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Consistency Is Key for Market Domination

Iskenderian_AlexIn the following interview, Alex Iskenderian, owner/REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Maui Properties in St. Lahaina/Wailea, Hawaii, discusses agent development, culture and more.

Region Served: Maui, but also licensed in California
Years in Real Estate: 6
Number of Offices: 2
Number of Agents: 25
Favorite Time-Saving Tech Tool: The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise provides a platform called the Resource Center where we can put together our marketing material and marketing collateral. It expedites the marketing process because I don’t need to design postcards or mail pieces. Instead, I can go into the system and click on the listing and the marketing pieces are automatically populated.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the office each morning?
I check my emails, and then I check what we call the “hot list,” which is a list of all the properties that are new on the market and have experienced a price change, sold, gone into escrow, cancelled or expired.

What is your personal philosophy for real estate success?
Consistency. Not just in tasks, but consistency in marketing, so that when a client drives by our office, they see the same sign they see on our open houses and for-sale signs and postcards and print media and HGTV. We provide all the signage for our agents, so everywhere you turn, you see the same branding. I believe our success is attributed to being extremely aggressive and consistent in our tasks, branding and marketing.

Can you describe your company culture?
We don’t have a competitive in-house culture. While we bring on agents for specific markets, we don’t bring on agents to compete with other agents in the office. We have a synergistic atmosphere in that everyone is willing to work with each other and no one is stepping on one another’s feet. We’re also relatively youthful and family-oriented. We do things as if we’re friends and family, not just agents.

What sets your team apart from other brokerages?
The Berkshire Hathaway name obviously helps. We’ve also been in the same location for 25 years, which we own, and that ties back into our consistency. We’re one of the few real estate brokerages in the state that owns all of its office locations. Our consistency with branding and marketing sets us apart, too. Even though we have minimal agents compared to some of the larger companies, it feels like we’re the dominant brokerage on the island simply because of our marketing consistency. Our signs are everywhere.

How do you keep your agents motivated?
We offer as much support to our agents as they need in order to be successful. We also have an incentivizing commission structure in which productivity is rewarded. Our agents are not penalized if they’re not as productive as before, and once they get to a commission level, it’s not taken away from them.

For more information, please visit www.berkshirehathawayhs.com.

Eisenberg_Zoe_60x60Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Consistency Is Key for Market Domination appeared first on RISMedia.

Economic Forecast Rosy, but Susceptible to Volatility

Economic growth likely will not succumb to volatility, with GDP forecasted at a healthy 2.7 percent for the year, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s recently released Economic and Housing Outlook for February 2018. There is, however, potential for upheaval, which could have effects in housing.

“‘Fiscal Policy and the Fed: Stimulus/Response’—our 2018 theme —will be paramount in the months ahead as the economy navigates newfound turbulence and heightened inflationary concerns,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “While our 2018 growth forecast remains unchanged, upside and downside risks are emerging that are contingent on those policy influences. Legislatively, stimulus from tax reform and the recently passed budget could add to growth; however, if additional growth is accompanied by signs—or even fears—of inflationary pressure, it could complicate the Fed’s attempt at a ‘soft landing’ and may require more aggressive monetary action.”

All eyes are on the Federal Reserve. The Consumer Price Index, a Commerce Department inflation measure, came in higher than expected in January, and the stock market has been volatile; how the Fed will react is unclear. It will announce its decision on whether to hold or raise rates in March—action that can impact the movement of mortgage rates, which are on a surging track.

“We expect the first rate hike of the year at the March Fed meeting, a move fully priced in by the market, with continued gradual monetary policy normalization under the new leadership of Fed Chair Jerome Powell,” Duncan says.

The ESR Group anticipates the average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate will land at 4.4 percent by year-end. Last week, it averaged 4.38 percent.

The bigger factor for housing, however, is inventory. Additional earnings as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could be favorable, but how much so remains uncertain.

“On housing, we upped this year’s 30-year fixed mortgage rate forecast by 30 basis points to an average of 4.4 percent during the fourth quarter as a result of the unexpected spike in long-term interest rates at the start of the year,” says Duncan. “However, we don’t expect rates to play much of a role in total home sales, especially with anticipated stronger disposable household income growth. The ongoing inventory shortages should continue to constrain sales despite otherwise ripe home-buying conditions.”

