Interview starts at 5:40.
[For your benefit, this is a direct transcription. Please ignore all typos.]
Pete: So without further ado, I’m going to talk to. I’m going to introduce you to the world famous Kim Sessions. Alright. And Kim, let me ask you, how did you get into real estate as a profession?
Kim: Well, actually I was teacher for eight years, but I was always fascinated with real estate. Bought my first house when I was 25 and West Palm was the 19 twenties house, gutted the whole thing and have just always had that fascination. And uh, my husband encouraged me to get my license and uh, we were trying to have kids and try to change things up a little.
Pete: So I just went for it for a 25 year old to take on a fixer upper. But let me ask you this. Okay, so you bought it, you fixed it up. Did you turn around, sell it for a profit? Yes, we did. Oh, I did something right right out of the gate. So we actually
Kim: see we’re not ever planning to move to Jacksonville. We thought we would be in West Palm for ever and uh, we actually paid I think $125k for that.
Pete: I remember those days. My First House I bought in Mandarin and it was for $57,000 a whopping fee. I’m old, I’m a dinosaur. So we had a 57 k house back in the day. That was in, that was a lot. I remember those days. Now. Are you a “real-tour”?
Kim: I am a realtor.
Pete: Okay. I don’t know how to say that properly because you know, some people are realtors, some people are real estate agents in, some are real estate brokers and I have no idea what the differences.
Kim: So a real tour is actually a trademark name. You have to be a part of the National Association to actually use that name. So you obviously are licensed, but you have to be a part of the association. You can be licensed and not be a part of the association. Therefore you can’t use that, that word, next year name. So typically when I advertise everything, I have my name, comma, real tour with the trademark right next to it.
Tips for Home-Sellers
Pete: Got It, got it. So let’s say I am right now thinking about selling a home. Okay. What are some of the things? Okay, I, maybe I’ve already come to that conclusion. You know what? I’m going to sell my house. What are some of the first things I should do?
Kim: Well, the first thing you should do,
Pete: it’s called Kim sessions, right?
Kim: Which is everyone’s non favorite thing to do is declutter, go through closets, a depersonalized, things like that. It gets very overwhelming because you open a closet and you have a small closet and you take everything out and it fills the whole room. It’s amazing what we just shove in places. So really it’s not really cost. Uh, that takes a lot for a lot of people their time.
Pete: Well, you know, in declutter to me would mean, oh, let me get all the stuff out of the main living spaces and throw it into the closet or bring it up into the attic. No, no. The garage to. Should that be. So you talking about maybe temporary storage or just …
Kim: depending on the situation. A, you could have a house that wasn’t even updated but was super organized and clean and you would maximize and get a great price for it. You can have an updated house that was dirty and not organized and people view that as you don’t take care of your house and you will not get the maximum price. You can’t for your house.
Pete: Got It, got it. Okay. So you know what, I get it. So we declutter. What about, you know, what? Deferred maintenance. I mean, a lot of times, you know, you have screens and in some of us take this for granted. Well that’s uh, uh, I’m just going to let the buyer handle that and I mean really it, these might sound like simple questions, but I know that people think
Kim: I get this a lot. Well, I’m going to leave a couple of these obvious things out because the inspector has to get, you know, ding a couple of things. But the reality is, is if you take care of these things before you put it on the market and get a contract, you can have a handyman or you could do it yourself. When you start getting into your home being under contract per the contract, you do need to use a licensed contractor, which means you are most likely spending more money and frankly, buyers are walking in and they’re looking for things. So if they see a ripped screen that’s so easy and cheap to fix, you don’t want them to see that you want them to walk through and see an immaculate house and they will be impressed. Uh, they will give a really great offer for that and just have the confidence that the house has been really taken care of.
Pete: You know, I watch hgtv a lot. Okay. I’m, I’m an HGTV junkie. Look, I know chip and Joanna by the way, they named their son crew. My 22 year old son is named crew. I want it. I’m going on record saying chip and Joanna copied me. That name should have been copyrighted a long time ago and they owe me some kind of royalty. So chip called me in and we can work it out amongst ourselves. But I noticed on the Hg GTV shows when you know, when they’re looking, when couples and families and people looking for new homes, one of the first things they do, they go, oh, this room, look how blue this is. Or look how pink this is. Should people paint their house before they sell it? Then? Or if they have neutral tones, leave it. I like the, these are questions I don’t know.
Kim: So a lot of people can’t visualize, so I do recommend neutralize. I don’t go into every house and say you need to repaint your whole entire house, but if it’s a color that doesn’t really meet the mass, a lot of people will walk in and they can’t get past it. And painting is very easy fix. So, you know, the grays are the new neutrals right now. So we really recommend some times, some times it really will bring more money to the table by painting. Um, so.
