Blog : home ownership

5 Things You Should Do Before Moving into Your New Home

5 Things You Should Do Before Moving into Your New Home

Finally about to close on your dream house? Read this list to get some good tips on what you should do when moving into a new home to make the place your own.

Is there anything more exciting than moving into a new home? But preparing to move is a busy time. You’ve got to figure out how to pack for moving, pick up packing boxes and look up moving tips to make the whole process go more smoothly. Plus, there’s hiring movers, renting a truck, enlisting friends and family to help – and that’s on top of all the other stuff you’ve got to do to prepare for closing day and, once you’ve taken possession, get the place ready for move in.

Before you settle into your new home, these new simple home hacks can help you make the place feel like your own. Make moving day as smooth as possible, and stave off future new homeowner hiccups, with these moving day tips.

1. Change the Locks

The very first thing you should do after taking possession of a new home is change the locks, or have them re-keyed. If you’re handy, you can do this yourself with a re-keying kit from your local big-box hardware store, or you can buy new locks. These days, homeowners can choose from a range of smart locks, as well as old-fashioned ones.

Why change the locks? While the previous owners are probably great people, there’s no knowing who has keys to your home. There could be any number of copies of your house key out there, and you never know who has them. Make sure you and your loved ones are the only people who can access your new home. Locksmith rekey services are typically covered under your home warranty.

2. Forward Your Mail

Don’t miss important bills, housewarming cards or letters from Grandma – set up mail forwarding to begin on moving day. You can apply for mail forwarding online for $1.05, or you can do it in person at the post office. Of course, you’ll still have to change your address with your bank, credit cards, magazine subscription issuers and others who send you mail, but you’ll have 60 days to change your address for magazines and a year to change it for other kinds of mail.

3. Deep Clean the Whole Place

Just like you can’t know who has a copy of your house key, you can’t know how thoroughly the previous owners cleaned the place before they left. It’s a good idea to give your new home a good deep clean – clean the refrigerator, the oven, the walls, the floors and the cabinets inside and out, as well as the bathrooms. It’s easiest to do this before you start bringing your stuff in, or at least before you start unpacking it. If you don’t want to deep clean your new home yourself, you can hire professional cleaners to perform a move-in clean.

4. Check Your Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors

Smoke alarms and CO detectors are among the most important safety devices in your home. They could save your family’s lives in the event of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak. Before you move into your new home, test your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working properly.

Your new home may not have a carbon monoxide detector; many don’t. But carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless but can be deadly. Even when it doesn’t kill, it can cause serious symptoms, including brain damage. If your new home doesn’t have a CO detector, plan to install one on moving day. Make sure to calibrate it for the first time outside, so it can use fresh air for its baseline reading.

5. Look for Plumbing Leaks

If you have a leaking pipe in your new home, you need to know about it ASAP, and the easiest time to check for plumbing leaks is before everyone has gotten settled in. On moving day, check your water meter and either write down the reading, or take a photo of it. Wait two hours, making sure no one uses the water, and then check the meter again. If the reading isn’t exactly the same as it was two hours before, you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your home, and you need to locate it and put it on the priority list of things that need fixed right away.

While you’re looking for plumbing leaks, this is an excellent time to locate your home’s main water and gas shutoff valves as well as your breaker box. That way you won’t find yourself hunting for the breaker box in the dark with a flashlight or frantically hunting for the main water shutoff valve while a burst pipe fills your basement with water. Plus, if you find a plumbing leak, you’ll want to shut off the water to your home until you locate it.

Moving day is exhausting, stressful, and exciting – but it’s worth the work to finally settle into your brand new dream home. Make sure you take the time to do moving day right; it’ll save you a lot of trouble in the long run, and help you make your home your own a lot faster.

For more helpful tips, visit the American Home Shield blog!

NextHome launches first Rhode Island office for the franchise

NextHome launches first Rhode Island office for the franchise

Brian Buonaiuto

Pleasanton, CA — April 9, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Ocean State Realty Group. This new brokerage represents the very first office location opened in the state of Rhode Island by the NextHome franchise. The Cranston-based brokerage will be owned and operated by broker Brian Buonaiuto. He will be joined at the brokerage by his wife, Tara, who is also a licensed agent.

NextHome Ocean State Realty Group will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, rehab & resale, military relocation, and traditional single-family sales for the entire state of Rhode Island. The brokerage also works closely with the Homes For Heroes program – a home buying program specifically designed for first responders, military personnel, medical professionals, and school teachers.

