Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en Does Beauty Matter? http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/08/does-beauty-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"> Real estate practitioners discuss how to navigate stereotypes and judgments based on appearance on the job. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 28, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michelle-hofmann">Michelle Hofmann</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Maria Palacios knows she&rsquo;s pretty. She won a fourth-grade beauty contest and brushed aside repeated requests to compete in pageants in her teens and 20s. (She says she&rsquo;s too shy.)</p> <p>Looks didn&rsquo;t fuel her ego or hold her back. If anything, a pleasing appearance propelled her forward; she ran a successful beauty shop in Bellflower, Calif., for 25 years before entering real estate in 2003.</p> <p>Early on, a few trainers suggested Palacios, a sales associate with <a href="http://www.mother-sonteam.com" target="_blank">Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices</a> in Bellflower, cover up her body, pull back her hair, wear glasses, and act strictly businesslike to curtail flirty husbands or jealous wives.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I [already] presented myself very professionally. I don&rsquo;t dress sexy. I try to wear scarves and professional dresses that below my knees, but all my clothes are fitted,&rdquo; Palacios says.</p> <p>Research suggests that preconceived notions and stereotypes about looks &mdash; such as those held by Palacios&rsquo; trainers &mdash; can affect a person&rsquo;s career.</p> <p>In 2011, Israeli researchers Bradley J. Ruffle and Ze&rsquo;ev Shtudiner sent 5,312 fake resumes and photos to 2,656 job postings. They found that the good-looking hypothetical female candidates &mdash; who had almost identical qualifications to their less-attractive counterparts &mdash; had to send 11 resumes to get a call back from an employer; plain-featured job seekers got a call back after sending seven resumes.</p> <h4> Careers and Appearance</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_aug/aug14_Amy.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 308px; float: right;" />Amy Hillock, a sales associate with <a href="http://www.hillockrealty.com" target="_blank">RE/MAX DFW Associates</a>, beat out 22 women last October to be crowned Mrs. Texas United America.</p> <p>But Hillock is no pageant pro. A former professional ballet dancer who owned an event-planning company for 10 years before getting her real estate license in January 2013, she was talked into entering the regional pageant by Mrs. Dallas and Mrs. Oak Point.</p> <p>Still, she acknowledges, people treat her differently when they find out about her pageant past. More often than not, other people introduce her as Mrs. Texas United America rather than by her name.</p> <p>&ldquo;Sometimes it&rsquo;s good, and sometimes it feels like a double-edged sword. I prefer to be pretty anonymous most of the time,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t use it to get special treatment. I don&rsquo;t use it to get people to look at me. If I can use it, it&rsquo;s to help the community or help forward the charities and organizations I&rsquo;m involved with.&rdquo;</p> <p>But looks aren&rsquo;t necessarily a hindrance. On the contrary, a study of midcareer lawyers, surveyed five years and 15 years after graduating from the same school, showed that better-looking attorneys often chose a specialty that involved more contact with the public, and they earned more money, billing at higher rates than their counterparts.</p> <p>&ldquo;I expect all those things to appear in real estate,&rdquo; says the study&rsquo;s author, Daniel S. Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin who has researched the influence of beauty on labor markets for 20 years.</p> <p>In another study, Hamermesh found that attractive advertising executives who had the same skills as their more homely counterparts earned more annually: 12 percent more for men and 9 percent more for women. That&rsquo;s about $230,000 over a lifetime, based on an average wage of $20 per hour.</p> <p>Our image hang-ups, Hamermesh says, harken back to a time when beauty signified reproductive success. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just something left over in our psyche,&rdquo; he adds.</p> <h4> Three Tips for Dealing With Stereotypes</h4> <p>Passing judgment based on appearance may be human nature, but there are ways real estate pros can mitigate some stereotypes based on looks.</p> <p><strong>1. Work with clients:</strong> When working with couples, Hillock&rsquo;s tactic is to cultivate a relationship with the woman. Hillock usually contacts the wife or girlfriendwhen e-mailing. &ldquo;I copy the husband on the e-mail. When I call, I call the wife. When I go to the door and introduce myself, I always greet the wife first. I look at the wife more than I look at the husband, because I want her to know that I&rsquo;m there to sell her house,&rdquo; Hillock says.</p> <p><strong>2. Market your image with tact: </strong>Bruce Mulhearn, president and broker for <a href="http://www.bmulhearn.bhhscaprops.com" target="_blank">Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties</a> in Cerritos, Calif., says no matter what you look like, you should find the thing that&rsquo;s special to you and maximize it.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone has something unique. Attractiveness goes far beyond how we look,&rdquo; he says. But Mulhearn insists that his agents have a photograph on their business card. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not an ego thing. It&rsquo;s a marketing thing. It&rsquo;s important to identify to the world who you are,&rdquo; he adds.</p> <p>Dawn Van Dyke, e-PRO, SFR, a sales associate with <a href="http://www.movetothetreasurecoast.com" target="_blank">Keller Williams Realty</a> in Stuart, Fla., says you ultimately have to feel comfortable with how and where your image is posted. She doesn&rsquo;t put her picture on her signs and doesn&rsquo;t have a car magnet. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want people to contact me because of the way I look. And I&rsquo;ve had a few people come online and make comments about my picture and say they want to meet me. I usually just delete them,&rdquo; says Van Dyke.</p> <p><strong>3. Dress for success:</strong> Aim for appropriateness. &ldquo;What I wear in Florida, I wouldn&rsquo;t wear showing property in New York,&rdquo; Van Dyke says. Many clients, as well as other real estate practitioners, won&rsquo;t take you seriously if you&rsquo;re dressed sloppily, she says.</p> <p>Hillock recommends erring on the side of modesty. Choose fashions that might complement specific physical attributes in a tasteful way.</p> <p>Palacios says the best accessories are wisdom, skill, experience, confidence, and character. &ldquo;I work out every day. I stay fit. And I think looks do help in life. But so does charisma and energy and the synergy and passion that you have for the work; that&rsquo;s contagious,&rdquo; she says.</p> <h4> Stay Conscious of &lsquo;Lookism&rsquo;</h4> <p>Looks aside, mentoring and training, grooming, an inviting smile, and a sincere attitude and voice (even on the phone) can help real estate agents connect with clients on levels beyond the surface. Moreover, Mulhearn says the cost of antidiscrimination lawsuits should encourage brokers and managers to be more sensitive to and open about discussing the impact of &ldquo;lookism&rdquo; &mdash; discrimination in favor of the good-looking &mdash; in the workplace.</p> <p>To minimize discrimination, city officials in Helsinki, Finland, started accepting anonymous job applications in 2012. But the European trend has not gained traction in the United States.</p> <p>Hillock says beauty matters only when you make it matter.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Mrs. Texas United title isn&rsquo;t going to help me sell houses. It&rsquo;s just something I happened to do,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And if you&rsquo;re a very attractive person, that&rsquo;s great. But don&rsquo;t oversell that part. Sell your personality, not your looks. Because in the end, your personality is what you&rsquo;ll be left with. Looks fade.&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>Real estate practitioners discuss how to navigate stereotypes and judgments based on appearance on the job.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_rose.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24050">aug14_SM_rose.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_rose_0.jpg?1409341806" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_rose.jpg?1409341820" /> </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/relationship-management/article/2013/12/are-you-wired-succeed">Are You Wired to Succeed? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/09/learn-art-schmoozing-for-more-business">Learn the Art of Schmoozing for More Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/08/8-traits-can-improve-your-customer-relat">8 Traits That Can Improve Your Customer Relationships</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/buyers-guide/marketing/article/2013/09/2013-fashion-product-guide">2013 Fashion: Product Guide</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, 27 Aug 2014 22:40:54 +0000 echristoffer 17087 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Good Neighbor Finalists: Improving Lives and Communities http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/2014-good-neighbor-finalists-improving-lives-and-communities <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The 10 finalists for REALTOR® Magazine&#039;s 2014 Good Neighbor Awards better the homes, lives, and communities of those they touch. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/nar-staff">NAR Staff</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>REALTORS&reg; help to build communities, often supporting causes to build and improve neighborhoods and volunteering their time to better the lives and homes of the members of these communities. Today, the National Association of REALTORS&reg; recognized 10 REALTORS&reg; as finalists for REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s 2014 Good Neighbor Awards. &nbsp;</p> <p>This year marks the 15th year the Good Neighbor Awards program has recognized REALTORS&reg; who volunteer to serve the needs of their communities. The REALTORS&reg; being recognized have donated time, money, and energy to address the needs of the people and neighborhoods of their communities.</p> <p>In October, five winners will be selected from among the 10 finalists and will receive travel expenses to the 2014 REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in New Orleans, where they will accept their awards at a presentation in front of thousands of their peers. Winners will also receive a $10,000 grant and national media exposure for their community charity. In addition, five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant. The winners will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR&reg; Magazine. &nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;REALTORS&reg; are integral to successful communities and these 10 finalists are a perfect example of the impact their passion and goodwill can have on the lives of their friends and neighbors,&rdquo; said NAR President <a href="http://www.realtor.org/bios/steve-brown">Steve Brown</a>, broker-owner of Irongate Inc., REALTORS&reg;, in Dayton, Ohio. &ldquo;While we celebrate the 15th year of the Good Neighbor Awards, I am proud to witness the enormous impact that the REALTORS&reg; make, in their communities and around the world.&rdquo;</p> <p>The 10 REALTOR&reg; Magazine Good Neighbor Awards finalists are:</p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/restoring-smiles"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_carlisle_tricia.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt</a>,</strong> ABR, Beach Properties of Florida, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. &nbsp;<br /> Carlisle-Northcutt founded the Children&rsquo;s Volunteer Health Network, which provides free medical, dental, vision, and mental-health care to children in need. She has recruited a network of more than 90 volunteer health providers and, in 2012, she opened a stand-alone dental clinic with full-time staff. Their signature program is a mobile dental clinic, a specially outfitted bus that travels to schools to provide kids with preventive dental care. Since it launched in 2005, CVHN has treated more than 7,000 children and provided 50,000 free procedures that would have cost $3.7 million.<br /> <a href="http://www.cvhnkids.org" target="_blank">cvhnkids.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/play-it-again-and-again"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_dover_jill.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Jill Dover</a>,</strong> Sherwood Realty, Grand Rapids, Mich.<br /> Dover is president of Senior Sing A-Long, which enriches the lives of seniors in care facilities through free concerts, music therapy, and customized playlists to listen to with headsets. Dover coordinates 150 performances a month to 8,000 seniors in eight counties. She serves 67 long-term care facilities, veterans&rsquo; homes, and rehab facilities, with an emphasis on serving people with dementia or other cognitive impairments. Music, especially music from people&#39;s youth, promotes social interaction, communication, and joy, which help with the negative effects of aging.<br /> <a href="http://www.seniorsingalong.org" target="_blank">seniorsingalong.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/finding-peace-ranch"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_doxie_gail.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Gail Doxie</a>,</strong> RE/MAX Realty Group, Fort Myers, Fla.<br /> In 2007, Doxie founded the Miles of Smiles Foundation, which offers equine-assisted therapy for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Doxie, who went back to school to earn a master&#39;s degree in mental health counseling, helps veterans work with the horses to rebuild the trust and confidence that are keys to rebuilding their lives. She recruited volunteers to build a barn and fences on a 20-acre ranch and also lectures on the importance of helping veterans and their families deal with PTSD.<br /> <a href="http://milesranch.org" target="_blank">milesranch.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/voice-for-kids"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_firzsimmons_robert.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Robert J. Fitzsimmons</a>,</strong> Gateway Arms Realty Corp., Staten Island, N.Y.<br /> Since 1981, Fitzsimmons has been a devoted volunteer for the Seamen&rsquo;s Society for Children and Families, which finds foster homes for at least 300 New York City youths every year and supports them through educational programs. Fitzsimmons chairs the organization&rsquo;s annual calendar fund-raiser, which has raised almost $500,000, and has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in private funding. Every year at Christmastime, he spends $5,000 of his own money to send up to 250 foster families to Staten Island&rsquo;s annual Christmas show at the St. George Theatre.<br /> <a href="http://www.seamenssociety.org" target="_blank">seamenssociety.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/getting-and-staying-track"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_gokey_dorothy.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Dorothy (Dottie) Gokey</a>,</strong> Gokey Real Estate, Clinton, N.Y. &nbsp;<br /> Gokey is president of The Business Training Institute, which provides educational and support services to high-risk children and families in Utica, N.Y., including new immigrants and refugees. Gokey launched a series of weekly family workshops to address such subjects as bullying, drop-out prevention, and active parenting. She oversees an after-school program for 550 students speaking 42 languages, established parent resource centers in three high schools, and recruited parent liaisons who persuaded 200 dropouts to return to school last year. She also has a barn at her home where she collects food, furniture, and clothing to distribute throughout the community.<br /> No website</p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/renaissance-woman-lowcountry"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_locke_jane.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Jane B. Locke</a>,</strong> Century 21 Properties Plus LLC, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.<br /> Over the last 27 years, Locke has been president and held every other position on the board of Carolina Children&rsquo;s Charity&mdash;an organization that helps families pay for medical costs arising from children&#39;s birth defects&mdash;and then some. As a founding member, Locke is at every fund-raiser, and just since last January helped raise $433,000. CCC has awarded grants totaling $3.7 million to thousands of children to help pay for a variety of medically-necessary treatments, ranging from a few dollars for a medical alert bracelet to the thousands needed annually to cover medication and supplies for uninsured children with type 1 diabetes.<br /> <a href="http://www.carolinachildren.org" target="_blank">www.carolinachildren.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/place-call-home"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_pampeian_ed.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Edward P. Pompeian</a>,</strong> CCIM, GRI, Realty Growth Inc., Rochester, Minn.<br /> Pompeian founded Gift of Life Transplant House in 1984 to give organ transplant patients an affordable place to live while awaiting a organ donation or receiving post-operative treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Pompeian became aware of the need for affordable temporary housing after his own kidney transplant in 1973. He started by letting patients stay in his own home and then began purchasing homes and apartment buildings. The facility now has 87 rooms and logs more than 50,000 guest nights per year.<br /> <a href="http://www.gift-of-life.org" target="_blank">gift-of-life.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/refurnishing-lives"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_smoot_beth.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Beth Smoot</a>,</strong> Fonville Morisey, Raleigh, N.C.<br /> Smoot and her business partner saw the need for a &ldquo;food pantry for furniture,&rdquo; so they decided to put their staging expertise and business acumen to work. Since creating The Green Chair Project in 2010, they have furnished 624 households for people in need and eliminated 577 tons of home furnishings from landfills. Their 25,000-square-foot showroom features stylish groupings of gently used housewares for people who are transitioning from homelessness or incarceration, escaping domestic abuse, or recovering from a fire or natural disaster.<br /> <a href="http://www.thegreenchair.org" target="_blank">thegreenchair.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/bridging-child-care-gap"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_tran_lauer_rosemary.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Rosemary Tran Lauer</a>,</strong> CRE, Long and Foster, Vienna, Va. &nbsp;<br /> Lauer founded Devotion to Children in 1994 to fund childcare so low-income parents can work or continue their education in order to break the cycle of poverty. She knows first-hand the challenges of being a single parent, having fled Vietnam in 1975 and come to the United States with two young children. DTC, which helped 3,000 children since it was founded in 2006, also funds preschool and other educational opportunities that are directly related to a child&#39;s future success in school.<br /> <a href="http://www.devotiontochildren.org" target="_blank">devotiontochildren.org</a></p> <p><strong><a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/hearts-running-full"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/gn14_wilson_paul.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 151px; float: right;" />Paul Wilson</a>,</strong> RE/MAX Unlimited, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.<br /> Wilson is the founder of the Wolfson Children&rsquo;s Challenge, an annual fund-raising event that supports Wolfson Children&rsquo;s Hospital, the region&rsquo;s only medical facility for children. The event includes a 55-mile ultramarathon and relay events, and it has raised more than $2 million in five years. These funds have helped Wolfson purchase state-of-the-art MRI equipment with groundbreaking technology that can help early diagnoses and prevent some surgeries. The Children&rsquo;s Challenge has gotten so large that it is now held in the NFL stadium that is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars.<br /> <a href="http://wolfsonchildrenschallenge.org" target="_blank">wolfsonchildrenschallenge.org</a></p> <p>REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by primary sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance and realtor.com&reg;. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The 10 finalists for REALTOR&reg; Magazine&#39;s 2014 Good Neighbor Awards better the homes, lives, and communities of those they touch.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_GN_announcement.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=31051">aug14_GN_announcement.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_GN_announcement_0.jpg?1409148237" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_GN_announcement.jpg?1409148220" /> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:37:34 +0000 bsoron 17075 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Place to Call Home http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/place-call-home <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ed Pompeian, a two-time kidney transplant recipient, has dedicated his life to creating a home away from home for Mayo Clinic transplant patients. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mary Kay Deen, whose grandsons call her Booma, is a long way from home. She&rsquo;s traveled more than 1,000 miles from Bay St. Louis, Miss., to receive a stem cell transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to treat a form of blood cancer. Chemotherapy has taken her hair and left her tired. But the fight isn&rsquo;t gone from this petite woman with a slight southern drawl, and this is due, in large measure, to the encouragement she receives from her fellow patients at Gift of Life Transplant House.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Edward Pompeian, CCIM, GRI</strong><br /> Realty Growth Inc.<br /> Rochester, Minn.</p> </blockquote> <p>Founded by Edward Pompeian, who&rsquo;s also from Rochester, Gift of Life provides organ and tissue transplant patients and their caregivers with high-quality, affordable housing in a home-like environment while they prepare for, undergo, and recover from treatment at the Mayo Clinic.</p> <p>The human body can do amazing things: survive traumatic injuries, recover from organ transplants, and grow stronger over time. But the human spirit surpasses the body in its capacity for the miraculous, Pompeian says, which is why it was important to him to create an environment of camaraderie and community for his guests when he purchased an old Craftsman, eight-bedroom house blocks from the Mayo Clinic in 1984.</p> <p>Over the past 30 years, Gift of Life has grown and now consists of two buildings with 87 rooms. Each room has two beds&mdash;one for the transplant recipient, and another for a family member or caregiver&mdash;as well as a private bathroom. All the cooking is done in communal kitchens, and social spaces are set up to encourage interaction among residents. Guests sit at large wooden tables in the dining hall, or watch television together on cozy sofas. They walk in the outdoor garden or sit side-by-side in the row of rocking chairs that lines the front porch.</p> <blockquote> <p>&quot;I wanted to create a home environment, somewhere people could share their life experience going through transplantation.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Deen says she doesn&rsquo;t know if she&rsquo;d be recovering as well if she&rsquo;d stayed in the apartment she first moved to in Rochester. Staying at Gift of Life changed everything for her. &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t feel good&mdash;for instance, I was on oxygen for two weeks&mdash;people here cheer you on. They don&rsquo;t let you be sick,&rdquo; Deen says of the other patients.</p> <p>According to Executive Director Ginger Holmes, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients make up 60 percent of their guests, and typically stay between 100 and 120 days. (Heart and lung transplant patients average three to four months, while kidney transplant stays are the shortest at about three weeks.) Gift of Life asks for $35 per day if patients can afford it, but no one is turned away. If the house is full, they&rsquo;ll help patients find a hotel at a discounted rate until a room becomes available.</p> <p>Pompeian long dreamed of opening a transplant recovery house, where patients could stay for little or no cost. &ldquo;Hotels are not the place to be when you&rsquo;re going through something serious. When you&rsquo;re sick and you&rsquo;re not feeling well, there are stresses on family members,&rdquo; Pompeian says.</p> <p>Pompeian understands the difficulties personally. He was a kidney transplant recipient in 1973 when he was 21, following a series of misdiagnoses at other hospitals in his native Michigan. After developing an infection that destroyed his kidneys as a teen, Pompeian and his mother found hope at the Mayo Clinic and moved to Rochester. His father, Edward, stayed behind in Michigan to work and pay for the procedure. His mother, Helen, was his donor.</p> <p>Before the days of patient care houses or extended stay hotels, the family stayed in a hotel and later signed a year lease on an apartment so that Pompeian could stay in the area to receive follow-up care.</p> <p>After his recovery, Pompeian chose to stay in Rochester. He joined a real estate firm in 1975. &ldquo;I had been sick from junior high on, I barely finished high school, and I had no college degree, but the real estate company took a chance, and as God willed it, I excelled,&rdquo; he says. Pompeian was so successful, in fact, that he started his real estate company just three years later.</p> <p>He soon starting visiting other transplant patients regularly and even met his wife Jayne, a nurse at the Mayo Clinic, while meeting with fellow transplant recipient. Pompeian commonly heard people ask where they should stay. There was a need for nearby extended-stay patient housing, which only grew as transplant technology continued its rapid development.</p> <p>Today, Mayo handles more than a thousand transplants per year, and Gift of Life has expanded to meet the demand. In 2013 alone, some 4,100 people stayed at the facilities. The vast majority of their guests are referred directly from the Mayo transplant center.</p> <p>&ldquo;The whole transplant house concept from the beginning was on a hope and a prayer,&rdquo; says Pompeian. &ldquo;Today, our biggest donors are the people who stay in the house.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pompeian has continued to make the rounds with patients since his own surgery 40 years ago, including an extended stay in 2004 when he returned for his second kidney transplant. His body ultimately rejected the kidney donated by his mother 30 years earlier. This time he received another from his son Aaron. &ldquo;I do not know where God will lead us in the future, but the path he has outlined for me and Gift of Life has surely made a difference in thousands of peoples&rsquo; lives,&rdquo; says Pompeian.</p> <p><em>Contact Pompeian at <a href="mailto:edward26@aol.com">edward26@aol.com</a>. Find more information at <a href="http://gift-of-life.org" target="_blank">gift-of-life.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Ed Pompeian, a two-time kidney transplant recipient, has dedicated his life to creating a home away from home for Mayo Clinic transplant patients.</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/gn14_finalist_pampeian_ed.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=26374">gn14_finalist_pampeian_ed.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:06:32 +0000 Lily Oberman 17065 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Voice for Kids http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/voice-for-kids <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"> For three decades, Robert Fitzsimmons has raised awareness—and funds—for the needs of foster children and their families. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Robert Fitzsimmons considers himself a voice for the voiceless, and since money talks, that&rsquo;s how he&rsquo;s sticking to his word.</p> <p>For more than 30 years, Fitzsimmons has been an integral fundraiser for Seamen&rsquo;s Society for Children and Families, a New York nonprofit that places at least 300 youths with foster families every year and supports them through educational and family services. For all those years, Fitzsimmons has been running Seamen&rsquo;s annual calendar campaign, a drive to sell calendars featuring one foster family each month.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Robert J. Fitzsimmons</strong><br /> Gateway Arms Realty Corp.<br /> Staten Island, N.Y.</p> </blockquote> <p>Fitzsimmons, who has been a REALTOR&reg; for 37 years, began volunteering for Seamen&rsquo;s in 1981. Since then, he has raised more than $500,000 from calendar sales and another $750,000 from private donations, and he has also contributed nearly $300,000 of his own money. Throughout his 20 years in real estate, he&rsquo;s asked every business he comes in contact with to donate to Seamen&rsquo;s, Fitzsimmons says. And he also knows people in high places, having secured generous donations from local politicians and corporate executives.</p> <p>No matter where he goes or who he&rsquo;s schmoozing, though, it&rsquo;s the kids who are on his mind.</p> <blockquote> <p>&quot;The ones that suffer are the kids. They are the ones I am trying to help and give a better life to.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Politically, kids have no voice because they have no vote,&rdquo; Fitzsimmons says. &ldquo;I always felt that they needed someone with a strong voice to help them get the funding they need.</p> <p>&ldquo;These kids come from troubled families,&rdquo; he explains of the foster children who come through Seamen&rsquo;s, who have typically been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. &ldquo;Sometimes their mother is a substance abuser, and their father doesn&rsquo;t exist or doesn&rsquo;t support them.&rdquo;</p> <p>When he has frustrating moments during fundraising, Fitzsimmons recalls the comments of one speaker from 25 years ago at the organization&rsquo;s annual gala: the foster son of a woman who had raised dozens of foster children. &ldquo;He said, &lsquo;Every other heartbeat, I think of my [foster] mother,&rsquo;&rdquo; Fitzsimmons remembers. &ldquo;When there are times when it gets difficult to raise money, I think of that and it keeps me going.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;If we&rsquo;re going to have a chance for this world, we need to give them a chance.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Nancy Vomero, Seamen&rsquo;s president and CEO, says Fitzsimmons is &ldquo;the quiet guy behind the scenes,&rdquo; pulling the strings to make things happen for the organization and the families it benefits.&rdquo;We work with very difficult cases. He just wants what&rsquo;s best and knows that our children aren&rsquo;t as fortunate as other kids are,&rdquo; says Vomero, who explains that the children can be harder to place in foster homes because many have behavioral issues as a result of their sad past.</p> <p>Vomero says the biggest testament to Fitzsimmons&rsquo; volunteer work is how he got his children to join the cause: His daughter, Laura Volsario, joined the Seamen&rsquo;s Board of Trustees last year and is developing new fundraising initiatives, such as a rooftop garden where flowers will commemorate Seamen&rsquo;s foster children.</p> <p>Fitzsimmons&rsquo; generosity is also felt personally by many of the families. Every year at Christmas, he spends $5,000 of his own money to send up to 250 families to The Christmas Show, an annual holiday performance held at St. George Theatre on Staten Island.</p> <p>Joan Arnold, a foster mother with Seamen&rsquo;s for 26 years, was able to send the three special-needs foster children currently in her care, ages 10, 15, and 19, to the show. &ldquo;They came back just as happy as ever,&rdquo; Arnold says. &ldquo;[Fitzsimmons] has just been a blessing, that&rsquo;s all I can say. He always makes you feel like everybody is somebody &mdash; none of that looking down his nose at you. That makes foster parents feel very special.&rdquo;</p> <p>She says that Seamen&rsquo;s has been an unparalleled partner as she has raised her foster kids, particularly because it helps her get the specific care her children require. All three were born to drug-addicted parents. Arnold&rsquo;s oldest child, Selena, was a particularly heart-wrenching case. She had severe health problems because of the effects of her mother&rsquo;s drug and alcohol use during pregnancy and neglect in her infancy. &ldquo;Selena came into my life when she was 8 months old, but she looked like she was 2 months old,&rdquo; Arnold says. &ldquo;She had never been to the doctor. She was found in her mother&rsquo;s home, which was just in terrible condition.&rdquo;</p> <p>Seamen&rsquo;s has helped Arnold many times to find medical care for Selena, who has cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Arnold also has benefited from the organization&rsquo;s high-quality trainers who guide foster parents through parenting challenges &ldquo;because some of the kids come with a lot of baggage that we have never encountered in our lives,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>&ldquo;I always tell people that Seamen&rsquo;s is my extended family,&rdquo; Arnold adds. &ldquo;And I&rsquo;m so glad to have my kids in my life. You know, families have their good parts and their bad parts, and I feel like mine has more good parts.&rdquo;</p> <p>For Fitzsimmons, he hopes more people will get involved in helping children however they can. After all, they need a stable home lifeto have a brighter future, he says. &ldquo;If there were more people out there [volunteering] like me, that would be great, because these kids need someone to represent them,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;If we&rsquo;re going to have a chance for this world, we need to give them a chance.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Fitzsimmons at <a href="mailto:office@gatewayarmsrealty.com">office@gatewayarmsrealty.com</a>.Find more information at <a href="http://www.seamenssociety.org/" target="_blank">seamenssociety.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>For three decades, Robert Fitzsimmons has raised awareness&mdash;and funds&mdash;for the needs of foster children and their families.</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/gn14_finalist_firzsimmons_robert.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24724">gn14_finalist_firzsimmons_robert.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:37:20 +0000 Lily Oberman 17066 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Bridging the Child Care Gap http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/bridging-child-care-gap <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 she immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, Rosemary Tran Lauer struggled to pay for child care. Today, she’s helping others break the cycle of poverty. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Headlines about young children being left alone while their parents clocked in for their fast-food shift or went for a job interview outraged the public this year. But these stories of &ldquo;child neglect&rdquo; can obscure the underlying reality that confounds low-income families trying to get ahead every single day: the lack of accessible, affordable child care.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Rosemary Tran Lauer</strong><br /> Long &amp; Foster<br /> Vienna, Va.</p> </blockquote> <p>Rosemary Tran Lauer knows the story by heart and works to ease the hardship parents face by providing grants for affordable, high-quality child care and educational services for preschool children. She started the Devotion to Children organization in her basement in 1994 because she understands personally the challenges of living in poverty while caring for young children.</p> <p>Tran Lauer fled from Vietnam to Guam in 1975 with her 3-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter. After seeing her interviewed by reporters, an international rescue committee decided to sponsor her immigration to the United States. In Washington, D.C., she lived in a rundown efficiency apartment, working three jobs to make ends meet. She left her children with neighbors, who were virtual strangers, because she had no other option.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was brutal. But if someone is saying they&rsquo;re willing to take care of your kids, you do whatever you can,&rdquo; says Tran Lauer. &ldquo;[At times] I almost wanted to kill myself but I didn&rsquo;t want to leave my children orphaned.&rdquo;</p> <p>Even working 16-hour days, Tran Lauer was barely surviving. But she learned English and eventually moved to Virginia, attending school to become a hairdresser. Later, she opened a successful salon before getting into real estate in 2001. Her family grew to include a new husband and seven children.</p> <p>Thirty-five years after Tran Lauer&rsquo;s struggles, the problem of child care accessibility persists. In Fairfax County, Va., the average cost for in-home group child care for infants in 2013 was around $11,000 annually, according to county statistics. For child care centers, the cost for infants was about $16,000, more than the entire yearly earnings of a full-time minimum wage earner in Virginia. Even $15-an-hour wage earners would have to spend at least one-third of their income to provide child care for one infant. As of February 2011, Virginia had 11,018 children on a waiting list for child care assistance, according to the National Women&rsquo;s Law Center.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s painful to see people going though that now,&rdquo; Tran Lauer says.</p> <p>Now in its 20th year, DTC brings in about $200,000 annually, largely through three events: a Mother&rsquo;s Day run that&rsquo;s in its fifth year and draws more than 1,100 participants, a poker night, and their signature &ldquo;Red, Heart &amp; Soul&rdquo; dinner gala.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;I live a purposeful life and I see the changes in the lives I touch. They have hope, and I&rsquo;m so grateful and humble that I can provide an example &mdash; if I can do it, they can do it too. I&rsquo;m empowering the single moms out there.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The nonprofit has five main partnerships with child care organizations, which help distribute grants to day care sites, preschools, literacy programs, off-hour child care facilities, and summer programs. Since 2006, Tran Lauer estimates, DTC&rsquo;s grants have helped more than 3,000 children.</p> <p>In 2007, DTC started partnering with Cornerstones, an organization that advocates for those in need of affordable housing, child care, and other services, and provides funding for evening child care services to low-income and homeless families.</p> <p>&ldquo;Without this child care opportunity, parents would not be able to work or attend training to support their families,&rdquo; says Jody Tompros, Cornerstones&rsquo; division director of family stability and child health and development.</p> <p>Tompros recounts the story of a woman she calls &ldquo;Tessa,&rdquo; who was trafficked from Central America when she was 14. Tessa now lives in one of Cornerstones&rsquo; 52 affordable housing units with her six daughters. She had been working at a dry cleaner and was accessing a county child care subsidy, but then she lost her job and the day care funding. DTC&rsquo;s helped cover two weeks of child care so that Tessa could take an employment readiness course.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since she took that course, she really sees the value of education,&rdquo; says Tompros. Tessa now works as a house cleaner while her children are in school and is pursuing her GED.</p> <p>Some DTC grant recipients are middle-income earners in crisis.</p> <p>Lena Hamideh works for a law firm as a franchise resource specialist but found herself struggling to make ends meet when she and her husband split up. She couldn&rsquo;t afford to pay rent, bills, and child care costs on her own. She fell behind and the day care provider threatened to force her 4-year-old daughter out.&nbsp;The county&rsquo;s child care assistance program had a three-year waiting list, she learned. &ldquo;As a single mom, here I was making a great salary, but because of an unfortunate circumstance I was having to choose between work and day care,&rdquo; Hamideh says.</p> <p>DTC gave her an emergency grant covering two months of child care, which gave Hamideh the help she needed to finish the lease and move in with her parents.</p> <p>&ldquo;The expense [of child care] is so high that it leaves little room for anything else,&rdquo; says Hamideh. &ldquo;Rosemary really did save my life. Had it not been for Devotion to Children, I would be on welfare right now.&rdquo;</p> <p>Tran Lauer recently published a book called <em>Beggars or Angels</em> that chronicles her life story. She plans to use the proceeds to hire an executive director for Devotion who will advocate for affordable child care in the political arena.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need universal child care just as we have public school, so mothers don&rsquo;t have to leave their kids in the car or at the playground while they work,&rdquo; Tran Lauer says. &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s build preschools now so we don&rsquo;t have to build prisons later. That is my hope and prayer.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Tran Lauer at <a href="mailto:ROSEMARY.TRAN@Longandfoster.com">ROSEMARY.TRAN@Longandfoster.com</a> and learn more at <a href="http://devotiontochildren.org" target="_blank">devotiontochildren.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>When she immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, Rosemary Tran Lauer struggled to pay for child care. Today, she&rsquo;s helping others break the cycle of poverty.</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/gn14_finalist_tran_lauer_rosemary.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24618">gn14_finalist_tran_lauer_rosemary.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:10:37 +0000 Lily Oberman 17068 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Finding Peace at the Ranch http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/finding-peace-ranch <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 traditional counseling doesn’t work, traumatized veterans find that Gail Doxie and her horses offer genuine healing. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/kristin-kloberdanz">Kristin Kloberdanz</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>A year ago, Gail Doxie led a 24-year-old veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan into a meadow at her Fort Myers, Fla., ranch. She pointed out a group of horses and asked the young man to choose the horse that most resembled him before he was deployed, the one that resembles him now, and the one he would most like to be.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Gail Doxie</strong><br /> RE/MAX Realty Group<br /> Fort Myers, Fla.</p> </blockquote> <p>He first chose a young horse that kept flying happily over a fence, the one that was running and playing&mdash;that horse was just like him before he went to war. Then he picked the horse that was biting all the other horses and pushing them away as the horse that most resembles him today. For his third choice, the vet chose a horse way out in the pasture, munching on grass with another horse. &ldquo;He told me that&rsquo;s what he wants,&rdquo; Doxie says. &ldquo;He wants peace.&rdquo;</p> <p>In 2006, Doxie&rsquo;s 17-year-old son, Miles, died in an automobile accident two weeks before he was to leave for Air Force basic training. In her grief, Doxie, took over the care for her son&rsquo;s beloved horse, Marshall. She quickly realized that Marshall might grant both a coping mechanism for her and a way to help others who are suffering. Since then, Doxie has been focused on providing tormented veterans and their families some peace. She went back to school to get her master&rsquo;s degree in mental health counseling. She also received certifications in equine-assisted psychotherapy.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;We allow vets to use the property to sit with the horses to have a peaceful place as well as therapy. Sometimes they just need to be in a peaceful place without noise.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>In 2007, Doxie and her husband, Keith, opened Miles of Smiles, a 20-acre, eco-friendly ranch that offers free equine therapy to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to their families. While vets often have to wait eight to 10 weeks to see a therapist at the Veterans Health Administration, Doxie makes sure they receive weekly sessions as soon as they need it. &ldquo;One case I&rsquo;m now seeing had been admitted twice for attempted suicide,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;He was released and given an appointment for 45 days after his release from the hospital.&rdquo; Fortunately, he called Doxie&mdash;and was able to meet with her less than 48 hours later. Otherwise, she says, &ldquo;he wouldn&rsquo;t have survived.&rdquo;</p> <p>As a licensed mental health counselor, Doxie volunteers more than 25 hours a week at the ranch, while still engaged in her 26-year career in real estate. She works with approximately 15 veterans at a time throughout the year, at no charge (the VHA pays for none of the veterans&rsquo; therapy at the ranch). Through fundraisers, she has raised $40,000 for the Miles of Smiles Foundation in addition to her personal contribution. The Foundation now owns two horses and borrows several from other farms. Doxie has diligently recruited volunteers from the community, including college students and veterans, to build fences and stables and to donate materials. Among others, former and current patients volunteer to care for the horses. Doxie hopes that the ranch will eventually be able to hire more mental health counselors and a physical therapist for disabled vets and acquire additional therapy horses.</p> <p>Ann Arnall, the director of Lee County Human Services, says Doxie&rsquo;s work in the area is &ldquo;cutting edge.&rdquo; She says the demand for a program like hers is tremendous given southwest Florida&rsquo;s large veteran population of roughly 128,000 that ranges from older veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars to those who&rsquo;ve recently come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. &ldquo;Our mental health resources are limited, and Gail is certainly filling a void,&rdquo; Arnall says, adding that Doxie provides much more than a strictly timed, sterile office visit. &ldquo;She is not just there for counseling&mdash;she will do whatever it takes to help.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sgt. Robert Miniaci, a Purple Heart recipient who returned from Iraq in 2008, agrees. Suffering from severe PTSD after being shot in the leg while working route clearance, the Cape Coral resident says he used to spend days locked inside his apartment, too afraid to even drive to the grocery store. &ldquo;Nothing felt safe,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;With the route clearances I went through, driving was a big problem because everything looks like an IED [improvised explosive device or homemade bomb] in Iraq, even a plastic bag on the side of the road.&rdquo;</p> <p>He tried counseling at the VHA, but wasn&rsquo;t getting enough attention. Once his therapist had to reschedule and he went six months between appointments. Finally, he made his way to Miles of Smiles. &ldquo;The first time I talked to Gail as a patient, I talked for hours and she just listened,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It was the greatest thing. I know she already worked two jobs that day. I arrived at 6 p.m. that night, and I left around 9:30. She said we&rsquo;re going to work together and make my life easier to live.&rdquo;</p> <p>Miniaci, 32, says he&rsquo;s encouraged to visit the ranch any time he needs quiet moments. The single father brings his six-year-old daughter there as a safe, crowd-free place to bond with her. In addition, Doxie has given him unpaid jobs, such as helping coordinate volunteers. &ldquo;I have a purpose again,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;When I was a squad leader with men who depended on me, I had a purpose. But then I was injured, and I had no reason [to live]. Now, with the ranch, I have something to give my life to.&rdquo;</p> <p>While nothing will ever bring Miles back, helping people like him is something Doxie believes would have made him very happy. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an expensive program to run,&rdquo; she says simply, adding that the ranch is in desperate of a few basic supplies like a tractor, round pen, and covered arena. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;re giving back.&rdquo;</p> <p>She reflects upon a breakthrough she had with the 24-year-old Iraq vet mentioned earlier who was dealing with extreme anger and frustration after losing a buddy to friendly fire. When she asked him to run a horse through a series of obstacles, she told him he could not pull, push, or otherwise touch the horse physically but that he should be creative about using resources in the meadow to help him get the horse to do his bidding. He struggled for hours before finally looking around and seeing a team of volunteers watching him. &ldquo;He started crying because he realized he never asked for help,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Now he knows that even if he&rsquo;s aggravated and angry and doesn&rsquo;t want to be there, if he asks for help, people will help him.&rdquo;</p> <p>That young man is now thriving in college. &ldquo;This is what Miles would have wanted,&rdquo; Doxie says.</p> <p><em>Contact Gail Doxie at <a href="mailto:gadoxie@aol.com">gadoxie@aol.com</a>. For more information about Miles of Smiles, visit <a href="http://milesranch.org" target="_blank">milesranch.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>When traditional counseling doesn&rsquo;t work, traumatized veterans find that Gail Doxie and her horses offer genuine healing.</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/gn14_finalist_doxie_gail.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=33147">gn14_finalist_doxie_gail.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:58:39 +0000 mwhite 17073 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Getting—and Staying—On Track http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/getting-and-staying-track <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"> Dorothy Gokey helps immigrant families overcome cultural barriers as they reach for a better life. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/wilma-gonzalez">Wilma Gonzalez</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Each day, Dorothy Gokey lets them know they matter. They are immigrants, refugees, and struggling families steeped in diverse cultures, who have come to Utica, N.Y., in search of the American dream of a better life.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have the largest refugee center along the eastern coast,&rdquo; says Gokey of Utica, a city of 62,000 residents. &ldquo;Utica has over 18,000 immigrants and refugees, 88 different cultures, 42 languages, and 16 religions.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Dorothy Gokey</strong><br /> Gokey Real Estate<br /> Clinton, New York</p> </blockquote> <p>Recognizing the everyday pressures these families face just to learn the language, educate their children, and make a living, Gokey knew she could make a difference.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have always enjoyed working with kids and people&mdash;it&rsquo;s just something that evolved. When I see a need, I help,&rdquo; says Gokey, who has been a real estate practitioner for 41 years.</p> <p>For more than 10 years, Gokey has devoted her volunteer time and talent to The Business Training Institute, a nonprofit that provides resources and educational opportunities to low-income children and their parents.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Families need a place where they feel comfortable and know they have support... This is a place that encourages a positive lifestyle no matter where they come from.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Dorothy is known for her spirit of giving. She&rsquo;s so active in the community that she can find us resources that we would never have without her,&rdquo; says Patricia Laino, founder and executive director of The Business Training Institute, who recruited Gokey to become board president in 2009. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve grown so much since she has taken over leadership.&rdquo;</p> <p>As president, Gokey has worked in partnership with the school system to establish and expand educational programs that help students and their families. One important effort led by Gokey is the parent liaison program. The seven parent liaisons serve as the link between families and the schools, helping parents address challenges that might be getting in the way of student learning&mdash;and referring parents to resources like GED classes, ESL classes, tutoring, or even providing needed food or clothing.</p> <p>Parent liaison Carmen DeJesus says the key to making an impact is getting the families to work together. &ldquo;We help parents find strategies to promote student achievement, so they can be a part in helping their children succeed.&rdquo;</p> <p>Each year parent liaisons visit the homes of 250 high school students who are at risk of dropping out. &ldquo;Dorothy had the insight to recommend parent liaisons go into the homes of students who were not coming to school and meet with their parents,&rdquo; says Laino. The liaisons&mdash;who speak English, Spanish, Bosnian, Bantu, Russian, and Vietnamese&mdash;gently help parents address virtually any problem&mdash;whether the kids need tutoring or transportation. In the last three years, the parent liaisons have convinced 612 students to come back to school.</p> <p>Strengthening the school-family connection even further, Gokey found a grant that helped establish parent resource centers in three high schools. The parent resource centers&mdash;conference rooms with coffee, computers, newspapers, books, and a friendly face&mdash;serve as a safety net for parents to seek help without fear of embarrassment.&rdquo; Families need a place where they feel comfortable and know they have support,&rdquo; Gokey says.</p> <p>With the support of the schools, Gokey also launched the Family Learning Series, workshops that parents and children attend together. Once a month, more than 100 families gather to have dinner and listen to a speaker talk about subjects such as bullying, violence prevention, or the importance of respect and a positive attitude.</p> <p>One recent speaker, Matthew &ldquo;The Hammer&rdquo; Hamill, an amateur wrestler and ultimate fighting champion, spoke about his experience as a deaf child who was bullied and how he overcame it. &ldquo;The children and families learned that it&rsquo;s possible to overcome obstacles and still become successful,&rdquo; says Gokey. &ldquo;The children loved it.&rdquo;</p> <p>DeJesus says Gokey&rsquo;s leadership is the key. &ldquo;Ms. Gokey knows how to round off the edges and make parents open up to want to learn,&rdquo; says DeJesus. &ldquo;She is the reason they&rsquo;re coming to the programs, because they know they can trust her and she&rsquo;ll help them with whatever they need.&rdquo;</p> <p>Gokey also leads an after-school program for 550 children, night school for those who need extra credits to graduate, and online classes for the students who can&rsquo;t come to school because they need to care for their families. As a result of the online program, 72 students graduated from high school last year; 22 of them have gone to college.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have one student enrolled in nursing, one young man in the military who was homeless, and others who got jobs with the county,&rdquo; says Laino. &ldquo;These kinds of results show us that the programs are very effective.&rdquo;</p> <p>Gokey is always looking to find more ways to help. This winter she sought out clothing donations during the extremely cold weather&mdash;collecting hundreds of coats, hats, mittens, and pairs of boots. &ldquo;No child or parent was left without warm clothes during this harsh winter,&rdquo; says Carol Longo, executive officer of the Mohawk Valley Association of REALTORS&reg;.</p> <p>Gokey even has a barn at her home called the &ldquo;The Food Bank Drop-Off&rdquo; where people donate food, clothing, and furniture that she distributes to those in need, often people who were identified by the parent liaisons.</p> <p>Her focus remains on ensuring that children and their parents develop the life skills that can help them find greater economic opportunities.</p> <p>&ldquo;What really motivates me is helping these kids,&rdquo; says Gokey, &ldquo;because without an education, where are they going to be?&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Gokey at <a href="mailto:dorothy.gokey@aol.com">dorothy.gokey@aol.com</a>. For more information on The Business Training Institute, call 315-733-9848.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Dorothy Gokey helps immigrant families overcome cultural barriers as they reach for a better life.</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/gn14_finalist_gokey_dorothy.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=28279">gn14_finalist_gokey_dorothy.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:32:47 +0000 mwhite 17063 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Hearts Running on Full http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/hearts-running-full <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"> Paul Wilson created an ultramarathon to benefit sick children after his own son was near death, and now his effort is saving lives. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The first weeks of parenthood were terrifying for Paul Wilson. Not because of the usual insecurities about how to deal with an infant&rsquo;s late-night crying jags, diaper dilemmas, or a minor bump on the head. Wilson and his wife, Amy, were uncertain whether their newborn son, Luke, would survive.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Paul Wilson</strong><br /> RE/MAX Unlimited<br /> Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.</p> </blockquote> <p>In 2008, Luke was born with spina bifida, a congenital condition of the spinal cord which can leave a portion of the spine exposed. The birth defect was a surprise to everyone, including the doctors, since it was not detected during prenatal ultrasounds, Wilson says.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s our first child, and you&rsquo;re expecting it to be a wonderful experience&mdash;and it was tragic right away,&rdquo; Wilson recalls. &ldquo;We needed almost as much help as [Luke] did to get through it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Luke was rushed from a regional hospital to Wolfson Children&rsquo;s Hospital, the only children&rsquo;s hospital in the Jacksonville, Fla., area. At just three days old, he underwent spinal surgery and had to be treated for fluid developing around his brain. After three weeks in the hospital, Luke went home, and now six years later, he&rsquo;s thriving and living a normal life.</p> <p>Countless other families don&rsquo;t have such a happy ending, though. Those families are the ones Wilson thought about after he and his wife brought Luke home. He&rsquo;d known families whose kids had been severely impaired or died from their related illnesses. Wilson says he felt obliged to find a way to help these families and show his appreciation for the life-saving interventions that his son received at Wolfson.</p> <p>&ldquo;I just thought, you know, we are all here for a greater purpose, and this is mine,&rdquo; Wilson says.</p> <p>When he learned that the hospital was turning 55 years old, his wheels began to turn. He figured he could leverage the avid local running community &nbsp;&mdash; of which he is a part &mdash; by developing a charity run. With the help of the Wolfson hospital&rsquo;s foundation, he launched the <a href="http://www.wolfsonchildrenschallenge.org/" target="_blank">Wolfson Children&rsquo;s Challenge</a>, which includes 55-mile and 55-kilometer runs and relay events. The event also pays tribute to 55 children who have been helped by Wolfson.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some kids are terminal and some are going to have issues for the rest of their lives, and this is a day to forget about all that,&rdquo; Wilson says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re honoring them in a positive light &mdash; it&rsquo;s a celebration. It&rsquo;s great for healing these families.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Challenge has grown dramatically since it started in 2009. The next run, to be held Jan. 31, 2015, is expected to draw more than 3,000 participants, Wilson says. That&rsquo;s a group so large that the host venue for the event is being moved to Everbank Field, home of the NFL&rsquo;s Jacksonville Jaguars.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;I never imagined this event would turn into what it has become,&rdquo; Wilson says. And that includes its phenomenal level of fundraising. In five years, the Challenge has brought in more than $2 million through corporate sponsorships, community funding, and annual telethons. Wilson spends 15 hours a week through the year securing corporate donations and spreading the word about the event to local media and running groups.</p> <p>The proceeds have paid for a $1.2 million 3 Tesla MRI machine, which uses groundbreaking technology to allow doctors to make earlier diagnoses of diseases and prevent some surgeries. Ten to 15 children&mdash;some with life-threatening illnesses&mdash;are helped with the MRI every day, says Joanna Blinn, Wolfson&rsquo;s special gifts coordinator and staff liaison to the Wolfson Children&rsquo;s Challenge committee. The next goal is to fund a next-generation medical camera that can give doctors a far better analysis of organ function than a CT scan.</p> <p>&ldquo;Paul&rsquo;s vision for this event &mdash; it&rsquo;s really quite incredible,&rdquo; Blinn says. &ldquo;The reach of this event is unlike anything I&rsquo;ve seen.&rdquo;</p> <p>Since the Challenge began, some parents of sick children have been moved to join Wilson on the event&rsquo;s board. Toby Lentz signed up to help organize the event after his 1-year-old daughter, Maddux, became one of the 55 children honored in the run. Maddux developed encephalitis, a viral infection that causes swelling of the brain, shortly after she was born. She was treated at Wolfson, but lives with permanent brain damage, Lentz says.</p> <p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t know what her future looks like, but for now, she&rsquo;s the happiest little girl in the world,&rdquo; Lentz adds. Lentz helps with race logistics, such as setting up water stations, mile markers, and relay events.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I also love to get on my soap box and tell people how lucky we are to have a facility like Wolfson,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;A lot of people where we live don&rsquo;t know about Wolfson.&rdquo;</p> <p>Lentz has also turned to Wilson as a mentor of sorts, as Wilson understands the struggle and keeps him focused on thinking positively.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard for me to focus on the present, and Paul does a really good job of reinforcing that,&rdquo; Lentz says. &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t predict anything; you just have to be thinking about the days you have. And he reminds us how lucky we are to have our daughter today.</p> <p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s a role model, an inspiration. He&rsquo;s why my wife and I really got committed to the Wolfson Children&rsquo;s Challenge.&rdquo;</p> <p>Wilson says he just wants to show other families struggling to stay strong through a child&rsquo;s illness that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He hopes every child turns out like his own son, who is now 6 years old and the star of his school&rsquo;s swim team.