History of a [not so] Boring Town

Have you or someone you know ever grown up in a super small town and said that when they “grew up” that they couldn’t WAIT to move away? Yeah, I grew up in a town like that.

One of those tiny towns where all my friends said they’d never come back. In fact, there was a song written about our little ol’ town to that effect. A song by one of my all-time fav bands growing up, a punk-ska band that originated in Florida – because everything amazing comes from Florida like Publix Subs, Lilly Pulitzer (shop local at The Palm on Park!) and Boca Grande Beaches, for instance. A band by the name of Less Than Jake (I hear they’re also big in Japan, just sayin’).

To hear its awesomeness, here’s their song direct from their album “Hello Rockview” and YouTube channel; but don’t stop there, this “boring town” gets better. So, so much better!

 

Ok, so where do things look up?

How about my birthday, for starters. For the last 31 years, I’ve had pretty much the worst birthday date in the history of birthday dates. I was born the day – one day – after Christmas, December 26. One my Canadian friends would call “Boxing Day.” Why is that so bad? How about for the last 31ish years I’ve heard… “here’s your Christmas… aaaaand birthday gift!!” *hands me combined gift*

Tis’ the season to give and not receive. Totally cool with that, but still, had I been born on Christmas in July, that’d be total awesomeness. Well, my friends, I’m happy to say the

Chris Demakes_Ashley Houseman 2

John (my hubby), Chris DeMakes, Me on his 1st Solo Tour at The Celtic Ray Irish Pub, 12/26/14

suckiness streak ended 2 years ago… when Chris DeMakes, lead singer of Less Than Jake, decided to do a “solo tour” and not ONLY play in my hometown at my favorite Irish Pub, The Celtic Ray, but he’s played the last 2 years in a row ON MY BIRTHDAY. Not going to lie, the holy grail of all birthday gifts came to me this past year when not only did Chris sing (& dedicate!) my favorite Less Than Jake song “History of a Boring Town” (see above), he – along with the rest of The Ray – sang “happy birthday” to me. Mind. Blown. Best. Birthday. EVER!

 

Chris Demakes_Ashley Houseman 1

Me, my bestie Kellee & Chris DeMakes on the 2nd Solo tour at Celtic Ray, 12/26/15

Yay, a great birthday tradition for me, so what makes this town even more awesome? How about my job, and my newest co-workers-of-a-team? My hubby, John, and I work together as a real estate team we call Houseman & Co with Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty… and as of a few months ago, we have had the opportunity to work alongside another team – THE DeMakes Team – composed of papa Doug DeMakes and the one and only, Chris DeMakes.

 

It’s ok, you can be quasi-jealous. We daily have the pleasure of brushing shoulders with a world-renowned rock star celeb who was also not only one of our favorite musicians growing up, but is one of our lifelong family friends.

 

Doug DemakesDoug Demakes started in the real estate biz in 1980 with a main concentration in new construction and residential sales.  He says his favorite thing about having his son Chris in town when he’s not on the road is “Spending time together, and working out as a family at Krav Maga with the Shumans ATA Martial Arts and “getting excited for Chris’ new addition in December 2016!”  When it comes to working together, Doug feels that Coldwell Banker is a generous and giving company. Even when Chris is on tour, we’re multi-tasking while he’s on the road and working [everywhere and] anywhere from Florida to California to England, whatever the real estate need is for our customer, we can take care of it from the bus – phone or computer. One of us is always available, whether we’re entertaining on the road or in town at the office, we’ve been in [and selling] Florida for 40 years!”

Chris is quite the busy guy, and when he’s not on the road rocking out his talents, he’s at the office, he’s spending quality time with clients, he and dad are at the closing table. When I asked him what his favorite thing about real estate is, Chris replied, “Seeing the joy on the faces of first-time home-buyers when I help them find their dream home. Such a rewarding feeling!”

