Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Agent?

Something people ask me all the time is whether I think they should consider a career in real estate. Whether I’m out with my family, playing basketball, or at the gas station, people approach me to ask what it’s like to be in real estate.

The decision to begin a career in real estate depends on a few factors. If you’re thinking about sales, for example, it’s going to be very important that you’re someone with an outgoing personality.

In this line of work, you must be comfortable with talking to people, you must be okay with a fluctuating income, and you need to be just a little bit competitive.

Real estate agents don’t typically make a salary. How much money you’ll make depends on the number of homes you help people buy or sell.

Thankfully, real estate professionals provide a service that is always in demand. People need a home; it’s not like our job is similar to a door-to-door salesperson peddling items you may or may not need.

Nevertheless, it takes an outgoing personality to sell homes.

It takes an outgoing personality to sell homes.

If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry. There are a few different options for people who are interested in real estate but aren’t necessarily the extroverted type. This includes operations positions, transactions positions, and administrative positions.

But before you can consider what exactly you’ll do in a real estate career, you should get licensed. When you have a real estate license, your number of available options will increase; therefore, you’ll be more likely to find a path that suits you.

Personally, my team and I recommend Bob Hogue School or Burt Cook, but there are many schools out there that can help you get your license either in person or online.

Also, remember to have six months of savings built up. Real estate doesn’t typically offer salary, so it’s a good idea to have a nest egg to fall back on during periods of fluctuating income.

Talking to several different real estate agents and companies can also be a good place to start. Different companies will be better suited to different people, so seeing several different environments and getting several different opinions can all be helpful in making a decision.

Also, though I might be biased, I would encourage you to check out my own team at There, you can register for our career nights as well as get information about what we do and why we’re such a great fit for new agents.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Win a Signed Stamkos Jersey & How to Handle Pre-Listing Offers

We at the Duncan Duo are proud to announce that out of over 110,000 RE/MAX real estate agents, we’ve been named No.1 in the country. This is a great honor that we couldn’t have done without our partners, providers, and you—the customers.

But, today what I’d really like to talk about is what to do if you get an offer on your house before it’s even on the market.

As crazy as this sounds, it can happen. If you’ve listed your home for sale with a broker and the broker has a database of buyers or they’ve done some sort of pre-marketing on your home, this can create pent-up demand.

This is something we, personally, do for our clients. We pre-market using Zillow and also by reaching out to our database. The reason behind this is that when a home garners pent-up demand it will be in a stronger position once it does hit the market.

In cases like these, the energy and demand for a home shows up immediately. So, what should you do if your home gets an offer before it’s on the market?

Simply put, you should do what you think is best. Accepting an offer is always the seller’s choice. You can listen to advice from your broker, attorney, and even your friends. But the decision is ultimately up to you.

This kind of situation may not be right for everyone, but there could potentially be a circumstance where a buyer is willing to pay a premium because they want to avoid your home being shown to anyone else.

When a home garners pent-up demand it will be in a stronger position once it does hit the market.

Someone giving you an offer before your home is on the market could also lead to a quick and painless cash sale, which would allow you to move on and not deal with the stress and inconvenience of listing your home.

What to do in this situation largely depends on your financial situation. Weigh the offers when deciding what to do to come to the best decision.

It’s no secret that top agents like us at the Duncan Duo know how to generate this kind of early attention and energy around a house. Your choice is what to do next.

A lot of the time, it can actually be beneficial to put the home on the market because it generates competition around the terms and price.

This is why making a decision about when to accept an offer should be based on your unique needs. Every circumstance is different. There are even programs out there, like the one we have at our company, that will buy your home instantly.

We offer these kind of solutions because we want you to be covered and to be able to make the best real estate decision possible.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

What Is Happening in Sarasota's Market?

Recently I sat down with Michael Barbino, the leader of our Sarasota office, to talk about what’s going on in our local market right now.

The Sarasota market is still a seller’s market, however, the inventory problem isn’t quite as low as it is in Tampa. Although Sarasota has less than six months of inventory, it does have more than double the inventory in Tampa.

But, demand varies between price points. Michael told me about a listing he had under $200,000 that gained multiple offers within just a day. Even with slightly higher inventory, we’re still seeing bidding wars.

Snowbirds have left, which has contributed to the raised inventory, but families right now are still looking for homes before their kids go back to school.

However, despite some of the changes associated with the summer market, we are continuing to see prices rise. Manatee, for example, is at $299,000 compared to the $270,000 it was at 18 months ago.

Sarasota is still definitely a seller’s market.

