Tracy Cousineau 0:00
I think it all has to do with mindset. You know, I know where my mindset was during 911. And I know where my mindset was during the Great Recession. I know where my mindset is now. So I didn’t feel anything during 911. I had a bad, bad negative mindset during the Great Recession because I allowed noise to interfere with that. And then when we hit COVID, my goal was how do I serve others? How do I show up? How do I keep helping the community, buy and sell real estate? That’s what my goal is. And so I showed up in a different way that I did during the Great Recession and it it was huge.
Welcome to CRE PN Radio for influential commercial real estate professionals who work with investors, buyers and sellers of commercial real estate coast to coast whether you’re an investor, broker, lender, property manager, attorney or accountant We are here to learn from the experts.
J Darrin Gross 0:55
Welcome to Commercial Real Estate Pro Networks, CRE PN Radio. Thanks for joining us. My name is J. Darrin Gross. This is the podcast focused on commercial real estate investment and risk management strategies. Weekly we have conversations with commercial real estate investors and professionals who provide their experience and insight to help you grow your real estate portfolio.
Today, my guest is Tracy Cousineau. Tracy is a powerhouse real estate entrepreneur, and business coach. She is a co founder of the number one real estate team in the Atlanta metro area. Ranked number 12 is the fastest growing company in Georgia by Inc magazine, and a real estate agent coach. And in just a minute, we’re going to speak with Tracy about creating wealth through real estate, and how to avoid certain mindset pitfalls.
But first, a quick reminder, if you like our show, CRE PN Radio, there are a couple of things you can do to help. You can like, share and subscribe. And as always, please because please consider leaving a comment. We’d love to hear from our listeners. Also, if you’d like to see how attractive our guests are, be sure to check out our YouTube channel. And you can find us on youtube at Commercial Real Estate Pro Network. While you’re there, please consider subscribing. With that, I want to welcome my guest. Tracy, welcome to CRE PN Radio.
Tracy Cousineau 2:31
Hey, thanks for having me today.
J Darrin Gross 2:34
Well, hey to you, and so glad you are able to join us. Before we get going if you could share with listeners, just a little bit about your background.
Tracy Cousineau 2:45
Yes, so I started in property management in 1989. And 10 years later, in 1999. I got my real estate license and full force to get my $12,000 in my 401k and hit the pavement running full time in real estate. I’m young in my mid 20s and didn’t know what I didn’t know at the time. But I’ve learned a lot along the way in the last 21 years. So I figured at the time. If I could lease apartments I sure could sell some houses.
J Darrin Gross 3:22
Okay. And are you a native from Atlanta or is that your your home?
Tracy Cousineau 3:27
This is home? I was born in upstate New York.
J Darrin Gross 3:31
Okay. Okay. In in Atlanta. You’ve been doing your as your real estate career been been based in Atlanta?
Tracy Cousineau 3:42
Yes. So I moved to the Atlanta area in 1980.
J Darrin Gross 3:44
Okay, gotcha. And tell me a little bit about just the marketplace. In Atlanta. Are you mean I? I’ve heard it just on fire, lots of growth. Can you speak to a little bit of that? Yeah, it’s
Tracy Cousineau 4:02
We’re definitely busy. Right now our production is at 42% from last year, even during the pandemic, you know, we were we’ve pivoted where we need to, we’ve shown up in the community where we need to our team, we cover 12 counties in metro Atlanta, so we have a very wide range, hours from one section to the next. to get from point A to point z would be hours worth of drives. So we cover a lot of ground in metro Atlanta, we feel that if we don’t get to, then maybe they might not have the best experience that they need to in the industry. So the more people that we can serve. We know that we provide a great client experience and have the certifications have negotiations and can get them the most money for their investment. So we always try to get to as many people in our community that we can.
J Darrin Gross 5:00
Yatra in, in specific to the just the the Atlanta area in the time that you’ve been working in real estate, has the growth been steady? Or is it a more recent phenomena?
Tracy Cousineau 5:15
No. So this is my third recession, if you want to call it since I’ve been in the business and the market is down about 35%, for the most part, metro Atlanta, we just again showed up to serve our community and where we needed to to provide for sellers and for buyers on, you know, the American dream. So, um, you know, the market is declining here, and they’re in different parts of Metro Atlanta, but things are selling, if you know how to make the best first impression to get the property sold for them.
