Will Social Media Be the Death of Me?

April 13, 2011

I’m sitting in Agent Reboot in Dallas. Awesome stuff….too awesome. I am the type of person that will want to do it all. So I come to these great events motivated and excited, but usually leave overwhelmed and blurry eyed. Not this time, I’m going to take only three things and focus on getting them down perfectly! Second, I will hire a pro social media guru! My question is when is enough enough……we have all these gadgets and mobile devices that tend to overwhelm our daily schedule.

Developer Helps Veterans to get a New Start

September 20, 2010

Bluegreen Communities has partnered with NAPE Expo and Classic Custom Homes to provide five lots and homes at The Bridges at Preston Crossings through Operation Finally Home. The first two families to receive these homes are Sgt. 1st Class Alan Hornaday and his wife, Sheila, and Sgt. Levi Wilson Jr. and his wife, Katie. Both families will be attending the ground breaking cerebration, which will include food, horseback rides, kayaking and fishing. The celebration will be held at The Bridges Ranch House located at 17970 FM 121 in Gunter, Texas. The additional recipients of the remaining three homes will be announced in the spring.

The Bridges is a master planned community located only 50 min north of Dallas and offers a 18-hole golf course, equestrian center, 24 acre lake, and walking trails. For more information about the program or community please visit http://www.bridgestexas.com.

“Living in Gunter” By Melanie

June 29, 2010

My family and I relocated to Texas about 2 ½ years ago and deciding to live in Gunter, it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Our criteria were that we had to find a house within an hour’s commute to my husbands workplace, a good high school, and we wanted and acre of land. We got that and so much more. We were lucky enough to find a small friendly town that has an exemplary school district, great access to Frisco, McKinney, Sherman and also less than an hour from Dallas Fort Worth international airport. Gunter has retained that rural feel whilst still being relatively close to the bigger cities.
When I first moved here, the drive to the grocery store, or the mall – let’s face it just about anywhere, did seem like a long way, but as time has gone on, the drive seems shorter. When I arrive in Frisco or Plano, the traffic irritates me and I can’t wait to get back on Highway 289 and see the wide stretch of open road with green fields, sweet little calves, and some wonderful views as you approach Celina. By the time I arrive home, I am relaxed and de-stressed from driving to the big city!!

The people of Gunter are so friendly and welcoming. My girls were both looked after by the staff and students of Gunter High school and welcomed with open arms. All the kids know each other and look out for each other. Most of them have been through their whole school lives together but they have treated our girls as if they have lived here forever. We were astounded on our first tour of the school to find no locks on the lockers – that feeling of trust and looking out for one another is very evident. I love football season, where Friday nights at the high school is the place to be. The atmosphere gives you that warm fuzzy feeling… As you get to the school you can see the smoke arising from the grill, cars looking for a parking spot and groups of people walking towards the bright lights of the football field with their blankets.
Even the Gunter Police are very welcoming. You can often see them just as you arrive in Gunter as they welcome you into Gunter or wave goodbye as you are leaving.
Would I trade the wide open space and friendly town of Gunter for the conveniences of living in a larger city with its heavy traffic and countless stoplights? – Never.

Discount Brokers: The True Cost of Savings

June 28, 2010

Crossed eyes: check, weird face: check, gang sign: check. That's my Princess

With my daughter’s new found freedom of dressing herself, sometimes we get Holloween in June. I spent the better part of the weekend cataloging photos in my new iMac, don’t hate, and she was helping me with the Pumpkin Patch photos we took. This, believe it or not, led me to write this blog. That and the phone call I had the day before with a gentleman that signed up with a Discount Broker. I spent a great deal of time with him on the phone to get to know more about the decision not to use a Realtor and go with a Broker. I have heard this conversation before, I think we all have at one time or another. It goes something like this,” I needed to sell my home, wanted to save some money, saw an ad, yada yada, haven’t heard from them in 6mo.” Now, The Kinsey Group was able to help this man, but this is where it get’s scary and a wee bit exciting. Let’s start with scary. This gentleman, we’ll call him Vic, as in tor not tim, signed the standard 6mo Listing agreement, never saw them or heard from them again, and still had not sold his home despite it being “Active” on the market for 298 days. I’ll wait while you re-read that last sentence. Sign in yard for almost a year, 6mo agreement, no renewal, and no contact. This led me to do a little research. This is what I found. Some Scary, Some Funny, Some really Exciting!!

