CONTROL YOUR DESTINY
Imagine what you could do with a crystal ball. You’d know the details of every upcoming transaction. You’d handpick profitable properties and dream clients.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to see the future. But you do have the power to prepare for the unexpected.
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• Fair housing coverage for defense and damages
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Designing spaces for multiple generations
What’s trending in multimillion-dollar listings across the country and how to lead buyers and sellers at this price point.
24 Core Standards Turning the Tide to Civility
Learn more about The Public Square©, a national forum to place REALTORS® at the center of community conversation.
Amy Hedgecock, CPM, GRI
Asa Fleming, SFR, AHWD
Kelly Marks, ABR, CRS, GRI
Immediate Past President
Treasure A. Faircloth, GRI, E-PRO, CRS
REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS
Region 1: Sandy Hurst, Jacksonville; Region 2: Jim Goodman, Oak Island; Region 3: Lisa York, Sanford; Region 4: Wade Corbett, Raleigh; Region 5: Laurie Edwards, High Point; Region 6: Stephen Long, Winston-Salem; Region 7: Marsha
Jordan, Lincolnton; Region 8: Maren Brisson-Kuester, Steven Bryant, Charlotte; Region 9: Randall Blankenship, Asheville; Region 10: Harriette Doggett, Mollie Owen, Raleigh.
Chief Executive Officer
Andrea Bushnell, Esq., CIPS, RCE
Vice President of Communications & Marketing
Tracey Gould, M.S. IMC, CPSM
Editor/Director of Creative Development
Graphic Design Coordinator
For advertising information, visit ncrealtors.org/advertising or contact
Keri Epps-Rashad at 336-217-1049.
INSIGHT (ISSN 24714127) (USPS 17170) is published four times a year in February, May, August and November by NC REALTORS®, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407. Periodicals Postage Prices paid at Greensboro, N.C. and additional mailing offices.
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Together We Rise
Amy Hedgecock encourages active involvement in 2018
We hit the ground running in 2018. The 2018 Vision Quest/ Winter Leadership Meetings were a huge success—over 200 REALTORS® joined us at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro in January. I would like to extend my thanks to our members that attended; I hope you found value in the leadership training.
At the meetings, the NC REALTORS® Board of Directors adopted the 2018 Strategic Plan. The executive committee is now poised and ready to bring this plan to fruition this year. There is one item that has caused a lot of conversation—MLS consolidation. For some, this is a scary and unwanted item. Others have wondered why we are taking so long in starting this conversation. Please note, NC REALTORS® does not want to build and host a statewide MLS. Rather, we are willing to be unbiased consultants should multiple MLSs want to merge. We are happy to help those conversations go smoothly.
The reason we delayed the Strategic Plan was so that we could hear from as many members as possible at the MIXers around the state. I hope by now you have heard of MIXers and may have even attended one in 2017. In previous strategic plans, NC REALTORS® decided we needed to make as much of an effort as possible to reach as many members as we could. To achieve that, NC REALTORS® staff improved and streamlined our digital communications to connect with you online and also planned a series of MIXers to physically reach you where you live, work and play. Staff, along with myself and other members of the executive committee, traveled across the state to tell our members about the benefits and services that NC REALTORS® provides. We listened to you, the members, to hear what your needs are. The MIXers were a huge success, and we plan to continue them in the spring and fall of 2018. Visit ncrealtors.org/mixers to learn more and to register for an event near you.
4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC 27407
Phone: (336) 294-1415, Toll Free: (800) 443-9956
Overall, things are looking great for 2018. There is growth in real estate licensees and REALTOR® membership—with roughly 42,000 members in North Carolina—up from 33,000 in 2014.
As always, REALTORS® across the state are continuing our goals of rebuilding blighted communities and encouraging the use of tax incentives, such as the Historic Preservation Credit, to revitalize and enhance communities (two good examples are: American Tobacco in Durham and Revolution Mill in Greensboro).
The commitment from REALTORS® and the real estate industry to North Carolina’s short and long-term economic development goals continues. NC REALTORS® has built a close partnership with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, which is focused on making North Carolina an attractive place to live AND work. We hope to build and grow these partnerships this year.
