Archive for July, 2009

#followfriday – What is it?

July 31, 2009

twitter followfriday bird - metrobrokersblogIn a recent social networking presentation, I promised I would post a detailed explanation of #followfriday on our blog this Friday. Here goes…

#FollowFriday is a great way to discover new people to follow on Twitter based on the suggestions of people you follow and trust. People tweet their recommendations for people they believe others should follow. It occurs every Friday (although it’s creeping into the late evening hours on Thursday and early morning hours on Saturday because it crosses all time zones internationally).

There is no limit to the number of people to recommend or even who to recommend. However, it’s been proposed that you recommend two to three people and include a short explanation of why others should follow them.


Hera’s What You Need to Know About H.E.R.A.

July 29, 2009

tornadoConsider this: “Those who remain flexible during times of change will not be bent out of shape!” And here comes H.E.R.A., another strong wind of change to our Industry.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) regulations go into effect July 30. This new Federal Law designed to protect the consumer, could cause closing delays for both you (the Realtor) and me (the mortgage broker).
Like most laws, HERA is intended to protect, but the consequences could cause unforeseen challenges….especially as the industry adjusts to the new requirements and changes. The purpose of the new HERA regulation is to prevent deceptive lending practices in home mortgages. HERA requires significant change and could cause delays in closing. Communication and flexibility will be even more critical on transactions after July 30. 


Bad MLS Photos – Why can’t this listing sell?

July 27, 2009

bad mls photo - ElvisA few weeks ago, I wrote an entry about Bad MLS Photos and had several requests to continue featuring them on the blog. Well, that won’t be a problem. There seems to be plenty available that may give you a laugh and make you wonder how someone could possibly think the photo represents the house in the best possible light.

Several readers submitted photos they found and I’ve given them proper credit submissions. Remember, if you find a bad MLS photo, let me know and it may be featured on this blog in the future. Email your name and a link to If you know the city where the listing is located and/or the MLS number, please include it.

And don’t forget to leave your comments. Enjoy!


Love The One You’re With

July 24, 2009

heartThe title and lyrics from an old Crosby Stills Nash And Young song (Love the One You’re With) depicts the mood at a recent agent recognition and appreciation dinner hosted by Metro Brokers/GMAC Real Estate for agents that had successfully closed eight transactions early in their real estate careers at our company. I was lucky enough to be in attendance and was privileged to hear their comments as Kevin invited them to comment on why they had chosen Metro Brokers to start their career in real estate.

Their impromptu responses were endorsements of the importance they place on broker provided services. Of course the residual benefit to the broker in rendering these services is agent loyalty.


The New Browser Wars: Which is Right for You?

July 22, 2009

browser warsWe spend more computer time in our internet browser than anywhere else. We use it for e-mail, banking, chatting, searching, directions, shopping, and news. It’s such a critical component of computing that Microsoft and Apple both include browsers with their operating systems. Most people just use the browser included with their computer, and never bother to look at the alternatives.

Consider a Change

Your browser choice can change your internet experience drastically; it’s your personal window to the internet. If you don’t explore your options, you’re allowing Microsoft or Apple to control the view from that window. You might be surprised how much more you enjoy browsing the internet from a different perspective.

I’ve listed the most popular browsers available today, with their relative strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a good foundation of knowledge to help you choose your next browser.


Death and Taxes (and Mortgages)

July 20, 2009

tax collectorThere’s an old joke that there are only two things in life a person has to do. Everyone has to pay taxes and we all have to die eventually. Well, today we’re finding that more and more homebuyers DO NOT file their federal tax returns with the IRS, which often means they’ve not paid their taxes.

Some of you may not know this, but a normal part of the verification process of a mortgage loan is to check the filed tax returns of all borrowers. Due to increased tightening of underwriting guidelines, most mortgage investors order a copy of the filed tax returns for each borrower from the IRS. This is done using the 4506 Form which borrowers are required to sign at the time of loan application.


Should You Invest in Commercial Real Estate?

July 17, 2009

thinking manYou’ve probably heard that millionaires are often made in difficult economic times and it’s certainly true that commercial real estate can help you build wealth. What you need is some basic information that will provide the necessary analytical approach to purchasing property. Here are some things you’ll need to know.


