HomeownerThe Dennis Difference June 30, 2022

9 Ways to Rethink Your Landscaping for Severe Weather

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HomeownerThe Dennis Difference June 1, 2022

4 Ways to Give Your Kitchen Personality

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HomeownerThe Dennis Difference May 5, 2022

Smart Home Security Gets Even Smarter — and Easier

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CommunityThe Dennis Difference April 29, 2022

The Blueberry Festival

 

We are so excited to share that the annual Brooksville Blueberry Festival made its way back to historic downtown Brooksville this year! The family fun festival which made its debut in 2012, had a strong turnout this year with over 300 vendors and more than 10,000 attendees. 

Did you know that Florida is the 8th largest producer of blueberries in the nation? It’s true and is why the little blue gem has its very own festival! This year’s festival showcased all things blueberry from desserts like pie, cheesecake, & shortcake to decadent jams & honey and that’s not all. Local blueberry wine and beer vendors were onsite as well as vendors selling plants and of course, fresh picked blueberries! 

Dennis Realty, having an office located in beautiful downtown Brooksville, was proud to participate in this fun-filled event and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing agents who organized our booth and pulled everything together!

Please join us in giving a HUGE “Thank You” to Paul Sturdgess-Hayes, Lori Mostoufi, Pam Ritz, Rita Haugabrook, Tracy Echols, Sara Oquendo and Lucy Thomas for representing us all and showing the Brooksville community what the Dennis Difference is all about. Paul, who turned out to be our emcee as well as the voice of Dennis Realty on 103.9 FM The Boot & 99.9 WXJB Radio, did a fabulous job hyping up the event and we hope to hear him on the radio again soon!

As a result of our agents’ efforts, we are excited to announce that they raised over $250 for the Dennis Realty Cares charity program by selling raffle tickets for prizes donated by ABC Dennis Insurance & Arrow Title!

We hope to see everyone at the Brooksville Blueberry Festival next year but until then we invite you to stop by our Dennis Realty Brooksville office or any of our other offices in the Tampa Bay area!
Real EstateThe Dennis Difference April 28, 2022

Understand What Goes into House Prices in a Competitive Market

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Selling!The Dennis Difference December 16, 2021

TOP 5 HOME UPDATES TO INCREASE RESALE VALUE

Your home is an investment! In order to ensure that you get top dollar when it’s time to sell, it’s important that the obvious things like the HVAC, roof, and overall structure are in good shape. To make your home even more attractive to potential buyers, think about things that can be done that are immediately visible to the naked eye. Realtor Magazine reported these top 5 projects from a recent poll from Homelight.com, where they asked a group of real estate professional their opinions on the best remodeling projects to do before selling a home.

 

1. Painting

  • Average project cost: $954 to $2,893 (depending on location, paint type, and labor)

Stick with neutral colors throughout, like whites, beiges, or soft grays. “It’s fine when there’s an accent wall or whatever; that’s different,” MaryBeth Harrison, a real estate professional in Dallas, told HomeLight. “But when every room’s a different color …  that’s cheap to fix with paint.” More than half of real estate professionals surveyed by HomeLight said they advise sellers to paint their interiors before listing. Some of the most popular colors: Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray and Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.

2. Keep flooring consistent

  • To install carpet: $789 to $2,794
  • To install hardwood floors: $2,493 to $6,754
  • To install vinyl floors: $800 to $2,900

Real estate pros may be more likely to recommend this house project if the home has several different kinds of flooring throughout. A more uniform flooring look—one or two types—can be more appealing to buyers. Real estate pros say that many buyers may expect hardwood floors or premium vinyl. But not all carpeting has to go. However, many real estate pros do suggest removing any dated carpet, like those in bright colors, as well as any stained or worn carpet.

3. Brighten the kitchen

  • Average project cost: $382 to $1,064 (depending on equipment and labor); $2 to $20 per piece of hardware

White-colored kitchens remain the most popular. They can brighten the look of the space. “What the buyers are looking for today is white and clean—they just want clean,” Harrison told HomeLight. “It doesn’t have to be stark white. But they just want a clean palette.”

Dated kitchen cabinets can be painted by a pro for a quick fix. If the kitchen has other colors throughout, real estate pros recommend painting the walls white to try to brighten the space. Also, kitchen cabinets can get an upgrade with new hardware, such as hand pulls.

4. Replace dated countertops and appliances

  • Average project cost: $40 to $100 per square foot for new countertops (depending on material); $1,360 to $19,050 for appliances

Dated appliances and countertops can turn off buyers. If replacing the countertop, Harrison suggests a bright, monochromatic look, such as a gray or white countertop made of granite, marble, or quartz. Butcher block countertops could be a more cost-effective option. Harrison advises against brown or multicolored granite, which she says can date a home. She also recommends not replacing a countertop if the rest of the kitchen has not been upgraded and is dated. New countertops will look out of place.

