The Residential Specialist, July/August 2020

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July/August 2020


Vol. 19, No. 4

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18 22 26 30

A new look! The Residential Specialist has been redesigned to deliver content you’ve asked for—with practical tips and easy-tonavigate features. over art: C Sylverarts

FEATURE CONTENTS 18 R eaching New Heights Aerial drone technologies are being leveraged by real estate professionals to assist with mapping and selling properties. By Donna Shryer

22 Stay Connected, No Matter Where Improved communication tools allow agents to reach their customers at any time and from any place. By Regina Ludes

The Residential Real Estate Council

26 T our de Force Agents can employ innovative technologies to provide prospective buyers with an enhanced open house experience. By Michelle Huffman

30 Don’t Wait— Automate! Automating tedious tasks can free up more time for agents to interact and connect with clients. By Matt Alderton


2 July/August 2020


Vol. 19, No. 4


Aerial View


igital Channel: Online classes, tools and D resources available from RRC.

Richard Waystack, CRS

Market Pulse 7

ersonal Perspective: Tonya Thompson, P CRS, Realty Executives Integrity, Brookfield, Wisconsin


how Your True Colors!: Advice on how S agents can use social media to create connections and boost sales. By Eric Schoeniger



9 12 48

12 Our New Online Life: As more work is moving online, establishing a virtual presence is key for real estate professionals. By Myrna Traylor

16 A t This Stage: New agents should seek advice and guidance from veterans in the field. 34 M arket Values Insights from industry data.

Specialized Knowledge 36 C ouncil Classroom: How to create and nurture an effective professional team. 38 I nnovations: Utilizing technology has emerged as the best way to serve new! clients’ needs. 39 W ide Angle: How to guide clients to seek advice from outside professionals when necessary. 40 Coaches Corner: The best way to navigate uncertain times is to add learning back into your routine.

Designation Nation 42 Your Own Council: RRC news and updates. 44 Ask a CRS: Advice from the country’s top agents.

Advertising Manager Chuck Gekas Director of Business Development 312.321.4443 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS The Residential Specialist is Matt Alderton published for Certified Residential Michelle Huffman Specialists, general members and Regina Ludes subscribers by the Residential Real Eric Schoeniger Estate Council. Donna Shryer The magazine’s mission is: To be Myrna Traylor a superior educational resource EDITOR Kimberly Cure 800.462.8841

2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Richard Waystack, CRS President-Elect Alex Milshteyn, CRS First Vice President Holli Woodward, CRS Immediate Past President Michael Burkhard, CRS Members Kim Cameron, CRS Maura Neill, CRS Dan Steward Greg Waldhour, CRS Jen Ward, CRS Chief Executive Officer Lana Vukovljak Staff Liaison Patricia Stodolny

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 (USPS0021-699, 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 PUBLICATION countries. All articles and paid MANAGEMENT advertising represent the opinions of the authors and advertisers, not the Council. Publishing Manager Phil Malkinson Art Director Ivette Cortes

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.

45 RRC Connect: Expand you network.

COPYRIGHT 2020 by the Residential Real Estate Council. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

48 B alancing Act: How to manage personal and professional responsibilities as summer heats up.

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The Residential Specialist

Reach your peak.

Joalice Ryan


Your success is our focus. Our team of dedicated Quicken Loans Agent Relationship Managers provides updates every step of the way on your clients’ mortgages, giving you more time to live the healthy lifestyle you want.

Quicken Loans, LLC; 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, LLC, 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 – 2020 Quicken Loans, LLC. All rights reserved. Lending services provided by Quicken Loans, LLC, a subsidiary of Rock Holdings Inc. “Quicken Loans” is a registered service mark of Intuit Inc., used under license.

4 July/August 2020

Aerial View

From the desk of Richard Waystack, CRS 2020 RRC President


V irtual checkins via Zoom helped you stay connected and even reconnect with members you haven’t seen in person for years.

s leaders, we need to be in tune with our members’ needs, and as an organization, we need to be agile and flexible. And RRC has proved to be such an organization as we’ve been able to rapidly respond to our members and show you that we care. RRC provided quick updates to various COVID-19 issues, pointed members to authoritative sources of information, and provided education and tools to help members during the crisis. When we attend events together, we create friendships and fellowship. During these challenging times when we are not attending events in person, we stay in touch with you as much as possible using a variety of platforms. We quickly made Zoom available to members so you can stay in touch with the Council and with each other. With so many members working from home, the virtual check-ins via Zoom helped you stay connected and even reconnect with members you haven’t seen in person for years. Certainly, virtual is not a substitute for in-person communication, but with a live online video presence, at least members can see one another, their smiles and their nods of acknowledgment—communication is enhanced, and it provides an opportunity to create an online fellowship.

And there are advantages for those who haven’t been involved because they’ve been too busy—they can now pop online for a quick chat. We don’t yet know what the “new normal” will be. We’re making greater use of electronic signatures and virtual showings, and you can show clients an aerial view of what’s around a home. The key is adapting! The Council adapted, too, by holding its May meetings virtually for the first time and bringing out new education programs and information such as CARES Act stimulus webinars to help members weather the pandemic. And that’s our job—to meet the needs of our members. Through RRC’s social media channels, everyone is supporting one another. The member-to-member empathy is extraordinary. Real estate is about three things: relationships, communication and trust—they carry through in all that we do. Keeping lines of communication open among the nearly 30,000 members leads to a sense of trust and builds relationships. The referral system has grown stronger during this period as members get to know one another better. And relationships are strengthening, with anticipation among members who are looking forward to seeing one another soon. We care deeply about our members. We don’t have an organization without our members. So we work hard to provide the tools and resources you need for your businesses to be successful. We’ll come out of this stronger—we’ll be better people and better professionals when this is done. TRS

The Residential Specialist

Photo: Chris Cook

Relationships. Communication. Trust.


6 July/August 2020 Digital Channel RRC strives to provide value to members in the digital space. Each issue of The Residential Specialist highlights classes, tools and other member resources available online.

Online resources for RRC members

RRC on Facebook


heck out the “Get to Know You” video from the RRC officers on the RRC Facebook page. Richard Waystack, CRS; Holli Woodward, CRS; Alex Milshteyn, CRS; Michael Burkhard, CRS; and CEO Lana Vukovljak share who their mentors are, their vision of work-life balance and more!

 Richard Waystack, CRS

RRC officers Q&A: These three questions were asked. Check out their responses.



 Holli Woodward, CRS

 Alex Milshteyn, CRS

 Michael Burkhard, CRS

 CEO Lana Vukovljak

3 The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE Tonya Thomsen, CRS, says most of her business is through referrals, which became so large she had to start a team to handle it.


Market Pulse Photo: Neu Photography




Learn to be authentic on social media rather than presenting a perfectly curated persona.

Understand why it is best to have an integrated online presence across all media.

Cultivating a relationship with a mentor will help you launch a thriving real estate career.




The Residential Real Estate Council



8 July/August 2020

Personal Perspective

Profiles of people to watch

Tonya Thomsen, CRS Realty Executives Integrity, Brookfield, Wisconsin

As soon as I took my first class, I realized how top-notch the education was and I was sold.

How did you become a REALTOR® and a CRS?

I came out of the corporate world; I have a BBA in Production & Operations Management. When I decided to make a change after 15 years, I went into real estate and I wanted to make it a career, not just a job. I was fortunate to be in an office with CRS Designees who took me under their wing. They said, “If you’re going to do this, this is how to do it right.” They came across to me as being very professional and knowledgeable, so when they suggested getting the CRS Designation, it made sense to me.

What aspect of CRS training really clicked for you?

Tonya Thomsen, CRS, achieved CRS Designation in 2005. She can be reached at TThomsen@Realty or 262-901-0866.

As soon as I took my first class, I realized how top-notch the education was and I was sold. Education was a big piece of the experience for me and still is. The fact that we have our own personal library is great. If I can’t get to a live webinar, it’s

there in my library to listen to later and refer to over and over again. If you are looking to improve or add something to your business, you can search the vast RRC library and purchase prerecorded webinars or online courses.

What is the best thing about your market?

I am in Waukesha, part of the metro Milwaukee market. I love the diversity of the housing here. I can work with single-family homes in the suburbs, the condos in our downtown or with the lake country area properties. And downtown Milwaukee has so much going on with theater, music and restaurants.

What marketing methods do you use to attract new clients?

The vast majority of my business is referral-based, and it got so large that I had to start a team to handle it. I also do some internet marketing and purchase leads from a few of the

websites popular with consumers, but I like to spend time training my team to build their own referral-based businesses as well. We touch base with the clients in our database through mail, email and phone calls two to four times a month.

What’s the best way to connect with current clients and your sphere of influence?

My favorite way to connect with people is through our client events. We used to do one big event per year, but now we have one per quarter. We’ve done duckpin bowling, a brewery tour, a day at the Milwaukee Zoo, played mini golf and more. It’s gone over so well that our clients are calling up to ask, “When is your next event?” A little while back, we did a shred fest—people could drive by and have their documents shredded. We are hoping to get in some other events this year, possibly a Brewers game, a tour of the Pabst mansion or dinner at the historic Wisconsin Club. Plus, each year we charter the Jingle Bus, which runs around downtown

Milwaukee to take in the holiday lights and offers a mini architectural tour.

Do you primarily work with buyers or sellers?

