Category Archives: Self-Improvement

Resolutions: Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em?

baby-new-year1Well folks, it looks like another year is in the books. And as we await the arrival of baby new year, we all tend to ask ourselves: are we going to resolve anything from 2015 for the prospect of a fantastic 2016? Chances are, that answer is yes. There is always room for improvement and it’s this time of year that brings to light all the changes we feel need to be addressed. Health, personal relations, and money are generally at the tops of said changes.

We all know that business for us in the real estate industry slows down in the colder winter months, so this is a perfect time to take stock in what we currently have, and what we need in order to fine tune our business practices to ensure continued success. As a real estate agent, this isn’t your typical 9 to 5 career. There are three arenas that we use in everyday business: an office, the field and an online presence. We can’t let one of these areas slip through the proverbial cracks or our production will suffer. So why not take a moment to re-evaluate what resolutions need to be put into place to make sure you will begin into the new year ready for anything.

First, let’s look at your office. Does your office project a confident, well-organized agent? Is finding necessary documents on your desk simple or more like a game of Marco Polo? Every professional needs to have a clean, organized office to conduct business in. Start with your desk and move outwards. There are literally tons of organizational equipment at your disposal. A desktop organizer, file cabinet and a little shelving will not only present your skills in a professional light, but a good filing system will also make you seem ready for any situation. So take advantage of the newest technologies available to give your office a bit of a makeover. Streamlining your equipment will only improve the daunting task of keeping up with client paperwork.

Speaking of clients, the next area to consider streamlining is how you conduct yourself out in the field. An agent’s on-the-go lifestyle makes running back to the office for forgotten necessities an impossibility. You need to have everything you need within arm’s reach at the drop of a hat, and before technology, it meant lugging around lots of lots of paperwork in the trunk of your car. Today, this isn’t the case. Now everything can be in the palm of your hand if you have the latest equipment. But it isn’t just about a smartphone and a lightweight electronic notebook. You will always need brochures & flyers, a digital camera and who knows? You may even enjoy writing your notes down with a pen & paper. What you need is a fantastic case to carry along with you to showings and client meetings. It should be roomy enough for all of your basic needs, but organized enough that it doesn’t end up looking like a child’s backpack at the end of the day. Having all of your specific tools with you at all times will make any meeting go smoother and will present you as a capable real estate agent ready to help your client any way you can.

Lastly, consider where you’re storing your business. These days, it seems as though everyone is working off of the internet, in something called the “cloud”. What is this cloud everyone speaks of? Well, it’s basically a more efficient way of keeping all of your records electronic and at your fingertips. Having contracts, forms and digital signatures electronic takes all of the thumbs out of flash drives, misplaced emails and backup storage devices. Everything is online and easily accessible, thereby making any document you need ready at a moment’s notice. And when your business revolves around always being on the go, considering these online tools really is a choice worth considering. It isn’t as complex and scary as it looks. So as we are days from the beginnings of a new year, consider stepping out of your comfort zone if it means a stress-free prosperous 2016.

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Funny Business

realtor-sign-doritoWe all know that there is a lot of competition when it comes to the real estate game. There are always new homes going up for sale, buyers looking to find themselves a new place to live and plenty of agents working hard to land some of that business. As a buyer/seller, where do you even begin? All of these decisions make the process not only overwhelming, but extremely stressful. As an agent, it is your job to help alleviate these worries. So ask yourself…what do you do to stand out from the sea of agents ready to help? And once you get the business, what do you do to help your clients rest at ease during this tumultuous time? Lots of agents use their arsenal of knowledge to navigate thru these stormy seas. Sure, it’s incredibly helpful; everyone needs information and knowing what you’re doing is always necessary. But is it really the most ideal approach? Studies have said not quite.

There is an age-old adage: laughter is the best medicine. Apparently, this doesn’t just pertain to doctors. According to a study conducted by Baylor University’s Keller Center, when asked to choose a real estate agent, clients were more likely to choose the agent with a sense of humor. You heard it right…in a day and age where society is looking for humor in their news (ala Jon Stewart & Steven Colbert), people are asking for someone to lighten up stressful situations with a bit of humor, not just facts and statistics. And the benefits are two-fold; not only do you help your client calm their nerves, but you also build a reputation for being a well-rounded agent, thus bringing in more business. It’s a win-win!

But is real estate a funny business? From the surface, one would say no. There’s nothing all that hilarious about the process required to turn structures into homes. The key is to look deeper into the industry and process itself. It’s not about turning into a clown. It’s all about the subtlety of the delivery. Throw a pun or two into your marketing tactics and listings. Add some funny cartoons or YouTube videos to your social media pages. Make light of a tough situation by spinning a whopper of a tale to relax a stressed out client. Keeping things short and sweet for a quick chuckle is always going to bring a positive result. It’s all about building a rapport and making yourself relatable. You don’t need to be a comedic genius, you just need to be able to make a client feel comfortable in your hands. Keeping a smile on your clients’ faces will not only help the homebuying/homeselling process, but chances are, you will have a client for life.

