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Monday, May 30, 2011

5 Quick Tips for Surviving the Coaster

KCM Quick Tips

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to Win Over Buyers

How to Win Over Buyers


No matter how well educated your buyers are, they still need information on how a real estate transaction works. Use consultation appointments to inform them and become a trusted resource in the process.

By Rich Levin | May 2011



Buyers are more educated in today’s market. They have more access to information regarding properties and their value. Plus there are practically unlimited real estate resources online for practitioners.



These combined factors should make the real estate professional’s job easier, but for many, they don’t. Why? There are two problems:



▪ The information may not be accurate or relevant to a specific market.

▪ The information is almost certainly incomplete.



“An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer”

Two adages speak to today’s buyer:



▪ “An educated consumer is our best customer.” (the slogan of Syms clothing stores)

▪ “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” (written by English poet Alexander Pope)



Whether the real estate pro finds buyers easier or more difficult to work with depends on whether that practitioner respects and completes the buyers’ education.



Have the buyers obtained a copy of the contract and paperwork online? Probably not, and most paperwork has many pages plus addenda. Do the buyers know what real estate trends apply to their market? Do they know what to do when the inspection reveals a problem?



Contracts, inspections, financing, negotiation — there are far too many steps in the transaction process for most buyers to pick up on their own.



A Simple and Powerful Process

The most successful buyer’s agents learn to ask a few simple questions (adjust to the circumstances of you and your buyer accordingly):



“The purchase documents in our area are six pages, plus disclosures and addenda. Has anyone given you a copy of the latest documents and reviewed with you the parts that are going to be relevant for your purchase? I find it helps a lot to be familiar with the documents so you aren’t seeing them for the first time when you’re making that $200,000 decision. Would you like to get a copy and take a look at those together?”



“There are inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, title companies, lenders, and real estate agents involved in the transaction. Would it be helpful to go through the process step-by-step so you know what to expect and get some idea of what might come up? It often reduces some pressure and allows you to enjoy the process with greater confidence. Would that be helpful to you?”



These simple questions lead buyers to make a consultation appointment, which can establish enormous confidence and trust in you, the agent. Buyers subsequently go along more easily with your recommendations through the negotiations, which actually can reduce the number of homes they need to view. They find the experience so valuable that they begin to refer you to friends and relatives.



At the consultation appointment, review each step of the process, educating and preparing buyers. Do they understand the type of financing they’re trying to get? Do they have any questions about it? Even if you don’t have the answers, you can take the lead getting a clarification and making sure buyers are aware of what’s included in their closing costs and their payments, and in reducing cash needed with seller contributions.



You also should explain what buyers can expect: Describe problems that could arise and how you’ve solved them and protected buyers’ interests in the past.



As you conduct these presentations, you’ll quickly discover two things: how much buyers don’t know — even the educated ones — and how much they misunderstand. As you realize the value and power of these consultations, you’ll learn to go into deep detail, continuously confirming buyers’ understanding.



Changing laws and financing situations — such as explaining short sales and foreclosure procedures — are just a few reasons that the time you spend preparing buyers works to everyone’s benefit.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Are You Playing the Right Role?

Are You Playing the Right Role?


Consumers today are looking for expertise in their real estate agents. Make sure you're playing the part.

By Dirk Zeller | May 2011



The role of real estate professionals continues to evolve over time. The consumers who use our services continue to redefine what they want most from agents. That’s one of the elements that makes being a practitioner in today’s marketplace so exciting.



When we look at the influence of the Internet, mobile marketing, social media, sales apprehension, buyer fear, lack of equity, foreclosures, short sales, and the increase of cash buyers, we can see all these factors are creating an environment in which consumer demands and expectations are changing rapidly.



Last year, according to NAR’s 2010 Home Buyer and Seller Profile, more people found the home they ended up purchasing through the Internet first (38 percent) rather than a real estate agent (37 percent).



It’s important to note that respondents from each of these groups actually bought their houses through an agent. They just used different search methods to find their home.



The consumer may be changing, but there’s one element of the real estate business that has not gone away or lessened in importance: market expertise. Our service needs to be centered around that core base. If we can continue to establish ourselves as experts, we can hold fast to our value, attract customers and clients, and receive reasonable compensation for our services.



As salespeople and brokers, we have to draw on our knowledge about the local and national real estate market, financial conditions, and economic trends from a broad range of resources. Real estate pros must be well-read and must spend more time studying developments in the industry.



True experts start with their local markets. They clearly understand their area, tracking inventory and reviewing absorption rates to see the overall supply-and-demand picture. They also look beyond their community and region to the national level. Besides the reports regularly generated by NAR Research, there are a number of national home indices that can help you forecast trends and counsel clients, including:



▪ Clear Capital Home Data Index: This index is published monthly, pulling recent information from recorders’ and assessors’ offices and incorporating proprietary company technology.

▪ CoreLogic Home Price Index: An index based on price, time between sales, property type, loan type (i.e. conforming vs. nonconforming), and distressed sales. CoreLogic aggregates and sells information on the distressed properties in your area.

▪ S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index: The report is published on the last Tuesday of each month. It’s a composite index of single-family home prices in more than 20 major markets in the United States.



We need to read and understand these and other resources. We also need to read views of the real estate market in major newspapers, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post. By checking out these reports, you can read what is shaping the public’s thoughts on real estate. You can also find articles that are aligned with your views, which often make your points to prospects better than you can.



Are you doing the work required to really claim to be an authority in your field? If not, you should be. Don’t let someone else take your place as an expert in the mind of consumers. In today’s market, that’s a recipe for losing business.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

Turn Raving Fans Into Raging Business

Turn Raving Fans Into Raging Business


Facebook can be a valuable business tool if used correctly. That means being passionate and personal.

By Michael Russer | April 2011



Today it’s not a question of whether or not you use social media in your marketing, but rather how to do it in a way that doesn’t become a worthless time suck. One way to make your social media presence work is to use it as an outlet for your passion and expertise.



Want to know how one individual used this approach to develop a Facebook fan page that has more fans than the National Association of REALTORS®, Realtor.com, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams combined? Read on.



300,000-plus Fans — and Counting

Doug Newby, a broker in Dallas, is passionate about distinctly modern residential architecture. His Web site, ArchitecturallySignificantHomes.com, reflects this in a big way. So it was natural for him to start a Facebook fan page on this subject as well.



He created the page in July 2009 and says he had a heck of time just trying to get the first 25 fans so he could secure his “ModernHomes“ fan page name. But eventually, it took off, and how: As of March 13, 2011, his fan base exceeded 300,000. This is an unbelievable number when you consider that the typical sales associate Facebook page rarely has more than a couple hundred fans.



In case you’re wondering if this has done anything for his business, consider this: He’s a one-man shop in the highly competitive Dallas market. Even so, his Web site sees in excess of 25,000 unique visitors a month and his search-engine rankings for high-end modern-luxury homes outposition thousands of practitioners and firms in the same area.



Here’s an explanation of how his Facebook page achieved these results and how you can apply those techniques to your own Facebook business page.



It’s All About Value and Targeting

Viewing the posts at Facebook.com/ModernHomes is like walking through the Louvre of modern residential architecture. The photos are phenomenal, and Newby’s explanations of each are like what you’d hear from a museum director who loves what he does. People who have an appreciation of really distinctive modern residential architecture are in awe of what they find here and enthusiastically share it with their friends on Facebook. This is one of the reasons this page has gone so wildly viral. Most of what’s available here is highly targeted and perceived to be of extreme value by that target market.



One of the most common mistakes made by sales associates who launch their own Facebook business pages is posting material that has little value or relevance, like how great a salesperson they are. Quite frankly, most people couldn’t care less about your latest, greatest listing.



And focus is important, too: If you’re all over the map where subject matter is concerned, it’s going to be next to impossible for you to post content that will be well received and passed along, which helps your fan base grow virally.



The take-aways here are:



▪ Make your page about some niche or specialty about which you are absolutely passionate.

▪ Post inspired (or at least highly interesting) content to the target market you are trying to reach and grow.



Other Ways to Grow Your Fan Base

Without question, the viral growth of Facebook.com/ModernHomes is an outlier and isn’t likely to be replicated by several other real estate practitioners and companies. But even if you get a fraction of the growth that Newby did, you’ll be able to reap substantial benefits for your business.