</p> <p>&ldquo;He got the award for the most improved 6-and-under swimmer,&rdquo; Wilson boasts. &ldquo;He is absolutely amazing. They call him the mayor at his school because he&rsquo;s really outgoing.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is why I stayed strong and why all of these families should stay strong. They could have this for their children one day.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Wilson at <a href="mailto:pwilsonsales@gmail.com">pwilsonsales@gmail.com</a>. Find out more at <a href="http://wolfsonchildrenschallenge.org" target="_blank">wolfsonchildrenschallenge.org.</a></em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Paul Wilson created an ultramarathon to benefit sick children after his own son was near death, and now his effort is saving lives.</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/gn14_finalist_wilson_paul.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=27578">gn14_finalist_wilson_paul.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:50:01 +0000 Lily Oberman 17064 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Lighting Primer: Don’t Be in the Dark http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2014/08/lighting-primer-don-t-be-in-dark <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"> Good lighting can make a room look more attractive, larger, more romantic — even safer. Help home owners make smart decisions that turn buyers on. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 26, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Don&rsquo;t let home owners struggle with what type of lamps to buy or how many lights to use inside and outside their home. Get up to speed on illumination options &mdash; bulbs, fixtures, terminology, and more &mdash; so no one&rsquo;s left in the dark.<br /> <br /> Design experts have provided REALTOR&reg; Magazine with answers to common lighting questions, which will help you better serve your clients:<br /> <br /> <strong>Q. How much light does a room need?</strong><br /> <strong>A.</strong> It depends on a room&rsquo;s size, color palette, and natural light and the function it serves, says Joseph A. Rey-Barreau, consulting director of education for the American Institute of Architects and associate professor at the University of Kentucky. He says most rooms should have three different layers: ambient or general lighting that gives a room its overall light, task lighting that sheds light on an area so users can perform a function such as reading at a computer, and accent lighting that focuses on a specific architectural detail, like a coffered ceiling.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q. How do home owners achieve specific effects in each room?<br /> A. </strong>They can use a mix of fixtures and lamps, depending on the room&rsquo;s size and furnishings, as well as the desired brightness and color quality of the lighting, say Rey-Barreau.<br /> <br /> Home owner Suzanne Alfieri wanted different lighting than the ceiling high hats and two pendants she had before she and her husband redid their dated 1990s kitchen. John Starck, president and CEO of <a href="http://www.showcasekitchensny.com" target="_blank">Showcase Kitchens</a> in Manhasset, N.Y., added new cans with more energy-efficient bulbs that worked better with the room&rsquo;s different ceiling heights and skylight. He also installed sconces with shades on either side of a 60-inch range to add a soft glow.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q: What about the type of lamps or bulbs?<br /> A: </strong>Due to the need to cut energy use, the federal government has required that certain bulbs be phased out over time, and states have instituted regulations, too. This has led to the increased use of LEDs, which are much more efficient and give off less heat than traditional incandescents. One area where they have helped greatly is in the ceiling, eliminating the &ldquo;Swiss-cheese effect&rdquo; caused by many cans. Though they used to cost much more than incandescents, prices for LEDs have come down &ndash; and they don&rsquo;t have to be replaced as often, which helps in hard-to-reach places such as high ceilings and closets, says Ryan Ramaker, product marketing manager at <a href="http://www.acuitybrands.com/" target="_blank">Acuity Brands</a>. Colors have also been improved to match warmer incandescents, and they work in almost all applications, both outdoors and indoors, says Michael Murphy, interior design and trends producer of <a href="http://www.lampsplus.com/" target="_blank">Lamps Plus</a>, a lighting retailer.<br /> <br /> Another good option is compact fluorescent lamps, which are slightly less efficient than LEDs, yet more efficient than standard incandescents. Incandescents are still useful as halogen incandescents, particularly for table lamps and recessed lamps. Other fluorescent lights are seldom used any more, says Rey-Barreau.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q: What should home owners look for on packaging to buy the best light?<br /> A:</strong> Thanks to the Federal Trade Commission&rsquo;s Energy <a href="http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus-82-energyguide-labels-faqs" target="_blank">Labeling Rule</a>, lightbulb packages must be labeled with &ldquo;<a href="http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus26-lighting-facts-questions-and-answers-manufacturers" target="_blank">Lighting Facts</a>&rdquo; to help make choices, similar to how food packages are labeled with &ldquo;Nutrition Facts.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Here are three key definitions:<br /> <br /> <strong>Lumens:</strong> Measures the amount of light produced (rather than the old method of watts, which indicated how much energy was used). A 100-watt incandescent bulb produces about 1750 lumens.<br /> <br /> <strong>Kelvins: </strong>The color of the bulb&rsquo;s light. A warm, white LED usually is rated below 3000 Kelvin, while a cooler blue is typically above 3500, says Rey-Barreau.<br /> <br /> <strong>Color Rendering Index (CRI): </strong>Measures the accuracy of color from a lamp on a scale of 0 to 100. Higher numbers provide better color rendering. Many choices today are dimmable, which helps vary effects and avoid having a shopping mall ambience in a home, says <a href="http://kinzieproperties.com/about/our_team/kelly-daiberl/" target="_blank">Kelly Daiberl</a>, design coordinator and real estate salesperson at Kinzie Real Estate Group&rsquo;s custom homes division in Vernon Hills, Ill.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q: What about cost?<br /> A:</strong> Rey-Barreau estimates that yearly costs are based on three hours of use daily for a year. A 13-watt CFL might cost $1.57 a year while an 18-watt CFL might run $2.17 a year for the same daily amount of light. LED bulbs cost about $15 apiece now, but might have been double two years ago. LED tape that&rsquo;s one-quarter-inch is only $7 to $10 a foot and works well underneath cabinets since it&rsquo;s barely visible. A 60-watt incandescent might last 1,000 hours, a typical CFL might last 10,000 hours, and a LED 50,000 hours.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q: When should lighting choices be made in the decorating or remodeling process?<br /> A:</strong> Early on, and preferably before rooms are painted, patched, or wallpapered in case wiring or outlets have to be installed or holes cut for cans, chandeliers, swing-arm wall lamps, or sconces. A good example would be cove lighting, a ceiling addition that requires concealing low-voltage strips for a nice glow, says Daiberl. Choices should also be made in conjunction with furnishing plans since it&rsquo;s wise to have some type of lighting close to a sofa, chair, or bed. Too often cans are installed in a ceiling willy-nilly rather than with a purpose in the room design. Usually, 5-inch-diameter cans should be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart in a 9-foot high ceiling. Many room lighting systems allow home owners to alter moods from their computer, phone, or tablet without great cost.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q: What are some helpful tips for sellers?<br /> A:</strong> Advise home owners to be sure their electrical panel is updated to a minimum of 200 amps. Also, tell them to play up positive features such as exterior specimen trees and walkways and interior features such as furnishings, architectural structures, or artwork. Every lamp or fixture should be in good working order with the right lumens and bulbs, and fixtures should be squeaky clean. The biggest mistake home owners make is using inappropriate lighting in a room. Remember, lighting needs to change over the course of a day.<br /> <br /> <strong>Q: Finally, any trends home owners should know about?<br /> A:</strong> When it comes to fixtures, Lamps Plus&rsquo; Murphy notes a trend for antique bronze, blue hues, exaggerated sizes, floor lamps, and the continued appeal of Mid-Century Modern designs.</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>Good lighting can make a room look more attractive, larger, more romantic &mdash; even safer. Help home owners make smart decisions that turn buyers on.&nbsp;&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/aug14_HD_Lighting.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70683">aug14_HD_Lighting.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_HD_Lighting_0.jpg?1409250245" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_HD_Lighting.jpg?1409250261" /> </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/2012/06/illuminating-options-in-lighting">Illuminating Options in Lighting</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2011/02/finishing-touches">Finishing Touches</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2013/01/cold-weather-warm-home">Cold Weather, Warm Home</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2012/03/4-home-technologies-for-energy-efficiency">4 Home Technologies for Energy Efficiency </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Architecture Coach Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:36:33 +0000 echristoffer 17077 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Play It Again... and Again http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/play-it-again-and-again <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"> Jill Dover has found a universal prescription for those with memory loss, physical challenges, and sometimes no hope. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When depression creeps in and hopeless thoughts take over, it can be hard to find the light. Add to that dementia and the inability to live independently, and the sufferer can feel truly lost. While no one is immune to these afflictions, seniors and veterans are surely the most vulnerable.</p> <p>Jill Dover has found a seemingly magic and deceptively simple elixir: music. Whether a familiar patriotic song, a swing tune, or a hymn, Dover recognizes that music can be powerfully rejuvenating for those accustomed to existing in dead silence or with the monotonous background noise of a TV.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Jill Dover</strong><br /> Sherwood Realty<br /> Grand Rapids, Mich.</p> </blockquote> <p>Dover founded Senior Sing A-Long 10 years ago to bring music into the lives of seniors, veterans, and the disabled, some living out their days in nursing homes and assisted-care facilities. Her efforts are helping 8,000 people a month in Grand Rapids and eight surrounding counties to benefit mentally and physically through regularly scheduled musical programs.</p> <p>Dover first witnessed the power of music when her late grandmother, Katherine Van Haaften, moved into a nursing home after showing signs of dementia and breaking her hip. The facility offered quality care, but that wasn&rsquo;t sufficient to lessen her feelings of hopelessness.</p> <p>&ldquo;She had always been so spunky and never considered herself old. She would point to peers who weren&rsquo;t as active and whom she delivered meals-on-wheels to and say, &lsquo;Look; they&rsquo;re not doing what I&rsquo;m doing!&rsquo;&rdquo; recalls Dover. When her mental and physical capabilities dramatically declined, Van Haaften sank into a depression. &ldquo;She didn&rsquo;t want to live,&rdquo; says Dover.</p> <p>Then, one day, Van Haaften attended a piano performance, and it was as though it flipped a switch. &ldquo;She had always loved music, and began singing, tapping her toes, and swaying to the songs from her wheelchair. She became the grandmother I knew,&rdquo; Dover says. Other residents reacted similarly&mdash;clapping, moving their bodies, recalling tunes from the past, and in some cases dancing. &ldquo;I realized that even if parts of people&rsquo;s brains are destroyed, there are other parts that remain and connect them with music. These people should feel joy in their lives rather than think they&rsquo;re in a place to die,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>When Dover&rsquo;s mother inquired how often the pianist came, she was told the facility couldn&rsquo;t afford it more than once a month. Brainstorming with her parents and the family pastor, Dover decided she would start an organization to fund more performances at a greater number of facilities. Dover reached out to other nursing homes and inquired if they&rsquo;d be interested in having musicians perform therefor a nominal fee. Everyone responded enthusiastically, so Dover went to work to line up an ensemble willing to be paid lower less than union scale. One day while at a donut shop, she heard an accordionist play, and asked if he&rsquo;d be interested. He agreed, and before long, she had signed on five of his colleagues.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;With the sound of the piano music, she lit up, began singing along, tapping her toes, swaying in her wheelchair, and slowly became the grandmother I knew before her depression sank in.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Boosting the number of musicians on board and the frequency of performances, has made a huge impact on the residents&rsquo; lives. One sixty-something veteran hadn&rsquo;t spoken in three years and the staff assumed he was mute. But after a guitar player started strumming and singing &ldquo;You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. . .&rdquo; the man uttered three words from the song. Jaws dropped. &ldquo;A staff member called the man&rsquo;s wife, and we thought she was unhappy since the call was met with silence. But she quickly asked when the musician was returning so she could attend,&rdquo; Dover says. &ldquo;She did, and bawled as her husband spoke again. Music has the ability to stimulate memories other senses can&rsquo;t.&rdquo;</p> <p>When Dover incorporated her organization as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, she had 20 musicians, and 15 facilities. Ten years later, she now has 125 musicians, including her broker, Paul Sherwood, GRI, who plays the drums in his band, <a href="http://www.sherwoodrealty1.com/Music/Music.html" target="_blank">BigBandBeat</a>, plus a man who makes music with spoons, and singers skilled in hymns, iconic wartime songs such as &ldquo;Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,&rdquo; and classics like &ldquo;Take Me Out to the Ball Game.&rdquo;</p> <p>The musicians perform at 67 facilities, earning an average of $75 per group for a performance. &ldquo;The money is almost secondary,&rdquo; says Sherwood, whose group of 10 typically receives $120 for a nursing-home gig versus its customary $2,500. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very rewarding. You see how people come alive when they hear us play,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>And with grants from the Fremont Community and Keller Foundations, Dover hired her first paid staff member, board-certified musical therapist Libby Norris, last year. Norris has worked to expand programming and give seniors iPods with personalized playlists and noise-cancelling headphones. &ldquo;Because the residents&rsquo; challenges are all different, their needs vary,&rdquo; Norris says. For some, certain songs jog their memory. For others, they thrive by shaking a tambourine or simply by staying awake and interacting with a group.</p> <p>Proof of success is that the performances often are the best-attended events at each facility. &ldquo;They reach the broadest number of our residents,&rdquo; says Susan Lamos, Life Engagement Director at Vista Springs in Wyoming, Mich., who adds, &ldquo;Music helps those who are lonely or agitated. It gets them to smile and be involved.&rdquo;</p> <p>Such stories are sweet music to Dover. &ldquo;I hope that the best life is available for everybody until their end. Music definitely helps to do that,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><em>Contact Dover at <a href="mailto:jdover@grar.com">jdover@grar.com</a>. Find more information at <a href="http://www.seniorsingalong.org/" target="_blank">seniorsingalong.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Jill Dover has found a universal prescription for those with memory loss, physical challenges, and sometimes no hope.</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/gn14_finalist_dover_jill.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=28852">gn14_finalist_dover_jill.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:54:55 +0000 Lily Oberman 17070 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Refurnishing Lives http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/refurnishing-lives <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"> Beth Smoot has created an innovative, greener option for those who need a second chance to create a home. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>As any real estate pro can attest, it&rsquo;s hard to convince sellers to declutter. Beth Smoot has found that the reason behind their resistance isn&rsquo;t a simple drive to accumulate.</p> <p>With help from friend and home stager Jackie Craig, Smoot has tried to show sellers she works with in the Raleigh, N.C., area thattheir furniture and other household items could be deeply valued by people they&rsquo;d never met. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s an emotional desire to hang onto things,&rdquo; Smoot said. &ldquo;People value them, and they want someone else to value them, too.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Beth Smoot</strong><br /> Fonville Morisey<br /> Raleigh, N.C.</p> </blockquote> <p>At their church and through volunteer work, Smoot and Craig heard about victims of domestic violence, people emerging from prison, andthose recovering from substance abuse who were starting out in a new home with few if any furnishings. The two tried to jump in whenever they could, but their efforts were haphazard. &ldquo;The word would go out, and there would be this fire drill,&rdquo; Smoot recalls. &ldquo;We thought, &lsquo;There should be some way to connect these two groups.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Smoot started researching. She found that while Raleigh, N.C., has its fair share of food pantries and clothing drives, there was simply no equivalent for home goods. Sure, people could take their chances at Salvation Army or Goodwill stores, but they were competing against antique and bargain shoppers.</p> <p>So in 2010, the two women founded The Green Chair Project, a place to collect high-quality housewares donated by people all over Raleigh. The charity has a unique business model: It gets referrals fromnonprofit partner agencies that have clients in need of home furnishings. The clients come in with a certain number of &ldquo;points,&rdquo; and furniture is priced out by how many points the items &ldquo;cost.&rdquo; The client can choose the items they want and need, paying with pointsas they go. In just a few short years, The Green Chair Project has been able to serve more than 1,900 people and keep 577 tons of household goods out of landfills.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;You take one step, and then another step, and then somebody comes up and they&rsquo;re walking beside you.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>But it&rsquo;s not just the business side that&rsquo;s distinctive: The space is just what you might expect from a duo ensconced in real estate and home staging. Tracie Brown, a Red Cross workforce engagement officer, says the charity is the only one like it in the 53 counties in its eastern North Carolina region. The Red Cross is a partnering agency with The Green Chair Project.</p> <p>&ldquo;The quality of all the items at The Green Chair Project is amazing,&rdquo; Brown says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s like going into a showroom. It is a warm and welcoming environment.&rdquo;</p> <p>Some nonprofits work with their clients to help them save up for the small fee that goes to keep The Green Chair Project up and running, while other agencies cover all or part of the cost. Regardless of where the money comes from, Brown says the system allows participants to feel a true sense of ownership.&rdquo;It really creates hope for them to be able to pick out items and pay for them, not have it given to them. &hellip; That relieves a lot of the issues of taking charity,&rdquo; Brown says. &ldquo;The onus is really put on the families to take charge of their recovery.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brown also credits the charity for creating specific guidelines for partner agencies, such as helping them qualify participants, prepare for the visit, and aid with other tasks. Smoot, who is also a lawyer, set up the legal and procedural foundations that would allow the project to both grow and be replicated by other groups.&rdquo;The Green Chair Project is the perfect example of a disaster services partnership. &hellip; Beth and Jackie have set up a business model for an organization than can be replicated in any community,&rdquo; Brown says.