Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Do Real Estate Careers End?

By Greg Harrelson
The business of selling real estate is not as easy as most would prefer yet is doesn't have to be as difficult as most people make it. Many realtors get in this business with the anticipation of making a lot of money and love the idea that this career offers total freedom over one's schedule.  Where else can you come to work whenever you want and do whatever you want with no boss looking over your shoulder?

I am the first to admit that I love my job. I enjoy coming to work each day and accepting the challenges that confront me. I enjoy helping the community make the right financial decisions with their investments, and I enjoy helping real estate agents build careers that are fulfilling and profitable.

So, why do agents fail?

One of the biggest challenges that leads to failure is having unrealistic expectations. The following is a list of unrealistic expectations that are common amongst agents that fail and agents that fail to reach their goals.

1. Agents have unrealistic expectations of how much effort they must put into their career. Any career that offers unlimited income potential will attract a lot of competition, and therefore require a lot of effort to realize a worthwhile goal. More effort doesn't always mean you have to work harder.  Often, working smarter will do.

2. Agents have unrealistic goals of how much planning they must do. Like any other business, having and using a business plan is critical. You cannot navigate though this career without a well thought-out plan. Plan your activities, plan your time and most importantly...plan your time OFF.

3. Agents have unrealistic expectations of how much coaching and guidance they will get. Too many agents expect that the industry will give them all the coaching they will ever need. Training and coaching is the agent's responsibilty. The agents who are coached are the agents that create successful careers. Request more coaching from your companies and they will likely respond. All great producers are guided by mentors and/or coaches.

4. Agents have unrealistic expectations of how much time it will take to reach their goals. So many agents want or need success overnight. In real estate, like other careers, great results don't appear so quickly. Success comes after the agents have written a business plan and then worked that plan for a period of time. A successful career is a planned career. We have to understand that success ALWAYS takes longer than we thought.

As you can see, you control your success. Don't let the above expectations lead you to disappointment in a career that offers so much opportunity. There is business taking place all around us and it is your turn to grab those opportunities and realize the success you have always wanted. Focus on increasing your efforts, plan your path, seek a mentor and understand that it will take a little more time.

*About the author: Greg Harrelson is the president of Century 21 The Harrelson Group, a Myrtle Beach Real Estate Agency, and a real estate career coach.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Short Sales In Myrtle Beach Becoming Easier

My friend and client, Greg Harrelson, was recently quoted in the Sun News in reference to the increasing tide of Myrtle Beach short sales. In the past several years with so many homes and condos being lost to foreclosure, short-sales have always been a part of the equation, but banks have made it so time-consuming and difficult that many agents will no longer represent one. My brother-in-law tried for a solid year to buy a condo at Bay Watch in North Myrtle Beach through a short sale. After months of delay and hold up by the bank involved, the foreign investor/owner finally found the funds to pay the loan up and the sale was stopped. So many of the transactions end up this way, all over the US, that most agents will not encourage a buyer to even try for one.

Greg feels like this trend will not continue. He says Myrtle Beach short sales will increase and are becoming more accepted and easier to close as banks are pressured to close their books on the mortgages.  Adva Saldinger with the Sun News quoted the following paragraphs from Greg:
"Greg Harrelson, the owner of Century 21 The Harrelson Group, who was also at the CDPE class earlier this week, said that the short sale segment of the local real estate market appears to be growing.

One trend he has noticed is that property owners seem to be more educated. He is fielding questions about how he might be able to help before any mortgage payments have been missed, not after foreclosure proceedings have started.

'We need to be ready for an increase in this area," he said. "I wanted to be educated enough to help these people.'

Harrelson said banks are looking to move these properties off their books and may consider improving short sale processes as one way to do that. In addition to helping property owners avoid foreclosure, short sales may also be better for the broader real estate market, he said.

'At the end of the day, hopefully the average short sale price will be above the average foreclosure price and hopefully that will stabilize the market a little bit,' Harrelson said."
The biggest problem with processing a short-sale, next to the bank's reluctance to accept a bid, is the immense quantity of paperwork that needs to be submitted at the beginning of the process. Repeatedly asking for more documents, or duplicate documents is frustrating to the seller as well as the buyer, and adds to the dis-satisfaction both feel towards the process.

