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Looking to make the most of your open houses? The following three tips can help up your open house game.

  1. Digitize

For REALTORS® who want to enhance the Open House experience for prospects and bolster their own system for capturing leads, Open Home Pro fits the bill. An excellent alternative to paper sign-in sheets, this free download offers users the ability to create a comprehensive digital experience for prospects through sign-in forms, photo displays, customized questions, and automated thank you messages.

No more wasted time trying to decipher handwritten sign-in sheets that offer little other than a name and email. Based on your customized questions, this innovative program will send you a list of leads who don’t have an agent or have a home to sell, or who are pre-approved for a mortgage. Open Home Pro also allows users to easily export collected data to a CSV file.

  1. Deliver

Handouts make great icebreakers and takeaways at any Open House, and Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) makes it easy to create them. The real estate data platform offers REALTORS® several customizable reports perfectly suited for Open Houses. Start by offering an RPR Property Flyer. Branded with your name and contact info, the flyer offers just enough data about the property to give clients a solid understanding of its attributes, including photos and insights on how you came to the list price via comps.

Two of RPR’s flagship reports seen frequently at Open Houses are their Neighborhood and School Reports. The Neighborhood Report presents an in-depth portrait of the people who live in a target area, in addition to key economic and quality of life indicators. The report also includes median list and sales prices, listings and sales volumes, and per square foot pricing on sold homes.

Similarly, RPR’s School Report report summarizes student populations, testing outcomes, parental reviews, and ratings about a public or private school. Must-have information for parents.

Here’s a tip: Print a few of these insightful reports to showcase on a kitchen table and when the supply dwindles, ask potential buyers for an email address. From that spot, use your tablet or phone to retrieve your saved reports from the RPR website and send it to the client in just a few quick clicks.

  1. Drip

Another radically simple idea for converting leads to clients post-Open House is to create a homes by email campaign. Here agents can send newly listed homes to prospects via an automated delivery system offered through their MLS. When a home is listed that meets your client’s specific criteria (location, square footage, number of bedrooms, price), the listing is automatically delivered to the client, complete with your personalized greeting. This type of drip campaign will keep your client in the loop and requires little to no effort on your part.

For more information, visit www.narrpr.com.

Posted on June 28, 2016 |

rookie-pic (1)Today I’m sharing an article originally posted on REM written by Joanna Dermenjian. This article explains the reality for new Realtors just starting out and the demands for any agent who wants to be successful in their new career. Enjoy!

Joanna writes:

You’ve passed your exam, signed on with a brokerage and received your license. Now, where is the instruction manual on how to be a real estate professional? There isn’t one! It’s Day 1 in your new career and you have no idea what to do, what to expect and how to get started. Here is what we have learned that you need to know:

Your first year will be very hard. If you make it through the first year and do 10 transactions, you have a chance to gain enough momentum to build a career in real estate. In the first 100 days, you need to gain traction. The clock is ticking, and the first 100 days are counting down. Get yourself one firm transaction and at least two more buyers you have already started working with in that first 100 days. There needs to be urgency in everything you do.

1. You are now a brand.

You are being watched – when you are out with friends, when you are eating in a restaurant, when you are shopping at a retailer or are receiving a service. Everywhere you go, people will start to know who are. They will watch you and listen to what you say and how you say it, even if you aren’t talking to them. Think about that.

2. You are a professional.

You want to be a very successful professional. Dress for the job. Arrive on time. Clean your car. Be organized. Be well groomed and presentable all the time, even in your leisure time. Behave.

3. You are a salesperson.

The public perception is that we sell houses, but truly we are selling ourselves. Our knowledge, our expertise, our competence. You don’t have those yet, so you have to work very hard to get them quickly. Until then, sell yourself as enthusiastic, hardworking, ethical and available, with support from a great brokerage and colleagues when you need assistance.

4. You are now a business.

Project your expenses for the year and your net if you do five sales in the first year, at the average residential selling price in your board area. Do a budget. Don’t spend money you have not made. Set up files, keep receipts. Remit taxes at source, HST and personal income tax. It is not your money and never will be. You do not want to be hounded by the CRA.

5. You are your own administrator.

Create an excellent calendar and keep a log. Write down everything you are doing in your business. Track where your time is going and what is bringing you success. Where are your leads coming from? What isn’t working for you?

6. You are your own PR department.

Write down the names and contact information of everyone you know and create a database. Grow your sphere of influence. Let everyone you meet know you are in real estate and ask them if they have a trusted real estate advisor, or if they would they consider working with you. Email or snail mail some information of value to your database at least once every quarter.

7. Project that you need to talk to 100 people about real estate before you get one firm transaction.

This doesn’t include friends and family, who may or may not want to do business with you. If you want to do 10 transactions this year, you need to talk to 1,000 people about what you do. If you don’t believe this, start counting.

