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MISSOURI EDITION

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: How to List High When Neighbors Are a Nuisance 3 Beyond-theOffice Activities to INSPIRE A CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM COVER STORY

KRISTIE WEBER

Tips on Breaking into the LUXURY MARKET PRODUCTIVITY KILLERS: 4 Ways to Make Better Use of Your Working Hours TURN OPEN HOUSES Into Destinations


MISSOURI EDITION

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KRISTIE WEBER

KRISTIE CONTENTS WEBER 4) TIPS ON BREAKING INTO THE LUXURY MARKET 6) THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: HOW TO LIST HIGH WHEN NEIGHBORS ARE A NUISANCE

15) PRODUCTIVITY KILLERS: 4 WAYS TO MAKE BETTER USE OF YOUR WORKING HOURS 18) 3 BEYOND-THE-OFFICE ACTIVITIES TO INSPIRE A CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM 22) TURN OPEN HOUSES INTO DESTINATIONS

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Tips on Breaking Into the Luxury Market So, you’ve been doing residential real estate for a while and you’re looking to up your game. A lot of people consider going into the luxury market at that point. Or, maybe you started in the business always intending to specialize in luxury properties and were just learning the ropes before you tackled one of the industry’s most lucrative specialties.

No matter the reason, the luxury market is a whole new ballgame and you don’t want to go into it unprepared. First impressions are everything in this business, especially when you’re dealing with wealthy clients and investors. Here are few things to consider if you’re thinking of going from starter homes to estates.

LEARN HOW THE LUXURY MARKET AND CLIENTELE ARE DIFFERENT As experienced as you might be in traditional real estate, the luxury market is almost like starting at ground zero. Everything from the buyers, to the sellers, and obviously, the properties themselves, will take a new approach. One of the key ways it is different is that the feeling of exclusivity truly matters. You will be doing more targeted marketing through high-end networking groups as wealthier clients tend to be more comfortable when 4

you come recommended by people they trust to have the highest standards. There are no mass-marketed open houses. It’s all about private showings. Although professional, one-on-one service is key in this business no matter what the price point, wealthier buyers are accustomed to concierge-style service, and the way to stand out from the rest is to provide service that goes above and beyond what even they expect. Top Agent Magazine


LOOK THE PART If you’re thinking of going the luxury route, creating high-end branding and marketing yourself properly is of the utmost importance. That includes your own personal look. You and your business will need a total makeover, or at least a major upgrade. It might even be time to buy that new car you’ve always wanted. It is also key that all of your marketing materials are high end. So start gathering a stable of highly-trained professionals,

photographers, and stagers as every aspect of the service network you’ll be providing complements the brand that you’re selling. It’s well worth the time to get all of this nailed down and seamless before you even think of entering the luxury market. Another good investment? You want to have an indepth knowledge of all the latest real estate technologies and innovations. Don’t just look the part, actually be on the cutting edge.

SELL THE LIFESTYLE Yes, you’re selling a home, but you’re also selling a lifestyle, which in luxury is almost more important. When someone is spending millions of dollars on a home, they want to see the fabulous life they will be living in their new digs. Really highlight amazing party spaces, unique one of kind features,

and amenities. As with anything of value, things that make a property rare, will automatically make it more appealing to people who can afford the best. It also helps people connect more emotionally with a home, giving it even more value than if you just try and sell it as a good investment.

NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING Networking is an important aspect of this business at every level, but it a vital tool in the luxury market. Most of your referrals and targeted marketing will be done through luxury agent exclusive networking groups. In addition to that, it is even more important in this segment of the business to be actively Top Agent Magazine

involved in your community through volunteering and supporting local charitable events. You will not only build a stellar reputation, but you’ll also be giving back to the community you represent, and ultimately, integrity is what it’s all about in this business. 5


There Goes the Neighborhood:

How to List High When Neighbors are a Nuisance Troublesome neighbors are a relatively common issue that agents come across. You can control the image of your client’s property and you can control your listing presentation, but you can’t always control what’s happening on your client’s street. How do you diffuse difficult neighbors that could lower your bottom line or embarrass you in front of prospective buyers? 6

First of all, it takes tact and a gameplan. With that in mind, let’s consider a few ways you can maintain a listing’s viability and competitive edge—even when bothersome neighbors are involved. Here are a few common neighborly scenarios agents encounter and how to diffuse them to your advantage.

