Broadway Pizza – Plano, TX

Broadway Pizza, a family owned and operated business, opened a second location in North Plano on the northeast corner of McDermott and Independence.

The family have been in the pizza business since 1985 and moved to the area in 1990. The original location is in the Plaza of the Americas in downtown Dallas.

Over the years all the small eat-in pizza places have transitioned to carry-out and delivery only. Broadway Pizza is reminiscent of a good old-fashioned pizza parlor.

What sets this one apart is the level of service that’s lost in many of the larger chains. If you’re in the area, stop in and try Broadway Pizza.

Mark Oristano Photography – Dallas, TX

Mark Oristano Photography, Dallas, TX

It’s not every day that you find a true artist when you’re looking for a service provider.

Gina and I had worked with Mark Oristano Photography for our professional photos in the past and we were highly impressed with his work.

Earlier this year, Mark began shooting “vintage” photographs using lighting techniques and equipment from the 1930’s.  

We scheduled a time for a shoot and arrived at his studio in uptown Dallas. Kari Englebrecht did a great job on our hair and makeup!

While Mark will retouch photos, he believes in capturing the best possible photo rather than trying to make an average photo look good. Be prepared to spend a few hours at the studio as Mark will not stop until he has the perfect photograph.

If you want the best, give Mark a call at 214-546-3794.

The Finish Line – Another Short Sale Closing – Palmer, TX

Another Short Sale Closing Palmer, TX

Another short sale closed! The sellers avoided foreclosure, the buyers purchased a nice home at a discount, and the lender did not have the losses involved with a foreclosure.

Many people feel that the nation’s economy rises and falls with the housing market. While this is often true, we believe the current housing crisis is a direct result of the economic downturn and massive job loss across the nation.

In the Short Sale community, the vast majority of homeowners did not get a bad loan or buy more house than they could afford; they’re just good, hardworking Americans who fell on bad times.

All indicators point to Short Sales being on the real estate horizon for the foreseeable future, at least through 2012, and maybe longer. Industry experts see another wave of distressed homeowners surfacing when the once popular Pay Option Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) begin to adjust in the coming months.

These mortgages allowed the borrower to essentially “pick a payment” that fit their budget in order to get into the house they wanted to purchase. These loans have the potential to negatively amortize and the rate will adjust upward – it’s just a matter of time. Pay Option ARMs were widely used in California and will begin adjusting soon.

We encourage homeowners across the United States to get educated on the options available should they become financially distressed. Short Sales are a great tool, providing relief to all parties.

Just remember to choose a REALTOR® with a proven Short Sale track record to negotiate on your behalf. Making the right choice can mean the world of difference to your financial future.

REALTOR® Safety – Would You Carry A Firearm?

Would You Carry A Firearm?

It’s REALTOR® Safety Month again.  Time to stop and take a look at the ways we do business and to find ways to reduce our personal risk. 

I was talking to a member of the local association and he was advocating that every agent should have a concealed handgun license and carry while working.   I am a firm supporter of the Second Amendment, support the right to carry, and I am personally licensed.  I have 21 years of military training and education on the Use of Deadly Force and some 30-plus years of experience carrying and handling weapons. In those 30-plus years of carrying as a civilian, I’ve only drawn a weapon twice and never fired a shot other than my monthly trips to the range.

If agents want to get licensed and carry, I’m okay with it. But they have to understand the huge responsibility and liability that go along with that choice. I’m also a firm believer that they should do more than simply get licensed and start carrying.  Time should be spent at the local range getting familiar with the weapon.  We hear all the time about accidental discharges. There’s no such thing in my opinion. I call them negligent discharges. Weapons safety is always critical but even more so around other people.

Personally I never want to have to shoot someone.  Escape is always a better option. You have to be alert and active. Always look for a way out before you go into a situation. I tell agents leaving the building at night to grab a cup of hot coffee from our single serving machine on the way out.  If confronted, splash the scalding coffee in the face of the attacker and escape.

One of my buyer’s agents was meeting a client at one of our properties. When she got there the client known to us was not around but a man approached her saying she was the client’s spouse. He want to go in and take a look before his spouse arrived.  My agent was quick on her feet and told him she would rather go through the “Information About Brokerage Services” form and get that reviewed and signed while they waited on the client. The client did show up and all was okay.  The agent did the right thing. She stayed outside where she could escape if something went wrong.