8. Do 100 open houses this year.

Yes, 100. That is your magic number. It could be one or two or four a weekend. It could be some weeknights or non-traditional times. Try various times and see what works for you. If you don’t like open houses, go door-knocking. You need to talk to people face to face about real estate.

Don’t just do 100 open houses, do 100 great open houses. Quantity isn’t enough. Learn which agents have properties where you can host an open house and introduce yourself. Develop an open house plan for yourself, a system, to make sure you are well informed about the house, the neighbourhood amenities, recent neighbourhood sales and new listings. Preview the property. Spend two hours of prep time for each hour of every open house. Show the listing agent you are organized and committed. Arrive at least 15 minutes before you open – be there before the buyers! Treat each open house like a job interview. You are looking to find a buyer or a seller who will “hire” you.

9. Do floor time, duty.

Yes, it is boring to sit in the office waiting for someone to call, but many agents don’t show up so there is real opportunity here. It might not amount to a lot, but it gives you a chance to talk to more people about real estate. Study pricing or neighbourhoods while you are waiting for the phone to ring, not YouTube videos of cat capers. But don’t only do duty and don’t do it on weekend afternoons when you should be doing open houses.

10. Go to your weekly sales meeting and agent tour, if your brokerage offers it.

See as many houses as you can. Study the pricing, listen to what other agents are saying about the listing, research how the agent might have come up with the list price. Watch how much it sells for. You need to see a lot of houses before you can become good at pricing. Research neighbourhoods. Every week, study a new neighbourhood. Drive around, walk around. Learn amenities, schools, parks and places of worship. Study typical home styles. Study pricing history of that neighbourhood for the last 12 months. Next week, do the same for another neighbourhood. Next week, do it again, until you know the whole city this way.

And show up. The first few weeks can be very discouraging. Keep on with the basics. After awhile of doing the core things over and over again, something will take hold. You will find your niche, your best way of engaging with clients, and you can build on that. But it won’t happen if you don’t show up. You are a million times more likely to pick up a duty call if you are at the office than if you are sitting at home or hanging out around town.

A key tool for successful realtors is a real estate CRM. A CRM can be a game-changer when it comes to contact management, as it contains all your client contact profiles, can be setup with automated email and e-newsletter campaigns, and has reminders for your clients special events so that you’re always in-the-know! Try IXACT Contact real estate CRM. IXACT Contact offers Rookie Realtors a 6 month FREE trial! Sign up today and kick-start your new business!

 

When traditional lending avenues fail, seller financing can help seal the deal. But watch out for pitfalls.

If you’re working with sellers who have seen offers collapse because buyers can’t get a mortgage loan, you might want to suggest they consider offering some variation of seller financing. If structured carefully, seller financing not only makes deals possible but also can typically help transactions close quickly, as less due diligence is required. After all, who knows the property better than the sellers?

There are other perks, too: Sellers can often negotiate an interest rate that’s more favorable than would be available for other sorts of investments. And they might also get a higher selling price as compensation for assisting the buyers. Finally, there can be some tax benefits; if the seller structures the loan as an installment sale, for example, there can be tax advantages based on how recognition of the capital gain is timed.

But against these benefits is the big downside of seller financing: the potential for buyer default. This risk is compounded if the deal is structured as a wrap-around deed of trust, as many are. With a wrap-around deed of trust, the seller issues a promissory note and deed of trust for the dollar gap between the amount of the first mortgage and the buyer’s down payment. When structured this way, the seller’s performance on the underlying first mortgage is linked to the buyer’s performance. If the buyer defaults, the seller will likely default, too.

Here are some ways to help sellers minimize such pitfalls, no matter how the transaction is structured.

  • Request a credit report and credit references. Sellers can get a credit report from any credit reporting agency, but they’ll want to get a signed consent letter from the buyer first. For credit references, one place to go is the buyer’s landlord, if they’re renting. Sellers should also ask for in­dependently audited financial statements.
  • Consider loan assumption. In many cases, the seller’s existing mortgage loan has a due-on-sale clause that requires the principal to be paid upon sale of the property. Having to settle their own financing makes it hard for many sellers to offer financing, especially if they’re buying a house themselves and need their sale proceeds to make their own down payment. In these cases, it might be better to simply have the buyer assume the seller’s existing loan. The buyer still must submit to the lender’s underwriting analysis and get the lender to approve a modification, but the process should be less time-consuming than if they were applying for new financing.
  • Provide expanded remedies. For many sellers, the only remedy for buyer default included in their loan documents is foreclosure. But it’s best to include lower-level remedies so foreclosure doesn’t have to be the only option. Suggest that sellers set rules for imposing late charges or default interest. Or suggest that sellers hire a property manager to keep track of incoming payments and to spearhead collection efforts, because these activities can be time-consuming.
  • Understand the risks to buyers, too. Although it might seem like most risks are on the sellers’ side since they’re putting their resources on the line, there are risks to buyers as well—and if you’re working with buyers, you’ll want to be aware of them. First, buyers could pay the loan in full but still not receive title if there are encumbrances that were never divulged by the seller. Second, if the transaction is structured as a wrap-around deed of trust and the sellers are supposed to be making payments on senior debt, the buyers could be at risk if the sellers fail to make their loan payments, even if the buyers are scrupulous in holding up their end of the deal. Third, buyers might not have the protection of a home inspection, mortgage insurance, or an appraisal to ensure they’re not paying too much.

