Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en How to Earn Olympic-Proportion Success http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/how-earn-olympic-proportion-success <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"> “Taking risks and meeting challenges head-on is sometimes the only way to make your dreams come true,” says Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton. </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, June 30, 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>Mary Lou Retton is a goal-setter. She had to be in order to bring home five Olympic medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics. At the age of 16, she became the first American woman to win an all-around gold medal in gymnastics and was the first female athlete featured on the Wheaties cereal box.</p> <p>She made it her goal to break down barriers and set records by working hard and daring to strive for accomplishments that seemed almost impossible.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone in the room this morning has a dream, has a goal, and wants to make that real,&rdquo; Retton said in her keynote talk at the REALTORS&reg; Broker Summit in Denver in June. &ldquo;Taking risks and meeting challenges head-on is sometimes the only way to make your dreams come true.&rdquo;</p> <p>Retton grew up in the coal-mining town of Fairmont, W.V. She was always the kid tumbling around in the yard and jumping on her parents&rsquo; bed. She realized her life&rsquo;s calling at the age of 8, when she watched Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci compete in the 1976 Summer Olympics.</p> <p>Her coach in those early days would say, &ldquo;Mary Lou is not quite a butterfly,&rdquo; she recalled. Retton recognized that her strength was not grace but power &mdash; and she learned how to use that to her advantage.</p> <p>Romanian coach Bela K&aacute;rolyi saw Retton compete at an event in Reno, Nev., and invited her to train with him in Houston. At the age of 14, Retton left home, moved to Houston, and lived with a host family in order to train with the best in the sport. Today, as a mother of four daughters aged 14 to 21, she realizes the magnitude of that step.</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t live my life thinking &lsquo;what if,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>In 1983, she was an alternate at the American Cup, and when a teammate pulled a muscle the night before, Retton was called up. &ldquo;I had nothing to lose,&rdquo; she said, so she dug in and ended up beating the Russian World Cup champion. &ldquo;Preparation gives you confidence to open that door and barrel through.&rdquo;</p> <p>That win helped propel her through several more big wins and eventually place first at the 1984 Olympic Trials. Confidence also helped her overcome a severe knee injury she suffered during a floor routine just a few weeks before the games.</p> <p>&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t let other people put limits on you,&rdquo; Retton said. &ldquo;If you have big plans and big dreams, and if you believe with a passion you can do it, you can.&rdquo;</p> <p>Five weeks after knee surgery, Retton scored perfect 10s on her floor routine and twice on the vault to become the all-around gold medalist, making Olympic history.</p> <p>&ldquo;We spend most of our lives living in that comfort zone because it&rsquo;s safe and easy,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But sometimes to get that edge on the competition &mdash; and you guys understand because you work in a highly competitive industry &mdash; you have to go outside your comfort zone.&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>&ldquo;Taking risks and meeting challenges head-on is sometimes the only way to make your dreams come true,&rdquo; says Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton.</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="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/silver-lining-failure">The Silver Lining of Failure</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/3-not-so-secret-steps-success">3 Not-So-Secret Steps to Success</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/04/real-estate-purpose">Real Estate With Purpose </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/04/1-job-3-truths-and-4-books-for-new-leaders">1 Job, 3 Truths, and 4 Books for New Leaders</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, 29 Jun 2016 23:36:35 +0000 echristoffer 21403 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Not Your Father's Brokerage http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/not-your-fathers-brokerage <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"> Three real estate companies that have evolved from the traditional brokerage model are now sharing their cutting-edge success stories. </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, June 29, 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>Three very different real estate companies are pushing the envelope when it comes to brokerage models, and it&rsquo;s most obvious in the look and feel of their office space.</p> <p>During the final session of the REALTORS&reg; Broker Summit in Denver in June, brokers discussed what this changing face of real estate looks like and what it means to clients.</p> <p><a href="http://nexthome.com/" target="_blank"><strong>NextHome, Inc.</strong></a>, one of the three companies represented on the session&rsquo;s panel, focuses on smaller offices with 20 agents or fewer and building client services and technology around that setup. Launched in January 2015, the company already has 101 offices in 35 states.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our belief is that the future of this business is small offices,&rdquo; says NextHome CEO James Dwiggins, adding that his company&rsquo;s offices are as small as 800 square feet with a coffee bar&ndash;style collaborative work environment.</p> <p>Since the majority of today&rsquo;s buyers and sellers are part of Gen X and Gen Y, Dwiggins says his company is actively trying to recruit younger agents and establish a culture that reflects their client base.</p> <p>When Dwiggins set out to launch NextHome, he surveyed buyers and sellers to understand what they want from a real estate company. &ldquo;This industry is notorious for recycling ideas,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We asked consumers to help build our brokerage.&rdquo;</p> <p>One thing Dwiggins and his team learned from respondents is that they don&rsquo;t care for yard signs. In fact, they see signs as simply a billboard for the agent. So NextHome took a new approach, adding graphics to yard signs that signify the numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms, and garage stalls in the listing.</p> <p>They also added a mascot to their signs&rsquo; branding: Luke the dog. The point of the small plastic pup is to be taken from the yard and played with by neighborhood kids. Luke comes with contact information on his collar so that parents can call if they end up with Luke. It&rsquo;s also a lead generation tool.</p> <p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s become very viral,&rdquo; Dwiggins says. &ldquo;People love it because it creates conversations; agents can talk about the company with neighbors.&rdquo;</p> <p>At NextHome&rsquo;s corporate office in Pleasanton, Calif., employees have standard-issue Nerf guns and monthly social events. They strive for a fun, caring atmosphere.</p> <p>&ldquo;Agents leave when there&rsquo;s a lack of leadership and lack of culture,&rdquo; Dwiggins says. &ldquo;We recognize culture starts at the top and we want agents to feel appreciated.&rdquo;</p> <p>Culture is a huge part of business at <a href="http://gorealty.bhgre.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty</strong></a> in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area, where a lot of thought has been put into office spaces, agent support, and client experience. &nbsp;</p> <p>AnnMarie Janni, broker-in-charge of the Go Realty Holly Springs office, says customers won&rsquo;t find a receptionist behind a front desk when they walk into one of the four Go Realty offices. Instead, everyone in the office greets them with, &ldquo;Welcome to Go!&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We want every agent to feel like it&rsquo;s their office,&rdquo; Janni says. So all four offices can be accessed with a single key, and they all share the same Wi-Fi password and wireless printer connection.</p> <p>The space is an open concept, but if agents need a quiet area to make a phone call, they have small rooms called &ldquo;Zen dens.&rdquo;</p> <p>Each office has a social event once a month, and agents are encouraged to invite clients. &ldquo;We try to have fun when we can because sometimes real estate is brutal,&rdquo; Janni says.</p> <p>New agents get at least one day of training at every office, and the program aims to help them get a sale within their first 90 days on the job. Retaining agents is also a top priority for Go, Janni says, so the company adds value by bringing in speakers or focusing on agents&rsquo; individual needs. For instance, Go has a program called &ldquo;Level Up,&rdquo; which helps mid-level agents establish a plan for doubling their business.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s <a href="http://exprealty.com/" target="_blank"><strong>eXp Realty</strong></a>, which has taken the virtual brokerage into the mainstream. All agents and brokers meet and interact in a cloud-based office and education campus. Agents and brokers create an avatar and log in to the platform, which resembles a college campus. The online experience is similar to a first-person, immersive video game where you can talk and interact with other people&rsquo;s avatars through your computer.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a misconception that it&rsquo;s a cool, sterile work environment,&rdquo; says Jason Gesing, eXp Realty&rsquo;s president. &ldquo;But we have baby showers in there, foot races, and speakers &mdash; and executive meetings are open to all.&rdquo;</p> <p>eXp is also a public, agent-owned company. Launched in 2009 by founder and CEO Glenn Sanford, the model was established in direct response to the challenges of meeting fixed and rising overhead associated with brick-and-mortar offices.</p> <p>eXp has never used paid advertising to recruit agents, choosing instead to grow by word of mouth. Today, the company has more than 1,240 agents in 38 states and Alberta, Canada. Gesing says the agent-owner mindset has helped build loyalty and retention. And it shows: Revenues for the first quarter of 2016 totaled $7.1 million, up 107 percent year over year from $3.4 million.</p> <p>Agents&rsquo; satisfaction is also surveyed quarterly, and if anyone ever answers a question with less than an eight, leadership follows up with that person directly, Gesing 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>Three real estate companies that have evolved from the traditional brokerage model are now sharing their cutting-edge success stories.</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="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/how-attract-retain-best-agents-for-you">How to Attract, Retain the Best Agents For You</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/preserve-company-culture-in-times-growth">Preserve Company Culture in Times of Growth</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/5-ways-green-up-your-business">5 Ways to Green Up Your Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/3-not-so-secret-steps-success">3 Not-So-Secret Steps to Success</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, 29 Jun 2016 22:16:12 +0000 echristoffer 21402 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 7 Ways Agents Can Alleviate Buyer Stress http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/7-ways-agents-can-alleviate-buyer-stress <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"> Train your agents on how to calm their clients’ nerves when it comes to these common transaction hiccups. </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, June 24, 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>When someone is looking to buy a house &mdash; whether it&rsquo;s that person&rsquo;s first or fifth time &mdash; there are always pressures and worries associated with the purchase.</p> <p>All buyers experience stress, regardless of their price point or knowledge of the process, says Amy Maris, broker-owner at Okoboji Realty in Okoboji, Iowa. &ldquo;They want to know their concerns are valid, and they want to know their agent takes the time to be with them. They also don&rsquo;t want to be pushed or dragged through the process.&rdquo;</p> <p>Maris says that whatever concerns arise, agents need to acknowledge them and immediately work to resolve the problem.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are a very statistical office. If the buyer has a value concern, and they want the stats &mdash; especially our second- and vacation-home buyers &mdash; we have all our numbers to share with the client,&rdquo; says Maris. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t get to the point in life where they&rsquo;re buying a second home without being financially savvy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Here are seven scenarios that can add anxiety to buyers&rsquo; lives and what your agents can do to lessen some of the burden:</p> <p><strong>Multiple offers</strong>. These days, as soon as a property comes on the market in Davenport, Iowa, Scott Ryder knows to expect multiple offers. Such situations can be very frustrating to first-time buyers or others who haven&rsquo;t dealt with them before.</p> <p>To keep clients competitive, Ryder, broker-owner at Exit Realty Fireside in Davenport, tells his agents to set up showing appointments the same day they hear about a listing or see one online. They also talk to the buyers about making realistic offers on a house. &ldquo;Sometimes our clients have made offers on a house and lost it because they weren&rsquo;t realistic and went too low,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p><strong>Contingency chaos</strong>. Your buyer found his or her dream house, and the offer was accepted. But that dream can become a nightmare if the seller has too many contingencies, such as pushing off closing until they find their own home.</p> <p>&ldquo;You start stacking up four or five of those contingencies, and it can feel overwhelming,&rdquo; Ryder says.</p> <p>To alleviate some of that stress, Ryder advises agents to keep them constantly updated on any and all movement within the seller&rsquo;s other transactions.</p> <p><strong>Stubborn sellers. </strong>Beth Foley, associate broker at Summit Properties in Holland, Mich., had clients who really wanted a property, but the seller wanted a few thousand dollars more and was willing to throw in furniture.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had to talk to the buyers and convince them that this is OK. They were only $5,000 apart on a $350,000 property,&rdquo; explains Foley, who went straight to the numbers to calm her clients. She pointed out that in terms of their mortgage, it would only amount to about $20 a month more. &ldquo;They had already lost out on two houses that they wanted,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And I told them that they could sell the furniture if they didn&rsquo;t like it.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Can&rsquo;t get to a showing fast enough</strong>. Relocation clients sometimes have to travel hours by car or plane to get to showings in the area they&rsquo;re moving to, which gives local house hunters time to put an offer on a home first. Ryder suggests agents use Skype or FaceTime to show homes to out-of-towners ahead of time.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had a client who was being transferred here from Korea. She needed to find a house, so I showed her the property on FaceTime, and she closed on it before she even moved here,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It was exactly what she wanted.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Problems arise in inspection</strong>. Once an offer is accepted, buyers are mentally ready to move in. But inspections could uncover situations that need to be remedied before closing.</p> <p>&ldquo;The agent should get the expert or service provider who can get in there and figure out what the price will be to fix whatever the inspection revealed,&rdquo; Maris says. &ldquo;We get the person who the buyer needs; we never make them get the person. Plus, agents know the area, and they know contractors who can give a good estimate.&rdquo;</p> <p>Then the agent should go back to the seller to renegotiate the sale contract based on extra expenditures to fix the problems. A savvy agent should know when it&rsquo;s appropriate to ask the sellers to either fix a problem or lower their price so that the buyer can make the fixes themselves.</p> <p><strong>Sellers are slow to decide.</strong> There&rsquo;s nothing worse for buyers than putting in an offer on a home and not hearing back from the sellers for days or even weeks. Maris runs into this often when she&rsquo;s dealing with multiple sellers who are heirs to waterfront properties.</p> <p>&ldquo;Many of the properties we sell have been handed down from generation to generation. Sometimes, you&rsquo;ll have 20 heirs selling a property,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;If someone puts an offer in and asks me for an answer by 5 p.m., that will be virtually impossible.&rdquo;</p> <p>The stress can be tamed with thorough communication. She says agents need to keep their buyers informed on a daily basis, even when nothing has happened. They should also have patience with clients when they vent about a slow process, she says.</p> <p><strong>Buyers are overwhelmed with life</strong>. Buying a house has so many moving parts, but clients have other things on their minds, too.</p> <p>&ldquo;My buyers have crazy schedules with graduations, weddings, big work projects, babies, and more,&rdquo; Foley says. &ldquo;I ask buyers who are overly frenzied if they need to take a couple weeks off of looking at houses to get the monkeys off their backs, and then go back at it again. Many times, they tell me I am right.&rdquo;</p> <p>Agents should be able to recognize when buyers have too much on their plate, which could lead to making the wrong decision. It doesn&rsquo;t matter who the buyer is &mdash; young, older, new to buying, or purchasing their retirement home &mdash; Foley says it&rsquo;s important for the agent to sit down and listen to their concerns, wants, and needs. That means forgoing text or email for face-to-face interaction, she says.</p> <p>&ldquo;There has to be a human side to buying a house,&rdquo; Foley says. &ldquo;The stress is bad enough, but the agent should be able to ease a lot of that stress by taking care of many things.&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>Train your agents on how to calm their clients&rsquo; nerves when it comes to these common transaction hiccups.</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="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/understanding-your-millennial-buyers">Understanding Your Millennial Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/03/cultivate-clients-in-your-community">Cultivate Clients in Your Community</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2014/09/customer-service-rocks">Customer Service That Rocks</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/how-and-why-survey-your-customers">How (and Why) to Survey Your Customers</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 Fri, 24 Jun 2016 23:21:16 +0000 echristoffer 21378 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How to Relax When You're Always Busy http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/health/article/2016/06/how-relax-when-youre-always-busy <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"> Unpredictable schedules and client demands will get your anxiety levels up. When you’re on the go at all hours, try these techniques for destressing. </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, June 23, 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/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Kim Gellatly feels most stressed during bidding wars. That&rsquo;s when her emotions &mdash; as well as her clients&rsquo; &mdash; run the highest. She has to keep them calm when they fear they&rsquo;ll lose the house they want while also managing the pressure she puts on herself to get their offer accepted over others. Unfortunately, she&rsquo;s finding herself in this position more often than not in her market.</p> <p>&ldquo;Most homes are selling within the first few days, so I feel like a lot of agents are really stressed out right now,&rdquo; says Gellatly, principal broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Lake Oswego, Ore. &ldquo;I find that in this type of market, agents get almost adversarial with each other when they&rsquo;re just being protective of their clients.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Are You Effective at Destressing?</strong><br /> REALTOR&reg; Magazine asked its Facebook followers how they relax after a long week of showings, listing appointments, and client meetings. Here&rsquo;s a few of our favorite responses:</p> <ul> <li>&ldquo;I like to walk in the door and just plop my butt on the couch beside my 10-year-old daughter, put my arm around her, and just listen to everything she has to say!&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Annette Handley, Keller Williams of Central PA East, Harrisburg, Pa.</em></li> <li>&ldquo;Plan a trip to the beach so I have something to look forward to.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Carol Moson, CRS, SRES, RE/MAX Greater Atlanta, Marietta, Ga.</em></li> <li>&ldquo;Be thankful and excited. Go home, get a good night&rsquo;s sleep, and do it again tomorrow. No complaining.&rdquo; &mdash;<em>Brandon Schuppe, Skydan Real Estate Sales, Western Springs, Ill.</em></li> <li>&ldquo;Sew, catch up on TV shows, and plan the work week.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Jayne Hatcher, Georgia Residential Realty, Smyrna, Ga.</em></li> <li>&ldquo;Walk the dogs &mdash; they are such cutie pies.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Leanne Goff, TrailRidge, REALTORS&reg;, Lafayette, Colo.</em></li> <li>&ldquo;Xbox and wine.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Angie Shirley, Realty Executives Premier, Valparaiso, Ind.</em></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>To avoid being consumed by stress, Gellatly, who describes herself as &ldquo;naturally an introvert in a very extroverted job,&rdquo; tries to find an hour of alone time to do something for herself, such as getting a pedicure or a haircut. &ldquo;But when I&rsquo;m getting that pedicure, I&rsquo;m usually on email the whole time,&rdquo; she admits.</p> <p>Finding moments to relax and destress can seem impossible for people who feel they must be on call 24/7. But you don&rsquo;t need to dedicate hours out of your day to tap into your inner Zen. Small actions, such as practicing breathing exercises, repeating a self-affirming mantra, or eating a healthy snack, can instantly lower stress levels in your body and help you feel more centered.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s important to build in recovery time from stress on a daily basis, says Heidi Hanna, Ph.D., a fellow at <a href="http://www.stress.org/">The American Institute of Stress</a>. She notes that chronic stress raises the levels of cortisol in the body, speeding up &ldquo;internal wear and tear.&rdquo; That can lead to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer&rsquo;s disease.</p> <p>&ldquo;The primary factor that elevates perceived stress is a low amount of control [in your life],&rdquo; Hanna says. She adds that while many people get into real estate because it seems to offer flexibility and control over scheduling, it often turns out that the day-to-day grind can keep real estate pros glued to their phones. Also, she notes, some external stressors are just as destructive. &ldquo;You can carry second-hand stress from clients who are feeling insecure, making difficult decisions, or experiencing buyer&rsquo;s remorse. Fierce competition, market shifts, and an unstable economy can also make for unstable footing.&rdquo;</p> <p>While some turn to alcohol as a calmer at the end of the day, Hanna cautions that this can actually put an already run-down system under even more stress. Plopping down in front of the TV can also be counterproductive if you&rsquo;re watching programs that have a tendency to put negative thoughts in your mind.</p> <p>&ldquo;Aim to build in activities that don&rsquo;t just zone you out but actually build you back up again,&rdquo; Hanna says. &ldquo;Instead of passing out in front of the television to whatever crime-drama happens to be on or letting the negative news cycle flood through your brain, be strategic about what you&rsquo;re paying attention to. Watch a funny movie, stand-up comedy, or an inspirational film. Humor has been shown to decrease inflammation and reduce stress hormones, and inspirational messages can help boost positive brain chemicals and restore your motivation and sense of purpose.&rdquo; (Story continues after the video below.)</p> <p class="rtecenter"><em>REALTOR</em>&reg;<em> Magazine&rsquo;s July/August guest editor Joe Pryor, broker-owner of The Virtual Real Estate Team in Oklahoma City, gives his tips for maintaining peace of mind in your business.