I prefer working with sellers because I can do that from anywhere. I do volunteer work within the real estate industry, including serving as an RVP for RRC, as well as for some nonprofit organizations. So I can be in Orlando at a national convention and still work for my sellers, and they don’t realize I’m not in the office. I also work with buyers, but these are strictly past clients or referrals. Often I will do an initial consultation and first showing, and then let one of my team members take the lead. I have a rock-star team. I tell new clients that they are lucky to be working with the Thomsen team because in a hot market, there is always someone available to quickly get them in to see a home and make sure they don’t miss out on the opportunity to get in an offer. In a soft market, we have the experience and knowledge to guide them and help them achieve their goal. TRS

The Residential Specialist

Sphere of influence Social


July/August 2020


Show Your True Colors! By Eric Schoeniger

S Victor_Tongdee/grafikazpazurem/rambo182

ocial media conventions lead some agents to present perfectly curated personas. But letting “the real you” shine through can create connections— and sales. If you’re like many agents, you get a lot of business through referrals. Social media allows you to expand that sphere of influence. But in our Photoshopped, Instagramoptimized era, some agents succumb to the temptation to post corporatized content and display perfectly coiffed lives. “Our goal is to attract connections with people who want to do business with us,” says Cheryl Ashurst, CRS, a broker associate for RE/MAX Properties 2 in Montgomery, Alabama. “Wouldn’t it be a tragedy for someone to find out the ‘real you’ isn’t who you presented yourself to be?” It’s not the medium, but the way you use it, believes Leslie Heindel, CRS, an agent for Crescent City Living in New Orleans. “I think some agents go to a seminar where someone tells them how to post,” she says. “But if you’re just doing what everyone else is doing, then it’s not the real you.”

The Importance of Being Earnest Authenticity has real value.

You become more approachable and trusted.

Your clients are more likely to be honest and trustworthy with you.

The Residential Real Estate Council

You stand out from the competition.

You contribute positively to the social media experience.

You stay true to your core values.

Clients are more willing to refer friends and family.

You make connections with clients that last.


Social media authenticity is about acting on your values and doing what you say you will.

Social Media

Sphere of influence

Want to stand out from the social media crowd? Follow these do’s and don’ts:


Decide why you’re online.

Do you want to overtly promote your business? Do you want to simply connect with people? A clear purpose will help you meet audience expectations. “We mix in real estate, but no one wants to just see that you have a new listing,” says Betty Cannon, CRS, a partner with Ashurst at RE/MAX Properties 2. “We’re natural encouragers, so we want to help people. And we attract clients with a similar mindset.”


Be honest.

Don’t try to make your life or business look perfect. Don’t oversell your capabilities and expertise. “When people tout all the good things they do all the time, without some semblance of humility, it gets old,” notes Anna May, CRS, REALTOR ®, a broker/owner for Realty World Neighbors in Hayward, California. Authenticity, on the other hand, lets people get to know you. “Then I’m no longer fighting for their attention, and they’re more likely to work with me,” Heindel says.

How can you create a strategy that works with your personality and strengths? Check out “Digital Marketing: Establishing a Social Media Brand” on CRS. com/catalogsearch.


Use your own voice.

Nobody likes corporate-speak. Your posts should sound the way you actually talk. “Agents juggle a lot of different tasks,” points out Donna Bruno, CRS, a real estate sales instructor for Coldwell Banker in Westchester County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. “So some may look to rely on predesigned content they can purchase. However, it doesn’t convey who they are. If people can identify with you, personally, your posts will resonate more.”


Have a conversation.

Remember, it’s social media. Don’t just talk. Listen and respond. Those personal interactions reveal the person behind the brand. “Talk about topics relevant to your clients right now—even if it’s not about real estate,” Bruno advises. “It will let them know you’re connected to their world.”


Post candid photos and videos.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. An undoctored photo is 1,000 times more authentic than a professional headshot. And be careful about posting highly filtered photos from 15 years ago that make you

THE GENUINE ARTICLE Which social media platforms are best for your bona fides? ff Facebook—The social media behemoth is probably the best designed to display your life and personality. f fLinkedIn—The professional platform offers a great forum for combining business with a glimpse of who you are.

ffTwitter—People tend to say what they think on Twitter. Don’t overdo it, but let the platform reflect what’s important to you. f fInstagram—“Insta” can be the land of Photoshop. Make sure your pics are real. f fYouTube—Videos are a superb way to spotlight the real you in living color. The Residential Specialist Sloop Communications/Ani_Ka

10 July/August 2020

July/August 2020 look younger or better than reality. The good impression you made online will be lost the moment your prospect meets you in person. Also consider videos, which can have even greater value. “Live-streaming a video leaves you vulnerable,” Bruno admits. “But it lets people see there’s a real person behind the business.”


Share hobbies and activities.

Love gardening? Hooked on Star Trek? Sharing interests will let you connect with people on a personal level—and gain their trust. “I’m known for sharing photos of old bathrooms,” Heindel says. “So when I meet new clients, they show me photos of their grandma’s bathroom.” Ashurst and Cannon created a Facebook group called Healthy Eating Montgomery. “Each week, we feature a local restaurant to show that you can find lots of places to enjoy a healthy lifestyle,” Ashurst says.


Avoid controversy.

Ashurst, Cannon, May and Bruno all advise keeping politics out of posts. But Heindel disagrees—with caveats. “I’m vocal about some political things, though not all,” she says. “You might scare off some clients. But they weren’t going to be a good fit for you anyway.” Still, it’s wise to avoid online arguments about controversial topics.


Follow through.

Show more than your personality. Demonstrate that you’re caring, professional and trustworthy. “I’ve become good at working with older clients who might be selling a home that has been in their family for decades,” May relates. “So I share those experiences online. I get a lot of referrals from this, and from their children and grandchildren.” “We talk about topics we care about, from breast-cancer awareness to providing clean water in poor countries,” Cannon says. “When you share content that’s dear to your heart, people know you’re being genuine.” Ultimately, social media authenticity isn’t just about appearing “real.” It’s also about acting on your values and doing what you say you will. That’s who you are. Make sure social media shows it. TRS The Residential Real Estate Council



First-timer Facts First-time homebuyer trends point to an expanded market in the near future. The National Association of REALTORS® reports that about 33% of all home purchases are made by first-time buyers. More importantly, this means that almost one-third of all homebuyers look for assistance from real estate agents. “There has been a lot of discussion in the marketplace that younger people today may not be as interested as prior generations in buying a home and being tied down to one location,” says Joe Mellman, senior vice president at credit bureau TransUnion. However, this may not be the case. A survey conducted by TransUnion in October 2019 showed that the average age of first-time buyers has gone down since the Great Recession, from 39 in 2010 to 36 in 2018. “Younger people may have in fact been deterred from home purchases by challenges they faced in the financially difficult times of the last decade,” Mellman explains. “While we’ve recently seen a boom in refi activity, actual homeownership rates are down,” Mellman says. “Challenges have included high home prices, sluggish wage growth and limited housing inventory.” TRS



of respondents believe that a high credit score is necessary to purchase a home.



of respondents believe a high down payment is required to purchase a home. Source: TransUnion

Number of first-time homebuyer originations over three-year periods (historical and projected)

Three-Year Date Range Millions of First-Time Homebuyers (Originations)


8.31 to










*Projection. **2019 data collection was not completed when chart data was published. Projection for 2019 is 2.7 million.

Source: TransUnion


12 July/August 2020

Online Presence

Communications tools

Our New Online Life By Myrna Traylor

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f anything has become abundantly clear because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s our reliance on the internet to make and maintain connections with friends, family, coworkers and clients. In her RRC course, Technology and Plans for Success, Monica Neubauer, CRS, sets out several principles that will help REALTORS® ensure that their online presence isn’t an afterthought, but an integral part of their client communications strategy. “Today’s clients and agents are heavy technology users,” Neubauer says. “We are all using online portals for banking, medical care and so forth. The downside is that REALTORS® are often more sophisticated consumers of technology tools than they are providers.” Neubauer argues that agents should remember that the tried-and-true ways of

CYBERSECURITY IS A MUST In your online communications, be sure to protect any client information. “You shouldn’t be getting sensitive data from your clients, but if you do have it, you must protect it,” says Monica Neubauer, CRS. She reminds agents in the RRC class she teaches that phishing scams are so believable. Agents need to watch what is coming to them and what is going out to clients. Agents’ personal safety and the safety of their business information is important as well. Use caution when using public Wi-Fi. “There could be hackers anywhere,” she says.

sustaining client relationships—phone calls, handwritten notes and other personal touches—will always be critical. There is no need to replace those approaches, but there are excellent tools that will make your business run more smoothly, and using the communications methods that are familiar to prospective clients is a great way to stay top of mind with them. She recommends that agents think about their online interactions this way: “It’s good to see you online, and someday soon it will be good to see you face-to-face. Our relationships are both face-to-face as well as online—it’s not just one or the other. Our online life is our life.”

Start smart

As a first, critical step to getting your technological house in order, Neubauer recommends a contact management system of some form. She encourages use of a CRM or some combination of Google and Google add-ons. Whatever it is, it needs to be digitized. “CRMs for real estate are such powerful tools,” she adds. This database is your internal pool of contacts. With that foundation, then you can work on your outward-facing messaging. “You need to be more intentional about your online presence,” Neubauer says. “You are creating an online reputation. What do you want it to be?” She adds that not having a professional photo online these days makes an agent look insecure and out of step with the market. “Many clients will look you up online. Some of the most thorough investigators are retired clients—they have the time! Younger people do a quick Google search. If they don’t see you or think you don’t have online savvy, they will think you won’t be able to market properties in this virtual environment.” It would be good to start with a written plan that covers all your social media, blogs, The Residential Specialist OrnRin/ferrantraite

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July/August 2020


Establish your brand by having a consistent look, color scheme and photos across all platforms.

