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B US I N E S S I N TELL IGE N CE FOR THE R RC PROFE S S IONA L

2018

THE

SPECIALIST ALSO IN THIS

ISSUE

Cultivate your online brand Get loose in a tight market Are you ready for tax season?

Distribute leads more fairly The benefits of print promotion The best states for growth

PROMOTION

THROUGH

(E) MOTION Use leading emotional motivators to ignite a customer connection.

CRS-038


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contents

Sep 20 Oct 18 vol. 17, no. 5

features

16

TAPPING INTO DREAMS Emotional marketing helps boost customer trust, loyalty and feelings of friendship By Donna Shryer

20 5YOUstepsONLINE to craft an engaging online presence for your brand By Gwen Moran

ROOM TO MOVE

A low-inventory market with few options creates challenges—here’s how to give yourself space to operate

28

By Megan Craig

I WANT YOU (TO BE READY FOR TAX SEASON)

Based on the landmark new tax law, you can plan your tax strategies now— or pay the price later

24

By David Tobenkin

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contents

Sep 20 Oct 18 vol. 17, no. 5

departments 4 VANTAGE POINT

By Gary Williams, CRS

34

5 ENTRY POINTS

Industry Headlines, Business Technology, Ideas & Trends 6 SMART SOLUTIONS: A Fair Deal

An effective lead-distribution system can be the difference between an office that runs smoothly and one that is divided by infighting.

7

By Daniel Rome Levine

14

8  WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: Paper Power It’s an online world, but printed handouts are more relevant than ever—use them to stand out from the competition.

8

By Eric Schoeniger

14 PEER TO PEER: Angi Cline, CRS

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Bowling Green, Kentucky

34 WORK + LIFE

Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong Edited by Jessica Bacal Reviewed by Allan Fallow

+

Kitchen Oddities Unique kitchen gadgets that are strangely useful.

36

inside RRC 37 NEWS FROM THE COUNCIL

Sell-a-bration 2019; CRS Week 2018 offers complimentary benefits; RRC’s new video service; and ads promote the CRS Designation.

40 LEARN FROM THE BEST

An RRC Certified Instructor explains how to properly identify and evaluate your brand to maintain consistency and increase business.

6

41 RRC CONNECT 48 ASK A CRS

Advice from the country’s top agents.

ON L I N E R E S O UR CE S The new crs.com is your portal to news, education, referral and membership information. And you can still read the magazine online at trsmag.com.

DYNAMIC RESOURCES & TOOLS YOUR LOCAL RRC

Find all the tools you need to take full advantage of your membership. Get access to news and information, resources and exclusive benefits that you will not find anywhere else. Take the lead in today’s market and visit CRS.com/resources.

Although the Council’s network spans the nation, sometimes you need a network that is closer to home. Information on local courses and events, network groups and volunteer opportunities is available at CRS.com/local-rrc.


Coming Next Issue ... B US I N E S S I N TE L L I GE N C E F OR TH E R R C PR OFE S S I O NA L

Picture Yourself on the Cover CRSs tell you about their most interesting, inspiring and unique referral stories. Dual Agency Under Fire CRSs and other leading sources weigh in on the controversy over dual agency. What are the pros and cons of dual agency and should it be allowed to continue?

EDITOR Michelle Huffman mhuffman@crs.com 800.462.8841 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Megan Craig Daniel Rome Levine Gwen Moran Eric Schoeniger Donna Shryer David Tobenkin 2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Gary Williams, CRS President-Elect Michael Burkhard, CRS First Vice President Richard Waystack, CRS Immediate Past President Leigh Brown, CRS Members Jen Ward, CRS Shawn Cunningham, CRS Steve Stewart, CRS Yolanda Lowe, CRS Vinnie Tracey, CRS Chief Executive Officer Lana Vukovljak Staff Liaison Patricia Stodolny PUBLICATION MANAGEMENT www.glcdelivers.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Chuck Gekas Director of Business Development 312.321.4443 cgekas@crs.com The Residential Specialist is published for Certified Residential Specialists, general members and Subscribers by the Residential Real Estate Council. The magazine’s mission is: To be a superior educational resource for CRS Designees and members, providing the information and tools they need to be exceptionally successful in buying and selling residential real estate. The Residential Specialist is published bimonthly by the Residential Real Estate Council, 430 North Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60611-4092. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL, and additional mailing offices. Change of address? Email requests to crshelp@crs.com, call Customer Service at 800.462.8841 or mail to RRC at the above address. The Residential Specialist (USPS-0021699, ISSN 1539-7572) is distributed to members of the Council as part of their membership dues. Non-members may purchase subscriptions for $29.95 per year in the U.S., $44.95 in Canada and $89.95 in other international countries. All articles and paid advertising represent the opinions of the authors and advertisers, not the Council. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: The Residential Specialist, c/o Residential Real Estate Council, 430 North Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60611-4092. COPYRIGHT 2018 by the Residential Real Estate Council. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

Publishing Manager Phil Malkinson Art Directors Scott Oldham Ivette Cortes

Start a True Word-of-Mouth Campaign What’s the best way to grow your word-of-mouth reputation? Learn how to get the word out in your community without direct advertising. Build Your Business Learn how CRSs are using their knowledge of building, construction and design to build their real estate businesses.

PLUS:

Discover each generation’s preferences for marketing channels, communication methods, messaging and other communication and marketing approaches. Would you like to be a source for a future story in The Residential Specialist? Send an email to mhuffman@crs.com to be added to our potential source list. To see a list of the topics we’ll be covering, check out the magazine’s 2018 editorial calendar online at crs.com.

WHO ON YOUR

TEAM could benefit by receiving a personal copy of The Residential Specialist?

STAY INFORMED The Residential Real Estate Council provides

crs.com

superior education, exceptional networking opportunities and critical resources. The Council’s flagship magazine, The Residential Specialist, delivers the latest industry trends, success stories and proven strategies to grow your business. To subscribe for yourself or a colleague, call 800.462.8841. Note: Members of the Residential Real Estate Council receive the magazine as part of their member benefits.


OUR WEEK

[vantage point]

from the desk of Gary Williams, CRS 2018 RRC President

is strong Ø

CELEBRATE THE CRS DESIGNATION AND REMIND OTHERS OF THE EXTRAORDINARY VALUE EARNING IT PROVIDES.

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Once again, RRC is offering CRS Week, Sept. 24–28, the Council’s national and local event designed to increase awareness of the value of obtaining the CRS Designation. This event offers the best complimentary education and training you can get anywhere as a sample of what the Council offers. This year’s theme is “Unbeatable,” focusing on celebrating the power of the CRS Designation, and the ability of our network of CRS Designees to excel in their careers and continue to be the dominant force in their marketplace. Throughout the week, the Council hosts free webinars and local events, and offers complimentary marketing educational materials to both members and non-members. RRC will host a free live webinar each day. You can register for this bundle today and be automatically signed up for all five of the webinars at once! And there is a bonus: CRS Designees can satisfy their annual Designation Maintenance Requirement by listening to the complimentary webinars offered during CRS Week. This is the time for all of you who have not completed that requirement to get your credit. So, take it from your 2018 president: “Saddle up and get some great education along with good nuggets and many tips.” The webinar lineup includes the following topics: ÄÄSmart Homes and Aging in Place ÄWhat’s Ä That CRS Mean, Anyway? ÄÄCompeting With (& Beating!) Discount Brokerages ÄWin Ä That Listing! ÄTips Ä for Marketing to Millennial Homebuyers Downloadable materials, including a guide to winning seller listings and brand-new CRS Designation marketing materials, will be available. A free episode of Sound Bites will be available during the week, too. Wow! What more can you want? Better yet, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and sign up! During CRS Week, State RRCs across the country will be hosting events, bringing together CRS Designees and potential new RRC members for networking events, sharing tips and advice, and celebrating the power of the CRS Designation to impact the careers of real estate agents. New this year—to assist State RRCs with holding CRS Week events, the Council will reimburse event expenses up to $500. Don’t forget, you prove the value of the designation every day by providing your clients with exemplary service based on your profound knowledge of the residential real estate market. I sincerely hope you will join me in this year’s festivities during CRS Week to celebrate the CRS Designation and remind others of the extraordinary value earning it provides. Thank you, as always, for all you do to support the RRC family and the CRS Council.


[entry points] + industry headlines + business technology + ideas & trends

EMPTY SHELVES SUPPLY & DEMAND

On July 17, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said on Twitter that nationally and locally, the biggest challenges remain the low inventory of available homes and the slow pace of home construction. This echoed Yun’s comments a few weeks earlier: “The worsening housing shortage means

home prices are primed to rise further this year, too, hindering affordability conditions for homebuyers in markets across the country.” Yun said the current housing market has low inventory, weakening affordability, a low homeownership rate and a low number of first-time buyers.

Based on income, mortgage rate and home price, affordability is at its lowest in six years, according to the NAR Housing Affordability Index, and is expected to worsen. There is a substantial disparity between earnings and home prices: Incomes increased 15 percent from 2011 to 2017, while home prices rose 48 percent over that period. Increasing mortgage rates will also affect affordability.

Highest Point

“Challenging affordability conditions have prevented a meaningful rise in the homeownership rate after having fallen to a 50-year low a few years ago,” said Yun. “To increase homeownership, more home construction is needed, which could be boosted by delivering regulatory relief to community banks, removing the lumber tariff, re-examining stringent zoning laws and training more workers for the construction industry.”

2,139,009

June 1, 2012

ACTIVE LISTING COUNT

Nationally, from May 1, 2012, through June 1, 2018 Source: Realtor.com Residential Listings Database

Lowest Point

1,232,889

January 1, 2018

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[entry points]

A FAIR

deal

An effective lead-distribution system can be the difference between an office that runs smoothly and one that is divided by infighting

Smart

By Daniel Rome Levine

At Realty World Neighbors/ The May & Jones Group in Hayward, California, the term streamlining your business through technology “first responder” has a different meaning. When a new lead comes in via email or phone, broker/owner Anna May, CRS, sends out an email to all her team members asking, “Who will successfully close this new lead?” The first to “reply to all” gets the lead. “I figure if they’re so on top of their emails that they respond to mine quickly, they’re most likely to close the lead, too,” May says. “This is fair and transparent to all the other agents that the first to respond is rewarded.” May and her husband and business partner, Greg, distribute leads among their team in other ways, too. Agents are encouraged, not assigned, to host open houses and they are rewarded with the resulting leads. Leads are sometimes referred to team members based on a strong personality fit with a particular client or some other connection, such as a shared language. If an agent happens to be working in the office when a lead walks in the door, that agent is offered the lead first.

Solutions

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Systems equal success

One of the biggest challenges facing any real estate team is trying to distribute leads in a fair and equitable way. No system is absolutely perfect and all have their pros and cons, but not having one at all is a recipe for disaster and can create a toxic office environment divided by petty battling. An effective lead-distribution system builds a culture of trust and allows team members to collaborate for the good of the group, free from suspicions of lead stealing. It is a widespread problem. Just 16 percent of brokers and agents surveyed by Inman News said they strongly agree with the statement, “My brokerage distributes leads fairly among agents.”

Setting expectations up front

The importance of establishing a lead distribution system that is clearly understood by all team members is vital, says Linda Craft, CRS, CEO of Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Craft’s 15-page employment contract covers her lead-distribution system in detail and she goes over it carefully with every new hire and has them initial each page. “It’s all about managing what is expected of team members right up front,” Craft says. “I spend a lot of time on leads because I know that has the potential to be a friction point later on, and the last thing I want on my team is chaos and conflict.”


FIVE-CARD DRAW

Five commonly used lead-distribution systems: Leads are sent out electronically to all agents on a team simultaneously and whoever responds first gets the lead.

One staff member handles all leads that come in and then assigns them to agents.

Team members work solo, in-office shifts, and whatever leads come in during that time are theirs.

For a rotation-based system, agents take turns handling leads.