These are challenging times in credit markets, so there’s a role for seller financing. But be aware of risks so you can help protect your clients.

Payment Of Referral Fees To Unlicensed Persons Is A Tricky Subject

Written by on Monday, 27 June 2016 1:51 pm

More than a few real estate agents are confused about the laws governing referral fees. Some don’t even know that there are any laws governing referral fees. Some know, but don’t care.

Particularly problematic is the issue of paying referral fees to people who do not have a real estate license. An agent’s unlicensed brother in-law might ask for a sum of money in return for referring to him a person who intends to buy a house; and the agent very well might agree. Indeed, agents will sometimes solicit referrals from unlicensed persons. They may even advertise that they will pay a certain fee for the referral of buyers or sellers.

Real estate transactions and the activities of real estate agents are subject to a variety of both state and federal laws. The fact that there are these two different authorities provides some explanation for the common confusion about referral fees.

California real estate law permits the payment of referral fees to unlicensed persons. Other states may prohibit that.

In California, the only restriction is that the recipient of the referral fee must not have any involvement in the transaction itself.

Their sole role can only be to introduce the buyer or seller to the agent.

They must not get involved in such things as valuing the property or trying to arrange financing.

Federal law is different from California law in this regard. It allows the payment of referral fees from licensee to licensee; but it prohibits, in most cases, the payment of referral fees to unlicensed persons.

The relevant federal law is contained in RESPA (Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act). RESPA rules govern residential real estate transactions, up to four units, in which the financing is done by a government entity such as FHA, or by a financial institution that is insured or regulated by the federal government. That is to say, just about every financial institution you can think of.

There are a number of exceptions to the RESPA prohibition against referral fees. If the transaction is a residential building that is greater than four units, it is exempt. If it is commercial, or vacant land, it is exempt. The same goes for transactions that are for cash, or those that are seller-financed.

Given the number of cash transactions occurring in the past few years, a lot are exempt from the RESPA prohibition against referral fees.

Still, it is relevant to remember that, in the vast majority of residential real estate transactions, the payment of a referral fee to an unlicensed person is a violation of federal law.

Nor is this just a matter of interest for real estate agents. It is also of concern to those unlicensed persons who want to receive referral fees.

12 USC Section 2607 (a) says, “No person shall give and no person shall receive any fee… [pursuant to a referral agreement]”. (My emphasis.) Subsequently, Section (c)(3) goes on to exempt referral fee arrangements between licensees. But it does not exempt referral fee arrangements between licensed and unlicensed persons. In short, if a referral fee is paid to an unlicensed person in a transaction covered by RESPA (i.e. the vast majority of transactions), both the agent and the recipient will be guilty of a violation.

This being the great country that it is, there are always those with a creative solution. “We don’t call it a referral fee. We say it is a finder’s fee.” The response, however is: No, it still quacks like a duck.

Violations of Section 2607 are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and a maximum of one year in prison. It’s something to think about.

Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors®. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way. His email address is scbhunt@aol.com.

 Find out what tools the honorees from REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 class of 30 Under 30 are using to get the job done on behalf of their clients.

young business people discussing ideas

Online reviews aren’t just for restaurants; they are equally useful for real estate marketing. They also happen to be Kimberly Sethavanish’s secret weapon.

Sethavanish, a salesperson at Century 21 Alliance in Santa Rosa, Calif., has gained three listings from clients finding her positive reviews on Yelp. After each transaction, Sethavanish asks her clients to share their experience with her services and, for the most part, they are happy to help. And best of all, these highly persuasive online reviews are free.

“If you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re not able to be found. That’s worse than anything else,” says Sethavanish, a member of REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 class of 30 Under 30.

For this year’s 30 young entrepreneurs, technology and online tools are a way of life in their business, keeping them connected to clients and organized at the office and helping to smooth out any bumps in the road to a successful transaction.

