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September/October 2013


The Latest in Buyer Desires Keys to Helping baby boomers The Market for HISTORIC Homes


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Point of

Return The vacation market is on the rebound.

Reputation and


You built and keep your reputation by providing the very best service to your clients. For Pillar To Post Home Inspectors it is exactly the same. You can rely on us to exceed your expectations on every inspection, for every client, every time.


Choice of exclusive Home Inspection Packages E&O insurance to protect the referring agent Report delivered on site at the time of inspection

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September/October 2013 VOL. 12, NO. 5


18 features

18 Point of Return

By Daniel Rome Levine CRSs report that the vacation market is on the rebound in several key resort areas.

22 Buyer Desires

By Gayle Bennett CRSs reveal what’s in and what’s out in home preferences.

26 Golden Age

By Regina Ludes Affordable senior housing is more available than ever. CRSs can guide older clients through the options.

30 Vintage Year

By Christopher Brandon Why historic homes are beating the housing crisis and recovering faster.

w w w . c r s . c o m Cover photo by Will Stanton/Alamy | 1

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5 departments 4 5 9 10



Q UICK TAKES International buyer trends, best public parks and hiring challenges

GREAT FINDS A back-to-school supply list


47 48

By Dan Tynan Indispensable informational resources








NEWS FROM THE COUNCIL CRS Idea Network Sell-a-bration® 2014 Product Review Program Your Home newsletter

By Mary McCall, CRS


2 | September/October 2013

inside CRS

By Gwen Moran Are sustainable features more than a fad?

By Michael Fenner Tech tips from the Inman Connect conference

Jeff Wu, CRS @Home Real Estate, Tysons Corner, Va.

Reviewed by Allan Fallow Can’t Buy Me Like By Bob Garfield and Doug Levy


REFERRAL MARKE TPLACE ASK A CRS Advice from the country’s top agents

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Coming in the Next Issue ... ■

The Price Is Right

How agents can help clients price their properties properly in the recovering market. ■

Leadership Lessons

Past CRS presidents share their experiences and advice. ■

Volunteer Efforts

Community involvement has many benefits. Among them: winning and keeping business. ■

Career Goals

Real estate is more than a parttime job. Get tips for long-term business success. Would you like to be a source for a future story in The Residential Specialist? Send an email to to be added to our potential source list. To see a list of the topics we’ll be covering, check out the magazine’s 2013 editorial calendar online at

Specia li s t

EDITOR Michael Fenner Email: Tel: 800.462.8841, ext. 4428 Fax: 312.329.8882 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Regina Ludes Email: Tel: 800.462.8841, ext. 4404 Fax: 312.329.8882 2013 COMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY PANEL Moderator: John W. Goede, CRS Co-Moderator: Clark Niblock, CRS 2013 COMMUNICATIONS ADVISORY PANEL MEMBERS Israel Ameijeiras, CRS; Cathy Armstrong, CRS; Jan Brito, CRS; Alexis Bolin, CRS; Shelly Campbell, CRS; DeDe Carney, CRS; Gretchen Conley, CRS; Bobbi Howe, CRS; Colleen McKean, CRS; Nancy Metcalf, CRS; Vince Price, CRS; John Stark, CRS; Marylea Todd, CRS; Beverlee Vidoli, CRS CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mary Ellen Collins, Daniel Rome Levine, Gwen Moran OFFICERS: 2013 President Mary McCall, CRS Chief Executive Officer Lana Vukovljak 2013 President-Elect Ron Canning, CRS

PLUS: How to handle multiple offers

2013 First Vice President Dale Carlton, CRS 2013 Immediate Past President Mark Minchew, CRS

PUBLICATION MANAGEMENT Tel: 202.331.7700 Fax: 202.331.2043 Publishing Manager Andrea Gabrick Email: Managing Editor Rebecca Scherr Email: Advertising Manager Andrea Katz Email: Tel: 202.721.1482 Project Manager Katie Mason Art Director Chelsey Fredlund Production Artist Tommy Dingus The Residential Specialist is published for Certified Residential Specialists, General Members and Subscribers by the Council of Residential Specialists. The magazine’s mission is: To be a superior educational resource for CRS Designees and Members, providing the information and tools they need to be exceptionally successful in selling residential real estate. The Residential Specialist is published bimonthly by the Council of Residential Specialists, 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 CRS at the above address. The Residential Specialist (USPS-0021-699, ISSN 15397572) is distributed to members of the Council as part of their membership dues. Non-members may purchase subscriptions for $29.95 per year in the U.S., $44.95 in Canada and $89.95 in other international countries. All articles and paid advertising represent the opinions of the authors and advertisers, not the Council. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to The Residential Specialist, c/o Council of Residential Specialists, 430 North Michigan Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60611-4092. COPYRIGHT 2013 by the Council of Residential Specialists. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A. Jan uary /Feb

ruar y 2013

e for a How to PreparMa rket Recovering


Pros and Cons ofs n Site Listing Aggregatio to Get es Tak It at Wh Fence Clients Off the



JANuARy /FEbRuAR y 20

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President’s Message | News from Mary McCall, CRS

Opportunity Knocks

Jensen Larson Photography

I can attest from my own experience that getting involved with a local CRS chapter is one of the best things you can do for your career.

Greetings! I’ve just returned from Scottsdale, Ariz., where the Council hosted its annual Chapter Leadership Retreat for chapter presidents, presidents-elect and regional vice presidents. I was excited to meet so many new people who will be taking on leadership roles for their local chapters next year. These new faces will bring fresh ideas that will help our organization grow and move forward through 2014 and beyond. I can attest from my own experience that getting involved with a local CRS chapter is one of the best things you can do for your career. If you want to learn how to join and become involved in a CRS chapter, email or find a chapter near you at chapters/find-a-chapter. Our annual CRS business meetings will take place in San Francisco, Nov. 6 – 9, 2013, at the Palace Hotel. Remember, if you plan to attend CRS governance meetings at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco only and not the NAR Conference and Expo, you do not need to pay the conference registration fee. Registration information for CRS meetings and the Inaugural and Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 9, can be found on page 37 in this issue, as well as at Make plans to attend Sell-a-bration® 2014, which will take place in Coronado, Calif., at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2014. Sell-a-bration® is one of the can’t-miss events of our industry. The information in these workshops and education sessions will keep you at the top of your game, while the connections you make can evolve into lifelong friendships. For more information, see page 39 in this issue or visit If you can’t make the NAR Conference or Sell-a-bration®, you can still keep up with your professional development by registering for one of the CRS classroom courses, webinars or eLearning courses. CRS has launched two new eLearning courses in 2013: Client Negotiations: Unlocking Hearts vs. Locking Horns and Video Marketing to Enhance Your Business. Be sure to check out these new courses as well as our other education offerings at With the fall selling season under way, real estate conferences to attend and professional development opportunities to pursue, the next few months promise to be very busy for CRSs. Remember to wear your pin and to take pride in those three letters, C-R-S, that you write after your name. They show your dedication and professionalism to other REALTORS® and to the public. I wish you all the very best that our career has to offer!

4 | September/October 2013

QuickTakes | Industry headlines, statistics and trends

INTERNATIONAL BUYER TRENDS Despite a decline in U.S. home sales by foreign buyers over the past year, interest in U.S. properties remains high, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. International sales totaled $68.2 billion for the 12 months ending March 2013, down approximately $14 billion from the previous year. NAR attributes the decline to several temporary factors, including economic slowdowns in several foreign countries, tighter U.S. credit standards and unfavorable exchange rates. Of the total international transactions, 51 percent were foreign buyers with permanent residences outside the U.S. and 49 percent were buyers who were recent immigrants or temporary visa holders residing in the U.S. for more than six months. More than 70 percent of REALTORS® report a constant or increasing stream of business from international clients over the past five years, and 27 percent say they have worked with international clients within the past year. A desirable location and a profitable real estate investment were the most important factors influencing foreign buyers’ purchase decisions. Five countries have historically accounted for the bulk of domestic home purchases: Canada (23 percent); China (12 percent); Mexico (8 percent); India (5 percent) and the United Kingdom (5 percent). The most popular U.S. destinations for international buyers are Florida, California, Arizona, Texas and New York.

The Digital

dIVIde In 2011, 27 percent of Americans connected to the Internet from multiple locations and multiple devices, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Computer and Internet Use in the United States. These individuals are considered “high connectivity” users. On the other end of the connectivity continuum, 15.9 percent did not own a computer or use the Internet. The remaining 57.1 percent of Americans fell between the two extremes.

Home Internet Use (by Ethnic Group) All Americans: 71.7% Asian: 82.7% Non-Hispanic White: 76.2% Hispanic: 58.2% Black: 56.9% Smartphone Usage (by Ethnic Group) All Americans Over Age 15: 48.2% Asian: 51.6% Non-Hispanic White: 48% Black: 48% Hispanic: 45.4%

Asian Population Grows Fastest The U.S. Asian population grew faster in 2012 than any other ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Some 18.9 million Asians lived in the U.S. in 2012, an increase of 2.9 percent, or 530,000 people. More than 60 percent of this growth came as a result of international migration. The Hispanic population grew by 2.2 percent in 2012 from 2011, or slightly more than 1.1 million residents, to a total of 53 million. Hispanics remain the nation’s second-largest ethnic group (behind non-Hispanic whites), representing about 17 percent of the total U.S. population. The population of AfricanAmericans grew 1.3 percent to 44.5 million people, while Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders increased 2.2 percent to a total of 1.4 million, and American Indians and Alaska Natives rose 1.5 percent to a little more than 6.3 million. | 5

QuickTakes | Industry headlines, statistics and trends

Housing Recovery Boosts Job Growth H iring Ch al l en ge s The biggest challenge facing real estate brokers is the ability to attract younger agents to their firms, according to the 2013 Thought Leader Survey by Imprev, a real estate marketing software firm. More than four out of 10 executives (42 percent) say hiring more agents has been difficult in the current marketplace, ranking higher than physical space costs (39 percent) and commission splits (35 percent). About one-third of survey respondents said there were too few quality prospects available for hire. Other recruiting challenges include the inability to find time for recruiting (44 percent), the inability to get their teams to help recruit (28 percent) and difficulty finding prospects that fit the agency’s culture (27 percent). Competition by local real estate agencies was also a concern. More than one-third of respondents said they were not able to get top-producing agents to apply with their firms. Nearly half (49 percent) said competitors offered a better commission split.

A rebound in the housing market may be boosting employment in the U.S. Over the last 12 to 18 months, several industry segments connected to the housing sector have experienced significant job growth, according to a study by CareerBuilder and EMSI Research. In the construction industry, 187,000 jobs have been added since 2011, and more than 7.79 million people are employed in construction jobs. The mortgage industry has seen the largest employment gains, adding 19,317 jobs since 2011. Nearly 85,000 people are employed in mortgage industry jobs. Home centers and home furnishing retailers added 23,849 jobs since 2011. Currently, 823,496 people are employed in this sector.


Where to Find Fixer-Upper Bargains


Number of bank-owned properties built before 1960 valued under $100K

Avg. Market Index

Median Distressed Sale Price Annual Change













St. Louis




















Toledo, Ohio




Birmingham, Ala.




Source: RealtyTrac, June 2013

6 | September/October 2013

Mortgage borrowers seek greater affordability when shopping for a home and they are willing to put more money down for a down payment to get it, according to a recent Lending Tree survey. However, many borrowers cited several frustrations with the mortgage application process, including time-consuming paperwork, uncertainty about the fairness of their mortgage rate, and the complexity of terms and conditions. What percentage of the home purchase price do you plan to put down for the home you want?

