Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en Home Inspector or Specialist? http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2016/02/home-inspector-or-specialist <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"> Buyers may wonder why they should pay for a home inspection when they can get specialists to point out trouble spots for free. As a real estate professional, your duty is to educate. </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, February 9, 2016</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/shannon-ensor">Shannon Ensor</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Recently, I noticed a post from a first-time home buyer in a Facebook group I&rsquo;m a part of. The buyer&rsquo;s husband wanted to hire a licensed roofer, plumber, and electrician instead of an inspector. She was clearly torn: &ldquo;He feels that since they are specialists, they will find things in areas that are most important to us and could be costly. Our [agent] has 12 years of experience, is super knowledgeable, and is recommending the inspection.&rdquo;</p> <p>It might seem like a simple question to answer, but in order to serve your clients fully, you must first understand the <em>why</em> behind it.</p> <p>Perhaps the buyer has sticker shock on discovering the cost of hiring an inspector. Here in Texas, inspectors typically charge anywhere from $295 to $495 for a standard home inspection &mdash; pool and termite inspections are additional. And remember, they haven&rsquo;t even bought the home yet, and might feel reluctant to plunk down any cash before closing. On the other hand, many specialists provide a free initial appointment to determine the scope of work the home might need. For buyers on a budget, the specialist route will seem appealing and, as their real estate professional, you need to alert them to the dangers of using &ldquo;free&rdquo; work.</p> <p>Make sure your buyers understand that inspectors are unbiased, licensed professionals. Their scope of work should cover the entire home, and is not based on receiving a future profit from repair work. The specialists are a biased party and no matter how honest they are, they have a vested interest in the home requiring repairs &mdash; the more, the better.</p> <p>Of course, your buyers may think, &ldquo;A specialist sounds great! I want someone to tear apart the home in a report so the sellers will either have to give me a huge repair allowance or hand over a like-new home! I&rsquo;m going to skip the costly inspector and go straight to the specialists!&rdquo;</p> <p>Ask them how many times they&rsquo;ve had repair work done to their home, or have known someone who has, and were unhappy with the how the repairs turned out. Ever had <em>more</em> issues as a result of repair work being done? The specialist&rsquo;s goal is get your business. This could mean they want to sell you on an upgraded system when the current one is sufficient. If your buyers want to upgrade the home later, great! But remind them that the purpose of an inspection is not to see how much they can spend on a home. They need to learn if there are any deficiencies in the home so they can feel more confident in their purchase.</p> <p>Help your buyers understand that the few hundred dollars they&rsquo;ll spend on an inspection is one of the most important investments in their new home. Even if the inspection reveals issues with the home that cause your buyers to walk away from the purchase, they should see the money spent as a wise investment that saved them from buying a money pit. Only the paid-for, unbiased opinion will result in the buyers accurately learning about the home.</p> <blockquote> <p>REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s <em>Answer Book</em> features two customizable handouts for buyers on the inspection process: &ldquo;<a href="/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/what-know-about-home-inspection">What to Know About the Home Inspection</a>&rdquo; and &ldquo;<a href="/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/questions-ask-home-inspector">Questions to Ask a Home Inspector</a>.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Another reason behind buyers wanting to go the specialist route is that they may not understand the scope of an inspector&rsquo;s work. A specialist who works specifically with HVAC systems day in and day out may seem like the more knowledgeable source to your buyers. But they need to realize that a home is a system, and all the parts need to be examined to understand if they&rsquo;re working together properly.</p> <p>Educate your buyers with resources about the licensing requirements of inspectors. Ask your favorite inspector for a write-up about his or her duties when inspecting a home so your buyers can feel more confident with the inspector&rsquo;s work. Educate them on the process: First they hire an inspector to do a full examination of the home; <em>then</em> they bring in the specialists to confirm the report and provide quotes on what it will cost to perform repairs.</p> <p>More importantly, remind your buyers that inspectors and specialists alike are simply human beings and not one is exempt from mistakes. Inspector A may find something that Inspector B missed, and Inspector B may write up something that Inspector A did not think was a structural issue. They are human and all humans have different ways of looking at things and analyzing them.</p> <p>You will also need to remind your buyers, especially first-time home buyers, that regardless of the inspection, homes will break. There will be quirks that only reveal themselves after living in the home for a few months. Prepare them so they are not shocked when something that passed inspection breaks after closing. As their real estate professional, you may need to be their &ldquo;reality check.&rdquo;</p> <p>Do you see a theme in this post? Educate, educate, educate. The more you educate your buyers about the inspection process, the better they will feel about the entire purchase. The better they feel, the more referrals they will send you!</p> <p>One last note about inspectors and specialists: Remember the &ldquo;rule of three.&rdquo; Always give your buyers a list of at least three inspectors &mdash; and when they ask for specialists, give them at least three for each field. If you only send your buyers to your preferred inspector, when he or she misses something wrong with the home (as they all eventually do &mdash; they&rsquo;re only human), you&rsquo;ll be added to the blame list because you gave the recommendation. Give three referrals and leave out your bias so that your buyers can come to their decision on who to use on their own based on their own research.</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>Buyers may wonder why they should pay for a home inspection when they can get specialists to point out trouble spots for free. As a real estate professional, your duty is to educate.</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/feb16_NC_inspector.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=83903">feb16_NC_inspector.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/feb16_NC_inspector_0.jpg?1455036920" /> </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/feb16_LP_NC_inspector.jpg?1455036966" /> </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="/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2014/03/why-you-need-calmer-home-inspections">Why You Need a &#039;Calmer&#039; at Home Inspections</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/06/know-your-home-inspector">Know Your Home Inspector </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2015/05/inspecting-inspectors">Inspecting the Inspectors</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> Commentary Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:17:09 +0000 mwhite 20499 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How to Respond to Negative Feedback Online http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/02/how-respond-negative-feedback-online <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"> Use this action plan for dealing with bad reviews or complaints on social media. </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, February 9, 2016</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-m-kellogg">Melissa M. Kellogg</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>You might think you should ignore your detractors online because you don&rsquo;t want to risk getting into a contentious back-and-forth on a public platform. But responding to bad reviews or negative comments on social media shows your followers that you care about your clients&rsquo; concerns, says Shelley Costello, CEO of Creative Web Concepts, a social media marketing firm with a real estate focus.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s essential to have an action plan, though, for how you respond. It&rsquo;s important to control the conversation so you don&rsquo;t give an unsatisfied customer more leverage to continue damaging your reputation. Costello recounts an experience she had with a client of hers, who is a real estate agent. The agent had fielded a tough comment on social media: &ldquo;On a Facebook post about an open house the agent was hosting, someone typed a comment that they could not reach this agent for days, the agent did not return calls, and there was wrong information about the property on the website,&rdquo; Costello says. &ldquo;The commenter said they went to another broker, saw the home, and talked with the seller. This was really bad.&rdquo;</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s Costello&rsquo;s action plan for dealing with such comments:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Give an immediate response, but keep it short.</strong> Whether the commenter&rsquo;s gripe is legitimate or not, acknowledge the issue they raise, apologize for how it has affected them, and take responsibility for getting them answers. You want your followers to see that you&rsquo;ve done this in a timely manner so they know you&rsquo;re on top of your clients&rsquo; needs.</li> <li><strong>Get more information offline.</strong> Invite the commenter to talk further with you in private, either by private message on social media or by phone or e-mail. On Facebook, business pages can privately message commenters so that you can address the complaint right away and protect privacy. Get more details about the commenter&rsquo;s complaint, investigate what went wrong, and try to come to an amicable solution.</li> <li><strong>Post an update.</strong> Once you&rsquo;ve resolved the problem, post an update saying you contacted the commenter and explaining what happened. Ask the commenter if they would be willing to post their own update as well.</li> <li><strong>Be honest about what happened</strong>. If something went wrong on your end, cop to it in your update. You&rsquo;ll show your followers that you take responsibility for your actions and work hard at correcting your mistakes.</li> <li><strong>Track your online reputation. </strong>Consider using <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/10/30/how-s-your-online-rep">tools</a> that monitor certain keywords in comments that are made about you on social media or review sites. And always make sure the notification settings on your smartphone for your social media accounts are turned on. The faster you&rsquo;re alerted to potential problems, the sooner you can take care of them.</li> </ol> <p>Be as transparent as possible and have as much of the conversation with a complainant publicly as you can. &ldquo;We recommend you play the drama out on social media [or review sites] so that the public can see how you handle it,&rdquo; Costello says. If you handle it well, a difficult situation can work to your benefit. You can show your network that you are responsive, compassionate, and able to solve customer issues.</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>Use this action plan for dealing with bad reviews or complaints on social media.</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/feb16_SM_review.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=39312">feb16_SM_review.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="150" height="59" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/btn0216_review.jpg?1455039385" /> </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/feb16_LP_SM_review.jpg?1455039404" /> </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/2012/07/relationship-management-when-one-bad-client-threatens-yo">Relationship Management: When One Bad Client Threatens Your Good Name </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/03/manage-your-online-rep">Manage Your Online Rep</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/03/what-internet-saying-about-you">What the Internet Is Saying About You </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, 09 Feb 2016 16:46:03 +0000 gwood 20502 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How the Good Neighbor Award Helps Charities http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/02/how-good-neighbor-award-helps-charities <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"> Thinking about applying for the Good Neighbor Award? These past winners will tell you what winning the award meant to them--and more importantly--to the people they serve. </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, February 10, 2016</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/sara-geimer">Sara Geimer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Thinking about applying for the Good Neighbor Award? These past winners will tell you what winning the award meant to them--and more importantly--to the people they serve.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3e0b2YzwIm8" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>&quot;Winning the Good Neighbor Award changed the lives of hundreds of Haitians. The grant money and donations provided safe drinking water, food and medicine, and it showed the people that someone really cared. It continues today--people who care are saving so many. I am so grateful.&quot;<br /> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2007/11/good-neighbor-patrick-moore-help-for-haitians" target="_blank">Pat Moore</a><br /> Joanne Wine &amp; Assoc. (retired in 2015)<br /> 2007 Winner, Harvest of Haiti</p> <p>&quot;The publicity was outstanding along with the $10,000 cash award, and the professional video produced by&nbsp;REALTOR&reg;&nbsp;Magazine was moving&nbsp;and priceless.&nbsp;We use it on our web site to explain our charity to others.&quot;</p> <p><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/11/place-call-home" target="_blank">Edward P. Pompeian, CCIM,&nbsp;GRI</a><br /> Realty Growth, Inc.<br /> 2014 Winner, Gift of Life Transplant House</p> <p>&quot;Winning the Good Neighbor Award has changed my life. The awareness that it brought for Multiple Sclerosis is amazing. The $10,000 award was just the beginning. The Award has helped our bike team to grow and raise even more funds every year. My business has grown exponentially due to the award. It seems that the award brings us the deciding vote for who people choose as their REALTOR&reg;.&quot;<br /> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2011/11/good-neighbor-leroy-bendickson-riding-for-cure" target="_blank">LeRoy Bendickson&nbsp;</a><br /> Edina Realty<br /> 2011 Winner,&nbsp;National Multiple Sclerosis Society -- Upper Midwest Chapter&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Winning the Good Neighbor Award has not only brought a great deal of&nbsp;publicity and&nbsp;support for my&nbsp;charitable&nbsp;efforts but it has empowered me to reach out and help&nbsp;other&nbsp;REALTORS&reg;&nbsp;and their efforts around the nation and in my own state of Missouri.&quot;<br /> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2001/11/good-neighbor-craig-c-conant-taking-lead" target="_blank">Craig Conant</a><br /> Key Realty<br /> 2001 Winner,&nbsp;Big Brothers/Big Sisters&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The Good Neighbor Award media campaign would never have been possible for us. I still get requests from people who want to help. The Good Neighbor Award helped me build relationships,&nbsp;which&nbsp;I thought would take months and years to cultivate. It&rsquo;s definitely worth the time and effort to apply. The media attention was very intimidating and uncomfortable for me. However, it has been making an impact on Make-A-Wish in our community for going on three years.&quot;<br /> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2013/11/fulfilling-wishes" target="_blank">Kristina Rhodes</a><br /> F.C. Tucker Emge&nbsp;REALTORS&reg;&nbsp;<br /> 2013 Winner, Make-A-Wish</p> <p>&quot;Winning the Good Neighbor Award gave us national media coverage that is impossible for small charities to afford.<br /> It took only a few minutes to apply. Winning brought hundreds of inquires on how they can volunteer or donate.<br /> The publicity has called attention on how REALTORS&reg;&nbsp;can and do make a difference in their communities.&quot;<br /> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2015/08/cycle-peace" target="_blank">Dona Reynolds</a><br /> Mark Reynolds Memorial Bike Fund<br /> 2015 Honorable Mention</p> <p><strong>2016 Good Neighbor Awards</strong></p> <p>NAR&nbsp;is currently accepting applications from REALTORS&reg;&nbsp;who dedicate themselves to volunteer service for&nbsp;REALTOR&reg;<em>&nbsp;</em>Magazine&rsquo;s&nbsp;Good Neighbor Awards. In October, five winners will be selected to&nbsp;receive $10,000 grants for their charities and appear on the cover of&nbsp;REALTOR&reg;&nbsp;Magazine. The winners will also be recognized at the 2016 REALTORS&reg;&nbsp;Conference &amp; Expo in Orlando, receive travel expenses to the conference and gain considerable national and local media exposure for their cause. In addition to the winners, five honorable mentions will each receive a $2,500 grant.&nbsp;</p> <p>For more information on how to apply, go to&nbsp;<a href="http://realtor.org/gna">realtor.org/gna</a>. Nominations are due May 13, 2016.</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>Thinking about applying for the Good Neighbor Award? These past winners will tell you what winning the award meant to them--and more importantly--to the people they serve.</p> </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/2015/08/25/meet-2015-good-neighbor-award-finalists">Meet the 2015 Good Neighbor Award Finalists </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-links"> <div class="field-label">External Links:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://realtor.org/gna" rel="nofollow">About the Good Neighbor Awards</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> Good Neighbor Awards Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:09:53 +0000 mbrozanic 20492 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Tech You Shouldn't Ignore http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/gadgets-and-gear/article/2016/02/tech-you-shouldnt-ignore <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"> While virtual reality and autonomous driving are hot trends right now, pay attention to other small-scale advancements that could change the way you do 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">Monday, February 8, 2016</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>We&rsquo;ve been seeing <a href="/technology/feature/article/2016/01/tech-trends-thatll-change-showings">some big advancements</a> in the technology field, from virtual reality to drones and autonomous driving. But there have been some equally impressive developments on a smaller scale that could have a big impact on the way you do business.</p> <p>In case you missed it, REALTOR&reg; Magazine in January was on the showroom floor at <a href="/technology/briefs/article/2016/01/realtor-mag-ces-2016">CES 2016</a>, the world&rsquo;s largest consumer electronics show. We brought you some of the most radical advancements in real estate&ndash;related tech. If you need a refresher, check out the video below:</p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GQ5SLQArGo8" width="420"></iframe></p> <p>Aside from this impressive tech, what other trends should you be aware of? Some items have flown under the radar, but they promise to make it easier for you to manage your business, make your showings smarter, and much more. Here&rsquo;s a look at the tech that&rsquo;s been overlooked but you should know about.</p> <h4>USB-C Plugs</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s not as sexy as robots and drones, but the new <a href="/daily-news/2016/01/08/usb-c-new-port-powering-up-devices">USB-C plug</a> &mdash; which is slowly taking the place of the current standard USB Type-A plug in most new computers &mdash; can connect to all devices and handle charging, data transfer, and external displays. The USB-C plug also delivers more power to your device when it&rsquo;s charging and drains it less when the device is in use. It&rsquo;s expected to become the new standard for most devices in the future because it works better with the thinner and more lightweight models of portable devices that are evolving. As such, you&rsquo;ll want to keep the new plug in mind when upgrading your business devices. USB-C may be the one-cord replacement for a flood of power adapters and USB cables and could one day be the only port you need to connect devices.</p> <h4>The Internet of Things</h4> <p>The giant ecosystem of connected products is getting larger every year. The Internet of Things is a buzzword describing how companies are making products with added components that connect them to the Internet. Manufacturers are now promoting partnerships with tech companies that expand their pool of connected devices. Samsung&rsquo;s SmartThings platform, for example, can connect more than 200 household devices &mdash; everything from lights and locks to thermostats &mdash; to other big smart-home hubs like Lowe&rsquo;s Iris, LG&rsquo;s Smart ThinQ, Amazon&rsquo;s Echo, and Panasonic&rsquo;s Ora. The Internet of Things could dramatically change your listing appointments one day, as you show off everything a house can do from a smartphone.</p> <h4>360-Degree Cameras</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_feb/kodak.