Steve Biernacki

Jamie sits down with Steve Biernacki from Habitat for Humanity and Restore. 

Energy is a bit of an understatement for this week's guest, wouldn't you say?! What a pleasure meeting with Steve Biernacki with Habitat for Humanity.  It was one of the things I looked forward to most when we started this podcast- the ability to help others and educate our audience on how they can help others too! On the BLOCKtalk it is always our intention to add value and sometimes that has nothing to do with money. 

What I heard Steve say on Tuesday morning was that our city is in desperate need of your help. Those less fortunate or in the low to moderate income areas of Little Rock, North Little Rock, all of central Arkansas really - sometimes just need a hand UP and sometimes it's as simple as helping to fix a leaky roof or busted faucet, repairing a foundation issue... or at least it starts there. Improving the quality of life for others in our community is the goal, sometimes that happens one used toilet at a time like Steve said. 

I personally believe that the greatest thing about us humans is, that a natural phenomenon seems to occur when we give to others or we attempt to be helpful to others. Suddenly we feel incredibly satisfied and complete in doing simple things for other people. In an emergency situation you'll notice that humans tend to run to help or shelter one another, and some really brave humans even run TOWARDS danger in the hopes of saving others... it is pretty remarkable isn't it? The same feeling is achievable in a much simpler and local way... get out there and go help Habitat! 

If you are able, if you have extra materials or other items that you can donate to the restore, call and get it scheduled to be picked up! If you have time and you can donate that to volunteer, do it! If you are skilled and know how to fix things and want to give back to your community, Habitat is here for you. Also feel free to donate a house, we could use some of those too. 

We live in a time where people stare into screens more often than into the eyes and hearts of their fellow man. Until something catastrophic rips our eyes from our devices we continue stare down. Often times we miss the carnage in our digital haze, along with the beauty. This city,  our state, this nation and our world can use a little more humanity. We need more people to run to the aid of others and sacrifice for their less fortunate fellows. I am no exception. Admittedly I can do more, and I will! I challenge you to join me- lets try to make a difference! Find the cause that speaks to your heart and go out and find a way to make a change.

Even if it ends up just being 1 starfish that you throw back, it will make a huge difference for that 1 starfish. 

To get involved or donate please visit: 

https://www.habitatcentralar.org/

Tune in Tuesday morning for a new episode of the BLOCKtalk with one of Little Rocks favorite chefs! Until then, take care of each other. 

 -Jamie[fromtheBLOCK]

Jake Arey

This week's podcast was a lot of fun for yours truly! Jake has a lot of energy (which often accompanies youth), however his knowledge is what made him the perfect candidate for the BLOCKtalk. In my experience with Jake both personally and professionally, I have always felt challenged to raise my intellect to match the level of conversation and Tuesday's chat was no exception!! It is likely a result of Jake going after the most accurate information he can obtain on a consistent basis and dedicating himself to the satisfaction of his clients at every turn. Good job Jake, and thanks for coming on the podcast.

We learned from Jake - and yes he did wear khakis on Tuesday - that changes are likely coming from Dodd Frank and it could mean big news for our business! The link is at the bottom of the blog, be sure to check those and out and add value to your clients and colleagues by sharing what you find! 

Other helpful information we learned from Jake included the basics behind mortgage lending.  I found that advice to shop around, ask questions, and double check before making major purchases, were key things that our clients should take away from the conversation with their lender. Remember also that while you're doing all that HGTV binge watching, NOT to take out that Home Depot credit line until AFTER CLOSING! You could jeapordize your whole deal by snagging that washer and dryer on sale so when in doubt, ASK YOUR LENDER! 

The importance of a good Realtor, and a lender with which they communicate well and have experience dealing with, are high on the priority list for a first time homebuyer. Navigating the terrain of your first home purchase is scary stuff! Do your research, and don't settle for "I think so." Get educated, put the time in and make good choices - just like in life, it will totally pay off. 

If you need a home loan and want to test Jake's skills yourself, click his link at the bottom of the blog and let's go buy you a house! 

Next week, listen in as we find out what's in store for the RESTORE and so much more, with Steve Biernacki of Habitat for Humanity! 

Until then, stay jacked up and I'll catch you Tuesday on the BLOCKtalk. 

JAMIE[fromtheBLOCK] 

Rick Bertram

Well, you heard him say it plain as day - Realtors and Appraisers need to start talking! 


Appraisals are key to real estate transactions in every market, Little Rock is no exception. In ALMOST every real estate transaction, there comes a time for the lender to order an appraisal and make sure that the loan they are extending on the property, is acceptable with relation to the value of the asset it is tied to. They do this by deferring to a market expert, an appraiser, who is trained, educated and licensed to provide opinions of value on residential property in an effort to promote and maintain the public’s trust. 


Rick, a bad-ass appraiser with no tolerance for misinformation, shared with us that lenders and appraisers have a relationship in that the lender engages him to perform the appraisal and therefore is his only client. His responsibility is to answer the question within the scope of work they agree on, essentially leaving the Realtor and the homeowner to fill in the blanks. This can lead to a lot of misunderstanding, as Realtors and appraisers are trained differently - they have separate standards and as I have found moving over to the real estate side, they look at property in an entirely different manner. 