If you have not attended NC REALTORS® meetings before, I hope this will be your year to join us. Legislative Meetings take place in June in Raleigh, and XCHANGE ’18—our annual convention—will be in September in Wilmington. All of these present great opportunities for you to network with REALTORS® from around the state and hear top-tier speakers on business development, the economy and politics. There will undoubtedly be something that will speak to your interests and passions. Without your active involvement in the association, industry, state economic development and your local communities, we simply cannot rise together.
WATCH THIS VIDEO:
Fireside Chats with Amy Hedgecock
Learn everything you need to know about NC REALTORS® in this new video series, delivered to your inbox each month, or posted online at ncrealtors.org and YouTube. Watch as Amy travels the state, hosts special guests and talks about epic happenings at NC REALTORS®. WATCH IT: youtube.com/user/ncrealtors
"Nothing about real estate has slowed down, and NC REALTORS® hasn’t slowed down either.
Tech Helpline—a new, EPIC member benefit
All NC REALTORS® have a new member-exclusive benefit— Tech Helpline. Designed to provide members technical support for software, apps, desktop, tablet, laptop, smartphone and other hardware devices at no cost to NC REALTORS®, this service will undoubtedly be one of the most valuable and epic member benefits. Provided by the Florida Association of REALTORS®, the Tech Helpline has a reputation for warm and friendly customer service with no-nonsense technical knowledge. The service is made possible through your internet connection. Connecting via remote access, technical experts will troubleshoot and quickly fix your computer or technical device issue. Operating systems covered by this service includes Microsoft Windows 7, 8 and 10 and Mac OS X (10.3 and higher). Software applications covered include various email, real
NC REALTORS® is proud to recognize the accomplishments of our members. These association executives (AEs) have been honored with scholarships to attend annual events for professional development.
The following association executives will receive a $750 scholarship to the 2018 Regional AE Conference:
• Charlene Bellavance – Carolina Smokies
• Brittani Cowles – Wilkes County
• Coleen Curtis – Albemarle Area
• Carol Hinson – Union County
• Dawn Kerr – Johnston County
• Arlene McMillan – Topsail Island
The following association executives will receive a $1000 scholarship to NAR’s 2018 AE Institute:
• Charlene Bellavance – Carolina Smokies
• Carol Hinson – Union County
• Dawn Kerr – Johnston County
estate-specific and office and financial products. Supported hardware includes smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, CD/DVD drives, monitors, network adapters, printers, scanners and more.
NC REALTORS® can access this member benefit Monday-Friday from 9a.m. to 8p.m. and Saturday from 9a.m. to 5p.m. EST by calling the dedicated NC REALTORS® phone number (877-573-5612), starting a chat or emailing the Tech Helpline experts.
Tech Helpline was started over ten years ago for Florida members and has since expanded to provide the benefit to several other state and local associations totaling over 600,000 REALTORS® nationwide. Learn more about this epic benefit at ncrealtors.org/resolve
The following association executives will receive a $500 scholarship to NAR’s 2018 Leadership Summit:
• Charlene Bellavance – Carolina Smokies
• Carol Hinson – Union County
A congratulations is also in order for these recipients of NAR’s William D. North AE Institute scholarship:
• Arlene McMillan – Topsail Island
• Beth Hensley – Burke County
Don't Keep Recent Construction or Renovations a SecretBY: RICK POE | ATTORNEY, LANCASTER, TROTTER & POE, PLLC
Sally is a very successful agent who specializes in marketing and selling homes in the close-in and highly desirable neighborhoods of one of the largest cities in North Carolina. Most of the homes in these neighborhoods are in the process of being fixed up and substantially improved by their owners, and those that have not yet been updated are being targeted by investors who want to flip them. Here is a recent exchange of emails with her favorite attorney, Ron.
SALLY: Hey Ron! Just got your email asking me about my Spring Street listing and if I knew how much, if any, the current owner has spent improving it. I will be glad to try to find out, but why are you asking?
RON: Well Sally, under the recently revised N.C. lien law, any construction or renovation project that
exceeds $30,000 carries with it a requirement that the owner/contractor appoint a Mechanic’s Lien Agent and register that appointment on the liensnc.com website. Once that is done, any contractor or subcontractor that performs work or supplies materials to that project site is supposed to register its claim on the project site. All registered contractors must sign
some type of lien waiver or subordination before we can complete our closing.
SALLY: That is good information, but how does this involve me?
