Sunday
May 27, 2018

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Comment on Meet Our Bloggers by Jessica Roberts

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 05/08/2018 - 16:16

Good afternoon,

I am a member of the National Association of Realtors as well as the Miami Board of Realtors. I’m having an issue with your blog on my social media page (LinkedIn), which is the link above. The picture is getting cut off and we would like the whole picture. If there is a way to fix this problem please let us know either way.

Thank you!

Sponsor Webinar: Growing Your Business With a Real Estate CRM

Speaking of Real Estate - Tue, 05/08/2018 - 11:44

IXACT Contact is a software company that offers CRM and email marketing products to real estate professionals. It’s hosting a webinar on Tuesday, May 22, at 1 p.m., Eastern time, on using its CRM product to grow your business. Shannon McGee, a company business development executive, is the host.

From IXACT:

Wondering exactly how a real estate CRM can help you better manage and grow your business? Join this information-packed webinar and see specific real-world examples of how a robust real estate CRM can make it easy to keep in touch and stay on task with all your clients, prospects, and important referral sources.

In this webinar, IXACT Contact executive Shannon McGee will show you how IXACT Contact’s real estate CRM can help you to:

1. Keep in touch effortlessly with everyone in your database so you stay top of mind.
2. Ensure that you never miss another client birthday or move-in anniversary – both excellent relationship building opportunities.
3. Nurture and stay top of mind with all your prospects so you get the listing and not your competition.
4. Identify high quality leads – hiding in your database!
5. Stay organized and in control of all your listings, closings, and active buyers.
6. [BONUS!] Create a professional online presence and generate leads with your own customizable, mobile friendly, agent website.
7. [DOUBLE BONUS] Double your social media lead generation with automated social media content posting!

Register.

This is a sponsor webinar. REALTOR® Magazine is promoting it, but it isn’t participating in it, hasn’t reviewed the content, and is not endorsing it.

Would Mom Be Proud of Your Business?

Weekly Book Scan - Mon, 05/07/2018 - 16:35

When my husband was interviewing for his current job, his future boss warned him that he has this kind of weird question that he asks all applicants: “Do you think you are a good person?”

Hearing this story from my husband’s point-of-view, I froze with fear thinking about how I would answer this question. But he had the perfect response. “Yes, I do. Because my mother is a good person, and that’s what she raised me to be.”

It’s a great answer to a tough question precisely because that’s what mothers do for society. They teach us how to be good people. And that’s also what makes the title of Jeanne Bliss’s new book, Would You Do That to Your Mother? The “Make Mom Proud” Standard for How to Treat Your Customers (Penguin, 2018) so compelling.

The book is all about how to run a business your mother would be proud of. In it, Bliss offers countless real-life examples of how companies get this right and wrong. She punctuates these case studies with concrete ways to “#MakeMomProud” and a collection of simple yet revealing questions. (Would you send a pile of paperwork to your mother? Of course not!)

The final chapter—which is helpfully titled, “Stop the Shenanigans!”—offers a #MakeMomProud-o-Meter to help you determine how well your business measures up to Bliss’ lofty yet entirely sensible goals. Here are a few of my favorite questions from this last chapter, along with some of my own reflections specifically for the real estate industry.

  1. Do customer goals drive innovation in products, service, and operations? It’s easy to base expanded offerings on what you or your brokerage does best, or what might bring the most new customers to your door. But have you asked clients what they really need from you during the real estate transaction? This is a good mindset to employ when you’re looking at the types of questions you ask in a feedback form, for example. What are their pain points and how can you solve for them?
  2. Do we understand vulnerable customer moments, and design services and gestures to support them? It’s not fun to think about, but there’s potential for a fair number of difficult or embarrassing moments for consumers throughout the transaction. Buyers might get turned down for loans or have their offers rejected. Sellers might not be able to see how they’re getting in the way of obtaining the sales price and terms they want on their listing. Make sure you’re ready to react to those moments with compassion and understanding.
  3. Do all of our “hellos” start with honoring the human in front of us? In an industry that can get a bit obsessed over leads and the sales funnel, it’s important to examine the experience prospective clients have when they first reach out (whether that’s calling about a listing, walking into a brokerage office, or filling out an online form). Are they being treated like human beings in these interactions, or leads? Strive for the type of hello that your mother would appreciate.
  4. Do we recognize and reward actions that keep valued customers? This one is more applicable for brokers, but it’s an important question for the industry as well. In real estate, the bright lights are often reserved for top producers, not top caretakers. But clients are more interested in being taken care of than the bottom line. To secure a company’s future, make sure you’re recognizing those who create repeat customers just as much as you congratulate the rainmakers.

