Year of Housing Recovery Opens Door for Aspiring Realtors

Stay at home mom. Waitress. Car salesman. Interior designer. Marketing guru.
What do these people all have in common? A new career in real estate.

2013 brought a whirlwind of excitement and optimism surrounding the real estate market. We saw positive headlines in the news across the country and heard success stories from buyers, sellers and real estate professionals. The housing recovery not only brought many buyers and sellers to the table, but also opened up an opportunity for people of all different backgrounds to explore new career possibilities. With unlimited earning potential, flexibility and the ability to create your own business, real estate was a natural choice for many this past year. In fact, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage reported a 58% increase in new agents to the business compared to 2012.

— Learn more about the new agents in the video—

Christine Groves – Multitasking mom
Christine-GrovesAfter 12 years in Human Resources, Christine Groves called it quits on her corporate career to take on life’s most important role – motherhood.  Fast forward six years, and Christine was ready to reenter the working world with a new outlook.  She wanted a job that would provide her with flexibility, earning potential and the ability to help people.   Now, she blends her strong communication skills with her savvy real estate knowledge to become a successful working mother who still finds time to wait in the carpool line. In 2013, Groves closed over $4,300,000 in home sales, and last year, she was named Coldwell Banker’s “Rookie of the Year” in the Western Region.

Jennifer DeVries- Social butterfly and waitress
Jennifer-DeVriesHaving grown up in an entrepreneurial family, Jennifer DeVries knew she wanted to be in business for herself, but hadn’t yet identified a good fit for her lifestyle. After college she took to waitressing where she used her outgoing personality to connect with customers. It was her social nature and charm that ultimately landed her in a new career.  She made quite an impression on a seasoned Realtor who she met on the job and was encouraged to visit a branch office to learn more about career opportunities.  She did just that the following morning, and hasn’t looked back since.  One year later she is VP of luxury home sales for the Straub Milito Group and was recently voted “Rookie of the Year” by her peers for Chicago Agent Magazine.

Conor Scanlon – Car Salesman
Conor ScanlonConor Scanlon graduated from DePaul University and quickly went to work for his family’s auto business, where he had worked in various roles since he was 13 years old and most recently selling cars.  Despite having four generation of the car business in his blood, he decided it was time for a change.  He attributes his interest in real estate to childhood experiences, moving around a lot to renovate and decorate new homes due to his mother’s love of flipping houses. As a lifelong Chicagoan, Conor’s passion for the unique offerings that Chicago provides its residents paired with his sales minded approach made for a smooth transition and successful first year on the job.

Trish Orndorff – Entreprenuer and interior designer
ATrish Orndorfflthough real estate was a natural progression for this talented interior designer, Trish Orndorff’s transition in to real estate was a gradual one.  Before starting her own redesign and staging business, Trish excelled as an advertising sales executive for Teen Magazine and Chicago Magazine.  After having children she decided to say farewell to her nine to five job to be a stay at home mom.  Thirteen years later she found the perfect outlet to channel her creativity and revisit her sales and marketing experience.  Her love of design married with the excitement of selling was the perfect equation for a successful Realtor.  She attributes her first year success to effective marketing and social media that allows her to stay connected to her network.

Brian Davis – Marketing and sales professional
Brian DavisPrevious to his position at Coldwell Banker, Brian Davis held a marketing position working with well established businesses such as Comcast, AT&T, Staples, and Verizon. It wasn’t until he personally went through the process as a first time homebuyer that he contemplated becoming a Realtor himself.  He was inspired by his real estate agent, referred to him by a friend, and amazed at how much she enjoyed what she did for a living.   Buying his first home is an experience that he will never forget, and now he feels lucky to have the privilege of being the person behind that and helping to find his clients the home of their dreams.

Home Sweet Home – TV Spot Debut

We all know what it feels like to be home. Not in your physical location, but truly “at home.”  That is what the new Coldwell Banker TV spot conveys with the help of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home.”

The commercial officially debuts during the Grammys airing on Sunday, January 26th at 8 p.m. on CBS. To join the Twitter party, follow us and use the hashtag #HomeRocks. Tweet us what you think!

Behind the Scenes – Kick Off Your Shoes

Watch and see why Coldwell Banker chose Chile as the spot to film the newest TV spot that will debut during the Grammys on Sunday, January 26.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see the pre-release and participate in the #HomeRocks Twitter party during the Grammys. To see all the behind-the-scenes videos or vote for your favorite song about home, go to Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter blog.

25 Content Ideas for Your Real Estate Blog

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist

SMD_OHIO_January-1-25-blog-ideasYou are starting to blog – now what? Generating topic ideas is half the battle, so we brainstormed and created a list of possibilities.Remember, blogs don’t need to be long… just full of useful, sharable content.

