Always Be Delivering Magic

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Alyssa Hellman

By Alyssa Hellman

In real estate, agents are constantly trying to find new ways to standout in their market. Will this gadget make me look techie? Will that car magnet attract business? Should I advertise on this portal or that? But when you take away all the gadgets and hoopla, real estate is rather simple. The purchase or sale of shelter is an indispensable need for the public. We are a valuable asset. The real question is, are you conveying that value to build your business?

Sure, a home is the largest investment that most people will make throughout their life, but a home is so much more than the windows and walls that complete the structure. A home is about the people within those walls and their stories that weave the fiber of a home. Think on this for a moment…people tend to buy or sell homes during big moments in life – getting married, having kids, starting a new job, downsizing as children move on, and that’s just to name a few. As agents, our ability to understand the life events of our clients is without a shadow of a doubt the most valuable asset we have.

@violetdragonfly, 2015. Morguefile

There are a lot of surveys that talk about what buyers and sellers want in a home, but what those surveys don’t always say is that buyers and sellers want  someone who they trust to be one their side as they navigate this next stage of their life. In my personal real estate business, I always called this “delivering magic.” At Go Realty, we define it like this: “What raises the eyebrows, waters the eyes, and makes the lungs draw air?” It’s magic.

Throughout the transaction, there are a million little ways to find and deliver magic. Find those. Show up at your clients work to deliver flowers and news that they are under contract. Surprise them on moving day with dinner from their favorite restaurant. Send their kids a birthday card. When you deliver magic, your business card is unnecessary because the moment is remembered. Closing a transaction is the expectation, delivering magic is remarkable. So, find a way to deliver magic to your clients. Heck, find a way to deliver magic to the people who haven’t yet done a transaction with you. Because if there’s one thing people value, it’s the unexpected moments of unforgettable experiences.

Alyssa Hellman is the director of the Go School at Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Go Realty based in Cary, N.C., serving Raleigh-Durham and surrounding areas. You can find Alyssa on Twitter @AVHellman or visit her website, www.alyssahellman.com.

Source - Realtor.org

The Spa-Like Bathroom: 10 Top Trends for 2015

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Photo Credit: National Kitchen & Bath Association

Just like the kitchen, contemporary designs are growing in popularity in bathroom remodels. These contemporary touches in the bathroom equate to clean and open designs, with floating vanities and freestanding tubs.

Last week, at Styled Staged & Sold, we highlighted the top 10 trends for the kitchen this year. This week, we focus on the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s latest trend report on what’s driving bathroom design in 2015.

Here are the top 10 overall bathroom design trends NKBA designers expect to be hot this year:

1. Clean, white, contemporary designs
2. Floating vanities
3. Open-shelving
4. Electric heated floors
5. Purple color schemes
6. Trough sinks
7. User experience (ease of use and low maintenance) and accessibility features
8. Extra amenities (like steam showers, anti-fog mirrors, lighted showers, and shower seats)
9. Innovative storage (such as drawer pullouts and rollouts to hold hair styling equipment)
10. Showers and freestanding tubs

Most popular colors: White and gray are the dominant colors for bathrooms. Half of designers expect to see gray growing in 2015, and several designers also mentioned the growing popularity of purple, lavender, and lilac tones gaining steam in bathroom designs. For fixtures, white continues its dominance.

 

Out of style: Jetted tubs, whether whirlpool or air, are decreasing in popularity, according to NKBA’s report. “People are moving away from jetted tubs to more classic soaking tubs,” says Bill Donohoe with Donohoe Design Works in the Los Angeles area. Also, beige fixture colors are increasingly dropping in popularity.

Source - Realtor.org

3 Real Estate Cliches That Stunt Growth

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Sam DeBord

By Sam DeBord

We love to give advice as real estate professionals, and often that advice is to our professional associates. Over time, we accumulate catchy sayings that are supposed to sum up and answer other agents’ questions in short fashion.

