Page 1


nov + dec






5 trends raising ethical issues Grow your business with video Embrace business agility

Master your database Delegate to get ahead Help sellers set expectations


BEYOND CRSs exceed expectations to help their communities.


Wende Schoof, CRS, won our cover contest with her story about bringing joy to single moms. CRS-046

HOMETEAM INSPECTION SERVICE. ACCURACY THAT TURNS FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS INTO LIFELONG CLIENTS. What if you looked at the home inspection phase as an opportunity rather than a hurdle? What if you had a team of expert inspectors who understood what’s at stake? And what if the report they provided contained information that was not only accurate and thorough, but was written in a way that added value to your client relationship? This isn’t a what-if scenario. It’s simply a question of when you decide to make HomeTeam part of your team.

We’re more than inspectors. We’re relationship builders. 844-HomeTeam | FAST



Each office is independently owned and operated. ©2019 The HomeTeam Inspection Service, Inc. All rights reserved.

contents 18


Nov 20 Dec 19 vol. 18, no. 6


CRSs share inspiring stories of going beyond their traditional roles as REALTORS® to improve the quality of life in their communities.

ON THE COVER Wende Schoof, CRS, photographed for The Residential Specialist by Steve Anderson



5 trending practices that are raising eyebrows and ethical issues. By Matt Alderton




Designation Maintenance Article


Business agility helps you nimbly maneuver brewing and real-time market changes.

How REALTORS® can use video effectively and affordably.

By Donna Shryer

By Gwen Moran

20 19

The Residential Real Estate Council


Nov Dec


departments 5 VANTAGE POINT

Nov 20 Dec 19 vol. 18, no. 6

16 12

By Michael Burkhard, CRS


Industry Headlines, Business Technology, Ideas & Trends

Designation Maintenance Article

6  SMART SOLUTIONS: Get a Grip on Your Database

Contact management doesn’t have to be a nightmare.


By Megan Craig

10 INSIDE TRACK: The Handoff

Get help so you can get ahead.

By Myrna Traylor

12 WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: Getting Real About Listings

Savvy real estate agents can help sellers set realistic expectations about listing their homes.

By Regina Ludes

16 PEER TO PEER: Santino Filipelli, CRS

Modern Realty, Portland, Oregon


inside RRC



Join Sell-a-bration 2020, Feb. 13–16, in Orlando; credit union benefits; create a mentor-mentee connection; manage job searches with the new career center; and an improved Find a CRS tool.


White Elephant: A Novel by Julie Langsdorf Reviewed by Allan Fallow

40 LEARN FROM THE BEST Learn how to keep your brand top of mind with buyers and sellers.




Advice from the country’s top agents.



is your portal to news, education, referral and membership information. Read the magazine online at


Meet your designation credit today! Go to to take a quiz for any of the issues this year!


All the webinars and downloadable guides are online now! Go to

Take the long trail home. "Having a dedicated Quicken Loans Agent Relationship Manager has been wonderful. It allows me to do more with my day, knowing that I will be updated on every part of the transaction.”

Justin Cain REALTOR®

Your success is our focus. We’re committed to providing an elevated mortgage experience, giving you more time to explore new trails. Quicken Loans Inc.; NMLS #3030; Equal Housing Lender. Licensed in 50 states. AL License No. MC 20979, Control No. 100152352. AR, TX: 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226-1906, (888) 474-0404; AZ: 1 N. Central Ave., Ste. 2000, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Mortgage Banker License #BK-0902939; CA: Licensed by Dept. of Business Oversight, under the CA Residential Mortgage Lending Act and Finance Lenders Law; CO: Regulated by the Division of Real Estate; GA: Residential Mortgage Licensee #11704; IL: Residential Mortgage Licensee #4127 – Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation; KS: Licensed Mortgage Company MC.0025309; MA: Mortgage Lender License #ML 3030; ME: Supervised Lender License; MN: Not an offer for a rate lock agreement; MS: Licensed by the MS Dept. of Banking and Consumer Finance; NH: Licensed by the NH Banking Dept., #6743MB; NV: License #626; NJ: New Jersey – Quicken Loans Inc., 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226, (888) 474-0404, Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance.; NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker – NYS Banking Dept.; OH: MB 850076; OR: License #ML-1387; PA: Licensed by the Dept. of Banking – License #21430; RI: Licensed Lender; WA: Consumer Loan Company License CL-3030. Conditions may apply. Quicken Loans, 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226-1906 ©2000 – 2019 Quicken Loans Inc. All rights reserved. Lending services provided by Quicken Loans Inc., a subsidiary of Rock Holdings Inc. “Quicken Loans” is a registered service mark of Intuit Inc., used under license.


Coming Next Issue ...

Meet the new RRC president Richard Waystack, CRS, discusses his goals as president, his vision for the coming year and new ways to engage members.

EDITOR Kimberly Cure 800.462.8841 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Alderton Megan Craig Regina Ludes Gwen Moran Donna Shryer Myrna Traylor 2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Michael Burkhard, CRS President-Elect Richard Waystack, CRS First Vice President Alex Milshteyn, CRS Immediate Past President Gary Williams, CRS Members Kim Cameron, CRS Shawn Cunningham, CRS Maura Neill, CRS Dan Steward Jen Ward, CRS Chief Executive Officer Lana Vukovljak Staff Liaison Patricia Stodolny PUBLICATION MANAGEMENT Publishing Manager Phil Malkinson Art Directors Ivette Cortes Eliane Mangoubi

ADVERTISING MANAGER Chuck Gekas Director of Business Development 312.321.4443 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, 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. Nonmembers 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 2019 by the Residential Real Estate Council. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

Why be obsessed with the customer experience (CX)? Customers expect more of every company, which can be stressful for small business owners. Here’s how to optimize your CX without overtaxing your resources. Health and wellness-focused homes Wellness-forward homes are designed to include natural lighting, good air circulation, low-toxicity and energy-efficient materials, meditation zones and proximity to nature. Digital Marketing: Social Media Certification Gain expertise with social media resources and websites through this new RRC certification program.


Learn which trends are shaping real estate in 2020. How are recession fears affecting the housing market? When will more affordable housing materialize? Read about trends in senior housing, hot markets outside cities, new tech for the housing market and more. Would you like to be a source for a future story in The Residential Specialist? Send an email to

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Note: Members of the Residential Real Estate Council receive the magazine as part of their member benefits.

[vantage point]

from the desk of Michael Burkhard, CRS 2019 RRC President


forward 

CRS Designees and Council members: I want you to know that it has truly been an honor and privilege to be the president of this fine organization over the past year. Not only are all our members top-notch REALTORS®, but the staff and affiliates have been most spectacular to work with. When you find passionate people, and they put their minds together, awesome things begin to happen. I am very proud of all the work the Council accomplished, particularly all our member volunteers, who endlessly offer their perspective, support, ideas and elbow grease to get the important work of the Council done. You will see the fruit of their labors now and in years to come. I am particularly proud of the presidential advisory groups, and the results they were able to achieve in such a short time. It is all of you who are moving the organization forward and continuing to improve the way in which we provide vital information and world-class education to our members and the real estate community. Of course, there is always more work we can do. We must continue to add value for the members, continue to evolve Find a CRS, introduce new and relevant class subjects and anything else that the members may need to continue to be the best of the best agents in the world. The Council will continue to move forward with this ever-changing market and keep the members ahead of the rest of the real estate agents out there. If we, as an organization, follow our mission statement, we will stay out in front of what is happening to the industry. In the international market, we have just scraped the surface and the Council will continue to be present and help the international professionals become part of our team. This space has provided me with an opportunity to share my thoughts with you. So if I may, let me share one more: Don’t let the word “disruptor” run your business. The biggest disruptor we have in life is our brains worrying about what others are doing. In reality, we all know that putting our noses to the grindstone and working hard, ethically and professionally, will win in the long run. As you move forward with your business, ask yourself, “What more can we all do to provide more value to our customers?” The Council will continue to do the same.

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The Residential Real Estate Council


Nov Dec

[entry points]

Designation Maintenance Article


your database

Solutions streamlining your business through technology

Nov Dec


By Megan Craig

Almost all REALTORS® use some kind of database to manage their contacts, but for some, the word “database” is synonymous with “headache.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Pat Zaby, CRS, president of InTouch Systems in Dallas and Certified CRS Instructor, says the trick to using a database effectively is threefold: creation, maintenance and consistency. “You would think with all the technology updates, everybody’s database would be in good condition, but in reality, they’re in worse condition today than they were 20 years ago,” Zaby says. That’s because people have focused on the first step—creating a database—but haven’t continued to enter their contacts or consistently scrubbed the data. Here are three things every REALTOR® needs to know about their database:

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Make your database part of your ‘ritual’ for best results

Your database is only as good as its contents. No matter how much information you have, if it’s not organized, it’s not useful. “If we’re in an information age, the person with the most information wins. That’s it,” Zaby says. Fix your organizational issues by making entering data into your database “a part of your daily ritual,” Zaby says. He follows one cardinal rule: If you meet or talk to or connect with somebody, no matter who it is, their information goes straight into the database. And if you talk with somebody who’s already in the database, make a note of it—that’s the part many agents forget. It’s impossible to prioritize contacts if you don’t know who you’ve talked to recently or exactly what you talked about. metamorworks


Contact management doesn’t have to be a nightmare

“In the world of Google and Siri and Facebook, you can probably send a one-off message and get it to a person, but you can’t be consistent that way,” Zaby says. “You cannot take enough Ginkgo biloba to know what you’ve talked to everybody about if it’s not in your database.” Whatever database or CRM you use, there’s sure to be an app for your phone or tablet that enters information straight into the database. Be sure that’s right in front of you everywhere you go, and take the few seconds to update contacts as they happen.