“Our brokerage takes pride in being able to service the entire state,” said Brian. “Based on the size of Rhode Island, an agent can drive from one side of the state to the other in 45 minutes.”

Brian comes from a background in corporate management, where he had previously worked at several different Fortune 500 Companies such as Burger King, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Public Storage.

Knowing he was no longer interested in corporate America, Brian had an eye on pursuing his passion for real estate and in 2018, he left his management role to make the move to selling homes full time.

“I wanted to take my business experience and direct it towards a career where I felt I could really make a difference with buyers and sellers who were looking for great representation,” said Brian.

He started with a small independent brokerage in Cranston and did very well in his first year. But it was a conversation with a friend from Florida that caught his attention.

“I was anxious to start my own brokerage as soon as I was able,” said Brian. “My friend told me about her brokerage (NextHome Gulf Coast) and I looked into the franchise.”

“Everything I saw, I absolutely loved,” he added.

Brian says the NextHome Ocean State Realty Group difference will be having “a company that delivers high level technology that not only helps the buyers and sellers, but also allows agents to provide a ton of value for their clients.”

Brian and Tara have been married for six years and they have a five-year-old son, Jack. With Jack having autism, the couple are very involved with multiple charities and organizations that provide support to families with autistic children.

Please join us in congratulating Brian, Tara and the rest of the team at NextHome Ocean State Realty Group on the opening of the first NextHome office in the state of Rhode Island!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome opens newest brokerage in Waynesville, Missouri

NextHome opens newest brokerage in Waynesville, Missouri

Lisa Ellis

Pleasanton, CA — March 26 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Team Ellis. This new brokerage represents the sixth office location opened in the state of Missouri by the NextHome franchise. The Waynesville-based brokerage will be owned and operated by top REALTOR® and Broker of record, Lisa Ellis.

NextHome Team Ellis will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, multi-family, land, military relocation and traditional single-family sales for all of the St. Robert and Fort Wood area. More than 90% of NextHome Team Ellis’ business is working with military families. The agents at the brokerage are experts in working with unique military loans and programs such as Veteran’s Assistance and Homes For Heroes.

Located two-and-a-half hours west of St. Louis, the town of Waynesville is known for its deep military roots. As a military post, Waynesville is the home to the United States Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School.

Now in her 21st year, Lisa started real estate in 1998 at a local independent brokerage in St. Robert.  She made the move to a Coldwell Banker franchised brokerage in 2000 and saw a huge rise in her business.

In 2004, Lisa moved to a local RE/Max and grew her personal real estate sales year-over-year and was consistently a top producer in her market.

In keeping up with her business, Lisa moved to Century 21 Prestige in 2010 to manage the 12 agent brokerage, while forming her own personal real estate team – Team Ellis. She grew the team to three agents, selling more than 60 transactions annually.

After seven years of managing and running a real estate team, Lisa returned to the RE/Max brand to fully focus on sales with Team Ellis. In 2018, the five-person Team Ellis group sold more than $12 million and 87 transaction sides. Incredible numbers for an area with an average sales price of $133,000.

Lisa attributes the growth and success of the team to focusing on world-class service and client care that has her buyers and sellers returning again and again.

After 20 years in real estate and selling at the highest level, Lisa was ready to take the next step in her career – owning a brokerage.

“As I was doing some research about various franchise models, a real estate friend of mine suggested I check out NextHome,” said Lisa. “Everything I saw about the NextHome franchise fit what I was looking for. The branding, marketing and friendly feel of the company really had me intrigued. I had a great conversation with (NextHome’s VP of Sales) Charis Moreno and I brought all the info back to our team.”

“The Team Ellis members were excited and totally onboard,” she added.

Besides Lisa, NextHome Team Ellis is comprised of five dynamic REALTORS® – Angie Masterton, Hazel O’Donnell, Maryanne O’Brien, JP Macormic and Linda Wyatt.

Lisa and Team Ellis are very involved in the community. They work closely with Fort Leonard Wood, supporting military events as local sponsors and volunteers. Team Ellis also sponsors local youth sports teams in basketball and soccer.

Lisa and her husband, retired US Army E7 First Sergeant, Renard, have four children and four grandchildren.

