Swansea, IL Real Estate News

By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Off and on in this blog, we have discussed the subject of agents and other who want to be professional (or even have a ahred of privacy) telling too much on social networks. A week or so ago, Tiger Woods backed out of his driveway into a fire hydrant, demolishing the hydrant and a nearby tree.  His wife claimed she bashed in the window of his Escalade to free him.  There were lots of questions, but Tiger had little to say to the police who filed no serious charges.  He got four points on his license - pretty extreme  since Woods probably wrote a big check to cover the damages.  More recent revelations indication Woods might have been drinking while on medication but no sobriety test was taken at the time, so it is too late to file any charges for this. From the start, the media was unre...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Just as the shoemaker's children are often the last to get shoes and the mechanic's wife the last to get brakes, Corcoran Consulting and Coaching finally set up a business page on Facebook.  We've suggested that others get business pages, but up to now we haven't... As you know, Facebook frowns on mixing flagrant business dealings with personal matters on its pages and has turned off some accounts, though somewhat randomly.  Just talking about business does not seem to cross the line but soliciting business does.  Smart agents put their listings on their business pages but talk about the real estate market and Joe's Fish Market and oh, by the way, did you know I'm a real estate agent? on their personal pages.  For a coach like myself, since I am not in the habit of saying "Sign up for m...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
A few months ago, an unknown dowdy Scottish woman named Susan Boyle was received with a lot of eye rolling on the United Kingdom's Britain's Got Talent until she opened her mouth.  Her beautiful rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream," stunned the judges and audience, and though she did not win the competition, she got a record deal. It is easy to jump on this part of the Susan Boyle story to lead into a pep talk about how appearances are deceiving or about how it's never too late to pursue a dream.  Either of those tangents would be true.  She went from a life of obscurity taking care of her ailing mother to a chart-topping album in the UK that has also topped Amazon.com's list of pre-orders. Along her rise to fame, Susan Boyle has been continuously scrutinized as if people are looking for pr...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Every year, real estate falls off when kids go back to school.  Families prefer to keep their children in the same school all year.  With the onset of the holidays, people get busy.  When it gets colder and then snowier in some parts of the country, people prefer not to move until it gets warmer.  The majority of people who move in the fall and winter are those who are transferred or have some financial or other pressure to brave the elements or the upset involved with having the kids change schools mid year.  This year, things are different, as the tax credit is expected to liven things up and keep sales brisk and Realtors® busy.  Since the credit will last till spring, when sales traditionally pick up, this means that agents may have a more constant flow of business than usual.  To ta...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Recently, a Canadian woman who was on disability due to depression lost her disability payment when an insurance adjuster noticed pictures of her on vacation and out with friends on Facebook.  He noticed she looked so happy that he cut off her check.  She protested that the pictures did not reflect her usual state of mind and is suing the company, but not before she lost her house. This story points out the need to be careful about you post or say on social networks, a familiar warning that many people ignore.  Facebook posts or Tweets may quickly move out of view from the wall but they can be found in a search.  Photos on the wall stay there until they are removed. In the Canadian case, the insurance company said they wouldn't make a decision based just on Facebook, but the case brings...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
A recent NAR survey indicated only 6% of first time homebuyers took the plunge because of the credit, but claimed that interest rates and falling home prices were what made them buy.  Analyst Keith Gumbinger of HSH.com poo-pooed the credit indicating that we are rewarding people for doing what it take issue with they have done anyway.  I take issue with this reaction.  Owning a home is an important part of fulfilling the American Dream for many people.  It's just a matter of time for those who see this in the best interest of themselves and their families. So, of course, they would have eventually bought! Only a fool would buy a home he was not prepared to buy just to get $8,000.  This amount would mean little if home prices and interest rates were sky high.  A combination of factors wh...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