For a production-based system, the top 20 percent of agents in an office are rewarded with better leads.

★★★

 Opportunity time

Craft’s system for distributing leads among her team’s 12 sales agents is based on an old-fashioned model with a modern-day twist. Instead of calling it “phone duty,” she has opted for the more appealing sounding “opportunity time.” Craft creates a calendar in which every day of the week is divided into three shifts, 9 to 1:30, 1:30 to 6 and an evening shift. One agent has to be in the office to cover each shift, and whatever leads come in during that time, whether via email, phone or a person walking in the door, are theirs. Agents like the fact that they are “protected,” as Craft says, from competing colleagues during their solo opportunity time shift. “Everybody has an equal opportunity for capturing leads based on their level of participation in opportunity time,” Craft says. For instance, a more seasoned agent may take only five shifts a month because they have built up a larger referral base over the years, while a newer agent may want 10 to 15 shifts a month to build up their business. When a lead comes in, the opportunity-time agent on duty assigns it to themselves by entering it into the office’s web-based lead management program, called Dakno Admin and developed by Dakno Marketing, a Raleigh-area firm. The program takes all leads and funnels them into a central email server attached to the firm’s website. If another agent

were to try to steal that lead, a notification alert would be triggered. “This is an almost bulletproof system,” Craft says. While no lead-distribution system is perfect and guaranteed to prevent conflicts, having one in place that is clearly understood by all team members will help the entire office achieve success and foster a winning, confident attitude. Lee Barrett, CRS, teaches the RRC course Converting Leads into Closings, and has 40 years of experience as an agent, team leader and running his own brokerage, Barrett and Co. Inc., in Las Vegas. “Peoples’ personalities will always find ways to cause issues and you need to take that out of the equation. Without a lead-distribution system in place, people will inevitably get suspicious of the process, and that works against the very concept Meet your of what a team is supposed to be,” Designation Maintenance Barrett says. “Lead-distribution Requirement systems work because they impose today! Read this article and discipline and a structure on a “Paper Power” team and prevent leads from being on p. 8, take passed out in a way that resembles a 10-question quiz and earn a popularity contest.” 2 credits. Go to CRS.com/ trs-quiz to get started.

Daniel Rome Levine is a freelance writer in the Chicago area.

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[entry points]

paper POWER

It’s an online world, but printed handouts are more relevant than ever—use them to stand out from the competition By Eric Schoeniger

Window

When Chrissy Ward, CRS, moved strategies to grow your business to a new neighborhood, she decided to go door knocking. An experienced REALTOR® with Keller Williams Seven Hills Realty in Cincinnati, she knew how to make the technique pay off. She created a one-page, twocolor handout listing recently sold homes in the neighborhood, including prices and number of days on the market. She assembled 100 small bags that included the handout, her business card and a box of Girl Scout cookies. Then she loaded the bags into a wagon and began walking door to door. A week later she won a $540,000 listing as a direct result of her efforts. The cookies could have had something to do with it. But successful

ofOpportunity

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agents agree that even in an era of websites and mobile apps, printed handouts have a big impact. “The tried-and-true approaches need to be re-examined,” Ward believes. “Not everyone is on social media. Handouts remain an effective tool for selling.”

Show of handouts

Handouts come in all shapes and sizes, but the most effective fall into these categories: Homebuyer packet—A homebuyer packet includes handouts that cover: ÄThe Ä benefits of working with you. ÄÄInsights into the current market. ÄÄClient testimonials. ÄÄState-specific agency agreements and buyer representations. ÄAn Ä overview of the buying process, including offer, mortgage, home inspection and title.

“A homebuyer packet helps buyers understand the process and what you want them to keep top of mind,” says Rich Sands, CRS, a Certified RRC Instructor. Prelisting packet—Equally important is a prelisting packet. “Every agent should have a prelisting packet they give to sellers,” Sands says. “It informs sellers what they need to focus on prior to the listing appointment, and it helps them understand how you work as a listing agent.” Property brochure—For higher-value properties, a printed brochure with listing details and glossy photos is invaluable. Ward, for example, has a four-color document professionally printed on a folded 11- x 17-inch sheet. Community information— Assemble handouts with local details such as schools, grocery stores, restaurants, parks and trails, and wireless carriers. Government offices and chambers of


commerce can be useful sources. “If there’s something unique about the neighborhood, such as a community swimming pool, I’ll include the hours and costs,” says Beth Caster, CRS, a broker for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in McMinnville, Oregon. Market data—Maintain upto-date lists of relevant market statistics such as recent sales in the area and mortgage interest rates. Lists—Caster likes to hand out tips for both buyers (get preapproved, communicate nonnegotiable needs) and sellers (remove prescription drugs, deodorize if you have pets). She also provides lists of contractors, painters and landscapers. (For more list ideas, see the sidebar “A List of Lists.”)

Updating handouts for the digital era

✔ ✔

✔ ✔✔

A LIST OF LISTS

Top tips lists are a great way to give clients valuable information. Some ideas: For Buyers ÄÄ Ways to Improve Your Credit Score ÄÄ Tips for Buying in a Tight Market ÄÄ Common Homebuyer Mistakes ÄÄ Home Defects to Look Out For ÄÄ Closing Costs for Buyers ÄÄ Problems to Look for on a Final Walkthrough For Sellers ÄÄ Rooms to Remodel That Pay Off ÄÄ Qualities to Look for in a Remodeler ÄÄ Ways to Give Your Home Curb Appeal ÄÄ Low-Cost Ways to Stage Your Home ÄÄ Ways to Prepare for an Open House For Buyers and Sellers ÄÄ Qualities to Look for in an Agent ÄÄ Techniques for Holding a Great Yard Sale ÄÄ Tips for Packing Home Belongings ÄÄ Questions to Ask a Mover ÄÄ Things to Do Before You Move

GENDER AGENDA

ALL THE SINGLE LADIES, PUT A

MORTGAGE ON IT

There’s a gender gap among homebuyers. Single women are buying homes and condos at more than twice the rate of single males. According to survey data from the National Association of REALTORS®, single women accounted for 18 percent of all home purchases last year compared with 7 percent by single males, making single women the largest segment in the entire home-purchase marketplace after married couples. According to Jessica Lautz, director of demographic and behavioral insights for the NAR, single female purchasers tend to be more likely to see buying a home as an investment. And according to some surveys, rising rents appear to be a stronger motivating factor for single women than for men when it comes to buying a home. The wage gap may still play a part in the house hunt, however. Single women tend to buy their first homes at an older age than men—34 years old compared with 31 years old, according to NAR’s research. Single women also pay slightly more on average than single men—$185,000 compared with $175,000.

Keep handout content up-to-date. If interest rates change, update your market-data handout. If a seller repaints, update your property brochure. Likewise, make sure your handouts remain relevant in our online should have an electronic version age. “People are inundated with that you can email to clients and information today,” says Sarah that clients can download from Marrinan, CRS, a REALTOR® with your website. Keller Williams in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. “Young people especially A bird in the handout are less apt to read long pages of Different handouts work better information. Keep your handouts in different contexts. For example, simple.” With that in mind: Ward offers handouts to buyers ÄÄUse bullet-point lists. at open houses—but only if they ÄÄKeep text short. leave behind their name, phone ÄÄInclude relevant photos. number and email address. ÄÄEmploy lots of white space. Marrinan focuses on handouts If you have the skills to create that reduce buyer and seller stress. your own handouts, you can save “I give clients a folder with handmoney. If not, “don’t waste time outs on topics such as financing inefficiently designing handouts and moving checklists,” she says. when you could be making calls or “Then when we get to that step in meeting with buyers,” Sands says. the process, I email the relevant Most important, make sure your handout info to remind them.” handouts are integrated with your In fact, it’s a good idea to use online marketing efforts. For every process steps as a trigger for printed handout you create, you Continued on page 10 }

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[entry points]

ENERGY LEVELS

FIGHT THE PHANTOMS

paper

2

1

POWER

3

}Continued from page 9

handouts. “In Minnesota, as soon as we talk about pricing terms and conditions, we have to present an agency disclosure,” Marrinan says. “So I use that as an opportunity to provide a flyer about what makes a CRS better.” To that end, RRC makes available a range of handouts to CRS Designees. “The RRC flyers are valuable because they clearly explain why homebuyers and sellers should be working with a CRS,” Marrinan says. Other RRC handouts cover topics such as pricing a home and relocating. They can be customized with agent details. Such customization is key. “You should always personalize your handouts for the recipient,” Sands says, “and customize them for their specific needs.” For a first-time homebuyer, provide a handout on the buying process. For a relocation client, offer a handout about the local community. The goal is to connect with the client. “You could use a superdeluxe brochure or a printed sheet of paper,” Ward says. “As long as your handouts show that you know how to serve your clients, they’ll be effective. You’ll build relationships and you’ll get listings.”

While you may not have heard of “phantom loads,” they’re almost certainly lurking in every home. Also known as “vampire loads,” phantom loads occur when electronic devices continue to draw power even when they’re turned off, but still plugged in. Televisions, cable boxes, computers, game consoles, routers, printers, microwaves and rechargeable power tools are common culprits; even though they may be turned off, their systems stay in standby mode—using power unnecessarily and wasting money. By some estimates, phantom loads comprise up to 10 percent of residential electricity consumption in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, household electronics in the average home consume 75 percent of their power while they are turned off. That’s a lot of waste, but it is easily avoidable. Power up—and down—with power strips. Plugging devices into a power strip allows homeowners to turn off the power to all of them with one switch. However, because turning off all connected devices may not always be practical, consider using a “smart” power strip, which senses when a monitor or TV, for example, has gone into standby mode and then cuts the power to that device completely. Some smart power strips have one or more always-on outlets, which are perfect for a cordless phone base or other items that need power at all times. Using smart power strips is the most convenient way to minimize phantom loads almost anywhere in the house.

1

2 3

Think Energy Star. For appliances that need to stay plugged in at all times or that would be impractical to turn off, such as refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, washers and dryers, Energy Star-approved models will help reduce overall energy consumption in the home. Limiting phantom loads saves energy resources and can help extend the life of electronic devices—and will leave homeowners with more money in their wallets at the end of the month.

Eric Schoeniger is a freelance writer based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Meet your Designation Maintenance Requirement today! Read this article and “A Fair Deal” on p. 6, take a 10-question quiz and earn 2 credits. Go to CRS.com/ trs-quiz to get started.

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Unplug those chargers. Plug-in chargers continue to draw power even when they are not working to charge a device. Though the amount of energy they use in this state is small, it will still show up on every utility bill.

This article was provided by Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. For more information, go to pillartopost.com.

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100%

80%

60%

40%

20%

0%

VALUE VISION

Over the next year, do you think that the average price of houses in your area will increase, stay the same or decrease? ■ Increase ■ Stay the Same ■ Decrease ■ No Opinion Source: Gallup Poll Social Series: Economy And Personal Finance

200

8

200

9

0 201

1 201

2 201

3 201

5 201

4 201

6 201

8 201

7 201

SELLING BEE

IT’S A SELLER’S MARKET Over the past five years, an average of 18 percent of U.S. adults who do not own a home say they plan to buy a home within the next five years, and about 13 percent of U.S. adults who own a home plan to sell it within five years. According to Gallup’s most recent annual Economy and Personal Finance poll (2018), this trend has continued, which has perpetuated a seller’s market. And these percentages do not account for the fact that many current homeowners who sell will then become homebuyers, further increasing demand for homes. “Taking into account both homeownership and non-homeownership rates as well as the groups’ selling and buying intentions, nearterm demand still exceeds the supply of

existing homes for sale,” according to Gallup. As the economy continues to improve, more Americans are able to buy homes. But homeownership rates have been flat in recent years, partly because the supply of available homes has not kept up with demand. As a result, home prices continue to climb, and along with higher interest rates and a generally low rate of wage growth, homes are becoming less affordable. So current homeowners who might want to sell are choosing to stay in their current home because it is a better value than a new one. With more Americans looking to buy than to sell, Gallup’s data indicate that a seller’s market should continue to persist in the near future, according to the report.

