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Distressed homes have met their match

September 18, 2012

When it comes to distressed homes, everybody wants an expert. There’s nothing worse than facing the uncertainty of having your future in someone else’s hands. But if those hands belong to a Certified Distressed Property Expert, such as First Team Ladera Ranch’s SOMMER Myers, you can rest easy.


Sommer Myers

With nine years of real estate experience and a sales volume of more than $40 million, SOMMER is a Certified Distressed Property Expert with the self-motivation and wherewithal to make your real estate experience a success. She is a perfect storm of personality and ability, combining her outgoing and energetic nature with her top producer awards at First Team to get the very best for each of her clients.

Her goals are those of her clients: creating a successful and seamless transition. It’s no wonder her philosophy is “Always help the client. Be consistent. Always be available.” That’s why she loves farming Southern California with First Team.

“First Team offers a fabulous and prominent Ladera Ranch loation,” she said. “The name ‘First Team’ is very well known within our local community. It goes without saying that I truly adore being a part of the First Team family of agents.”

Along with her dedication to her clients, she applies her work ethic to her community, volunteering at women’s charities and hosting special promotions around the holidays, including handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving.

If you’re a distressed homeowner who needs the best expert in your corner, contact SOMMER today at (949) 302-5600 or


Strategy and culture fuel agent success

September 18, 2012

Terry Roark was a successful entrepreneur and business owner before he was a top-producing Hall of Fame agent and branch manager for First Team. As manager for the Laguna Beach office, he counsels agents to think of themselves as strategic professionals rather than just real estate agents. It’s an approach that works – agents are reaching their goals, and the office production is up 75 percent from last year.

According to Terry, the culture of the Laguna Beach office is conducive to success. Describing it as more casual than buttoned up, Terry says the office has the appeal of a boutique office while still offering a friendly, helpful and supportive vibe.

“There’s no door you can’t knock on and say, ‘Hi, can you help me?’” he said. “Everyone’s star rises in tandem with each other and there’s a strong bond amongst the agents, whether they are top producers, seasoned or newer agents.”

Terry considers his role as a strategic partner to agents, stating, “I’m not intrusive, but when an agent needs help, I’m always available.” In addition to one-on-one counseling, Terry also oversees by-invitation-only “Mastermind” mentoring groups where ideas are shared and discussed freely.


Terry Roark, manager of First Team Laguna Beach

“Agents can achieve their goals here, whether it’s increased income or the financial freedom to have free time for other interests,” Terry said.

The office attracts top agents that market Laguna Beach and other areas and enjoys a rich mix of agents, from Hall of Fame-level top producers to those agents just getting started.

“Newer agents find our in-depth training and cooperative spirit a rare combination in offices that serve the high-end market, and all agents appreciate that First Team has the largest market share along with our ability to budget for marketing in a range of mediums – print, online and television,” Terry said. “Bottom line: First Team is a stable company with positive growth – and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

Contact Terry Roark at or call (949) 497-5454.

Not such a “short” sale? Help is on the way!

September 5, 2012

The market for short sales, whereby underwater homeowners sell their homes despite owing more on the mortgage than the property’s value, is expected to hit an all-time high in 2012 because bankers now realize that this option is more profitable than foreclosure. Data from RealtyTrac shows that during the first quarter of this year alone, the number of short sales – 109,521 – was up 25 percent on an annual basis, showing the highest level observed in three years. In some cases, the desire to help move on from underwater, distressed properties is so strong that banks have even begun to offer underwater borrowers large sums of money if they agree to a short sale for their distressed property.

Distressed homeowners believe that the expression “short sale” is a bit of a misnomer, and unfortunately, for the most part, they would be right. While it may seem that a short sale is the answer to a family’s financial nightmare, getting through the process is enough to give anyone bad dreams. All too often, the process is fraught with delays and frustration, and if that isn’t enough, local homeowners and title insurance companies are now being warned about bogus short sale approval letters from Bank of America, one of the nation’s largest short sale processors.

