Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en Not Your Typical Office Redesign http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/not-your-typical-office-redesign <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"> Brokers in urban areas are rejecting traditional offices, opting to remodel their workspaces into real estate-centric lounges that attract foot traffic and target new clientele. </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, April 24, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mary-beth-klatt">Mary Beth Klatt</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Picture this: A lounge-style real estate office filled with agents in a bustling part of town, surrounded by trendy restaurants and shops that are patronized by affluent young to middle-aged families. But this scene isn&rsquo;t simply about style &ndash; it&rsquo;s about capturing new business.</p> <p>More brokers are taking cues from cafes, bars, and even retail stores when redesigning office space. They&rsquo;re hiring architecture firms and interior designers to help create a setting that reflects the company brand, attracts foot traffic, and connects agents with the community.</p> <p>Kendyl Young, broker-owner of <a href="http://glendaleandbeyond.com/" target="_blank">DIGGS</a>, a division of Dilbeck Real Estate, wanted her company&rsquo;s location to speak to her business, as well as entice new customers and involve the community. In 2013, she hired architects and an interior designer to reconfigure an 1,100-square-foot former antique store in Montrose, Calif.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had spent 25 years in traditional offices with a receptionist behind a fortress, a dampened sense of quiet, and a few agents buzzing about in hushed secretive whispers,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Clients were made to wait in the reception area until escorted to a small, cloistered conference room.&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/DIGGSrealestate.JPG" style="width: 300px; height: 199px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />Young&rsquo;s redesign broke the shackles of office formalities. Her company space now features a wall showcasing the work of local artists, a private phone booth, and an area for serving refreshments. She hosts receptions, neighborhood meet-ups, fundraisers, and seminars.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think the space must fit the business,&rdquo; Young says. &ldquo;Adopting an open space plan because it is the latest trend or because the cost savings are attractive is silly, and your agents will rebel.&nbsp; The space must fit the personality and the energy of the business it supports.&rdquo;</p> <p>Taking redesign a step further, Karen Hall, principal broker of <a href="http://www.athomedcmetro.com/" target="_blank">@home real estate</a> in Alexandria, Va., converted her two-story flagship office into a full-scale lounge and design center. She combined Nordstrom&rsquo;s customer service, Apple&rsquo;s modern technology, and HGTV&rsquo;s design education into a 4,000-square-foot space.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/%40homerealestate.jpeg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: left;" />Visitors smell white jasmine tea fragrance when they enter the office, and they&rsquo;re welcome to hang out on multiple nearby couches. The coffee table is a touch-screen computer where visitors can peruse listings. There&rsquo;s also a water wall, three fireplaces, and a kitchen filled with snacks and beverages. Agents can link their iPad to any of the flat-screen TVs for presentations or walk their clients upstairs to the design center for advice. Hall partnered with a local remodeling company to build the 400-square-foot design center where buyers can look at samples of granite countertops and bathroom tile.</p> <p>Hall&rsquo;s design efforts got her noticed. She received the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce&#39;s Rising Star Business Award in 2013 and was voted Best of Alexandria in 2014 for best new business and best real estate pro.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/livingroomrealty1.png" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: right;" />Back on the West Coast, <a href="http://www.livingroomre.com/" target="_blank">Living Room Realty</a>&rsquo;s Portland, Ore., office really does resemble the main room of a family residence, with mid-century furnishings throughout the nearly 2,500-square-foot former car dealership and mechanic shop. Founder Jenelle Isaacson received a Silver Certification for Sustainability at Work for the company&rsquo;s redesign, as well as the prestigious B Corp certification in 2013 for using the power of business to help solve social and environmental problems.</p> <p>Located in the city&rsquo;s popular Alberta Arts District, this real estate office includes an audio/visual installation with outdoor speakers that play music for passersby, who sometimes stop to listen and even dance. Isaacson&rsquo;s clients &mdash; who can sip complimentary tea and coffee &mdash; have access to amenities in the office such as big-screen TVs to view listings and a small architectural and decor library onsite.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our office design draws customers, and most importantly, helps our agents compete for clients,&rdquo; Isaacson says. &ldquo;When our agents bring in their clients for interviews and introduction meetings, the client gets a strong first impression that we are both professional and current. Our offices communicate that our agents are relevant and embrace technology.&rdquo;</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Brokers in urban areas are rejecting traditional offices, opting to remodel their workspaces into real estate-centric lounges that attract foot traffic and target new clientele.</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/2015/03/not-exiled-main-street">Not Exiled on Main Street</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/12/create-productive-office-space">Create Productive Office Space</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/08/green-building-updates-benefit-your-bottom-line">Green Building Updates Benefit Your Bottom Line</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/10/make-safety-brokerage-priority">Make Safety a Brokerage Priority</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/01/accessibility-broker-s-responsibility">Accessibility Is a Broker’s Responsibility</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:07:28 +0000 echristoffer 18724 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Should You Still Be Doing Open Houses? http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2015/04/should-you-still-be-doing-open-houses <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"> Whether they generate reliable business is a debate among many professionals, but it depends on how you use them. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Friday, April 24, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/jared-james">Jared James</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you were to ask 100 agents if they think open houses work to create new business and generate leads, half would probably say yes and half would say no.</p> <p>So do they work or don&rsquo;t they? I believe that, as with most things, the issue is usually not the tool you are using but the implementation of the tool. For example, if you gave me a wrench to fix the engine in your car, I can tell you with almost 100 percent certainty that by the time I&rsquo;m finished, your engine will be no more &ldquo;fixed&rdquo; than when I started. Why? Because I don&rsquo;t know how to fix an engine in a car, regardless of the tools that you give me. But I&rsquo;m not going to go on a tirade about how the wrench doesn&rsquo;t work.</p> <p>Most of us know that Internet leads have become a huge part of our business, but converting them is another story. Generally, the agent who pursues a lead the longest and actually gets an in-person conversation with them wins, but that can take months &mdash; if not years. With an open house, you are getting these same potential leads in person, and you&rsquo;re able to have a conversation right then and there. What could be better than that?</p> <p>But wait &mdash; I know what you&rsquo;re thinking. Those aren&rsquo;t the people who come to your open house. You only get &ldquo;nosy neighbors,&rdquo; right? Well, that&rsquo;s a marketing issue. When done effectively, open houses can be incredibly profitable, so let&rsquo;s talk about four ways to run them in a more successful way.&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li><strong>Use targeted Facebook ads.</strong> Most of you reading this have heard all about Facebook ads, but few actually understand how to create and target them correctly. This is a shame because they are an absolute game changer. Gone are the days of putting your open house ad in the Sunday paper and getting overloaded with traffic. However, this isn&rsquo;t an article on how to create Facebook ads, so I advise you to either watch tutorials on YouTube or hire a company like mine to do them for you. You can create either an ad or a boosted post with your Facebook business page that is targeted at buyers in your area and promotes your open house. You should offer something of value to those who register beforehand or to the first 50 people who show up and mention your ad.</li> <li><strong>Offer exclusivity/privacy. </strong>Don&rsquo;t underestimate the power of allowing potential buyers to get in for a private or exclusive showing before everyone else has a chance to see your listing at an open house. Nothing drives competition like scarcity, and by allowing people to register for the open house, as I mentioned above, you are now able to tell prospective buyers that there are 37 people already registered but you may be able to get them in beforehand if they would like.</li> <li><strong>Invite the nosy neighbors. </strong>I know this goes against traditional thought, but hear me out. Sometimes neighbors are nosy because they are curious about the value of their own home, or they may have a friend who wants to get into the neighborhood. But even if they are just nosy, they do still serve a purpose: traffic. The more people who walk through your open house, the more buzz that will exist and the better the offers will be that you receive. Think of it this way: If I went to an open house, walked around for 45 minutes, and nobody else showed up, do you think my offer would be the same as if I went to the open house and was surrounded by other people the whole time? Traffic creates perceived scarcity, whether the visitors are nosy neighbors or not. Get them in the house and let them hang out! You might further interest them by saying, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not sure if you are aware, but your neighbor&rsquo;s house going on the market may have changed the value of your home. Would you like to know how it has changed?&rdquo; See how that works out for you.</li> <li><strong>Make sure you follow up after the open house. </strong>I know this sounds like it falls into the Captain Obvious category, but you&rsquo;d be shocked to know how many real estate professionals believe that if someone doesn&rsquo;t make the decision to work with them on first contact, they aren&rsquo;t going to ever. You can use an app such as <a href="http://openhomepro.com/" target="_blank">Open Home Pro</a> or anything that has built-in follow-ups to send to people who sign in. If you are uneasy about asking visitors to sign in, just tell them that, for security reasons, the home owner requires that you have the correct information for anyone walking through their house when they aren&rsquo;t home. Then say, &ldquo;You&rsquo;d want the same thing, right?&rdquo; They won&rsquo;t have an issue.</li> </ol> <p>If you follow these simple steps, there&rsquo;s no way that you won&rsquo;t see an increase in the number of attendees at your open houses, as well as a better return on the time you spend on them.</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>Whether they generate reliable business is a debate among many professionals, but it depends on how you use them.</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="/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2014/11/dont-leave-door-open-danger">Don&#039;t Leave the Door Open to Danger</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/selling/article/2010/05/open-houses-work">Open Houses That Work </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2009/04/6-ways-capture-clients-open-houses">6 Ways to Capture Clients at Open Houses</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Sales Coach Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:57:38 +0000 gwood 18723 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Zero Moment of Truth for Brokers http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/zero-moment-truth-for-brokers <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Help your agents create more opportunities that result in buyers and sellers reaching out and making contact. </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, April 23, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/nobu-hata">Nobu Hata</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>There is a key moment just before each pivotal step in a real estate transaction that agents call the &ldquo;sweet spot.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s when a seller makes the call to choose an agent; when a buyer inquires about a home over the phone or online; when a person asks a friend for their real estate agent&rsquo;s contact information after hearing a rave review.</p> <p>Google calls this the &ldquo;zero moment of truth.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s the moment when an online search has met a person&rsquo;s want or need. In real estate, the trick is to make sure your online marketing speaks to the needs of your potential clients.</p> <p>There are two major realities about the zero moment of truth that most brokers have to come to terms with:</p> <p>1. Simply marketing &ldquo;3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,200 square feet&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t going to lead to one of these moments. When it comes to the online marketing practices of your brokerage, differentiate from the competition (both portals and other brokerages), but keep things simple. If a buyer or seller can use Google Search to replicate what you offer, then you&rsquo;re not bringing enough to the table.</p> <p>Up to 40 percent of buyers and sellers won&rsquo;t work with the same agent they used on their last transaction. Do your agents have a plan for capturing those people?&nbsp; Do you?</p> <blockquote> <p>On April 21, Google&#39;s mobile search algorithm changed to <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/04/20/your-site-mobile-friendly" target="_blank">emphasize websites that are mobile-friendly</a>. Find out what that means for your real estate website.</p> </blockquote> <p>Potential clients don&rsquo;t need you to simply tell them the make and model of a home; they have Google and endless gobs of information online for that. Try outlining the steps it takes to buy the home, or how it compares to other houses in the neighborhood. Now that&rsquo;s the sweet spot; that&rsquo;s the zero moment of truth.</p> <p>2. Most agents are so transaction-oriented that it&rsquo;s hard for them to focus on the zero moment of truth. But that&rsquo;s not their fault; brokers have trained agents to &ldquo;always be closing.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s cool; I get it. Just know that it&#39;s unsustainable. (And the agents who do have sweet-spot marketing nailed have built businesses so big that they only look at you when it comes time to talk split, but that&rsquo;s a whole different matter.)</p> <h4>Mini-Moments Make Up The Real Estate Journey</h4> <p>So what do these moments sound like in real life?</p> <ul> <li>&ldquo;Can I afford to buy a home?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the market like?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;If I sell my house, what&rsquo;re the options for me if I move up or downsize?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;How long does it take to buy a home?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;How does X neighborhood compare to Y?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;What does an inspector/title/mortgage dude do?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;Do I need a real estate lawyer?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the difference between homeowner&rsquo;s and title insurance?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;After I buy, what improvements will maximize my investment?&rdquo;</li> <li>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s a HUD?&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p>You get my drift.&nbsp; (That last one question, by the way, is going to be a doozy.)</p> <p>These are the mini-moments that make up the digital real estate journey. While most of these questions aren&rsquo;t asked from the onset, they are surely being asked of your agents <em>during</em> the transaction, so why not answer them now? Remember, half of all buyers and sellers last year spent six to 12 months researching real estate before reaching out to a professional, so don&rsquo;t be afraid to tell people what is important. There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with answering a question before it&rsquo;s asked. Heck, train your agents to ask clients what was helpful or confusing to them in hindsight <em>after</em> the sale. You&rsquo;ll find an information hole you could drive a truck through.</p> <p>And don&rsquo;t fall victim to the &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve got a prettier and more accurate home search&rdquo; pitfall. Instead, focus on connecting the dots that drive people out from behind their computers and into the real world with your agents. These mini-moments are continuous cycles of action and discovery, providing answers for questions consumers have (and ones they didn&rsquo;t). They are so important for building trust and affinity for your brokerage brand.</p> <p>Because your agents are so focused on their current transactions, you&rsquo;re going to have to think long-term for them. Consider fulfilling mini-moments for agents&rsquo; lead-gen practices or providing client contact touch points to help drive referrals. Without a doubt, your value proposition for agents is&mdash;and forever will be&mdash;evolving, so ask them what they need.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the other reality: Mini-moments end the second a consumer reaches out to one of your agents. So during that zero moment of truth, your agent better be an extension of the info-spewing, people-centric, trustworthy entity your brand has become. Train agents to be a seamless bridge from online to offline; a personified version of the endearing qualities customers connected with digitally.</p> <p>Leverage your company culture, engage with agents, and empower the real estate consumer before, during, and after the sale. This will give you that sweet spot, zero moment of truth marketing campaign you need.</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>Help your agents create more opportunities that result in buyers and sellers reaching out and making contact.</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="/daily-news/2015/04/20/your-site-mobile-friendly">Is Your Site Mobile Friendly?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/don-t-let-your-real-estate-website-become-ghost-town">Don’t Let Your Real Estate Website Become a Ghost Town</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/5-tips-for-helping-agents-in-spring-market">5 Tips for Helping Agents in the Spring Market</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2015/03/building-lollapalooza-brand-for-buyers">Building a Lollapalooza Brand for Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/podcasting-build-your-brand">Podcasting to Build Your Brand</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:13:44 +0000 echristoffer 18717 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Are They Reading You Right? http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2015/04/are-they-reading-you-right <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Your online bio tells prospects whether you’re the kind of person they want to work with. Here’s how to craft a profile that will make them say yes. </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, April 20, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/melissa-dittmann-tracey">Melissa Dittmann Tracey</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Clients don&rsquo;t always get their first impression of you face to face. Because consumers are turning more to the Internet for real estate information, they usually are first introduced to you via your online bio or &ldquo;About Me&rdquo; section on your website.</p> <p>These bios are intended to provide insight into your expertise and work ethic as well as a peek into who you are as a person. In a business like real estate, where relationships are paramount, your bio can make all the difference in scoring clients.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Hear It From the Horse&rsquo;s Mouth</strong></p> <p>REALTOR&reg; Magazine convened a panel of consumers in January to review a handful of bios submitted by agents from around the country. It was an insight into what consumers care about most when it comes to agent profiles. Find out what was important to them: <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/03/what-your-online-about-me-says-about-you">What Your Online &ldquo;About Me&rdquo; Says About You</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;A good agent bio can set the stage for trust,&rdquo; says Marte Cliff, a real estate copywriter and former broker-owner. &ldquo;But it can be difficult to write about yourself. You don&rsquo;t want to come across with no personality or have it sound like an essay for an English teacher. You want to use your bio to talk about what you do and how you can benefit clients.&rdquo;</p> <p>More real estate agencies are realizing the importance of how a bio can leverage connections with a prospect. Some brokerages are restructuring their websites to make hunting for the right agent based on what agents say in their bio. The Corcoran Group in New York, for example, crafted its &ldquo;<a href="http://www.corcoran.com/nyc/Search/Agents?FirstName=First+Name&amp;LastName=Last+Name&amp;SelectedLanguage=Any+Language&amp;SelectedOffice=Any+Office">Find an Agent</a>&ldquo; page so users can search for agents not only by market but also by hobbies &mdash; say, whether they like cooking, animals, art, or theater &mdash; or even the college the agent attended. From agents&rsquo; bio pages, prospects can also connect with them on Facebook or LinkedIn to see if they share any mutual friends or connections.</p> <p>The growing importance of online bios is prompting some agents to hire copywriters to write them, which costs between $150 and $350. But even with professional help, how do you know if your bio is connecting with prospects? Here are several tips for crafting a better bio:</p> <h4>Don&rsquo;t Make It All About You</h4> <p>Your bio should highlight your expertise, previous work experience, accomplishments, and hobbies. But every part should emphasize the benefits to the client.</p> <p>&ldquo;Read your bio from your customer&rsquo;s perspective,&rdquo; says real estate copywriter Valerie Haboush, who writes real estate bios and property descriptions for real estate professionals across the country. A long list of all your awards and education may make you sound successful, but it also may sound intimidating to prospects.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Answer These Questions in Your Bio</strong></p> <p>Haboush created a questionnaire that she asks her real estate clients to fill out. The questions seek to go deeper into the services they offer clients, so their bios don&rsquo;t rely on clich&eacute;s. Some of the questions include:</p> <ul> <li>How would your friends or family describe you?</li> <li>How do you educate your customers about the real estate market?</li> <li>Why did you choose real estate?</li> <li>What is your real estate philosophy?