Pete: Yup, let me tell you this now. Years ago I thought I was going to be all slick and I remember I fixed up a house myself and I got it already. And I said, you know what, I’m gonna do this Phizzbo thing. I’m going to first sale by owner. I’m going to do this. Okay. And I’m going to save any type of real estate commission. And I want to tell you what happened. I had people call me up the will first, that people would schedule appointments and they would come in and I had a record number of non buyers. I had weirdos calling me up at weird times and they would look and they would act like, oh yeah, we’re going, hey. And then they’d say, well, would you be interested in doing kind of a, a rent to own? No, I didn’t want to. I didn’t say rent to own. I said selling my house for sale by owner. And then I had all these people that didn’t get any kind of approval and I wasted so much time. It was ridiculous. And this is long before I knew you kept. I sold the house through a realtor because I had to, because I, I mean my time, uh, it was crazy. What do you say to people that are possibly considering that option?
Kim: So we’re actually seeing more for sale by owners right now because we are in a great market. Um, but it’s, uh, it’s not as easy and as, as it is, there’s a system in place and there are strong statistics that show that you are leaving probably money on the table by not listing with a professional that does this on a daily basis. You are also putting yourself in a safety situation. We are in the, one of the most dangerous occupations we have to really pay attention. We have to field out people, um, and, and really try to qualify them before we even meet them because I am putting myself in big jeopardy meeting a stranger.
Kim: So the safety is a huge factor time. I mean, you’re taking a lot of time. You have to leave work to go open the house up a buyers. I mean when they want to see a house, they want to see a house. So not all of them are going and wanting to see it from seven to nine on the evenings or on the weekends. So you really want to try to judge your house to be available at all times.
Pete: And I can tell you from firsthand that was the biggest problem because look at home buyers are hard workers like all of us. Right. And when are they going to come out to see it? They’re going to see it around their non-work hours. I had to take time off of work or I at night I’m tired and I’m showing house or it’s the weekend I’m showing I didn’t. It didn’t work into my schedule to have two jobs. Selling the house become, became a full-time job and weeding out the Kooks. I mean I don’t, I don’t mean to be ugly, but this coax out and I had to. Well I’m sure you’re
Kim: phone was also ringing with agents to try to take your listing
Pete: and look at it. And I’ve actually called one because I was frustrated and I wished I had done it sooner because my house sold about 30 days later. Yeah, that’s awesome. It was with a real buyer. Okay. Anything else for someone that is thinking about or they’ve come to the conclusion, I’m going to sell my house. What are some things that should go through that person’s head or what actions should they take at that point? We’ve already, we already know that. Okay, you got to fix up your house. Okay. Don’t leave it to the others. Uh, you know, call, uh, a licensed realtor, call Kim sessions and we’re going to give out all your information so people do call you, you know, what else should they do?
Kim: They should have a game plan of where they’re going to go next. Uh, we, we are seeing this very often right now where someone’s putting their house on the market and it’s going in a week or less. And a lot of people were like, oh, we’ll just list it and see. And they have nowhere to go or an idea. Um, and so really kind of have an idea if you decide if you really want to sell your house because once you
Pete: go for a swim pretty quick,
Kim: yeah, but I’m just have a backup plan of what you’re going to do next. If you’re not ready to buy, you know, rentals and whatnot. Um, and really understand, I would say the financial part of selling a house, have an idea of what the closing costs are, what are the fees are, so you really know what your profit is at the end of the day and you have no surprises.
Tips for Home Buyers
Pete: Got It, got it. Okay. Now let’s flip it around. I decide, here I am, I’m a home buyer. I’m going to buy a home. What are some things I need to do before I start going out looking? I mean, first thing people do is they go out and they start looking at, Oh, let me look here. What are some of the things that home buyers need to consider right off the bat,
Kim: Get pre-qualified first! So the biggest thing a lot of times is people just, they think they can afford acts and they start a window shopping and even start looking and then they can’t afford it. Um, and then you have your set on a certain price house and you can’t get it. And then it’s a big struggle. So it’s very easy to get pre qualified I would say. That’s the absolute first thing that you need to do a. and then I would, um, I would really start to think about how you live your life. Where do you go, how do you live your life, not only in your house but within a facility because I mean, if stores are very popular to you or, or whatnot, um, you really need to think about what is in the area and can it fit your price point. And within that time too, I would interview agents that do take buyers out and see if they’re qualified to know what you want. Do they have the knowledge and the ability to get you the best
Pete: because you might be thinking, okay, I’m going to concentrate on this zip code or this school district or this area because of these reasons. And they list out the criteria in a, in a conversation with a realtor. And you can say, well, have you also considered this because that checks every single box and you might get more bang for your buck. And there’s also more things that are going to fit in the, uh, your family situation or whatever the individual’s situation is.