Please join us in welcoming Lisa and the rest of the team at NextHome Team Ellis on the opening of their brand new office in Waynesville, MO!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

‘Lazy’ Millennials Do More Work When Buying, Selling Homes

‘Lazy’ Millennials Do More Work When Buying, Selling Homes

An overhyped stereotype about millennials is that they’re entitled narcissists who can’t be bothered to do homework, legwork or even stash a few dollars in the bank (see avocado toast). That caricature can be taken apart in many ways – including by research from the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report that shows millennial home buyers and sellers are extremely motivated: They go on more tours, give more open houses, do more research on real estate professionals, and fix up their homes at higher rates than older generations.

Tours, tours, tours!

When buying a home, millennials go on more tours than their older counterparts. The average millennial goes on 4.4 tours — slightly more than Gen X and baby boomers — and outdoes the average of 2.7 for the silent generation.[1] They also attend more open houses: 42.7 percent of millennials go to at least two – a higher share of buyers than Gen X (30.4 percent), boomers (24.9 percent), and the silent generation (16.3 percent).

When millennials use an agent, they still do more themselves. Among millennials that use an agent, 20.2 percent go on tours themselves, higher than the 12.2 percent of Gen X, 10.4 percent of boomers, and 3 percent of the silent generation who do the same. Millennials selling their homes also give more tours on their own before getting their agents involved: 30.3 percent of them give tours to potential buyers before engaging an agent, compared to 18.1 percent of Gen X, 8.5 percent of boomers and 10.1 percent of the silent generation.

Millennials do their homework

Millennial buyers also do more research throughout the process. Among those who enlist the help of an agent at some point in their search, 37 percent of them preview or screen homes themselves, compared to 28.3 percent of Gen X, 29.6 percent of boomers and 14.5 percent of silent generation buyers. More millennial buyers also identify the homes they consider: 42.6 percent, compared to 32.7 percent of Gen X, 29.5 percent of boomers, and 10.3 percent of the silent generation.

When hiring the many professionals that play a part in the buying and selling processes, millennials are more likely to research and evaluate agents, contractors, inspectors, and other professionals. When looking for an agent, the average Millennial seller contacts 2.5 agents before settling on one – more than the 1.7 agents that Gen X and baby boomer sellers contact and more than the 1.4 that silent generation sellers reach out to.

When searching for an agent to help them buy a home, 81.2 percent of Millennials do at least one of the following to evaluate them:

  • Read online reviews
  • Visit their brokerage website
  • Look up their past sales history
  • Ask a friend or family member about their experience with the agent or broker
  • Figure out their market knowledge / how well they know the area
  • Interview agent(s) or broker(s)

Older generations also research their agents, but at lower rates than millennials: 75.9 percent of Gen X buyers do at least one of the above, as do 68.7 percent of Boomers and 71.1 percent of the Silent Generation.

Among buyers who use an agent, millennials are more likely to find their own inspector than older generations: 22.5 percent of millennials find their own, compared to 17.2 percent of Gen X, 11.7 percent of Boomers and 11.6 percent of the Silent Generation.

The average millennial buyer also outdoes other generations when it comes to contacting lenders: Millennials contact an average of 2.8 lenders before choosing one, more than the 1.7 lenders contacted by Gen X, 1.8 by Boomers and 1.3 by the Silent Generation.

Younger sellers are more likely to fix up before selling

Millennials are more likely than all older generations to fix up their homes for sale. They outdo baby boomers and the silent generation when it comes to painting, redecorating, landscaping, replacing or buying new furniture, and kitchen and bathroom improvements. Ninety percent of millennials do some sort of improvement, compared to 84.6 percent of Gen X, 69.1 percent of boomers and 58.8 percent of the silent generation.

You might think millennials are doing more work because of the kinds of houses they own: If the houses are older, for example, they might need more repairs. But the data show that millennials sold homes that are on average about eight years newer than homes sold by older generations.

The DIY Generation flexes tech skills

Millennial sellers that use an agent are also more likely than older generations to do a lot of the work that agents often handle. For example, millennials are more likely to have photographs taken of their home: 31.7 percent do, compared to 18 percent of Gen X sellers, 11.4 percent of boomer sellers and 4.3 percent of silent generation sellers. In addition to photos, millennials also make print ads and have video or other media taken of their homes at higher rates. Given how tech savvy they are, it’s no surprise that they’re big on promoting their homes on real estate sites (22.7 percent) at nearly triple the rate of older generations (8.5 percent) and on social media (38.0 percent compared to 15.5 percent for older sellers).