If you hate using your database, there are workarounds

A well-organized database is great, but it’s not for everybody. “A database and contact management system are the ideal, but honestly, some of us get into those and want to pull our hair out,” says Monica Neubauer, CRS, a REALTOR® with Benchmark Realty in Franklin, Tennessee, and Certified CRS Instructor. “It’s all about proactive communication through systems, whether it’s a database or not.” Many agents, even those with great database systems, find themselves using technology as they need it, which may lead them away from their all-in-one CRMs. Agents will find the technology that works best for them, but Neubauer suggests a few tried-and-true options for those who just don’t like working in their database: ÄÄFor document signing and paperwork organization: Authentisign, DocuSign or Dotloop ÄÄFor digital document storage: Dropbox,, Google Drive or OneDrive ÄÄFor regular and proactive client communication through email: Gmail allows canned responses, which are templates you can use for repeated information. Set those up, and the worst part of creating that campaign is over. ÄÄFor other email campaigns: MailChimp is free up to 2,000 entries. ÄÄFor keeping dates straight: Folio (a Gmail calendar add-in that automatically puts all the dates for your contract-to-close period into your Google calendar) ÄÄTo get all your apps working together: Zapier or OneSaas continued on page 9 


Coming to Sell-a-bration 2020? If you take the pre-conference course “Technology and Plans for Success,” you’ll learn about databases and so much more. “With all the changes that happen in technology, this is a class that you can take over and over again,” says Pat Zaby, CRS, president of InTouch Systems in Dallas and a course instructor. Here are some other topics the class will cover: Keeping up with social media. Don’t just have it—use it to its full potential. “Everybody can use a refresher to update their usage habits,” says Monica Neubauer, CRS, a REALTOR® with Benchmark Realty in Franklin, Tennessee, and one of the course instructors. “Too many agents are ‘secret agents’ on Facebook. The days of trying to keep your information private are over.” Favorite apps. At least 10 apps every REALTOR® should have on their phone to make life easier. Zaby says he likes to ask the whole class to talk about their favorite apps. “You always find out about something great that most people haven’t used before,” he says. Email marketing. Fast, effective and almost free are the reasons approach this has become so popular. You’ll learn ways to increase your response rate and examples of what the best agents are using. What your website needs today. Websites must be simpler today than they used to be, making them easier to update and maintain, Zaby says. He’ll also discuss the benefits of using a blog as part of your site. Sign up for a pre-conference course today at

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The Residential Real Estate Council


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[entry points]


Slipped right under your bed sheets, the Beddit Sleep Monitor helps you better understand your sleep patterns— without having to attach any wires or gadgets to your body. This device helps track not only the hours that you sleep, but also your breathing, heart rate and whether or not you’re snoring. It plugs in via USB, so don’t worry about battery life. $

150 |

Can’t find time to exercise? Or is your home too small to house large fitness machines? Look no further—the Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider is a portable elliptical machine that fits anywhere. It’s small enough to put under your desk to burn some calories while working from home. When you’re done, you can store it in your coat closet to save space. With the Compact Strider, you won’t have an excuse to skip a workout again. 179.00 $

Nov Dec


The Residential Specialist

WAIT FOR IT … How much time transpires before a seller will reduce the price on a home that hasn’t sold? One-third of sellers would reduce the price after three months, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers by ShelterZoom, a blockchain-based real estate platform. Almost 20% said they would only wait one month, while 17% would hold off for five months before reducing the price. And 9% of respondents said they would take a full year before they would reconsider their price. Going a step further, about 12% said they would never lower the price of their home. The survey also revealed general frustration with the homebuying process, especially the amount of time it takes to get a mortgage. About 48% said they think it takes too long to get a mortgage approved, 36% say the contracts take too long to sign and 34% say too many people are involved. To further enhance the homebuying process, 48% said they’d like to ensure that their offer was presented to the seller and they would like the ability to track the offer at each stage.


How long will home sellers wait before lowering their initial list price?

12% 20% 33% 17 % 9% 9% never lower the price

1 month

3 months

5 months

12 months


Source: Survey of 1,000 consumers by ShelterZoom, a blockchain-based real estate platform.

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database 

continued from page 7

“If you commit to a database, that’s great, but some people just can’t or don’t,” Neubauer says. “If you find that the database keeps beating you down, there are other options.”


You need to have a backup, just in case

The beautiful thing about a database is that if you have it stored in a movable, simple place, you can use it anywhere, any time, says Rich

Sands, CRS, president of Rich Sands Seminars in Centennial, Colorado, and Certified CRS Instructor. But if you don’t have all the information in that database stored in an Excel spreadsheet somewhere, you may find yourself in a tough spot. “One management system doesn’t necessarily work well with others, so switching from one system to another may be difficult,” he says. “But because Excel works with close to everything, if I have my data in a spreadsheet, it’s a great fail-safe.” Sands stores a duplicate of his database, in spreadsheet form, on his computer and in the cloud. That way, if he ever needs to make a change to new software, he can simply import his contacts from that spreadsheet. Megan Craig is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, New York.

Designation Maintenance

Meet your Designation Maintenance requirement today! Read this article and How Agile Are You? on p. 30, take a 10-question quiz and earn 2 credits. Go to CRS. com/trs-quiz to get started.

[entry points]

THE hand Get help so you can get ahead

what’s trending in real estate

As a CRS, you have achieved a great deal and are among the top players in the industry. But what happens when your success outpaces your capacity to complete your slate of to-dos in transactions, marketing and education? It’s time to delegate. Kim Cameron, CRS, of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Preferred Properties in St. Louis, asserts that too often, REALTORS® can be jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none. “You can only wear so many hats before you



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are not proficient at all of them,” Cameron says. “Eventually you realize that there is a percentage of your business that you absolutely rock at—you do it better than the rest and you shine. Then there is the percentage that you are good at; you’re above average. The remainder is the part of the business that starts slipping through the cracks due to lack of time or total avoidance. That’s the part that you should delegate first.” Cameron calls that chunk of business that gets short shrift “the 20%.”

Pastore has found Gary Keller’s advice from the “Red Book,” The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, a great guide for the 40-plus years he has been in the business. In a nutshell, he says, if you want to do more deals, you have to generate leads, focus on listings and leverage your skill set. “My administrative assistant could handle paperwork and showings, freeing me up to deal with sellers and get listings.” “If you get a good person—and I did—you could just fill out the paperwork and leave it on her desk,

and she could enter it into MLS and do everything from contract to closing.” Pastore’s administrative assistants were all licensed agents, so they already knew the nuts and bolts of the process. When asked if he would do task delegation any differently, Pastore is quick to say, “No. It not only made my business successful; it gave me a life. It gave me the time to coach my kids’ soccer teams, take vacations for a week and only rarely have to call in.” shironosov

Inside Track

By Myrna Traylor


“I found that by having an assistant I could focus on new business, stay in touch with past clients more frequently and simply have some downtime to avoid burnout,” she says. Pardue points out that having the assistant is the first step; the next is to make sure that you and your assistant have a clear and consistent way to track tasks. “We have a lot of tools at our disposal to make it easier to communicate, as well as draw up and get offers and amendments signed,” she says. “For me, the key to delegating is having a very thorough checklist for new listings, pending sales and post-closing tasks. This means I don’t have to give my assistant a day-to-day task list, and they know what needs to be done next to avoid missing critical deadlines.” Pardue has also looked into delegating her showings to other agents in her office. “I still like working with buyers— negotiating the price and walking them through the hurdles to closing,” she says. “But my time is not best spent showing homes, so I am working with our office manager to identify agents in the office to show homes. I will go out only when buyers want to make an offer, and then take over at that point.”

Help is on the way

“This 20% of work that doesn’t get completed is what separates the stellar REALTORS® from those who are average and never hit their goals,” she says. “During my annual business audit several years ago, I realized that there were tasks that weren’t getting done. What happened with those goals for marketing and client servicing or getting together with people that didn’t get done because I didn’t have time? That began the drive to hire my first assistant 15 years ago.”

Tipping point

When you leverage the best aspects of your skill set, Cameron says, you are in a better position to help more clients buy, sell and invest in real estate. She feels that the need for that first assistant frequently occurs when an agent is closing between 24 and 30 transactions a year—at least for agents working with homes with low to middle price points because they usually have more closings per year than a luxury home specialist. Dee Pardue, CRS, of NextHome Realty Center in Houston, agrees that the tipping point for needing ongoing help is when you are selling around 25 homes per year, a tip she received at a convention when she was already selling well past that number.

REALTOR® Emeritus Paul Pastore agrees. Since earning his CRS Designation in 1982, Pastore, with RE/MAX Alliance in Chandler, Arizona, has identified business tasks that he is happy to delegate to the right person. “As a solo practitioner, I closed 55 units my first year. So I took on an administrative assistant who could take buyers to showings.” As his business grew, he took on multiple admins and seller’s agents. Pastore stresses that it was important to hire competent people for the job. One of his most valuable assistants was a former client he hired to do lead generation. “Three agents had previously listed her house; I sold it in 30 days and she became a raving fan,” he recalls. Trained as a telemarketer, this assistant took over leads that were canceled, expired or FSBOs, and cold-called the prospects for Pastore six days a week for 25 years. In some years, he would earn from those conversions 10 times the salary he was paying her. “Not only did she generate the leads, when she called to confirm my appointment, she’d give them a pitch. ‘Oh, your house didn’t sell? Let me tell you about how Paul sold my house,’” Pastore says. “Her first-person testimonial basically Learn more about presold clients and made it easier hiring your first assistant or for me to build a rapport with growing a team them. She was just an absolute by searching our education positive, grand slam home run catalog for webidelegation gal.” nar recordings or eLearning at

Myrna Traylor is a writer in the Chicago area.

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The Residential Real Estate Council


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[entry points]

getting real



Savvy real estate agents can help sellers set realistic expectations about listing their homes


By Regina Ludes

strategies to grow your business

Many sellers begin their home sale process by checking online valuation sites to determine what their home might be worth. “I think we assume that sellers know more than they do,” says Rich Sands, CRS, president of Rich Sands Seminars in Centennial, Colorado, who teaches Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist and will present Creating Listing Abundance, a one-day pre-conference course at Sell-a-bration in February. (See page 14 sidebar for details.) Agents have one thing that valuation sites do not have, Sands says: “Nuance. They’ve been inside the house and around the neighborhood, so they have a clearer picture of the local market. Sellers might form their own opinion, but agents still need to educate them about issues that contribute to a home’s value, such as absorption rate, supply and demand, and condition. In the end, every agent’s goal should be to deliver a knowledgeable, focused, customized listing presentation every single time.” According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 20% of sellers hire an agent to help them price their home competitively, and 19% need an agent’s help to sell the home in a specific time frame. Many sellers approach the listing process armed with certain expectations, often based on inaccurate data gleaned from media stories and valuation websites like Redfin and Zillow. Add a deep emotional connection to their home and it’s easy to see how some sellers find it difficult to face reality about their home’s value. Savvy agents can counter these scenarios by using their

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own data-rich research to educate sellers about the local housing market and help them sell their home with realistic and satisfying results. Jeff Dowler, CRS, with Solutions Real Estate in Carlsbad, California, believes doing thorough research is key to countering the flawed information sellers find online. “Check out the Mironov Konstantin/LumiNola

online valuation sites because you know the seller is doing that, too. But you have access to local market data that they don’t have, and you know what is selling and what conditions will affect their list price, such as recent improvements and neighborhood amenities.” For example, a fountain or koi pond in the backyard won’t add much value to the home, while a remodeled kitchen or adding a half-bath will. Some sellers underestimate the savviness of today’s buyers, Dowler adds. As buyers shop online for homes, they’ve developed a better understanding of a home’s worth. Buyers can tell when a home is overpriced and will walk away from the deal, he says.

