Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en Brokerage Technology Game Changers http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/01/brokerage-technology-game-changers <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"> From hacker-proof gear to high-tech virtual meetings, these seven tech trends that debuted at this year&#039;s International Consumer Electronics Show will bring cutting edge efficiencies to your brokerage. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, January 23, 2015</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--><div class="embed"> <div class="rmo-slideshow-title"><h2 class="node-title">7 Tech Trends to Revolutionize Your Office</h2> <div class="deck"><p>View the latest tech gadget debuts from the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show that will reshape your brokerage.</p> <div class="rmo-slideshow-author"> <!--|-->January 2015<div id="author"> | BY <a href="/author/melissa-dittmann-tracey">Melissa Dittmann Tracey</a></div> </div><!-- /.section-date-author --></div><!-- /.deck --> </div> </div> <div id="image-gallery-slideshow"> <div class="view view-image-gallery-images view-id-image_gallery_images view-display-id-block_1 rmo-slideshow view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <!-- dynamic display block slideshow --> <div id="views-slideshow-ddblock-image_gallery_images_block_1" class="views-slideshow-ddblock-cycle-vsd-upright-60p clear-block"> <div class="container clear-block border"> <div class="container-inner clear-block border"> <!-- slider content --> <div class="slider clear-block border"> <div class="slider-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_01.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>CES 2015</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>What&rsquo;s the next big thing to transform how your office operates? The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show touted the latest developments in technology, some of which will become game changers for your business, keeping you better connected and more productive. From the latest advances in smartphones and computers to cameras and more, CES showed off plenty of tech applications for real estate brokerages. Here are seven tech trends to watch for your business, along with new innovations that debuted at CES this year, all of which may impact how you do business now or in the near future.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_03.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#1 Wireless Charging</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Draining batteries can potentially cost you business. With wireless charging, you&rsquo;ll no longer be tethered to a cord to charge your smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer, or other device. Wireless charging keeps offices truly mobile. Several products at CES showed innovative solutions for keeping a charge, including one device from a company called Energous that will seek gadgets up to 20 feet away and charge them without a plug.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_05.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Wireless Charging</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>On-the-go chargers: </strong>Being able to charge your devices in a car is also important in real estate. With <a href="http://www.tylt.com/vu/" target="_blank">Tylt&rsquo;s VU Wireless Charging Car Mount</a>, you just place your smartphone on a wireless charger that also doubles as a hands-free car mount. No plug-ins required. Just mount the device to the dashboard or windshield via a suction cup. Price: $79.99</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_02.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Wireless Charging</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Seek and charge:</strong> Energous&rsquo; <a href="http://www.energous.com" target="_blank">WattUp</a> works like a wireless router, beaming energy to charge tablets, phones, and even lightbulbs from up to 20 feet away. The router locates devices in need of a charge, connects to them via Bluetooth LE, and wirelessly powers the devices in an open space. The charging transmitters can serve as standalone units or be built into appliances and other devices. WattUp is not expected to arrive in stores until next year. View the <a href="http://youtu.be/e0LAzFB0Qh8" target="_blank">video </a>demo to see how it works.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_04.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Wireless Charging</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Table chargers: </strong>The ability to place your devices on a table or pad without hunting for a plug could also revolutionize charging. <a href="http://www.inpofi.com" target="_blank">iNPOfi Smart Transparent Wireless Charging Table</a>, a CES 2015 Best of Innovations honoree, is a glass table that can also serve as a charging station for your portable devices. Just sit your device on it and wait for it to charge. The table requires no wires and emits no radiation or heat.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_06.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#2 Smart Homes</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>In the near future, the structure of the home won&rsquo;t be the only allure to potential buyers. Soon, a home outfitted to operate with smarter and more efficiently technology will be on buyers&rsquo; wish lists. High-tech homes have seen a gradual evolution, moving from flashy toys to more usable systems. Companies are creating consumer-friendly tablet or smartphone apps that link to home systems and appliances. The costs are coming down on these gadgets too, which is expected to spur higher adoption. Demand is high: More than 70 percent of about 2,000 adults surveyed in <a href="https://app.box.com/s/vnl28tu9nauajw2pkq6r" target="_blank">Lowe&rsquo;s 2014 Smart Home Survey</a> said they wish they could control aspects in their home with a mobile device to help trim costs and save money on utility bills, as well as offer safety and security monitoring.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_07.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Smart Homes</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Fully connected: </strong>Manufacturers are joining forces to create a unified home control system with one central command post within a mobile app. Lowe&rsquo;s Iris and Google&rsquo;s Nest, among others, have been fostering such greater home connectivity. The Work with Nest program has added more partners to its lineup of compatible products. Nest devices work with appliances to send notifications when a defect is defected, as well as lower a home&rsquo;s heat when a door is locked to save on utility costs. Nest&rsquo;s smart thermostat is being paired with Automatic&rsquo;s smart driving monitor so that when a car pulls away from the house, the thermostat enters &ldquo;away&rdquo; mode to save on heating and cooling costs. When the car returns home, the thermostat defaults to the preferred temperature.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_08.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Smart Homes</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Connected lightbulbs: </strong>Lightbulbs that come on automatically as you enter a room or even offer security monitoring are making for a much smarter bulb. <a href="https://stacklighting.com/products" target="_blank">Stack Lighting&rsquo;s Alba LED</a> is a flood light that contains sensors to detect ambient light levels. The lights can be set to dim automatically to provide the ideal levels of brightness throughout the day and help save on energy costs by up to 80 percent compared to standard LED lights, according to the company. When you enter the room, the lights turn on automatically, but also can be controlled remotely with a smartphone app or computer to adjust the color from, say, a warm orange to cooler blue tone. Price: $60</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_09.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Smart Homes</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Light bulbs and security: </strong>LED lightbulbs may also double as a security system. <a href="http://www.sengled.com" target="_blank">Sengled Snap Bulb</a>, a CES 2015 Innovation Award winner, is an LED lightbulb that contains speakers, a microphone, and a motion sensor. It can stream video to your smart device. Installation is as easy as screwing in the lightbulb &mdash; no extra wiring needed. Due in spring 2015. Price: $199</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_10.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#3 UAVs</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Unmanned aircraft vehicles, also known as drones, may be grounded for real estate purposes, but the technology paving the way for you to one day capture HD aerial photos and videos of your listings continues to evolve. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to issue its <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/12/12/faa-drone-rules-delayed-2017" target="_blank"><u>final guidelines on the use of commercial use of UAVs by 2017</u></a>. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; has joined a number of other trade and industry associations to develop safe practices for UAV use, but is urging its members not to fly UAVs until the FAA issues its final guidelines. Until then, watch for UAV developments because these miniature aerial aircrafts, if and when they&rsquo;re approved for commercial purposes, are expected to be a big draw in marketing real estate in the future.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_11.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: UAVs</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Affordable, mini fliers: </strong>Parrot, one of the most popular manufacturers of UAVs, offers several miniature models, some even costing under $100. These mini vehicles, which are controlled by a smartphone app, are capable of flying, rolling, and jumping while capturing aerial photos inside or outside. Its Rolling Spider UAV, which is one of the smallest on the market, can store hundreds of photos on an embedded camera. At CES, Parrot also debuted the &ldquo;Mechanical Firefly&rdquo; concept, which will also feature headlights to capture images in the evening, as well as the <a href="https://www.sensefly.com/home.html" target="_blank">SenseFly eXcom</a>, an autonomous quadcopter that can automatically correct and hold its flying position without being remotely controlled.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_12.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: UAVs</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Wearable drones: </strong>Ushering in a new class of wearables, <a href="https://flynixie.com" target="_blank">Nixie</a> is bringing a UAV to a person&rsquo;s wrist. Nixie is an unassuming bracelet that snaps onto your wrist, but it can detach, take flight, and snap photos from different angles in an area, using Intel&rsquo;s Edison chip. Set Nixie to work in &ldquo;boomerang mode&rdquo; and it will fly off to take a photo or video of a room or space and then fly right back to you. It also records 1080p video while in-flight. Nixie is just a prototype at this point and not yet available for sale, but could one day have unique applications in real estate as an easy way to gather different views of your listing.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_13.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#4 Hacker-Proof Gear</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Technology is vulnerable to hackers and can put your business &mdash; and your clients&rsquo; personal information &mdash; at risk. &ldquo;The Internet of Things&rdquo; is a term that refers to the large number of smart devices that you use to communicate with others; an estimated 70 percent of &ldquo;Internet of Things&rdquo; devices contain major vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, according to a report issued last year by HP&rsquo;s Fortify on Demand. Staying up-to-date with antivirus and antiphishing software remains important, but other add-on devices may help keep your brokerage&rsquo;s information safe, too.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_14.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Hacker-Proof</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Secure wireless connections:</strong> Accessing Wi-Fi over a public hotspot can expose you to&nbsp; vulnerabilities. Bring your own secure, lightweight hotspot with you wherever you go. <a href="http://www.netgear.com/AC778AT" target="_blank">Netgear&rsquo;s Around Town Mobile</a> Internet allows you to securely connect your devices from anywhere: in the car, at a showing appointment, on the train, in the park, and so on. You can use it to connect up to 10 laptops, tablets, smartphones, digital cameras, and other Wi-Fi&ndash;enabled devices. It comes with a 1.77-inch LCD screen to monitor connected Wi-Fi devices, battery life, and data usage. You can block unwanted devices with its secure Wi-Fi encryption modes and set up one-time guest access. No software to install, no contract requirements to use &mdash; pay for usage as you go. Price: $199.99</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_15.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Hacker-Proof</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Secure smartphone cases: </strong>A discreet way to beef up your iPhone&rsquo;s security, the <a href="https://www.vysk.com/quantum-security-case" target="_blank">Vysk QS1 Quantum Secure Case</a>, a CES 2015 Innovation Award honoree, can help keep your phone calls, text messages, photos, and videos secure. The case appears to be a typical cover that snaps over your iPhone 5 or 5s, but it includes an audio encryption engine that prevents hackers from gaining access to your phone&rsquo;s microphone. Your phone calls and texts are rerouted through encrypted channels. The case also has a backup battery to extend your battery life by up to 120 percent. Currently announced for preorder only for the iPhone 5 and 5s. Price: $229.99</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_16.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#5 Connected Cars</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>In real estate, you spend a lot of time in your car. In-car apps can add greater technology and control of your mobile office. Driverless cars also may have a big impact, and automakers say the technology may only be five years away from reality. The technology is already there in several forms, such as cars that park themselves and brake automatically to avoid collisions and monitors that keep drivers inside a lane. <a href="https://www.enotrans.org/store/research-papers/preparing-a-nation-for-autonomous-vehicles-opportunities-barriers-and-policy-recommendations" target="_blank">Studies</a> have shown that driverless cars could significantly reduce car accidents by preventing drivers&rsquo; errors. But there are also potential business benefits to you from more high-tech cars. (Read: <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/01/08/future-paved-for-driverless-cars" target="_blank">Future Paved for Driverless Cars</a>)</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_17.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Cars</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Add technology to your current car: </strong><a href="http://www.parrot.com/usa/aboutparrot/" target="_blank">Parrot,</a> the popular UAV manufacturer, has unveiled its infotainment system, the Parrot RNB6. The system is compatible with both Apple&rsquo;s CarPlay and Google&rsquo;s Android Auto and features a 7-inch touchscreen that can be added to your car&rsquo;s dashboard to give you a navigation system, rear camera parking assistance, and voice-based control apps for accessing maps, radio, and more. It also includes on-board maintenance alerts, AC control, tire pressure alerts, parking sensors, and a road safety camera, which can record and film the road (useful if you&rsquo;re ever in a car accident). Compatible with any car released after 1996 in the U.S. Available later this year. Price: TBA</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_18.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Cars</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Evolving interiors: </strong>Mercedes-Benz believes that hands-free driving has the potential to completely revolutionize the interior look of a car as we know it. It showed off at CES prototype of its F015 concept car, which the automaker says is 15 years from becoming reality on the roads. The car can hold four people who can sit facing one another, lounge-style, while the car drives itself. Imagine taking home buyers to listings and not having to worry about driving, but instead able to focus on preparing them for the next listing. <a href="http://youtu.be/DYTV4d-Gn0s" target="_blank">Watch the car in action.</a></p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_19.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#6 High-Tech Virtual Meetings</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Stay connected to your agents virtually by running your meetings and training presentations from anywhere. Current videoconferencing systems can be cumbersome at times, but several enhancements may help you not only make your presentations more high-tech but also make for less awkward virtual conversations.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_20.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: High-Tech Virtual Meetings</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>3-D meetings: </strong>Personify is adding an extra dimension to your virtual meetings with its new 3-D technology. Personify removes your background so only the conference video shows on your desktop. Instead of other participants each occupying a separate video window, everyone sits side-by-side along the bottom of your screen. That also leaves you the rest of your screen to pull up necessary content that could aid you in your meeting. Intel plans to include Personify&rsquo;s new software on Windows computers that have Intel&rsquo;s new RealSense 3-D camera. Personify is also available to Windows PC users with 3-D cameras and will be available to Mac users later this year. Price: $10 per month per user for businesses</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_21.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Virtual Meeting Products to Watch</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Voice-controlled presentations: </strong>No more fumbling around for laser pointers, clickers, or buttons on the computer to move to the next slide &mdash; with <a href="http://voiceboard.co.uk" target="_blank">Lionsharp&rsquo;s VoiceBoard</a>, you simply speak your command as you present PowerPoint slides. It&rsquo;s dubbed as the first voice- and gesture-controlled presentation tool. You wear a ring on your index finger and use gestures to control your presentation via Bluetooth, such as flipping through your slides or controlling the movement on the screen. You also can use voice commands to move slides and open web pages. Due in March. Price: $450&ndash;$600</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_22.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>#7 Supersized Phones</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Big is &ldquo;in&rdquo; when it comes to smartphones. The screen size of smartphones is getting bigger, to the point where it&rsquo;s noticeably cutting into the market share of traditional tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Note started the bigger-is-better phone idea in 2012, but with Apple&rsquo;s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus rollout late last year, the trend is growing even more popular. These &ldquo;phablets&rdquo; are in high demand as they merge the smartphone and tablet into one device.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_23.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Supersized Phones</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Frameless: </strong>One disadvantage of bigger phones is they can be bulky to carry. At CES, Sharp showed off a 5-inch frameless phone, which offers a bigger screen display area without adding to the overall size of the phone. Could this be the next trend in supersizing a phone without adding too much bulk? Sharp&rsquo;s Aquos Crystal is being promoted as a &ldquo;frameless&rdquo; phone, featuring a display screen that goes right to the edge without any bezel (the small area surrounding the display screen). The Android-powered phone features a 5-inch edge-to-edge screen and will be coming to Sprint later this year.</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_24.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Innovations to Watch: Supersized Phones</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Bendable: </strong>LG returned to CES this year touting another flexible, curved phone, an updated model of its G Flex called the <a href="http://www.lg.com/us/mobile-phones/gflex2" target="_blank">LG G Flex 2</a>. The Android-powered phone features a 1080-pixel screen resolution, but it&rsquo;s the display&rsquo;s curve that really differentiates it. The promise of bendable products has been centered on the belief that they will be less prone to breakage and users may one day be able to roll them up for easy carrying in a purse or pocket. The LG G Flex 2, available soon on AT&amp;T and Sprint carriers, boasts a 5.5-inch screen size, the same as the iPhone 6 Plus but narrower. It&rsquo;s also truly flexible &ndash; if you step on it or sit on it, it will flatten out but then snap back into its slightly curved shape. Price: TBA</p> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> </div> <!-- slider-inner--> </div> <!-- slider--> <!-- scrollable pager images--> <div class="spacer-horizontal"><b></b></div> <!-- scrollable pager container --> <div id="views-slideshow-ddblock-scrollable-pager-image_gallery_images_block_1" class="scrollable-pager clear-block border"> <!-- prev/next page on slide --> <!-- custom "previous" links --> <!--<div class="prevPage"></div>--> <div class="prev"></div> <!-- scrollable part --> <div class="vsd-scrollable-pager clear-block border"> <div class="items scrollable-pager-inner clear-block border"> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-1"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_01.jpg" alt="" title="" 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src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_20.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-21"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_21.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-22"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_CES_Wrap_22.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache 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/pager-inner--> </div> <!-- /vsd-scrollable-pager --> <!-- custom "next" links --> <div class="next"></div> <!--<div class="nextPage"></div>--> <!-- navigator --> <div class="navi"></div> </div> <!-- /scrollable-pager--> </div> <!-- container-inner--> </div> <!--container--> </div> <!-- template --> </div> </div> <div id="slideshow_tips">Click on the small photos to scroll through the slide show. <div id="copyright">&copy; 2015 REALTOR&reg; MAGAZINE ONLINE </div></div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>From hacker-proof gear to high-tech virtual meetings, these seven tech trends that debuted at this year&#39;s International Consumer Electronics Show will bring cutting edge efficiencies to your brokerage.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/01/theres-app-for-your-home-appliances">&#039;Empowered&#039; Appliances Link Home, Internet</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/01/smartphone-photography-gets-upgrade">Smartphone Photography Gets an Upgrade</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/03/5-tech-trends-will-transform-way-you-work">5 Tech Trends That Will Transform the Way You Work</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/01/3-tech-tools-for-fostering-business">3 Tech Tools for Fostering Business</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:47:25 +0000 echristoffer 18137 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 3 Tech Tools for Fostering Business http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/01/3-tech-tools-for-fostering-business <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Looking for smart ways to grow your brokerage this year? Start using these three methods right now. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, January 22, 2015</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/scott-newman">Scott Newman</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate price points in many markets throughout the country have climbed back to levels last seen prior to the crash &mdash; a strong signal that the recovery of our industry is in full swing. I&rsquo;m sure you&rsquo;ve noticed the positive news, and maybe your brokerage sales figures have increased over the past year.&nbsp;</p> <p>So now that the worst is behind us, what can you do to maximize efficiency and profits this year? I have three simple suggestions that could make an immediate impact on your bottom line.</p> <h4> Cloud Systems</h4> <p>The easiest thing brokers can do to free up time for more important tasks &mdash; and to get back some sanity &ndash; is to get a cloud-based storage solution.