Monday, March 31, 2014

Is Your Real Rstate Agent A Local Expert!

...People often joke about me being like a Staten Island tour guide, with most conversations ending up about or involving some sorta Staten Island happening or real estate story.  I'm cool about it though, LOL what can I say real estate is in my blood literally, you can thank Douglas Franks for that!
Douglas Franks
So the question... Is your Real Estate Agent a local expert, or just someone with a real estate license trying to sell you, or move you into a property and neighborhood that they know nothing about?  Don't be on the other end of what can turn out to be a horror story.

Apart from the actual apartment or home itself, you have to know the area in Staten Island real estate. Knowing what is in a given Staten Island neighborhood is just as important as knowing about the property itself. Additionally, having an understanding of what is around also provides you leverage when you are previewing the apartment or home without your roommate, spouse or partner.  Here are just a few key neighborhood elements that you should look out for when viewing a local property:
  • Schools and Day Care Centers
  • Grocery Stores and/or Bodegas
  • Post Offices and FedEx Locations
  • Laundry Mats and Dry Cleaners
  • Notable Restaurants and Cafes
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers
  • Bars, Pubs and Lounges
  • Historical Landmarks and Museums
BTW, your Real Estate Agent should know this information on cue when asked, if he or she has expressed that they are an Expert on the local market.
By taking note of this information, you will be able to understand what the Staten Island neighborhood offers you.
Furthermore, knowing the current state of the Staten Island real estate market is as much about knowing the Staten Island apartment inventory and the homes available as it is in knowing the neighborhood in which they exist. It is crucial that you understand the type of homes, apartments, history, stats, conveniences and geography of any given Staten Island neighborhood.  Remember this is a significant investment in real estate; and for many,  especially if your buying a home, it’s the largest purchase and one of the most important steps of your life.

History — Knowing factual information about communities, buildings, streets, landmarks and parks is vital to enabling you to be confident and certain about your Staten Island living decision. The more information you have the more at ease you will feel about choosing your place to live.

Stats — It is important that you have excellent knowledge of information pertaining to the breakdown of any Staten Island neighborhood where you plan to live on the island.  Knowing the makeup of the neighborhood, schools and school districts, and total population will also aid you in making an informed decision.

Conveniences — When you are looking for a place to live in a Staten Island neighborhood you are not only looking at the cost of the unit or property, but also at the neighborhood conveniences. Grocery stores, bodegas, train/bus/boat access, post offices, cafes, delis, restaurants, and bars are top considerations for anyone on the Island. How far is the nearest 24-hour bodega? What public transportation is close to the property? What can you expect to do in the neighborhood after hours or late night?  Make sure to write down and/or note the answers to these important questions.
If your Real Estate Agent does not readily know this information perhaps you should consider finding a real expert in that neighborhood in which you plan to live.

Take myself for instance...  
I am a 41 year Staten Island North Shore resident.  
My home was purchased on the North Shore.
My beloved ex wife, a NYC DOE teacher taught on the North Shore.
My children and I all went to/ currently go to school on the North Shore.
My community, volunteer and charity work is done on the North Shore.
My office and businesses are based on the North Shore.
Approx 94% of my real estate transactions involve properties on the North Shore.
... you get the picture.  
I am a Staten Island North Shore Real Estate expert and my clients, customers, co-workers, partners, friends and family will all say the same!

So if you see me in the local supermarket, walking in the park or at the gym and I have on my shirt that says "Ask Me About Real Estate",  don't be shy....   Ask!  
I love to chop it up.

