Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en The Voice for Real Estate http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/briefs/article/voice-for-real-estate <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> This video series is NAR&#039;s weekly roundup of news that affects the industry and your business. Each video examines how NAR is working to protect private property rights, maintain strong real estate markets, and build communities. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/robert-freedman">Robert Freedman</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>August 18, 2014: In the fifth video of the series, NAR Director of Broadcasting Stephen Gasque looks at changes to the HUD-1 and Good Faith Estimate forms, FICO changes that could help borrowers, antitrust risks, and why this summer is a good time to remind Congress of mortgage cancellation relief.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/uQlo-mlSW30?list=PLJ8nxcZniP615YRvvEv_hNnjWnTMenmY5" width="640"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:32:24 +0000 mwhite 16992 at http://realtormag.realtor.org All or Nothing: Why You Should Go 100% Mobile http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/08/all-or-nothing-why-you-should-go-100-mobile <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Your clients are spending more time on their mobile devices; so should you. Operating exclusively on mobile devices allows you to be quicker and more responsive to people’s needs. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/madison-hildebrand">Madison Hildebrand</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I live by my mobile devices. I am always on the go and my phone is definitely an extension of me. My business is now set up so it can be run almost entirely from my phone. Whether I&rsquo;m in line at Starbucks, at the gym, or traveling, you will see me interacting with some sort of mobile device.</p> <p>My devotion to mobile was once considered unique and gave me an edge over my competitors. Now the mobile lifestyle is the status quo. My clientele is&nbsp;also constantly on the go, juggling multiple priorities, businesses, and responsibilities. So my clients expect and require me to have the ability to operate from anywhere.</p> <p>Paperwork and contracts are a huge part of my life as a real estate professional. When I <a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/docusign" target="_blank">DocuSigned</a> my first deal, it was a life-changer. Where paperwork was once the bottleneck of getting a deal closed, my clients could now sign electronically from anywhere. All the time and energy once spent chasing down signatures was eliminated, freeing me up to go after new business. Now that I have been 100 percent mobile for several years, I can share great tips to help professionals who are still making the transition. Each of these helped me grow my personal brand and better serve my clients:</p> <h4> Use Mobile and Social to Build Your Brand and Opportunities</h4> <p>Fierce competition in the real estate market calls for edgy tactics. Social media channels grant instant creative freedom to power your brand by making a statement on networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. By far the fastest and most immediate way to embrace your notoriety is to market yourself from your mobile device. Social media mobile apps create instant and endless fuel for curating your personal brand and looping your clientele into the hottest deals.</p> <h4> Don&rsquo;t Go Back to the Office; Mobile Gets It Done Now</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s time to shelve the desktop. I receive so many leads from instant social updates on my phone that I&rsquo;ve come to believe that mobile should be the default tool for agents for announcing newly listed, recently sold, and newly reduced properties. Why wait to post pictures of new listings until you return to the office?</p> <p>Keep your creativity spontaneous by showing off your success the moment it happens. No matter where you are, Twitter and Instagram are great forums for getting buyers excited about listings by highlighting unique features, promoting open houses, and creating awareness. When your clients see your success, they can envision how you will extend it to their property.</p> <h4> Load Up the Right Apps</h4> <p>When I&rsquo;m not in connection with clients and colleagues, I spend a lot of time working with apps designed for real estate professionals. I&rsquo;m always discovering new apps that make my life easier, and I have tried literally hundreds. Here are a few that I rely on:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://www.realtor.com/mobile" target="_blank">Realtor.com&reg;</a>, <a href="http://www.trulia.com/mobile/" target="_blank">Trulia,</a> and <a href="http://www.zillow.com/mobile/" target="_blank">Zillow</a> are always on my radar. The majority of home buyers start their search online with these sites. I like to verse myself on what the consumers are looking at, but these sites also offer great marketing tools to practitioners, allowing them to track how many views each of their listings are getting on a weekly basis.</li> <li> <a href="https://www.key.me/" target="_blank">Key Me</a> is another app my team uses. It saves the specifications of any key so that a locksmith can easily duplicate. We no longer have to waste time hunting down spare keys or waiting for expensive locksmiths to come out to a property.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.measuremapapp.com/press2/?page_id=669" target="_blank">Map Measure</a> automatically finds the distance between a listing and other location points that might be important to your clients, such as their office or the beach. Apps like this one help me highlight points of interest in the surrounding neighborhood for clients who may not know the area.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h4> Run Mobile &mdash; But Don&rsquo;t Let It Run You</h4> <p>Of course, everyone needs time to unplug; I do that daily with meditation, morning hikes with my dog, Maya, and making sure that I sincerely connect with whomever is in my presence.</p> <p>Mobile devices have come so far in such a short time, and the sky is the limit for what is to come from mobile technology. I always look for ways to expand my arsenal of new mobile tools to streamline my workflow, make my life easier, and create more visibility for my brand. By focusing your practice around mobile, you can become a verb instead of a noun. Busy clients want agents who are synonymous with #action, and switching to a 100 percent digital and mobile structure is how to get there fast.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Your clients are spending more time on their mobile devices; so should you. Operating exclusively on mobile devices allows you to be quicker and more responsive to people&rsquo;s needs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_T_100_mobile.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=35241">aug14_T_100_mobile.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_T_100_mobile_0.jpg?1408047209" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_T_100_mobile.jpg?1408047227" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/gadgets-and-gear/slideshow/2014/01/12-tech-tools-make-you-more-mobile">12 Tech Tools to Make You More Mobile</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/07/real-estate-apps-have-they-downloaded-yours-yet">Real Estate Apps: Have They Downloaded Yours Yet?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/26/tech-tools-realtors-love-most">Tech Tools REALTORS® Love the Most</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:17:38 +0000 gwood 16933 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Helping Canadian Snowbirds Navigate Vacation Communities http://realtormag.realtor.org/first-person/street-cred/article/2014/08/helping-canadian-snowbirds-navigate-vacation-communities <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nina Paight combines mortgage specialists, new-home builders, and deep knowledge of luxury homes and resort amenities to promote her Florida community abroad. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Nina Paight, GRI, CRS</strong><br /> Sales associate<br /> RE/MAX Realty Group<br /> Fort Myers, Fla.<br /> <a href="http://www.ninapaight.remax-florida.com/remaxflorida/index.asp" target="_blank">ninapaight.remax-florida.com</a></p> <h4> How do you serve the needs of the Canadian snowbirds looking to buy a vacation home in Fort Myers?</h4> <p>A lot of it is just trying to understand their time frame. They have a limited amount of time they can spend here, and my job is to try and find the community that will give them what they&rsquo;re looking for. I mean, they&rsquo;re coming for a vacation; it&rsquo;s not their primary home. So they want to be able to play tennis, play golf, and go boating. Really knowing the communities and what each one offers helps me with being able to refer them to the best area for them.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been here since 1987, so I know it pretty well. But there are always new communities popping up. Also, being kind of between Lee and Collier counties, I have to know the whole area. But ultimately, you focus on the communities that your customers are interested in.</p> <h4> I live in Chicago, so it&rsquo;s funny to hear the idea that new communities are constantly popping up.</h4> <p>I know. Basically what happens is a builder will buy up a tract of land and build a new neighborhood. Around here, people tend to trade houses every five years. They buy a new house, and then some five years later, they say: &ldquo;Well, I need a new house. This one&rsquo;s old!&rdquo; For people from an area where they are surrounded by 100-year-old homes, it sounds kind of bizarre &mdash; but it&rsquo;s just different here.</p> <h4> So, you&rsquo;ve been working with Lennar Homes and <a href="http://www.rbcbank.com/borrowing-in-the-us/mortgage-solutions/index.html" target="_blank">RBC Bank&rsquo;s program</a>, which helps home buyers from Canada navigate the complicated process of purchasing a vacation home in the United States. Can you tell me how this partnership helps make transactions smoother for your clients?</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s been very beneficial. See, you can get a loan in Canada within around five days. As we all know, that is just not the case in the United States, especially for a foreign national. RBC is a Canadian bank, so they know what the Canadians are expecting. They can really coach them and hold their hand through the process, and they have all kinds of events and outreach in order to do that.</p> <p>RBC now has this terrific program for Canadians buying here. It&rsquo;s a seamless transition for their customers to be able to get a loan here, or credit card, or other financing. We&rsquo;re able to go with RBC, and they don&rsquo;t have to worry about transferring Canadian to American dollars. My clients are then dealing with people who can sort of &ldquo;speak their language,&rdquo; even though we&rsquo;re all speaking English, of course. I really like having them as a partner that I can refer customers to. It&rsquo;s a very comforting feeling.</p> <h4> What would you recommend for a real estate professional who is looking to partner with a large lender or home builder in order to demonstrate their own unique real estate knowledge?</h4> <p>I would recommend asking for referrals from other agents you know who may have a relationship already with that company. A lot of it is just getting the word out among your colleagues. One of my associates knew I work with Canadians, and he just e-mailed me about an opportunity. We constantly do that for each other.</p> <p>Also, just going to meet with people. I mean, most builder reps are more than happy to meet with real estate agents because they know they are the ones bringing them customers. Same thing with these mortgage companies. I remember struggling with having Canadians who wanted loans several years ago, and local banks didn&rsquo;t want to do it or would charge extra fees to do it. So having this connection has been great.</p> <h4> How do you stay up-to-date on all the new communities in your area?</h4> <p>You have to educate yourself. And lots of builders will send real estate agents invitations to open-house events at their new communities. That&rsquo;s a great way to get to know them.</p> <h4> Is there a lot of variation in what these communities offer?</h4> <p>It definitely runs the gamut, from communities that have virtually no amenities to ones that have just about everything. The ones with little or no amenities are trying to appeal to the people who don&rsquo;t want a lot of fees. They&rsquo;re basically single-family communities, and maybe each house will have its own pool if they want, but there&rsquo;s not a clubhouse or anything. On the other hand, you&rsquo;ll have a community where home owners will pay $10,000 to $12,000 a year because they offer golf, tennis, a fitness center, a movie theater. Basically, anything you can possibly imagine in a community, they have it within their gates. So it&rsquo;s definitely about knowing what the client is looking for and what their price range is.</p> <p>Some of the communities serve really specific groups. For example: Treviso Bay here in Fort Myers is a TPC, which stands for tournament players&rsquo; club. It&rsquo;s the only TPC in the world where you get a membership by buying a home there. So that&rsquo;s unique to that community. They have a nice resort facility there, and it&rsquo;s very expensive to join and very sought-after.</p> <p>You need to understand what the various communities are offering. Most of them will have a pool and a club at minimum. The more high-end ones have more. I&rsquo;d say the most expensive amenity is golf. It just takes a lot of land, a lot of administration, and that adds a lot of cost to the builder. But it&rsquo;s just a matter of getting in to see the amenities and being able to share that with people, and be their eyes and ears.</p> <h4> How do you get the word out about your specialized knowledge of these communities?</h4> <p>I&rsquo;m an independent contractor. I don&rsquo;t have a big team, so I don&rsquo;t do that sort of massive type of marketing. Being with RE/MAX, we have an internal network that I can tap for referrals. Also, I&rsquo;m a Certified Residential Specialist and a luxury home specialist. So I try to focus on those networks, too. I will also e-mail Canadian agents in specific locales, say, a club where some of my current customers belong, and I&rsquo;ll ask them if they have any people who might be interested in this or that area. It&rsquo;s more targeted than spreading the news far and wide, but that works better for me.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Nina Paight combines mortgage specialists, new-home builders, and deep knowledge of luxury homes and resort amenities to promote her Florida community abroad.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_streetcred.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=86837">aug14_SM_streetcred.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_streetcred_0.jpg?1408049816" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_streetcred.jpg?1408049867" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/05/21/vacation-home-market-heating-up">Vacation Home Market Heating Up </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/06/18/canadian-snowbirds-may-be-able-stay-in-us-longer">Canadian ‘Snowbirds’ May Be Able to Stay in U.S. Longer </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/first-person/street-cred/article/2014/04/working-rail-trail">Working on the Rail-Trail</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Street Cred Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:33:05 +0000 mwhite 16931 at http://realtormag.realtor.org HOAs Seek Shelter in Professional Management http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2014/08/hoas-seek-shelter-in-professional-management <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Looking to expand your property management portfolio? Self-managed HOAs are reaching out for assistance with finances and operations. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/paula-hess">Paula Hess </a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Fallout from the recession and the increasing complexity of property management are prompting HOAs and common-interest developments (CIDs) to rethink self-management and look beyond their members for professional management services. This trend is creating new opportunities for real estate professionals who offer property management services.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Gauging HOA Health</strong></p> <p>According to the Community Associations Institute, 24 percent of U.S. homes were in community associations as of 2013. A study conducted by the group this year sheds some light on how these groups are emerging from the recession:</p> <p><em>What is your current delinquency rate?</em></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 200px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Delinquency </strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Respondents</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>0-3%</p> </td> <td> <p>60%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>4-6%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </td> <td> <p>21%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>7-10%</p> </td> <td> <p>11%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>11%</p> </td> <td> <p>8%</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Looking ahead, how do you see your association&rsquo;s financials?</em></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Forecast</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Respondents</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Much better</p> </td> <td> <p>17%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Slightly better</p> </td> <td> <p>37%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>About the same</p> </td> <td> <p>42%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Worse</p> </td> <td> <p>4%</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </blockquote> <p>While HOAs were hurt badly by the housing downturn, they are emerging from crisis mode now.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our members are telling us they&rsquo;re seeing fewer foreclosures and lower delinquency rates on monthly HOA assessments. In addition, HOA boards of directors have been able to reduce their expense-line item for bad debt on their budgets, which indicates an overall improvement in the financial health of HOAs in California,&rdquo; says Karen Conlon, president and CEO of the California Association of Community Managers. &ldquo;However, HOAs are not out of the woods yet due to the long-term impact of non-recoverable assessment revenue.&rdquo;</p> <p>That picture is supported by a just-completed annual economic survey by the Community Associations Institute, which found the overall health of HOAs and CIDs has improved. &ldquo;During the recession, a lot of associations were really hurting, especially in Florida, California, and Las Vegas,&rdquo; says Frank Rathbun, a spokesperson for CAI, noting that associations were plagued by solvency issues caused by underwater and financially strapped residents entering foreclosure or failing to pay HOA fees.</p> <p>An improved outlook is freeing up funds to allow many HOAs to seek professional management services. In California, there are approximately 40,000 CIDs, and more than half are self-managed, notes Melinda Young, chair of the board of directors of California Association of Community Managers. For them, she says the recession was a wake-up call. &ldquo;They [HOAs and CIDs] are realizing that it&rsquo;s important to have a professional service to get their financial house in order and navigate certifications requirements,&rdquo; she says. Many of these self-managed associations rely on volunteers, and &ldquo;that&rsquo;s an unappreciated position to hold.