</p> <p>Cloud storage is the simple idea of making a folder for all your digital stuff &mdash; documents, photos, spreadsheets, and so on &mdash; that you can access on your mobile, laptop, and desktop devices from anywhere on the globe with an Internet connection.</p> <p>How many times have you realized you need a preapproval letter to submit an offer, but it&rsquo;s on your computer at work and you have to drive 30 minutes there and back to get it? You &mdash; or your agents &mdash; risk looking disorganized in front of the client by having to bug the lender to resend it.</p> <p>Think of the possibilities for your brokerage. Files and client information can be shared instantly and across multiple platforms so everyone on your team can access it. It will save hours of work and provide a better, more seamless experience for your clients.</p> <p>New cloud products and apps seem to come out daily with limitless advancements in functionality.&nbsp;This is absolutely something you should be integrating into your business plan if you haven&rsquo;t already.</p> <h4> Website Help</h4> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve established your brokerage and become known as a professional resource by working your network, it&rsquo;s time to think about expanding your reach. That means getting Web savvy sooner rather than later.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to spend a few dollars on your website for greater exposure and SEO benefits.&nbsp;Yes, there are companies out there that will toss up a canned site for a few hundred dollars, but the SEO benefit is minimal and the lack of visual and aesthetic appeal will undoubtedly work against you when consumers show up to get a feel for who you are.</p> <p>Do your homework and connect with a reputable company or freelance Web developer who has specific experience in the real estate industry. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to lean on your local association for advice and guidance on how to best put together or improve your company site.</p> <p>It may cost some money, but having a good website and Web developer in your corner is a major key to your continued success. Invest in your future now and reap the benefits down the road when your site becomes a major portal for online leads.</p> <h4> CRM Software</h4> <p>A customer relationship management system is software that allows you to better manage your network of clients, prospects, and leads.&nbsp;There are dozens of reputable companies that provide CRM software, and many are highly customizable and very affordable.</p> <p>Some brokers let sales associates choose their own contact management solution, but there are advantages for standardizing across your office, especially if your brokerage has a property management division. Many CRM systems will allow groups to share information about properties and tenants, regulate lease processes, and compile various levels of data.</p> <p>Do your research and invest in an established CRM solution with customization options so you can expand down the road as your business grows. Make a commitment to follow up with clients 100 percent of the time, on time, and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds in 2015. Every time you or your agents forget to follow up with someone who was promised a call, or fail to get back in touch with a referral, it hurts your business&rsquo;s good name. Your commitment will also influence your agents by helping to build a strong customer-focused office culture.</p> <p>The top brokers around the country are making more money in less time by choosing high-tech solutions that simplify their daily lives and result in better ROI for their time.&nbsp;Think about implementing some, or all, of these technologies into your business plan for 2015, and count on happier clients and more sales as a result.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Looking for smart ways to grow your brokerage this year? Start using these three methods right now.</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/jan15_b-b_tech.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=48439">jan15_b-b_tech.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/jan15_b-b_tech_0.jpg?1421964910" /> </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/jan15_LP_b-b_tech.jpg?1421964932" /> </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/what-expect-from-crm-solution">What to Expect From a CRM Solution</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider">2014 Paperless Guide: Products for You to Consider</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/11/24/plan-move-your-data-cloud">A Plan to Move Your Data to the Cloud</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/02/best-practices-for-your-real-estate-web-site-home-page">Best Practices for Your Real Estate Website Home Page</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/your-nar/article/2015/01/reinvent-your-web-presence">Reinvent Your Web Presence</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Thu, 22 Jan 2015 21:13:06 +0000 echristoffer 18122 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 7 Negative Practices You Need to Let Go http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2015/01/7-negative-practices-you-need-let-go <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 professionals can sabotage themselves with unproductive thoughts and behaviors. Here’s a checklist of things you should top doing now. </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, January 23, 2015</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>For many of us, the New Year brings a renewed focus on our aspirations and the goals we hope to accomplish. I really believe in leveraging this newfound motivation to produce new results, but what I have found is that much of our success doesn&rsquo;t always come from the new things we do. Rather, it can come from the old things we stop doing.</p> <p>Here are the seven things I believe everyone reading this article needs to stop doing in 2015.</p> <ol> <li> <strong>Stop listening to and empowering narratives that don&rsquo;t support you or the goals that you have for yourself.</strong> Many negative thoughts run through our heads on a regular basis, and we choose to believe them &mdash; no matter how harmful they may be. They could be thoughts such as &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll never produce as much business as her because&hellip;&rdquo; and so on.Do yourself a favor: Identify these poisonous thoughts and make a decision to starve them. Nobody talks to you more than yourself, so you better have your own back when times get tough.</li> <li> <strong>Stop hanging around life-sucking vampires.</strong> I&rsquo;ve said it over and over again: The No. 1 trait of the top 100 sales people in the world is their ability to manage or control their own state of mind. Once you&rsquo;ve worked on your own narrative, identify those people around you that do nothing more than suck the life out of everyone and everything they come in contact with. You know who they are. In fact, you probably just thought of them and tried to convince yourself that they are OK. They are not.</li> <li> <strong>Stop trying to change your business overnight.</strong> My company coaches thousands of practitioners all over North America, and I can&rsquo;t tell you how many times I have had this conversation with a student. Not only can&rsquo;t you change your business overnight, you shouldn&rsquo;t try to. Anything you can build overnight can be torn down overnight as well. Your goal should be to learn, master, and systematize new strategies that set you up for long-term predictable business, not spike in the next 30 days and then beg for more business the next month.</li> <li> <strong>Stop getting disappointed that you aren&rsquo;t seeing the results you wanted from your new diet and gym routine.</strong> Chances are it took a lot longer than one week to put you in a position to need that diet or gym routine, so why would you expect the results from the patterns you&rsquo;ve followed in the last ten years to change in just one week? Outcomes are about consistently followed patterns. Instead of focusing on dieting so that you will look better in an upcoming wedding, you might want to try living a healthier lifestyle so you can actually be better for those you love for the rest of your life.</li> <li> <strong>Stop accepting mediocrity and complacency as the norm.</strong> The truth is that our world runs on average people. It takes average people to operate our grocery stores, take our toll money, and do just about everything else&mdash;but you don&rsquo;t get ahead with this mindset. It&rsquo;s not enough to make a living in real estate; it should be your goal to dominate. The message of competition wasn&rsquo;t created for the entrepreneur&mdash;it was created for the consumer. Decide which one you are and go after it.&nbsp;</li> <li> <strong>Stop saying your leads are no good.</strong> If someone took the time to input their information or ask a question about a house online, they aren&rsquo;t &ldquo;no good.&rdquo; They may not be the typical lead for a referral-based business, where a client tells you that their brother wants to sell and, within a week, you list their house. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean that the leads are no good. You may have to cultivate them for six to 12 months, but they are going to be a commission check for someone. The only question is whether it will be you or your competitor.</li> <li> <strong>Stop believing your success is dependent on the people around you.</strong> There is no doubt that the people around you are important (see No. 2 above), but people are replaceable. Your will and desire to succeed are not. I wrote a book called The basic premise of my book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Get-Out-YOUR-Jared-James/dp/1633672786" target="_blank"><em>Get Out of Your Way!</em></a>, is that there are more than 7 billion people on this planet and only one of them can keep you from getting what you want: you. If you aren&rsquo;t where you want to be, it&rsquo;s not your broker&rsquo;s fault, it&rsquo;s not your kid&rsquo;s fault, and it&rsquo;s not the economy&rsquo;s fault. Look in the mirror and come up with a new strategy, educate yourself on new tactics, or hire a coach to help you, but please, please don&rsquo;t blame the people around you. If your success isn&rsquo;t really in your hands, you might as well get in a coffin and wait. The good news is that you do have complete control and can start fresh with every new day. There&rsquo;s never been a better time than now.</li> </ol> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate professionals can sabotage themselves with unproductive thoughts and behaviors. Here&rsquo;s a checklist of things you should top doing now.</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/jan15_SM_attitude.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=88815">jan15_SM_attitude.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/jan15_SM_attitude_0.jpg?1422024270" /> </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/jan15_LP_SM_attitude.jpg?1422024291" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2014/03/10-things-real-estate-pros-need-stop-telling-themsel">10 Things Real Estate Pros Need to Stop Telling Themselves</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2014/09/4-tips-get-out-your-way">4 Tips to ‘Get Out of Your Way’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2014/06/5-reasons-you-won-t-make-it-selling-real-estate">5 Reasons You Won’t Make it Selling Real Estate</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 Thu, 22 Jan 2015 22:26:36 +0000 gwood 18124 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Create A Smart Spending Plan http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/01/create-smart-spending-plan <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> When budgeting throughout 2015, here are three expenditures that boutique broker-owners should plan for. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, January 20, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What is the purpose of a budget?</p> <p>One of the biggest mistakes smaller brokerage owners make is not understanding that a budget is a spending plan, not a limiting plan, says Dale Carlton, 2015 president of the Council of Residential Specialists. Because these owners often wear many hats, it is important that they build flexibility into their budget to meet their changing needs.</p> <p>&ldquo;The broker may also be the office manager, responsible for making sure that the phones are answered after hours and on weekends, making sure there is an available agent to work with walk-in business, and doing minor tasks like making sure there is copy paper and the office is clean,&rdquo; says Carlton, owner of <a href="http://www.carltonrealtyinc.com/" target="_blank">Carlton Realty Inc.</a>, a boutique brokerage with a team of two agents near the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.</p> <p>A broker may need to hire support staff or invest in new computers, Carlton says, so it&rsquo;s important to schedule quarterly budget reviews and make spending adjustments throughout the year.</p> <p>But specific office needs notwithstanding, here are three brokerage expenses that shouldn&rsquo;t be overlooked this year:</p> <p><strong>1. Technology:</strong> Products are changing for real estate offices and costs are on the rise. &ldquo;Not 10 years ago, a computer, a few software programs, and possibly a website would be the entire technology expense,&rdquo; Carlton says.&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, a broker may need to spend funds on a new <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/2013/01/2013-contact-management-solutions-product-lineup" target="_blank">contact management system</a>, <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/tech-watch/article/2011/12/strategic-efficiency-it-s-waiting-in-cloud" target="_blank">cloud storage</a>, <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-products-for-you-consider" target="_blank">electronic signature software and paperless management tools</a>, <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/slideshow/2014/05/2014-smartphones-basic-and-budget-phones" target="_blank">mobile devices</a>, new <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/cameras-and-video/article/2014/07/2014-camera-guide-get-right-gear" target="_blank">cameras and editing programs</a> for photos and video (or professional photography), and other expenses they may cover for salespeople &ndash; such as putting listings at the top of third party search engines, individual agent websites, and other items.</p> <p>A small office with fewer than 10 salespeople can expect to spend between $2,000 and $4,000 a month on technology needs, Carlton says, covering such things as an office website, e-mail, and online marketing for the brokerage.</p> <p><strong>2. Marketing:</strong> Some marketing costs overlap with technology expenditures. Others don&rsquo;t. But brokers should budget spending for ongoing <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2012/03/effective-advertising-it-s-all-about-hoodoo" target="_blank">print advertising</a>, <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/mr-internet/article/2010/06/maximize-profits-through-hyper-targeted-facebook-ads" target="_blank">targeted online ads</a> (Facebook or Google), <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2015/01/does-it-make-sense-buy-leads" target="_blank">online lead generation tools</a> (BoomTown, Market Leader, and so on), flyers, TV or radio spots, client appreciation events, and more.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is not as important to stick to a budget as it is to understand how the budget works together with the marketing that is being done,&rdquo; says Carlton, who teaches budgeting classes for CRS.</p> <p>The old saying, &ldquo;You have to spend money to make money,&rdquo; holds true. Broker-owners, just like individual practitioners, have to establish what they&rsquo;ll spend on marketing each quarter in order to generate profit above what they need to cover their business expenses, Carlton says. If brokers needs more income, they will need to do more marketing, he says, so it&rsquo;s a matter of calculating return on investment on a quarterly basis to track which marketing efforts are working and increase spending accordingly.</p> <p>There is a correlation between marketing and profits, Carlton says, but other business variables also affect the bottom-line, such as overhead costs or the office lease.</p> <p><strong>3. A safety cushion:</strong> Planning for the unknowns, such as staff changes, a broken copier, or even a severe storm or natural disaster, is a smart business move. Most small brokerages should keep a minimum of six months in reserve, Carlton recommends.</p> <p>Despite low interest rates, Carlton prefers to put his reserves into 12 six-month CDs renewing every fifteen days.&nbsp;&rdquo;This ensures that the reserves are available when needed, but protected from frivolous spending, which we are all tempted by when we have six months of reserves,&rdquo; he says.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>When budgeting throughout 2015, here are three expenditures that boutique broker-owners should plan for.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_b-b_spending.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38273">jan15_b-b_spending.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/jan15_b-b_spending_0.jpg?1421964564" /> </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/jan15_LP_b-b_spending.jpg?1421964582" /> </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/2014/12/hiring-assistant">Hiring an Assistant </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/01/does-it-make-sense-buy-leads">Does It Make Sense to Buy Leads? </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2014/05/3-tools-for-stress-free-money-management">3 Tools for Stress-Free Money Management</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2011/03/training-dime">Training on a Dime</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:32:35 +0000 echristoffer 18073 at http://realtormag.realtor.org New American Home: Green and Integrated http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2015/01/new-american-home-green-and-integrated <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 show home at the 2015 International Builders’ Show reaches a new level of environmental friendliness, but it also showcases a new way to bring design and technology concepts into fruition on a large scale. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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 you walk into this year&rsquo;s New American Home, a model created for the International Builders&rsquo; Show, it&rsquo;s easy to get carried away with the mirrors that feature built-in televisions, the gorgeous infinity pools, and the glittering Las Vegas skyline in the distance. But there&rsquo;s a lot more to this Henderson, Nev., show home than meets the eye.</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of what happens is behind the walls,&rdquo; says Drew Smith, president of Two Trails, Inc., the Sarasota, Fla.-based company that functioned as the green building and energy consultant on the project. Much of that behind-the-scenes work contributed to the home scoring a -10 HERS rating (meaning that it&rsquo;s around 110 percent more energy-efficient than a typical newly built home, which would score 100). &ldquo;I like to think of it as building an above-ground submarine.&rdquo;</p> <p>Indeed, the home does much more than its basic goal, which is to showcase products by National Association of Home Builders supplier members. It&rsquo;s earned Emerald status under the ICC 700 National Green Building Standards (the highest of the four levels bestowed by NGBS), a third-party verified certification program that ensures structures are energy efficient, sustainable, and healthy for inhabitants.</p> <p>This is home No. 32 in a long line of New American Homes built for the NAHB convention that stretches back to 1984. Built in the Sky Terrace community just outside of Las Vegas, this year&rsquo;s overall concept is also a little different than usual. Most years, the New American Home is built to demonstrate cutting-edge technology and design in the context of a custom home. But this year, the home was nestled into a &quot;production community&rdquo; of similar homes. It showcases how the latest materials and systems can be used in a new-home community to hold down the costs traditionally associated with custom home building, while also differentiating homes from the typical properties offered by those working in this traditionally cookie-cutter niche.</p> <p>Another shift in this year&rsquo;s project is an integration of the many different construction phases into one company. Blue Heron Design Build functioned as the architect, interior designer, and builder for the project in an effort to streamline the process and keep it as true to the original concept as possible.</p> <p>&ldquo;We truly believe that integrating all these disciplines is the way to go,&rdquo; says Blue Heron owner Tyler Jones. &quot;It&#39;s really been an honor to be a part of this.&quot;</p> <p>Warren Nesbitt, senior vice president of residential construction programs at Hanley Wood (publisher of NAHB&rsquo;s Builder magazine, a media partner for the project), called the vertically integrated architect/designer/builder concept &ldquo;a rare vision&rdquo; and &ldquo;very compelling.&rdquo;</p> <p>Apparently the overall concept is compelling enough for home buyers. According to Shelly Stewart, director of sales and marketing for Blue Heron, at least five homes in the development have been sold, with several already occupied.</p> <p>A final distinction worth noting in this year&rsquo;s New American Home is its integration of smart home technology. NAHB touts the home as the &ldquo;first of its kind&rdquo; to feature a completely integrated home technology solution from one manufacturer. Crestron, a home automation system usually used in luxury custom home projects, provides an app for would-be home owners in the Sky Terrace community available on laptops, and both iPhones and Android devices, to control televisions, music systems, lighting, climate, and security system remotely. The home also features built-in displays for controlling the system from within.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tnah.com" target="_blank">Learn more about NAHB&rsquo;s New American Home.</a></p> <div class="embed"> <div class="rmo-slideshow-title"><h2 class="node-title">New American Home: Green and Integrated</h2> <div class="deck"><div class="rmo-slideshow-author"> <!--|-->January 2015<div id="author"> | BY <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a></div> </div><!-- /.section-date-author --></div><!-- /.deck --> </div> </div> <div id="image-gallery-slideshow"> <div class="view view-image-gallery-images view-id-image_gallery_images view-display-id-block_1 rmo-slideshow view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <!-- dynamic display block slideshow --> <div id="views-slideshow-ddblock-image_gallery_images_block_1" class="views-slideshow-ddblock-cycle-vsd-upright-60p clear-block"> <div class="container clear-block border"> <div class="container-inner clear-block border"> <!-- slider content --> <div class="slider clear-block border"> <div class="slider-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_01.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>A view from above the living room</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_02.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>The upstairs bar</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_03.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>A guest bedroom</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_04.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>TV embedded in a bathroom mirror</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_05.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Crestron system interface and thermostat</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_06.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>The pool table in front of the upstairs bar, overlooking the Vegas skyline</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_07.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Breakfast nook in the kitchen</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_08.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Closeup of the smart fireplace</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_09.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Pool at the front entrance to the home</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_10.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Desktop in the casita adjoining the home</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_11.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Living room fireplace</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_12.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Closeup of the fixture above the living room</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> <div class="slide clear-block border"> <div class="slide-inner clear-block border"> <img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_13.