YPN Grows Leaders


Rob Reuter

By Rob Reuter

Yesterday was a special day for YPN.  More than 90 YPN chairs, vice chairs, and staff liaisons convened in Chicago representing networks from 31 states and Canada in what I expect to be the first of many annual YPN Leadership Retreats.

Whether a member of YPN since its inception in 2007 or representing a network less than two weeks old, the group engaged in a full-day workshop on how to run stronger networks and build better real estate businesses.

Erin Steele, 2014 Bay East YPN Vice Chair, explains her perspective as an affiliate member of YPN. (Photo by Meg White)

The format of the day catered to the typical YPNer: high member participation and engagement with discussion moderators rather than the traditional classroom-style education. Emceed by 2014 YPN Advisory Board Chair Matt Phipps and Vice Chair Bobbi Howe, the day produced an atmosphere of energy, professional education, and fun. Three 90-minute tracks focused on YPN, technology, and the REALTOR® Association were broken down into three 30-minute small group discussions. Each topic was introduced by either a YPN Advisory Board member or industry thought leader, discussed in small groups for 15 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of idea sharing with the group at-large.

Louis McCall (right), 2014 Scottsdale YPN Chair, discusses how he maintains his relationship with clients post-closing with 2014 YPN Advisory Board Member Philip Becker (left) and 2014 Pinellas Suncoast YPN Chair Xina Rim (center). (Photo by Meg White)

Nina Bhanot, 2014 Collin County YPN Vice Chair, shares with the group the details of her network’s latest event. (Photo by Meg White)

A water battle to raise funds for RPAC?  Food trucks plus real estate?  There was no shortage of creativity from this group. Traditional topics such as direct mailing, door knocking, and geographic farming were also discussed. Another popular topic: the difference between having a client database and truly leveraging it by contacting people and growing it daily.

When the day was done, many of the attendees rushed off to catch their flights, but not before exchanging one last business card or adding one more friend on Facebook.  The overall feedback was extremely positive with the primary negative being that the event was too short! Looks like we’ll have to extend the event next time.

We look forward to seeing the group back in Chicago in August 2015.

2014 YPN Leadership Retreat (Photo by Meg White)

Rob Reuter is NAR’s director of communication networks. Connect with Rob at rreuter@realtors.org.



Source - Realtor.org

The Chic, New Neutral Color Backdrop


Photo credit: Jeff Kaufmann, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, pjhomestyling.com

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Move over, beige. Shades of whites and grays are becoming the trendy wall color choice nowadays.

For contemporary, sophisticated walls, stagers are reaching for the whites and grays. In some cases, the colors are even merged as a smoky white.

Fifty-eight percent of designers predict gray to be the fastest growing color scheme this year for kitchens and baths – while the popularity of beige and bone colors continues to wane, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2014 trend forecast. The Paint Quality Institute has called gray “the hot new neutral” of 2014.

Gray is a “great neutral color that adds style and also allows buyers to easily envision moving in their own furniture,” says stager Patti Stern with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn., whose firm recently chose gray walls when staging a Toll Brothers model home and then used accents in raspberry, yellow, and green for added color.

Stark white walls are also gaining popularity. “Stark white walls create a very clean look that can expand the space and work in any style of home, from traditional and colonial to the very contemporary,” says stager and real estate pro Barb Schwarz, founder of StagedHomes.com and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.

Photo credit: Laura Arnold, Stagedhomes.com


Source - Realtor.org

Venture Into the Unknown: We Have a Job to Do


Brooke Wolford

By Brooke Wolford

I have watched all of the changes occuring in real estate lately, and there’s a lot of speculation about what might happen in the future.

You see, real estate has been evolving over the past several years, and I, myself, have gotten sucked into all the drama. I remember spending hours on message boards and in online groups complaining about one thing or another, then getting drawn into other people’s complaints. I decided to step away and focus on what really matters – people who buy and sell houses!

Looking back over my history, from the time I began my real estate career I’ve come to notice one very important thing: everything changes. CONSTANTLY. Change is routine in real estate, and no matter what you do, you probably can’t – or shouldn’t – try to stop it.

If you can embrace change, you’ll be valued highly in real estate. You’ll be seen as a flexible and adaptable. This reputation can open up many opportunities. If, however, you consistently resist change, you’ll be seen as “part of the problem,” and you’ll get left behind.

The fact of the matter is that our jobs are hard. VERY hard. We have lots of complications and obstacles, and we always have to be on our toes. Yes, we have transactions that cause us to wonder whether or not it’s worth it, and then we have the easy transactions that make up for every bad one. Regardless of what you may think, we get paid well for what we do. Some of the most admired entrepreneurs have had to make sacrifices to get to where they are now. Why are we any different?

