Archive for December, 2012

Christmas in St. Augustine, Florida

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

In past years we’ve done blog posts about cool things to do for the holidays in St. Augustine (these blog posts are still valid by the way).  This year we decided to do it in pictures.

So far we’ve captured the Night of Lights, Winter Wonderland, the British Nightwatch and Luminary Night at the St. Augustine Lighthouse.  You can see what we’ve done so far on our Holidays in St. Augustine Board at Pinterest.  Enjoy!

The Christmas Tree at the St. Augustine Beach, Florida, Pier

The Christmas Tree at the St. Augustine Beach, Florida, Pier

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty the next time you go to buy or sell!  Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

Can I Put an Offer in on a Home Under Contract?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

Can you put an offer in on a home already under contract, pending or contingent?

Of course you can.

Your success, however, will depend on how strong the deal in front of yours is.  My partner Kate Stevens and I break it down below:

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty the next time you go to buy or sell!  Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

Ron Barry Named Instructor of the Year

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

Ron Barry, Realtor

Ron Barry

I am proud to announce that our very own Ron Barry was recently named Instructor of the Year by the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors.

The award was given based on the individual contribution Ron made to promote and participate in the education of Board members, as well as his contribution to the local community, and his degree of professionalism.

Nominations were solicited from all members of the Board and the selection was made by past winners of the award.

Ron has been a Realtor in St. Augustine for over a decade and a resident for nearly 15 years. He is a founding member of the (then) St. Augustine Team, and later, St. Augustine Team Realty. He is a member of the Board of the Directors for the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

In 2010 the St. Augustine Chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors named Ron Realtor of the Year.

Ron is former business owner in the trucking industry. He is a member of the Airline Pilots and Owners Association (AOPA) and the local Harley Owners Grou (HOG).

He’s been married to his wife Kathy for over 20 years, and is the proud father of a daughter and three sons.

Ron can be reached at RealEstateByRon@aol.com or at (904) 501-2424.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty’s Ron Barry the next time you go to buy or sell! 

Amy Capo Joins St. Augustine Team Realty

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

Amy.Capo, Broker Associate & Realtor

Amy.Capo, Broker Associate & Realtor

I am very proud to announce that Amy Capo, Broker Associate, has joined our sales team.

Amy has a fantastic reputation for exemplary customer service and a superior track record in sales.

In addition to being a past president of St. Augustine’s Women’s Chapter of Realtors, Amy is a 2007-2011 recipient of Jacksonville Home Buyer Magazine’s FIVE STAR “Best in Client Satisfaction Real Estate Agent,” an award given to the top 7% of agents in Northeast Florida.

She also holds several designations, including the the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), and the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), as well as being Transnational Sales Certified and At Home With Diversity certified.

Amy also volunteers as a Big Sister for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Johns County.

Find Amy at www.AmyCapo.com or contact her at Amy@AmyCapo.com or at (904) 814-6947.  Amy Can be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/amycapo and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/amygcapo.

Securing Your Vacant Home for Christmas (and Any Other Time You Are Away)

Monday, December 10th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

If your dog is home with a sitter, it's a great deterrent.

If your dog is home with a sitter, it's a great deterrent.

So you’re leaving home for the Holidays and you want to keep your home secure, what to do?

Short of sealing the windows and doors with steel hurricane shutters and hiring an armed guard, there’s nothing that will make an empty home 100% secure.  That being said, there are some things you can do while you’re away.

Don’t Post You’re Away on Social Media

In these days of expanded social networks it’s probably not a good idea to post that you are away from home.

You are going to be tempted to post cool vacation photos, and you may be able to still do so by false-posting the date, like, “Here we were last week.”

I would think photos of you with people during the Holidays would be OK, as long as they aren’t location tagged, and unless people really know you well they aren’t going to know you are away.

But then again, if your Thieving Dilbert Cousin Jerry sees a picture of you and Aunt May via Cousin Junebug’s social media feed, and he knows Aunt May is in a nursing home in Kansas, Theiving Dilbert Cousin Jerry may conclude you are away and bring friends ’round to divest you of your silverware, television, and any copper he can strip.

Having a Trusted Neighbor

A good neighbor is worth their weight in gold.

If you can have them pick up your paper, mail, and any flyers stuck on your front door it’s a big help.

Even better you don’t have to inform the post office or newspaper that you are away.

And having someone just generally watching the property is a bonus too.  You can even have them park in your driveway.

Give them a photo of Thieving Dilbert Cousin Jerry while you are at it.

Dog Sitter Anyone?

Fido barking can be the #1 deterrent in keeping a thief from breaking in.

Unfortunately, if you are gone Fido is probably going to be with you or at Puppy Paradise for the duration of your vacation.

But if you can find someone reliable to dog sit, and the dog isn’t going to destroy the place, the dog may be happier being at home and it can act as a theft deterrent.

Lights, Radio, and a Security Sign

If you’ve can have your lights turn on and off at different times, that’s good.

If you have exterior lights that automatically come on after dark, even better.

I’ve always been told a sign advertising your security company out front can be a big deterrent as well.  Many homes have security systems these days, it’s not something unusual.