</em></p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AJG9nZhPgMo" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Kathleen Hall, Ph.D., founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.stressinstitute.com/">The Stress Institute</a> and <a href="http://www.mindfullivingnetwork.com/">Mindful Living Network</a>, says behaviors that reinforce your control over a situation can lower stress. For practitioners, that might be actively deciding whether they immediately return a phone call or a text. &ldquo;When your text goes off, go get a glass of water,&rdquo; Hall recommends. &ldquo;Do one thing before you answer a text because it shows that you&rsquo;re in control.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hall adds that responding immediately might feel good, but that&rsquo;s likely because it&rsquo;s feeding into a darker side of human nature. &ldquo;Texting all the time and seeing what emails come in, checking Facebook and Twitter &mdash; real estate professionals think this is productive and makes them happy,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;But it affects the addiction center of the brain and causes a low to high level of anxiety.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hall suggests following a daily regimen of what she calls the SELF care plan, which includes four groupings of short, calming activities you can do every couple of hours. She advises setting a timer on your phone several times a day to perform one of these four types of actions:</p> <ul> <li><strong>S</strong>erenity<strong>:</strong> Run a meditation app on your phone for two minutes, one that uses sounds or visuals you find soothing. &ldquo;It has to be something you love,&rdquo; Hall says. &ldquo;Some people like the sound of a waterfall or the ocean, or they like to see leaves rustling in the wind.&rdquo; You can also memorize a positive affirmation such as, &ldquo;I am in control; I am relaxed; everything is as it should be.&rdquo; But you have to believe your affirmation is true, Hall says. &ldquo;You can sit in your car before a showing and do this. These things have an immediate effect on your body.&rdquo;</li> <li><strong>E</strong>xercise: This can be mental or physical. Play a game online for five minutes, but make sure it&rsquo;s playful and creative, not challenging or hard to understand. Otherwise, you&rsquo;ll add stress trying to figure it out. You can also arrive to a showing early and do five minutes of stretches or walking around the neighborhood to relax.</li> <li><strong>L</strong>ove: Text or call somebody you care about, such as a coworker or friend, and make plans to meet up or just talk about your day. &ldquo;When you reach out to someone you love, that reduces stress immediately,&rdquo; Hall says. Show yourself some love, too, and buy yourself flowers or treat yourself to something you enjoy.</li> <li><strong>F</strong>ood: This encompasses all five of your senses &mdash; food for both thought and nourishment. Pay attention to aromas, colors, and sounds you like and how they make you feel. Avoid sugary or salty foods, and eat items like blueberries and tuna, which help produce serotonin. Spicy foods, if you can handle them, can create endorphins, Hall notes.</li> </ul> <p>Reminding yourself to do one of these four types of activities multiple times a day can create healthy rituals, something real estate professionals often lack, Hall says. &ldquo;Practitioners lose a lot of rituals because of their schedule [such as] eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner with family or going to bed at the same time every night. Humans have to have rituals because that&rsquo;s what roots them. So you have to create your own.&rdquo;</p> <p>Regardless of whether she follows the best relaxation habits, Gellatly says taking care of yourself is the best way to be able to perform at your best for your clients. She&rsquo;s learned that there are times where she needs to put herself first. &ldquo;When I&rsquo;m on for work, I&rsquo;m on. And when I&rsquo;m home, I&rsquo;m home,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very tempting to get back to clients right away, but I have to ask myself, &lsquo;Can this wait an hour?&rsquo; Unless you take good care of yourself, you&rsquo;re not really good for other people.&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>Unpredictable schedules and client demands will get your anxiety levels up. When you&rsquo;re on the go at all hours, try these techniques for destressing.</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/jun16_W_destress.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=50877">jun16_W_destress.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/jun16_W_destress_0.jpg?1466706270" /> </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/jun16_LP_W_destress.jpg?1466706328" /> </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/2010/02/5-ways-handle-stress">5 Ways to Handle Stress</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2010/04/9-ways-lower-stress-your-office">9 Ways to Lower the Stress in Your Office</a> </div> <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> </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> Health Being a REALTOR® Thu, 23 Jun 2016 16:05:16 +0000 gwood 21369 at http://realtormag.realtor.org User Experience Is The New SEO http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/user-experience-new-seo <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Are you managing your online brand like it’s 1999? Well, it’s time to learn what attracts clients to your website today. </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, June 23, 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&rsquo;s not news that the internet plays an integral part in the home-search process. But many brokers still fail to realize that managing a successful brand fundamentally starts online.</p> <p>So when it comes to your website, you can&rsquo;t set it and forget it in a world where users leave a webpage when it slows down by a thousandth of a second, says Todd Carpenter, NAR&rsquo;s managing director of data analytics. Carpenter led a panel discussion during the REALTORS&reg; Broker Summit in Denver this month on how the internet is shaping consumer expectations in real estate today. Here are some of the solutions panelists shared for providing a stellar user experience online.</p> <h4>Go Fast or Go Home</h4> <p>&ldquo;People demand instant gratification in the digital world,&rdquo; says Grier Allen, president, CEO, and cofounder of BoomTown, a real estate sales and marketing software company. With stiff competition in the online space, Boomtown has found that if page speed improves by even half a second, traffic significantly increases.</p> <p>Whether you have a person dedicated to managing your site or you&rsquo;re running it yourself, Allen says it&rsquo;s important to test its load time. You can do this with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest.org, which also lets you test a URL&rsquo;s load time in different browsers and can pull data from various locations around the world.</p> <p>If your site is slow to load, it may have to do with your server&#39;s response time. Your site may also need an overhaul in design. Sometimes, scaling down images will improve load time dramatically.&nbsp;</p> <h4>Be Useful</h4> <p>In addition to swiftness, your site must also contain compelling content that can help potential clients who are navigating the real estate waters.</p> <p>Ginger Wilcox, chief industry officer at Sindeo, a mortgage company that focuses on the online experience for purchasers and refinancers, says content is critical for people at every stage of the transaction. Her company shares a common goal with real estate professionals: getting in front of consumers who are just beginning the buying or selling process.</p> <p>&ldquo;Look at the personas in that [process] and map their journeys as they move through the phases of real estate,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>And when you think about your content, don&rsquo;t just consider what you&rsquo;re saying &mdash; look at how you&rsquo;re saying it, Wilcox says. Is an article or blog post the right avenue? Or would a video or infographic be a more compelling way to get your point across?</p> <h4>Continually Improve the Experience</h4> <p>Grier says A-B testing (also known as split testing) is a great way to determine if certain content or site updates are more useful in one form or another. For instance, try two versions of a navigation button or two headlines on your site; then see which one performs better over a trial period. Your goal is to find out which version is converting more visitors or reducing bounce rates.</p> <p>&ldquo;At any given point, we&rsquo;re running multiple A-B tests on our website,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;After you know what works, roll it out on your site.&rdquo;</p> <p>Wilcox says there are many points where a lead can drop out, so it&rsquo;s important to use analytics to track how quickly online leads are contacted, how many times they&rsquo;re contacted, and at what point that lead is converted.</p> <p>Brokers should also consider sending leads to someone who&rsquo;s good on the phone, which might not necessarily be the agent that buyer or seller ends up working with, Allen says. It could be someone hired specifically for his or her skill set, who can speak to that type of online customer.</p> <h4>Stop Bad Reviews Before They Happen</h4> <p>Another avenue of brand management online is through reviews. Most business owners know they should be Googling themselves on a regular basis to monitor what&rsquo;s being said about them. But instead of reacting to bad reviews, intercept an unhappy client before the review takes place.</p> <p>Laura Monroe, director of marketing at RealSatisfied, a platform for surveying customers and collecting testimonials, says you have to worry about more than complaining customers. The ones who don&rsquo;t say anything and quietly slip through the cracks also pose a threat to your reputation.</p> <p>RealSatisfied surveys are interactive and dynamic so that, at any time, if a customer indicates dissatisfaction, the system asks if they want to talk to someone about it. The broker is also notified of the customer&rsquo;s response.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you have a system where you&rsquo;re managing and measuring performance levels at specific times [throughout the buying or selling process], then you&rsquo;ll be able to see at what point in the process things are breaking down,&rdquo; says Monroe. &ldquo;This is your stop point where you can find out what happened.&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>Are you managing your online brand like it&rsquo;s 1999? Well, it&rsquo;s time to learn what attracts clients to your website today.</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="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/06/7-sins-personal-branding">7 Sins of Personal Branding</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/11/defining-values-protects-your-brand">Defining Values Protects Your Brand</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/08/generate-more-business-online-leads">Generate More Business With Online Leads</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/11/two-vital-steps-generating-online-leads">Two Vital Steps to Generating Online Leads</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, 23 Jun 2016 22:40:16 +0000 echristoffer 21371 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How Pocket Neighborhoods Inspire http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2016/06/how-pocket-neighborhoods-inspire <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"> Home buyers are looking for the right property, but they’re also looking for the right community. Does your area have elements to draw them in? </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, June 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/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Developers and architects are often looking for new and different ways structures and amenities can help create communities residents truly love. One example of this trend is so-called &ldquo;pocket neighborhoods.&rdquo; The term is loosely defined as a space where small groups of houses or apartments (usually around eight to 12) face toward a common area, whether that be garden courtyards, pedestrian streets, or a shared indoor space.</p> <p>This community format was a recurrent topic of conversation at the 24th annual <a href="https://www.cnu.org/" target="_blank">Congress for New Urbanism</a>, held in Detroit this month. Grace Kim, a founding principal of Schemata Workshop in Seattle, told a packed room of congress attendees that this version of cohousing is generating interest within a wide cross-section of society. &ldquo;There are a lot of people looking for this type of community,&rdquo; she said, from retirees looking to downsize to tech-industry types weaned on co-housing to young families who lack the support system provided by nearby relatives. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s oftentimes a waiting list.&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/AC_pocket_1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Architect Ross Chapin &mdash; credited as an early adopter and innovator in this niche for his work on the <a href="http://rosschapin.com/projects/pocket-neighborhoods/third-street-cottages/" target="_blank">Third Street Cottages community</a> in Langley, Wash., in the late 1990s &mdash; says he had a feeling pocket communities were needed in his community and that they would catch on across the country. &ldquo;I had a hunch. Then it went viral,&rdquo; Chapin said at the new urbanism summit, noting that those who introduce these types of developments often do a service for local residents. &ldquo;You can raise the value of your community and raise the number of options.&rdquo;</p> <p>But even if your town doesn&rsquo;t boast a pocket neighborhood, there are still plenty of important lessons that architects and new urbanists can impart. Learn what makes these areas so well loved, and you might get insight into smart design techniques that can make for better curb appeal and community interaction in your own area.</p> <h4>Built-in Gathering Places</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/AC_pocket_2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Pocket neighborhoods are often defined by the existence of shared space in the middle of a small development. But there&rsquo;s a great deal of flexibility in how architects and designers define that shared space. It can be a mix of indoor and outdoor, often depending upon the climate, and the use can be both social and practical. Residents with smaller spaces might find the existence of guesthouses helpful for hosting out-of-towners, while young families might appreciate a play space for the kids. Chapin suggested focusing on cooking and eating options, such as a large barbecue pit or commercial kitchen. &ldquo;In every development project I&rsquo;ve been involved in, we&rsquo;ve included some sort of commons building,&rdquo; he said, adding that the amenity could be as simple as a shed filled with tools for residents to share. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t have to cost very much. Just have something there &mdash; preferably with food.&rdquo;</p> <p>Gardening is also a popular option, from neighbors planting together in common spaces to hiring horticultural experts. Kim went with the latter option when she decided on a year-round <a href="http://capitolhillurbancohousing.org/rooftop-farm/" target="_blank">farm for the rooftop of the Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing development</a> she&rsquo;s working on in Seattle. She said the amenity will not only help teach kids living in the development where their food comes from, but also provide hyper-local produce for the rest of the community.</p> <h4>Making Space for Spontaneous Connections</h4> <p>While pocket neighborhoods almost always have a central space for socializing, architect Bruce Tolar told attendees he likes to incorporate features that foster community in places where neighbors are likely to bump into each other, such as when they&rsquo;re retrieving their mail. That&rsquo;s why instead of creating a central spot for postal activities for his Cottage Square development in Ocean Springs, Miss., he clustered mailboxes in groups of four all around the development. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just a street full of mailboxes that you so often see,&rdquo; he said, noting that this &ldquo;human-scale&rdquo; approach is more comfortable for residents (if not for postal workers). Kim said other so-called &ldquo;programmatic&rdquo; areas, such as bike storage, also benefit from a bench or other features that invite residents to socialize spontaneously.</p> <p>Chapin said there&rsquo;s a biological metaphor that helps explain this relationship between planned physical spaces and the community-building conversations that can happen around them. &ldquo;Synapses are possible because there are receptor points in your brain,&rdquo; he said, noting that this is similar to how mindfully designed spaces open opportunities for building relationships in a pocket community. &ldquo;If you take the receptor sites out, there&rsquo;s no communication.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Layering in Transitional Space</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/AC_pocket_4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Another element common to pocket neighborhoods is the incorporation of intermediate zones between the street and the common area, and the common area and the private home. &ldquo;The more layers there are, the more we are able to <em>choose</em> to come out,&rdquo; Chapin explained. He noted that a carefully placed combination of low and high windows can help residents keep an eye on the common area while still maintaining privacy where it&rsquo;s needed. He also noted that simple details such as proper porch railing height can make a big difference. The best-case scenario, he said, is when a &ldquo;railing is just high enough that you can perch on or set a coffee cup on&rdquo; it.</p> <p>Kim said layers of social space help accommodate people who have different approaches to neighborly interaction. A big fire pit or communal table out in the open might be fun for some, but others might gravitate to smaller nooks, where they can converse with just one or two others. &ldquo;People will say that cohousing is just for extroverts. Well, usually extroverts are married to introverts!&rdquo; Kim said. &ldquo;Having these various scales allows a variety of people&rdquo; to feel comfortable in the space.</p> <h4>A Culture of Community</h4> <p>Chapin noted that it&rsquo;s important to foster conversations about what&rsquo;s happening in the community, and that it might help to bring in someone to facilitate such communications.</p> <p>&ldquo;Hire a community consultant,&rdquo; he suggested, noting that if all residents can take part in running the common areas, their investments will pay off. &ldquo;Have them do as much as they can within their abilities.&rdquo;</p> <p>The importance of a shared vision for the community applies to both rental and owner-occupied communities. In fact, these communities may foster interest in home ownership regardless of their structure. Tolar&rsquo;s Mississippi development is rental only, but he said it&rsquo;s been a gateway to greater home ownership. &ldquo;The [residents] who are there longer, they develop bonds,&rdquo; he said, recalling one renter who temporarily moved to Ocean Springs after Hurricane Katrina and ended up staying long-term and buying a home there. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re an enabler, almost, in that process of becoming home owners.&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>Home buyers are looking for the right property, but they&rsquo;re also looking for the right community. Does your area have elements to draw them in?</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/jun16_HD_pocket.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=96819">jun16_HD_pocket.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/jun16_HD_pocket_0.jpg?1466610399" /> </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/jun16_LP_HD_pocket.jpg?1466610434" /> </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/feature/article/2014/05/shared-living-options-for-seniors">Shared Living Options for Seniors</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2016/04/will-renters-embrace-adult-dorm-trend">Will Renters Embrace the Adult Dorm Trend?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2016/04/13/will-cohousing-catch-boomers">Will Cohousing Catch on With Boomers?</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/building-community-on-a-small-scale-and-at-a-slower-pace" rel="nofollow">Building Community on a Small Scale and at a Slower Pace</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 Outreach Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:36:50 +0000 mwhite 21354 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Dangers of Live Video http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/safety/article/2016/06/dangers-live-video <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"> Don’t get too personal when doing unscripted broadcasts on Periscope and Facebook Live. You don’t want people to know everything about you. </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, June 22, 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/tracey-hawkins">Tracey Hawkins</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The live-video craze taking over social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook stands to help put real estate professionals in front of a wider audience of potential clients in real time. The problem is you don&rsquo;t always know who might be watching.</p> <p>Twitter&rsquo;s Periscope app and Facebook Live, which both enable users to broadcast live video from their smartphones to viewers across the globe, can be a platform offering online stalkers and criminals a chance to get to know you and assess whether you&rsquo;d make a good target. That&rsquo;s a risk with any video you post online, but when you&rsquo;re broadcasting live, you can&rsquo;t edit out something you wish you hadn&rsquo;t said or revealed about yourself. If you&rsquo;re going to give people this kind of raw and instant view into your world, be vigilant in staying in your professional persona on camera. Live video lends itself to more casual, spontaneous, and personal interaction with viewers, but you don&rsquo;t want to give away personal information to people who could use it against you.</p> <p>Social media is already ripe with opportunity for stalkers and criminals to <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2015/01/online-safety-your-social-responsibility">find out valuable information about you</a>, so consider these tips to keep your live broadcasts from making you even more vulnerable.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Develop a set of talking points before you go live.</strong> Though platforms like Periscope and Facebook Live are designed for unscripted interaction with viewers, you can make an outline of what you want to talk about to help stay on message. If you forget in the moment what you wanted to say, you could find yourself trying to fill time with small talk until your memory returns &mdash; and it&rsquo;s in those moments that you could let slip personal information. Keep your talking points nearby while filming in case you need to reference them.</li> <li><strong>Tell your viewers what kinds of questions you&rsquo;re willing to answer. </strong>Facebook Live allows viewers to comment on your video with questions you can answer in real time. Say something like, &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll answer any question you have about qualifying for a mortgage,&rdquo; to establish boundaries with your audience. Don&rsquo;t answer questions that are even remotely personal in nature.</li> <li><strong>Be mindful of establishing a pattern of broadcasting alone. </strong>If you appear to be alone every time you do a live video, it could give the impression you&rsquo;re vulnerable and an easy target. Do some broadcasts with colleagues or clients. Show you&rsquo;ve got people around you who care about you. You might also consider turning off location services on your phone so viewers can&rsquo;t see where you are.</li> <li><strong>Watch your tone and what you&rsquo;re wearing.</strong> Keep a professional demeanor when broadcasting live. Don&rsquo;t act or speak in a way that could be perceived as too casual, overly friendly, or even flirtatious. It could lend a sense of familiarity to viewers and invite unwanted contact. Also, make sure you&rsquo;re not wearing clothes that are too revealing.</li> <li><strong>Don&rsquo;t talk about your schedule.</strong> When you&rsquo;re engaging in a real-time conversation with someone, it feels natural to discuss topics like what you&rsquo;ve been up to at work and what your schedule is in the near future. Don&rsquo;t let people know you&rsquo;re going to be busy with evening showings, events, or classes. You&rsquo;re not only telling them where you&rsquo;ll be but where you won&rsquo;t be: at home.</li> <li><strong>Film in a neutral space</strong>. If you&rsquo;re broadcasting from home, make sure there are no valuables or family photos in the background. Same goes for broadcasting from your office. Remove personal items from your desk before going live.