Two Ways You Can Commit a Fair Housing Violation Without Even Knowing It

Speaking of Real Estate - Mon, 05/07/2018 - 13:16

While the Fair Housing Act’s purpose—barring discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of residential property—may be easy to understand, navigating the many intricacies of the landmark statute can be tricky even for experienced real estate professionals, said experts on the 1968 law who spoke during a recent event in Fairfax, Va.

The event served as a commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the signing of the Fair Housing Act, and was organized by the Fairfax County of Human Rights and Equity Programs and sponsored by the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, and the Prince William County Human Rights Commission.

Panelists talk about the Fair Housing Act during a training session in Fairfax, Virginia.

The challenges stem from the fact that the law requires real estate professionals to ensure their clients not only have equal access to properties, but also that they drive the selection of the neighborhood or home they want to live in. Even a well-meaning effort to match a client with property you think they would like can have legal consequences.

For example, if you are working with a Korean family that is looking for a home to purchase, taking them to neighborhoods where you know other Asian-Americans live could run afoul of the law if the clients did not specifically ask to go to those neighborhoods. That’s according to attorneys from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division and Legal Services of Northern Virginia who served on the panel.

Panelists also advised caution when taking steps aimed at ensuring the safety of your clients. While it might seem reasonable to steer a family with young children away from a home they are looking to buy or rent that has lead-based paint, for instance, doing so would violate the law if the family was aware of the presence of the paint and still wanted to live there. It’s not against the law to market homes with lead-based paint to families with children and let them live there as long as they have been made aware that the hazardous paint is present.

Comment on Which Remodeling Personality Type Are You? by Karlene Smith

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 14:15

I deal more and more with buyers that think a hammer is what Thor carries!

What’s the Best Way to Ensure Appraiser Independence?

Speaking of Real Estate - Wed, 05/02/2018 - 09:02

Professional appraisals are the foundation on which stable real estate markets are built, so ensuring appraisers are able to do their jobs to the best of their ability is vital to the industry. That’s why a report from the federal government on appraisal quality is welcomed. Two economists with the Federal Housing Finance Agency in a working paper found that appraisals ordered by appraisal management companies, AMCs, are no more likely to be overvalued than appraisals ordered directly by the lender.

“The results indicate no clear evidence of any systematic quality differences between appraisals associated and unassociated with AMCs,” say the economists, Jessica Shui and Shriya Murthy.

Although both types of appraisals have similar levels of overvaluation, according to the researchers, AMC appraisals tend to be more prone to contract price confirmation and super-overvaluation (above 6 percent). And both types have the same level of mistakes, even though AMC appraisals tend to use more comparable properties in the analysis.

AMCs are entities that are intended to let lenders maintain an arm’s length distance between them and the appraiser. They’ve been a part of the industry for decades but it wasn’t until after the mortgage crisis about a decade ago that their use became a big part of the industry. That’s because the Federal Housing Finance Agency entered into an agreement with the state of New York to encourage their use for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac transactions. Once their use in New York was set, Fannie and Freddie extended it to all of their transactions, making the use of AMCs a national policy. Later, their use became even more standardized by the federal government.

NAR takes the position that AMCs are one way to encourage appraiser independence. Under its Responsible Lending Principles, NAR supports the principles of appraiser independence that AMCs are designed to facilitate, but the association also recognizes that alternatives to AMCs can provide the same conformity to appraiser independence rules.

The FHFA’s report is a top segment in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR. The video also looks at the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation from the European Union. The rule takes effect later this month and while most web companies have been aware of the rule for a while, for many people it comes as a surprise and they wonder if it’s something they have to concern themselves with. The short answer is, they probably do. That’s because the E.U. has said it plans to enforce it across the board, which means it could try to take action against a company even if it’s American and caters to Americans.