Like in any industry, the advice can be good or bad. There are a lot of great coaches and advisors in the industry. Most new agents will benefit greatly by being trained by a serious, thoughtful mentor.

Unfortunately, there are also plenty of ego-driven personalities giving bad advice. The amount of misinformation new agents get from gurus, speakers, and “thought leaders” is staggering. Many are so caught up in having a great tagline that they’re willing to sacrifice good, thorough advice to the folks who are listening to them.

We spend a lot of time with our team pushing back against counterproductive one-liners that our agents hear so often. These are just a few of the clichés that new agents should avoid if they’re hoping to learn the business quickly, and get a head start on where it’s going:

“If they won’t sign a buyer agency agreement, they’re not worth my time.”

There’s a time and a place for buyer agency agreements. Relocation and referrals are often that place. Your first interaction with a potential client who contacted you via the Internet is not the place.

Many traditional agents will protest, but as a new agent, you need to learn to deliver some value to clients before you ask them to sign a contract for you. Asking Internet leads to sit down in your office and sign an agency agreement might make you feel like you’re only working with serious buyers, but in reality you’re only working with a tiny minority of the buyers who you could’ve been selling homes to.

This isn’t to say you should run out and show a property to an unknown person. Meet them at an office or a public place and verify their identity. Talk about the real estate process and how you get paid. Just don’t balk at showing them a few homes and letting them see the kind of service you can provide for them. Your job is to earn their business, not expect it.  Self-righteousness won’t fill up your bank account.

“If they don’t want to work with me, I don’t want to work with them.”

This classic cliché plays on the ego of the agent. It’s a perfect way of doing business for a seasoned agent who has a full book of business and wants to maintain a work/life balance.

For a new agent, it’s an excuse to avoid the more difficult parts of the job. It’s also often a misreading of the clients, a mistake that can be financially costly.

Anyone who has been in the business for a while has had some difficult clients. Even those who start out a transaction in good spirits can turn adversarial in the wrong circumstances. Of course, if a client is abusive or threatening there’s reason to end the relationship. Most of the time, though, working through a difficult transaction with clients who may not be your best friends is a learning experience that you’ll benefit from—and undoubtedly repeat later in your career.

You’ll be surprised at how many of today’s Internet-educated buyers and sellers start out in a standoffish manner, but become your friend by the end of the transaction. By giving them so much information online, we’ve trained them to think they know almost everything already. They often think, “I don’t really need an agent. I just need the door opened.”

Don’t blame them for that pervasive mindset. Get comfortable with that being a common misconception, and learn to work through it. It’s not that they don’t want to work with you, they just don’t know that they need you yet.

Show them what you know, and what you do, that no website can replace. Understand that your job is to provide the experience that changes their minds.

The Internet know-it-all is only going to become more prevalent in the future. Learning to work with these clients is essential to being prepared for a long-term career.

“I’m just going to be myself.”

@mconnors, 2010. Morguefile

This is a job. It can be a great, flexible career with plenty of room for individuality and differentiation. It’s still a job. Your ability to freely express yourself exists within the confines of acting and looking like the professional that the public expects. Outside that box, you “being yourself” equals smaller paychecks.

You don’t have to wear a suit and tie if that’s not appropriate for your market. You don’t have to stodgily rattle off statistical reports about your market if that’s not what your clients prefer. But if you’re not dressing up to the appropriate level, preparing yourself with research, speaking as if you’ve been trained for this job, and getting to your appointments on time, you’re just being lazy.

Dress up if you’re unsure. It doesn’t matter what you’re most comfortable in, it’s what your clients think that matters. If you’re in a denim shirt and pickup truck market, then don’t show up in your t-shirt just because you’re in a rush. If your clients work in a white collar office, show up in a jacket, suit, or something similar. You are your own boss, and you should hold yourself to some professional standards.

