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Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Women in Real Estate: The Potential – and the Pitfalls – for Women Leaders

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 14:11

The journey to leadership for women in the real estate business has been both daunting and deeply fulfilling. In an industry historically dominated by men among the higher ranks, women have had to overcome unique hurdles and persistent stereotypes in order to secure their seat at the proverbial table.

The topic was candidly discussed during RISMedia’s recent “Spring Into Action” virtual event, co-presented by the National Association of REALTORSⓇ, when five of real estate’s most impressive leaders gathered to discuss the past and future road to leadership for females during the session, “Women in Real Estate: Seizing the Opportunities in 2021.”

RISMedia is making a limited number of “Spring Into Action” sessions accessible to the public. Readers may view this dynamic session in the video below:

‘We Still Go Into Rooms That Are Mostly Men’
The panel, which took place during the event’s General Session segment, was moderated by Joan Docktor, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORSⓇ. Panelists were:

Helen Hanna Casey, CEO, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services
Christina Pappas, Vice President, The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties
Rosey Koberlein, Chairperson, Long Companies
Bess Freedman, CEO, Brown Harris Stevens

Docktor opened the session by delving into panelists’ respective leadership journeys, beginning with Casey.

“Certainly, when I came into the business, and I would go to national meetings, you would not see a lot of women…and if they were there, they were the wives of owners,” said Casey. “So you didn’t have a lot of role models, but you also didn’t have a lot of peers. You had to find male role models…We still go into rooms that are mostly men. But that is changing rapidly.”

Koberlein recalled those early days as Casey described, remembering walking into rooms where the only women were herself, Casey and Michael Saunders (founder and CEO of Michael Saunders & Company).

“The challenge for women was to find a niche in the organization where you could step in, solve a problem and create credibility,” said Koberlein. “The reality is that we were watched; we were constantly being evaluated. We had lots of opportunities…but there’s a lot of hard work still to do.”

Pappas, who will become just the 13th female president of the Florida REALTORS® in 2022, agreed with Koberlein.

“As a woman, you walk into a room and there are still a limited number of women at the table,” she said. “I’m hoping one day you walk in a room and there’s just people…nobody’s thinking about how many women vs. men. But I think we’re still a little bit away from that.”

‘You’re Acting Too Female’
The slow increase of women in real estate leadership positions is due, in part, to nagging misperceptions.

“Stereotypes still persist, unfortunately,” said Freedman. “We’re challenged as women in that way—we’re [perceived as] too emotional or indecisive…but we’re really great leaders. Women handle power really well because they’re careful and they’re cautious, and that shows up when you see women in roles of leadership.”

Docktor explained that it is becoming easier for women today because they have other women they can look to, however, overcoming stereotypes and perceptions about women was a challenge for her.

“What they were saying was, ‘You’re acting too female. You have to keep your head up straighter, don’t tilt it,'” she recalled. “And I wasn’t big enough—I appeared small. I wasn’t going to have that stature [that men did], so I looked like a blip on the screen and there wasn’t anything I could do about that.”

‘Give Me Something to Do and I’ll Try It’
To overcome the perceptions and stereotypes surrounding them, women often need to prove themselves.
“I was willing to do things that no one else was willing to do,” Docktor explained. “Give me something to do and I’ll try it. I may never have done it before, but I’m going to go for it. That ability to jump off the cliff moved me forward in the company over the years.”

For many women, however, Pappas pointed out that such a bold attitude doesn’t come naturally, especially if they’re in a male-driven organization. “For a lot of women, they need to learn how they jump in, how they raise their hand. How do I say, ‘put me in coach’?”

According to Casey, for women in real estate today, there is an advantage. “Today, you have male bosses out there who have gotten used to, and learned from, women,” she said. “We are, in a sense today, the consultants who say, ‘we’ve proven it, now you have to act on it.’ ”

‘We Are All Leaders and We Are Leaders First’
All panelists agreed that the mentors they had over the years, and the need to be mentors to those around them, is an essential component of promoting further leadership roles for women…in real estate and beyond.

“If we’re doing our jobs correctly, we are mentoring women all the time,” said Casey. “When you meet people and connect with them, you have to reach out your hand. And people who feel they’d like to be mentored, they have to reach out their hand.”

“We are all leaders, and we are leaders first,” said Koberlein. “By demonstrating our leadership, that’s mentoring those around us.”

“If you can see it, you can be it,” said Freedman. “I thank goodness for the people on this panel who have paved the way for me to be in the position I am in.”

Stay tuned to rismedia.com for additional coverage of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event. 

Spring Into Action 2021 Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors
National Association of REALTORS® Center for REALTOR® Development
Real Estate Webmasters

Master Sponsor

CENTURY 21®
The Corcoran Group

Host Sponsor

Lone Wolf Technologies
Qualia
Realtors Property Resource, LLC
Rocket Mortgage

Event Sponsors

CoreLogic
David Knox Productions, Inc.
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting

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

The post Women in Real Estate: The Potential – and the Pitfalls – for Women Leaders appeared first on RISMedia.

5 Signs You Would Love a New Career in Luxury Real Estate

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 14:01

There’s nothing quite like a new career in luxury real estate. The opulent homes, the high-profile clients, the bigger commissions—sounds exciting, doesn’t it? For the right person, it absolutely is.

A new career in luxury real estate doesn’t have to mean a straight path to the traditional market—or even property management. Both brand-new and experienced real estate professionals can create their own real estate success story in the luxury real estate market. Often, it’s the smartest choice for those looking for a bigger return on their time spent in the field.

So if you’re thinking about a new career in luxury real estate, the good news is that there’s plenty of opportunity and plenty of other real estate agents who are happy they made the switch. But if you’re on the fence, here are five signs you’d love a new career in luxury real estate:

1. You Like to Problem Solve

Most people think a new career in real estate is simply just networking and selling homes. If you know people and can sell, it’s easy right? Not quite…

While those are essentially the two main functions of a real estate professional, there’s a lot of problem solving involved as well. For instance, every client is different—especially in the luxury real estate market. Affluent clients often have unique financial situations, work and travel often, and have teams of people helping them with everything from caring for their children to helping them with real estate transactions.

That means things like scheduling, negotiating and even working around privacy concerns require strong problem-solving skills.

Working with these kinds of clients is highly rewarding, but the unique needs and demands of these more discerning clients does call for a luxury real estate professional who not only can solve problems, but also likes to solve problems.

2. You’re Passionate About Unique Homes

A new career in real estate is fun, but a new career in luxury real estate earns you an exciting opportunity to gush over some of the most unique homes on the market. So if you’re just looking for a new career in real estate because you absolutely love learning about architecture, amenities and even art, then you’ll love luxury real estate.

Unlike the traditional real estate market, luxury real estate allows for taking more risks in staging and marketing. Historically, successful clients like to “stand out” a bit more than traditional clients. They tend to appreciate more individuality in their home’s design and often look for properties they feel have an “unforgettable” quality to them.

This can make for some truly fun opportunities getting homes prepared for listing and helping these buyers find their next dream home.

3. You Love to Learn

Truth is: Many luxury real estate clients are real estate savvy themselves. In fact, many of them have made their money investing in real estate and know almost as much as the professionals they hire.

That means a luxury real estate professional’s job is always to stay a few steps ahead—always learning and growing professionally as a result. Otherwise, you simply can’t offer the type of expertise these clients are looking for.

In other words, if you love to learn, the upper tier may be a great choice for your new career in luxury real estate.

What’s more? The Institute offers a wide range of training, resources and even done-for-you marketing tools to help luxury real estate professionals stand out in their field and attract the right clients.

4. You Want to Make More Money

Notice this is not the first sign on the list. There’s no question that luxury real estate professionals receive a higher return on their investment out in the field than professionals in the traditional market, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Luxury real estate professionals who are passionate about what they do naturally tend to make more money than those who are simply looking for a bigger paycheck.

Why?

Because luxury real estate does require a bit more legwork at times (again, for a bigger payoff), and money alone isn’t always the best motivator. That said, a 5% commission on a $1,000,000 home is significantly more than a 5% commission on a $100,000 home—with only slightly more work involved.

So if one of your goals for a new career in luxury real estate is to make more money, it makes sense to consider the upper tier.

5. You Enjoy and Understand Marketing

Marketing a luxury home is different than marketing a traditional home, as you may have guessed. Luxury real estate clients are driven more by “desire” than “need,” and marketing in this industry reflects that. Similarly, marketing unique homes also often requires a higher marketing budget.

While you don’t need to know all the answers right now, you’ll want to invest in a high-level marketing education specific to luxury real estate if you haven’t already.

If you’re looking for a fast and flexible way to get up to speed with the marketing skills needed for a luxury real estate career, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing is the leading choice for top-tier luxury real estate professionals.

The Institute offers

– Self-paced or live online training
– The internationally recognized Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist designation
– An elite network of luxury real estate professionals and top producers
– Done-for-you marketing tools and strategic marketing partnerships

And so much more, no matter where you are in your luxury real estate career.

When you’re ready, your new career in luxury real estate starts here:

– Subscribe to our Estate of Mind podcast and/or Estate of Mind video series on YouTube for monthly deep-dives into specialized luxury real estate topics with industry experts.
– Take our Luxury Livestream or Luxury Online training to qualify for The Institute membership and its many member benefits.
– Visit your Membership Portal for brand-new training sessions, as well as our book, “Rich Buyer Rich Seller: The Real Estate Agents’ Guide to Marketing Luxury Homes,” which is available for free to all members of The Institute and also available on Amazon.

Diane Hartley is the president of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, the premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market. The Institute’s Designation, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, is recognized around the globe as the gold standard in luxury designations. Institute training and membership is open to all real estate agents, regardless of firm, experience level or brand affiliation.

The post 5 Signs You Would Love a New Career in Luxury Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia.

‘Focus on the Opportunities’: Industry Powerhouses Talk Hispanic Homeownership at NAHREP National Convention

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 13:56

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) recently held its 2021 National Convention. The three-day event wraps up today, after hosting numerous industry practitioners who provided comprehensive insights regarding the Hispanic community’s homeownership needs and trends.