Tackling Your Online Makeover Even seasoned users should go through all profiles to make sure they “don’t look hodge-podgey,” says Monica Neubauer, CRS. “Even though my LinkedIn profile is quite good, it could be better!” So she is taking a class on ways to improve it. One bit of advice: Everything counts. Highlight what you do best and what your strengths and competencies are. You want your profile to look professional, but you don’t have to look sales-y, she says. Include a good, clear photo of yourself; your banner should have your contact numbers and address; and repeat your profession. Canva is a great app to help you with consistency in your graphics for different platforms.

The Residential Real Estate Council


14 July/August 2020

Online Presence

emails, YouTube channel and website, even if you don’t stick to it religiously. Establish your brand by having a consistent look, color scheme and photos across all platforms. And remember to use photos that you took yourself or that you have legal permission to use.

Keep up the good work

Newer or less experienced agents need to construct high-quality profiles on LinkedIn, Zillow and Facebook to show you are online and can use online tools. If you are a seasoned or advanced user of these platforms, feel free to add more. “The important thing is to use the platform you feel most comfortable with,” Neubauer explains, “but we don’t use all of them all the time. You don’t want your online presence to look stale. That’s why a good professional profile setup will last you a long time on a less frequently used platform.” In addition, build a schedule to ensure that you circulate through all your profiles to check that they are all attractive and up to date. Engaging on social media is so important that it is critical to take the time to have a professional

Communications tools presentation. Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms for connecting with current or past clients. Sending birthday wishes and acknowledging clients’ life events on social media are ways to stay top of mind. As time goes by, you can add ads and/or video—just keep your presence active and growing. If you use social media well, for instance, by posting virtual open houses or listing market stats, clients will be reminded that you are connected in the real estate industry. And if you are interesting or witty, all the better. Just recognize that consumers are looking for engaging, relevant content that is both honest and sincere. “The days of ‘anything goes’ posts just to be posting are waning,” Neubauer cautions. People like to see interesting, authentic ideas and photos. If you share others’ content, add your thoughts about why you think it is valuable. If what you are doing with your online presence is working for you, that is fine. But you should know that consumers are looking to see agents— especially CRSs—who perform at a high level, and we should always be seeking to improve our business in order to meet that expectation.” TRS


Controlling Interior Humidity

 A hygrometer can be used to measure humidity—the amount of water vapor in the air.

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

High humidity in the home can cause more than discomfort, as excessive moisture can cause mold and mildew growth. When combined with warm temperatures, this can also allow dust mites to thrive. The causes of high relative humidity (RH) levels are varied. Showers, clothes dryers, steam from cooking and splashing from tubs and sinks are common causes of increased humidity. Plumbing leaks, poor ventilation and other structural and systemic issues are also likely culprits. If not addressed, excessive moisture can lead to odors, wood rot, damage to painted surfaces and even structural damage. To determine if a home has elevated RH, first measure it using a hygrometer, which is readily available at hardware stores. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, keeping indoor humidity below 50% is best for warmer months, while levels as low as 30% are acceptable during colder weather. Take measurements in various parts of the home to determine if high RH is localized to certain rooms or areas such as the basement or attic, or if the levels are elevated throughout the home.

Using exhaust fans to ventilate bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens can reduce RH. Fans should be installed to vent to the outdoors. Odors and pollutants will be removed along with the moisture. Exhaust fans should be used to rid the room of moisture-laden air, and limit condensation on walls, ceilings and other surfaces. Portable dehumidifiers can be used effectively in locally damp spaces such as a basement. Dehumidifiers work best at minimum temperatures of 65°F/18°C. If the space is cooler than this, the unit may ice up, but some models have an automatic shutoff function. The manufacturer will state the square footage appropriate for each model. A unit with insufficient capacity will not reduce humidity to desired levels and will waste energy. Find and fix local sources of excessive moisture, such as a leak in a basement. When the source of moisture is eliminated, RH in that area should fall. Be sure that clothes dryers vent outdoors, and check the hose leading from the dryer to the exterior vent to make sure it is clear of lint and other debris. Controlling household humidity can add to the comfort and well-being of the people who live there and the home itself. TRS The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020


Who Do You Choose? For homebuyers, selecting an agent can be difficult and unsettling. Who can be trusted with personal information? Who is looking out for their best interests? These are questions that buyers are asking—and worrying about—throughout the purchasing process. The National Association of REALTORS® has released its 2019 Report of Home Buyers and Sellers, touching on a variety of real estate statistics, from characteristics of purchased homes to how buyers financed their purchases. In the report, NAR also asked questions about the relationship between buyers and their agents. The data suggests that buyers overwhelmingly prefer to purchase a home with the assistance of a real estate

agent. It also shows that agents are very successful at establishing trust with their clients right out of the gate. This leads to future recommendations, resulting in more business for REALTORS®. TRS



89% fizkes

89% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker, and 5% purchased directly from a builder or builder’s agent.

90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.

52 %

52% of buyers said that having an agent to help them find the right home was what they wanted most when selecting an agent.

The Residential Real Estate Council

75% of buyers interviewed only one real estate agent while searching for a home to purchase.




16 July/August 2020

At This Stage

Business solutions for CRSs at all stages of their careers

In this issue, NEW! the new lifestage article in The Residential Specialist focuses on the role of a mentor in assisting new members to establish their real estate careers.

Everyone T Needs a Great Mentor

ake a few minutes to reminisce about your earliest days in real estate. Did it feel overwhelming, or did someone show you the ropes and guide you to success? Were you inspired by someone? The real estate industry is a challenging one, and you can feel isolated as you run and grow your own business. New agents who are doing all the right things can still struggle for years to get their heads above water. Even real estate veterans may encounter new challenges due to changing trends. The Residential Specialist zonadearte

While some members of the Residential Real Estate Council may be industry veterans, others are just a few years into their real estate profession. The Council prides itself in providing education, networking and business development solutions to residential real estate agents at all phases of their careers. We are adding a column to The Residential Specialist that caters to those different career stages and offers solutions to challenges that agents will encounter along the way.

July/August 2020 “You can learn something from everyone Cultivating a successful relationship who you work with,” she says. with a mentor helps tremendously by You can be a mentor at any stage of life— enhancing your ability to launch a long, whether you’re a seasoned professional sharthriving real estate career, and it’s a mutuing advice with someone starting out in the ally beneficial association. industry or a successful millennial helping For the 2020 president of the Council, some industry veterans with technology and Richard Waystack, CRS, his mentor was his learning new skill sets. Regardless of age, father. Richard wanted to be a real estate ability or experience, agent-to-agent mentoragent like his dad, but didn’t think he had ing can be the most valuable resource when it what it took to sell anyone a home. “My dad comes to improving skill sets and achieving looked at me and said, ‘You’ll never sell success in the real estate industry. anyone a home; you can assist them, you A quick Google search will lead you to can give them information and you can help them achieve their needs for housing.’” This hundreds of articles and opportunities for statement has stuck with Richard his entire real estate mentors. With so much demand, have you thought about turning yourself life and has shaped his success. into one? Some people fear that they will be A mentor may be someone in your family, training their competition, but that doesn’t or it may be several people you encounter have to be the case. You can connect with throughout your career. Lana Vukovljak, someone who isn’t in your market and grow CEO of the Residential Real Estate Council, is grateful to have learned from many people. your network at the same time.


Have You Checked Out RRC’s MentorBoard? Being a mentor reinforces a core value of RRC—relationships. Every step of a career journey is impacted by access to resources and opportunities. RRC has launched a MentorBoard, which is an easy-to-use platform for agents seeking mentorship and those interested in mentoring to connect with each other.

In addition to knowing you’ve helped someone, mentoring provides the following benefits: Collaborate with other professionals. The more you reach out to help others, the more others will trust your ability and professionalism to serve the clients they refer to you. Become better at what you do. “While we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca. In modern times, this is called the protégé effect. When you help and teach others, you ingrain that information into yourself as well. You use your own advice and apply it more effectively. Discover new professional opportunities. The more people you help, the more you are viewed as an industry expert. This could lead to new avenues for reaching potential clients or opportunities to speak at conferences. If you mentor enough, it could even become a business in teaching people how to navigate and grow their careers. Expand your network. A big part of a real estate agent’s business is referrals. When you mentor someone, you open yourself up to a whole network of new people who could introduce you to more opportunities down the road—especially since this is the digital age and so many successful mentor relationships can take place through technology. TRS The Residential Real Estate Council

For more information about the RRC MentorBoard, visit

18 July/August 2020 C





Tom Ward, CRS, from Park City, Utah, has a license to pilot drones and provided this image. He emphasizes the importance of keeping drone videos short for greater impact. (The drone was added to this image for purposes of illustration.)

The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020


REACH new heights

By Donna Shryer Leonid Eremeychuk (Drone)

Some 20 years ago, Mary Biathrow, CRS, was asked to help sell a friend’s 77-acre island in the Bahamas.