</li> <li>Why would someone hire you to find or sell a property?</li> <li>What compliments have you typically heard from past or present co-workers and clients?</li> <li>What qualities do your family and friends appreciate most about you?</li> <li>If you were shopping for or selling your own apartment, what would you want in a REALTOR&reg; if you hired someone? What do you think makes a good broker?</li> <li>How does the experience gained in your previous career relate to the necessary qualities you feel are needed in your real estate profession?</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Deep down, people want to know the basic stuff: What will you do for me? Will you listen to my needs? Will you help save me time and money? Will you spend time to explain to me what&rsquo;s going on?&rdquo; Haboush says. &ldquo;Your bio can&rsquo;t be all about how you graduated with honors, worked at a top law firm prior to real estate, and so on. How about the customer? If you were going to sit down and have a conversation with a customer, would you only talk about yourself?&rdquo;</p> <h4>Choose Your Point of View</h4> <p>Don&rsquo;t change your writing style from third-person to first-person throughout your bio. Third-person tends to sound more professional, and because it gives the impression that someone else is talking about your successes, it sounds less like you&rsquo;re bragging, Haboush says. But a hometown real estate agent with a more nurturing personality may prefer first-person because it&rsquo;s a more casual tone. That may be less appropriate for an agent who is targeting investors or luxury clientele, Haboush says.</p> <h4>Humanize</h4> <p>Your bio should not be just a list of facts about your accomplishments and expertise. It should also give a sense of who you are, says Cliff. Briefly include your interests outside of real estate, such as your hobbies or organizations you volunteer for.</p> <p>Think of how much more of a well-rounded impression you give a prospect when you include a statement at the end of your bio such as: &ldquo;In my spare time, I love to take my dogs and children hiking.&rdquo; You&rsquo;ve just told the prospect you&rsquo;re athletic, a parent, and an animal lover. Those are three things they could potentially connect with you on.</p> <h4>Avoid the Clich&eacute;s</h4> <p>You&rsquo;re &ldquo;trustworthy&rdquo; and the &ldquo;neighborhood expert,&rdquo; right? So is everyone else. These are very common buzzwords that often appear in real estate bios, so they don&rsquo;t really set you apart.</p> <p>&ldquo;If all you share is a list of your designations and a generic statement such as, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m dedicated to helping you reach your goals,&rsquo; your prospects have nothing to distinguish you from everyone else,&rdquo; Cliff says. &ldquo;And since they&rsquo;ve heard those &lsquo;I&rsquo;m the best&rsquo; statements so many times, they may even react with skepticism.&rdquo;</p> <p>The fact that you even have to say you&rsquo;re &ldquo;trustworthy&rdquo; can appear odd to prospects, Haboush adds. &ldquo;Your buyers should read your bio as a warm welcome. Trust doesn&rsquo;t come from reading a bio; you have to earn it,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Instead, talk about how you show that you&rsquo;re trustworthy or the neighborhood expert. Consider these examples:</p> <ul> <li>Haboush writes of one client&rsquo;s trustworthiness: &ldquo;It takes a smart, savvy, expert real estate professional to navigate the intricate New York market and help clients seize opportunity when it strikes. She&rsquo;s an agent who is that valuable weapon for finding hidden gems, streamlining intricate board approvals, negotiating great deals, and delivering exceptional results. Only an industry leader like her can draw on her invaluable knowledge, connections, and resources to pull out all the stops for her clients&rsquo; ultimate satisfaction.&rdquo;</li> <li>Cliff describes her client&rsquo;s local expertise like this: &ldquo;A lifetime resident of Las Vegas, David not only knows the community, he&rsquo;s glad to share his knowledge. &hellip; He has visited and researched every luxury high-rise and high-end community in Las Vegas and Henderson. When you&rsquo;re looking for a home in a specific price range offering a specific set of amenities, David knows exactly where to focus your search.&rdquo;</li> </ul> <h4>No Jargon</h4> <p>Use only terms that will be familiar to a general readership, and avoid industry jargon. A list in your bio of all the real estate designations you earned &mdash; from ABR to GRI and SRES &mdash; can look like alphabet soup to prospects. Spell out each designation and say what it means, why you earned it, and how your clients will benefit from it.</p> <h4>Don&rsquo;t Get Too Wordy</h4> <p>Cliff keeps the real estate bios she writes to around 400 words, but some brokerage sites or social media channels may limit your bio to just 150 words. If needed, have a short, generic &ldquo;who I am&rdquo; statement and then link to more information, such as &ldquo;if you&rsquo;re buying&hellip;&rdquo; or &ldquo;if you&rsquo;re selling&hellip;&rdquo; There, you can go more into your expertise in each of those areas. To avoid interfering with the flow of your bio&rsquo;s narrative, you may choose to include a bullet-point list of your services, awards, or education at the end instead of including a long list within your bio.</p> <h4>Keep Safety in Mind</h4> <p>Don&rsquo;t reveal too much in your bio. Avoid mentioning your address as well as your children&rsquo;s names, ages, and what schools they attend. &ldquo;Agents used to put the schools in as a way to form a connection, but if you&rsquo;re going to market to your kids&rsquo; schools, do that in a separate way,&rdquo; Haboush says.</p> <h4>Proofread</h4> <p>Have someone else review your bio, such as a colleague or mentor. Some bios unintentionally make you sound unapproachable, egotistical, or like too much of a novice, says Haboush. Ask your proofreader: &ldquo;Do you think this really speaks to who I am?&rdquo; Your proofreader can also help catch any grammar and spelling errors. Even one typo can damage a professional image, Cliff adds.</p> <h4>Revisit Your Bio Once a Year</h4> <p>Your bio shouldn&rsquo;t have to be updated very often &mdash; only when you have a new skill set or niche to add or you changed jobs. Therefore, make sure your bio is written in a timeless way. Instead of writing &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been in the business for seven years,&rdquo; try saying &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been in the business since 2008.&rdquo; That way you don&rsquo;t date it, Haboush recommends. Regardless, reread your bio at least once a year to make sure it&rsquo;s still projecting your brand.</p> <p>Remember, &ldquo;your bio is a narrative of why you love being a real estate agent,&rdquo; Cliff says. &ldquo;Instead of saying &lsquo;I&rsquo;m great&rsquo; and &lsquo;I&rsquo;m better,&rsquo; say what you are going to do for your client and why you&rsquo;re the person to do it.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Your online bio tells prospects whether you&rsquo;re the kind of person they want to work with. Here&rsquo;s how to craft a profile that will make them say yes.</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/apr15_SM_bio.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24784">apr15_SM_bio.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/apr15_SM_bio_0.jpg?1429555109" /> </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/apr15_LP_SM_bio.jpg?1429555129" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/01/up-your-blurb-appeal">Up Your Blurb Appeal</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2007/02/appeal-their-senses-choose-right-words">Appeal to Their Senses: Choose the Right Words</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/11/what-s-your-story-here-s-why-your-custom">What’s Your Story? Here’s Why Your Customers Need to Hear One!</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Relationship Management Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:14:23 +0000 gwood 18694 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Avoid 2 Colossal Mistakes When Going Paperless http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/avoid-2-colossal-mistakes-when-going-paperless <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"> Is your office ready to take the leap from paper to the cloud? Here’s how to choose a system that your agents and staff can get on board with. </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, April 20, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/lee-davenport">Lee Davenport</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Moving away from physical files and adopting a paperless transaction management system has its perks. It can improve client satisfaction, reduce liability, and help agents work more efficiently, according to a recent <a href="http://images.response.dotloop.com/Web/TheDotLoopCompany/%7Bbb016098-33ec-4adf-83f6-d579c87b9413%7D_Transaction_Systems_Special_Report.pdf" target="_blank">RealTrends</a> report. Going paperless is also an ideal way to instantly access and track your office&rsquo;s vital numbers. But we all know that the road to success often has some bumps along the way.</p> <p>I was an eyewitness to a semi-paperless office (SPO), where agents turned in paper contracts that were then saved to the cloud for review and storage. This was a trying period that resulted in at least one agent threatening to leave for another firm.</p> <p>Here are two colossal mistakes that brokers should avoid so that more of their agents accept the transition to the cloud and adopt the paperless revolution in the industry.</p> <h4>Mistake 1: Adding More Time to Your Agents&rsquo; Workload</h4> <blockquote> <p><em>&ldquo;Nothing so undermines organizational change as the failure to think through the losses people face.&rdquo;</em><br /> <em>&mdash; William Bridges</em></p> </blockquote> <p>At the SPO, many of the agents were already accustomed to the local MLS&rsquo;s online forms that automatically populated the agent&rsquo;s information, synced additional data added to the forms (like cooperating agent or client information), retrieved MLS data, and transmitted the forms from the MLS with e-signing options built in. This was fantastic for agents because they spent less time filling out contracts and chasing parties down to get signatures. Thus, the agents of the SPO wanted a new system to include those same features &mdash; because who wants to upgrade to something that requires more work, right?</p> <p>With MLS features like that, you might be wondering why a brokerage would seek a different solution. Well, the company did not have a singular dashboard within the MLS to view all of its transactions at a glance, which is typically found in many paperless management systems. Without a dashboard, a broker or staff member would have to manually click on numerous online files to see the status of each transaction. That&rsquo;s not a good use of anyone&rsquo;s time, especially when you have a significant number of agents.</p> <p>The SPO did select a paperless system with the transaction management dashboard it desired, but the system also required more manual input of MLS and client data from the agents. Some agents simply returned to the previous system when faced with the additional time commitment.</p> <p>The <a href="http://images.response.dotloop.com/Web/TheDotLoopCompany/%7Bbb016098-33ec-4adf-83f6-d579c87b9413%7D_Transaction_Systems_Special_Report.pdf" target="_blank">RealTrends</a> study I mentioned above found that just under a quarter of brokerages surveyed stayed away from adopting paperless systems because they believed agents would not make the transition. That concern came to fruition at the SPO when the new system did not feature certain functions that the agents already used and found to be helpful.</p> <p><strong>Solution: Consider Your Agents&rsquo; Needs</strong></p> <p>Agents are the lifeline of your business. If you are evaluating a paperless system that does not include features your agents demand, keep searching for a better system. Don&rsquo;t sacrifice the creature comforts your agents have grown accustomed to.</p> <p>Keep in mind that many people are averse to change. So once you find a system that you believe is a good fit, conduct a beta test or trial run with a small sample of your agents so that you can get in front of any concerns. Select a good mix, from those who are the most technologically savvy to those who still need help connecting to the office Wi-Fi. It is much better to roll out a new system to a few who understand it is a trial run. With an untested full-scale rollout, you risk upsetting everyone and make it harder to adopt the new system.</p> <h4>Mistake 2: Not Considering Staff Feedback</h4> <p>The SPO&rsquo;s staff had a valid concern: The dashboard in the new paperless system did not offer similar online checklists for monitoring transaction status as the previous system.&nbsp;Yikes!&nbsp;Helping staff better manage each transaction was, in essence, the main reason that the SPO wanted a new system.</p> <p>The makers of the paperless system that the SPO had selected promised customized features and support for staff. But during the system&rsquo;s inaugural week, the SPO learned that the company was not as supportive as needed, and the promises of customization never came to fruition. The new system was a nightmare for staffers, who were unable to effectively manage the transactions of the growing brokerage. As a result, the system was eliminated in less than a month.</p> <p><strong>Solution: Broaden Your Think Tank</strong></p> <blockquote> <p><em>&ldquo;Followers who tell the truth, and leaders who listen to it, are an unbeatable combination.&rdquo;</em><br /> &ndash; <em>Warren Bennis</em></p> </blockquote> <p>The great thing about having staff is that you do not have to make decisions in a vacuum.&nbsp;Value the feedback of your employees as they just may save you time, money, and client relationships.</p> <p>Simply offering a trial run of the software doesn&rsquo;t mean anything if you don&rsquo;t listen to, and act on, the feedback you get from both agents and staff. Take their concerns seriously and you&rsquo;ll get better buy-in when it&rsquo;s time to implement the new system.</p> <p>Ultimately, you should be open to feedback, evaluate its merit, and make decisions that advance the path of your business.</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>Is your office ready to take the leap from paper to the cloud? Here&rsquo;s how to choose a system that your agents and staff can get on board with.</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="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-how-others-did-it">2014 Paperless Guide: How Others Did It</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/applications/article/2014/08/2014-paperless-guide-6-steps-transitioning-your-office">2014 Paperless Guide: 6 Steps to Transitioning Your Office</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/02/go-beyond-training">Go Beyond Training</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2015/01/after-cuts-what-recession-taught-brokers">After the Cuts: What the Recession Taught Brokers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/04/2014-green-real-estate-office">2014 Green Real Estate: The Office</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, 20 Apr 2015 22:26:40 +0000 echristoffer 18696 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Mine the Gap http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/my-first-year/article/2015/04/mine-gap <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Look for expired listings you believe can still sell, but make sure you know how to approach the owners. </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, April 20, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mary-beth-klatt">Mary Beth Klatt</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Expired listings can be a tricky source of new business. When another agent couldn&rsquo;t get a property sold, should you step in and try to take the listing yourself? It&rsquo;s a practice that some look down on because it&rsquo;s often construed as stealing the original agent&rsquo;s business. But if you do it the right and ethical way, it could be a great avenue for new agents to build their client base.</p> <p>It is a <a href="/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2015/03/code-your-business">violation of the Code of Ethics</a> to solicit a seller who is already bound to an exclusive listing agreement with another agent. When a listing expires, any agency contract the seller is subject to presumably ends. But double-check before making a pitch for the seller&rsquo;s business. If, in fact, the agreement is over, then you can solicit the seller.</p> <p><img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/shanks_kelly.jpg" style="float:left;margin:3px;" />There are a couple of reasons rookie agents should consider doing this. For one, expired listings are a way to identify people who are still in need of real estate services. So if you&rsquo;re looking for clients, here&rsquo;s one way to find them. The owner of an expired listing is also likely unhappy with their original agent and could be convinced to give another professional a shot. Kelli Shanks, associate broker at Exit Realty Bend in Bend, Ore., learned those benefits when she mined her MLS for expired listings in early 2012, eventually landing one worth more than $500,000 that had expired with a top-producing agent.</p> <p>As part of a workshop, Shanks&rsquo; principal broker, Jim Mazziotti, challenged her and other agents to knock on the doors of expireds on New Year&rsquo;s Day that year. Mazziotti promised a $500 bonus to anyone who secured just one listing on that holiday.</p> <p>&ldquo;So I looked over the list and found one especially nice home that had expired on this snowy and cold New Year&rsquo;s Day,&rdquo; Shanks says. &ldquo;&lsquo;I can do this,&rsquo; I said to myself.&rdquo;</p> <p>That morning, Shanks drove to the city&rsquo;s prestigious Awbrey Butte neighborhood and knocked on the door of a two-story, four-bedroom home. The owner, as it turned out, wasn&rsquo;t immediately ready to try his hand at selling again because he was still disappointed that his home didn&rsquo;t sell the first time around. But Shanks discovered a few tactics that helped win his business.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Show your follow-up skills. </strong>Shanks says her prospect didn&rsquo;t even know his listing had expired because his previous agent didn&rsquo;t inform him. It&rsquo;s fairly common, she says, that behind an expired listing is poor communication between agent and client. So if you&rsquo;re trying to get an owner to relist with you, good communication is paramount. Shanks&rsquo; prospect told her that she contacted him more in a week than his previous agent did in six months. Because he was discouraged by the experience with the first agent, &ldquo;it took a few months from the time I knocked on the door for him to list with me,&rdquo; Shanks says. &ldquo;After repeatedly reassuring him that that was not the way I worked, he finally gave me a chance.&rdquo;</li> <li><strong>Demonstrate your faith in the sale. </strong>Owners of expired listings may have lost confidence in the ability of their property to sell. So if you want to convince them to relist with you, you need to show them your belief that it will sell. That starts with choosing expireds you actually do believe in. Shanks chose her prospect because his home represented a part of the market she always wanted to get into. &ldquo;It was exactly the kind of high-end home I wanted to list and at a price I wanted to expand my business into,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Having some knowledge of how the agent had marketed the home, I knew I could provide a marketing package that would get this home sold.&rdquo; Shanks assured her prospect that the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom house with a three-car garage would be appealing to buyers. Getting neighbors aware of the listing would be critical. She later walked door to door, passing out 200 flyers.</li> <li><strong>Be prepared to fend off objections. </strong>Even if you&rsquo;ve got all the right talking points down when you approach an owner of an expired listing, it may take a lot of convincing before they&rsquo;re willing to work with you. Shanks&rsquo; prospect needed reassurance that she wouldn&rsquo;t neglect communication the way his previous agent did, but he also worried about Shanks&rsquo; lack of experience. In her first year as an agent at the time, she noted that her principal broker had more than 20 years&rsquo; experience and would be guiding her along the way. Shanks also gave her prospect a written performance guarantee with nearly 20 points underscoring what she would do to get the property sold, including always returning his phone calls.</li> </ol> <p>It turns out that because she didn&rsquo;t sign the owner that first day of January 2012, Shanks didn&rsquo;t clinch Mazziotti&rsquo;s $500 offer. But Shanks eventually got something even better. She was able to secure the listing nearly nine weeks after her presentation, close on the property, and convert a very disappointed home owner into a lifelong client who recommends her to others and points out how her professionalism may also help them.</p> <p>Tenacity is paramount when pursuing expired listings. &ldquo;The most important advice I could give would be to be professional in your attitude and the way you dress,&rdquo; says Shanks. &ldquo;Make sure that you follow up consistently, and do what you say you&rsquo;re going to do.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Look for expired listings you believe can still sell, but make sure you know how to approach the owners.</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/apr15_SM_first_person.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38018">apr15_SM_first_person.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/apr15_SM_first_person_0.jpg?1429555931" /> </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/apr15_LP_SM_first_person.jpg?1429555954" /> </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/success-stories/article/2010/03/tackling-expired-listings">Tackling Expired Listings</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2003/03/5-things-do-when-your-listings-about-expire">5 Things to do When Your Listing&#039;s About to Expire</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2008/12/contact-caution">Contact with Caution</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> My First Year Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:06:25 +0000 gwood 18693 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 7 Deadly Sins of Real Estate http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/04/7-deadly-sins-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"> If you commit any of these offenses, then it&#039;s no wonder clients will pass you by. </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, April 17, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/leigh-brown">Leigh Brown</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I recently saw a Facebook post from a real estate agent mentioning that a consumer looked at 250 houses with eight different practitioners before finally making a purchase. You should have seen the comments on that post. You&rsquo;d think that wretched consumer should be burned at the stake! What heresy! How dare a consumer waste professionals&rsquo; time like that!</p> <p>Excuse me. Why is everyone so sure the consumer is the bad guy here?</p> <p>We all know some clients are more difficult to work with than others, but that doesn&rsquo;t automatically put them at fault when things don&rsquo;t work out between you. They might have moved on because you didn&rsquo;t up your game enough.</p> <p>There are seven deadly sins in real estate, offenses that could turn off any consumer. (Actually, I can think of many more sins, but we&rsquo;re keeping it simple for now.) If you commit any of them, then you can blame yourself for the loss of a client. As real estate professionals, we can be amazing advocates for consumers, but there&rsquo;s always room to improve. Start by absolving yourself of these shameful transgressions.