Your clients may say they don’t care what you wear, but subconsciously peoples’ perceptions of you are based on image. No one is going to fire you for being overdressed. If you look young, dressing professionally is a tremendous asset, especially on a first meeting (don’t give it up just because you got a 2nd meeting). It’s a minor inconvenience for a career that allows you unlimited upward financial opportunities and independence. Any client who hires you and closes a transaction is paying you well, so act accordingly.

Don’t just recite, think it over.

Listen to the advice of the experienced brokers and agents in your sphere. Take in what the latest real estate speaker has to say about the industry and your job. Just take it with a grain of salt. If someone is getting paid to give advice, they’re helping their listeners make more money, and/or saying things that are quotable enough to propel their future speaking business. They’re not always doing both.

Approach your real estate career knowing that not all of the advice you receive is sound. You’ll allow yourself to gain more broad experience and get past some of the unnecessary hurdles of starting out as a real estate agent.

Sam DeBord is managing broker of  Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, director for Seattle King County REALTORS®, and state director for Washington REALTORS®. You can find his team in Seattle and Bellevue.

Source - Realtor.org

The Contemporary Kitchen: 10 Top Trends for 2015

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 

Photo Credit: National Kitchen & Bath Association

Contemporary is the buzzword when it comes to kitchen designs this year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Streamlined designs, eclectic touches, and multiples of appliances lead the trends, according to NKBA’s 2015 forecast.

Here are the top 10 overall kitchen design trends expected to be hot this year, according to NKBA’s report:

1. Clean with an overall contemporary feeling: A fusion of styles and multiple colors in one kitchen
2. European-styled cabinets
3. Multiples of appliances in one kitchen (most notably two dishwashers, like a dishwasher and a dishwasher drawer, or the addition of a refrigerator/freezer)
4. The rise of steam ovens
5. Furniture-like pieces (such as furniture-styled dry bars)
6. Outdoor kitchens
7. Fewer standard kitchen tables, replaced by counters or tall gathering tables
8. TVs and docking stations (many kitchens have desks or home office areas as well as flat-screen televisions and docking/charging stations)
9. Wine refrigerators
10. A focus on the user experience, from easy maintenance to accessible design

Most Popular Colors: The most common color scheme for kitchens: White, followed by gray, according to NKBA. About a third of NKBA remodelers also said they did black or blue kitchens in 2014. Kitchens in green tones were also gaining in popularity. Designers are increasingly reporting an appetite for kitchens with multiple color schemes.

“I am seeing lots of white painted kitchen perimeters with espresso stained islands and dark stained kitchen perimeters with light colored painted islands,” says Christine Shorr with Morris Black Designs in Allentown, Pa. “Lots of painted white kitchens with light countertops and espresso islands and painted gray cabinets.”

Out of style: Country/rustic, Tuscan and Provincial looks with distressed finishes, as well as color schemes in reds, bronzes, and terra cottas are on their way “out” in the kitchen.

 

Source - Realtor.org

5 Golden Rules to Home Staging on a Budget

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Source - Realtor.org

How to Update a Kitchen to Attract Buyers

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By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

Kitchens are more important than ever when it comes to influencing buyers’ perceptions of a home as well as the perceived value. Some home owners make it a priority to invest in remodeling key rooms to increase the value of their home for when they are ready to sell. However, sellers who are pressed for time and need to get their homes on the market fast can still achieve the look of a remodel by giving their outdated kitchen a modern face lift that will engage buyers without breaking the bank.

The kitchen featured below was designed for a couple that wanted their dream kitchen to enjoy but kept the look classic in the event they decide to sell down the road. The key to managing their budget was to follow the existing blue print and add some modern updates.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
This kitchen style was reminiscent of the early 90’s. We transformed it into a modern, stylish space incorporating some of today’s top trends, including a neutral paint color, modern shaker style cabinets, clean subway tiles, industrial pendants, quartz countertops and complementary natural, organic stone tile.

When selling, there are many ways home owners can update key kitchen features while staying within a budget. Painting, new appliances, lighting, and updating cabinet hardware are just some examples of inexpensive fixes worth every penny to attract buyers.

