Need Help Finding a Great Realtor in Miami Beach?

I can help, in one of two ways.

1.  I can share with you the exact process for finding a great Realtor who fits your needs or 2.  I can help find you

 

 

Are you feeling a little lost on how to start the home buying process?

Well, you certainly aren’t alone.  The vast majority of home buyers start the process without any sort of real plan and are guided solely by the idea of finding the perfect house or condo.

After all, it’s all about looking for the perfect property, right?  In short, no.

I was there once.  When I decided to purchase my first condo in Miami Beach I went crazy on the Internet.  I was obsessed.  I would stay up till late at night, consumed with looking through various websites for that perfect property.  I thought finding the right property, in the right price range was all that matter.

The problem is that going about things in this way sets you up to have a poor real estate buying experience.  It also hurts your chances of in fact finding your perfect property.  At worst, it puts you in a position of possibly loosing your favorite property.

So, what happens once you find some properties on the Internet you want to look at?

Well, since the properties are typically listed with a Realtor’s phone number, office number or email you start by attempting to contact all these various agents and schedule showings.  Some Realtors call you back, others don’t.  Some arrive to show you the property, others reschedule.  You realize that scheduling showings alone is hard work and takes time.

It becomes a little cycle.  Scour the Internet for potential properties.  Attempt to schedule a showing.  Maybe see the property.  Go back to the Internet and repeat.

After a while it usually becomes apparent that there may be a better way of doing things. At this point, you may arrive to see a property or talk to a Realtor over the phone and they may persuade you to have them help you in your home buying process.  It could be as simple as a Realtor saying, “Well, I could show you a few additional properties you may be interested in” and this results in you informally working together.

The problem is, you really don’t know whom you are working with.

While scheduling appointments and showing properties doesn’t seem like it takes much skill, there is a lot more involved in a real estate transaction where skill, knowledge, resources, and expertise matter.

The thing about it is, all Realtors are not created equal.

There is a general misconception that because someone is a Realtor that they possess a certain level of knowledge, professionalism, and skill and can therefore help you just as equally as any other Realtor.  This is far from the truth.

Having a real estate license means very little.  In order for someone to get a real estate license they simply have to take a class and pass a test, which predominantly covers real estate ethics and law.

People who are either newly licensed, have little experience, or dabble in real estate part-time have almost no knowledge or expertise on how to do the everyday real estate stuff that matters:

  • They don’t know how to use the MLX.  What this means to you is that they can’t set you up on an automated email system to alert you immediately of new listings, pending sales, or recently sold properties in your area.
  • They can’t read and understand a sales contract, let alone, fill one out.  How will you make an offer on a property if your Realtor can’t help you fill out the required documentation?
  • They have no market knowledge, meaning they are unfamiliar with the prices certain properties should go for or what properties in a particular area recently sold for.  This means that you will either offer too low on a property and the sellers will likely shoo you away as an unserious buyer or you will offer too high and overpay for a property.
  • They are uncertain of how to schedule and coordinate property showings.  It ends up taking two hours to see two properties.  A waste of time.
  • They don’t have a team of other professionals to recommend, such as a loan officer, property inspector, title company and general contractor.  So who is going to handle escrow or fix the roof after you close on that great house?  It’s nice to have trusted referral.
  • They are unaware of various deadlines that need to be met in an executed sales contract.  This could mean you loose escrow money because your Realtor is not on top of things.
  • They are inexperienced on how to negotiate the contract.  Again, this means you over pay or end up fixing more on the property you may not have needed to.

The list goes on.  In short, newbie, inexperienced and part-time Realtors, while they may have good intentions, just don’t have the expertise you should rely on.

I originally became a Realtor myself because I couldn’t believe the lack of professionalism in the real estate industry.  When I was purchasing my first property I found most Realtors couldn’t even return a phone call, show up to an appointment on time, get back to me with answers to a particular question, effectively communicate, and give me the guidance I needed as a first or second time buyer.

Since having been in the business, it is clear to me why I had encountered such poor Realtors.

 The problem was me.

When I purchased my first and second properties, I didn’t do my due diligence on finding the right Realtor to work with.

This again comes back to:  all Realtors are not created equal and the fact that when most buyers start the home buying process, whether they are first time buyers or not, are a little confused on the first steps they should be taking.

So I am going to help you out and give you the advice I would feel confident in giving my closest friends and family.  This is the advice I wish someone had given me the first two times around when purchasing property.

Rule #1:  Don’t Get Internet Crazed

Yes, it is a good idea to get a general idea about what property is out there in your desired area and to see if there is something that you would be happy with in your price range, but stop there.  Don’t get caught up in trying to schedule appointments.  You should not be seeing any property that requires a scheduled appointment.

Rule #2:  Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

“Well, I just want to get an idea of what’s out there first,” or “I’m sure I’ll have no problem getting a loan.”

No, no, no!

Please don’t do this.  It is guaranteeing you are going to end up working with a joker of a Realtor.

If you are serious about purchasing a property, the very first thing you have to do is get pre-approved for a loan and have a serious talk with your loan officer, banker or mortgage broker on the amount of loan you can qualify for, the monthly payment you’d be comfortable with, and how much you are going to have to put down.  There are no “if’s”, “and’s” or “but’s.”  Just do it.

Do you think your finances are just perfect and you will have absolutely no problem qualifying for a loan and coming up with a down payment?  Go get pre-approved.

If you are a cash buyer, get a proof of funds letter from your bank or banks.  This will come in handy.

If you can’t get pre-approved or you don’t have the required down payment you aren’t in a position to be looking at property with a Realtor.

Now, I’m sure you can find a newbie, inexperienced, or part-time friend Realtor to show you some properties without having gotten your finances in order, but I promise you, you will not be working with a good Realtor.

The experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled real estate agents are not going to waste their time with you if you can’t prove you’re serious.

Rule #3:  Find the Right Realtor

While there are plenty of bad realtors, there are certainly a lot of great ones, but you need to actively search them out.

This is the process I suggest for finding a great Realtor for you.

While it may appear at first glance to be a lot it is well worth your efforts upfront to find a reputable agent that you will work well with.

Call or email a leading real estate office in the area or close to the area you are looking to purchase in and speak directly with the broker, team leader or office manger.  I highly recommend contacting Keller Williams if there is one in your area, they are well known for attracting and producing top-quality agents, but there are plenty other real estate companies such as ReMax, Coldwell Banker, and various boutique firms that will likely have a few great real estate agents.

Explain to the broker, team leader or office manager that you are a serious buyer and would like to interview three top Realtors in person who meet the following criteria (Quick note- just the fact that you are going about things in this way will set you apart from the vast majority of waste-a-Realtor’s-time-buyers and the broker will likely be impressed and thrilled to really help you):

1.    They have been in the real estate business full time for a minimum of a year

2.    They have sold a minimum of 12 properties over the past year in the exact area and price range you are looking in

3.    They consider themselves good with buyers and enjoy working with them

Provide the broker with some information about yourself so he or she can “sell you” to three competing agents.

You want to be sure to include:

  • Full name
  • Best number or numbers to reach you at
  • Email
  • Whether you prefer to be contacted via phone or email
  • The best dates and times for you to meet with the agents (I recommend either doing them back to back or within a week’s time to keep everyone top-of-mind)
  • Area you want to purchase in (be as specific as possible)
  • General criteria and important features to you (number of bedroom, bathrooms, remodeled, pool, etc.)
  • Price range (I recommend emailing a copy of your pre-approval letter or proof of funds)
  • Ideal time frame to purchase in
  • The times you would be interested in viewing property- weekends, evenings, during normal work hours, etc.

The broker may need some time to think this over and organize a list of the three best fits, but it shouldn’t take longer than a day or two.

Schedule the Interviews

Request that the broker email all three Realtors, copying you, with the information you have shared, explaining that you will interview all three prior to making a decision.

The Realtors will most likely reach out to you to schedule an appointment, but also feel free to contact them.

During the Interviews

Quick & Important note:  if you plan to purchase a property with anyone else such as a husband, wife or partner, it is absolutely critical that they attend the meetings with you!

While I am sure the Realtor may have some questions for you, some things you may want to ask are:

  • Do you think my expectations of finding a home within my given criteria is realistic in the area and price range I mentioned?
  • How does the process work?  What are the next steps?
  • How will I be notified of new listings, pending sales and sold properties in my desired area?  They can usually do this by setting you up on an automated email messaging system…super cool!
  • Is there anyone else on your team I will be working with?  For example, a transaction coordinator or office assistant?  If so, you might want to be introduced.
  • Who do you recommend I use as a property inspector, title agent?  Should I consider getting an attorney?
  • What do you enjoy doing outside of real estate? 

Besides getting a general sense of the Realtor’s expertise during the interview, you’ll also want to get an idea of whether you have good rapport with this person or not. 

You have already been matched up with reputable people as 1) You have laid out specific criteria to filter out the bad 2) The broker wants to see you matched up with competent Realtors that are capable of closing the sale; otherwise, there will be no commission for the broker at the time of closing

Therefore, the main focus of the interviews becomes deciding whom you will work with best.

While most people are anxious to get the ball rolling and would be happy if they closed on a property in the next six weeks, home buying can take a while.  You want to make sure you can easily talk with your chosen Realtor and that you feel like they have your best interest at heart.  Follow your gut.  Working well with your Realtor is key.

Final Step:  Make Your Selection

After you have interviewed all three Realtors, be sure to notify them of your final decision.  Be sure to thank the two who you did not choose for their time even if it is just through email.

Happy Home Hunting!

Now that you have your perfect Realtor, you can start an effective process of finding that perfect property and begin a real estate adventure that will be more fun and successful!  You are in good hands.

Does it Sound Like a Lot?

Finding three great Realtors to interview is really a piece of cake, but if you just feel weirded-out about contacting a broker or you just don’t want to take the time to do so, I would be happy to do it for you!

Yes, you read that correctly.  I would be happy to help you find three great Realtors to interview in your area whether that is in Miami Beach, FL or anywhere else in the United States.

Yeah, so you are probably wondering “Why in the world would a total stranger over the internet want to help me with that?”

Well, a few reasons.  First, I love real estate and always enjoy matching people up for a successful real estate transaction.  I enjoy the process of searching out good Realtors.  It’s like a little game to me.

Secondly, being completely transparent, I hope to make a little business out of this.  If I successfully match you with a kick-ass, awesome Realtor that results in you moving into your perfect home, I will receive a referral fee from that Realtor.

Now, don’t get your panties in a bunch.  Referral fees are happily given and received among Realtors, as it is a win-win.  The referral fee would come out of your Realtor’s commission and in no way means that this is costing you, the buyer any money.  In fact, for you, my help would be absolutely free!  You can go watch Homeland or put the kids to bed while I take care of finding some great Realtor options for you.

All you have to do is contact me with the following required info:

  • Full name
  • Best number or numbers to reach you at
  • Email
  • Whether you prefer to be contacted via phone or email
  • The best dates and times for you to meet with the agents (I recommend either doing them back to back or within a week’s time to keep everyone top-of-mind)
  • Area you want to purchase in (be as specific as possible- city, state, zip code, neighborhood name, etc.)
  • General criteria and important features to you (number of bedroom, bathrooms, remodeled, pool, etc.)
  • Price range (I recommend emailing a copy of your pre-approval letter or proof of funds)
  • Ideal time frame to purchase in
  • The times you would be interested in viewing property- weekends, evenings, during normal work hours, etc.

Once you get this info to me, it will take a few business days to get you three awesome Realtors to interview and you can then begin your real estate buying adventure.

Regardless whether you wish to have my help in finding a Realtor or not, I would be thrilled to hear from you and see what you thought about this post.  Please contact me or leave a comment.

Happy Realtor Finding!

-Kris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Lost Another Date with Tim Ferriss

There are times that I really wish I had a following.  You know, an active blog and an email list of thousands.  This past Wednesday night was one of those times.  I received an email from Tim Ferriss.  The email was of his most recent blog post explaining yet another really cool contest that could win you some one-on-one time either in San Francisco or some other part of the world.  Five days in Tuscany with Tim Ferriss anyone?

Since his new book, The 4-Hour Chef, was being boycotted by thousands of bookstores, including Barnes & Nobles, he was creating a stint to have his extensive following open up their own “bookstores” online and sell his book themselves.  The concept was simple and had a charitable component, which always seems to create further incentive for people to buy.  All you had to do was to drive friends, family and as many other people as possible to your fan page created through Rally.org.  The real kicker:  the contest only lasted two days, one of which included Thanksgiving day where most people sit around in a coma-like state after eating way too much food.

Now, did I want to win this contest?  Heck yeah!  The problem was I saw this challenge as being impossible without having an engaged following or a large community in which I had influence.  If I were to create content to drive traffic it would likely take months before it even had a chance to rank on Google’s first page.  I thought about using Adwords, but that could cost a decent amount of money and I saw two days as being too little time to drive adequate amounts of traffic anyway.  That leaves Facebook, but again influence and the number of friends you have plays a big factor.  Could 250 loose-connection friends get you to a minimum sold number of 250 books to even place in the contest?  I find it unlikely.

It is possible I am falling ill to what Tim Ferriss talks about in his first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, where not one of twenty Princeton University students succeed in his challenge of contacting three celebrities and getting at least one to answer three questions.  The problem was that they all viewed the challenge as hard, maybe impossible, and therefore, didn’t even try.  Tim goes on to talk about how “doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic.”

I still dig my heels in on the idea that I could not have succeeded without an established following of let’s say a minimum of 2,500 people.  Now, if I did have that kind of following, when I got that email Wednesday night, all I would have had to do is send out an email or post to my blog sharing the contest I was partaking in and the awesome experience I have had with Tim Ferriss’ other books and content.  Assuming I had built a relationship with this community and they trusted me, winning this contest would have been beyond easy.  I too could have sat in my food-induced coma on Thanksgiving while also ensuring my upcoming date with Tim Ferriss.

It will be interesting to see how the contest turns out and if anyone actually wins any of the top three prizes.  As of today, Friday, November 23, at 3:34 EST, the top contestant has only sold 20 books.  In order to win second or third place and have Tim Ferriss time, you have to sell at least 250 books.  To place first, you have to sell at least 500.  I’m guessing most of the contestants don’t have a large enough sphere of influence and are solely using close friends and family for sales.

In writing this, I’m struck with the idea that one could actually overcome the challenge of not having a following by borrowing someone else’s, but the question quickly becomes “but who’s?”  The people who come to mind: Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity, Adam Baker from Man VS. Debt, and Gretchin Rubin from The Happiness Project, but jeez, it’s not like any of these people are actually my friends.  I’m just a subscriber of their blogs.  What would give them or any other influential blog writers incentive to actually help promote my fan page for me to win some time with Tim Ferriss?  Once again, another challenging question is presented.

At the end of the day, it’s clear there is a lot of value in creating a sizable blog following, email list and influential friends online.  Loosing another chance to win one of Tim Ferriss’ kick-ass contest serves as just one more reminder to keep writing content and to expand my online affiliations.

One day Tim Ferriss, I will meet you and I will win one of your awesome contests.  Until then, thank you for yet another hard kick in the ass.

Veggie Girl

For the past twelve days I have had no coffee, diet coke or tea.  I have eaten no meat or poultry and I have had almost no dairy minus a few eggs and some small amounts of butter.  There has been no evening indulgence in red wine.  When I posted to my Facebook page that I was saying good-bye to caffeine, alcohol and meat I was not flooded with comments of congratulations on my self-control and attempt to reach the next stage of good health, but rather quizzical responses on page and primarily off.  Most people’s comments in person, over the phone, and through technology mostly revealed their bafflement or poorly covered-up disdain for what I was doing.  All in all, I received more resistance than acceptance and encouragement for what I was doing.

I found these responses thought provoking.  Yes, I get that most people didn’t understand where I was coming from entirely.  I had recently been to Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power from Within where a whole day is devoted to energy, vitality, well being, and disease prevention.  I probably learned more in that day than most people will in their lifetime and left with a commitment to get my body out of an acidic state and into an alkaline one, mainly by eating a vegetarian diet with tons of greens.  I had also recently re-watched Forks Over Knives, an eye-opening documentary that highlights the pitfalls of the Western diet and promotes a low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian diet based on scientific findings.

I’m also coming to the end of a nutrition class where it is clear that things like phytochemicals (magical plant chemicals), omega-3’s, and antioxidants can make a big difference in your overall health.  In fact, after one Saturday morning’s class I was so intrigued by what I had learned about heart disease, high cholesterol, omega 3’s and antioxidants that I immediately called my dad.  He has high cholesterol and has been on medication since 1994.  Two years ago he suffered a heart attack.  I called inquiring whether in all these years any of his various doctors had recommended he consider any lifestyle changes such as a vegetarian diet, cutting back on dietary cholesterol, increased exercise and daily omega 3 and antioxidant supplements.  His response, “Nope.  Not a one.”  I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Not one doctor in eighteen years had suggested maybe some of the simplest, most effective and cost-friendly treatments.  After only taking a few weeks of an entry-level nutrition class, I felt so empowered by basic nutrition facts that I am still convinced that I could do more for my father’s health than any prescription.  That is, if he would implement my suggestions.

Most of the biggest killers of today, heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, are all strongly linked to poor nutrition and lifestyle.  So why isn’t everyone throwing away the garbage in their kitchen cupboards and redefining their lives?  I keep thinking about this and the conclusion I keep coming up with always involves education.  Many just may not know any better.  At my college, I sometimes have to keep myself from gawking at fellow students’ obese bodies and their choice of multiple snack selections from the vending machine.  Don’t they know they can live better?  I think the other fallacy is that we perceive ourselves as being relatively health conscious and living a healthy life style when in fact there is room for improvements, known or unknown, that could make huge differences.  As Tony Robbins says, “Ignorance is not bliss.  Ignorance is disease.  If you want to live like the majority, you will die like the majority.”

My dream is to be able to help millions of people prevent or reverse the biggest killers of today and live a healthy, disease-free, prescription-free life style.  Of course, I can start by leading by example, but what else?  “What else,?” becomes the bigger question and is going to take a little more time to answer.  I need to hear from more people what their biggest problems are with transitioning into a healthy life style.  Is it that they are completely unaware of how to do it?  Do they not know what is silently killing them?  Do they just think they will fail?  This is going to take feedback from others.  If you find yourself here, I encourage you to comment or send me an email on what you feel your biggest challenge is.

For me, I’ve always been relatively into health and wellness, but when I’ve made changes I’ve found that they have always come after a bit of inspiration or motivation through education.  If you are looking for something that will jump start your transition, pour yourself a tall glass of water with lemon and sit down and watch the documentary, Forks Over Knives.  No exercising is required.  If you have suffered a heart attack, are overweight, have high cholesterol, or are diabetic, run to the sofa to watch this movie.  You can watch it through Netflicks or purchase it at Amazon by following the link above.  Happy watching!

P.S.  Also check out Rip Esselstyn’s book,The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds.  It’s a nice way to remind you of some of the points covered in Forks Over Knives and has some wonderful recipes for those who are more than confused about what to cook now that the meat is gone.  The lasagna in here is awesome!  I would have never thought of putting sweet potatoes in one.