So what brought all this awesomeness together into an inspiration for a blog? Simple. I’m going with my bestie, who we’ll call Nurse Kellee, to witness Less Than Jake “Make Warped Tour Great Again” and rock the faces off of thousands of fans this Friday (July 1st, 2016) in St. Petersburg, Florida at Vinoy Park.

Want to know when the Vans Warped Tour ’16 is making a stop near your house? I’ve included the schedule, the killer line-up as well as the direct link to get your tix… because if you haven’t been to Warped Tour at least once in your lifetime, your bucket list is missing an action item –  and that, my friend, would make you a victim of living in a boring town!

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Less Than Jake live at Vans Warped Tour ’16 in Dallas, Texas (photo credit: Mike Brooks)

 

MON.
JUN 27
NEW ORLEANS, LA
MARDI GRAS WORLD
WED.
JUN 29
NASHVILLE, TN
THE FAIRGROUNDS NASHVILLE
THU.
JUN 30
ATLANTA, GA
LAKEWOOD AMPHITHEATER
FRI.
JUL 1
ST. PETERSBURG, FL
VINOY PARK
SAT.
JUL 2
ORLANDO, FL
TINKER FIELD
SUN.
JUL 3
WEST PALM BEACH, FL
PERFECT VODKA AMPHITHEATRE AT THE SOUTH FLORIDA FAIRGROUNDS
TUE.
JUL 5
CHARLOTTE, NC
PNC MUSIC PAVILION CHARLOTTE
WED.
JUL 6
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
VETERANS UNITED HOME LOANS AMPHITHEATER AT VIRGINIA BEACH
THU.
JUL 7
SYRACUSE, NY
NEW YORK STATE FAIR: GRAY LOT
FRI.
JUL 8
CAMDEN, NJ
BB&T PAVILION
SAT.
JUL 9
WANTAGH, NY
NIKON AT JONES BEACH THEATER
SUN.
JUL 10
HARTFORD, CT
THE XFINITY THEATRE
MON.
JUL 11
SCRANTON, PA
THE PAVILION AT MONTAGE MOUNTAIN
WED.
JUL 13
MANSFIELD, MA
XFINITY CENTER
THU.
JUL 14
DARIEN CENTER, NY
DARIEN LAKE PAC
FRI.
JUL 15
BURGETTSTOWN, PA
FIRST NIAGARA PAVILION
SAT.
JUL 16
COLUMBIA, MD
MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION
SUN.
JUL 17
HOLMDEL, NJ
P.N.C. BANK ARTS CENTER
TUE.
JUL 19
NOBLESVILLE, IN
KLIPSCH MUSIC CENTER
WED.
JUL 20
CUYAHOGA FALLS, OH
BLOSSOM MUSIC CENTER
THU.
JUL 21
CINCINNATI, OH
RIVERBEND MUSIC CENTER
FRI.
JUL 22
AUBURN HILLS, MI
THE PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS
SAT.
JUL 23
TINLEY PARK, IL
HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATER
SUN.
JUL 24
SHAKOPEE, MN
CANTERBURY PARK
TUE.
JUL 26
MILWAUKEE, WI
MARCUS AMPHITHEATRE
WED.
JUL 27
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO
HOLLYWOOD CASINO AMPHITHEATRE
THU.
JUL 28
BONNER SPRINGS, KS
PROVIDENCE MEDICAL CENTER AMPHITHEATER
SAT.
JUL 30
SALT LAKE CITY, UT
UTAH STATE FAIRPARK
SUN.
JUL 31
DENVER, CO
PEPSI CENTER ARENA LOT
MON.
AUG 1
ALBUQUERQUE, NM
BALLOON FIESTA PARK
TUE.
AUG 2
PHOENIX, AZ
PHOENIX EVENT COMPLEX
FRI.
AUG 5
SAN DIEGO, CA
QUALCOMM STADIUM AT JACK MURPHY FIELD
SAT.
AUG 6
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
SHORELINE AMPHITHEATRE
SUN.
AUG 7
POMONA, CA
POMONA FAIRPLEX
TUE.
AUG 9
LAS VEGAS, NV
HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO
THU.
AUG 11
NAMPA, ID
FORD IDAHO CENTER
FRI.
AUG 12
AUBURN, WA
WHITE RIVER AMPHITHEATER
SAT.
AUG 13
PORTLAND, OR
PORTLAND EXPO CENTER