We asked a few of the 30 Under 30 honorees to share the tech tool that keeps them on track. Here’s what we found:

They’re Paperless

In addition to online reviews, Sethavanish is also a fan of DocuSign because it helps cut the response time in her hot seller’s market. “I’ve seen it make or break a sale,” she says. “With DocuSign, you can get your counteroffer in before someone else does.”

Several other 30 Under 30s also attest to the benefits of electronic signatures.

Shari Anhorn, CRS, GRI, team member and broker-owner at Brokers 12 Inc. in Minot, N.D., has been using DocuSign, a REALTOR Benefits® Program partner, since 2011, putting her among the first agents in Minot to use electronic signatures.

“This is rural North Dakota, and to be able to have a seller or buyer who is two hours away sign a document from afar is tremendous,” she says. What’s more, many of her clients are military personnel who have to purchase property sight unseen, and DocuSign has eased the process, Anhorn says.

But some 30 Under 30 members are careful not to assume every client knows how to use even the most basic technology.

The market that Diego Espinoza-Martinez, salesperson with Keller Williams Realty-Tulare in Visalia, Calif., serves is largely agricultural and heavily impoverished. While he uses DocuSign with some clients, it’s not always appropriate, he says. Instead, Espinoza-Martinez takes the time to learn his clients’ comfort level with technology and then decides on the appropriate tools for the transaction.

Another tool for going paperless is Genius Scan, available through both the App Store and Google Play. Wade Corbett, CRS, GRI, salesperson with Keller Williams Realty in Raleigh, N.C., is an avid user. “I scan a business card and import it into my database. That way, I don’t have to carry around a bunch of cards,” he says.

Genius Scan can be used to scan forms, receipts, or a multitude of other real estate documents from your smartphone. Save the images as PDFs and email them on the go. You can also export the files to your cloud service of choice, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Alexander Parker, also a 2016 30 Under 30 honoree, creates property folders in Dropbox for his clients, where they can share pictures, maps, and other relevant documents. Parker, salesperson with Lord & Stanley Realty in Tallahassee, Fla., is also rarely without his iPad so that he can access files anywhere and look them over with clients in the field.

In San Diego, Sarah Davis, SRES, broker owner of Davis Estates, takes her Surface Pro tablet to every client meeting. “I can take it to a showing and the buyers can sign a purchase order and send it to the listing agent while we’re still in the house,” she says. In California, agents are required to give a copy of the contract to the signer at the time it is signed, so she emails a copy to her clients directly from her tablet.

For software, she uses Microsoft OneDrive for Business, a secure cloud service, for all her transaction files. “It’s safer than email, and if my computer dies, everything is still in the cloud,” Davis says.

They Work Hard at Staying in Touch

Connie Chung, salesperson with Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, considers herself old-fashioned when it comes to staying in contact with her clients. She prefers dinners and coffee meetings over informal emails. “I can see their facial expressions, hear the tone of their voices, and have them hear mine,” she says.

And when a client needs more attention — when they’ve expressed unhappiness with a property or have an issue that needs to be resolved — Chung says that writing an email is the last thing you should do. “I find it simplifies my life if I pick up the phone, so I can really hear where they are coming from and ask if we can meet for coffee,” she says. “A lot of times, meeting face-to-face takes away any discomfort for both parties.”

On the social media front, she engages with clients and her sphere predominantly through Instagram. “Recently, I was touring a new development. It was great to wear a hard hat and neon vest and post behind-the-scenes photos that a lot of people don’t usually get to see,” she says.

Corbett describes his database as the core of his business, so he uses Brivity, a cloud-based CRM, to stay in touch. “It helps me follow up better and makes me able to utilize my time better,” he says.

Honoree Rebekah Eaton, associate broker with RealtySouth-MB-Crestline in Birmingham, Ala., is always looking for meaningful ways to stay connected to her sphere. So she recently started using BombBomb, a service that helps users produce video greetings that can be shared via email or text. “I take a little time to record a short video saying, ‘Thinking about you.’ And then I send it on. Bam.”

They Prefer to Market in a Meaningful Way

Scott Steadman, a Windermere Real Estate agent in Draper, Utah, uses his real estate blog to tell the story of his clients. “I talk about the family who spent years gathering around the fireplace for birthdays and holidays, and how that room was the place where they felt whole,” Steadman says. “Pairing posts like that with social media always gives my followers a reason to come back to my website for more info.”

Consistency is also key, Steadman says, so he rarely lets more than a few days separate his posts, which cover everything from market trends to before-and-after renovation photos.

Brittany Barsky-Allison, team member with Wydler Brothers in Bethesda, Md., focuses on promoting her business on Facebook in a “fun, organic way.” She creates an advertising campaign for every one of her listings, and she often posts pictures with clients or of homes she’s toured on her personal and business pages. She celebrates each closing with a status update and is frequently “liking” and commenting on her friends’ statuses and photos.

