Christine Wilczek Gives HGTV’s Frank Fontana Her Expert Advice

Managing Broker Christine Wilczek of Realty Executives Elite has one takeaway for sellers: to attract buyers, make sure your current house feels like their future home. The real estate expert based out of Lemont, Illinois, had honest guidance for radio callers and for Frank Fontana, who hosts WGN’s “The Frank Fontana Show” and designs on HGTV’s Chicago version of “Design On A Dime.”

Wilczek-edit
Photo courtesy of Christine Wilczek

For those looking to sell their home, Wilczek had some key pieces of advice:

Staging your home isn’t optional, it’s necessary. Wilczek says staging is one of the most important parts of marketing a modern home because of what she called “the HGTV effect.” “Today’s buyer watches a lot of TV shows, including HGTV shows,” she said. “Today’s buyer wants to walk into staged perfection. They don’t truly have a vision of what a house can become. They want to walk into and already see the vision of what a house is. That’s how our market has changed.”

De-personalize your home. “If there are any personal pictures up, take them down,” Wilczek said. “It’s a distraction to a potential home buyer.” She also advised sellers that taking out references to pets in a home is critical as it’s a major buyer turn off. Then, neutralize wall color and remove other personal objects to ensure the home is ready for a buyer to view, Wilczek said. Continue reading

Realty Executives Gulf Coast’s Clarissa Rambo featured on HGTV show ‘Beach Flip’

Gulf-Shores-aerial
Gulf Coast aerial view courtesy of Clarissa Rambo.

Scoring a high return on investment is bound to cross the minds of homeowners as they embark on significant renovations or repairs. For contestants on HGTV’s new Beach Flip series, it’s the name of the game. When it comes to real estate in Gulf Shores, Alabama (the show’s focal point) Executive Clarissa Rambo of Realty Executives Gulf Coast knows the bottom line. Beach Flip’s challenge? Each 2-person team on the show was tasked with turning around a rundown, two bedroom, two bathroom beachfront home in eight weeks while staying within a $40,000 budget. Rambo was selected to appear on the show (airing Sundays on HGTV, 8:00pm CST through August 22) to evaluate each team’s renovation work. You’ll have to catch the show’s final episode to see which team will walk away with the $50,000 prize. However, you don’t have to wait for an inside scoop on the Gulf Shores market, plus insight on which home repairs make the most sense to the pros!

Clarissa Rambo was a natural choice for the producers of Beach Flip. She was asked to evaluate the weekly home improvements made by each team, along with a handful of other local real estate professionals featured on the show. Rambo grew up in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and has local expertise of the Alabama Gulf Coast market.  A multi-million dollar producer, she has more than seven years of experience as a real estate agent along with two years of experience in the title industry.  We recently chatted with Rambo, who shared insider info in the following interview:

Is there a strong market for waterfront fixer-uppers in the Gulf Shores, Alabama area?
While there are a plethora of dated beach homes and duplexes along the Gulf Coast, our inventory at the moment is low. I expect inventory to start catching back up in the fall and through the winter, when the units are not booked with back-to-back vacation rentals.

Is it reasonable for everyday buyers to take on these types of renovation projects? Or is it best left up to the pros?
It is completely possible for everyday buyers to take on these types of projects as long as they are willing to put in a lot of sweat equity. However, most of the “flippers” tend to be investors who have done several of these types of renovations, but everyone has to start somewhere!

As you evaluated home improvements made on the show, what aspects of the home were you most focused on? What in particular were you looking for?
We have been tasked with evaluating the homes before, during and after the renovation process. Mainly, we focus on return on investment by considering what buyers are going to look for when searching for a beach house, which boils down to:
• Function
• Durability
• Aesthetics
• Convenience

In your professional opinion, which types of home renovation bring the most return on investment for sellers?
In my opinion, the largest return on investment in home renovations center around kitchens and bathrooms. This trend remains strong in many regions, but in a beachfront home, relaxation and entertainment are important factors. It’s very obvious to buyers if upgrades to kitchens and baths have not been maintained through the years, causing homes to appear dated when these areas are overlooked, even when basic home maintenance has remained consistent.

