Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en Back to School: 6 Lessons Brokers Can Teach Agents http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/back-school-6-lessons-brokers-can-teach-agents <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It’s that time of year when students head back to the classroom. Why not piggyback on that new-school-year mood and encourage agents to hit the books? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>As Labor Day beckons and the summer buying frenzy diminishes, it&rsquo;s the perfect time of year for your agents to study up and strengthen their real estate skill set.</p> <p>Here are six timely and timeless lessons that agents can benefit from this fall.</p> <h4>Lesson 1: Contract Proficiency</h4> <p>Changes in regulations and state laws sometimes require updates be made to real estate contracts. Brokers should spend time making sure agents are familiar with the changes and the intent of the contracts, says Greg Anderson, broker-owner of RE/MAX Advisors West in Chaska, Minn.</p> <p>For example, updated contracts went into effect Aug. 1 in Minnesota with two significant changes: contingency clauses related to the sale of another home and changes to the timeline of inspections and agreements.</p> <p>&ldquo;Take time to refresh yourself on the basic mechanics of the contract and the transaction,&rdquo; Anderson says. &ldquo;Grab a cup of coffee and read over the contracts to familiarize yourself. You can call the state association if you have questions. You have a fiduciary duty to be competent.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brokers should watch for emails from their state associations that summarize the changes. Associations may also offer agents continuing education courses that cover contracts, especially in the fall.</p> <h4>Lesson 2: Communication Coaching</h4> <p>Exhibiting confidence, understanding body language, and knowing how to give quick and decisive responses are essential communication skills that all agents must learn, says Brooke Wolford, regional manager for RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis. She suggests that brokers build these lessons into their training programs or agents seek out classes that will help them become proficient in these areas.</p> <p>John Blom, managing broker at Hasson Company, REALTORS&reg;, in Vancouver, Wash., says that agents also need to know the appropriate type of communication for the message they want to deliver.&nbsp;&rdquo;A text message is probably fine to let your sellers know about a showing appointment, but certainly not to tell them the buyer is terminating based on the inspection,&rdquo; he says. Agents too often gravitate toward the least personal form of communication, such as text or email, when they need to deliver bad news. This provides brokers with an excellent opportunity to help their agents understand when they should pick up the phone, he adds.</p> <h4>Lesson 3: Always Show Up</h4> <p>Showing up in the office is a crucial part of learning, according to Rogers Healy, broker-owner of Rogers Healy &amp; Associates Residential Real Estate in Dallas. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re brand-new to the industry, go to the office and surround yourself with experts who are going to help you attain the knowledge you lack. If you think you&rsquo;re an expert, you can always learn more,&rdquo; Healy says. Brokers can encourage agents to come into the office by holding routine meetings and offering training opportunities on-site rather than online.</p> <h4>Lesson 4: Go Beyond CE Credits</h4> <p>Completing a designation or certification program is an opportunity for significant professional development and business growth. &ldquo;I always recommend agents get out of town and attend a conference or a class in person rather than online,&rdquo; says Anderson, who took a CCIM class in New Orleans and loved the interactive and collaborative environment of the classroom. &ldquo;Things are changing so rapidly in the industry, and if you&rsquo;re not staying on top of the changes, you&rsquo;ll become irrelevant.&rdquo;</p> <p>Anderson specifically recommends both GRI and CRS designations for residential agents, and the plethora of online educational resources at <a href="http://www.realtor.org/">realtor.org</a>. Most associations have lending libraries that include books and training materials. Anderson recommends setting aside specific blocks of time for adding to one&rsquo;s real estate knowledge. &ldquo;Build sword-sharpening into your schedule,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t happen when you get time, because you&rsquo;ll never have time. You have to schedule time, like an hour each week.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Lesson 5: Industry Participation</h4> <p>Whether it&rsquo;s serving on a local or state association committee or simply responding to national and local calls for action, it&rsquo;s important for all agents to make some level of contribution to the industry, says Anderson, who serves on the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; Political Action Committee. &ldquo;You can make a nice living at this job,&rdquo; says Anderson, &ldquo;but it also comes with a responsibility to make a contribution and have some level of engagement.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brokers can help by keeping agents abreast of real estate legislation at the state and national level.</p> <h4>Lesson 6: Business Planning 101</h4> <p>Lastly, but most importantly, every new agent has to have a plan, says Wolford. &ldquo;They need to know how they are going to prospect, how much they want to make, and where they invest their marketing dollars,&rdquo; she says. That means planning your schedule every day, figuring out how to work your sphere, and setting up a solid financial plan for budgeting money, paying taxes, and reinvesting in your business. Wolford says brokers should help any new agents they bring onboard to establish a keen understanding of how to set up a business plan.</p> <p>Networking with veteran agents is important, Blom says. &ldquo;I think the best agents are those that have enough humility to recognize they can learn probably learn at least one thing from everyone,&rdquo; Blom says. New agents should take the time to talk to successful agents and ask them for ideas, he suggests. That goes for seasoned agents, too. Brokers can also facilitate collaborative learning or mentorship programs at their offices. &ldquo;I think in our digital world, it&rsquo;s less competitive in an office environment. People are more willing to share and collaborate,&rdquo; he says.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>It&rsquo;s that time of year when students head back to the classroom. Why not piggyback on that new-school-year mood and encourage agents to hit the books?</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/aug16_BB_back-to-school.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37252">aug16_BB_back-to-school.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/aug16_BB_back-to-school_0.jpg?1472679501" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_back-to-school.jpg?1472679976" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/04/brokers-are-heading-back-school">Brokers Are Heading Back to School</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/02/are-your-agents-ready-sell-smart-homes">Are Your Agents Ready to Sell Smart Homes?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/04/customizable-templates-tools-for-your-office">Customizable Templates, Tools For Your Office</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2016/07/3-professional-development-resources-for-brokers">3 Professional Development Resources for Brokers</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, 30 Aug 2016 20:54:01 +0000 echristoffer 21809 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Make the Most of Your Real Estate Blog http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/make-most-your-real-estate-blog <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> These five tips will help you formulate an online promotion plan for each and every post. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 29, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/charlie-allred">Charlie Allred</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I remember putting together my first website nine years ago. I thought once I had a website, I would get clients immediately. Little did I know that the blog component of my site would need a detailed promotional plan in order to get the readership I was seeking.</p> <p>For brokers who are operating a real estate blog, either on your own or with the help of contributing agents and staff, you should always be thinking about how you market it. If you don&rsquo;t promote your blog, potential clients and your sphere of influence will never know it exists.</p> <p>In one of my recent articles, <a href="http://ypnlounge.blogs.realtor.org/2015/06/05/7-must-know-ways-to-kill-it-online/" target="_blank"><em>7 Ways to Kill It Online</em></a>, I talked about how a vibrant blog is step one to finding clients online. Well, step two is promotion. Google doesn&rsquo;t push my <a href="http://www.scottsdalehomesforsale.us" target="_blank">Scottsdale Real Estate Blog</a> to the top of page one of its results just to be nice. I have to be strategic and work for it. Don&rsquo;t let this crucial step in maintaining your company&rsquo;s website fall by the wayside; here are five methods for getting the word out.</p> <p><strong>1. Social media:</strong> You don&rsquo;t have to promote your blog on every social media site under the sun. Focus on where you&rsquo;re already successful and have cultivated some engaging relationships online. Go to where your customers are. Personally, I use Facebook, Pinterest, and sometimes Twitter. The goal is to be consistent and to promote your blog&rsquo;s content in ways that are meaningful to your audience.</p> <p><strong>2. Automation:</strong> Try <a href="https://ifttt.com/" target="_blank">If This Then That</a> to create &quot;recipes&quot; that will automate a requested action. For instance, you can set up an action so that each time you publish a new blog entry, the link automatically posts to your LinkedIn profile or group. Here are <a href="http://ypnlounge.blogs.realtor.org/2015/08/08/how-to-automate-your-online-marketing/" target="_blank">some ideas to get you started </a>with IFTTT.com.</p> <p><strong>3. Bookmarking sites:</strong> Take advantage of sites like Delicious, Diigo, Inoreaders, and others. Share the URL of each blog on these sites to gain more eyeballs and great organic SEO. You can also set up to post automatically on these channels with IFTTT.com.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Syndication.</strong> Create relationships with other reputable websites, such as local news sites looking for content, where you guest blog and reference, excerpt, and link to your site&rsquo;s blog posts. But keep in mind, posting the exact same content on multiple sites can actually <a href="https://smartblogger.com/seo-mistakes/" target="_blank">harm your SEO</a>.</p> <p><strong>5. Links:</strong> Include a link to your blog in your email signature, e-newsletters, print advertising, and other marketing materials. In fact, much of your e-newsletter content should link back to your blog posts.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>These five tips will help you formulate an online promotion plan for each and every post.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/are-agent-websites-dying-breed">Are Agent Websites a Dying Breed?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster">Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/07/8-conversion-killers-for-real-estate-websites">8 Conversion Killers for Real Estate Websites</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/07/6-ways-help-everyone-access-your-website">6 Ways to Help Everyone Access Your Website</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, 29 Aug 2016 22:36:06 +0000 echristoffer 21800 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Making the Stars Shine http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/making-stars-shine <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"> Rhonda and Jerry Overberg form a powerhouse of positivity. The couple has raised more than $100,000 since 2011 for charity and celebrated the accomplishments of children with serious medical conditions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/tamarah-webb">Tamarah Webb</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The winter gala begins with young people in tuxedos and beautiful gowns traversing the red carpet and posing for the paparazzi. But this isn&rsquo;t a Hollywood movie premiere or a celebrity-studded awards show. The stars of this night are children with special needs.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Overberg_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 177px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Rhonda Overberg, ABR, &amp; Jerry Overberg, ABR</strong><br /> RE/MAX Best Choice<br /> St. Louis</p> </blockquote> <p>St. Louis Night of Superstars spotlights 20 outstanding children and teens with serious illnesses and disabilities. The kids push through their adversities each day to participate in academics, athletics, the arts, and community service. Rhonda and Jerry Overberg created the event to encourage young people to keep striving no matter how daunting their physical and mental challenges may seem. &ldquo;This event gives the children a day to be special not for being ill or injured, but for being an inspiration to those around them,&rdquo; says Rhonda Overberg. &ldquo;We give them a day to be a child with no worries, only excitement.&rdquo;</p> <p>Rhonda says the children&mdash;who face cognitive, physical, and even psychological disabilities&mdash;amaze her because of what they are able to achieve in spite of their disabilities. &ldquo;Happy was a child our first year and he was in a wheelchair,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;He had to communicate by blinking his eyes, and he was a 4.0 student.&rdquo;</p> <p>To prepare for the special evening, &ldquo;superstar&rdquo; children are dressed to the nines, pampered by makeup artists and hair stylists, and picked up in limousines. &ldquo;[This experience] is something I never could have given my daughter,&rdquo; says Sarah Gall, whose daughter, Malia, 12, has ingrown tumors and osteogenesis imperfecta, also called brittle bone disease. Malia was 7 when she was honored at the St. Louis Night of Superstars in 2012 and actually swapped cell phone numbers with a professional football player. &ldquo;To this day, she talks about that night.&rdquo;</p> <p>An unforgettable highlight of the evening: family, friends and paparazzi snapping photos and seeking autographs along the red carpet. Escorts&mdash;including local police, representatives of the four branches of the military, music recording artists, and NFL cheerleaders&mdash;line the entrance. It&rsquo;s all made possible by the Overbergs.</p> <p>&ldquo;They gave our whole family an experience that we otherwise would not get because of our financial obligations to the medical condition. There is no way, with all the medical expenses, that we could afford to do the hotel and limo and a concert and dinner and a night on the town,&rdquo; says Gall. &ldquo;For one night, we got to watch our daughter be who we know she is.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Love Manifested</h4> <p>The event got its start when the Overbergs&rsquo; friend and fellow real estate professional Amy Connell, then 35, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. The Overbergs felt compelled to help, recalls Rhonda Overberg, who with Jerry is owner of RE/MAX Best Choice in St. Louis. Joining forces with Nashville recording artist Jason Ashley, the couple put on a benefit concert and raised about $6,000 for their friend&rsquo;s care.</p> <p>&ldquo;Amy passed 10 months after her diagnosis,&rdquo; says Rhonda. It was not easy news to carry. To honor her memory, the Overbergs decided to ramp up their charitable efforts and earmarked a number of children&rsquo;s charities for donations. In 2011, they launched what has become their signature event, St. Louis Night of Superstars, modeling it after an event originally founded in Dallas in 2005. Last February&rsquo;s St. Louis gala drew more than 600 attendees and raised $25,000.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;It really just gets into your soul when you get involved. Parents tell us over and over, &lsquo;Thank you. This is the best day of my child&rsquo;s life.&rsquo; When we hear those words from parents or grandparents, it keeps us going.&rdquo;<em>&mdash;Rhonda Overberg</em></p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;The first year we were wondering how it would turn out,&rdquo; says Jerry. &ldquo;When we saw all the kids together, I was like, &lsquo;Holy cow!&rsquo; They were some of the happiest kids I had ever seen. Every year I&rsquo;m amazed by the kids&mdash;both their abilities and their disabilities.&rdquo;</p> <p>In 2015, the Overbergs founded a nonprofit foundation, Amy&rsquo;s Wish, so they could take tax-deductible donations and distribute much of the money locally. These funds are made available for the Superstars&rsquo; families for college scholarships and for emergency needs&mdash;for example, a prescription that insurance won&rsquo;t cover. A portion of the funds goes to support the national nonprofit Children&rsquo;s Miracle Network, which funds treatment and research at 170 children&rsquo;s hospitals across the United States.</p> <p>Indeed, the Overbergs&rsquo; wish is to create lasting memories and help stars with special needs shine bright. &ldquo;They do everything: find people, guests, kids, and set an example in every way,&rdquo; says Derrick Good, chair of the Amy&rsquo;s Wish board. &ldquo;The Overbergs are a driving force for the community&mdash;admired as people with a tremendous reputation&mdash;their idea, their effort has gotten others to buy into the concept.&rdquo;</p> <p>The community has gotten behind the event with tremendous support, says Good, even when Mother Nature has other ideas. &ldquo;Two years ago there was a huge snowstorm. The nominated kids were staying in a hotel nearby,&rdquo; recalls Good. &ldquo;The Missouri Department of Transportation provided snowplows and the police provided escorts so kids could get to the event. Because it&rsquo;s such a neat event, everyone is willing to pitch in and make it a success. &ldquo;</p> <p>But it&rsquo;s the St. Louis Night of Superstars and the sight of pure joy on the faces of the children and parents that motivate the Overbergs. &ldquo;It really just gets into your soul when you get involved,&rdquo; says Rhonda. &ldquo;Parents tell us over and over, &lsquo;Thank you. This is the best day of my child&rsquo;s life.&rsquo; When we hear those words from parents or grandparents, it keeps us going.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Overbergs work year-round to raise funds and generate excitement for the event. So how do they commit so much time to volunteering and running a business?&nbsp;&rdquo;Balancing our real estate work with our volunteering, it all goes hand-in-hand,&rdquo; says Rhonda. &ldquo;We are doing what REALTORS&reg; should be doing anyway: building a network and friendships.&rdquo;</p> <p>All that hard work is making a difference in the lives of the people like Malia and Sarah Gall. Says Sarah: &ldquo;They gave us a life that I can say, if something happened tomorrow, my daughter had a life that was well lived.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Rhonda Overberg at <a href="mailto:roverberg@aol.com">roverberg@aol.com</a> and the St. Louis Night of Superstars at <a href="http://www.stlnos.com" target="_blank">www.stlnos.com</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>Rhonda and Jerry Overberg form a powerhouse of positivity. The couple has raised more than $100,000 since 2011 for charity and celebrated the accomplishments of children with serious medical conditions.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Overberg.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=44974">aug16_GN_Finalist_Overberg.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Overberg_0.jpg?1472506845" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:03:49 +0000 mbrozanic 21790 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Faith to Turn Lives Around http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/faith-turn-lives-around <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"> What began as a trip to bring school supplies to Ethiopian kids became a mission to improve health conditions and create opportunities for thousands of villagers. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/sam-silverstein">Sam Silverstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What brought Wyn Ray from Minnesota to the impoverished African nation of Ethiopia was a simple story about a pencil.</p> <p>Ray&rsquo;s wife, Sunny, had been a famine relief volunteer in a rural village in Ethiopia in 1974. In 2008, she returned to the same rural community and crossed paths with an Ethiopian man who remembered meeting her 34 years earlier when she gave him a pencil. The man told Sunny that the pencil became his ticket to school, because without it, he wouldn&rsquo;t have been allowed to attend. The education he received set his life on a path that led to him becoming a commanding officer in the village military garrison. Wyn Ray was so moved by the story that it prompted him to take action himself. &ldquo;It was incredible that a pencil had such a dramatic effect on one person,&rdquo; says Ray, vice president of the Coldwell Banker Burnet branch in Chaska, Minn.