Ann Carter: Our April Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 29. April 2013 11:28

Congratulation to Ann Carter, our April Agent of the Month.

 

The Serious Side of Ann Carter

Her colleagues at Janet McAfee Real Estate will recall some of Ann Carter’s well-conceived and beautifully executed pranks or her laughter lighting up the office; but we think there is a serious side to Ann that guides her impressive real estate business and consistently makes her a Top Agent at the firm.

Okay, before we get serious, what was your best prank?

“So far,” she says, grinning like a Cheshire cat, “my best prank was on one of my favorites agents here at McAfee.  We have a vacant building lot on a private lane which is also next to our parking lot.  The owner placed a Port-A-Potty on it.  Well, I put a McAfee “For Sale” sign with this agent’s name on it right next to the Port-A-Potty and then placed “Open House” signs across the front of the lot. The only thing I didn’t do was advertise it in the Ladue News.  Everyone entering the parking lot (including customers of Sportsman’s next door) or driving down the lane saw this agent’s great new listing!  For those that missed it, I took pictures and displayed them prominently on all company bulletin boards.  She really took it well and thought it hilarious.”

Ann continues, “If you want more, ask me about Cathy Noll’s Peep-mobile.”

Seriously, how do you stay at the top of your profession?

“I think the short answer is hard work.” says Ann.  “And, it’s a trait you see in all the Top Agents here.  It’s a commitment, a personal investment we willingly make every day including evenings and weekends.

“The real answer is complex because first of all, it takes time to achieve success in this business.  But, if you want to be a success, here are the real ‘secrets’ of my real estate business,” she says.

“Build and enhance your knowledge of the geographic market you serve.  Know it intimately.  Know the neighborhoods, the schools, the houses, the retail areas and recreational amenities.  Speak with confidence.

“Pay attention to details.  Whether on a listing call or working with a buyer, know what details matter and make sure your clients know.  Learning what is important takes many transactions and years.  I think it’s called experience.  For me,” said Ann, “I strive to give each client unparalleled service with an easygoing approach.

“Network like crazy.  That includes potential clients, resources to help clients and especially other agents.

“Be tenacious.  Be an advocate for your clients and their best interests.  Negotiate with facts not emotion and never, ever give up.  Tenacity also means returning every phone call or email as quick as possible.

“Embrace technology.  Learn multiple platforms including smart phones, tablets and laptops.  You never know when you will need internet access or a client needs information.

“Finally, don’t be afraid to have fun.  Make your work environment fun and engaging.  Laugh with your clients, your fellow agents and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.”

 Wow, that was totally unexpected.  Who are you and what have you done to our fun-loving Ann Carter?  Dare we ask what personally drives your success?

“Well,” says Ann, “I think it’s because I come from a very loving and supportive family.  My Dad was an entrepreneur and my siblings all followed in his footsteps.  We celebrate our successes together yet try our best to out-do each other whenever we can.  Family get-togethers are a full contact sport and we each play to win. The rules are simple.  It’s not a foul unless you have to go to the emergency room.” 

 Okay, seriously, on a personal basis, how do you manage your priorities?

“It’s really simple,” says Ann.  “Client needs always come first. Next, administrative duties on behalf of clients, then comes lead generation and finally, FUN.  Everyone hates lead generation but I make it fun.  That’s because over 90% of my business comes from client referrals.  My clients make this business enjoyable, they are all great people!!”

 So, what do you do when you are not working?

“Easy,” says Ann. “I escape to Wyoming to see family, play golf when I can and recharge my batteries.  I am fortunate to have a job I love.  If you want to be successful, it does take hard work and dedication.  I am a true believer in luck.  I find the harder I work, the luckier I get!”

To learn more about the serious side of Ann Carter, or see her fine listings, simply go to www.janetmcafee.com/anncarter.

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Marcy Byrne: Our March Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 27. March 2013 07:33

We are delighted to recognize Marcy Byrne as our March Agent of the Month.