The following are some examples of PJ & Company’s staging projects that feature simple improvements such as painting cabinets, upgrading appliances, and installing new light fixtures that give these kitchens a remodeled appearance like our dream kitchen above.

The kitchen cabinet transformation

Our favorite fix for dated cabinets is paint. Using bright white paint to cover outdated, dark wood cabinets gives this kitchen (pictured below) a modern facelift. Other cosmetic fixes to enhance the look include replacing cabinet hardware with sleek, brushed nickel knobs and handles. Adding a few modern accessories like the small sisal rug provides a relaxed and inviting Pottery Barn-look.

In this kitchen update, PJ & Company painted the cabinets white and the oak island a dark espresso, creating a fresh, modern kitchen attractive to buyers without a major investment.

This Pleasantville, NY kitchen was not only small but dated. PJ & Company painted the cabinets white, and added a countertop table with stools which gave the space a fresh look that buyers loved.

Update fixtures and appliances

The right lighting is a critical part of any space but is most important in the kitchen for functionality. These industrial style pendant lights are a perfect example of a simple update that adds a twist of contemporary style with sophisticated appeal.

As more people are tuning in to watch cooking programs on television these days, they are seeing sleek kitchen appliances and fixtures, which are growing in popularity particularly among young buyers. If your appliances are outdated or in disrepair, consider replacing or servicing them. If you decide to replace, keep in mind that retailers will often give a discount when buying multiple new appliances.

The single lever faucet, the stainless steel stove, and floating hood are another example of an upgrade that completes the state of the art look of the room. There is a range of options available to choose from that will give a high-end look that will appeal to buyers.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Invest in countertops

Repair or replace counters that are cracked, stained, or dated. If replacing, consider one of our favorite materials: Quartz (used for the island in our kitchen remodel). Quartz has become a growing alternative to granite and marble. It comes in a variety of colors and styles that provide both a custom appeal along with durability.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Kitchen island features quartz countertops

Update flooring

Nothing says dated more than worn carpeting, scuffed hardwood floors, and cracked tile. If your kitchen floor is dull and has lost its luster, first try to clean, use wax linoleum, re-grout, replace missing tiles, and polish hardwoods. If there are too many imperfections, there are a variety of low cost tiles that are both affordable and durable. There are also many synthetic options to choose from that mimic the look of hardwood floors in our kitchen remodel, as well as stone or marble finishes.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog. To contact, e-mail Patti Stern at patti@pjstagingdecorating.com

Source - Realtor.org

One Indispensable Habit to Help Standout

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Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

As a young real estate pro, you may be stumped on how you can standout in a sea of agents, particularly when some of those agents have more than 30 years of sales experience. Unfortunately, as a broker and trainer, I have witnessed younger agents, whether new to real estate or not, lambasted for their lack of experience in both life and sales. In those sad instances, lack of experience becomes “larger than life,” which myopically and erroneously become the only skill trait that matters. I marvel and cringe in those situations, but I am quick to interject with a vital characteristic that can trump experience any day of the week – a characteristic that can help a rookie agent land a listing and make a sale that the veteran missed out on.

Before I come right out and say what this imperative sales trait is, check out the following statistics and see if you can guess what it is:

  • Real estate is the second most searched topic on social media but ranks lower than the government in response rates, according to Sprout Social’s Consumer Engagement Index. (As sluggish as the government can be, this is deplorable!)
  • According to Real Trends 2013 Online Performance Study, 89 percent of consumers say response time was very important when choosing their agent.
  • The Real Trends study also says 45 percent of consumers expect an initial response from an online inquiry within 15 minutes.
  • And 56 percent of consumers expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes, according the the Real Trends study.
  • Yet according to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® report, The Intelligent Internet Lead, the average agent response time was about 15 hours. (Is anyone else gasping for air?)

@Jamierodriguez37, 2015. Morguefile

I am sure you guessed it – the quintessential skill to possess that can actually make experience pale in comparison is responsiveness. When you are a well-trained agent (whether young, middle aged, or in your golden years) who exudes professionalism and makes responsive communication your point of differentiation, you win!