Open Houses! North Port 6/25-6/26/16

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.13.51 AMSaturday, June 25th from 11am – 4pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the beautiful [& massive at 2,500+sqft!], 3 bedroom, 2 bath pool home located at 2852 Orchard Cir, North Port, FL 34288 with our wonderful open house hosts, Annette Sanders and Pamella Lockhart!

Orchard_Open House_Sat 11-4

 

John Pappa Jr_HeadshotSunday, June 26th from 1pm – 3pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the perfectly peaceful true 4 bedroom, 2 bath home with a spacious fenced back yard [also perfect for entertaining, little ones or your fur babies!] located at 4274 Troost St, North Port, FL 34288 with our open house host, John Pappa Jr!

Troost_Open House_Sun 1-3

Bucket List: Realtor.com Pro “Realtor of the Day” [check!]

Hundreds. Thousands. [Hundreds of thousands?] of Realtors® all over the world share and market their listings on social media marketing daily.

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. LinkedIn. Snapchat. Just a few of the favorite avenues that help get you and your seller’s goods in front of a seemingly limitless global audience at the click of a button.

Likes. Loves. Favs. Double-taps. Comments. Shares. Retweets. Just a few ways for people to show you some love, support and straight up help you to boost your goods to the top of the their news feeds or timelines to help you to increase your visibility among their network to get your listing in front of an even bigger audience and hopefully, a potential customer.

Receiving this kind of love and support on social media is always exciting, encouraging and more often times rewarding – I mean, who doesn’t love leads, referrals and new potential customers – right?

In the small little part of the world known as Houseman & Co, this ultimate compliment was given to us today, as we had the opportunity to be featured as the “Realtor of the Day” with Realtor.com Pro®. Not only was our b-e-a-utiful condo in the desirable Harbor Walk Condominium with stunning sunrise and sunsets views from 3 balconies featured as the listing of the day, our Realtor.com profile was also featured on the main page of their Instagram profile. Basically, in the world of social media love, likes and shares – this is the upmost compliment to us as a growing team, to our seller, to Coldwell Banker, and to me as a whole.

Thank you, Realtor Pro® for the feature. Thank you! Who knows, maybe my next step will be a co-hosting a commercial [in plain English] with Elizabeth Banks?! Yes, please!

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Post by @RealtorPro on Instagram featuring @HousemanAndCo as their #RealtorOfTheDay

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@RealtorPro’s profile on Instagram featuring Ashley Houseman’s Realtor.com Profile

 

March 2016 “Market Minute”

“Hey, John/Ashley! How’s the market?!” – The most common question consumers – future buyers and sellers alike – ask us about the local real estate market on a daily basis.

“It’s great! We’re busy! Inventory is low! Buyers are buying! Know anyone who wants to sell?” – Most common short answers we typically provide when we’re out and about, usually in line at the grocery store or in passing. Of course, when time allows, more detailed explanations, thoughts and answers are given and usually end up in great conversation.

*light bulb moment* – If everyone wants to know how the current market is doing and how it stacks up against this time last year, why don’t we put the facts together and share it?

Let us introduce… the “Market Minute”… last months hard number statistics compared to the same time last year. Facts directly from the MLS stating how our local Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda markets are doing.

Market Minute Mar

 

The  Minute’s “key” (see what I did there?!):

  • “Avg. List Price” is the total amount of homes that were listed last month, their listing prices added together then divided by the amount of homes listed
  • “Avg. Sale Price” is the total amount of homes that were sold last month, their sold prices added together then divided by the amount of homes sold
  • “Days on Market” this is the average amount of days a home was on the market before it fully went under contract. It’s the cumulative amount of days starting from day 1 when the home was listed to day “x” where the home’s offer was fully executed
  • “Homes Sold” you guessed it, the total amount of homes that had the opportunity to put the desirable “SOLD” status on their property!

