Sept 2020 stats

DAY 214 of COVID-19 Battle Plan: Virtual Life & New Challenges

First of all, I cannot believe I did my first “COVID-19 Battle Plan” post 214 days ago on March 22nd! I guess time flies when you are having fun! LOL! Not!  But… we are adjusting. I hope this does not become our new normal. So many things have changed. Then again, many have just evolved.  Some, I think, will be a permanent new state of affairs. Take, for example, virtual showings. Virtual showings, while much more prevalent now, have been part of our Realtor toolbox for ages! Check out my video done in early 2018. We were using an iPhone and a gimble and had a lot of fun with it. (Fortunately, I was blessed to be ably assisted by Niki Maturi, my Assistant Extraordinaire; Photographer; Videographer; and Graphic Artist!) I thought about this fun video earlier this week, because it was a virtual showing. Prior to this, I had made many videos to send to a client while previewing and sometimes, using Facebook Messenger or Skype, we held live video tours. This particular virtual showing was videoed live and then later edited for a promo video. (Niki and I actually had a lot of fun doing this and subsequently have done several “I LOVE MY JOB!” videos.) But now, rather than an occasional occurrence, we are conducting virtual tours and Open Houses for our clients almost daily. Of course, there are differences. One big change is that we would all be wearing masks! Another less sobering one is that before it was Skype or Facetime we used. Now it is more often ZOOM or What’s App, especially for our International Buyers!

Here is a BIG CHANGE: With inventory today at a two-month supply, the beachfront house in this video would have sold very quickly, even at $1000/sf,  if only for the lot value! Instead it took almost 1.5 years to sell and finally did close at $1,561,000 versus original asking price of $1,795,000. With over 1000 people per day moving to Florida, we are STARVING for inventory. There were 36% fewer listings in our area in Sept 2020 versus Sept 2019! But our total Sales/Dollar Volume for September  2020 versus 2019 was up by $1.5 billion or 38%! The average sales price is also up by 18% for 2020 versus 2019! The ‘moral’ of the story is that it is a VERY GOOD TIME TO BE A SELLER! And with mortgage rates almost ludicrously low and rental rates exceedingly high, it is also a GOOD TIME TO BUY!

The challenges in today’s market are:  As a Buyer, how to you buy intelligently? (Forget about buying cheaply unless you are prepared to do extensive rehab.)  And as a Seller, how do you achieve the best price? I recently had a listing appointment with a client that intended to do a FSBO, i.e., a For Sale By Owner. I am going to talk about that transaction and the challenges in another post. Suffice it to say that in our market, at every Open House, there is both a live and virtual stream of people to reach and manage. Then there is the potential for bidding wars. (Personally, I do not like them – but that too will be covered in a future post.) There is also the issue of the appraisals. Cash is KING, as always. Today CASH is even more important, as escalating prices are not always acknowledged by the appraiser.  That means advocating for your non-cash Buyers is another important skill.  Safety, while always a concern, now has a whole new twist!

What’s the bottom line? Life and business go on. We evolve! 214 days later I still get out of bed one foot at a time. I lament that moment when I reluctantly, but religiously step on the scale. (More so 214 days later than I did, by the way! ;o) I work seven days per week, every week – not 5 or 6!  But, I  am not complaining! I am happy to have a job. And that job manages to help me keep my people employed. And my people help our property management clients to earn income, paying their bills. As so on and so forth. The truth is, like in the video, I am truly grateful and “I DO love my job!”

Day 37: Day One of My New “COVID-19 Battle Plan”

Moral of this story:  EVERYTIME you smugly think to yourself, “I got this!” THIS, GETS YOU!  

Before I begin, I want to say two HUGE THANK YOU’s:

  • To Pinellas County Sheriff Todd Brien, who was kind enough to drive my husband home, despite the blood – You Saved his life! Thank you. He never could have walked home. And as he had a heart attack shortly thereafter, I know he never would have made the 1/2 mile walk back home that morning. You are our hero!
  • To the Staff of St. Anthony’s Hospital in Downtown St. Petersburg, which is more than just a beautiful spot! Downtown St. Petersburg is also a hub of incredible medical facilities and practitioners, to whom we all owe a huge debt of gratitude.

fIRST reSPONDERS FRONTLINE WORKERSThank you! 

On April 13th, (which would have been Day 23 of my battle plan), I began the day full of vim and vigor and a concerted desire to get EVERYTHING back on track. I finished my morning Zoom “huddle” with my Team, during which time I presented my COVID-19 Battle Plan Challenge:

  • Continuously
  • Operating
  • Very
  • Intentionally
  • Daily for
  • 19 Days!

