Consider Pink Ribbon Requests Carefully
Monday September 19, 2011
OCTOBER 31 Chapter Plan Report Due
NOVEMBER 9-13 NAR/WCR Annual Governance Meetings, Conference & Expo Hyatt Regency Orange County Anaheim, CA
DECEMBER 15 Chapter Plan Report Due Locate other WCR Events on the calendar www.wcrfl.org
September is quickly becoming the new October. Instead of waiting till October, the official Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to schedule events and sell pinked-out merchandise, it starts showing up 30 days early. Right alongside the pre-promotional packages of Halloween candy, the pink-a-thon of perky goodies and offers and specials show up everywhere. It reminds me so much of how many seasonal items are marketed to us earlier every year - and how much breast cancer has become a marketing and media cause. To put it bluntly, pink ribbons are being used to sell us stuff - even if those sales don't rack up any benefit to patients, researchers, and survivors. Turn It Pink - Sell It Sooner - that seems to be mantra from Madison Avenue. My local grocery store has already started turning pink, and fund-raising events are filling the news and crowding my mailbox. I don't begrudge this - after all, as a former breast cancer patient, I have probably benefited from some of these efforts, and I am always thinking about breast cancer anyway. But I am careful about where my money and my time is spent. While reading Gayle Sulik's book, Pink Ribbon Blues, I wonder if I am being careful enough! Sulik spent years in research, looking beyond the pink ribbons at where the money goes, and what percent of really benefits patients. Get the book and read it - read it slowly - and consider what she shows you: we still don't have an effective cure or
JANUARY 11-15, 2012 FR/WCR MidWinter Meetings Orlando,FL FEBRUARY 14-15, 2012 Great American Realtor Days Tallahassee, FL
prevention, despite all the pink-a-palooza that goes on.
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Before you agree to make a contribution this year, or purchase a pink bag of potato chips, buy a pink bracelet, or sign up for any fund-raising event, stop and do your homework. Ask questions about the item or organization and make sure that a reasonable donation is actually going to fund the cause. If you're giving to a pink ribbon charity, research it first. When you see that bracelet, bookmark, bag, or bikini, read the labels carefully - does it really generate a donation? If it doesn't, put it back please! Make sure you understand where your pink ribbon donations are going - and who they will help. Don't be taken in by breast cancer frauds - no matter how appealing they may be. Pink carefully, and think first!
TECHNOLOGY TIPS Upgrade Your Life: The 5 worst photos to post online
With online networks steering our social lives these days, deciding exactly how to represent ourselves on the web can be tricky. This episode of Upgrade Your Life addresses 5 kinds of photos you should avoid putting online — and why. 1. Don't post pictures showing personal data Even if your Twitter account is private and you closely monitor who sees what on your Facebook profile, personal data revealed in photos isn't necessarily safe. Strangers and hackers aren't the only threat; people you know can steal your identity, too. And according to a study conducted by the Javelin Strategy and Research group, they are with increasing frequency, thanks to social media. According to Javelin's 2010 Identity Fraud Survey, people between the ages of 18 to 24 were especially prone to this kind of identity theft, likely due to their high level of engagement with social networking websites. By 2011, this demographic had shifted to the 25- to 34 age group who are now the most likely victims of so-called "friendly fraud. Older Americans are the least likely to secure their social media accounts, which also puts them at high risk for identity theft at the hands of friends and acquaintances. * Don't post any images with any identifying information whatsoever. No driver's licenses, marriage certificates, leases, or passports. You may think that's obvious, but do an image search and you'll see plenty of newly married couples, proud teen drivers, and world travelers posting high resolution pics of their documents. * Even if you think your photos are private, more people might be able to see them than you think. On Facebook, friends of friends might be able to see photos tagged of you, if the photo's owner has the setting enabled. Facebook's photo settings are notoriously complex, so err on the side of caution and untag photos when necessary. 2. Disable location services and geotagging Cameras are increasingly sophisticated — even the ones built into our phones. As you snap pictures, many cameras record information called EXIF data or metadata, including the camera's make & model, settings like speed and aperture, and the time the photo was taken. While much of this is helpful, it's just good for you to know you may be posting this info with a photo. Probably the biggest issue with embedded photo data is geotagging: when a GPS-enabled camera, memory card, or cell phone camera pinpoints your exact location in the metadata — even without your knowledge. Some social networking services strip that data out, but others include it — which mean you've essentially posted your home address online for anyone who knows how to view the geotagging data. If your device includes this geodata as the default option, you'll need to disable it in your settings. If you're working with a point-and-shoot camera or a DSLR, you can find this through the settings menu on your camera — just look for a menu mentioning "geotagging," "location" or "geodata" and to be sure the feature isn't enabled. Turn off geotagging on Android and iPhone To disable geotagging on an Android device, open the camera app and be sure the "geo-tag photos" box in the settings menu is unchecked. On an iPhone, hit the settings icon, click on "location services" from the menu, find "Camera" and move the slider from On to Off.
