Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles/all en 9 Steps to Video Marketing Success http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/12/9-steps-video-marketing-success <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Simply uploading a video is not the end of the road when it comes to promoting your business with this engaging consumer tool. Learn how to get exposure before you shoot your first frame. </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, December 15, 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/seth-price">Seth Price</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>In theory, video is a fantastic tool for selling homes and connecting with leads. It&rsquo;s engaging and easy to consume and enables you to inject personality into your marketing by simply stepping in front of the camera or microphone. In practice, however, only a handful of agents use video to market their business.</p> <p>Why are real estate professionals so afraid of video? Most are paralyzed by the &ldquo;no time, too hard&rdquo; fallacy. They convince themselves that adding video to their marketing strategy means investing tons of money in fancy camera equipment and editing software and tons of time struggling with those. Worse, they worry that after all that effort and expense, they won&rsquo;t get views or gain any exposure.</p> <p>But what if this wasn&rsquo;t the case? What if you could create videos that rank high in search engines and generate thousands of views, all for an extremely low price point?</p> <p>The truth is, video doesn&rsquo;t have to be intimidating. In fact, with the right tools and techniques, you can easily use video to supercharge your engagement and brand awareness online. Here are some tips for making it happen.</p> <h4> 1. Create content your audience values.</h4> <p>Before you shoot even one frame of video, take some time to think about what would be useful for your audience. Remember, you don&rsquo;t have to create videos for the entire world: You just have to reach <a href="https://placester.com/real-estate-marketing-academy/real-estate-marketing-ideas-niche/" target="_blank">the niche that makes up the bulk of your sales</a>. First, focus on the communities you serve. According to a joint study from the National Association of REALTORS&reg; and Google, <a href="http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/Study-Digital-House-Hunt-2013-01_1.pdf" target="_blank">86 percent of online house hunters watch videos to learn about a specific community</a>. Second, find out what kinds of videos prospects want to see. Ask your clients what they want to learn about, then build your video strategy around answering those questions.</p> <h4> 2. Start out with YouTube.</h4> <p>One of the easiest ways to maximize your video exposure is to go where the viewers are. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Over 1 billion unique users visit YouTube every month and watch <a href="https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html" target="_blank">6 billion hours of video</a>. That&rsquo;s almost an hour for every person on Earth. More importantly, <a href="http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/Study-Digital-House-Hunt-2013-01.pdf" target="_blank">over 50 percent of prospective home buyers use YouTube as their primary vehicle for video research</a>. If you&rsquo;re not showing off your listings, providing digital property tours, or offering other valuable video content for this audience, you&rsquo;re missing out on a massive business opportunity.</p> <h4> 3. Optimize your videos for search.</h4> <p>Now that you&rsquo;ve given some thought to the topics your videos will cover, it&rsquo;s time to start thinking about the keywords your audience is using to search for those topics. When it comes to <a href="https://placester.com/real-estate-marketing-academy/optimizing-videos-local-seo/" target="_blank">SEO for real estate videos</a>, keywords are typically based on geographic location, property type, and property features. Brainstorm terms that are both relevant to your content and part of your buyer&rsquo;s journey, from cities and neighborhoods (even down to exact addresses) to amenities. If, for instance, you&rsquo;re creating a video about the Eastie neighborhood of Boston, a phrase like &ldquo;best places to live in Eastie Boston&rdquo; would be a great fit.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve chosen your keywords, make sure they&rsquo;re included in your video title, description, and tags. Don&rsquo;t go overboard by &ldquo;stuffing&rdquo; your video with every keyword you want to dominate. Instead, think like a human; now that online search has gotten smarter, being honest in your tagging actually works.</p> <h4> 4. Don&rsquo;t forget the call to action.</h4> <p>When creating any kind of marketing content, it&rsquo;s important that you leave consumers with a clear sense of what you want them to do: click, share, visit, sign up, and so on. During the editing process, add a graphic in the lower third of your video that&rsquo;s easily visible without distracting from the content. Include your website URL, along with your phone number and company logo. You can also add a final screen to the very end of your video with this information. Don&rsquo;t forget to include a link to your website in the video description. These concrete calls to action will drive traffic to your website, giving you more opportunities to capture and convert more leads.</p> <h4> 5. Spend a few dollars on advertising.</h4> <p>At around two to five cents per view, YouTube is relatively cheap compared with other advertising options. As little as $50 can go a long way toward expanding your reach. Plus, YouTube offers a range of additional advertising options such as in-video overlay messages with clickable links. Finally, because it&rsquo;s owned by Google, you can start a YouTube advertising campaign right from your Google AdWords account.</p> <h4> 6. Promote your video everywhere.</h4> <p>If you have educational, information-packed, and entertaining content that appeals to the audience you serve, your job as a real estate marketer is to get it out there. Sharing is cyclical: The more you share your video, the more people will see it, and the more it will get shared. Any social platform where your video would be an appropriate fit is fair game for posting. The key is to think about sharing from your audience&rsquo;s perspective.</p> <h4> 7. Upload your videos to other sites.</h4> <p>While YouTube is unquestionably the best platform for getting started with real estate video marketing, there are other venues, each with their own features and strengths. Vimeo, for instance, is great for longer, higher-resolution videos, while Tumblr and Instagram are perfect for shorter, more whimsical content. Ultimately, you want to figure out where your audience spends their time, then make your content available there.</p> <h4> 8. Dive into YouTube&rsquo;s advanced settings.</h4> <p>Once you get more comfortable with creating and sharing video, take some time to explore YouTube&rsquo;s advanced settings. One of my favorite advanced YouTube options is adding the YouTube playlist ID at the end of the video share URL. The result is that the videos that you share will play in your playlist and the related videos that generally show up after a video has finished playing will be your related videos, not someone else&rsquo;s. To do this, take the <a href="http://bleedingthorn.com/youtube-embed-tweaks/" target="_blank">YouTube video ID then add the YouTube playlist ID to the end of it</a>. It&rsquo;s that simple.</p> <h4> 9. Consider a dedicated video hosting service.</h4> <p>The biggest downfall of the YouTube platform is when it comes to displaying video on your own website. I don&rsquo;t know about you, but when people come to our website, I want them to stay as long as possible. Ideally, they&rsquo;ll provide their contact information so I can follow up and make a sale. However, YouTube&rsquo;s goal is to drive viewers back to YouTube, and that&rsquo;s a problem for us marketers. To address this shortcoming but still take advantage of the massive amount of traffic that the platform has to offer, I suggest that you still share videos on the YouTube platform. But when it comes to posting the video on your own website, I recommend using a dedicated video hosting service like <a href="http://wistia.com/" target="_blank">Wistia</a>, <a href="http://www.wellcomemat.com/" target="_blank">Welcomemat</a> or <a href="http://vimeo.com/pro" target="_blank">VimeoPro</a>. Each of those platforms are built for marketers, and they often include tools for capturing leads, sharing via social networks, delivering analytics, and more (depending on which option you choose).</p> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t initiated your video marketing plan yet, there&rsquo;s never been a better time to begin. With these tips, a smartphone, and a bit of practice, you can use video to build your brand in ways you never imagined.</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>Simply uploading a video is not the end of the road when it comes to promoting your business with this engaging consumer tool. Learn how to get exposure before you shoot your first frame.</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/dec14_T_video.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=47486">dec14_T_video.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/dec14_T_video_0.jpg?1418852240" /> </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/dec14_LP_T_video.jpg?1418852256" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/11/formula-for-going-viral">A Formula for Going Viral</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/10/03/video-bios-next-wave-branding">&#039;Video Bios&#039;: The Next Wave of Branding</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/04/24/make-video-marketing-work-for-your-business">Make Video Marketing Work for Your Business</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:45:04 +0000 mwhite 17888 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Get Your Inner Control Freak Under Control http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/12/get-your-inner-control-freak-under-control <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 careers appeal to perfectionists, but sometimes you just need to let go. </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, December 15, 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>For Richard &ldquo;Ric&rdquo; Martel, being a control freak backfired. Shortly after starting his real estate career in 1991, he found himself managing a handful of potentially lucrative transactions. Eager to prove his skills and give clients his best, Martel micromanaged every detail.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was trying to get a contractor to do estimates ahead of appraisals and home inspections, and the buyer and seller weren&rsquo;t coming to terms,&rdquo; says Martel, a broker-associate with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Rumson, N.J.</p> <p>One property failed to appraise at the purchase price. &ldquo;The bank said, &lsquo;Forget it,&rsquo;&rdquo; Martel recalls. But he rejected the idea of failure, scouring market values and tax records and creating spreadsheets. &ldquo;I was trying to make it a win-win for all the parties. I wanted to keep everyone satisfied.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Tell-Tale Signs of a Control Freak</strong></p> <p>Sure, a controlling client can be worth that extra effort, but if you&rsquo;d prefer to sidestep potential drama, watch for these scenarios:</p> <ul> <li> The couple at the open house says they&rsquo;ve used three or four different sales associates, but no one can find them the right home.</li> <li> Owners for whom you are doing a listing presentation say they&rsquo;ve listed with two or three different agents and ended up firing them all.</li> <li> If you can&rsquo;t get the seller to accept a realistic price and feel like you&rsquo;re on the road to nowhere, go with your gut feeling and change direction. After all, you are an independent contractor, so you can control who you work for.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Despite his best efforts, Martel&rsquo;s string of deals began to unravel. Before he knew it, all five went south within a week.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was so consumed by those deals, trying to control everything and make everything perfect for my clients, that I wasn&rsquo;t working on developing and opening new business,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Exposed to the professional wreckage of his inner control freak, Martel stood back, surveyed the damage, and looked inside himself for answers.</p> <p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t know I was a control freak when I entered the business,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But I realized that by trying to make everything exactly the way I wanted it to be, I was limiting myself.&rdquo;</p> <p>Admittedly, the real estate industry often attracts and rewards overachievers and perfectionists. But to build a healthy business and avoid burnout, practitioners say it&rsquo;s important to not have a rigid mindset, embrace the fluidity of the real estate transaction, recognize problem behaviors, and adopt strategies to get your control freak in check.</p> <h4> Let It Go</h4> <p>Have a decent handle on 15 things instead of trying to micromanage five, and allow things to play out, Martel suggests.</p> <p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t be the only one who wants the deal,&rdquo; Martel says. &ldquo;But if you&rsquo;ve done everything you can do, you have to let some things go, put it out into the ether, and let other people &mdash; clients, attorneys, contractors, and other agents &mdash; take responsibility.&rdquo;</p> <p>While you yield control and let other people do their part in the transaction, practice acceptance of the situation and any painful feelings or thoughts that come along with it. Try to be compassionate with yourself, Martel suggests. Recognize that you can&rsquo;t control the universe and that you have done your best.Check back on the progress of the transaction in a day or two.</p> <p>Martel says a healthy dose of regular prospecting keeps his control freak in check.</p> <p>&ldquo;I focus on making sure I&rsquo;m out there networking, asking for business, asking for referrals, and staying active to get new business coming back my way,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Because ceding control can be hard for many &mdash; it can even be emotionally painful for a perfectionist &mdash; shift gears to try to minimize fear and anxiety while waiting for things to come together. Take a walk, exercise, meditate, put technology aside and spend time with your family, or start working on a project you&rsquo;ve been putting off for too long.</p> <h4> Hire Smart</h4> <p>Mandy Troutman was answering phones in her grandfather&rsquo;s real estate office when she was 16. Later, she dabbled in mortgage processing and worked as a buyer&rsquo;s agent before founding <a href="http://www.next2close.com/">Next2Close</a>, a St. Petersburg, Fla.&ndash;based virtual transaction coordination service, in 2009.</p> <p>She has watched many real estate practitioners strive to provide excellent service but struggle with perfectionism.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ninety-nine percent of real estate agents are control freaks,&rdquo; Troutman says. &ldquo;But I understand that most good agents are involved every step of the way.&rdquo;</p> <p>Troutman says many successful sales associates find balance.</p> <p>&ldquo;The person that runs all over the place can end their real estate career because they get so burned out, working seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Their fear is that they will lose business. But it is surprising to me how many real estate agents who don&rsquo;t do this still have a really good business,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Now 30, Troutman manages transactions for about 40 pros in Florida and Texas. For a flat fee of $395 per transaction, she sends contracts, changes MLS information, contacts clients, tracks paperwork, arranges home inspections, orders appraisals, and coordinates closings.</p> <p>Julia Fishel, a managing co-owner and sales associate for Suncoast Partners at Keller Williams Realty in Palm Harbor, Fla., is a self-described control freak who recently used Troutman&rsquo;s services.</p> <p>Many control freaks find it hard to ask for help, but Fishel says hiring other professions for certain duties involved in the transaction has been liberating.</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t be happier,&rdquo; Fishel says of Troutman&rsquo;s services. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t worry about things because I know they&rsquo;re being handled. Mandy copies me on everything.&rdquo;</p> <p>Troutman says it&rsquo;s important to make time for yourself. &ldquo;Time blocking is very healthy. You can&rsquo;t just walk into a doctor&rsquo;s office and talk to them. They have a schedule,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Fishel also started time blocking in 2012, leaving outgoing messages with information about her available hours (on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for example, and on Sundays by appointment only).</p> <p>&ldquo;It sets the tone with everybody right off the bat. And if we&rsquo;re in the middle of negotiations, obviously, we are going to be there for you. We will text and take phone calls,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>However, she remains unconvinced about the benefits of clients having 24/7 access to practitioners.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s something I continue to struggle with,&rdquo; she adds. &ldquo;But I can honestly say that it has really been life-changing.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Set Boundaries</h4> <p>Lacey L. Fisher, a sales associate with RE/MAX Executive in Modesto, Calif., says it&rsquo;s important to set healthy expectations for yourself and your clients.</p> <p>&ldquo;It can be a really slippery slope if you don&rsquo;t set boundaries and be firm with people upfront,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And I think that by being firm with people from the start, you elicit more respect from them. I am definitely a control freak, and I think the nature of real estate has made me that way. But I have learned what I can and can&rsquo;t control.&rdquo;</p> <p>When it comes to working with controlling clients, Martel says it helps to keep the focus on service.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of control freaks are successful people, so if you take good care of them, you can end up getting quality referrals,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>But if it feels like a potentially abusive situation, get out &mdash; or find &ldquo;a more reasonable control freak,&rdquo; Martel cautions.</p> <p>No matter the strategy for getting your control freak in check, Fisher says, stay flexible, trust your instincts, and work toward improvement &mdash; not perfection.</p> <p>&ldquo;Every healthy &lsquo;no&rsquo; is an opportunity to say &lsquo;yes&rsquo; to something,&rdquo; she adds, &ldquo;possibly a new opportunity.&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 careers appeal to perfectionists, but sometimes you just need to let go.</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/dec14_SM_control.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=42223">dec14_SM_control.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/dec14_SM_control_0.jpg?1418683717" /> </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/dec14_LPSM_control.jpg?1418683730" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:09:06 +0000 gwood 17887 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 'Weapons of Opportunity' http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/safety/article/2014/12/weapons-opportunity <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"> Experts are hoping krav maga, an Israeli self-defense discipline, will help real estate professionals stay safe 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, December 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/catherine-laughlin">Catherine Laughlin</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Carol O&rsquo;Connor, 47, adopted a boxer&rsquo;s stance as she faced Rinaldo Rossi, the muscular trainer and co-owner of Israeli Krav Maga in Cherry Hill, N.J. During a 90-minute self-defense class, Rossi taught O&rsquo;Connor and several other students from the real estate industry&mdash;six women and one man, all middle-aged&mdash;to serve up hammer fists, eye pokes, and kicks to the groin. They weren&rsquo;t preparing for combat, nor were they there for the sole purpose of shedding extra pounds. They engaged in a class created just for them called &ldquo;REAL SAFE &mdash; Self Defense for Real Estate Professionals.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;The main objective in the face of danger is to de-escalate, rather than escalate the situation,&rdquo; drilled Rossi, who has a black belt in krav maga, a discipline rooted in Israeli military training in the 1940s and introduced in the United States four decades later.&nbsp;The fundamental teachings of krav maga, translated as &ldquo;contact combat&rdquo; in Hebrew, are not meant to create fighters. Instead, they teach students to protect themselves in a criminal situation, and then retreat as fast as possible. The simple yet effective counterattacks involve rapid moves, while employing pressure-point manipulation on the attacker.&nbsp;</p> <p>As Rossi simulated an attack on O&rsquo;Connor, she stepped one foot back, pivoted forward, and&nbsp;jabbed a palm into Rossi&rsquo;s sternum, a swift maneuver aimed to knock out an assailant.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s good. After you strike, you use weapons of opportunity, like a vase, a glass, anything within range, to throw at your attacker&rdquo; explained Rossi. &ldquo;Then, you run.&rdquo;</p> <p>Even before the discovery of real estate agent Beverly Carter&rsquo;s body in a shallow Arkansas grave in September, the real estate industry had seen rising levels of violence perpetrated against salespeople, home inspectors, property managers, and appraisers. Since 2003 an average of 22 workers in the industry have been murdered on the job every year, amounting to nearly two a month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.&nbsp;</p> <p>O&rsquo;Connor, a real estate professional with Berkshire Hathaway in Marlton, N.J., says she had a &ldquo;scary experience&rdquo; a couple of years ago. She was holding an open house when two men in a pickup truck circled the property four times. &ldquo;When I saw them [go by] the last time, I left as fast as I could.&rdquo;</p> <p>Television shows like Bravo&rsquo;s &ldquo;Million Dollar Listing,&rdquo; where well-heeled agents sell trophy homes in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, glamorize the industry. But not every listing is flawless. Agents and inspectors often encounter hostile squatters living in abandoned properties or disgruntled former home owners.&nbsp;</p> <p>Tracey Hawkins, a national speaker and owner of Safety and Security Source in Kansas City, Mo.,thinks social media has, in part, made it easier for criminals: &ldquo;[Real estate pros]especially make a living reaching out to strangers.&rdquo; Hawkins, who worked as a practitioner in the industry for 20 years, believes a lot of crime against real estate professionals goes unreported.</p> <p>Catherine Walters, a sales associate for RE/MAX in Southern New Jersey in her late 30s, recalled a threatening situation she found herself in during an open house two years ago. A man wearing a trench coat wandered in, refused to sign the register, and became uncooperative after she asked him not to roam around the house unescorted. She was also the victim of a stalker who pursued her online and randomly appeared at seminars where she was speaking.