Feeling quite pleased with myself and my team’s reaction, I went through the thought process that turned this around for me. Because while this is FOR SURE, a dreadful time, it is also an opportunity to change, focus and plan. Things are going to be different. Some things will be negative, some will be positive. For example:

EXAMPLES OF BENEFITS OF THIS PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL INTROSPECTION:

  • I cut the fat from many unnecessary expenditures that have lightened my bank account and drained resources that I could very well use right now. (Frankly, I am ashamed at how uncontrolled some of my spending had been!)
  • I am focusing on core business growth activities and redefining my 2020 Business Plan.
  • I am spending quality time with my husband, once again working from home.

WHAT MY COVID-19 BATTLE PLAN LOOKED LIKE ON THE MORNING OF DAY 23, Monday 4/13:

  • I time blocked my day and had recorded in 30 minute intervals what I was doing.
  • I signed up for webinars that included education that I have been meaning to do.
  • I made a pledge to myself via the webinars to learn how to use FREE technology from my marvellous franchise, NextHome.
  • By 10am, I had a $300,000 closing on a listing. (Of course, it was in absentia. But the check was in the mail!)
  • With terms verbally agreed, I wrote a listing agreement.
  • I started going through emails and completing office work when….

My husband returned from his bike ride, bloodied and injured. An SUV pulling a trailer failed to heed the red light and hit him on the crosswalk. He was banged up and bloody. He was experiencing chest pain. He was reluctant to go to the hospital because of COVID-19.  We went. (I am a force of nature when required.) In addition to the multitude of other injuries, he had a ‘mild’ heart attack. I am so glad that we went to the hospital. Yes, COVID-19 is there; but, the staff are doing their level best to separate those poor individuals from the general population of patients hitting the ER for the normal things that happen.

I tell you this because  EVERYTIME you smugly think to yourself, “I got this!” THIS, seems to GET YOU!  

However, we live to fight another day. And today, twenty days from my last blog post, I have done my best to to get back on track; to be intentional. THIS is Day One of my Continuously Operating Very Intentionally Daily for 19 Days!

Thank you again to the First Responders, Medical Professionals and Frontline Workers, (lest we forget people such as our devoted Publix staff.) Thank you for all you do in the face of the adversity we are experiencing. My days are easy next to yours. My challenges are not life threatening. My sacrifices are inconsequential. Thanks and blessings to you all.

Sexy_Tour

Day 17 of COVID-19 Battle Plan

I have been researching and watching with admiration and amusement the different ways agents are working to get attention for their listings. Honestly, I really don’t know what the hell I have been doing with my life… These people are so cool, I can’t hardly stand it! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

# 3 Favorite: Because I love this song AND Wish I could dance like this!

 

#2: I don’t need to tell you why!

 

#1 – Who doesn’t love JT!!!! And this one, like the one before, really shows off…. the house as well as the moves!!!! And I give his cannonball a solid 8.5! Honestly, I feel certain I would love to meet and party with this guy! Chris Glapa, if you ever come to Florida, there is a home for you at NextHome Beach Time Realty!

 

 

My team and I are also showing and selling! We are armed with Lysol or Clorox wipes, booties, hand sanitizer and a mask. We drive separately and stay well back from one another.  In addition, we require that anyone we show complete a form attesting that they have not traveled in the last 14 days, are asymptomatic, etc. Here is a copy of the form: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3xdby898q2vql3y/COVID-19%20Screening.pdf?dl=0  Please feel free to adopt it for yourself. I was not the originator. Another dear Realtor friend sent it to me, suggesting we use it to protect ourselves and our clients. As the Realtor, we also sign the form and provide it to our Buyers FIRST, just to let them know that we are equally as concerned with their safety and health as we are for our own! So far, 100% of the people we have asked have signed and thanked us for our diligence.

I have been wracking my brain to come up with novel ideas to attract attention to my listings. We have several things in the works… Stay Tuned!  It does not involve me dancing. But… I do have some talented friends. And we all ‘Get By With a Little Help from Our Friends!’ I am glad to say, that HOPEFULLY today or tomorrow we will have one of our listings under contract and a new property coming to market this week! In the last week, we have had two accepted offers and written two others. Not exactly a BOOMING first week in April; but, not too shabby considering!

#BeSafe #BeSmart #BeKind #HUMANSOVERHOUSES

Taking Names & Kicking Big Mask Butt!

