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Updated: 14 min ago

Housing Starts: Single-Family Growth Continues in August

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 13:07

In August, single-family starts saw continued growth while overall housing production declined 5.1 percent, according to the latest U.S Housing Development and Commerce Department report.

August records 1.42 million starts if housing builders keep this pace for the next 12 months. Single-family starts increased 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.02 million, while the multifamily sector decreased 22.7 percent to a 395,000 pace.

Regionally, combined housing starts are 13.6 percent higher in the Midwest, 5.4 percent higher in the South, 3.8 percent higher in the West and 4.5 percent lower in the Northeast.

The Breakdown:

Housing Starts: 1,416,000 (-5.1% month-over-month, +2.8% year-over-year)
Multifamily Permits: 375,000
Single-Family Permits: 1,021,000

Building Permits:
 1,470,000 (-0.9% month-over month, -0.1% year-over-year)
Multifamily Permits: 381,000
Single-Family Permits: 1,036,000

 1,233,000 (-7.5% month-over-month, -2.4% year-over-year)
Multifamily Completions: 312,000
Single-Family Completions: 912,000

What the Industry’s Saying

“Consistent with surging builder confidence, single-family starts rose in August to meet rising buyer traffic. Builders continue to face concerns in terms of rising lumber prices and supply chain shortages of other building materials.” — Chuck Fowke, Chairman, National Association of Home Builders

“Total housing starts were down in August on a decline for multifamily construction, with multifamily five-plus unit permits now down 8.3 percent on a year-to-date basis. But low interest rates and solid demand are spurring single-family construction growth, which makes up the bulk of the housing market. Single-family permits continue to rise as well and are now up almost 7 percent on a year-to-date basis.” — Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

“With such low levels of inventory across the country, this continued construction is needed to maintain the momentum of home sales we experienced throughout the summer. It will also play an especially important role in making sure home prices remain affordable for buyers, and not counteract the savings gained from historically low interest rates.” — Bill Banfield, Executive Vice President of Capital Markets, Quicken Loans

To see the full report, click here.

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Lemon, Garlic Sauce, Rosemary Make Flavorful Fish Dish

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 13:05

(TNS)—Rosemary adds a fragrant touch to sautéed fish fillets. I have used mahi-mahi, but any type of firm white fish will work. The cooking time depends on the size of the fish. Count about 8 minutes per inch of thickness.
The lemon and garlic sauce flavors the pasta and complements the rosemary on the fish.

Helpful Hints:
– Snapper, grouper, tilapia or cod can be used instead of mahi-mahi.
– Any type of short cut pasta such as corkscrew or ziti can be used.
– A quick way to chop rosemary is to snip the leaves with a scissors while on the stem.

– Place water on to boil.
– Make pasta.
– Sauté fish.

Shopping List:

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 3/4-pound mahi-mahi, 1 package fresh rosemary or 1 bottle dried rosemary, 1 package pine nuts, 1 container fat-free no-salt-added chicken broth, 1/4-pound broccoli florets, 1 box penne pasta, 1 lemon, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese.

Staples: olive oil, onion, minced garlic, salt and black peppercorns.

Rosemary-Crusted Mahi-Mahi
Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

3/4-pound mahi-mahi
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towel. Press rosemary onto both sides of the fish. Heat oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When skillet is smoking, add fish and brown for 1 minute. Brown second side for another minute. Lower heat and cook 5 more minutes. Sprinkle with pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 227 calories (38 percent from fat), 9.6 g fat (1.6 g saturated, 3.8 g monounsaturated), 126 mg cholesterol, 32.2 g protein, 2.2 g carbohydrates, 1.3 g fiber, 155 mg sodium.

Lemon Garlic Pasta
Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

1/4-pound penne pasta, about 1 1/2 cups
1/4-pound broccoli florets, about 1 1/4 cups
1/2 tablespoon olive oil, divided use
1 cup sliced onion
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup fat free, no-salt-added chicken broth (divided use)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the penne and boil 8 minutes. Add the broccoli to the saucepan and continue to boil 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, chicken broth, remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Cook 2 minutes. Drain pasta and add to the skillet. Toss well for a minute. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 316 calories (17 percent from fat), 5.9 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 2.1 g monounsaturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 12.7 g protein, 54.7 g carbohydrates, 3.1 g fiber, 129 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Listen to Linda on and all major podcast sites. Email her at

2020© Tribune Content Agency, LLC
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Thoughts on Leadership: Lessons From Vice Lombardi

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 08:59

It’s an exciting day [at press time] for me as the NFL kicks off with the Houston Texans taking on the Kansas City Chiefs. I’ve often drawn comparisons between the lessons learned in sports and the lessons we can glean as leaders, and one of my all-time favorite football leaders was Vince Lombardi. The legendary coach was best known as head coach for the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, and under his leadership the team won three straight and five total NFL championships over the span of seven years, which included winning the first two Super Bowls at the end of the 1966 and 1967 seasons.

Vince Lombardi’s biography, “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,” written by David Maraniss, is a classic read for leaders in any field or industry.  Lombardi’s life was really a prototypical guidebook for leading with excellence.

To celebrate the official start of the NFL season and commemorate a truly great coach, here are seven leadership lessons from Vince Lombardi:

  1. Winning is a habit. Lombardi had a no-loss attitude. He once said, “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?” Lombardi also believed winning is a repeatable act. He explained, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-the-time thing. You don’t win once in a while … you don’t do things right once in a while … you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”
  2. Pay the price it takes. Being on Vince Lombardi’s team required complete dedication and maximum effort. Just as winning was not a sometime thing, commitment to team goals was also not a sometime thing. There was either full commitment or nothing. His practices were notoriously excruciating, and he led them with a no-nonsense, hard-nose approach. Lombardi believed you simply had to put in the effort to reap the reward.
  3. Take responsibility for your role. While coaching the Packers, Lombardi demanded an unyielding commitment to doing the hard work. (As the saying goes, it’s the hard that makes you great.) From every player to every member of his staff, he instilled a philosophy of excellence and never settled for anything less. In promoting the highest level of performance, he also solidified his role as a strong coach as well as the specific roles his team members played in achieving the team’s Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). For Lombardi, we could assume the team’s WIG was to win the Super Bowl every year. Lombardi’s rigidly defined roles also necessitated a level of trust and respect; if a player did not listen or comply with his philosophy, they were gone.
  4. Success is built on perseverance and hard work. Lombardi said the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. He stressed the importance of hard, physical work and said, “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” He also explained, “By working harder, you are going to out-execute, out-block and out-tackle every team that comes your way.” This same concept applies for hard work in any field. When you put in the work, you’ll simply out-perform your competition every time.
  5. Be as loyal as you are demanding. Yes, Lombardi was demanding but he was also an empathetic leader who was fiercely loyal to his team. He cared about his players’ needs and values and his team members always knew Coach Lombardi had their backs. This unwavering loyalty greatly contributed to his players strict adherence to his demanding coaching style. He gave as much to them as he expected them to give.
  6. Set your goals higher than you think you can attain. While Lombardi knew absolute perfection could never really be achieved, he also understood that if you don’t set your goals higher than what you think you can accomplish, you’ll be cheating yourself out of an opportunity to excel. He said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” By setting goals higher than Coach Lombardi thought his teammates could achieve, he was actually programming the non-conscious portion of their brains. The non-conscious portion of the brain is servile, which means it sets no goals of its own, it does not judge the merit or the value of the goal, it only tries to carry out the given order. Lombardi probably had not studied that concept as the studies of the non-conscious portion of the brain came out with the development of the MRI, years after he had passed on. However, his high goal setting was in effect allowing his team members to achieve more than they ever thought possible.
  7. The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. According to Lombardi’s winning leadership philosophy, nothing would be achieved without everyone’s full effort. Call it swing or synchronicity but when all team members are working toward a common goal and playing full out, anything is possible. Lombardi was an advocate of the notion that any chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