What are the top 3 reasons home buyers would want to relocate to the Gulf Shores area?
Alabama’s Gulf Coast is a hidden gem (though maybe not for long)!
1. We have beautiful white sand beaches and gorgeous Gulf waters.
2. Our cost of living is very affordable.
3. We remain a family beach with plenty of activities, restaurants and shopping for the entire family. Gulf Shore’s motto is “small town, big beach” and I believe that description fits us perfectly.

Watch the latest episode of Beach Flip this Sunday, at 8:00pm CST on HGTV.  You may just catch the home renovation bug yourself!

 

EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT: Renee Revson, Realty Executives Williams-Sykes Realty

Each year, Realty Executives International recognizes the leading Executives across our network through our annual awards program. As we celebrate 50 years of real estate excellence in 2015, we’re highlighting the achievements of some of our most successful agents, (we call them Executives) sharing important keys to their incredible productivity in real estate, and honoring the many ways they make a difference in the lives of their clients.

REVSON_Renee-72dpiLicensed Associate Real Estate Broker Renee Revson of Realty Executives Williams-Sykes Realty in Poughkeepsie, New York has a host of specialties to her credit, having worked extensively with both buyers and sellers for over sixteen years (nine with Realty Executives). With a keen understanding of the ebb and flow of the real estate cycle and market, Renee shares with us how the Realty Executives business model coupled with full-time brokerage support and shifting market conditions helped shape another meteoric year in her real estate career.

Areas Served:
All of Dutchess County, New York including East Fishkill, Fishkill, Wappinger Falls, Hopewell Junction, Lagrange, Millbrook, Pawling, Pleasant Valley, Poughquag, Rhinebeck, Stormville, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Hyde Park

Specialties and designations:
Accredited Buyer Representative including First Time Home Buyers, Luxury Move Up Buyers, Downsizers, and New Construction.  Sellers Agency including expert negotiator, premier marketing, technology expert.

Which factors most attributed to your success in 2014?
1) The Realty Executives Business Model
2) The 24/7 support of my Broker/Owner Matt Williams
3) An extremely favorable interest rate environment
4) An improving job market
5) A continued shift in demographics

Did you have an “aha” moment in life – an experience that made it clear to you that real estate was the right career path for you?
I knew real estate was my calling when the vast majority of my clients told me they had purchased or sold homes before, but never had the service or results that they experienced with me. When one person tells you that, you just don’t know their previous experience. When everyone tells you that, you know you picked the right career path.

What led you to join Realty Executives?
After six successful years in the business, the next logical step was to start my own business. Through online research, I learned about the Realty Executives business model, and quickly realized that instead of opening a brand new unknown business name, I would go with Realty Executives, employ their branding, and reap the benefits without having to start a business from the ground up. And I was exactly correct. The best career move I ever made was in June of 2006, when I called Matt Williams of Realty Executives Williams-Sykes Realty.   The results I experienced in my first year exceeded my expectations, and I have grown my business significantly every year since.

How has your brokerage supported your success in 2014?
Real estate is one of those businesses that you can’t just do from 9-5, Monday through Friday. If your support is limited to that, you are not doing all you can do to close deals. My broker is literally available 24/7. We find solutions outside of office hours and by morning we are executing them. Continue reading

EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT: WMW Homes, Realty Executives Saskatoon

Each year, Realty Executives International recognizes the leading Executives across our network through our annual awards program. As we celebrate 50 years of real estate excellence in 2015, we’re highlighting the achievements of some of our most successful agents, (we call them Executives) sharing important keys to their incredible productivity in real estate.

WMW_Homes-72dpiThe WMW Homes team consists of three REALTOR® teammates, Kris Miazga and brothers, Morgan Wotherspoon & Blaine Wotherspoon of Realty Executives Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada. Working together since 2010, the trio has scored a host of commission-based achievements and attributes their success to keeping customer service as their top priority.  In the following interview, they tell us why Realty Executives Saskatoon was the perfect match for their entrepreneurial team culture… and share about how clients, (even as young as four years old!) continue to refer friends and family to WMW Homes.