Kim: Yes. We’re also in a load of. We’re in a very low inventory market right now, so it’s really, I wish it was as easy as just typing in the information on mls in houses pulling up. We’re having to literally go out there, call agents that specialize in certain areas, CGF, anything new coming on the market, reaching out to just anyone, we know anyone in that neighborhood and really try to shake some, you know, some branches and get some possible possibilities out there for people. And that’s super valuable.
Pete: What sort of rule of thumb from, let’s say a average household income combined income, dual household income. So let’s say $70,000, they have enough money. What is it? Ten percent or 20 board that they have to put down. Now there’s so many products out there.
Kim: Do three, five, 10, 20.
Pete: Okay. If you made $25,000, you could qualify for one point two, $5 million dollar home. And, and you know, because everybody knew nobody was going to pay the mortgage and they were going to take the home back at some point. Right? Remember all those, Oh boy for the bus. But now everything’s. Look, there’s a, there’s so many products that can fit different people, but you got to shop. What’s your, your, your, your payment, what the total cost is, what you’re looking to accomplish. Is it 30, is it 15? And you know, Fha, va, you got all these different programs out there and the adjustable nonadjustable I don’t even know what the heck.
Kim: Oh my gosh, they have something for everybody. But it’s, that’s why it’s so important to pre qualify again because if your credit is not that great, it, it can affect what your interest rate would be. And that could actually push you out of a whole price point of a house.
Pete: Right? That would be a real pain if you do cart before the horse and you’re out how shopping because you think you can qualify for a, you know, a $400,000 mortgage and then you know, there’s a blemish on your credit or there’s an issue here and there and your surprise, you have to put 30 percent down, your interest rate kicks you up another 300 bucks a month and you know, you wasted a lot of time looking at houses and it probably has to be a colossal disappointment, right? You’ve seen that before from time to time. One likes to window shop, right? So, so, so if I’m decided I’m going to buy a house, I have to know what my criteria is. I will number one, I have to get pre qualified to see what my amount is so I can help establish my criteria and then talk to a realtor because, you know, you might have one thing in mind, you might learn some more. Anything else with buying a home?
Kim: I mean actually you could talk to a realtor before you talked to a lender in the fact that they do have a lot of connections with lenders as well. So really, you know, there’s so many options out there. I would definitely say, you know, get the experienced agent first. All the other pieces will fall. Good place.
Pete: You know, Kim, I have a few other questions I want to ask you but you stay with me because right now we have to take a little bit of a break at a news weather update and we’ll be back with Kim Sessions. This is hard workah with Pete the Job Guy.
What is your background in?
Pete: Welcome back hard workers. If you listened to the first half, you’ve, my guest is still here, the world famous Kim Sessions and she is a licensed realtor and I had a few more questions I want to ask Kim. So what grade did you teach when you were a teacher?
Kim: Oh Gosh, come on.
Pete: What grade did you teach? Very interesting educational background. I want to hear it. So my first teaching job was actually at a juvenile facility. I was 22 years old. And um, I got my degree in social psychology, what do you do with that?
Kim: So I got certified in middle school and I was going to save the world, so I drove an hour each way from West Palm. I tied up hooky in the middle of sugarcane fields and taught 13 to 18 year old juvenile delinquents. And it was with the barb wire. Wow. It was, it was big time. I had to be taught self defense. So I did it for two years, realize I couldn’t save the world that day with, with that, but I decided I wanted to do at risk. So I went to elementary. So from then on I did third to fourth elementary and I did at risk. Then I moved here to Jacksonville, did one year here at risk and then, uh, and then decided to try the good old regular fourth grade. And I finished my last three years in Ponte Vedra.
What would you tell 20/21-year-old Kim?
Pete: So this is what I love. And part of the show, you know, the whole show is about your job and careers and no matter what you do. And this year you might not be doing it next year or 10 years from now. Our, our, our careers go through some reinventions in. Ultimately you have to keep going until you find the one that works best for you and your lifestyle and you seem to be right in your wheelhouse. What would you tell 20 or 21 year old Kim. Kim would back in the day. Right? What would you, what would you tell cam back then to look out for maybe a pitfall to avoid or something to help accelerate? What would you just let it go?