Day 16 of COVID-19 Battle Plan

Making a Difference
Emily Blasingame Making a Difference

WORLD: Please allow me, with great pride, to introduce you to two very special young women! With so much going wrong in the world, it is a delightful change to write and read about something that is going so VERY, VERY right! I am exceedingly proud to introduce you to Emily and Olivia Blasingame, Face Mask Artistes! These resourceful young women have been industriously churning out face masks and distributing them to others FOR DONATIONS ONLY to continue fueling materials! In 24 hours of solid working they made and gave away 50 masks!!!!  (Dad woke up at 4:30 a.m. the other night to find Emily still at her sewing machine! ) This, by the way, is when they are NOT doing their college homework! But before we get to the details of their good deeds, let me tell you about them. I met them the first time while they were still rumbling about their mother’s tummy! She was so heavily pregnant with her twins, that she had to use a wheelchair at work! Ultimately, she was on bedrest. And then, they arrived. (I was in L&D for a while, but I was banished for tomfoolery!) They are brilliant and beautiful both inside and out. They are exceptional artists and chefs. Both at college, they are now at home – BUT NOT – twiddling their thumbs! Last week, Emily got the idea to begin sewing masks. She is a genius at figuring out how to do things. With Emily’s plan in place, her mother drove to Bradenton to collect their great-grandmother, GeGe’s, sewing machine and her large cache of fabric. (She passed a little while ago, but before doing so, had packed everything up for Emily.) Emily was pretty sure that she had the mask concept buttoned up! (Sorry for the poor sewing pun!) A fairly unique feature in these homegrown ultra-masks is their built-in filter!  Every mask comes with one, which neatly fits into a built-in pocket! It isn’t a N-95; but, it is as good as we are going to get as laymen! The medical professionals, afterall, need the N-95s on the front lines! To create the filter, Emily and her twin, Olivia, are cutting apart A/C filters and carefully placing into the mask pocket. This is not bush-league stuff people! These masks are DA BOMB! Not only do they have a filter; they use a material, not unlike bread tie twists, to allow you to mold the nose part to fit more tightly!

A video has been circulating in support of the #MASKS4ALL purporting that the Czech Republic has managed to quickly flatten the curve through the heavily practiced use of face masks. Look at what is happening there:

Chezch_Republic_video

Here is the video that I spoke about for the Czech Campaign entitled #Masks4All: Kudos to my girlfriend Barbara Wiener for sending it to me!

I have problems sewing on a button! I just cannot say enough about my admiration for these two ladies. Oscar and Melissa, kudos to you for raising them! I am absolutely certain that they will share with anyone their design, as they work to help provide #Masks4All

Girls: We love you and are bursting with pride at your ingenuity, dedication and heart! KEEP SEWING EMILY! OLIVIA KEEP ABLY ASSISTING! 

Before you leave, here is a DIY face mask made from leggings. It is so easy, EVEN I could do it!

https://wyrk.com/how-to-make-a-no-sew-face-mask-from-lularoe-leggings/

#BeSafe #BeSmart & #BeKind (Like these young ladies) & Finally #HUMANSOVERHOUSES

Asbestos

Day 15 COVID-19 Battle Plan

Dear Friends,

Real Estate Services are regarded as being essential. I have not personally heard any grumblings about this. However, I have heard of other Realtors getting flack. I think that this is primarily due to a lack of understanding and thought. The people that are selling their homes, typically have a VERY good reason. They don’t usually wake up and on a whim say, “You know what? Let’s just sell this house!” Buying a house can be a more whimsical notion. But, not many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a whim. (Regrettably! ;o) On the other hand, let’s face it, some people DO wake up and say, let’s look at some houses today! If you are messing around on Zillow and asking to see houses right now with no intention of purchasing, shame on you! Inherently there is a risk in our job when showing property to strangers. However right now EVERY TIME we leave the house to take someone out, we are taking a chance! Indeed in my office, we have Buyers sign a disclaimer that they are asymptomatic and that they have not travelled in the last two weeks. It is a scary time! But, we are still serving our clients.

In addition to putting food on our tables, WHY we still show houses right now is very eloquently expressed in these excerpts from a post that a friend sent me this week:

“A message to my NON REALTOR friends:

Based on what you see on TV, you may believe Realtors are concerned because they can’t sell homes or hold open houses. The Federal Government labeled residential real estate “essential” last week, & let me explain why…. it’s not about “sales”. In reality, our government & the real estate industry are much more concerned about people with these sorts of challenges:

The 80-year-old couple who just moved into a small condo to cut expenses and put their 4-bedroom colonial up for sale. They lost most of their life savings this month in the stock market crash. They must now sell their previous house immediately because they need the proceeds of that sale to sustain them financially.

A couple with an infant daughter who has special long-term medical needs. They must move closer to the hospital that specializes in the type of procedure required to heal their little one. They need to move now.

A woman and her two small kids who has been in an abusive relationship and finally had the courage to say enough is enough! Her priority is to get her kids to a safe home, she needs to move now.

TV concentrates on the glitz & glamour of our profession. In reality, Realtors serve many people through some extraordinarily difficult times. Death, divorce, sickness, job loss-an endless list.

–            Credit is given to an unknown, but much appreciated author!