Click here to download our entire Social Media Digest for January, including an article on Google+ in 2014.

1. Answer a real estate question you’ve been asked
2. Analyze local market updates
3. Create a video blog instead of writing
4. How-tos for buying, selling, staging, etc
5. What to do before you buy/sell
6. Mortgage facts
7. Neighborhood updates and things to doblurb
8. Neighborhood history
9. Story about buying
10. Story about selling
11. Beautiful photos of a home
12. Design inspiration
13. DIY home ideas
14. Your local community organizations/charities
15. Video tour of neighborhood or property
16. Why you became a real estate agent
17. Local business profile
18. Tips to buying a foreclosure or short sale
19. Final walkthrough tips
20. Home safety tips
21. Types of mortgages
22. Down payment Q&A
23. Favorite local shops
24. Home maintenance tips
25. Kid or pet-friendly housing ideas

SMD_CBRB_January-1-SMALLClick here to download our entire Social Media Digest for January, including an article on Google+ in 2014.

Behind the Scenes TV Shoot – Day 1

We’ll be unveiling some of the fun behind the scenes videos from our 2014 commercial shoot. The first 2014 ad will be running during the Grammy Awards on January 29th and is called “Home Sweet Home.”

The video above is from Day 1 of the commercial shoot in Santiago, Chile in December. Check out the video and watch for updates on Twitter, Facebook or this blog.

PS. You can get involved in the fun by using #HomeRocks in your tweets/posts.  

Your “Finding a First Home” Checklist

Your “Finding a First Home” Checklist

Buying a home can be a great investment, and many households dream of starting a family and developing memories in their first home. When it comes to shopping for a property, many first-time homebuyers may be surprised by all the options their real estate agent provides. Luckily, there are several ways prospective buyers can narrow down their home search and find a property that best meets their needs.

The simplest way prospective buyers can begin their home search is to contact a real estate agent and go through a process of elimination by creating a simple checklist that outlines what they’re looking for.

Non-negotiable features

There are a number of home features and characteristics that buyers consider “must haves” before buying a home, therefore it’s important to start with these when making a checklist. For example, home-buyers may require a certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms, prefer to own a large piece of land or refuse to live in a certain neighborhood. These non-negotiable features should be communicated to their real estate agent to ensure that they are fulfilled before individuals spend time visiting home staging events.

Negotiable features

In some cases, buyers may want to own a home that features double bathroom sinks or borders two school districts. If these factors are important to buyers, but will not necessarily prompt them to turn away from a home sale, they should also be on the list. Real estate agents will work to meet all of a buyer’s guidelines, so buyers shouldn’t leave out the little amenities that may make a house feel more like a home.

Neighborhood caveats

You know what they say… “Location, Location, Location.” Choosing the right neighborhood features is almost as important as choosing the right home features. Neighbors, school districts, crime rates, amenities, costs and activities will be a part of a homebuyer’s life for years, so it’s crucial to take these factors into consideration as well when drawing out a list of wants.

Lastly, buyers shouldn’t get discouraged if it takes some time to find the right home. Finding a house that has all the necessary features is worth the wait, and any additional quirks or home features can be altered to meet a buyer’s needs.

Original post from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

Multiple Generations Under One Roof

By Lana Simon, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Have you noticed larger families in your neighborhood? That long-gone college grad is back across the street, and grandma’s moved in, too. The older couple next door has a full house – their son, his wife and two kids. A growing number of homes consist of a wide-ranging blend of age groups and family circumstances. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 14 percent of recent buyers purchased a home for a multigenerational household — a home that had adult siblings, adult children, parents, and/or grandparents in the household. One-quarter of these homes were bought because children over the age of 18 were moving back into the home and for cost savings. One of five multigenerational households purchased because of health reasons and care-taking of aging parents, while 1 in 10 purchase this type of home to spend more time with aging parents.

Helpful Hints:

  • Buyers must be clear about their exact needs. Some families may just want an extra bedroom or two for family members, while others require areas with a separate kitchen, entrance, handicap accessibility or even a larger garage. Desired location may also be influenced by proximity to local hospitals, senior centers or other important activities to family members.
  • Extended families purchasing a home together should consider signing a written contract outlining everything from finances to chores and childcare. Each family should assess their situation individually and find a plan that works best for them.
  • Sellers with “mother in-law suites” or additional spaces that could accommodate a multi-generational living arrangement should highlight this feature. Whether it’s a garage apartment or refurbished basement, this separate space can help the home stand apart from the others.

