7 Reasons Not to Use a Friend as Your Real Estate Agent

Too often, people hire an agent based on friendship instead of expertise.

This common pitfall can have severe financial consequences and potentially ruin a friendship based on the outcome.

people hire an agent based on friendship instead of expertise

But with 95% of real estate agents being part time, and 99% being far less than “the best,” you should know that the difference between a great real estate agent and “all the others” is going to come at a cost of several thousands of dollars or more when all the negotiations and third-party service agreements have been consummated.

Take guidance from those that worked with friends before you. A survey by Chase Bank showed that 80% of people were not completely happy with their real estate experience and wish they had better prepared themselves before transacting. You can learn from their mistakes.

The primary mistake was made when they selected their agent, and 70% of people selling a home or buying a home hire the first agent with whom they speak. Often times it’s a friend of theirs, and they just end up working with that friend until it’s too late to make a change.

7 reasons not to hire a friend as your agent

  1. An unfavorable outcome may jeopardize your friendship.
  2. Your friend may not be geographically competent.
  3. Your friend may reduce her commission as a ‘favor’, but ultimately reduces her time and energy as a result.
  4. Your friend may not ‘have the heart’ to be brutally honest with you.
  5. For some, the line between friendship and business is hard to find.
  6. It’s hard to fire friends.
  7. Your friend is a part-time agent who dabbles in real estate, not a true expert.

Hire an agent based on skill, experience, and a proven record of success – not friendship. 

A true friend will understand that you have “other friends” in real estate and thus your friendship will not be jeopardized by you selecting the best person for the job of helping you buy or sell a home.

If you are planning a move, we would like to interview for the job of helping you be 100% thrilled with your move while also helping you to keep a lot of your money in your pocket!

When you are ready to speak with a local expert, please give us a call.

5 Steps Smart Sellers Take to Generate Multiple Offers

Home sales (and values) have been on a strong uptick nationwide thanks to low interest rates, freer lending standards and a drop in the foreclosure rate. Sellers everywhere are breathing a giant, collective sigh of relief! But for all of the buyer activity, it seems like most houses sit on one end of two extremes: they either get snatched up the moment they hit the market (with multiple offers and an above-asking sale price) or seem to languish on the market without an offer in sight.

All sellers aspire to be on the multiple-offer end of the spectrum. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make that happen. Here are five tips to move your listing in to the multiple offers zone.

5 Steps Smart Sellers Take to Generate Multiple Offers

1. Price it aggressively. 

Homes that get multiple offers are often sold in an “auction” atmosphere. If you think back to the last auction you saw on TV or participated in online, you’ll remember this basic element of Auctions 101: the starting price is lower – sometimes quite a bit lower – than the final sale price.

In fact, it’s the low list or starting price that gets people excited about the possibility of scoring a great value, whether they’re bidding on an antique Chinese pug figurine on eBay or on your home. And when it comes to your home, it’s that same, low-price-seeking excitement that will cause many more buyers to show up and view your home than would have come at a higher price point.

In real estate, more showings are an inescapable prerequisite to more offers.

This doesn’t mean you have to give away the farm, just that sellers who get multiple offers price their properties from a retailer’s or auctioneer’s perspective. Work with your agent through the comparable sales data – as recent and as comparable as possible – and then do your best to list your home as a slight discount, not at a slight premium, compared to the recent neighborhood sales. That will get buyers’ attention.

2. Give buyers and brokers ample access. 

Put yourself in your target buyer’s shoes. Say there are 40 homes on the market which meet their specifications, in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, price range and location. And 25 of those top the list. But they only have time to see 8 today. If the buyer’s broker can’t get into your house today, because you have so many restrictions around showing it, your home could very well miss out on a showing with this qualified, motivated buyer.

It might seem overly simple, but if you want multiple offers, it behooves you to make sure your home is available to be shown today. Every day that it is on the market. Inconvenient? Yes. Frustrating? Sometimes. A challenge to keep the place clean at all times? Assuredly. But consider your priorities and what is at stake. If getting top dollar for your home is at the top of your priority list, then you have to be ready and willing to deal with the inconvenience involved in churning up multiple offers and getting your home sold.

