GARRETT BASS

Meet Garrett Bass, one of the newest, hardest-working members of the Ben Jones group, who — I hope you have a drink in your hand — sold $3 plus million dollars worth of real estate last year and is all of 23 years old. Toast! He is a Texas state champion Trombone player, no kidding! That’s right, he’s a baby with great skin, an adorable face, dimples AND a great real estate brain. Oh my, it must have been his mom’s super duper pre-natal vitamins.

Garrett took a break from a busy day to answer a few questions for us to be our featured Realtors, sponsored by Jeff Lindigrin of Great Western Home Loans. Of course, every sale should have a lender that works just as hard to get a great deal as their Realtor. What has your lender done for you lately? Find out what you’re missing by contacting Jeff Lindigrin with Great Western Home Loans today.

Read more about Garrett after the jump!

CandysDirt.com: Inquiring minds want to know: Where are you from?

Garrett Bass: Carrollton, home of the original Babe’s Chicken!

CD: Love that place? How did you get into real estate?

GB: I have wanted to work in real estate since I was 15. I worked as an underwriter for Bank of America.

CD:  So a mortgage background. Nice. You specialize in…

GB: Everything. The first home I sold was $1,250,000 right off the phone.

CD: First home sold is over a million? Wow, you don’t mess around, do you? Tell us: What are some unique challenges that Realtors face in this market?

GB: The market is so hot, bidding wars, it’s such a fast market you have to be on top of everything to get your client into a home quickly!

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?

GB: Uptown, I live across from the West Village condos.

CD: You lease?

GB: Yes, right now I lease because I move around so much.

CD: And you drive a … let me guess, Range Rover?

GB: Infinity Q50

CD: What’s your favorite ‘hood in Dallas and why?

GB: Park Cities and Highland Park, Lakewood. I love historical, 1920-style homes. I do love contemporary, too, but kind of a classic guy here.

CD: What was your best/highest sale?

GB: My very first sale — $1,250,000.

CD: Likewise, what was your most challenging or memorable transaction?

GB: Selling my parents’ home. We had four offers in two days, it was nuts. My mother was excited, upset, crying, happy, I told her it would all be OK, Mom.

CD: How quickly have you ever turned a house?

GB: Two days

CD: How much did you sell last year?

GB: Three plus million (oh how I like the sound of that!)

CD: What words of wisdom do you often share with clients?

GB: Selling your home is a process, an important and serious process, but I will make it as enjoyable and smooth as possible. Also you need a lot of patience. One of my sales, the lender pulled that night before closing surprise with “we cannot fund this loan.” I didn’t panic, I called Ben and we found a private lender. We postponed closing a week, but we got her done. Easy.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…

GB: I have been in this career for a year and I love it!

CD: Do you have a second home? If so, where?

GB: Not yet, but when I do it will be London and it will be a smart home loaded with technology. As much as I love history and everything old, I am all about high tech. But I will live in London one day, love the history.

CD: Just don’t go over by sea…

GB: Ha! That is my other passion: I am a Titanic historian.

CD: Really? How many people died on the Titanic?

GB: 1,500. Ask me anything about Molly Brown…

 

GARRETT BASS

Meet Garrett Bass, one of the newest, hardest-working members of the Ben Jones group, who — I hope you have a drink in your hand — sold $3 plus million dollars worth of real estate last year and is all of 23 years old. Toast! He is a Texas state champion Trombone player, no kidding! That’s right, he’s a baby with great skin, an adorable face, dimples AND a great real estate brain. Oh my, it must have been his mom’s super duper pre-natal vitamins.

Garrett took a break from a busy day to answer a few questions for us to be our featured Realtors, sponsored by Jeff Lindigrin of Great Western Home Loans. Of course, every sale should have a lender that works just as hard to get a great deal as their Realtor. What has your lender done for you lately? Find out what you’re missing by contacting Jeff Lindigrin with Great Western Home Loans today.

Read more about Garrett after the jump!

CandysDirt.com: Inquiring minds want to know: Where are you from?

Garrett Bass: Carrollton, home of the original Babe’s Chicken!

CD: Love that place? How did you get into real estate?

GB: I have wanted to work in real estate since I was 15. I worked as an underwriter for Bank of America.

CD:  So a mortgage background. Nice. You specialize in…

GB: Everything. The first home I sold was $1,250,000 right off the phone.

CD: First home sold is over a million? Wow, you don’t mess around, do you? Tell us: What are some unique challenges that Realtors face in this market?