RON: Well first of all, it is better practice if the agents involved in the deal give some notice to the closing attorney that recent improvements, exceeding $30,000 in cost, are involved in the transaction. The preferred way would be to address this at the time the Offer to Purchase and Contract is being prepared and either use the Due Diligence Request and Agreement (Standard Form 310-T) or use paragraph 4 of the Additional Provisions Addendum (Standard Form 2A11-T) to describe the agreed upon improvements to be completed. A cost estimate would also be extremely helpful since the $30,000 threshold is what triggers the Lien Agent Requirement.
SALLY: I don’t know what things cost as far as construction goes.
RON: Well, I understand that, but it is important to ask these questions of your client and his general contractor now and at least describe the improvements to be completed on the Additional Provisions Addendum so the closing attorney will have some idea if they are going to be over the $30,000 threshold.
RESOLVE: NC REALTORS® have free, unlimited access to our Legal Hotline and lawyers with more than 30 years experience. Call 336-294-1415 or email email@example.com with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.
SALLY: How would the real estate agents help in this situation?
RON: Glad you asked! Let’s assume that the contractor did everything correctly, appointed a lien agent and registered on the liensnc.com website. Let’s also assume that four subcontractors also registered on the site. The real estate agent would assist the closing attorney by providing contact information for all subcontractors and also getting the proper lien waiver forms to them for signatures and notaries prior to the closing.
SALLY: What happens if someone who has worked on the project did not register on the website?
RON: Good question! If a contractor’s first visit to the jobsite was within 15 days of the closing, he is protected and only has to sign a lien waiver. Obviously, we are counting on the honesty of the general contractor. If a contractor worked on the site more than 15 days prior to closing and failed to register on the website, we will not know about him or her and that person will be at the mercy of the general contractor to get paid.
SALLY: Well this is something that I will add to my transaction checklist immediately. Can you talk at my next sales meeting and tell all my agents about this?
RON: Would be glad to. See you then!
Richard S. (“Rick”) Poe is an attorney that practices in Charlotte and is a partner of the law firm of Lancaster, Trotter & Poe, PLLC. His practice is concentrated in the area of residential real estate and his firm represents many buyers, sellers, builders and developers in the Charlotte area. Rick is also a member of the Joint Task Force forms committee comprised of representatives of the North Carolina Bar Association and NC REALTORS®.
FIGHTERS, PROBLEM-SOLVERS, HEADS-HELD-HIGH AGENTS OF CHANGE, KEEPING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER, RESILIENT.
NOW SHOWING: Watch the full video at xchange18.com/resilientcommunities
Reidsville, Eden, Saxapahaw, Rutherfordton, Stoneville, and Lumberton
North Carolina is comprised of some of the country’s greatest landscapes, landmarks and towns that attract scores of people to relocate to the state or have a vacation home. As idyllic as our sandy beaches, mountain terrains and small town main streets are, North Carolina and its communities have experienced more than their fair share of trials and tribulations. From the 1984 Carolinas tornado outbreak to Hurricane Matthew to the 2017 political protests in Charlotte and the 1979 Greensboro massacre to The Great Recession unemployment and dying industries, such as textiles and tobacco, North Carolinians have adapted and persevered.
Over the past couple of months, NC REALTORS® staff traveled to select towns and communities to explore the untold stories of resiliency, determination, rebranding and renewed purpose that surround us. We reached communities that are not in the spotlight, diligently serving their members the best
BE THE STAR of our next story
We're crafting stories on these topics:
Disaster Planning | Workforce Housing/Jobs | Affordable Housing | Creative Use of Real Estate | Economic Development/ Smart Growth | Advocacy/ Legislative Impact | Education | Historic Preservation
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way they know how with the resources they have, and we gave these towns—and the people—a face and a voice as part of our XCHANGE ’18 storytelling campaign.
We interviewed mayors, town managers, residents, developers, REALTORS®, city council members, small business owners and more. We learned about their legacies, their plight to remain relevant in business and in some cases, even “on the map.” Each of these communities— Reidsville, Eden, Saxapahaw, Rutherfordton, Stoneville and Lumberton—have their unique identities, history, characteristics and charm that define them.
Many of them are also overcoming similar challenges and building community in similar ways. From rebranding their communities to revamping main street and enticing small business owners to identifying creative ways to drive consumers to businesses downtown (like new wayfinding and greenways) to preserving historic buildings and bringing in new industry such as breweries, data centers and championship world-class venues, these communities share many common threads and qualities. They have a clear vision and sense of purpose, seek and celebrate the positive in every situation, have a long-term view, are patient and persistent, they ask tough questions and make even tougher decisions, their leaders and residents lead by example and they build relationships of trust.