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Ray_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 129px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Wyn Ray, CRB, CRS</strong><br /> Coldwell Banker Burnet<br /> Chaska, Minn.</p> </blockquote> <p>Two years later, in 2010, he and his wife traveled together to the Ethiopian village of Wekin, their suitcases filled with school supplies, textbooks, and shoes, and what Ray saw there astounded him.</p> <h4>In Need of Bare Essentials</h4> <p>The kids of Wekin needed more than pencils. The well that supplied clean water had long been broken, and the local high school didn&rsquo;t have a bathroom for its 800 students. Some girls refused to go to school because of the lack of privacy. &ldquo;I was shocked when they showed us a hole in the ground and told us it was the latrine for the high school,&rdquo; Ray says. &ldquo;I felt like I had gone back 200 years in time.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Rays decided on the spot to fund the cost of constructing 16 latrines and to bring clean water to Wekin&rsquo;s elementary and high schools, which together serve about 2,000 students. But he wanted to empower area residents to take part in their own improvements. An expert negotiator, Wyn drew up a contract with local officials to provide financial support as long as the community carried out the projects. &ldquo;We told them we expected them to finish the latrines and fix the well so kids could have water at school, and we said we&rsquo;d be back in two years,&rdquo; he recalls.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;You haven&rsquo;t lived until you&rsquo;ve done something for someone who can never repay you.&rdquo;<em>&mdash;Wyn Ray</em></p> </blockquote> <p>In 2012, the Rays returned as promised, eager to see if the villagers upheld their end of the challenge&mdash;and they had. They banded together to finish building the latrines, and their schools had clean, running water for the students. It was a testament to their resolve and commitment to following through on their promise, Ray says. &ldquo;They honored our contract.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Building Success</h4> <p>The resounding success of the first project fueled the Rays&rsquo; desire to do more. So Wyn met with the town&rsquo;s leaders again, agreeing this time to finance a fence around the four-acre high school property to help keep it secure. The villagers built the fence by 2014, and the visibility of the school&rsquo;s transformation led to a grant from the Ethiopian government that paid for desks and chairs. &ldquo;The fence gave them legitimacy,&rdquo; Wyn says.</p> <p>The Rays&rsquo; work in Wekin has encompassed a range of projects that collectively have made life better for more than 10,000 people. They funded construction of another 36 latrines in Wekin and the nearby town of Debat and contributed money for a short-term medical clinic. They also helped build a meat-processing facility with improved safety and sanitation conditions. At the prior site, disease was rampant because there was no way to dispose of goat and cattle carcasses properly. Another initiative is providing microloans for villagers to start sewing businesses, among other enterprises. &ldquo;Your values change when you know people can eat, sleep, drink water, and go to school because of your work. It&rsquo;s so much more rewarding than all the other stuff you can spend your money on,&rdquo; says Sunny.</p> <p>Working with St. Paul, Minn.-based nonprofit Books for Africa, which ships donated books in 40-foot shipping containers, the Rays are in the process of collecting 20,000 books for Wekin and have raised the nearly $16,000 needed to cover the cost of shipping. They plan to start construction this fall on a library, which will include a wing for an organization that supports blind and deaf children in the community. They will return to Wekin in January to deliver a pair of donated Braille writing machines and books and sponsor another short-term medical clinic with the capacity to treat up to 2,000 people. They also will assess Wekin&rsquo;s need for additional wells and latrines.</p> <p>Their life-changing efforts are the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary, <a href="http://www.befullandhangaround.com">&ldquo;Be Full and Hang Around,&rdquo;</a> which was released in 2015. The film has helped them win over new donors, like a U.S. couple they met in a German airport who ended up contributing $30,000.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s amazing how I can have such an impact on thousands of people with the kinds of solutions I used when I go on appointments with my clients.&rdquo;<em>&mdash;Wyn Ray</em></p> </blockquote> <p>In addition to attracting financial support for the work he and Sunny do in Ethiopia, Ray has convinced others to accompany them on journeys to Wekin. One of those was his friend and fellow humanitarian David Hibbison, who joined them on a 2012 visit.</p> <p>&ldquo;When you talk about a servant&rsquo;s heart, Wyn comes to mind right away,&rdquo; says Hibbison, executive director of New Life in Christ in Clearwater, Minn., a nonprofit prison fellowship where Ray also volunteers. Hibbison, who joined the Rays on a 2012 trip to Ethiopia, says, &ldquo;He is so unselfish, and he genuinely wants to see others succeed.&rdquo;</p> <h4>A Selfless Quest</h4> <p>To make their efforts for Ethiopia more efficient and productive, in 2014 the Rays began a partnership with the New Covenant Foundation, a Christian mission organization based in Coeur d&rsquo;Alene, Idaho, that has staff and volunteers in Ethiopia. Erik Laursen, the foundation&rsquo;s executive director, says the Rays&rsquo; eagerness to travel to an easily overlooked part of the world reflects the depth of their dedication. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a real difficult place. There are bugs, the toilets are holes in the ground, and the food can be difficult to eat,&rdquo; Laursen says. But despite the awful conditions, &ldquo;Wyn is super happy the whole time.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Rays&rsquo; work &ldquo;is not about tax deductions or a pat on the back,&rdquo; adds Laursen, who traveled with them to Wekin in 2014. &ldquo;They just have a heart for these people who are suffering and want to love neighbors who happen to be far away.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Wyn Ray at <a href="mailto:wgray@cbburnet.com">wgray@cbburnet.com</a> and Wells for Wekin at <a href="http://wellsforwekin.org" target="_blank">wellsforwekin.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>What began as a trip to bring school supplies to Ethiopian kids became a mission to improve health conditions and create opportunities for thousands of villagers.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Ray.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=34336">aug16_GN_Finalist_Ray.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Ray_0.jpg?1472504292" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:05:43 +0000 mbrozanic 21791 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Commitment to Healing Hearts http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/commitment-healing-hearts <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"> Susan Gruen Helsinger turned a personal tragedy into a lifesaving venture by creating a foundation that funds cardiac screenings for children. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Susan Gruen Helsinger sells real estate to improve the quality of people&rsquo;s lives. On the side, she&rsquo;s dedicated to saving them.</p> <p>Three years ago, Kaitlyn Paeth from Merrick, on New York&rsquo;s Long Island, was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Kaitlyn was 14 at the time, and the only reason her condition was diagnosed was that she had received a free echocardiogram heart screening at her school. She&rsquo;s one of 72 children who have been diagnosed with a cardiac abnormality because of Helsinger&rsquo;s work as the founder and president of the Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Helsinger_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 139px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Susan Gruen Helsinger, MRP, SRES</strong><br /> Douglas Elliman Real Estate<br /> Merrick, N.Y.</p> </blockquote> <p>Kaitlyn&rsquo;s condition, although treatable, isn&rsquo;t curable, and it puts her at a high risk for cardiac arrest. It also happens to be similar to the condition that caused the death of Helsinger&rsquo;s own son Jason in 1985. Jason was 15 when he collapsed walking into his first-period class on an April morning. Back then, the school wasn&rsquo;t equipped with defibrillators, and by the time she arrived at the hospital, Jason was gone.</p> <p>A day later, Helsinger found herself in Jason&rsquo;s closet picking out his burial clothes. Sobbing, sitting on the floor, she decided she would do something to try to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to other families. &ldquo;You never get over it; it doesn&rsquo;t matter how much time goes by,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Jason was a loved young man. He was kind and enjoyed life,&rdquo; Helsinger says. &ldquo;Almost a thousand people came to his funeral. Everyone was affected by it and no one knew what to do.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Hope out of Tragedy</h4> <p>Helsinger quickly came up with a plan. Her can-do spirit, along with her prior experience as a business owner and &mdash; coincidentally &mdash; a cardiology nurse, helped get it into motion. Her marriage, however, could not survive the trauma. She and Jason&rsquo;s father John Gruen divorced a few months after their son&rsquo;s death. She sold her half of an optical company and a toy store she co-owned in New York, became a paralegal, and in 1986 created a foundation using donations made in Jason&rsquo;s memory.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;My dream is to be able to identify who&rsquo;s at risk for sudden death by having every child in the country receive a complete cardiac workup starting at eighth grade.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Susan Helsinger</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Her first action that year was funding a research grant to study cardiac abnormalities and sudden death in young adults at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, N.J. Helsinger did her own research and consulted with Dr. Fred Bierman, a renowned pediatric cardiologist and friend, to determine where to direct the foundation&rsquo;s funds. She&rsquo;s also helped send cardiologists to a conference in Italy, which is the only country in the world that funds cardiology screenings for all children. &ldquo;My dream is for everyone to have the ability to get an EKG and echocardiogram here in the U.S.,&rdquo; Helsinger says. &ldquo;If Jason had had that, at least we would have known and would have been able to take action with medications and procedures.&rdquo;</p> <p>In 1988, Dr. Welton Gersony, director of the Pediatric Cardiology Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, sought support from Helsinger for the planned Children&rsquo;s Heart Center at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. After the foundation signed on, other nonprofits and corporate backers got on board as well. Within two years, the world-class facility had opened its doors.</p> <h4>A New Life Path</h4> <p>Helsinger&rsquo;s entry into real estate came about when she met her second husband, Jay. They decided to take real estate classes, and bought a real estate company together, which grew to nearly 100 agents. They had a son, Connor, who&rsquo;s now 24.</p> <p>&ldquo;I always enjoy running a company and building up businesses,&rdquo; Helsinger says, citing her parents&rsquo; influence &mdash; they were active in the Jewish War Veterans &mdash; on her work ethic and passion for philanthropy. &ldquo;I was taught that you must always make time to give back,&rdquo; she says. At times, though, balance is difficult as she still finds herself up at 2 a.m. emailing on behalf of the foundation. Over the past 30 years, she has raised more than $2 million for the foundation.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;For Susan to lose her son and then be thinking of other people &mdash; helping people so they don&rsquo;t have to do go through what she went though &mdash; I think her strength is incredible.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Dolores Paeth</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Jay Helsinger died suddenly of pneumonia in 2004, but Susan continued to run the brokerage, Custom Real Estate Group, until Douglas Elliman Real Estate acquired it in 2010. Now Helsinger is an associate broker at the Merrick office.</p> <p>In addition to managing her real estate career and family responsibilities, Helsinger has continued to raise funds to obtain equipment for two local hospitals, including portable echocardiogram machines and a cardiac event recorder.</p> <p>Dr. Rubin Cooper, chief of pediatric cardiology at Cohen Children&rsquo;s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, Long Island, says the hospital sees 13,000 children annually. He credits Helsinger for keeping the cardiology lab&rsquo;s equipment up-to-date. &ldquo;It can be lifesaving, life-altering,&rdquo; Cooper says. &ldquo;If you can find something that can be surgically treated or medically evaded&mdash;a congenital defect that&rsquo;s not immediately life-threatening &mdash;you can lengthen [that person&rsquo;s] lifespan.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Saving One Life at a Time</h4> <p>Helsinger&rsquo;s greatest passion is to help identify cardiac issues earlier in children before they pose an immediate threat. For the past nine years, she has been coordinating and funding optional echocardiogram screenings of eighth and ninth graders in New York&ndash;area public schools. &ldquo;During the very first screening [in 2007], we found children with abnormalities,&rdquo; Helsinger says. &ldquo;That sort of smacked everyone in the face.&rdquo;</p> <p>In all, about 2,200 children have been screened, with abnormalities being spotted in 72 of them, including Kaitlyn. &ldquo;We never thought they&rsquo;d find anything wrong with her,&rdquo; says Kaitlyn&rsquo;s mother, Dolores Paeth. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t realize how common it is. If it wasn&rsquo;t for Susan&rsquo;s foundation and the testing, we may not have found out until it was too late.&rdquo;</p> <p>During the latest screening period in January, four children out of 160 tested were diagnosed with abnormalities. It costs about $10,000 to screen 200 kids.</p> <p>She runs a host of fundraising activities, including her annual holiday gift-wrapping event with a crew of volunteers at a local mall. The event collects about $25,000 in donations. She also has help from people like Jane Rubinstein, a local artist who paints storefront windows at the holidays in exchange for donations.</p> <p>&ldquo;People usually step up because they&rsquo;re affected. I wanted to step up because I wasn&rsquo;t affected. I have two healthy boys who are now 26 and 21,&rdquo; says Rubinstein, who calls her effort Art For Heart, and has painted storefronts for 15 years. &ldquo;Susan is saving children. And it&rsquo;s enriched my life to such a degree by being involved.&rdquo;</p> <p>Kaitlyn Paeth, now 17, has adjusted to the realities of her heart condition. She takes a beta blocker to relax the heart muscle so it can more easily pump oxygenated blood. She&rsquo;s had to limit her participation in ballet classes and her school&rsquo;s kickline dance team, which are two of her passions. She channels more of her creative energies into wind ensemble and writing poetry. Even as she&rsquo;s looking at colleges, Kaitlyn has to pay attention to the location and quality of the nearest hospitals.</p> <p>In recent years, the foundation has donated defibrillators to numerous schools and public libraries that couldn&rsquo;t afford them. Her fundraising efforts for new hospital equipment and awareness campaigns are constant. &ldquo;After Jason died, I needed to change my life,&rdquo; Helsinger says. &ldquo;I say my soul was broken.&rdquo; Although she concedes her work won&rsquo;t fully repair her broken soul, each child Helsinger helps honors the memory of her eldest son.</p> <p><em>Contact Helsinger at</em> <a href="mailto:shelsinger7@gmail.com">shelsinger7@gmail.com</a><em> and the Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation at </em><a href="http://thejasongruenfoundation.org/" target="_blank">thejasongruenfoundation.org</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>Susan Gruen Helsinger turned a personal tragedy into a lifesaving venture by creating a foundation that funds cardiac screenings for children.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Helsinger.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37523">aug16_GN_Finalist_Helsinger.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Helsinger_0.jpg?1472505319" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:48:58 +0000 gwood 21778 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Feast Steeped With Pride http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/feast-steeped-pride <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"> Tommy Arnold gives LGBT students at the University of Louisville a sense of home when their families turn their back. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Having grown up in Hopkinsville, Ky., a rural town in the state&rsquo;s coal mining belt, Tommy Arnold can tell you that the evolution of LGBT inclusiveness in America is taking longer in some parts of the country than in others. While gay and lesbian Americans have found mainstream acceptance in many areas, it&rsquo;s a different story in this conservative region, where coming out is still a painful experience for many queer youth who are turned away by their families.</p> <p>&ldquo;Life hasn&rsquo;t changed much [for gay people] in small-town America where I&rsquo;m from,&rdquo; Arnold says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lack of exposure to LGBT issues, and when people don&rsquo;t know or understand something, that creates fear.&rdquo; It took Arnold&rsquo;s own family 10 years to accept him after he nervously came out in 1998 at the age of 18. He couldn&rsquo;t bring a partner around or talk about his experiences as a gay man. And during his college years at the University of Kentucky in Lexington&mdash;where he hoped campus life would open up opportunities for personal growth&mdash;he found no resources for students struggling with their sexuality. At a time when he needed someone the most, he was alone. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t have anyone I could talk to, and I had to wage my own internal battle with coming to terms with being gay and what that meant.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Arnold_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 153px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Tommy Arnold</strong><br /> Keller Williams Realty<br /> Louisville, Ky.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now living in more liberal Louisville, Ky., Arnold, a sales associate with Keller Williams Realty-Aspire Real Estate Group, is determined to offer a smoother path for today&rsquo;s gay youth. Not only does he host an annual Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 200 LGBT students at the University of Louisville&mdash;some of whom have attempted suicide, faced homelessness, or nearly dropped out of college because their families withdrew financial support&mdash;but Arnold also has become a powerful fundraiser on their behalf, creating opportunities for an extended family and hope for a better future that they thought they&rsquo;d never get.</p> <h4>A Place to Feel Welcome</h4> <p>The &ldquo;alternative Thanksgiving,&rdquo; which Arnold started in 2008, gives people like Jacob Jones, 22, who graduated from U of L in 2015, a place to feel welcome without having to go back into the closet. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never been a particularly confident person as a result of all the years of people silencing me,&rdquo; says Jones. &ldquo;But I immediately recognized Tommy as a caring and compassionate person. He developed a genuine interest in me and my story. He&rsquo;s just one of those individuals you feel immediately connected to, and he will fight to the death for the student voice.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;We all have dreams of what something could be, but dreams don&rsquo;t have the ability to become reality unless you say them out loud. Feast On Equality is a dream that came true, and the only way that happened is by getting out and telling the students&rsquo; stories.