44%: Less than 15% 37%: 15% to 24% 19%: 25% or more

Preferred type of mortgage sought by borrowers:

45%: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage 36%: 15-year fixed-rate mortgage 7%: An adjustable rate mortgage 12%: Unsure Source: Lending Tree, June 2013

Tech Usage Barometer Users of cutting-edge technologies are more likely to supplement the devices they already use rather than replace them, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey. While smartphone use has risen considerably over the past year, smartphones have not necessarily replaced digital cameras. Since May 2012, ownership of the Android-powered smartphone rose from 18 percent in May 2012 to 26 percent in May 2013, while use of the Apple iPhone increased from 17 percent to 22 percent. Meanwhile, the study finds that many smartphone owners are as likely as the average American (58 percent versus 56 percent) to own a point-andshoot digital camera and are nearly 30 percent more likely to own a digital SLR camera (22 percent versus 17 percent of U.S. adults). Similarly, tablet owners are more likely than nonowners to own other kinds of devices. For example,

78 percent of tablet owners also own a laptop computer, compared with 60 percent of non-tablet owners. Seven out of 10 tablet owners also use a smartphone, compared with 39 percent of non-owners, and 75 percent own a digital camera, compared with only 59 percent of non-owners.

The Ratings


Customer satisfaction ranks high among homebuyers and sellers, but more so with repeat buyers and sellers than with first-timers, according to the J.D. Power 2013 Home Buyer/ Seller Satisfaction Study. The survey measured overall satisfaction among both first-time and repeat homebuyers and sellers about the nation’s largest real estate companies. Based on a 1,000-point scale, overall satisfaction was measured across four factors of the homebuying experience: agent/salesperson, real estate office, closing process and additional services. For the home-selling experience, satisfaction was measured across five factors: agent/salesperson, real estate office, closing process, marketing and additional services. First-time Home Buyer Satisfaction Ratings (based on 1,000 points): Prudential Real Estate: 811 RE/MAX: 798 Century 21: 797 All real estate companies: 797

Repeat Home Buyer Satisfaction Ratings (based on 1,000 points): Prudential Real Estate: 829 Century 21: 820 RE/MAX: 819 All real estate companies: 817

First-Time Home Seller Satisfaction Ratings (based on 1,000 points): Prudential Real Estate: 809 Keller Williams: 802 RE/MAX: 800 Century 21: 799 All real estate companies: 797

Repeat Home Seller Satisfaction Ratings (based on 1,000 points): RE/MAX: 819 Century 21: 816 Prudential Real Estate: 809 All real estate companies: 803

SOCIAL EFFECTIVENESS The most effective social media platform for small businesses:

Facebook: 82% LinkedIn: 29% Twitter: 25% YouTube: 15% Pinterest: 9% Yelp: 6% Google+: 5% Source: Constant Contact 2013 Small Business Survey | 7

QuickTakes | Industry headlines, statistics and trends

American Housing Survey • U.S. homeowners paid a median price of $110,000 for their homes in 2011, up 2.3 percent from the $107,500 reported in 2009. • The median purchase price of homes constructed within the past four years was $235,000, down 2.1 percent from 2009. • The median monthly mortgage payment was $1,015 in 2011. • The median year in which occupied homes were built in the U.S. was 1974. • Median monthly expenditures for homeowners totaled $151 for real estate taxes, $121 for electricity and $58 for property insurance. • Nearly two-thirds of households had a regular and/or home equity mortgage, and 23.4 percent had a refinanced primary mortgage. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, July 2013

Best Public Parks Minneapolis has the nation’s best public park system among the 50 largest cities in the U.S., according to the 2013 ParkScore Index from the Trust for Public Land. Minneapolis was cited for providing safe, attractive and accessible outdoor spaces, which enhances the quality of life for local residents. With 94 percent of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park, Minneapolis scored especially high in park access. San Francisco was second, followed by New York City. Fresno, Calif., had the lowest-rated city park system. The ParkScore ratings are based on three factors: accessibility, which is measured by the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a city park; park size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and services and costs, which combines the number of playgrounds per 10,000 city residents and per capita park spending. “You can’t have a great city without great parks,” says Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for the Trust for Public Land. “Parks bring neighbors together and help create a sense of community. They give kids and adults a place to play, walk around, and just relax and experience nature. That’s why we believe that cities with great park systems tend to be healthier and have lower rates of obesity.”

Generational Differences Younger Buyers

Older Buyers

Typically bought homes built around 1986

Typically bought homes built around 1996

Bought a home within 10 miles of previous residence

Moved longer distances, more than 20 miles

More likely to purchase in urban or central city

More likely to move out of state or region

Bought because they desire to own their own home

Bought a home to be closer to family and friends

Chose neighborhood for convenience to jobs, better affordability and quality schools

Chose neighborhood for health care facilities and to be closer to family and friends

Made more concessions regarding home purchase, including price and size of home, lot size, style of home and distance from job

Generally did not make any concessions on their home purchase

Found the home they purchased through the Internet

Learned about the home they purchased through their real estate agent

Source: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Survey of Generational Trends, July 2013

8 | September/October 2013

Great Finds | Tools of the trade

first class Don’t miss the bus this back-to-school season. Stay organized, up-to-date and stress-free with the latest and greatest tools you can really use. Whether you’re on the road or in the office, you’ll want to add these items to your supply list.

out to lunch Can’t do the drive-thru one more time this week? When you’re on the road and hopping between open houses and inspections, make brown-bagging it fun with the Rubbermaid LunchBlox Sandwich Kit. This isn’t your typical lunchbox, either: It’s like Legos for adults as you stack and snap four containers into the configuration that best suits your mealtime needs. There are handy measurements for portion control, and the containers are microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Freeze the Blue Ice insert the night before and slide it between your containers in the morning. Another benefit: There’s no need for plastic baggies or cellophane.

flash dance Put a stop to losing flash drive after flash drive, and wrap it around your wrist. PNY’s Bracelet Attache USB Flash Drive has up to 8 gigabytes of storage, letting you transfer photos, videos and documents on the fly with Windows and Mac operating systems. You can even increase your computer’s memory and performance using your flash drive with ReadyBoost. Two come in a pack, with trendy reversible designs. The band is waterproof, so you’re safe if you get caught in the rain, though make sure to take it off before hopping in the shower!



connect the Jot If you find you’re keeping notes more often on your tablet than in your trusty Moleskine, it might be time to invest in the Jot Touchscreen Stylus. It’s compatible with iPad and Android tablets, and can, depending on the style, write on paper. Reading your digital handwriting gets easier when you use this tool, which has a fine tip, rubber grip and pressure sensitivity. Pass the pen to the client as they sign on the dotted line with the Jot store’s PDFpen app. A moment of down time? Open the Zen Brush app for virtual strokes to clear your busy mind.

who’s there? Even if your office has gone paperless, you probably have a few important documents that you still file away. Add Knock Knock’s “Do, Ponder, File” folders to your next supply list to keep on top of your organization in this digital world. The pack of six letter-sized folders will add a little color and honesty to your work life. The folder’s bolded, all-capped text screams (as a best as a filing folder can) “to file,” “to ponder” and “to do.” Checkboxes and writing space on the front of the folders also allow for easy labeling.


15.99–$89.99 | 9

Technology | Streamlining your business

in the know By Dan Tynan

Most REALTORS® learn about real estate technology from their colleagues. Source: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Technology Survey

10 | September/October 2013


hen you’re selling real estate in the technology hub of the world, you’ve got to be techsavvy to survive. Like a lot of REALTORS® in the San Francisco Bay Area, Carl Medford, CRS, and his five-person team at Prudential California Realty are totally plugged in. They operate from virtual offices, meeting in person just once a week. They are paperless, handling all transactions using iPads and cloud-based services like Dropbox. But more important, Medford and his team are data-driven. He uses his brokerage’s online market-reporting TrendGraphix subscription to pull listing info from his local MLS, then slices and dices it in virtually any way imaginable. For example, Medford can pull up a list of all one-bedroom condos with 1,200 square feet in a particular

ZIP code that sold between March and June of last year, or any other combination of factors. He says it gives him an edge in determining pricing and monitoring trends. “I write a weekly newspaper column on behalf of our local association of REALTORS®, and to do that you really have to know data, to be on the edge of what’s happening,” he says. “What blows me away is how many agents don’t know these tools exist, let alone use them. I’d be dead in the water without them.” TrendGraphix is just one information tool CRSs can tap into. With so much real estate-related content moving at lightning speed, there’s no shortage of options. But wading through those websites, blogs and software—sometimes after having conversations with their peers—is the key to finding the right information.


With so much information available, CRSs reveal how they stay plugged into the trends and where they find the information they need most.

Check List Every REALTOR® ultimately relies on his or her local MLS for important information, but there are now dozens of tools that make listing data easier to use. When Sari Stefancin, CRS, with Jim Hess & Associates in North Oakland County, Mich., needs answers about a property, she heads straight to her local MLS, where she can take advantage of online tools like Realcomp. When she needs information about a listing’s tax status, wants to view profiles of parcels or needs to peruse plat maps, she relies on Oakland County’s Property Gateway site. And when necessary, she also puts on her walking shoes and breaks out the public records at her local assessor’s office. “It’s imperative to use every resource and tool available to you,” she says. “But most REALTORS® don’t put in as much time and effort into research as they should.” Besides TrendGraphix, Medford regularly uses Cloud CMA, which pulls MLS data to produce comparative market analysis reports for his clients, and DataQuick, an analytics firm specializing in real estate. Agents can subscribe to Cloud CMA for $14 to $30 a month. Prices for DataQuick’s Property Finder 2G service start at $100 a month. TrendGraphix sells its Facts and Trends product, which offers statistical analysis of MLS data that brokerages can use as a supplemental sales tool, starting at $150 per month.

Network Solutions But sometimes, people are still the best source of the latest and greatest tech information. When Chris Griffith, CRS, with Downing-Frye Realty in Bonita Springs, Fla., has a technology issue, she heads

“It’s imperative to use every resource and tool available to you. But most REALTORS® don’t put in as much time and effort into research as they should.” straight to Facebook’s Tech Support Group for Real Estate Agents. “I asked if there was some app I could download for my iPad that would let my grandson play Angry Birds and not worry about him getting into my Dropbox account and getting creative,” she says. “Within two minutes, half a dozen of the brightest minds in the group had answered my question. It turns out there’s a security setting on the iPad called ‘guided access’ that lets me lock him out of my important files.” LinkedIn also features dozens of groups devoted to real estate, such as the 77,000-member NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® group, says Stacey Lange, CRS, with Windermere Real Estate in Seattle. Lange uses Facebook and LinkedIn to network with agents she meets at conferences who live across the country. Lange also shares information with brokers on the Active Rain blogging platform. And reaching out to experts extends beyond the traditional social networks for Lange, who relies on BoomTown, a cloudbased hosting, CRM and lead-generation service, which starts at $1,500 a month

for a brokerage with 10 agents. On its user forums, she connects with real estate pros. “You can ask people questions like how to pay buyers’ agents, whether to hire virtual assistants, or which companies are best for which types of product. In this industry everyone tries to make their products sound fabulous, so it’s easy to get suckered in by things that don’t work.” Lange also uses Inman News, a Web portal devoted to the real estate industry, to stay up to speed on industry trends and breaking stories that affect REALTORS®. More information is available for REALTORS® than at any time in the past. But it’s still up to the individual to find it and take advantage of it, Stefancin says. “The resources and databases available to licensees today are plentiful and detailed — shame on the REALTOR® who fails to use them,” she says. “As a CRS, I pride myself on my commitment to my craft. It proves to the client you are the expert and are confident in your facts because you’ve done your homework.” Dan Tynan is a writer based in Wilmington, N.C. | 1 1

Trends | Today and tomorrow

the green mile By Gwen Moran

More than 4.3 million people live and work in LEEDcertified buildings. Source: U.S. Green Building Council

12 | September/October 2013


hen Tonya Price, CRS, shows homes in the Chandler, Ariz., area, she knows green features are first and foremost in many buyers’ minds. Price, with Paramount Properties of Arizona, has a Green Designation from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) and can easily point out features that can help her clients save money — and help the environment. “Most of my buyers are very specific in wanting energy-efficient homes,” she says. “In Arizona, a huge percentage of monthly bills are going to utilities. Dualpane windows, newer air conditioning units, proper insulation, variable-speed pumps on swimming pools, Energy Star appliances — those are all things that people want in a new home.”