BY THE NUMBER S

18 %

of U.S. adults do not own a home but plan to buy one in the next 5 years.

13%

of U.S. adults who own a home plan to sell it in the next 5 years. Source: Gallup

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[entry points]

HOME APPRECIATION

PAYING THE PRICE If you’re looking for a good property investment strategy, focus on areas with net population growth. HouseCanary, a provider of real estate valuation and appraisal solutions, took a look at the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S. by population to determine which ones had the highest year-over-year price growth for three property types: single-family homes, condos and apartments. It found that all property types appreciated in price in parts of the country that correlate with U.S. Census migration data. According to HouseCanary, the rise in prices correlates with population growth over the past seven years (20102017)—and lower price growth or declines in prices

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correlate with population plateaus or decreases. Generally, home prices are growing faster in Florida and the West than they are in the rest of the Southeast and Northeast—and these are the regions of the country where population growth has been strong. According to HouseCanary, price growth for condos is generally higher than it is for single-family homes, and condo price growth aligns with population growth. Like single-family homes and condos, apartment prices have a strong correlation with population growth and migration. And condos and apartments tend to increase in price more than single-family homes in areas where the population is growing.


Net Migration GADGET INSPECTOR

-423,770

Source: HouseCanary

Net Migration (2010-2017)

1,936,102

Housing Market Growth Trends ÄÄ Single Family Detached

0.14 %

Price: $249 ecobee.com

ÄÄ Condominiums

YOY Price Change

9.77 %

0.77 %

YOY Price Change

15.52 %

ÄÄ Multifamily Housing

0.31%

Most thermostats only read the temperature in one place, which can make other rooms uncomfortable. The ecobee4 smart thermostat comes with a room sensor. These sensors can be placed in other rooms to manage hot or cold spots. The ecobee4 has embedded microphones with farfield voice recognition and a speaker engineered for clear voice and full sound. With built-in Amazon Alexa Voice Service, the ecobee4 can perform the skills that come with Alexa, such as reading the news, ordering groceries, etc.

YOY Price Change

11.43%

Visit nar.realtor and click on Research & Statistics for data on existing and pending home sales, average home prices and housing affordability measures.

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The Rode VideoMicro on-camera compact microphone improves the audio quality of your videos. It incorporates a high-quality cardioid condenser microphone and can be used with a wide range of cameras. The directional mic reduces peripheral sounds and focuses on the audio in front of the camera. A camera shoe mount is included and an optional cable allows the VideoMicro to be used with smartphones. Price: $56.95 rode.com

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Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Bowling Green, Kentucky

ANGI CLINE, CRS

Peer to Peer profiles of people to watch

What prompted you to become a CRS? I was attending REALTOR® meetings in the state and most of the speakers and presenters were CRSs. Coming from an educational background, I knew education was key to my business. They were explaining how the designation would grow my business, so I knew I had to pursue that. I completed my GRI and CRS simultaneously, and my business has been enhanced tenfold.

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sented itself is the fact that my husband is a state rep for another REALTOR® group, and I have been able to go with him as he has traveled around Kentucky to talk with new agents. I was able to scoop up 50 new members since January, some CRS Designees and some who are candidates. I have the best Leadership Team. We have been working on some good ideas for other events. Kentucky is famous for the Kentucky Derby. This year we held a Derby party at our Historic Railpark. Everyone was encouraged to dress up and wear fancy hats, play games and sip on mint juleps. People loved it so much that we might make it an annual event. And for our booth at the next state convention, we have even tossed around the concept of a kiss-the-pig contest.

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What is your market like and how do you get in touch with new clients? Bowling Green is centrally located and we have a lot of industry, so there are quite a few people moving in and out of the city. We get and give a lot of referrals. We also use Referral Exchange (the Qualified Consumer Leads program with RRC); we got about 15 transactions last year alone, which represented a tenfold increase in our business. For example, we just had a client who, within the space of a year, sold one house, bought another house and then sold that house when they were transferred to Texas. So we handled three transactions from one client we acquired through that program.

I see that you are involved with the Council on the state level in Kentucky. Yes, shortly after I got my CRS, I started with the Kentucky RRC chapter as technology leader. Next thing I knew I was president-elect, and now I’m president. What do you like most about Bowling Green? My husband, Steve, and I have a cabin on a nearby lake, and in the summer we try to go boating every weekend. We are really outdoorsy—we love to hike and hang out with friends there. Bowling Green is the perfect city in which to raise a family.

What goals do you have for the near future? We would love to grow our team, although we are doing very well. It would be great to engage and participate at a higher level in our local associations. Right now, I am actively working with federal political coordinators to work with our congressman. I’d like to continue to be even more involved, to support people as they run for office and work on issues that are important to those of us in real estate to protect the industry we work in. Being a CRS plays a huge role in these goals through networking, future planning and educating people about CRS.

Angi Cline, CRS, achieved her CRS Designation in 2016. She can be reached at theclineteam@theclineteam.com or 270.202.7807.

Photo: Kristina Krug

How did you get started in real estate? I was nearing retirement from teaching, but I was only 44 and was interested in continuing to work. My husband was in real estate, so five years ago I got my license, and we started working together. With the many contacts that I developed through my teaching career, real estate seemed like a perfect fit.

“Coming from an educational background,  I knew education was  key to my business.  I completed my GRI and How are you attracting CRS simultaneously, and REALTORS® in your my business has been area of the state? One opportunity that has pre- enhanced tenfold.”


Angi Cline, CRS, sits behind the wheel of a fire-enginered Corvette at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Angi’s team has handled staff relocations at the nearby Corvette plant, even going so far as to board the current plant manager in her own home while awaiting the delivery of his furniture from his previous residence.

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Tapping into Emotional marketing helps boost customer trust, loyalty and feelings of friendship By Donna Shryer

Emotional marketing speaks to you on a personal level. From a REALTOR®’s perspective, it’s less about stacking facts and more like storytelling. Instead of “large family room with fireplace,” create an image of the warm memories to be shared in a grand open space where family can enjoy the original wood burning fireplace and a welcoming view into a beautifully landscaped backyard. Are you listing a property with the latest smart home technology? For just a moment, set aside the techno-talk and explain from your heart how this home is where those you love most will be safely protected. In short, emotional marketing tugs at your heartstrings or pings your ego rather than appealing to your rational brain. When done right, it can elevate a brand from mere product status to trusted friend.

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super

marketing

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super marketing

Here’s an abbreviated snapshot of how Crest evolved from rational to emotional marketing. In the early ’60s, the toothpaste’s ads reported that those using Crest with fluoristan had at least 34 percent fewer cavities. In 2018, an ad for Crest 3D White features a woman who wants to impress her boyfriend’s parents. It’s implied that using this toothpaste will “win them over.” Was the move to emotional marketing a smart tactic for Crest? As of 2017, several reports cite Crest 3D White as the leading toothpaste brand in the United States. Graeme Newell, president of 602 Communications, which specializes in emotional marketing, says using emotions to drive brand awareness and a customer connection is particularly effective when trying to influence big-ticket decisions. “Convincing people to give up a gigantic sum of money for something they know nothing about— like real estate, cars or financial investments—can be a very emotional experience. It turns out that emotional marketing is quite effective in emotionally charged categories,” Newell says.

THINK SMALL TO WIN BIG According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large. Most communicators apply this definition to groups, although many REALTORS® see it on a smaller scale, since much of the real estate process is done one-on-one. Consider a story from Paul Pastore, CRS, associate broker with RE/MAX Infinity Realty, serving the greater Phoenix market. Pastore had a buyer who was a veteran— a former marine looking in the entry-level price range, which typically meant multiple offers in Phoenix. “I asked the listing agent if I could personally present my client’s offer to the seller—which I did,” Pastore says. “After explaining to Mr. and Mrs. Seller that my client had been in harm’s way protecting our country and now all he wanted was to return to the United States and a home, his offer was accepted—even though his offer was not the highest. It’s a wonderful ending to a great story.” Pastore adds a caveat. “Some listing agents and sellers don’t want anything to do with emotional storytelling. They see this tactic as manipulative.” Pastore’s advice is to use personal emotional storytelling judiciously and always ask permission, so you’re sure that everyone wants to listen.

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Proving the point

Ironically, it’s objective science that proves emotional marketing’s power. “We put people inside an MRI and monitor brain activity as they review different marketing materials,” Newell says. “We pay special attention to emotions that light up the part of the brain that processes trust—since trust is essential when it comes to turning prospects into big ticket customers.” In another analysis, conducted by the IPA dataBANK, which includes 1,400 case studies of successful ad campaigns, purely emotional campaigns performed about twice as well as those with only rational content—and emotional campaigns did marginally better than those with a mix of emotional and rational content.

Honestly … you can trust me

According to a survey conducted by the Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute, a company that studies digital transformation, the leading emotional motivators when it comes to igniting an emotional connection with customers are honesty, integrity and trust. But what’s the real estate agent’s best strategy to demonstrate these qualities? According to research by 602 Communications, when someone is “terrified” about making a poor decision—like buying the wrong house or selling their home too quickly—MRI analyses suggest that talking about this fear is a turn off. “People don’t want a problem/solution approach; they know what the problem is,” Newell says. “And they don’t want to hear about how great you are. The more you tell them to trust you, the less they will.” So what does work? With big-ticket purchases, it’s all about telling a story that demonstrates a trustworthy relationship. As Newell says, “Tell a story about how you work with real people with real hopes and dreams—just like me. Be transparent. Be a human instead of a pile of awards and sales figures. Show how you empathize with others. This all tells me that you understand who I am; you’ve got my back. Just like that, we’ve made an emotional connection.” It’s precisely how Sasha Farmer, CRS, does it. As broker/owner of Story House Real Estate, serving Charlottesville and Central Virginia, Farmer’s website gets up close and personal with clients and their story. Clients, she says, get star billing. Story House Real Estate is the supporting cast.


super marketing

After she closes a sale, she sends a professional photographer to capture her buyer clients enjoying their new home. Then she posts a story about the clients’ experience—complete with names and faces. “When people vet us online, they see real clients,” Farmer says. “Usually the response is, ‘I want that family’s experience.’ It’s a marketing approach that builds a much deeper emotional connection than we could ever achieve with anonymous testimonials, a headline that says ‘Trust us!’ and 20 pictures of houses with sold signs,” Farmer says.

Drilling deeper

The overarching emotion REALTORS® should cultivate in their clients is trust. Here are three ways to foster greater trust: Be positive. More than twothirds of social media shares have a positive tone and a lowly 7.7 percent of shares are negative, according to a study conducted by Fractl, a content marketing agency, and BuzzSumo, creators of a content monitoring tool. Tapping into the happy factor is how Kelly Catallo, CRS, broker/owner of Cosmopolitan Real Estate Inc., serving Greater Boston, managed to sell a ho-hum home for $100,000 over asking price. “It was a plain, six-room, two-bedroom home on the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts, outside Boston,” Catallo recalls. “So there I was, standing on the home’s dock, watching the river and wondering how I could possibly market this home—then it hit me! I wrote an ad that said, ‘Boat dock for sale. Comes with a sixroom house.’ I posted the ad digitally, targeting environmentalists, boat owners, fishermen and anyone who would find special happiness in this home on the river.” The ad went viral, both online and word-ofmouth, attracting almost 6,000 views and 145 showings within 48 hours, and it was sold within the week. “Real estate advertising is about telling a story that makes someone smile. You may have to dig to find the story, but it’s there,” Catallo says. Be socially responsible. According to the Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, more than 91 percent of millennials prefer

GO AHEAD! HAVE A LAUGH

Emotions are so pervasive in our daily communications— from marketing campaigns to coffee talk—that we humans created emotional codes called emojis. In fact, emojis’ emotional strength is so internationally powerful that the 2015 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was:

. For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was a pictograph, often called the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji. Is there any better proof that decisions are often driven primarily by emotions, whether deciding on a dinner menu or a new home?