</li> </ul> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Don&rsquo;t get too personal when doing unscripted broadcasts on Periscope and Facebook Live. You don&rsquo;t want people to know everything about you.</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/jun16_SM_safety.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=42197">jun16_SM_safety.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/jun16_SM_safety_0.jpg?1466608006" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_safety.jpg?1466608033" /> </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="/well-being/safety/article/2015/01/online-safety-your-social-responsibility">Online, Safety Is Your ‘Social Responsibility’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/09/safety-talk-you-need-have-clients">The Safety Talk You Need to Have With Clients</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2010/09/real-estates-6-most-dangerous-everyday-situations">Real Estate&#039;s 6 Most Dangerous Everyday Situations</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> Safety Safety Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:53:53 +0000 gwood 21355 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Why the Word ‘Green’ Doesn’t Really Matter http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2016/06/why-word-green-doesn-t-really-matter <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"> Just as real estate professionals are struggling to understand what defines advances in efficiency and smart-home technology, appraisers are also working to help define and quantify what this trend means for home sales now and in the near future. </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, June 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/david-s-bunton">David S. Bunton</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Today, more and more homes are being built or retrofitted as &ldquo;green&rdquo; or &ldquo;high-performance&rdquo; properties. But what exactly qualifies a home as truly green, and how are these new features recognized in the marketplace? Real estate professionals, appraisers, and even some home owners are asking these questions, and The Appraisal Foundation is attempting to answer them as part of a five-year partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.</p> <h4>What Exactly Is a Green Home?</h4> <p>Simply put, a green or high-performance home is one designed to use less energy or water or improve indoor air quality. However, just because a home has new windows or low-flow water features doesn&rsquo;t make it automatically &ldquo;green&rdquo; or &ldquo;high-performance.&rdquo; Such descriptors are usually reserved for properties that have a combination of a wide variety of features.</p> <p>The spectrum of energy-efficient characteristics a home may possess can make the appraisal process complicated. A number of rating and certification systems have emerged in recent years that can help identify these types of properties. However, ratings can&rsquo;t catch everything; most residential properties currently have green or high-performance elements that haven&rsquo;t been documented by such programs and therefore may be difficult to identify. This makes a real estate professional&rsquo;s communication with an appraiser even more vital in such transactions.</p> <blockquote> <p>Most recently, the Foundation&rsquo;s Appraisal Practices Board (APB) issued guidance to help appraisers with this topic. Two advisories that real estate pros might find helpful to review are <a href="https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/share#/view/s5f8aa66a58a41f09?_k=z6auyd" target="_blank">Valuation of Green and High Performance Property: Background and Core Competency</a> and&nbsp;<a appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com="" href="https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/share?cmd=d&amp;id=s1d2398b68b449c09#/view/s1d2398b68b449c09?_k=isjuyn" https:="" share="" target="_blank">Valuation of Green and High Performance Property: One to Four-Unit Residential</a>. Or, learn more about <a href="https://www.appraisalfoundation.org/imis/TAF/Resources/Guidance/TAF/Valuation_Advisories.aspx?hkey=d74f24ae-8dcb-412e-947f-6df153626ae2" target="_blank">APB&rsquo;s Valuation Advisories here</a>.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>For homes with green or high-performance features, appraisers need to answer more than just the simplistic question of whether they are green or high-performance homes. They want to understand the features that <em>make</em> it green or efficient. They also need to know <em>how green the property is</em> relative to what buyers in this particular marketplace are expecting.</p> <p>This is why the actual terms &ldquo;green&rdquo; and &ldquo;high performance&rdquo; are not the most important concern. Instead, the appraiser&rsquo;s job is to note the features a property has, understand how the market values those features, and determine whether those features have any particular relevance to their appraisal assignment.</p> <h4>How Do Appraisers Recognize These Features?</h4> <p>Appraisers might identify the high-performance features of a property through a wide variety of sources: the review of building plans and specifications, permits, MLS information, and interviews with property owners and occupants, among others. Appraisers may also observe green features first-hand when inspecting a property. They might also look at third-party sources, including ratings and certifications from Energy Star (administered by EPA), LEED (from the U.S. Green Building Council), and HERS (conveyed by Residential Energy Services Network professionals).</p> <p>One major challenge for appraisers in this situation is the lack of verifiable data about energy efficiency. Although the fundamental appraisal process is no different for a green home, many MLSs and other data sources were designed a long time ago, before there was a way to convey accurate or complete information regarding a home&rsquo;s energy-efficient features. However, because green homes have become more prominent in recent years, many MLSs are updating their systems to ensure this type of information is being captured and accurately reported. Appraisers all around the country are working with agents and brokers in an attempt to identify the type and extent of data that will help facilitate smooth transactions.</p> <p>In the interim, this challenge for the appraiser may offer an excellent opportunity for the real estate professional. Providing crucial information about a property that might otherwise be unavailable to the appraiser may not only assist in facilitating the immediate transaction, but could also pay future dividends by helping to create more informed and knowledgeable appraisers and a more complete MLS database.</p> <h4>Does Green Mean Dollars?</h4> <p>While a home with photovoltaic solar electricity might be at the top of some buyers&rsquo; wish lists, others may not be quite as enamored. In some markets green homes are all the rage, while others may be quite tepid about such upgrades.</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s the way it is with many other home features, and it&rsquo;s important that appraisers can recognize and account for them properly in order to develop credible opinions about value. At the end of the day, it&rsquo;s the buyers and sellers who determine how much any particular feature contributes to a home&rsquo;s value. For a successful transaction, it&rsquo;s important that the appraiser and real estate professional are on the same page with consumers.</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>Just as real estate professionals are struggling to understand what defines advances in efficiency and smart-home technology, appraisers are also working to help define and quantify what this trend means for home sales now and in the near future.</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/jun16_LE_green.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=34694">jun16_LE_green.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/jun16_LE_green_0.jpg?1466539932" /> </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/jun16_LP_LE_green.jpg?1466539957" /> </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/2012/10/10/appraisal-institute-study-value-green">Appraisal Institute to Study the Value of Green</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2015/01/new-american-home-green-and-integrated">New American Home: Green and Integrated</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/selling/article/2007/02/appraisal-discrepancies-what-you-need-know">Appraisal Discrepancies: What You Need to Know</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 Appraisal & Valuation Environmental Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:49:31 +0000 mwhite 21353 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How to Attract, Retain the Best Agents For You http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/how-attract-retain-best-agents-for-you <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"> Define and embrace your company culture, power brokers say, then recruit agents who fit that niche. </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, June 16, 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>At the age of 12, Fafie Moore was a national archery champion, and the biggest lesson her father taught her in those years of competition is that the person you compete against the most is yourself.</p> <p>Today, Moore continues to use that philosophy as the broker-owner of Realty Executives of Nevada. Thus, she always asks her recruits to share a commitment they&rsquo;ve made in life, besides their families. &ldquo;If they haven&rsquo;t made a commitment &mdash; even if it&rsquo;s a bake sale for a soccer team that made a lot of money &mdash; then it says something,&rdquo; Moore says.</p> <p>Moore shared her strategies for recruiting and retention and building a supportive, motivating company culture during RISMedia&rsquo;s Power Broker Roundtable at the 2016 REALTORS&reg; Broker Summit in Denver last week. With 170 agents in two offices in the Las Vegas area, Moore says recruitment is one of the most important jobs of a broker.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frealtormag%2Fvideos%2F10153548228810800%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>In addition to asking potential agents about their commitments, she also asks about their career pain points and changes they&rsquo;d make at their current company. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got to find out what hurts them and what heals them,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Fellow panelist Marilyn Eiland, managing partner at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, REALTORS&reg;, which has 1,000 agents in 23 offices in Houston, characterizes her company as the &ldquo;partnership model,&rdquo; leaning heavily on training opportunities. Eiland says she highlights that when competing against other real estate companies offering agents a greater split.</p> <p>&ldquo;Figure out who you are and what you believe and what makes your company different from the competition,&rdquo; Eiland says. &ldquo;There are a lot of different brokerage models out there. Stay true to your own culture every day, in every interview. And make the managers aware that they&rsquo;re stewards of your culture.&rdquo;</p> <p>When recruiting, make sure you&rsquo;re keeping your culture at heart, says Peter Niederman, owner and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate, which has three offices in Denver doing $2.4 billion in business.</p> <p>&ldquo;Culture is probably an overused word, and there are many cultures in a marketplace, and many different cultures work,&rdquo; says Niederman, who characterizes his company as a top-producer culture. &ldquo;The secret sauce in any culture is to build to who you are and do the best job at it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Niederman finds specific metrics on what his company needs to improve upon or areas where they&rsquo;d like to increase market share in a hyperlocal area, then looks at who they can recruit to help fulfill those needs.</p> <p>Chad Ochsner, broker-owner of RE/MAX Alliance with 1,400 agents in the Denver area, talked about culture in the context of retention. Relationships are important within the culture of his company, so he uses handwritten notes to congratulate agents on their first closings, to send condolences, and to celebrate accomplishments large and small. &ldquo;It puts me at a level where we can connect and I&rsquo;m relatable,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>&ldquo;You better be re-recruiting the agents at your company, because if you aren&rsquo;t, someone else is,&rdquo; says Moore.</p> <p>She has integrated more philanthropy into her company culture, such as supporting the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, which provides new shoes and socks to children in need. Her brokerage is also willing to support different charitable efforts put forth by individual agents. It&rsquo;s important to be good stewards in the community, and younger agents are especially interested in contributing towards the greater good, she says.</p> <p>&ldquo;They have a conscience second to none, and they&rsquo;re not afraid to say something,&rdquo; Moore says. &ldquo;I think you&rsquo;re going to have more ethical brokerages in the future.</p> <p>Moore also foresees real estate companies continuing to foster collaborative work environments in order to attract top agents. In fact, her company is opening a third office this fall that&rsquo;s being designed with an open concept that supports a group atmosphere.</p> <p>&ldquo;Brokers aren&rsquo;t all the same, and you have to show that and show how you can make a difference,&rdquo; she 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>Define and embrace your company culture, power brokers say, then recruit agents who fit that niche.</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/jun16_BB_agents.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=52010">jun16_BB_agents.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/jun16_BB_agents_0.jpg?1466710140" /> </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/jun16_LP_BB_summit.jpg?1466710175" /> </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/2016/06/preserve-company-culture-in-times-growth">Preserve Company Culture in Times of Growth</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/how-spot-your-next-superstar-agent">How to Spot Your Next Superstar Agent</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/create-winning-brokerage-culture">Create a Winning Brokerage Culture</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/find-your-dream-team-in-2016-part-1">Find Your Dream Team in 2016: Part 1</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, 16 Jun 2016 16:55:42 +0000 echristoffer 21333 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Silver Lining of Failure http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/silver-lining-failure <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"> In business, not everything will go as planned. But sometimes defeat can lead to opportunity. </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, June 15, 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>In business, you need a keen understanding of when to be prudent and when to take risks. Of course, some risks result in failure. But without losses, you may never gain valuable education, insight, and experience to forge ahead in this complex industry.</p> <p>Adam Savage knows a thing or two about failure. He made a living at it by conducting trial-and-error experiments as a costar of the television show &ldquo;MythBusters,&rdquo; which just wrapped up its 14th and final season last fall. Savage spoke at the 2016 REALTOR&reg; Broker Summit in Denver last week about how curiosity, critical thinking, and learning from failure can help your business. Here are three takeaways:</p> <p><strong>Get your hands dirty.</strong> The best way to learn is to do, says Savage. On &ldquo;MythBusters,&rdquo; this involved building concrete airplanes, flying a lead balloon, or slipping on a banana peel. &ldquo;We demonstrated that science is a messy and creative,&rdquo; he says. In real estate, this could translate into agents working with a seasoned mentor to learn a new market niche, brokers testing new technology such as virtual reality home tours, or a business owner venturing into another part of the city by opening a new office.</p> <p><strong>Surround yourself with good collaborators.</strong> Keep those who can teach you new things close &mdash; people who are willing to correct you and challenge you, whether they are agents, managers, or executives in your company or business peers. &ldquo;When you have no one [challenging] you, you can lose track of the big picture,&rdquo; Savage says. &nbsp;So no matter how far along you are in your career, continue to reach out to people you admire, and make connections with those who have strengths that are different from your own.</p> <p><strong>Plans change; be ready.</strong> When you create something, in business or in life, you have to understand that it may not be exactly what you initially envisioned, Savage says. In real estate, markets change; the economy, local developments, and even your agents are factors. You may break into a niche you never realized existed when you launched your business. And that&rsquo;s OK, Savage says, because being nimble and responding to challenges or setbacks with flexibility will increase your chances of being successful in the future.</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>In business, not everything will go as planned. But sometimes defeat can lead to opportunity.</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/jun16_BB_fail.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38101">jun16_BB_fail.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/jun16_BB_fail_0.jpg?1466710487" /> </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/jun16_LP_BB_summit_0.jpg?1466710516" /> </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/my-first-year/article/2015/09/can-you-recover-from-failure">Can You Recover From Failure?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/one-piece-recruitment-advice-ignore">One Piece of Recruitment Advice to Ignore</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, 16 Jun 2016 16:51:08 +0000 echristoffer 21332 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 7 Sins of Personal Branding http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/06/7-sins-personal-branding <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"> Correct these mistakes to hone in on your brand statement and attract the ideal customer. </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, June 15, 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>What is a &ldquo;personal brand&rdquo;? Just like company or product branding, it&rsquo;s built around imaging and messaging that is designed to create a feeling. Your personal brand influences how you want others to feel about you.</p> <p>From photos to other branding elements, and even content, there is a lot that goes into creating your unique brand. Displayed correctly and consistently across all marketing platforms, a well-defined brand can elevate agent recognition and help to establish credibility and authority. However, when executed incorrectly, the effects are lackluster at best &mdash; and harmful at worst. To help you avoid the pitfalls of personal branding, here&rsquo;s a list of what we consider the seven deadliest sins.</p> <h4>Number One: You Don&rsquo;t Differentiate Yourself</h4> <p>Branding is not about being known for your profession; it&rsquo;s about being known for being <em>different</em> in your profession. If all agents were the same, how would consumers know which one to choose? What makes you uniquely positioned to serve your customers&rsquo; needs? Or, just as important, what makes other agents unsuitable to serve their needs? Your personal brand should reflect a combination of your ideal customer&rsquo;s needs and your unique point of differentiation.</p> <h4>Number Two: You Lack Focus on Who You Want to Serve</h4> <p>The natural instinct is to serve everyone, but frankly, that&rsquo;s how many companies and individuals fail.&nbsp; The most successful people focus on superior service toward a specific type of customer; in other words, they develop a specialty. At first, you may feel like you&rsquo;re excluding the rest of the world and, therefore, missing out on a large amount of money you could be making. However, focusing on one specific type of customer will help you develop a defined brand and will bring more business. This doesn&rsquo;t mean you never conduct business outside of your specific focus, but over time, you will do more and more of the exact kind of business you want.</p> <h4>Number Three: You&rsquo;re Not Being Authentic</h4> <p>Your brand is an extension of you, and it should be based on the qualities you&rsquo;re known for among your sphere of influence. You should be able to &ldquo;breathe your brand&rdquo; in everything you do without feeling as though it&rsquo;s a facade. There is a tremendous amount of confidence that comes with knowing that you are who you portray yourself to be and that you have the habits, inspiration, and knowledge to back it up.</p> <h4>Number Four: Your Brand Isn&rsquo;t Consistent</h4> <p>You can have a recognizable and memorable brand, but if you don&rsquo;t display the branding elements &mdash;your logo, tagline, messaging, and imagery &mdash; consistently across all marketing platforms, it does you little good. Repetitiveness in marketing is not only a good thing, it&rsquo;s also essential for retention. We recommend choosing no more than four photos and background images to use consistently so people can become familiar with your branding. When you and those who live and work with you daily begin to get sick and tired of seeing them, you&rsquo;ll know that it&rsquo;s beginning to take root with your customers.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <h4>Number Five: You&rsquo;re Not Backing Up Your Brand With Content</h4> <p>The ultimate goal of personal branding is to become known as an authority in your chosen niche. That means that you must demonstrate the knowledge, expertise, and experience to back up your position. In today&rsquo;s instant-information world, this means producing content. There are several types of content, such as photos, quotes, e-books, video shorts, and podcast recordings. Choosing what you&rsquo;re most comfortable producing is key to keeping it simple. Great content shows your authority and helps your customers at the same time. In addition, it helps with SEO and attracting prospects online.</p> <h4>Number Six: You Don&rsquo;t Have a Call to Action</h4> <p>You&rsquo;re spending money on almost every marketing platform, so why not take the opportunity to extend an invitation to your prospects to engage with you? Your call to action can be simple, such as &ldquo;call me first,&rdquo; or more specific, like &ldquo;contact me for a free home-staging assessment.&rdquo; Your call to action may change with different marketing channels or purposes, but you should always have one. If you want people to do something, tell them what you&rsquo;d like them to do.&nbsp;</p> <h4>Number Seven: You&rsquo;re Not Following Through</h4> <p>Your brand is your bond; it&rsquo;s your handshake. When you say you&rsquo;ll do something, how can people truly trust you if you don&rsquo;t follow through on your promise? This is often the element that people forget altogether. And, in fact, in our communication with hundreds of agents, follow-through is at the top of the list when it comes to customer complaints. You must live up to your brand&rsquo;s standards with every customer and transaction.</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>Correct these mistakes to hone in on your brand statement and attract the ideal customer.</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/jun16_SM_sins.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=59164">jun16_SM_sins.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/jun16_SM_sins_0.jpg?1466027395" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_sins.jpg?1466027425" /> </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/2010/09/article/building-personal-brand">Building a Personal Brand</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2010/06/branding-find-your-voice">Branding: Find Your Voice</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2016/05/5-statements-reinforce-your-brand">5 Statements That Reinforce Your 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> Feature Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:05:52 +0000 gwood 21325 at http://realtormag.realtor.org DIY Home Entertainment System http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/diy-home-entertainment-system <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Looking for an affordable solution to stream audio and multiroom musical entertainment for your next open house? Here’s a do-it-yourself project you may want to try. </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, June 13, 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/jeremy-cook">Jeremy Cook</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>It doesn&rsquo;t require a lot of time or money to set up a cost-effective multispeaker streaming solution. In this DIY home entertainment project, we&rsquo;ll show you how to use the $35 Chromecast Audio and your existing audio equipment to wow both your clients and prospective buyers at the same time.