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How do you diffuse difficult neighbors that could lower your bottom line or embarrass you in front of prospective buyers? It takes tact and a gameplan.

as a courtesy introduction to the neighborhood. While it may seem like needless busy work, it can dramatically improve prospective buyers’ perceptions of the area. Plus, you may positively ingratiate yourself with neighbors in the area and demonstrate your above-and-beyond service to your clientele in the process.

Is the neighbor’s landscaping an eyesore? Here’s your recourse. Most towns and cities have established ordinances regarding yard upkeep. If any of the properties adjacent to your listing are wildly overgrown, littered with junk, or otherwise in a state of obvious disrepair—take it up with the city. Rather than get directly involved at first glance, you might loop in city officials whose job it is to monitor clean-up efforts on rundown yards and properties. If this doesn’t work, you may have to take a more hands-on approach. Start by thinking small and operating from a place of authenticity and neighborly service. You might explain to the neighboring tenant that you’re listing and offer to mow their lawn Top Agent Magazine

Are there foreclosed or abandoned homes on your client’s block? Do your homework. It may take a little research and digging to figure out the banking entity that owns a foreclosed home, but it’s well worth the effort. Banks are typically required to maintain foreclosed homes on at least a basic level. If you’re worried about

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squatters, an unsightly façade, or general disrepair of a neighboring foreclosed property—go to the source. Sometimes banks take their time in hiring a third party to maintain a foreclosed property, but with some proactive prodding on your part, you may be able to speed the process along and resolve eyesores even before prospective buyers come calling. Remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. An improved bottom line will be your reward for those few prodding phone calls and emails.

Noisy, nosy, or annoying neighbors? Don’t be discouraged. Obnoxious neighbors can really rain on a seller’s parade, especially the kind of neighbor 8

that takes their less-than-stellar behavior to their porch, front yard, or sidewalk. While this sensitive issue may seem daunting, there are a few official channels you can utilize to thwart the issue before getting personally involved. If the neighborhood in question is governed by an HOA, you might take it up with them. If the troublesome neighbor is harassing passersby or taking to the sidewalk—in other words, public space—then you may be able to involve local authorities in worst-case scenarios. Of course, it’s always possible to talk to troublesome neighbors faceto-face, but do so with caution and with safety as the priority. Always reason gently and empathetically, utilizing I... phrasing, instead of accusatory You... phrasing. After all, some neighbors are clueless about their impact on the neighborhood and may adjust their behavior after being called out. If the issue persists and no third-party authority can help, then you may have to disclose the neighbor’s issues to prospective buyers, depending on the disclosure laws in your region. While this may seem like a blow, you can at least rest easy knowing you pursued all the potential avenues for resolution available. Likewise, your client will likely appreciate your thorough efforts to resolve the issue. While troublesome neighborhoods can bring down an optimistic mood when listing a property, sometimes being real estate is all about being resourceful. With diligence, digging, and a little follow-up, you just may be able to resolve some of the issues plaguing your neighborly plot.

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KRISTIE WEBER

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KRISTIE WEBER Based in St. Charles, Missouri, Kristie Weber’s office includes the talents and scope of a title company, lender, in-house attorney, insurance agent, three administrative professionals, and four buyer agents. Kristie Weber and her best friend did everything together—worked, played, and even had a double wedding. So when her friend decided to go out on a limb and earn her real estate license, Kristie was intrigued enough to 10 Copyright Top Agent Magazine

decide it was worth following suit. That was back in 2001, and despite the inevitable hardships of launching a business from scratch, Kristie soon recognized her natural passion for the business, learning the ropes through her Top Agent Magazine


work with government-owned and distressed properties. That first year, Kristie ultimately closed forty-two properties—an auspicious start that earned her serious first-hand experience. “I learned hardcore real estate right off the bat,” Kristie remembers. Eventually, Kristie earned her broker’s license and is now in command of Weber Elite Realty, a true onestop-shop for intrepid real estate services. Based in St. Charles, Missouri, Kristie’s office includes the talents and scope of a Top Agent Magazine