Now a broker with Berkshire Hathaway York Simpson Underwood, serving the North Carolina markets of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, Biathrow recalls the process back then. “First, I looked for ways to get aerial footage. Our only option was to hire a photographer who could capture images from a helicopter. It was expensive, photograph angles were limited and the quality was grainy—but aerial footage was imperative, so we took what we could get,” Biathrow says. The next step was to find a local agent to work with. Fast forward to the drone’s initial swoop into the real estate industry and Biathrow was first in line to try out the new technology. “I knew from my earlier experience what a powerful story aerial shots tell. Plus, drones brought the cost down considerably and gave us a beautiful range of photo angles and quality. I was sold from the start,” she says. In addition to professional endorsements, there are a few stats worth citing. According to MLS statistics, home listings that include aerial images sell 68% faster than homes with only standard images. There’s also a telling study conducted by SoldByAir, a company that specializes in drone services for the real estate industry.

f f83 % of home

sellers prefer to work with an agent using drones.

ff53 % of properties � High-volume agents with more than use aerial footage 3.5

The Residential Real Estate Council

2 acres include drone footage.

times more often than low-volume agents.

Home listings that include aerial images sell



faster than homes with only standard images. Source: MLS

20 July/August 2020



Make it count

For the latest on regulation and legislative efforts on the use of drones, please go to

Everyone agrees that drones, also called unmanned aircraft systems or UAS, capture breathtaking aerial views of a home’s exterior and landscaping. At the same time, though, it’s important to note that there can be too much of a good thing. “Drone photography has to make sense. That may mean editing out 10 minutes of video the drone captured while flying over a home’s roof, which in most cases adds nothing,” cautions Tom Ward, CRS, REALTOR® with Windermere

 The FAA regulates aerial activities in the U.S. Since drones appeared, the FAA has issued laws and rules to make drones safe for everyone.

Luxury homes with spectacular acreage, amazing views and architectural magnificence may be the go-to focus for aerial footage, but there are additional ways to use a drone. Here are a few lesserknown but highly effective tips.


Real Estate in Park City, Utah. With a license to fly drones and a passion for aerial footage, Ward learned from experience to select just enough drone shots to protect the technology’s wow factor and truly enhance a home’s story. And it’s best to resist a “long story.” For maximum viewer engagement, Wistia Inc., a video-software company, puts a video’s sweet spot at two minutes, with a significant drop in engagement for every second after that. So it bears repeating that at a certain point, even the most amazing footage can lose its impact with overuse. It’s also important to remember that drone shots are meant to complement—not replace— beautiful photographs, Ward says. “Professional photographs and videos still have a place when promoting a property.” For example, he adds, mixing carefully focused, fixed-position photography with drone footage can actually increase the aerial shots’ wow factor.

If it’s not a selling point, don’t feature it in an aerial video. It’s sound advice from Verna Littleton, CRS, broker with Kaizen Realty, LLC, in Memphis. “I had this beautiful home with a very small backyard, and I knew that an aerial shot would show just how small the backyard was. So I edited out the backyard footage and focused on the front of the home. I certainly wasn’t trying to hide the backyard, but it made no sense to feature it, either.” Biathrow offers another drone dilemma. “I had one listing in a heavily wooded area and from an aerial view, you simply couldn’t see the home through the dense trees. So I passed on the drone and went with traditional photography, which gave us a beautiful shot.”

The Residential Specialist JTSorrell/AlenaMozhjer

Should REALTORS® invest in their own drone or work with a professional? There doesn’t appear to be a right or wrong answer—providing a REALTOR® has sufficient time, training and passion to successfully work with drone technology. “I actually own my own drone, but I don’t use it for professional work,” says Cindy Hope, CRS, broker/REALTOR® with Allen Tate Realtors and serving the Charlotte metro area and upstate South Carolina. “There are so many FAA rules and regulations to know. There are also no-fly zones. And like any art form, good drone photography takes talent and dedication. I strongly suggest hiring a dedicated, licensed and insured professional—unless aerial photography is your passion and you’re qualified.” Tom Ward, CRS, REALTOR® with Windermere Real Estate in Park City, Utah, completely agrees, which is why he does own and fly his own drone for professional needs. “I live in an amazing place, and getting the right view to promote a listing is a passion of mine. But it’s not for everybody,” he says. “If you don’t really want to invest the time and money, I would absolutely recommend using a professional drone photographer.”

July/August 2020


ing beyond the obvious 2 Share a dramatic, sought-after view, regardless of the property’s price point. Ward recalls using a drone to promote what he refers to as “a newer, modest home” with a spectacular view of Mount Timpanogos. “That’s the view everyone wants here. So I flew the drone about 20 to 30 feet up to get a beautiful shot of

the home with this amazing view.” It turns out that flying a drone only 20 or 30 feet high helps capture a realistic view, as if sitting in a home’s living room. “Flying 300 or 400 feet in the air, just because you can, could backfire,” Ward says. “It may end up looking like a satellite view— and then you lose the drama.”


Share your drone experience in listing presentations. “I’ve landed several listings after sharing one of my videos with aerial footage,” Biathrow says. “I think home sellers really want to know that I’ll use the latest technology—like drones— to promote their home.”


Promote a home’s neighborhood. Cindy Hope, CRS, broker/REALTOR ® with Allen Tate Real Estate and serving the Charlotte metro area and upstate South Carolina, uses a drone to spotlight a property’s proximity to nearby features. “I had a listing in a highly desirable area that was in close proximity to a lake. However, this particular home was not lakefront property, so it had no pier or dock in the backyard that I could show in a traditional photo. I needed a

drone to explain how close the home was to the lake.” Hope also suggests using drones to showcase a home’s location within trending urban areas. For instance, an aerial view could show a listing’s reasonable distance from the city’s downtown business or entertainment district—a benefit often appreciated by first-time, younger homebuyers. “Many times I use a drone to promote a home’s location rather than the property itself,” Hope says.

The Residential Real Estate Council


Drone footage attracts mid-range homebuyers. Using drones solely to promote luxury homes is “missing the boat,” Littleton says. “When a firsttime homebuyer is looking online, starter home photographs can begin to look alike. Then they come to my listing with this great aerial view— maybe promoting that this mid-range home is on a quiet cul-de-sac, has a big backyard or is around the corner from a wonderful park. The view may not be dramatic, but in this price range, the drone shots set my listings apart.

And more often than not, offers are above listing price.” Ward offers one final tip that has nothing to do with promoting a property—but it could lead to a new client or strong reference down the road. “When I’m taking aerial footage of a client’s home, the neighbors sometimes get upset. Take the time to introduce yourself to the neighbors, let them know what you’re doing and tell them how much you respect their privacy. Assure them that your drone is not looking inside their home. A little respect goes a long way.”TRS

 These photos were taken by Next Door Photos’ C.J. Phipps to show the proximity to Lake Norman—a highly desirable lake area.

22 July/August 2020

Stay connected, no matter where By Regina Ludes


When Judy Poitevent, CRS, started her real estate company WATERStreet Realty, LLC, in Excelsior, Minnesota, five years ago, she eschewed the traditional website in favor of a Facebook business page. The Facebook site allows people to share and comment on her posts, which frequently prompts a dialogue leading to a business partnership.





The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020 “I think most agent websites are too static it to the inside of her wrist, the other person and don’t allow for interaction with visitors,” can’t see her messages. “I don’t have to Poitevent explains. “I also realized that interrupt the meeting to dig my phone out many of my clients were finding me on from my purse, and the other person in the Facebook rather than through other sites.” meeting doesn’t feel that I’m not paying As real estate technology continues to attention to them,” she says. evolve, agents are under pressure to keep up with the changes. According to the National Association of REALTORS ®, 46% of real estate brokers have difficulty keeping up with the latest technology. In spite of that difficulty, agents like Poitevent understand that the best communications tech tools aren’t necessarily the newest or the most expensive, but rather they are existing technologies that are being used in different ways, and sometimes in tandem with other platforms. Before settling on a certain technology, agents need to understand their clients’ communications needs and preferences. Once you know how they want you to connect with them—and how often—you can use technology more effectively to build a profitable long-term partnership. “Don’t pick the technology first,” cautions Mark Porter, CRS, broker/owner with Castle Hills Real Estate in Lewisville, Texas, and “Using video gives my messages a human an RRC instructor. “Focus on how you want face and a voice,” says Mark Handlovitch, to stay in touch with people, then pick the CRS, an associate broker with RE/MAX tools that help you do that.” Real Estate Solutions in Pittsburgh. “While most agents may send a text message or mail a card to wish someone happy birthday, a video message makes the client feel like they’re talking to a real human being.” When driving He also likes the immediacy and convearound the nience that videos provide. “When a lead suburbs of reaches out to me, I can record a message Minneapolis, while I’m at my son’s hockey game and send Poitevent it to that person within minutes after their doesn’t have initial contact,” he says. Some prospects to constantly check her smart- may be hesitant when they first approach you, though they may still want the human phone for messages because her Samsung touch, he adds “With the humanizing smartwatch does it for her. Equipped with element of video, they can enter the relaa separate phone line, the watch enables Poitevent to receive text messages from clients tionship at their own pace.” Handlovitch sends the videos via email or if they can’t reach her on her smartphone. text messages using the platform Bombbomb. “I won’t answer my phone while I’m The all-inclusive platform has email trackdriving, which may be unsafe, but if I get a message on the watch that I need to respond ing and screencast capabilities similar to older programs he used, such as Yesware and to, I’ll send a thumbs up emoji so the client Screencast. With Bombbomb, Handlovitch knows I got their message,” says Poitevent. uses one platform to do most of his marketing The smartwatch is handy during Poiteand administrative tasks more efficiently. vent’s face-to-face meetings, too. By rotating

The human side of video metamorworks/NguyenDucQuang

It’s all in the wrist

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 Communicate more effectively with these powerful email tools from BombBomb: ffVideo ffTracking ffScheduling ffCanned responses ffReminders ffEmail marketing


24 July/August 2020 Recently, he began using Prompt, customized for RE/MAX agents to send pre-formatted emails to clients for birthdays and anniversaries. “The platform alerts me when an email is scheduled to go out and prompts me to add video if I want to,” explains Handlovitch. Since so many other platforms are integrated into Bombbomb, Handlovitch says he’s been able to reduce the number of individual platforms he uses.