One government organization called the Distressed Property Institute offers a 3 day course to Realtors to become "Certified Distressed Property Experts", which Greg has taken and is encouraging his team of agents to follow suit.  Greg says that one of the duties of a Realtor is to help the public, and if he can advise a property owner in trouble with mortgage payments to find a better solution than foreclosure, he feels obligated to help.  Short-sales have a less damaging effect on the seller's credit, and can help make it possible for him to buy another home sooner than when he is saddled with a foreclosure on his record.

If you are a distressed owner or looking to buy Myrtle Beach homes, Greg welcomes your call for advice. His website also has a full listing of short-sales in Myrtle Beach, as well as Myrtle Beach foreclosures. Contact him at 888-874-2121 (toll-free) or through the website.

Other experts in the field are Virginia Horton-Lee who is certified with Buford GA short-sales, and Lee Cunningham who can offer advice with short sales in Greenville SC.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Crime and the News

In the last few days, a debate of sorts has arisen over local news reporters and crime in Myrtle Beach. Traditionally, crime news has been very quietly reported by the local paper and television news stations, particularly in the summer. I've always felt like that was a good thing. Our crime is high in overall statistics, but much of it is contained in several areas that tourists seldom see. In fact, the only ones unfortunate enough to suffer from some of these neighborhoods are the people who live in them. I can sympathize, but it doesn't affect me, nor does it affect tourism. To my opinion, the less it is sensationalized, the better. In this era of social media, particularly Facebook, news spreads faster and further than ever before. The Sun News even spits out news clips on Twitter, and one of the television stations, has a huge following on Facebook. The more controversial the news articles, the more traffic they get.

The new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk officially opened in May, and it's one of the nicest attractions the Grand Strand has invested in for a long time. It somewhat replaces the emptiness left from losing the Pavilion, and is a wonderful way to enjoy the beach, for young and old, pet lovers, health nuts - even the handicapped. There is one small problem though...part of it is located in a really rough part of Myrtle Beach. The southern end of the Boardwalk meets the 2nd Ave Pier area at 2nd Ave South. Most all of the renovated rental condos are from 10th Ave North and up. The south end has a few, but for the most part kept a large number of old mom and pop hotels, and worse - the run-down old beach houses across from the beach and on the 2nd and 3rd row. Where avenues like 28th North up to 80th north are lined with fine residences or condos, the south end roads are still old and often delapidated hotels and rickety beach homes...usually catering to year-round or monthly rentals that are way below regular housing prices.

Like Atlantic Beach in North Myrtle, these streets have more than their share of drug dealers, prostitutes, pool halls, and crime. The big question - what can be done to change it? WMBF wrote an article about this, and has created a storm of debate, from those who congratulate them because they "let the cat out of the bag", to many others who think they are sensationalizing the news for their own benefit. To hear WMBF's defense, read their article called  Consider This - Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

Short of finding a Donald Trump to buy up the houses and replace them with more condo resorts or expensive beach homes, the city of Myrtle Beach cannot force property owners to renovate an older home or dictate to whom they choose to rent. With the glut of oceanfront condos, 2nd and 3rd row streets won't support a luxury Myrtle Beach rental condos. That option is probably never going to work. It's always very hard to renovate and clean up a notoriously bad neighborhood anyway. People who know the area simply won't consider living in a neighborhood that's been known to be crime-ridden for years.

The Boardwalk makes a convenient place for the hookers, the intoxicated, the pan-handlers, and the drug dealers to walk on the better side. Where the beach used to be dark and uninviting, it's now brighter and enticing even to the bad elements. But where they go, trouble now the area is not safe for tourists and regular locals, at least in the later part of the evenings.

Yes, the city could hire another 100 or so policemen to do nothing but patrol the Boardwalk. But like every other city, Myrtle Beach is hurting in this economy too. If they spend the money for this, then the only way to do it is to increase the already too-high taxes. And if you think about it, walking along the Boardwalk seeing a uniformed policement every 50 feet is rather intimidating. So what is the answer?