3. Incriminating photos As social networks skyrocket in popularity, employers are increasingly hopping on the web to research potential new hires. Many businesses search the web for information about their prospective or current employees. Now, background checking companies like Social Intelligence Corp. have capitalized on this kind of job vetting. The FTC recently ruled that such companies can store your long-deleted online indiscretions for up to 7 years. And since 47% of Facebook walls contain content that could be deemed profane, that fact is relevant to a lot of us. * Resist the urge to post "party photos" on social networks. And yes that means no pics with the red keg cup in hand, even if you were only drinking water. * Keep the way you'd like to be perceived professionally in mind when choosing a profile picture. * If friends tag you in an incriminating Facebook photo, a recent privacy overhaul means you can approve or disapprove the tag, which will keep it from showing up on your profile page. Keep in mind this new feature is limited, so those photos can still pop up elsewhere on Facebook.
4. Cut out poorly cropped photos While it's no security risk, there's little reason to choose Facebook profile photo with a stray arm or shoulder in it. If you're looking to meet people online on a dating site or social network, make the effort to choose a profile that features you, without the distraction of half of someone else in the picture. That someone else could distract anyone who looks at your profile — who is it? Where was it taken? Is that your ex? But keeping the focus on you is easy, thanks to free apps. Improve your photos with these free tools Photos editing services like Picnik, and DrPic, can make cropping a snap. There's no need to use Microsoft Paint to edit a photo — if you need to tinker around with a shot, use one of these free services. And pick an interesting one — according to stats from OKCupid, one of the web's most popular dating sites, you'll be far more likely to strike up a conversation with a potential match if your photo shows you doing something interesting, like playing the guitar or scuba diving. 5. Avoid webcam profile photos There are a range of great, cheap, easy-to-use cameras out there, which means something better than your computer's built-in or external webcam is often at hand. Even cameraphones often boast 5 megapixels or more, which can easily eclipse the photo quality of a webcam, even on new computers. Since many webcams are optimized for video, the photo quality deteriorates when it comes to still images. Apple's new FaceTime cameras, found on the iPad 2, the MacBook Air, and other devices are one example of this. These cameras make moving pictures look great, but your still shot may be grainy and blurred. How to improve your self-portraits To get a good shot of yourself, you're better off using any kind of point-and-shoot camera, a DSLR for the best image quality, or even your phone. Since you can potentially find a tripod for each of these devices (check out GorillaMobile for your phone), set up your shot in advance so it will be well-framed and well-lit. For a flattering outdoor photo, avoid the high-noon sun. Instead either take your own photo — or better yet, recruit a friend's help — during the early morning and late afternoon hours, when photographers are known to capture the best kind of light for portraits.