&rdquo; <em>&mdash; Tommy Arnold</em></p> </blockquote> <p>But recognizing the deep need for long-lasting support for the students he met, Arnold wasn&rsquo;t satisfied that his annual dinner was enough. &ldquo;I would find myself at the back of the room, feeling the energy that surrounds these students, and I wanted to harness that energy,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>So in 2012, Arnold partnered with U of L&rsquo;s LGBT Center to spearhead the Feast On Equality fundraiser to support new programs at the university for LGBT students. That first year, the Feast brought in $86,000, a feat that surprised Arnold, who was unsure how the event would be received by the larger community. But relying on connections he has formed in his real estate business&mdash;which include Mayor Greg Fischer&mdash;the event has soared in popularity since then. Last year, the event, held in a downtown Louisville hotel ballroom, sold out at 500 tickets and brought in more than $200,000. To date, the Feast has raised more than $500,000 and has more than quadrupled the LGBT Center&rsquo;s budget.</p> <p class="rtecenter"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4BZILL1veF0" width="640"></iframe></p> <h4>More Than Just Fundraising</h4> <p>The impact of the money Arnold has raised cannot be overstated, says Brian Buford, director of the LGBT Center and assistant provost for diversity at U of L. The center, which opened in 2007, initially had a budget that covered only basic counseling services for students and office expenses, Buford says. But funds from the Feast have allowed the center to expand its offerings, which now support LGBT-themed student housing and study abroad programs, leadership development courses, and emergency funds for LGBT students in crisis. Thanks to these programs, Campus Pride Index, a national listing of LGBT-friendly universities, has named U of L as one of the top 25 schools in the nation for the past three years.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;There is something about the stories of these young people that&rsquo;s universal. Even if you aren&rsquo;t sure how you feel about LGBT issues because of your political or religious ideas, you come to the Feast and say, &lsquo;I just want to make sure these kids are OK.&rsquo;&rdquo; <em>&mdash; Brian Buford</em></p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;It was our vision to be one of the most welcoming campuses in the country, and we are where we are because of Tommy and the Feast. Without those resources, we couldn&rsquo;t be innovative,&rdquo; Buford says. &ldquo;I think Tommy has saved people&rsquo;s lives. There are students who wouldn&rsquo;t be here if it weren&rsquo;t for having someone care about them the way he does.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Life-Changing Results</h4> <p>That&rsquo;s more than a symbolic statement to Stacie Steinbock, director of the LGBT Center&rsquo;s satellite office at U of L&rsquo;s Health Sciences Center. One of the most impressive results of Arnold&rsquo;s fundraising is that it has enabled the LGBT Center and the School of Medicine to launch a first-in-the-nation pilot program last year to teach medical students about the specific needs of LGBT patients&mdash;particularly those who are transgender. When LGBT people face bias at a doctor&rsquo;s office, it makes them unlikely to seek future care until it reaches an emergency situation, Steinbock says.</p> <p>So Arnold&rsquo;s efforts could well be helping future medical professionals to save lives. &ldquo;LGBT people often are put in the position of having to train medical professionals on what their needs are,&rdquo; Steinbock says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re helping [medical] students look at their own value systems [around LGBT issues] and how it relates to the people who need their care.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;People ask me where home is, and I say the University of Louisville. It&rsquo;s where, for the first time, I felt loved and supported by people like Tommy.&rdquo; <em>&mdash; Jacob Jones</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Arnold is launching a new Feast at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, this Thanksgiving and hopes to build chapters nationally. The events are a powerful way to showcase students&rsquo; stories of triumph and pain, he says, and tap into attendees&rsquo; commitment to fairness and justice. One year, Jones, who had been shunned by his family in Owensboro, Ky., talked about becoming one of the first students to go to Greece on an LGBT-themed study abroad program, a semester that broadened his world view.</p> <p>The students&rsquo; stories highlight the human need for love and acceptance, regardless of one&rsquo;s sexual orientation. &ldquo;Everybody has been discriminated against&mdash;everyone knows what that feels like,&rdquo; Arnold says. The satisfaction he gets from empowering youth keeps him focused on his movement. &ldquo;I have a ton of people in my life who are searching for whatever it is that gives them meaning, and [the Feast] is most definitely that for me. If you can wake up in the morning and know you have an impact on thousands of students&rsquo; lives, then you&rsquo;re living your life right.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Arnold at </em><a href="mailto:Tommy@FeastOnEquality.com">Tommy@FeastOnEquality.com</a><em> and Feast on Equality at </em><a href="http://FeastOnEquality.com" target="_blank">FeastOnEquality.com</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>Tommy Arnold gives LGBT students at the University of Louisville a sense of home when their families turn their back.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Arnold.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=36608">aug16_GN_Finalist_Arnold.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Arnold_0.jpg?1472506438" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2016/04/how-marriage-equality-transformed-realtor-s-life">How Marriage Equality Transformed a REALTOR’S® Life</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2015/09/real-estates-union-equality">Real Estate&#039;s Union With Equality</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/03/understanding-lgbt-niche">Understanding the LGBT Niche</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:03:31 +0000 gwood 21782 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Changing the Face of Giving http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/changing-face-giving <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"> Vince Mirabelli has established an amazing record of supporting others—while establishing charitable giving among a new generation of donors and friends. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/beth-franken">Beth Franken </a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you were to imagine a picture accompanying the word &ldquo;philanthropist&rdquo; in the dictionary, Vince Mirabelli might not be the image that would come to mind. Perhaps &ldquo;young Italian bachelor&rdquo; would be more appropriate, since that&rsquo;s actually how Mirabelli began his journey of giving back&mdash;as a candidate for the annual bachelor auction for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation in 2003.</p> <p>When he was asked to participate in the auction, a charity event that raises funds for breast cancer research and treatment, he was initially reluctant. &ldquo;I thought, I&rsquo;m not getting up in front of 400 women,&rdquo; he says. But after he learned that the mother of a good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, he knew he had to step up.</p> <blockquote> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Mirabelli_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 178px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" /></p> <p><strong>Vince Mirabelli, ABR</strong><br /> RE/MAX First Choice Realty<br /> Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada</p> </blockquote> <p>That first awkward experience turned Mirabelli, now 36, on to the powerful rewards of helping others and kicked off his 13-year affiliation with the Thunder Bay hospital. Since then, Mirabelli, an International REALTOR&reg; based in Ontario, Canada, has served the hospital as a devoted volunteer, donor, fundraiser, and, for the last seven years, as board member.</p> <p><strong>Having a Ball</strong></p> <p>Mirabelli&rsquo;s admiration for Thunder Bay Regional began in 2002, after his father had a heart attack and made his recovery there. Mirabelli was so moved by the level of care his father received that he wanted to do something to help. But he was in his early 20s and his career hadn&rsquo;t taken off yet. He couldn&rsquo;t afford to write a big check, he says, so he founded the Save a Heart Ball in 2005, a gala fundraiser that has been going strong ever since, raising nearly $500,000 over 10 years.</p> <p>The event brought in an entirely new cadre of friends to the hospital. &ldquo;It was the first time we&rsquo;d seen this,&rdquo; says Glenn Craig, president of the hospital foundation&rsquo;s board of directors. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s been able to reach a younger demographic of volunteers.&rdquo; Typically, Craig says, the hospital&rsquo;s donors have been people with established careers who have reached a point of financial security. Mirabelli&rsquo;s Save a Heart Ball widened the donor base, creating a ripple effect among a whole new population of supporters.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;When I started at Camp Quality, I didn&rsquo;t think I was going to last the whole week&mdash;it was scary and overwhelming. But by the end of the week, I was wishing for another.&rdquo; &mdash;Vince Mirabelli</p> </blockquote> <p>As Mirabelli&rsquo;s real estate career took root, he realized he wanted to do something for the hospital with his own money. In 2009, right before his 30th birthday, he founded the Paediatric Endowment Fund with a donation of $25,000, a gift that will continue to benefit children&rsquo;s care while it grows in perpetuity. His goal is for the fund to eventually reach $1 million, and it is well on its way: On both his 30th and 35th birthdays, Vince threw fundraisers and asked his friends, in lieu of gifts, to contribute to the fund. It is now worth about $100,000.</p> <p><strong>Rocking the Babies</strong></p> <p>But Mirabelli&rsquo;s activities haven&rsquo;t stopped at the check-writing phase. Craig says Mirabelli frequently contributes hands-on volunteer work in the hospital. A particularly poignant area of need: the hospital&rsquo;s neonatal unit, where an astonishing 20 percent of newborns are born to mothers with opiate addictions. These babies go through neonatal abstinence syndrome, a grueling withdrawal process, and need to be held and rocked as part of their recovery. Mirabelli shows up regularly for these volunteer hours, swaddling and comforting the crying babies. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s involved in governance, operations, and also frontline volunteering,&rdquo; says Craig. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know how he fits it into his day, but he does.&rdquo; For Mirabelli, the hands-on work is a way to connect hospital board work with daily, on-the-ground realities. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a two-way street,&rdquo; says Mirabelli. &ldquo;And it&rsquo;s good for the hospital staff to see us engaged.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Big Brother</strong></p> <p>Mirabelli has built playgrounds, funded literacy programs, and helped build a school in Ecuador, but perhaps his most meaningful volunteer contribution has been with Camp Quality, a week-long overnight camp for children with cancer. With six locations in Canada, Camp Quality allows kids ages 4 to 18 to set aside thoughts of illness and treatment and instead focus on the normal activities of childhood&mdash;swimming and kayaking and making friends. Each camper is assigned an adult companion who serves out a full week as the child&rsquo;s own personal camp counselor.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s tough to balance work and volunteering. But I create the time because I <em>want</em> to do it.&rdquo; &mdash;Vince Mirabelli</p> </blockquote> <p>In 2008 Mirabelli was matched with a 6-year-old boy named Connor McKinnon, who was afflicted with a rare form of cancer. &ldquo;Vince was the epitome of what we want companions to do,&rdquo; says former camp director Gladys Berringer, adding that the ultimate goal is to extend the relationship after camp is over. &ldquo;Vince has stayed involved with Connor for nine years. He&rsquo;s spent time with the family, attended treatment sessions, even flown to Toronto to be with Connor&rsquo;s family during surgeries.&rdquo;</p> <p>Connor is 15 now and cancer-free, and Mirabelli is still in frequent contact with him and his family. &ldquo;Connor is like a little brother to me,&rdquo; says Mirabelli. &ldquo;The day we found out that he was five years cancer-free, I will always remember that feeling of happiness.&rdquo; He says, of all his experiences, it&rsquo;s his most cherished moment.</p> <p>&ldquo;Vince is a mentor, a gentle soul, a best friend,&rdquo; says Connor&rsquo;s mother, Kelli McKinnon. &ldquo;I wish I could put into words how forward-thinking and kind Vince Mirabelli really is.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mirabelli&rsquo;s record of giving is especially remarkable for a person his age, according to Craig. &ldquo;People are busy building their careers,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They don&rsquo;t have the time or the inclination. It&rsquo;s rare for a person of his age to be so community-focused.&rdquo;</p> <p>For Mirabelli, it&rsquo;s a matter of balancing priorities. &ldquo;Sometimes people say, &ldquo;If I weren&rsquo;t so busy . . . But no one&rsquo;s as busy as I am&mdash;I just find the time to do it,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m fueled by the fact that it&rsquo;s my real love. Real estate provides me with means and a living. But this work provides me with food for the soul.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Mirabelli at <a href="mailto:vincemirabelli@hotmail.com">vincemirabelli@hotmail.com</a> and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation at healthsciencesfoundation.ca.</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>Vince Mirabelli has established an amazing record of supporting others&mdash;while establishing charitable giving among a new generation of donors and friends.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Mirabelli_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=34834">aug16_GN_Finalist_Mirabelli_0.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Mirabelli_1.jpg?1472503965" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:39:39 +0000 mbrozanic 21777 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Fixing Homes and Restoring Hope http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/fixing-homes-and-restoring-hope <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"> Cindy Barrett repairs houses for the elderly and poor and saves them from living in unsafe conditions. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>It used to rain inside Phoenix Miller&rsquo;s house.</p> <p>The leaks in her roof were so bad that they were turning her bathroom, which lacked ventilation, black with mold. She avoided hanging clothes in her bedroom closet because water would stream down the walls during storms and rot the wood. &ldquo;I was just feeling unhealthy living here,&rdquo; says the Spartanburg, S.C., resident.</p> <p>Suffering from a long-term disability that limits her mobility and prevents her from working, Miller, 58, has little income and can&rsquo;t afford to keep up with home repairs. Though the ramshackle, two-bedroom house was already in bad shape when she bought it in 2010 for $3,000 from an investor&mdash;it was a foreclosure that sat vacant for eight years&mdash;Miller was determined to become a home owner and do her best to improve the place.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Cindy Barrett</strong><br /> Keller Williams Realty<br /> Spartanburg, S.C.</p> </blockquote> <p>But after doing what cleanup and repairs she could handle, Miller ran out of money. And in recent years, she has lived with major defects that made her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Miller was on the brink of abandoning her home when, in June, she reached out to a local REALTOR&reg; who answered her call for help&mdash;and started to help turn her life around.</p> <h4>To the Rescue</h4> <p>Christmas In Action, a nonprofit founded by Keller Williams Realty agent Cindy Barrett and her husband, John, in 1996 to repair and rebuild homes for the poor, elderly, and disabled in Spartanburg, sent volunteers to Miller&rsquo;s home. In one day, they replaced her roof, installed drywall, and fixed broken knobs and locks, among other items.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Christmas In Action has changed how I feel about living in my own home. I can breathe fresh air. I&rsquo;m freer than I&rsquo;ve ever felt.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Phoenix Miller</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The simplest repair was the one she appreciates the most: a new knob on the outside of her front door where there used to be none. Before, she would prop the door open whenever she left the house. &ldquo;I had no sense of security,&rdquo; Miller says. &ldquo;You could ride by and see the door was open, and I just had to live with it because I can&rsquo;t afford to pay someone to fix these things.&rdquo; Now, thanks to Barrett&rsquo;s group, Miller&rsquo;s home is a safe place for her 2-year-old granddaughter to visit. &ldquo;I feel like basically this is my dream home now, and I can stay here. It&rsquo;s not always easy to ask for help, and the volunteers helped me preserve my dignity.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now in its 20th year, CIA has partnered with such organizations as the United Way and secured local and national grants to fund repair projects on more than 800 homes in Spartanburg. The group&rsquo;s typical client is a 62-year-old woman, usually widowed or never married, living on an annual income of $14,500, according to Amanda Mathis, executive director of CIA. People who live on such low earnings spend their money on electricity or food, not home repairs, she adds.</p> <h4>&lsquo;Love Your Neighbor&rsquo;</h4> <p>Barrett works tirelessly to recruit volunteers by talking to local churches, community groups, and businesses. She&rsquo;s driven by the old adage &ldquo;love your neighbor as you love yourself,&rdquo; which fueled her desire to start CIA and provide hope for people who feel invisible. &ldquo;When you&rsquo;re elderly and you don&rsquo;t have money, you don&rsquo;t have a great voice,&rdquo; Barrett says. &ldquo;People don&rsquo;t really care, and they look past you. We give them a voice. It&rsquo;s a privilege for us to be able to come into their homes and help them.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;We will never, ever run out of people to help in Spartanburg. If we did 50 houses a month, we&rsquo;d still need to help more people.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Cindy Barrett</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Nineteen percent of Spartanburg residents live below the poverty line, says Mathis, who started as a CIA volunteer before assuming her full-time leadership role last year. Jobs in the textile industry, which was once a major local employer, disappeared years ago when factories closed, she says. That has left so many people in need. &ldquo;We all live in our own personal bubble, and you look at these houses and think, &lsquo;That looks pretty bad,&rsquo;&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;But you don&rsquo;t think about who&rsquo;s living there.&rdquo;</p> <p>CIA&rsquo;s mission reflects the Barretts&rsquo; desire to build community and form bonds based on making the world a better place. &ldquo;We are small but mighty. We get things done,&rdquo; Mathis says.&nbsp; &ldquo;Cindy challenges us to think differently,&rdquo; She&rsquo;s the one in the room who will play devil&rsquo;s advocate to make you think outside the box about how to help people.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Watching Miracles Happen</h4> <p>CIA&rsquo;s mission is aided by a steady stream of volunteer workers from across the country.&nbsp; Kaitlin O&rsquo;Brien, came for a year with AmeriCorps VISTA in 2011 and helped CIA manage a grant to fund trips for college students to come and work on homes. Nearly 70 students representing 20 states and 30 schools came during academic breaks to work on four homes. O&rsquo;Brien recalls building a ramp for a home owner who relied on a wheelchair after a stroke. His brother previously had to carry him in and out of his home.</p> <p>&ldquo;To see this man be able to get out into his yard and throw around a football with his 9-year-old son was amazing,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;CIA helps people stay independent in their own homes&mdash;and we all know in our hearts where home is. There is nobody else out there quite like Cindy. She&rsquo;ll go above and beyond for anybody, and she makes you feel right at home.&rdquo;</p> <p>CIA&rsquo;s waitlist currently has 478 names, and Barrett says she can&rsquo;t wait to help every one of them. CIA enables her to put her faith into action for people who need a champion. Now that CIA has the support of a full-time employee, Barrett is stepping back to let new blood take over. But when she thinks about her priorities, helping people is always at the top of the list. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s always a real challenge for real estate professionals to balance time, but my family always came first, and then God, and then my job. But Christmas in Action is my ministry&mdash;it&rsquo;s what I do.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Cindy at </em><a href="mailto:cindy@cindybarrettrealestate.com">cindy@cindybarrettrealestate.com</a><em> and Christmas in Action at </em><a href="http://ciaspartanburg.org" target="_blank">ciaspartanburg.org</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>Cindy Barrett repairs houses for the elderly and poor and saves them from living in unsafe conditions.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Barrett.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=33692">aug16_GN_Finalist_Barrett.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Barrett_0.jpg?1472505804" /> </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/2015/11/24/6-home-repairs-owners-shouldn-t-delay">6 Home Repairs Owners Shouldn’t Delay</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/12/15/remind-your-clients-budget-for-home-repairs">Remind Your Clients: Budget for Home Repairs</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/07/22/5-home-inspection-red-flags">5 Home Inspection Red Flags</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:18:34 +0000 gwood 21773 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Food for Thought http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/food-for-thought <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"> Pam Harrison awakens the competitive spirit in her fellow REALTORS® to fight hunger in her community. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/frederik-heller">Frederik Heller</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>One night every November, the Cheeseburger in Paradise Bar &amp; Grill in Pasadena, Md., fills up with more than 100 real estate professionals. As one might expect at any gathering of practitioners, they&rsquo;re driven by a strong sense of competition. But this particular evening isn&rsquo;t about real estate transactions or sales prices.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s the culmination of a month of community service, when local agents and brokers collect and buy nonperishable food items for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank. Volunteers come together for three hours to unload food from cars, trailers, and trucks, then weigh it all and transfer everything to the food bank trucks. In 2015, the event, known as Harvest for the Hungry, brought in nearly 23,000 pounds of donated food.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Harrison_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 121px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Pamela Harrison</strong><br /> RE/MAX Executive<br /> Millersville, Md.</p> </blockquote> <p>Much of the credit for unifying the real estate community behind this cause goes to Pam Harrison, an agent with RE/MAX Executive, who founded the event. &ldquo;Pam&rsquo;s dedication has made her indispensable,&rdquo; says Susan Thomas, chief operating officer of the AACFB. &ldquo;In fact, the Food Bank calls upon her for many impromptu tasks throughout the year, like finding volunteers to set up and work our annual share/shop/yard sale and acquiring donations of furniture, appliances, and medical equipment.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Fighting Hunger in Maryland</h4> <p>Nestled along the Chesapeake Bay a short distance from both Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Maryland&rsquo;s Anne Arundel County is one of the wealthiest in the United States, ranking 18th in the Census Bureau&rsquo;s 2012 list of highest-income counties. So you wouldn&rsquo;t expect that a sizeable percentage of its half-million residents struggle to afford basic necessities.</p> <p>The area&rsquo;s high cost of living makes it difficult for many families to make ends meet. The Census Bureau&rsquo;s American Community Survey reports that 43 percent of the county&rsquo;s residents can&rsquo;t afford fair market rent, and some 44,000 are considered food insecure, unsure where they will get their next meal, according to hunger relief agency Feeding America.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Find something you&rsquo;re passionate about. Make the phone call. Take that first step and they&rsquo;ll gladly reach out. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to step out of the box.&rdquo; <em>&mdash; Pam Harrison</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The AACFB&rsquo;s mission is to fight hunger by ensuring that those in need have access to food and other resources. Now in its 30th year, the organization collects and distributes food, furniture, medical supplies, and other necessities via a network of food pantries, after-school programs, soup kitchens, shelters, and other agencies throughout the area.</p> <p>&ldquo;Pam&rsquo;s contributions are essential for us to meet the growing needs of Anne Arundel County,&rdquo; says Thomas. &ldquo;We assist approximately 40,000 unique households and serve 1.25 million meals annually. Pam donated enough food to feed 10,500 families of four for a month in 2015, and every year her contributions increase.&rdquo;</p> <h4>The Spirit of Competition</h4> <p>Her involvement in the Anne Arundel County Association of REALTORS&reg; Community Service Committee enables Harrison to leverage the generous spirit and competitive nature of her fellow REALTORS&reg;, reaping enormous benefits for the food bank and the people it serves.</p> <p>About 10 years ago, when Harrison accepted the committee chairmanship, the AACFB approached her for help in encouraging more participation from the real estate community. Pam readily took on the task and nurtured it to become something more. &ldquo;We started small at first,&rdquo; recalls Harrison. &ldquo;We tried fundraising happy hours and other little events here and there. At the very beginning, we were looking for every agent to volunteer.&rdquo;</p> <p>Through Harrison&rsquo;s hands-on efforts to increase awareness of the food bank and its mission, the committee&rsquo;s fundraising initiative eventually became so popular that entire real estate offices were competing to donate the most food and monetary resources to the cause.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;The fundraisers and food drives are tremendously successful. But Pam rallies volunteers and gets them excited. It is such a big help to have someone with that kind of pull when you need it.&rdquo;<em>&mdash; Susan Thomas</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The local association now hosts the Harvest for the Hungry event, and in 2015, nine real estate offices and 120 REALTORS&reg; participated. Modest prizes are awarded to the biggest donors, such as $500 worth of ad space from the <em>Capital Gazette</em> newspaper. &ldquo;Honestly, I don&rsquo;t think anyone even uses it,&rdquo; says Harrison. &ldquo;Everyone is in it for the cause and the friendly competition.&rdquo;</p> <p>Friendly, yes, but also intense. &ldquo;Every year Pam goes out to get more offices involved,&rdquo; Thomas says. &ldquo;Everyone wants to be number one.&rdquo;</p> <p>The results are astounding. &ldquo;Over the past 10 years, Pam increased donations to the food bank by 775 percent and increased monetary donations 1,500 percent,&rdquo; reports Bruce Michalec, the AACFB&rsquo;s executive director.</p> <p>The combination of food and monetary donations raised by the Harvest for the Hungry event allows the Food Bank to purchase healthier items such as cheese, lunch meat, eggs, and fresh fruit&mdash;foods that are not donated as often because they are more expensive and susceptible to spoilage.</p> <h4>Sharing the Fun</h4> <p>The sense of fulfillment Harrison gains from her volunteer efforts drives her to encourage others around her to do the same. &ldquo;Pam is constantly recruiting. That&rsquo;s one of the reasons both the committee and Harvest for the Hungry are so successful,&rdquo; says Tom Quattlebaum, chief executive officer of the AACAR. &ldquo;She leads by example. She goes office to office and calls individual REALTORS&reg; to get them involved. She&rsquo;s not sitting back giving directions. She shows them what to do and then does twice as much as everyone else.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I try to make it fun, and I&rsquo;m not afraid to ask,&rdquo; explains Harrison. &ldquo;I tell them what it&rsquo;s about. When they see that it has such a positive impact on people and it&rsquo;s fun, they won&rsquo;t hesitate to take part and volunteer their time.&rdquo;</p> <p>Besides coordinating the Harvest for the Hungry event, Harrison and the Community Service Committee are regularly involved in a number of other charity efforts, including an annual golf tournament, Habitat for Humanity, and Bras for the Cause, an event for local breast cancer survivors.</p> <p>When asked how she manages a full-time real estate career and volunteering at least 10 hours per week, Harrison chalks it up to &ldquo;very good&rdquo; time management skills. &ldquo;I set aside several hours each week to do community service and volunteering,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I block time out in my calendar, just like I do for clients. I tell my clients what I&rsquo;m doing, so they&rsquo;ll know when I&rsquo;m available.&rdquo;</p> <p>She finds, too, that volunteering has had positive effects on her real estate business.</p> <p>&ldquo;Volunteering has helped me make contacts and get known in the community,&rdquo; she explains. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to let the community know that we&rsquo;re working for them and that we&rsquo;re involved. People remember that.&rdquo;</p> <p>For Harrison, giving time and effort to those in need has always been a vital part of how she defines herself. As a teen, she would assist at nursing homes and the local VA hospital. Today, her sense of dedication is just as strong. &ldquo;My life is so busy,&rdquo; she explains. &ldquo;Volunteering makes me feel fulfilled. It takes me outside myself and puts me in touch with others who need the help I can give.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Harrison at </em><a href="mailto:pamk@remax.net">pamk@remax.net</a><em> and the AACFRB at </em><a href="http://www.aafoodbank.org/">http://www.aafoodbank.org/</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>Pam Harrison rallies her fellow REALTORS&reg; to fight hunger in her community.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Harrison.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=35185">aug16_GN_Finalist_Harrison.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Harrison_0.jpg?1472505604" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:57:31 +0000 mbrozanic 21781 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Fulfilling Lasting Wishes http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/fulfilling-lasting-wishes <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"> Danna Johnson brings joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/wilma-gonzalez">Wilma Gonzalez</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you could wish for anything in the world, what would it be? Danna Johnson has delighted dozens of seriously ill children over the past 18 years with that simple question. And the best part is that she&rsquo;s been able to make those dreams come true.</p> <p>Johnson, a Jonesboro, Ark.&ndash;based wish granter and fundraising volunteer with Make-A-Wish Mid-South, has granted eight wishes this year alone for children ranging from age 3 &nbsp;to 18.</p> <p>&ldquo;Anyone who has ever needed a reason to get out of bed every day should have an opportunity to meet a wish child,&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;They will bless your life in ways you never dreamed possible.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Johnson_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 165px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Danna Johnson</strong><br /> Crye-Leike REALTORS&reg;<br /> Jonesboro, Ark.</p> </blockquote> <p>Children often wish for vacations, laptops, or shopping sprees. But they also can ask for experiences such as the chance to meet a celebrity or become someone else for a day&mdash;like a ballerina or a chef. It&rsquo;s clear to staffers at the foundation that Johnson treats each wish as a magical moment and that each child fills a place in her heart. &ldquo;We have seen lives change because of the hope and strength that Danna brings to these children and families,&rdquo; says Liz Nelson, CEO and president of Make-A-Wish Mid-South.</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;The power of a wish come true gives children hope and strength.&rdquo; &mdash;Danna Johnson&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>One common misconception is that wishes are for children who are dying. Make-A-Wish serves children with life-threatening medical conditions, and the wishes are intended to give them a source of inspiration and something to look forward to. &ldquo;A child doesn&rsquo;t have to be terminally ill to get a wish,&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a last wish; it&rsquo;s a lasting wish.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Wishes Come True</h4> <p>Zoe Kerley, 13, of Maynard, Ark., is battling idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, a condition that causes increased blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries and can lead to heart failure.</p> <p>Zoe&rsquo;s wish was to have her hangout room redone with a Duck Dynasty theme. So Johnson recruited community vendors and volunteers to make it happen. The team spent two days decorating for Zoe, adding a camouflage couch, a game storage coffee table, and a new television. Johnson obtained items autographed by Duck Dynasty cast members and a video from one of them telling Zoe her wish was granted. It&rsquo;s these kind of finishing touches that help make the experience special, according to Zoe&rsquo;s family.</p> <p>Though typically leery of opening up to new people, Zoe instantly fell in love with Johnson. &ldquo;That was an overwhelming feeling for me and my family,&rdquo; says Zoe&rsquo;s mother, Star Kerley. &ldquo;You can hear words a million times and when Danna says them, you hear them a different way&mdash;hope and strength.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;I learned a long time ago, you have to set priorities&mdash;my family, God, and community&mdash;those three become one.&rdquo; &mdash;Danna Johnson</p> </blockquote> <p>While the remodeling work was going on, the Kerley family of 13 had fun in the kitchen, ensuring volunteers were fed. &ldquo;It was a great escape for my family to get away from the medical tests for one day and be together as one big family,&rdquo; says Kerley.</p> <p>And that family feeling doesn&rsquo;t stop at blood relations. &ldquo;The&nbsp;wish experience is so powerful that these kids and their families become an extension of my family,&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;We have a saying in northeast Arkansas:&nbsp;&rsquo;Once a wish kid, always a wish kid.&rsquo; My kids know that no matter how old&nbsp;they get, they will forever be my kid and I love them.&rdquo;</p> <p>Kendra Street of Marmaduke, Ark., became one of those kids when she had to fight stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma as a teenager. Street, a lifelong major league baseball fan, remembers Johnson granting her wish on senior night at Marmaduke High School. During a slide show celebrating her and her classmates, an extra slide was inserted that said, &ldquo;Pack your bags, Kendra... Make-A-Wish is sending you to meet the Atlanta Braves!&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Danna is one of the reasons that I&rsquo;m here today to give back wishes,&rdquo; says Street, now 32, who&rsquo;s been a volunteer for 11 years. &ldquo;We just bonded. She is just that person who is a friend. You know if you have a need, she will help you.&rdquo;</p> <p>Johnson has also inspired local students to share the power of a wish. Brookland Elementary School held a change drive that raised $13,000 in one week and funded two wishes. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the students who learn how to raise and count money,&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;We are teaching them the importance of giving back and touching the lives of other children.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Our steady growth of&nbsp;volunteers can be credited to one thing: the power of a wish.&rdquo; &mdash;Danna Johnson.</p> </blockquote> <h4>Funding Wishes</h4> <p>In addition to granting wishes, Johnson coordinates Jonesboro&rsquo;s biggest Make-a-Wish event as co-chair of the Have-A-Heart Wish-A-Thon. Since 1999, Johnson has helped raise more than $3 million, which has funded wishes for 620 children. Every Valentine&rsquo;s Day, the organization works with local radio station KAIT to allow wish children and their families to share their stories on the air. The event raised $400,000 this year for her target area of northeast Arkansas, beating all other groups in per capita fundraising in her Mid-South chapter, which covers parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.</p> <p>Johnson coordinates the largest component of this annual Wish-A-Thon: the community roadblocks. Volunteers, including wish children and their families, stand at intersections for twelve hours collecting donations at 14 roadblocks around Jonesboro. Throughout the day, volunteers call in to the radio show to report dollar totals. Rain or shine, Johnson makes trips with an armed police officer to take the checks, coins, and dollars to the bank. This year alone, the roadblock volunteers raised $185,750.</p> <p>Even as she winds up her second decade of service to the organization through which she&rsquo;s granted more than 50 wishes, Johnson&rsquo;s not slowing down. She&rsquo;s currently working on surprising a teenage boy who&rsquo;s undergoing cancer treatment with a $28,000 boat. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very difficult to surprise an 18-year-old boy, especially with something as large as a boat, but we have a magical&nbsp;reveal planned for him,&rdquo; says Johnson. &ldquo;The look on his face will be priceless and the memories made will last a lifetime.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time she orchestrates these life-changing wishes, Johnson is a top salesperson at Crye-Leike, REALTORS&reg;. People often ask her how she continues to balance her life as a real estate professional, mom, wife, and volunteer. Her answer: &ldquo;I just do it with a to-do list each day, even if it means getting up early or staying up late.&rdquo;</p> <p>For Johnson, the stakes are too high not to give up at least some of virtually each of her busy days to her wish kids: &ldquo;I have a goal to see that every eligible child has his or her wish granted, giving them back the hope, strength,&nbsp;and joy that their illness has taken away.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Johnson at <a href="mailto:johnson@crye-leike.com">johnson@crye-leike.com</a> and Make-A-Wish Mid-South at <a href="http://midsouth.wish.org" target="_blank">midsouth.wish.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>Danna Johnson brings joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Johnson.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37893">aug16_GN_Finalist_Johnson.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Johnson_0.jpg?1472505012" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:49:50 +0000 mbrozanic 21779 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Send Smarter Emails http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/send-smarter-emails <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> These six tips will keep your contacts engaged with your email marketing campaigns. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 25, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Email is still an effective marketing tool for reaching prospects and staying in touch with past clients. But the trick is remaining relevant to your contacts. That&rsquo;s why you have to get personal.</p> <p>According to Emma, an e-marketing platform, personalization wins when competing for clicks in your clients&rsquo; inboxes. So if you&rsquo;re relying on an automated email campaign to drive business, you still need to tailor your messaging and content to serve up something that&rsquo;s meaningful to the individual recipients.</p> <p><strong>1. Welcome Your New Prospects and Clients </strong></p> <p>Automated email campaigns aren&rsquo;t about replacing the human touch, but providing useful content and information to customers when they need it. According to Emma, welcome emails are 86 percent more effective than simply adding your new contacts to your current email drip campaign. Make sure every new contact receives a warm welcome and appreciation for their interest.</p> <p><strong>2. It&rsquo;s All About Nurturing </strong></p> <p>Show your potential clients that you&rsquo;re thinking of them by sending helpful content about the buying or selling process. This could include how to save money, information on credit scores, what to expect when buying in your market, regular market updates, tips for preparing a home for sale, sales price and days on market stats, neighborhood information, and other info. Time your nurture emails to coincide with where that individual is in his or her path toward buying or selling.