&nbsp;</p> <p>Walters now says she won&rsquo;t do open houses without a buddy, shows properties only during the day, and prefers working with prequalified clients:&nbsp;&rdquo;I love my career, but it comes with risks.&rdquo; After learning about krav maga from a law enforcement friend, she turned to Don Melnick, Rossi&rsquo;s business partner, to structure a series of krav classes specifically for real estate professionals. The monthly classes, costing $25, began in November and will run through 2015. They&rsquo;ll explore unsafe situations during open houses, in cars, or while entertaining.&nbsp;</p> <p>Steve West, the 46-year-old owner of Settlers Home Inspection in Medford, N.J., took the second session in December, even though he personally hasn&rsquo;t experienced any grim situations. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve known inspectors who&rsquo;ve met up with squatters and had trouble,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>During the December session, Melnick, also an instructor, demonstrated simple techniques: twisting at the hips to release a grabbed wrist; blocking a sideways punch; and the proper way to fall backwards.</p> <p>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t have to be strong. Proper technique will beat strength any time. As students develop muscle memory through repetition, the movements become more instinctive,&rdquo; he says. But Melnick emphasized that in order to be fully empowered, a person must first learn to analyze their situation and recognize threats.&nbsp;</p> <p>Both Walters and O&rsquo;Connor are lobbying the New Jersey Real Estate Commission to add the classes as continuing education options.&nbsp;</p> <p>Gwendolyn Cobb, supervisor of licensing for the state, noted that a 14-member committee reviews all proposed courses. &ldquo;If this course has the necessary context, it might be worthy of approval.&rdquo;</p> <p>As a veteran broker, Sheri Smith, 60, knows all too well the on-the-job hazards associated with the industry. The Haddonfield, N.J., resident, who is a continuing education instructor, would like to see the self-defense classes offered as elective choices. She also encourages her 92 agents to download safety apps to their smartphones and carry mace.</p> <p>&ldquo;You hope that the training and tools are never needed,&rdquo; said Smith, &ldquo;but by becoming more cognizant, you&rsquo;ll be better prepared if a dangerous situation happens.&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>Experts are hoping krav maga, an Israeli self-defense discipline, will help real estate professionals stay safe 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/dec14_safety_weapons.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=46696">dec14_safety_weapons.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/dec14_safety_weapons_0.jpg?1418418859" /> </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/dec14_LP_safety_weapons.jpg?1418419452" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-main-image-credit"> <div class="field-label">Main Image Credit:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> (L-R): Carol O&#039;Connor and Cathy Walters practice repetitive motions to train muscle memory. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/03/26/attacked-agent-speaks-out-about-real-estate-safety">Attacked Agent Speaks out About Real Estate Safety </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2014/11/national-open-door-policy">A National Open-Door Policy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2007/09/defensive-behavior-safety-tips-just-for-you">Defensive Behavior: Safety Tips Just for You</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Safety Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:41:51 +0000 mwhite 17872 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Multifamily Sector Embraces Green Movement http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2014/12/multifamily-sector-embraces-green-movement <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"> Staying current on incentives and programs available to multifamily owners and developers keeps real estate pros better positioned to discuss and market such properties. </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, December 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/debbie-swanson">Debbie Swanson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Green isn&rsquo;t just for single-family home owners anymore. Environmentally friendly properties are gaining favor among both tenants and property owners in the multifamily sector.</p> <p>&ldquo;Green buildings are seen by many as a better asset,&rdquo; says David Newcombe, designated broker of Habitat Urban Agents in Phoenix. &ldquo;The green concept will continue to be a stamp of approval, not just for the environmental benefits, but for the quality of the building.&rdquo;</p> <p>The initial push for green buildings &mdash; those that have a minimal impact on the environment &mdash; began in the early 1990s, propelled by the introduction of the Environmental Protection Agency&rsquo;<em>s </em>Energy Star program and the creation of the U.S. Green Building Council. Soon technological advances created better ways to reduce energy consumption, and terms like &ldquo;sustainable&rdquo; and &ldquo;high performance&rdquo; became a more common element of a property&rsquo;s description.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Popular Ways to Save</strong></p> <p>Current eco-friendly updates include:</p> <ul> <li> Energy Star appliances and windows</li> <li> Water-saving features, such as low-flow faucets, high-efficiency toilets, and timers on irrigation systems</li> <li> Efficient water heaters, such as <span>tankless</span> and solar models</li> <li> Whole-home systems that give tenants the ability to control energy use when not in the home</li> <li> LED retrofits in existing light fixtures</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>With the larger occupancy rate of multifamily buildings expending more energy per square foot than single-family homes, these structures have been the focus of recent energy conservation incentives and certification programs, giving real estate professionals and property owners new ways to compare and assess properties.</p> <h4> Energy Star for Multifamily</h4> <p>The Energy Star designation, created in 1992 by the EPA, has become synonymous with appliances and materials that are highly energy-efficient. Recognizing that multifamily property owners needed a way to understand and compare the performance of their buildings, Fannie Mae Multifamily Mortgage Business partnered with the EPA to create Energy Star for multifamily properties, introduced in September of 2014.</p> <p>Newcombe says this is a huge step forward for multifamily customers, property managers, and developers.</p> <p>&ldquo;People are familiar with the concept of Energy Star; there&rsquo;s a public understanding already in place,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>To obtain a score, property owners submit data to the <a href="https://portfoliomanager.energystar.gov/pm/signup" target="_blank">EPA&rsquo;s Portfolio Manager</a>, a free online tool for measuring and comparing buildings&rsquo; energy use. The resulting number, from 1 to 100, ranks a building&rsquo;s performance in comparison with others; for example, a score of 70 indicates that the building performs better than 70 percent of similar properties.</p> <p>Multifamily properties scoring over 75 qualify for Energy Star certification. Overall, certified buildings use approximately 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent fewer greenhouse gases than standard buildings.</p> <h4> LEED Certification</h4> <p>LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council. A building receives LEED points for energy- and water-saving features, as well as other factors such as innovative property management. The total number of points sets the certification level: certified, silver, gold, or platinum. Real estate professionals can then incorporate such language into their property descriptions.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve seen tremendous success in multifamilies with LEED certification,&rdquo; says Asa Foss, a LEED residential technical director with the U.S. Green Building Council.</p> <p>Multifamily low-rise buildings became eligible for certification under the LEED for Homes classification in 2008. With LEED v4, launched in November of 2013, multifamily mid-rises&mdash;up to 12 stories above grade&mdash;are also eligible, and upgraded standards apply to multifamily low-rise buildings.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Certification is valuable if you&rsquo;re marketing your building to a younger demographic, to whom environmental issues are important,&rdquo; says Foss, adding that it can also be beneficial to property owners seeking financing. &ldquo;Some larger lenders &mdash; who see certified buildings as better, safer investments &mdash; are starting to require LEED certification.&rdquo;</p> <p>Foss points to a recent <a href="http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Real-Estate-Is-Local;-So-Are-Price-Amenities/149659" target="_blank">study published by researchers at CoStar&rsquo;s Property and Portfolio Research</a> subsidiary for proof of the bottom-line benefits of certification. The study looked at a half-million data points about apartment buildings that drive investment value based on renter demand in the apartment sector. LEED certification was determined to be the second highest driver in lease rates, behind location.</p> <p><strong>Better Buildings Challenge </strong></p> <p>Another incentive igniting eco-friendly improvements to multifamily structures is the Better Buildings Challenge. Originally launched in 2011 by President Barack Obama and implemented through the U.S. Department of Energy, this program challenges commercial and industrial building owners to strive to make their properties at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.</p> <p>In 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development partnered with the DOE to expand the challenge to the multifamily sector. Participants in the challenge, referred to as partners, commit to reducing energy consumption by at least 20 percent over 10 years. Partners agree to publicly share their data on their energy savings and details about the efficiency strategies they employ.</p> <p>Partners in the challenge are looked upon as energy-efficient role models in their community, and are recognized as part of a collaborative conservation effort. While the specifics vary by state, subsidized services and resources are available to support reduction goals.</p> <p>Boston-based real estate developer WinnCompanies was a partner in the challenge in 2013.</p> <p>&ldquo;Joining the challenge has given us an opportunity to be a leader in both meeting &mdash; and going beyond &mdash; green building standards,&rdquo; says Darien Crimmin, vice president of Energy and Sustainability at WinnCompanies. &ldquo;Both renters and buyers are recognizing the trend toward more environmental building.&rdquo;</p> <p>Crimmin says the challenge has been beneficial, given the demographic shift in favor of environmentally sound buildings.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s forced us to take a holistic look at our long-term energy efficiency strategy,&rdquo; he reports. &ldquo;Renters and buyers are recognizing that this is a priority.&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>Staying current on the incentives and programs available to multifamily owners and developers keeps real estate pros better positioned to discuss and market these properties.</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/dec14_C_green_multi.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=91433">dec14_C_green_multi.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/dec14_C_green_multi_0.jpg?1418417591" /> </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/dec14_LP_C_green_multi.jpg?1418417615" /> </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, 11 Dec 2014 15:47:43 +0000 mwhite 17871 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015 http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/12/21-hot-housing-trends-for-2015 <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"> Everyone wants to be hip, and the latest trends in design can help distinguish one home from another. And it’s not all flash; many new home fads are geared to pare maintenance and energy use and deliver information faster. Here’s a look at what’s coming. </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, December 8, 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>This time of the year, we hear from just about every sector of the economy what&rsquo;s expected to be popular in the coming year. Foodies with their fingers on the pulse of the restaurant industry and hot TV chefs will tell us to say goodbye to beet-and-goat cheese salad and hello roasted cauliflower, and there&rsquo;s no end to the gadgets touted as the next big thing.</p> <p>In real estate, however, trends typically come slowly, often well after they appear in commercial spaces and fashion. And though they may entice buyers and sellers, remind them that trends are just that&mdash;a change in direction that may captivate, go mainstream, then disappear (though some will gain momentum and remain as classics). Which way they&rsquo;ll go is hard to predict, but here are 21 trends that experts expect to draw great appeal this year:</p> <ol> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_1.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Coral shades</strong>. A blast of a new color is often the easiest change for sellers to make, offering the biggest bang for their buck. <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sherwin-williams-announces-color-2015-140000261.html" target="_blank">Sherwin-Williams</a> says Coral Reef (#6606) is 2015&rsquo;s color of the year because it reflects the country&rsquo;s optimism about the future. &ldquo;We have a brighter outlook now that we&rsquo;re out of the recession. But this isn&rsquo;t a bravado color; it&rsquo;s more youthful, yet still sophisticated,&rdquo; says Jackie Jordan, the company&rsquo;s director of color marketing. She suggests using it outside or on an accent wall. Pair it with crisp white, gray, or similar saturations of lilac, green, and violet.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_2.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Open spaces go mainstream</strong>. An open floor plan may feel like old hat, but it&rsquo;s becoming a wish beyond the young hipster demographic, so you&rsquo;ll increasingly see this layout in traditional condo buildings and single-family suburban homes in 2015. The reason? After the kitchen became the home&rsquo;s hub, the next step was to remove all walls for greater togetherness. Design experts at <a href="http://nurziaconstruction.com/" target="_blank">Nurzia Construction Corp</a>. recommend going a step further and adding windows to better meld indoors and outdoors.</li> <li> <strong>Off-the-shelf plans</strong>. Buyers who don&rsquo;t want to spend time or money for a custom house have another option. House plan companies offer myriad blueprints to modify for site, code, budget, and climate conditions, says James Roche, whose <a href="http://www.houseplans.com/press/roche" target="_blank">Houseplans.com</a> firm has 40,000 choices. There are lots of companies to consider, but the best bets are ones that are updating layouts for today&rsquo;s wish lists&mdash;open-plan living, multiple master suites, greater energy efficiency, and smaller footprints for downsizers (in fact, Roche says, their plans&rsquo; average now is 2,300 square feet, versus 3,500 a few years ago). Many builders will accept these outsiders&rsquo; plans, though they may charge to adapt them.</li> <li> <strong>Freestanding tubs</strong>. Freestanding tubs may conjure images of Victorian-era opulence, but the newest iteration from companies like <a href="http://www.us.kohler.com/us/Bathroom/category/429204.htm" target="_blank">Kohler</a> shows a cool sculptural hand. One caveat: Some may find it hard to climb in and out. These tubs complement other bathroom trends: open wall niches and single wash basins, since two people rarely use the room simultaneously.</li> <li> <strong>Quartzite</strong>. While granite still appeals, quartzite is becoming the new hot contender, thanks to its reputation as a natural stone that&rsquo;s virtually indestructible. It also more closely resembles the most luxe classic&mdash;marble&mdash;without the drawbacks of staining easily. Quartzite is moving ahead of last year&rsquo;s favorite, quartz, which is also tough but is manmade.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_6.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Porcelain floors</strong>. If you&rsquo;re going to go with imitation wood, porcelain will be your 2015 go-to. It&rsquo;s less expensive and wears as well as or better than the real thing, says <a href="http://www.stephenalton.com/" target="_blank">architect Stephen Alton</a>. Porcelain can be found in traditional small tiles or long, linear planks. It&rsquo;s also available in numerous colors and textures, including popular one-color combos with slight variations for a hint of differentiation. Good places to use this material are high-traffic rooms, hallways, and areas exposed to moisture.</li> <li> <strong>Almost Jetson-ready</strong>. Prices have come down for technologies such as web-controlled security cameras and motion sensors for pets. Newer models are also easier to install and operate since many are powered by batteries, rather than requiring an electrician to rewire an entire house,says Bob Cooper at <a href="http://www.zonoff.com/" target="_blank">Zonoff,</a> which offers a software platform that allows multiple smart devices to communicate with each other. &ldquo;You no longer have to worry about different standards,&rdquo; Cooper says.</li> <li> <strong>Charging stations</strong>. With the size of electronic devices shrinking and the proliferation of Wi-Fi, demand for large desks and separate home office is waning. However, home owners still need a dedicated space for charging devices, and the most popular locations are a corner of a kitchen, entrance from the garage, and the mud room. In some two-story <a href="http://www.lexingtonneighborhoods.com/" target="_blank">Lexington Homes</a> plans, a niche is set aside on a landing everyone passes by daily.</li> <li> <strong>Multiple master suites</strong>. Having two master bedroom suites, each with its own adjoining bathroom, makes a house work better for multiple generations. Such an arrangement allows grown children and aging parents to move in for long- or short-term stays, but the arrangement also welcomes out-of-town guests, according to Nurzia Construction. When both suites are located on the main level, you hit the jackpot.</li> <li> <strong>Fireplaces and fire pits</strong>. The sight of a flame&mdash;real or faux&mdash;has universal appeal as a signal of warmth, romance, and togetherness. New versions on the market make this amenity more accessible with more compact design and fewer venting concerns. This year, be on the lookout for the latest iteration on this classic: chic, modern takes on the humble wood stove.</li> <li> <strong>Wellness systems</strong>. Builders are now addressing environmental and health concerns with holistic solutions, such as heat recovery ventilation systems that filter air continuously and use little energy, says real estate developer Gregory Malin of <a href="http://www.troonpacific.com/" target="_blank">Troon Pacific</a>. Other new ways to improve healthfulness include lighting systems that utilize sunshine, swimming pools that eschew chlorine and salt by featuring a second adjacent pool with plants and gravel that cleanse water, and edible gardens starring ingredients such as curly blue kale.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_12.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Storage</strong>. The new buzzword is &ldquo;specialized storage,&rdquo; placed right where it&rsquo;s needed. &ldquo;Home owners want everything to have its place,&rdquo; says <a href="http://www.jenniferadams.com/" target="_blank">designer Jennifer Adams</a>. More home owners are increasingly willing to pare the dimensions of a second or third bedroom in order to gain a suitably sized walk-in closet in their master bedroom, Alton says. In a kitchen, it may mean a &ldquo;super pantry&rdquo;&mdash;a butler&rsquo;s pantry on steroids with prep space, open storage, secondary appliances, and even a room for wrapping gifts. &ldquo;It minimizes clutter in the main kitchen,&rdquo; says <a href="http://www.morgantewilson.com/" target="_blank">architect Fred Wilson</a> of Morgante-Wilson.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_13.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Grander garages</strong>. According to Troon Pacific, the new trends here include bringing the driveway&rsquo;s material into the garage, temperature controls, sleek glass doors, specialized zones for home audiovisual controls, and a big sink or tub to wash pets. For home owners with deeper pockets, car lifts have gone residential so extra autos don&rsquo;t have to be parked outside.</li> <li> <strong>Keyless entry</strong>. Forget your key (again)? No big deal as builders start to switch to biometric fingerprint door locks with numerical algorithms entered in a database. Some systems permit home owners to track who entered and when, says Malin of Troon Pacific.</li> <li> <strong>Water conservation</strong>. The concerns of drought-ravaged California are spreading nationwide. Home owners can now purchase rainwater harvesting tanks and cisterns, graywater systems, weather-controlled watering stations, permeable pavers, drought-tolerant plants, and no- or low-mow grasses.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_16.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Salon-style walls</strong>. Instead of displaying a few distinct pieces on a wall, the &ldquo;salon style&rdquo; trend features works from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall. Think Parisian salon at the turn of the century. HGTV <a href="http://taniyanayak.com/" target="_blank">designer Taniya Nayak</a> suggests using a common denominator for cohesiveness, such as the same mat, frame color, or subject matter. Before she hangs works, she spaces them four to five inches apart, starting at the center and at eye level and working outward, then up and down. She uses Frog Tape to test the layout since it doesn&rsquo;t take paint off walls. <a href="http://www.francineturk.com/" target="_blank">Artist Francine Turk</a> also installs works this way, but prefers testing the design on the floor like a big jigsaw puzzle.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_17.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Cool copper</strong>. First came pewter; then brass made a comeback. The 2015 &ldquo;it&rdquo; metal is copper, which can exude industrial warmth in large swaths or judiciously in a few backsplash tiles, hanging fixture, or pots dangling from a rack. The appeal comes from the popularity of industrial chic, which Restoration Hardware&rsquo;s iconic style has helped promote, says <a href="http://kaufmansegal.com/" target="_blank">designer Tom Segal</a>.</li> <li> <strong>Return to human scale</strong>. During the McMansion craze, kitchens got so big they almost required skates to get around. This year we&rsquo;ll see a return to a more human, comfortable scale, says Mark Cutler, chief designer of design platform <a href="http://www.nousdecor.com/" target="_blank">nousDecor</a>. In many living or family rooms that will mean just enough space for one conversation grouping, and in kitchens one set of appliances, fewer countertops, and smaller islands.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_19.