Real Estate Agent Man: The Podcast
Secrets of Florida Real Estate That Should Not Be Secrets
Season 1 Episode 1 ( For the hearing impaired: Transcription below by artificial intelligence software - errors are inevitable)
Your host and Florida Realtor, Steve Martin Smith, interviews first time home buyers who recently purchased a move in ready home in Sarasota County for $220,000 with less than $2,000.00 total cash out of pocket. No extra expenses. This couple is living proof that we know how to use the USDA loan program to make this happen.
Steve Martin Smith 0:03
You are tuned in to the Real Estate Agent Man Podcast, coming to you from Sarasota County, Florida. Our special guests today are first time homebuyers, Jordan and Alysha Gray.
Yes, it's true. They are the Grays in a black and white world.
Listen, I'm meant for podcasts. I'm meant for the stage, period. So let's go.
Steve Martin Smith 0:35
Okay, she's ready. I'm sitting here with two of the youngest first time homebuyers that we've had the privilege of helping into a home. Jordan and Alysha, how does it feel to be the very first guests on the Real Estate Agent Man Podcast?
It feels really exciting.
It's great. Thanks, Steve.
Steve Martin Smith 0:53
Oh, you're welcome. Good answers. Good answers. So, did you enjoy the pizza tonight?
It was great, and I had salad, and two cookies.
Ten out of ten would eat again.
Steve Martin Smith 1:05
Where did the pizza come from?
Steve Martin Smith 1:07
We're going to do a plug for them since they are a small business.
It's probably the best pizza you can get.
Steve Martin Smith 1:13
It probably is. There you go and they're putting up a Little Caesars right next to it. So my plan for the future is to tell people okay, go to Little Caesars at Tamiami Trail and Jacaranda, look to the left, and walk in that door.
I like it. Great directions.
Steve Martin Smith 1:30
There you go.
So tell me, how does it feel to be homeowners?
It's really exciting. At first, it was a little scary, because there's a lot of projects, but once you get in there, it's fun to look forward to the weekends when you can do the projects.
Steve Martin Smith 1:46
I'll tell you what, it's been great. Steve, it's just been really cool launching this new part of our lives. You know, you don't realize all the things you need to get a house. I didn't realize ladders cost so much.
Yeah, we were at - where were we, Lowe's? A two step ladder was, I think, $60?
They're going for about $35 a step these days.
Steve Martin Smith 2:15
So do you miss renting or living with family members?
God, no. Never.
I would say absolutely not and nothing beats having your own space.
Steve Martin Smith 2:27
That’s how we feel about it.
Now I don't have to worry about where I'm going next year. I don't have to pack and look for places, which is great.
Steve Martin Smith 2:36
Right? That's what happens when you rent, you have no idea if you're going to be able to stay in the same place.
Or if you need to find a random roommate on Facebook that has a rabbit that's evil and growls at you. You never know.
Steve Martin Smith 2:48
This sounds like a personal experience. I'm gonna move on to the other question I had here. Are you having fun making the house your own?
Well, absolutely. Steve, we're having a great time doing that. I mean, me personally, I'm a gearhead. I've got my garage set up now, new lighting, got my tools involved. It's like I said, you just can't beat having your own space to make your own.
We're trying to do room by room because it does, it gets a little overwhelming sometimes. We've got the living room done and our home theater in our bedroom, which is nice.
Steve Martin Smith 3:19
Have you been having a lot of company?
I had a girls' night, and we played games. That was fun.
Steve Martin Smith 3:25
What were you doing during that girls' night Jordan?
I was probably in my boat that I can finally park in my own yard now.
Steve Martin Smith 3:31
Bonus. Yeah, bonus. Well, in order to help our listeners learn from your experiences, we need to understand your journey a little bit. Are you okay with that?
Steve Martin Smith 3:46
When we first met, you two were engaged. Tell us about where you were living and what your plans were for after your wedding regarding where you were going to live.
You want to start?