I recently got a survey from a cookie company that sells some delicious cookies and brownies by mail.  They are each individually wrapped so they are nice for business giving, plus are great portion controlled snacks that stay fresh.  I have been buying them regularly over the last couple years but in the last six months, I have noticed that the prices have gone up, the number of cookies in the assortments have decreased, and the number of items with free shipping have decreased too - a triple assault on my pocketbook.  This makes the cookies more expensive and has made me think twice if they are a good value except for occasional gifts. The survey I got asked questions that made it sound like the company is trying to position itself as a more upscale gourmet food company.  There were ...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
The recent survey by move.com revealed some interesting results about how Americans view what's happening in housing.  As noted in a previous blog, Survey Says: Only 1 in 20 Respondents Say They Will Buy Next Year, at a time when the unemployment rate is over 10% nationwide, potential home buyers are concerned about the economy.  •·   48% felt the government wasn't doing enough to help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure, while 42% thought there was enough government action •·   45% worry that they or someone they know will face foreclosure in the next year. •·   38% had contacted their lender within the past year to reduce their payments. •·   25% of those who refinanced used the freed-up money for living expenses or debt reduction •·   9% are putting the savings towards investments...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Before the home buyers tax credit was extended through April, 2010 and expanded to include more buyers, a survey by move.com indicated that only 1 in 20 people surveyed said they would buy a house next year.  Why?  The top reason was that they felt that home prices had hit bottom.  This was more important than bargain priced foreclosures, concerns about interest rates, and the pool of available homes. This revelation feeds into our ongoing discussion of glass half empty/glass half full approach to real estate.  Of course, the number of people who might say they are planning to buy might increase in view of the credit, the responses indicate people are concerned about economic stability in our recession-prone world.  It remains our challenge to seek out qualified buyers who might be in a...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
There may have been debate over whether homebuyers who wanted to take advantage of the tax credit could use it as a down payment but it is unquestionable that the credit will mean a payout for real estate agents everywhere. Due to lobbying efforts by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and other groups, lawmakers have extended the homebuyer tax credit to April 30, 2010. And they've sweetened the deal: the law increases the limit for couples to $225,000 in annual income, roughly $55,000 more than the existing law. Plus, it adds a nice $6,500 carrot for those who've lived in their homes for five of the prior eight years to buy up or buy elsewhere. I believe this will move houses at both the lower and higher ends as well. This news is a perfect opportunity for Realtors to capitaliz...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
As you read this, I am busily packing for National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference in San Diego.  On Friday, November 13, I'll be speaking at 2:30, so please look me up.  My topic will focus on Becoming The CEO of your Real Estate Company, a timely topic for anyone on the move in real estate.  Once you discover the functions of a Real Estate CEO are and how you can implement these into your existing practice, you will notice your business take off if you put them into play.  Becoming a CEO is more a state of mind than a title on your door.  It is akin to mastering your destiny, taking  charge of your life - plus doing some things differently in how you organize you time  and approach your job. I love going to NAR as speaker, since as a coach, I am on a mission to help agents u...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
For those of you who have shied away from Facebook and other social media because you don't see the connection between spending time chatting and ringing up sales on the real estate cash register, be forewarned:  it may be Facebook that delivers your website traffic, not Google searches.  According to a recent article in Copyblogger, Facebook is on the road to becoming a major source of information that may eliminate the need to be concerned with SEO.  Rather that people searching Google to find information, they may ask a question on Facebook and get recommendations of people that their friends or others in the Facebook community have used.  In other words, rather than searching for real estate agents in Omaha, someone may ask the Facebook community if anyone knows a good agent there....