</p> <h4>Sin No. 1: Abandonment</h4> <p>You work your butt off to earn clients&rsquo; trust and win their business. They share intimate details with you, and you become their confidante. But after the sale, where do you go? Do you drop them like a hot potato? Cash the check and leave?</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t stop calling, texting, and e-mailing your clients after they had the nerve to &mdash; gasp! &mdash; actually buy a house. Check in every so often. See how the kids are adjusting or if there are any questions popping up that you can answer. Call them when the county tax office does a re-evaluation of their property to see if they have any concerns. Be a resource forever. My clients know that unless they beg off or die, they are going to hear from me forever.</p> <h4>Sin No. 2: Cherry-picking</h4> <p>If you care about serving clients only in higher price points, you&rsquo;re turning away a ton of potential business at the lower end &mdash; and future referrals. You should have learned this during the 2008&ndash;12 real estate bust. It was then that agents who insisted on only working the top end found out that when those price points dry up, it&rsquo;s the cheap seats where folks continue to buy and sell.</p> <p>Sure, it&rsquo;s hard work to deal with a short sale or a nasty foreclosure, and trailer houses aren&rsquo;t the most glamorous side of real estate. But last time I checked, that money spends, too, regardless of market conditions. The folks you helped when no one else would &mdash; who you treated with as much respect as any other client &mdash; often turn into the best referral bird dogs you can imagine.</p> <p>Treat all price points well. It&rsquo;s smart business. And if you&rsquo;re so busy you can&rsquo;t see straight, then set up referral partners in your own amazing real estate community, and make sure that every potential client is cared for.</p> <h4>Sin No. 3: Not Asking Enough Questions</h4> <p>Finding out how to best serve your client isn&rsquo;t just about asking their price range and how many bedrooms and bathrooms they need. If you don&rsquo;t know why they want to move and what their goals are for buying or selling, then you don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s really important to them. Ask enough questions to get them to tell you everything, and listen.</p> <p>Any of you old-timers remember the immortal Howard Brinton? He taught me to always go &ldquo;three deep&rdquo; with questions. Clients will usually spill the truth after you&rsquo;ve asked the third question. If they answer with things that make you feel nervous about fair housing, you should have the resources available to direct them to the research they&rsquo;re seeking. For example, if you can&rsquo;t answer questions about school districts per your local laws, offer websites where your clients can do their own information gathering.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ask. Ask. Ask. Y&rsquo;all keep fussing about competition from online real estate portals. So ask questions and offer professional advice and expertise that buyers and sellers can&rsquo;t find on the Internet.</p> <h4>Sin No. 4: Too Much Ego</h4> <p>It meant something in 1978 to be a &ldquo;million-dollar agent,&rdquo; I suppose. Back then, I was still just a strapping young thing, so it wouldn&rsquo;t have made a difference to me. But for heaven&rsquo;s sake, it means nothing now. In some markets today, a million bucks isn&rsquo;t even a whole house. My second favorite phrase is &ldquo;No. 1 agent.&rdquo; No. 1 at what? And how many No. 1s are out there? Lots and lots, by my estimation.&nbsp;</p> <p>Clients are coming to us armed with more knowledge and education than ever before, but they still crave professional guidance and advice in understanding the data sets surrounding local real estate. How does your trumpeted-up marketing hailing yourself as the king or queen of real estate provide that for them? Instead of talking about ourselves, let&rsquo;s focus on the consumer. Figure out what you can offer that helps them reach their goals &mdash; not yours &mdash; and start setting yourself apart. Need a starting point? Read Simon Sinek&rsquo;s book, <a href="https://www.startwithwhy.com/" target="_blank"><em>Start With Why</em></a>.</p> <h4>Sin No. 5: Reluctance to Call</h4> <p>I don&rsquo;t know why it&rsquo;s said that the two things people fear most are public speaking and death. I&rsquo;m inclined to think picking up the phone has an even higher fear factor, since people use them almost exclusively to swipe and poke instead of talk. If I check any agent&rsquo;s phone at any time, I bet I&rsquo;ll see more incoming than outgoing calls.</p> <p>How about actually dialing a number or answering the phone when it rings? Even the millennial generation wants to talk on the phone when it&rsquo;s time. Vocal inflection makes a huge difference in the outcome of a conversation and can&rsquo;t be replaced by text and e-mail. By the way, when you get a call, you have to answer it quickly. If you need help managing all those calls, set up a <a href="http://www.google.com/voice" target="_blank">Google Voice</a> number for your business (yes, it&rsquo;s free!) so you can forward calls when you need some down time.</p> <h4>Sin No. 6: Fluff and Puff</h4> <p>You know you&rsquo;ve giggled at the bad photos in your MLS &mdash; the ones with neon-green grass or a sky that is an unreal (a.k.a. Photoshopped) shade of blue. Or property descriptions like &ldquo;diamond in the rough&rdquo; (read: falling down), &ldquo;charming&rdquo; (overly decorated), or &ldquo;cozy&rdquo; (cramped).&nbsp;</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve taught the consumer not to trust us by using deceptive marketing. We keep going back to the same tired phrases that don&rsquo;t realistically describe properties, and we use photos that are so doctored, they might as well be animations. If we want the general public to believe us, we need to use smart marketing words that are vivid but also accurate. Photos should be as flattering as possible, but they should also accurately depict a property. We need to do this for reasons beyond following the Code of Ethics or doing good business. It&rsquo;s just the <em>right thing to do</em>.</p> <h4>Sin No. 7: Inverted Priorities</h4> <p>Getting a call or a text? Drop everything and answer it. Supposed to have a date night? Reschedule it. Kids playing a ball game? Catch the next one. Church? Get there next week.</p> <p>Is this what you&rsquo;ll do for a deal? Too many real estate professionals who are amazing at their jobs and would walk across hot coals for their clients get life completely backwards. They&rsquo;ll put everything &mdash; the most important things, such as family, worship, or themselves &mdash; on hold to catch a deal. But you know what happens when real estate becomes your 24/7 be-all and end-all?&nbsp; Burnout.&nbsp;</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re burned out, you just can&rsquo;t do a great job for anyone. Your sharp wit is dulled, your follow-up is lackluster, and frankly, my dear, you just don&rsquo;t give a damn.&nbsp;</p> <p>Make yourself and your family your most important clients. Block time on your calendar for you and for them. Create a life environment that is healthy because when you are healthy, your client relationships will blossom and grow into more than you ever imagined.</p> <p><em>I&rsquo;ve got more sins than seven (I&rsquo;m now up to 11), so to find out what they are, you&rsquo;ll just have to </em><a href="youtube.com/leighbrownremax" target="_blank"><em>follow me on YouTube</em></a><em> or </em><a href="leighsells.com/blog" target="_blank"><em>visit my blog</em></a><em> because I&rsquo;m too verbose! It&rsquo;s an amazing honor to be in this profession, y&rsquo;all. Let&rsquo;s be the best we can and get better at our craft!</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>If you commit any of these offenses, then it&#39;s no wonder clients will pass you by.</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/mar15_SM_sins.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=48689">mar15_SM_sins.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/mar15_SM_sins_0.jpg?1429296285" /> </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/mar15_LP_SM_sins.jpg?1429296306" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:44:31 +0000 gwood 18684 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Hand Over That Suitcase Full of Money and Walk Away http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/hand-over-suitcase-full-money-and-walk-away <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"> Would a customer feel comfortable handing one of your agents a suitcase filled with cash? They should, and here’s why. </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, April 16, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/sammer-mudawar">Sammer Mudawar</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>All too often, I hear about consumers who hire agents simply because they know the person, felt obligated, or worse, negotiated a discounted commission. We know how the story ends: horrible MLS photos from a mobile phone, no phone calls or e-mails returned by the agent, the consumer loses money on the purchase or sale &mdash; and sometimes there&rsquo;s even a lawsuit. Poor representation hurts buyers and sellers, thus damaging our overall reputation as real estate professionals.</p> <p>I cringe at the idea of an agent being hired for any reason other than legitimate professional criteria. Selling or purchasing a home is not only an extremely personal and emotional transaction, it&rsquo;s also a significant business or financial decision. Yet because information such as sale prices, tax records, and other data are readily available on the Internet, many people tend to devalue the importance of working with a REALTOR&reg;. Likewise, some real estate agents take an apathetic approach with their customers.</p> <p>As brokers, it is vital that we strengthen the health and reputation of the real estate industry. We must hold not only ourselves but also our agents to the highest ethical and professional standards, and fully appreciate the responsibilities we are hired to perform.</p> <h4>The Suitcase Example</h4> <p>When a seller signs a listing contract on a $600,000 home, imagine a suitcase filled with 6,000 $100 bills. Now imagine the seller handing the suitcase over to the real estate agent and walking away. The scenario also works with buyers. Imagine an agent has submitted an offer on a $300,000 condo on behalf of his or her clients; again, imagine that suitcase full of money &mdash; potentially the client&rsquo;s entire net worth &mdash; being handed to the agent.</p> <p>I painted this picture to portray the significance of the job that real estate professionals do on a daily basis. We have the fiduciary responsibility to look out for clients&rsquo; best interests and treat their money as our own. But our responsibilities are downplayed through social media, reality TV, and the few rotten apples that give us a bad name.</p> <p>Consumers should ask themselves: &ldquo;Do I feel comfortable handing this person a suitcase full of cash?&rdquo; Perhaps if they thought about the transaction along those lines, they would think twice about just hiring someone because they are licensed and happen to be their retired next-door neighbor. Likewise, agents should ask themselves: &ldquo;What should I be doing to make this person comfortable handing me a suitcase full of cash?&rdquo; Real estate practitioners need to be able to communicate to consumers the importance of choosing a REALTOR&reg; and the potential risks of hiring the wrong person.</p> <p>If we work together as an industry to change the way we perceive our duties and obligations, then the public will start to recognize the value of our roles and the significance of choosing a REALTOR&reg;. Hold yourself, your office, and your agents to a higher standard and expect the clients to hold you accountable.</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>Would a customer feel comfortable handing one of your agents a suitcase filled with cash? They should, and here&rsquo;s why.</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/apr15_BB_money.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=39501">apr15_BB_money.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/apr15_BB_money_0.jpg?1429545020" /> </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/apr15_LP_BB_money.jpg?1429545036" /> </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/2013/03/5-ways-build-trust-in-digital-age">5 Ways to Build Trust in the Digital Age</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/11/providing-value-its-about-customer">Providing Value: It&#039;s About the Customer</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/04/how-build-x-factor-team">How to Build an X-Factor Team</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/09/2014-listing-presentation-guide-it-starts-meeting">2014 Listing Presentation Guide: It Starts Before the Meeting</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/agent-ratings-and-social-capital">Agent Ratings and Social Capital</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, 17 Apr 2015 22:36:43 +0000 echristoffer 18685 at http://realtormag.realtor.org One Piece of Recruitment Advice to Ignore http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/one-piece-recruitment-advice-ignore <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"> Hiring new agents? Focus less on their failures and more on how well they bounce 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">Friday, April 17, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mark-leader">Mark Leader</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>One of the best new agents I ever hired was a man named Nick Crankovich. He was a fearless prospector, clients loved him, and most importantly, he sold a lot of real estate. He made my company look good, and was the kind of team member anyone would be glad to have.</p> <p>And yet, when Nick stepped into my office that first day, he had just come off a series of failed interviews with three of my fellow board members. Had I followed all the recruiting advice I&rsquo;d been given at the time, I might have passed him over too. He was new to the country and still learning English, and he had no sales experience &ndash; in real estate or otherwise.</p> <p>Yet I believed he could be a great salesperson, and he proved me right.</p> <p>How did I know? I&rsquo;ll explain. But first, consider the following maxim, and then allow yourself to cast it aside:</p> <p><em>Past behavior is the best predictor of future results. </em></p> <p>This idea, widely popularized by TV&rsquo;s Dr. Phil, has become deeply ingrained in our popular culture. It&rsquo;s also the basis behind the technique called <a href="http://www.quintcareers.com/behavioral_interviewing.html" target="_blank">behavioral interviewing</a>, which has been touted as a more accurate predictor of future success than traditional lines of questioning.</p> <p>But once someone is deemed a failure, are they always a failure? Recently, experts including <em>Leadership IQ</em> author Mark Murphy have <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2014/12/03/the-hidden-flaw-in-behavioral-interview-questions/" target="_blank">pointed out the inherent flaws</a> of many typical behavioral interview questions. And while most experts seem to agree that past results can reliably forecast future results in predictable, repeatable situations, &ldquo;predictable&rdquo; and &ldquo;repeatable&rdquo; aren&rsquo;t words anyone uses to describe the workday of a real estate practitioner.</p> <p>In Silicon Valley&rsquo;s startup culture, where life can be similarly unpredictable, some of the most prevalent buzzwords right now are &ldquo;fail fast&rdquo; and &ldquo;fail forward.&rdquo; Or, in other words, assume that failure is part of the process, and just get it over with as quickly as you can.</p> <p>In real estate sales, the path to success is bumpy, uncharted, and paved with challenges, risks, and rejection. The same approach that won you five new listings yesterday can end with 10 doors slammed in your face tomorrow. Or vice versa.</p> <p>So when you find someone at your door telling you their last interview, their last job, or even their last career didn&rsquo;t end well, don&rsquo;t be so quick to assume their fate in real estate is similarly sealed. They may be <em>telling</em> you they&rsquo;ve failed at one thing, but what they&rsquo;re <em>showing</em> you is that they&rsquo;ve succeeded at something else: bouncing back. And that&rsquo;s what I was looking for when I interviewed Nick.</p> <p>The resiliency that carried him to my office after three failed interviews was the same trait that earned him more FSBO and expired listings than any of my other agents. His greatest strength was written boldly on his resume &mdash; all I needed to do was look between the lines.</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>Hiring new agents? Focus less on their failures and more on how well they bounce 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/apr15_BB_recruit.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37743">apr15_BB_recruit.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/apr15_BB_recruit_0.jpg?1429547788" /> </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/apr15_LP_BB_recruit.jpg?1429547808" /> </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/2015/02/tips-and-scripts-successfully-recruit">Tips and Scripts to Successfully Recruit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/tool-kit/recruitment">The Recruitment Tool Kit</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/02/help-wanted-looking-for-generation-y">Help Wanted: Looking for Generation Y </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2014/05/knock-down-recruiting-obstacles">Knock Down Recruiting Obstacles</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, 17 Apr 2015 22:51:01 +0000 echristoffer 18686 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Goal Setting Journey: Part 1 http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/goal-setting-journey-part-1 <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 real estate pro Mark Ferguson’s progress in this four-part series. Here, he outlines his 2015 business goals and offers tips for successfully setting goals. </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, April 14, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mark-ferguson">Mark Ferguson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I have been a licensed real estate agent since 2001, and admittedly, I struggled to sell houses and find my niche for the first five to six years of my career. But one simple action changed all that.</p> <p>In 2006, I started setting goals to increase my sales volume and income. Since then, my career has taken off; I built a great team &mdash; the Ferguson Team at Pro Realty &mdash; and I still have free time for my family.</p> <p>In this article, I will discuss why goals are important, and share my goals for 2015. In fact, I invite you to follow my goals throughout the rest of the year to see how I do.</p> <h4>How did I start setting goals?</h4> <p>When I started in real estate, I was one of those people who thought I didn&rsquo;t need goals; I could make things happen myself. The problem was, &ldquo;things&rdquo; had not been happening for years. I was tired of being stuck. At the time, I was on a team with my father and I wanted to prove to him that I could outsell another agent. I came up with the number of houses I would have to sell: almost 100. I didn&rsquo;t realize it at first, but I was already writing down my goals. Two years later, after diligently tracking this goal and setting supporting goals, I finally sold those 100 houses by myself.</p> <p>Why are goals important? Setting goals, writing them down, and holding myself accountable has made me a better agent, a better investor, and improved my personal life as well.</p> <p>Goals tell us where we want to go and how we plan to get there. Even if we veer off course, our goals are a road map for how to get back on track. You can&rsquo;t drift through life &mdash; or real estate, as I did during my first few years &mdash; just hoping that things work out and that you make a lot of money.</p> <p>For example, selling 100 houses seems like an impossible feat to many people. My approach was to break down 100 houses into weekly terms. It equates to less than two sales per week. I believe if a person creates a detailed plan of action, sets specific tasks he or she must complete every day, and works hard, selling two houses per week is within reach.</p> <p>Over the last three years, my team has sold approximately 200 houses annually. In 2013, after being part of my father&rsquo;s team for most of my real estate career, I bought him out and took over the business. Because my responsibilities have shifted, I no longer sell 100 houses myself; my team does most of the selling, and I concentrate on other income-producing activities, for which I set new goals.</p> <h4>What are my goals for 2015?</h4> <p>Not only do I have a residential real estate sales team, I also flip houses, own rental properties, and write <a href="http://investfourmore.com" target="_blank">a real estate blog</a>. I write down goals for each part of my business. I enjoy setting big, challenging goals to push myself as far as I can. I don&rsquo;t always reach them, but I get much further having big goals than I would with easy-to-accomplish ones that I know I can reach.</p> <p>Here are a few examples of what I&rsquo;m working on this year:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Help my team sell at least 200 houses. </strong>Many of our sales have been REO or HUD homes over the past few years, but the number of distressed properties is on the decline in Colorado. Selling 200 homes in 2015 will require more work for my team.</li> <li><strong>Add at least three agents to the team. </strong>In order to meet our sales goal, we need more great agents. We have very high standards on our team and it is not easy to find agents who meet those standards.</li> <li><strong>Fix and flip 10 houses. </strong>I flipped 12 houses in 2014, but it took a lot of capital. Considering my time availability, as well as that of my contractors, I decided to slightly scale back on flips.</li> <li><strong>Buy six new rental properties.</strong> <a href="http://investfourmore.com/2013/05/01/my-plan-to-purchase-100-rental-properties-by-january-of-2023-part-one-of-two/" target="_blank">I have a huge goal of owning 100 rental properties by 2023</a>, and to meet that goal I have to start ramping up my purchases. With the market improving daily, it is tough to find good deals, but I am not buying rentals that won&rsquo;t turn a profit.</li> <li><strong>Average 300,000 monthly page views on investfourmore.com by the end of the year. </strong>I plan to introduce a new product to help agents start investing in rentals and to develop rental property software and create a discussion forum.</li> </ol> <h4>How have my 2015 goals progressed so far?</h4> <p>Some of my goals are on track and others need some work.</p> <ol> <li><strong>We have sold only 27 houses so far.</strong> This is way below my goal. We had some major changes when we lost two agents and another two agents slated to come on board ended up not joining our team. Additionally, HUDs and REOs have been down even more than expected, and the overall inventory in our market is extremely low. The good news is our team has more than 20 houses under contract as of April 1.</li> <li><strong>Two new agents are joining our team.</strong> I mentioned we lost a couple of agents and had two more decide not to join; however, we now have two more agents set to join us in the next few months. We have another established agent interviewing as well.</li> <li><strong>I have already sold five flips.</strong> It looks like this goal will be fairly easy to reach. I may adjust this goal to be more aggressive.</li> <li><strong>I have already purchased two new rental properties.</strong> I am ahead of schedule on this goal as well, but I will have to continue to work hard to find great deals.</li> <li><strong>I topped 200,000 page views in January.</strong> This was much higher than expected; however, I completed a site redesign in March and our traffic went down slightly. I still think my goal is reachable. My agent product is almost ready, which I plan to introduce before the end of April. The rental property software is being developed by my nephew and will be ready in a couple months. <a href="http://investfourmore.com/community/" target="_blank">I launched the discussion board and it has been a fantastic success so far</a>.