J Darrin Gross 5:46
When you say down 35% of your referring to sales listing price or whatever, yeah, well, the
Tracy Cousineau 5:51
MLS is down by the amount of listings, a number of listings.
J Darrin Gross 5:56
Okay. Gotcha. Are the prices holding firm year over year, month over month kind of thing?
Tracy Cousineau 6:06
Yeah, I mean, there’s been a, you know, in some areas, you might see a little decline, but I haven’t seen anything major. And, you know, the homes that have what everybody’s looking for right now, you know, the pools, the extra home office, The finished basement, the resort style, style, backyards, those homes are selling really, really fast, because it’s supply and demand, people are working from home, kids are digital learning. So people are looking for specifics and properties. So those homes are going to sell a lot faster. And they’re going to have multiple offers, which are going to raise the price for the seller. You know, homes that are older that are not updated. People don’t want projects right now. So those might stagger a little bit longer, or they might have more of a reduction, depending on the price point.
J Darrin Gross 6:49
Gotcha. And that the the home buyer versus the investor? Is there? Do you see a lot of investors trying to get into the single family? Or is it more end user can the homeowner?
Tracy Cousineau 7:08
Well, I think we’ve got both right now, especially with some some on we’re going to territory right now that we just don’t know what’s going to happen, you know, you hear some talk about oh, we’re about to hit something, it might, you know, people think November December and then you have people Oh, by February, you’re going to start to see something but for me I’m looking more at I’m starting to get more calls on short sales, or people not being able to make their payments, because they’ve, they’ve lost their jobs or in COVID or they’ve deferred payments as far as they can with a mortgage company. And they you know, a lot of mortgage companies want that defer deferred payment back, you know, in a balloon payment after the different periods over so, you know, you’ve got some people just depending on their financial situation right now, because of the pandemic for this year. But, um, you know, loan modifications are coming due to a lot of people did an IOU at the end of a 10 year loan modification. So you’re starting to see a lot of that hit also that they’ve got a balloon payment due or they need to refinance. And maybe now they don’t have a job because of COVID, or, you know, something. So there’s a lot of different stuff going on, unfortunately COVID’s caused a lot of divorce situations that we’ve seen as well. And so it really depends on the situation, if it’s a great deal for an investor, I think the times are starting to come, that there’ll be some investor deals that that, you know, investors will want to start keeping their their eyes and ears open.
J Darrin Gross 8:40
No, I appreciate you sharing that, because I think that, you know, depending on what you’re watching, or however the The news is painting it or whatever the winds of blow, it can be kind of a foggy, kind of a sense of what’s going on. But I think there’s there’s been a kind of a sense that these things are coming. But, you know, I don’t know that I’ve talked to too many people that have seen them actually materialize.
Tracy Cousineau 9:11
Now. And it’s I think it all has to do with mindset. You know, I know where my mindset was during 911. And I know where my mindset was during the Great Recession. I know where my mindset is now. So I didn’t feel anything during 911. I had a bad, bad negative mindset during the Great Recession because I allowed noise to interfere with that. And then when we hit COVID, my goal was how do I serve others? How do I show up? How do I keep helping the community, buy and sell real estate? That’s what my goal is. And so I showed up in a different way that I did during the Great Recession in it. It was huge.
J Darrin Gross 9:49
Sure. No, I was kind of curious to know more about just the you mentioned that there are some of the you’re starting to see the the people asking about short sales. Kind of The cumulative effect of having taken a deferral and now the money’s due and, and perhaps the job isn’t there anymore, is that anything you feel like growing or is that just kind of random calls right now?
Tracy Cousineau 10:18
Honestly, I hate to say either way, but my opinion, if that counts, the amount of calls that we are getting our, we’re hoping that they have enough equity right now. And we’re just educating them the best that we can, you know, this is what we can sell it for. Now, you know, in six months, we don’t know. So this is what you know, if you want to make a decision today, this is what we know, we can sell your property for, but we can’t, we don’t know where it’s going to be in six months. If right now you’re not in a short sales, short sales status. And I suggest that if this is your financial, financial situation, that we go ahead and make that move now, so that you can pull out the equity that you need to before you’re completely upside down. And so each house is going to be different. And each situation I find is different with every house that we go to, to sell. And it’s really just educating the consumer and really giving them their options. My goal is to always put more equity in somebody’s pocket and take it from them. So you know, I want to bring everything that I can
J Darrin Gross 11:18
I appreciate that. Tracy, I was looking on Google before or preparing for this call. And so and I was just gonna ask you, it looks like you’re into a lot of things. beyond just being a real estate broker. Are you did I see, you’re also a host of a TV show. And own a retail store, you looks like you’re quite the entrepreneur there.
