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Why Millennials are Now the Hottest Segment of the Buyers Market If It’s Good for the Soul, It’s Good for the Business



How to Build a Relationship with Your Clients that Will Last a Lifetime






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Be Their REALTOR for Life: ®

How to Build a Relationship with Your Clients That Will Last a Lifetime In the world of real estate, an agent’s relationship with their clients can make or break their career. This industry revolves around working well with people, and being able to develop a strong relationship with your clients is the foundation that you business is based upon. Just like with a house, if that foundation is weak, the rest of the structure is also going to be unsteady and fragile. The mark of a good REALTOR® is their ability to build up a good referral network and following of loyal clients. This isn’t something that just happens by accident. Building healthy, strong relationships with your clients takes work and knowing how to gain another person’s trust, respect, and friendship. Here are some ways to make sure you are building the right kind of relationship with your clients. 4

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1. Use Your Friendliness and Optimism to Win Them Over: No one wants a pushy, overly confident salesperson for a REALTOR®. Clients are much more inclined to put their trust in the hands of someone who is friendly when it comes to one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives. A pleasant, outgoing disposition will win you more clients as well as friends. You want to establish rapport in the first few minutes of first meeting prospective clients. Rather than starting with business right off the bat, begin your meeting with some small talk such as similar interests, hobbies, and family life. This will immediately help to put your clients at ease, and show that you are not simply trying to “sell” them something. People also respond well to optimism. During what can be a very stressful time, clients need someone to help them stay positive when a situation looks difficult and challenging. Optimism also tends to radiate charisma, and people want to be around and do business with charismatic people. You want to learn how to understand, motivate, and inspire people.

2. Be an Inquisitive Learner and an Empathetic Listener:

On the other side of this coin is knowing how to listen empathetically. Empathy involves actually putting yourself or your mind in their shoes so you can genuinely understand their concerns, needs, and opinions. That understanding and empathy is then reflected in your conversation with that client. Your clients want to know that you care about their situation, and that they’re not just another sale for you to make. People are much more willing to put their trust in you when they can sense that you are actually making an effort to feel what they feel in order to understand their situation. Showing your interest through questions, and then thoughtfully listening goes a long way towards gaining trust. Showing empathy and acknowledging the feelings and emotions involved in your clients situation helps build a relationship founded on genuine care and trust.

3. Watch for Nonverbal Clues:

Don’t be afraid to show your curiosity and ask your clients a lot of questions. Some of these questions may even be difficult and uncomfortable. You want to discover and learn as much as you can about your client. Don’t make the mistake of jumping straight into the role of the know-it-all. Every different client has unique needs, so you want to learn as much as you can about their specific situation before trying to propose a solution. You want to uncover their primary motive for buying or selling, and flush Top Agent Magazine

out any potential concerns they might have. After you’ve gained as much information as possible, you can then gauge their interest in your possible solutions by asking “what if” questions. Being inquisitive also demonstrates to your clients that you are genuinely interested and invested in their situation.

Most communication happens nonverbally, so knowing how to interpret your client’s body language can be incredibly helpful. Here are a few things to pay special attention to: Eye contact: Be careful with the level of eye contact you use with clients when first meeting. Too much and too little eye contact can send the wrong impression. You want to try and maintain eye contact around 70 percent of the time. That is the amount that most people are comfortable with. Pay attention to your client’s level of eye

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contact to determine how comfortable they are. When someone avoids eye contact that could mean they are not engaged in the conversation. A good way to quickly build a feeling of rapport when first meeting clients is to make eye contact when you first meet them and then start nodding yes to what they’re saying. If the client reciprocates the eye contact and nodding, you’ve established a connection.

4. Prove your honesty and credibility:

Choose the right handshake for each client: One handshake does not fit all people, and that first handshake can be crucial to making a good first impression. The way to do a good handshake for each client is to try and mirror the other person’s handshake in strength, keep your shoulders aligned as you are preferably standing when you shake hands. While you shake your client’s hand make sure you make eye contact and give them a sincere smile.

Showing a little weakness can actually be to your advantage in this situation, and will actually make others more inclined view you as honest. You don’t want to come across as too good to be true. When revealing this weakness, however, the key to coming out on top is turning what sounds like a weakness into a strength. For example, your service may be more expensive, but that’s because you offer more personalized and extra services than your competitors.

Honesty and integrity are the two traits that 98 percent of buyers and sellers report are qualities they consider “very important”. The thing is you can say you have these traits all you want on your website, bio, etc., but trust has to be earned, and the only way to do this is to prove your credibility.

Here are a few tips for how to sound more credible:

When you talk to your clients avoid using filler words such as “um” and “uh”, which can decrease your credibility. You also want to watch the tone of your voice. People tend to translate a deeper tone as sounding more credible.