GB: The market is so hot, bidding wars, it’s such a fast market you have to be on top of everything to get your client into a home quickly!

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?

GB: Uptown, I live across from the West Village condos.

CD: You lease?

GB: Yes, right now I lease because I move around so much.

CD: And you drive a … let me guess, Range Rover?

GB: Infinity Q50

CD: What’s your favorite ‘hood in Dallas and why?

GB: Park Cities and Highland Park, Lakewood. I love historical, 1920-style homes. I do love contemporary, too, but kind of a classic guy here.

CD: What was your best/highest sale?

GB: My very first sale — $1,250,000.

CD: Likewise, what was your most challenging or memorable transaction?

GB: Selling my parents’ home. We had four offers in two days, it was nuts. My mother was excited, upset, crying, happy, I told her it would all be OK, Mom.

CD: How quickly have you ever turned a house?

GB: Two days

CD: How much did you sell last year?

GB: Three plus million (oh how I like the sound of that!)

CD: What words of wisdom do you often share with clients?

GB: Selling your home is a process, an important and serious process, but I will make it as enjoyable and smooth as possible. Also you need a lot of patience. One of my sales, the lender pulled that night before closing surprise with “we cannot fund this loan.” I didn’t panic, I called Ben and we found a private lender. We postponed closing a week, but we got her done. Easy.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…

GB: I have been in this career for a year and I love it!

CD: Do you have a second home? If so, where?

GB: Not yet, but when I do it will be London and it will be a smart home loaded with technology. As much as I love history and everything old, I am all about high tech. But I will live in London one day, love the history.

CD: Just don’t go over by sea…

GB: Ha! That is my other passion: I am a Titanic historian.

CD: Really? How many people died on the Titanic?

GB: 1,500. Ask me anything about Molly Brown…

 

2013_High_Tea_Flyer

We already talked about the Dallas Chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors and the great work they do promoting leadership in the real estate community. Rebecca Lightfoot, a Realtor and designer, is the president and is just amazing. Their annual event, the high tea and fashion show, is a super fun way to network and get to know the best women in the business while raising money in the fight against ovarian cancer.

Well, lucky for you, we have a ticket to give away to the SOLD OUT event! Courtesy of Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging, you can attend the Women’s Council of Realtors High Tea and Fashion Show  at 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at Brookhaven Country Club.

All you have to do is tell us in a comment below who your favorite woman Realtor is! How simple is that?! We’ll draw the winner at 5 p.m. today, so that gives you about 8 hours to decide who is your favorite woman Realtor!

 

red pen

An anonymous reader sent us this message this week, which started a discussion between me and Candy:

Dear Candy,

I have a real pet peeve with some home listings I’ve seen recently.  If a client is paying a realtor to list their home, the LEAST the realtor can do is a professional listing.  When I see things like this I think that either the realtor can’t be bothered with the property or is not very bright.  Either way it’s sloppy and to me reflects poorly on the agent and the property.

I am not a realtor — just someone who is always looking at properties but I would never hire an agent where a listing like this is acceptable to them.

Example of the sloppy listing:

One of the largest units in thecomples on the first floor! Spacious and open floorplan. Two living areas. The back door opnes to a beautiful pool areas. Pool views from the living room, breakfast room and the naster bedroom. Great closet space. washera nd dryer connections in the unit. Quiet secure complaex close to restaurants, shooping and highways.

I know that listing information is going the way of the dodo, with more buyers passing up that little nugget from Realtors entirely to look at dimensions, square footage, and photos. But still, it is important to make sure spelling, grammar, and punctuation don’t reflect poorly on the listing agent and brokerage.

Sadly, I see this way too much. I also see tons of listings in upper price ranges (think $500K and skyward) use all caps in the listing information area. Simply unacceptable, folks. I agree with our writer, that it’s a pet peeve, but I think the solution is for sellers to demand better from their agents, to check their work and make them fix it.

What do you think?

Shopping for a house requires the organizational skills of a master planner. How do you remember every detail of the listing you just looked at—never mind the house from last week or last month?

It can be nerve wracking to say the least. So we’ve put together a list of iPhone apps to help you pull everything together (many are also available for Windows and Android). Arm yourself with these tools and you’ll never forget which charming 60’s ranch house has a water heater in the guest bedroom.

Do you have a favorite app? Let us know about it in the comments.

REFERENCE APPS
Snap it, measure it, look it up — owning these apps creates a library in your pocket.

The Real Estate Dictionary

dictionaryMost real estate dictionaries cost between $4 and $10. Some are even $50. This bare-bones, no-cost app stands out among the free options.

Assets: It’s an easy to navigate and comprehensive dictionary of real estate terms—from construction to contract. When your home inspector is blathering on about a cracked collar beam, you can quickly discover just what that is.

Liabilities: There’s no search function, so users have to navigate to a letter tab and then scroll.

Mortgage Calculator Pro

mortcalcThere are a ton of free mortgage calculator apps out there, and you get what you pay for. This is the single non-free app in the survey, but it’s worth every penny of the 99 cents it costs.

Assets: Users can save various loans and loan configurations, so there’s no need to retype the information each time. This makes it easy to add or subtract variables, such as HOA fees, maintenance costs, different interests rates, and play with the numbers. Users can send loan info and amortization schedules to contacts via email. It also has features for auto and other kinds of loans, so it’s not a one-and-done purchase.

Liabilities: There’s no option for interest-only loans, it’s not free, and it’s brown … so much brown.

Homesnap

homesnapHomesnap is a little creepy. It lets users search a map of listings,  just like the major listings-search apps below, but its main feature is to “snap” a photo of any house and dig up its county appraisal and recent sale info. Homesnap also has a “stealth” mode that identifies houses near the user’s GPS location and serves up the same kind of goods.

Assets: Immediately identify the tax appraisal and see other interesting info on homes surrounding any listing.

Liabilities: Immediately feel like a creep.

Magic Plan

magicplanThis app is so good that it should actually cost something. Magic Plan allows a user to capture the dimensions and features of any room in a house. The process is just like taking a series of photos. The app then returns room dimensions and door locations so users can easily determine whether or not they can wedge their grand piano in the study.

Assets: Create a floor plans for multiple houses quickly with photos and notes. Users can email room plans in pdf and jpg formats for free. The app also allows users to send the data to Home Depot flooring departments, share it on social media and more.

Liabilities: It can be difficult to use in narrow spaces like galley kitchens and other oddly shaped rooms.

Evernote

evernoteWhile not specifically related to house hunting, Evernote is a do-it-all note-taking app that has uses even after the closing papers are signed.

 

Assets: Evernote is actually a suite of tools that lets users capture web pages, bundle photos, record voice notes, and just type plain old notes. Each can be organized into an individual notebook that can be synched among all of a user’s computers and devices, and shared with friends, whether they are Evernote users or not.

Liabilities: None. Download it now!

LISTINGS SEARCH APPS
These apps all do the same basic thing: They allow you look at homes on the market. Plug in a ZIP Code or a neighborhood, a price range, and parameters such as number of bedrooms and baths, and the apps display the results on a map or on a list. All have websites that synch with the user’s phone, so a search saved on a laptop shows up on the user’s mobile device. All have photo galleries, MLS information and agent info.

What makes one better than the other? Let’s plow through their strengths and weaknesses:

realtor.com

realtorcomAssets: Like other apps of its ilk, realtor.com uses your phone’s GPS to display nearby properties. Its standout feature is that it allows the user to draw a circle, square or any other closed shape on the map and shows only listings within the boundary. Buyers can also share favorite properties and other information with their agent from within the app.

Liabilities: Searches for recently sold listings don’t show prices, but they do show the amount under or over the asking price for which the property sold. Users can’t save sold listings as favorites.

For Sale By Owner

fsboAssets: This is the most useful app to find listings that aren’t on the MLS, and DIYers will find it intuitive to use. Its search results highlight pending sales, new listings and regular sales, and it keeps a history of results, which is handy if you forget to save a favorite.

Liabilities: There is limited information on each property and there are fewer properties to view than on the MLS. The app also doesn’t offer links to schools, tax information or similarly helpful info.

Trulia

truliaAssets: Trulia’s best feature is its ability to plot neighborhood amenities on a map. Buyers can see the nearest grocery stores, parks, gas stations banks with ratings and reviews from Yelp. Users can also toggle map overlays for information on crime, flooding, earthquakes and more.

Liabilities: Trulia app doesn’t default to residential property searches, so the user will want to dial in specific settings—unless they just happen to like looking at vacant industrial lots. Map overlays for crime are very general “heat maps” and don’t display information on number or type of criminal activities.

Redfin

redfinAssets: This app includes decent mortgage calculator that allows a user quickly summarize monthly ownership costs, including insurance, taxes, and bills. It also provides the most detailed information on sold properties in its class, including prices. Users can take notes and add their own photos to favorite properties.

Liabilities: Agent features work only with Redfin agents.

