Winter 2016 • Volume 10 / Issue 4
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate
Building Homes in El Salvador
Plus: ERA’s Sue Yannaccone • “Good to Great” Author Jim Collins Roofshoot Founder Ben Bacal • Matt Parker’s New Book
Winter 2016 Volume 10 / Issue 4
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COVER STORY BHGRE + New Story Building Homes in El Salvador A new partnership with New Story charity brings a personal touch to homeownership.
Feature: Family First With a new leadership position, Sue Yannaccone is ready to put the ERA family culture to the test.
DEPARTMENTS Professional Profile: Finding His Level 5 Cause
One thing you must know about Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” he has boundless energy and a real passion for helping people be better leaders. Here’s what makes him tick.
Personal Passions: Finding His Passion Through Writing With a passion for helping people improve their lives, this Seattle broker decided to show that passion through writing.
Saving the World: Cultivating a Cause-Based Brokerage
Tech Leader: Merging Tech and Real Estate
Personal Passions: The Force of Twelve
On a mission to donate $1 million to charity, California Realtor® Anthony Marguleas looks beyond the dollars and cents of real estate sales and focuses on helping the communities, organizations and individuals around him.
Bolstered by the success of his real estate professional mother, Ben Bacal burst on the real estate scene with enthusiasm and moxie. Eleven years later, he’s a successful associate and founder of Roofshoot, a video solution for agents. Here’s his story.
Featured in LORE in 2007, the Luxury Home Marketing Group is still going strong, offering a chance for members to network and bringing attention to the high-end homes for sale in Raleigh, N.C.
A REPRIEVE FROM NEGATIVITY
atch the news and you would think the world is ending. Sit back and read these positive stories of real estate professionals doing extraordinary things.
It seems we hear about strife everywhere we turn these days— whether it is in the Middle East, the damage and death caused by hurricanes and typhoons or the U.S. Presidential election process. After a while, one’s senses tend to tune it out.
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For some, reading is a peaceful pursuit, especially when you get to read stories like those in this issue of LORE. Most of this content is about regular people striving to make a difference in other people’s lives—selflessly. Whether it is through the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate organization building homes in El Salvador, Anthony Marguleas’ goal of raising enormous sums to help others or Author Jim Collins talking about his passion for helping people become better leaders, it is refreshing to learn that there are people who have a passion for helping others. Should you find yourself wishing for a few peaceful minutes and wanting to be reinvigorated by stories of everyday heroes, kick your feet up and enjoy this issue of LORE. It will be well worth your time.
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Lives of Real Estate
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COVER STORY 6
Better Homes and G ardens Real Estate + New Story
Building Homes in El Salvador
Lives of Real Estate
A new partnership with New Story charity brings a personal touch to homeownership.
“WHEN WE THINK OF INCLUSION, i t m e a n s eve r y t h i n g f ro m b e i n g o p e n t o a l l i d e a s t o p rov i d i n g an opportunity for all p e o p l e t o l i ve i n a safe home. When I saw a p re s e n t a t i o n f ro m B re t t H a g l e r (C E O a n d c o - f o u n d e r o f N ew S t o r y ) , I re a l i z e d t h a t t h i s w a s ex a c t l y i n l i n e w i t h o u r c o re va l u e s .” – Sherry Chris Sherry Chris
lba (37) is a widow and mother of four living in Ahuachapán, El Salvador. Her husband died from an alcohol addiction, and her family has been living on her single income ever since. She works as a maid for 12 consecutive hours a day. Thanks to a partnership between Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) and New Story, a next-generation charity that crowdfunds to transform slums into sustainable communities, Alba and her children, Jessica (18), who is in her last year of accounting trade school and works as a maid twice a week, Javier (16), Marcos (14) and Jose (13), will have a house of their own, rather than live in constant fear of eviction. They’ll finally live in a home with water and electricity. A BHGRE Community With New Story, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate will rally to raise funds to build an entire community of homes for residents in Ahuachapán, one family at a time. “Our values at BHGRE are passion, authenticity, inclusion, growth and excellence,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “When we think of inclusion, it means everything from being open to all ideas to providing an opportunity for all people to live in a safe home. When I saw a presentation from Brett Hagler (CEO and co-founder of New Story), I realized that this was exactly in line with our core values,” she says. Known as the next-generation real estate brand, BHGRE seems like a perfect match for New Story, which offers a transparent crowdfunding (a way to fund projects by requesting contributions from a large number of people, usually online) campaign-style program where anyone can set up an individual fundraising webpage for a specific family or portions of the community. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to fund home construction, and every donor receives a video of the exact family he or she has funded moving into its new home for full accountability—showing transparency and authenticity. “I built the New Story model to be transparent. I took a trip to Haiti a couple of years after the earthquake devastated the community, and you never knew where your money went. These people need life’s most basic
