Rank #1: 008: Business Planning, Part 1: The Principles with Mark Given
Running your business like a business is crucial for getting value for your business. Today’s episode is the first of two episodes that touch on the business planning aspects of real estate. As REALTORS®, it is crucial to plan and be wise in the real estate business and think of yourself as a business person. Mark Given joins Monica today to talk about a number of things that should become part of your business plan: finding a mentor, how to foster a good broker relationship, the cost of training (or not having training) in several areas, as well as niche positions in the market and keeping up with your past clients. They also discuss aspects of building a team and being proactive in your business.
When an agent is starting a real estate business, there is a lot to consider in getting started. One big aspect to consider is the cost of getting into the business; not only getting the license, but also membership fees, marketing expenses, and the out-of-pocket expenses until your business can sustain itself and support you.
One of the first things a new agent has to do is find a brokerage firm. You need to find a good fit with your broker, so they can help nurture you and gain momentum. Looking for a brokerage firm that has potential mentors, a good educational program, and a culture that connects with who you are. Looking for mentors both within and outside the company is important in getting honest answers to some important questions. Learning to ask good questions is a huge part of the real estate industry.
Understanding the money aspect of real estate is important in showing a profit and actually making money in your business. You likely won’t be closing on any deals right away, and you have to budget for the periods of time that you don’t have any revenue. Some expenses include gas, marketing, MLS and association fees, and other additional business fees. Taking a class that talks about the cost of running your business is a great idea for new agents — you don’t want surprises that might cause stress that would prevent you from performing at your highest level. You also don’t want to get ahead of yourself; don’t spend it before you make it!
Training should be part of your business plan as well. Not only for new agents — there is always new information to be learned. It is very beneficial to do more training besides what is required for your continuing education. This can help grow your own confidence, and make your business more successful.
Most agents run their real estate business as a generalist. There are plenty of agents who succeed running their business this way, but Mark has found that agents that take the time to specialize in a given niche often become the “go-to” person for that niche. If you’re going to run your business like a business, it’s in becoming really good at some part of a business that you become recognized as the best person for that part.
Keeping up with your clients after a sale is a great source of ongoing business. Many of the most content REALTORS® are providing service for clients they have worked with before. When thinking about where business is going to come from in your marketing, think about clients you have worked with before and had a good experience with. Consumers should have an ideal agent, and agents should also have an ideal consumer. Making an effort to keep in touch with previous clients is not rocket science, it’s people science. Part of building your business properly is to show both competence and care.
The team model has been making a rise in the real estate industry. When you have a team, you have to think about the financial side and compensation, as well as the skill side. You want to have a well-rounded group of people with different abilities and skills. It is important to communicate and hire in a way that matches up the right people together in a team. These things are important to consider before you start or join a team — make a business plan before jumping into it. Another thing to consider as you are building your team is preparing someone who is going to take over for you when you’re ready to move on. Build your business so it’s a sellable business and also one that current clients will continue to use even when you’re gone.
It is crucial for people running a real estate business to have better systems. Some of these systems include contact management systems or systems that track your business’s profit. Your management systems are only as good as the information you put in them. You need to have some systems in place to make sure you’re doing things in a timely manner, and following up with your clients. There are many companies that already have these systems in place — take advantage of them! Start your day by making a plan for what you need to get done that day.
One final aspect is being proactive in your business. When you’re proactive in your communication, both you and your clients will have more peace. Running a business is about having a plan for how you’re going to spend your money, how you’re going to get trained, and how you’re going to give great customer service to your clients.
There was a lot of information covered in today’s episode, and Mark’s advice is to take one area and start focusing on what you can do to improve in that area. Even though they seem simple, the more focused and organized you get in these aspects, the better our businesses are going to run. Building your business like a business will give it real value.
Books coming out in 2018:
Trust Based Leadership
Trust Based Success
Trust Based Selling
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After attending The Ohio State University and graduating from Elon College, Mark spent 20 years as CEO of a multi-state retail sales and rental company that grew to 47 locations. He spent the next 18 years as a REALTOR®, volunteer, and community leader. All along the way, Mark has invested tens of thousands of hours speaking and teaching the Trust Based Philosophy systems, leadership skills, sales skills and personal master systems with companies and organizations just like yours.
Mark has been teaching real estate courses nationally since 2004. He has trained or spoken in 46 states for mega, large, and small private companies for nearly a hundred associations, and at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® annual Convention and Mid-Year Meetings.
He was twice the President of Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®, President of the North Carolina CRS Chapter, served on the NRA Professional Development Committee and has served on many additional committees for the NAR, the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® and his local board.
Mark has been honored as REALTOR® of the Year for his local board and NC CRS of the Year as well as many other REALTOR® and non-REALTOR® honors.
In addition to his speaking and teaching career, Mark is a prolific author; evidenced by his Trust Based Philosophy book series and his Amazon #1 Best Selling book, Finding My Why: Ernie’s Journey. Mark has also co-written four other books and writes his weekly blog, Mark’s Minute, which is read by thousands of people every week.
Nov 07 2017
Rank #2: 006: Negotiations in Real Estate with Darren Kittleson
Negotiations are a crucial part of all real estate transactions. Improving your skills in negotiating is the topic for better serving your clients this month. Darren Kittleson joins Monica to define what a win-win transaction is, and how to achieve one. As a real estate agent, it’s important to react professionally during a transaction, so your clients are put in the best situation. They will discuss creative ways to negotiate more effectively, so in the end, there is a favorable outcome for your client.
We negotiate far more often in our lives than we realize. As kids, this is something many people do naturally, but somewhere along the line we lose that natural ability. Approaching negotiation with the attitude of a child may lead to surprising outcomes, and allows you to hone your skills as a professional negotiator. Just ask — the worst thing that can happen is someone says no. Darren suggests negotiating on a daily basis to practice the skill, so it’s there when you need it in a real estate transaction.
In almost every culture in the world, there is a negotiation expectation that is unique to that culture and in the United States, it is not a familiar place. From a real estate perspective, taking the time to learn strategies for negotiation is one of the value proposition items that can increase your worth as an agent. Your negotiating skills could potentially yield a better transaction position on behalf of your client, and this can really help to set you apart in your market.
There are a number of places in a real estate transaction — as well as in the relationships between an agent and a client — that provide an opportunity for negotiation. Some of these places include: during the interview to be a client’s listing agent, negotiating the listing price, negotiating the contract and finding out the client’s motivation. Ideally there’s negotiation happening at almost every step of the transaction.
Negotiations are not always about the price. There are other terms and conditions that can be negotiated to get the best outcome for your client. Some of these include the timing of the sale, and making sure the right offer will close or appraise. Darren refers to these as strategies of the transaction — and urges you to make sure that, as a REALTOR®, you consider all the factors that could help your client.
Most people want to have a win-win situation in real estate transactions. While there are some agents that think they have to have a win-lose outcome, everyone will benefit for future transactions by striving for a win-win. This starts by setting expectations with the client — letting them know that your goal is to negotiate a win-win so they understand your discussions and the decisions you make together. One of the best strategies that an agent has is to get in touch with the agent on the other side before the transaction gets started; they may be able to provide information or terms and conditions that would be helpful to know up front. Communicating voice-to-voice will be more effective in setting up the relationship for a win-win transaction. Knowing everyone’s key terms up front is helpful, because while they could be a non-issue on your side, they could be the selling point that makes it a win for the other side.
One of the keys in negotiating is to recognize that everybody will have their own perception coming into it, and that is their reality. As an agent, you have to work in the realm of what they believe to be true. There has to be an understanding that as an agent you will advocate for your client, but still be friendly with the other party. Operating like this leads to better outcomes for everyone. When it comes to emotion, you need to stay level-headed during negotiations, though it may be an emotional experience for your clients. Don’t let negative emotions take over and become a factor. Monica works to recognize the personality types of the parties involved, and tries to come up with a decision that is acceptable to all.
As a consumer, if you express your motivation to the agent, that helps the agent guide the transaction to get what you are looking for. As an agent, you have to ask the right questions to figure out what is important to the client. It has likely been several years since they were last having this conversation, and leading questions help agents get the desired terms. We do the customer a disservice if we don’t dig deep and figure out what’s really important to them. Revisit motivation each time there is a conversation about the sale, to keep up with any changes that might affect the timeline.
How does technology play into real estate transactions? Darren discusses the effectiveness in communication methods. He references a study that showed that the greatest effectiveness in expression of feeling and intent comes from body language and tonality — aspects you can only gauge in a face-to-face or voice-to-voice interaction. With text or email, there is an archive of what was said or what exchanges were made. This can be a benefit or a disadvantage depending on the situation. With access to only the words, you may not get the full meaning behind the message.
As agents it’s important to be involved with other agents in your market. Building connections and rapport with other real estate agents can help get better outcomes for both sets of clients.
Monica talks about the book Getting to Yes. This book recommends that in order to resolve differences, you have to separate the people from the problem. This goes back to recognizing who the professionals are in the transaction, and removing the emotion. When agents are driven by emotion, the problem and the people get intertwined. From the beginning of the transaction, it has to be about the issues rather than the emotion — both when communicating with the other side, and with your own client.
Educate your clients right from the start! Proactively setting the stage for negotiations from the beginning can make a transaction much smoother, because people will know what to expect. The education process should continue throughout the transaction, and it’s important to take the opportunity to have teachable moments. As agents, you can be more effective if your client is educated and aware of what is going on in the negotiation. This can help grow your own business, if your clients refer you to their friends or family.
Think outside the box for creative negotiations. Monica describes a situation in which creative concessions were made to improve the value of the house. If you can’t bring the buyer and seller to an agreement on one aspect, it’s important for agents to think about alternatives that could solve the problems to get everyone to agree. This makes for a better emotional experience for the client, and could potentially lead to greater earnings or savings, depending on the situation.
Darren teaches a class called The Real Estate Negotiation Expert that is a certification created back in 2016 by the Real Estate Business Institute. It seeks to fill the gap in the skillset around negotiations. This two-day certification course teaches strategies, techniques, and planning, and also provides opportunities to try these out in different negotiation situations. By improving this skillset, you increase the opportunity to better serve your client as well as grow your business.
Darren’s final thoughts: For real estate agents - your becoming a better negotiator really is an opportunity to increase revenue for your business. For consumers - a skilled negotiator in your corner will probably help you get more money (or the terms and conditions you want) out of a deal, as well.
Darren’s Website: DarrenKittleson.com
Center for Real Estate Development online learning: onlinelearning.REALTOR®
Getting to Yes, a book by Fisher, Ury and Patton
Sep 05 2017
Rank #3: 023: Working with First-Time Homebuyers with Rich Sands
First-time homebuyers are a niche market among all buyers. They all have in common that they have never bought a house before, so the processes involved are new to them. So much of the journey in working with first-time buyers is about educating them and asking better questions to understand where they are and what they need to move forward. In today’s episode, Monica and her guest, Rich Sands, discuss many ways that we as agents can help our clients who are first-time homebuyers.
Working with buyers and sellers are two different ends of the same spectrum. Having systems are true for working with both; you need effectiveness and efficiency. Thirty-three to 39 percent of buyers are first-time homebuyers. Some challenges that first-time homebuyers face in today’s market is that mortgages are harder to get and prices have gone up. The main thing that makes first-time buyers unique is that they have never done this before. As an agent, you have to have an educator mindset.
For many first-time homebuyers, you have to figure out what the money situation is. Will they be paying cash or have you arranged for financing? Most will finance their first property, and you can usually find properties that are less than or equal to the cost of renting. One of the challenges of being an agent is working with people from different generations. Each one poses a different set of needs and desires. What is important for agents is finding a good lender for your clients.
When looking for lenders, look for lenders who do the products that are most beneficial for first-time homebuyers (HomeReady and Home Possible®). You want someone who is able to effectively implement these programs, not just someone who knows about them.
Some of the associated costs with owning a home are the transaction costs — closing cost, fees, etc. — as well as maintenance costs like electric and cable bills or regular service. A good idea for agents is to have a checklist of some of the other costs homeowners have in addition to their mortgage. This will help your clients be prepared for all costs so they aren’t blindsided.
As we mentioned before, first-time homebuyers are not all young. There are first-time homebuyers from a wide range of ages; with that comes a wide range of experience, situations, and financial background. There are systems we can use to inform our clients. We can help explain the process of buying a home, both looking for one and then writing the contract. They also need help with financing and understanding the market. One of the best things we can do as a REALTOR® is to understand what they want and what they’re trying to accomplish. Working with first-time homebuyers also requires a lot of patience.
Being a great listener and a great asker of questions is crucial to understanding what your clients want. The three most important questions you can use to clarify are “What do you mean?,” “Why is that?,” and “What else?” When we give ourselves permission to slow down and really be with our clients, we will be able to hear them better and determine their needs.
An agent also has to be a great explainer. They have to be able to take any aspect of the process and make it concise and understandable and present it in a way that works for the recipient. Another requirement is that an agent be technologically flexible. It’s also important to have strong leadership qualities.