&rdquo;</p> <p>Linnea Juarez, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based Condo Financial Management Inc., agrees: &ldquo;Their [volunteer managers&rsquo;] time is limited and their knowledge of the documents and laws governing the operations of the association is usually sketchy at best. They should be able to enjoy their residence without owners knocking on their door at all times of day and night or calling them to argue about assessments, late fees, and collections.&rdquo;</p> <p>Juarez&rsquo;s company recently acquired a new client that had not prepared or distributed a budget for the last five years. It also had failed to complete actions that were by required by both civil code and the CC&amp;R&rsquo;s of the association, such as prepare a reserve study every three years, hire a CPA to perform a review of the association&rsquo;s books and records, and distribute that review to the membership.</p> <p>&ldquo;These are serious issues,&rdquo; Juarez says. &ldquo;Our contract is less than 30 days old, and we have obtained three bids for the board to engage a reserve specialist and to engage a CPA to review the last three operating years. We also have produced a budget for the current operating year for the board&rsquo;s review and approval.&rdquo;</p> <p>Charlotte, N.C.-based Henderson Properties has experienced an uptick in call volume from HOAs seeking professional management services, according to company president Phil Henderson. Henderson says the phone inquires suggest that HOAs are struggling with finances, a lack of volunteers, and an awareness that HOA management is becoming &ldquo;a more litigious situation.&rdquo; The company has taken over some half-dozen communities that were self-managed and is currently in negotiations to manage a community of 900 single-family homes.</p> <p>The benefits of professional management are especially self-evident for groups that maintained such help throughout the recession, says Condo Financial Management Inc.&rsquo;s Juarez: &ldquo;We have clients that have achieved a comfortable level of reserve funding and stable operating assessments over the years. Their position held up during the real estate decline between 2007 and 2013.&rdquo;</p> <p>While experts note that this type of property management is tough to break into, real estate professionals who are already ensconced in the world of property management may indeed see increased demand for their services as HOAs continue to recover from the recession.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Looking to expand your property management portfolio? Self-managed HOAs are reaching out for assistance with finances and operations.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_C_hoa.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=66581">aug14_C_hoa.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_C_hoa_0.jpg?1408039208" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_C_hoa.jpg?1408039227" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/16/70-hoas-are-underfunded">70% of HOAs Are Underfunded</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/12/27/hoas-foreclosing-banks">HOAs Foreclosing on Banks?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/03/01/hoas-use-short-sales-recoup-unpaid-dues">HOAs Use Short Sales to Recoup Unpaid Dues </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:54:01 +0000 mwhite 16930 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: 6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Going paperless doesn’t mean you don’t still have certain fiduciary duties. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Some benefits of going paperless will be immediately apparent. It&rsquo;s a long-term project, however, as you decide how to implement such a strategy. Make sure to hit these six steps along the way.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-you-probably-can-t-go-entirely-digit">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <ol> <li> <strong>Talk to Your State or Local REALTOR&reg; Association</strong><br /> You don&rsquo;t get rid of any legal obligations when you go paperless. In fact, working with digital documents and electronic signatures may come with new responsibilities to your clients and require more disclosures. Your state association can advise you on these and provide you with or point you to an authorized library of digital forms and contracts. Association representatives can also advise you on how much longer you need to hold on to your paper records and if digitized versions of those files will suffice.</li> <li> <strong>Create a System of Systems</strong><br /> This is a new workflow you&rsquo;re creating. You may find everything you need in a turnkey solution, but it&rsquo;s more likely that you&rsquo;re going to mix some software and services. Components must seamlessly integrate so the same documents are available to everyone involved, however and whenever they access them.</li> <li> <strong>Security</strong><br /> Security should always be a top consideration when evaluating software and cloud services. Once you go paperless, you&rsquo;re entrusting your documents &mdash; and the sensitive client information they contain &mdash; to that product and provider. You want assurance that your records are encrypted and protected against unauthorized access, as well as stored on multiple servers in different locations. For peace of mind, you may also want a digital archive in your office, with files automatically backed up to a hard drive on a regular schedule.</li> <li> <strong>Evaluate Several Options</strong><br /> Providers of nearly all components of the paperless workflow allow potential users an opportunity to try before buying. Explore features and how easily you can adapt them to your work routine. If a solution isn&rsquo;t intuitive, and if it will take a lot of explaining to associates or clients, there are better choices.</li> <li> <strong>Don&rsquo;t Force Change</strong><br /> The transition to a paperless office can be disruptive, even threatening, to those who resist it. You have to accommodate clients and resort to printouts on paper when they refuse digital documents and e-signatures. With peers, demonstrate the advantages of digital forms and contracts by actively using and promoting them. They&rsquo;ll eventually recognize the benefits, too.</li> <li> <strong>Allow Time</strong><br /> Everyone who will work or collaborate on your office system has to get comfortable with new ways of handling forms, contracts, and records. Some solutions you start with may not be the ones you ultimately choose. Whatever obstacles you encounter, don&rsquo;t look back. Tomorrow&rsquo;s real estate office will be paperless, and you can get there today.</li> </ol> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Going paperless doesn&rsquo;t mean you don&rsquo;t still have certain fiduciary duties.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_5.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_6.jpg?1407782108" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_2.jpg?1407782115" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:49:53 +0000 gwood 16822 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: How Others Did It http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Real estate practitioners talk about the success they had switching their offices to a paperless system. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h4> Two Years On and Going Strong</h4> <p>Michael Le, broker-owner of Distinct Realtyin Denver, says he&rsquo;s been completely paperless for more than two years. He subscribes to the Colorado Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; <a href="http://www.carbonite.com/online-backup/business/how-it-works" target="_blank">CTM eContracts</a> for his digital forms and contracts. Le stores those documents and other files in his Dropbox account, retrieving and signing them with his Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Microsoft Surface tablets.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a totally efficient solution,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I can be anywhere and access my files whenever I need them.&rdquo; His advice to those mulling a similar transition: &ldquo;What&rsquo;s taking you so long?&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16821">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16829">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <h4> Freedom and Efficiency</h4> <p>When Lindsay Sanger, GRI, broker-owner of RE/MAX Solutions in Merritt Island, Fla., opened her office, she had years of experience working with <a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/docusign" target="_blank">DocuSign</a> and the digital forms and contracts supplied by her state association.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was looking for an all-inclusive [transaction management] suite that would give me access to everything I could need or want in one place,&rdquo; Sanger says. She decided <a href="http://www.paperlesspipeline.com/" target="_blank">Paperless Pipeline</a> offered the right mix of features, including easy integration with DocuSign, at an affordable price. &ldquo;I can view all transactions, create checklists of what my agents need to do, and easily send files, all in one place,&rdquo; Sanger says. &ldquo;It frees up a lot of time, and I can work anywhere now, whenever it&rsquo;s convenient for me.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Easy Answers</h4> <p>Going paperless doesn&rsquo;t have to break your budget or overwhelm you with unfamiliar technology.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m using basic, off-the-shelf tools that come with any PC,&rdquo; says Philip Portera, sales associate at Crossroads Realty in Brick, N.J. &ldquo;Other than the full version of Adobe Acrobat, there&rsquo;s nothing else extra I had to buy.&rdquo; Portera brought extensive experience in information technology to his second career in real estate and devised his own workflow.</p> <p>&ldquo;I took our printed forms and contracts and scanned them into Acrobat as PDFs, where I can sign them as needed,&rdquo; he explains. He keeps those files with him on his HP notebook and backs them up each week to an office hard drive. When a client&rsquo;s signature is required, he e-mails the document file, then walks them through printing, signing, scanning, and sending him a PDF. &ldquo;This is easy stuff anyone can learn and do,&rdquo; he says.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate practitioners talk about the success they had switching their offices to a paperless system.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_0.jpg?1407782036" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_0.jpg?1407782044" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:58:02 +0000 gwood 16825 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: Products for You to Consider http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Check out these paperless management solutions, from budget-friendly apps to full-service management systems. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h4> Going Paperless On a Budget</h4> <p>Free and low-cost services and mobile apps can be used to digitize documents and store files in the cloud.</p> <p><a href="http://www.stoik.com/products/mobile/mdscan/Buy" target="_blank"><strong>MDScan</strong></a><br /> <em>STOIK Software<br /> $4.99</em><br /> This scanning app for mobile devices running Google&rsquo;s Android 2.2 and later uses the built-in camera to read and convert images, paper documents, and other content to standard PDF files. It detects borders, corrects distortion, and adjusts brightness to ensure consistency and legibility. In Batch mode, it will scan and digitize multipage forms and contracts.</p> <p><a href="http://readdle.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Scanner Pro</strong></a><br /> <em>Readdle<br /> $5.99</em><br /> A mobile scanning app for iPhones and iPads, it uses your device&rsquo;s built-in camera to scan and convert all types of paper documents into PDFs. It will automatically upload files to cloud services, including EverNote, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Company also offers <a href="http://readdle.com/products/pdfexpert5/">PDF Expert</a>for editing these files.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16821">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16822">6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16824">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <h4> Creating a Paperless Workflow</h4> <p>Invest a few more dollars and you can sign digital forms and contracts, convert printed documents to PDFs, and automatically back up office files to the cloud.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/zipform-plus" target="_blank"><strong>zipForm Plus</strong></a><br /> <em>zipLogix (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $109.95 base price; document library</em><em>(<a href="http://www.zipform.com/order/order.asp" target="_blank">check site</a> for local availability) can entail additional fees</em><br /> This cloud service for real estate forms and contracts has integrated digital signatures, document management, and cloud storage for Windows and Macintosh computers. It comes with a library of electronic forms and contracts available for most areas of the country. Forms, contracts, and transactions are all fully searchable. The iOS or Android app is required for use on mobile devices. Forms and contracts are also available in a desktop software version.</p> <p><a href="http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatstandard.html" target="_blank"><strong>Acrobat XI Standard Edition</strong></a><br /> <em>Adobe Systems Inc.<br /> $14.95/month with annual subscription</em><br /> This is the latest cloud-based version of Adobe&rsquo;s software for creating, editing, signing, and managing PDF documents on Windows or Macintosh computers. It allows users to incorporate photos and merge multiple files into a single PDF. It also supports electronic signing of PDFs using an image of a signature or through Adobe&rsquo;s optional <a href="https://www.echosign.adobe.com/en/home.html">EchoSign</a>, which also supports e-signatures on mobile devices and automatically records and stores document history.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/docusign" target="_blank"><strong>DocuSign For REALTORS&reg; PLUS</strong></a><br /> <em>DocuSign (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $240 annual subscription</em><br /> This cloud-based bundle combines the features of DocuSign&rsquo;s e-signature platform with its Transaction Room management system for a paperless workflow. The e-signature solution can be used to endorse any type of document file on computers, smartphones, and tablets. It integrates with zipForms Plus accounts for importing and archiving real estate forms and contracts. Transaction Room serves as a transaction management system for collaborating and managing activity related to digital documents. This bundle includes 100 GB of cloud storage.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/relay" target="_blank"><strong>relay</strong></a><br /> <em>zipLogix (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program" target="_blank">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $299 annual subscription</em><br /> This transaction management system manages all activity and documents related to a real estate sale. It has one-click integration with zipForms Plus accounts for viewing, importing, and sharing digital documents. It automatically creates and maintains a log of activity, document edits, and correspondence. It also generates a branded CD as a digital archive of transaction documents and activity after closing.</p> <p><a href="http://h71016.www7.hp.com/html/affiliate/nar1.asp?jumpid=ex_r2910_ads/nar1/3Q12AffiliateProgram/realtororg_NARJunebanner_mcc|GNAD#tab_4" target="_blank"><strong>LaserJet Pro 400 MFP</strong></a><br /> <em>HP (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program" target="_blank">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $475</em><br /> Multifunction office systems like this can be used to digitize existing paper documents and print digital files for clients. It will automatically scan and convert printed documents into editable PDF files. It can scan color files and features a 50-page automatic document feeder for two-sided scanning. As a printer and copier, it offers a maximum print speed of 35 pages per minute and print resolution of 600 dpi for black-and-white or color documents.</p> <p><a href="http://www.carbonite.com/online-backup/business/how-it-works" target="_blank"><strong>Carbonite Plus</strong></a><br /> <em>Carbonite<br /> $269.99 annual subscription for storing 250 GB</em><br /> This is a cloud-based solution for backing up an office&rsquo;s digitized documents and computer files. It automatically uploads files in the background as they are created or updated. Files are encrypted and stored on multiple servers and can be accessed or restored on any Web-connected device by authorized account users.</p> <h4> Bringing It All Together</h4> <p>The most expensive options are also the most comprehensive transaction management systems. They provide integrated modules in the cloud for managing your real estate documents and all the related activity required to guide a sale to closing.</p> <p><a href="http://www.paperlesspipeline.com/#tour" target="_blank"><strong>Paperless Pipeline</strong></a><br /> <em>$75 monthly subscription for up to 10 new transactions; scalable based on activity and number of agents</em><br /> This cloud-based transaction management system allows the office broker or manager to set permissions and to assign and track tasks related to each transaction. Subscribers can create and review checklists and e-mail them from within the program. It provides a single page for brokers to review documents and activities related to all transactions. Security features include document encryption and multiple backups.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realestatepaperlesssolutions.com/paperless_real_estate_solutions.aspx#Paper_Real_Estate_Office" target="_blank"><strong>Real Estate Paperless Solutions</strong></a><br /> <em>Subscriptions start at $25/month for individual, $100/month for office</em><br /> This service helps an established real estate company transition to and manage a paperless workflow. The Paperless Real Estate Office cloud service provides online document access, storage, and backups. Once set up, it can be used to manage real estate documents and actions, including files and records, properties, lockboxes, and agent activity. Optional services include digitizing existing paper records for archiving online, and creating interactive PDFs from existing paper forms and contracts for use as digital documents.</p> <p><a href="https://www.skyslope.com/features/" target="_blank"><strong>SkySlope</strong></a><br /> <em>Subscription starts at $25/month per agent for offices with up to 10 agents, with volume discounts</em><br /> This cloud-based transaction management solution can be customized to the specific needs and workflow of a real estate office or company. Features include document storage and access; digital signatures; document and activity checklists; tracking e-mails and text messages as part of transaction records; and logging all activity. Apps for mobile access via smartphones or tablets are included.</p> <p><a href="https://www.dotloop.com/products" target="_blank"><strong>DotLoop</strong></a><br /> <em>Price based on size of company and number of transactions</em><br /> This cloud-based platform manages real estate activity and documents as a single workflow. It organizes transactions as &ldquo;loops,&rdquo; where relevant documents are stored, activity is monitored, and authorized parties can check on a transaction&rsquo;s status and interact. It includes document task lists and apps for accessing the system from mobile devices.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Check out these paperless management solutions, from budget-friendly apps to full-service management systems.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_7.