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Small Yard? Big Statement:

How to Make the Most Out of Micro Outdoor Spaces

Sheree Frazier COVER STORY


& the Advantage of Identifying Neighborhood Amenities





Peninsula Title Services is proud to congratulate

Vicky Santana 6




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Adding Value to Listings & the Advantage of Identifying Neighborhood Amenities Everyone knows the famous real estate phrase: location, location, location. In fact, it is hard to underestimate the pivotal role that a region can play when it comes to determining a home’s value. In today’s competitive market, the littlest things can truly add up—especially when it comes to neighborhood amenities. While most savvy agents know the figures regarding school 4

district ranking and local property taxes, have you ever considered the under-the-radar amenities that drive buyers and bidding wars? To derive the highest value from a listed home, you need to paint a complete picture of the area in which you’re selling. With that guiding principle in mind, let’s consider a few modern amenities and how they add drastically to your bottom line.

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Walking a fifteen-minute radius of the area or performing a deep-dive into customer review sites or food blogs can help you identify hidden gems or local favorites. A little can go a long way: restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment

Know thy history: creating a narrative of the neighborhood

Everyone has a favorite take-out spot, coffee shop, or neighborhood watering hole. Identifying the key players in an area—such as restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment hotspots—will create a livable picture that prospective buyers can latch onto. Walking a fifteen-minute radius of the area or performing a deep-dive into customer review sites or food blogs can help you identify hidden gems or local favorites. While a cute coffee shop down the street may seem like a bonus instead of a foundational amenity, you never know what kind of homebuyer you might net if you include the cozy characteristics that make a house a home.

As humans, we’re drawn to narratives. Sales pitches and marketing campaigns hinge on an alluring storyline. That’s why understanding a neighborhood’s history can frame and contextualize a property to great effect. After all, buyers aren’t just drawn to sturdy foundations and bedroom counts; they like to imagine their lives unfolding inside those four walls. Get a sense of the area’s historical timeline, architectural style, noteworthy community members, and the like. Conveying this intriguing information to buyers helps them connect more personally with a property, while understanding the holistic picture of their potential new home.

From here to there: public transportation and commuter access While this rule may not apply to all properties, considering access to public transportation is a major draw for today’s buyers. Especially amidst the more eco-conscious Millennial segment eager to buy within city limits—knowing public transportation access points and schedules can add serious value to listed properties. Also, think outside the box: do nearby thoroughfares boast dedicated bike lanes? Are there plans to expand rail lines to the area in the future? Deliver a confidant picture of the area’s public transportation access and prospective buyers will trust your expertise. Top Agent Magazine

While it is always good to cover the basics of school districts and property values, it is even more useful to expand your knowledge base and bring a warm, human element to locational knowledge. Not only will you appeal to a younger demographic of homebuyers who values this strategic information, but you will also broaden your understanding of your service area at large. Think of it this way: a neighborhood is far more than a collection of homes on a block. A neighborhood is about atmosphere, access, and a sense of community. If you authentically appeal to this guiding truth, and buyers will surely rise to the occasion.

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VICKY SANTANA With a love for helping others, Vicky Santana has truly found her dream career as a Realtor® in the Indian River County, Florida region. She got her start in 2004, after previously working in the medical field as a business assistant and in financial case management. “I felt I was stuck and hitting a ceiling,” she explains. Soon, one of her friends began working as an agent, this encouraged her to get her license. “It intrigued me,” she explains. “I loved that I could have flexibility and there was no limit to my growth or income.” So she hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back since. Today she owns and manages NextHome® Santana Real Estate with two offices in Sebastian and Orlando. She opened her brokerage in 2009 and the Santana Team started around 7 years ago. Their business now consisting primarily of repeat clients and referrals. What sets Vicky and her team apart is their commitment to staying in touch with their clients. “I stay in contact with them and provide excellent service,” she says. This has resulted in her being a go-to agent for multiple generations in a family, and even helping some clients sell and buy over 10 properties. Vicky not only maintains relationships with her clients, she also makes sure she is knowledgeable about all aspects of real estate so she can be a resource for them during and after the transaction. “I make myself available morning, afternoon and evenings,” she says. Whether she’s helping a buyer or a seller, clients can rely on her to be there for them throughout the process, guiding them at every step. She has earned 13 real estate specialty designations and certifications and believes she needs to continue to evolve as her profession does. She has received continuous Honor Society Awards, is ranked on Real Trends Top Agents and has received Master’s Club, President’s Circle & Hall of Fame Awards with NextHome®. After the transaction, clients love to leave glowing reviews about their time together. One recently said, 6