If you are someone who really enjoys helping people and wants to help first-time homebuyers, you can market to your sphere of influence to find those buyers. As a REALTOR®, it’s important to be aware of what’s important to different generations, so when you’re introduced to them and you want to move into something new, you’ve already learned about some ways to adapt. Another way to find first-time buyers is to make sure you have a good website and have a social media presence. You can find the right platform based on your skill set; if you can write, make a blog. If you have a personality, maybe think about video. And if you have a lot of information, maybe the podcast route is the way for you. You can get started by sharing to a wider audience your answers to questions from clients.
As a REALTOR®, we have to be the person that our buyers need. It’s not necessarily changing who we are, but being flexible so that we can understand and accommodate first-time homebuyers. Instead of thinking about them as a transaction, think of them as people who are going through one of the most fundamental aspects of the American dream.
Rich Sands has been a teacher his whole life. He started out as a high school teacher and a running coach. He became a REALTOR® and also the Director of Education of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Colorado.
There isn’t a time when Rich Sands doesn’t remember leading a class full of students. For fifteen years he brought out the best in high school students. He took that leadership to the real estate industry where he rose to the position of Director of Education, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Colorado and revolutionized the company’s training services for more than 2,000 managers, agents and staff.
Now, an experienced international presenter, instructor, and keynote specialist, Rich specializes in helping people master their sales skills in any situation. His flagship presentations, “Why Your Grandparents Should Direct Your Marketing,” and “Creating Listing Abundance” integrate the key practices needed to engage and impress consumers of all kinds.
Presently, he is President of Rich Sands Seminars and works closely with international real estate franchise systems, independent brokerages and companies in all industries that want to bring out the best in their people. As a NAR/REBAC and Certified CRS instructor, he conducts dozens of courses each year for the National Association of REALTORS® and Council of Residential Specialists.
Rich and his wife, Linda, live near Denver, Colorado. She is a kitchen and closet designer and an elliptical girl. He has two sons: Matt and Ryan and two step-daughters: Angela and Alicia.
Center for Realtor® Development — Onlinelearning.Realtor
Feb 05 2019
Rank #4: 024: Creating the Customer Experience with Pete Blank
Great customer service is one of the key ways we can set ourselves apart from other people in the industry. Everybody wants (and expects) a great customer service experience. Pete Blank joins Monica on the show today to talk about his customer service background working for Disney. They share ideas about customer service through a discussion of the seven guest service guidelines Disney uses, and fit them into the real estate industry.
Now that so much is available online to consumers, customer service in real estate has become that much more important. The face-to-face connection is something clients value and the way we present ourselves and our product contributes to the customer experience. This is similar to the idea at Disney that employees are always in “the show.” For real estate, this would involve staging, materials, etc.
At Disney, they teach that the relationship between you and the customer has to be number one. Pete discusses a little bit about these guidelines and relates them to the real estate industry. The first one is to 1) Make eye contact and smile. This is perhaps a bit easier in the real estate industry as much of the contact is one-on-one, but make sure you’re always presenting a good front when you’re meeting with clients, or in a situation where you may be around potential clients.
The second is 2) Greet and welcome each and every guest. This one is also applicable for when you are out and about. When you’re out in public in your community, it’s important to consider that you may be around potential clients. Note how you want to present yourself to someone who knows you’re in real estate but you may not be having a direct interaction with. You are your own brand.
The next guideline is 3) Seek out guest contact. This one is related to the second guideline in the fact that you may always be around potential clients. In terms of real estate, so many people own homes or want to own homes. There is a general curiosity about the market. As an agent, you can try to share some market research when you’re out in public (in appropriate situations). This will help you be top-of-mind for people that you’ve helped previously or they’ve heard of you through this sharing of knowledge in different environments.
One of the most important reasons is 4) Provide immediate service recovery. Pete shares a story about something he experienced during his time at Disney. What’s important here is if a client brings you an issue, we try to fix it with service first. Rather than offering a discount or some sort of bonus item during the time of the transaction with your client, we look for a way to placate the issue with service first. This will make your client feel valuable.
These standards (the rest to follow!) are non-negotiable. Big businesses may already have these established, but if you are a solopreneur starting your business, take some time to write down some non-negotiable standards for yourself that you will use to serve your clients.
Getting back to the guidelines, number 5) Appropriate body language at all times. As with any industry, when you see employees who look disinterested, this can skew your whole perception of the business. In real estate, this could you be how you look before you meet a seller for a listing. You don’t necessarily want to be wrapping up previous business when your new client shows up. Your body language should show your client that they are the most important thing during your meeting.
Number 6) Preserve the magical guest experience. We don’t want clients to see the nitty-gritty of how things work. This would involved keep the “backstage” parts of processes out of the customer experience. Monica mentions that in real estate there is a line between letting the public know what you’re doing (how much time it’s taking, etc) and also sharing too much. The important thing is how you’re sharing this information. It’s okay to express the work you’ve done, but it’s not okay to complain about the process, especially to your client. As a real estate agent, you can provide your clients with some information about all the different things you do for them, so they know you are creating value for them.
The last service guideline is to 7) Thank each and every guest. At Disney when you leave for the night, people are stationed on the way to say thank you for visiting and provide salutations. In real estate, the close of the transaction is not always the end. You want to make sure you close the transaction with a thank you. This differs from agent to agent — some may prefer different gestures of gratitude.
An important part of the close of a transaction is a review or a post-event survey. Some things to keep in mind are the length — you don’t want it to be too long or too involved; testimonials are usually a good bet because customers can put their own stamp on it. Even calling it a testimonial rather than a review, may get better results and more response. If you have an exceptional experience with a customer or someone involved in completing the transaction, you may want to consider a well-placed gift.
A new development in the industry is working with real estate teams. Many teams don’t have the same longevity as Disney employees, and it can be a challenge to keep up team encouragement. One of the most important things when working on any team is to set up some expectations for team operations, communication, etc. The other aspect is personalities; when you get the team together, take some time to do an activity to get know your team members outside of the business transaction.
The final topic Pete and Monica discuss is getting third-party vendors who share your customer service values and habits. This comes down to setting expectations and maybe also having a brief training with your third-party vendors so everyone is on the same page about the customer experience.
One of the main focuses of the Disney model is savoring the experience. Once the experience is over, we want our clients to look back on it fondly and appreciate how simple it was. As a real estate agent, you want to try to create an experience that clients will look back on and tell others about.
OnlineLearning.REALTOR® for NAR Online Education
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Born and raised in St. Petersburg Florida, Pete and his family visited Walt Disney World Resort every year since the park opened in 1971. One day, while walking down Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom, he told his parents, “One day, I'm going to work here.”
In 1989, while attending the University of Florida, he spent a summer as a Disney Cast Member making memories for guests while working in the Magic Kingdom parking lot. That three-month adventure confirmed what he believed… that this was the right company for him.
After a stint as a television sportscaster, he returned to Disney in 1994. Over the next 13 years, he managed various areas of Disney's theme parks and resorts, where he learned what it takes to run a world-class organization.
Pete was blessed to spend the majority of his time working at Disney University. While there, he led the Traditions program, which is known worldwide as one of the premier employee orientation programs. He also facilitated college-level courses to thousands of Disney College Interns and was a Segment Learning Manager for Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and the Disney Cruise Line.
Today, he is the Training and Organizational Development Manager for the Personnel Board of Jefferson County in Birmingham, AL. In this role, he manages a department responsible for providing leadership and management training to over 7,000 local government employees across 23 agencies. His training team has won multiple awards, including Training Magazine’s Training Top 125, HR.Com's Leadership 500, and eLearning's Top 100.
In addition, he works with organizations and associations all across the U.S., helping them achieve their goals in the areas of leadership, employee engagement and customer service. Some of his clients include DirecTV, Southern Company, LG, Regions Bank, and Coldwell Banker.
His first book is Employee Engagement: Lessons from the Mouse House. His next book, Pick Up the Roach! Why Great Leaders do the Little Things, is due out in 2019.
Mar 05 2019
Rank #5: 021: Helping Buyers with New Construction with Marion Napoleon
In today’s episode, Monica and Marion Napoleon talk about helping buyers with new construction — a topic that is important to both of them. The population in America is growing and demographics are changing.There are more single family homes as people are marrying later and divorces at all age levels create a need for more separate housing. Another factor is that people are living in more multi-generational housing situations. This together has created a general need for more housing. They explain some aspects of the process, how you can provide value as a real estate agent, and some tips for custom builds. Hopefully, this episode will help you understand why they love helping buyers with new construction, and why you should, too!
Buyers tend to like new construction because it gives them options. They are not worried about multiple offers and perhaps, most importantly, they are able to customize their homes however their budgets will allow. A lot of agents shy away from new construction, but it can be great for commission and helps to boost earnings. There is also a team that comes with new construction — a real estate professional, a sales agent, and a construction manager. All of these people are here to help the client get a new house.
One of the most important things for new agents is to get to know your area. Make note of what’s around you and connect with the new home agents so you can learn their processes and their products. You want to build up a “toolbox” so you can help your buyers make the right decision. Both Monica and Marion organize the information they collect into a Dropbox or Google Drive, as a buyer’s book. That way all the information is consolidated and easy to share with your clients.
There are several options when it comes to the payment. With home builders, there is already a real estate commission set aside for REALTORS®. This is something to educate and explain to your buyers up front, so they understand that it’s set aside whether they use it or not. As an agent, you can communicate with the builder and let them know what types of properties you might be looking for with your new buyers.
If you come into new construction in the middle of the transaction, it’s not too late! If you know that your client has started looking, you know that the interest is there, and you can do your research on other areas and show them some other options. If they want you to be involved, you can be. Don’t walk away anywhere in the transaction, because you can still provide value.
As buyers’ agents, there is a lot of value you can bring to a new construction transaction. As real estate professionals, you bring additional global knowledge to the transaction. You can present yourself as a consultant for the entire process, not just the new construction piece. This is especially important when it comes to the contract — you want to make sure you go through the whole contract with your client to make sure everything is understood and how the client wants it. If you are involved, you can troubleshoot proactively, rather than learning about problems once they’re a big problem.
When a big problem occurs, that is when buyers’ agents really show their value. You become an advocate for their clients and will go to the builders on their clients’ behalf. As a professional, you can mediate the issues and also find other options.
A home inspection is a must for new construction. When you get the inspection, don’t sign until everything that needs to be corrected on the inspection actually gets corrected. The inspection should ideally happen right before the walkthrough with the builder. Then you can bring the list to the walkthrough, and the builder can fix what needs to be fixed or provide a good explanation (in writing) as to why it can’t be fixed.
When looking at builders, you can direct buyers to do their own research so they feel confident in their choice. A great resource for consumers is the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Usually, they can see for themselves the quality of the construction, but you can also help ensure the process goes smoothly regardless of who they go with by encouraging an inspection (or inspections) along the way.
Custom builds can be a great option if you have the finances, the time, and the creative vision. The process of the custom build can be very overwhelming, because you have to find a floor plan, and also often have to find your own builder. The biggest thing to consider with a custom build is cost — the client is paying for every single thing they choose. You also have to consider the land involved, as well as working with the county/city for building permits, etc.
Another thing to consider as an agent is the payment on custom builds. You want to make sure these terms and agreements are negotiated and agreed upon up front. The commission often becomes a line item, and as an agent, you want to cover all your bases.
One of the last thoughts from Marion is to really educate yourself as a REALTOR® on new construction and then educate your buyers on new construction. If you sprinkle new construction into your other listings that you’re showing your clients, they may fall in love with something they didn’t even know was out there.
Marion Napoleon is the broker/owner of Unlimited Realty Solutions in Grand Prairie, TX. She has over 17 years of experience as a real estate professional. She works with all kinds of buyers, and is a national speaker with the National Association of REALTORS®, as well as speaking on motivational topics. She is trained and certified to help you reach your goals and aspirations in every area of your life. For over 30 years, Marion Napoleon has devoted her life to changing the lives of others. Marion is a Real Estate Broker and Instructor, Certified Life Coach, Author, Nationwide Corporate & Christian Motivational Speaker, She is also Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Center for REALTOR® Development — Onlinelearning.REALTOR®
Dec 04 2018
Rank #6: 019: Let’s Talk About Communication with Chris Donaldson
It’s easy to forget, in the real estate industry, that communication between people is as important as it’s ever been before — especially with the rise of technology. This is an issue in business and among people, in general. One of the most popular forms of communication these days is through our phones, though very few people actually use it as a phone. As a REALTOR®, it’s important to be aware of which forms of communication our clients are using so we can use their preferred method. This is also true for communicating with other REALTORS®. In this episode, Monica and Chris talk about different types of communication, as well as different attitudes to use while communicating.
Remember that we have to be professional 24/7 when it comes to communicating via technology. Just because we’re not speaking with someone face to face, it doesn’t mean our tone can’t be interpreted or perceived as rude. This is something to be aware of as you’re communicating with your clients and other people in the business. Early in the relationship, treat communication formally, and respond to the communication pattern of the other person once you’ve established the relationship.