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Christopher Columbus: America’s First Real Estate Agent?

christopher-columbusHappy Columbus Day, folks! As the first holiday of the autumn season, I thought it fitting to take this moment to propose an idea. After all, the banks are closed & the kids are home. Why not sit back and spin a tale to celebrate the discoverer of our great land?

The story of Christopher Columbus has been told many times. There are historical documents that trace his entire existence. But what if they were wrong? His dad was a wool weaver, his mom owned a cheese stand. Why would Christopher turn out to be a world-famous explorer? What if his intention was to be a real estate agent? He loved discovering new places to inhabit, he loved to sell people on letting him find said places for them, and in the end it wasn’t him that wanted to inhabit those places…he wanted to be the one recognized as the discoverer of places people wanted to inhabit. Can you say farming?

In 1485, Christopher Columbus decides he wants to open his own real estate business and has a good feeling about some area on the west side (of the planet). The Indies was all the rage, but it was becoming a more unsavory area due to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks. People were looking for a new place to go, so Christopher wanted to start to build traction on his farm by showing space not currently available to the public before. And now he’s off to find his first clients.

At first it was tough to find someone interested in this undiscovered property. He sought out King John II of Portugal, but was rejected. He then went to Genoa and Venice, but again, no one was in the market to buy. Even Henry IV turned him down. Columbus was getting frustrated. Finally, he went to Spain to approach the newly married monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. See, now that they were newly married, Ferdinand wanted to give his wife “something nice”. They wanted something large and spacious because they had a lot of family but cozy enough that the neighbors were welcoming enough to have a bar-be-que. Also on the list was lots of light and a good landscape to work with, but with lots of room for improvement.

Unfortunately, under the advice of their committee of Spanish savants, they rejected his proposal. But the monarchs saw something special in Christopher’s personality and trusted him and his farmed territory proposal, so they hired him to find their dream property and in return, ordered all their cities to allow him to live for free while they worked things out “with the banks and lenders”.

Finally, after years of trying to convince them of this great area he knows they’ll love, they finally agree to his terms and well, let’s just say he made quite the commission. He was given rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, appointed Viceroy and Senator of all the new properties he found them, 10% of all revenue accrued in this area and an option to buy into 8% in interest of any commercial venture with an 8% ROI!

So in April 1492, Columbus went off to travel west and report back the showing of a lifetime.

Sure, I could get into the ugly truths, but this isn’t about history. This is about inspiration! If you look at it this way, Christopher Columbus was one awesome real estate agent and you can learn a lot from his persistence. He believed in himself and his product, he got his clients to trust him and in the end, he made his sale. And now he has a world-wide holiday to celebrate his accomplishment. Pretty inspiring stuff, if I do say so myself!

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Always Love Your Mother Because You Will Never Get Another

Mother_Earth

She feeds us, helps us breathe and provides us all of the tools we need to survive. She even keeps us from wandering off, lost in the universe. The term “Mother Earth” isn’t that far off base. So, as we approach the holiday we celebrate our birth mothers, today is the day we stop for a moment and pay our respects to our mother planet.

Just like our mother-appreciating holiday, we shouldn’t leave this special love to only one day… It should be given all year ‘round. Unfortunately, us kids are pretty selfish for the most part and don’t respect our elders as much as we should. She doesn’t ask for much, but for some reason even the easiest requests always feel like a dreadful hassle. But if we want our allowance, we really need to get on the ball. So let’s take care of Ma Earth for a day. It’s the least we can do for all that she does for us.

Clean up your room. Litterbugs are generally thought of as the annoying pests of our society. Making a mess everywhere you go helps no one. So don’t be lazy. Pick up after yourself. Organize a group & pick up a beach or a park. Even the smallest groups can make an impact. And most importantly recycle, recycle, recycle. Turn in your cans & bottles for money. Repurpose anything into something magically new. Donate your unused stuff to someone who could use it. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

Make your bed. It always starts at home. Saving energy & natural resources really doesn’t need a lot of time or money. Change incandescent lightbulbs to fluorescent & change out air filters. Turn off lights when you leave the room and the sink while you brush your teeth. Make sure your faucets don’t leak. A little bit of upkeep can save you money and the planet its resources.

Eat your veggies. Let’s face it… We really need to start eating better. Studies continually show up about pesticides and how great organic is. So how about we quit feeding the dog all of our nutritious food? Plant a garden & use organic pesticides. Add trees & shrubs for some good ol’ carbon dioxide. Take more walks or bike rides and fill the air with carbon dioxide & not with vehicle emissions. The less bad stuff we put into our bodies, the happier we will all be.

Get along with your brother & sister. The key to keeping Mother Earth happy is if we all work together. It isn’t good enough for her to have her proverbial “favorite kids”. We all need to fight for her love. We can do that by looking after one another. The following infographic shows how a seller’s GREEN home is growing in popularity for buyers. It is a slow progress but a progress nonetheless. So spread the word. Add graphics like this and other helpful tips to your custom newsletter. Let your clients know that you’re looking out for them too. After all, isn’t the key to our time on this planet to live by the motto “Each One, Teach One”?

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