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 130px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Capturing a view of your listings from all angles is becoming more affordable, as several companies are releasing models of 360-degree cameras that cost well below $1,000. Kodak has been generating buzz for its <a href="http://kodakpixpro.com/Americas/cameras/actioncam/sp3604k/" target="_blank">Pixpro SP360 4K action cam</a>, available for $500. It fits in the palm of your hand and offers the ability to easily capture 360-degree spherical views and 4K HD video.</p> <h4>Big Add-Ons to Small Homewares</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_feb/Pulse-Solo.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 212px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Instead of going out and buying an entire fleet of smart-home devices, companies are finding ways to add elements to existing appliances to make them smarter. For example, the <a href="https://www.sengled.com/product/pulse" target="_blank">Sengled Pulse</a> lightbulb can instantly stream music or regulate the lighting at your showings. All you have to do is screw it into a lamp and control it with its app. You can also add a <a href="http://www.getroost.com/" target="_blank">Roost Wi-Fi 9V battery</a> to a smoke or carbon monoxide detector and have alerts sent to your phone if the alarm goes off. You can also press the cancel button if a false alarm sounds and be alerted when the battery goes low.</p> <h4>Bringing in More Automation</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_feb/YouMail.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 218px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />In your business, you have to stay on top of a lot. Automation may be a key component to making your job easier and ensuring no prospect gets left behind. Services such as <a href="http://www.youmail.com" target="_blank">YouMail</a> automatically answer your phone calls and even address the caller by name when taking a message. But automation is becoming a part of many other products, from autonomous driving to drones that can fly themselves (such as <a href="https://www.lily.camera/" target="_blank">the Lily</a>). &ldquo;Automation is the next big thing, because it will harness the power of all the other things, making cars that drive safer, medical diagnostics that anticipate health needs, and robots that not only respond to our commands but anticipate them,&rdquo; research firm Forrester Data said in a statement at CES 2016. &ldquo;It will be harder to see the power of these life-changing solutions, but their long-term effect will be bigger than any single device or innovation.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Voice Control</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_feb/Amazon-Echo.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 211px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Apple&rsquo;s Siri was one of the first voice-control services to hit the mainstream. Now more tech companies are offering products that can be controlled with voice commands, such as thermostats, door locks, and appliances. For example, customers can connect <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-SK705DI-Echo/dp/B00X4WHP5E" target="_blank">Amazon&rsquo;s Echo</a> to their <a href="http://www.vivint.com/" target="_blank">Vivint</a> smart-home system and ask its assistant, Alexa, to lock the doors, set the security system to &ldquo;stay&rdquo; or &ldquo;away,&rdquo; adjust the temperature, open or close the garage door, or adjust the lights. Voice services are getting better at recognizing your voice, dropping from an error rate of 23 percent in 2013 to just 5 percent in 2015. Amazon&rsquo;s Alexa, Apple&rsquo;s Siri, and Microsoft&rsquo;s Cortana could be interweaved into more gadgets in the coming year.</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>While virtual reality and autonomous driving are hot trends right now, pay attention to other small-scale advancements that could change the way you do 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/feb16_T_trends.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=50002">feb16_T_trends.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/feb16_T_trends_0.jpg?1455031946" /> </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/feb16_LP_T_trends.jpg?1455031964" /> </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/2016/01/07/when-selling-smart-home-don-t-look-stupid">When Selling a Smart Home, Don’t Look Stupid </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2016/01/tech-trends-thatll-change-showings">Tech Trends That&#039;ll Change Showings</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2016/01/08/what-city-smartest-all">What City Is the Smartest of All? </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> Gadgets and Gear Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:07:51 +0000 gwood 20493 at http://realtormag.realtor.org You’re Inferior to No One http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/my-first-year/article/2016/02/you-re-inferior-no-one <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 think you can’t compete with agents who have more experience or knowledge in the market? You need to define your own value. </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, February 8, 2016</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/tonya-eberhart-and-michael-carr">Tonya Eberhart and Michael Carr</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>For entrepreneurs, crises of confidence can come often and hard. When you&rsquo;re responsible for whether your business will sink or swim, the pressure sometimes makes you question whether you know what you&rsquo;re doing and if you&rsquo;re on the right track.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t think you&rsquo;re the only one who&rsquo;s ever wondered if you&rsquo;ve got what it takes to make it in real estate. (You do, by the way!) We&rsquo;ve been conducting interviews with more than 80 real estate professionals around the country to discuss their frustrations, dreams, and goals. And the one thing the vast majority of them have in common is that they cite a lack of confidence as a significant challenge to business growth.</p> <p>In candid moments, they used terms such as &ldquo;inferior,&rdquo; &ldquo;less knowledgeable,&rdquo; &ldquo;less accomplished,&rdquo; and &ldquo;unprepared&rdquo; to describe themselves compared to their peers. It&rsquo;s OK to feel this way from time to time, but what do you do to get out of your funk? We&rsquo;re not therapists, but we&rsquo;ve got some ideas for how you can get your act together and see your path to success more clearly. Based on our interviews, here are five common states of self-doubt practitioners go through and how to address each one.</p> <h4>Inferiority</h4> <p><em>&ldquo;I just don&rsquo;t feel confident that I measure up to the caliber of other agents.&rdquo;</em>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How it affects your business:</strong>&nbsp; When you feel like someone else has the authority in any given situation, you&rsquo;ll feel like you don&rsquo;t measure up. Our favorite quote on this subject comes from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt: &ldquo;No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.&rdquo; The problem is that this feeling of inferiority often causes us to shy away from being who we are, being decisive, and going after what we want with gusto. People sense that hesitation, and it reflects a lack of confidence in your ability to compete.</p> <p><strong>How to overcome it:</strong>&nbsp; You have to clearly define <em>who</em> you are professionally. Find a niche in your market that you know well and feel confident you can serve. This takes you from feeling inferior to being recognized for how you&rsquo;re <em>different</em> than the rest. Those two things are worlds apart. If you lay claim to one specific attribute, accomplishment, or business segment, you&rsquo;ve taken the most important step to gaining tremendous confidence. There&rsquo;s something powerful about that suit of armor called &ldquo;differentiation.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Not Knowing Enough</h4> <p><em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m relatively new to real estate (or a specific segment or area), and I just don&rsquo;t have the knowledge more seasoned agents have. I fear I can&rsquo;t answer my client&rsquo;s questions.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><strong>How it affects your business: </strong>Some people are born with confidence and can talk their way into &mdash; or out of &mdash; practically any situation. But if you don&rsquo;t know your craft, it will become apparent sooner or later to your clients, especially when they are exposed to another agent who is more knowledgeable. We&rsquo;ve seen many situations where someone makes a choice based on relationship, but ends up regretting that choice when the person they have chosen isn&rsquo;t qualified. Clients want someone who knows their stuff.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How to overcome it:</strong> This one is pretty easy to eradicate. Get more education; information is at our fingertips literally everywhere. If you know you&rsquo;re deficient in an area of expertise, reach out to a mentor, enroll in a class, watch YouTube videos, attend webinars. The only thing standing between you and someone else&rsquo;s level of knowledge is simply the time and effort you&rsquo;re willing to put forth to equal the playing field.</p> <h4>Having Fewer Accomplishments</h4> <p><em>&ldquo;Whenever prospects ask me how many homes I&rsquo;ve sold or how much business I&rsquo;ve done in their neighborhood, I&rsquo;m not sure what to say. I don&rsquo;t have the track record that some of my competitors do.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><strong>How it affects your business:</strong> If you don&rsquo;t have quick and concise answers already prepared when prospects question you about your experience, it can make them second-guess whether you&rsquo;re prepared to represent them in the largest investment they will make in their lifetime.</p> <p><strong>How to overcome it:</strong> There are two ways to handle this situation.&nbsp;First, lean on the stats of your brokerage. Your company&rsquo;s track record and expertise on a larger scale is at your disposal.&nbsp;Respond with, &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve sold 42 properties in this area this year alone,&rdquo; or &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been specializing in luxury homes the last 37 years.&rdquo;&nbsp;Second, be honest and make it personal.&nbsp;&ldquo;I&rsquo;m new to this career/area, but I&rsquo;m confident that no other agent will work harder to get you what you want without letting anything fall through the cracks. I&rsquo;ll return your calls, texts, and e-mails promptly and communicate clearly about every step of the process. I have just completed the most up-to-date and rigorous training available in real estate today. What sets me apart is my ability/willingness to ______. I&rsquo;m the one you want.&rdquo; Define <em>your own</em> accomplishments and take no prisoners when advocating for why you&rsquo;re the right person for the job.</p> <h4>Feeling Unprepared</h4> <p><em>&ldquo;My brand is all over the place. I feel like I don&rsquo;t stand out and I&rsquo;m not prepared to attract the right type of client with my current image.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><strong>How it affects your business:</strong> This usually means your marketing platforms and materials are either lacking or not adequately representing the image you wish to portray. Therefore, you feel unprepared to put yourself out there, and it affects how you present yourself in person. We see a difference between agents whose image is unclear and undefined and agents who have their brand buttoned up. Their posture and even how they walk or shake hands is strikingly different. Pride is a powerful thing and a magnet for prospects.</p> <p><strong>How to overcome it:</strong> It&rsquo;s very difficult to properly prepare marketing materials without first defining your brand and position.&nbsp;Tackle that step first. When you have a library of clearly defined brand messaging and images to choose from, you can then begin to establish and display your brand consistently across all of your marketing platforms.&nbsp;When this happens, you will no doubt see the effect of a strong brand. You&rsquo;ll begin to attract your ideal customer, get questions about your area of expertise, and become recognized for what makes you different. This kind of preparation works on your behalf even while you sleep.</p> <h4>Unable to Focus</h4> <p><em>&ldquo;I know I should focus on a specific idea/concept/area. But every time I try to focus, I have no idea where to start. I&rsquo;m afraid I&rsquo;ll lose out on other opportunities.&rdquo;</em></p> <p><strong>How it affects your business:&nbsp; </strong>Many people have been conditioned to believe that they either must be all things to all people or, at the very least, shouldn&rsquo;t isolate any type of prospect. The truth is, you really don&rsquo;t want just any customer. You want the <em>ideal</em> customer, one whom you feel you can truly help and will give you enthusiastic reviews and referrals. This fear drives us to stay in the comfort zone of an undefined position and brand, which doesn&rsquo;t get recognized or remembered.</p> <p><strong>How to overcome it:</strong> Most of the agents we spoke with understand that they need to focus; they just don&rsquo;t really know where to begin. It begins by clearly defining your goals, your ideal customer&rsquo;s needs, and your own strengths and point of differentiation (relative to those needs). Once you do that, a clear path begins to emerge, and you gain the confidence of knowing exactly how you want to be recognized and remembered.</p> <p><em>BrandFace, a coaching company focused on personal branding, based this article on interview subjects who first attended a BrandFace webinar and then booked a follow-up phone call to discuss forming a strategy for their brand.</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>Do you think you can&rsquo;t compete with agents who have more experience or knowledge in the market? You need to define your own value.</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/feb16_SM_confidence.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=25283">feb16_SM_confidence.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/feb16_SM_confidence_0.jpg?1454957925" /> </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/feb16_LP_SM_confidence.jpg?1454957943" /> </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/sales-coach/article/2010/01/6-rules-boost-your-negotiating-skills">6 Rules to Boost Your Negotiating Skills</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/03/18/4-ways-boost-referrals">4 Ways to Boost Referrals</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2008/04/how-cope-anxiety">How to Cope With Anxiety</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, 08 Feb 2016 14:47:49 +0000 gwood 20490 at http://realtormag.realtor.org ‘Get REALTOR®’ Campaign Gets Real http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/02/get-realtor-campaign-gets-real <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"> NAR’s new consumer ad campaign is a little edgy. It’s all part of a strategy to remind hyper-connected consumers about the importance of professional help in real estate. </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, February 8, 2016</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>You know what your agents do for their clients: Study the market, uncover property information that an online search can&rsquo;t find, advocate for their clients&rsquo; interests, coordinate the myriad details of the sale.</p> <p>But real estate websites and television shows have created a public perception that buying or selling a home is easy. It&rsquo;s &ldquo;infotainment&rdquo; that perpetuates the notion that the transaction happens quickly and magically. Of course, in actuality, the process can be stressful and riddled with obstacles before a deal is made.</p> <p>A new advertising campaign from NAR, dubbed &ldquo;Get Realtor&reg;,&rdquo; offers the public a window into your world, shining a light on the value of a REALTOR&reg; in a whole new way.</p> <p>&ldquo;Get Realtor&reg;&rdquo; is a digital, mobile-first campaign that uses humorous honesty. The ads celebrate the professionalism, market knowledge, and competitive advantage REALTORS&reg; give their clients.</p> <h4>Giving Consumers the Real Picture</h4> <p>The campaign hints at what consumers don&rsquo;t know and what can go wrong in real estate with statements like, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all fun and games until someone doesn&rsquo;t read the fine print&rdquo; and &ldquo;Based on your knowledge of building codes, the basement could definitely probably be finished. Maybe.&rdquo;</p> <p>Reminiscent in its simplicity to slogans like &ldquo;Got Milk&rdquo; and &ldquo;Just Do It&rdquo;&mdash;with a nod to the idea of getting real&mdash;&ldquo;Get Realtor&reg;&rdquo; puts your brand in front of the current and future generations of home buyers and sellers. &ldquo;The campaign aims to &lsquo;redefine the R&reg;,&rsquo;&rdquo; says NAR Senior Vice President of Communications Stephanie Singer. &ldquo;What that means, in short, is repositioning the brand in today&rsquo;s social online settings and getting in front of millennial consumers in particular.&rdquo;</p> <p>According to Google, the average person spends about 162 minutes per day on a mobile device. That&rsquo;s closing in on three hours. &ldquo;Get Realtor&reg;&rdquo; will engage with the modern-day, hyper-connected consumers where they are.</p> <p>Social, digital, and radio segments launch Feb. 8, with videos and other shareable content. Facebook posts allow users to interact with &ldquo;tap for sound&rdquo; and &ldquo;tap to reveal&rdquo; features that give users a flavor of what a REALTOR&reg; brings to the table. Instagram posts demonstrate the possibility of a different reality behind pretty listing photos.</p> <p>Another piece of the campaign &mdash; a concept that generated conversations among some brokers and other members at NAR&rsquo;s annual meeting last November &mdash; is a series of 30- and 15-second video segments called &ldquo;House Off,&rdquo; where consumers vie for their dream home in an &ldquo;American Gladiators&rdquo;&ndash;style battle. (The team that wins? The one with a REALTOR&reg;, of course.) After reviewing research conducted with REALTORS&reg; and consumers in late 2015 and early 2016, NAR&rsquo;s Consumer Communications Committee recommended and NAR&rsquo;s Leadership Team approved a targeted digital buy for these spots, to further test their performance in-market. Initial consumer testing in December 2015 found that 55 percent of millennials who watched the videos thought the ad would appeal to someone like them, and 43 percent said they would consider reaching out to a REALTOR&reg; after seeing the ad. The ads will launch online beginning Feb. 22.</p> <p>The great thing about an online-centric campaign, says Singer, is the increased opportunity for feedback and engagement. An online campaign (as opposed to a TV launch) will allow NAR to continue to test the effectiveness of the &ldquo;House Off&rdquo; videos, and the results will inform any potential future media placement.</p> <p>Every six months, NAR will track consumer sentiments and intention to use a REALTOR&reg; to measure the campaign&rsquo;s effectiveness. Digital and social creative will be measured with consumer engagement metrics, such as click-through rates, shares, and comments. In addition, a random group of REALTORS&reg; from across the country will be surveyed to assess engagement with and affinity for campaign elements.</p> <h4>New Social Channel for Members</h4> <p>Coinciding with the launch of the &ldquo;Get Realtor&reg;&rdquo; campaign is a big change introducing a new identity on NAR&rsquo;s social channels. NAR&rsquo;s identity on Facebook and Twitter will now be consumer-facing and consumer-focused, and members who&rsquo;ve previously followed NAR&rsquo;s @REALTORS social media handles will now see content from @NARdotREALTOR. NAR will directly engage with consumers through the @REALTORS while also providing social content to members that can be easily re-shared with their clients.</p> <p>NAR members &mdash; brokers and agents alike &mdash; are welcome to use &ldquo;Get Realtor&reg;&rdquo; materials in their own direct outreach to consumers. Local and state associations will be encouraged to coordinate with the campaign; materials for REALTOR&reg; associations to use will be available beginning February 24.</p> <p>For more information, including campaign creative and an explanation of the strategy behind the campaign, visit the <a href="http://www.realtor.org/Consumer-Advertising-Campaign" target="_blank">consumer advertising campaign on REALTOR.org</a><u>. </u></p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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>NAR&rsquo;s new consumer ad campaign is a little edgy. It&rsquo;s all part of a strategy to remind hyper-connected consumers about the importance of professional help in real estate.</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/feb16_BB_get_r.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=20395">feb16_BB_get_r.