Here are a few ways to grow your Facebook fan page:



Member-only Content: Create one or more sections of your page that can be seen only by members of that page. The key here is to let potential members know you have extremely valuable info for them in there. You can see an example of this by going to www.Facebook.com/OnlineDominance and clicking the “Cool Tools” link on the left side of the page. This particular part of my Facebook page has effective, free tools that can help you boost your online lead conversion (among other goals). This strategy has helped increase my Facebook fan base by a factor of 10 in just about 12 months. You can see the details of how to set up your custom tabs so they work this way by clicking the “Custom Tab Secrets!” tab on my page.



Ask Open-Ended Questions: Once or twice a week, ask an open-ended question of your fan base. You’ll be amazed at how interactive your members will be if you ask the right questions. (Keep them simple and engaging, however.) This is very important, because the more interaction your page receives, the higher up your posts will be in the personal areas of your members’ Facebook pages. This means your content will get more face time. One of the things you will notice about Newby’s ModernHomes Facebook page is that he posts content regularly but not often. It’s his members’ comments that drive the relevance of his page more than anything.



Reference Other Pages in Your Posts: First of all, take the time to join and regularly engage with other Facebook business pages that cater to your target market. Once you do, you can then reference them in your page’s posts and have them automatically show up on their page. For example, I’m a fan of most real estate franchises’ Facebook pages. This allows my posts to show up on their pages by including a “@” in front of their page name; when I do that, Facebook will automatically crosspost it on my page. (Watch a short demo video to see how this is done. Here is the screen shot of the post on the RE/MAX page immediately afterward.) This means the post on my OnlineDominance page now gets face time (and credibility) with the membership of the groups I referenced. Note: Be careful how you use this strategy. If your posts are spammy (i.e., not interesting or self-serving), you will likely be banned from the page in question.



Show Interaction: Set up your fan page wall so it shows all posts, not just yours. People like to see others interacting, not just your comments and wisdom. Now some “gurus” may tell you that this is dangerous because you never know if someone is going to put something offensive on your page. While this is true, as page administrator you have the ability to be notified of all posts as they happen and remove them (and yes, even ban users for life). In my view, it is worth the risk.



Turning Fans Into Business

While it is certainly great to have a ton of fans and likes on your page, it’s much better to turn fans into clients. Your Web site is still the center of your online universe with respect to the value of your services and how you get people to engage with you. Therefore, it’s important to consider how you can drive your Facebook fans back to your Web site — and ideally, to sections of your site where they will directly engage with you by completing some kind of form.



Very few people have really done this effectively. Even Newby will be the first to admit that his Facebook page lacks in this area. This will only work if your site has something of value for people to check out. This means you must have “irresistible offers” that they will find extremely compelling.



Your social media efforts are an important — and now very necessary — component of your overall online marketing strategy. Don’t do it just because “everyone else is doing it.” Have a plan of execution that is proven to build your fan base while at the same time creating new business.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Does Gen Y Want?

What Does Gen Y Want?


One thing real estate pros should know about Generation Y is that its members prefer to swap texts to phone calls or even e-mails. Here's more info on the preferences of this up-and-coming group of consumers.

By Kristine Hansen | May 2011



Who is Generation Y? Their exact ages aren’t easy to pin down; the start of their birth years ranges from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, depending on your source. Perhaps the best way to describe them is in historical and cultural terms: Most of them have little to no memory of the Cold War; seminal events such as the Challenger explosion and Chernobyl; or life before computers were commonplace in offices, schools, and homes.



This generation, also referred to as Millennials, now numbers around 80 million U.S. residents. And many of them are just a few years away purchasing their first home. How can you position yourself as the real estate professional they want to work with?



They Want It All — Now

Austin, Texas-based Laura Duggan — an early adopter of texting — learned the value of communication while selling Jason Dorsey, 32, and his wife a home two years ago. Phone messages Duggan initially left for Dorsey were not immediately returned, losing valuable time in a market where hot deals on smaller-size homes are scooped up within days. Dashing off a text message, however, yielded a lightning-quick reply from Dorsey.



“They want to communicate differently than a lot of my other clients. Gen Y wants texts, not even e-mail,” says Duggan, broker-owner of West Austin Properties, who has 30 years of experience selling homes.



“Gen Y is about instant gratification: If we can’t see it on our phone, it doesn’t really exist,” explains Dorsey, who is a frequent keynote speaker on Generation Y. He’s consulted for companies like Kraft, GE, Frito-Lay, and McDonald’s. While Dorsey and his peers can easily navigate the Internet in search of data, they often don’t know how to make sense of it. Still, “it’s critical that REALTORS® position themselves to educate us and not treat us like children,” says Dorsey. “If we don’t feel like we can ask questions and be a part of the process, we’re not going to be interested.”



The Right Information

Real estate pros can help put information about a listing into context, such as how property taxes differ from a nearby city or interpreting neighborhood crime statistics, he says.



“This is a generation that takes advantage of information. They come in [to a home showing] knowing everything about the property,” says Nashville-based consultant Amy Lynch, who works with companies that want to motivate Generation Y.



Dorsey boils the home search for this group of young buyers down to this: experiences. “In Austin, people want to live near the music, the Frisbee-golf parks, and walking distances to great restaurants that are happening.” If practitioners mention certain amenities that are within walking distance of a listing, such as an independent movie theater or a hiking and biking trail, that’s going to attract the attention of Gen Y buyers.



“A lot of these kids want to be able to go out at night,” says Marcia Anderson, who sells luxury homes in Phoenix and its suburbs through The Williams Real Estate Group. Mixed-use areas filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and housing are popular with members of this generation. “A lot of times it’s the zip code that dictates [interest].”



According to Lynch, many Millennials are willing to pay more for walkability. To get this, they might sacrifice a kitchen packed with luxury appliances or a grand master-bedroom suite. Yet some of their choices are circumstantial.



“They are vastly underemployed and in debt,” Lynch says. “It’s not a generation that’s making a lot of money.” Orlando, Fla.-based real-estate firm RCLCO released a study that showed 13 percent of Generation Y carpools to work, and 7 percent walk to their job. Eighty-eight percent of them want to live in urban areas.



All About Lifestyle

Some real estate pros are putting a new spin on urban neighborhoods — where members of Generation Y typically live, or want to live — by showing homes from a bicycle seat. Four years ago, Matt Kolb launched Pedal to Properties in Boulder, Colo. It all started when a client of Kolb’s — visiting from another city and checking out properties — went back to his hotel room at night. Desiring another viewing of the homes he’d viewed earlier in the day, he rented a bicycle from the hotel and returned to those neighborhoods on two wheels instead of four.



Today, the Boulder office has 30 agents and a fleet of 60 seven-speed cruiser bicycles. It’s also been franchised to Sonoma, Calif., and Northampton, Mass. This casual approach to home shopping wins Gen Y clients over, Kolb says. “It’s four to five hours where you are smiling and laughing. When clients are in the back of my car, it’s different,” he explains. Even the route taken from the office to the home is different — Kolb typically opts for the most scenic way on a bike instead of more direct roads, as he would use in a car.



Jenny Persha, a real estate pro in Madison, Wis., with Keller Williams Realty who specializes in green residential properties, has had luck marketing her home-buying services to Gen Y at street fairs and festivals — particularly if she’s got a listing a few blocks away. “Now, you’re actually having to find where the people are and how you can better serve them,” she says.



Because she’s 34 years old — fresh out of this age group — she has no trouble relating to her clients. “I feel like I’m in tune with them a little more. I can tell what questions they’re going to ask.” Sometimes she even receives leads while out with friends for a happy hour after work.



Different than previous generations, Generation Y buyers tend to view a home purchase as short-lived and not relevant beyond their current life stage. “We’re having kids later and we’re getting married later,” says Dorsey, who bought the smallest house on his block in case he and his wife want to relocate. “Long-term to us means five years. Gen Y is totally accustomed to the idea that they will be moving soon and again. We’re not tied down. That freedom is very important to us right now.”