Stage fright

Some sellers are reluctant to make even small cosmetic changes to their home because they believe it looks show-ready just as it is. Others are hesitant to have their home staged because they either don’t understand staging or think it won’t make a difference. One solution is to continued on page 14 


IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME Commute time is important to buyers when they’re deciding on the location of a home. According to a survey of more than 600 users, 85% of buyers would compromise on other home features—including lot size, square footage and home style—to shorten their commute to work. And 40% say they want to reduce their commute time by up to 45 minutes. In response, has introduced a Commute Time Filter that provides users with a comprehensive view of their drive time. The tool enables buyers to filter their home search results according to rush-hour and off-peak commute times. “Our commute time filter is different from others in the marketplace because it gives buyers the ability to toggle between rush-hour and off-peak commute times,” says Chung Meng Cheong, chief procurement officer for “With a more holistic view of their drive to and from work, people are able to make more informed decisions about where to live and, hopefully, reduce some unnecessary stress from their daily lives.” Home shoppers can enter basic search information, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as the location desired. Similar to how homebuyers adjust search results by specifying the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in their search, users can select various commute times BY THE NUMBER S ranging from 10 to 60 minutes or more. Users can filter the home listings to match their preferred commute time. All of the available of buyers would comhomes that match the search promise on other home parameters and commuting disfeatures to shorten their tance are displayed. commute to work. According to, the filter helps answer the question, “Just how long will I be sitting in traffic?” It provides a tool to help say they want to reduce simplify a homebuyer’s decisiontheir commute time by up to 45 minutes. making process.

85 %

40 %

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[entry points]


of sellers work with a real estate professional to sell their home.

For recently sold homes, the final sale price was


44 % 44 %

of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers.

of sellers traded up to a larger home.

of the final list price.

Source: National Association of REALTORS® 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

getting real ABOUT LISTINGS

continued from page 13

show before and after photos of a recently sold listing that was staged, Sands says. Using visuals can be more convincing than simply telling sellers that staging is beneficial. Linda DeVlieg, CRS, with Keller Williams Realty in Albuquerque, New Mexico, worked with a couple who was reluctant to repaint their living room, which had a large mural on one wall that their kids had drawn. Though the mural was attractive, DeVlieg knew it would be far more difficult to sell the home with it. To help the family detach from their art project, DeVlieg suggested they take a photo of the mural to retain as a keepsake.

“These are people’s homes. They’ve formed an attachment that may not be realistic,” DeVlieg says. “We need to help them see their home realistically. It’s no longer their home, but a product and an asset that they need to sell.” For reluctant sellers, DeVlieg sends them to view other people’s homes to see how they are staged and shown. “If that doesn’t work, bring them to a poorly-staged home, so they can see the difference staging makes,” she says.

Redefine expectations

Some sellers enter the listing process with expectations of having one showing each

LEARN HOW TO CREATE LISTING ABUNDANCE Attending Sell-a-bration 2020? Come early for the pre-conference course Creating Listing Abundance on Feb. 13 to get a nuts-and-bolts overview of the listing process and ramp up your listing success. The one-day course is appropriate for agents of all levels of experience. Participants earn eight hours of credit toward the CRS Designation. “It doesn’t matter what the market is doing. As long as you are taking listings, you can enjoy an abundant life,” says Rich Sands, CRS, of Rich Sands Seminars, who will be presenting the course. Agents who attend will learn how to do the following:

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ÄÄ Develop a stronger listing mindset focused on market knowledge, self-awareness and client service ÄÄ Access traditional and modern/digital sources of listings to grow your business ÄÄ Create and deliver compelling, customized listing presentations that focus on your clients’ needs ÄÄ Provide seller guidance and counseling on how to leverage market analysis data and the importance of proper positioning ÄÄ Effectively manage seller concerns, expectations, resistance and objections For more information and to register, visit Leontura


% appleuzr /Enis Aksoy

day, or they want the house on the market in two days when it usually takes up to two weeks, says Brad Allen, CRS, a broker with The ART of Real Estate, in Columbia, South Carolina. To counter these issues, Allen tells sellers that he lists homes only on Fridays because it’s the best day for showings and that at least one showing a week in their local market is a reasonable expectation. “One showing a week shows that I’ve priced the home right. When I don’t mention this in the listing appointment, the seller’s expectations get ramped up,” Allen says. “Setting expectations low is not a bad thing. Clients are happy when showings are higher than expected.” Before the listing appointment, Allen sends clients a pre-listing packet that contains the company’s philosophy, current market trends and a preview of the appointment. Within two days after the listing appointment, Allen follows up with an interactive CMA with market data and a recommended price range for their home. “These steps help slow down the process and calm the seller so they don’t feel rushed into making a snap decision,” Allen says. Whether because of flawed internet research or a personal attachment to the home, it’s easy for sellers to form strong opinions about their home’s worth. With patience, clear communication and careful research, agents can help their clients set reasonable goals for selling their home. Regina Ludes is a freelance writer based in Chicago. To take the original listings masterclass, Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist, check out the course calendar on page 42.



The charms of living in an older home can be many: history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if certain systems and features have been neglected over the years. Here are common situations found in many older homes, so you can educate buyers looking at older homes:

Energy inefficiency may be the No. 1 issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if these windows are still in place, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and lower heating and cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles and at different price points, so finding ones that suit the look of an older home is easier than ever. Poor insulation will also waste energy and money, and make living in the home uncomfortable. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well, if possible. The attic may already have insulation, but it may be inadequate by current standards. Old water pipes should be checked to identify the material and determine if they need to be replaced. Some older materials such as galvanized steel, iron and even lead are still in use today even though new construction doesn’t allow them. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping. Outdated electrical systems can still sometimes be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable in some situations. Even if no danger is present, we use much more electricity in our homes today and the capacity of older systems may be inadequate to meet modern demand. Only a qualified electrician should attempt any repairs or updates to a home’s electrical system. With careful maintenance and a nod to history, older homes can be comfortable, stylish and energy-efficient in the right hands. This article was provided by Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. For more information, go to

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Modern Realty, Portland, Oregon


Peer to Peer profiles of people to watch

What drew you to real estate? I never planned on being a REALTOR®. All I knew was that I wanted to do something that helps people. For years I was a firefighter and EMT. I also worked in a hospital as a cardiology technician. Eventually, with a desire for a more hands-on approach, I was accepted into nursing school and did real estate on the side for tuition. At some point, I decided to focus on real estate full time. It was a gamble because my wife was starting school to get her doctorate degree in optometry, so we’d only have my income. We did it—some would say we crushed it— as I tripled my business during the first year.

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What keeps you in real estate? I learned early on that an educated REALTOR® who understands the art of negotiation and facilitation can help a lot of people. There’s so much more to real estate than selling houses. You need someone who understands how it’s done. So, the foundation of our brokerage is people before profit. Sometimes putting people first by educating them and helping them understand this business of real estate means we lose a transaction—but we don’t see it as a loss. We see it as a win for our client, and, most importantly, we get an opportunity to earn our clients’ trust. We’re able to show them that we are invested in this relationship—not the transaction. What inspired you to become a CRS? I opened my brokerage and felt confident that I knew how to sell a house—but there’s always more to learn. My CRS Designation gives me the opportunity to keep learning more every year.

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Does your drive to help people include your 40 Modern Realty employees, too? Absolutely. NAR says that 87% of all new agents fail within the first five years— and when I started in this business, I saw how many agents fail. That’s when I got the idea to create my own brokerage. One of my first goals was to reduce that failure rate. My vision is to be the No. 1 brokerage in the nation in agent career longevity. For that, I had to build a program that champions the agent. Have you increased the success rate within Modern Realty? We did. An important step we took was implementing a mentorship program. Every new agent can give us a 12-month commitment and during that time we train the agent in all aspects of real estate, from helping clients sell or buy a property to marketing to running a business. Throughout this training, we give them solid leads—so they’re making a living right away. It’s learning by doing and studying, which I think is the best way to master this business since every transaction is different.

How would you describe your market? Crazy! We’ve seen house and rent prices soar like never before. I’m pretty sure half of California has moved up here. But I can’t complain too much as it’s made our local market boom. In addition, we’re 30 minutes away from Vancouver, Washington, which has lower property tax and no income tax. With people selling in Oregon and moving to Washington, we’re expanding our market. How do you overcome challenges that are specific to your market? For the Portland market, Oregon is the first to sign a statewide rent control law. As a businessman, I’m not happy to see how that slows growth. As a human being, though, I’m very happy to see people who are struggling receive an opportunity to thrive. Do you have a niche? I would say our brand and service is our niche—rather than the product we sell. We encourage our agents to dip their toe in every aspect of real estate: single-family, multifamily, commercial, condos, leases, short sales, etc. We believe in encouraging well-rounded agents who go beyond selling houses.

What sets you apart from your competition? When opening the brokerage, I heard things like “REALTORS® get paid too much” or “Anyone can be a REALTOR; you guys don’t even do anything…” To set ourselves apart we doubled down on a set of new value propositions: education, negotiation and facilitation. In this way, we aren’t only listing and selling houses. What we promote is customer service, knowledge, our ability to gain the upper hand in negotiations and making the process as stress-free as possible. Is it fair to say that you love what you do for a living? I do. One of my goals is to crush it every day, and I think we do. Well, that’s what our clients tell us. Santino Filipelli, CRS, achieved his CRS Designation in 2015. He can be reached at santino@ modernrealty. house or 971.340.6636.

Photo: Isaac Lane Koval

I learned early on that an educated REALTOR® who understands the art of negotiation and facilitation can help a lot of people.

As part of his expansion into the Vancouver, Washington, market, Santino Filipelli rolled up his sleeves and helped complete a top-to-bottom renovation of Modern Realty’s newest office.

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ABOVE CRSs share inspiring stories of going beyond their traditional roles as REALTORS® to improve the quality of life in their communities

Every year we ask our members to share stories of how they help their clients, communities or the real estate industry so we can honor the real impact our members make every day. This year’s winner, Wende Schoof, CRS, is president of the Nancy Painter Foundation, which helps struggling single mothers stay in their homes. It’s an extension of what our members do every day— give people the joy, support and stability of home. Our runners-up similarly shared how they used the skills honed in their everyday real estate work to make major impacts on those around them. Bill Black, CRS, fought for his community by joining local government, Troy Wilson, CRS, uses his real estate practice to help unsung heroes, and Rita Tayenaka, CRS, is training new real estate leaders. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories. There were so many more than we could feature, but they are testaments to the true character of a CRS.