Younger sellers learn as they go

Seventy-eight percent of millennial sellers are doing so for the first time; this is their first rodeo. The fact that they’re overwhelmingly learning the ropes for the first time may partially explain why they are doing more work: 58.1 percent of them have at least one offer fall through, compared to 37.9 percent of Gen X sellers, 30 percent of boomer sellers and 22 percent of silent generation sellers. Because a large proportion are first timers, they also are less likely to have an established network of professionals to rely on, which means they have to do more research to find a team.

Even so, they are more eager than older generations to do work themselves. When asked whether they prefer to take the lead themselves or rely on guidance from professionals, 57.5 percent of millennial sellers say they are more inclined to take the lead themselves – a higher percentage than older generations. Among Gen X sellers, 40 percent report taking the lead, compared to 29.5 percent for boomers and 24 for the silent generation. This preference may explain why millennials often outdo older generations when it comes to the homework, fixing up and other jobs associated with the home selling process.

[1] Millennials refers to people between the ages of 24 and 38. Gen X is 39 to 53. Baby boomers are 54-73. Silent generation refers to people age 74 and up.

For more helpful tips, visit the Zillow blog!

Getting New Business From Old Clients

Getting New Business From Old Clients

We spend so much time talking about the importance of repeat business and referral business… but the reality is that MOST agents have still not come up with the right way to keep in touch naturally over the long-term. The result?

Will your clients hire you the next time you buy or sell your home? Are you sure?

After closing, 70% of sellers say they would “definitely” use their agent again — but only 25% of repeat buyers and sellers actually do.

We aren’t here to lecture you. Creating one client for life relationship is tricky enough, and aiming to keep in close touch with every client you’ve ever had is nearly impossible. Still, there are a few low key ways to ensure that you don’t break a bond that could end up paying off — both in business and in friendship — after you walk away from the closing table.

Below are four tactics you can employ to create more long-term, business-boosting client relationships.

1. Rank your clients

You ask for reviews and testimonials after you close, but do you ever bother to ask yourself how much YOU liked working with a client? If you want to focus on creating “clients for life,” then the first step is to wean out the clients who you have loved to work with. Not only will you be excited to keep in touch with them over the years, these people are also more likely to recommend other like-minded friends and family members to you in the future.

Consider adding a “Client Rapport” ranking to your CRM. After each closing, rank the client from 1-5. Anyone who scores at a 4 or 5 should be who you focus on as you create your “Client for Life” relationships.

2. Offer special treatment

You can continue to send the same refrigerator magnet to every person in your sphere but think about upping the ante for the “4 and 5-ranked” contacts in your database. Consider hosting a VIP wine and cheese event for past clients who love to mix and mingle, send young families a coupon to the local Six Flags, offer up a gift certificate to your past buyer’s new favorite neighborhood restaurant on the one-year anniversary of their home purchase.

By showing you care about them, remember their interests and are willing to spend money or time on them after the sale, you’ll be reinforcing a bond that can continue to grow even as you move further and further away from their initial transaction.

3. Watch for social cues and keep in touch with personal outreach

Many (and maybe even most) clients hire you as they are on the cusp of major life changes. Whether they are prepping to expand their family, downsizing after the kids move away or simply shifting to a neighborhood that better suits their long-term needs, the reason for their move can act as the primary way you keep in touch for the first few years after the sale.

Comment on their baby announcement on Facebook (or better yet, drop by with a branded swaddle blanket or onesie after they have settled into parenthood). Call to ask how their kids are enjoying the teachers in their new school. If you see that a coffee shop has opened up in their new condo building, ask if they would like to meet up for a cup of joe, then ask how they’re settling into their new neighborhood.

As the years go by and you get to know more about them than just their reason for moving, you can settle into a more natural conversation groove. But for the first few months or years after you work with them, don’t worry about focusing on the “safest” conversation topic around — their reason for moving (and hiring you) and how that decision is working out.

4. Give them an easy way to review and refer you

Many agents are afraid to ask for referrals directly because it can feel awkward and aggressive if not done in the right way. And while most have a way to generate testimonials or reviews, a lot of the platforms that promise to “syndicate” these reviews are clunky; they require an ironclad login and clients may feel turned off having to sign up for a site they never plan to use again. In the age of cybersecurity threats, not many people want to open up new accounts that require their email and other contact information.