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_8.jpg?1407782151" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_3.jpg?1407782157" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:07:07 +0000 gwood 16829 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: Terms You Should Know http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do you know the difference between a digital signature and an e-Signature? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Digital signature, e-signature:</strong> Terms often used interchangeably to describe a way of endorsing or signing digitized documents. In practice, though, an e-signature is usually an image of an actual signature pasted into a document, or a signature captured as the user &ldquo;writes&rdquo; on a touch screen. A digital signature, on the other hand, may refer to some other method of authenticating the document, such as clicking on a box or activating a specific font.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16821">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16825">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16829">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>Encryption:</strong> A security feature for converting or scrambling the contents of a file or document into a format which can be read only by authorized users. They must have the right key or password to decrypt and convert it back into a legible format.</p> <p><strong>Log:</strong> A record or audit trail of a digitized document. This document history identifies those who makes changes to a file and access it once changes are made, as well as the date and time a document is signed.</p> <p><strong>PDF: </strong>Portable document format, the de facto standard for digitized documents originally developed by Adobe Systems.</p> <p><strong>Redundant back-ups:</strong> A security feature that stores multiple copies of files in more than one location.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Do you know the difference between a digital signature and an e-Signature?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_2.jpg?1407781998" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless.jpg?1407781920" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:53:44 +0000 gwood 16824 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: You Probably Can’t Go Entirely Digital http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-you-probably-can-t-go-entirely-digit <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> There will always be those clients who want hard copies of documents. But for everything else, you can keep it in the cloud. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The technology for going paperless is already tried and true. It&rsquo;s not defined by any single tool or service: It&rsquo;s a combination of solutions that come together as a seamlessly integrated workflow.</p> <p>It starts with digitized documents. Anything you create on a computer is already in digital form. Real estate practitioners routinely work with a variety of standardized forms and contracts that originated on paper. But you can get them all in PDF form using <a href="http://www.zipforms.com" target="_blank">Ziplogix</a>, which provides authorized digital libraries of standardized documents; it&rsquo;s available through many state and local real estate associations. Some state associations offer their own officially sanctioned digital documents, too. Once in digital form, all that &ldquo;paperwork&rdquo; can be uploaded to any number of cloud services or stored on your hard drive for retrieval as needed.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">6 Steps to Transitiong Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Some programs or apps allow you to enter information directly into digital documents and PDFs. To officially endorse them, there are several competing digital signature or e-signature solutions. These are legally binding and almost as universally accepted as putting ink to paper. (See NAR&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-electronic-signatures" target="_blank">Field Guide to Electronic Signatures</a>.)</p> <p>The biggest piece of a paperless workflow &mdash; the transaction management solution &mdash; provides a system for managing those documents and all of the activity involved in a successful closing. These cloud services create the collaborative space where all authorized parties to the transaction can log in, check on what they need to do, complete or upload paperwork, and monitor progress toward closing.</p> <p>When the deal is done, these services usually include archiving services for remote storage of everything related to each closing. For added security, some may back up digital files to other cloud services or an office hard drive.</p> <p>A paperless office doesn&rsquo;t mean you can completely do away with paper, at least in the short term. You have to accommodate clients who still want hard copies of documents and will only sign with real ink on real paper. So hold on to your office printer. If it&rsquo;s not already a multifunction machine with scanning capabilities, consider upgrading to one. With the scanner, you can easily digitize anything on paper, including the records you&rsquo;re required to keep from past sales.</p> <p>Also, for when you&rsquo;re in the field or just need a quick alternative, there are inexpensive scanning apps for smartphones and tablets. Use them to digitize anything in print: expense receipts, plat maps, contracts, notes on listings, and other documents.</p> <p>The more you feed your paperless workflow, the more indispensable it will become. It gives you a more efficient way to run your office, whether you&rsquo;re a sole practitioner or a team manager.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>There will always be those clients who want hard copies of documents. But for everything else, you can keep it in the cloud.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_3.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_4.jpg?1407782073" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_1.jpg?1407782079" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:44:03 +0000 gwood 16821 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Naked Truth About This Peculiar Niche http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/08/naked-truth-about-peculiar-niche <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jackie Youngblood strips it down for her clients in a surprising market: nudist communities. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 6, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When <a href="http://www.skiptheoutfit.com/" target="_blank">Jackie Youngblood</a> meets new clients, she makes sure to maintain eye contact &mdash; because if she looks down, she&rsquo;ll get an eyeful. Chances are her clients aren&rsquo;t wearing any clothes.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of times, my clients are nude when I pick them up for an appointment,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;Or they&rsquo;ll ask if they can take their clothes off and see what it would really be like to live in a home. I say, &lsquo;Sure!&rsquo;&rdquo; (Of course, that&#39;s after Youngblood has gotten permission from the sellers.)</p> <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 150px"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_aug/youngblood.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 224px; float: right;" /></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="rtecenter"> <em>Jackie Youngblood</em></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Some might think Youngblood&rsquo;s business is kind of funny, but there&rsquo;s no funny business happening here. Youngblood, an agent with Keller Williams Tampa Properties in Tampa, Fla., is working a peculiar niche: nudist real estate. Nearby Pasco County is known as the nudist capital of North America because of its 12 or so clothing-optional resorts, and Youngblood has become a go-to agent for nudists looking to buy and live in communities with like-minded people.</p> <p>Nudist communities are typically gated, resort-like neighborhoods where the clothes come off only within the community&rsquo;s parameters. Youngblood sells in high-end communities that often feature a clubhouse, tennis courts, volleyball courts, pools, and outdoor bars. One, called <a href="http://thewoodsrv.com/" target="_blank">The Woods</a>, is a high-end RV community.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just such a big business, the nudist lifestyle,&rdquo; says Youngblood, who is a nudist herself along with her husband. &ldquo;There are people from their late 20s and early 30s right on up to 85 and 90 years old.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Exposing the Lifestyle to a Larger Audience</h4> <p>Just how big is the nudist niche? Well, in the first six months of this year, Youngblood sold 22 properties at prices ranging from $135,000 to $800,000. Though Youngblood does sell to &ldquo;textiles&rdquo; &mdash; an affectionate term for nonnudists &mdash; she estimates that nudist clients make up 85 percent to 90 percent of her business. Most are either purchasing a second home or retiring in the community, she says.</p> <p>&ldquo;Many are buying in cash,&rdquo; Youngblood adds. &ldquo;Most of them are businesspeople who have watched their money over the years &mdash; and when they want something, they get it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Nudist real estate has become so popular in the area that it&rsquo;s even caught the attention of television network TLC. In October 2013, Youngblood signed on to have her work life filmed as she shows properties to clients &mdash; who are very much in the buff during the showings. The show, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/buying-naked" target="_blank">Buying Naked</a>,&rdquo; which airs on TLC at 11 p.m. on Saturdays, chronicles Youngblood as she helps nudist couples hunting for the perfect home in clothing-optional communities. Watch a clip of the show below.</p> <p><strong>(WARNING: The below video depicts some nudity.)</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v7Ucwo1eOY0" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>But you won&rsquo;t get a glimpse of Youngblood&rsquo;s goodies.</p> <p>&ldquo;I promised my kids I wouldn&rsquo;t get nude on TV,&rdquo; says the grandmother of eight, laughing. &ldquo;But also, if you&rsquo;re a businesswoman like me, you dress like one. I feel better wearing clothes when I&rsquo;m working; I feel more professional. When I take my clothes off, I&rsquo;m ready to go by the pool and relax.&rdquo;</p> <h4> From a Client to a Salesperson</h4> <p>Youngblood got into the business of nudist real estate after she and her husband retired to the Tampa area to live the clothing-optional lifestyle themselves in 2001. The appeal of the nudist lifestyle, she says, is the simplicity it brings to life.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the freedom. You know, we live such stressful lives,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;When you can go home and take it all off or go into the community and not worry about what you&rsquo;re wearing or not wearing &mdash; it&rsquo;s just a stress-free lifestyle. And the people are fantastic.&rdquo;</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t long before Youngblood realized how much demand there was for homes in nudist communities. She decided to get her real estate license and start catering to nudist clients in 2004. Being a nudist herself and knowing many people in nudist communities helped her find success in the niche.</p> <p>&ldquo;People trust me, and they know I know what I&rsquo;m talking about,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;My business is just referrals, referrals, referrals.&rdquo;</p> <p>When the housing bubble burst in 2008, her business was hardly affected, she adds. &ldquo;I saw some downturn with nonnudists, but with the nudists, I didn&rsquo;t really feel it. The demand has always been there.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Working With Nudists</h4> <p>Dealing with nudist clients requires specific etiquette, chiefly: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t look down,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;Let them know you&rsquo;re interested in what they have to say. This is a very private, respectful lifestyle that we have to be discreet about.&rdquo;</p> <p>One item to keep handy during appointments is towels.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would cringe if they sat on furniture without a towel,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;So you always have to have towels in your car in case they forget theirs.&rdquo; Many sellers of homes in nudist communities leave towels out for buyers to use during showings, she adds.</p> <p>There are also particular home features that nudists look for. Though it may seem counterintuitive, privacy is one of their major concerns, Youngblood says. The point of nudism is not to be gawked at.</p> <p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want everyone walking by and looking at them, so they like lots of shrubbery and things that can offer a shield,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s also to be respectful of their neighbors.&rdquo;</p> <p>Nudists also like to entertain, so they prefer open floor plans, pools, and nice views,Youngblood says.</p> <p>But there is a certain hazard that nudists need to look out for in the kitchen. &ldquo;When you&rsquo;re walking around in your home naked, you don&rsquo;t want the sharp edges on kitchen countertops,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;You want rounded edges.&rdquo; (Just for good measure, she has a word of advice to nudists who like to cook at home: &ldquo;Wear an apron!&rdquo;)</p> <p>And, of course, everyone wants a bidet. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to be nude in public, you want to be clean,&rdquo; she says with a laugh.</p> <h4> Fitting in With the Rest of the World</h4> <p>One of the harder parts of Youngblood&rsquo;s job is introducing her nudist clients to nonnudist businesspeople who can help them with their transactions, such as lenders and home inspectors. She often hosts networking events that bring her clients together with others from the real estate world.</p> <p>&ldquo;I want my sellers and buyers to see who they&rsquo;re working with, not just interact over e-mail,&rdquo; Youngblood says. But it does require some coaching to get nonnudists to intermingle. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re not used to seeing it. It&rsquo;s not a part of their everyday life.&rdquo;</p> <p>When it comes to clients, she also has a way of distinguishing between looky-loos and serious buyers. She&rsquo;s often dealt with people who are simply curious about how nudists live. To weed them out, she&rsquo;ll ask questions such as how long they&rsquo;ve been nudists, why they want to live in a nudist community, and if they&rsquo;re looking to finance or pay in cash. Those who aren&rsquo;t serious about it are often stumped for an answer, she says.</p> <p>Overall, Youngblood says she sees herself as an educator, helping people learn more about the nudist lifestyle. She says she was shocked to learn that many nonnudist locals were completely ignorant of the vibrant nudist world in Pasco County. Bringing more awareness and appreciation for the nudist lifestyle is primarily what attracted her to start a business in nudist real estate.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re people just like everybody else &mdash; we just don&rsquo;t wear clothes,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I would never push the lifestyle on anyone, but I just want people to know that we&rsquo;re not a bunch of weird people behind those gates.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Jackie Youngblood strips it down for her clients in a surprising market: nudist communities.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_resorts.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30666">aug14_SM_resorts.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_resorts_0.jpg?1407341093" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_resorts.jpg?1407341115" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2009/07/own-your-niche">Own Your Niche </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/03/understanding-lgbt-niche">Understanding the LGBT Niche</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2010/09/hot-management-niches">Hot Management Niches</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:40:35 +0000 gwood 16802 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Know Your Online Audience http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/08/know-your-online-audience <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sara Critchfield, editorial director of Upworthy, shares tips for small business owners trying to market and grow their client base. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 6, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>In a world that puts increasing value on provocative posts that could be characterized as &ldquo;click bait,&rdquo; Sara Critchfield is busting myths about what makes successful online content. Critchfield, the editorial director of <a href="http://www.upworthy.com" target="_blank">Upworthy</a>, a media company with the mission of curating and sharing content that addresses social and civic issues, says it has a lot less to do with punchy headlines and short videos and more to do with providing relevant information that&rsquo;s interesting to viewers.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_aug/Critchfield.jpg" style="width: 147px; height: 250px; float: left;" />Upworthy&rsquo;s editorial staff members consider themselves curators rather than journalists. Instead of focusing on content creation, the company has taken on the less sexy side of media &mdash; audience-building and distribution of content created by others that they deem worthy of sharing. And it&rsquo;s paid off for them. Since the site launched in early 2012, it&rsquo;s gained a following of more than 5 million e-mail subscribers, upwards of 6.4 million Facebook likes, and some 87 million unique monthly page views since November 2013.</p><blockquote> <p>Critchfield will share more of her contrarian perspective on digital marketing and content creation at the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in New Orleans on <a href="http://www.realtor.org/educsess.nsf/PagesLUNew/14ConfEESSun130" target="_blank">Sunday, Nov. 9, in an Entrepreneurial Excellence Session</a>.</p> <p>You can read more from the other major speakers at this year&rsquo;s conference in the upcoming September/October issue of REALTOR&reg; Magazine, including our exclusive interview with retired astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Other speakers include acclaimed New Orleans chef John Besh; artist and author Candy Chang, known for her interactive public art projects; and six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the content that got them to where they are today is not typical, at least in terms of the traditional definition of viral content on the web. For example, the most successful video they&rsquo;ve shared is a whopping 22 minutes long, yet it garnered 17 million views in 2013. The video is about a Minnesota boy named Zach Sobiech who was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer at the age of 14, later becoming an Internet sensation with his music.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about interest,&rdquo; says Critchfield. &ldquo;People won&rsquo;t watch a 30-second video if it doesn&rsquo;t interest them, but they will watch a 22-minute video that does.&rdquo;</p> <p>Critchfield says that in addition to catering to the interests of their audience, online marketers should measure their results. In the early days of Upworthy, they focused on subscription rates. Today, they track how many minutes of attention each piece gets and look at performance from topic to topic.