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NEW HAMPSHIRE EDITION

By the Numbers:

Understanding the True Value of Square Footage

CONCIERGE CARE: Services that Lure Clients and Transform Your Reputation

3 BEYOND-THEOFFICE ACTIVITIES TO INSPIRE A CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM

COVER STORY

BILL BURKE


NEW HAMPSHIRE EDITION

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BILL BURKE

CONTENTS 4) CONCIERGE CARE: SERVICES THAT LURE CLIENTS AND TRANSFORM YOUR REPUTATION 6) LONG-TERM GOAL SETTING VISION = PERSPECTIVE = BETTER DECISIONS

15) BY THE NUMBERS: UNDERSTANDING THE TRUE VALUE OF SQUARE FOOTAGE 20) 3 BEYOND-THE-OFFICE ACTIVITIES TO INSPIRE A CREATIVE BUSINESS BOOM

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Concierge Care: Services that Lure Clients and Transform Your Reputation It’s a no-brainer: customer service is central to success in the real estate industry. While properties may be the product, this industry really revolves around people and the relationships you cultivate along the way. With that in mind, how would you describe the service you provide? If solid service is the baseline, then to set yourself apart you must deliver service that’s exceptional. But, how? Returning calls and displaying a friendly face won’t necessarily separate you from the pack. If you really want to take your customer service to the next level and build a reputation for white-glove, concierge-level courtesy, then keep a few of the following tips in mind as you create a professional style that’s completely bespoke. 4

Make your communications matter For many agents, communication during and after a transaction are perfunctory affairs, with one-sizefits-all newsletters or promotional postcards that feel mass-produced. To really grab the attention of your clientele, you’ll want to build a recognizable brand. To accomplish this, begin by adding value to your regular communications. Clients are likely to bypass your communications if they think your only intent is to sell them something. Focus instead on creating content that’s compelling and dishes out value to your clientele. Just like a favorite blog you revisit again and again for its quality content, con-

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sider your communications as an extension of your brand and identity. A few popular ideas from which clients can derive value include: local restaurant guides, tax tips for homeowners, reports on home values and the marketplace, or highlighting home décor and landscaping trends. Make your communications readable and useful, and your clients past and present will think twice before skipping past your name.

Showcase the lifestyle Clients remember when you go the extra mile, and that additional effort distinguishes run-of-the-mill agents from high-powered professionals. Whether listing or buying, consider a property’s lifestyle. First, think about a client’s everyday experience. Where’s the best breakfast spot nearby? How’s access to public transportation or bike paths? Which outdoor recreational opportunities exist in the area? Where might your client swing by for coffee? Neighborhood guides that outline the livability of a home and its area not only boost value and highlight potential, but they also demonstrate your ability to think outside the box and connect on a personal level. After all, a home isn’t just a house; a home is all about the daily experience that unfolds within and beyond those four walls. With that in mind, do your homework and make yourself a local expert. Your clients will feel they’re in good hands and will better envision their future unfolding, all thanks to your thorough legwork.

Customize your approach to clients As an agent, it’s only natural that you build your own daily routines and practices that keep your business running. While it’s necessary to create positive habitats that streamline your workflow, it’s also important to remain adaptable. For instance, Millennial clients may prefer to chat by text, instant Top Agent Magazine

message, or email, whereas older clientele may prefer face-to-face time or connecting by phone call. Adapting your communication style is as simple as a brief discussion: ask your client how they prefer to communicate and adapt accordingly. While it may seem like a small matter, it provides clients with a sense of comfort and control. Again, the key here is communication. Talk with your clients about their preferred methodology. Maybe they prefer a marathon house-hunting trek on a weekend day, or perhaps they rather sift through listings online before making in-person visits to a narrowed list. It’s okay to encourage clients or fill them in on industry norms, but it’s important to create an experience that’s tailored to their style and personality.