I think situational awareness and looking for the escape is far better than any kind of armed confrontation. 

Would you carry a firearm while working?

Is the Broker Open Dead?

Is the Broker Open Dead?

I’ve written about the ineffective nature of Open Houses in our market place on more than one occasion.  I’m beginning to think that Broker Opens are even less effective these days. 

We decided to hold a Broker Open today on one of our listings.  We sent out over 13,000 emails (there is company that emails agents in our market), listed it in the MLS as a broker open, dropped off flyers at the offices closest to the event, and had a couple of our business partners with huge Facebook followings advertise it for us. We offered a free lunch and a drawing for a $100 VISA card.

Today we picked up the food, placed signs out to direct people to the property, set up our inflatable RE/MAX Balloon on the front lawn, and got the home into “Show Ready” condition.

One of our team agents and I proceeded to sit around and look at ourselves for two hours.  We did have one visitor.  The insurance guy stopped by to measure the house and take some exterior photos.  At least he had a good lunch!

I try to make it out to Broker Opens held by agents in my office. It’s more of a courtesy than anything else. Do I really need to drive out, have a light lunch, and look around a property?

I’m beginning to think that the Broker Open is dead here.  Do we really need to hold homes open for agents to see these days?  I can see this working in smaller markets where everybody knows everybody and there is a limited amount of inventory.  However, there are about 20,000 agents and who knows how many homes on the market in the greater Dallas area.

With great photography, virtual tours, and video; agents and buyers can both get a good look at the property without ever leaving their homes or offices. Now you really can’t see everything about a home this way, but I’m convinced this is one of the primary reasons we’re seeing a decline in the effectiveness of open houses-both public and broker.


The Branch Team SMART Car Gets a New Look

The Branch Team SMART Car

What we started over a month ago became a reality this afternoon.  We recently purchased a SMART Car for use in our business. The car is unique and where ever you go someone wants to stop and talk to you.

One of our initial ideas was to wrap it as part of our local marketing efforts.  It seemed like a natural way to combine the uniqueness of the car with some marketing for the team.

After interviewing a number of companies who could wrap the SMART Car, we selected SkinzWraps. Located in Dallas, SkinzWraps has a nice product and lots of experience with SMART Cars. 

Our first meeting with their design staff resulted in a couple of draft ideas. We really pushed them to think out of the box and to come up with something as unique as the car itself.

In the end, they came up with a design that met those requirements.  The SMART Car is anything but fast. In fact it scored number one on fuel economy for traditional gasoline engines and was dead last for the quarter mile. Skinzwraps has experience wrapping NASCAR race cars so they came up with the idea to wrap the SMART Car as a RE/MAX sponsored race car. 

We sold a few advertising spaces to some of our ancillary service venders to offset the costs. You’ll see their advertisements on the front air-dam and front fenders. 

We’ll have to see how the public reception goes over the next few weeks.

Dinner at the Movies – Gold Class Cinemas – Fairview, Texas

Gold Class CimemasWe recently decided that we wanted to go out and have dinner and take in the new movie, “The American” staring George Clooney.

Having driven past the new Villages of Fairview shopping center located on the northeast corner of Stacy Road and US 75, we noted a new Gold Class Cinema had opened.

We quickly purchased two tickets online. The first thing we noted was the theater had just 40 seats and an extensive food and beverage menu.

Upon our arrival, we checked in with the concierge and we were escorted into the lounge area where we pre-ordered our dinner and had a couple of cocktails while we waited for the theater to be ready. The lounge area has a large, well-stocked bar and is set up like being in a large living room with small pit groups of chairs and tables.

When the theater was ready, we were again escorted to our seats. The term “seats” does not do the seating justice. They are large electric recliners.  Feeling a bit chilled? The staff will bring you a blanket! During the previews we got comfortable and finished our cocktails.  Dinner arrived just as the movie started. Wanting something on the light side, we had both ordered the sliders. Quite tasty!

Click here to see a news report on the Austin location.  The Fairview theater is very similar.

At $125 it was not an inexpensive night out, but Gold Class is like flying first class. The movie…well…