</li> </ol> <p>As we start the second quarter of 2015, some of my business goals are progressing smoothly, but there is room for improvement. Our team has not sold nearly as many houses as I would have liked, but I am happy with the progress being made on my blog, rental property, and flipping goals.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s never too late to set business goals for the year. Don&rsquo;t let day-to-day work activities replace the big picture. Start by writing down what you want and the steps you&rsquo;ll need to take each month &mdash; and even each day &mdash; to get there. Then regularly track your progress. By checking in on your goals, you&rsquo;ll learn how to balance and prioritize tasks as needed.</p> <p>Check back in June when I offer more goal-setting tips and share my next progress report.</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>Follow real estate pro Mark Ferguson&rsquo;s progress in this four-part series. Here, he outlines his 2015 business goals and offers tips for successfully setting goals.</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/2015/01/building-community-minded-culture">Building a Community-Minded Culture </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/03/growing-your-reo-business">Growing Your REO Business </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/04/how-be-bruce-springsteen-real-estate">How to Be the Bruce Springsteen of Real Estate</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/build-your-business/article/2011/02/business-toolbox-setting-and-reaching-your-goals-par">Business Toolbox: Setting and Reaching Your Goals, Part I</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2015/01/7-negative-practices-you-need-let-go">7 Negative Practices You Need to Let Go</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:10:45 +0000 echristoffer 18667 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Podcasting to Build Your Brand http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/podcasting-build-your-brand <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> You don’t have to be a techie to launch a successful podcast. Here’s how to get started and why this cutting-edge marketing tool will give you a leg up over the competition. </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, April 15, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mario-jannatpour">Mario Jannatpour</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>How much money are you spending to keep your company blog and website updated and current? Do you have a staff person managing your Facebook and Twitter accounts? Are you posting articles on LinkedIn to help recruit new agents? All of these business practices are important, but they require a lot of time and effort &mdash; and sometimes a lot of money.</p> <p>Podcasting might be the best low-cost method available today to market yourself and your company. The good thing about podcasting is that not everyone is doing it. How many real estate blogs are there on the Internet? Countless. How many real estate websites are there? Millions, right? How many podcasts are there in your area talking about real estate issues? Not many.</p> <p>You can&rsquo;t surf on the Web when you&rsquo;re jogging; you can&rsquo;t read a blog while you&rsquo;re washing the dishes; you can&rsquo;t watch a video while you&rsquo;re driving a car (and anyone who is should probably be arrested). But you know what? You can listen to a podcast doing all of those activities &mdash; and many people do. Almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so that means they all have access to a podcast on-the-go.</p> <p>Last year, I started <a href="http://mariojann.com/podcast-2/" target="_blank">my own podcast</a> to help build my brand as an author in the real estate community. It didn&rsquo;t cost much to get started: I bought a $50 microphone, spent $50 for call-recording software that integrates with Skype, and purchased audio-editing software for $20 a month along with podcast-hosting services for $20 a month. That was it. I have a basic Windows laptop, and I recorded my podcast in my home office. I&rsquo;m no techie, but it was not hard for me to figure out the process of recording, editing, and posting my podcast online.</p> <p>I was really excited when I started out. I had delusions of grandeur that my podcast was going to get tens of thousands of downloads a day, and I could quit my day job and move to Hawaii. Ah, yes, it&rsquo;s always good to dream. In reality, I had two downloads after the first day, and after my first week, I had 30 downloads total. It&rsquo;s safe to say that pretty much only family and friends were listening. Naturally, I was disappointed, but I stuck with it.</p> <p>Tip: Know your target audience. Mine is aspiring and new agents, and I tailor my podcasts specifically to this group. I record podcasts on my own, but I have also been fortunate to record podcasts with generous guests who are willing to give back and help new agents. To date, I have interviewed Richard Robbins, Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Jared James, Jack Cotton, top-producing agents, and new agents just starting out. Month by month, my audience grew, and I started feeling really good about what I was doing. In March I set a new downloads record &mdash; just over 10,000, which is very exciting. The quality of my content and my recordings has also improved over time.</p> <p>Podcasting is a huge opportunity for brokers right now. Here are some ways it could benefit your company:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Recruiting:</strong> Podcasting is a great way to connect with the next generation of agents. The baby boomer agents are moving on in the next five to 10 years, so you need to find new agents for your company. Well, guess who listens to podcasts? Check the demographics.</li> <li><strong>Generating company leads:</strong> Having a popular podcast will connect you to your target audience. Cover local real estate issues and market trends and provide important tips to potential buyers and sellers. Consider interviewing home inspectors, lenders, local government officials and economists, landscaping experts, interior decorators, stagers, public school officials, top agents, new agents, industry experts, and anyone else you think would offer value to your potential clients.</li> <li><strong>Making your website more valuable:</strong> Yes, you can <a href="https://support.apple.com/kb/TA23478?locale=en_US" target="_blank">submit your podcasts for potential availability on iTunes</a>, but you&rsquo;re also going to put your podcasts on your website, which will help your SEO. Then post links to your podcast on your Facebook business page and your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles.</li> <li><strong>Building your brand and gaining respect:</strong> Because you are providing real value with your content and interviews, your brand recognition will grow, helping you to stand out from the competition.</li> </ol> <p>One other benefit of podcasting is that there are many resources available online to help you get started. My advice is to start podcasting sooner rather than later because I believe the window of opportunity for being a market leader in this field will close within the next year or so as I see more and more agents and brokers getting into podcasting. If you&rsquo;re good at it, you&rsquo;ll offer value to your listeners, which will lead to your podcast growing over time.</p> <p>I still have my day job, but my step is a little lighter knowing I have created a successful podcast on my own. If I can help you in any way, just let me know.</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>You don&rsquo;t have to be a techie to launch a successful podcast. Here&rsquo;s how to get started and why this cutting-edge marketing tool will give you a leg up over the competition.</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/apr15_BB_podcast.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=13148">apr15_BB_podcast.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/apr15_BB_podcast_0.jpg?1429217669" /> </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/apr15_LP_BB_podcast.jpg?1429217686" /> </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/success-stories/article/2012/12/sharing-motivation">Sharing Motivation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/tech-watch/article/2006/02/podcasting-s-impact-real-estate">Podcasting’s Impact on Real Estate</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/mr-internet/article/2006/06/tap-power-podcasting">Tap the Power of Podcasting</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2014/12/9-steps-video-marketing-success">9 Steps to Video Marketing Success</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:53:27 +0000 echristoffer 18669 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How to Be the Bruce Springsteen of Real Estate http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/04/how-be-bruce-springsteen-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"> The same components that rocketed the legendary musician to superstardom can make you a rock-star salesperson. </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, April 9, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/brenton-hayden">Brenton Hayden</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>We call people who are very successful at what they do &ldquo;rock stars.&rdquo; But do you handle your business the way a real rock star handles the stage?</p> <p>Real estate professionals turn prospects into clients the same way musicians turn listeners into fans: by having a well-defined personal brand that people can relate to. The best musicians are masters of marketing, and they know that their success relies on their ability to connect with their fans on a real level by discovering what they want and giving it to them.</p> <p>Think about Bruce Springsteen, largely considered one of the greatest musicians of our time. &ldquo;The Boss&rdquo; is known for his authenticity on and off the stage and for his fervent commitment to fans, which continues to draw thousands to his concerts more than 40 years after he first hit the music scene.</p> <p>So how do you become the Bruce Springsteen of real estate? When it comes to personal branding, the same concepts that have made Springsteen a star can also apply to your business. You have to consciously and purposefully establish your personal brand and start building a name for yourself to avoid blending in. Here are some notes you can take from Springsteen to develop your own rock-star strategy for success.</p> <h4>Find Your Hook</h4> <p>Successful people stand for something that other people can identify with. That something is their hook. For Springsteen, his hook is his unmistakable Americana: that signature working-class look with a red baseball cap in his back pocket on the cover of his &ldquo;Born in the U.S.A.&rdquo; album. Aside from his notable voice and powerful lyrics, Springsteen grabs people by showing them that he relates to the everyday man.</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re looking for your hook, ask yourself the following questions: What do you want to be known for? What makes you an expert? How are you different than your competition? If you excel at selling starter homes, for example, try presenting yourself as someone who understands young families&rsquo; needs. Maybe you have a knack for spectacular home showings or possess excellent negotiation skills. Whatever it is, make sure your hook addresses something home buyers need and connect with. That will give them a reason to choose you.</p> <p>Once you define your hook, look for ways to get it out there. Craft it into your promotional materials and messaging. When you&rsquo;re speaking to the media, make sure that what you say reinforces your hook. Spend some time brainstorming all of the various ways you can introduce your unique personality into the mix.</p> <h4>Know Your Demographic</h4> <p>Every musician has a target demographic, and Springsteen&rsquo;s is wider than most. His music appeals to younger generations as well as loyal older fans. He&rsquo;s crafted songs that speak to the universal human experience and get at situations and feelings we&rsquo;ve all shared. That&rsquo;s part of what makes him accessible to new and longtime fans.</p> <p>As a real estate practitioner, you need to know who you&rsquo;re targeting. Unless you&rsquo;re in a very specialized market, you&rsquo;re probably in an area where you&rsquo;ve got younger and older buyers and sellers: first-time buyers, owners looking to downsize in retirement, and people with both large and small incomes. You might be like Springsteen, where you&rsquo;re everything to everyone. In this case, your branding and tactics for appealing to your audience will need to be much tamer than, say, an agent who is based in a large metropolis where more slick and modern-looking imagery and branding is the norm.</p> <p>But every area has its own particular traits. Take some time to research the make-up of your region. Find out its socioeconomic profile, the age spread of people living there, and anything else that helps you understand who makes up the primary market for your services. Once you have an idea of the group you&rsquo;d like to focus on, learn their media consumption habits in order to understand where you should spend your marketing dollars to attract their attention. Put yourself in their shoes to establish a good sense of their interests, needs, and wants.</p> <h4>Be Flexible</h4> <p>While Springsteen has stayed true to himself throughout his career, he&rsquo;s been able to appeal to so many fans by adapting his music to the changing times. He first found fame in the rock &rsquo;n&rsquo; roll scene of the 1970s, but his more recent albums show the influence of hip-hop. He&rsquo;s been able to reinvent the product he delivers while staying consistent with his commitment to quality music and to his fans. It shows what a skilled musician he is that he can traverse different genres.</p> <p>As a real estate practitioner, you can reinvent the way you serve clients while maintaining consistent high quality. Staying plugged into the industry via publications, blogs, conferences, and networking events will help you to know what is new on the scene and to evaluate what new tools are at your disposal. Remaining closed to new ideas keeps you from gaining knowledge and improving your current systems, and it puts the competition at an advantage.</p> <p>The key to staying relevant is to stay flexible. Keep yourself up-to-date and open to change. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to embrace new technology and adapt to changing markets. Never turn down the opportunity to learn a new skill.</p> <h4>Be Consistent</h4> <p>Many people try to be trendy and jump on bandwagons, but Springsteen&rsquo;s success has always had the same firm foundation: his notable voice, a guitar, great melodies, and an American message. There&rsquo;s even been an academic paper written about it titled<em> </em><a href="https://journals.ku.edu/index.php/amerstud/article/viewFile/2821/2780" target="_blank"><em>&ldquo;Is That Me, Baby?&rdquo; Image, Authenticity, and the Career of Bruce Springsteen</em></a>.</p> <p>He has consistently met the expectations of his fans by staying true to his core beliefs and values, and his fans love him for it. Consistency is one of the best ways to be successful. If you can consistently meet your client&rsquo;s expectations, you&rsquo;ll soon create a name for yourself. If you can remain consistent with your personal brand, potential customers will come to know what you stand for, and if that resonates with them, they&rsquo;ll be apt to seek you out.</p> <h4>Don&rsquo;t Get Boxed In</h4> <p>Springsteen owns the stage. He is confident, and it&rsquo;s impossible to define him as anything other than who he is. When interacting with his fans, it&rsquo;s the same story. Bruce controls the narrative. He&rsquo;s media-savvy and knows his way around an interview. The moral of the story? Be yourself, and don&rsquo;t let others define you.</p> <p>Develop an identity that&rsquo;s in line with your personal brand, and incorporate it consistently into everything you do. This can take the form of visuals that are sleek and modern or charming and folksy, using a signature color or icon, or any such initiative that you seek to add a bit of flair. Ensure that your business cards, your website, and brochures all convey this image. Wear a tie or scarf that displays your signature color. Taking the time to set yourself apart will ensure you stand out from your competitors and allows you to set the tone.</p> <h4>Give Yourself Credit</h4> <p>Successful music artists don&rsquo;t get to where they are because they&rsquo;ve downplayed their capabilities. They&rsquo;re confident and happy to show the world what they have to offer. Springsteen has won multiple awards for his music, with 20 Grammys to his name. While he&rsquo;s not one to brag about his accomplishments, he doesn&rsquo;t shy away from talking about his goals and aspirations either.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think I just wanted to be great, y&rsquo;know?&rdquo; Springsteen said in a <a href="http://www.uncut.co.uk/features/bruce-springsteen-i-think-i-just-wanted-to-be-great-part-1-21634" target="_blank">2013 interview with <em>Uncut</em> magazine</a>. &ldquo;I wanted to be really as good as I could be, and I wanted to live up to the people who had been my heroes.&rdquo;</p> <p>Be sure to give yourself credit where credit is deserved. The old saying is true: We are our own worst critics. And in an effort not to offend anyone, we end up downplaying our achievements and brushing over our credentials. Don&rsquo;t &mdash; repeat, don&rsquo;t &mdash; fall into this trap. It&rsquo;s important to celebrate your accomplishments and to display your accreditation proudly. List all of your successes on LinkedIn, and add these credentials to your e-mail signature line. Show the world what you&rsquo;ve got.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t leave your branding to chance. Take a stand and start building your reputation. By consciously creating your brand, you will have the power to influence how you&rsquo;re seen in your industry, and you will be able to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Your personal brand can directly impact the number of new clients that walk through your door. So make it happen &mdash; it&rsquo;s time to get this show on the road!</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 same components that rocketed the legendary musician to superstardom can make you a rock-star salesperson.</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/apr15_SM_boss.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38907">apr15_SM_boss.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/apr15_SM_boss_0.jpg?1428528709" /> </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/apr15_LP_SM_boss.jpg?1428528732" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/06/23/90s-pop-icon-offers-up-real-estate-tips">&#039;90s Pop Icon Offers Up Real Estate Tips</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2015/03/building-lollapalooza-brand-for-buyers">Building a Lollapalooza Brand for Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/music-buyers-ears">Music to Buyers’ Ears</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:53:55 +0000 gwood 18631 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Get Seller Financing to Work for You http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2015/04/get-seller-financing-work-for-you <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> By doing a little homework and learning about this alternative to traditional mortgages, you can carve out a niche in your area. </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, April 6, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/liz-bigio">Liz Bigio</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Seller financing has been a hot issue in recent real estate news due to the changes in regulations, specifically in the Dodd-Frank Act. Here&rsquo;s what you need to know to incorporate this method into your business strategy and be the best advocate for your clients.</p> <h4>Know What You&rsquo;re Talking About</h4> <p>Stated simply, seller financing is where the seller holds the mortgage for the buyer instead of a traditional lender such as a bank.</p> <p>Numerous websites can provide more information, but two sets of rules are always important, <a href="http://www.ksefocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/4/1720.pdf" target="_blank">according to the National Association of REALTORS&reg;</a>. In both cases, sellers cannot provide seller financing more than three times a year without a loan originator license and would not qualify for regulatory exemptions if they had constructed the residence on the property. Also, there are rules in place to prevent predatory lending, wherein the seller ensures that the buyer can repay the loan. It does not require documentation but it wouldn&rsquo;t be a bad idea to ask the buyer to furnish bank stubs, W-2s, tax returns, or other financial information.</p> <p>Stricter rules apply to a seller who is a person, a trust, a corporation, LLC, or other business entity that sells more than one but no more than three houses per year. Under these conditions, the loan must be fully amortizing.</p> <p>The more lenient rules &mdash; under which the loan can be fully amortizing or it can be a balloon mortgage &mdash; apply to a seller who is a person or trust and sells only one house per year using seller financing. Under these rules, the loan can have a fixed interest rate or an adjustable interest rate (under the stricter rules, the rate cannot adjust until after five or more years). In either case, there are more rules to follow when the loan has an adjustable rate, so be sure to do the additional research if your client is going that route.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Get Creative</strong></p> <p>Seller financing is just one of the many methods known as creative financing. Other methods include assumptions, wraps, lease options, and private seconds. Read up on these topics as much as you can. I suggest reading&nbsp;<a href="http://www.johnschaub.com/johns-books/" target="_blank"><em>Building Wealth One House at a Time</em></a>&nbsp;by John&nbsp;Schaub&nbsp;if you are interested in learning more about creative financing. John is a full-time investor. He buys, sells, and manages all of his properties and teaches others to do the same. If a seller thinks that this type of financing is too risky,&nbsp;Schaub&nbsp;assures, &ldquo;Landlords are used to letting someone move into their house after paying only one or two months&rsquo; rent and a security deposit. If the rent and security deposit on a house totals $3,500, then letting someone move in with a $5,000 down payment is less risky than renting them the property.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>This all may seem like boring legalese, but it&rsquo;s important for you to know. Your client may not qualify for a loan, throwing the deal into jeopardy. Or they may have no trouble getting approved for their first loan, but be unable to get a second loan. You need to stay up-to-date on this topic in order to be your clients&rsquo; trusted adviser.</p> <h4>Know Who It Will Benefit and How</h4> <p><em>What types of sellers can offer this type of financing?</em> Sellers who own their homes free and clear or who have a small mortgage that can be paid off with the down payment. According to the U.S. Census&rsquo; 2009&ndash;2013 5-Year American Community Survey, around one-third of owner-occupied housing units in the United States do not have a mortgage.</p> <p><em>How does a seller benefit from this type of financing? </em>More financing options attract more buyers. Furthermore the seller will only be taxed on the monthly payments per year and not on the entire purchase price at once. For example if the free-and-clear house sells for $100,000 cash or via a traditional loan, the seller pays taxes on $100,000. If he finances the house and receives $750 per month, for example, he pays taxes on $9,000 ($750 x 12) per year.