How Your Smart Phone Is Changing the Future of Real Estate By Austin Allison of DotLoop Austin Allison Published: 09/13/2011 Posted by: DotLoop Here's the latest from Austin Allison on the DotLoop blog. If you’re mostly using your smart phone to talk to clients, you’re doing yourself and that invaluable device a serious disservice. Anyone with an iPhone or Android probably needed a device capable of doing far more than talking on the phone. Your smart phone was designed to do so many things use and you should take full advantage of this to turn it into effective real estate technology. Don’t Limit Yourself In addition to speaking with clients by phone, you can also send messages, connect through social media and even send videos with your iPhone or Android. This higher degree of communication can strengthen your relationship with them and thus make it more likely that they will come to you for real estate. Provide Superior Customer Service Don’t just wait for them to make the first move either. Whenever you visit properties, take images and video with your smart phone and send them out to your list of clients. The advantage of a smart phone in this scenario is that you don’t have to waste time in getting back to your laptop to download and email those images and videos. As long as you have a signal, you can send that valuable data directly from the site and even suggest that clients come out to see the site for themselves. The agents using technology to serve their customers now are creating a positive change for the future of the real estate industry. Are you leveraging technology to lead your business forward?
TESTIMONIAL It was very nice meeting and participating with you and the others in the WCR State Ways and Means Committee Meeting. I am so glad to be helping out, doing my part, sharing ideas, etc. with this FABULOUS "WCR Rocks" Committee! Enthusiastically, Gina Blanco, CRS, GRI, RSPS, TRC, AHWD, ASP, BROKER-ASSOCIATE WOMENS’ COUNCIL OF REALTORS® 2011 Miami-Dade Chapter President-Elect
INTERNATIONAL Foreigners have been buying up condos in Sarasota, including units at the 888 and 988 Boulevard of the Arts Building, also known as Tower I and II of The Condominium on the Bay. PHOTO / E. SKYLAR LITHERLAND By Doug Sword & John Davis Published: Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12:02 p.m. Last Modified: Monday, September 19, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
Just as tourism has been one of the few bright spots in the Southwest Florida economy, foreign real estate buyers have become a key source of demand for an industry eager for buyers. That has been particularly true for condominiums in Sarasota and single-family homes and vacant lots in North Port. Foreign ownership in Sarasota and Manatee counties jumped 10 percent last year and is up by more than one third since 2007, according to a Herald-Tribune analysis of property records. Owners listing foreign addresses bought more than 1,000 parcels in the two counties last year, totaling more than $100 million in value, the analysis shows. In Sarasota, foreign ownership of condos jumped from 1,208 to 1,660 during the three-year period. Just in 2010, foreign buyers snatched up 234 of the city's units. In North Port, foreign single-family home ownership jumped 44 percent during the last three years, from 362 to 562. Most of that increase also came in 2010, when the number jumped by 105. In all, foreigners, mainly Canadians and Europeans, own more than 11,000 parcels with values totaling $1.7 billion in the two counties. The rising tide is being felt across the state and nation and its growing importance to Florida was made clear in a recent report by the National Association of Realtors. The NAR report pegged the foreign buyer market at $82 billion per year, with the Sunshine State's share skyrocketing from 9 percent three years ago to 31 percent in 2011. Depending on their nationality, buyers tend to be drawn to different parts of the state. Buyers from the United Kingdom dominate in Orlando, while Argentinians and Brazilians have made a big impact in Miami.