How about a little common sense? If you go to New York City, are you going to stroll down a dark street downtown at 10-11 oclock at night safely? No, not unless you are foolishly fearless.

Enjoy our gorgeous new attraction during the day...the morning...the early evenings. If you rent a condo on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, enjoy the views of it safely from your balcony after 9 or 10pm. You've got a bigger problem if you stroll along the Florida oceanfront than you do in Myrtle Beach, but you still need to remember that there are dangers everywhere. Act a little more responsible for your own safety, and enjoy your vacation without worry.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

USA Today Brags on Myrtle Beach Vacations

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
TV station WMBF reports that the popular USA Today Newspaper has named Myrtle Beach as one of the top five bargain destinations for 2010.

Local feature writer A.J. Ross says that USA Today used trends and sales patterns to choose the five winners, which also include Quebec City, the Bahamas, Ireland, and California state. (I didn't think anything in California was a bargain, but O well!)

Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce president Brad Dean says that it's always a great boon to the area when we reach a national publication like the newspaper. He says they constantly court freelance writers and journalists by bringing them to our beach and showing them what we have to offer. Although the Chamber spends a lot for paid advertising, free media exposure such as this article is "huge", and can often be more helpful than ads.

He adds that they meet with hundreds of travel writers during the year to entice them to write about Myrtle Beach, and that an article like this is the goal.

Vacation rental companies like Condolux certainly reap the rewards and they see a definite increase in reservations for Myrtle Beach condo rentals. Even niche websites like those for pet friendly hotels see an increase in traffic after this kind of publicity.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Myrtle Beach Hopes Golfers and Families Pour In During May

CondoLux recently reported on a press release that Myrtle Beach golf packages were up this summer over 40% from early 2009.

The golf director, Craig Chinn, attributed the increases to additional direct flights in and out of the Grand Strand, and to more Myrtle Beach condo rental companies and hotels oiffering golf packages as incentives to vacationers. Check out their latest press release titled, Myrtle Beach Golf Company Reports Another Record Year.

The city of Myrtle Beach is spending big advertising bucks this year. attempting to promote tourism to make up for a still slow economy and the loss of Harley Biker week during May. The new motorcycle laws implemented by the city are still causing constant sniping and critique by commenters in the local online newspaper articles and news agencies. With the new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk now open and marketing for families increased, it should be interesting to see just how much is lost by the biker restrictions overwhelmingly supported by local residents.

North Myrtle Beach is still welcoming the black bikers during Memorial Day, and along with Surfside Beach, they are soliciting the Harley bikers to overlook the controversy and stay in those locations without restrictions. Right or wrong, Myrtle Beach wants to give the month of May back to families and couples, and change the area's reputation from the oft-quoted "redneck Riviera" to a more Boca-Raton-ish upscale image. With all the much higher priced resorts that require a higher vacation rental income, this is probably a wise course of action.

May is one of the months with the most gorgeous weather of the entire year, and especially suited for golfers and young children who don't particularly care for the extreme heat and sun of full summer. It would be a good thing to see a change in the type of tourism in the Grand Strand for this important month of the year. Good luck to all concerned during the upcoming Cinco De Mayo!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Myrtle Beach Condos - Good News and Bad

The Sun News spoke with the President of our local Board of Realtors recently, and reported his remarks about our real estate market, and in particular, Myrtle Beach foreclosures.

Tom Maeser says there was a 72 percent in sales of condos in Myrtle Beach, but they are almost exclusively foreclosures and short-sales. (actually 25% according to Tom - I think it's probably more like 75%!)

I don't think that comes as a surprise to anyone, and I don't see the point in his he goes on to say that without those sales, regular condo sales are down lower than in 2009. Well, of course with all the foreclosures THEY are going to be the ones people buy. That's the same all over the US. My friend in Las Vegas, Diann Tonnesen, told me that her sales were booming too...and just about all foreclosures.

We've got to get through the foreclosures in order for the regular sales to begin again. So this is GREAT news! The faster they sell and get out of the way, the faster our prices will increase again and the market will return to normal.