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brands dedicated to corporate social responsibility and tend to loyally stand by companies going beyond environmental and social wellbeing expectations. Paul Pastore, CRS, associate broker with RE/MAX Infinity Realty, serving the greater Phoenix market, has multiple millennial clients, and he sees firsthand how much “giving back” means to these 18- to 35-year-olds. As Pastore explains, RE/MAX Affiliates have a 26-year affiliation with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and during that time has raised more than $157 million for the 170 Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada. “In our office, it’s a choice to deduct a donation from every commission check, which is sent to the Children’s Miracle Network. I do it because I want to, but it’s also been the deciding factor when someone’s considering several listing agents. Marketing this emotional message—provided it’s done for the right reasons—is a win for everyone,” Pastore says. Listen to clients. A study conducted by Capgemini, an international business-consulting corporation, reports that 80 percent of executives feel their brand speaks to their consumers’ emotional desires. The same study reports that only 15 percent of consumers say brands do a good job of emotionally bonding with them beyond a functional, rational relationship. Apparently, the majority of executives don’t know what they don’t know. The point is that emotional marketing isn’t easy. Cutting through emotional clutter and tapping into what customers dream about, wish for and aspire to isn’t always a given. As Catallo explains, it’s a challenge to know the difference between what you as a REALTOR® want to say versus what the client needs to hear. “You have to listen,” Catallo says. “Those who seek to understand before they seek to be understood are the ones who succeed in our business.” Donna Shryer is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Do you have a successful emotional marketing real estate story to share with fellow CRSs? Post your comments in the We are CRS Facebook group. Not a member? Join today.

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YOU ONL 5 steps to craft an engaging online presence for your brand

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INE

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By Gwen Moran

Overwhelmingly, people of almost every generation are moving their real estate searches online. The 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report found that most people under the age of 72 searched for a home online before contacting a REALTOR®. The report also found that purchasing a home through a real estate agent continues to be the most used purchase method for recent buyers. When choosing an agent to work with, buyers wanted help finding the right home, negotiating sales terms and negotiating prices. Buyers 37 years and younger, more than any other generation, found that their agent helped them understand the homebuying process. In other words, having an effective online presence is no longer a “nice to have”—it’s imperative, says Brent Bamberger, founder of Walnut Creek, California-based branding firm Brandish Studio. Your online brand helps convey that you’re professional, trustworthy and established in the market— all attributes critical to real estate buyers and sellers, according to NAR’s report. Follow this five-step approach to create a compelling and effective online brand that converts leads into clients.

1 Evaluate Before Chris Smith, co-founder of Boston-based real estate marketing company Curaytor, even meets with a prospective client, he does what he calls a “pre-call stalk.” In other words, he and his team review everything they can about the REALTOR®’s online brand—from website design to

blogging strategy to social media posts. Areas where online brands are often flawed include poor design or copy, irregular posting on blogs or social media, and an overall lack of quality. While some marketers preach consistency across platforms, Smith says the quality of your brand must come first.

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2 Align Once you understand your brand’s online components, the from Philly Home Girls to create Philadelphia Home Collecnext step is to ensure it’s appealing to your target customer, tive (phillyhomecollective.com), also adopted a website and says Gemma Schaefer, marketing manager at Philly Home brand look loaded with rich, stylized photography, inforGirls (phillyhomegirls.com), a team within Coldwell Banker mation about neighborhood specialties and heartwarming Preferred’s Old City branch in Philadelphia whose foundhomebuyer stories. She purposely kept the name of the ers are Residential Real Estate Council webinar presenters. new business broad so she could add services such as home The team’s customer base is sophisticated and expects a staging. In 2017, McFeely and Philly Home Girls co-founder high level of service—they want online interfaces they Jeanne Whipple co-presented the RRC’s webinar “Develop a can access from anywhere. When Schaefer came on board Personal Brand Strategy.” more than a year ago, she treated the company as she would a lifestyle brand, creating an interactive, evocative website as the cornerstone of the team’s online presence. “More than 50 percent of our traffic is mobile, so we had to determine how to translate who we are into a brand Once you’ve established the look and message of your online brand, it’s a good idea to create online that works across all platforms,” brand standards to help keep that look uniform across channels, especially if team members she says. are posting on your behalf, says Brent Bamberger, founder of Walnut Creek, California-based That’s good advice for everyone, branding firm Brandish Studio. See below for a few ideas. Bamberger adds. If your website isn’t ÄÄ Indicate the proper colors to be used in the logo or how it will be reproduced in black and responsive—programmed to display white formats. properly on every device—it may also ÄÄ Note the proper use of taglines and slogans, including punctuation. hurt your search engine ranking. Kristin ÄÄ Provide brand voice guidelines for blog posts, social media copy and other channels. McFeely, who is spinning off her business These should include parameters for post content, including tone, appropriate topics, etc. ÄÄ Include updates as you note ways that you wish to keep your brand uniform and consistent.

BRAND STANDARDS

3 Design

Charles Cherney, CRS, who heads the Charles Cherney Team at Compass in Cambridge, Massachusetts, read the book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller three times before he sat down to redesign his website several months ago, he says. The book emphasizes the importance of the consumer being the hero and the provider being the guide. Working with Curaytor’s team, Cherney wanted to redesign his website (cambridgerealestate.com) to be visually dynamic and showcase

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his team’s deep knowledge of the Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts, areas. But that didn’t mean abandoning some basics—including keeping his name and contact information at the very top of the page. And while the site is loaded with content about the areas his team serves, including neighborhood guides, blog posts about various businesses and features, and even links to podcast episodes, the clean design of the site and the visually arresting live-action video components make it easy to navigate.

Smith says a customer-first focus on design is essential for any brand component, whether it’s a logo, website or other element. “Ninety-three percent of customers trust design over word,” Smith says. So if you have an unappealing logo, font or colors, they’re actively working against you. He says REALTORS® should also pay attention to copy quality, posting frequency and engagement level. Getting a good understanding of your brand’s current strengths and weaknesses is an essential step, he says.


technological superiority

4 Engage

Dustin Parker, an RRC webinar presenter specializing in branding, heads The Parker Group real estate team in Lewes, Delaware. When he designed his website (delawaremove.com), he did so with an eye toward fostering interaction and engagement with his clients and prospects. A link to the team’s Facebook page is prominent at the top of the page, leading visitors to the primary place where Parker posts updates and hyperlocal content under his #getlocal, #localheroes and #givelocal hashtags. Each of these hashtags relates to local stories and make it easy for those interested to find information and participate in the conversation. “Our campaigns about local leaders let us tell stories that are important to the area. They help us build relationships with local business leaders. And that often turns into referral sources,” Parker says. His videos include his wife, daughter and home, so customers and prospects can see him as a parent and spouse who understands the needs of their families.

While social media is critical, Smith warns REALTORS® to avoid biting off more than they can chew. It’s worse to have several social media channels, a blog and a podcast that are all months or years out-of-date than it is to have nothing at all. Instead, focus on one or two communication venues where you can be active daily. If you find time after implementing that schedule, then you can add more channels. Monitor these channels and participate in online conversations. This will help you build relationships with people who visit your site. Engagement also includes making your website useful and functional. Cherney created neighborhood maps that serve as interactive guides. Visitors repeatedly return to his site to use the maps, even if they’re not in the market for a home. That helps keep his brand visible, he says. Common and popular tools include home search functions, neighborhood overviews and local news or updates.

5 Influence With their deep knowledge of the communities they serve, Schaefer says REALTORS® should brand themselves as experts much the way today’s social media influencers do. Claim your hyperlocal area. Claim and upload your logo to listing and review sites like Yelp, Google and online real estate sites so that visitors recognize your presence. She says these are critically important for local search results. Share your expertise through blog posts, media interviews, social media posts, videos or other formats (keeping in mind Smith’s advice to keep your channels up-to-date). Pat Ohmberger, CRS, associate broker at HOME Real Estate in Lincoln, Nebraska, agrees. Ohmberger has a professionally branded website as well as a popular email newsletter that she uses to showcase various items of interest and personal touches that build trust and relationships with her audience. While some told her she shouldn’t include University of Nebraska football schedules or other personal touches in her business correspondence, Ohmberger ignored that advice. The result has been greater engagement and open rates with her audience. “You can take whatever’s in your area and make it work for you,” she says.

HIT THE BOOKS

Need some online branding help? Here are three books that provide guidance and ideas. Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too Influencer and marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk distills lessons from influencers who have built exceptional personal brands. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team Alina Wheeler outlines a five-step process for designing your brand’s identity. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen In this Wall Street Journal bestseller, Donald Miller describes how to use the elements of powerful stories to define your brand.

Are you interested in learning more about brand strategy and earning credits at the same time? Head to the RRC education catalog and type the word “brand” in the search box.

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer based in Wall Township, New Jersey.

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perfect

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m o Ro To v e o M A low-inventory market with few options creates challenges— here’s how to give yourself space to operate By Megan Craig

Ø

It’s undeniable: Markets across the country are tighter than they’ve been in a long time for those looking to buy a new home, particularly for first-time homebuyers. According to the Realtor.com 2018 National Housing Forecast report, a low inventory of homes— especially affordable homes—in the market have made it hard for buyers to get traction. But all hope is not lost: The forecast calls for at least a slight easing late this year. While you wait for the market to loosen up, there are several ways to power through without trading in your REALTOR® status for another career:

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perfect practice

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1

Find sellers who didn’t know they wanted to sell

“You’d be surprised how often people tell If you’re cooling your heels waiting for the right you they’d been thinking about selling when listing for your client, try an alternative: Go you approach them with the idea,” Miller says. to a title company, find homes that meet your buyer’s criteria and do some good old-fashioned “There’s always something you can do. Don’t just sit back and wait for the market to get better.” door-knocking to find out how interested the If you’re an experienced seller, she also sugcurrent homeowner might be in selling, says Pat Miller, CRS, a Broker Associate with Century 21 gests going through your list of past sales and reminding those past clients how much equity NorthBay Alliance in Rohnert Park, California. they have now and how much their home is For example, Miller had a client who wanted really worth in the current market. Even if a home with a swimming pool. Through the title company, they hadn’t been thinking about selling, sharshe was able to run a ing the facts just may convince them to do so. search for every home Another avenue? Rental properties, says in the area with a Chuck Nichols, CRS, with Coldwell Banker swimming pool, then Burnet in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. If you know talked a homeowner an agent wasn’t able to sell a listing in a more into doing a 24-hour flush time and instead had it converted to a listing. That listing rental, ask if their client would be interested in turned into a sale selling on a one-time showing basis. “That way when her client you’re not competing with anyone, and you can bought the home. almost have your own private market,” he says.

Set your buyers’ expectations

2

This market is brutal, and buyers will have to make concessions. Be up front with them right from the start, suggests Katherine Waters-Clark, a buyer’s agent with RE/MAX Leading Edge in Winchester, Massachusetts. REALTORS® should always educate their buyers about the current market and trends, and make sure the buyer is ready to compete in that kind of market, Waters-Clark says. “Prepare your buyers for battle,” Waters-Clark says. “Set their expectations for this competitive market. Buyers must be ready and willing to be aggressive. It’s painful up front, but all my buyers are prepared and resilient, and eventually end up in a home.”

a strong you for a tough market

In a particularly tight market, buyers may become disheartened and need a lot of encouragement. The best REALTORS® are coaches, too. But you can’t be a coach for your buyers if you aren’t taking care of yourself, says Katherine WatersClark, a buyer’s agent with RE/MAX Leading Edge in

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Winchester, Massachusetts. Her strategy? She focuses on nutrition and exercise when the going gets tough in the professional world. “This is a marathon way more than a sprint, so pace and sustainability are key. Packing nutritious food and water for your work day helps ensure that you are

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well-nourished,” Waters-Clark says. “Consistent exercise is a great stress reducer and increases stamina and endurance.” Waters-Clark spends time revisiting old leads, hunting through her database and being of service in the community and to her past and present clients in any

way possible, while also bal“This market will wear ancing her healthy eating and and tear on the buyer and exercise routine. She says the buyer’s agent,” she says. that while it’s challenging to “I think it’s important to keep a positive attitude when have a mindset of abunyou’re working harder with dance instead of scarcity, of each buyer to write several success rather than failure, offers before one is accepted, especially when things are keeping active, positive and scarce. Fight the temptation healthy keeps her attitude to be afraid and buckle in check. down instead.”