Here are four reasons why responsiveness should become your new normal, if it isn’t already:

1. You expect it.

The hallmarks of professionalism are doing what you say you will do and timely follow-up. You expect (and probably even demand) this when dealing both in and outside of the real estate arena, so let’s practice what we preach. Make the very crux of your professionalism be responsiveness. How many times have you chosen a product or service provider because he was “Johnny-on-the-Spot”? Perhaps your favorite lender does not have 30 years of experience but she follows up promptly. So for you, and probably many others, responsiveness trumps experience. Or, on the personal side, maybe your dog sitter never ignores your oddball requests, even if he cannot accommodate you each and every time. Responsiveness can go a long way in clinching new clients and making sure that past clients choose and refer you again and again.

2. It gives a boost to your reviews.

Time and time again, positive online reviews give an agent a powerful online footprint and virtual legacy that is hard to erase. Many of us buy products or choose services in our personal lives now because of the sentiments expressed in online reviews. The real estate industry is no different. But if you have ever had a hard time getting current and past clients to post a glowing review of you, maybe, just maybe, they were not impressed with your level of professionalism and they are taking the high road of not saying anything if they cannot say anything nice. This, of course, is not the only reason our clients elect to not be our online “raving fans” – sometimes they are too busy or maybe there were other glitches in their transaction that left them sour. But when all else goes well, check and see if your responsiveness was not up to par and work on it going forward.

3. Other agents are hungry.

It is no big deal if you connect with an inquiring real estate prospect in a few hours or the next business day, right? Well, if you are absolutely the only agent and online portal system servicing your entire area, then you may have that luxury. But more likely than not, you are not the only agent left on Earth or the only way for information about a real estate property to be obtained. Translation = you have competition.

Hopefully, you have been on the receiving end and not the losing side of being the first to connect with a prospective buyer or seller that delivered the critical three Cs (Client, Closing, and Commission). But whatever your historical stance has been, choose now to be on #TeamResponsive and respond to ALL inquiries within the desired 15-minute window to increase your chances of converting ominous leads to actual clients that close and generate commissions for you.

4. Automation is easier and less expensive than back in the day.

It is 2015, so there are no excuses to not respond to EVERY inquiry within minutes. Why? Because of automation! Automation is painless, fairly inexpensive, and, frankly, half the battle. You still have to build rapport but this makes it easier. IT not only puts you in the running to capture a new client, but may very well push you to the front of the pack.

And let’s address the elephant in the room: As much as agents do not want certain web portals taking their leads, those portals have automated their responses. We are in a responsive, drive-thru age so many folks want what they want, when they want it. Technology allows us to accommodate this without losing our sanity and neglecting our families so let’s use it.

Texting is no longer taboo in the home buying and selling process for many. If you have not taken the time to do it yet, I encourage you, as a bare minimum, to make sure you have canned text messages (for unknown numbers as well as those that may be current clients, vendors, friends, etc.) that can be sent to every caller.

Have you tried IFTTT yet? This handy app can help you automate responses from your phone.

With emails and your various online sites, go back to turning on your autoresponder or use services like ManyContacts or MailChimp to send fancier looking emails to specific contacts from specific places.

If you have it in your budget, hire a receptionist or the more cost-effective option of a virtual receptionist. Services like Odesk and VoicePad Phone offer affordable and professional options.

There really is no limit to the tools you can use for automation, so I encourage you to explore them online today and also share in the comment section below the ones that work miracles for you.

By the way, follow me on Google+ and Facebook for more tips and techniques. Also, if you are a real estate agent or manage agents, learn how to GROW or RE|VAMP your business with us today. Here’s to your success!

Lee Davenport is a real estate broker, coach, and trainer with Agents Around Atlanta Plus, which offers customized, relevant, and affordable one-on-one coaching, webinars, and in-office trainings for brokers and sales agents throughout the U.S. Connect with Lee at www.AgentsAroundAtlanta.com.