Mark Porter, CRS, with Castle Hills Real Estate in Lewisville, Texas, who teaches “Technologies to Advance Your Business” and other RRC courses, offers these tips for using technology to connect with your clients.


keep in mind the client’s preferred method of communication. Communicate with clients and prospects in the way they prefer to be contacted, not your own preference.

 Homelight generates referrals for agents that use its network. It uses a proprietary algorithm to match homebuyers and sellers with agents.


choose the technology first. Keep your focus on staying in touch with people, then select the tool that best helps you do that.




of real estate brokers have difficulty keeping up with the latest technology. Source: NAR

use multiple methods of communication. A single message can be distributed in several different ways, and each client has their preferred method for receiving it.

Matchmaking for agents Rebecca Carter, CRS, with eXp Realty in Knoxville, Tennessee, touts the advantages of HomeLight, an online platform that matches agents with clients. “HomeLight gets me in front of buyers and sellers that I would never have met because many of them are out of state and aren’t within my sphere,” says Carter. HomeLight interviews clients to determine their specific housing needs. Then it uses an algorithm to determine which three agents are the best fit for the client and sends a message to those agents for follow up. In the five years she has used HomeLight, the leads have paid off consistently in closed transactions, and in some cases, friendships. While she pays a 25% referral fee for leads, it is only paid if and when she closes a deal.


be too easily enticed by the newest flashy tech tools on the market. Before buying new or upgrading an existing platform, consider if it will benefit your relationship with clients.


create a hyperlocal presence in your market. Be visible in your community. When participating in local events, take live video or photos to share on your website to show your involvement in the community.


waste money on technologies that don’t produce the best results. If your lead generation platform isn’t producing quality leads, discontinue using it.

The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020


Connecting with social media When using social media, Poitevent keeps her interactions casual and avoids discussing private matters. She never shares photos of sold properties that include the buyer’s image or name and she never posts documents and agreements. “It would break my confidentiality agreement with my clients,” says Poitevent. Carter’s how-to videos on Instagram provide helpful advice to her clients, such as how to polish kitchen cabinets or how to remove spots from carpets. “I like to give followers insight into my personality so they feel more comfortable about working with me,” Carter says. With so many technology options available, agents may be tempted to check out as many of them as possible to better themselves and their business, Carter says. But don’t let

 Rebecca Carter, CRS, uploads videos to Instagram that contain useful information and advice to establish a closer relationship with her clients.

the technology get in the way. “You have to remind yourself that the focus is still on the client,” Carter says. Another danger is automating activities to a point that you don’t think about what you’re doing and why. “Technology can push us to do things in a robotic manner,” says Porter. “But real estate is still a relationship business, and technology is supposed to help us stay in touch.” TRS

100 80




Agent communication preferences Source: Real Estate in the Digital Age, 2019 Report, National Association of REALTORS®

60 noLimit46



20 0

Text messaging


The Residential Real Estate Council


Instant messaging

27% Postal mail

For guidance on technologies for effectively working with today’s connected consumers, check out the “Technology and Plans for Success” classroom course starting in August. Go to catalogsearch for more information.

26 July/August 2020

TOUR de force






Using a digital sign-in technology can enable automated post-event touchpoints.


The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020

By Michelle Huffman

Imagine this: You and your buyers walk into an open house, sign in digitally and instantly receive emails with packets of detailed information about the property.

You see digital displays with a video about the neighborhood and your clients scroll through pictures of the house, virtually staged in various styles. Though you’ve already seen a 3D or virtual reality (VR) tour of the home, you still have questions for the agent—or Alexa, which answers your questions about mechanics or room size as you stroll through the home. After you leave, your clients want to take one more look at the master bath, so the listing agent connects with the clients via FaceTime from the room. Later, you automatically receive follow-up emails and texts about the status of the property. This is the open house of the near future, designed to use technology to maximize the buyer experience before, during and after the event and encourage buyers to make higher offers, faster. onurdongel/ilbusca

Open house tech gets an upgrade

Across the country, more agents are utilizing open houses, thanks to the inclusion of open house marketing on the MLS, which then pushes that information out to sites like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin. Buyers who start their search online can find open houses to their hearts’ content—but these same buyers expect a tech-friendly open house experience. Tech-friendly open houses benefit agents, too, bringing them more and better data about potential buyers. “A lot of our success has been driven by embracing new technology,” says Michael Repka, CRS, and CEO of Deleon Realty in Palo Alto, California, where the price points of his listings justify his investment in lavish, unique open houses and the accompanying tools to pull them off. Following are some technology upgrades to enhance your open houses. The Residential Real Estate Council


Designation Maintenance Article Meet your Designation Maintenance requirements today! Read this article and “Our New Online Life” on p. 12, take a 10-question quiz and earn 2 credits. Go to to get started.

Redfin found homes with open houses sell faster and for more, but the price ratio varies by market.  Difference Between Average Sale-to-List Price Ratio for Homes With vs. Without Open Houses (Percentage Points)

+7.9 points

+4.6 points

+1.4 points





28 July/August 2020 To Do or to Ditch?

Some agents argue an open house is not an experience worth upgrading—or even having—at all. According to a recent NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, about half of buyers say they go to open houses “rarely or not at all” and only 14% say they attend them frequently. Yet, recent Redfin data shows that homes with open houses sell faster, and for more money, than homes without them—on average, a home with an open house sells for $9,046 more and spends seven fewer days on market.

 Animoto is a video building app that can help agents market their properties virtually.



One of the most popular open house upgrades is a digital sign-in sheet that integrates with your CRM. This eliminates errors born of illegible handwriting, allows for personalized sign-in questions, and reduces the manual work of organizing and following up with these contacts. Open house pros can often automate some marketing and post-event touchpoints, including posting to social media, emailing visitors detailed information, soliciting feedback and sharing status changes, directly through the program.

 Agents can use HomePass to check in visitors with just a few taps, and it allows for impactful conversations with a full customer profile.

SAMPLE SOLUTIONS f fSpacio f fOpen Home Pro


ffHomePass ffOpen House Wizard


Video is a powerful promotional tool: Some agents carry out full open houses through Facebook Live. Others are chunking up their tours into bite-size pieces for Instagram stories. Pat Monahan, CRS, with West USA Realty in Mesa, Arizona, posts a Facebook Live teaser video of a home’s best features to market the open house, and then another to kick off the open house. Produced videos are also popular, especially when they are unique— like Repka’s house tours in which he dresses up in the clothes of the period when the house was built or meets a mermaid poolside.

SAMPLE SOLUTIONS f fVideolicious

f fAnimoto

 An all-in-one solution, Ricoh Theta empowers real estate agents to wow clients with beautiful virtual tours.


3D & virtual tours

3D home tours, which offer the best sense of a home’s layout, flow and details without the intrusion of photo editing, have exploded in popularity, particularly as the spread of COVID-19 effectively shut down open houses, and it’s likely their popularity will remain after the virus’ impact diminishes. Addie Owens, CRS, and CEO of Touchstone Real Estate in Central Florida, and her team own two 3D cameras, a Matterport and a Ricoh Theta V (both pay for themselves, but the Theta V offers excellent quality for 1/10th of the Matterport price, Owens says). Using these cameras, her team creates the 3D tour and narrates a walkthrough of it on a listing’s microsite. VR is on track to become a nearly $30 billion industry this year, and its application to real estate is appealing. According to Coldwell Banker, 77% of buyers want to take VR tours of homes before seeing them. However, many agents still haven’t found the tipping point on its value. “We’ve toyed with some areas of augmented reality (AR) and VR, but we haven’t found them to be seamless enough yet,” Repka says, adding that people get distracted by the technology and don’t really see the home.

SAMPLE SOLUTIONS ffMatterport ffRicoh Theta

f fVPiX360

The Residential Specialist



July/August 2020


An increasingly common tactic for remote buyers is to have a local agent tour the home and broadcast the tour over a video chat service. Kelly Crowe, CRS, with Baird & Warner in Geneva, Illinois, recently took an Alaskan buyer through the whole purchasing process of a condo entirely on FaceTime, capturing every possible angle and then relaying all aspects about the property during the home inspection. “This is very beneficial for sellers and buyers who can get in and see a house when they’re remote, or even for local clients whose schedules don’t allow for an onsite tour,” she says. “We just need to be more cognizant and willing to use these tools that we have at our disposal.”

SAMPLE SOLUTIONS ffFaceTime ffGoogle Duo


f fFacebook Messenger

Smart speakers as tour guides

Anyone with a smart speaker in their home knows they can ask Alexa just about anything and get an answer. Savvy real estate agents are using these devices to help guide potential buyers through a home, which is especially helpful during busy open houses when buyers may have more questions than the listing agent has time to answer. Using pre-existing Alexa Skills or by programming their own using a Blueprint on Alexa (it’s actually not that hard!), agents can provide pre-programmed questions and answers about the size of the room, the age of mechanicals, when upgrades took place, what the neighborhood is like, etc.