There are four different personality (DISC) types and each type has a different preference for communication. You have to be able to work efficiently and well with all of those people. You don’t have to be like everyone you work with, but you have to be able to communicate with them professionally.
You may also need to rely on several different types of communication to relay the same message. If you’re sending along attachments, or maybe an offer, you may also send a text or give them a quick call to let them know those things are on their way. Monica refers to this as the trifecta of communication. Waiting on only one method of communication could cost your client a deal.
Email is an especially sensitive form of communication. Things can get lost in transit or it’s very easy to make a typo when entering an email address that could cause your email not to get to its intended recipient. There are also many third-party systems that handle email, and you could potentially unsubscribe from emails that might be important. Chris shares a tip — separate your business and personal worlds in your email. Make sure your real-estate-related items are going to a separate place from any personal emails to help ensure you’re not missing important information you need. This will also help you compartmentalize distractions during the day.
Chris shares a strategy he has for maintaining his emails — the four D’s. The first one is Delete: delete emails that aren’t important, or “junk mail.” The second one is Delegate: get things to the appropriate party right away. Don’t use your inbox as your to-do list. The third one is Do: respond to things that are time-sensitive but also take time each day to make sure you are responding to emails that need your attention. There are apps in the app store that manage emails that may have more features than the ones that come with your phone.
When communicating with text or email, make sure the people you are communicating with know who you’re are. That is, make sure in the text or email you have some type of signature so the recipient knows who are you and can get back in contact with you depending on the situation at hand. Make it easy to let people know who you are. One big takeaway: as REALTORS®, one of our big goals is to reduce resistance for our clients. Meditate on the systems in your business to see what you can do to make things easier for your client.
Challenge from Chris: Think about the question, What makes me an expert? As you continue to interact with your clients and consumers, make sure you are able to communicate what you do well. This also helps the REALTOR® understand their own self-worth and the position they have in the industry, and also provides something to build upon. Make sure you identify problems and share with your clients how you are going to solve them.
It is also important to keep your clients updated, regardless of what’s going on. Monica talks about a template-type email that could be sent the same time each week that keeps clients in the loop. Chris shares an example of a daily follow-up, and the “no update update.” If you’re working with a client on an issue, make sure you update them on the progress. Even if you don’t have an answer, let them know you’re still working on it so they don’t wonder about it.
Being an awesome communicator really helps client retention, especially during times when the market changes. The tougher the market, the communication is likely needed. Tailoring your approach to suit the client’s needs really goes a long way. If they think and know you are doing everything you can, the relationship stays strong.
Technology and communication are amplifying your ability to have one-on-one conversations with your clients. You have to prune both sides, the tech and the personal relationship, to create effective communication between you and your clients.
Monica’s final tips: When you get an email, make sure you send a quick reply to acknowledge the email. For emails, think about using a strong subject line to make it stand out. If you work in teams or with assistants, make sure the transfer of communication is clear, so the right person is getting the right information.
Personal hub: thechrisdonaldson.com
Center for REALTOR® Development — Onlinelearning.REALTOR®
Chris Donaldson is a real estate broker, popular keynote speaker, teacher, business coach, entrepreneur, and leadership expert. A businessman with a teacher’s heart, everything Chris touches begins and ends with the goal of helping you achieve what you want.
Jumping into the world of real estate while still just a college student, he quickly transitioned his love of teaching to become one of the youngest certified real estate instructors ever in his home state of Louisiana. Now the CEO of Donaldson Educational Services, Founder/CEO of Donaldson Training Solutions and active real estate broker, his daily mission is to make YOUR life and career better.
Passion and enthusiasm to help others are evident in everything Chris touches. Whether that simply means helping you obtain that new license you desire, making sure you understand your license requirements, compliance, and continuing education, or doing his part to help you excel with “next level” training to help you succeed — it is all under the umbrella of the businesses and efforts Chris works on each day. The goal is simple, that someone benefits from any of the programs, courses, books, free content, or anything else that is created by Chris and his amazing team.
Chris currently lives in New Orleans Louisiana with his beloved “watchdog,” Putter. While not working on his businesses, he enjoys golf, fitness, and not burning down the kitchen trying to cook. Giving back to the community through various charitable foundations is always at the top of mind, especially those that can directly affect the lives and futures of those the organizations serve.
Oct 02 2018
Rank #7: 003: Real Estate Investing with Ron Phipps
In today’s episode, our guest, Ron Phipps, joins Monica to talk about how to get involved in real estate investing, and to discuss the benefits and the best ways to get started. Real estate investing is a great way to build wealth and to prepare for long-term cash flow for the future. This is a great opportunity for real estate agents, investors, and the general public. In addition to the benefits, Monica and Ron talk about some of the downsides to real estate investing, and the risk involved with different kinds of units.
The big picture: Why is it so great to invest in real estate? The history of real estate investment goes all the way back to the founding fathers and their recognition of the value of private property rights. They understood that self-reliance for citizens was important, and property is a very effective tool by which the citizens can become financially self-sufficient and independent. Ron talks about the difference between the net worth of families that own property versus renting property, as well as the difference between generations, to show how real estate investing can be an effective tool for saving.
Ron and Monica talk about the importance of real estate for your overall long-term savings portfolio. Real estate has a lot of functionality beyond monetary gains, since it provides one of our basic needs. The demand will continue to be there, as we all need a place to live. Ron breaks down some numbers in terms of population size and family size to support the increase in demand. It is important to work with a real estate agent who understands the investment piece and the demographics to be successful (understanding which types of units are necessary, amount of space, etc).
Some of the benefits of real estate investing: First and foremost, it is a very good way to create wealth and also have flow. You don’t always need a lot of money to put down, up front. It is one of the few vehicles where you can leverage the money for a more expensive asset, and use money earned from rent or other expenses to pay off the mortgage. In these situations, you have appreciation and depreciation at the same time. Additionally, you have an asset that in the longer-term will appreciate. Real estate is a great way to build wealth and be able to pass it down through generations. For some, the fact that real estate is a tangible asset can provide a great sense of comfort and relief to those who invest.
What are the different motivations when picking a property? Some people opt for a property that cash flows all the time, where other people are maybe more concerned with a property being easy to manage, and not make as much. You have to decide what you’re trying to do by investing. Ron talks about the aims of international investors, as well as some different factors to consider when deciding how you are going to invest. Once you know what your end goal is, it is critical to find a REALTOR® that knows about the investment side as well as the market area.
It is also critical to be a real estate agent that knows about the investment side. The National Association of REALTORS® has come out with a course that has two focuses: the first is to encourage REALTORS® to make investments, and the second is to train them on the vocabulary of real estate investment and what strategies they can use to help their clients. The investor is a more reliable (and frequent) customer than a family looking for a house. As REALTORS®, becoming an investor can help you focus back on your core business, and can also help you be more qualified to help your clients make sound investment decisions. This includes providing your clients with a network of resources to help when problems arise, as well as discussing disadvantages with their clients.
Some of the disadvantages of investing in real estate: 1) lack of liquidity, 2) you can’t sell the property overnight, 3) there are risks and expenses, and 4) the variability of market conditions. As an investor, it is important to be aware of these things.
There are a lot of avenues for financing. Ron talks about some of these different avenues — including researching smaller entities for better lending, leveraging other properties, and using IRA money to fund investment property. Depending on where you live or where you feel comfortable investing, you can start with small numbers. Keeping your original properties can help increase your cash flow as well. Monica and Ron again talk about the importance of getting together with a professional about what goals you’re trying to accomplish, and doing due diligence to cover all your bases.
Some important things to consider with your investment property are the cost of maintenance, insurance, and current rent rates. After considering these things, if the numbers don’t work, you may want to consider moving on to a different opportunity. It is important to be disciplined about these numbers to help ensure a successful investment.
There are many opportunities for building your education in real estate investment. Ron recommends the class Building Wealth, Representing Investors, and Becoming One Yourself. This one-day course will provide resources, tools, and networking to help REALTORS® secure their future through investing. Monica suggests the Real Estate Investors Networks (REIN) — look in your local area for these networks. There are many additional opportunities in your local communities as well as within the state. Explore the different opportunities around you to see what kind of education you can find, or financial assistance. The National Association of REALTORS® is a very valuable tool for understanding different market areas and demands.
Ron’s final advice is to use common sense and engage the professionals to help you in your pursuit. Real estate is a great tool to become financial independent, but the professional advice will make the journey a lot less painful.
NAR Education Sites & Resources:
Link to information about the class:
Jun 06 2017
Rank #8: 014: Senior Market, Part 2: How Elder Care Professionals Can Help with Barbara Boone McGinnis
Continuing last month’s episode and conversation about the Senior Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) Designation topics, today’s guest joins Monica to talk about the legal side of things. Barbara will discuss estate planning, probate, trusts, and what you can do as a real estate professional. This episode is full of great information and advice, and it’s important to remember that as real estate agents, we may need to recommend an Elder Care professional to our clients in order to best serve them. Topics discussed offer a great place to start and some ideas to share with our clients, but ultimately people like Barbara will be able to give our clients the best information.
Barbara works at a firm that specializes in Elder Law — the primary focus is helping older people (or the families that care for older people) navigate the healthcare system, estate planning, asset protection, and post-mortem issues. Many people immediately turn to real estate when things change in their life; REALTORS® get called in when sometimes their clients may need to be referred to other professionals first. One of the things they advocate at Barbara’s firm is to be proactive as you’re approaching older age, and becoming aware of what’s in your community. Many things have changed over the last several years and many of them for the better.
Barbara and Monica talk about the importance of planning a will and what estate planning looks like for people. A will is a written declaration of what your wishes are for your assets are at your death. It is good for everyone to have as well, as soon as they have something that’s worth protecting (assets, children). When it comes to estate planning, it should be thought of as a process rather than an event. As our lives change, estate plans may change in focus. Estates often include Powers of Attorney, usually one for healthcare and one for general business purposes, which is what REALTORS® would likely be looking for. There are ordinary and extraordinary Powers of Attorney, and each one allows different scopes of authority. When dealing with Powers of Attorney, it’s important to understand that every POA is not exactly the same, and understanding the authorities that are allowed.
There are different competencies for POAs and can be effective immediately or effective upon some future, contingent event. As a real estate agent, you may be working with adults that don’t have full capacity. Legally, they are competent until they are adjudicated not, but they may have limited capacity depending on what type of decision is being made. This capacity may be something of concern for real estate agents. In this case, agents can go to the client's Power of Attorney or a family attorney or could go to their closing company attorney. As an agent, if you’re unsure about a client’s capacity, a respectful approach would be to ask your client if they have a Power of Attorney, to serve as a sounding board for security measures. That way the POA can protect all parties involved, but the older client can still feel like they are in control of the decision. You could also ask if there’s another professional advisor they’d like to run the decision by.
Some other documents that are part of estate planning are HIPAA release, as well as a will substitute, like a trust. Trusts are legal documents that permit you to transfer assets either prior to your death or after. The grantor is the person that sets up the trust, and it’s their purpose for having the trust that guides how it’s used and what language needs to be in there. The trustee is the manager. The principle is the asset that is titled to the trust; beneficiaries are the persons who are supposed to benefit from the trust in life, as well as remainder beneficiaries that will inherit the asset after the death of the grantor. Some are very wealthy, but you really don’t have to be super wealthy to benefit from a trust. A trust is a good way to manage assets of a vulnerable person. The takeaway here for real estate agents is to be able to offer clients the trust without putting children (or someone else) on the deed.
What about probate? Probate is not just about transferring title to a named beneficiary; it is also about cutting off claims of creditors. REALTORS® general prefer real estate to go through the probate process because they can be assured there aren’t outlying, lingering creditors. There are ways of transferring real estate that may avoid probate. Barbara talks about some of the different ways you can own property that would prevent the property from probate. If you die without a will, a judge will say how the assets are going to pass. You may have full probate, or something called muniment of title, which serves the purpose of transferring title (not full probate).
There are many small details that can change the outcome of a transaction. There may be a general answer to a general question, but you may find something out later on that could change the answer. There could be laws or practices that differ from state to state that could change whether you can sell a property under probate. Barbara shares some examples in the state of Tennessee, and how that compares to what she sees in other states. This could play into inheritance tax as well. There is an estate tax on the federal level (the exemption is 11.8 million), and the inheritance tax is a state tax in different states.
One of the things they talk about in the Senior Specialist Designation class is Medicaid. Medicaid is a federal set of laws that is administered on a state level. It’s designed as a safety net program for categorical eligible people for medical insurance but also serves as a payer for long-term services and support. A lot of people think that having Medicaid pay for their care at the end of life might be a good idea because they’re afraid their assets would be used up having to pay for nursing care. There are several types of mature adult housing before nursing care, and Medicaid does not cover those expenses. Assistance for these types of expenses may differ state to state; Barbara shares how TennCare works in Tennessee.