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Luxury 2.0</strong>. Getting the right amount of sleep can improve alertness, mood, and productivity, according to the <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need" target="_blank">National Sleep Foundation</a>. With trendsetters such as <a href="http://theweeklybookscan.blogs.realtor.org/2014/01/31/the-danger-of-always-being-on/" target="_blank">Arianna Huffington touting the importance of sleep</a>, there&rsquo;s no doubt this particular health concern will go mainstream this year. And there&rsquo;s no space better to indulge the desire for quality rest than in a bedroom, says designer Jennifer Adams. &ldquo;Everyone is realizing the importance of comfort, quality sleep, and taking care of yourself,&rdquo; she says. To help, Adams suggests stocking up on luxury bedding, a new mattress, comfortable pillows, and calming scents.</li> <li> <strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/trends2015_20.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; float: right;" />Shades of white kitchens</strong>. Despite all the variations in colors and textures for kitchen counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and flooring, the all-white kitchen still gets the brass ring. &ldquo;Seven out of 10 of our kitchens have some form of white painted cabinetry,&rdquo; says <a href="http://www.radzwillasbuilders.com/" target="_blank">builder Peter Radzwillas</a>. What&rsquo;s different now is that all-white does not mean the same white, since variations add depth and visual appeal. White can go from stark white to creamy and beyond to pale blue-gray, says Radzwillas. He also notes that when cabinets are white, home owners can choose bigger, bolder hardware.</li> <li> <strong>Outdoor living</strong>. Interest in spending time outdoors keeps mushrooming, and 2015 will hold a few new options for enhancing the space, including outdoor showers adjacent to pools and hot tubs along with better-equipped roof decks for urban dwellers. Also expect to see improvements in perks for pets, such as private dog runs and wash stations, says landscape architect Jean Garbarini of <a href="http://damonfarber.com/" target="_blank">Damon Farber Associates</a>.</li> </ol> <p>While it&rsquo;s fun to be au courant with the latest trends, it&rsquo;s also wise to put what&rsquo;s newest in perspective for your clients. Remind them that the ultimate decision to update should hinge on their needs and budgets, not stargazers&rsquo; tempting predictions.</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>Everyone wants to be hip, and the latest trends in design can help distinguish one home from another. And it&rsquo;s not all flash; many of next year&rsquo;s home fads are geared to pare maintenance and energy use and deliver information faster. Here&rsquo;s a look at what&rsquo;s coming.</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/dec14_HD_trends.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70836">dec14_HD_trends.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/dec14_HD_trends_0.jpg?1418077958" /> </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/dec14_LP_HD_trends.jpg?1418077971" /> </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/2014/12/05/2015-year-first-time-home-buyer">2015: Year of the First-Time Home Buyer</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/11/18/5-real-estate-predictions-for-2015">5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/10/15/new-boom-2015">A New Boom by 2015?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:25:19 +0000 mwhite 17842 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Be a Leader, Not a Dictator http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/12/be-leader-not-dictator <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Learn how to collaborate with your team and involve agents in coming up with their own solutions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, December 8, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/jason-forrest">Jason Forrest</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The only thing worse than a broker who is unwilling to lead is one who dictates. The best brokers&mdash;those with reputations as miracle workers who lead team members to accomplish more than they thought possible&mdash;are collaborators. You will not earn this reputation (and its corresponding success) without being able to give advice, challenge perceptions, and collaborate along the way.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ve heard the story: If you put a frog into a pot of hot water, it will leap out immediately. But if you put it into cold water and dial the temperature up, it will stay until the bath becomes its grave. The same is true of agents who&rsquo;ve established patterns over the years, not realizing that those habits are limiting their success. Thankfully, what is practically invisible to them is obvious to you. It&rsquo;s not that you are any better than they are; you just have the objective perspective. Even the best surgeon can&rsquo;t operate on herself.</p> <p>Despite your experience and objectivity, sometimes they&rsquo;ll think they know better. You can&rsquo;t be afraid to say, &ldquo;You are a great agent. There&rsquo;s just one piece of feedback that will take you to the next level.&rdquo; Be ready to role-play with them and sharpen their processes. Recommend training you&rsquo;ve seen work for others. You are in a position to lead them to a greater level than they thought possible. If they push back, be ready to stand on what you know. Have the courage to tell them what they need to hear, and remember that it&rsquo;s better for them in the long run (even if they&rsquo;re irritated in the short term).</p> <p>But this requires a fine balance; if you force compromise without including collaboration, you&rsquo;ll end up coming across as a dictator. This is no way to build a business. You must involve agents in coming up with their own solutions. Ask questions and sincerely listen to their responses. You may know something&rsquo;s not going to work, but instead of saying, &ldquo;No, that isn&rsquo;t the right direction for you&rdquo; (which puts them on the defense), you must allow them to be a part of the decision. Become partners in the solution by providing a choice. This allows you to identify the right destination and lead them toward it.</p> <p>Collaboration builds loyalty and allows agents to feel proud of their direction. By presenting advice confidently, facilitating compromise, and collaborating, you will be able to build a strong, healthy team. And when the frog jumps out of the pot, everyone wins.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Learn how to collaborate with your team and involve agents in coming up with their own solutions.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/dec14_B_leader.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=13939">dec14_B_leader.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/dec14_B_leader_0.jpg?1418074364" /> </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/dec14_LP_B_leader.jpg?1418074376" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/01/change-what-you-look-change-what-you-see">Change What You Look At; Change What You See</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/11/3-ways-help-listing-agents-be-proactive">3 Ways to Help Listing Agents Be Proactive</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/10/dont-let-bullies-ruin-your-business">Don&#039;t Let Bullies Ruin Your Business</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Solutions Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:34:10 +0000 mwhite 17843 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Testimonials for 2014 Good Neighbors http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/media/2014_testimonials <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"> Enjoy this small slice of the tremendous positive feedback we get about members of the Good Neighbor Society. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, December 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/sara-geimer">Sara Geimer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><hr /> <br /> <h4> <a href="/good-neighbor-awards/winner/2014/09/edward-p-pompeian">Ed Pompeian</a></h4> <p>I want to say &quot;thanks&quot; to Mr. Pompeian.&nbsp; In June, 2007, I had a heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.&nbsp; Prior to the surgery, I was told I would have to stay in Rochester for at least 3 months following the transplant for recovery and rehab.&nbsp; I looked all over at apartments, motels, B&amp;Bs but nothing compares to The Gift of Life Transplant House.&nbsp; Not only did I recover better, but I made long lasting friends.&nbsp; We all had something in common there.&nbsp; We all were transplant patients.&nbsp; We also had the privilege of having Ed&#39;s mother there every day answering the phone.&nbsp; I knew Ed was a kidney transplant patient and I knew he was a real estate investor, but I never knew he was a REALTOR&reg; until I read this last issue of the magazine.</p> <p>I looked at the photo of Ed sitting in that rocking chair and it brought back fond memories of sitting on that porch in that rocking chair visiting with my new friends and transplant patients.</p> <p>So, thank you, Ed.&nbsp; You have more than earned the Good Neighbor reward and I&#39;m proud to have you in the REALTOR&reg; family!</p> <p class="rteindent1">Judie McConville, Broker, GRI<br /> Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell<br /> Ottawa, IL<br /> Former President, Illinois Assn. Realtors<br /> Former Illinois Realtor of the Year<br /> Past Chair, National Assn. Realtors Professional Standards Cmte.<br /> Past Chair, NAR Interpretations Subcommittee</p> <p>Edward,&nbsp;</p> <p>Just finished reading the article &quot;A Home For Healing&quot; in the recent REALTOR&reg; Magazine.&nbsp; I felt a need to send you this email having visited the transplant house in 2004 when my sister received her liver transplant. My sister spoke highly of the facility and all it had to offer for the residents.&nbsp; I experienced that first hand when I spent a couple of nights with her in the home as her caregiver. Unfortunately my sister passed away two years later, but the entire family treasures what the Transplant House was able to provide to her and many other patients who pass through the home.</p> <p>Thank you for what you and the other donors have created to make this home special for those who reside there while receiving treatment and recovering from their medical conditions.&nbsp; Best wishes!</p> <p>Sincerely,<br /> Bill Anderson<br /> Ebby Halliday Realtors</p> <hr /><br /> <h4> <a href="/good-neighbor-awards/winner/2014/09/jane-b-locke">Jane Locke</a></h4> <p>Jane,</p> <p>I read the article about your charity work in REALTOR&reg; Magazine. Thank you for all you have done over these many years.&nbsp; I am a REALTOR&reg; in Clemson, with 45 years in healthcare. We were in Augusta at the Medical College prior to coming to Clemson. Besides having a lot of experience with children&#39;s hospital care, we have had our own family experience major pediatric chronic illness.&nbsp; I have worked it at work and lived it at home!! There is so much need to be filled with children&#39;s illnesses. Thanks for what you have done! What a difference you have made for so many families!</p> <p>Emily Hunter<br /> Carolina Real Estate<br /> Clemson, S.C.</p> <hr /> <br /> <h4> <a href="/good-neighbor-awards/winner/2014/09/paul-wilson">Paul Wilson</a></h4> <p>Paul,</p> <p>Thank you so very, very, VERY much for raising the money for the MRI at Wolfson. You will never know how grateful my family is to you. My daughter has been in that MRI many times and because of it, they were able to catch that she has a very rare neurological disease. I can never, ever thank you for all you have done. EVER. You never know the lives you touch by acts of kindness, but you have certainly touched ours and we thank you.</p> <p class="rteindent1">Cathy Cole, Director<br /> UNF Marketing and Publications<br /> Editor in Chief, UNF Journal<br /> Chair, Visual Identity Committee<br /> Jacksonville, Florida</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>Enjoy this small slice of the tremendous positive feedback we get about members of the Good Neighbor Society.</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> Good Neighbor Awards Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:05:24 +0000 mwhite 17839 at http://realtormag.realtor.org What Works Better Than Office Protocol http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/safety/article/2014/12/what-works-better-office-protocol <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> In the heat of an attack, typical safety procedures are mostly useless — except this one. </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, December 8, 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/john-graden">John Graden</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Beverly Carter followed the typical safety protocols of many real estate offices. The day she disappeared in late September, the Arkansas agent called her husband, Carl, to tell him the address of the vacant bank-owned home she was showing to a supposed buyer. It wasn&rsquo;t until hours later that Carl knew something was wrong after not hearing from her, he said in media interviews. Before calling police, he went to the address his wife had given him and found her car still parked there. By then, it was far too late.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Other Safety Tips</strong></p> <ol> <li> Let your prospective client enter the property first. You can say, &ldquo;I always like for guests to enter first so they can visualize coming home after work.&rdquo; Give them 30 seconds alone in the home so you can watch their level of interest. If they&rsquo;re more focused on you than on the property, stay outside.</li> <li> Make sure all exits are unlocked ahead of time.</li> <li> Keep the front door open at all times. If you can, keep all exits open.</li> <li> Tell your prospect that it is company policy for you to take a photo of their license plate and instant message it back to the office. Ideally, get the prospect to stand next to the back of the car to be in the photo. Any law-abiding person will be happy to do so. For a criminal, this is a huge bailout signal.</li> <li> Do not believe for a second that a phone app or dialing 911 will save you.</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>It&rsquo;s standard procedure for agents to phone a colleague, friend, or loved one to let them know where they are when showing homes. But how does that person help protect you in a dire circumstance just by knowing your location? Even if they call 911 immediately, that might not help you. The average response time to 911 calls nationally is 11 minutes. So could a motivated criminal rob and kill you before authorities arrive? Of course &mdash; it happens all the time.</p> <p>The first thing you need to understand is that criminals do not think like the rest of us. They are typically sociopathic or have some sort of mental disorder. They often have no empathy. They attack you because, odds are, you&rsquo;ve given them an opportunity to do so. And there are few more attractive scenarios for a criminal than to meet a female real estate professional in an empty property. That is an opportunity with a bow on top.</p> <p>Office protocols may help some in these situations &mdash; but they didn&rsquo;t help Carter and other agents who have been unfortunate victims.</p> <p>So remember this about an attacker: He planned for the attack. He knows that he is risking jail time, and he takes that risk. The only way he can reduce the risk of getting caught is to attack quickly and decisively before anyone sees. That&rsquo;s why, when you&rsquo;re alone with a prospective client in a home, the first thing you should tell them is that there&rsquo;s another agent on the way to meet you there.</p> <p>The idea of a second person &mdash; or as the attacker sees it, a second witness, especially a male &mdash; showing up may be&nbsp;more than enough for the attacker to bail out of his plan of attack. Just planting that seed can do the trick. He can always find another agent who doesn&rsquo;t have a partner on the way. He doesn&rsquo;t have to take the risk of another witness arriving at an undisclosed time.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;re in a property, you are on your own against a potential attacker, and you have no idea what his intentions are.&nbsp;Attacks happen fast. One second you are unlocking the lock box, and the next you&rsquo;re waking up from being knocked out cold. That is, if you&rsquo;re lucky.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>In the heat of an attack, typical safety procedures are mostly useless &mdash; except this one.</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/dec14_safety_two.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=21018">dec14_safety_two.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/dec14_safety_two_0.jpg?1418070501" /> </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/dec14_LP_safety_two.jpg?1418070519" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/09/safety-lessons-saved-my-life">&#039;Safety Lessons That Saved My Life ...&#039;</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/10/03/10-commandments-agent-safety">The 10 Commandments of Agent Safety</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2014/11/national-open-door-policy">A National Open-Door Policy</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Safety Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:47:27 +0000 gwood 17845 at http://realtormag.realtor.org What You Need More Than an Assistant http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2014/12/what-you-need-more-assistant <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you need some extra hands on deck to grow your business, don’t start with a personal assistant or buyer’s agent. Look to the Web. </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, December 8, 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/jared-james">Jared James</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What has helped shape me as a real estate speaker and coach are my past experiences selling homes as a real estate professional and working as my mother&rsquo;s &ldquo;unpaid assistant&rdquo; in her office for years as a child.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve seen a lot of change in the industry, but I also haven&rsquo;t seen enough change in many practitioners&rsquo; businesses. I believe in resisting Shiny Object Syndrome &mdash; a preoccupation with adopting every new piece of technology that comes along &mdash; that many agents and brokers suffer from. But I also acknowledge that our ability to change with the industry will determine the level of efficient success we experience going forward.</p> <p>Notice that I said &ldquo;efficient success.&rdquo; Some agents will try to justify the way they do business by saying they sell X number of houses per year, which must mean they are successful. That&rsquo;s not exactly true: If you sell 40 houses in a year, but you have no freedom because your business is entirely reliant on your 24/7 availability, then I would question how successful you really are.</p> <p>Last week, my company held our first-ever Annual Advance, a conference focused on the latest strategies and systems to run a 21st century business, at the Connecticut Convention Center. It was attended by agents and brokers from all over North America. There were more takeaways than I can mention here, but there was one that stood out from the rest: Hiring personal assistants or a couple of buyer&rsquo;s agents is a great step to building business &mdash; but not necessarily the best idea up front. First, bring on an ISA, or Internet sales associate.</p> <p>We can all agree that the Internet has changed the business, and for people buying and selling houses, it&rsquo;s the first place they start their journey.</p> <p>According to NAR and InsideSales.com:</p> <ol> <li> The average consumer searches for homes on the Internet for 10 to 14 days before contacting a real estate professional.</li> <li> Sixty-six percent of people select the agent who contacts them first.</li> <li> When an agent responds to a lead within five minutes, the chances of conversion increase by 100 times.</li> <li> On average, agents respond to leads 1.3 times and make the first contact in 15.3 hours.</li> <li> Forty-three percent of leads never get a response.</li> <li> Forty-four percent of salespeople give up after one follow-up.</li> <li> Eighty percent of sales are done after the fifth to twelfth follow-up.</li> </ol> <p>This means you need to follow up with leads quickly, continue following up even if you don&rsquo;t hear back right away, and be the first to make contact with a prospect.</p> <p>That sounds easy until you get back to the real world, where clients want you to show them properties, expect to be updated on their open houses, and request that you be at home inspections.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s where an ISA comes in. What if you had someone whose job it is to call leads the moment they come in and follow up with those who haven&rsquo;t responded yet? What if you only worked with &ldquo;warm leads&rdquo; who want to see houses or find out what their property is worth?</p> <p>What if the &ldquo;what if&rdquo; could become reality?</p> <p>It already is for many agents who have started running their businesses like it&rsquo;s about to be 2015 &mdash; and not like it&rsquo;s still 1992.</p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t just theory. At the beginning of our conference, one of the attendees came to me and told me that from the time he got on the plane to the moment he saw me in the lobby, his ISA had scheduled seven listing appointments for his team without him doing anything. He couldn&rsquo;t have done that on his own. Having someone from his office call the moment a lead came in meant more business for his team.</p> <p>An ISA is no longer an optional member of your team. It&rsquo;s as necessary as the car you use to get to your showings, if you want to close more business and stop complaining that &ldquo;your leads are no good.&rdquo;</p> <p>The leads aren&rsquo;t the problem; our follow-up systems and old business models are.</p> <p>So unless you live in a world where &ldquo;Beverly Hills, 90210&rdquo; is still a hit show, it&rsquo;s time to wake up and recognize that it&rsquo;s about to be 2015, and the way we get to the point of conversion in our industry has changed.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you need some extra hands on deck to grow your business, don&rsquo;t start with a personal assistant or buyer&rsquo;s agent. Look to the Web.</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/dec14_SM_salescoach.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=11392">dec14_SM_salescoach.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/dec14_SM_salescoach_0.jpg?1418066452" /> </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/dec14_LP_SM_salescoach.jpg?1418066464" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/mr-internet/article/2010/08/earn-more-work-less-virtual-assistants">Earn More, Work Less With Virtual Assistants</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2006/03/10-jobs-assistant-can-handle">10 Jobs an Assistant Can Handle</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2010/08/getting-deals-done-could-transaction-coordinator-help">Getting Deals Done: Could a Transaction Coordinator Help?</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> Sales Coach Fri, 05 Dec 2014 22:43:51 +0000 gwood 17844 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Become the Master of Your .REALTOR Domain http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/12/become-master-your-realtor-domain <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don&#039;t know what to do with it? Here are some helpful suggestions, including using it to beef up your new realtor.com® profile website. </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, December 3, 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/stefanie-hahn">Stefanie Hahn</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>So you claimed your .REALTOR domain, but you aren&#39;t really sure what happens next or where the domain is pointing to. (Maybe you don&#39;t know what I mean by &quot;pointing to.