</p> <p><strong>3. Be Celebratory</strong></p> <p>Who doesn&rsquo;t appreciate recognition? Take advantage of your CRM and schedule emails to go out celebrating each client&rsquo;s purchase anniversary or birthday. Include a special note and well wishes for the year ahead. Been out of touch with your sphere? Send a friendly hello. According to Emma, 45 percent of &ldquo;get back in touch&rdquo; recipients will then open subsequent messages.</p> <p><strong>4. Mobile First, Always </strong></p> <p>With 53 percent of email being read on mobile devices, you want to make sure your emails are rendering well on small screens. Running a mobile-friendly email campaign is a no-brainer today, so make sure your email platform is on board. If your messages are difficult to read on a phone, you&rsquo;re going to lose a big chunk of your audience.</p> <p><strong>5. Track Performance; Tailor as Needed</strong></p> <p>Monitor your analytics to see what your readers are clicking on. This will help you make informed choices about content, graphics, images, and even your subject line going forward. Also, it&rsquo;s best to follow a targeted email strategy. Emma recommends segmenting your email list based on CRM and demographic data. Your new first-time buyers are not all interested in the same content as your long-time clients who are looking to downsize or buy a second home. Filter your contacts based on whether they&rsquo;re looking to buy or sell, how far along they are in the process, and other key information.</p> <p><strong>6. Don&rsquo;t Be a Spammer</strong></p> <p>Flooding your contacts&rsquo; inboxes is a giant no-no. But everyone has a different definition of what constitutes too much contact. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to ask your clients to choose between weekly, monthly, or occasional emails from your company.</p> <p>Glean more email tips from the infographic below contributed by <a href="http://myemma.com/" target="_blank">Emma</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/5-automated-emails.gif" style="width: 600px; height: 1922px;" /></p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>These six tips will keep your contacts engaged with your email marketing campaigns.</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/aug16_BB_email.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=43740">aug16_BB_email.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/aug16_BB_email_0.jpg?1472678819" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_email.jpg?1472678840" /> </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/2015/03/19/marketing-e-mails-your-clients-want-click">Marketing E-Mails Your Clients Want to Click</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster">Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2016/07/free-low-cost-tech-tools-agents-will-love">Free &amp; Low-Cost Tech Tools Agents Will Love </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/fall-in-love-google-again">Fall in Love With Google Again</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, 25 Aug 2016 19:33:00 +0000 echristoffer 21774 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Thinking Through the Long Game http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/thinking-through-long-game <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ed Liebzeit gives voice to victims of the often-silent scourges of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, while helping to provide a range of services. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><em>Nestled in the stunning mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, Wyo., this extremely private six-bedroom home features a large kitchen and peaceful courtyard out back. The spacious garage can easily hide a car from an angry parolee who was just released after serving time for throwing his ex-wife around like a rag doll. </em></p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t a property description you&rsquo;re likely to see in a real estate ad, but it&rsquo;s exactly these features that provide peace of mind for the survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who stay in the shelter run by the Community Safety Network. That piece of mind extends to local real estate pro Ed Liebzeit, a lead advocate for this safe haven, who rests easier at night knowing CSN is there for those who need it.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Leibzeit_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 168px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Ed Liebzeit</strong><br /> Jackson Hole Sotheby&rsquo;s International Realty<br /> Jackson Hole, Wyo.</p> </blockquote> <p>As a former Air Force pilot who flew two tours in Vietnam, Liebzeit doesn&rsquo;t represent the typical demographic of a crusader against domestic violence and sexual abuse. But since 2009, Liebzeit&rsquo;s work as president of CSN&rsquo;s board has been centered on understanding the needs of victims and figuring out the best way to help them recover. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s been the key to Ed being so helpful to this organization. And of course he&rsquo;s brought a lot of great thinking from his business background,&rdquo; says Sharel Love, executive director of CSN. &ldquo;When it comes to our clients, it didn&rsquo;t take very long for him to think through the long game. What is she going to do when he gets released from jail? It is significant when a man in a leadership position takes the time to think that through.&rdquo;</p> <p>Liebzeit hopes their outreach efforts can convince more males to stand up to such abuses in everyday life and in supporting organizations like CSN. &ldquo;Men need to realize that they play a role here,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about watching your own behavior, of course, but also not accepting someone else&rsquo;s behavior and sharing the word.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Long-Term Haven</h4> <p>The six-bedroom shelter in the Tetons&mdash;which has been open for 35 years&mdash;houses victims and their children for up to eight weeks. Love says this is a bit longer than many shelters allow, but with the high cost of housing in the area, &ldquo;people just need a little longer here to figure out what to do next.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Out of all of the board members, I would say that Ed is the most passionate about the mission of CSN. He doesn&rsquo;t just say it; he lives it. That&rsquo;s what makes him such a good leader.&rdquo; <em>&mdash;Sheriff Jim Whalen</em></p> </blockquote> <p>But even that&rsquo;s rarely long enough. In 2001, CSN opened two long-term housing spaces, where clients can live for up to two years. Love says they&rsquo;re always full, which is why they plan to open three more by year&rsquo;s end. Clients who move into the apartments pay 30 percent of their income in rent and are required to participate in social service programs, which include financial literacy and coaching. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re trying to help them learn to budget,&rdquo; Liebzeit says, noting abusers commonly manipulate their victims by controlling household finances. Due to confidentiality policies at CSN, Liebzeit rarely meets those being served by the charity. However, he does get the pleasure of signing a check they each receive at the end of their lease as reimbursement for the rent they paid during their stay. This helps victims afford a deposit on their next place as they establish a new, independent life.</p> <h4>Educating the Community<strong> </strong></h4> <p>CSN is the only organization in the state that not only provides shelter for victims but also offers an extensive suite of education and prevention programs for members of the community, which Liebzeit has worked to expand in recent years. CSN works with local schools, religious groups, and the area&rsquo;s robust hospitality industry. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not uncommon for a hotel operator to see the aftereffects of assault and not know what to do,&rdquo; says Love. &ldquo;We talk to hotel staff about what sorts of interventions are available both for their guests and their workers.&rdquo; CSN also trains seasonal workers in the National Parks Service and other tourism organizations.</p> <p>Liebzeit&rsquo;s outreach includes bringing in community stakeholders who come face-to-face with sexual violence in their work. That&rsquo;s why he asked Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen to join the board. Whalen says his participation has helped law enforcement and the nonprofit communicate more effectively with one another and with victims. &ldquo;Our focus in the past was, &lsquo;Give me enough information to put this jerk in jail, and good luck with everything else,&rsquo;&rdquo; he says. He says CSN has heightened his sensitivities&mdash;and those of his colleagues&mdash;to the need to break the cycle of abuse. &ldquo;We get it, and now we recognize that a part of our goal is to serve the victim.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Part of the Solution</h4> <p>Love says when she&rsquo;s trying to help other nonprofits think strategically about finding new board members, she always asks if they have a real estate professional involved yet. &ldquo;To me it&rsquo;s very logical,&rdquo; she says, noting that agents often know when new home owners are eager to get involved in their communities.</p> <p>Of course, not all real estate pros can devote as much energy to their community as Liebzeit. In 2014, he went as far stepping down from his position as president and COO of his brokerage so he could spend more time with real estate clients and on community activities (he also volunteers with a local medical foundation, an air-quality group, and the VFW). But Liebzeit says anyone can find ways to address the problems of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just being alert for signs that someone might need help,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The easiest thing for all of us to do is nothing, and that isn&rsquo;t right. As a society we shouldn&rsquo;t allow that to happen.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Contact Liebzeit at </em><a href="mailto:ed.liebzeit@jhsir.com">ed.liebzeit@jhsir.com</a><em> and CSN at </em><a href="http://csnjh.org" target="_blank">csnjh.org</a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Ed Liebzeit gives voice to victims of the often-silent scourges of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, while helping to provide a range of services.</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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Leibzeit.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=32330">aug16_GN_Finalist_Leibzeit.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Leibzeit_0.jpg?1472504660" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/good-neighbor-awards/article/2015/08/surviving-fight-their-lives">Surviving the Fight of Their Lives </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2016/03/connie-chung">Connie Chung</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/good-neighbor-awards/honorable-mention/2009/11/margaret-pruitt-clark">Margaret Pruitt Clark</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:33:44 +0000 gwood 21775 at http://realtormag.realtor.org When Pencils Mean Paradise http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards/article/2016/08/when-pencils-mean-paradise <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"> Sarah Sorenson’s indefatigable campaign to ensure school kids have the basic supplies they need to learn and feel cared 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, August 30, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/christina-hoffmann">Christina Hoffmann</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>For most of us &mdash; whether we&rsquo;ve vacationed there or just drooled over &ldquo;Hawaii 5-0&rdquo;&rsquo;s vistas &mdash; the Aloha State is a paradise: epic waterfalls, hidden coves, and a slow-paced, barefoot way of life. More than a few vacations have inspired tourists to pack up and relocate.</p> <p>Sarah Sorenson did. She took her parents to Hawaii for their 50th wedding anniversary in the mid-1980s and ended up a permanent resident. Thirty years later, she wouldn&rsquo;t move back to the mainland for the world. But she&rsquo;s learned that paradise has a hard edge.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2016_aug/aug16_GN_Finalist_Sorenson_small.jpg" style="width: 180px; height: 181px; margin-top: 3px; margin-bottom: 3px;" />Sarah Sorenson</strong>, GRI<br /> Whale&rsquo;s Tail Realty<br /> Wailuku, Hawaii</p> </blockquote> <p>In a place where the median home sales price is $720,000, the average cost of a gallon of milk is $6.60 (that&rsquo;s 104 percent more than in Chicago), and the public schools are sorely underfunded (Hawaii&rsquo;s general school administration spending is dead last among the 50 states), many Hawaiians aren&rsquo;t living the dream.</p> <p>In fact, thousands of school children face poverty and schools that lack the basic supplies &mdash; pencils, notepads, crayons &mdash; that facilitate learning. Teachers chip in as they can, though they too struggle mightily with the cost of living. Hawaii has one of the highest teacher attrition rates in the U.S.</p> <p>First-grade teacher Melani Palmer sees the need first-hand. Many students at Makawao Elementary School on Maui are on &ldquo;a lot of social services.&rdquo; She estimates she spends between $300 and $500 per year out of her own pocket buying school supplies and healthy snacks like grapes and carrots. &ldquo;Diet is a real issue for this population. Fruits and vegetables are expensive; it&rsquo;s easier for them to get a bag of Doritos.&rdquo;</p> <p>To address the schools&rsquo; funding shortfall, Sorenson, a former teacher who is the broker-owner of Whale&rsquo;s Tail Realty in Wailuku, came up with a simple, albeit labor-intensive, solution: the REALTORS&reg; Wishing Well...for Maui Students, a 501(c)(3) organization operated through the REALTORS&reg; Association of Maui that provides school necessities to teachers and 23,000 kids at 35 schools in Maui County. This includes the remote and rural Lanai and Molokai islands, the latter facing Hawaii&rsquo;s highest unemployment rate. &ldquo;So many schools needed help; I couldn&rsquo;t choose just one,&rdquo; Sorenson says.</p> <p>When Sorenson came up with the idea in 2007 (she was allowed a pet project as the newly elected president of the REALTORS&reg; Association of Maui), Association Executive Terry Tolman told her she had to commit to it for three years. Sorenson has tripled that pledge. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m amazed at what&rsquo;s come of it and how far it reaches,&rdquo; Tolman says. &ldquo;I was a doubting Thomas at first.&rdquo; But he cites her &ldquo;patience, persistence, ability to connect with people, and inclusivity&rdquo; for the program&rsquo;s success.</p> <h4>How Wishing Well Works</h4> <p>To stay in contact with each of the county&rsquo;s schools, Sorenson recruits volunteer coordinators&mdash;typically REALTORS&reg; who are parents&mdash;who work with the school and Wishing Well to fulfill wish lists. These lists include everything from pencils and backpacks to printer cartridges and flip-flops. Yes, shoes. School policy requires kids to have footwear so they don&rsquo;t hurt themselves stepping on bees, thorns, or the like. But some families are too poor to afford them.</p> <p>To ensure a steady stream of donations, Sorenson beats the drum constantly. She holds drives in a Kmart every weekend in July before school starts. She secures an article in the Maui News newspaper every Saturday to promote those supply and cash drives. And she solicits donations, and volunteers, during REALTOR&reg; membership meetings.</p> <p>She also taps into the state&rsquo;s biggest economic engine: tourism. Connecting with hotels undergoing remodels, Sorenson acquires chairs, tables, and other gently used furniture. Janice Espiritu, the principal at Kaunakakai Elementary on the island of Molokai, was the beneficiary of new conference room chairs &mdash; the first such upgrade since the Carter administration.</p> <p>Besides gathering supplies, there&rsquo;s the challenge of warehousing them. Again, Sorenson is on the front line: Her home doubles as a storage facility. It&rsquo;s not unusual for her to have goods stacked up to the ceiling in some rooms. Wishing Well takes care of shipping costs, too &mdash; no small expense when your county is part of an archipelago scattered around the Pacific Ocean.</p> <p>Sorenson&rsquo;s biggest challenge, however, is keeping volunteer coordinators. They inevitably move on when their kids leave the school. So Sorenson steps in to work with those schools directly until she recruits new coordinators. She&rsquo;s currently the coordinator for eight schools.</p> <p>Sorenson estimates she&rsquo;s put in more than 36 volunteer hours per week over the past 12 months. Keep in mind she achieves that extraordinary number in her off-hours away from her real estate business&mdash;after 8 p.m. and on weekends. &ldquo;My kids are grown, my parents passed away, and now I only have one cat to deal with,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I never thought about the commitment. I just knew there was a need. I knew up front that we couldn&rsquo;t do everything, but we could do <em>something</em>.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;She operates Wishing Well like she operates her business,&rdquo; says coordinator, parent, and REALTOR&reg; Katie Moquin. &ldquo;She&rsquo;s committed, smart, and dedicated. She doesn&rsquo;t have kids in school any more, and still she supports the community. She dedicates entire weekends to this.&rdquo;</p> <h4>Before and After Wishing Well</h4> <p>Principal Espiritu, as well, is grateful for the support. Before Wishing Well, the school&rsquo;s administrators felt like Cinderella in the dark times. Any resources typically &ldquo;went to Maui. Plus, we had to pay for shipping to Molokai. We got the crumbs,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Now, thanks to deliveries of fans (the schools are often brutally hot when they open in August), furniture, and school supplies, &ldquo;the morale and school environment have improved; it&rsquo;s made people feel that someone cares about us,&rdquo; Espiritu says. &ldquo;And the kids don&rsquo;t have to wait for or borrow a pencil or something, which made them feel self-conscious, because their parents can&rsquo;t afford [supplies].&rdquo;</p> <p>Says teacher Palmer of the donated supplies: &ldquo;It levels the playing field. Things run more smoothly and humanely. You don&rsquo;t have to put parents on the spot or single out [a student about supplies]. Teaching is very intense; this takes the edge off.&rdquo;</p> <p>What motivates Sorenson? &ldquo;Teachers are like nurses&mdash;passionate about helping,&rdquo; she says, so it fulfills her to help them help the kids. She also takes a lot of pride in the fact that her fellow real estate pros are so deeply embedded in the cause. &ldquo;If I ask for something, they&rsquo;re there,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><em>Contact Sorenson at </em><a href="mailto:whales@maui.net">whales@maui.net</a><em> and REALTORS</em>&reg;<em> Wishing Well...For Maui Students at </em><a href="http://ilovemauischools.com" target="_blank">ilovemauischools.com</a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Sarah Sorenson&rsquo;s indefatigable campaign to ensure school kids have the basic supplies they need to learn and feel cared 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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Sorenson.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37117">aug16_GN_Finalist_Sorenson.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/aug16_GN_Finalist_Sorenson_0.jpg?1472503649" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Good Neighbor Awards Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:53:35 +0000 gwood 21780 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Can Chatbots Work for Real Estate? http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/can-chatbots-work-for-real-estate <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Find out how artificial intelligence will one day help brokerages capture online leads. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 24, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/chris-rediger">Chris Rediger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When Microsoft&rsquo;s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, Tay, went online this spring, the public marveled at its ability to converse with Twitter followers. That is, until Tay&rsquo;s comments morphed into a barrage of insensitive and racist insults. Even so, a week later, CEO Satya Natella said chatbots are the future of Microsoft &mdash; albeit with some adjustments.</p> <p>They&rsquo;re probably the future of every business.</p> <p>If content is king, then conversation is the emperor. Chatbots (short for chatterbots) represent a real-time solution to engaging potential customers in meaningful conversation. And meaningful conversation leads to business relationships.</p> <p>Unlike standard question-and-answer bots, such as Apple&rsquo;s Siri<em>,</em> that can answer only a single question at a time, chatbots offer more complex engagement. The AI of a chatbot can carry on a potentially unlimited conversation. Some are even able to learn beyond their content base (hence Tay&rsquo;s potty mouth).