Low-Hassle Living

What kinds of homes do Millennials want to move into? A low-maintenance house is a definite plus. “I don’t own a lawn mower,” says Dorsey, “and neither do any of my friends. This offends my father.” Instead, he and his friends rely upon a lawn service, affording them more time to relax, work late at the office, or spend time with friends. They either want to do the task quickly or be able to “outsource” it inexpensively.



Lynch agrees that Generation Y doesn’t want to spend weekends doing lawn work. “They want green spaces outside their house, to maybe put a grill, but not a large lot,” she says. A unit in a condominium with a clubhouse or a shared green space with other homes is a very attractive alternative.



Anderson noted that while swimming pools are an in-demand item for most Arizona consumers, younger buyers simply don’t want them. “They want to be able to take a vacation and not deal with that,” she says.



Whether it’s a compact ranch or a three-story urban walk-up, the layout should be conducive to entertaining and hosting — but not passing hors d’oeuvres or hosting charity benefits. Instead, this group seeks a gathering place to watch NCAA tournaments or play ping pong.



“They tend to want a ‘gathering space’ in the home, more so than fancy bedrooms and bathrooms,” Lynch says. “Y’s grew up doing things in groups all the time. Having a big house where you live with just you and your family does not appeal to them.”



Duggan was baffled when Dorsey brought friends along to view the homes he and his wife were considering buying. “Back in the day, you only brought people who would be impacted by the decision,” Duggan says. “Every generation has an idiosyncrasy. This one wants their peers’ validation that they are making a good decision.”



Get Connected

Due to this increased connection and desire for validation from peers, real estate pros should not hesitate to ask for the names of friends interested in buying a home. Using this approach, Duggan ended up taking on Dorsey’s friend as a client. Just don’t use the word “referral.” “This means something different to us than other generations,” Dorsey explains. “It reminds us of being called to detention during grade school. Instead ask, ‘Do you have any friends I can help?’ One happy Gen Y customer leads to 10 others.”



To further understand this age group, Anderson has employed her 26-year-old daughter to revamp her marketing. “Sometimes I’ll run something by her and she’ll say, ‘Oh mom, that’s so old-fashioned and boring and will never fly,’” says Anderson, who now has a blog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, and the ability to publish her listings on YouTube.com.



Persha affirms that’s the right approach. She finds social media like Twitter and Facebook to be the most noninvasive way to market properties. “I’d rather have it show up in their news feed than call them,” she explains.



This is exactly what Generation Y shoppers want. When they receive that message notification on their cell phones, it may be just a matter of time before they contact the real estate pro for a showing. But first, of course, they’ll investigate further, and perhaps even contact their buddies to run the idea by them.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strategic defaulters - what should owners know who are walking away?

Strategic defaulters - what should owners know who are walking away?

Borrowers who engage in "strategic defaults" after their home's value has plummeted tend to be more savvy about credit than the population at large, with higher FICO scores, lower revolving debt balances, and lower retail credit card usage. However, most do not understand the full consequences of their actions.

According to a study by Fair Isaac Corp., developer of the FICO score, which says it's helping lenders identify borrowers who are most likely to engage in strategic defaults.

In a strategic default, "underwater" borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth stop paying their mortgage -- not because they can't afford the monthly payments, but because they don't believe their home will regain its value anytime soon.

Home-price declines have left 11.1 million homeowners underwater, according to a study released in March by loan data aggregator CoreLogic. Studies by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business have estimated that 31 percent of mortgage defaults in March 2010 were strategic, up from 22 percent in March 2009.

Fair Isaac has also been studying the impacts of mortgage delinquencies, short sales, foreclosures and bankruptcies on credit scores.

Looking at three "representative profiles" of consumers with scores of 680, 720, and 780, FICO found that those with the best credit scores took the greatest hit on their scores when falling behind or defaulting on a mortgage, and also took the longest to rebuild their scores.



In addition to the differences in score decline and recovery between foreclosure and short sale (without deficiency balance), there is also the further consequence that the deficiency in what was borrowed and what the foreclosure sale yielded creates a debt that follows the home owner for up to 6 years. When a consumer initiates a mortgage on a property, there are two instruments that offer the lender security; the mortgage and the note. The mortgage is the security that links the property to the debt. When a house is sold at sheriff sale, the mortgage instrument is extinguished so the property is no longer security for the debt; however, the note (promise to repay) remains. For example, if you borrowed $100,000 and the foreclosure sale yielded $30,000, the lender can come after you because of the promise to repay in the amount of $70,000. We have seen that begin to happen on a large scale. When your customers approach you about what their best option is, be sure they understand the consequences of their decision. The short sale is the best option for most as it offers limited credit score damage, a shorter recovery period, and for any HUD, Fannie, or Freddie backed mortgages (which covers 90% of homeowners right now) guarantees a release from the remaining debt. On a side note, Fannie & Freddie have a mandate to now respond to short sale requests within 3 days and process a decision within 30 days, as of September 30th.

If you would like some coaching on how to get potential listings by education consumers about this, give me a call.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Relationship Management: How Likable Are You, Really?

Relationship Management: How Likable Are You, Really?

Forget the adage that charisma is something that either you have or you don't. You can actually learn how to be more likable, says author Kurt W. Mortensen.

By Melissa Tracey | May 2011

Everyone likes you and loves to sing your praises when you aren’t around, right? Maybe, but you might not be as endearing as you believe. Do people lose eye contact with you when you’re midsentence in a conversation? Or do they turn their shoulders or legs away from you when you’re talking? Do they start looking at their watch or phone or fidgeting as you speak?

Sorry to say, but these all can be subtle signs that a person has tuned you out mentally and may be just pretending to like you to be polite.

But don’t wallow in thoughts about whether people like you, really like you. You can start winning over more people and become more likable. It boils down to charisma, says Kurt W. Mortensen, author of the book The Laws of Charisma (AMACOM, 2010) and frequent speaker and trainer on the topics of persuasion, motivation, and influence.

Charisma, according to Mortensen, is “the ability to easily build rapport, effectively influence others to your way of thinking, inspire them to achieve more, and in the process make an ally for life.

“People are so skeptical, especially of real estate professionals,” says Mortensen, who has studied the tools of influence for 20 years. “If they sense that you are trying to persuade them, they’ll resist you. When you have charisma, they’ll want to be around you and want to be influenced by you. They will be more willing to let their guard down and not resist you.”

Here’s more info on how to charm and captivate consumers.

5 Ways to Be More Likable

For some, charisma comes naturally. But those who aren’t similarly gifted can learn how to ooze charisma too, says Mortensen, whose book outlines 30 attributes of charismatic people, based on scientific research. Here are five ways to increase your charisma.

1. Pay attention to the nonverbal cues you are sending.

Charismatic people are masters at communicating nonverbally and know how to use gestures and facial expressions to their benefit. Here are a few things to pay attention to:

▪ One handshake doesn’t fit all. A handshake is critical. In fact, studies show that one bad handshake can set you back one hour in building rapport. A good handshake makes people feel appreciated and more connected to you. Qualities of a good handshake include mirroring the other person’s handshake in strength, aligning shoulders, standing up (if seated), and offering a sincere smile with eye contact, Mortensen says.

▪ Eye contact says a lot. Too much or too little may send the wrong message. Staring at people 100 percent of the time makes them nervous — or even could send the message that you are either falling in love with them or very angry. Instead, maintaining eye contact about 70 percent of the time is comfortable for most people, Mortensen says. Look for signs that others may be getting uncomfortable. For example, if they avoid eye contact, they may be disengaged in the conversation. A quick rapport-building test: Make eye contact and start nodding “yes.” If the person reciprocates, you’ve likely established a connection, Mortensen says.

▪ Don’t forget to smile. Never underestimate the power of a genuine smile. Smiling at the right times can provide a big boost in building connections.

2. Prove your credibility — and ‘show’ a weakness.

Nearly all buyers — 98 percent — say a quality they consider “very important” in real estate professionals is honesty and integrity, according to the 2009 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Saying you have such traits isn’t enough, though. Trust has to be earned.

To increase your credibility, have someone else who already has established credibility with that person introduce you or give you all the kudos instead of you bragging about your own accomplishments, which can come across as arrogant.

You can actually turn off others by coming across as too good to be true. While it may seem counterintuitive, revealing a small weakness can actually make others view you as more honest and credible.