There’s never going to be some miracle advancement that is going to take place of the relationships we build. The fact of the matter is this: If someone is buying a home, they need us. We are the experts.

Welcome change as an opportunity. Focus on what’s important: Your clients. When almost 90 percent of buyers use an agent in their transactions, there is clearly still a need for what we do. It’s time to calm down and focus on them…because if you don’t do, someone else will.

Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with RE/MAX Results in Eden Prairie, Minn. Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.

Source - Realtor.org

5 Design Trends You May Want to Avoid in Staging


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Stagers are embracing some of the latest home design trends in freshening up homes for-sale (view this “Dressed to Sell” slideshow). But some trends, they’re thinking twice about incorporating.

“If you’re too trendy, you run the risk of not being able to sell a home for the top-dollar you want for it,” warns stager Patti Stern with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn. “When you stage a home, you want it to appeal to as many buyers as possible.”

Staging in trendy fabrics, colors, and finishes may offer up buyers a feeling that the home is up-to-date and move-in-ready. But getting too trendy can also backfire, particularly if it’s too personalized, stagers say.

Here are some popular interior design trends that some stagers are staying clear of:

1. Wallpaper: Wallpaper is gaining popularity once again in interior designs, from black and white damask prints to bronzed and antique silver metallics, earthy dimensional weaves and more. Wallpaper can add more personality to a room — but maybe too much for homebuyers envisioning moving in their own belongings. Instead, many stagers are sticking with paint.

2. Bright-colored walls: Not so fast with the Radiant Orchid, the bold purple-pink hue that Pantone has crowned as this year’s color of the year. Using the hottest color trends – like navy and purples — to paint an entire room may be too bold for the majority of buyers. Instead, stagers are using a neutral wall color, such as in soft tones of grays or white, and then bringing in the on-trend colors through small accents, like toss pillows, throws, lamps, and bedding or rugs.

3. Brass fixtures: Brass is back, but tread cautiously — at least for now. Most stagers aren’t ready to swap out the fixtures for brass, which had its last heyday in the ’80s. But stagers are starting to welcome back brass in small doses, such as a gold-vintage mirror, lamp, or accent table.

4. Doorless cabinets: Open shelving is a big trend in interior design. Designer magazines are showing off simpler kitchens without doors on the cabinets. The look puts perfectly organized dishes on display. While it can offer a sleek look, some stagers don’t want to field questions from buyers: “Where are the doors?”

5. Tuscan-themed: The Tuscan design style – featuring browns and earthtones – has been a popular interior trend, but it may be showing signs of waning in popularity. The National Kitchen and Bath Association noted the highly ornamented Tuscan – as well as French Provincial – styles are decreasing in popularity, as well as country and rustic styles. Instead, more remodelers are showing a preference for contemporary designs, featuring clean, simple lines, less clutter, and less ornamentation, according to NKBA. Transitional styles – a mix of traditional and contemporary – remain the most popular, NKBA notes. But NKBA notes that contemporary styles may soon overtake the popularity of transitional.

Source - Realtor.org

Fixer-Upper Sellers Unrealistic on Price?


Sure, the sellers know potential buyers must be willing to invest much-needed TLC in their home after the purchase. The tough part is getting them to price properly based on the true cost of necessary fixes.

Help them be realistic about repair costs by branding, printing, and hand-delivering a free article, How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Position Yourself to Be a Better Buyer” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


The REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Source - Realtor.org

Be the One to ‘Bring Help Home’


Erica Christoffer

By Erica Christoffer

A natural disaster can bring a community to its knees. But with the help and hard work of NAR members, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF) is there to help pick up the pieces.

RRF is holding its second annual online silent auction Nov. 7–9 – coinciding with the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans – to raise funds and increase awareness of the foundation’s mission: “Bring Help Home.” A full 100 percent of all donations goes directly to victims of tornados, hurricanes, floods, fires, and other disasters that result in the need of housing-related assistance.

In addition to participating in this year’s auction, YPN members can also support RRF by donating auction items such as gift baskets, gift cards, electronics, trip packages, hosted events, and more. The deadline to submit donated items is Sept. 15. All companies donating items will be showcased with their company name, URL, and logo. Download the silent auction donation form.