“Vicky was a lifesaver and I don’t know what I would have done without her as my agent. I had 2 homes to sell in the Indian River County area after my father unexpectedly passed away. Living 2000 miles away from Florida, I had to rely on Vicky more than a typical seller would for help with the homes and also for recommendations of local organizations to help with repairs or services. She went above and beyond to help me navigate through both home sales.” When Vicky isn’t working, she’s staying actively involved in her profession. She is the 2019 Florida Chapter President for the Real Estate Business Institute and was re-elected for 2020. She was also a president on her local board, Realtors® Association of Indian River County 2011-2012 and serves on multiple real estate committees both local & state levels. Vicky loves giving back to her community, including contributing to Habitat for Humanity, Silent Angels, Halo and Canine Companions. On Sundays and any free time she enjoys creating memories and traveling with her family currently consisting of 5 generations. As she looks towards the future, she is excited to continue growing and is adding a limited function referral company to her business to help other real estate agents. Vicky loves every second of being a Realtor®, and can’t imagine doing anything else. “I love helping people. Every day is different. It’s so rewarding to help others achieve their dreams.”

For more information about Vicky Santana, please call or text 772-538-8383 or email Copyright Top Top Agent Agent Magazine Magazine

Peninsula Title Services is proud to congratulate

Vicky Santana

IF YOUR ADfeatured IS GOOD, YOU CAN REPLY TO THIS on being for the State of Florida EMAIL THAT IT IS “APPROVED” in Top Agent Magazine! OR SIGN AND FAX BACK THIS FORM TO 1-802-231-3581. CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF SERVICE EXCELLENCE Se Habla Español Gloria I. Robaina & Nancy Domonousky Title Agents 4888 Babcock Street NE, Palm Bay, Florida 32905 Bus: (321) 726-6414 • Fax: (321) 726-6557 • https://

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Reconsider Referral-Only When Planning for the Future

A 100% referral rate is a testament of client happiness. But even a 30% referral rate is proof of client satisfaction. It’s all relative, say some agents. One number pays tribute to past success, which is certainly a story worth telling. But the other might better predict the future. Many agents plan for the idea that 8

working only on referral may not be sufficient during slower times of the year, in a down market, or when an agent needs to expanding into a new sector. Unless you are clairvoyant enough to flawlessly predict every market change or every

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Many agents plan for the idea that working only on referral may not be sufficient during slower times of the year, in a down market, or when an agent needs to expanding into a new sector. life change that your clients and referral partners may experience, it’s wise to maintain an active marketing presence. The reasons vary, however, depending on the goals and trajectory of each individual’s business. If long-term success, a growing team, a legacy or expansion into new areas are not priorities, then working a sphere of influence may be enough for some agents, especially those who may be in the industry mostly for the love of the business. But for a majority of agents, no matter how much they love their work, their real estate and mortgage businesses are careers, first and foremost. Let’s start with the team-builders and mentors. Agents and brokers who are building teams are wise to invest in business marketing, advertising and community outreach. Ty Hutchins, who owns and operates Ty & Company Real Estate in Colorado’s Front Range, says that, while she could personally live off referrals alone, her goal is to build up her agents. “I do the marketing piece for my team, so I can help them succeed,” she says. That marketing includes running commercials on TV and in movies theatres, as well as lead generation that identifies potential buyers, sellers and Top Agent Magazine

investors between the Colorado Springs and Denver markets. Her team’s goal, she adds, is to promote their reputation of being honest, hardworking professionals with the reach of a major brand but the personalized approach of a boutique. Then there are the growers. Khrista Jarvis and Nicole Jung of The Khrista Jarvis Team in the San Francisco Bay Area, are on a considerable growth track. “We’re the #1 team in our area and the top team in Compass Real Estate nationally,” explains Khrista. While high marks for service on behalf of their clients have led them to these heights, they know that they must continue to evolve and market their brand. “We do a good deal of social media marketing for our listings and for our business,” she says. Their names, therefore, are frequently linked to sentiments of trust, dependability and market knowledge, both in their marketing and in their reviews. Next, there are those who weathered the worst of times. Susan Roche entered real estate sales in 2003, following several years of property management in North Carolina. The key to her sustained triumphs through major market swings lies in her long-range planning. “If the market starts to dip or fall,