Well, I lived with a friend of mine. You know, just rented a tiny room in a house. It wasn't much my own - had to ask to use the kitchen.
Steve Martin Smith 4:09
I was living with the Facebook friend. Yeah, I was living with her. She was a really nice lady. But I definitely felt trapped in my room. My plans were to get married. I wanted to move out before we got married because I just wanted my own space. That didn't happen because you know, my mom would kill me.
Steve Martin Smith 4:35
So you chose life.
I chose life. I did, I chose life. We didn't really have a solid plan. But my sister bought a house with Steve and Katrina, and that's when we got to move in with them.
Steve Martin Smith 4:51
Yes, I do remember that, but this is something else I remember.
Steve Martin Smith 4:55
When I was showing your sister and Tyler houses, there was one day that you two came along. We ended up at a vacant house. We ended up just sitting down on the floor and just talking for a while when you guys were talking about the fact you were going to get married. And at that time, it was my impression that you thought that as soon as you guys got married, you could buy a house.
Steve Martin Smith 5:17
So how did you come to the realization that you weren't actually ready to do that?
Ooh, that's a good question.
It all comes down to dollars and cents Steve.
Well, I definitely gotta say I was, I was a little bit more of the pushy one, let's just go do it. Then Jordan put a little voice in my head, like, you know, we don't have the money right now. So we should probably really plan it out, because it's a big purchase. Thank God he did, because I would have learned the hard way.
You gotta be prepared. That's all.
Steve Martin Smith 5:54
If you can remember back this far, what did you think when I told you that I could possibly put you into a house with less than $2,000, using a USDA mortgage and my negotiating skills? Did you think I was crazy? Because nobody can buy a house for $2,000? Or did you actually like right from the beginning think, wow, this is great. I mean, where were you in that?
Well, I definitely thought, wow, that's great. But I don't know if I believed you necessarily.
I would say I was more excited than anything. I mean, obviously, when you see the confidence that you work with, but didn't make it too hard to understand. Yeah, I learned pretty quickly.
Steve Martin Smith 6:35
Well, and I understand that people in general don't believe they could possibly buy a house with, like, $2,000 out of pocket. I'm wondering, did you guys ever do the math at the end, and figure out exactly what your out of pocket costs were on this purchase you just made?
Um, negative $2,000.
It was about $1,700.
Just kidding. It was about $1,700. I didn't do the math, clearly.
Steve Martin Smith 7:05
So in this relationship, the math goes to Jordan?
Yeah, I would say so.
We just had the basic stuff, surveys, appraisals, those kind of things really became all that was out of pocket.
Steve Martin Smith 7:20
And so that was the $1,700 you're talking about?
Steve Martin Smith 7:23
For the person listening, who is like, oh, this sounds like a late night infomercial for selling houses: not everybody qualifies for this type of mortgage, the USDA, but many people do. I've been able to put several people into these homes, and for legitimately less than 2,000. Now, it's not just the USDA, there are still the closing costs that you have to deal with. I have to negotiate that into the deal in order to make that happen, and not everybody's willing to do that.
Right, that was definitely a major hinge on our deal, and it was something that made it possible. Don't get me wrong, we saved up, we tried to be prepared, but that small detail made it so possible for this to happen. There wasn't any question. We weren't worried about numbers, what Steve was able to negotiate that in for us, it made it possible with lots of wiggle room. We had money to spare, it just wasn't much to worry about at that point. That's all I can say.
Steve Martin Smith 8:26
Even if you do have thousands left in the bank afterwards, that's not a bad thing. Right?
That's a fantastic thing.
That gets you prepared for when you have the bills coming in.
Steve Martin Smith 8:37
Maybe you move in and you find out that there was something wrong with the house that you didn't know about. Like for us, when we bought the house that we're in right now, we weren't in here a month, and all of a sudden the shower's leaking into the closet.
Steve Martin Smith 8:49
Okay. We didn't expect that. If that can happen to a realtor, it can happen to anybody.