Now, more than ever, consumers need to work with a professional who is experienced in handling all types of real estate transactions and who has been specifically trained in handling short sales. First Team, headquartered in Orange County and serving the Southern California region, is hoping to reach consumers to let them know that First Team agents can handle the intricacies of even the most challenging transactions, and they are taking to the airwaves to do just that.

Did you know First Team can help you with your foreclosure options? Visit today!

The company has just debuted its first series of TV commercials to reach out to consumers and distressed homeowners who may be considering a short sale or who have questions concerning the myriad of new home assistance programs that have sprung up in recent months.

“I believe in educating the consumer through education-based selling – we inform the buyer/seller of all aspects of the sale as well as the current market during the process,” said Cameron Merage, CEO and founder of First Team. “No wonder consumers are confused: There’s an alphabet soup of programs to understand out there, such as UMA (Unemployment Mortgage Assistance), MRAP (Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance), PRP (Principal Reduction), TAP (Transition Assistance) to name just a few. To the uninformed, it’s mind boggling, and to the misinformed, it can be disastrous.”

Not only is First Team reaching out to consumers via their commercials on CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Fox Business News, National Geographic, Hallmark, Golf, Discovery, TNT, ESPN, Fox Sports News, Headline News, ESPN2 and Oxygen as well as through banner ads in the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, Press Enterprise, Irvine World News and Sun News, but they have also designed a resource-heavy, consumer-friendly website ( to help answer some of the questions surrounding the sale or relief of a distressed home.

First Team dominates the Orange County buyer market with more than $4 billion in transaction volume and its agents have sold more than two-and-one-half more homes in Orange County than their nearest competitor. In the past year, First Team agents have helped more than 1,200 families handle the short sale of their home.

Consumers with questions can visit the First Team short sale website or contact their neighborhood First Team agent for answers. For an agent referral, call (714) 557-0771 or visit

Strong training and friendly culture stimulate success

September 4, 2012

Dutch Kleindienst, manager of the First Team Temecula office, has been “in the trenches” so to speak. As a manager who was recently an REO buyer’s agent, and a manager before that, he knows exactly what it takes to be a successful agent. Recruited and coaxed back into a management role by First Team more than a year ago, he now coaches and mentors the 75 agents in the Temecula office.

Dutch is a self-described “hands-on” manager with an open door policy who says he has mastered the art of the “five-minute meeting” – although, he admits his weekly sales meeting runs a little longer! Market updates, legal briefs, coaching and a fun brain-teaser at the end keep the meetings informative and stir the creative juices.

Dutch Kleindienst

Manager of First Team Temecula, Dutch Kleindienst

Dutch credits the ongoing training, strong business coaching and innovative marketing tools as factors that give First Team agents an edge over other agents.

“All companies have agent tools, but First Team goes a step further,” Dutch said. “We teach our agents how to use and maximize the advantage of our unique and proprietary programs. Agents particularly appreciate tools like our exclusive Market Trends™ program that benefits buyers and sellers.”

First Team agents in Temecula show an upward trending sales volume, and Dutch notes that the company’s reputation for professionalism is widely acknowledged along with their quickly growing market share. Attracted by the friendly culture, relevant coaching and upscale office, agents are drawn from San Diego, Orange County, Corona and Moreno Valley. But Dutch cautions, “We won’t hire just anyone – we only welcome true professionals with strong values, sterling ethics and robust integrity.”

To find out if you have what it takes to join this team of professionals, contact or call (951) 699-9080.

Business partner relationship creates success

August 22, 2012

Jennifer Berman tells the agents of the Anaheim Hills First Team office not to call her a manager; she prefers her role to be defined as ‘business partner’.  As such, she believes she can be truly invested in the success of an agent’s business.

Jennifer Berman

A noted technology trainer since 1997 and a real estate licensee for the past 16 years, Jennifer shares a wealth of well rounded experience with her agents. Known for her ‘Mastermind’ group – Jennifer personally selects no more than 10 agents at a time to participate in a six-week training and coaching series that includes a one-on-one follow up. She prides herself on being ‘in tune’ with her agents and she always wants what is best for them, from comfortable surroundings to top technology products and training.

