Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Blog Has Moved!

Thank you for following my blog!  If you have enjoyed these posts, please visit my current blog at www.christesch.com/my-blog!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why A National MLS Would be a Mistake

There has been much discussion lately about eliminating the local MLS (ours is Bryan-College Station MLS) and going with a national MLS. The proponants of this claim that it will eliminate worries about finding properties online and allow agents to show properties beyond their boundries.

I for one will stick to selling Bryan and College Station homes (and the surrounding areas). I feel like the pundits have some very solid points and a lot of negative points. I believe that the people that are for this measure (most of them are fellow Realtors) have a very minimal understanding of what a real estate agent truly brings to a transaction. A move to a national MLS will make us simple door openers, nothing more and nothing less.

I don't sell in Austin or Houston or Huntsville for one very good reason...I don't know the area. I would hate to sell a property to folks and then find out that it's in an area that's known for foundation failure (Houston and other areas have actual fault lines), or that there is a sewage treatment facility nearby that we didn't happen to smell that day, but that one or two months out of the year it's quite noticable.

Real estate is local. I've blogged before about the need to realize that the news in real estate is on the national level and that it looks very different here in Bryan/College Station. The same can be said for what sells here. In Michigan, where I came from originally (but, as they say, got down here as fast as I could...), it was desirable to have the master bedrooms upstairs. Heat, after all, rises and it was a nice way to maximize that and keep your bedroom cozy. Not so here as that feature all but sometimes kills a sale. In Huntsville, just miles from College Station, it is extremely common for slab failures to occur, and it doesn't affect the price that the home sells for. Not so in Bryan or College Station, with those listings even with a corrected issue taking much longer to sell and accepting typically, a much lower price per square foot compared to homes without issues.

How would you like a real estate agent to show you a house in College Station and not mention that the upstairs master will be an issue for resale? How about one from Austin that doesn't know that south College Station has traffic issues (currently being resolved) and that it could take double the time to travel to the university from one location compared to another? What about listing a house with a Houston agent, who doesn't understand the impact that proximity to Texas A&M University plays in home pricing and fails to price the house properly costing you thousands of dollars?

Real estate is a local venture and keeping it local is the best plan. Now, that isn't to say that a property in Caldwell shouldn't have some presence on the Austin MLS, or a property in Anderson shouldn't be listed in Houston MLS. For this I think a simple plan of cooperative listings would work well.

When buying or selling ensure that your real estate dollars work to your advantage! Use a local Realtor!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Existing Home Sales Up

Both in our Bryan and College Station market, as well as the national market existing home sales were up in September by a significant 7.5%. This was unexpected as the economists were predicting furthur slowing.

Unfortunately this news was almost lost in the landslide of almost apocoliptic news in other fronts. For those of your that are news hounds, however, remember that bad news sells good or average news seldom does.

Headlines that splash are "Economy is hitting rock bottom" not "Our economy isn't growing as much as hoped, but is on the rebound".

We get many phone calls both from potential buyers and potential sellers asking about the market. We do have many people sitting on the fence but overall its still a very strong market.

It is especially important to have an agent that is experienced in Bryan and College Station real estate right now as there are some potentially rough waters to negotiate in the loan, appraisal and closing phases. It is just as important to have an excellent local lender on your side, as they are much more aware of potential issues than your larger, out of area, lenders.

In short our market is still moving. Prices are up modestly (that's typical for our market) and loans are still available.

Call today to start your own personal search or click on our MLS search and enter your criteria, price range and whether you are looking for Bryan or College Station or one of our outlying areas and we'll keep you up to date with all the new listings. If you're ready to search call and we'll arrange a time when we can meet (yes, weekends are always a possibility with advance notice) and arrange appointments to see the homes that either best suit your needs, or you are most interested in if you would like to pick. My Buyers Agent and I will show you a variety of different homes within your criteria and aren't the type of agents that show you 3 or 4 and encourage you to pick.

If you are interested in selling your Bryan or College Station home call today for a free market analysis.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Must Read! Increase The Value Of Your Home in One Day!

So, you've bought the house of your dreams and moved in. What's the next step? Remembering that one day, whether you realize it or not today, you'll be selling. Increasing the value of your home isn't just a blitz right before you list it. Protecting and increasing the value of your home starts the day that you write the offer.