Last year’s auction raised $55,000 for RRF. This year’s fundraising goal is $100,000. Here’s how it works: Online bidding will take place over 48 hours, opening Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. CST, and closing Nov. 9, 3 p.m. CST. Anyone can bid via computer or mobile device from anywhere in the country. Go to the auction site, www.biddingforgood.com/rrf to register to bid. Registration is required to bid on items. Items will be available for preview before the bidding period opens. Winning bidders will be notified via e-mail at the close of the auction. Not interested in bidding?  You can show your support by clicking the “Donate Cash” link on the auction site to make a tax-deductible contribution to RRF.

The REALTORS® Relief Foundation started in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. REALTORS® and others raised $8.5 million for 1,300 families who lost a loved one to help offset their mortgage or rent. Since then, the foundation has raised another $16.5 million to provide mortgage and temporary housing assistance to nearly 9,000 families in 41 disasters. Most recently, $1.4 million was distributed to those suffering severe damage or total loss of their homes caused by Hurricane Sandy, massive flooding in Colorado, and EF4 tornadoes in Illinois and Arkansas.

Erica Christoffer is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at echristoffer@realtors.org.

Source - Realtor.org

Mow in the Know: 5 Common Mowing Mistakes to Avoid


Contributed by John Deere

Photo Credit: John Deere

 1. Cutting too short. Each time you mow, only remove about one-third of the grass blade. Shorter clippings break down more easily, allowing some of the natural nitrogen to return to the soil. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth. Removing only a small amount of the blade each time you mow is a good practice and will give you the best quality turf.

 2. Mowing pattern monotony. We all have our habits, but mowing your lawn in the same pattern all year is one you need to break. Mowing grass in the same direction all the time can mat down the turf and inhibit growth. By varying the pattern in which you mow your grass, you will avoid missing or double mowing areas and reduce wear on the turf. This will encourage a healthier, more beautiful lawn.

3. Bagging it. Though bagging clippings is a common practice, mulching is much more beneficial to your lawn. Mulching returns essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil. As noted above, removing only a small amount of the grass blade each time you mow produces shorter clippings that can decompose more quickly and discourages the development of fungus diseases. Many mowers, like the John Deere 100 Series, have mulching capabilities built in. If you do decide to bag, be sure to compost your clippings and reuse on site.

4. Ignoring the roots. A common lawn care mistake is only managing the parts of the lawn you can see. Caring for the grass roots and soil is one of the most important things you can do now to ensure healthy growth year round. Consider taking a soil sample and having a local university extension program or your local landscape supplier provide a soil analysis. The results will give a measure of fertility based on nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels, and can help determine the best type of fertilizer to use throughout the year.

5. Blunt mower blades. A dull mower blade will shred grass blades creating entryways for disease. Sharpen the mower blade to a thickness of about 1/64 of an inch to keep the blade strong and not too razor sharp. Be sure the blade is balanced to warrant a clean cut and avoid damage to the mower.


Source - Realtor.org

Pinterest Board Tips for Real Estate Pros (Part 2)


Charlie Allred

By Charlie Allred

Pinterest boards are the second most important part of your Pinterest account. Last month, I talked about optimizing your Pinterest profile in the kickoff of my series on using Pinterest in your real estate business. The goal of your profile is for a Pinterest follower or potential client to be able to quickly get to know who you are and what you do in one glance.

Now let’s dive into using boards. Each Pinterest board is a collection of one topic, think of it as a cork-board where you are “pinning” information for safe keeping. However, on Pinterest, it’s all about others finding the valuable information you are providing.

Your Pinterest boards should be a mix of your personal interests and real estate related topics. Here are the four categories a real estate professional should have in their top 12 boards.

  1. Interests: e.g. cooking, recipes, exercise, fashion, kid stuff, etc. Be authentic!
  2. Real Estate: This screams “I sell real estate.”
  3. Home related: organization, kitchens, home decor, home staging, etc.
  4. Community: neighborhood parks, stuff to do around town, local restaurants, etc.

Why are your top 12 boards so important? 

Your top 12 boards are your prime real estate in Pinterest, this is what a potential follower will see when they give your profile a glance. So you want the top 12 boards to be a good mix of the four categories above.

Here’s a glance at my profile:

And my top 12 boards:

From my top 12 boards you can see that:

  • I sell real estate in Arizona, specifically the Phoenix area;
  • I have community boards for Scottsdale, Tempe, and Chandler things to do;
  • I have kids;
  • I like healthy recipes;
  • I’m involved in Pinterest for real estate.

The statements above need to reflect you. What do you want someone in one glance to know about you?

Remember, the largest category of pins on Pinterest is “Home,” so you have the opportunity to include all kinds of home related boards.