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to understand the types of buyers who benefit from seller financing. Generally, they fall into these two categories:</p> <ol> <li>The buyer who can&rsquo;t get traditional financing. Most banks are not flexible with loan terms. With seller financing the buyer can negotiate the terms of the mortgage face-to-face with the seller, with you by their side. And typically there are fewer closing costs without a traditional lender.</li> <li>The buyer who does not want traditional financing, such as an investor. Rather than a standard down payment required by banks, investors can finance the entire purchase or offer a lower down payment along with something else for the seller, such as a higher monthly payment, a boat, hockey tickets, golf clubs, or other perks, or they can finance the down payment.</li> </ol> <h4>Understand How Seller Financing Can Work for You</h4> <p>As an agent, you can help more buyers and sellers by having this knowledge, but it&rsquo;s important to understand your role. Generally, you&rsquo;ll be paid for your work in the same way you&rsquo;d be paid at a traditionally funded closing. The seller can use the buyer&rsquo;s down payment to pay your commission. Or you can opt to be paid monthly, over time. Choose whichever way you are most comfortable with, but make sure to get it in writing.</p> <p>You can use this knowledge to tap into a new market. Create a niche. Be known in your office as the agent who specializes in creative financing. Do some research in your farm area. Send mailers to households that own their property free and clear, stating that you can sell their home quickly with seller financing. However, it is very important that you do not negotiate the terms of financing.</p> <p>Be sure you know the rules and regulations, especially the Dodd-Frank Act. Talk to a CPA so you know the tax implications. Interview title companies or attorneys that specialize in this type of closing. If you are comfortable with this, your client will be comfortable as well. Educate your clients and close more deals with seller financing this year.</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>By doing a little homework and learning about this alternative to traditional mortgages, you can carve out a niche in your area.</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/apr15_LE_finance.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=62706">apr15_LE_finance.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/apr15_LE_finance_0.jpg?1428340245" /> </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/apr15_LP_LE_finance.jpg?1428340258" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/law/article/2011/07/sellers-can-fill-void">Sellers Can Fill a Void</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/law/article/2008/12/seller-financing-may-be-worth-exploring">Seller Financing May Be Worth Exploring</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tool-kit/sell-your-business/article/ways-protect-yourself-under-seller-financing">Ways to Protect Yourself Under Seller Financing</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/how-i-sold-it/article/2009/10/tapping-creative-financing">Tapping Creative Financing</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/07/01/sellers-sweeten-deal-attract-buyers">Sellers Sweeten the Deal to Attract Buyers</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, 06 Apr 2015 15:26:21 +0000 mwhite 18616 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Planning a Smart Landscape http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2015/04/planning-smart-landscape <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"> With spring in full bloom, home owners are ready to enjoy their yards. Share how a master landscape plan can improve an entire site, satisfy their wish list, and help a property appeal to future buyers. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, April 6, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>So many buyers base their housing decision on location, price, and curb appeal. Neatly pruned hedges? Colorful flowers? Level, paved walk? Check, check, check.</p> <p>But the great outdoors are about much more than just the front yard, particularly when home owners want a pond, outdoor room, or vegetable garden. Whether they can afford all of that will depend in part on their budget and the site. But the order in which they do the work also makes a difference. Without an overall plan to guide the work, the pond may not leave room for the terrace or garden that the owners might have hoped for down the road.</p> <p>Working from a master landscape plan can help avert such problems. With the plan &mdash; similar to a blueprint that maps interior changes &mdash; the entire site is designed at one time. Softscape (flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees), hardscape (materials for walkways, terraces, and walls), and amenities like the pond and a deck are chosen all at once. The plan takes into account yard size, topography, climate, water availability, neighborhood covenants, maintenance requirements, and budget.</p> <p><img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/mar15_HD_landscape_3.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />&ldquo;The main points of a plan are to meet the community&rsquo;s zoning requirements and setbacks and help clients visualize how it all lays out and is sequenced,&rdquo; says Pittstown, N.J.&ndash;based landscape designer Howard Roberts. Sequencing involves defining how users get from one area to another, perhaps from a pool to a changing house, Roberts says. The plan also will provide a more complete sense of the costs involved, he adds.</p> <p>Many home owners with garden expertise can sketch where they want everything to go &mdash; a row of tulips and daffodils in front and fruit trees to shade a rear patio. But for those without such knowledge or others who desire bigger improvements such as a full outdoor kitchen, it&rsquo;s prudent to bring on board a landscape professional who makes recommendations and draws a detailed plan to scale.</p> <p>Just because home owners have a grand plan in place doesn&rsquo;t mean the installation has to happen all at once; projects can be phased in over several years. In fact, the slow approach offers an advantage. Garde<img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_HD_landscape_2.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />ns can take three years or more to fill in. The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap, says California landscape designer Michael Glassman, coauthor of the upcoming book <em>The Garden Bible: Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Garden </em>(Images, 2015). As plantings mature, home owners may want to make revisions. Perhaps they want more fragrance in their bulb garden&mdash;think hyacinths and lavender. If they desire more birds, butterflies, and bees to visit, they may want to try bushes with berries such as elderberries and blueberries, says Julie Moir Messervy, a landscape designer in Saxtons River, Vt., and author of <em>Landscaping Ideas that Work</em> (Taunton Press, 2014).</p> <p>Share these three steps with home owners so they end up with the most useful plan and reap the best results.</p> <h4>Make a wish list</h4> <p>Home owners need to prioritize what they want since few properties and budgets permit everything. Suggest they study garden books such as <em><a href="http://celestelongacre.com/" target="_blank">Celeste&rsquo;s Garden Delights</a> </em>(Celeste Longacre, 2015) or websites like <a href="http://www.gardenista.com/" target="_blank">Gardenista,</a> take a garden tour organized by <a href="https://www.gardenconservancy.org/" target="_blank">The Garden Conservancy</a> or other groups, or stroll through favorite neighborhoods. Choices vary, but the following five are generating big buzz:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Outdoor kitchen.</strong> The cost and size depend on the number and brands of appliances, amount of storage and countertops, lighting, and seating.</li> <li><strong>Vegetable garden. </strong>These can be as simple as a few containers filled with favorite veggies and herbs or as elaborate as a setup with rows planted in the ground or in raised beds with a fence to keep out wildlife.</li> <li><strong>More hardscape, less lawn. </strong>This sustainable choice helps cut maintenance and watering. But Messervy cautions, &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t pave over paradise.&rdquo; She prefers small hardscape areas for different activities, such as a sitting area around a fire pit.</li> <li><strong>Drought-tolerant plants.</strong> Native flora in proper soil can also help pare water use, even in non-drought areas. &ldquo;Climates are changing. Six or seven years ago we weren&rsquo;t talking about a drought in California, and Boston had never received so much snow,&rdquo; Glassman says.</li> <li><strong>Perennials. </strong>These plants return annually without replanting, saving money and labor. Their downside is that they often offer less vivid color than annuals offer. Glassman suggests home owners pop in a few annual favorites such as impatiens, cyclamen, or snapdragons.</li> </ul> <h4>Hire the right professional</h4> <p>For home owners who aren&rsquo;t experienced, there&rsquo;s great advantage to hiring professionals who understand all factors that influence success. They know which plants wildlife crave &mdash; for example, deer love hostas and squirrels feast on tulips, says Messervy. They also know that hostas thrive in shade while daylilies need sun. And they&rsquo;re experienced in arranging colors. &ldquo;A mass of white drift roses will make a bigger visual impact than smattering of different hues,&rdquo; says Glassman<img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_HD_landscape_2_new.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />Advise home owners to consider pros with skills that reflect their specific needs. They should examine any design pro&rsquo;s website or portfolio, secure recommendations, and visit some finished jobs &mdash; preferably several years old to see how they&rsquo;ve held up, says Roberts. And always advise clients to sign a written contract, which will spell out who is responsible for each part of the job if problems arise. Here are four categories of professionals to consider:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Water Wise</strong></p> <p>With California Governor Jerry Brown requiring reduced water use due to the state&rsquo;s four-year drought, gardening professionals and home owners across the nation should take note of techniques to reduce waste:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Water smarter</strong>. Landscape designer Michael&nbsp;Glassman, who lives and works in northern California, notes that watering early in the morning before the sun is hot reduces evaporation. North Carolina landscape architect Jeff Allen recommends watering fewer days for longer periods; he says saturating soil more deeply helps create healthier plants. Drip sprinkler systems are the most efficient for plants like boxwoods that don&rsquo;t like overhead watering. Both also recommend sprays and micro-misters to target tops of other varieties, but a local professional can provide personalized advice on how specific plants, shrubs, and flowers should be watered.</li> <li><strong>Mulch</strong>.&nbsp;Glassman&nbsp;suggests putting down heavy organic mulch in&nbsp;spring and fall, which reduces water evaporation from the soil.</li> <li><strong>Select drought-tolerant plants</strong>. In Allen&rsquo;s North Carolina location, he uses hardy groundcovers like liriope and pachysandra instead of tender perennials such as columbine and bleeding heart. For flowers, he goes with hardy shrub roses and hydrangeas as opposed to more sensitive phlox and delphinium.</li> <li><strong>Choose water features thoughtfully</strong>. To reduce evaporation, Allen suggests using canvas hydraulic covers when swimming pools are not being used, recirculating water from waterfalls, sprays, and jets, and harvesting storm water for irrigation.</li> </ul> </blockquote> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://apld.org/?p=certification" target="_blank">Landscape designer</a>/<a href="http://www.asla.org/yourpath/index.html">architect.</a></strong> Both design specialists understand plants, basic engineering, water issues, and what a plan should include. The main differences are their professional schooling and licensing requirements.</li> <li><strong>Arborist.</strong> This expert is trained to diagnose a tree&rsquo;s healthfulness. They can help determine when trees should be pruned, removed (if diseased), or transplanted (if taking too many nutrients and water from soil in its location). Glassman suggests hiring a <a href="http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/arboristsearch.aspx" target="_blank">certified arborist</a> when a home includes large specimen trees &mdash; those that are unusual and that may be taller, older, with unusual leaves and flowers, or in other need of extra care. Doing so is also smart if any tree&rsquo;s branches look &ldquo;sad&rdquo; or dead, or its canopy of branches and leaves needs to be opened to allow more light to reach lower limbs.</li> <li><strong>Landscape contractor</strong>. This professional may be skilled in a range of work, from planting trees to building a bocce court or pool. Suggest that home owners pick the person with the right skill set and experience for their job.</li> <li><strong>Design-build firm</strong>. Many of these companies have a variety of specialists on staff who do everything from designing a site to building and maintaining it. There&rsquo;s a convenience to getting all these skills from one source; the downside is that home owners don&rsquo;t have the advantage of competitive bids, says Glassman.</li> </ul> <p>Home owners can also consult local cooperative extension services, often connected with colleges. These offer soil testing and information on the best planting choices for the area. They can also advise about local invasive plants to avoid and which area bugs may cause certain plants and trees to fail.</p> <h4>Budget wisely</h4> <p>Most landscape professionals suggest home owners spend between 10 and 20 percent of their home&rsquo;s value on landscaping. That percent may go down if prior owners installed quality work, but it can go higher if the project includes big-ticket items like a swimming pool, says Roberts.</p> <p>Home owners may want to check the latest <em><a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2015/" target="_blank">Cost vs. Value</a></em> report, which will help them understand average paybacks to expect at resale. In the most recent survey, a mid-range composite deck addition averages $11,476 in resale value (a 74.3 percent payback). An upscale version averages a higher $22,881 at resale but offers a smaller 65.1 percent payback. The good news is that some luxury choices can be scaled back but still offer a similar effect. A fountain can provide pleasing water sounds in a more affordable way than a pond; a vinyl pool costs less than a gunite one; and gravel or cement pavers are less costly than fieldstone.</p> <p>The cost of the landscape plan itself varies, depending on design complexity and features. A simple sketch averages between $500 and $1,000 while a colored drawing with species, water sources, electrical, and construction details might run between $2,000 and $4,000 or higher, says Glassman. Some companies charge hourly or by a percent of the total construction cost.</p> <p>Sharing all this information will set home owners on the right path. With a well-designed site, they&rsquo;ll find it easier to add value to their home in a planned and sustainable way. But they may also discover their backyard to be a compelling destination in its own right, as the ultimate &ldquo;staycation&rdquo; space.&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>With spring in full bloom, home owners are ready to enjoy their yards. Share how a master landscape plan can improve an entire site, satisfy their wish list, and help a property appeal to future buyers.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/apr15_HD_landscape.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=109639">apr15_HD_landscape.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/apr15_HD_landscape_0.jpg?1428338524" /> </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/apr15_LP_HD_landscape.jpg?1428338538" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2008/07/landscaping-trends-just-add-water">Landscaping Trends: Just Add Water</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2008/04/water-free-ways-spruce-up-landscaping">Water-Free Ways to Spruce Up Landscaping</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2007/03/landscaping-sells">Landscaping That Sells</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2009/04/6-landscaping-tricks-wow-buyers">6 Landscaping Tricks That Wow Buyers</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Architecture Coach Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:46:01 +0000 mwhite 18617 at http://realtormag.realtor.org You Need a Vacation http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/work-life-balance/article/2015/04/you-need-vacation <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"> Being too busy should never be a reason you forego taking some time off to relax. Here’s how to plan a getaway without your business suffering. </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, April 7, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/michelle-hofmann">Michelle Hofmann</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Here&rsquo;s an oxymoron: becoming a successful real estate professional so you can take the best vacations. This business is 24/7, and many can&rsquo;t find the time to go anywhere but to client appointments. Doesn&rsquo;t traveling require time away from work? Who can afford to do that?</p> <p>Cue Sarita Dua, ABR, GRI, principal broker with Keller Williams Realty Professionals in Portland, Ore. Last year, she served 158 clients and closed $68 million in sales &mdash; in between the 68 days she took off to travel to Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, and around the United States. While a few of the trips combined business and pleasure, Dua plans to take even more vacation days this year. Her goal is to replicate last year&rsquo;s sales volume while taking 100 days off.</p> <p>That probably sounds unimaginable to most. In our increasingly workaholic society, taking a vacation &mdash; not to be confused with the recently popular &ldquo;staycation,&rdquo; which can easily turn into an extended work-from-home period &mdash; is becoming a rarity. It&rsquo;s not a phenomenon only for busy entrepreneurs who fear stepping away from their business for too long. American workers collectively passed on $52.4 billion in employer benefits in 2013 by not taking all of their paid time off, according to the <a href="https://www.ustravel.org/news/press-releases/working-free-us-workforce-forfeits-524-billion-time-benefits-annually" target="_blank">U.S. Travel Association</a>. That year, employees took an average of 16 vacation days, down from 20.3 days in 2000.</p> <p>But an abundance of research has shown that working longer has the opposite effect on people than intended. It doesn&rsquo;t mean they get more done; it makes them less productive. &ldquo;People are craving some sort of rest,&rdquo; says Tanya Schevitz, spokesperson for <a href="http://www.rebooters.net/" target="_blank">Reboot</a>, a Jewish think tank that&rsquo;s aimed at redrawing cultural norms and has coined the annual <a href="http://nationaldayofunplugging.com/" target="_blank">National Day of Unplugging</a> in March. Making time to get away from it all will help you stay better focused when you&rsquo;re in work mode, but what happens to your business if you go on vacation? Can you be totally unplugged while you&rsquo;re gone? After all, your clients depend on you to be available.</p> <p>Dua and other practitioners who make vacationing a priority on their calendars say it&rsquo;s all about planning ahead and getting support to keep your business functioning when you&rsquo;re out. Here are some of their tips for breaking away without breaking down.</p> <h4>Plan Vacation Time You Can Commit To</h4> <p>Your vacation schedule won&rsquo;t be the same as the rest of the workforce. Most people consider taking a trip in spring or summer, but that&rsquo;s when the real estate market is at its busiest. Plan to get away during your slower periods, which may coincide with off-peak travel times. These are times when you are less likely to have to change plans at the last minute because of business obligations, so planning a getaway should be less stressful.</p> <p>Don Faught, CRS, GRI, vice president and managing broker at Alain Pinel, REALTORS&reg;, in Pleasanton, Calif., and his wife, Leslie, a sales associate in the company&rsquo;s Livermore office, have taken the same two individual weeks every year for the last three years to stay at the same resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. &ldquo;We know exactly where we will be every year during those weeks, and it&rsquo;s a commitment that we keep,&rdquo; Don says.</p> <p>Though you might not want to travel to the same place every year, planning a vacation at the same time annually gives you built-in days to get away. Because of the unpredictability of the real estate business, scheduling vacation at different times of the year can easily become unmanageable. &ldquo;Real estate is a lifestyle,&rdquo; Leslie says. &ldquo;We have long hours and need to be accessible to clients, but you have to take breaks and vacations to be able to turn off and re-energize.&rdquo;</p> <p>Their breaks are much-needed: Don oversees 80 agents and is on the National Association of REALTORS&reg; Board of Directors. In 2013, he traveled 230 days in his official capacity as president of the California Association of REALTORS&reg;. Leslie says the yearly retreat to the Mexican Riviera strengthens their 17-year marriage.</p> <h4>Have Support While You&rsquo;re Gone</h4> <p>Dua is confident her business won&rsquo;t fall apart even if she&rsquo;s out of the office for 100 days this year because she has a team she can rely on. She has a transaction coordinator, a listing coordinator, and three buyer&rsquo;s agents who can hold down the fort in her absence. But even with a team, you may need to hire support for the time you&rsquo;re gone. Because her travel goals are becoming loftier, Dua recently hired a director of operations who acts as her &ldquo;mission control,&rdquo; keeping the team on track whenever she&rsquo;s out.</p> <p>Of course, not everyone has a team to fall back on. Individual agents can try the buddy system: Pair up with other agents in your office to help each other out when you&rsquo;re absent. Leslie Faught has a couple of agents in her office who act as the point person for her clients while she is away, and she returns the favor when her colleagues need a break, too.</p> <p>&ldquo;My colleagues continue to keep in very good contact with my clients while I am away,&rdquo; Leslie says. &ldquo;About a month ahead of our vacations, I will start informing clients of my time away and let them know they will be well taken care of. This works wonderfully because they know what to expect. There are no surprises. It allows me to fully relax and recharge. And clients are appreciative and understanding.&rdquo;</p> <h4>How Off-the-Grid Can You Be?</h4> <p>Many people worry that taking a vacation will impact their productivity at work, so they never truly stop working. Forty-four percent of employed U.S. adults say they check their work e-mail at least once a day when they are on vacation, according to a 2013 survey by the <a href="http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/09/connected-work.aspx" target="_blank">American Psychological Association</a>. Even more report doing the same on weekends, weeknights after work, and when they are home sick.</p> <p>Why are we all so afraid to turn off? According to a survey by global human resources services provider <a href="http://us.randstad.com/content/aboutrandstad/news-and-press-releases/press-releases/2009/20090520002.xml" target="_blank">Randstad</a>, 77 percent of employees say the work pileup they return to after vacation is the biggest aspect that prevents them from enjoying time off. Of note, Millennials (18- to 34-year-olds), more than any other age group, say they find it hard to enjoy vacation time, according to a <a href="https://www.randstadusa.com/workforce360/workforce-insights/engagement-out-of-office-but-not-away-from-work/199/" target="_blank">separate Randstad survey</a>.