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The Residential Specialist

Walter Painter, founder and chairman of the Nancy Painter Foundation; Wende Schoof, CRS, president of NPF.

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BEYOND feild



Wende Schoof, CRS Rodeo Realty, Los Angeles, California, 650.504.0219

Photo: Steve Anderson; Dimitris66/Dreamcreation

Wende helps secure homes for single moms After 24 years of helping clients buy and sell their homes, I’ve witnessed firsthand how much a home impacts people’s lives. Having a place to call home means stability and security for the people living in it, whether that home is rented or owned. There are mothers out there who are at risk of losing their homes, and I felt with my background and experience I could do something about it. That is what drew me to the Nancy Painter Foundation, where I gratefully serve as president. Our mission is simple: We want to keep families from becoming homeless, and we do this by supporting mothers who need financial assistance. In our hearts, though, the mission goes deeper. We see the hope in a mother’s eyes and then we do what we can to turn hope into reality. Our motto says it best: Sometimes hope needs help. One case that touched me deeply was a mom who suffered serious injuries in a car accident and temporarily lost her job as a dance instructor. Without her job, she didn’t have the means to even keep the lights and heat on—so she and her daughters could stay in their home. We helped her keep these basic needs, which allowed her to stay home and give hope to her family.

We also help moms who are working hard to improve the quality of life of her families. Recently we worked with Luisa, who was trying to complete her education but had no financial means to pay her rent. The Nancy Painter Foundation provided funding to keep up with rent—so she could concentrate on completing her education. But the story goes deeper than money. Now she’s able to stay in the neighborhood where she feels at home, her son is at the same school with his friends, and they’re both surrounded by a supportive community network. Our little nonprofit has gone from originally supporting five moms at the Nancy Painter Home to developing our flagship Urgent Grant Program, which supports single mothers experiencing financial hardship. Our next program will be affordable child care for working single moms on days and at times that aren’t usually covered by most care providers. Being able to work is crucial for every mother who wants to give her family a permanent, safe, and secure home. It’s always been important that my clients are happy when their purchase or sale closes. Their real estate success is my own success.


Luisa is just one of the many single mothers who have received support from the Foundation. Here’s how she describes her situation: “Having stable housing is very important for my son and me. Security in maintaining housing allows me to focus on my education, which will prepare me for the future. Without the financial assistance, I would risk not only losing my housing, but also the community I am part of.”

But through my work with the Nancy Painter Foundation, I now see things a little differently. At the end of the day, besides envisioning my clients happily living in their new homes, I think of the moms I’m helping living in their homes, too. This is a higher level of personal satisfaction.

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field notes


Bill Black, CRS

Bill Black, CRS, secured a better arrangement for fire and rescue coverage for his community.

NP Dodge, Elkhorn, Nebraska, 402.680.2500

I serve on our local fire district board in one of the most popular and fastest growing areas of Omaha called Elkhorn. We are responsible for fire, rescue and first responder services to the community. Years prior to me joining the board, a vast majority of the Elkhorn area was annexed into the city of Omaha, which left the community of Elkhorn stunned and confused, surfacing questions about police and fire protection. Omaha quickly provided a contract for services to the area and the powers to be at that time signed a 10-year agreement.

A couple of years ago, a new board was being voted on. Since I had previous firefighting experience and served on other boards, I felt I had much to offer and was elected with a few other new board members. We quickly realized the service contract was heavily favored toward Omaha. It was evident that we needed to renegotiate the contract for fire and rescue coverage. So we gave the proper notice and went into negotiations—a lot like what we do in real estate every day. A new contract was agreed upon, and we ended up saving the taxpayers of rural Elkhorn 40% on the mill levy.

Troy Wilson, CRS Exp Realty, LLC, Sunny Isles, Florida, 954.818.6092

Troy runs a program to help first responders and other unsung heroes buy homes

Troy Wilson, CRS, helped launch a home rewards program for local first responders.

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My wife and I have five children. In 2011, our lives changed when my wife became disabled and had to shut down her business. I was a police officer of 17 years at the time and had to find a way to make up my wife’s lost income. I got my real estate license and joined Keller Williams. My first year in real estate I was KW Rookie of the Year in my market after selling over $2 million in volume—while still holding down a full-time job as a police officer. In my real estate practice, I wanted to focus on my community and give back to other first responders to help them become homeowners. I recruited several local service providers and launched a hero home rewards program to give back to local first responders in the community ( Firefighters, law enforcement, military (active, reserve and veterans), healthcare professionals, EMS and teachers can all enjoy savings on legal representation, appraisals, closing costs, home inspections and moving costs. I choose to focus my business now on first responders and military personnel and look forward to what the future holds for me and this amazing career! mystockicons

Bill negotiated better fire protection for his small community

Rita Tayenaka, CRS Coast to Canyon Real Estate, Mission Viejo, California, 949.292.1393

Rita established a leadership academy to bring new blood to local board I was president of the Orange County REALTORS® in 2015 and saw that the association had the same leaders year in and year out. The general feeling was that you could not become part of the board because it was always the same people. The year after being the president, I was accepted into NAR’s Leadership Academy and that gave me the idea of starting a leadership academy at our local association to bring in new leaders. I reached out to different states’ and associations’ leadership academies and came up with a game plan for our association. I presented

to our education department and received approval to run the academy, accepting 20 people per year. The first year, we had 25 applications. We are now going into year four and have graduated 60 future leaders. The alumni are now committee chairs, on the local board, on the state board, chairs/vice chairs at the state level, chamber of commerce leaders, liaisons to government officials and more.

Rita Tayenaka, CRS, launched a leadership academy at her local NAR association.

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9/27/19 3:53 PM


RIGHT STUFF 5 trending practices that are raising eyebrows and ethical issues By Matt Alderton

Everyone knows the famous mantra, “Location. Location. Location.” But real estate isn’t just about where you do business. It’s also about how you do business. So argues John C. Stark, CRS, broker associate at Iowa Realty in West Des Moines, Iowa. A former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, he left active duty in 2004 to become a REALTOR® and a reservist. Almost immediately, he found that serving his clients looked a lot like serving his country. “Clients are going through dissolutions of marriages, deaths in the family, illnesses, and job losses. At the same time, they’re getting promotions, having more children and buying vacation homes,” Stark says. “It became clear to me very early that if we don’t follow the rules and do the right thing for people—even when it’s against our own % self-interest—our reputation is going to be shot.” 31 Reputation of agent It reminded Stark of his Air Force officer 19 % Agent is honest and trustworthy training, during which he learned a version 15 % Agent is friend or family member of a common military honor code whose signatories promise not to “lie, cheat, steal, 13 % Agent’s knowledge of the neighborhood nor tolerate those who do.” % 4 Agent has caring personality/good listener “A general came in to talk to us about 4% Agent’s commission ethics,” he says. “At the end of the day, 4% Agent’s association with a particular firm he said, there are only three things you need to remember [to be an Agent seems 100% accessible because of use 3% ethical military officer]: First, can of technology like tablet or smartphone you explain your actions on CNN? 1% Professional designations held by agent Second, is it the right thing to do? 6% Other And third, can you explain it to your mother?” Source: 2019 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends joshblake


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perfect practice

Because ethical issues are often ambiguous, REALTORS® need tools to navigate them. Sometimes, those tools are internal, like the gutcheck questions Stark learned in the military. Other times, they’re external, like the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which was adopted in 1913 and now includes 17 articles encompassing REALTORS®’ duties to clients, the public and each other. “The Code of Ethics is what differentiates us as REALTORS®,” says Kim Cameron, CRS, broker associate at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Preferred Properties in St. Louis. And yet, Codes of Ethics are only as effective as the professionals who live by them. The onus is therefore on REALTORS® to ensure that professional standards do as much good in practice as they do in principle.

Ethical advantages

The best reason for ethical behavior is simple: It’s the right thing to do. But that’s not the only reason. Consider, for instance, the results of NAR’s 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Based on a survey of more than 7,000 recent homebuyers, “honesty and integrity” is the No. 1 most important quality buyers look for in real estate agents. “We would all like to have repeat business and referrals,” says Stark, who recalls the famous quote of a local businessman: I would rather have one customer 100 times than 100 customers one time. “You can’t get those if you’re not trustworthy.” Nor can you accomplish deals for the clients you already have. “If you act unethically, other agents will not be inclined to work with you or show your listings,” Stark says. “That’s going to make your business a lot more difficult.” Of course, it’s not just your reputation at stake. It’s that of the entire profession, suggests a 2018 poll by Gallup, which found that most Americans (54%) rate real estate agents’ ethical standards as only “average.” “Behaving ethically is in the best interest of our clients, but it’s also in the best interest of the profession,” says Maura Neill, CRS, founder of Buy Sell Live Atlanta, her team with RE/MAX Around Atlanta in Alpharetta, Georgia. “All of us are stewards of our industry’s reputation.”

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NEW AND GROWING REALTORS® should be intimate with the 17 articles that constitute NAR’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Just as important, however, is being cognizant of ethical issues that are trending in one’s local market. Here, for example, are just a few of the present-day practices that are raising eyebrows for CRSs in their communities:


T r espa s s i n g

Trespassing—entering listings without permission—is a rampant problem in her market, Neill says. “A lockbox on the door or a sign in the yard is not an open invitation to let yourself in,” she says, pointing out that trespassing agents can unknowingly trip alarms—some of which automatically call the police—or walk in on unsuspecting homeowners, even when the home is presumed vacant. “You don’t enter a property without first obtaining permission from the owner. First, it’s a criminal act. And second, it’s just bad manners.”



Defamatory and libelous speech on social media are growing concerns for Kay Hunt, CRS, managing broker at Imagine Homes Realty and chair of professional standards for the Clark County Association of REALTORS® in Vancouver, Washington. “I see REALTORS® posting negative comments about other REALTORS®. That to me is a real issue,” says Hunt, who cites Article 15 of the NAR Code of Ethics, which says, “REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses or their business practices.” “Social media can be risky; people need to be careful about what they say.”


