Confused by Obamacare? Check out REALTORS Health Insurance Marketplace

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Obamacare2As most U.S. real estate agents are independent contractors, many will be scrambling to find good health care coverage.  This has always been an issue for REALTORS, but is even more problematic with the whole Affordable Care Act in force soon…

Realtor InsuranceThe National Association of Realtors has created its own insurance marketplace for its members.  I encourage you to check it out.  You will need to sign into your account on Realtor.org in order to see the details.  Here is the link: http://www.realtor.org/insurancemarketplace?cid=RHIM-August-0008

I was pretty impressed with the choices in my area.  Don’t procrastinate!

In addition, the NAR is offering a webinar on December 12, 2013 at 11am Central Standard Time.  The link to register for this is:  https://realtors.webex.com/realtors/onstage/g.php?d=921130646&t=a

It is called:Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act: What REALTORS Can Do Today

 

 

 

 

HomeOwnership Award at RISMedia Power Broker Dinner

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RISMedia3

Tonight in San Francisco, I was honored by RISMedia at the annual Power Broker Dinner when Publisher John Featherston presented me with his HomeOwnership Person of the Year Award.  I am humbled by being selected, and enjoyed seeing so many people in the audience that I have known for many years, and many that I have just gotten to know recently.  After 38 years in this industry it feels really gratifying to be recognized this way.

It was also great to see Steve Young (former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback) again…he was the keynote speaker tonight, and was thoroughly enjoyable.  I have had the honor of meeting him in the past at one of his Forever Young Golf Tournaments.

Regional Developers and Broker/Owners joining me from Realty Executives were Michael Neuman from Austin, K.M. Lock and NG Kim Poh from Malaysia, Nancy and Steve Summers from Kansas City, Don Perron from Louisiana, and Jeff Moore from Las Vegas, NV.  All in all a great night!

Accepting the 2013 HomeOwnership Person of the Year Award

Rich Rector, President of Realty Executives International, accepting the 2013 HomeOwnership Person of the Year Award

Chaparral High School Students Getting Real Estate Licenses

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Real Estate Students at Chaparral High School

Real Estate Students at Chaparral High School

Today I was honored to speak to two classes of high school seniors who are taking real estate classes taught by Brad Goddes.  Brad is a science teacher at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, AZ, but is also the Designated Broker for his family’s home building business.  For the past several years, he has been offering these classes to seniors that will be 18 years old by the time class is over, so the students can sit for the State Real Estate Exam and be fully licensed agents.

I sang my two little ditties to break the ice, and then had a great dialogue with the students about many aspects of our industry – ranging from franchising to compensation methods to reducing liability in transactions.

Me with the students' instructor, Brad Goddes.

Me with the students’ instructor, Brad Goddes. 

As part of their curriculum, the students must do some outside work, like visiting open houses in the area to see that process in real life and visiting the foreclosure auctions at the Court House steps in downtown Phoenix.

Huge KUDOS to Mr. Goddes for making this available to high school students and giving them an amazing head-start in our industry.  I would love to see this done in many other places.  Please leave a comment letting me know if this type of class is available to high schoolers in your area.

 

 

What is just as important as your “To-Do” List?

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I recently finished reading Jim Alampi’s new book, Great To Excellent; It’s the Execution!  I have known Jim for a number of years as he has guided me and my management teams through what some people call “strategic planning.”  Jim calls it the “Execution Roadmap” because it is all about getting things done, rather than just planning to get things done.

JimAlampi

I particularly liked one brief chapter entitled “Your ‘Stop-Doing’ List is More Important than Any ‘To-Do’ List.”

Here is the entire chapter.  (I love how Jim is so concise!)

Members of senior management are notoriously poor at identifying things they should stop doing.  We typically keep adding more and more to our plates, requiring longer hours and more heroic efforts.  I don’t know about you, but when I hit 27-hour days, I lose a little productivity!

It is amazing what happens when we empower and encourage our employees to identify things they should stop doing.  You may not agree with all of them, but it’s amazing how many people spend time creating computer reports for people who stopped reading or needing them years ago!  Companies and employees usually have plenty of time to do the work required, if they would only stop doing things that were necessary once but are no longer needed or add value to the operation.

So my question for you is: “What can you STOP DOING in order to be more productive?”  Anyone care to share your answers? 

Real Estate Buyers’ Insights From Inman Panel

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I recently attended the Inman Connect Conference in San Francisco, and came back with some great insights from one particular session.