In the end, we discovered the true essence of the human spirit—neighbor helping neighbor and community helping community—and how the will to survive, at any cost, rests within each of us. We just need to own it. #
Comes to Life
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Heck-Andrews renderings must be worth a hundred thousand words. Progress is a wonderful thing, and we’re excited to unveil the vision for the Heck-Andrews House event space.
Architectural renderer John Pareda of Richmond, Virginia, displays his interpretation of the event space through professional color marker illustrations. The sketches are based on actual architectural drawings and specifications, including lighting fixtures, ceiling heights and interior moulding detail, among other influences. The artist’s imagination captures the architectural plans with vibrant, inviting colors and a nod to contemporary fashion, fixtures and furnishings, while respecting the historic character of the structure and prominence of the Second Empire style home in the affluent downtown Raleigh district.
Perfectly sized for groups of 100 or less, the renderings reveal only two possible visions for memorable events to be hosted in the iconic house. From small weddings to bridal receptions to graduation parties to corporate retreats to photoshoots, the Heck-Andrews House will soon be the perfect backdrop for countless events across the state. These artist renderings will be used to promote the space to prospective clients to help them create their own vision for their event in the space, telling their personal story in a thousand words or less.
The Left View perspective depicts a possible corporate networking event, complete with bar-height tables and a floorplan that supports both intimate conversations and fluid movement throughout the two salons. Capable of accommodating seated rounds, theater or classroom-style seating, the space is perfect for meetings, strategy sessions, socials and more.
Spaces not reflected in the renderings but integral to the first-floor experience include an impressive two-story foyer, magical three-story staircase situated directly across from the main entrance in the middle of the left and right parlors, expansive porch that accommodates up to 30 people to extend the indoor experience and a professional culinary kitchen at the rear of the house, which will be part of the back-of-house operations and not part of the rental space. Ten-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the first floor provide an abundance of natural daylight spilling into the space, creating interesting throws of shadows that dance across original hardwood floors. The second floor is slated for NC REALTORS® Government Affairs offices, and the third floor will be used for tenant offices. #
The Right View perspective showcases a small wedding party reception with tables, bridal decor and personal touches—all of which are customized by the bridal party and hosted in the historic Heck-Andrews space. A grand staircase shown in the left of the perspective hints at possible dreamy, grand entrances with brides gracefully gliding down the stairs into the right parlors to be greeted by loved ones.
The expected grand opening for the event space is Summer 2019. Stay tuned for construction progress updates, photos, news and more.
ABOVE Breaking the open work environment into smaller modules—with enclosed and collaborative spaces—enables simpler transitions between activities and supports work styles across functions and generations. © CallisonRTKL Inc.
a trending but critical design strategy that explores spaces for the way we live and interact with one another and analyzes how generations relate, coexist and function in different environments.
RIGHT At American Greetings headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, artistic culture spans across generations. The interior design features bold furniture and varied collaborative spaces to promote innovation and interaction away from the primary workspace. © CallisonRTKL Inc.
Designing spaces for multiple generationsBY: TRACEY GOULD
For the first time in history, five generations are working alongside each other—millennials, GenX, Gen Y, baby boomers and traditionalists. The “office”—and other spaces—are rapidly adjusting to accommodate varying work and lifestyles. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all solution.
Multigenerational design—a trending but critical design strategy that explores spaces for the way we live and interact with one another—analyzes how generations relate, coexist and function in different environments. And this isn’t just about the office, either. Scott Delano, design director for Wright Heerema Architects, stated this intentional design concept “applies to how we work, play, sleep, learn and eat—all of it.”
CallisonRTKL’s Associate Vice President Jodi Williams, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, refers to the design strategy as speaking “to the core value for designing for inclusion, including physical and mental abilities, age and more. It’s about designing spaces that accommodate the people that need to use them and give them the comfort level to succeed.” CallisonRTKL, a global architecture, planning and design firm, designs each project with inclusion of all users in mind, starting with an intensive charrette process up front. They focus on
"It’s about designing spaces that accommodate the people that need to use them and give them the comfort level to succeed."