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FIGHTING THROUGH A BAD MARKET? CREATE A NEW ONE Why watch your buyer suffer through several rejected above-market offers when you could give them a dream home for less than market value? That’s what Rick Rosen, CRS, associate broker/owner of Fresh Start Homes, a “real estate investment center” in Rochester Hills, Michigan, decided to do. He uses a set of simple steps to ensure his clients get great homes without the bidding wars:

1

Find a distressed property, often through a wholesaler, a bankruptcy situation or an estate sale. (Rosen uses an in-house acquisitions team to find properties.)

which allows the renovation to happen while the home is in escrow). A home inspector should inspect the home at this point, which will help the buyer after construction begins by allowing a second set of eyes to monitor the process.

your construction manager to the 2 Send site to see how much it would cost to closing, construction begins based 5 After renovate. The construction crew draws up a on the timeline in the scope of work. scope of work.

the property, along with the 3 Show scope of work, to a potential home-

buyer. At this time, the homebuyer can have a home inspection done to determine whether anything should be added to the scope of work.

This generally starts with any necessary decluttering and demolition, followed by mechanical needs (heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing), then beautification. The homeowner can then walk through with the contractor and put together a final punch list of what needs to be done before the family moves in.

The whole process generally takes four to eight weeks, Rosen says, depending on how much renovation work is required when the property is purchased. When it’s finished, the homebuyer will have a new home experience with this pre-owned home, including their choice of materials and colors.

up the buyer with a lender (in a final walk-through by the home 6 After 4 Setparticular, encourage them to consider inspector, the homeowner takes a Fannie Mae HomeStyle® Renovation mortgage,

3

possession of the now-perfect home.

Write the seller an offer they can’t refuse Have your client create a personalized letter, along with a letter you create, and include it with any offers you submit, Chuck Nichols says. Stress all the positive attributes and assets of the client who is looking to buy the property, and make sure to include bits on why your client would be the most suitable homeowner for the house. A personalized phone call from the buyer’s loan officer adds a reassuring enhancement to the listing agent. All this may tip a seller your way over a slightly better offer. When representing cash clients, Nichols also puts together escalation clauses. In some low-inventory markets, listing agents will call for the highest and best offer by a certain date given the high interest in the property. In that case, the buyer’s agent can write an initial price offer with an asterisk and include a clause stating the client is willing to pay, for example, $500 more than the highest offer, not to exceed whatever the buyer’s absolute maximum offer is. The listing agent has to show evidence that they had another offer come through that required

the clause to go into effect, but it also makes that buyer more competitive in the situation, Nichols says. “It’s frustrating for buyers because they lose hope, and that makes it hard to get them to write the next offer,” he says. “They feel like they’re paying too much, compromising too much, so you have to assure your clients they are making a sound decision that will positively affect their long-term use and enjoyment Are you an RRC member, but have not earned the of the house in your CRS Designation? CRSs are offers.” recognized as the top agents Megan Craig is a freelance writer based in Chicago.

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in the industry. Don’t wait to earn your CRS. Learn more at CRS.com/designation.

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I WANT YOU

(TO BE READY FOR TAX SEASON) Based on the landmark new tax law, you can plan your tax strategies now—or pay the price later By David Tobenkin

Late last year, Congress enacted landmark federal tax legislation that could bring significant tax benefits to many real estate agents and brokers, but only if they take action to understand and react to the new law. RRC tax experts say that diving deep into the new law and addressing issues head on could help agents and brokers save big dollars on their personal taxes, better prepare them to respond to basic client questions about the law and its implications, and increase their ability to understand key new financial dynamics that will help drive transactions in their local real estate markets. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, with most provisions taking effect on Jan. 1, 2018. There

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are a few blockbuster changes wrought by the legislation and a number of additional significant ones, notes Fayetteville, Arkansas-based REALTOR® Dale Carlton, CRS, JD, a former RRC president and co-author of the new RRC course, Tax Strategies for the Real Estate Professional. Carlton says that agents and brokers need to act now to ensure they qualify for maximum benefits under the law. “Tears will be shed by agents and brokers who didn’t quickly respond and do the right thing now and instead waited until they filed their taxes next year to worry about it,” Carlton says. “They may, for instance, have characterized income received in the current tax year in a way that will reduce the deductions they can claim next year.”


Illustration: Library of Congress

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mind your business

[feature]

THERE ARE LOWER TAX BRACKETS

Most individuals should see their taxes decrease from 2017 to 2018 under the TCJA, Carlton says. That in part reflects the law’s reduction of tax rates for many tax brackets, as can be seen in the following chart below.

LOWER TAX RATES FOR 2019 Previous rate

New TCJA rate

Change

10 percent

10 percent

No change

15 percent

12 percent

-3 percent

25 percent

22 percent

-3 percent

28 percent

24 percent

-4 percent

33 percent

32 percent

-1 percent

35 percent

35 percent

No change

39.6 percent

37 percent

-2.6 percent

The TCJA also increased income cutoffs that determine when someone falls into the nexthigher tax bracket, which will increase the amount of income taxed at lower-rate brackets, Carlton says. Someone with taxable income of $150,000, for example, would be taxed in the 24 percent bracket under the TCJA in 2018 instead of the 28 percent bracket that was in effect in 2017. However, the TCJA is a complex law and it is possible that its elimination of some previously available exemptions, as discussed below, could result in some individuals’ taxes going up, says Evan Liddiard, CPA, senior policy representative for federal taxation, at the National Association of REALTORS®.

“Tears will be shed by agents and brokers who didn't quickly respond and do the right thing now and instead waited until  they filed their taxes next year  to worry about it.” —Dale Carlton, CRS, JD, former RRC president and co-author of the new RRC course, Tax Strategies for the Real Estate Professional

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AND A GIFT FOR REALTORS

®

(A NOVEL DEDUCTION FOR MAKING MONEY)

Beyond those tax bracket and rate changes, probably the most significant TCJA change for agents and brokers is the addition of a new deduction for sole proprietors and owners of pass-through businesses such as S corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs)—the Qualified Business Income Deduction (QBID). Using the QBID, these business owners may be eligible to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income if their taxable income is under $157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for married couples filing a joint return. And if taxable incomes are above those threshold amounts of $157,500 and $315,000, then the 20% QBID deduction is still available, but there is a wage and asset limitation that comes into


mind your business

play. The limitation is the greater of 50 percent of wages paid or 25 percent of wages paid plus 2.5 percent of the unadjusted cost basis of certain qualified assets. These rules complicate the deduction calculation; however, the net result is that taxpayers with taxable incomes above the $157,500 and $315,000 income thresholds can still claim the QBID deduction. The QBID is a radical departure from existing IRS deductions. Many agents and brokers may fail to claim this deduction because it is counterintuitive—deductions are almost always taken based upon expenditures rather than based on net earnings, as is the QBID— and because agents and brokers were nearly excluded from the QBID deduction in early drafts of the legislation, says Chris Bird, EA, CFP, an Urbana, Illinois-based former IRS senior agent who trains accountants and real estate professionals on tax compliance. Bird is co-authoring and presenting the RRC tax course with Carlton. This has allowed Bird, an RRC Certified Instructor, to assume the happy role of Santa Claus in his seminars: “Brokers and agents find out to their surprise that they qualify for the QBID in the first 15 minutes of the class and they get very excited,” Bird says.

“BROKERS AND AGENTS FIND OUT TO THEIR SURPRISE THAT THEY QUALIFY FOR THE QBID IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES OF THE CLASS, AND THEY GET VERY EXCITED.” — Chris Bird, EA, CFP and former IRS senior agent, aka Santa Claus

[feature]

BUT ... YOU WILL

NEED MORE CAREFUL ACCOUNTING AND RECORD KEEPING To take advantage of the QBID, real estate agents need to make sure they account for income that qualifies for the deduction as it comes in and then report it properly in their 2018 tax returns, Bird says. It is easy for agents and brokers to overlook income that may be deductible under the QBID. For example, real estate agents often have a great deal of capital involved in the ownership of rental properties that can increase their QBID. It is Bird’s opinion that REALTORS® who own rental properties, and the more the better, will qualify to take the 20 percent QBID deduction on their Schedule E Form 1040 net rental profits, and will be able to use the original depreciable cost of the property in computing the deduction. The challenges of negotiating the QBID alone, even aside from other TCJA provisions, may require even tax-savvy real estate professionals who have prepared their own taxes in the past to retain an accountant, which may mark a major change in the tax strategies of many brokers and agents. This is particularly the case given the IRS has yet to provide taxpayers with a document to help explain how they can best interpret and respond to the complex provisions of the law, Bird says. The complexities of the law will also increase the importance of good tax record keeping as accountants will require that information to render good advice. “Salespeople are notoriously poor record-keepers, which is why we are frequently audited,” Carlton says.

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[feature]

mind your business

HOW TO DISCUSS (OR NOT) THE TCJA WITH CLIENTS Agents and brokers will need to walk a fine line in discussing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) with clients, says Dale Carlton, CRS, JD, former RRC president and co-author of the new RRC course, Tax Strategies for the Real Estate Professional. Generally, agents and brokers should be conversant enough on the tax law to alert buyers and sellers about potential issues to consider, but they should not try to counsel them on compliance with, or application of, the law itself, a task best left for accountants. “You might want to say, ‘I am aware of a tax law consideration that might affect the advisability of this transaction that you may wish to discuss with a tax professional,’” Carlton says. Carlton says real estate professionals also may wish to start amassing articles on taxation subjects authored by reputable tax professionals, such as tax attorneys. The National Association of REALTORS®, for example, has issued a detailed primer on the law and its implications, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals. In addition to the state and local taxes and mortgage interest deduction implications, there are at least three other real estaterelated changes in the law that are worth mentioning to clients: 1. INTEREST AND PROPERTY DEDUCTIONS Generally, interest and real property tax deductions will be a less important incentive for home ownership, given that a significantly smaller number of buyers will choose to itemize versus take the standard deduction. Thus, agents and brokers should not tout the tax benefits of home ownership to current renters, Carlton says. 2. MOVING EXPENSES The TCJA removes the ability to deduct any moving expenses except by members of the Armed Forces. Also, this change will result in an employee who is reimbursed by his or her employer for moving expenses having to pay taxes on the reimbursement. In destination markets that rely on out-of-town buyers, this could negatively impact sales activities, Carlton says. 3. HOME EQUITY INTEREST The new law also repeals the deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through Dec. 31, 2025, though interest is still deductible on home equity loans (or second mortgages) if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence, according to a NAR analysis.

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OR, THE SMART

MOVE MAY BE TO JUST USE THE STANDARD DEDUCTION The new standard deduction increased from $6,350 in 2017 to $12,000 in 2018 for a single filer under the new tax law, and from $12,700 to $24,000 for filers who are married and filing jointly. The tax law changes will reduce the number of filed tax returns claiming itemized deductions from about 31 percent down to 10–12 percent, based on an NAR estimate. But whether it makes sense to itemize or use the standard deduction is another area that may require the assistance of an accountant. Generally, there are only four deductions that remain deductible on the Itemized Deduction Schedule and will thus determine whether a taxpayer will claim the standard deduction or choose to itemize, Bird says: ÄÄMedical expenses, if they exceed 7.5 percent of adjustable gross income. ÄÄState and local income taxes and real estate taxes on a principal residence and one second home (all three limited to $10,000 total). ÄÄMortgage interest deductions. ÄÄCharitable contributions. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued proposed regulations on Aug. 8, 2018, implementing a significant provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which allows owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income. Visit treasury.gov for more information.


mind your business

[feature]

THE BAD NEWS? CHANGES TO REAL ESTATE-RELATED DEDUCTIONS

MAY AFFECT SALES

Two of these four deductions are real-estate related. The mortgage interest deduction was reduced from $1 million of deductible mortgage debt down to $750,000, effective for mortgages issued Dec. 15, 2017, or later. In addition, under the TCJA, a maximum itemized deduction of $10,000 in state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes is allowed, compared to an unlimited amount in 2017, which will limit the deduction for agents and homeowners in states with high real property tax and state income tax. Not all states have state income tax, so it may have a lesser impact on taxpayers in states with no income taxes, which include Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, Carlton says.