</p> <p>Numbers are important when judging the success of online content, but Critchfield says they still heavily&nbsp;rely&nbsp;on editorial judgment. &ldquo;We look for things are that are going to elicit a response; then we look to see if it will elicit a response from a mass audience,&rdquo; Critchfield says.&nbsp;</p> <p>Critchfield cites Jonah Berger&rsquo;s book <em>Contagious: Why Things Catch On</em> (Simon &amp; Schuster, 2013), which looks at marketing and virality studies. &ldquo;The most shared things correlated with certain emotions, like anger, or joy, or a feeling of awe,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Critchfield cautions against the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to successful content marketing. She suggests tailoring your online goals to your target audience. If you&rsquo;re a real estate pro working a specific geographic region, you might want to connect with the most motivated or influential audience in that area, rather than the most readers overall.</p> <p>&ldquo;The No. 1 thing is meeting people where they are and not where you are,&rdquo; Critchfield says. &ldquo;For small businesses, that might not be in social media; that might be in community spaces or the grocery store. The other thing we&rsquo;ve found out is if you want to stand out, you have to stand for something. If you&rsquo;re the agent who focuses on a certain housing [stock] or area, own that. It matters that you&rsquo;re authentic and that you stick to that.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Sara Critchfield, editorial director of Upworthy, shares tips for small business owners trying to market and grow their client base.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_audience.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=39781">aug14_SM_audience.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_audience_0.jpg?1407262030" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_audience.jpg?1407262044" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:19:53 +0000 mwhite 16766 at http://realtormag.realtor.org You Can Make a Better Site Than Your Brokerage Can http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/my-first-year/article/2014/08/you-can-make-better-site-your-brokerage-can <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The run-of-the-mill agent sites that brokerages provide don’t always let agents shine. Sonny Cox broke from the mold and created his own site to stand out. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 5, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Most brokerages can set new agents up with a company-branded website complete with a bio, head shot, and contact information. What it won&rsquo;t provide is any personality.</p> <p>Take a look at the agent profile pages of any major real estate company. You&rsquo;ll notice that many look and sound the same, with varying degrees of personal information for each agent. If you were a consumer looking for the right agent, how on earth would you choose one? What would make any one of them stand out?</p> <p>That&rsquo;s exactly what was on Sonny Cox&rsquo;s mind when he decided to supplement his agent profile page with Tarbell, REALTORS&reg;, with his own flashier website. Cox is based in the Corona, Calif., office of Tarbell, California&rsquo;s largest family-owned real estate company with hundreds of agents spread across offices throughout the southern half of the state.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More &#39;First Year&#39; Stories</strong></p> <p>We have a collection of stories from practitioners who faced all kinds of challenges in their first year on the job. <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/my-first-year">Read all of them here.</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Cox says the vast majority of Tarbell agents use the same company-branded website, which can make it difficult for one agent to stand out over another because their websites look so similar. The company recommends its agents to third-party website hosting companies, which charge $30 a month or higher for site maintenance of Tarbell-branded sites. While he says he loves working for Tarbell and appreciates the tools the company offers its agents, he thought he would get a better return on his investment if he attempted to have more of an individual presence on the Web.</p> <p>So Cox decided to create <a href="http://www.dreamhomesbysonnycox.com/" target="_blank">his own website</a> to stand out from other agents in his company &mdash; and at a much lower cost at that. He bought a domain through GoDaddy.com and used <a href="http://www.godaddy.com/hosting/website-builder.aspx" target="_blank">its website builder</a> to create his site. The cost: $13 a year.</p> <p>GoDaddy&rsquo;s website builder has several website templates to choose from, and its easy-to-use applications allow users to pick font styles and color schemes, upload photos, and add widgets, Cox says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very user-friendly and easy to use &mdash; even a monkey could do it,&rdquo; he adds. &ldquo;I had my site up and published in three to four hours.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cox made sure to incorporate the colors of the Tarbell brand &mdash; red and white &mdash; to maintain some cohesiveness with the company. But what creating his own site allowed him to do was to have more control over the phrasing of his advertising and what kinds of elements he wanted to have on his site. Maintenance is also at a minimum: He says he spends three to five hours a week working on his website, mostly when he wants to change something.</p> <p>Though the third-party sites that many Tarbell agents use do offer more features, such as mortgage calculators, school-zone comparisons, and other subcategories, Cox says he&rsquo;s happy that his site lets him express his individuality as an agent.</p> <p>&ldquo;The biggest thing is that people understand that this site is from me, not a word generator,&rdquo; Cox said. &ldquo;I want something particular to me and what I&rsquo;m about &mdash; not saying what someone else says. My site is a place where people can get to know me a little bit before contacting me. They&rsquo;ll see that I&rsquo;m involved in my community; I&rsquo;ve written about my involvement in Little League, for example.&rdquo;</p> <p>His branch manager at Tarbell loved the site he created, he says, because it&rsquo;s a different avenue toward agent branding. Cox and another agent in his office have begun coaching other Tarbell agents through the process of creating their own sites.</p> <p>&ldquo;We talk about it at our weekly meetings, and we&rsquo;ve even helped a couple switch to their own sites,&rdquo; Cox says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m trying to show the agents who have been in the business a long time that there are alternative ways of doing things than to just fall into doing whatever other agents do. You can make your own site for cheap, and it&rsquo;ll still do what you need it to do. You can still have as much presence as possible.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cox&rsquo;s site has been up and running for about four months now. So far, he&rsquo;s landed six leasing deals from leads coming to his site.</p> <p>&ldquo;My site accounts for about 5 percent to 15 percent of my business now,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But I expect that in the future, it could be upwards of 50 percent. It&rsquo;s going to let me generate more leads, and I&rsquo;ve just added a widget to track visitors to my site.</p> <p>&ldquo;I hope this shows other agents that they shouldn&rsquo;t fear technology.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The run-of-the-mill agent sites that brokerages provide don&rsquo;t always let agents shine. Sonny Cox broke from the mold and created his own site to stand out from other agents in his office.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_1st_year.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=55661">aug14_SM_1st_year.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_1st_year_0.jpg?1407254280" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_1st_year.jpg?1407254298" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2014/07/head-website-accessibility-issues">Head Off Website Accessibility Issues</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2012/03/winning-features-for-any-real-estate-web-site">Winning Features for any Real Estate Web Site</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/03/28/top-mistakes-avoid-your-web-site">Top Mistakes to Avoid With Your Web Site </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> My First Year Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:14:16 +0000 gwood 16752 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Create a Winning Brokerage Culture http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/create-winning-brokerage-culture <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Here are five strategies for instilling strong commitment and values in the agents and employees at your brokerage. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 1, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/grant-boelter">Grant Boelter</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Building and maintaining a positive culture in your brokerage can seem a slippery goal. Culture is one of those intangible qualities of a workplace that employees and managers can identify when present&mdash;but explaining how it came to be is more difficult.</p> <p>Culture is hard to measure with numbers or analytics. But Dave Robison, who manages <a href="http://utahdave.com" target="_blank">UtahDave Neighborhood Experts</a> in Salt Lake City, says a positive culture is one of the biggest keys to long-term success for any brokerage.</p> <p>&ldquo;Culture is about building commitment to one another,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Commitment is when you&rsquo;re willing to do things that are inconvenient.&rdquo;</p> <p>Robison takes a measured approach, keeping culture issues top-of-mind when he implements policies and procedures. He shares five strategies for organically building culture at your brokerage:</p> <p><strong>1. Do what you say. </strong>The best way to undermine your culture is to go back on what you&rsquo;ve told agents when they joined your team. Make your expectations known at the beginning, and follow through on them.</p> <p><strong>2. Provide incentive. </strong>Brief monthly meetings are necessary for sharing news and checking in on goals. To emphasize the importance of attending, he gives a higher commission split to agents with perfect attendance. Whatever you deem important to your culture, Robison recommends tying incentives to participation.</p> <p><strong>3. Promote accountability, top to bottom. </strong>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s the saying, &lsquo;Your chain is only as strong as your weakest link,&rsquo;&rdquo; Robison says. &ldquo;When you have agents missing meetings or not turning in their statistics, that&rsquo;s a really weak link.&rdquo; At his brokerage, agents must attend meetings and share their statistics, regardless of tenure or past achievements.</p> <p><strong>4. Provide resources for success.</strong> High-quality training and technological tools that improve efficiency can boost not only your bottom line but also agent morale. Agents know you&rsquo;re invested in their success. Archiving training sessions and making them accessible online to his &ldquo;partner agents&rdquo; and allowing agents to attend meetings via Google Hangout have increased buy-in on education initiatives.</p> <p><strong>5. Share (and repeat) your core values. </strong>Your core values should define your culture, so it&rsquo;s imperative that everyone in your brokerage is aware of what those are and your collective efforts support them. One of the core values at Robison&rsquo;s brokerage is &ldquo;creating memorable experiences,&rdquo; a mantra that is repeated at every turn. Successful agents at his company aren&rsquo;t just making sales, they&rsquo;re making the process is easy and memorable for buyers and sellers.</p> <p>Instilling your cultural values is important when you bring on new agents and employees, but Robison says it&rsquo;s equally necessary to check in with your veterans to make sure they&rsquo;re still on the same page. &ldquo;A lot of times that means providing emotional support,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Once veteran agents have acquired the knowledge they need to do their jobs well, it&rsquo;s not uncommon for them to hit a wall, and doubt in your mission can begin to creep in. &ldquo;Doubt is a normal part of the process,&rdquo; he says. That&rsquo;s when you need to communicate and offer support so that your successful agents not only stay with you but remain champions of your organizations, willing to recruit and mentor the next wave of agents.</p> <hr /><br /><p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 117px; float: left;" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Here are five strategies for instilling strong commitment and values in the agents and employees at your brokerage.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_B-B_brokerage.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=40613">aug14_B-B_brokerage.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_B-B_brokerage_0.jpg?1406907188" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_B-B_brokerage.jpg?1406907227" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/04/how-build-x-factor-team">How to Build an X-Factor Team</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/success-stories/article/2008/01/rethinking-office-culture">Rethinking Office Culture</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/03/make-your-clients-raving-fans">Make Your Clients Raving Fans</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:48:31 +0000 echristoffer 16739 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Camera Guide: Do It Yourself or Hire a Photographer? http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-do-it-yourself-or-hire-photographe <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Not all photographers or cameras are created equal — and they’re not all right for real estate. From hiring a pro to finding the gear that meets your needs, learn what it takes to make the appropriate photography investment in your business. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 30, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Whether you&rsquo;re hiring a professional photographer to shoot listing photos or taking photos yourself, it&rsquo;s important to know how to find the best services or equipment for your business.</p> <p><a href="http://www.noahhayesphoto.com/" target="_blank">Noah Hayes</a>, a Washington, D.C.&ndash;based photographer who shoots events as well as industrial and commercial spaces for architects and design firms, advises hiring a photographer who specializes in real estate or architectural photography. &ldquo;The knowledge, skills, and gear is very different than a photographer who might specialize in family portraits,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Ask to see the photographer&rsquo;s work before you hire them for the job to review what they&rsquo;ve shot in the past, Hayes adds. Look at how they composed their shots: Did they make the room shine?</p> <p>&ldquo;High-quality images sell properties faster,&rdquo; Hayes says. &ldquo;A good professional photographer knows how to make a room look its best.&rdquo;</p> <p>What&rsquo;s more, you want to make sure you&rsquo;re hiring someone who is timely and punctual and who communicates well.</p> <p>But if you do opt to take your own listing photos, Hayes warns against point-and-shoot or smartphone cameras. &ldquo;They have great image quality but aren&rsquo;t wide-angle enough to capture a whole room the way it really looks,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Think you&rsquo;re ready to give it a try yourself? We&rsquo;re here to help:</p> <ul> <li> Make sure you&rsquo;ve <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-get-right-gear">got the right gear</a> (for some things, you can&rsquo;t be cheap).</li> <li> Know what these handy <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-know-your-lingo">camera and video terms</a> mean.</li> <li> Find out what kind of cameras <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-recommendations-from-shutterbugs">your fellow real estate pros carry</a>.</li> <li> Take a look at the <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014-camera-guide-shop-these-digital-cameras">best options on the market</a> right now.</li> <li> How one photographer <a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/31/taking-real-estate-photography-to-a-whole-new-level/">takes real estate shots to a whole new level</a>.</li> </ul> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Not all photographers or cameras are created equal &mdash; and they&rsquo;re not all right for real estate. From hiring a pro to finding the gear that meets your needs, learn what it takes to make the appropriate photography investment in your business.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30782">jul14_PG_camera.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_1.jpg?1406733354" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_PG_camera.jpg?1406733301" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Cameras and Video Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:14:45 +0000 gwood 16716 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Camera Guide: Get the Right Gear http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-get-right-gear <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you want to have the best materials for shooting quality listing photos, know what you can and can’t go cheap on. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 30, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>The Lens:</strong> When investing in new camera equipment, the lens is the most important component, says real estate photographer Noah Hayes. If you want to save money, an APS-C sensor DSLR would be sufficient, such as the <a href="http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Digital-SLR-Cameras/D5200.html">Nikon D5200</a>, which retails for around $600. (Nikon&rsquo;s term for this sensor size is DX.) But Hayes cautions not to skimp on the lens. &ldquo;A high-quality wide-angle lens will help make the room look as big as it is and gives the potential buyer a better idea of the layout of the room and the home,&rdquo; Hayes says. He estimates a quality lens will cost between $600 and $1,800, depending on how wide and how sharp it is. <a href="http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/AF-S-DX-NIKKOR-10-24mm-f%2F3.5-4.5G-ED.html" target="_blank">Nikon&rsquo;s 10&ndash;24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor lens</a> retails for about $900, for example.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-do-it-yourself-or-hire-photographe">Should You Hire a Photographer?</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-know-your-lingo">Common Camera Terms You Should Know</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-recommendations-from-shutterbugs">The Cameras Other Real Estate Pros Use</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014-camera-guide-shop-these-digital-cameras">The Best Options on the Market Right Now</a></li> <li> <a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/31/taking-real-estate-photography-to-a-whole-new-level/">How One Photographer Takes Real Estate Shots to a Whole New Level</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>If you&rsquo;re shooting with a camera that has a full-frame 35mm sensor (FX sensor in a Nikon), the base focal length is longer than an APS-C sensor; thus, a lens like Nikon&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/AF-S-NIKKOR-18-35mm-f%252F3.5-4.5G-ED.html" target="_blank">18&ndash;35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S FX Nikkor</a> at $750 would be more than sufficient. Most modern DSLR cameras have great low-light performance, Hayes says, but a high-quality lens also impacts how good your photos are in low-light settings. (Here&rsquo;s <a href="http://photographylife.com/nikon-dx-vs-fx" target="_blank">a great explanation</a> about the difference between DX and FX sensor cameras.)