Most people understand the importance of investing in real estate. As our good friend Mark Twain puts it, "Buy land, they're not making it any more." However, buying real estate is only the first step of making a good investment and it isn't necessarily the most important part. It is essential to now protect this investment by taking the correct legal measures. To speak about these legals matters I brought in my friend, Neil Bartlett. Neil is a trust and estate planning attorney; not only will he bring more expertise to the discussion but he will also keep me from saying something incorrect and getting sued. A win-win!
As January approaches and I prepare to visit New York City for the Inman Connect real estate conference, I get questioned by local agents and friends about the importance of attending. Is it really worth it to take a week off of work and pay for the conference? What do you, a Santa Barbara agent, have to gain from a conference of primarily East Coast agents?
In an on-going effort to educate the community that not all real estate agents are the same, here is further evidence of a correlation between sophisticated marketing and a higher sales price for homes. Top agents are consistently studying the psychology behind what makes a home sell for top value -- and that is what clients should expect from us!
They say the devil is in the details; well marketing text is no different. According to a Zillow analysis of 24,000 homes, there are certain marketing "buzz" words that lead to homes selling at a premium.
Marijuana is an illegal drug, right? Yes and no. At the Federal level, marijuana is 100% illegal for any use whatsoever. However, many states allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and some have even gone as far as allowing it for recreational use as well.
This leaves us with a LOT of uncertainty. If a state allows the use of marijuana at some level, can you still be arrested by the Feds? Where is it grown? Does marijuana-related income count for a loan? Is it risky to rent to a medical marijuana distributor? Are you breaking fair housing laws by refusing to allow your tenants to grow marijuana?
Regardless of how you feel about marijuana, it is important to stay on top of the new laws because they will, and already are, affecting real estate on every level.
As I prepare to travel to San Francisco this August for Inman's Connect conference, I look back on the past year of new contacts, business growth and relationships built. Last year was my very first time attending an Inman real estate conference and to say that I was impressed is not doing the word justice. The speakers, content, events and parties were nothing like any real estate conference I had ever attended.
As real estate professionals, I believe that it is our responsibility to give back to the industry that gives us so much. We have the privilege of seeing people on a daily basis move in and out of their homes, but what about those less fortunate who do not have a home to move in or out of?
Say hello to GiveBack Homes.
As agents we spend 99% of our time and money trying to stay relevant. That’s all marketing is, right? We pay to run advertisements in popular magazines hoping that buyers and sellers see it and contact us. We spend countless hours at networking events fake laughing and chit-chatting with the community so they know we are their “go-to” real estate agent. We update our websites and pay SEO specialists boatloads of money to optimize our Google rankings so clients can find us online.
I’m here to let you in on a little secret… your efforts aren’t working!
At least not as well as they used to. Let me explain why many agents are quickly becoming irrelevant.
My real estate career began at Coldwell Banker, and my only brokerage change thus far was to Keller Williams Realty four years ago. I am very happy at KW, but I’d be lying if I said I weren’t enticed by the various offers I have received from competing brokerages. Companies such as Sotheby’s with its incredible luxury branding and Compass with its cutting-edge technology make compelling cases for switching brokerages.
Every business professional understands the power and necessity of networking. Networking is the magic word that mentors and coaches push as the key to success in real estate. However, most "networking" that I end up doing involves a name tag and a room full of people I don't want to be around. It is usually some arbitrary association which hosts an event wherein I spend the evening passing around business cards and drinking mediocre wine (and that is using the term generously). In my humble opinion, life is way too short to be stuck building business this way. I have found other options which are significantly more fun and actually lead to more business.
As real estate agents we all know how important it is to stay in touch with past, present and future clients, but many of us fail to do so on a regular basis. Some agents find it uncomfortable to randomly call clients just to say hello. Others have been in the business for a long time and are daunted by the thought of having to connect with such an extensive list of clients. So how do we overcome our fears, manage our time and stay in touch with past clients?