Want more specific numbers to your home or what’s going on in your neighborhood? Just ask, it’d be our pleasure to help you!

**All statistics are from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and include ALL of Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Florida**

Want to view local MLS listings for free?  Visit www.AshleyHouseman.com and feel free to ask us any questions about any homes for sale on the market or if you would like to have an exclusive preview of one in person!

February 2016 “Market Minute”

“Hey, John/Ashley! How’s the market?!” – The most common question consumers – future buyers and sellers alike – ask us about the local real estate market on a daily basis.

“It’s great! We’re busy! Inventory is low! Buyers are buying! Know anyone who wants to sell?” – Most common short answers we typically provide when we’re out and about, usually in line at the grocery store or in passing. Of course, when time allows, more detailed explanations, thoughts and answers are given and usually end up in great conversation.

*light bulb moment* – If everyone wants to know how the current market is doing and how it stacks up against this time last year, why don’t we put the facts together and share it?

Let us introduce… the “Market Minute”… last months hard number statistics compared to the same time last year. Facts directly from the MLS stating how our local Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda markets are doing.

Market Minute_2-2016.png

The  Minute’s “key” (see what I did there?!):

  • “Avg. List Price” is the total amount of homes that were listed last month, their listing prices added together then divided by the amount of homes listed
  • “Avg. Sale Price” is the total amount of homes that were sold last month, their sold prices added together then divided by the amount of homes sold
  • “Days on Market” this is the average amount of days a home was on the market before it fully went under contract. It’s the cumulative amount of days starting from day 1 when the home was listed to day “x” where the home’s offer was fully executed
  • “Homes Sold” you guessed it, the total amount of homes that had the opportunity to put the desirable “SOLD” status on their property!

Want more specific numbers to your home or what’s going on in your neighborhood? Just ask, it’d be our pleasure to help you!

**All statistics are from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and include ALL of Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Florida**

 

“Hot Trends” on NAR’s RE Today Radio! [according to the Housemans]

How to flatter a Realtor beyond measure? Ask them to be a guest on the National Association of Realtors radio station, Real Estate Today, for their insight on selling a home to millennials in today’s market – for a third time.

Translation: my Realtor Mothership likes me enough [and apparently their listeners too?] to come back on the air to give advice to all the sellers in the world through their broadcast. It’s basically like Christmas, my birthday, winning a partial ticket in the lottery [if I ever played] and having the ability to eat Girl Scout Thin Mints year-round bundled into one, big happy emotion.

Listen to the broadcast (it’s short, I’m not boring but I do say “absolutely” a lot, sorry)


Don’t have time to listen but like to read? Here’s my synopsis (or rather the script with my scribbles):

Real Estate Today:  On today’s show – ‘Hot Trends,’ we’re looking at what’s happening in the American Home. How it looks, how it’s equipped and also – how to reel in the home buyers – if THIS is the year you plan to sell. It’s no secret that many buyers – especially younger buyers – like a home they can move right into. And one that has all the features they want. Present a house like that – and you have a much better chance of selling in the minimum time for the maximum profit!

So let’s talk about exactly what those younger buyers want in today’s market. Joining us now is Ashley Houseman, Realtor and Associate Broker with the Houseman Team, at Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty – in Port Charlotte, Florida. Ashley’s also a member of NAR’s Young Professionals Network. Ashley how are you today?
Ashley: Awesometastic! I didn’t really say that, but I thought it. It seemed silly to write this out!

RE Today:   Ashley, first of all, how’s business down on the West Coast of Florida?
Ashley: Business is busy! Probably one of our favorite times of the year, spring break through summer… we feel it’s one of our busiest times because snowbirds are ending their season and ready to buy for next season and families are gearing up to buy so they can move on summer break. We’re ready for them!