 

With over two decades of experience, Marcy knows what it takes to be a consistent Top Agent at Janet McAfee Real Estate.  We recently sat down with Marcy to get her thoughts on the real estate business today and what it takes to stay at the top of her profession.  We asked several questions and noted her insights.

 

What does it take to stay at the top of your profession?

Marcy’s answer was short and to the point. “It takes hard work,” said Marcy.  She added, “Outsiders don’t understand how difficult and time-consuming real estate really is. You cannot sell real estate part time. You must be totally committed to your clients 24/7, offering them the best service possible. You need to be on top of the market and stay ahead of constantly changing technology.”

 

How have you been able to sustain your success?

 “First of all,” noted Marcy, “The industry has really changed. Today, there’s more paperwork, more inspections, more demands from buyers and sellers. You need to keep a good attitude and maintain a sense of balance. No matter how hard you try, some things are out of your control. If you can realize that but still go in there every day and do your best, that’s the key to success.”

 

On a personal basis, how do you cope?

“Well,” said Byrne, “To keep stress levels at a minimum, I try to run our big rescue dog, Sam, every morning and during spring and summer, I play golf as often as I can.  I don’t have a lot of free time, given present market conditions. I’m working harder than ever, but so are all of my peers.”

 

What do you do when you are not working?

Marcy is married to Bob Byrne, who owns Erker Catering Co.  According to Marcy, “We try to travel when our schedules permit, and “Bob-o” and I love to entertain friends and family.  We enjoy Saint Louis and are extremely grateful to all my clients for their trust and referrals.  More often than you’d think, real estate agents stay good friends with clients.”

 

To learn more about Marcy and to see her impressive property listings, go to www.janetmcafee.com/marcybyrne.

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Donna Auld: Tips To Boost Your Home's Appeal

by Chuck Roper 8. March 2013 11:36


When the Ladue News Magazine needs expert real estate advice, they turn to professionals like Donna Auld and Janet McAfee Real Estate.  In a recent article titled “Real Home Critique” writer Brittany May invited Donna to look at a Ladue home and then collected Donna’s insights on affordable upgrades to boost the home’s appeal.

Donna spoke about the importance of making a good first impression. She said, “Spruce up your home’s entrance with a fresh coat of paint on the front door, a beautiful wreath, a new welcome mat along with well-maintained landscaping.”

When it came to the scale of furnishings, Auld noted,” Give the appearance of more living space by removing excess furniture and matching furniture sizes to the scale of each room.  You can simply move larger pieces to bigger rooms, if needed.”

“It makes good sense to de-personalize your home,” said Auld.  She continued, “Take down any of the kid’s artwork and family photographs.  They are treasures you need to protect and take with you.  And, you want potential buyers to envision their families and their belongings in the space.”

Donna then pointed out, “Showcase each room for its original purpose.  For example, if required, change the additional living room, office, or kid’s play room back to the traditional dining room.” Finally, she observed, “Use a neutral palette to brighten any dull or dark room and then incorporate the color scheme throughout the home to create a sense of flowing and integrated space.”

If you would like more tips on preparing your home contact Donna for more recommendations.  You may reach her by visiting her website at www.janetmcafee.com/donnaauld.

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Selling Your Home

Barbara Wulfing: Our February Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 21. February 2013 04:04

We are delighteBarbara Wulfingd to recognize Barbara Wulfing as our February Agent of the Month.

It has been written, “To profile Barbara Wulfing, you must first understand the scale and magnitude of her sales achievements. In a business dominated by hyperbole, Barbara's performance is both verifiable and remarkable. Since beginning her real estate career in 1973, Barbara has sold over $550,000,000. Accolades for her consistent performance include The St. Louis Business Journal, who has recognized Barbara as one of the elite Realtors in the Saint Louis community every year for the past decade.  For the past five years, Barbara has also been honored with the prestigious FIVE STAR Customer Satisfaction award sponsored by St. Louis Magazine.”

