As published in Around Kennesaw magazine:

Realtors have differing opinions on the value of open houses and whether they are worth the time and effort. In my experience, the answer is YES, they are definitely worth it! And when you do it, you should do it BIG!

 

Does the open house sell the home? Sometimes! What it ALWAYS provides me, as the listing agent, is the perfect opportunity to highlight all the assets of the property. The home is clean, and the owners are gone, giving me a live studio for promoting the property through all my social media and networking channels. Whether it’s an Instagram Reel or a Facebook Live broadcast, I’m ready to go when the home is prepped for an open house.

 

Prep is key to ensuring a successful open house. From the first listing presentation with my clients, we map out a calendar of events including an Agents only preview night and weekend open houses conveniently timed for when the most people will be out and about looking at homes. I reach out to my real estate network and promote these events on my social media channels as well.

Marketing a home is everything. Getting people excited about a property is what it’s all about. “Coming Soon” sneak peek promotions, and an open house party that no one wants to miss, are all part of the way I like to create anticipation for the listing and frankly a line at the door thirty minutes before the event. I also like to include special extras like grazing tables, prosecco, baked goodies, prizes, and swag bags.

 

As Realtors, we work hard to gain the trust of our clients. I encourage all agents out there to employ a savvy open house strategy to show the client’s home to the public in its best light. Bring in the neighbors and those who are just curious. You never know whom they are going to talk to about the amazing open house they went to over the weekend. Get people talking. Surprise and delight them. Make it memorable!

As published in Around Acworth magazine:

In real estate, all the planning I do as an agent is based on what I want to happen 90 days from now. Everything I am doing right now will come to fruition in three months. Looking forward, three months from now is the Fall. It’s hard to think about cooler temps and back to school when we are enjoying the neighborhood pool and family vacations!

With four college age kids, I am always thinking about college. Always! Questions like: Are they ready for next year? Are they going to change their major yet again? How’s the budget looking? Where will they live? Some of these things are beyond my control. But two of them I can manage easily – the budget and the living situation.

Over the course of their lives, my husband and I had put away money for the kids’ college years. Traditional savings accounts that would yield a traditional nest egg for them. As we approached the first kid being ready to “launch”, I began to think bigger. I had been doing a lot of research on investment properties, and I had a big idea. We took a gamble and used a portion of the college money as a down payment on a house.

My kid moved into one of the rooms – and not the best one, mind you! We rented out the other rooms to my child’s friends or other college kids. Each room had a lock and key and a separate lease. While my child lived in a great property, the mortgage was paid by the roommates and in four years we sold the house for a very nice profit. Boom – budget and living situation problem solved! We are currently amid what I like to call a “rinse & repeat” for the other kids. This crazy market has certainly helped the plan work extremely well for us!

Have kids nearing those college years? You can put this plan into action as well. If implemented carefully, you will make a profit and will have peace of mind about where your child resides for this time of their life. There are a lot of moving parts in doing so, though. Make sure to enlist a Realtor who has expertise, not just with the housing market, but with the rules and regulations of your child’s college system.

As published in Around Kennesaw magazine:

Mix a longtime interest in real estate with a desire to build a career grounded in kindness, expertise and trust, and you get a passionate and dedicated Realtor who loves sharing her knowledge to help her clients.

Joannie Bates describes herself as one who, no matter the obstacle, “will do what it takes to find a solution that works for everyone. I live by the mantra: Success is the only option. The achievements I’ve had as a Realtor prove that I always find a way.”

As a Realtor with Keller Williams Signature Partners, Joannie works with a wide range of clients, from luxury buyers to investors, and all buyers and sellers in between. The concierge service she provides starts with examining each client’s individual needs, and meeting them. Her experience as a homeowner, landlord and investor, before she became a Realtor, made the move to this profession a logical one.

“I began my career as an investor nine years ago, and started working for clients as a Realtor two years ago,” she said. “I have always loved good design, great craftsmanship and real estate. I love to put my knowledge and expertise to use for my clients.”

Joannie has a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Michigan State University, is a licensed Realtor in Georgia and is a member of the National Association of Realtors. She values her experience in raising a family: She’s a former home-school teacher to her four children, and on the board of the Harrison High School band, as head of fundraising, corporate sponsorships and community outreach.

Her concierge approach is exactly what it sounds like: a customized plan of action based on each client’s situation. Depending on what’s needed, Joannie has found winning solutions for her clients:

One of Joannie’s recent sellers had been in her home for decades. While Joannie truly understood the sentimental value her client had in the home, she knew she needed to help the client shift her thinking to selling a product. Some simple changes, such as moving furniture and adding special décor touches, ensured that the home was ready to sell the minute the listing went live.

One client was a single mom in dire financial straits, who was about to lose her home. Joannie found an investor to purchase the home under a special type of loan called Subject- To. The investor is leasing the home back to the client for more than two years, so that she can stay in the school district while her daughter finishes high school.

