Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Advertising Sells Homes...

Advertising in real estate has changed dramatically over the years and even more so through the "Great Recession".  Where agents and real estate firms typically filled the pages of newspapers and the voids of mailboxes, the tide changed when expense began to outweigh income.  However, a successful agent knows that staying relevant and continuing to advertise even through economic downturns is key to capturing market share and to successfully selling homes.

I have structured my advertising to bolster my sellers' home's exposure, create brand-awareness, to stay top of mind and to make sure that both buyers and sellers are receiving the best, the most current and the most accurate information as it pertains to the local real estate market.  The advertising drives consumers to the website which not only allows them to search ALL homes on the market, but it also features a wide-array of bonuses such as mapping, virtual tours, local blogs, links to facebook and twitter and means to communicate with me on the client's time frame.

As new buyers and sellers are entering the marketplace, broader advertising such as the billboard, helps me to meet clients not yet working with an agent or not yet sure of our market, it's inventory and it's opportunity.

More targeted advertising, such as the Triad Business Journal focuses on being a resource to established decision-makers in the community, who know that they need an agent who takes their profession seriously and can get the job done from the first timely introduction to the last signature on the settlement statement.

Marry these sources of advertising to other marketing resources such as the targeted mailers, the yard signs and our company's amazing marketing campaign and you then have a formula which sells homes on a regular basis, normally out-performing the marketplace on a whole.

That doesn't mean that a great agent only needs to understand marketing. That's a topic for another day. :) The ability to follow-through after the listing presentation is where top agents know the "rubber meets the road".  All of the advertising in the world is worthless if at the end of the day the home doesn't sell or the buyer doesn't find what they are looking for.

Where do you go to find agents and homes? I'd love to hear about your experiences with real estate advertising!


Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Make Existing Homes Better than NEW!!

If you have ever looked for a home, you have probably looked at existing construction.  This is not new construction that has been built as a spec or part of a community, but for our intent and purpose we'll define "existing construction" as homes who have had someone living in them.  Easy enough-right?

Well, we also know that with someone or several someone's living in a home come those scrapes, dings, scuffs, stains, dirt and grime that are a very real part of our day to day living.  We also know that someone else's choice of turquoise carpet or that orange "accent" wall just might not be the perfect match for our furniture or style.  You don't care for the black toilet, the brass hardware or the carpeted bathroom but you love the style, the lot, the location and everything else about it.  If only you had the extra money to make the improvements and updates and have money for a down payment!  You know the area is perfect for your family and the construction is quality--too bad right?  Nope!  There is a possible solution!  You may or may not have heard of renovation loans, sometimes referred to as 203k loans.  These nifty loan programs allow you have work quoted by your choice of licensed contractors and include the improvements in your loan with as little as 3.5% in a down payment!

This is a  great solution for older homes in established neighborhoods that just need some updating in master baths, kitchens, and d├ęcor OR maybe the home needs new windows, a roof or more systematic improvements because the cosmetics were completed recently.  Either way, this loan is an option but certainly needs the guidance and advice of a trusted team in order to coordinate getting the job done in a timely and professional manner. 

Should this sound like  a product that you might be interested in, contact me and I will put you in touch with our renovation loan specialist, LuAnn Davis at Premier Commercial Bank.  We will both guide you through the process including assistance in contractor selection and interior designer selection for larger projects.  We will then work with our team to expedite the process through closing to bring you the home that you want, where you want it, in the condition you love!

Never look at existing homes the same way again!  Listed below are a few of my listings that would be great candidates for the renovation program!  Also, below the photos you will find LuAnn's contact information as well as mine should you have questions or would just be interested in additional information. 

593 Doe Run Drive Kernersville NC 27284

6043 Marion Point Belews Creek NC 27009

436 Meredith Way Winston-Salem NC 27107

5075 Toucan Lane Kernersville NC 27284
LuAnn Davis-Premier Commercial Bank
Brooke Cashion, GRI, ABR, Realtor

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Float a Little Float...

Not down a river and not with a boat, it's 1000 pounds of salt, a capsule with a lid, pitch black and silent with the exception of your heartbeat and your breathing.  If this sounds like something science-fiction, well, it kind of is.  Studies using sensory-deprivation or floatation therapy began in the 1940's as a way to study the brain, essentially trying to see if the brain could be forced into a meditative state for a variety of reasons including therapeutic and medical reasons.  Today, floatation is used mainly for relaxation and meditation though it seems effective for certain medical conditions by alleviating anxiety and promoting healing.