There are income restrictions that govern whether a person can use Medicaid. You have to look at income versus net worth, and sometimes you can protect your net worth through the use of an irrevocable trust. This requires some planning because there is a 60-month lookback for Medicaid. There is usually a workaround for the trust, but you wouldn’t need to address this until the point of application. There are so many ins and outs and they differ from situation to situation. It’s important to help your clients find the professionals they need to figure out how they can benefit most.
When people decide they need the help of an elder care attorney, what options do they have? It may seem expensive upfront, but will likely save a client money in the long run. Many people are surprised by what Elder Care Law firms can offer. It’s important that other professionals, who have likely worked with adult clients for much of their lives, are aware of elder care law professionals. Fees typically would be 1-2 months of nursing home care, so it’s affordable and reasonable value. Elder Care Law is a growing niche in the US; it seems to resonate with younger people that are looking for a truly meaningful career.
As people are aging, we need more care. The laws continue to change as well, and when you’re dealing with so much government regulation, it’s important that you’re working with someone who is staying on top of the changes. It’s always the law that’s in place at the time a person passes that will impact a state recovery for Medicaid recipients.
To learn about social security benefits, there is a lot of information on the social security administration website. To get the best information, going to a certified financial planner is the wisest course of action. They should be able to recommend when you should start taking your social security, whether you should draw from your spouse or on your own, and what to do it you’re widowed or divorced.
There is a lot of information out there on the topic of elder care. It’s important to consider all of your sources, and streamline it down to your options and planning proactively for the future. People should get started early, and know that their estate planning is a process, rather than an event they can check off on their list of things to do.
National Elder Law Foundation - Find a Certified Elder Law Attorney in your area.
Barbara Boone McGinnis, CELA
Barbara is certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and as a Certified Elder Law Specialist by the Tennessee Commission on CLE and Specialization. She is also a VA-accredited attorney. Before receiving her license to practice law in Tennessee, Barbara spent more than 20 years as a Registered Nurse and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.
May 01 2018
Rank #9: 029: Multi-Platform Marketing for Maximizing Content
Today’s episode explores modern marketing: how we create and share content, who we share it with, and how it’s made available to the public. This episode is a recording of the panel Monica hosted at the 2018 REALTOR® Conference and Expo. Guests TJ Pierce, Mor Zucker, Jamie Slough, and Dave Caskey speak about how they have utilized their social media marketing in their businesses. No matter where you are in your business, there will be a takeaway for you to apply to your work.
Content can be anything that you want to share, from photos to a blog, to videos; there is something for everyone. Multi-platform marketing uses the content you created and distributes it across several social media platforms. For example, content from this podcast appears on Instagram and a blog, and a video is uploaded to YouTube. Monica talks about some ways you can create content from your listings, and on which platforms you might want to share it. Sharing across several different platforms will allow you to connect with several different audiences and demographics.
Advice from TJ:
Start with the platform you are most comfortable with, and branch out from there. At Mid-Century Homes, they build their digital library with pictures from their phones and use an app called Canva that allows you to use your own photos to create a content layout. They also use professionally made content like photos, their website, and videos.
You can also share other people’s content and engage with other businesses on the various social media platforms. This has been especially important for Mid-Century Homes because they’ve been able to share other content with a niche audience they know will appreciate it. They can engage with their own audience while attracting followers from the audiences of other businesses. TJ talks about how they use the different platforms of Facebook, Instagram, and their website and about how much they budget for it. Some of the live events they have are home tours, Instagram, and a first-time homebuyer class. 45% of their business has been in off-market deals because they knew how to work their marketing platforms!
Advice from Mor and Jamie:
Don’t wait for opportunity — create it! They focus on using marketing and technology to sell homes, rather than selling homes and having to use those tools to do it. They create two main ways: their blog (The Denver Ear) and by using PR and relationships with the media.
Being intentional about fostering relationships with the media and creating news in your business is huge in getting your content out there. Jamie describes some of the content they’ve created, through community events, or stories about properties. When writing these, there always needs to be value for the consumer added. Once you have a press release, you can distribute the content across several platforms, and drive traffic back to your website.
Mor talks about The Denver Ear, which is a blog that focuses on community, lifestyle, and business, rather than real estate. When you’re selling real estate, you’re really selling the community around the property. As your blog gets more exposure, local businesses may start to connect with you about their news. This is a more indirect and long-term strategy, but Mor wanted to create the blog outside of their real estate website to bring people in the back door. The conversion seems to be higher for these people because they’ve taken the time to navigate to the real estate page from the blog.
The most important thing about blogging is that it doesn’t matter how often you blog, but each post needs to have high-quality content. Find unique things to write about, and be aggressive about making connections with businesses and media. When it comes to blog content, focus on your interests; people will want you to be their agent because they resonate with who you are as a person.
Eventually, you want to start connecting your blog to your real estate business, but there are several ways to get creative about this that aren’t necessarily just putting the real estate information on your blog each time you post.
Advice from Dave:
REALTORS® are connectors; we connect with people and then we connect those people with homes. Across the different platforms, it’s important to know your audience. This is not only for what you post but also how you engage with others on these platforms. Dave covers several different platforms and offers suggestions about what is appropriate on each.
Quality over quantity — while it is important to get followers, you want to make sure they are the right followers and actual consumers of your business product. Knowing your target audience will help you decide how to prioritize. Dave talks about the distribution of their content; they will post content and then each of their agents will post the same content on their professional pages and they’ve just increased the chances of people seeing this content.
You can “reuse” content — maybe you go back to an article once every year and update it with relevant information.
When hosting live events, you might consider offering door prizes or make it appear that it’s sold out so there’s some hype around it. The pre- and post- is usually the most important outcome of the event, especially how much it gets your name out during advertising.
Instagram is primarily for catching people’s attention visually. For residential real estate, it’s also about promoting the lifestyle.
There are often “sign-in walls” to get agents’ contact information, and this is usually for the agents to build up a database. As agents, it’s important to note what’s working for consumers and what’s not, so we can pivot if something isn’t working.
Video content between social media and your website should be different. On social media, you want videos to be fun and engaging. Videos on the website may be a little more professional and directed towards a specific purpose, like a 360-degree video of a property.
Guest Links: See additional bios below for guest links
OnlineLearning.Realtor for NAR Online Education
Training4RE.com — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes.
Since the first year she pursued a real estate profession, and every year since then, Mor Zucker’s marketing and technology initiatives have placed Team Denver Homes, her co-founded real estate team's website, #1 among the most viewed agent websites, and her blog the #1 most viewed blogs in Denver, Colorado.
Her innovative approach to marketing has led her to become a public speaker at conferences such as Inman Connect, Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate, ENCON, WFG's REfresh and multiple brokerages’ MarTech conferences around the world.
Her marketing and technology efforts have garnered her the distinguished REAL Trends Game Changers Award (2019), RISMedia's 2019 Newsmakers Award (2019), “Best Overall Marketing Package Agent” award (2017), the "booj" award (2016), and she has been nominated by Luxury Real Estate for "Most Innovative Marketing Technique" (2018, 2016, 2015, 2014); "Best Overall Marketing Package" (2018, 2016, 2015); and "Outstanding Social Media Savvy" (2018, 2016).
In 2018 Zucker joined the Forbes Real Estate Council as an Official Member. The council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Members of the council have the opportunity to submit thought leadership articles and short tips on industry-related topics for publishing on Forbes.com.
Zucker is the Founder of the website, The Denver Ear, a local lifestyle blog that focuses on local events, restaurants, and family activities in Denver. The Denver Ear currently has over 140,000 unique readers per month.
Jamie’s diverse background affords her a unique perspective and skill set to provide the best to her clients throughout all aspects of the transaction. In addition to Marketing Director for one of the top brokerages in Denver, she has also been a real estate coach and co-founded a successful real estate team, before branching out as an individual REALTOR® at Madison & Company Properties.
“I’m proud of the impact I’ve been able to have on the industry through these opportunities, and now I really want to focus on the most important part – my clients!”
Jamie is also a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate and has won multiple awards including Luxury Real Estate’s “Best Overall Marketing Package” in 2017 and was named one of RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers 2019.
Jamie works with clients in all price points, all over the world. She specializes in the marketing of luxury listings and has been named one of the top referring REALTORS® in her brokerage in 2017 and 2018 due to her military affiliations and networks, truly supporting her clients worldwide.
Through all of Jamie’s accomplishments, what she prides herself most in, is her honesty and integrity in everything she does, leaving a positive impact on the industry – one client at a time.
Podcast: Next Up! Mid-Century Homes
TJ Pierce is owner and team lead of Mid-Century Homes in Boise, Idaho. He created the business back in 2016 with no prior real estate experience. He ventured into the industry with 10 years of corporate sales experience with both Xerox and Canon. He provides comprehensive services to mid-century enthusiasts not only in Boise, Idaho but across North America, as opportunity allows. If you have any connections with architecturally significant mid-century architecture, he welcomes you to contact him.
With over 40 years of combined experience in the Manhattan Beach market, Jennifer and Dave Caskey, along with their professional team of licensed agents and administrative staff, offer the highest level of service with uncompromising attention to each client’s individual real estate needs and goals. From initial meeting to final closing, you can count on Caskey & Caskey to set the standard for all of your real estate transactions. Jennifer and Dave don’t just work in Manhattan Beach — they live here, play here, and have raised their three sons here. As locals, The Caskeys provide a unique perspective and insider knowledge that directly benefits their clients.
Caskey & Caskey has built a loyal client base on a reputation for outstanding service not only during a transaction but for the many years thereafter, with one of the highest repeat client rates in our industry. Our award-winning multi-channel marketing platform is designed to provide an omnipresent reach that spans all markets. Attention to detail combined with a depth of experience, a personalized approach, and commitment to the community is what makes Caskey & Caskey the top real estate team in Manhattan Beach.
Dave and Jennifer are involved with over 40 local charities and community organizations. This dedication to serving their community is the foundation of their success. The South Bay isn’t just home — it’s the heart, the foundation, and the soul of the Caskey family. Dave and Jennifer take great pride in their community and are pleased to help worthwhile, effective organizations that make lives better.
Aug 06 2019
Rank #10: 027: Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) — Accessible Data with Veronica McManus
Today’s episode is the final installment of a three-part series that highlights some of the NAR member benefits. RPR® helps REALTORS® provide and analyze data for your clients when they request it. Today’s guest, Veronica McManus, is the director of industry relations with RPR®. In this episode, she and Monica discuss some of the benefits of this program for REALTORS® and their clients, as well the many reports available in the system and how to engage with them.
Veronica is in her 7th year with RPR®, and she works with MLSs and associations to encourage their engagement and usage of RPR®. She and her team are the connection between RPR® and the REALTORS® that use it. Realtors Property Resource® is a parcel-centric property database that contains over one hundred million property records from over 300 data sources on commercial, industrial, residential, and land parcels across the country.
RPR® originated when the NAR noticed that clients were coming to their REALTORS® with this data already. They housed it in a central location so their REALTORS® can provide accurate data to their clients. The public seems to love this data, so it’s important to know how you can best engage with the product. For a basic beginning webinar, visit the blog: blog.narrpr.com.
One of the key benefits for the RPR® is that once their client comes to them about a house or a piece of property, the REALTOR® can immediately look up the address of the property and access the data. One of the things that sets RPR® apart from accessing information on your MLS is the report section where there are many different reports that can be created, how they can be shared with the consumer, and the quality of data they contain.
Some of the reports they have on RPR® are property reports, mini property reports, sellers reports, valuation reports, market activity reports, school reports, and property flyers that can be easily linked to other platforms. They also have neighborhood reports that share economic, demographic, quality of life, and market statistics. The REALTOR® is able to put up to 10 PDF documents into their reports. Veronica describes how we may use some of these reports in our marketing.
Many of the reports are very long, but you can go into the report details and pick and choose which information is most pertinent or most appealing to you and your clients. You can go in and create a custom template that will easily generate your reports going forward. This also makes it easier to create a report that suits your clients’ needs, in a very short amount of time! This has helped REALTORS® get a client because they are able to connect with them quickly.
You have the ability to go into reports and suppress some of the estimated values for values. If you’re responding quickly to a lead, they don’t necessarily need to have the RVM. This keeps people from getting too far ahead with pricing with the customer.
The AVM is the automated valuation model, and the RVM is the REALTOR® valuation model market. This was one of the biggest data points NAR hoped to deliver with RPR®. This can be compared to the data that other places are using, such as Zillow. There are some differences between RPR® and Zillow. To determine the RVM, RPR® uses the averages of three different algorithms and also looks to the MLS for accurate and up-to-date information on active and pending list prices. The RVM also show you details, so you or the client can know which comps were used to estimate the price. The reports are also very helpful to share with your industry partners, as they add value to both you and your partner.
The REALTOR® is bringing their wisdom and experience when they interact with the reports within RPR®. They know what is going on in the markets and have often seen the properties, so they are able to change and engage the data in ways other companies are unable to provide.