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t set out to make a business; we set out to make a difference.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Smoot says she sees her work as &ldquo;a way to support the other agencies without competing with them.&rdquo; People are often eager to donate furniture to their favorite charities, but small organizations usually lack the necessary storage and distribution systems.</p> <p>&ldquo;They were glad to have that burden lifted,&rdquo; Smoot says. &ldquo;Agencies are in the business of job training, housing, and those types of services. They&rsquo;re not in the furniture business.&rdquo;</p> <p>The art of partnership is also expressed in The Green Chair Project&rsquo;s volunteers. A former food stylist compiles complementary dining sets from various donors. A quilter matches up comforters, sheets, and shams. A graphic designer creates fliers, while their &ldquo;guy with a truck&rdquo; sets up an entire waste management system for donations that are better off recycled. &ldquo;One of the most exciting things has been [figuring out how to] let others really use their gifts,&rdquo; Smoot says. Whenever volunteers ask what they can do to help, Smoot&rsquo;s response is: &ldquo;What do you like to do? What are you good at?&rdquo;</p> <p>The partnership analogy even extends to Smoot&rsquo;s real estate business. Her business partner, Peggy Duke, wanted to help the charity but realized the best way to do so was to relieve some of Smoot&rsquo;s business responsibilities at work. &ldquo;She said, &lsquo;The way that I&rsquo;m helping the Green Chair is I&rsquo;m helping you,&rsquo;&rdquo; Smoot recalls. &ldquo;She was a lifesaver.&rdquo;</p> <p>Smoot&rsquo;s advice for others who want to follow her path is to learn when to accept help. It can be tough, she says, when there&rsquo;s a project that you see as your baby. But in the end, it will only be better because of the partnership. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of power in two people coming together,&rdquo; Smoot says. &ldquo;One plus one equals three.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Beth Smoot at <a href="mailto:bsmoot@fmrealty.com">bsmoot@fmrealty.com</a>. Find more information at </em><a href="http://www.thegreenchair.org/" target="_blank"><em>thegreenchair.org</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Beth Smoot has created an innovative, greener option for those who need a second chance to create a home.</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/gn14_finalist_smoot_beth.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24032">gn14_finalist_smoot_beth.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:04:40 +0000 Lily Oberman 17072 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Renaissance Woman of the Lowcountry http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/renaissance-woman-lowcountry <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"> Jane Locke saw an absence of local charities in her South Carolina community. So began her legacy of multitalented service, now stretching into its third decade. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>From preservation societies to educational foundations to healthcare organizations, Jane Locke&rsquo;s charitable resume runs long. But her success with fundraising for large national charities left her frustrated. Why did they need to throw swanky volunteer recognition parties? And why were the funds she raised locally distributed across the nation, rather than staying in the low country of South Carolina?</p> <p>&ldquo;So much money goes into administration,&rdquo; Locke says. As a volunteer, &ldquo;you have a right to ask, &lsquo;What do you do with your money?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Jane B. Locke</strong><br /> Century 21 Properties Plus LLC<br /> Mt. Pleasant, S.C.</p> </blockquote> <p>Not hearing a satisfactory answer, Locke and a group of two dozen other like-minded individuals&mdash;many of whom were local firefighters&mdash;decided it was time to start their own charity in 1987. Their mission: to help the families of children with birth defects cope with financial burdens. And that&rsquo;s how Carolina Children&rsquo;s Charity was born. Locke helped the charity obtain 501(c)3 status and has since held every possible position on the board, including 18 years as president. The mother of two daughters unflinchingly refers to the charity as her &ldquo;third child.&rdquo;</p> <p>The truth that spurred her charitable passions is as ironic as it is profoundly sad: the stillborn birth of her third child&mdash;a son, who was the fraternal twin of her perfectly healthy, younger daughter.</p> <p>&ldquo;Had he survived, he would have had one arm and one leg shorter than the other,&rdquo; Locke recalls tearfully. &ldquo;It definitely would have been a big fight for him. Maybe psychologically that&rsquo;s one of the reasons I&rsquo;ve been so involved.&rdquo;</p> <p>Since 1987, CCC has distributed more than $3.7 million to offset healthcare costs for thousands of children. The organization collects money mainly through two major events&mdash;a telethon and a 5K walk/run&mdash;and uses the money to fulfill grant requests from families in need. The organization pays vendors, medical providers, and pharmacies directly, rather than sending reimbursement checks to families.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to say no when you know a child needs something. A lot of times what this child needs can be life or death.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The largest grants are in the thousands of dollars, often covering a wheelchair or an uninsured child&rsquo;s diabetic supplies for the year. The smallest grant Locke can remember was around $9, to cover a child&rsquo;s medical alert bracelet. The charity works closely with medical providers to negotiate lower prices on behalf of the children, who the charity calls &ldquo;diplomats.&rdquo;</p> <p>Whitney Reafler&rsquo;s daughter Dori, 6, is a diplomat for CCC. She has a genetic disorder called CASK Gene Mutation, which is so rare that she is one of only about 35 known cases worldwide. Ever since Dori was six months old, the charity has been there to help pay for everything from prescription baby formula to a wheelchair and leg braces. They also helped offset costs related to visits with medical specialists all over the country.</p> <p>The charity now helps Dori attend music therapy, which Reafler says has improved her communication skills. Sometimes CCC can arrange for the distribution of highly valued hand-me-down equipment. When one child outgrew the therapeutic tricycle he&rsquo;d gotten through a CCC grant, Dori was able to start using it. Her ability to ride along her 10-year-old brother instead of trailing him in her wheelchair is priceless. &ldquo;Now we can go for a bike ride as a family,&rdquo; Reafler says. &ldquo;That just opens up so many doors for us.&rdquo;</p> <p>Even though Reafler and her husband work full time, CCC has reduced a major financial burden. &ldquo;Even with Medicaid and our primary insurance &mdash; which is a very good insurance company &mdash; there are so many things that fall through the cracks, that are not covered by insurance,&rdquo; Reafler says. &ldquo;The charity steps in for those things.&rdquo;</p> <p>Around the time Dori was learning to walk, the family put together a group named Team ADoriable to raise money in the annual run/walk event. After navigating the 5K in her wheelchair, the team stopped just short of the finish line so Dori could cross it using her own two feet. &ldquo;We let her walk across and Jane teared up as she was watching,&rdquo; Reafler says. &ldquo;Jane&rsquo;s not family, but yet she takes joy in every single thing that we report to her about Dori&rsquo;s success.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;When you have a band of people from all walks of life&mdash;lawyers, doctors, real estate professionals&mdash;you put it all together and make it a success.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Two years ago, Reafler and her husband joined the board, and they haven&rsquo;t looked back. Their increased involvement has only bolstered the respect they have for Locke&rsquo;s multitalented commitment. &ldquo;Jane is not afraid to push her sleeves up and move furniture, or fold pamphlets, or sweep the floor,&rdquo; says Reafler. &ldquo;But then she can put on a beautiful suit and represent the charity before some of the really influential people in our community. Not a lot of people can do that.&rdquo;</p> <p>As the only founding member who&rsquo;s still involved with the charity every day, Locke is always looking to bring in more volunteers. She also runs a tight ship; board members are required to attend monthly meetings and follow requirements intended to prevent conflicts of interest. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got to be a worker bee,&rdquo; Locke tells potential board members with a smile. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re getting on this board to have something to put on your obituary, you can forget it.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Jane Locke at <a href="mailto:jbl1373@att.net">jbl1373@att.net</a>. Find more information at </em><a href="http://www.carolinachildren.org/" target="_blank"><em>carolinachildren.org</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Jane Locke saw an absence of local charities in her North Carolina community. So began her legacy of multitalented service, now stretching into its third decade.</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/gn14_finalist_locke_jane.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=26879">gn14_finalist_locke_jane.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:01:12 +0000 Lily Oberman 17071 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Restoring Smiles http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/08/restoring-smiles <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"> Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt makes sure that financial barriers do not keep children from receiving the health care they need. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 27, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/tracey-c-velt">Tracey C. Velt</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Dee Scott couldn&rsquo;t afford the cost of a dentist for the twin 8-year-old girls she was raising with her husband in Crestview, Fla.&mdash;and she was feeling desperate. When she learned the girls, Lakesha and Nevaeh Marion, had never been to the dentist, she knew she had to do something. (Scott had become a legal guardian after their father, a single parent who is her husband&rsquo;s brother, could no longer care for them.)</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt </strong><br /> Beach Properties of Florida<br /> Santa Rosa Beach</p> </blockquote> <p>While searching the Internet, Scott found a place that would change all of their lives: The Children&rsquo;s Volunteer Health Network. &ldquo;The girls were complaining about their mouth,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t realize how severe the issues were, but I had been praying for some way to pay for the appointment.&rdquo;</p> <p>Thankfully, CVHN was there to get the girls free dental care and fill eight to 10 cavities in each girl&rsquo;s mouth. CVHN, founded by Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt, facilitates free, immediate access to medical, dental, and mental health care to Walton and Okaloosa County, Fla., children who are unable to access health services because they are uninsured or underinsured.</p> <p>Finding CVHN meant that the twins no longer had to suffer from untreated medical or dental issues. &ldquo;I already scheduled their next cleanings. CVHN was a godsend for us,&rdquo; says Scott.</p> <p>CVHN started all because of a young boy, Tyler. After meeting Tyler at her church&rsquo;s outreach program nine years ago, Carlisle-Northcutt knew she had to get him help for his crooked teeth. &ldquo;Kids were calling him names, like Monster Mouth,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;He was always in trouble, and I worried that his bad behavior due to being bullied would escalate as he got older. If I could get his teeth fixed, kids might stop making fun of him,&rdquo; says Carlisle-Northcutt. It worked. Tyler, now 20, graduated from high school and is now in the military.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Once you discover the extent of the need, you can&rsquo;t sleep at night. I was constantly thinking of ways we could get every underprivileged child the medical, dental, and mental health help needed. It&rsquo;s an ongoing challenge.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Carlisle-Northcutt founded CVHN in 2005, and the program quickly blossomed. It has grown from three volunteer providers to a health care referral program that now includes 90 volunteer providers, a dental bus that visits 10 area schools, and a three-chair dental clinic, where full-time staff perform more invasive, restorative treatments. While CVHN started with a focus on dental procedures, the group also offers referrals to medical care providers who have performed procedures ranging from treating ear infections to heart surgery. Non-dental services now account for some 20 percent of CVHN&rsquo;s caseload.</p> <p>&ldquo;I always thought, &lsquo;Start with your biggest dream and it will come true.&rsquo; All that I wished for in the past few years concerning CVHN has transpired,&rdquo; says Carlisle-Northcutt, who was named a REALTOR&reg; Good Neighbor Awards honorable mention in 2007.</p> <p>&ldquo;Tricia had this vision, and her passion has helped her get people involved in a huge capacity,&rdquo; says Zach Billingsley, CVHN executive director. &ldquo;People quickly jump on board because of her vision.&rdquo;</p> <p>CVHN has had a broad impact on the health care needs of area children. &ldquo;Last year we treated 796 kids on the dental bus, 330 kids in the dental clinic, and provided 123 kids access to other volunteer providers, resulting in more than $683,000 worth of free services, including medical, dental, vision, and mental health care,&rdquo; Carlisle says. &ldquo;Anything an underprivileged school-age child needs, we either help pay for or get it donated.&rdquo; Now in its ninth year, CVHN has helped more than 7,000 children through 50,000 procedures with a value of about $3.7 million.</p> <p>One big challenge, says Carlisle-Northcutt, was transportation. For many parents, getting the children to the appointments can be difficult. &ldquo;We have volunteers who transport the child from school to the doctor or dentist,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We also work though Publix to help these families get free or inexpensive prescriptions. Our ultimate goal is to keep these children healthy and in school.&rdquo;</p> <p>Because CVHN is privately funded, the organization relies heavily on individual and corporate donations. &ldquo;We call them our angels,&rdquo; says Carlisle-Northcutt. &ldquo;About 95 cents of every dollar we bring in goes to the children. We have no debt and raise money through several events throughout the year,&rdquo; she says. CVHN is working in partnership with the United Way and has five signature fundraisers, such as a celebrity BBQ cook-off and a playhouse auction. Most of the network&rsquo;s Circle of 100, those committed to giving $1,000 per year, are real estate professionals, she says.</p> <p>While Carlisle-Northcutt has stepped away from her administrative role, she remains active as a fundraiser and program ambassador. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m working on getting money for a second dental bus as the need is so great,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Carlisle-Northcutt says she&rsquo;s proud to have built an organization that can go on without her. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gone through a journey. It&rsquo;s like birthing a baby and letting that child go off to college. I&rsquo;ll phase out eventually, but I want it always to be its own strong foundation&mdash;that any one person could walk in there and do the job,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>For twins Lakesha and Nevaeh, and thousands of other children receiving desperately needed health care, Carlise-Northcutt&rsquo;s recognition of a critical community need will pay huge dividends for years to come.</p> <p><em>Contact Northcutt at <a href="mailto:tcarli9614@aol.com">tcarli9614@aol.com</a>. Find out more at <a href="http://cvhnkids.org" target="_blank">cvhnkids.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt makes sure that financial barriers do not keep children from receiving the health care they need.</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/gn14_finalist_carlisle_tricia.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24759">gn14_finalist_carlisle_tricia.jpg</a></div> </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="/good-neighbor-awards/about">About Good Neighbor Awards</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:31:57 +0000 Lily Oberman 17069 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Voice for Real Estate http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/briefs/article/voice-for-real-estate <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> This video series is NAR&#039;s weekly roundup of news that affects the industry and your business. Each video examines how NAR is working to protect private property rights, maintain strong real estate markets, and build communities. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/robert-freedman">Robert Freedman</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>August 25, 2014: In the sixth video of this series, we offer highlights from a live webcast NAR President Steve Brown and new HUD Secretary Julian Castro hosted on Tuesday, where they examined the health of FHA and what it will take to improve credit access to more households. We also look at the strengthening commercial real estate sectors, with $400 billion in total sales expected in 2014, and the latest existing-home sales pace, which just hit a 5.15 million-unit pace.</p> <p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ELz7fVBjPF8?list=PLJ8nxcZniP615YRvvEv_hNnjWnTMenmY5" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></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>This video series is NAR&#39;s weekly roundup of news that affects the industry and your business. Each video examines how NAR is working to protect private property rights, maintain strong real estate markets, and build communities.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:32:24 +0000 mwhite 16992 at http://realtormag.realtor.org All or Nothing: Why You Should Go 100% Mobile http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/08/all-or-nothing-why-you-should-go-100-mobile <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Your clients are spending more time on their mobile devices; so should you. Operating exclusively on mobile devices allows you to be quicker and more responsive to people’s needs. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/madison-hildebrand">Madison Hildebrand</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I live by my mobile devices. I am always on the go and my phone is definitely an extension of me. My business is now set up so it can be run almost entirely from my phone. Whether I&rsquo;m in line at Starbucks, at the gym, or traveling, you will see me interacting with some sort of mobile device.</p> <p>My devotion to mobile was once considered unique and gave me an edge over my competitors. Now the mobile lifestyle is the status quo. My clientele is&nbsp;also constantly on the go, juggling multiple priorities, businesses, and responsibilities. So my clients expect and require me to have the ability to operate from anywhere.</p> <p>Paperwork and contracts are a huge part of my life as a real estate professional. When I <a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/docusign" target="_blank">DocuSigned</a> my first deal, it was a life-changer. Where paperwork was once the bottleneck of getting a deal closed, my clients could now sign electronically from anywhere. All the time and energy once spent chasing down signatures was eliminated, freeing me up to go after new business. Now that I have been 100 percent mobile for several years, I can share great tips to help professionals who are still making the transition. Each of these helped me grow my personal brand and better serve my clients:</p> <h4> Use Mobile and Social to Build Your Brand and Opportunities</h4> <p>Fierce competition in the real estate market calls for edgy tactics. Social media channels grant instant creative freedom to power your brand by making a statement on networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. By far the fastest and most immediate way to embrace your notoriety is to market yourself from your mobile device. Social media mobile apps create instant and endless fuel for curating your personal brand and looping your clientele into the hottest deals.</p> <h4> Don&rsquo;t Go Back to the Office; Mobile Gets It Done Now</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s time to shelve the desktop. I receive so many leads from instant social updates on my phone that I&rsquo;ve come to believe that mobile should be the default tool for agents for announcing newly listed, recently sold, and newly reduced properties. Why wait to post pictures of new listings until you return to the office?</p> <p>Keep your creativity spontaneous by showing off your success the moment it happens. No matter where you are, Twitter and Instagram are great forums for getting buyers excited about listings by highlighting unique features, promoting open houses, and creating awareness. When your clients see your success, they can envision how you will extend it to their property.