Archives for January 2015

Real Estate Resolutions for 2015

Real Estate Resolutions for 2015

Elizabeth Mackay

By Elizabeth Mackay

Do you still make New Year’s resolutions? Do you still hold the hope of something better, something more, as you leave one year behind and embark on another? It’s easy to feel hopeless, there are the old year’s resolutions unmet and the gaping question of whether you’ll see the new year, much less live it out. Yet, progress is the basis of humanity. It is our natural state to want more, to aspire to something greater. Besides, what is life if not lived with hope for better days ahead?

So in the spirit of hope, here are my real estate resolutions for the new year.

I will embody temperance. No more will I be tossed about by the fierce storm of real estate ups and downs, successes and failures. Like life, real estate is a game and I will play to win. But win or lose, I will embody temperance. I will accept both outcomes in the spirit of growth. I will call on humility in times of triumph, and perseverance in times of failure; for all failure is temporary – if we do not quit!

©Prawny, 2014. Morguefile

I will never give in. Never! When I feel defeated and small, I will listen to the words of Winston Churchill and I will stand tall. “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty. Never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” I will not give in to defeat, to fear, or to doubt; I will never give in to the ruthlessness or insincerity of others. I will not give in even to my own limitations.

I will forgive. I will forgive myself for the mistakes of yesterday and I will forgive others for theirs. I will forgive and move on in the assurance that no one can take my good away, and that all men are perfect on their own plane. I will forgive because, “I will permit no man […] to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” (Booker T. Washington)

I will guard my self respect. I will erect my personal boundaries and cross them not for man or fortune. “For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36, KJV). Whatever the road I take in life, I will walk my own way and let the crossroads be navigated according to what I hold dear and true. I will step forward in confidence and keep moving until the fluttering subsides. I will believe in myself!

I will take the hard road. I will labour at my craft, I will learn and apply the tools of my profession, and I will succeed. Where others falter I will endure. I will not give in to fatigue and desperation. When I am tempted to submit, I will remember the words of Longfellow and I will work harder. For, “The heights by great men, reached and kept, where not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” I will persist and I will win.

I will stay in faith. When all else fails and I lose my temper and harbour animosity, when I temporally give in to the vagrancies of real estate, when I lose hope and succumb to despair, I will hold on to faith. I will lift myself up and try again and again. When another year ends and a new one approaches and I find unmet goals and botched resolutions, I will make new resolutions and start all over again in renewed faith that better is before me, and that perhaps the glory is in how we walk our path rather than where we ultimately end up.

I’d love to hear your resolutions. Please feel free and brave and share them with me in the comments below. Together we’ll stand on this point in space and declare ourselves great!

Wishing you a new year filled with wonder and delight!

Elizabeth Mackay, MBA, is a salesperson with CA Christie Real Estate in The Bahamas. Connect with Mackay at livelifebahamas.com orliz@livelifebahamas.com.

6 Twitter Rules for Real Estate Agents

6 Twitter Rules for Real Estate Agents

Bill Gassett

By Bill Gassett

You know you need to be on Twitter, and you have even heard other agents talk about how much traffic the social media giant can garner, but you have given it a go with nearly zero results. So what gives? Well, chances are you aren’t using the site correctly, and you aren’t alone. Twitter is confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can actually be both fun and worthwhile. Start out with these Twitter rules every real estate agent should be following.

1. Keep it Interesting

One of the biggest mistakes that real estate agents make using Twitter is tweeting their listings. Bo-ring! It’s also ineffective for two reasons. First: People are not using Twitter to search for their next home. Second: A user’s Twitter feed is constantly moving, so your tweet needs to stand out from the crowd.

Instead of listings, share important news stories and helpful articles, with a variety of videos and pictures. The best-case scenario is pointing to useful content on your own site. One of the first things I do after posting a piece on my Massachusetts Real Estate Blog is to tweet the article out to my followers.Blue Bird with Laptop

Bottom line: You only get 140 characters, and you better make them count.

2. Use Hashtags

Hashtags are everywhere these days, but they began on Twitter and it continues to be crucial that you use them there. A hashtag will increase your reach tremendously because it makes your posts searchable by everyone, not just your followers. Try popular industry tags, such as #realestate, #home, or #interiordesign. Or give one of these calendar-based hashtags a try:

  • #TBT – Every Thursday, Twitter will be flooded with this hashtag, which stands for Throwback Thursday. Just post a picture from many years ago with a clever comment (and the #TBT hashtag, of course).
  • #FF – On Fridays, this hashtag will be prevalent. It stands for “Follow Friday” and it’s a way for you to recommend other people on Twitter who you think are worthy of more followers. Watch the #FF posts of industry folks you admire and you’ll also find this hashtag is a great way for you to make some lasting connections beyond your sphere.