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/feb16_BB_get_r_0.jpg?1454953764" /> </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/feb16_LP_BB_get_r.jpg?1454953779" /> </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/2016/01/14/how-celebrate-100-years-realtors">How to Celebrate 100 Years of REALTORS®</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/your-nar/article/2016/01/get-know-your-nar-benefits">Get to Know Your NAR Benefits</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/11/providing-value-its-about-customer">Providing Value: It&#039;s About the Customer</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 Sun, 07 Feb 2016 21:34:00 +0000 echristoffer 20483 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 6 Tips for Creating a Zen Office http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/02/6-tips-for-creating-zen-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"> Your office should be inviting for clients but also a productive work environment for agents and staff. Simple behavioral changes can help achieve that. </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, February 4, 2016</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>It sounds simple: When you take out a file, put it back in its drawer when you&rsquo;re done. When you use a note pad to jot something down, you put it back in its place when you&rsquo;re finished. This is the concept of completion &mdash; when you start a task, you finish it by putting objects back in their &ldquo;home.&rdquo;</p> <p>But this singular notion will help you keep your office tidier, your paperwork better organized, and both your personal and professional life running more smoothly, according to <a href="http://www.reginaleeds.com/" target="_blank">Regina Leeds</a>, known as the &ldquo;Zen organizer&rdquo; and author of the book <em>Right Size, Right Now</em> (De Capo Press, 2015).</p> <p>&ldquo;We live in a cause-and-effect universe,&rdquo; Leeds says. &ldquo;If you see an effect you don&rsquo;t like, it might be a behavior pattern. I teach people to think and approach their environment differently.&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_feb/Regina1432W.jpeg" style="width: 200px; height: 200px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Leeds, who has helped many real estate professionals get organized over her 27-year career, says that the act of Zen organizing is about decluttering and beautifying a space to open it up and make it both comforting and easy to work in. A messy work environment sabotages people, Leeds says, because they end up spending too much valuable time and energy looking for stuff.</p> <p>&ldquo;A Zen, organized space has no clutter and contains everything you need or want to use. The sum purpose of that environment is to nurture you from the moment you walk into it,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Function is powerful.&rdquo;</p> <p>When you bring clients into your office, whether to meet for the first time or to sign closing documents, you want to present &ldquo;tasteful ownership&rdquo; over your workspace. Here are six tips to accomplish Zen organization at your place of business.</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> <strong>Take a lesson from doctors.</strong> Medical professionals have tools set out in the order they&rsquo;re going to be used &mdash; no more, no fewer than they will need. Use this operational approach when organizing your office or desk, Leeds suggests. Make items you use frequently most accessible, placing them closest to you and organize outward from there.</p> <p><strong>2. Eliminate everything you don&rsquo;t need or use.</strong> Get rid of old letterhead, brochures, and business cards. Set up a biyearly day to clean out and recycle around the office. Then create a standardized filing system based on name, date, or categories, Leeds says.</p> <p><strong>3. Tell a story on your walls.</strong> Bare walls make it look like you haven&rsquo;t taken ownership over the space, says Leeds. Frame and hang photos and artwork related to your profession and your community. Celebrate what makes your market special. Display awards and personal photographs, but don&rsquo;t go overboard to the point of clutter.</p> <p><strong>4. Bring an office to life with plants.</strong> Plants breathe a ray of warmth and light into an interior space. But you need to pick the right species for the environment and amount of sunlight. Consult your local nursery if you need help, Leeds says.</p> <p><strong>5. Candy: One of the oldest tricks in the book. </strong>Put a small bowl of candy out on your desk to make your office more inviting for agents or clients.</p> <p><strong>6. Make maintaining common areas a job duty. </strong>A real estate office can become like a college dorm pretty quickly, with people leaving dirty dishes in the sink or not putting supplies away. Sometimes sharing cleanup duties can work at an office &mdash; but sometimes it doesn&rsquo;t. An easy solution is to put one person at your office in charge of common areas, Leeds says. This person should make sure conference areas and break rooms are clean, monitor supplies, schedule maintenance or place orders as needed, and take general ownership over the space. But if you&rsquo;re adding this job duty to an employee&rsquo;s workload, you must compensate them accordingly.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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 office should be inviting for clients but also a productive work environment for agents and staff. Simple behavioral changes can help achieve that.</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/feb16_BB_zen.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=35712">feb16_BB_zen.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/feb16_BB_zen_0.jpg?1454950681" /> </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/feb16_LP_BB_zen.jpg?1454950709" /> </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/2016/01/virtual-edge">The Virtual Edge</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/not-your-typical-office-redesign">Not Your Typical Office Redesign</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/surprising-side-effects-workplace-wellness">Surprising Side Effects of Workplace Wellness</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/12/what-coaches-can-do-for-business">What Coaches Can Do For Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2013/10/clean-declutter-discard-make-house-shine-for-resale">Clean, Declutter, Discard: Make a House Shine for Resale</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, 04 Feb 2016 22:15:02 +0000 echristoffer 20477 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 4 Ways to Make Sense of Metrics http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/02/4-ways-make-sense-metrics <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"> Web analytics are key to accurately target your online marketing campaigns. But what data should you pay attention to and what should you ignore? </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, February 2, 2016</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>The sheer amount of online marketing campaign data and website analytics is staggering. These metrics can be powerful tools for helping you understand where your online leads come from. And having a clear picture of your data will give you insight on how to effectively spend advertising dollars.</p> <p>But analyzing these metrics yourself can be overwhelming. What data is worth paying attention to, and what&rsquo;s superficial? Here are four points to consider.</p> <h4>1. Total traffic might not be as important as you think.</h4> <p>It may be a common data point, but knowing how many hits your site gets on a given day isn&rsquo;t all that revealing.&nbsp;</p> <p>First, it&rsquo;s important to get baseline analytics of your average web traffic without any special online advertising campaigns in play.</p> <p>Next, record your conversion rates: Learn how users landed on your site, what they were seeking, and how they were funneled to a contact or inquiry form. Of those leads, how many are you building relationships with offline?&nbsp;</p> <p>Once you know your starting point and understand the conversion process, it&rsquo;s important to set goals for your traffic before you begin a campaign, says Sam DeBord, managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth.</p> <p>Always base your goals around an increased conversion rate, not higher overall traffic. It&#39;s finding the &ldquo;right kind of traffic&rdquo; that&#39;s important, DeBord says: &ldquo;Focus on finding the sources of the best traffic that doesn&#39;t bounce [from your site], and converts to a contact.&rdquo;</p> <p>If your site&rsquo;s traffic grows but bounce rates are rising and conversion rates are shrinking, then you&rsquo;ll know you&rsquo;re targeting the wrong kind of traffic and it&rsquo;s time to reevaluate your approach.</p> <h4>2. &nbsp;Bounce rates are significant, but don&rsquo;t fixate on them.</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s a fact of life on the Internet: People are going to land on your real estate website and find that it wasn&rsquo;t what they were looking for.</p> <p>Nobu Hata, NAR&rsquo;s director of digital engagement, says it&rsquo;s more important to focus your attention on time-on-site and time-on-page measurements. &ldquo;If you take a look at granular traffic in this manner, you can spot consumer trends in real estate search and then know which content you need to hit people again and again,&rdquo; says Hata.</p> <p>Focus on what&rsquo;s keeping visitors on your site and at what point they fill out that contact form. But don&rsquo;t ignore bounce rates completely. If you&rsquo;re noticing significant traffic leaving your site even after they find you through market-specific, long-tail Google searches, there might be a problem. Don&rsquo;t discount the possibility that people might be leaving due to the design and function of your website.</p> <h4>3. MLS &ldquo;saves&rdquo; are underrated.</h4> <p>Assuming&nbsp;your listing has a stellar presentation with professional photos and robust information,&nbsp;Hata says one metric that can illustrate the performance of that listing in real time is whether buyers or agents are saving your MLS listing in their home search.&nbsp;&ldquo;No saves means it&#39;s overpriced,&rdquo; Hata says.</p> <p>Combine save rates with hits on this listing on your business website to see if the numbers are matching up, Hata suggests, and once they align you&rsquo;ll know an offer is imminent.&nbsp;</p> <h4>4. Social media impressions are not impressive.</h4> <p>Impressions are the number of times your post is displayed, and reach is the number of people who can potentially see your post. These metrics only act as a carrot to keep people spending money on paid marketing, says Hata, because it doesn&rsquo;t mean much if no one is clicking on or engaging with your post.</p> <p>&ldquo;Likes&rdquo; are also a superficial metric, says marketing expert Marc Gordon: &ldquo;Liking a Facebook post involves just a single mouse click. The motivating factor behind that click can be virtually anything. That means there&#39;s no way to know how relevant your Facebook community really is.&rdquo;</p> <p>Instead of worrying about how many likes or the reach you can amass, stay focused on what really matters for your bottom line. Learn how many people are clicking on your ad, post, or website and, of that activity, how many are staying on your site and converting into real leads.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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>Web analytics are key to accurately target your online marketing campaigns. But what data should you pay attention to and what should you ignore?</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/feb16_BB_metrics.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=28204">feb16_BB_metrics.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/feb16_BB_metrics_0.jpg?1454951171" /> </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/feb16_LP_metrics.jpg?1454951185" /> </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/network/article/2015/03/don-t-let-your-real-estate-website-become-ghost-town">Don’t Let Your Real Estate Website Become a Ghost Town</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/02/6-simple-steps-skyrocket-your-website">6 Simple Steps to Skyrocket Your Website</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/05/make-google-happy-tackling-local-seo">Make Google Happy by Tackling Local SEO</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/web-tools/article/2015/07/screen-screen-selling-tools-market">Screen-to-Screen Selling: Tools on the Market</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/05/track-referrals-and-conversions-google-analytics">Track Referrals and Conversions With Google Analytics</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 Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:57:29 +0000 echristoffer 20463 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Snapshot of Instagram Marketing http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/02/snapshot-instagram-marketing <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 photo sharing social network is a growing lead-generation tool for some real estate pros. Find out how they’re using the platform to connect with clients. </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, February 5, 2016</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>In the past eight months, Jackie Johnson with Keller Williams in Tampa, Fla., has netted more than $25,000 in what she calls &ldquo;Instagram commissions&rdquo; &mdash; deals from clients she&rsquo;s connected with through her Instagram account.</p> <p>Johnson knew she had found what she calls a &ldquo;gold mine&rdquo; when prospective clients began reaching out to her. They&rsquo;d comment on her photos, inquire about her listings, and outright ask if she&rsquo;d help them buy a house &mdash; all through the app. The 25-year-old agent, who <a href="https://www.instagram.com/seminoleheightshomes/" target="_blank">started using Instagram</a> for fun in early 2015, unknowingly tapped into what prospects want: a window into her life and personality.</p> <p>Johnson posts pictures and videos of herself eating lunch at local hotspots, attending social events, and traveling. When she posts about listings, she&rsquo;s more likely to post photos of kitchens or interior details rather than a shot of the whole room. In one photo, instead of the entire bathroom, Johnson shows off the glass block shower. In another, she focuses on the huge dining room window, catching just half the chandelier. The trick, she says, is to post beautiful, interesting photos that catch users&rsquo; eyes. She writes catchy, engaging captions that encourage her followers to respond and uses h<a href="https://www.instagram.com/seminoleheightshomes/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/seminoleheightshomes.png" style="width: 200px; height: 150px; float: left;" /></a>ashtags to get the attention of potential new followers.</p> <p>Johnson kicks into high gear when she receives a response, replying within 10 minutes to every comment. Her goal: &ldquo;To get them off Instagram as quickly as possible. I send them a reply and suggest we talk via e-mail,&rdquo; she says. She usually has an appointment set up within seven days of initial contact.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Tips For Using Instagram </strong></p> <p><strong>1. Explore </strong><a href="https://help.instagram.com/454502981253053/?ref=hc_fnav" target="_blank"><strong>Instagram for Business</strong></a><strong>.</strong> This help page for business owners using Instagram offers tips on getting started, best practices, and a comprehensive FAQ section, as well as step-by-step instructions for promoting events such as contests to boost engagement.</p> <p><strong>2. Be authentic.</strong> Don&rsquo;t create a &ldquo;persona.&rdquo; Allow users to see who you really are. Instagram is all about personally connecting with other people, Johnson says.</p> <p><strong>3. Don&rsquo;t be deceiving.</strong> Be careful when using Instagram&rsquo;s photo editor or filters to clean up your listing photos. Adjusting color or fuzziness is fine, but do not post misleading images.</p> <p><strong>4. Post high-quality images and videos.</strong> Users engage more with beautiful photos that draw them into a story, Davidson says. The &ldquo;story&rdquo; can be a lifestyle or neighborhood you&rsquo;re promoting.</p> <p><strong>5. Engage with others.</strong> Comment on and like other people&rsquo;s posts. Follow other people, even competitors. Users like people who are engaged and contributing on the service, Patel says.</p> <p><strong>6. Use hashtags wisely.</strong> Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but too many can be distracting. Choose hashtags that have meaning and relevancy in your market. Consider terms your buyers and sellers would use in a search. Create a hashtag for your business or brand. Also, check out Instagram&rsquo;s section devoted to <a href="https://help.instagram.com/351460621611097" target="_blank">hashtag help</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>Johnson says one of the great things about Instagram leads are that people reaching out to her generally are ready to buy because they&rsquo;ve skipped the &ldquo;getting to know you&rdquo; stage. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been following me, reading my comments, and looking at the photos of my life. I don&rsquo;t have to sell myself,&rdquo; says Johnson. She recently connected with a couple on Instagram who chose her as their agent &ldquo;because they felt like they knew me.&rdquo;</p> <p>And Johnson isn&rsquo;t alone. Users cite Instagram&rsquo;s appeal to millennials and its non-pushy, organic feel. Plus, it&rsquo;s easy. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got a great camera in your pocket everywhere you go. People want to see pretty pictures,&rdquo; says Coy Davidson, senior vice president at Colliers International in Houston.</p> <p>Davidson <a href="https://www.instagram.com/coydavidsoncre/" target="_blank">posts photos</a> celebrating his love of craft beer, spending time with his family, and enjoying events he attends. He makes a point to photograph beautiful buildings when he travels and looks for photos that will tell a story. <a href="https://www.instagram.com/coydavidsoncre/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/coydavidson.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 124px; float: left;" /></a>&ldquo;I mostly put business stuff up just to remind people about what I do,&rdquo; Davidson says, who will occasionally post photos of buildings and interiors.</p> <p>One of the most surprising aspects of Instagram for real estate professionals &mdash; but one that can trip up new Instagrammers &mdash; is that users cultivate an &ldquo;among friends&rdquo; vibe. &ldquo;It feels less spammy than Facebook,&rdquo; Johnson says.</p> <p>What that means, however, is that Instagram users do not want to be directly solicited. &ldquo;You have to be very careful,&rdquo; Johnson says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d never say, &lsquo;Hey, you wanna buy a house? Go see my website.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Ian Charlebois, broker-owner of RE/MAX Citywide in Ontario, Canada, had the same realization as Johnson: &ldquo;People want to connect with you, not a company,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They want to know who you are.&rdquo;</p> <p>Providing insight into one&rsquo;s personal life is crucial to being successful on Instagram. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m selling a lifestyle,&rdquo; Johnson says. &ldquo;That means I show <a href="https://www.instagram.com/iancharlebois/" target="_blank">photos of me doing things in the community</a>. I&rsquo;m showing people what their lifestyle coul<a href="https://www.instagram.com/iancharlebois/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/iancharlebois-community%20involvement.jpeg" style="width: 220px; height: 176px; float: left;" /></a>d be.&rdquo;</p> <p>Another useful feature is Instagram&rsquo;s ability to provide virtually instant feedback, Charlebois says. He&rsquo;s used Instagram responses to tailor listing photos: &ldquo;You might get 10 likes for one thing and 20 for something else. What that means is your end consumers are directly engaging with you and telling you, &lsquo;We like this more than that.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>It took some trial and error for <a href="https://www.instagram.com/remaxcitywide/" target="_blank">Charlebois and his team</a> to find what worked best to garner that engagement. He&rsquo;s typically showcasing kitchens, home gadgets, and uncommon features of his listings.</p> <p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/pangearealtygroup/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/AnandPatel-instagram.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 201px; float: right;" /></a>The <a href="https://www.instagram.com/pangearealtygroup/" target="_blank">Instagram account of Pangea Realty Group</a> in Tampa is a mix of motivational photos and videos, training, and brand promotion. But Pangea President Anand Patel recently discovered another use: recruitment.</p> <p>Patel says he noticed a particular professional&rsquo;s quirky, descriptive captions on Instagram and started following her. The more he saw, the more he wanted her to work for him. Patel says energy and authenticity in social and business posts came through her account, prompted him to reach out over Instagram for a face-to-face meeting. Following that, he asked her to join his team.</p> <p>Another benefit of using Instagram is that it&rsquo;s easy to share content across various social media profiles. Charlebois pushes his content directly from Instagram to Facebook and other social media platforms without having to leave the app. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an inclusive approach that&rsquo;s completely free. It&rsquo;s very powerful,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>But regular photos posted to Instagram will now compete with more paid advertising. In late 2015, Instagram began allowing any business, large or small, to purchase ads on the site. Because Instagram has access to parent company Facebook&rsquo;s user data, the ads can be highly targeted.</p> <p>And businesses are responding. On Jan. 27, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said 98 out of Facebook&rsquo;s top 100 advertisers also advertised on Instagram in the fourth quarter of 2015. Neither Sandberg nor Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would discuss Instagram sales figures, but both said they were pleased with the app&rsquo;s growth. Sandberg did illustrate one advertiser&rsquo;s success: Shutterfly launched an advertising campaign on Instagram that targeted women, and the company got back 6.5 times what it spent.