&quot;) Don&#39;t panic. Let&#39;s see what we can do!</p> <p>The National Association of REALTORS&reg; rolled out its .REALTOR domains to all members in October, with the &quot;.REALTOR&quot; part taking the place of the standard &quot;.com&quot; part. For example, my .REALTOR domain is <a href="http://www.StefanieHahn.realtor" target="_blank">www.StefanieHahn.REALTOR</a>. I am using my domain to point to my realtor.com&reg; profile. Your .REALTOR domain can point to your profile, your website, or anywhere else on the Web. If you still need to claim your .REALTOR domain, go to <a href="http://www.claim.realtor">www.claim.REALTOR</a> to get started.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Uhxoe4RU4pY" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>You can also c<a href="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotlrg_realtordomain.jpg"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotsml_realtordomain_.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 252px; float: right;" /></a>reate and forward an e-mail address from your .REALTOR domain to another e-mail address you own. (Click on the image on the right for a view of this function.) This can be anything you type in the &quot;@yourdotrealtordomain&quot; field (I simply used &quot;me&quot;). This e-mail address is an alias. You can use it anywhere you wish and it will forward messages to the e-mail address you designate. Click &quot;Forward My Email&quot; once you have this figured out.</p> <p>Now you need to decide where you want to point your new domain. In the &quot;Edit Name Servers&quot; section, you can leave the domain on the .REALTOR servers (this is the default and just a holding tank, really), you can use the domain on your free profile website, or you can point the domain to the specific name servers for your website. Note: You will need to know your website&#39;s name servers for this one.</p> <p><a href="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotlrg_nameserver.jpg"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotsml_nameserver.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 165px; float: left;" /></a>You can also just forward your .REALTOR domain by typing in the current URL at the bottom (on the left, just under the e-mail forwarding). This is probably the easiest way to connect your domain to your real estate website. For more information on the domains, visit <a href="http://www.about.realtor" target="_blank">www.about.REALTOR</a>.</p> <h4> Realtor.com&reg;&#39;s New Profile Websites</h4> <p>The new profile websites are not really new. Realtor.com&reg; has dropped SocialBios from its vocabulary (mostly) and combined the set-up. Now, you can go to <a href="http://solutioncenter.realtor.com" target="_blank">solutioncenter.realtor.com</a> or <a href="http://www.realtor.com/profile" target="_blank">www.realtor.com/profile</a> and update your profile there.</p> <p><a href="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotlrg_realtorcom.jpg"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotsml_realtorcom.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 206px; float: right;" /></a>If you were familiar with SocialBios, this new version is simplified: It has the standard &quot;about me&quot; section, recommendations, and connections to your social profiles. Consumers can read up on you and then reach out via the contact information.</p> <p>Fill in your title, specialties, and the ZIP codes you serve. Type in your real estate website address and then your personal bio.&nbsp; Please, for the love of NAR, bring some passion into your bio. Tell people how you are different, how you will make an impact on their lives, and what you specifically bring to the table.</p> <p><a href="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotlrg_listings.jpg"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotsml_listings.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 444px; float: left;" /></a>At the bottom, you have the option to show some listing information &mdash; your price range and your listings. Check those off to showcase your work!</p> <p>Recommendations are a necessity in our industry right now, and everyone is scrambling to rack up the positive juju via a peer recommendation. If you are just getting started with this profile, you might be feeling a little lonely in the recommendations section. Of course, you can ask people to recommend you or even wait around until they find you here, but there is a better way!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotlrg_recommendation.jpg"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_dec/dec14_TC_screenshotsml_recommendation.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 421px; float: right;" /></a>I love this realtor.com&reg; profile because it is one of the few that allows you to add a recommendation that you received somewhere else online (on LinkedIn, Zillow, etc.) or offline. Offline? Yes! Think about the thank-you cards you get: Ask for permission from the client who sent you the card to use their words on your profile, type those little golden nuggets in the form, and &mdash; poof! &mdash; you have an online recommendation. Sourcing the recommendation by adding a photo of the transaction and indicating how you know the recommender adds credibility, so do this every time.</p> <p>Recommendations are easily shared by clicking on the share box at the bottom (after the recommendation is created). You can share to any of the social networks you connected to in the initial setup. Check your &quot;Account Settings&quot; section to add or edit your social networks.</p> <p>Make sure you know where your .REALTOR domain is pointing to, and get that realtor.com&reg; profile up to snuff! You&#39;ve got this &ndash; easy peasy.</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>Don&#39;t know what to do with it? Here are some helpful suggestions, including using it to beef up your new realtor.com&reg; profile website.</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-png" alt="image/png 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/REALTOR.PNG" type="image/png; length=1247487">REALTOR.PNG</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="137" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/REALTOR_0.PNG?1417629185" /> </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="828" height="228" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/REALTOR_1.PNG?1417629468" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/10/getting-rolling-realtor">Getting Rolling With .REALTOR</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/11/01/godaddy-will-not-sell-realtor-domains">GoDaddy Will Not Sell .REALTOR Domains</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, 03 Dec 2014 16:06:51 +0000 gwood 17813 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2015 Autos: Highway to a More Connected Fleet http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-highway-more-connected-fleet <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"> Automakers are developing a technology system that would allow cars to “talk” to each other. </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, November 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/paul-eisenstein">Paul A. Eisenstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>In the months to come, work is set to begin on an ambitious test program covering 120 miles of highways around Detroit. The project is the first step in a goal to develop a national connected car network that would allow vehicles to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to each other and a highway infrastructure, alerting one another to traffic or weather problems. Proponents are betting the system will save lives, reduce fuel consumption, and dramatically reduce traffic congestion on the nation&rsquo;s highways.</p> <p>&ldquo;No other suite of technologies offers so much potential for good, and it&rsquo;s time to turn potential into reality,&rdquo; says General Motors CEO Mary Barra. GM plans to use its flagship Cadillac brand as its lead in bringing connected car technology to market. An updated version of the mid-range CTS sedan will feature V2I &mdash; or vehicle-to-infrastructure &mdash; capability, permitting it to receive instant alerts about traffic problems. The sedans will also use vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, systems to communicate directly with other vehicles.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17774">Luxury is the New Normal</a><br /> High-end features adorn the latest models, as automakers use technology to woo buyers.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-steering-toward-driverless-future">Steering Toward a Driverless Future</a><br /> Completely autonomous driving is still years away, but early versions are coming soon.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17777">Supercharged Electric Cars</a><br /> Battery operated vehicles lag in popularity, but newer versions could change that.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-realtors-get-chrysler-deals">REALTORS&reg; Get Deals on Chrysler Models</a><br /> NAR&rsquo;s partnership with Chrysler translates to great deals for members on the purchase or lease of a new model.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014/11/2015-autos-best-models">Best Models on the Market</a><br /> These are the cars you&#39;ll want to shop for this year.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>If the project proves successful, don&rsquo;t be surprised to see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration system mandate connected car technology within the next decade.</p> <p>That said, today&rsquo;s vehicles already are becoming increasingly connected. &ldquo;We live in a connected world, and motorists want the same sort of features in their cars that they have in their homes and offices,&rdquo; contends George Peterson, director of consulting firm AutoPacific Inc.</p> <p>Audi, Chevrolet, and Chrysler are all adding new 4G LTE capabilities to their 2015 models that allow them to offer in-car hotspots. That makes it easy for the kids to sit in the back of the minivan watching YouTube or playing interactive games, rather than asking, &ldquo;Are we there yet?&rdquo; Passengers in a carpool can get plenty of work done by the time they reach the office.</p> <p>The added bandwidth allows manufacturers to upgrade existing technologies like in-car navigation. Several makers now send out regular map updates, rather than requiring a motorist to purchase a costly DVD update.</p> <p>Meanwhile, GM is developing a new &ldquo;advance maintenance alert&rdquo; system that would link the car to a cloud-based database compiling and analyzing maintenance and repair records from millions of vehicles all over the country. It would compare that information with data from your vehicle to determine when you need a tune-up or oil change and sound an alert if a more serious problem was developing, such as a faulty water pump.</p> <p>There is a downside to having a connected car, say skeptics such as New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who worries that &ldquo;cars are now able to track where we shop, where we eat, and where we go on family vacations &mdash; but drivers should be able to go about their daily lives without being tracked.&rdquo;</p> <p>Smart car proponents contend that what they&rsquo;re looking for is information about driving conditions, such as the speed and density of traffic. But the fear is that there could be significant pressure to gather more information. Law enforcement authorities could simply query a vehicle to see if the driver was speeding or ran a red light, rather than having to catch them in the act.</p> <p>In response, a group of 19 automakers have laid down new ground rules, saying the information they gather won&rsquo;t be provided to government officials or law enforcement agencies without a court order, and it won&rsquo;t be sold to insurance companies or other companies without certain permission.</p> <p>Whether that assuages critics&rsquo; concerns remains to be seen, but like it or not, the era of the connected car seems upon us.</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>Automakers are set to develop a technology system that would allow cars to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to each other.</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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_5.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70413">NOV14_PG_2014_auto.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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_6.jpg?1417037182" /> </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/NOV14_LP_PG_2014_auto_2.jpg?1417037188" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2007/03/cut-your-car-costs">Cut Your Car Costs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/06/20/6-used-cars-you-should-avoid">6 Used Cars You Should Avoid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/08/future-paved-for-driverless-cars">Future Paved for Driverless Cars? </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> Automotive Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:08:08 +0000 gwood 17776 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2015 Autos: Luxury is the New Normal http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-luxury-new-normal <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"> High-end features adorn the latest models, as automakers use technology to woo buyers. </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, November 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/paul-eisenstein">Paul A. Eisenstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you haven&rsquo;t been in the market for a new vehicle for a while, you could be in for a shock when it&rsquo;s time to trade in your current model.</p> <p>The U.S. market is getting more crowded and competitive than ever, and the typical vehicle is coming loaded with features that would have seemed hard to imagine a few years ago. Even base models are likely to have the sort of safety, comfort, and convenience technologies that once would have been exclusive to the luxury-car market.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17775">Steering Toward a Driverless Future</a><br /> Completely autonomous driving is still years away, but early versions are coming soon.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17776">The Highway to a More Connected Fleet</a><br /> Automakers are developing a technology system that would allow cars to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to each other.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17777">Supercharged Electric Cars</a><br /> Battery operated vehicles lag in popularity, but newer versions could change that.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-realtors-get-chrysler-deals">REALTORS&reg; Get Deals on Chrysler Models</a><br /> NAR&rsquo;s partnership with Chrysler translates to great deals for members on the purchase or lease of a new model.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014/11/2015-autos-best-models">Best Models on the Market</a><br /> These are the cars you&#39;ll want to shop for this year.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>A tour of the recent Los Angeles Auto Show offered more than a hint of how the market is changing. The annual event brought the debut of more than 30 all-new models and an equal number making their first appearance in North America. Two decades ago, you could count all the different products from Mercedes-Benz on one hand. Today, the maker is rolling out a new offering about every three months. And the pace is even faster for mainstream manufacturers.</p> <p>Those products no longer fall into easy, familiar categories. There are still plenty of sedans, coupes, and convertibles, as well as SUVs, pickups, and minivans. But there are also four-door coupes, hardtop convertibles, and an array of hard-to-describe offerings that fall into the nebulous category of &ldquo;crossovers.&rdquo; How else would you describe something like the new <a href="http://www.volvocars.com/us/cars/new-models/v60-cross-country?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=V60%20CC%20-%202015%20release&amp;utm_term=Volvo%20V60%20Cross%20Country" target="_blank">Volvo V60 Cross Country</a>, a coupe-like wagon that has the height and road stance of a sport-utility vehicle?</p> <p>However you want to describe them, today&rsquo;s vehicles deliver a lot more of, well, just about everything. Buyers &ldquo;don&rsquo;t want to compromise,&rdquo; says Mike Accavitti, president of Honda&rsquo;s upscale Acura division. Trade-offs are pass&eacute;, so even if you&rsquo;re looking for great fuel economy, you&rsquo;re also likely to get reasonable performance. Consider the new <a href="http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette-stingray.html" target="_blank">Chevrolet Corvette Stingray</a>: The two-seat sports car has always been known for its great performance, which has improved this year with its V-8 punching out 455 horsepower. But that same engine can deliver a surprising 30 miles per gallon on the highway thanks to new technologies such as direct injection and cylinder deactivation, the latter letting it operate in four-cylinder mode when power demands are light.</p> <p>Technology is the key. The digital revolution that underlies your latest smartphone is also transforming the automobile into a high-tech wonder. Perhaps that&rsquo;s most apparent when it comes to safety. Even some entry-level models, such as the <a href="http://automobiles.honda.com/hr-v/" target="_blank">Honda HR-V</a> that premiered in L.A., now feature blind-spot detection and forward collision warning. The big <a href="http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/vehicles/class/class-S/bodystyle-SDN?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=Brd|Search|Corp|S-Class_Exact&amp;utm_term=mercedes%20benz%20s-class&amp;utm_content=seiUrghnu_dm|pcrid|34323432295|pkw|mercedes%20benz%20s-class|pmt|e" target="_blank">Mercedes-Benz S-Class</a> features everything from infrared night vision to a radar system that can slam on the brakes to prevent a collision with another vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian.</p> <p>Advanced technical convenience features include auto parking systems. Afraid to squeeze into a tight spot? Press a button and let the car do it for you. Over the next few years, we&rsquo;ll see even more advanced self-driving features. Cadillac&rsquo;s upcoming SuperDrive will take over the wheel entirely when you&rsquo;re on a limited-access freeway. Nissan plans to go even further with a fully autonomous car it promises to bring to market in 2020. Tech giant Google is ready to begin field testing a fleet of vehicles that won&rsquo;t even have steering wheels or gas and brake pedals.</p> <p>The latest microprocessors also make it possible to build in the sort of infotainment technologies you&rsquo;d find in more advanced homes and offices. The <a href="http://www.teslamotors.com/models" target="_blank">Tesla Model S</a> features a touchscreen as large as the biggest laptop computer to virtually operate all of its functions. The latest Chevrolet models are adding 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots. And a growing number of vehicles let you integrate smartphone apps, such as Pandora and Spotify, so you can play music from an iPhone and control everything from the car&rsquo;s touchscreen or steering wheel buttons.</p> <p>Of course, technology isn&rsquo;t everything. Good design still matters. And the battleground of the U.S. market has led most automakers to up their styling skills, which is why you&rsquo;re seeing more breakthrough designs targeting so-called &ldquo;white space&rdquo; niches that may never have existed before.</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>High-end features adorn the latest models, as automakers use new technologies to woo buyers.</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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70413">NOV14_PG_2014_auto.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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_2.jpg?1417037093" /> </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/NOV14_LP_PG_2014_auto_0.jpg?1417037098" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2007/03/cut-your-car-costs">Cut Your Car Costs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/06/20/6-used-cars-you-should-avoid">6 Used Cars You Should Avoid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/08/future-paved-for-driverless-cars">Future Paved for Driverless Cars? </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> Automotive Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:57:46 +0000 gwood 17774 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2015 Autos: REALTORS® Get Chrysler Deals http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-realtors-get-chrysler-deals <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> NAR’s partnership with Chrysler translates to great deals for members on the purchase or lease of a new model. </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, November 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/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>As you&rsquo;re shopping around for the perfect vehicle for your real estate career, remember that you get great perks beyond just the vehicle from Chrysler Group and NAR&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program" target="_blank">REALTOR Benefits&reg; Program</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17774">Luxury is the New Normal</a><br /> High-end features adorn the latest models, as automakers use technology to woo buyers.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17775">Steering Toward a Driverless Future</a><br /> Completely autonomous driving is still years away, but early versions are coming soon.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17776">The Highway to a More Connected Fleet</a><br /> Automakers are developing a technology system that would allow cars to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to each other.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17777">Supercharged Electric Cars</a><br /> Battery operated vehicles lag in popularity, but newer versions could change that.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014/11/2015-autos-best-models">Best Models on the Market</a><br /> These are the cars you&#39;ll want to shop for this year.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Chrysler Group, LLC is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/travel-automotive/chrysler" target="_blank">Official Automobile Manufacturer of the National Association of REALTORS&reg;</a>, and that translates to great deals on the purchase or lease of select 2014/2015 model year Chrysler, Jeep&reg;, Dodge, Ram, and &nbsp;FIAT&reg; models. As a REALTOR&reg;, you get a $500 cash allowance on the purchase or lease of select 2014 and 2015 Chrysler Group Vehicles.</p> <p>On top of that, REALTORS&reg; get two years no-extra-charge oil changes, as well as lube and filter changes, with purchase or lease. If you purchase a FIAT 500L, you&rsquo;ll get three additional oil changes and tire rotations, too.&nbsp;When combined, these savings equal the value of your NAR membership dues for more than six years.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just REALTORS&reg; who can take advantage of this offer: association staff and eligible family members have access to the cash allowance also.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.realtor.org/programs/realtor-benefits-program/travel-automotive/chrysler-eligibility-information" target="_blank">View the details</a>&nbsp;of NAR&rsquo;s partnership with Chrysler Group to find out who is eligible and what documents you&rsquo;ll need to present at your dealership.