The Business of Real Estate
How to Expand Your Real Estate Team and Improve Your Commission Advance

How to Expand Your Real Estate Team and Improve Your Commission Advance

By on Oct 20, 2017 in Blog, Real Estate | 0 comments

Being busy is good, but do you suddenly have more traffic and listing appointments than you can handle? There’s a fine line between running a bustling business and becoming drastically overwhelmed. Before you surrender your life to the dark side and sacrifice your commission advance to the competition, protect your investment and take a step toward a brighter future by building a smart, competent and wildly successful team. Start by Identifying Your Own Strengths Bigger isn’t always better. Make that your mantra as you add people to your team because you’ll be tempted to snag the best all-around applicant or the most intriguing go-getter, and what you first see as shiny and new might not be the best option. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and, perhaps more importantly, decide what tasks must be accomplished by you and what can be delegated. Once you know what you won’t or can’t do, you can narrow down your list of potential hires to those who will best fill the gap. Ask Applicants the Right Questions Interviewers get too caught up in queries about credentials and experience when that can all be verified using a resume and references. You can offer experience and teach real estate-specific skills, but there is no substitute for things like personality, drive and overall savvy. To see who already has those characteristics, shake up the questions you ask: What do they love about real estate? Why are they entering the industry? What do they do in their spare time? What’s the last book, magazine or blog they read? What industry newsletters do they subscribe to? What’s an example of a great customer service interaction they’re either proud of or that they learned from? What are their career goals? What do they hope to learn should they get this position? Be Fair When Structuring Pay Packets and Any Potential Commission Advance Money is a huge motivator — after all, aren’t you inspired by the thought of yet another sale and a looming listing advance? Your team will be encouraged by the same kind of incentives, but the opposite is also true. No one wants to work twice as hard for the same reward, so if your new hires...

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Why Schools Rule When It Comes to Home Sales for Real Estate Pros

Why Schools Rule When It Comes to Home Sales for Real Estate Pros

By on Jun 12, 2017 in Marketing, Real Estate | 0 comments

Even the most bare-bones MLS listings generally include a few key things: square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and what school district the property is in. The first two items have obvious value to potential buyers, but is the proximity of a school really that important to closing a sale? As it turns out, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Education Is the Future It comes as no surprise that some 35 percent of Americans with kids under the age of 18 dream of buying a house in a great school district, but it’s a bit more interesting to hear that 19 percent of all Americans have the same dream. Whether kids are a current reality or simply a twinkle in a homebuyer’s eye, the issue of education is still very much present. A street to the west or a block to the right could mean the difference between being assigned to a top-tier school and ending up in one that has less funding or a depressing student-teacher ratio, and other factors such as bussing, test scores and extracurriculars all come into play as well. Finding a home nestled within the boundaries of a well-respected district can feel like hitting the jackpot. Ponying Up for a Well-Placed Property How dedicated are parents to their children’s education? So much so that 20 percent of home buyers say they’d go as much as 10 percent over their budget in order to gain access to their dream district. Even more impressive is the 10 percent of parents who would dig deep for an extra 20 percent. It seems like a drastic investment in little Jack or Jill’s academic future, but there’s more to it than that. Great schools have great teachers and great amenities that range from immaculately groomed football fields to new computers in the tech lab. That all adds up to opportunities — opportunities for after-school programs, character-building mentorships, scholarships and admission to Jack or Jill’s college of choice. Much like renovating a kitchen or bathroom, homeowners who’ve invested in a good district are going to see financial returns down the road. The No-Kids Crew Even buyers without kids (and no intentions of starting a family anytime soon)...

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What Zillow Instant Offers Means for You

What Zillow Instant Offers Means for You

By on Jun 6, 2017 in Real Estate | 0 comments

Can you imagine real estate without the middleman? That theoretical world (as frightening or enlightening as it may be, depending on your point of view) may not be reality just yet, but a new program from Zillow has made the idea less abstract and a lot more possible. Zillow’s new Instant Offers initiative lets sellers use the Zillow platform as a way to list their homes, reach investors and solicit cash offers. So far, the pilot is only running in Las Vegas and Orlando, but if it takes off, Instant Offers could soon be live nationwide. Could this mean the end of real estate as we know it? Not so fast… The Ins and Outs of Instant Offers Here’s a brief rundown of Zillow’s initiative: Homeowners interested in Zillow Instant Offers contact the platform and get verified. The homeowners provide important information on their property, including square footage, the number of bedrooms and so on, and then uploads current photos of the home. Investors are able to see the listing and present offers. Those offers reach the homeowner within two business days of the homeowners’ listing/verification. As offers come in, the homeowners are also provided with a comparative market analysis, or CMA, courtesy of a local real estate agent. The homeowners can then compare the CMA to the investor offers and decide whether they want to accept or reject those offers. If an investor offer is selected, the homeowners schedule a free home inspection through Zillow. If no offers are accepted, the homeowners can list the property on the MLS with the agent’s assistance. According to Zillow, “Any investor offers and the CMA will include an overview of fees associated with each option to enable sellers to make an informed apples-to-apples comparison.” Changing the Game for Sellers If you’re looking to sell your home but feel some trepidation at approaching the transaction using the traditional model, Instant Offers could quickly connect you with investors and fast-track the entire process. It’s fast, it’s convenient and it comes with relatively little muss and fuss. The lack of staging and scheduling/arranging open houses could be all the incentive many people need. It’s a direct line to the people who are willing to...

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HOAs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

HOAs: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog, Real Estate | 0 comments

Ask three people how they feel about their homeowners’ association (HOA), and you’re likely to get three different answers. These organizations, which are funded by monthly are annual dues paid by the neighborhood’s homeowners, are tasked with enforcing the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and seeing to the general upkeep of common areas. On paper, it seems like a great concept; in practice, results often vary. The Good For residents in search of extra amenities and neighbors with neatly mown lawns, HOAs can be a major selling point. Having a ban on broken-down cars in driveways and fines in place for neglected landscaping encourages a peaceful existence and helps keep property values and curb appeal intact. HOAs are often charged with managing perks such as a clubhouse, pool, gym or park area as well. If you’re purchasing a condo, your assessments may include utilities and trash pickup. Should residents run afoul of the CC&Rs, a graduated warning system is usually in place. The first violation may earn you a friendly letter, while failing to correct the issue is likely to result in exponential fines, all of which are significant deterrents. The Bad The flip side of HOA enforcement can range from inconvenient to downright nasty. You may have to get written permission, attend a board meeting or even petition your neighbors if you want to repaint your home, change your landscaping or even park on the street. HOAs often send teams out to do regular inspections and deliver notices of violations. While people may assume they’ll be exempt as long as they’re obeying the CC&Rs, constantly receiving mail detailing a stray weed or two or threatening fines for a garbage can that’s visible from the street can be stressful. Fighting HOAs is usually a losing battle. The industry boasts an annual operating revenue of about $35 billion — that’s a lot of money at stake and plenty of power to go with it. There are instances where residents have waged legal battles against HOA errors only to lose their homes due to fee tallies that totaling tens of thousands of dollars, and the HOA can actually record a lien on your property or even force a foreclosure for...

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Hybrid Real Estate Brokerages: Is This the Year the Paradigm Changes?

Hybrid Real Estate Brokerages: Is This the Year the Paradigm Changes?

By on Apr 19, 2017 in Blog, Real Estate | 0 comments

Competition often breeds innovation and progress. In the real estate industry, status quo has kept the system roughly the same for decades — the addition of tech-based searches and online listings notwithstanding — but a disturbance in the force is imminent, and its name is Purplebricks. The Purplebricks Difference Purplebricks is a U.K.-based agency that made headlines in February 2017 when it announced its plans to enter the U.S. market with some $63 million in funding already in place. The addition of a new name isn’t what has the real estate world raising its collective eyebrows, however; it’s what the new name is doing. Purplebricks eschews the typical hands-on client-broker relationship in favor of a team of experts who conduct valuations of properties before handing over the actual buying and selling to a network of online systems. The biggest benefit of this system seller-wise is a markedly lower price point. Instead of the percentage-based fees traditional real estate agents currently charge, Purplebricks’ online-only approach revolves around a flat fee. In the U.K., costs that have long hovered around the $7,000 mark, on average, dropped to a mere $375 (plus tax). While it remains to be seen what the pricing model will be stateside, it’s all but guaranteed that the difference before and after Purplebricks will be significant. The Personal Touch: Does It Matter? While many experts are enthusiastically shouting about Purplebricks’ status as the “next big thing” to shake up American real estate, other industry insiders aren’t so sure. Adam DeSanctis of the National Association of Realtors told CNBC, “(Real estate agents here in the U.S.) have a unique understanding of what buyers’ value in their local markets. Their real insights and local market knowledge and ability to help consumers navigate each step of the transaction would be extremely difficult to imitate in an online-only model.” In other words, computers aren’t going to tell you what it feels like to walk down the streets of a certain neighborhood or which local pizzeria really has the best pies. While those details may not make a sale, the absence of so-called “color commentary” could easily foil a connection a client might otherwise make with a property and the community it’s situated...

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7 Hidden Costs Home Buyers Often Overlook

7 Hidden Costs Home Buyers Often Overlook

By on Apr 5, 2017 in Blog, Real Estate | 0 comments

What’s the true cost of buying a home? When you shop for clothes or groceries, you can usually rely on the price tag as a fairly accurate predictor of what you’ll be paying in the checkout line. With real estate, what you see as the bottom line at first is rarely — if ever — what you ultimately pay. In fact, your new home comes with a never-ending invoice of expenses that can add up extraordinarily fast. The hidden costs of ownership can be crippling if you’re not prepared. Here’s what you need to know in order to avoid the financial pitfalls. 1. Loan Origination Fee Loan officers don’t determine your eligibility for free. Your mortgage company may charge somewhere between 0.5–1.0 percent of your total loan amount to cover administrative work such as income and debt verification, employment record and estimating the size of your monthly mortgage payment. 2. Home Appraisal Before you’re approved for a loan, you’ll have to get the home you’re eyeing appraised. The mortgage company wants to be sure of two things: One, that the amount of money borrowers are requesting is appropriate for the home they intend on purchasing; and two, that the mortgage company doesn’t have to pay for the appraiser’s services if the purchase falls through. It’s likely that you’ll pay the appraisal fee up front and then, if you do indeed buy the appraised house, you may be credited back the fee as part of the closing. 3. Home Inspection A home inspection isn’t a required part of purchasing a home, but most experts would agree that it’s essential. A professional inspector can identify issues ranging from weaknesses in the roof to faulty foundations. Serious problems may scuttle a sale altogether, but smaller concerns can be used as leverage to either lower the sale price or ask for presale repairs. 4. Pest Inspection Outdated electrical wiring and heating/cooling system defects aren’t the only things you should be on the lookout for. A termite infestation is not something you want to discover after you’ve taken possession of your new home. Call in a pest expert and get the all clear before moving forward. 5. Closing Costs Wrapping up your real estate...

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