Procuring Cause

The “procuring cause” of real estate transactions—the agent who’s responsible for a buyer’s purchase, and therefore deserves the commission—is an ethical quagmire in many markets, according to Stark, who often sees agents approaching prospects at open houses without asking whether they’re already working with an agent. “Buyers have a right to decide who they want to work with, but agents have a professional obligation to respect one another’s [exclusive representation agreements],” Stark says.

perfect practice



Failure to disclose deficiencies is another frequent ethical dilemma. “What I’m seeing more often is that a buyer’s agent discovers a real or perceived material deficiency and the seller’s agent says the seller ‘doesn’t want to know.’ Once anyone knows of a material defect, all parties are required to disclose it,” says Stark. On a similar note, he recalls a recent discussion on social media during which a REALTOR® asked advice about whether to disclose that a home had been the scene of a homicide. “It was shocking to me how many people said, ‘Don’t do anything; you have no duty to disclose.’ While that’s true in my market—we don’t have to disclose what’s called a ‘stigmatized property’— it may be the right thing to do.”

5 Nik01ay/relif/Zenobillis/kmlmtz66

Dereliction of Duty

Article 1 of the NAR Code of Ethics states that REALTORS® are obligated to “protect and promote the interests of their client,” including submitting all offers to sellers. Unfortunately, agents don’t always heed this responsibility. One time, for instance, Cameron recalls submitting an offer on a Friday and not receiving a response from the seller’s agent until Monday afternoon with multiple attempts to reach the agent. She found out the seller had already accepted another offer. “Turns out [the seller’s agent] was a dual agent; he ignored our offer so he could sell it to somebody else and make more money.” The NAR Code of Ethics includes 17 articles governing REALTOR® interactions with clients, the public and each other. To read it in its entirety, visit about-nar/governing-documents/ code-of-ethics/2019-code-of-ethicsstandards-of-practice.


Protecting the profession

Whatever the violation, there typically is only one way to resolve it: report it. “We as REALTORS® have to self-police our profession,” Hunt says. “If we see something we feel may be unethical or unprofessional, it’s our responsibility to report it.” The question is: to whom? Start with the offending agent directly, Cameron suggests. “Most of the time when I see bad behavior, it doesn’t warrant a formal complaint. Instead, it’s an opportunity to have a friendly conversation and help that person be better in their business and a better REALTOR®,” she says. If you can’t reach the agent, or they’re unreceptive, consider elevating it to their managing broker. “We all make mistakes, so I’m willing to give agents the benefit of the doubt,” Neill says. “I’ll often call the broker and—without being accusatory—say, ‘I think this is an educational opportunity.’” REALTORS® also can turn to the ombudsman at their local or state association, whose job is to help parties resolve disputes when communication breaks down between them. “I think ombudsman programs are underused,” Hunt says. “It can be a good avenue for dealing with a problem before it gets overblown.” When all else fails, it’s time to file a formal complaint with the Grievance Committee of your local or state association. “Especially in smaller markets, a lot of REALTORS® are afraid to take this step because they think to themselves, ‘What if I have to work with this person again?’” Neill says. “I understand that concern. But if we’re too afraid to report infractions when we see them, we might as well not have a Code of Ethics in the first place.”


Matt Alderton is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area. Have you encountered an ethically questionable situation? Run it past your peers in our Facebook group, We Are CRS. Your fellow CRSs are here to help!

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How REALTORS® can use video effectively and affordably

By Gwen Moran

Video has been having a marketing moment for several years, but 2018 saw both its usage and effectiveness jump. According to a recent survey by marketing platform HubSpot, businesses are using video more than ever: 87% of businesses report integrating video into their marketing and 83% say it gives them a good return on investment, up from 78% just a year prior. For REALTORS®, the benefits of video cannot be overstated—it’s quickly becoming the most important form of content you can produce. But the key to using it effectively is to have a plan, says Gerard Lynch, CEO of Rise Media, a real estate marketing and technology company based in New York City. “It’s no longer just about content. Those days are gone. It’s now about strategically positioning content in front of the right audience to extend its reach,” he says. In other words, you need to have a plan to get your videos in front of the right people and, ideally, get them to watch and take action. 1. BombBomb ( Allows you to send and receive short videos instead of text. 2. iMovie ( An easy-to-use video editing software application. 3. Magisto ( A video editing app that has distribution integration with social media like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and others. 4. Rise-Media ( A real estate marketing and video production firm. 5. Wondershare Filmora ( An easyto-use video editing platform. mattjeacock/mikimad/tacktack/ilyaliren


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super marketing


Deciding how to shoot


With today’s wealth of technology tools and video services, producing videos that fit your strategy and budget is easier than ever before. But there are also times when it’s a better decision to work with a professional video team. Neal Oates, Jr., CRS, broker/owner with World Renowned Real Estate in Hollywood, Florida, says he uses video as his primary method of connecting with virtually everyone. He shoots his videos himself. “I am not a ‘techie’ at all,” he says. He uses a Samsung Galaxy 8 to shoot his videos and occasionally uses an external Boya lavalier or shotgun microphone that he ordered from Amazon for $40 each. He also has an LED light for when he needs additional lighting. “My entire platform is meant to be portable so I could put it in my backpack and always keep it with me. So, whenever something comes up, I can just record right there,” he says. When he’s not using his phone, he uses his laptop’s webcam and edits his videos with Wondershare Filmora, a video editing platform he has used for about three years. Filmora allows him to trim video; add filters, graphics or subtitles; add stock audio; and make other edits. The basic version is free. The Pro version is $149.99.


Gigi Burk, CRS, broker/owner at Burk Brokerage Real Estate, LLC in New Orleans, Louisiana, opts to pay a local media marketing company a monthly retainer and have them shoot her videos. Roughly once a week, the team does local business spotlights, market reports and listing videos. Freelance marketplace website Thumbtack estimates the national average cost of producing a short video is $600–$850, but it can vary significantly based on length, production components, geography and other factors. ,

Lynch says it s also important to understand what viewers want when it comes to video.

The video should be short, informational and entertaining. A 60-second listing video should show key features that are engaging and excite people about actually seeing the house. A 15–20 second cut can be distributed on social media channels to get more traffic. It’s usually best to err on the side of brevity, he says. “No one’s watching a video that’s five or six minutes long. People will want to watch short, snackable content,” he says.



BOYA BY-LM10 Omni-Directional Lavalier Microphone

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Lavalier microphone: A lavalier microphone or lavalier (also known as a lav, lapel mic, clip mic, body mic, collar mic, neck mic or personal mic) is a small microphone used for television, theatre and public speaking applications in order to allow for hands-free operation.

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Shotgun microphone: A shotgun microphone is a highly directional microphone that must be pointed directly at its target sound source for proper recording. Shotgun microphones use unidirectional microphones to achieve this high beam of concentration on the sound source to record the sound.

BOYA BY-MM1 Cardioid Microphone

Stabilize your shot! Nothing says amateur more than shaky video footage. You will need a good tripod with a fluid video head.

Noah’s Cave Mini Cell Phone Tripod Stand, Flexible Mobile Phone Holder, Octopus Mount filadendron/philipimage


super marketing


Putting your video to use Once you decide how you’re going to approach production, the next part of your plan should be determining the reasons you’re going to use video and developing a distribution plan. Here are five ways you can use video to help build your business. Establish yourself as an expert. Oates’ two primary markets are affluent clients and international buyers—and both want to know they’re working with someone who knows the market well. Get a little famous. Oates also created a web series called “Being World Renowned,” a reference to the name of his brokerage. The web series “has nothing to do with real estate, but opens up my life so my sphere of influence, clients and prospects can see who I am,” he says. He believes people want to know the personalities of those with whom they do business. ilyaliren

Show off your properties. Videos are the perfect way to show off a property with a virtual house tour. The format can give prospective buyers a true feel for the property. “So,

He shoots videos of himself reviewing market trends, statistics, news and market updates, and then distributes them through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to position himself as the go-to source for real estate information in his market. “The purpose is to maximize my exposure. I consider myself a marketer so it’s all about gaining maximum exposure,” he says. “I believe people work with me mainly because of who I am outside of real estate—they see the man, husband, father and type of guy that I am.” Oates doesn’t share these videos on professional channels, but they get traffic from social channels and word-of-mouth. we might use a drone to shoot an aerial view of a large piece of property that’s incredibly landscaped. We’ll show the lake property and how beautiful it is on the water, Burk says. These videos may be distributed through social media, email lists and on her website.

Showcase local businesses. Burk’s business spotlight videos can get an average of 1,200 to 1,500 views per day. Not only do the videos show that she’s well-connected and knowledgeable about the community, they also

help her distribution strategy. “A lot of the businesses share our videos, so they get a lot of exposure and it helps promote our brand,” she says. Because local businesses are featured, they often share the videos in addition to her own distribution channels.

Communicate with clients. Oates sends brief video text messages to clients and encourages them to do the same. “I know that most text messages are opened within two minutes of receipt and the open rate is close to 100%. Add

to this the video in the message and people want to know what I’m saying even if they are in a meeting and shouldn’t be on their phones,” he says. The video exchanges strengthen relationships. “This has been most beneficial when sending videos to out-of-area clients,” he says.


1.9 billion+ people use YouTube. That’s about one-third of internet users. Snapchat users watch

10 billion videos each day.

Video campaigns on LinkedIn have

50 % 81


view rates.

of businesses prefer to use Facebook for their video marketing. Spource: Biteable

Our education catalog is full of material to help you make the best video. Search “video” in our catalog and pick the format that works for you.

Whether you choose to go the DIY route or work with a professional, video is an important tool. Keep it simple, have a plan and make sure your quality is good, and video can be a critical part of growing your business, Lynch says. Gwen Moran is a freelance writer based in Wall Township, New Jersey.

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The Residential Real Estate Council


Nov Dec

ho w

AGILE are you?

Business agility helps you nimbly maneuver brewing and real-time market changes By Donna Shryer

While Cirque du Soleil pushes the limits of human agility, successful REALTORS® are nimbly flexing their business agility—performing a balancing act that adapts to market trends, disrupters and customer demands with incredible timing.

What exactly is business agility?

Here’s the simple answer, according to De Grey, chief revenue officer of Agility Health, an enterprise business agility enablement company: “Business agility is the ability to deliver innovative products [and/or] services with measurable outcomes to your customers—faster, safer, better and by happier teams.” Another way to think about business agility is in terms of its end goal. “It starts with a business having the ability to recognize and quickly react to new or potential threats and opportunities. But remember why you want to do this. It’s about gaining a competitive advantage. That means reacting and adapting faster than your competition,” says Rogan Hounsell-Roberts, owner KR5 Consulting, a business management consultant in Berkshire, England.

Nov Dec


The Residential Specialist francescoch

Designation Maintenance Article 20 19

mind your



Here are five tips to help you embrace business agility, build it into your professional DNA and stay successful long into the future.