Zillow

zillowAssets: Zillow presents clear, easy-to-skim listing info with multiple graphs and charts that summarize financing estimates and the home’s position on the market, including Zillow’s own estimate of its worth. There are direct links to a property’s listing on the county tax sites, and summary of its tax history in the app. The app also allows users to get custom mortgage quotes from online brokers.

Liabilities: Map icons are subtle and can be difficult differentiate from one another. There is no rental search.

 

Marc LeeMarc Lee is a freelance writer and film buff who loves real estate almost as much as Candy herself. He lives in Dallas. Contact him via marc@marcsclips.com.

Gonzalez Head Shot (1)

When I first met Crystal Gonzalez, I was impressed. She’s smart but accessible, kind but tough, and above all, she’s passionate about homes. The Lubbock native and David Griffin Realtor lives in Winnetka Heights and strives to serve her community, and Dallas as a whole, as both an agent and a citizen.

Gonzalez, who’s as beautiful as she is busy, sat down and answered a few questions for CandysDirt.com. We’re pleased as punch to have her on the blog! Find out more about this young, insightful Realtor after the jump!

CandysDirt.com: Where are you from?
Crystal Gonzalez: Good Ol’ West Texas, Lubbock to be exact.

CD: How did you get into real estate?
Gonzalez: I initially started in radio sales, and as a sales agent, you’re always looking for something you’re truly passionate about selling. Al Coker gave me my break into real estate as an on-site sales agent in a high-rise in Las Colinas, The Grand Treviso. It was a natural fit for me, and I excelled. After that experience I was in love with real estate.

CD: You live in Winnetka Heights but you have made sales records all over Dallas, especially in Uptown. Do you prefer to work in your own backyard?
Gonzalez: It’s all about passion, and selling what you’re passionate about becomes much easier, and clients can really see and feel that when they work with you. However, I’m passionate about achieving my client’s goals in general, and I think that shows as well when I’m working in all neighborhoods of Dallas. Plus, there are so many great pockets in DFW that I can’t say I prefer one over the other.

CD:What do you love best about living in Oak Cliff?
Gonzalez: My neighbors. I can honestly say if I needed to borrow an egg I could easily call 10 neighbors, 20 neighbors if I needed a bottle of wine. Oak Cliff, especially Winnetka Heights, is the type of close-knit community that you’d expect to find in a small town.

CD: And you drive a … let me guess, Mercedes Benz?
Gonzalez:  I drive a BMW X5. I’m not a big “car person,” and truthfully I prefer a bike, but for touring and showing you have to have space and comfort, we practically live out of our cars you know.

CD: What’s your favorite ‘hood in Dallas and why?
Gonzalez:  My obvious answer is Oak Cliff, but Uptown is a close second. When I first moved to Dallas, I had an apartment there and to me it represents such a lively, energetic, youthful, promising time of my life. I must stay there’s something great about having a mambo taxi in West Village and people-watching. It just feels so Dallas.

CD: What was your best/highest sale?
Gonzalez:  $1.6M, during my first year as a Realtor. I was working an open house and my clients called me wanting more information on the home. Don’t ever let an agent tell you open houses don’t work!

CD: Likewise, what was your most challenging or memorable transaction?
Gonzalez: My $1.6M was pretty memorable being so early in my career as a Realtor. I’d sold million-dollar condos, but single family homes are different. The seller asked that we close at this small title company and they were very difficult to work with. GOOD TITLE COMPANIES MATTER!

CD: How quickly have you ever turned a house?
Gonzalez:  Less than 24 hours.

CD: How much did you sell last year?
Gonzalez:  A little over $5M. Ugh, that seems so small, but I remind myself it was only my second year in business and I took a few months off to start a family.

CD: What have you learned about selling that makes you so successful?
Gonzalez:  I’m sure you’ve heard all the clichés, but to me it’s truly about understanding the needs of my clients. A great piece of jewelry can look good on anyone, and everyone loves new cars, but a home is so personal. It serves personal needs, both emotionally and physically. You can’t just push a home like you push other commodities. So understanding what my client’s needs makes selling become more of a service and less of a “sales job.”

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…
Gonzalez:  Work in the test kitchen for Southern Living. Have you seen some of those dishes?

CD: Do you have a second home? If so, where?
Gonzalez:  Investment properties, yes, second homes, no. But when we do, it’s definitely going to be a get-away property.

Century 21 Commercial Still

We say it here on CandysDirt.com all the time, but it bears repeating: Real estate is a local — nay, hyperlocal — business. So it was interesting to hear Realtor chatter about the four splashy Super Bowl commercials from Century 21.

Impact-wise, Ad Age gave the 30-second spot 2.5 out of 4 stars, saying it was predictable: “No one expects a real-estate ad to push the boundaries. This one lives up to expectations with a plot straight out of The Saturday Evening Post.”

However, Prudential agent Kerry Paradise Slaughter asked her Facebook friends this question after the above commercial aired:

“As a Realtor, I’m curious – do these VERY expensive C21 commercials have any impact on your choice of real estate agent?”

Most responses were variations on “no,” all but confirming my personal experience that Reators’ business is built on locally targeted advertising — not big, splashy national campaigns — and referrals. Here’s a selection of my favorite responses:

From Greg:

“Great branding. Still a personal relationship game.”

From Tricia:

“No, especially since they are trying to be funny and they aren’t.”

From Bud, who is a home inspector:

“I agree with all of the statements above. However I believe that they are necessary to keep your brand relevant. So many times I ask my client whom their realtor is and the answer is something like “Ebby”. Your brand is strong and you don’t want the market consciousness being pulled out from under you like a riptide.”

And from Slaughter:

” … Here in Dallas, I don’t think it matters how many millions C21 spends, that brand is almost impossible to revive inside 635. And Ebby is a great example. Outside a 100 mile radius the consumer has no idea who Ebby is. 
I can only recall one time in the last eight years that my phone rang because of the broker brand I am associated with. And ironically, it was just last week.
I THINK my clients choose to do business with me because of my competence and my character – both of which they either know personally or they hear about from someone they trust. They have never seemed to care whose logo is on my sign.”

What do you think? Was it cunning marketing to help revive a brand, or was it a complete waste?

Courtesy AP

Homegain is a company based out of San Francisco, CA — Emeryville — and I know the GM, Louis Cammarosano. HomeGain exists as a portal for finding real estate agents, researching home values, and viewing homes for sale — yes, kind of like a Zillow or Trulia, but with more Realtor research. HomeGain is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC a strategic joint venture formed by Belo Corp., Gannett Co., The McClatchy Company, Tribune Company, and The Washington Post Company. Classified Ventures’ also owns and operates Cars.com, an automotive Web site where consumers can find information on new and used cars and shop for a vehicle, Apartments.com, a national on line apartment guide and relocation resource and Homescape.com, a national network of local newspaper real estate websites.

You saw the ownership by five media companies… including our Belo, that’s right. Homegain is a smart stab at owning some of that world wide web traffic that is chipping away at traditional print ad revenue. Diversify, right? Anyhow, that is not terribly real-estate related, but I always like to tell you who the heck these companies are that come up with these studies. When it comes to what consumers (2200) and agents (300) are thinking, Homegain is a decent bellweather.

President Barack Obama’s performance is hurting home prices, they say. Yep, Texas ranked as No 4. nationally, with real estate agents (73 percent) and homeowners (67 percent) disapproving of the President’s work, according to HomeGain’s latest report. Nationally, Obama earned a 67 percent disapproval rating from Real Estate agents and a 56 percent disapproval rate from homeowners. But!

“Optimism about the direction of home prices continues to grow,” said Louis Cammarosano, General Manager of HomeGain. “The survey shows an increase in optimism, especially over the course of the next two years, as 80 percent of real estate professionals expect home prices to be higher than they are today.”

Fifty-three percent of agents and brokers surveyed indicated that they “strongly disapproved” and 14 percent “somewhat disapproved” of Barack Obama’s performance as President, earning him a 67 percent disapproval rating, a decrease of five percent from the disapproval rating of agents and brokers surveyed in the third quarter of 2011. So as the market improves, it’s getting better. In the second quarter of 2012, the President had a 66 percent disapproval rating among agents and brokers.

Think we already told you what S&P’s/Case-Shiller said about prices of existing homes in the Dallas area: they rose 3.7 percent in July from a year earlier. Dallas-area home prices are down about 5 percent from the peak of the local housing market five years ago, which was spring of 2009.

Now don’t let this knock you out of your chair, hang on: HomeGain found that U.S. real estate agents tend to be more optimistic about home values than homeowners.

(Ya think?)

Forty-eight percent of agents polled last month expect home values to increase, the same amount as in the second-quarter survey. But when polled, only 34 percent of homeowners expect values to rise, little less optimistic. Still that’s up from 27 percent in the second quarter.

Show me a Realtor who is not naturally optimistic, I’ll show you a —  former Realtor.