JODI WILLIAMS, ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT CALLISONRTKLRIGHT Flexible spaces with movable partitions enable formal conference rooms to convert to larger gathering spaces for events. © Mike Butler courtesy CallisonRTKL
working within their own talents and skills to make sure they ask all the right questions for every project up front, using design thinking to solve problems (operational, functional, design, performance, communication, and otherwise).
“If we’re not asking the right questions from the beginning, we’re automatically excluding some demographics and end users of the space,” stated Williams.
Not too long ago, architecture and interior design was largely based on baby boomers and how they worked. This generation, as Delano describes, was successfully rooted in more structured spaces—booths, cubes, corner offices. This was the generation that defined professional success by their office type. A corner office with a window and a nice view meant “I’ve arrived.” Other generations started entering a boomer-centric physical environment, including GenX and GenY, and had to adapt to a more traditional space. It wasn’t until millennials entered the work force, Delano quipped, that owners, architects and designers were forced to rethink design and how people worked within different spaces. GenX wasn’t a large enough group to exert any force or influence on broad design trends, but millennials are now fast approaching 50 percent of the workforce. Owners and designers are quickly taking notice.
Ultimately, the goal behind multigenerational design is to look at how each group defines success, according to Delano, “and it’s not the corner office. We’re trying to find the spaces that make that path for them.” For millennials, “making it” is defined very different from generations before them. It equates to collecting life experiences to inform them that they are doing well, “so we’re looking at the new work environment to provide meaningful opportunities for success.” This isn’t to say prior generations didn’t want to have meaningful life experiences. They did—it just wasn’t their main focus.
Everyone wants to connect to something, especially considering the proliferation of technology today. “Tools such as smartphones, Facebook and Skype are great connectors and artifices that provide an alternate reality, which connects you to things and ideas, but not with people,” stated Delano. “Even with FaceTime, we’re sort of connected to people, but it’s not the same. We crave interaction and things that are real.”
MATERIALS. Architecturally, this means creating more of an experience in all physical and built environments—from classrooms to hospitality to office and even residential spaces. One trend in multigenerational design is intentionally choosing materials that feel more genuine. For example, items that have sentimental value with enough lifecycle left to serve a new purpose. Not only does this support sustainable design strategies and eco-friendly living, these materials also serve as great conversation starters and often are unique in their application and utility.
SPACES THAT ATTRACT. When designing spaces of any type, a conscious effort needs to be made to design from a millennial mindset, which is uncovered during visioning and programming sessions. If the environment plans to house, serve, market to or employ millennials, there are different approaches to the physical space that appeal to and attract this demographic. Millennials have been trained to work, socialize, shop and even dine differently than GenX and baby boomers.
Environments that are structured to accommodate group work first then individual work second suit this generation better. Most office environments today focus on individual productivity first then group work second—an 80/20 split. However, millennials expect to work in a university frame-of-reference—academic spaces, not office environments. This creates an easy flow between group and individual collaboration and work, which is where academia is headed.
TECHNOLOGY. Many boomers struggle with technology, according to Williams, but they tend to adapt quickly. This is a must in today’s corporate environments where technology is the engine that keeps most physical environments running and people on-task and on-time. From basic office functions to personal organizers to building systems, technology is becoming more embedded into our culture and daily lives. With more device agnostic technology coming online, infrastructure needs to be in place to support the bandwidth and accommodate all devices.
CallisonRTKL is seeing a lot of small spaces that accommodate video and new technology to allow for quick video chats. Traditional open space models don’t support this new way of communicating. From furniture solutions to small rooms or enclaves that eliminate background visual and acoustical distractions, office space needs to be designed around technology and the way that people use it today.
Technology is also becoming less obvious and intrusive. Computers are
smaller and more powerful, and more and more individuals are conducting business right from their smartphones. Multigenerational design today intentionally and consciously adapts to Near Field Community (NFC) technology and its current and future applications to improve your day-to-day operations. For example, you could gain access to your office building and clock in by swiping your smartphone or other device.
Delano is eager for the day when the technology is fully integrated and adapted into furniture. For example, imagine a day in the not-so-distant-future when furniture automatically adjusts to users’ exact height. In a world trending towards flexible office environments with hoteling, telecommuting and jobsharing responsibilities, the technology in development will be handy to remember each employee or users’ specialized settings as they move between spaces, buildings and environments—all with the wave or tap of a smartphone or tablet.