When it comes to asking for reviews and referrals, it can be helpful for agents to ask for client feedback that:

  • Doesn’t require a login
  • Can be syndicated across the web
  • Can be used to generate a review, testimonial or one-to-one referral
  • Is sent on behalf of the agent, but doesn’t come directly from the agent’s email address

Agents who need such a service can peek at Reach150, a client feedback and referral management system from SmartZip. Reach150 is a low-key, no-nonsense way to automate your requests for referrals and reviews — and you can even turn your positive testimonials into marketing content to help win even more business over time. Get more details on Reach150 here.

For more helpful tips, visit the smartzip blog!

NextHome expands in New Jersey with NextHome Evolution

NextHome expands in New Jersey with NextHome Evolution

Rosemarie Heldmann

Pleasanton, CA — March 20, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Evolution. This new brokerage represents the sixth office location opened in the state of New Jersey by the NextHome franchise.

The Chester-based brokerage will be owned and operated by REALTOR® and Broker of record, Rosemarie Heldmann. NextHome Evolution will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, multi-family, land, luxury and traditional single-family sales for all of Morris County, including the towns of Chester, Long Valley, Mendham, Peapack-Gladstone, and Bedminster.

The Chester Township is located west of Morristown and home to just under 9,000 residents. The town is 40 miles west of New York City and features many Victorian-style homes and palatial estates.

While Rosemarie started her real estate sales career in 2014, she has been involved with buying and selling real estate for many years.

After a 20+ year career as an owner of a retail jewelry shop, Rosemarie went full time into selling real estate five years ago. As an avid commercial real estate investor, she used that experience to help others buy and sell real estate.

“For many years before I became a REALTOR®, I was actively buying, rehabbing and holding properties for long-term investment,” said Rosemarie. “I originally intended on getting my license and focus on purchasing my own properties.”

“But after having other investors and interested home buyers ask me if I could help them, it made sense for me to help others buy and sell properties as well,” she added.

In 2017, Rosemarie attained her broker’s license and opened her brokerage, Fieldstone Real Estate.

Although very successful, Rosemarie decided that 2018 was the year to diversify her business to add more residential sales. She found NextHome through a simple Google search of “real estate franchises.”

“I saw a NextHome sign in front of a listing when I was driving home one evening,” recalled Rosemarie. “I had to stop the car and take a look at the sign. It was so eye-catching and fresh, I was blown away by the branding.”

“Once I did more research about the company, I was hooked and knew NextHome was what I was looking for.”

When not selling real estate, Rosemarie plays tennis competitively. She has been playing tennis on the highest level for more than 45 years – often traveling to play matches throughout the state of New Jersey.

She is the mother of four daughters – Erika (30), Paige (27), Olivia (22), and Sophia (19).

Please join us in welcoming Rosemarie and the rest of the team at NextHome Evolution on the opening of their brand new office in Chester, NJ!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome Whalen & Co. opens office location in Washington

NextHome Whalen & Co. opens office location in Washington

Chris Whalen

NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Whalen & Co. This new brokerage represents the eighth office location opened in Washington by the NextHome franchise.

The Kennewick-based brokerage will be owned and operated by REALTOR® and Broker of record, Chris Whalen. NextHome Whalen & Co. will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, multi-family, land, luxury and traditional single-family sales to the areas of the “Tri-Cities” (Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco), Benton City, Burbank, West Richland, and the remainder of Benton and Franklin Counties.

Kennewick is located three hours southeast of Seattle and home to nearly 75,000 residents. The city sits on the southwest bank of the Columbia River.

Chris was introduced to real estate in one of the most unique ways possible – as a limo driver who happened to drive a real estate agent to the airport.

“I remember picking up a gentleman while I was driving limousines at the time,” recalled Chris. “He requested to my company that I be the one to pick him back up upon his return. When I dropped him at his house and saw where he lived, I asked ‘What do you do?’ He said he was in real estate, and the rest was history.”

Chris has been interested in construction and architecture since he was a kid, so the tie into real estate seemed like a natural choice for a career.

He started in 2004 with Coldwell Banker in Phoenix, Arizona. After working several years at the brokerage, he made the moved to Keller Williams Realty and worked on one of the top teams in Arizona.