Within that same time frame, Sarasota’s prices have gone from $200,000 to $260,000. In Sarasota especially, new construction has been driving a lot of home sales. In fact, Lakewood Ranch is the third busiest in the nation.

Additionally, if you want to see these stats yourself, you can find them here.

Overall, we’re seeing a very healthy market. One great thing in particular is that we’re seeing more and more financed transactions than we have in past years. With Fannie Mae having changed the DTI especially, the market is definitely solid.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

How Can You Reignite Your Home Sale?

What can you as a seller do if your home isn’t selling or getting any activity?

We’re in a really hot market right now with a lot of showings, offers, and bidding war situations in multiple price points. What’s happened over the last few years is the number of showings that happen to a house before an offer had reduced dramatically.

Why is this? The Internet. People would rather use their smartphones, tablets, and other similar technology to learn all the information they possibly can about a home rather than see it in person.

So, sometimes when your home isn’t getting any showings, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is when you must ask your agent, “What does the traffic look like online?” Nowadays, if your online photos and videos are done right, they basically act as showings. The actual showings are simply second showings where buyers validate information they’ve already learned online.

When you ask your agent what the traffic looks like online, they should be able to tell you the number of page views on some of the major portals like Zillow and Our company pays for the advanced version of those websites so we can give you more data and information. In many instances, we automate that data and information and sent it to you via email so you can track it from week to week. Remember, don’t just track showings—track activity. If you don’t know what that activity is, the top real estate agents—just like the ones at The Duncan Duo—know how to interpret that data and give you the right advice.

Don’t just track showings—track activity.

That advice can vary from situation to situation. You might need a price adjustment, more marketing, or an adjustment of your marketing strategy. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you’re not getting activity, you need to change your strategy. You might even have to hire a different agent if your contract allows you to.

Most of the time, though, price is the determining factor. I’m a firm believer that if you lower the price of your home, you’ll get more activity. You’ll generate more online activity, and it might be enough to nudge that buyer who’s been thinking about buying your house over the fence.

Your other options include staging. If you’re selling a vacant home, you might have to stage it to help buyers see the home’s potential. You should also consider changing your photos. If they were taken during dreary weather, they might need to be edited and brightened. Or you can just take new photos on a sunny day.

Last but not least, you need to make sure the agent you’re working with is utilizing every possible marketing avenue. You also need to trust that agent. It’s very likely they know more about real estate than you do. If they tell you something, trust their advice and know that experience is on their side.

If you have any questions on how to get more activity for your listing, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you.

How Offer Videos Set Buyers Apart in a Competitive Market

It was recently announced that we are the No. 1 RE/MAX agents in the country for the first time ever. Because of this honor, we are able to participate in mastermind groups with the country’s other top agents.

In these meetings, which are exclusive to those of us who have proven our performance to be the best, we’ve discovered some incredible new ideas that you won’t find elsewhere.

There are a number of issues people run into when it comes to finding a home. Luckily, whether you’re struggling to get a contract approved by a seller, you’re in the middle of a bidding war, or you’ve found yourself in a multiple offer situation, we’ve got a unique tip that will help.

You may have heard us talk before about offer letters, which are written to help buyers appeal to a seller’s sense of emotion and, hopefully, win against the other offers.

This technique only worked because it was out of the norm. Sellers weren’t expecting letters written personally by buyers; but, today, sellers and agents alike have become somewhat numb to the concept, as offer letters have become extremely common. 

A video is simply more memorable than a letter.

That being the case, we’ve got a new way for you to reach out and connect with sellers: an offer video.

Just like an offer letter, the video should help you build a relationship with the seller. You can do this is by mentioning connections or commonalities you have with them.

This could be anything from being a fan of the same sports team to having gone to the same college. Whatever it is, finding common ground will showcase your personality and make you stand out.

Especially in today’s competitive market, where certain areas and price ranges can see up to 15 offers on a home, it is critical that you set yourself apart as a buyer.

Another reason a video is so much more effective than the traditional letter offer is that, sometimes, sellers choose the buyer not because they have given the highest offer, but because they seemed like the best fit for the home.

A video is simply more memorable than a letter. By sharing your personality, your family, and your story through a video offer, you are certain to leave a lasting impression.

But, none of this will help if your agent doesn’t work with you to make sure that the viewing of your video is a contract contingency. This way, the seller is guaranteed to watch it.

This last step is so important because while 99% of real estate agents are great, ethical people, there are a small number who might simply gloss over telling their client about your video if you don’t put it in the contract.

If you’d like any more information or have any other questions for us, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to help you out and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Why Work With the Top RE/MAX Agents in the Country?

Today, I’m proud to announce that we are now the No. 1 RE/MAX agents in the entire country. 