Brett Hagler is the CEO and co-founder of New Story, author, cancer survivor, and was recently named to the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
needs—shelter, water, electricity—and this was a way to provide that,” says Hagler. Self-Sustaining Charity A unique aspect of the crowdfunding charity campaign is that each time a family receives a home, it contractually agrees that over 10 or 12 years, it will pay it forward so that another family in need can get a house. “They pay forward the cost of their loan with no interest and very small monthly payments to provide for another family in need,” says Hagler. “We do that for a couple reasons. First, in a developing world, people are proud to be homeowners, and this allows them to preserve their dignity. In addition, it’s a multiplier and keeps the charity self-sustaining. For every home funded, we provide a new, safe home for another family.” BHGRE brokers and sales associates are encouraged to pick a family and start a crowdfunding campaign. “Brokers from all over the country have committed to raising enough to build anywhere from one to 10 homes. Plus, it’s fun to get to know the family’s story and chart your progress toward building a home. It’s even sparked some friendly competition amongst team members at our corporate office,” she says.
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“ F O R E V E RY HOME FUNDED, we p rov i d e a n ew, s a f e home for another f a m i l y.” – Brett Hagler
Brokerages On Board One of the first brokers to step up was Jeff Martel, who with wife, Lyndi Martel, is a co-owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43° North in Meridian, Idaho. “While at Inman (a real estate technology conference), I was invited to this private event at an incredible house in Pacific Heights (San Francisco). That’s when Sherry announced the partnership with New Story,” says Jeff Martel. What struck Martel was the contrast between the beautiful home he was in and, he says, “the idea that we were talking about building houses for underprivileged people. It resonated with me.” That same night, Martel sent out an email to his team explaining the event and asking if they wanted to get involved. “By 11 the next morning, we raised enough money to build one house,” says Martel, who notes that was before he even set up a crowdfunding page. “We did that so quickly that I decided to go for two houses and reach out to our client base,” he says. To date, Martel’s campaign has Jeff Martel, co-owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43 Degrees North in Meridian, Idaho
Lyndi Martel is co-owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate 43 Degrees North in Meridian, Idaho
Real estate professionals with Jeff and Lyndi Martel’s office has raised over $12,000 to fund homes in El Salvador.
COVER STORY All families deserve a safe place to live.
raised over $12,000, and a husband-and-wife team with his brokerage have raised about $800. “They committed to donating $100 from each transaction to put toward another house.” Pay-It-Forward What struck a chord with Martel was the transparency of the crowdfunding campaign and the idea that it is a “hand up and not a handout.” He notes, “A house can change people’s lives and improve on future generations. Having a house creates stability. A home is safety. And we appreciate that these new homeowners pay it forward so that others in the community can experience homeownership. Joshua Tanner, president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations in Mobile, Ala., is also committed to the charity. “We vetted 10
Lives of Real Estate
Joshua Tanner, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations in Mobile, Ala., has raised almost $6,000 for New Story.
“IT ALL GOES BACK t o t h e f a c t t h a t we ’ re in a people business. We ’ re n o t i n t h e p ro p e r t y b u s i n e s s . We f a c i l i t a t e l i f e s t y l e a n d c re a t e d re a m s .” – Jeff Martel
the charity and realized it’s a great opportunity. I really bought into the pay-it-forward mentality and the transparency of the donations,” he says. Tanner’s brokerage committed to one house and is over halfway to its $6,000 goal. “We had an event at a local boutique to raise money. We have another, Bingo Night at Buffalo Wild Wings, coming up soon,” he says.
For Martel, “It all goes back to the fact that we’re in a people business. We’re not in the property business. We facilitate lifestyle and create dreams. Houses are the foundation for everything in one’s lifestyle—security, safety—and it can lead to other things, such as education, a better career and more.”
I n t e re s t e d i n l e a r n i n g m o re a b o u t t h e B e t t e r H o m e s a n d G a rd e n s R e a l E s t a t e / N ew S t o r y p a r t n e r s h i p? CLICK HERE LORE
S u e Ya n n a c c o n e , president and CEO of ERA Real Estate
FIRST With a new leadership position, Sue Yannaccone is ready to put the ERA family culture to the test.