“This has helped me to pick up referrals and create a sense of expertise amongst my peers,” she says. “Brokerages must continue to place more emphasis on the people in the real estate industry and recognize that people buy homes, not computers, robots, or smartphones. Technology strengthens our industry, but people are at the core, and we cannot forget that simple fact.”

Barsky-Allison uses Salesforce.com to track her pipeline and communicate with her sphere of influence. She sends out weekly and monthly emails as well as monthly market updates, and acknowledges the buy or sell anniversaries of her clients by sending a note or gift.

Customer service is a top priority for honoree Jessica Bean, salesperson with Century 21 Price Right in Lewiston, Idaho. That’s why she arms herself with data from NAR’s Realtors Property Resource® before every marketing or listing presentation.

“It’s one of the most integral pieces of my business,” says Bean, who will compare RPR’s detailed reports against her own research on comps as well as the assessed value of a property. The reports also help her make the case that presale updates can make a listing much more attractive.

Bean also notes that RPR can help her craft a competitive offer in the seller’s market that currently defines much of her area. She uses it to help buyers put themselves in sellers’ shoes, explaining how she’d use the RPR data to price the home if she were the listing agent on the property. And finally, Bean loves the fact that she can pull RPR up on her phone on the go: “I literally use it every day in my business. Man, it’s a lifesaver for me.”

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Thursday, 2 Jun 2016 | 9:26 AM ET

It looks so easy on TV. Buy a bargain-basement house, pull up some nasty carpet, re-tile the bathroom, paint away the wall stains and sell it for a hefty profit.

It’s not, however, all those popular shows that are driving the flipping market today. It’s pure and simple prices — and profit. There is a severe lack of good quality, turn-key homes for sale, and that has created a seller’s market across the nation, even for those reselling homes.

After cooling off in 2014, home flipping is on the rise again — its share of all home sales is up 20 percent in the first three months of this year from the previous quarter and up 3 percent from the same period a year ago, according to a new report from RealtyTrac, which defines a flip as a property bought and resold within a 12-month period.

While flipping today is nothing like it was during the housing boom a decade ago, when investors used risky mortgages, it is reaching new peaks in 7 percent of the nation’s metro markets, including Baltimore, Buffalo, New Orleans, San Diego and even pricey Seattle.

Dana Rice, real estate agent and home flipper, at her latest project in Bethesda, Maryland, a very small colonial, within walking distance to shops and Metro.

Diana Olick | CNBC
Dana Rice, real estate agent and home flipper, at her latest project in Bethesda, Maryland, a very small colonial, within walking distance to shops and Metro.

“While responsible home flipping is helpful for a housing market, excessive and irresponsible flipping activity can contribute to a home price pressure cooker that overheats a housing market, and we are starting to see evidence of that pressure cooker environment in a handful of markets,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac.

That’s because flippers today largely use cash — 71 percent did in the first quarter of this year. Compare that to just 27 percent who used cash at the height of the housing boom. That helps keep most flippers conservative, but it also exacerbates the problems for entry-level homebuyers, who are facing one of the tightest housing markets in history. They simply can’t compete against all-cash buyers.

Usually flippers look for distressed properties either in the foreclosure process or already bank-owned. These are not always listed on public sale sites. There are fewer of those today, so flippers are moving to the mainstream market, creating that new pressure.

“A telltale sign is when flippers are acquiring properties at or close to full market value. Those markets are so competitive that even the off-market properties flippers are looking to buy are not selling at much of a discount — and there may be very few distressed properties available,” said Blomquist.

Examples of these markets include San Antonio, where Blomquist says flippers are actually purchasing at a 7.8 percent premium above estimated full market value, as well as Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City; Naples, Florida; Dallas and San Jose, California.

Despite the premium to buy, flippers are still seeing growing gains in profit. Home flippers realized an average gross profit of more than $58,000 in the first quarter of this year, the highest since the third quarter of 2005, according to RealtyTrac.

Real estate agent Dana Rice and her husband flip houses in the tony D.C. suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. Prices there are well above the national median, and there are few distressed properties. Instead, they target old, small fixer-uppers. Even those command a hefty purchase price up front, but they can also offer big rewards.

“I didn’t want a teardown. There is so much character in this part of Bethesda,” said Rice. “I don’t think that everybody wants a brand new build. There is a hole in the market because not everyone wants to do a renovation. If you put a little bit of effort in, these numbers can be huge.”

Rice purchased her latest project, a very small colonial, within walking distance to shops and Metro, for $680,000. She expects to put half a million dollars into the renovation, adding both square footage and high-end finishings; she is confident that in this competitive market she will see an 18-25 percent return on investment.