And the green standard is having an impact on buyers’ preferences beyond Arizona. The 2013 report of What Home Buyers Really Want, published by the National Association of Home Builders, found that the primary feature buyers want in a home is energy efficiency. Nine out of 10 buyers would rather buy a home with energyefficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less. In addition, McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook report projects that green homes, defined as being built for high levels of energy and water efficiency and improved indoor air quality, including building materials that reduce odor and pollutants, will represent 38 percent of all new home construction by 2016. The report projects one-third of

Datacraft Co., Ltd./Corbis

Cost savings fuel the demand for energy-efficient homes. But are other sustainable features taking hold, too?

all residential builders will be fully committed to building green housing by that time, as well. Still, the big-picture growth of green hasn’t fully trickled down to all markets. While this once-emerging niche has gone mainstream, especially with new homebuyers and the affluent, most buyers are still choosing price over sustainability unless the home’s green features can save them money or offer other tangible benefits. Some REALTORS® are finding that buyers flock to energy efficiency, but balk at paying more for green building materials.

Shades of Green Sue Dahlgren, CRS, with Group One Real Estate in Boise, Idaho, is one of the thousands of REALTORS® who have received NAR’s Green Designation, which emerged in 2008 in response to interest by buyers, sellers and REALTORS® in green residential building trends and features. Buyers in her market want proper insulation and Energy Star-rated windows, she says. Her new-construction homebuyers have higher expectations of green features than those who are purchasing older homes built when sustainability wasn’t such a concern. She does, however, see homeowners replacing windows and making older homes more energy-efficient. “We definitely find that the efficiency aspect is important to buyers, and it’s important to show those features in the home’s marketing,” Dahlgren says. However, other green housing options such as sustainable building materials and water efficiency aren’t as in demand, especially if they boost the home’s overall cost. Generally, buyers in her market aren’t willing to pay more for a green house, she says. The cold winters in Wauwatosa, Wis., also make energy efficiency a must-have for clients of Beth Jaworski, CRS, with Shorewest REALTORS®. She says buyers even seek out certain builders with a reputation for building energy-efficient homes. They also ask for tankless water heaters and direct vent heating, cooling and ventilation systems to save money on energy bills. Some affluent buyers in the Wauwatosa market are expressing interest in geothermal heating and cooling systems, which can cut heating costs by as much as 40 percent and are better for the environment,

Training Day The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) Green REsource Council offers the Green Designation, which confirms an agent’s training and expertise in sustainable homes. The required courses are available in the classroom or online. “Most buyers are concerned with health, the community or cost savings. A good portion of American homebuyers are making green choices, whether or not they define them as green choices. Our program helps REALTORS® find a frame of reference to find out what’s important to buyers,” says Amanda Stinton, manager of NAR’s Green Designation & e-PRO® certifications. Those who get NAR’s Green Designation also receive a package of marketing tools, including a profile in an online directory of designees, customizable green home-related PowerPoint presentations, a newsletter subscription and other benefits. Designees also have access to ongoing training to keep on top of market trends. Since the designation launched in 2008, about 9,000 REALTORS® have added it to their expertise, Stinton says. For more information, visit

she says. The cost? $20,000 to $25,000 for a 2,500-square-foot home, estimates Centennial, Colo.-based Energy Environmental. That’s about double the cost of traditional systems. But, depending on location, tax benefits and other incentives might be available for some systems and can be found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, But Price has also found that healthconscious and affluent buyers prefer green building materials in their homes. She has even advised some of her clients with health and allergy issues by helping them choose homes with allergen filters in ductwork and reduced-odor paints and flooring. “I’ve had clients that say in their current house, they’ve always had allergies and haven’t been able to figure out what the problem was. I’ll talk to them about whether they put in new carpet or paint or [suggest] getting an energy home audit to make sure there’s not a lot of outside air coming in. It makes a difference for a lot of people,” Price says.

Special Forces Some REALTORS® are capitalizing on the increasing demand for green homes by getting the NAR Green Designation, which

certifies that they’ve been trained in the elements that make a home green, including building materials, energy-efficient features, and proximity to transit and shopping, among others. Price positions herself as a green home expert, although she also works with buyers and sellers who are not interested in green features. In her initial meetings with buyers, she determines the importance of sustainability to the buyer and presents homes based on their wants and needs. Jaworski uses some tactics to cater to the environmentally conscious crowd, such as writing MLS and marketing copy that highlights a home’s green features. She also tweets and posts on Facebook about green listings and includes the Green Designation in her email signature. As more builders focus on making green building a priority, buyers and sellers will be more aware of such features and their overall benefits, both to personal economics and overall sustainability. However, for now, when it comes to selling green homes, it seems the trick might be to focus on the economic benefits that homeowners will achieve, offering them an incentive to make sustainable choices. Gwen Moran is a writer based in Wall Township, N.J., and is a frequent contributor to The Residential Specialist. | 1 3

Pipeline | Strategies to grow your business

plug away By Michael Fenner

Different real estate clients like to communicate and interact in very different ways.

14 | September/October 2013


he Inman News Real Estate Connect conference may be known primarily as a platform for new real estate technology companies to ply their wares. The annual summer version of the conference, which was held in San Francisco in July, certainly gave REALTORS® a good look at the latest and greatest in real estate tech. But it also gave them some insight into how emerging technology tools might be both a benefit and a threat to the way they do business and serve their clients. Disruptive technologies — think of railroads, electricity or the Internet — transform the way businesses operate. But transformation has its price. Just ask any human travel agent, if you can find one, who competes with Expedia, Hotwire and So what is a REALTOR® to do in a

market in which many of them must work hard to stay relevant and engage with their current, past and potential clients? When disintermediation is a real threat to your way of doing business, how do you make yourself not only a real estate agent, but a trusted consultant and adviser? Speakers and panelists at several of the Connect sessions rang a familiar bell: Agents must connect with their communities. And while technology helps them do just that, it is also the force that may push some of them out of business. Using social media to reach out to customers has become the new normal. But the real trick for today’s REALTOR® is “getting from ‘Likes’ (on Facebook) to customer acquisition, retention and referrals,” said Clara Shih, CEO and founder of Hearsay Social, a social media management company.


At the Inman Connect conference, speakers focused on how technology can help REALTORS ® make themselves indispensable for their clients.

When it comes to engaging with customers on social media, the goal is to “stay top-of-mind without being annoying,” she said. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become a key way consumers are influenced about what to buy, when to buy it and who to buy it from, Shih said. “One of the first places people go to share [big news about their lives] is social media.” So REALTORS® should use social media as a listening tool to learn what is going on with their clients’ lives. Marriage? New baby? Divorce? Death in the family? Those clients are the most likely to need a helping hand from a trusted REALTOR®, Shih said.

Paper-Free Like the emergence of social media, the transformation of the paper-based real estate transaction documentation and signing process has changed the marketplace for good. Consumers who are used to paying their bills, taxes and license plate renewals electronically expect that same functionality during a real estate transaction. Glenn Shimkus, CEO and co-founder of Cartavi, a Web-based document management startup for real estate agents that was acquired by DocuSign in May, said it isn’t a big challenge to convince consumers that it’s safe and convenient to access and sign transaction documents online. But a challenge remains, he said, in persuading a large percentage of REALTORS® to abandon their old ways of doing business in order to meet undeniable customer demand for more seamless transactions enabled by technology. Mobile technology, of course, is the standard now. Tom Gonser, DocuSign founder and chief strategy officer, said the consumer market has spoken: Homebuyers and sellers demand not only listing data but also options to complete transactions on iPhones, Droids, iPads and more. According to DocuSign’s research, “By the end of this year, well over 50 percent of the documents signed on the DocuSign platform will be signed on a mobile device,” Gonser said.

“These technologies don’t ask us to just lean back and watch. They ask us to sit forward and participate.” Consumers Rule Ultimately, though, the foundation of the real estate business is customer service. A panel of homebuyers and sellers spoke out about what they want (and don’t want) from their REALTOR®. One panelist told the assembled group of professional real estate agents: “I don’t care about your Facebook, and I don’t care about your Twitter feed.” She said she would, however, like to go to dinner with her REALTOR® once a year to catch up. But another panelist commented, “My [main] influencer is my agent.” Her priority is to find an agent who can handle everything in the transaction process — she’s too busy to fuss over the details. Some panelists said they prefer to interact with a REALTOR® via telephone. Others swear by texting. Some prefer email. Others want to have in-person meetings throughout the life cycle of a transaction. The simple lesson? Different real estate clients like to communicate and interact in very different ways. It’s up to REALTORS® to determine exactly what their clients are looking for and communicate with them in the manner that best meets their needs. Panelist Dawn Thomas, CRS, said consumers no longer look to a single website when they are hunting for a REALTOR®. They tend to check Yelp, Google, Zillow, Trulia and a host of other sources to vet an agent before reaching out to them for help. Thus, “It’s extremely important to have some sort of online reputation management

[plan] and monitor it all the time,” Thomas said. It is also critical for agents to make sure that their websites work well and display properly on mobile devices.”

Analyze This One trend touted by several conference speakers was predictive analytics — which help businesses get a better handle on exactly what their specific target market wants — that may help agents better reach their ideal customers. “I think it’s not going to be about more leads; I think it’s going to be about better-quality leads,” said panelist Errol Samuelson, chief strategy officer of Move Inc. and president of Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, said many real estate buyers and sellers think REALTORS® are “living in the stone age” because their adaptation of new technology is slow. “At every step of the process we can make the consumer more informed and more empowered” by using technology, he said. Hunter Walk, the former director of product for YouTube, pointed out that technology has helped create a kind of “global citizenship.” He argued that an online phenomenon such as “Gangnam Style,” the song and video by South Korean singer Psy, shows how well technology can bring people together. The video was the first to get more than 1 billion views on YouTube. And when that kind of hyperawareness takes root, it can create big changes in the marketplace, regardless if it is in the entertainment, political or business world. “These technologies don’t ask us to just lean back and watch,” Walk said. “They ask us to sit forward and participate.” The overall message? REALTORS® who can’t engage in a meaningful way with today’s mobile, social media–savvy consumers risk losing business. Disintermediation is no fun — just ask any former travel agent. Michael Fenner is editor-in-chief of The Residential Specialist. | 1 5

Up Close | Profiles of people to watch

jeff wu,


@Home Real Estate, Tysons Corner, Va.

REALTOR® since: 2003 CRS since: 2010 Contact: 703.791.1169; jeff@agentknows

You’ve got a busy schedule. How do you make time to work out and spend time with your family? I work hard to be as honest with my time as possible. It’s important to me that the most important time blocks go onto the calendar first. Those are related to family and health. I have three kids, and I love to spend time with them. When we have a family event or when I’m coaching soccer or basketball, that goes on the calendar first. I try to have family dinners, and then I might go back out to do a client appointment at 7 p.m. But if I can, I’m going to get back for bedtime or one-on-one time with my wife. In order to evolve, either in your life or your business, you need to have great systems and great people. To me, that’s a never-ending challenge because if you continue to grow, you’re going to continue to need more people. It all comes down to setting expectations and having resources and team members who are there to help. I’m so fortunate to work with great people. Every little step of the process doesn’t have to be you. A lot of people in our business feel like either they can’t let go or it’s too hard to find people to help them. What kind of technology do you use to manage your business? We use cloud computing tools, such as Dropbox and Evernote. That’s where pretty much all of our files are. In the field, we’re able to access them very easily from our phones or from our iPads, and we can send links to our clients so they can easily access files. We can share a folder so they have complete access to things. It’s so important. We also use zipForm and DocuSign. In our office, we have two Apple TVs set up, so we’ll do presentations from our laptop or iPad that go directly to the TV on the wall. We communicate with clients in all different ways, sharing a video, sharing content, and even using Google Docs to collaborate.