On April 13, NAHREP kicked things off with an opening general session—”The Latino Factor: The Key to Homeownership Growth in America”—featuring the following speakers:

– Moderator: Sara Rodriguez, 2021 NAHREP President, Titan Title LLC
– Panelist: Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX, LLC.
– Panelist: Chris Stuart, CEO, HSF Affiliates LLC; CEO and President, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Vice Chairman, Real Living Real Estate
– Panelist: Sue Yannaccone, President & CEO, Realogy Franchise Group

“2021 has been a very interesting year. The Hispanic community has been one of the hardest hit because of the COVID pandemic,” said Rodriguez. “However, we have seen an increase of Hispanic formation of households. And it’s predicted that between 2020 and 2040, 70% of homeowners will be Hispanic. They are a younger demographic, coming into the years where they can afford a home.”

“The pace of household formation in the Hispanic community is outpacing any other segment of the population,” agreed Yannaccone, adding that her brokerage has tackled the still-existing gap between Hispanic and white homeownership by launching fair housing training for the industry in 2020. “We have to educate our agents to the barriers and to the opportunities.”

As for opportunities, Contos recommends an emphasis on technology and video in order to create a presence that leads to trust with the Hispanic community. Additionally, there are other areas of the real estate process that need improvement.

Among the biggest obstacles is communication. Language accessibility within the real estate transaction still needs work. In addition to that, there needs to be a cultural understanding when it comes to communication.

“There are still barriers in place, such as those related to education, that can slow the growth of the Hispanic homebuyer. This is something we really need to pay attention to,” said Rodriguez.

“Making information available in Spanish is really table stakes,” said Stuart. “And the most impactful thing we can do is help our agents develop a CEO-like mindset. One of the things this industry is missing is better understanding, quantitatively, of what kind of representation we have in the industry for the communities we serve.”

According to Stuart, determining whether we have a balance or imbalance in the numbers, agent-wise, is crucial to ensuring we can provide fair services for homebuyers and sellers of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

“We need to project outward that the Hispanic community is the youngest segment of the home-buying population, and they are extremely entrepreneurial and driving growth in our economy,” said Contos, who added that this is perfect for our industry, which has an entrepreneurial mindset to begin with and is also very much community-based like the Hispanic population.

“Focus on the opportunities and stop chasing things that are never going to move the needle,” said Yannaccone.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com.

The post ‘Focus on the Opportunities’: Industry Powerhouses Talk Hispanic Homeownership at NAHREP National Convention appeared first on RISMedia.

Chip and Joanna Gaines to Turn Waco Newspaper Building Into Headquarters

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 13:52

(TNS)—Chip and Joanna Gaines are taking over another building in downtown Waco, this time to house a new headquarters for their expanding Magnolia lifestyle brand.
Magnolia told city officials last week that it will move into The Waco Tribune-Herald building at 900 Franklin Ave., just a few blocks from the company’s Magnolia at the Silos shopping district, the city’s biggest tourist attraction.

Magnolia said it plans to spend $13.6 million to renovate the three-story, 110,000-square-foot building that housed the newspaper for 70 years.

The Tribune-Herald’s staff will move later this month into another building downtown, according to an article published last week. The newspaper building is owned by Brazos River Capital, a real estate investment group controlled by Waco residents Clifton and Gordon Robinson, according to a story in The Tribune-Herald.

Waco’s downtown Tax Incremental Financing Zone board approved $2.6 million in economic development funds on Thursday to help retrofit the building. Renovation plans include offices, meeting rooms, a test kitchen, a production studio for Magnolia Network programming, warehouse space and exterior improvements.

The Magnolia brand includes operations in retail, real estate, hospitality, entertainment and publishing. The company said it will consolidate about 200 staff members from various locations to the building in summer 2022. In its recommendation to the board, Waco’s TIF staff said Magnolia’s corporate staff move will be “a bellwether moment in the resurgence of downtown Waco,” which is something the celebrity couple has been working on the past few years.

Magnolia’s total Waco employment, which includes stores, restaurants, real estate and e-commerce, is about 700, according to a Chamber of Commerce local employer list.
The Gaineses are also redeveloping a downtown office building into a hotel. Last year they expanded their shopping district, adding a Magnolia Home furniture store, six small shops, a large patio with seating and renovating an old church that was moved to the Silos property.

Magnolia also has a separate distribution center for its online sales in Waco, and it has been adding merchandise categories to its brand.

Joanna Gaines’ first cookbook, Magnolia Table, is also the name of a restaurant in Waco and is now a cooking show. That all gives the brand credibility to add more cooking items to its Magnolia shopping site.

She put together a Jo’s Kitchen Essentials collection that could be a complete kitchen recipe for a newlywed couple. Cooking and baking pieces for sale on Magnolia.com include French brands Emile Henry and Le Creuset, KitchenAid and Cuisinart mixers and food processors, Wustholf knife blocks and Magnolia’s own branded items.

Discovery’s Magnolia Network has renewed its cooking series Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines for two more seasons. The second season started Friday, and the third season will begin July 15, the same day that Magnolia Network will launch as its own network on Discovery+ and on the Magnolia app. The Discovery+ preview launch started in January.

Next year, Magnolia Network plans to launch as a traditional broadcast channel that would be delivered through cable or satellite TV systems that agree to add the Magnolia channel to its lineup.

And while Magnolia Network has created a dozen new shows, its headliner is the return of Fixer Upper, which started it all back in 2013. Fixer Upper: Welcome Home premiered on the Discovery+ app in January.

©2021 The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Chip and Joanna Gaines to Turn Waco Newspaper Building Into Headquarters appeared first on RISMedia.

Thoughts on Leadership: Learning From the Masters

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 11:05

I’ve written before about the Masters, and if you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you’ll know I often draw references between sports and leadership. Golf, to me, is so much like leadership because for the most part, it’s a solitary sport—the work you put in shows in your results, just like it does when you lead a team. Here are a few more lessons we can learn from the Masters:

Overnight success does not exist. Often talked about in sports and business, the term “overnight success” refers to someone new to the sport who seemingly finds massive success in their first major outing. Jordan Spieth, for example, is one of those people. In 2015, at the age of 21, he won the Masters tournament, and had only been to the Masters once before. He even tied Tiger Woods’ 72-hole record (sent in 1997) and became the second-youngest golfer (after Woods) to take the top spot at the Masters. The press called him an overnight sensation but really, it wasn’t true. Spieth shot a 62 at the age of 12. He also trained hard at not only golf but also several other sports.

Encouraged by his parents to pursue football and baseball (he was a quarterback and a pitcher) he would eventually focus on golf, leading the University of Texas team to a national title. In an interview, Spieth’s mom, Chris, said: “We did not raise our kids to be one-sport athletes. You have to let them explore options… you have to make sure they know that life is more important than one sport, or one goal.” She also said, “There’s a lot that can be learned from competing as a team. I think having that experience really grounds you and prepares you for other things in life beyond sports.” Teamwork really is the dreamwork!

Success has its ups and downs. Tiger Woods is a perfect example of the roller-coaster ride that often is success. After experiencing massive success, Woods defined a new generation of golfers with his incredible record and historic Masters win in 1997. When Woods won the 2001 Masters, he became the only player to win four consecutive major professional golf titles, although not in the same year. After that Woods’ career slumped. With a few minor wins the next few years, Woods went through several surgeries that hindered his golfing abilities. Returning to golf in 2010, Woods’ career still suffered. With injuries, rumors and constant criticism swirling around him, Woods was declared “over,” and nobody thought he’d return to his triumphant playing status from the late ’90s and early 2000s. They were wrong.

With a career on the rise in 2018, Woods went on to win the Masters once more in 2019. Proudly wearing a green jacket for the fifth time, Woods ended a decade-long drought in majors. Woods is currently tied with Sam Snead for the most victories of all time on the PGA Tour, a testament to the fact that you are the only one who can define what you’re capable of accomplishing.

Scorekeeping and accountability are keys to effective leadership. Let’s turn the clock back to the 1968 Masters tournament when a scorecard error cost Argentinian golfer Roberto de Vicenzo a Masters victory. He had played a close game with American Bob Goalby and after a bogey on the 18th hole, he knew his lead was gone. Dejected, he sat at the scorer’s table with his unsigned score card beside him. (Golf is still one of the only sports where players have to keep their own score, which in itself is an important lesson about the value of scorekeeping. As the saying goes, “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”)

Anyway, de Vincenzo is sitting at the table, staring into space, no doubt contemplating his devastatingly close loss, while Goalby was actually three-putting on 17. This meant the two were tied again, though de Vincenzo didn’t know it. Instead, someone asked him for an interview, so he looked at his scorecard, signed it and left to go speak with the press. As it turns out, de Vincenzo had put down a four at 17, and not the three he really shot, making his score 66 and not the 65 it should’ve been. Goalby won the Masters on a technicality, as Rule 38-3 in golf said the score he signed and returned must stand. In the end, de Vincenzo famously said, “This is my fault—nobody else’s. I have played golf for many, many years. I have signed many cards and none of them wrong. All I can say is what a stupid I am to be wrong in this wonderful moment.” In truth, de Vincenzo was far from stupid, and it shows tremendous leadership to take accountability for your mistakes. This is the sign of a person who understands what he did wrong, and owns up to the error, just as any leader should.

Success is a family affair. Jack Nicklaus, who won the Masters six times and holds the current record for most Masters victories, recalls his 1986 Masters win as among the sweetest. That year, his son, Jackie, caddied for him and his mom, who had not been to a Masters since his first appearance in 1959, was there with Nicklaus’ sister, Marilyn. When asked about that experience, his son Jackie told Golf Digest, “It was awfully special. And I had the best seat in the house.” From his perspective, Nicklaus said this about the win: “I did it, and that’s what I’m most proud of. And having Jackie there to support me, that was just neat.”