So, what’s the message? The tenets of Lombardi’s leadership style apply on and off the football field. As he firmly believed, a team defined by hard work, commitment, accountability, loyalty and dedication will always win.

This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.


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Maximize Your Billable Time

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 13:07

What percentage of your day would you say is income-producing?

We define income-producing as prospecting, lead follow-up, presentations to buyers and sellers, negotiating, and closing deals…money time.

Income servicing are things that must be done, or potentially delegated, things like inspections, following up on the deals and issues in the pipeline, marketing, and prepping for appointments.

Stuff = the miscellaneous things you do in the day that have no productive value. They may often be things you can eliminate when you choose to focus on doing the most productive activity and the activities that are your highest and best use of time.

Why do others who may not be smarter or more skilled than you make so much more money than you do?

Maybe they simply make better use of their time?

What if someone gave you $86,400 dollars every day for the rest of your life? Here’s the catch though: You can’t save them up, and you can’t give them away. You have to use them or lose them.

We all start our day with 86,400 seconds in our day, how wisely are you using yours?

ASSIGNMENT:  For the next two weeks, we want you to carry around a notepad and take note of every 30 minutes and what you are doing.

At the end of each day, make a note next to each time slot/activity on your time log, IP = income-producing, IS = income servicing, S = stuff.

Your goal is to get to at least 50 percent of your time spent on IP = income-producing. If you have a team and really big goals, your goal is to get to 80 percent income-producing.

As you keep your time log you, will notice that instantly your focus improves because you are more aware of where the time is going.

Look for common distractions and interruptions so that you can work to eliminate them from your day.

Remember, multitasking is not a virtue, it’s a sin. You are more efficient when you time block and focus on one activity at a time.

Share your goals with those who love and support you. Share your schedule with them too and ask for their support in allowing you to focus and do your job!

We have to respect the money only 2 percent of the world makes over $100,000 and only 1 percent makes over 1 million. If you want to make a lot of money, you have to show up each day and work like the income-earner you want to become.

Do the math. Look at your goal for 2020 and divide it by the number of hours you will work. What is your value per hour?

Keep this number in mind as you work through your day. Are you doing work that is appropriate to your hourly rate? Are you holding on to things that you could delegate so that you could then add more billable hours?

If you want to make more money, spend more hours doing things that create revenue.

In case you need it, we have included a simple worksheet to help you sketch out your perfect day. Remember, your schedule is a work in progress. If what you create is breaking down, you may need to tweak and adjust it. You may need to adjust it slightly each month as the world opens up and requires you to make changes. Your schedule and action items are truly your path to your future.

If you need help, talk to us and we will help you. We have the pleasure of working with some of the brightest and best luxury agents in the real estate industry across the nation.

Debbie De Grote is the founder and owner of Excelleum Coaching and ConsultingGo to to book your complimentary session.
For more information, please visit

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Moving Concierge Service Is a Profoundly Strong Customer Retention Tool

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 13:06

Real estate agents and brokers frequently misdirect their focus when it comes to driving growth in their business. Somewhere along the line, firms and agents became obsessed with online lead generation and forgot about the old-school, customer-for-life programs that keep them connected with past clients for repeat and referral business.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) publishes its homebuyers and sellers research every year, which shows that agents get most of their business from repeat clients and referrals. This number bounces around every year, but is always greater than four out of five transactions coming from repeat and referral business.

Another piece of research that should not shock anyone is that the No. 1 reason why a customer does not use their agent in a future transaction is because the agent failed to stay in touch. After decades of facing this issue, real estate is finally on a good path to solve this problem with CRM software that includes drip marketing.

The biggest problem with drip marketing is the required CAN-SPAM unsubscribe button. Basically, the best way to have a customer break up with you is by spamming them out of your CRM with noise.

According to consumers, the most useful information that supports the relationship between the agent and customer between transactions is related to helpful reminders about homeownership. There are a lot of elements of this, ranging from replacing HVAC filters to renewing a home warranty or homeowners insurance policy. This type of content sent to a client through email offers information that strengthens the relationship, rather than encouraging unsubscribes. It is the right message sent at the right time—and, better yet, services like MooveGuru provide links to local vendors who are approved by the brokerage to help the consumer.

Brokers should sign up for the drip marketing that comes out of their CRM. Better yet, sign up your spouse or another family member and ask them to share their impression of every email they receive. Email marketing can either be your greatest success in driving repeat and referral business, or it can destroy relationships with past clients. It takes some tuning to make this a center of excellence in your business.

Get back to basics and be sure to leverage the advanced tagging features in your CRM. Think about the customer attributes. Did you represent them as a buyer or seller or both? Is the anniversary date of the transaction correct? What other people are related to the primary contact, and what are their ages? Train agents to curate this information in the CRM so that the advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence features have facts to work off of. Be sure your agents are following clients on social media to capture announcements such as kids going to college or getting married. These are all transaction signals.

If you want some support with executing a communication strategy for past clients, contact us at

Brian Friemel is president of MooveGuru. For more information, please visit

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Putting Agents and the Community First

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 13:05

Michael Cole
Realty ONE Group Dockside
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Region served: The coastline of South Carolina and the outskirts of Myrtle Beach
Years in real estate: First licensed in 1994
Years with Realty ONE Group Dockside: My wife Tammi and I opened Dockside Realty in 2007. We partnered with Realty ONE Group Dockside in 2017.
Number of offices: 3
Number of agents: 365 and growing
Strategy for staying motivated and positive: My wife and I usually get away each weekend to a lake house to refresh and reboot. About once per month, we will spend a weekend as a “planning session” where we map out plans and classes for our agents. This always gets me excited to announce a new program or activity.