Areas and cities served:
Saskatoon, Warman, Martensville and surrounding areas

What are your specialties and designations?
We specialize in residential real estate. Resale homes, new builds and acreage developments are our main focus.

How many years have you been in the real estate industry? How many years with Realty Executives?
The three of us have a combined 18 years of experience, with 6 years each. We have been operating as the WMW Homes team for almost 5 years with Realty Executives. Morgan Wotherspoon started with Realty Executives from the beginning of his career and his friend, Kris Miazga and brother, Blaine Wotherspoon later joined a year into their real estate careers.

Which factors most attributed to your success in 2014?
We see our real estate practice more like a relational business, as opposed to a one-time transaction based sale. We’ve developed a business plan and system for our success. Over the years we have changed the original plan, adding to it, and taking elements out as needed — all the while, maintaining growth and keeping up with the latest technology trends. Our main focus, which we rely on hugely, is customer service. We have learned from our clients that customer service is the one attribute they value the most.

Did you have an “aha” moment in life – an experience that made it clear to you that real estate was the right career path for you?
We each left our steady mainstream Monday-Friday careers, and realized that an “entrepreneurial spirit” lied within each one of us. For me (Morgan Wotherspoon) being able to work with your best friend and brother and be successful makes every single day rewarding. I (Morgan Wotherspoon) was told by a mentor of mine, “find something you enjoy and that you’re good at, and then find a way to make money doing it.” We just sincerely love what we do and are appreciative of this.

What’s your Realty Executives story? What led you to Realty Executives?
Leaving the profession of teaching, it was important for me (Morgan Wotherspoon) to choose a brokerage that cared about its people, that cared about its future and its brand. Most importantly, we looked for a brokerage that offered training, education, and coaching to build a solid foundation for a successful real estate agent. After interviewing almost all of the local brokers in the city, it became apparent, that our Broker, Wayne Zuk of Realty Executives Saskatoon, offered everything we were looking for and more. It was an easy decision.

How has your brokerage supported your success in 2014?
The team that Wayne Zuk has built at Realty Executives Saskatoon is like no other. He is one of the few brokers in the city – perhaps the only –- who isn’t a Broker/Realtor but instead, Wayne’s pure focus is about being a broker and offering education, training, coaching, and most importantly, retention. Our brokerage offers weekly sales meetings, which include up-to-date market stats and trends, the latest news, and other unique information only found at our office. Apart from this, there are weekly and monthly training sessions available to us all. Additionally, there is a huge support staff that assists in marketing and development and conveyancing that is like no other — it is a fail proof system. All of this absolutely contributed to the success of our team. Continue reading

EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT: Raelenna Ferguson, Realty Executives of Cape County

Each year, Realty Executives International recognizes the leading Executives across our network through our annual awards program. As we celebrate 50 years of real estate excellence in 2015, we’re highlighting the achievements of some of our most successful agents, (we call them Executives) sharing important keys to their incredible productivity in real estate, honoring the ways they make a difference in the communities they serve and revealing what differentiates them from the competition.FERGUSON-Raelenna_72dpi

Broker Associate Raelenna Ferguson of Realty Executives of Cape County in Cape Girardeau, Missouri has been a licensed Realtor® for 11 years and we are thrilled she has spent 10 of those years with Realty Executives. She was recently honored for her 2014 productivity and ranks amongst our top 50 Executives based on commissions, out of thousands of Executives in hundreds of offices throughout our global network. In the following interview, Ferguson shares how being with the Realty Executives brand has impacted her business, how social media boosts her productivity, and the truly incredible ways she has given back to her community, exemplifying the motto, “to those that are given much, much is expected.”

Areas and cities served:
Cape Girardeau County — specializing in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, Missouri

Which factors most attributed to your success in 2014?
My business has evolved over the years and I am now at a point where almost 100% of my new business is generated by referrals from past clients or acquaintances.

What led you to Realty Executives?
I love Realty Executives and I love my Broker/Owners, Bill and Susan Cole. They exhibit the same core values that my husband and I live by. One of the most important factors for me is to work for someone who has a high level of integrity and humility. It’s also important for me to know my Broker has my back. And I feel like Bill and Susan Cole embody all those characteristics. There is no other brokerage I would work for.

