Monthly Archives: July 2015

Getting Your Ducks in a Row


One thing we know for sure…being a real estate agent means having MOUNTAINS of paperwork at any given moment. And no one likes dealing with paperwork so it is generally just piling up as each stage of the selling/buying process continues. We know we have to keep paperwork around in case of a dispute or audit, but sometimes it almost seems impossible to keep up with it. Everyone has a different way to organize their office but here is a quick and easy way to stay on top of your desktop mountain, while making every client easy to reference.

Invest in binders and organization tabs in bulk. Not only are they tax-deductible (save that receipt), but they will keep each client separate and easy to access at a moment’s notice. Simply put a label on each binder spine with the client’s name and date. The tabs will break down each step of the selling/listing agreement, so break each category down to make finding a certain piece of paperwork really easy. Tab labels that are handy to have around? Client profile, listing details, notes, loan or escrow documents, and closing paperwork are just a few of the tabs that would be useful in each client binder.

Now that you have your system in place, it is time to put it to use. This is where it gets tricky. Because the way to best utilize this system is to keep on top of it all. Yeah, I know…that’s easier said than done. I get it. But it is absolutely necessary in order to keep your ducks in a row. Create a binder as soon as you sign a contract and keep the binder with you whenever you are working with that client. As you complete a stage in the process, add the paperwork to the binder directly. The sooner you add it to their binder, the less chance you have of misplacing said paperwork. Once the transaction closes, go through the entire binder to make sure you have included everything you need in it, then store it away. Doing this right away will ensure everything is all together and not lost in your paperwork abyss.

Storage is the final decision to make your new-found system complete. This generally depends on your office situation. If you work in an office, maybe there’s a spot available for storage. Fire-resistant cabinets or storage units are other options. If you have gone paperless, make sure you have a proven backup system in place to save all your transactions. The experts in the industry suggest that at any given time you should have a backup of all essential information on three types of media. It can be a jump drive, an external hard drive, and ‘the cloud’, such as Dropbox. Nothing is worse than losing your clients’ database because you missed scheduled backup and proper storage wasn’t considered.

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Generation X and the Housing Market: Middle Child Syndrome

gen-x-dame_0“Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!” – Jan Brady

Americans have been looking forward to the return of the housing market for years, and it finally feels like we are upon a shaky but continued upswing. But there is one generation that isn’t as quick to participate. America’s middle child: Generation X.

According to Harvard’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2015, Gen-Xers have the lowest homeownership since 1993 (to clarify, this generation consists of those born from 1965 – 1984). In fact, they are often considered the blame for the decrease in home buying as homeowners aged 35 – 39 dropped 23% from a decade ago. The market peaked at the same time these Gen-Xers were peaking to be first-time homeowners, so it was believed that they could relish in the decline in home prices. Instead, they have decided to remain in the rental market longer than their predecessors. The Baby Boomers have been keeping the 63.7% homeownership rate afloat. It is even said that the Millennials have a better chance to build careers and catch up to the Baby Boomers, completely bypassing Generation X.

And true to form, the reasoning behind this strange situation is a vicious circle. Because the “backlog” of rental properties is becoming larger due to the Millennials’ desire to move out of their parent’s house, rent for the current residents is increasing. The increase in rent has now made it more difficult to save for a down payment on a home, therefore keeping the renters where they are. The reason for this now falls back on stagnant wages. A report showed that households aged 35 – 44 are at mid-1980s range; those aged 45 – 54 are set back even further, dating back to the latter half of the 1960s.

Lastly, you have to consider this. Those that were around for the housing crisis are now a bit more gun shy to jump into the housing market. It’s only natural. 11 million were foreclosed on and only 2 million have returned. Just like any family, Generation X isn’t the golden child leading the pack like the Baby Boomers, nor are they the younger sibling that tries to imitate your every move, like the Millennials. Generation X will eventually come into their own and become more involved in homeownership as time goes on, but it will be a very slow progression. They aren’t like their other siblings.

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Safety ABCs: Always Be Careful

safety-ABCAccording to the National Association of Realtors stated that 57% of agents are women. And a report in 2011 found that these women are the victims of the majority of the violent crimes committed in the industry. Being a woman, it was a staggering statistic to find out. Not only is it awful that violence is prevalent in this industry, but the fact that women are the prey to this violence is very unsettling. How can one provide for her family when this sort of thing is an actual threat at work?

But there is good news on the horizon. The recent crimes that have taken place against real estate agents has given National Association of Realtors’ president, Chris Polychon a reason to make safety a priority. But you really have to think… How safe can you make yourself when your entire job revolves around showing strangers empty houses? You advertise with a picture of your face and a phone number to find you. The very essence of self-promotion leaves little mystery of who you are. I’ve found various suggestions as I researched further. Carry a gun. Carry a legal, non-lethal weapon, like pepper spray. Self defense training.

But there are also other preventative measures one can take that are less threatening. Meet at the office. Make photocopies of their IDs prior to showing a home. Bring someone along with you to remote houses. Use an app like MyForce or a code in the office when you don’t feel safe. All of these make sense and would prove to be a huge deterrent. Make sure you’re taking all the proper precautions to be safe.

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The Myth of St. Joseph

st-joseph-homesellerThroughout history there have been always been superstitious beliefs that have traveled from place to place. They can be as simple as breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck or never washing your lucky jersey until the season is over will bring victory. Some are cultural, some are religious, but no matter how silly, there is always someone that has a story that makes these superstitions hard not to believe. The real estate business is no exception.

Since the 1980s a certain belief has been growing increasingly popular with selling a home. Burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard. It is believed that burying the patron saint of workers, or Jesus’ carpenter dad, will bring a quick sale. There really isn’t a credible source as to the reasoning behind this, but like all things superstitious, someone had a story that it worked and thus, a myth is created.

As far as the instructions are concerned, there really isn’t much to go on. Everyone has their own theories. Some say bury him upside down, facing away from the house. Some say bury him next to the for sale sign. I suppose it can all be up to personal preference. But once the home is sold, he is to be exhumed and positioned in the owner’s home for prosperity.

Because there are no actual facts to prove this, I cannot say whether or not it will work. But it is proven that positive thoughts lead to positive results. And the belief is so popular, there are some companies that will sell you a St. Joseph burial kit for as little as $5.00. If you ask me, that’s a small price to pay for a little added divine intervention.

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