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CHICAGO EDITION

Developing Your Pricing Philosophy COVER STORY

5 Social Media Mistakes Real Estate Agents Must Avoid

SUCCESSTHESE 7 HABITS ARE THE REAL SECRET TO SUCCESS

Ro Malik By the Numbers:

Understanding the True Value of Square Footage


CHICAGO EDITION

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RO MALIK

CONTENTS 4) SUCCESS–THESE 7 HABITS ARE THE REAL SECRET TO SUCCESS 13) BY THE NUMBERS: UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE VALUE OF SQUARE FOOTAGE

18) DEVELOPING YOUR PRICING PHILOSOPHY 22) 5 SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES REAL ESTATE AGENTS MUST AVOID

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Success– These 7 Habits Are the Real Secret to Success What is it that makes some people so successful and others not? Is there a secret recipe one can follow, as easy as baking a cake, which will give them the strength to achieve their ultimate goals and have it all? The answer is that, in a manner, there is. The trick is in how you think about success and what it means for you. Many people define success as achieving their personal goals, but could this be leading them to look at the world a little too narrowly? The people that are truly successful in every aspect of 4

their lives don’t stop at simply achieving their personal goals. They succeed in many avenues of their life, including their job, relationships, health, and family just to name a few. It turns out that ultra-successful people tend to have quite a number of things in common. One main skill many seem to possess is high emotional intelligence, or the ability to manage your emotions so that you can stay calm and focused even in high

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stress situations. Luckily, it seems not all of them are simply born with this ability, but have many strategies they use to help them achieve higher emotional intelligence. Here are seven strategies and habits that will help you achieve success in every area of your life.

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BE COMPOSED The first thing successful people always seem to have under control is their composure. Successful people stay calm and composed when the going gets tough and fingers start pointing. They don’t panic. The secret? They understand that in life things are always changing. It doesn’t matter if something is bad at the moment because that will change soon enough. In this topsy turvy life all you can really do is adapt in order to stay happy and remain in control of how you react.

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BE KNOWLEDGEABLE Have you ever noticed how successful people always seem to have such a wide range of knowledge and interests? Successful people do know more because they are always working to grow and learn. They strive to constantly increase their self-awareness. If a spare moment exists, then they will fill it with some kind of self-education. They do this because they are passionate about learning new things and ways to improve their life. Ignore the fear of being judged and ask questions, because that is the only way you can learn. Successful people don’t

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fear asking questions. They fear not asking those questions and growing stagnant.

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BE DELIBERATE It is important to think and reason before you come to a decision. Successful people don’t rush. They seek out advice from other, they think of all the aspects, and sleep on their thoughts before finally making their decision. Your gut instinct can be misleading, and lead you to make a rash decision that you will come to regret later.

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BE CERTAIN, AND SPEAK WITH CONVICTION Successful people speak with certainty. Unless you communicate your ideas with conviction and certainty, then you will have a hard time getting people to listen to them.

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BE POSITIVE Successful people use positive body language when they are talking to other people. Their tone is enthusiastic, they maintain eye contact, leaning in towards the person speaking to show interest. Successful people use it to draw those other people in. How you say something can be just as if not more important that what you say to people. Positive body language can completely alter how your speech is perceived by others, and helps to keep attention on you and what you are saying.

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BE MEMORABLE BY LEAVING A STRONG FIRST IMPRESSION You only have once to make a first impression, and they are incredibly important, as they are closely ties to positive body language. You have around 7 seconds to convince a person to like you after you initially meet them. That is how long it takes them to decide when they meet you. After that a person is simply spending the rest of the conversation justifying that initial reaction they had. You can make sure you make a good first impression by having strong posture, a firm handshake, a warm smile, and open shoulders.

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BE FEARLESS Successful people know that to give in to fear is a choice. They don’t let the fear take over, instead focusing on the rush of euphoria that comes with conquering fears. All of this adds up to having a high emotional intelligence. What helps you to succeed is the ability to control those whirlwind emotions so you can stay calm and focused on actually succeeding. These habits can help you gain a higher emotional intelligence, but as you probably already know, anything involving dealing with your emotions in a healthy manner takes serious work. So, don’t give up if you fail the first time. You must always try and try again.

