By Alex Milshteyn
I’ve attended the annual REALTORS® Conference & Expo since 2005. A lot has changed since my first annual conference, which also took place in San Francisco, but a lot has also stayed the same. Here is a list of some of my memorable changes:
- In 2005, I didn’t have in-flight internet. I am not sure how I survived 4.5 hour flight without checking e-mail.
- In 2005, I came to San Francisco with no technology. No iPhone, no iPad, no MacBook, no battery pack, no 3 chargers.
- In 2005, I carried a fancy silver flip phone on my belt.
- In 2005, I walked by at least four “Internet Cafés” from my hotel to the convention center. I used these cafés to check my e-mail only once a day.
- In 2005, the only “tech” sessions offered were training on how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint. I remember taking a class on how to create a listing presentation in PowerPoint. I was one of 20 REALTORS® that attended this class.
- In 2005, social media was non-existent at the conference.
- In 2005, Zillow and Trulia didn’t exist.
- In 2005, I bought my first package through realtor.com®, I agreed to pay them $300 per year to “showcase” my listings.
- In 2005, the conference registration cost $300. It was $400 for this year.
- In 2005, Dr. Phil was the keynote speaker.
- In 2005, the expo had “tech” companies that mostly included only website creators like z57 and iHouse.
A lot has changed in eight years. But also, a lot has stayed the same. The sessions on selling real estate are mostly the same; old school methods still work. Technology has made it easier for us to communicate but it hasn’t replaced us. I’m looking forward to the next REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Francisco in 2019 so that I can report the changes that have happened since 2013.
Alex Milshteyn, GRI, ABR, is a REALTOR® in Ann Arbor, Mich., who runs a real estate team of five professionals called Alex Milshteyn Real Estate Associates. Connect with him at www.alexmi.com.
By Dave Robison
“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson is an easy but great read. The narrative is a simple story that describes the trials and tribulations of two mice—Sniff and Scurry—who always rely on getting their cheese from the same source. When the cheese source is moved, they wonder why it disappeared and promptly go in search for more. But cheese was easy to find when they knew just where it would be, and Sniff and Scurry had much more trouble locating food once they weren’t sure where to look.
And so it is with the real estate industry, especially as it relates to REO/short sales. We had some mice who were in the right place at the right time and knew exactly where to find the cheese so they could feast. In this case, the mice were some advantageous REALTORS® and the cheese was the REO/short sales market. In my opinion, the REO/short sales industry seems to have come and gone. When the market flourished, the top producers of the REO/short sales boom were certainly finding their cheese, (and why wouldn’t they? They knew exactly where to look). Today, with the boom waning, the REO/short sales top producers are telling me they’re going to have to sell real estate the “normal way.” What’s the lesson learned here? Now that they’re not sure where to find the cheese, they’re having much more trouble making a sale.
What are the clues as to when there will be cheese and when the cheese will be gone? Marilyn Wilson with the WAV Group recently spoke to our Utah Associaiton of REATLORS® and left many clues. The following are statistics she quoted from her research, (mainly conducted in the Houston area):
1. Based on her own survey results, when the general public of Houston was asked about the first company that comes to mind when they hear the words “real estate,” the most common answer was Zillow.
2. Only 12 percent of those surveyed said they would rather work with a REALTOR® instead of a real estate agent.
3. WAV Group called 1,000 listings and only reached 30 percent of agents immediately. Another 30 percent never even returned the phone call.
So, if you’re type of mouse who banks on the fact that cheese—or the latest hot trend in real estate—will never go away, you may say these facts are interesting and move on with your life. However, if you’re the type of mouse who knows the importance of dwindling cheese sources in the real estate industry, you may sense the winds of change from these bits of information. Which type of mouse do you want to be? Where do you see change happening now? What’s the latest real estate trend ready to disappear?
Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is broker/owner of UtahDave.com Neighborhood Experts.
By Wade Corbett
It never ceases to amaze me how REALTORS® can treat each other sometimes. I recently had an experience with a buyer’s agent who could not have been more rude or bullheaded. I never like to talk poorly about anyone as it’s not my nature and I don’t think it’s very professional, but in this case, it may be necessary for today’s lesson. There are loathsome people throughout all walks of life and it’s impossible to avoid all of them. Why though, do some real estate professionals think that being difficult to work with helps anyone? Our primary duty is to provide our client with quality service in a lawful manor. After all, we wouldn’t make it too far without our clients, would we?