16 | September/October 2013

We made an initiative this year with our hyperlocal focus to really get into video. We committed to do a new video every week. It might be shot in a neighborhood where we talk about its values and what’s sold and what’s coming on the market. It might be in front of a local amenity like the mall, a new restaurant or an iconic building. We’ll do videos where we interview local businesspeople so that our video pops up in a search for that local business, which can send that video to their clients or prospects as well. We put the videos on YouTube and post them on our blog. Is getting involved in your community important to you? Yes, very important. I coach soccer and basketball. I love sports. We have some amazing local leagues and programs, and it’s great to be involved with my kids. I’m also the commissioner of one of the age groups, so I coordinate the schedule and season. My wife and I are huge fans and proponents of a lot of different groups, but real estate and housing are basic needs. I wanted to give back to another basic need: food. So I’m a big supporter of a group called Food for Others. It delivers food to those in need. It also has a warehouse with a walk-in fridge and freezer, and people go to them for balanced meals when they’re in need or when they’re in a government program. We give them food, we give them money, and we also volunteer our time at the warehouse. When we sell homes, we tell our clients not to throw food away when they’re moving. We will take it to Food for Others ( What is your favorite thing about your work? My favorite thing is that we’re able to help people with a big life event. A lot of times, real estate goes with other life events: changing jobs, moving into a new area, upsizing because they have kids or they’re getting married, or downsizing because their kids are out of the house. This is a big deal in people’s lives, and I think it’s so fun to be a part of that. It’s an exciting process when you drive toward the goal as a team. I love sports, and I love being on a team with a client. It’s just cool to go through the process, and give them the confidence they need and basically help them win.

Brooks Kraft

How long have you been in real estate? I’ve been in real estate for 10 years. After my wife and I had an unfortunate experience with a REALTOR®, I got licensed. We wanted to accumulate some investment property, and having the license meant we’d get paid a commission, too. Once I got it, I said, “Let me see how this goes.” Prior to that, I was managing corporate fitness centers. I’m a real fan of growth, both mentally and physically. I like to work out every morning.

“In order to evolve, either in your life or your business, you need to have great systems and great people.�

Jeff Wu, CRS | 1 7

f o t n i o P

e h t n o s i t e k r a m n o i t a c a v e h t t a h t t r o p e r s S CR Gretchen Lambeth, CRS, of Hawaiian Isle Real Estate in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, can hardly keep up with the flood of calls and emails from snowbirds in places like Canada and Alaska who are looking for vacation homes in warmer climes. “We started having to turn buyers away in February, and I’ve got at least 20 people I’m hunting condos for now,” she says. “We simply don’t have enough supply.” It’s quite a change from the 50 percent drop in sales that took place between 2005 and 2007. “We got hit really hard,” Lambeth says. But since 2009, sales of homes and condominiums in Kailua-Kona have been inching steadily upward, and the 448 houses and condos sold through the first half of this year puts the market on track for its best sales year since the 2005 high. With a turnaround in full swing, Lambeth’s biggest challenge has been finding properties for all the people who want them. “People are watching prices go up and are holding onto their homes because the market is rising so quickly,” she says.

18 | September/October 2013

Will Stanton/Alamy

Paradise is popular once again.

n r u t e R

. s a e r a t r o s e r y e k l a r e v e s n i d n u o b re

Levine e m o iel R By Dan | 1 9

Sunshine State of Affairs Florida was one of the hardest-hit states in the housing crash, and Miami’s vacation and second-home market was no exception, says Ralph De Martino, CRS, with Ocean International Realty in Miami Beach. De Martino specializes in selling condominiums to second-home buyers along a stretch of Miami’s coastline running from Hollywood to South Beach. But De Martino expects 2013 to be a record year for sales in his niche market. 20 | September/October 2013

Through the end of June, total sales had hit 2,198 condos, and he says that figure will likely double by the end of the year. If that happens, it would be the highest sales number in the past eight years, topping the 4,344 condos that sold in 2011. When home prices started stabilizing in 2011, says De Martino, buyers began to come back into the market looking for second homes. “People started realizing that we had hit bottom and that there were good opportunities out there,” he says. Sales soared 24 percent in 2011 from a year earlier, and median sale prices have followed. As of June of this year, the median sale price was $327,500, nearly 46 percent higher than it was just three years ago. With coastal condo prices moving steadily upward, De Martino says buyers are coming into the market from South America and Europe, as well as the northeast United States, and more than 70 percent of them are making strong cash offers for their second homes. They are still getting great deals, he says, but not as sweet as if they had acted a year or so earlier. De Martino points to a 1,030-squarefoot, two-bedroom, two-bath condo with a direct ocean view in a 1966 building that he recently sold to a family from Germany in just two days for $610,000. To highlight how fast the market has turned, De

Martino says that as recently as three years ago, this same unit would have most likely sat on the market for about a year and sold for around $450,000.

Aloha Spirit In Hawaii, Lambeth says she is also seeing more buyers paying cash for their second homes. And, realizing how tight the inventory is, they aren’t being too picky about what they buy. She recently advised clients against listing their condominium because she thought the $375,000 they wanted to sell it for was 10 percent higher than the market would bear. “I thought it would be a struggle to sell at that price,” she says. While the property was in a good location right on a golf course, Lambeth felt it needed renovating, such as updating the kitchen and bathrooms and adding new carpeting and paint. By doing the renovations and waiting until 2014 to list the property, she believed they would have a more realistic chance of getting their desired list price. Lambeth admits she got a valuable lesson in the strength of today’s Kailua-Kona vacation home market when, two weeks after advising her clients to wait, they told her they had been approached by a renter asking if they’d ever thought of selling. When they told the renter that yes, in fact,

Ocean Photography/Veer

But since 2009, sales of homes and condominiums in Kailua-Kona have been inching steadily upward, and the 448 houses and condos sold through the first half of this year puts the market on track for its best sales year since the 2005 high. With a turnaround in full swing, Lambeth’s biggest challenge has been finding properties for all the people who want them. “People are watching prices go up and are holding onto their homes because the market is rising so quickly,” she says. The resurgence in vacation-home sales in Kailua-Kona reflects the national trend. Sales of vacation homes rose more than 10 percent last year from 2011, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. “We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. To find out what’s happening with vacation-home sales in different regions of the United States, The Residential Specialist talked to CRSs in Florida, Hawaii and North Carolina to see what their experiences have been.

“People started realizing that we had hit bottom and that there were good opportunities out there.”

they had, and they would for $375,000, the renter didn’t blink an eye and agreed to the deal on the spot. “It may matter to me that places are shiny and pretty before being sold,” Lambeth says, “but in this market buyers aren’t as concerned as they used to be. That’s the mindset now: property first, condition second.”

Sweet Carolina Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the far western corner of North Carolina, the small city of Murphy is a modern-day Mayberry. It attracts second-home and vacation-home buyers who are looking for

a slow-paced, small-town lifestyle. “If you wave at someone here on the street, they will not ignore you,” says John Poltrock, CRS, with the Poltrock Team, RE/MAX. Many of Murphy’s vacation-home buyers are from Florida, says Poltrock, so when it comes to local real estate trends, Murphy’s market is inexorably tied to what happens in the Sunshine State. “Buying a second home is a luxury, not a requirement,” says Poltrock, “so when times are tough for people down there, they stop spending as much on luxury-type items up here.” With Florida’s housing market enjoying a strong rebound, Murphy and the


Looking for a Getaway • The median vacation-home price in 2012 was $150,000, compared with $121,300 in 2011. • Nearly half of vacation-home buyers paid cash for their properties in 2012. • The typical vacation-home buyer in 2012 was 47 years old and had a median household income of $92,100. • 80 percent of vacation-home buyers said they purchased their property for vacations or as a family retreat. • 45 percent of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South. • The typical vacation-home buyer last year purchased a property a median distance of 435 miles from their primary residence. Source: NAR’s 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey

greater Cherokee County region are just starting to reap the benefits. There were 386 total sales in 2012, up 20 percent from the year before, and through May of this year sales stood at 149 units. Homes also are spending less time on the market. Prime vacation homes that are well priced, says Poltrock, are selling in fewer than three months, and in many cases much sooner. During the height of the local downturn in 2008 and 2009, many homes were stagnating on the market for more than two years. The average sale price of a home in Cherokee County has been inching upward, too. Since hitting a low of $115,616 in April 2011, the price stands at $116,709 today. According to Poltrock, the buyers driving this upward trend are mostly in their 40s and 50s and are at a point in their lives where they have saved enough and feel financially stable enough to afford a second home. Most are buying a home to use as a vacation getaway during the summer or fall, when the foliage on the oak and maple trees turns brilliant yellows, oranges and reds. Many of these buyers also have an eye on the future and plan to retire in the home. With prices in Cherokee County still down as much as 60 percent for some properties from 2007, “people are getting screaming good deals right now,” he says. Poltrock is optimistic about the future of the local vacation home market and predicts prices will be as much as 10 percent higher at this time next year. “As the overall economy and the stock market continue to improve, a lot more people are going to start feeling more comfortable buying vacation homes,” he says. Daniel Rome Levine is a writer based in Wilmette, Ill., and is a frequent contributor to The Residential Specialist. | 2 1

22 | September/October 2013



CRSs reveal what’s in and what’s out in home preferences.

Nicola Tree/Alamy

By Gayle Bennett

Some things never change, at least when it comes to what homebuyers want: decent-sized bedrooms, nice kitchens and bathrooms, and good natural light. But other must-haves enter the real estate zeitgeist like gangbusters and leave just as quickly. (Remember sunken living rooms, mirrored closet doors and olive-colored kitchen appliances?) | 2 3

Coming out of the recession, the buytoday/sell-tomorrow mindset has evolved into one that values longevity, and good quality at the right price is prized more than ever. According to homebuyer surveys and insight of CRSs across the country, homebuyers are looking for energy-efficient features, an open floor plan and plenty of storage. But the trick for CRSs is to know what amenities each individual client wants, then find those specific properties that fit the bill.

Sizing It Up Given the belt-tightening that happens in a recession, one might think smaller houses are all the rage. More than one article has addressed the death of the

“We’ve seen buyers say, ‘We just don’t need that space that’s costing more money to maintain and heat and cool.’” McMansion. But, so far, the data isn’t necessarily telling that story. According to the Census Bureau, in 2012, the median home in the United States hit an all-time record of 2,306 square feet, an increase of 8 percent from 2009. But Rose Quint, assistant vice president for survey research at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), points out

State of Mind

Popular home preferences in the South don’t necessarily have the same charm in other parts of the country, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences. Region plays a big part in what buyers really want. For example, newer homes — less than five years old and in wooded areas — are in demand among Southerners, who bought the largest homes at 2,000 square feet. Central air is also a must-have for people in this region, according to the survey. Buyers in the Midwest and suburbia prefer houses with garages, and basements are also valued in this part of the country, as well as the Northeast. Hardwood floors are most popular in the Northeast, where the typical purchase is 1,850 square feet. Buyers across the United States are willing to pay the most for waterfront properties and homes less than five years old. “Deciding where to live comes with a lot of options, but buyers quickly realize that some features are more important than others when it comes to choosing the right house for them,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif.

24 | September/October 2013

that’s because most of the people who were able to purchase houses during the recession were a wealthier subset of homebuyers — those who could get financing and put 20 percent down. “It all has to do with access to credit over the last few years,” she says about the Census Bureau data. According to other data, the desire for a big home is still alive and well across all income levels. In an NAHB survey of 3,682 homebuyers released earlier this year, consumers said they want their next home to be a median 2,226 square feet, 17 percent larger than their current home and 13 percent smaller than homes started in 2012. In addition, a March 2013 consumer survey from real estate website Trulia found that homeowners’ biggest regret was not buying a bigger home. However, Robert Vannucchi, CRS, with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Stamford, Conn., has seen his higher-end homebuyers looking to downsize. The average sale price in Stamford is in the $600,000 range, he says, and in 2006, builders were putting up 7,000- to 9,000-square-foot houses on one to four acres. “What we’ve seen in the downturn is that same buyer wants 4,000 square feet at the very most.”

Power Accord One of the reasons Vannucchi’s clients say they want to downsize is the cost of heating and cooling such large spaces. “We’ve seen buyers say, ‘We just don’t need that space that’s costing more money to maintain and heat and cool.’ ” In NAHB’s survey, the No. 2 feature that most influences purchase (after the

number of bedrooms and appropriate living space to meet needs, at 65 percent) is energy-efficient features (39 percent), followed by good insulation (35 percent). But this doesn’t mean they are treehuggers. “When you ask in broad, utopian terms like, ‘Are you concerned about the impact building your home has on the environment?’ you don’t get a good response to that,” Quint says. “But when you ask if they are concerned about the cost of utilities in their next home, a large majority is very concerned. And not only concerned, but would consider utility costs in their purchase decision for their next home.” The survey found that homebuyers are willing to pay $7,095 on top of a home’s base price to save $1,000 a year in utility costs. And this trend might be here to stay. A March 2013 survey by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate found that the most sought-after technology that millennials (members of Generation Y) want in their homes is an energy-efficient washer and dryer (57 percent), and No. 3 on the list was a smart thermostat (44 percent).