Right, if you can keep that money in your pocket, it really does leave you more prepared. You can go to sleep at night and not worry too much about the next day.
Steve Martin Smith 9:05
I feel like this is going well. How about you?
I do too. Yeah.
Steve Martin Smith 9:09
Oh, here's one for Alysha.
Alicia, in the review you gave us on Google, you said, quote, I'm quoting you, "Buying a house is scary, and honestly the only way to really know what you're doing is to buy a ton of houses or just work with Katrina and Steve". Now I love that for several reasons. One is because acknowledging that buying a house is scary - is important.
Yeah, it is a big purchase.
Steve Martin Smith 9:37
You can read all kinds of articles about the top stressors in life and buying or selling a house is in there.
We definitely have to agree with you Steve. I mean, I eat nails for breakfast and I was very scared.
Steve Martin Smith 9:52
What kind of nails? Sugar coated, or just raw nails?
The gummy ones.
Steve Martin Smith 9:56
Gummy nails - nice. So, can you kind of tell the listening audience what some of the scary things are, or just why you feel like it's a scary process?
I think the scary part about it is there are so many things that you have to have online. And there are a lot of people within buying a house. If you don't know what you're doing, you don't have somebody knowing what they're doing, it can get very tangled and very messy. If you have somebody who knows who to call, when to call, where to call, it puts it together. Like the manager: He's in charge. He knows who to talk to.
Steve Martin Smith 10:39
Like I'm the project manager of house buying.
Steve Martin Smith 10:43
Take a guess at what the average age of a first time homebuyer is.
Ooh. . .
Steve Martin Smith 10:49
in fact, think of your number separately.
Steve Martin Smith 10:52
And then I'm going to just want you to be honest, and tell me - We'll go ladies first, and don't change your answer, Jordan. Okay. So Alicia, what do you think - First time homebuyers, what is the average age for that?
Steve Martin Smith 11:04
I was thinking 32.
Steve Martin Smith 11:09
Could you read my screen, Jordan? Because it's 32. It is 32 so I looked up at the National Association. The National Association of Realtors, for 2018 anyway, said that the average age of first time homebuyers was 32. So you two are like way below average or above average? How would you word that - before average your way, before average?
Steve Martin Smith 11:33
So Alicia, how old are you?
I am 22.
Steve Martin Smith 11:36
Steve Martin Smith 11:38
So you are the
Steve Martin Smith 11:41
Yeah. You're the old one of the bunch. But that's good. Yeah, Katrina and I are four years apart. You know, when you were 16? And she was 12. That was kind of creepy, but it works for you guys now.
Now it does. Yeah.
Steve Martin Smith 11:55
You guys, you really beat the odds.
Steve Martin Smith 11:57
So that means, especially you Alysha being 22, it's 10 years before average. You have this next 10 years that you are not going to be throwing money away renting, you are investing in Florida real estate, even though it's your home, you are making an investment, that should pay off extremely well for you. As long as you do the right things to your house, and you stay there long enough to recoup those costs.
You mean, I shouldn't paint my house like a bright pink or do like camouflage?
Steve Martin Smith 12:30
Well, okay, let's talk about that. If you were to paint the front of your house, some very, very unique color that most other people wouldn't want, it could hinder what your neighbor's houses sell for because they don't want to live next to you.
Steve Martin Smith 12:44
That does hurt your future sale price. You just hit on another topic that I wasn't even planning on going with in this conversation, but it's a very good one. The most important thing that a new homeowner can do for their own investment is not worry about the inside right away, but to make sure the outside looks good.
Oh, I didn't think about that.
Steve Martin Smith 13:07
Every single house that sells in your neighborhood is going to be based on what new people looking at buying in your neighborhood think of your neighborhood.