SAMPLE SOLUTIONS ffTalk to the House ffCustom Q&A Amazon Blueprint

f fAgent NEO f fMy Open House

The Residential Real Estate Council

As technology grows, downsides emerge

 Agent NEO is a new Amazon Echo app that connects agents with leads and allows them to easily book showings.

Even as all these options bring new ways to engage buyers with a home, they also produce situations where buyers or sellers may not want to be engaged. Agents report instances of a Ring video doorbell picking up conversations of agents and buyers strategizing about offers at the front stoop. 3D tours offer the same kind of access to a home’s layout and a hint of items inside that could allow nefarious actors to virtually case the place, especially if they aren’t removed after closing. With the impact of COVID-19, it’s even possible that these upgrade technologies eventually undo real-life open houses or at least minimize their need, and may even minimize the number of showings agents conduct. Whether that is ultimately a good or bad thing remains to be seen. TRS

 Google Duo is a high-quality video calling app. It’s free, easy to use, and works on both Android and iPhone platforms, tablets, computers and smart displays.

To better under- stand virtual and augmented reality and how you can benefit, check out the webinar “Virtual and Augmented Reality in Real Estate” on CRS. com/catalogsearch.

30 July/August 2020 C






automate! By Matt Alderton

In real estate, automation represents both a threat and an opportunity. On one hand, startups like REX want to automate real estate transactions in ways that replace human REALTORS®. Yet on the other hand, REALTORS® are subjugating the very weapon that’s being used against them, reclaiming it in ways that might actually make them more resilient to its assaults. REALTOR® Mike DelRose Jr. explains. “There’s a lot of fear about industries fully automating and kicking workers to the curb, but real estate is one of those industries that needs a human-to-human connection,” says DelRose, director of marketing for The Mike DelRose Team, a RE/MAX Revolution office in Watertown, Massachusetts. “Buyers and sellers can be very emotional beings, and they want a human in the loop to advise them. So in my opinion, REALTORS® aren’t going to be automated out of a job. But we can use automation to streamline day-to-day processes in ways that free us up to do what we’re best at, which is interacting with people.”

Simply put: If you want to protect your business from automation, perhaps the best thing you can do is embrace it.

Automation essentials

Automation is a means to an end—and that end is speed. “Automation is having a process that allows routine things to be done more quickly,” explains productivity consultant Frank Buck of Pell City, Alabama. “Even before the days of technology, people sat down and thought about the things they did every day, every week or every month, and came up with processes that allowed them to do those things very quickly. That’s automation.” Echoes Ben Heinrich, CRS, broker associate at The Heinrich Team, Coldwell Banker office in Carmel, California, “‘Automation’ comes from the term ‘automatic.’ It’s about breaking a process down into steps, and automatically moving through those steps when a given situation comes up.” A self-described “analog head,” Heinrich’s favorite automation tool is the humble checklist. “We have a checklist for everything,” he says. “For example, if we have a price reduction, there’s a price reduction The Residential Specialist cnythzl/CSA-Plastock

The robot revolution has begun, and there’s no stopping it now. In fact, almost half of today’s work activities could be automated by 2055, according to global consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

July/August 2020


32 July/August 2020

Masterful marketing

Although you can achieve basic automation without it, technology can enhance your automation game. One of the areas in which it can be most impactful, for example, is marketing and communications. “It used to be that every time an agent wanted to reach out and touch base with a client, they had to do so manually, and one at a time,” explains Christopher Linsell, an analyst for, a real estate website. Now, he says, agents using CRM solutions can automate emails, texts and even voicemails to stay in touch with clients and prospects. REALTOR ® Ricky Cain, CRS, uses a CRM not only to connect with prospective clients, but also with prospective agents to join his team: When someone in his region applies for their real estate license, his staff adds them to their CRM and initiates a 12-week cycle of automated communications whose purpose is getting new talent to inquire about employment opportunities. “My local talent market is highly competitive; to get the best people, you have to go above and beyond,” says Cain, director of growth at Cain Realty Group in Austin,


Texas, which also automates social media marketing. “We use Hootsuite to build out an entire week’s worth of marketing so that information can flow out on social media in an automated way—even on the weekends—without someone having to be online to actually post it.”

Superior service

REALTORS® can also use automation to help improve customer service. Buck, for example, suggests using the in-email meeting scheduler to streamline scheduling, Gmail Templates to create and send pre-written emails that quickly answer frequently asked questions, and Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature to automatically separate important emails from junk. Probably the biggest customer service opportunity, however, exists in the area of transaction management. “After a contract has been secured for the purchase or sale of a property, the process of finalizing the transaction begins, including property inspection, appraisal, loan approval, title search and closing, just to name the major steps. This string of events is notoriously laborious,” Linsell explains. “Transaction management platforms The Residential Specialist cnythzl/CSA-Plastock

Whether you use it to simplify marketing, communication or transaction management, the benefit of automation isn’t time savings in and of itself. Rather, it’s what you do with the time you save.

checklist that reminds us of everything we have to do, from alerting people who have seen the property to changing brochures and updating the MLS.” Checklists allow Heinrich’s team to cruise through routine tasks quickly and error-free so they can spend more time on relationship management, problem solving and other strategic tasks. Buck also likes checklists, but favors the digital variety. “With a digital task manager, you don’t have to constantly write and rewrite your list,” Buck says. “What doesn’t get done today automatically rolls over to tomorrow, and tasks that you repeat at the same time every day, week, month or year automatically show up when you need to do them.”

July/August 2020



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Automate lead management.

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Automate meeting scheduling and time management.

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of listing price,” explains DelRose, whose automate the important communication custom platform uses big data—detailed to make sure transactions are staying on information about clients’ monthly spendtrack and to nudge slow parties to deliver ing, for example—to calculate a personalized on their requirements.” Cain uses the growth automation platform home-search budget that clients eventually will be able to share directly with lenders Sisu alongside the transaction management in order to get pre-approved for a mortgage. solution Folio. The former automatically “Because you’re only seeing houses you can sends agents and account managers notiafford, you’re eliminating this huge amount fications at every stage of a transaction, of time between starting your search online, prompting them to input dates and details meeting with a lender, and then going out that keep the process moving in an autoand seeing houses.” mated fashion. Simultaneously, the latter DelRose has similarly streamlined sends automated communications to clients, onboarding by putting his listing presenwho can view a transaction timeline to see tations into video format. “When I have what tasks have been completed and which consultations with buyers and sellers, they ones are yet to come. typically have 100 questions,” he says. “If I “In my experience, the biggest customercan answer those questions more efficiently service opportunity for real estate agents using something like a video, that saves is to explain to a client what happens next,” a lot of time.” Cain says. “What’s nice about the way we’ve Whether you use it to simplify marketing, automated our systems is that the client communication or transaction management, always sees what’s around the corner.” the benefit of automation isn’t time savings DelRose wants to automate the front end of transactions. He’s therefore part of a team in and of itself. Rather, it’s what you do with the time you save. that’s building a new platform that will “If you’re trying to do 100 sales a year, you automate the initial work of onboarding have to eliminate time-consuming tasks new buyer clients. “It uses AI and machine while still providing incredible service,” learning to break down a home’s cost for DelRose concludes. “Automation is how you your lifestyle, which allows you to search do that.” TRS for homes via monthly payment instead The Residential Real Estate Council

Just as your business can be automated, homes can, too. Get smart home certified at certifications/ smart-homecertification.

34 July/August 2020

Market Values

Insights from industry data


Generational Tre


Generations by Birth Year


Silent Generation

Younger Boomers

Older Gen Y/ Millennials

Gen Z

(74 to 94 years)

(55 to 64 years)

(30 to 39 years)

(21 years & younger)


Sixty-six percent of recent home sellers used a referral or the same real estate agent they had worked with in the past. That number jumped to 75 percent for home sellers aged 30 to 39 years.







1999 to Present

Older Boomers

Gen X

Younger Gen Y/ Millennials

(65 to 73 years)

(40 to 54 years)

(22 to 29 years)


Share of Buyers and Sellers by Generation Buyers


23% % 22



*Less than 1





18% 15%


of all buyers purchased their home through an agent.

8% 6% 3% *


Gen Z

Younger Gen Y/ Millennials

Older Gen Y/ Millennials

Gen X

Younger Boomers

Older Boomers

Silent Generation

The Residential Specialist

July/August 2020


Incentives Offered to Attract Buyers


nds Report All Sellers

22 to 29

30 to 39



40 to 54

55 to 64

65 to 73

74 to 94









Home warranty policies








Assistance with closing costs








Credit toward remodeling or repairs








Other incentives, such as a car, flat screen TV, etc.








Assistance with condo association fees
















*Less than 1


First-Time Home Buyers in Age Group

Median number of homes viewed by buyers 74 years and older.


home search

Ages 22 to 29, 40 to 54, and 74 to 94 at 8 weeks



home search






All Buyers

22 to 29

30 to 39

40 to 54

55 to 64 65 to 73 74 to 94

Most common reasons for purchasing




The desire to own a home of their own. . .................................................... Under 65 years The desire to be closer to friends and family. . .................................................63 and older Also purchased for the desire for a smaller home. . ......................... Buyers between 74 and 94 source: 2020 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends

The Residential Real Estate Council

55 to 64 years at 12 weeks

For more information, access the 2020 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report at


36 July/August 2020

Council Classroom


Strategies from the industry’s top educators

3 Tips on How to Stock Up By Jackie Leavenworth


1. FSBO listings

For more tips on effective and efficient systems for listing and pricing properties, check out “Creating Listing Abundance” on search.

