Category Archives: Agents

Who wants to do an extra transaction a quarter?

Who wants to do an extra transaction a quarter?  Who wants to make an extra $15,000 each year?  And of course, who wants to make more by working less?

We hear it all the time but what does it actually mean to do one more transaction each quarter and, more to the point, how the heck do you do it?   In dollars and cents, if you look at our office’s average sales price of $550,000 at an average of a 3% commission, that would mean and extra $16,500 in gross commission income per quarter OR $66,000 per year!

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Presents Gino Blefari

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Presents Gino Blefari

How do you actually earn that extra $66,000 per  year in gross commission?  One of the things I really love about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty is the company’s commitment to help its agents learn to do just that… one more deal per quarter, four more deals per year.

Tomorrow we are bringing in Gino Blefari, the legend named 2012 Buffini and Company Mentor of the year, member of the Mike Ferry Leadership Hall of Fame, first and only recipient of the Tom Ferry Organization Leadership Award, and recipient of the 2014 RIS Media Home Ownership Award for “outstanding achievements among real estate’s most influential and charismatic leaders” to teach our agents how to do just that.

Let me know if you would like to attend too! Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty is putting on this event as part of its commitment to growing the best and most efficient agents in the business and there is no charge to our agents. On top of that, Gino is not here to sell anything… no coaching programs, no blue boxes, no webinars, nothing! How cool is that?

Another reason why I LOVE this company!

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Seller’s Advice: Your Checklist for An Impressive Showing

House for saleLooking for ways to get a house ready to go on the market? Even if a home sale is not in your future, follow these tips from Realty Times writer Blanche Evans and you will notice how much more warm and welcoming your home can be.

Once your home goes on the market, real estate agents may call to show your home anytime, day or evening. Keeping your home “showtime” ready can be challenging, especially if you have children and pets.

What you need to stay organized is a handy checklist so you can be ready to show at any time. When you get the call that buyers are on their way, give everyone in the household a basket and assign them each to a room to pick up clutter quickly. Set a timer and tell everyone to grab up any toys on the floor, clear tabletops and countertops of junk, and quickly Swiffer-sweep the floors. Check for hazards like dog chews on the floor.

Turn on all the lights, and get ready to skedaddle. You have to let buyers have privacy so they can assess your home honestly. Take the kids for an outing. Put pets in daycare, sleep cages or take them with you:

Keep your home show-ready with these nine tips:

Eliminate clutter: Not only is clutter unattractive, it’s time-consuming to sort through and expensive for you to move. If you have a lot of stuff, collections, and family mementoes, you would be better off renting a small storage unit for a few months.

Keep, donate, throw away: Go through your belongings and put them into one of these three baskets. You’ll receive more in tax benefits for your donations that pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. It’s faster, more efficient and you’ll help more people.

Remove temptations: Take valuable jewelry and collectibles to a safety deposit box, a safe, or store them in a secure location.

Remove breakables: Figurines, china, crystal and other breakables should be packed and put away in the garage or storage.

Be hospitable: You want your home to look like a home. Stage it to show the possibilities, perhaps set the table, or put a throw on the chair by the fireplace with a bookmarked book on the table.

Have a family plan of action: Sometimes showings aren’t convenient. You can always refuse a showing, but do you really want to? If you have a showing with little notice, get the family engaged. Everyone has a basket and picks up glasses, plates, newspapers, or anything left lying about.

Remove prescription medicines: Despite qualifying by the buyer’s agent, some buyers have other intentions than buying your home. It’s also a good idea to lock your personal papers such as checkbooks away. Do not leave mail out on your desk.

Get in the habit: Wash dishes immediately after meals. Clean off countertops. Make beds in the morning. Keep pet toys and beds washed and smelling fresh.

Clean out the garage and attic: Buyers want to see what kind of storage there is.

Prudential PenFed Realty pays start up costs for military and their spouses

Everyone who knows me knows I think Prudential PenFed Realty is the most awesome company out there. The programs they offer for their members are simply head and shoulders above what any one else has available. Now they have gone and surprised me again with their awesome “Real Heroes” program which helps retired veterans and their spouses, and active-duty men and women as they leave the military, begin a career in real estate. The program covers the cost of training, certification, licensing, and materials to become a Prudential PenFed Realty Sales Professional.

Lots of companies offer to pay for your real estate class but to the best of my knowledge we are the only one that actually pays for the class and your start-up costs.

What does this mean in dollars and cents? About $2500!

Yep, you read that correctly! Prudential PenFed Realty will cover the cost of real estate school, state licensing, first year’s dues for the association of REALTORS, fees to join the multiple listing service, errors and omissions insurance, and company fees – up to $2500!  This is an outstanding, unprecedented opportunity for anyone in or married to a current or past member of the US Armed Services.  The only real condition is that you commit to PenFed Realty for two years – that it!Real Heroes

Interested in learning more?  Call Maxine at 703-836-1464 or drop us an email!

When do I have to turn in the earnest money deposit?

QuestionAround the holiday season more than any other time of the year I find I am frequently asked when agents need to turn in their clients’ earnest money deposit checks (also referred to as escrow deposits). The answer is the same as it is any other day of the year – as soon as possible!

18 VAC 135-20-180, B., 1., a. of the Real Estate Board Regulations stated that for purchase transactions “Upon the ratification of a contract, earnest money deposits and down payments received by the principal broker or supervising broker or his associates must be placed in an escrow account by the end of the fifth business banking day following ratification, unless otherwise agreed to in writing, and shall remain in that account until the transaction has been consummated or terminated.”