They assembled a group of 8 recent home buyers, and let them speak directly to the audience (of Realtors) about their experiences with the buying experience.  I was glad that the conference organizers chose a diverse group, as we know every real estate transaction is different.  There was an investor, a single woman, a gay couple, a recently-married husband and wife, and others among the panelists.

There were a few important points that all Realtors need to know:

Buyers want to “own” the search process

Home Search

They selected their Realtor in one of two main ways:

1.  By referral from a trusted source or friend

2.  By speed of response on the web, text, social media or phone

They want and expect three main things from their agent:

1. “Help me understand the buying process.”

buy process

2. “Be my ‘hyper-local’ real estate expert.”

3.  “Negotiate for me.”

negotiate

Good advice from real buyers.  Are you listening?  Are you doing these things for your buyers?

 

A New Song About The Changed Real Estate Market…

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Yesterday at a company event I sang a new song that I co-wrote with Greg Traynor, one of our Regional Developers.  It is called “Sales Dance”, with apologies to Van Morrison.

Three years ago at a company event, I sang my “Short-Sale Foreclosure Blues” which highlighted the issues in the market then.  Here is a link to that performance…

However, times have changed, and sellers and buyers are experiencing something totally different.  Everyone has read about it, Realtors try to explain it to their clients, but here is a little different way of expressing what is going on out there right now…

I hope you enjoy this…and remember, this is not my day job…just a fun way to let people know what the real estate market is up to…

Here are the lyrics to both songs:

Short-Sale Foreclosure Blues

Bought at the top in 2005, Life was great, beginning to thrive, Then, whoa, things took a major dive.  Got those short-sale, foreclosure, repo blues.

Behind on my payments, market done tanked. Prices have fallen, zilch in the bank.  Went to my lender and drew a blank.  Got those short-sale foreclosure blues.

If I could have I would have paid, If I could have I would have stayed.  I’ve been Fannie’d and Freddie’d and FHA’d, I’ve been Chased, Wells Fargo’d and B of A’d.  I got those underwater, upside-down, short-sale foreclosure blues…

Sales Dance

It’s a marvelous time for a sales dance, can’t wait for the meeting of minds.  I know now the time is just right for this crazy market to climb.  Sellers are wanting more money, because hundreds want to buy.  And they have no clue what they’re in for, when the offers start to fly.

Homes are back in demand, inventory is low, You’re gonna get multiple offers, and make some dough.  Can I just have one more sales dance with you, my friend? Can I just have one more sales dance with you?

The housing market has turned, and prices are on the mend.  It’s time to sharpen your pencils, or miss out in the end.  The sellers are excited, and the buyers are quite stressed.  It’s not time to complain, just give us your highest and best.

Homes are back in demand, inventory is low, You’re gonna get multiple offers, and make some dough.  Can I just have one more sales dance with you, my friend? Can I just have one more sales dance with you?

How to get Real Estate Agents to Adopt New Tools and Technology

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When I attended the Real Trends Gathering of Eagles recently, a common topic arose among real estate company owners and franchisors: “How do I increase agent adoption of the tools and systems I provide for them?”

The problem is pervasive.  The data shows that only 10% of agents use 90% of the available technology, and only 50% employ a bleak 10%.  Why?

Chart courtesy of Real Trends

Chart courtesy of Real Trends.  This originally appeared in the 2013 May Edition of REAL Trends and is reprinted with permission.  All rights reserved. Copyright 2013.

Several reasons:

  • Agents are “too busy” to learn new things
  • Experienced Agents have already adopted other tools from other vendors
  • Agents are fearful “downtime” and loss of business if they change systems
  • Agents want to see and hear results from peers, not from their broker or the vendors
  • The average age of NAR members is around 56 years old; and many of them feel “tech-challenged.”

The solution to this issue seemed intuitive to most attendees – “DO IT FOR THEM.”

This made me very happy to hear because our company is far ahead of the pack!  Years ago we saw this problem and implemented a new position in our company: The Marketing Services Associate.  Much like a Transaction Coordinator, this person is the Marketing Coordinator, serving agents to set up their CRM, websites, social media accounts, lead management systems and other tools.

And it is working!  I would like to hear from any of you who have utilized this service in our offices already and what your experience has been.