Some of the other tools RPR® has to offer are traffic counts, flood maps, and heat maps. You can also view distressed properties on RPR® and provide resources to those homeowners. Some other ways REALTORS® are using the resources provided by RPR® are while door knocking and during open houses; utilizing the app has been a game changer for many people! When you can have some of the general information available for people asking questions, it creates a strong initial impression and makes the REALTOR® central to the transaction.
If you’re not using RPR®, now is the time to start! Your competitors are likely using RPR®, and they are closing more business. Visit the blog for more ideas on how to use this free member benefit to save money, save time, and close more deals.
NARRPR.com — Realtors Property Resource®
Blog.narrpr.com — RPR® blog
OnlineLearning.REALTOR® for NAR Online Education
Training4RE.com — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes.
Veronica McManus is a director of Industry Relations with RPR®. Before she joined RPR®, Veronica was a full-time agent, office manager, and education director. A REALTOR® since 1994, she was her association’s past president, REALTOR® of the Year, and Massachusetts Women’s Council of REALTORS® State President. A graduate of the Instructor Training Institute, Veronica is a certified continuing education instructor in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. She also has her broker’s license.
Jun 04 2019
Rank #11: 033: Book Reviews for 2020 Business Building with Cheryl Knowlton and Kristy Hairston
As we approach the end of another year, it’s time to start thinking about business strategies and what we can do to boost our business in the new year. In today’s episode, Monica speaks with Cheryl Knowlton and Kristy Hairston about some book suggestions for building your brand, personal development, and business strategies. Both guests stress the importance of reading, and with a curated list like this, you’ll know right where to start!
Cheryl loves to read! Not only physical books, but Audible is a great hack to get more books in. Both Cheryl and Monica have their book lists on their websites, and you can also check out Goodreads, a social media platform for book sharing.
The first book they discuss is Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss. Chris was the chief hostage negotiator for the FBI, and the book focuses on different types of negotiations. In some cases, you literally can’t negotiate for half of whatever is at stake, and this book teaches you the skills to never settle for half of what you want. You can also access Chris’ material on YouTube.
Cheryl and Monica discuss the idea of a win-win situation if you never split the difference. The book provides scripts and scenarios that can help you navigate different situations. They also talk about the “black swan” as a key to negotiation, and how knowing what the black swan is can change the course of the deal.
The next book is Unfu*k Yourself, by Gary Bishop. Though the title is a bit colorful, it is a great personal development book. It helps you be intentional about the things that are hijacking your life. The companion workbook is an aid to help you work through these things and make real changes. The way to make fundamental changes is to make promises with ourselves, and hold ourselves accountable to those promises no matter what.
Think and Grow Rich for Women, by Sharon Lechter is a great book about not only how to make money, but also talks about other motivations beyond just making money. Money means different things for different people. It uses the same language and terminology as the original, and has a lot of great quotes and affirmations, especially for women.
The last two books they discuss are both from author Sally Hogshead. Fascinate is geared toward understanding branding in corporations. She took this same information and put it into How the World Sees You, which focuses more on branding for individuals. There is also a code in the back of the book for a quiz to determine your primary and secondary advantage, and how to use them.
Books allow you to connect with very powerful people without having to be physically with them. Reading can make you a better real estate professional, husband or wife, son or daughter, and all-around human being.
Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got, by Jay Abraham has 21 ways you can outperform your competition. It focuses on mindset and looking at other industries for principles you can apply to real estate. These steps can help you form your brand around the customer experience. The book also provides tips on how you can get clear on who you are and what you’re setting up for yourself.
Kristy and Monica go in-depth about the customer experience, and how we can draw on different industries and apply those ideas to real estate, especially getting consistency in your customer experience from open houses to closing gifts.
Ninja Selling by Larry Kendall focuses on the flow Kristy referenced. Sometimes we don’t have a referral-based business because we aren’t “in flow” with them. It focuses on two types of flow, auto-flow and live-flow, and how you can continue to deliver to your current customer base. It will help you identify your “Ninja 9,” nine successful habits that are done each week.
Kristy talks about how she combines the ideas and principles of the two books mentioned to better suit her business.
The book To Sell Is Human, by Daniel Pink is a research-heavy book that breaks down the different layers of information about our careers and industries. There are case studies across several different industries that can help shift the mindset for REALTORS® in how they present themselves and their product. This book is great for people who are looking for thoughtful insight and data.
In this business, don’t forget to be uniquely you! Do that with a system and a brand for yourself.
Cheryl Knowlton is the CEO and Chief Energy Officer of Dynamite Productions, Inc. A 20-year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industries, Cheryl works with real estate professionals who want to increase confidence through compliance and elevate their expertise through education. Cheryl is a proud member of the National Speakers Association and holds the highly coveted Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) Designations as well as the Distinguished Real Estate Instructor (DREI) designation, given by the Real Estate Educators Association. She also holds fifteen designations and certifications bestowed by the National Association of REALTORS®.
A record-breaking recruiter, licensed broker, real estate sales and mortgage expert, Cheryl specializes in enthusiastically empowering excellence by consistently delivering highly engaging, timely and relevant content. Cheryl’s programming ensures that today’s real estate licensees and brokers the tools they need to hit the ground running to raise the bar of professionalism in the real estate industry.
Cheryl is the author of “Burn the Hamster Wheel: Stress Management Strategies for Today’s Real Estate Professional.” She is consistently working to fight overwhelm and burnout and to “burn her own hamster wheel” in her personal and professional life through long runs, loud concerts in the car, weekly massages, and playing with her grandbabies and her dog, Buzz Lightyear.
Kristy Hairston is an energetic, driven and compassionate leader. For the past 11 years, Kristy has chosen real estate as the vehicle to use those qualities to add value to family, clients and fellow REALTORS®. She is the Principal Broker at Parks Realty in Nashville. She is a national instructor and was awarded the Educator of the Year award in 2018 by Tennessee REALTORS®. “The most rewarding part of being an instructor is the satisfaction that comes from helping others grow their businesses.” Kristy is the 2020 President of the Greater Nashville REALTORS®. At the core, Kristy is a life-long learner and goal-setter. She has served on the Tennessee REALTORS® Forms committee for four years. She had a really interesting experience that helped all of us by being the Co-Chair for the NAR Conference and Expo for 2018–2019. You might have seen her on the big stage!
Dec 03 2019
Rank #12: 009: Business Planning, Part 2: Applying the Principles with Misty Woodford, Trish Myatt, and Barry Owen
Successful business planning comes when we develop the habits to utilize them. There are three guests joining Monica on the show today, to talk about how they’ve been successful with their business planning. Misty Woodford has been in real estate for about 10 years and formerly owned her own brokerage. She no longer owns her firm and now works with Benchmark Realty and is actively selling. Trish Myatt has been in real estate for nearly 14 years, and right from the start got into a good system and long-term planning. Barry Owen was in the Army for 12 years and has been in real estate for 24 years. He owns his own firm and teaches and still does some selling but mostly runs the company.
Why is business planning so important? For Misty, the motto that stuck with her is “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Having a plan allows her to continue to move forward with tasks, following the plan like a roadmap. It is a stress reliever for Trish, and having a plan allows her to have something to come back to when things start getting crazy. Barry uses business planning because it gives him a place to go — it boils down to whether what he’s doing right this minute is contributing to where he wants to go.
When making her business plan, Trish reflects on what worked for the past year and what she wants to carry over and tries to look ahead to see where the market is going, to see if there are any proactive changes that need to be made. Barry starts business planning for the next year on the first day of the fourth quarter. He tries to think of three big priorities to hit in the next year and uses the remaining time in the quarter before the new year to figure out how he’s going to turn those goals into practical steps he can achieve. Misty sets aside three days towards the end of the calendar and sets three business, personal, and spiritual goals. By November she likes to have what the plan will look like for the next year.
It’s important to schedule in family time and time away from the business as well, as well as any marketing events you want to do for your clients. Trish talks about her “pumpkin run” and how she uses time to show appreciation to her clients.
Making time can be difficult, but you just have to do it. Planning it as part of your day and guaranteeing you will do it is vital for making sure the business is supporting the clients. Barry does this first thing in the morning each day, so he doesn’t have to think twice about anything during the day. This makes it easier to deal with obstacles as well. Clients often understand that you need time away from them to best help serve them when you are helping them. Misty turns her phone off at a certain time each night.
When working on your plans, it’s important to consider how much business you want to do, your finances, and take a look at what systems you have that help you focus forward. Misty lays out what she has to have, what would be nice to have, and what is the dream level. Knowing what is enough in all those areas is an important start. Also understanding what you can delegate or refer to other people can help redefine success for you and your business plan. Barry’s plan is about moving forward every single day towards a better quality of life.
Financial planning is incredibly important as part of your business plan. Trish focuses on the synergy between business purchases and how they come back to reward her. Sometimes investing in something personally can help you focus on making smart business decisions. Misty talks about giving yourself permission to know what you thrive on and allocating resources for the other things. Spending your money on the right things is also important to make sure your business is sustainable. Barry ended up outsourcing for some positions he needed to be filled and it’s been a huge help to his business.
Barry, Trish, and Misty talk about some of the software and technology they are using in their businesses. Some of the things they are using are Commissions Inc, Brokerment, Top Producer, QuickBooks, and Wise Agent.
The panel shares some tips for keeping up with their businesses. Trish uses the checklists in Top Producer to follow up with clients and maintain to-do lists for each day. Misty also utilizes checklists but she uses the Wise Agent program to help manage transactions. Members of the panel also still use paper planners, as well as Gmail and Barry uses Google Drive as a backup. Having these systems is beneficial, but only if you have the right habits to utilize them! Having an accountability partner is very useful for getting the most out of systems and making sure you’re getting done what you’ve said you’re going to do.
Barry’s final closing thoughts are about the idea of 80/20 — 20% is the vital few or the stuff that must be done and 80% is everything else. If someone wants to succeed, they have to know who and what the 20% are. This can help prioritize your projects and organize your day.
Trish has brought some of her customer service background to her real estate business. She uses her systems to manage customer information so she can recognize their house anniversaries, birthdays, and annual reviews. For people who aren’t too high tech, you can still grow a big and healthy business.
For Misty, the key to making business planning and time management work was knowing who she was as a person and knowing what she needed the systems to do for her. Finding what worked for her is what made her do it.
Education is a huge help to stay focused on your business and provide creative ideas. It doesn’t have to be real estate-centric. You can also learn from peers that you admire — don’t be afraid to ask them for tips!
Monica shares three final tips for successful business planning. The first is setting an appointment: set an appointment with yourself to do your planning, then actually go to the appointment — make it a priority! After you have met with yourself and done your planning, meet with a friend who can hold you accountable to stick to do you plan. The second tip is to choose one new system that can help you improve your business next year. Her third tip is to find or pick a new source of education for yourself. Is there an area of your business where you are weak? Find a source of education that will help you grow in that area.
Center for REALTOR® Development – OnlineLearning.REALTOR
Live Designation Classes – Training4RE.com
Misty Woodford is a 3rd generation REALTOR®, currently serving as a REALTOR®, trainer, teacher, and coach in the Middle Tennessee real estate market. Misty’s primary focus is residential resales and buyers working with new construction in the Williamson County and immediate surrounding areas. Licensed in TN for 10 years, Misty owned her own brokerage for the first 8.5 years of her career. Needing a life focus change, she closed up shop and joined Benchmark Realty in February 2016. When Misty isn’t selling or teaching, you can find her chasing her two young children around Franklin as they pursue their wildest dreams.
Trish Myatt is a Broker with Benchmark Realty in the Greater Nashville area. A native of the region, Trish has a wide knowledge of where the market has been and pays attention to where it is heading. With 13 years in the business, she holds the ABR, CRS, SRES, and ASP designations and serves as a Director for both her local and state associations. She is excited to serve on her first NAR committee in 2018. A long-time supporter of RPAC at the Golden R level, Trish understands the importance of staying on top of local, state, and national legislation that impacts her clients. Ask her about the annual “Pumpkin Run” and you'll learn how she cultivates her strictly repeat and referral business.
Barry Owen is a Broker/Owner of the firm Pareto Realty in Nashville, TN. The Pareto Principle is the 80/20 rule — The Vital Few — and Barry models his life and business after this model, focusing on what he considers to be the most important items every day first. His career started in the Army as an Engineer. He went on to be a consultant in the field of Organizational Development and Transformation. In 1993, he started his career in Residential Real Estate. During that time he has been a founding member of several real estate offices, Principal Broker, and Career Development Coach. He has served on the Greater Nashville REALTORS® Board as a Board Member, Committee Member, and Ombudsman. He loves to blog, coach and train. His program to help agents live High-Performance Lives is called, “The Life Rhythm Way.”
Dec 05 2017
Rank #13: 007: The Role of Staging in Selling Your Home with Helen Bartlett
Staging is a very important aspect of getting your house ready to put on the market. While the home-staging professional can come help and bring their wisdom, every home seller is a stager. In today’s episode, Monica and Helen Bartlett will discuss some inexpensive ways to stage your home so it’s ready for buyers, as well as virtual staging and some other aspects of staging and the processes involved.