Tracy Cousineau 11:46
Yeah. So I, I’m on a TV show called The American Dream. I’m also working on a production of my own TV show called For Sale In The City. And so, you know, just hosting a TV show for Atlanta real estate, and, you know, and the community. So that’s in the works, launching a new book, and then have a cobook with my my partner that we’re putting together for real estate, I have a clothing store, it’s a women’s clothing store, I have a women’s group called Women’s Elevation that I help female entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Um, I have a, we have a call center. So we have an inside sales department as well. And I’m trying to think what else we my mind doesn’t shut up. So I just keep going.
J Darrin Gross 12:38
No, I saw it and it looked like a quite a prolific list of accomplishments and, and, you know, investments, or at least look like you’re you’re you had multiple, you know, pots on the stove there. So to say. So, that’s good.
Tracy Cousineau 12:56
Don’t always put your eggs in one basket is what I learned during the Great Recession.
J Darrin Gross 13:01
That’s, that’s good. That’s good. Let me ask you mentioned a little bit about the the changing times, and this is your third recession. As a real estate broker, you kind of have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the marketplace. And and I would assume have a much better feel for when something is priced. More competitively than not. One of the things that I I’ve kind of been amused by sometimes and it’s not right or wrong, it was kind of curious, as a real estate investor myself. I’m always kind of curious about real estate brokers, and whether or not they invest. And just if you can speak to that a little bit, do you do any investing.
Tracy Cousineau 13:52
So I did prior I did during the beginning of the 2000s. I am just now getting into looking at portfolios because we, you know, we have ran in the past and guaranteed sales program. And we have found great rentals for other people. So now is just looking at the opportunity. Our goal was also to look, you know, in the Florida area as well and see now would be the time to pick up those kind of condos and stuff. So I see that since we do get so many calls and we are on radio and TV, then I just see that come fall and winter, there might be more options. And so I haven’t been coming out of the Great Recession because the market just kept going like this. I lost everything during the Great Recession. So I didn’t have any income or credit to be able to do any investing and pick up what I needed to do during that time. So for now I look at it is if I can make investments and I can purchase other properties. I can use those for rental properties for people that may have to sell their property now. And need a place to go to. And so for me to find other properties at a discount would make sense because I’m going to help other people that need to move into the rental market.
J Darrin Gross 15:13
Right no, I think that sometimes it’s thought of is that the investor is, you know, stealing something or something like that. But the reality is there’s usually two, two parties to the deal. Yeah. You know, and it’s try make it a win win.
Tracy Cousineau 15:28
Yeah, I just, you know, I would hate for anybody to lose, not only do they lose their house when you when it’s in a foreclosure, but they also really hurt their credit by doing it that way. So if you can find a way to work it out, without them hurting their credit, and not having to sell their property on the courthouse steps is always a great investment for all parties.
J Darrin Gross 15:47
Right? So let’s talk a little bit about creating wealth in real estate. What are what are some of your thoughts on on how one can create wealth in real estate?
Tracy Cousineau 16:01
Well, definitely right now, the rental market is huge. And so you know, having if you’ve got a property that you are considering selling, but you don’t need to sell it to purchase another property, I would always, you know, take a look at what is the rental market look like in that in that district? You know, what is my return on that? Do I, you know, can I maintain that house, you know, what is the size of the house and maintain my house. So when you start in that investment cycle, those are the first questions that I always ask, especially when as a seller that’s never had anything to do with rental property, investment property is hidden, let me look at this. Or if you want to flip a property, I prefer to flip property, I think versus renting property, because you can fix it to how it needs to be fixed, pull the equity that you need to when you sell it, as long as you’re making it a trend. You know, during the Great Recession, those you know, people were there were hiding mold, and they were hiding all sorts of problems inside houses. And for me, I don’t like that type of investment. If you’re going to pick up a property, in my opinion, fix it to the way that it needs to be fixed. And don’t leave the buyer behind with stuff that needs to be fixed later. Because I walk into that all the time as a real estate broker, because now they need to sell it because now they hate the house because they bought it from an investor who, you know, took a lot of shortcuts just to put money in their own pocket. So I always say if you’re going to invest into real estate, and you’re doing it for a flip reason, please do it the right way. Because at the end of the day, it just your character shows from that. So that’s really huge, because I see it all the time. And it really stinks to see that I’ve got some buyer their first house right now. And two weeks after they moved into their first house in their early 20s. There’s about $200,000 worth of water damage, because an investor fixed a pipe in the wall, but failed to crimp it. And so water just exploded everywhere in the house while they’re at work. And so it ran water throughout their house and did $200,000 worth of damage to their property. And so they don’t like their house so much anymore. You know, this was their first house and this is where they’re going to begin to make their memories and now they’re left with a watering mess that they have to fix. So, you know, I’m just putting that out there. Because, you know, when we look at investment, if it’s not something that you that you do on a daily basis, always educate yourself on how to be the best investor.
