February 20, 2017

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Get Off the Hamster Wheel

YPN Lounge - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 18:40

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

What were your sales goals last year?
I… I didn’t have any.

Were you happy with your sales results?
No, I wanted to sell more!

What are your sales goals this year?
I… I don’t have any.

How are you going to have a better sales year?
I’m so frustrated because I just don’t know!

It breaks my heart when I meet some real estate sales professionals for the first time, and this is how our conversation goes.

Most agents are selling to earn a living — to fund their children’s education, care for ailing parents, have a roof over their head, or perhaps to find financial freedom from crippling medical debt. Yet, too often I see folks busy with little or no results. I call it “losing the hamster wheel race.” This happens when you do the same business activities day in and day out with no movement. Sure, these activities keep you busy and give the illusion that you’re making strides. However, in reality, you are in the same place even after a flurry of work. If this describes you or someone on your team, know there is no shame because today can be the start of your new year.

Then there’s the “sales spaghetti method.” Do you remember that old way to test whether or not spaghetti is ready to eat? You’d throw it against the wall to see if it sticks. And it worked…for spaghetti. However, in real estate sales — where each new sales method, tech tool, or system may have a massive price — trying to see what “sticks” can destroy your effectiveness, energy, confidence, and wallet.

If you are not seeing your desired productivity, I want to encourage you to start fresh today with a plan that can salvage the rest of the year. To help, I want to offer you an exclusive item used in my one-on-one and group training sessions. Feel free to download a complimentary copy of my planning worksheet: Plan to Win the Year. It will walk you through goal-setting, identifying your strengths, connecting with your sphere, and tracking your leads.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate broker and business doctoral candidate who trains agents and brokerages on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Lee

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 21:22

Well, I always tell my clients that have animals mounted and displayed in their homes to make sure that they are dead first. Seriously, it really depends on the area and type of home that you are marketing (and if it has acreage on which to hunt). The “dead animals thing” is an over generalization. I often use photos in my marketing and it works.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Dave

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 20:58

Well, that was a waste of time…..dead animal parts. Really, come on man!

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Susan

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 14:43

I respectfully disagree. If people are so offended by a bottle of wine that it will turn them off to a house, they may be living in the wrong place. I may not put out a bottle of wine in my home state of Texas, where there are lots of Southern Baptists, but I certainly will in the state where I now reside, where folks seem to *really* love their wine. I agree that wine in the bathroom is just tacky unless you are specifically going for that feel (no pun intended!).

Dead animal parts. I agree that animal heads, skulls and stuffed animals are never appropriate. Most fur is faux, and it is often very hard to distinguish real from fake. Fake animal fur is almost perpetually in style and can lend a warm and cosy feel that few other materials can match. In a mostly monochromatic room it adds a wonderful bit of texture as well.

As far as the word art, that is a very popular way to decorate now and really speaks to the under 40 crowd in particular. It fits right in with hardwood floors and grey or greige color schemes. As an agent, I keep a few on hand for homes I am selling to add a nice warmth and to send a subtle message. A couple of my favorites say, “Home Sweet Home” and “Home Is Wherever I Am with You.” I love to study how our brains work, and such things as word art really can have an impact on our subconscious. I put motivational signs in my kids’ bathroom in hopes that they will read and internalize it as they are brushing their teeth, or yes, even going to the bathroom. They certainly won’t do affirmations on their own (again, very powerful!) but reading them is almost as good.

With the tipis, it really depends on your market. Here where Native Americans make up 0.1% of the population or less, it probably wouldn’t be an issue. In New Mexico or Arizona I would definitely reconsider. Though personally I think it shrinks the space. If the corner needed anything (doubtful, and certainly not in the article’s picture), a child-sized reading chair would be more visually pleasing.

I guess it all boils down to knowing your market. But to be honest, I feel that most of the things you mentioned are either neutral or positively perceived in many markets.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Jacqueline Balcells

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 13:49

Relax… take a breath…. don’t be offended by everything you see or you’ll give yourself a heart attack!

Comment on How to Use a Sectional Sofa to Solve a Staging Dilemma on a Limited Budget by Sunil Saharan

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 06:10

Sectional sofas offer the perfect solution for your living room and these type of sofas sets are never go out of style. Even look amazing at your house and comes in various designs and layouts. Some sectional sofa sets are divided into sections and used separately.

The Heart of the Remodel

Weekly Book Scan - Fri, 01/27/2017 - 16:31

At the International Builders’ Show earlier this month, I was lucky enough to meet up with Mina Starsiak at the Owens Corning booth on the expo floor. Starsiak—a licensed real estate pro and REALTOR®—and her real estate attorney mother, Karen E. Laine, have been rehabbing and selling homes in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis since 2007. The two recently caught the attention of HGTV, which enlisted them for the upcoming television series, Good Bones.