Under the rule, anyone who resides in the European Economic Area is entitled to certain privacy rights. Thus, if you have a website and a European resident comes to it to, say, browse listings, you can’t put a data-tracking cookie on their computer without getting their permission upfront. Right now, that permission is implied and they have to choose to opt out. So, this rule flips current U.S. practices on their head. Instead of them opting out, you have to ask them to opt in.

The rule requires other things as well, but, bottom line, expect to make changes to how you track people who come to your site.

You can expect lawsuits once the E.U. tries to enforce the rule in the United States, but separate from that, large web operations that want to cater to as many people as possible are probably going to make the changes regardless of what the E.U. does. Eventually, that will change the standard in this country.

The video also looks at the latest home sales figures, which are up, despite persistent inventory shortages, and an upcoming webcast NAR is hosting to let people know what REALTORS® will be talking to members of Congress about when they come to Washington for the 2018 Legislative Meetings later this month. There are four talking points: indexing some tax reform provisions to inflation, reauthorizing flood insurance, improving Fair Housing, and protecting net neutrality.

Watch video now.

Email Marketing Tips for Commercial Agents

YPN Lounge - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 15:00

Kyle Malnati

By Kyle Malnati

This is an excerpt from my article that will appear in the 2018 spring issue of Commercial Connections, available in print and online May 28.

Even though the internet, email, and social media allow you to communicate, they do not connect you with your clients. Talking “kneecap-to-kneecap” in a conference room and hammering out details over the telephone are still the most effective ways to negotiate a deal. The foundation of your business is people serving people so it’s vital to view technology as a tool and not as the center of your business. As long as you focus on taking care of people, you will continue to have a successful career.

With that in mind, let’s talk about using tech tools to amplify your real estate business. My first tip is to pick one method to market yourself, such as email marketing.

Strategies and messages that were effective many years ago can still work today, but you should deliver them differently. Email marketing is efficient, inexpensive, and measurable. Gone are the days of spending thousands of dollars on a mailing campaign and wondering who received it. You should still produce postcards and newsletters, but do so digitally.

Proof of this concept was tested by my company recently. We created a survey for our own clients and found that email marketing was still their preferred way of gathering information over Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Here are my top five types of email marketing campaigns:

@pexels, 2016. pixabay.com

  1. Hyper-local, geographical farming e-newsletters
  2. “Just Listed” and “Sold” digital cards/flyers
  3. Video interviews of clients
  4. Market statistics
  5. Collection of links to relevant articles

My second tip is to avoid chasing after change, which should be a relief to you. If you look at recent innovations and figure out what hasn’t changed, you’ll realize one consistent central theme: your client wants to be assured that you are the expert who can help them. Make sure you are addressing client need in any marketing and communication plans.

Commercial real estate brokers are interested in results, right? My third tip is to effectively execute your email marketing campaigns using four simple steps designed to deliver optimal outcomes.

Step 1: Pick a broadcast email distribution company. A few examples are MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Vertical Response.

Step 2: File email addresses from your CRM database into a spreadsheet that can be uploaded to your email provider’s system. You will want to upload this same list for every marketing campaign category you use. Here’s why: you will lose email followers that unsubscribe every time you send an email. Some of your clients won’t want market statistics while they will want new listings from you.

Step 3: Start sending emails and do it regularly within your campaign categories. You should be emailing once or twice a week to get reliable statistics.

Step 4: Review the statistics after you’ve sent about a dozen emails. You will start to notice behavioral patterns. Use this data to improve your next batch of emails. I track open rate, click through, and subscribers with most opens. You read that last sentence correctly. Your email platform keeps track of who interacted with your email the most, what they clicked, and what time they clicked it.

Now it’s time to go “old-school” with my fourth tip and foster that relationship. Pick up the phone and call the subscribers with the most opens.

Commercial real estate thrives on relationships, after all, and email marketing is a powerful way to deepen your connections. Remember, clients want to hear from us when we make deals happen, so use email campaigns to keep yourself essential to the consumer throughout every transaction.

Kyle Malnati is the CEO and founder of Calibrate Real Estate, a Denver-based commercial real estate company specializing in apartment building brokerage services and investment sales. In 2017, Malnati won the Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award and was featured on the cover of REALTOR® Magazine as a 30 Under 30 in 2012. Malnati has been consistently awarded by the Denver Metro Commercial Association of REALTORS® as a top 10 “Heavy Hitter” since 2007.