3. Make it beautiful. 

Really, really beautiful. The homes that get multiple offers are those with look, feel and function that can be described in one word: covetable. You’re not trying to create a situation in which your home barely edges out the listing down the street in the hearts and minds of your target buyer. If you want multiple offers, you need multiple buyers to fall deeply in love with your home – enough to bid above the listing price, and enough to compete with others for it.

To generate multiple offers, prepare your home by ensuring it is: immaculately cleaned from the inside out – closets, basements, garages and crawl spaces included, de-cluttered and staged to the nines – this includes fresh paint, carpet and other things that need replacing in perfect working order – make sure things like doors, windows and systems buyers test (e.g., stoves, faucets, heating and air conditioning) are not creaky, wonky, leaky or otherwise dysfunctional.

If you’ve done any major home improvements or replaced any appliances or systems lately, market that! Show off how immaculate, adorable and move-in ready your home is now – and tout its great working condition for the long run.

4. Expose it to the market.

 An offer the very first day your home goes on the market may sound like a dream come true. But it might also incur opportunity costs. See, many buyers can’t get out to see homes that quickly – some are unable to house hunt except on the weekends. Listing agents who get multiple offers often plan from the start to expose the home to the market long enough for target buyers to see it and get their offers on the table.

Some agents expressly include open house and offer review dates in the timeline of the listing. It’s not uncommon to see a listing come on the market with a calendar of 1-2 Open Houses and an offer date sometime early in the week following the second one. Ask your agent to brief you on the standard practices for market exposure in your local area.

Setting – and publishing – a timeline for market exposure and offers lets buyers know that they will be able to get to the property and get their offers considered, while still creating a sense of urgency.

5. Be ready to course correct.

Is your home one of the houses that has been sitting on the market for months without any action? Do not fret – there might still be hope. In real estate, there’s something insiders call the Sweet Spot Phenomenon, where an overpriced home sits on the market for months with no bites, sometimes even through multiple price reductions. Finally, the seller lowers the price to the ‘sweet spot,’ and it generates multiple offers and sells for more than the final list price.

Yes – there are listings whose sellers net more than they expected because they were willing to revise the list price downward in response to market feedback (i.e., no showings, no offers or lowball offers).

If your home has been lagging on the market, talk with your listing agent about what sort of price reduction strategy is likely to maximize your net sale price. Hint: many more buyers are attracted by chunky reductions or reductions below a common online search price point limit than by tiny, incremental reductions.

For example, you might draw more buyers, and ultimately more money, with a price reduction from $499,000 to $474,000 than with a series of small reductions from $499,000 to $479,000, because there is a set of buyers who may be cutting their search off at $475,000 – so a price cut below that point will expose your home to a whole new group of prospects.

Halloween With The Tallahassee Elks

As with many in Tallahassee, Halloween is a time to do something time honored if not legendary. With the Tallahassee Elks Lodge #937, we are planning this year’s Halloween Costume Party on the 28th of October.

Halloween With The Tallahassee Elks

Last year was very well attended and a blast. All were invited to dress up in a  favorite costume. One of the several  party events included a best costume contest where the winners received a token gift from our Lodge committee.

This year we will also have Captain Bob’s Karaoke! If you can sing it, he can play it. Join the men in a group rendering of Foggy Bottom Boys’ ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ or the ladies in Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking.’

The Tallahassee Elks have been around for over 100 years and have gone through many facelifts! What has not changed is our commitment to helping our community, from our youth to our veterans to our seniors!

This Fraternal Order was founded “To promote and practice the four cardinal virtues of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity; to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members; to quicken the spirit of American  Patriotism and cultivate good

The Order is a non-political,  non-sectarian and strictly American fraternity. Proposal for membership in the Order is only by invitation of a member in good standing.

To be accepted as a member, one must be an American citizen, believe in God, be of good moral character and be at least 21 years old.

How Can You Become an Elk?

Send an email to membership@TallahasseeElks.org to get more information about the lodge or to arrange a visit.

Hope to see you at the party!

Back To School Preps

There are a few ways to get ready for another school year. If you are responsible for drop-off and pick-up, try pre-driving the necessary route to and from during drop-off/pick-up hours. Leon County has the bus drivers do the same time test before the year begins and it’s a really great idea.

There are a few ways to get ready for another school year

Just remember to add 10-15 minutes for the traffic when that simulation becomes a reality.

Grocery stores and super centers can get crazy when the stores finally post school supply lists. Here are some tips on how to stay out of the line of fire.