Agents, Will You Be a Winner or Loser? The Trend That Will Separate the Two Market Leader Published: 09/20/2011 Posted by: RET Staff
We originally published this article (from new contributor Market Leader) for our broker readers, but we feel like agents can definitely benefit as well. This summer, Steve Murray, president of Real Trends Inc., and Ian Morris, CEO of Market Leader, released a book focused specifically on what the real estate industry will look like over the next five years. The book, Game Plan, takes into account a significant amount of research as well as interviews with many of you about your current business and vision for what's ahead. Murray and Morris then offer 10 trends that they expect to see come to fruition over the next five years, with a specific "game plan" to help real estate agents, brokers, and franchises succeed. If you'd like to see all 10 trends, click the link at the bottom of this article to get a copy. The following article explores the one trend that they consider to be the lynchpin to making it all work. Cloud-Based Technology Platforms The evolution towards cloud-based technology platforms, commonly known as "software-as-a-service," is the trend believed to drive performance and growth. Many of you are already implementing this. But brokers and franchises are often frustrated by attempts and costs to build an internal platform that keeps up with the needs of customers and agents. Many of the components of these platforms already exist. The problem is, they exist separately. There are at least a dozen categories of components that are critical to a real estate agent's success, with each category having at least a dozen companies competing for attention. That's a lot to keep up with, with very little integration or talking between products. And worse still, these solutions are delivered by small, poorly capitalized companies that have neither the skills needed nor the incentives to truly integrate. Most of these companies won't last 10 years. In fact, most will be gone in five. Why? Because in free markets, customers have a way of getting what they want, and as industries mature, customers demand seamless integration, not just "import-export" or "copy-paste." Integration Is Key This isn't a new phenomenon. Remember Lotus123? It was a great spreadsheet product. How about WordPerfect? Both of these products had 90%+ market share and worked great. When Microsoft came along with Excel and Word, no one really cared all that much. Nothing's easier than what you already know how to use. But then they integrated the two, combined it with PPT and later other features into a new concept called an Office Suite, and that changed the game. In real estate, that demand and need is even greater. Think about it. The required integration between spreadsheet and word processor is minimal. But think about all the critical components of your business and the software applications you likely already use today. We need those to integrate. We will save a ton of time, make things far easier for ourselves, if they talk to each other. How many times do you cut and paste the same listing information into separate platforms? How much redundant work is happening? Integration is vital to making software platforms in real estate work. Unfortunately, brokerage firms and franchises don't have the time or capital to do this work. Those individual companies don't have the capital to integrate. Nor should any of them be funding the development of systems that can be leveraged by an entire industry.
In real estate, this is playing out in two key ways. First, the sophistication and importance of software is changing the decision maker from agents to large brokerage companies and franchises. Second, more sophisticated buyers are learning the true costs associated with lack of integration, support of legacy systems, lack of security, lack of redundancy, and as a result, they are moving from single-function tools to integrated software platforms. Demand Affordable, Innovative Solutions You should be demanding of your partners and potential partners. You should expect complete solutions with seamless integration. You also need server redundancy and business continuity plans that assure that your priceless customer data is available to you and your agents 24/7, and that any downtime is minimal. Look to your partners to provide you with options that make those systems affordable. They will require investment, but that investment is minor compared to the $10 billion currently being spent by agents on thousands of marketing and technology solutions which simply won't be able to keep up with the opportunities that lie ahead. To learn more or get a free copy of the remaining nine trends that will drive success in real estate, please click here.
Community Building Market Intelligence, September 2011 Design Sells: Translating design to more strategic home building decisions September 20, 2011 Designing a home for today's consumer is challenging, given the market dynamics, competitive environment, changing demographics and financial and time constraints. Successful designers create from research and experience. They:
Know what motivates today's buyers Understand their lifestyles Know what products and features are important to them Measure the cost/benefits Understand the options available elsewhere Have the pulse of changing market dynamics
Mollie Carmichael Principal
Design cannot be successful without all of these components. Design is a top priority for consumers today. Good design is the balance consumers are looking for in order to motivate them to make a purchase. As shown in the graph below, "home style and design" ranked second in our survey of 10,000 prospective buyers across the nation - second only to the most important investment rule in real estate: "location, location, location." Interestingly, price ranked below location and design nationally and in many parts of the country. Location, design and price ranked among the top three priorities in all MSAs reported (although not always in this exact order for every MSA).