There are well over 110,000 RE/MAX agents across the nation, and we are No. 1 for the first time ever. We are so excited to be honored with this distinction. Thank you to all of you who have blessed us with your business, to our partners, and to our vendors. 

Send us an email and let us know that you watched this video, and we’ll send you a special thank you gift as a way of celebrating. 

Why would we do that? This ranking benefits you, too. Many people think that rankings don’t really matter. However, part of why we got this distinction is the amount of business that we do. 

As a result, we have more resources, a larger marketing budget, and more relationships with RE/MAX agents across the world. Other agents can’t have these relationships simply because they don’t run in the same circles as other top agents around the world. 

When you work with us, you work with the best of the best.

When you sell a home with us, we market your property to those top agents. They have buyers in other parts of the world, and your home will get more exposure this way. 

We have an enormous marketing budget. We spend $1 million on marketing a year, which means there will be more eyes on your listings, more exposure for your home, and better tools to market your home. We implement things like 3-D walkthroughs, videos, and social media marketing to help sell your home for top dollar. 

We also leverage our relationship with the Tampa Bay Lightning and other partners to get more eyes on your listing. 

As a homebuyer, because of the amount of business that we do, our agents have more experience. We are able to learn quicker because we do more deals. It’s similar to the difference between an NBA player who plays one game a year and LeBron James, who plays 40 minutes a game 82 times a year. 

In other words, you’re working with the best of the best. When you work with our team, our experience gives you a better chance of success. 

You can also check out the incredible reviews on our website from our past customers. 

So, why does it matter that we are now the top RE/MAX team in the country? We produce better results, better service, and a better experience for you, whether you are buying or selling a home. 

Give us a call or send us an email if you have any questions about our local real estate market. We would be happy to help you!

See Our Latest Endorsement From Real Estate Guru Barbara Corcoran

Our team recently received an amazing endorsement from a master of real estate that I wanted to share with you.

Buying a Tampa Bay home? Get a full home search
 Selling your Tampa Bay home? Get a Home Price Evaluation

I'm proud to serve the Tampa real estate market and call it home. I'm also very proud to be the only agent in Tampa with the endorsement of Barbara Corcoran. You may have seen Barbara on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank," where she has invested her own money into more than 20 businesses and shepherded them to success.

Barbara is one of the most renowned names in all of real estate, which is why I'm proud to share her my latest TV commercial with you. Barbara is big believer in the the Duncan Duo Guaranteed Sale Program and I'm happy to have her on my side!

Won't you take 30 seconds and check out my latest TV commercial featuring Barbara Corcoran?

Thank you again for your time. If you have any questions at all about our Guaranteed Sale Program, please feel free to call or email me today!

How Our Core Values Shape Our Service

Why does working with a real estate agency that has a set of core values matter?

Working with a team that has core values like we do matters because they define how the company makes decisions, how they treat their customers and the public, and what’s important to them. 

Every company has a different set of core values, but today I want to share our core values, what they mean to us, and why they matter to you when determining whether to hire us to help you to buy or sell a home: 

Leader: We want to be a leader in the marketplace and a leader in the industry.

Energetic: We want salespeople and the operations staff that deal with our customers to enjoy what they’re doing, have energy, and to go about their day with a purpose.

Authentic: We’re not the same as every other real estate company. We do some unique things, and we like the fact that we’re authentic. 

Dynamic: It’s in our name, and it means ‘ever-changing.’ We adapt because we know the real estate market changes, and we’re a dynamic firm to help our customers, agents, and staff handle those changes in the marketplace.

We want to be a leader in the marketplace and a leader in the industry.

Family: At our company, our people are like family, and we pass that loyalty on to our customers.

Charitable: My wife and I started a foundation and our goal is to give over $100,000 to charity this year. We want to give back to a community that gives so much to us and help those in need.

Integrity: We want to have integrity in all things we do. We want to be upfront, honest, and put our customers first. 

Learning: We’re learning-based, and we always want to focus on learning—not just how to sell more homes, but how to service our customers and be better for our community. 

Winner: I’m a competitive person, and everybody wants to be a winner. On our team, we want to be the best for our customers.

Innovative: We use 3-D Matterport tours, drone technology, videos, and optimization for our listings for certain web portals. We want to innovate and come up with new ideas and techniques to serve our customers better. 

Accountable: We’re not afraid to accept responsibility when things don’t go well. Our people are accountable to results and doing a great job for our customers. 

We hope our customers follow these same core values. If we have a customer we feel doesn’t fit our core values, we’re not afraid to move on from them and let them work with someone else. 

