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Rob Johnson on the Beach

Rob Johnson on the Beach

Notes from Rob:

It has been an interesting five years since I became a real estate agent in October 2005.  In that time I have sold over 60 homes and each one has a story to tell.  I remember when I first discussed the career move as I was retiring from the Air Force after 20 years.  I have never had any desire to go into sales.  I was a public relations major in college and when I graduated the decision to serve my country came to me slowly.  At first I joined to see what it was like, then as the years went by I worked my way up in rank and the important thing for me was always looking out for my people.  As an Administration Officer, and later a Personnel Officer it was my job to take care of those in my section, my flight, my group, my base and eventually looking after squadron members located throughout Europe.  Paperwork was always involved, but it was taking care of the people that I always cared about.

When I discussed with Mom the idea of joining the family team, I told her about the concern I had about not being a salesman.  She told me to just be myself.  This morning I received the attached note from some friends who had just bought a condo from me.  I smile as I say friends.  Last year my wife and I were attending a performance of the Florida Orchestra at the Mahaffey Theater.  After the show I noticed David and Morrison, so I went over to introduce my wife to my “clients.”  They were almost offended…they said, we are friends first!  That is the way I want go through life, by helping my friends.  Here is what they had to say about our relationship:

We first contacted the Simms Team on the basis of their website.  We lived in Michigan, but wanted to find a condo in St. Pete.  We originally spoke with Rob, but when he wasn’t available Tami was able to answer all our questions.  Everyone in the office was always extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and informed about our concerns.  When we arrived in St. Pete, Rob had identified all the downtown condos that satisfied our criteria and arranged showings.  He helped us (and held our hands) through our first short sale offer, which ultimately did not work out….I don’t think the successful “buyer” has closed on that unit still.  We went back to Michigan, but Rob kept watch on other units that became available and found one that was a perfect fit for us!  He viewed the unit and took dozens of pictures to send to us.  Once again, he talked us through negotiation strategies and kept the pressure on the seller (and the bank negotiator) on a second short sale offer.  Because of his efforts, we actually closed within 6 weeks of making our offer–unheard of in Florida!  Before closing, Amy sent us info about home insurance, electric services, and other items we needed to consider.  But the Simms Team services didn’t stop at the closing–since then they have told us where to register to vote; given us names of reputable locksmiths, painters, handymen, and other trades; kept our key on file for emergencies; and continue to offer suggestions and advice about living in St. Pete.  People were shocked when we said we were buying a condo sight unseen, but we were confident because we trusted the Simms Team.  We recommend them highly to anyone who wants a trustworthy, reputable realtor team who prides itself on service.  Professor Morrison Torrey and David Hirschman, AIA

To David and Morrison, I say thank you.  It was a pleasure meeting you both, getting to know you, and helping you find the perfect home.  I look forward to seeing you next month at the next performance of the Florida Orchestra.

Spoken by Rob Johnson | Discussion: No Comments »

ALVA Sundays are now By Appointment Only

Gone Fishing - for clients

Gone Fishing - for clients

Starting this week, ALVA International, Inc’s real estate office will be open on Sundays by appointment only.  Analyzing our results, spending Sunday sitting in the office hasn’t been the st productive use of our time. So – The Simms Team will be in the office by appointment ony.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be Christmas shopping (sadly) as today, for example: Tami, Rob and I are all meeting with clients. So The Simms Team is out doing business, not sitting in the office waiting for things to happen. Here we’re following the lead of our Aspen colleague, Joshua Saslove,  who told us that he only wants to see his agents in the office when they’re writing a contract. Otherwise he wants them out on the ski slopes, at the country club, the tennis courts, etc.   So – we’ll be out where we’re hearing who’s looking for what and who’s hiring who, rather than doing paperwork in the office. We’re here if you need us – our office phone (727) 898-2582 forwards to one of our cell phones when the office is closed.

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: No Comments »

Happy Clients and Friends of The Simms Team

Nino and Lori celebrating at ALVA International, Inc.

Nino and Lori celebrating at ALVA International, Inc.

Nino Fabiano wrote  on ALVA International’s facebook wall – and we can’t help but share what he said:

Dear Sharon and crew.

Since our houses have sold, Lori and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to visit your office. I just wanted to tell each of you how grateful we are for having the Simms Team represent us. You all are amazing. In less than a year, through your marketing expertise and gift for building relationships, you have sold my condo, sold Lori’s house, and found our dream home. Although Lori has known you for quite some time, I didn’t meet you until about a year ago. But during the past year of working together, I feel as if we have become family. I thank each of you for that gift, and wish you all the best.