</p> <h4>What You Need</h4> <ol> <li>A Chromecast Audio device</li> <li>A radio or set of powered speakers with an auxiliary input</li> </ol> <h4><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_ent-1.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 243px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Basic Audio Setup</h4> <p>Setup for a basic system is straightforward, as the Chromecast Audio comes with a short line-in connector and a micro USB power supply with a cable nearly 6 feet long. This works out well since you can likely attach the tiny Chromecast Audio close to the line-in socket of your radio, but the power supply can be far away.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_ent-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 244px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Once you&rsquo;ve taken the Chromecast Audio out of the box, simply plug it into your radio or speakers&rsquo; auxiliary jack and connect it to power using the AC adapter that comes with it. Select &ldquo;line in&rdquo; as the audio source for your radio or speakers, if required. Download the Chromecast app onto your phone or tablet, and set the Chromecast up to interface with your Wi-Fi network using the app or a computer. If everything is done correctly, you&rsquo;ll hear a test tone from the Chromecast to let you know it&rsquo;s ready to play audio via your favorite streaming service, including apps such as Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.</p> <p>If you have any issues with setup, you can always use your phone or tablet as an audio source with the line-in cable to verify that your radio or speakers are set up correctly. Additionally, you may pick up static when the Chromecast is installed. Try repositioning your Chromecast or use a longer line-in cable if necessary to eliminate this annoyance.</p> <h4>Home Theater</h4> <p>A home theater system is a great way to set the mood at a showing with full-surround audio in a central location. When I installed my set of Chromecasts, I used a basic radio with a line-in jack that could be connected without much effort. I also have a home theater system that I was able to connect to using a standard RCA jack. I used a generic RCA jack, but jacks are also available from Google, as well as an optical (TOSLINK) adapter if you need it. They both come in the distinct yellow color of the included 3.5 mm stereo cable.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_ent-3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 210px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Setup of the home theater was much the same as with my basic radio; however, I had to be sure to select the correct input connectors out of many on the back of the receiver. In this case I used the &ldquo;CD&rdquo; jacks, which then had to be selected as the input source. Depending on when your receiver was made, you may have to be creative with this setting, since a &ldquo;Chromecast&rdquo; input is likely not an option. I used the SA-CD/CD/CD-R setting, but TV, SAT, DVD, and VIDEO1 could also be choices. Just ensure that whatever connector you use is the one you select in terms of the source.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_ent-4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 190px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />In case there were issues with the receiver, I made sure the Chromecast was successfully set up first using the basic radio as outlined earlier, then moved it to the home theater receiver.</p> <p>Once I verified everything was working correctly, I set up my universal remote control with a &ldquo;Listen to CDs&rdquo; option. This kept the television off while adjusting the audio settings to receive the Chromecast input. That way streaming can be started with only your tablet or phone, without worrying about the universal remote control.</p> <h4>Using Multiple Chromecast Audios at Once</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_ent-5.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 218px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />One audio source is nice, but the real magic of a device like this is being able to walk from room to room and hear your selected music or podcast emanating from several sets of speakers. Fortunately, several of these devices can &ldquo;play nice&rdquo; with each other. Just group them together with your device, and the speakers you&rsquo;ve selected will turn on and play the same audio.</p> <p>One helpful hint when setting this up is to name your units depending on the &ldquo;geography&rdquo; of your space. It&rsquo;s easier to select the Chromecast in the master bedroom when it&rsquo;s labeled &ldquo;bedroom&rdquo; than to choose between their default names.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve never tried a streaming device like this, I highly recommend it. The price is low, setup is straightforward, and considering the access to music it gives you, it&rsquo;s hard to beat this little disk!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Looking for an affordable solution to stream audio and multiroom musical entertainment for your next open house? Here&rsquo;s a do-it-yourself project you may want to try.</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/jun16_SM_audio.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=54437">jun16_SM_audio.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/jun16_SM_audio_0.jpg?1465929887" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_audio.jpg?1465929909" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:39:01 +0000 mwhite 21296 at http://realtormag.realtor.org DIY Plant-Watering Station http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/diy-plant-watering-station <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"> Wilted plants killing your listing’s curb appeal? Here’s a fun project that can help solve that problem at a very low cost. </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, June 13, 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/jeremy-cook">Jeremy Cook</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Although some people seem to be born with a green thumb, growing plants generally comes down to water, sunlight, and soil nutrients. Fortunately, there is a solution to all-too-common watering problems: a water pump with an electric timer. Here&rsquo;s how to do it yourself on the cheap.</p> <h4>What You&rsquo;ll Need</h4> <p>Besides a thirsty plant, you&rsquo;ll need:</p> <ol> <li>Soldering iron</li> <li>Drill</li> <li>Water pump with hoses</li> <li>Bucket</li> <li>Timing device</li> <li>Pumping station</li> <li>Something to hold the water station together (I chose two-by-four wood&mdash;two vertical supports 10 inches in length and two horizontal supports at 6&frac12; inches.)</li> </ol> <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width: 300px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 237px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 182px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 212px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-5.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 236px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-6.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-7.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 206px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-8.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 205px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-9.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 321px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_plant-10.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 252px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>For the water pump with hoses, I chose the $29.95 <a href="http://www.robotgeek.com/robotgeek-pumping-station">RobotGeek Pumping Station</a> and purchased an extra length of 3.5 mm silicon tubing in case I want to expand my watering operation past the capabilities of the standard kit. Although you could use a cheaper pump solution, this one is nice because it includes a relay, making it easy to control with a timer.</p> <p>For the timer, I used a $9.99 Arduino-UNO clone called an IEIK UNO R3, along with a transparent case to give it some protection from the elements. Finally, I used a 9V, 1 amp power supply with a 5.5- by 2.1-mm connector to power the UNO. I split the battery between several plugs using a $9.95 DC Squid Cable from <a href="http://www.robotgeek.com/dc-squid">RobotGeek</a>, which can power the pump as well.</p> <p>Finally, you&rsquo;ll need something to hold your pumping assembly together. I used several sections of two-by-four wood for my build, as shown in the &ldquo;Final Setup&rdquo; section. If you&rsquo;re looking for something a little simpler, you can cut a hole in a small bucket and set the electronics on top.</p> <h4>Assemble the Pump</h4> <p>RobotGeek provides simple instructions for assembling their pump unit and, in theory, everything should twist together with the included wire nuts and screw terminals. Being ever cautious, I wrapped the wire nuts with electrical tape to keep them secure. I also applied solder to, or &ldquo;tinned,&rdquo; some of the leads that went into the screw terminals so that I could insert them more easily.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve assembled the pumping station, plug in your power supply and press the red button. You should hear the pump functioning. To further test your unit, plug in a length of 3.5 mm tubing to the input (top) and output (bottom) nozzle, place the input hose in a water reservoir and push the red button again. A burst of water should shoot out of the output hose, so make sure it&rsquo;s not pointed at your electronics!</p> <h4>Timing</h4> <p>Although pressing a button might make watering your plants easier, automating everything is the goal. The Arduino-compatible board is more than up to this task.</p> <p>To hook up the motor relay, you&rsquo;ll first want to unplug all the cables. Then, cut the included three-pin connector wire about an inch from one of the connectors, and cut one of the cluster of six squid cable wires close to the connector. Strip the exposed cables. Plug in the 9V power supply to the squid cable, and verify that the black internal wire is the ground and the white wire is positive voltage.</p> <p>Disconnect the battery, and then solder the black three-pin connector wire (ground) to the black wire inside the squid cable. Solder the red three-pin connector wire (voltage supply) to the white wire inside the cable. Use heat-shrink tubing or electrical wire to insulate these connections. Tin the white wire and plug it into pin 7 on the UNO board.</p> <p>Connect the board to one of the intact squid cable connectors, and do the same for the pumping station. Plug the three-wire connector into the pumping station with the black (ground) wire on the left when facing the unit. Plug in the power supply and connect the squid cable. In order to program the system, connect the board to your computer via a USB cable. Install the Arduino programming software, and set it to connect to the Arduino&rsquo;s COM port. Copy the program, or &ldquo;sketch,&rdquo; into your board. I&rsquo;ve included the code you can use below as a footnote.</p> <h4>Final Setup</h4> <p>Once you&rsquo;re satisfied with how your device works in &ldquo;the lab,&rdquo; it&rsquo;s time to use it in the real world. I built a frame out of two-by-fours to hold the pump and UNO board, with a water reservoir below it. Your design could certainly be different, but I like what I ended up with, joining two vertical supports 10 inches in length and two horizontal supports at 6 1/2 inches.</p> <p>As shown in the photo, I milled a slot in one of the 6 1/2-inch pieces about 1/4 inch deep for the pump and one for the UNO with the cover, leaving about an inch between the two. I drilled a 5/16-inch hole in this middle section for the hose to go through, as well as a 1/4-inch hole on the side so that I could easily attach a zip tie. Finally, I drilled three holes with a number two bit (.221 inches in diameter) so that the excess cables could be plugged in instead of dangling there.</p> <p>I cut a hole with a 2 1/2-inch hole saw in one of the horizontal pieces for the base, then attached all four pieces as shown, using wood glue and nails. I then stained the whole thing and secured the board and pumping station with hot glue. I also added some hot glue to the UNO cover&rsquo;s slot nearest to the pump to make it more waterproof.</p> <p>Note that I assembled the system so that the water reservoir was below the pump and board. Besides reducing the risk of spilling water on electrical components, if the reservoir is above the pump, water will slowly leak out onto your plant without being activated.</p> <h4>Feed Your Plants</h4> <p>Set up your watering device in a place where it won&rsquo;t get rained on, such as a porch. Attach your hoses and trim to an appropriate length. Plug the assembly in, and if you keep the reservoir filled, it should pump one time&mdash;then wait the interval that you programmed in to pump again. To keep water from shooting out too fast, I cut a hole near the end of my outlet tubing to relieve some pressure. I also put a hole in a clip to fasten the outlet tubing in a good position.</p> <p>Once you have the hang of automatically watering your plants, this idea can be expanded upon quite a bit. You could attach hoses and pumps to multiple plants, or simply poke holes in one hose to share the water between plants. Sensors to monitor the environment can be added to the UNO, or it could be set up to control a grow light. You could even add lights designed to highlight your plant&rsquo;s beauty due to your automatic gardening skills. Once you&rsquo;ve added robotic control to your garden, the sky is the limit!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Footnote:</p> <p>Sketch for watering plants every hour for one second</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sketch below, a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/ShotBot-Arduino-Powered-Pump-Project/">heavily modified version of the &ldquo;ShotBot&rdquo;</a> program, will make the pump cycle on for one second every 60 minutes. You can modify the pumping time by changing the &ldquo;1000&rdquo; in the &ldquo;#define PUMP_1_TIME 1000&rdquo; line to whatever value you want in milliseconds. So &ldquo;2000&rdquo; would be two seconds, &ldquo;10000&rdquo; 10 seconds and so on.</p> <p>To change the number of minutes between each cycle, simply change the number in the line that says &ldquo;while (minutes &lt; 60){&rdquo; to the number of minutes you&rsquo;d like to wait between giving your plant each drink. For reference, there are 1,440 minutes in a day. For shorter time periods, this statement could be quite a bit simpler, but since we&rsquo;re talking about hours or days, I had to implement a loop to represent each minute as the delay function is limited in length.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>//pump/relay pin</p> <p>#define PUMP_1_PIN 7</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>//Time for pumping stations to turn on in milliseconds</p> <p>#define PUMP_1_TIME 1000</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>//define minutes since last watering (initially = 0)</p> <p>int minutes = 0;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>//setup() runs once</p> <p>void setup()</p> <p>{</p> <p>&nbsp;//setup output pins for relays/pumping stations</p> <p>&nbsp;pinMode(PUMP_1_PIN, OUTPUT);</p> <p>}</p> <p>//loop() runs indefinitely</p> <p>void loop()</p> <p>{</p> <p>&nbsp;minutes = 0;</p> <p>&nbsp;digitalWrite(PUMP_1_PIN, HIGH); //turn pump 1 on</p> <p>&nbsp;delay(PUMP_1_TIME); //wait PUMP_1_TIME milliseconds</p> <p>&nbsp;digitalWrite(PUMP_1_PIN, LOW); //turn pump 1 off</p> <p>&nbsp;while(minutes &lt; 60){</p> <p>&nbsp;delay(60000); //wait 60 seconds</p> <p>&nbsp;minutes++; //add another minute to delay</p> <p>&nbsp;}</p> <p>}</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>Wilted plants killing your listing&rsquo;s curb appeal? Here&rsquo;s a fun project that can help solve that problem at a very low cost.&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/jun16_SM_plants.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=110386">jun16_SM_plants.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/jun16_SM_plants_0.jpg?1465928646" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_plants.jpg?1465928671" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:56:34 +0000 mwhite 21298 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Should You and Your Clients Buy or DIY? http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2016/07/should-you-and-your-clients-buy-or-diy <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"> Two gadget experts offer thoughts on when it makes sense to do it yourself and when it makes sense to purchase ready-made tech solutions for three common home needs: security, entertainment systems, and landscaping solutions. </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">Saturday, July 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/jeremy-cook">Jeremy Cook</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/author/stewart-wolpin">Stewart Wolpin</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Successful real estate professionals are always looking for ways to insert efficiencies into their business and add value to client transactions. An understanding of the local market and negotiating skills go a long way, but thinking a little bit outside the box can really set you apart.</p> <p>In this &ldquo;Buy or DIY&rdquo; battle between mechanical engineer and do-it-yourselfer Jeremy Cook and gadget aficionado and consumer trends watcher Stewart Wolpin, we&rsquo;ll present three home devices you and your clients can either buy or DIY. Being able to dispense thoughtful advice on what&rsquo;s best for every situation will make you a solid asset for buyers and sellers alike.</p> <h4>Home Security System</h4> <p><strong>Jeremy Cook:&nbsp;</strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 187px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Traditionally, protecting a home from intruders has come in the form of an expensive, professionally installed system. Although these are certainly effective, paying a monthly fee to maintain them &mdash; possibly along with an installation fee &mdash; keeps many from making the investment. Wouldn&rsquo;t it be nice if you and your sellers could keep an eye on an unoccupied listing without all the expense? With the wide availability of smartphones and tablets, you can now simply set up a security system over a home&rsquo;s Wi-Fi network using an old web-enabled device.</p> <p>Setup &ndash; as seen in my <a href="/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/using-smart-device-power-diy-security-system">how-to article</a> &ndash; is quite easy. You simply have to install the free Presence Pro app, register, and then log on. Then you can use any smartphone in conjunction with Wi-Fi as a remote viewer. Of course, the resolution of the phone&rsquo;s camera can be a limiting factor, as well as its lack of night vision.</p> <p><strong>Stewart Wolpin:&nbsp;</strong>It&rsquo;s hard to argue with a solution that serves up most of the major benefits of a stand-alone Wi-Fi security camera without shelling out $100 to $200. And Presence isn&rsquo;t the only turn-your-smartphone-into-a-security-camera app &mdash; there&rsquo;s also Manything and TrackView, just to name two.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 169px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />But as Jeremy points out, an app-based replacement for a Wi-Fi security camera is probably not as good as a professional security system. In fact, it&rsquo;s not even as good as one of the growing crop of low-cost Wi-Fi cameras such as Nest Cam.</p> <p>Even if you have a smartphone or tablet to spare, Jeremy&rsquo;s app solution suffers drawbacks: Not only will you likely get a lower-quality recording but a smartphone sitting on a shelf is also an obvious target for a thief. Unless you subscribe to one of Presence&rsquo;s cloud recording plans ($1.99/week, $4.99/month, or $49.99/year), once a thief swipes the cellphone, there goes your security video of the perpetrator.</p> <p><strong>Cook: <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 202px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></strong>As long as you can see an intruder well enough to identify them in a lineup, that works for me. The lack of night vision can be made up for with Presence&rsquo;s ability to enable a phone&rsquo;s flashlight (or you could use a motion detection&ndash;enabled light).</p> <p>Presence&rsquo;s unpaid version features 50 MB of storage. Manything&rsquo;s paid version also includes cloud storage starting at $2.99 per month for two days&rsquo; worth of storage, and it can email you when it detects motion. Whether or not the remote viewer phone is stolen, you will still have the ability to save a video of the act. In the end, a stolen five-year-old phone seems a small price to pay for home monitoring!</p> <p><strong>Wolpin:</strong>For me, the smaller price to pay would be an HD security camera with all the other Presence attributes plus some level of free cloud video recording and storage, which many models, including the Canary ($199), the iControl Piper Classic ($199), the Homeboy ($189), and the Withings Home ($199), include. Presence&rsquo;s 50 MB of video storage at most amounts to only a couple of hours of footage. You&rsquo;ll need more for true security, and Presence&rsquo;s weekly and monthly recording subscription fees start to add up after a while, eating into the savings you realize by using an old phone.</p> <p>The cheap solution might make sense in a vacant listing, but for sellers concerned with safeguarding their property, handing off a preinstalled professional system to new home owners can act as a great market differentiator &mdash; simply allow them to take over the account when they move in. There are plenty of specialized security cameras that offer a wider field of view, night vision, higher-resolution video, environmental monitoring (humidity, temperature, and air quality), and free cloud video recording storage &mdash; all attributes that make it a better solution than an old phone adapted to a purpose for which it was not originally designed.</p> <h4>Multiroom Home Audio/Visual</h4> <p><strong>Cook:</strong>&nbsp;<img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-5.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Playing music from the internet or local storage on a dedicated streaming device in a listing is a great solution for showing purposes. Unfortunately, playing music on more than one set of speakers isn&rsquo;t always easy. Never fear: For a different and cost-effective multispeaker streaming solution, look no further than the $35 Chromecast Audio.</p> <p>To set this up, all you have to do is follow the device&rsquo;s simple instructions (you can see my experience <a href="/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/diy-home-entertainment-system">setting them up here</a>. Once you have it (or better yet, several of them) set up, you can stream audio from your smartphone or tablet to set the mood, using such services as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or any number of other available apps.<img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-6.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 106px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></p> <p><strong>Wolpin:&nbsp;</strong>Multiroom wireless audio is becoming more popular because of how easy Sonos &mdash; and its copycat competitors such as Bluesound, Denon&rsquo;s Heos, LG&rsquo;s Music Flow, Raumfeld, Samsung, and Yamaha&rsquo;s MusicCast &mdash; are making it. Adding one of these home speaker systems to a sale could really make your listing stand out.<img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-7.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 195px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></p> <p>Yes, the $35 Chromecast Audio is a far cheaper alternative to these multi&ndash;hundred-dollar systems and is great for a simple open house. But Chromecast Audio is an answer only if you&rsquo;ve already got self-powered speakers or speakers connected to an AV or stereo receiver or amplifier in multiple rooms, which could cost you anywhere from $150 to $300.</p> <p><strong>Cook:</strong>&nbsp;We&rsquo;d all love to be able to afford audiophile-quality components for every room in the house, but you can easily demonstrate the benefits of a high-end system to your clients for a fraction of the price with Chromecast.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/DIY-8.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 272px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Additionally, if you&rsquo;re up to the challenge of setting up the cheaper, and arguably better, Chromecast system, you could combine it with a DIY projector &mdash; <a href="/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/turn-your-smartphone-projector">here&rsquo;s how I made mine</a>. With this setup, your smartphone&rsquo;s screen acts as a light source to project an image on a wall, allowing you to do things like present a slide show of the house and neighborhood to your clients coordinated with audio streamed through the versatile Chromecast. Of course, like most DIY projects, you could just buy a small projector, but what&rsquo;s the fun in that?