Saving Money is the number one motivation for people to go to a discount broker.

Flat-fee listing policies. This brokerage takes all listings at a flat rate, paying a cooperating fee on top of that amount to selling brokers. That cooperating fee is also paid by the seller. You might see a brokerage ad offering to list your house at a fee of $2,000. Somewhere in the tiny print, if it’s disclosed at all, will be a disclaimer that this fee is exclusive of the fee paid to the selling broker. This type of advertising is misleading to the consumer.

Small percentage-fee listing policies Some brokers advertise it will take a listing for 1% or 2%. Again, many of these brokers don’t draw attention to the fact that the selling broker, in most instances, is still paid an additional fee by the seller.

Buyer commission rebates You can also find real estate agents who advertise that if you hire one of them to buy a home, the company will credit the buyer a percentage of its commission or a flat-fee at closing. This money comes from the fee the seller pays the broker who presents the buyer.

Generally, a company that elects to give away part of its income to buyers does so in the hopes that it will attract such a huge volume of business that it won’t miss the money. You may or may not receive individualized attention and service due to increasing pressure on these low-profit companies to keep the business coming in the door.

Graduated fee policies These brokers offer a cornucopia of fees and services, depending on the type of representation and work required. For example, if you think you can sell your home without any assistance from the listing broker, you might be able to work out an arrangement for MLS input only. This means the broker will put your home into the multiple listing service but take no phone calls from agents, will not show your home, nor put a sign in the yard or advertise it elsewhere. Some MLS groups prohibit this practice, but it’s done anyway.

On the other hand, if you want the listing broker to handle increased responsibilities, the fee will go up, but it will still be less than most full-service brokerages charge.

Reduced fees in exchange for another transaction
A few brokerages subscribe to the theory that two in the bush is better than one in the hand. If you agree to buy a home through the listing brokerage instead of hiring a selling agent, many times the broker will reduce the listing commission fee.

Now I liked the facts of this article, the few that there were. What was dis-heartening is the misleading side of this article. Read from a consumer’s point of view, it gives you the sense that selling your home is as easy as slapping a rusty sign in the yard, a handshake, and BAM, house sold. The last line of the article was the clincher. It is just below.

Of interesting note, the National Association of Realtors reports that the average seller in 2006 earned 24% more on the sale of their home by working with a Realtor than did sellers who sold on their own without representation. That percentage was 16% in 2005.

Anyone shocked yet? Now in this article it gave a list of Discount Brokers. So, before the hate mail starts, let me just say that I was very curious to understand how these places work. I’m The Rook, I want to know. So I went through all the ones on this list. I have posted the following information straight from the websites that I found. You can judge if this information is true, not true, or wanting you to get Lasik (little fuzzy).

The truth is that most real estate agents don’t allow you much say, if any, in marketing your property, let alone setting the asking price. Newspaper ads are a one time shot and many online classified sites have tight restrictions on the amount of text you can add.

*cough* Facebook*cough*

A real estate agent can sell your home for you, but you will give up 6% of your home’s value. ForSaleByOwner.com provides you with guidance and support that makes it easy for you to sell or buy a home with our Home Selling Workbook, Instructional DVD and eBook, pricing reports and other helpful resources. We help you price, prepare, and market your home, negotiate with buyers and take the necessary steps to complete the sale while saving thousands of dollars.

Why give 6% to a real estate agent when you can do it yourself? If you are willing and committed to educating yourself, returning calls from buyers and showing your property yourself, you can sell your property without the help of an agent. ForSaleByOwner.com makes it easy to sell “For Sale By Owner” and with our help you can save thousands!

Our how-to workbook will teach you how to handle buyer contacts, show your property and follow up with prospective buyers. We’ll give you an open house checklist and sign-in sheet so that you can host a professional open house.
As you receive offers and counteroffers, our workbook makes it easy. We’ll provide you with tips on negotiating with buyers and explain what to do when a buyer makes an offer.

Full-Time job: 40+hours a week, Average Hours Spent Selling a home:40+, Having a Realtor do that for you: Priceless

http://www.——–.com is not a licensed real estate broker/agent and does not provide real estate brokerage services in connection with your property listings. Accordingly, all MLS listings are handled by an independent, local real estate broker/agent in your area who will contact you in order to contract with you separately, and that broker/agent will activate your MLS listing for you. The terms of any agreement between you and any independent real estate broker/agent are not endorsed, recommended or otherwise known to or by ———.com, Corp. All MLS listings require a buyer’s agency commission if a real estate broker assists you in finding a buyer. Neither the Service nor these Terms are a solicitation for a listing broker if your property is already listed with a broker. Georgia residents may be subject to a 0.12% MLS surcharge at close of escrow.