What does home style and design mean? While architecture varies by region, location and demographic profile, our survey findings showed that consumer preferences were not significantly different throughout the country. The biggest differences were dictated by household size and family status, coupled with the financial realities in each market. For example, the Texas buyer can afford a lot more home than the Washington, D.C. buyer. Profitable Design in 2011: We are seeing all sorts of creative design in the market, with many of the best-designed homes outselling the competition by 300%. We will continue to share take-aways from our 2011 survey, and we are also gearing up to launch our 2012 survey. If you would like to participate, please contact me at 949-870-1214 or email. Understanding the demographics and household compositions of your markets will help you better understand what consumers want today and help you be more successful. "The most creative act you will ever undertake, is the act of creating yourself." Deepak Chopra, M.D.
"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls." Joseph Campbell "Leadership is action, not position." Donald H. McGannon
Realtor Safety Report 2011 – violence against Realtors on the rise Lani Rosales | September 13, 2011
State of the industry September marks the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor Safety month and the industry is currently introspective about the topic, sharing tips and tricks of the trade. While it is important to prevent crime against real estate professionals, preparation is the best way to fine tune the gift of instinct. For the first annual Realtor Safety Report, we have teamed up with Moby and S.A.F.E. to investigate the rise in violence against real estate professionals. The real estate industry has lost some amazing people this year, and countless others have been assaulted; in conversation with leadership at Moby, we all felt that the actual crimes are not being analyzed in depth, rather associations are limited to sharing tips on heightening Realtor awareness. In an effort to learn more about crimes committed against real estate professionals in the past year, AGBeat teamed up with Realtor safety expert Andrew Wooten, President of S.A.F.E. who said, “The past 12 months have been the most violent I have seen in twenty-six years working in the real estate industry. We’ve seen an increase in attacks, murders and suicides.” Given Wooten’s note that violence is on the rise, and our mutual feeling with Moby that the why is not being investigated, we dug deeper to learn whether or not the crimes against Realtors had a common theme in an effort to discover something to look out for, something for Realtors to be aware of, for hope of a safer industry. Our research did discover these minor commonalities: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
The majority of the attacks on Realtors in 2011 occurred in the afternoons on Thursday or Friday Nearly 30% of attack victims are men Most attacks did not occur inside major metro areas Guns are used roughly 50% of the time in attacks Robbery was the intention going into the attack but frequently resulted in murder
These commonalities were not enough to determine a trend, so we analyzed age, brokerage size, how long the agent had been licensed, the average days on market and price of where they were attacked, whether they were alone or not, how many assailants there were, the unemployment rate of the area, whether they knew their attacker or not, the attackers’ intentions and more. What we found will frustrate some people. We ultimately discovered that there is no face of a standard victim, no face of a standard attacker, and no common theme between the many attacks. Some attacks were simply robberies, some were in luxury listings, others in foreclosures, some were sexual assaults in a basement, another was a woman attacked on a front porch by a client she already knew, and another was an apparent revenge kill. The only common threads between these attacks are (1) there is no common thread, everyone is equally vulnerable and (2) many lives have been altered this year as people have lost loved ones or have been attacked.
Why are Realtors a target? Discussing the topic with many Realtors across America, the most common answer found to the question “why do you think there is an increase in violence against Realtors?” was that average consumers believe Realtors are wealthy, therefore, they are targeted. Although most agents are barely scraping by and many are having to choose between their cell phone bill and their used Lexus payment, faces on billboards look successful, so many Realtors
believe they are vulnerable because agents are depicted as rich by media, movies, and the perpetual “it’s always a good time to buy/sell” smile on many Realtor faces. What is the answer when there is no common thread between violent attacks? What do you do when you discover agents aren’t being attacked because they’re selling foreclosures, rather all types of properties? What do you do when you learn it’s not just women that are victimized and that someone can attack you even if they don’t have a weapon? You prepare, you fine tune your gut instinct, and you learn everything you can about keeping yourself safe. Does that mean taking karate or using a buddy system? Possibly. Arm yourself with personal safety monitoring devices, they’ve become so inexpensive. Take lessons in self defense, especially from Realtor safety experts. Everyone is vulnerable, especially in a vacant home and leaving breadcrumbs behind to show someone “who dun it” won’t cut it, so agents should all be prepared in advance and trust their gut instinct when something is off.