</p> <p><strong>Wolpin:&nbsp;</strong>Save your fun for the carnival! There are plenty of portable projectors you can buy, like the Sony Portable Projector, iDea Projector, RIF6 Cube, and PicoPro. Not only will you be able to &ldquo;wow&rdquo; your clients with your audiovisual capabilities, but also you&rsquo;ll bypass the trouble of rigging one up yourself.</p> <h4>Automated Plant Watering</h4> <p><strong>Cook:&nbsp;</strong>If you want to add some curb appeal to your listing property, potted plants are a painless way to provide a face-lift. Although some people seem to be born with a green thumb, growing plants generally comes down to water, sunlight, and nutrients. And I would guess that the majority of herbicides committed on innocent plants in America is due to over- or underwatering. Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of a water pump and an electrical timer. With a little handiwork, as I&rsquo;ve outlined in my <a href="/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/diy-plant-watering-station">step-by-step</a>, you can keep the plants at your listing looking fresh with minimal worry and effort.</p> <p>Pump assemblies can be purchased as kits, including the hoses and relays that you&rsquo;ll need, and easily adjustable timers are also available at most hardware stores.</p> <p><strong>Wolpin:</strong>&nbsp;Pumps? Hoses? Relays? Timers? Just because you can&rsquo;t remember to water the plants? That is truly potted. How is this more effective than just looking at the plant to see if it&rsquo;s wilting and needs watering, or just setting a calendar reminder?</p> <p><strong>Cook:&nbsp;</strong>On the surface, it&rsquo;s hard to justify spending many hours on a project, as well as nearly as much money as a professionally built watering device. However, if you&rsquo;re a born maker, DIY person, or engineer, you&rsquo;re simply compelled to make this kind of thing. My device &mdash; in addition to my own entertainment while building it &mdash; waters plants and teaches you something new, and it might even impress your customers!</p> <p><strong>Wolpin:</strong>&nbsp;Who has the time to make a plant-watering device when you&rsquo;re juggling multiple clients? If sellers can&rsquo;t be trusted to maintain curb-appeal upgrades, consider a Parrot Pot ($99), which is due on the market sometime later this year. This nearly foot-tall planter incorporates a 2.2-liter water reservoir that provides up to a month&rsquo;s worth of autonomous irrigation. Inside the pot are sensors that, when combined with the app&rsquo;s database of 8,000 plants, provide precisely as much water as is needed.&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>Two gadget experts offer thoughts on when it makes sense to do it yourself and when it makes sense to purchase ready-made tech solutions for three common home needs: security, entertainment systems, and landscaping solutions.</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/jun16_SM_DIY_N.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=33201">jun16_SM_DIY_N.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/jun16_SM_DIY_N_0.jpg?1466026852" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_DIY_N.jpg?1466026889" /> </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, 13 Jun 2016 16:08:31 +0000 mwhite 21301 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Turn Your Smartphone Into a Projector http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/turn-your-smartphone-projector <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 DIY project can enhance your open houses and listing presentations at a very low cost. </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, June 13, 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/jeremy-cook">Jeremy Cook</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a way to engage your clients&rsquo; eyes and ears during a showing or listing presentation, consider this DIY projector as a video accompaniment to <a href="/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/diy-home-entertainment-system">your Chromecast Audio setup</a>&nbsp;as an economical solution. It may not be as luminous as other available options, but the price is considerably better, and the only electronics setup you have to worry about is getting the screen orientation and brightness correct.</p> <h4>What You&rsquo;ll Need</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />This projector setup uses a lens from a magnifying glass to focus and project an image or video from your smartphone onto a wall. Here&rsquo;s what you&rsquo;ll need:</p> <ol> <li>A smartphone</li> <li>A magnifying glass lens about 2 3/8-inch diameter</li> <li>Something to hold everything steady. (I chose eight pieces of manufactured wood product [MDF] in the following dimensions: (4) 5 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches, (2) 5 1/2 by 6 inches, (2) 6 by 6 inches.) I also used a few 5 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch pieces to set the phone on and a two-by-four for spacing.</li> <li>2-inch PVC pipe, 3 1/2 inches long</li> <li>2 hinges about 1/2 to 3/4 inches</li> <li>Black spray paint and hot glue</li> </ol> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />You can make a projector out of materials as simple as shoe boxes, but I chose 1/4-inch-thick MDF because it&rsquo;s easy to work with and consistently flat, along with a 2-inch PVC pipe piece. With this setup, the pipe can be moved closer or farther from the smartphone to focus at different distances.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ll also need some tools: a band saw, a drill or drill press, and a screwdriver. A hot glue gun will be helpful but not absolutely necessary.</p> <h4>Make the Housing</h4> <p>To determine the distance that your magnifying glass <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />will need to be from your phone, go into a dark room, turn your phone&rsquo;s brightness up to the maximum available and hold the magnifying glass a few inches from the phone while pointing it at a wall. Experiment until you find the correct distance to hold the magnifying glass from the phone.</p> <p>In my case, the distance from the phone to glass was around 6 inches, so I built a box to house my phone and hold the glass at roughly the correct distance. To adjust the focus, I glued the magnifying glass to a piece of PVC pipe that could slide in and out as needed.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />To make this box (and internal holders), cut eight pieces of MDF in the following dimensions: Four of them should be 5 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches, two will be 5 1/2 by 6 inches, and another two at 6 by 6 inches. Save any scraps you generate in this process because you&rsquo;ll also need a few pieces to set the phone on at around 5 1/2 inches long by around 1 1/2 inches. Cut a hole with a 2 1/2-inch hole saw through the center of a 5 1/2-by-6-inch piece and a 5 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch piece. These holes should be closely aligned, so try to drill the hole with the two pieces attached to ensure greater accuracy.</p> <p>Assemble the box using wood glue, with the drilled 6-by-5 1/2-inch piece attached to a 5 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch piece on either side. Then, attach another 6-by-5 1/2-inch piece to form an open box. Set this assembly on a 6-by-6-inch piece of MDF on the bottom, and clamp or weight as necessary. Let it dry for a few hours.</p> <h4>Fit Parts Together</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-5.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />When you&rsquo;re satisfied that your box is dry, glue the 5 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch piece with a 2 1/2-inch diameter hole in it 1 1/2 inches behind the front piece of the box (a piece of two-by-four can make a great spacer if available). Cut out the inside of the remaining 5 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch piece so that it looks like a sort of square &ldquo;U,&rdquo; with 1 1/2 inches on the bottom, and around 1 inch on the sides. The idea is to create a window for your phone&rsquo;s display. Cut two of your scrap pieces of MDF to approximately 1 1/2 inches in width. Glue these pieces and then the U-shaped piece to the back of the box, creating space for a phone to slide in and out of. The dimensions may vary depending on the dimensions of your phone &mdash; and case, if you use one.</p> <p>As an alternative, you could start off with a wooden box from a craft store, and add the necessary cuts and internal pieces. This would likely save time, but you&rsquo;d need to find something quite close to the focal distance that you need.</p> <h4>Add the Lens</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-6.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />To install the lens, cut a piece of 2-inch PVC pipe to a 3 1/2-inch length, then notch out a 1 1/2-inch square on one side of the pipe (through both walls). Spray paint the pipe black, inside and out. After the paint dries, hot glue the lens to the uncut side of the PVC pipe and let it set. Slide it into the box to see how it fits &mdash; it will likely be loose.</p> <p>To make sure the PVC pipe stays flat, place a small piece of wood or plastic between the PVC pipe and the hole it goes into to help fill any gap. I used a spare piece of plastic around 1/8 inch thick, but anything wide enough to fill the gap between the PVC pipe and the holes should work. It might not work perfectly the first time, but don&rsquo;t despair. After gluing it on the first time, I had to remove the spacer and widen the hole slightly in that place with a file. When done, the PVC pipe should slide freely.</p> <h4>Paint and Add Lid</h4> <p>Once everything has dried and you&rsquo;re satisfied that your projector will work as planned, paint the inside and outside of the box black to help absorb stray light. Additionally, paint the 6-x-6-inch piece that is left over on both sides. I used truck bed liner, mostly because I had it left over from another project, but it does provide a nice plastic feel to the finished product. Still, normal spray paint would be fine.</p> <p>Once that&rsquo;s dry, set the 6-by-6-inch piece on top of the box as a lid, with the best-painted side showing. Affix the hinges to the top of the box and the lid about 3/4 inch away from the edges. Place your hinges closest to where the lens will pop out so that the phone can be accessed easily.</p> <h4>Use Your Projector!</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_proj-7.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 240px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Once this is done, assemble the PVC lens holder with the cutouts facing to the side. Take this contraption to a dark room, turn your phone on to its brightest setting and insert it into the box facing the lens. Point it at the wall from a few feet away, and focus by adjusting the lens position. It may take some experimentation to get a decent image, but eventually you should be able to see a picture that is clear and bright.</p> <p>One thing you will notice is that the projected image is upside-down. Be sure to change the settings on your smartphone to ensure your landscape orientation is &ldquo;locked.&rdquo; Depending on your device (iOS or Android), you may have to manually rotate any images that you wish to display by 180 degrees. If the display is not as sharp as you&rsquo;d like, try making the room a bit darker.</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 DIY project can enhance your open houses and listing presentations at a very low cost.</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/jun16_SM_projector.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=12835">jun16_SM_projector.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/jun16_SM_projector_0.jpg?1465930546" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_projector.jpg?1465930588" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:31:06 +0000 mwhite 21294 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Using a Smart Device to Power a DIY Security System http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/briefs/article/2016/06/using-smart-device-power-diy-security-system <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 how-to will demonstrate an easy, low-cost method to provide video surveillance of a vacant listing. </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, June 13, 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/jeremy-cook">Jeremy Cook</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Traditionally, protecting your home from intruders has come in the form of an expensive, professionally installed system. Although these can certainly be effective, the costs can be prohibitive. However, now you can simply set up an old internet-enabled device as a security system on your existing Wi-Fi network.</p> <p>All it takes is setting up a simple app and your phone or tablet can become your window into an unoccupied house. I used the Presence app, available on both Android and iOS, though there are other options available.</p> <h4>Software Setup</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_sec-1.jpg" style="width: 475px; height: 270px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Setup for this system was incredibly easy. I first tried it with a third-generation iPad running iOS 8.3. All I had to do was install the free app through the App Store and register using my email address. Once this was done, I logged on to presencepro.com on my computer and simply selected &ldquo;my iPad&rdquo; in the list of available devices. With everything being web-based, I was quickly watching myself, with a few seconds&rsquo; delay. The picture wasn&rsquo;t great, but it&rsquo;s not like I was posing for a professional headshot.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_sec-2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Next I tried out my Android-based Moto G phone. Installation via Android was similarly simple; however, the permissions granted to the app are quite extensive (probably similar to iOS, but Android makes it more obvious). If you&rsquo;re concerned about potentially exposing your data by granting permissions and using an old phone, you might consider wiping the data off of it before installing. I set it up, signed on to the computer again, and in a few seconds I was seeing myself typing, hearing a delayed &ldquo;click-click-click&rdquo; sound as my fingers hit the keys. Another success!</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_sec-3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 242px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Finally, I tried installing the software on a tablet I purchased for less than $50 specifically for this purpose. When it booted up, there was a suspicious &ldquo;performance booster&rdquo; app installed. When I clicked it, it had a huge number of permissions. I was worried that my video stream or data would be beamed directly to some nefarious server. After finally figuring out how to disable the suspicious software, I attempted to install the Presence app. After demanding (and receiving) a software update, the device simply said, &ldquo;Your device isn&rsquo;t compatible with this version.&rdquo; So, possibly for the best, Presence was not installed there. Neither my iPad nor phone is brand-new, but if you&rsquo;re going to buy something for this application, it&rsquo;s best to <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.peoplepowerco.presencepro&amp;hl=en">check compatibility</a> beforehand.</p> <h4>Initial Trial</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_sec-4.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 192px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Once I was satisfied that my phone worked correctly, I placed it in my living room to see what would happen under normal conditions. With the lighting on, I was able to monitor myself and make out that there was a person 20 feet away or so. Unfortunately, it was impossible to make out who I was. I could, however, guess my approximate height, see that a male wearing a T-shirt and shorts was standing there and maybe tell what ethnicity that man was. I did, however, stare at it from a distance of around 3 feet, which produced a usable image. Perhaps you could put a $20 bill in front of the device to lure thieves in close!<img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_sec-5.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 202px; margin: 3px; float: right;" /></p> <p>Another possible issue was that when I turned only a small desk lamp on, bright enough for me to easily see what was in the room, it was too dark for the camera to pick the surroundings up correctly. A possible solution to this (besides leaving a few more lights on if you&rsquo;re gone) would be a motion-detector light. These are relatively cheap these days and could serve as an added deterrent to an intruder.</p> <h4>Motion Sensing</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/home_sec-6.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 186px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Presence can be set up to email you with a video of the recording area if it detects motion. I set up my iPad and Moto G phone to face me while working on this article, and I started getting intermittent emails telling me that I was actually in motion, with video evidence that I need to work on my posture. Presence will store 50 MB of video on its free service, and the paid version, at $4.99 per month, gives you 5 GB of storage.</p> <h4>Is the Smartphone Solution Right for You?</h4> <p>Although certainly not as good as many professional security systems, this solution could be a very good way to make use of old devices. If Presence doesn&rsquo;t quite fit your needs, Manything is another similar app with free and paid versions. TrackView, another phone and tablet app, might be worth checking out as well. Although it doesn&rsquo;t have cloud storage, it features some interesting phone tracking capabilities.&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>This how-to will demonstrate an easy, low-cost method to provide video surveillance of a vacant listing.</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/jun16_SM_security.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=73967">jun16_SM_security.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/jun16_SM_security_0.jpg?1465929238" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_security.jpg?1465929264" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:49:23 +0000 mwhite 21297 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 9 Tax Deductions Every Real Estate Agent Should Know http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sponsored/intuit/9-tax-deductions-every-real-estate-agent-should-know <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Content Sponsor QuickBooks Self-Employed offers tips to help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars. </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, June 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/quickbooks-self-employed">QuickBooks Self-Employed</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Closing a real estate sale requires a big investment of your time and money. Whether expenses are business, personal, or something in between can be unclear &mdash; leading to missed deductions and overpayment of taxes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">This is key knowledge regardless of who&#39;s doing your taxes. Understanding which expenses are allowed will help you deduct with confidence and avoid overpaying on your quarterly and year-end taxes, no matter where you are in your career.</span></p> <blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/preview-full-QB_SelfEmployed_Intuit_Logo_transparent340x107.png" style="width: 180px; height: 57px;" />Accounting software can make your expense tracking a snap. But always consult with a qualified tax preparer, such as a CPA or enrolled agent, to determine the best tax strategy for your business.</span></p> </blockquote> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">1. Vehicle Mileage or Expense</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">You spend your days driving between properties and appointments. How do you determine whether to go with the standard mileage deduction or track all your auto-related expenses? If you drive 10,000 miles or more per year for your real estate business, you will most likely get the greatest tax benefit by taking the standard mileage deduction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">The IRS requires you to keep a detailed log in order to claim this deduction, which includes date, time, mileage and purpose of the trip. Mileage tracking apps can streamline this process, automatically capturing trip date, length, and time of day for easy categorization.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">If you are a lower mileage driver, or have especially high car payments, the actual cost method may yield a higher deduction. The two methods can be compared in more detail in <a href="http://quickbooks.intuit.com/self-employed-center/rideshare-mileage-deductions-standard-mileage-vs-actual-vehicle-expenses/?cid=sbc_ccat_realtormag_qbse" target="_blank">this article</a>.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">2. Marketing and Advertising</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">To be a success and scale their business in a predictable way, most real estate professionals invest heavily in marketing and advertising. Remember that you can deduct not only the direct cost of promotions such as business cards, flyers, signs, ads, and promos but also the production costs, such as writing and design fees, whether the materials are produced by an agency or part-time hire.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Digital and online advertising costs are quickly becoming the greatest area of spending. This includes website design and hosting fees, search engine marketing, pay per click advertising, video production, and any other IT-related costs. Be sure to track all these business expenses.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">3. Home Office Deduction</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Do you have a dedicated area of your home for work? If so, you&rsquo;re eligible for a home office deduction even if you also have office space at your broker&rsquo;s office &mdash; unless you&rsquo;re deducting desk fees already (see more below). Like the vehicle deduction, the home office deduction offers an option: the regular method or a simplified method. Most self-employed people find that the simplified method maximizes their deduction. However, if you have a particularly large home office, or live in a very high-cost area, the regular method &mdash; in which you track actual expenses &mdash; may yield the highest deduction. <a href="http://quickbooks.intuit.com/self-employed-center/home-office-deduction-simplified-method-or-regular-method/?cid=sbc_ccat_realtormag_qbse" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more about which approach is right for you.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">4. Desk Fees</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Whether you are hanging your license under a national franchise or with an independent broker, your desk fees are deductible. Note, however, that if you are taking a deduction for brokerage desk fees, you will not be able to claim the home office deduction.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">5. Office Supplies and Equipment</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Regardless of which office deduction you take, you can claim other office-related expenses, such as stationery, photocopies, and any other consumables needed to run your business. Other large purchases that can be expensed in full &ndash; or depreciated over a number of years &ndash;include furniture, fax machines, copiers, computers, or you telephone and associated bill.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">If you have a dedicated landline telephone for business, you can fully deduct this expense. Increasingly, agents are using a cell phone for both business and personal use. If you do, you are eligible to deduct only the business percentage of that expense.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">6. Meals and Entertainment</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">There are two situations in which you can deduct meals as a business expense: when you are travelling on business and when you are dining with clients or with other professionals for the purpose of conducting business or generating referral business. In either case, you can deduct 50 percent of your total expense, which includes tax and tip for the meal. In the case of business entertainment, you are allowed to take the meal deduction only if business was discussed during the meal, or immediately before or after.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">In the case of events that are provided to the general public, such as a well-advertised open house, you are able to deduct 100 percent of the cost of refreshments and food.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">7. Fees, Licenses, Memberships and Insurance</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Annual fees are a common costs of doing business and are deductible. In real estate, that means your state license renewal, professional memberships, and MLS dues. An important caveat with regard to professional memberships: The portion of your membership dues attributable to lobbying and political advocacy is not deductible. [For information on the deductibility of your National Association of REALTORS&reg; dues, <a href="http://www.realtor.org/narfininfo.nsf/pages/duestransmittalinfo?opendocument" target="_blank">click here</a>.] General business insurance and Errors and Omissions (E&amp;O) insurance are both fully deductible business expenses. Additionally, you can deduct real estate taxes necessary for your business, but not self-employment taxes.