FRONT PORCH. Many older buildings are being repositioned to include things like functioning Wi-Fi in lobbies to provide an alternative and pleasant work environment. These spaces are becoming the “front porch” of the modern office environment. They are somewhat private but still semi-public, allowing for potential connections among the office staff that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Mutigenerational design isn’t only end user centric. It also is focused on organizational goals and objectives, such as supporting sales and efficiencies. “It’s about getting the highest and best uses out of each space,” says Delano.
Ultimately owners and businesses need to get to the root of what their organizational needs are. “This includes all elements of the organization—not just the dividers—and design to what those requirements are and what the future anticipated needs are based on the information gathered to date,” stated Williams. CallisonRTKL encourages clients to constantly seek feedback from their employees and users of their space, and revisit floorplans, adjacencies, furniture, technology and other components every 18 months to understand what is and isn’t working due to functional changes. Companies should be flexible and open to change.
Overall, it’s a strong business decision to make the modern office attractive, functional and efficient for all demographics. Creating productive environments with no barriers to work, while providing a space that is supportive of end user requirements, just makes business sense.
McIlveen Family Law challenged traditional office design with an open concept floorplan that fits its multigenerational staff perfectly. For an operational law firm with traditional roots, this was quite the adjustment for existing employees and for prospective employees coming from traditional law firm office environments. Their new floorplan, which has been adapted to each of their locations in Gastonia, Charlotte and Raleigh, ditched closed offices and cubicles for open seating. This was important to the founding partners, knowing there are four generations working side-by-side in the practice.
Lawyers no longer have dedicated office space, which was a decision that was difficult for some to accept at first. However, when Angela McIlveen, partner attorney, surveyed the lawyers and asked them to track the number of hours they actually spent in their offices, the lawyers were surprised by the fact that none of them spent more than five hours per week in the office. They were either meeting with clients in conference rooms or off-site handling cases. Suddenly, an open office concept seemed more logical—and less intimidating.
The result for McIlveen is that lawyers, paralegals, marketing and other support staff work next to each other—even the partner attorneys. Chris Culp, managing attorney and director of legal operations, as well as the oldest person in his office, stated, “In the traditional workspace, you tend to get isolated. While easier to concentrate and work on discreet projects, you don’t get the benefit to learn by observing others. This knowledge sharing doesn’t happen in traditional office environments.”
Active eavesdropping—to listen to people discuss a case that may be similar to yours—can rapidly increase the learning curve, Culp stated. In the standard law office environment, lawyers and other staff had to knock on office doors and call or email multiple people to inquire if they had relevant experience and could answer a question. This took hours or sometimes days to get the information needed. Younger attorneys no longer rely only on the partners as a mentor—it’s more organic office-wide.
EFFICIENCY AND COST SAVINGS. For McIlveen, the cost savings is outstanding. No longer is there unused office space. Offices that are dark four out of five days are gone, as are unused hallways. In place of those spaces are active and engaging shared areas, which are conducive to team building and recruitment.
RECRUITING AND RETENTION. Culp states their new offices at McIIveen demonstrate their innovative culture,
which aligns more with younger generations that tend to congregate and work in groups. Interviewees, who experience the front- and back-of-house spaces, “are drawn to the energy in the space. They see a lot of activity, but it’s so different. You get the feeling there’s a lot of communication and collaboration happening, which is contrary to the vibe in most attorney offices.”
Unique spaces and features in progressive office spaces, like kegerators, free food and beverages, rooftop work and relaxation spaces with Wi-Fi and reading nooks and nap rooms, make recruiting for open office environments much easier than it used to be—even for the traditionalists. Likewise, retention is much higher provided other personal and professional needs are being met.
Culp admits their non-traditional legal office environment, which just went paperless, isn’t for everyone. There are still people who measure success with a corner office in a high-rise, and for open office environments, those values don’t align well. #
Multimillion Dollar Listings
CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND CAVIAR DREAMSBY: TRACEY GOULD
Most people reading this feature may never know what it means to own or buy and sell a multimillion dollar home. Yet, television and cable programs featuring these luxury properties have been some of the most viewed programs over the past decade—from MTV’s Cribs to Million Dollar Listings to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Perhaps their popularity is due to technology making it easier for the common man to live vicariously through the rich and able. Perhaps there’s a small piece in each of us that craves a lap of luxury lifestyle.