So, what’s the message? The Masters earned its reputation as the battlefield for golf legends and it’s what forces the best to become even better. As Gary Player, who won the tournament in 1961, 1974 and 1978 said: “Every shot is within a fraction of disaster. That’s what makes it so great.” By the way, for you real golf fans, check out this article from Golf Monthly with the 30 greatest moments from the Master: Read it here.

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

 

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NAR Presents a Not-to-Be-Missed Event on April 15

Tue, 04/13/2021 - 13:33

NAR PULSE—On April 15, join the National Association of REALTORS® and the Memorial Foundation, Inc. for a special Facebook Live event commemorating Fair Housing Month. “The Past, Present and Future of Fair Housing” is hosted by Soledad O’Brien and features the Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, secretary of Housing and Urban Development. RSVP today!

Recognizing the Passion for Volunteering
Nearly three in four REALTORS® volunteer their time to help their communities. If one of your agents is an extraordinary volunteer who goes beyond for a neighbor in need, encourage them to apply for a Good Neighbor Award for the chance to win a $10,000 grant and invaluable media exposure for their cause. Entries are due May 7.

Commemorate Fair Housing Month With MVP
Commemorate Fair Housing Month by completing the Fairhaven simulation training that allows you to identify and combat discrimination in home-buying. Act by April 15 to earn The Who, What, Where and How of Live Streaming and Video Marketing Webinar for FREE!

The post NAR Presents a Not-to-Be-Missed Event on April 15 appeared first on RISMedia.

Reach and Grow Your Online Audience

Tue, 04/13/2021 - 13:26

Massachusetts Real Estate Professional Leverages Propertybase’s Robust Feature Set 

Alcorn

For Stacey Alcorn—CEO of LAER Realty Partners in Chelmsford, Massachusetts—one of the things real estate brokerages have to do to stay ahead in today’s competitive market is constantly update their website with the tools and services necessary to bring their value proposition to life. Offering more than just a website, Alcorn has positioned her brokerage at the head of the pack thanks to a longstanding partnership with global real estate software company Propertybase.

Jumping into the mortgage industry in the ’90s, Alcorn eventually transitioned to real estate, buying her first franchise in 2000. She spent the next 14 years building her brokerage under the franchise before branching out and starting an independent real estate company. Today, LAER Realty Partners has 20 offices that are home to 550 agents serving all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“When I rebranded my real estate company in 2014, that’s when I began looking at what website options were available,” says Alcorn.

She ultimately chose Propertybase due to its robust feature set.

“Propertybase does a little bit of everything,” explains Alcorn. “It’s more than just a site. Not only is it packed with SEO features, but it also has a CRM system, a transaction management piece and a blog. It’s super robust.”

With a plethora of features designed to maximize a brand’s reach, Alcorn points to Propertybase’s market research as a key component that has allowed the brand to flourish.

“Anyone who visits our site can quickly and easily find year-over-year statistics for new listings, recent sales and more—all narrowed down to the particular city they’re interested in,” says Alcorn.

But it doesn’t end there.

In fact, the system has been loaded with 20,000 email addresses of agents in the area, making it easy for agents at LAER Realty Partners to go into the backend of the site and create new listing or open house emails that can be sent to agents who specialize in a particular area.

“Propertybase does a million things, which has made it even more important to have a robust marketing staff trained on the system in order to help our agents,” says Alcorn.

The firm has also created 30 – 40 training programs, all of which are 5 – 10 minutes, to ensure agents have the support they need.

“Propertybase is easy for anyone to use if they take a little time to learn it,” says Alcorn, who has added a majority of the pages to the company site on her own.

“When we add a new tool/product that we are offering to our clientele, there’s no wait time to add a page to the site,” says Alcorn, laying the stage for a website that always looks fresh. “Because the website is so simple to use and easy to update, it literally changes every single month because of something we need to add or delete.”

As the future unfolds, Alcorn is looking forward to continuing to work with the Propertybase team.

“They have good people on staff, all the way up to the CEO. Anytime I’ve had an idea for a new piece, or a twist to the system, they’ve always been quick to respond,” concludes Alcorn. “And they always deliver what they say they’re going to deliver.”

For more information, please visit
www.propertybase.com.

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Staying Positive and Motivated

Tue, 04/13/2021 - 13:23

Katy Martinelli
Managing Owner
John Martinelli
Managing Broker
RE/MAX 1st Choice
Coral Springs, Florida
https://global.remax.com/en/offices/usa/coral-springs/remax-1st-choice/1016582

Region served: Southeast Florida
Years in real estate: Katy: 17; John: 43
Number of offices: 1
Number of agents: 23

You recently converted your brokerage to RE/MAX. How did you decide to affiliate with the brand?

John Martinelli: We were with another franchise that was not ideal for us, so when we decided to switch, we took an entire year to look at many different franchises. I did not want to commit until I knew it was the right thing, so we put them through the wringer. Today, I can honestly say that we are excited to be part of this organization. We are totally engaged with RE/MAX. They under promised and over delivered.

Katy Martinelli: We knew RE/MAX had incredible brand recognition. We wanted to be with a bigger brand—and one of the best. After converting, we were so impressed to find that RE/MAX goes over and above to support us. Not only do we have our own business development coach who we meet with regularly, but we also have our own tech consultant who trains us on the latest RE/MAX technology. We pass along that insight by meeting with our agents once a week to help them grow their business.

What type of culture do you work to maintain at your brokerage?

KM: Collaboration is key. We try to stay positive and motivated, as those are the types of people we want working with us. Our agents are not just looking for their next commission; the customer’s needs should always come first.

JM: We have a great culture of hard-working, ethical and relationship-focused agents who all strive to help one another succeed. When we interview an agent, we look for those same characteristics, and if we don’t feel that they are a good fit, we won’t hire them.

Where do you stand when it comes to training and education?

JM: We are all about Brian Buffini and are very big on both training and education. We have high standards of ethics, which is why we want our agents to know contracts inside and out, as well as any new legal issues. We also help them stay on top of the latest technology.

KM: John and I both train our agents personally. When we hire someone new, we get them up to speed by consulting with them one-on-one to figure out what their training needs are.

What is your best advice for hiring and retaining agents?

KM: Support your agents and take care of them. When an agent does a good job, make sure they know you appreciate their hard work.

JM: Everybody is trying to recruit, but what good is trying to recruit if you can’t retain? We focus first on our current agents and helping them build their business and supporting them in any way they need. If you take care of your current agents, any new agents who come in will see your passion and want to be a part of it.

Is there a specific motto/work philosophy that you live by?

KM: We encourage all of our agents to use the best tools and materials. Everything that goes out is a reflection of us, so we want it to be the best. For example, we don’t charge for color copies in the office because we want to ensure that our agents are using the best when it comes to quality. We encourage all of our agents to use beautiful photography so everything they do looks professional.

JM: You have to come to work every day. Everybody’s competing for the same customer by doing the same thing, so you have to do it better than everybody else.

How has your brokerage fared in terms of the pandemic?

KM: We had to change the way we did things, but we made it work. Since we couldn’t meet with our agents in person, we turned to Zoom to connect with them on a weekly basis in order to keep them motivated and let them know we’re still here to offer support. We used the time while we were shut down to introduce additional training to adapt to this new “way of life.”

For more information, please visit www.remax.com.

Lesley Grand is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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The Stressors of Stress on Your Body and Behavior

Tue, 04/13/2021 - 13:20

(TNS)—Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the cause.

Common Effects of Stress
Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

On your body: Headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, stomach upset, sleep problems

On your mood: Anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability or anger, sadness or depression

On your behavior: Overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol misuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal, exercising less often

Act to Manage Stress
If you have stress symptoms, taking steps to manage your stress can have many health benefits. Explore stress management strategies, such as:

– Getting regular physical activity
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi or massage
– Keeping a sense of humor
– Spending time with family and friends
– Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music

Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways to manage stress—such as watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games—may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.

And be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol, and the use of illegal substances.

When to Seek Help
If you’re not sure if stress is the cause or if you’ve taken steps to control your stress but your symptoms continue, see your doctor. Your healthcare provider may want to check for other potential causes. Or consider seeing a professional counselor or therapist, who can help you identify sources of your stress and learn new coping tools.

Also, get emergency help immediately if you have chest pain, especially if you also have shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain radiating into your shoulder and arm, sweating, dizziness or nausea. These may be warning signs of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms.

Mayo Clinic News Network is your source for health news, advances in research and wellness tips.

2021© Mayo Clinic News Network
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Real Estate Q&A: What Can I Do About Condo Rules That Don’t Allow Pickup Trucks?

Mon, 04/12/2021 - 13:32

(TNS)—Q: Our condo does not allow us to own pickup trucks or park them on the premises. Visitors can park them in guest parking during the day but must find off-site parking overnight. This rule is making it hard for friends and relatives to visit me. Is there something I can do? — Rick

A: When you purchased your apartment, you agreed to live by your new communities’ rules and restrictions.

Many people live in condominiums because they want to live in a community with a particular lifestyle and look and enjoy shared amenities. While there is no law restricting pickups from condominiums, your condo association can write its own rules at the direction of its residents.

And because you agreed to follow the rules when you bought into the community, you need to follow these rules.

Carefully read your community’s documents, so you know what the rules are. I find that what people think their documents say and what they actually say is often different.
I have seen many associations attempting to enforce regulations that do not exist because “that is the way we have always done it.”

Because the community members write these types of rules, enough residents wanting to change the policy can do so. Speak to your neighbors and see if there is any consensus about changing the restrictions. If so, approach your board as a group and let them know your wishes.

Nothing is stopping you from “voting with your feet” and moving to a neighborhood that syncs better with your lifestyle.

