About Joe Auzenne

Auzenne serves as the Managing Broker of the Chesapeake office of The Real Estate Group and also instructs classes in contract interpretation and writing; agent sales development; and agent marketing systems and utilization. Auzenne is a qualified instructor/teacher having earned the designation of “Master Instructor” while a member of the armed forces.

Recent Changes to The HUD Bidding Process

As of February 1st, 2014 there have been minor changes and one significant change to the HUD bidding process.

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Christmas Wishes

This Christmas, my mind wanders to days long gone and those days that are yet to come. I think about my family while I was growing up.

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Does buying really make better sense than renting?

You may be wondering if buying a home is the right thing to do. Relax. Having reservations is normal. The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are six good reasons why you should buy a home: (1) it is still the American Dream; (2) pride of ownership; (3) possible appreciation; (4) mortgage interest deduction; (5) property tax deduction; and, (6) mortgage reduction builds equity.

Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? The Fannie Mae National Housing Survey shows that four of the biggest reasons people buy a home have nothing at all to do with money: They want a place to raise and educate their children, a place where their family will feel safe, to have plenty of living space, and to have control over the space. What nonfinancial benefits will your family gain from owning a home? Your answers to that question should be the reason you decide to purchase or not. The bottom line is that the cost of a home will probably remain relatively unchanged even if prices continue to depreciate. Don’t allow money to be the only factor in making the decision that’s right for you.

When will I begin to see appreciation if I buy now?

What is appreciation? Why do property values go up?  There are many factors that may cause the property to increase in value over time.  Of course, property appreciation cannot be guaranteed but understanding why you should buy a home or investment property is fundamental to making a sound decision to purchase.  One such bench mark is inflation.  Inflation is caused by an increase of the amount of money in circulation.  The value of money declines and the end result is increased retail prices.  Real estate will usually appreciate in value over time due to rising inflation because of the cost to replace the property has increased.  Is the economy ripe for increased inflation?

 Appreciation can be viewed as short or long term.  Real estate should be an integral part of your investment portfolio.  Just like stocks and bonds, real estate should be held for the long term to capitalize on future appreciation and tax incentives. Appreciation varies by market, so it’s important to look closely at local pricing trends. Nationally, there are indications that values will begin to rise this year. NAR projects home prices to grow slightly (0.5 percent) in 2011. Macro Markets LLC, a financial technology company, recently asked more than 100 housing industry experts to project housing prices through 2015. The results—released in the company’s 2010 Home Price Expectation Survey—show that experts think prices will start increasing in the second half of 2011, reaching a cumulative appreciation of more than 10 percent between now and 2015.

iPhone, iPad?! iDon’t Know!

I have heard it many times: “I am confused with all of the new gadgets available and don’t want to spend my money frivolously.  Should I buy another tool for my business now or wait for the next hot item?”

I can’t say that I am shy in purchasing new technology;   I have bought my share.  I have purchased the in-car turn table for vinyl records; the Atari game system; pagers; cell phones I couldn’t put in the glove compartment; desktop computers, laptops, dumb phones and (not-so) smart ones.  All the before mentioned, except for the car turn table and Atari, I purchased with the belief that: (1) I would become more efficient in my real estate career; (2) I would increase my business; (3) I could keep in touch with my clients with little effort;  and (4) I could free up more personal time.

My journey through the world of technological gadgetry should not necessarily be the path that you travel.  Before you buy, I recommend you develop a list of your anticipated uses for your real estate practice.  Once your list is complete evaluate the tech equipment you currently have.  Concentrate on the utilization of each item: are they mobile; is their use redundant; are they old and in need of upgrading; can I do with less; and, do they complement each other, or just duplicate functions. Second, I recommend speaking with a current owner of the device or the support at your local store to see that they say about how you can use it for your business. And third, I recommend determining how much time you will save with the newer device and how much that is worth to you.

So should you buy the iPad?  It depends.  The iPad is a capable addition to the laptop.  It is much lighter and starts up in a few seconds.   I use my iPad when I am on the go and want the computing power of my laptop and a larger screen than my iPhone.  Take a test drive and look for my future postings on using the iPad for real estate success.

Tip:  Don’t buy the iPad to use it as an e-reader.  For people who read books for 2+ hours at a time and enjoy reading outside in full sunlight you should purchase a product similar to the Kindle instead.

Setting Up Google Alerts Effectively to Monitor Your Brand Online.

We mentioned some reason why it is important to monitor your brand online with Google Alerts. Here is the how… 

1. If you don’t have a Gmail account, get one. You can set up your alerts with any email address but using a Gmail account will allow you to view, create, edit and delete their alerts using the “Manage your Alerts” page.