Source - Realtor.org

The Room Millennials Say Is Essential – and Why You Should Stage It

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Millennials may be willing to sacrifice extra square footage in a home and even features like an outdoor kitchens or two-story foyer. But there’s one thing they say they aren’t willing to sacrifice in a new home: A separate laundry room.

A separate laundry room clearly topped the list when the National Association of Home Builders recently surveyed millennials to discover what their “most-wanted” item on their home shopping list was. Fifty-five percent said they wouldn’t buy a new home that didn’t have a separate laundry room. They also ranked storage as important, such as linen closets, a walk-in pantry, and garage storage.

With the laundry room weighing so much on millennials’ buying decisions, you may want to take a closer look at the way you’re presenting the laundry room in your listings. Could it use a freshen up? And if it’s such a selling point, you may want to add a photo of your staged laundry room to your MLS photos.

Take a look at some of these photos from the remodeling site Houzz to get ideas on freshening up your listings’ laundry rooms.

  •  Try a soft paint color — accented with white painted cabinets and trim — to make the space look larger and even cleaner. Enhance with some under-the-cabinet lights that shine on the countertops. (The paint featured in the picture below: Benjamin Moore, Comet)
  • Fresh flowers, bright colored curtains, and even wallpaper behind the cabinets may make the space more inviting. 
  • Wherever there are cubbies, add wicker baskets. Hang a few clothes on wooden hangers to show off the storage options. And if the storage options even include a place for the family’s pet, accent that in a lower cubby too with a stylish pillow cushion. 
  • If the laundry room is small, add a wooden block over the washer and dryer to squeeze in a folding station.
  • Stack a washer and dryer to maximize space in a small area and to make room for some cubbies and shelves. Keep the shelves neat and staged, such as by folding light-colored towels. Keep the laundry accessories displayed to a minimum.

Source - Realtor.org

Wine and Real Estate

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Erika Villegas

By Erika Villegas

I recently moved to a new neighborhood in Chicago where I had only sold a few homes. I didn’t know many people there, but more importantly, I didn’t know enough women.

From my experience in real estate, women are often the ones that make important decisions like when and where to purchase a home. I wanted to grow my business in my neighborhood, so I needed to meet more people; I needed to meet my neighbors.

After thinking about marketing options like the local newspapers, social media, online marketing, postcards, or good old door knocking, the light bulb lit while enjoying a glass of wine: I could combine two of my favorite things – real estate and wine.

@DodgertonSkillhause, 2015. Morguefile

A women’s wine social was the solution.  A gathering of women who enjoy a glass wine and interesting conversation as much as I do.  An event  to “wine” down for a few hours with other women who juggle work, kids, and all the other responsibilities that come with being a parent.

As I started planning, I was mindful about two things: the location and a recurring date. I wanted a date that would work for as many people as possible. After considering my own schedule, I also looked at days off from school. I chose the third Friday of every month. The location was an easy – I decided to ask a different business in my neighborhood each month to allow me to host at their location. This allows me to meet new people and grow my brand within the community while also supporting other local businesses.

The kickoff wine social was January 16 at a local restaurant, and more than 30 women attended. I had cases of wine  delivered, a lender donated goodie bags for my guests, another local restaurant prepared the appetizers, and I ordered the dessert from a local mom. As I stood back and watched all the women talking, laughing, and enjoying good conversation with their glass of wine, I knew I had made the right decision about how to market myself. At the end of the night, the restaurant  had to kick us out because no one wanted to leave.

Real estate is about people; it’s about making connections and making sure everyone you come in contact with knows that you can help them achieve the dream of homeownership.

A few days after the first wine social, a woman who had attended decided that I was the right REALTOR® for her and we started looking at homes soon after. I am glad I decided to go with an unconventional way of marketing myself. I found a way to mix two things that I love: wine and real estate.