Here are my home related boards – some are also real estate related:

  • Home Decor – Bedroom Furniture
  • Home Decor – Living Room
  • How to Paint – Home Makeover
  • Home Storage & Organization

My boards that reflect real estate:

  • Arizona Real Estate
  • Best Phoenix Neighborhoods
  • For my clients (Phoenix area Real Estate)

Community based boards – these drive potential clients from my local market. When they search Pinterest using keywords from my market, my boards and pins show up:

  • Scottsdale Fun! Best Things to Do With Kids
  • Chandler Fun! Best Things to Do With Kids (I have several of cities, I’m only mentioning two.)
  • Arizona Stuff to Do!

Boards that reflect my personal interests:

  • Kid’s Healthy Eating
  • Healthy Eating- Smoothies
  • Kid’s Rooms

In next month’s Pinterest article, I will talk about the importance of keywords in Pinterest. In the meantime, if you want to get a good list of real estate keywords for your Pinterest boards, you can head over to www.pinnablerealestate.com, I have a free list of keywords that are perfect for real estate professionals.

Charlie Allred a Phoenix based real estate broker with Secure Real Estate, and is the author of the upcoming book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.

Source - Realtor.org

Give Buyers the Bedroom They Always Dreamed Of


By Candy Wright, Guest Contributor

Bedrooms are a vital area to stage in a property that potential buyers can make an instant connection with. A good first impression could help encourage them to purchase the property and make this bedroom of their dreams a reality.

There is so much that you can do with the existing space and resources. Attention to detail will help your potential buyers make a quick decision when viewing that beautiful property you have.

Whether you are a DIY person who likes getting their hands dirty or if you prefer leaving the painting and decorating work to a professional, there are many ways to make a house or apartment look more inviting. Here are four distinct ways to creating that perfect bedroom:

Choose the best bedding

Photo credit: justbedding.com/au

One of the most essential tools of creating the perfect bedroom is choosing premium bedding. However, the choice for blankets, sheets, and pillows entirely depends on you. Some people prefer satin, while some will prefer cotton or flannel. In order to create a bedroom like the one below you will need to start with a blank canvas. Clear everything and start fresh. Perhaps paint the room completely white, while adding a feature wall, including some monochrome features like white walls with a black wall feature.

When it comes to choosing the bedding, select something luxury, perhaps with the monochrome theme. You might want to add some girly sequin cushions to complete the look of the luxury bedroom. Remember that buyers pay attention to detail, especially females, and they will find these details and features crucial when making their decision.

Add Artwork

Paintings, drawing, and pictures have the power to change the atmosphere of the whole room. Art has the ability to transform and provoke, even more it can stimulate a variety of feelings and moods. Therefore, it’s not a huge leap that art also has a definitive healing power. The perfect bedroom should be a place of comfort and nurturing. Choose wall art that will positively boost and soothe the people walking into the bedroom. Why not try and go for motivational pictures of beautiful locations, such as Eiffel tower in Paris?

Go with the Good Flow

Photo credit: justbedding.com/au

Did you know that the way you position the furniture can have an impact on how people feel. Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese principal of achieving proper balance, is also a popular concept when it comes to interior design. Literally translated as wind and water, feng shui can purportedly promote harmony in your immediate surroundings.

As the bedroom is such a fundamental space, it is a common go-to spot for feng shui treatment. According to feng shui, beds should be positioned opposite of doorways and bedrooms should be kept clear of work related materials. Feng shui is all about increasing positive flow and wellbeing, why not start with the bedroom and make your customers feel welcomed.

Build a Retreat

Photo credit: justbedding.com/au

You’ll want to create a blissful retreat for buyers. Bedrooms are epicenters of privacy and solitude, shielding you from external stress and allowing you the recuperative space to address the world on your terms. Doesn’t it just make sense to reinforce its protective qualities? Choose a wall color that will delight the senses of your customers. Find lighting that enhances the mood and perhaps consider installing a sound system that is filled with relaxing and inspiring music. Make your buyers feel like this is the perfect house or apartment for them to escape from their daily problems. A dream bedroom should be a perennial comfort zone for your customers. If you design it well, your potential buyers will look at the room as their daily vocation, where they can hide from all the everyday stresses, serving as their own personal paradise.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Candy Wright is a lifestyle blogger who writes for justbedding.com/au.



Source - Realtor.org

Quick Ways to Create Shade


Help sellers create a cool outdoor living space buyers will want to relax in during showings — and come back to after they’ve bought the place. Post to Facebook a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource with smart ideas to create shade in the yard: “Quick Ways to Make Some Shade, but Don’t Forget Trees are Best,” It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Stay Cool for Less This Summer” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


The REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Source - Realtor.org