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RO MALIK

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RO MALIK Broker Ro Malik of Keller Williams Chicago – Lincoln Park has an impressively broad scope of experience in the real estate world, enabling him to provide the very best guidance for his Windy City clients. With an impressive resume that includes finance, building, investing and negotiating skills, he is ideally suited to advocate for his many grateful buyers and sellers. A consistent Top Producer and recognized as such by the Chicago Association of Realtors and Keller Williams Chicago – Lincoln Park, he was in the top 5% of all agents last year. Ro is also a member of the Agent 8 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

Leadership Council, Top Agent Network, Million Dollar Guild & has a C.L.H.M.S (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) designation. Ro began his career in 2003, when he was recruited by the largest privately held mortgage bank in Chicago, heading up their mortgage banking division. “I entered the business as a mortgage banker and helped build up their inside sales division into a $100,000,000 per year business,” he says. Following the market crash in 2007, Ro began investing in short sales and Top Agent Magazine


foreclosures, rehabbing and flipping them. “I realized how much I enjoyed it and that’s when I began my transition to the real estate side of things,” says Ro. After obtaining his license, he was approached by a number of agents who convinced him to open his own brokerage. “The next thing I knew, I had fifteen agents working for me,” he says. “It was all very organic.” After working with various companies, including a five-year stint with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, he moved to Keller Williams in 2017, where he focuses his efforts on Chicago’s Top Agent Magazine

downtown area. “I know everything about the city,” he says, “having lived in seven different neighborhoods.” An impressive seventy-five percent of Ro’s business is based on referrals and repeat clients, an impressive feat by any measure, and one which clearly demonstrates the level of loyalty he inspires in his clients. “I think my clients keep coming back to me because of my experience on the financial side, my experiences as an investor, rehabber and managing broker,” he explains. Copyright Top Agent Magazine 9


“I think that my wide array of expertise from all these different facets has allowed me to really help my clients achieve their goals.” Ro’s approach to marketing is decidedly thorough, ensuring quick sales for top dollar. “We actually do a tremendous amount of pre-marketing,” he says, “which starts three weeks before the property is listed and involves a number of steps.” Coming Soon postcards, encouragement of neighborhood interest through private open houses, and robust utilization of the internet and social media all take place prior to the listing hitting the MLS. “Our goal is to to sell the property within the first week of it being on the market.” 10Copyright Top Agent Magazine

When asked what he enjoys most about what he does, Ro points to both his desire to help his clients and his longtime enthusiasm for the industry. “I have an absolute passion for real estate,” he states enthusiastically. “The combination of being able to help people while doing what I love is the best feeling in the world. It’s my purpose, and finding that in life is really special. That, combined with the freedom to really create and control my own destiny, is why I love what I do.” Ro is committed to giving back to his community, and to that end his is involved with multiple charitable organizations, including recently serving Top Agent Magazine


as President of the Y.A.B., which is an affiliated organization of Children’s Memorial Hospital dedicated to providing hope for kids with brain tumors. He also heads up the Thalassemia Action Board at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Additionally, he also donates a portion of every commission to Open Heart Magic, which funds Top Agent Magazine

volunteer magicians who visit children in hospitals, with the goal of cheering up critically ill children. During those rare moments when he’s not working with buyers or sellers, Ro keeps busy with Conversion Monster, the inside sales agent company Copyright Top Agent Magazine11


he formed in Buffalo, New York. “We’re helping real estate agents all over the country convert their internet leads into closings and commissions,” says Ro. “I saw a growing need for ISA’s as the number of online lead vendors has grown exponentially, while conversion rates have drastically decreased. I started the business two and a half years ago, and we just had our best month ever and we’re continuing to grow and expand every day.” More than anything, though, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. “I spend every free moment I

can with them. Everything I do is for my family” he says. Ro’s plans for the future including building an expansion team and continuing to grow his already-thriving business, while maintaining the unparalleled level of client service that has become synonymous with his name. “I understand that buying or selling a home is one of the single, largest financial transactions most people will make in their lifetimes,” he says. “I take that responsibility very seriously.”

For more information about Ro Malik , call 312 - 208 - 1184 or email RoMalik@kw.com 12Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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By the Numbers:

Understanding the True Value of Square Footage Measuring the square footage of a property may seem like an objective and straightforward task, but you’d be surprised at how many agents and homebuyers misunderstand this pivotal figure. True square footage provides homebuyers a concrete understanding of their prospective domain, but here’s the problem: the rules to determine a home’s square footage are not always uniform across the board. What’s more, much of Top Agent Magazine

a home’s value is determined by its size, so accuracy is certainly important. While many real estate agents have their own systems for determining or confirming a home’s true square footage, it doesn’t hurt to update your practices and become an expert on the subject. After all, you may learn a few techniques that could add value to a listing, or better prepare you in guiding house-hunters on the lookout.