In the video above, you can see that if you line each core value up along a certain letter, it spells out the words ‘lead,’ ‘fail,’ and ‘win.’ That’s not an accident. 

‘Lead’ is there because we want to lead the market. ‘Fail’ is there because we’re unafraid to fail. We want to push the envelope and push our customers, but sometimes things don’t go our way. 

We learn a lot from those failures, and by being unafraid of failure, we can help our customers better. 

‘Win’ is there because we want to win. We want to win listing appointments and contract negotiations. Winning to us is a way to position ourselves to achieve success for our customers. 

To see an image of our core values, visit the ‘About Us’ section of this website. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help. 

What Are Some Appraisal Challenges You Might Run Into?

One of the challenges of an improving real estate market is rising prices. When prices rise, the supply and demand curve supports those rising prices. As a result, appraisals often come in short, or lower than the purchase price. 

When that happens, the buyer usually has the option to cancel the contract. A renegotiation can also ensue where either the buyer or the seller comes up with the difference to move the sale along. 

To clarify, an appraisal is a form of protection for both buyers and the bank. For buyers, it’s to stop them from overpaying for a home. For banks, it’s to keep them from handing out a larger loan than necessary. If you make an offer on a home and it doesn’t appraise, you’re not obligated to move forward. 

One important thing to note about the appraisal process is there are certain loan products, like the FHA loan, where the appraisal attaches to the property. By this I mean for a period of time, the appraisal stays with the property. 

For example, let’s say an appraisal comes in short from a buyer on a specific property, they decide to cancel, and the seller puts the home back on the market. That appraisal then stays on file, and any subsequent buyer that comes along during that time period with an FHA mortgage would be relegated to that same appraisal number. If you’re a seller looking to cancel a contract and you know the home you’re selling is very likely to be bought by another FHA buyer, you might have to wait until that appraisal expires or someone else comes along with a different loan product. 

Depending on the loan product, the buyer has the right to choose a new lender with a new appraiser.

It’s important to remember that although appraisers are heavily trained professionals with lots of credentials, their opinions on the value of a property can differ. As the industry has changed, their role has changed as well. For a time, there was pressure to bring appraisal prices down, and that caused some of the best appraisers to do other things. 

In addition to having the right to cancel the contract or pursue negotiations, the buyer can also change lenders. A new lender with a new appraiser could see the value completely differently. In that case, you’re generally looking at a delayed closing, but that’s something that can be done to keep a deal under contract at the original purchase price. 

Years ago, shady things like cozy relationships between appraisers and lenders tended to form whenever homes needed to be appraised. Now, though, federal guidelines and regulations have changed so lenders don’t have as much one-on-one communication with appraisers. 

In my opinion, local lenders are better because they not only have a firmer pulse on the market, but they also do a more thorough job of giving a solid value that can be verified by solid data instead of giving a high or low appraisal just to get a loan through.  

If you have any more questions about appraisals or any other real estate topic, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help.

How to Buy a Home in Tampa Bay & Sarasota with Bad Credit & Come to our 1st Time Buyer Seminar


There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale.  
Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.
Andrew Duncan, Tampa's #1 Realtor and expert, together with Mike Yates of Atlantic Bay Mortgage talk about the options available for people who want to buy a home but have bad credit like those who went through hardship or are self employed.

Saving for a larger down payment
A lot of lenders who lend solely off on credit score but there are some places that offer a little more flexibility. He said the Credit union is one example. A lot of times, they will do everything in-house and assume all the risks because their loaning their own money. You may pay a little bit more on rate and cost, but if you're set on owning a home now, that is an option you would want to consider.  

Improve your credit score
Mike suggests that one of the easiest ways to get your scores up quick is paying down the balances on your revolving debts (i.e. credit cards). Anytime your balance goes above 50% of the limit, it will start dragging your scores down.

Know what to emphasize to a lender
Andrew also advised that it is best to talk to a professional about your credit score because there could be simple things that they can do or they may not have a good grasp about how credit scores are calculated.

FHA loan
Going with an FHA loan requires a lower credit score. Atlantic Bay Mortgage will go low at 580 with FHA loans while some lenders will go as low as 540 but that goes with a larger down payment.

Private Mortgage
Going with a private mortgage is an option for those people in unique situations where your scores aren't good enough or you can't get money from a financial institution although you may pay a little bit more money in rate and cost.

There are a number of options available for people even for those who have bad credit. Andrew invites everyone to join their First Time Home Buyer Seminar every 1st Thursday of the month at 6320 S Dale Mabry Highway to learn what other options are available to you.

To get more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice from Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sunday at 10 am.

How Will the Trump Administration Affect Real Estate?