</p> <p><strong>The Tripod:</strong> Hayes also highly recommends using a tripod, especially since many interior spaces require a longer exposure to let more light into the camera. A lightweight carbon fiber or aluminum tripod (three to four pounds) with a quick release plate would work well for a real estate professional on the go. Make sure the tripod is at least 60 inches tall, ideally with a ball head so it swivels 360 degrees.&nbsp;Manfroto, Vanguard, and Promaster are all great brands. The <a href="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/842091-REG/Magnus_vt_400_VT_200_Tripod_System_with.html" target="_blank">Magnus VT-400 Aluminum Tripod System</a>, for example, retails for $130.</p> <p><strong>The Flash:</strong> A <a href="http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/professional_cameras/speedlite_flash_lineup">mountable or wireless control flash</a> is just as important as the tripod. That&rsquo;s how appealing photographs get that smooth, evenly lit tone. The built-in flash creates a harsh direct light with dark shadows, Hayes says. Compact, lightweight, mountable flashes <a href="http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Flashes/index.page" target="_blank">start around $150</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Memory Card:</strong> When it comes to your memory card, opt for a class 10 for speed, especially if you&rsquo;re shooting 1080p HD video. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Memory-Frustration-Free-Packaging--SDSDU-064G-AFFP/dp/B007M51IZM/" target="_blank">SanDisk Ultra 64GB SDXC Class 10/UHS-1 Memory Card</a> retails for about $38.</p> <p><strong>The Bags:</strong> Camera gear is a significant investment, and you&rsquo;ll want to protect it with a padded shoulder bag. Lowepro and Tamrac both carry a plethora of bags and cases in various shapes and sizes. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Tamrac-5502-Explorer-Camera-Black/dp/B000EOUYH6/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1405637986&amp;sr=8-9&amp;keywords=camera+bag" target="_blank">Tamrac 5502 Explorer 2 Camera Bag</a>, for example, fits a camera body, lenses, flash, and accessories for about $40. Don&rsquo;t forget a tripod bag, too. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Vanguard-PRO-80-Tripods-Folded/dp/B001HBIYG8/ref=pd_sim_sbs_p_6?ie=UTF8&amp;refRID=00X01FTFDG18ECJ0V743" target="_blank">Vanguard PRO Bag 80</a> fits tripods with a folded length less than 30 1/8 inches for $27.</p> <p><strong>The Mic: </strong>If you&rsquo;re using your DSLR to shoot video, a microphone will make all the difference. Australia-based Rode produces a quality <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rode-VMGO-Lightweight-Microphone-Super-Cardio/dp/B00GQDORA4/ref=sr_1_3?s=musical-instruments&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1405638456&amp;sr=1-3&amp;keywords=rode+videomic+pro" target="_blank">shotgun/directional microphone</a> for $99. For on-camera client testimonials, you might consider investing in lapel/lavalier microphones or a handheld mic. The <a href="http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&amp;sku=3659&amp;gclid=Cj0KEQjw6J2eBRCpqaW0857k9p4BEiQAWarYbHkY3G56OjC1QKIdq-owdZ4mGgkuuX3c3LRsBmo_Y7IaAnby8P8HAQ&amp;Q=&amp;is=REG&amp;A=details" target="_blank">Azden WMS-PRO VHF Wireless Lavalier Handheld Mic System</a> includes one lavalier and one handheld microphone for $147.</p> <p><strong>The Software:</strong> If your photos need a few tweaks after the shoot, Hayes recommends <a href="http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html" target="_blank">Adobe Lightroom</a> editing software. It&rsquo;s one of the most popular apps photographers use today to tweak color, cropping, and more. Various plans are available starting at $9.99 per month.</p> <p>In total, you can expect to invest upwards of $2,000 for quality DSLR photography gear for your business. That number can vary more or less depending on your goals.</p> <h4> Pro Pointers</h4> <p>Once you&rsquo;re outfitted with the appropriate camera gear, it&rsquo;s time to put some lessons from the pros to use.</p> <p>If a home has attractive landscaping, you want to highlight that in your listing photos. Try to include as much as possible in the wide shot of the home without letting objects like trees block important elements of the home, such as the front doorway or garage, Hayes says. If you&rsquo;re photographing a townhome, be sure to frame your exterior shot so that at least part of the neighbors&rsquo; space shows on either side to put the property into perspective.</p> <p>To show off a backyard, Hayes suggests taking a photo from the deck or home looking out, as well as another photo looking back at the house from the end of the yard to give an idea of space available.</p> <p>Make sure the sun is your friend when photographing a listing. &ldquo;Any photographer will tell you the most attractive light of the day is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset,&rdquo; said Hayes. &ldquo;This is commonly referred to as the &lsquo;golden hour,&rsquo; and you&rsquo;ll notice a warmer color to the light and you&rsquo;ll see long and interesting shadows, which make the image pop out more.&rdquo;</p> <p>The worst time of day to photograph: solar noon, when the sun is directly overhead. &ldquo;For much the same reason as you shouldn&rsquo;t use the on-camera flash, the photos will look flat and boring in most cases,&rdquo; Hayes says.</p> <p>Lastly, when you&rsquo;re in the midst of shooting a listing, don&rsquo;t go overboard by taking hundreds of photos. Think about how much time it will take to go through them all. Instead, slow down and carefully think about what will make the best view or angle of a room, Hayes says. Careful framing will actually save you time in the end.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you want to have the best materials for shooting quality listing photos, know what you can and can&rsquo;t go cheap on.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_3.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30782">jul14_PG_camera.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_2.jpg?1406733388" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_PG_camera_0.jpg?1406733382" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Cameras and Video Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:25:36 +0000 gwood 16717 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Camera Guide: Know Your Lingo http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-know-your-lingo <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Refresh your memory or learn a few new words with this list of handy camera and video terms. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 30, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Depth of field:</strong> The range of focus in a shot. A shallow depth of field creates a narrow focal range in the image &mdash; either the foreground or background is out of focus, drawing attention to a specific object. With a deep depth of field, nearly everything in the frame is in focus.</p> <p><strong>Dutch angle:</strong> A photo that&rsquo;s taken when the camera is tilted at an angle for dramatic effect.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16716">Should You Hire a Photographer?</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-get-right-gear">The Best Gear for Real Estate Purposes</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16726">The Cameras Other Real Estate Pros Use</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16723">The Best Options on the Market Right Now</a></li> <li> <a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/31/taking-real-estate-photography-to-a-whole-new-level/">How One Photographer Takes Real Estate Shots to a Whole New Level</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>F-stop:</strong> The size of the aperture opening allowing light into the sensor. A low f-stop, such as f/1.4 or f/2, allows more light to reach the sensor, while an f/16 or f/22 aperture lets less light reach the sensor.</p> <p><strong>Hot shoe:</strong> The top mounting bracket on a DSLR camera for a flash, microphone, or other accessory.</p> <p><strong>Image sensor:</strong> The device in a digital camera that converts an image into an electronic signal, which is then saved as a digital file. Common types of DSLR image sensors:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Full frame:</strong> The same size as a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/135_film" target="_blank" title="135 film">35 mm</a> (36&times;24&nbsp;mm) film frame, it has a wider field of view and more light sensitivity.</li> <li> <strong>APS-C:</strong> The next sensor size down after full frame, APS-C is 28.7 x 19 mm.</li> <li> Most <strong>smartphones</strong> (including the iPhone 5, for example) use a 1/3.2-inch image sensor, which is very small compared to any DSLR (4.54 x 3.42 mm vs. 36 x 24 mm full frame sensors).</li> </ul> <p><strong>ISO:</strong> Controls your digital camera&rsquo;s sensitivity to light. Higher ISOs result in more light sensitivity and are used to shoot photos or video in lower-light situations. Lower ISOs make the sensor less light-sensitive and are good for shooting in bright-light settings. Film is also measured in ISO.</p> <p><strong>Monopod: </strong>The sister tool of the tripod, but it only has one &ldquo;leg.&rdquo; Used by photographers who are moving frequently to capture images but need extra steadiness.</p> <p><strong>Shutter speed:</strong> The exposure time of an individual frame or shot. For example, if a camera&rsquo;s shutter speed is set to 60, the exposure is for 1/60th of a second.</p> <p><strong>White balance: </strong>The process of adjusting the camera to capture the correct colors in the light that&rsquo;s available. Fluorescent light can result in yellow, green, or blue tones in an image, for example, while incandescent lights can create a yellow or orange hue. A digital camera can be adjusted to capture the correct colors of a room either with an auto white balance feature or in the white balance settings menu.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Refresh your memory or learn a few new words with this list of handy camera and video terms.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_4.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30782">jul14_PG_camera.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_5.jpg?1406733431" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_PG_camera_1.jpg?1406733437" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Cameras and Video Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:56:32 +0000 gwood 16725 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Camera Guide: Recommendations From Shutterbugs http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-recommendations-from-shutterbugs <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Find out what kind of gear your fellow real estate pros carry in their camera bags. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 30, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Many real estate pros have been bitten by the shutterbug and developed a love for photography while on the job. REALTOR&reg; Magazine asked our Facebook followers what kind of camera they use, and the responses were largely split between Nikon and Canon products. Ten of the 35 respondents said they shoot with a Nikon DSLR, while nine said they prefer Canon, with many citing the Canon Rebel in particular. And three people called out the Panasonic Lumix, specifically for its wide-angle and zoom capabilities.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <span style="font-size: 10px;"><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16716">Should You Hire a Photographer?</a></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 10px;"><a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-get-right-gear">The Best Gear for Real Estate Purposes</a></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 10px;"><a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-know-your-lingo">Common Camera Terms You Should Know</a></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 10px;"><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16723">The Best Options on the Market Right Now</a></span></li> <li> <span style="font-size: 10px;"><a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/07/31/taking-real-estate-photography-to-a-whole-new-level/">How One Photographer Takes Real Estate Shots to a Whole New Level</a></span></li> </ul> </blockquote> <h4> Here&rsquo;s What Your Peers Are Using</h4> <p>&ldquo;Nikon D3300 DSLR, with a variety of lenses, lens filters, and Wi-Fi ability to upload to social media immediately. Video capability. It&rsquo;s an amazing, small, lightweight camera with all the features and capabilities of a professional high-end camera. Manual settings for aperture, shutter, and ISO. Night shooting, [special] effects, and auto for point-and-shoot moments. Great camera, great price for an intro camera beyond a smartphone. I use my camera for listing interior/exterior photos and marketing. Hope to one day use the camera to photograph pets in an effort to assist in rescue and adoption efforts.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Deanna Porter Guzman, </em><a href="http://www.deannasellslasvegas.com/" target="_blank"><em>Simply Vegas Real Estate</em></a><em>,Las Vegas</em></p> <p>&ldquo;My favorite camera is my Fuji FinePix WP! I love it due to the fact it is waterproof, so it works great, rain or shine! I use this camera for everything from family fun to my real estate career!&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Amanda Huff Ives, </em><a href="http://www.cbgreatlakes.com/amanda.ives" target="_blank"><em>Coldwell Banker Schmidt, REALTORS&reg;</em></a><em>, Howard City, Mich.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;Panasonic Lumix with 18x zoom. Takes photos like a professional camera with point-and-shoot ease. Many options.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Al Brucker, ABR, CRS, </em><a href="http://www.albrucker.com/" target="_blank"><em>Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty</em></a><em>, Strongsville, Ohio</em></p> <p>&ldquo;My camera of choice is Canon. I currently have a 6D with 17-40 f/4 L lens, but I also work as a professional architectural photographer. Prior to this camera, I used a Canon Rebel with a Tamron 10-24 mm lens, which is a great alternative to a more expensive system.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Cindy Breneman, AHWD, </em><a href="http://www.HomesByCindyB.com" target="_blank"><em>Prudential Indiana Realty Group</em></a><em>, Indianapolis</em></p> <p>&ldquo;IPad Air with 4G connection; takes great pictures, which is just one of the things it does great. It has become my go-to real estate tool.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Darold Hunter, </em><a href="http://www.thehunteragency.com" target="_blank"><em>Hunter Agency</em></a><em>, Hartford, Conn.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;The best camera is the one you have with you. For me, that&rsquo;s an iPhone 5. I hire professionals for all my listings, and I shoot lots of &lsquo;candids&rsquo; for other marketing. Yes, I have a Canon and lenses, but just because I can doesn&rsquo;t mean I should.&rdquo; &mdash;<em>Melinda Kruse DiPerna, </em><a href="http://www.carealestatelady.com" target="_blank"><em>Keller Williams-Carmel Valley</em></a><em>, San Diego</em></p> <p>&ldquo;My camera of choice is owned by the professional photographer I use for all listings!&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Sue Brooks, </em><a href="http://www.suebrooksrealestate.com/" target="_blank"><em>Long Realty Company</em></a><em>, Tucson, Ariz.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;I use a Nikon D7100 with my 18-55 lens. I have others but don&rsquo;t really need them. Buyers like high-quality photos, and I deliver! None of my local competitors use DSLR cameras, so the more listings I get, the better my work will stand out!&rdquo; &mdash;<em>Andrea Vilaychith, </em><a href="http://www.bryanohiohomes.net/" target="_blank"><em>Coldwell Banker Classic Properties</em></a><em>, Bryan, Ohio</em></p> <p>&ldquo;Canon Rebel T5i. It not only has a variety of wide-angle lenses, filters, great sets of features, a variety of manual settings, fast, solid, reliable, but more importantly to me is the HD video capability, which comes in handy now that I incorporated videos into my marketing plan. Very happy overall with this great tool.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Jose Ubaldo Jaramillo, </em><a href="http://www.homesbyjose.net/" target="_blank"><em>Harcourts TCG Real Estate</em></a><em>, Laguna Niguel, Calif.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;Nikon D7100 with about five lenses, favorite being 10-24mm wide angle. I was hiring out my video/photography until clients started commenting that mine looked like the same quality. I purchased a few higher-end lenses and an external flash to match what I was paying someone else $150 a shoot, and now I don&rsquo;t have to be on someone else&rsquo;s timeline.&rdquo; &mdash;<em>Toniann Thompson, ABR, CRS, GREEN, </em><a href="http://www.pcstoclarksvilletn.com/" target="_blank"><em>Keller Williams Realty</em></a><em>, Clarksville, Tenn.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;I actually just ordered my first: a Samsung Smart Camera WB1100F. For me, since I use a Samsung phone and tablet, I wanted something to easily integrate, and it will use Wi-Fi to send [photos] to my phone/tablet and social media accounts as I take them. 35x optical zoom.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Tawnya Marney, </em><a href="http://www.har.com/tlmarney" target="_blank"><em>Champions Real Estate Group</em></a><em>, Houston</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Find out what kind of gear your fellow real estate pros carry in their camera bags.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_7.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30782">jul14_PG_camera.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_PG_camera_6.jpg?1406733471" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_PG_camera_2.jpg?1406733464" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Cameras and Video Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:02:24 +0000 gwood 16726 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 7 Ways to Avoid Tax Pitfalls http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/7-ways-avoid-tax-pitfalls <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Practical tips for brokers looking to steer clear of common financial mistakes. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 1, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/maggie-sieger">Maggie Sieger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The IRS isn&rsquo;t known for its easy-come, easy-go attitude. So it&rsquo;s important to mind your financial Ps and Qs. That&rsquo;s especially important for smaller brokerages that use independent contractors for transaction and administrative support work. &ldquo;At the end of the year, you have to provide a proper accounting to (the IRS),&rdquo; says Butch Beeman, a member of the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants. When there&rsquo;s a question, the IRS always assumes the worst until the business owner can prove otherwise.</p> <p>Below are Beeman&rsquo;s top seven tips for avoiding common financial mistakes made by small businesses.</p> <p><strong>1. Set up a separate bank account for your business.</strong> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s unadvisable to comingle your personal and business income,&rdquo; Beeman says. &ldquo;Mistakes can be made on the income side, and it&rsquo;s probably worse on the expense side.&rdquo; An OfficeMax charge, for example, could be copier paper and toner for the office printer or school supplies for your kids. Putting it all on one receipt just causes headaches at tax time.