title company, lender, in-house attorney, insurance agent, three administrative professionals, and four buyer agents. Together, Kristie and her team cater to all clients across the St. Louis and St. Charles region. 100% of Kristie’s business is driven by repeat and referral clientele and she’s already sold sixty-five homes this year alone. “We offer clients a genuinely elite experience when working with us,” Kristie explains. “We are trained to be service-oriented and to go above and beyond. That’s why people refer 11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


refer us to their loved ones, because they know they will be taken care of.” Kristie says enthusiasm, attention to detail, and wanting to make lasting relationships are the main beliefs behind her working style. “My passion is what sets me apart,” Kristie says. “There is nothing more exciting than making it to closing and seeing how excited and happy my clients are. I look for very personal closing gifts for them. After the closing, I let them know I am always there Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 12

for whatever they need. It’s really all about all the little details for me and making a real estate transaction feel personal and meaningful—what people remember the most is how they felt at the time.” As for marketing properties, Kristie begins her pre-listing efforts from day one. Her efforts ensure homes are in top shape before making their debut. After a consultation and an in-depth analysis of the home, Top Agent Magazine


Kristie helps get the home photo-ready, starts pre-marketing, and sets up for professional photography. When hitting the market, streamlining the listing process and drawing immediate interest from all marketing avenues is key. From there, Kristie secures prime visibility across the leading online listing platforms and leverages the global reach of a local St. Louis marketing company to distribute listings on an international level. Promoted social media posts Top Agent Magazine

also get the word out and make an immersive first impression online. Furthermore, Kristie’s regional market knowledge and seventeen years of experience make her a seasoned expert of tremendous value. “We do everything we can to give properties full exposure,� Kristie says. To give back to her community, Kristie contributes to HOPE, a workshop geared toward serving and empowering battered Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


women in need. She is passionate about animal welfare and gives regularly to many animal rescue organizations. Adopting a family and giving to Christmas drives are in her agenda each year. “Giving back is so very important,” she says. “I feel very blessed to be able to help in any way I can.” In her remaining free hours, Kristie most enjoys quality time spent with family and loved ones, hanging out by a pool, spending time along the river, and visiting local area wineries.

Looking ahead, Kristie has plans to continue her business with steady expansion. In addition to further developing her team, she also seeks to add new service areas to her repertoire, including property management, commercial real estate sales, and an investment division. For now, Kristie is content to build upon her established legacy as a community-centered real estate agent with a multi-decade track record of success.

To learn more about Kristie Weber email kw@weberelite.com, call (314) 333 – 2225, visit WeberElite.com, www.

or visit her Facebook page here Copyright Top Agent Magazine 14

https://www.facebook.com/weberelite/

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Productivity Killers: 4 Ways to Make Better Use of Your Working Hours

Even on the busiest of days, it can be hard not to get distracted by social media, smartphones, chatty colleagues, or personal to-do list items. So how do you keep your professional blinders on and power through your tasks with efficiency? Practice these four tips and witness your productivity skyrocket—easing stress and bringing renewed energy to your daily duties. Top Agent Magazine

1. Create a sense of peace and quiet The office may not be your idea of a tranquil oasis, but for most, focus requires quiet and calm to best lend attention to the task at hand. If you find yourself seated next to talkative coworkers or in the center of a bustling office atrium, consider noise can-

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celing headphones, earplugs, or carving out an empty conference room for your work day. Turning the volume down creates fewer chances for disruption, allowing you to make the best use of your time.

4.Take your smartphone off the table

2. Organize your workspace A messy work area breeds anxiety and distraction, but a clean and organized desk inspires efficiency. If you’ve got a busy day ahead, take fifteen minutes and organize your workspace: gather miscellaneous papers into their proper place, dispose of out-of-date or unnecessary documents, or give your keyboard a dusting. Not only does cleaning and organizing your workspace prepare you for the work ahead, it also helps you transition to a productive, goal-oriented mindset.