Comment on Light it Up: Add a Party Vibe to Your Outdoor Staging by Rene Perrin

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:11

Definitely not an eyesore even at daytime.

Comment on Which Remodeling Personality Type Are You? by Rene Perrin

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:06

Boomers feel a sense of accomplishment doing DIY projects.

Comment on Hot Home Trend: Vertical Gardens by Rene Perrin

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 09:58

Perfect for weekend projects!

Comment on Light it Up: Add a Party Vibe to Your Outdoor Staging by Amanda Davidson

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 09:31

Nice spot to entertain people and to relax.

Comment on Hot Home Trend: Double-Pocket Doors That Make a Statement by Amanda Davidson

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 09:29

What’s great are the different pocket door styles that will compliment your existing home style.

Comment on Which Remodeling Personality Type Are You? by Amanda Davidson

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 09:26

There are some cool things anyone can do on the cheap.

Comment on Hot Home Trend: Vertical Gardens by Amanda Davidson

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 09:16

Really inexpensive way to beautify.

Comment on Hot Home Trend: Vertical Gardens by Doug Buenz

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 08:54

Good to include in staging.

Comment on Which Remodeling Personality Type Are You? by Doug Buenz

Styled, Staged & Sold - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 08:42

Curiosity drives millenials to become DIYers.

Understand the Value of Social Listening

YPN Lounge - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 19:32

Erica Christoffer

By Erica Christoffer

Social media is likely a key part of your marketing and brand strategy. Many real estate professionals make it the crux of their lead generation, which is why social listening is so important.

There’s a common misconception that social listening and social monitoring are the same thing, according to NetBase, a social media analytics platform. And recognizing the difference may help you build your business online.

Social listening is the tracking of conversations that your friends, followers, and potential clients are having online. This can be drilled down even further by tracking discussions around specific topics or keywords.

@geralt, 2016. pixabay.com

Meanwhile, social monitoring—which is still very essential—is all about monitoring and responding to questions, comments, and mentions targeted at you or your brand online. Essentially, social monitoring is the act of talking to people online at a micro level and social listening is taking a broader view for the purpose of collecting data that will help you to build a more relevant online presence.

Though social listening, you’ll have a better idea of the type of content that your target audience—such as potential home buyers and sellers—will engage with on each social media channel. It will help you identify effective keywords and hashtags, especially on Twitter and Instagram, which are both highly driven by hashtags, according to NetBase. Another use for social listening is to understand how your target audience feels about your competition.

Once you’ve done your research, whether on your own or with the help of social listening tools, you’ll be able to better target your marketing campaigns and run more meaningful social media accounts in general. NetBase recommends identifying influencers to understand how they’re driving conversations—and if it makes sense, create partnerships with them. Information from social listening will also help you understand how to be more effective in your social monitoring, with more meaningful responses in various situations. This may involve appropriate use of humor, more impactful communication of your value, proper acknowledgement of current events, and better reconciliation when problems or complaints arise.

Erica Christoffer is a consulting editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at echristoffer@realtors.org.

4 Tweaks to Grow Your Business

YPN Lounge - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 18:51

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

Jen Du Plessis is a top producer and in the 1 percent who have sold their methods to Salesforce. Yes, she’s that good. She has shared the stage with Tony Robbins, Les Brown, and Brian Buffini to name just a few. But don’t be fooled by her celebrity network, Du Plessis is open to sharing her 35 years of career knowledge over a King of Pops popsicle. I know because that is just what we did!

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on Jen’s keynote breakout session at the 2018 National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America conference. Then we grabbed a popsicle and chatted further about the secrets to networking success along with Whitney Du Plessis, a rising star who has Jen as a “momentor” (my spin on the “momanager” term popularized by Kris Jenner).

Jen Du Plessis (seated) with her daughter Whitney Du Plessis.

If you missed Jen’s session, then let me fill you in on some of her best practices, four of which I have included below:

Ask a Different Question

Do you know the most typical question asked at networking events? Let’s all say it together:

“What do you do?”

After asking what a person does for a living, have you ever noticed the glazed-over look that follows by both people in the conversation? Sometimes the look comes from boredom, and other times the look comes from preconceived notions about that job. Both boredom and preconceived notions can inadvertently prevent you from having a rich relationship because assumptions (whether true or false) are likely made based on one’s title.