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /> <div class="slide-text slide-text-vertical slide-text-right clear-block border"> <div class="slide-text-inner clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title slide-title-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-title-inner clear-block border"> <h2>Infinity pool in the back of the home, overlooking the Vegas skyline</h2> </div> <!-- slide-title-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-title--> <div class="slide-body-vertical clear-block border"> <div class="slide-body-inner clear-block border"> <!--paging_filter--> </div> <!-- slide-body-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-body--> </div> <!-- slide-text-inner--> </div> <!-- slide-text--> </div> <!-- slide-inner--> </div> <!-- slide--> </div> <!-- slider-inner--> </div> <!-- slider--> <!-- scrollable pager images--> <div class="spacer-horizontal"><b></b></div> <!-- scrollable pager container --> <div id="views-slideshow-ddblock-scrollable-pager-image_gallery_images_block_1" class="scrollable-pager clear-block border"> <!-- prev/next page on slide --> <!-- custom "previous" links --> <!--<div class="prevPage"></div>--> <div class="prev"></div> <!-- scrollable part --> <div class="vsd-scrollable-pager clear-block border"> <div class="items scrollable-pager-inner clear-block border"> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-1"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" class="pager-link"><img src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/imagecache/rmo_slideshow/0115_IBS_01.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-rmo_slideshow imagecache-default imagecache-rmo_slideshow_default" width="290" height="218" /></a> </div> <!-- /custom-pager-item --> <div class="scrollable-pager-item scrollable-pager-item-2"> <a href="#" title="navigate to topic" 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/vsd-scrollable-pager --> <!-- custom "next" links --> <div class="next"></div> <!--<div class="nextPage"></div>--> <!-- navigator --> <div class="navi"></div> </div> <!-- /scrollable-pager--> </div> <!-- container-inner--> </div> <!--container--> </div> <!-- template --> </div> </div> <div id="slideshow_tips">Click on the small photos to scroll through the slide show. <div id="copyright">&copy; 2015 REALTOR&reg; MAGAZINE ONLINE </div></div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The show home at the 2015 International Builders&rsquo; Show reaches a new level of environmental friendliness, but it also showcases a new way to bring design and technology concepts into fruition on a large scale.</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/jan15_HD_newamerhome.JPG" type="image/jpeg; length=183618">jan15_HD_newamerhome.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/jan15_HD_newamerhome_0.JPG?1421790989" /> </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/jan15_LP_newamerhome.jpg?1421790997" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/04/2014-green-real-estate-working-buyers">2014 Green Real Estate: Working With Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2009/02/10-ways-make-your-house-greener">10 Ways to Make Your House Greener</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, 20 Jan 2015 20:19:41 +0000 gwood 18072 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 8 Ways to Supercharge Your Brainpower http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/health/article/2015/01/8-ways-supercharge-your-brainpower <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"> You can work more efficiently and think more critically — but you need to take a break. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, January 15, 2015</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>Here are some findings on how to apply elements of the Center for Brain Health&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/index.php/research/research_topic/strategic-memory-advanced-reasoning-training-smart" target="_blank">Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training</a> program, as well as additional research on improving your brain&rsquo;s performance.</p> <h4> Maximize Your Brain&rsquo;s Prime Time</h4> <p>Many people are wired to jump into multitasking mode, but it likely won&rsquo;t save you time &mdash; it may even cost you more time. On average, workers can expect to dedicate three minutes of uninterrupted time on any task before being interrupted. Once interrupted, it takes an average of 20 minutes to refocus on the original task. Fragmenting work flow in this way decreases productivity by about 25 percent and requires more time to complete a task than if the worker had done it in isolation, according to &ldquo;<a href="http://interruptions.net/literature/Spira-Basex05.pdf" target="_blank">The Cost of Not Paying Attention: How Interruptions Impact Knowledge and Worker Productivity</a>&rdquo; by Basex Inc.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Are You Suffering From &lsquo;Brain Drain&rsquo;?</strong></p> <p>A busy job in real estate can lead to burnout. <a href="/well-being/health/article/2015/01/are-you-suffering-from-brain-drain">Here&rsquo;s how to keep yourself sharp.</a></p> </blockquote> <p>Rewire your brain to learn to focus. Jennifer Zientz, head of clinical services at the University of Texas at Dallas&rsquo; Center for Brain Health, suggests the following action plan on how to do it:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>The brainpower of two:</strong><em><strong> </strong></em>Identify the two most critical tasks on your to-do list by determining which are the most urgent and will push your business forward. These two critical tasks likely will require a higher level of thinking. You&rsquo;ll be more apt to boost your productivity by committing to these two tasks before moving on to the less significant ones. &ldquo;A key is learning to block and filter information in order to lead to greater focus,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re not able to focus unless you block other things out.</li> <li> <strong>The brainpower of one:</strong> Do not leap into both tasks at once. Work on one at a time and give it your full attention. &ldquo;You can only have optimal workflow and deep-level thinking when you&rsquo;re uninterrupted and you&rsquo;re doing one thing at a time,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;Even if the rest of your day takes you in five different directions, prioritize and use your brain&rsquo;s &lsquo;prime time&rsquo; to tackle those two priority items.&rdquo; For most people, their brain&rsquo;s prime time is first thing in the morning; for others, it&rsquo;s late at night. Identify the time when you feel the most alert. Then, silence your phone and turn off your e-mail alerts. Allow no disruption.</li> <li> <strong>The brainpower of none: </strong>Take time to recharge your brain. Giving your mind quiet time can improve your problem-solving skills and productivity. Use the five-by-five principle: Step away and disengage for five minutes at least five times a day to reboot your mind. Do nothing that requires deep focus during these breaks. Take a walk, stretch, and even silence the radio as you drive in your car. &ldquo;This is the time to reset and recharge your brain so you have greater focus and endurance for the day,&rdquo; Zientz says.</li> </ul> <h4> Set Yourself Up for Success Tomorrow</h4> <p>Identify the one or two most pivotal tasks and responsibilities you&rsquo;ll face the next day. Sleep on these priorities. &ldquo;Our brain is always working for us, especially during sleep when our rhythms slow down,&rdquo; according to a Center for Brain Health white paper, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/dam/pdf/en/resources/wp/Chapman-GoToMeeting-Train-Your-Brain-Whitepaper.pdf/jcr:content/renditions/original" target="_blank">Train Your Brain to Thrive from Nine to Five</a>.&rdquo; &ldquo;Your brain consolidates your previous ideas into flashes of new insights that can jump-start your big goals for the day.&rdquo; By doing this, you&rsquo;ll be priming your brain to tackle the big responsibilities immediately on your next work day.</p> <h4> Go Deeper Into the Information</h4> <p>&ldquo;We often take in information and then just throw it back out,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t often take the time to process it much.&rdquo; But look for ways to go deeper on the big ideas for your business. How can you apply these ideas in different contexts? What did you learn from that experience with that customer or through that negotiation? &ldquo;If we think about it and process our experiences, we can gain greater understanding and look to apply our experiences to the next time,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;When we encode the information better, we learn to use it better to strengthen our performance.&rdquo;</p> <p>When you solely rely on your own memory, the strength of your cognitive performance will be your sole judge. As long as your memory is in good shape, you&rsquo;ll look sharp. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;re so much more than our memories,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;When we look for the broadest and highest abstract ideas, we get take-home messages from what we&rsquo;ve heard, seen, current events, and our experiences. When we process information at higher levels, we find so many more applications.&rdquo;</p> <p>Here are two exercises to try: When taking in large amounts of information, try to condense it and explain it in a few sentences. Also, ponder a more thought-provoking subject line for your e-mail message.</p> <h4> Be More Innovative</h4> <p>Another one of your brain&rsquo;s worst enemies is routine. It can lead to brain burnout. &ldquo;We tend to fall into the same routines and do the same things over and over again,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;But we need to consider: Is there a better way to do this? Just because it&rsquo;s been working doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s innovative. &hellip; Our brains get excited by change. It gets tired of the same tried and true status quo. We can pump it up by doing something different.&rdquo;</p> <p>Explore a new hobby &ndash; which may also be great for prospecting &ndash; or join a business networking group to meet new people. Change your workflow to keep you motivated.</p> <h4> Make Lifestyle Changes</h4> <p>Your physical wellness can go a long way to helping keep your brain sharp.</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Get moving: </strong>Exercise for at least one hour a day, three times per week. Research shows that aerobic exercise stimulates positive brain change and can improve your memory, too. It can elevate your heart rate and increase your blood flow to key memory centers in your brain, thereby improving fact retention, according to the <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680508/?tool=pubmed" target="_blank">National Institutes of Health</a>. Even a brief walk can help you better focus on a task later, research shows.</li> <li> <strong>Sleep: </strong>Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Sleep removes toxins in your brain and lets it process information and emotions from the day. Your brain can make neural connections as you sleep that may even help your productivity the next day.</li> <li> <strong>Eat right: </strong>A proper diet is also good for your brain. The Mediterranean diet &mdash; high in olive oil, vegetables, fruit, and fish &mdash; is the best one for brain performance and health, according to a 2013 review published in the <a href="http://journals.lww.com/epidem/Abstract/2013/07000/Mediterranean_Diet,_Cognitive_Function,_and.1.aspx" target="_blank">Journal of Epidemiology</a>. The review looked at 12 studies that found the Mediterranean diet was associated with higher cognitive function and less decline in brain activity.</li> </ul> <h4> Use Technology Wisely</h4> <p>To give you more time to focus on high-priority tasks, take advantage of technology tools that help you keep in touch through automation but still offer high-touch opportunities. Several tools can help you get more done. Systems like <a href="https://www.bettervoice.com/" target="_blank">Better Voice</a> allow you to customize voicemail greetings based on caller ID information, area code, a call group you&rsquo;ve designated, or first-time callers. You can have a prerecorded message that plays for first-time callers and another message that plays for contact groups you specify. Other contact relationship systems can automatically add a new caller to your CRM and put them in your automated marketing list. To learn about more technology tools to improve your relationships &mdash; and save you time &mdash; check out REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/03/product-lineup-relationship-management-tools">product guide on relationship management tools</a>.</p> <h4> Organize Your Environment</h4> <p>Clean your desk. An organized work area can lead to improved productivity and better focus. What you have on your desk can make a difference, too. Research has repeatedly shown that simply having plants on your desk can increase your productivity. Employees with desks that have flowers and plants showed greater improvement on attention tasks than those sitting at empty desks. Attention spans were also found to be longer for those employees who sat at offices with window views to nature, according to a 2011 study in the <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494410001027" target="_blank">Journal of Environmental Psychology</a>. There might be even more reason to fight for the office with a view!</p> <h4> Draw From the Power of Relationships</h4> <p>Your relationships can keep your brain healthy. Make sure you have a strong support system. Find mentors and networks that build on your interests and encourage you to discover new things, all of which can also move your brain forward, Zientz says. Researchers have found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory loss, according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health. But make sure you have friends and colleagues who have different interests and opinions from you, which can challenge you and break you out of routine thinking.</p> <p>&ldquo;In real estate, you have to wear lots of different hats and be constantly on the go and maintain a busy business,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;But keep your brain&rsquo;s health front and center. Many people do for their physical health, but remember that there are things you can do for your brain health, too.&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>You can work more efficiently and think more critically &mdash; but you have to give yourself a break.</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/jan15_W_brainpower.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=48997">jan15_W_brainpower.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/jan15_W_brainpower_0.jpg?1421343681" /> </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/jan15_LP_W_brainpower.jpg?1421343693" /> </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/2013/08/8-traits-can-improve-your-customer-relat">8 Traits That Can Improve Your Customer Relationships</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/08/25/multitasking-making-you-stupid">Is Multitasking Making You Stupid? </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Health Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:00:16 +0000 gwood 18049 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Are You Suffering From ‘Brain Drain’? http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/health/article/2015/01/are-you-suffering-from-brain-drain <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 busy job in real estate can lead to burnout. Here’s how to keep yourself sharp. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, January 15, 2015</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>You&rsquo;ll probably never be as smart as you are at age 42. That&rsquo;s when your brain&rsquo;s frontal lobe and problem-solving abilities are most developed, according to research by the <a href="http://www.centerforbrainhealth.org/" target="_blank">Center for Brain Health</a> at the University of Texas at Dallas.</p> <p>Does that mean your critical-thinking skills are doomed to die after 42?</p> <p>There is growing evidence that the brain is like a muscle, one that needs frequent workouts to stay sharp, counter deterioration as you age, and maximize cognitive performance. Just like an exercise plan to maintain physical health, you need a workout plan for your brain.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>8 Ways to Supercharge Your Brainpower</strong></p> <p>You can work more efficiently and think more critically &mdash; but you need to take a break. <a href="/well-being/health/article/2015/01/8-ways-supercharge-your-brainpower">Follow these steps.</a></p> </blockquote> <p>In real estate, your brain likely already gets plenty of daily activity as you navigate difficult relationships and tense negotiations, or manage an exhaustive to-do list, from marketing duties to showing appointments. You must think fast, react fast, and recall lots of information quickly.</p> <p>But certain habits you&rsquo;ve picked up in order to be successful in real estate may actually be your brain&rsquo;s worst enemy. One example is <a href="http://interruptions.net/literature/Spira-Basex05.pdf" target="_blank">always being tethered to technology</a>: Feeling the need to instantly reply to every e-mail, phone call, text, or social media post prevents your brain from focusing for long periods of time and thinking deeply about a thought or task. Information overload makes it harder to master the ability to separate the relevant from the irrelevant, and it can even decrease your work efficiency and performance.</p> <p>Other habits, such as sticking closely to a work routine or relying on memory rather than critical reasoning skills, can also lead to &ldquo;brain drain,&rdquo; according to a Center for Brain Health <a href="http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/dam/pdf/en/resources/wp/Chapman-GoToMeeting-Train-Your-Brain-Whitepaper.pdf/jcr:content/renditions/original" target="_blank">white paper</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;Real estate professionals are always on the go, and they think they have to multitask to be good at their job,&rdquo; says Jennifer Zientz, head of clinical services at the Center for Brain Health. &ldquo;But when you do multitask, you actually become slower and less efficient. You can overuse it and lose it, so to speak. Certain habits are toxic to our brains. You&rsquo;re better off doing tasks in isolation.&rdquo;</p> <p>All that multitasking you do in your day-to-day job as a real estate agent could actually be <a href="/daily-news/2014/08/25/multitasking-making-you-stupid">making you stupid</a>. Researchers at the University of London Institute of Psychiatry recently found that multitasking can lower your IQ more than smoking marijuana or missing one night&rsquo;s sleep.</p> <p>But training your brain to focus isn&rsquo;t easy. Taking steps to improve your brain health is much more than &ldquo;just doing your Sudoku puzzle for the day,&rdquo; Zientz says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a lifestyle change and a new way of thinking.&rdquo;</p> <p>So how can you give your body&rsquo;s most complex organ a workout to sharpen your game in real estate?</p> <p><strong>Get SMART</strong></p> <p>The Center for Brain Health has developed a brain training program called Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training, a series of seminars and workshops that shows professionals how to maximize their cognitive performance.</p> <p>SMART relies on enhancing three core areas of brainpower:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Strategic attention:</strong> the ability to block out and filter irrelevant details and distraction so you learn to hone in on the most important information.</li> <li> <strong>Integrated reasoning:</strong> the ability to synthesize ideas &mdash; taking in facts, filtering them, and combining them with your existing knowledge to create broader concepts.</li> <li> <strong>Innovative thinking: </strong>the ability to generate and exploit new ideas to solve problems and create something that&rsquo;s original.</li> </ul> <p>Testing the SMART strategies, researchers found that study participants saw an improvement in the frontal lobe cognitive functions and brain blood flow by up to 12 percent. In normal brains, total blood flow starts decreasing each decade beginning at age 20. Therefore, increasing brain blood flow can help build a healthier brain that paves the way for more complex thinking. Researchers also have found through testing SMART that the brain&rsquo;s white matter can be strengthened, which can lead to higher reasoning and problem-solving skills.</p> <p>Now find out the <a href="/well-being/health/article/2015/01/8-ways-supercharge-your-brainpower">8 ways to supercharge your brainpower</a>.</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 busy job in real estate can lead to burnout. Here&rsquo;s how to keep yourself sharp.</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/jan15_W_braindrain.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=35664">jan15_W_braindrain.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/jan15_W_braindrain_0.jpg?1421345376" /> </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/jan15_LP_W_braindrain.jpg?1421345391" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/06/yes-you-can-achieve-work-life-balance">Yes, You Can Achieve Work-Life Balance</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/11/good-reason-laugh">A Good Reason to Laugh</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/10/5-ways-improve-your-vocal-impact">5 Ways to Improve Your Vocal Impact</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Health Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:37:06 +0000 gwood 18048 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Business Never Stops http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2015/01/business-never-stops <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 ethics enforcement process gets a much-needed update. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/diane-disbrow">Diane Disbrow</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Here&rsquo;s what you need to know.</p> <p>Real estate is a dynamic and vibrant profession, and REALTORS&reg; demand that both the Code of Ethics and its enforcement processes keep pace with the changing needs of our diverse membership. The Professional Standards Committee answered that call during the past year by introducing creative ways to accelerate the ethics enforcement process while still ensuring it is fair and evenhanded.</p> <p>The Committee&rsquo;s focus in 2014 was on making the enforcement procedures simpler, faster, and more efficient. To that end, numerous provisions of the <a href="http://www.realtor.org/code-of-ethics-and-arbitration-manual" target="_blank">Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual</a> were revised.&nbsp; Here are highlights of the changes that will result in:</p> <ul> <li> Shorter time frames for receiving and resolving ethics complaints</li> <li> Limiting the availability of continuances</li> <li> Expanding the use of remote testimony</li> <li> Making e-mail the preferred document delivery tool</li> <li> Requiring continuing training for professional standards administrators to keep them up to date</li> <li> Authority to require violators to stop ongoing unethical conduct without the filing of a new complaint</li> </ul> <p>Administrative clarity goes only so far, and filing an ethics complaint can still seem like a daunting process. So the Committee developed two new policies that will shape the way complaints are handled in the future: a citation policy and mandatory ombudsman services.</p> <p>The citation policy offers state and local associations the opportunity to process ethics complaints involving less serious offenses without a hearing unless violators choose to have one. In many instances, the citation process can shorten the time from the receipt of a complaint to the final decision from six months or longer to a matter of weeks.</p> <p>In addition, local association ombudsmen across the country have been working with REALTORS&reg; and consumers to resolve disputes, involving such issues as communication breakdowns, through constructive communication and understanding. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, every local and state association of REALTORS&reg; will be required to offer ombudsman services to their members and to consumers, either directly or through an agreement with other associations of REALTORS&reg;.</p> <p>By making our ethics enforcement procedures easier to administer and understand and by implementing new and faster dispute resolution services, we can ensure that REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; relationships with consumers and each other are repaired as quickly as possible and maintain the highest level of trust and confidence in our REALTOR&reg; family.</p> <h4> &lsquo;Do Unto Others . . .&rsquo;</h4> <p>The goal of the 2015 Professional Standards Committee is to continue enhancing the enforcement processes and making our members aware that our 102-year-old Code of Ethics provides valuable guidance for the situations we deal with in our business. I hope every REALTOR&reg; will take time this year to reread the Code.</p> <p>It will make you proud to belong to a professional association whose members are dedicated to providing excellent service to consumers, cooperating with our competitors in the best interests of our clients, and following the Golden Rule, which reminds REALTORS&reg; to &ldquo;do unto others as you would have them do unto you.