Authentically seek feedback While it may feel uncomfortable, asking for feedback during and at the end of a transaction can dramatically improve your working style and professional blind-spots. It can also help you adapt your working style to better suit your respective clients. Of course, it’s important to be open-minded and to quash the need to be defensive. Not all feedback will be useful, but you can incorporate the parts that are. This not only grows your skillset, but it also demonstrates to clients that you are open to constructive criticism and sincerely prioritize a job well done over personal praise. As a bonus, positive feedback can be parlayed into client testimonials, which are incredibly useful tools to boost your business on the whole. It’s no secret that real estate is a busy, self-determined business. While your client care may feel all accounted for, there is always room to grow. Professionals at the top of their field know this and never stop building out their repertoire. If you want to take your business to the next level and create an imprint that’s synonymous with concierge care, then keep these ideas in mind as you build your relationships and your brand.

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Long Term Goal Setting Vision=Perspective=Better Decisions By Barry Eisen

You’ve heard the saying, “The average person spends more time planning a vacation than planning the rest of their life.” It’s probably true because planning a pleasurable escape is easier and more comfortable than planning change, and whatever discomfort (fears?) may be associated with it. 6

Most companies you’d consider investing in or working for have long term, short term and, in most cases, daily goals as benchmarks of performance. However, independent contractors associated with large focused corporations, usually don’t do the planning to create their own comfortable future. Top Agent Magazine


The “whys?” don’t matter. The back story may be very interesting and compelling, but does “why?” solve the problem of an erratic business or personal life? Most all independent contractors either sit down with the owner/broker/ sale manager/boss at the beginning of the year or as solopreneurs, by themselves, and go over goals and business/game plans. But like New Year’s resolutions, by January 15th, they lose focus and end up playing a smaller and more chaotic game than anticipated. This is not just about the business of business, but it’s also about the personal areas of life, as well. And this is not just about business and personal lives, but ultimately about the way they see themselves (self image/self esteem) and create the lifestyle that matches that perception...self fulfilling prophesies.

There are so many ideas and systems about goal setting. Every speaker, sales manager and trainer has an approach. Know what? They all probably work, if the follow-through is committed to. Huge “IF” (I FEAR). Here’s my ofering at setting long term personal and business goals. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

1. Select a target year by which your long term (more than 1 year) goals will be completed. Giving a target date, even 3-5 years down the road, creates at least a small, but real, sense of urgency. Just the act of writing goals down starts a level The “whys?” don’t matter. The back of thought and commitment beyond story may be very interesting and having good intentions. Write the compelling, but does “why?” solve target year across the top of a blank the problem of an erratic business or piece of paper. personal life? The question, “What DO you want instead?” is a good 2. Along the left hand column, going starting point. Not what you Don’t down the page, write the categories want. Describing what you DON’T of your life that represents the want doesn’t give information as to balance and self image areas that actions to be taken to move forward. comprise all of our lives. In her book, Goals are not just targets, they’re Passages, Gail Sheehy lists Physical, guidelines. Financial, Emotional, Educational, Top Agent Magazine

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Family, Social and Spiritual. Unless you have something else---go with these.

makes sense to you... in a draw under your socks or underwear, taped to the back of a closet door etc.

3. On the right hand side of the page, opposite each of the categories, write down 2 or 3 goals for each category. If you choose to not set goals in all areas, great! Do what feels right for you. There are no rules.

5. Look at the list every once in a while (daily, weekly ???) and let it reinforce the actions that will bring you to those, down the road, purposes. Spaced repetition is how you learn most of what you do.

If you have difficulty looking ahead and projecting results, for a moment look back at your previous 3-5 years. What have you done in that time to move ahead in each of these 7 areas? “If you continue to do what you’ve been doing, you’ll continue to get what you’ve been getting.” The reality beyond that often used saying is that in the future, Mother Nature will smack us all around a little harder, gravity will tug on us all a little bit heavier, business slumps will become more pronounced, memory becomes more challenging and spiritual connections become even more distant, etc. What do you want instead?

6. Update your list periodically to reflect new directions and adjustments.

4. Put this goals list in a place that

Accomplishing longer term goals not only gives the rewards of whatever the goals are about, but on a higher level creates the positive self esteem and confidence of accomplishment. Confidence comes from creating victories. Those in therapy, or should be in therapy, experience control issues (usually a lack of control). When you’re in control of your life you generally make better decisions, feel more alive and healthy and usually become a more compelling figure to those around you. Copyright©, Barry Eisen. All rights reserved.