RE Today: So Ashley – as we all know, the Millennial generation is the biggest demographic group in America – what are they looking for when they buy homes, and how can a seller give it to them?
Ashley
: Millennials are looking for value and a great home for the price. We’re realistic that this demographic is searching online looking at hundreds of homes before they ever call a Realtor. They’re comparing prices. Neighborhoods. Getting a good idea of what type of home they can get for their money. Keeping this in mind when we’re listing our homes, we educate the seller on a few key things that will help them stand out among these hundreds of homes buyers are sifting through – presentation – it’s all about the pictures. We educate our sellers on how to stage their home and prepare it for photos and showings so that when we take our professional photographs, we stand out amongst the other comparable homes that we’re up against in their listing range – which in turn gets us more activity online, more showings and hopefully an offer sooner! 

RE Today:  Our Millennial friends say they like homes that are ready to go – not interested in months of repairs, and fix-ups. Sounds like a seller would do well to make their house is in really good repair before going on the market.

With that in mind – have any of your clients actually had a home inspection – on their own dime – before putting their home on the market? So that when buyers come around – it’s kind of ‘perfect?’
Ashley: When discussing preparing a home to hit the market, sometimes sellers will ask our opinion on whether or not we feel that they should get their own home inspection in order to show a buyer what issues there are with the property. We always recommend against this, since many homes in our market are sold “as is” and the buyer will likely conduct their own home inspection within their inspection contingency period, which is typically 15 days in Florida unless negotiated otherwise. Instead, we recommend our sellers complete a sellers disclosure which we include in the MLS as an attachment, which is a series of questions completed by the homeowner to the best of their knowledge and serves as an overview of the home (plumbing, roof, deed restrictions, etc). We get this upfront when we list the home, as it shows the buyer transparency and that the seller is not trying to hide anything from the buyer. As a buyer, always ask your agent to as the listing agent for a copy of the sellers disclosure when they are considering making an offer on the property. 

RE Today: How about energy efficiency? Does that come up on a Millennial buyer’s shopping list?
Ashley: This year, Coldwell Banker was a co-sponsor for the Smart Home Showcase at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Prior to the show, they conducted a survey interviewing over 4,000 adults in the United States testing their knowledge on smart homes. When they were asked what they thought would consider a home to be “smart”, the top choices were security (such as locks and alarm systems), temperature (thermostats and fans), lighting (bulbs and lighting systems) and safety (night lights, fire and carbon monoxide detectors). “smart” home technology has come a long away and have found ways to create homes more energy efficient which is becoming more and more desirable to today’s buyer

HOT NOTES* (Courtesy of Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog):
Can smart home technology help you sell your home faster?

  • More than half of homeowners (54 percent) would purchase or install smart home products if they were selling their home and knew that doing so would make it sell faster.

Most Americans think a home can be considered “smart” if it has smart security, temperature, lighting and safety.

  • When asked about what needs to be in a home for it to be considered “smart,” the top choices were security (e.g., locks and alarm systems – 63 percent), temperature (e.g., thermostats and fans – 63 percent), lighting (e.g., light bulbs and lighting systems – 58 percent) and safety (e.g., fire / carbon monoxide detectors and nightlights – 56 percent).

    *shoutout to Tori Keichinger! Great article, friend! 

RE Today: And how can a seller help attract the energy-conscious buyer? Is showing the buyer the utility bills a help – or not?
Ashley: We always try to avoid asking for bills for our buyer or providing bills for a potential buyer for this main reason – just as every home is different in its construction and how it will handle heating and cooling – every buyer is different on how much or how little they use energy or utilities. Growing up, I remember as a little kid that if my dad heard an exterior door open and wasn’t shut within a few seconds, he’d exclaim “shut the door, I’m not paying to air condition the whole neighborhood!” As a kid, that seemed so silly to me… but now as an adult and momma of 3 young boys, my dad’s words echo in my thoughts and make me chuckle, as his words were so true when you’re being conscious about your heating and cooling bills – especially in the middle of our Florida summers! Every customer is going to be very different on how they utilize and conserve their water and utilities so asking for someone else’s bills could really skew your view on considering a property if your habits are different from the current homeowners’