To capture the FSBO market, I can go onto or Zillow, for example, and create a profile to make myself a prospect in the system. I can pick the market area and price range of homes I’d like to sell and tell the system to send me an alert when a new one comes on. This way, when I open my email in the morning, those listings are finding me instead of me having to go find them.

2. Expired listings

I can do the same thing in the MLS to search for expired listings. We usually do this for buyers, but I can do the same for myself as a REALTOR®, and have the system tell me when a home goes on expired

status. I can get that “ping” at midnight and it’s right there, on a silver platter. When I am teaching my listing course, I put it this way: If an agent doesn’t want to go after that opportunity, I ask them to repeat after me: “Wow, that’s a great opportunity. That home should sell for $____, and my income on that would be $____ (fill in the blanks).” And if you choose not to pursue that opportunity, say to yourself, “I sure am glad I don’t need that money; I’ll leave that for another agent.”

3. Open house visitors

Another ripe source is open house visitors. Probably 75% of them have a home to sell before they can buy. So, along with the FSBOs and expired listings, we know—even before we talk to them—that they have the desire to buy or sell. We would like to rely on our sphere of influence for all of our business, but when we contact them, we don’t know if they have an immediate need or desire to buy or sell. Obviously, we should still touch base with them, but the three sources I’ve discussed are the quickest way to build your inventory. That way, you don’t have to take your clients to someone else’s shoe store. TRS The Residential Specialist MyFortis/Luseen

Jackie Leavenworth teaches the two-day listing course and the two-day buying course for RRC. Known as “Coach Jackie,” she offers personal as well as video coaching to REALTORS® on negotiating and business management.

hen I was first starting out in the real estate business, I was going gangbusters with buyers. My broker at the time told me, “I have never had anybody sell real estate and do so well with buyers. But let me share a great story with you. Compare this to a shoe store. If I had a shoe store instead of a real estate business, you’d be the best shoe fitter in town. Word of mouth is great, your customers will say, ‘Jackie is the best shoe fitter in town.’ So, when other buyers come to you, you will have to say, ‘Great— I can find the best fit for you, but I don’t have any shoes here. I have to take you to someone else’s store.’ So, Jackie,” my mentor continued, “until you have your own inventory, you are not in control of your time or your financial destiny.” Obviously, those words have stuck with me. From my experience after 35 years in real estate, I try to impress the same thing on others: If you don’t have a listing inventory, you don’t really have a solid business plan. There are really only three sources of quick inventory: FSBOs, expired listings and open house visitors. If we allow the opportunities to find us, we have even greater success.

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38 July/August 2020 new NEW! This component of The Residential Specialist highlights technology tools for the real estate professional.



Tech solutions for real estate

Suddenly, Virtual Was No Longer Optional By Matthew Rathbun, CRS

T Power Tools  Conduct closings and client interviews, and engage with clients in real time.

 Legally compliant remote notarization via the client and a notary.

 A simple and high- quality video calling app to connect with clients.

 Combines real estate video creation and scalable 3D 360° tours.

Matthew’s next class is “Virtual and Augmented Reality in Real Estate” on August 8. Visit for more.

echnology was a concept that agents have historically either thought was a good tool to give them a competitive edge, or was something optional, but has now emerged to be the only way to serve our client’s needs. I began my career in my 20s about 18 years ago, and within months of being licensed, I found myself in a classroom of experienced agents sharing about my experience of having a website. At the end of the session, a huddle of agents thanked me for my time and then pointedly told me that the internet wasn’t a sustainable way to market myself. It was a fad, they said. Fast-forward to a recent class that I taught about the power of virtual reality and augmented reality. At the end of the class some agents came up to thank me for my time and then told me that virtual and augmented reality wasn’t a sustainable way to market. It was a fad, they said. Almost two decades apart … same mentality and same misunderstanding.

A new world

Now, we find our world has changed. COVID-19, coronavirus, a pandemic … call it what you will, it has changed us. Overnight, agents who had avoided the changing world and neglected truly understanding emerging tools were racing to quickly understand how to use virtual meeting spaces like to conduct closings, do client interviews and engage their clients. Concepts like eNotary, video streaming home showings to a remote buyer with tools like, and regulations about when we physically had to be with clients for inspections all became a priority to understand. Tools for virtual reality tours, such as, were no longer an option, they were a requirement, as sellers were fearful that the coronavirus would be brought into their home, and therefore wanted buyers to see their home remotely.

We experienced a shift in our focus out of the necessity to serve our clients, but to do it remotely as we work from home. Home was no longer just a refuge from a long day. Home had now become a refuge from illness, our children’s school, our new office—a place to be safe from a real threat. Agents found new ways to conduct business from home and settle into their own norm, while listening to their client’s stresses and needs.

Learning curve

We are learning the value of collaborating online through cloud-based systems and the power of merging our physical lives and technology. We’re using social media to connect with others and preserve our humanity, seeing talented individuals stream their music online and communities live-stream lifesaving advice. And we’re hosting happy hours by video. The world has always been heading to this point. But this worldwide crisis has expedited the maturation of the tools we have found necessary to master so we can continue to meet the needs of families who trust us to help them with the next chapter of their lives. As we help people move forward, these tools and resources will continue to be a staple in our practices, and we will adapt to the new world as we always have as an industry for over 100 years. We will get back to meeting with clients to see their excitement at purchasing their first home—but we will not forget how much we depended on technology to keep us moving forward. TRS The Residential Specialist

Legal and financial focus Wide


Avoid Legal Pitfalls By Dale Carlton, CRS


EALTORS® everywhere have been taught to be cautious and avoid liability when representing a client. As a result of this caution, we have told REALTORS ® not to give legal advice because they are not attorneys, not to give tax advice because they are not accountants, and not to give financial advice because they are not lenders. This leaves open the question, what do REALTORS® do for their clients? Are they there only to help people find homes, or do they go beyond this and become the real estate professional for their clients, helping them through many different areas during a real estate transaction? Most everyone agrees that REALTORS® are there to be the real estate professional, and therefore need to find the best way to help their clients with legal, tax and financial issues that may be encountered during a transaction. Do not misunderstand: REALTORS® are not attorneys, accountants or lenders, but they are the guide for their clients to know when they may need the help of an attorney, accountant or lender.

Identifying potential issues fatido/retrorocket

Therefore, it will be necessary for REALTORS® to educate themselves with a general understanding of the legal, tax and financial

The Residential Real Estate Council

implications that may be encountered during a real estate transaction. By recognizing the issues, a REALTOR®—without acting in the shoes of the other professionals—can direct their clients to the appropriate professional when an issue arises. For instance, a REALTOR ® who recognizes a scenario in which selling a property to someone on their death bed might increase the tax liability of the property may advise the client that what they are thinking about doing could have a negative tax implication, and as their REALTOR®, they may want to make sure the client has spoken with their accountant to verify the timing is correct. The REALTOR® does not have to tell them what they should do, only recognize the potential issue and inform the client of the potential issue so they can validate it with the appropriate professional.

July/August 2020


new NEW! This component of The Residential Specialist assists real estate professionals in identifying important tax and legal issues.

Dale Carlton, CRS, 2015 RRC national president, CRS Certified Instructor, owner/broker of Carlton Realty.

Information—not advice

This type of representation, when done correctly, is not the providing of legal, tax or financial advice, but is informing the client of the potential issues that could arise from their real estate decision. It is the author’s opinion that this action will not increase liability, but should help REALTORS® avoid liability by providing a higher level of service and professionalism. So, REALTORS® should seek out education that provides a better understanding of the legal, tax and financial implications that may be encountered during a real estate transaction. They must then become comfortable with sharing the information in a way that is not providing advice, but is giving clients information and direction toward the appropriate professional who is needed. TRS

Learn tax laws and changes that affect REALTORS®, the tax implications of owning a primary residence, and how taxes affect residential investment properties in “Tax Strategies for the Real Estate Professional” on catalogsearch.


40 July/August 2020

Coaches Corner


Leverage your skills

Is Learning Part of Your Routine?


hen times get tough, it’s essential to focus on positive personal growth. Dwelling on negative news cycles or “what-if ” scenarios can severely damage productivity and lower your spirits. The best way to move through uncertain times is to start adding learning back into your routine.

professional development. Especially now, they coach clients to always leave room for growth, since many clients are busy getting things back to normal. “As the CEO of your company, you are responsible for giving yourself time to think,” Buffini & Company coach Mimi Throckmorton says. “Having the space to learn and grow requires time and requires creating that space.” Oftentimes, clients tend to feel guilty taking that personal time when it feels like there are so many other things to worry about. Coach Michael Heater of Buffini & Company says they need to flip that script—before professionals can build others, they need to build themselves. “We empower clients to put themselves first so they can fearlessly serve others,” he says. “It’s good for you to take care of yourself first by growing and doing the things that fulfill you.”

To learn more about what a Buffini & Company real estate coach can do for you, sign up for a free business consultation. Visit buffiniandcompany. com for more information.

Once you do this, Buffini & Company Coach Scott Malcolm says the transformation is like night and day. You’ll wake up earlier, find more focus and actively take on challenges. Coach Scott compares this phenomenon to taking a daily multivitamin. “You don’t realize it’s working, but those activities are causing you to have more energy and more direction,” Coach Scott says.