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>NAR&#39;s partnership with Chrysler translates to great deals for members on the purchase or lease of a new model.</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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70413">NOV14_PG_2014_auto.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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_0.jpg?1417037030" /> </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/NOV14_LP_PG_2014_auto.jpg?1417037034" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2007/03/cut-your-car-costs">Cut Your Car Costs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/06/20/6-used-cars-you-should-avoid">6 Used Cars You Should Avoid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/08/future-paved-for-driverless-cars">Future Paved for Driverless Cars? </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> Automotive Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:56:01 +0000 gwood 17778 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2015 Autos: Steering Toward Driverless Future http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-steering-toward-driverless-future <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"> Completely autonomous driving is still years away, but early versions are coming soon. </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, November 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/paul-eisenstein">Paul A. Eisenstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>It&rsquo;s the stuff of science fiction, but autonomous driving is on the road to reality. These days, virtually every major automaker is working on self-driving technology, Nissan promising to put a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2020. But it may be tech giant Google that takes the lead in this emerging field.</p> <p>The Silicon Valley search engine monolith is in the midst of rolling out 100 self-driving prototypes &mdash; quirky little electric vehicles looking like a cross between a Volkswagen Beetle and a Smart Fortwo microcar. Inside, a passenger will notice the lack of a steering wheel and pedals: The prototypes are equipped only with an on-off button and controls allowing the riders to enter a destination &mdash; by voice, of course.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-luxury-new-normal">Luxury is the New Normal</a><br /> High-end features adorn the latest models, as automakers use technology to woo buyers.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17776">The Highway to a More Connected Fleet</a><br /> Automakers are developing a technology system that would allow cars to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to each other.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17777">Supercharged Electric Cars</a><br /> Battery operated vehicles lag in popularity, but newer versions could change that.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-realtors-get-chrysler-deals">REALTORS&reg; Get Deals on Chrysler Models</a><br /> NAR&rsquo;s partnership with Chrysler translates to great deals for members on the purchase or lease of a new model.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014/11/2015-autos-best-models">Best Models on the Market</a><br /> These are the cars you&#39;ll want to shop for this year.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Our vision is to bring this technology to the world, and we&rsquo;ll find a way to do it,&rdquo; explains Chris Umson, the head of Google&rsquo;s autonomous vehicle program. But Google&rsquo;s not the only one shooting at this target. Cadillac, for example, is planning to launch a system called SuperDrive in 2016 on a new flagship sedan. It will allow motorists to take their hands off the wheel on a limited-access highway, though it would still be operated like a normal vehicle on local roads.</p> <p>Nissan plans to introduce a string of more advanced features between now and 2020, when it hopes to launch its first fully autonomous vehicle &mdash; though even that model will retain its steering wheel and pedals. Few expect to see something like the Google car take over for at least another decade or more.</p> <p>Whichever form autonomous driving takes, proponents envision a number of advantages. The technology should help reduce the risk of distracted driving, which is blamed for around 10 percent of U.S. highway deaths. By giving vehicles the ability to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to one another, they could skirt traffic jams and other problems while also &ldquo;platooning,&rdquo; or traveling in tight convoys that would make much better use of existing roads. That would allow more cars to travel smoothly without adding extra lanes.</p> <p>&ldquo;Seniors could keep their freedom even if they can&rsquo;t keep their car keys,&rdquo; adds Google&rsquo;s Umson. &ldquo;And drunk and distracted driving could become a thing of the past.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bernd Pischetsrieder, former CEO of BMW and now a Volkswagen AG board member, says that as much fun as driving can be, the reality is that it&rsquo;s tedious when you&rsquo;re stuck in traffic or cruising along the freeway on a lengthy trip. That&rsquo;s when an autonomous vehicle can be both safer and less stressful.</p> <p>While true self-driving vehicles won&rsquo;t roll into your nearest showroom anytime soon, you can get a sense of what&rsquo;s to come on a number of vehicles already on the road. A version of the <a href="http://www.infinitiusa.com/sedan/q50?dcp=ppi.63023880.&amp;dcc=0.240189298" target="_blank">Infiniti Q50 sedan</a>, for example, offers so-called steer-by-wire, with no direct mechanical link between the steering wheel and the front wheels. Paired with a smart vision system, it will hold its position on a highway lane for a few seconds while you reach for the radio.</p> <p>The new <a href="http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/vehicles/class/class-S/bodystyle-SDN?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_campaign=Brd|Search|Corp|S-Class_Exact&amp;utm_term=mercedes%20benz%20s-class&amp;utm_content=seiUrghnu_dm|pcrid|34323432295|pkw|mercedes%20benz%20s-class|pmt|e" target="_blank">Mercedes-Benz S-Class</a> is a near-autonomous technical showcase. It features infrared night vision that will spot animals and pedestrians and flag the driver&rsquo;s attention. On city streets, it can spot a bicyclist who might cut in front of you, bringing the sedan to a quick stop without a driver&rsquo;s intervention. Dozens of vehicles now offer collision avoidance systems that will sound a warning and, in some cases, stop the car to avoid a crash.</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>Completely autonomous driving is still years away, but early versions are coming soon.</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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_3.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70413">NOV14_PG_2014_auto.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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_4.jpg?1417037139" /> </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/NOV14_LP_PG_2014_auto_1.jpg?1417037146" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2007/03/cut-your-car-costs">Cut Your Car Costs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/06/20/6-used-cars-you-should-avoid">6 Used Cars You Should Avoid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/08/future-paved-for-driverless-cars">Future Paved for Driverless Cars? </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> Automotive Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:03:26 +0000 gwood 17775 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2015 Autos: Supercharged Electric Cars http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-supercharged-electric-cars <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"> Battery operated vehicles lag in popularity, but newer versions could change that. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, November 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/paul-eisenstein">Paul A. Eisenstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Barely five years after introducing the world&rsquo;s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid, General Motors will unveil an all-new version of the <a href="http://www.chevrolet.com/2014-volt-electric-car.html?seo=goo_|_GM+Chevy+Retention_|_GMNA|US|CHV|GOOG|S|BP|A|EX|RTN|VOL|CCR|%28null%29|%28null%29|GG-RTN-Volt-RS-Exact_|_Volt_|_chevrolet%20volt" target="_blank">Chevrolet Volt</a> at the Detroit Auto Show in January. And the show will bring a flood of other new battery vehicles. When Volt debuted in 2010, you could count the number of plug-based cars, trucks, and crossovers on one hand. Today, you wouldn&rsquo;t have enough fingers and toes.</p> <p>Despite the rapid increase in the number of green machines, however, U.S. sales have been lagging expectations. It hasn&rsquo;t helped that fuel prices have fallen to four-year lows. As analyst Stephanie Brinley of IHS Automotive points out, &ldquo;Americans have short memories&rdquo; and tend to base their buying decisions on the facts of the moment. But few expect the current fuel price reprieve to last for long, and smart shoppers &mdash; especially real estate professionals and others who spend much of their time behind the wheel &mdash; need to factor that in.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>In This Guide: </strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/17774">Luxury is the New Normal</a><br /> High-end features adorn the latest models, as automakers use technology to woo buyers.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-steering-toward-driverless-future">Steering Toward a Driverless Future</a><br /> Completely autonomous driving is still years away, but early versions are coming soon.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-highway-more-connected-fleet">The Highway to a More Connected Fleet</a><br /> Automakers are developing a technology system that would allow cars to &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to each other.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/automotive/article/2014/11/2015-autos-realtors-get-chrysler-deals">REALTORS&reg; Get Deals on Chrysler Models</a><br /> NAR&rsquo;s partnership with Chrysler translates to great deals for members on the purchase or lease of a new model.</li> <li> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014/11/2015-autos-best-models">Best Models on the Market</a><br /> These are the cars you&#39;ll want to shop for this year.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>The problem is that early plug-based vehicles typically carried a stiff premium. The Volt started out at $41,000, for example, but its price has been dropping regularly since 2010. The <a href="http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/trim/electric/?searchid=187773509|13009201589|7630861051&amp;ef_id=U7rtkwAAAa-771DG:20141124202750:s" target="_blank">Ford Focus Electric</a>, meanwhile, recently took a $6,000 price cut. In fact, almost all battery-based vehicles but the luxurious <a href="http://www.teslamotors.com/models" target="_blank">Tesla Model S</a> have seen prices fall over the last several years, a trend likely to continue, says Mark Reuss, General Motors&rsquo; global product development director. &ldquo;We have to get &hellip; costs down so it makes people willing to try&rdquo; vehicles like the Volt, he concedes, adding that the industry must also address issues like range and charging times.</p> <p>The good news is that battery technology is getting better, even as prices come down. Performance is improving, too. For those who equate battery power with slow and sluggish, the latest version of Tesla&rsquo;s Model S will deliver a shock: It goes from 0 to 60 about as quickly as a <a href="http://cars.mclaren.com/home/models_link/McLAREN%20P1/introduction.html" target="_blank">McLaren P1</a> supercar &mdash; in barely three seconds.</p> <p>Battery power isn&rsquo;t the only way to go green. Last autumn, the <a href="http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/ecodiesel/" target="_blank">Dodge Ram 1500 EcoDiesel</a> was named Green Truck of the Year by Green Car Journal. The number of diesels on the road has also grown rapidly, and so-called &ldquo;oil burners&rdquo; were expected to generate more sales than all battery-based vehicles combined by the end of 2014.</p> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t driven a diesel lately, you could be in for an awakening. Unlike the slow, noisy, and smelly products of the &rsquo;80s, today&rsquo;s diesels are quick, quiet, and clean &mdash; while still delivering amazing mileage. The diesel versions of the new <a href="http://www.chevrolet.com/colorado-small-truck.html" target="_blank">Chevrolet Colorado</a> and <a href="http://www.gmc.com/canyon-small-pickup-truck.html?seo=goo_|_GMC_Retention_|_GMNA|US|GMC|GOOG|S|BP|A|EX|RTN|CYN|MPU|%28null%29|%28null%29|2015-Canyon_|_General_|_gmc%20canyons" target="_blank">GMC Canyon</a> should top 30 mpg when GM brings them out in a year.</p> <p>Green-minded motorists have another alternative to consider: hydrogen power. &ldquo;We aren&rsquo;t trying to reinvent the wheel &mdash; just everything necessary to make them turn,&rdquo; explains Bob Carter, a senior vice president with Toyota, which will launch its new <a href="http://www.cnet.com/products/2016-toyota-mirai/" target="_blank">Mirai</a> in the months ahead. Hyundai brought out its <a href="https://www.hyundaiusa.com/tucsonfuelcell/" target="_blank">Tucson Fuel-Cell SUV</a> last summer, and Honda will launch its version by 2016. The problem is that there are currently just a handful of hydrogen pumps in the United States, so sales initially will be limited to Southern California.</p> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t want something quite so exotic, conventional gasoline vehicles are becoming surprisingly clean and fuel-efficient, thanks to technologies like direct injection and turbocharging. Even the 450-hp <a href="http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette-stingray.html" target="_blank">Chevrolet Corvette Stingray</a> now gets 30 mpg on the highway. So, the good news is that the latest crop of cars, trucks, and crossovers will prove more affordable than ever, even when fuel prices start climbing again.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Battery operated vehicles have been lagging in popularity, but newer versions could change that.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_7.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70413">NOV14_PG_2014_auto.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/NOV14_PG_2014_auto_8.jpg?1417037221" /> </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/NOV14_LP_PG_2014_auto_3.jpg?1417037228" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2007/03/cut-your-car-costs">Cut Your Car Costs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/06/20/6-used-cars-you-should-avoid">6 Used Cars You Should Avoid</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/01/08/future-paved-for-driverless-cars">Future Paved for Driverless Cars? </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> Automotive Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:14:36 +0000 gwood 17777 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A National Open-Door Policy http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/safety/article/2014/11/national-open-door-policy <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 solution to one of the main dangers of the real estate profession is right in front of our faces. But it’s going to take all of us collaborating for safety to succeed. </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, November 20, 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/sam-debord">Sam DeBord</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The murder of REALTOR&reg; Beverly Carter saddened us all. However, most were not shocked. While these occurrences are rare in absolute terms, the frequency with which agents are targeted by criminals is high enough that we all remember a handful of similar stories.</p> <p>Our usual response is some hand-wringing, reminders about safety policies, the adoption of new apps, and the inclusion of a &ldquo;Top 10 Tips To Stay Safe&rdquo; list in our newsletters. It has never been enough, and it won&rsquo;t be this time, either. Our primary goal shouldn&rsquo;t be to notify others after we&rsquo;re in trouble. It should be to significantly change the way we work in order to prevent those situations in the first place.</p> <p>The ability to meet a potential client at a real estate office is by far the most effective way to deter stalkers and criminals. It avoids the situation that defines nearly every crime we hear about against agents: being victimized by an unknown person at an unsupervised location.</p> <p>The core issue is time. Real estate is a frantic industry, and we&rsquo;re always scrambling to save a few minutes. We may follow standard safety procedures most of the week, but when a home on the east side of town just needs one quick showing on a busy Friday, and our office is 10 miles west, we don&rsquo;t want to burden anyone with the drive. We make the &ldquo;just this once&rdquo; excuse in our heads, and we show the property to strangers.</p> <p>We all know that real estate is essentially about location, and so is our problem. Some of us work for companies with a dozen offices scattered around our region, but most of us don&rsquo;t. If every agent only had an office nearby, the extra 10 minutes for a safety meet-up wouldn&rsquo;t be such a hassle.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the thing: Every REALTOR&reg; does have that office, if we only think of ourselves as a community banding together for safety. Every real estate office across the country should promote an open-door policy that would allow real estate agents with other companies to use their public space for quick safety check-ins with new clients.</p> <p>We talk a lot about the unique spirit of cooperation in our business, but extending it to our competitors and associates in the brick-and-mortar world would really put our money where our mouths are.</p> <p><object align="right"><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://static.polldaddy.com/p/8498616.js"></script><noscript><a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/8498616/">Do you support an "open door" policy to boost REALTOR® safety?</a></noscript></object></p> <p>I&rsquo;m not suggesting brokers provide coffee, Wi-Fi, or a formal space for writing up contracts. This idea would simply allow any REALTOR&reg; to ask potential clients to meet up and shake hands in a professional, public environment.</p> <p>Some companies may already have an implied open-door policy. Our management at Coldwell Banker Danforth has committed to it for our offices in the greater Seattle market. The effect would be exponentially greater, though, as a national standard of practice. It would be an accepted requirement for being a part of the professional ranks, and agents in the field would know they could rely upon it if it was adopted across the board.</p> <p>There will be plenty of broker objections, but most are shortsighted:</p> <p>&ldquo;An agent from across town may end up in my office every morning.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Virtual agents who don&rsquo;t pay for their own desk will be trying to use mine.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;That agent who stole our listing will be standing in my lobby, trying to sell it to her buyer.&rdquo;</p> <p>If we were always laser-focused on safety, these objections would melt away as petty, and we could secure our industry against predators based on goodwill alone. Luckily, there are also business advantages to such a national policy.</p> <p>Brokers are constantly looking for ways to get in front of successful agents for recruiting purposes. The agent who ends up in your office regularly with clients is clearly someone who works your region well. She&rsquo;ll make friends with your employees at the front desk. You can get to know her face-to-face and explain why she should be working in an office that so obviously fits her needs. These agents who are constantly out in the field are on the upward success trend. Most of us work for more than one company over the course of our careers, and it&rsquo;s usually personal contact that creates those conversions.</p> <p>Now think of it from the individual agent&rsquo;s perspective: They wouldn&rsquo;t bring clients in to your office and expose them to your branding if they didn&rsquo;t really need to. They&nbsp;clearly value your office, and it&rsquo;s up to you to close the deal. Even their clients will be sitting in your nice lobby, wondering if this might be the local company they should be working with in the future.</p> <p>While this solution wouldn&rsquo;t cover all showing situations, we&rsquo;d have countless REALTORS&reg; whose safety would benefit greatly from this policy. Brokers who pride themselves on positive branding, foundation building, and a forward-thinking recruiting strategy will understand the potential benefits.</p> <p>As I mentioned above, we shouldn&rsquo;t need all of these ancillary broker benefits for the open-door policy to make sense. We should adopt it immediately simply because a fair number of our own have been beaten, abused, robbed, and murdered for simply doing their jobs. Still, the recruiting benefits for brokers who employ a brick-and-mortar model are clear. Your new recruits will be walking through your door, and your long-time agents will have greater security when they happen to travel outside their usual neighborhoods.</p> <p>An open-door policy costs nothing, improves safety, and increases collaboration within our industry. What are we waiting for?</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 solution to one of the main dangers to real estate professionals is right in front of our faces. But it&rsquo;s going to take all of us collaborating for safety to succeed.</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/nov14_W_safety_opendoor.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=43635">nov14_W_safety_opendoor.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/nov14_W_safety_opendoor_0.jpg?1416858430" /> </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/nov14_LP_W_safety_opendoor.jpg?1416858443" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/10/make-safety-brokerage-priority">Make Safety a Brokerage Priority</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2014/11/dont-leave-door-open-danger">Don&#039;t Leave the Door Open to Danger</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/10/24/how-i-stopped-being-victim">How I Stopped Being a Victim</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Safety Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:30:47 +0000 mwhite 17746 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Everything About a Home—in the Cloud http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/cool-tools/article/2014/11/everything-about-home-in-cloud <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A tool billed by its creator as the &quot;Carfax for homes&quot; can put prospects at ease about the purchase process. It could also be a smart way to stay in contact with past clients. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, November 24, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When Jack Huntress was hunting for his first home in 2008, he had seen about a dozen listings when one selling tool stopped him in his tracks. It was something he hadn&rsquo;t seen at the other open houses he&rsquo;d already attended, and it helped sway his decision to choose that home.