They recommend offering 2%-3% to the listing agent to sell the home (Don’t hurt each other fighting over that one).

Ok, so that was one. I priced out on their site to gauge an equal price. I played the frugal seller and used a $200K home offering 2% in the equation. It came out to about $7,500, Suweet!! Oh wait, there was also the signs I had to buy, the flyers I need to print, the calls I have to make, open houses I have to have, keeping the house clean, Super Mega Clean. And then there is that little thing called time.

But wait, There’s more

Now you can list your home or property in the same MLS used by Realtors without having to pay a listing commission. List by owner on the MLS with a flat fee MLS listing company like Bloomkey® and you can have the best of both worlds. More exposure to help you sell your home for the highest possible price and still retain the right to sell on your own and not pay a commission.

REALTOR is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Calculator savings examples assume Bloobloo flat listing fee comparison with traditional real estate companies charging a 6% commission. Product and service pricing may vary by geographic area and is subject to change from time to time without notice.

This one even offered me the opportunity to buy a lock box so that Realtors can show my home when I’m not there for $60. But how do I get them the code? I can’t be called at work.

We are the largest For Sale By Owner Site

We are the Largest FSBO site around

Come join the Largest For Sale By Owner site

We are the Largest For Sale By Owner Site

We have the largest network of websites to give you the best chance to sell your home

What makes us successful is the largest network of websites that your home will be showcased on

Hands down the largest network of sites working for you.

Ok, I didn’t just have a huge surge of ADD, I was just wanting to show that apparently the marketing for a lot of these websites is handled by the same firm.

Welll, Let’s review shall we. Out of the 15 sites a crawled over 5 of them were no longer there, 4 lead back to some very hard to navigate local newspaper type websites, and the rest were pretty nice with pictures, videos, and even Virtual People!! Did they have a savings? Oh, absolutely. No doubt. But they push that savings as the top selling point. Now, still being a bit new, I can see the shinyness of it all. I can understand why a typical, proud American that is internet savvy, can read these websites, do the math, and say,” I can do this”. But how many look 3mo into the future? We see the Market Data daily, and know which neighborhoods are selling every 30 days, and which are taking more time. Do these websites share that? No, in fact, one of them said the word “Zestimate” DAMN! If your not familiar with that term, then you should know that in the description of what that word means they use words like “zillions” and “unable to compute Zestimate“.
So, please, homeowners, do some homework, really do some homework on the process of Selling your home. When checking out what you gain with a Discount Broker, go that one step further and find out what you are losing. If your choice is to use them given all the information, go for it!! But seeing the look in someone eyes after they think they have been “in the market” only to find that, after a year, they are only “on the market”, is heartbreaking.

This Last part is a quote from Greg Healey, vice president of operations at ForSaleByOwner.com. Check it out! Realtors, check your blood pressure at the door. The second is the debate that he wages with a Real Estate Broker named Jay Thompson

Favorite Quote(NOT):

It sounds to me that you’re saying a real estate agent’s job is not all that difficult.

Healey: That’s true, and remember that a real estate agent license takes under two weeks to get. So after those two weeks, that person can be in charge of the selling or buying of a person’s home, which is one of the largest financial assets in a person’s life.

House Rumble: Do You Need An Agent
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Favorite comment:

most people don’t have the objectivity, knowledge, experience, skills, time, energy, or emotional stomach to navigate the painfully tortuous trail that the vast majority of real estate transactions turn out to be,…you better have a strong sense of self, family, and all your abilities before messing with, what will most likely turn out to be, the largest overall investment you will have in your life.

If you have more questions, please,PLEASE, find out from the people who deal with it daily, The Kinsey Group at 469-248-7653. You are also more than welcome to email your questions to TheRook@thekinseygroup.net.

For more information about how The Kinsey Group can help you or someone you know buy or sell a home, feel free to Search for and Follow “The Kinsey Group” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress.

