Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The 5 "W's" of Personal Lines Insurability


This month’s W : “WHO”

Many people take for granted or just don’t know how their personal insurance works. It is vitally important to know the basics of insurance as a consumer. Of course, your agent should be your resource for more detailed or complicated knowledge on insurance. It might be beneficial to look at the 5 W’s of insurance to gain an understanding of the basics of how your homeowners and auto insurance works. This month we will take a look at the first W: “WHO”!

WHO is covered?

Let’s look at the definition of an “insured” according to the policy. Think of the “insured” as the customer.

The most obvious person that is covered is called the “named insured” or the person or persons that are actually listed on the declaration page of the policy. In the case of married couples, sometimes the “named insured” is the husband, sometimes it is the wife, and sometimes both names are listed. It is important to note that while coverage is extended to a spouse that is not specifically named, only the named insured can file a claim, change the policy, cancel the policy, and is the person responsible for payment of the premium. Note that in order to be a named insured on a policy, you must have an insurable interest in the property. This is why your mortgagee must be named on the declaration page of your policy.

However, unlike commercial insurance, the “insured” on a homeowners policy may include more than just the “named insured” (listed on the dec page). Also included in the category of “insured” is any relative that “resides” with the person listed on the dec page. Most courts consider unmarried college students to be “residents” of their parents’ household, as long as they resided in the parents’ home prior to going to college, attend school full time, and are under the age of 24. Also included in the definition of “insured” are foster children and foreign exchange students under the age of 21 in the named insured’s care who live with the named insured.

In the homeowners policy, there is also some liability-only protection for others: anyone with custody of an insured’s watercraft or animals, insured’s employees or relatives using a covered vehicle, and other people using a covered vehicle on an insured location

In the case of an auto policy, you have coverage for the named insured as well as residents of your household related to you by blood, marriage or adoption. Also included are foster children who reside in your household and your spouse even when not a resident of your household (such as during a period of separate in contemplation of divorce). You are covered to drive ANY vehicle, not just those listed in the policy. There is also coverage given for ANY person driving “your covered auto”, or the auto listed in the declaration page of the policy with your permission.

Next month we will look at the next “W” in our series: “WHAT”!

Thank you for supporting Judge Fite Insurance Agency. We are here to serve you and your clients with superior knowledge and customer service. Our goal is for all of our clients to be properly covered and properly serviced. Also, remember that when you support the core services of Judge Fite Company, you are investing in the tools and technology to help you sell more homes. Please call us today for insurance information or advice at 214-446-2571 or


Eric Fite, VP Judge Fite Insurance

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Homebuyer's Survey Results 2010

CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, the #1 Century 21 Franchise in Texas, announced the results of the First-Time Home Buyers and Sellers Survey recently conducted by Century 21 Real Estate, LLC, which captured and compared the opinions of prospective home buyers and sellers who either purchased or sold their first home within the past year or are planning to buy or sell their first home within the next year.

More than 80 percent of first-time homebuyers and sellers feel the current housing market is more affordable today than this time last year, despite the fact that 40 percent of all respondents are more worried about the economy compared to this time last year.

While the attractive combination of home prices, mortgage rates and tax credits appeal to both buyers and sellers, market conditions continue to favor buyers. However, first-time homebuyers anticipate home prices will soon begin to rise and in fact, about half of first-time buyers (48 percent) expect an increase by this time next year, thereby reestablishing the balance between buyers and sellers.

“Today’s market presents a generational opportunity for home buyers and current home owners looking to leverage their market position,” said Rick Davidson, president and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “If you are considering buying or selling a home, talk to a real estate professional who can help you to navigate the specifics of your local market.”

Sixty (60) percent of first-time home buyers do not feel they have a good handle on the real estate process. Given the complexity and opportunity of today’s real estate market, 85 percent of both first-time buyers and sellers feel that using a real estate professional is important. The top three skills valued in realtors by both buyers and sellers are knowledge of the area, trustworthiness and responsiveness.

“Buying a home, while an emotional process, is the single greatest financial decision that most people will make in their lifetime,” counsels Davidson. “By providing real-time, ‘feet on the street’ local market intelligence, CENTURY 21 agents take the guesswork out of the process and provide the expertise necessary to help home buyers and sellers make smart decisions.”

The majority of the CENTURY 21 survey respondents have moved or intend to move more than 10 miles but less than 50 miles from their previous location, indicating current market conditions may be a catalyst for buying or selling homes, as opposed to a desire to dramatically change geographic location or relocate for a job.