Andrew Paterson/Alamy

Space Out

room buyers would be willing to spend more to get, the NAR survey found. “The buyer wants help getting the home organized,” Quint says. “They don’t want to walk over dirty laundry in the halls or kitchen.” The desire for storage and organization doesn’t stop at the laundry room. The NAHB survey found that 39 percent of homebuyers wouldn’t buy a home without a bathroom linen closet, 32 percent need garage storage space, and 31 percent must have a walk-in kitchen pantry. Jody Zink, CRS, with RE/MAX Preferred Associates in Toledo, Ohio, is also seeing this trend toward built-in organization firsthand. Her clients often tell her they want a house with a mudroom that has cubbies for each family member to store coats, shoes, backpacks and bags. “People want their homes to function well with their lives and with their kids,” she says. But this desire for compartmentalization is a discrete one. “As far as the style of home, I’ve noticed that more people want an open floor plan,” says Robert Little, CRS, with RE/MAX Advantage in Las Vegas. “That’s probably the thing that I hear the most. They want a big kitchen that overlooks the family room or great room.” Zink’s clients want the same thing. “The floor plans from the ’60s with the split level, not so much. The ’70s and ’80s, where they had the formal living room? Nobody uses the formal living room anymore.”

“People are buying homes they are going to stay in 15, 20, 30 years. Before [the recession] you saw more of a chess game.”

A growing trend among homebuyers is the desire for more space that will help them keep things in the home organized. In NAHB’s survey, 57 percent of homebuyers said they would not buy a home without a laundry room. In the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences, 63 percent of buyers were willing to pay $1,590 more for a laundry room. Along with an office/ den, a laundry room is the most common

In fact, NAHB asked homebuyers if they want a formal living room, and the results were split. “About 40 percent said they would buy a home without it and 40 percent said they wouldn’t. That left 20 percent in the middle who won’t make up their mind based on the living room,” Quint says.

Time Clock But, the most important new trend in homebuying might not be the desire for dual-paned windows or a laundry room, but the focus on finding the best house for the long haul. “People are buying homes they are going to stay in 15, 20, 30 years,” says Leslie Piper, a consumer housing specialist with “Before [the recession] you saw more of a chess game, where people would buy a home and then they would move a couple years later, and then they would move again.” Zink agrees. “Six years ago was the height of the market, and people were buying anything and everything because the prices were going up.” With this greater focus on quality, she tries to get her sellers to make as many improvements as possible because otherwise the sale price might not reach the market rate. “[Homebuyers] want to buy a house and move right in,” she says. That said, “If it’s in a good area, and it’s the best house at the best price, they can live with it.” Gayle Bennett is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. | 2 5

GOLDE For seniors, ďŹ nding a home that matches their needs can be a daunting task. CRSs share the keys to guiding older clients through the options. By Regina Ludes

26 | September/October 2013

EN AGE blackred/Getty Images


t didn’t take long for Norma and Dennis Delahanty of Naperville, Ill., to realize it was time to move. The couple, both in their early 70s, were playing a game of pingpong in the basement of their multilevel, fivebedroom home when Norma fell and broke her leg. “We realized then that it would be nice to not have a bedroom on the second floor,” Norma Delahanty says. While Norma recovered, the couple contacted Kathryn Hoffman, CRS, with Realty

Executives Premiere, whom Norma knew through her volunteer work in the community. Hoffman is working with the couple to sell their home and close on a one-level rancher in a nearby active-adult community, which offers amenities such as an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a clubhouse and walking paths. “We wanted to stay in Naperville to be close to our doctors and friends and go to places we were used to going,” the couple says. | 2 7

According to the Administration on Aging, the American population age 65 and over increased from 35 million in 2000 to 41.4 million in 2011 and is projected to increase to 79.7 million by 2040. The 85 and older population is projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2011 to 14.1 million by 2040. As this segment grows, the demand for housing and services will also increase. It’s a huge opportunity for REALTORS® who want to focus their businesses on the mature market. To be successful, however, it’s important to understand the latest senior housing trends, the services they will need and the concerns that older clients have about their health and finances. Most of all, agents must learn to exercise patience to guide these individuals through what can be a difficult transition.

Sizing Down The most difficult part for the Delahantys was downsizing from a fivebedroom home with 2,800 square feet to a one-level, two-bedroom home with 2,000 square feet, and parting with some prized possessions,

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including Norma’s beloved piano. “They have years of accumulated clothes, furniture and mementos,” Hoffman says. “We need to gently say, ‘This needs to be packed away and stored. You have to move soon anyway.’ They don’t see these things the way buyers will. We need to help them see their home the way younger buyers would see it.” While the Delahantys were initially reluctant to follow Hoffman’s suggestions for decluttering and preparing the home for sale, including the removal of ages-old wallpaper and repainting, they eventually came around. “Even though we did not agree with everything she told us, Kathryn gave us suggestions about how to improve the home’s value, and she did not promise more than she could deliver, such as selling in a certain time frame. And she was right about taking the wallpaper down and repainting the rooms,” the Delahantys say.

Stages of Life Carol Marra, CRS, with Keller Williams Realty in Bradenton, Fla., says many of her older clients generally fall into one of four life stages, which helps her determine the best way to approach their housing problem. In the first stage, buyers nearing retirement seek a property to use for vacations now and for retirement later. “This can be one of the more difficult properties to find because buyers want to have a care-free property that will allow them to vacation with little hassle and yet live there full time later. I usually suggest a maintenance-free or lockand-leave property, like condos, townhomes and duplexes.” Since many are still relatively young and active, they want to find a home in an active-lifestyle community that provides

golf, tennis and swimming, Marra says. Recent retirees are part of the second stage, says Marra. “They have a lot of leisure time on their hands, so they are best suited for active-lifestyle communities. These individuals also look for a home with an extra-large garage to use as a work area or an extra room that can be used for their hobbies or as a spare bedroom. Some buyers in this stage want to move up from their smaller vacation property to a larger, more permanent retirement home,” she says. Buyers in the downsizing stage are ready to rid themselves of a large home that they can no longer care for and move into a smaller property that requires less maintenance, Marra says, while those in the fourth stage who can’t live on their own must either move in with a family member or into an assisted-living facility.

Back to the Future To address the housing needs of older adults and multigenerational families, Marra says one local builder is experimenting with a “home-within-a-home” concept. The Next-Gen home consists of the main house and a separate apartment, all on one level and under one roof. Both the main home and the apartment have their own garage and entrance. “This way, mature adults can live with an older child under the same roof but still have their own space. It can also work with an adult child still living at home with their parents,” Marra says. A few builders are testing out a new condo concept in some Florida communities called veranda homes. These structures consist of 16 units under one roof, eight on the ground floor, eight on the second level, each with its own garage, Marra says. These homes are slightly larger than a traditional condo, 1,400 to 1,600 square feet compared with 1,200 to 1,400 square feet. “The condo concept with the garage is not that common in the area currently, but the trend seems to be toward building more of these type of homes,” Marra says.

Dem10/Getty Images

“Working with seniors isn’t just about housing; it’s about housing and services.”

Aging in Place “Working with seniors isn’t just about housing; it’s about housing and services,” says Skip Frenzel, CRS, with Agape Real Estate in California, who teaches the SRES course as well as workshops for REALTORS® about working with seniors. “Their ability to function in the world will affect their housing decision. A 55-yearold will have different physical abilities than a 78-year-old, which will determine what kind of housing and services they want and need. Each client must be dealt with separately,” he says. Frenzel believes there is not enough affordable housing to meet the needs of older adults, and the shortage is forcing people to stay in their homes longer. To offset this shortage, Frenzel believes builders must begin building age-appropriate homes with universal design features and one-level living space so future generations can live comfortably down the road. “Builders should eliminate the second floor or at least make the home more manageable by putting one master bedroom on the main floor,” he says. More existing homes must be modified with aging-in-place features so older individuals can remain in the homes longer. Also, as more families double up and live under one roof, more multigenerational housing will be needed, says Frenzel. “Ask yourself, ‘Where do you want to age?’ For most people, a nursing home is not where they want to spend the rest of their days. The idea is to keep people in their home for as long as possible, and keep those homes safe and affordable.”

Oxford/Getty Images

At Your Service Marilyn Silberstein, CRS, with Elfant Wissahickon REALTORS® in Philadelphia, agrees that there’s not enough of the right kind of housing available for older adults, especially in some parts of her city. Within the central part of the city, the housing stock is old and many homes have lots of stairs, Silberstein says. Most seniors cannot stay in the city because there isn’t

About 1.3 million older adults lived in a nursing home in 2012. 57% of people age 65 and older lived with their spouse in 2012, representing 23.5 million Americans. About 28%, or about 11.8 million older adults, lived alone. About 13.3% of the U.S. population, or one in every eight persons, is over age 65. Older men were more likely to be married (72%) than older women (45%). More than one-third of older women (37%) were widows in 2012. Source: Administration on Aging; U.S. Census Bureau

enough one-level living available. While some are moving to senior residences in the suburbs, others are moving out of the area altogether. Over-55 communities are a fabulous idea, she adds, “but they need to build more of them closer to the central Philadelphia area where many older adults live.” She also likes the concept of aging in place, as long as local companies are available to provide services, such as housekeeping, home health care and grocery delivery. She advises agents to work with a team of professionals who can provide services to their older clients who choose to remain in their own home, including a lender who understands reverse mortgages and creative financing options, handyman services, cleaning companies, elder law attorneys and home health care

professionals. Working with older individuals also requires patience. “This isn’t a quick deal. You have to establish trust with seniors who may be a bit suspicious. They need a lot of hand-holding just to make the decision to move or not. You may make a lot of phone calls to them, and in the end, they may still end up staying where they are.” Whether it’s helping older clients through the decision to move, identifying various living arrangements for them or finding resources in the community to help them live comfortably in their existing homes, REALTORS® can successfully provide the counseling, care and services their older clients need. Regina Ludes is the associate editor of The Residential Specialist. | 2 9

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Vintage Year

Why historic homes are beating the housing crisis and recovering faster. B y C h r i s t o p h e r B ra n d o n

House: NiKreative/Alamy; Flourish: Ornament, floral design elements/Alamy


n 2008, just as housing prices plummeted across the country, Kathleen O’Donnell, CRS, with The O’Donnell Group in Portland, Ore., listed a home that had been built in 1911 in the historic neighborhood of Irvington. It was a 6,000-square-foot Craftsman built by renowned local developer Marcus Delahunt. Her client, a historic homes restoration specialist, spent nine months and thousands of dollars restoring its vintage woodwork, installing modern appliances, and upgrading the electrical and plumbing. | 3 1

Recession-Proof The U.S. housing bubble peaked in 2006, and then home prices began to tumble. In the worst-hit markets, such as Minneapolis and Phoenix, home prices depreciated by

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nearly 5 percent each month, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index in 2009. REALTORS® who specialize in historic homes, however, say their inventory didn’t experience the crash; historic homes in their markets tended to hold onto their value better than new construction. “You’re always going to have that market of people who want something different,” says Mario Romero, CRS, with the Melcher Agency in Phoenix. “They don’t want the cookie-cutter.” Previous generations built homes with rich, unique elements not often found in new construction. High ceilings, hardwood floors, and hand-carved moldings are just a few of the architectural elements common in historic homes. In New Orleans, homes built during the Victorian period feature bracketed overhangs and slate roofs, two very desirable elements for which buyers will pay a premium, says Michael Zarou, CRS, with Latter & Blum Inc. “It is the charm,” he says, that draws people to these houses. Buyers may also be drawn to the quality of construction. Century-old homes were made out of solid timber, not particle board, and have withstood decades. Sandra Nickel, CRS, with Sandra Nickel Hat Team REALTORS® in Montgomery, Ala., says, “People appreciate that these houses have proven they were built to last. They don’t melt when they get wet.” While aesthetic qualities no doubt attract buyers’ attention, location in city centers where historic homes are typically found is the No. 1 reason REALTORS® cite for their price stability. The housing crisis hit at a unique time in American migratory patterns as city life became more desirable than the suburbs, particularly for young people. The 2011 census revealed that

“You’re always going to have that market of people who want something different. They don’t want the cookie-cutter.”

population growth in city centers outpaced that of suburbs for the first time in nearly two decades. Many neighborhoods found in city centers are historic. This prime location was a key reason those homes didn’t suffer as severely, according to Nickel. “It’s the whole back-to-the-city movement,” she says, crediting a new baseball stadium with revitalizing Montgomery’s downtown. “Younger people are really over suburbia as a place to live.”