Kim: No, you know what? I think the biggest thing of my biggest growth in the last four to five years was I never really had goals. Wrote them down and came up with an attack plan to achieve them. I am actually doing that with my kids now at age nine and 10. If I had that when I was in my twenties, I would have been rocking it early on.
Do you want your kids to be in Real Estate?
Pete: Hindsight’s 20 / 20 so much I would say, you know, here I am present Pete. I’d call up, you know, past Pete and say, dude, do not do x, y, Z, and when you meet Alec Stuckey Years Down, just run for the hills because that guy’s nuts. That’s what I would have told myself would have saved me a lot of heartache and pay the. I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. You know, this is, do you want your kids to grow? It would be in the real estate business.
Kim: Oh, I would love for them to. I highly doubt they will, but you never know.
Pete: You know, my son is, is, is a recruiter and he’s given it hack and I’m real proud of him and he does. He does a good job. I didn’t expect him or encourage him to do that. It just kind of fell into it. Like we all kind of seem to fall into our careers. Let’s see if someone right now. Let’s, let’s do a little bit of a commercial on Kim Sessions. First thing I want to tell you is Kim sold me my house and it wasn’t easy and she helped me negotiate. She helped me throughout the selling process. I live in the isle of Palms area and it checked off every single box that I wanted to read back. Not too long ago there was, there was more inventory, uh, that was out there and I think you showed me 10 or 11 houses that met my criteria, but this was the exact one and I absolutely loved it and II, I would not be in this house if it wasn’t for Kim sessions. I’m just telling you that. So Kim, how can folks get in touch with you and how can they see your inventory of homes that are, uh, that are for sale that you have listed?
Kim: Well, the easiest way would be to go on my website because it’s just easy. Kimsessions.com. I can be reached out that way. You can see not only my listings, but all the listings in northeast Florida. Also, I answer my phone a lot. You can also reach me on Facebook, Instagram. I’m pretty much everywhere. But what is your number? My number is 904-537-8380.
Pete: Okay. Any parting comments, Kim?
Kim: No, I mean if you have any questions whatsoever about real estate, just give me a call. It’s a, it’s a fun and exciting thing and it’s a great adventure for everyone.
Pete: Good. You know, and, and I appreciate you being on. I know you’re busy and the good thing guys, anybody considering a career in real estate, you just heard from Kim, she transitioned, she transitioned well. There are some challenges, right? Because I know, you know from a work-life balance sometimes you’re not as available on certain times and other times you are right. I mean is it, does it work out well between you and your husband?
Kim: Yes, I mean the whole thing is, is trying to control your time and your calendar just like anything anyone could, anything can take over your life. So just trying to put everything in your calendar and just be committed to that gray.
Pete: And that’s Kim Sessions. Kim, I appreciate you being on hard worker, today. You have a great rest of your Sunday and a big week.
Connect with Kim Sessions:
In this episode:
Kim Sessions, Realtor
Kim is a local realtor affiliated with Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners. She comes with over 12 years of experience in the field, finding herself amongst the ranks of the leading agents in the community. In an industry powered by numbers and sales, Kim has forged her own path creating a business model based solely on genuine relationships within the community.
In 2006, Kim began her real estate career, but in 2014 she dug in deep and started an ongoing trend of surpassing her annual goals. Kim’s clients know she is completely hands-on and fully-catering, exceeding any and all expectations. Her keen market analysis skills provide buyers and sellers with insight and statistics incomparable to computer estimates or inflated numbers. If Kim isn’t knowledgeable about a particular area, she does her due diligence in background research by reaching out to other agents and developers with knowledge of the area. Nothing is beneath her if it is for the benefit of the client. Kim also enjoys empowering other Keller Williams agents, and therefore, she is a committee member of the Agent Leadership Council.
Aside from real estate, Kim has a strong family unit at home, and they are the biggest driving force behind her business. She and her husband Jason have been married for 18 years and together they have two kids, Jack (10) and Tori (9). Years ago, as a new mother, Kim wanted to provide opportunities for her children and family and saw real estate as a flexible and rewarding way to do so. The Sessions reside along the Intracoastal Waterway and enjoy spending a lot of their time out on the water. While working full-time and enjoying life with her family makes up most of her daily routine, Kim also finds time for working out (almost every day, actually!) and participating in local groups such as book clubs and community get-togethers. She and Jason have been active members of the Best Buddies organization for many years as well. Those close to Kim joke there must be two of her to be able to accomplish as much as she does in a day!
At the end of the day, Kim strives for happiness and success in both her personal life and business and as of right now, she is achieving that goal and more!