Home staging is preparing your house to go on the market so that it sells quickly and gets the highest dollar by appealing to the most number of people. Some examples of staging are painting, cleaning, making repairs, or updating your home — the goal is to create a warm and welcoming house that will capture a buyer’s attention. Buyers want to see how they can live in that house.
Home staging is more than just decorating. The difference between the two is a house versus a lifestyle. Staging allows the buyer to focus on the house and their emotional and psychological connection to it. It is especially important to stage a vacant house because when there’s nothing else to look at, the buyer may start to focus on the negative things. Once a buyer is connected to a house, they are willing to pay more for it, and a staged house may sell more quickly.
When a professional stager comes into a house that’s occupied and needs attention, one of the easier ways to highlight a home is to “edit” existing pieces of the house and de-clutter the house of things that can make the space feel outdated. Painting and updating the light fixtures are two of the least expensive ways to make a home seem relevant. These types of updates can make a home feel move-in ready, and when a home feels move-in ready for a buyer, they are willing to pay more.
What are some of the types of ways a stager can bring value to a transaction? They bring their wisdom and experience to help pick good paint colors or appropriate light fixtures. A first consultation might be getting the feel of the space and setting a plan for staging, and then another consultation might be helping the seller move things around.
Everyone selling their home should at least have a stager consultation. In a consultation, a stager can give advice to a homeowner about things to put away. An hour-long consultation could lead to value in the thousands of dollars and runs at a reasonable rate. For REALTORS®, you can make a consultation part of your business model, especially if you don’t particularly have an eye for decorating.
When Helen is getting people ready for staging, her advice is to take out things they don’t want in their next house, personal pictures that could distract the buyer, or collections. Everything left in the room should serve a purpose. There are also things that should be taken out to prevent them from being broken or stolen.
Vacant staging is a bit more involved, but it’s equally important for helping a buyer to connect with a house. Adding furniture will allow buyers to see how they might utilize the space for the stuff they have and their lifestyle. There is a lot of upfront work involved in vacant staging, including what needs to be done to prepare for the staging days and then getting the inventory back out after it sells.
Staging usually costs anywhere from .5% - 3% of the list price, depending on where you are in the country.Typically, a staged home will net anywhere from 7% - 10% more than an unstaged home, which will likely more than cover the staging cost. The home will also likely sell more quickly, which will save you money on holding costs.
Every home can benefit from some level of staging. Though it is a seller’s market in many places in the country right now, with a little bit of staging, you can get multiple offers or even over asking price.
As a REALTOR®, having a stager as part of your team can be beneficial for both you and the seller. You will be appealing as an agent if staging is something you can offer your seller, and the stager can also help to share their best advice for the sellers, and that can help preserve the relationship between seller and REALTOR®. Home stagers are on the same team as the real estate agent, because it’s about making a successful transaction for the REALTOR® and the homeowner.
With the rise HGTV and DIY, many people feel that they either don’t need to make any changes to their house or feel that they can stage it themselves. While the latter may be true, many buyers are not looking for houses to which they would have to make updates. They often don’t have the money or the time — there aren’t as many people that are into fixing up houses as there used to be.
When a house is competing with new construction, staging becomes even more important. While being the first homeowner of a house is exciting, many existing houses may have more amenities for the same price. Staging can help get your house ready to compete with new construction homes.
Virtual staging is when someone is working digitally online, and they add furnishings or different paint colors to the pictures of the house. Personally and professionally, Helen feels like virtual staging could be good for new construction plans. For existing homes, virtual staging may not be the best route to go. As a buyer, when you go to see a house that was virtually staged, you may feel like you weren’t shown what was represented through the virtual staging, because it may not always be an accurate representation.
Helen’s final advice on staging: Sometimes it can be hard as a homeowner to have a home stager come into your home and tell you the things you should change. As homeowners, it’s important to keep an open mind, because, in the long run, it’s a service that will help them. Everyone benefits from successful staging — the seller benefits from a quick sale at top dollar; the buyer benefits because they’re excited about making the space work for their lifestyle; and the real estate agent benefits from the referral business that could come from the successful transaction.
Links for Helen Bartlett:
LinkedIn: Helen Bartlett
Visit the Center for Realtor Development Online Learning Platform:
Onlinelearning.REALTOR® Coupon Code: Podcast
Find a Live Classroom Designation or Certification Class at Training4RE.com
Oct 03 2017
Rank #14: 025: Cultivating Financial Wellness with Kasey Stewart
Now that you’re in the real estate game, what’s your plan for your money? What are your plans for retirement? In today’s episode, in an interview-style episode, Monica and her guest, Kasey Stewart, talk about defining financial wellness, how to achieve it, and what resources can help you manage your money for the future.
In 2017, NAR’s president wanted to help REALTORS® prepare for retirement. In a career where they get paid commission checks, planning can be hard for REALTORS®. The Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness covers several different areas of investment. You can also set goals for yourself and explore the resource library.
Kasey shares some statistics about their members. 43% are not preparing for retirement and 42% are not prepared for a financial emergency.
What does financial wellness mean? For Monica, it means she is in a place where she doesn’t have anxiety about her finances. This includes having reserves, having some idea of retirement, and flexibility and finances to tend to personal or family issues. It’s a subjective term depending on your situation — it may be different for everyone. Think about what you need to feel financially healthy.
Every form of debt has interest that will compound. Debt can also cause anxiety and might even physically manifest itself. If you’re in debt, work on getting out of debt. There are people who can help you get out of debt, but be careful with the help you choose. Once you pay off your debt, it might be a good idea to roll those payments over into another account, maybe for retirement or a savings account.
As independent contractors, it’s important to keep your business reserves separate from your personal reserves. To create a budget as an independent contractor, write down all of your necessary expenses in your personal life. Also, do this for your business, so you have a number that you know you need to get by each month. At some banks, you can set up different accounts to set aside the money to pay your brokers, your taxes, and other anticipated expenses.
To build her reserves, Monica has a business checking account (you could also open a personal checking account for your business funds), and only uses it for business expenses. Monica also uses financial software to help her keep up with her finances. She uses QuickBooks, but there are many different financial software packages you can use. NAR members can get a discount on QuickBooks Self-Employed for $5/month. A couple of ways to build up your reserves are to take a percentage of each closing check and distribute it to your different reserves; if you find you’ve had a generous season, you can move larger chunks of money.
How do we prepare for retirement as independent contractors? Paying for retirement can be difficult if you don’t get consistent paychecks. One of the first things you can do for the future is to improve your amount of business today. You need to define what amount of money would make you feel comfortable for retirement. There are also different avenues you can use to fund your retirement: stocks, bonds, IRA’s, etc. Investing in stocks can be a good way to start funding an account to purchase real estate down the road.
The closer you get to retirement, the more conservative you should be. It would be wise to work with a financial investor that can help you modify for your level of comfort, and also help you understand how your real estate investments play into that. Invest in what you know! You can also determine which type of IRA you might want to invest in.
There are several different ways to invest in real estate: buy a rental property for long-term tenants, Airbnb-type rental, commercial properties, or a real estate investment trust. When considering these avenues, think about your tolerance for management and your tolerance for risk.
Estate planning is part of the financial wellness program. It’s incredibly important to have a will and a Power of Attorney, in case anything should happen to you.
For more information, visit financialwellness.REALTOR®. Financial planning is important for people just getting into the industry or people who have been in the business for a while and are starting to look ahead toward retirement.
OnlineLearning.REALTOR® for NAR Online Education
Training4RE.com — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes.
Kasey Stewart is the director of Member Development at National Association of REALTORS®, and the program director for the Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness.
Apr 02 2019
Rank #15: 032: Best Practices for Historic Homes with TJ Pierce and Michelle Drum
Today’s episode is all about historic homes. These homes have unique architecture and features that set them apart. Monica interviews two different guests about mid-century homes and antique homes. They share information about what REALTORS® should know when it comes to renovating and listing these properties.
TJ Pierce — Mid-Century Homes:
Homes older than 50 years are now considered historic homes. These mid-century homes are homes that were built in the ’50s and ’60s, with the more technical definition spanning 1947-1972. These homes followed specific architectural trends (usually a ranch style home). These homes were built so people could stay in them for their whole lives and shared many common features. While the time frame is the biggest qualifier for a mid-century home, TJ shares some of the other common characteristics of these homes.
The architect is very important for mid-century enthusiasts. There are two different approaches: mass production and the nuance of an architect-grade home. Builders were putting up homes at a rapid rate for Vets returning from war, as well as more individualized homes for important people and the common person.
When it comes to renovating these homes, the best practice kind of falls on two different ends of a spectrum. Some people prefer an untouched home to re-enhance the original features, while others like to keep the structure but bring in new features. If you choose to renovate, you’ll get the best premium if you keep renovations era-appropriate.
Monica and TJ discuss listing these homes, and whether sellers should renovate before they list it on the market. There are many mid-century experts that can provide tips and ideas for ways to update your home appropriately. As REALTORS®, if you understand mid-century architecture or have an expert who does, it may be worth it to update it before listing. If not, it may be better to let someone else come in and do the work.
To market these homes, it may be beneficial to make some connections with other people who already market to the mid-century enthusiast community with other products. It’s also important to use the appropriate hashtags on social media. In many markets across the country, if you have a listing that has the mid-century style, find those experts and agents to network with.
TJ shares many resources that are linked below that provide great content on mid-century architecture and homes. He also shares why they started their company, and how they seek to help the people in their local market and across the globe.
Michelle Drum — Older Homes
This portion of the episode focuses on homes that were built in the 1800s and early 1900s. When looking for older houses, it really comes down to structure and stability. Some of the most important structural things to look for when listing an antique house are pest infestation and authentic features.
Michelle talks about her own home renovation property, and how she and her husband curated it to be as authentic as possible for the next generation. The story of a property is essential for REALTORS® when it comes to listing these homes. When people are looking for an old home, they’re looking for a story, not just a building.
As an agent, you can help buyers find the story by going back to look at the deeds or historians to see if you can give a name to the house. It will give it a complexity that other properties don’t have. Creating these connections between historians and agents can be very beneficial.
Michelle talks about some of the renovation/restoration considerations for older homes. When people want to update an older home with modern amenities, some of the most important things to consider are flooring and color schemes.
Michelle shares some best practices for listing an older home. The number of bathrooms is usually an issue — she recommends having an original floor plan, and also one with some proposed changes a buyer could make to make it more family-friendly. You may also want to get a quote for central A/C. Anything to get ambiguity off the table will help the listing. Antique houses can also be hard to photograph, so you want to make sure you consider room size, lighting, etc.
It is good to give some of the story in the MLS listing. You can share the rest of the story and history of the property at the showing. Putting your home on the national registry won’t necessarily increase the value. If a property becomes part of the city's historic register, it may increase the value a little bit.
Michelle shares some of the resources she has for people who want to learn about old homes. Most states have a Historical Preservation Commission, and you can also connect with lecturers and builders to learn more about the architecture and style of these older homes.
Everybody should find what they love, and really dig deep to learn as much about it as you can. This will bring in buyers and sellers for your career.
For the Mid Century Section:
TJ Pierce is the owner and team lead of a real estate company based in Boise Idaho called Mid-Century Homes. He is also a Co-host to a podcast called Next Up — Mid-Century Homes where they highlight the people, the places, and the work of folks that are making an impact in the world of mid-century design and architecture.
TJ and his team spend as much of their waking time as possible helping make mid-century dreams come true and you can find out more about their work on the web at mid-centuryhomes.com or you can find them on Facebook and Instagram @boisemidcebturyhomes.
Michelle Drum specializes in the sale of historic & coastal properties in Rhode Island. She lives in a nationally registered Schoolhouse that she and her husband are always in the process of restoring. She puts her Ivy League education in Historic Preservation to good use helping buyers and sellers.
Nov 05 2019
Rank #16: 031: Working Successfully With Home Inspectors with Scott Frederick
One of the most important things that can help your inspections go smoother is to have a good relationship with your home inspectors. This not only benefits you as the REALTOR® but also benefits your client. An excellent REALTOR® and an excellent inspector is a fabulous combination to help create a better experience for buyers. Today’s guest, Scott Frederick, joins Monica on the show to talk about how we can foster better relationships between REALTORS® and inspectors, including what to look for in an inspector and communication skills.
The U.S. is about 50-50 between states that require home inspectors to have a license and those that don’t. Inspectors should be a member of ASHI or NACHI, especially in states that do not require a license. ASHI is the American Society of Home Inspectors, and InterNACHI is the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. ASHI tends to be more credible, simply because of the guidelines and requirements it takes to become certified. When looking for a home inspector, you should look for at least one of those certifications.