Let’s Go Visit Savannah…..Texas

June 7, 2010

If you have a TV, and it happens to be on during the weekend; the chance, that you have watched Hot On Homes, is about as high as some of the Folks that attended the Jimmy Buffet Concert that came through Frisco, Tx a few days ago. OK, Let’s go one further, If you have ever watched Hot On Homes then I know that you have seen the Savannah community. In the last 12 episodes of Hot on Homes, Savannah and its homes have featured 46 times, It’s crazy! But amidst the craziness of work, traffic, and stress; Savannah is Magic!
It was a Bumpy Segue, but work with me. So we headed east on 380, this would have been about 6 years ago when we were first looking for a home, and I’m looking at a lot of corn fields, while keeping an eye out for the “Welcome to Oklahoma” sign or anything else that would resemble civilization. And then we see the Palm trees on the horizon, It was almost like coming up to an oasis. These huge trees growing the closer we get to this place.
The first thing you see, once you arrive at the main entrance, after the palm trees, is the Ginormous Clubhouse.
It is this spectacular 20,000 Sq.Ft. Building that has this cabana-plantation kind of vibe going on. They even had this Wilford Brimley type gentleman who stood at the front door to open it for you and welcome you to Savannah. What’s that you say? Who is Wilford Brimley? He is the old dude from the Quacker Oats Commercial and from Liberty Mutual that did all those Diabetes commercials. You got the picture in your head now? Excellent!! Moving on then. Inside of the clubhouse you will find a great open area for hosting all types of events and small parties that would have your guests peering out of the west wall which is comprised completely of glass doors. Down the hall you will find a unbelievable kitchen for giving cooking classes, and whatnot, and a little farther you hit the sauna, jacuzzi, and first floor of the gym. Upstairs on the second floor is where they keep all the treadmills and elliptical machine to get your cardio on!! The walk up the stairs to view the machines is enough for me. The Third Floor is a wonderful space where dance classes are given to young and old. Just opposite of the club house were these 9 really great looking model homes, that showcased the best of what the three builders had to offer.

Now, six years ago we didn’t have kids, life was grand! There was no automatic alarm clock that would wake you up at 5:30am just because they were thirsty, or the inadvertent memorization of “The Little Mermaid” due to the 500+ viewings. We wanted fun and adventure and This place had it going on. Great gym, Covered Basketball court, Tennis Courts, Greenbelts and walking trails, and that was just the features from the community. When it came to activities, we could enjoy Vegas Night, Superbowl Watching Parties, Outdoor festivals, and Cook-outs. We were sold! We bought our home and became one of the first 25 families in Savannah, Tx.
OK, Let’s flash forward to present day, two kids, 15 more pounds, and a shift in the market later, and Savannah has grown just as much as we have. The drive to get groceries doesn’t feel like the monthly journey it once was. Big Thanks to the Walmart that is now a wonderful 4 miles away. In fact, everything is a lot closer than it used to be, yea progress!!!
When it comes to activities, there is just as much to do now as there was then, but we experience Savannah in a whole new way because of our kids. The water park is absolutely amazing! With it’s beach entrance and plenty of space for the little ones to pretend Dad is a ride able Shamoo, and those times when the kids are visiting Nana and Grandpa. We can still enjoy Savannah’s Adult only swimming area for 18 and older. The Room that is for Dad to watch the Superbowl on three projection screens pulls double duty as the meeting place for story time for my wife and daughter. The streets are clean and safe, and while I may not know my neighbor, i know that my neighborhood is friendly and filled with great people.

If you have more questions, please,PLEASE, find out from the people that deal with it daily, The Kinsey Group at 469-248-7653. You are also more than welcome to email your questions to TheRook@thekinseygroup.net.

For more information about how The Kinsey Group can help you or someone you know buy or sell a home, feel free to Search for and Follow “The Kinsey Group” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress.

Remember What You should Never Forget.

May 31, 2010

To my Brothers and Sisters stationed here, stationed there,
in our chosen colors, across land, sea, and air.
I wanted to give thanks, give praise, and honor to you,
our Defenders of Freedom, the Strong, Brave, and few.
I remember you this day with a somewhat stinging Pride,
I remember those who continue the fight, and I mourn for those who died.

Always wanting to hear your stories, something more about your lives,
But I fear true courage and sacrifice seem dull amidst “Idols”, “Losers”, and “Housewives”.
Well, I shall not forget you, brothers, I keep you close to my heart
With echoes of cadence to motivate me, and “Taps” that tears me apart.
As I type this in my office, my wife and children lay fast asleep
Safe and Sound all thanks to you and that post you keep.
I sit in silence and shed my tears in awe of your dedication
Wishing you could join us in the family celebration.
I miss you, I salute you, I thank you
Spc. Esparza US ARMY 91’-95’

I’ll Give You a Penny for Your Thoughts, But the Floor Wants a Quarter.