Prepare in advance … most schools will post their supply lists online well before the stores get them. This gives you a heads up to start shopping before things get hectic.

Shop as you go … there are basic requests that are on the sheet every year. Pick up tissue boxes, crayons, colored pencils, reams of paper, etc., throughout the summer. Ever heard of all-in one packs? Some genius created an all-in-one program where you can order a backpack and all of the basic school supplies at the end of the school year to be delivered to your door over the summer so that you wont have to worry about a thing!

Where was this when I was a kid? Lastly, we have to tackle the madness that is “Tax-Free Week” or “7% Off Sales.”

I would rather be covered with honey and stuck on a fire ant bed than walk into an Old Navy during tax-free week!

Most people hear “tax-free” and think of all the money they will save. In reality, you can find similar sales throughout the year if you just pay attention to the
holiday hype.

Most stores have fantastic mark downs everyday, you just have to walk through the entire store to get there.

So put your blinders on, stay focused, and look for the orange tags! The first few weeks of school can be nuts. But in a few short months, you will be
wondering how that school year flew by so fast. Good luck getting fired up for another new school year!

Wakulla Springs Keeps It “Cool”

Let me tell you something … you don’t!

Wakulla Springs Keeps It "Cool"

If you love the outdoors, then look no further than a 20 minute drive down Crawfordville Hwy. There you’ll find Wakulla Springs, the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the entire world!

Hop on one of the guided boat tours, where you’ll see tons of alligators, turtles, manatees and colorful birds. The tour guides are all extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

On rare occasions (when the water clarity allows it), glass bottom boats are used for the tours. Pre-historic animal fossils still line the banks in the deep waters of the spring and patrons have been known to see Mastodon remains as they peer into the abyss.

There’s also a 22-foot tall observation tower made for jumping! There’s usually a long line of younger folks waiting to take the leap into the cool 69 degree water of the springs.

It’s the perfect solution on a hot summer day.

If you like to stay active, then bring your bike (or you can just hike if you prefer). There are 3 nature trails to chose from, all great for exploring!

When the day is done, please don’t forget to visit the Ball Room Restaurant at the Lodge, where you’ll find all sorts of delicious Southern cooking. Yum!!!

So what are you waiting for? Pack a  lunch, grab your swim trunks and head to the springs. I promise you’re going to love it!

Play With Fire … Safely!

Whether you are heading to the beach, attending a BBQ, or going to Tom Brown Park for the Tallahassee 4th of July
Celebration, chances are there will be fireworks involved. 

Play With Fire ... Safely

Nothing quite says AMERICA like bottle rockets and used BlackCat
wrappers all over the driveway (both classified as illegal fireworks in Florida by the way).

When I think back to my youth growing up in Chicago, I can distinctly remember a friend’s older brother driving over to Indiana from Illinois, purchasing
hundreds of dollars’ worth of illegal fireworks, and trafficking them back to Illinois – illegally of course. 

My best friend and I couldn’t wait to get our hands on an M-80, strap it to G.I. Joe, light the wick, and watch him get blown to bits; all without any adult supervision. 

SIDE NOTE: In my experience, men generally love to watch things explode. Even during my time in the military, members of my unit would salivate at the opportunity to fire live ordinance and watch an innate target blow up in a cluster of fire and smoke .

In retrospect, I realize how dangerous it was for us at such a young age to be handling seriously dangerous explosives.

An M-80 mishap could have caused one of us to lose a hand, eye, or much worse. Had my parents caught wind of what I was doing, losing a hand would be getting off easy.

I implore you to leave the serious fireworks to the professionals, and exercise these safety tips … but remember to have fun!

How To Stay Cool In Tallahassee All Summer Long

How about we find you some cool, refreshing water to play in?

How To Stay Cool In Tallahassee All Summer Long

The water nearest you is most likely a city pool. I bet you didn’t know that Tallahassee has seven pools scattered all around the city.

For your convenience, I’ve listed them all here:

Trousdell Aquatics Center

Wade Wehunt Pool

Forestmeadows Pool

Robinson-Trueblood Pool

Walker-Ford Pool

Levy Pool

Jack McLean Aquatics Center

The City of Tallahassee has also developed Imagination Fountain at Cascades Park  for your kids to enjoy!