</p> <h4> Load Up the Right Apps</h4> <p>When I&rsquo;m not in connection with clients and colleagues, I spend a lot of time working with apps designed for real estate professionals. I&rsquo;m always discovering new apps that make my life easier, and I have tried literally hundreds. Here are a few that I rely on:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://www.realtor.com/mobile" target="_blank">Realtor.com&reg;</a>, <a href="http://www.trulia.com/mobile/" target="_blank">Trulia,</a> and <a href="http://www.zillow.com/mobile/" target="_blank">Zillow</a> are always on my radar. The majority of home buyers start their search online with these sites. I like to verse myself on what the consumers are looking at, but these sites also offer great marketing tools to practitioners, allowing them to track how many views each of their listings are getting on a weekly basis.</li> <li> <a href="https://www.key.me/" target="_blank">Key Me</a> is another app my team uses. It saves the specifications of any key so that a locksmith can easily duplicate. We no longer have to waste time hunting down spare keys or waiting for expensive locksmiths to come out to a property.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.measuremapapp.com/press2/?page_id=669" target="_blank">Map Measure</a> automatically finds the distance between a listing and other location points that might be important to your clients, such as their office or the beach. Apps like this one help me highlight points of interest in the surrounding neighborhood for clients who may not know the area.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h4> Run Mobile &mdash; But Don&rsquo;t Let It Run You</h4> <p>Of course, everyone needs time to unplug; I do that daily with meditation, morning hikes with my dog, Maya, and making sure that I sincerely connect with whomever is in my presence.</p> <p>Mobile devices have come so far in such a short time, and the sky is the limit for what is to come from mobile technology. I always look for ways to expand my arsenal of new mobile tools to streamline my workflow, make my life easier, and create more visibility for my brand. By focusing your practice around mobile, you can become a verb instead of a noun. Busy clients want agents who are synonymous with #action, and switching to a 100 percent digital and mobile structure is how to get there fast.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Your clients are spending more time on their mobile devices; so should you. Operating exclusively on mobile devices allows you to be quicker and more responsive to people&rsquo;s needs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_T_100_mobile.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=35241">aug14_T_100_mobile.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_T_100_mobile_0.jpg?1408047209" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_T_100_mobile.jpg?1408047227" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/gadgets-and-gear/slideshow/2014/01/12-tech-tools-make-you-more-mobile">12 Tech Tools to Make You More Mobile</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/07/real-estate-apps-have-they-downloaded-yours-yet">Real Estate Apps: Have They Downloaded Yours Yet?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/26/tech-tools-realtors-love-most">Tech Tools REALTORS® Love the Most</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:17:38 +0000 gwood 16933 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Helping Canadian Snowbirds Navigate Vacation Communities http://realtormag.realtor.org/first-person/street-cred/article/2014/08/helping-canadian-snowbirds-navigate-vacation-communities <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nina Paight combines mortgage specialists, new-home builders, and deep knowledge of luxury homes and resort amenities to promote her Florida community abroad. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Nina Paight, GRI, CRS</strong><br /> Sales associate<br /> RE/MAX Realty Group<br /> Fort Myers, Fla.<br /> <a href="http://www.ninapaight.remax-florida.com/remaxflorida/index.asp" target="_blank">ninapaight.remax-florida.com</a></p> <h4> How do you serve the needs of the Canadian snowbirds looking to buy a vacation home in Fort Myers?</h4> <p>A lot of it is just trying to understand their time frame. They have a limited amount of time they can spend here, and my job is to try and find the community that will give them what they&rsquo;re looking for. I mean, they&rsquo;re coming for a vacation; it&rsquo;s not their primary home. So they want to be able to play tennis, play golf, and go boating. Really knowing the communities and what each one offers helps me with being able to refer them to the best area for them.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been here since 1987, so I know it pretty well. But there are always new communities popping up. Also, being kind of between Lee and Collier counties, I have to know the whole area. But ultimately, you focus on the communities that your customers are interested in.</p> <h4> I live in Chicago, so it&rsquo;s funny to hear the idea that new communities are constantly popping up.</h4> <p>I know. Basically what happens is a builder will buy up a tract of land and build a new neighborhood. Around here, people tend to trade houses every five years. They buy a new house, and then some five years later, they say: &ldquo;Well, I need a new house. This one&rsquo;s old!&rdquo; For people from an area where they are surrounded by 100-year-old homes, it sounds kind of bizarre &mdash; but it&rsquo;s just different here.</p> <h4> So, you&rsquo;ve been working with Lennar Homes and <a href="http://www.rbcbank.com/borrowing-in-the-us/mortgage-solutions/index.html" target="_blank">RBC Bank&rsquo;s program</a>, which helps home buyers from Canada navigate the complicated process of purchasing a vacation home in the United States. Can you tell me how this partnership helps make transactions smoother for your clients?</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s been very beneficial. See, you can get a loan in Canada within around five days. As we all know, that is just not the case in the United States, especially for a foreign national. RBC is a Canadian bank, so they know what the Canadians are expecting. They can really coach them and hold their hand through the process, and they have all kinds of events and outreach in order to do that.</p> <p>RBC now has this terrific program for Canadians buying here. It&rsquo;s a seamless transition for their customers to be able to get a loan here, or credit card, or other financing. We&rsquo;re able to go with RBC, and they don&rsquo;t have to worry about transferring Canadian to American dollars. My clients are then dealing with people who can sort of &ldquo;speak their language,&rdquo; even though we&rsquo;re all speaking English, of course. I really like having them as a partner that I can refer customers to. It&rsquo;s a very comforting feeling.</p> <h4> What would you recommend for a real estate professional who is looking to partner with a large lender or home builder in order to demonstrate their own unique real estate knowledge?</h4> <p>I would recommend asking for referrals from other agents you know who may have a relationship already with that company. A lot of it is just getting the word out among your colleagues. One of my associates knew I work with Canadians, and he just e-mailed me about an opportunity. We constantly do that for each other.</p> <p>Also, just going to meet with people. I mean, most builder reps are more than happy to meet with real estate agents because they know they are the ones bringing them customers. Same thing with these mortgage companies. I remember struggling with having Canadians who wanted loans several years ago, and local banks didn&rsquo;t want to do it or would charge extra fees to do it. So having this connection has been great.</p> <h4> How do you stay up-to-date on all the new communities in your area?</h4> <p>You have to educate yourself. And lots of builders will send real estate agents invitations to open-house events at their new communities. That&rsquo;s a great way to get to know them.</p> <h4> Is there a lot of variation in what these communities offer?</h4> <p>It definitely runs the gamut, from communities that have virtually no amenities to ones that have just about everything. The ones with little or no amenities are trying to appeal to the people who don&rsquo;t want a lot of fees. They&rsquo;re basically single-family communities, and maybe each house will have its own pool if they want, but there&rsquo;s not a clubhouse or anything. On the other hand, you&rsquo;ll have a community where home owners will pay $10,000 to $12,000 a year because they offer golf, tennis, a fitness center, a movie theater. Basically, anything you can possibly imagine in a community, they have it within their gates. So it&rsquo;s definitely about knowing what the client is looking for and what their price range is.</p> <p>Some of the communities serve really specific groups. For example: Treviso Bay here in Fort Myers is a TPC, which stands for tournament players&rsquo; club. It&rsquo;s the only TPC in the world where you get a membership by buying a home there. So that&rsquo;s unique to that community. They have a nice resort facility there, and it&rsquo;s very expensive to join and very sought-after.</p> <p>You need to understand what the various communities are offering. Most of them will have a pool and a club at minimum. The more high-end ones have more. I&rsquo;d say the most expensive amenity is golf. It just takes a lot of land, a lot of administration, and that adds a lot of cost to the builder. But it&rsquo;s just a matter of getting in to see the amenities and being able to share that with people, and be their eyes and ears.</p> <h4> How do you get the word out about your specialized knowledge of these communities?</h4> <p>I&rsquo;m an independent contractor. I don&rsquo;t have a big team, so I don&rsquo;t do that sort of massive type of marketing. Being with RE/MAX, we have an internal network that I can tap for referrals. Also, I&rsquo;m a Certified Residential Specialist and a luxury home specialist. So I try to focus on those networks, too. I will also e-mail Canadian agents in specific locales, say, a club where some of my current customers belong, and I&rsquo;ll ask them if they have any people who might be interested in this or that area. It&rsquo;s more targeted than spreading the news far and wide, but that works better for me.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Nina Paight combines mortgage specialists, new-home builders, and deep knowledge of luxury homes and resort amenities to promote her Florida community abroad.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_streetcred.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=86837">aug14_SM_streetcred.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_streetcred_0.jpg?1408049816" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_streetcred.jpg?1408049867" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/05/21/vacation-home-market-heating-up">Vacation Home Market Heating Up </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/06/18/canadian-snowbirds-may-be-able-stay-in-us-longer">Canadian ‘Snowbirds’ May Be Able to Stay in U.S. Longer </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/first-person/street-cred/article/2014/04/working-rail-trail">Working on the Rail-Trail</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Street Cred Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:33:05 +0000 mwhite 16931 at http://realtormag.realtor.org HOAs Seek Shelter in Professional Management http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2014/08/hoas-seek-shelter-in-professional-management <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Looking to expand your property management portfolio? Self-managed HOAs are reaching out for assistance with finances and operations. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/paula-hess">Paula Hess </a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Fallout from the recession and the increasing complexity of property management are prompting HOAs and common-interest developments (CIDs) to rethink self-management and look beyond their members for professional management services. This trend is creating new opportunities for real estate professionals who offer property management services.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Gauging HOA Health</strong></p> <p>According to the Community Associations Institute, 24 percent of U.S. homes were in community associations as of 2013. A study conducted by the group this year sheds some light on how these groups are emerging from the recession:</p> <p><em>What is your current delinquency rate?</em></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 200px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Delinquency </strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Respondents</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>0-3%</p> </td> <td> <p>60%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>4-6%&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </td> <td> <p>21%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>7-10%</p> </td> <td> <p>11%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>11%</p> </td> <td> <p>8%</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Looking ahead, how do you see your association&rsquo;s financials?</em></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Forecast</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Respondents</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Much better</p> </td> <td> <p>17%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Slightly better</p> </td> <td> <p>37%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>About the same</p> </td> <td> <p>42%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Worse</p> </td> <td> <p>4%</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </blockquote> <p>While HOAs were hurt badly by the housing downturn, they are emerging from crisis mode now.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our members are telling us they&rsquo;re seeing fewer foreclosures and lower delinquency rates on monthly HOA assessments. In addition, HOA boards of directors have been able to reduce their expense-line item for bad debt on their budgets, which indicates an overall improvement in the financial health of HOAs in California,&rdquo; says Karen Conlon, president and CEO of the California Association of Community Managers. &ldquo;However, HOAs are not out of the woods yet due to the long-term impact of non-recoverable assessment revenue.&rdquo;</p> <p>That picture is supported by a just-completed annual economic survey by the Community Associations Institute, which found the overall health of HOAs and CIDs has improved. &ldquo;During the recession, a lot of associations were really hurting, especially in Florida, California, and Las Vegas,&rdquo; says Frank Rathbun, a spokesperson for CAI, noting that associations were plagued by solvency issues caused by underwater and financially strapped residents entering foreclosure or failing to pay HOA fees.</p> <p>An improved outlook is freeing up funds to allow many HOAs to seek professional management services. In California, there are approximately 40,000 CIDs, and more than half are self-managed, notes Melinda Young, chair of the board of directors of California Association of Community Managers. For them, she says the recession was a wake-up call. &ldquo;They [HOAs and CIDs] are realizing that it&rsquo;s important to have a professional service to get their financial house in order and navigate certifications requirements,&rdquo; she says. Many of these self-managed associations rely on volunteers, and &ldquo;that&rsquo;s an unappreciated position to hold.&rdquo;</p> <p>Linnea Juarez, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based Condo Financial Management Inc., agrees: &ldquo;Their [volunteer managers&rsquo;] time is limited and their knowledge of the documents and laws governing the operations of the association is usually sketchy at best. They should be able to enjoy their residence without owners knocking on their door at all times of day and night or calling them to argue about assessments, late fees, and collections.&rdquo;</p> <p>Juarez&rsquo;s company recently acquired a new client that had not prepared or distributed a budget for the last five years. It also had failed to complete actions that were by required by both civil code and the CC&amp;R&rsquo;s of the association, such as prepare a reserve study every three years, hire a CPA to perform a review of the association&rsquo;s books and records, and distribute that review to the membership.</p> <p>&ldquo;These are serious issues,&rdquo; Juarez says. &ldquo;Our contract is less than 30 days old, and we have obtained three bids for the board to engage a reserve specialist and to engage a CPA to review the last three operating years. We also have produced a budget for the current operating year for the board&rsquo;s review and approval.&rdquo;</p> <p>Charlotte, N.C.-based Henderson Properties has experienced an uptick in call volume from HOAs seeking professional management services, according to company president Phil Henderson. Henderson says the phone inquires suggest that HOAs are struggling with finances, a lack of volunteers, and an awareness that HOA management is becoming &ldquo;a more litigious situation.&rdquo; The company has taken over some half-dozen communities that were self-managed and is currently in negotiations to manage a community of 900 single-family homes.</p> <p>The benefits of professional management are especially self-evident for groups that maintained such help throughout the recession, says Condo Financial Management Inc.&rsquo;s Juarez: &ldquo;We have clients that have achieved a comfortable level of reserve funding and stable operating assessments over the years. Their position held up during the real estate decline between 2007 and 2013.&rdquo;</p> <p>While experts note that this type of property management is tough to break into, real estate professionals who are already ensconced in the world of property management may indeed see increased demand for their services as HOAs continue to recover from the recession.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Looking to expand your property management portfolio? Self-managed HOAs are reaching out for assistance with finances and operations.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_C_hoa.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=66581">aug14_C_hoa.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_C_hoa_0.jpg?1408039208" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_C_hoa.jpg?1408039227" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/16/70-hoas-are-underfunded">70% of HOAs Are Underfunded</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/12/27/hoas-foreclosing-banks">HOAs Foreclosing on Banks?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/03/01/hoas-use-short-sales-recoup-unpaid-dues">HOAs Use Short Sales to Recoup Unpaid Dues </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:54:01 +0000 mwhite 16930 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: 6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Going paperless doesn’t mean you don’t still have certain fiduciary duties. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Some benefits of going paperless will be immediately apparent. It&rsquo;s a long-term project, however, as you decide how to implement such a strategy. Make sure to hit these six steps along the way.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-you-probably-can-t-go-entirely-digit">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <ol> <li> <strong>Talk to Your State or Local REALTOR&reg; Association</strong><br /> You don&rsquo;t get rid of any legal obligations when you go paperless. In fact, working with digital documents and electronic signatures may come with new responsibilities to your clients and require more disclosures. Your state association can advise you on these and provide you with or point you to an authorized library of digital forms and contracts. Association representatives can also advise you on how much longer you need to hold on to your paper records and if digitized versions of those files will suffice.</li> <li> <strong>Create a System of Systems</strong><br /> This is a new workflow you&rsquo;re creating. You may find everything you need in a turnkey solution, but it&rsquo;s more likely that you&rsquo;re going to mix some software and services. Components must seamlessly integrate so the same documents are available to everyone involved, however and whenever they access them.</li> <li> <strong>Security</strong><br /> Security should always be a top consideration when evaluating software and cloud services. Once you go paperless, you&rsquo;re entrusting your documents &mdash; and the sensitive client information they contain &mdash; to that product and provider. You want assurance that your records are encrypted and protected against unauthorized access, as well as stored on multiple servers in different locations. For peace of mind, you may also want a digital archive in your office, with files automatically backed up to a hard drive on a regular schedule.</li> <li> <strong>Evaluate Several Options</strong><br /> Providers of nearly all components of the paperless workflow allow potential users an opportunity to try before buying. Explore features and how easily you can adapt them to your work routine. If a solution isn&rsquo;t intuitive, and if it will take a lot of explaining to associates or clients, there are better choices.