Check out these homes that would make great multigenerational homes:

This private retreat near Holy Hill in Erin, WI listed by Margaret O’Leary  boasts an entire guest or in-law wing! This special guest space is actually a 700+ square feet attached wing with private front entrance, beamed cathedral ceiling and bay windows.

This gorgeous Woodridge, IL home listed by Alice Chin of our Naperville office, is a perfect example of living space that can be used in a variety of ways. The first floor has a bedroom with an attached full bath, perfect for an in-law suite. Or if you could create an entirely separate living space in the finished basement that includes an area that could be easily transformed into a kitchenette.

Escape the Cold – Warm Vacation Homes

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Have you ever thought about a second home? A warm place to escape the Midwest winters for a little while? Did you realize your local Coldwell Banker real estate agent can help you find that vacation home? Some agents even specialize in properties in these exotic locals.

Check out these warm weather dream vacation homes that could thaw out your winter blues: 

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands

Oil Nut Bay | British Virgin Islands – Listed by Jed Skae

Oil Nut Bay is a family community located along the Caribbean Sea on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda in the Birtish Virgin Islands. Spanning across 300 acres of land in eight distinctive neighborhoods are 88 luxury homes, each one uniquely designed to give the resort experience within a private setting.

“I am proud to represent a development of this caliber,” said Jed Skae a broker in our Lakeview office. “This is a great opportunity to introduce local buyers to Oil Nut Bay and all that the community has to offer, and I’m confident that Chicagoans will be drawn to the lifestyle of the British Virgin Islands.  In fact, just in the past year there have been four buyers in the development from the Midwest.”

Jamaica is known for the warmth of it’s people, lush interiors full of waterfalls, mountains and rivers…and of course beautiful beaches. Villa Lolita in Hanover, Jamaica is a stunning five-star, premier rated villa. With it’s modern design and luxurious furnishings, it has been awarded Villa of the Year for the last three years. Designed by Chicago architect Tom Reed, it sits on almost 4 acres of terraced lawns landscaped with tropical plants and coconut trees. It’s also just a short golf cart ride to the 18 hole golf course or one or the 9 tennis courts, club house and private beach. A truly luxury vacation home and destination.

Planning to stay stateside? Marco Island, FL was named one of the top 10 places to buy a vacation home in 2013 by MarketWatch. It’s white sandy beaches, sparkling waters and amazing golf are only a few of the draws to the largest island in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. This stunning home is located on one of the best golf course lots in Hideaway Beach. The estate setting has gorgeous panoramic views. An exquisite, spacious interior luxuriously finished with amazing attention to detail has three-bedrooms and plenty of room to entertain.

Where would your dream vacation home be located? 

Millennial Buyers and Baby Boomers

Today’s buyer profile is shifting and two demographic groups are emerging as interesting case studies – Millennial buyers and Baby Boomers.

Coldwell Banker Agent Gianna Burdi offers her perspective on these two growing buyer segments:

Millennial Buyers
According to recent report by the National Association of Realtors, millennial homebuyers (age 33 and younger or born 1980-2000) are on the rise, currently accounting for 28% of today’s buyers. Gianna has had personal experience dealing with millennial buyers and makes the following observations:

  • MillenialsMillennial buyers want to be “in town”, meaning close they want to be close to a town’s downtown area where they have easy access to public transportation, shopping and dining. “My last 10 transactions have all been with young buyers who are adamant about finding a home close to a downtown area,” said Burdi.
    • Millennial’s are very motivated when they look for a home and desire as much data as possible about the home, area and market to make the best informed choice. They are ready to make offers and aren’t hesitant to make multiple offers on several properties.
    • Typical for this demographic, a millennial buyer is very loyal and happy to provide word-of-mouth referrals when they have a good experience. They value wisdom and want to work with agents who have many years in the business.

Baby Boomers
This is one segment group that Gianna is very familiar with – not only is she selling to baby boomers, she also works with one every day – her mother (an agent as well) who is a baby boomer herself. She has been on both sides of the fence and offers the following insight:

  • Baby BoomersMany baby boomers have been in their homes for 20+ years and are unfamiliar with what buyers today are looking for in a home. They need to be willing to re-position their home to overcome some of today’s buyer’s major objectives.
  • For baby boomers, the home selling process is extremely emotional, whereas millennials view the process more as a transaction. “I’ve had a baby boomer client take up to 12 months to put their home on the market, even when they know they need to sell it and downsize. For them, it’s like leaving some of their most treasured memories,” said Burdi.
  • Similar to the millennials, many baby boomers are also looking for “in town” living options. As they downsize, they are looking primarily for townhomes and condos in a desirable downtown area where they can close access to a variety of entertainment and public transportation selections.