5. Hire a professional cleaner for your bathroom

  • Average project cost: $70 to $85 per hour for a professional

A thorough cleaning of the bathroom can make a big difference, and often a professional cleaner can do the most thorough job. Pay attention to tile grout lines and any signs of mildew.

 

These are just a few things you can do to make your home look fresh and updated but you don’t need to do them all. Our agents would love to help you do a run through of what your home might need to get it ready for the market!

 

Source: “What to Remodel Before Selling Your Home: 9 Light-Lift Projects“, HomeLight.com (Nov. 1, 2021), “Top 5 Remodeling Projects to Boost Resale Value“, Realtor Magazine (Nov. 22, 2021)

 

HomeownerThe Dennis Difference July 16, 2021

5 WAYS TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR SUMMER TRAVEL

Summer is a time for slowing down and taking it easy especially if you have school-aged children. Planning a summer vacation can be stressful enough and ensuring that your home is in good shape while you’re away will help ease some of that stress. Here are a few tips to help you get your home ready!

SHUT THE WATER OFF AT THE MAIN LINE

No one wants to worry about plumbing leaks while they’re away for an extended period of time.  Turning the water off at the main line will help prevent any leaks that may occur which could result in water damage and expensive repair bills.  After turning the water off at the main line, run all of the faucets until all of the water is out of the pipes. If you’re not sure how to find the main line, you’re not alone. This article from Bob Vila explains it all!

 

UTILIZE SMART SECURITY OPTIONS

Ding Dong!  Who’s there? These days it’s pretty easy to install smart security features like a doorbell or motion detecting security cameras that record activity on your property.  Utilizing these types of tools allow you access to any activity while you’re away and, in some cases, allow you to communicate directly with someone on the other side.  Not sure which one to get?  Here’s a list of the best doorbells for 2021 from Good Housekeeping. Other items that may prove useful are timer-based switch plugs that will turn on and off based on your settings, so you can set lights or radios to come on at certain times of the day or night.

 

SET THE THERMOSTAT

You definitely want to leave the AC running while you’re gone but it should be set to a few degrees higher than it would be if you were home.  Keeping the AC running will prevent mold and mildew from forming and keep any kind of musty smells at bay.  Setting the temp a few degrees higher will ensure that the unit runs but will also reduce the energy use since it won’t be running as often.

 

POOL MAINTENANCE

If you have a pool, you’ll want to make sure that the filter is cleaned before you go and that the chlorine tablets are added.  Additionally, make sure to turn the heater off if you have one so that you’re not wasting money heating the water while you’re gone.  Brushing the pool and doing a thorough cleaning will also help mitigate the possibility of coming back to an overly dirty pool.  Here’s everything you need to know to get your pool ready!

 

CLEAN THE KITCHEN

Cleaning out the refrigerator and taking out the trash are probably the easiest things you can do to ensure you come back to a pleasant-smelling home. Do a quick clean out of the fridge and gather trash from all areas before you go.  You’ll be happy you did!

These are just a few things you can do to prep your home for your absence, but you may want to consider having someone come by to check on things if you have that option. Everyone has different scenarios like pets or plants, so check out this thorough list from HGTV for more ideas on getting your home ready for summer vacation!

Buying!The Dennis Difference June 13, 2021

5 TECHNIQUES TO GET YOUR OFFERS ACCEPTED

Presenting the most competitive offer in today’s market can be frustrating and can make you feel like you’re in the 5th round of a boxing match! As we all know, “cash is king”, so Cash offers are generally going to be dominantly accepted over Conventional and VA offers.  To overcome this daunting task, we’ve enlisted the advice of one of our top experts, Nicole Parker, to get her input on how to present a competitive offer and get your buyers’ offers accepted!

Nicole utilizes 5 different techniques in order to land the knockout and make sure that her offers not only stand out, but get accepted.  Let’s dig in!

TBD LOAN APPROVAL

Ask the lender if your buyer can go through a TBD approval, meaning that the home address is “To Be Determined”.  This process allows the lender to go a step further in the pre-approval process by putting the buyer through the initial underwriting process. This way your buyer is already approved for the loan, pending conditions to be met such as appraisal and inspections. Once the appraisal is completed the buyer can be submitted back to underwriting to obtain a “clear to close”, cutting the approval process down to close within 2-3 weeks.

If the lender can’t do a TBD Loan Approval, they may be willing to write a letter to potential sellers explaining the lendability of your buyer. This additional reassurance can be helpful to hear for a seller, putting them at ease to know the deal will not fall through due to a financing issue.