You want to develop a relationship to last a lifetime when interacting with your clients. There are many things you can do to accomplish this, and using these tips can take you from getting just a few referrals and repeat customers to gaining a loyal client following. Taking the little extra time to make sure you are projecting the right attitude and making sure that you are doing things to gain your client’s trust can make a world of difference for your business. 6

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Lisa Land Top Agent Magazine


Lisa Land Over the past 10 years, Lisa Land has committed herself to becoming more than just a stay-at-home mom. Being exposed to design from such an early age only advanced her into the next phase of her life — a luxury real estate broker. She drew inspiration from her mother, an interior decorator, and put her creative design and persuasive selling skills to use. Right off the bat, Lisa, along with her family, were featured in season 1 of HGTV’s “Dream House” series. “I decided to get licensed when my kids were older and didn’t require as much of 8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

my attention.” Lisa, an agent and broker in the Nashville area, entered the industry when many seasoned agents took their exit during the recession of 2009. The decision has been more than worth it and has forever changed Lisa’s life. Her transition into the real estate industry has been nothing short of a dream. She has created and founded her own real estate group known as The Luxe Collective, a Luxury Real Estate Group at EXIT Realty Music City. They serve all throughout Nashville and its surrounding Top Agent Magazine

areas, including Franklin and Brentwood. The team currently consists of eight highly skilled agents, with four more due to join in the coming months. “We’re growing and it’s wonderful. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us. “While operating and managing the team’s activity, Lisa also manages her own individual real estate business which specializes in high-profile clientele such as: music industry executives, artists, medical professionals, corporate executives, published authors and sports managers to name a few. Known for the company they keep, The Luxe Collective is a first-class experience from start to finish. As any one of her clients will confirm, Lisa is known for the personalized attenTop Agent Magazine

tion she offers to clients before, during and after the sale/purchase of a home. She places a large amount of value on listening to what her consumer wants and how to meet their needs. “I train my agents to understand that listening to a client is what it’s all about. People want to know that we care about their concerns and our focus is directly on them while they are embarking on one of the largest financial decisions they’ll ever make.” Because of this added effort, Lisa is able to maintain the fact that she keeps in contact with every client she has ever had, whether that be through email, social media or even by developing a friendship with the client, she makes sure they are well taken care of long after the transaction has ended. Copyright Top Agent Magazine9

“Every client gets the same level of attention with each transaction, whether it is a $100,000 home or $1 million home, there is no differentiation between the amount of care.” Upon joining Lisa’s team, members are made aware of the relational aspects and are taught the personal elements of the business. Each of The Luxe Collective agents have their own unique talents and qualities that they contribute to the group while still working together to serve clients’ needs.

stantly donates and actively participates in charity work and volunteerism. In addition to giving, Lisa makes herself available to work with new agents when in need of help, advice or tips and tricks to help them hone their skills with various programs. “I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors when I started in real estate and I strive to be the helping hand they were for me. I am always willing to offer assistance, even to agents outside of The Luxe Collective.”

Lisa puts helping others at the forefront of her business. “What good would I be doing if I wasn’t helping anyone in the process?” The Luxe Collective con-

The help provided to agents not only deepens their knowledge and understanding of the business, but also ultimately aids the client in having a trouble-free experience.

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“I get just as excited as my agents do when they make a sale. I want, more than anything, for them to grow and succeed in this business.” An added benefit a client can take advantage of is The Luxe Collective extensive marketing practices. “After the initial consultation and signing a contract with the client, the real fun begins.” Staging and preparing the home, professional photography including drone pictures, walk-through and aerial video, and The Luxe agents’ listing expertise are all compiled into one free package with every home being purchased/sold. Once the listing is active on MLS, it is then syndicated and promoted to numerous websites for a quick and successful sale. Top Agent Magazine

“I not only love selling homes, but also love getting to meet and know people along the way,” says Lisa. “You can never have too many friends or connections.” Especially in the Nashville area, people are constantly moving or relocating which Copyright Top Agent Magazine 11