Most important lesson learned as a broker: Don’t only focus on business. We offer many activities outside of real estate for our agents—monthly yoga classes, financial peace classes, cookouts, annual cook-offs, and more. We use many of these events as fundraisers for a non-profit that we started about 18 months ago to do work in the community.

How would you describe current market conditions? What are the effects of COVID-19 in your area?
Our market had one month that was slow—April. Other than that, it has continued to defy convention and remain a very strong seller’s market with multiple offers on many properties as soon as they are placed on the market.

How have you adjusted business practices/operations to keep business going during the pandemic?
During the height of the pandemic, we sent our staff home and would have them come in at night in order to process commission checks and earnest money checks. All other work was done remotely. Our classes and training switched to online classes and meetings rather than in person.

How have you innovated to address current consumer concerns and build relationships?
Agents began to focus more on remote showings, using video, 360-degree tours, Matterport and even Facebook Live in order to show properties. Many of our clients are out of town, so this worked well.

What is your most important strategy in terms of recruiting and retention?
This one is pretty simple. For recruiting, get on the phone and invite agents to sit down and chat casually; get the opportunity to tell your story and explain why your brokerage is a good fit for them. For retention, I always keep in the back of my mind, “What would I want in a brokerage if I were an agent here?” Having been an agent for about 15 years before opening our brokerage, I always think like an agent. I also think about it like a marriage: Treat that agent (or spouse) better than anyone else, or someone else will!

How has being part of the Realty ONE Group organization helped you navigate these challenging times?
Realty ONE Group has been amazing. Without having joined them a few years ago, I wouldn’t have had any guidance on what to expect or which direction to go in the midst of this pandemic. They provided daily Zoom meetings for months as we worked through this thing together. In addition, they have weekly mastermind sessions with some of the most amazing brokers/owners/recruiters in the nation where we can share ideas on what works and what doesn’t. Without Realty ONE Group, we would be just another brokerage in a sea of brokerages in our market (over 400 of them just in our small market). Instead, we are the largest brokerage of any other firm by double.

What’s your best advice to fellow brokers for leading during a crisis?
Be empathetic. Just because an issue doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect others. Masks and quarantining for example—while some may think it’s a waste of time or an infringement on their freedoms, others are worried and terrified for their health. Be empathetic and understand that each opinion or viewpoint is valid. Finally, to be a leader means to lead. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions, but you’ll be respected and will respect yourself for making them.

For more information, please visit

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to

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Please Join and Invite Your Agents!

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 13:07

NAR PULSE—The Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness will be offering an all-day virtual event, Financial Wellness LIVE – Virtual Edition 2020, where REALTORS® will learn the best financial strategies for their personal, business and future investments.

RPR Mobile App Delivers Worldwide “Wows”
The RPR Mobile app enables REALTORS® to respond to their clients in seconds, from just about anywhere there’s a signal—including airports overseas! In this RPR® “Wow Moment” story, RPR® user Sidika Kilic describes how she easily found and delivered up-to-date real estate data while she was in Europe last year.

Are Your Agents Part of an Award-Winning Program?
REALTORS®’ Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) program has won a Gold and Bronze 2020 Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Learning award for providing members with a functional, innovative and essential platform, advancing REALTORS®’ competencies and skill development and driving bottom-line business results. Encourage your agents to join the 60,000-plus members who are working toward their C2EX Endorsement!

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100-Percent Different, 1,000-Percent Relevant

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 13:06

When I entered the real estate industry, I saw a gap widening between the commission split a traditional brokerage charged their agent on each sale and the value that agent received compared to what that agent could now get on their own in this new technology-driven era. I recognized that there was a real value to affiliating with a large brokerage, but I did not and do not believe that value is worth 30 percent or even 20 percent of the agent’s commission. I believed there needed to be a transition from broker-centric companies to companies that gave the power back to each entrepreneurial real estate agent.

At the time, I saw an emerging commission model that had potential. It offered the industry’s best splits but gave agents very little or nothing in return. I saw an opportunity to marry the best of both worlds and bridge the gap between the high-service, high-fee brokerages and the low-service, low-fee brokerages.

My goal when creating Fathom was to build a brand that provided all of the technology, tools, training and support that an agent would otherwise get from a large traditional brokerage, but at a small, flat fee per transaction. In other words, we strive to provide Fathom agents with the greatest value in the industry.

The term that has been given to companies like Fathom with this commission model is “100-percent commission.” Meaning, the agent keeps 100 percent of their commission minus a flat transaction fee. This model, when managed properly, allows agents to provide the highest level of full service to their clients without sacrificing anything that will help them be successful. However, this model is flawed. Without a fully integrated technology platform, this model saves agents money but at the detriment to the brokerage. It hurts a brokerage’s ability to reach any substantial level of profitability due to the high costs associated with opening offices, hiring employees and paying for expensive third-party technology.

While most real estate companies build their operation and workflow around how a third-party technology operates, we were able to rethink how to best operate a brokerage by stripping out the operational inefficiencies, then build a technology platform that would support that new way of running the business. Our technology company, IntelliAgent, operates as a Software as a Service (SaaS) supporting Fathom Realty and allowing it to operate as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). This allows us to operate in the cloud, essentially eliminating the high costs associated with brick-and-mortar offices.

With Fathom’s commission model, real estate agents are able to build a more profitable business by keeping the highest percentage of their commission possible without sacrificing support, technology or training. More importantly, agents are able to take that increase in income and reinvest it into their marketing, further increasing their income.

As a Marine Corps Veteran, I am driven to win, and I surround myself with leaders who share that same passion and discipline. We value people from all walks of life and embrace their ideas. With the right people and the right passion, we really do have a business model that will redefine the industry.

Joshua Harley is the founder and CEO of Fathom Realty. For more information, visit

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How to Spot a Scam Aimed at Older Adults

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 13:04

(TNS)—One day Jimmy Love of Wichita Falls, Texas, received a phone call that his grandson was in trouble. He didn’t think twice about sending $9,000 to help but soon realized he had been swindled.

“I thought my grandson was really in trouble,” Love, 81, says. “(The caller) said he had a car wreck, hit a lady, broke his nose, was in jail and needed money to get out.”

He was the victim of what’s called a grandparent scam, one of dozens of schemes that prey on people’s emotions, fears or hopes. Last year, Americans reported 3.2 million scams to the Federal Trade Commission, with losses topping $1.9 billion.