May 26, 2010

So, I was in the Military for four years, and among the many adventures and great stories that I could share, this one has the most relevance. While stationed in Fulda, Germany, one of the highlights of the week was having the Brand Spanking new Recruits at the motor pool for the first time. Upon their arrival, the game of “Dink” was on! The rules of the game were simple: The highest ranking of us would instruct the privates to take a hammer and tap every square foot of a Hummer, Howitzer, or whatever so that they could listen for the “weak spots”. He would demonstrate and we would nod in agreement when he would hit one. The Privates were then instructed to circle the spot with a piece of white chalk. Whichever team had the most circles or had the new recruit go for the longest time won. AAhh memories!! So, now that you are wondering when the story will end or what this has to do with technology, real estate, or anything else but my trip down memory lane. Sometimes the best tech devices for finding things are the simplest.
3 out of every 5 homes in America have some kind of tile flooring, be it ceramic, slate, granite, or marble. As Staggering as that is, it pales in comparison when you realize that 5 out of 5 homes were built on land that is shifting to one degree or another. It’s True! So given these facts, here is your Kinsey Group Technology Tidbit for this issue: Go Low. I’m not talking about Boots with the fur, and who the club was looking at. I’m talking low tech. Get a quarter and roll it across the floor. I could tell you to go to a Hardware store and spend the money for the white Hockey puck they sell, but why? Surely, you can find a quarter. It goes a little something like this:

Concentrate on a few tiles at a time
Roll the quarter or slide it if need be
Listen for that “hollow” sound, and you will know when you here it trust me
Mark with a piece of tape or something removable (like more coins)
After the entire room is complete, survey the landscape, How did you do?
If you have, one or two scattered tiles, then put them bad boys on the list of things to fix on a weekend. If you have several in a row or a large section, then it might be time to call the Pros. Hollow sounding tile can be from any one of these

1. improper leveling of the concrete.
2. a moisture problem in the concrete.
3. improper mortar adhesive used.
4. not enough mortar adhesive used.
5. applying the mortar adhesive with an improper trowel.
6. not keeping the trowel clean, so when applying adhesive, an
uneven spread is applied.
7. not allowing any leveler applied to the concrete, to properly
set up, so it did not properly bond to the mortar adhesive.
8. an improper leveler used that was not compatable with the
mortar adhesive.
9. an improper underlayment used.
10. not allowing the mortar adhesive to properly set up either
before the tiles were installed, or allowing too much open time
for the mortar adhesive to set up resulting in little or no
proper bond of that adhesive to the back of the tile.
11. walking on the tiles too soon after the installation and/or
moving furniture and/or appliances back on the tiles before
the adhesive dried.
12. the humidity factor and/or the temperature of the environment of
the installation before, during, and forever after the
instalation not being within the ranges indicated in the
installation specifications published by the exact
manufacturer of the tiles and/or mortar adhesive and/or
grout that you purchased.
13. rarely, but a manufacturing problem with the tiles, mortar
adhesive, or grout used.
14. placement of heavy furniture and/or appliances in weak areas
of the installation causing the flat level of the installa-
tion to be compromised.
15. There could be other reasons, however you need to address
the issues above and make certain the tiles, mortar adhesive
grout, underlayment, and concrete were prepared, handled,
and installed EXACTLY as the EXACT tile manufacturer
indicates in the published installation specifications
that, hopefully, was thoroughly read before anything was
done before the tiles, mortar adhesive, underlayment,
leveler, grout, supplies, etc., were even brought to your
jobsite. If any other work was going on such as paint-
ing, electrical work, etc., it should have been done
before the flooring project was started, since floor
covering MUST be the last trade in on any renovation or
construction. Other trades people should NEVER keep
walking on freshly installed floors, no matter what type
of floor covering you install.
So, take the time and find out if that tile floor you have is nice and secure. Depending on where you live, most tradesman suggest checking the tile 4 times a year. Just like with everything, early detection is always best.
If you have more questions, please,PLEASE, find out from the people that deal with it daily, The Kinsey Group at 469-248-7653. You are also more than welcome to email your questions to TheRook@thekinseygroup.net.

For more information about how The Kinsey Group can help you or someone you know buy or sell a home, feel free to Search for and Follow “The Kinsey Group” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress.