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The Short List: Bruce Ailion’s Tips for Career Longevity in Real Estate

Bruce Ailion is the associate broker of RE/MAX Town and Country in Woodstock

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Bruce Ailion, the associate broker of RE/MAX Town and Country in Woodstock, for his tips on career longevity in real estate.

There is a continuing interest in what creates career longevity in the real estate business; here there are several transition points:

6. That first year, if you cannot make enough money to be able to afford to stay in the business long enough to be competent 80-90 percent, don’t.

5. The next two to five years, can you find an area of practice you enjoy and can be successful in? As I tell people, I’ve lost 1,500 pounds over the years, and have never been on a diet that didn’t work – just never one I could stay on. Every agent needs to find a system that consistently works for them.

4. With the first market shift – the “Who Moved My Cheese?” stage – you’ll find that whatever you were successful doing to generate an income no longer works. Did you see it coming, were you prepared, and if not, now what? Survival requires adapting to the new market reality.

3. When you reach the mature stage, you see changes coming; you prepare and adapt, using the Wayne Gretzky style of skating to where the puck is going to be, not where it is. I go to the NAR, Franchise Brand, CRS and other national conferences, and follow 10 to 15 trade publications and magazines. One year, there may be two people offering short sale programs; the next year, five people; and the following year, 15. You want to get in when there are two and get out when there are 15.

The same goes for investors, REO, new homes and condos – you want to get in to the market when it is young, a rising tide that lifts all ships. You want to get out when the completion has saturated the market. Many agents followed a past customer listing and buyer strategy, which was fairly consistent for several cycles, but in this past downturn, that strategy laid an egg, and many long-time top producers were bankrupted.

2. Everyone who has been in the business more than 10 years has battle scars from not changing with the market and staying with a strategy that wasn’t working too long. When you are not getting good results, the Dr. Phil question – “How’s that been working for you?” – needs to be asked. When you determine you are riding a dead horse, the first thing you need to do is get off. The key to longevity is knowing where the market is headed, being there in the early stages and recognizing when the market has peaked – and then moving to a different spot while there is room in that segment.

1. In my case, I have worked new homes, investors, REOs, first-time buyers and commercial markets. Making the transition often required giving up what had been a very successful practice to focus on the new, coming market. Today, we are focusing on developing programs for Millennial buyers, recruiting non-traditional real estate agents, planning crowdfunded flips and focusing on commercial investment markets. In all those areas, we did no business in 2013, and little in 2014. We do 5 percent of the REO business we did in the late 2000s, 5 percent of the short sales and maybe 25 percent of the investor business we did in 2010-2013.

My strategy for longevity has been following the market’s sweet spot. The only constant I have found in the real estate business is change.

Bruce Ailion is the associate broker of RE/MAX Town and Country in Woodstock, where he leads a top team of sales associates at one of metro Atlanta’s largest real estate brokerages. With more than 4,500 closed transactions and 35 years experience (including 22 years specializing in distressed real estate assets over a wide range of property types), Bruce has been recognized as a market leader.


This article originally appeared in Atlanta Agent Magazine.

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RE/MAX Japan Celebrates 2 Major Milestones

Master Franchise Opens First Office, Sells First Region


Master franchise RE/MAX Japan has many reasons to celebrate so early in the new year, as it  has opened its first office franchise, RE/MAX Properties Interface, in Tokyo, and also sold its first regional franchise, RE/MAX OSAKA, which includes Japan’s third largest city.


“RE/MAX Japan was established just last year and it’s incredible to see the franchise continue to grow so quickly,” said Dave Liniger, CEO, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of RE/MAX, LLC. “We respect the group’s hard work and dedication to expanding RE/MAX Japan and its quality customer service for Japanese homebuyers and sellers. We look forward to what opportunities are to come.”


Regional franchise RE/MAX OSAKA was sold to 12M Co. and began operations in January. The regional owners are planning to grow its operations by creating an effective team atmosphere through a “manager and players” method, as opposed to the traditional Japanese format of “employer and employees.” RE/MAX OSAKA plans to open eight offices in its first year.