Home Price Effects on First-Time Buyers and Sellers

  • More than 80 percent of buyers believe now is a good time to buy a home.
  • First-time home buyers rated the three most influential factors in their decision to enter the market and buy a home as current housing prices (66 percent), followed closely by both the home buyer tax credit (63 percent) and low interest rates (60 percent).
  • Finding a home within a buyer’s price range is extremely important (95 percent), as is a neighborhood’s safety (90 percent).
  • The top two factors influencing the first-timers’ decision to sell their homes were personal/family reasons and current housing prices – both of which were cited as motivating factors by 48 percent of first-time sellers.
  • Most likely due to their experience, approximately half of first-time sellers (54 percent) think home prices are more affordable now than compared to this time last year.
  • In fact, the current home prices have influenced 50 percent of sellers to “move up” and 37 percent to change neighborhoods.
  • Sellers are mainly concerned about losing money on the sale of their home and receiving offers near their asking price.
  • Approximately half of all first-time home buyers (48 percent) and sellers (53 percent) anticipate housing prices will increase over the next year.

Low Mortgage Rates But How Accessible Are They?

  • The majority of first-time buyers (79 percent) and sellers (86 percent) believe mortgage rates are either somewhat or very affordable right now. Again, due to their experience, sellers are more likely than buyers to find the current rates very affordable (35 percent of sellers vs. 21 percent of buyers).
  • The low interest rates have influenced 46 percent of owners to sell their home for “move up” reasons and another 43 percent to change neighborhoods.
  • Most respondents feel that getting a mortgage today is either somewhat difficult or very difficult (87 percent of first-time buyers and 82 percent of first-time sellers). Because many may be going through the process currently, buyers were significantly more likely than sellers to find the process very difficult vs. not difficult at all.

Tax Credit Awareness and Eligibility

  • Eighty-four (84) percent of first-time buyers are aware of the first-time home buyer tax credit and 64 percent of those who state they are in the market for their first home say they qualify for this credit.
  • On the first-time seller side, an equal 84 percent are aware of the move-up/repeat home buyer tax credit yet only 33 percent say they qualify for this credit.


MarketTools, Inc. conducted a quantitative survey on behalf of Century 21 Real Estate LLC with 708 prospective home buyers and sellers who either purchased or sold their first home within the past year or are planning to buy or sell their first home within the next year. The quantitative study yielded results from 353 first-time home buyers and 355 first-time home sellers in the form of an online survey fielded from March 12 to 16. The margin of error for this study is 3.7 percent.

About CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company:

Located at 1140 Empire Central, Suite 520 in Dallas and in 21 other convenient locations across the Metroplex, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company is a full service brokerage specializing in residential, commercial, recreational, investment and luxury properties. CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company celebrates over 70 years of real estate service and has been named one of the “Best” Companies to work for in the state by Texas Monthly Magazine. To learn more about CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, log on to To contact a real estate professional call 800-451-8055.

About Century 21 Real Estate LLC:
Century 21 Real Estate LLC ( is the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization, providing comprehensive training, management, administrative and marketing support for the CENTURY 21 System. The System is comprised of more than 7,700 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices and 117,000 sales associates in 67 countries and territories worldwide. Century 21 Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Saleability – what makes a home sell?

The risks that I see in this subject are the WHAT IFs.

  • What if the house doesn’t sell?
  • What if the Seller doesn’t choose me?
  • What if they won’t do the repairs needed?
  • What if no one will look at it?
  • What if we can’t overcome the next door neighbor?
  • What if I can’t make my house payment this month?

Let’s see, the client has not been served and will be unhappy so no more future business in referrals. Neither Seller, nor I, end up with any money, so how do I make my own car payment? Only hindrance to my unsullied reputation!!

We MUST make these properties SALEABLE! You know the routine: condition, price, market trend, competition. How do we WIN in every situation? ATTITUDE, SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE. We have to know what is going on in the market place that is the Metroplex, but it is also much more specifically the neighborhood. What else is on the market? How many homes in the same basic age and size, within the subdivision as well as within the city or suburb? Then we move on to condition. How does this house compare to the 10 others in the same subdivision listed for approximately the same price? Which ones will sell before this one if the Seller doesn’t listen to you? I think we need to learn to prove our case, like a lawyer, beyond a reasonable doubt, that WE ARE THE BEST AGENT, COMPANY, BRAND to sell their home for them at the best price with the fewest problems and in the least amount of time.

I repeat that SALEABILITY depends on ATTITUDE, SKILL and KNOWLEDGE—those traits are all controlled by YOU. Never stop practicing. Never stop learning. Never let your attitude fall below a 10 for more than 20 minutes.


Jan Fite Miller, EVP



MARKETING 411: Creating your own saleability

7 ways to create my own saleability or demand

One thing is for certain in today’s business climate, when there is no demand for your services, there is no business. Creating the need then becomes one of the primary focuses for any real estate agent looking for a new listing or buyer, or a loan officer needing to close a refi or mortgage deal. You simply must have a steady influx of leads and prospects. In the old days we were taught that you had to make X number of calls to have X number of appointments to make X number of dollars. Somewhat true today. But thank goodness we now have access to other methods than the telephone and are connected to the entire world through the web and social networking – our sphere has just been enlarged!