I worked under Rick for a while, and I learned a lot. When I go into a house now to show it to a buyer, I instantly notice what the updates are and what they mean to the overall quality and condition of the home. I immediately check to see if the measurements are different than what the county reports them to be, in an effort to ensure the feet measured are the feet paid for. My view on property as an agent is considerate of market trends, colors that are popular, new fun things like sliding barn doors and glowing outdoor countertops... They are entirely different items we focus on. These are the stark differences between the two professions that I wanted to bring to light having Rick share his knowledge with us on the podcast. It meant a lot to me in my career, and really shaped the way I do business. I hope he added as much value to you as possible in 15 minutes. 


We also talked about the dreaded issue of square footage. The links mentioned are listed at the end of the blog, agents do yourselves and your sellers a favor and read up on these standards! It is a wealth of knowledge and can save you a lot of time and trouble, learning to measure your listings. Add value to your clients, and pick up this skill. 


Investors, home buyers, anyone you know who is about to purchase a home - It is NOT unreasonable to hire an appraiser to consult, at the very least, on your purchases. Engage them for a full appraisal if you must, but to not investigate in your investment just doesn’t make sense. 
Here on the BLOCKtalk and the BLOCKblog, it is my goal to impart the knowledge to you that we are missing not just in the real estate community, but in our community in general. It turns out that being educated about something you didn’t understand before, can really open your eyes to seeing things in a different light. I challenge you to learn something new this week and definitely check out the links below to learn more about standard measurements of living area, and guidelines appraisers check for when appraising properties to be insured on an FHA loan. (This will help you agents identify repairs that will be needed before closing - super helpful!) 
Until next time, enjoy your weekend and catch us on the podcast Tuesday when we learn about the world of residential mortgage lending with none other than Jake Arey of Eagle Bank Mortgage. 


BLOCK OUT
-Jamie[fromtheBLOCK]

Kristen Kennon & Maurice Taylor

If you haven’t seen iRealty Arkansas on your social media feed, you must be hiding under a rock! In the heat of the Central Arkansas Real Estate Market, out has emerged the most contagious brand in Real Estate. What happened here changed my life and the lives of many others and we are inspired to share our story and who we are, and who we’ve set out to become, with you. 

iRealty Arkansas is owned by our tiny visionary, Kristen Kennon. Backed by 3 strapping boys, Jon, Steele and Slater, Kristen believes that family comes first and the passion you possess for what you do at work is key to your success. Kristen lives this example out loud for all to enjoy.  This girl-boss powerhouse caught a vision for this company and after hustling as an agent for nearly 4 years without an office on her side of the river, she decided she wasn’t willing to wait any longer. So, instead of continuing to ask for one, she went ahead and just bought the company – and then an office on the north side. 

Upon becoming the owner, Kristen went from hustling houses to hustling hearts. As the brand began to light up behind her, she closed on over 100 houses, getting her name and energy out into our community. Agents started to see what she had and the company began to grow. I  saw what was going on and decided I may not be willing to miss what was going to come out of this, so I joined up myself – closing the doors on my company and all that I had ever known professionally. So, what happened next?

iRealty Arkansas became the place that passionate people pursue. When a license hangs in our office, it hangs heavy – laden with opportunity and crammed full of inspired energy. Our people are encouraged to be themselves – their unique and fabulous, one-of-a-kind selves! We are not advised how we should dress or carry ourselves, but are asked to celebrate our amazing, AUTHENTIC self, and what is going to set us apart and make iRealty grow. 

Of course, we can’t just have fun all day! There has to be some work to keep this thing alive, right? Enter the next phase of growth for our company – education and experience. There are plenty of misguided geniuses in the world and lots of energy gets lost if they don’t pursue a disciplined course of action and go after their goals with clear intention. Kristen knows that, so she set her sights on a big fish and cast a line to see if she could catch him. If iRealty could combine its vision, passion, intelligence, innovation and excitement with a tested, seasoned, experienced and educated industry leader, what could stop that kind of train?  

Enter, Maurice Taylor. He might look young but he’s an old school original in the Little Rock real estate game. Having sold houses for longer than I’ve been out of high school, this Denzel Washington look alike (he made me put that in here)…. will make you laugh, educate you, cheer you on and show you how to take pride in your worth and value as an agent. Maurice is quick to advise agents not to discount their professional services in order to gain a client, stressing that we as agents work so hard to gain your trust, confidence, business… we should value ourselves.  He reminds us  that we don’t ask our doctors, teachers, even our Uber drivers for a discount –  so why do we ask our agents to do this for us? In addition to his supportive approach to teaching and guiding agents, Maurice can qualify you for a license, as he owns and operates the Vivid Real Estate Learning Center in North Little Rock. He teaches with passion and conviction and like Kristen, he does it every day. The thing I love about both of them is that they are still active agents teaching from a perspective of real time- it is an unparalleled approach. 

So the cat is out of the bag I suppose. Social media has announced it, so it must be official. Maurice Taylor has joined iRealty and will act as our principal broker. In conjunction with Kristen Kennon and the rest of the iRealty crew, we will be bringing you a real estate experience second to none. With this addition, all the bases are covered. Our innovative marketing, up to date and FUN training, our experienced and educational principal broker, our visionary leader and our solid team of real estate rockstars. Watch, Central Arkansas - iRealty Arkansas is about to SHOW OUT. 

Listen to our podcast on the go, or read our blog at the end of a long week… if you’re interested in joining our mission to educate our clients and our peers on all things real estate while having an absolute blast, reach out! We’d love to keep growing our tribe.