Some of these states do have sales taxes that will continue to be deductible up to the $10,000 total state and local cap, Liddiard says. So is the TCJA likely to be good or bad news for sales activity? The answer is that it may depend. The impact of the TCJA upon sales may vary by market, with negative sales implications for pricier coastal regions and high-income areas, Carlton says. On the other hand, lower tax bills generally could help stimulate sales in many markets, particularly in lower-income markets. Other provisions that may affect sales activity and that agents and brokers may wish to discuss with clients are reviewed in the accompanying story located on the previous page, How to Discuss the TCJA with Clients.

Carlton and Bird’s seminar will be held just prior to the NAR annual meeting and convention in Boston on Oct. 31, 2018, Halloween day. “We promise it will not be scary,” Carlton says. There will be additional presentations of the course throughout the year.

BUT WAIT, THERE IS MORE: CHECK OUT THE CHANGE IN RULES FOR CARS AND ENTERTAINMENT Two more TCJA tax law changes are worth noting. First, the TCJA significantly limits the deductibility of entertainment expenses after 2017, which will make it important to determine what might be deductible as business promotion or advertising versus what might be regarded as entertainment. For example, when an agent hosts a reception for clients and

provides food, is it 50 percent deductible as a business meal or non-deductible as entertainment? There is a relative lack of clarity in the TCJA regarding the line between the two, which makes it another area where consulting an accountant would be advisable, Bird says. Second, a TCJA provision also significantly affects vehicle depreciation, another area of particular interest to agents and brokers. The TCJA significantly increases the first-year depreciation that may be claimed on passenger automobiles used in business to $10,000 for the year in which the vehicle is placed in service, $16,000 in the second year, $9,600 for the third year, and $5,760 for the fourth and later years in the recovery period, notes the NAR analysis. “This may influence those who once took mileage deductions or leased vehicles to instead take a depreciation of their vehicle,” Carlton says. David Tobenkin is a freelance journalist based in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

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resources for learning & leisure

GOOD READS

EPIC fails

Is screwing up the end of the line? Or a steppingstone to success? By Allan Fallow

Ø

Jessica Bacal, director of the Wurtele Center for Work and Life at Smith College, became intrigued by how we handle errors on the job when her boss sent her to a leadership seminar “where several high-level women extolled the virtues of mistakes without talking about their own.” MISTAKES I MADE It’s awkward and AT WORK: embarrassing to 25 INFLUENTIAL talk candidly about WOMEN REFLECT ON your blunders in WHAT THEY GOT OUT front of others. But OF GETTING IT WRONG over the years, Bacal Edited by writes in Mistakes I Made at Work, she Jessica Bacal had listened to one Plume, 252 pages, $16 too many women rhapsodize about the supposed value of learning from our lapses without ever detailing which ones they’d committed themselves.

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And so she set out to write a how-to-succeed-in-business book with a difference—interviewing prominent women not about their workplace wins but their cubicle catastrophes. Bacal sought stories illustrating “what the research on leadership clearly showed but that many people just starting their careers often didn’t understand: that making mistakes is part of growing at work.” Having once taught elementary school in New York City, Bacal must have felt like a sixth-grade teacher as she read the 25 case studies collected here: Some of you apparently did not read the assignment! But a handful of her contributors stayed on task long enough to deliver some valuable lessons learned:

1

Don’t discount the value of face-to-face contact. Laurel Touby, who would later found networking site Mediabistro. com, was perfectly happy as an

editor at Working Woman magazine in the early 1990s when she made the mistake of mishandling a new boss. Recovering from knee surgery at home, she pointedly ignored a voicemail because she knew the caller—the newly installed editor in chief—intended to fire her over the phone. Instead, Touby hobbled into the office on crutches, pretending she never got the message. There, facing her “pain and fear,” Touby met with the woman in person and negotiated a deal to continue writing for the magazine as a freelancer. “Then I was on the streets,” she concludes, “but at least I had a contract.”

2

Be proud of your booboos. Corinna Lathan, the CEO of robotics firm AnthroTronix, knows a thing or two about bouncing back from failure. After flunking out of engineering her freshman year at Swarthmore, Lathan earned a


master’s degree in aeronautics and Lutz had a highly visible failure in a Ph.D. in neuroscience from MIT. 2001, when the Hollywood Reporter Later on, making the transition panned the dialogue she had writfrom academia to entrepreneurship, ten for the crime-caper movie Plan she discovered that people launchB as “tortuously unfunny.” ing startups “wear their mistakes “I knew that my career as a like badges of honor; you’ll hear screenwriter was over,” Lutz them say things like, ‘I had three reflects. Yet that realization failed companies before I had my brought “a creeping sense of relief.” success,’ or ‘Venture capital doesn’t After writing her first novel as a want to fund a new entrepreneur, last resort—it became a New York because he or she hasn’t made Times bestseller—Lutz saw how some mistakes.’ We all understand “great things can come from misthat mistakes are part of the protakes and failures.” cess of innovation.” Diamonds are forever; Don’t go it alone. Ileana mistakes are not. MorJiménez found that out the gan Stanley vice chairman hard way when she tried to and managing director Carla introduce edgier reading material Harris was a neophyte investment into the English class she was banker when she committed the teaching at a private girls’ school error of not asking a key quesoutside Washington, D.C. Called on tion. She had fought hard for the the carpet by the department chair opportunity to “price a transacfor her allegedly “arrogant” and tion”—in this case, for a company “self-righteous” conduct, Jiménez seeking to raise equity capital— was initially too stunned to react. but was too embarrassed to grill Later she realized she probably colleagues about the meaning should have partnered with a vetof the phrase “going naked.” (It eran teacher at the school to make means doubling the amount of her message more palatable. shares earmarked for buyback in The distasteful episode taught an IPO.) the young instructor that “you have “I didn’t really understand this,” to find your allies … people who Harris bravely confesses, “and I are like-minded and share your didn’t want to expose myself as values are always there, but it takes not knowing something. … It was time to find them.” a costly mistake and my firm lost money.” She recovered by Sometimes failure is publicly owning up to her goof— a signpost. If you’ve and privately asking a “difficult read any of Lisa Lutz’s personality” in her office to stop lighthearted family-mystery pointing out her costly blooper novels—The Spellman Files, Curse to colleagues. of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Sure, it was mortifying, but Spellmans, and so on—you might the incident taught Harris the be surprised to learn that she was best thing about missteps of any raised by “a stepdad who was a variety: “Rarely is a mistake fatal. hard-ass, the type of person who There’s a recovery strategy for was actively cruel to people who every single one.” made mistakes.” Watching the way the man interacted with others, Allan Fallow is a book doctor and mistake Lutz resolved to behave the oppocorrector in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow him site way when she grew up. on Twitter @thefallow.

3

YO U M I G H T A L S O L I K E …

OFF THE CLOCK by Laura Vanderkam [Portfolio] 256 pages $ 18.77/hardcover Off the Clock helps readers recognize how much time they have outside of work—and how to use it to feel happier and more fulfilled.

5

THE MEANING REVOLUTION by Fred Kofman [Currency] 368 pages $ 18.30/hardcover Economist Kofman says serving a larger purpose is a bigger motivator than self-interest.

DREAM TEAMS by Shane Snow [Portfolio] 304 pages $ 18.77/hardcover Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, business and history, Snow shows what it takes to make great teams so effective.

4

THE TRUTH MACHINE by Michael J. Casey and Paul Vigna [St. Martin’s Press] 320 pages $ 20.36/hardcover The authors demystify blockchain by showing how it can be used to gain back control of data and disrupt many industries.

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UNUSUAL UTENSIL S

kitchen ODDITIES

resources for learning & leisure

Cooking and creativity go hand-in-hand, so it’s no wonder there are a wealth of kitchen and meal-prepping tools that make this everyday activity more fun. Whether you’re making a meal for one or grilling for your neighborhood’s block party, here are some gadgets that are not only strange—but also strangely useful.

Bear Paws

Bear Paws can lift and shred meat in a safer and more effective way than using a knife and fork. They are designed to fit comfortably in your hands, and the sharp meat-shredding “claws” are spaced strategically so meat won’t get stuck in the gaps. Bear Paws also come in a variety of colors. $ 12.95 bearpawproducts.com

Red Oven Pull Monster

The Oven Pull Monster helps prevent burns or accidents while baking or cooking. You can use it to grab the edge of a pan or dish inside the oven to move it closer to you, so you can ensure a firm grip with your oven mitts, as well as adjust oven racks or arrange items on a grill. The Oven Pull Monster is made from silicone, heat resistant up to 500 degrees and dishwasher safe. $ 2.99 containerstore.com

Grillbot

The Grillbot is an automatic grill-cleaning robot—just push a button and watch it go! Grillbot utilizes replaceable wire brushes that can be removed and placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, as well as a rechargeable battery. You can also set a timer for cleaning, and Grillbot will let you know when it’s done or overheated. It can be used on cold or hot grills and comes in four colors. $ 79.95 grillbots.com

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Collapsible Tea Kettle

A collapsible tea kettle offers a convenient and space-saving storage option for those who still like to boil water the old-fashioned way. This kettle features a stainless steel base and silicone top that expands and collapses as needed. It boils 40 ounces of water, or about five cups, and is suitable for use on gas and electric stoves. The silicone top comes in a variety of colors, and the kettle as a whole is dishwasher safe. $ 29.99 bedbathandbeyond.com

OXO® 3-in-1 Avocado Tool

This avocado tool is designed to help you peel, slice and pit avocados all in one device. The serrated plastic blade easily slices the avocado’s skin, the circular pitter scoops out the pit and plastic blades create clean, uniform slices. $ 9.99 crateandbarrel.com

Silicone Lid Lifters

These lid lifters securely fit the rims of most pots in order to keep lids slightly raised, which increases air circulation and prevents boil overs. They are heat resistant up to 600 degrees and dishwasher safe. You can find them in three fun shapes: sheep, smiley faces and farm animals. $ 6.99 for a set of three. tovolo.com

Mini Mushroom Table Vacuum

This mushroom-shaped vacuum helps sweep up dust, crumbs and debris from your table, countertops or seat cushions after a meal. It’s made from plastic and requires two AA batteries. $ 12.99 worldmarket.com


inside

RRC

Caesars Palace will be the site of Sell-a-bration 2019.

news from the council

viva LAS VEGAS Sell-a-bration 2019 offers insights from industry leaders

The brightest stars in residential real estate will head to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Feb. 1–2, 2019, for two days of unparalleled networking opportunities, business-building strategies and the chance to hear insights from the top-producing agents and industry leaders. Sell-a-bration 2019 will feature two amazing keynote speakers: Steve Sims, founder of Bluefish, and Crystal Washington, renowned social media marketing strategist. Six tracks of breakout sessions

Sell-a-bration keynote speakers Steve Sims (l), founder of Bluefish, and Crystal Washington (r), social media strategist.

include business strategy/planning, digital marketing, teams, niche markets, leads and specialized sessions. The following two RRC

pre-conference courses will also be offered on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the day before the event: ÄÄDigital Marketing: Social Media ÄÄSystems for REALTOR® Success Sell-a-bration is the only event in the industry that is specifically for CRS Designees and RRC Members, as well as anyone interested in world-class real estate education. This annual event attracts thousands of top-producing REALTORS®. Register To register, visit today—you don’t want CRS.com/ SAB2019. to miss it!