Training for home inspectors involves a technical instruction background, but almost as importantly, good communication skills, good grammar, punctuality, and time management are key to becoming a good home inspector. There is usually a mentor/shadow period, where you train with an experienced inspector. As an agent, it’s important to do your due diligence to find an inspector to help with the real estate transaction.
The most important part of Scott’s job is to build the relationship between the client, the buyer, and the REALTOR®. He talks about some of the customer service standards they use on their team, starting from the first call to the systematic inspection of the house. During the inspection, they set up shop, go over what the client ordered in terms of the inspection, and get the expectations of the buyer upfront. Get an unbiased opinion from the beginning so the inspection can be thorough and honest.
The way you present yourself from the beginning of the inspection and instill confidence in yourself and your ability will put the client at ease. The inspection is also an opportunity for the client to do their own walk-through and identify anything they are concerned about.
Communication is key between inspectors and REALTORS®. Agents need to learn how to be facilitators of information between inspectors and buyers. To be a good communicator, you have to be able to give and receive. As a REALTOR® or an inspector, try to create a good dynamic between you and the other people, so collaborating is productive and easy. As REALTORS® and home inspectors work together over the course of their careers, it creates a camaraderie that leads to good questions and open communication.
If there is an issue with the house that comes up during the inspection, it’s important to engage the conversation so that the buyer can hear all the information from the inspector themselves. It is all about how you phrase the problem verbally as well as in your report. Scott’s team addresses issues in three tiers: 1. Safety 2. Structural Defects 3. Cosmetic Defects. When presenting issues, make sure to offer solutions as well.
Whether the agent is at the inspection or not, they are the ones who will be negotiating with the broker. It is important that the inspector leaves thorough comments about any necessary repairs so that the agent can effectively negotiate these. One of the worst habits an inspector can get into is deferring everything to another expert. Agents can help with this by providing feedback to inspectors on what they would like to see. A REALTOR® is just as important in creating a good inspector as an inspector’s time in the field.
Sometimes it may be a good idea for the inspector to come back after any repairs are made to ensure that they were actually done as the receipt says. Scott does this as a courtesy, but if the relationship is there between the REALTOR® and the inspector, hopefully, something can be arranged at a fair price to provide a level of comfort.
When it comes to older homes and inspections, you want to make sure you find an inspector who is knowledgeable about old homes. As a REALTOR®, you can ask questions to make sure you are going to hire a qualified inspector for the home in question. Cosmetic issues are going to differ between old and new homes, and that’s something to keep in mind during inspections.
When it comes to cosmetics, it comes down to dollars and cents. Depending on cost, cosmetic issues could become larger or more important issues. Scott brings awareness to cosmetic issues but differentiates based on the cost of repair. From there, it is up to the REALTOR® to negotiate price.
The final thing Scott reiterates for REALTORS® is the importance of building relationships with inspectors. The more that you know each other and what you want from each other, the better the work relationship is, which ultimately provides the buyer with the best customer experience. Developing open lines of communication is key; it is all a collaborative effort.
Some additional courses for more information on this topic:
OnlineLearning.REALTOR for NAR Online Education
Training4RE.com — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes.
Scott Frederick, Pillar to Post Franchise owner, Kirkwood, MO in the Greater St. Louis area.
Franchise Owner/Home Inspector
Franchise Owner since 2013
Retired St. Louis City Firefighter
Former owner of Frederick Renovations
ASHI certified home inspector
InterNACHI certified home inspector
Married with two children
Enjoys fishing, boating, and spending time with his family
Oct 01 2019
Rank #17: 028: Land Sales with Jeramy Stephens and Justin Osborne
All real estate begins with the land. Today’s episode features two guests who are experts in land sales. Jeramy Stephens (Arkansas) & Justin Osborne (Colorado) are both members of the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) and join Monica on the show today to talk about how land sales differ from residential sales. They discuss the different types of land and the certification that’s available for land agents, as well as some of the important things to note about land sales in the East and the West.
Jeramy Stephens has been in land and real estate for many, many years. He is currently the president of REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI). RLI is part of the NAR family and provides expertise, camaraderie, and resources for real estate professionals. It also offers the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation.
There are several different types of land: agricultural land, timberland, recreational land, and transitional land. The RLI promotes education to understand different land uses and purposes for these types of lands. Just like in other facets of real estate, there are different specialties in the land business, and they each have their own rules.
There are six required courses to get the ALC designation and 104 hours. The three core classes are Land Investment Analysis, Land 101, and Transitional Land. In addition to these three core classes, there are “elective” classes, depending on where your interests lie. A portfolio of $10 million is also required.
When looking at the value of land, it’s important to consider what it’s being used for or what it’s been used for in the past. As a residential agent, if someone comes to you with a piece of land, you can ask questions to determine its highest and best use. Then you can direct your client to an expert in one of those areas, who can appraise or assess the land appropriately. Some land properties are comped regionally, so they are compared with other similar properties in neighboring states or regions. When it gets to a specific activity, it needs to be priced as close in proximity as possible.
Jeramy’s passion is farmland, which tends to be a little bit easier to price than some other types of land property. Despite some of the struggles farmers are facing, the demand for ag land is still quite strong. Farm and ag land are also a potential investment opportunity. There is a lot of due diligence required for farmland, so it’s important to know what to do and who to ask when you need help.
Residential real estate agents and land agents can work together to meet their clients’ needs. If you’re not the one to help them, be the one to get them another agent. You want to make sure that as a Realtor®, you are operating in your area of expertise, and referring your clients to someone else when it’s not your area of expertise.
Jeramy is also interested in developmental or transitional land. This is taking raw land, usually on the outside of a growing community, and figuring out zoning, sewage, water, taxes, etc. This process can take a long time and varies from state to state. These properties can be a win-win for the agent and the community, but it’s important to make sure it’s done right so everyone benefits from it.
There are some new developments in technology in land sales, including better maps and more complete data. Having all of this technology makes things work a lot faster and smoother. The company Jeramy works for offers 360-degree land tours of properties, so clients can see properties on their computers before seeing the land.
In the Eastern United States, one of the biggest things to consider is wetlands and water rights. Mineral rights are also important, though maybe more so in the West. There are also many areas in the East that are developing and bringing more people in, and this is especially important for agents who work with transitional land.
Jeramy’s final word is to remind and encourage REALTORS® that we’re all professionals in what we do. Know what you do, what you do well, and what’s best for your client!
Justin Osborne is joining us from Durango, Colorado. He is currently president of the Colorado chapter of the REALTORS® Land Institute and an RLI instructor.
One of the biggest challenges in land real estate is figuring out how to price it. It can be on the market for a couple of years, and sometimes they have to travel over 200 miles to find comps for a similar piece of land. The potential market is pretty vast in the West, but Justin tries to remain within the same state due to changing property values.
As a buyer’s agent, it is important to do due diligence on a property, including inspections on the property and the infrastructure. Properties need to be brought up to code before closing or handled properly after closing. The permit process in Justin’s area is relatively easy, but all the different landscapes will affect how long it takes to get the property ready. Sometimes large transactions get held up because due diligence was not done before the property was listed. When the proper due diligence is done, those listings normally sell for higher than the listing price.
Recently Justin has noticed people coming from Arizona, California, and even Florida to purchase these large parcels. Location is important — people tend to want properties that are closer to national hubs.
In the West, especially, water is key. Just because water is on your property, you don’t necessarily have the right to it. It’s important to make sure you’re working with someone who understands water and the rules surrounding it. Mineral rights are the same way. The state of Colorado has a lot of laws in place that protect the property owner.
With the large tracts of land out West, there are cases where they are downsizing to make the properties a little smaller and more affordable for some investors. It is important to realize what your clients want, especially in terms of privacy, to determine which size property is best.
In the West, there are also several National Parks to consider. It is a risk to own a property that is sitting on leased land. Buyers should do their due diligence on the risk associated with ownership of this property before buying or developing that land.
Out in the West, there is a lot of opportunity for things that are hard to put a value on. Many buyers are looking to establish some type of family legacy, or find a place where they will be able to go and unplug.
Similar to what Jeramy says, Justin encourages REALTORS® to be prepared and know where to go to get the right information. If you don’t know, offer to find out or provide an additional resource for your clients. Don’t be afraid to be the source of the source.
REALTORS® Land Institute Website
OnlineLearning.realtor for NAR Online Education
Training4RE.com — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes.
Jeramy Stephens is a Partner and Managing Broker at National Land Realty (NLR) where he oversees the company’s Mid-South region office in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jeramy is an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) with the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) and currently serves as the National President for the organization. He has also held several positions at RLI as Vice Chair for the Education Committee and Arkansas Chapter President.
Jeramy has over 20 years of experience in the real estate business, working in the Farm Credit system and land industries. He is a three-time winner of an Agent of the Year award for a National Real Estate Company and was recently named National Land Realty’s Arkansas Top Producer for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
He is an Arkansas native and graduate of Arkansas State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business with an emphasis in Farm Management and Ag Marketing. Jeramy is licensed in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee where he specializes in selling agricultural, recreational properties (specializing in duck hunting properties), timberland and commercial development properties.
Justin Osborne has been selling Real Estate since 2002 when he was still in college. He attended Fort Lewis College where he received a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Agribusiness.
He is with The Wells Group in Durango Colorado and has consistently been a top producer in both volume and total number of deals closed. He was just recently awarded the Colorado Land Realtor® of the Year by the Colorado Realtors® Land Institute for 2016.
Due to selling more vacant land than any other broker in all of Southwest Colorado the past few years, and his sincere passion for the outdoors, Justin is currently the president of the Colorado chapter of the REALTORS® Land Institute. Justin is also involved in the REALTOR® Land Institute at the national level, as he is currently a board chairperson of both their Future Leaders Committee as well as their Chapter Development Task Force. He is also one of their instructors.
His community involvement includes being an assistant coach for his son’s DYSA competitive soccer team, recent past president of the Durango High Noon Rotary Club, and past area chairman of the La Plat County Ducks Unlimited. He is also a certified PSIA Cert 2 ski instructor at Purgatory in both alpine and telemark skiing.
Justin sells residential, commercial, vacant land, farm & ranch, and recreational real estate.
Jul 02 2019
Rank #18: 036: Brokerage Basics and Beyond
It’s important for agents to know about brokerage models and how they can best use the services to their advantage based on their needs. In today’s episode, Keith Davis is on the show to talk about good practices and processes for brokers, and how they can build a great culture for their agents. They cover the importance of brokerages being a supportive resource for their agents and how authenticity can enhance the customer experience not only for agents but their clients as well.
Keith has been the managing broker for two offices in Virginia for Nest for about four years now. Each state operates differently in regards to how many offices you can be over as the principal broker. It all depends on what services a brokerage office is trying to offer.
One of the most important aspects of a brokerage is risk management, and the second piece is training for expertise in the real estate industry. At Nest, they stress this training so that their agents can understand vendors in other industries and better help their clients. You need someone who understands the roles of other partners in a real estate transaction, that can explain it to the buyer and the seller. It comes down to brand management in addition to risk management.
Keith talks about the importance of finding and training agents that are in line with the values of the brokerage firm. Brokerages need to be focused on who is in line with them, the culture they are trying to cultivate, and the business they are trying to attract.
There are many different brokerage models, and in the market, there is a space for everyone. At Nest, they look at as many different industries as they can to get ideas about their business model. Monica and Keith discuss the different advantages of physical versus online retail. It is the same thing with brokerages — what is the statement that is received when people walk into your establishment? Keith talks about some of the things they do at Nest to build this culture and make this statement, including a party to thank their clients each year.
Part of the value proposition of a brokerage firm is the confidence of being in front of the client. Confidence is improved when you have clear products in front of you that you can use with your clients. Some of these products include data and marketing; the brokerage can provide access to these tools.
Monica and Keith talk about competing brokers. It’s important to be a resource for your agents, rather than part of the competition. Choosing not to compete can really help strengthen the sense of trust in an office. This can be more difficult in smaller markets.
They talk about the difference between being out in the sales field versus management. This has shaped the way they approach the growth of their agents at Nest. A full-service brokerage impacts their sellers and buyers on a daily basis that makes them excited about the service they are receiving. You also have to decide the length of relationship with clients — when does it start and when does it end?
The least expensive customer is the one you already have. Keith talks about the importance of hanging on to the agents they have and creating an environment that helps their agents thrive. When their business grows, your business will also grow.
Keith’s last word for brokers is that the most important factor is authenticity and being true to your own voice. If what you’re creating is true to you as a broker and how you want to treat clients, then you will be set up for success in the future. Authenticity and genuine relationships allow businesses to grow.
“If you don’t have a working knowledge of what your vendor partners are doing and what their role is, your ability to assist your client is limited.” — Keith
“That’s what people want from real estate. They want to have an agent who is connected with them beyond just being able to show them property.” — Keith
“Authenticity is that you are focusing on a thing that is true for you.” — Keith
OnlineLearning.REALTOR for NAR Online Education
Training4RE.com — List of Classroom Courses from NAR and its affiliates
Keith Davis is a Founding Partner and Principal Broker of Nest Realty, a brokerage based in Charlottesville, VA. Nest currently has 15 offices across Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. Keith’s first foray into real estate began after college when he worked for a regional mortgage company, first in production and then, compliance. This took him into the start-up world where Keith worked with several companies in high-growth mode, focusing on new product launch and IP commercialization. During this period, he earned his MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with a concentration in real estate development and finance.