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I have safety nets in place,” says Susan Roche, team leader of Simply Real Estate, based in Charlotte. “When it’s a seller’s market, I still plan for a buyer’s market and when it’s a buyer’s market I plan for a seller’s market..” In other words, no matter how comfortable her existing work may feel, she networks consistently. She also employs a full-time marketing director who leads several projects including ongoing research, events and social media exposure in addition to listings marketing. By staying ahead of market changes, Susan knows she can unfailingly represent her clients’ best interests while still maintaining a safety net for her business. Even professionals with more than three decades’ experience and deep referral networks know the importance of business


marketing. Cathy Richards, co-owner with Nancy Dalaska of Epic-Wasatch Homes in Park City, UT, entered real estate in 1987 and still draws at least a fifth of her business from lead generation, social media marketing and community outreach. Her business partner, Nancy, adds that real estate is about much more than their own business. “We love collaborating and brainstorming with other agents to help them prosper,” says Nancy. “We believe the healthier the market, the better we all are.” Regardless of market conditions, even the best reputation can’t guarantee long-term success. To sustain and grow, it’s wise to feed your business by increasing exposure, remaining flexible and maintaining systems for customer service, networking, research, marketing and lead-generation.

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Sheree Frazier Top Agent Magazine


SHEREE FRAZIER “As an agent, I am focused on delivering unsurpassed, professional real estate services and insights to help my clients make informed home buying and selling decisions.” With more than three decades of experience under her belt, Sheree Frazer – of NextHome All American in Debary, Florida – is the very definition of a “top agent.” Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and possessing an unflagging work ethic, Sheree has built an incredibly successful business on a foundation of honesty, integrity 12 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

and a true concern for the wellbeing of her many grateful buyers and sellers. Sheree, who cites her deep and abiding Christian faith as another foundation of her success, began her journey in real estate in 1987. “I was a single mother,” recalls Sheree, “and I had a Top Agent Magazine

job selling fine art at a gallery in Winter Park. I was moved to get my real estate license because I had two small sons and I needed a job with more flexibility.” However, she soon learned that a reliable car – one with four doors – was a necessity to take buyers out looking at homes, back before the internet minimized the need to visit a large number of homes in a single day. “I was strapped for cash, and driving a small, twodoor Honda Civic,” recalls Sheree. “I decided to ask my sister, who was fairly well-off, if I could borrow $5,000 to purchase a used sedan. The first thing she said to me was, ‘I can’t in good conscience lend you that much money for a used car,’ and I was kind of taken aback. But then she added, ‘I’m just going to give you $10,000 to buy a new car. I don’t think I can Top Agent Magazine

ever adequately convey how grateful I am to Paula and her husband John. It was that car that enabled me to launch my career, and I’m forever grateful to them both.” Eventually signing on with Coldwell Banker, her supervisor informed her that she had to sell a million dollars in her first year if she wished to remain with the company. Furthermore, as it was December, that same supervisor also told her it would be almost impossible to sell a home that close to Christmas. With the power of prayer – and a chain reaction of three homes sold - Sheree pulled off the astonishing feat of selling $1.3 million that month and was not only allowed to keep her job, she was provided with her own office. Thus, a stellar career was born 13 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

that has since grown exponentially year after year. “If someone tells you that you can’t do something,” says Sheree, “don’t believe them. With the Lord All things are possible.” Every year since, in fact, Sheree has had a busy and successful December. Eventually, Sheree segued into selling vacation ownership for the Embassy Suites, next to Disney World, another venture where she found great success. After the tragedy of 9/11, however, tourism in Florida dropped precipitously, and Sheree was forced to regroup and refashion her career, which she did successfully by partnering up with legendary builder St. Joe’s then-brand-new development Victoria Park, upon an invitation from that company’s Vice President at the time. “I’ve been selling homes Copyright Top Agent Magazine 14