Negotiating Tips For Buyers

July 15, 2009

negotiation tacticsLet’s face it, a home is probably the biggest purchase that most people will ever make in their lifetime. And everyone wants to get the best deal possible. So what’s your strategy?

Here are a few tips that have helped me negotiate many a deal. What are some of your tips? Leave a comment below to let me know what’s worked for you.


Mac or PC for Real Estate Agents?

July 13, 2009

We all love the Mac vs. PC commercials. My personal favorite being the one above; the irony of Apple targeting Microsoft’s advertising budget gets me every time. But how much is really true, and which is right for you, a real estate agent?

What is a PC, Really?

Let’s start by explaining that PC literally means Personal Computer, so Macs actually qualify as a PC. Apple is trying to distance themselves from the reputation of a computer being hard to use and prone to crashes, and thus don’t call their computers “PC.”

What Apple means by PC is a computer running Microsoft Windows. Almost 90% of computers today run some version of Windows. Windows Vista is the latest version, and Windows 7 is being released very soon. Macs run OS X, which is a heavily modified version of the very mature Unix operating system. Unix has been around forever, and is actually much older than Windows.

So, only the operating systems are different?  What about…


Foreclosures: Info to Help You Get a Great Buy

July 9, 2009

foreclosure informationTypically foreclosures are a very good buy. They’re priced to sell, so you (the buyer) are most likely to get a great deal IF you and your real estate agent are knowledgeable about the procedures and the pitfalls you’re likely to face.

I see it happen all the time. Buyers especially are not aware of how different REO’s are from regular homeowner re-sales. Here are some things to keep in mind:


The Best Resources for Commercial and Business Brokerage

July 8, 2009

commercial real estateHave you heard the latest?

There’s a new kid on the block. Commercial brokerage has a new listing website that was introduced in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) conference. The website is called RealUp ( and offers a new and innovative approach to commercial listings management. The website provides a variety of services including comparables, research and financial data.

You can join RealUp, which is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, for free and access comparable data and listings at no charge. You’re charged based on a per click system and guaranteed that no views results in no charges. The website is currently in the Beta phase with about 10,000 listings so far.


Bad MLS Photos – Why can’t my house sell?

July 7, 2009

bad mls photo - dirty toiletEver come across a photo of a house that’s for sale and wonder, what were they thinking? Here’s a collection of bad MLS photos from a variety of websites and listing services across the country.

Maybe I’m wrong…Feel free to write your own photo captions in the comments and rank them on a scale of 1 to 5.
1 = It’s actually a good photo
2 = Not that bad
3 = I’ve seen worse
4 = Really bad
5 = Horrible, what were they thinking?

If you find a bad MLS photo, let me know and it may be featured on this blog in the future. Email your name and a link to If you know the city where the listing is located and/or the MLS number, please include it.


Choosing the Right Builder for You

July 6, 2009

choosing a builderI’ve been in the real estate and new homes industry for more than 10 years, so it’s no surprise that many of my friends and colleagues come to me for advice when it comes to buying new construction. One of the most important aspects of buying a new home is the builder. They are the ones that make the entire process happen, so don’t just settle for the first builder that comes your way!

How do you pick the right one? Well, after working with many builders in the past, here are some qualities I look for in a good builder.


Metro Mike – Mascot or Marketing Genius?

July 2, 2009

Metro MikeHow many companies do you know that have a mascot? Pillsbury has the Doughboy, Aflac has the Duck, Geico has the Lizard and Michelin has the Tire Man. How many of you remember Speedy Alka Seltzer? I can’t think of any real estate firms that have a mascot, except Metro Brokers.

We have Metro Mike and he really sets us apart from the rest. When he was first created, I had people ask, “Is he a marshmallow, a tablet or what?” If you’re not familiar with Metro Mike, here’s a little history on how he was developed and how he works for Metro Brokers…


Developing A Bullet-Proof Plan To Succeed

July 1, 2009

daily plannerWhether you specialize in commercial or residential real estate you face significant challenges and obstacles every day. How can you meet the challenges head-on and overcome the obstacles to get what you want?

First of all, let’s agree that it isn’t easy. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the difficulty of time management, prospecting and follow-up. However, it can be done. You can take control of your real estate career and achieve the very goals that brought you to real estate. The formula for success can be divided into three basic parts.