SHORTENING THE INSPECTION PERIOD

On the contract you can give your buyer up to 15 days to have inspections completed and do their due diligence before being “locked in”. During that time frame the buyer can back out of the contract for any reason, which makes sellers nervous. If you can present an offer with a smaller inspection period window, such as 5-7 days, that is less time for your buyer to back out and puts a seller’s mind at ease.

INCREASED ESCROW DEPOSIT

Instead of the usual $1,000 deposit, have your buyer deposit a larger amount into Escrow.  Nicole recommends $2,500-$5,000 depending on the list price of the property. This shows the seller that your buyer has more stability as far as cash flow, and proves the buyer is serious about doing what it takes to move forward with the purchase of their property. These funds are held in Escrow by the Title Company and are applied towards the purchase price at closing anyways. So, while it’s really the same out of pocket to the buyer, having a larger Escrow deposit gives the seller more piece of mind.

LARGER DOWN PAYMENT

If your buyer is doing a VA or USDA loan, they may not have additional cash to put down, but suggesting to them that putting any additional cash down is a good idea.  This will make their offer more appealing because it shows that the buyer isn’t strapped financially and is able to make things work, especially if there is a problem with the appraisal, repairs with a roof, or something else. This proves to the seller that there is room for negotiating and they aren’t going to be left having to pay out of pocket for repairs or drop the price due to an appraisal issue to make the deal work. A little “wiggle room” is always more appealing to a seller.

APPRAISAL CONTINGENCIES

In a more “normal” market paying over appraised value out of pocket is not advised. However, right now while things are still climbing it may be necessary to advise your buyer to pay out of pocket should the home not appraise for the contracted price.

Nicole says that she has written contracts stating that the buyer will pay up to XXX amount out of pocket to meet the appraised value, so that the seller doesn’t have to drop the price to get the deal to go through. For example, if the contract price on the home is $275,000 and the appraisal comes back at $270,000, the buyer would bring cash to make up the difference.

Having said that, Nicole says that she does not advise going over $5,000 but that using this technique does help in having a leg up on the competition. If the home appraises at value, it is a non-issue, but definitely reassures the seller that if that problem arises, they won’t lose money by having to drop the list price.

We think these techniques are extremely smart and will assist in getting your offers accepted!  A special “thank you” to Nicole Parker for sharing her knowledge and expertise on this subject. Nicole is located in our Hernando Beach office and is available if you would like to discuss these topics further.

At Dennis Realty we genuinely believe in educating our agents and our clients so if you have questions, we would love to hear from you. It’s part of what we call “The Dennis Difference” and we invite you to come experience it!

Real EstateThe Dennis Difference May 11, 2021

MASTERING THE ART OF ORGANIC LEAD GENERATION

As a real estate agent, you have most likely encountered difficulties finding new listings in the current market. While buyers are scrambling to put together competitive offers, buyer’s agents are searching high and low for available listings.   

Many agents are wondering when the market will shift to a state of “normalcy,” or if this is the “new normal”.  Which leads us to pose this question, “what if you could find success within the current market?”.  A new perspective combined with an accelerated focus on discipline may be just the thing to help you grow as an agent!

From a recent interview with RPR and Bruce Inman, a broker/associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Bruce shares his innovative approach to generating leads to help grow your business. His approach is rooted in developing relationships by using what he calls “The Daily Five”.

So, what is “The Daily Five” and how can it work for you?  Well, it starts with discipline, consistency, and a well-defined system of finding your target market.  Bruce shares that his approach begins with targeting prospective clients and says that “every day, seven days a week, I mail out five Seller’s Reports to prospective clients”.  He went on to say that “I’ve been doing this for four years, and I know for a fact that it works.”

Sounds pretty simple right?  Well, the good news is that it is so, let’s get into the details of Bruce’s Daily Five!

  1. Each day search for expired and terminated listings. Then, using a map, search for homes near properties where you’ve had a listing. Using that as a radius, look for properties that meet your criteria.
  2. Check the tax records to determine how long the current owners have owned the property. If the length of ownership is 10-20 years and the mortgage isn’t upside down, add it to your list of prospective clients.
  3. Repeat the search until you have identified 5 properties and then create a property report to send to the prospects. Bruce uses the RPR Seller’s Reports for this and says that he removes any unnecessary pages so that it’s not too big or overwhelming. Generally, he says that he tries to keep the report to 10 pages.  Be sure to customize the cover page to include your picture, branding, contact information, and a custom introduction message.  In addition, he says that including a current market analysis is extremely beneficial as it gives the prospective sellers an idea of what their home is worth.
  4. Once you have your report, have it bound at a print shop and mail it with at least two business cards. He suggests that you handwrite the address to give it a personal touch and says that this technique really resonates with people.  Inman says that “…the personal touch of handwriting the address has a huge emotional impact…and people keep these reports around, because it’s about their home”.   Bruce also says to be patient noting that “one couple called me two years after I sent it, and when we met in person, it was right there on their coffee table.”