Adapt to market changes from your customer’s perspective. “Adapt to market changes by using your customer as the wind in your sail,” urges Lisa Picard, CEO and president of EQ Office, a company that specializes in office properties and an affiliate of The Blackstone Group. “All too often we think we are the customer. We make selections and become intoxicated by our own solutions, thinking they address the biggest market challenges we face—such as solving for price when the customer actually needs speed, quality, consistency or differentiation. “To thrive in business, we need to innovate around the customer,” Picard adds. “Market forces change how customers communicate, process decisions and eventually buy. So being agile means you are able to change your offer and adapt to reflect your customers’ biggest needs—which may be emotional or physical.” Focusing on your own solutions can give you a nearsighted view, which is likely what took Kodak down. The American company, which debuted in 1888 as an innovator of photography, reportedly refused to embrace the digital age, choosing to focus solely on their lucrative film business. Customers drove the photography market deeper into digital, yet Kodak continued to view its market through a century-old lens.

ÄÄWhat you can do: Crunch the numbers and analyze where you’re getting the most leads. The No. 1 resource is likely referrals, but what’s second? Open houses? Slick online videos of a new property? Digital newsletters? Homebuyers are telling you how they want to hear about properties. Adapt your marketing strategy for new listings accordingly.


Watch for potential threats. Many people mistakenly believe that business agility means reacting and adapting to threats. Put another way: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But what about when your sales are strong, leads are knocking down your door and your average days on the market is 10? Business agility is even more important during good times, says Daniel Newman, founding partner and principal analyst at Futurum Research. “Entrepreneurs and agile competitors are around every corner,” Newman says. “But it’s difficult to see them when times are hot. And

then suddenly sales stall, money is tight and you may not have the resources to adapt.” So you need to always be watching out for potential threats even if you think the market is so good that nothing could touch your success. “You hear stories about successful companies that were disrupted despite having almost endless resources,” Newman says. “Think about Blockbuster. Their business was making a lot of money and experiencing what seemed like unstoppable success. Then Netflix showed up. By the time Blockbuster adapted, they were no longer the leader, no longer seen as an innovator and they’d lost so much market share that they went out of business.” ÄÄWhat you can do: To spot disruptors and potential business threats, do what you do best—talk to clients, listen and respond. What companies, sites and apps are clients talking about? Are potential clients checking out iBuyers before listing with you? Every new player deserves at least a moment of your time. Remember back in 2006, when you said “Zillow,” and people replied, “What?”


Keep reevaluating your value. Being agile is as much about constantly assessing market conditions as it is about continuously reevaluating your own value proposition—your strengths. This is how you stay current in the customer’s eyes, says Carol Roth, a national media personality and creator of the legacy planning system Future File. As Roth details in her New York Times bestseller, The Entrepreneur Equation: Evaluating the Realities, Risks, and Rewards of Having Your Own Business, adapting to what customers value today versus yesterday isn’t easy—largely because agility involves far more than seeing a need for change. It’s all about taking action. “What set you apart as a REALTOR® 10 years ago is not necessarily what matters to customers today,” Roth says. “Anyone unwilling to adapt and modify how they market their own skills will be left in the dust.” Travel agents are an example where self-reevaluation worked well. “Those who survived were very agile,” Grey says. “They stopped being all things to all people because that’s what you get at These travel agents found a segment of the market that won’t go online— because these customers want incredible expertise, which is very hard to duplicate online.” ÄÄWhat you can do: Jump-start your own reevaluation by looking at what you have that only comes with experience. For example, Hounsell-Roberts suggests you reevaluate the valuable data you have about your market. “You may be sitting on a gold mine of information that

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The Residential Real Estate Council


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mind your business


The most agile companies are swapping out their business plans for business models. “The business model says, ‘Here are some tensions with our customers and here’s what we’re solving for.’ So rather than giving you a map, like a business plan, the business model tells you the kind of terrain you’ll face and the tools you need,” says Lisa Picard, CEO and president of EQ Office, a real estate investment company that specializes in office properties. It’s a perspective Picard fine-tunes as she leads EQ’s strategic direction—adapting to mirror the workplace tenants’ evolving needs. For example, she disrupted the office space real estate industry by replacing traditional longterm leases in vanilla workspaces with shorter signing commitments and office options that advanced the workday experience tenants wanted. Rogan Hounsell-Roberts, owner of KR5 Consulting, a business management consultant in Berkshire, England, concurs. “Writing a business plan is a good discipline, yet there are too many unknowns for everything to be set in advance. The world changes and business must adapt to new opportunities and threats. The business strategy—not the plan—allows a business to adapt to opportunities and threats.”

online competitors don’t have,” HounsellRoberts says. “Part of business agility is knowing when it’s time to adapt your own marketing strategy and sell strengths that perhaps at one time weren’t important to your customers.”



Nov Dec


ÄÄWhat you can do: If it feels like you’re losing customers to online real estate sites, then adapt your presentation so it’s relevant to homebuyers and sellers. Move the emphasis toward your history of outcomes and away from gimmicks that may be entertaining but can’t claim much else.


Don’t worry. You’ve got this. When it comes to business agility, Grey explains that small organizations have a greater ability to be agile than large organizations. Score one for REALTORS®. “Whether you’re dealing with customer needs, employee needs or simply the need to react to a shifting market, small businesses—like many real estate agencies—don’t have to go through as many layers of people to approve a shift in its business model,” Roth says. “As a smaller entity, it’s easier to respond to shifting needs.” REALTORS® have another advantage. “The decision-maker is close to the end customer, so they’re able to see change coming more easily,” Roth says. “This speeds up your reaction time.”

ÄÄWhat you can do: Often the only barrier between a REALTOR® and agility is fear, Roth cautions. “When you have a lot of experience, it’s easy to think that you know best how things should be done. That can make adapting tough. However, if you can retain an agile spirit, your business will retain the competitive edge that keeps customers coming back.”

Adapt with your eye on the outcome—not your competition’s bells and whistles. Business agility comes down to At the end of the day, if you find this chatter adapting your business model so you positively about business agility confusing, you’re not alone. impact measurable outcomes—and deliver bet“It’s not actually logical,” Newman says. “We’ve ter outcomes than the disrupter out there trying done a lot of research and from small businesses to steal your customers. “I could list all the to great companies, it doesn’t make sense to things I do to market a home, but the customer change when things are going well. But if you doesn’t really care,” Grey says. “What the cussee or sense a disrupter out there, you can’t tomer really cares about is that I sell their home afford to wait until the Designation at top dollar and within the time frame they problem is so big you no Maintenance want. That’s the desired outcome—the business longer have the resources Meet your value back to my client.” to overcome market Designation Maintenance That means you can skip inventing a bigger, changes. So the requirements better “Zestimator.” And there’s no need to one piece of advice I today! Read this article and Get develop a HomeSnap-like app with intuitive map- would offer is to never a Grip on Your based search function. These bells and whistles stand still in any business. Database on p.6, can’t compete with what a great REALTOR® does You have to always be take a 10-question quiz and so well, Newman says. “You build one-on-one agile and adapting.” earn 2 credits. relationships. You understand that every buyer Go to trs-quiz to get and seller’s journey is unique. What you do best Donna Shryer is a freelance writer started. will never become irrelevant.” based in Chicago.

The Residential Specialist

20 19 Marko Babii/4x6


resources for learning & leisure GOOD READS



A comic novel about “mass mansionization” spoofs the reverse snobbery of people who delight in crumbling old dwellings. By Allan Fallow


siding because they mistook mariIn the opening pages of juana smoke for “toxic black mold”? White Elephant, REALTOR® But debut novelist Julie Langsdorf Nina Strauss is driving her two uses that plot device to chase Grant exhausted clients, Grant and and Suzanne from their wrecked Suzanne Davenport-Gardner, home and into successive sojourns toward her leafy hometown of with two families waging a war for Willard Park, Maryland. “It’s on the the soul of Willard Park. expensive side—I won’t lie,” Nina alerts them. “But you won’t be sorry. It’s where I live. It’s idyllic. I don’t Homey vs. progressive show it to just anyone.” Representing the preservationist “It” is a circa-1918 urge are Ted and Allison Miller. He’s Sears Modern the schlubby editor of an alumni Home, “a sweet magazine, eager to keep the town WHITE ELEPHANT: two-bedroom bun“the homey way it had been when A Novel galow with a porch he and [twin brother] Terrance were by Julie Langsdorf $ and a second-floor growing up.” She’s a hot-blooded Ecco, 314 pages, 27.99 balcony. The house amateur photographer, bent on originally sold for capturing local quirks for the coffee$1,172.” Grant and Suzanne purchase table book she hopes to publish, the place, but buyers’ remorse soon Willard Park: An American Dream. bedevils them. Town residents for 14 years now, The reason for their regret struck the Millers have a retro-chic view this reader as absurd: What homeof real estate: “A sense of home and owner would rip out drywall and community,” Allison muses. “That

Nov Dec


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was what mattered—not whether you had a second bathroom. She and Ted were in agreement about that.” Their daughter, Jillian, came along a year after the Millers moved into their 1910 two-bedroom home, which is “so old that Sears hadn’t even started naming the models yet.” Advancing a far more progressive view, meanwhile, are Nick and Kaye Cox. He’s a tall, perennially cash-strapped and dangerously good-looking developer. “There was something brutal about him,” thinks Allison, “but it wasn’t unattractive”— who dubs the town’s modest bungalows “obsolete.” She’s an overeager blonde, “toes polished in her high-heeled sandals,” whom Allison deems “a little [too] highlighted and made up for Willard Park.” Relative newcomers (Nick’s been chased out of Beaufort, South Carolina, by some pesky lawsuits

and building-code violations), the Coxes will likely never fit in with the “old granola heads” who rule Willard Park: The neighbors might have forgiven them the sin of bad taste with time, but as the months wore on, the Coxes continued to disobey the unspoken rules of the neighborhood. They didn’t compost. They had pesticides sprayed on their lawn. They didn’t join Friends of the Willard Park Children’s Library. They didn’t even recycle. … The Coxes were like foreign visitors who had not read up on the local customs.