How has your brokerage supported your success in 2014?
My company and co-workers are my biggest cheerleaders. When my Realty Executives colleagues businesses are thriving, I am happy and excited for them — and I feel that they have all done the same for me over the last year.

As an award-winning real estate professional, you’ve obviously had to work hard to achieve success. What keeps you coming back to your work in real estate, day after day and year after year?
I sort of live and breathe real estate. It is almost like an addiction to me. I always tell people, I love this job and if I didn’t there would be no way I would be doing it. It can be a tough business with long hours, but for me I love the challenge of it. I love meeting new people and helping them achieve their goals and I love achieving the goals I have set for myself.

What differentiates you from your competition?
I consider myself a listing specialist. Listings are what I enjoy most and are an area of strength for me. The key to my success with listings is to be patient and thoughtful from the beginning. My goal isn’t to just stick a sign in the yard during the first meeting. My goal is to sell the client’s home with their best interests in mind, and that takes more than one appointment. I like to talk with and meet with my clients several times. I want to find out more about them, why they are selling and what their expectations are. Also, I spend a lot of time staging the house and preparing it for the market. I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist when it comes to my listings, from the exterior to the interior to the photos online. I work hard with my sellers to present their home in the best possible way we can.

What do you think keeps your repeat and referral customers coming back?
I think that my hard work and commitment speaks for itself. I try to treat every transaction equally, each person the same. Whether it’s the most expensive deal I have going on or the least. Every client I have is important to me and I feel like that is portrayed. You know the old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” I feel like that is one of the keys to my strong referral base. Continue reading

Executive Spotlight: Laura Harbison, Realty Executives of Nevada

Each year, Realty Executives International recognizes the leading Executives across our network through our annual awards program. As we celebrate 50 years of real estate excellence in 2015, we’re highlighting the achievements of some of our most successful agents, (we call them Executives) sharing important keys to their incredible productivity in real estate, honoring the ways they make a difference in the communities they serve and revealing what differentiates them from the competition.

HARBISON-Laura-72dpiLaura Harbison joined Realty Executives of Nevada in Henderson, Nevada 18 years ago because she needed the freedom and flexibility to grow her business “her” way. Today, Harbison brings nearly 30 years of experience to her real estate career and consistently achieves a host of commission-based achievements from Realty Executives International. She was recently honored for her 2014 productivity and ranks amongst our top 50 Executives based on commissions, out of thousands of Executives in hundreds of offices throughout our global network. In the following interview, Harbison shares how she keeps her clients and business on top, year after year.

Areas and cities served:
Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, Pahrump, Laughlin

Specialties:
Residential Sales
Residential Leasing (Henderson & Las Vegas only)
Land Sales
Age Restricted Communities
Relocation
1031 Exchanges (residential & commercial)
Self-Directed IRA Investment
Foreclosure Sales

Designations:
Accredited Buyer Representative
At Home with Diversity
Certified Distressed Property Expert
Certified Residential Specialist
Graduate of the Realtor Institute
Senior Residential Specialist

Which factors most attributed to your success in 2014?
Being consistent in the services that I provide, plus being flexible enough to continually adapt to the changing market.

What led you to join Realty Executives?
The company that I was with previously was resisting the “Team Concept” that I was trying to develop, and Realty Executives was open to allowing me to grow my business in the direction that I knew it needed to go.

What differentiates you from your competition?
The strength of my support staff, my comprehensive marketing plan which encompasses many forms of media such as Print Ads, Magazines, Internet, Direct Mail, Television (HCTV) and more. My office is open 7 days a week (most are not in this area) and I am thorough and detail-oriented to ensure my clients receive superior service.

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
Repeat business and referrals are the ultimate compliment. I connect on a very personal level with our team’s clients, so in addition to providing them with excellent service, they also know that I personally care about them and their transaction.

What are your top 3 lead generation sources? (Postcards, websites, social media, referrals, etc.)?
Farm mailings, past client mailings, and referrals from past clients are my top 3 lead sources.