What would you mix with real estate? Perhaps a dog lovers’ gathering or maybe a book club? Go with what feels natural and easy to accomplish. As with any type of marketing, stay focused and consistent and the business will follow.

Erika Villegas is a broker associate with ERA Mi Casa Real Estate in Chicago. Connect with Villegas at www.erikavillegas.com.

Source - Realtor.org

It’s Time For More Female Leadership in Real Estate

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Brooke Wolford

By Brooke Wolford

I recently had a conversation with other real estate professionals about the industry’s lack of women in leadership roles. For an industry comprised of almost 60 percent women, this doesn’t make sense. I have been blind to this issue because I am fortunate to work for a broker who’s management team consists of mostly women. The culture within our office is also very diverse.

Out of curiosity, I did a little research. I pulled demographics and surveyed a small group of people within the industry, all of whom are from different areas of the country and work at different companies. The results were mixed.

This is not an issue that only affects the real estate industry, but rather a workplace issue in general. Just the other day there was an article in the New York Times about the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins case and the small percentage of women who are venture capitalists. The story also highlighted the lack of female leaders in Silicon Valley. I found this report by Catalyst, which is further proof that we have a long way to go in terms of female corporate leadership:

Now, I believe there are solutions to this problem, not only at the company level, but also at the individual level. Let’s seize this as an opportunity. Here are some points based off of the research I did with my peer group, as well as some statistics I found:

  1. Many in my peer survey suggest that women are very motivated and have additional skills that can be great in leadership.
  2. Many real estate pros surveyed said there is a lack of female leaders at the brokerage level. When asked the average number of people in upper management at their brokerage, they said seven, and the average number of females in upper management: one.
  3. Some said that their companies have had the same people in leadership roles for many years (10 to 20 years or more).
  4. According to NAR, 57 percent of REALTORS® are women.
  5. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 61 percent of the U.S. workforce; they earn almost 60 percent of all undergraduate degrees and 37 percent of all MBAs, yet many companies continue to lag in placing females in executive positions.
  6. Many people I spoke to suggested that some women are motivated to advance but they seem to get stuck in the middle management limbo.
  7. Several studies I read show that women are often held to a higher standard than men.
  8. According to the U.S. Census, women account for a little over half of the population.
  9. In 1980, the portion of female leaders of the top 500 companies was at 11 percent, and today, that number is roughly 18 percent.  That’s only a 7 percent increase – in 35 years!

As I look at myself and look back at my history, I see that I made a lot of sacrifices to get to where I am now. I sacrificed sleep, health, and having a personal life to run a business while simultaneously being a single mom. There were times that I only slept a couple hours a night. A lot of this was my own doing. I also didn’t have a strong support system, like family to help, a supportive significant other, etc. But why should I not be able to have it all? When there are 12 million single parent families in the U.S. as of 2014 – and more than 80 percent are headed by single mothers – working toward success both professionally and personally is clearly not uncommon.

I could go on and on about this, but I think it’s more important to stress that there is an opportunity here. Being the diverse and constantly changing industry that real estate is, there is plenty of untapped talent and ways to improve.

The best chance of changing obstacles in business is to tip the gender scales in leadership.

To all the women reading this: Become the leader of your own career and life. Be authentic authors of your own lives. Take responsibility for your professional development. No one has a greater investment in your success and satisfaction than you. Don’t depend on the traditional management structure of your organization to put you on the path to achievement. It’s up to you to direct and protect your career and to develop your own potential. You cannot afford to be passive or to accept roles assigned to you. Know what you want and why you want it, then be prepared to take action to make it happen. This means maintaining your focus on your goals in spite of any feelings of discouragement. Tell yourself this: I simply will not give up. If your goal is to become a leader and to help real estate industry become truly diverse, then don’t give up. Your leadership is most needed.

Our industry has a huge opportunity. The real estate industry can be the trendsetter; we can create a ripple effect that will carry over into other industries. Let’s not wait for this to happen, lets make this happen.

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