Whether you love him or hate him, President Donald Trump and his new administration will have an effect on our housing market. What will that effect be? It’s not clear now, but we anticipate a few changes. We’re here to tell you about them today.

First, let’s discuss interest rates. They’ve crept up since the election, but that was predicted by economists for quite some time. Rising rates mean homebuyers won’t be able to afford the same homes they can get right now. Affordability decreases when rates increase.

A lot of people have been getting into the market lately because they want to take advantage of rates where they are at right now, before they go up again. This has caused a surge in home sales. In fact, the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors reported a nearly 20% increase year over year in the number of homes sold. Those are the highest sales numbers we’ve seen in the last decade.

We’ve seen a surge in home sales recently.

Another important change we anticipate with the Trump administration has to do with tax reforms. Some tax benefits that homeowners get now, like the capital gains exclusion and mortgage interest deductions, may be on the chopping block. Nothing is formalized yet, but we are bracing for some of these benefits to be taken away. However, the Trump administration maintains that even if they cut tax benefits for homeowners, the overall lower tax rate will still allow consumers to save.

One positive sign we’ve seen in the market with the new administration has been with the stock market. We’ve hit record highs lately, which has improved consumer confidence. The market is very healthy for the time because of it. There haven’t been any big changes yet, so now might be a good time to consider buying or selling your house before there are.

If you have any questions for us or you’re interested in buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Buying Your First Home? Come to Our First-Time Buyer Class

Have you heard of our first-time homebuyer class? Classes have started at our offices at 6230 S Dale Mabry Highway on the first Thursday of every month, and we have one coming up on March 2nd.

In this first-time homebuyer class, you’ll learn about down payment assistance that might be available to you for up to $15,000, low and no down payment mortgages, and expert advice from lenders, agents, and others in the real estate industry.

If you’d like to attend, you can RSVP here.

You can register for the upcoming class on March 2nd or any subsequent classes.

You’ll learn about down payment assistance programs of up to $15,000.

We’ll educate you on the entire home buying process from inspections to appraisals and every step in the transaction from start to finish. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who is thinking about buying their first home.

If you know anyone who is thinking of buying their first home, we’d love for you to share this opportunity with them as well.

If you have any questions, you can always give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to seeing you there!

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Offers

When it comes to selling your home for the most money, you absolutely need professional photos.

I can't tell you how many times homes have failed to sell just because of terrible photos. You've probably seen them on social media; they look like they were taken by a flip phone from 1984 while driving by the house. We even see really high-end homes represented by very poor photography. No matter the price point, you absolutely need professional photos.

At our company, we net our clients more money because we focus our money on technology. We use a Matterport camera to create 3-D tours for our listings, as well as HDR and wide-angle lenses for our photos. We have two photographers working in-house and multiple third-party photographers that we use. Very few real estate companies have their own in-house photographers.

We net our clients more money because we focus our money on technology.

We also use DJI drones to shoot aerial photos, which are especially important for waterfront and luxury properties. We also use a DJI OSMO video camera to create walkthrough videos of our listings, because sometimes, a 3-D home tour doesn't tell the whole story.

Professional photos give a home great curb appeal and show it in its best light. Customers online are wowed by it as well. The days of taking one photo of a home and expecting it to sell are gone. We wouldn't invest tens of thousands of dollars in the equipment if it wasn't crucial to getting the most money for you home.

So if you're meeting with an agent to sell your home and they don't use a professional photographer, run!

If you have any other questions about how we market homes or about the Tampa real estate market, give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to help you out.

Smart Home Technology will be a game changer in 2017


There are many Tampa Bay area homes for sale.  
Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here to learn about our “Your Home Sold Guaranteed in 29 Days” program or for a free property valuation so you know what your home can sell for in today’s market. You may also call me at (813) 359-8990 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.
Andrew Duncan, Tampa's #1 Realtor and expert together with Mike Yates of Atlantic Bay Mortgage talk about how 2017 will the year of the Smart Home. More and more consumers want to have the new technology in their homes. Builders are taking advantage of it as well.

There are a lot of different programs out there that gives you the ability to control your thermostat; the ability to turn lights, computers, etc, on and off; lock doors and many more. One of the things that Andrew things will be even more powerful this year are some of the voice recognition programs like Alexa and the Dot. Some of the major companies are getting behind it like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast. They are coming up with different kinds of services.

Although smart homes can be convenient, there will probably be some controversies about the smart home devices where people might be able to hack them. 

To get more Tampa Bay Real Estate news and advice from Tampa Bay's #1 Realtor, tune in to The Duncan Duo Real Estate Show on 970 WFLA - Tampa Bay every Sunday at 10 am.