Comeback Kings As people continue to flock to cities, historic homes are recovering faster than newer homes outside the city. Romero says Phoenix’s suburbs are still struggling, but its historic neighborhoods recovered in mid2011. “We’re back to late 2003 prices,” he says. High demand in historic neighborhoods where there’s no competition with new construction is the reason he says those homes have recovered so quickly. Small supply and high demand has also helped historic home values rise quickly in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune reported in July that historic housing inventory has hit a seven-year low, according to local REALTORS® and data from the University of New Orleans Institute for Economic Development and Real Estate Research, sparking a “buying frenzy” with historic properties fetching tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price. “People come here from all over,” Zarou says. “It’s the

House: Tetra/Glow Images; Flourish: Ornament, floral design elements/Alamy

The home sold three weeks after O’Donnell placed it on the market. At $1.9 million, the sale price broke all records for the east side of Portland. Historic homes like this one defied the norm during the housing crisis and seem to be rebounding faster during the recovery, according to REALTORS® who focus on historic neighborhoods. But they caution against jumping into the vintage home market without knowing its peculiarities. While some homebuyers will pay a premium to live in a historic home, they need to be made aware of any structural or functional problems with the home that might take them by surprise.

kind of city that if you visit it, you fall in love with it.” People smitten with New Orleans want to live in the historic areas, he says, not the suburbs. In Portland, O’Donnell tells a similar story. Historic homes, particularly those in desirable neighborhoods like Irvington and Portland Heights, have returned to pre-recession prices, while homes in the suburbs are still recovering. “As of this year, we’re back to 2006 prices on a persquare-foot basis. And we’re exceeding them,” O’Donnell says. “In some of the neighborhoods, a fully restored home used to fetch around $300 a square foot. Now I see things going for $340 to $360.”

Exactostock/Superstock/Glow Images

Saving Grace Developers looking to restore old homes, as well as potential homeowners, need to be aware that historic homes often come with an additional layer of scrutiny. Many cities aim to preserve the architectural and cultural value of their old dwellings, with specific rules and regulations that agents must know. In Phoenix, for instance, Romero describes the process this way: “I get a permit to do something to my house. I live in North Phoenix in a nonhistoric neighborhood. I go down to the city zoning department, they review it, and I get a yea or nay. If the property is in a historic neighborhood, it gets sent up to the Historic Preservation Commission for additional review.” Minor changes that can’t be seen from the street get approved right away, Romero says. Even additions to historic homes will get approved if they are integrated into the home’s distinctive style. However, making changes to a home that impact its historic nature and can be seen from the street, such as replacing original wooden windows with vinyl, will get homeowners called to the Preservation Commission’s office. They’ll explain what they’d like to see and help the homeowner explore their options, Romero says. Restoring original elements like wooden windows, however, can be pricey.

In New Orleans, where history is a crucial component of the city, there are two historic preservation commissions. Vieux Carré governs the French Quarter, which has strict regulations that even include appropriate paint colors. “They have specific colors you have to pick from before you paint the house,” Zarou says. “We don’t want anybody going in there and painting a house some really crazy colors.” The Historic District Landmark Commission governs the city’s other historic areas, and Zarou says the level of scrutiny varies by neighborhood. In areas near the French Quarter, he says, they’re strict. “They’re going to say, ‘You’ve got to pull that window out. You did it wrong,’” he says. Neighborhoods that are farther away from the tourist district don’t receive the same amount of scrutiny.

History Lessons In general, agents need to be aware of rules and regulations when showing a home, and it’s especially apparent when they are working with historic homes. “You have to understand the politics of each neighborhood because they’re all different,” Romero says. In Alabama, which is a nondisclosure state, Nickel says, “it falls to the buyer’s agent to discover all of these things.” She says there are a number of ways agents can gain this knowledge. “No 1: Buy an old house; live in it.” Nickel, who lives

in a historic home, says agents can also go down to the city and meet with the review board or take a continuing education course. What else should agents know? “You have to understand architecture,” Romero says. If you can’t tell a Queen Anne from a Tudor, you may struggle in the historic market. But above all, if you want to succeed in the historic homes market, you have to appreciate stories. O’Donnell says vintage homes usually have a story to tell, which she includes in literature distributed at open houses and preview parties. “Oftentimes there’s a history you can trace back through records and talking to neighbors.” After all, clients investing in a historic property aren’t just buying an old home. They’re buying a bit of history. Christopher Brandon is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. | 3 3

Good Read | Resources in print

gather trust Who knew the digital revolution would usher in an era in which human values and human connections dictate the success or failure of commercial brands? Reviewed by Allan Fallow

Can’t Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy, Portfolio/ Penguin, 240 pages, $25.95

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for Ad Age — it’s likely you’ll enjoy the way they plow, seed and harvest the field of customer relationship marketing. Indeed, the co-authors seem to derive almost perverse glee from telling it like it is: “If you are still selling goods and services by blanketing the world with advertising, trying to persuade or entertain or flatter customers into submission,” Garfield and Levy tell us in the book’s introduction, “you are doing things all wrong. Because the world has changed. A lot.” Sales wisdom and marketing insights stipple the book like sunf lowers in a field of corn. Explaining what they call The Shift from traditional marketing to “purpose-driven marketing,” for instance, Garfield and Levy toss off this toothsome aperçu—which, I noticed on re-reading Can’t Buy Me Like Like, I had both underlined and asterisked:


’m not sure Bob Garfield and Doug Levy are tilling radically new terrain in Can’t Buy Me Like, their survey of how the crowdsourced Relationship Era is replacing the top-down Consumer Era. But thanks largely to their snappy writing style — Garfield spent 25 famously opinionated years critiquing ads

“We are speaking, after all, about human nature. Once you internalize the notion that human emotions and behavior do not significantly change when it’s time to go shopping, and that we are increasingly judging businesses in human terms…it’s easy to see why interacting with the public through digital channels conforms entirely to the standards of flesh-and-blood fellowship.”

The authors’ main point tackles a certain recent loss of luxury: In the Customer Era (which they define as lasting “from about 1965 to roughly five minutes ago”), brands could fabricate a corporate image that did not align with reality. In the Relationship Era, by contrast, “every aspect of a company’s behavior is on public display.” As that quote by Responsys CMO Scott Olrich makes clear, the way we transact business today has become so transparent that brands can no longer project an image of their choosing. Instead, they must “locate their inner selves and make common cause with the world.” Think of it this way: “Purpose-driven” brands — Patagonia, Panera, Kotex, Sovereign Bank and even Krispy Kreme — are our new mercantile role models. In a world where mass media and advertising have collapsed; where social media turns national news into water-cooler conversations; and where consumers have decided they value a company’s conduct just as much as they do its product, the only logical way for marketers to proceed is to define their brands by their core purpose: “The central requirement for all institutions in the Relationship Era [is] to define and internalize a central purpose that influences all activities, internal and external, with all stakeholders.” Or, if you prefer to boil it down to a slightly more digestible business koan: Today’s best brands don’t just have customers — they have members. Sure, the hallowed four Ps of marketing still apply — product, promotion, price and place — but to compete in the Relationship Era, write Garfield and Levy, you must now complement them with what they term the Three Cs: Credibility: Does the brand generate public trust by carrying through on its promises? Care: Does the brand “get” consumer needs — and strive to meet them?

“If you are still selling goods and services by blanketing the world with advertising, trying to persuade or entertain or flatter customers into submission, you are doing things all wrong.” Congruency: Does the brand’s every action square with its own deep-seated values? Just when all this was starting to sound as hipster woo-woo as an episode of Portlandia, Garfield and Levy beat me to it: “Nowadays, if you sell chicken, you are at pains to explain the conditions at the broiler house: In fact, each bird had better come with a medical chart.” At its heart, however, the Garfield-Levy doctrine is dead-on serious, and it makes perfect sense: I may not understand all the Venn diagrams they show in Can’t Buy Me Like, and I’m deeply cynical (and a tad outraged) that their “Brand Sustainability Maps” are the watermarks of the marketing company Levy heads in Dallas. (Fair warning: Patches of the book read like ads for the firm.) But I have to admit I’ve bought into their view that consumer trust sways buying decisions. So with the zeal of the newly converted, allow me to distill the thoughts of Chairmen Bob and Doug to their essence:

1  Trust trumps quality and price. 2  Marketers must define their brands by their core purpose.

3 Facebook interactions outweigh ad

impressions; it therefore makes more sense to embrace the obvious impact of the “like” button — “one of the most valuable innovations in technology over the last several decades,” according to Andy Kessler — than it does to curse Facebook’s lack of ROI metrics.

4 To isolate your own brand purpose, gather your team in a room and don’t let them leave until they’ve answered this question: “Why does the brand exist?”


 Purpose is not positioning. It’s not something contrived to set your widgets apart from the competition’s.


  You no longer dictate an image; you own an outlook.

7 Thanks to the inverse relationship

between brandedness and consumer acceptance, the more you sell in a social situation, the more you scare; the harder you try to close, the likelier you are to get closed out.

8  In our sharing-obsessed new business landscape, people connect with brands that behave like genial fellow human beings.

Armed with that manifesto, salespeople and marketers should be much better equipped to define their purpose — all the way to the bank. After all, as Can’t Buy Me Like makes clear, your business destiny has been out of your hands since the sunset of the Customer Era; in the Relationship Era washing over us like climate change, “it is in the hands of seven billion others.” Allan Fallow (@TheFallow) is a magazine writer and book editor in Alexandria, Va. | 3 5

CRS Idea Network

Sell-a-bration® 2014

Product Review Program

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inside CRS N E W S




REALTORS® Prepare for NAR Conference


everal thousand real estate professionals from all over the world are expected to attend the 2013 REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Nov. 8 – 11. REALTORS® continue to face numerous challenges in their local housing markets — low inventories, rising interest rates and intense competition for listings — prompting many of them to draw upon their strengths and rise to new heights in their careers. NAR’s annual Conference and Expo offers agents numerous networking opportunities and education sessions to help them find practical solutions for their business.

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CRS Designees who attend the conference will walk away with practical tips and strategies to help them close more deals and become inspired to achieve more in their personal and professional lives. In his industry address, NAR 2013 President Gary Thomas will recognize the accomplishments of the 2013 REALTORS® of the Year and Good Neighbor Award winners on Saturday, Nov. 9. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will present the keynote address. The REALTORS® Celebrity Concert features the ’70s rock band Foreigner on Sunday, Nov. 10. Back by popular demand, the pre-concert REALTORS® Got Talent show will showcase the talents of several REALTORS® from around the country. With more than 100 content-driven education sessions, agents can find solutions to their toughest business challenges. The Entrepreneurial Excellence Series features top entrepreneurs and business leaders as they share their life lessons and perspectives. Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of Makers, will discuss how emerging technologies could impact potential needs for residential and commercial real estate. Luke Williams, professor of innovation at NYU Stern School of Business and author of Disrupt:

Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business, will discuss how to implement change within your organization. CRS will present complimentary education sessions to attendees Nov. 7 and 8 presented by CRS Certified Instructors Mark Porter, Pat Zaby, Rich Sands, Gee Dunsten, Frank Serio and Lee Barrett. For details on topics and times, visit annual. More than 400 exhibitors will showcase their products and services at the REALTORS® Expo. Back by popular demand, check out the technology camps, with updated presentations about some of today’s top technology tools and software. Explore global opportunities at the International 2nd Home and Resort Pavilion featuring worldwide properties, and develop referrals and find business opportunities at the International Networking Center. When you register for the full conference, you’ll have complete access to more than 100 hours of recorded education sessions after the event. Be sure to register for a full conference pass to take advantage of this opportunity. For details about the complete conference schedule, go to CRS members can register at annual.