This is also pretty amazing when you take into consideration that it's nearly impossible to finance an oceanfront condo in Myrtle Beach right now! That means there are enough buyers with CASH that it still makes a 72 percent increase in sales. Wow!

Rentals are booming with both CondoLux and Condo World for the summer. Other area businesses are doing well, also. My friend that does tree services in Myrtle Beach, Duncan McInnis, is being kept hopping. My Myrtle Beach car insurance agent, Scott Todd, is pleased with business and had a friend of his with Allstate in Conway talk to me about a website. Most all of the restaurants are doing better, and lines are actually forming already at the popular ones like TBonz and Olive Garden.

This week begins another SOS get-together, and soon the dreaded Memorial Day Bike Week will be happening (or not) They keep threatening to boycott...and we keep hoping they do...:-) Another summer in Myrtle Beach begins!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk News

From: Mark Kruea, Public Information Officer, City of Myrtle Beach
Date: March 24, 2010
Re: Boardwalk opening…

We are excited that Myrtle Beach’s new oceanfront boardwalk is nearly complete! Officials today announced the ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremonies, to be held Saturday, May 15, in conjunction with the new Beach Music Festival that weekend. About three-quarters of the boardwalk – from just north of the 14th Avenue Pier to Fourth Avenue North – will be ready for public use by that date, and we are eager for everyone to see and enjoy it.

The remaining section of the new boardwalk project, from Fourth Avenue North to just south of the Second Avenue Pier, will take a little longer to be finished and won’t be quite ready by May 15. However, since all but about two blocks of the boardwalk will be ready for the Beach Music Festival, we did not want to delay the grand opening any longer than needed.

In case you missed today’s announcement, the Beach Music Festival will feature performances from eight groups, including Ben E. King, Billy Scott and the Party Prophets, Chairmen of the Board, The Coasters, Jim Quick and Coastline, and Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. The boardwalk grand opening ceremony will occur at 12:00 p.m. that Saturday. Other activities include creation of a giant cake shaped like a flip-flop by TLC’s “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro.

For more information, contact:
Mark Kruea, Public Information Officer, City of Myrtle Beach
(843) 918-1014 voice   (843) 450-1695 mobile

Photos and info on the New Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

Monday, March 1, 2010

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Expands to Florida

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Expands Reach to South Florida
News Releases
March 1, 2010

New Franchisee Will Add More Than 300 Agents to Growing National Network

PARSIPPANY, N.J., and FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (March 1, 2010) — Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC today announced the addition of Florida 1st, a leading Ft. Lauderdale-based real estate brokerage, to its growing national franchise network. Florida 1st will now operate as Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st. With this new affiliation, the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate network now has more than 100 offices and 4,400 sales associates in 13 states.  Read Full Press Release...

I visited the Better Homes and Gardens website and was very impressed.  They've been a household authority for as long as I've been alive, but I was not aware they were dealing with real estate now.  I don't believe they are involved in Myrtle Beach condos yet.

In other news, the State of New Mexico is implementing a "Cash for Clunkers" program for appliances beginning in April.

The state is rebating $200 per washer, refrigerator, or energy saving furnace purchased when the program starts. Albuquerque's Bernalillo County Water Authority is also adding $100 rebate to that. Sounds like you can buy new appliances practically for free, doesn't it?

Save all that money and find a new Albuquerque home for sale while you're at it!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is it a Good Time to Buy Real Estate as an Investment?

The economic bubble that burst and shattered a million dreams is still fresh in many hearts and minds, and the scars are deep and yet to heal. But if you were to believe the rumors and the buzz doing the rounds of the industry, you would start to think that the real estate field was starting to look up, and that prices are beginning to rise again.

