True Story Tuesday

Why A Professional & Experienced Realtor With A Plan Can

TRUE STORY! Why a Professional & Experienced Realtor with a Plan can MAKE YOU MORE MONEY!

The market is heating up, I’ve been working with a number of buyers that are AMAZED when a house gets SOLD in a day and they haven’t been able to even get through it. The buyers are typically frustrated, and I shake my head. I see later on FB the agent ‘brag’ about being so good that they house in a day, and I shake my head. I see the seller (who I may also be friends with on FB) brag about the agent that sold their house in a day, and I shake my head again…strike three.

I heard from one of my buyers today…the house we missed out on yesterday was listed at 250. Had we gotten the chance to go through it, we may have been willing to pay 260 and this is a CASH BUYER!

No offense to anyone, but hear it comes…if you hire someone that thinks sold in a day is a good thing for you, YOU PROBABLY JUST COST YOURSELF at least TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS…probably more! I’m not going to fault you for using someone you know, someone that’s family, someone that goes to your church, but seriously if they don’t understand that MORE PEOPLE seeing your house and having the opportunity to make an offer is a good thing for you…perhaps you should reconsider. It is your decision and sure you can blame the agent if you choose to…BUT it is your decision and if you are good with that decision costing you TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS, then you probably are much better off than most of us. I do understand that every situation is different, but in this specific case, that buyer probably lost out on $10,000 runs the risk of a failed inspection or a low appraisal and is back at square one after a month of frustration because the bank won’t lend enough money for the buyer to get it.

That ten grand is also a minimum because had this specific property been marketed up front with professional and aerial photos and video and a virtual tour, it probably would have generated even MORE interest, MORE showings and MORE MONEY! And had it been on the market longer than a few hours. TEN GRAND…still shaking my head.

If you or someone you know is planning on selling, PLEASE let me know. I’m happy to help and apparently have a more comprehensive marketing plan that will probably bring MORE MONEY to the table at the end of the day…ESPECIALLY IN THIS MARKET!

It would surely have in this case.

Call me Today to discuss my Comprehensive Marketing Strategy!  616-886-6766   or    Check out my Technology Listing Package

How 3D Tours Help Homes Sell Faster

It has long been known that photographs help sell a property; it is often the first glimpse of a space that people who are beginning the search for a home or commercial property will have. However, there is a new technology that is taking real estate listings to another level: Matterport. A Matterport Space, or a 3D Space, is a complete three-dimensional model of a space. You can now “walk” through a building – a house, condo, office complex – and experience it as if you were there in VR.


The statistics vary, but the general consensus amongst industry experts is that these days the majority of home searches begin online. Buyers browse through listings, scroll through photos, and then contact a real estate agent to arrange a tour of the properties that they would like to see more of. Matterport takes this a step further. You are virtually placed inside the space with the freedom to look around yourself. This technology is shaking up the West Michigan real estate market, with companies such as NextHome Champions investing in the Matterport camera and embedding the tours on our websites.


Here’s how it works.

Give your potential buyers a better view of their next home for FREE when you list your home with Tom in March. ($1000 value) Click Here


A game changer.

While impressive, the most exciting thing about Matterport isn’t the technology behind it. It’s that prospective buyers can now tour a property on their own terms from anywhere in the world, even if they can’t actually be there. While videos and slideshows guide you through a property following a set path, Matterport tours let you walk through the space as though you are in the room – Look up, look down, go forward or backward, through doors, and up stairs without ever leaving your seat. For overseas buyers moving to West Michigan, this is a game changer because they won’t need to go look at the property in person in order to get a true sense of the space. They can now do a virtual walkthrough and get an idea of the home that is dimensionally accurate to 99%.

Give your potential buyers a better view of their next home for FREE when you list your home with Tom in March. Click HERE

We believe that giving clients the ability to tour a property in 3D is the future of real estate and many of the most popular online property search websites agree.



Why Is There SO MUCH Paperwork to Get a Mortgage?


 Why Is There So Much Paperwork Required to Get a Mortgage?

Why is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that they need to know everything about you and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.

During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.

2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate around 4%.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty years ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process, but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990s and 6.29% in the 2000s).

If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of around 4%, they would probably bend over backward to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

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Our friend, Tim Kleyla, over at The Mortgage House is a CHAMPION, through and one of the smartest in the industry! Whether you are a first time home buyer, moving up and a second time home buyer, refinancing, investment buyers, or seniors seeking a reverse mortgage, Tim & his team will work for you!




Roadmap To Selling Success


Home buyers always do a lot of comparison shopping. In today’s market it is especially important to price your home right from the beginning and to get it “show ready”. There are many homes available in all price ranges, but the homes that are priced right and show well are the ones that bring in qualified buyers.

This is where NextHome Champions shines!

Our Technology Listing Package includes: Professional Photography, Video Marketing, 3-D Virtual Reality Viewing, and Drone Footage.  This + Your Personalized Marketing Plan is sure to save you money & time!

Luck of the Irish to you! List your home with Tom in March and get your Tech Package FREE!  ($1000 value)  Check out everything you get in our Technology Listing Package HERE!

6 Reasons To Be Pre Approved

6 Reasons To Get Pre-Approved


Ever had an agent deny to show you a home because you weren’t pre-approved for a mortgage? It’s not because they’re mean, or they don’t value your business… it’s actually because they’re looking out for your best interests.

Let’s face it, shopping for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. You may have the desire to buy, but you lack the ability. Let’s cover some basics…

What is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is written assurance from a lender or broker that you’re able to borrow money to purchase a home up to a certain amount. It’s based on the income, employment and asset documentation you supply at the time of application, in conjunction with your credit history.