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inside

RRC news from the council

In September 2017, the New Jersey/Delaware RRC held a Member Appreciation Beach Party in celebration of CRS Week.

RRC Idaho held a reception with the Women’s Council of REALTORS® in conjunction with the Montana and Idaho Joint Convention and included a raffle.

AN UNBEATABLE week

Celebrating the distinction of the CRS Designation

Ø

Distinguish yourself as a top REALTOR® and learn from some of the best agents in the industry—participate in CRS Week 2018! This event is sponsored by Pillar To Post and will be held throughout the week of Sept. 24–28. The Council will release a full-suite of complimentary benefits, including five free webinars, a free downloadable guide and discounts on education and membership. Current CRSs will also have access to members-only

tools. Education and networking events corresponding to CRS Week will also be held locally across the country. CRS Week is designed to increase national awareness of the CRS Designation and provide real estate agents with a sample of the Council’s education and benefits. It is also a time to celebrate the advantages of being a CRS Designee and RRC member. Thousands have taken part in Visit CRS.com/ past CRS Week events and we attend/crsweek for more encourage you to join in on this information. outstanding opportunity.

Leigh Brown, CRS, is the host of Sound Bites.

WATCH AND LEARN

Sound Bites is the Council’s new video subscription service that features relevant interviews with key subject matter experts. These short, practical videos are being released throughout the year. Each one offers industry insights, tips and ideas in 10 minutes or less— ideal for busy REALTORS® on the go. Hosted by Leigh Brown, CRS, Sound Bites is produced to help REALTORS® excel in their profession. There are currently more than 50 videos on various topics available for viewing. You can register for Sound Bites videos in the CRS Education Catalog or by visiting CRS.com/learn.

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The RRC’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held in Boston.

BUSINESS MATTERS

Join us in Boston, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, 2018, for the Council’s Annual Meetings, held in conjunction with the National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo. The Council will install its new board and celebrate a year of continued success at the Inaugural event. Network, learn, take part in the business meetings and attend the Member Update. For more information, visit CRS.com/attend/annual-meetings.

RRC is promoting agents who hold the CRS Designation with three new online advertisements.

SIMPLY the best CRS Designation promoted in new online ad campaign

Ø

RRC launched a new advertising campaign in July promoting the power, prestige and expertise of Certified Residential Specialists. The CRS Designation was featured in three distinct advertisements on both the Zillow Group (which includes Zillow and Trulia) and Realtor.com websites. The focus of the campaign was to increase awareness of agents with the CRS Designation and to explain why they are the best, most qualified choice to guide consumers through a successful transaction. The Council is evaluating the effects of this pilot program to determine the best way to expand it during the remainder of the year and into 2019.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Our ‘Find a CRS’ partner company, Agentdesks, is now known as Radius! The name change better reflects what they stand for—a top-notch networking and referral platform. Make sure to visit find.crs.com or use the ‘Radius Agent’ app on mobile to keep your profile updated and to find the best CRS Designee for your out-of-area client needs. Other features of Radius include a free mobile CRM and CRS-specific local networking groups.

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learn

from the

BEST strategies from the industry’s top educators

What does your brand say about you?

RRC INSTRUCTOR

WHAT’S YOUR By Kim Cameron

Ø

Are you relevant in today’s market? We often hear talk of being relevant, and staying current and top of mind in the eyes of the consumer. Today’s REALTOR® wears more hats and is expected to be more responsive and in more places than ever. The level of expertise and service that is needed to stay relevant is paramount. Does your brand reflect who you are and how you serve your clients? So, what’s in a brand? How do others see you and what does your brand say about you? When did you last update your headshot, revise your bio or Google yourself to see how others see you? Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said this about brands: “Your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room.” When you take the time to evaluate your brand and how others see you, you’ll find a consistency in your image and an increase in your business. All you need is a plan and the direction to get started.

Identify your mission statement and your core values

This begins with identifying the service you offer and the target audience you want to attract and retain. How does your brand make others feel? When someone encounters your brand, do they know you instantly? One CRS Designee, Sandra Nickel, has built her business as “The Hat Lady.” That’s her unmistakable brand and one that is instantly recognizable to the consumer and REALTORS® alike. Your mission statement tells the consumer who you are, what you do and how you’re going to do it. It’s that simple! It should be short and resonate with your target audience. For example, the Council’s mission is “to train and empower ethical, efficient and successful real estate professionals.” Your core values are the fundamental beliefs and the guiding principles that dictate your behavior. They help you determine if you’re on the right path to fulfilling your goals by creating an unwavering guide for your business.

BRAND YOURSELF WITH THIS CHECKLIST Kim Cameron is one of the newest RRC Certified Instructors as well as a selling broker with a successful team in St. Louis. She has been licensed since 2003 and has a passion for educating her clients and REALTORS®. You can find her at kimcameron.com.

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Headshot—Keep your headshot current, fresh and looking like you. Biography—Your personal brochure, listing presentation and online footprint need to be updated annually, so pick a time each year to keep this information current. Awards received,

The Residential Specialist trsmag.com

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clients served and so much more can happen in a year. Digital Footprint—Review your online presence for consistency in how you are viewed across social media platforms and your website(s). Sphere—Define and organize your

database. Leverage your sphere of influence to build your business by nurturing relationships with those who you already know and trust. Plan—How will you stay in touch on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis? Start with the key relationships you have in your

business and build from there. Be certain the message you share with your sphere is relevant and reflects the brand you want remembered. No matter how many years you have been in the business, a plan with a system to follow is the not-so-secret path to longevity as a REALTOR®.


RRC

connect

YOUR RRC

network

CANADA

expand your network

Ø

I met my friend Mary at college in Eugene, Oregon, in 1973. She now lives in Redmond, Washington, and I live in Bend, Oregon. A few years ago, while Mary was playing Bunco, one of the ladies there mentioned she was moving to Bend and Mary told her to contact me. Not only did I sell her a home in Bend, but I listed and sold a home she owned in Sunriver! CONNECTION PERFECTION

—Ellen Clough, CRS, John L. Scott Bend, Bend, Oregon

Ø

I referred a listing to Ira Serkes, CRS, in Berkeley, California, and years later the client listed their house with him. He honored the referral and I received a surprise telephone call from him and a very nice referral fee. —John Daly, CRS, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots, Grass Valley, California

NORTHEAST

NORTHEAST

Serving Central Connecticut

MID-ATLANTIC

Your referral source

Top 3% Nationally

for the greater

Pittsburgh

Top Producing Realtor for Over 30 Years

area

Felix DuVerger ABR, CRS, GRI

I help clients make the Wright move

2790 Main Street Glastonbury CT 06033

Facebook “f ” Logo

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@felixduvergerrealtor

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MikeMyCoach.com MikeMyCoach.com

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20 18

The Residential Real Estate Council

crs.com

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Choose Choose from from more more than than 11 11 CRS CRS and and Ninja Ninja classes! classes!

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RE/MAX Realty Brokers 5608 Wilkins Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15217 OFS: 412-521-1000 x170 CELL: 412-508-0040 nancywright@remax.net

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Nancy Wright, ABR, CRS, GRI

41

Sep Oct


RRC connect

RRC expand your network

CLASSROOM COURSES

RRC classroom courses earn either eight credits (for one-day courses) or 16 credits (for two-day courses) toward the CRS Designation. At press time, the RRC courses listed below were scheduled for 2018. For more up-to-date listings, visit CRS.com/education-catalog. To attend a class, please go to CRS.com/events-calendar, locate the date of the course you would like to attend and follow the registration prompts.

Top of Mind Techniques to Boost Your Brand September 18—Eugene, Oregon [Oregon RRC] Instructor: Kim Cameron, CRS

Zero to 60 Home Sales a Year (and Beyond) September 20—National Harbor, Maryland [Maryland REALTORS®] Instructor: Frank Serio, CRS

Turning New Homes into Ongoing Revenue September 18—Houston, Texas [Texas RRC] Instructor: Mike Selvaggio, CRS

Power Up on Smart Home Technologies September 21—Albuquerque, New Mexico [New Mexico RRC] Instructor: Matthew Rathbun, CRS

Win-Win Negotiation Techniques September 19—Houston, Texas [Texas RRC] Instructor: Mike Selvaggio, CRS

Zero to 60 Home Sales a Year (and Beyond) September 24—Clearwater, Florida [Pinellas REALTOR® Organization & Florida RRC] Instructor: Lee Barrett, CRS

SOUTH

PACIFIC

Zero to 60 Home Sales a Year (and Beyond) September 24—Louisville, Kentucky [Kentucky REALTORS® Institute] Instructor: Dale Carlton, CRS

PACIFIC

HAWAII

Luxury waterfront specialist serving Longboat Key & Sarasota, FL for 35 years

Succeeding in the Luxury Home Market September 24—Naples, Florida [Naples Area Board of REALTORS® & Florida RRC] Instructor: Jack Cotton, CRS

MAUI Real Estate

www.JoanneFoxxe.com

808-385-2918

...sharing Aloha through excellence and experience...

Nancy D. Metcalf, CRS REALTOR®, Vice President

Luxury Property Specialist RB-16599

941.356.0437

Hawaii CRS of Year, 2003

DebraPitell-Hauge@michaelsaunders.com SarasotaHomes4Sale.com

Direct: (808) 223-9246 nmetcalf@cbpacific.com www.nancymetcalf.com

440 Gulf of Mexico Dr | Longboat Key, FL 34228 941.383.7591 | michaelsaunders.com

WEST

Celebrating 25 years assisting clients!

WEST

A trusted name on the Monterey Peninsula for nearly 50 years!

Joan M. Pratt

Terry McGowan CRS, GRI, ABR, SRS, e-Pro, SRES Cal DRE# 01126129

MS, CRS, CLHMS, CDPE, CARI

DenverMetroReferrals.com

Sotheby’s International Realty 831-236-7251 terry.mcgowan@sothebyshomes.com www.terrymcgowan.com

Sep Oct

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The Residential Specialist trsmag.com

720-506-3001 RE/MAX Professionals

“Elevate Your Expectations” «  «  «  «  « Voted Five Star Agent for Overall Satisfaction for 6 Straight Years!

Specializing in helping You reach Your Real Estate goals since 1991!

20 18

Joanne Foxxe CRS, GRI, SRES e-pro Maui CRS director

WEST COLORADO

CALIFORNIA’S MONTEREY PENINSULA

jofoxxe@gmail.com


Business Planning and Marketing for the Residential Specialist September 24 & 25—Savannah, Georgia [Savannah Area REALTORS®] Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS Top of Mind Techniques to Boost Your Brand September 25—Williamsburg, Michigan [Michigan RRC] Instructor: Kim Cameron, CRS

Reach more than

30,000

Buying and Selling Income Properties September 25 & 26—Brentwood, Tennessee [Williamson County Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Chris Bird, CRS

WEST

WEST

Selling Lake Tahoe Since 1989 e’s

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Over $800 million in Tahoe Sales

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Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist September 26 & 27—Johnston, Iowa [Mid-America School of Real Estate] Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS

Contact Joe Stella: jstella@glcdelivers.com or 847-205-3127

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Mastering Your Time to Achieve Your Goals September 26—Tulsa, Oklahoma [Greater Tulsa Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Mike Selvaggio, CRS

CRS peers with your ad here.

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Transforming Difficult Situations into Profitable Deals September 27—Tulsa, Oklahoma [Greater Tulsa Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Mike Selvaggio, CRS Continued on page 44 }

WEST

WEST

WEST

COLORADO SPRINGS Joe Clement CRB, CRS, ABR, QSC, CLHMS

BEN & CAROLE HEINRICH Local real estate experts in Carmel, Carmel Valley, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Monterey & Pacific Grove for over 30 years.

(Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist)

www.TheClementGroup.com joe.clement@wesellmore.net

719-499-5000

Carole, CRS, CFP® Ben, CRS & CRB RSPS & SRES CRS NorCal chapter past president

www.TheHeinrichTeam.com 831.626.2434 Team@TheHeinrichTeam.com

Joey Clement CRS, ABR, CDPE

www.HomesInSD.com joey@homesinsd.com

858-922-4546

SAN DIEGO 20 18

The Residential Real Estate Council

crs.com

43

Sep Oct


CRS

connect

CRS CLASSROOM COURSES

expand your network

Succession Planning: Building, Valuing, and Selling Your Business September 27—Brentwood, Tennessee [Williamson County Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Mark Given, CRS

7 Things Successful Agents Do Differently October 9—Dubuque, Iowa [Iowa RRC & East Central Iowa Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Mike Selvaggio, CRS

Succeeding in the Luxury Home Market September 27—Miami, Florida [Miami REALTORS®] Instructor: Lee Barrett, CRS

Buying and Selling Income Properties October 11 & 12—Spokane, Washington [Washington RRC & Spokane Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Dale Carlton, CRS

Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist September 27 & 28—New Orleans, Louisiana [Louisiana RRC] Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS Succeeding in the Luxury Home Market September 28—Sunrise, Florida [Miami REALTORS®] Instructor: Lee Barrett, CRS Effective Buyer Sales Strategies October 1 & 2—Madison, Wisconsin [Wisconsin REALTORS® Association] Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist October 2 & 3—Homer, Alaska [Kachemak Board of REALTORS®] Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS Converting Leads into Closings October 4—Nashville, Tennessee [Greater Nashville REALTORS®] Instructor: Monica Neubauer, CRS Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist October 4 & 5—Anchorage, Alaska [Alaska RRC] Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS

Sep Oct

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The Residential Specialist trsmag.com

Transforming Difficult Situations into Profitable Deals October 15—Grand Junction, Colorado [Grand Junction Area REALTOR® Association] Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS Buying and Selling Income Properties October 15 & 16—Tinton Falls, New Jersey [Monmouth Ocean Regional REALTORS® & New Jersey RRC] Instructor: Chris Bird, CRS Converting Leads into Closings October 16—Kalispell, Montana [Northwest Montana Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Monica Neubauer, CRS Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist October 16 & 17—North Mankato, Minnesota [Minnesota RRC] Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS Transforming Difficult Situations into Profitable Deals October 18—North Mankato, Minnesota [Minnesota RRC] Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS Elective Courses Elective courses vary in length and credits earned toward the CRS Designation. Please visit the RRC website for details at crs.com.

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PERSONALIZE, REPRODUCE AND MAIL THIS NEWSLETTER TO YOUR CLIENTS

EDIT

Leave YOUR HOME as is, or personalize the newsletter by adding your photo, logo, address and phone number to the mailing panel.* You can also substitute any article in the newsletter with one of your own. Edit the newsletter e­ lectronically by downloading the Microsoft Word version at crs.com/ yourhomenewsletter. PLEASE NOTE: The images featured in the YOUR HOME newsletter may only be used within the PDF version of the newsletter. These images may not be reproduced or republished elsewhere outside of this newsletter format. RRC members are free to re-use the text of the articles contained in the newsletter, however.

REPRODUCE

Do it yourself with your office copier, or take the newsletter or electronic file (in addition to your photograph and any information you want inserted) to a printer who can prepare and reproduce the newsletter for you.

DISTRIBUTE

MAIL. If you photocopy YOUR HOME or use it “as is,” please note that it is designed to be folded in a trifold with the mailing panel facing outward. Postal regulations require that trifolds have two closures (tabs or tape) on top. For your convenience, we have placed asterisks (*) where the closures should be. Be sure to check with your local mailer or post office to make sure you have prepared your mailings properly. ELECTRONIC FILE. Attach the customized newsletter file to an email to your clients or create a web link to the file on your website. Consult your webmaster or technician to make sure the file is prepared correctly for these purposes, since these basic instructions will vary by person and system. * This newsletter is for the exclusive use of RRC members.


your *

home S E P/ O C T 2 018

Tips and tre nd s for homeow ners, buyers and sellers

THE bigger PICTURE 

While the price of a home might seem to be in your budget at face value, forgotten costs of the buying and moving process could potentially put you over budget in the long run. Here are six costs that are often overlooked, courtesy of Redfin: Improvements. Even if the home you buy isn’t a fixer-upper, there may be things you want to change or add to make it your own, such as new flooring, paint or countertops, which can add up to be a large expense. Moving. Moving costs money, and the price goes up the more stuff you have and the farther you’re moving. Furnishings. You may want to buy furnishings for your new home, since the furniture and accessories you own now may not be enough or fit in with a new aesthetic. Maintenance. This is an expense that catches renters especially off guard, because maintenance is usually taken care of by the building owners. You can expect to repair or replace a

variety of things during the life of a home, so be sure to include maintenance costs in your budget. Utilities. While you may already be paying for utilities at your current residence, the costs could be higher in your new home depending on the size and area. There are also some utilities that are included in rent that homeowners have to pay for, like garbage collection. Time. You will meet with several people to sign documents, set up utilities and prepare your move—time you might take off from work. This is fine if you’re able to use vacation days, but if not, you may need to take unpaid leave.

TURN IT DOWN

If there’s one thing you can count on when you own a home, it’s the arrival of the energy bill each month. One homeowner’s energy costs will be higher or lower than the next, but there are easy ways to save a little money each month. Use the dishwasher. Dishwashers, especially Energy Star appliances, are more efficient than washing dishes by hand. It’s also important to load your dishwasher as effectively as possible, so check your manual for the best way. If you don’t own a dishwasher, save water by turning the tap on only when you need to rinse. Unplug idle electronics. Electronics and appliances still use standby energy even when not in use. Since unplugging every cord in your home is not feasible, consider using power strips with multiple plugs that you can turn off and on with the flip of a switch. Circulate air with fans. Even with central air conditioning, it can be tricky to keep every room at a steady temperature on hot days. Position standing fans to circulate air throughout your home, rather than lowering the AC thermostat temperature. If you have ceiling fans, make sure they’re circulating in the correct direction: counter-clockwise during the summer—so air is being pushed down—and clockwise in the winter. Measure laundry loads. Washing clothes in cold water instead of warm saves energy. And make sure there’s enough space inside the dryer for hot air to circulate, or you could end up running two cycles.

BROUGH T T O Y OU B Y Y OUR A GEN T, A CERT IFIED RE SIDEN T I A L SPECI A L IS T


IL

*

*

EFER R

A

LS!

ER OV

EQUAL HOUSING

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT BUYING OR SELLING A HOME? PLEASE MENTION MY NAME. This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice. If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.

OPPORTUNITY

Tips and trends for homeowners, buyers and sellers

THE pre-listing LIST

Completing some quick and easy tasks before listing a home for sale can help reduce stress and save time during the home-selling process.

1

Clean the House An important part of selling a home is keeping it clean in anticipation of a showing. Cleaning the home will convey that it’s been well cared for and that the house is less susceptible to any issues caused by neglect.

2

Finish the Honey-Do List Some areas of the home, although not typically thought of as areas that would affect a home’s appeal, may be displayed as safety concerns on a home inspection report. Help yourself by replacing burnt-out light bulbs, testing smoke detectors, replacing air filters and unclogging drains.

3

Check All Outlets A sampling of electrical outlets will be tested as part of the home inspection to make sure they’re in good working order. Take note of which outlets are not functioning and replace them, or consider hiring an electrician to make sure all outlets and the electrical box are updated and in proper working condition.

4

Clear Areas for Easy Access Home inspectors will be looking at the major systems of the home, including the foundation, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing and even the water heater. Making sure they can easily access these areas, including the basement and attic, will save time during the inspection process.

5

Consider a Pre-Listing Inspection Hiring experienced and professional home inspectors can save a lot of headaches during the selling process. They will thoroughly go through the home and notify you of any potential issues ahead of listing the property.

This article was provided by HomeTeam Inspection Service. For more information, go to hometeam.com.

SAY YES TO CRS

Buying or selling a home can seem like an overwhelming task. But the right REALTOR® can make the process easier—and more profitable. A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), with years of experience and success, will help you make smart decisions in a fast-paced, complex and competitive marketplace. To earn the CRS Designation, REALTORS® must demonstrate outstanding professional achievements—including high-volume sales—and pursue advanced training in areas such as finance, marketing and technology. They must also maintain membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and abide by its Code of Ethics. Work with a REALTOR® who belongs in the top 3 percent in the nation. Contact a CRS today.


OPEN FOR BUSINESS With more than 50 approved merchants like the ones below, the new Vendor Marketplace offers great deals on products and ser vices that can improve your business and personal life. Whether you are looking for a CRM system, a home inspector or closing gift, you will find something to you save time, enhance client relationships, and save money.

RRC help new help

Available exclusively for RRC members, explore product categories such as education, travel, marketing and more. Or search for a specific product or service by name like HotelStorm, which has arrangements with over 700,000 worldwide properties that can save you 10 - 55 percent over other travel sites. To find out more, visit CRS.com/VendorMarketplace


ask a

CRS advice from your peers

Q:

M E LT D O W N M A N A G E D

Inspection Report

Emotions can elevate when doing a home inspection. I tell clients it is like buying a used car. You can’t go back and ask for the seller to change the oil, rotate the tires and fix the rock chips in the windshield. However, if the inspection report shows the odometer has been rolled back, evidence of a previous wreck or rusted-out undercarriage, run! —Jim Paulson, Progressive Realty Corporation, Boise, Idaho

How do you help clients remain emotionally detached during the homebuying or selling process? Eyes on the Prize I start with listening and acknowledging their fears and concerns as important and valid. I also ask the buyer or seller what is most important, and I provide information and alternatives, so they feel comfortable making the decisions that are right for them. Keep the client focused and remind them why they are buying or selling—it’s the end goal that matters. The best advice is to also keep a sense of humor. During our initial meeting, I always tell people that no matter how rational and calm they normally are, at some

point during the homebuying or selling process everyone has a meltdown! It’s an emotional experience and it is completely normal. They are usually surprised and sometimes laugh when I say this. But when it happens, and it always does, it really helps that I can remind them that this is their meltdown time and they will get through it by staying focused with their “eyes on the prize.” And as agents and brokers, we also need to remember to keep our own emotions in check, stay calm and be the voice of reason. —Marilyn Messenger, Andrew Mitchell & Company, Concord, Massachusetts

Emotional Roller Coaster I help my clients understand the fact that homebuying or selling is a very emotional process and that my role is to be a detached advisor. I do not expect my clients to be emotionally detached in this process. But when emotions run high, I provide them with options and help them understand the result of walking away from a good deal. I ask them to think about their decision for 24 hours before communicating it to the other party. I also try to maintain a good collaborative relationship with the other agent so that they can provide similar guidance to their clients in case they are the one on the emotional roller coaster. I have found out that most of the time when people have had a chance to think about what is next, they acknowledge their emotions and are able to make the right logical decision. Being a good REALTOR® involves being an advisor, friend, agent and therapist to some extent! But I think that agents themselves must mature and become emotionally detached before they are able to guide their clients. —Nitin Gupta, Competitive Edge Realty, LLC, Plano, Texas Have a great story to share? Look for discussions happening online at our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Sep Oct

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This is home. It’s a place called comfort. It’s called home for a reason. It’s the place where your clients feel secure, happy, and at peace. We understand this. Through expertise and insight, our job is to help make the wonderful idea of home a beautiful reality. For every client, for every home.

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The Residential Specialist  

In this issue: Promotion through emotion; Cultivate your online brand; Get loose in a tight market; Are you ready for tax season; Distribute...

The Residential Specialist  

In this issue: Promotion through emotion; Cultivate your online brand; Get loose in a tight market; Are you ready for tax season; Distribute...

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