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the existing-home market was at 3.5-months supply in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Source: Fannie Mae

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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The post Economic Forecast Rosy, but Susceptible to Volatility appeared first on RISMedia.

Survey Finds Hidden Costs of Homeownership

(TNS)—Your day burns brightly on both ends.

You prod your kids out of bed at daybreak, get them dressed, fed and off to school. You drive to work, endure meetings, colleagues, power lunches, memos and strategy sessions, only to return home through gridlocked traffic just as the sun sets, beg your kids to eat dinner, wash them, coax them to sleep, do the dishes and then mercifully collapse in front of the television set.

You fret over your emergency savings account, retirement savings account, credit card debt, mortgage rate, health insurance, college savings, and on and on.

It makes sense, then, you’d opt to pay a cleaning or lawn service every week to lighten your load. Hiring someone to keep your property in working order, either on your own or through homeowners association fees, doesn’t come cheap, though.

More than three in five homeowners—63 percent—use at least one recurring home maintenance provider, while 35 percent use two, according to a recent Bankrate survey. The average homeowner pays $2,000 annually on maintenance services, the survey finds.

Costs of Owning a Home
The price of biweekly landscaping probably never factored into your calculus when deciding how much house you can afford.

The average home mortgage neared $250,000 last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, which came with a monthly principal and interest payment of $973, or about one-sixth of median family income.

Homeowners saw an average property tax bill of $3,300 in 2016, according to ATTOM’s most recent data, adding another $275 to your monthly budget. You’ll also owe hundreds more in insurance premiums depending on where you live and what type of house you own.

That doesn’t even include the money you need saved in case something unexpected happens. If your air conditioning unit or washer and dryer gives out, you could immediately owe hundreds, if not thousands.

Kevin Mahoney, CEO of fee-only financial advice firm Illumint, recommends to designate a savings account as a “home maintenance fund.” Mahoney, who recently bought a renovated row house in Washington, D.C., contributes $100 to $200 a month as a hedge against unexpected repairs and wear-and-tear. Maintaining a house fund will inoculate you against high-interest debt, leaving your budget open for routine maintenance services.

Cost You Probably Didn’t Think About
After the years required to amass a sufficient down payment—the average among new homebuyers is 11 percent—and all the big costs staring homeowners in the face, it’s little wonder if you don’t account for smaller fare.

But the price tag for convenience can rise quickly.

People who opt for housekeeping shell out an average of $285 a month, while HOA dues ($210) and landscaping ($144) followed behind. A home security system costs $130, slightly more than pool care ($123). Snow removal ($84), septic service ($67) and trash and recycling collection ($55) proved more affordable.

Unsurprisingly, renters are less likely than homeowners to pay for recurring maintenance services, and when they do, they pay less for most services.

On average, renters pay less for housekeeping ($128), HOA dues ($71), pool care ($70), landscaping ($61) and snow removal ($24); however, they fork over a little more for security systems ($142), septic service ($113), and trash and recycling collection ($63).

Nate Masterson, a director of Finance for Maple Holistics, pays $1,000 annually for gardening services, and another $70 to clear his Riverside, N.Y., home of snow.

“It would require a lot of strenuous work to perform either task, and it’s simply more worthwhile for me to pay a professional,” says Masterson, 34.

Make Sure You Account for All Costs
Americans broadly struggle mightily to save.

The average person wouldn’t pay for an unexpected $1,000 expense from their savings, per a recent Bankrate survey, while the median amount in a savings and checking account for a middle-income household has essentially remained flat over the past 27 years, according to Federal Reserve data.

Credit card debt recently hit an all-time high, while the personal savings rate has dropped precipitously over the past two years.

If you don’t have a fully-funded emergency fund comprising three to six months’ worth of expenses in a high-yield savings account, strongly consider suspending as many as these services as possible until you do. Dropping almost $300 a month on housekeeping while lacking $1,000 in the bank is simply too risky. What if the roof caves in? At the very least, start contributing to a home maintenance fund.

You may not have a say in other costs—trash collection and HOA fees were two of the three most common—but make sure to account for those expenses into your budget prior to moving in, and in your emergency fund.

Life’s hard, and there’s nothing wrong with paying someone else to mow your lawn. Unless you can’t afford it.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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John Becker / Bald Head

John Becker "Bald Head"
Bald Head Realty
33 Pine Lane
Franklin, NC 28734
Call 828-506-3719

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