It’s human nature that “they are going to look for a weakness or something wrong with you anyway,” Mortensen says. “If you don’t give them a weakness, they’ll assign one to you.”

The key, however, is to turn a weakness into a strength — e.g., you may have the most expensive services, but it’s because you offer more than your competitors.

Here’s another tip to show credibility: Watch your voice tone and avoid using filler words. A deeper voice tends to be viewed as more credible, and using lots of vocal fillers, such as “um” and “uh,” can decrease your credibility.

3. Offer some empathy.

In today’s complex real estate market, buyers and sellers want understand and be understood. Empathy involves feeling and understanding their situation by listening with your “ears, mind, and heart,” Mortensen says. Charismatic people know how to display empathy at the right times.

“When people know that you can see what they see, feel what they feel, and hurt the way they hurt, then they will be willing to let you influence them,” Mortensen says.

How can you show empathy? Stop talking! Listen three times more than you talk. Acknowledge the feelings and emotions displayed, Mortensen says.

“Listening and asking questions is very influential and charismatic,” Mortensen says. “You want to come across as consultants.”

4. Become a good storyteller.

Charismatic people are great storytellers. Storytelling is a tool they often turn to in order to connect with others and subtly persuade them.

Stories can help you establish rapport, build common ground, and generate more acceptance to an idea, Mortensen says. If you feel a client is on the wrong path or you want them to reach a different solution, the storytelling approach can be a nonconfrontational way to help them see the light.

“People value their own conclusions more highly than yours,” Mortensen says.

Therefore, use stories to influence clients and customers without making them feel like you are critiquing them or making demands. Share a story that relates to their situation. Good storytellers often keep the story simple (no more than four points), tell a story in an animated, energetic way, and appeal to emotions for lasting impact, Mortensen says.

5. Use your wit and optimism to win them over.

Channel your inner comedian. “Humor disarms people and opens them up, making them more likely to connect with you,” Mortensen says. “When you leverage humor, your message receives more weight and consideration than one that comes from someone who has not created the rapport or charisma you have.” Plus, it’ll make you more memorable.

Self-deprecating humor — learning to laugh at yourself — can be one way to connect with others, he says.

But if being funny isn’t your shtick, try to win over others with your contagious optimism. Optimists tend to radiate charisma, too.

“When you’re really charismatic, people want to be around you and do business with you,” Mortensen adds. “The goal is to really learn to understand people and learn how you can motivate and inspire them.”

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Top 10 Deal Breakers & How To Avoid Them

Top 10 Deal Breakers & How To Avoid Them

Your buyers have found the home of their dreams, started packing their stuff and have mentally moved in when suddenly a challenge arises that could put a serious wrench in the home buying process. In today’s market, finding the home is only the start of a transaction that can have many stumbling blocks along the way.

Here are the top 10 deal breakers buyers and sellers encounter that can impact the sale of a home:

1. Fixtures and Personal Property Pitfalls

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen deals falter because of disagreements over silly stuff like who gets the fireplace screen, the wall sconces or the appliances. For some buyers and sellers it can be difficult to distinguish between personal property and fixtures that come with the house. I once had someone try to take a beloved bathtub. Like the buyer wouldn’t notice?

How to avoid it- Disputes over fixtures and personal property are common. It is important to educate your client about the difference between attached appliances and personal property but there are times when the lines get blurred. Wall mounted flat screen TVs are frequently an issue. If something is really special to a homeowner, recommend the sellers remove the item before you put the house on the market. Have a beloved chandelier? Replace it before you start showing the home with an acceptable alternative. If this isn’t possible, exclude it in MLS along with frequently confused items like that flat screen and make sure it is excluded at the time the offer is written as well. Buyers should investigate and include any items that are important to them.

2. The dreaded ex-wife/husband

There may be many reasons to dread an ex, but when it comes to selling a property, it can impact the sale of a home. We often see situations where the owners got divorced but he/she didn’t sign off. Finding this out late in the process can be problematic, especially when one of the parties no longer has a financial interest in selling the home. This scenario along with other clouds on the title can take time to clear. Bank owned properties often come with title issues such as unpaid garbage fines that can impact your closing.

How to avoid it: Get a preliminary title report as soon as possible and be sure to ask your seller if there are any potential claims on the title.

3. Buyers Buying “Stuff”

Your first time home buyers are moving into their new home. They don’t have a washer and dryer of their own and the local appliance store is offering a smoking deal – get a store credit card, and save 15% on the purchase of your new appliances! Sound like a steal? It might just kill your deal.

Time and again we counsel buyers not to make major purchases before close of escrow such as a new car or major appliances, and time and again, some appliance store has a great “deal” that kills the deal. Any major purchase the impacts your credit can also impact your loan being funded too.

How to avoid it: Regularly remind your buyers to wait on appliance purchases, new car purchases, furniture and more until they the loan has been funded. Tell them to put those credit cards away until the paperwork is recorded.

4. Failure To Disclose

“But Ginger, I didn’t know I had to disclose that the hill behind the house next door came down last spring. It didn’t impact my part of the hill.” I have had to fight with sellers to get them to disclose certain facts about their home, but it is almost always better to over share when it comes to disclosure. Inevitably, a neighbor is going to tell the prospective buyer about the sliding hill, the formerly moldy basement or about the meth lab around the corner.

How to avoid it: When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose. Problems always seem much bigger when they are uncovered by a buyer after they are in contract.

5. Appraisal Nightmares

We went through a period of time when appraisals always magically came in at the offer price. For the most part, those times are gone. Appraisals are common deal breakers, and in many transactions, you don’t just have one. Review appraisals of the first appraisal are commonplace.

How to avoid it: Make sure the lender has a qualified appraiser. When possible, accompany the appraiser on the inspection. Prepare your clients in advance that the purchase price may have to be renegotiated or a higher down payment may need to be brought in if the appraisal comes in low.

6. Who Owns What?

Your buyer thinks they are getting a 6000 square foot lot, only to find out that the fence is built on the neighboring property. Or they think they own the driveway, but it is really an easement on property owned by the cranky old neighbor. Lot lines, shared driveways, and fences are common stumbling blocks in a transaction.

How to avoid it: Review the preliminary title report carefully. Legal descriptions aren’t always easy to read, but take the time and effort to have your client do so carefully. Have a title officer walk you through the title report to explain anything unusual. You should have your client go to the city/county authorities to review the items on file. If your client is concerned about the lot boundaries, have them perform a survey. While surveys can be costly, not knowing the actual boundaries can be costlier says Diana Rugh, a Realtor with David Lyng Real Estate, in Santa Cruz County, California. If a client is only concerned about one side of the property, she has her clients perform a partial survey for just the side in question.

7. No permits

In many areas, unpermitted additions or remodels have become serious deal killers. Many cities and towns have implemented pre-sale inspections to fill their dwindling coffers.

How to avoid it: If city/town inspections are required, get them in advance, correct any required issues, and get your clearance. Some municipalities don’t operate on the swiftest timeline, so start as early as you can.

8. Unexpected inspection findings

I used to work with an inspector that other agents called the deal killer and honestly, he was. But he was also a lawsuit saver. When you have a client paying hundreds of thousands if not multiple millions of dollars for a house, they should know what they are buying. I call inspection periods the second negotiation phase of the deal. Inspections are common deal breakers when agreement cannot be reached over repairs. Sarah Stelmok, a Realtor in Fredericksburg, VA almost lost a deal when the home inspection uncovered numerous dead felines in a crawl space. Amazingly enough, she was able to hold it together, the felines were removed and she closed the deal.

How to avoid it: Get inspections before the property is actively on the market. Buyers will probably still get their own, but at least you can resolve serious problems that may send a buyer running in advance. Repairs almost always cost a seller less if the buyer knows about it before they write their offer.

9. The lender changed the rules

This may be hard to imagine, but sometimes you are ready to rock and roll, you got your buyer pre-approved, not just pre-qualified, you are in contract and everything looks great until- poof- the lender changes the rules. Suddenly your buyer can’t meet the lender documentation requirements. This would have been helpful to know in advance.