With the second largest economic base in Japan, Osaka is ideal for expansion of RE/MAX Japan because of increasing interest by foreign investors. Recent industry data indicates that the area’s real estate market has significantly improved over the past two years.  According to a recent report by the Urban Land Institute and PwC, Osaka was ranked as the 3rd most attractive real estate investment market in the Asia-Pacific region.


RE/MAX Properties Interface, the first franchise office opened by RE/MAX Japan, is located in the heart of Tokyo. The office is managed by Norihiko Hirose, President and CEO of International Interface Co., Ltd., which operates RE/MAX Properties Interface.


RE/MAX Properties Interface conducts business in over 30 languages, including Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. As a full service brokerage with access to the worldwide RE/MAX network, RE/MAX Properties Interface offers real estate opportunities in both domestic and international markets.


RE/MAX Japan is located in Tokyo and is locally operated by IKEZOE Co. The master franchise is expanding throughout Japan, and is currently seeking additional regional and office franchise owners.

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CABR Home Sales – January 2015

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What’s your market level?

When playing the stock market, maximum results are best achieved when you “Buy low — sell high!” That’s a worthy goal with real estate too, with one exception.


When investing in stocks, you sell whenever you like. If the market is up, and you want to take your profit, you sell. Selling your residence, however, presents a serious exception to the “sell high” part of the equation.


Rarely do homeowners sell just because prices are at a peak level. Homes are sold due to job transfers and other life-changing circumstances. For that reason, homes sell at the market level that exists at the time the home is offered for sale.


Market levels are set by the prices currently being paid for other similar homes — pure and simple. Buyers may pay a percent or two over or under the market, but it is the buyers who dictate the final price.


How can you learn what buyers are willing to pay for your home? Ask your experienced, local real estate agent to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide information showing what buyers are currently paying, what sellers are asking, and what buyers are not willing to pay.


By comparing the homes shown with a CMA, it is possible to arrive at a price that should attract serious buyers. Avoid overpricing and the result could be an early sale at the best possible price.

This article originally appeared at dailycall.com.

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Local REALTOR and Builder Help DeKalb County Police Department’s SWAT Team with Training Location

ATLANTA (February 9, 2015) – REALTOR® Collette McDonald of Collette McDonald & Associates is a big supporter of local police departments throughout Atlanta. When she learned that the dilapidated home on 1655 Colebrook Circle in Decatur was going to be torn down, she suggested to custom home builder KELLY REI that the DeKalb County Police Department’s SWAT team should be given access to the home for training exercises prior to demolition.


“It is important for SWAT Teams to train in different structures with a variety of floorplans. By making this home and other teardowns available for this type of ongoing exercise, the DeKalb County Police Department as well as the entire community benefits,” notes McDonald.

“The Police Department is very grateful to KELLY REI, the local builder who gave permission to use the house for this important training, and to Collette McDonald for facilitating this opportunity,” according to Matt Slappey, DeKalb County Police Department volunteer. 

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RealTracs Home Sales – January 2015

January home sales best in eight years.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2015) – There were 1,976 home closings reported for the month of January, according to figures provided by the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®. This figure is up 11.1 percent from the 1,779 closings reported for the same period last year.
“This was the strongest January our market has experienced since 2007,” said GNAR President Cindy Stanton. “While our market began making positive strides in 2013, last year was monumental in establishing a stronger foundation for our market.
“While we are certainly moving in the right direction, challenges still remain. The biggest being the low level of inventory. This is particularly true of the first-time buyer and affordable markets. However, moving into the spring selling season we expect to see more available properties appearing on the market.”
A comparison of sales by category for January is:
January 2014 January 2015 
CLOSINGS 1,779 1,976
 Residential  1,447 1,589
 Condominium  199 236
 Multi-Family  22 18
 Farm/Land/Lots  111 133
There were 2,204 sales pending at the end of the month, compared with 1,979 pending sales at this time last year. The average number of days on the market for a single-family home was 77 days.
The median residential price for a single-family home during January was $215,000 and for a condominium it was $172,250. This compares with last year’s median residential and condominium prices of $195,000 and $165,000, respectively.
Inventory at the end of January was 12,663, compared with 13,962 in January 2014. The current inventory of properties by category, compared to last year, is:
January 2014 January 2015 
INVENTORY 13,962 12,663
  Residential  8,534
  Condominium  1,050
  Multi-Family  168  109
  Farm/Land/Lots  4,210
“It is not too soon to begin the process of readying and placing your home on the market,” added Stanton. “Despite the mix of wintry weather, our area is seeing terrific activity. Getting a jump-start on the spring selling season is a definite bonus for any property owner who has made the decision to sell. Your Realtor will be able to quickly assess the best opportunity for your property.”
The Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® is one of Middle Tennessee’s largest professional trade associations and serves as the primary voice for Nashville-area property owners.  REALTOR® is a registered trademark that may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics.
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The Jason Bowman Team Earns Esteemed 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