3.Create a goal-oriented reward system Coffee breaks, coworker catch-up, and social media check-ins tend to break up our workflow on an hourly basis. Instead of trying to go cold turkey on these workplace routines, reframe them as rewards. For every to-do list item you complete, allow yourself a fives minute treat, whether that’s a fresh cup of coffee or a walk around the block. Not only will creating a reward 16

system help you stay motivated throughout the day, it will also provide you with much-needed mental breaks that actually boost long-term productivity.

The number one productivity killer in this day and age? Smartphones. With access to endless social media portals, web browsing, text conversations, and games, smartphones are one-stop shops for distractions. While you may not want to delete apps from your phone, try leaving your smartphone in a locked desk drawer until your next break, or safely in your car. By simply putting your smartphone out of your line of sight, the impulse to distract yourself is muted. Even though technology and the modern office create ample opportunity for distraction, making these few small adjustments can go a long way in safeguarding your productivity. After all, a productive day allows you to enjoy your time at home and outside the office, without the worry of incomplete tasks and looming deadlines darkening your day. Keep these productivity tricks in mind as you mount your daily to-do list and you’ll be thanking yourself tomorrow.

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3 Beyond-the-Office Activities to Inspire a Creative Business Boom Maintaining motivation year-round is a challenge, especially for those who are several years into a demanding real estate career. It’s easy to burn out, get stuck in a rut, or cycle blindly through a well-worn routine. But those that leave an impact on their industry understand that creativity holds the key to innovation and longevity. To stay ahead of 18

the curve and build your brand, you’ve got to take the time to breathe new life into your practice and see things from a new angle. But where to begin? To invite change, you’ve got to look outside the box—or in this case, beyond the office. If you’re in need of a professional creative make-

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To stay ahead of the curve and build your brand, you’ve got to take the time to breathe new life into your practice and see things from a new angle. over, or at least want to experience a burst of inventive energy, consider some of the activities below. You may just shake up your routine, bend your brain in new ways, and inject some inspiration into your professional path.

Expand your mind through meditation. You’ve likely heard all about the supposed powers of meditation, and perhaps you’ve long considered it an over-hyped New Age invention. But did you know that some of the foremost entrepreneurs of our era practice this cost-free, mentally restorative routine? From Oprah Winfrey to Steve Jobs, practitioners of meditation cite its stress-relieving principles, in addition to improvements in concentration, energy, self-awareness, and overall health.

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Even mainstream medicine is beginning to understand the preventative and restorative health benefits that meditation affords. As professional fields go, the mortgage and real estate industries require their fair share of emotional labor—you’re tasked with guiding clients through the investment of a lifetime. Meditation promotes peace and perspective, while reducing stress, adding a new level of self-awareness, and helping you mentally declutter. When it comes down to it, it only makes sense that taking time to go quiet and center your mind helps professionals find wherewithal amidst a hectic industry. Next time you’re feeling drained, out of ideas, or at your wit’s end—consider just fifteen minutes of meditation to get you started. Like most things, it takes some practice. But, if you commit the time, you’ll be thanking yourself later.

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Learn something new. If you’re facing burnout, then adding a new responsibility to your plate may seem like the least appetizing self-help solution there is. However, learning a new skill can reinvigorate your understanding of familiar tasks and dilemmas. Plus, learning a new skill doesn’t have to mean formal classes or time-draining homework. Select something that can even kill two birds with one stone. Want to let off some steam, too? Try a kickboxing class that meets just once-a-week. You’ll have something new to look forward to, meet new people, challenge yourself, and earn some feel-good endorphins, 20

too. Want to cut loose and have some fun? Join a board game meet-up group, take a cooking class, or try rock-climbing for the first time. A stimulating new activity will light up long-dormant parts of your brain, and your clients and colleagues will surely notice the influx of energy to your outlook. Still don’t think you have enough time to add something new to the mix? Blend your morning commute with an audio language learning service. The point is to shake-up your habits and introduce a new challenge that’s unrelated to work. Doing so can make you look at things in a new light and boost your mood along the way.