J Darrin Gross 18:30
Sure, with that, you talked about the the investor that’s not doing the thorough job and I mean, water, water mess is a mess.
Tracy Cousineau 18:40
Yeah, water will rot your world is what I say.
J Darrin Gross 18:42
Yeah, that’s good. What what are some steps or some ideas to help avoid that and also even just kind of mindset, pitfalls.
Tracy Cousineau 18:56
Yeah, you know, go into it with what your what is the end goal, you know, if you’re doing it for a rental, I think that’s great people need rentals, long term, just make sure that it’s something that you can maintain when things fall apart, etc. And that you have a Rolodex of vendors that are going to show up when they need to show up because that’s huge in the rental market. If you’re using it for a flip you know work well if it’s not something that you’re you have a trade for and you don’t really know how to to fix whatever needs to be fixed, electrical, you know, plumbing or whatever, you hire the professional to do it the right way so that you’re not left being, you know, sued later for something that wasn’t done right or disclosed. So I always say full disclosure on stuff, um, and to make sure that you find the right contractors that you’re working with.
J Darrin Gross 19:45
Gotcha. I’m looking down my list of things here. Can you describe some of the typical issues you’re you’re run into right now in this marketplace.
Tracy Cousineau 20:02
really is just educating again, sellers that you can’t just wake up and say, that’s what I want to sell my house for. And it’s really, you know, showing them what the true what an appraisal is going to come back out for the value of their home and making sure that they understand. And I won’t over list a property because it’s my job not to over list a property, it’s to get maximize their, their price for them. But if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and to be a a bold enough person to say, Hey, I’m not gonna set you up for failure and list your home at 800, when I know that it’s only gonna sell for 750, you know, and then help educate on a lot of people have the mindset that if I listed 800, I’ll take 750, well, that 800 buyer is probably looking from 800 to 850. So you already lost them at that 750 mark. But then when you have to reduce it to the right price that it should have been at, you’ve already lost basically, so much traffic, because your best traffic comes in the first few weeks of listing your property. And now people are gonna wonder what they have been on the market this long. And they’ve already had to reduce what’s wrong with the property. So you set yourself up for failure, if you don’t list your property at reasonably, what it needs to be listed somewhere around. So that’s always a risk, especially now, right now, you know, it’s, we don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m going with the mindset that we’re just going to keep killing it like we are, and the markets just gonna keep going. And that’s just the positivity that we just keep going with. And we’re I mean, are selling homes or sell multiple homes every single day. So we just keep going with that mindset, and we’ll keep the economy going as much as we can in metro Atlanta.
J Darrin Gross 21:51
No, that’s, that’s good. What are the kind of the range of prices that you’re seeing right now? And what’s Uh, what’s the median price?
Tracy Cousineau 22:00
Yeah, you know, our average sales price in our office is around that 325 350 mark. And I believe that for metro Atlanta is probably that 285 300 Mark, anything under 300 sells overnight still. And that’s just that first time homebuyer and that downsize price point for now, in this area, but you know, we’re closing million and $2 million sales. So, you know, we’re not, we’re not feeling anything. So I’m going to, you know, keep going with that positivity. I’m working on a case study today and tomorrow. So have to get back with you on this one. But I want to pull the last 30 to 60 days worth of appraisals that we have from our listings and buys. And look and see because I noticed that on an appraisal I was looking at yesterday morning, the appraiser put in this particular area that he’s beginning to see and decline decline decline was three areas on the appraisal that he had seen of the market in this one area in this area is a pretty happening area in Marietta. And the price point was, was only like low to hundreds. And I’m thinking, hmm, where did he get that data from? I need to go find this because I can’t imagine that that area has a declining market. That doesn’t make sense to me. So I’m like, What if they’re, how many appraisals are they doing? And what are they saying? So I need to go back and research that and look and see what where he pulled his numbers from. But then I’m like, ooh, let me go look at a bunch of appraisals so that I can see is this a trend? Or is it just this one appraisal?