The Jason Bowman Team of RE/MAX Elite has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014.

“Our Team works hard throughout the year to provide the highest possible level of Real Estate Service. It is truly humbling that so many of our clients gave us great reviewed on Angie’s List to help us earn the Super Service Award for the fifth consecutive year,” said Team Leader, Jason Bowman.

“Only about 5 percent of the Real Estate Agents in the Greater Cincinnati Area have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”


Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.


Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2014 Super Service Certification logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com

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11 mortgage FAQs from returning buyers (and how to answer them)

Buyers who’ve been out of the market might require some deeper explanations

As a buyer’s agent, I think knowing the answers to buyer questions and concerns that emerge is essential to conveying our experience and knowledge of the process. Amy Buynoski, vice president and mortgage banker at Fidelity Bank, has 12 years of experience in getting loans successfully to the closing table. I asked Amy how she’d manage a few of the questions that seem to come up from buyers who have been through the process in the past but might not have bought since the recession.

If the appraised value of the new home a buyer is purchasing is higher than the purchase price, can we use the value instead of the purchase price to determine the down payment?

At the time of purchase, we would use the lesser of the purchase price or appraised value. You would buy the home with equity, and it would not affect the amount you would have to put down on our new home.

Why might a buyer be required to pay private mortgage insurance (MI)?

Borrowers have to pay MI if they do not put 20 percent down. This insurance protects the bank if the buyer defaults on the loan and the property forecloses. The private MI company will pay the lender for the amount owed on the loan if that happens.

Is it an issue if the buyer is self-employed and writes off a lot of expenses?

This is not a problem at all. It may require a little extra paperwork from the buyer’s accountant. Depending on how the buyer has structured the business, your lender may need business tax returns as well as personal returns for the last two years.

Why do banks check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to see whether the buyer filed taxes when the buyer has provided copies of tax returns to the bank?

Federal law requires that tax returns are filed with the IRS. Mortgage lenders must also verify with the IRS that the returns have been submitted and that the information provided to the lender matches what has been submitted and validated by the IRS.

Why do lenders monitor a buyer’s credit throughout the process?

Credit is monitored throughout the process to ensure that the buyer has not opened any new debt. For example, we want to ensure the buyer has not made large purchases and secured new debt for furniture or an appliance, or perhaps bought a new car, which could affect the buyer’s ability to qualify for a new home loan. This also protects the consumer because failing to monitor credit could prevent the loan from closing, which could result in a loss of earnest money!

What if the buyer’s ex-partner pays the mortgage on the home they shared? Even if the buyer is on the loan, can this be excluded from the buyer’s debt to qualify for a mortgage?

We can omit the mortgage payment providing the buyer has a court document to support that this arrangement is part of the divorce agreement.

The buyer had a short sale. When can they purchase again?

If you had a short sale, you may be eligible to buy again sooner than you think. You can finance a new home three years after the short sale has closed. We would require a copy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development document from when you sold your home as a short sale.

What about foreclosure? When can the buyer purchase again?

You can purchase a home and get financing through the Federal Housing Administration with 3.5 percent down three years from the date your home was sold on the courthouse steps. We would need to document the date your home was sold on the courthouse steps.

Can the buyer receive a gift for a down payment?

Yes, you can receive a gift from a family member. It has to be an immediate member of your family. Gifts are acceptable from parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children, cousins, spouses and fiances. We do not allow gifts from friends. We do have a gift letter that will be sent for you and the person giving you a gift to sign, and the donor of the gift will also have to document that they have ability to give you a gift.

Are there any first-time homebuyer programs available?