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See new sights. If you can, there’s no better way to break from routine than to physically separate yourself from your surroundings. There’s nothing more inspiring than traveling to new destinations, experiencing new cultures, and getting a sense of the world’s true vastness. If a trip abroad isn’t in the cards, don’t fret. There are bound to be plenty of places relatively close by that you’ve never seen. And these trips don’t have to break the bank, either. Devote just one or two days to visiting a place you’ve never gone before, like a state park, protected forest, or a small seaside village. Perhaps you’re only a few hours from a National Park you’ve been meaning to visit but have never made time for. Or, there’s a lively city one state over that you’ve always wanted to try. Whatever the destination, near or far, you’ll refresh

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your perspective entirely when removed from all your usual routines. New restaurants, traffic patterns, storefronts, weather—whatever the change may be, you’ll be experiencing everything brand new all around you. Taking the time for trips like these isn’t easy. In fact, making yourself devote those free days may be a difficult task itself. But it’s the most direct way to get a breath of truly fresh air, and when you return home you’ll be able to assess familiar surroundings in a totally new light. However you decide to add creativity to your professional life, don’t wait. Once you take the plunge, you’ll be regretting you hadn’t done it sooner. After all, the key to longevity is regular maintenance, so do your part and break the mold today.

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Turn Open Houses into Destinations People are busy. Even those who are actively looking to buy a house or want to learn about the market for a future purpose have busy schedules. But with bit of added time, creativity and investment in making open house into destinations, you’ll see greater turnout. And we all know that greater turnout increases the likelihood of offers. There are several creative ways to hold an open house with a mindset of hospitality and with the goal of providing something of value to each person who attends. 22

The neighbors-only open house Some agents embrace the “nosy neighbor” concept as a benefit, not an eye-rolling challenge. With his client’s permission, Wesley Peters, a Keller Williams broker in the Baltimore Metro Area, often gets the neighbors together before a home hits the market. “We invite other brokers, too, but we include as many neighbors as we can,” he says, explaining that he schedules these events for a Thursday or Friday evening, happy hour-style, rather than midday on a Sunday. They get a better turnout at 5:00 pm than

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midday on a weekend when the neighbors are busy with their lives. In a relaxed setting, conversations flow, neighbors can mingle and catch up, and the buzz begins before the home is listed. In advance, prepare invitations and hand-deliver them to homes on the streets you and your client agree are best to include. The destination is the event; the value each attendee receives is the social interaction and the removal of any awkwardness over visiting their neighbor’s house. Your client’s benefit is the buzz. A turnkey block party any time of year Once a property is listed, some agents take on the role of party planners. Certain streets or neighborhoods, they find, are perfect for lowkey social occasions. In some place, such as neighborhoods with many young families, a bounce-house or games may even ramp up the fun factor. But the idea of a seemingly spontaneous block party during an open house can be easy to pull off, whether you’re serving lemonade and cookies or coffee and pastries. The chance to meet prospective neighbors turns the event into a destination for both buyers and the neighbors; the value comes in buyers’ ability to see how the neighbors interact. Your seller’s benefit is that the grapevine will be filled with happy stories about their home. Tips: By keeping basic supplies in storage, you’ll be ready for a pop-up block party any time. Promote this type of event with targeted social media marketing and fliers or postcards to communities within a short distance of your listing. Invite other professionals It’s common mortgage lenders to attend open houses. But why not provide even more value to people who attend? Chances are, you have more than a handful of professional partners who welcome an opportunity to join you at your open house. Consider inviting an interior designer, a contractor, a gardener, even a gardener or a painter. Invite them to your broker’s open in advance or give them time to view the property Top Agent Magazine

before the open house begins. Then encourage them to stroll the property during the open house or to sit with you. When visitors ask about needs or concerns they may have about the house – such as loan questions, the cost of improvements or upgrades or even remodeling – you’ll be able to introduce them to an expert on the spot. For that matter, your invited pros don’t even necessarily have to be in home-related businesses! Prospective buyers always want to know about the community when visiting open houses. Consider inviting representatives of community

organizations, like youth sports group or owners of mom-and-pop retailers to help your visitors get a feel for the neighborhood or town. For this type of open-house, prepare a flyer or card with your community contacts on it so visitors can leave with resources as well as information. Open house should be about the buzz. They’re about creating a conversation about your listing and making the home memorable to visitors. By giving people a unique experience they won’t forget, you’ll show your sellers how creative you are in meeting their needs.

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