McMansion sandwich

Nick has committed an unforgivable offense by building a residential monstrosity on either side of the Millers’ diminutive dwelling—wedged between McMansions. To the Millers’ right now rises the “faux stone castle” occupied by the Coxes, its turrets and spires painted gold—or is that gold leaf? “The inhabitants of an entire ZIP code could have lived in it comfortably,” Allison fumes. And to their left stands the fourstory abomination that gives the novel its name, soaring higher than any other home in town and casting a literal and metaphoric shadow over the Millers’ humble abode: “It was painted bright white and had been sitting on the market for months— hence the nickname, which Ted had come up with himself. It had caught on, he’d been pleased to learn, but that was the only thing about it that pleased him.” Ted would be even less pleased to learn how his wife, Allison, and his archrival, Nick Cox, have been secretly compensating for the “sexual sabbatical” Ted’s opted to take. Isn’t it bad enough that Nick has rashly cut down trees—including one planted in Jillian’s honor the year of her birth—to expose

the White Elephant to prospective buyers’ eyes? “Let’s hope he doesn’t start a trend,” frets Nina. “The trees make this town. Honestly. They’re half its charm. Take down the trees and I’m going to need a new place to hang my shingle.” Sorry, Nina: Soon enough copycat lumberjacks are felling trees (including the town Tannenbaum) all over Willard Park—to say nothing of dumping the town-hall garbage on village lawns, defacing stop signs with the words clinging to the past, and spray-painting pro-growth slogans on playground slides. As Willard Park becomes more Peyton Place than Bedford Falls, a building moratorium is enacted and residents’ shameful secrets mysteriously begin to appear on the bulletin board of the local café. Langsdorf unwisely shoehorns in a subplot about a romantic rivalry between Jillian and 13-year-old Lindsay Cox. (Of course Nick’s daughter would be a Mean Girl!) Still, it’s a compelling enough thread to make you wish the ultimately lumbering White Elephant had been written as a young-adult novel instead. That way Langsdorf could have spent more time developing her favorite character—and mine:

YO U M I G H T A L S O L I K E …


By Scott Young [HarperBusiness] 304 pages $ 17.39/hardcover

Young offers nine principles to help readers learn how to successfully adapt their skills to changing work environments.


By Tilman Fertitta [HarperCollins Leadership] 192 pages $ 22.49/hardcover Evolve your company with blunt— but necessary—advice about what you’re doing right and wrong in operating your business.


By David Epstein [Riverhead Books] 352 pages $ 16.80/hardcover While many experts argue that specialized practice of a specific skill will help you lead in your field, Epstein argues that generalists have better tools for success.

[Jillian] distracted herself by naming the Sears houses she could see: the Glyndon, the Hazelton. If she named all of the house models correctly on her way to school, she would have an okay day. … It was weird to think that in olden times you could order a house as a kit from a catalog. She imagined what would happen if you could order a house online. It would probably arrive by drone two days later, possibly crushing an evil witch or two when it landed.


By Jonathan Keyser [Lioncrest Publishing] 312 pages $ 17.99/paperback

Keyser, a commercial real estate broker, shows how being selfless in your everyday life can lead to longterm success in the business world.

Allan Fallow is a freelance writer and copy editor in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow him @thefallow.

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The Residential Real Estate Council


Nov Dec

RRC news from the council

ADDED value Credit union benefits arrive for members

The Council is always striving to empower members with the education, tools and networking opportunities to make them better agents and industry leaders as well as expanding their businesses. With our new partnership with BCU, a member-owner credit union, we are adding yet another resource for our members to advance their work, financial standing and overall well-being. This move will give members across the nation access to state-of the-art financial services for themselves and their families. BCU is recognized as a Forbes® Best-In-State Credit Union and offers members exceptional service along with money-saving and money-growing opportunities. Joining is free through the Council’s partnership. BCU will cover the $1 deposit requirement to get members started.

Here’s what members can expect when joining: ÄÄHigh rate of return on checking, CDs and other deposit accounts. BCU’s PowerPlus checking accounts earn 3% APY up to a $15,000 deposit, have unlimited ATM fee refunds and no monthly maintenance fees. Savings vehicles earn 2% or more. BCU also has unique rewards, like its Rainy Day Savings account, which carries an interest rate that doubles after the first year. ÄÄOnline and mobile banking access.

Go to RRC to learn more and join the credit union.

Nov Dec


ÄÄLow loan rates with options for auto, home, student and personal loans, as well as specialty solutions. ÄÄCredit cards that earn better rewards and travel perks or have lower interest rates than many other commercially available cards. ÄÄBusiness banking options, including banking accounts and business loans with the same credit union benefits.

Like the Council, BCU believes in empowering its members with education and tools to make them savvier with their money. BCU members can take personalized courses; play fun, interactive games to hone focus on building strength; and watch dynamic videos or read articles to expand skills. Members also have access to goal consultants who can help you get started or get back on track to making your money work for you with credit report and budgeting sessions.

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“Everything we do, every decision we make, is with one goal in mind—a bright financial future for each member.”

— Mike Valentine, president/CEO, BCU

“We are always looking to enhance the membership experience at the Residential Real Estate Council, and we believe providing access to BCU can add value to our members by providing them with a trusted resource to advance their financial well-being.” — Lana Vukovljak, CEO, Residential Real Estate Council lightyear105


MEET your


RRC’s new tool can help you make a perfect connection

One of the strongest benefits of being a CRS is networking with other like-minded agents. But often our agents want to go a step further and actively seek a longer-term, committed, mentor-mentee relationship. To make these connections easier to initiate and manage, the Council is rolling out a MentorBoard, a simple online tool that connects mentors and mentees. To join, users create their own login accounts and profiles to include all the information necessary to qualify them as a potential mentor, mentee or both. Users can add links to

external sites, such as blogs or publiSign up and meet your cations, to provide more details about match at CRS. their areas of expertise or interests. com/mentors. Mentors and mentees can search user profiles and initiate contact with one another via the MentorBoard. The email address of each user is kept confidential until a contact request is accepted, at which point email addresses are revealed to both users. Each user also has access to all the tools necessary to track activity and access resources that help foster a productive relationship.


Is it time for a new career challenge? Or maybe you’re looking to hire help to maintain more of a work-life balance where you are now. As an added benefit for members, now hosts a real estate-specific career center. The easy-to-use and intuitively designed career center is available on any device, where you can manage your profile, job listings, résumés and alerts from one place.

Looking for help? ÄÄ Place your job in front of our highly qualified members ÄÄ Search our résumé database of qualified candidates ÄÄ Manage jobs and applicant activity on-site ÄÄ Limit applications only to those who are qualified ÄÄ Fill your jobs quickly with great talent!

Looking for a career change? ÄÄ Post multiple résumés and cover letters, or choose an anonymous career profile that leads employers to you ÄÄ Search and apply to hundreds of fresh jobs ÄÄ Set up efficient job alerts ÄÄ Ask the experts advice, résumé writing, career assessment test services and more SolStock

MEET OUR NEW DESIGNEES Celebrate and acknowledge your peers in residential real estate who have recently earned the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Designation. Congratulations on achieving this prestigious designation! Their profiles have been added to, where you can find the profile information of all CRS Designees.


Anthony Amodeo, CRS Shawn Babbitt, CRS Pamela Ballenger, CRS Pamela Banks, CRS Scott Bell, CRS Brad Bergamini, CRS Fred Braun, CRS Kathleen Burt, CRS Meagan Campion, CRS William Cartwright, CRS Chase Chasteen, CRS

Lindsay Clarke, CRS Nancy Cole, CRS Dave Coleman, CRS Kim Correa, CRS Brian Cournoyer, CRS Glenda DeLillo, CRS Tiffany Dubose, CRS Lisa Frensley, CRS Scott Friestad, CRS Ed Geist, CRS Joshua Graham, CRS Ann Irons, CRS

Dustin Janzen, CRS Christine Joyce, CRS Kimm Kennon, CRS Lynette Krull, CRS Teri Lane, CRS Martha Marzolf, CRS Danielle Mazza, CRS Katie McCartney, CRS Anita McCracken, CRS Patricia McCullough, CRS Viki Melton, CRS Rocio Moore, CRS

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Use the career center to find help in your office, virtually or locally, or to see what other opportunities may be out there for you. Check it out at

Amy Mosher, CRS Anita Oxford, CRS Shannon Paton, CRS Gary Penitsch, CRS Brittany Rae, CRS Marshall Rich, CRS Christine Serafini, CRS Sheila Vancuren, CRS Kalani Versola, CRS Scott Wilson, CRS Troy Wilson, CRS

The Residential Real Estate Council


Nov Dec


RRC news from the council

SELL-A-BRATION 2020 are Join other CRSs for networking, education and fun you  in?

Year after year, members tell the Council they can’t wait for Sell-a-bration! In fact, a recent member survey shows that 83% of members who attend industry events say that Sell-a-bration is the most valuable to them. SAB provides them with unparalleled education and the best networking opportunities available to real estate agents today, which is no surprise when the best connect with the best. There’s nothing better than a referral from someone you know! With the annual conference taking place at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Florida, the event promises a little extra room for top agents to have fun and create memories with their favorite fellow CRSs and more. Did we mention Disney World was close by?

Keynote speakers guaranteed to light a fire Scott Stratten is a sales and marketing truth slayer known for his signature rebellious viewpoint of “unmarketing.” He is a best-selling author and was named a Top 5 Social Media Power Influencer by Stratten was inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame in 2018. In an industry where marketing yourself is an important factor, Stratten will help REALTORS® look at their methods and tactics in a different way and engage more in social and viral marketing.

Daniel Levine will share insights on how agents and teams can adapt to trends more quickly, gain inspiration from outside industries and use trends in the market to acquire and keep loyal customers to improve their bottom line. Levine has spoken in 326 presentations across 37 industries, is a best-selling author and global editor, and founder of the Avant-Guide Institute. So join us Feb. 13–16 in Orlando. To check out the schedule and register today, go to

Over the past year, the Council invested in enhancing the Find a CRS online directory. We aimed to improve Find a CRS, making it the highest-quality tool possible, reflective of the high-quality Certified Residential Specialists featured within it. A few improvements you can expect to find in the updated Find a CRS include: ÄÄ Additional search criteria. We’ve added neighborhoods to select cities. ÄÄ More real-time updates. Updates to your Find a CRS profile and your listings. ÄÄ In-house platform management. With more control, we can respond to consumer demands and evolve the platform to better fit the specific needs of our member users. This revision was a joint effort of volunteers and staff, led by the Find a CRS Presidential Action Group. The Council took all stakeholder feedback into consideration to ensure it meets the standards and expectations of our agents.

Nov Dec


The Residential Specialist

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from the

BEST strategies from the industry’s top educators


their attention Creating top-of-mind awareness for your brand By Kim Knapp

For your overall marketing plan, whether it is executed through social media or traditional farming methods, it’s important to find an effective way to capture people’s attention. Major industry brands have logos and messages that are simple and targeted—they know who their audience is and their messages are consistent. Real estate agents need a similar approach.