And so you begin to think of buying a second home as an investment option; perhaps you could possibly rent it out and earn a steady monthly income. Even more tempting is the fact that some good homes are available at budget prices because their owners could not meet the monthly payments on their mortgage and are willing to sell at reasonable rates rather than see their homes foreclosed. But before you jump in to the real estate industry to invest your money, consider this:
  • Second home mortages are usually higher than primary residence mortages. And mortgages payments are usually more expensive than what you can charge for rent. Unless the rent you hope to get on your second home is much more than the mortgage you’re paying each month, it may not be a good decision to buy the home. Also, unless you have a fixed rate mortgage, interest rates have a way of rising quickly. The rent you get may not increase proportionally. So unless you’re buying the house outright without borrowing money to finance it, buying a second home with the idea of renting it to meet the mortgage probably isn't feasible.
  • Additional expenses add to your burden: Although you rent the home, you’re still the owner. You’re responsible for paying taxes,  homeowners insurance, and for looking after the general maintenance. All of these things make your costs add up. So you have to not only pay back a mortgage, you also have to pay much more by way of the house’s upkeep and additional costs. 
  • Cost is not the only factor when buying a home: The house may be dirt cheap, but if it is in an area where most of the homes have been foreclosed, you’re not going to be able to find trustworthy people to rent it out to. You should be sure your renter can afford renters insurance as well.  Also, you don’t know the real reason the owner chose to opt for a foreclosure. It’s best you do your research thoroughly before jumping in and buying a home which you think is a bargain. Don’t believe middlemen you don’t know, and always check your facts more than once to ensure that you’re making the right decision.
This guest post is contributed by Nicole Adams.  She writes on the topic of Construction Management Degrees . She welcomes your comments at her email id:

Search the Albuquerque MLS with The Albuquerque Real Estate Group.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Becomes a Reality

Ocean City-What Myrtle Beach Boardwalk will resemble

WOW! New Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Sounds Fantastic!

Myrtle Beach is soon going to have a boardwalk to rival the famous ones up north and make this place a showcase of fun for the downtown tourists.

The new Boardwalk is going to run along the dune line from 2nd Ave Pier (south) to Pier 14 at 15th Ave North. At more than a mile long, that is more than anyone could have hoped for! There is a "boardwalk" of sorts in the pavilion area now, which will be changed to wood, I assume. They are supposed to begin with the stretch from 14th Ave North to about 11th Ave North (Mr. Joe White Ave. Then they will redo the central area with all the stores and bars to a much wider and busier boardwalk. To quote the official website,
"This section adjoins beachfront store and shots and invokes a carnival and nostalgia atmosphere with its sights, sounds and energy,"
The third part, called the South Promenade, will stretch from Eight Ave North to the 2nd Ave South Pier. It will be very peaceful and quiet with benches and natural landscaping.
Sounds like heaven!

I spent some time in Miami and Boca Raton several years ago, looking at the Florida oceanfront real estate market and trying to decide if I could move down there and work enough to make ends meet. The one thing I noticed in all the nicer areas was that there were so many restaurants and parks along the beach. Each city had its own kind of "boardwalk", whether it was a cement sidewalk or wooden. And it was such a pleasure to dine outside right on the beach edge. Other than a very few oceanfront restaurants like the Sea Captain's House, we really don't have that. And the ones that we have are mostly inside dining. That pretty much spoils the effect.

So if we end up with a mile of public area with restaurants and boutiques along it, this will really dress up Myrtle Beach and make it into more of a classy resort area. Hopefully we can one day shed that "Redneck Riviera" tag.

City Council is having ongoing meetings to decide on what will and won't be allowed along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. So far they have pretty much decided that they will have sidewalk cafes, and bicycles, and it will be a pet friendly accommodation with some restrictions. They say there will be no skateboards, skating, or rollerblading. The vending cart question is up in the air...with the bars and stores that already exist adamantly against it. Some say they don't want the carnival atmosphere. Others say that is exactly what they DO want.

In the middle of all of this, there is the 3-4 block span where the Pavilion rides used to be. It's now leveled and ready for Burroughs and Chapin or someone to build condos with access to the Boardwalk.

For a look at the renderings and to see news as it comes up on condos or hotels along the Boardwalk, see our page about Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Condos. We'll try to keep it updated about anything new in stores, restaurants, or Myrtle Beach hotels on the Boardwalk.

If you're in the market for insurance in Myrtle Beach, visit the local Allstate website. You'll find tips on lower the cost of SC car insurance, homeowners insurance, and renters insurance. You can find info on Florida condo insurance on our Condo Insurance website, too.