Make it personal

This is why Buffini & Company coaches have always prioritized personal and

The Residential Specialist biscotto87

Learn and grow

The coaches explain that learning and growth can take on many different forms. To improve their skills, some agents take online real estate agent training courses. For personal development, the coaches recommend motivational podcasts to keep spirits high. All Buffini & Company coaches work with their clients to schedule time for training and personal growth year-round so they are set up for success. “There’s a clear correlation between the books a client reads, the podcasts they listen to, the time they take to work on themselves, and the progress and success they find in their business,” Buffini & Company Coach Michael Heater says. Learning is nonnegotiable when building a thriving business and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, according to Buffini & Company coaches. When you’re ready to go all-in and become a lifelong learner, get a coach, stay the course and break through to the next level. TRS

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42 July/August 2020


Cover treatment: 1. The logos, tag line, date and teasers were encapsulated in a panel.


Your Own Council

News and updates

New Look,

Same Great Content

2. The main cover line was encapsulated in a circle. ❸ The main coverline and story list are now Cover treatment: mobile, and can reflect ❶ The panel is gone, negative space afforded making the cover less by image composition. dense and busy. ❹ Page numbers have ❷ The cover image is free been introduced to aid to interact with the logo. quick navigation.


Page structure: 3. The pages incorporated the main story, side bars, calls to action and graphs in an open placement format. This can look cluttered and busy.


ith this issue, RRC is unveiling a redesign for The Residential Specialist magazine that we feel aligns strongly with our goal to produce engaging, insightful and inspiring information vital for real estate professionals. Readers will benefit from less clutter, better navigation and a modern look and feel. In-depth features, industry insights, emerging market trends, critical business tools, member perspectives and association news highlights will still be a part of each issue, but with a new branded name that captures their

Page structure: ❺ Rules on the top and sides establish areas for sidebars, calls to actions and graphs. This results in less cluttered pages.

essence better. Based on previous readership surveys, we’ve learned that tech and legal issues and advice are of great importance to RRC members, so we added new columns catering specifically to those topics. The purpose of The Residential Specialist is to effectively communicate industry trends and practical advice that’s vital for real estate professionals, and this goal—along with reader feedback—drove the redesign choices made by the creative team, including the publication’s voice, tone, structure, fonts, color palette, content categories and more. TRS The Residential Specialist

43 43

July/August July/August2020 2020

 Pam Ruggeroli, CRS First Vice President

 Sandy McRae, CRS RRC Board Member

 John Young, CRS RRC Board Member

New Leaders Elected The results are in! The Council wants to congratulate all of its new leaders voted in by their fellow RRC members, who will be officially installed at the Annual Meetings in November. The 2021 slate includes First Vice President Pam Ruggeroli, CRS, and Board Members Sandy McRae, CRS, and John Young, CRS. The Council would like to also welcome the incoming Regional Vice Presidents: Kim Barnthouse, CRS, Region 6 Angi Cline, CRS, Region 1 Bonnie Metviner, CRS, Region 2

Eloise Eriksson Martin, CRS, Region 7

Teresa Pitt, CRS, Region 3

Julie Adams, CRS, Region 8

Paula Angelopoulos Urbanati, CRS, Region 4

Margie McIntyre, CRS, Region 9

Tonya Thomsen, CRS, Region 5

Arlene Kim-Kawamoto, CRS, Region 10

Register now for Sell-a-bration 2021 and take advantage of early pricing. Go to to register.

May Meetings Recap The RRC May Meetings were a little different this year being virtual, but they were still a success! The week was full of insightful meetings with leadership, committees and mastermind groups. The member update included a great debate from the candidates for First Vice President. We even mixed in a little fun with a virtual welcome reception and an instructor happy hour. The virtual conference opened up more opportunities for members to take part—there were over 1,800 participants this year. The Mastermind Closing Session was open to all members—with a keynote from Jessica Lautz, Ph.D., VP of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at NAR. Lautz focused on today’s housing landscape and where the strongest opportunities can be found. TRS If you missed the member update, you can watch the recording on Please note: All meeting minutes, notes and financial documents are posted on about-us/agendas-and-minutes.

The Residential Real Estate Council

There were over


participants at the May Meetings this year.


44 July/August 2020 Ask a CRS



Advice from your peers

Do you discuss completing an exclusive agreement with a buyer? I discuss our laws in the first meeting, but explain that I don’t ask them to sign until we write a contract— they always stay with me. Tell the truth upfront— usually you can tell whether or not they are honest people. Candy Clanton, CRS Candy Clanton & Associates Lorton, Virginia

I have a hard time I meet first to discuss agency in my area asking with them, and make them understand how agency works. a buyer to sign a I get my buyers to sign a buyer contract with me agency agreement. The ones who are serious will sign. because nobody George Iacono, CRS else is doing it. I wish they were! @properties Winnetka, Northfield, Illinois We’ve all been I do it all the time and rarely burned at one time or another. will a buyer not become my Lisa Murray, CRS RE/MAX Excalibur Scottsdale, Arizona

Have a great story to share? Email or look for discussions happening online on our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.


client. I am experienced and knowledgeable and do not need a contract on our first meeting. I hear too many horror stories of an agent pressuring a buyer into a contract that the buyers regret signing. Robin Cunningham, CRS RE/MAX Northwest, Westminster, Colorado

Simply tell the prospect/ consumer that it is a working agreement similar to what a seller signs with their REALTOR®. Then follow that with “To work together as a team, I require a signed representation agreement that outlines our responsibilities to one another,” which is the perfect segue to discussing the buyer broker. Jesse Cordova, CRS Beach Realty United, Virginia Beach, Virginia

I do buyer interviews to make sure we are compatible and have no problem going on a date (tour) or two. I do lose a few buyers but still feel I close more than forcing the contract prematurely. Jim Paulson, CRS Progressive Realty Corporation, Boise, Idaho

I discuss buyer agency right away. I start by asking where they are in the process to find out if they have been going from agent to agent. Then I ask them if they are familiar with buyer agency and go from there. Marilyn Messenger, CRS Andrew Mitchell & Company, Concord, Massachusetts The Residential Specialist

RRC Connect

July/August 2020

Expand your network


A Fortunate Match


etworking with peers across the United States is such a valuable part of being a member of the REALTOR® family. Toward the beginning of 2020, Kentucky REALTOR® Mike Inman put out the word he was looking for a REALTOR® in the Orlando area to partner with on a listing referral. Thankfully, another REALTOR® (in Alabama) saw Mike’s request and recommended that Mike contact me. We quickly connected with one another and realized we were a perfect match; both Major Investors, both Certified Residential Specialists, and so much more. Introductions were made and we were off. I had the true honor of helping a military veteran and his family sell their home in the Orlando area and Mike was lined up to serve them with their move to Kentucky. As usual, my team delivered the level of care, expertise and service we are known for and our mutual customer expressed many times how thankful they were for us and Mike. In essence, what the customer was really saying, without knowing it, is how fortunate buyers and sellers are for the REALTOR® family, the expertise of working with a CRS and the power of networking with competent and committed peers in our profession. Personally, I am grateful for it all! TRS



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46 July/August 2020 RRC Connect


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48 July/August 2020 Balancing Act


Practical strategies for restoring balance

Summer Shake-up


ay goodbye to textbooks and laptops and say hello to sleeping in and outdoor activities! For children, summer vacation is always something to look forward to. But for parents, new challenges arise when school lets out in June. Routines are disrupted, which can result in increased stress levels and decreased productivity. However, there are many ways you can balance your job and family time appropriately while your kids are at home during work hours. Consider these tips to make sure each is getting the proper attention it needs and deserves.

Setting aside time for relaxation and recharging can help you and your family stay mentally fit.

2. Set boundaries. Many agents are out in the field throughout the day, which lends itself to some flexibility in your schedule. Take advantage of this to create reasonable boundaries for what constitutes work hours and when you can tend to family matters. This can lead to a healthier work/life balance and keep all parties satisfied. 3. Schedule actual time off. Successful REALTORS® are known to never have an off switch. However, you should be wary of working nonstop during the summer. Setting aside time for relaxation and recharging can help you and your family stay mentally fit. To stay organized, plan any vacation time or trips well ahead of schedule to ensure work gets done beforehand and expectations are met. 4. Separate from electronics. This can be easier said than done, as electronic devices dictate so much of our work and

personal time. However, being present in the moment is extremely important when raising a family. Sure, turning on the TV or playing on an iPad can distract your kids for a few hours while you type away at your computer, but spending quality time with family is priceless. For time you’d normally spend texting on your phone, enjoy the longer days and nice weather—together—instead. 5. Perfection isn’t necessary. Those who are dedicated to their work often strive to be flawless in it. But when kids are home from school, you can’t take that same approach. With increased responsibilities during normal work hours, you may feel like you’re being pulled back and forth between your job and your family. Don’t ignore one or the other in pursuit of perfection; rather, shift the weight of whose needs are most important at that moment. This can prove difficult but necessary in order to maintain harmony on both sides. 6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some people take pride in the fact that they work long and strenuous hours while simultaneously raising a family. But this can lead to problems in your personal life and mistakes being made on important work tasks. If you feel like you’re putting in too many hours every day, talk to your boss about how you can better balance your life to be more effective during the hours you are on the clock. And ask friends or extended family if they can help with watching your kids when you have important work to be done. Nobody can take life on all by themself, and asking for assistance is a healthy way to find balance. TRS OJO Images/Ani_Ka

1. Workouts and family time. Everyone should strive to stay fit throughout the year, and many people have very particular exercise routines or schedules. Adapt your workouts to include your kids by going for a walk and enjoying the nice weather or playing a sport together. This keeps your children engaged while satisfying your physical activity needs.

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