“I not only love selling homes, but also love getting to meet and know people along the way,” says Lisa. “You can never have too many friends or connections.” Especially in the Nashville area, people are constantly moving or relocating which has turned the region into a booming real estate market. Nashville nowregion has many all areas Highhas turned the into a exciting boomingnew real neighborhoods renovated into in modern and of hiptown. places for estaterise market. people to plant their feet. and her a month in Green Hills Lisa, and outdated penthouses that lease for $14,000 team The Luxe Collective, are dedi-in homes that are being torn down andatreplaced with tall and skinnies Nashville now The has Nations many exciting newNashville cated towith finding the perfect each Germantown, and East starting prices home in thefor $500’s. client.are “The realsold estate changes neighborhoods in all areas of town. and HighGorgeous historic homes buildings being andmarket renovated into rise penthouses that lease for $14,000 a daily; we have so much to learn as agents modern and hip places for people to plant their feet. Lisa, and her team at The month in Green Hills and outdated homes in order to be successful and keep up with Luxe Collective, are dedicated to finding the perfect home for each client. “The that are being torn down and replaced this constantly changing industry.” For real estate daily; we have much to learn as agentssoinmuch order with tall andmarket skinnieschanges in Germantown, Lisa,soreal estate encompasses to Nations be successful keep up with this constantly changing industry.” Forit Lisa, The and Eastand Nashville with startmore than simply selling a home, is a real estate encompasses so much moreway than a home, it ispassion a way ofsimply life andselling a reflection of her ing prices in the $500’s. Gorgeous historic homes and buildings are of being soldaand for helping life and reflection of herothers. passion for helping others. ToTolearn LisaLand, Land, learnmore more about about Lisa visitvisit page, www.LisaLand.realtorororgo gototoher herFacebook Facebook page, Email Email Lisa@LisaLand.Realtor or Call 615.870.7986. Lisa@LisaLand.Realtor or Call 615.870.7986

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Why Millennials Are Now the Hottest Segment of the Buyers Market

and How You Can Attract Them to Your Home There are many factors when it comes to knowing how to sell your home to the Millennial generation. Millennials are becoming an important part of the buyer market, and to fail to cater to their needs will cut you off from a large and important segment. But, why have Millennials all of a sudden become interested in buying houses when they were perfectly content to rent for the rest of their lives? Top Agent Magazine

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A number of factors contribute to what has recently made Millennials the hottest segment of the Buyers market. One factor is the improved job outlook for Millennials. Millennials took a serious blow during the recession. Unemployment in this group soared to 14 percent, compared to the 9.6 percent for the population as a whole. But, in recent years that number has been decreasing, with unemployment for Millennials being 9.3 percent this past year. Rising rents are also contributing to making Millennials more interested in purchasing homes now. Rents have risen so much that buying a home now just makes more sense. Half of all renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Millennials are becoming increasingly stressed over the constantly increasing financial obligation to something that isn’t even theirs to own. The near-historic low mortgage rates are luring Millennials towards purchasing a home with their promise of affordability. When compared with the skyrocketing rental rates, buying a house looks even more enticing. Another factor helping Millennials get over the hump of purchasing a house is the lower down payment requirements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now offering new loan programs that require as little as a 3 percent down payment. This may just be the last push the Millennials needed to turn toward buying a home rather than rent. So, now that we’ve established that Millennials are finally joining the Buyers market, the next thing that it is important to understand is what exactly Millennials are looking for in a home. What kind of floorplans do they prefer? What locations are they interested in? Here are some of the essentials that Millennials are looking for in a home: • Updated Kitchens and Baths: Almost everyone wants to buy a

home with new kitchen and bath fixtures, but this is especially true for Millennials Buyers. Millennials are going to spend most of their savings on the down payment and furnishings, leaving little room to update the Kitchen and Bath, which are also the most expensive parts of a home to


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update. Millennials who are on a budget simply won’t have the money to sink into those areas. An updated Kitchen and Bath is sure to bring in a younger crowd. • Big Kitchen with Open Floor Plan: For Millennials, the kitchen has

become the room where they hangout in addition to the family room. This is why having an open space that can transition easily from the kitchen to the TV room is high on the list of things Millennials are looking for in a home. Along a similar vein, Millennials are attracted to an open floor plan rather than one that compartmentalizes the home. This has to do with how Millennials entertain. Millennials want their guests to flow through the rooms and mingle together, rather than be sectioned off in different rooms.

• Home Office: More than 13 million Americans now work from home,

and if you look at the trend, that number is only going to increase as the time goes on. With technology steadily increasing, more Millennials than ever have the flexibility to work from home. But, the home office isn’t just for someone working from home full time. Having a separate space dedicated to work helps people concentrate and focus on work while they are at home. They can separate themselves from the activities going on around the house and have a quiet space where they can set up their workday, plan a presentation, hold a meeting on Skype, or even pay bills.

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• Less Maintenance: Many Millennials work different schedules that

don’t conform to the 9 to 5 workday, as well as full social calendars. This doesn’t leave them much time to clean a big house. Lawn services and low-maintenance front yards are particularly appealing, as they take less responsibility to still keep the curb appeal high.