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">8. Professional Development and Travel </span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Given rapid industry change, continuing education is a great way to stay competitive. It&rsquo;s also a requirement in most states. Many real estate professionals pursue professional development through classes, trade shows, conferences, or coaching. If you need to travel to attend an event or meet with a coach you may be able to deduct those transportation and/or accommodation costs.</span></p> <h4><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">9. Software and Business Tools</span></h4> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Any software needed to run your business is fully deductible &ndash; including lead generation subscription services such as customer-relationship management (CRM) software. Products such as <a href="https://selfemployed.intuit.com/realtormag?utm_source=realtormag&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_content=jun2016&amp;cid=par_realtormag_US_jun2016QBSE" target="_blank">QuickBooks Self-Employed</a> not only help you automatically track your expenses and mileage, but may be fully deducted as well.</span></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><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Content Sponsor QuickBooks Self Employed offers tips to help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars.</span></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/jun16_SC_intuit_agent_sign_r.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=78774">jun16_SC_intuit_agent_sign_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/jun16_SC_intuit_agent_sign_r_0.jpg?1465828759" /> </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/jun16_LP_SC_intuit_agent_sign_r.jpg?1465828780" /> </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> Sales and Marketing Fri, 10 Jun 2016 19:26:54 +0000 mwhite 21285 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Fresh Faces: Onboarding New Agents http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/fresh-faces-onboarding-new-agents <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"> A real estate veteran in Oregon shares tips for getting new agents started at your company. </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, June 9, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <!--paging_filter--><p>In any industry, adding new talent to the team can help spur more ideas for innovation and success. In the real estate space, many newbies come from other fields and bring a fresh approach to the business.</p> <p>Sandy Garner, founder and president of <a href="http://thegarnergroup.com/" target="_blank">Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate</a> in Bend, Ore., who has worked in real estate for 30 years, shares how she prepares new agents for their roles and discusses her own experience entering the real estate industry in this Broker to Broker Q&amp;A.</p> <p><strong>You hire a lot of agents who are new to the industry. What do you like about working with them?</strong><br /> Many new agents come from other industries such as banking, mortgage, and even performing arts. They bring a skill set to the table that is unique and can give our whole team insight into improving service for our clients. I encourage them to capitalize on that skill set. Some of the agents I work with are young, and real estate is their first job. I love their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn the business.</p> <p><strong>Do you have an interview and onboarding process?</strong><br /> I often have informational interviews with people either before or after they&rsquo;re licensed. I want each person to understand what it means to become a real estate practitioner. Whether or not the person chooses to work at our firm, I tell them what to look for: an active, supportive office; a brokerage that really shows an interest in his or her success; and an experienced broker who can act as a mentor. There was a time when real estate agents jumped from agency to agency. I think it is important to make a good choice at the beginning of your career and find a place where you can become established with the support you need to create a name for yourself.</p> <p>When a new agent joins my team, we begin the formal training. About two years ago, we made the significant move to become a franchisee of Harcourts, an international real estate company. This move built upon our position as a well-known independent firm in our community. One of the reasons I chose to go with Harcourts is because of their stellar training programs for new agents and ongoing education for existing agents. These formal training programs include a huge library of accessible information, online training, and in-person workshops led by industry experts. This type of formal approach to career preparation can help give a leg up.</p> <p><strong>In what other ways do you help new agents succeed?</strong><br /> I encourage new agents to create a business plan &mdash; not just to jot a few notes on paper but to sit down, use a template, and create a full-fledged plan with goals, objectives, and strategies. How many hours do you want to work? What are your personal and professional goals? Then I show them how to track those goals.</p> <p>I also tell our agents that they have to treat real estate like a career. Even though they work for our real estate company, agents are still in business for themselves, and that requires a high level of motivation and determination. The economy does play a role in an agent&rsquo;s success, but most are limited by their own willingness and motivation to put in the time and work. You need to show up. You need to put in the hours. Some of our newer agents take every open floor shift and work every open house they can just to get the experience. It pays off in the end. One of our newest agents just won the Rising Star Award from Harcourts Northwest, as she has put a lot of time and effort into creating a niche and name for herself.</p> <p><strong>How did you get started in real estate, and what did your experience teach you? </strong><br /> Before I became a practitioner, I worked in the local school district so my schedule would lend itself to raising my daughters. When I decided to make a change, my kids were school-aged. I really needed to understand what I was walking into, and I was lucky enough to have a mentor who helped me see the hard work and commitment that a career in real estate would take. My mentor also taught me strategies to manage my business while also being a mom. My experience showed me that becoming an agent is a family decision, and I let my agents know that. You have the potential to make good money, but it takes time, commitment, and constant availability to your clients. For me, it was a calling, and now, both my daughters work with me, along with my granddaughter and many other family members.</p> <p><strong>Do you have any tips for other brokers who are hiring fresh faces to the industry? </strong><br /> Understand the individual skills that each person brings to the table, and use those skills in your approach to customer service. Brand-new agents provide a unique opportunity to expand your client offerings. Find out where that person excels, and marry that with the goals he or she sets forth in the business plan. But the biggest thing a broker can do is create an education-rich work environment that offers opportunities to both new and existing agents. If your agents are successful, so is your agency. It&rsquo;s that simple. So invest in your agents first.</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>A real estate veteran in Oregon shares tips for getting new agents started at your company.</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/jun16_BB_onboarding.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38040">jun16_BB_onboarding.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/jun16_BB_onboarding_0.jpg?1465843902" /> </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/jun16_LP_BB_onboarding.jpg?1465843926" /> </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/2015/11/strong-brands-need-strong-systems">Strong Brands Need Strong Systems</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/find-your-dream-team-in-2016-part-1">Find Your Dream Team in 2016: Part 1</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/03/7-ways-help-new-agents-succeed">7 Ways to Help New Agents Succeed</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/05/put-agents-first-and-business-will-come">Put Agents First and Business Will Come</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, 09 Jun 2016 17:58:08 +0000 echristoffer 21282 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Luxury: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/06/luxury-getting-out-your-comfort-zone <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"> Home shoppers searching in high price points are choosing properties that support their personal lifestyle. You may need to expand your mind to see their vision. </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, June 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/debbie-swanson">Debbie Swanson</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Michael Close and Rebecca Rolfes found their dream home in a vacant warehouse. The barebones, two-story block structure in Savannah, Ga. &mdash; which they bought for $421,000 &mdash; didn&rsquo;t have any of the trappings of a typical high-end property. It was stripped down to its concrete base, and the lot was nothing but dirt. But the couple had a vision for what it could be.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/0616_rolfes1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; float: left;" /><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/0616_rolfes2.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; float: right;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Close and Rolfes, a sculptor and a journalist, respectively, saw the warehouse as a blank canvas that could inspire their creative spirits. Over about four months, they spent $300,000 turning it into a stunning 6,000-square-foot, open-layout home with a first-floor sculpture gallery, indoor atrium with internal windows and garden, and an expansive library of 1,000 books.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_jun/0616_rolfes3.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 177px; margin: 3px; float: left;" /></p> <p>Their real estate agent, Kim Iocovozzi, a sales associate with Judge Realty in Savannah, took a while to see their vision. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t see anything but trouble,&rdquo; he admits. &ldquo;But they knew what they wanted.&rdquo;</p> <p>The experience taught Iocovozzi to be more flexible when working with buyers who can afford to live however they want. Many buyers are casting aside the traditional notion of a luxury home in favor of something personal, creative, and supportive of their lifestyle, and real estate professionals who want to serve luxury buyers must be able to see opportunities in unconventional parts of the market.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Big Draws for Luxury Buyers</strong><br /> Here are some primary features luxury agents say their clients are looking for.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Convenience:</strong> Typical tree-lined streets, waterfront properties, or expansive lots are decreasing in popularity. Buyers want luxury closer to what matters most to them, whether that&rsquo;s nearby dining and entertainment or being able to stop home midday to walk the dog. &ldquo;Clients will pay to be centrally located. They want a short or nonexistent commute,&rdquo; says Debbi DiMaggio, a sales associate with Better Homes and Gardens Highland Partners in Piedmont, Calif.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Amenities:</strong> Today&rsquo;s buyers are all about saving time and will pay more if it means access to prime parking or the ability to walk to a gym next door. Tim Lobanov, managing director of Verzasca Group in Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., says this is a strong selling point in the luxury condo market. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re looking more at what a building offers,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Things like first-floor shopping or restaurants, dry cleaning, a car wash. Whether they&rsquo;re buying or renting, that&rsquo;s the trend.&rdquo;</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Self-expression:</strong> In a 2013 survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, 43 percent of respondents said they <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/03/13/study-shows-home-preferences-millennials">preferred a home that is customized</a> to fit their lifestyle. That could be anything from space to support their hobbies and talents to a blank slate on which to express their artistic side.</li> <li><strong>Technologically smart:</strong> In the BHG survey, 56 percent of respondents rate a home&rsquo;s technological capabilities as more important then its curb appeal. &ldquo;From security to turning on music to the heater or air conditioning, they want the ability to access everything via their mobile phone,&rdquo; DiMaggio says.</li> <li><strong>Outdoor entertainment:</strong> Walled pools and tennis courts are no longer the default for luxury backyards. Instead, the emphasis is on usable space for outdoor living and entertainment. From a stunning view through floor-to-ceiling windows to a comfortable area to grill and entertain, the home should embrace the outdoors. &ldquo;Balconies have given way to wider, spacious terraces,&rdquo; Lobanov says.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;As a real estate agent, you have to be diverse,&rdquo; Iocovozzi says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen 19th Century storefronts turned into a hybrid of work and living spaces. &hellip; [These buyers] could have an Arts and Crafts bungalow, a historic renovation, a mansion along the river, or a 200-acre farm.&rdquo;</p> <p>Because luxury is in the eye of the beholder &mdash; it can be a 1,000-square-foot apartment souped up with the latest smart-home technology or a waterfront mansion &mdash; you have to know many different markets. If you focus on a particular niche or neighborhood, your expertise may be too narrow to be meaningful to luxury buyers who are considering several options, says Craig Hogan, vice president of luxury marketing at Coldwell Banker.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a large group of luxury buyers who may choose something that is far off from what traditional buyers choose,&rdquo; Hogan says. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re not familiar with new construction because you&rsquo;ve always been a resale agent, that&rsquo;ll kill you. Or if all you know is new construction and you have a market in your area that&rsquo;s filled with beautiful brownstones, you better know that, too. You can&rsquo;t focus on the tiny sliver of the market you&rsquo;re comfortable in.&rdquo;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re not confident in your knowledge about other neighborhoods and property types, how do you break out of your niche? Michael Nourmand, president of Nourmand &amp; Associates in Beverly Hills, Calif., says many of his high-end clients search 10 neighborhoods or more. He suggests asking agents who work in high price points to show you around the different properties they sell. They can teach you what&rsquo;s on the market in different areas and why they&rsquo;re priced the way they are. That&rsquo;s important to know when the difference between two homes could be as much as $1 million.</p> <p>&ldquo;In my market, a city view with an ocean background versus a roofline view can be the difference in what&rsquo;s considered luxury,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Relationships with other agents who can tell you these things are very important. When you&rsquo;re dealing with people buying homes for that much money, they&rsquo;re more educated than you think, and you need to know more than the client does.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, suggests attending high-end functions in your area where you can connect with creative types in luxury real estate, such as contractors, architects, and designers. They can keep you abreast of hyperlocal trends in different areas that influence luxury buyers&rsquo; decisions, and they can be useful resources for your clients. Because many buyers like to create their own personal idea of a luxury home, as Iocovozzi&rsquo;s clients did, they&rsquo;ll turn to you for advice on who to contact to get the project started.</p> <p>But you need to have professionals you know well already on hand when the need for your client arises. That means forming relationships ahead of time. &ldquo;The days are gone when agents could tell their clients to go online and find what they&rsquo;re looking for, whether that be a repairman, appliance guys, or housekeeping,&rdquo; Hogan says. &ldquo;You have to have a selection of people they can work with, and these have to be solid, vetted relationships you&rsquo;ve formed.</p> <p><em>Want to break into your luxury market? Hogan offers three tips for agents to prepare for working with luxury buyers in the video below.</em></p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/az3SbIom74g" width="480"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Home shoppers searching in high price points are choosing properties that support their personal lifestyle. You may need to expand your mind to see their vision.</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/jun16_SM_luxury.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=68548">jun16_SM_luxury.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/jun16_SM_luxury_0.jpg?1465489364" /> </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/jun16_LP_SM_luxury.jpg?1465489414" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-main-image-credit"> <div class="field-label">Main Image Credit:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Michael Close and Rebecca Rolfes’ renovation of a warehouse in Savannah. </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/2014/11/listing-luxury">Listing Luxury</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2016/04/14/ultra-luxury-sellers-are-slashing-list-prices">Ultra-Luxury Sellers Are Slashing List Prices</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/selling/article/2007/10/selling-luxury-secrets-success">Selling Luxury: Secrets to Success</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, 08 Jun 2016 20:55:41 +0000 gwood 21273 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Tech Secrets from Rising Real Estate Stars http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2016/06/tech-secrets-from-rising-real-estate-stars <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Find out what tools the honorees from REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 class of 30 Under 30 are using to get the job done on behalf of their 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">Tuesday, June 7, 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>Online reviews aren&rsquo;t just for restaurants; they are equally useful for real estate marketing. They also happen to be Kimberly Sethavanish&rsquo;s secret weapon.</p> <p>Sethavanish, a salesperson at Century 21 Alliance in Santa Rosa, Calif., has gained three listings from clients finding her <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/kimberly-sethavanish-kimberly-james-real-estate-santa-rosa-4" target="_blank"><strong>positive reviews on Yelp</strong></a>. After each transaction, Sethavanish asks her clients to share their experience with her services and, for the most part, they are happy to help. And best of all, these highly persuasive online reviews are free.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re not putting yourself out there, you&rsquo;re not able to be found. That&rsquo;s worse than anything else,&rdquo; says Sethavanish, a member of REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s 2016 class of 30 Under 30.</p> <p>For this year&rsquo;s 30 young entrepreneurs, technology and online tools are a way of life in their business, keeping them connected to clients and organized at the office and helping to smooth out any bumps in the road to a successful transaction.</p> <p>We asked a few of the 30 Under 30 honorees to share the tech tool that keeps them on track. Here&rsquo;s what we found:</p> <h4>They&rsquo;re Paperless</h4> <p>In addition to online reviews, Sethavanish is also a fan of <a href="https://secure.docusign.com/landing/real-estate/NAR" target="_blank"><strong>DocuSign</strong></a> because it helps cut the response time in her hot seller&rsquo;s market. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen it make or break a sale,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;With DocuSign, you can get your counteroffer in before someone else does.&rdquo;</p> <p>Several other 30 Under 30s also attest to the benefits of electronic signatures.</p> <p>Shari Anhorn, CRS, GRI, team member and broker-owner at Brokers 12 Inc. in Minot, N.D., has been using DocuSign, a REALTOR Benefits&reg; Program partner, since 2011, putting her among the first agents in Minot to use electronic signatures.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is rural North Dakota, and to be able to have a seller or buyer who is two hours away sign a document from afar is tremendous,&rdquo; she says. What&rsquo;s more, many of her clients are military personnel who have to purchase property sight unseen, and DocuSign has eased the process, Anhorn says.</p> <p>But some 30 Under 30 members are careful not to assume every client knows how to use even the most basic technology.</p> <p>The market that Diego Espinoza-Martinez, salesperson with Keller Williams Realty-Tulare in Visalia, Calif., serves is largely agricultural and heavily impoverished. While he uses DocuSign with some clients, it&rsquo;s not always appropriate, he says. Instead, Espinoza-Martinez takes the time to learn his clients&rsquo; comfort level with technology and then decides on the appropriate tools for the transaction.</p> <p>Another tool for going paperless is <a href="http://thegrizzlylabs.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Genius Scan</strong></a>, available through both the App Store and Google Play. Wade Corbett, CRS, GRI, salesperson with Keller Williams Realty in Raleigh, N.C., is an avid user. &ldquo;I scan a business card and import it into my database. That way, I don&rsquo;t have to carry around a bunch of cards,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Genius Scan can be used to scan forms, receipts, or a multitude of other real estate documents from your smartphone. Save the images as PDFs and email them on the go. You can also export the files to your cloud service of choice, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.</p> <p>Alexander Parker, also a 2016 30 Under 30 honoree, creates property folders in Dropbox for his clients, where they can share pictures, maps, and other relevant documents. Parker, salesperson with Lord &amp; Stanley Realty in Tallahassee, Fla., is also rarely without his <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/" target="_blank"><strong>iPad</strong></a> so that he can access files anywhere and look them over with clients in the field.</p> <p>In San Diego, Sarah Davis, SRES, broker owner of Davis Estates, takes her <a href="http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/cat/All-Surface/categoryID.69403400" target="_blank"><strong>Surface Pro</strong></a> tablet to every client meeting. &ldquo;I can take it to a showing and the buyers can sign a purchase order and send it to the listing agent while we&rsquo;re still in the house,&rdquo; she says. In California, agents are required to give a copy of the contract to the signer at the time it is signed, so she emails a copy to her clients directly from her tablet.</p> <p>For software, she uses <a href="https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-US/business/" target="_blank"><strong>Microsoft OneDrive for Business</strong></a>, a secure cloud service, for all her transaction files. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s safer than email, and if my computer dies, everything is still in the cloud,&rdquo; Davis says.</p> <h4>They Work Hard at Staying in Touch</h4> <p>Connie Chung, salesperson with Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, considers herself old-fashioned when it comes to staying in contact with her clients. She prefers dinners and coffee meetings over informal emails. &ldquo;I can see their facial expressions, hear the tone of their voices, and have them hear mine,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>And when a client needs more attention &mdash; when they&rsquo;ve expressed unhappiness with a property or have an issue that needs to be resolved &mdash; Chung says that writing an email is the last thing you should do. &ldquo;I find it simplifies my life if I pick up the phone, so I can really hear where they are coming from and ask if we can meet for coffee,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;A lot of times, meeting face-to-face takes away any discomfort for both parties.