Here is the first web/e-mail Q&A with some of the sites I have promoted. You do remember Jenn Kexel from yesterday’s posting? Well she was nice enough to grant time to answer the 20 questions and be the first interview posted here on Technically Speaking. I have another person’s interview waiting in the wings so to speak. Hopefully by next week, I will have a couple more done.
Without further delay, here now is Jenn Kexel’s interview in it’s entirety – 20 Questions & Answers with Jenn Kexel:
1. Tell the readers a little bit about yourself, where you are from, how long you have been in real estate, and anything you would like people reading this blog to know about you – Jenn Kexel?
Let’s see… I’ll start by mentioning that I have had PLENTY of experience moving frequently and long distances in my lifetime. I grew up in Wisconsin, moved to Florida, Virginia, California, Washington (state), back to Florida and now Missouri.
I obtained my real estate license in November 2004 and was Prudential Alliance, REALTORS Rookie of the Year in 2005.
2. What motivated you to get into real estate?
HA! Our Realtor! Not in a positive way either.
When we purchased our home, we were first time home buyers and nervous. We relied on our Realtor to explain and clarify the process. The experience was clumsy and awkward. The only time we saw our agent was when we signed the Sales Contract offer. He didn’t show us the home we purchased (his “associate” met us at the home and unlocked the door), he didn’t attend the inspection with us; he didn’t even come to our closing!
Also, my “significant other” works in the real estate field on the title services end. He has been urging me for years to get my license. I was not as confident as he was, so it took me a while to work up the nerve to leave my safe, salaried career for the ominous “commission only”. He’s truly been my biggest fan and cheerleader in this career change. I’m blessed to have him.
3. Did you see a connection between the internet and your career in real estate early on, or did someone help point you to that direction?
My background is in Marketing. I have a passion for Internet marketing and the endless possibilities. I’m all about change and growth. I’ve often thought about starting my own marketing company, but I’m a bit smitten by my real estate career at the moment!
4. What came first – the blog or the web site?
The web site came first.
5. I notice that you are one of those “daily bloggers”, how did that evolve? Was it something that just sort of naturally happen, or did you decide to say something everyday, like a daily habit?
I read a LOT of blogs on a daily basis. Real Estate blogs (or I guess any blogs, really) aren’t effective unless they are updated frequently. I am guilty of letting my blog go unattended too. There was a period when I hardly blogged at all. Then a fellow Realtor sent me an e-mail asking about my blog – how embarrassing! That was when I decided I must write something every day. Even if it’s just posting the 24-hour Market Watch, there has to be some activity on my part or I’ll lose my audience.
6. When you blog, do you seem to get more hits to the site, or do people seem to find your web site first and then discover the blog?
I think they are two separate audiences. Most people who find their way to my website aren’t really familiar with what a blog is. They are looking for property searches or mortgage calculators or detailed information on one of my listings.
7. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the real estate business?
Gosh – that’s such an enormous question!
Stay new! When you’re new, you’re excited. You’re nervous about the career and you will do anything to get business. Don’t lose that!
READ! Read everything you can. Internet articles, real estate books, sales and motivation books, business journals, just stay informed.
WATCH! Watch how the experienced agents in your office work. Listen to how they handle phone conversations with their clients. Observe how they carry themselves.
ASK! You have got to ask for help. Don’t be timid. Remember, every real estate agent out there was new at one time. We all had to write our first contract and stumble our way through our first deal. Most agents would be thrilled to lend new agents a hand or have new agents hold their listings open on a weekend. I know I would! I live by the get by giving philosophy.
8. Looking back, do you feel that you got into real estate at a good time, or do you wish you would have done it earlier in your life?
I feel I got into real estate at the perfect time.
9. What are your impressions of the doom and gloom that allot of the major money and economy sites are predicting for 2007 in the housing market?
Doom and gloom is a matter of perspective.
Look, if you’ve lived in your house for the past 5 years and you intend on living in it 10-20 more years, the current market conditions are irrelevant to you.
If you purchased a property last year then I would expect that you intend to spend at the least the next 3 years there before you decide to sell. The current market is a non-issue to you.
If you purchased an investment property last summer and are expecting to make $30,000 in selling it this year, then I’m sorry.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but a lot can change in the economy and in real estate in 3 years. Also, 2008 is an election year. That is a very big deal in terms of which way the economy can go and subsequently the housing market.
10. Do you believe that the housing market has truly bottomed out, or do you think that it’s just a momentary lull that we are going through? I think our readers would like to hear your true beliefs on this one!
Property values are constantly fluctuating. Much like the stock market they have their ups and their downs. You shouldn’t be concerned with property values until you are ready to sell – or are refinancing your property.
I think the biggest problem is going to be for the buyers who bit off more than they could chew in the first place. Not so much here in St. Louis, but California, New York and Florida where interest only mortgages were popular.