Chris and his wife, Kristina, moved a few years later and he ended up selling newly constructed homes with a company called New Home Star in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – the town where he was born and raised. At that time, New Home Star was the biggest home builder in eastern Iowa.

Knowing that he needed a position with more stability and health benefits, Chris approached the New Home Star team and asked if there were any positions that corporate could offer that made more sense for his family. They told Chris a sales manager position opened up in Kennewick, Washington if he was interested.

Randomly enough, Kristina grew up in that area, so the Whalens moved to Kennewick. Chris was not only responsible for the sales of new homes in Kennewick, but he also trained several other sales team members who worked in surrounding areas such as Spokane.

While finding his career interesting, Chris missed the ability to sell homes on his own terms versus selling just a few types of model homes. In June 2016, he left New Home Star and started his own company Whalen & Co. Real Estate and grew a successful brokerage.

He found NextHome in 2018 and found the franchise to be exactly what he had been looking for in order to grow his brokerage with the right technology and tools for his agents.

“After doing my research on NextHome, I realized that the company could advance all the technology that I wanted for my brokerage,” said Chris. “In speaking with some of the savvier agents in our area that I trust, these agents agreed and I was all in with NextHome.”

“The people are great, the support is great… NextHome is everything we were looking for,” added Chris.

Chris says the success of the company will be because of NextHome Whalen & Co.’s committed agents and their dedication towards first-class service for their clients.

Chris currently serves on the Education Committee of his local Real Estate Board and is also a Certified Real Estate Instructor with the State of Washington.

Chris and Kristina have been married since 2004 and have two children – Tommy (14) and Samantha (4). The family loves to travel and spend time on the water on their boat and enjoy the Colombia River.

Please join us in welcoming Chris and the rest of the team at NextHome Whalen & Co. on the opening of their brand new office in Kennewick, WA!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

NextHome Willamette opens second office location

NextHome Willamette opens second office location

Heidi and Ben Andrews

Pleasanton, CA — March 15, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome Willamette – Vancouver, Washington Branch. This new brokerage represents the seventh office location opened in Washington by the NextHome franchise.

The Vancouver-based brokerage will be owned and operated by 16-year real estate veteran and top producing broker, Ben Andrews. The second-generation REALTOR® will lead the office of 7 agents. NextHome Willamette – Vancouver Branch will provide real estate services such as first-time buyer, investor, multi-family, land, luxury and traditional single-family sales to the areas of Camas, Ridgefield, Hazel Dell, Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, and the remainder of Clark County.

While in the state of Washington, Vancouver is actually a suburb of the Portland Oregon Metro Area. The city is home to nearly 175,000 residents and has been on numerous lists as One of The Best Places in the Nation To Live.

In 1999, Ben’s parents and brother started Willamette Realty. As a family owned brokerage, the company grew to over 40+ agents.

As a graduate of University of Oregon, Ben spent six years as a professional track runner specializing in the mile. Once he decided the time was right to retire, he joined his family in the real estate business.

In 2003, Ben and his girlfriend at the time (and wife today) Heidi, started as REALTORS® with Willamette Realty. While they built a solid real estate business, it was when they developed their hyper-local focused website, www.PearlDistrict.com, that the business really started taking off.

“We put a lot of effort into our website to be the community resource for all things Pearl District here in Portland,” said Ben. “We saw the business go from $3 million in volume annually to nearly $10 million a year in sales.”

In 2010, the Andrews had their first child, Henry, and that changed a lot for the couple and their business focus.

“Instead of going out and constantly getting new business, we really changed our focus to building our business by referral,” recalled Ben. “2012 was a year that changed everything for us.”

In 2012, the couple sold more than $18 million in volume.

“We hired a coach, started putting systems in place, and six years later, this process has allowed us to increase our business, yet take more time to be home with our son,” added Ben.

Finding NextHome through a mutual friend and business colleague, Sean Hackney who is the broker/owner of NextHome Northwest Living, Ben knew it was time to start his own brokerage with the franchise.

“The company was everything I was looking for in a real estate brand,” said Ben. “From the marketing, to the look and feel of the branding, to the high-level technology. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of NextHome.”

With the growth of the existing office and the client requests to assist on the other side of the Washington/Oregon border, it was the right time to expand into a new market.

“We focus on having a referral based business and teaching our agents to rely on deep relationships with their clients,” said Ben. “Our agents are in business for themselves, but not by themselves.”