So you've closed now. What is the number one thing to do as soon as you've bought the home? If I could tell you that in one day you could make a change to increase the value of your home by possibly up to 20%, decrease your utility bills, and reduce your stress while helping the entire ecology of our area would you be interested? You can! Quick, plant trees!

In any area this holds true, but in our area it's of prime importance. Bryan and College Station, actually all of Brazos Valley, has traditionally been used as farm land. Trees in fields aren't a great value, as they provide unneeded shade and reduce the area given for crops or livestock. Therefore many were eliminated. The remaining trees in many cases, are Post Oaks. Post Oak trees are beautiful trees and very hardy, when given a natural enviroment. They are, however, very resistant to change and to human intervention. Pouring a slab close to their root system, watering them with clorinated and processed water, putting a tree house in them or driving over or near their root systems are all huge problems for these gorgeous natives. In other words, as homeowners, we don't play nice with them. They tend to die within a year of a new property being built on, leaving you with a big empty space in your yard.

Here's some quick statistics on the value of a tree:

Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University stated that "in laboratory research, visual exposure ot settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension."

The USDA Forest Service states "Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating"

The Management Information Services/ICMA states "Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent."

According to the US Department of Agriculture "The net cooling effect of a young, healty tree is equivilant to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day."

"A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000," according to the Concil of Tree and Landscape Appraisers.

Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research states "if you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%."

These tidbits all come from The Arbor Day Foundation. Visit them today for inexpensive trees and think about joining. Membership comes with 10 free seedlings and discounts on other trees. For those interested in saving more on their utilities short term visit one of our local tree farms and get more mature trees. Surpisingly affordable, these can provide some shade immediately and increase the value of your property much sooner. A couple of our local tree farms are Brazos Valley Tree Farms in South College Station and Bill Willamson's Tree Farm in Iola. A recent trip to Brazos Valley Tree Farms found prices as low as $95 for a 30 gallon tree and 45 gallon trees for $265. Delivery is free within the area and planting typically runs half the price of the tree if you don't want to D-I-Y it. Other lower cost options for in between sizes can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot as well.

Wow, lower your blood pressure, decrease your utility bills and increase your property value in one fell swoop! Definately a recipe for success!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Get Fit and Feel Great!!!

My blog readers know that I typically stay close to the subject of real estate and how to maximize your profits on it. Today, however, I'm going to focus on a local business that has truly made an impact on my life. MaretHouse Fitness is housed inside Aggieland Fitness Dome right off of Highway 6 between Graham Road and Barron Road. David MaretHouse has been a client and a friend for a few years since he moved here from New Orleans where Hurricane Katrina destroyed his neighborhood and home. I always knew that David had to be a great personal trainer...he has a great sense of humor (of paramont importance...for anyone who knows me) and he is DEFINATELY fit! Did I go and see him though? Well, there was always an excuse!

Six short weeks ago I went into the Dome to get Davids signatures on his own personal home for sale (see his gorgeous home on 5 acres in featured properties). I walked out with a precious gift. The gift of fitness. I saw the sign up sheets for MaretHouse fitness camps and thought "hmm...I'll ask him about it".

My first question, since this is Aggieland, and we have a predominance of young, beautiful people is "will I be out of place?" David assured me that he has people of all ages in his fitness camps and that someone on the "wrong side" of 40 wouldn't be out of place.

My second question was "do I have to be a member of the Dome to be in your camp?" Absolutely not, was the answer. Though Dome membership may be beneficial and they have a free 14 day trial run, it isn't necessary to be a member to be part of the fitness camp. (I still am not a member of the Dome).

My third question was "what if I'm not available during the time when the fitness camp is held?" Well, with 7 different times of the day and the ability to go to different ones if your schedule gets bogged down that objection was countered.

The fourth and most important question was "OK, Sounds good....but what's the price?" I was surprised, for the six week period the price was only $180. That works out to a slim $10 per workout.

That was 6 short weeks ago and I'm so happy I signed up! I'm trimmer, more energetic and happier with the way I feel. It's time to renew, and guess what? I did!!!!!!! I can say that, by far, my experience with MaretHouse has been the best fitness experience I've ever had! I've done personal training, group classes, semi private training, circuit training...this takes the cake! It's fun and a great group and you can feel the progress week to week.