Barry Eisen teaches personal development seminars and coaches Southern California top producing rEAltorS®. “Your business will never grow more than you do” is the theme; self hypnosis and behavior modification are the tools for playing a bigger game. barryeisen.com, barryeisen@lA.twcbc.com 818-769-4300 8

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BILL BURKE Top Agent Magazine

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Based in New Hampshire, under the banner of Keller Williams Realty Salem, Top Agent Bill Burke serves clients across his home state, in addition to those in nearby Massachusetts.

BILL BURKE

year, and that’s because I put in the time and effort to make it happen. I’ve always had a passion for real estate and I genuinely love what I do.” Today Bill has built a reputation as an agent known for his diligence, entrepreneurial spirit, and personal touch.

Bill Burke launched his career back in 2008, during a time that many would’ve considered inopportune. He’d always been an avid tracker of real estate markets, and with the encouragement of his friends and family, he earned his license and hit the ground running. “I worked really hard, and it made me appreciate the business I earned even more,” he remembers. “Since 2008, my business has increased every

Based in New Hampshire, Bill serves clients across his home state, in addition to those in nearby Massachusetts. With the support of his full-time assistant of three years, Bill has built a sizable repeat and referral business under the banner of Keller Williams Realty Salem. “We really make a good team,” Bill says. “Clients like working with us and trust the strong communication systems we’ve put in place. I’m

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a hardworking, genuine, dedicated person. If someone decides to work with me, they know that I’m going to give it my all. Together, my assistant and I dedicate 110%, the whole way. That’s just who we are.” In the ten eventful years since launching his career, Bill has developed a deep well of industry insight. Clients know him for his prompt, accessible communication, as well as his willingness to educate them throughout the transactional process. “We strive for consistent communication and never want our clients to feel like they’re left hanging or put off,” he says. “Our feedback has been that our personal attention makes clients feel they’re our Top Agent Magazine

only client. We’re always ready to respond and follow-up.” Likewise, ongoing professional education plays a central role in Bill’s business, and he makes it a point to stay adaptable and ahead of the curve when it comes to technological advancements and market trends. “I’m always learning and staying on top of technology, especially social media marketing,” he explains. “When I got into the business, I made it a goal to take a forward-thinking approach to my marketing strategies. I’ve spent countless hours on seminars, webinars, and reading books on maximizing social media influence— to the point where I now teach other agents how best to leverage social media as a tool for their businesses.” 11 Copyright Top Agent Magazine


For Bill, this tech-forward approach extends to the listing process, as well. In addition to high-quality professional photography that showcases homes in their most inviting light, Bill was also an early adopter of immersive tech tools, like drone video and Matterport 3D virtual tours. From there, all listings enjoy premium visibility across the leading online listing platforms and social media outlets, netting prime results in short order. Beyond the office, Bill stays active in his local community through supporting the local chapter of Boys & Girls Club of America, Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 12

sponsoring and playing in their fundraising golf tournament. He also participates in Keller Williams’ nationwide Red Day community event. In his free hours, Bill most enjoys time with family and loved ones, as well as staying active through golfing, skiing, and boating. You can also find him attending most of the New England Patriot Home games during football season. Looking toward the future of his business, Bill intends to grow steadily and mindfully, with plans to bring on new team members as his enterprise becomes licensed and expands into additional market areas and neighboring states. Top Agent Magazine


Finally, with ten flourishing years of experience and insight behind him, Bill Burke considers what he enjoys most about his chosen field. “I love helping people make one of the biggest decisions of their lives and being there to guide them through that process,” he reflects. “Over the years, I’ve especially come to enjoy working with and educating first-time homebuyers. It’s so rewarding to Top Agent Magazine

see them through to the day of their closing and witness their happiness as they’re handed the keys to their first home. As an agent, it’s my job to help people figure out what their needs and goals are, and how to achieve them. A house may be the commodity, but I truly love working with people and taking on those challenges together as they reach the next step of their journey.” Copyright Top Agent Magazine 13


To learn more about Bill Burke email BillBurke@KW.com, visit searchhomesnh.com call m: (603) 548 – 5315 / o: (603) 912 – 5470, or visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/NHREALESTATEPRO www.

www.

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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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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 20

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, 22

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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