3. Be Relevant

Twitter gives you many tools to stay up-to-date on what everyone is talking about, so use them. Employ the search function to see what the hot topics are in the real estate world and your local area. Also, pay attention to what’s trending so you can add your two cents on the popular subjects of the day.

4. Always Proofread

…no matter what. You are never too busy to re-read your message before you hit the Tweet button. Yes, you can always delete it after the fact, but it’s likely someone has already seen it by then.

5. Use Formatting to Your Advantage

Even though you technically get 140 characters, it’s always smart to aim for 120. Why? If someone wants to re-tweet your post but add their own comments, they need the space to do so. You want to make re-tweeting as easy as possible for them.

6. Stay Positive

Keep your messages cheerful, don’t get involved in Twitter wars, and always maintain a professional appearance. Many people turn to Twitter to vent, but that’s not the vibe you want to give off here.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Metrowest Massachusetts area for the past twenty seven plus years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade. In 2013 he was the #1 RE/MAX agent in Massachusetts. See all his real estate articles atwww.maxrealestateexposure.com.

Nichify: Blog Small for Big Online Results

Nichify : Blog Small for Big Online Results

Charlie Allred

By Charlie Allred

What if every time you posted something online, you thought about providing the most value to the person looking for that information? How would your online presence change? My guess is that it would become more focused.

You have an area of expertise, right?  The Internet and your potential clients online don’t know that unless you tell them. Your website and/or blog should be your way of telling these potential clients what you are doing in real life.

For example, instead of writing about Mesa, Ariz., write about a specific neighborhood in Mesa. Or you can talk about upcoming events in that specific neighborhood.  If you are very specific, your content is much more likely to show up in organic search results.

Photo: ariadna, 2013. Morguefile

When planning your blog posts, think about the buying cycle for your area and try to publish content based on readers’ needs. Ask yourself what community information you can provide your potential client to add real value.

Real estate is all about the community. Find out what community or neighborhood information a potential buyer might seek, then provide it in an easy-to-read, and digestible format on your blog.

A couple of examples from my blog:

  1. Area information for people who are thinking about moving to Arizona
  2. Community information about the districts of Old Town Scottsdale
  3. Real estate information about Old Town Scottsdale homes

The myth in real estate is that you might miss out on sales if you specialize in one neighborhood. But I suggest that you find a niche, dominate it, and then move on to another niche. Writing an article about one specific neighborhood doesn’t mean that next week you can’t write about the adjacent neighborhood.  Eventually, you can write an article on each of the neighborhoods in which you specialize. And that’s the real value for your readers (and potential clients).

Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She is a Pinterest expert coaching agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.

What Being a Leader Really Means

What Being a Leader Really Means

By Wade Corbett

Over this past year I have had the amazing privilege and fortune to participate in the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy. I have reflected over months on the true meaning of leadership and honestly, I have yet to come up with a definitive description. I cannot say what being a leader is, but I can say without a doubt what being a leader is not.

Being a leader is not about you. Those who become leaders because of a desire for glory or for public recognition are not true leaders. These are the types of people who will stop leading when it stops being convenient. As past NAR President Charles McMillian taught me earlier this year, being a leader is not always convenient. Leading your association, community, church, family, etc. is not easy and it doesn’t always fit into your planned schedule. Sometimes you may have hardships in your life while also having to lead.

Being a leader is not about being at the top of the pyramid. This is something I never comprehended until this year, but some of the best leaders are those who never rise to the highest position of power. I have always had a “rise-to-the-top” personality. But I now understand that me being at the top is not always what’s best for the organization I’m involved in. I learned from the eleven other people in my leadership class (The Best Class Ever) that we are all different types of leaders. There is a time to lead and there is a time to follow other leaders. Following does not mean that you’re subservient to anyone. It only means that you lead from below and help those who happen to be at the top.

Being a leader is not about building on your accomplishments, but contributing to the cause. Kim Dawson, NCAR’s president-elect, taught me that we are each just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Many people believe they are the whole puzzle and that being a leader in an organization is a piece of their puzzle. You are only one piece of the puzzle in the organization you are leading. If you do not have this mind-set, sit back and ask yourself: Why am I a leader?

As REALTORS®, there are a lot of changes facing us on the horizon, particularly NAR’s new Core Standards taking effect in 2015. You need to step up at your local, state, and national association to become part of the leaders of tomorrow. Join your local YPN and volunteer for association committees. Who knows; maybe you’ll become the president of NAR one day! Not that that’s what leadership is about. But it is fun thing to dream about!