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. Track your expenses. </strong>Use specialized business software to track all business activity. It&rsquo;s easier to see your cash flow month-to-month and can help identify patterns in spending or income.</p> <p><strong>3. Use the company card. </strong>Always use a company credit card or company check to pay expenses. Why create work by having to keep track of cash receipts? Plus, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s easy to overlook getting those cash expenditures included on your tax return at the end of the year,&rdquo; Beeman says.</p> <p><strong>4. Don&rsquo;t forget the receipt. </strong>Never pay expenses without saving a receipt or documenting what the money was for and how the purchase contributes to your business. If you are audited, you&rsquo;ll need that documentation to prove the expense.</p> <p><strong>5. Go Inc.</strong> Limit liability by incorporating your company and talking with your insurance broker about whether you need a commercial umbrella policy, which covers accidents that exceed your regular business insurance.</p> <p><strong>6. Think before you buy.</strong> Don&rsquo;t run out to buy new office equipment just because what you have is fully depreciated. &ldquo;You might save on your taxes, but maybe you&rsquo;re better off keeping the money in your pocket and paying a little extra tax,&rdquo; Beeman says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really a case-by-case thing.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>7. Hire a certified public accountant for your business taxes.</strong> &ldquo;We are required to have continuing education, and we&rsquo;re licensed and monitored,&rdquo; Beeman says. &ldquo;What we bring to the table is additional training, education, and experience to help guide you.&rdquo; CPAs can help business owners consider ancillary items, including insurance needs, retirement investments, and estate planning. Best of all, their tax preparation services are tax-deductible.</p> <hr /><br /><p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 117px; float: left;" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Practical tips for brokers looking to steer clear of common financial mistakes.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_tax.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70958">jul14_B-B_tax.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_tax_0.jpg?1406832903" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_B-B_tax.jpg?1406832918" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2014/05/3-tools-for-stress-free-money-management">3 Tools for Stress-Free Money Management</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2008/01/teach-money-smarts">Teach Money Smarts</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/02/14/tax-tips-for-you-and-your-clients">Tax Tips for You and Your Clients</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:32:16 +0000 echristoffer 16703 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Green Building Updates Benefit Your Bottom Line http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/green-building-updates-benefit-your-bottom-line <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Here are six simple energy-saving measures that will help you reduce the cost of operating your brokerage office. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 1, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/grant-boelter">Grant Boelter</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When green building expert Stephen Todd talks to business owners about office-wide energy-saving measures, feel-good environmental factors rarely enter into the conversation. He knows the green lifestyle won&rsquo;t necessarily resonate with them. But savings of at least 5 percent on large utility bills will bend the ear of any broker charged with keeping overhead costs in line.</p> <p>&ldquo;Very few organizations have any idea about how much energy they should be consuming,&rdquo; says Todd, whose energy-saving insights can be found at <a href="http://theenergyguy.com/" target="_blank">theenergyguy.com</a>. &ldquo;Most people don&rsquo;t know how much they should be spending &mdash; or saving.&rdquo;</p> <p>To start, Todd recommends using Energy Star guidelines as a guide for determining the relative efficiency of a building. Bringing in a third-party resource with expertise in energy efficiency can also be helpful. Establishing a baseline of energy usage is essential as you move forward so you&rsquo;re able to demonstrate the value of any improvements made.</p> <p>Reducing your energy costs may be easier and less costly than you think. Here are six simple energy-saving measures that offer a great return on the initial investment:</p> <p><strong>1. Look to lighting. </strong>&ldquo;Lighting really is the low-hanging fruit,&rdquo; said Katie Tefford, senior property manager at Reit Management &amp; Research in Minneapolis who is also a member of the Minnesota Chapter of the <a href="http://www.usgbc.org/" target="_blank">U.S. Green Building Council</a>. Tefford recommends T8 fluorescent fixtures in common indoor spaces and LED options for elevators, parking ramps, and outdoor spaces. <a href="http://www.doi.gov/greening/energy/occupancy-sensors.cfm" target="_blank">Occupancy sensors </a>add to the savings and are <a href="http://www.pge.com/en/mybusiness/save/rebates/byequipment/index.page" target="_blank">available for rebates</a> from many utility providers (check with your local provider).</p> <p><strong>2. Attention to HVAC details. </strong>In addition to regularly scheduled maintenance (i.e., cleaning filters and heat-exchange surfaces) on your HVAC systems, Tefford recommends installing variable frequency drives (VFD). If you share office space with other entities, it may be worth talking to building management about this issue, and leading with the potential cost savings for all tenants. VFDs ensure that motors on HVAC and other major building equipment run at peak efficiency. Todd also recommends actually testing to make sure programmable thermostats are working correctly and getting you the desired savings when your building is unoccupied. Testing is as simple as going in during the weekend or office hours and measuring the temperature for accuracy.</p> <p><strong>3. Rethink your cleaning schedule. </strong>Many building managers bring cleaning crews in during off hours so as not to disrupt the workday for regular employees. That comes with a cost as lighting and heating and cooling systems still see heavy use as long as cleaning crews are around. Tefford said <a href="http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/12605/title/see-the-light-of-day-cleaning.aspx" target="_blank">case studies</a> have proven that cleaning during regular business hours doesn&rsquo;t cause the disruption that many think. Many regular workers enjoy the increased responsiveness to problems that comes along with establishing relationships with cleaning crews.</p> <p><strong>4. Get help from the sun. </strong>This measure requires some investment, but many broker/owners will enjoy the energy savings &mdash; and increased worker productivity &mdash; that come with retrofits to bring more daylight into the building, says Tefford. This can be done through adding skylights, or strategically placed windows. Light-reading sensors and dimmers can also significantly reduce the amount of time lights are on or running at peak capacity.</p> <p><strong>5. Go retro. </strong>While there&rsquo;s an initial upfront cost, retrocommissioning can bring major savings by ensuring all major mechanical systems are functioning as intended. Many older buildings were constructed before commissioning &ndash; the process of testing major mechanical systems to ensure proper functionality &ndash; was common practice. Tefford said ideally this would be done as part of a remodel or renovation, when cost efficiencies can be gained if equipment needs to be repaired or replaced, and most energy companies will offer significant rebates when buildings are retrocommissioned.</p> <p><strong>6. Keep track.</strong> Accountability is key to success, so appoint someone in your brokerage to manage and report on energy savings on a regular basis. This could be a member of your building&rsquo;s maintenance/facilities staff, or another person with interest and expertise in energy savings or building operations. And if you have multiple divisions or buildings, regular reporting can initiate a little healthy competition among offices. It also establishes a baseline for energy usage, giving you a clear picture of how much is really being saved.</p> <hr /> <br /> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 117px; float: left;" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Here are six simple energy-saving measures that will help you reduce the cost of operating your brokerage office.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_green_commercial.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=48976">jul14_B-B_green_commercial.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_green_commercial_0.jpg?1406830926" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_B-B_green_commercial.jpg?1406830943" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/02/26/do-energy-efficient-buildings-have-downside">Do Energy-Efficient Buildings Have a Downside?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2014/05/adding-value-office-space">Adding Value to Office Space</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/07/23/7-most-energy-efficient-states">The 7 Most Energy-Efficient States</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:58:12 +0000 echristoffer 16702 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Make the Right Hire for Fiscal Stability http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/make-right-hire-for-fiscal-stability <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Whether it&#039;s support staff or salespeople, bringing the right person into your brokerage can boost morale and improve your bottom line. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 1, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/maggie-sieger">Maggie Sieger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Successful real estate brokerages keep their finances on an even keel. That means managing cash flow through the natural cycles of the market. It also means making sure your employees are up to snuff.</p> <p>&ldquo;A problem many entrepreneurs fall into is bad hires,&rdquo; says Jerome Katz, professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Billiken Angel Network, an investment group at Saint Louis University.</p> <p>A bad hire can drain morale &ndash; and be a drag on cash flow. But so can pink slipping someone. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really noticeable when you get rid of someone when there&rsquo;s only five or 10 employees,&rdquo; Katz says. &ldquo;The question is, &lsquo;How much time and counseling do you put into remedying the situation before you pull the plug?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Making the decision to fire someone can be wrenching. But doing nothing can be even worse. &ldquo;Someone who is not really contributing can create problems if you do nothing, especially in a small office,&rdquo; Katz says.</p> <p>The best way to avoid the problem is to avoid bad hires.</p> <p>When Jay Kalinski, co-owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, hires support staff, he &quot;goes the traditional way: It&#39;s resumes and interviews and calling references.&quot; But when he&#39;s hiring an agent, Kalinski says there&#39;s a different process. &quot;If it&#39;s someone new to the area, we interview them and call their former managing broker/owner,&quot; he says. &quot;If they know someone local, we reach out to them.&quot;</p> <p>For established professionals, Kalinski says they check the candidate&#39;s production and sales volume.</p> <p>Katz suggests introducing prospective hires around to others you trust in the office. &ldquo;Let everyone on the staff get to meet the person,&rdquo; Katz says. &ldquo;The more people whose opinion you trust that you bring in to the evaluation, the more confident you&rsquo;ll feel offering someone a job.&rdquo;</p> <p>Kalinski couldn&#39;t agree more. &quot;We solicit feedback from our agents,&quot; he says. &quot;We ask about the candidate&#39;s ethics, business practices, and personality. With 105 agents, chances are the candidate has done a deal with one of them. They are really the best source for us.&quot;</p> <p>Kalinski takes input from his agents seriously. He has turned away top producers after negative comments. &quot;Simply because it&#39;s such a delicate thing to manage 105 egos, and to have a couple that don&#39;t fit in can cause more problem than you&#39;d think.&quot;</p> <hr /> <br /> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="width: 100px; height: 78px; float: left;" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Whether it&#39;s support staff or salespeople, bringing the right person into your brokerage can boost morale and improve your bottom line.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_recruitment.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=14158">jul14_B-B_recruitment.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_recruitment_0.jpg?1406834042" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_B-B_recruitment.jpg?1406834057" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tool-kit/hiring">The Hiring Tool Kit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2014/01/when-you-cant-do-it-all">When You Can&#039;t Do It All</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/04/how-build-x-factor-team">How to Build an X-Factor Team</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:19:45 +0000 echristoffer 16705 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Twitter for Real Estate: To Tweet or Not to Tweet and Other Good Questions http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/twitter-for-real-estate-tweet-or-not-tweet-and-other-good-questi <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Are you planning to launch or resurrect your company&#039;s Twitter account without hiring a social media expert? Here are answers to some common questions boutique brokers may have before getting started. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 1, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/grant-boelter">Grant Boelter</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Few small real estate offices have a staff position with &ldquo;social media expert&rdquo; in the job description. Finding the time to tweet and do it well can be a challenge, especially if you&rsquo;re not sure where to start.</p> <p>But with a little strategic planning, you can easily get your Twitter feed off the ground, or resurrect it if it&rsquo;s been lying dormant. Ignore Twitter and its <a href="https://about.twitter.com/company" target="_blank">255 million regular users</a>, and you&rsquo;re missing the chance to engage with customers for free on a personal level, while driving traffic back to your website.</p> <p>Here are the answers to a few common questions many brokers have before getting started:</p> <h4> How do we find an audience?</h4> <p>If you&rsquo;ve never used Twitter, it&rsquo;s important to understand that your tweets are seen only by those who&rsquo;ve chosen to follow your brokerage online. (Following is a simple matter of clicking on the Follow button from your Twitter account.) Connect to your built-in audiences by linking to your Twitter account from your website, e-newsletter, and other social media accounts.&nbsp;Follow other organizations in your community and engage with them by &ldquo;favoriting&rdquo; and retweeting items that are relevant to your audience. They&rsquo;re likely to return the favor down the road. If you&rsquo;re starting from scratch, here are <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/10-ways-to-build-a-large-quality-following-on-twitter_b12298" target="_blank">some more ideas for building your audience</a>.</p> <h4> How can we make time for Twitter?</h4> <p>Develop a social media calendar that highlights interesting facts about the neighborhoods you work in, specific areas of expertise, or seasonally appropriate updates. Posting on Twitter should also be part of your marketing publication schedule, so whenever you&rsquo;re putting out any type of communication &ndash; new listings, open houses, news on local real estate trends &ndash; also share it on Twitter. But be sure to not overwhelm your followers with only listing and open house information. Your goal is to stay timely, consistent, and relevant to your followers in order to build brand loyalty over time.</p> <h4> How often should we be tweeting?</h4> <p>The general rule is to establish consistency. Start by scheduling at least one post a day and work up from there. Because each tweet only has a shelf-life of <a href="http://www.getspokal.com/the-complete-guide-to-how-often-to-post-tweet-facebook-for-your-small-business/" target="_blank">two hours</a>, it&rsquo;s okay to recycle topics, especially if it&rsquo;s big news.</p> <p>Tools like <a href="https://hootsuite.com/" target="_blank">Hootsuite</a>, <a href="https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/" target="_blank">Tweetdeck</a> and <a href="https://bufferapp.com/" target="_blank">Buffer</a> allow you to schedule tweets in advance, so you don&rsquo;t necessarily need to come up with new material daily. Even if you pre-schedule tweets, you will want to monitor your account daily so you can respond to incoming messages. You wouldn&rsquo;t want to miss out on someone who is looking to buy or sell.</p> <p>Many social media management tools can help determine when your followers are online, and experts like <a href="http://danzarrella.com/infographic-how-to-get-more-clicks-on-twitter.html" target="_blank">Dan Zarrella</a> offer research-based insights that can help you determine, when and how often to tweet, and how to frame your posts.</p> <h4> What makes a good tweet?</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s not just what you tweet that matters &ndash; how you tweet it can make a big difference. Which of these tweets about the same house would you find more exciting?</p> <p><em>Tweet A:</em> Just listed: 4 bed, 2 bath house at 123 Oak St. $250,000</p> <p><em>Tweet B: </em>Classic 4 bd/2 br Victorian in Uptown near great schools, restaurants, and transit (including photo of home and link to listing).</p> <p>Tweet A simply shares a fact, but Tweet B contains information about why you would want to live here. Twitter isn&rsquo;t just a platform for sharing information, it&rsquo;s a chance to make your elevator pitch in 140 characters. Ask yourself before tweeting, why would somebody be interested in this?</p> <h4> Do we really have enough subject matter to warrant a Twitter account?</h4> <p>Remember that old saying &ldquo;location, location, location?&rdquo; Sharing good news about neighborhood schools, new restaurants, parks, and other attractions will help your brokerage make an event greater connection with prospective customers. Tweeting industry news is also a great way to demonstrate your expertise in the industry, as well as engaging with others who are tweeting relevant information about your market.</p> <h4> Should all of our agents be on Twitter?</h4> <p>Twitter is one of many great tools agents can use to network with clients, so it generally pays for them to maintain their own accounts. Keep in mind that branded accounts maintained by your agents reflect your company, like it or not. Setting expectations about what&rsquo;s appropriate for business Twitter accounts and having a <a href="http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies/" target="_blank">social media policy</a> can help you avoid problems down the line.</p> <h4> How do we know if our efforts are paying off?