By Brooke Wolford
I recently had a meeting for the Metro YPN committee of the St. Paul Association of REALTORS®. Ron Covert, chief executive officer, joined us to see what was going on with our newly-revamped YPN.
One of the questions he asked us was, “How do we get the younger generation involved with the association?” Seems like a relatively easy task from my eyes, however, I also remembered my perspective about committee involvement in the past.
Prior to ever getting involved with any committees, I always felt intimidated by the thought. I didn’t think that I could become involved or even how. Thankfully, after I became a blog contributor for the YPN Lounge, I was contacted by our fearless leader, Nobu Hata, asking me to come to a YPN event with the Minneapolis Association of REALTORS®. One thing led to another and I became one of the task force members for that YPN. It was from this involvement that my passion grew for being involved. I now serve on several local and state committees.
If you ever had any doubt about involvement, let me just tell you this: The association WANTS you to be involved. They need different perspectives. Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, getting involved is always within your reach. Your association wants and needs you!
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.com.
By Hilary Hale Brown
I had the pleasure of spending most of a recent afternoon with Avis Wukasch. For those of you unfamiliar with this vivacious woman, Texas Real Estate Commissioner, and 2012 Texas REALTOR® of the Year, I highly recommend spending a few moments to read her bio online. She reminds us all of what we can accomplish in this crazy game called real estate.
The purpose of her most recent trip to the Permian Basin was for feedback from REALTOR® members on the current issues affecting them at the Texas Real Estate Commission: from the launch of their new website, to educational requirements for brokers and continuing education for licensees, as well as issues affecting appraisals, one of the newest additions to TREC’s scope of oversight.
The informal discussion held after the luncheon gave us all an opportunity to feel like our voices were heard. Speaking directly to a commissioner, when the most communication we might have had with this mighty state organization is an automated email, spoke to the heart of what being a REALTOR® is about: people.
The experience of sitting down across the table from her and feeling like our voices were heard is no different than what we do on a daily basis with clients. We listen to what their concerns and needs are and find a solution for those. Whether it is locating the perfect property or easing someone’s mind over inspection issues, or making sure the lines of communication remain open between agent and client, we sit down in the same way Avis sat down with us and let others know they are heard.
A big thank you goes out to Avis Wukasch and the wonderful inspiration she brings to people of all ages in our industry.
Hilary Hale Brown is a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty in Midland, Texas, and serves as chair of the Permian Basin YPN. Connect with her online at hilaryhale.yourkwagent.com.
REALTOR® University launched its first Master of Real Estate course, Real Estate Law (RE520), on February 27. The Master of Real Estate curriculum emphasizes the practical skills and concepts the real estate industry demands from real estate professionals and blends theory with real-world applications. Even if you missed the first class, four eight-week sessions remain in 2012. The next session begins April 30.
Sign up now and save! The first 40 students in the Master of Real Estate program this year will receive a $2,500 grant for being part of the charter class. This will be distributed as $500 per course for the student’s first five classes. Want to learn more? Call 855-786-6546 (RUONLINE) or visit RealtorU.com.
By Alex Milshteyn
I am writing this 30,000 feet in the air as I fly to St. Louis, Mo., where I’ll be participating in a “30 Under 30” panel discussion during the St. Louis Association of REALTORS®’ YPN second anniversary celebration. As I’m writing this, I feel very little stress, which is a giant contrast from just a few years ago when I’d travel out of town.
During the early years of my real estate practice, I hated leaving town. Just the thought of leaving town would put me in a foul mood. The reason was I couldn’t stop working or stressing about my business even though I’d be somewhere else. I lost count of how many times I returned from a vacation several days early because my business was just too overwhelming. If you’d like to know how to take a vacation to Thailand in three business days, ask me.
At this point, you may be wondering what’s wrong with me. Well, let’s face it, I’m a control freak and a perfectionist. The thought of someone else taking control of my business was impossible – no one could do it better than I could. I shied away from all vacations, all day trips, and a lot of family time because I didn’t know how to handle the stress of being away and continuing to provide the same level of service as I do when I am in town.