Lives of Real Estate
ue Yannaccone lived in six different states before she even turned 12, something that she says helped her adjust to new surroundings. “I lived a nomadic lifestyle,” laughs Yannaconne, who was promoted to president and CEO of ERA Real Estate in July. Not only did those moves force her to embrace changes, but they sparked her interest in real estate. “I understood the impact homes have on families. And I developed an interest in the home-buying and -selling process,” she says. Professional Goals So it’s no surprise that as soon as she graduated from Clemson University with a degree in finance and a concentration in real estate, she earned her license and got into commercial real estate in New Jersey. “I did that for three years and realized I didn’t have a burning passion for that side of the business.” So she left and joined GMAC Home Services as a senior risk analyst, and then manager of contract administration, and finally, vice president of operations. In 2000, the company merged with Real Living. Soon after, she took a position as vice president of network services for HSF Affiliates after Berkshire Hathaway bought Prudential and Real Living. In July 2015, she joined ERA as the chief operating officer. “I’ve been in the industry a long time and witnessed change. I saw ERA changing in all the right ways. They were reimagining things from the inside out and positioning the company for today and tomorrow,” says Yannaccone.
“I can’t do everything myself. Every leader needs the support of a strong team, and ERA is a team and collaborative network.” — Sue Ya n n a c c o n e , president and CEO of ERA Real Estate
Since joining ERA Real Estate, Yannaccone has helped move the organization forward with her laser focus on growth and innovation. She was instrumental in creating an enhanced service model that has increased broker satisfaction with the ERA brand, and she has fostered an internal culture of transparency, collaboration, execution and accountability. With a focus on franchisee engagement, satisfaction and growth, Yannaccone has overseen the addition of some newly affiliated companies, as well as several strategic mergers and acquisitions for existing ERA brokers. It Takes a Village Throughout her entire career, Yannaconne says, she’s recognized the importance of a team. “That’s when I saw my career take off—when I realized I needed a team in my outside life as much as in my work life,” she says. Yannaconne is the mom of 5-year-old Samantha. Managing Samantha’s life, she says, “takes a village. She’s in kindergarten now, and we’ve got her schedule well managed.” From help from her husband, Jeff, to school pickup help from Grandma and a little neighborly assistance, she says, their arrangement is “fluid and collaborative.” When she has downtime, it’s typically spent “reading a book with my daughter, making pizzas at home with my husband, running and taking golf lessons because my daughter is taking them.”
“That’s when I saw my career take off —when I realized I needed a team in my outside life as much as in my work life.” — Sue Ya n n a c c o n e
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Staying Grounded Her daughter and husband, she says, “keep me grounded. There is nothing greater than family. No matter what I accomplish in work, family is what it’s all about. And with a young daughter, I want what I do with ERA to be authentic and true to who I am so that she and other young women can look to this industry and see opportunity.” Also, she says, watching how her father conducted himself in business and his personal life inspires her to “commit to doing things the right way. It’s important to do the right thing and guide your work by your morals.” Right now, Yannaconne is focused on innovation and growth. “I will not make changes for change’s sake. We’re doing a lot of things well here. I want to capitalize on the momentum we have. I have a fearless approach to work. Instead of saying, ‘We can’t do that,’ I say, ‘How can we get it done?’” It’s that attitude and can-do spirit that can help Yannaconne achieve the impossible. “I have a quote from soccer player Mia Hamm that I love. She says: ‘Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.’ That’s what I want to do.”
I n H e r Wo r d s : S u e Ya n n a c o n n e Motivation:
I love a challenge and the feeling of accomplishment when you achieve something that no one thought you could do.
Travel for fun, maybe an African safari, improve my golf game and see my daughter become a mom.
Three Things You Can’t Live Without (excluding family and friends): Coffee, all kinds of music (she used to play piano) and the beach.
Finding His Level 5 Cause One thing you must know about Jim Collins, author of the book “Good to Great,” is that he has boundless energy and a real passion for helping people be better leaders. Here’s what makes him tick.