I am glad to say that I have not experienced all of the above in my career. But, I have helped divorced/divorcing couples sell the marital home, where one party is sheltering elsewhere and struggling to make ends meet. I have helped others, for example, with a spouse suffering from dementia/Alzheimers who are needing a more controlled environment. I have assisted many during times of financial difficulty where a sale was an absolute necessity, sometimes due to medical bills, sometimes stock market losses…. 2007/8 and beyond was one sad story after the other. Happily, MOST of my job occurs within a happy forum where we are making dreams come true, and not helping people through nightmares.

To all my Realtor pals out there, I have a great form that a friend shared with me to help protect you and discourage ‘lookey-loos.’ I would be delighted to email you a copy. Just leave a message on the blog page. In the meantime:

#BeSafe #BeSmart #BeKind #HUMANSOVERHOUSES

 

SH209

Day 12 of COVID-19 Battle Plan

Yesterday I reported on the measurable differences between the real estate market for the 33708 zip code over the previous fifty-six days.  Today, I have done the same for the 33706 zip code, which encompasses St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island.  Since it is important to understand the timeline, especially as it pertains to Florida, here are some milestones:

  • Jan 21st – 1st US case is reported in Washington State
  • Jan 30th – WHO declares a Global Health Emergency
  • Feb 11th – The virus has a new name: COVID-19
  • Feb 29th – 1st death in the US
  • Mar 1st – 1st Florida cases appear, both in neighboring counties to 33706 (Hillsborough & Manatee)
  • Mar 9th – Florida Governor declares a State of Emergency
  • Mar 15th – Disney World and Universal Studios close
  • Mar 17th
    • All 50 US states officially are host to the virus
    • In Florida we have 261 cases and 5 deaths
    • Locally Spring Breakers at Clearwater Beach make a shameful debut nationally
    • St Paddy’s Day 5pm – Locally all bars and nightclubs are banned from food and alcohol sales as of 5pm
  • Mar 20th – Florida Governor orders restaurants to offer only carry-out food and alcohol
  • Mar 25th – Pinellas County implements a 1-week “Stay At Home Order’
  • Mar 29th – 4,950 cases reported in Florida
  • Mar 31st – 6,741 case reported and 85 deaths
  • Apr 1st – Florida Governor FINALLY issued a State-wide ‘Stay At Home Order’

Here is a compilation of the data for 33706:

Copy of Niki fixed for me updated (002)

Conclusion: We are MOST DEFINITELY holding our own on one of the most beautiful beaches in the US and indeed, the world! Want to buy your own piece of 33706/St. Pete Beach Paradise? Today’s featured property is 4103 Gulf Blvd #209 St. Pete Beach, offered at $289,000!  Here is the website: https://client.nexthome.imprev.net/61/2161/59008350/index.html      AND, be sure to let your fingers do the walking through the Matterport 3-D Tour:https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=3fuXZxnDMck&mls=1 

#BeSafe #BeSmart #BeKind #HUMANSOVERHOUSES

 

Day 9 of the COVID-19 Battle Plan

I know that many of you, like me, are clamoring for answers regarding the Stimulus Package. As Realtors and small business owners, this is difficult for us. We are, of course, not alone. This is hard for everyone! The resources I am sharing with you ARE NOT just for Realtors and Brokers. Our NextHome Corporate Leaders spent the weekend digesting all 800+ pages of the Stimulus Package. Pretty dry reading, no doubt. They are NOT CPAs or Tax Accountants. They are caring business people; and, as such, have provided us with much needed information for US to then seek out guidance from our CPAs. It is important to have a basis of knowledge AND to know what questions to ask. After this webinar, I called my CPA and had a conversation. I sent them my Accountant copy of my 2019 Quickbooks to begin our 2019 tax filing. I also called my bank to make my appointment to make my application for my PPP SBA Loan. If you do not know what the heck that means, YOU REALLY NEED to watch this webinar. FYI: It’s  Paycheck Payroll Protection Program. Not sure why it isn’t therefore the PPPP Loan. But, hey it is the government and not meant to be easily understood! LOL! Seriously, I am grateful for this loan. It means my team stay together and will manage to see this through. I am sharing this information with you because We Are In This Together! We will find good health through cooperation, as well as redeem financial security.

Here are the links:

If you LOVE how quickly that NextHome provided much needed answers and wish your franchise had done the same for you, call me! We are looking for experienced agents that are ready for a change to a fresh, young, tech savvy, caring company. NextHome is the “Google” of real estate. They are NOT JUST cutting edge on technology. They are a company with heart. Our corporate culture is epitomized with this slogan, made well before this crisis: #HumansOverHouses

#BeSafe #BeSmart #BeKind #HUMANSOVERHOUSES