</p> <p>Patel says his company budgeted for Instagram ads this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re playing around with it right now, exploring how to get an actual campaign up,&rdquo; Patel says. &ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s relatively new, there&rsquo;s an opportunity right now to really stand out.&rdquo;</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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>The photo sharing social network is a growing lead-generation tool for some real estate pros. Find out how they&rsquo;re using the platform to connect with clients.</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/feb16_BB_insta.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38383">feb16_BB_insta.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/feb16_BB_insta_0.jpg?1455029320" /> </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/feb16_LP_BB_insta.jpg?1455029337" /> </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/2015/09/22/real-estate-ads-target-instagram-snapchat">Real Estate Ads Target Instagram, Snapchat</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/09/04/instagram-moves-beyond-square-photos">Instagram Moves Beyond Square Photos</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/10/05/leverage-instagram-for-your-business">Leverage Instagram for Your Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/06/go-beyond-facebook-winning-strategies-for-every-other-social-medi">Go Beyond Facebook: Winning Strategies for Every Other Social Media Platform</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 Wed, 03 Feb 2016 01:22:44 +0000 echristoffer 20464 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Delicate Art of Rent Increases http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2016/02/delicate-art-rent-increases <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"> Every landlord knows that rent increases are a fact of life, but getting them right is another story. </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, February 2, 2016</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/kevin-ortner">Kevin Ortner</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Rents seem to only continue to go up. Nationally, the median asking rent increased <a href="http://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/histtabs.html" target="_blank">5.74 percent in the third quarter of 2015</a>, compared with the same quarter a year earlier.</p> <p>But while many landlords raise the rent whenever it seems right, this isn&rsquo;t the best strategy. You shouldn&rsquo;t increase the rent because you&rsquo;ve had an expensive year, or a major roofing job. Instead, your rental rates should be dictated by one very simple factor: <em>the rental market.</em></p> <p>Simply put, your rental price will be determined by how much tenants are willing to pay. Use anything other than this criterion to set your rent, and you run the risk of losing them and experiencing higher vacancy rates.</p> <p>Let&rsquo;s look at how you can accurately assess the market to determine the sweet spot&mdash;the best price that you can get for your property &mdash; and how to go about tactfully breaking the news to your tenants.</p> <h4>Ensure Compliance With the Law</h4> <p>First things first: Make sure your proposed rent increase is in compliance with state and regional laws, and of course, in accordance with the terms of your lease.</p> <p><a href="http://www.landlord.com/rent_control_laws_by_state.htm" target="_blank">Rent control areas</a>, which include Washington, D.C., and cities in California, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey, have specific requirements regarding rent increases, including the frequency of the increases and the amount of notice that you must provide. For all other areas though, you&rsquo;ll still have to <a href="http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/signing-lease-rental-agreement-faq-29094-3.html" target="_blank">provide sufficient notice</a>. In most states, 30 days&rsquo; notice is generally required for month-to-month leases. For fixed-lease properties, you&rsquo;ll want to let tenants know before the lease is up. Commercial properties are usually less regulated, but still require compliance with the original lease agreement.</p> <h4>Give Extra Notice</h4> <p>Sure, you&rsquo;re required to give enough notice to be in compliance with the law &mdash; but why stop there? If you can, give tenants a 60-day notice instead of just 30 days. This will give the tenant more time to prepare for the increase, and allows them a chance to shop around. If your increase is in line with market rates, they&rsquo;ll see that there&rsquo;s no better deal to be had. So get those notices ready early. For longer leases, this means at least 60 days before the lease is up. Timing your notices so that the rent increase will take place immediately after the lease renewal date will allow you to start collecting the increased rent as soon as you can.</p> <p>When informing tenants about rent increases, make sure you put everything in writing. Without a written agreement, a rent increase will be difficult to enforce.</p> <h4>Try to Raise It Every Year, or at Each Lease Renewal Period</h4> <p>If you have a month-to-month lease, you&rsquo;ll want to increase the rent once per year. If you&rsquo;re on a longer lease, wait until the lease runs out, unless your rental agreement specifically states that you will evaluate and raise the rent mid-lease. Even if the market only allows for a 1 to 2 percent increase, this is a better choice than waiting years in between rent increases, and then having to raise the rent substantially. This will help tenants to get used to rent going up, and you&rsquo;ll find them less likely to complain over a $20 per month increase as opposed to a sudden $200 jump.</p> <h4>Calculate the Rent Increase</h4> <p>The amount by which you raise the rent should be competitive with local rental market rates, so do your research. Take a look at what other similar rentals in your area are going for. You could also multiply the consumer price index by your current rental rate. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics&rsquo; <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm" target="_blank">most recent release</a> indicates that the index for shelter increased 3.2 percent in 2015. Suppose your current rent is $1,200 per month. You could multiply $1,200 by 3.2 percent (or 0.032) for an increase of $38.40 per month. While a 3 to 5 percent annual increase is standard, you may want to adjust this to fit your situation and the local rental market.</p> <h4>Determine Why You&rsquo;re Raising the Rent</h4> <p>Your tenants will want to know, and you&rsquo;ll need an answer. Be truthful and make a list of reasons that the rent needs to go up, such as increased utility costs (if you pay them), rising insurance costs, higher taxes, and the cost of inflation, if these things have all increased in the last year. Other reasons for a rent increase may include the rising cost of maintenance and repairs or renovations or upgrades planned for the property.</p> <h4>Keep Your Tenants Happy</h4> <p>Also consider your tenants&rsquo; situation. If you have an excellent tenant who looks after the property and pays rent on time, you may want to cut them some slack as an incentive to stay. One way to do this is to show them what the rent increase was going to be, but with this number crossed out and with a smaller percentage written in instead. Communication is key to keeping the air clear, so be in touch with your tenant and be willing to talk to them about the increase.</p> <p>Another option would be to consider offering your tenants a compromise. Propose a rent increase, and be prepared to lower the percentage if they are willing to sign a longer lease.</p> <p>While rent increases can be stressful, they don&rsquo;t have to be. Ensuring that you raise the rent in line with market values and communicate all upcoming changes with your tenants will go a long way toward making the process as simple and straightforward as it can be.</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>Every landlord knows that rent increases are a fact of life, but getting them right is another story.</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/jan16_C_rentals.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=122173">jan16_C_rentals.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/jan16_C_rentals_0.jpg?1454090523" /> </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/jan16_LP_C_rentals.jpg?1454090540" /> </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="/commercial/feature/article/2015/06/mayhem-in-multifamily">Mayhem in Multifamily?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/commercial/round-up/article/2013/03/scarcity-and-name-recognition-drive-retail-rents">Scarcity and Name Recognition Drive Retail Rents</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2012/03/10-tips-for-tenant-retention-in-lessees-market">10 Tips for Tenant Retention in a Lessee&#039;s Market</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 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:35:50 +0000 mwhite 20449 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How To Set Expectations With Clients http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/01/how-set-expectations-clients <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’re frustrated with your new clients, it might just be your own fault. Are you properly prepping buyers and sellers for the real estate process? </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, January 27, 2016</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/lee-davenport">Lee Davenport</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>It happens: You and your team are giving your all to maintain a good working relationship with clients, but sometimes they just don&rsquo;t return the favor.&nbsp;</p> <p>Maybe they&rsquo;re looking at homes without you. Or, your sellers are off canvassing the town for buyers. Worse yet, it seems like they&rsquo;re doing everything possible to sabotage the sale of their listing.</p> <p>Sound familiar? Then you need what I like to call an &ldquo;expectations contract.&rdquo;</p> <p>Your clients should not work against you or your team or unknowingly undermine your efforts to help them. But new clients might not realize that you&rsquo;re working towards one common goal. Maybe they&rsquo;ve heard conflicting stories about real estate professionals from TV shows, neighbors, coworkers, or family. Likewise, you must understand their expectations of your relationship.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s important that you clear the slate with an open discussion. Whether your clients are buyers or sellers, baby boomers or millennials, first-timers or savvy investors, it&rsquo;s important to enter each new client relationship by clearly setting working parameters.</p> <p>An expectations contract simply ensures everyone is on the same page. This can come in the form of a written e-mail, letter, infographic, form, or any medium that fits your communication style. A discussion will help you create this contract together. It gives new clients an opportunity to express their expectations of you about the process and it gives brokers and agents a chance to communicate how you&rsquo;ll serve their real estate needs according to your particular method.</p> <p>You might operate differently than the last agent or brokerage your client worked with. If this is their first real estate transaction, it&rsquo;s even more vital you &ldquo;set the table&rdquo; so they understand what to expect of you and themselves.</p> <p>My mom, being the wise, retired school social worker she is, has repeatedly tried to instill in me what she taught her students for years: &ldquo;You have to teach people how to treat you.&rdquo; Make this the foundational statement as you embark upon a new client journey.</p> <p>But you must first seek to understand before being understood. Ask clients about their expectations so that you can best serve them. Here are three points of discussion:</p> <ol> <li><strong>How and when does the client prefer communication?</strong> Do they prefer texts in the mornings, calls at night, e-mails, or another method or time? If phone is preferred, always follow-up with an e-mail reiterating verbal discussions to keep a paper trail to protect your business.</li> <li><strong>When is the client available to view homes (if buying) or have a home shown (if listing)?</strong> Try to identify optimal times before the first appointment to help make this process easier for your clients. If he or she is only available on weekdays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., you should know this.</li> <li><strong>What other expectations does the client have?</strong> Does your seller expect weekly reports? Do your buyers want you to preview homes for them?</li> </ol> <p>Once you have a good understanding about what your clients expect, then explain how you operate to serve their needs efficiently.&nbsp;The crux of the discussion should include the following points:</p> <ol> <li><strong>The safety requirements of your office.</strong> In this day and age, your office should have a safety procedure in place for meeting new clients, such as making a copy of their driver&rsquo;s licenses. Communicate those requirements to your prospects from the get-go.</li> <li><strong>The documents needed to get rolling. </strong>For buyers, this includes a preapproval letter or proof of funds if buying cash; for sellers, this may be the pay-off amount, leases if the property is tenant-occupied, and so forth.</li> <li><strong>Your showing schedule and process.</strong> It is reasonable to tell your new clients that you work by a schedule to ensure all of your clients have fair access to your attention and expertise.</li> <li><strong>A commitment to the process.</strong> Be sure to explain what they can expect from start to closing day (and even after closing day). This commitment should include anyone pertinent to the transaction, like children who may live in the home being listed. I&rsquo;d like to give kudos to Sharon McCarthy Steele with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Westfield, N.J., because she gets it.&nbsp;She created a listing agreement for her clients&rsquo; children to make sure that everyone understands the home selling process. She sets expectations properly from day one; that can go a long way in alleviating some of the frustrations agents have with clients.</li> <li><strong>A commitment to you as their trusted agent. </strong>Explain how seriously you take your duty to them and how that means you&rsquo;ll provide top-notch expertise, resources, and loyalty (which they should reciprocate). Encourage and reassure your new clients that keeping you in the loop from start to finish ensures that their interests are protected and their negotiating position is not compromised. Explain the notion of agency to buyers, and why the listing agent they meet at an open house only has the seller&rsquo;s best interest at heart. As for your new sellers, explain that you can only protect their interests if they notify you of additional offers they may receive.</li> <li><strong>You welcome questions. </strong>Repeatedly let clients know that you&rsquo;re open to any and all of their questions. As a trusted real estate professional, you can give solutions relevant to their specific transaction as opposed to generic information found online, mentioned in a TV show, or from a non&ndash;real estate professional that may not be pertinent to them.</li> </ol> <p>Of course, no one is perfect. But it&rsquo;s a very different experience when everyone knows what to expect.<br /> <br /> <em>Have more questions?&nbsp;Ask away by following me on&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/YourRealEstateInformant" target="_blank"><em>Facebook</em></a><em>,&nbsp;</em><a href="https://instagram.com/learnwithlee.realtor/" target="_blank"><em>Instagram</em></a><em>,&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/leedavenport8?sub_confirmation=1" target="_blank"><em>YouTube</em></a><em>, and&nbsp;</em><a href="http://google.com/+leedavenport" target="_blank"><em>Google+</em></a><em>&nbsp;or by visiting&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.agentsaroundatlanta.com/" target="_blank"><em>LearnWithLee.Realtor</em></a><em>. And, be sure to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook,&nbsp;</em><a href="http://amzn.com/1508652325" target="_blank"><em>Plan to Win</em></a><em>, to transform your real estate sales game plan. Here&rsquo;s to your success!</em></p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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&rsquo;re frustrated with your new clients, it might just be your own fault. Are you properly prepping buyers and sellers for the real estate process?</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/jan16_BB_expectations.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=45900">jan16_BB_expectations.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/jan16_BB_expectations_0.jpg?1454002504" /> </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/jan16_LP_BB_expectations.jpg?1454002522" /> </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/2013/12/set-expectations-early-and-often">Set Expectations Early and Often</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2008/01/how-deal-unreasonable-clients-keep-their-expectation">How to Deal With Unreasonable Clients: Keep Their Expectations in Line</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2011/10/managing-expectations-teaching-change">Managing Expectations, Teaching Change</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/02/teach-agents-2-keys-for-handling-objections">Teach Agents 2 Keys for Handling Objections</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2015/07/building-consistent-brand">Building a Consistent Brand</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 Wed, 27 Jan 2016 21:27:09 +0000 echristoffer 20437 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Let Go and Take a Real Vacation http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/01/let-go-and-take-real-vacation <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"> Brokers and agents have a hard time disconnecting and fully immersing themselves in anything other than work. But taking time off might be the best thing for 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">Tuesday, January 26, 2016</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/lee-nelson">Lee Nelson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Brooke Wolford admits her life can be crazy. This single mother of two is a broker and regional manager for RE/MAX&nbsp;Results&nbsp;in Minneapolis, overseeing five offices and about 200 agents. Her schedule doesn&rsquo;t leave her much &ldquo;me&rdquo; time.</p> <p>Many brokers and agents have similar realities &mdash; they put in a lot of hours on the job serving others, leaving no time for R&amp;R.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even remember the last time I went on vacation,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And if I did go anywhere, I was always available by phone, working the whole time.&rdquo;</p> <p>But stress started to take its toll on Wolford. Something had to give. So just after Christmas, she completely broke away from the phone, Internet, work, and even her family for <a href="http://hickcitychick.com/2016/01/05/what-i-learned-by-disconnecting-myself-from-the-world-for-one-week/" target="_blank">an entire week to get away</a>.</p> <p>She didn&rsquo;t have a plan when she arrived at her tropical destination. She didn&rsquo;t follow a schedule, didn&rsquo;t dress professionally, and didn&rsquo;t check her e-mail or Facebook.</p> <p>&ldquo;My body finally became relaxed on the third or fourth day,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I stopped worrying.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>How to Prep for a Vacation:</strong></p> <p><strong>Schedule it</strong>. If it&rsquo;s not on the calendar, it probably won&rsquo;t happen. You don&rsquo;t have to figure out where you&rsquo;re going right away; just make sure your time is blocked off, Alguire says.</p> <p><strong>Find someone you trust</strong>. Make sure you have someone at your company who can take your calls and handle any client emergencies while you are gone. Set up a quid pro quo, because they probably need a vacation too.</p> <p><strong>Work ahead</strong>. The weeks or days leading up to your vacation might be hectic, but you need to work ahead so it will ease some of the tension when you&rsquo;re gone.</p> <p><strong>Tell clients and staff you&rsquo;ll be gone</strong>. You need to make sure people know you will be gone. Start telling clients weeks in advance. Then, set boundries and be firm that you&rsquo;ll be unavailable when you&rsquo;re away. Give your active buyers and sellers your associate&rsquo;s contact information. You might consider introducing them via e-mail.</p> </blockquote> <p>Through the years, significant research has been done on the correlation between vacations, productivity, and good health. Back in 2005, Marshfield Clinic in Chippewa Falls, Wis., conducted a study on 1,500 working women, finding that those who vacationed less often than once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year.</p> <p>In Shawn Achor&rsquo;s book <em>The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work </em>(Crown Business, 2010), he describes brain research that demonstrates the power of positive thinking, citing productivity gains of 31 percent and sales increases of 37 percent when an individual approaches work with a positive mindset. This leads to increased creativity and revenues.</p> <p>For Wolford, the vacation did just the trick: &ldquo;I feel more productive now because I took a break and I got my head out of the tailspin,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t felt stressed about anything since I got back.