Lives of Real Estate
f you could pick one word to describe Jim Collins, leader extraordinaire and author of books such as “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” it would be curious. From his work in the leadership field to his current work researching K-12 education, Collins’ thirst for knowledge and especially for knowledge about what makes great companies and organizations tick has opened up opportunities that serve as the foundation of his career. “I am driven most by sheer curiosity,” says Collins. “I hope the last thing I say in my life is a question. I want to be lying there and ask, ‘How does this work?’” That curiosity and love of discovery saved him after his parents divorced. “My family fell apart when I was in sixth grade. My parents got a divorce, and it was transformative for me,” he says. “It was a time when my world felt unstable, and I had to find my moorings. That led to two things that eventually shaped my life,” he says. The first was rock climbing, which became a way to channel his energies into something good
rather than “hanging out at the mall with the wrong kids,” he laughs. Living in Boulder, Colo., he had no shortage of rocks to climb plus, he says, he liked the “realness” of climbing. “It helped me navigate out of uncertainty.” Loving to Learn The second thing he learned was that he loved to use his brain and learn. “I got ahold of the idea that the path out of the family chaos was to use my brain. I am on a lifelong quest for learning, and that became the path I chose to follow,” says Collins, who got his undergrad degree and Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University. “In the 1970s, there weren’t any rock-climbing gyms. One thing that appealed to me about Stanford is that they had great sandstone walls.” At Stanford, Collins began his research and teaching career at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992. And it’s that curiosity
“ I a m d r i ve n m o s t by sh e e r curiosity. I hope the last thing I say in my life is a question. I want to be l y i n g t h e re a n d a s k , ‘ H ow d o e s t h i s wo r k ? ’ ” — Jim Collins
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE that drove him to found a management laboratory in Boulder, where he conducts research and engages in Socratic dialogue with CEOs and senior leadership teams. By far, his greatest accomplishment, he says, is that “I realized that life isn’t about the what; it’s about the who. I enjoy working with people and love spending time with people. Life is not about accomplishments and acquisitions; it’s about people,” says Collins, who has been married for 36 years to wife Joanne. “We got engaged after four days. I was 22 years old; she was 21 years old. I’m most proud of my relationship with Joanne.” Finding Inspiration in Others And it’s people from whom Collins draws inspiration. “Given that I didn’t have a role model for a father, I sought out role models and mentors. I had a great honing mechanism for mentors,” he says. One of his early mentors was Bill Lazier, a professor at Stanford who became a colleague and co-author of his book “Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company” and “Managing the Small to Midsize Company: Concepts and Cases in the 1990s.” Lazier died in 2005; Collins says of him, “Bill gave me a real a-ha moment when he said that the most important thing is to begin everything with the questions ‘What are your values?’ and ‘Are you willing to suffer and sacrifice for them?’” Says Collins, “He taught me the value of commitment. He told me there is never an acceptable reason for failing to fulfill a commitment that you make. In fact, I once flew to Florida with a hurricane coming because I had made a commitment to get there.” While Lazier taught Collins the value of honoring commitments, it was John W. Gardner, another Stanford professor and the sixth U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, who taught him to spend less time trying to be interesting and more time trying to be 18
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interested. “That fundamentally rang true for me. I was 30 years old and teaching at the business school at the time. I became the guy asking all the questions rather than answering them. People are interesting. You never know what struggles they’ve overcome or that they engage in some arcane activity,” he says. Gardner also opened the door to Collins’ work in social sectors, including education, healthcare, government, faith-based organizations, social ventures and cause-driven nonprofits. “John Gardner taught me how to study the great leaders in education, military and more. He taught me that they all have one thing in common—an off-the-charts, sustained energy level,” says Collins. “Regardless of how long they’ve been doing their job, they still are on fire.” In fact, says Collins, that is probably one of the hardest parts of leadership— finding the cause that will bring that energy out of you. “If you were to ask these great entrepreneurs and leaders how they have so much energy, they wouldn’t understand the question. I call these Level 5 leaders. What separates them is that they are truly ambitious for something that is not about themselves and their accomplishments,” he adds. Collins still rock climbs (he successfully made one-day ascents of the northwest face of Half Dome and the 3,000-foot south face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley), and is passionate about the outdoors, seeking experiences that take him outside. “One thing you’ll notice about me is that I’m not sure downtime is anything I’ve ever experienced. Everything comes back to my work, and I’m not very good at downtime,” he laughs. In fact, when interviewed for a newspaper article about her husband, Joanne was asked to give one word that describes him. “She said ‘exhausting,’” laughs Collins, who says he reads between 50 and 100 books every year. “I like to take things and get better at them. I don’t have to be better than others. I want to improve and grow. John Gardner inspired me when he said we should learn more between ages 70 and 88 than ever before.” With his untamed passion and curiosity to know as much as possible about people in all different fields, Collins is that once-in-a-lifetime leader who lives and breathes what he teaches. “It’s all about the people,” he says. And, people make life interesting.