We talked about family dynamics in real estate, the teardown trend, being bold with remodeling choices, and more. Here’s an edited excerpt of our chat.

What’s it like working with your mom on these houses?

I’m definitely the business end of the partnership and my mom is kind of the dreamer. She’s the one always wanting to do spray-foam installation—which now is standard in all our houses—solar panels, channel glass, and she’s the one who found the colored shingles. She’s the one who really dreams everything up and I make sure that we can get it executed, business wise. So the first time we sold one of our houses and paid someone else commission, I was like, “I can do that too.”

It sounds like your guys’ dynamic is pretty different from how we would imagine a traditional mother/daughter relationship working!

Yeah, it probably is, very much so. I always joke with her whenever we come to these shows that she needs to be hooked to one of those backpacks that they make look like little stuffed animals, but that are actually leashes for little kids [laughs]. She’s so sad she couldn’t make it here, because the home shows are her happy place. She just wanders in to the booths and says “Let’s do this, let’s do that,” no matter how expensive it is. And then I’m like, “OK, we’ll talk about it.”

Tell me a bit about how you guys make your mark but still try to integrate your rehabs to your little pocket of Indianapolis.

Initially we didn’t even realize that we were doing anything special. We paint our houses funkier, different, bold colors. We use different tiles and tried to use color inside, and in different ways. And that fits with Fountain Square; it’s urban, it’s a little funky. We’re not really into that super modern style that’s really boxy. That’s not really what we go for. Most of the houses that we fix up don’t have a lot left to salvage, so we try to choose items we can bring back to life to help the homes stay consistent with the nature of the neighborhood and the block. We even think that through with the color choices outside. We’ll look at the five houses on either side and that goes into the question of, “OK, what color are we going to do here? Well, there are no blue houses on this block so let’s put a shade of blue in that pops.”

We stick in the same little area. We could make a lot more money if we jumped around the city. But we both live next to each other. When we moved in, our block had no fixed-up houses. And now there are only two that aren’t renovated! Our little area has changed pretty significantly, and not just because of us. It’s also other people who are doing similar stuff and it’s completely changed and it’s really cool. We are selling homes to people who are our neighbors.

With some of these really old, run-down homes, is there ever a temptation to just tear it down and start over?

Oh yeah. A lot of the homes we do, people—even our subcontractors—will say, “We should’ve torn it down and built new!” That’s how bad some of the properties are. The problem is, if you tear down and start new there’s nothing to draw your inspiration from. My mom comes at it more from a feeling prospective, and she says you have to have something there to work with. It’s not that the past defines the remodel, but it informs the resident’s decisions in the house.

If it’s a blank slate, for me, it’s almost too many options. I’m the one who does the start of the floor plan. We’ve built two new-construction houses and they were the hardest floor plans I ever did because there’s nothing to start from. When I have a foundation I’m like, “Okay it’s kind of a math equation. I can do this, this, and this. I need a bathroom…” and it just happens.

Even if the financially smarter decision is to tear down and build new, it just doesn’t feel like there’s as much heart in it.

Do you have any advice for people who are rehabbing houses and making bold choices—whether in terms of color and style or avoiding the teardown trend—where subcontractors and others are trying to talk them out of it?

The biggest hurdle is knowing your options. It’s tricky. In general, construction is a man’s world. But my advice would be to just ignore that. Say what you want. Do your research and know what you’re talking about. You can’t come into a conversation and represent your own ideas, thoughts, opinions, and feelings if you don’t know what they are or if you haven’t taken the time to figure it out. Just being informed so you can go in feeling comfortable with what you’re asking your contractor to do.

More from the Builders' Show:

5 Home Design Needs for Your Boomer Clients

Hot New-Home Trends to Watch

The New American Home Tour

Sales Doesn’t Equal Service

The Heart of the Remodel

Comment on How to Reinvent a Room to Attract Buyers by Karen Hernandez

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 14:52

I loved your articles with so much ideas. My home is small and I love been able to use your ideas. My recent purchase is in East Los Angeles with a great realtor Gabriel Reyes

Comment on How to Choose the Right Paint Color by Karen Hernandez

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 01/24/2017 - 15:26

Enjoyed the article and getting ideas to use on my home that I recently purchased with Gabriel Reyes in East Los Angeles.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Rachel

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 01/24/2017 - 14:15

Let’s be honest, all stagers would love to use high end furnishings and accessories, however the client’s budget doesn’t allow for this in many cases. That being said, using an air mattress is a great alternative and keeps the client within their allowed budget. In my experience, I have NEVER had a client complain about the use of an air mattress.