Older adults are especially vulnerable, experts say, because scammers exploit those who may be isolated, lonely or not tech-savvy.

Today’s scams run the gamut from old-fashioned mailbox theft to sophisticated online hoaxes. Regardless of the method, scammers often mimic legitimate businesses and government agencies, using fake caller IDs and high-pressure tactics to steal money or personal information to commit fraud or identity theft.

“Isolated older adults are gifts to financial predators…who are savvy enough to know this,” says Julie Krawczyk, director of the Senior Source’s Elder Financial Safety Center in Dallas.

Older adults also lose more money in scams. The FTC says the median loss for people 80 and older was $1,600 vs. $600 for those 60-69 and $379 for those 30-39. Losses, however, can reach five and six figures.

Low-Tech Scams: Simple and Risky

1. Grandparent Appeal: Scammers call to say your grandchild has gotten in trouble or had an accident and needs money but doesn’t want the parents to know. The scammers glean personal details about you, your family and friends from your social media profile and posts, Krawczyk says.

“I was talking to a boy who sounded just like my grandson, and he called me Papa, which is what my grandson calls me,” says Love, the Wichita Falls victim. Sometimes the scammers use a friend’s name instead of a grandchild’s.

2. Home Improvement Fraud: The Better Business Bureau’s second riskiest scam for people 65 and older is common in North Texas because of the many storms and tornadoes that damage property. Someone typically appears at your door offering a quick repair, but they require upfront money and either never return, do shoddy work or hike the price afterward.

3. Impersonation: Fraudsters call you pretending to be well-known government agencies, companies or organizations. The BBB ranks the Social Security Administration as the top impersonation scheme, but the Internal Revenue Service, Publisher’s Clearinghouse and Medicare also are common. This year, the Census Bureau and FBI warned about impersonators trying to steal Social Security numbers. Criminals, for example, pretend to be FBI agents and even spoof the FBI headquarters’ phone number on caller ID.

4. Fake Checks: A stranger phones, saying he’ll send you a check connected to a phony job listing, business opportunity, online classified advertisement or sweepstakes prize. You are told you must send some of the money to them or another person by wire transfer or gift card to cover taxes, fees or supplies. Fake checks may look legitimate, even with a financial institution’s name on them, or they may be real checks from bank accounts of identity theft victims.

5. Mailbox Theft: Criminals steal mail from your mailbox hoping to find checks, credit cards or valuable information. Seniors moving into smaller homes or new housing arrangements are vulnerable to fake change-of-address forms filed with the U.S. Postal Service, says Charity Lacey, spokeswoman for the Identity Theft Recovery Center. She suggests using a post office box or a locked mailbox as a precaution. Consumers also can register for the free Informed Delivery service by the USPS that provides a digital preview of incoming mail and packages.

High Tech: Digital Dangers

1. Headline Scares: Criminals like to make money from news, such as the coronavirus pandemic or Census 2020. They may offer advice, provide local updates, sell products or seek donations via websites, emails, texts and social media posts, but it’s all fake. In March, the Missouri attorney general sued televangelist Jim Bakker for hawking a fake coronavirus cure on television and online.

2. Romance: This is the BBB’s third-riskiest scam for people 65 and older. Sweet-talking con artists use fake profiles on dating sites and social networks like Facebook. They may claim to be a doctor, military member or oil rig worker living overseas. They start a relationship and eventually ask you to wire money or send gift cards to help them out of a crisis.

“Romance scams are on the rise,” says Phylissia Clark, spokeswoman for the BBB of North Central Texas. “Emotional states are preyed on.” More men than women fall for this fraud, she says.

3. Questionable Investments: If an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers use false information in digital promotions or emails to promise big returns from investments, such as cryptocurrencies and real estate developments.

4. Tech Support: Using online ads and computer pop-ups, fraudsters claiming to represent technology companies like Microsoft and Apple try to persuade you to upgrade or renew your Windows program or buy unnecessary tech help to fix a computer bug or virus. Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email.

Never call the phone number in a web pop-up.

5. Fake Classified Ads: Cybercriminals mimic real companies in fake job listings on online job boards, especially for home-based work. They conduct false interviews through a teleconferencing app and request a copy of your credentials or require you to pay upfront for background checks, training or supplies. Other ads include real estate and product sales on websites like Craigslist.

Consumers can research companies at the BBB Scam Tracker, an online system that tracks different types of fraud nationwide ( BBB Scam Tracker is an online system where consumers can report and find various frauds active across the country.

2020© The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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A Peek Inside Your Agents’ Minds – Part 2

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 13:23

Last month, I shared several insights from our member survey to give brokers inside perspectives on what matters to their agents—and how to respond to agents’ needs. This month, I’d like to share a few additional revelations.

For background, these results are from the latest annual survey of ABR® designees conducted by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). It asked members about their work with buyers, their marketing efforts and their top learning priorities, among other topics.

Technology Priorities
When asked about the importance of developing five technology-related skills, members were equally split on two top learning priorities related to social media and productivity, with new agent tools holding a close third place. The specific results looked like this:

– Mastering new social media features and platforms – 30 percent
– Improving personal productivity – 30 percent
– Staying on top of new agent tools for leads, transaction management, etc. – 25 percent
– Managing my website – 8 percent
– Enhancing my current data privacy and security systems – 4 percent
– Other – 3 percent

Our survey was fielded on the eve of the pandemic, so it is safe to assume that your agents’ technology-related learning priorities have escalated and expanded since March.

We have been addressing the shift in our monthly newsletter for ABR® designees, helping agents learn new skills for hosting virtual buyer tours, for example, as well as understanding the potential liabilities that arise from serving buyers virtually.

The Role of Social Media
It is always interesting to see how our members’ social media preferences have evolved. While Facebook still dominates (89 percent of our members use it at least monthly), Instagram usage has nearly tripled over the past four years, rising from 15 percent in 2016 to 44 percent in 2020.

There are also noticeable generational differences, with millennial and Gen X agents substantially more likely to use Instagram (57 percent) versus boomers and older agents (34 percent). That said, Instagram marketing is a top priority for all our members, so we frequently share tips and techniques, and I encourage you to offer additional resources.

Why Credentials Matter
Agents’ success often depends on how much they know and how well they distinguish themselves from their competition. Designations and certifications help them gain the edge on both fronts, providing specialized knowledge and specific credentials that speak to different types of clients.