I n H i s Wo r d s : J i m C o l l i n s Favorite Books: I don’t have a favorite; just a favorite at the time. Right now, it’s Michael J. Fox’s books. He got Parkinson’s disease after becoming a successful actor, and his cause found him. He found his Level 5 cause, and now he has unbounded energy to find a cure for the disease. • “Lucky Man: A Memoir.” New York: Hyperion, 2002. ISBN 978-0-7868-6764-6. “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.” New York: Hyperion, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4013-0338-9. • “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned.” New York: Hyperion, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4013-2386-8.
Bucket List: I like to think that instead of a bucket list, I have a rolling five-year plan. I wake up in early January and ask this simple question, ‘If you have five years to live, what do you for sure want to get done?’ For me, that is complete my K-12 education study and answer the vexing question of how I can remain renewed well past age 60 and
provide that answer to others. I believe that the most creative and impactful years of your life can begin at age 60. I also fundamentally believe that all kids, no matter what ZIP code they live in, deserves a shot to get the equipment they need to actualize a choice in life. Can’t Live Without (excluding family and friends): Naps, a cup of coffee in the morning and books on tape at three times speed. I listen on Audible at 3X speed. I did the whole Harry Potter that way.
Hardest thing about leadership: People struggle the most with making great people decisions. We all make mistakes, whether it be to hire the wrong person or not to notice the potential in someone. People decisions are filled with angst and emotion. To master the people aspect, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to know who should be on and off the bus and do it in a way that is deeply respectful and provides dignity to the people you’re guiding. You must be rigorous, but not ruthless in the way you deal with people. Recent book that made him think: “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe,” by Lisa Randall. It is about the Big Bang Theory and its relationship to dark matter and the universe. It was fascinating.
Learn from Jim Collins at the 2017 Gathering of Eagles Jim Collins will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Gathering of Eagles. CLICK HERE for more information LORE
FINDING HIS PASSION THROUGH WRITING
With a passion for helping people improve their lives, this Seattle broker decided to show that passion through writing.
Lives of Real Estate
att Parker, a broker with Keller Williams Puget Sound in Seattle, Wash., didn’t exactly have a stellar start in real estate. “I was 24 years old and looked 18 years old. I wasn’t getting any phone calls. In fact, in the mornings I would do yardwork at author Ann Rule’s house, then change into a shirt and tie for real estate,” he says. Finding Success That all changed when the market collapsed. “When the market collapsed and we had the birth of electronic real estate sales, I looked at it as an opportunity,” says Parker, who over the following three or four years focused on helping people who were having a hard time selling in the Great Recession. “If you can become an expert at selling in that economy, you’ll never have to worry about a paycheck,” he says. How did he do it? By focusing on the little things. “Many sales associates don’t understand that the quality of the photos, the placement of the ads, things like getting the listing language correct, all make a huge difference in whether or not a property gets sold,” he says. Parker developed a marketing plan that was easy to explain to sellers, and his listings sold.