&rdquo;</p> <p>On the social media front, she engages with clients and her sphere predominantly through <a href="https://www.instagram.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Instagram</strong></a>. &ldquo;Recently, I was touring a new development. It was great to wear a hard hat and neon vest and post behind-the-scenes photos that a lot of people don&rsquo;t usually get to see,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Corbett describes his database as the core of his business, so he uses <a href="http://www.brivity.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Brivity</strong></a>, a cloud-based CRM, to stay in touch. &ldquo;It helps me follow up better and makes me able to utilize my time better,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Honoree Rebekah Eaton, associate broker with RealtySouth-MB-Crestline in Birmingham, Ala., is always looking for meaningful ways to stay connected to her sphere. So she recently started using <a href="http://bombbomb.com/" target="_blank"><strong>BombBomb</strong></a><strong>, </strong>a service that helps users produce video greetings that can be shared via email or text. &ldquo;I take a little time to record a short video saying, &lsquo;Thinking about you.&rsquo; And then I send it on. Bam.&rdquo;</p> <h4>They Prefer to Market in a Meaningful Way</h4> <p>Scott Steadman, a Windermere Real Estate agent in Draper, Utah, uses <a href="http://suncrestlifestyle.com/blog/" target="_blank"><strong>his real estate blog</strong></a> to tell the story of his clients. &ldquo;I talk about the family who spent years gathering around the fireplace for birthdays and holidays, and how that room was the place where they felt whole,&rdquo; Steadman says. &ldquo;Pairing posts like that with social media always gives my followers a reason to come back to my website for more info.&rdquo;</p> <p>Consistency is also key, Steadman says, so he rarely lets more than a few days separate his posts, which cover everything from market trends to before-and-after renovation photos.</p> <p>Brittany Barsky-Allison, team member with Wydler Brothers in Bethesda, Md., focuses on promoting her business on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Facebook</strong></a> in a &ldquo;fun, organic way.&rdquo; She creates an <a href="https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads" target="_blank"><strong>advertising campaign</strong></a> for every one of her listings, and she often posts pictures with clients or of homes she&rsquo;s toured on her personal and business pages. She celebrates each closing with a status update and is frequently &ldquo;liking&rdquo; and commenting on her friends&rsquo; statuses and photos.</p> <p>&ldquo;This has helped me to pick up referrals and create a sense of expertise amongst my peers,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Brokerages must continue to place more emphasis on the people in the real estate industry and recognize that people buy homes, not computers, robots, or smartphones. Technology strengthens our industry, but people are at the core, and we cannot forget that simple fact.&rdquo;</p> <p>Barsky-Allison uses <a href="http://salesforce.com" target="_blank"><strong>Salesforce.com</strong></a> to track her pipeline and communicate with her sphere of influence. She sends out weekly and monthly emails as well as monthly market updates, and acknowledges the buy or sell anniversaries of her clients by sending a note or gift.&nbsp;</p> <p>Customer service is a top priority for honoree Jessica Bean, salesperson with Century 21 Price Right in Lewiston, Idaho. That&rsquo;s why she arms herself with data from NAR&rsquo;s <a href="http://blog.narrpr.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Realtors Property Resource</strong>&reg;</a> before every marketing or listing presentation.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one of the most integral pieces of my business,&rdquo; says Bean, who will compare RPR&rsquo;s detailed reports against her own research on comps as well as the assessed value of a property. The reports also help her make the case that presale updates can make a listing much more attractive.</p> <p>Bean also notes that RPR can help her craft a competitive offer in the seller&rsquo;s market that currently defines much of her area. She uses it to help buyers put themselves in sellers&rsquo; shoes, explaining how she&rsquo;d use the RPR data to price the home if she were the listing agent on the property. And finally, Bean loves the fact that she can pull RPR up on her phone on the go: &ldquo;I literally use it every day in my business. Man, it&rsquo;s a lifesaver for me.&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>Find out what tools the honorees from REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s 2016 class of 30 Under 30 are using to get the job done on behalf of their 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/jun16_T_30s.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=45118">jun16_T_30s.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/jun16_T_30s_0.jpg?1465328812" /> </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/jun16_LP_T_30s.jpg?1465328834" /> </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/2016/05/free-and-low-cost-tech-tools-try">Free and Low-Cost Tech Tools to Try</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/01/3-tech-tools-for-fostering-business">3 Tech Tools for Fostering Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/gadgets-and-gear/article/2016/02/tech-you-shouldnt-ignore">Tech You Shouldn&#039;t Ignore</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, 07 Jun 2016 17:30:05 +0000 gwood 21256 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How Screened Porches Bring the Outdoors In http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2016/06/how-screened-porches-bring-outdoors-in <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"> Growing concerns about bug-borne illnesses and overexposure to harmful rays have boosted the appeal of the screened porch, which offers a protected, front-row seat to nature. </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, June 6, 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>Before air conditioning became widespread, the screened porch was considered a necessity in many areas as a respite from intense heat, especially as a safe, cool place to rest at night. Then, as different notions of &ldquo;outdoor rooms&rdquo; for all sorts of uses caught on, its popularity waned.</p> <p>Now the screened porch is re-emerging with gusto on different styles of homes, in a wide range of prices, and all over the country, from warm climates to cold. In northern Minnesota, just below the Canadian border, builder Matt Balmer&rsquo;s Lands End Development company builds mostly vacation homes. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re finding that consumers want them in their new houses without exception, [and] are also adding them on to existing homes,&rdquo; he says. In much warmer San Antonio, many of Lake Flato Architects&rsquo; projects, mostly new homes, include at least one and sometimes two screened porches. &ldquo;We love how they expand clients&rsquo; living space to enjoy morning coffee or watch a sunset with a cocktail,&rdquo; says Rebecca Bruce, an architect and associate with the firm.</p> <p>This time around, heat is not the only impetus. It&rsquo;s joined by bugs and the serious health issues they bring. Mosquitoes represent the number one pest concern for home owners because of the Zika virus, says Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the Pest Management Association in Fairfax, Va., which represents 7,000 pest management companies.</p> <p>Second on their list of health concerns are ticks. Lyme disease is no longer just along the East Coast, where it flourished in the past. The ticks that carry it have been found in the Midwest due to the recent mild winters, which allowed them to live through the season and thrive, Mannes says.</p> <p>Enter the screened porch &mdash; a functional, attractive alternative. &ldquo;You feel like you&rsquo;re outdoors, but you&rsquo;re safely indoors,&rdquo; says architect Lou Balodemas, a principal in his eponymous architecture firm in Washington, D.C., a city that can be both hot and bug-filled. Similarly, the developers of Heritage Harbor Ottawa, a 142-acre marina community in the southwest Chicago area, find their location on the banks of the Illinois River translate to a desire for insect abatement strategies. And that&rsquo;s why 80 percent of the condos and town homes they&rsquo;ve built so far have a screened porch. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re by the water so it helps keep insects away, but the porches also add a nostalgic touch since so many associate them with their parents&rsquo; and grandparents&rsquo; homes,&rdquo; says Tammy Barry, the firm&rsquo;s director of marketing.</p> <p>Whether your clients are searching for a new place with a screened space or they&rsquo;re looking to market their listing with a nod to the outdoors, buyers and sellers alike need your expertise. Talk over these considerations with your clients, as well as the importance of hiring a professional skilled in screened-porch construction.</p> <h4>Location</h4> <p>Screened porches provide their greatest enjoyment when they take advantage of nature, light, and views. But it can be tricky to do that with existing homes, and it&rsquo;s often easier to incorporate a screened porch in a new house instead, says Chicago architect Julie Hacker of Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker Architects. The porches tend to be used most if located adjacent to or near a kitchen since they serve a casual eating&mdash;and living&mdash;function.</p> <p>However, they also should be oriented so they won&rsquo;t block views and light from adjacent, interior rooms. Skylights in a ceiling may compensate, Balodemus says; so may windows in the side walls of adjacent rooms, when possible. In warm San Antonio, the pros at Lake Flato Architects try to place porches where they may catch a breeze. And though it may not be technically deemed a screened porch, a detached building with screens is another option for those who have the land and don&rsquo;t want to sacrifice light.</p> <h4>Materials</h4> <p>Since the porch may get damp, it&rsquo;s important to build it using weather-resistant materials and extend eaves 2 to 3 feet away from a roof to decrease rain coming in through the screens, says Connecticut-based architect Duo Dickinson. Good weather-resistant floor choices are flagstone, porcelain, and certain woods like ipe, cedar, and teak. Dickinson staples screening to floor joists before laying a top surface to keep out insects from the ground up, since many live and hide underneath where they can damage semi-outdoor surfaces without being detected.</p> <p>But your clients don&rsquo;t have to be limited to only outdoor materials. Dallas home owner Misty Quinn and her architect, Will Snyder of Boerder-Snyder Architects, decided on a fancier floor of black-and-white polished granite and Carrera marble to fit the elegance of her 1939 Georgian-style home. &ldquo;The porch opens to a formal living room and kitchen and, when we have parties, we like to open all the French doors and have people circulate through all three rooms,&rdquo; she says. Quinn painted existing brick walls the color of interior rooms to meld spaces visually. Many other screened porch walls and ceilings are framed in wood, sometimes in old-fashioned bead-board style. Architects at Lake Flato often suggest steel options that enhance its crisper, more contemporary designs while also offering more durability.</p> <h4>Screens</h4> <p>Yes, even the screens have evolved. Openings have gotten larger and the mesh finer, both reflecting a contemporary influence. Designers are also working to minimize pieces that frame and support both screens and room structure. &ldquo;Why break up screening with vertical and horizontal elements that block the view?&rdquo; asks Chicago architect Allan J. Grant.</p> <p>And improvements in technology and design permit home owners greater flexibility, too, since some companies design screen systems on retractable tracks. With the push of a button on a remote control, the room is opened to nature again. John Forehand, president of the Orren Pickell Design Group outside Chicago, which now includes screened porches in 90 percent of its custom homes, likes to use this type of retractable option, especially from companies that almost conceal the track.</p> <h4>Size</h4> <p>As with any room, the porch should be large enough to accommodate a home owner&rsquo;s plans for how to use the space. Quinn&rsquo;s porch measures an ample 16 by 20 feet to reflect its use as overflow space for large parties. But they also wanted it to work functionally for casual lounging and snacking after swims in the family pool. &ldquo;This way, family and guests aren&rsquo;t going in and out of the house in wet suits,&rdquo; she says. Broker Ann Peterson, ABR, SRES, of Ann Peterson Realty Services in Rochester, Mich., warns her clients against being overzealous and building a screened porch that takes up the entire yard and eliminates the beauty of the site.</p> <h4>Furnishings</h4> <p>In their earlier iterations, screened porches included just the basic furnishings, typically wrought iron or wicker chairs and tables. Some home owners still prefer that no-frills approach. But the overall ramp-up in the style and complexity of outdoor furnishings is showing up in screened porch choices, too. Many are almost indistinguishable from their interior room counterparts. Upholstery is just one example. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot more choice than the original Sunbrella stripes,&rdquo; says Susan Fredman of Chicago&rsquo;s Susan Fredman Design Group.</p> <p>Consumers are also faced with decisions about whether to include outdoor rugs, fireplaces, TVs, dimmable lighting, portable heaters, art, window treatments (for both shade and privacy), and wind protection. Some may want cooking equipment, but caution your clients that thorough venting is crucial to avoid fire hazards, and that some communities won&rsquo;t permit such features for that reason.</p> <h4>Return on Investment</h4> <p>How much screened porches help resale is unclear. Peterson says many of her firm&rsquo;s buyers consider them to be an important extra area for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. But salesperson Kimberly Cantine, with H.H. Hill Realty Services Inc. in New York&rsquo;s Hudson River Valley, says while her buyers may love having the amenity, they won&rsquo;t include it in their must-haves. &ldquo;Few tell me &lsquo;I want a screened porch&rsquo; when they&rsquo;re looking,&rdquo; she says. In her experience, buyers are more excited to see a nice deck or stone patio. &ldquo;Some out-of-town buyers are even suspicious if a home has a screened porch and think it must be a buggy area. So buyers comparing two identical homes in the same location may be willing to pay more for the one with the screened porch, but may be just as happy to pay less for the one without.&rdquo;</p> <p>But the overall consensus appears to be that when home owners do gain a screened porch, they usually get plenty of use out of it. &ldquo;We added one on the back of our house, which is small, and it opens up the entire house to the outside,&rdquo; Forehand says. &ldquo;My family, including my teenage sons, find ourselves congregating on the porch much more than I thought possible.&rdquo;</p> <div class="embed"><div class="rmo-slideshow-title"><h2 class="node-title">Bringing the Outdoors In</h2> <div class="deck"><p>Concerns about bug-borne illnesses and overexposure to sun have boosted the appeal of the screened porch, which offers a protected, front-row seat to nature.</p> <div class="rmo-slideshow-author"> <!--|-->June 2016<div id="author"> | BY <a href="/author/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a></div> </div><!-- /.section-date-author --></div><!-- /.deck --> </div> </div> <div id="image-gallery-slideshow"> <div class="view view-image-gallery-images view-id-image_gallery_images view-display-id-block_1 rmo-slideshow view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <!-- dynamic display block slideshow --> <div id="views-slideshow-ddblock-image_gallery_images_block_1" class="views-slideshow-ddblock-cycle-vsd-upright-60p clear-block"> <div class="container clear-block border"> <div class="container-inner clear-block border"> <!-- slider content --> <div class="slider clear-block border"> <div class="slider-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Beachy Is Best</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Home owners in Silver Beach, N.J., asked for a screened porch that would capture the beautiful ocean views and breezes. Architect Richard Bubnowski decided to build the porch on the southeast corner of the house so the space could take full advantage of the natural light. It is also conveniently located at beach level so friends and neighbors can stop by for an informal visit.&nbsp;</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>A Sleep Retreat</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>From day one of the design process, Richard Bubnowski&rsquo;s client in Spring Lake, N.J., asked that a sleeping porch be incorporated in the home&rsquo;s design. The porch was located at the quietest part of the property and by taking full advantage of the sun, this space can be used year round. The firm also designed the bed that hangs from the structure above.&nbsp;</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_3.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Porches in Disguise</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>This home, designed by Orren Pickell Design Group in Lake Geneva, Wis., uses retractable screens on the French doors leading to the two rear decks. They&rsquo;re clad in eye-popping red to match the windows.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_4.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Cozy Cabin Life</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Lands End Development highlights favorite Minnesota pastimes in its designs. The floor-to-ceiling screens open the vistas wide but still keep out the bugs. And fireplaces keep the rooms cozy as temperatures dip since most of its homes are located in northern Minnesota.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_5.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Detached Luxury</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Situated at the confluence of Hog Pen Creek and Lake Austin, the home owners envisioned this house as a place that would connote the playfulness of summer on a lake and emphasize exterior living space. They have a choice of two screened porches, one detached from the home.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 14.4px; line-height: 24.48px;">Design by Lake/</span>Flato<span style="font-size: 14.4px; line-height: 24.48px;">&nbsp;Architects.</span></p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_6.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Ranch Sprawl and a Screened Porch “Wing”</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Nestled in near two creeks on a Texas Hill Country ranch, the Mill Springs home provides a water&rsquo;s edge retreat with three different structures organized around the site of a 20th century dam. The screened porch is located in an L-shaped guest wing, flanking two additional bedrooms.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 14.4px; line-height: 24.48px;">Design by Lake/</span>Flato<span style="font-size: 14.4px; line-height: 24.48px;">&nbsp;Architects.</span></p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_7.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>River Living Sans Mosquitoes</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>This new planned community on the banks of the Illinois River includes a mix of different housing choices. A full 80 percent of the condos and town homes they&rsquo;ve built so far have a screened porch, both in an effort to appeal to the nostalgia of relaxing on the porch and to keep bugs away.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_8.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Black, White, and Breezy</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>A screened porch in Dallas, which has gone through several iterations, now shows its fancier side. Home owner Misty Quinn and her architect, Will Snyder of Boerder-Snyder Architects, worked together to match the porch&rsquo;s design elements to the home&rsquo;s interior look.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_9.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Sleek and Practical</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>This screened porch in a Chicago suburb was designed by architect Allan J. Grant as part of a new addition to an existing home. It was designed to be practical and inviting and fit the look of other rooms in the house with its large format porcelain tiles, exposed brick walls, and rough-hewn wood-clad beams. The wood-burning ceiling-suspended fireplace, called &ldquo;Fireorb,&rdquo; can rotate to orient toward different seating groups. The ceiling fan is from The Modern Fan Company.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> </div> <!-- slider-inner--> </div> <!-- slider--> <!-- scrollable pager images--> <div class="spacer-horizontal"><b></b></div> <!-- scrollable pager container --> <div id="views-slideshow-ddblock-scrollable-pager-image_gallery_images_block_1" class="scrollable-pager clear-block border"> <!-- prev/next page on slide --> <!-- custom "previous" links --> <!--<div class="prevPage"></div>--> <div class="prev"></div> <!-- scrollable part --> <div class="vsd-scrollable-pager clear-block border"> <div class="items scrollable-pager-inner clear-block border"> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-1"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-2"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-3"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_3.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-4"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_4.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-5"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_5.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-6"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_6.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-7"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_7.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-8"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_8.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-9"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0616_HD_porches_9.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> </div> <!-- /pager-inner--> </div> <!-- /vsd-scrollable-pager --> <!-- custom "next" links --> <div class="next"></div> <!--<div class="nextPage"></div>--> <!-- navigator --> <div class="navi"></div> </div> <!-- /scrollable-pager--> </div> <!-- container-inner--> </div> <!--container--> </div> <!-- template --> </div> </div> <div id="slideshow_tips">Click on the small photos to scroll through the slide show. <div id="copyright">&copy; 2016 REALTOR&reg; MAGAZINE ONLINE </div></div> </div> <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>Growing concerns about bug-borne illnesses and overexposure to harmful rays have boosted the appeal of the screened porch, which offers a protected, front-row seat to nature.&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/jun16_HD_porch.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=111274">jun16_HD_porch.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/jun16_HD_porch_0.jpg?1465226123" /> </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/jun16_LP_HD_porch.jpg?1465226145" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2010/06/fabulous-front-porch">The Fabulous Front Porch</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2005/12/perfect-porch">The Perfect Porch</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2015/04/planning-smart-landscape">Planning a Smart Landscape</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 Residential Real Estate Staging Mon, 06 Jun 2016 13:53:39 +0000 mwhite 21236 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Reclaim Your Game to Get Back On Top http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/solutions/article/2016/06/reclaim-your-game-get-back-top <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"> Think of your broker life as a journey around the clock. Once you know the time, you can follow a few simple steps to get back to your peak performance. </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, June 7, 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/jason-forrest">Jason Forrest</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Whether you&rsquo;re building a country or a sales team, there&rsquo;s a kind of magic that comes with being young, scrappy, and hungry. And yet, with a couple years&rsquo; experience, it&rsquo;s so easy to become old, proficient, and cranky.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Hey yo, I&#39;m just like my country. I&#39;m young, scrappy, and hungry. And I&#39;m not throwing away my shot.&rdquo;<em> &mdash;Lin Manuel Miranda (as founding father Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway play, Hamilton)</em></p> </blockquote> <p>So how do you get back that start-up magic? Think of the 12 on your watch face as your starting point as a broker or agent. You&rsquo;re enthusiastic. You&rsquo;ve just taken a leap of faith and launched your new venture. You pursue coaching and support from others because you know you know nothing.