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The ethics enforcement process gets a much-needed update.</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/jan15_NC_ethics.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=55494">jan15_NC_ethics.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_NC_ethics_0.jpg?1421716473" /> </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/jan15_LP_NC_ethics.jpg?1421716481" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2014/01/code-begins-its-second-century">Code Begins Its Second Century</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2012/11/code-hits-100">The Code Hits 100</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2012/03/4-code-ethics-changes-you-need-know-for-2012">4 Code of Ethics Changes You Need to Know for 2012</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Ethics Thu, 15 Jan 2015 22:37:14 +0000 mwhite 18053 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Out of the Starting Gate http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/01/out-starting-gate <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"> Strategic prospecting is the first step on the path to the closing table. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/lynn-olson">Lynn Olson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Prospecting. Does simply seeing the word make you cringe, envisioning hours of aimless cold calling or having doors slammed in your face? It shouldn&rsquo;t. The fact is, to grow your real estate business, there&rsquo;s no substitute for putting yourself out there to find new clients and customers, says Jared James, CEO of Jared James Enterprises, a real estate coaching firm. But working strategically and creatively, you can put a modern, even fun, twist on old-school prospecting techniques.</p> <h4> &ldquo;Payday&rdquo; for Expired Listings</h4> <p>Successful prospecting enables you to stand out from the pack. But you need to find a way to attract the interest of potential clients, especially the owners of expired listings who may question what you can do for them that another listing agent couldn&rsquo;t.</p> <p>James&rsquo;s coaching clients send expireds a Payday candy bar with a letter or a video clip on a thumb drive, explaining the importance of distinguishing the property from the competition. The message concludes with the hope that the next time they contribute to a &ldquo;payday,&rdquo; it will be when they help sell the home.</p> <p>The approach is simple, sweet, and effective. James says that for every ten people they approach with this technique, his students generally get three listing appointments.</p> <p>Video strengthens the message by humanizing agents, getting them one step closer to working with the client. Video is underused, says James, because we tend not to like how we look. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to break a little news to you: Everyone knows what you look like,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;So you&rsquo;ve just got to get over that and start leveraging this tool to be able to separate yourself from the competition.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Something Old With Something New</h4> <p>Predictive analytics&mdash;using past and present data to predict future behavior&mdash;turn old-school direct mail and door hangers into precision instruments. Consider an area where data show that for every property listed, another listing comes up within 30 days. &ldquo;If I was going to cold-call or send out a particular mail campaign,&rdquo; says James, &ldquo;wouldn&rsquo;t I be better off targeting specific areas where I know a listing&rsquo;s going to come up in the next 30 days?&rdquo; SmartZip Analytics Inc., a 2014 member of NAR&rsquo;s REach&reg; accelerator program, uses proprietary algorithms and information such as census data to help agents zero in more efficiently on potential sellers.</p> <h4> If You Build It, They Will Come</h4> <p>When she saw a need for a social network for young professionals, Crystal Webster, crs, green, a sales agent with Keller Williams&rsquo; Heritage Home Team, started one herself. Seven years later, Kansas City Young Professionals has 5,000 members from a variety of fields. It&rsquo;s been great for prospecting&mdash;20 percent of her business comes from contacts made at KCYP&mdash;though she maintains that&rsquo;s a happy coincidence, not her intent.</p> <p>KCYP offers happy hours and &ldquo;speed networking&rdquo; get-togethers. Participants have five minutes to share who they are and what they do with the person across the table before starting anew with the next person. Webster typically gets two to three leads at these events and ends up closing one deal.</p> <h4> &ldquo;Build&rdquo; Your Market</h4> <p>To prospect for new-construction buyers, Nicole Lopez, a buyer&rsquo;s agent with the Doug Erdy Group in Kingwood, Tex., goes directly to the source&mdash;builders.</p> <p>Lopez approaches builders and explains how her years working on the builder side can help facilitate sales. Builders make available her marketing materials and those of others to give buyers a choice in who represents them.</p> <p>She and her colleagues also offer home construction workshops to potential buyers, featuring lenders and title companies. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s been very beneficial for first-time buyers because a lot of them don&rsquo;t know to get preapproved before they start looking,&rdquo; says Lopez.</p> <p>The builder program, one of only a handful in the Houston area, is lucrative.&nbsp; &ldquo;Over the past two years,&nbsp; I closed 26 new-construction properties,&rdquo; says Lopez. &ldquo;And my brokerage did $25 million in new-construction home sales through our builder program.&rdquo;</p> <p>Lopez goes the extra mile, at times paying buyers&rsquo; moving or closing costs or selling their old home at no cost, depending on their circumstances. If a buyer is downsizing from a $500,000 home to one at $125,000, she might take a reduced commission listing to make the deal happen. If the situation is reversed, she might sell the old home for a flat fee that covers costs only, and take a full commission on the new construction. While the &ldquo;lost income&rdquo; might deter some from this approach, it&rsquo;s worth it for Lopez to distinguish herself in Houston&rsquo;s highly competitive market. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d rather have a piece of the pie than none of it,&rdquo; she says. Her &ldquo;pay it forward&rdquo; approach also helps garner business. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have to do marketing outside our builder program because it creates such a referral base,&rdquo; says Lopez. &ldquo;Clients have been so pleased that I went into my own pocketbook to help them that they&rsquo;re referring me to their friends and family.&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>Strategic prospecting is the first step on the path to the closing table.</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/jan15_SM_prospecting.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=69937">jan15_SM_prospecting.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/jan15_SM_prospecting_0.jpg?1421702224" /> </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/jan15_LP_SM_prospecting.jpg?1421702228" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/cool-tools/article/2013/11/key-online-prospects">The Key to Online Prospects</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/selling/article/2011/03/prospect-warm-up">The Prospect Warm-Up</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2008/07/choose-me-how-get-online-prospects-love-you">Choose Me! How to Get Online Prospects to Love You</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 15 Jan 2015 22:46:55 +0000 mwhite 18054 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Phones Offer Touch of Safety http://realtormag.realtor.org/product-guide/tablets-and-phones/article/2015/01/phones-offer-touch-safety <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"> Mobile apps are on guard to alert authorities with the touch of a button in case you find yourself in a dangerous situation while 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">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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>Michelle Jones never anticipated that a phone could save a life&mdash;until one played a role in the safety of a local agent she knew.</p> <p>Jones&rsquo; colleague was on her phone talking to a friend during an open house when a man walked in and attacked her, recalls Jones, GRI, a broker-associate with Realty Austin in Austin, Texas. Luckily, the friend on the other end of the line heard the commotion and called authorities.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Is Your Phone Ready and Able?</strong></p> <ul> <li> Ensure your smartphone is fully charged before meeting with new clients or holding open houses.</li> <li> Have your phone&rsquo;s cellular tracking and GPS functions turned on.</li> <li> Check your phone&rsquo;s signal strength before entering a house to make sure you have strong reception.</li> <li> Keep your smartphone in your hand or on your person when touring homes with prospects. Don&rsquo;t leave it lying around.</li> <li> Have your safety app of choice open and running in the background on your phone in case you need to use it in an emergency.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>The incident convinced Jones and her husband, Thaddeus, who has since joined her as a partner in the brokerage, that something more was needed. They began developing a mobile app specifically for real estate agents that would allow them to call for help with the press of a button. That&rsquo;s how the Real Alert app was born in 2011. Since then, the market for safety apps has exploded with a slew of products now available to help practitioners stay safe on the job. Some of these apps allow agents to enlist a &ldquo;safety team&rdquo; that can track their whereabouts as they tour homes. Others have the ability to instantly and discreetly send alerts when an agent feels threatened.</p> <p>The murders of Iowa agent Ashley Okland in 2011 and Arkansas agent Beverly Carter last September thrust the issue of safety in the real estate industry into the national spotlight. While installing an app is hardly a foolproof solution for managing risk on the job, it&rsquo;s important to know about technology advances that can help you stay safer.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a sampling of mobile apps that real estate trainers have been touting.</p> <h4> <a href="http://realalertapp.com" target="_blank">Real Alert</a></h4> <p>Jones&rsquo; app can give you instant access to emergency services. Double tap to call 911 or tap the &ldquo;alarm&rdquo; button to sound a high-pitched alert to ward off potential attackers. The &ldquo;alert a friend&rdquo; button allows you to speed-dial an emergency contact. You can also use the app to collect &ldquo;creep data&rdquo;&mdash;details about a person who assaulted or threatened you&mdash;and to take photos or record audio. $1.99.</p> <h4> <a href="http://safetrec.com" target="_blank">SafeTREC</a></h4> <p>Tap the app&rsquo;s &ldquo;panic&rdquo; button to alert your designated &ldquo;safety network&rdquo; of friends and family when you need help. They&rsquo;ll receive an e-mail or text message that includes your GPS location. The app&rsquo;s paid version will also send the message to a 24/7 SafeTREC Response Call Center, which will notify emergency responders, and includes &ldquo;threat alerts&rdquo; that let you know when you enter a higher-risk neighborhood based on reported crime levels. Free limited plan, $9.95 a month for premium plan. <span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h4> <a href="http://emergensee.com" target="_blank">EmergenSee</a><span id="cke_bm_438E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></h4> <p>Originally seen on ABC&rsquo;s &ldquo;Shark Tank,&rdquo; this app allows you to tap once to stream live video, audio, and GPS information to your emergency contacts. In &ldquo;stealth mode,&rdquo; your smartphone&rsquo;s screen will go black so no one around you will know you&rsquo;re streaming video. A paid version of the app also streams video and GPS tracking information to a 24/7 professional monitoring team, which can dispatch help for you. Free limited plan, paid plans starting at $8.99 a month.</p> <h4> <a href="http://agentsarmor.com" target="_blank">Agents Armor</a></h4> <p>Quickly check in at properties and capture information on new prospects. Press the app&rsquo;s &ldquo;showing&rdquo; button and leave a voice note with the address of your showing, which is stored in the Agents Armor database and can be sent to your designated safety contacts. When a prospect arrives at the showing, you can use the &ldquo;voice notes&rdquo; function to provide a description of his or her vehicle. Ask for a photo ID before entering the property and use the &ldquo;image capture&rdquo; feature to store a copy of the prospect&rsquo;s -driver&rsquo;s license. Thirty minutes later, the app automatically checks in to make sure you&rsquo;re safe. Starting at $5.95 a month, brokerage plans also available.<span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_445S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h4> <a href="http://myforce.com" target="_blank">MyForce</a><span id="cke_bm_445E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></h4> <p>When you press the &ldquo;alert&rdquo; button, the company&rsquo;s monitors will be able to listen to audio from your mobile device. You can use a safe word, which you provide at the time of registration, to confirm that you&rsquo;re in distress and need help. Free trial, $14.99 a month afterward.&nbsp;</p> <h4> <a href="http://ixtentia.com" target="_blank">SOS (StaySafe)</a></h4> <p>You don&rsquo;t even have to tap a button or dial a phone number to send alerts with this app. Simply shake your phone or click the power button three consecutive times,&nbsp; and the app will send a text message or e-mail to your preselected emergency contacts to notify them that you&rsquo;re in trouble. They&rsquo;ll also see the time of your alert, the amount of battery life left on your phone, and your GPS coordinates. The phone will vibrate to confirm the alert was sent. Messages to your contacts will then be continuously sent to update them with your GPS location. You can also include a one-minute voice message to your contacts detailing the situation. Free.</p> <h4> <a href="http://frontdoorsoftware.com" target="_blank">RescueMEAlert</a></h4> <p>This app has three life-saving buttons: M, E, and A. &ldquo;M&rdquo; stands for &ldquo;medical&rdquo;; use that button to send messages about your allergies or medical conditions, or call for help in a medical emergency. The &ldquo;E&rdquo; button stands for &ldquo;emergency,&rdquo; a way to instantly send a preset message to your contacts when you are in an unsafe situation. &ldquo;A&rdquo; stands for &ldquo;arrival&rdquo; and can be clicked to let your preselected contacts know when you arrive safely at a location. $2.99.</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>Mobile apps are on guard to alert authorities with the touch of a button in case you find yourself in a dangerous situation while 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/jan15_SM_phone_safety.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37196">jan15_SM_phone_safety.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_SM_phone_safety_0.jpg?1421784015" /> </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/jan15_LP_SM_phone_safety.jpg?1421784024" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/cool-tools/article/2013/01/smartphone-safephone">Smartphone = Safephone</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/10/make-safety-brokerage-priority">Make Safety a Brokerage Priority</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/09/safety-talk-you-need-have-clients">The Safety Talk You Need to Have With Clients</a> </div> </div> </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> Tablets and Phones Thu, 15 Jan 2015 22:56:23 +0000 mwhite 18055 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Pros and Cons of Smart Rental Homes http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2015/01/pros-and-cons-smart-rental-homes <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Home owners are flocking to connected devices to manage everything from energy use to home security with their smartphones. But does this technology make sense for property managers and others in the commercial real estate realm? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, January 15, 2015</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/brenton-hayden">Brenton Hayden</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The consumer market has recently been flooded with so-called &ldquo;smart&rdquo; appliances (such as refrigerators that create grocery lists and thermostats that manage energy use) as well as complete home automation systems that allow for interconnected customization of lighting, entertainment, irrigation and security monitoring. And all of it can now be managed from your smartphone.</p> <p>But for landlords, home automation is a tricky business. On one hand, there are significant benefits to installing certain connected devices in a rental unit, but there&rsquo;s also the potential risk of security breaches and other complications. And of course there&rsquo;s the all-important question of whether such upgrades are financially viable investments. Does home automation make sense for rental units?</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re tempted to jump on board this trend, there are a few things that you should know. So let&rsquo;s dig into the pros and cons of smart home technologies to figure out what&rsquo;s right for your business.</p> <h4> Smart Lighting</h4> <p>These systems make it easy for tenants to set their lighting exactly how they want it, with minimal hassle. Once the automation network is set up, tenants will be able to control their lights with a swipe of their iPhones or any control point interface that&rsquo;s synched up with the network. Tenants may even find it fun setting up preprogrammed &ldquo;scenes&rdquo; that allow for any number of preset lights to turn on or off with one touch of a button. Smart lighting solutions can also save energy, since the system can be programmed to automatically turn off lights in empty rooms.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> Older rentals may require updates to get the electrical system up to code before installing smart lighting. Depending on the system, automated lighting can also be costly to install.</p> <h4> Smart Thermostats</h4> <p>Programmable thermostats present an attractive alternative to traditional thermostats, offering a significant number of advantages for rental properties. The main benefit is reduced energy costs. <a href="https://nest.com/thermostat/life-with-nest-thermostat/" target="_blank">The Nest Programmable Thermostat</a> is a popular smart thermostat option. They&rsquo;re easy to program, allowing landlords to ensure that the rental home remains at an optimal, reasonable temperature at all times. Nest is also easily accessible via smartphone or tablet, which means it&rsquo;s simple to adjust one&rsquo;s preferences at any time, even remotely.</p> <p><strong>Cons: </strong>According to some reports, Nest units can be unreliable. Some people have reported issues with recharging, as well as trouble with the device disconnecting from the network. Then there&rsquo;s the initial expense of $250. Nest&rsquo;s big selling point is its sleek design, but for landlords on a budget, there are other, more basic options available. <a href="http://www.honeywellstore.com/store/products/honeywell-wi-fi-7-day-programmable-thermostat-ret97e5d1005u.htm" target="_blank">The Honeywell Programmable Thermostat</a> is one such alternative, available for roughly half the price of Nest and offering a number of similar convenient, energy-saving features.</p> <h4> Automated Security Systems</h4> <p>Automated security systems can be a great investment for rental properties. These systems include everything from security cameras that can be viewed remotely to automated lighting and alarms. Such systems are an especially good option for multiunit rentals with common areas and multiple entries and exits. <a href="http://www.tiffinohio.gov/tiffinpd/home_security.htm" target="_blank">Security systems have been shown to reduce the chance of break-ins</a>, and an automated system allows landlords to virtually tune into their rental properties at any time, from anywhere.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> Again, security cameras are a great investment, but you should be careful when deciding on a system. Wireless security systems can sometimes pick up interference from other wireless devices nearby, triggering false alarms. Also, wireless systems are vulnerable to security breaches and hacks. Before installing an automated security system, it&rsquo;s important to take every precaution to ensure that the system is safe, taking care to choose a strong password and user name, as well as to operate on a secure network.</p> <h4> Smart Irrigation Systems</h4> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2014/08/01/tired-of-wasting-water-with-that-dumb-sprinkler-meet-the-smart-sprinkler-controller/" target="_blank">Smart irrigation systems</a> can be a great way for landlords to ensure that the landscape receives the water it needs, without having to depend on maintenance crews or tenants to water it on a regular basis. Smart irrigation systems today extend far beyond the simple sprinkler on a timer. They can be set to sync up with the weather forecast, and can take into account temperature and precipitation factors and adjust water levels accordingly. Some have on-location sensors that measure moisture in the soil to determine water usage. Other systems can be set up with a number of different &ldquo;hydrozones,&rdquo; ensuring that flowers get more water, and desert plants get less.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong>Installation of automated irrigation systems requires a significant initial investment. With automated irrigation systems, there&rsquo;s more that can go wrong, and they are more costly to maintain and repair or replace should something happen. Also, it&rsquo;s important to understand the needs of the property; many rentals have relatively simple landscaping that may not benefit significantly from a high-tech system.</p> <h4> Smart Appliances</h4> <p><a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-smart-appliances" target="_blank">Smart appliances</a> offer a number of great benefits &mdash; especially for landlords who pay the utility bills. <a href="http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/whirlpool-launches-the-wi-fi-smart-appliance" target="_blank">Smart laundry machines and dishwashers</a> are designed to ensure optimal cleaning with the smallest amount of energy and water required. Smart refrigerators can notify the occupants if the door has been left open and can also maximize energy efficiency by lowering power consumption during specific times of the day.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> Smart appliances often cost significantly more than standard ones, and they aren&rsquo;t yet on most renters&rsquo; must-have lists. While these are great luxury items, they may not significantly boost the appeal of a rental enough to offer the landlord a significant return on investment. An Energy Star-approved appliance might be a better option for now.</p> <h4> Remote Access</h4> <p>Landlords often struggle with securely providing unit access to contractors, especially with occupied apartments, which could be why remote access software is starting to become such a popular option for rentals. <a href="http://thenextweb.com/apps/2014/09/18/remotely-launches-home-automation-service-property-managers/" target="_blank">Remotely</a> is one example of a remote entry software provider that claims to make life easier for landlords. The app allows a landlord to adjust security systems remotely in order to allow temporary access for maintenance workers or repair technicians.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> While remote access capabilities assert that they save time and effort, this technology isn&rsquo;t without its share of issues and risks. Remote access systems are configured via the Internet, and as such they are vulnerable to being exploited or hacked. While some landlords assume that remote access will allow them to manage their rentals while they are away, this presents its own set of problems. As with most technology, these systems are not infallible and will sometimes require rebooting or resetting the router in order to work. For landlords, a viable alternative to remote access is to choose a <a href="http://landing.renterswarehouse.com/homewatch/" target="_blank">reputable company that offers property management or home watch services</a> while away. This provides absolute confidence that the rental will be safe and sound, with real-time human help. And should the power go out, this option won&rsquo;t need to be reset in order to work.