Creating a demand for your services requires a steady, clear, concise and consistent marketing plan. People are just not going to wake up one morning with the desire to call you to buy a home. There has to be a need first. Then they have to know about you, and maybe then, they will call you. Here are a few tried and true marketing pointers that if implemented and carried out will help create a demand for your services and keep your phone ringing for business…

1. Know your product(s). Your product is real estate. How can you market yourself if you don’t know what you are selling? What are the key selling points of your farm area, community, or types of homes you are selling? What competitive advantage do you offer that is superior to your competitor’s? Tell “them” something about it. Educate!

2. Target your market. What market are you going after? Who is your customer? Decide SPECIFICALLY who your target audience is, what they look like, how much money they make, where they live, what car they drive, etc. Once you know your audience then you are ready to proceed to the next step.

3. Create your database. Now that you know your product and “who” your market is, how are you going to get your message to them? Build a database of the individuals/businesses that you intend to market to. Have on-hand and access to their names, contact information. Keep this info updated and accurate. Add to it daily.

4. Create your message. Now, what are you going to say? What message are you going to give them? Who are YOU? Get organized with your marketing materials. Create a professional “identity” that will be carried across all marketing lines. Tailor your message to you, your company, and your audience.

5. Establish your budget. Not just your financial budget, but also your time budget and imagination budget. How much money can you spend and how much time can you allocate to your marketing and how much imagination do you have to put into it? Decide, create, implement and stick to it.

6. Market consistently. Go for it! Carry out your marketing plan religiously, and passionately. Don’t expect a return right away. Look at it like you are teaching a class to a remote audience, a passing parade. Keep sending out your message, educating your markets on the importance of your services and creating a demand for what you do. This is how you become “visible” in your market.

7. Diversify! If you are not diversifying your marketing, you are missing business. Don’t get stuck in one form of advertising or marketing. Hit them all!

· Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Bebo, and other social networking sites

· Your website

· Blogging

· Direct Mail

· Telephone

· Email

· One-on-one

· Sponsorships

· Industry Associations

· Presentations

· Seminars

· Master Mind calls

Marketing yourself and creating a demand for your services requires a commitment. Recognize that your goal in marketing is to simply tell people what you are doing in your business. Your growth will be in direct association with your commitment and focus on aggressive marketing strategies.

Happy Selling!

Sandy Wright, Director of Marketing


For more on real estate marketing visit the

Monday, April 19, 2010


Real Estate 411: Saleability means SOLD in Commercial

In Commercial we are just as concerned as you are in “getting your house ready to sell” to make sure our commercial properties are “ready to sell”.

We are still very much in a “Buyer’s” market in Commercial and it is our responsibility as agents for our clients to make sure their properties are “ready to sell” in order to maximize the price that they can achieve for the property.

Curb appeal is just as important in selling a Commercial property as it is in selling a house. We try to make sure that all properties that we have listed to sell have landscaping carefully manicured, the buildings painted if need be, and make sure the parking lots are picked up with no trash blowing around the grounds. While emotion does not play as big a part in the purchase of a commercial property, the initial reaction to a property that is well maintained certainly is a plus.

A successful sale requires that we concentrate on six considerations (yes the same six as residential):

1. The listing price – The values of most commercial properties are not what they were 2 – 3 years ago. So while the Seller’s may want to “achieve” the price their property was once worth, it is our job to help list the property at a current market price – other wise it will be more difficult to sell the property.

2. The terms of the sale – we have found that many of our clients are more flexible now on how they will sell a property. Some will take back seller financing. Others will give more feasibility time and/or closing time. We try to approach each one with creative ideas that fit their situation best.

3. Condition of the Property – going back to what I mentioned earlier, if the property appears to be well maintained vs. the opposite, the buyers will not worry as much about “hidden” items that have not been taken care of by the current owner.

4. Location of the property – while it may not be as important as a home buyer “wanting to be only in a certain neighborhood”, some buyers do prefer to be in “certain” parts of the Metroplex for a number of reasons.

5. Accessibility – very important factor in selling a commercial property. If access into and out of a shopping center is not good, then it will definitely make it more difficult to sell the property because it is probably harder to keep tenants – if customers have trouble getting in and out of the property.

6. Marketing exposure – We are able to give all of our commercial properties exposure through a large number of commercial listings services and email systems that allow us to constantly keep it in front of other brokers in the Metroplex.

Please keep your Commercial Department in mind for your Commercial referrals. They can come from a number of sources that you may deal with daily. Neighbors, church members, family members, anyone that you know that owns a business. We work in all areas of Commercial and will work all of your referrals to the best of our ability.

Thank you for all of the referrals some of you are already giving us. We enjoy giving you the “referral” check when we complete the transaction and we have had an increasing number of those this year.

Call me with any questions you might have and let us know how we can help you with your commercial referrals.

Larry Harbour, Manager, Commercial Division