Please join us in congratulating Ben, Heidi and the rest of the team at NextHome Willamette – Vancouver Branch on the opening of their second office location!

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Don’t Be That Neighbor… Tips to Increase the Value of your Home

Don’t Be That Neighbor… Tips to Increase the Value of your Home


Tip 1: Let the experts help

 

Invite a NextHome realtor or interior designer over to give your home an initial assessment. You’ll avoid wasting time or money on less significant renovations and you’ll walk away with new inspiration. Remember: not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems severely affect the value (not to mention SAFETY!) of your home. Hire an inspector and make a checklist of urgent, important, and someday renovations

 

Tip 2: Landscaping Matters

 

Curb appeal is basically a love language in itself. Get rid of trash, clutter, and any other eyesores that might detract from a first impression. Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means cost savings for you.

 

Tip 3: Paint, Paint, Paint

 

One of the simplest and most cost-effective improvements of all is paint. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people.

 

Tip 4: Owning Less is Better than Organizing More

 

Your home tells a story and a clutter-free, bright space is always going to attract more potential buyers. It can be a worthy investment to hire a professional cleaning service to deep clean your home.

In addition to cleanliness, visual space or how large your home feels also matters. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in or try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space.

 

Tip 5: Big Return on Bathroom & Kitchen Updates

 

A great room to update for less than $750 is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing, and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.

You don’t have to start from scratch to increase value in the kitchen. Start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models. Even small kitchen updates will add big value to your home.

Be sure to reach out to Gateway Insurance Group to learn more about simple tips that can make all the difference for the value of your home. Visit us at www.gfapandc.com/nexthome

NextHome At The Beach opens second location in Florida

NextHome At The Beach opens second location in Florida

Paige Brewer, Robyn Stahl, Sandra Fernandez (left to right)

Pleasanton, CA — March 13, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce our newest addition to the franchise, NextHome At The Beach – Miami Branch. The new brokerage is the 49th NextHome franchise location in the state of Florida.

The NextHome At The Beach – Miami Branch will be owned by business partners Robyn Stahl and Paige Brewer. They will be joined on the leadership team by the Managing Broker and longtime Miami real estate icon, Sandra Fernandez. The company has agents who will help clients in both Spanish and English.

“We’ve known Sandra through the Women’s Council of REALTORS® over the past four years,” said Paige. “We have always loved her commitment to leadership, dedication towards education and her efforts in helping others. To have such a productive agent also be a part of our expansion has been a perfect match.”

“Paige and I have worked alongside Sandra for several years and fully trust that she will run the brokerage with such care,” added Robyn. “Her love and passion for real estate is unmatched.”

Sandra holds several important National Association of REALTORS® designations including Council of Residential Specialist (CRS), Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB), Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI), Performance Management Network (PMN), Short Sale and Foreclosure Resources Certificate (SFR), Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), At Home with Diversity (AHWD), Broker Price Opinion Resource Certificate (BROR), and Military Relocation Professional (MRP).

She currently serves as the Chair for the Florida REALTORS® Leadership Academy.

The 62-associate brokerage will support the entire Miami-Dade County and Florida Keys, which has more than 5 million residents in the Miami Metropolitan Area.

The company will provide sales services for residential, luxury, commercial, second homes, multi-family, investment properties, and first-time home buyer opportunities.

Robyn has been in real estate since 1986 in various roles as a real estate professional. She served as a mortgage processor and title processor for nearly 25 years before getting her real estate license in 2013.

Paige started her real estate career in Louisiana in 2009 and moved to Daytona Beach upon her husband’s retirement from the military. His retirement proved to be the perfect opportunity to move to a Florida beach community.

The business partners met while volunteering as members of their local Women’s Council of REALTORS®. While both women worked in the Daytona Beach area, they connected while members of two separate real estate companies.

In 2016, Brewer served as the President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® -Daytona Beach Area Network and in 2017, she served as the District Vice President for District 8 and 9 for the state of Florida.

Over the past two years, their NextHome At The Beach location in Daytona has been incredibly successful. As an award-winning office of 20+ agents, expansion was inevitable.

With the leadership trio of Robyn, Paige and Sandra, NextHome At The Beach is positioned to see even more success in 2019.

Please join us in congratulating Robyn, Paige, Sandra, and the rest of their team at NextHome At The Beach for the grand opening of their second NextHome office!