Sunday, January 31, 2010

Historic Property

An exciting thing about our area is it's history and the different styles of architecture that dot our neighborhoods. Cheraw & Chesterfield enjoy numerous historic homes and buildings, many of which have been restored by proud owners. While these fine and unique structures provide a means for housing families and businesses, they do require special attention and marketing strategies when placing them for sale. Over the span of my career, I have enjoyed the ability to sell these American treasures, additionally, my family has owned and restored several historic homes in the area and are always intrigued by the education we get from the history aspect and the renovation process. We enjoy the history of our area so that we house our business in a 100+ year old brownstone building in Cheraw's downtown. It allows us an opportunity to further explore and educate ourselves on the history of the area and embrace it. When considering selling or buying historic property, it certainly pays to employ an experienced agent who has a knowledge of the area, knows the logistics of buying and selling historic property, one who is familiar with zoning and other issues, one with a knowledge in what to look for in the integrity of these structures and an access to a team of vendors of have themselves a background in historical property. Having owned, restored, and sold historic homes, and being a member of Cheraw's Appearance Commission has granted me a vast amount of knowledge in historic property and what is expected in its ownership. Recently I authored an e-book dealing with the selling of historical homes, it can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE. If you own a historic home, thinking of buying or selling a historic structure, or just intrigued by their majesty, I encourage you to download and read this e-book.. its packed with interesting tidbits and best of all, its free.

Monday, January 25, 2010

There Is A Difference Among Agents

In some geographical areas, a "cookie cutter" approach to real estate is simply not good business. United Country Real Estate agents have the tools, marketing knowledge, experience, and support to properly market rural and small town real estate. Read this report by Lou Francis, President of United Country Real Estate. Click Here

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thinking Of Selling Your Home Or Land?

If you're thinking of selling your home or land, it is certainly a decision that requires serious thought and study. For most, their property is the largest and most valuable asset in their portfolio. An experienced, qualified, and effective agent has an arsenal of sales and marketing tools that are designed to expose real estate locally and beyond. While interviewing agents, ALWAYS ask what strategy and logistics they'll use to market your home or land. Know the answers before you list your property with any company. An important question to ask and the answer is vital, is "how will people know my home or land is for sale?" That question in and of itself should be answered with a confident and extended answer by the agent. Lets address, exposure. Exposing and marketing real estate can be done in a number of ways... the internet, local advertising in newspapers, radio ads, national advertising in magazines and other prints, email blast, direct mail plans, social media and the list goes on. That said, any medium used must be used strategically and effectively in order to get the most exposure for your commission dollar. A website must have the ability to be found by the masses of potential buyers otherwise, it is like an ad in the middle of a 1000 page book... you know the ad is in there, just not sure where.. you may stumble on it or you may not. A website that is not optimized is nothing more than a business card floating in orbit. Make sure when you interview potential agents that you ask, "how can someone find my property on the internet?". A truly effective website is designed to be found in queries and to attract viewers. Additionally, the use of multiple websites and portals are necessary in order to reach deep into the internet and attract potential buyers for your property. In my company, we employ nearly 200 sources of internet advertising. We are fortunate to also have access to an internet specialist "in house" who continually fine tunes our web strategies, tweaking the sites to garner the most specific results needed to attract traffic and potential buyers. Our site gets thousands of visits weekly.. not hits, visitors who spend an average of nearly 20 minutes per visit. Now on to print advertising. Local advertising is important, especially to find a local buyer. However, after exhausting the exposure locally, whats next? That's why local, regional, and national print advertising is a major component of any real estate marketing plan. True, you may find a buyer quick among the immediate population with an ad in the local newspaper. Yet, in order to expand your reach, it is necessary to advertise in other media sources, such as major newspapers and targeted magazines. This tool opens your property exposure up to millions. Instead of fishing in a population of say 10,000 people, you fishing in the millions. Our affiliation with United Country Real Estate gives us the ability to advertise in publications such as Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Mother Earth News, and hundreds of other strategically chosen publications.. plus we advertise in United Country's own colorful, award winning, national and internationally distributed magazines. While interviewing an agent, ask them specifically where they intend to advertise your property so you'll know the amount of exposure you can expect. The combination of internet and print advertising, if used correctly, should generate interest in property, now the all important, how does an agent handle the lead from there? As a result of the internet and national advertising, its not uncommon to have a buyer from across country. Our company has completed transactions with buyers from across the globe, so knowing how to conduct a transaction is equally important. Ask the agent, "how many real estate transactions have you handled?" As an affiliate of United Country Real Estate, we have access to a tool titled "Confidential Buyers List", in that database is 300,000 potential buyers who have contacted United Country and indicated what type of property they're looking for, how much they would like to spend, what area they are searching in and other specifics. We are able to take our listings at Michael & Associates and search for a match. This is a very unique and results driven tool that none of my competitors are able to offer. Which leads me to my next point. Direct mail. It is important to ask, during an agent interview, "what do you do to attract people to the area?" If they can't provide an answer, then you know that you have limited your exposure population down to the immediate region. Yes, agents can "piggy back" off of other agents marketing, but why chance what is probably your most valuable asset to chance? I can't stress the importance of getting answers to key questions while interviewing agents. Yes, personalities are important in business relationships.. your best friend may be a real estate agent, but when it comes to selling your property, are you looking for personalities or are you looking for results? While many agents offer a sign, a newspaper ad, and a prayer..we offer a well blended buffet of advertising tools, effective marketing, experienced agents who have handled hundreds of transactions and who know the logistics of real estate. We have placed our marketing strategy on our website so you can see what we have to offer, visit, click the "attention sellers" button and review our extensive listing presentation. Compare it to other agents listing plans and at the end, compare "apples to apples". It should be an easy decision of whom to entrust your property. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you find it educating and that it brings clarity to your decision process. I am happy to answer any real estate questions you may have, feel free to contact me at my office at (843) 537-0286 or on mobile at (843) 910-0929 or email me at, or visit me at Michael & Associates United Country Real Estate at 165 Market Street, Cheraw, South Carolina.. across from town hall.