Sometimes in real estate marketing we focus too heavily on complicated listings or past sales. This information is valuable, but it isn’t going to capture the attention of someone who isn’t familiar with you as an agent. Look at your brand with a fresh eye or enlist the help of someone who can do that for you. Your marketing materials should have the equivalent of white space; they should be uncluttered and offer a clear, attractive message that motivates people to contact you for more information.


Kim Knapp, CRS, with Coldwell Banker Vanguard in Fleming Island, Florida, specializes in assisting seniors with home purchases as well as luxury listings. A seasoned CRS Certified Instructor, Kim has taught several courses, including 7 Things Successful Agents Do Differently and Converting Leads to Closings.

Nov Dec


Take a fresh look

Think of your audience first

Crafting that message means you must have a target audience in mind. A message geared toward millennials or young families may not resonate with seniors in a second-home market. Do your homework. Once you have experience with a certain market segment, focus on the key words that will help you start conversations.


Reaching the right people

Once you have a clear message, think about how best to reach your target audience. In the days before we had access to solid data, it was harder to direct specific messages to appropriate market segments. Use a service like Offrs, whose predictive analytics can provide the names of homeowners most likely to sell

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Consistency is the key, even when you are using multiple entry points to your target audience. in an area you want to farm. This allows you to target your message and save money. After you have been consistently presenting your brand for a long time, you might find people will come up to you and say, “I see your stuff everywhere!” While that isn’t strictly true, it will feel that way to your audience because you have created those consistent, identifiable impressions over time.


Keep customers engaged

Lastly, once you have a solid customer base, enact a plan to stay in front of them throughout the year. You want them to be repeat clients and to refer you to their friends and family. Think of it this way: If you have 50 people on your A-list and 30 of them refer prospects—and 20 make a deal with you—you would be doing four times better than the average REALTOR® who, according to NAR, sells five houses a year. So, if you can stay top of mind with 50 people and close 20 more transactions, would that make a difference to your bottom line?





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I went to Sell-a-bration in Las Vegas this past year and was on a panel about CRMs. One of the other panelists invited me to lunch with some other CRS attendees, where I made connections with great agents from around the country. I’ve kept in touch with them, and one sent me a referral a few months later for a buyer on a $1.975 million home and we are currently under contract! CONNECTION PERFECTION

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The Residential Real Estate Council


Nov Dec

RRC connect


expand your network

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 2019. For more up-to-date listings, visit To attend a class, please go to, locate the date of the course you would like to attend and follow the registration prompts.

7 Things Successful Agents Do Differently 11/1—Las Vegas, Nevada [Barrett Seminars] Instructor: Lee Barrett, CRS

Cyber Security: Protecting Your Business and Your Clients 11/21—New Smyrna Beach, Florida [New Smyrna Beach Board of REALTORS®] Instructor: Craig Grant

Generational Marketing: Innovative Strategies Across All Generations 11/6—San Francisco, California [REALTORS® Conference & Expo] Instructor: Mark Given, CRS

11/7—Landover, Massachusetts [Maryland/DC RRC] Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS

First-Time Home Buyer Specialist: A Blueprint for Success 12/9—Atlantic City, New Jersey [Triple Play REALTOR® Convention & Trade Expo] Instructor: Rich Sands, CRS

Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist 12/2 & 12/3—Broadview Heights, Ohio [Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS®] Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS











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The Residential Specialist

Nancy D. Metcalf, CRS Luxury Property Specialist RB-16599

CRS, GRI, SRES e-pro

Nov Dec

Barb Avery ...sharing Aloha through excellence and experience...

REALTOR®, Vice President

Joanne Foxxe 20 19

Seattle & the ‘Burb’s Serving Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Duvall, Lynnwood & Woodinville Managing Broker, CRS, GRI, I-Pro, SRES, WCR

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Relocation, city-wide to world-wide. Seniors Specialist/Estate Specialist Voted Best in Client Satisfaction multiple years —Seattle Magazine





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Win-Win Negotiation Techniques 11/15—Nashville, Tennessee [Greater Nashville REALTORS®] Instructor: Monica Neubauer, CRS Zero to 60 Homes Sales a Year (and Beyond) 11/4—Pleasanton, California [California RRC] Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS

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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 reuse the text of the articles contained in the newsletter, however.


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.



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 yourhomenewsletter.

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NORTHEAST Your referral source for the greater



I help clients make the Wright move CRS, CRS, GRI, PMN Nancy Wright, ABR, GRI

RE/MAX Realty Brokers 5608 Wilkins Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15217 x221 OFS: 412-521-1000 x170 CELL: 412-508-0040

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.

Nov Dec


The Residential Specialist

20 19

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

5 STEPS TO TIDY YOUR GARAGE As an area used for extra storage, your garage can become cluttered and unorganized— and fast! Looking at a messy space can be overwhelming, but here’s how to make it tidy.


a new bathroom Ø Feverpitched/jattumongkhon

Thinking about remodeling your bathroom? Before you start the often pricey process, consider these tips to help avoid flushing hard-earned cash down the drain.

ÄPlan Ä ahead. While hiring an architect or designer may seem like a costly move, having an expert help with remodel plans may be for the best. Working with a professional will help ensure that your budget and design are sensible, along with constructing a realistic timeline for the project. ÄDon’t Ä mess with pipes. You may be tempted to move sinks and toilets around, but that can be extremely expensive. Consider using existing plumbing fixtures to help rein in spending, as new pipelines can cost up to $5,000 each.

ÄTry Ä open shelving. Bathrooms have some of the smallest square footage of any room in your home. To open the room up, add open shelving units instead of installing expensive cabinets. ÄSalvage Ä away. A great way to save money is to use salvaged materials or furniture to upgrade your bathroom. Check out flea markets, garage sales, antique stores, resellers and auctions to get great deals on older, unused items. A salvaged piece of furniture makes a great focal point for your bathroom without breaking the bank.

1. Remove all items. This is an obvious but necessary step to ensure all areas get properly cleaned, including the floor, ceiling and walls. 2. What stays and what goes. Take a look at the pile of possessions outside of the garage and make some decisions on what absolutely must stay and what can be donated or thrown away. 3. Start scrubbing. Use a broom to clear cobwebs off walls or ceilings. Check windows and light fixtures to make sure everything is in working order. Start from the furthest inside point and sweep all debris to the front and out the door. Mop the floor to remove all the grime. 4. Painting the floor. A fresh coat of paint will help extend the overall life of your garage floor, while filling in any cracks. You shouldn’t need more than two to four cans of paint to cover the entire floor. 5. Keep it organized. Install shelving to keep items off the newly painted floor. Place items you’ll be storing long-term in the garage first, followed by the items you’ll be using more frequently placed toward the front. Make sure to stay on top of organizing to prevent another massive overhaul of your storage space!




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.


Tips and trends for homeowners, buyers and sellers


your basement You’ve moved into a home with an unfinished basement. You may be wondering if you should spend the money to finish it or leave it as is? Here are some common basement issues to think about before making the decision. ÄConstruction Ä details matter: Creating walkable spaces and having good drainage is important when finishing your basement, but these thoughts may get lost in the shuffle when remodeling. Aim to keep the ceilings 8 feet or higher to ensure comfortable ways to move around the basement. And make sure to seal all cracks in the foundation of your home to prevent flooding. French drains or a sump pump may be a necessary installation to keep your new basement dry.


ÄNot Ä all space is equal. Many homeowners think that finishing their basement will instantly improve the value of their home. But be aware, above-grade space is still deemed more valuable than its lower-level counterpart. For example, take two homes: Home A with 2,500 square feet, all above-grade, and Home B with 2,000 square feet above, and 500 below-grade. All else being equal, Home A will always be valued higher than Home B, something potential renovators should know.

ÄMost Ä popular features: When finishing your basement, it’s a good idea to figure out what elements you’d like to include in the design. Some popular ways to renovate include adding these features: an in-law suite, a home theater, a sports bar/man cave, a workout room/personal gym or a playroom for kids.

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% in the nation. Contact a CRS today. denphumi/Talaj







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CRS advice from your peers



When your clients want to write an offer, you may have to get it done ASAP. So where’s the craziest/weirdest place you’ve written an offer?

In the back of an Uber in Chicago, on the way to a Rolling Stones concert! —Beth Jaworski, CRS, Shorewest REALTORS®, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Hospital! —Lestel Meade, CRS, Century 21 Humpal Inc, Fort Collins, Colorado

I’ve negotiated from the top of a ski slope in Winter Park, Colorado! Got done, turned around and my family had left me! At that moment, I understood the need for work/life balance! —Holli Woodward, CRS, McGraw REALTORS®, Owasso, Oklahoma

My buyer had to catch an international flight home for Christmas. Cell reception at the airport was spotty at the time. I said, “Don’t call a taxi, I will take you. We negotiated back and forth as we drove and she signed on the dashboard before heading in to catch her flight! —Kelly Catallo, CRS, COSMOPOLITAN Real Estate Inc., Medford, Massachusetts

During the Inman conference in NYC. We negotiated straight through the night and ratified at 5 a.m. —Jessica Olevsky, Keller Williams Capital Properties, Rockville, Maryland Have a great story to share? Email or look for discussions happening online at our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Nov Dec


The Residential Specialist

20 19

Loaded question... unless you’ve been through the PA with that buyer already to thoroughly review all the terms of an offer, you need an hour (maybe more), so it’s always going to be someplace comfortable for a long discussion… —Sarah Marrinan, CRS, Keller Williams Premier Realty CRS, Vadnais Heights, Minnesota

I am retired Navy, so, of course, I have access to the naval base. I had a buyer client stationed aboard a ship and was on duty and a day away from deploying. So the sailor signed off on the purchase agreement and executed a power of attorney for his spouse. The paralegal, spouse and myself were all on the ship late into the evening. —Jesse Cordova, CRS, Beach Realty United, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Tailgate of my truck outside the subject property. —Jim Forbus, CRS, Krch Realty, LLC, Reno, Nevada Jennifer Borton/vladwel/vika/anyaberkut/zydesign

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This is home. It’s a place called confidence. It’s home because your clients feel positive and sure about the choice they’ve made. In partnering with you, they place their trust in your advice, counsel, and expertise to lead them there. Our commitment is to always be there for you, and them, on this journey home. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Profile for The Residential Specialist

The Residential Specialist, November/ December  

The Residential Real Estate Council provides superior education, exceptional networking opportunities and critical resources. The Council’s...

The Residential Specialist, November/ December  

The Residential Real Estate Council provides superior education, exceptional networking opportunities and critical resources. The Council’s...