</p> <h4>What&rsquo;s the Application for Real Estate?</h4> <p>Real estate by nature is a relationship-oriented industry, where clients and agents form bonds over the largest and most important consumer transaction: purchasing a home. Chatbots can&rsquo;t replace that client-agent relationship, but they can be used in a number of viable ways:</p> <ul> <li>Provide property details from a large database of information: <em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking for a property with at least a half-acre in Portland.&rdquo;</em></li> <li>Answer general real estate questions: <em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m trying to find a low down payment loan.&rdquo;</em></li> <li>Ask leading questions to create a prospect profile: <em>&ldquo;Are you thinking about a bigger house?&rdquo;</em></li> <li>Answer company questions: <em>&ldquo;How can I save money selling my house?&rdquo;</em></li> <li>Integrate with social media chatbots: <em>&ldquo;I want a house that looks like Taylor Swift&rsquo;s childhood home.&rdquo;</em></li> </ul> <p>Each of these requests begs for more than a simple answer. Each needs a conversation with targeted questions to arrive at a call to action. A chatbot could easily engage a shy or skeptical prospect, prompting them to pick up the phone and actually speak to an agent. Tech-savvy buyers who prefer to interact online first would certainly find merit in a real estate chatbot.</p> <h4>Who Has a Real Estate Chatbot?</h4> <p>Up until this year, chatbots have been seen as a kind of marketing toy for brokerages. Polish real estate developer <a href="https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&amp;sl=pl&amp;u=http://nowyadres.pl/&amp;prev=search" target="_blank">Nowy Adres S.A.</a> created a bot called <a href="https://www.chatbots.org/virtual_assistant/kasia2/" target="_blank">Kasia</a> strictly for a virtual real estate fair. Kasia, in service since 2010, can answer queries based on an extensive database of company information.</p> <p>The rental market is slightly ahead of the game. Apartment Ocean&rsquo;s Advisor Mary (available on <a href="https://www.apartmentocean.com/slackapp" target="_blank">Slack</a>) serves as a real estate adviser for U.S. renters.</p> <p>To date, no real estate company or search engine has rolled out a custom chatbot for the general public. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean they&rsquo;re not working on one.</p> <p><a href="http://www.structurely.com/" target="_blank">Structurely</a> recently unveiled &ldquo;Holmes,&rdquo; a chatbot to grow and nurture leads. It can be customized to interact on a variety of platforms, from Facebook to realtor.com&reg;. It&rsquo;s not as &ldquo;intelligent&rdquo; and conversational as Tay, but it also won&rsquo;t embarrass you. Individual agents and brokerages can join for a monthly fee; rollout is expected in early 2017.</p> <p>Facebook has already announced development of a chatbot, promising that <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2016/04/18/look-here-for-a-glimpse-at-facebooks-chatbot-future/#7d2fcf1d3ebb" target="_blank">businesses</a> of all kinds (including real estate) will be able to target individuals with Facebook Messenger&rsquo;s 900 million-plus users. That could be very effective, since the social media giant probably has more <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/everything-facebook-knows-about-you-01-2015" target="_blank">information</a> on its users than anyone else. And there are bots all over Twitter, but none are currently talking real estate for a particular company.</p> <h4>Cost-Effective Solutions</h4> <p>In order for mid-sized real estate companies to implement this technology in a cost-effective way, a &ldquo;chatbot in a box&rdquo; site like <a href="http://www.pandorabots.com/" target="_blank">Pandorabox</a> might be the answer. There are a number of freeware and chatbot research projects out there, but who knows what they&rsquo;ll do with your information. It&rsquo;s better to stick with a site geared for business.</p> <p>Another option for real estate is to go the way of hybrid bots like <a href="http://replyyes.com/" target="_blank">ReplyYes</a>. Their simple yes-or-no platform combined with a human call center allowed vinyl-record startup <a href="http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/how-chatbot-helped-vinyl-records-startup-make-1-million-8-months-170900?utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Adweek_Newsletter_2016151907&amp;utm_source=sailthru&amp;utm_term=AWK_TodayTech" target="_blank">The Edit</a> to make $1 million in eight months.</p> <p>Wherever your customers are engaging online, there&rsquo;s a chatbot possibility for real estate. The speed at which companies are catching on to using them effectively means the market is ready for this change. It&rsquo;s not a matter of <em>if</em> chatbots will help real estate. It&rsquo;s a matter of <em>when</em>. Will you be ready?</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Find out how artificial intelligence will one day help brokerages capture online leads.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/are-agent-websites-dying-breed">Are Agent Websites a Dying Breed?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster">Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/07/8-conversion-killers-for-real-estate-websites">8 Conversion Killers for Real Estate Websites</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/user-experience-new-seo">User Experience Is The New SEO</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:25:29 +0000 echristoffer 21767 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Eye in the Sky: Smart Marketing With Drones http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/briefs/article/2016/08/eye-in-sky-smart-marketing-drones <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Are you intrigued about using a drone to market listings? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 23, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/wendy-cole">Wendy Cole</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/author/sam-silverstein">Sam Silverstein</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Meet a real estate practitioner who&rsquo;s trying out aerial photography from a drone for the first time. New Federal Aviation Administration rules, which NAR had an important role in writing, are about to make the certification process for commercial drone use much easier.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/W1SX-DNwAbE" width="560"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Are you intrigued about using a drone to market listings?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:33:34 +0000 mbrozanic 21758 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Don't Blame Social Media for Relationship Problems http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2016/08/dont-blame-social-media-for-relationship-problems <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"> Technology isn&#039;t making it more difficult to establish stronger bonds with your clients. How you&#039;re using technology is the real issue. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 23, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/valerie-garcia">Valerie Garcia</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate can be a lonely business. I speak to practitioners every day who spend their time running from fire to fire, client to client, talking to dozens of people per day &mdash; and they still feel as if they are completely alone in their efforts. Gone are the days when real estate professionals spent their life at a desk in an office. The community we once had is being replaced by technology, digital transactions, and telecommuting.</p> <p>It would be easy to blame the technology, the portals, or the culture of your office. We could complain that the smartphone is replacing belly-to-belly contact or that Facebook is ruining the relationship process. We may long for the times when we sat around the coffee pot and leafed through the new-listing sheets.</p> <p>Folks, those days are never coming back. If you are longing for the &ldquo;good ol&rsquo; days&rdquo; in real estate to return, you may as well cash your chips in now.</p> <p>Ironically, the key to surviving (and thriving) in the face of all this technology is still people. The need to surround yourself with great people has never been greater in this business. It has also never been easier, given the abundance of social media. And what an amazing opportunity social media is! You have the ability to connect with smart, wise, inspiring people around the globe in ways you never had before. You can gather them into a tribe of warriors that will help you take your business to places you never dreamed.</p> <p>Social media isn&rsquo;t keeping you from building meaningful relationships. How you spend your time on social &mdash; and more specifically, who you hang out with &mdash; could be the bigger problem.</p> <p>Too often, we engage online in conversations and with communities of people who would rather whine than empower. Friends, it is no one&rsquo;s fault but your own if you choose to do that. I&rsquo;m sick to death of coaches, trainers, and managers telling practitioners that social media is a waste of time. Anything is a waste of time if you allow it to be.</p> <p>Follow these best practices to start finding the good in social networks instead of getting mired down in the drama:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to clean house.</strong> Unfriend, block, or unfollow those who don&rsquo;t add value or clog your feed with negative energy. You do not have to accept every friend request. (In fact, blindly accepting every request is a horrible idea.)</li> <li><strong>Avoid groups where pros just complain about each other.</strong> You know which ones I am talking about. Sure, venting can feel therapeutic, and everyone needs to vent once in a while. But keep in mind that everything you say online is public, and you have no control over who shares it or takes a screenshot.</li> <li><strong>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to reach out to people who you admire.</strong> One of the very best advantages of social networking is that you have the opportunity to converse with anyone, anywhere. Seek out those who are positive and trying new things.</li> </ol> <p>Your outlook will change completely if you spend time curating a tribe of people who will encourage you.&nbsp; The same way you are prospecting for new business, you need to be prospecting for a tribe. Seek out those who add value to this industry, and engage them in conversation. How often are you adding to your personal tribe? Are you networking for allies and mentors, rather than just someone to refer to? Social media is not your problem, but it can be your solution. It all depends on how you look at it.</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>Technology isn&#39;t making it more difficult to establish stronger bonds with your clients. How you&#39;re using technology is the real issue.</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/aug16_T_dark_social.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=17349">aug16_T_dark_social.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/aug16_T_dark_social_0.jpg?1471985660" /> </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/aug16_LP_T_dark_social.jpg?1471985680" /> </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/2016/05/how-rock-social-media-subtle-way">How to Rock Social Media the Subtle Way</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster">Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2016/03/social-media-posts-get-you-in-trouble">Social Media Posts That Get You in Trouble</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, 22 Aug 2016 21:59:57 +0000 gwood 21752 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Test Feed http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/article/test-feed <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> <!--paging_filter--><!-- start feedwind code --><script type="text/javascript">document.write('\x3Cscript type="text/javascript" src="' + ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 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At that time, most people still used dial-up internet, and real estate professionals were learning how to use the web to showcase listings as consumers were just beginning to search for homes online.</p> <p>Then, between 2004 and 2006, the IDX feed solution was born. Holy real estate website, Batman. At last, we could embed property listings onto our site for visitors to search.&nbsp;This led to more agents venturing into the online world with their own websites.&nbsp;By 2007, if you were a broker or agent without a website, you were considered lacking in technological skills. Soon, website companies targeting the real estate industry started sprouting up like springtime weeds, and every broker in town was offering agents their own individual website.</p> <p>Some practitioners had great successes in the early days &mdash; it was easy to stuff keywords into meta tags, content pages, headers, and footers. Those who were good at loading their site with keywords were rewarded with new clients and high rankings on search engines like AOL, Yahoo, Excite, and Dogpile (remember those?).</p> <p>But if there is one thing we all know to be true about the internet, it&rsquo;s that it&rsquo;s constantly evolving. With evolution came the reign of big real estate search sites: realtor.com&reg;, Zillow, and Trulia. It wasn&rsquo;t long before those small, individual agent websites couldn&rsquo;t compete in search engine rankings.</p> <p>So what are today&rsquo;s options for competing online?</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Explore more: </strong></p> <p><a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/do-you-need-individual-property-websites" target="_blank">Do You Need Individual Property Websites?</a></p> </blockquote> <p>If you&rsquo;re a broker committed to a DIY approach to your website, then you have to be prepared for constant maintenance while spending many hours per week reading articles and watching videos on the tedious, ever-changing intricacies of building a great real estate website. For inspiration, one particular DIY website that&rsquo;s done well is Raleigh Realty Homes by Ryan Fitzgerald. He has spent years learning how to build his website and thousands of dollars in custom work to achieve his search engine results.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the business card&ndash;like static individual agent websites are now a thing of the past. A strong online presence today starts at the brokerage level. A broker-owner should instead be making a serious financial commitment to their company&rsquo;s online presence in exchange for their commission split structure. This entails working with website consultants who are experts in SEO to help you build a custom site that is fine-tuned for capturing search traffic that&rsquo;s specific to you and your agents&rsquo; target market. Prebuilt or template-based real estate websites simply don&rsquo;t rank as well in search engines. Agents should be featured somewhere on your website and given the opportunity to promote themselves through blog posts, property listing pages, and even social media posts. My advice to new agents is to go with a real estate firm that has a strong online presence, so let that be a lesson to my fellow broker-owners.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m always open to learning more about internet rankings for real estate websites, so I welcome your thoughts, opinions, and feedback. If I&rsquo;ve missed something, please let me know in the comments below.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Rather than providing individual websites to agents, find out where brokers should be spending their online marketing dollars today.</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/aug16_BB_profiles.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=25824">aug16_BB_profiles.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/aug16_BB_profiles_0.jpg?1471971355" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_profiles.jpg?1471971376" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/07/8-conversion-killers-for-real-estate-websites">8 Conversion Killers for Real Estate Websites</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster">Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/07/6-ways-help-everyone-access-your-website">6 Ways to Help Everyone Access Your Website</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/user-experience-new-seo">User Experience Is The New SEO</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:38:15 +0000 echristoffer 21730 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Get In on the Data Center Boom http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2016/08/get-in-data-center-boom <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"> As the use of mobile devices and cloud computing intensifies, more companies are demanding well-managed spaces to house servers and other information technology hardware. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, August 17, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/dan-weil">Dan Weil</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The booming data center property market creates opportunity for real estate professionals who can learn the field, mastering information technology and engineering issues. But this wasn&rsquo;t always the case, according to Pat Lynch, managing director for CBRE&rsquo;s data center solutions division in Denver.</p> <p>&ldquo;Five years ago, it was difficult to get a commission for tenant representation&rdquo; in the data center space, Lynch says. &ldquo;Now certain data center REITs aren&rsquo;t just paying us commissions but are sponsors of our events and attending our conferences. There&rsquo;s an embrace of well-run brokerages.&rdquo;</p> <p>The strength of the sector is illustrated by the returns on REITs. The FTSE NAREIT data center index returned a whopping 33.17 percent in the first seven months of the year, trailing only the industrial sector, where REITs returned 33.18 percent.</p> <p>&ldquo;Banking, trade, insurance, retail sales, social media&mdash;all that information [which goes through computers and mobile devices] is processed and resides on servers, including data stored on the cloud,&rdquo; says Bo Bond, managing director of JLL&rsquo;s data center solution business in Dallas. The facilities storing those servers &ldquo;are a very important part of real estate,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Companies with major offerings in cloud computing&mdash;such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Oracle&mdash;need their own buildings to house these servers. Companies with less of a need can rent space in colocation facilities. Even the smallest of businesses need data center space for securely storing customer information, hosting websites, and managing transactions.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything is being done online,&rdquo; Lynch says. &ldquo;For companies big or small, cyber security is important. Financial services are a large component of our pipeline, so is healthcare.&rdquo;</p> <p>These companies have specific needs for data center space. The massive power needs of the machines housed in data centers requires robust, reliable air conditioning systems to keep the machines from overheating. This means buildings also have to be secure and have a tight envelope. However, that hasn&rsquo;t stopped some developers from adapting old industrial buildings from the 1920s and 1930s and turning them into data centers, including the Lakeside Technology Center in the near south side neighborhood of Chicago, a former printing plant that was converted into a 1.1 million square foot space serving the city&rsquo;s commodity markets.</p> <p>The biggest markets supplying data center space include New York, New Jersey, Dallas, Silicon Valley, and Chicago. But the biggest market for this niche is immediately west and south of Washington, D.C., due to both historical and monetary reasons. &ldquo;Northern Virginia is the epicenter of the internet, which grew from there,&rdquo; says Tim Huffman, director of Colliers&rsquo; technology solutions group in Atlanta. &ldquo;The cost of power is 40 percent less than the national average and tax incentives are robust.&rdquo; Energy costs are a major issue due to the cost of running the servers and the climate control issues faced by these large warehouse spaces. Lynch adds that Northern Virginia has earned its spot at the top of the data market due to the types of companies it serves: &ldquo;The government creates demand, there are a lot of technology companies in the area, and it has proximity to Europe.&rdquo;</p> <p>Meanwhile, financial service companies and securities trading create much of the demand for data centers in New York and New Jersey. &ldquo;[Traders] will spend millions to access data a millisecond ahead of everyone else,&rdquo; Lynch says. He adds that New Jersey tends to be more popular than New York due to lower power and real estate costs in the Garden State. &ldquo;Manhattan may be the most expensive place for power in the country.