An adventure athlete, Parker climbed Mount Rainier (in photo) as well as trekked through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
“I stood out and was doing well when others were struggling.” Parker wasn’t always in real estate. He started in sales, selling group ticket packages and corporate sponsorships for the Class A Arizona Diamondbacks’ Major League Baseball franchise, the Lancaster JetHawks. “Then, I worked for the professional basketball Portland Trail Blazers in corporate sales. “I didn’t like the corporate structure. I had to record 100 calls a day, which a computer tracks.” He notes that if you didn’t meet your goals, it was crushing. “I knew I could sell. But before my self-confidence was completely destroyed, I decided to get into real estate.” Overcoming Adversity Obviously, it was a great move. However, Parker’s life has been filled with learning experiences. He was disappointed by his high school football career, only to find success in basketball. But his life was filled with anxiety caused by clinical obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD). Through it all,
his family (filled with war veterans and blue collar workers) taught him that no one owes you work and opportunity. “You have to go out and provide value to the world every day,” he says. “We’re lucky because our country affords us this opportunity. So I was told I had to find a way to make things work.” Not only did Parker overcome his OCD, but he also became a high-level stand-up paddle racer and mountain climber. “I am an adventure athlete and have raced in Hawaii, California, Mexico, Nicaragua and more,” he says. He’s also climbed Mount Rainier, trekked through Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and is planning a trip visiting all the U.S. national parks. “My wife, Kali, and I are going on a late honeymoon, where we’ll hike and walk the national parks,” he says. Writing the Books Parker is also committed to helping consumers make good choices in real estate. “Wrong choices in real estate are making us sick. They impact our relationships and add stress because of long commutes, loud neighborhoods and more,” he says. That’s why he recently wrote his third book, “Real Estate Smart: The New Home Buying Guide,” which focuses on the small home choices you make that can have a profound effect on your life and how to make better choices with your living environment. “People remember using the home with loved ones, doing things together—living, not the countertops or cabinets. This book shows you how to shop for the right feelings your home will create, not material
“My w ri ting is about caring for customers. I do n’t l ook to fill pa ge s; I look to fill lives.” — Matt Parker
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things that will make you feel sick,” says Parker. In fact, Parker and his wife live in a 560-square-foot house because, he says, “We prioritize living and not clutter.” “My writing is about caring for customers. I don’t look to fill pages; I look to fill lives,” he says. He got the writing bug after a mentor introduced him to a book that “made me question whether or not I was providing enough value to the world. I’ve always had a penchant for writing, and it was easy for me,” he says. His first book, “The Real Estate Sales Secret: What Top Real Estate Listing Agents Do Today to Sell Tomorrow,” helps those struggling in real estate to gain confidence. His second book, “The Real Estate Agent Talks,” offers topics that first-year agents struggle over. Through it all, Parker’s tenacity has helped him find a successful niche in real estate. “As Americans, we have more freedom and more potential to succeed than ever before. I’m excited about the future.”
I n H i s Wo r d s : M a t t P a r ke r Three Things You Canâ€™t Live Without (excluding family and friends):
Motivation: If youâ€™ve ever visited the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or the Pacific Ocean off Maui, youâ€™ve seen the grand, timeless examples of creative and powerful forces in the universe. Every human carries a small torch in this timeless process of life for a short time. I am going to carry mine as boldly as I can, with love and a sense of humor.
Being on the water, a morning workout and the selflessness that my family and wife demand of me. First sale: I clearly remember the first man who gave me a chance to list a property in real estate. I was working out of the back of my car doing yardwork for Ann Rule in the morning and selling real
estate in the afternoon. I had no money to spend. I finally realized that if I told customers I had to work for them because I had to eat, it was an almost-golden sales pitch. I told him my goals were tied to his success, and it worked. The man snuffed out a cigar and agreed to let me list his property. I sold it quickly and, more importantly, had a winning sales pitch.
Parker with wife Kali exploring the United States.
S AV I N G
Cultivating a Cause-Based Brokerage
On a mission to donate $1 million to charity, this California Realtor looks beyond the dollars and cents of real estate sales and focuses on helping the communities, organizations and individuals around him. ®
By Bridget McCrea
nthony Marguleas has always had a penchant for giving back to the communities, organizations and individuals who need his support, but after a cancer scare, this owner of Amalfi Estates and leader of The Marguleas Team in Pacific Palisades, Calif., took that passion to a completely new level. “Twenty-five years ago, I had Stage 4 of a rare type of cancer,” says Marguleas. “Even after a bone marrow transplant and radiation treatment, I was given a 25 percent chance of survival.” Luckily, Marguleas beat those odds and says he’s since “realigned” his priorities to focus on what’s most important in life. And while he earns a respectable livelihood from his successful real estate career, Marguleas says he’s less centered on material things and more focused on making a difference in the community—and for the people around him. Finding Ways to Give Back Early on, Marguleas says, he explored innovative ways to give back without having to write out big checks to charity. In 2009, with four teenage children to support, he decided to give 100 percent of his commission (approximately $60,000) on two home
Lives of Real Estate
sales annually to charities, schools and nonprofits. Then, he began giving 10 percent of his net commission—on every sale—to a charity of the customer’s choosing.