We do have several programs that are available for first-time homebuyers. To qualify, you cannot have owned a home in the last three years, and the programs are also based on the household income and how many people live in the house. Children are included in the number of people who live in the home.

What programs are available for veterans?

Veterans are able to finance up to 100 percent of the purchase price in most cases. Veterans also finance a fee at the time of closing and do not have to pay private mortgage insurance.

I like working with lenders who have the ability and experience to think like an underwriter. In the same sense, I think knowing how to answer questions about every aspect of the buying process allows a good agent to advise buyers appropriately. It cuts down on the confusion and helps point buyers in the direction they need to go to make the process run smoothly!

Hank Bailey is an associate broker with RE/MAX Legends and a Realtor for more than a decade who provides buyer’s agent representation and seller listing services related to residential real estate. This article originally appeared in Inman News.

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Atlanta Falcons Hire Dan Quinn as Head Coach



The Atlanta Falcons today announced that Dan Quinn has been named the team’s
Head Coach.

Quinn becomes the 16th head coach in Atlanta Falcons history and takes over the club after serving as the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator for the last two seasons (2013‐14). During that span, Quinn oversaw the NFL’s top defensive unit as Seattle led the League allowing 270.4 yards per game, 15.2 points per game, and 178.8 passing yards per game while holding opponents to 91.6 rushing yards per game. Seattle became the fourth team in NFL history to lead the league in fewest points and yards allowed in back‐to‐back seasons, and the first since the 1985‐86 Chicago Bears.

In 2014, Quinn’s defense led the NFL in scoring defense (15.9), total defense (267.1), and passing yards (185.6), while ranking third in rushing yards (81.5). The Seahawks also boasted the League’s top defensive unit in 2013, en route to a win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise and our fans,” said Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank. “Dan is a talented football coach who has a deep and diverse history in the game, which will serve us well. As we got to know Dan during the interview process, it became clear that he has a definitive plan for our football team and what it will take to win on a consistent basis. He also has a proven ability to develop players by maximizing their individual strengths. For these and many other reasons, Dan became our top pick, and I’m confident our players, staff, fans and community will be proud to have him represent the Falcons.

“I would like to personally thank Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll for his patience and support during our head coach search,” added Blank. “I’m sure the Seahawks will be sorry to see Dan leave, but no one has been more supportive of this opportunity for Dan than Pete.”

Quinn got his start coaching the defensive line at William and Mary in 1994, followed by a season at Virginia Military Institute. He held the same position with Hofstra for four seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000.

Quinn began his NFL coaching career in San Francisco as its defensive assistant in 2001. After two seasons, he spent the next six years coaching the defensive lines for the San Francisco 49ers (2003‐04), Miami Dolphins (2005‐06) and New York Jets (2007‐08). While at the Dolphins, the defense ranked third in the NFL with 96 sacks. Miami also finished third in the NFL in yards per play (4.7) and fourth in the league in yards per carry (3.6). In 2008, the Jets defense ranked fifth in the NFL in yards per carry (3.7), seventh in sacks (41), and ninth in rushing yards per game (94.9). The Jets were also sixth in the AFC in yards per play (5.2) and third‐down defense (38.6).

Quinn originally joined the Seahawks in 2009 as assistant head coach and defensive line coach. He left Seattle in 2011 to become the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at the University of Florida, where his defenses ranked in the top 10 in the country. In his first season with the Gators, his defense ranked eighth nationally in total defense (299.5), seventh in passing defense (166.8), and second in third‐down defense (27.12 percent). He returned to the Seahawks in 2013 as defensive

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited to be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons,” Quinn said. “This felt like the right fit from the beginning, and I want to thank Mr. Blank for his resolve as this was an extended and complicated process. My goal is to build upon the foundation that has been laid here and to play a physical brand of football as we build a championship caliber team.”

Quinn, 44, was born in Morristown, New Jersey. He was a four‐year letter winner and two‐time cocaptain at Division III Salisbury (Md.) State as a defensive lineman, where he recorded 139 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He also lettered in track and held the school record in the hammer throw. He was inducted into the Salisbury State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Quinn’s wife, Stacey, joins him in Atlanta.