If your agents are working with buyers, encourage them to earn the ABR® designation. It will improve their results and reduce your risks as a broker. Learn more at

Marc D. Gould is senior vice president of Member Development for NAR, overseeing a wide range of professional development programs for REALTORS®, including the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 27,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who have completed the specialized education and documented experience in working with consumers purchasing a home. To learn more, visit

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Fraud Protection During COVID-19 Pandemic

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 10:07

Consumer protection and fraud prevention continue to be critical during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Technology is an integral part of daily life as more people are working remotely, engaging in distant learning, purchasing products and services online, and conducting financial business virtually, including real estate transactions. Unfortunately, there are criminals who are using this time of crisis to harm others by engaging in identity theft, spoofing, phishing scams, imposter scams, and more. While many of the tactics that criminals use remain the same, the pandemic has changed the nature and scope of some of the scams.

Government imposter scams that prey on the hardships many are facing are on the rise due to government assistance that was provided in the various federal stimulus bills. These types of scams occur when criminals contact individuals posing as government agents from various federal and state agencies seeking to obtain personal and financial information in exchange for offering assistance with stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, business loans or other related government assistance.

Charity scams are also increasing as imposters contact individuals impersonating representatives from reputable charities seeking donations and other personal information from individuals. Medical scams are increasingly prevalent, too, given the public health crisis. Criminals are posing as healthcare professionals or medical staff in an effort to gather personal information from individuals, asserting they are collecting data for contact tracing or claiming to have coronavirus vaccines or other cures.

Scammers target victims by contacting them online, via email or via phone by calling or texting, and/or by postal mail. Many bad actors are closely monitoring social media and online profiles and using individuals as a way to track behavior and determine trends. These scams affect people of all ages, races and backgrounds. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely stop criminals from engaging in these nefarious scams, but consumers can be aware and vigilant.

Government agencies contact individuals primarily via postal mail. It is rare for a government entity to contact an individual via phone or email, but it is always best for consumers to verify and screen all calls, emails and mail correspondence that may appear to be unfamiliar or suspicious.

Fraud prevention education and consumer awareness are key ways to combat these fraud schemes. Several government agencies are committed to informing and protecting the interests of consumers, providing new educational resources and awareness tools, such as those by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These agencies have developed resources to help consumers understand mortgage and housing assistance during this crisis, and to help consumers avoid scams and bad actors. More information can be found at

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is also committed to combating fraud within the real estate industry, including wire fraud, title fraud, business email compromise and other related types of fraud. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Internet Crimes Report, in 2019, victims lost over $221 million due to real estate fraud based on crimes that were reported. NAR has published several resources on to educate REALTORS® and consumers. As online services for real estate transactions increase, NAR is also advocating for safe and secure transactions through remote online notarization. If consumers believe they have been targeted in one of these various types of scams, they should immediately contact the FTC as well as their local FBI office. If they believe they have been the victim of a wire fraud scam, consumers should also immediately contact their bank to issue a recall notice and file a complaint with the FBI at to provide the best chance of recovery.

Nia Duggins is NAR’s business issues policy representative.

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Commercial Real Estate: Post-Coronavirus Market Outlook

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 10:06

A global view of the pandemic’s impact on the commercial market

The world has changed dramatically since the coronavirus outbreak, and global real estate markets have not escaped its impact. The pandemic has magnified and accelerated a number of sector trends for the longer term. Even in a post-pandemic world, it is widely accepted that many of the new practices, such as increased remote working and greater e-commerce, will continue to be observed. Here, we’ll take a look at three core commercial property sub-sectors and how they might be affected by the recent changes in how we live and work.

The pandemic meant a sudden and disastrous hit for high-street retailers in cities around the world who were forced to close down, halting their revenues, while many costs remained. This resulted in some well-known names entering administration: J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Victoria’s Secret and Debenhams, to name a few. Retail experts at KPMG previously expected the UK’s high-street retail space to shrink by 25 percent by 2025, but now see that happening up to three years earlier. Online spending could reach 50 percent of the UK total by 2025—five years earlier than previously anticipated. With the hospitality sector also facing unprecedented struggles, the empty space left on high streets and in city centers could have negative repercussions. In the U.S., there is a sad tradition of retail parks and malls being abandoned if they are not making money or cost too much to refurbish. The impact of coronavirus could also see this trend increase. The pandemic has shifted focus onto the relationship between retailers and property owners, and this needs to be urgently addressed if we are to avoid long-lasting damage to malls and high streets. This may mean repurposing the space—as has been done with some malls in the U.S., which have been converted into tech company headquarters, churches, libraries or even community spaces.

Warehouses and Logistics Centers
The rapid global shift to e-commerce caused by the pandemic has seen warehouse and logistics markets receive a timely boost. E-commerce increases demand for space because online retailers must stock a wider variety of products to match consumer demand. Amazon reported a 26 percent year-over-year increase in sales in the first month of lockdown, and we’ve seen both Chinese and overseas investors looking to increase stakes in China’s logistics property sector. In the U.S., it has taken decades for online shopping to claim a double-digit share of retail spending. The e-commerce share is now as high as 40 percent, with statewide lockdowns rapidly accelerating the shift. Consumers who realized the benefit and convenience of e-commerce during the pandemic may not be rushing back to the high street any time soon.

Office Space
A gradual shift in working patterns before COVID-19 meant we were already seeing fewer and fewer companies looking for traditional long leases, opting for more flexible working space. As a result, co-working space providers have surged in recent years. Now, many commentators are heralding the success of remote working during the pandemic as the dawn of a new work-from-home revolution. This may be far-fetched, but the need for office space and the accompanying large overheads will undoubtedly be questioned by businesses that managed just fine with remote-working staff. The property industry is all about people, and apps such as Microsoft Teams, which, while incredibly useful, do not provide face-to-face contact. As things slowly creep back toward a semblance of normality, we will likely see a mix of new and old. Companies will be looking to keep some office space, but perhaps reduce the size as they allow for more remote and flexible working. Firms may look for buildings where they can better control the environment and ensure the well-being of their workforce—in some cases expanding space to allow for greater social distancing within the office. Skyscrapers in cities like New York, London and Seoul, where thousands of people pass through every day and access higher-level floors by cramming into elevators, may suffer.

Chris Dietz is executive vice president, Global Operations, for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. To learn more, please visit

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Co-Dependent Pets: How to Reduce Separation Anxiety When Owners Leave Home

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 10:05

(TNS)—It’s a story many pet owners are now familiar with: You’ve been home for months, following orders to social distance and spending more time with dogs, cats and other non-human companions. Then, the day comes to go back to the office or the chance to escape for a vacation.

Your pet stares back at you as you leave, wondering when or if you’ll ever return again. To some animals, it might feel like the end of the world.

Pups and feline friends have perhaps become more codependent amid owners staying home virtually all the time, and leaving the house again can take a toll on them. Take it from Kim Bissing, owner of Beyond The Leash Dog Training.