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s no arguing that detaching from work, hard though it may be, has a lot of psychological benefits. If your goal is to be totally unplugged while on vacation, then you&rsquo;ll need to be comfortable with someone else handling your potentially sensitive information. Dua advises that you have someone in your office check your e-mail for you daily to avoid the dreaded e-mail buildup when you return. You can set up a priority e-mail folder in your inbox before you leave, and that&rsquo;s where someone can file important e-mails for you. Otherwise, direct them to respond to or delete noncritical e-mails.</p> <p>Also, make sure to let people know ahead of time that you plan to be incommunicado while on vacation &mdash; but pick the time to tell them wisely. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t tell them too far in advance,&rdquo; Dua says. &ldquo;I find that if you tell people too far in advance, you stress them out.&rdquo; She suggests letting people know about two weeks ahead of your trip, and emphasize that you have a support team to take care of them during your time away.</p> <p>In case of an emergency, make sure your team has a hotel phone number where you can be reached. &ldquo;But how many times is there a true emergency?&rdquo; Schevitz notes.</p> <p>If you can&rsquo;t bring yourself to go completely off the grid, set some guidelines for yourself. Check your phone every three hours, and check your e-mail in the evening after you&rsquo;ve enjoyed the day. Give yourself a time frame &mdash; one hour, for example &mdash; to dedicate to work e-mail.</p> <p>Schevitz left the tech behind, including her phone and camera, when she took a vacation with her two children, ages 6 and 11, to Mexico in November. Despite not having any pictures to document the journey, Schevitz says she felt truly rested. &ldquo;I was dreading coming back, not because of the crush of e-mails but because I was in such a great state of relaxation,&rdquo; she adds. &ldquo;It makes a huge difference to put away the phone.&rdquo;</p> <h4>When You Return, Dive Back In</h4> <p>Most people probably can&rsquo;t transition back to work with lightning speed the way Dua can. When she returned from a family trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in March, Dua landed at 10:47 a.m. After leaving the airport, she headed to a showing at 1 p.m., then zipped over to an appointment at 3, met a buyer at 5, and finished the day with a 6:30 listing appointment.</p> <p>&ldquo;Most people spend one week getting ready for vacation, one week on vacation, and one week&rdquo; mentally getting back to the job, Dua says. &ldquo;But I downshift and upshift pretty swiftly, so I can be incredibly efficient.&rdquo;</p> <p>For those who don&rsquo;t move at warp speed, think ahead and make small preparations to minimize the stress of the first day back at work. Have a few basic groceries delivered to your house &mdash; milk, juice, eggs, bread, butter, and coffee, for instance &mdash; so you can start the day with a healthy breakfast. Set out your work clothes the night before to ease the shock of going from flip-flops to wingtips. Get your car ready to gear up again by filling up with gas and checking the tire pressure.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;re back in the office, use that first day wisely. You can show the vacation slide show later; take the first day to request updates from staff members, administrators, or colleagues. Arrange a first-day-back lunch with the team to catch up and get back into the professional grove. And sift through e-mails, deleting junk and contributing to a more organized transition.</p> <p>Schevitz says it took her about two hours to go through her personal and work e-mails after her last trip. &ldquo;But if you think about it, it is worth investing that time when you come back to have the real time away,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>While there are obvious production advantages to getting right back to work, Leslie says to consider the emotional benefits of taking a down day after returning from vacation and before heading back to the office. &ldquo;I take one extra day at home to unpack and get everything back together, do laundry, go to the store, and prepare,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;It really helps me get centered and find my bearings.&rdquo;</p> <p>It can take a bit of work to plan a vacation around a busy business, but in the end, it will all be worth it. Just imagine how much more refreshed you&rsquo;ll feel and how ready you&rsquo;ll be to get back to the grind once you&rsquo;ve had some time off. And not the least of the benefits of getting away is the chance to just live your life. Dua, who plans to take 50 consecutive days off in Europe this summer, admits the adventure will require &ldquo;a couple more pieces in terms of key hires or vacation coverage. But I am motivated to pull it off. My children are in eighth and tenth grades, and the memories we make are priceless.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Being too busy should never be a reason you forego taking some time off to relax. Here&rsquo;s how to plan a getaway without your business suffering.</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/apr15_W_vacation.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=45905">apr15_W_vacation.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/apr15_W_vacation_0.jpg?1428349666" /> </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/apr15_LP_W_vacation.jpg?1428349679" /> </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/build-your-business/article/2010/08/can-you-afford-take-break">Can You Afford to Take a Break?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/06/yes-you-can-achieve-work-life-balance">Yes, You Can Achieve Work-Life Balance</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/02/19/3-ways-for-real-estate-pros-work-more-efficiently">3 Ways for Real Estate Pros to Work More Efficiently</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> Work Life Balance Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:09:46 +0000 gwood 18618 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Rising Trend: Home Elevators http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2015/04/rising-trend-home-elevators <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"> Adding a platform that raises people and things from one level to another in a home is more than a desirable amenity for buyers. For many, it’s a necessity. </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, April 2, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mary-beth-klatt">Mary Beth Klatt</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>An elevator in a personal home has been viewed as a luxury for years. However, more buyers &mdash; ranging from families with young children to those with temporary or permanent disabilities &mdash; now want a platform that can move people and things from one level of a home to another.</p> <p>Historically, only the rich could afford elevators. While commercial versions date back to the 1850s to 1860s, private residential elevators only came into vogue with high-ceilinged three-story homes, according to Stuart Cohen, architect and coauthor of <em>Great Houses of Chicago, 1871&ndash;1921 </em>(Acanthus Press, 2008).</p> <p>&ldquo;First-floor ceiling heights were frequently between 12 and 20 feet, making ascent by stair to the second floor daunting,&rdquo; says Cohen. &ldquo;For urban houses such as the Frick Mansion in New York City or the Biltmore estate in Asheville, N.C., the largest house in the United States at the time, elevators were a must.&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_HD_elevator1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 356px; margin: 3px; float: left;" />These private home elevators were practical. Wholesale grocery tycoon Franklin McVeigh had an elevator installed in 1887 at his family&rsquo;s Chicago&rsquo;s Lake Shore Drive mansion that whisked guests directly to a third-floor ballroom. Novelist Edith Wharton&rsquo;s water pressure&ndash;powered elevator at her Lenox, Mass., house brought guests&#39; luggage up to the third floor.</p> <p>The popularity of personal home elevators and three-story homes declined after the stock market crash of 1929 and the advent of ground-floor master bedrooms. Home elevators have become popular again with universal design, which is a method of constructing living spaces that are safer, easier, and more convenient for everyone.</p> <p>Generally speaking, there are three different elevator types.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Hydraulic</strong>: This system takes up a lot of space and requires a machine room to hold the mechanics of the lift. This elevator is easier to install in a new home, where it can be part of a plan, rather than in a retrofit.</li> <li><strong>Traction</strong>: Also called an MRL (machine room-less) elevator. As the name implies, it does not require a separate machine room. This elevator slides up and down a track with a counterweight. However, it does require space on top of the shaft to house the machinery.</li> <li><strong>Pneumatic</strong>: A polycarbonate tube with a separate internal tube uses air pressure to move the car up and down; it&rsquo;s similar to tubes used for check deposits at banks. Outer tube diameters range from 30 inches to 52 inches. The tube can be installed without a shaft or a machinery room, making it ideal for a retrofit. At the very least, the home will require an opening that&rsquo;s slightly wider than the tubes to get them inside, though home owners can gain some maneuvering room by temporarily removing the tube door.</li> </ol> <p>Standard hydraulic and traction lifts are substantially more expensive than their pneumatic counterparts, which cost $23,000 to $57,000 including installation. But these conventional lifts remain popular because the pneumatic variety is newer and remains less well-known.</p> <p><img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_HD_elevator3.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />The cost of a standard elevator will depend on whether you are including it in new construction plans or if you are retrofitting an existing space. The latter could be half the cost of the whole bill for retrofitting an existing home for mobility concerns, according to Mike Fearn, owner of Mike Knows Construction in Biloxi, Miss. Adding an elevator to an existing home means the home owner will have either to use existing square footage or to build a shaft on the home&rsquo;s exterior. Home owners will need to request special permission to add an exterior elevator shaft to an existing home in an historic district if the shaft can be seen from the street. If home owners are building or remodeling their home and would eventually like an elevator someday, they may consider constructing the shaft now (perhaps in the form of a set of closets, one on top of the other) to save time and money later.</p> <p>Setting aside labor costs, the actual elevator can run $17,500 to $35,000 or more, which includes the expenses of moving electrical wires, outlets, HVAC, plumbing, as well as building the steel framework, installing wall panels and applying finishes. For buyers looking at an existing home with an elevator, an inspector from the company that manufactured the elevator may be available to service the device.</p> <p><img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_HD_elevator2.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />Real estate professionals should market homes with elevators as a convenience for all ages and mobility levels, says F. Ron Smith, founding partner with Partners Trust in Los Angeles, who&rsquo;s selling two three-story properties with elevators. &ldquo;Families, couples, and singles alike use elevators for the Costco runs, flats of water bottles, cases of champagne,&rdquo; he says. Elevators are also handy for &ldquo;caterers for parties to get food up and down, when you sprain your knee skiing, or from just getting out of the car, and when you just don&#39;t want the stairs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Elevators can be an asset for your listings, if shown in the right light. And while adding an elevator to an existing home or incorporating it in new construction isn&rsquo;t cheap, it will add value and allow buyers to maximize the use of their home for years to come.</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>Adding a platform that raises people and things from one level to another in a home is more than a desirable amenity for buyers. For many, it&rsquo;s a necessity.</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/apr15_HD_elevator.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=59256">apr15_HD_elevator.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/apr15_HD_elevator_0.jpg?1428008665" /> </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/apr15_LP_HD_elevator.jpg?1428008680" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2006/04/loft-goes-upscale-and-suburban">The Loft Goes Upscale and Suburban</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/home/article/2006/04/second-homes-meet-splitters">Second Homes: Meet the Splitters</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2004/04/floor-plans-for-future">Floor Plans for the Future</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2007/08/home-design-for-everyone">Home Design for Everyone</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Architecture Coach Thu, 02 Apr 2015 18:46:05 +0000 mwhite 18604 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Cloud-based eXp Opens Virtual Real Estate Training Hub http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/cloud-based-exp-opens-virtual-real-estate-training-hub <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"> Get a look inside the five-year-old public company’s newly launched immersive training and technology campus, open to all real estate practitioners. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, April 2, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Imagine taking a stroll through a coastal beach campus where the sun is always shining; you walk past an open amphitheater full of real estate pros listening to a panel of experts discuss the latest industry trends. Agents convene in rooftop meeting rooms and share ideas on interactive screens in the walls. And you can travel from one area to another through a teleport.</p> <p>This anecdote may sound like a sci-fi world, but it&rsquo;s where 520 real estate agents in 30 states and two Canadian provinces go to work every day. This is <a href="http://exprealty.com/" target="_blank">eXp Realty</a>&rsquo;s cloud-based brokerage office and newly launched education campus.</p> <p><img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_BB_virtual2.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />The company, which launched in 2009, is based in the virtual world. Agents and visitors enter the space through a website &mdash; <a href="http://office.exprealty.com/" target="_blank">office.exprealty.com</a> &mdash; where they create an avatar controlled through their keyboard and communicate with their computer microphone. The feel is reminiscent of a first-person, immersive video game: think the online game Call of Duty, but instead of shooting bad guys, you&rsquo;re attending meetings and filing paperwork.</p> <p>&ldquo;Working the magic&rdquo; was once the status line that eXp founder and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Sanford used when he was away from his computer, but the saying has followed him throughout his career in more ways than one. His five-year-old brokerage <a href="http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1495932/000101968715001215/exp_10k-123114.htm" target="_blank">is now turning a profit</a>. After posting a net loss of $1.12 million in 2013, the company was in the black with a $104,000 profit in 2014. Growth has helped. Company sales went from $344 million in 2013 to $505 million in 2014, and they added about 35 percent more agents.</p> <p>&ldquo;One of the reasons why brokerages aren&rsquo;t profitable is <a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2015/01/29/what-will-you-need-to-cut-in-the-next-downturn/" target="_blank">because of their bricks and mortar</a>,&rdquo; says eXp President Jason Gesing. &ldquo;This demonstrates our ability to be profitable as a result of our technology.&rdquo;</p> <p>One can say that 2014 was good to eXp. It was the brokerage&rsquo;s first full year as a public entity. In 2013, eXp bought and merged into a shell public company. Today, the leadership team answers to its agents and brokers, who are now shareholders. As of March 31, the company had 78 stockholders on record with <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/expi" target="_blank">shares running about $0.43 apiece</a>.</p> <p>Gesing predicts that eXp will double its sales force this year with almost no advertising, ending 2015 with close to 1,000 agents &mdash; and 10,000 by 2020. He adds that company growth is organic, propelled mostly by word of mouth.</p> <p><img alt="" border="0" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2015_apr/apr15_BB_virtual1.jpg" style="float:right;margin:3px;" />In January, eXp hired Brad Andersohn, Zillow&rsquo;s former outreach manager and director of Zillow Academy, to head up its new training and support campus, which is open to all at <a href="http://campus.retechcampus.com" target="_blank">campus.retechcampus.com</a>. Need help with your CRM system? Can&rsquo;t get into your Gmail? The campus offers tech support for any real estate pro, regardless of affiliation. The goal is to create an industrywide resource and training center.</p> <p>&ldquo;I can do more training, more in a workshop, and more with attendees than in a traditional webinar,&rdquo; Andersohn says. &ldquo;This platform is going to open so many doors for agents who need support.&rdquo;</p> <p>The campus is open 24/7; however, there are limitations to the number of avatars that can enter the space at one time. eXp supplements its live trainings with Google Hangouts, streaming video, and recorded archive sessions.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re definitely pushing the envelope on use of this type of technology,&rdquo; Sanford says. Even among other industries and government entities, there&rsquo;s nothing quite like it. Sanford and his team have worked to create an interactive culture in the cloud environment so that agents far and wide can collaborate and avoid isolation.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have a good group of people who love what they&rsquo;re doing and want to encourage each other and grow their businesses,&rdquo; says Gesing. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a willingness among people within the company to look at new things and try them out.&rdquo;</p> <p>eXp offers 30 hours of live training each week in the cloud office and now in the new campus. It also holds leadership meetings as well as coaching and goal-setting sessions, and managing brokers meet with their agents there.</p> <p>And as the company continues to grow, the cloud space will grow as well, Gesing adds. The newly redesigned virtual office already has a larger capacity than its previous version. They made it more open air and aesthetically pleasing, hence the seaside views.</p> <p>&ldquo;If we do our job well, I think we&rsquo;ll be the architects of what the real estate industry will look like in the future,&rdquo; says Gesing.</p> <p>For a complete eXp campus event calendar, visit <a href="http://retechcampus.com" target="_blank">retechcampus.com</a>.</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>Get a look inside the five-year-old public company&rsquo;s newly launched immersive training and technology campus, open to all real estate practitioners.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/apr15_BB_virtual.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=61980">apr15_BB_virtual.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/apr15_BB_virtual_0.jpg?1428076643" /> </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/apr15_LP_BB_virtual.jpg?1428076656" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/04/16/brokerage-awards-agents-brokers-bigger-stake-in-company">Brokerage Awards Agents, Brokers Bigger Stake in Company</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/02/best-practices-for-your-real-estate-web-site-home-page">Best Practices for Your Real Estate Website Home Page</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2015/01/after-cuts-what-recession-taught-brokers">After the Cuts: What the Recession Taught Brokers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2009/09/how-find-brokerage-fits">How to Find the Brokerage That Fits</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/02/5-business-terms-you-need-forget">5 Business Terms You Need To Forget</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, 02 Apr 2015 21:09:03 +0000 echristoffer 18607 at http://realtormag.realtor.org ListHub/Zillow Divorce Stimulates Discussion http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2015/04/listhubzillow-divorce-stimulates-discussion <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"> With the changes in the online listing environment, brokers and MLSs need to examine their syndication strategies. </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, April 2, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mitchell-skinner">Mitchell Skinner</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/author/brian-larson">Brian Larson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>On April 7, 2015, the agreement between national listings syndicator ListHub (a division of Move, Inc., which itself is a subsidiary of News Corp.) and Zillow Group&mdash;the operator of websites and mobile apps with Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, and other brands&mdash;will expire. ListHub will stop sending listings it receives from MLSs and brokers to Zillow Group, and those listings will not appear on Zillow Group sites and apps unless they are transmitted by other means. REALTORS&reg; should understand this change and take steps to ensure that their listings are appearing where they expect them to.</p> <p>There is no official definition of syndication. The informal one our law firm uses is this: &ldquo;Distribution in bulk of real estate listing records by or on behalf of the listing broker to portals that will advertise them to consumers on the Internet via websites or mobile apps.&rdquo; A &ldquo;portal&rdquo; is an entity like REALTOR.com, Zillow Group, Homes.com, etc., that displays listing information to consumers as advertising via a website or mobile application.</p> <p>A decade ago or so, ListHub formed to provide a service to MLSs and their brokers: ListHub would aggregate a single data feed from the MLS of all brokers&rsquo; listings; ListHub would negotiate contracts with the portals; and brokers could control which portals received their listings via the ListHub &ldquo;dashboard.&rdquo; ListHub became a national &ldquo;listings syndicator,&rdquo; and hundreds of MLSs now work with ListHub, which sends brokers&rsquo; listings to <a href="https://www.listhub.com/publisher-list.html" target="_blank">dozens of portals</a>. ListHub acquired a competing syndication vendor&mdash;Point2&mdash;last year, making ListHub the only national listings syndicator working with a substantial number of MLSs.</p> <p>If you are a listing broker, you should know whether your MLS syndicates through ListHub. If it does not, you will not notice any change on April 8. Similarly, if your MLS syndicates through ListHub, but your brokerage has &ldquo;opted out&rdquo; of listing syndication or display on Zillow Group sites, the April 8 date will bring no changes for your firm. In short, if your listings are not going to Zillow Group through ListHub, the break between those companies will have no affect on you.</p> <p>Zillow Group is approaching most MLSs seeking direct agreements with them to receive their brokers&rsquo; listings&mdash;this is sometimes called &ldquo;direct syndication&rdquo; because it cuts the listing syndicator out of the picture. If your MLS syndicates through ListHub, you may be tempted to tell your MLS that it should sign a direct syndication agreement with Zillow Group to prevent any interruption in the display of your listings. But many MLSs have concerns about some of the terms Zillow Group is offering, including demands that portions of brokers&rsquo; listing data be available to Zillow Group for use in its valuation and other derivative products <em>even after the listing goes off-market and after the expiration of the syndication agreement</em>&mdash;this is called a &ldquo;perpetual license.&rdquo; MLSs also face risks and costs in direct syndication that they never faced or planned to face when syndicating through ListHub: technology costs, staffing costs (some of which MLSs may incur anyway), training for subscribers, lawyer fees, etc. The legal risks involve exposure to copyright liability and demands that MLSs indemnify the portals. Thus, deciding whether to provide the listings of a whole MLS to Zillow Group is more difficult than deciding to send your firm&rsquo;s listings.</p> <p>If your MLS syndicates through ListHub, it should probably by now have informed you of the status of Zillow Group sites after April 8, and whether they are negotiating a direct deal with Zillow.</p> <p>Still, as a listing broker, you are free to send your listings to any portal with which you choose to work, regardless of the decisions your MLS makes. If your MLS does not yet have a direct deal with Zillow Group, you should probably assume that it will not have one by April 8, and that you will have to address the syndication task for your own listings. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways of approaching this task, including loading your listings individually on Zillow Group sites, using an automated process to upload your listings, getting a RETS feed from your MLS and providing it to Zillow, and relying on a parent firm or franchise (if you have one) to upload your listings. Whatever approach you take, you must read the terms of use to which your firm is agreeing when submitting your listings to any portal. The <a href="http://www.zillow.com/feeds/FeedsTerms.htm" target="_blank">terms for the Zillow listing feed</a> are mercifully short, and you should have your lawyer explain any terms you do not understand.</p> <p>You can upload individual listings to appear on Zillow Group websites. For example, using Postlets.com (a Zillow company), you can load your listings to appear in Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, &ldquo;and many more&rdquo; according to the Postlets site. As a broker using this approach, you should ensure that you or someone on your team manages the account to ensure that listing statuses, prices, and other important characteristics are updated promptly. If you allow stale listing data to appear on these sites, your firm may run afoul of the Code of Ethics or state license law.</p> <p>You can upload listings to Zillow Group websites using an automated process. For example, if your firm has 200 or more listings, it can use an XML data feed to Zillow, according to <a href="http://www.zillow.com/feeds/Feeds.htm" target="_blank">instructions at the Zillow.com website</a>. This approach would require two things: (1) your brokerage needs to have its own &ldquo;copy&rdquo; of your listings, or the ability to pull them from the MLS on a bulk or as-needed basis (via RETS feed, API, or otherwise); (2) you will probably need someone to write code to put the resulting data into the proper XML format described by Zillow and transmit it to Zillow Group. If you automate this process, you should be able to avoid the Code of Ethics and license-law concerns identified above.</p> <p>If you do not have the technical know-how (which is probably true if you do not know what the references to &ldquo;XML&rdquo;, &ldquo;RETS&rdquo;, and &ldquo;API&rdquo; in the previous paragraph meant), you may be able to work with a contractor who has experience in this area. For example, some companies that build IDX websites for brokers also offer the service of syndicating those brokers&rsquo; listings to portals. Check with your IDX provider to find out whether such a service is available. You also need to check the license agreement between your firm and your MLS to be sure that the IDX data feed can be used in this way. Finally, be sure your IDX provider understands that it can send only <em>your</em> listings to the portal(s). Neither your brokerage firm nor your IDX provider may send the listings of other brokerage firms to anyone.</p> <p>Zillow Group may be willing to do some of this work for you, particularly if your brokerage firm is larger. For example, you may be able to pay your MLS to set up a RETS feed including just your own listings. You could then provide the RETS login credentials to Zillow to use in uploading and maintaining your listings by some automated means.</p> <p>Finally, if your brokerage has a parent firm or is associated with a franchise that has negotiated a syndication deal with Zillow Group, then your listings will be transmitted via those means. Check with your corporate office or franchise group to find out whether this is an option, and if so, what steps you need to take to implement it, if any.</p> <hr /> <p><em>This article does not represent legal advice. If you need legal advice, get a lawyer. This article discusses certain legal matters in general terms for informational purposes only.</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>With the changes in the online listing environment, brokers and MLSs need to examine their syndication strategies.</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/apr15_NC_divorce.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=28423">apr15_NC_divorce.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/apr15_NC_divorce_0.jpg?1428001008" /> </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/apr15_LP_NC_divorce.jpg?1428001025" /> </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/2015/03/13/trulia-listhub-reach-agreement-over-listings">Trulia, ListHub Reach Agreement Over Listings</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/02/20/listhub-cuts-trulia">ListHub Cuts Off Trulia</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/01/26/listhub-updates-customers-ahead-zillow-split">ListHub Updates Customers Ahead of Zillow Split</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2015/01/07/zillow-listhub-end-listings-agreement">Zillow, ListHub to End Listings Agreement</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:07:53 +0000 mwhite 18596 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Real You Isn't on Facebook http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2015/04/real-you-isnt-facebook <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Everyone makes their lives look better than they are on social media, so don&#039;t compare yourself to what your friends 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">Friday, April 3, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/darrin-friedman">Darrin Friedman</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>While scrolling through my Facebook news feed recently, I saw something that made my jaw drop. A friend of mine was at a Chevy dealership, and it appeared from the photos that he was buying a brand-spanking-new Corvette. Now let me tell you, the car in said pictures was hot &mdash; so hot that it belonged on a <em>Car and Driver</em> magazine cover. There my friend stood &mdash; proud and beaming &mdash; next to his new ride. This is what his photos said to me: He had made it.</p> <p>Let me clear that I am proud of my friend. He has worked very hard for a long time, and he deserves all the awesomeness life has to offer, including hot-rod cars. But my initial feeling of being happy for my friend was immediately followed by a darker thought that bothered me. Should I feel bad about myself because I can&rsquo;t buy a Corvette?</p> <p>Nowadays, these kinds of feelings are hardly isolated incidents thanks to social media. There are a lot of people on Facebook who like to share their day-to-day material triumphs. Every day, I see photos of friends vacationing in some far-off beach paradise, or pictures of a renovated kitchen with brand-new Viking appliances, or a recent portrait session capturing a perfect family on their immaculate front lawn.</p> <p>We all have friends who have made it big and are proud to show it. (And truth be told, many of my &ldquo;friends&rdquo; on Facebook are people I don&rsquo;t even know or interact with in real life.) But depending on how much we know about those people&rsquo;s actual lives, sometimes it can be easy to slip into the habit of feeling bad about ourselves when we see how great others&rsquo; lives seem to be.</p> <p>When these feelings of inadequacy surface, what&rsquo;s a person to do? Well, I try and focus on what I know. I try to hold on to the realization that I have tremendous value. Let me say it again: We all have tremendous value.</p> <p>We may not have everything that others have, and we may not be able to show off comparable materialistic accomplishments, but we still have self-worth. And that is more valuable than an expensive vacation, a shiny car, or a model home. For all you real estate professionals out there who see your colleagues raving about all their closed deals on Facebook, I implore you not to internalize their results as your failures. Your career is simply not theirs.</p> <p>After all, whatever your life circumstances may be, you determine all of the important things of value: what kind of friend you are, how lovingly you parent, how committed you are to the causes you believe in, even what kind of advocate you are for you clients. You determine what kind of person you are and what you give to this world. And that has tremendous value. You determine your own self-worth, and Facebook be damned because a status update simply doesn&rsquo;t do a person justice.</p> <p>So, the next time you see someone&rsquo;s life looking a little finer than what you perceive yours to be, remember that we are all at different places and may be in this for different reasons. No one&rsquo;s life is nearly as perfect as it looks online, and even if it were, that doesn&rsquo;t mean yours is any less valuable. We must decide for ourselves how we will measure our own success and our true worth. Remembering that makes all the difference in the world.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Everyone makes their lives look better than they are on social media, so don&#39;t compare yourself to what your friends post.</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/apr15_NC_fb.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=42360">apr15_NC_fb.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/apr15_NC_fb_0.jpg?1427998293" /> </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/apr15_LP_NC_fb.jpg?1427998307" /> </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/commentary/article/2014/03/forget-facade">Forget the Facade</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/last-word/article/2010/05/brad-blanton-honestly-tell-truth">Brad Blanton: Honestly, Tell the Truth </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/commentary/article/2013/03/marketing-keep-it-real">Marketing: Keep It Real</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Commentary Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:44:27 +0000 gwood 18597 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Get to Know RE/MAX’s Broker of the Year http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/04/get-know-remax-s-broker-year <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"> Hadi Atri, broker-owner of RE/MAX Executive in Charlotte, N.C., shares the top reason for his success, and answers Broker to Broker’s Quick Six Q&amp;A. </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, April 1, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Hadi Atri&rsquo;s plan worked. Since buying his first RE/MAX Executive franchise just outside of Charlotte, N.C., in 2007, Atri has strived to motivate his salespeople through an agent-centric culture. &ldquo;After all,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;they are out there every day in the battlefield.&rdquo; Today, he believes, he has accomplished that goal.</p> <p>His eight-office, 209-agent company was sixth in size for the Charlotte, N.C., market in 2014, but No. 2 in sales, reaching $1.01 billion with more than 4,000 transactions closed last year.</p> <p>The numbers, he says, are a reflection of his agents&rsquo; happiness.</p> <p>&ldquo;The entire leadership team and staff are instructed that we are here to help the agents to be the best in the industry,&rdquo; he says. Two main ways they accomplish this: By making themselves consistently available to assist agents when issues arise and by providing monthly training and &ldquo;Lunch &amp; Learn&rdquo; sessions where speakers talk to agents about the latest industry topics and market trends.</p> <p>Atri&rsquo;s team also celebrates accomplishments with social events and by recognizing top producers in their monthly company newsletter.</p> <p>The little touches also matter, Atri says, like keeping office computers and copiers updated and even serving bottled water and Starbucks coffee, which helps create a happy work environment. &ldquo;We&nbsp;make sure our agents and staff know that they are appreciated,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Atri&rsquo;s success is catching the eye of RE/MAX International, as he was recently named the 2015 U.S. Broker-Owner of the Year. And he&rsquo;s not the only one at RE/MAX Executive receiving awards. His CFO, Kourosh Sharifi, made <em>Charlotte Business Journal</em>&rsquo;s 2015 40 Under 40 list.</p> <p>Atri took time out of his busy schedule to answer REALTOR&reg; Magazine&rsquo;s Broker to Broker &ldquo;Quick Six.&rdquo; Here&rsquo;s what he had to say:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Biggest risk that paid off: </strong>Buying my first RE/MAX franchise. I never owned a real estate firm. The economic downturn created a&nbsp;huge opportunity for me to grow my company at a speed that would not be possible under normal circumstances.</li> <li><strong>Professional pet peeve: </strong>Paperwork. When I first started selling real estate in 1980, there was one piece of paper with three carbon copies. Today, we have to file tons of documents and disclosures.</li> <li><strong>If not in real estate, I would probably be&hellip;</strong> in the family business: international forwarding and transportation. But I found it boring. I didn&rsquo;t want a regular 9-to-5 job. After graduating from college, I decided to get my real estate license and have a go at it.</li> <li><strong>Go-to news sources:</strong> Every morning, I read the online version of <em>Charlotte Business Journal</em>, Inman News, RISMedia, Real Trend, and <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. I also subscribe to several magazines like <em>The Economist</em> and <em>Mecklenburg Times</em>.</li> <li><strong>What I&rsquo;m working on:</strong> I&#39;m always trying to keep up with the commercial real estate market since we have a commercial division. I have an extensive background developing and marketing several commercial and residential projects in the Charlotte region.</li> <li><strong>I love networking because&hellip; </strong>at every conference and meeting, I learn something new that I bring home to offer our associates. Knowledge is everything, and&nbsp;being in touch with other leaders and&nbsp;experts in the industry&nbsp;is an important part of being successful.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>For more on Atri, visit <a href="http://www.charlotteproperty.com" target="_blank">www.charlotteproperty.com</a>.</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>Hadi Atri, broker-owner of RE/MAX Executive in Charlotte, N.C., shares the top reason for his success, and answers Broker to Broker&rsquo;s Quick Six Q&amp;A.</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/apr15_BB_remax.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=81431">apr15_BB_remax.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/apr15_BB_remax_0.jpg?1428010744" /> </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/apr15_LP_BB_remax.jpg?1428010761" /> </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/2015/03/build-support-motivate">Build, Support, Motivate</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/5-tips-for-helping-agents-in-spring-market">5 Tips for Helping Agents in the Spring Market</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2014/09/8-tips-for-grooming-top-producers">8 Tips for Grooming Top Producers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/02/building-presence-purpose">Building ‘Presence With a Purpose’</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, 01 Apr 2015 18:51:28 +0000 echristoffer 18588 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Announcing the 2015 Class of 30 Under 30 http://realtormag.realtor.org/30-under-30/article/2015/03/announcing-2015-class-30-under-30 <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 who made it into the final 30, and meet the winner of this year’s Web Choice Award. </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, March 30, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/erica-christoffer">Erica Christoffer</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Applications were strong and competition was fierce, but 30 have now been chosen. REALTOR&reg; Magazine is pleased to introduce the 30 Under 30 class of 2015.</p> <p>They are young professionals who stand out from the crowd. Many sharpened their skills during the toughest years of the Great Recession, to emerge with an unmatched work ethic and unyielding dedication to their clients.</p> <p>They hail from all parts of the country and their specialties are diverse. They are salespeople, team members, leaders of teams, and company owners. As a group, these 30 practitioners demonstrate some of the best traits the real estate industry has to offer.</p> <p>During the week-long voting period from March 20-27, members of the public cast a total of 33,925 votes in the Web Choice Award contest. With 3,351 votes, Kelly Henderson with Keller Williams Biltmore Partners in Phoenix, Ariz., is this year&rsquo;s winner. Learn more about Henderson and how she rallied her voters in a REALTOR&reg; Magazine online exclusive article later this week.</p> <p>Readers will have the opportunity to learn more about all 30 young professionals when they are profiled in the May/June issue of REALTOR&reg; Magazine.</p> <p>Congratulations to the 30 Under 30 honorees:</p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="10" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td valign="top" width="50%"> <h4>&nbsp;</h4> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/amanda-allen-jorgensen" target="_blank"><strong>Amanda Allen-Jorgensen</strong></a><br /> Berkshire Hathaway &ndash; Bountiful<br /> South Salt Lake, Utah</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/matthew-barker" target="_blank"><strong>Matthew Barker</strong></a><br /> Max Broock, REALTORS&reg;<br /> Bloomfield Hills, Mich.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/alex-belcher" target="_blank"><strong>Alex Belcher</strong></a><br /> MacDoc Realty LLC<br /> Fredericksburg, Va.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/jeffrey-borstell" target="_blank"><strong>Jeffrey Borstell</strong></a><br /> J. Borstell Real Estate Inc.<br /> Tewksbury, Mass.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/amy-campbell" target="_blank"><strong>Amy Campbell</strong></a><br /> Keller Williams Realty<br /> Milwaukee, Wis.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/nelson-duque" target="_blank"><strong>Nelson Duque</strong></a><br /> Fortune International Realty<br /> Miami, Fla.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/subhi-gharbieh" target="_blank"><strong>Subhi Gharbieh</strong></a><br /> Gharbieh &amp; Associates, REALTORS&reg;<br /> Dallas</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/kaitlyn-gillingham" target="_blank"><strong>Kaitlyn Gillingham</strong></a><br /> Coronado Island Realty<br /> Coronado, Calif.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/allison-goodhart" target="_blank"><strong>Allison Goodhart</strong></a><br /> McEnearney Associates Inc.<br /> Alexandria, Va.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/jordan-grandlund" target="_blank"><strong>Jordan Grandlund</strong></a><br /> Cascade Sotheby&#39;s International Realty<br /> Bend, Ore.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/whitney-harvey" target="_blank"><strong>Whitney Harvey</strong></a><br /> Oak Grove Realty LLC<br /> Germantown, Tenn.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/lauren-hasson" target="_blank"><strong>Lauren Hasson</strong></a><br /> The Hasson Co., REALTORS&reg;<br /> Portland, Ore.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/alyssa-hellman" target="_blank"><strong>Alyssa Hellman</strong></a><br /> Better Homes &amp; Gardens - Go Realty<br /> Cary, N.C.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/justin-helmus" target="_blank"><strong>Justin Helmus</strong></a><br /> The Gulf Life Realty Group<br /> Largo, Fla.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/kelly-henderson" target="_blank"><strong>Kelly Henderson</strong></a><br /> Keller Williams Biltmore Partners<br /> Phoenix</p> </td> <td valign="top" width="50%"> <h4>&nbsp;</h4> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/saliq-khawar" target="_blank"><strong>Saliq Khawar</strong></a><br /> Keller Williams Realty<br /> Ashburn, Va.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/bradley-lois" target="_blank"><strong>Bradley Lois</strong></a><br /> Bear Realty of Burlington<br /> Burlington, Wis.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/kendahl-mcintyre" target="_blank"><strong>Kendahl McIntyre</strong></a><br /> RE/MAX United<br /> Raleigh, N.C.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/leslie-marie-moen" target="_blank"><strong>Leslie Marie Moen</strong></a><br /> C3 Real Estate Solutions<br /> Fort Collins, Colo.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/tara-moore" target="_blank"><strong>Tara Moore</strong></a><br /> RE/MAX Select<br /> Winter Garden, Fla.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/scott-myers" target="_blank"><strong>Scott Myers</strong></a><br /> Jack White Real Estate<br /> Eagle River, Alaska</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/jay-o-brien" target="_blank"><strong>Jay O&#39;Brien</strong></a><br /> RE/MAX Prestige<br /> Costa Mesa, Calif.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/sarah-pomerleau" target="_blank"><strong>Sarah Pomerleau</strong></a><br /> Keller Williams &ndash; The Pomerleau Team<br /> Maple Grove, Minn.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/daniel-rand" target="_blank"><strong>Daniel Rand</strong></a><br /> Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty<br /> New City, N.Y.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/danielle-riley" target="_blank"><strong>Danielle Riley</strong></a><br /> Nothnagle REALTORS&reg;<br /> Rochester, N.Y.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/lisa-roberts" target="_blank"><strong>Lisa Roberts</strong></a><br /> RE/MAX Excalibur Realty<br /> Scottsdale, Ariz.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/eric-rollo" target="_blank"><strong>Eric Rollo</strong></a><br /> William Raveis Real Estate<br /> Boston</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/derek-sprague" target="_blank"><strong>Derek Sprague</strong></a><br /> Sprague Real Estate Group<br /> Bakersfield, Calif.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/daniel-thomas" target="_blank"><strong>Daniel Thomas</strong></a><br /> RE/MAX Right Choice<br /> Bridgeport, Conn.</p> <p><a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/lawrence-wong" target="_blank"><strong>Lawrence Wong</strong></a><br /> Weichert, REALTORS&reg;, The Franzese<br /> Brooklyn, N.Y.</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Find out who made it into the final 30, and meet the winner of this year&rsquo;s Web Choice Award.</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/mar15_30_30_honorees.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=30039">mar15_30_30_honorees.