</p> <p>What wowed him was an 8-inch-tall collection of paperwork. No, it wasn&rsquo;t a pile of blank closing documents. The sellers had put together a binder full of information about everything they&rsquo;d done to the house, from paint colors used in each room to a list of their favorite local contractors to warranty information about the home&rsquo;s appliances.</p> <p>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t the sole reason we bought the house, but it definitely factored in and made me very comfortable with the buying process,&rdquo; Huntress said. After that experience, he wondered if it would be possible to replicate his experience on a grander scale. And that&rsquo;s how <a href="http://www.homebinder.com" target="_blank">HomeBinder</a> was born. Huntress created a cloud-based platform to store online the kind of property information he found so helpful in that binder.</p> <p>The truly innovative part of HomeBinder comes when it&rsquo;s time to sell. Instead of sliding a physical binder across the kitchen table, sellers can easily hand over this wealth of information to the next owner with one click. The new buyers are then able to record their own fixes and maintenance, and thus continue writing the history of the property &mdash; and its upgrades.</p> <p>From his experience, Huntress knows buyers are excited that &ldquo;they&rsquo;re getting the operational manual for the home.&rdquo; But he also notes that it&rsquo;s comforting to sellers who might be having trouble parting with the house: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been their baby, and they want the next person to care for it too.&rdquo;</p> <p>Huntress says that the simple online wizard that home owners use to create the initial HomeBinder takes only around 15 to 20 minutes to fill out. The service includes periodic e-mail reminders about the specific seasonal maintenance needs for the home, as well as alerts about when home owners might want to factor replacement costs on high-ticket items into their budgets. Huntress also noted they&rsquo;re seeing a lot of consumers coming to HomeBinder searching for a way to inventory their belongings for insurance reasons. The basic service is free, but for $49 per year, users can upload images of their home improvement projects, generate tax reports, and create materials that will help market the home when it is for sale. The premium version also includes a recall alert list, wherein HomeBinder pings the federal database cataloging unsafe, hazardous, or defective products, and informs HomeBinder users if their appliances have been recalled.</p> <p>While home buyers and sellers are finding many reasons to fill their HomeBinders with helpful information, Huntress says real estate professionals benefit from the service as well. The maintenance reminders sent out by HomeBinder can easily be branded with a brokerage or salesperson&rsquo;s information.</p> <p>&ldquo;[Real estate professionals generally] maintain a relationship for a period of time after the transaction, but it tends to ebb,&rdquo; Huntress says. For users, &ldquo;this continues to be a gentle reminder that their agent cares.&rdquo;</p> <p>Huntress says that their main mission is to empower home owners. They want to decrease the perceived burdens of home ownership, and in the process, promote home buying as a safe investment.</p> <p>&ldquo;Home ownership is something that is very difficult to do. People have fewer skills and homes are becoming more complicated,&rdquo; Huntress says. But having a detailed history and a full list of professional helpers only a click away &ldquo;makes homeownership a little easier.&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>A tool billed by its creator as the &quot;Carfax for homes&quot; can put prospects at ease about the purchase process. It could also be a smart way to stay in contact with past clients.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/NOV14_T_cloud.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24585">NOV14_T_cloud.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/NOV14_T_cloud_0.jpg?1416949655" /> </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/nov14_LP_T_cloud.jpg?1416949684" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/09/generate-listings-home-valuation-tools">Generate Listings With Home Valuation Tools</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/cool-tools/article/2014/09/set-it-and-they-won-t-forget-it">Set It and They Won’t Forget It</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/03/product-lineup-relationship-management-tools">Product Lineup: Relationship Management Tools</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Cool Tools Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:48:04 +0000 mwhite 17748 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Airports: The Downtowns of Tomorrow http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2014/11/airports-downtowns-tomorrow <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"> These growing hubs of economic activity aren’t just for tourists and transit anymore. </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, November 18, 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/sam-silverstein">Sam Silverstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Once viewed primarily as gateways to cities, airports have emerged as economic engines in their own right&mdash;and are fueling rapid commercial and residential development in many parts of the world.</p> <p>That assertion comes from Prof. John D. Kasarda of the University of North Carolina, who during a Nov. 9 session at the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in New Orleans pointed to a host of data about the impact airports are having on global commerce as evidence that &ldquo;location, location, location&rdquo; has given way to a new axiom: &ldquo;accessibility, accessibility, accessibility.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;If you think of an airport as transportation infrastructure, you&rsquo;re so twentieth century,&rdquo; Kasarda said. &ldquo;The three As have replaced the three Ls in real estate.&rdquo;</p> <p>As Amazon.com and other companies increasingly rely on &ldquo;just-in-time&rdquo; models to move high-value goods and time-pressed executives place a high level of importance on the ability to efficiently travel between business centers, airports are serving as the cores of fast-developing commercial and residential zones that are giving traditional metropolitan centers a run for their money, said Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at UNC&rsquo;s Kenan-Flagler Business School in Chapel Hill, N.C.</p> <p>Airports are attracting companies that want quick access to air transportation, which in turn is pushing up demand for office space in those areas, Kasarda said. Demand for residential areas located near big airports, such as Dallas-Fort Worth and Washington Dulles international airports, is also strong, spurred by employees of companies with nearby operations who want to live close to work.</p> <p>Kasarda uses the term &ldquo;aerotropolis&rdquo; to explain the phenomenon of population and business centers anchored by airports. &ldquo;New urban forms are evolving as a result of these airports being business magnets and, in some cases, economic catalysts,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>Kasarda also noted that the sheer number of people who use airports has transformed them from transit places to vibrant retail and entertainment centers. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, for example, serves more people in a typical year than Disney World, Graceland, and the Grand Canyon combined, he said.</p> <p>This means airport shops often generate more sales per square foot than comparable establishments located elsewhere. Some airports record more revenue from retail activity than from aviation-related operations, according to Kasarda. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re becoming urban realms in their own right,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The city airport is becoming an airport city.&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>These growing hubs of economic activity aren&rsquo;t just for tourists and transit anymore.</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/nov14_C_airports.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=41407">nov14_C_airports.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/nov14_C_airports_0.jpg?1416332916" /> </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/nov14_LP_C_airports.jpg?1416332951" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2014/11/vrbo-airbnb-and-you">VRBO, Airbnb, and You </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/30/faa-proposal-restricts-building-height-near-airports">FAA Proposal Restricts Building Height Near Airports</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2009/12/foreign-investors-return">Foreign Investors Return</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2011/03/be-magnet-for-tenants">Be a Magnet for Tenants</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:35:26 +0000 mwhite 17708 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Good Reason to Laugh http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/11/good-reason-laugh <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"> Lighten up! Research suggests that leveraging your funny bone in real estate can improve your customer relationships and even your sales success. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, November 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/melissa-dittmann-tracey">Melissa Dittmann Tracey</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Neighboring graveyards aren&rsquo;t always viewed as a selling point by most buyers. But Mary Shelsby, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Realty Group in Pittsford, N.Y., promoted it on a rider to her For Sale sign. The sign read: &ldquo;Quiet neighbors across the street!&rdquo;</p> <p>She also had a second sign made that said, &ldquo;Great bones,&rdquo; but she never had a chance to use it. The home sold too fast.</p> <p>&ldquo;The buyers bought the house specifically because of the cemetery &mdash; it&rsquo;s their favorite place to walk their dog,&rdquo; Shelsby says.</p> <p>The use of humor can get you far in business. Indeed, research has shown that one of the best ways to improve your customer relationships is to get &rsquo;em to laugh.</p> <p>Customers are more likely to want to work with a real estate professional with a good sense of humor, according to a 2008 study by Baylor University&rsquo;s Keller Center, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.baylor.edu/business/kellercenter/news.php?action=story&amp;story=127282" target="_blank">What Do Consumers Expect From Agents?</a>&rdquo; The study also found that a good sense of humor can be a boon for your reputation.<strong> </strong></p> <p>Showing off a sense of humor is helpful when done well, according to author Karyn Buxman.</p> <p>&ldquo;Humor can be really helpful in real estate in making sales and developing relationships,&rdquo; says Buxman, who speaks to businesspeople in many industries, including real estate, about the benefits of humor in the workplace. &ldquo;But you can&rsquo;t just let humor happen by chance. Be strategic. Start thinking of humor as a resource in your toolbox, not one that accidentally falls out every once in awhile.&rdquo;</p> <p>Buxman says humor has been shown to deflate stress, ease tension, create more memorable marketing messages, and improve rapport. It can also help diffuse a difficult client by getting them off balance for a moment while you regroup to address their needs or concerns, Buxman says.</p> <h4> But Is Real Estate Actually Funny?</h4> <p>Relationships can get tense in the homebuying and homeselling processes. Clients are often stressed and frustrated. But is laughter really the best medicine?</p> <p>Real estate broker Herman Chan with Sotheby&rsquo;s International Realty&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.luxsfhomes.com" target="_blank">LuxSFHomes.com</a> in the San Francisco Bay Area promotes his business as &ldquo;real estate with a punch line.&rdquo; He created a video blog about real estate and home design called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.habitatforhermanity.com" target="_blank">Habitat for Hermanity</a>,&rdquo; which pokes fun at the real estate business while also empowering buyers and sellers with real estate tips. The humor-laced messages helped Chan become a real estate personality who writes columns for media outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle and has been featured on HGTV&rsquo;s &ldquo;House Hunters&rdquo; and &ldquo;My House Is Worth What?&rdquo;</p> <p><object align="right"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" src="//www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/YK6BS_0Dokw?rel=0" width="400"></iframe></object></p> <p>&ldquo;Fortunately or not, consumers are nowadays socialized to receive information with humor,&rdquo; Chan says. &ldquo;People tune into Jon Stewart&nbsp;or Stephen Colbert for that very reason on TV and online. When was the last time a &lsquo;60 Minutes&rsquo; piece went viral?&rdquo; &nbsp;</p> <p>Chan says having a sense of humor is especially important for blogging and social media strategy. He has more than 35,000 Facebook and Twitter followers.</p> <p>&ldquo;[My sense of humor] gives people a reason to follow me online, and eventually reach out to me,&rdquo; Chan says. &ldquo;It is your chance to stand out from a sea of boring agents who just rattle off stats&mdash;snooze! I built my business from the two E&#39;s: educate and entertain. It&#39;s real estate infotainment.&rdquo;</p> <p><object align="left"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/D5UQyTVqZhw?rel=0" width="400"></iframe></object></p> <p>Humor takes many forms in real estate. Some real estate pros take a &ldquo;Goofus and Gallant&rdquo; approach to differentiate themselves in a packed field. For example, a video ad from the <a href="http://www.TheHarrisRealEstateGroup.com" target="_blank">Harris Group</a> in Vancouver, B.C., featured a fictitious agent named Gary Schlitz, ostensibly the worst real estate agent ever. In the video, Schlitz shares one of his best ways to promote his real estate business: &ldquo;Ever hear about whisper marketing? I go around to high-market areas and whisper my name, Gary Schlitz, to passersby on the street. That generates a lot of hits every once in a while. And once I get a phone that will work out a lot [better].&rdquo;</p> <p>The take-home message at the end of the video: Don&rsquo;t get stuck with that guy. The Harris Group will connect you to a real professional.</p> <p>Other real estate professionals have experimented with adding humor into their marketing of individual listings. For example, in 2008, Bill McSpadden with Bill McSpadden Real Estate in Knoxville, Tenn., posted a rider on a For Sale sign for a new-home that said &ldquo;Reduced, But Not Stupid or Desperate.&rdquo; It was at the beginning of the housing downturn and he says the area was getting a lot of lowball offers.</p> <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" style="width: 352px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/good_neighbor/2014/nov14_humor_McSpadden.png" style="width: 350px; height: 261px; float: right;" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td> Photo credit: Bill McSpadden, Bill McSpadden Real Estate, Knoxville, Tenn. (2008)</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Shelsby&mdash;the agent who promoted her listing&rsquo;s &ldquo;quiet neighbors&rdquo; in the next-door cemetery&mdash;says humor is an important trait to have in interactions with customers, too.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone knows how stressful buying or selling a property can be. So I will crack a joke, be a little silly, or do whatever it takes to get a smile and a deep breath out of my clients,&rdquo; Shelsby says. &ldquo;People make better decisions when they are relaxed, and what is more relaxing than a good giggle?&rdquo;</p> <h4> Can <em>I </em>Be Funny?</h4> <p>You might think you don&rsquo;t have anything funny to say, or that by cracking a joke, you&rsquo;ll run the risk of looking unprofessional. Or maybe you just don&rsquo;t see the humor in your local market. But you don&rsquo;t have to be David Letterman to be successful at adding humor in professional interactions, Buxman says.</p> <p>&ldquo;The strategic use of humor means more than cracking a few jokes,&rdquo; Buxman says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a systematic way to approach every single aspect of your career. Learning how to identify the lighter side, and using humor to bolster your emotional reserves, will make you happier too.&rdquo;</p> <p>Buxman says the first step is to change the way you filter your experiences, and start seeing the humor you might be missing all around you. &ldquo;Part of discovering humor is playing with your mind-set,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>One of the most overlooked places for humor is pain or stress. Next time you&rsquo;re having a tough day, ask yourself, &ldquo;How could this be worse?&rdquo; In order to answer the question, you may find you need to exaggerate the situation to the point of absurdity. That can both bring you humor and help put things in proper perspective, Buxman says.</p> <p>&ldquo;Laughter doesn&rsquo;t solve our problems, but it does make it easier for us to handle those problems,&rdquo; Buxman says.</p> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t consider yourself funny, Buxman notes that &ldquo;some of the most successful in the comedy industry are not humor initiators but appreciators.&rdquo; She suggests responding positively to others&rsquo; humor, and surrounding yourself with humor, whether it&rsquo;s funny cartoons on your bulletin board, humorous e-cards on your social networking, or amusing YouTube videos bookmarked on your browser.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Online Humor Resources</strong></p> <ul> <li> Black Burgh Homes&rsquo; <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/blacksburghomes/real-estate-funnies/" target="_blank">Real Estate Funnies</a> Pinterest board.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.laughfactory.com/jokes/joke-of-the-day" target="_blank">Joke of the Day</a></li> <li> <a href="http://www.someecards.com/ecards/workplace/" target="_blank">Workplace e-cards</a></li> <li> REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s <a href="/first-person/in-trenches">In the Trenches</a> column</li> <li> Buxman&rsquo;s <a href="http://karynbuxman.com" target="_blank">humor tips newsletter</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <h4> Overcoming Fear of Humor</h4> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re a comedic genius or a joke-cracking novice, the worry that no one will laugh at your punch line is universal. Thankfully, there are a few ways to lower the pressure.</p> <p>First, keep your jokes short. Buxman says one-line jokes get a chuckle more easily and people are more quickly satisfied. If you tell a five-minute story, there&rsquo;s more expectation for an epically funny pay-off.</p> <p>Always avoid race-, religion-, or gender-based jokes and any humor that makes light of serious violence. Also, you should always carefully consider your relationship with the recipient of your humor to decide whether it&rsquo;s appropriate. If someone you&rsquo;ve been working with for years ends up not finding your attempt at humor funny, they&rsquo;ll probably get over it. But, &ldquo;if you&rsquo;re meeting a customer for the first time, use humor inappropriately and you&rsquo;ll likely damage or ruin that relationship,&rdquo; Buxman says. &ldquo;The stronger the relationship, the riskier the humor can be.&rdquo;</p> <p>Self-effacing humor &mdash; poking fun at yourself &mdash; can be a good place to start. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;When you poke fun at yourself, you show yourself as more human, and the listener often feels safer to share and develop a rapport that strengthens your relationship,&rdquo; Buxman says. &ldquo;The humor diminishes any perceived hierarchy, and the client feels more open to participate in the fun.&rdquo;</p> <p>Just don&rsquo;t overdo it since you&rsquo;re poking fun at one of your weaknesses, and you want to avoid any jokes tied to your credibility.</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>Lighten up! Research suggests that leveraging your funny bone in real estate can improve your customer relationships and even your sales success.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/nov14_SM_laugh_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=74362">nov14_SM_laugh_1.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/nov14_SM_laugh_2.jpg?1415998723" /> </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/nov14_LP_SM_laugh.jpg?1415998467" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-main-image-credit"> <div class="field-label">Main Image Credit:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Photo credit: Mary Shelsby, RE/MAX Realty Group, Pittsford, N.Y. (2014) </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/2014/07/repeat-business-why-your-clients-really-">Repeat Business: Why Your Clients Really Stick By You</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/05/overconnectivity-when-too-much-tech-hurt">Overconnectivity: When Too Much Tech Hurts Your Relationships</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/briefs/article/1996/07/lighten-up-humor-bulletin-board">Lighten Up: The Humor Bulletin Board</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <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> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Relationship Management Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:27:33 +0000 mwhite 17696 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Four Reasons Agents Don't Succeed http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/11/four-reasons-agents-dont-succeed <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you understand these basic barriers that may be holding your associates back, you can help them succeed by breaking down what’s hindering them. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, November 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/jason-forrest">Jason Forrest</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Until Roger Bannister broke the barrier in 1954, the four-minute mile was considered physically impossible for the human body. After Bannister proved it was possible, a string of runners quickly followed suit, showing the assumption was wrong all along.</p> <p>Think of the most influential people in your life: the coaches, teachers, and mentors who have challenged you to achieve more than you thought possible. If you&rsquo;re like most, you have one or two of these very special people who make you a little misty-eyed when you recall their efforts. You revere their place in your life because they saw in you what you couldn&rsquo;t see in yourself.</p> <p>Get this: That can be you. As a broker, your role is to lead your team members to do what they don&rsquo;t want to do today so they can earn what they want to earn tomorrow.</p> <p>Serious sales professionals want to make big money. Your team members wouldn&rsquo;t drive prospects all around town or give up weekends and evenings with family if they didn&rsquo;t expect to be rewarded for those efforts. They know their income isn&rsquo;t guaranteed like it would be if they chose a Monday through Friday, nine-to-five gig. They chose this course because they wanted to be in charge of their own unlimited earning potential. But sometimes they fall short. They may lose their hunger or not fully understand what it takes to be the best.</p> <p>There are four very basic reasons for agents not doing what they need to do to reach their potential:</p> <ul> <li> They don&rsquo;t know how</li> <li> They don&rsquo;t know why</li> <li> They are afraid</li> <li> They are being influenced by past or current conditioning or beliefs</li> </ul> <p>You&rsquo;re there to lead them. The first step you need to take is to ask questions that will help identify why they&rsquo;re hindered. Then you can provide the coaching they need to overcome their obstacle.