6 reasons to get pre-approved

1. It carries more weight than a “pre-qualification”.

pre-approval differs from a pre-qualification. With the former, the lender has actually checked your credit and verified your documentation to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular time period such as 30, 60 or 90 days). A pre-qualification can be useful as an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on your home, but it’s a less accurate indicator of your ability to purchase. A pre-approval always carries more weight.

2. You’ll know how much house you can afford.

Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting allows you to know how much house you can realistically afford. Knowing this narrows down the options and makes the selection process more efficient. Not to mention, it protects you from the unpleasant surprise of realizing the home you fell in love with doesn’t fit your budget.

3. It adds clout to your offer.

In many markets, homes attract more than one offer. If the sellers are weighing one offer against another, they may lean towards the one accompanied by a pre-approval letter. That’s because pre-approvals instill confidence that the buyer is financially capable of purchasing their home.

4. It could increase your negotiating power.

In addition to strengthening your offer when compared to buyers who haven’t taken this step, getting pre-approved may give you the upper-hand when negotiating the price. If the homeowner is eager to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer from someone they’ve been assured is financially capable of purchasing their home.

5. It saves time.

Obtaining a mortgage is a lengthy process. Getting pre-approved ahead of time shortens the time between contract to close — this way you’re ready to proceed with finalizing the mortgage once you’ve found the home you want to purchase.

6. Without it, most agents won’t work with you.

Makes sense, too. Right? Think about it: when you hire an agent, he/she will invest countless hours showing you homes over the course of your house hunt. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want assurance that your hard work would lead to a favorable outcome for both you and your client?

TODAY is a PERFECT day to contact Tom: (c) 616-886-6766 or (e)



Make Your Home Fly Off the Market

Technology and real estate sales have had a complicated relationship. When used right, it can result in an overnight increase in interest for a property. When not, it can result in the use of resources that could better have been applied elsewhere. Virtual tours from just a few years ago worked great in theory, but far too often software didn’t matchup with a variety of user-based browsers, frustrating prospective buyers in the process. But tech has jumped leaps and bounds. Here in 2018, the opportunity to feature your home via digital technology has increased exponentially. The reason? Drones.

Drones have made aerial photography and videography a more tangible concept for Realtors. This has a direct and positive impact on your home-buyer prospects. Today, the Dusty Smith Real Estate Team will provide you with a clear view of how drones can help you sell your home.

5 Reasons Why You Want to Use Aerial Photography to Help Sell Your Property

  1. The Trend is Becoming the Standard

The first word that comes to mind when you hear about a new technology is trend. Will it stick, or is it just another bell and whistle that won’t be around tomorrow? Trust us when we say this – drones are here to stay when it comes to real estate marketing. In fact, in many markets it’s becoming standard practice to use drone imagery for home sales greater than $400,000. A recent National Association of Realtors survey reportsthat nearly 20 percent of Realtors who aren’t already using drones said they plan to use them in the future. Recent data indicates that 39% of all commercial drone use is for real estate. It’s here to stay, and it’s growing by the day. If you want to sell your home or investment property today or in the near future, adoption of this technology will be instrumental in doing so.

  1. Rich Media is Picked Up Online (where your home sells)

Drone imagery is the ultimate in what is considered rich media. Rich media is a digital marketing term for content that includes advanced features such as video and other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content. Search engines (i.e. Google) crawl the web for sites that use rich media and provide it with a better rank (on Google). When it comes to online real estate listings, the same applies. If your listing page includes the use of rich media (drone imagery) it has a better shot at ranking over competing listings (all else equal).

  1. Higher Buyer Conversion Rates

Not only will high-quality imagery help your online listing get viewed more often (up to 94% more!) it converts better to. That means in addition to getting more views, buyers are more likely to take action, which can include contact form completion or to schedule a showing of your home. The data behind this is numerous, ranging from 20% to 86% depending on industry. Real estate most certainly can capitalize on this as a conversion strategy.

  1. The Only Way to Package Your Entire Property Together

You’re not just selling a single-detached home. Your selling an experience. That experience includes the front yard, backyard, tree line, neighborhood, and close-proximity community. You can attempt to force prospective buyers to click through countless of photos, but even if they make the effort, the gallery won’t tie it all together in a manner that conveys what it’s like to reside within (and around) your property. No other form of media can capture it all like 360 degree aerial visuals can. This technology can even be directly applied to virtual reality software that will place prospects right there in (and above) the environment.

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  1. It’s Not Just About the Air Up There

Drone technology has evolved for practical use, so much that it can be used indoors. A drone can fly through your home, seamlessly transitioning from room to room. It can capture a pure virtual experience that is the next best thing to actually being there. The result, is a contact from a prospect that is more qualified and closer to the purchase decision.

Ready to take flight on the drone concept when it comes to selling your home? Don’t have hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of aerial photography equipment on hand? Not fully versed in the regulations surrounding drone use in the Michigan?

Contact Tom, a licensed Drone Pilot, TODAY (616)886-6766

He’ll help your property fly off of the market with industry expertise and a touch of cutting edge technology.


West Michigan Housing Inventory Crunch Continues…List Your House Today!


Every winter, families across the country decide if this will be the year that they sell their current houses and move into their dream homes.

Mortgage rates hovered around 4% for all of 2017 which forced many buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!

At the same time, however, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that “in Q4 2017, U.S. home inventory decreased by 10.5%. That is the biggest drop we’ve seen since Q2 2013.”

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:


The largest drop in inventory was in the starter home category which saw a 19% dip in listings.

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2018, now may be the perfect time.

Check out the FREE Technology Listing Package Offer thru March!

Call or Email Me TODAY!   616-886-6766 or