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;You need a week&rsquo;s vacation as a way to unplug that you can&rsquo;t get with just a few days away,&rdquo; says business coach Cheri Alguire of Livingston, Texas. She cowrote the new book <em>Agent Revamp: How to Break Out of Your Real Estate Slump and Explode Your Income </em>(Grow To Greatness Publishing, 2016), which became a best-seller on Amazon within hours of its release in mid-January.</p> <p>Alguire mainly works with real estate brokers and agents, marketing professionals, and small business owners to help them become more successful in life and their careers.</p> <p>&ldquo;Real estate professionals really start to feel overwhelmed. Some work nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because they are constantly on call to their clients,&rdquo; says Alguire, who used to be a real estate agent herself. &ldquo;I help them figure out what they want.&rdquo;</p> <p>Many real estate professionals believe they can&rsquo;t take time off because it will negatively impact their success. But the toll will eventually catch up to them, Alguire says.</p> <p>&ldquo;They can&rsquo;t continue like that,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Alguire uses this analogy: Say you have a glass jar filled with big rocks, pebbles, sand, and water. The big rocks are the important things in life like your family, spouse, vacations, and taking care of yourself. The water represents all the less important things, like a phone call from a title company. If you put the water in the jar first, there isn&rsquo;t room for anything else without the water overflowing. You have to put the big rocks in first. They are the things that need to be scheduled.</p> <p>So, Alguire tells her clients to schedule those vacations way ahead of time even if you don&rsquo;t know where you are going.</p> <p>&ldquo;You have to stay committed to the big rocks. Find a time when the real estate market isn&rsquo;t so busy,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Block out a week or two and make sure you are getting away to recharge your soul.&rdquo;</p> <p>When you are in charge of your own business, it&rsquo;s scary to let go and take a vacation, says Nikki Holmes, broker and CEO of Gold Rush Realty in Auburn, Calif.</p> <p>She understands the fear over what will happen if you don&rsquo;t respond to e-mails right away, or the anxiety that a call will go unanswered. &ldquo;We just get so connected. I don&rsquo;t know if that&rsquo;s a good thing,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>When Holmes went on her honeymoon to Maui three years ago, she made herself a promise that she would only check her messages/e-mails in the hotel after breakfast and after dinner.</p> <p>&ldquo;To me that was a compromise which allowed me to be in Hawaii for 11 days,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>But in late 2013, Holmes and her husband received the opportunity to travel to Cuba on a People to People education tour for nearly two weeks. And that&rsquo;s one destination where you can&rsquo;t stay connected 24/7.</p> <p>&ldquo;I knew once we were there, I wouldn&rsquo;t have access to e-mail or phone,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;But I wasn&rsquo;t willing to sacrifice that opportunity to go.&rdquo;</p> <p>The result of disconnecing? She fell in love with Cuba and was inspired by the artistic and talented people she met. And the trip showed her that she can be away from her business for several days and still be successful.</p> <p>&ldquo;I realize not everyone&rsquo;s livelihood can allow them to go on vacations like that. But you need to go someplace and indulge yourself. There is a bigger reason for a paycheck then the day in and day out stuff,&rdquo; Holmes says.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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>Brokers and agents have a hard time disconnecting and fully immersing themselves in anything other than work. But taking time off might be the best thing for 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/jan16_BB_vacation.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=43755">jan16_BB_vacation.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/jan16_BB_vacation_0.jpg?1454004008" /> </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/jan16_LP_BB_vacation.jpg?1454004037" /> </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/network/article/2015/06/5-principles-for-being-happy-broker">5 Principles for Being a Happy Broker</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/build-your-business/article/2010/08/can-you-afford-take-break">Can You Afford to Take a Break?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/build-your-business/article/2010/05/time-blocking-splitting-up-your-schedule">Time Blocking: Splitting Up Your Schedule</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/12/hiring-assistant">Hiring an Assistant </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 Tue, 26 Jan 2016 23:17:44 +0000 echristoffer 20434 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Manage Properties, Not Data http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/01/manage-properties-not-data <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"> It’s important for property managers to have an overall picture of their portfolio, but cumbersome tech systems can make property information confusing. Here’s how to find the right solution. </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, January 21, 2016</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/jon-loomer">Jon Loomer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate management companies are required to keep track of an enormous amount of property information, including rental data, leases, occupancy information, billing activity, legal documents, and security deposits. Frankly, the list goes on and on. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s imperative to be equipped with tools that will make that data and information work for you.</p> <p>Without the right solution in place providing quick, real-time access to property data, brokers and managers are at risk for making decisions based on old or incorrect information. Not only is it important to have an accurate picture of current property activity, but being able to look into the future of your marketplace is also crucial.</p> <p>The good news is that there are modern solutions specifically designed to provide real-time data access. These solutions create one single version of your property and business data so there&rsquo;s consistency throughout your entire organization.</p> <p>Before <a href="http://gohubble.com/hubbleology/content/50/5-ingredients-of-a-modern-planning-solut?utm_campaign=Planning%205%20Things%20eBook&amp;utm_content=zonic&amp;utm_medium=press-release&amp;utm_source=pr" target="_blank">choosing a system</a>, consider how it will be used and what problems it will address. Too many attractive solutions fail after launch due to improper integration with existing technology and systems. And trying to deploy a new solution too quickly will end up forcing users into old unproductive patterns, like massive data dumps of information and Excel spreadsheets with no controls. You simply can&rsquo;t run a high-performing real estate business on stale data and spreadsheets.</p> <p>Many traditional enterprise resource planning systems are too cumbersome for firms today. These systems may require IT assistance to create reports, which can take too long and deliver stale, static data. Plus, extracting data into spreadsheets can introduce human error, produce inconsistent results across the organization, and propagate inefficiency.</p> <p>On the other hand, many real estate management companies have invested a lot of money in high-end business intelligence solutions, but the result can still be stale data that may no longer reflect the current situation.</p> <p>In order to be highly successful, real estate managers need to be able to find the information they need when they need it. This includes access to current and future rent rolls with lease detail, critical dates and looming deadlines, and currently occupied and soon-to-be-vacant units. Management also needs the flexibility to view summary information with the capability to find additional details when required.</p> <p>So, look at the existing tools your team is using, and ask yourself:</p> <ul> <li>Do you struggle to create and use meaningful rent roll reports?</li> <li>Can you easily generate unique reports for each stakeholder or property owner&rsquo;s requirements?</li> <li>Do you have full visibility for lease expiration details across all properties?</li> <li>Can you easily analyze properties&rsquo; occupancy and vacancy status?</li> <li>Can you simply project cash flow rates?</li> </ul> <p>If considering these questions gives you a feeling of dread, it may be time to upgrade to a more modern planning solution that can handle the demands of your current real estate business. Look for these five basic criteria when choosing your next solution.</p> <p><strong>1. Integration</strong></p> <p>The tool that will work best for you should make it easy to integrate your ERP data and your planning solution. Integration ensures your budgets and forecasts are never separated from your actual numbers.</p> <p>Too many planning solutions still require you to export summary data out of the ERP and into a spreadsheet, a data warehouse, or the cloud. This duplication puts a limit on real-time access and risks competing spreadsheets, version control problems, and reconciliation issues. It&rsquo;s a mess.</p> <p><strong>2. Collaboration</strong></p> <p>Old hierarchical structures are giving way to more collaborative ways of managing business. Instead of passing requests up and down the chain of command, more employees are responsible for their decisions. When everyone can recognize business drivers and contribute, your modeling becomes far more realistic.</p> <p>Make sure the planning solutions you&rsquo;re considering include centralized, user-managed forms to keep everyone on the same page. Also, make sure you can set underlying forecast drivers and assumptions upfront.</p> <p>With everyone working together on the same freshly gathered data, it drives better performance throughout the organization. Key decision-makers will have more accurate, relevant, and up-to-date information to establish that competitive edge.</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;Analysis</strong></p> <p>Property management companies must be able to compare results against forecasts on a daily basis. This &ldquo;continuous planning&rdquo; concept eliminates the month-end chaos that so many organizations struggle with.</p> <p>The best solution will not only plan efficiently but also provide detailed analysis when needed. Make sure your system enables staff to drill down into transaction details because when that&rsquo;s not possible, employees can&rsquo;t actually see what&rsquo;s driving their numbers. Once again, they&rsquo;d be forced to export transactional data from the ERP into spreadsheets in order to investigate the causes of variances. Data delivery should be simple and clear with the option to investigate data down to its source.</p> <p><strong>4. Automation</strong></p> <p>Agile business planning relies on up-to-date information from as many sources as possible. With the right collaboration tools, more employees or agents can contribute data. Couple this with the growing <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2015/03/real-estate-and-internet-things" target="_blank">Internet of Things</a> that offers a torrent of real-time data, and together, these could join with ERP data to build modeling scenarios and provide transparency into portfolio and individual property performance and forecasting.</p> <p>The latest solutions can effortlessly automate these processes, pushing consistent real-time property data into standard company spreadsheets and sending the results straight back to broker-owners and managers. With this level of automation, you are on your way to achieving the power of predictive analytics.</p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp;Sustainability</strong></p> <p>Finally, don&rsquo;t be dazzled by a stunning list of features offered by some modern solutions if they don&rsquo;t work for you. Time, money, and energy will be wasted on a tool if it is clumsy or difficult to use. Then, your management team will become wary that solutions may become unsustainable, and employees will understandably grow reluctant to try anything new.</p> <p>The more easily and naturally a solution delivers its benefits to employees across the organization, the faster it will be adopted and provide its return on investment.</p> <p><strong>The Perfect Real Estate Solution Is Out There</strong></p> <p>Seek out a system where employees in your company could get the information they need without reliance on the IT department. Make sure the solution includes a quick setup time and you train your team thoroughly.</p> <p>Many reporting solutions can be installed in a matter of hours, using report templates specially designed for the real estate sector. You, your agents, and your staff could begin reaping the benefits from day one.</p> <p>Imagine your lease managers having instant access to move-in and move-out activity for any selected property. They&rsquo;d have access to historical, current, and future real estate data in real time. With immediate access to receivables and collection activity, analyzing tenant activity and status would no longer be an insurmountable challenge.</p> <p>The perfect solution for your real estate company is out there. Just remember what your company needs: integration, collaboration, analysis, automation, and sustainability. When you find the right system for your business, your employees will soon be asking: &ldquo;Why didn&rsquo;t we fix this problem sooner?&rdquo;</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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>It&rsquo;s important for property managers to have an overall picture of their portfolio, but cumbersome tech systems can make property information confusing. Here&rsquo;s how to find the right solution.</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/jan16_BB_properties.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=27933">jan16_BB_properties.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/jan16_BB_properties_0.jpg?1454002583" /> </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/jan16_LP_BB_properties.jpg?1454002606" /> </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/applications/article/2015/04/2015-property-management-tech-for-your-biz">2015 Property Management: Tech for Your Biz</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2015/02/what-look-for-in-property-manager">What to Look for in a Property Manager</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2015/08/2015-crm-solutions-whats-trending">2015 CRM Solutions: What&#039;s Trending</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/11/realtybackoffice-goes-under-sells-scope">RealtyBackOffice Goes Under the Sells-Scope</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, 21 Jan 2016 21:15:50 +0000 echristoffer 20409 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 7 Tips for Smart, Scalable Growth http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/01/7-tips-for-smart-scalable-growth <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 tale of the tortoise and the hare taught us that slow and stead wins the race. The same can go for real estate. Whether starting a new brokerage or growing your business, have a calculated plan helps you win. </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, January 20, 2016</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/kevin-ortner">Kevin Ortner</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When you think of successful businesses, visions of investor-backed ventures and overnight startups probably spring to mind.</p> <p>While there are some cases where companies quickly make it big, the fact is for most companies that&rsquo;s not the case. More often than not, success is a process. It&rsquo;s a gradual development and the result of a significant amount of work.</p> <p>At Renters Warehouse, we started out as a small, locally based property management company in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We worked behind the scenes building the company, hiring staff, and increasing our customer base. We also developed our business concept, eventually franchising it and taking the company national.</p> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re toying with the idea of starting your own brokerage or interested in growing your existing real estate business by expanding your reach or adding services, you should know that behind the scenes work is essential.</p> <p>Starting small can help you to develop your company in a way that&rsquo;s sustainable for long-term growth. Here&rsquo;s how you can give your venture a fighting chance, by scaling the right way.</p> <p><strong>1. Study Demand</strong></p> <p>First, spend some time studying demand. You&rsquo;ll want to find a need and fill it. This will help you to define your market position &mdash; it&rsquo;s the foundation upon which everything else will be built. It will show you which direction you&rsquo;ll want to take your company.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve settled on an idea that you feel is viable, test it out. Start by conducting surveys. Gut feelings can be great, but you&rsquo;ll always want to test your suspicions to make sure your ideas check out. If you have an e-mail list, this could be the perfect way to get feedback. Tools like <a href="https://www.keysurvey.com/" target="_blank">Key Survey</a> or <a href="http://fluidsurveys.com/" target="_blank">FluidSurveys </a>make short work of conducting surveys and help you make sense of the data. For best results, make sure you ask <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/how-and-why-survey-your-customers" target="_blank">survey questions that work</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Set Your Sights High</strong></p> <p>Be a big-picture thinker. Success rarely happens because a company &ldquo;fell into it&rdquo;; rather, it&rsquo;s the result of clear direction and goals. In addition to setting your sights high, be specific. Unclear objectives are almost as bad as no goals. So don&rsquo;t be vague. Define what success means to you, and then start developing your business plan.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many startups neglect this all-too-important stage in planning. Often, unless there&rsquo;s a clear need for a business plan &ndash; for example, if the bank or investors request one &ndash; this step tends to be shoved aside. In fact, real estate coach Jan O&rsquo;Brien estimates that <a href="http://www.janobrien.com/business_financial_basics/page/2/" target="_blank">less than 20 percent of real estate agents</a> she works with actually prepare a written business plan and set annual goals.</p> <p>Still, the importance of a clear and actionable business plan cannot be overstated. &ldquo;In my 20-plus years in the real estate industry, it has been my experience that the agents who actually write down their goals and utilize a real business plan always meet and usually exceed their desired outcomes,&rdquo; says O&rsquo;Brien.</p> <p>Regardless of whether or not your bank or investors want to see one, develop your plans. Don&rsquo;t neglect this crucial step.</p> <p><strong>3. Lay a Solid Foundation</strong></p> <p>While it&rsquo;s tempting to go all-in on an idea, success with a business or real estate venture isn&rsquo;t usually dependent upon the speed at which you accelerate. It&rsquo;s usually the result of laying a solid foundation, getting your cards in order, and then growing your company, smartly.</p> <p>Instead of scaling vertically as fast as you can, work to develop a company or concept that can run independently of you. While it may be tough in the beginning, as you grow it will allow you to work on building your business rather than just working in it.</p> <p>As we grew Renters Warehouse, there was a tremendous amount of work that went into creating a business model that was truly scalable. The result was a franchisable concept that we were able to package and sell to other property managers nationwide. Creating a company that was based on repeatable business operations gave us unlimited growth potential.</p> <p><strong>4. Start Small and Expand Your Reach</strong></p> <p>Start local. Start with a niche. Don&rsquo;t spread yourself too thin too soon. Know your market, and become an expert in the area that you will specialize in. Whether it&rsquo;s starting your real estate company or adding ancillary services like title insurance or property management, it&rsquo;s important to be well-acquainted with the sector that you&rsquo;re going into. If you&rsquo;re trying to position yourself as an expert for new high-rises in the area, make sure you know these buildings inside and out.</p> <p><strong>5. Carefully Consider Your Financing Options</strong></p> <p>While visions of investor funding may come to mind, in many cases it&rsquo;s best to bootstrap in the beginning. Again, this will give you a chance to learn the ropes before investing too heavily &ndash; when there&rsquo;s a lot more at stake. It&rsquo;s also unwise to put all of your debt onto credit cards when starting your company. Have a clear plan for expenses and, more important, a plan to pay it back. Before you spend, do the math. Find out how you&rsquo;re going to fund your venture &ndash; and how long it will take to pay down any debt you accumulate.</p> <p><strong>6. Try to Build Your Public Profile</strong></p> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re building a business or a name for yourself, creating a public profile is important. Today more than ever, social media is where it&rsquo;s at. Having a LinkedIn account, a healthy online following, and a blog will help you to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. It will also help you to establish credibility and get the word out about your business and real estate expertise. As you know, your reputation is everything in this industry &ndash; always keep that in mind, because sometimes it&rsquo;s worth sacrificing a sale in order to keep your integrity and your reputation intact. Consider the big picture in everything you do.