“We’ve seen about 15 separation anxiety cases just in two weeks. It’s getting worse because people are starting to pick up and going back to work,” she said. “We have had about 20 new puppy owners in our six-week class and about 17 are already exhibiting some signs of undersocialization.”

It might seem tempting to worry about your pet’s wellbeing on top of the woes of living through a global pandemic. But fret not, these pet experts are here to help.

Helping Panicky Pooches
Let’s say you’ve just spent the past four months largely staying at home, then it finally comes time to go back into the office or leave for a weeklong vacation. That can take a serious toll on dogs, Bissing says.

“If you drastically just go back to work one day, dogs are left with no explanation in their minds,” she said. “You can’t just explain to them that, ‘You’re going to be fine, I’ll be back home.’ Communicating to a dog that, ‘Hey, sorry I was home for three months and now I’m leaving you,’ that takes a lot of work.”

While most canines have a good system for self-soothing, that can be disrupted when their daily circumstances are changed, such as their owner leaving for long periods again.

“Watch if you start to do things like grab your keys or head towards the door and your dog starts pacing, panting, stress yawning, if they can’t settle down easily when you’re not right there,” Bissing said. “Dogs should be able to settle down within a few minutes of somebody leaving. If they’re up pacing for 30 minutes, that’s stress, that’s anxiety. That’s something that, if it’s not treated, gets worse over time.”

More serious separation anxiety behaviors can involve the dog trying to break through a door or their kennel to get to their owner.

Bissing said that, in addition, pooches have a sensitive “sixth sense” that brings them down when owners are feeling stressed or depressed, especially when dogs feel powerless to help their humans.

“If humans are stressed out and mentally drained, it really takes a way bigger toll on the dogs than we think it does,” she said. “What we’re going through is really hard, but it is hard on them too. Just be really aware of your dog’s emotions.”

One way to help reduce separation anxiety issues is by slowly desensitizing a dog to the idea that you’re leaving the house again.

“Leave for short periods, maybe put them in a kennel for quiet time on their own, keeping white noise on because they need that distraction,” Bissing said. “Leave the house at least one or two hours a day, so the dog has to remember those coping skills.”

For longer trips, the dog trainer suggested taking canines to a boarding and training program. She said that a few weeks of socialization and behavior modification, with a training class or at home, can help quell anxious tendencies and help a pooch find more peace of mind.

Pacifying the Puppies
Most people know someone who spent their time in quarantine enjoying the company of a new puppy in their home. After all, what better time to adopt than while spending countless hours and days around the house?

Bissing said that due to closures and social distancing measures, a lot of these puppies are now undersocialized.

“Normally you would take a puppy out to dinner, to the dog park or to a friend’s house,” she said. “If no one is coming to your house and you’re not going anywhere, they’re really skittish and head shy toward new strangers…they’re really reactive toward anybody but their family members.”

If puppies are undersocialized, it’s not too late for them to develop good behaviors and feel more comfortable around new people.

“We offer a socialization day where owners can drop off the puppy—they get to play with other dogs and humans. It’s kind of like a puppy kindergarten,” Bissing said, adding that crate training can help provide a safe and positive environment for puppies, and dog park visits can provide safe socializing opportunities.

She said that during these times, it’s especially important to help new dog owners, especially as she’s seeing more relinquishments.

“It is really sad to watch a good puppy have to come into a situation that nobody has control over,” Bissing said. “We’re happy that we’re here to help and that we’re knowledgeable enough to assist.”

Calming Cats
In some cases, feline friends will experience a certain degree of separation anxiety when their humans leave the house more. But their problem may also be just the opposite.

“From my practice standpoint, I’m still seeing more of the problems that happened when lockdown started—that crowding of territory and changes in operating because of that change and our general stress level,” said Jackson Galaxy, the cat behavior and wellness expert seen in “My Cat From Hell.” “That speaks to what drives cats crazier—really drastic changes to the everyday flow.”

Cats are concerned most with territory and are generally used to enjoying their own space during the day when owners are away. That domain went away with quarantine.
While felines don’t experience the same separation anxiety that dogs do, they may still act out in ways that are related to a change in their routine or environment. (Personally, I returned from a weeklong trip to find one cat hiding not under, but inside the couch.)

“There’s destruction of furniture, there’s more hiding and less social behavior when you are home. There’s litter box issues that crop up. They’re behaviors that make you scratch your head,” Galaxy said. “Cats are fighting, they’re less tolerant of petting. They’re sleeping in weird places.”

Similar to what Bissing suggested for dogs, Galaxy said that easing cats back into a routine can help lessen their stress.

“Instead of suddenly leaving for 10 hours a day again, start by going through your old morning routine. Leave the house for 20 minutes, go take a walk. Leave the house for an hour and come back,” he said. “Do it in ways where they just get used to you being gone again for a short amount of time before you completely leave.”

As for other ways to help cats cope, Galaxy advised giving cats puzzle toys to amuse themselves, setting up “cat TV” with a bird feeder outside the window and enjoying play therapy with them upon returning to the house.

He also likes to look at the positive side of what’s shaping up to be a not-so-great year.

“I think that we’re still living in a moment of opportunity to broaden the relationship with our cats and with our dogs,” Galaxy said. “What could be better for our cats? What part of our routine? Why aren’t we playing with our cats more? Why aren’t we thinking about enriching their environment? People care and see their pets not just as property, but as family members.”

To learn more: Visit or

The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Deadline Extended: Nominate a Real Estate Newsmaker Today

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 21:03

RISMedia will be accepting nominations for its 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers until 11:59 p.m. ET Oct. 15, 2020. The Real Estate Newsmakers are those individuals making headlines for their newsworthy contributions to the housing industry, and for their efforts to positively affect the consumers and communities they serve. Nominate a 2021 Newsmaker here.

Readers may nominate as many individuals as they like, as well as themselves, and nominees can be from any walk of the residential or commercial real estate industries, including, but not limited to: brokers, agents, service providers, professionals from the mortgage, title, insurance sectors, etc.

Candidates can be selected as an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker for a range of accomplishments, including, but not limited to:

– Advancing the industry
– Impacting change
– Technology achievements
– Diversity and inclusion
– Business accomplishments and growth
– Humanitarian efforts
– Industry activism and support
– Thought leadership and influence
– Excellence in customer service
– Creativity and innovation

Our 2020 Newsmaker recognition saw over 300 real estate professionals honored for their contributions to the industry across several categories.

Our Luminaries (The Iconic Leaders)—such as Vinnie Tracey, president of Realty ONE Group Affiliates; James O’Bryon, CEO of RE/MAX Gold; and Mike Brodie, Regional Owner/Operating Principal, Keller William Realty—are industry executives celebrated for dedicating their lives to the betterment of their companies and agents, and the real estate industry and all those it serves.