How do you give back to the community you serve and the real estate industry?
“A Touch of Home” is a charity that I founded and operate. It benefits the Clark County School District and is dedicated to assisting the Homeless Education Division (Title 1) with the needs of the 3000+ homeless children that are attending school in our district.

I also volunteer time to Family Promise, which is a program designed to help homeless families get back on their feet.  Family Promise provides a place to stay, food, clothing, and childcare for up to 4 weeks — to allow the adults the opportunity to secure employment and get a fresh start. I am also active with Girls Scouts of America, and volunteer in my children’s schools. (I am a mother of seven children).

I am also a catechist at our church, and teach Religious Education Classes at the 7th grade level weekly.

Please tell us about your team:
I have a support staff that includes a Listing Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator, Escrow Coordinator, two full time Receptionists, an Accounting Coordinator, two Field Technicians, an REO Coordinator, an Administrative Assistant, and two Buyer’s Agents. The strength of my support staff is an incredible asset!

To contact Executive Laura Harbison, call 702-777-1234 or visit www.HarbisonRealEstate.com

Sandy Rubolotta receives national 2015 Volunteering Works award

Sandy-Rubolotta-gifFor Executive Sandy Rubolotta of Realty Executives Exceptional Realtors® Pompton Plains, in Pompton Plains, New Jersey, giving back to the community she serves could mean giving her neighbors the priceless gift of good health.

In 2008, Rubolotta founded the Greater Pompton Area Chapter of Deborah Hospital Foundation. Inspired by her own experience at Deborah®, Rubolotta made it her mission to raise awareness and funds for the local hospital that treats patients regardless of their ability to pay.

REALTOR® Magazine, the official magazine of the National Association of REALTORS®, recently recognized Rubolotta’s efforts and has gotten behind her cause in two significant ways.  Sandy is just one of five national recipients to receive the 2015 Volunteering Works award.  The New Jersey REALTOR® has been awarded a $1,000 grant and has been paired with a Good Neighbor mentor for her charitable work with Deborah®.  (REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award mentors have made an extraordinary impact on their community, or on the national or world stage, through volunteer work.)

Continue reading

Realty Executives Northern Arizona lists North America’s tallest single-family home


Check out the views from the top! North America’s tallest single-family home and one of the world’s most unique residential properties is now for sale, listed by leading Prescott, Arizona brokerage, Realty Executives Northern Arizona.

Built on the slope of Thumb Butte, Prescott’s most famous landmark, the 6,200 square foot house, known as Falcon Nest, reaches 124 feet tall. The home was designed by its owner, Phoenix architect Sukumar Pal, who specializes in energy efficient homes. The Pal Residence has held four residential architecture world records, including top honors for its unconventional heating and cooling systems that utilize passive solar for winter heat and micro climate and convective cooling in the summer.

“As Prescott’s leading brokerage, we are thrilled with the opportunity to showcase such an extraordinary home. The buyer will likely be as exceptional as the home itself and will appreciate the one-of-a-kind nature of this home,” said Realty Executives Northern Arizona owner, Don Bonnell.

Featured on HGTV’s Extreme Homes, the residence boasts commanding views of Thumb Butte and the San Francisco Peaks, located 90 miles away, and is priced at $2.8 million.

To contact Realty Executives Northern Arizona Prescott office, call toll free at 800-887-7891 or visit the website at www.RealtyExecutivesAZ.com. Realty Executives Northern Arizona holds the number one ranking in market share for the greater Prescott area, with high producing professional agents, including the group that has this exclusive listing. Contact The Ray Team at 928-379-3100 or via their website: www.PrescottAreaLiving.com.

To read more about Falcon Nest, click here.

Realty Executives Five Star Homes Readies Home for U.S. Veteran and Family

Realty Executives Five Star Homes in Festus, Missouri recently welcomed home United States Army Veteran, Chad Hembree and his growing family, to their new home. Together with Wells Fargo and the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF), Broker/Owner Cindy Callahan and her team of Executives played an important role in providing a new home for the Hembree family.

group in front of home

In October 2014, Wells Fargo contacted Realty Executives Five Star Homes to coordinate and ready a home in Northwood’s Subdivision, Festus, for the veteran. Wells Fargo has pledged to donate 30 million dollars to support returning service members and veterans through the end of 2015. To meet their goal, Wells Fargo partnered with MWSF and Operation Homefront, organizations dedicated to enhancing the lives of returning combat-wounded veterans by providing transition assistance, financial literacy and homeowner education courses. The home was donated to MWSF who in turn donated the property, mortgage free, to the Hembree family.