However, every community has its pluses and minuses, so consider your entire situation and not just focus on a single inconvenience if everything else is great.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at
www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Industry Icon Brian Buffini Discusses the Trends Impacting the Months Ahead at RISMedia’s Virtual ‘Spring Into Action’

Sun, 04/11/2021 - 11:26

With the first quarter in the rearview mirror, real estate professionals across the board are working hard to make sure they’re positioned for success and profitability in order to maximize the spring and summer real estate markets. And while the real estate marketplace is going strong, it’s still uncertain—making it more important than ever that real estate professionals understand the trends that will impact the industry as we continue to make our way through 2021.

This topic was discussed at length during an exclusive, one-on-one session with Brian Buffini—founder and chairman of Buffini & Company—and RISMedia Founder, CEO and Publisher John Featherston—as part of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event. Co-presented by the National Association of REALTORS®, the event was held on April 8, attracting more than 5,000 attendees.

RISMedia is making a limited number of “Spring Into Action” sessions accessible to the public. Readers may view this dynamic session in the video below:

While all eyes are on the future, Featherston kicked off the candid discussion by asking what real estate professionals need to do to keep their mojo from disappearing as we navigate a market defined by an inventory shortage, with prices climbing quickly.

The answer? According to Buffini, it all comes down to the fundamentals.

“What we’re challenging clients to do is focus on the fundamentals and make long-term decisions rather than short-term decisions,” said Buffini, who went on to explain that we’re going to be “floating up to our eyeballs in liquidity” for some time due to the fact that the stock market is hot, there’s cash in the system and on the sidelines, and the government plans on infusing more cash in the midst of what is already proving to be a rebound.

“There’s still an enormous amount of pent-up demand, so ultimately, you want to leverage every buyer you have to get a listing,” added Buffini. To do so, Buffini suggests that real estate professionals use directed targeted marketing to not only leverage buyers, but to also generate inventory.

The conversation then turned to inflation, which Featherston noted may be rearing its ugly head.

“We know inflation is coming,” said Buffini. “You can’t pump $6 trillion in cash into the system and not have that happen.”

The greatest hedge against inflation? Assets with fixed expenses—aka real estate.

“People know this, and so, it’s only going to create more demand, which is going to create even more inflation,” explained Buffini. To combat the issue, Buffini is advising his customers to help their clients buy a home and keep it. “Then, if you can, buy real estate yourself and hold it, because real estate is going to be the best protection against inflation you can find.”

Another trend that has garnered a lot of attention recently is agent teams that have been able to quickly adapt to the challenges facing the industry.

Committed to supporting teams, given the fact that 40% of the people Buffini & Company coach have a team, Buffini’s biggest concern is that he’s seeing a lot of teams over-leverage themselves today.

“You’ve got to be very careful about building your business plan based on the very top of the mountain,” said Buffini. “While rates are low and sales are going off the charts, it’s critical that you don’t build your business model around the hottest market you can have.”

Agent teams aside, Featherston went on to ask Buffini about his tried-and-true tips for agents looking to successfully sync their personal branding with the strength of the brand of the brokerage they work with.

“If you’re working with a regional, national or international brand, separating yourself from that is the single biggest mistake made in the real estate business today,” explained Buffini. “You want to wrap your arms around it because there’s coverage, there’s brand promise and there’s a sense of comfort.”

Having grown up in real estate in the 1980s, where it was all personal promotion, Buffini believes that the pendulum has gone too far.

“As a top agent or team, you want to lean into those brokerages that have maintained brand consistency. And if you’re leading a large brokerage, let people know what the brand promise of your organization is and how every agent needs to know what that brand promise is, wrap themselves around it and be the 800-pound gorilla.”

Wrapping things up, Buffini shared his thoughts regarding the recent Zillow headlines that have been making waves throughout the industry—and what he sees on tap for the remainder of the year.

“Speaking specifically to Zillow, I want to tell the real estate industry, ‘I told you so,'” said Buffini.

“These were hardcore, publicly traded people who decided they were going to eliminate the real estate agent, but they still need agents advertising and marketing with them to make it go. At the same time, they want to come over here and compete,” explained Buffini.

As for what he sees for the remainder of the year? A raging hot real estate market.

“I think you can be at the center of the storm, but you have to be fundamentally connected to your database,” said Buffini. “We have to go with the flow, do the best we can and strap in. There’s going to be turbulence, but I think as long as the seatbelt is on, it’s going to be okay.” 

Sign up for Buffini’s giveaway here, and stay tuned to rismedia.com for additional coverage of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event.  

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to paige@rismedia.com.

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Building for the Future, Today

Sun, 04/11/2021 - 11:04

A Q&A With Fathom Realty CEO Josh Harley

Fathom Realty recently announced the acquisition of Verus Title and Naberly Solutions. Fathom CEO Josh Harley shares why these investments are an essential part of bringing the vision of Fathom to life.

In November 2020, you announced the acquisition of Verus Title. Why did Fathom expand into the title market?

Josh Harley: Adding Verus Title to Fathom will give our agents another competitive advantage, enabling them to better serve their clients with additional cost-effective services while increasing revenue per transaction and bringing greater value to all of our stakeholders. The transaction represents a perfect example of the kind of vertical integration that should allow us to continue our growth trajectory, providing even more to our agents and clients.

Then, in February 2021, you announced the acquisition of Naberly Solutions. How does that help you better compete?

JH: The acquisition of Naberly allows us to accelerate our vision of technology independence and improved workflow and business intelligence for our agents. It will enable us to further reduce our expenses over time, which means that we will have more capital to invest in our agents’ success. Additionally, as large portals acquire and control more of our agents’ data, it becomes increasingly important to take back control. Our agents are spending enormous sums each month to buy leads from companies that don’t have their best interests in mind. It’s time to redirect those funds internally and control our destiny. As a tech-based company, Fathom is uniquely positioned to do just that.

What makes Fathom uniquely positioned?

JH: First, like most real estate companies, Fathom provides a full-service offering to our customers and our agents. However, unlike the others, Fathom operates a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, powered by our proprietary technology called intelliAgent. This platform is what allowed us to not only survive the initial months of the pandemic, but also thrive and grow. Our technology is what allows us to keep costs low and pass those savings on to agents. Our model empowers agents to grow their business by keeping more of their money to reinvest back into their marketing. As a tech-based company, we have the means and technological know-how to build a powerful platform that allows our agents to take back control and give them the money needed to fund their growth. We’re not just talking about tech. We’re building it and innovating with the agent in mind.

What can we expect next from Fathom?

JH: We’re working on expanding Fathom across all markets in the U.S. while seeking local leaders to help launch these new markets. We’re also actively pursuing acquisitions of other brokerages that want to be part of our vision. Other areas where you’ll see expansion and growth is through the acquisition of mortgage, insurance and other verticals to bring our agents and our shareholders more value. We’re just getting started and looking for people who share our passion.  

For more information, please visit www.fathomcareers.com.

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How ‘JPAR Sure Sale’ Helps Our Agents Win the Listing, Satisfy All Sellers

Sun, 04/11/2021 - 10:57

Today’s market is crazy. I’ve been a top producer, selling hundreds of homes throughout my career, and in all my years in the real estate business, I’ve never seen anything like this. There are so few listings to be won right now that agents need every tool in their arsenal to realistically compete.

Every seller circumstance is different: a growing family, downsizing, divorce or a career move. Whatever the case, sellers need an agent to protect their best interests. Agents remain at the helm of every sales transaction, earning a commission whether it’s an iBuyer, trade or a traditional sale.

How do we help our agents win the listing at JPAR Real Estate? Two words: Sure Sale.

JPAR Real Estate has become America’s fastest-growing 100% commission brokerage by exceeding our agents’ and clients’ expectations. As a next-generation, full-service real estate franchise, we now operate over 60 locations across 21 states with 3,500-plus agents as a Top 10 Hottest Franchise Business.

We are empowering our agents with the best technology and tools to fuel our service-based culture. After all, we are assisting with the most important financial decision of a client’s life.

Last fall, we launched JPAR Sure Sale, powered by zavvie. Other brokerages have followed, but we were the first to launch zavvie enterprise-wide through our company-owned and franchised locations.

Sure Sale helps agents engage clients with all the newest selling options, including JPAR Trades, a buy-before-you-sell option from bridge providers; an iBuyer option with JPAR Instant Offers; and a traditional open market listing, JPAR List.

It’s no wonder Sure Sale has achieved one of the best adoption rates of any offer we provide our agents. Sellers can get and compare multiple offers on their homes right now. They can use a bridge solution to buy before they sell, accept an iBuyer cash offer or maximize their return on the open market.

Agents understand why Sure Sale works, and they see it as a fantastic selling tool. To help with adoption, we exposed agents to this new tool daily, rolling out the information repeatedly. We also asked agents to share why they use this free tool in webinars. We created a powerful and compelling social media video commercial. For new agents, Sure Sale is one of the many unique benefits they get from joining JPAR.

We have a supportive, industry-born leadership culture at JPAR. As brokers, we all have either sold real estate or are still actively selling real estate. So we look for tools that are going to move the needle. Then we test it and can determine with a level of certainty that our agents will adopt what we roll out. We have a team dedicated to the agent’s success, making certain our agents have the best tools and can use and apply them every day for their clients.

JPAR Sure Sale fits our next-generation mission. Agents must be able to offer sellers every option in today’s market. As a traditional brokerage with brick-and-mortar offices, we are leveraging this modern approach to win more listings.

JP Piccinini is founder of JPAR Real Estate and CEO of Vesuvius Holdings. Learn more at www.jpar.com.

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Riding the Waves of Change: RISMedia Releases 33rd Annual Power Broker Report

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 13:20

What a difference a year makes.

This time last year, Power Brokers were sitting pretty, a healthy economy in hand and a bullish outlook on 2020. But a growing concern was also casting a shadow of uncertainty—the nascent COVID-19 virus.

No one could anticipate with any degree of certainty what the fallout would be one year later. But after a couple of barren months sparked by a pandemic-induced recession and near worldwide lockdown, a housing boom took hold—and the results of RISMedia’s 2021 Power Broker Survey tell the story.

Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19 on so many facets of life and business, real estate thrived in 2020, with this year’s Top 1,000 Power Brokers reporting nearly $1.7 trillion in sales volume compared to last year’s $1.4 trillion. 2020’s average transaction amount also soared beyond 2019, rising from $374,314 to more than $400,000. What’s more, Power Broker sentiment for 2021 marks a first in our 33-year history of the survey: 50% of Power Brokers describe their market as “booming” compared to just 18% who described it as such the year before.

“The COVID-19 pandemic drove consumers’ homes to the top of their priority lists in 2020,” says Todd Sumney, chief industry officer for HomeSmart. “That priority, combined with the lowest interest rates for some time and our pre-existing housing shortage in the U.S., has impacted many markets by driving an increase in demand for homes and, ultimately, an increase in transactions.”

A Pervasive Fly in the Ointment

Today, with hot market conditions prevalent in almost every area of the country, Power Brokers are riding the wave. But they’re also bracing themselves for the other shoe to drop: lack of inventory sparking increasing affordability issues. While “Lack of Inventory” has been ranked the No. 1 challenge in the Power Broker Survey for four years running, the extent and scope of the issue is now greater than ever, according to a whopping 84% of Power Brokers.

“Coming off a record-breaking year, our market continues to flourish with strong buyer demand,” explains Michael Saunders, CEO of Sarasota, Florida-based Michael Saunders & Company. “We are experiencing multiple offers and frantic buyers. However, inventory is at an all-time low. With properties selling quickly, sellers are hesitant to list as they must reenter the market as buyers with limited choices. Off-market properties are the hottest commodity.”

“The market is very difficult with extremely low inventory,” says Gary Carlson, broker/owner of Realty ONE Group Premier in Lone Tree, Colorado. “The significant increase in home values and low inventory are making it difficult for a buyer to find another home and/or assess if there is a significant difference in making a change from what they are currently living in to a new home.”

Some believe market conditions will propel an inevitable increase in inventory.

“The public—due to the pandemic, the election, social unrest and other issues—has been delayed in participating in the listing and purchasing of properties,” says Lisa Munoz, broker of Keller Williams Realty Heritage in San Antonio, Texas.  “Builders have little to no inventory and are increasing new starts. However, they are challenged due to lot shortages, unknown supply availability and continuous price increases of those resources. This is likely to improve with the public’s and industry’s confidence level, including but not limited to the virus vaccine rollout, the election completion and simply the desire to be back together again in person.”

“COVID has created market indicators that we’ve never seen before, leading to record prices and activity that will be studied for years to come,” adds Grattan Donahoe, broker of ERA Donahoe Realty in Temecula, California. “In the meantime, I expect sales to continue to flourish and inventory to loosen as home sellers can no longer ignore the record values their homes could fetch on the market.”

Consumers Are Driving the Bus

The 2020/2021 real estate boom is sparked by a variety of unique circumstances triggered by the pandemic, most notably, the consumer-driven shift in where and how they live.

“The meaning of ‘home’ has been redefined because of the pandemic,” explains Ryan Carter, president of 8z Real Estate serving Denver and Colorado’s Front Range communities. “People now want more from their home. They want space that can allow them to have more amenities—that may be the ability to work from home, more outdoor space, more privacy or larger square footage. Also, the ability to not be bound by a commute as more people are working virtually has allowed buyers to look outside of typically metro/urban markets.”

Operating in a pandemic environment meant the immediate need to service consumers with, and through, technology more than ever before. For many Power Brokers, COVID times pushed their agents over the tech hump fast, and potentially for good. And for some, the rapid tech shift of 2020 stands to permanently change the traditional real estate business model.

“Agents will lean into technology-driven, virtual brokerages,” believes Jason Gesing, CEO of eXp Realty. “The brick and mortar value proposition of a traditional brokerage will fade fast, as more agents and their clients will embrace remote work in 2021.”

While the pandemic has accelerated the adoption and use of technology, for many brokerages, it has also emphasized the value of working with a real estate professional.

“The industry will continue to experience technology intrusion and sales associates will struggle to find the secret sauce,” says Thais Vona, controller for RE/MAX Select Realty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “The relationship between the REALTOR®’s value and the consumer’s expectations will become increasingly scrutinized. The sales associates who can bridge that gap consistently and deliver both pre- and post-relationship driven transactions will, without a doubt, overcome the illusion that technology-driven models will either replace them or result in the devaluation of the services they perform.”

In It to Win It

The year ahead, once again, will unfold with a degree of uncertainty. While the positive impact of vaccinations and potential herd immunity hold promise of a potential return to normalcy come summer, rising interest rates, persistent unemployment and increasing taxes are all on Power Brokers’ radars as they move forward.

“With historically low interest rates, greater negotiability and a vaccine in play, we believe that we will experience robust market activity across all of our markets, especially in New York City,” says Salvatore Troia, CFO of Douglas Elliman.

“In our market, we are currently experiencing economic uncertainty brought on by record-breaking unemployment rates,” says Andrea Larson, broker/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate. “We are keeping a close watch on potential interest rate changes as a result of the new administration, which could compound the challenges we are experiencing.”

No matter how things shake out, the real estate professionals who have invested in innovation and increasing their professionalism are the ones who will win out.

“Despite the numerous challenges of 2020, housing continues to be a basic need and prevails in spite of challenges,” says Terri Stickle, executive vice president of Virginia’s Rose & Womble Realty. “The new normal is to be flexible in meeting those real estate needs.”

“We are in a radical, changing environment,” adds Mike Pappas, president and CEO of Florida’s The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties. “It is incumbent on us to adapt, pivot and lead in these times.”  

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

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Power Broker Perspectives: Strategies for the Road Ahead

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 13:14

From an inventory drought to a sea change in relocation patterns, market challenges and opportunities have created a wild ride for this year’s Power Brokers. Triggered by the pandemic, changes to the way brokerages must operate and the way consumers need—and expect—to be served, have caused brokers to rapidly adapt in order to reap the current rewards and navigate the longer-term effects. To help gauge the impact of 2020 on brokerage operations and tap into their strategies for the year at hand, RISMedia curated insights from Power Brokers across the country for this special roundtable. Here, real estate leaders share their key takeaways from 2020 and their game plans for 2021.

PARTICIPANTS

Robert Bailey
President,
Bailey Properties, Inc., CA

Robert Briggs
President & CEO,
Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, TX

Dava Davin
CEO,
Portside Realty Group, ME

Dean deTonnancourt
President & CEO,
HomeSmart Professionals Real Estate, RI, MA, CT

Bess Freedman
CEO,
Brown Harris Stevens, NY, NJ, CT, FL

Molly Hamrick
President & COO,
Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, NV

David Howell
Executive Vice President, McEnearney Associates, VA, MD, DC

Faron King
Broker/Owner,
Coldwell Banker High Country Realty, GA

Dan Kruse
President & CEO,
CENTURY 21 Affiliated, WI, IL, IN, MI, MN, FL

Bo Menkiti
Founder & CEO,
Keller Williams Capital
Properties, DC, VA

Gretchen Pearson
President & Broker/Owner,
Berkshire Hathaway
HomeServices Drysdale Properties, CA

Matthew van Winkle
Founder & CEO,
RE/MAX Northwest, WA, OR

William A. Watson Jr.
CEO,
Watson Realty Corp., FL

How have the experiences of 2020 made your firm stronger for business in 2021 and beyond?

Gretchen Pearson: 2020 made us much stronger. Our actions and positions further defined who we are and what we stand for. We learned to lean into what works, to drop what doesn’t, and to move on.

Faron King: REALTORS® are resilient by nature, but 2020 amplified that resiliency. In Georgia, we were fortunate to be one of the first states that was declared Critical Infrastructure and Essential Business, allowing us to keep transactions moving and get back to work sooner than many other states. The buyer demand that followed the shutdown, and still continues in our region, is nothing short of unbelievable. Like most, we have embraced virtual communication and honed our skills on working smarter to keep up with the demand.

Bess Freedman: In 2020, Brown Harris Stevens restructured to incorporate Halstead, and the two companies now operate under the Brown Harris Stevens brand. This new venture fortified our company and helped us to emerge from the pandemic bigger and stronger than ever. We adapted to new technologies and virtual showing techniques, launched a new intranet platform, and increased our marketing reach. We are now the largest privately-owned residential real estate company on the East Coast with a singular focus on service across all inventory types, prices and locations in all of our regions.

Bo Menkiti: 2020 was a challenging year in many ways. The pandemic showed us that things we could never imagine—like vast swaths of the economy shutting down—could happen. We recognized the need for flexibility and harnessed our ability to adjust on a moment’s notice. As a business, we realized that we could successfully pivot and creatively manage new methods of collaboration, communication and service delivery by incorporating new technologies and embracing the new normal.

Last year also brought to light the work we must do as a country in addressing social inequalities and racial equity, in addition to highlighting how international crises like the pandemic affect different communities in different ways. This new dynamic has created a clarion call for us as business leaders. It has never been clearer that businesses, especially in the real estate industry, play an important role in increasing access to opportunities and equity in our nation’s communities.

Matthew van Winkle: From 2020, we’ve learned that we can scale farther than previously anticipated as the value proposition of the physical office has been severely diminished. Agents have adapted and no longer need to be in the office to run their business. This will allow us to greatly expand our service offerings.

Dava Davin: The events of 2020 brought our company closer together, and our culture became stronger. We are in a good place to take on 2021 and continue to recruit and expand our brand while doing some good work throughout the great state of Maine.

Dan Kruse: The events of 2020 have created many challenges for both brokerages and consumers and have forced CENTURY 21 Affiliated to do business in new ways. We have become more efficient, we’ve embraced new technology and figured out ways to connect with consumers. That being said, real estate thrives when agents can be face-to-face with their consumers. There were challenges and great things that came out of 2020, and while we adapt, we also hope for a new sense of normalcy in our markets in 2021.