2. Go to www.google.com/alerts   to manage your settings. (Or just Google “Google Alerts”)

3. Specify  your Search Terms. As Google indexes new pages it will look for these words and send you updates when they’re mentioned. a)   If you are too vague you may be overwhelmed with the amount of results so be specific if possible.  b)  To include an exact phrase use quotations: “The Real Estate Group”. c)  If you have a name or phrase that is common with something that is irrelevant to what you are interested in being updated on use the subtraction key to EXCLUDE certain words. For example: “The Real Estate Group –The Real Estate Group New York”. d)  If you’re highly specific, you might not get an email every day, but you will know when something new and relevant is published. You can also include usernames, phone numbers, addresses, and URL’s.

4. The “Preview Results” option allows you to see the type of current results as you create your desired search terms. 

5. Select whether you want to be updated when the search terms are mentioned in News, Blogs, Realtime, Video, Discussions, or in Everything (which includes all of the previous mentioned sources). I always choose Everything.

6. Select how often you wish to receive alerts. Depending on the popularity of the search term that you follow (you should create an alert for each term you monitor), you may want to choose to see the results once a day, once a week, or as-it-happens.

7. Your Email: Enter the email address you would like to receive your updates on and look forward to a simple and effective solution for monitoring your brand online.

I hope you have a better understanding of what Google Alerts are and how you can utilize them with ease. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.

Are you using Google Alerts to manage your brand? You should be!


Signing up for Google Alerts is a fast, effective, and very simple way to stay updated on what is OR isn’t being posted online about your personal or business brand. You just may be surprised at what you find! The tool is fully customizable and gives results quickly by emailing you when Google finds something that has been posted containing the words or phrases that you specify.

Whether someone has written a blog or given a review about you’re service, this is certainly a great way to take advantage of positive mentions of your personal brand by giving a prompt response. It also is a way to manage and diffuse any negative comments and handle them appropriately and timely.

Just this morning, our Google Alert notified us that something was published that included the term “TREG”. We were pleasantly surprised to see that a site called bloglines.com had started a beta site and named us as one of their “Favorite Chesapeake Blogs”! http://www.bloglines.com/city/VA/Chesapeake

Although the most common use for the tool is probably to stay informed on what is being said about YOU, I strongly encourage you to be creative in your ideas of how to utilize it, such as:

  • Stay in the know on topics that are hot in your industry.
  • Stay on top of your competition.
  • Don’t forget to include usernames, website URL’s, email addresses, etc. in your search parameters.


Come back tomorrow for a quick how-to on setting up effective Google Alerts. 

As always…give us your feedback and let us know what questions that YOU need answered by clicking to add a comment below.

The Cure For Real Estate Technoparalysis

According to the National Association of Realtors the average age of a real estate agent is 52. The median age of the first time home buyer is 30. The natural conclusion is that a significant number of Realtors are above 52 (including myself). This generation gap between the home buyer and the seasoned (older) agent is more than just age. The difference is their approach to technology and its applications as it relates to real estate buying and selling. In addition, in my experience this technology gap also exists within a large number of agents below the age of 52.

I have been asked on numerous occasions: “Joe, what is the best contact management system for me”; “Joe, what is the best cell phone for me;” “Joe, my business needs a boost what is the best………”. You fill in the blank.

During my years of teaching technology systems for our agents I have discovered a cornucopia of real estate technology tools available; some, proclaiming to be the illusive “silver bullet” providing instant income with little or no effort.

At my age “so many systems, too little time.” Instead of taking positive action we are in information overload. We spend time researching the latest tech tools hoping (do I dare say “praying”) to find a tool that will increase our business and make our lives more manageable. However, in our quest we are not implementing even the most basic of tools. We are victims of a condition labeled technoparalysis: a condition caused by the fear of technology and resulting in an inability to engage in technical endeavors: paralysis by technology (Alan Hammond, article dtd 11/18/2008, “Beginners Suffer From Technoparalysis”). I have observed that this condition is present in even the most simple of tasks: reading and answering email. In order to free ourselves from the suffocating grip of technology we have to take baby steps: “One small step at a time”.

We must begin by first recalling what contributed to our early successes. The following are recommendations for partial paralysis recovery: (a) analyze your business; where did it come from and how was it generated; (b) ask yourself “what basic systems do I need to organize my clients that will allow me to keep in touch with my past, present, and future clients”; and, (c) slowly implement one system at a time. The most logical and possibly the best place to start is by organizing your clients into a computer data base that is user friendly.

Technology is an important aspect of our real estate career. The over used phrase that we must embrace technology is too broad and for most of us is not definitive enough. Web sites, lead tracking and follow up systems, social networking, etc. Where do we start? Answer: “Start small.” Work in small increments on one project. Have a strategy to progress slowly through one module at a time. The good news is that you will feel accomplished when completing these small steps. You will eventually release yourself from that feeling of technoparalysis.