Here’s a look at RISMedia’s 2020 Luminaries:

Our Crusaders (The Champions of a Better Way)—such as Corey McCloskey, Vice President of Education, John R. Wood Properties; Jed Carlson, CEO, Adwerx; and Laura Walker, Broker/Owner, Walker Realty Group—are chosen for their passion toward a cause greater than themselves, from equal rights to REALTOR® safety to disaster recovery. These Newsmakers have helped make the world a better place.

Here’s more about RISMedia’s 2020 Crusaders:

The final deadline for nominations is Oct. 15, 2020. For details and to make your nomination(s), visit

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What Fall Slowdown? Data Shows Markets Show Resiliency

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 21:02

In a normal market, things would be slowing down right about now. With the coronavirus impacting lives worldwide, however, things are different this year. According to®’s Weekly Recovery Report, the Housing Market Recovery Index reached 107.7 nationwide for the week ending Sept. 5—this is 7.7 points above the pre-COVID baseline.

There could be a shift in the near future, however—the recent change in housing supply may be a glimpse, showing improvement this week. For housing supply, the index recovered 3.2 points above last week, but it is still below its pre-COVID baseline.

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Total Listings: -39% YoY
Time on Market: 12 days faster YoY
Median Listing Prices: +10.8% YoY
New Listings: -12% YoY

“Sellers are calling the shots in today’s market; prices are rising and housing inventory is vanishing almost as fast as it appears,” according to®’s Chief Economist, Danielle Hale. “But this week’s report revealed two indicators worth keeping an eye on. Housing demand cooled slightly, while new listings showed a smaller decline than previous weeks. This could be a hiccup in weekly activity, or if these trends continue, they could signal a shift in market dynamics leading into the fall when political, economic and health-related uncertainties abound.”

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John L. Scott Real Estate Launches iBuyer Program in Portland Market

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 21:01

John L. Scott Real Estate recently launched their Instant Purchase Plus+ program in the Portland market. Instant Purchase Plus+ provides sellers all-cash offers through iBuyer companies that are currently purchasing homes in their market.

The Instant Purchase Plus+ program, paired with insight from John L. Scott real estate broker associates, allows homeowners to review all their options at once and make the best choice for their circumstances. This could be taking an Instant Purchase Plus+ offer, selling on the open market or even choosing not to sell.

“With today’s technology, Portland homeowners have ample information at their fingertips when considering selling,” said Scott Halligan, vice president of Oregon and SW Washington at John L. Scott. “Our suite of programs gives local sellers a range of options, including working with an iBuyer through Instant Purchase Plus+ if it’s right for them.”

With Instant Purchase Plus+, sellers do not have to prepare their home for the open market or go through the process of open houses, said Duane Giglia, vice president of operations for John L. Scott Real Estate.

“For nearly 90 years, buyers and sellers have trusted the local expertise and top-notch service provided by John L. Scott broker associates,” said Giglia. “The launch of our Instant Purchase Plus+ program helps homeowners compare all their options when selling. This means homeowners can rest assured knowing they’re selecting the right choice for their individual circumstances.”

Currently, Instant Purchase Plus+ is open to homeowners in the Portland area, but is set to expand further across the John L. Scott footprint as iBuyer companies enter those markets.

For more information, please visit

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NYC Regional Spotlight: REBNY Reports Record Declines in Residential Sales and Transactions

Fri, 09/11/2020 - 21:00

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) reported today that both New York City’s total residential sales volume and total residential transactions decreased significantly, reaching their lowest points since REBNY started reporting in Q1 2006 according to its Q2 2020 Quarterly Residential Sales Report.

From April 1 to June 30, 2020, citywide total residential sales volume decreased 50 percent year-over-year, from $12.8 billion to $6.4 billion, the lowest point in residential sales volume since Q4 2011. Every borough, with the exception of Staten Island, experienced declines in total sales volume.

Citywide residential transactions decreased 43 percent year-over-year, from 11,413 to 6,534 sales, with all five boroughs seeing a decrease in the number of transactions. The average sales price of a home in New York City in the second quarter of 2020 was $975,806, a 13 percent decline year-over-year.

“This dramatic decline is an SOS to federal, state and city officials. The report confirms how vulnerable the residential real estate market is as it reels from the devastating impact of the pandemic,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “As we look to restart New York’s economic engine, it’s essential we receive federal aid and focus on smart policies that create jobs and encourage private sector investment that will generate critically needed tax revenue.”

Citywide, transactions declined in each of the condominium, cooperative and one-to-three family dwellings categories. Citywide condominium transactions declined 57 percent to 1,248 units; citywide cooperative transactions declined 60 percent to 1,321 units; and citywide one-to-three family home transactions declined 24 percent to 3,965 units.

The real estate industry, which serves as the fundamental driver of New York City’s economic engine, represented more than half (53 percent) of the city’s total annual tax revenue in the last fiscal year. The industry employs hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from building service workers to brokers and generates essential revenue for the City of New York to maintain the salaries of first responders, fund infrastructure improvements and provide for public services like schools, libraries and parks.

Other key findings from the Q2 2020 Quarterly Residential Sales Report include:

– Citywide condominium sales volume declined 64 percent year-over-year to $2 billion.

– Citywide cooperative sales volume declined 65 percent year-over-year to $957.7 million.

– Citywide one- to three-family home sales volume declined 25 percent year-over-year to $3.4 billion.

– Manhattan showed the largest year-over-year decline of all five boroughs in both total sales volume and transaction volumes, at 66 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

– REBNY reports 9,320 active and 3,231 in-contract listings in Q2 2020 across Manhattan and Brooklyn, which represent a 9 percent increase and 32 percent decline from Q1 2020.

Source: REBNY

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Thoughts on Leadership: Effective Executives

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 10:17

As I worked through this new week and new month, I continued to explore the wealth of knowledge published by the Harvard Business Review. Peter F. Drucker, one of my very first mentors, wrote a compelling piece for the publication titled “What Makes an Effective Executive.” In the article, Drucker details how executives who are effective get the right things done in the right ways.