“It’s like birthing a baby. … If you’re overpriced, you’re dead in the water.” -Dana Rice, real estate agent and home flipper

“It’s like birthing a baby,” she said, noting that she will wait to list it until she feels the market is just right. “If you’re overpriced, you’re dead in the water.”

The lack of inventory is certainly a double-edged sword for flippers. Their initial investment price can be high, and flippers are often competing against local builders, who may want to tear the house down and put something up that is twice the size. On the other hand, not everyone wants or can afford a huge, new, expensive home, and that gives flippers the edge.

“The key here is that there is particularly a dearth of listed inventory in good condition,” said Blomquist. “That is the inventory flippers are competing against when they sell.”

Reference Book – A Real Estate Guide

* Please note, format and page numbers differ from the printed version. The printed version will be available for purchase after January 5, 2011. To purchase a copy, submit a Publications Request (RE 350) . The chapters of the Reference Book below are in PDF format. You will need Adobe Reader to view them.

Reference Book

  • Introduction
    Cover, Preface, Location of Department of Real Estate Offices, Past Real Estate Commissioners, A Word of Caution
  • Chapter 1 – The California Department of Real Estate
    Government Regulation of Brokerage Transactions, Original Real Estate Broker License, Corporate Real Estate License, Original Salesperson License, License Renewals – Brokers and Salespersons, Other License Information, Continuing Education, Miscellaneous Information, Prepaid Residential Listing Service License, Enforcement of Real Estate Law, Discrimination, Notice of Discriminatory Restrictions, Subdivisions, Department Publications, Recovery Account
  • Chapter 2 – The Real Estate License Examinations
    Scope of Examination, Preparing for an Exam, Exam Construction, Examination Weighting, Exam Outline, Exam Rules – Exam Subversion, Materials, Question Construction, Multiple Choice Exam, Q and A Analysis, Sample Multiple Choice Items
  • Chapter 3 – Trade and Professional Associations
    Real Estate Associations and Boards, Related Associations, Ethics
  • Chapter 4 – Property
    Historical Derivations, The Modern View, Personal Property, Fixtures, Legal Difference Between Real and Personal Property, Land Descriptions, Other Description Methods
  • Chapter 5 – Title to Real Property
    California Adopts a Recording System, Ownership of Real Property, Separate Ownership, Concurrent Ownership, Tenancy in Partnership, Encumbrances, Mechanic’s Liens, Design Professional’s Lien, Attachments and Judgments, Easements, Restrictions, Encroachments, Homestead Exemption, Assuring Marketability of Title
  • Chapter 6 – Transfer of Interests in Real Property
    Contracts in General, Essential Elements of a Contract, Statute of Frauds, Interpretation, Performance and Discharge of Contracts, Real Estate Contracts, Acquisition and Transfer of Real Estate
  • Chapter 7 – Principal Instruments of Transfer
    A Backward Look, the Pattern Today, Deeds in General, Types of Deeds
  • Chapter 8 – Escrow
    Definition, Essential Elements, Escrow Holder, Instructions, Complete Escrow, General Escrow Principles, General Escrow Procedures, Proration, Termination, Cancellation of Escrow – Cancellation of Purchase Contract, Who May Act As Escrow Agent, Audit, Prohibited Conduct, Relationship of Real Estate Broker and the Escrow Holder, Designating the Escrow Holder, Developer Controlled Escrows – Prohibition
  • Chapter 9 – Landlord and Tenant
    Types of Leasehold Estates, Dual Legal Nature of Lease, Verbal and Written Agreements, Lease Ingredients, Contract and Conveyance Issues, Rights and Obligations of Parties to a Lease, Condemnation of Leased Property, Notice Upon Tenant Default, Non-Waivable Tenant Rights, Remedies of Landlord, Disclosures by Owner or Rental Agent to Tenant
  • Chapter 10 – Agency
    Introduction, Creation of Agency Relationships, Authority of Agent, Duties Owed to Principals, Duties Owed to Third Parties, Rights of Agent, Termination of Agency, Special Brokerage Relationships, Licensee Acting for Own Account, Unlawful Employment and Compensation, Broker-Salesperson Relationship, Conclusion
  • Chapter 11 – Impact of the Penal Code and Other Statutes
    Penal Code, Unlawful Practice of Law, Business and Professions Code, Civil Code, Corporations Code
  • Chapter 12 – Real Estate Finance
    Background, The Economy, The Mortgage Market, Overview of the Loan Process, Details of the Loan Process, Federal and State Disclosure and Notice of Rights, Promissory Notes, Trust Deeds and Mortgages, Junior Trust Deeds and Mortgages, Other Types of Mortgage and Trust Deed Loans, Alternative Financing, Effects of Security, Due on Sale, Lender’s Remedy in Case of Default, Basic Interest Rate Mathematics, The Tools of Analysis