During her ten year tenure with Janet McAfee Real Estate, Barbara sold in excess of $267,000,000 with an average price in excess of $865,000. She is consistently a top producing Agent. Yet, you will never hear Barbara mention numbers, she is Client focused.  Perhaps Ted Thornhill, President of Janet McAfee, summarized it best when he observed, “The numbers and recognition simply do not convey the entire picture of Barbara's performance. Her success, while significant, is simply the end result of the personal investment Barbara has made in every Client she represents. She truly understands her Client’s needs and works the hours necessary to make their visions and objectives a reality.”

The majority of Barbara's business consists of referrals and repeat transactions. Her Client base keeps her focused on the luxury home market and its many segments. In addition to the resale market, Barbara also represents custom home builders and developers of high end luxury properties including town homes, garden condominiums and high-rise developments.

On the rare occasions when Barbara is not working, she and her husband, Charles, like to spend time with their children and grandchildren.  Barbara’s hobbies include golf, tennis and skiing.  She also enjoys the St. Louis Symphony, Repertory Theatre and Opera Theatre.

To learn more about Barbara and to see all of her fine listings, go to www.janetmcafee.com/barbarawulfing

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2012 Market Report

by Chuck Roper 29. January 2013 06:28

 

2012 was a postive year for local housing and Janet McAfee Real Estate.  It's all in our Winter 2013 Market Report, located on www.janetmcafee.com.  The report provides a comprehensive analysis of residential housing activity including price levels for the Saint Louis Central Corridor and is segmented by property type and school district.

Four consecutive quarters of positive gains has brightened our outlook for 2013 and the report details how our firm is well-positioned to serve our clients in the coming year.  

 

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Julie Lane: Our January Agent of the Month

by Chuck Roper 28. January 2013 08:19

Since joining the firm seven short years ago, Julie Lane has been a consistent Top Agent, Ambassador for St. Louis on HGTV’s series My First House, a perennial FIVE STAR Customer service winner and on the short list of the Central Corridor’s Top Agents.

Lucky, you ask?  Those of us who know her also recognize her “instant success” is due to good, old-fashioned hard work.

Julie previously worked as a pharmaceutical representative for eight years before joining Janet McAfee Real Estate.  She states, “A manager at my former company taught her how to stay focused.  He advised me to always have a plan in mind and focus on outperforming the competition.”  Lane continued, “The advice has served me well in real estate too.  One of the challenges of this job is getting out there and building your own business.”  In the St. Louis market, it’s no longer enough to just have connections.  Agents have to really know this market and go the extra mile.”

With a husband and two daughters, Julie admits real estate can be demanding but at the end of the day, “ I can go home, hang my realtor costume in the closet, throw on some sweats and snuggle with the kids on the couch.  To them I am just Mom.”

Ted Thornhill, President of Janet McAfee quickly points out, “Julie represents the next generation of real estate professionals at our firm.  She works hard, has superb skills and has risen through the ranks to become our Top Agent in 2012.  It’s a tribute to her drive, intelligence and advocacy for her distinguished clients."

To learn more about Julie and her listed properties, go to www.janetmcafee.com/julielane

 

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Luxury Real Estate Rebounds

by Chuck Roper 22. January 2013 11:21

We are particularly encouraged by the luxury housing segment, where large inventories and inflated pricing had previously stifled a more timely recovery.   Because early stimulus  programs were geared toward first time home buyers and conventional  borrowers, the luxury segment did not recover as quickly as lower price segments.  2012 saw good stock market performance, moderate job creation and good business health - all contributing to positive housing results.  2012 sales of single family and condominiums  over $1 million are up 19% over 2011 in St. Louis County's central corridor and inventory has gradually but steadily declined during the year.