</p> <p>While there&rsquo;s no question that new technology continues to change things for the better, in some cases there&rsquo;s simply no substitute for old-fashioned, reliable human methods. When determining whether or not a new piece of tech could improve your rental, it&rsquo;s important to consider three important deciding factors: Is it financially viable, will it save time, and is it safe? I always recommend doing your homework to see what others are saying about the product before jumping on board the bandwagon &mdash; no matter how tempting the flashy new product may be.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Home owners are flocking to connected devices to manage everything from energy use to home security with their smartphones. But does this technology make sense for property managers and others in the commercial real estate realm?</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/jan15_C_smarthome.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=41529">jan15_C_smarthome.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/jan15_C_smarthome_0.jpg?1421342845" /> </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/jan15_LP_C_smarthome.jpg?1421342856" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/01/theres-app-for-your-home-appliances">&#039;Empowered&#039; Appliances Link Home, Internet</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/gadgets-and-gear/2012/05/buyer-s-guide-smart-home-technology">Buyer’s Guide: Smart Home Technology</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/08/01/are-smart-homes-risk-hackings">Are ‘Smart Homes’ At Risk of Hackings?</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, 15 Jan 2015 14:42:59 +0000 mwhite 18047 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Time for Vigilance http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2015/01/time-for-vigilance <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"> Our message to consumers must be clear, says NAR President Chris Polychron: REALTORS® bring an indisputable value. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/wendy-cole">Wendy Cole</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>At one time, a letter from Chris Polychron to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. had a reasonable chance of reaching the commander in chief. Polychron smiles broadly as he recalls the year 1993, when he sent word to President Bill Clinton&mdash;a former Arkansas governor&mdash;that he&rsquo;d be in Washington, D.C., for NAR&rsquo;s May meetings. Could he pay a visit? Even Polychron was a bit surprised by the response: an invitation to the White House in advance of Clinton&rsquo;s speech to the REALTORS&reg;.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s Arkansas. It&rsquo;s a small state, and we stand by our friends,&rdquo; says Polychron during an informal tour of Hot Springs, Ark., where he not only sells real estate but also develops property, cooks up big meals for charity events, and has a standing gin rummy game with the same friends he has played with for 36 years.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone knows everyone here,&rdquo; he adds with another big grin. And judging by the greetings that come his way when he&rsquo;s out and about, it appears he&rsquo;s exaggerating only a little.</p> <p>As much as he loves his Razorback roots, Polychron is now traversing a wider field, that of 2015 president of the National Association of REALTORS&reg;. As an in-the-trenches practitioner with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Polychron has negotiated his share of technological disruptions and economic upheavals. With his daughter Nikki Young as his business partner for the past 12 years, he has adapted to newer marketing practices and scaled his business to fit the times. He finds inspiration from Winston Churchill, who famously said, &ldquo;To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yet, real estate remains a business of trusted relationships and market knowledge, he says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s essential that REALTORS&reg; remain central to the real estate transaction.&rdquo; he told state and local association leaders meeting in Chicago in August and repeated during his inaugural remarks in November. &ldquo;Technology is a great tool, but we have the knowledge our clients need.&rdquo;</p> <p>Since he became first vice president of NAR in 2013, Polychron has been part of an NAR leadership teams energized by a new strategic plan to push for courageous moves, including <a href="/daily-news/2013/07/25/nar-directors-green-light-realtorcom-expansion">changes to the realtor.com&reg; operating agreement</a> to make the site more competitive with other real estate portals; implementation of <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/17/nar-approves-core-organizational-standards">new standards for local and state REALTOR&reg; associations</a>; creation of a new <a href="/daily-news/2014/11/11/nar-code-excellence-raise-standards">REALTOR&reg; Code of Excellence</a> (more on that later); and support for <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/09/news-corp-bets-realtors">News Corp&rsquo;s purchase of Move Inc.</a>, operator of realtor.com&reg;. That purchase was announced in September and finalized in November&mdash;the same week Polychron took over as NAR president. Member reaction was mixed, with some questioning the wisdom of associating with the global media company. But Polychron and his fellow leaders quickly surmised what News Corp support of the REALTOR&reg; brand would mean for members. &ldquo;REALTORS&reg; are about making consumers&rsquo; real estate dreams a reality,&rdquo; he said in a prepared statement after the deal was completed. &ldquo;The unique strengths of News Corp, Move, and REALTOR&reg; members will enhance our ability to do that.&rdquo;</p> <p>Two months earlier, over pork chops and potatoes at his gracefully appointed home, Polychron sketched out the issues playing heavily on his mind: the swirl of inaccurate real estate data on the Internet, the ongoing debate about tax reform and what that might mean for home owners and property investors, and the need to engage NAR members on a range of issues.</p> <p>Polychron could not have imagined, during that casual dinner with REALTOR&reg; Magazine, the tragedy that would unfold one week later and help define his presidential priorities. That&rsquo;s when Crye-Leike agent Beverly Carter was abducted after meeting a prospective buyer at a vacant home. Her body was found Sept. 30 behind a concrete mixing plant in Cabot, Ark. The murder, which took place just 60 miles from his home, became a watershed moment.</p> <p>&ldquo;What happened to Beverly Carter brings the issue of safety close to home,&rdquo; he said at the time. &ldquo;What REALTORS&reg; do every day is inherently risky, and it&rsquo;s something we need to focus on.&rdquo;</p> <p>Two weeks after Carter&rsquo;s murder, an attack on a California agent solidified Polychron&rsquo;s commitment to a robust REALTOR&reg; safety program. He wants to add a safety component to new-member orientation materials, and he&rsquo;s calling on state associations to add safety topics to their continuing education requirements. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re also considering recommendations for a buddy system or an app,&rdquo; he says. More important, though, is the need to topple the prevailing belief that our members must always be on-call for customers, he says. &ldquo;No property sale is ever worth dying for.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Friends and Family</h4> <p>Whether he&rsquo;s thinking about members&rsquo; safety, talking to reporters about the housing market, debating the impact of new technologies, or working on plans to raise the association&rsquo;s value proposition, Polychron carries on with an abiding optimism. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t just like what I do for NAR. I love what I do. I feel blessed.&rdquo;</p> <p>But while the REALTOR&reg; family buoys him, he says, his own family provided the foundation for his professional success. His father, Theo, was a Greek immigrant who arrived in New York at age 16, made his way to Little Rock, and began working in restaurants there. Eventually, he opened four restaurants of his own. Polychron and his older brother and sister learned the values of hard work and loyalty from their parents, who also made sure the children became conversant in Greek.</p> <p>Beginning at age 9, Polychron worked as a dishwasher and then as a busboy in one of the family&rsquo;s restaurants. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s really when I learned to sell. I overcame my fear of talking to people,&rdquo; he says. By age 11, he was handling cash, and it became clear he had a good mind for numbers.</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t just business that united the family. Polychron&rsquo;s brother George, seven years his senior, endured a lifetime of medical problems starting in early childhood, including severe scoliosis, which led to paralysis and numerous surgeries. The Polychrons instinctively pulled together, drawing on a deep well of compassion and positive spirit. Polychron&rsquo;s mother, Georgia, born in the United States to Greek immigrant parents, spent her life juggling restaurant work and being the primary caregiver to George, who passed away in 1985 at the age of 49. &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t say enough about what a neat person George was,&rdquo; Polychron says. &ldquo;Having him in our lives has given me a sensitivity to the struggles people go through, whether those struggles are visible or not.&rdquo;</p> <p>Polychron married his high school sweetheart Janis in 1967, the same year the couple graduated from the University of Arkansas, where Polychron earned a bachelor&rsquo;s in marketing. Looking at Polychron today, it&rsquo;s still easy to discern the traits that drew Janis more than 50 years ago. &ldquo;He was certainly good looking, but I was also attracted to his sense of family. He cares deeply about the people around him, and he always has,&rdquo; says Janis, an artist who worked in advertising during the early years of their marriage. The Polychrons have two daughters: Natali, a nurse, and Nikki.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s Nikki, a licensee since 2003 and president of the Hot Springs Association of REALTORS&reg; in 2012, who will handle many of the team&rsquo;s day-to-day business decisions during Polychron&rsquo;s presidency.</p> <p>The father-daughter team&rsquo;s top year in business together was 2007, when their sales volume reached $15.8 million. For the past few years, their sales have hovered in the $4 million to $6 million range. At year&rsquo;s end they were handling about 20 listings, ranging from small vacation homes and vacant lots to commercial buildings with multiple tenants. Polychron is also a successful investor and developer. One of his projects is the 83-lot Quail Ridge Estates subdivision, a few miles from downtown, where he and Janis built their home 10 years ago.</p> <p>There, the Polychrons regularly gather for Sunday dinner with their daughters and their families, including three grandchildren, who range in age from 7 to 18. Chris is very likely to be the chef.</p> <p>&ldquo;Cooking is one way I relax,&rdquo; he says. Others favorite pastimes include gardening, quail hunting, exercising at the gym, and playing cards. Despite the varied demands on his life, Polychron is generally a laid-back soul with a penchant for finding the positive in others. &ldquo;My philosophy about people is that there&rsquo;s a little good in everybody, and that&rsquo;s the part I focus on. I really mean that,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>That sunny-side-up approach served him well in his earlier careers in bond sales, banking, and (briefly) thoroughbred horse sales. Before he got into real estate in 1987, the pinnacle of his professional life had been his five years as president of Grand National Bank, a Hot Springs institution where deposits quadrupled from $20 million when he came aboard in 1979 to $80 million by 1984 when the bank was sold. &ldquo;When I arrived the bank was losing around $50,000 a month. When I left, that&rsquo;s how much we were making a month,&rdquo; says Polychron, noting that the high interest rates in the mid-1980s helped boost earnings, along with his knack for winning accounts, including home loans.</p> <p>One account holder he got to know quite well was Virginia Kelley, the mother of Bill Clinton. During their years in Little Rock, the Polychrons had supported Clinton&rsquo;s election as Arkansas attorney general in 1976. Their friendship has remained steadfast. When Clinton lost the governor&rsquo;s seat in 1980 after one term, Polychron was one of five Little Rock pals he consulted for their unvarnished advice. The voters hadn&rsquo;t liked Clinton&rsquo;s decision to hike license plate fees or his wife Hillary&rsquo;s apparent disregard for social protocols as the state&rsquo;s first lady. Clinton returned as governor in the next election, better attuned to voter sentiments, and never lost another election.</p> <p>Making his fifth appearance at an NAR event, Clinton was back with his old friend in November, formally installing Polychron during the <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/11/presidential-night">inaugural gala at the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo</a> in New Orleans. &ldquo;Chris always knew what was important [and] he always knew what was right,&rdquo; Clinton told REALTORS&reg; attending the gala. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m glad that you made him your president.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Finding Real Estate</h4> <p>When Polychron left banking, it was to take a chance on an industry he loved, thoroughbred racing. For two years, he sold horses for the largest thoroughbred purveyor in the central U.S. region. But while he remains a devoted racing fan and a box-seat holder at Oaklawn race track, horse sales proved a volatile business&mdash;one that abruptly bottomed out in 1986, when changes to the federal tax code eliminated the tax benefits of such investments.</p> <p>Polychron got his real estate license and sought a spot as an agent with McAdams Realty, a thriving independent brokerage in Hot Springs (which became an ERA franchise in 2007). &ldquo;I asked around and learned it was the best company in town,&rdquo; Polychron says.</p> <p>But broker-owner Jim McAdams demurred, saying he had no desk space. So Polychron went to work for a competitor but kept an eye on McAdams. Six months later, he says, &ldquo;I walked into Jim&rsquo;s office with two boxes and said, &lsquo;Where is my desk? I&rsquo;m going to work for you, so figure it out.&rsquo; He found me a spot.&rdquo;</p> <p>Within two years, Polychron was responsible for a third of the brokerage&rsquo;s sales, and in 1994 he became a managing broker and co-owner, flourishing with the brokerage for 24 years. Three years ago, Polychron and his daughter moved to 1st Choice. But he remains on great terms with McAdams, who served as the master of ceremonies at Polychron&rsquo;s inaugural. &ldquo;Chris has done it all&mdash;sales, management, and land development. He can feel every practitioner&rsquo;s joy and pain,&rdquo; says McAdams. The industry will benefit from his &ldquo;talent for marketing and dealing with people,&rdquo; he adds.</p> <p>Arkansas has only seven national directors who vote on NAR leadership slates. (California, by comparison, has 110.) But Polychron&rsquo;s colleagues in Hot Springs say they&rsquo;re hardly surprised by his rise through the national ranks. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no mountain too big for him,&rdquo; says 1st Choice broker-owner Jim Kellstrom.</p> <p>His ascent underscores his ease at building a coalition of -supporters and reflects widespread admiration for Polychron. &ldquo;He is a natural salesman with the highest morals and ethics,&rdquo; says Elizabeth Farris, city president with Regions Bank in Hot Springs and a former REALTOR&reg;, who has known Polychron since his banking days. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s also a tireless advocate for what he believes in. The members of NAR are in good hands.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Ready to Defend</h4> <p>Polychron&mdash;Arkansas REALTOR&reg; of the Year in 1996 and president of the state association in 2003&mdash;made his mark nationally in fundraising for the REALTORS&reg; Political Action Committee and grassroots mobilization. As the association&rsquo;s first Member Mobilization Committee chair in 2008, he helped launch the Broker Involvement Program, an initiative through which brokers can ask their agents to respond to calls for action to Congress. &ldquo;We celebrated when we got our first 100 members. Now we&rsquo;re up to 17,000 people when we put out a call for action,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>His appointment of RPAC allies Michael Ford of West Memphis, Ark., and Charlie Oppler of Franklin Lakes, N.J., as NAR vice presidents speaks to his dedication to keeping advocacy front and center. &ldquo;These are two people who know the influence that our association, with more than 1 million members, can have in Washington,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Also, I know they will be blatantly honest with me. I have the utmost respect for and trust in them.&rdquo;</p> <p>Outside of politics, Polychron expects to zero in on industry concerns about the reliability of real estate data on the Internet.</p> <p>The popularity of third-party portals is a reality, he says. But their presence makes it imperative that NAR continue to champion the interests of REALTORS&reg; and consumers with regard to online listing information.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have a right and a responsibility to make sure our own data is accurate,&rdquo; he says. And consumers are entitled to know the real source of that data. &ldquo;We must continue to remind everyone that the service we provide in accumulating property information is very valuable. We should not be giving our data away.&rdquo;</p> <p>One challenge, he says, is that &ldquo;most people still do not know the difference between a REALTOR&reg; and a real estate agent. That needs to change,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Changing it means raising the professional bar, and under the leadership of Polychron&rsquo;s predecessor, Steve Brown of Dayton, Ohio, NAR&rsquo;s volunteer leaders took meaningful steps in that direction in November. Advocating before the NAR board of directors&mdash;a body with nearly 800 members&mdash;the leadership team garnered approval in concept of a REALTOR&reg; Code of Excellence. Its goal: to measurably increase professionalism through increased training and recognition of competencies that consumers value&mdash;including knowledge of the Code of Ethics, understanding of data privacy and security, and proficiency in the use of technology tools. The board also authorized NAR leaders to appoint a work group to set criteria by which REALTORS&reg; are evaluated online. That effort is designed to gain the upper hand on the rating and review systems already in place&mdash;systems that many REALTORS&reg; feel focus on the wrong measures of success or contain inaccurate or downright bogus information.</p> <p>The heavy lifting of developing both the Code of Excellence and the performance criteria will take place during Polychron&rsquo;s presidency, and friends say he will apply his usual equanimity to the task. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a giver,&rdquo; says Kellstrom. &ldquo;And he always has a smile on his face.&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>Our message to consumers must be clear, says NAR President Chris Polychron: REALTORS&reg; bring an indisputable value.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_F_pres_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=55537">jan15_F_pres.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/jan15_F_pres_2.jpg?1421856047" /> </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/jan15_LP_F_pres_0.jpg?1421856057" /> </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/nar-president/article/2015/01/obstacles-or-opportunities">Obstacles or Opportunities?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2013/01/bringing-future">Bringing on the Future</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/01/uniter">The Uniter</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, 13 Jan 2015 19:12:41 +0000 mwhite 18035 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2015 Forecast: Gains Ahead http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2015/01/2015-forecast-gains-ahead <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"> Continued economic growth and more reasonable lending standards could unleash pent-up demand for home sales. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/robert-freedman">Robert Freedman</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Alone among big Western economies, the United States is poised for solid growth in 2015, fueling job creation and keeping home sales on an upward path. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; forecasts that existing-home sales will reach 5.3 million, an increase of almost half a million over 2014. The national median home price will rise, too, but at a sustainable 4 percent rate, to just below $216,000.</p> <p>Increasingly confident renter households will enter the homebuying market after watching rental growth rates hit a seven-year high. And households that were forced into foreclosure or a short sale during the housing crisis several years ago could begin streaming back to the market, too.</p> <p>Sales will be bolstered by the expected return of more reasonable mortgage underwriting standards that were in place prior to the housing boom. This shift by lenders will help soften the impact of gradually rising interest rates, which NAR expects to top out just below 5 percent this year. If interest rates defy expectations and remain close to where they are currently, this will be another boost to housing sales, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.</p> <p>On the commercial side, continued modest improvement in vacancies, absorption rates, and rent growth is projected for all the major sectors in 2015.</p> <p>The big unknown for real estate is the health of the global economy. If the economies of Europe and other powerhouses continue to lag, further U.S. growth could be stymied, slowing the expansion of residential and commercial markets.</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> 2014</td> <td> 2015</td> <td> 2016</td> </tr> <tr> <td> <span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>Forecast</strong></span></td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> GDP growth</td> <td> 2.2%</td> <td> 2.7%</td> <td> 2.9%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Existing-home sales (millions)</td> <td> 4.90</td> <td> 5.30</td> <td> 5.40</td> </tr> <tr> <td> New-home sales (units)</td> <td> 440,000</td> <td> 620,000</td> <td> 700,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Housing starts (units)</td> <td> 1,000,000</td> <td> 1,300,000</td> <td> 1,400,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Home price (median)</td> <td> $ 207,600</td> <td> $ 215,900</td> <td> $ 225,300</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Fed funds rate</td> <td> 0.1%</td> <td> 0.4%</td> <td> 1.6%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> 30-year mortgage</td> <td> 4.2%</td> <td> 4.9%</td> <td> 6.0%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> <span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>Commercial</strong></span></td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> <strong>Office</strong></td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Vacancy rate</td> <td> 16.2%</td> <td> 15.7%</td> <td> 15.6%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Net absorption (sq. ft.)</td> <td> 35,586</td> <td> 48,841</td> <td> 55,026</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Completions (sq. ft.)</td> <td> 27,073</td> <td> 42,154</td> <td> 44,460</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Rent growth</td> <td> 2.6%</td> <td> 3.3%</td> <td> 3.6%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> <br /> <strong>Industrial</strong></td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Vacancy rate</td> <td> 8.9%</td> <td> 8.5%</td> <td> 8.1%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Net absorption (sq. ft.)</td> <td> 110,652</td> <td> 102,463</td> <td> 105,780</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Completions (sq. ft.)</td> <td> 81,009</td> <td> 71,349</td> <td> 62,097</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Rent growth</td> <td> 2.4%</td> <td> 2.9%</td> <td> 3.1%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> <br /> <strong>Retail</strong></td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Vacancy rate</td> <td> 9.8%</td> <td> 9.6%</td> <td> 9.4%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Net absorption (sq. ft.)</td> <td> 11,350</td> <td> 18,871</td> <td> 23,792</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Completions (sq. ft.)