  • Chapter 13 – Non-Mortgage Alternatives To Real Estate Financing
    Syndicate Equity Financing, Commercial Loan, Bonds or Stocks, Long-Term Lease, Exchange, Sale-Leaseback, Sales Contract (Land Contract), Security Agreements (Personal Property)
  • Chapter 14 – Real Estate Syndicates and Investment Trusts
    Real Estate Syndication, Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Chapter 15 – Appraisal and Valuation
    Theoretical Concepts of Value and Definitions, Principles of Valuation, Basic Valuation Definitions, Forces Influencing Value, Economic Trends Affecting Real Estate Value, Site Analysis and Valuation, Architectural Styles and Functional Utility, The Appraisal Process and Methods, Methods of Appraising Properties, The Sales Comparison Approach, Cost Approach, Depreciation, Income (Capitalization) Approach, Income Approach Process, Income Approach Applied, Residual Techniques, Yield Capitalization Analysis, Gross Rent Multiplier, Summary, Appraisal of Manufactured Homes (Mobilehomes), Evaluating the Single Family Residence and Small Multi-Family Dwellings, Typical Outline for Writing the Single Family Residence Narrative Appraisal Report, Conclusion, Additional Practice Problems, The Office of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA)
  • Chapter 16 – Taxation and Assessments
    Property Taxes, Taxation of Mobilehomes, Special Assessments, Certain Assessment Statutes, Federal Taxes, Documentary Transfer Tax, State Taxes, Miscellaneous Taxes, Acquisition of Real Property, Income Taxation
  • Chapter 17 – Subdivisions and Other Public Controls
    Basic Subdivision Laws, Subdivision Definitions, Functions in Land Subdivision, Compliance and Governmental Consultation, Types of Subdivisions, Compliance With Subdivided Lands Law, Handling of Purchasers’ Deposit Money, Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, Additional Provisions, Grounds For Denial of Public Report, Subdivision Map Act, Preliminary Planning Considerations, Basic Steps in Final Map Preparation and Approval, Types of Maps, Tentative Map Preparation, Tentative Map Filing, Final Map, Parcel Map, Other Public Controls, Health and Sanitation, Eminent Domain, Water Conservation and Flood Control, Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act
  • Chapter 18 – Planning, Zoning, and Redevelopment
    The Need For Planning, General Plans, Redevelopment
  • Chapter 19 – Brokerage
    Brokerage as a Part of the Real Estate Business, Other Specialists, Operations, Office Size – Management, Office Size, Career Building, The Broker and the New Salesperson, Specialization, A Broker’s Related Pursuits, Professionalism, Mobilehome Sales
  • Chapter 20 – Contract Provisions and Disclosures in a Residential Real Estate Transaction
    A Basic Transaction, A Basic Listing, Purchase Contract/Receipt of Deposit, Disclosures
  • Chapter 21 – Trust Funds
    General Information, Trust Fund Bank Accounts, Accounting Records, Other Accounting Systems and Records, Recording Process, Reconciliation of Accounting Records, Documentation Requirements, Additional Documentation Requirements, Audits and Examinations, Sample Transactions, Questions and Answers Regarding Trust Fund Requirements and Record Keeping, Summary, Exhibits
  • Chapter 22 – Property Management
    Professional Organization, Property Managers and Professional Designations, Functions of a Property Manager, Specific Duties of the Property Manager, Earnings, Accounting Records For Property Management
  • Chapter 23 – Developers of Land and Buildings
    Subdividing, Developer-Builder, Home Construction
  • Chapter 24 – Business Opportunities
    Definition, Agency, Small Businesses and the Small Business Administration, Form of Business Organization, Form of Sale, Why an Escrow?, Buyer’s Evaluation, Motives of Buyers and Sellers, Counseling the Buyer, Satisfying Government Agencies, Listings, Preparing the Listing, Establishing Value, Valuation Methods, Lease, Goodwill, Fictitious Business Name, Franchising, Bulk Sales and the Uniform Commercial Code, California Sales and Use Tax Provisions, Alcoholic Beverage Control Act
  • Chapter 25 – Mineral, Oil and Gas Brokerage
    History, Mineral, Oil and Gas Brokerage, 1994 – No Separate License Requirements
  • Chapter 26 – Tables, Formulas, and Measurements
  • Chapter 27 – Glossary
original article

productive realtorProductivity is a popular subject these days and rightfully so! I would argue that we fight more distractions in our work day than any cohort of working adults before us. Are you maximizing your productivity as a real estate agent, or is it a constant battle for you to work smart and complete your tasks each day?