Keith began selling real estate nearly 15 years ago, where he has worked exclusively in the residential arena, representing developers, builders, homeowners, and buyers. After helping to found Nest in 2008, he initially worked in sales and is now the Broker for multiple offices and works with the Lead Brokers at the other offices in business planning, coaching, training, and general support. In the Charlottesville office, he has developed a two-year new agent training program that assures that even new agents exhibit a level of expertise that supports the Nest Brand in the marketplace. He oversees the firm’s data management efforts, including publications as well as risk management and training.
Mar 04 2020
Rank #19: 012: International Real Estate with Mark Makoto Kitabayashi
As the world keeps growing, global business and international real estate are becoming more common and more popular. Mark Makoto Kitabayashi lives in Washington State and teaches the certification class for Certified International Property Specialists. He joins Monica on the show today to talk about aspects of the global real estate market, and how REALTORS® can help clients involved in these transactions. Monica and Mark talk about how to develop rapport with foreign clients, what things to focus on, cultural differences, as well as some of the technical aspects of completing these kinds of transactions. Today’s episode is a wealth of knowledge — you won’t want to miss out!
Mark is a first-generation immigrant; his parents came here from Japan when he was twelve years old. He went to school in Los Angeles, and before he got involved in real estate, he was doing international corporate travel and international import/export. He’s been doing real estate for about 17 years, and actually got into international real estate via his first real estate client who was Vietnamese.
Homeownership is a dream of most people in this world. Here in the States, we know this as the American Dream, but around the world, everybody wants to have a safe place for their family. But if you’re looking to buy real estate somewhere other than your country, there may be some cultural differences to keep in mind as you go through the process of acquiring the real estate. As agents, it is our job to help them achieve their dream of homeownership, no matter the culture. If you have that foundation, you can do a great job.
The culture in the U.S. is heavily influenced by immigration. Globalization and the progression of technology (and tools that allow information to spread more quickly) have contributed to the way we do business and how people look for and find houses. There are many ways to communicate with people about finding areas and this helps give everyone the opportunity to meet international clients.
The Certified International Property Specialist designation is about learning about foreign buyers or local buyers who are foreign-born. It teaches American REALTORS® about business in other cultures. Our perception of what global business is may differ but, for Mark, all global business starts locally. The goal is to understand how different cultures or different parts of the world handle business and how they handle real estate specifically. There are typically two types of international clients. The first is people locally who are foreign-born and probably speak English as a second language, looking for real estate locally. You could also have clients abroad that are looking for property in your area.
When working with domestic foreigners, the biggest thing is that they want to work with someone they can trust. Knowing their first language would be helpful, but building a trusting relationship can help grow your business with other people in that culture. There are two aspects to keep in mind when working with domestic foreigners or international clients. The first is understanding their understanding of how the real estate transactions are conducted in the countries that they’re from.
There are two big groups of different culture: high context culture and low context. In high context culture, the relationship is more important and personal space is very large (less physical contact). Low context is agreement-driven and personal space is very small. In high context, the relationship usually comes first before negotiations start, unlike low context, where the start of a negotiation is usually the start of the relationship.
As an American REALTOR®, you can do some pre-emptive research about the culture where your client comes from to better understand what processes they’re used to. In addition, there is nothing wrong with asking questions or sharing what you understand to make sure that’s how they understand as well. It is better to ask than to assume.
When it comes to negotiation, the key is communication, communication, communication. In our low context culture and the ease of text and email, it’s important to establish a method of communication that is right for that clientele. This might be a text, but they also might prefer a phone call or a visit. Another aspect is considering a bargain — in some cultures, this is one of the first things that is addressed. Comparing how things work here to how they work in the culture where your client is from can also be very beneficial. This should be done in a professional and respectful manner. Mark shares a story of a low context versus high context culture that he experienced when working with a Vietnamese client, and how bargaining is different. Essentially when working with domestic foreigners, it’s important to educate them on the real estate norms in the U.S. without being blunt or overpowering to them.
In some cultures where back and forth negotiation is more common, as a representative of a domestic foreigner, you may find yourself in a situation where you are the go-between and can offer something else to sort of halt the negotiation. As a representative of the seller, understanding our own client as well as the opposite side makes a whole lot of difference.
What are some of the other details involved in international real estate? For Mark, with his global business background, he found that the CIPS class really helped him learn the cultural aspect of exchanges but also learn how real estate was transacted in different places around the world. If you have friends from other cultures, you can also have an open conversation to learn more about each other’s cultures and as a REALTOR®, you can learn how you might best conduct business with other people from their culture. Other cultures may also have rituals or traditions that become a part of the real estate transaction, and as a real estate agent, you have to be sensitive to things and help work around them to satisfy your client. Monica and Mark talk specifically about some aspects of Asian cultures and share some stories they’ve experienced with their own clients.
Mark shares some ideas of topics you can discuss with your clients to start the conversation. Food is usually a good icebreaker for any culture. You can ask for restaurant recommendations in your area. Immersing yourself in their culture, or learning about their culture, can help you start to build the trust with your client.
There are some technical aspects of foreign real estate to consider as well, such as currency conversion. Arrangements for closing dates, etc., may have to be made to accommodate the time it takes to convert the currency and get it sent to the correct channels. One thing Mark recommends is having your currency converted and sitting in a U.S. bank before you even begin any transactions. This will allow you to complete the transaction more quickly and can eliminate the exchange rate frustration as well. If your clients are living in the U.S. on a Visa, they can usually get a mortgage. For these types of transactions, it is good to have a team who understands all aspects of a transaction like this. This could include an immigration attorney and a lender who understands foreign buyers.
One of the benefits of the CIPS designation is that you could learn things that you didn’t even know you didn’t know. It is also a great way to network and find colleagues that may be able to give you advice on other cultures. The NAR also has global reports where you can learn more about other countries.
For people who want to start serving an international market, begin by incorporating this into your business and action plan. This could be as simple as attending a cultural event — it doesn’t necessarily mean you jump right into a foreign transaction. If you have a good business model that serves foreigners, you can successfully help more of those clients find a home and also grow your own business at the same time.
When working within the context of global business, you have to remain Fair Housing Compliant. There is a fine line between discrimination and preferences. As a REALTOR®, you have to be neutral and treat everybody equally. You also need to let your client know about the fair housing laws in the United States.
Your global business starts in your local marketplace. As times move forward, it’s going to be hard to avoid global business. It’s important to start incorporating it into your business and action plan now, so you can be proactive about working with foreign investors and domestic foreigners. When you’re more educated about these subjects, it will be more fun for you and your clients. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Center for REALTOR® Development — OnlineLearning.REALTOR®
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Live Designation Classes — Training4RE.com
At Home with Diversity Certification:
Mark Makoto Kitabayashi, Managing Broker (CIPS, AHWD, SRES, ASP, CSP)
Mark has been a REALTOR® in Washington State since 2000. He is part of the Management Team at Windermere Real Estate/Puyallup. He is one of the top producers in the area for the last 10 years and actively involved with REALTORS® Association at all levels. Thurston County REALTORS® (Local Association) President in 2006 & 2010. Washington State Association President in 2013. At the National Association Level, he has been on the Board of Directors since 2011 and involved in the Global Business Alliance Division since 2006. Currently, he is the President’s Liaison to Japan, and in 2017, He was part of the Enlarged Leadership Team as Committee Liaison to All Global Business. In 2019, he is in line to become Regional Vice President for Region 12. He is a licensed CE instructor for Washington State and is also teaching NAR Designation Classes, such as CIPS & AHWD. His extensive international marketing, R&D, and sales experience of over 25 years add extra dimensions to his expertise.
Mar 06 2018
Rank #20: 004: Short Term Rentals with Brian Blaesser
In the previous episode, Monica and her guest discussed short-term rentals as one of the main forms of income growth in real estate. In today’s episode, Brian Blaesser joins Monica to talk about different aspects of short term rentals. Short term rentals have become a mainstay of the tourism industry in many resort towns, and with the rise of Airbnb and VRBO.com, there has been a rise of short term rentals in all parts of the country, in all kinds of neighborhood settings. Many people are buying real estate and using it for a short term rental. Brian shares tips to know, information about what regulations you might encounter, and how agents can help their clients who are hoping to acquire short term rentals.
Brian talks about six points for people to understand when it comes to the law and the legal rights to use property. These points can help guide anyone who is interested in doing short term rentals in the way they think about their environment in the government jurisdiction they’re in.
The first point: The right to rent is a core property right. There are three things you can do with your single family residence: you can live it in, you can rent it, or you can sell it.
The second point: Renting is a residential use. With things like Airbnb where investors own multiple properties, it is starting to edge into the territory of being a business. Even if it may be, it doesn’t defeat the residential status of the property.
The third point: You have the right to use your property for productive purposes, but it can’t interfere with your neighbor’s use and enjoyment of their property, or injure the community at large. Provided the behavior on your property does not cause a private or a public nuisance, you have the right to rent.
The fourth point: Because it is a core property right, it can’t be turned into a privilege.
The fifth point: While a vacation rental may be considered a business that could be subject to a business or occupational tax, renting is still a residential use, and remains that core property ownership right.
The sixth point: There are registration and licensing schemes that some communities are proposing to inspect and monitor what people are doing with their rental properties.
One of the ways agents can help their clients who want to acquire short term rentals is to know the local, state, and federal regulations that may apply in this situation. In terms of local regulation, it is important to know what approach the community takes — usually under the land use zoning codes or non-zoning regulations. A community may only allow rentals in certain zones, or have regulations about how many rentals can be in one community. Zoning only regulates the use, not the user, so this is something to keep in mind when knowing your rights. An example of non-land use or zoning restrictions would be a licensing or registration requirement or quantitative/operation restrictions.
There are some concerns about how short term rental “businesses” are structured. If you purchase a property in a community that you are unfamiliar with, it’s important to learn the neighbor character of the area to see if it’s a viable possibility for a short term rental. You need to be aware of how much your short term rental may have an impact on the quality of life of a neighborhood.
Many Home Owners Association have covenants that were set in place before short term rentals rose in popularity. Some may have points that try to challenge having short term rentals in the neighborhoods. You should find out if there is a restriction in the documents from the start, but even if there’s not, you may be subject to them later. Despite what state law says, these documents function as a private contract and you could still fall under those restrictions.
As it stands right now, many insurance companies don’t offer homeowners insurance policies that include coverage for business-related risks or properties that are renting out regularly. There are some other types of insurance, like host protection insurance, that provides hosts with commercial liability coverage.
What happens when a rental home becomes a nuisance? There are requirements where the property owner can address third-party or tenant complaints that come in. It may be a good idea to have a local contact person (if you are off-site), but there could be situations where community members take it to some type of municipal court. This can be prevented by ensuring you understand what is acceptable in that neighborhood. Landlords can also mitigate the risk of liability by following an extensive application process.
Brian has some tools to help REALTORS® who want to be involved in this facet of the industry. REALTORS® should get involved right at the beginning in any kind of meetings or workshops that a local official establishes. As a REALTOR®, it’s important to know the ordinances of a community, and try to help shape the dialogue. The National Association of REALTORS® has a program called the Land Use Initiative Program that allows REALTORS® to be involved in the shaping/responding to legislation at the local and state level that may affect real estate interest. Brian’s team at Robinson & Cole analyzes the ordinances, and can help provide talking points and other support. They provide questions that can be asked to local attorneys to help work some of these issues out. The program is provided free of charge to members of the association.
Brian is involved in another program that focuses on being proactive in regards to regulations short term rentals, that proposes their own legislation to improve regulations on the real estate industry. The program is called Customize State Legislation. Through this program, they have been able to pass legislation that has been very helpful to the industry.
Brian encourages agents to remember that your ability to operate efficiently and effectively in your communities does depend upon the set of regulations that are in place, or may become operative if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on. Always be aware of what’s going on while you’re still doing your transactional work.
Land Use Initiative Page – This is a REALTOR® Member Benefit and is only accessible to REALTOR® Members:
Parties in the National Association of REALTORS® to contact about the Land Use Initiative:
National Association of REALTORS®
National Association of REALTORS®
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Brian Blaesser is a partner with Robinson & Cole LLP, and heads the real estate development practice in the firm’s Boston office. His practice includes commercial real estate development, leasing, single-family and multi-family development, environmental and renewable energy law, and land use litigation. He is in charge of Robinson & Cole’s consulting work for the National Association of REALTORS®. Along with his team, they have prepared over 1000 analyses for NAR of state and local land use plans and regulations in the U.S. and Virgin Islands. He has also written various books and articles on real estate development issues, including Discretionary Land Use Controls.
Jul 04 2017