</td> <td> 7,747</td> <td> 11,711</td> <td> 15,924</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Rent growth</td> <td> 2.0%</td> <td> 2.5%</td> <td> 3.0%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> <br /> <strong>Multifamily</strong></td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Vacancy rate</td> <td> 4.0%</td> <td> 4.1%</td> <td> 4.2%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Net absorption (units)</td> <td> 216,296</td> <td> 171,167</td> <td> 143,626</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Completions (units)</td> <td> 180,796</td> <td> 210,669</td> <td> 165,339</td> </tr> <tr> <td> Rent growth</td> <td> 4.0%</td> <td> 3.9%</td> <td> 3.5%</td> </tr> <tr> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> <td> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="4"> <span style="font-size: 11px;">All tables use data compiled by NAR Research.<br /> Figures for 2007&ndash;2013 are actual; figures for 2014&ndash;2016 are projected.</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="4"> <hr /> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> <span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>Wealth Gap</strong></span></td> <td style="width: 101px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> <em>Household Wealth: Owners vs. Renters</em></td> <td style="width: 101px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> Owners</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> Renters</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> Difference</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> 1998</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> $132,100</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> $4,200</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> 31x</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> 2001</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> $172,600</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> $4,800</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> 36x</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> 2004</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> $184,700</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> $4,000</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> 46x</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> 2007</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> $234,800</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> $5,100</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> 46x</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> 2010</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> $174,500</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> $5,100</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> 34x</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> 2013</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> $195,400</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> $5,400</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> 36x</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 243px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 101px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 90px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 117px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="4"> <span style="font-size: 11px;">Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="4"> <hr /> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> <br /> <span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>Steady Gains</strong></span></td> <td style="width: 411px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> <em>(existing-home sales)</em></td> <td style="width: 411px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2009</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 3,820,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2010</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 4,190,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2011</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 4,260,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2012</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 4,660,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2013</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 5,090,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2014</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 4,937,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2015</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 5,295,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> 2016</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> 5,380,000</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 411px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 161px;"> <span style="font-size: 11px;">Source: NAR</span></td> <td style="width: 411px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2"> <hr /> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <br /> <span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>Profitability Expected</strong></span></td> <td style="width: 41px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <em>Expectations over the next 12 months (percentage of firms)</em></td> <td style="width: 41px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 41px;"> Less</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> Same</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> More</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> Residential Firm</td> <td style="width: 41px;"> 8</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> 26</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> 66</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> Commercial Firm</td> <td style="width: 41px;"> 6</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> 23</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> 71</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 41px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <span style="font-size: 11px;">Source: NAR</span></td> <td style="width: 41px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 47px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 263px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="4"> <hr /> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="3" width="600"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> <br /> <span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>Want to Buy</strong></span></td> <td style="width: 192px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> <em>Gen Y attitudes on home ownership</em></td> <td style="width: 192px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> Home ownership is an important long-term goal</td> <td style="width: 192px;"> 75%</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> Home ownership is an excellent investment</td> <td style="width: 192px;"> 73%</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> Among renters, belief owning a home makes more sense</td> <td style="width: 192px;"> 59%</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> Among renters, belief it&rsquo;s difficult to get mortgage</td> <td style="width: 192px;"> 73%</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 380px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 192px;"> &nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2"> <span style="font-size: 11px;">Source: Fannie Mae, 2013 Demand Institute Housing and Community Survey</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="2"> <hr /> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <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>Continued economic growth and more reasonable lending standards could unleash pent-up demand for home sales.</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/jan15_NC_forecast.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=14498">jan15_NC_forecast.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/jan15_NC_forecast_0.jpg?1421786419" /> </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/jan15_LP_NC_forecast.jpg?1421786433" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/01/12/10-best-bets-for-housing-in-2015">10 Best Bets for Housing in 2015</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/12/31/10-reasons-2015-will-rock-for-real-estate">10 Reasons 2015 Will Rock for Real Estate</a> </div> <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> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-links"> <div class="field-label">External Links:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/reports/2014/embargoes/phs-11-26/forecast-10-2014-us-economic-outlook-11-26-2014.pdf" rel="nofollow">NAR&#039;s Forecast, November 2014</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/presentations/presentation-residential-real-estate-trends-and-outlook" rel="nofollow">NAR&#039;s 2015 Outlook Presentation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.realtor.org/presentations/presentation-commercial-real-estate-trends-and-outlook" rel="nofollow">NAR&#039;s Commercial Outlook Presentation</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> Economy Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:51:08 +0000 mwhite 18028 at http://realtormag.realtor.org After the Cuts: What the Recession Taught Brokers http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/feature/article/2015/01/after-cuts-what-recession-taught-brokers <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"> Most brokerages slashed spending during the downturn. Now that business is up, many are still focused on economizing. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/gm-filisko">G.M. Filisko</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The Great Recession that upended the real estate industry was a painful time that many brokers would rather forget. But that would be a mistake. The wrenching economic stretch, officially pegged between late 2007 and the middle of 2009, felt far longer in many places, but it was filled with lessons smart brokers are paying attention to today.</p> <p>When the recession hit, brokers slashed operating and capital budgets to survive. Today, they&rsquo;re looking back on those cuts with clear eyes and assessing whether some went too far. Many are thankful the recession forced them to pause and reconsider how they manage expenses and other financial decisions now that business has generally recovered.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I look at what we were spending in 2005 to 2007, it makes me sick,&rdquo; says Mark Remeis, broker at A.A. Green Realty Inc., a 28-salesperson company in Bowling Green, Ohio. &ldquo;That market downturn was a blessing for us. It made me really delve into how we run our business and what we offer our salespeople.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Cutting Space Without Regret</h4> <p>Leases were often the first expense brokers attacked, and they haven&rsquo;t seen any fallout from having reduced their space. &ldquo;The No. 1 item we addressed very aggressively was our space occupancy,&rdquo; says Gary Scott, president of Long &amp; Foster Real Estate in Chantilly, Va., who oversees all company-run offices in seven states and the District of Columbia; about 10,000 sales associates operate within those offices. &ldquo;We were very strategic and we had a methodology. When leases came up, our mission was to save a certain percentage of that occupancy cost on the next lease by paying less, merging space, or reducing the space.&rdquo;</p> <p>The company shrunk its space costs by 40 percent, says Scott. With consumers relying so heavily on mobile and Internet searches for homes, Scott doesn&rsquo;t believe the company lost visibility in any way that affected profitability. That&rsquo;s also because, he contends, the company worked to swap larger space for better space. &ldquo;When we were able to reduce space, we enhanced the office,&rdquo; says Scott. &ldquo;It was about how the office felt, from the technology used to the plasma screen TVs. You&rsquo;re walking into a space that&rsquo;s smaller but nicer.&rdquo;</p> <p>At A.A. Green, Remeis hesitated to close a second office, worried it might send a message of weakness to competitors and consumers. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t look good when companies close doors,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We were concerned about the public perception.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yet in 2011, Remeis quietly shuttered a branch office he&rsquo;d opened in 2005 that sat 12 miles north of his main office. He&rsquo;s glad he did. Eliminating the operational expenses helped the company&rsquo;s bottom line. It also hasn&rsquo;t hurt market share,&nbsp; which he says has remained constant. In the company&rsquo;s primary market, says Remeis, A.A. Green&rsquo;s market share has actually increased, from about 30 percent before the recession to 40 percent today.</p> <p>RE/Max Alliance in Denver has also closed offices and hasn&rsquo;t looked back, dropping from 22 to 18 locations. The brokerage also reduced the hours at some offices, says broker-owner Chad Ochsner. Before the bust, he&nbsp; wouldn&rsquo;t have considered leaving any offices dark on a weekend day. Now he closes many offices each Sunday and transfers the phones to other locations. &ldquo;Client needs are still being met,&rdquo; Ochsner says. &ldquo;But you don&rsquo;t need an office open, especially in high-rises, where you don&rsquo;t get much foot traffic.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Staff Restructuring</h4> <p>Brokers also shaved staff costs by eliminating administrative and marketing positions or reducing their hours&mdash;and some haven&rsquo;t been rehiring in any sig-nificant way, even though sales activity has returned to prerecession levels.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our folks are working smarter,&rdquo; Ochsner said. &ldquo;We eliminated some tasks [from staff]. For example, in our market it&rsquo;s&nbsp;customary to contact the seller prior to a showing [by phone]. This was very time-consuming for our staff and a distraction from more productive tasks, so we outsourced it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Culturally, Ochsner says his company flourished after staff reductions. Employees banded together and even volunteered to make more sacrifices, -offering to take three furlough days instead of two. &ldquo;There was this &lsquo;We&rsquo;re all in this together&rsquo; attitude,&rdquo; he says. Staffers have been rewarded for their loyalty and selflessness with companywide Christmas bonuses the past two years.</p> <h4> Capturing Eyeballs</h4> <p>Another line item brokers slashed was advertising. By and large, they haven&rsquo;t seen a need to ramp back up to earlier spending levels. When the recession hit, Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate sent staffers into the field to counsel the company&rsquo;s broker-owners and office managers on how to renegotiate leases and identify other potential cuts, says president OB Jacobi, who with his family owns 11 of the company&rsquo;s 325 offices.</p> <p>Jacobi says brokers scrutinized their ad spending and found areas to scale back on. &ldquo;They took a hard-line look at where they were spending money and figured out that times had been so good they weren&rsquo;t paying attention to where their dollars were going,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Cutbacks started with Seattle&rsquo;s main newspaper. &ldquo;At one time we had nine pages of advertising costing us up to $7 million a year,&rdquo; says Jacobi. &ldquo;When the market crashed, we cut way back, in part because the newspaper almost doubled its prices during the down economy. Our local business journal didn&rsquo;t raise prices, so we maintained advertising with it and still do.&rdquo;</p> <p>However, Jacobi notes, what was wise in Seattle wasn&rsquo;t necessarily wise elsewhere. &ldquo;During the downturn it made sense for some of our small-town offices to maintain advertising in their local newspapers because those papers are central to those communities,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;In turn, they cut back on other print advertising, like Homes &amp; Land magazine.&rdquo;</p> <p>Remeis also reduced ad spending significantly. Before 2007, advertising was by far his company&rsquo;s biggest budget expense at about 10 percent of gross commissions. From 2007 to 2009, he reduced the company&rsquo;s ad budget by 30 percent and it hasn&rsquo;t budged since.</p> <p>Print ads were also a prime target for Ochsner. He&rsquo;d been placing ads in the&nbsp; The Denver Post and local and regional publications, and he&rsquo;d had print magazines published for his company. &ldquo;We stopped all that and pulled out of print entirely,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t miss it. Our clients didn&rsquo;t miss it. And our salespeople didn&rsquo;t complain about it.&rdquo;</p> <p>But he&rsquo;s rethought that extreme measure as markets have improved. The company has been tiptoeing back into the print market lately, but Ochsner says he&rsquo;s more strategic in choosing vehicles and their timing. For example, he&rsquo;s contracted with a local publishing company to do quarterly local and regional relocation magazines, but he says they&rsquo;re very geo-targeted and have a longer shelf life than a typical print ad.</p> <p>&ldquo;Before, we were taking out a couple of full pages in The Denver Post and sticking in postage stamp&ndash;sized black-and-white photos of properties and trying to cover the entire area with that,&rdquo; says Ochsner. &ldquo;It&nbsp; didn&rsquo;t work. We now know we don&rsquo;t have to promote listings in print. But I still think there&rsquo;s a place in print to promote our company and the quality of our salespeople.&rdquo;</p> <h4> 20&ndash;20 Hindsight</h4> <p>Not only were some of the cuts excessive, brokers now acknowledge, but the panic underlying any proposed new spending during the downturn turned out to be counterproductive. In 2007 and 2008, Remeis says, his company didn&rsquo;t cut tech spending, but it stopped investing in new technology. Since then, however, he&rsquo;s invested in systems like paperless transaction software. &ldquo;If I could go back, I wouldn&rsquo;t have held off on spending for those items,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;On the tech side, I&rsquo;m glad we started spending money again.&rdquo;</p> <p>At Long &amp; Foster, Scott says the cuts before he joined the company in 2010 were what he calls &ldquo;low-hanging fruit,&rdquo; and some simply didn&rsquo;t make sense. &ldquo;The top-producer breakfast became the top-producer bagel,&rdquo; he jokes. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the little cuts that often create the most angst, and those cuts had zero impact on our company. They were easy, but the savings never added up. If you&rsquo;ve got 250 lines on your profit-and-loss statement, you have to look at occupancy, marketing, and salaries. That&rsquo;s where the money is. If you cut postage, toner, and copy paper, it&rsquo;s insignificant. We learned you&rsquo;ve got to have a strategy, and you&rsquo;ve got to do things that make a difference.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ochsner agrees. He used to host a companywide annual party around Thanksgiving. He&rsquo;d rent out Coors Field or suites at Mile High Stadium or similar venues and have an open bar and heavy appetizers. The cost was typically about $30,000. That was eliminated and replaced with more local social functions. But Ochsner says many of his staff and salespeople miss it. He now wonders whether he should have kept the bash but scaled it down&mdash;perhaps offering a cash bar, for example.</p> <p>While furlough days saved Ochsner&rsquo;s company about $30,000 a year, he also muses about whether they were necessary,&nbsp; &ldquo;We might not have had to, and I think about the impact that had on our local, state and national economies. By cutting back on discretionary income for our people, it probably had a ripple effect in prolonging the recession.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Be Ready for Next Time</h4> <p>Developing a bunker mentality helped&nbsp; some brokers to become better businesspeople. Ochsner is now building reserves more aggressively than he did before. During the downturn, he scraped together funds to purchase the building in which one of his offices was located, after it landed in foreclosure. He also acquired two companies whose brokers were waving the white flag.</p> <p>In addition, when he renews leases or contracts, Ochsner says he negotiates much harder than he used to. He won&rsquo;t do things like sign a 10-year lease for any location again, nor will he personally guarantee any agreements. &ldquo;We won&rsquo;t put ourselves in a situation where if there&rsquo;s another downturn, we&rsquo;ll get stuck,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Ochsner notes another tactic that helped get him through the tough times:&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;We weren&rsquo;t shy about it. I stood up in meetings and told salespeople, &lsquo;The reason we have lights on and you have nice, warm coffee is because of the lender down the hall and your support of her. I can&rsquo;t force you to use her because of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. But I do appreciate you building a relationship with her and giving her an opportunity to work with your buyers,&rsquo;&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;That was a lifesaver. Thank God for ancillary businesses.&rdquo;</p> <p>For Jacobi, the biggest lesson has been to be very conscious of his profit and loss statement. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m lucky to have multiple offices,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I can read the P&amp;Ls and see what expenses are out of whack where. At one office, I see garbage pickup is $100, yet it&rsquo;s $200 at another. It&rsquo;s harder for individual office owners, but they need to take a hard look at their P&amp;L to see what they&rsquo;re overspending on.&rdquo;</p> <p>A core strength for any real estate brokerage is the long-term memory of team members. &ldquo;We have to have learned from [the recession],&rdquo; says Scott &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t forget once things start to feel better.&rdquo; The downturn reinforced for Scott the value of leadership and the need for communication and transparency. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s important in our business to truly have leaders in our branch offices,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Leaders can&rsquo;t have fear in their eyes. I&rsquo;ve personally learned the value of providing a high level of communication and transparency to the sales force. They&rsquo;ll come with you as you change. You simply tell them the truth. You communicate the whys, the wherefores, and the hows, and they&rsquo;ll join you.&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>Most brokerages slashed spending during the downturn. Now that business is up, many are still focused on economizing.</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/jan15_LP_recession.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=75100">jan15_LP_recession.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/jan15_LP_recession_0.jpg?1421702436" /> </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/jan15_LP_B_recession.jpg?1421702401" /> </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/2014/07/21/why-second-half-2014-will-be-better-first">Why the Second Half of 2014 Will Be Better Than the First</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/standouts/article/2012/09/how-rise-during-downturn">How to Rise During a Downturn</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/build-your-business/article/2010/10/keeping-your-outlook-up-when-market-down">Keeping Your Outlook Up When the Market Is Down</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, 12 Jan 2015 22:55:26 +0000 mwhite 18029 at http://realtormag.realtor.org An App That Shows Where Your Writing Went Wrong http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/cool-tools/article/2015/01/app-shows-where-your-writing-went-wrong <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> This free tool can help you learn from common writing mistakes and choose clearer language for all types of communication. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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>Sure, we all recognize that mean squiggly line that appears under our mistakes in word processing programs. But aside from actual misspellings, how much do we really learn from them? Well, you might be able to learn something from Hemingway. That&rsquo;s the name of a clever web app and desktop program that aims to help you create clearer, more concise language. Simply paste your composition into the free online program and you&rsquo;ll immediately see color-coded clues for how to simplify words, use active language, and cut out the rambling. For a small fee, download the desktop version, which may even be robust enough to replace your current text editor. The desktop version can check your composition without an Internet connection. Also, those who publish to the web will appreciate the ability to automatically turn text into HTML markup without having to write out tags. The HTML preview shows up next to what you&rsquo;re writing, so you know exactly what your text will look like before posting it online.<br /> <em>The desktop version is $6.99 for Mac or Windows [<a href="http://hemingwayapp.com" target="_blank">hemingwayapp.com</a>].</em></p> <hr /> <p><em>Note: Prices are the vendors&rsquo; suggested retail prices and are subject to change. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; and REALTOR&reg; Magazine don&rsquo;t evaluate or endorse these products and aren&rsquo;t responsible for changes in company information.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>This free tool can help you learn from common writing mistakes and choose clearer language for all types of communication.