 

So, there you have it, your Daily 5! As with most things, taking the first step is the most challenging but with the right mindset and discipline you too can reap the rewards! This approach to generating your own organic leads is paramount to the success of your business and is one that we suggest trying.  The main lesson to success is exactly what Mr. Inman states – “you have to be consistent, and stick to doing it every day, and don’t get frustrated if you don’t see immediate results. It took me six months until I got a response, and then they just kept coming.”

If you are interested in learning more about generating leads or have ideas to share, we would love to hear from you.  At Dennis Realty, we provide weekly training on a variety of subjects for our agents, and we have an unmatched support team to help you create your own success story.  Find out more about what we offer at joindennisrealty.com.

RPR is an exclusive property data tool provided by The National Association of REALTORS®. Get started today at narrpr.com or visit the RPR Learning Center to access free webinar sign ups, on-demand tutorials and helpful printable guides.

Source:  McGuire, Beth, “Connect With Prospects and Leads Using the ‘Daily Five’ MethodRISMedia, 4 May 2021.

Real EstateThe Dennis Difference April 4, 2021

EXPAND YOUR REAL ESTATE NETWORK WITH THESE PRACTICAL TIPS

Success in real estate is in direct correlation to your network of potential clientele and without it, continued success in the industry may be difficult. Today, the way we interact with others is changing, and coming up with new ways to connect with your clients can be challenging. Marketing yourself as the agent that your clients can trust is key to gaining the business that you’re striving for.

To stand out from the seemingly endless sea of real estate agents out there, it is vital to market your individual personality.  Your personal brand is your voice in the marketplace and is how most people get to know you before they actually meet you.  To help build your personal brand consider the following questions:

      • What characteristics do you possess that are likely to help you attract clients?
      • How does your personality play a part in your business marketing strategies?
      • How can you relate your hobbies and interests to your clients / potential clients?

These types of questions are important to consider when developing your marketing strategy.  After all, being a Realtor is about more than selling homes, it’s about building relationships!  So, making your personality known will have a lasting impact on the people you interact with.  The easiest way to start is to add your contacts to your social media network.  Then begin making regular posts about yourself, your business, and your community in order build an online presence and keep your name top of mind.  It is important that when marketing your business or answering questions, to make sure that you interact in ways that are relatable to your audience in order to provide a sense of comfort and trust. When the time comes, your clients will know who to call! 

We know it sounds easy but sometimes making connections is tough.  So, how do you start making those new connections?  We’re glad you asked!

There are plenty of ways to meet people in day-to-day life who may need your assistance in real estate! Start with who you already know and tell them to spread the word about your career in real estate. The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World has put together a list of different categories of client sources you can use to build your clientele that you may not have thought of.  Here are a few!

THE DEPENDABLES

Relatives! Isn’t it about time to send Aunt Betty a note – how about nieces and nephews, now married and fast approaching the homebuying age? Do they know you can help them?

THE ORGANIZERS

The neighbor you depend on to let you know about a zoning change, the change in the bus route, the school closing, why the street is torn up. Not only is your neighbor in the know about civic matters, but in the course of getting in on protest meetings, gets to know a lot about the neighborhood. He’s probably heard many times, “Well, I’m moving so I don’t care what they do in this neighborhood anymore!” And there is your cue.

THE ADVERTISERS

A large percentage of garage sales are the direct result of a transfer. Moving sales are a dead giveaway. While the local paper can give the subtle agent a chance at a referral (or potential listing), actually attending the sale and offering referral services on a direct basis may prove more effective and worth your time. Who knows, they may be selling the “white elephant” of your dreams…

THE ENLISTED REFERRALS

Military personnel commonly move all over the country with regularity. Wouldn’t it make their job so much simpler to have a good relocation service to assist?

THE CURE-ALL REFERRALS

With the vast number of people involved in the medical field, surely you must have overlooked an acquaintance that might introduce you to the personnel manager of one of the local hospitals. It is common knowledge that doctors usually move on an average of every two years during the early part of their careers.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can make initial contact with potential clients and start building your business. If you’re interested in taking your career in real estate to the next level with innovative ideas, continuous training, and outstanding support, check us out!  We’ve been building relationships for over 45 years and invite you to come experience The Dennis Difference!