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Realtor spotlight: RE/MAX Fine Homes

Terri Rutherford, owner, RE/MAX Fine Homes of Brentwood (1624 Westgate Circle, Brentwood) and RE/MAX Fine Homes of Spring Hill (2051 Wall St., Spring Hill), 615-642-6677; www.terrisellsnashville.com

Cynthia Beard, managing broker (Spring Hill office), 615-587-1988; www.cynthiambeardrealestate.com

Michelle Sampson, commercial agent, 615-337-9319; www.msampson.remax-tennessee.com

Years in business: Rutherford, 15; Beard, 16; Sampson, 10

Describe the company and explain what makes it unique. How did you become involved in real estate?

Rutherford: RE/MAX Fine Homes was founded to offer clients the best in customer service and professionalism. My husband, John, and I opened the Brentwood office in 2009 and the Spring Hill office in late 2013. The RE/MAX motto is “Outstanding Agents, Outstanding results.” These principles have really come to life in both locations, which is apparent with our all-star team of agents who each have high levels of experience in the estate industry.

We recently brought on Cynthia Beard, a RE/MAX International Hall of Fame inductee, as managing broker of our Spring Hill office as well as award-winning agent Michelle Sampson as head of our commercial division. The strength of our leadership paired with the dedication of our entire team to deliver outstanding customer service sets us apart. We truly have outstanding agents who deliver outstanding results.

RE/MAX Fine Homes is also known as a “donation office” as we are a proud supporter of many local charities. For every sale, the company makes a donation to the client’s charity of choice. The company has benefited many nonprofit groups including the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, GraceWorks Ministries in Franklin and the Nashville Rescue Mission, just to name a few.

Where in the Nashville region are you active?

Rutherford: We are a full-service residential, commercial and leasing real estate company. We serve the greater Nashville area and also have access to the RE/MAX global network to meet every client’s real estate needs from a worldwide perspective.

When selling a home, what can the owner do to maximize its value?

Beard: Every home is unique and I believe every home has features that can be emphasized to maximize value before the selling process even begins. That is where an experienced agent really comes in. We can help you identify the features of your home that will appeal to the widest range of buyers. The key is to help buyers understand the unique benefits of your home and why it is the perfect one for them.

What advice do you have for clients who are preparing to buy a home? What steps should they take?

Beard: I think taking the time to really know what you are looking for is critical. Have a wish list of certain things that are must-haves and make those a priority. Be specific about what you really want in a home as well as be willing to be flexible. Sometimes the perfect home finds you when you least expect it. Keeping an open mind can be an incredible benefit.

How is technology changing the way people buy and sell real estate?

Sampson: Technology has certainly made more information readily available. However, the challenge is in ensuring the information presented is accurate. For example, some of the most popular residential search engines often give outdated or inaccurate information. It is important to work with a licensed real estate agent so that you know you are using the most up-to-date and accurate information when making real estate decisions. (The Remax website) www.remax.com has the most accurate information available. Between the website and our own app, our clients stay a step ahead of all competition.

Beard: Technology is a vital part of today’s real estate industry. I utilize state-of-the-art web tools for my clients that help them with services such as home valuation and property searches. Clients really respect and appreciate having such services available to them.

What features are the most popular with today’s buyers?

Beard: Today’s market is all about location. Middle Tennessee is such an up-and-coming market for real estate across the board, especially in areas like Spring Hill where the market is booming and we have a newly opened RE/MAX Fine Homes office.

The great news for buyers is that there is such a fabulous selection of properties in this very desirable market. Many of them offer energy-saving features and floor plans that accommodate entertaining or large family gatherings. Also, I am seeing buyers focus more on the community aspect of a prospective home. It is important for them to be part of a neighborhood that provides a sense of community.

What is the hallmark of the service you provide to your clients?

Rutherford: Premier customer service is at the heart of our business. We offer clients a professional level of service they can trust from a great team of experienced agents. Our management team led by Cynthia Beard in Spring Hill is simply tremendous and Michelle Sampson in our Brentwood office is our award-winning second-generation Williamson County agent leading the commercial division.

It all goes back to our motto. We have outstanding agents so that we can deliver outstanding results. We stand behind that 100 percent.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessean.

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