RE Today:  And how about internet? Most places have broadband now – but many people – not just young people – require blazing fast internet. Can that help a seller, who could use that as a marketing element?
Ashley: How do people live without internet? Under our roof we have 2 adults with phones, iPads and computers, 2 toddlers running around tablets, and an AppleTV all streaming on our home network!! I guess you could say that internet – fast internet – is very important in our house! Our market can be very limiting on the service provider and type of service that as available to you, as some providers are heavily prevalent in some neighborhoods while absent in others. When selling our first home and buying our second 20 minutes north, we were unable to transfer our internet/television/phone service provider as they had not yet reached our new neighborhood yet. Our recommendation to buyers is if there is a specific provider or type of internet service you require as part of your new home selection process, be sure to check with your preferred provider to make sure that your prospective new home is within their coverage area prior to making an offer!

RE Today: Speaking of marketing, what about social media? That’s probably the hottest of all the hot trends out there. How can a seller and their Realtor use social media to help attract buyers?
Ashley: You have to be careful how you use social media to advertise your listings, as it can either excite your audience or totally turn them off. Try and deviate away from what all the other agents are doing in your market such as simply just posting the MLS link or posts for an open house. Make it fun, interesting, create some excitement with your post. Make sure your agent is using good grammar, correct spelling and truly highlighting the selling features of your home and do it with photos – good and attractive photos – that will lure your target audience into wanting to learn more and hopefully bring you the perfect buyer.

Ashley Houseman, Realtor and Associate Broker with the Houseman Team, at Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty – in Port Charlotte, Florida. And, a member of NAR’s Young Professionals Network. Ashley – thanks for joining us today!

(thank you for having me again, Stephen Gasque and the RE Today Team!! Next time you’re in Florida, a charter should be be on the agenda!)

What Does a Tornado Sound Like? (Give me a break, I’m from Florida)

I had a rude awakening at 3:59 this morning. It sounded like an ambulance siren making its way through my master bedroom.

Tornado Warning "Siren" Received Via Cell Phone at 3:59am

“The Siren” Tornado Warning, extreme alert received via cell phone from the NWS at 3:59am, June 6th, 2013

The following message was displayed on my screen, “Tornado Warning in this area til 4:30 AM EDT. Take shelter now. Check local media. – NWS

Needless to say, I’ve been up since 4:00am.

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life (and will probably never leave), lived through countless hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters. I’ve had my roof cave in from a hurricane and lost most of my childhood belongings. I’ve camped out with no power for ever a week. I’ve walked up and down the streets of historic Punta Gorda asking friends and neighbors if they needed supplies. I (stupidly) dislocated my shoulder while catching waves during a tropical storm. I’ve seen a lot… but tornadoes… they scare the living life out of me.

On and off all day, my phone has continuned to receive these “siren” warning messages, as has my television through the National Weather Service updating me on Tropical Storm Andrea and the fact that we’ve been under constant “Tornado Warning”.

Just a few moments ago, there was an update that a tornado may have touched down in Suncoast Estates, which is a subdivision made up of 1-5 acre properties just 2 miles away from my home. It wasn’t until then that it hit me, maybe I should really prepare for a worst case scenario?

Naturally, like most obsessed Googlers, I entered: “What does a tornado sound like?”

I truly don’t know, so I figured it may help. In case you’re as clueless on the subject as I am, here’s a snippet to let you know what it’s like, courtesy of The Weather Channel:

http://www.weather.com/video/what-does-a-tornado-sound-like-36983

A step further, here’s some useful information provided by The Weather Channel about tornado preparedness. The link below has articles on how to prepare, how to take action during, and what to do after a tornado strikes.

http://www.weather.com/life/safety/tornado/tornado-safety_2011-11-03

No matter what you and your loved ones plan on doing during this and the storms to come this season, be prepared and be safe.

More updates on Tropical Storm #Andrea can be found at http://www.weather.com or by following @weatherchannel on Twitter