</li> <li> <strong>Don&rsquo;t Force Change</strong><br /> The transition to a paperless office can be disruptive, even threatening, to those who resist it. You have to accommodate clients and resort to printouts on paper when they refuse digital documents and e-signatures. With peers, demonstrate the advantages of digital forms and contracts by actively using and promoting them. They&rsquo;ll eventually recognize the benefits, too.</li> <li> <strong>Allow Time</strong><br /> Everyone who will work or collaborate on your office system has to get comfortable with new ways of handling forms, contracts, and records. Some solutions you start with may not be the ones you ultimately choose. Whatever obstacles you encounter, don&rsquo;t look back. Tomorrow&rsquo;s real estate office will be paperless, and you can get there today.</li> </ol> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Going paperless doesn&rsquo;t mean you don&rsquo;t still have certain fiduciary duties.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_5.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_6.jpg?1407782108" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_2.jpg?1407782115" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:49:53 +0000 gwood 16822 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: How Others Did It http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Real estate practitioners talk about the success they had switching their offices to a paperless system. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h4> Two Years On and Going Strong</h4> <p>Michael Le, broker-owner of Distinct Realtyin Denver, says he&rsquo;s been completely paperless for more than two years. He subscribes to the Colorado Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; <a href="http://www.carbonite.com/online-backup/business/how-it-works" target="_blank">CTM eContracts</a> for his digital forms and contracts. Le stores those documents and other files in his Dropbox account, retrieving and signing them with his Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Microsoft Surface tablets.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a totally efficient solution,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I can be anywhere and access my files whenever I need them.&rdquo; His advice to those mulling a similar transition: &ldquo;What&rsquo;s taking you so long?&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16821">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16829">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <h4> Freedom and Efficiency</h4> <p>When Lindsay Sanger, GRI, broker-owner of RE/MAX Solutions in Merritt Island, Fla., opened her office, she had years of experience working with <a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/docusign" target="_blank">DocuSign</a> and the digital forms and contracts supplied by her state association.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was looking for an all-inclusive [transaction management] suite that would give me access to everything I could need or want in one place,&rdquo; Sanger says. She decided <a href="http://www.paperlesspipeline.com/" target="_blank">Paperless Pipeline</a> offered the right mix of features, including easy integration with DocuSign, at an affordable price. &ldquo;I can view all transactions, create checklists of what my agents need to do, and easily send files, all in one place,&rdquo; Sanger says. &ldquo;It frees up a lot of time, and I can work anywhere now, whenever it&rsquo;s convenient for me.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Easy Answers</h4> <p>Going paperless doesn&rsquo;t have to break your budget or overwhelm you with unfamiliar technology.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m using basic, off-the-shelf tools that come with any PC,&rdquo; says Philip Portera, sales associate at Crossroads Realty in Brick, N.J. &ldquo;Other than the full version of Adobe Acrobat, there&rsquo;s nothing else extra I had to buy.&rdquo; Portera brought extensive experience in information technology to his second career in real estate and devised his own workflow.</p> <p>&ldquo;I took our printed forms and contracts and scanned them into Acrobat as PDFs, where I can sign them as needed,&rdquo; he explains. He keeps those files with him on his HP notebook and backs them up each week to an office hard drive. When a client&rsquo;s signature is required, he e-mails the document file, then walks them through printing, signing, scanning, and sending him a PDF. &ldquo;This is easy stuff anyone can learn and do,&rdquo; he says.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate practitioners talk about the success they had switching their offices to a paperless system.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_0.jpg?1407782036" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_0.jpg?1407782044" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:58:02 +0000 gwood 16825 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: Products for You to Consider http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Check out these paperless management solutions, from budget-friendly apps to full-service management systems. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h4> Going Paperless On a Budget</h4> <p>Free and low-cost services and mobile apps can be used to digitize documents and store files in the cloud.</p> <p><a href="http://www.stoik.com/products/mobile/mdscan/Buy" target="_blank"><strong>MDScan</strong></a><br /> <em>STOIK Software<br /> $4.99</em><br /> This scanning app for mobile devices running Google&rsquo;s Android 2.2 and later uses the built-in camera to read and convert images, paper documents, and other content to standard PDF files. It detects borders, corrects distortion, and adjusts brightness to ensure consistency and legibility. In Batch mode, it will scan and digitize multipage forms and contracts.</p> <p><a href="http://readdle.com/" target="_blank"><strong>Scanner Pro</strong></a><br /> <em>Readdle<br /> $5.99</em><br /> A mobile scanning app for iPhones and iPads, it uses your device&rsquo;s built-in camera to scan and convert all types of paper documents into PDFs. It will automatically upload files to cloud services, including EverNote, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Company also offers <a href="http://readdle.com/products/pdfexpert5/">PDF Expert</a>for editing these files.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16821">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16822">6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16824">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <h4> Creating a Paperless Workflow</h4> <p>Invest a few more dollars and you can sign digital forms and contracts, convert printed documents to PDFs, and automatically back up office files to the cloud.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/zipform-plus" target="_blank"><strong>zipForm Plus</strong></a><br /> <em>zipLogix (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $109.95 base price; document library</em><em>(<a href="http://www.zipform.com/order/order.asp" target="_blank">check site</a> for local availability) can entail additional fees</em><br /> This cloud service for real estate forms and contracts has integrated digital signatures, document management, and cloud storage for Windows and Macintosh computers. It comes with a library of electronic forms and contracts available for most areas of the country. Forms, contracts, and transactions are all fully searchable. The iOS or Android app is required for use on mobile devices. Forms and contracts are also available in a desktop software version.</p> <p><a href="http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatstandard.html" target="_blank"><strong>Acrobat XI Standard Edition</strong></a><br /> <em>Adobe Systems Inc.<br /> $14.95/month with annual subscription</em><br /> This is the latest cloud-based version of Adobe&rsquo;s software for creating, editing, signing, and managing PDF documents on Windows or Macintosh computers. It allows users to incorporate photos and merge multiple files into a single PDF. It also supports electronic signing of PDFs using an image of a signature or through Adobe&rsquo;s optional <a href="https://www.echosign.adobe.com/en/home.html">EchoSign</a>, which also supports e-signatures on mobile devices and automatically records and stores document history.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/docusign" target="_blank"><strong>DocuSign For REALTORS&reg; PLUS</strong></a><br /> <em>DocuSign (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $240 annual subscription</em><br /> This cloud-based bundle combines the features of DocuSign&rsquo;s e-signature platform with its Transaction Room management system for a paperless workflow. The e-signature solution can be used to endorse any type of document file on computers, smartphones, and tablets. It integrates with zipForms Plus accounts for importing and archiving real estate forms and contracts. Transaction Room serves as a transaction management system for collaborating and managing activity related to digital documents. This bundle includes 100 GB of cloud storage.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/transaction-management/relay" target="_blank"><strong>relay</strong></a><br /> <em>zipLogix (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program" target="_blank">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $299 annual subscription</em><br /> This transaction management system manages all activity and documents related to a real estate sale. It has one-click integration with zipForms Plus accounts for viewing, importing, and sharing digital documents. It automatically creates and maintains a log of activity, document edits, and correspondence. It also generates a branded CD as a digital archive of transaction documents and activity after closing.</p> <p><a href="http://h71016.www7.hp.com/html/affiliate/nar1.asp?jumpid=ex_r2910_ads/nar1/3Q12AffiliateProgram/realtororg_NARJunebanner_mcc|GNAD#tab_4" target="_blank"><strong>LaserJet Pro 400 MFP</strong></a><br /> <em>HP (<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program" target="_blank">REALTOR Benefits&reg;</a> partner)<br /> $475</em><br /> Multifunction office systems like this can be used to digitize existing paper documents and print digital files for clients. It will automatically scan and convert printed documents into editable PDF files. It can scan color files and features a 50-page automatic document feeder for two-sided scanning. As a printer and copier, it offers a maximum print speed of 35 pages per minute and print resolution of 600 dpi for black-and-white or color documents.</p> <p><a href="http://www.carbonite.com/online-backup/business/how-it-works" target="_blank"><strong>Carbonite Plus</strong></a><br /> <em>Carbonite<br /> $269.99 annual subscription for storing 250 GB</em><br /> This is a cloud-based solution for backing up an office&rsquo;s digitized documents and computer files. It automatically uploads files in the background as they are created or updated. Files are encrypted and stored on multiple servers and can be accessed or restored on any Web-connected device by authorized account users.</p> <h4> Bringing It All Together</h4> <p>The most expensive options are also the most comprehensive transaction management systems. They provide integrated modules in the cloud for managing your real estate documents and all the related activity required to guide a sale to closing.</p> <p><a href="http://www.paperlesspipeline.com/#tour" target="_blank"><strong>Paperless Pipeline</strong></a><br /> <em>$75 monthly subscription for up to 10 new transactions; scalable based on activity and number of agents</em><br /> This cloud-based transaction management system allows the office broker or manager to set permissions and to assign and track tasks related to each transaction. Subscribers can create and review checklists and e-mail them from within the program. It provides a single page for brokers to review documents and activities related to all transactions. Security features include document encryption and multiple backups.</p> <p><a href="http://www.realestatepaperlesssolutions.com/paperless_real_estate_solutions.aspx#Paper_Real_Estate_Office" target="_blank"><strong>Real Estate Paperless Solutions</strong></a><br /> <em>Subscriptions start at $25/month for individual, $100/month for office</em><br /> This service helps an established real estate company transition to and manage a paperless workflow. The Paperless Real Estate Office cloud service provides online document access, storage, and backups. Once set up, it can be used to manage real estate documents and actions, including files and records, properties, lockboxes, and agent activity. Optional services include digitizing existing paper records for archiving online, and creating interactive PDFs from existing paper forms and contracts for use as digital documents.</p> <p><a href="https://www.skyslope.com/features/" target="_blank"><strong>SkySlope</strong></a><br /> <em>Subscription starts at $25/month per agent for offices with up to 10 agents, with volume discounts</em><br /> This cloud-based transaction management solution can be customized to the specific needs and workflow of a real estate office or company. Features include document storage and access; digital signatures; document and activity checklists; tracking e-mails and text messages as part of transaction records; and logging all activity. Apps for mobile access via smartphones or tablets are included.</p> <p><a href="https://www.dotloop.com/products" target="_blank"><strong>DotLoop</strong></a><br /> <em>Price based on size of company and number of transactions</em><br /> This cloud-based platform manages real estate activity and documents as a single workflow. It organizes transactions as &ldquo;loops,&rdquo; where relevant documents are stored, activity is monitored, and authorized parties can check on a transaction&rsquo;s status and interact. It includes document task lists and apps for accessing the system from mobile devices.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Check out these paperless management solutions, from budget-friendly apps to full-service management systems.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_7.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_8.jpg?1407782151" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_3.jpg?1407782157" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:07:07 +0000 gwood 16829 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: Terms You Should Know http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Do you know the difference between a digital signature and an e-Signature? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Digital signature, e-signature:</strong> Terms often used interchangeably to describe a way of endorsing or signing digitized documents. In practice, though, an e-signature is usually an image of an actual signature pasted into a document, or a signature captured as the user &ldquo;writes&rdquo; on a touch screen. A digital signature, on the other hand, may refer to some other method of authenticating the document, such as clicking on a box or activating a specific font.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16821">You Probably Can&#39;t Go Entirely Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16825">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/16829">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p><strong>Encryption:</strong> A security feature for converting or scrambling the contents of a file or document into a format which can be read only by authorized users. They must have the right key or password to decrypt and convert it back into a legible format.</p> <p><strong>Log:</strong> A record or audit trail of a digitized document. This document history identifies those who makes changes to a file and access it once changes are made, as well as the date and time a document is signed.</p> <p><strong>PDF: </strong>Portable document format, the de facto standard for digitized documents originally developed by Adobe Systems.</p> <p><strong>Redundant back-ups:</strong> A security feature that stores multiple copies of files in more than one location.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Do you know the difference between a digital signature and an e-Signature?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_2.jpg?1407781998" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless.jpg?1407781920" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:53:44 +0000 gwood 16824 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2014 Paperless Guide: You Probably Can’t Go Entirely Digital http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-you-probably-can-t-go-entirely-digit <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> There will always be those clients who want hard copies of documents. But for everything else, you can keep it in the cloud. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 11, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michael-antoniak">Michael Antoniak</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The technology for going paperless is already tried and true. It&rsquo;s not defined by any single tool or service: It&rsquo;s a combination of solutions that come together as a seamlessly integrated workflow.</p> <p>It starts with digitized documents. Anything you create on a computer is already in digital form. Real estate practitioners routinely work with a variety of standardized forms and contracts that originated on paper. But you can get them all in PDF form using <a href="http://www.zipforms.com" target="_blank">Ziplogix</a>, which provides authorized digital libraries of standardized documents; it&rsquo;s available through many state and local real estate associations. Some state associations offer their own officially sanctioned digital documents, too. Once in digital form, all that &ldquo;paperwork&rdquo; can be uploaded to any number of cloud services or stored on your hard drive for retrieval as needed.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">6 Steps to Transitiong Your Office to a Paperless Workflow</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-terms-you-should-know">Terms You Should Know When Going Digital</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">How Other Practitioners Made Their Offices Paperless</a></li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider">The Best Products to Help Get You There</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Some programs or apps allow you to enter information directly into digital documents and PDFs. To officially endorse them, there are several competing digital signature or e-signature solutions. These are legally binding and almost as universally accepted as putting ink to paper. (See NAR&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-electronic-signatures" target="_blank">Field Guide to Electronic Signatures</a>.)</p> <p>The biggest piece of a paperless workflow &mdash; the transaction management solution &mdash; provides a system for managing those documents and all of the activity involved in a successful closing. These cloud services create the collaborative space where all authorized parties to the transaction can log in, check on what they need to do, complete or upload paperwork, and monitor progress toward closing.</p> <p>When the deal is done, these services usually include archiving services for remote storage of everything related to each closing. For added security, some may back up digital files to other cloud services or an office hard drive.</p> <p>A paperless office doesn&rsquo;t mean you can completely do away with paper, at least in the short term. You have to accommodate clients who still want hard copies of documents and will only sign with real ink on real paper. So hold on to your office printer. If it&rsquo;s not already a multifunction machine with scanning capabilities, consider upgrading to one. With the scanner, you can easily digitize anything on paper, including the records you&rsquo;re required to keep from past sales.</p> <p>Also, for when you&rsquo;re in the field or just need a quick alternative, there are inexpensive scanning apps for smartphones and tablets. Use them to digitize anything in print: expense receipts, plat maps, contracts, notes on listings, and other documents.</p> <p>The more you feed your paperless workflow, the more indispensable it will become. It gives you a more efficient way to run your office, whether you&rsquo;re a sole practitioner or a team manager.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>There will always be those clients who want hard copies of documents. But for everything else, you can keep it in the cloud.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_3.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51367">aug14_PG_paperless.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_PG_paperless_4.jpg?1407782073" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_PG_paperless_1.jpg?1407782079" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Applications Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:44:03 +0000 gwood 16821 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Naked Truth About This Peculiar Niche http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/08/naked-truth-about-peculiar-niche <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jackie Youngblood strips it down for her clients in a surprising market: nudist communities. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 6, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When <a href="http://www.skiptheoutfit.com/" target="_blank">Jackie Youngblood</a> meets new clients, she makes sure to maintain eye contact &mdash; because if she looks down, she&rsquo;ll get an eyeful. Chances are her clients aren&rsquo;t wearing any clothes.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of times, my clients are nude when I pick them up for an appointment,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;Or they&rsquo;ll ask if they can take their clothes off and see what it would really be like to live in a home. I say, &lsquo;Sure!