I’ve always believed that in the real estate business, if you aren’t busy you’re broke or headed there. Being busy is to be counted as a blessing, not a curse, but we’re getting close lately. Today was the day that my inventory of listings and future listings for the first time reached 100 properties! That’s right, I currently have 78 active Gatlinburg area listings and 22 more “Coming Soon” properties that will eventually become active listings. That seems like an incredible number and it is huge but consider that I have been very blessed in 2010: With 57 sold or pending properties already this year we’re selling these properties at a pretty good clip too.
To generate this pace of sales and manage this number of properties requires a lot of organization and a hard working team of professionals. Our office manager and transaction coordinator, Kim Breeden is the hardest working person I know. Often staying after everyone else has gone home, Kim manages transactions from the time the contract is signed until they close. I really don’t know everything that Kim does but we usually have 10+ pending transactions at any time and that alone is a challenge. Then consider that Kim also manages mounds of paperwork to make sure that we get reimbursed for all of the expenses that these properties create and you will have an idea of the effort her job requires. We pay monthly electric bills for every one of these properties and for some of these homes we are also responsible for lawn care, water, natural gas or propane, and more. Repairs, re-keys, and remodeling are also our responsibility when those needs arise.
Our listing coordinator, Giulia Luzzana, also has her hands full. From the time we are assigned a new property (we were assigned 3 new foreclosure homes just today) Giulia is tasked with making sure that every required task is completed by one of the members of our team.
Our property evaluation specialist, Josie LaFollette works with me to generate Broker Price Opinion (BPO) reports for the banks in which we recommend a list price, forecast a sales price, and justify our opinion. After the new assignments today, Josie and I have 5 BPO’s to do – she certainly has job security! When these Smoky Mountain foreclosure properties are priced by the seller, Giulia enters the listings into the Knoxville Area AND Great Smoky Mountain Association of Realtors databases, each completely separate from each other using different systems and with their own data entry rules. Giulia also schedules and makes record of all showings so that we can provide our sellers with feedback information.
My wife Karen is in charge of making sure that everyone gets paid and that our books are balanced which is becoming more of a task as our team grows and we handle ever more properties. Karen pays bills with blinding speed which keeps our vendors happy and allows us to get the best terms and cooperation from everyone we work with.
With all of the above you might wonder just what I do as team leader. Today I did the following:
- Drove to Morristown, TN (slightly over an hour from our office) to remove a lockbox and sign
- Traveled on to White Pine, TN to take photos of a new listing we have recently been assigned there
- Drove back to Sevierville and uploaded these photos to our online photo database
- Met with an electrician to get a quote for finishing the electrical system on a now bank owned spec home that was foreclosed during construction
- Took photos of another new foreclosure property in Sevierville that has been assigned to us
- Met over lunch with one of our team’s Buyer Specialists, Cindy Hopson, who also happens to be our daughter
- De-winterized a home in Wears Valley so that a potential buyer could inspect the plumbing
- Photographed a bank owned cabin in Pigeon Forge that the bank has requested a 2nd opinion BPO for
- Broke into two houses using a credit card so that I could take pictures without waiting for the locksmith to come out
- Photographed yet another new listing that ISN’T a foreclosure but is very well priced
- Delivered a FSBO yard sign to the seller of a vacant lot that we listed this week
- Made dozens of phone calls while I drove about
- Wrote this blog entry
When this morning’s alarm went off at 5AM I was already awake and out of bed. I left our home at 7AM and as I finish this blog entry it’s now 9PM. Two of my three meals today were at my desk and now, after 14 hours of pretty much constant work, it’s time to call it a day. Tomorrow starts at 5AM…