</p> <p><strong>7. Be Prepared to Pivot: Don&rsquo;t Be Afraid to Go in a Different Direction</strong></p> <p>Finally, remember that nothing stays the same. As you move forward, you may find that you have to go in a slightly different direction than you&rsquo;d planned, and that&rsquo;s okay. Before he founded Microsoft, <a href="http://grasshopper.com/blog/the-early-failures-of-famous-entrepreneurs-and-what-they-learned-3/" target="_blank">Bill Gates</a> was busy trying to sell his traffic data machines to people. It didn&rsquo;t work out, so he went in a different direction, founded Microsoft, and the rest is history. Whether you are selling condos to retirees or marketing starter homes to millennials, remember that the market can change, and fast. Supply and demand will shift, the economy will regress, or interest rates will go up. The secret to long-term success is knowing when to pivot. Don&rsquo;t be so attached to a specific idea that you are unable to shift direction to keep up with the changing tide.</p> <p>While it&rsquo;s easy to believe that you need to have instant success to make it in today&rsquo;s competitive marketplace, this couldn&rsquo;t be further from the truth. Study demand, set your goals, and work behind the scenes to make things happen. It&rsquo;s less dramatic than the overnight startups that you hear about, but in most cases it&rsquo;s a more sustainable path to success.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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 tale of the tortoise and the hare taught us that slow and stead wins the race. The same can go for real estate. Whether starting a new brokerage or growing your business, have a calculated plan helps you win.</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/jan16_BB_scale.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=27730">jan16_BB_scale.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/jan16_BB_scale_0.jpg?1453408711" /> </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/jan16_LP_BB_scale.jpg?1453408730" /> </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/network/article/2015/10/starting-brokerage-7-questions-consider">Starting a Brokerage? 7 Questions to Consider</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/05/help-young-agents-flourish">Help Young Agents Flourish</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2015/06/dominate-your-market-without-it-dominating-your-time">Dominate Your Market—Without It Dominating Your Time</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/11/ceos-share-ways-sustain-and-grow">CEOs Share Ways to Sustain and Grow </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 Wed, 20 Jan 2016 18:41:22 +0000 echristoffer 20401 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Physical Retailers Aren't Dead Yet http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2016/01/physical-retailers-arent-dead-yet <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"> Brick-and-mortar stores can still thrive by focusing on experience and adjusting their real estate strategy. </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, January 20, 2016</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/dan-weil">Dan Weil</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>During the dotcom boom, many observers may have expected shoppers to be fully committed to online-only retailers by 2016. But online sales, which totaled $334 billion last year, still account for only 10 percent of the approximately $3.3 trillion in annual retail sales, according to Forrester Research. &ldquo;Pure-play Internet sales are still pretty insignificant. I don&rsquo;t think they will make brick and mortar obsolete,&rdquo; says Todd Caruso, a senior managing director at CBRE in Chicago.</p> <p>However, while brick-and-mortar stores and malls are far from extinct today, retailers are looking for new ways to thrive in this evolving commercial environment.</p> <h4>Something You Can&rsquo;t Get Online</h4> <p>Online competitors affect some retail categories more than others. Big-box consumer electronics stores already have suffered at the hands of the Internet, and stand-alone apparel stores also &ldquo;will struggle over time,&rdquo; says Wayne Caplan, senior vice president at Sperry Van Ness in Chicago.</p> <p>&ldquo;The categories that do well are ones you can&rsquo;t buy online &mdash; restaurants, bowling, theater, and groceries. You can order food online, but people like to pick out their own.&rdquo;</p> <p>Caplan and others say that for physical retailers to fend off the Internet, they must make visits to their store something above and beyond simple shopping. For example, consumers at Lego stores can try their hands at building something beautiful right there. And some grocery stores have differentiated themselves by offering copious samples, including beer and wine.</p> <p>&ldquo;It can be as simple as a furniture retailer making coffees or cookies,&rdquo; Caplan says. &ldquo;Stores that want to stay relevant have to create experiences. It can&rsquo;t just be a place to buy goods.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Smaller, Techier Spaces</h4> <p>Technology can also play a role in brick-and-mortar retailers&rsquo; quest to draw customers. Retailers already are using beacon technology, which can alert smartphone users when they are near a store carrying a product in which the shoppers have shown interest online, among other things. This sort of technology is especially important for millennials, who shop more at retail locations than any other age group, Caruso says: &ldquo;They are accustomed to customized experiences.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cynthia Shelton, CCIM, Orlando-based director of investment sales for Colliers International in central Florida, agrees that technology can make a difference. But she notes that tools such as beacon technology can encounter resistance. She and her husband, who are in their 60s, as well as her daughter and son-in-law, who are in their 20s, avoid it by turning off location features on their smart phones. Some analysts say shoppers are concerned about the idea of Big Brother.</p> <p>In terms of pure real estate issues, Shelton says some retailers are reducing the size of their stores, so they can establish more of them, making their locations convenient for more customers. &ldquo;An aerobics class provider might take half the space it used to have and open another location two miles away,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;National chains like Dunkin Donuts are doing the same thing.&rdquo;</p> <p>Real estate professionals may soon encounter retailers seeking either to shrink their space or allocate some of it to create special experiences for shoppers, Caplan says. &ldquo;Generally they would use a less-is-more approach,&rdquo; he says. But that could cause a revenue problem for some areas. Fewer retailers and smaller footprints mean fewer sales and less tax revenue, and this is an especially troubling trend in states where online sellers don&rsquo;t have to pay sales tax, Caplan says. &ldquo;The vibrancy of downtowns and shopping malls is at risk if less space is being absorbed,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>However, absorption isn&rsquo;t an issue at this point, says Suzanne Mulvee, director of research for CoStar Group in Boston. The firm found that net absorption of retail real estate has been positive for every quarter since the recession ended in 2009, totaling 33.9 million square feet in the third quarter.</p> <p>Tom McGee, president of the International Council of Shopping Centers, agrees the situation isn&rsquo;t dire for his organization&rsquo;s members, with the occupancy rate running at 94 percent for shopping centers.</p> <h4>Online and In-Store Interdependence</h4> <p>Mulvee warns that brick-and-mortar retailers with a substantial online presence need to be careful when shedding physical stores. &ldquo;Their online sales are directly impacted when they close stores. People like to make returns to a store. Physical stores also create brand awareness and allow for window shopping,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>The relationship flows the other way, too. Internet usage can boost sales at stores, Caruso notes. Indeed, Forrester Research estimated that the Internet influences about 40 percent of offline retail sales, as shoppers use the web as a price comparison tool. Overall, the Internet is helping retailers, McGee says. &ldquo;Technology is being used as an enabler in retail decision-making. It&rsquo;s brick and clicks, not bricks versus clicks.&rdquo;</p> <p>During the most recent holiday season, more than 60 percent of those making purchases in stores did online research first, according to ICSC. About one-third of people purchasing items online picked them up at a store, and more than 70 percent of them bought something else while there. &ldquo;At the end of the day, [the Internet] will have a positive impact on brick-and-mortar retailers,&rdquo; McGee says.&nbsp;</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>Brick-and-mortar stores can still thrive by focusing on experience and adjusting their real estate strategy.</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/jan16_C_retail.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=72667">jan16_C_retail.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/jan16_C_retail_0.jpg?1453308164" /> </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/jan16_LP_C_retail.jpg?1453308218" /> </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="/commercial/round-up/article/2013/03/scarcity-and-name-recognition-drive-retail-rents">Scarcity and Name Recognition Drive Retail Rents</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2012/01/retailing-crossroads">Retailing at the Crossroads</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2013/07/strip-malls-turn-heads">Strip Malls Turn Heads </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, 20 Jan 2016 14:52:58 +0000 mwhite 20398 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Building Credibility With Foreign Buyers http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/01/building-credibility-foreign-buyers <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"> Learn how one Atlanta broker wins loyal international investors who sing his praises overseas. </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, January 19, 2016</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>International investors looking to purchase real estate in the U.S. aren&rsquo;t that different than American buyers and sellers. They go to parties and gab about their new ventures. They chitchat with friends and coworkers about their investment experience. And they&rsquo;re willing to give their agent a referral if they like their service.</p> <p>Greg Kurzner, CEO of ERA Atlantic Realty in Atlanta, has been attracting foreign clients since his company acquired a few property management portfolios in December 2013 consisting of assets primarily owned by overseas investors. From that point on, he&rsquo;s seen the floodgates of demand open up in this niche.</p> <p>&ldquo;There is little expertise in the U.S. to get these investors what they want,&rdquo; Kurzner says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like the Wild West. It&rsquo;s wide open.&rdquo;</p> <p>Before 2014, his 35 employees (he also has 20 agents) mainly handled foreclosure sales for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD, as well as investment properties for U.S. hedge funds and individual investors. But as they&rsquo;ve gotten to know their foreign clients, they&rsquo;ve come to understand their preferences in properties and communication methods, which has helped build trusting relationships. Now this segment of Kurzner&rsquo;s business is booming.</p> <p>Over the last six months, his company has gained enough foreign investor clients to make up 15 percent of their total business. In the last quarter of 2015, about 20 percent of the team&rsquo;s closings consisted of foreign investment purchases at a median price of about $120,000.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is still a minority of our overall business but it&rsquo;s the fastest expanding segment,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Kurzner and his team provide their clients with detailed feedback about their investment portfolios. Having previously assisted a U.S.-based real estate investment trust (REIT) acquire 2,000 homes in the Atlanta area has helped his team understand what works and what doesn&rsquo;t. &quot;Having that history managing their other homes, and giving feedback on what in their portfolios is working as good investments, gives us credibility with our investors,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Today, they have investors from Belgium, Germany, Australia, China, Canada, Nigeria, and Israel. These clients generally invest in single-family detached homes and buy one to three houses at a time in cash. Some are groups of 20 to 30 investors who use a financial advisor, while other clients are individuals with varying levels of investment experience, Kurzner says.</p> <p>About half of their clients want to see a property before purchasing it, so they will either travel to Atlanta or send a representative they trust to attend a showing. One of Kurzner&rsquo;s Nigerian investors comes into town for every closing, he says. Another investor from Germany has purchased four properties, but Kurzner has never met her. His team is trying to make the process more virtual for clients, so they purchased a Matterport 3D camera last year to conduct virtual tours.</p> <p>They&rsquo;re now working on a build-to-rent program, which is attractive to international customers because new construction generally means fewer maintenance issues. New-home construction in Atlanta has recently bounced back after developers were able to buy cheap bank-owned lots during the downturn.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some international buyers are taken to the cleaners by managers who do poor repairs or promise a higher return,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;International investors are not going to drive by their investment every day, and they&rsquo;re not able to make sure repairs are done properly in person. They put a lot of trust into who&rsquo;s managing these investments.&rdquo;</p> <p>Building trust leads to more referrals from international clients, he says. It&rsquo;s a niche where word-of-mouth still reigns.</p> <p>The U.S. real estate market offers bargains for international buyers whose home country&rsquo;s price points are usually significantly higher. In Belgium, an average investment property may cost the equivalent of $500,000, but that same investor could buy five properties for the same amount in the United States and get a higher cash flow rate in return, Kurzner says.</p> <p>The biggest barrier for foreign investors right now is capital. International hedge funds can buy a lot in cash, but individual investors are more limited without a reasonable financing mechanism, Kurzner says. One of his individual investors has six houses that were purchased with cash, and now that person is looking to pull money out of those properties to buy more homes. &ldquo;They lament that they can&rsquo;t do more,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Demand is high, Kurzner says, and the international investor market is a lucrative niche for brokers who position themselves properly. His REO team already had experience working with reputable renovation contractors who are capable of getting a property into good rentable condition. He also has established a property management arm of his brokerage &mdash; Atlantic Property Management &mdash; which operates in-house. Those resources coupled with the company&rsquo;s longevity helped put them in the position to serve international investors.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re a 26-year-old company, and we have other people who we manage investments for,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve tried to build on our track record and our honesty throughout the years.&rdquo;</p> <p>For newly established companies breaking into the international market segment, Kurzner advises to start by developing relationships with trusted contractors who know how to tackle a broad range of renovations. And if your company doesn&rsquo;t have a property management team in-house, then build relationships and partner with a reputable local firm, he says.</p> <p>&ldquo;Position your company to be able to do or refer everything for your clients,&rdquo; he says.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><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> <p>&nbsp;</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>Learn how one Atlanta broker wins loyal international investors who sing his praises overseas.</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/jan16_BB_international.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=64506">jan16_BB_international.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/jan16_BB_international_0.jpg?1453396589" /> </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/jan16_LP_BB_international.jpg?1453396607" /> </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="/commercial/feature/article/2015/12/reits-and-rates-investor-landscape">REITS and Rates: The Investor Landscape</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2016/01/11/foreign-investors-see-big-opportunity-in-us">Foreign Investors See Big Opportunity in U.S.</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/01/building-bilingual-agency">Building a Bilingual Agency</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/guide-clients-through-sight-unseen-offers">Guide Clients Through Sight-Unseen Offers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/01/start-and-spread-your-global-brand">Start and Spread Your Global Brand</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 Tue, 19 Jan 2016 20:37:40 +0000 echristoffer 20390 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Put the Cool Back in Ranch-Style Homes http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2016/01/put-cool-back-in-ranch-style-homes <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 common, one-story house with a low profile has a distinguished American pedigree. Yet, for decades it’s been overshadowed. As the ranch again attracts attention, learn about its best features and how older, dated examples can become strikingly modern. </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, January 19, 2016</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>Cliff May, considered the father of the ranch house, drew his inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright&rsquo;s Prairie-style and Usonian homes, as well as later Arts &amp; Crafts designs. May designed and built these ranch homes in Southern California from the 1930s on with a goal to develop a prototype that would suit home owners in a warm climate who favored informal living and easy outdoor access.</p> <p>After the Second World War, developers borrowed May&rsquo;s concept to construct small variations quickly and affordably and meet growing housing demand. Some ranch-style homes were cranked out, cookie-cutter-style, in large tract developments such as Levittown on New York&rsquo;s Long Island. Yet at the same time, other iterations grew into more sophisticated &ldquo;California Modern&rdquo; designs in the hands of developers such as Joseph Eichler, who had lived in a Wright home.</p> <h4><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_home_design_inset1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Hot, Then Not</h4> <p>In more recent times, the popularity of ranches has waxed and waned, depending on typical homebuying criteria: location, condition, and price. In Southern California, they remain a favorite that can command top dollar, especially if they&rsquo;re near the ocean and good schools, says Kelly Morgan, sales associate with Troop Real Estate in Westlake Village, Calif. &ldquo;A single-story in Thousand Oaks, closer to water, will bring a higher price than in Santa Clarita,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Back East, they remain popular on New York&rsquo;s Staten Island because they&rsquo;re among the more affordable options and offer relatively open plans as opposed to Colonial- and Victorian-style layouts, says broker-owner Holly Wiesner Olivieri of Holly&rsquo;s Staten Island Buzz. She and her husband bought a ranch 17 years ago for its private cul-de-sac location, proximity by ferry to Manhattan, and handyman-special price. In other parts of the Northeast and Midwest, ranches can be a tougher sell, as more home owners typically prefer a two-story Colonial or Cape, says Connecticut architect Duo Dickinson.</p> <h4><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_home_design_inset2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: left;" />Who&rsquo;s Buying Now?</h4> <p>Overall, the greatest interest nationwide is coming from two demographics:</p> <ul> <li>Young couples find them an affordable entry-level option that they see remodeled and decorated often, thanks to HGTV shows and hipster home magazines. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the style that appeals to the young &lsquo;hip&rsquo; L.A. buyer who&rsquo;s interested in simplicity,&rdquo; says Kate Guinzburg, a partner at Deasy/Penner and Partners, a Los Angeles real estate firm that specializes in mid-century modern and other styles of homes. And in certain markets like Austin, Texas, it&rsquo;s a style that&rsquo;s prevalent in neighborhoods that are close to downtown, which appeals to a young professional segment of buyers who want to avoid long commutes as their city gets more congested, says Austin-based builder Dominique Levesque of Another Great House.</li> <li>The second big cohort is baby boomers looking to downsize to one level and gain more maintenance-free living but remain in a single-family home environment. Craig McMahon, whose eponymous firm is in San Antonio, Texas., says boomers might also be inclined to choose a ranch when looking for a second home.