Steve Martin Smith 13:19
So the better your neighborhood looks, which is why I went over there and edged your overgrown lawn, the day after you bought your house,
Steve Martin Smith 13:26
You're welcome. It is very important for your future sale, because - they call them comparables or comps, the comps build off each other month after month after year after year after decade after decade. You want to keep that in mind. Although you don't have control over what your neighbors do, if you happen to have neighbors that kind of let their place go, you don't have any control over that, but you keep yours up the best that you can. It doesn't have to be amazing and have gold plated sidewalks. It just has to be neat, and clean, and cute. The more that you can stay consistent with that over time, besides the fact that you're doing your job at your house, you're inspiring your neighbors.
Yeah and I'm keeping my plants alive, which is a new thing for me.
We're proud of you.
Steve Martin Smith 14:20
Keep those plants alive. That's awesome. So take that away from this conversation as the most recent thing you've learned from me about keeping up the value of your house, it's always more important for the value of your house to have the outside looking right as opposed to the inside; the inside can be a mess until the day you sell it. A lot of people actually don't even get their house completely in order until they're ready to sell it. You guys aren't doing that, obviously, you're doing work both inside and out, and your house is really coming along nicely. To follow the amazing Candace Owens formula for ending a podcast, I will give you two minutes to tell the listening audience anything you would like to share with them about buying or owning a home.
As a first time home buyer, I think one of the main things I would say is to be patient, but be persistent, and patience is important. You want to make sure that, like Alicia said, that you're picky. You want to make sure that the house you're looking at is a house you could live in for a long time. It's a big investment. It's not a small amount of money. I mean, it's a large life choice. The main thing to remember is, you know, don't jump into anything, don't just take what might fit the bill, but wait, be patient, find what you're looking for, but also, don't wait forever. The world we live in today, there's a lot of options and outlets out there for first time homebuyers, different types of loans, different allowances, different things that have been made available to people like ourselves, to get out there and just get a piece of Florida real estate. I think one of the main things Steve has told me that made a lot of sense was you just got to get out there and get in the game. Sometimes it might feel like you might be saving for ten years before you'll ever have that money you need for that downpayment, but that doesn't mean you can't start looking in different outlets, find out different opportunities that are available, to make something happen. So that's about it. Just don't be nervous, or scared that it's not possible - explore your options, because they're out there.
Steve Martin Smith 16:23
That is excellent. Yeah. I'm going to ask this question, because you actually inspired me. As you're doing all that, where on that process should you start building a relationship with a REALTOR?
I would say start early, whether you think you're totally ready or not, you know, they'll be able to tell you, I mean, there's questions to be asked. Sometimes you do need to wait and be patient and find those extra steps you need to take, get everything in line, but you know, sometimes you're ready before you even know it.
Steve Martin Smith 16:54
I think that's where it was with you. You were actually more ready than you knew. Well, thank you guys. I really appreciate you sitting here today and having this conversation with me.
You're welcome. Thanks, Steve.
Thanks for your time, Steve. and thanks for helping us buy our new home!
Steve Martin Smith 17:08
Oh that's beautiful - thank you, goodnight!
Steve Martin and The Smiths 17:13
Real Estate Agent Man, Real Estate Agent Man, Write down his cell phone number and do not forget his name. 941-894-9800
Steve Martin Smith.com. Steve Martin Smith is a licensed Florida Realtor with REMAX Platinum Realty and Steve Martin Homes Group.
Steve Martin Smith has sold more Sarasota County homes than 99% of the area’s REALTORS from January 2015 through August 2020. Selling $1,000,000+ estates from Panther Ridge in Manatee County to condos in Punta Gorda, he is truly a tri-county REALTOR. Originally from the Detroit area, Steve discovered Sarasota County in 1983 and then moved his young family here in 1998. In his life before real estate, Steve worked corporate business management positions for 25 years while simultaneously volunteering in youth and family ministry roles with his wife Katrina. Today, along with their adult children, they enjoy helping families to realize their goals and dreams. Steve also fancies himself a song writer and plays guitar whenever he gets the chance.
*as recorded by Stellar MLS for the period of 1/1/2015 through 8/19/2020