&rsquo;&rdquo; (Of course, that&#39;s after Youngblood has gotten permission from the sellers.)</p> <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 150px"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_aug/youngblood.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 224px; float: right;" /></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="rtecenter"> <em>Jackie Youngblood</em></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Some might think Youngblood&rsquo;s business is kind of funny, but there&rsquo;s no funny business happening here. Youngblood, an agent with Keller Williams Tampa Properties in Tampa, Fla., is working a peculiar niche: nudist real estate. Nearby Pasco County is known as the nudist capital of North America because of its 12 or so clothing-optional resorts, and Youngblood has become a go-to agent for nudists looking to buy and live in communities with like-minded people.</p> <p>Nudist communities are typically gated, resort-like neighborhoods where the clothes come off only within the community&rsquo;s parameters. Youngblood sells in high-end communities that often feature a clubhouse, tennis courts, volleyball courts, pools, and outdoor bars. One, called <a href="http://thewoodsrv.com/" target="_blank">The Woods</a>, is a high-end RV community.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just such a big business, the nudist lifestyle,&rdquo; says Youngblood, who is a nudist herself along with her husband. &ldquo;There are people from their late 20s and early 30s right on up to 85 and 90 years old.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Exposing the Lifestyle to a Larger Audience</h4> <p>Just how big is the nudist niche? Well, in the first six months of this year, Youngblood sold 22 properties at prices ranging from $135,000 to $800,000. Though Youngblood does sell to &ldquo;textiles&rdquo; &mdash; an affectionate term for nonnudists &mdash; she estimates that nudist clients make up 85 percent to 90 percent of her business. Most are either purchasing a second home or retiring in the community, she says.</p> <p>&ldquo;Many are buying in cash,&rdquo; Youngblood adds. &ldquo;Most of them are businesspeople who have watched their money over the years &mdash; and when they want something, they get it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Nudist real estate has become so popular in the area that it&rsquo;s even caught the attention of television network TLC. In October 2013, Youngblood signed on to have her work life filmed as she shows properties to clients &mdash; who are very much in the buff during the showings. The show, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/buying-naked" target="_blank">Buying Naked</a>,&rdquo; which airs on TLC at 11 p.m. on Saturdays, chronicles Youngblood as she helps nudist couples hunting for the perfect home in clothing-optional communities. Watch a clip of the show below.</p> <p><strong>(WARNING: The below video depicts some nudity.)</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v7Ucwo1eOY0" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>But you won&rsquo;t get a glimpse of Youngblood&rsquo;s goodies.</p> <p>&ldquo;I promised my kids I wouldn&rsquo;t get nude on TV,&rdquo; says the grandmother of eight, laughing. &ldquo;But also, if you&rsquo;re a businesswoman like me, you dress like one. I feel better wearing clothes when I&rsquo;m working; I feel more professional. When I take my clothes off, I&rsquo;m ready to go by the pool and relax.&rdquo;</p> <h4> From a Client to a Salesperson</h4> <p>Youngblood got into the business of nudist real estate after she and her husband retired to the Tampa area to live the clothing-optional lifestyle themselves in 2001. The appeal of the nudist lifestyle, she says, is the simplicity it brings to life.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the freedom. You know, we live such stressful lives,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;When you can go home and take it all off or go into the community and not worry about what you&rsquo;re wearing or not wearing &mdash; it&rsquo;s just a stress-free lifestyle. And the people are fantastic.&rdquo;</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t long before Youngblood realized how much demand there was for homes in nudist communities. She decided to get her real estate license and start catering to nudist clients in 2004. Being a nudist herself and knowing many people in nudist communities helped her find success in the niche.</p> <p>&ldquo;People trust me, and they know I know what I&rsquo;m talking about,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;My business is just referrals, referrals, referrals.&rdquo;</p> <p>When the housing bubble burst in 2008, her business was hardly affected, she adds. &ldquo;I saw some downturn with nonnudists, but with the nudists, I didn&rsquo;t really feel it. The demand has always been there.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Working With Nudists</h4> <p>Dealing with nudist clients requires specific etiquette, chiefly: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t look down,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;Let them know you&rsquo;re interested in what they have to say. This is a very private, respectful lifestyle that we have to be discreet about.&rdquo;</p> <p>One item to keep handy during appointments is towels.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would cringe if they sat on furniture without a towel,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;So you always have to have towels in your car in case they forget theirs.&rdquo; Many sellers of homes in nudist communities leave towels out for buyers to use during showings, she adds.</p> <p>There are also particular home features that nudists look for. Though it may seem counterintuitive, privacy is one of their major concerns, Youngblood says. The point of nudism is not to be gawked at.</p> <p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want everyone walking by and looking at them, so they like lots of shrubbery and things that can offer a shield,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s also to be respectful of their neighbors.&rdquo;</p> <p>Nudists also like to entertain, so they prefer open floor plans, pools, and nice views,Youngblood says.</p> <p>But there is a certain hazard that nudists need to look out for in the kitchen. &ldquo;When you&rsquo;re walking around in your home naked, you don&rsquo;t want the sharp edges on kitchen countertops,&rdquo; Youngblood says. &ldquo;You want rounded edges.&rdquo; (Just for good measure, she has a word of advice to nudists who like to cook at home: &ldquo;Wear an apron!&rdquo;)</p> <p>And, of course, everyone wants a bidet. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to be nude in public, you want to be clean,&rdquo; she says with a laugh.</p> <h4> Fitting in With the Rest of the World</h4> <p>One of the harder parts of Youngblood&rsquo;s job is introducing her nudist clients to nonnudist businesspeople who can help them with their transactions, such as lenders and home inspectors. She often hosts networking events that bring her clients together with others from the real estate world.</p> <p>&ldquo;I want my sellers and buyers to see who they&rsquo;re working with, not just interact over e-mail,&rdquo; Youngblood says. But it does require some coaching to get nonnudists to intermingle. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re not used to seeing it. It&rsquo;s not a part of their everyday life.&rdquo;</p> <p>When it comes to clients, she also has a way of distinguishing between looky-loos and serious buyers. She&rsquo;s often dealt with people who are simply curious about how nudists live. To weed them out, she&rsquo;ll ask questions such as how long they&rsquo;ve been nudists, why they want to live in a nudist community, and if they&rsquo;re looking to finance or pay in cash. Those who aren&rsquo;t serious about it are often stumped for an answer, she says.</p> <p>Overall, Youngblood says she sees herself as an educator, helping people learn more about the nudist lifestyle. She says she was shocked to learn that many nonnudist locals were completely ignorant of the vibrant nudist world in Pasco County. Bringing more awareness and appreciation for the nudist lifestyle is primarily what attracted her to start a business in nudist real estate.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re people just like everybody else &mdash; we just don&rsquo;t wear clothes,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I would never push the lifestyle on anyone, but I just want people to know that we&rsquo;re not a bunch of weird people behind those gates.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Jackie Youngblood strips it down for her clients in a surprising market: nudist communities.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_resorts.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30666">aug14_SM_resorts.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_resorts_0.jpg?1407341093" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_resorts.jpg?1407341115" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2009/07/own-your-niche">Own Your Niche </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/03/understanding-lgbt-niche">Understanding the LGBT Niche</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2010/09/hot-management-niches">Hot Management Niches</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 06 Aug 2014 14:40:35 +0000 gwood 16802 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Know Your Online Audience http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/08/know-your-online-audience <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sara Critchfield, editorial director of Upworthy, shares tips for small business owners trying to market and grow their client base. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 6, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>In a world that puts increasing value on provocative posts that could be characterized as &ldquo;click bait,&rdquo; Sara Critchfield is busting myths about what makes successful online content. Critchfield, the editorial director of <a href="http://www.upworthy.com" target="_blank">Upworthy</a>, a media company with the mission of curating and sharing content that addresses social and civic issues, says it has a lot less to do with punchy headlines and short videos and more to do with providing relevant information that&rsquo;s interesting to viewers.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_aug/Critchfield.jpg" style="width: 147px; height: 250px; float: left;" />Upworthy&rsquo;s editorial staff members consider themselves curators rather than journalists. Instead of focusing on content creation, the company has taken on the less sexy side of media &mdash; audience-building and distribution of content created by others that they deem worthy of sharing. And it&rsquo;s paid off for them. Since the site launched in early 2012, it&rsquo;s gained a following of more than 5 million e-mail subscribers, upwards of 6.4 million Facebook likes, and some 87 million unique monthly page views since November 2013.</p><blockquote> <p>Critchfield will share more of her contrarian perspective on digital marketing and content creation at the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in New Orleans on <a href="http://www.realtor.org/educsess.nsf/PagesLUNew/14ConfEESSun130" target="_blank">Sunday, Nov. 9, in an Entrepreneurial Excellence Session</a>.</p> <p>You can read more from the other major speakers at this year&rsquo;s conference in the upcoming September/October issue of REALTOR&reg; Magazine, including our exclusive interview with retired astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Other speakers include acclaimed New Orleans chef John Besh; artist and author Candy Chang, known for her interactive public art projects; and six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the content that got them to where they are today is not typical, at least in terms of the traditional definition of viral content on the web. For example, the most successful video they&rsquo;ve shared is a whopping 22 minutes long, yet it garnered 17 million views in 2013. The video is about a Minnesota boy named Zach Sobiech who was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer at the age of 14, later becoming an Internet sensation with his music.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about interest,&rdquo; says Critchfield. &ldquo;People won&rsquo;t watch a 30-second video if it doesn&rsquo;t interest them, but they will watch a 22-minute video that does.&rdquo;</p> <p>Critchfield says that in addition to catering to the interests of their audience, online marketers should measure their results. In the early days of Upworthy, they focused on subscription rates. Today, they track how many minutes of attention each piece gets and look at performance from topic to topic.</p> <p>Numbers are important when judging the success of online content, but Critchfield says they still heavily&nbsp;rely&nbsp;on editorial judgment. &ldquo;We look for things are that are going to elicit a response; then we look to see if it will elicit a response from a mass audience,&rdquo; Critchfield says.&nbsp;</p> <p>Critchfield cites Jonah Berger&rsquo;s book <em>Contagious: Why Things Catch On</em> (Simon &amp; Schuster, 2013), which looks at marketing and virality studies. &ldquo;The most shared things correlated with certain emotions, like anger, or joy, or a feeling of awe,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Critchfield cautions against the notion that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to successful content marketing. She suggests tailoring your online goals to your target audience. If you&rsquo;re a real estate pro working a specific geographic region, you might want to connect with the most motivated or influential audience in that area, rather than the most readers overall.</p> <p>&ldquo;The No. 1 thing is meeting people where they are and not where you are,&rdquo; Critchfield says. &ldquo;For small businesses, that might not be in social media; that might be in community spaces or the grocery store. The other thing we&rsquo;ve found out is if you want to stand out, you have to stand for something. If you&rsquo;re the agent who focuses on a certain housing [stock] or area, own that. It matters that you&rsquo;re authentic and that you stick to that.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Sara Critchfield, editorial director of Upworthy, shares tips for small business owners trying to market and grow their client base.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_audience.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=39781">aug14_SM_audience.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_audience_0.jpg?1407262030" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_audience.jpg?1407262044" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:19:53 +0000 mwhite 16766 at http://realtormag.realtor.org You Can Make a Better Site Than Your Brokerage Can http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/my-first-year/article/2014/08/you-can-make-better-site-your-brokerage-can <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The run-of-the-mill agent sites that brokerages provide don’t always let agents shine. Sonny Cox broke from the mold and created his own site to stand out. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 5, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Most brokerages can set new agents up with a company-branded website complete with a bio, head shot, and contact information. What it won&rsquo;t provide is any personality.</p> <p>Take a look at the agent profile pages of any major real estate company. You&rsquo;ll notice that many look and sound the same, with varying degrees of personal information for each agent. If you were a consumer looking for the right agent, how on earth would you choose one? What would make any one of them stand out?</p> <p>That&rsquo;s exactly what was on Sonny Cox&rsquo;s mind when he decided to supplement his agent profile page with Tarbell, REALTORS&reg;, with his own flashier website. Cox is based in the Corona, Calif., office of Tarbell, California&rsquo;s largest family-owned real estate company with hundreds of agents spread across offices throughout the southern half of the state.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More &#39;First Year&#39; Stories</strong></p> <p>We have a collection of stories from practitioners who faced all kinds of challenges in their first year on the job. <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/my-first-year">Read all of them here.</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Cox says the vast majority of Tarbell agents use the same company-branded website, which can make it difficult for one agent to stand out over another because their websites look so similar. The company recommends its agents to third-party website hosting companies, which charge $30 a month or higher for site maintenance of Tarbell-branded sites. While he says he loves working for Tarbell and appreciates the tools the company offers its agents, he thought he would get a better return on his investment if he attempted to have more of an individual presence on the Web.</p> <p>So Cox decided to create <a href="http://www.dreamhomesbysonnycox.com/" target="_blank">his own website</a> to stand out from other agents in his company &mdash; and at a much lower cost at that. He bought a domain through GoDaddy.com and used <a href="http://www.godaddy.com/hosting/website-builder.aspx" target="_blank">its website builder</a> to create his site. The cost: $13 a year.</p> <p>GoDaddy&rsquo;s website builder has several website templates to choose from, and its easy-to-use applications allow users to pick font styles and color schemes, upload photos, and add widgets, Cox says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very user-friendly and easy to use &mdash; even a monkey could do it,&rdquo; he adds. &ldquo;I had my site up and published in three to four hours.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cox made sure to incorporate the colors of the Tarbell brand &mdash; red and white &mdash; to maintain some cohesiveness with the company. But what creating his own site allowed him to do was to have more control over the phrasing of his advertising and what kinds of elements he wanted to have on his site. Maintenance is also at a minimum: He says he spends three to five hours a week working on his website, mostly when he wants to change something.</p> <p>Though the third-party sites that many Tarbell agents use do offer more features, such as mortgage calculators, school-zone comparisons, and other subcategories, Cox says he&rsquo;s happy that his site lets him express his individuality as an agent.</p> <p>&ldquo;The biggest thing is that people understand that this site is from me, not a word generator,&rdquo; Cox said. &ldquo;I want something particular to me and what I&rsquo;m about &mdash; not saying what someone else says. My site is a place where people can get to know me a little bit before contacting me. They&rsquo;ll see that I&rsquo;m involved in my community; I&rsquo;ve written about my involvement in Little League, for example.&rdquo;</p> <p>His branch manager at Tarbell loved the site he created, he says, because it&rsquo;s a different avenue toward agent branding. Cox and another agent in his office have begun coaching other Tarbell agents through the process of creating their own sites.</p> <p>&ldquo;We talk about it at our weekly meetings, and we&rsquo;ve even helped a couple switch to their own sites,&rdquo; Cox says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m trying to show the agents who have been in the business a long time that there are alternative ways of doing things than to just fall into doing whatever other agents do. You can make your own site for cheap, and it&rsquo;ll still do what you need it to do. You can still have as much presence as possible.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cox&rsquo;s site has been up and running for about four months now. So far, he&rsquo;s landed six leasing deals from leads coming to his site.</p> <p>&ldquo;My site accounts for about 5 percent to 15 percent of my business now,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But I expect that in the future, it could be upwards of 50 percent. It&rsquo;s going to let me generate more leads, and I&rsquo;ve just added a widget to track visitors to my site.</p> <p>&ldquo;I hope this shows other agents that they shouldn&rsquo;t fear technology.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The run-of-the-mill agent sites that brokerages provide don&rsquo;t always let agents shine. Sonny Cox broke from the mold and created his own site to stand out from other agents in his office.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_1st_year.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=55661">aug14_SM_1st_year.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_SM_1st_year_0.jpg?1407254280" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug14_LP_SM_1st_year.jpg?1407254298" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2014/07/head-website-accessibility-issues">Head Off Website Accessibility Issues</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2012/03/winning-features-for-any-real-estate-web-site">Winning Features for any Real Estate Web Site</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/03/28/top-mistakes-avoid-your-web-site">Top Mistakes to Avoid With Your Web Site </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> My First Year Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:14:16 +0000 gwood 16752 at http://realtormag.realtor.org