If you have any questions about how to get involved in on the local, state or national level, please email me directly at Info@WadeCorbett.com.

Wade Corbett is a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Southland Realty in Garner, North Carolina. Connect with him at WadeCorbett.com or facebook.com/WadeCorbettInc.

5 Simple Life Hacks to Boost Experience

5 Simple Life Hacks to Boost Experience

Sam DeBord

By Sam DeBord

Real estate rookies can really kick start their learning experience by picking up some simple shortcuts from those who’ve been selling for many years.  These are just a few of the real estate “hacks” I’ve learned over the years from seasoned practitioners that improved my experience and knowledge in simple yet effective ways.

1. Know the Concierge

Do you know every building and subdivision in your city like the back of your hand?  I’ve sold all over Seattle for many years, but there are more than 1,000 condo buildings in the metro area.  You can’t possibly know them all well.

©clarita, 2008. Morguefile

If you’re going to show a buyer a condo in a building where you’re not an expert, get a boost for your experience and your image by previewing or showing up 30 minutes early to talk to the concierge. Find out where the amenities are and tour the unit, but also get the concierge’s name. When your client arrives, you can stroll in together and greet the concierge with, “Hi Tony, good to see you again, we’re headed up to see the pool.”  You’ve already done the research to be prepared for your client, so you might as well add that splash of “in-the-know” to your appearance.

Of course, the same applies to knowing the security guard at a gated community, the marina manager at a houseboat community, or any other gatekeeper to a property you intend to show.

2. Point Out the Negatives Right Away

Consumers who don’t know us aren’t sure they can fully trust us at first. With new clients, they may be concerned that your goal is to sell them whichever home you can get them into as quickly as possible.

Show them that you’re a trustworthy source of information by not focusing solely on the positive selling aspects of a home, especially at your initial meetings. By pointing out the drawbacks of the home they’re touring right away, they’ll develop trust for your opinions and realize you’re not all about the sale.

I’ve had numerous clients thank me after our very first showing, because I started out with an analysis of the home’s weaknesses instead of a sales pitch. Have you ever pointed out that “ocean breeze” sound that you can hear from the master bedroom (freeway noise)? They love it. If you let clients understand upfront that you’re there to help them buy a home, as opposed to sell them a home, they will have have long-term loyalty.

3. Keys in the Back Pocket

This one is a bit silly, but still practical. Have you ever arrived at the fifth house on an eight home tour and found an extra set of house keys in your possession? Buyer tours can be complex, and sometimes agents make the mistake of setting keys down or putting them away quickly when they’re trying to pay attention to their clients. It rarely happens, but when it does it’s an embarrassing and time consuming mistake.

You’ll probably never drive away with someone else’s keys if they’re in your back pocket and you have to sit on them. Even better, put the whole key compartment from the keybox in your back pocket if it fits. It will be a constant reminder that the house isn’t secure until you’ve put it back, and even the most distracted agent won’t be able to sit on it and drive away (apologies to those whose fashion style doesn’t permit the use of pockets).

4. Spend Time Investing in Your Local REALTOR® Board

Think you know what’s happening in your local real estate market? Working with buyers and sellers is just the tip of the iceberg. Listen in on a meeting of your local board’s government affairs, business practices, or MLS issues meetings. You’ll realize how much more is going on behind the scenes.

Understanding the big picture issues of real estate that your REALTOR® board is dealing with every day will build your knowledge quickly. Joining a committee can give you the extra confidence and subject material to discuss these kinds of topics with clients. You can show them that you have unique industry knowledge as well as the ability to sell their homes.

Consumers view any management title you hold with your REALTOR® board as a sign that you’re a leader in the community, and you can climb that ladder quickly if you’re willing to put in the time.

5. Suit Up

Appropriate business attire can vary widely in real estate. If you’re comfortable and successful in your business already, you can wear whatever you like. If you’re newer to the business and hoping to look more experienced, though, don’t give in to the ego trip that says, “I’m going to look how I always look and people can take me for who I am.” This isn’t your high school drama club, it’s a tough business where the majority of agents aren’t particularly successful. Consumers want to play with a winner, and if you look and act like someone who is successful, they will be more inclined to believe you are.

If you know that your image will improve with more professional business attire, then buck up and wear it like your income depends on it–because it does. This doesn’t mean you need to go buy the latest sports car and Armani suit. Just don’t give in to the laziness that says, “I’ll clean out my car next week,” or “I don’t feel like putting on a jacket today.” To this day I wear a suit to every initial meeting with a client, no matter their age or style.  You’re always safer overdressed than underdressed.

Sam DeBord is managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, and a state director for Washington REALTORS®. You can find his team at SeattleHome.com and SeattleCondo.com.