One other point, I don’t think the word art is going to be the reason for not buying the pink bathroom home…

Comment on The Number One Design Style for 2017 Is … by Diane

Styled, Staged & Sold - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 20:04

So glad to get away from Black.

Resolve to Stop Losing Listings

YPN Lounge - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 08:05

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

Listing Leader — Is this title on your New Year’s resolution list? How about on your business plan for this year? I’m here to tell you, that you can make it happen. Here are four considerations to help, but only if you’re willing to subscribe to the notion of “out with the old, in with the new.”

Out With the Old: Doing the Same Thing But Expecting Different Results

Are you frustrated with the number of listings you win? Are you really? I ask again because my next question will be very telling: Have you changed or improved your presentation after each failed listing appointment? If you say “no,” or “not often enough,” you may have fallen victim to what I call the “hamster wheel chase.” You do the same things when connecting with sellers, expecting to end up with different results. The first step is to improvement your listing appointments, and really, any area of life. Then, debrief with yourself (or team) after each listing appointment, good and bad.

@Goumbik, 2017.

In With the New: Reflection Time

These questions will guide you through refining your listing presentations. Feel free to add on to them.

1. What do you typically include in your listing presentations?
2. Does your presentation include strong answers for typical objections (including your rationale for your pricing strategy and commission)?
3. Have there been points where you could tell the seller was “checking out”? Think back to presentation points when you noticed the seller was fidgety, distracted by their phone or surroundings, eyes glazed over, yawning, etc.
4. What do you think is needed for a captivating presentation?
5. How much time do you think it takes to make a good impression with each seller?
6. Is its current format, is the look and feel of your presentation memorable?
7. What changes can you make to be more memorable? Do you need to find help to achieve this?

Out With the Old: Not Differentiating Your Listings’ Marketing Plan From Others

Sadly, many people think all a residential real estate salesperson does is snap a few photos for online sites and put a lawn sign in the yard. Even greater is the tragedy that this is, in fact, all some salespeople do. Yikes! But this creates a great opportunity for you to stand apart.

In With the New: Reflection Time

These questions will help you analyze your current marketing strategy and ways you can make improvements.

1. How do you promote your listings (including the resources offered by your realty firm)? How does this meet the needs of a seller?
2. Do you have a visual tool (i.e. a visual map in your listing presentation, etc.) that amplifies your marketing strategy without giving away the “secret sauce”? The “secret sauce” is how you market (that’s your trade secret – do not share this!) rather than what you use to market. When you give away the “secret sauce” the next logical step is you will not be needed.
3. How else can you express the intricacies of your marketing to sellers (again without giving away the “secret sauce”)?
4. Have you included glowing, five-star testimonies in your presentation that speak to your marketing prowess? If you’re a new agent, use reviews from your team or firm. What additional resources can you add that speak about who you are?

Out With the Old: Not Asking for a Decision Until You Receive One

You wait a few days to give the seller time to think.  You call back and hear, “I thought your presentation was great, and you’re my second choice, but I have listed my home with…”

What the what?!

You calmly respond, “No problem, feel free to call me if it doesn’t work out,” never to hear from that seller again.

When I coach agents who are superstars at all of the above, we often find they just do not ask for a decision AND follow-up. Two, three, four days go by without a peep from the home seller — OR from you. That allows Sally Sales-A-Lot to swoop in and win the listing instead of you. It’s time for you to change that.

In With the New! Reflection Time

1. If the seller is not ready to commit during the listing presentation, do you immediately schedule a time to follow-up? Hint, hint: You should! This simple step can often be the difference in winning the listing or not.
2. Do you know the seller’s timeframe to list and sell? Once you have this information, mark on your calendar D-day so that you give yourself a deadline for following up within the timeframe that they are open to entertaining salespeople.
3. Have you asked sellers how and when they prefer communication?
4. Are you using an app or software system (aka CRM) that helps you to automate follow-up?
5. If CRMs are too complicated or pricey for you, do you have someone who can help you with follow-up? This would include college interns, family, realty office staff who are allowed to work on agent projects, virtual assistants, and the like.

Sections of this post include excerpts from my book Plan to Win!

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate broker and business doctoral candidate who trains agents and brokerages on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.




Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Carla

Styled, Staged & Sold - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 16:18

This seems more like personal opinions and not based on facts. The entire tone of this blog screams bad attitude; my opinion. A sheepskin, empty bottle of wine, a child’s teepee and word art are hardly “offensive”…just because these items – clearly – get on one person’s nerves, doesn’t mean they’re offensive. Could mean someone is overly sensitive, though.