Robert Bailey: We have never seen this amount of capital and liquidity. The quest to relocate to the coast has put tremendous pressure on our market, which was already short on inventory.  Our ability to guide our agents through this with marketing, technology and coaching is paramount to our continued success. The work-from-home option became a reality for our market, creating Silicon Valley at the coast. Santa Cruz and the central coast have been rediscovered.

David Howell: As is true throughout the country, COVID accelerated the challenge of very low inventory. While there is a considerable overhang of condo inventory in the most urban portions of our market, demand for all other property types and price ranges is considerably higher than supply. Further, the recovery in the region’s economy is uneven, and those with jobs have done very well, while those who have lost their jobs or who continue to be at risk are struggling. This “k-shaped” recovery will impact the entry level of our market for years.

What have you done to change operations and manage expenses in the wake of the pandemic?

Molly Hamrick: 2020 was an opportunity in disguise, which allowed us to think more strategically and focus on our areas of strength. Quickly transitioning to an online environment forced our leaders to push the envelope of innovation and create new ways to serve our sales associates and clients. In 2020, we hosted over 500 online classes, workshops and training sessions to help our agents adjust their practices while maintaining and growing their businesses in a brand-new world. From wiring commissions to doing virtual home tours on Facebook Live, we quickly learned that these technologies were quite efficient, and we look forward to keeping these in place going forward.

William Watson: A crisis can create opportunities if approached positively. We immediately started investigating other methods and ways of conducting business. We brainstormed on different options in technology to enhance our ability to communicate with associates and customers. We invested in upgrading our webinar skills, equipment, networking and training with employees and sales associates. We introduced a marketing campaign of “Simple-Safe-Sold” to promote safe real estate communications without personal contact. We have started remodeling our sales offices to add cafes, and reducing the footprint of our offices.

Bo Menkiti: Operationally, we enhanced our use of technology and embraced a remote working environment to keep our employees both safe and connected. With a new mix of virtual meetings and an organized cloud to store data that can be accessed from anywhere, we were able to seamlessly move from an in-person team to one that is just as efficient while working remotely.

We saw early on that the financial burdens of the pandemic would hit nearly every industry. As a brokerage, we were proactive in addressing the potential financial burdens our agent entrepreneurs would face as a direct result of the pandemic. Because we saw the writing on the wall, every division across our business focused on cutting costs and reducing expenses so we could be lean and efficient. We’re dedicated to supporting our agent entrepreneurs and their businesses, and as a result, rolled out a stimulus plan early on that suspended fees and rent, allowing them to build necessary reserves while continuing to operate at the highest level.

While initially the market took a dip in 2020, it roared back, and our agents were positioned to take advantage of this new momentum with an unprecedented increase in sales and incredibly low interest rates. The adjustments we made during the early stages of the pandemic to become a lean and efficient operation have positioned us well as we head into 2021 and beyond.

Matthew van Winkle: Our company was built to scale and to be virtual from the beginning, so 2020 helped us fine tune our processes and our services and then expand. When we were forced to close our offices, we didn’t miss a beat. While we noticed competitors scrambling to figure out how to process commissions and pay their agents, we were focused on helping our agents navigate the changes in the market and help their clients because we’d been using 100% digital payments for the past few years.

Robert Briggs: 2020 was a very good year for a real estate company that could adapt to a virtual world of showings, open houses, 3D digital tours, live webinars, property showcasing and even closings. We were fortunate that moving to a virtual business model was seamless, therefore, our marketing department was able to provide the tools and the training for agents to do their work and be as profitable as ever before.

How did 2020 impact your recruiting and retention strategies?

Gretchen Pearson: We turned almost all resources toward retention. We immediately put together a program for our newer superstars—a Rainmaker Program where we took up-and-coming talent and put them through a guided sales program that empowered them with exclusive tools and opportunities. We were concerned about losing our new talent when the pandemic hit. We know newer agents will pick up a side gig to help make ends meet, and with no open houses and then no Uber, we wanted our program to work like a side gig. We also started paying for Buffini & Company coaching for our agents and increased our feedback and communication loop with our agents.

Bo Menkiti: Now more than ever, it’s crucial to build strong, efficient and motivated teams. As part of our company culture, we work tirelessly to empower our team to be the best they can be both personally and professionally. The pressing need for technologically savvy business models that rose in 2020 was a great opportunity for us to get creative and get to work in securing innovative resources and tools so our agent entrepreneurs can be successful.

We firmly believe that at Keller Williams Capital Properties, our end-to-end technological platform and global network allow our agent entrepreneurs to remain at the forefront of their client relationships while providing the best-in-class resources and tools that today’s customers demand. With our expanded cutting-edge resources, our agent entrepreneurs are empowered to become more digitally connected and tech savvy. Our agents are making a massive impact in their local communities while leveraging the support of a global network of like-minded, service-oriented professionals.

Matthew van Winkle: We went digital. We had one of our best recruiting years, adding over 130 agents. We also completed a few acquisitions to grow to 650 agents from 350 agents in 2019. We doubled down on our development program and our assistant services division to help with retention. Agents get coaching and administrative assistant support that they cannot get anywhere else. 2020 showed us the value of our assistant services, and we plan to increase from approximately 16 assistants to 30 or 40 in the next year.

What is your approach to growth in the year ahead?

Dean deTonnancourt: Our approach to growth has consistently been from within our own business family—our associates. When a company truly delivers what is promised, long-term loyalty is achieved. Delivering an “experience” like no other in the marketplace is the basis of continued long-term growth.

William Watson: We are focused on quality service to our associates and customers. The last 24 months, we have substantially enhanced our support to help associates achieve their quality of life and income. We have the synergism to enhance their success. We will be looking for opportunities to merge companies that have similar objectives. Our interview and support systems create a powerful benefit to help everyone. Our team concept has a powerful impact.

Molly Hamrick: With all the market factors at play, we anticipate that production will exceed even the highs of last year. Our shift into online systems will allow us to navigate this elevated level of business in addition to focusing additional resources into delivering enhanced marketing for listings and sales associates to optimize exposure for both. We will also be dedicated to attracting experienced sales associates who recognize the value of a full-service culture, which ultimately saves them time and allows them to increase their own profitability.

Robert Briggs: We are focused on agent productivity and growth, which will lead to larger marketshare and attracting other professionals to join our team when they see the success we are bringing to our agents.

Faron King: Simply put, find inventory! We are working many different angles to find inventory to list and sell. From contacting owners who bought during the hot market in the early 2000s, who might not be using their second home and not be aware of how good the market currently is, to contacting owners who bought during the lean years of foreclosures who stand to realize substantial appreciation, we’re leaving no stone unturned.

What are the biggest challenges in your market for the year ahead, and how do you plan to handle them?

Robert Bailey: Though real estate was the shining light in the second half of 2020, it also presented to us a tremendous challenge going into 2021. The rapid increase in prices and lack of inventory has created an affordability crisis. Local communities who took a low-growth or no-growth policy are now faced with an increasing affordability gap. The ability to work from home generated a whole new demographic of homebuyers who have now discovered the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay area.

Faron King: Increased buyer demand coupled with historically low inventory. We are also struggling with builders being booked out for custom-builds and no new construction coming on the market to speak of. I am optimistic that as COVID continues to become more manageable, sellers who want to take advantage of the hot market who have been fearful of listing their home will gain confidence to join the frenzied market.

Dava Davin: We have the tightest market with the lowest inventory we have ever seen in Maine. Agents are stepping up to the challenge and showing their value to their clients in this battle for housing. Resourcefulness, responsiveness and compassion have never been more important. I am incredibly proud of our team.

Dan Kruse: For many brokers, it’s a tale of two markets, and which way it will ultimately swing for 2021 remains to be seen. For those who are not prepared, the current and future market will bring additional challenges, but I believe there will be unbelievable opportunities for growth, business and education. As brokers, we have to be up to those challenges.

Bess Freedman: In NYC, taxes are a huge issue. There is talk of reintroducing the pied-à-terre tax, which, if passed, would heap additional annual costs on many second-home owners in NYC. Analysts already ruled that this tax would not help close significant budget gaps and would likely cause more people to abandon NYC at a time when we need to focus on rebuilding.

Dean deTonnancourt: While new listings continue to enter the market, low inventory and multiple offers continue to be at the forefront of challenges, with approximately one month’s supply available throughout the state of Rhode Island. Our efforts focus on arming our associates with the tools they need to compete in the marketplace, as well as the education of market trends in fostering consumer confidence.

Matthew van Winkle: Our biggest challenge is consumer awareness in the differences between real estate agents. The consumer sees most agents as the same, and our challenge is to educate the consumer on what a good agent really is and what they really do.

Bess Freedman: Aggregator websites and discount brokerages are working to diminish the role of an agent and chip away at their value, and while I don’t foresee this really affecting NYC real estate agents, it will have broader implications in other markets. I believe that buyers and sellers deserve their own representation to protect their interests at the closing table, and not a one-size-fits-all approach. Not all square feet are created equal.

William Watson: The listing inventory needs to be increased. It is essential that we up our personal contact with our customer base and centers of influence as soon as it is safe. There are many homeowners who are reluctant to put their homes on the market due to the coronavirus. Others are concerned about finding a new home if theirs sells. We also believe that there needs to be more efficiency in the permitting process for new construction.

Molly Hamrick: There will be a lot of forced and self-sorting changes made by space users in 2021. Some companies are growing, some downsizing and some are looking for efficiencies. There seems to be a dichotomy between occupants. The pandemic brought a lot of pain to some tenants and landlords, while others have done exceedingly well. I think we all have changed how we do business in some manner, and much of this is to our long-term benefit. While we see some robustness in industrial, our view is that many will continue to look at utilizing space better for cost reasons, and many tenants will look for shorter-term leases.

Robert Briggs: Lack of inventory is the only real challenge we are facing. Our agents must resort to off-market business.