Our first experience floating was encouraged by our herbalist and a living social coupon that was emailed to me. I purchased one for both Jake and myself.  We scheduled our sessions separately, as you typically don't float together.  Each session was booked for two hours to include prep time but our actual floating time was 60 minutes.  Upon arriving, you shower in a very spa-like setting that includes fresh towels, a spongy bath mat and sensory lights for each room so you don't worry about turning lights off and on. Once you enter the floating capsule you have control depending on your comfort level.  There is an intercom if you have questions, otherwise, you are alone to experience the process as you feel comfortable.  I was concerned about being claustrophobic, so I rolled up a towel and inserted it between the lid and the chamber giving me about 6 inches of air and space until I felt adjusted.  After what I believe to be 10 minutes I was comfortable enough to close the lid completely.

Because you are in 1000 pounds of Epsom salt, it is impossible not to float and it is effortless, unlike floating in the ocean or a pool.  With your arms in candlestick position, opening up your heart chakra, you immediately feel muscles relaxing and your body sinking into a comfortable and pressure-free state.  After a few more minutes you can't even tell where the water begins and the air and your body end.  The water is at your body temperature so there is no fear of getting too hot or cold. 

Each person's actual experience in the chamber is different and I don't want to artificially impose my experiences on you but I will say that I reached what I considered a low end meditative state that was still more intense than any dream or sleep that I had encountered.  I also feel that if I go back for future sessions that I will be more comfortable with the process and could reach a deeper state of meditation and relaxation.  I found this a great time to release thoughts, to pray, to be still and quiet.  All of which I rarely do. 

Upon exiting, there is one thing that Jake and I agreed was most overwhelming and that was the sensation of well-being.  Whether it's sitting in the salt an hour, absorbing magnesium, or just the passive relaxation without hands on you or music playing or light or other worldly distractions, it did seem to put things in perspective for a while.  Both us of see ourselves going back for future sessions.

I would definitely encourage anyone interested in trying this form of relaxation to give it a try. Locally, you can go to Kernersville Hot Yoga and use their chamber.  They sell individual floats and packages.  You might also want to check LivingSocial and Groupon for deals.  I leave you with the words from a sign in the chamber room that really touched me. As you consider whether or not this is for you, ask yourself, how often do you practice the following?

"Be Still and Know that I am GOD"

Spring Market is Starting to Bud...

You've talked about since October but it was too late, too cold, too many holiday plans, too much family in town, too much to do.  Now it's time.  Yes, it's that time of year when the seeds you planted in the late fall have started to bud.  You know that you need more (or less) house and that while rates are still reasonably low, you know that it's a good time to purchase.  Even better, it appears that prices have stabilized and buyers have become more rational as to pricing expectations.  You might not have to give your house away in order to move on.  Let's talk about what you can do to transform that bud into a flower to picked in the upcoming Spring Real Estate Market.

*Interview Agents- a) choose your agent based on productivity in the previous year b) make sure they have a marketing plan that complements your expectations c) make sure you agent is FULL-TIME d) talk about communication expectations--don't settle for an agent who puts a sign in the yard and never calls or emails again

*De-Clutter and De-Personalize- a) put up your holiday decorations b) cull closets and cabinets down to half c) go ahead and pack up collectibles and personal belongings that you don't use every day (remember, you're moving)

*Clean- a good deep clean which includes ceiling fans, baseboards, windows and air vents/returns. Don't forget to have carpets professionally cleaned if they are excessively dirty or stained.

*Landscaping- have a plan to spruce your landscaping and budget for it so that when you are one week from putting the home on the market you don't have a panic attack as to how many bails of pine needles you need or if the front stoop needs planters.  A good agent can assist with this.

*Sign paperwork- don't wait until the day that you want to be on the market to reach out to your agent regarding paperwork and getting the house on the market.  An experienced, successful agent knows that it may take a week or two to prepare the home for it's big market debut.  A professional agent will many times use a professional photographer, stager and others to make sure your home has it's best "footing" forward.  Our team employs several professionals that allow our listings to stand out from other homes on the market.

*Breathe- selling a home is not easy for sure, but worrying too much about things out of your or your agent's control can set you up for disaster.  Use the time you are out of your house for showings to enjoy something as a family that you might not have had time for before.  Grab a cup of coffee, visit the bookstore or unique, local shops.  Make the best of the situation.  You'll appreciate it, your agent will love you for it and the buyer will sense it as they look at your home and being negotiations with you.