</li> </ul> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_home_design_inset3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />To take advantage of this ranch revival, share with clients how these homes can both be livable and convey mid-century cool:</p> <p><strong>Give it the right name.</strong></p> <p>Ranches share many similar features &mdash; a single story with low-pitched gabled roof, for example. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean that one moniker works everywhere. In some areas, the term &ldquo;ranch&rdquo; won&rsquo;t raise red flags. But Chicago architect Stuart Cohen of Stuart Cohen &amp; Julie Hacker Architects thinks that for some buyers, it has a negative connotation in the same way &ldquo;tract&rdquo; housing does. &ldquo;&lsquo;Mid-century modern&rsquo; is a better term since it connotes a classic collectible,&rdquo; he says.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Three Families and Their Ranches</strong></p> <p>There&rsquo;s no single reason buyers seek out a ranch home, nor is there one simple solution to the search for the perfect one. But these case studies can give you a glimpse into the process:</p> <p>1.&nbsp;A young couple, Chrissy Saari and Dave Leonard, clients of architect Duo Dickinson, bought a 1,800-square-foot ranch house in Connecticut. Though they wanted to tackle a lot of the work on their own to keep the price down, they hired Dickinson to add new soaring windows and &ldquo;edgy&rdquo; building materials to distinguish surfaces. &ldquo;We probably overimproved it, but love living in a small, designed environment where we can stay through our children&rsquo;s school years,&rdquo; Saari says.</p> <p>2.&nbsp;Another young couple, clients of DeGraw, opted for a ranch for similar reasons, but only after a bid to enlarge their 1,300-square-foot,&nbsp;1920s&nbsp;Craftsman-style house came in too high. &ldquo;Our house had a lot of character, but one of our daughters&rsquo; bedrooms was more like a closet,&rdquo; says home owner M.J.&nbsp;Wieland. She and her husband instead found a larger-than-usual 2,300-square-foot ranch. &ldquo;I never pictured myself in a ranch, but we were excited to do the remodeling to get new windows and an open-plan kitchen/dining/living area, thanks to Jeff and our contractor, Built Tough Construction,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>3.&nbsp;Boomer clients of DeGraw, Edward and Deborah Sattler, moved from an Arts &amp; Crafts&ndash;inspired, two-story home to a smaller 1971 ranch. The move allowed them to remain in their same Hudson Valley, N.Y., community while relocating closer into the center, decreasing their footprint and need to drive. &ldquo;We knew that it would be in demand since most of our village&rsquo;s housing stock is 100 years old and two stories. This is what others who are boomers want,&rdquo; Edward says. &ldquo;We were ahead of the curve,&rdquo; says Deborah. They enlarged and updated the kitchen by eliminating an adjacent den and improved the mud and laundry room. They also added a new furnace, insulation, and bigger, more energy-efficient windows (by lowering existing sills). The move also increased their cash flow by $1,000 a month, they say.</p> </blockquote> <p>In parts of the West, &ldquo;ranch&rdquo; implies that it&rsquo;s a home where horses can be stabled, says Morgan, whose ranch-seeking buyers typically want land for a barn and sometimes a pool. That&rsquo;s why she prefers to call ranch-style homes &ldquo;single-story.&rdquo; Other terms you might hear are &ldquo;American ranch,&rdquo; &ldquo;rambler,&rdquo; and &ldquo;rancher.&rdquo; &ldquo;Split-&rdquo; and &ldquo;bi-level&rdquo; connote ranches with an extra half-level.</p> <p><strong>Play up its manageable, affordable size. </strong></p> <p>Averages vary, but generally these homes are under 2,000 square feet, and some are less than 1,000 square feet. Rooms are usually small by modern building standards. Most were built with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, though this also varies, says Levesque. The small footprint, along with a typically small lot, works well for those interested in keeping down costs, maintenance, and taxes.</p> <p><strong>Highlight the open layout</strong>.</p> <p>Most feature a small center hallway that separates living quarters from bedrooms; the living area often consists of an L- or U-shaped living-dining room with a small, separate kitchen, says Dickinson. While not as open as many of today&rsquo;s informal loft-style plans, ranches offer more openness than other older traditional homes do. That arrangement works especially well for young families who want to keep a close eye on children, says Guinzburg.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_home_design_inset4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><strong>Share how to improve profile and layout.</strong></p> <p>Because of the style&rsquo;s simple form, roofline, and construction method, ranch homes&rsquo; low ceilings can be raised and vaulted to 10 to 12 feet or higher. A second story can be added and interior walls can be removed, says architect Jeff DeGraw of DeGraw and DeHaan in Middletown, N.Y. By replacing the genre&rsquo;s small windows with bigger panes, the home can also look larger. In fact, new windows are often a good investment here, since the originals weren&rsquo;t usually the most energy-efficient, DeGraw says. On Staten Island, most ranches were built with a basement, so Olivieri often hires an architect to draw a simple floor plan to show how an unfinished lower-level space can be transformed.</p> <p><strong>Explain how to modernize while respecting the facade.</strong></p> <p>The exteriors of ranch homes can easily be updated with paint or new siding materials. But the goal should be to respect the home&rsquo;s roots and not turn it into a totally different animal, says DeGraw. &ldquo;Keep it simple, with the same proportions and trim, so it still reads as a mid-century modern house rather than a New England&ndash;style Colonial with shutters,&rdquo; he says. Levesque follows a similar mantra and also makes changes that fit the house into its site and neighborhood. Due to its small footprint and one-story design, adding on can be relatively easy if funds and the site, setbacks, and septic system permit, says Cohen. The key is to do so with similar proportions so what&rsquo;s new fits with the original, he says. Levesque stresses the importance of respecting the site and existing trees.</p> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_home_design_inset5.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: left;" />Channel the modernist spirit</strong>.</p> <p>To attract buyers who find it hard to visualize furnishing a ranch, consider staging with mid-century modern pieces. Reproductions are readily available online at sites such as Allmodern.com and Retrofurnish.com. Los Angeles designer Kimba Hills, owner of Rumba, a mid-century modern design store, also advises installing modern light fixtures and cabinet hardware, painting backgrounds white, and adding a skylight if the house is dark. &ldquo;So many buyers want what&rsquo;s modern, yet they also want something with character and a hint of nostalgia,&rdquo; McMahon says.</p> <p>When all&rsquo;s said and done, the ranch provides a cool way to live for another generation. Ultimately, Dickinson says, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s more about the living that goes on within.&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>This common, one-story house with a low profile has a distinguished American pedigree. Yet, for decades it&rsquo;s been overshadowed. As the ranch again attracts attention, learn about its best features and how older, dated examples can become strikingly modern.</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/jan16_HD_ranch.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=98091">jan16_HD_ranch.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/jan16_HD_ranch_0.jpg?1453324309" /> </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/jan16_LP_HD_ranch.jpg?1453324328" /> </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/2005/03/ranch-revival">Ranch Revival</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2014/06/return-ranch">Return of the Ranch</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2008/09/split-level-homes-outdated-or-underrated">Split-Level Homes: Outdated or Underrated? </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 Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:11:29 +0000 mwhite 20389 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How Did You Get My Name? http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/01/how-did-you-get-my-name <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 asking prospects this simple question, you’ll learn if your hard-earned marketing dollars are working. </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, January 20, 2016</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/debbie-reynolds">Debbie Reynolds</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I used to throw thousands of dollars at print and online ads for my real estate business, believing they&rsquo;d give me exposure and bring more clients through the door than I could handle. I watched other agents do it, and it seemed to be working for them. But after several months and many dollars down the drain, I didn&rsquo;t see any increase in my customer base. The only thing that went up was the ad sales rep&rsquo;s bottom line.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not saying real estate professionals shouldn&rsquo;t take out ads. But we all lean on marketing crutches&mdash;tactics we&rsquo;re told are tried-and-true or products and systems we&rsquo;re promised will send us automatic leads. That&rsquo;s not how you should decide where to spend your marketing dollars. There&rsquo;s a simple way to find out what kind of marketing actually works for you; just ask your prospects one question: &ldquo;How did you hear about me?&rdquo;</p> <p>I learned to do this early in my 35-year career, asking all my leads why they called and how they got my name. I became lax about it when business was booming, but when things slowed down, I bought into marketing gimmicks to pick up more clients. I realized I had gotten off-track eight years ago after becoming frustrated with the lack of results from my print and online ads. I vowed to begin asking every prospect these questions again&mdash;if only to prove to the advertising and lead-generation companies that they were doing me no good.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s when I learned what I really already knew: Most prospects contacted me after seeing my yard signs or being referred by one of my past clients. This was a wake-up call to stop throwing my money away on marketing products that weren&rsquo;t working and focus on getting more signs into my community and working my client database.</p> <p>Knowing where your business is coming from helps you make smarter decisions about where to spend your marketing dollars and how to use your time. But you can&rsquo;t rely on anyone else to give you this information; you have to find it out for yourself. I see too many practitioners exhibit blind faith that whatever marketing company they&rsquo;re working with will send them leads automatically. If that were true, those companies wouldn&rsquo;t need to call us; we&rsquo;d be calling them.</p> <p>Failing to find out where prospects learned of your business isn&rsquo;t a rookie mistake. I was 27 years into my career when I realized I was passing up such a clear opportunity to better my business. But I&rsquo;ll admit that even after I corrected my mistake, I wasn&rsquo;t immediately ready to give up all the other marketing crutches I had relied on. It took more than a year to let them go and refocus my resources. Once I did, my business began to increase. After reorganizing my marketing focus, it was only a few weeks before I saw a big uptick in leads and new business. And in the first year, I brought in 10 percent more income.</p> <p>With the endless marketing opportunities the Internet now affords us, it&rsquo;s even more critical for you to know where your business is coming from. On top of that, it&rsquo;s an ego boost when prospects tell you they called for a particular reason. It lets you know what you&rsquo;re doing right. How can you know what&rsquo;s pulling the clients in if you don&rsquo;t ask them?</p> <p>I ask all prospects who call, e-mail, or meet me at an open house how they heard about me or my listing. I don&rsquo;t miss many opportunities anymore. When you slow down and regularly assess where your clients are coming from, you&rsquo;re better able to target the right people.</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-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/jan16_NC_leads.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=21107">jan16_NC_leads.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/jan16_NC_leads_0.jpg?1453305532" /> </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/jan16_LP_NC_leads.jpg?1453305544" /> </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/selling/article/2011/03/prospect-warm-up">The Prospect Warm-Up</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2011/04/be-hero-your-market">Be the Hero in Your Market</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2012/01/reel-prospects-back-in-online">Reel Prospects Back in Online</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 Mon, 18 Jan 2016 17:58:18 +0000 mbrozanic 20381 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2017 Leadership Slate http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/your-nar/article/2016/01/2017-leadership-slate <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"> Meet next year&#039;s team! </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, January 20, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <!--paging_filter--><p>The 2017 NAR officers will be elected by the Board of Directors at the REALTORS&reg;<br /> Legislative Meetings &amp; Trade Expo in May 2016 and installed at the REALTORS&reg;<br /> Conference &amp; Expo in November 2016.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Credentials and Campaign Rules<br /> Committee presents the following slate of eligible candidates for 2017:</p> <p><strong>PRESIDENT</strong></p> <p>Bill Brown, Oakland, Calif.</p> <p><strong>PRESIDENT-ELECT</strong></p> <p>Elizabeth Mendenhall, ABR, ABRM, CIPS, CRB, e-PRO, GRI, LCI, PMN, Columbia, Mo.</p> <p><strong>FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT</strong></p> <p>JoAnne Poole, AHWD, BPOR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, PMN, Glen Burnie, Md.,<br /> and John Smaby, CRB, GRI, Edina, Minn.</p> <p><strong>TREASURER</strong></p> <p>Thomas A. Riley, CCIM, CRB, Bedford, N.H.</p> <p><strong>REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS</strong></p> <p>Jamie Diane Moore, GRI, Warwick, R.I. (1)</p> <p>Allan H. Dechert, CRB, RSPS, Avalon, N.J. (2)</p> <p>Mary V. Dykstra, ABR, CRS, Roanoke, Va. (3)</p> <p>Ann McDonald, Winchester, Ky. (4)</p> <p>Sherri Meadows, CIPS, CRB, GRI, PMN, Ocala, Fla. (5)</p> <p>William G. Milliken Jr., CCIM, CIPS, Ann Arbor, Mich. (6)</p> <p>Patrick Dalessandro, AHWD, CRS, GRI, Prospect Heights, Ill. (7)</p> <p>Donald R. Marple, GRI, Davenport, Iowa (8)</p> <p>Karen Crowson, ABR, CRS, GRI, Benton, Ark. (9)</p> <p>Leslie Rouda Smith, ABR, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, PMN, Plano, Texas (10)</p> <p>George Harvey, ABR, CIPS, CRS, GRI, Telluride, Colo. (11)</p> <p>Julie DeLorenzo, ABR, CRS, PMN, Boise, Idaho (12)</p> <p>Leil Koch, CCIM, CIPS, CPM, CRB, Kula, Hawaii (13)</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>Meet next year&#39;s team!</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/jan16_NC_leadership.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=17211">jan16_NC_leadership.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/jan16_NC_leadership_0.jpg?1453226719" /> </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/jan16_LP_NC_leadership.jpg?1453226751" /> </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> Your NAR Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:28:44 +0000 mbrozanic 20379 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Home Away From Home http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2016/01/home-away-from-home <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"> NAR’s partnership with the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs helps our industry and the country. </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, January 20, 2016</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/tom-salomone">Tom Salomone</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The future of our industry&mdash;and in some ways the future of our country&mdash;depends on what happens between 3 and 7 p.m. each weekday, because that&rsquo;s when many kids come home from school to an empty house. Will they watch TV or play video games or run around the neighborhood with friends? The choices they make are important, because how they spend their time can influence their choices later in life.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why, in my first initiative as your national president, I reached out to the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs of America, and we formed a partnership with them. Now you can go to <a href="http://realtor.org/BGCA" target="_blank">realtor.org/BGCA</a> to easily identify a club in your area and volunteer, donate money, or do both&mdash;if you wish.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not familiar with the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs, it&rsquo;s a nonprofit organization with clubs throughout the United States that provide a safe and enriching place for kids to go&mdash;after school, at night, and on weekends. It&rsquo;s a second home, a home away from home.</p> <p>Getting involved won&rsquo;t be new to many of you. In 2014, RSR, REALTORS&reg;, in Lemoyne, Pa., donated 200 calculators to the Boys &amp; Girls Club in nearby Harrisburg. And last year, the REALTORS&reg; Association of Northwestern Wisconsin presented a check for $2,700 to the Boys &amp; Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley in Eau Claire as part of the association&rsquo;s Week of Giving.</p> <p>REALTORS&reg; have always been about building community. It&rsquo;s one of the things that distinguishes many of us from other real estate licensees. We do our jobs well &mdash;and then some. And that sums up what I hope will define my year as your president: all of us giving that little extra.</p> <p>As professionals, we owe it to our clients to represent them honestly and effectively. But we also owe it to them to help keep the communities in which they live safe, vibrant, and strong. And we owe it to our industry to go beyond that, to make a difference for our country.</p> <p>At the national level, we represent communities and private property rights before the federal government. We do it better than anyone else, and we&rsquo;re proud of that. But each year brings fresh challenges, and in 2016 we will face renewed pressure as lawmakers look for ways to control the federal deficit. It&rsquo;s easy to take the mortgage interest deduction, 1031 exchanges, and other tax benefits for granted, but we can&rsquo;t; the continuing talk in Congress about cutting back incentives for real estate keeps us vigilant.</p> <p>In preparing for whatever challenges we face, we&rsquo;re creating a phone bank to support RPAC and improve engagement with the association. I&rsquo;m excited by the opportunities in the year ahead. It&rsquo;s gratifying to be part of an industry in which so many of its practitioners go beyond what&rsquo;s expected of them and do the exceptional. Thank you for being who you are and for caring so much.</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>NAR&rsquo;s partnership with the Boys &amp; Girls Clubs helps our industry and the country.</p> </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="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2016/01/he-s-all-in">He’s All In</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/your-nar/article/2016/01/2017-leadership-slate">2017 Leadership Slate</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> NAR President Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:21:47 +0000 mbrozanic 20377 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Swipe at the IRS http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/cool-tools/article/2016/01/swipe-irs <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 Ducky app will help you keep your New Year’s resolution to be more in control of your finances. </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, January 20, 2016</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><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_CT_Splash.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 400px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Start 2016 with a tool to simplify tax planning. The Ducky app allows users to categorize charges as personal by swiping to the left and business by swiping to the right. Thanks to a partnership with Intuit, Ducky interfaces with more than 500 financial institutions, meaning most expenses are automatically loaded into the read-only app, awaiting your swiping finger.</p> <p>Users can also snap photos of receipts and add notes to document business purposes. The app categorizes expenses by deduction type (such as transportation or meals) so you can see how much you&rsquo;re spending in each category in real time.</p> <p>It also allows easy data export to tax preparation software or to your accountant or CPA. The company plans to offer a paid subscription model in 2016, but Kyle Willis, Ducky vice president, expects a free version for small businesses to remain available. Free. 1099 Labs,San Francisco. [<a href="http://duckyapp.com" target="_blank">duckyapp.com</a>]</p> <p><em>Note: Prices are the vendors&rsquo; suggested retail prices and are subject to change. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; and REALTOR&reg; Magazine don&rsquo;t evaluate or endorse these products and aren&rsquo;t responsible for changes in company information.