The office is particularly known for its open culture of sharing and helping each other succeed.

“If you come from abundance and are willing to share and help others, and don’t want to be surrounded by cliques, then you’ll fit right in,” Jennifer said. She is proud to note that the agents do most of the talking at the weekly sales meetings as they share their challenges and successes.

A firm advocate of webinars, Jennifer makes training materials easily accessible to agents via agent web services (a proprietary agent marketing tool) so they don’t even need to leave the convenience of their own homes to participate and learn how to grow their business.

Nearly 100 agents call the Anaheim Hills office their home. They proudly embrace new technologies and along with their teamwork, online networking and social media, they create the perfect experience for their clients.

If you would like to be associated with the top independent real estate company in Southern California, contact Jennifer for a confidential interview at (714) 481-3091 or via email at

First Team Short Sale Commercial

August 8, 2012

Beginning Aug. 8, First Team Real Estate of Orange County, Calif., will debut a TV commercial aimed at informing consumers how associates at First Team can help with short sales.

Read more about the commercial as well as the info behind it here:

To learn about your options or to find out how First Team can help you, call (855) 387-9420 or visit

First Team debuts short sale TV commercial

August 8, 2012

There are signs of a housing recovery in Orange County and other Southland markets. Sales are inching up, MLS inventory is down and while overall distressed sales are dropping, there is a rising share of short sales in the market place. According to figures recently published in The Orange County Register, distressed homes currently sell 3.6-times faster than non-distressed homes and 62-percent of distressed listings are short sales.

The First Team short sale commercial begins airing Aug. 8

In the First Team commercial that begins airing Aug. 8, two homeowners discuss the difference between a short sale and foreclosure as well as additional options for their homes.

Handling a short sale expeditiously has until recently been a challenge and one that only the most experienced of real estate agents have been able to handle with any level of success. Patience and expertise has been the name of the game for both buyers anxious to buy a property listed as a short sale and also those wishing to short sell their home. But help has arrived; since June 15, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has required both agencies to give short-sale buyers a final decision within 60 days. Additionally, Fannie and Freddie must also respond to initial requests for a short sale within 30 days of receiving the buyer’s submission.

Beginning Aug. 8, First Team will debut a TV commercial aimed at informing consumers how associates at First Team can help with short sales. According to First Team CEO and Founder Cameron Merage, there are a lot of positive reasons to consider a short sale, but there is also the potential for a lot of frustration and disappointment if a knowledgeable and specifically trained agent is not used to facilitate the transaction.

In a short sale, a lender agrees to accept less than the balance on a mortgage. For many owners of a distressed property, a short sale is the preferred alternative to a foreclosure situation.

“A short sale impacts a credit score for up to two years, while a foreclosure could take as long as five to seven years to clear a credit report. Short sellers may qualify for a home loan in only two years, and they may have the possibility of relocation expenses,” Cameron said. “After a foreclosure, an FHA loan is not available for at least three years. There’s a lot to a transaction involving a short sale, and the savvy consumer would be wise to seek expert help.”

Visit for more info!

Set at a community barbecue, the commercial will address those questions and concerns of the average homeowner about the housing market.

First Team – long since acknowledged as an industry innovator and as a brokerage that steps out of the pack – is once again rising above the competition. While most brokerages are dialing down their marketing and advertising, First Team is the only Orange County-based real estate brokerage to expand their advertising to reach and educate consumers via TV commercials.

“We want to reach consumers to let them know that First Team agents are superbly trained,” Cameron said. “There are a lot of uninformed consumers when it comes to the details surrounding a short sale transaction – they need to have access to agents who can handle all the intricacies of even the most challenging transactions.” First Team dominates the Orange County Buyer Market with over $4 billion in transaction volume, and First Team agents have sold over two-and-a-half more homes in Orange County as the nearest competitor.

Cameron is a strong advocate for education of both First Team agents and consumers.

“I believe in education-based selling – we inform the buyer or seller of all aspects of the sale as well as the current market during the process,” he said.

To find a short sale expert in your neighborhood, contact (855) 798-1507 or visit

To watch the commercial, click here!

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