Apparently I awakened a sleeping giant of a topic with last week's article "Top 5 Ways to Get Sued in Real Estate." I received over 100 comments and emails from agents all over the world giving their input on the matter. The comments ranged from jokes about foolish agent decisions to providing other common ways to get yourself in trouble in real estate. Since I had the pleasure of fielding these responses I wanted to share them with you, the real estate community, to provide even more ways to get sued in real estate. Enjoy!
As I conduct real estate on a daily basis I run into agents doing and saying things that utterly shock me. It would appear that many agents are trying to get sued and lose their license. While my team and I enjoy joking about the silly things we see, I often wonder if these agents understand the severity of what they are saying and doing. On that note, here is my attempt to help real estate professionals avoid getting sued and in turn better represent their clients.
How many of us made New Years Resolutions this year? Probably most of us in one way or another made goals for 2016. Now that we are exactly 2 months into the year let's gauge our progress. Are we 1/6 of our way to our sales volume goal? Are we 1/6 of our way to our weight goal?
Probably not... But have no fear, we can still salvage this year! 2016 can still be the year of success through consistency, not embarrassment through empty announcements.
2015 N.A.R. stats are in, and technology proves to be overblown once again.
I continually find myself caught in limbo between conducting my business the way I think it ought to be run and the way statistics show successful businesses are running. As a progressive millennial agent, it’s in my DNA to find exciting innovative spins to old boring business practices, but I am also a closet math nerd so I get equally excited about statistics. At the end of the day, statistics show things for what they are and numbers never lie. So when the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released, I immediately dived in and analyzed the data to assess my current business and how it might need to change for 2016.
The majority of my marketing, presentations and conversations focus on my knowledge and skill set as a real estate professional. I mean, that is what potential clients want to hear about right? Apparently not, according to the National Association of REALTORS "2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers." The evidence overwhelmingly points to an agent's character, not competence, as the most important factor when buyers and sellers are choosing an agent.
Last week, I had the privilege of attending Inman’s Luxury Connect in Beverly Hills, and it certainly lived up to the name. The speakers, parties and estates were all so luxurious that it made my $2.1 million sale that week look like child’s play. Although the span of the entire event was barely longer than a 24-hour period, the consumption of information rivaled that of a week-long conference. For those of you who were unable to attend Luxury Connect (#ICLX), here is a “spark notes” version of the agenda and a digital scrapbook, if you will, of my experiences.
If you are anything like me, you watched Kanye West’s 11-minute rant at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) last month and thought to yourself, “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why is this guy still on stage?” But, if you are anything like me, you also didn’t turn him off. How did Kanye grab my attention for 11 minutes? Better yet, how does he continually grab the media’s attention day after day, year after year? I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t his musical ability. Kanye has proven himself to be a marketing and branding genius.
Does anyone else dread going to the gym in January? At the beginning of every year the gym is packed with “New Years Resolutioners” that have zero weight-room etiquette, zero hygiene and zero chance of surviving through February. We all see it, and frankly we’ve all been those people! We set a goal (in this case getting back in shape) at the beginning of the year and then inevitably give up within a few weeks. Why is that? Are we all that lazy? Perhaps it isn’t laziness; perhaps there is a simple solution that can greatly increase our odds…
I entered real estate with a very bad stigma in my head about real estate agents. They were all obnoxious overbearing cheesy salesmen that belonged on a used car lot. In response to that stigma (which of course was an overblown stereotype… sort of) I conducted my practice on the far other end of the spectrum. I gave respectful distance to a fault. And it bit me in the butt; in a couple million ways. My sheepish business practices lost me multiple buyers and sellers – clients that went in the direction of whichever real estate agent was around them when they decided to make their move. Through trial and error, I found out that there was a happy medium where my business practices were strong but not obnoxious.
If you remember my article from a few months ago (4 Reasons Why You Need To Be An International Real Estate Agent), I gave a hard push to become comfortable with international real estate transactions. That comfortability starts with a C.I.P.S. (Certified International Property Specialist) designation and continues with ongoing education. For those of you who have headed my advice and begun adopting global expertise in your practice, let’s discuss what proper preparation looks like for someone thinking about buying internationally. Here are 10 questions to ask your clients before they buy abroad: