Realtor Q & A: Max Dewitt, East Valley Expert with Realty One Group

Q&A With Max Dewitt, East Valley Expert with Realty One Group

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into real estate?

A. I was born and raised here in the East Valley. I am a fourth generation Arizona native, and my son (and daughter on the way) makes it five generations! I graduated from ASU and then failed out of medical school, got divorced, had a quarter life crisis and wound up in real estate in 2014. I met my wonderful wife in 2015, have been married for three years and we have a little girl on the way. We love to get outside and honestly, we love to work. We get to be together and help people we care about and even find ways to get our son Waylon involved. He probably knows more about this business than most agents. My wife (who is also an agent) and I together average about one house a week, and approximately 50 homes a year. We have eight agents that make up The Steadfast Group. In 2018 we did 108 homes sales and about $32 million in production.

Q. In hind sight, is there anything you wish you had done differently as a new agent?

A. Be more assertive. I had a lack of confidence when I first started out, and in my opinion, I lost out on opportunities as a result of that. I also built a custom home that I couldn’t sell. These mistakes cost me time and money and were a huge learning lesson.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you and what are your hours?

A. Normally I’m up at about 5:30am. I leave the house between 7am and 8am, take Waylon to school, get to the gym, then to the office for a few hours. I wish I was better at keeping a set schedule, but I find some of my most productive days are when I can make time for an unexpected showing or meet a new client. My days tend to be pretty long. I’m usually working through transactions with my wife or sending emails after our son goes to bed, but I make it a priority to find time to dedicate to my wife and son throughout the day. This business is stressful, and if you care about your clients, it’s hard not to work. So often, your own life gets neglected. Being able to really maximize the family time we have together takes discipline but it’s worth it!

Q. How do you survive the summers/slow times?

A. Every year is different. During slow times I focus on my marketing. For example, I like to send CMA’s to those that may be ready to sell. We usually come up with a good list of new clients and prospects.

Q. How do you stay engaged with past clients?

A. We like to keep it basic. We focus on interpersonal relationships and try our very best to follow the “golden rule.” I send holiday cards, thank you cards, and postcards with seasonal messaging, and I take it one step further and have extras printed to hand out as necessary. I always take time to personally and sincerely engage on social media. I like to host client events like Easter egg hunts, movies, shoot out competitions, etc. I always post these on social media as that’s great for referral business. My repeat clients and referrals amount to about 90% of my business. I don’t do any farming and I stay as far away from Zillow as I can!

Q. What is your recipe for a successful open house?

A. My agents do the open houses. We always advertise on social media and go door to door and invite the neighbors. We utilize the open houses to network the neighborhood and always use 20 signs.

Q. What Valley area do you anticipate being the next hot spot?

A. I like watching the freeways grow and tend to focus on those specific areas. I also use that as an opportunity to educate potential clients, which helps them make informed decisions on the neighborhood they want to buy in.

Real Estate Direct Mail

Are you looking for a summer project? A direct mailer should be at the top of your list.

While direct mailing may not yield a vast number of sales in a short period of time, it can result in a steady flow of clients listing with you because they first saw your name in a postcard or brochure that had arrived in their mailboxes.

As a matter of fact, at least one realtor had executed an extensive postcard campaign and continued to get clients from it for five years after sending the last postcard.

But how do you do this? And does the benefit really outweigh the costs? Fair questions to be sure but rest easy, if you are willing to invest a little extra time and money into the process, you will likely be reaping the benefits of your labor for years to come.

Postcards – The typical realtor postcard will tend to feature a generic but nice looking house, the agency logo or mascot and a picture of the agent doing the mailing along with some contact information.  These are certainly well and good.

Such mailings get your name and number out there and a number of recipients may well put it in their junk drawer for later reference. But that generic approach does not really draw much attention to you or provide a compelling reason to act sooner rather than later.

Get creative with different designs and catch phrases to encourage those potential clients who may be riding the fence on whether or not to enter the housing market to get off the fence and jump in.

Here are a few examples to try:

Get the deal of your dreams in today’s buyer’s market! – Couple this with a picture of someone sleeping.  Include a thought bubble filled with a picturesque home with a big yard for better effect.

This can be directed at apartment complexes filled with first-time buyers or starter neighborhoods with young and growing families.

Tired of throwing money away? Stop renting and buy now! – Put this over a picture of a landfill, possibly with a bulldozer pushing piles of money around.

With a little help from Photoshop, this should be easy to accomplish. Clearly, this is directed at apartments and neighborhoods with a lot of rental properties.

Time to move up! – Include an image of a ladder.  A close up or a wide angle shot with a family climbing up it.

Maybe even with that picturesque house at the top. Again, this is marketed mostly to the starter neighborhood.

Sell high and have something left over. – The picture possibilities are endless here.

You can use a stack of bills changing hands, images of various kinds of vacations, from the beach to the mountains, a new car (parked in front of a home to minimize confusion) or even a new larger home.

These ideas can be marketed to many people from starter neighborhoods to retirees.

It’s a seller’s market.  Move now and pad that nest egg! – The image here could be a bird carefully arranging hundred dollar bills around its nest. Send this one to older couples likely looking to downsize now that the kids have moved on.

These are just a few ideas. You can mix up the designs, change the fonts (just don’t do anything too elaborate), alter color schemes and more to suit your taste and keep things fresh.

In fact, if you are planning on doing postcards over an extended period of time, make sure that you do change this up a bit just to avoid repetition.

The big thing to remember is to always have your name and essential contact information (website, email, phone number) on the card.

You can also include postcards that feature recent listings to encourage people to buy or even postcards with recently sold homes.  Target these to the neighborhoods the homes were sold in to show that you know the area and can succeed in it.

This should help people to get off the fence a little sooner.

Newsletters – One other option is to use a newsletter format.

These can include recent listings, reports on the local market, profiles of local business that specialize in home improvement or tips on home upkeep and what to do to sell a home.

Whichever option you choose, or if you use both, make sure that you are keeping the focus on the customer and include your contact information so that when your marketing material has inspired someone to sell or buy, you are easy to reach and ready and willing to help.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn brainstorm some more direct mail ideas, give us a call today at 480-759-1500.

Have a great summer!

Matt

 

How To Stay Calm In the Midst of Chaos

 

I hope everyone has had a great 2019 so far and your lives, families and businesses are all thriving and doing well.  Every year about this time many of us find ourselves in the midst of Chaos that we call the Real Estate & Mortgage Industry.  This craziness usually runs through the Summer and we have a resting period around August. This letter was supposed to go out in April and you’re sitting here reading this in May. That pretty much sums up my current work life.  Recently in my business mastermind group the question was proposed, “What does Success Look Like to you?” Heavy question, right??  Here are my thoughts.

When I answered what Success looks like to me, what came to mind was obviously influenced my current state of mind within my business. My response was “Well today its arguments, long hours with a lot of overtime expenses, high blood pressure and the occasional tear… or three.” Half the group was laughing, and the other half was looking at me like a deer in headlights.

There are many ways that we can measure success.  I had written a few months ago about the success I/We had in raising a lot of money in for the community while I was the chair for Rock The Cause for Kids. I expressed how it affected my business, but we raised a lot of money (just shy of One Million) so it was very easy to say that it was a HUGE Success.  Now we are smack dab in the middle of the buying season.  Rates are low and will remain that way all year (per the Feds) and consumer/buyer confidence is up.  This leads to the Chaos of business we have today.

My team came to me in one of our Daily Team Meetings and said, “Matt, we need you to make a call and get us an extension on Client X.”  My response was layered with frustration and disappointment, but I knew I had to make that call.  BTW – We NEVER close late!  That’s our thing!  Fannie Mae put out a stat in the last year or so that said the 60-70% of Mortgage Loans originated in the US close late, but that’s not us. We do not close loans late EVER. After I hung up the phone with my Realtor Referral Partner sat there and thought about the last time I had to make that call.  Honestly, I still can’t remember when I had to do that. It’s literally been years.  My team and I have closed 100’s of loans over the years together. We will move mountains to ensure we close every loan on time every time and we pride ourselves on that.

So what does Success Look Like to me?  It looks like a Duck!  In the Midst of Chaos (picture duck legs going 100 miles an hour under the water), make sure you show you have it ALL under control (picture floating like a Duck on top of the water). That deal we closed late was a very tough deal and the client and referral partner love us still.  My team, in the midst of Chaos did everything they could do to close a tough loan on time. Outside of this tough deal, our loans close 100% on time.  Not remembering the last time I had to make that call…….That’s what success looks like to me!

I truly believe I have the best team around.  If you’d like to share what success looks to you, I’d love to hear it.  Shoot me a message….

Be Like a Duck!  Wishing you a great 2nd half to 2019!

Matt Askland

Great News for Interest Rates | Is Now The Right Time to Buy A Home?

IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME?

Are you thinking about buying a house, but not sure it’s the right time? Trust us, we get it. Buying a home is a huge decision with many factors to take into account, such as neighborhood, school district and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to name a few. However, the biggest question in most people’s mind is, ‘How much house can I really afford?’ That answer has its own set of factors, with one in particular being the Interest Rate (cue the ominous music). But we have good news. Actually, we have REALLY good news (drumroll)…

THE BIG NEWS

Last month, the Federal Reserve officially announced that there are no plans to raise interest rates in 2019. With the current rates still historically low, and holding steady, there is no reason to wait to begin the search for your dream home (champagne pop and confetti)!

Even better, mortgage rates haven’t been this low since February 2018, almost 14 months ago, and Freddie Mac reports 30-year fixed rates were down to 4.28% in March 2019. This rate was only available a few months ago by taking out a fifteen-year fixed or adjustable rate loan, which for many buyers, is not a very feasible option. Thirty-year fixed loans were close to 5% just this past November and that rate was still considered historically low, so a potential rate in the low 4’s, in our opinion, is definitely worth taking advantage of if you can.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

Firstly, a lower rate equals a lower payment. A lower payment means you could potentially get more home or buy in your dream neighborhood, or have additional funds to decorate your new home.

Bottom line. With current interest rates holding steady and the news from the Federal Reserve, 2019 is definitely the year to consider taking the leap and making that long awaited purchase. It’s an investment that will continue to pay off in dividends for many years to come.

If you have additional questions or would like to learn more about what loan programs would be right for you, give us a call today at 480-759-1500.

We would love to help you turn hope into a home!

How To Win in Real Estate… Long Term

We sat down with Jason Crittenden of Realty One Group for part two of our video marketing series. Jason is a multi-million dollar producer ranked in the top 1% of agents in the United States and an East Valley expert. His video marketing practices have been so instrumental in propelling his business to the next level that he started his own video marketing company, Permanent Estate Media. Below, he shares a little about his views on real estate videos and the importance of incorporating it in your overall marketing strategy.

There are a lot of ways to do a lot of things; of that I have no doubt. You can build a business calling expired listings and FSBO’s. That works, but it’s not very fun.

You can build a business by holding mega open houses three to four times a week. That really does work! But again, not very fun.

You can pay third party platforms to provide lead generation, and that can yield some success, but like the others, is definitely not fun.

For me personally, the way to build a business in real estate has, and always will be, with referral business. There is no better feeling than hearing prospective new clients call and say, “John told me I should call you.”

Besides referral business, what other business should you be intentional about pursuing? Are you leaving money on the table? The answer, if you’re not doing consistent video, is absolutely!

Here’s why. A couple of years ago, I committed to producing 4K ultra HD cinematic listing videos for all of my personal listings. It was a Christian decision, to be honest. I believe all humans deserve the best service, regardless of how much they are paying me. From mobile homes to mansions, we spent money on producing the best quality photos and video for every listing.

However, like many principles, they sometimes have unintended consequences. I started getting more calls from strangers asking me to list their home, and to help them buy a house. Where were they coming from? How did they find me?

What I found is that these clients were seeing my listing videos on Facebook or Zillow and thinking “I want that kind of agent representing me.” I was starting to gain a reputation as a professional in my space, all because of a commitment to deliver high quality video. What started out as just a video for marketing my client’s listings, quickly turned into brand growth and recognition for my company.

As a bonus, when I went on these “cold” listing appointments, I never lost when going up against other agent interviews. When sellers listed their home, they always listed with me. Why? Because the other agents showed up with just the standard listing materials: comps, numbers and photos. The sellers saw my listing presentation and professional videos and in their mind, there was no comparison. All three agents are charging the same commission, but only one agent (me) is spending money on high quality videos and photos that will sell their home faster and for top dollar. Choosing me was a no brainer for the sellers.

Bottom line, video marketing has been a game changer for my business all because of the decision to shoot quality cinematic videos for every listing. I went from $250K in GCI to $500k in just two years and you can too. What I’ve learned is that the investment of $20-30k a year in production costs yielded $200-$250k in new business. That’s more than 733% ROI.

The overall takeaway is if you make the investment in your clients, your business will undoubtedly flourish. I’ve experienced it firsthand in my business and know the same can happen for you.

Jason Crittenden – Jason Crittenden Team at Realty ONE Group and CEO of PERMANENT ESTATE Media

Tax season is here but there’s still time to get a few more deductions in for 2018!

Tax season is here but there is still time to get a few more deductions in for 2018! Did you know that you can still make a donation to your favorite charity and get a credit for your 2018 taxes? Need help deciding on a worthy cause? There are several amazing organizations here in Arizona with the Chandler Compadres being one that is near and dear to my heart. If you have any questions about the Charitable Organization Credit, feel free to give me a call and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Here are a few online resources with more tax deductions tips and information:

AZ Department of Revenue

AZ Charitable & School Tax Credits

– Matt Askland, 480-759-1500

 

 

Real Estate Video Marketing: You Need It and Here’s Why

Video Marketing is more important than ever for Real Estate Professionals in 2019 and there are several reasons why.  We will start with a few stats and move to the heart and soul of why video is taking over the industry.

-Instagram recently reported 500 million people watch Stories every day.

-YouTube has 2 billion monthly active users.

– LinkedIn is rolling out live video.

-Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year.

-Video marketers achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness.

What’s the key take away? Around two-thirds of marketers are using videos for marketing; you can’t afford to be left out. Also, humans retain 58% more information when we are shown HOW to do something.

I would like to share some valuable info from our friends over at Hub Media. They are leaders in the real estate video world and I have seen their success stories first hand.

Most real estate agents are using some variety of video in their business whether that be Facebook live or professional cinematic home tours, but using video is something still relatively new to many agents. Facebook Is the logical place to put your videos when marketing properties for sale but there is a problem: FB is a horrible search engine, it’s hard enough for you to find a post you did on your own page a few weeks ago so imagine how challenging it can be for others to find your best content. Facebook is a place where consumers discover content by accident where as other platforms like Google and YouTube are on purpose.  Real estate agents need to clearly establish their value in the eyes of the consumer by creating high quality, unique and valuable content consumers are searching for online.

 Video is very effective when used properly to educate and inform consumers, market properties for sale, build brands and much more. Whether you are a savvy video pro or just getting your toes wet, there are some videos that are essential for every real estate professional.

 1.The Home Page/About Us Video – Personally connect with potential prospects and customers

2.Tips and How To Videos – Show your expertise and experience without bragging.

3.The Community Video – Most know which community they want to live in. These not only show your expertise on a community but also to help you get found online.

4.Testimonial Videos – These are the 21st century version of the written testimonial and are the ultimate form of social proof which humans are easily influenced by.

5.Cinematic Property Tour Video – This video will help the consumer mentally move in to the property, and because the real estate agent is in the video introducing the property it is priceless face time at the exact moment the consumer cares most about what you have to say!

6.Facebook Live Videos – When it comes to marketing, your product (YOU) needs to be at a place everyone visits frequently. Facebook is where we accidentally discover content. Facebook live videos, when done effectively, can create valuable engagement.

7.Video Email – This shows the personal side of you, bringing consumers closer. Did you know people are 80% more likely to do business with people they can see compared to only speaking on the phone or through email?

Real estate agents are busy and this may seem like a lot to take on, but believe me, it is worth it. Video marketing can change your business, which will change your life. Vacations, retirement? Video will help get you there.  For more information on video marketing, please visit Hub Media’s blog https://hubmediacompany.com/blog/ or reach out to them at 480.223.8113. They would love to help.

Fall in Love With Your Home Again

Loan Options for those Looking to Downsize

(5 min read)

Over the past decade, Baby Boomers (those born from 1944 to 1964) have been the generation to watch both as consumers and home buyers.  Although a shift is taking place and many industries (including real estate) are beginning to focus on the Millennial generation – their housing needs, preferences and purchasing behavior — the Boomers still represent a significant portion of overall home sellers and buyers in 2019. Why? With their children out of the house, many Boomers are looking to downsize.

While they may be looking to transition into smaller homes, they still expect the same high-end amenities, finishes and offerings that come standard in a larger multifamily residence, and complements their modern, active lifestyle.

In this article, we’re sharing a couple of tips for those Baby Boomers looking to downsize, as well as mortgage options that complement their next forever home.

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages hit the scene in 1961 and really gained popularity in 2018. It is a type of loan available to homeowners that are 62 years of age or older and have a high amount of equity built up in their current home. Borrowers are not required to make monthly principal and interest payments to their bank or lender, as they would be required to do with a traditional purchase or refinance mortgage. Instead, their bank or lender pays them in a lump sum(s) or via a line of credit based on their home’s equity.

Why is this a good option for the Modern Boomer? Picture a couple that would love to find a smaller home with less maintenance, etc.  They no longer need to live in the best school district and want a lifestyle that allows them the freedom to travel and be more active. The amount of equity they have in their current home, although high, may not allow them to buy a small house or townhome outright because of their desired area’s higher home values.  A reverse mortgage would allow them the opportunity to purchase the home they want, and still have money left over to travel because they are receiving their equity as additional income vs. rolling it into a traditional purchase.

 

Condos

Many of today’s higher-end condo communities offer a variety of upscale amenities to complement their convenient location and accessibility – making it  a very desirable option for the modern Boomer. However, it has been difficult in the past to acquire a loan on a condo because of factors like community occupancy percentage (how many units are owner occupied versus investment properties) and HOA status – including financial reserves and arrearages. Good news, tools like Freddie Macs Condo Project Advisor now lets the buyer request unit-level exceptions for existing condominium projects early in the loan origination process so condo sales and financing are more streamlined.

There are many finance options available to homebuyers looking to downsize.  If you have questions regarding any of the loan programs mentioned above, be sure to contact a Cardinal Financial expert today at 480-759-1500 and we’ll be happy to assist in finding your client a solution that works best for their lifestyle.

Tips for Choosing the Right Realtor

(2 min read)

Tips For Choosing the Right Realtor

A record number of Americans are gearing up to buy their first homes.  This is a big decision that can bring a lot of questions including the big one. How do I choose the right realtor? We can help with that! Read below for simple tips that will help you find the best real estate agent.  Here’s a hint: the tools you need are actually right in front of you.

 

Ask Around

Just like recommending your favorite local coffee shop, word of mouth recommendations are still the best way to go to begin curating your list. Ask friends and family for realtor references especially if they are recent buyers. It’s important to note that just because a realtor might have been a good fit for someone you know, they still may not be the right one for you.

 

Find Your Neighborhood

Decide on the areas that you are interested in living in and narrow down your potential realtor list based on that.  You can research this online or drive those neighborhoods and take note of the realtors selling homes there. Working with an agent who has experience in successful sales in the area you want to live will put you several steps ahead.

 

Google!

It’s time to find out more about your potential prospects. Do a few Google searches to get to know their online persona.  As a first time home buyer, pick a realtor who is experienced and knowledgeable, but also current and fresh. Does it seem like they know the area you are interested in?  If they have a website, is it modern and up-to-date? Are they active on social media and post regularly? Do they offer relevant content that is helpful and coincides with your vision? A realtor who takes the time to continue learning about the growing market trends is someone you want on your side.

 

Be a Boss

Make a list of real estate questions that are important to you regarding your house hunt.  Ask them to explain the home buying process and add anything that you expect from your realtor (i.e. preferred method of communication, how often you would like updates).  Being honest about your expectations from the beginning will pave the way for a smooth buying experience. Meet your potential realtor for coffee or just give them a quick call. Do you feel that they are genuine in the advice and information they are offering you? Are they approachable and outgoing? Someone who is outgoing is most likely confident and confidence is definitely a characteristic you want when choosing a realtor. At the end of the day, go with your gut. And remember, they work for you.

Buying a first home is a significant milestone. Take your time when selecting who will help you make this major financial and emotional decision. Just don’t forget to have fun and enjoy this time, too! You’re only a first-time home buyer once!

If you need help finding the right realtor for you, call us.  Cardinal Financial AZ has worked closely with hundreds of realtors and will be able to recommend the right fit for you. Call 480-759-1500 or email matt.askland@cardinalfinancial.com to talk about your options!