For those of you looking for a more nature-based swimming experience, I highly recommend taking the family to Wakulla Springs. They have a lot of amenities in addition to the spring, but suffice it to say that taking a dip in the 72 degree water is a wonderful way to reduce the impact of a hot summer day.

And for the really adventurous, there is a wonderful spring fed river, the Wacissa, that you can access from a public boat ramp at the headwaters. Just 20 minutes from Capital Circle and Apalachee Parkway, you’ll find a canoe rental … open 7 days a week!

There are two pull out points down river and the canoe vendor will arrange to pick you up at either Goose Pasture or where the Wacissa joins the Auscilla.

Depending on how fast you travel or how much you stop to play. There’s a great spring on the left not far from where you put in, Blue Spring, that provides a fun place to get out and swim.

The trip to Goose Pasture is  2 hours and a bit longer to the Auscilla. The link to the canoe rental is  in the sidebar and I suggest you call them ahead of time if you plan to go down on a weekend as it’s a very popular weekend activity!

Stay In Shape All Year Long In Tallahassee

Whether you are looking for a traditional gym with free weights and muscle men, a yoga studio, or the latest fitness fad such as CrossFit or Orange Theory, Tallahassee has it all.

Each individual has their own fitness goals, and with all the choices for consumers these days the decision of where to go can be daunting.

Stay In Shape All Year Long In Tallahassee

The goal of this humble correspondence is to provide you with a little insight into selecting the right fitness facility for you.

 If you are looking for an affordable choice that meets the needs of a novice to intermediate fitness enthusiast, Gold’s Gym and YouFit are excellent

Gold’s Gym has three local  facilities and YouFit has two; all centrally located and affordable. Memberships to both gyms can be less than $100 per year and allow unlimited access to free weights, cardiovascular equipment, and some group classes.

For most of us, these amenities are more than enough to get the job done. Both gyms have locker-rooms and show facilities so you can get your workout done on your way to work in the
 morning. YouFit is even open 24 hours per day Monday thru Friday.

If membership cost isn’t a concern for you and you’d like a high intensity, non-traditional work out, Orange Theory Fitness might be ideal for you. Orange Theory offers 60-minute workout
 sessions split into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training with heart rate monitors to track intensity and maximize metabolic burn.

Workouts are usually done in a group setting to increase energy levels so that you burn more calories. They call it the “Orange Effect”. Membership plans vary, but you can expect to spend well in excess of $100 per month … Ouch!

If you’re looking for exclusive group classes or yoga, check out Sweat Therapy or one of the more than eight yoga studios in town.

If none of the options discussed here meet your needs or budget, then you can always do it the old fashioned way.

Believe it or not, running, push-ups, and sit-ups are still free!

6 Signs A Home Might Be “The One”

You might have heard that saying about the number of fish there are in the sea – the sea of prospective dates and mates. The same goes for homes on the market.

Even when the market heats up as it’s doing now, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to visit 10, 20 or even more homes before finding the property they want to make their home.

6 Signs A Home Might Be The One

These numbers can be daunting, but even the most particular buyers, even buyers who are frustrated by how many homes don’t seem like the right fit, can take heart in this one truth of dating that also applies to house hunting: You only need to find ONE.

So the next question is this: how do you know which fish is the one you should take home – I mean, make your home? To help, here are six signs that a given home you’re viewing might in fact be “The One”:

1. You instantly feel possessive about the property. 

When you walk into ‘The One’ no matter how long you’ve been house hunting, you’ll get an involuntary surge of energy to do whatever it takes to make that home yours. If you’re at an Open House and other buyers are viewing the place, you’ll start to feel competitive. If you’re at a private viewing, you’ll start to talk numbers and offer logistics. For that matter, some buyers start making calls to their financial planners, generous parents, and contractors from the front porch steps of their “One” – during the first viewing!

If you walk through a place and leave with your heart or mind set on making it yours, it might be “The One.”

2. You start to see its flaws as adorable quirks.

Train tracks 10 feet from the bedroom window? Next door neighbor that runs a pigeon-sitting service? Okay – I exaggerate! But if you find yourself viewing a home with traits that you would normally deem undesirable or as deal-killers, yet you like the place so much that you instinctively compile a mental list of reasons those traits just don’t matter, you might have found “The One.”