Comment on 5 Signs Your Listing May Have Once Been a Meth Lab by Sad K

Styled, Staged & Sold - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 06:41

I am the mother of a 15+ year Meth Addict.
So, if all of this happens to the HOUSE………. what happens to the HUMAN ?
Seriously……….. he is still alive after OVER 15 years of it. I am sad and surprised.
He lives in a Motor Home and owns a CAT. (likely to cover the reason for the smell in his place ?) His lab died a few years back at the age of 9. I think he was very much exposed to the fumes and it did him in.
Like the sweet man/grandfather Robb R. states above.
” She’s not even herself anymore”
I GET THAT ! No way is he anywhere near what he was as a young person.
He lettered in Varsity Football and went to State in Track.
What is going on with these ‘well – raised’ children of ours ?
Sad K

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Beverly Carlson

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:25

I have never seen a stager put a dead animal on the wall; those are the seller’s trophies! As far as the teepee, I don’t stage with much children’s items, but a teepee is much cuter than toys, books, posters, and other hanging things everywhere.
If you are going to gripe about a blowup bed, I suggest you look at mine. They are propped up yes, but seriously, the house was empty before; no one should be messing with the beds. True story, I went to pick up a bed in a pickup thinking I had put a real bed in the house and then when I got there it was a blowup and I could have just put the whole bed in my trunk. So blowup beds depend on the stager. Not every house sells in 2 weeks and silk green plants are so much better than nothing green. Remember the house was empty before! I use fresh flowers for the first open house, but flowers are expensive in Texas!

Comment on Best of CES 2017 for the Home by Karen Hernandez

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:29

Great article just finish doing business with Gabriel Reyes he helped me purchase my home in East Los Angeles. Cant wait to my next trip to Best Buys.

Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Theresa

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:35

Agree with some but faux fur (pillows, throws, not taxidermy) is big and most people love the warmth and texture. It is not real and people know this. Air beds, I can’t really see budgeting for a full bed, box spring and mattress and moving of same for the average home. For a luxury property, I agree that a real bed is preferable. This may make staging cost prohibitive in many markets.

Comment on Beige Is Back: And There’s No Blah About It by Brett Cairns: RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:31

Beige is a fairly enduring traditional color for home interiors but butter is a more popular color in our area where winters are very rainy, cloudy and gloomy. A butter yellow color does wonders to brighten up and give warmth to a home on these types of days.

YPN Event Ideas to Kick Off 2017

YPN Lounge - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:28

Are you looking for new, fresh ways to connect and engage with your YPN members? Get 2017 off to a solid start with these event ideas for your YPN group.

1. Go for a strike.

The Greater San Antonio Board of REALTORS® YPN is hosting bowling/networking event, which is sure to be a strike (in a good way).

YPN’s Sips and Stripes bowling night is Friday, February 24th, mark your calendar! #YPN #SABOR #RealtorLife

— Greater SA YPN (@YPNSA) January 17, 2017

// _ // ]]>


2. Hit the high notes.

The West San Gabriel Valley Association of REALTORS® YPN is kicking off the new year with a karaoke mixer.


3. Get fancy for a cause.

Dress to the nines for a good cause. Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS® YPN is hosting a winter formal later this month to benefit Habitat for Humanity.

YPN Winter Formal! 1/28/16 at Mining Exchange. 6pm. Tix $49 & benefit Habitat for Humanity! Tickets online #PPARYPN

— PPAR (@PPARMembers) January 6, 2017


4. Start the year right. 

Get members energized for the new year by making your kick off event an annual affair, like the Chicago Association of REALTORS® YPN.

Don’t forget! Get your tickets to the annual YPN Kick-Off Mixer on January 19th! #YPNKickOff #networking #realestate

— ChicagoREALTORS (@ChicagoREALTORS) December 30, 2016


5. Host/co-host an interesting speaker.

Invite a guest to speak to your members, like the Houston Association of REALTORS® YPN did with its economic forecast event earlier this month.

Things change! Don’t miss this Economic Forecast w/ Dr. Ted C. Jones on 1/11/17 at 11:30am. #realestate #HAR #YPN

— (@HARMembers) December 29, 2016











Comment on 5 Staging Props You Need to Stop Using … Now! by Kim Mulligan

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 23:59

Thank You, Justin-

These are all spot on. The blow-up beds always look wavy, and not crisp. The dead animals just creep me out; their cold, glass eyes follow me around a room. I also have just never understood the whole word thing either.
I’d like to add to your list the small fake plants. Why all the plastic when a living plant can be bought for 4 bucks at TJ’s. Our homes in Seattle aren’t staged for more than 2 weeks, almost any plant will survive that long in low light.