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1. Do your due diligence Most towns and cities have a local records department where floorplans and blueprints are kept on file. It’s worth noting that these records don’t typically include any subsequent additions or remodels on a property, but they still give archive hunters a legal baseline when outlining a property’s square footage. Oftentimes, a straightforward online search of a city or county’s records office can pull the information necessary, or else agents can poke around in person to uncover informative blueprints at the records office. Either way, access to original blueprints or floorplans is a great tool for determining livable square footage. As a bonus,

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original blueprints and floorplans—especially in historic properties—can be intriguing visual aids for prospective buyers, as well.

2. Know the rules While there aren’t universal standards when it comes to measuring square footage, there are general guidelines that can help determine square footage in an authentic way. Per the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), here are the official recommendations for measuring a home’s real square footage: n

Called “below grade spaces,” basements and sunrooms beyond a home’s typical

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living quarters do not count toward a home’s true square footage. According to ANSI, even big draws like finished basements don’t count toward a property’s Gross Living Area. Of course, even below grade spaces have their own desirable value and should be outlined as such on listings. n

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Did you know the space inside closets and on stairways counts toward a home’s square footage? Even if these areas are relatively small, they still add to a property’s calculable square footage. When recording square footage, ANSI actually suggests performing measurements from a property’s exterior—though this method does not account for the

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thickness of exterior walls, which could skew square footage numbers. n

Just like below grade spaces, a garage, a pool house, or even a guest house should not be included in a property’s Gross Living Area. The rationale at work here is this: if you must go outside to access additional living areas, then they are beyond the square footage scope of the primary dwelling and should not be included in a home’s Gross Living Area.

3. Double-check by doing the dirty work Buyers and sellers have or will make a sizable investment in a property, so isn’t it fair to double-check all the relevant facts and figures

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when it comes to true square footage? If you want to take on the endeavor yourself, here are a few helpful steps to take. n

First, you’ll need a few things to get started, including a tape measure that can measure at least 100 ft., graph paper, and a pencil.

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Next, choose a room to start measuring wall-by-wall. Measure Wall 1, then proceed to assign each square on the gridded paper a corresponding measurement, rounding to the nearest tenth of a foot for the sake of clarity.

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From there, draw out the wall you measured and measure the remaining walls in the

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room. Once you’ve completed the room’s measurements, multiply the room’s length and width to determine its square footage. n

As you go measure throughout the home, using your own system to scale, you will construct a failsafe floorplan.

Mastering your craft is everything, and the real estate industry is no different. Every now and again, it’s worthwhile to update your well of information, take matters into your own hands, and continue to innovate with the industry. While square footage may not seem like the juiciest starting off point for such a venture, never forget: mastery of technical knowledge is a sure sign of expertise.

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Developing Your Pricing Philosophy By Dirk Zeller

Ask a dozen agents to explain their home pricing philosophy, and you’ll

hear a dozen different approaches. And if the talk reveals frank responses, you’ll also learn that the most common pricing strategy is no strategy at all. Here’s my advice: Break out of the ranks by establishing and following a specific strategy for arriving at the ideal selling price for each home. Adopt the philosophy that, in real estate sales, price is king. Price trumps all other factors—including marketing approaches, home condition, market competitiveness, and sales approach. I believe that, in the end, marketing and condition of the property are controlled by the price. The alternative, advocated by many agents, most sellers, and even some sales trainers, is to emphasize marketing over pricing. Rather than working to set the ideal price, they believe success will come from optimizing the home’s condition and presentation and then marketing it with skill and savvy.

I take the opposite belief, based on years of experience working with sellers who wanted unrealistic prices for their homes and who experienced firsttime sales failures as a result. Over my sales career, I resurrected and re-listed more than 600 expired listings—nearly 75 a year. Among all those transactions, I never met an owner with an expired listing who thought that an unreasonable price had anything to do with the home’s failure to sell. They all blamed the previous 18 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

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agent and that person’s approach to marketing. Each sought some magic marketing strategy to change the reality of the law of supply and demand. There is a magic strategy: Price the home correctly. Price is the only factor that can overcome sales obstacles, compensate for a home’s deficiencies, and motivate a purchaser even if the condition of the property and your marketing approach is less than perfect. Getting the listing at any cost Does this scenario sound familiar? An agent (usually a newer agent) is short on business or maybe even desperate for the chance to stake a sign in someone’s yard. The agent wants a listing at any price – even if the chance Top Agent Magazine

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to seal a deal erodes the likelihood of selling the property. To gain a seller’s nod of approval, the agent makes a flatteringly high pricing recommendation, throwing out a number the client wants to hear and then hoping something good will result from the bad situation. I can think of few examples, if any, where this philosophy works. Hope isn’t a successful pricing strategy. Worse, the please-the-client mindset is a hard one to abandon. Agents who achieve listings with unrealistic prices find it hard to later counsel their clients honestly.