The New Realty Executives Website and Cutting-Edge Management System is Live

New WebsiteToday is a very exciting day for Realty Executives International! I’m immensely proud to announce the launch of our new Realty Executives International Website at www.RealtyExecutives.com. In addition to our innovative new and improved web presence, we’ve also launched an extremely comprehensive intranet for our Broker/Owners and Executives which serves as a dashboard that will better implement business productivity on a daily basis.

The new Realty Executives International Website allows for property search functionality in the United States and Canada and is optimized for our consumers. The new design and features were developed with our ideal client in mind, while still providing our Broker/Owners and Executives with a state-of-the-art website that meets their needs.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also launched our new back-end management system which is unlike any product or tool we’ve ever developed for Realty Executives International. Not only is it a robust intranet system but, it also provides a comprehensive platform which supplies our Realty Executives Broker/Owners and Executives with a dashboard that allows them to interact with the system for a wide-variety of uses on a daily basis. We call this system Executive Access and it provides the following amazing benefits:

  • A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to manage contacts and leads
  • Listing management and access to the MLS
  • An interactive experience as opposed to a static website that provides a lot of information
  • Calendar management and alerts for business
  • Management of business activities

I’m so pleased to announce this news and I’m looking forward to seeing how these innovative technological tools change the day-to-day lives of both our Executives and their clients.

2013 Brings Enlightenment About Our Real Estate Future

HouseCoreLogic released their monthly installment of MarketPulse which provides calculated insight into the state of our ever-evolving real estate market. While CoreLogic highlighted that the impending theme for last year’s industry was definitely “uncertainty”, they noted that the beginning of 2013 brings with it a slight amount of clarification, which in turn is slated to produce more positive fiscal results.

CoreLogic stated that, however it is a bit early to announce, the data implies that the fiscal cliff deal done on January 1 has created little change in our market across the United States. The good news however, is that recent research shows that the wealth effect of rising home values will help to increase sales.

According to MarketPulse (which is reporting on statistics from December 2012), home prices nationwide increased by 8.3 percent on a year-over-year basis. This is the biggest increase since May 2006 and also the 10th consecutive year-over-year home price increase. All but FOUR states are experiencing price gains compared to last year.

After more than several years of so much uncertainty, we’re starting to see the waters part and data is leaning towards the positive. CoreLogic said this about the market expectations for 2013, “While it is important to recognize the improvements to the mortgage market during 2012, we should continue to be vigilant in 2013. This year we will begin to transition to a more normal balance in the mortgage market. It’s a year that will also create more regulatory certainty.”

So what does this mean for your business? It means continue to build your sales pipelines, leverage the incredible technology out there for increased productivity and keep an eye out for more permanent infrastructure which will equal positive results for our businesses.

To read the full report, go to www.CoreLogic.com and sign in to download.

“Fiscal Cliff” Details for Real Estate Issues

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Some temporary relief, but with much more to resolve...

Some temporary relief, but with much more to resolve…

Ok, so we have some answers to some of the questions we were facing concerning real estate issues.  I am sure you probably have heard the major points, so I won’t go into all the details.  Here is the link to the official White House Summary of the bill:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/01/fact-sheet-tax-agreement-victory-middle-class-families-and-economy

The main topics I want to point out are:

1. The income levels of $400,000 and $450,000 (for individuals and married couples filing jointly, respectively) refer to “taxable income” which means after expenses and deductions.

2. This also is for income received in 2013, so this does not affect people’s 2012 tax returns that are due April 15, 2013.  It will affect the returns due April 15th, 2014.

short sale

3. The Mortgage Debt Relief Act (see my earlier post from October 8, 2012 http://realestatebizexpert.com/2012/10/08/congress-needs-to-act-now-to-save-short-sales/) was extended for 1 year, until December 31, 2013.  This is terrific news for Realtors and sellers of short sale properties.

4. The Mortgage Interest Deduction was left untouched, at least for now.  I suspect that it will be a target when Congress resumes conversations about cutting expenses…

5.  The 3.8% Capital Gain tax that was buried in the Obamacare health bill remains, and will affect people starting this year.

6. Other Capital Gain taxes remain at 15%, except for those earning more than $400,000 (individual) or $450,000 (married filing jointly).

I am very happy to see the extension of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act for another year; this will help clear the decks of more shortsales faster!  As far as the other issues, I believe the Mortgage Interest Deduction is a huge target for the President and Congress, so I am not optimistic about its likely future.