Yo Creo!

Nino.

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: No Comments »

Banyan Bay in St Petersburg is on the upswing.

Banyan Bay

Notes from Rob:

Rob’s Sale #14 – Banyan Bay in St Petersburg.

For the second time in the past year I sold a home to the parents of someone I recently sold a home to. It is always nice when a clients refers you to a friend, and an even better compliment when they recommend you to their family.  Banyan Bay has been an interesting story.  I remember visiting the development when they were building it and was amazed at the prices they were asking ($500,000 to $900,000).  They were all sold (many to investors) and the developer did well.  Then of course the market changed and the next thing you know we have a bunch of short sales and bank-owned properties.  When I showed some units last year, there were 13 on the market.  Luckily, the banks lowered the prices to today’s market reality and there are only two left on the market today.  Our clients have bought three units in Banyan Bay this year and all are very happy and love the community.

Spoken by Rob Johnson | Discussion: No Comments »

Nice to hear

Notes from Rob.

After I wrote out an offer for a home with some clients earlier today, we sat back and had a beer and chatted for a while.  As we talked, my client mentioned that she felt they had looked at almost 300 homes over the past two years as they searched for just the right house.  Me being me, I made a comment about the fact that they needed to find the right Realtor – once they found me, then things fell into place.  She looked at me and told me that was true.  Of all of the Realtors that had shown them homes over the past two years, they said I was the first to actually listen to what they were looking for, then actually go look for that house and find it for them.  It was a very nice thing to hear from a client.  Working with buyers is my specialty and I feel I continue to do better at it as I have learned more and more about the business over the past 3 1/2 years.  It felt great hearing it from one of my clients, that I am doing it right.  Now we need to get their offer through the sellers, through the bank, and closed.  Then I will have done my job for these great folks.

Spoken by Rob Johnson | Discussion: No Comments »

New sign for luxury properties

Sunset sign

After a few comments that our ALVA signs were blah and lacked WOW, we thought we’d try some others. One of the advantages of being a small, independent company is that we can try things out and change things quickly. Since we’ve used this sunset in our branding for years, we thought we’d try it on our signs. Click on the image to see a larger photo, or drive by some of our listings – let us know what you think.

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: No Comments »

STAP meeting at Parkshore Plaza

View from Parkshore PlazaEach year, usually in late November, we have a day long Simms Team Analysis and Planning meeting to see where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished , where we can improve, and then set out plans and goals for the next year. We missed this past November meeting, just as well because opening a new company, ALVA International, much was unpredictable.  We felt that after nearly 6 months Read the rest of this entry »

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: No Comments »

CyberStar Summit in Phoenix

Sharon and Tami are attending the annual CyberStar Summit which this year is being held in Scottsdale, Arizona. Over 100 top technology-using real estate agents are here with their laptops, sharing ideas on what works and what doesn’t. Attendees are here from all over the country, from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to Hawaii. Tech exchanges started at 6 pm, over breakfast before the 7 am beginning, and though the official ending time is 5 pm, conversations will continue through dinner, and for the hardy few – well into the night. Topics include property websites, photography tips, social networking, iPhone tips, and many, many more.

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: No Comments »

Happy New Year 2009!

Happy New Year 2009!

My lack of blogging the last month hasn’t been lack of interest, it’s been orchestrating change. The Simms Team left RE/MAX Metro, excited about the new possibilities, but sad about leaving some great people – though we’re only 2 blocks away so we should still be in contact.

We formed ALVA International, Inc., our own real estate company. Our new phone is (727) 898-2582 (898-ALVA) though our old phones will still reach us. Our new location – which we’re so excited about – is at 238 Beach Drive NE, right across Read the rest of this entry »

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Evaluating real estate opportunities in Costa Rica

Balcony View - del Pacifico - Costa Ricadel Pacifico at Esterillos Este, Costa Rica

Tami and I just returned from a long weekend Gathering at del Pacifico on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica in Esterillo Este. Click on the photo to see a larger version. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but there’s a nice water view of the Pacific from our balcony. We found real estate to recommend to our clients for a vacation and/or for an investment, whether it’s a condominium, a home, or a lot.

del Pacifico offers a quality product in a quality development. Whether you’re looking to relax away from it all, enjoy horseback riding, sport fishing or golf, there’s something here for you. We liked the people we met at the Gathering, the del Pacifico founders and staff, and found the Ticos (the people of Costa Rica) pleasant, caring, and with a peaceful spirit for their land and for each other.

Contact us with your questions about del Pacifico and Costa Rica real estate.

Spoken by Sharon Simms | Discussion: No Comments »

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