If you take and price a good listing competitively, it will sell. You can’t keep a good price a secret! The pitfalls of a “please the buyer” approach are many and significant. By overpricing, you can practically count on a reduction in your productivity, profitability, and salability, and here’s why: It’s impossible to keep your productivity high when your time is spent in conversations with an unsuccessful seller who lacks motivation to take corrective action. The seller’s negativity, concerns, and phone calls will only increase with each week or month the house remains on the market. 20

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As time goes on, you’ll devote more and more time unsuccessfully trying to create a sale not only for your seller but also for yourself. This will pull you away from activities that are more likely to deliver income. The ensuing frustration will de-motivate you and stunt your ability to secure better appointments that create other income opportunities. An unsold, overpriced listing negatively impacts your profitability because it costs you time and money to service while it delivers no revenue to your business. And the situation only gets worse the longer the listing languishes on the market. You’ll end up deducting the expenses of this in-limbo listing from the proceeds generated by any revenue-producing deals you manage to close in the meantime, reducing your net profit and business success. Unsold homes that linger on the market seriously diminish your salability, which is the term that describes your sales success track. Your salability is based on such key statistics as your average ratio of listing price compared to sale price and the average number of days your listings are on the market. Obviously, these statistics, which prospects rely on when choosing one agent over another, can be crushed by a “get the listings at any cost” philosophy. They’re also harmed by the “start high and reduce later” tactic. If you take and price a good listing competitively, it will sell. You can’t keep a good price a secret! Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President and CEO of Real Estate Champions. Copyright©, Dirk Zeller. All rights reserved.

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SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES

Real Estate Agents Must Avoid There is perhaps no greater marketing tool for agents these days than having a large presence on social media, but there is more to social media marketing than just opening an account and gaining followers. A lot of agents forget the social part of social media. It’s all about engagement, but it needs to be the right kind of engagement. This can often be the first impression potential clients or industry peers have of you, so make it count. There is no second chance to make a first impression, and that is especially true for real estate agents. Here’s just a few things you want to avoid.

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1 Using it to Vent

Social Media is a great place to complain and commiserate about things, but save that for your personal page. A real estate transaction is already a stressful ordeal, the last thing anyone wants is someone who seems like they’ll bring a negative energy to the process. Even worse? Bad mouthing other Realtors® or listings. You’re selling yourself and your skills, so don’t sell anything that shows you in a bad light. Much like marketing a property, everything you put out should be professional and inviting.

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Lack of Consistent Branding

Yes, social media is about social engagement, but it’s also about creating brand recognition. While you don’t want it to be purely promotional, you are running a business, so create a consistent branding across all social media platforms. If you can afford a professional graphic designer to help you out with this, that’s great. But at the very least, have the same profile pic, cover image and highly visible contact information, across the board. And don’t forget to share links to your other accounts, some people prefer different social media applications.

3Not Posting Enough

It’s good to create a schedule of how many times you’ll be posting per day and to pick times when you might have the most engagement. Don’t over do it, but three posts a day at the right time, tends to be a good goal. There are numerous tools on Facebook, for example, that

can let you see when interactions are the highest. Stick to your schedule and adjust accordingly. It’s also important to not just post your listings. Be a resource for people who follow your page. Post community events, or other informative articles that are relevant to home ownership. Be a page they want to follow even when they aren’t buying or selling a property. They’ll remember you when the time comes.

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Not interacting With Your Followers

It’s called social media for a reason. The more you engage with your followers, the more they see you as a real person, and not just a marketing tool. Not only do you get to know your past clients and potential clients, on Facebook, engagement actually will make your posts seen by more people. So it’s a win/win.

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Not Sharing or Linking to Others

It might not seem like a good idea to not promote the blogs, pages or listings of other people, but it’s not only an excellent way to build goodwill, it will also increase your own presence when they reciprocate. So make a point to share posts and links for local businesses and even the blogs of your peers, if it’s a post that offers valuable insight into an expertise you don’t have. That will encourage them to share your posts and even your listings, which will increase your potential buyer pool. This is another incentive to create your own blog. Unique informative content is always of value, and more likely to be shared than promotional links.

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