Aaron Kirman, president of Aaroe Estates and named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top 20 real estate agents in the country, specializes in multimillion dollar listings in California. He provided some insight on what’s trending in this price point across the country. In the event you’re in the market for one of these properties or working with clients who are, or if you simply want to dream and add some of these ideas to your vision board, let’s dive in.
If your champagne wishes and caviar dreams turn into reality and you are in the market for a multimillion listing, what would you look for? What are your must-haves and can’t-live-without features? Share your thoughts on our social channels with #NCREALTORS and #ChampagneWishesCaviarDreams. We all can dream, right?
One-touch home technology is critical. Homeowners and buyers want the ability to monitor their homes remotely for security reasons—when at home or abroad. The added luxury of being able to control all of the home’s electrical, lighting, security, temperature and entry access remotely is a very attractive feature for the high-end buyer.
Extremely open floorplans are a necessity. Gone are the days of formal rooms—even formal living and dining rooms have waned in interest. Great and multipurpose rooms, combining many rooms in one space, are attractive to luxury homeowners and today’s buyers. Similarly, large master bedrooms and bathrooms are also in high-demand, reaffirming the desire for homeowners to have ample personal space. On the other hand, home offices have declined in interest and have almost disappeared from all modern, updated multimillion dollar listings. With the rapid advancement of technology, devices stay with the person; therefore, dedicated space to conduct business has become passé.
While traditional dedicated spaces have gone away, specialty spaces are all the rage. Luxury homeowners demand spaces for their unique habits, interests and hobbies, including wine cellars and wine bars with refrigerators, meditation rooms and health and fitness studios.
Multimillion dollar homes also need to find a way to bring the outdoors in—regardless of the style of home— through patios, glass walls, fireplaces and a variety of entertainment spaces, including pools and water features. This design strategy encourages the open flow of socialization. “Zero and infinity-edge pools, which give the illusion of falling off the horizon, are trending right now,“ stated Aaron Kirman. “And people still like a lot of glass.”
A decade ago, sustainability was viewed as a luxury item and optional— too expensive for most individuals and businesses to implement, despite it being the right thing to do for the environment. The upfront investment was simply too steep for the long-term payoff. For multimillion dollar listings, however, sustainability is a must. Incorporating alternative means for lawn maintenance, for example, that doesn’t involve high-carbon impact machinery and succulents that can save water in
certain environments—particularly those in drought-prone areas or regions known for water rationing—are highly sought-after features.
FURNITURE, FIXTURES, AND EQUIPMENT (FF&E)
One of the biggest differentiators between multimillion dollar listings and all others, aside from the sheer size of the estates, are the high-quality FF&E elements included in the home. Buyers at this price point demand the top-of-theline, greatest materials and finishes, such as European cabinetry, which can run over $1 million. Buyers only want the best of the best materials in countertops, wood floors, carpeting, etc.—and mostly international materials. Anything less will deter buyers. #
What Sellers Should do for a Quick Sale
Now that we know what buyers are looking for at this price point, what should sellers do to encourage a quick sale? Kirman encourages sellers to ask themselves, “How should buyers in this demographic live? Make it as perfect as you possibly can.” At this price point, every flaw, every blemish, every shortcut and every substandard finish will standout and deter a buyer. Kirman encourages sellers to “pay attention to the details.” Of course, at a minimum, the property should be super clean, and Kirman encourages sellers to rent furniture to stage the home in a neutral palette. “Buyers are looking for a curated lifestyle, and staged homes sell faster.” Removing all personal effects will help buyers at any price point envision their own life in the home they are touring—multimillion dollar homebuyers are no different.
What Should Buyers Look For?
A skilled buyer in this demographic should first and foremost engage with a REALTOR® who knows the market and is experienced with data and properties in the target price point. Skilled REALTORS® will know the nuances from neighborhood to neighborhood, street to street. If a home has been on the market for a while and isn’t selling, a buyer should be asking why? And the REALTOR® will know or get to the bottom of it before an offer is made. Buyers should make sure the minimum requirements are being met from property to property— the dirt, location, etc. Buyers should buy first for the location then filter for the remaining needs. “Don’t get the most expensive home on the street; you can always make improvements on a house,” recommends Kirman. “Understand that this purchase is an investment, and you should invest in the best location you possibly can.” Kirman also suggests to talk to neighbors, hang out in the community and do online research to learn everything you can about a home before an offer is made. “Don’t be emotional and fall in love with just any house. Buy a house that’s going to make you money in the end and is in the right location. "This is wise advice for a buyer in the market for a home at any price point.