Full 2011 Realtor Safety Report Click here to view the presentation below in full screen and click here for a PDF of the report to email to your team. The report analyzes sixteen assaults, half of which occurred in June and July of 2011, and sexual assaults are separated out.
Never Underestimate the Persuasive Power of a Woman! By Karen Keller, Ph.D. The influential woman consists of an array of qualities that are not mistaken for anything other than influential. She is strong. She is confident. People take notice when she walks into the room. She commands the respect that she has earned. Every woman can be an influential woman. But it doesn’t happen without effort on your part. Where do you start? How do you recognize influential traits?The influential woman knows her mind. She has a heighten awareness of what she wants. Knowing and displaying her competencies, she approaches her life with self-reliance. She has a high emotional intelligence, identifying, assessing and influencing her emotions as well as others. For example, she discovers a co-worker that she relies on isn’t delivering on time. She doesn’t rush in, ready to explode. She evaluates the situation; the consequences, ways to solve the issue, who’s involved and what is to be learned from it. This happens in a few minutes for the influential women. The influential woman evaluates the potential of every situation, so she can know what and how much she needs to invest in it. She asks herself these three very valuable questions: • What will this opportunity do for me? • What are the possible challenges or problems of this opportunity? • What is required of me to grasp this opportunity? Guarding her boundaries is another top quality of the influential woman. She knows when to say yes but equally when to say no. If the request violates her boundaries or ethical standards, she can quickly provide an alternative option or put her foot down. This applies in her personal and professional life. Working with integrity is an absolute. The influential woman knows how to compete with the “big boys.” She doesn’t apologize for being ambitious and wanting more. Being a “small player” doesn’t discourage her. She knows how to offer more, better and smarter. She sees herself as agile, able to act quickly and use her power. The influential woman knows the power of forgiveness, compassion, and generosity. She knows how to claim her place in the world, and so can you.
Are You Planning on Attending The Anaheim Convention? http://www.realtor.org/convention.nsf/pages/registration?opendocument&cid=ce018&cid=WR06222011:21779&ed_ri d=541474
Special thanks to our Strategic Business Affiliates for their generous support OUR 2011 FLORIDA STATE CHAPTER WOMEN'S COUNCIL OF REALTORS SPONSORS:
Refer to them often! PLATINUM: HomeTeam Inspection Service, North American Title Company & Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Two Men and a Truck GOLD: REALTOR Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc SILVER: Audrey Lackie - Watson Realty, Bristol Properties International/Bristol Auctions, Naples on the Gulf Women's Council of Realtors, Paul Homes of Florida, LLC
Mission of Women’s Council of Realtors We are a network of successful REALTORS® empowering women to exercise their potential as entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
Vision of Women’s Council of Realtors Through our influence as successful business professionals, women will effect positive change in the profession and in the broader community.
2011 Women’s Council of Realtors Line Officers
PRESIDENT Robin McKeever
PRESIDENT-ELECT VICE PRESIDENT Diane McCombs
Amy Worth Paul
REMINDER: Check to make sure your information is correct on the www.WCR.org website Log onto www.WCRFL.org often to stay updated on what is going on in other Chapters in Florida. Add to the Blog – send to Lynn@LynnMooney.com Do you have an article or useful information about our industry that you would like to share with others th throughout Women’s Council in the state of Florida? Send to Kim@KimSlade.com by the 15 of each month.
Newsletter compiled, edited and formatted by Kimberlie Slade, Venice Chapter & District V Vice President