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Have you seen the Bud Light commercials?  They are all along the theme of not too heavy/ not too light, which, of course, the taste that beer is supposed to embody. Realtors should take heed of the message. Scenario One:  Girl breaking up with her boyfriend Too light:  She tries to sugar coat the break, he misses the point Too heavy:  She tells him the news and then pushes him out of her speeding car. He stil doesn't get it and hopes they'll still be Facebook friends Scenario Two:  Man is trying to show off his amazing wonder dog Too light:  The dog barks, after some prodding Too heavy:  The man lets the dog drive a few blocks, with a few lawns fortunately the only casualties Scenario Three:  Woman tries to get waiter's attention in a restaurant Too light:   "Excuse me, when you get a m...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
If you're a New Yorker, there's joy in Mudville, so to speak, as the Yankees win another World Series. If you're a Realtor, you are rejoicing that the home buyer's credit was extended and expanded.  Now, even current homeowners have incentives to buy up or buy elsewhere.  This should help move housing stock not only at the lower end of the spectrum but higher price ranges as well. If you follow me, you know that I maintain that good Realtors always find ways to sell houses even without a credit.  However, if NAR statistics are correct, 2 million people were helped by the current credit, while the economy has been stimulated to the tune of $22 million.  Extending the credit can only continue to  help general economic recovery, as well as that in housing. There is definitely joy in Mudvil...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
There are a lot of sayings that come to mind when thinking about the people around us. A man is known by the company he keeps... Birds of a feather flock together... One bad apple spoils the bunch... We are not bound in our life by proverbs, but it is easy to pick up the attitudes od those around you. Take a look at who is around you in your daily life. Are they positive or negative? Helpful or hurtful? Toxic or healthy? It's been said - via another  proverb - that you should fear an evil friend more than a beast because a beast can wound your body, but an evil friend can wound your mind.  Keep positive people near you at all times and purge the rest. This does not mean that all your friends are Pollyannas or that you block out the bad news.  There is a lot of bad news in real estate to...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
I've been in the real estate consulting game now for 15 years and it still amazes me that many agents simply don't operate like a business.  I often see starry-eyed agents who set grandiose goals only to trip on them and fall into a big pile of discouragement. Many people have only a vague idea of what their goals are and have even less clue about how to reach them.   Few people stumble unto success; man who do are often "flash in the pan" successes because they don't really know what made then successful and, therefore, can't replicate it. I offer four suggestions to make your business a success: 1.       Write your personal goals -  Even if you are  still formulating your goals, it is easier to figure out how to operationalize them if you have a starting point. 2.    Get a plan - The...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently said that he is optimistic about the state of the U.S. economy, though recovery has been uneven.  Of course, the same page of the MSN homepage featured a story about why the U.S. is in decline.  Read both stories and you'll realize you have to make a choice.  You can accept things going on in our society as "proof" things are on the downslide or you can accentuate the positive. You may be thinking, "Oh, that's what Bob always says."  If so, you are right. You choose how you feel.  I have built my coaching career on this premise.  A traditional market doesn't make you feel any way; you make yourself feel the way you do.  No one else, no event, nothing makes you feel that way. It is all your doing, period. This is not saying that things in our econ...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
To take full advantage of the upcoming housing recovery, I recommend getting back to the basics of building relationships with past clients. Remember, it's cheaper to keep the old clients than to find new ones. Revisit them with 30 touches during 2010. Whoa, Bob, that's a lot of touches. Not really. Not when you break it down. Let me explain - first, you snail mail to them once a month - that's 12. E-mail them once a month, so we're up to 24 now. Then send a quarterly market update - 28 touches. Then send a birthday card and a card marking the anniversary of when they bought their home - and that makes 30. See, it doesn't sound so overwhelming now.   I also recommend on top of these personal touches to increase advertising because most Realtors actually cut back in lean times so you wi...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
In America, we have a fascination with the new.  Ask anyone who works for a city trash collection department.  Tree lawns, especially in wealthier suburbs, are covered with usable furniture and working appliances in need of a new knob or some other small repair.  In some cases, it's becomes cheaper to buy new small electrics than repair them. There's one area where it is definitely not cheaper to go for the new rather than salvage the old. In a document entitled "Keep Those Customers Coming Back!," the Better Business Bureau stated businesses will spend roughly five times more to obtain a new customer than they would to keep an existing one. And yet when many small business owners think of customer communication, they are thinking of reaching new customers and potential clients. They a...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
In the current housing market, eager buyers may have their wings clipped when they go to the bank.  Interest rates are low but requirements for getting a mortgage loan are tougher these days.  Here's where you as an agent can really earn your commission.  Most of us portray ourselves as "real estate consultants." So what can you do to help clients?  We all know that days of encouraging clients to get pre-qualified by a bank are long gone; pre-approval is what's needed now.  If, after talking to the client, you know he might have some credit issues, encourage him to get that pre-approval letter sooner rather than later.  If you know of some lenders who are particularly good at dealing with borrowers with lower scores or certain financial circumstances, make sure you share you expertise ...
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