</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>The Ducky app will help you keep your New Year&rsquo;s resolution to be more in control of your finances.</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/cool_tools_blue_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=17110">cool_tools_blue_1.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/cool_tools_blue_2.jpg?1453242417" /> </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/LP_cool_tools_blue_3.jpg?1453242437" /> </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="/technology/cool-tools/article/2010/10/mighty-pen-diy-press-kit-and-tax-time-mileage-tracker">A Mighty Pen, DIY Press Kit, and Tax Time Mileage Tracker</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> Cool Tools Fri, 15 Jan 2016 20:17:50 +0000 mbrozanic 20369 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Vision of Home http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/standouts/article/2016/01/vision-home <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"> Karen Hall started an in-house design and remodeling center to help buyers and sellers upgrade their properties and increase values. </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, January 19, 2016</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/pamela-dittmer-mckuen">Pamela Dittmer McKuen</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When buyers began using Google a few years ago to send me listings before I even knew about them, I realized they didn&rsquo;t need the same things from real estate agents that they used to. Agents were having to defend their commissions to clients. I opened my brokerage to do everything I could to put the value back in our profession. I don&rsquo;t like when people think they don&rsquo;t need us. If we don&rsquo;t change, we will become obsolete.</p> <h4>A Bold Start</h4> <p>My husband and I moved to Alexandria in 2003 from Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga., after he finished his military service. We thought the culture, schools, and job opportunities made it a great place to raise a family. But buying our first home here was not a good experience. Agents didn&rsquo;t return phone calls or, in one case, show up for an appointment. I thought I could do better, so I got my real estate license. I was in my early 30s, and it was my first career. As a military wife, you are moving around, so you can&rsquo;t work much.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Company:</strong> @home real estate<br /> Alexandria, Va.<br /> <a href="http://www.athomedcmetro.com" target="_blank">athomedcmetro.com</a><br /> <strong>Number of offices:</strong> 2<br /> <strong>Number of associates:</strong> 12 and hiring<br /> <strong>2014 gross sales:</strong> $89.6 million on 127 transaction sides<br /> <strong>2015 gross sales</strong>: $119.7 million on 194 transaction sides</p> </blockquote> <p>My first year I was a personal assistant to another broker to get my feet wet. Then I joined a large Century 21 franchise full-time. I started out by focusing on niche markets. One thing I knew well was the military lifestyle, so I became a certified military relocation specialist. My marketing included driving myself around in a bright yellow Hummer H2 with my name and website on the sides. It built my identity and got a lot of attention. I also worked with a lot of renters because many agents wouldn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>By 2011, I had built up my database and won top awards for production and customer service, and I decided to go out on my own. It took about a year to formulate my concept, which I modeled on Nordstrom&rsquo;s outstanding customer service, Apple&rsquo;s technology, and HGTV&rsquo;s design education. We started doing business as @home real estate in January 2012.</p> <h4>Design Ideas for Buyers, Sellers</h4> <p>Our 4,000-square-foot flagship office is a combination home-style lounge and design center. Agents can stretch out with a client on a sofa in front of a fireplace and talk about taxes and earnest money. Or they can sit at the Mac computer bar and negotiate a deal. We don&rsquo;t have offices or cubicles. A 7-foot video screen, which can be seen from the street through the large picture windows, plays listing presentations, property tours, and remodeling projects.</p> <p>The second floor is the design center. From my time working with buyers in new construction, I saw they loved going to builders&rsquo; design centers to see the different options and upgrades and to make selections for their homes. But buyers and sellers of resale properties need the same kind of service. That&rsquo;s how our TRH, or The Remodeled Home, program came about. We partner with a local construction company.</p> <p>For buyers who are considering various properties and renovations, we can quickly get them accurate estimates so they can make informed offers. We have samples of tile, granite, and paint colors, just like a builder&rsquo;s design center.</p> <p>For sellers, we can tell them the market price of their home as is, the best renovations to increase its value, and how much money they can expect if they do them. Sometimes sellers don&rsquo;t have $8,000 in the bank to get rid of the red paint, but they have equity. We allow qualified sellers to get up to $25,000 in renovations now and pay the rest at settlement. They can hand us the key, and we&rsquo;ll do everything.</p> <h4>A Lifestyle, Not a House</h4> <p>Our marketing program, TruView, is customized for every listing. We&rsquo;ve soaked up what luxury car dealers, hotels, and airlines are doing, which is focusing on the client experience. That&rsquo;s what we do. It&rsquo;s not about the wood floors or the ceiling fans; it&rsquo;s about giving someone a true view of what it&rsquo;s like to live in this house. We featured one listing with a photograph of me swinging on the really cool tree swing. The headline said, &ldquo;Tree swing for sale, comes with a fantastic house.&rdquo;</p> <p>We produce all our marketing materials in-house: high-definition video, video editing, aerial and still photography, magazines, websites, and even listing sheets. We do it at no cost to the agents. I want it done a certain way, and I don&rsquo;t want them to deal with it. I&rsquo;m controlling my brand.</p> <p>The two programs are definitely working for us. We&rsquo;ve had people coming to us because they&rsquo;ve seen our marketing or heard about our remodeling. Our agents are more relaxed because they have more time, and we are all having fun. As we see it, we are not in business to sell houses. We want to help people get the house they want. That&rsquo;s something Google can&rsquo;t do.</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>Karen Hall started an in-house design and remodeling center to help buyers and sellers upgrade their properties and increase values.</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/jan16_B_Hall.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=41148">jan16_B_Hall.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/jan16_B_Hall_0.jpg?1452897001" /> </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/jan16_LP_B_Hall.jpg?1452897012" /> </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/standouts/article/2015/09/fishing-for-great-ideas">Fishing for Great Ideas</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/standouts/article/2015/05/cushion-ease-transition">A Cushion to Ease a Transition</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/standouts/article/2015/01/where-everyones-owner">Where Everyone&#039;s an Owner</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> Standouts Fri, 15 Jan 2016 19:25:30 +0000 mbrozanic 20361 at http://realtormag.realtor.org An Editor for Every Inbox http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/cool-tools/article/2016/01/editor-for-every-inbox <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 Wordzen app promises to help you be a better communicator. </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, January 20, 2016</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><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/wordzen-logo.png" style="width: 100px; height: 64px; margin: 3px; float: left;" />Wordzen is a Gmail app that functions as your correspondence assistant. Once you enable the plugin on your Gmail account, all you have to do is toss a couple of key phrases into an e-mail and press the &ldquo;Smart Send&rdquo; button. A real, live person will turn your scribbles into an emotionally intelligent, grammatically correct note in 10 minutes or less.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_before_wordzen.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 244px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />W<img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_edits_wordzen.jpg" style="width: 391px; height: 331px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />h<img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jan/jan16_after_wordzen.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 258px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />en we tried it, we threw down misspellings, sentence fragments, real estate jargon, and abbreviations, and within five minutes got back something much more sendable. Since it is a service provided by human editors, you may not want to send them anything sensitive or personal, though Wordzen pledges to adhere to a strict confidentiality policy. They&rsquo;re also unable to see anything you transmit through the normal &ldquo;send&rdquo; button.</p> <p>The best part? Wordzen is absolutely free&mdash;for now. Since the company does plan to start charging eventually, check it out sooner rather than later. Free. Wordzen Inc., Chicago. [<a href="http://wordzen.com" target="_blank">wordzen.com</a>]</p> <p><em>Note: Prices are the vendors&rsquo; suggested retail prices and are subject to change. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; and REALTOR&reg; Magazine don&rsquo;t evaluate or endorse these products and aren&rsquo;t -responsible for changes in company information.</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>The Wordzen app promises to help you be a better communicator.</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/cool_tools_yellow_7.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=19978">cool_tools_yellow_7.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/cool_tools_yellow_8.jpg?1453242642" /> </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/LP_cool_tools_orange_3.jpg?1453242662" /> </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="/technology/cool-tools/article/2015/01/app-shows-where-your-writing-went-wrong">An App That Shows Where Your Writing Went Wrong</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> Cool Tools Fri, 15 Jan 2016 20:16:04 +0000 mbrozanic 20368 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Better Dispute Resolution http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2016/01/better-dispute-resolution <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"> New ombudsman services at local associations can keep disagreements from escalating into more severe problems. </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, January 20, 2016</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/carolyn-dagosta">Carolyn D&#039;Agosta</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>REALTORS&reg; distinguish themselves by their professionalism, which is rooted in our Code of Ethics. Over the past year, the Professional Standards Committee has been focused on raising the professional bar in our industry, enhancing the tools used by our state and local associations for resolving misunderstandings and disputes&mdash;those that occur between REALTORS&reg; and those that happen between REALTORS&reg; and their clients and customers.</p> <p>Minor professional disagreements, such as who has responsibility for trash removal from a home before buyers move in, have sometimes escalated into bigger problems because an association lacked a system for dealing with such grievances.</p> <p>The available options have long varied among REALTOR&reg; associations, but the trend is clear: A wider array of tools can help increase professionalism by ensuring that disputes and disagreements are resolved quickly and fairly. Our long-held ethics enforcement, mediation, and arbitration procedures for handling monetary disputes and other ethics complaints have also undergone a thorough review.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s an ongoing process, but we made great strides last year. For example, as of Jan. 1, 2016, all associations are required to offer ombudsman services to their members, clients, and customers either directly or through an agreement with other associations. The program offers an opportunity for informal resolution of an issue related to a communication breakdown. Already some associations are using the program to great effect, so broadening access to REALTORS&reg; at all associations&nbsp;is a step that will help make dispute resolution more effective for everyone.</p> <p>Here are some of the other changes the committee enacted in 2015:</p> <ul> <li>Mandatory processes to ensure timely payment of arbitration awards</li> <li>Streamlined grievance committee review of ethics complaints and arbitration requests</li> <li>Steps&nbsp;to prevent costly, unnecessary continuances</li> <li>Expedited administrative processing time frames for arbitration</li> <li>Enhancements to the National Association of REALTORS&reg; Model Citation Policy and Ombudsman Policy</li> <li>Simplification of disclosure requirements in print and online advertising</li> <li>Enhancements to encourage informal dispute resolution and settlement</li> <li>Strengthened procedures to ensure penalties for noncompliance with discipline</li> <li>New effective dates of policies adopted by the NAR Board of Directors to ensure timely implementation of new initiatives</li> </ul> <p>When you add these changes together, you see a coordinated effort to make our processes more helpful. We&rsquo;ll be looking at additional changes this year.</p> <h4>Commitment to Excellence</h4> <p>Finally, the committee has been working on the Commitment to Excellence initiative, which the NAR Board of Directors passed last year to increase professionalism all across the REALTOR&reg; community. Our Commitment to Excellence Advisory Board, which is a standing subgroup of the Professional Standards Committee, is hard at work designing the Commitment to Excellence Program, which will use brand-new methods and cutting-edge research to help REALTORS&reg; thrive while exemplifying the highest ideals of our profession. I encourage you to visit realtor.org to read about the Commitment to Excellence and learn more about the work we&rsquo;re doing.</p> <p>As the Professional Standards Committee ushers in a new era of professionalism, we are focused on new programs, policies, and initiatives that address your feedback and promise fair yet streamlined enforcement of professional standards policies. We want to ensure the Code of Ethics remains timely and relevant in its second century, and give you the tools you need to distinguish yourself as a REALTOR&reg;.</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>New ombudsman services at local associations can keep disagreements from escalating into more severe problems.</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/jan16_LW_ethics.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=89324">jan16_LW_ethics.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/jan16_LW_ethics_0.jpg?1453305447" /> </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/jan16_LP_LE_ethics.jpg?1453305462" /> </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/ethics/article/2015/03/code-your-business">The Code Is Your Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2015/07/ethics-around-awol-agents">The Ethics Around AWOL Agents</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-links"> <div class="field-label">External Links:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/code-of-ethics" rel="nofollow">Code of Ethics</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/policy/commitment-to-excellence" rel="nofollow">Commitment to Excellence</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> Ethics Fri, 15 Jan 2016 20:20:33 +0000 mbrozanic 20370 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Drones: Assessing the Risks http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/law/article/2016/01/drones-assessing-risks <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 you hire a company to operate a UAV or do it yourself, know your insurance options. </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, January 20, 2016</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/eric-myers">Eric Myers </a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Amid the game-changing excitement over drones in real estate, don&rsquo;t let the liability issues they create fly under the radar. Suppose you&rsquo;re working with a professional photographer who has already received a Section 333 waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate unmanned aerial vehicles. Are you aware of your coverage under your brokerage&rsquo;s errors and omissions insurance if the drone hits someone or damages property and a liability claim is filed against you? The scenario may sound hypothetical, but it&rsquo;s one you need to consider as unmanned aerial photography and video assume a bigger part of real estate marketing.</p> <p>You can&rsquo;t assume your brokerage&rsquo;s E&amp;O policy&mdash;or your own coverage, if you have an individual policy&mdash;would cover an accident caused by something so new to the industry as drone technology. Until drone use becomes firmly established in the business and develops a substantial track record, insurance coverage will generally remain a gray area to be decided on a case-by-case basis by different carriers.</p> <p>Here are steps you can take to mitigate your risk.</p> <p><strong>Examine your current policy. </strong>Ask your insurance agent or broker to examine your commercial general liability insurance policy and work with the insurance company that issued the policy to provide an endorsement to cover drone-related incidents. For coverage to apply, there needs to be a description of the unmanned aircraft and a description of the operations or projects to be performed. These descriptions can be as broad as &ldquo;all unmanned aircraft used in the insured&rsquo;s business for any operation or project connected to the insured&rsquo;s business&rdquo; or as narrowly tailored as &ldquo;operation of Model BX500 unmanned aircraft, serial number 1247ZQ, used to take aerial photos of 12 Main Street, Macon, Ga., on Dec. 1, 2015.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Consider drone insurance.</strong> If you are using drones or intend to, talk to an independent insurance agent or broker about getting unmanned aircraft or drone insurance. Do this even if you&rsquo;re working with aerial photographers who have the proper FAA waiver to operate drones. They might have their own coverage, but their coverage won&rsquo;t necessarily help you if you&rsquo;re held liable separately from them.</p> <p><strong>Check into personal injury liability. </strong>Talk to your agent about obtaining coverage in an E&amp;O policy for personal injury liability. This can occur when a drone operator takes a photo that infringes on the privacy rights of another party. For example, a drone operator takes a picture of a home for a marketing brochure. The picture also includes part of the neighbor&rsquo;s backyard where teenagers are sunbathing. If the broker prints and distributes hundreds of copies of the brochure and the neighbor finds out, there could be a privacy violation and the neighbor could make a claim against the real estate practitioner for an error or omission in his or her professional services.</p> <p><strong>Inquire about legal defense costs.</strong> Ask about legal defense costs. If you are hit with a claim, and you don&rsquo;t have separate unmanned aircraft or drone coverage, then it&rsquo;s possible your E&amp;O policy could cover your defense costs, as well as liability, for personal injury.</p> <p>Right now, the commercial use of drones requires an FAA exemption, and that exemption has been granted to about 1,800 operators across the country, including hundreds that provide aerial photography and video services for consumers and businesses.</p> <p>Also, hobbyists and amateurs must register all drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 50 pounds with the FAA by Feb. 19, 2016.</p> <p>Later this year, the FAA is intending to issue a final rule setting forth requirements for anyone operating drones commercially. At that point, whether you personally operate a drone in your business or hire another company to do so, making sure that you&rsquo;ve protected yourself as fully as possible should give you peace of mind as you set out to provide bird&rsquo;s-eye property views in your real estate marketing.</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 you hire a company to operate a UAV or do it yourself, know your insurance options.</p> <p>&nbsp;</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/jan16_LE_drones.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30748">jan16_LE_drones.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/jan16_LE_drones_0.jpg?1452896704" /> </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/jan16_LP_LE_drones.jpg?1452896717" /> </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="/technology/feature/article/2015/05/should-you-pursue-drone-technology">Should You Pursue Drone Technology?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2016/01/tech-trends-thatll-change-showings">Tech Trends That&#039;ll Change Showings</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-links"> <div class="field-label">External Links:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/articles/national-association-of-realtors-policy-statement-unmanned-aerial-vehicles" rel="nofollow">NAR drone policy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/topics/drones" rel="nofollow">Drones FAQ</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> Law Fri, 15 Jan 2016 20:24:55 +0000 mbrozanic 20371 at http://realtormag.realtor.org