Luxury Home Sales

 

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St. Louis Luxury Homes

St. Louis Luxury Real Estate Trends: Home Offices

by Chuck Roper 10. January 2013 03:53

More and more employees, freelancers and business owners are skipping the congested St. Louis morning commute and working remotely from home. Are you one of the 13.4 million Americans who are currently plugging into the office from home?  Make sure that you continue the productivity you achieved in the workplace by giving yourself a dedicate work space at home. Janet McAfee Real Estate has some helpful pointers to keep the work flowing in your home office.

 

 


·         Define a workplace – You don’t necessarily need a separated room with a door to constitute as an office, but you shouldn’t set up shop in front of the television – or anything else that will distract you from your work.
·         Stay organized – A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind! Although you are working from home, it is important to maintain the same orderliness as you would in the office. Here are some desk accessories to keep your office stylish and tidy.
·         Make it comfortable – Working from home has obvious benefits: no commute, you get to set your own hours, privacy, etc. Don’t forget that you can also personalize your workspace to best reflect your style. It’s a lot easier to sit down in an office that you enjoy to be in rather than staring at four blank walls. Need a little office inspiration? Check out these tips to help put the home in home office.


If your company is seeing continued growth, don’t be surprised if you are given the opportunity to work from your home in the future – prepare your workstation now! Do you have a dedicated home office space? Visit Janet McAfee Real Estate’s Facebook and Twitter to share your pictures! For more St. Louis real estate tips, remember to regularly check back for additional blog posts!

 

Post-Holiday Cleanup: Taking Down Your Decorations Safely

by Chuck Roper 27. December 2012 09:04

Decorating around the holidays is a lot like packing for a trip – we take extra precautions when packing each item into our bags, but when it is time to head home, we blindly shove everything into our luggage, crossing our fingers it all fits. It is all too easy to treat packing up your holiday décor in a similar fashion. So much time is spent getting each and every decoration perfectly positioned – Janet McAfee Real Estate wants to make sure you are spending a little extra time to safely pack up your holiday trimmings.

  • Lights – Getting your home in tip-top shape for the holidays can be tricky – especially if you are scaling the roof to add Christmas lights.  Ladder safety is something we often overlook as we pack away the lights as you remove them. Be sure you have a “spotter” that can keep an eye and collect the lights you remove.
  • Tree removal – Nothing says Christmas quite like a real tree. Unfortunately, these saplings are also a big fire safety hazard. When disposing of your tree, make sure it is away from the street – trees also become a big traffic liability during the holiday season.
  • Broken decorations – If you can make it through a holiday season without having a broken ornament, light, etc., we commend you. For everyone else, it is important to properly dispose of broken items. This time next year, it is likely we won’t remember an item is damaged. If we save it, we risk injury the next time we unpack our decorations.

 

 

Whether you are packing up your holiday décor the day after Christmas or a month after, make sure you are doing so safely. Make sure to check back with Janet McAfee Real Estate for more tips on home decoration and other St. Louis real estate topics!

Reflections on 2012

by Chuck Roper 20. December 2012 05:50

We are busy wrapping up 2012, evaluating our business results and market conditions.  Overall, we feel very good about residential real estate in St. Louis.  In virtually every price segment, we have experienced increased activity, stable pricing and declining inventory.   Importantly, house sales did not "fizzle out" after the summer selling season, as we experienced in 2011.  Whether it was the favorable stock market, a case of pent-up demand or perhaps it was just unseasonably warm weather, but whatever the reason, we continued to experience good sales through the Fall. 

Here are a couple of our observations.  The most positive news is that the number home sales is up 18% through November in St. Louis Central Corridor.  Second, we have experienced modest price gains in the 2-4% range.   Third, we are so pleased to see that inventory levels have come down from 9 months of inventory in the beginning of the year to around 5 months at the end of the year.

We are grateful for the support of our loyal clients, our hard working agents and the cooperation of lenders, surveyors, inspectors and all the professionals with whom we work to close each and every transaction.   

Thank you for a memorable year!

Janet

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