</p> <p>As you move from twelve to three, you&rsquo;re riding high. You&rsquo;re coaching your new team of agents, enjoying the journey, and actively pursuing the next challenge. But as you approach three, your good ideas start solidifying into policies and procedures. As you transition into the three-to-six zone, you stop looking for ways to grow yourself and your team and instead focus on maintaining the status quo.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p>Want to learn how to lead your organization towards a customer-centric culture? Sign up for Jason Forrest&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://fpgseminar.com/" target="_blank">Human Performance&nbsp;Unleashed: The Event</a>&nbsp;in Fort Worth, Texas, August 1&ndash;4.</p> </blockquote> <p>Eventually you hit the bottom of the dial. Even though your passion is gone, you have all this experience and success behind you. But instead of this being your greatest season, the six on the clock face is characterized by a falsely inflated view of self.</p> <p>In fact, six represents the lowest point in your life as a broker. This is when comfort turns to complacency and you let your foot off the gas. You struggle to find meaning and feel as if you can&rsquo;t possibly succeed. From here, you&rsquo;ll either throw in the towel (quit, sell your agency, or explore other options) or have a defining moment and realize you need to do whatever it takes to recapture the zeal, energy, and simplicity you had at twelve on the dial.</p> <p>If you find yourself at a six on the clock, you can still get back on track by moving up the dial. Try these steps to help get back to the peak of your game:</p> <ol> <li>Check your ego so you can be coachable and open to new ideas. This six-to-nine zone feels like a major grind &mdash; but at the same time it&rsquo;s motivating as you start to recapture the vision that inspired you to build your own dream team.</li> <li>Set a goal of where you want to be in your business and how much time you&rsquo;re going to give yourself to achieve it. This can reignite some of the passion that propelled you to jump in wholeheartedly at the beginning.</li> <li>Find a mentor (someone who has been where you are whose experience you can benefit from) and a coach (someone who doesn&rsquo;t have skin in the game and will give you needed objectivity). Recognize that you cannot grow without objective support.</li> <li>Review your progress with your coach and mentor monthly. As you start to improve, you&rsquo;ll hit nine on the clock &mdash; clearly on the uptick.</li> <li>Consider your plan and compare your progress to your goal. Set markers to hold yourself accountable. Continue to check in with your mentor and coach on a monthly basis to review your progress.</li> <li>When you get back on track and start succeeding again, go back to step one. No matter how successful you get, you need to check your ego &mdash; again and again.</li> </ol> <p>So, what time is it? If you&rsquo;re far from 12, take heart. There <em>is</em> a way back. And once you&rsquo;ve traveled it, you&rsquo;ll have some terrific and humbling life lessons that will keep you from getting stuck, circling the dial again and again.</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>Think of your broker life as a journey around the clock. Once you know the time, you can follow a few simple steps to get back to your peak performance.&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/jun16_B_game.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=41890">jun16_B_game.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/jun16_B_game_0.jpg?1465246577" /> </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/jun16_LP_B_game.jpg?1465246603" /> </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/2015/09/4-ways-bust-out-slump">4 Ways to Bust Out of a Slump</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2016/05/ultimate-real-estate-playlist">The Ultimate Real Estate Playlist</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> Solutions Being a Broker Mon, 06 Jun 2016 17:07:38 +0000 mwhite 21248 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Preserve Company Culture in Times of Growth http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/preserve-company-culture-in-times-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"> Learn how to stay true to your core mission even when you’re adding offices, setting up new divisions, recruiting agents, and hiring staff. </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, June 6, 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/jill-butler">Jill Butler</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Growing pains are a bittersweet reality that every successful business must face. Specifically, growth presents challenges and opportunities for organizations in the area of corporate culture. I can tell you firsthand that it&rsquo;s easy to get swept up in the excitement of expansion and lose sight of why your business was founded in the first place.</p> <p>Your unique company culture is likely one of the main reasons you&rsquo;re experiencing growth, so it&rsquo;s imperative to maintain your vision and mission as you expand. A recent <a href="http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/news_events/news-releases/corporate-culture/#.Vtcw6ceo3lI" target="_blank">study</a> from Duke University&rsquo;s Fuqua School of Business revealed that the majority of executives say corporate culture drives profitability and contributes to a company&rsquo;s ability to thrive in the modern business world.</p> <p>How do you ensure the corporate culture you&rsquo;ve worked so hard to build extends to new locations and is communicated to new agents and employees? Below are the four ways my company, RedKey Realty Leaders St. Louis, has been able to grow rapidly while also preserving an innovative culture.</p> <h4>1. Rely on your core philosophy.</h4> <p>One of the most helpful ways to preserve culture is to frequently remind yourself why your company was originally founded. What differentiates you from everyone else in your industry? The answer to that question is probably your core philosophy. It&rsquo;s the foundation of your business, and it must be agreed upon and ingrained in the business model in order to create a lasting culture. RedKey, for example, was founded on the basis of love, service, and fun. Our leadership team continually referenced those core values during our rapid growth phase, and that core philosophy continues to be the basis of every decision we make. Having a strong company philosophy helps you to refocus and stay on track. It also helps to guide your team through growth and maintain the corporate culture that got you there.</p> <h4>2. Communicate values.</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s important that every agent and employee understands the mission and values of your company. That&rsquo;s why a key characteristic of a strong company culture is effective communication. When leadership makes it a priority to consistently communicate the organization&rsquo;s philosophy, internal processes inherently run more smoothly and goodwill is generated. At RedKey, we hold weekly sales meetings no matter how busy we are. Through these meetings, we&rsquo;re able to ensure that all agents are behind both immediate and futuristic goals for the company. We also facilitate internal communications through regular email newsletters. And we have an advisory leadership board made up entirely of agents who are tasked with providing input and feedback.</p> <h4>3. Recruit for cultural fit.</h4> <p>Growing with the right people who have a compatible philosophy is fundamental. This can be difficult during times of rapid growth when new hires are needed quickly. A<a href="http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/1528810/23319899/1376576545493/Medina+Elizabeth.pdf?token=gS6pId8PWVu%2BI%2Faub9PoBVnuhbg%3D" target="_blank"> Columbia University study</a> shows that the probability of job turnover at an organization with a high-performing company culture is just 13.9 percent, whereas the likelihood of job turnover in a low-performing company cultures is 48.4 percent. Turnover is expensive and can significantly affect the performance of an organization. Taking the time to recruit and hire the right people will save you headaches &mdash; and money. For example, at RedKey, we are careful that each person we bring on board is committed to providing the best service possible to his or her clients. When hiring, we often ask ourselves, &ldquo;Would I want to sit next to this person on a cross-country flight?&rdquo; If the answer is no, they probably aren&rsquo;t a good fit.</p> <h4>4. Make it a priority.</h4> <p>During rapid expansion, broker-owners and managers tend to feel the brunt of growing pains. When you&rsquo;re on deadline for signing leases and deciding who will fill the new office, culture seems like the last thing you should worry about. So how do you make it a priority when there are dozens of other important tasks competing for your attention? RedKey&rsquo;s leadership was able to tackle this by simply being mindful of the fact that it would impact our success. In order to focus on preserving culture, we determined which tasks had the biggest impact on growth, and then we took ownership of those tasks and delegated everything else. Through collaboration and delegation, we were able to not only more clearly define job roles but also ensure that every team member remained on board with the company&rsquo;s vision and next steps.</p> <p>Undoubtedly, corporate culture is a big piece of why you&rsquo;re growing, and it&rsquo;s essential for continued growth. Make sure it doesn&rsquo;t get lost on the sidelines. Ensure veteran and new team members are on the same page and continue to prioritize and share your cultural foundations. That way, corporate culture will be a competitive advantage as you expand &mdash; and you&rsquo;ll still like working at the company you founded.</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 to stay true to your core mission even when you&rsquo;re adding offices, setting up new divisions, recruiting agents, and hiring staff.</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/jun16_BB_grow.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=56176">jun16_BB_grow.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/jun16_BB_grow_0.jpg?1465334876" /> </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/jun16_LP_BB_grow.jpg?1465334898" /> </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/2016/05/how-spot-your-next-superstar-agent">How to Spot Your Next Superstar Agent</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/02/building-presence-purpose">Building ‘Presence With a Purpose’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/3-not-so-secret-steps-success">3 Not-So-Secret Steps to Success</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/03/7-ways-help-new-agents-succeed">7 Ways to Help New Agents Succeed</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Fri, 03 Jun 2016 22:32:12 +0000 echristoffer 21229 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Make a Perfect Match With Automated Renter Screening http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2016/06/make-perfect-match-automated-renter-screening <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"> Property managers and real estate professionals now have easy access to vital information about prospective tenants. Learn how this can help your business and what to watch out for. </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, June 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/dan-weil">Dan Weil</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>For years vetting potential apartment tenants was a laborious process for property managers. It could take several days to get information like credit history over the phone and via fax. But increasingly the screening task has become automated, saving a lot of time and effort.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything is available online, from credit to sex offender status, in real time,&rdquo; says Jeff Cronrod, president of the <a href="http://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org" target="_blank">American Apartment Owners Association</a>. The group has a service that provides credit reports, former addresses, eviction histories, criminal pasts, Social Security fraud information, and more. Where in the past it took multiple inquires to acquire this data, now it&rsquo;s one-stop shopping. &ldquo;When you have a tenant who wants to rent, you can generally get reports in 10 seconds. That makes this easier, cheaper, and faster.&rdquo;</p> <p>In addition to screening, there are many automated services landlords can choose from to filter their tenants. Most of them offer information on potential renters, including income and the areas cited above&mdash;often with little more than a person&rsquo;s name, date of birth, address, and Social Security number. The services then use a scoring engine to determine whether the prospective renter makes the landlord&rsquo;s cut.</p> <p>Todd Callow&mdash;rentals program leader for Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com&reg;, which helps to match landlords and renters&mdash;says its filtering tool for landlords can be individualized by users.</p> <p>&ldquo;Property managers can tune it based on their willingness to absorb risk,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They can look for certain profiles.&rdquo; For example, some landlords will accept only tenants who have renters&rsquo; insurance. Similarly, CoreLogic&rsquo;s Leasing Manager screening system utilizes 1,600 attributes in compiling a score for rental applicants that landlords can use to find the right tenants.</p> <p>Of course, there&rsquo;s a wide variety of vendors available. Some systems enable efficiencies after the rental contract is signed, such as managing rent payments electronically. HomeMe, a new app that offers an automated preapproval system for apartments, asks for renters&rsquo; income, verified with a pay stub. That information can be very handy for landlords, says HomeMe cofounder Mark Douglas. &ldquo;A renter may say he or she wants a $1,900 apartment, but he or she can afford a $2,900 apartment. Now when the manager is giving a tour, he or she can say, &lsquo;Do you want a larger unit,&rsquo; knowing they can afford it.&rdquo; The automated information allows rental agents to tailor tours to individual applicants.</p> <p>Real estate professionals say they have found the automated services quite useful. Scot Rife, an agent with the Scot Rife Group of Keller Williams Advantage Real Estate in Dayton, Ohio, utilizes a company called Cozy. &ldquo;The report [on potential tenants] comes up almost instantly, so we&rsquo;re able to make a rental decision quickly,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The background check is very thorough. We see seatbelt violations. So you know if you see that, you will see the important stuff.&rdquo; Rife also likes the fact that the potential renter sees his or her credit report before releasing it to his company: &ldquo;If we have to go over something, it&rsquo;s no surprise to the tenant.&rdquo;</p> <p>With any online service that stores personal information, security is an issue. Service providers say they spend a lot of time and money ensuring their systems are safe, but obviously any form of online commerce carries some level of risk. Make sure you understand the safety promises and risks of any system you are considering for your business.</p> <p>Also, keep in mind that automated screening doesn&rsquo;t eliminate the need for human judgment, Cronrod says. &ldquo;The reports are just a tool, not a decision maker,&rdquo; he says. Credit reports can be inaccurate, criminal histories may actually belong to someone else with the same name as the prospective renter, and fraud isn&rsquo;t always detected. &ldquo;Someone can apply [for an apartment] under a fake name or their child&rsquo;s name,&rdquo; Cronrod says. &ldquo;If you do it right, it will take a few hours to vet someone after receiving our report.&rdquo;</p> <p>As for pricing, some services charge a fee to landlords or rental agents for tenant screening and others charge a fee to the tenant. But in the end, the tenant almost always pays, as the landlord generally will charge an application fee to cover any vetting expenses. For example, the American Apartment Owners Association charges from $19.95 to $49.95 for its services, depending on how much information the landlord wants.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s no set formula for choosing a service. &ldquo;It is up to each individual [real estate professional] to compare the features and determine which of the services offers the best fit for their needs,&rdquo; Callow says. He says many of the biggest apartment owners use CoreLogic&rsquo;s Leasing Manager, while many medium-sized landlords, who might rent out 100 to 300 units, use AppFolio. Independent landlords tend to go with one of the many small companies in the field.</p> <p>Move Inc. works with Cozy, which is free for landlords and real estate professionals. &ldquo;Our mission is to provide piece of mind to both sides of the marketplace,&rdquo; says Gino Zahnd, Cozy&rsquo;s CEO. Callow says Cozy is at the forefront of the movement to provide a fuller renter profile that will stick across multiple moves for a renter. That profile can include rental payment history and recommendations from property managers. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a blend of renter empowerment and additional data for the landlord,&rdquo; Callow says. &ldquo;We think about it like Uber or Airbnb. In the real marketplace as a renter or transporter, you have a profile and are ranked. You get a deeper recommendation based on your actions.&rdquo;</p> <p>Other innovations coming down the pike could be fingerprint- and facial-recognition technology to check a potential tenant&rsquo;s background, Cronrod says. Fingerprints are in limited use now for federal criminal records, while facial recognition is a long way off, he says. But the need is there. &ldquo;We get a lot of bad data, and fingerprint and facial recognition would get rid of a lot of it.&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>Property managers and real estate professionals now have easy access to vital information about prospective tenants. Learn how this can help your business and what to watch out for.</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/jun16_C_background.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=25613">jun16_C_background.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/jun16_C_background_0.jpg?1464883225" /> </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/jun16_LP_C_background.jpg?1464883246" /> </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/2015/03/6-ways-avoid-tenant-from-hell">6 Ways to Avoid the Tenant From Hell</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2015/04/2015-property-management-product-list">2015 Property Management: Product List</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2014/03/turn-trouble-tenants-dream-tenants">Turn Trouble Tenants Into Dream Tenants</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 Commercial & Investment Real Estate Multiple-Family Properties Rental Properties Technology Thu, 02 Jun 2016 13:59:37 +0000 mwhite 21221 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How an Architect Can Save Your Listing http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2016/06/how-architect-can-save-your-listing <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"> When buyers have trouble envisioning living in a property, an architect can help them see the possibilities. </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, June 1, 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/william-j-hirsch">William J. Hirsch</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>You likely have forged relationships with real estate lawyers, bankers, and appraisers, among other professionals, calling on their expertise when you and your client need help navigating an aspect of the transaction. Have you considered when you might need an architect&rsquo;s point of view?</p> <p>Recently, a real estate agent called me about a house she had listed that had a &ldquo;unique&rdquo; floor plan. The first floor was awkwardly designed, and there was no place that leant itself to an intuitive seating arrangement to simply relax and watch television. As soon as buyers walked in, they turned right back around and walked out. The agent told me that none of her buyers could envision living in the house.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s where my perspective came in handy. As an architect, I&rsquo;m an &ldquo;idea guy,&rdquo; and where people see problems with a home&rsquo;s layout, I see opportunities. Like most architects, I have a vivid imagination and the ability to think and visualize in three dimensions. So when agents need a fresh set of imaginative eyes to look at a property, I&rsquo;m the guy they often call.</p> <p>So this agent wanted some ideas about how the house could be adapted to become more appealing to buyers. We spent an hour doing a walkthrough together, and I was able to visualize a simple renovation plan that she could present to her clients. I advised taking down a wall, moving a door to an adjacent room, and creating a proper entry foyer. The job would be far less extensive than she expected, and now armed with ideas, she was able to present the house in a new light. She had something to be excited about, and she could convey that excitement to her clients.</p> <h4>Focus on the Positive With Older Properties</h4> <p>Home inspections are designed to show buyers all the flaws in a home so they can make an educated decision about whether they want to purchase. Even if they like the location of a home, the home inspection report can take the wind out of their sails if it needs a lot of work. Soliciting the advice of an architect at this moment could help buyers keep their vision alive and refocus them on the positive aspects of the house.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t tell them about rotted window trim or leaky gutters; I tell them about how they can open up the kitchen, let more light into the great room, add more garage space, add on a first floor master suite, or create outdoor living spaces, all while reassuring them about the structural integrity of the house. I advise on the feasibility of remodeling and the opportunities that lay hidden within a home. That feedback can help a buyer see the pros more than the cons and keep the transaction on track.</p> <h4>Build the Vision for New Construction</h4> <p>If you sell building lots or raw land, you know how important visualization can be. I&rsquo;ve walked building sites with agents and their clients, and I ask the buyer what they would like their new house to be. Will it be private or will it make a statement? Will it need a walk-out basement? How large will it be?</p> <p>Then we discuss the opportunities for each property. We talk about where the sun rises and sets. Which way will they approach the house? Where would the garage and driveway be? Is the lot too steep or does it have a drainage problem? Where are the view opportunities? Through this discussion, we end up determining which lot suits their goals for their new house best. The buyers can now more easily make a choice and buy a property with confidence.</p> <p>Architects help practitioners and their buyers unravel the uncertainty that can block them from submitting an offer on a property. We don&rsquo;t sell anything; we remove doubts and open doors to new opportunities. If you&rsquo;re wondering whether architects &ldquo;give away&rdquo; free advice like I do, I can say that the smart ones will. For a few hours of their time, the architect can be introduced to potential clients who may be building or remodeling a house and need their services. Beyond that, the architect and agent get to know more about how they both work and relate to clients. If that goes well, it leads to valuable networking and mutual referrals.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t already know an architect, contact builders in your area for referrals or contact your local chapter of the <a href="http://www.aia.org/" target="_blank">American Institute of Architects</a>. The AIA will have a membership directory that often describes each architect&rsquo;s specialty. When you make friends with an architect, you will broaden your vision for properties while helping your clients be more confident in their decisions.</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>When buyers have trouble envisioning living in a property, an architect can help them see the possibilities.</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/jun16_HD_architect.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=53411">jun16_HD_architect.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/jun16_HD_architect_0.jpg?1464807533" /> </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/jun16_LP_HD_architect.jpg?1464807555" /> </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/2009/07/tips-for-hiring-architect">Tips for Hiring an Architect</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2008/02/why-architecture-matters">Why Architecture Matters</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2008/02/instant-architecture-expert">Instant Architecture Expert</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, 01 Jun 2016 17:40:32 +0000 gwood 21215 at http://realtormag.realtor.org