</p> <p>For the first two reasons, you may find you need to teach your agents how or why to do something. The third and fourth are a little more complicated. If your associates are afraid or otherwise limited by their beliefs, you will need to work on helping them change their thinking and mindsets. You know you&rsquo;ve achieved your goal when their behaviors start to change &mdash; but you can&rsquo;t stop there. You must continue the process by providing follow-through and by being their accountability partner.</p> <p>Agents may not always like you for taking such an active role in their success. But when they win because of your coaching, you will earn that reverential place in their lives as someone who pushed them. You must coach them to blow past the four-minute miles of their own minds.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you understand these basic barriers that may be holding your associates back, you can help them succeed by breaking down what&rsquo;s hindering them.</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/nov14_B_barriers.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=20968">nov14_B_barriers.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/nov14_B_barriers_0.jpg?1415997938" /> </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/nov14_LP_B_barriers.jpg?1415997951" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/09/8-tips-for-grooming-top-producers">8 Tips for Grooming Top Producers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/05/how-hot-beliefs-lead-success">How Hot Beliefs Lead to Success</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2013/05/doing-believing">Doing is Believing</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Solutions Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:05:36 +0000 mwhite 17694 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Vacation Home Primer http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/11/vacation-home-primer <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"> Buying a vacation home requires different criteria—and sometimes a different timetable—than a primary home purchase. Help potential clients compile a smart second-home wish list. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, November 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/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Owning a vacation home is a long-held dream for many home owners. As a real estate professional, you can help clients who are considering this step weigh their options and understand this market more clearly by considering these nine key factors.</p> <p><strong>1. Market outlook:</strong> Is inventory plentiful? Are prices trending up or down? Is an area losing its cachet, or is it heating up? Be sure to do your research on local trends so that you can give the best advice to your clients. As for the national outlook: Sales of vacation properties performed well last year, due to affordable prices and low mortgage rates, according to NAR&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.realtor.org/user/login?destination=/reports/investment-and-vacation-home-buyers-survey" target="_blank">Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey 2014</a>. The survey also found that the majority of buyers purchased a property to use for vacations rather than to diversify their investment portfolio. They spent a median of $168,700, and favored single-family houses over townhomes and condominiums.</p> <p><strong>2. Total costs:</strong> Owning a second home can eliminate expensive hotel stays. And with room-service burgers coming in at around $20 plus tip, buyers should calculate the total bottom line, not just the room rate. However, you should prepare buyers for another mortgage at what may be a higher interest rate than what they have on their primary residence. Also, they should consider real estate taxes, homeowner&rsquo;s insurance, maintenance, furnishings, and gasoline or airfare to get there and back. If regular vacation costs aren&rsquo;t part of their long-term plan of at least the next three to five years, hotels may prove more economically prudent.</p> <p><strong>3. Distance from home: </strong>The typical distance of a vacation home from an owner&rsquo;s primary home was 170 miles, according to the NAR report. Some vacation homeowners find that paradise works best if it&rsquo;s closer&mdash;within a two-hour drive or via a direct flight. Otherwise, the home may not be used often enough to offset costs. Real estate saleswoman Barb St. Amant, ABR, with Harry Norman, REALTORS&reg;, in Atlanta, decided that the lakefront home she and her husband selected when their twin sons were 13 years old needed to be around 40 minutes away in order to be used frequently. Because their sons will soon graduate from college, they didn&rsquo;t go to the house very often last year, but with her husband&rsquo;s retirement, that may change. &ldquo;We plan to reassess,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><strong>4. Nearby attractions: </strong>While location is still the mantra, what &ldquo;the best location&rdquo; means will vary. Top schools and proximity to work centers may be huge incentives for a primary home, but being on vacation may require proximity to ski slopes or a beach. Michael Degnan, broker-owner of Realty Executives, which oversees sales at the new Heritage Sands development on Cape Cod, says its 63 cottages&rsquo; proximity to 630 feet of private beach has been a major draw. For rah-rah college alums, being a stone&rsquo;s&mdash;or football&mdash;throw from a stadium may be more key, says Jennifer Fredericks, CRS, GRI, and broker with Better Homes &amp; Gardens Real Estate Preferred Living in College Station, Texas. Her buyers come to attend Texas A&amp;M University sporting events. &ldquo;They want to walk to the stadium in fall for games, have everyone at their house for tailgating, or buy on a golf course so they can be close but use the house for retirement some day,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><strong>5. Maintenance: </strong>Whatever the home&rsquo;s size and style&mdash;single-family, townhouse, or condo&mdash;buyers want to spend as little time as possible on maintenance. Going with new construction approaches that ideal, says Robyn Erlenbush, CRB, CRS, with ERA Landmark in Bozeman and Big Sky, Mont., where buyers go to be close to Yellowstone Park and ski slopes. While certain building materials and finishes help make a home more carefree, so do homeowner associations, on-site or nearby property management companies, and concierge services that handle upkeep and repairs. Carefree living was one reason Justin Pallis, who lives in Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border, chose a cottage at Heritage Sands. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t want to worry about cutting the grass or security when not there,&rdquo; he says. Advise buyers to inquire about these options when house hunting.</p> <p><strong>6. Furnishings</strong>: Yet another way for buyers to conserve precious vacation time is to select a furnished home rather than spending time shopping, especially from a distance. &ldquo;Decorating is the last thing many want to do; and sellers may be wise to sell their home furnished,&rdquo; says Patrick Jones, broker-owner of Better Homes &amp; Gardens Real Estate Sonoran Desert Lifestyles in Scottsdale, Ariz.</p> <p><strong>7. Amenities: </strong>Besides the location, onsite amenities can increase the appeal of one home over another. If extended family and friends regularly vacation with your buyers, encourage them to ensure they have a sufficient living space &mdash; both indoors and outdoors, depending on the location. If socializing is the main goal, you may also want to recommend the advantages of a clubhouse or party room. At Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., a 538-acre development on Lake Michigan, one clubhouse features a full-service restaurant. Jones in Scottsdale has found that many older vacationers seek a sense of community in these amenities, especially when traveling from afar.</p> <p><strong>8. Rules and restrictions:</strong> Single-family homes may come with no guidelines, except for those the town dictates &mdash; when watering lawns is permitted, for instance. But homes in a development or condo community often have a lengthy list to obey, such as restrictions against pets. Make sure buyers understand their rights and protections before they close.</p> <p><strong>9. Rentals</strong>: A universally appealing vacation home could add up to a revenue opportunity, and your buyers may already be factoring additional rental income into their second-home plans. However, homeowner&rsquo;s associations may ban renting or restrict how often owners are allowed to rent out their property. Buyers should also ask their homeowner&rsquo;s insurance agent and lender for rental guidelines and inquire about tax consequences with their financial professional. Buyers can use FHA loans on only primary residences, not rental properties and timeshares. Also, the down payment typically is higher on vacation property than it is for a primary home, says Tim Lucas, editor of <a href="http://mymortgageinsider.com/" target="_blank">mymortgageinsider,</a> an online mortgage resource. Rules also differ if a vacation home is being used as an investment property.</p> <p>One final tip: If your clients are uncertain, you may want to suggest that they rent for a year before purchasing a second home. That way they can try an area out during different seasons, to test if their fantasy meshes with reality. They&rsquo;ll be better clients in the long run, once they&rsquo;ve taken the time to fully understand their vacation</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>Buying a vacation home requires different criteria&mdash;and sometimes a different timetable&mdash;than a primary home purchase. Help potential clients compile a smart second-home wish list.</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/nov14_HD_vacation_homes.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=67762">nov14_HD_vacation_homes.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/nov14_HD_vacation_homes_0.jpg?1416256196" /> </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/nov14_LP_HD_vacation_homes.jpg?1416256213" /> </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="/first-person/street-cred/article/2014/08/helping-canadian-snowbirds-navigate-vacation-communities">Helping Canadian Snowbirds Navigate Vacation Communities</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/04/07/3-tips-for-staging-vacation-rental-property">3 Tips for Staging a Vacation Rental Property</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/06/04/vacation-home-buyers-stay-close-home">Vacation Home Buyers Stay Close to Home </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Fri, 14 Nov 2014 17:18:31 +0000 mwhite 17695 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Formula for Going Viral http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/11/formula-for-going-viral <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Every marketer dreams about their post taking off like wildfire. While there are no guarantees in social, Upworthy’s Sara Critchfield explains a few simple ways to maximize your content’s popularity online. </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, November 13, 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>When Sara Critchfield set out in March 2012 to help create Upworthy, a content aggregation site that aimed to make socially conscious stories go viral online, there was a set of assumptions about social media that seemed to point to the website&rsquo;s eventual failure.</p> <p>&ldquo;The top people in the media told us, &lsquo;That is so sweet,&rsquo;&rdquo; Critchfield remembered. &ldquo;They believed that unless you have celebrity photos and cat videos, you are not going to have a mass audience.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now that Upworthy is <a href="http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/fast-company-declares-upworthy-fastest-growing-media-site-all-time-150195" target="_blank">classified as one of the fastest growing sites of all time</a>, Critchfield is happy to have proven them wrong. But the experience also helped her understand something vital about content marketing. Sharing her insights in an Entrepreneurial Excellence Series session at the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo this month, Critchfield boiled it down to an actual formula: &ldquo;Clickability x sharability x distribution = virality.&rdquo;</p> <p>She explained the distinctions between each element using what she called &ldquo;the grocery store principle.&rdquo; <strong>Clickability</strong> helps determine whether or not the consumer wants to take a new box of cereal they&rsquo;ve never tried off the shelf and put it in their cart. <strong>Sharability</strong> is about the quality of the cereal; once they&rsquo;ve tried it, does the shopper want to recommend it to friends and family? <strong>Distribution</strong> is about how many eyes are on the product. If only a couple rural stores carry the cereal, it&rsquo;s probably not going to reach as many people, regardless of the packaging or quality.</p> <p>&ldquo;You can yank hard on any of these three levers and you&rsquo;re going to increase virality,&rdquo; Critchfield said. &ldquo;However, it&rsquo;s really hard to do all three for each piece of content every single time.&rdquo;</p> <p>So how can a real estate professional yank these levers on their social posts? Critchfield said that a big part of it is relying on the skills that come naturally for many in the industry.</p> <p>&ldquo;Real estate folks are the best community organizers in the world,&rdquo; Critchfield said. &ldquo;You guys already know how to do social. It plays on your strengths.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>Checklist for a powerful post:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>If you want shares</strong>, tap into people&rsquo;s emotions. &ldquo;Anger and happiness are the &lsquo;lean in&rsquo; emotions [and these] emotions play a big part in why people <span>share.&rdquo;</span></li> <li> <strong>If you want clicks</strong>, edit the headlines and descriptions of your post using informal language. &ldquo;The Internet loves novelty,&rdquo; <span>Critchfield</span> said, explaining the success of a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Upworthy/posts/565654780142051" target="_blank">post where Upworthy created the fake word &ldquo;wondtacular&rdquo;</a> to describe a especially moving situation.</li> <li> <strong>If you want to build affinity</strong> in your network, not every post has to be a link. Especially for personal pages, Critchfield explains, &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t have to be content. It can just be a thought about real estate.&rdquo;</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Critchfield said the key to wrapping one&rsquo;s content to thrive in the social universe is seeing the social part as the more important element of &ldquo;social media.&rdquo; Real estate pros should try first and foremost to &ldquo;meet people&rsquo;s most basic needs. I&rsquo;m a first-time home owner, and I&rsquo;m scared. How can you market content to meet those people&rsquo;s needs?&rdquo;</p> <p>Critchfield said there are a lot of misconceptions about what &ldquo;works&rdquo; online, but cat videos, top ten lists, and funny videos don&rsquo;t go viral because of their content type.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you have a list that also connects with somebody&rsquo;s heart, that&rsquo;s what goes viral,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;There are plenty of cat videos that just sit there.&rdquo;</p> <p>Analytics are important, but Critchfield cautioned against using any single measure to determine the success of any particular piece of content. Upworthy research shows that some posts are popular in terms of individual content consumption, but people aren&rsquo;t inclined to share them because a share is often construed as an attempt to define yourself. Critchfield used a post about the legalization of marijuana as an example: &ldquo;Your little sister is on Facebook, and you don&rsquo;t want her to know you&rsquo;re reading the marijuana article.&rdquo;</p> <p>Critchfield suggested reaching out to a variety of sources for help with your social strategy. If you&rsquo;re ready to spend real money on a social media solution, Critchfield recommended NationBuilder, a company that will help you forge connections between your social contacts and your CRM system for less than $50 a month. Critchfield also mentioned local students as an underutilized source of help.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Facebook Page or Profile?</strong></p> <p><span>Critchfield</span> recommended that commercial and large residential brokerages have a public page on Facebook. A personal profile can work if you&rsquo;re an individual salesperson, but if you&rsquo;re part of a high-volume residential team, or if you want to target a niche&mdash;such as military home buyers&mdash;you should create a page, rather than relying on a profile.</p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Hire a college kid. They&rsquo;re awesome,&rdquo; she said, noting you can get a beautifully designed custom website for around $500. &ldquo;Or hire a communications student and pay them 15 bucks an hour to make sure your social network is active. Film students too. It gives college kids a great professional mentor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Free help is available in your social circles, too. Critchfield said one of the main reasons people say they decided not to share content was that they were never explicitly asked to share.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ask! Put the &lsquo;share ask&rsquo; in your share text,&rdquo; she said. She suggested language asking people if they know someone who needs your services or could use the information you&rsquo;re sharing. &ldquo;At Upworthy, we saw our audience as our friends&rsquo; friends.&rdquo;</p> <p>Close friends can also be your confidants, giving you an insider look into what works and what doesn&rsquo;t. &ldquo;Ask your friends how they experience your Facebook page,&rdquo; Critchfield said. Also, if you have a colleague whose social presence is something you&rsquo;d aspire to recreate for yourself, reach out and ask them if you can get a glimpse of their data. &ldquo;If you have a very small page, your analytics are virtually worthless. Ask to see someone else&rsquo;s analytics to see what&rsquo;s working for them.&rdquo;</p> <p>Finally, Critchfield cautioned against putting all your marketing eggs in one basket. Social networks are important, but ultimately they&rsquo;re not within your control: &ldquo;Social media is a very fickle mistress,&rdquo; Critchfield said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really important to have a plan for e-mail [because] e-mail is the thing that you own, and no one can take that away.&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>Every marketer dreams about their post taking off like wildfire. While there are no guarantees in social, Upworthy&rsquo;s Sara Critchfield explains a few simple ways to maximize your content&rsquo;s popularity online.</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/nov14_SM_viral.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=43726">nov14_SM_viral.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/nov14_SM_viral_0.jpg?1415996467" /> </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/nov14_LP_SM_viral.jpg?1415996483" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/05/10-facebook-dos-and-don-ts">10 Facebook Dos and Don’ts</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/03/10/how-automation-kills-social-media-campaigns">How Automation Kills Social Media Campaigns</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/last-word/article/2013/07/jonah-berger-how-go-viral">Jonah Berger: How to Go Viral</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, 13 Nov 2014 21:58:39 +0000 mwhite 17686 at http://realtormag.realtor.org VRBO, Airbnb, and You http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2014/11/vrbo-airbnb-and-you <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Home-sharing sites attract agents and potential clients. Should you dive in? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, November 13, 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>After their son moved away, empty nesters and Long &amp; Foster agents Trudy and Nick Vandekar used his downstairs bedroom as an exercise room and office. But this year, the couple joined the ranks of thousands of Americans who&rsquo;ve opened their homes to strangers for profit by becoming Airbnb hosts.</p> <p>Airbnb has gained popularity in recent years, pairing up travelers and home owners with spare bedrooms (or, in some cases, spare sofas). But it&rsquo;s not the only game in town. While Airbnb&rsquo;s niche is travelers seeking low-cost and off-the-beaten path alternatives to the generic hotel experience, VRBO&mdash;which owns HomeAway and Vacationrentals.com&mdash;is targeting popular destinations for vacationers traveling in groups.</p> <h4> Benefits Beyond the Buck</h4> <p>Although guests pay a modest $75 to stay in the Vandekars&rsquo; spare room with a private entrance, the Berwyn, Pa.&ndash;based real estate agents have also gained a new perspective on homes that they can share with prospective buyers.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being an Airbnb host gives you another way to look at houses. It allows you to advise your clients,&rdquo; explains Trudy Vandekar. &ldquo;For instance, &lsquo;This house potentially has the ability to rent part of it out. &hellip; If it is a stretch to buy the house, this is an easy way to make extra money without a permanent tenant.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>This type of practical advice is why home-sharing sites are gaining popularity among home owners. For instance, HomeAway says its average listing generates $28,000 in bookings each year and more than half of the owners on HomeAway cover 75 percent of their mortgage by renting out their home.</p> <p>Another perk for the Vandekars is that Airbnb also allows them to extend their brand into the surrounding community. &ldquo;Although I do offer a simple breakfast, people like to go out for breakfast. I&rsquo;ve reached out to a few independently owned breakfast places and said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ll promote you if you promote me.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <h4> Transparent and Free</h4> <p>&ldquo;Zero cost and a lot of value&rdquo; is how Lynne Pope describes the home-sharing proposition. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s so easy. In a way, it&rsquo;s like the MLS; you can easily see what others listings are getting,&rdquo; says Pope, an agent with RE/MAX Estate Properties in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Although she lists her beach house on VRBO and Airbnb, she prefers Airbnb because, in her view, the site&rsquo;s clientele is younger and has deeper pockets.</p> <p>However, Pope credits VRBO with helping her pick up a buyer client. She says when she rented her beach house to one guest, &ldquo;we had some good interaction. I said, &lsquo;Whenever you get ready to buy a home, I&rsquo;ll give you special attention.&rsquo; He later bought a home from me.&rdquo;</p> <p>Like the Vandekars, Pope notes that being versed in the world of home sharing has helped her gain understanding in other areas of her local real estate market.</p> <p>In October, Pope hosted a broker&rsquo;s open house on a two-bedroom home with a listing price of $974,500. About 38 agents viewed the property, and several agents whose clients were looking for investments inquired about using the house as a VRBO property, Pope says.