Here are the details. The 5o minute classes are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. They begin September 29th and end November 7th. The times are 6 am, 8 am 9 am 4 pm, 5 pm 6 pm and 7 pm. They consist of circuit style training, outdoor running and plyometric drills (OK, I don't know what it is but it's fun :) The classes are geared for weight loss, toning and body sculpting.

Of course, David and group also offer excellent one on one personal training. The fitness camps get my vote though! Convenient, fun and refreshing this is the best way I've ever found to get fit and stay fit.

For more details call David at (979)574-3124 or visit http://www.Marethouse.com. You'll be glad you did. See you there!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Does Your House And A Widget Have in Common?

It's time to put your house on the market. You've cleaned, you've staged, you've contacted several agents to come out and talk with you. The agents seem to agree that, though your house is in great shape, and looks nice, your wall color is a bit unique. It's not going to suit everyone. What's your inclination? Do you paint, or let the buyer?

As real estate agents we often see people get a little emotionally involved when selling their home. It's hard not too! You've invested years of your life there. The kids may have grown up there. Johnny's height still is marked on the utility room door...I understand. I also caution you to try very hard to divorce your emotions from the process.

Imagine this...you are the head of the leading widget maker in Texas. You've done studies that show that College Station people like maroon widgets (what else would they like here in Aggieland?) Instead of going with maroon widgets though you decide that blue widgets are the way to go. They go with your office furniture better. Guess what? The widgets don't sell. You've spent alot of money on fancy boxes and marketing widgets that just sit on the shelves.

Now let's talk about your house. Yes, that purple in Suzy's room might have been her color, but for right now it's not about Suzy. For the moment it's about equity and maximizing it. Suzy's new room at the new house can be purple and pink, if she'd like. Paint the walls and you'll see green!

Your house when on the real estate market is, first and foremost, a product. You need to present it as a product. It needs to be clean and look nice. It needs to be staged properly. If at all possible it needs to be as neutral as possible. Accent with your furniture and accessories, not the wall color when preparing to sell your home.

For more advice on how to sell your home faster and for more money call today. Please let me talk with you about our professional marketing services. I would love to apply for the job of selling your home!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Marketing Sells a Bryan or College Station Home?

"Everyone has 30 seconds of fame", remember the old adage? Well, expand that to every marketed property and you'll have the fate of a property that is marketed by an agent that is, shall we say, not "net savvy"?

The old stick it on the MLS and forget it was enhanced by newspaper coverage, magazine coverage and Cable Mart coverage. In its time this was good! Newspapers used to make my phone ring reliably on Monday mornings. I remember the day when I would study all the listings in the paper, in case someone called and the property they called about was sold, I could refer them to a different property and set up a showing....That was several years ago. Enter the internet age...and a whole different way of showcasing your property.

Your property has the potential to be extremely "famous" this way! Web sites with real estate listings abound and getting your house on to these web sites is as easy as hiring a "net savvy" agent. Getting an agent that places well on the search terms typically used is one of the ways that your house will get maximum exposure. "College Station real estate", and "Bryan Texas real estate" are two of the top terms for Google in B/CS real estate. If you Google "College Station real estate" currently you'll find my listing coming up at number 4, you'll find my featured properties coming up easily and quickly when you open the page. Excellent exposure! If you Google "Bryan Texas real estate" you'll find my listing at #9 on the first page as well. This requires work to keep my web site up there at the tops of these searches, but doing it gives my marketed homes more exposure than 95% of the other homes out there. This is better than most of the more public portals because the traffic is typically the very interested home buyer for our area. The public portals many times have people just shopping different areas to find out how real estate compares.

Our marketing doesn't stop there though! There are other more public portals that won't attract such a targeted market, but still perform very well. Trulia, Craigs List, Realtor.com, Oodles, and other general portals will showcase your home well when someone searches in our area. We carefully insure coverage on the best of these with some 300 or more web sites getting the information as well.

In general print advertising whether it be newspaper, magazine, or flyers, underperforms in comparison with targeted web site marketing.

Make sure your agent has a large internet presence and can get things done with Web 2.0!!!! Call today to speak to us for our marketing package!!!