Recently, I sold a property that had a cracked septic system. Knowing that replacing this system would be financially impossible for my clients, I opened my bag of saved favors to ensure they would be able to sell their vacant home. I was able to convince one of my best contractors to replace the septic tank for less than cost, (yes, she actually lost money replacing it), as a massive favor for me. With breakneck speed, we obtained the appropriate permits, and the job was done in just a few days. Even so, the buyer’s agent was not impressed, and without going into any detail, was very unprofessional during the entire ordeal. The other agent actually called my favorite contractor to fuss about the pace of the work being done. Meanwhile, this agent called me horrible names and insulted my real estate abilities to my contractor!
The property did end up closing after continued scrutiny from the buying party. My sellers, a married couple who live several hours away, knew nothing of the troubles mentioned or the ugliness of the buying side. All they knew was that I was going to do everything in my power to ensure that the property sold. I ended up calling in a lot of favors and I took a significant loss on my commission. However, my hard work paid off. Since the deal closed, the sellers have referred me additional business, given me marketing space on their website—at no cost—and called me many times to thank me for all my help!
All in all, the buyer’s agent was very difficult to work with and at some point impossible to communicate with. It was clear from early on that this agent was only interested in making a commission and not on her client’s well-being. So what’s the lesson here? We should all try to be friendly and courteous to one another. There’s no reason to ever be hurtful to a fellow REALTOR®!
Have you ever had a negative experience with the other party in a real estate transaction? If so, how did you handle it?
By Sam DeBord
One of the biggest hurdles for new REALTORS® is overcoming a lack of experience when meeting with a potential client. Motivation, marketing skills, and preparation go a long way, but they can fall flat when faced with a simple seller question:
“So, how long have you been selling real estate?”
Many REALTORS® who are fairly new to the industry are already outstanding salespeople. However, it’s still reasonable to expect a home buyer or seller to question the experience of their potential representation. The difficulty for the newer REALTOR® is that there is no way to speed up the length of time he or she has been working in the industry.
There is, however, an easy way to increase the depth of that experience. Exhibiting experience is not just about the number of years a REALTOR® has been selling homes. It’s much more about the knowledge gained during that time.
Consider two responses to our previously-mentioned home seller question:
Response 1 : “I’ve been selling homes in this neighborhood for 18 months, and have sold six homes so far this year.”
Response 2: “I’ve been serving this community as the government affairs liaison for the local REALTOR board, as well as selling homes here since 2011. I’ve helped a half-dozen clients sell so far this year, while also working on a task force that’s helping to ensure fair foreclosure practices and to secure property rights for our local homeowners.”
Which response do you think will win the seller over?
Working with a local board is the fastest way to achieve a wider range of experience, and contribute to your community at the same time. It shows potential clients that you’re trusted by the public as well as your industry associates.
The local boards are always searching for newer, younger, fresher ideas from their member base. Don’t be intimidated by the names or the experience levels of the committees. You’ll be surprised how much appreciation new members receive when they commit to more influential roles within their local organizations.
Give your local board a call, and add a title or two to your e-mail signature. Government affairs, social media, property rights, information systems, communications, education−there are a plethora of opportunities. Fast-track the depth of your experience, and you’ll quickly grow your credibility within the industry, as well as your confidence when communicating to potential clients.
By Jennifer Klein and Derek Sandoval
Pocket listings, or home listings that aren’t posted on the MLS, have become a hot topic lately. Placer County Association of REALTORS® YPN members Jennifer Klein and Derek Sandoval discuss the ramifications of pocket sales as well as buyers’ frustrations with this method of selling a home.
Jennifer Klein is a REALTOR® in Northern California who is experienced in short sales, investments, and property management. Connect with Jen at RosevilleAndRocklin.com, JenKlein.com, and @JenKleinSac.
Derek Sandoval has worked for Keller Williams Realty in Roseville, Calif., since 2009, and specializes in residential, REO, and short sales. Find Derek at www.dereksellshomes.com and dereksellshomes.featuredblog.com.
A very wise man named Obi Wan once said: “I feel a great disturbance in the Force.” OK sure, it’s a Star Wars quote, and I’m talking about the housing market and not a metaphysical power, but the overall message still applies! If you pay close attention, you’ll notice the market has begun to shift. Depending on your area, you may be seeing a little change, or you may be seeing a lot of change already. The latest numbers reflect this positive upturn and show that real estate is drastically improving.
If you’ve been in this industry for the last six or seven years, you know that selling real estate takes a certain amount of hustle. When the market is less than stellar, you’ve got to work harder in order to keep business alive. Maybe you’ve had to hold your transactions together with duct tape to prevent them from falling apart. Or maybe you’ve been working 60 hours to do what 40 hours used to accomplish. Either way, kudos to you! But with the market springing back to life, does this mean an end to the “hustle era”?