Eventually it got to a point where I began to feel like a slave to my practice. I realized that I couldn’t make it much longer unless I got help. I needed someone who I could trust and train. The only way I was going to take a vacation and ease my workload was to hire an assistant. Continue reading »
By Brett Caviness
From the first year I got my license as a college student, I knew I wanted to be involved in the real estate business as much as possible. I started by attending the Iowa REALTORS® Legislative Bus-in where I quickly realized the power we as individuals have to take part in the political landscape that is our real estate industry. Real estate took a bit of a back seat while I finished my degree. As I made my way back home to another market, I again jumped in full-force as an active member of the Iowa Great Lakes Board of REALTORS®. After less than a year in my current market, I was elected secretary/treasury of our board. Since taking office, I have been involved in many programs and organizations.
During my first trip to state meetings this past winter, I was immersed into the exciting culture of passionate real estate professionals from across the state who take an active role in their profession at the state and sometimes national level. I quickly realized that we do have the power to interact, develop ideas, and implement strategies that affect not only our business, but the real estate industry for buyers and sellers.
After the energizing sessions we attended at the state level, I found myself asking, “Why doesn’t everyone want to attend these meetings? If nothing else, why don’t more brokers attend to take back this valuable knowledge and experience to their agents?” The president of our board responded quickly, “There are givers and there are takers.” Continue reading »
By Laura Rubinchuk Schwartz
I met with a very nice couple looking to retire and relocate out of the area, which means selling their home of 20+ years. It had been many, many years since they needed the services of a REALTOR® or learned of the new way things are being done to sell a home, prepare for listing, and the paperwork involved in the process. After a brief tour of the home and some chit chat about their situation and goals for selling their home, we got down to the nitty gritty details, like commission.
After discussing commission rates and such, they asked my favorite question of every listing appointment: “Well, what would your commission be if you sold the house?”
My answer: “I never do dual agency. I think it’s a conflict of interest. I represent you and your interests in this transaction, and at the end of the day, I want to make sure you’re happy and you feel like you got the best deal possible. If I am representing both parties, I don’t think that’s possible.”
With total blank stares, and then a smile, the wife said, “You’re too honest.” My response? “I’m honest, but I also think agents have a bad reputation and we’ve earned it. It’s not about the paycheck in front of them, it’s about the long term happiness of both parties.”
I am sure this is bound to stir up some strong opinions on both sides of the argument, but I wanted to lay out my thoughts on dual agency:
- Agency relationships mean I sign a paper that says I represent the interests of the seller. I am trying to get them to meet their goals with this transaction. I always keep that in mind when reviewing offers and be sure to point out specifics that may be issues for them.
- I always show the property when asked, regardless of representation. Continue reading »
By Chris Nichols
I just got back from some meetings in Orlando, Florida. There are many beautiful golf courses in the area, and I had the opportunity to drive by Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and see this phenomenal golf hole.
Surrounded by water and sandwiched between two sand traps, this hole could easily be summed up as “challenging”! But is it really? Interestingly enough, the green is no different in size than a standard hole without the water and the the sand traps. In other words, it’s not any more difficult to get the ball on this green than on any other green at your local golf course.
Why then, when we look at this hole, do we automatically add the words challenging or difficult to its description? It lies with where our focus is centered. If we are focused on the goal or objective (aka the pin and hole), and not on the visual distractions (aka the sand traps and water waiting to gobble up your golf ball), it’s much easier to get the ball on this green. Golf course designers like to add these obstacles because they understand that the principle of target fixation will distract the golfer and increase the difficulty of the hole.
How often do we allow external challenges, Continue reading »
By Toby Boyce
The sun rose over the eastern sky as my alarm went off on what was quite the unusual March morning. Well beyond the fact that it was nearly 50 degrees, I decided to take my wife’s advice and go to the neurologist and chiropractor after six days of constant migraines.
As I sat in the chiropractor’s office, I was reliving every Charlie Sheen joke about chiropractors from “2-1/2 Men” in my head and sadly it blended very well with my own personal experience. But as I sat there waiting for my name to be called, I read through the pamphlet that was provided to me by the office manager – it dawned on me – these people were on the ball.
Are you on the ball?
They gave me three sheets of paper that outlined three key things that I wanted to know.
- What was going to happen on the first visit.
- What is going to happen on the upcoming visits.
- How to work with insurance and other options to pay for the treatments.
It got me thinking. Am I preparing my clients this effectively for the transaction? Sadly, REALTORS® have about the same reputation as chiropractors for working their clients over.
How can we take a page from this chiropractor?
- Provide a pre-meeting itinerary that outlines exactly what the meeting will cover and how it will go. This does a few things, but most importantly it keeps the meeting on track and provide a road map, keeping the awkward silence to a minimum. Continue reading »