• Energy-Efficient Appliances: Millennials have been educated on

keeping the Earth clean from the time they were born. They want to do their part to help the environment and appreciate the long-term cost savings that come with it. Energy-efficient appliances and greener ways to heat and cool the home might end up being the tipping point that makes them choose one house over another.

• Hardwood Floors: Millennials don’t have the time or patience to clean

dirty carpets, especially those that own pets. Hardwood and laminate flooring is easy to mop up if there’s been a mess. The more time they can conserve, the better.

• Good Location: Millennial buyers are looking for homes that are in

proximity to public transportation and have a good walking score. Young Millennial buyers without children are more likely to want a location closer to the action of the city, while Millennials with children would prefer more residential areas.

• Technology: Technology rules the Millennial’s life. They do work on

their computers through an Internet connection and solely use cellphones for communication. They are going to ask about how strong the cell service is and about the Internet service provider. While these amenities are out of the seller’s hands, Millennials are still going to ask these questions, and you will need to know how to answer them.

Knowing what Millennials are looking for in a home will ultimately help you make the necessary changes that will attract these buyers to your home. Since they are the a serious segment of the market now, updating your home to fit their needs will lead to more buyers and better offers. So, get with the times and embrace the Millennial buyer. 16

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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 18

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



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

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.


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.


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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If it’s good for the soul,


Visibility, name recognition and knowing you’re supporting the community that makes your success possible are good reasons to take part in community service. But how is it that some people seem to be able to give time to charities while running their own businesses, managing their own families and households, exercising regularly, attending sporting events and concerts, eating well and sleeping seven or eight hours a night? The truth is, not all agents are able to do everything so easily. But more important is the fact that no one needs to do everything all of the time. The trick is to make sure that, whatever you do holds meaning. REALTORS® and mortgage professionals who seem the most gregarious in their community outreach are those whose giving seems to fill their own souls. When their 22

volunteer efforts or donations directly impact causes they or their clients care deeply about, “giving back” becomes energizing. Jason O’Quinn of Prime Lending in Dallas Texas, for instance, says that his family’s ongoing work building homes for some of the poorest families in Honduras fills him immeasurably. “It rejuvenates me,” he says. “There’s quite a dichotomy between the houses we build there and the houses we finance here,” he says. “It refocuses me, going from financing $1 million homes in Dallas to physically laying cinderblock for $10,000 homes in Honduras. Everything has more meaning when we sacrificially give of our time, talent and treasure.” The longtime “big picture” for Colorado REALTOR® and property manager, Linda

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Todd, for instance, has included giving back to the community, whether serving as a lead carpenter for Habitat for Humanity, making deliveries for Meals on Wheels, or pitching in for the sake of baseball. And through her lifelong passion for baseball, she harmoniously blended her personal interests, her work and her community service. For many years, she was so involved Little League the local league named a new field after her. “I cried for 3 days after they told me that!” She and her husband also started a scholarship fund for junior college baseball players and serve as a host family for the rookie league of the Colorado Rockies, putting up newly drafted players in their home. For Florida REALTOR® and property manager, Mario Gonzalez, neither his business nor his primary community outreach would exist without the other. A retired U.S. Navy pilot, Mario formed his brokerage, Navy to Navy Homes, when he saw a need for military personnel to find affordable homes to purchase. “We got into it to help, but that led to a full-blown real estate business.” Besides providing opportunities for investment and homeownership, the company donates 35% of every commission to Homes for Heroes, veterans’ groups, or organizations benefiting fire, police, medical organizations, churches and homeless shelters. “We’re small, but we give so much back that we were the top Homes for Heroes company in Florida and

top-five nationwide.” But he does none of this for the attention. His friends may call him the “Humble Hero of Heroes,” but helping is Mario’s passion. “To be such a small business and be the top Homes for Heroes affiliate is mind boggling!” Like Mario, for many, the best service takes place in simple and quiet ways. Illinois REALTOR®, Susie Scheuber, for example, takes a humble approach to giving back. Although she donates a portion of every commission check to the Children’s Miracle Network, she doesn’t discuss this with clients unless they happen to ask. “I do it because I want to and because, to me, giving back is the right thing to do when you’ve been fortunate in business and life,” says Susie. We all know how inertia works; the more energized we get by certain behaviors, the more likely we are to continue those behaviors. For some top agents, community outreach has become such a natural routine of their daily lives that they never find it burdensome. A good way to add community service into your life, therefore, is through the causes that mean the most to you. For starters, consider giving a small donation after closing to the charity of your client’s choosing. Learning the different causes that they care about just might foster a new mission for you.

If you have a unique story to share about how your community outreach has impacted your life and your business or inspired others, click here for consideration in our magazines: Top Agent Magazine

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TENNESSEE 10-15-18