industry, your pool of tenants consists of those who DON'T have good enough credit to get a mortgage OR; those who just lost their home to FORECLOSURE or took a SHORT SALE! Have you read NJ's TRUTH IN RENTING handbook?

And last but certainly not least; my humble opinion as the Broker/Owner:

  • It is a tough market out there and my agents are frustrated and discouraged. It is my RESPONSIBILITY to support, encourage and help them make money! Should I be looking at alternate sources of revenue?

Absolutely. But RENTALS are NOT a viable, sustainable source of revenue in our market! There are buyers who understand what a GREAT TIME it is to buy and sellers who have to sell. We must stay FOCUSED on helping today's First Time Buyer achieve the American Dream and we must be SELECTIVE and assist only those Sellers who need to sell! To compromise on this commitment would be IRRESPONSIBLE.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What's YOUR Top 3?

I received an interesting e-mail last week. It was part of a recruiting campaign by a local "100%-Residual Income" driven brand. Before I launch into my criticism of this e-mail, let me point out something positive about it; only my e- mail address showed in the "to" field!

The "guts" of the e-mail was a WORD attachment entitled, Top 20 Important Questions for Agents to Ask During a Real Esate Interview. No, that's not my typo. That is exactly how "Estate" was spelled on the attachment! Aside from the redundancy of Top 20 and Important, the title was effective enough for me to read on...their next mistake.

Here are the Top 3 of the Top 20:
  1. How many training classes do you offer per month?
  2. Who will train me?
  3. How much will the training cost?

I won't speak for any other real estate professional but those 3 questions wouldn't make my list at all, let alone the Top 3! Now, don't get me wrong; I'm a huge proponent of training and education but...obviously, this Broker does not understand and does not respect their target customer; today's "experienced sales associate". Today's ESA has most likely been trained because they are STILL HERE! I propose today's ESA would more likely ask these 3 questions:

  1. How will you help me make more money?
  2. What are you doing in this market to generate leads?
  3. Will leads from my activities be directed back to me?

I may be wrong but I don't think so...The main problem, as I see it, with this particular company's philosophy is that they haven't accepted WHO their REAL CUSTOMER is; today's real estate consumer (buyers & sellers)! And, as long as they stay focused on recruiting "experienced sales associates" that are concerned about how much training will cost, they will lose much more than just the "t" in "estate"!