Core Standards Turning the Tide to Civility
Consider today’s political landscape. Respect, civility and empathy have left the scene, replaced by tribalism. This is where we live today. Suppose a group of organizations banded together to turn the tide locally, despite CNN vs. Fox News barking in the background. Could it be done? Should it be done and could it succeed?
Let’s set the stage.
Often, REALTOR® associations are the largest professional organization in an area, with assets that can be brought to bear like no other. Many, like Cape Fear REALTORS® (CFR), have members representing every political stripe, without any viewpoint being a clearBY: SHANE JOHNSON, JD, CAE
majority. NAR Core Standards encourage such engagement, yet partisan politics sideline many associations.
Strengthening the REALTORS® voice in the community involves risk. Imagine you have been sitting at the same cafeteria table for a year with four people. The other three speak frequently during meals, but you rarely chime in. Without warning one day, you begin to speak and express your opinion— and continue to do so from that point forward. How do the others react? Some may welcome the comments. Others, however, may not like the impact of a more active voice in the conversation, and wish you’d be quiet.
It is easy to talk about being courageous, or trumpet about how
we protect the rights of homeowners, but action comes with a price. Members focused on home sales may not be aware that the transaction isn’t that simple anymore. The industry is under attack daily and the best way to maintain relevance is growing the REALTOR® public presence—while speaking with a unified voice in the community dialogue. We don’t want to be toast while other groups eat REALTOR® pancakes for breakfast, with a side of homeowner syrup.
In 2014, CFR’s directors took bold action by creating a five-pronged outreach initiative in response to Core Standards. One of the initiatives, The Public Square©, involved creation of a national forum to place REALTORS® at the center of the community conversation. It looked good on paper. It took four years to realize.
During that time frame, public discourse nose dived with the advent of Clinton vs. Trump, which created the ongoing flood of media sensationalism.
“We stopped watching the news,” said Wilmington REALTOR® Tom Gale. “It seems each station has either taken a right or left viewpoint, with the center missing.” This trend, coupled with NAR requirements, prodded CFR to focus efforts on rebuilding the center—the middle of the conversation where most middle-income folks live—through The Public Square© forum.
By this time, influential community partners had signed onto the forum as Civic Advisors, including UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli and Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) President Amanda Lee, along with Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. The volatile subject, “To Drill or Not to Drill?” was selected, as coastal drilling would dramatically impact real estate along the coast. International experts, Jacques Cousteau’s son, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister were contracted as presenters. The Wilson Center was donated by CFCC, and tickets were offered through its box office for $10.
“Several remarkable things happened with The Public Square©,” said Civic Advisor Gale. “Beyond having a sold-out auditorium of 1,557 seats, both political parties promoted the event, and when protesters showed up, we
gave them tickets, without a single outburst during the event. That’s civility!”
The event stands as the largest event in the association’s 95-year history. A sold-out audience, dozens of earned media pieces and a social media explosion provide proof of the both the success and lasting impact. In addition, the event attracted a wider bandwidth of membership than CFR past activities.
“Going in, we knew there were groups strongly opposed to coastal drilling, and others strongly supporting it,” said Gale, one of the forum’s originators. “It was difficult to get a balanced view of the pros and cons, thus we selected it as the topic so people could become educated on both sides of the issue. REALTORS® often act as an information gateway for people coming to the region, thus it is important for them to be informed on critical issues. Forums like this also help us all formulate better public policy and cultivate respect.”
“Beyond all the other positives, this event resulted in a substantial boost to the REALTOR® brand and voice in the region, which is one of the end goals of Core Standards,” said Gale. Succeed we did, and CFR is already planning the next Public Square© event, later this year.
Shane Johnson, JD, CAE is Chief Operating Officer for Cape Fear REALTORS® and serves as the staff lead for Public Square©. For more information, contact him at 910-762-1695 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"REALTORS® often act as an information gateway for people coming to the region, thus it is important for them to be informed on critical issues. Forums like this also help us all formulate better public policy and cultivate respect.” TOM GALE. REALTOR®, WILMINGTON
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