At its core, The Marguleas Team is a philanthropic real estate brokerage that gives 10 percent of its net commission back to the community. In 2015, Marguleas hired a business consultant who specializes in charitable giving to help his team develop a charitable giving plan that would articulate the firm’s core values and charitable goals. “We had donated to about 50 separate charities, and the consultant helped us narrow that down to five (Make-a-Wish® Foundation, spcaLA, American Cancer Society, PATH and Homeboy Industries),” says Marguleas. “We did this so we could make a more impactful difference to these organizations.” Marguleas says his goal is to lead by example and encourage other real estate firms to start giving back more. “Once we started giving 10 percent back, we saw other top agents following suit,” he says. “If we can get every agent to give 10 percent back, the impact on our community and the country is staggering. In one year in Los Angeles alone, $36 billion in homes are sold. That translates into $90 million per year [that could be] back to charity.” Future Goals Going forward, Marguleas says he wants to give the majority of his commissions to charity once his four
children graduate from college. To date, the firm has donated $381,000, including $129,000 last year and $132,000 [as of August 2016]. And, while Marguleas’ passion for giving transcends his real estate career, he says clients do notice the efforts. “They love it,” he says. “It deepens our relationship with our client and honors that relationship with a charitable donation.” Driven by challenges and the opportunity to help others, Marguleas says he was largely inspired by Warren Buffett’s and Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. He was also inspired by a customer whose granddaughter had recently died from a rare heart condition while playing soccer at school. “His story made me cry,” says Marguleas, “and further solidified my philosophy that giving back not only helps others, but also enhances the relationships that we have with our home buyers and sellers.”
Bridget McCrea is a Clearwater-based freelance writer specializing in real estate and business.
“IF WE CAN GET EVERY AGENT
t o g i ve 1 0 p e rce n t b a c k , t h e i m p a c t o n o u r co m m u n i t y a n d t h e co u n t r y i s st a g g e r i n g .” – A n t h o ny M a rg u l e a s
Merging Tech and Real Estate Bolstered by the success of his real estate professional mother, Ben Bacal burst on the real estate scene with enthusiasm and moxie. Eleven years later, he’s a successful associate and founder of Roofshoot, a video solution for agents.
t only 24 years old, Ben Bacal, a sales associate with Rodeo Realty in Beverly Hills, was already sparking creative company ideas. An entrepreneur at heart, Bacal had dreams of making movies. But dreams don’t always come true in their original form. “I was looking for a way to make money to make movies,” says Bacal. Thus was born a video company called DareJunkies. However, he says, “Our revenue stream was advertising, but in 2006, the video dollars just weren’t there.” Looking for other ways to fund his movie dreams, Bacal looked no farther than his mother, who, he says, “was making a lot of money. I figured I could do what she does.” In just a few months,
Lives of Real Estate
he earned his real estate license and took a job working for a Coldwell Banker top producer (not his mother). “I door knocked and charmed my way into a couple of houses right when the market was ripe.” After all, he says, this was 2005, and “I would put a sign in a yard and have five offers on the hood of my car within 24 hours.” A Lesson in Tenacity Soon, he realized that he could do this for himself rather than give half the commission to the top producer. His first year, he knocked on doors and made almost $400,000 in commission. “I had a knack for it,” he laughs. How did he do it? Pure tenacity, he says. He bought himself a nice car, researched the neighborhoods he liked and started knocking on doors. “In 2008, I chose a neighborhood next to Beverly Hills, where the views were insane but the homes were under $3 million. I saw the neighborhood was undervalued and would knock on doors telling people I could bring them buyers if they wanted to sell,” he says. From there, he says, he formed relationships with the neighbors, and moved up and up into more expensive homes. Now, at age 38, he’s rubbing shoulders with Hollywood elite such as Leonardo DiCaprio and billionaires such as Jim Jannard, founder of Oakley Inc., an eyewear and apparel company, and RED Digital Cinema.