Drucker doesn’t believe there is one stereotypical, perfect leader. He says in his long consulting career, he’s seen leaders of all types—leaders with wide-ranging attitudes, personalities, values, strengths and weaknesses. And while their leadership genetics may have differed, there were some similarities he could identify in the way they led. He says every leader followed the same eight practices:

  1. They asked, “What needs to be done?” When Jack Welch took over as General Electric’s CEO, he believed his Wildly Important Goal was to launch an expansive overseas presence for GE. However, he asked, “What needs to be done?” and the answer to that simple question revealed a completely different goal. Rather than global expansion, Welch realized streamlining GE—removing the businesses within the organization that were not profitable—had to be his key directive to ensure success for the company.
  2. They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?” Drucker explains: “Decisions that are right for your enterprise are ultimately right for all stakeholders.”
  3. They developed action plans. Executives, as the name implies, are meant to execute. In fact, it’s mastering the execution that will ensure the accomplishment of Wildly Important Goals. But to truly master execution requires careful planning, (as the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail). Napoleon purportedly said no battle won ever followed his plan, yet he continued to plan for every battle. Why? Because without a plan, Drucker says execution is held prisoner to the dangers of the unknown. By planning, you’re anticipating, you’re thinking and you’re strategizing, so no matter what happens next, you’re prepared to move forward with confidence.
  4. They took responsibility for decisions. Effective leaders, according to Drucker, do not make a decision until all team members understand who is accountable for carrying it out, what the timeframe for the decision will be, who will be affected by the decision and who should be informed about the decision.
  5. They took responsibility for communicating. Effective leaders do not operate with bureaucracy or bias. They receive feedback and communicate with team members at all levels of their organization. When leaders are fully responsible for communicating, they also create a level of transparency that promotes a positive company culture.
  6. They were focused on opportunities rather than problems. This particular practice is especially meaningful in the context of the sweeping transformational changes 2020 has brought our way. However, the challenges of transformational changes are seen by effective leaders not as difficulties to overcome but as positive drivers of necessary innovation.
  7. They ran productive meetings.Studies have shown that executives spend more than half of every business day in a meeting. And while meetings are important to create alignment and foster collaboration, it’s important to streamline your meetings so they’re ultra-productive. Create action-based agendas. Confirm all team members understand the purpose of the meeting and the information they need to convey to others. An ideal WIG call, for instance, should last no more than 15 minutes. By leading productive meetings, effective leaders free up their time and their team members’ time for more high-value work that will ultimately benefit the enterprise.
  8. They thought and said “we” rather than “I.” While executives are ultimately responsible for the success of the enterprise, they also have to instill trust in their team. Drucker writes: “This means that they think of the needs and the opportunities of the organization before they think of their own needs or opportunities.” Using the pronoun “we” rather than “I” creates a meaningful sense of shared ownership in company goals and initiatives.

So, what’s the message? Drucker offers a framework to help any leader in any industry find success through effective leadership. Practices 1-2 will help leaders gather knowledge about the executional actions necessary accomplish their Wildly Important Goals. Practices 3-6 allow them to transform this knowledge into effective action. Practices 7-8 ensure everyone at every level of the organization is held accountable to the exec.

This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.


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Always Think Ahead

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 12:36

Sandy Hancock
RE/MAX Results
St. Louis, Mo.

Region served: St. Louis Metropolitan area
Years in real estate: 29
Number of offices: 7
Number of agents: 215

What’s your secret to staying relevant in today’s ever-changing real estate landscape?
We are always thinking ahead here at RE/MAX Results. We look for trends and imagine them playing out in one year, five years and even 10 years. Doing this allows us to maximize systems, resources and growth. As we grow, we streamline and reorganize our systems. This action lets agents focus on their business, knowing that their brokerage has the continuing ability to meet their needs.

How do you stay in touch with your clients?
My agents are my clients. We have 215 agents serving eight counties across two states. While agents usually anchor at one office, all seven of our strategically placed, fully equipped offices are accessible 24/7. No matter where our agents are in their busy day, we have an office nearby to accommodate them. We also offer an extensive online single sign-on dashboard full of agent tools, resources, training, networking and support, allowing agents to work, learn and attend meetings from virtually anywhere they choose.

Where does your market stand in regard to reopening in the midst of COVID?
In our market, real estate is considered an essential business. We experienced a slowdown but not a total shutdown. We took advantage of the slower period to implement safety protocols, dubbed our “safe seller, buyer and office plans.” These plans ensure that we stay ahead of the needs of our agents and their clients. Our total sales volume was down 28 percent in May and 15 percent in June, but we have recovered that and then some in July. COVID cases are rising in our area and may cause another slowdown in the future, but we are prepared to take it all in stride and continually support our agents.

How do you attract the top agents in your area?
We have a total of 20 full-time staff members, which is a much higher staff/agent ratio than our competitors. Among the staff is our well-respected management team of seasoned professionals who bring decades of industry experience. They are focused on how best to coach and mentor each agent. The culture at Results thrives due to honesty, respect and learning. Classes are offered at every level and are accessible in person and through cloud-based technology.

Agent services are paramount, and we have far more than most brokerages. We offer 1:1 tech and marketing support, training videos, on-call brokers, weekly company updates, 360-degree virtual tours, agent headshots and bio videos, team resources, mobile notary, transaction management, transparent auditing, agent health insurance, in-house vendors, and more!

The RE/MAX brand power and our RE/MAX Results expertise, services, market presence and successes make us the best choice for any agent in our area.

What are some other ways you go the extra mile for your agents?
Our agents exhibit strength, knowledge and professionalism. They bring a variety of experience and expertise to Results, and our agent-centric company commits to helping each achieve their desired results. We do this by listening to them and responding to their needs with the right tools and services. We do all we can to ensure the success of our agents—that goal remains our focus and fulfills our motto “Your Life, Your Business, Your Way.”

Where do you see your business in five years?
We plan on solidifying an even larger marketshare across the St. Louis Metropolitan area, which encompasses a 15-county region that spans Missouri and Illinois. At this time, we belong to six REALTOR® associations, and we expect that number to increase. Our service levels will rise alongside the growing demands of our agents and their clients.

For more information, please visit and

Jameson Doris is RISMedia’s social media/blog editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to

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Registration Open! FREE REALTOR® Safety Webinar

Tue, 09/08/2020 - 12:58

NAR PULSE—Safety Month is here, and registration is officially open for a free REALTOR® Safety webinar on Sept. 23, 1 p.m. CT. Encourage your agents to register to hear Jen Stanbrough discuss how to be aware, prepared and safe on the job.

Register here!

Why the Census Counts: RPR® and REALTORS® Rely on Accurate Data
The 2020 US Census is taking place right now. RPR® and The National Association of REALTORS® is urging all members to help get the word out about its importance for the country as a whole, and as it pertains to real estate industry data. Please do what you can and ask your clients and contacts to complete their Census form.

MVP Members—Participate in REALTOR® Safety Month
Register for NAR’s REALTOR® Safety Webinar on September 23 at 1 p.m. CT and earn The Little Red Book: Safety Rules to Live By for REALTORS®-Download, PLUS, a chance to win a Guard Llama Personal Protection Kit. Act today! 

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