Keep in mind, however, that just because the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB) states we have five days from ratification to deposit the check, an agent’s brokerage company still needs to process the transaction before depositing the check. Agents, do you brokers and your office support a favor this holiday season and turn in your EMD as soon as you get ratified!

Four Tips for Handling Objections in Real Estate

For new real estate agents and experienced agents alike Questionhandling the objections of clients, and prospective clients, is an art form that does not come naturally. Learning to successfully handle objections could have more impact on your success than any other skill. In the end you will find that it will help you secure more listings, earn higher commissions, put more deals under contract, close more contracts, and protect your final paycheck. Not only is the skill powerful, but it’s relatively simple to master.

Here are some basic tips from the Massimo Group to help you better understand and handle objections:

  1. Don’t take them personally. Some clients have objections that are truly legitimate, while other will throw them up just to see what they can gain in a negotiation. In either case, remember that it’s just business and stay cool. Not only will it make the negotiation easier, but it’ll also show what a calm negotiator you are and, hopefully, boost your perceived value.
  2. Understand them. For example, when a client says they don’t believe in exclusive listings, they could actually mean one of many things. They could be saying that they really aren’t serious about selling, in which case you might not want the assignment. In some cases, they just don’t understand what you can do for them if they retain you. Sometimes, they’ve had a bad experience in the past and you’ll need to prove you’re different from the previous agent that did a bad job for them. Once you know this, you can attack the objection the right way, instead of just making arguments blindly. In fact, to be sure you have it right, repeat the objection as you understand it back to them and get their confirmation before proceeding.
  3. Have evidence ready. Some clients will not just take your word for your capabilities. Instead of telling them what you’ll do – show them by bringing samples of marketing strategies you’ve performed for other clients. If they disagree with your pricing, bring comps to support it, and be ready to explain why the comps they have are wrong. As another example, if they think you aren’t experienced enough to represent them, bring your senior partner with you.
  4. Solve the problem. This might seem obvious, but I’ve seen many agents fail to do this. Once you’ve identified the objection, focus exclusively on it. For example, your track record isn’t the solution to a fee objection. Assuming you already described who you are and what you’ve done, the client is aware of your track record. They just don’t want to pay what you charge for it. You, instead, need to point to the specific value you add and why it’s worth what you’re charging. Remember you already had your client tell you exactly what their problem was, so you should be able to make a focused argument to solve their issue.

In real estate or any type of sales for that matter, objections are simply part of the process. Listening, understanding, and handling objections are your opportunity to shine and reinforce your expertise. If you follow these four simple steps, you will find that you will move past the objection and onto the transaction.

Fairfax County Home Sales Surpass $1 Billion in June

Prices IncreaseHold on to your boot straps, it looks like the real estate market in Northern Virginia/Washington, DC is on the rise again!  At least inside the beltway in Fairfax County, Arlington County, Alexandria City, and Falls Church.

The Sun Gazette reports that in Fairfax County alone, Home Sales Surpass $1 Billion Across County in June . Sales for the month totaled 1,838, an increase of 18.8 percent from the 1,547 transactions reported in June 2012.  The average sales price was also up 7 percent.

Is this a good thing or too much of a good thing?

You get your appraisal, all is good…Right?

Questions?  Call Maxine for answers! 703-836-1464

Questions? Call Maxine for answers! 703-836-1464

The home buying process is a complex puzzle. As each piece falls into place you move closer to settlement. Every once in a while we have a tendency to check off a box before it is no longer an issue. Appraisals are a perfect example. Most of us assume that if the value comes in at or above the sales price, then all is well but that is only step one in the appraisal review process. There are a number of checks and reviews that are placed on that appraisal through a lengthy process.

Generally speaking, an appraisal is ordered through a third party company and is completed by an individual appraiser.  The appraisal then goes through a review by a national firm before it is sent to the lender.   That is step one and where most agents will typically make the mistake of checking the box that the appraisal is complete.  It is important not to be hasty in removing the appraisal contingency until the next steps are complete.

Step two comes once the bank has the appraisal in house.  At that time it is reviewed by the processor or loan officer to pick up any obvious issues.  Next, and before the loan is submitted to underwriting, the loan is run through one of the Automated Underwriting Systems (AUS systems). This underwriting system then runs its own Automated Valuation Model (AVM) on the subject property. If the AVM identifies the sales price or estimated value is greater than 20% of its estimate, then a review appraisal is ordered at the lender’s expense.  As long as it is within the 20% range then we move forward to the next step.

Step three comes when the appraisal is sent to underwriting. Underwriters have the right to challenge a value or request additional items. If the underwriter does not agree that the appraiser supported the value with sufficient comparable sales, then a request is made for additional items to better support the value. If the underwriter feels the appraisal is flawed he/she may request that a review appraisal is conducted. If the review comes back clean then we get to move forward. If it comes back with suggestions, then the original appraiser is contacted and expected to make the requested changes.

Confused yet?  It gets more confusing if the appraiser disagrees with the underwriter or refuses to make the changes.  At that time a second appraisal is ordered!  If the second appraisal comes in lower than the first, then the lower of the two appraisals is used. Actually, the lower of the two appraisals is used no matter what – if they happen to come in for the exact same amount then I guess you could say both are used.

The long and the short of it is that you should always double check with your loan officer or originator to make sure underwriting has signed off on the appraisal before removing the appraisal contingency.  If the lender comes back and discounts the appraisal after the continency is removed the buyer client does not have a rememdy.  Even worse, they could still be on the hook and considered in default.