Also, the buyers who financed using a short term (1yr, 3yr, 5yr) ARMs. Get in and see your lender pronto to refinance while rates are still in the low to mid 6% range. Or shop around for a lender that is going to provide you with a better deal.
If you don’t have a lender, then call me or e-mail me and I can put you in touch with some awesome lenders!
11. What are your feelings on real estate sites that are not updated like yours is? I mentioned this in my original promotional blog about how I notice yours seems to always be evolving. Do you feel that it makes the company or the industry look bad when a site goes out of date in the real estate business?
My website is updated almost as frequently as my hair color. I am all about change and evolution in every aspect of my life.
Here’s a timely response from one of my current clients regarding my web site:
“I am online a lot at the library and those sites that are old, forgotten or not kept up reflect very badly on that agency. Those sites that change regularly shine and are appealing to the user. A well kept site informs you that this person is on top of things and has the energy to work for you.”
How’s that for a testimonial? J
The same is true for updating my blog. Even if I have nothing “intelligent” to say, I still feel it’s my duty to report on the current St. Louis market conditions everyday.
12. Does your company help you in your web site and/or blogging? What I mean is – do they help to pay for the hosting, or is this all something you have done on your own?
No. My broker offers agent websites for a fee, but it’s a company umbrella template site and it’s not something I am interested in. I want more flexibility and the ability to add my own custom content, etc.
13. In regards to the above, does your company encourage you or are they more like I guess the nicest way to put it is “old school” in regards to utilizing the internet as in web sites and blogs?
I’m on my own with my Internet marketing, which is the way I like it. I’m not sure my broker has really gotten the hang of what a blog is yet.
You know, most agents don’t want to hassle with the Internet. They don’t have time. They’d rather delegate and pay a service to handle it all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Blogging and customizing my website is relaxing and therapeutic for me. I enjoy it, and that’s why I make time for it.
14. Have you ever made a blog post that you are now wishing you never posted? If you have, why is it you feel that way about it now? If not, what are some topics you always make a mental note to avoid in your blog?
I really try to choose my topics and words carefully. Realtors are bound by a strict code of ethics and I abide by the code. Either that or face the MREC and the possibility of losing my license? No thanks. I love my job too much.
15. Do you feel that all real estate agents should take advantage of the internet and utilize it to it’s fullest like you are doing, or do you think you are a rare breed amongst the agents out there or someone that is truly blazing a new path?
Yes and yes. Everyone should take full advantage of all marketing possibilities. Some don’t want to face the learning curve and others aren’t interested at all. I think in both cases it would be wise of those agents to hire someone to do their Internet marketing for them – it is so important.
16. Do you think people are reading your blog? What about your web site? Can you tell me some examples of when you absolutely “know” they read something that Jenn wrote online without even saying so?
I guess I know they are reading either site by checking my web stats every night. I also make sure each of my listing websites are getting good traffic too! If the property’s website isn’t getting any hits and there haven’t been any or just a few showings then I know it’s time to adjust the price.
17. If someone out there reads this interview here on Technically Speaking, and they actually close a deal with you, would you be willing to give them a discount of sorts by mentioning they read your interview here? Would you or do you give out discounts to people if they say they found you online in your blog or web site?
I don’t know what kind of traffic your blog gets, but I will say this:
I do business totally different than any other agent in the industry. If you have a property to sell, please contact me directly and I’d be happy to show you how I do business.
18. Have you set up your web site or blog yet to be always on or always connected as in to text message you on your cell phone, work phone or notify you in some way? Are you planning too set this up if you haven’t done so yet?
I am not clear on the question. Do you mean if someone comments on one of my blog posts? Then I am notified by e-mail which goes to my Treo. Other than that, I don’t make people “register” to view any part of my website. I don’t have a client capture system where I can hunt people down that have looked at my site. If someone discovers my site or blog and they want to do business with me, then they generally just send me an e-mail requesting more information. All of the information on my web site and my blog is hassle-free for viewers.
19. Crystal ball time! Where do you see yourself, your web site and blog in 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years into the future?
Myself – in 1 year closing 40 deals per year, 3 years 60 and possibly in 5 year over 80 deals per year closed!
My web site – changing and growing with the needs of my clients.
My blog – hopefully still going strong. I’d like to see more interaction. More comments on my posts and more questions from viewers.
20. Lastly I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for my blog – Technically Speaking, and I hope my readers are a little more informed on who Jenn Kexel is. My first impression has been someone who I see as having her finger on the pulse of possibilities. Those possibilities being the maximizing of the potential of the real estate business and the internet. Jenn, do you have any final thoughts to share with the readers?
If you are thinking of buying or selling property now or in the near future, do your research. The market is not scary right now. It may be scary 60 days from now and in the future, but right now is a great time to sell and an even better time to buy. Ask questions. Be prepared for answers that you need to hear, but not always what you want to hear.
Thanks for the questions Rex! This was fun!