</h4> <p>In addition to monitoring the rise in your followers and scheduling tweets, you can use tools like Hootsuite to track retweets, replies, and mentions. Dive into <a href="http://www.google.com/analytics/" target="_blank">Google Analytics</a> and see how much of your website traffic comes via Twitter. Find a number of other tools for measuring your success on <a href="https://business.twitter.com/measure-your-impact" target="_blank">Twitter&rsquo;s business page</a>.</p> <hr /><br /><p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 117px; float: left;" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Are you planning to launch or resurrect your company&#39;s Twitter account without hiring a social media expert? Here are answers to some common questions boutique brokers may have before getting started.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_twitter.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=35168">jul14_B-B_twitter.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B-B_twitter_0.jpg?1406833337" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_B-B_twitter.jpg?1406833411" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/09/3-legal-tips-for-twitter-users">3 Legal Tips for Twitter Users</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/build-your-business/article/2010/04/balancing-your-strategy-social-media">Balancing Your Strategy in Social Media</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/05/overconnectivity-when-too-much-tech-hurt">Overconnectivity: When Too Much Tech Hurts Your Relationships</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2011/01/one-fantastic-year-sales-meetings">One Fantastic Year of Sales Meetings</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:55:32 +0000 echristoffer 16704 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Repeat Business: Why Your Clients Really Stick By You http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/07/repeat-business-why-your-clients-really- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The reason your clients decide to use your services multiple times can run much deeper than just because they thought you did a good job, studies suggest. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, July 24, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/melissa-dittmann-tracey">Melissa Dittmann Tracey</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The key to customer retention: Keep your clients satisfied with your services and they&rsquo;ll keep using you again and again. But satisfaction isn&rsquo;t always at the core of why customers return. Some customers may return for other reasons, and in some cases, those reasons can even backfire for your business.</p> <p>Clients sometimes &ldquo;lock in&rdquo; to service relationships over the long term not because they&rsquo;re necessarily satisfied with the service provided but rather out of a feeling of obligation or even a perceived nuisance of having to find someone else, according to research by Mary P. Harrison, assistant professor of marketing at Birmingham Southern College, and Sharon E. Beatty, professor of marketing at University of Alabama. In <a href="http://www.baylor.edu/business/kellercenter/news.php?action=story&amp;story=135803" target="_blank">the study</a>, Harrison and Beatty conducted in-depth interviews with customers who felt locked in &mdash; both in positive and negative ways &mdash; to service relationships (real estate was among the industries analyzed).</p> <p>Becoming aware of why clients may be sticking by you through transactions can help you foster more positive, loyal relationships with your repeat clients. The insight may even make you more competitive, too, by knowing why other clients may be latching onto your competitors and how you may be able to offer your services to those who are being loyal due to the perceived barriers of switching agents, the study suggests.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to become aware of those clients who may be locking in to you for the wrong reasons, Harrison says. After all, you may be assuming your repeat clients are among your most loyal and raving fans. But repeat clients who are with you because they feel obligated or because they think finding another real estate professional will be too difficult can be detrimental to your reputation around town.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were aware of these obligation factors at the surface, but we often don&rsquo;t realize how strong those factors are and what role they can play in keeping your client base,&rdquo; Harrison says. That begs the question: Do you sometimes need to give your clients permission to leave?</p> <h4> How Strong Is Your Repeat Business?</h4> <p>Repeat business can be a big chunk of a salesperson&rsquo;s customer base. It&rsquo;s the reason why most salespeople implement customer retention, <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/03/relationship-management-7-ways-keep-touch-past-clients" target="_blank">keep-in-touch marketing systems</a> via marketing newsletters, postcards, and regular personal contact.</p> <p>Research has long pointed to the benefits of using marketing aimed at boosting customer retention. Repeat clients tend to spend more money over time, offer more customer referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, make fewer demands on service professionals, and can even lower your business costs since they&rsquo;re cheaper than acquiring new customers, writes author Frederick F. Reichheld in <em>The</em> <em>Loyalty Effect</em> (Harvard Business School Press, 1996).</p> <p>But how many customers actually come back? The average real estate professional earned 21 percent of his or her business from repeat clients and customers, according to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS&reg; Member Profile. For REALTORS&reg; who have been in the business 16 years or more, their repeat clients often make up a bigger portion of their business: about 40 percent of their client base, according to the survey.</p> <h4> Why Clients Lock In</h4> <p>Locked-in clients are what most business professionals seek. They are clients who feel bonded to you and are unwilling to go anywhere else for their present and future real estate needs.</p> <p>In Harrison and Beatty&rsquo;s research, they found that clients often feel locked in to service providers due to four main reasons:</p> <ul> <li> Relational benefits and satisfaction (in other words, they&rsquo;re happy with the job you did thus far);</li> <li> Perceived switching costs (they believe it would be too big a nuisance to find anyone else);</li> <li> Obligatory factors (possibly a family and friend referred you to them and now they feel obligated to use you);</li> <li> Personality factors (they may be resistant to change or even may want to avoid the discomfort in hurting your feelings by using someone else).</li> </ul> <p>Interestingly, Harrison and Beatty&rsquo;s research notes that customers often feel locked in not just by one of these factors but by a combination. Salespeople may want to take note of what may be the strongest pull for their repeat clients.</p> <p>In the study, 93 percent of the 44 customers interviewed mentioned being satisfied with core services or the relationship benefits for why they stuck with a service provider. But 82 percent of the time, customers also mentioned obligatory factors for sticking with the provider; similarly, 82 percent also mentioned switching barriers for why they also chose to use the provider again.</p> <h4> When Clients Stick by You for the Wrong Reasons</h4> <p>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t want a relationship that is strictly obligatory,&rdquo; Harrison says. &ldquo;You want them to stay because of satisfaction and the positive benefits they perceive with staying with you.&rdquo;</p> <p>Dissatisfied clients who stay can lead to both negative emotions in working together as well as negative word-of-mouth about your business. &ldquo;Clients may feel like hostages and advise others to go elsewhere,&rdquo; the researchers note in the study.</p> <p>But how do you know your clients&rsquo; motives for returning?</p> <p>One way to know: Ask them. You can do this by surveying them after closing to gauge their satisfaction. The surveys may cue you in to how they feel post-closing and why they decided to use you in the first place. It may give you more perspective on your relationship. Several companies can help you do this, such as the <a href="http://secure.qualitycertified.org" target="_blank">REALTOR&reg; Excellence Program</a> or <a href="http://www.realsatisfied.com" target="_blank">RealSatisfied</a>, among others. For example, Quality Service Certification&rsquo;s REALTOR&reg; Excellence Program sends post-closing surveys to buyers and sellers to ask them to rate their satisfaction with your services in several areas, such as negotiating skills, communication, and thoroughness. It also asks how likely they are to use your services again and whether they&rsquo;d refer you to their friends. The survey also asks what their primary reason was for selecting you, such as a friend&rsquo;s recommendation, because they already knew you personally, your reputation, or other factors.</p> <p>Besides surveying your clients, you can also look for subtle cues that may show you that your clients may not be as into you as you once thought.</p> <p>&ldquo;Oftentimes in relationships, it becomes obvious when a person is dissatisfied in some way,&rdquo; Harrison says. &ldquo;They start by letting us know subtly by getting really silent or not returning our calls anymore. If you realize a client is dissatisfied with a service and for some reason feel like they can&rsquo;t leave and you don&rsquo;t think you can repair the relationship, you may need to allow them to explore other opportunities as their needs change. You have to consider whether this relationship is beneficial to both of you.&rdquo;</p> <h4> <strong>Locking in Clients for the Better</strong></h4> <p>Clients who are returning because they are satisfied with your services are key to building positive locked-in relationships. But never take their repeat business for granted. They could be tempted to go elsewhere, particularly if their real estate needs change. Through subtle gestures, you can instill greater loyalty among your satisfied clients. Harrison and Beatty suggest the following four methods:</p> <p><strong>Remind them about your history. </strong>Draw a client&rsquo;s attention to the length of time that you&rsquo;ve been working together, such as recalling successes in your last transaction together. Your history can be a powerful, yet subtle motivator to keep them coming back.</p> <p><strong>Value reciprocity.</strong> The feelings of &ldquo;I owe you&rdquo; and &ldquo;you did something great for me&rdquo; can be powerful influencers. &ldquo;You want to stay with someone who helped you in the past,&rdquo; Harrison says. &ldquo;There is a strong reciprocity effect, if you&rsquo;re willing to do something and go out of the way for someone else. Often, people will respond and feel obligated to stay with you and refer you to their friends.&rdquo; This can be something seemingly small, too, such as recommending a contractor or painter or offering up a small token of appreciation like a gift during the holidays. &ldquo;After receiving a benefit, people feel a deep-rooted psychological pressure to reciprocate,&rdquo; according to a <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/01/relationship-business" target="_blank">2009 Keller Center study</a> on gratitude by Robert W. Palmatier. &ldquo;The failure to repay obligations can lead to guilt.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Thank them.</strong> Don&rsquo;t forget to thank your clients for their business and long-time commitment to you. &ldquo;People respond to gratefulness,&rdquo; Harrison says. Some real estate professionals say thanks verbally or with a handwritten card; others host parties to thank their past customers, like holiday gatherings or customer appreciation cookouts. For example, Diane Cardano with Cardano, REALTORS&reg;, in Abington, Pa., hosts a themed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2kZ_OAlpgg" target="_blank">holiday party</a> each year at her home for 350 of her &ldquo;raving fan clients&rdquo; &mdash; her past clients who have introduced her to other people in need of real estate services during the year. It serves as a way to thank her past clients and keep in touch.</p> <p><strong>Show them you&rsquo;re already in tune with their needs.</strong> Remember their preferences, stories, and important life events. Make notes in your contact management system, and weave them into your interactions. &ldquo;If an agent understands her clients&#39; personalities and can incorporate this insight into segmentation activities, then she can take steps to encourage her clients to stay,&rdquo; according to Harrison and Beatty&rsquo;s research. &ldquo;For example, an agent could offer support to make changes easier, or avoid introducing new technologies to her clients who are resistant to change.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The reason your clients decide to use your services multiple times can run much deeper than just because they thought you did a good job, studies suggest.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_SM_repeat_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=34665">jul14_SM_repeat.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_SM_repeat.jpg?1406321368" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_SM_repeat.jpg?1406321392" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/03/relationship-management-7-ways-keep-touch-past-clients">Relationship Management: 7 Ways to Keep In Touch With Past Clients</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/05/relationship-management-how-likable-are-you-really">Relationship Management: How Likable Are You, Really?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/02/relationship-management-how-words-you-say-may-be-costing">Relationship Management: How the Words You Say May be Costing You Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/12/are-you-wired-succeed">Are You Wired to Succeed? </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Relationship Management Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:40:49 +0000 echristoffer 16689 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 9 Basement Revamp Mistakes to Avoid http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2014/07/9-basement-revamp-mistakes-avoid <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Help your buyers and sellers dodge renovation obstacles to make the most of their basement space by converting it to a home office, hip lounge, gym, theater, or wine tasting room. The sky’s the limit. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 23, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Basements once were the second-class level of a home &mdash; a place where some families hung out, but not as a first choice. And home owners rarely spent a lot of money to fix them up.</p> <p>But necessity may be the mother of invention as more home owners have seen the basement as underutilized square footage that can be improved, and for less than adding to an upper level. Given a new, fancier moniker, too, of &ldquo;the lower level,&rdquo; these spaces can improve resale.</p> <p>In many areas of the country, basements aren&rsquo;t a given. But in regions where houses are rarely built without them, such as the Northeast and Midwest, not having a basement may actually hurt a sale, says Christopher J. Masiello, president and CEO of Better Homes &amp; Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group in Keene, N.H. &ldquo;It can mean $10,000 or $20,000 less in value for comparable properties,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Since the housing market stalled, the basement has garnered more attention. Those in need of more living space looked to this otherwise unused level versus spending double or triple the cost to add space on, depending on their site&rsquo;s topography, labor costs, and the choice of finishes, says architect Duo Dickinson, author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Staying-Put-Remodel-Your-House/dp/1600853641" target="_blank">Staying Put:Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want</a> </em>(The Taunton Press, 2011).</p> <p>Basement renovations also can offer excellent return on investment. According to the <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/cost-vs-value/article/2014/01/2013-14-cost-vs-value-remodeling-pays-big-time" target="_blank">2014 Cost vs. Value Report</a>, midrange basement redos, which average almost $63,000, bring a 77.6 percent payback, among the top 10 returns on projects.</p> <p>Yet, nothing&rsquo;s a slam-dunk. Ensure your clients are making a good investment when they&rsquo;re finishing a basement by helping them steer clear of these nine obstacles:</p> <p><strong>1. Low ceiling height.</strong> Older home basements were often built with low 7-foot ceilings, which could make some people feel uncomfortable. And excavating to gain more height can prove expensive and sometimes structurally challenging, says Chicago-based architect <a href="http://allanjgrantarchitects.com/" target="_blank">Allan J. Grant</a>. Help your clients understand which basement facelifts are within their budget by bringing in an expert you trust to give an accurate cost estimate.</p> <p><strong>2. Water damage.</strong> Another huge challenge in basements is water, which should be eliminated as a possibility before your clients make any further progress such as planning expensive improvements and shopping for furnishings. Even if a basement doesn&rsquo;t have standing water, check to see if it&rsquo;s present in the yard near the home&rsquo;s foundation walls. Negative slope grades toward the house may bode ill as well, says Randon Gregory, director of franchise acquisition and development for <a href="http://www.ramjack.com/" target="_blank">Ram Jack</a>, a foundation repair company.</p> <p>A waterproofing expert or contractor may suggest many remedies, such as wider gutters pitched away from the house, wider downspouts, soil raised up near the house, exterior or interior French drain tiles, a sump pump with battery back-up and generator if the power goes, and a dehumidifier to eliminate excess moisture. When furnishing the room, home owners should consider engineered wood or porcelain or carpet tiles, since they stand up better to wetness and are easier to replace than real wood or wall-to-wall carpet. Certain paints and finishes with low or no VOCs also help remove excess moisture.</p> <p><strong>3. The dark cave.</strong> Romantic settings are nice, but not if they&rsquo;re because a room lacks ample windows and lighting. Most basement transformations call for additional natural &nbsp;or artificial light. If it&rsquo;s not illuminated well, a basement won&rsquo;t be used, says Decorating Den designer <a href="http://local.decoratingden.com/valerieruddy/" target="_blank">Valerie Ruddy</a> of Verona, N.J.</p> <p>Some window wells can be enlarged or larger windows can be installed. The <a href="http://www.americanlightingassoc.com/Find-Showrooms-Products.aspx" target="_blank">American Lighting Association&rsquo;s</a> consulting director Joseph A. Rey-Barreau suggests artificial light from multiple sources for the greatest effect. Newer LEDs, LED tape, and CFLs make lighting more energy-efficient and cost-effective over the long term, even if the initial purchase price is higher than incandescent lights.</p> <p>Home owners can take a plan of their proposed changes to a lighting showroom or a certified consultant for recommendations before the room is completed to be sure there will be suitable lighting, with sufficient lumens (a measure of brightness) and the right number of strategically located outlets, Rey-Barreau says. He advises using ceiling tiles to access wires rather than permanently close it up with drywall.</p> <p><strong>4. Awkward floor plan.</strong> Because of utilities and floor drains, the basement level often presents obstacles to work around that can lead to oddly shaped rooms or layouts. Tell home owners not to chop up the lower level excessively, or they&rsquo;ll start to feel claustrophobic, says Grant.</p> <p><strong>5. Noisy hub.</strong> Since a home&rsquo;s mechanical systems are usually placed on the lower level, it&rsquo;s good to choose sound-absorbing materials for floors, ceilings, walls, and doors to deaden noises.</p> <p><strong>6. Too specific or over-improved.</strong> While nobody knows the style preferences or interests of a future buyer, transforming a basement into a home office, family room hangout with a big-screen TV, or a visitor suite generally hold wider appeal than a more limited use such as a photographic darkroom, for instance. Also, buyers of a more modest home are unlikely to spend more to gain a fancy media room or well-equipped gym that never was in their budget, says Ruddy.</p> <p><strong>7. Design continuity.</strong> Furnishings should reflect some continuity in quality and style with the rest of the home, says Scott Lauri, broker-owner at <a href="http://www.homesofnj.com/" target="_blank">ERA Levinson, REALTORS&reg;,</a> in Monroe Township, N.J. But the basement can also be a place to be more adventuresome, as Decorating Den designer <a href="http://www.decdens.com/llawson/" target="_blank">Lynne Lawson</a> in Columbia, Md., showed when she transformed a catch-all space into an entertaining hub. &ldquo;The house was pretty traditional, but we made the lower level cooler and funkier so it resembles a hip lounge,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><strong>8. Unappealing descent.</strong> If possible, home owners should improve the stairwell descent into the basement. Removing a sidewall, offering more head room, and sometimes introducing a turn or curve will improve the journey down, Lauri says.</p> <p><strong>9. Taking the rental plunge.</strong> While earning rental income may be appealing, home owners should verify that their municipality permits it; some don&rsquo;t allow multifamily dwellings in certain zoning areas. If your clients do decide to convert their basement into a rental unit, a typical must-have is large windows or wells for entry and egress. Kathryn and Steven Van Asselt&rsquo;s 700-square-foot basement in their Portland, Ore., home has become a popular home away from home for travelers. They attribute the success of their rental space to their home&rsquo;s location, colorful modern Ikea furnishings, good coffee maker, comfortable mattress, stereo system, laundry equipment, and separate stairwell and entryway.</p> <p><strong>The bottom line: </strong>Even if buyers and sellers don&rsquo;t want to fully finish a basement, doing so partly, perhaps for seasonal storage or upgraded laundry facilities, still adds greater value and makes upstairs life more pleasurable.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Help your buyers and sellers dodge renovation obstacles to make the most of their basement space by converting it to a home office, hip lounge, gym, theater, or wine tasting room. The sky&rsquo;s the limit.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_HD_basement.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=65889">jul14_HD_basement.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_HD_basement_0.jpg?1406147883" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_HD_basement.jpg?1406147897" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2010/09/bring-out-best-basements">Bring Out the Best in Basements</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2013/05/home-gym-new-gathering-hub">The Home Gym: A New Gathering Hub</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/03/keep-water-bay">Keep Water at Bay</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/slideshow/2009/11/10-affordable-home-redos">10 Affordable Home Redos</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Architecture Coach Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:21:48 +0000 echristoffer 16682 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Earn Respect by Making Meetings Worthwhile http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/07/earn-respect-making-meetings-worthwhile <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> By creating an agenda and owning your purpose, you’ll set your team up for success. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 23, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/jason-forrest">Jason Forrest</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I often hear about the battle brokers have in getting agents to show up to (let alone be actively engaged in) group or one-on-one meetings. So how do you create an environment where team members understand that your goal is to increase their success, not to waste their time? Ultimately, you want them to approach these meetings with excitement and a belief that if they show up <em>and</em> participate, they will benefit.</p> <p>The key to generating this type of environment is to be very purposeful. Every time you schedule a meeting, remember that you&rsquo;re asking your agents to take time away from calling prospects, getting new business, and showing homes. Top agents in particular are self-sufficient, and if you aimlessly schedule meetings and ask them to be in the room while you twiddle your thumbs, they&rsquo;ll resent you and end up spending the time watching the clock. To make it worth their while, have an agenda that lays out what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it. Tell them where you&rsquo;re going and what you&rsquo;re going to cover.</p> <p>In addition to demonstrating respect for their time by setting and following an agenda, prepare yourself to push your agents just outside of their comfort zone, perhaps by challenging a limiting mind-set or belief. They may think a particular home is just not salable, for example, or that they are not capable of becoming a million-dollar producer. These are the kinds of beliefs that will limit their career, but they are opportunities for you to provide coaching. When you are able to coach them in a way that makes them reach the next level, they&rsquo;ll start looking forward to meeting with you. Your purpose should be to move agents forward in their careers by pushing them just outside their comfort zone. Help them make a decision subconsciously that says, &ldquo;Yes, I&rsquo;m going to make a change,&rdquo; and include the when, where, why, and how of accomplishing that change.</p> <p>By creating an agenda and owning your purpose, you&rsquo;re setting agents up for success. But agents still need to be accountable for their actions. Follow through and follow up. After you and your agent have come to an agreement of what is expected of them, you must hold them accountable for following through. Periodically remind them why they&rsquo;re undertaking these actions, as well as how the proposed changes tie back to their goal of improving their lives.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re setting agendas, pushing agents forward in their careers, and holding them accountable to the solutions, the best ones will love you in addition to respecting you. The worst ones may not like you, but they&rsquo;ll still respect you.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>By creating an agenda and owning your purpose, you&rsquo;ll set your team up for success.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B_meetings_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=39025">jul14_B_meetings_0.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B_meetings.jpg?1406064568" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_B_meetings.jpg?1406064603" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/12/23/give-your-sales-meetings-value">Give Your Sales Meetings Value</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/tool-kit/team-development/article/8-sure-fire-tips-for-better-meetings">8 Sure-Fire Tips for Better Meetings</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2011/01/one-fantastic-year-sales-meetings">One Fantastic Year of Sales Meetings</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Solutions Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:49:48 +0000 mwhite 16673 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Understanding and Combatting the Rate Lock-in Threat http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/07/understanding-and-combatting-rate-lock-in-threat <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Today’s low interest rates may be spooking potential move-up buyers. Learn how reluctant sellers are affecting housing inventory and how you can help home owners see beyond the percentage points. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 23, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>For years, a large number of home owners were prevented from moving up because of negative equity. These underwater owners were locked in to their current location thanks to rock-bottom home values.</p> <p>Now that the economy is improving, those home owners may be moving into the market more freely. But some feel hemmed in for a wholly different reason: They don&rsquo;t want to give up the rock-bottom interest rate they procured in recent years. This time, however, they&rsquo;re being locked in by the low interest rates &mdash; as low as 3.3 percent in late 2012 &mdash; that they secured by buying or refinancing over the past few years. Economists worry this group will be reluctant to move now that interest rates are heading back up, exacerbating an already tight housing inventory.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Three Ways to Soothe the Lock-in Blues </strong></p> <p><strong>Add historical context</strong>: Remember when interest rates were 18 percent? Well, even if you don&rsquo;t, reminding clients of the early <span>1970s</span> and <span>&rsquo;80s</span> is necessary for putting today&rsquo;s rates in the proper perspective place. Buyers still have it pretty good, and the practical effect between 3.5 percent and 6 percent may not be as extreme as it sounds.</p> <p><strong>Add urgency</strong>: Sure, interest rates are higher than they were in 2012. But most experts predict they&rsquo;ll be even higher a year from now. The <span>homebuying</span> process should never be rushed, but if your clients foresee their need to move increasing over the long term, it may make sense to buy while interest rates are lower, relative to possibly higher future rates.</p> <p><strong>Add focus</strong>: Remind potential clients that buying a new home really isn&rsquo;t about rates and figures; it&rsquo;s about quality of life. It&rsquo;s about their kids constantly fighting about having to share the same room or their need for a studio space to pursue their artistic endeavors. It&rsquo;s often harder to predict interest rates over the next few years than it is to predict a family&rsquo;s evolving housing needs.</p> </blockquote> <h4> The Trick of Predicting</h4> <p>Researchers at the Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University in Chicago say that interest rate lock-in may be more of an impediment to housing turnover than equity lock-in (those who can&rsquo;t sell because they&rsquo;re underwater). Their study, published in February, used the Chicago metro area as a test case to predict what rising home prices and interest rates will mean for housing turnover. The study assumed a 1 percent rate increase each year over a three-year period. They found that the number of households freed from equity lock-in by increasing home prices will not offset the number of home owners who are increasingly being locked in by low interest rates. At the end of the three-year period, the turnover rate in strong markets had decreased by 75 percent. The effect in weaker markets was slightly less extreme, but similar.</p> <p>Though Pat Hendershott, senior research fellow for the study, says the interest rate parameters they set were somewhat arbitrary, rates might actually follow a similar path in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016. National Association of REALTORS&reg; Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that interest rates will increase from current levels (around 4.2 percent) to nearly 5 percent by early next year. He says they will probably rise until they reach 6 percent, then stabilize there. Historically, 6 percent interest isn&rsquo;t deadly to the economy, but Yun says that a home owner paying about half that may take rates into account when deciding whether or not to move.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some home owners will delay moving into a new residence because of the desire to hold on to the current lower rate mortgage,&rdquo; Yun says.</p> <p>John Moony, managing vice president of Guaranteed Rate, a national mortgage company based in the Chicago area, says that even a 1 percent increase in mortgage rates can make a big difference in a home owner&rsquo;s decision-making process. He says a 1 percent increase in interest rates generally equates to a 10 percent reduction in purchasing power. In practical terms, that means a family looking to keep their mortgage payment below, say, $1,500 a month will need to lower the maximum price they can pay for a house from $300,000 to $270,000 if interest rates go up one percentage point.</p> <h4> What Lock-in Might Look Like</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to know exactly how this will unfold on the national arena, but one CoreLogic executive <a href="/daily-news/2014/07/14/why-low-rates-arent-always-good-for-housing">recently estimated that up to 3.6 million home owners will be reluctant to sell</a> this year because of rate lock-in.</p> <p>Hendershott says looking back to other lock-in events can provide insight to what home owners might do in the face of interest rate lock-in. He says that historically there has been &ldquo;a substantial amount of renovation of houses&rdquo; as home owners seek to put off moving.</p> <p>But locked-in home owners have a variety of options other than delaying a move, according to Yun. He says some home owners might consider renting out their homes, rather than selling. Others might look into seller financing and assumable mortgages, which can keep the lower interest rates alive while still freeing up the home owner to move to a new residence.</p> <p>Donna Stadum, ABR, GRI, salesperson with AZ Horizon Realty in Casa Grande, Ariz., thinks rising rates will encourage home owners to get off the fence, at least in the short term.</p> <p>&ldquo;Interest rates are still really competitive,&rdquo; Stadum says. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re going to want to move quickly so that they can keep the lower interest rate.&rdquo;<span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h4> It&rsquo;s About More Than Numbers</h4> <p>The lock-in problem is real, but interest rates aren&rsquo;t the only calculus people use when determining if it&rsquo;s the right time to buy.</p> <p>&ldquo;Generally speaking, they&rsquo;re going to make this decision based on what&rsquo;s right for them, what&rsquo;s right for their family,&rdquo; Moony says. &ldquo;Most customers will make that decision emotionally, but they&rsquo;ll use the financials to back up that decision.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ken Fears, manager of regional economics for NAR&rsquo;s research department, says that it&rsquo;s easy for consumers to get caught up in a fluctuating interest rate, but that it&rsquo;s important for them to make informed decisions based on their particular situation instead.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would discourage people from looking at a rate and looking more at the payment,&rdquo; Fears says. He notes that, if home owners have paid down a large amount of their original loan, the mortgage insurance payment can be released.&nbsp;When they decide to buy a new home, Fears says they may be able to avoid mortgage insurance on the new home by applying the equity and price appreciation they&rsquo;ve gained to the new down payment (minus transaction fees).&nbsp;&rdquo;So even with higher rates and a larger loan, the lower balance and lack of mortgage insurance may offset the higher interest rate.&nbsp;They may have the same monthly payment, but be able to buy more home.&rdquo;</p> <p>Two of the main drivers of move-up buyers are school quality and home size. Fears says that while home owners may choose to spend money on a private school or adding on to their current home instead of moving, such expenditures don&rsquo;t have the tax benefits or equity-building power that a home purchase does.</p> <p>&ldquo;They have to decide if the higher cost [of the loan] is enough that it would offset the benefits of a larger home or a better school district,&rdquo; he says.</p> <h4> Relying on Trusted Advisors</h4> <p>Applying broad trends to the individual situations of buyers and sellers is a nuanced task for mortgage brokers.</p> <p>&ldquo;It seems like I&rsquo;ve never written the same loan twice,&rdquo; Moony says. &ldquo;Every customer is different [and] every property is slightly different.&rdquo;</p> <p>Real estate professionals are not only there to help home owners decide if it&rsquo;s the right time to move up, but also to connect potential clients with accurate, up-to-date mortgage information. Stadum keeps an eye on the mortgage market in her area, but she also relies on her contacts in the financial world for analysis.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t follow it on a daily basis because I&rsquo;m not a lender. I&rsquo;m a real estate agent,&rdquo; Stadum says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a firm believer that a real estate professional&nbsp;should be the source to the resource.&rdquo;</p> <p>She depends on a couple of lenders for interest rate updates, as well as information about pending changes to loan programs that are popular in her area, such as the <a href="http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Lending program</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;Anytime that was coming up for a new vote, that was a big topic,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;What&rsquo;s happening with the USDA? Are we keeping it? What new loan programs are coming up, and what are the credit requirements? I ask those types of questions.&rdquo;</p> <p>Moony agrees that strong ties between real estate professionals and lenders are key to helping home owners determine the best time to make a move.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really important that customers and real estate agents are getting sound advice,&rdquo; Moony says. He also recommends that real estate pros stay in touch with trusted mortgage advisors and connect their clients with financial professionals early on: &ldquo;They should have a couple of lenders that they work closely with [and] they should get that buyer to a lender before they even look at houses.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite the uncertainty to come about the lock-in situation, Stadum says there&rsquo;s one thing that&rsquo;s almost a given about today&rsquo;s interest rates: &ldquo;Interest rates are still really low&hellip; But they&rsquo;re not going to be at these record lows forever.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Today&rsquo;s low interest rates may be spooking potential move-up buyers. Learn how reluctant sellers are affecting housing inventory and how you can help home owners see beyond the percentage points.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_rates.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24469">jul14_NC_rates.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_rates_0.jpg?1406063495" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_NC_rates.jpg?1406063507" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/17/low-mortgage-rates-could-slow-selling-activity">Low Mortgage Rates Could Slow Selling Activity</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/12/26/could-interest-rates-get-buyers-fence">Could Interest Rates Get Buyers Off the Fence?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2013/07/blunting-effects-rising-interest-rates">Blunting the 
Effects of Rising 
Interest Rates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2013/07/rising-interest-rates-keep-calm-and-prep">Rising Interest Rates: Keep Calm and Prep On</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:26:07 +0000 mwhite 16672 at http://realtormag.realtor.org