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/cool_tools_yellow_2.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=19978">cool_tools_yellow.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/cool_tools_yellow_1.jpg?1421777981" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/LP_cool_tools_orange_1.jpg?1421778016" /> </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/2007/02/appeal-their-senses-choose-right-words">Appeal to Their Senses: Choose the Right Words</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/01/up-your-blurb-appeal">Up Your Blurb Appeal</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2009/08/8-steps-writing-effective-advertising-copy">8 Steps to Writing Effective Advertising Copy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2002/03/get-prospects-open-your-e-mails">Get Prospects to Open Your E-mails</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 Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:37:56 +0000 mwhite 18026 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Can You Just Say No? http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2015/01/can-you-just-say-no <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"> Marijuana is becoming legal in more states, which may make it tougher for landlords seeking to enforce their own bans. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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 the movement to legalize marijuana blazes through the nation, landlords and building managers may be wondering whether the right to ban the drug from their properties is going up in smoke. The truth around the issue is a bit hazy.</p> <p>State laws legalizing some form of pot use don&rsquo;t prevent landlords from writing lease agreements prohibiting marijuana on their properties. &ldquo;If a landlord does not want marijuana cultivated, grown, or used on the property, the lease should directly address this and state such prohibition,&rdquo; says Lesley Walker, associate counsel for the National Association of REALTORS&reg;. &ldquo;For existing lease agreements, a landlord could consider having tenants sign an addendum that specifically addresses the presence and use of marijuana on the property.&rdquo;</p> <p>But the laws don&rsquo;t necessarily support such agreements either. When a state law says no person shall be penalized for using marijuana, does evicting a tenant who violates a property owner&rsquo;s no-pot policy constitute a penalty? The question is still being tested in the legal system, but housing experts say state courts are likely to err on the side of &ldquo;yes.&rdquo; So for landlords and property managers, there&rsquo;s real concern not only about creating a zero-tolerance policy but also about enforcing one.</p> <p>Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and four of those states&mdash;Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington&mdash;have also legalized recreational pot. (Voters in D.C. also approved recreational marijuana in November, but the measure was struck down by Congress.) And while no state explicitly requires landlords to accommodate tenants who wish to use the drug at home, many of these states prohibit landlords from discriminating against medical marijuana patients by refusing to rent to them.</p> <p>Still, marijuana laws are in flux. The federal government, which has long held that any form of pot use is illegal, effectively ended its ban on medical marijuana in late December after President Barack Obama signed a bill prohibiting federal funds from being spent to prosecute medical marijuana users. This may change the situation in California, for example, where residents with medical conditions have the right to &ldquo;full and equal accommodations&rdquo; in housing. Before the recent federal change, such protection didn&rsquo;t necessarily include medical marijuana, says June Barlow, general counsel for the California Association of REALTORS&reg;. But the new law could lead to medical marijuana accommodations in California.</p> <h4> The State&rsquo;s Prerogative</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s incumbent on practitioners who work as property managers to monitor changing laws, as more than half of the country&rsquo;s 1.1 million REALTORS&reg; live in jurisdictions where marijuana is legal in some form, according to NAR.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a possible scenario: A medical marijuana patient asks her landlord to let her smoke pot in her apartment. The landlord denies her request, but the tenant does it anyway, believing that her state&rsquo;s law gives her the right. The landlord takes her to court to evict her. Although the state doesn&rsquo;t explicitly require housing accommodations for pot, the law is in its infancy and a legal precedent has not been set. A judge may decide the legality of medical marijuana in the state means the tenant&rsquo;s use should not be restricted and she should not be evicted.</p> <p>&ldquo;As far as evictions go, enforcement [in states that have legalized marijuana] has gone from criminal to civil, and that&rsquo;s very difficult,&rdquo; says Fred Prassas, CPM, GRI, a founding member of property management firm PMC Management Group in LaCrosse, Wisc., and&nbsp; a real estate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Prassas, a former president of the Institute of Real Estate Management, spoke about the topic at NAR&rsquo;s property management forum last May. &ldquo;State laws give landlords the right to prohibit marijuana,&rdquo; he says, but in states where use is legal, judges may not uphold such prohibitions.</p> <p>So far, Prassas says, cases of this nature are only beginning to show up in&nbsp; lower courts, and no recorded decisions have been made yet. But he has spoken to real estate professionals involved in these cases who believe the tide is turning in tenants&rsquo; favor.</p> <p>The federal law change may further weaken landlords&rsquo; rules. While marijuana technically remains an illegal drug at the federal level, the government&rsquo;s pledge not to prosecute medical marijuana users could make it more difficult for landlords to rely on federal law to argue their case.</p> <p>States are less compelled to enforce a law the federal government has been lenient on, says Megan Booth, a senior policy representative for NAR.</p> <h4> Strengthening Your Position</h4> <p>Until legal standards are in place, there&rsquo;s only one thing landlords can do to potentially strengthen their position in court: Follow the advice of NAR&rsquo;s Walker and write more precise lease agreements.</p> <p>If a lease agreement says only that illegal substances, or &ldquo;criminal activity,&rdquo; are not allowed on the premises, that won&rsquo;t include a prohibition on the use of marijuana where it is legal under state law. Also, a &ldquo;no smoking&rdquo; policy doesn&rsquo;t explicitly ban other forms of marijuana use, such as &ldquo;vaping&rdquo;&mdash;the practice of mixing THC with a propylene glycol&ndash;based liquid and vaporizing it&mdash;or baking pot into food items (such as brownies).</p> <p>If tenants sign a lease agreement explicitly denying their right to use marijuana in any form on the premises, they have less legal recourse, says Booth. &ldquo;The more explicitly it is spelled out in your lease, the more protected you are.&rdquo;</p> <h4> What If You&rsquo;re OK With Pot?</h4> <p>Certainly, there are landlords who take a more liberal approach to marijuana use.&nbsp; For them, legal concerns may be less significant, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean they shouldn&rsquo;t consider another potential ramification: loss of property value.</p> <p>In Denver, where both medical and recreational marijuana is legal, marijuana use in properties is becoming a stigma, suggests Jack O&rsquo;Connor, broker-owner of The Denver 100. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had people ask if living near marijuana will hurt their kids&rsquo; health. I don&rsquo;t have all the research, but you can&rsquo;t say 100 percent that it won&rsquo;t,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor reasons.</p> <p>Public sentiment is in favor of marijuana legalization&mdash;52 percent of Americans support it, according to a Pew Research Center report last year&mdash;but that could change. &ldquo;People are in favor of it being allowed,&rdquo; Prassas says, &ldquo;but that doesn&rsquo;t mean they want their neighbors smoking it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Colorado&rsquo;s real estate contracts and forms are due to be updated by Jan. 1, 2016, and O&rsquo;Connor expects the new forms will include disclosure requirements around pot-friendly properties. That could require real estate professionals to inform buyers when homes&mdash;particularly condos&mdash;are in or near buildings where pot is used or allowed. No state currently requires such disclosures. O&rsquo;Connor&rsquo;s company, though, already makes it standard practice.</p> <p>&ldquo;We look at it as a potential disclosure of a defect,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor says. &ldquo;If a house had a cigarette smoker, that would be a defect because of the odor. It&rsquo;s the same with marijuana, and there&rsquo;s no question that marijuana smoke is more potent than cigarette [smoke].&rdquo;</p> <p>And it&rsquo;s not just the smoke that landlords need to think about; growing may raise issues, too. In some states, it&rsquo;s legal to grow up to six pot plants for personal use. But cultivating the plants requires a high volume of humidity, which can cause mold in units and buildings.</p> <p>As state marijuana laws evolve, so must best practices for landlords, property managers, and brokers. For now, you may have to read between the lines to discern the right path forward. The best advice is to pay careful attention to the wording of both your state&rsquo;s laws and your own lease agreements.</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>Marijuana is becoming legal in more states, which may make it tougher for landlords seeking to enforce their own bans.</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/jan15_NC_pot.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=45869">jan15_NC_pot.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/jan15_NC_pot_0.jpg?1421701421" /> </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/jan15_LP_NC_pot.jpg?1421701430" /> </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/2014/05/16/medical-marijuana-issues-hazy-for-single-family-homes">Medical Marijuana Issues Hazy for Single-Family Homes</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/11/what-if-your-agent-smokes-pot">What If Your Agent Smokes Pot? </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-links"> <div class="field-label">External Links:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/11/09/state-marijuana-laws-dont-protect-your-property/" rel="nofollow">State Marijuana Laws Don’t Protect Your Property</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, 12 Jan 2015 20:29:08 +0000 mwhite 18019 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Clean Sweeps http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/cool-tools/article/2015/01/clean-sweeps <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Here’s a tiny, yet powerful, tool to keep your listings tidy. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_jan/jan15_CT_broomy.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 232px; float: right; margin: 3px;" />From house hunters tracking in dirt to sellers who fail to consider the curb appeal of a freshly swept stoop, real estate is messy. Prepare for the inevitable with the small but mighty Broomy. The sleek, compact package contains a full-size broom, brush, dustpan, and bristle cleaner, folding down to around the size of a tablet. And this basic tool doesn&rsquo;t seem to have lost functionality in the downsizing process; the ergonomic considerations applied to this centuries-old device, like an off-center handle and ridges for removing dust, will have you wondering what took the broom industry so long to wise up.<br /> <em>$24.99; Viatek Products; Chattanooga, Tenn. [<a href="http://viatekproducts.com/broomy" target="_blank">viatekproducts.com/broomy</a>]</em></p> <hr /> <p><em>Note: Prices are the vendors&rsquo; suggested retail prices and are subject to change. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; and REALTOR&reg; Magazine don&rsquo;t evaluate or endorse these products and aren&rsquo;t responsible for changes in company information.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Here&rsquo;s a tiny, yet powerful, tool to keep your listings tidy.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/cool_tools_green_5.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=36328">cool_tools_green.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/cool_tools_green_6.jpg?1421777768" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/LP_cool_tools_green_1.jpg?1421777785" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/cool-tools/article/2010/02/tools-for-jotting-cleaning-and-designing">Tools for Jotting, Cleaning and Designing</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/buyers-guide/marketing/2012/02/staging-solutions-shop-budget">Staging Solutions: Shop by Budget</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 Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:26:25 +0000 mwhite 18024 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Don't Write Me a Love Song http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2015/01/dont-write-me-love-song <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 emotional nature of a buyer’s letter to sellers might help win the home, but it could be the biggest drawback at the negotiating table. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/christine-smith">Christine Smith</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I had buyer clients once who insisted on writing a letter to the seller and making the case for why their offer should be accepted. They went the personal, emotional route, explaining that they were meant to own this home because it had the same colors that they had in their wedding. The offer itself was strong&mdash;it met the asking price, plus some closing costs&mdash;so I can&rsquo;t say whether the letter made a difference when the seller finally accepted their offer. But it certainly made a difference down the road when it came time to negotiate&mdash;and the seller refused to budge.</p> <p>When issues arose after inspection, the seller was none too willing to negotiate, knowing how much my buyers wanted this house. Because of my buyers&rsquo; disclosure of emotional attachment to the property in their letter, it put them in a weaker negotiating position. The seller was able to take advantage of that.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s common advice during inventory crunches like the one the market is experiencing now that buyers write personal letters to sellers to stand out and increase the chances of having their offer accepted. But very few recognize the downside to buyers&rsquo; letters: disclosing information that sellers can use against buyers at the negotiating table.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s no question that the decision to buy or sell a house is often largely an emotional one, but we know that emotion clouds judgment. As an exclusive buyer agent, I advocate for buyers, protect their interests, and get them the best deal possible. In order to do that, I need to take the emotion out of the buying process, so that&rsquo;s why I tell buyers it&rsquo;s not a good idea to write a letter to the seller. They tend not to have much of an effect anyway, in my experience. Sellers, who are concerned only with their bottom line, ignore these letters 99 percent of the time. They take the focus off of the offer, which is the buyers&rsquo; real bargaining chip.</p> <p>Buyers seek to fall in love with a house. I remind them that they hired me to bring them back to Earth, to provide impartial advice based on facts and on my expertise in the real estate market. If we don&rsquo;t try to rein in buyers&rsquo; emotional decision making, including potentially exposing their greatest weaknesses to sellers in letters that were written with good intentions, we&rsquo;re not doing our best to protect their interests. Ultimately, we can&rsquo;t control our clients&rsquo; decisions, but we can control the advice we give them.</p> <p>Furthermore, buyers&rsquo; letters could pose problems with the Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to refuse to sell or rent to a prospective tenant based on their race, religion, color, sex, national origin, family status, or disability. Consider the letter from a married couple mentioning that their kids really love the house, which is close to their church. Say the letter moves the seller to reject a higher offer from an unmarried buyer of a different religion&mdash;this might turn into a legal problem.</p> <p>Letters can be subpoenaed and used as evidence, even if there was no discriminatory intent. Sellers, buyer agents, and listing agents could all be found in violation of fair housing laws. Initial fines for a violation start at $10,000&mdash;not to mention legal fees for defending a claim.</p> <p>Think carefully the next time your buyers say they want to submit a personal letter with their offer, and tell sellers to tread cautiously when considering such a letter. The best advice is to just rip it up.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Note: Opinions expressed in &ldquo;Commentary&rdquo; do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Association of REALTORS&reg; or REALTOR&reg; Magazine. Submit commentary ideas to <a href="mailto:gwood@realtors.org?subject=Commentary%20submission">gwood@realtors.org</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The emotional nature of a buyer&rsquo;s letter to sellers might help win the home, but it could be the biggest drawback at the negotiating table.</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/jan15_LE_letters_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=109327">jan15_LE_letters.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/jan15_LE_letters.jpg?1421709541" /> </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/jan15_LP_LE_letters.jpg?1421709537" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/05/21/dear-seller-me-me-pick-me">Dear Seller: Me, Me, Pick Me!</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/2008/09/real-estate-emotional-roller-coaster">Real Estate: An Emotional Roller Coaster</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/06/03/make-offer-sellers-cant-refuse">Make an Offer That Sellers Can&#039;t Refuse </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Commentary Mon, 12 Jan 2015 20:08:57 +0000 mwhite 18015 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Eye on the Future http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/editor/article/eye-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"> Tech leader Craig Mirambell won’t let his interest in bright, shiny objects keep him from making smart spending decisions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/wendy-cole">Wendy Cole</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Some brokers slashed business expenses during the Great Recession. Others trimmed around the edges. Guest editor Craig Mirambell of Metairie, La., did neither.</p> <p>He opened New Orleans&ndash;based Mirambell Realty as a solo practitioner in 2006, on the heels of Hurricane Katrina and the eve of the prolonged economic crisis. What might have seemed like doomed timing came with two silver linings: the tremendous upsurge in sales activity and new construction that followed the 2005 storm and the chance to ramp up slowly and mindfully as the economy struggled.</p> <p>Today, Mirambell Realty has 18 agents and annual sales totaling $40 million in a market where the median home price is $210,000. Although the recession didn&rsquo;t hit him as hard as it did others, Mirambell says this issue&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2015/01/after-cuts-what-recession-taught-brokers">After the Cuts</a>&rdquo; held particular resonance for him as a brokerage owner. The article looks at lessons learned from the recession and examines how brokers are adjusting as markets stabilize. His biggest takeaway: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s important not to wait for a downturn to cut costs if necessary,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;You have to study your own profit and loss statements constantly.&rdquo;</p> <p>As his team has grown, Mirambell has toyed with the idea of opening a second office. The article reminded him to proceed with caution. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d have more exposure with a satellite office,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;but we&rsquo;re not an office-centric company. Our agents usually work remotely.&rdquo;</p> <p>In his recruiting, Mirambell looks for agents who aren&rsquo;t afraid of change, and he has made a concerted effort to keep the brokerage ahead of the curve. The company has essentially been paperless from the get-go. All transaction documents are stored in the cloud and accessible from any device.</p> <p>Currently, he has his eye on Matter-port&rsquo;s $4,500 3-D camera, which enables virtual walkthroughs. (Think Google Street View but inside a property). He&rsquo;d be the first in his area to have it. &ldquo;If other brokers get one, it loses some value,&rdquo; Mirambell says. In the not-too-distant future, he envisions buyers taking hologram-like listing tours with their own furniture displayed in rooms, noting it&rsquo;s important to look forward, not back.</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>Tech leader Craig Mirambell won&rsquo;t let his interest in bright, shiny objects keep him from making smart spending decisions.</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/jan15_NC_guest_ed.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=85298">jan15_NC_guest_ed.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/jan15_NC_guest_ed_0.jpg?1421701528" /> </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/jan15_LP_NC_guest_ed.jpg?1421701531" /> </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/2014/01/innovation-without-distraction">Innovation Without Distraction</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/09/3-d-listings-from-every-angle">3-D Listings From Every Angle</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/10/07/should-your-listings-be-in-3-d">Should Your Listings Be in 3-D?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/editor/article/2014/11/rollercoaster-day">A Rollercoaster Day</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> Editor Mon, 12 Jan 2015 20:55:33 +0000 mwhite 18020 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Laser-Sharp Typing http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/cool-tools/article/2015/01/laser-sharp-typing <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"> Sick of lugging a laptop around for typing tasks on the go? Now you can project a keyboard almost anywhere. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_jan/jan15_CT_epic.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 146px; margin: 3px; float: right;" />Are you relying on that &ldquo;Sent from my iPhone&rdquo; message to make up for your thumbs&rsquo; inability to type a readable e-mail? Stop the excuses and upgrade to the QWERTY lifestyle, mobile edition. Epic is a virtual keyboard displayed by a projector the size of a deck of cards. After connecting Epic to your mobile device via Bluetooth, simply tap the keyboard image that&rsquo;s projected onto any flat, opaque surface to input data. In some ways it&rsquo;s better than an actual keyboard, because Epic&rsquo;s multitouch mouse function supports all those fancy gestures you&rsquo;ve gotten used to using on your touchscreen. It&rsquo;s got a built-in rechargeable battery with an easy-access power-saving function. It takes a little getting used to, but the company promises that the sounds built into each keystroke will help you through what they call a &ldquo;short&rdquo; learning curve.<br /> <em>$149.99; Celluon; Seoul, South Korea. [<a href="http://celluon.com" target="_blank">celluon.com</a>]</em></p> <hr /> <p><em>Note: Prices are the vendors&rsquo; suggested retail prices and are subject to change. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; and REALTOR&reg; Magazine don&rsquo;t evaluate or endorse these products and aren&rsquo;t responsible for changes in company information.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Sick of lugging a laptop around for typing tasks on the go? Now you can project a keyboard almost anywhere.</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/LP_cool_tools_blue_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=15345">LP_cool_tools_blue.