How to avoid it: Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to avoid it other than working with a reputable mortgage broker or lender with a solid record of closing transactions. If you represent the buyer, you may want to recommend the buyer leave their loan contingency in place until the loan is funded. If market conditions don’t permit this, make sure your buyer is aware of the ramifications if the loan doesn’t fund.

10. The bank doesn’t care

If the property being purchased is a short sale, the bank is pretty much in charge and they simply don’t care about your timeline. I have heard of people celebrating two and three year anniversaries of working on a short sale. When it comes to short sale timelines, anything goes, or better yet- who knows?!

How to avoid it:The best way to save a deal when a bank is involved is to make sure your buyers have appropriate expectations about the process. Educate them of the pitfalls of working with a bank.

One of the best ways to avoid killing a deal- educating your clients about the entire home buying/selling process to make sure everyone is properly prepped goes a long way to holding deals together.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

REALTOR® Income Distribution

REALTOR® Income Distribution
April 19, 2011 by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist & Senior Vice President, Research · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Housing Market, REALTOR®
It has been a very tough market and business environment in the past three years.
Even so, roughly 15 percent — which translates into 150,000 REALTOR® members — earned a six-figure annual gross income.
However, there are a vast number who made less than $25,000.
The real estate business, as with most any business, apparently follows the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the business gets done by 20 percent of the people.


The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Good News about Short Sales: Fannie/Freddie Servicing Guidelines must become uniform

Good News about Short Sales: Fannie/Freddie Servicing Guidelines must become uniform

On April 28, 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) to align their guidelines for the servicing of delinquent mortgages owned or guaranteed by the GSEs. The initiative is intended to deal with existing problems in mortgage servicing and should result in servicers contacting with homeowners sooner to identify the best solution available given their individual circumstances. The updated guidelines will streamline and expedite borrower outreach, make mortgage modification terms and requirements consistent, and establish a schedule of performance-based incentive payments and penalties. The updated guidelines also require servicers to contact borrowers as soon as they become delinquent and focus solely on remediating the delinquency for up to 120 days to address situations in which homeowners are foreclosed on while trying to obtain a modification. The updated guidelines are anticipated to become effective throughout the summer of 2011.

What it means:
* Servicers will have to acknowledge a request (file) within 3 days of receipt
* The file will have to be processed within 30 days - yes, I said 30 days!
* Bring on the short sales!

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

6 ways to gain referrals with social media

6 ways to gain referrals with social media
An excerpt from REBAC's Monthly Newsletter, The Today's Buyer's Rep.

Social media makes it easier to stay connected with hundreds of people. But that doesn’t mean that all social media activities are created equal. Focus on these six goals, and you will travel further and faster down a path of building meaningful referral business through your online activities.




1. EXPAND YOUR CONNECTIONS
Your sphere of influence grows with each new connection. To find more people you may know, look at your Facebook friends’ friends (or your LinkedIn contacts’ contacts; or who is following who on Twitter). Meet new people by joining groups that share your interests. Use software applications to find out where people “live” online so you can reach out and connect with them. For example, Xobni runs in tandem with your Outlook Inbox and identifies online profiles linked to any e-mail you receive.



2. SHARE MEANINGFUL CONTENT
The best way to prevent others from hitting the ignore button is to make sure everything you post online is interesting to at least some of your friends and acquaintances. This can be even more tricky on Twitter, where character limitations add to the challenge of making content both short and meaningful. Learn how to strike the right balance between the frequency and value of your posts.



3. DEMONSTRATE INTEREST
Everyone likes to be acknowledged, so take time to read and comment upon other peoples’ content. On Facebook, the Like button makes it especially fast and easy to say “I hear you.”



4. BE HELPFUL
One of the best ways to be helpful is to answer questions. Do this on real estate-oriented sites like Zillow and Trulia and you’ll be showcasing your knowledge and expertise to prospective buyers. Do the same on professional networks like LinkedIn, the ABR® Network, and Active Rain, and you’ll gain credibility with other professionals.



5. BUILD SOCIAL CAPITAL
Random acts of kindness, like posting positive feedback on a Facebook business page, or writing an unsolicited referral on LinkedIn, can generate powerful good will with others. In addition to gaining the personal sense of satisfaction that comes from helping others, it’s very likely that such acts may later be reciprocated with new referral business.



6. BECOME A LOCAL AUTHORITY
If all real estate is local, use social networking to build your reputation as a local expert. Create a Facebook group promoting local events (365 Things to Do in Your Town) or a consortium of local businesses, perhaps working in partnership with other professionals focused on real estate related services (attorneys, lenders, tax experts, home improvement specialists, etc.).

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Build Your Business on Substance and Results

Build Your Business on Substance and Results
By Margaret Kelly
RISMEDIA, May 5, 2011—With the market we have today, consumers desperately need an experienced real estate agent for the largest financial transaction most of them will ever make. They want to know they’re working with a skilled, trusted professional who’s capable of closing sales.

So how do you display your experience and expertise? In the long run, your track record of results and your solid reputation are all that matter. Help consumers see the difference you make for buyers and sellers.

Productivity Matters
Agents who say sales statistics don’t matter probably aren’t among the top in production. The fact is, agents who close more transactions are more prepared and more likely to ensure a smooth ride for their clients. If you have strong numbers that demonstrate your proficiency, don’t back away from promoting them with messages that are meaningful to potential buyers and sellers. And if you’re struggling to boost your numbers, it’s worth re-evaluating whether you have the best support, training and tools around you to thrive.

The Company You Keep
Consumers are looking for full-service experiences more and more, and their impression of where they’ll find the real experts matters. It’s important to be aware of the public perception of your company and the consistency of service consumers can expect, particularly in a social networking world where one bad experience can be broadcast to hundreds of friends in a flash. You shouldn’t have to worry about under qualified, poor-performing agents tarnishing your reputation. If this is a real concern for you, think about your options and the best place to build your business without limitations—surrounded by other motivated professionals.

Service, Not Sales Pitches
Being an expert is not about having the biggest billboard, unless you can deliver on the promises it makes. Word of mouth can be far more valuable in the long run, and it doesn’t cost a penny. In all of your marketing and promotions, set the expectations and then make sure you’re prepared to meet them. Snappy ads may bring consumers to your door, but it’s up to you to serve them in a way that creates clients for life.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

Your Leadership Needed: Nearly Half of Home Buyers Surveyed Don’t Understand Essential Information about Mortgages

Your Leadership Needed: Nearly Half of Home Buyers Surveyed Don’t Understand Essential Information about Mortgages

RISMEDIA, May 5, 2011—As the housing market continues to struggle, home buyers appear ill-prepared to take out a mortgage, answering basic questions about mortgage information wrong nearly half (46 percent) of the time, according to a Zillow® Mortgage Marketplace survey. In fact, 44 percent admitted they are not confident in their knowledge of mortgages or the mortgage process. Zillow® Mortgage Marketplace, with Ipsos, surveyed prospective home buyers, asking them to gauge their own knowledge of mortgages, and asking basic questions about mortgage facts.

More than half (57 percent) of prospective home buyers who were polled do not understand how adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) work. When asked if interest rates on 5/1 ARMs always reset higher after five years, the majority of home buyers answered yes. In fact, the interest rate will adjust to the prevailing rate after five years, even if rates have declined. Currently, many borrowers whose ARMs have recently reset have lower interest rates than they did when they took out the loan.

Additionally, one-third (34 percent) of the respondents who are prospective home buyers do not understand that lender fees are negotiable and that they vary by lender. They believe lenders are required by law to charge the same fees for credit reports and appraisals, when in fact home buyers can save money by shopping for the lowest fees.

“Most people wouldn’t jump out of a plane if they didn’t know how to use a parachute, yet each year many buyers commit to the largest loan they will take out in their lifetimes without understanding essential information about mortgages,” says Zillow Mortgage Marketplace Director Erin Lantz. “By simply spending a few hours researching how a mortgage works, and by shopping around for the most competitive rates and fees, buyers can save a lot of money.”

Additional Survey Findings

• Nearly half (45 percent) of polled prospective home buyers believe that they should always buy mortgage discount points when obtaining a mortgage. However, because mortgage discount points are simply prepaid interest, the decision should depend on how long you intend to own the home. In some cases, you may not plan to remain in the house for long enough to break even after buying points.

• More than half (55 percent) of prospective home buyers in the study do not understand that mortgage rates vary throughout the day. In reality, mortgage rates can change rapidly, similar to how stock prices can change throughout the day. To get the optimum rate, it is important to monitor rates and shop around.

• More than one-third (37 percent) of prospective home buyers who were polled believe that pre-qualifying for a loan means they have secured financing. In fact, “pre-qualification” is used to describe the earliest step in the process when a lender approximates how much you can afford, but does not run your credit or request any sort of documentation to verify the information you provide. Although there is not a reliable industry standard definition of pre-qualification, it is not until a lender has approved your loan application without conditions that you can rest assured that the lender has committed to financing your loan.

• More than two in five (42 percent) of the polled prospective home buyers do not understand that Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are available to ALL buyers. Instead, they believe only first-time buyers qualify. FHA loans can cost less for many buyers, including repeat buyers with low to average credit scores and with down payments of less than 20 percent.


If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with coaching your customers on this type of information, come work with us. We have all the resources you need and experts on staff to make you the expert advisor.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Workplace Stress: How Do You Bloom When You’re Planted in a Garden of Weeds?

Workplace Stress: How Do You Bloom When You’re Planted in a Garden of Weeds?

RISMEDIA, May 6, 2011—According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, workers who report that they are stressed incur health care costs that are 46 percent higher—or an average of $600 more per person—than other employees.

“Why is it that workplace stress is one of the most common forms of stress in our society today?” says Lauren E. Miller, author of her newly released 4th book: 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Stressing Out!.

One of Mother Teresa’s famous quotes, “Bloom where you are planted,” is easier said than done. What if the garden you find yourself in is full of weeds: ego-driven people, negative thinkers, victims, control freaks and gossipers? How is one to “bloom” in that environment?

Your perception of the world around you flows directly from your perception of yourself. Do you see the world as safe or unsafe? An opportunity for learning and growth or is the world out to get you? Do you face challenges with flexibility and curiosity or with assumptions and reactive behavior? Do you approach your co-workers from a collaborative spirit or one that says, “What’s in this for me?” Do you rise and fall depending on how the world judges you or is your sense of self worth rooted deeply within? Your choice of response creates your reality. In order to bloom it is essential to have a healthy, strong root system under the ground feeding and supporting growth and new life. A clear perception of reality leads to accuracy in response.

Lauren offers two tips to get relief from work place stress:

• What frustrates you most about the people you work with? Make a list. Become aware of the emotional charge within as you go through your day and pause for a moment asking: what can I shift within myself in order to maintain inner peace and calm? Remember that your greatest opportunity for growth in life comes when your buttons are pushed. Ask yourself: Do I feel judged? Unappreciated? Unrecognized? If so, this is a sign that you are seeking your sense of self worth from the outside in rather than the inside out. As you become rooted in loving and accepting yourself no matter what surrounds you, you will find that you are able to maintain calm in the midst of all the external static. When you feel safe and confident within, it’s amazing how that begins to reflect into the world around you.

• When you shift how you perceive yourself within, your view of reality shifts. To help grow in your connection with you it is essential to honor the BRAC: the Basic Rest Activity Cycle of the body. Every 90 minutes in your workday take a 20-minute break to rest. Breathe deeply into your stomach, closing your eyes as you reflect on a moment of beauty or inspiration. Download your positive experiences in life. Remember, whatever you focus on grows bigger.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing a change in your atmosphere, come work with us. We already have a system that will take the pressure off.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Real Estate Marketing Strategies: How to Stop Struggling with Lead Generation

Real Estate Marketing Strategies: How to Stop Struggling with Lead Generation
By Dr. Maya Bailey
RISMEDIA, May 6, 2011—Every week I hear from dozens of real estate professionals who are asking themselves “why can’t I get my pipeline full of prospective clients?” Now more than ever people are struggling with lead generation and looking for solutions.

Is it any wonder that most real estate agents feel blocked when it comes to picking up the phone and calling prospective clients? When you think about it for a moment, none of us were trained from our childhood to do anything like that. In fact in our conditioning we were trained to do the opposite. We learned things like “don’t talk to strangers”, “it’s not okay to ask for what you want”, “if you call people you’re bothering them” and so forth the list goes on.

Let’s face it, you didn’t really get into real estate so that you could call up strangers on the phone and see if you could interest them in your services. You got into real estate because you love to help people buy and sell homes.

Several years ago, there wasn’t such a big problem. You could attract clients in a number of different ways, such as: open houses, farming an area, sending out thank you notes, floor duty…. Remember those days?

However, those days are gone. That’s a reality. Gary Keller states in his new book SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times, “you can’t sit back—you must be more rigorous and resolute in your lead generation than ever before and more so than anyone else.” He goes on to discuss that now the name of the game is that you have two businesses. The first business is the one that’s easy for you, helping people buy and sell homes, working with contracts, negotiating with buyers and sellers and so forth. The second business—the one that you haven’t wanted to address—is the business of lead generation, sometimes referred to as prospecting.

Most people don’t want to address this part of their business because it’s just plain scary. The idea of setting aside two hours a day every day to call people you don’t know makes most real estate agents get very anxious. Then they find things to do instead of lead generation like busy work. This is called Avoidance.

Maybe you’ve noticed this in yourself. It goes something like this: “I don’t really need to Prospect today; I’ve got plenty of other work to do. Maybe I’ll get around to it tomorrow. I have some leads to follow up with AND I don’t mind that. But when I look over to the phone to call up complete strangers, it seems like the phone weighs a ton.” What happens after that inner conversation is AVOID AVOID AVOID. So the first step is to be honest with yourself and admit to yourself that you’ve been avoiding the very action step that could make all the difference in your business.

The challenge is for you to admit that without judgment or blame. This is where a lot of people get stuck and when I coach my clients, I help them to find the balance so that they are accountable for themselves in a compassionate and encouraging way. I love to teach them ways to inspire and encourage themselves so they create success with ease.

Here are some common misconceptions that most real estate agents carry that keep them from effectively generating leads.

1. Time: The first misconception that real estate agents have is that they don’t have enough time to add lead generation into their schedule. By working on your time management skills, perhaps getting up a bit earlier, or re-arranging some of your routine, you can find 2-3 hours every morning for prospecting.

2. “I won’t know what to say”, coupled with “I’m afraid of making mistakes.” Keller makes a remark that, “prospecting is nothing more than a set of tasks and skills that are well documented.” In other words, you can learn what to say, it’s not a mystery, you just need to have scripts for different categories of people. A little rehearsal with a coach goes a long way here.

3. “It takes money to make money.” Some are afraid to go 100 percent into lead generation, because they’re afraid that it will cost them money and they’re already feeling strapped. This misconception is based on a kind of advertising model that a lot of real estate agents have learned in the past. There’s no doubt about it that advertising is expensive and a few years ago it may have paid off. The beauty of prospecting is that it does not require an outlay of cash.

4. Telemarketer misconception: This misconception is usually stated like this: “I really don’t like it when telemarketers call me, I always feel interrupted and disturbed. How can I do to someone else what I don’t like done to me?” You are not a telemarketer, because when a telemarketer calls you up, they are calling to sell you something. In contrast, when you call a client, you are calling to see if they might need some help from you. Furthermore, as a real estate agent who is doing lead generation, you are not likely to call in the evenings during dinner. You’re likely to call for two hours every morning from nine to 11 AM for example, and people are much more receptive then.

How can anyone hire you, unless they know you exist and you’re interested in helping them? Therefore, it’s your job as a real estate professional to let clients know that you exist and you have a desire to be of service. In fact, the more your leading motivation is to help people the more that will come across in your conversation.

If you are in alignment with your purpose, this will be reflected in your voice. Your voice won’t sound abrasive, it will sound invitational. It will have a lilt. People will be attracted to your voice and your energy, no matter which exact words you use.

Don’t worry about rejection. Instead of being worried about the reaction you will get on the phone, think of it this way: you are looking for someone who matches the services you offer. You have an expertise in helping people to buy and sell homes. You can be proud of that expertise. When you do lead generation, you’re exploring to see if you can find a match for someone who’s looking for your expertise. If someone is interested in your services, you found a match. If they are not interested in your services, they are not rejecting you. It simply is not a match. Thank them and move on to the next.

One of the most effective things you can do is to invest in a coach or mentor who will help you to discover any self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back and also help you to move forward in lead generation with a new positive outlook.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

6 best practices to help you avoid real estate lawsuits

6 best practices to help you avoid real estate lawsuits
Know how to respond to common questions
By Bernice Ross
Inman News™

Hopefully, you have never been involved in any real estate litigation. If you want to keep the attorneys at bay, here is a list of behaviors to avoid -- as well as some best practices that may keep you out of trouble.

Even if you have adequate errors and omissions insurance coverage, being a defendant in a lawsuit can have a huge negative impact on both you and your business. Being deposed by a superstar litigator is your worst nightmare. Everything you say can be twisted and turned against you in a legal dispute.

Making matters even worse, you can do everything right and still end up in litigation. Sometimes you're just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For example, there was one case where the seller failed to make a major disclosure about the property. The seller went bankrupt, so the plaintiff's attorney turned to the agents and the other people involved in the transaction. When the attorney discovered that the painting contractor had errors and omissions insurance, the contractor was named as a defendant as well.

Six best practices that may help you avoid a lawsuit

Below you will find six common sources of real estate litigation and six strategies that could help you to avoid being sued. Keep in mind I'm not an attorney and this should not be considered legal advice, and that people can file a lawsuit even if you didn't break the law -- for legal advice you should hire an attorney.

1. "What's that spot on the ceiling?"

I had an experience in which the brown spot on the ceiling turned out to be caused by a beehive with hundreds of pounds of honey. If you don't know the source you shouldn't speculate.

Best practice: Avoid diagnosing any issue regarding the condition of the property if you don't know the exact cause. Instead say, "I don't know what caused the stain on the ceiling. If you are interested in the property, then it's extremely important to hire a competent roofer and physical inspection service to thoroughly investigate the condition of the property."

In terms of what you put on your mandated written disclosure documents, avoid diagnosing there as well unless you can identify the condition with certainty. Instead, describe what you see:

Examples: "Brown stain noted on living room ceiling," and "Buckled sidewalk noted adjacent to ficus tree in front yard."

That said, it is important to disclose known facts about the condition of the property, as typically such disclosures are mandated by law. When in doubt, disclose. To protect yourself, it's smart to have your own inspector go through the property and to note where there are problems. You can give prospective buyers a copy of the report, and you should also make a note on the report telling prospective buyers that they should obtain their own inspections to verify the condition of the property at the time of sale.

2. "We don't need to disclose that inspection report."

Sellers often don't want to disclose previous inspection reports, especially if it caused a previous sale to fall apart. Failure to disclose these reports is always a bad idea.

Here's an example: A geological inspection on a house revealed that it could collapse during an earthquake. The first set of buyers walked away from the property. The listing agent failed to disclose the geological report to the second set of buyers. The house collapsed during the Northridge Earthquake and two people died. Needless to say, the settlement was several million dollars.

Best practice: When you have a transaction that falls apart due to the physical inspection, it's smart to disclose it to the buyer. If the seller won't disclose the report, walk away from the listing. It's simply not worth the risk.

3. "Where's the property line?"

While the seller may swear under oath that they know exactly where the property line is, that may not be the case. Example: The sellers said the fence was the property line, though they were actually off by one foot. That mistake cost them over $200,000.

Best practice: When a buyer asks about where the property line is, say, "If you want the exact location of the property lines, you should hire a surveyor."

4. "How much will the seller really take for the property?"

Example: A luxury agent had a listing that was priced at $2.4 million. When a journalist asked her at what price she believed the property would actually sell, she said $1.8 million. When the seller read this in the paper a few days later, he filed a lawsuit for an unauthorized price reduction. The judgment was for over $2 million.

Best practice: When a buyer asks you how much a seller will take for the property, there's only one correct answer: "The only way to know for sure is to write an offer."

In fact, you can't even represent that the seller will sell for the asking price, since in a multiple-offer situation the property could sell for over asking.

5. "Is this a good family neighborhood that has a low crime rate?"

You may believe that a property is located in a "great neighborhood," but there is subjectivity in that phrase, and neighborhoods are constantly changing.

Best practice: When buyers ask you about the characteristics of the neighborhood, such as crime, ethnic composition of the residents, and families who live in the area, provide the buyer with resources, such as links to online census, crime, and school and demographics data where they can study this information for themselves. You do not want to run afoul of Fair Housing laws by providing inaccurate information or appearing to steer buyers to or away from a particular neighborhood.

6. "It's a new property -- do I really need a physical inspection?"

If there was ever a time to have a thorough physical inspection, it's when a buyer purchases a new property. For example, in one of the new homes that we purchased, the plumbers hooked up the hot water to one of the toilets -- talk about being steamed!

Best practice: On all new properties, make sure that the buyer does a thorough physical inspection and walk-through prior to closing. The buyer has leverage before the transaction closes. Later, some builders aren't very good at following up on post-close problems.

Ultimately, your first line of defense is to always follow the Golden Rule: Never say anything negative about anyone, never represent what your buyer or seller will do, and never guess at the condition of a property.

Instead, have your clients use trained professionals to evaluate the property. Also, for additional peace of mind, ask the seller to consider purchasing a home warranty policy for buyers -- this selection process has its own checklist.

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Has Housing Reached a 'Recovery Path'?

Has Housing Reached a 'Recovery Path'?
Sales of existing homes rose slightly in March, marking the sixth consecutive monthly rise for existing home sales in the last eight months, the National Association of REALTORS reported Wednesday.

"We're clearly on a recovery path," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

Existing home sales rose 3.7 percent in March from February, as distressed sales, such as those in foreclosure, continued to make up a big bulk of home sales (40 percent of all purchases).

"At this point, we're likely to see a steady improvement in sales," says economist Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.

So just in time for the spring buying season, here’s what economists have to say about who’s buying and currently driving the market:

Investors: All-cash deals last month made up a record number of sales, accounting for 35 percent of all resold homes. Investors continue to make up a big part of those cash deals. Investors are buying distressed homes and flipping them for a slight profit or turning them into rentals, says Patrick Newport, economist at IHS Global Insight.

Luxury consumers: Some real estate professionals are reporting a pick up in luxury markets in some cities too. "The confidence is back in the market," says Neil Palmer, CEO at Christie’s International Real Estate.

Foreign buyers: Coastal markets, in particular, are seeing a surge of foreign buyers, such as in New York, Palm Beach, Fla., and San Francisco, AOL Real Estate news reports.

Traditional buyers: Traditional buyers are also re-emerging. Mortgage applications to buy homes rose 10 percent over a seven-week period, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s most recent report. "This pickup in demand should show up in improved existing home sales in April and May, unless lending conditions tighten," Newport says.

The market is making “slow, steady progress” and demand in housing is rising even with higher mortgage rates “so that's encouraging,” Pierre Ellis, an economist at Decision Economics in New York, told The New York Times.

"It's the new financial psychology," says Jarvis Slade Jr., Christie's managing director for the Americas. "We've had two years of hesitation, the sellers are realistic, the buyers confident and cautious, but Americans are starting to feel better."

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home Buyers Shun ‘Fixer-Uppers’

Home Buyers Shun ‘Fixer-Uppers’
By Kathleen Lynn

RISMEDIA, May 2, 2011—(MCT)—In the overheated housing market of five years ago, buyers often felt they had to accept homes in woeful condition. But these days, most look at “as-is” properties and say, “No thanks.” “I try to stay away from things that need a lot of work,” says Michael Lisa of Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., who is searching for a home in northern Bergen County, N.J.

“Buyers will tolerate nothing,” says Maria Rini, a Re/Max agent in Oradell, N.J. A recent Coldwell banker survey found that 87 percent of first-time buyers said a move-in-ready home is important to them.

“This is absolutely the story of this market. It seems buyers will pay a premium, engage in a bidding war and even overpay just to avoid buying a ‘project’ house,” said Beth Freed of Terrie O’Connor Realtors in Ridgewood, N.J.

As a result, real estate agents strongly advise sellers to fix up their homes for quicker and more profitable sales.

For example, when Kate Conover recently listed a Franklin Lakes, N.J., colonial, she encouraged the seller to replace the roof and driveway, repair ceilings, rip up carpets and paint interiors.

Paying contractors to do the work cost almost $40,000, but Conover estimated it added well over $100,000 to the asking price.

“There is no question homes that have been spruced up for the market sell quicker,” says Conover, a Re/Max agent in Saddle River, N.J.

But she recommended against major renovations—such as replacing the kitchen and baths—in the Franklin Lakes home. Most agents agree with that philosophy, saying sellers shouldn’t risk spending more than they’ll get back in the sale price. That’s especially true with major kitchen and bath renovations because they’re so much a matter of taste.

“No matter what you do, it may not be the buyer’s choice anyway,” says Antoinette Gangi, a Re/Max agent in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

On the other hand, agents say that major maintenance and safety issues—such as underground oil tanks and leaky roofs—must be dealt with before the home goes on the market, because buyers are unwilling to take them on.

Beyond those kinds of headaches, sellers can make a big difference with simple and relatively inexpensive fixes: painting the walls, getting rid of clutter and pulling up carpets to show the hardwood floors that buyers crave.

And spruce up the front yard and entryway to make a good first impression, recommends Pat Sudal, a Weichert agent in Ramsey. “Freshen the flowerpots, trim the bushes and mulch,” she suggests. In the same vein, Gangi recommends painting the front door if it’s looking tired.

“Curb appeal is very important, and the front door is the first thing you see,” Gangi says.

Getting rid of clutter (as part of an overall deep cleaning) is probably the most cost-effective step, agents say. When sellers resist this advice, Rini reminds them they’ll have to pack up their stuff when they move anyway.

“You’ve got to clean it out sometime; if you do it now, it’s going to benefit you financially,” she says.

Marie Ferraro, an Oakland, N.J. decorator who works with sellers, calls this “pre-packing.”

“You want to depersonalize the home so that prospective buyers can see their lifestyle happening there,” says Ferraro. Buyers may not even consciously notice that a room is cluttered or crowded with awkwardly arranged furniture, she said, “but they experience it nonetheless.”

“Get everything off the floor,” advises Cynthia Harkins, an agent with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Franklin Lakes.

Harkins, who self-published a book called “The Savvy Seller,” says sellers can make rooms (and closets) seem more spacious by clearing the floor of boots, magazines, gym bags and backpacks.

Anne Landesman, who is moving to Austin, Texas, packed up books and artwork before putting her family’s Park Ridge, N.J., home on the market recently. She and her husband, Roy, also put a lot of furniture —including three sofas —into storage.

“I think it made a huge difference,” Landesman says. “People could get a good idea of the size of the rooms.”

Dawn Cox, a Weichert agent in Wayne, N.J., often counsels sellers to go beyond decluttering, by replacing outdated kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures and installing granite countertops.

Alan and Mary Chris Bassman did a bathroom upgrade rather than a complete renovation by replacing the vanity and toilet and repairing a cracked shower door.

In all, the family spent about $5,000 to spruce up the home, following the advice of Ferraro, the decorator, who works with the Bassmans’ agent, Kathleen Falco of Re/Max of Franklin Lakes.

“We sold the house in a couple of days, which I was shocked at,” Alan Bassman says.

Not all sellers have the energy to spruce up. In those cases, agents sometimes pitch in themselves to help declutter and stage the home and hire painters, cleaning crews and handymen. Homeowner Jennifer Glusman was pleasantly surprised when agents Lois Fein and John Schwartz of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty helped her prepare her family’s Edgewater condo for sale.

“John came in and helped stage items on our bookshelf and in the kids’ room and our room,” Glusman says. “He also lent us one of his own paintings.”

If sellers can’t or won’t prepare their homes for market, agents say, they have to lower their expectations on price.

This, in turn, can offer an opportunity for buyers who are willing to give up the search for HGTV-ready homes and look at properties that need “some love,” in the words of Tom Mikalouskas, a Re/Max agent in Montvale, N.J.

“I tell my buyers to look for the best bones or the best bang for your buck,” he says. “Basically, if you are able to get the worst home in a great neighborhood, you can only improve on your investment. You simply have to focus on potential in a down market like this.”

“Buyers who can look beyond the cosmetic issues usually can find treasures in this market,” Falco agrees.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
suzanneo@realestateone.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

Signs of economic weakness relieve pressure on mortgage rates

Signs of economic weakness relieve pressure on mortgage rates
Purchase loan demand falls as FHA raises premiums
By Inman News
Inman News™

Mortgage rates fell for a second consecutive week on signs of weakness in the economy, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.78 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 28, down from 4.8 percent last week and 5.06 percent a year ago.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 4.17 percent during the week ending Nov. 11, 2010, this year has ranged from 4.71 percent in early January to a high of 5.05 percent in February.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.97 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 4.02 percent last week and 4.39 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a low in records dating back to 1991 of 3.57 percent in November.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan averaged 3.51 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.61 percent last week and 4 percent a year ago. The 5-year ARM hit a low in records dating to 2005 of 3.25 percent in November.

Rates on 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM loans averaged 3.15 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.16 percent last week and 4.25 percent a year ago.

"Mortgage rates followed Treasury bond yields lower this week amid weak local economic data reports on business conditions and house prices," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, in a statement.

"Regional Federal Reserve Banks reported that business and manufacturing activities declined in Philadelphia, Dallas and Richmond in April," Nothaft said. "In addition, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index recorded year-over-year declines through February in 19 of the 20 markets."

Looking back a week, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed demand for purchase loans falling a seasonally-adjusted 13.6 percent during the week ending April 22 compared to the week before.

The decline was driven by a 26.6 percent decrease in applications for government-backed loans, as premium increases on FHA loans announced Feb. 14 went into effect. Buyers trying to beat the deadline were probably responsible for a 20 percent increase in government purchase loan applications during the preceding four weeks, said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's chief economist.

Demand for purchase loans slipped to its lowest level since Feb. 25, and was down 28.8 percent from the same week a year ago.

In an April 14 forecast, MBA economists said they expect rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans will average 5.1 percent during April, May and June, and climb to an average of 5.6 percent during the final three months of the year.

MBA economists expect a more gradual rise in rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans next year, to an average of 6 percent in the final three months of 2012.

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Delinquent Mortgages, Updated Framework to Include Servicer Incentives and Penalties

Delinquent Mortgages, Updated Framework to Include Servicer Incentives and Penalties

RISMEDIA, May 3, 2011—Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to align their guidelines for servicing delinquent mortgages they own or guarantee. The updated framework will establish uniform servicing requirements as well as monetary incentives for servicers that perform well and penalties for those that do not.

“FHFA’s directive to align Enterprise policies for servicing delinquent mortgages should result in earlier servicer engagement to identify the best solution available for homeowners, given their individual circumstances,” says DeMarco.

The updated guidelines also address the so-called “dual track” by requiring servicers to contact borrowers as soon as they become delinquent and focus solely on remediating that delinquency. The foreclosure process may not commence if the borrower and servicer are engaged in a good-faith effort to resolve the delinquency. The servicer must conduct a formal review of each case to ensure a borrower has been considered for foreclosure alternatives before the loan is referred for foreclosure. Even after foreclosure processing begins, financial incentives are provided to encourage servicers to continue to help borrowers pursue a foreclosure alternative.

Consistent with statements recently issued by federal and state regulators, this initiative is intended to deal with identified problems in mortgage servicing. The updated framework will streamline and expedite borrower outreach, align mortgage modification terms and requirements, and establish a consistent schedule of performance-based incentive payments and penalties. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will each issue detailed guidelines to their servicers in the second and third quarters of 2011.

“Once fully implemented by the servicing industry, the Enterprises’ aligned policies should give homeowners a greater understanding of the process and faster resolution by requiring earlier contact, more frequent communication, and prompt decisions,” says DeMarco. “Equally important, the newly aligned policies will minimize taxpayer losses by ensuring that Enterprise loans are serviced efficiently and fairly.”

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with implementing any of these, come work with us. We already have a system that does it all for you!

The best in their field, even professional athletes take advantage of coaching. If you would like the benefit of working with a full time coach, absolutely free to you, please call me directly or email to set up an interview.

(313) 516-6644
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