Johnel L. Franks
The Franks Agency

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Real Estate Game and why I love it

The current real estate market is___________...  But, regardless of how you finished that sentence I still love being a real estate agent. Here are 34 reasons WHY.
  1. I love waking up each morning knowing that no matter HOW much planning I do, my schedule will change at a moments notice.  Apparently I like living on the edge.
  2. Being ill does not mean I will not make money.  Enough of what I do can be finagled from the comfort of my own home … at least for a couple days.
  3. Real Estate makes me passionate. I empathize when homeowners, who have been religiously on time with their payments cannot re-negotiate their loans when they have been simultaneously laid off and their rate adjusts… I like being in a business that brings out passion in me.
  4. I enjoy connecting and working real estate agents. Yes, some of them are complete imbeciles – but they just make me look good  ;-)  ...The good agents make the business fun.
  5. I love marketing. Real estate marketing is constantly changing and I love learning all the cutting edge tips and tricks. 
  6. Real Estate will never die. I don’t care WHAT the market is doing, there is business to be had. Land cannot go away and people will want to buy and sell it.
  7. I hold a HUGE chunk of people’s financial life in my hands. Scary as all heck, but it keeps me honest! … and I like being honest.  I'm known for my integrity!
  8. Real Estate is what brought me into the world of blogging and social media. Now I have even MORE friends who think I am odd. ...I love you all.
  9. Those months when I made nada, zip, zilch sure made me thankful for the months that I made more than some people do in a year. Learning to be thankful and learning how to stretch a dollar are one of the BEST lessons.
  10. Real Estate has inspired me!  Ever been inside of a multi-million dollar home???  Well I have been in plenty.  Now I have an eye for, and inspire to experience life's finer things.
  11. I create my own schedule and can be there for my kids, friends and family when they need me.
  12. The dynamic nature of this business keeps me on my toes. Shifting markets fling me from my comfort zone and into a place where I HAVE to be more effective for both my team and my clients.
  13. Even though I do not want to LIVE in one now, I like old homes. The Staten Island market has a lot of old homes – some of them are way cool. Period homes are awesome.
  14. I always had an interest in architecture and interior design being an artist.  In real state I now get the chance to express my creative and artistic nature, weather its telling a narrative during an open house, helping a homeowner stage their home for a showing or having to learn about a particular period piece of furniture.  Real Estate feeds my curiosity and creative needs.
  15. I like solving problems and real estate is an all-you-can-eat-buffet of problems to be solved.
  16. I LOVE teaching. I used to be in the Pre-School/Child Care business field and although I LOVED it, it was not where I was meant to be.  Now I'm a real estate consultant, and I LOVE IT.  Advising folks and teaching other real estate agents how to be better at what they do is probably my FAVORITE part of my business.
  17. Real Estate gives me the opportunity to excel in my business without the fear of being outsourced, downsized or fired.
  18. Real Estate perpetuates a Can Do, No Fear attitude!
  19. I love the business building, goal setting, high-5 accomplishment camaraderie that real estate brings out in agents.
  20. I love that real estate CAN BE a low-cost, high revenue business… If you are smart with your business budget.
  21. I love working with the Best and the Brightest in the business.  Steel sharpens steel, as they say!
  22. Real Estate gives me the opportunity to make a HUGE impact on someones life.  I have been to baby dedications, surprise weddings, house-warmings, golf outings, vip at clubs, ect… and all because I was the person who helped them buy/sell their home.
  23. I know more about humanity than I EVER thought I could know. Thanks to real estate, NOTHING surprises me anymore.
  24. Real Estate is the ONE thing that I can relate ANYTHING to. It is kind of amusing, actually.
  25. I love Seller’s-Markets as it challenges me to figure out ways to stand out among the masses of other posers that have a license.
  26. I love Buyer’s-Markets because it challenges me to me one of the ONLY people in my market who can actually SELL my listings.
  27. Real Estate has given me the insight and respect for other professions that are commission-based. I always make a point of purchasing a service or product through the person who helped me make my purchasing decision, if that person is paid on commission. This applies to restaurant staff and other service people too.
  28. Real Estate has brought out a love of photography in me. I look at the world in a whole new way.
  29. I am not an organized person, by nature. Real Estate has taught me the importance of being organized … at least sometimes.
  30. Law. I have never been more in tune with legal tidbits than I have been since becoming a real estate agent. I have a whole new respect for the reams of paper that stipulate what can and cannot happen in real estate.
  31. Law … again. I was taught that as a real estate agent, it was not IF you would be sued … it was WHEN. Dotting my “i”‘s and crossing my “t”‘s and keeping great notes has been the shield and sword against many a whacko.  I SO appreciate the foreknowledge of keeping great notes in a situation that could be potentially sticky … real estate or not.
  32. Real Estate gives great income and business growth opportunities to people who are not traditionally, scholastically refined. You do not need to go thousands of dollars in educational debt to be a real estate agent.  Some of the BEST agents I have ever met only have a HS diploma.
  33. Choose your own adventure. Real Estate is an endless series of entertaining choices. Should I show the home that has 4 stoned teenagers in the basement and a random passed out adult in the living room? Or, should I bypass THAT house for the one that has 4 shrines to Elvis? Should I take the condo listing that smells like a cat skinning factory? Or should I take the listing where the roaches greet you on the way in and out?  LOL, whats a guy to do..
  34. I could write a book about my life prior to real estate. Now that I have been a real estate agent for over 10 years, I can now write the sequel.
I love real estate