As a better alternative, Jen encourages you to ask:

“Who do you help?”

Knowing simply a job title doesn’t give the best insight if you are purposefully networking to build strategic and rich relationships. For example, notice the difference between:

“I sell homes,” or, “I am a sales agent/broker.”

VS.

“I help recent college grads pay down student loan debt and start building a real estate portfolio of wealth,” or, “I help our veterans make a local home using all of the available real estate programs to thank them for their service.”

The conversation can quickly change from “Oh, I have a cousin/sister/friend who is also an agent,” (in essence, closing the connection door) to become, “Wow, you work with veterans? I know two veterans who could use your help.”

Be Genuinely Curious

Curiosity may have killed the cat but it will only help your business connections thrive.

@Maialisa, 2016. pexabay.com

Jen suggests, “Go wide and deep.” Move away from just knowing basic stats about the people you’re networking with, such as their company name and number of years in the business. Instead, Jen recommends the classic, interchangeable acronyms FORD (family, occupation, recreation, and dreams) or FROG (family, recreation, occupation, goals) to really get to know what makes the people you’re network with “tick.” When we understand more about the things that people hold near and dear—like family, work, dreams and hobbies—then we build rapport. You will begin to know, like, and trust them, and vice versa, helping to open a floodgate of business opportunities.

Go From the Life of the Party to Power Partner

Some networking events have the champagne flowing, food galore, and even a dance floor better than most parties you attend. But don’t forget your mission.

“It’s not a party for you, it’s your brand,” says Whitney Du Plessis. Do not let the sparkle of the event, distract you from the ultimate goal of making rich relationship connects.

During Jen’s conference session, she said, “Network to find new ‘power partners’ instead of networking to get business.” Power partners are people with whom you have a mutual commitment of sending each other leads on a regular basis. It’s a relationship that has a one-and-done feel to it.

You may be hesitant to attend networking events because you feel people are always cramming their agenda, products, or services down your throat without any reciprocity. That’s “no bueno.” Do not be afraid to excuse yourself from such leeches. Instead, Jen recommends you seek out and connect with people who are credible AND you like. You do this by inquiring, “How did you help your last client?” Then listen very carefully. The answers that show how they treat people and serve their clients will indicate if you are connecting with someone who is competent, reliable, and responsive, or money-hungry and difficult. Jen encourages you to ask yourself whether this person is “complementing or complicating.” If they bring complications, which includes blame, fault-finding, laziness, pessimism, or inactivity, then it is probably time to say, “Have a nice day!”

Jen went on to say, “If you are always adding new people to your database but not actually engaging with them, soon you will find yourself running out of people to work with. Try engaging and creating relationships instead of just doing tasks.” Thus, you should commit to memory the 4 Laws of Follow-Up if you have not yet.

Personal Videos are the New Handwritten Notes

It may seem like mail is a dying form of connecting with people. However, a handwritten note may stay on a desk, bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, or bedside table for years to come. Why? Because personalized words of appreciation or encouragement are impactful and go a long way in you staying top of mind with the recipient.

Jen takes it a step further and sends personalized video messages in addition to handwritten notes and thoughtful gifts. Case in point: Instead of a dull, “Happy Birthday!” comment on social media, Jen goes beyond others and sends a short yet special video message that is personalized to put a smile on the networking friend’s face—for whatever the occasion may be.

In line with Jen’s point, I, like you, have seen many birthdays go by, but one of the most memorable acknowledgements I’ve received came from a networking partner who sent me a video via text message of her then-toddler son saying, “Habby Bfirtda Auntey Le-Le”. Precious!

Undoubtedly, video has become the new king of engagement on social media. With our everyday smartphones being used to create amazing films, there’s no reason for us to not use this influential form of engagement.

Jen is a wealth of knowledge so I encourage you to check out her book, Launch!, because it goes into more detail then this short article.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. Want more of the best practices from our nation’s top producers? Grab your copy of the short read, Profit with Your Personality. 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.

Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations 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 Trend Watch: Luxurious Bathrooms Don’t Always Need a Fancy Tub by Refresh Sense

Styled, Staged & Sold - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 18:15

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