CRS Inaugural and Awards Dinner Join Council leadership for dinner, dancing, the annual awards presentation and the installation of the 2014 officers at the CRS Inaugural and Awards Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Contact for tickets.

CRS to Present a Se ssion in Spa nish For the first time ever, a NAR Conference session will be delivered in Spanish to accommodate Spanish-speaking attendees. Individuals fluent in Spanish, and even those just learning the language, are invited to attend the session. The session content will highlight the common foundations and universal concepts used in building a real estate practice, working with clients and selling real estate across the globe. It will be presented at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Sunday, Nov. 10, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The presentation is being developed by the Council of Residential Specialists and presented by Fernando Garcia Erviti, CRS, who teaches the CRS Real Estate Advanced Practices (REAP) courses and is with Unión de Créditos Inmobiliarios. Erviti will share critical differences between cultures, helping you understand what is important and what is not, which ultimately leads to your success or failure. The differences and the common links between cultures that can create extraordinary points of difference for you in your marketplace will be highlighted as well. Erviti will also share the universal foundation of a real estate practice, including establishing a rapport with clients, ethics, goal setting, and client care. He will also explain agency, exclusive listings and cooperation among agents and how they have been adapted successfully to different cultures all over the world. “I’ve taught CRS courses in countries where ‘exclusive’ is a bad word, the MLS is unheard of and the inflation rate was measured monthly. How do you teach about marketing, listing and servicing the client? I didn't have a clue until I was trained in the concepts students learn in the CRS Real Estate Advanced Practices courses, but I soon discovered that the fundamentals apply everywhere,” explains Erviti. | 3 7

inside CRS

Referral Story: The Nine-Year Plan


magine Clyde Cooper Jr.’s surprise when he recently received a $2,000 check for a referral he gave to a CRS colleague nine years ago. A couple that Cooper was working with at the time decided to move from Virginia Beach to Northern Clyde Cooper Jr., CRS Virginia to take advantage of better employment opportunities there. “Like most CRS agents, I immediately referred the client-couple to another CRS agent and a personal friend, Janice Allen of Long & Foster Real Estate,” says Cooper, a broker associate with RE/MAX Alliance in Virginia Beach. “Once the couple had moved to the area and began their home search, they were totally

surprised that home prices were much higher than they were in Virginia Beach, and they couldn’t afford to purchase the type of home they wanted.” Instead, the couple rented an apartment until their daughter was born last year. In 2012, the couple contacted Allen again, announcing they were ready to purchase a home. After helping them with their home purchase, Allen immediately called Cooper with the news. “It took me several days to locate the original outgoing referral form,” Cooper says. “I believe most agents would have handled the client’s home purchase and not disclosed to the referral agent that their original client was buying — nearly 10 years later. This is just one small example that demonstrates that CRS REALTORS® are the best,” he says. Cooper is the 2013 president of the Virginia CRS Chapter.

Knowledge-Sharing for Busy CRSs


RS Designees are always looking for new ways to increase their knowledge, improve productivity and be more involved in the CRS community. The Council of Residential Specialists recently launched the CRS Idea Network, an online social learning platform that allows CRS Designees to learn from contributors and industry experts who share content they have created for their businesses. The Idea Network, available via the CRS website, aims to create a more interactive experience among members and provide greater access to timely and relevant content in various multimedia formats, including videos, photos, news articles and business forms. Content contributors include CRS instructors, Sell-abration® and Legends Series speakers, and volunteer authors. You can post questions on specific topics, follow your favorite authors, “follow,” “share” or “hi-five (like)” content that you enjoy, and quickly find topics of interest using the platform’s search tools. To access the CRS Idea Network, log in at, select the Resources link, then select the CRS Idea Network button. The CRS Idea Network is just one more way to pursue lifelong learning.

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Sea, Sky and Sell-a-bration® 2014

Glow Images


ake plans today to join the Council of Residential Specialists and several hundred of your real estate peers in Coronado, Calif., for Sell-a-bration® 2014 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, 2014. Since its inception 26 years ago, the Council’s annual education event has attracted thousands of professionals of varying levels of experience and from different parts of the world who gather to learn from each other and build their professional network. Whether you are a first-time attendee or a Sell-a-bration® veteran, this three-day event offers educational excellence and professional camaraderie. Attendees will walk away armed with fresh ideas, new contacts, and a renewed commitment to their business. Agents can earn 16 credits toward the CRS Designation by attending Sell-a-bration® 2014. Rick Gaviati, CRS, with Coldwell Banker Westlake in Westlake Village, Calif., who attended the last three Sell-a-bration® events, says the education he found there has altered his approach to doing business. “The networking, education and the entire experience has been life-changing. My business is always improving

because of Sell-a-bration®.” Sell-a-bration® 2014 kicks off Jan. 31 with a series of interactive, topic-driven and solution-focused workshops; keynote presentations and educational sessions take place Feb. 1 – 2. Session topics include: online advertising; web lead strategies; going paperless; lead generation; market data; addressing a lack of inventory; and more. Most important, the threeday event gives agents the knowledge and skills they need to resolve everyday real estate challenges.

“Sell-a-bration® proved to be an uplifting and enlightening game-changer for me,” says Diana Symonds, CRS, broker associate with McQuaid Agency in Clear Lake, Iowa, who has attended the last three events. “The information that was presented was appropriately geared to today’s real estate market.” CRS will also present a one-day Legends event on Jan. 30, 2014. For information about Sell-a-bration® 2014 and to register, visit, or call customer service at 800.462.8841. | 3 9

inside CRS Personalize, Reproduce and Mail This Newsletter to Your Clients


Leave YOUR HOME as is, or personalize the newsletter by adding your photo, logo, address and phone number to the mailing panel.* You can also substitute any article in the newsletter with one of your own. Edit the newsletter electronically by downloading the Microsoft Word version at yourhomenewsletter.

PLEASE NOTE: The images featured in the YOUR HOME newsletter may only be used within the PDF version of the newsletter. These images may not be reproduced or republished elsewhere outside of this newsletter format. CRS members are free to re-use the text of the articles contained in the newsletter, however.


Product Review Program Returns


here can CRS members find the latest and bestreviewed products in today’s competitive real estate marketplace? Check out the new Products section on the CRS website at, where you can browse a selection of products and services, each reviewed by members of the CRS Product Review Committee. Reviews include a description of the member’s experience with the product and a CRS shield rating system — five shields indicate the highest rating. CRS members can also post their own reviews of the product.

“We wanted the capability to expose our members to a broader and more diverse array of products that could enhance their professional lives, while being able to tell them exactly how their peers were using these specific products and what they loved — or didn’t — about them. We also wanted the program to be more interactive,” says Stephanie Crain, CRS director of products. “The program offers complete transparency and is incredibly honest in its approach. Each review is tied to an individual CRS member, so our members will get a variety of personal experiences, as well as review styles.” The diverse selection of CRS Reviewed Products can help members find products they need to build their business and enhance their professional life. To access the Products page, visit the CRS website at, then select the Products link at the top of the page.

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


Mail. If you photocopy YOUR HOME or use it “as is,” please note that it is designed to be folded in a Z fold with the words YOUR HOME facing out on one side and the mailing panel facing out on the other side. Postal regulations require that Z folds have three closures (tabs or tape) — one on top in the center and two on the bottom. For your convenience, we have placed asterisks (*) where the closures should be. Be sure to check with your local mailer or post office to make sure you have prepared your mailings properly. Electronic File. Attach the customized newsletter file to an email to your clients or create a Web link to the file on your website. Consult your webmaster or technician to make sure the file is prepared correctly for these purposes, since these basic instructions will vary by person and system. * This newsletter is for the exclusive use of CRS members.

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For a complete step-by-step guide to personalizing and reproducing the YOUR HOME newsletter, visit yourhomenewsletter.






H O M E O W N E R S ,






Shop Talk



ou want to roll out the red carpet for potential buyers — not a dirty one. Consider these tips from Martha Stewart for keeping your carpets in tip-top shape this season and every season. • Shoes track in most of the dust and dirt. This buildup can create foul odors and trigger asthma attacks. For starters, position doormats at entrances, ask visitors to take off their shoes and make vacuuming part of your weekly routine. • Invest in a quality vacuum that has a green label called High-Efficiency Particular Air, which keeps all dirt in the bag. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the bag to make carpet odors less noticeable. Switch the bag when it is half-full. • When liquids or other messes hit the carpet, act quickly with a solution of clear hand soap or white vinegar and water. Gently blot the spill from the edge to the center with a towel. Rubbing cements a stain and causes matting. Blot until the carpet is completely dry. • Professional cleaning will extend the life of carpets. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a professional cleaning at least twice a year and even more frequently if you have pets or small children.

nd-of-summer sales on patio furniture might be front and center, but it might be just the right time to invest in new indoor chairs, couches or tables. Take a seat and learn how to prepare with tips from Better Homes and Gardens. Do your homework. First, measure everything. Write down room dimensions, accounting for the door and other details of the space. Also, have an idea of what you like. Get inspiration from home décor magazines and online research. But remember, you will need to touch, sit on and even lift furniture before deciding if you should bring it home. Ask yourself the right questions. What is the purpose and function of the furniture? Is comfort or aesthetics the priority? It may help to bring to the store the measurements, photos of the room and magazine pages so you can refer to them while you’re shopping. Pay attention to detail. Check the cushions and stitching. Run your fingers over the woodwork and finish. Take time to examine every detail. Make sure the furniture piece is exactly what you are looking for. Don’t settle. If you aren’t sold on a piece, don’t get it. Every detail should be perfect. Many stores now even have a custom design division. Still feel overwhelmed? Ask your CRS REALTOR® for an interior designer referral.

fast fact »


Every year, the average American eats 49.8 pounds of fresh and processed apples.

B R O U G H T T O Y O U B Y Y O U R A G E N T, A M E M B E R O F T H E C O U N C I L O F R E S I D E N T I A L S P E C I A L I S T S

App Picking


here’s an app for that.” Tired of hearing that phrase? Well, don’t knock it just yet. When you’re shopping for a home, you’ll want to know the smartphone apps that will lead you to the next open house. Consider these

tips from AOL Real Estate and CNET. For starters, many real estate websites, such as Zillow, Redfin and Trulia, have free mobile apps that offer much of the same functionality as the website. You can search addresses, contact REALTORS® and find the estimated value of homes. Homesnap (iOS; free) is another tool on the scene. Take a photo within the app when you’re passing by a home to get the list price, square footage, number of bedrooms, heating and air conditioning sys-

Say Yes to CRS


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I Lo

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

referr ve


Do you know someone who is thinking about buying or selling a home?

tems, local schools and estimated taxes. If you’re looking for a home in a specific area, try the Real Estate App (Android, iOS; free) Area Highlighter feature. You can customize the search area by drawing the boundaries directly on the map. And once you’ve started your search, keep track of the houses and keep a wish list of features you like with CrumbTracks (iOS; $1.99). Create files—with notes and photos—for each one. The Home Buying Power app (iOS; $1.99) can help you calculate your down payment, ideal monthly payment, closing costs and more. And, if you’re just looking to do some home improvements, there’s an app for that, too. Try Photo Measures (iOS, $5.99), which gives you accurate dimensions of rooms and lets you include design notes.