Two weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of addressing a class full of aspiring new REALTORS®. If I had given my speech in 2009, this class would have had 25-30 students in attendance. In 2013, the class consisted of 50-70 eager students, all scheduled to take their licensing exam the following week. As I addressed the students, I began to notice that a large majority of these future REALTORS® were very young! Why are these young people hoping to join the real estate sales force? I believe they know about the shift! They know the real estate marketing is going to gather steam, and they want to get in before things really start to pick up.
As the stock market, jobs, and overall economy continue to improve, the real estate market will inevitably follow suit. But is your business model prepared to handle the improving market demands? Do you have your systems in place to take on a larger work load while still trying to hold those difficult transactions together? You may want to consider tweaking the way you run your business to accommodate for the changes that are to come. Foresight is essential to success.
My prediction for the next few years: I firmly believe that new construction will rise at a fast pace over the next several years. How many young people have put off getting married, having children, and buying homes because of the lackluster economy? As the economy improves, more and more of this generation should be purchasing homes and starting families. Currently, there is not enough housing available for Generation Y. As this generation begins to plant their roots, numbers show that new construction must increase to supply their future demand for homes.
Now that I’ve put in my two cents, what do you think? How will the positive changes in the housing market affect the real estate industry?
By Toby Boyce
The question on my local NPR station was simple enough: “Why do symphonies sound different when they are made up of the same parts?” The response was very eloquent and educated — I assume. It made as much sense as Pig Latin to me. “Well each one focuses on different things…”
I’m sure that musicians in the audience totally understood what the conductor was describing. But the “common person” was lost and tuned him out.
Are you doing that to your real estate clients?
How about that letter soup? Or the intricacies of how your company differs from the next?
Make sure you’re explaining things without their eyes’ glassing over. All they want to know is that you are a great agent who will handle their transaction like it is the only one you have.
However, you have to continually read your clients and provide them the information they need to make a decision without overwhelming them. How do we do it? Well, it can be quite natural — just shut up. Yes, I just told a group of REALTORS® to shut up, and know that is almost impossible for any of us to do so. But we need to just stay quiet and let the clients talk.
Before you start rattling off the details on an FHA 203K loan, how about finding out if they need to know about the 203K loan. Kind of embarrassing when you explain it for about five minutes and she says, “I know, I created them for years as a loan officer.” Did I build any rapport with them during that five minute session? Probably not, as they already knew and were debating whether to use satin or silk in the living room.
The point is, if you listen to your customers and provide knowledge where the gap is present, then you have done exactly what they’ve hired you to do: You are adding value to the transaction. And the next time they hear a real estate agent going on about “blah, blah, blah,” they’ll just tune him/her right out because they’ll know — you’ll provide the answer they need.
Toby Boyce, MBA, is a real estate practitioner with Keller Williams Consultants Realty in Westerville, Ohio. Visit his Web site: www.delawareohrealestate.com.
By TG Gallaudet
Wait…I’m totally lying. Is there anything more painful? It’s no mystery that short sales can be really tough because of all the variables involved:
* Unclear timelines from the bank.
* Undisclosed liens.
* Back HOA expenses the bank won’t pay.
* Non-straightforward buyer.
* Inexperienced listing agent.
* Cash contributions (increasingly more and more).
* Etc., Etc., Etc…
But the hardest side to represent as an agent is the buyer’s side of a short sale because the buyer’s agent has no control of ANYTHING, and has to hope for a solid listing agent who knows what they’re doing. Right?
I just ended a painful short sale transaction where I represented the buyer that lasted 7 months and went nowhere. Granted, it wasn’t the easy one-loan in equator kinda deal, but we had absolutely no worthwhile answer from the bank after 7 months, which is totally inexcusable in 2011 as far as I’m concerned. The main problem, in my opinion, is that the listing agent saw this sale as a small income producer and pawned the negotiation responsibilities over to his part time TC. The TC had little-to-no experience with short sales, or negotiating any deals, and therefore little experience in working with banks. Because of her inexperience, I think she had little confidence in dealing with the bank and their personnel and couldn’t push back or demand results when she was entitled to do so. After being a listing agent on several short sales, I’ve come to understand that the burden of success lies heavily on the listing agent and specifically how s/he communicates to both the buyers’ agent and buyer, how she sets expectations and what answers she deems acceptable from the bank. Continue reading »
By Jared James
Spring is the time when more people will be making a decision about who to use as their REALTOR® than at any other time of the year. So is there a magic bullet to create more transactions in the next couple of months?? Watch the video below and you decide. I look forward to your feedback and connecting with so many of you. Good luck!!
Jared James is the CEO and founder of Jared James Enterprises (JJE) and travels around North America speaking to and coaching REALTORS®. Connect with Jared at www.jaredjamestoday.com, on facebook.com/jaredjamestoday, or follow him on Twitter @jaredjamestoday.