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="150" height="42" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/LP_cool_tools_blue_1.jpg?1421777859" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/LP_cool_tools_blue_2.jpg?1421777871" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/tablets-and-phones/article/2014/07/product-guide-2014-tablets">Product Guide: 2014 Tablets</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/slideshow/2014/05/2014-smartphones-latest-and-greatest">2014 Smartphones: The Latest and Greatest</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/tablets-and-phones/article/2014/07/best-upgrades-for-your-smartphone-tablet">Best Upgrades for Your Smartphone, Tablet</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 Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:29:57 +0000 mwhite 18025 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Notes From Readers: My Good Neighbor http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/letters/article/2015/01/notes-from-readers-my-good-neighbor <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"> Readers respond to coverage of safety issues, as well as one story of a personal connection to one of our 2014 Good Neighbors. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <!--paging_filter--><h4> My Good Neighbor</h4> <p>I want to say thanks to [Good Neighbor Award winner] Edward Pompeian (&ldquo;<a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2014/11/place-call-home">A Home for Healing</a>,&rdquo; November/December 2014). In June 2007, I had a heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Prior to the surgery, I was told I would have to stay in Rochester for at least three months following the transplant for recovery and rehab. I looked all over at apartments, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, but nothing compared to The Gift of Life Transplant House. Not only did I recover better, but I made long-lasting friends. We all had something in common there. We all were transplant patients. We also had the privilege of having Ed&rsquo;s mother there every day answering the phone. 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 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. So, thank you, Ed. You have more than earned the Good Neighbor Award and I&rsquo;m proud to have you in the REALTOR&reg; family. &mdash;<em>Judie McConville, GRI, Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell, Ottawa, Ill.</em></p> <h4> Make Safe Choices</h4> <p>I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the timely article on open house dangers in the November/December 2014 issue (&ldquo;<a href="/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2014/11/dont-leave-door-open-danger">Don&rsquo;t Leave Door Open to Danger</a>&rdquo;). Trying to explain to sellers my thoughts on not holding open houses has always been awkward and not always effective.</p> <p>This article was just what we needed. I will instruct my agents to give it as a handout on all future listing appointments. Renee Porsia&rsquo;s article explained it much better than I ever could. Your efforts have made us all safer! &mdash;<em>Lorraine Tilton, Tilton Realty LLC, Canandaigua, N.Y.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>The death of an Arkansas REALTOR&reg; who was simply expecting to serve a customer is surely tragic, and all of us, especially women, need to be prudent and cautious regarding questionable showings.</p> <p>Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence, and while one life matters, we could potentially save thousands of lives each year by making smarter choices regarding distracted driving. I know of way too many real estate professionals who attempt to justify their stupidity and selfishness behind the wheel with excuses that will be completely untenable if they wipe out a family. Really, is your text message or phone call more important than the life of the driver coming toward you?</p> <p>In 2012, one in four car crashes involved cell phone use, according to the National Safety Council. Do we really place the value of human life above stroking our egos and making ourselves feel important? Is this truly the best we can do? <em>&mdash;Brad Densmore, Century 21, Action Associates, Hillsdale, Mich.</em></p> <p><strong>BLOG POSTS</strong></p> <h4> Make Your 2015 Marketing Life-Centric</h4> <p>Nothing has changed the way people live and work more than mobile technology. The time people spend browsing the web on mobile devices is now greater than the time they spend browsing from a desktop or laptop. Think &ldquo;mobile&rdquo; with everything you do in 2015. Be short, sweet, and visual in your marketing to take advantage of the limited screen space. By Nobu Hata</p> <p><a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/11/24/make-your-2015-marketing-life-centric/comment-page-1/#comment-1102036" target="_blank">Stewart Woodward responds</a>: Being online and available on mobile devices is the answer for success in 2015.</p> <p><a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/11/24/make-your-2015-marketing-life-centric/comment-page-1/#comment-1103584 " target="_blank">Kath Blake responds</a>: We always stress the importance of a daily blog. Winning your way to a page one return on Google searches is key to securing business in the digital age.</p> <p><em><a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2014/11/24/make-your-2015-marketing-life-centric/" target="_blank">Join this discussion at speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org</a>.</em></p> <h4> A Hue for the New Year</h4> <p>Marsala is the 2015 &ldquo;Color of the Year,&ldquo; says the Pantone Color Institute. The earthy wine-red hue will warm up interiors, as it&rsquo;s not overwhelming the way its predecessor was, the pink-purplish Radiant Orchard. By Melissa Dittmann Tracey</p> <p><a href="http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2014/12/08/the-2015-color-of-the-year-is/comment-page-1/#comment-316277 " target="_blank">Natalie Carpenter responds</a>: It&rsquo;s subtle, not too overpowering, and makes a powerful statement.</p> <p><a href="http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2014/12/08/the-2015-color-of-the-year-is/comment-page-1/#comment-316445 " target="_blank">Peggy Polomski responds</a>: Would be a good addition in any home or business.</p> <p><a href="http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2014/12/08/the-2015-color-of-the-year-is/ " target="_blank"><em>Join this discussion at styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org</em></a>.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Send a letter to <a href="mailto:narpubs@realtors.org">narpubs@realtors.org</a> or join a conversation at one of the blogs. Note: Letters and blog posts are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn&rsquo;t constitute an endorsement of the writer&rsquo;s views by the National Association of REALTORS&reg; or REALTOR&reg; Magazine. Submission of a letter constitutes permission to publish it in any form or medium.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Readers respond to coverage of safety issues, as well as one story of a personal connection to one of our 2014 Good Neighbors.</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/jan15_NC_letters_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=55465">jan15_NC_letters.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/jan15_NC_letters.jpg?1421713626" /> </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/jan15_LP_NC_letters.jpg?1421713622" /> </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> Letters Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:11:02 +0000 mwhite 18021 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Obstacles or Opportunities? http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2015/01/obstacles-or-opportunities <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 President Chris Polychron greets the new year with a solid plan for moving the association forward, as well as a challenge to members. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/chris-polychron">Chris Polychron</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Greetings, friends, and welcome to 2015. Whether or not you believe in making New Year&rsquo;s resolutions, I hope you have a plan for your business in the year ahead. You know what they say&mdash;a goal without a plan is just a wish. My plan includes connecting with as many REALTORS&reg; as I can to ensure that members know that the national association is listening.</p> <p>I want to know your take on the myriad issues facing our business, from tax reform to the disruptive effects of unreliable market data on the Internet. At <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/11/presidential-night">my inaugural in New Orleans</a> in November, I talked about my Arkansas roots and some of the earliest lessons I&rsquo;ve learned&mdash;not to judge a situation or a person before you have an understanding of them; not to underestimate yourself; and to only see life as a series of opportunities. I&rsquo;m convinced that our success this year depends on our outlook: Do we see obstacles or opportunities?</p> <p>A few of the major initiatives for this year involve &ldquo;codes&rdquo; and &ldquo;standards&rdquo; pertaining to industry professionalism. These are great frameworks for discussing the work we do. But they are only that. As REALTORS&reg;, we all have our routines, our ways of doing things. Ultimately, we are responsible to our clients. They will make it clear if they value our expertise and knowledge.</p> <p>Let me give you an example: I put a laser focus on my listing data. At my brokerage, we do a thorough market analysis of every listing we obtain, and my approach is to be hands-on. I take a listing and I hand-select three or four comparable properties. The point is that I do my homework and determine the most accurate value possible of every property I present to a client. This approach underscores my commitment to building trusting relationships with consumers. As technology evolves, we&rsquo;ll have even more data to use to our advantage. We need to make the most of these opportunities.</p> <p>I look forward to getting to know more and more members as your president. And you can <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2015/01/time-for-vigilance">learn more about my story</a>, as well as my passion for the industry and serving the members of the association. But it&rsquo;s not just me at the helm. The entire Leadership Team is here to support you, along with our regional vice presidents and our association leaders at the state and local levels. Together we&rsquo;ll continue our unrivaled political advocacy that keeps the legislative issues affecting home ownership and real estate markets front and center in Washington.</p> <p>Here are two truisms: I care deeply what NAR means to you. And I attend a lot of meetings. If I happen to be at a gathering with you in your state or community, don&rsquo;t be shy about coming up and saying hello. However, I have one request: I want you to ask me, &ldquo;Chris, how can I help?&rdquo; That&rsquo;s the conversation I want us all to have. I look forward to furthering that conversation in the year ahead.</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 President Chris Polychron greets the new year with a solid plan for moving the association forward, as well as a challenge to members.</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/jan15_F_pres_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=55537">jan15_F_pres.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/jan15_F_pres.jpg?1421701643" /> </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/jan15_LP_F_pres.jpg?1421701641" /> </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/2015/01/time-for-vigilance">A Time for Vigilance </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/11/presidential-night">A Presidential Night</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/17/nar-approves-core-organizational-standards">NAR Approves Core Organizational Standards </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/12/31/10-reasons-2015-will-rock-for-real-estate">10 Reasons 2015 Will Rock for Real Estate</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> NAR President Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:16:18 +0000 mwhite 18022 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Property Defects and You http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/law/article/2015/01/property-defects-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"> Disclosure problems are the single biggest source of negligence actions against practitioners. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</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/ronald-r-rossi">Ronald R. Rossi</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Three years ago, I was buying a small investment property and my real estate agent marched into my office unannounced. She tossed onto my desk a stack of property disclosure forms that the seller and [listing] agent had filled out and asked if I had read them. I told her I hadn&rsquo;t yet had a chance to look at them as carefully as they required. This was an inexcusable omission on my part since, as an attorney who has worked with property buyers, sellers, and agents on hundreds of matters, I know how important it is to review such disclosures carefully.</p> <p>As it turns out, the&nbsp;disclosures made it clear the property needed to be tented, which is a procedure exterminators use to encapsulate and fumigate a property that has signs of termites. I ended up buying the property despite the termite situation, but the story illustrates the key role my agent played in making sure I had read and understood the disclosures before I made my decision. In my several decades of practicing real estate law and serving on several legal committees for the California Association of REALTORS&reg;, the single biggest legal liability I continue to see facing real estate professionals is negligence on property condition -disclosures.</p> <h4> Look for Inconsistencies</h4> <p>Disclosure requirements differ by state, but most states today have some form of property disclosure form that sellers are required to complete. In California we have a state-mandated disclosure form as well as additional forms that are more detailed, including a buyer&rsquo;s advisory. This gives buyers several opportunities to understand potentially troubling issues with a property. As a real estate professional, you can help your client by pointing out any inconsistencies between the reports.</p> <p>A problem might be described differently on two separate forms, or there might be a mismatch between the written description of a problem on one form and its visual depiction on another. These inconsistencies are a red flag that the property needs a thorough going-over by a property inspector.</p> <p>If your state doesn&rsquo;t have a multiple disclosure requirement, it&rsquo;s no less important for you to understand what the disclosures you do have are saying so that you can point potential problems out to your clients, like my agent did for me. If you just pass the disclosure form along to your client, then you could become a target if your client finds an issue such as an insect infestation after purchase and sues you. You could be cited for negligence for failing to point out problems or not making an effort to explain them.</p> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re found to be negligent, either in a lawsuit or an arbitration proceeding, will depend on the facts of the case. But you can do more to protect yourself by not only pointing out issues to your clients but also documenting that you actually did so. It&rsquo;s important to send your concerns in an e-mail so you both have a record of it.</p> <h4> Be Sure to Communicate</h4> <p>Written communication is always a good practice, but it&rsquo;s especially important if you&rsquo;re working in a hot market in which properties are seeing multiple offers and buyers are paying more than the listing price. After spending top dollar for the property, the last thing they want to see is a property condition they weren&rsquo;t aware of but that was in fact disclosed.</p> <p>If you approach property condition disclosures with skill, care, and diligence, and you&rsquo;re equally careful about documenting what you tell buyers about the findings, you&rsquo;ve done what you can to protect yourself should something turn up after purchase, and you&rsquo;re less likely to be part of the next negligence case to come across a lawyer&rsquo;s desk.</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>Disclosure problems are the single biggest source of negligence actions against practitioners.</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/jan15_LE_disclosure_1.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=46945">jan15_LE_disclosure.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/jan15_LE_disclosure_2.jpg?1421783315" /> </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/jan15_LP_LE_disclosure.jpg?1421709272" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/11/title-defects-can-haunt-transactions">Title Defects Can Haunt Transactions</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/in-court/article/1999/08/buyers-can-sue-their-brokerage-for-not-disclosing-defects">Buyers Can Sue Their Brokerage For Not Disclosing Defects</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/law/article/2009/04/10-essential-disclosure-rules">10 Essential Disclosure Rules </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Law Mon, 12 Jan 2015 20:20:47 +0000 mwhite 18017 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Where Everyone's an Owner http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/standouts/article/2015/01/where-everyones-owner <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"> Nick Segal left show business for a starring role in real estate. He cofounded a brokerage that gives associates equity in the company. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/pamela-dittmer-mckuen">Pamela Dittmer McKuen</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I never considered real estate as a career. I planned to be an actor like my uncle, George Segal. I grew up in New York and graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in dramatic arts and a minor in economics, and in 1984 I moved to Los Angeles.</p> <p>I got small parts in TV shows and movies, but nothing really big. Then, while doing commercials for Hostess Pudding Pie, I met another actor who also was a real estate agent. We became friends, and I asked him to tell me what the job was all about. I thought, &ldquo;Okay, I think I&rsquo;d rather do that.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Company</strong>: Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage &amp; Acquisitions<br /> <em>Beverly Hills, Calif.</em><br /> <a href="http://thepartnerstrust.com" target="_blank">thepartnerstrust.com</a><br /> <strong>Number of offices</strong>: 7 residential, 1 commercial, all in the Los Angeles area<br /> <strong>Number of sales associates</strong>: 186 total<br /> <strong>2013 gross sales</strong>: $1.6 billion with 904 transaction sides<br /> <strong>2014 estimated sales</strong>: $2 billion with 1,200 transaction sides</p> </blockquote> <h4> Coming Up With New Ideas</h4> <p>I got my license in 1989 and joined a small company as its 12th agent. I really took to the business and started becoming creative. I told the owners I was getting a pretty good handle on doing listing presentations and asked if they&rsquo;d like me to show the rest of the company how I did them. They said yes, and pretty soon I was doing training. Then I said, &ldquo;Why don&rsquo;t we offer a service guarantee?&rdquo; If ever we don&rsquo;t do what we say we are going to do, clients can cancel their agreements with us with a 24-hour notice. So we adopted that. Over time, I became more and more involved, both selling and managing, and became one of the owners.</p> <p>By 2004 our company had grown to 650 agents in 9 offices, and we sold to Sotheby&rsquo;s International Realty. I served as senior vice president and managed the Brentwood office for four years. Then four of us stepped down to form Partners Trust. We began with one office and 35 agents.</p> <h4> Stock Plan Draws, Retains Talent</h4> <p>We wanted to differentiate ourselves from other real estate brokerages and attract top agents in the area to work with us. One of the first things we did was develop an equity ownership plan. We carved out 10 percent of our company to be gifted over the first four years to those agents and staff who were willing to take a shot with our startup company.</p> <p>We gave out 2 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year, 3 percent the third year, and 2 percent the fourth year. So, anyone who was with us the first year got a share of the 2 percent, based on their contributions to the company. The second year, they got a share of 3 percent, and so on. The earlier you came to work for us, the bigger the bite of the collective apple you got. The equity ownership plan is in addition to the traditional commission structure.</p> <h4> Dividend Checks Are Awarded</h4> <p>Associates receive annual dividends based on company profit and the amount of stock owned. Last year we awarded the first dividend checks. Some people got $1,000. One person got a check for $16,000. Several got $9,000.</p> <p>As we expand, each new office is organized as a separate limited liability company, and 10 percent of the stock is set aside for the same ownership program for those associates. Associates have to stay with the company to keep realizing the dividends. If they leave, that stock reverts back to the company. If we were to sell the company, everyone would share in that.</p> <p>Giving away 10 percent of the company stock means the founders own a smaller number of shares. I like to think I have a lesser portion of a greater good. Of course, we want to be profitable because that keeps the doors open and lights on, but we believe we have a vehicle that creates a better company and raises the integrity of the people we work with.</p> <h4> The Case Against Bonuses</h4> <p>Sure, we could have given out bonuses instead of stock, and that might have been easier and simpler. But stock is more tangible. It has more impact. It says that we&rsquo;re all part of something together.</p> <p>You do have to manage expectations. People who are coming on board need to understand they won&rsquo;t have enough money in three years to buy a second home. It&rsquo;s really about giving them skin in the game that creates loyalty and a cohesive group of people.</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve now grown to seven locations and more than 180 agents. Everyone has an ownership interest, and our retention rate has been tremendous. It&rsquo;s north of 95 percent.</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>Nick Segal left show business for a starring role in real estate. He cofounded a brokerage that gives associates equity in the company.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_B_segal.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=40374">jan15_B_segal.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/jan15_B_segal_0.jpg?1421704514" /> </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/jan15_LP_B_segal.jpg?1421704516" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/standouts/article/2014/09/win-win-exit-strategy">A Win-Win Exit Strategy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/standouts/article/2014/05/and-verdict">And the Verdict Is . . . </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/standouts/article/2014/01/pillar-community-strength">Pillar of Community Strength</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Standouts Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:45:41 +0000 mwhite 18027 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 2016 Leadership Slate http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/your-nar/article/2015/01/2016-leadership-slate <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Meet this year&#039;s team! </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, January 21, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <!--paging_filter--><p>The 2016 NAR officers will be elected by the Board of Directors at the REALTORS&reg; Legislative Meetings &amp; Trade Expo in May 2015 and installed at the REALTORS&reg; Conference &amp; Expo in November 2015. The Nominating Committee presents the following slate of officers for 2016:</p> <h4> PRESIDENT&nbsp;</h4> <p>Tom Salomone, Margate, Fla.</p> <h4> PRESIDENT-ELECT&nbsp;</h4> <p>Bill E. Brown, Oakland, Calif.</p> <h4> FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</h4> <p>Elizabeth Mendenhall, Columbia, Mo.</p> <h4> <strong>TREASURER</strong></h4> <p>Michael C. McGrew, CRB, CRS, Lawrence, Kan.</p> <h4> REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS</h4> <p>Kevin Sears, Springfield, Mass. (1)<br /> Bette McTamney, CRB, CRS, GRI, East Norriton, Pa. (2)<br /> JoAnne Poole, CRS, GRI, PMN, Glen Burnie, Md. (3)<br /> Gordon D. Seay, Greensville, N.C. (4)<br /> Nancy Lane, CCIM, Brandon, Miss. (5)<br /> Margaret Hudson, Ft. Thomas, Ky. (6)<br /> Charlie Shook, GRI, West Lafayette, Ind. (7)<br /> James Cormier, Ham Lake, Minn. (8)<br /> Joe Prior, Oklahoma City (9)<br /> Matthew Ritchie, CCIM, Pineville, La. (10)<br /> Kenny Parcell, Spanish Fork, Utah (11)<br /> V. Faye Nelson, GRI, Kennewick, Wash. (12)<br /> Colleen Badagliaco, San Jose, Calif. (13)</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Meet this year&#39;s team!</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_leadership.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=62701">jan15_leadership.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jan15_leadership_0.jpg?1421783487" /> </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/jan15_LP_leadership_roll.jpg?1421783512" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Your NAR Fri, 09 Jan 2015 22:13:53 +0000 mwhite 18007 at http://realtormag.realtor.org