Finding Focus Not bad for a kid who claims he was a bit of a challenge in high school. “I was sent to military school in 11th grade,” says Bacal, who notes that he wasn’t much for “rules in adolescence and was bored with school.” However, that military school experience taught him a lot about what he wanted in life. “The strict officers took away your identity, and you had to work hard to get rewards. That made me become ultrafocused on finding success in business and life. I went from nothing to being the head of an 80-kid barrack. I liked being the leader and found myself thriving.” Bacal also learned that if he wanted to be successful at something, he needed to go at it full speed ahead. “I wanted to be a superagent; then, my life needed to be 24/7 real estate.” In fact, he says that his life is all about work and he likes it that way. “It excites me,” he says. And it’s how he found a way to merge his love of closing a deal with his love of video. “I found myself shooting videos of all my listings, and I started to get phone calls [from buyers and sellers]. So I started shooting videos of me being an expert in the areas in which I worked. One video was like knocking on 1,000 doors. But it was still a lot of work as it cost me time and money.” So he developed Roofshoot, an app that allows sales associates to put together footage with music and a variety of customized themes to create a professional, shareable video in minutes. The app, currently in beta, is being tested by more than 350 real estate agents in Los
Angeles who were invited to be part of a special early-adopters group. Because of his success in real estate and with the app, he was named Most Innovative Real Estate Agent at the 2016 Inman Innovator awards, and the app was named at the Realogy FWD Innovation Summit as one of the 15 hottest new technologies. “By creating a company like DareJunkies or Roofshoot, where I can empower millions of agents to make more money through video marketing, it’s helped my business. I love the success of selling property and that adrenaline rush of closing a deal,” he says. Getting an Adrenaline Rush Bacal also loves helping others achieve that same adrenaline rush. “Agents should treat themselves as media companies. You’re more than just a sales associate; you have to be mayor of your neighborhood. You get that distinction by shooting videos of your neighborhood, cool spots, the best grocery stores, schools, interviews with school principals and business owners, open houses, listings and more. Roofshoot is an inexpensive way to do that.” As for what’s next for this entrepreneur, Bacal says that he hopes to secure venture capitalist funding to take Roofshoot to the next level. “Like Jim Jannard and other billionaires, I want to take big risks in life. I want to be forward thinking and crazy enough to continue with passion despite the naysayers in the world.”
“You have to be mayor of your neighborhood by shooting videos of cool spots, the best stores, schools and more.” —Ben Bacal, founder of Roofshoot, an app that simplifies filming real estate videos.
Lives of Real Estate
F e a t u re d i n LO R E i n 2 0 07, t h e L u x u r y H o m e M a r ke t i n g G ro u p i s s t i l l g o i n g s t ro n g , o f f e r i n g a c h a n c e f o r m e m b e r s t o n e t wo r k and bringing attention to the high-end h o m e s f o r s a l e i n R a l e i g h , N .C .
Luxury Home Marketing
The Force of Twe l ve
Lives of Real Estate
hen the Triangle’s Luxury Home Marketing Group was founded in 2004, members rode in a limo to tour homes. Times have changed, says Jill Rekuc, a member of the group since 2009 and the 2016 group president. “Since the recession at the end of 2008, we began touring homes in our cars, because we didn’t believe touring in limos was sending the right message to sellers whose price points were hit the hardest.” An unexpected benefit, she says is that “we learned having multiple members per car, allowed us to have more concentrated conversations and network more.” Talking Trade The Luxury Home Marketing Group of the Triangle, which is an LLC, is normally comprised of 12 leaders in the luxury market in the Triangle area of North Carolina, Raleigh Durham and Chapel Hill. “Membership is currently down two members; we are actively recruiting,” says Rekuc. The group offers its members an unsurpassed network of the industry’s top-producing agents, where they tour each other’s listings and other luxury homes on the market, offer unbiased feedback to their sellers, and attend monthly meetings. “We are peers and competitors,” says Rekuc. A prospective member must meet and maintain high standards to be considered for candidacy. Each member has been selected based on her history of experience and sales success, professionalism, and commitment to
the group. “You have to be nominated and voted into the group. Qualifications are assessed against the entrance criteria specified in our bylaws,” she says. Support and Collaboration It’s hard to ignore the makeup of the group—seasoned female real estate professionals. While the group does consider men for membership, Rekuc finds that it’s the power of women supporting women that seems to attract females. However, she is quick to point out that, “We fight the image of this group being a group of women getting together and chitchatting. Significant business is being accomplished at our monthly board and full group meetings.” That said, the power of the group, according to Rekuc, is the sharing of knowledge. “It’s a very powerful, influential group. Even the top producers in town can learn from each other,” she says. In addition to monthly meetings, the group enjoys a retreat every September. “We go offsite and regroup, analyze the status of the market and strategize,” she says. “The goal of the LHMG is to share our knowledge and expertise between ourselves and our clients. Yes, we hope to capture more of the market share and yes we use the group as a selling tool in listing presentations. We are aware that we compete against each other, but it’s a healthy competition,” she says.
Find out more at luxuryhomemarketinggroup.com. To read about what happens at meetings, visit the blog at luxuryhomemarketinggroup.wordpress.com.
Members of the Force of Twelve Deborah Nance Ida Terbet Jill Rekuc Kathy Beacham
Kimberly Conroy Leslie Young Linda Bird Kolarov Linda Craft
Lindsay Taylor Mary Edna Williams Mollie Owen Shawn Britt LORE