Molly Hamrick: Although we expect a decent recovery, end-user preferences may reveal some permanent changes. In residential, we are still facing a shortage of inventory, so it makes each new listing we get that much more valuable. We’re looking at some rate sensitivity in 2021 based on how far prices have traveled, but demand is expected to remain deeper than supply. Luxury has been spectacular and migration to Las Vegas seems to be continuing. We expect these changes to keep us extremely busy in 2021, so our job is to keep our clients updated on the market, staying on top of new technology and staying objective even when many of us will feel an inertia that is hard to pull away from on a daily basis.

RISMedia’s 33rd Annual Power Broker Report is based on the top 1,000 respondents to the 2021 Power Broker Survey, distributed via email and available here. The survey ranks residential real estate brokerage firms according to closed residential sales volume and closed residential transaction sides for 2020. All sales and transaction data are submitted directly by brands and individual brokerage firms, and are verified by a firm’s financial executives, outside financial firm and/or corporate franchise headquarters. RISMedia’s Power Broker Report is sponsored by Real Estate Webmasters, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Homes.com and Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

This report was compiled by RISMedia editors Maria Patterson, Paige Tepping, Liz Dominguez and Jameson Doris.

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CoreLogic: Home Price Growth Reached 15-Year High in February

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 12:59

CoreLogic® recently released the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for February 2021.

Home prices continued to increase in February, reaching the highest annual gain since April 2006, as demand continues to clash with historically low supply. These factors have created increased affordability challenges, especially as mortgage rates also begin to rise.

CoreLogic analysis also shows homebuyers have steadily moved away from densely populated, high-cost coastal areas in favor of more affordable suburban locales. The number of homebuyers in the top 10 metros with the largest net out-migration—including West Coast metros like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose—who chose to move to another metro increased by 3 percentage points in 2020 to 21% from 2019. This sentiment is reflected in CoreLogic’s recent consumer survey, which found that 57% of current non-homeowners on the West Coast feel the home options in their area are not at all affordable.

“Homebuyers are experiencing the most competitive housing market we’ve seen since the Great Recession,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Rising mortgage rates and severe supply constraints are pushing already-overheated home prices out of reach for some prospective buyers, especially in more expensive metro areas. As affordability challenges persist, we may see more potential homebuyers priced out of the market and a possible slowing of price growth on the horizon.”

Top Takeaways:

– Nationally, home prices increased 10.4% in February 2021, compared with February 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1.2% compared to January 2021.

– Home prices are projected to increase 3.2% by February 2022. Increased inventory as the pandemic wanes, coupled with affordability concerns that may discourage potential homebuyers, could lead to a slowdown in home price growth by the end of 2021.

– Metro areas where affordability constraints are prevalent continue to persist as prices rise. For instance, in February, home prices increased 16.2% year-over-year in Phoenix, 12.5% in Seattle and 8.2% in Los Angeles.

– At the state level, Idaho, Montana and South Dakota had the strongest price growth in February, up 22.6%, 19.5% and 17.1%, respectively.

“The run-up in home prices is good news for current homeowners but sobering for prospective buyers,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Those looking to buy need to save for a down payment, closing costs and cash reserves, all of which are much higher as home prices go up. Add to that a rise in mortgage rates and the affordability challenge for first-time buyers becomes even greater.”

Source: CoreLogic

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ATTOM Data Solutions Releases 2020 Property Tax Analysis

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 12:52

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released its 2020 property tax analysis for almost 87 million U.S. single family homes, which shows that $323 billion in property taxes were levied on single-family homes in 2020, up 5.4% from $306.4 billion in 2019. The average tax on single-family homes in the U.S. in 2020 was $3,719—resulting in an effective tax rate of 1.1%.

The average property tax of $3,719 for a single-family home in 2020 was up 4.4% from $3,561 in 2019 while the effective property tax rate of 1.1% in 2020 was down slightly from 1.14% in 2019.

View 2020 Property Taxes by County Heat Map

The report analyzed property tax data collected from county tax assessor offices nationwide at the state, metro and county levels along with estimated market values of single-family homes calculated using an automated valuation model (AVM). The effective tax rate was the average annual property tax expressed as a percentage of the average estimated market value of homes in each geographic area.

“Homeowners across the United States in 2020 got hit with the largest average property tax hike in the last four years, a sign that the cost of running local governments and public-school systems rose well past the rate of inflation. The increase was twice what it was in 2019,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer for ATTOM Data Solutions. “Fortunately for recent home buyers, they have mortgages with super-low interest rates that somewhat contain the cost of home ownership. But the latest tax numbers speak loud and clear about the continuing pressure on both recent and longtime homeowners to support the rising cost of public services.”

States with the highest effective property tax rates in 2020 remained New Jersey (2.2%), Illinois (2.18%), Texas (2.15%), Vermont (1.97%) and Connecticut (1.92%).

Other states in the top 10 for highest effective property tax rates also were the same as in 2019: New Hampshire (1.86%), New York (1.68%), Pennsylvania (1.64%), Ohio (1.62%) and Nebraska (1.53%).

The lowest effective tax rates in 2020 were in Hawaii (0.37%), Alabama (0.44%), West Virginia (0.51%), Colorado (0.54%) and Utah (0.54%).

Other states in the top 10 for lowest effective property tax rates were Tennessee (0.59%), Nevada (0.6%), Idaho (0.61%), Arizona (0.62%) and Wyoming (0.63%).

New Jersey had the highest average property tax on single-family homes, $9,196. That was more than 10 times over than the average tax of $841 in Alabama, the state with the lowest average levy.

Others states in the top five were Connecticut ($7,395), New York ($6,628), New Hampshire ($6,596) and Massachusetts ($6,514).

Others in the bottom five were West Virginia ($849), Arkansas ($1,147), Tennessee ($1,202) and Mississippi ($1,241).

Among 220 metropolitan statistical areas around the country with a population of at least 200,000 in 2020, 12 of the top 20 effective tax rates were in the Northeast.

Those with the highest effective property tax rates in 2020 were Syracuse, New York (2.83%); Trenton, New Jersey (2.69%); Binghamton, New York (2.67%); El Paso, Texas (2.66%) and Rockford, Illinois (2.62%).

The highest rates among metro areas with a population of at least 1 million in 2020 were in Rochester, New York (2.46%); Houston, Texas (2.44%); Hartford, Connecticut (2.18%); Chicago, Illinois (2.15%) and Dallas, Texas (2.13%).

The lowest rates in 2020 were in Honolulu, Hawaii (0.36%); Daphne-Fairhope, Alabama (0.37%); Montgomery, Alabama (0.38%); Tuscaloosa, Alabama (0.39%) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (0.42%).

The lowest rates among metro areas with a population of at least 1 million in 2020 were in Nashville Tennessee (0.53%); Salt Lake City, Utah (0.58%); Birmingham, Alabama (0.58%); Phoenix, Arizona (0.58%) and Denver, Colorado (0.6%).

Among the 220 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed in the report, 120 (55%) posted an increase in average property taxes from 2019 to 2020 that was above the national figure of 4.41 %. They included Salt Lake City, Utah (up 11.4%); San Francisco, California (up 11.1%); San Jose, California (up 10.8%); Seattle, Washington (up 10.3%) and Atlanta, Georgia (up 10.2%).

Other major markets posting an increase in average property taxes that was above the national average included San Diego, California (up 10.2%); Tampa, Florida (up 10%); Denver, Colorado (up 9.9%); Raleigh, North Carolina (up 9.7%) and Columbus, Ohio (up 9.1%).

Among 1,453 U.S. counties with at least 10,000 single family homes in 2020 and sufficient data to analyze, 16 had an average single-family-home tax of more than $10,000, including 12 in the New York City metro area. The top five were Rockland County, New York ($13,931); Marin County, California (outside San Francisco) ($13,257); Essex County, New Jersey ($12,698); Nassau County, New York ($12,386) and Bergen County, New Jersey ($12,348).

Source: ATTOM Data Solutions

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Massive ‘Spring Into Action’ Virtual Event Equips Real Estate’s Brokers and Agents for Success

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 14:06

RISMedia just closed up its most successful virtual event yet, “Spring Into Action,” co-presented by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

The virtual event was held on April 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT and attracted 5,000-plus attendees who tuned in to learn from more than 75 of the industry’s top leaders, coaches and trainers.

RISMedia CEO and Founder John Featherston and NAR President Charlie Oppler started things off during the event’s opening session, discussing Fair Housing month, improving agents’ and teams’ success in a post-COVID era, and moving away from the pandemic’s biggest challenges.

“We are going to hear some really interesting insights from today’s leaders on this show,” said Featherston. “This is going to be an action-packed day of educational insights and powerful opportunities to help you achieve even greater success in the weeks and months to come.”

“Fair housing never stops. It’s the right thing to do,” said Oppler. “In 2021, we’ve challenged our leadership team to complete our Fairhaven program, go through the At Home With Diversity certification and watch the video on implicit bias.” Oppler stated that over 500 members of NAR’s 1K leaders already completed all three levels.

“What are the biggest challenges and changes that you see happening to our industry over the next year?” asked Featherston.

Overall, Oppler stated brokerages are spending time with their agents, ensuring they have the best tech and tools to compete in today’s market so the consumer gets the best experience.

“The agent has to be integral in the transaction,” said Oppler.

With the opening session wrapped up, industry leaders tackled some of real estate’s biggest challenges and opportunities in a series of general sessions.

With the vaccine rollout in full swing across the U.S., everyone’s wondering the same thing: When will life return to “normal”? NAR Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research Lawrence Yun shed some light on this during “Spring Market Update: How 2021 Has Unfolded So Far…and What Lies Ahead.”

“After the initial decline during the lockdown months in spring last year, the markets made a strong surge. Is it topping out?” Yun asked. “Sales are not clicking with the momentum we saw before.”

According to Yun, generally in spring months, about 30% additional inventory shows up compared to the winter months—but this winter had record-low inventory. In the $1M-plus markets this hasn’t been an issue, but lower price points are really feeling the inventory crunch.

“The buyers are out there, yet home sales are not clicking for the simple fact that there is not enough inventory,” said Yun, who predicts a 15% home-sale increase in Q1, followed by a 40% increase in Q2 but then a lack of gains in the fourth quarter. If things go as predicted, Yun said home sales for 2021 will likely be 10% above what it was in 2020, and home prices should continue to “march higher.”

RISMedia is making a limited number of “Spring Into Action” sessions accessible to the public. Readers may view this dynamic session in the video below:

Additionally, RISMedia’s event addressed some of trends women in real estate have noticed over the years during its “Women in Real Estate: Seizing the Opportunities in 2021.”

The session was moderated by Joan Docktor, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®. Panelists included:

– Bess Freedman, Chief Executive Officer, Brown Harris Stevens
– Helen Hanna Casey, CEO, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services
– Rosey Koberlein, Chairperson, Long Companies
– Christina Pappas, Vice President, The Keyes Family of Companies.

Docktor kicked things off by asking panelists to identify challenges women are still facing and what has progressed along.

Here’s what they all had to say:

“It is easier today because at least there’s more women around that you can look to for role models,” said Docktor.

“You didn’t have a lot of role models or peers that were women,” agreed Hanna Casey. “But you also had to find people in other industries to talk to because management is management no matter how you do it.”

“You had to find a niche in the organization where you can step in, solve a problem create credibility because the reality of the situation is that we were watched,” said Koberlein.

“You still walk in a room and there’s still a limited number of women at the table,” said Pappas. “I’m hoping one day, you walk in a room and there’s just people, and no one’s thinking about how many women or how many men are there.”

“Stereotypes still persist unfortunately, but women handle power really well because they’re careful, they’re cautious and that shows up when you see women in real estate,” said Freedman.

During a one-on-one session between RISMedia’s Featherston and Brian Buffini of Buffini & Company, the pair discussed the tools agents need in order to succeed as well as the trends impacting the months ahead.

“What we are challenging clients to do is really focusing on the fundamentals,” said Buffini. “Make long-term decisions not short-term decisions. Ultimately, you want to leverage every buyer you have to get a listing. There’s an enormous amount of pent-up demand.”

Sign up for Buffini’s giveaway here.

During another one-on-one session, this time with Real Estate Webmaster’s Morgan Carey, the pair discussed the importance of technology in real estate, and how it can be utilized to create a competitive advantage.

“Agents need to work backwards from their objectives,” said Carey. “They need to be adopting readily available tech and lead-gen systems. They need to stop thinking they need to reinvent things and just focus on the object of their business.”

Stay tuned for additional coverage of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event.

Spring Into Action 2021 Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors
National Association of REALTORS® Center for REALTOR® Development
Real Estate Webmasters

Master Sponsor
CENTURY 21®
The Corcoran Group

Host Sponsor
Lone Wolf Technologies
Qualia
Realtors Property Resource, LLC
Rocket Mortgage

Event Sponsors
CoreLogic
David Knox Productions, Inc.
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com.

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Embracing Technology to Meet the Demands of Today’s Challenges

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 13:57

Propertybase Drives Business Forward for Boutique New York Real Estate Brokerage

Coming from a background in the arts, having been an actress in New York, Teresa Stephenson decided to transition into real estate about a decade ago.

Her first job was as an agent for Platinum Properties in New York, and she’s been there ever since. Four years into the job, she began overseeing residential sales before adding residential leasing and commercial to the mix. Today, she serves as the firm’s president.

While the past year has been challenging, as a firm, Platinum Properties has made tremendous efforts to keep things as close to normal as possible.

“For us, there have been a lot of silver linings,” says Stephenson. “In addition to maintaining almost all of our agents and growing our team by 50% in the past year, we started shooting virtual tours of everything, and I was shocked at how many people were willing to transact without seeing the properties.”

While it wasn’t the year everyone would have wanted, Stephenson describes the past 12 months as being “solid.” The firm is beginning to see tremendous growth—especially among rentals, as people are seizing the opportunity to upgrade in order to take advantage of lower rental prices.

“Tons of people are moving,” says Stephenson. “The sales market in New York City during the pandemic was different than in the rest of the country. We didn’t have a cut and dry seller’s market with low inventory. It was a good opportunity for buyers. But as people move back into the city, and there is a new optimism among all buyers, we are starting to see a surge in signed contracts and less willingness to negotiate among sellers.”

One way the firm keeps itself at the head of the game is through its partnership with
Propertybase, which provides CRM software, web design, marketing, lead generation and back-office help.

“We had used Salesforce previously, so it wasn’t a completely foreign idea to us, as Propertybase is built on Salesforce, although they’ve taken it to a whole new level,” says Stephenson. “Not only was Salesforce too complicated for us, but we didn’t have a dedicated person on staff, and we weren’t sure what to do next. We just knew it wasn’t working the way we were using it.”

This prompted Stephenson to begin looking for a more practical CRM.

“I knew I wanted something simple, but after looking at all of the options on the market, I realized we weren’t willing to sacrifice customization and in-depth data. The more I looked at Propertybase, the more excited I got,” says Stephenson. “In real estate, data is king, and I didn’t think the other CRMs were anywhere close to providing the detail that Propertybase does. It’s really the sweet spot in terms of providing everything you need while still being something that you can get your team to adopt and understand.”

The firm also hired a CRM manager who Stephenson worked with for about six months to tailor Propertybase to exactly what she wanted it to be.

“We launched it at the end of March 2020, right when the lockdown started,” adds Stephenson. “Having a successful CRM launch virtually, while teaching people how to use Zoom and virtual tours, is a pretty good indicator that you have a good system and a good team. It was important that we hired an outstanding CRM manager to lead the charge and partnership with Propertybase.”

Over the last year, Platinum Properties has continued to improve and customize the platform, and Stephenson feels that the firm is getting everything they can out of the platform today.

Stephenson also points to the support that the team at Propertybase continues to provide and appreciates that they are always available to answer questions and help them fit the system to the firm’s needs.

“Having the system in place and getting the agents to adopt it not only gives everyone the data they need, but also helps create the culture where agents understand their business overall,” concludes Stephenson. “It makes our agents think much more like business owners, rather than just dealmakers, and I think that is key for reaching their potential.”

For more information, please visit www.propertybase.com.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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Thoughts on Leadership: More on What Mentally Strong Leaders Don’t Do

Thu, 04/08/2021 - 12:32

As it turns out, while providing insights into what to do as leaders is helpful, it’s just as effective to discuss what not to do. In the spirit of continuing this productive conversation, here are a few more things mentally strong leaders don’t do:

They don’t doubt their goals or their worth.

Mentally strong leaders know exactly what’s driving their endeavors and they never question their passion or value. As I say, I love what I do largely because of who I get to do it with. I also love my job because it’s so much more than that. For me, real estate is a calling. It’s what I was meant to be doing. When you’re a mentally strong leader, you are not only 100% certain of your worth but you also know that your job is the fulfillment of what you were meant to become.

They don’t lack confidence.

How can someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? When you’re a mentally strong leader, your self-image is strong. There is no such thing as imposter syndrome when you have the confidence to know you’ll succeed. Remember, confidence is not arrogance. Confidence is your own belief in your capabilities, skill and motivation to accomplish any goal. The importance of confidence is why you have to take care of yourself, stick to your routine that is designed to put negative thoughts at bay, and get enough sleep. Remember what Vince Lombardi once said: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” We all have self-doubts and that’s why routine is so critical; it blocks out the negative aspects of your day and programs you for success.

They don’t focus on the ‘impossibilities.’

As Yoda said, do or do not—there is no try. Of course, a healthy view of failure is necessary because not everything in business is going to go your way. Sometimes, you have to lose the battle to win the war. However, harping on those things will not contribute to a strong mindset. Instead, it will weaken your chances of getting it done. The only thing that’s actually impossible is the thing you never do.

They don’t ignore the small wins.

Mentally strong leaders also understand the power of small wins. Small wins are exactly what they sound like and are a part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion, that favor another small win. Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.

They don’t wait for an opportunity to come their way.

If you sit around and wait for an opportunity, you might be sitting around forever. Remember, you must prepare for opportunities and when they come your way, take them. My pal Dwight “The Catch” Clark once wrote this in a blog post for this very website, while describing his college years at Clemson. He was sitting in his off-campus apartment, about to go play golf when the phone rang. Dwight almost didn’t pick up the phone but when he did, discovered Bill Walsh on the other end of the line. Bill Walsh asked Dwight to join his roommate (Clemson quarterback and ACC Offensive Player of the Year) Steve Fuller for a practice session. And during that session, Dwight caught everything. The rest, as he wrote, was history: “The ultimate meeting between opportunity and preparation resulted in the start of my pro football career. Yet, I know this tale could’ve had a very different ending if I hadn’t spent years running drills, if I hadn’t practiced all those long hours, if I hadn’t worked my hardest on the field each and every day. Because if none of that ever happened, the phone call would have meant nothing. But I did and it did, turning a dream once thought out of my reach into something that could fall right into my hands.”

They don’t maintain a fixed mindset.

Transformational change is a big part of leadership and it happens not just with your initiatives but also within your mind. If you have a fixed mindset, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten because you’ll simply do what you’ve always done. When you’re nimble and flexible and open to change, you have a growth mindset that is strengthened by focus and a commitment to doing the hard work.

They don’t make faulty assumptions.

In one of my favorite books, “The Four Agreements,” author Don Miguel Ruiz writes: “Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.” In any relationship—business, personal, familial—we assume someone knows exactly what we are thinking. But no one is inside our minds and no one has the exact same belief system or dreams that we have. We assume everyone sees and experiences life just like we do, yet no one experiences it like us. A mentally strong leader doesn’t make these assumptions. Instead, they ask questions, communicate clearly and assume nothing.

So, what’s the message? In leadership and life, there are things we should absolutely do but there are also things we shouldn’t do. When we’re faced with tough decisions, it’s how we move forward that determines the strength of our mindset and leadership. Baseball season kicked off this week, and I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes from baseball legend Yogi Berra: “Keep trying. Stay humble. Trust your instincts. Most importantly, act. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

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

 

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