&rdquo;</p> <p>Dallas benefits from a business-friendly environment and its strategic location as a city that anchors the southern half of the country. The huge tech industry in Silicon Valley has sparked the demand for data centers there. Chicago has cheap power costs, plenty of major businesses, and a prime location in the middle of the country. But the search is on for cheaper cities, and data centers have recently been established in Portland, Ore.; Denver; Phoenix; Atlanta; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Des Moines, Iowa; and several small towns in central Washington State.</p> <p>Experts say the data center boom will continue. &ldquo;I think the market will be solid,&rdquo; Huffman says. &ldquo;Even during the downturn, it held up well. The cloud is not up in the sky; it requires real estate to satisfy its needs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bond concurs, noting that the demand will mean more business for the new-construction sector as well. &ldquo;Cloud providers can&rsquo;t build facilities fast enough,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s so much demand for space so quickly. There&rsquo;s an insatiable growth.&rdquo;</p> <p>So how can real estate pros get in on the fun?</p> <p>Those who want to succeed in this niche must cultivate their knowledge of information technology and engineering. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s difficult for someone who is just an office and industrial broker to get up to speed,&rdquo; Huffman says. That&rsquo;s why Colliers has its own data center division, and its competitors do too, he says.</p> <p>Outside of a better understanding of the technology, real estate pros should know how the practices surrounding data center transactions vary. One major difference is that prices are quoted per kilowatt rather than per square foot. &ldquo;For most spaces, the limitations are power and cooling,&rdquo; Lynch says. &ldquo;Tenants are procuring output from a provider. It&rsquo;s like paying for data on a cell phone.&rdquo;</p> <p>One upside is &ldquo;there&rsquo;s not nearly as much competition as in other sectors, like office,&rdquo; says Bryan Loewen, head of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank&rsquo;s data center consulting group in Dallas.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why experts in the field say well-run brokerages with thorough knowledge of the space can pounce on the trend. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an early stage for cloud brokerage. We see it as an opportunity,&rdquo; Lynch 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>As the use of mobile devices and cloud computing intensifies, more companies are demanding well-managed spaces to house servers and other information technology hardware.</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/aug16_C_data.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=77419">aug16_C_data.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/aug16_C_data_0.jpg?1471539638" /> </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/aug16_LP_C_data.jpg?1471539698" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2016/07/are-online-shoppers-hurting-reits">Are Online Shoppers Hurting REITs?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/web-tools/article/2015/05/2015-data-storage-product-list">2015 Data Storage: Product List</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/1996/03/industrial-market-goes-great-guns">Industrial Market Goes Great Guns</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:50:13 +0000 mwhite 21727 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Do You Need Individual Property Websites? http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/do-you-need-individual-property-websites <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"> All your online marketing techniques should support your end game: building a web presence so your company can effectively sell more homes. Here’s how to do that while making listings stand out. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tuesday, August 16, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/lee-davenport">Lee Davenport</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Before you put on your real estate thinking cap, take a minute to think like a consumer.&nbsp;Would you want a one-stop shop or a different place to buy each product?</p> <p>Based on the popularity of Amazon, Target, Sephora, and other establishments selling various products, I dare say most of us like to shop at one place or on one website.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now put your real estate cap back on.</p> <p>Individual property websites are a Web 1.0 relic.&nbsp;That&rsquo;s not to say there isn&rsquo;t some value to them: They can be quite effective in marketing a high-end property, for example.&nbsp;But if this old-school technique is your only online marketing method, you&rsquo;ll miss out on opportunities that help you to work smarter instead of harder.&nbsp;</p> <p>Individual property websites typically don&rsquo;t capture long-term attention online, and they force you to recreate the &ldquo;marketing wheel&rdquo; every time you have a new listing to promote. Best practices today teach us to build our &ldquo;Google juice&rdquo; (what techies call search engine optimization, which helps your brand rank higher among search engines).&nbsp;You want to do things that build your online history and presence, so it works well to layer your online marketing efforts.&nbsp;Thus, having a web page that is live for only a few weeks while the property is being marketed means you are not thinking long-term about your brand.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Explore more: </strong></p> <p><a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/are-agent-websites-dying-breed" target="_blank">Are Agent Websites a Dying Breed?</a></p> </blockquote> <p>The more you can build your online notoriety and credibility, the more likely your listings will gain better exposure because of your higher search engine ranking, making this a win-win for you and your home seller clients.&nbsp;</p> <p>Have you ever gone to a website that no longer existed? I am sure it turned you off to whatever was being sold. That is what happens when you create URLs such as 123Main.com. At some point, you stop paying for it, and the link goes dead. Yet, as you know, people will search online for things months and years later, and that broken, defunct website may pop up for eager home buyers (in other words, your prospective clients or potential buyers). They click the link only to be disappointed by a blank screen. &ldquo;Next!&rdquo; is what they&rsquo;ll think as they cross your services off their online shopping list.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you choose to do standalone property sites (typically because you want people to separate your brand from your product for the lure), you would do better to have a page, post, or site that focuses on a community, subdivision, or complex that you can update with your listings. That will allow the URL to stay the same. This is a smart move because communities and the subdivisions within them resonate more with people than a single address.&nbsp;</p> <p>Instead of 123Main.com for a home listed in the make-believe Picket Fences community, your URL link could be PicketFencesHomes.com. Now, you will be seen as a specialist in that neighborhood, and you&rsquo;ll be able to update the pages to reflect what is current. What&rsquo;s more, that URL will never become old and useless. Picture this: Someone is scrolling through your social media feed and sees his or her perfect home in a post that is several months old. If they clicked on 123Main.com, they would get zip, zero, nada, and you would likely lose a potential lead. However, if you have PicketFencesHomes.com, now the potential home buyer gets your actual, live, working site and can see what is current. Boom!</p> <p>Better yet, I encourage you to use your own company or brand site as your online anchor and make it the authority for the neighborhoods, complexes, and subdivisions you sell by having dedicated pages or tabs for each.&nbsp;<a href="http://torontoism.com/neighbourhoods" target="_blank">Torontoism.com</a> is a great example of a real estate website that features the neighborhoods the team services while building notoriety as the local real estate expert.</p> <p>Your business is not fly-by-night and neither are your&nbsp;URLs. This is your online footprint, and broken, outdated links sabotage your public image and exposure. In essence, position your business to have a lasting presence.</p> <p>Have any questions?&nbsp;Ask away by following me on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/YourRealEstateInformant" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://instagram.com/learnwithlee.realtor/" target="_blank">Instagram</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/leedavenport8?sub_confirmation=1" target="_blank">YouTube</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="http://google.com/+leedavenport" target="_blank">Google+</a>&nbsp;or by visiting&nbsp;<a href="http://www.agentsaroundatlanta.com/" target="_blank">LearnWithLee.Realtor</a>. And, be sure to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook,&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.com/1508652325" target="_blank">Plan to Win</a>, to transform your real estate sales game plan. Here&rsquo;s to your success.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>All your online marketing techniques should support your end game: building a web presence so your company can effectively sell more homes. Here&rsquo;s how to do that while making listings stand out.</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/aug16_BB_individ.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38974">aug16_BB_individ.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/aug16_BB_individ_0.jpg?1471970641" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_individ.jpg?1471970669" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/02/4-ways-make-sense-metrics">4 Ways to Make Sense of Metrics</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/10/make-your-online-brand-memorable">Make Your Online Brand Memorable</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster">Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/07/6-ways-help-everyone-access-your-website">6 Ways to Help Everyone Access Your Website</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, 16 Aug 2016 23:22:38 +0000 echristoffer 21720 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Keeping You and Your Agents Safe http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/keeping-you-and-your-agents-safe <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"> Follow the mantra of safety first and teach agents to follow their instincts in the field. Here are 10 tips for staying safe you can put to use at your company today. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 15, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/lee-nelson">Lee Nelson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>While Linda Fercodini was visiting a potential seller at his home, the hair on the back of her neck stood up. After the home owner asked her a dozen times if she wanted something to drink and invited her to join him in the attic, she got a deeply unnerving feeling.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then, in the living room on the side of his chair, I saw the photos of women real estate agents circled in red from a local real estate magazine. That was it for me,&rdquo; says Fercodini, broker-owner of <a href="http://www.fercodini.com/" target="_blank">Fercodini Properties Inc.</a> in Wolcott, Conn. &ldquo;I needed to think quickly and be cool. I started heading back to the kitchen, pretending to take notes. He excused himself to go the bathroom.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> That was her chance. She called her office, but no one answered. Then she called her husband, who knew where she was because she always leaves him the address to where she&rsquo;s going. When he answered, Fercodini used her code words &mdash; &ldquo;red file&rdquo; &mdash; and he instantly knew she was in trouble. Fercodini made up an excuse to leave, and as she walked down the driveway, her husband was there waiting for her.</p> <p>A lot of bizarre &mdash; even scary and dangerous &mdash; things happen to real estate agents every day. Fercodini, who now teaches a continuing education safety course for agents, says she tells stories about incidents that have happened to her and reminds agents to trust their instincts. She also brings in police officers and a karate instructor to demonstrate self-defense moves to her students.</p> <p>In her own office, she tries to talk about safety at least four times a year. &ldquo;You have to keep reminding everybody because they get busy and forget. It&rsquo;s a tough business, and things happen,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><strong>Empower Agents With Knowledge</strong></p> <p>Recently, one of Candace Adams&rsquo; agents had a potential client she was meeting for the first time who asked her to pick him up at a hotel.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve always told my agents to never go to a hotel or train station or anywhere else to pick someone up, especially if they have not properly vetted them,&rdquo; says Adams, president and CEO of <a href="https://www.bhhsneproperties.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England and Westchester Properties</a>. She has about 1,700 agents in more than 50 offices in New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.</p> <p>&ldquo;Most experienced agents will be able to cite an incident that made them feel uncomfortable, whether it was just meeting someone or someone wanting them to go down into the basement with them,&rdquo; Adams says. As incidents such as the 2014 murder of Little Rock, Ark., agent Beverly Carter get more attention in the news, Adams and her management team are having more conversations about safety with agents at her company. Adams says their policy is to never ride in a car with a client and to always meet a new client for the first time at one of their offices.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Adams admits it&rsquo;s hard to institute consistent safety policies in such a large company. But she emphasizes using the buddy system when agents go out on showings. &ldquo;We encourage our agents not to do open houses at remote locations alone or to meet people at vacant properties alone,&rdquo; she says. Some of their seller clients have installed cameras at their homes and monitor them off-site during open houses. That&rsquo;s one more level of protection for her agents, she says.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t Discount Your Feelings</strong></p> <p>Robert Siciliano, CEO of <a href="http://www.IDTheftSecurity.com" target="_blank">IDTheftSecurity.com</a>, has taught classes on personal security to real estate agents across the country.</p> <p>&ldquo;Every person I have ever interviewed that was victimized said they knew something was wrong before it happened. But they didn&rsquo;t do anything about it,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t want to think it could happen to them. But it did.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He says whether you&rsquo;re in the middle of Montana or downtown Boston, there are assaults on men and woman happening every minute. According to the FBI, there are 270 serial killers walking the streets every day along with nearly 750,000 sex offenders, and there are 2.2 million burglaries and home invasions every year. &ldquo;We live in a somewhat violent society. That&rsquo;s not going to change,&rdquo; Siciliano says. &ldquo;But being proactive and putting systems in place can give you a fighting chance.&rdquo;</p> <p>Here are 10 suggestions from Siciliano to help you and your agents stay safe on the job:</p> <p><strong>1. Park your car on the street</strong>. Never park in the driveway, where you could be blocked in by another car.</p> <p><strong>2. Establish a safe word</strong>. If you get in a situation that feels uneasy or downright critical, call someone at your agency, a friend, or a significant other and mention the safe word.</p> <p><strong>3. Never drink or eat anything someone offers</strong> <strong>at their home</strong>. Even the seemingly nicest people may have devious agendas.</p> <p><strong>4. Ask for names and phone numbers at open houses</strong>. Have a pad of paper out, and make sure everyone signs it with his or her information. If they just put their name down and no phone number or email address, walk outside and take down their license plate number.</p> <p><strong>5. Leave immediately if something happens</strong>. If you see someone steal something during an open house, don&rsquo;t confront him or her, Siciliano says. This person could be in a crisis and could hurt you. Leave the home and call the police. If someone tries to manipulate you to go into the basement or attic, get out as soon as possible. You don&rsquo;t need to protect the house; you need to protect yourself.</p> <p><strong>6. Program your phone to call 911. </strong>Keep your cell phone in your pocket on the ready so you can call the police at the touch of your finger.</p> <p><strong>7. Verify customers before meeting them. </strong>Require that all new clients send you an image of their ID as well as their current address and phone number so you can vet them online. Verify that their ID matches information you find in public records. At your first meeting, jot down their license plate number and the type of car they drive.</p> <p><strong>8. Leave the name of the client, the address, and the time of the meeting. </strong>Have a &ldquo;safe person&rdquo; who always knows your whereabouts. Have them call you every 15 minutes. If you don&rsquo;t answer, tell them to call police.</p> <p><strong>9. Prepare an open house with many people</strong>. Always have another agent, family member, or friend with you at an open house. Invite all the neighbors to come over to see the house. There is safety in numbers. It&rsquo;s also an opportunity to network with neighbors in your market. Ask the home owners to turn on their security cameras if they have them.</p> <p><strong>10. Carry pepper spray or mace. </strong>Never shoot into the wind and make sure you can aim it at your target.</p> <p>For more up-to-date safety tips and information, turn to the National Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; safety materials, including webinars and quarterly safety messages. NAR also offers a three-hour safety course for brokers and agents. Learn more at <a href="http://www.realtor.org/topics/realtor-safety" target="_blank">realtor.org/safety</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Follow the mantra of safety first and teach agents to follow their instincts in the field. Here are 10 tips for staying safe you can put to use at your company today.</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/aug16_BB_safety.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=131551">aug16_BB_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/aug16_BB_safety_0.jpg?1471970066" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_safety.jpg?1471970084" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/09/making-real-estate-safer-industry">Making Real Estate a Safer Industry</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2015/01/online-safety-your-social-responsibility">Online, Safety Is Your ‘Social Responsibility’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/10/make-safety-brokerage-priority">Make Safety a Brokerage Priority</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2015/05/lets-all-open-doors-for-realtor-safety">Let&#039;s All Open Doors for REALTOR® Safety</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/tablets-and-phones/article/2015/01/phones-offer-touch-safety">Phones Offer Touch of Safety</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Fri, 12 Aug 2016 22:42:23 +0000 echristoffer 21704 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/using-social-media-sell-more-homes-faster <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 president of California-based Teles Properties interviews agents to glean best practices for marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, August 11, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/sharran-srivatsaa">Sharran Srivatsaa</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Social media can help real estate agents maximum their listings&rsquo; exposure, speed up sales, and show clients that they are tech-savvy, innovative, forward-thinking salespeople who will stop at nothing to find the perfect buyer. But the key to harnessing the power of social media is to have a smart strategy with a multipronged approach that incorporates the top outlets. Each platform functions differently, and it is wise to diversify the channels you use as well as the content you share. This list of best practices &mdash; culled from the advice of some of the top agents at my company, Teles Properties &mdash;will best capture your audience and sell homes. Brokers, feel free to pass these tips on to your team.</p> <h4>Facebook</h4> <p>&ldquo;Facebook is the new print advertising,&rdquo; says Teles Laguna Niguel agent Brad Feldman. &ldquo;No other platform provides as many valuable analytics as Facebook does.