J Darrin Gross 23:37
Right. Now, I think the thing always in residential real estate is, you know, whatever the neighbors or the homes around you are selling for is kind of a benchmark. I mean, that’s a reference point, right? When Yep, when they’re doing the comparisons,
Tracy Cousineau 23:55
You know, it’s apples to apples, and then you take off the oranges.
J Darrin Gross 24:03
Got it? Hey Tracy, if we could, I’d like to shift gears here for a second. By day, I’m an insurance broker and as such work with my clients to do some risk management. And there’s three different strategies we typically look at. The first is can we avoid the risk? If we can’t avoid it, then we look to see if we can minimize the risk. And when we can’t avoid or minimize, we look to transfer the risk. And that’s what an insurance policy is. And I like to ask my guests if they can take a look at their situation their their business, their clients. You know, however you want to frame this. And I like to ask them to consider what or identify what they consider to be the biggest risk. And for clarity I’m not looking for an insurance related answer. But if you’re willing, I’d like to ask you, Tracy, Cousineau, what is the biggest risk?
Tracy Cousineau 25:13
You know, I’m gonna go for the our client sakes and customers are, you know, buyers and sellers is if you’re a buyer, and you need to have a hunt, you need to have an inspection, you need to know, if there are any issues with the property, you need to make sure that you hire a home inspector that has all the credentials, that they’re that they are checking everything for you and that they’re not missing stuff. radon is a huge thing in Georgia, because there’s lots of rock. And so you know, if you always have a radon test, and then always check for termites, homes in metro Atlanta, they’ve either had them or they will have them. So those are always three things. Because all three of those things could cause a risk to your insurance. Radon, there’s lots of issues that could cause it, but in my opinion, if somebody comes to your house all the time, and they’re stuck in an in an area of your home that has radon, this could cause a health issue for them, which will then go back to your insurance, possibly, or if you move into a buyer moves into a house, and they didn’t have a home inspection, and let’s say that it flooded or it caught on fire, because something was missed, there was some electrical issues in the panel box or whatever, you know, those are all risk and when they close, that’s their risk. And they’re you know, and their insurance that have to go back and find out where the problem came from and where it was from. And, you know, vacant homes as well. So with sellers with vacant homes, it’s you better make sure you add on that protection that you let your insurance company, you know, know that your policy needs to stay that your property is now vacant. Because there are many things that can happen we had a vacant property and we got a call in the middle of the night that it was on fire, and the house was burnt down. So or you can have an intruder you know, mess with it. You know, there’s just so many different things that you always you know, personally for me, and my personal situation is we’re putting in a pool. So it’s like, Okay, I need to make sure that I’m adding the pool that I’m adding the fence and you know, we are always looking at what could go wrong in this situation and then figure out okay, how can I make it? How am I less liable for it if I if I take the right steps to clear it. So I always think about what’s the end goal and make sure that anything in between the end goal doesn’t you know, I didn’t miss
J Darrin Gross 27:49
Well, it’s good. I appreciate all the the insurance reference because that’s I mean you speak the truth A lot of people don’t always think of those things and those are definitely some issues especially the vacancy and the change in exposure. Appreciate that. Tracy Where can the listeners go if they would like to learn more or connect?
Tracy Cousineau 28:11
You can find me on Facebook at Tracy Cousineau Connect, and you can find me on Instagram at Tracy.Cousineau or you can find me on LinkedIn at Tracy Cousineau.
J Darrin Gross 28:23
Got it. Tracy, I can’t say thanks enough for taking the time to talk. I’ve enjoyed it. learned a lot. And I look forward to doing it again soon.
Tracy Cousineau 28:33
Yeah, I would love that. Thanks for having me today.
J Darrin Gross 28:36
All right. For our listeners. If you liked this episode, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. Remember, the more you know, the more you grow? That’s all we’ve got this week. Until next time, thanks for listening to Commercial Real Estate Pro Networks. CRE PN Radio.
You’re listening to CRE PN Radio for influential commercial real estate professionals. For more information on this or any of our guests like us on Facebook CRE PN Radio.