in Victoria Park for over twenty years now,” says Sheree. “I’ve been here since the inception of the community.” Currently, the lion’s share of Sheree’s business is based upon referrals and positive word of mouth, which is perhaps the most accurate barometer of an agent’s abilities in the highly competitive world of real estate. “I think it’s really all about experience,” says Sheree, when asked how she has managed to keep her clients coming back to her over and over again, and continually referring their friends and family. “That experience allows me to walk my clients through the process, making certain they understand every detail of what is likely the largest purchase or sale of their lives.” Expert and comprehensive marketing strategies also factor into Top Agent Magazine

her continuing success story, as do her unparalleled negotiating skills. The appreciation her clients feel for Sheree is perhaps best illustrated by the dozens of effusive reviews she has garnered on, on which site she holds a perfect, overall five-star rating. While Sheree may have achieved a phenomenal level of success, gratitude is foremost in her heart. When speaking with her, one can’t help but be aware of the deep appreciation she holds for the many friends and family who have helped her and supported her during her long career. This includes her husband, four children, 2 step-children and seventeen grandchildren, Joe and Maria Saraco, the former Top Agent Magazine

owners of her company when it was still a Century 21, and their adult children Frank and Teresa. It was they who arranged the funeral for Sheree’s oldest son Ryan when he suffered a heart attack in 2017, and it was Frank who delivered the eulogy, an act of kindness that Sheree will always be truly grateful for as well as the support from her husband and friends. That gratitude continues for the Saraco’s, and it was Teresa who took over the business for their parents and re-christened it NextHome All American. When she’s not working, Sheree is an ardent philanthropist who supports multiple charitable and community organizations, including The Volusia County Women Who Care and The Freedom Foundation in their efforts to provide scholarships for students. She is also the owner of two Dachshunds, hilariously named Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 15

“Embracing my goals is what has kept me ranked among the top producers in Central Florida for decades. I honestly love what I do for a living.”

Sheree enjoys nothing more, however, than spending time with her husband James and their large and growing family. She enjoys recounting the story of how she and her husband found themselves a couple. “My son, John and his high school friend Erin kept insisting that I meet Erin’s dad, who was also single and very picky about who he chose to date,” Sheree recalls, smiling. “I put them off for a while, but eventually gave in and went on a blind date. It was on that first date that we started planning our

wedding; he is the love of my life and we’ve been married for twenty-two years this month.” “As an agent,” says Sheree, “I am focused on delivering unsurpassed, professional real estate services and insights to help my clients make informed home buying and selling decisions. I embrace those goals, and that has kept me ranked among the top producers in Central Florida for decades. I honestly love what I do for a living.”

For more information about Sheree Frazier, call 386-785-7937 or email Copyright Top Agent Magazine 16

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Small Yard? Big Statement: How to Make the Most Out of Micro Outdoor Spaces When house-hunters compile their lists of musthave home items, a dreamy backyard space is often near the top. After all, who doesn’t want an outdoor oasis of their very own? From summer barbecues to open space for your dog to frolic— everyone has their own aspirations when it comes to creating the perfect backyard paradise. But as homebuyers seek properties deeper within city limits, and Millennials opt for properties with Top Agent Magazine

urban amenities and access, home-connected outdoor spaces are becoming a bit smaller in stature. Of course, size isn’t everything when it comes to outdoor space. Even balconies, rear patios, and ultra-tiny yards can provide homebuyers with the outdoor reprieve they crave—even on a smaller scale. For a few ideas that can help you envision all the possibilities of a micro outdoor space, read on for inspiration.

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Think vertically. When space is at a premium, think up instead of out. In other words, make the most of small spaces by capitalizing on your backyard, balcony, or patio’s overhead height. Mood-setting string lights, hanging pocket or wall gardens, floating shelves, and modern overhead hangings can create a sense of privacy and luxury without cluttering the square footage on the ground.

Soothing sounds set the mood.

Upgrade the look of structural components. Not in love with your patio pavers? Don’t have the sweetest view off your balcony? Whatever your small backyard living space gripe may be, there’s always a solution if you go back to the basics. Consider the structural components of your outdoor space that you aren’t in love with and there’s likely an affordable, eye-pleasing solution. For instance, plenty of home goods 18

retailers make a variety of punchy or luxe outdoor rugs that can disguise stained or lackluster outdoor flooring. Power-washing is another great solution for old grime and dirt that’s an eyesore. Don’t have a great view? Planting ivy on bare walls, installing adjustable mood lighting, or hanging planters can create a more inviting ambiance.