Visit these links for additional information:
Thinking Of Selling
How To Choose An Agent
Media About Lifestyle Seekers-Why To Advertise Nationally
Reasons Why United Country Is Effective

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Immaculate Craftsman on Market Street

A great mix of formal and coziness in Cheraw's Historic District..

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who Are the 'Ruralpolitans'? -

Attention Sellers, view this recent segment on CNBC. Note the mention of United Country Real Estate. Remember, Michael & Associates United Country specializes in this type marketing. Follow this link to view video: Who Are the 'Ruralpolitans'? -

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

FORECLOSURE: Some Options Exist

Many throughout our communities are facing or have experienced foreclosure. The economy and other factors have affected property owners and has been no respecter of persons. Nearly 20% of home sales in 2008 were bank owned, REO, or foreclosed properties. Foreclosure filings in February 2009 totaled over 290,000 across the nation, up 30% from the previous year. Even more alarming is that one in 8 homeowners with a mortgage in America are either behind on their mortgage or are in foreclosure. If you're facing the threat of foreclosure, there are two ways in which to negotiate with your lender. One is known as Loan Modification, if you've been on the internet at all, you have probably seen a pop up ad or link regarding loan modifications. While there are some reputable companies that perform loans mods, many are, for lack of a better term, scams. Most of a loan modification request process you can handle yourself if your mortgage company is in agreement and willing to work with you. Forms can be found easily on the internet. Recently I conducted a search on Google "free loan modification forms" and yielded several sites that offer free or sample forms. Typically, the information needed to complete these forms are two recent pay stubs, recent bank statements, a letter explaining why you have become delinquent, for example: job loss, sickness, loss of income, etc. You will also need a financial budget in order to show the bank your income and expenses. Additional information may be required, but again, generally speaking the form completion and negotiation you could handle yourself, saving yourself hundreds, sometimes thousands in loan modification fees versus using a vendor. Another method of exiting a potential foreclosure is called a short sale. A short sale is an amount that the bank is willing to accept for the sale of your home in lieu of foreclosure. In other words, the lender may accept less than payoff. A short sale typically keep you in your home, however, it does prevent foreclosure and further damage to your credit history. Banks are not in the real estate business, they are in the lending business. If they have inventory, it is costing them in maintenance, servicing, fees, etc. The quickest resolution for both parties is to sell the home and forgo any further foreclosure process and process. Recently, a client of mine mentioned that they were facing foreclosure and wanted to take the home off the market. After discussing options with them and a few calls to the mortgage company, we were able to keep the home on the market and given time to seek a short sale buyer. While foreclosure is an emotional and frustrating experience, there are ways to seek relief and prevent additional damage to your credit. If you're facing foreclosure, seek counsel with your mortgage company or an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with the process. Don't give up. I invite you to contact my office to discuss your options.

165 Market Street, Cheraw, South Carolina 29520
telephone: (843) 537.0286

Monday, January 11, 2010

More about my FREE HOME WARRANTY Program

Our FREE HOME WARRANTY program is a hit! It is a fact that buyers are more likely to buy a home with a Home Protection Plan because of the peace of mind that it affords them. In addition, buyer satisfaction can increase if a covered item fails after the sale. Why? Because the protection plan provides coverage for plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, septic systems, appliances and much more, and if the buyer has a breakdown of a covered item and restoration is made through the protection plan, they feel satisfied that agent and seller provided a means to secure them against costly repairs, sparing them of a potential financial blow. And, the United Country Home Protection Plan protects the SELLER during our listing period. That's right! The Seller can enjoy the benefits of protection while your home is on the market... with no upfront costs. Peace of mind for the seller, peace of mind for the buyer... "it don't get no better than this". Thinking of selling, call me (843) 910.0929


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Acreage Borders Sand Hills Forest

Beautiful 7+ acre parcel just a short ride away from Sugarloaf Mountain Riding Trails, Sand Hills State Forest, Cooper Black Equestrian Park, and Cheraw State Park. Miles of sandy roads make for ideal horseback riding where one can enjoy scenery and wildlife. Make this one your recreational getaway or base camp for hunting, riding, and more... very affordable tract with lots of opportunity. View at my website, or click here.