Joannie spent time educating a client about how to find the right investment property, and they looked at more than 100 homes in the process. “It worked out so well that he came back to me right away to buy a second property,” Joannie said. “He knew the market so well that he was able to look at one house and purchase it right away. He’s sitting pretty, and I feel great about my role in helping him get there.”

Then, there was the classic real estate story where a sale fell apart after putting a home under contract four days after it went on the market. “I completely redid all the marketing. The clients had moved, so I jumped in and did what was needed — taking dogs out, meeting painters and turning lights on and off to keep things moving smoothly. I’m happy to say that this story has a fairy tale ending, because I was able to STILL finalize a deal for my clients where they sold the home for $30,000 over their asking price!”

Joannie’s dedication to the industry drives her to stay up-to-date on market trends; she admits that she “geeks out” on the numbers. Knowledge of the market has helped her earn success over the past few years. In 2021, she closed more than $6.5 million in sales, earning the designation of Mega Agent at Keller Williams Signature Partners, and putting her in the top 10% of all agents in her 350-person office.

This year is proving to be strong, as well. With several listings coming on the market, and many buyers who’ve sought her services, she is optimistic about 2022, and is confident the Atlanta housing market will remain strong.

Metro Atlanta, and especially the Kennesaw-Acworth community, holds a special place in Joannie’s heart.

“I’ve lived in this area twice over the course of my life,” she said. “Once, right after I got married, and I’ve now been back for almost 10 years. I love Kennesaw, Marietta and Acworth. It’s where I raised my kids when they were young, and where I’ve launched this career. This area is a wonderful bubble, and it’s great to be in this season of life, where I really get to enjoy all that it has to offer.”

As published in Around Acworth magazine:

What does luxury mean? Is it a price point? A vibe or feeling? An attitude or expectation?

In real estate, luxury properties are typically those that are above a certain price point. While all real estate deals must be handled with care and expertise, the high-end features in luxury listings, from larger square footage to country club memberships, mean that a higher level of mindfulness must be paid to the property.

Luxury agents use a common phrase: the Ritz Carlton effect. The goal is to anticipate needs and provide solutions before clients even realize what will be required. Service, surprise and delight is the goal.

That doesn’t mean the cost to sell has to be higher. How does an agent achieve this level of service for a client? It’s simple really – by being the best. By knowing that the real estate business is a balancing act. By understanding the process inside and out and having exceptional vendor partners with the same goals and values. The agent must have excellent communication skills and be able to set the stage for what’s next. These things make all the difference, along with knowing what issues are urgent and the ones that can wait.

Patience is key when guiding clients from the first appointment to the closing table. It’s a dance. So much complex footwork takes place in this process. Choosing who to work with to sell your home can be a complicated decision. You must consider the typical things, such as who knows the area, who has successfully sold the most homes, etc. In a luxury listing, you also must consider who has the right expertise, who you can trust with your property, and who will have led you through the process with the utmost care and kindness.

Joannie Bates is a Realtor for Keller Williams Signature Partners. She works with clients in the surrounding area, with a focus on luxury and investment properties.

As published in Around Acworth magazine:

I’m sure you know the show… homeowners enlist a Realtor and an Interior Designer to help them decide if they should keep their home or go find a new one. Usually there is some seemingly insurmountable obstacle to renovating their existing home that the designer is magically able to tackle. And the Realtor easily finds a home in the owners’ price range and neighborhood where they want to live that is leaps and bounds better than their existing home. We all hold our breath until the very end when the homeowners decide if they will stay or go.

We can all relate to the show’s premise because it really IS so hard to decide if we should stay put or finally move on from the place we call home. There are pros and cons to both that you could consider.

A major pro for selling your home now is the hot seller’s market we are still in – yes you heard me, it’s still happening! You can get top dollar for your home with, in most cases, your choice of offers and a quick turnaround. I’m seeing a lot of “as is” offers as well, meaning that some of those pesky issues in your home that you’ve been meaning to fix can be left alone. You will want to keep in mind that inventory is still low so you might not be able to find the house of your dreams right away, and you may end up having to find an interim place to live. While this is not ideal, some patience and the right Realtor will mean that you will find what you are looking for eventually!

If you are not ready to take the plunge and want to stay put, there are many benefits. Number one, you don’t have to move! And you won’t have to change school districts or any of your local conveniences like doctors and shopping. If your location is right and you have a good amount of space for your needs, then staying in your home might be the best option for you. If you have renovations planned, keep in mind that costs are high right now so a renovation will likely be more expensive than you are expecting. Contractors are very busy right now too, so once again, patience is key!

Joannie Bates is a Realtor for Keller Williams Signature Partners. She works with clients in the surrounding area, with a focus on luxury and investment properties.

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