Smart buyers should be aware of a syndrome some call “Pottery Barn Psychosis,” whereby the aesthetics of a wonderfully staged home with amazing curb appeal can hypnotize a buyer. This syndrome renders buyers blind to the negative property features, which would be glaring or grave concerns if the place weren’t so stinking cute. It’s fine to make a conscious decision that the pros of a place outweigh its cons, and even to consciously re-rank your priorities in light of a particular property’s advantages.

But throwing reasonable guidelines for your home out of the window because it’s just so stinking cute is about as savvy as doing the same with your dating prospects – not a setup for success.

Buyers can avoid falling victim to Pottery Barn Psychosis (and the Buyer’s Remorse that often follows suit) by writing down your absolute musts and deal-breakers before you ever step foot in a single property – and by revisiting this document before you write an offer and again before you remove your contingencies.

If you find yourself viewing a home with traits that you would normally deem undesirable, yet you like the place so much that you instinctively compile a mental list of reasons those traits just don’t matter, you might have found “The One.”

3. You immediately envision your own family, furniture, decor, daily activities or remodeling choices in/to the home. 

If you find yourself, during a property viewing, measuring the dining room with your footsteps to be sure your Grandma’s table will fit, discussing whether the wall between kitchen and dining room can be removed or your mind’s eye photoshopping a given property to insert your bedroom set, your dining table and favorite wall hangings into place it’s entirely possible that the home you’re viewing could be “The One” for you.

4. You lose interest in seeing other homes.

When you find “The One,” your interest in seeing other homes dissipates, instantly – no matter how many homes you’ve seen or how long you’ve been house hunting.

5. The bathroom and kitchen don’t disgust you. 

We humans are born with only two fears in life: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. By about eight months old, we start to acquire new fears. Chief among them: the fear of other people’s kitchens and bathrooms.

Other people’s kitchens and bathrooms hold definite gross-out potential. There’s just something about what goes on in those rooms that seems exceptionally intimate and even unsanitary. So, if you happen to find yourself falling in love with a home’s river rock shower floor or drooling over the pot-filler, countertop or farmhouse sink, that’s a sign that you’re falling head over heels with a home that might just be “The One.”

6. The money, time and energy spent feels worth it.

Home buying is an expensive, time consuming proposition. And your years of budgeting of earned you a nice nest egg, but it didn’t come easy, there might be many a Saturday night at home and a brown bagged lunch reflected in your down payment savings. If you view a home that make all of those sacrifices suddenly feel like the best, most worthwhile decision ever? You, my friend, might have found “The One.”

Where To Find The Freshest Produce In Tallahassee

Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace

Every Saturday from 9am-1pm the Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace can be found off of Georgia & Macomb. Each week you can check out vendors such as iGrowFrenchtown Beez, and Tallahassee Aquaponics Urban Farm!

Tallahassee Farmer’s Market

Tallahassee’s oldest farmer’s market can be found at Market Square—1415 Timberlane Rd—on Saturdays from 8am-3pm, although most of the organic farms leave closer to noon. Saturdays are typically busiest, but some vendors are also present on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Where To Find The Freshest Produce In Tallahassee

You Make It You Grow It

Each 2nd and 4th Saturday from March-June and September-December you can find the You Make It You Grow It farmer’s market from 10am–3pm in the Railroad Square Art Park at 602 McDonnell Drive.

Tallahassee Downtown Market

During the months of March to November, Saturdays 9am-2pm you can enjoy products from local farmers, artists, crafters, food vendors, and live musicians off of Monroe and Park Ave. This is a great excuse to take some time to go explore downtown!

Lake Ella Grower’s Market

Every Wednesday from noon to dusk you’ll find the Grower’s Market at Lake Ella behind the Black Dog Café. All of the products are grown by farmers local to the Tallahassee area—which means no re-sellers!

Red Hills Online Farmer’s Market

The Red Hills Online Farmer’s Market is a nonprofit that offers products produced or grown within a 100 mile radius of Tallahassee, which can be delivered to your home or a nearby delivery hub. Everything sold on their site comes directly from local farms & producers. 

Orchard Pond Organics

One particularly prominent provider of local goods is Orchard Pond Organics. Their products can be found at a wide variety of locations, including Market Square Farmer’s Market, Lake Ella Grower’s Market, and even local businesses such as Sweet Pea and Liberty Bar. They also offer volunteer opportunities on the farm where you can be compensated with fresh produce!