&rdquo;</p> <p>The value of Facebook stems from its ability to collect data, help you find your audience, and then target your ads and posts to that particular group of users. Traditional print media makes you a slave to the publishing cycle, but Facebook lets you quickly know who&rsquo;s clicking, sharing, and engaging with your content so that you can retarget ads to certain ZIP codes, geographical areas, and even to specific email addresses. You can also test ad photos to discover the ones that receive the most clicks. All of these analytics and data points can then be shared with clients, who love to know how many people you&rsquo;re reaching.</p> <p>Facebook is also a great platform for self-branding, marketing all aspects of the real estate business, gaining clientele, and encouraging an increased referral rate. Facebook directly connects agents with potential clients, so it&rsquo;s important to always post good, clear photos with detailed captions of the properties you&rsquo;re trying to sell. It&rsquo;s also a good idea to build rapport with the community. Sharing tidbits of knowledge and helpful market information develops deeper and more reliable connections with community members, potential buyers, and clients. And unlike Twitter, which has a 140-word character count, Facebook has no limits. So if you have a longer message that you want to share, Facebook is your platform.</p> <h4>Instagram</h4> <p>&ldquo;Instagram is a great organic way to reach people,&rdquo; says Teles Pasadena agent Tyler Harman. &ldquo;Your message gets in front of everyone who looks at a particular hashtag.&rdquo;</p> <p>While Facebook is a quick and effective way to get your message across to everyone on your virtual Rolodex, Instagram can capture the attention of complete strangers who search for specific hashtags. Once you start using Instagram, you&rsquo;ll be surprised at the number of direct messages you will receive from people who&rsquo;ve seen your post and are interested in your listing.</p> <p>Instagram is an amazing vehicle for short video property tours (no longer than 15 seconds). It is also a great platform for posting behind-the-scenes photos of pre-listing house preparation or happy clients finding &ldquo;the one.&rdquo; In addition, you can even display your familiarity with a certain neighborhood or city by utilizing Instagram&rsquo;s photo map, which uses the geotag feature to put a thumbnail of your photo onto a Google map so everyone can see where it was taken.</p> <h4>Snapchat</h4> <p>&ldquo;Snapchat is about to take over as the social media front-runner,&rdquo; says Teles Beverly Hills agent Suzanne Wilson. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a platform that people use with intent.&rdquo;</p> <p>Because everything you post on Snapchat eventually disappears, you can be sure that users are paying extra attention to the content they view. Videos don&rsquo;t need to be edited or polished, and you don&rsquo;t need a high-tech camera or amazing videography skills. Snapchat is more about building relationships than anything else. While you can create Snapchat stories about setting up for an open house or a quick home tour, the best way to use the platform is to establish your brand and personality; it&rsquo;s about being authentic and creative.</p> <h4>Twitter</h4> <p>&ldquo;Twitter is all about engagement,&rdquo; says Teles Manhattan Beach agent Ellis Posner. &ldquo;Master the art of hashtags and try to make sure your tweets are always a service to your clients and potential clients.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although it can sometimes be a challenge to keep your message to 140 characters or less, Twitter can be a great tool for real estate agents &mdash; as long as you focus on cultivating engagement. It&rsquo;s a good idea to set up Google alerts and RSS feeds and to subscribe to key websites to receive good content that you can share regularly on Twitter. When you post an article that you&rsquo;ve found &mdash; or written yourself &mdash; it is a service to your online community. Of course, tweeting newsworthy updates about yourself or your company is useful, too. On this platform, it&rsquo;s imperative to use hashtags, which categorize Twitter posts by keywords that potential clients can look for. Use them well and often, because that&rsquo;s how people will find your tweets.</p> <p>&ldquo;The great thing about social media is that you can adapt your strategy based on consumer behavior,&rdquo; says Teles Carlsbad agent Steve Olson. &ldquo;Utilizing different social media platforms is not only incredibly rewarding for your business but also surprisingly flexible. By creating a smart strategy, sharing relevant, interesting, and creative posts, and staying authentic, you can use the power of the internet to your advantage and, ultimately, sell more homes faster. Social media is and will continue to be a necessity for any modern real estate agent.&rdquo;</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The president of California-based Teles Properties interviews agents to glean best practices for marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.</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/aug16_BB_social_sell.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37810">aug16_BB_social_sell.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/aug16_BB_social_sell_0.jpg?1471538592" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_social_sell.jpg?1471538628" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/03/working-chinese-buyers">Working With Chinese Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/how-attract-retain-best-agents-for-you">How to Attract, Retain the Best Agents For You</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/05/protect-your-business-social-media-policy">Protect Your Business With a Social Media Policy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/05/3-ways-connect-prospects">3 Ways to Connect With Prospects</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, 11 Aug 2016 23:13:58 +0000 echristoffer 21695 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/your-vibe-attracts-your-tribe <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Find out how Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., demonstrates company culture to agents from day one. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 12, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/annmarie-janni">AnnMarie Janni</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>One comment I&rsquo;ve heard about <a href="http://gorealty.bhgre.com/" target="_blank">Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty</a> that stands out to me is, &ldquo;Everyone seems to like each other a lot.&rdquo; It makes me smile every time I think of this statement because it&rsquo;s very true.</p> <p>Our agents, managers, and staff don&#39;t get along because we&#39;re all the same. We definitely are not. It&rsquo;s because we put our culture at the forefront of our company, and we protect it fiercely and celebrate it daily. Here&rsquo;s how we do it.</p> <p>For starters, we call the first week of new-agent training Culture Week. This is when we teach the mindset behind everything we do. Jim Garman, our founder, tells the story of why he started Go. We explain that we greet customers with a hearty &ldquo;welcome to Go&rdquo; when they walk in the door and don&rsquo;t call our spaces &ldquo;offices.&rdquo; We also go over how $100 from every closing goes to a local charity that the agent chooses ($50 from them, $50 from us). And we wrap the week up with a volunteer day.</p> <p>We show love for our agents with &ldquo;date nights&rdquo; and celebrate everyone (not just the big producers) at our monthly company meeting, which is aptly named &ldquo;The Go Show.&rdquo; Every day, we work to create a culture that helps our agents through the rough days, celebrates the great days, and gives them a place to do their best work.</p> <p>Our agents and staff are diverse in age &mdash; millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers. Our offices are full of young singles figuring it out, empty nesters, moms and dads in the midst of raising kiddos, and everybody in between.</p> <p>Each and every person in our company is charged with being a protector of the culture. Are we perfect at it? Of course we are! OK, not always. But we strive to keep it top-of-mind and help each other when we go off the rails a bit.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been a real estate professional for 15 years and worked at two other companies before I found my tribe at Go. Today, I&rsquo;m the broker-in-charge of Go Realty&rsquo;s Holly Springs office. I can attest to the fact that our culture is different and magical. It&rsquo;s always funny to see folks walk into our office for the first time and be caught off-guard by what they find. You will not see a receptionist at a desk (or a desk at all). You will see a group of collaborative agents sitting around a table like it&rsquo;s Thanksgiving. You will be greeted with a big smile from one of our &ldquo;angels&rdquo; (which is the job title of our office administrators), and, if we&rsquo;ve done our job right, you will feel really good about being where you are.</p> <p>There are many little details and nuggets about our culture, and each quarter I plan to share a bit of it with you here in REALTOR&reg; Magazine&#39;s Broker to Broker section. I hope it inspires and encourages you, and I hope it helps you do your best work, too.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Find out how Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Go Realty in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., demonstrates company culture to agents from day one.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug16_BB_Go.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=77456">aug16_BB_Go.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/aug16_BB_Go_0.jpg?1471020938" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_Go.jpg?1471020993" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/preserve-company-culture-in-times-growth">Preserve Company Culture in Times of Growth</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/create-winning-brokerage-culture">Create a Winning Brokerage Culture</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/fresh-faces-onboarding-new-agents">Fresh Faces: Onboarding New Agents</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2016/01/virtual-edge">The Virtual Edge</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, 11 Aug 2016 23:26:09 +0000 echristoffer 21697 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 3 Tax Tips for Blending Business and Leisure Travel http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sponsored/intuit/3-tax-tips-for-blending-business-and-leisure-travel <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Content Sponsor Quickbooks Self-Employed says mixing personal growth and family fun is a good idea, but mixing expenses is a bad one. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, August 8, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/quickbooks-self-employed">QuickBooks Self-Employed</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Many real estate professionals pursue professional development, and continuing education credits, through classes, trade shows, conferences, and coaching. When business learning takes you on the road, there&rsquo;s no reason not to tack on a few days or bring family. But before you commit to a dual-purpose trip, carefully consider what&rsquo;s tax deductible. These three tips will help.</span></p> <blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>MORE</strong>: Here&rsquo;s guidance from the IRS on <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/business-or-hobby-answer-has-implications-for-deductions" target="_blank">how to prove you&rsquo;re business is legit</a>.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">1. <strong>Ensure your trip qualifies as business travel.</strong> Per the IRS, in order for your trip to be tax deductible, it needs to be &ldquo;ordinary and necessary&rdquo; and outside of the city or area where you work. Expenses can include travel costs of getting to and from your business destination and any business-related expenses at your destination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">To avoid raising red flags with the IRS, the expenses must be considered reasonable and not lavish or extravagant. That doesn&rsquo;t rule out exotic locales. According to these <a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Deductions-and-Credits/Top-10-Oddball-Tax-Deductions/INF12065.html" target="_blank">tips from Intuit&rsquo;s TurboTax</a>, you could reasonably justify attending a conference in, say, Hawaii or the Caribbean islands. However, it might be more difficult to defend deductions for an overseas conference, such as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mipim.com/" target="_blank">MIPIM</a>,&nbsp;unless you&#39;re prepared to explain your involvement in global real estate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Also, expenses for travel must be attributable to a real business versus an interest that&rsquo;s simply a hobby. The IRS considers whether you are in business to make a profit and whether you are regularly and actively involved with selling real estate. Generally, people who don&rsquo;t make money in a business for three out of the last five years are considered hobbyists by the IRS and may not be able to deduct business-related travel expenses. But that&rsquo;s not a hard-and-fast rule.</span></p> <blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>MORE</strong>: Here&rsquo;s an IRS fact sheet on <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/deducting-travel-entertainment-and-gift-expenses" target="_blank">travel, entertainment, and gift expenses.</a></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">2. <strong>Determine which expenses are deductible.</strong> If you need to travel for a real estate conference or business meeting, you can deduct associated travel costs. These include round-trip airfare, car rental, mileage when using your own vehicle, and taxi/rideshare fees. In addition, you may be able to deduct your hotel expenses. Don&rsquo;t forget about meals; those are deductible, too, but only at 50 percent. If you&rsquo;re meeting up with colleagues for a networking lunch or dinner and decide to treat: You can deduct 50 percent of the cost of their meals, too. Finally, you can deduct registration fees and course materials required to attend conferences.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">Sometimes it works out, and you get to bring the family. If you reserve one hotel room for you and the family for your entire stay during your conference or business meeting, you can deduct the entire cost of the room. However, if you book a second room, extend your stay, or add side trips, those costs aren&rsquo;t deductible. Neither are meals for family members, unless they work for your business and are attending the event with you.</span></p> <blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>MORE</strong>: The IRS offers detailed <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/ch05.html" target="_blank">guidance on what&rsquo;s considered adequate documentation.</a></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">3. <strong>Keep good records. </strong>Whether you&rsquo;re driving three hours for a class to fulfill your state&rsquo;s continuing education requirement or traveling across the country for a conference, it&rsquo;s important to keep documentation. Save or scan receipts for your course registration, hotel, meals, and transportation. Don&rsquo;t forget to separate the receipts required for your real estate business from your non-deductible personal expenses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif;">If you&rsquo;re looking for an easy way to separate your real estate business expenses from your personal expenses, try using an app like <a href="https://selfemployed.intuit.com/realtormag?utm_source=realtormag&amp;utm_medium=web&amp;utm_content=aug2016&amp;cid=par_realtormag_US_aug2016QBSE" target="_blank">QuickBooks Self-Employed</a>. It can help maximize your deductions and ensure you stay ready for tax time.</span></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Content Sponsor Quickbooks Self-Employed says mixing personal growth and family fun is a good idea, but mixing expenses is a bad one.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug16_Intuit.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=34135">aug16_Intuit.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/aug16_Intuit_0.jpg?1470678965" /> </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/aug16_LP_Intuit.jpg?1470679000" /> </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/sponsored/intuit/9-tax-deductions-every-real-estate-agent-should-know">9 Tax Deductions Every Real Estate Agent Should Know</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sponsored/intuit/9-tips-consider-giving-up-your-side-gig">9 Steps to Take Before Giving Up Your Side Gig</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, 08 Aug 2016 17:43:52 +0000 gwood 21675 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 3 Ways to Use 360 Video at Your Brokerage http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2016/08/3-ways-use-360-video-your-brokerage <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Immersive camera technology can be used for more than marketing listings. Be a truly cutting-edge real estate company by using 360-degree cameras to better communicate with your agents and staff. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, August 5, 2016</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/doug-devitre">Doug Devitre</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Success and accomplishment: This is the rhythm of a real estate office that hums. It&rsquo;s the excitement of new listings, new sales records, and new agents. It&rsquo;s the entire office packed into a sales meeting. It&rsquo;s a leader armed with experience and wisdom, who cares about about the team.</p> <p>As a strong broker-owner in an office like this, you have the ability to influence property owners, salespeople, and employees &mdash; those who value and participate in the vision of the company. Why not shine a spotlight on your endeavors and provide more accessible meetings and training sessions by using 360-degree video?</p> <p>The cutting-edge technology of 360-degree cameras is bringing an immersive, captivating, and enthralling experience to real estate &mdash; three fitting adjectives for the brokerage of success and accomplishment. This technology is akin to dropping the viewer into the scene via mobile or desktop video that can be viewed in all directions. Brokers and agents are already using spherical photography to provide a mobile-friendly, full-room view to show off listings to clients. But this technology can do so much more. Here are a few other ways you can use 360-degree video at your brokerage.</p> <p><strong>Office meetings. </strong>Videoconferencing has long made it possible for everyone to participate in meetings, no matter their location. But if a 360-degree camera is hooked up to a videoconferencing computer, you&rsquo;ll take those meetings to the next level. Now others can feel like they are right in the room where the camera is mounted. You could even livestream these meetings to the public.</p> <p><strong>Sharing</strong> <strong>news or coming-soon listings.</strong> Imagine if each agent were allowed to stand up and share a new listing or update for 30 seconds at an office meeting. Now imagine if everyone in the room could view that listing simultaneously on their phones with 360-degree technology. Plus, if you&rsquo;re also recording the meeting with a 360-degree camera, each person speaking would be on 360 video for those viewing from afar. It&rsquo;s meta, but in a good way.</p> <p><strong>Coaching opportunities. </strong>Capturing conversations by video is a great way to observe body language and dialogue in action. And 360 video gives you more freedom and flexibility to maneuver around the room so that conversations happen more naturally and everyone viewing can be part of the process. This type of video also lends itself to capturing more technical, step-by-step training sessions in an immersive video experience.</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Immersive camera technology can be used for more than marketing listings. Be a truly cutting-edge real estate company by using 360-degree cameras to better communicate with your agents and staff.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/aug16_BB_360.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=21568">aug16_BB_360.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/aug16_BB_360_0.jpg?1470621654" /> </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/aug16_LP_BB_360.jpg?1470621677" /> </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/cameras-and-video/article/2016/02/360-degree-cameras-for-age-virtual-listings">360-Degree Cameras for Age of Virtual Listings</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/06/not-your-fathers-brokerage">Not Your Father&#039;s Brokerage</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2016/03/do-it-yourself-3-d-listings">Do-It-Yourself 3-D Listings</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2016/04/under-sells-scope-spacio">Under the Sells-Scope: Spacio</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/09/24/facebook-rolls-out-3-d-video-capability">Facebook Rolls Out 3-D Video Capability</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Fri, 05 Aug 2016 18:12:00 +0000 echristoffer 21668 at http://realtormag.realtor.org