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-under-30/finalist/2015/03/2015-30-under-30-finalists">2015 30 Under 30 Finalists</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/30-under-30/about">About 30 Under 30</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> 30 Under 30 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:24:04 +0000 echristoffer 18572 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Don’t Let Your Real Estate Website Become a Ghost Town http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/don-t-let-your-real-estate-website-become-ghost-town <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"> Is your company website populated by a few tumbleweeds and a lonely cricket? Learn how to build a powerful lead generating tool that will host busy agent activity and eager buyers and sellers. </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, March 30, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/sam-debord">Sam DeBord</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>There&rsquo;s too much defeatism when it comes to real estate websites. I often hear brokers say their sites aren&rsquo;t doing anything for them because the big portals dominate in terms of consumer traffic. Such statements are the antithesis of a successful sales mindset.</p> <p>Do real estate websites really need to &ldquo;do something&rdquo; for us? No. Just like your office, car, phone, business cards, postcards, CMAs, or laptops &ndash; you buy the tools, and then work the hell out of them to generate sales.</p> <p>The idea that we can just set up a website and let it do its magic to produce prospects is like buying office space, not staffing it, and expecting people to sit down and sign sales contracts.</p> <p>Everything about real estate requires hustle. Your Web presence is no different. If you already have a prospecting system that works, and you don&rsquo;t have the time or money to invest in your website&rsquo;s development and maintenance, then stick with what you know. Just don&rsquo;t say it isn&rsquo;t possible, because there are plenty of brokers and agents treating online lead generation like it&rsquo;s their No. 1 job.</p> <h4>What a Modern Website Looks Like</h4> <p>If you want a website that generates leads, then you need to build, maintain, and enhance your Web presence like it&rsquo;s your brick-and-mortar office. Your website needs to be:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Attractive:</strong> That means an aesthetically pleasing, modern design that&rsquo;s not cluttered. As a business owner, you should care about how your business is portrayed to the public.</li> <li><strong>Easy to use:</strong> Make sure it&rsquo;s extremely user-friendly for the consumer. Include a search function with filters prominently displayed on every page.</li> <li><strong>Constantly managed and improved:</strong> Your website is not a &ldquo;set it and forget it&rdquo; tool. It needs regular updates. You don&rsquo;t want dated information out there. If your website looks and acts like a place where professionals regularly do business, consumers will view it that way. If it looks like a ghost town that hasn&rsquo;t gotten a glance from its owners in years, consumers will continue on to the next stop.</li> </ul> <h4>Consider Hiring a Pro</h4> <p>Not everyone is a techie, but hiring someone to do Web development, traffic building, and lead generation and conversion isn&rsquo;t dissimilar to what we already do. We hire maintenance people to keep the office clean and running, staff to cover the phones, and marketers to produce advertising. Delegation is the finest art of a successful real estate broker-owner, but many still seem to think it&rsquo;s not worth hiring support.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s no &ldquo;easy&rdquo; button in online lead generation, but it&rsquo;s also not out of reach. If you can&rsquo;t build, maintain, and regularly enhance your Web presence, you need to be paying someone else to keep it updated.</p> <h4>Online Lead Generation = Prospecting</h4> <p>My company generates dozens of leads every day on its websites, but that requires lead generation to be a major focus. We don&rsquo;t sit on our laurels. Our main websites focused on the Seattle market rank high in search, and we just developed <a href="http://www.bellevuehomes.com/" target="_blank">BellevueHomes.com</a> to spread our reach further. Our agents depend on leads to keep our team successful, and we treat online lead generation the way most brokers or agents would treat their top prospecting activities.</p> <p>Of course, you can also buy leads from portals to supplement your process as you get started. In the long run, though, building a reason for a consumer to visit your website directly will generate long-term benefits to your search engine optimization (your rankings in search results) and your on-site leads will have a much higher conversion rate than those from portals.</p> <p>Kickstarting your traffic often requires some paid marketing, which can be done directly through many real estate website companies, or through a pay-per-click marketing agency. Make sure you work with someone who specifically knows real estate PPC marketing, or you&rsquo;ll lose your shirt on the lead cost. The long-term goal is to create an online experience that helps traffic grow organically, but you may need to drive a few paid visitors to start the flow. Think of it as buying your way into your future customers&rsquo; minds.</p> <p>PPC marketing is a lot like that agent who dropped door hangers in his neighborhood for years. He spent a lot of money to get his name in front those folks, and after a while, home owners just remembered his name. They could eventually type it straight into a search when they went look online for an agent. Then, the agent didn&rsquo;t have to advertise at their doorstep any more.</p> <p>Your real estate website isn&rsquo;t a hobby, and designing it to generate leads is not for the meek of heart. Luckily, real estate brokers are not meek. If you really believe that real estate prospecting is shifting even further toward online interaction, then start focusing your money, time, and delegation toward online customers in a way that says, &ldquo;This is my online office. We&rsquo;re ready to serve you where you are.&rdquo;</p> <hr /> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/logos/BtoB_logo_footer_080114.jpg" style="float:left; height:117px; width:150px" /><em>Broker-to-Broker is an information network that provides insights and tools with business value through timely articles, videos, Q&amp;As, and sales meeting tips for brokerage owners and managers. Get more <a href="/for-brokers/network" target="_blank">Broker-to-Broker content here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Is your company website populated by a few tumbleweeds and a lonely cricket? Learn how to build a powerful lead generating tool that will host busy agent activity and eager buyers and sellers.</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/mar15_BB_abandoned.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=90253">mar15_BB_abandoned.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/mar15_BB_abandoned_0.jpg?1427843224" /> </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/mar15_LP_BB_abandoned.jpg?1427843248" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/02/6-simple-steps-skyrocket-your-website">6 Simple Steps to Skyrocket Your Website</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2012/03/winning-features-for-any-real-estate-web-site">Winning Features for any Real Estate Web Site</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/03/what-your-online-about-me-says-about-you">What Your Online ‘About Me’ Says About You</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2015/02/4-easy-steps-convert-online-leads">4 Easy Steps to Convert Online Leads</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2015/01/does-it-make-sense-buy-leads">Does It Make Sense to Buy Leads? </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:13:58 +0000 echristoffer 18575 at http://realtormag.realtor.org When Pepper Spray Doesn't Work http://realtormag.realtor.org/well-being/safety/article/2015/04/when-pepper-spray-doesnt-work <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&#039;s the most popular weapon among REALTORS®, but it&#039;s not reliable in every situation. </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, April 1, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/john-graden">John Graden</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you needed something to help you stay safe in the field, what would be your weapon of choice? Some real estate professionals are calling for practitioners to keep guns on them at appointments, but <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2015/03/are-you-really-safer-gun">whether that&rsquo;s a good idea is a different story</a>. Most of us probably want to stop short of killing another person &mdash; even an attacker &mdash;so the next best option is pepper spray. Or so it seems.</p> <p>Pepper spray, a nonlethal weapon that can stop a criminal in his tracks, is one of the most popular safety tools out there. It&rsquo;s the weapon most favored by REALTORS&reg;, with 17 percent saying they carry pepper spray in the field, according to the National Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; <a href="http://www.realtor.org/reports/2015-member-safety-report" target="_blank">2015 Member Safety Report</a>. Twelve percent say they carry firearms.</p> <p>But should agents rely on pepper spray as much as they do? Sometimes the sense of security it can give is real &mdash; and sometimes it&rsquo;s imagined. Pepper spray works best under one of two circumstances, both of which don&rsquo;t naturally occur as often as you think.</p> <p><strong>1. You spray it directly into the eyes of an assailant.</strong></p> <p>This is a lot more difficult than you think. In the sterile world of a pepper-spray demonstration, the attacker is standing in front of the victim, verbally abusing her or initiating an arm grab. The victim pulls out the pepper spray and shoots it into the eyes of the bad guy, who instantly breaks off the attack. In the dirty real world of violent confrontations, the attack is fast, physical, and, in most cases, overwhelming to the victim.</p> <p>Can you still use pepper spray in this situation? Yes, if it&rsquo;s on your person, you&rsquo;ve not been knocked unconscious, and your arms are free to move.</p> <p>If the attack starts with a grab from behind, your pepper spray becomes ineffective. Even in the highly unlikely scenario that you have it in your hand when attacked from behind, you&rsquo;d spray over your shoulder and risk getting some in your own eyes as well.&nbsp;Even law enforcement training takes into account cross-contamination, which means somehow you end up with the spray in your eyes as well as the bad guy&rsquo;s.</p> <p><strong>2. You have it in your hand or readily available when the attack begins.</strong></p> <p>Pepper spray buried at the bottom of a purse when an attack begins is pepper spray you will have a hard time using.&nbsp;If the attacker snatches your purse and the spray is in it, it&rsquo;s useless. But even if the spray is in your hand, it may not thwart an attack completely.</p> <p>The effectiveness of pepper spray can vary greatly depending on the condition of the assailant. If he is numb from being high on drugs or intoxicated or he has a high pain tolerance, the attacker might not succumb to pepper spray. Rare is the person who is not affected by it at all, but some people are affected more than others.</p> <p>If a bad guy is motivated and intent on having his way, he may be able to do some major damage to you after being sprayed. Even with his eyes closed, if he has you in his grip or tackles you and mounts an assault, he can rain down some pain.</p> <p>Odds are that if you can get out your pepper spray and fire it accurately, it will work long enough for you to escape from an attack. Just make sure you have it readily available at all times.</p> <p>That said, pepper spray shouldn&rsquo;t be your only safety tool. Take a law enforcement&ndash;based self-defense class to make sure you&rsquo;ve got an array of skills to stay safe. Self-defense skills are never buried deep in your purse, and they are with you at all times.</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&#39;s the most popular weapon among REALTORS&reg;, but it&#39;s not reliable in every situation.</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/mar15_W_pepper.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=23761">mar15_W_pepper.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/mar15_W_pepper_0.jpg?1427808154" /> </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/mar15_LP_W_pepper.jpg?1427808173" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2015/03/are-you-really-safer-gun">Are You Really Safer With a Gun?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/well-being/safety/article/2014/12/what-works-better-office-protocol">What Works Better Than Office Protocol</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> Safety Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:52:56 +0000 gwood 18573 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Building a Lollapalooza Brand for Buyers http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/solutions/article/2015/03/building-lollapalooza-brand-for-buyers <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If you can make the act of purchasing a home with your brokerage an extraordinary event, you’ll have clients coming back for a lifetime of magical experiences. </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, March 27, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/jason-forrest">Jason Forrest</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>We all want to be exceptional in our lives and work. We want to be <em>lollapalooza</em> &mdash; &ldquo;<a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lollapalooza" target="_blank">an extraordinary thing, event, or person</a>.&rdquo; For some readers, the term &mdash; which has roots in early 20th century slang &mdash; may call to mind the annual rock festival. But in order to truly figure out how to be the best lollapalooza we can be, we should consider what&rsquo;s billed as &ldquo;the happiest place on earth&rdquo;: Disneyland.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s more than a slogan. By creating a fairytale experience for millions of customers, Disneyland has earned a remarkable <a href="http://www.helpscout.net/blog/disney-customer-experience/" target="_blank">70 percent first-time return rate</a>. It creates magic. Every visit is designed to be a lollapalooza, with personalized experiences for young and old alike. Every detail matters. When he was still around, Walt Disney himself greeted guests. Today, company leaders walk the parks, interact with guests, and pay close attention to customers&rsquo; reactions to new rides. The execs are out among the people instead of tucking themselves away in a building far from the park. Each employee shares a unifying purpose.</p> <p>Your challenge is to create your own lollapalooza brand. If you want to be like Disney, you have to act like Disney. Teams can create lollapalooza experiences for each customer by providing a personal touch. This requires teaching agents to truly know their customers and do their homework.</p> <p>Make it a part of your brokerage&rsquo;s culture for agents to take the time to learn about each client. One of my favorite tools is simple, but it&rsquo;s incredibly effective in allowing agents to create a refined, highly personalized experience. It just requires a visit to the client&rsquo;s current home. Agents ask clients to walk them around and describe everything they like about their current home and everything they want to change when they move to their next one.</p> <p>Another strategy is teaching your agents to tour each prospective home before they show it to customers, whenever possible. It seems embarrassing to me when real estate pros are seeing the home for the first time along with potential buyers. A lollapalooza experience, on the other hand, is one where the agent screens the home first and demonstrates how each room and feature lines up with what their client desires in a new home. This shows that they respect the client&rsquo;s time and want to make every home worth the visit.</p> <p>And sometimes it&rsquo;s the little things. Teach sales associates to bring boxed lunches and a cooler of water for the long days in the car. It&rsquo;s not just a gimmick. For your clients, it&rsquo;s magic.</p> <p>Finally, the experience shouldn&rsquo;t end at the closing table. Disneyland-level team members work tirelessly to make every minute magical. Celebrate the signing. Instead of just passing the keys across the table, agents should meet owners at their new home and make it an extraordinary event. Agents can have a ribbon on the door and present them with a welcome package that includes everything they need to know about the community. Make it simple for them to set up utilities or manage other details that will help ease the client&rsquo;s transition. Make it lollapalooza. They will feel extraordinary and your agent will have earned their loyalty (and, hopefully, referrals).</p> <p>Paying attention to customers and details will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Your teams will build a brand that makes each client&rsquo;s home feel like the happiest place on earth&mdash;and that is true lollapalooza.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you can make the act of purchasing a home with your brokerage an extraordinary event, you&rsquo;ll have clients coming back for a lifetime of magical experiences.</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/mar15_SM_lollapalooza.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=80971">mar15_SM_lollapalooza.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/mar15_SM_lollapalooza_0.jpg?1427488678" /> </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/mar15_LP_SM_lollapalooza.jpg?1427488703" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2015/01/ingredients-for-success">The Ingredients for Success</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/briefs/article/2012/09/generate-ideas-disney-style">Generate Ideas, Disney Style</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/last-word/article/2010/09/shep-hyken-make-customers-loyal">Shep Hyken: Make Customers Loyal</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Solutions Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:05:15 +0000 mwhite 18566 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 5 Tips for Helping Agents in the Spring Market http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/5-tips-for-helping-agents-in-spring-market <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 important for managing brokers to support their agents and alleviate some of the stress a feverish market can bring. Here are five ways to set your salespeople up for success this season. </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, March 26, 2015</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/joan-allen">Joan Allen</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Spring is here, so buckle your real estate belts; it&rsquo;s a fast and furious ride.</p> <p>With the winter doldrums mostly behind us and the economy on an upswing, people are increasingly eager to make a move. In many markets, well-priced homes are being gobbled up as fast as agents can download the new listings. Amid stiff competition and multiple offers, it&rsquo;s easy for agents and their clients to experience serious stress.</p> <p>So what can we do as managers to help our agents come up for air when they&rsquo;re drowning in a sea of fast-paced activity? I sent out a plea to <a href="http://www.windermereportland.com/" target="_blank">Windermere Stellar</a>&rsquo;s managers to help me provide tips for getting through this fast-paced time.</p> <p>Here are our top five tips:</p> <p><strong>1. Have Your Agents&rsquo; Backs. </strong>The increase in competitive transactions means our managers are spending more time helping agents navigate their deals. Managers must be available, offering a safe haven for their agents as they navigate through transaction challenges. Not only are listening skills very important but consistent coaching and support are also essential. Good managers must play many important roles for their agents: adviser, coach, cheerleader, psychiatrist, sounding board, and problem solver.</p> <p><strong>2. Learn to Pause. </strong>In the Internet age, consumers are used to getting what they want &mdash; immediately &mdash; and agents have been obliging. On top of that, changes in the loan industry and appraisal practices, as well as multiple offer situations and evolving sale agreements, are putting more-complex demands on agents than ever before. Salespeople can experience stress and sometimes a sense of panic. Yes, at times we have to work in crisis-management mode, but your agents can offer better answers and advice to their clients if they pause to create thoughtful strategies. As leaders, we must model calmness in order to help control the frenzy instead of becoming part of it.</p> <p><strong>3. Cultivate Future Business. </strong>The current demands of the day can consume 100 percent of your agents&rsquo; time and energy. They need to be protected against a potential drop in future business after the spring buying season recedes. It requires discipline to continue prospecting during busy times. Agents should implement automated marketing systems so that they&rsquo;re staying consistent without taking attention away from their current clients.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s at times like these that we cannot afford the luxury of letting up on our pursuit of the future,&rdquo; says John Gregory, managing broker at Windermere Stellar&rsquo;s Portland-Raleigh Hills office. &ldquo;The light at the end of the tunnel may grow dim if we think we are too busy to promote tomorrow&rsquo;s business.&rdquo;</p> <p>This year, our company has shifted more agent support responsibilities to staff. This has freed up time for agents to focus on high value activities, such as going over paperwork with current clients in person to create satisfied customers, and attending networking events to build future business momentum.</p> <p><strong>4. Communicate Proactively. </strong>Consistent communication reduces not only clients&rsquo; stress but also agents&rsquo; stress during this tumultuous season. Encourage agents to reach out to clients with regular updates before their clients reach out to them for progress reports.&nbsp;Not only is this better customer service, it&rsquo;s also more efficient and can help lower tension levels.</p> <p><strong>5. Set Clear Expectations. </strong>Managers must remind agents to educate and qualify both sellers and buyers so they have a clear understanding of what to expect before they jump into the market. Agents need to make sure they are working with sellers who are motivated to sell and have rational market expectations. Buyers should be financially qualified, understand hot market dynamics, and be prepared to act fast and commit some loyalty to the agent.</p> <p>Being an agent in this age of fast-paced information and evolving marketplaces is not easy. It is our job as managers to provide the kind of support that will allow them to excel amid tight regulations and fierce competition. If you can offer some of the care that is outlined in these tips, your agents and their clients will be lucky to have you in their corner.</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 important for managing brokers to support their agents and alleviate some of the stress a feverish market can bring. Here are five ways to set your salespeople up for success this season.</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/mar15_BB_spring.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=44502">mar15_BB_spring.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/mar15_BB_spring_0.jpg?1427490573" /> </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/mar15_LP_BB_spring.jpg?1427490594" /> </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/2015/03/help-agents-overcome-3-seller-objections">Help Agents Overcome 3 Seller Objections</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/network/article/2015/03/are-your-teams-following-rules">Are Your Teams Following the Rules?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Network Thu, 26 Mar 2015 23:28:33 +0000 echristoffer 18564 at http://realtormag.realtor.org