Johnel L. Franks
The Franks Agency

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why I'm Worth It

Am I worth it? There have always been buyers and sellers who want to handle their Real Estate transactions alone.  They are sure that they can save money by not paying a commission or paying a fee for professional advice and services.  In my experience the reality is somewhat different.  Whether as buyers, as sellers, or landlords consumers are rarely their own best advocates in a negotiation. 
Buyers usually pay less, sellers get more, and landlords get quality renters when they have a knowledgeable real estate agent representing them. 

Since I am an agent, perhaps I am not the most credible witness LOL.  In my personal experience Landlords get better tenants.   Likewise, when the National Association of Realtors, based on surveys of multiple homeowners, says that sellers with realtors tend to sell for up to 10% more than For Sale By Owners, perhaps they too have a particular perspective to promote???

... Ok so what about the phenomenon known to behavioral scientists as the “endowment effect”
The endowment effect postulates that people ascribe more value to what THEY own than they do to a similar possession which belongs to another.  In other words, unrepresented sellers tend to think their properties are worth too much, and unrepresented buyers tend to think the properties they view are worth too little. This leads to problems on both ends.

People rarely negotiate effectively on their own behalf.  This is particularly true when the commodity being sold, purchased or rented is something as emotionally resonant as a home or an apartment. Nowadays many buyers believe that they can make themselves a better deal if they pursue a purchase on their own. Using the Internet, they figure, they can find whatever listings they need. And indeed they can. But to succeed at BUYING or RENTING one of these listings is another matter. 

Most sellers and landlords are represented by an agent.  In a buying situation, what buyers frequently do not fully understand (in spite of signing the required NY State disclosure document) is that the seller’s agent represents the seller, not them. If the seller’s agent has agreed to take a lower commission when there is no buyer’s agent in the deal, the seller expects to put any money saved into his own pocket, not the buyer’s. And his agent is there to help him do just that.  In addition, if there are multiple bids buyers do not have the ability to analyze value and bid strategically the way an agent, who has done this multiple times, can guide them to do. Like any professionals we have our tricks to make it that much more likely that our buyer will beat the competition.

Overall, pursuing a real estate purchase, sale or rental without an agent in the New York marketplace seriously disadvantages the prospective buyer, seller tenant.  Agents have deep experience regarding properties and the overall marketplace which it is impossible for a lay person to possess.  We can add technique, access, timing, analytics and rationality to an often emotional process.  We have a sense of value honed by countless transactions. We can help sellers maximize their return, buyers and renters to get what they want at a price within market parameters.

I have heard often over the years that real estate agents are a dying breed. I have heard often that technology, as it becomes more and more sophisticated, will disintermediate the agent as a crucial component in our marketplace.  I don’t see it tho.  This is a boots-on-the-ground business.  The transactions are too big, too resonant, and too complex for most people NOT to use an expert. 

Ask anyone who has: 
  • Rented a property in Foreclosure
  • Bought an Overpriced Property
  • Lost a sale because of an Inspection
  • Rented to Deadbeats
  • Been unable to sell their Home for Years
...if I'm worth it.  They will say YES, then tell you why.


Johnel L. Franks
The Franks Agency