And if you’ve got a radio that can turn off and on at random times like the lights, that will make the house seem occupied, and during regular hours when you would expect to find lights and noise coming from a house.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty the next time you go to buy or sell!  Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

 

Facebook and Real Estate: Engagement and Getting them Through the Door

Friday, December 7th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

I didn't get a harumph out of that guy!

I didn't get a harumph out of that guy!

In the often hidebound world of real estate, new things aren’t embraced easily.

I attended a conference of real estate professionals last month where a Realtor definitively declared, “Facebook can’t sell real estate!”  There was much harumphing (think of the scene in Blazing Saddles) and approval from other Realtors around the room.

The truth is Facebook really can’t sell anything, in the same way that old-style print ads and billboards can’t sell anything either.

What sells is the product being marketed, and in real estate that’s the service we provide as Realtors.

Facebook’s strength is that its reach is so broad, and yet can be so tailored to meet the needs of the consumer.   But we can’t reach that broad audience if we don’t know what it can do or how it works.

Content Gets ‘Em in the Door

We use our blog (yep, the very blog you are reading) to get people though the door.

We create posts that are based on questions that everyday real estate customers ask, the more basic the better.

We use Facebook to promote these posts, because of its broad reach.

Our goal is not to sell real estate, per se, our goal is to create a relationship with consumers, which is what real estate sales is all about.

So these blog posts, this content we provide, let’s the consumer know that:

We are experts.

We are transparent.

You could do a lot worse than hire St. Augustine Team Realty.

As the consumer is often a year out from a sale when they first start doing research, this allows us to establish a trusted relationship with them over time, before they ever interview an agent.

Keeping Them Interested: Engagement

That initial bit of content may get the consumer through the door, but keeping them interested is a different thing all together.

What keeps them interested is/are images and video.

We try and keep a good mix of photos and video, all very local, done by us most of the time, and all tied to town or real estate somehow.  These don’t bring a whole lot of new people through the door but they keep our fans interested.

Some agencies in other cities report that they’ve been able to generate traffic from hyper local posts about restaurants and attractions, but whenever we go off piste like that with our consumers, they lose interest fast.

I think that is because our fair city of St. Augustine is a tourist town and the restaurant and attractions angle is already covered, exhaustively.  And if they’re on my site they really want and need to know about real estate norms here, not a good place to eat.

If you’re moving to Holland, Ohio, however, where the restaurant scene isn’t as actively covered (who knew Rosie’s made such great pizza?), then a hyper local post on a restaurant might be a post that brings a new customer through the door, or keeps one interested.

How Often To Post: The Organic Drop

Now welcome to oppositeworld.  You post less to keep them interested.

Huh?

Yep, and we found this out on accident.

Let’s face it, on sheer interest level, real estate sales ranks right up there with funeral plot sales and life insurance.

If you post too often about real estate–even if your fan or follower is in the heart of a real estate sale–they will drop you.  It’s not something they want to see in their feed everyday.

Or, it will remind them that they are no longer interested as real estate as a subject, and they will drop you.

When someone is no longer interested in real estate as a subject and they unlike us, I call that “the Organic Drop.”

And we don’t want this to happen.

Since real estate is a referral based business, we want to keep as many people on board as possible.  That way even if our follower isn’t actively involved in a real estate transaction, we will stay on the tip of their tongue so that they can refer us to others.

For example, there was someone who was already involved in a real estate transaction (not with us).  They had a question about real estate, and they found the answer in a blog post we did (about binder deposits) via Facebook.  They closed on their transaction successfully.

When a friend came to this person to ask about referring a real estate agent, this person—instead of recommending the agent they used—recommended us.  Because we proved to them we were experts.

And we could answer the questions their agent couldn’t.

You May Be Able to Overpost Niche Content

Let’s say you are a real estate agent that just works Charleston, South Carolina, and your true niche is the historic district there.

By true I’m talking about an agent who lists or sells a majority of their properties there, not some dude just in from the world who starts calling himself an “expert.”

Historic downtown Charleston real estate is an interesting enough subject that you may be able to post everyday about it and people won’t tune you out.   You could fill a year’s worth of posts just on beautiful front doors in that area.

But historic downtown St. Augustine, Florida, even though it was just named one of National Geographic’s “Must See” destinations in all the world…we don’t do enough business in that one segment to justify posting everyday on it…even though you could.

Truly most of our customers…and most customers in our market…are interested in homes that are not located in the historic district here.   If we ignore the needs of those customers they will conclude we are out of touch with them, and they’d be correct.

So we stick with what we know.  And we try not to lay it on too thick.

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty the next time you go to buy or sell!  Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

All images, video and audio not in the public domain are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17–United States Code–Section 107) and remain the property of the film or photo copyright owners.

What if the Appraisal Comes in Low?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

by Sean Hess (Sean@StAugTeam.com), Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty (www.StAugustineTeamRealty.com). Join us on Facebook and Google+.

Argggh!

You’ve spent all this time selling your home.  The buyer has spent all this time (and money) doing inspections, submitting paperwork, and preparing to move.

And then the appraisal comes in low, throwing a wrench in everything and putting the deal in doubt.

What to do?

My partner Kate Stevens and I did a short video on what to do when the appraisal comes in low (below).  We hope you enjoy it!

Hire St. Augustine Team Realty the next time you go to buy or sell, and we’ll help you position your home as best as possible for an appraisal.  Email us at ReQuestion@StAugTeam.com or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.