Realty Executives Five Star Homes readied the home by coordinating new carpet and flooring, a new roof, all new appliances, fresh paint, new deck, and other needed repairs. Many partner affiliates and clients answered Realty Executives Five Star Homes’ call to “fill the pantry.” The team collected paper goods, cleaning supplies, canned and dry goods along with some gifts for the children. An Americana bench and wreath for the front porch was also donated to the family by Realty Executives Broker/Owner Cindy Callahan, along with several gift cards.

donations

“It is an honor to be a part of the support for this family. A simple ‘thank you’ does not seem enough for all the service men and women who defend our country every day do for us. May you find peace and we welcome you home to Festus with open arms,” Cindy Callahan said.

Military Warriors Support Foundation home front

An official Key Ceremony was held on April 1st, 2015, to turn over the keys to Chad and his wife Katherine, who have two young children and are expecting a baby in May.

 

 

Realty Executives International Announces 2014 Top Award Winners

 

Each year, the top Executives, Broker/Owners and Regional Developers across the Realty Executives International network build their businesses and create superior client experiences through excellence in real estate.

Once again, it’s the time of year we celebrate the achievements of the top real estate professionals throughout our company. These award winning Executives, Broker/Owners, Regional Developers and offices have demonstrated exemplary sales and production achievements in 2014.

2014 Award Highlights Include:

The Solo, Team, and Top Gun awards rank individuals, 2-person teams and groups throughout the entire Realty Executives International system.  There are two sets of awards, gross commissions and units sold. The Top in each category include:

TOP SOLO – Individual Executives

SOLO COMMISSION
Lyle Caddell
El Cajon, California

SOLO UNITS
Deanna Moen
Elkhart, Indiana

TOP TEAM – Two Executives working together

TEAM COMMISSION
Rick McCandless & Scott Waid
San Diego, California

TEAM UNITS
Cindy Cahill
Taylor Mill, Kentucky

TOP GUN – One or more Executives working with a team

TOP GUN COMMISSION
Williams Group
Phoenix, Arizona

TOP GUN UNITS
Laura Harbison
Las Vegas, Nevada

Realty Executives International also recognizes the top offices throughout our system, for top listings and sales, in various categories:

TOP LISTING OFFICE

NUMBER OF LISTINGS
Realty Executives Associates
Knoxville, Tennessee

DOLLAR VOLUME
Realty Executives Associates
Knoxville, Tennessee

TOP SALES OFFICE

NUMBER OF UNITS SOLD
Realty Executives Associates
Knoxville, Tennessee

DOLLAR VOLUME
Realty Executives Polaris
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The Realty Executives International Fastest Growing Franchise Awards are designated for the top Owners who recruit the most Executives during the year:

TOP FRANCHISE PERCENTAGE GROWTH
Realty Executives SELA
Tammy Randles
Metairie, Louisiana

EXECUTIVE COUNT
Tammy Randles
Realty Executives SELA
Metairie, Louisiana

Top Region in Executive Count Growth:

TOP REGION
Scott Gilmour
Realty Executives Ontario
Ontario, Canada

The Regional Developer of the Year, Owner of the Year and Rookie of the Year Awards are chosen internally by Realty Executives International senior management and are awarded for overall contributions to the company throughout the year:

TOP REGIONAL DEVELOPER

REGIONAL DEVELOPER OF THE YEAR
Ken Durkee & Zig Ziegelman
Southeast Region

TOP BROKER OWNERS

OWNER OF THE YEAR
Tammy Randles
Realty Executives SELA
Metairie, Louisiana

ROOKIE OWNER OF THE YEAR
Cindy Callahan
Realty Executives Five Star Homes
Festus, Missouri

Congratulations to all of the 2014 Realty Executives International Award Winners!

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