While there may not be room for a swimming pool or pond in a micro yard or balcony, you can still bring the calming presence of water to your outdoor oasis. Fountains run the gamut in sizing and price, making this amenity an easy acquisition. What’s more, a running fountain not only adds a soothing sound to your space, but it also helps drown out noise from the street or the neighbors—making your space entirely your own and stress-free.

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Top Agent Magazine

Don’t compromise on your culinary dreams. If you love to entertain in outdoor spaces or relish the chance to man the grill—small outdoor spaces don’t have to trip you up. Grill options (both propane and charcoal) come in a range of sizes, many of which can be outfitted securely to balcony posts or be tucked away and out of sight when out of use. Consider nesting tables or those with a removable leaf to adjust your seating and dining options depending on company.

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Another trick? A small, oscillating fan can keep air flow moving in a small space during grill season—and can be easily affixed to walls or posts, as well. Don’t let yourself or clients be discouraged by spaces with more limited square footage in outdoor areas. Furniture and design trends have already begun shifting toward providing better small-space options, and at the end of the day, a backyard space is all about providing an area for relaxation. With a few well-placed, strategic choices, you can still have it all.

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Graham Harrop Graham Harrop Cartoons Cartoons

Putting the power of humour to work for you!

Putting the power of humour to work for you!  20

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5 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor As great as it might feel to start your own business, and be solely responsible for its success, at some point, every entrepreneur reaches the limit of their potential, and needs a boost that only experience can provide. But how do you get a lifetime of experience when you’re just starting out? Sure you can read countless books, but no book can replace the real life experience and advice of a mentor. Mentors not only provides valuable insights, but they also have access to valuable connections as well. In fact a majority of the 22

most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs in the country have said that having a mentor early on was instrumental in their success. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. They’re able to see where you need improvement, when you can’t When you’re working non-stop to get your business off the ground, you might feel sensitive to any criticism from people who aren’t going through what you are. A good

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mentor knows exactly what you’re going though, and has probably made every mistake. When you’re in the thick of it, you might not be able to see where the problems are. A knowledgeable outsider, who knows exactly where you’re at and has only your best interests at heart is just what you need. When you have a trusting relationship with someone like that, you will be more willing to listen to that brutal honesty, even if that constructive criticism stings.

energy into it. They can see things in a completely logical way and guide you based on the facts rather than emotion. A good mentor helps you work smarter, not harder. They help you focus on your goals and how to get there, as well as setting boundaries for you so you don’t overextend yourself. They teach you how to say no and help you let go when you need to move on from a setback.

2. They will encourage you to think outside of the box

In addition to expertise, building a strong network is something that can only come with time. A mentor will most likely have that already, giving you access to people and resources that would take others years to gain. These connections will lead to opportunities that might never have happened otherwise. It’s also a great confidence boost knowing that your mentor trusts and believes in you enough to invite you into their inner circle.

Years of experience can give someone a great idea of what works and what doesn’t. They’ve seen things first hand, not just in theory. At the same time, mentors recognize the importance of taking chances, calculating risks, as well as cutting losses and moving on. A good mentor isn’t trying to encourage you to be a carbon copy of them, they are trying to create the best ‘you’ possible. That includes encouraging you to take chances, and then being there pushing you to keep going forward if it doesn’t work out. A good mentor knows that even failures can be opportunities.

3. They take the emotion out of decisions and help set boundaries Unlike you, a mentor has no emotional investment in certain business approaches that you might have decided to try. There’s nothing harder than admitting something isn’t working when you’ve put a lot of time and Top Agent Magazine

4. Networking

5. Encouragement At the heart or it all, a mentor offers you encouragement and motivation along the way, in good times and in bad. After a failure, it can be hard to get back on track and keep forging ahead. It helps to have someone who has spent year getting back up after being known down and coming out stronger than ever. It’s during those moments, when you feel alone and isolated, that having someone around offering you advice and positive feedback will be a much needed salve. They’re your cheerleader, they want you to succeed, and hopefully, you’ll pay it forward one day when you become as successful as them.

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FLORIDA 11-11-19  


FLORIDA 11-11-19