Retirees live the longest in Hawaii and the shortest in Mississippi. Source: TK

Please mention my name.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal or financial advice. If you are currently working with another real estate agent or broker, it is not a solicitation for business.


inside CRS » » » » » » »


CRS Classroom Courses CRS classroom courses earn either eight credits (for 100-level, one-day courses) or 16 credits (for 200-level, two-day courses) toward the CRS Designation. CRS courses listed below are from Sept.15 to Dec. 15, 2013. For more up-to-date listings, visit

NOV. 19 – 20 BELLEVUE, WASH. Washington CRS Chapter 866.556.5277 Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS

DEC. 5 – 6 CINCINNATI Cincinnati Area Board of REALTORS® 513.842.3011 Instructor: James Nellis, CRS

CRS 204 — Income Properties SEPT. 23 – 24 IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO SouthEast Idaho Women’s Council of REALTORS® 208.529.1750 Instructor: Doug Richards, CRS, CCIM


CRS 201 — Listings

Alaska CRS Chapter 907.561.2338 Instructor: Doug Richards, CRS, CCIM



Washington CRS Chapter 866.556.5277 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

Main Street Organization of REALTORS® 630.324.8427 Instructor: Chris Bird

North Dakota Association of REALTORS® 701.355.1010 Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS



Northwestern Vermont Board of REALTORS® 802.862.6407 Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS

Greater Ft. Lauderdale REALTORS® Association 954.563.7261 Instructor: Frank Kowalski, CRS

CRS 111 — Short Sales and Foreclosures: Protecting Your Clients’ Interests



Sarasota Association of REALTORS® 214.485.3000 Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS

Campbell County Board of REALTORS® 307.682.2789 Instructor: Doug Richards, CRS, CCIM

CRS 103 — Mastering Positive Change in Today’s World OCT. 17 DICKINSON, N.D.

OCT. 2 EVANSVILLE, IND. Indiana Association of REALTORS® 800.284.0084 Instructor: Chandra Hall, CRS

CRS 202 — Buyer Sales

CRS 200 — Business Planning and Marketing SEPT. 17 – 18 Birmingham, ALA. Birmingham Association of REALTORS 205.871.1911 Instructor: Rich Sands, CRS


OCT. 2 – 3 GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. Colorado CRS Chapter 970.243.3322 Instructor: Rich Sands, CRS

OCT. 14 – 15 MALVERN, PA. Suburban West REALTORS® Association 866.495.7972 Instructor: Ed Hatch, CRS, CRB

OCT. 17 – 18 NASHVILLE, IND. Indiana CRS Chapter 309.579.2947 Instructor: LeRoy Houser, CRS

OCT. 22 – 23 KNOXVILLE, TENN. Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® 865.584.8647 Instructor: Robert Morris, CRS, CRB

SEPT. 16 – 17 HERNDON, VA. Virginia CRS Chapter 800.755.8271 Instructor: Frank Serio, CRS, CRB

OCT. 1 – 2 FARGO, N.D. Fargo-Moorehead Association of REALTORS® 701.235.6679 Instructor: Ed Hatch, CRS, CRB

OCT. 23 – 24 TUCSON, ARIZ. Arizona CRS Chapter 520.382.8848 Instructor: Doug Richards, CRS, CCIM

OCT. 24 – 25 WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. New York State Association of REALTORS® 800.239.4432 Instructor: Frank Kowalski, CRS

CRS 205 — Financing Solutions



Connecticut CRS Chapter 203.215.6957 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

Ohio CRS Chapter 440.339.8800 Instructor: Pat Zaby, CRS, CCIM



North Alabama CRS Chapter 256.656.4741 Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS

New Jersey Association of REALTORS® 866.229.2386 Instructor: Dale Carlton, CRS

OCT. 29 – 30 MEMPHIS, TENN. Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® 901.685.2100 Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS

DEC. 4 – 5 AKRON, OHIO Akron Area Board of REALTORS® 330.434.6677 Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS

CRS 206 — Technology SEPT. 25 – 26 POCATELLO, IDAHO Greater Pocatello Association of REALTORS® 208.237.2600 Instructor: Rich Sands, CRS | 4 3

inside CRS » » » » » » »




Cleveland Area Board of REALTORS® 216.901.0130 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

New Mexico CRS Chapter 505.712.1340 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

CRS 210 — Referrals

Ninja Selling Business Systems

SEPT. 25 – 26 TALLAHASSEE, FLA. Tallahassee Board of REALTORS 850.224.7713 Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS


OCT. 2 – 3 REHOBOTH, DEL. New Jersey/Delaware CRS Chapter 855.696.5277 Instructor: Chuck Bode, CRS

OCT. 21 – 22 LANCASTER, PA. Lancaster County Association of REALTORS® 717.569.4625 Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS

Elective Courses Elective courses vary in length and credits earned toward the CRS Designation. Please visit the CRS website for details.

The New Negotiating Edge… A 5-Step Behavioral Model

OCT. 3 ROCHESTER, MINN. Minnesota CRS Chapter 952.912.2664 Instructor: Ed Hatch, CRS, CRB



Utah CRS Chapter 801.815.4663 Instructor: Walt Frey, CRS

Virginia CRS Chapter 800.755.8271 Instructor: Ed Hatch, CRS, CRB

Real Estate Social Marketing: Strategies for Success Both On and Offline

OCT. 4 WOODBURY, N.Y. New York State Association of REALTORS® 800.239.4432, ext. 219 Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS Rich Buyer, Rich Seller, Part I: Positioning and Branding Yourself as a Luxury Market Expert

DEC. 4 MIAMI Miami Association of REALTORS® 214.485.3000 Instructor: Tami Simms, CRS

Mark Porter Live 972.395.9814 Instructor: Mark Porter, CRS

SEPT. 26 HUDSON, WIS. (3 HOURS) Wisconsin REALTORS® Association 608.241.2047 Instructor: Mark Porter, CRS

OCT. 21 GRAPEVINE, TEXAS (3 HOURS) Mark Porter Live 972.395.9814 Instructor: Mark Porter, CRS Turn It on Automatic: Serving Repeat and Referral Customers

Attracting Today’s Internet Buyer


Top Secrets of Outlook E-Marketing Strategies


Rich Buyer, Rich Seller, Part II: A Luxury Marketing Idea Blitz

Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® 850.224.7713 Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS


Working in the Cloud

It’s a Price War to the Door

Miami Association of REALTORS® 214.485.3000 Instructor: Tami Simms, CRS


Short Sales 2.0

Louisiana REALTORS® Association 225.923.2210 Instructor: Mark Porter, CRS

West Virginia Association of REALTORS® 304.342.7600 Instructor: Jackie Leavenworth, CRS



Ninja Selling

Cateret County Association of REALTORS® 252.247.2323 Instructor: Gee Dunsten, CRS


Silver Bullet Solutions

Kentucky Real Estate Education Foundation 800.264.2185 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

SEPT. 26 SANDY, UTAH Utah CRS Chapter 801.815.4663 Instructor: Walt Frey, CRS

OCT. 25 SAN ANTONIO Texas CRS Chapter 210.602.2488 Instructor: Walt Frey, CRS

44 | September/October 2013

SEPT. 23 RICHARDSON, TEXAS Mark Porter Live 972.395.9814 Instructor: Mark Porter, CRS


SEPT. 26 AMHERST, N.Y. New York State Association of REALTORS 800.239.4432, x219 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS


Wisconsin REALTORS® Association 608.241.2047 Instructor: Mark Porter, CRS

OCT. 3 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. New Mexico CRS Chapter 505.712.1340 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

NOV. 19 INDEPENDENCE, OHIO Cleveland Area Board of REALTORS® 216.901.0130 Instructor: Michael Selvaggio, CRS, CCIM

Note: Instructors listed on all courses are subject to change.


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residential The

Specia li s t

Buyer Desires

Point of Return

Rob Vannucchi, CRS, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, Stamford, Conn.,

Ralph De Martino, CRS, Ocean International Realty, Miami Beach, Fla.,

Jody Zink, CRS, RE/MAX Preferred Associates, Toledo, Ohio,

Gretchen Lambeth, CRS, Hawaiian Isle Real Estate, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii,

Golden Age

John Poltrock, CRS, Poltrock Team, RE/MAX, Murphy, N.C.,

46 | September/October 2013

Kathryn Hoffman, CRS, Realty Executives Premiere, Wheaton, Ill., Skip Frenzel, CRS, Agape Real Estate, Campbell, Calif.,

Marilyn Silberstein, CRS, Elfant Wissahickon REALTORS®, Philadelphia, Carol Marra, CRS, Keller Williams Realty, Bradenton, Fla.,

Vintage Year Kathleen O’Donnell, CRS, The O’Donnell Group, Portland, Ore., Mario Romero, CRS, The Melcher Agency, Phoenix, Michael Zarou, CRS Latter & Blum Inc., New Orleans,



EAST COAST Your referral source for the greater




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

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

Serving Northern Virginia and the Dulles Tech corridor Offices in Ashburn and Sterling Re/Max Select Properties, Inc.


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to your region from more than 36,000 CRS Designees and members with an ad in the Referral Marketplace. Limited Space Available First Come, First Served Ask us about multi-issue discounts

Just call Andrea Katz at 202.721.1482 | 4 7

Ask a CRS | Advice from the country’s top Certified Residential Specialists

rate watchers Q U ESTIO N : Are rising mortgage rates scaring off buyers?



“Add 3 percent interest rates to the list of unrealistic expectations consumers have. Any negative economic news puts more doubt in consumers’ minds. In spite of the Pollyanna reporting by the media, our economy sorely lacks livingwage jobs, which create the personal financial strength that consumers need to purchase a home. Simple math dictates that an interest rate increase decreases buying power and therefore puts pressure on home prices.”

“Higher interest rates, higher prices, fewer distressed properties and less negotiating power for buyers are causing some people to freak out, but at some point, we will settle into a ‘new normal’ and everyone will get on with their lives and the buying and selling of real estate that goes along with that. The move up in rates is probably a good thing overall for the economy, but we don’t want another bubble and crash that we just lived through the past five years.”

Jim Wilcox, CRS

Mary Leizinger, CRS

Columbia River Properties

RE/MAX Results

The Dalles, Ore.

Eden Prairie, Minn.

“People are so used to low rates and low prices that they’re freaking out when interest rates bump up a point: ‘Ohhhhh, 4.5 percent to 5 percent is sooooo high!’ The important thing to remember is that homes sell under all conditions. Some time periods are slower and more difficult than others, but the housing market never completely stops.” Ken Montville, CRS RE/MAX United Real Estate Upper Marlboro, Md.

Please submit real estate questions for “Ask a CRS” to Mike Fenner at

48 | September/October 2013

EXPAND YOUR REFERRAL OPPORTUNITY PLACE YOUR ONLINE DIRECTORY ORDER TODAY! Purchase additional city listings and banner ads today and increase your exposure on the number one place where CRS Designees find their referrals — the FIND A CRS Directory at

ADDITIONAL CITY LISTINGS Each CRS Designee is provided one complimentary listing in their office city, but you can dramatically increase your odds of being found on the online directory by ordering additional city listings for $25 each.

BANNER ADS Be a featured agent for a specific city search with a banner ad. Create and upload your own banner for $250 or choose from a number of options already created by CRS for an additional $50. Banner ads link directly to the website of your choice. If more than one designee purchases a banner ad in the same city, the ads will rotate so each designee receives equal exposure.

PLACE YOUR ORDER TODAY! Log in to your CRS account at and select the blue “Membership” tab. In the rightsidebar, select the link to “Place Your Print Directory Order Today.” For questions or to place your order over the phone, call CRS customer service at 800.462.8841 or email us at

All online directory listings and banner ads will run for one year from the date they are posted. You will receive a reminder email when your additional city listing or banner ad is ready for renewal.

“After attending last year, I made the most revenue I’ve ever had.’’ Dorothy Hanson, CRS; Coldwell Banker Woodland-Schmidt, Douglas, MI



SESSION TOPICS INCLUDE: Online Advertising Going Paperless Market Data

Web Lead Strategies Lead Generation Addressing Lack of Inventory

and much more…


Double your fun and savings by inviting a friend to share the experience with you. Sign up for our Buddy Program*, and you and your buddy will receive a discount up to $100 off the regular solo registration price of $650 ($750 for non-members).

• Grow your referral business • Learn from industry leaders and

each other

*Buddy Program cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts.

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everyday real estate challenges

• Increase your chances for success • Improve your productivity

Earn 16 CRS education credits toward the CRS Designation by attending all three days of Sell-a-bration®. For more information and to register for Sell-a-bration® 2014, visit or call customer service at 800.462.8841.

“The education and exposure to other practitioners is invaluable. I also like meeting agents from other parts of the country for referral networking opportunities.” Sally Gregg, CRS; John L. Scott Real Estate, Bellevue, WA

The Residential Specialist, September/October 2013  

The September/October issue of the CRS magazine, The Residential Specialist

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