</p> <p>She also represents a five-bedroom rental property within walking distance of the beach that carries an $11,000 monthly lease. The property does not have a tenant, so Pope says &quot;the owners are thinking of turning it into a VRBO, which means we have to furnish it, which is kind of a drag.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Pros Help Owners Make the Most of Home Sharing</h4> <p>Another expense biting into the profit margins for these rentals is that local communities are getting serious about enforcing taxes associated with home-sharing sites. In September Airbnb announced it would begin collecting and remitting a 14 percent hotel occupancy fee for bookings in San Francisco.</p> <p>&ldquo;Tax compliance is a big issue. Renting a room on a short-term basis&mdash;less than 30 days&mdash;triggers sales and occupancy taxes, and these taxes need to be paid quarterly,&rdquo; says Rob Stephens, president of Greenwood Village, Colo.&ndash;based HotSpot Tax Services.</p> <p>His firm partners with VRBO and HomeAway and sets these collections on a sort of autopilot. Like a payroll service, HotSpot Tax Services prompts owners to report rental revenue and then calculates and files taxes for property owners, charging $10 to $12 per month per property for private owners and less for property management companies. &ldquo;We have a lot of [real estate agents] who refer our services to their clients who dabble in leasing properties,&rdquo; Stephens says.</p> <p>In fact, there are a lot of ways that real estate pros can assist clients interested in dabbling in the home-sharing business. Staging properties, delivering high-touch customer service, managing multiple properties, and collecting remittances and nonrefundable damage deposits are property management functions that are familiar terrain for real estate agents, but not for the average home owner. That&rsquo;s why some home owners outsource the property management duties associated with short-term home rental to agents, says Jon Gray, senior vice president of HomeAway. He notes that it typically takes eight to nine hours per week to manage a home, and that the property manager usually takes a percentage of the rent in exchange for their services.</p> <h4> &lsquo;A Natural Fit&rsquo;</h4> <p>Sites like Airbnb and VRBO can be a good place for agents to &ldquo;park&rdquo; a property and earn income while a market rebounds or a buyer surfaces. And although it&rsquo;s hard to determine how many real estate agents are using home-sharing sites, Gray says the number is significant, and that more than 350,000 HomeAway listings are professionally managed.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some of our largest customers are real estate agencies who also do property management, and they find a lot of success in marketing their properties through our sites,&rdquo; Gray says. He also corroborates Pope&rsquo;s and the Vandekars&rsquo; experiences, noting that agents using the site gain a new perspective on properties. &ldquo;They are able to sell homes in vacation markets better based on past rental income,&rdquo; Gray says. &ldquo;They use it as a unique selling feature of the home to say, &lsquo;By the way, it grossed $30,000 on VRBO last year, so that&rsquo;s something you should think about in your calculus of whether to buy this home.&rsquo; I think it&rsquo;s really an effective tool for real estate agents.&rdquo;</p> <p>According to Gray, travelers have not expressed a preference for renting from a real estate agent, private owner, or professional property manager. The bottom line, he says, is, &ldquo;Travelers are looking for great home to stay in.&rdquo; Conversely, &ldquo;People have realized it&rsquo;s not that big a deal to have people rent their homes.&rdquo;</p> <p>These new attitudes have created another venue for real estate agents to market their services and leverage properties. That&rsquo;s why, when Gray considers his site and real estate agents, he says: &ldquo;It is a natural fit.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Home-sharing sites attract agents and potential clients. Should you dive in?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/nov14_C_vacation_rent.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=34509">nov14_C_vacation_rent.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/nov14_C_vacation_rent_0.jpg?1415997201" /> </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/nov14_LP_C_vacation_rent.jpg?1415997221" /> </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/2011/07/21/more-home-owners-turn-homesharing">More Home Owners Turn to ‘Homesharing’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/05/sharing-economy-makes-inroads-moving-industry">Sharing Economy Makes Inroads on Moving Industry</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/07/08/extra-perks-condo-hotel-drive-revival">Extra Perks of a Condo-Hotel Drive Revival</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, 13 Nov 2014 22:18:27 +0000 mwhite 17687 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Where Are You Leading Your Online Leads? http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/11/where-are-you-leading-your-online-leads <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"> First, choose the right method for generating Internet leads. Then, here’s what to do next. </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, November 13, 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>It&rsquo;s unlikely that every lead you get online is an actionable one. Leads pour in from real estate portals and other sources, but many of them aren&rsquo;t buyers or sellers who are anywhere near taking the plunge into the market. So how do you get higher-quality leads, and what do you do to get the best chance at snagging their business?</p> <p>At the &ldquo;Building the Intelligent Internet Lead&rdquo; session during the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in New Orleans, four top-producing real estate professionals opened up about where they find leads and how they go after them. What became clear is that there is no &ldquo;silver bullet,&rdquo; as one of them put it. You can refine your lead generation with a fine-toothed comb, but it&rsquo;s up to you to decide the most effective way to spend your time &mdash; whether you should buy leads or troll for them yourself &mdash; and where you should go from there.</p> <h4> What&rsquo;s the Best Method for Getting Leads?</h4> <p><strong>Mariana Wagner, Keller Williams Realty, Colorado Springs, Colo.:</strong> &ldquo;I used to spend my time going after more organic leads, and that worked well for me,&rdquo; Wagner said. But as she built her real estate team, the Wagner iTeam, with her husband, Derek, she needed to manage her time more efficiently. She found the spending a little more money on lead generation was the right route for her.</p> <p>&ldquo;The best use of my time and my money is to buy leads,&rdquo; she said. Wagner uses <a href="https://leadstoday.com/" target="_blank">Leads Today</a>, a company that creates neighborhood maps pinpointing FSBOs and expired and new listings, along with all the sellers&rsquo; relevant contact information (including names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and social media profiles). &ldquo;People who log in to these lead-generation systems and put their information in &mdash; they&rsquo;re serious. They&rsquo;ve been the best sources for us.&rdquo;</p> <p>Wagner said she also gets a lot of listing leads through Facebook ads that she creates. These two methods have helped her team close four to six transactions a month, she said.</p> <p><strong>Lane Hornung, e-PRO&reg;, founder and CEO of 8Z Real Estate, Boulder, Colo.:</strong> &ldquo;Organic SEO has been a great lead generator, but that world is changing because the big real estate portals are playing at a very high level nationally,&rdquo; Hornung said. &ldquo;Getting your search results in the top 10 is getting harder.&rdquo;</p> <p>Particularly for new agents, Hornung recommended not focusing on SEO because of the overly competitive landscape &mdash; &ldquo;unless you&rsquo;re trying to win on a hyperlocal level, which agents can still do,&rdquo; he said. Hornung says he focuses most of his company&rsquo;s lead-generation efforts on pay-per-click Google ads and Facebook ads.</p> <p>&ldquo;We feel like we can control the experience there&rdquo; as opposed to advertising on real estate portals, where you lose a lot of control over how the ad is placed, Hornung said. &ldquo;Plus, Google and Facebook are not real estate brands.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Christine Dwiggins, SRES, vice president of marketing at NextHome, San Francisco:</strong> For a franchise like NextHome, which provides its members with their own real estate websites, the key is to not overwhelm potential clients with bothersome forms. Dwiggins said that&rsquo;s an easy way to turn off potential clients.</p> <p>&ldquo;People don&rsquo;t want to be hounded by filling out forms and being captured as a lead,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They want to ask questions when they&rsquo;re ready.&rdquo;</p> <p>Dwiggins said NextHome gets leads from several different sources and distributes them to its brokers and agents. One big source is online real estate portals. But the company doesn&rsquo;t focus on capturing leads coming to its own sites. Instead, it focuses on &ldquo;creating an experience for our users,&rdquo; Dwiggins said.</p> <p><strong>Audie Chamberlain, vice president of marketing at The Partners Trust, Beverly Hills, Calif.: </strong>Online leads aren&rsquo;t the bread and butter of Chamberlain&rsquo;s company, he said. &ldquo;In our market, 80 percent of leads come from referrals,&rdquo; Chamberlain noted. &ldquo;We see Internet leads as an emerging market.&rdquo;</p> <p>But he sees two sources as primary when thinking about where consumers go to find a practitioner: LinkedIn and the big real estate portals. &ldquo;For organic online leads, you have to get your LinkedIn profile bulletproof,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But you have to think about where the audience is going. In our market, they love to go to the portals.&rdquo;</p> <p>So The Partners Trust, he said, is beginning to advertise more on portals. In four months, such advertising has brought the company more than 100 leads a month. But it&rsquo;s still early, and the company is still refining its strategy to get online leads.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not putting much more of an effort into it other than time,&rdquo; Chamberlain said.</p> <h4> What Do You Do After You Get the Leads?</h4> <p><strong>Wagner: </strong>&ldquo;You have to follow up with a lead within five minutes,&rdquo; Wagner said. She knows that when she gets a lead, she&rsquo;s usually not the first agent that lead has made contact with. &ldquo;Way more than half the time, the seller says, &lsquo;You are the first person to call me back.&rsquo; We pretty much have the listing then if we want it.&rdquo;</p> <p>She cautioned pros not to rely on e-mail as a primary means of first contact with a lead. &ldquo;We get leads in our spam boxes sometimes,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So can you imagine how many of our follow-up emails land in spam boxes?&rdquo;</p> <p>After making an initial phone call, Wagner sends a handwritten card to a lead the same day. But what you call a lead back and don&rsquo;t get an answer?</p> <p>&ldquo;We keep calling until we get a hold of them,&rdquo; Wagner said. &ldquo;If they don&rsquo;t respond in a week, we drop them into our &lsquo;long-term nurture plan,&rsquo; so they start receiving our newsletters and other correspondence.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Hornung: </strong>Real estate professionals aren&rsquo;t lazy, Hornung said. They just can&rsquo;t respond to every lead that comes there way because it doesn&rsquo;t make much economic sense.</p> <p>&ldquo;One of the decisions we have to make is whether this person is worth our time right now, and maybe you don&rsquo;t need to follow up on that person right now,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>Hornung&rsquo;s company employs a &ldquo;client care team&rdquo; staffed with people who make the first point of contact with a lead. They call leads and find out whether they are selling or buying or both and which neighborhoods they are looking in, and then the client care representatives tell the leads a little bit about the agent they will be working with.</p> <p>&ldquo;It gives our agents what I call &lsquo;hand-crafted leads,&rsquo;&rdquo; Hornung said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve got even more information about the lead before the agent makes the first call. When the hand-off from client care to agent happens, we expect the agent to act quickly.&rdquo;</p> <p>He cautioned, though, that hand-offs can be fumbled. It&rsquo;s important that the client care team fully understand their duties, he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Whether you&rsquo;re an individual agent, a team, or a brokerage, you can put someone in between you and the raw lead,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It makes a better experience for the agent and the client. But it&rsquo;s not a good use of your time to follow up on unscrubbed Internet leads.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Chamberlain:</strong> &ldquo;There is no silver bullet&rdquo; when it comes to how to pursue a lead, Chamberlain said. &ldquo;We live in an Uber world &mdash; consumers today can get anything in real time at the touch of a button. For real estate, we&rsquo;re not there yet with all of these other apps that our clients are using.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ultimately, it&rsquo;s about the personal connection, he said. And he encouraged &ldquo;newer, hungrier associates&rdquo; to take on the challenge of making faster, smarter contacts with leads.</p> <p>He spoke of an agent only seven months into his real estate career who decided to double down on leads he was paying for from real estate portals. It wasn&rsquo;t as much about how quickly he contacted them but the quality of his message once he got them on the phone.</p> <p>&ldquo;He goes into each lead fearlessly: &lsquo;I know you&rsquo;ve sent this inquiry to three or four other people, but I&rsquo;m here to help you,&rsquo;&rdquo; Chamberlain relayed. &ldquo;That agent has closed six deals in seven months. Your goal is to take that Internet lead offline.&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>First, you need to choose the right method for generating Internet leads. Then, here&rsquo;s what you do next.</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/nov14_T_leads.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=57162">nov14_T_leads.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/nov14_T_leads_0.jpg?1415897894" /> </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/nov14_LP_T_leads.jpg?1415897911" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2013/05/does-it-pay-buy-online-leads">Does It Pay to Buy Online Leads?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/04/16/4-tips-for-online-lead-generation">4 Tips for Online Lead Generation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2010/03/win-more-clients-converting-those-internet-leads">Win More Clients by Converting Those Internet Leads</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:32:05 +0000 gwood 17684 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How to Make Video Work for Your Budget http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/11/how-make-video-work-for-your-budget <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 are many different ways to incorporate video in your marketing plan, but it’s important to match your methodology to your market. </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, November 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/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>At the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in New Orleans this month, three agents with three different approaches to marketing shared their particular perspectives on how to incorporate video in their businesses.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/patricklilly/videos" target="_blank">Patrick Vernon Lilly</a>, CRS, e-PRO, leads a team selling high-end residential property in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He told the audience that the last thing in the world he&rsquo;d do is one of the most popular uses of video in real estate.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to invest in a video, don&rsquo;t do a listing tour,&rdquo; Lilly said at the &ldquo;Video is Worth a Million Words&rdquo; session. Instead, Lilly keeps his videos at around one minute and 20 seconds, showing only a few select shots of his listings, interspersed with neighborhood shots and clips of him describing what he likes about the property and the area. &ldquo;The video&rsquo;s not going to work if you can&rsquo;t tell a story.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/leighbrownremax/videos" target="_blank">Leigh Brown</a> of RE/MAX Executive Realty in the Charlotte, N.C., area doesn&rsquo;t do listing tours either, but for a different reason.</p> <p>&ldquo;One of his videos is my whole commission check!&rdquo; Brown joked. She told the audience her average listing price is $226,000, and spending the hundreds of dollars that Lilly does on his videos would not be cost-effective. Instead, Brown spent around $150 to create a video that helps consumers know what to expect from her and her team. &ldquo;I try to draw people in with the experience they get working with me and my team. It&rsquo;s a way for them to see you are a living, breathing human being.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/RajQsar/videos" target="_blank">Raj Qsar</a>, principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group in the Orange County, Calif., area, does do video tours, and regularly goes over Lilly&rsquo;s prescribed two-minute video cut-off. But he agreed with the idea of needing to tell a story. He was inspired back in 2009 by a wedding videographer who excelled at telling the story of a couple&rsquo;s life together rather than just documenting an event. Qsar wanted to do the same thing to reach the hyperlocal market he serves. He called and asked the videographer to help him tell the story of his listing.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a lot of work. &hellip; That video took seven days to cut,&rdquo; Qsar said. He said the video took so long to finish that they had an offer before it was even ready for prime time. But he shared the video with the sellers anyway, and got nine more listings in the area because other home owners in the area were impressed with his work. &ldquo;They were floored. They sent that video to everyone in the neighborhood.&rdquo;</p> <p>Since that first &ldquo;listing story,&rdquo; he has used a full-time stager, purchased professional equipment, and hired a video crew to make listing stories a centerpiece of his marketing plan.</p> <p>For the budget conscious, Brown said there are ways to market oneself without relying on professional equipment. She uses BombBomb to send video responses to online inquiries about her listings. Brown simply shoots video of herself using her smartphone, thanking prospects for contacting her and offering more information about schools and taxes in the area of the listing.</p> <p>&ldquo;They can find the easy stuff, but the consumer has no idea where to find information about schools and taxes,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s really jacked our conversion rate.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brown also noted that on-the-go video can help you solve problems that an e-mail or phone conversation would not be able to. She cited a weekend when she received an inquiry from a couple while she was with family at a girls&rsquo; softball game. Rather than having a conversation on her cell in a noisy environment, she put the setting to work for her, recording a video response that showed exactly what she was up to and telling the couple she would get back to them on Monday.</p> <p>&ldquo;They wanted to work with me. They didn&rsquo;t even interview any other agents,&rdquo; Brown said. &ldquo;They said, &lsquo;You got back to us quickly, but you did not interrupt your family time.&rsquo; They appreciated that.&rdquo;</p> <p>The panelists also shared mistakes they&rsquo;ve made and how they learned the hard way to improve their processes. For example, Lilly learned early on to make adjustments to his narrative style to allow his true personality to come across.</p> <p>&ldquo;We started out with me writing out the copy and me reading it. That works for a lot of speakers, but with me it comes off as deadly,&rdquo; he said. He asked his videographer to help him loosen up by goofing around and wearing Chewbacca wigs. &ldquo;The videos are much more successful if I start out laughing, so I&rsquo;m not coming across as this pretentious New Yorker.&rdquo;</p> <p>Qsar said one mistake he made early on was not preparing his sellers for the fact that video is not instant, especially with the longer-form videos in which he specializes. Now he sets up that expectation and will even drop a trailer before the video is fully produced to give a taste of what is to come.</p> <p>Finally, there&rsquo;s nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of time and money on a video that doesn&rsquo;t get the expected exposure. Lilly suggested using YouTube over other video hosting platforms because it&rsquo;s owned &mdash; and therefore indexed &mdash; by search powerhouse Google.</p> <p>Qsar agreed, noting that practitioners should be sure to use the tagging functionality in the back end of YouTube to help Google understand what the video is about and where it was shot.</p> <p>&ldquo;There are specific tags and phrases you can use in YouTube [to describe the video],&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t be too general, because Google doesn&rsquo;t like that. You keep doing that with every video, and Google is going to recognize it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Qsar also suggested e-mailing videos to specific marketing lists. Brown e-mails her video to agents so they feel more secure in referring clients to her team.</p> <p>&ldquo;They feel like it&rsquo;s OK to talk to anyone on my team. I am the CEO of my team and I drive the bus, but I am surrounded by the best people on the planet,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Video helps you shape that.&rdquo;</p> <p>Regardless of how much to spend or what kind of video to shoot, the panel was in agreement that, if real estate pros are willing to take the time, video is worth it.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to cost you more in the long term to not do video,&rdquo; Qsar said. &ldquo;Video will give you the most return of anything you invest in &mdash; if you do it right. Do it. Do it well.&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>There are many different ways to incorporate video in your marketing plan, but it&rsquo;s important to match your methodology to your market.</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/nov14_SM_vid_approach.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=29971">nov14_SM_vid_approach.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/nov14_SM_vid_approach_0.jpg?1415738959" /> </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/nov14_LP_SM_vid_approach.jpg?1415738980" /> </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/2014/04/15/3-reasons-start-using-video-email">3 Reasons to Start Using Video Email</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/10/ultimate-iphone-listing-video">The Ultimate iPhone Listing Video</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-do-it-yourself-or-hire-photographe">2014 Camera Guide: Do It Yourself or Hire a Photographer?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 11 Nov 2014 20:15:31 +0000 mwhite 17670 at http://realtormag.realtor.org