I sleep better at night when I feel like I had a productive day, and I can’t help but feel frustrated on the days that I wasn’t as productive as I could have been.  I’ve compiled a list of 5 habits that interfere with productivity, and some suggestions on how you can turn them around to be a more productive Realtor.

Habit 1. Beginning your day in a frenzy.

The first few moments of your day set the tone for the rest of your day.  Do you rush around the house, down a cup of coffee, and barely leave time to brush your teeth? Lots of us are in the habit of hitting the snooze button a few too many times and rushing through the house in semi-panicked chaos.  This hectic morning habit takes a toll on your well-being and productivity for the day.

Break the manic morning habit by setting your alarm 10-30 minutes earlier. Take some time to breathe before you start your day. Choosing your outfit and preparing your lunch the night before can relieve your morning stress. You’ll begin your day feeling calmer, more centered, and more industrious.

Habit 2. Working without structure.

Some people roll their eyes at the notion of a “to-do” list. But the reality is that most successful Realtors swear by some sort of task list. You’ll struggle to focus on a task without a defined list in place to structure your work day or week. Many of us tend to work on whichever project is the easiest or most urgent without mapping out the other important items that also need to be completed.

Start structuring your day by using a “to-do” list and reviewing it each morning.  Focus on the items on your list and tackle something challenging first thing in the morning. It feels good to check something off the list and most of us are more motivated and clear minded when the day gets started. A good real estate CRM will come equipped with a task list. It will even send you reminders of when it’s time to check off an item.

Habit 3. Overdoing the Multitasking.

Yes, real estate agents are always on the go, and yes they have a thousand things to do at any given time. I would wager a guess that you consider yourself an excellent multitasker, am I right? There is a time and place for multitasking. However “singletasking” can be just as important when you’re working on an important project.

Research at the University of Michigan showed that a 3 second distraction can lead to double the mistakes in your work. So when you’re bouncing between two tasks as a multitasker, you’re more likely to make more errors. And unfortunately, working on two tasks at the same time can result in poor cognitive performance on both tasks.  For a real estate agent who is working with sensitive timelines, financial documents, and tight schedules, you want to avoid as many errors as possible. Resist the urge to work on multiple tasks at the same time and try “singletasking” one important thing before moving on to the next. Your work will be more accurate and your productivity will increase!

Habit 4. Postponing dealing with something.

Do you ever skim an email and think, “I’ll deal with that later”? Then the next day you look at it and postpone it again, you think about it a few more times and eventually you reply to the email days (or weeks) later? If you had replied to the email immediately, you would have saved time, energy and space in your inbox! Postponing tasks is a time vacuum that many of us fall in to.

Whenever possible, try dealing with items only once.  This rule applies well to emails, meeting invitations, or requests for help. When you deal with an item only once, it frees up your mind to move on to more pressing issues, and increases your potential to be productive.

Habit 5. Manually carrying out tasks.

Some important tasks are time consuming, but they can’t be avoided, right? Well, it depends. There are some amazing tools available to Realtors now that can automate much of your work for you, freeing up more of your time to focus on selling homes!

Do you spend time frantically trying to find a past client’s phone number, or attempting to respond to web leads via email? Tasks like these are unavoidable, but they don’t have to dominate your entire day! Choose a real estate CRM and email marketing solution where you can organize all of your contacts in a single database, then take advantage of the automated features to free up your time.  A good CRM can send follow-up emails to leads and even assign them to a drip email nurture campaign, so your new leads are receiving communications from you without you having to type them out! Automated task reminders will ensure you’re not forgetting any important to-do’s. Stop manually working on tasks that can run like clockwork with little to no effort!

Takeaways

Do any of these productivity-sucking habits sound familiar to you? Feeling productive can alleviate stress and improve your overall well-being. Try these tips to structure your day more efficiently, focus on a single task at a time, and deal with tasks just one time.  Perhaps most importantly, find the right real estate CRM that can help you get better organized and automate many of your important tasks.

Nothing can kill a sale faster than a dated, closed-in kitchen area. Many of today’s buyers see the kitchen as the home’s command center, and not just a place for cooking and eating. They want the kitchen to be many things at once, hence the rise in popularity of what is known as the multifunctional open-concept kitchen.

Read more: 9 Modest Fixes for the Problem Kitchen

If your clients are looking to renovate an existing kitchen, or you need to advise them on building one that’s brand-new, the Washington Post shared some background on how they can design a kitchen space so that it’s functional in many different way.

“Whether you are renovating existing structure or building new, architects fully recognize the need for space that is designed for movement and flow,” says Stephanie Brick, senior designer at Sustainable Design Group, in Gaithersburg, Md. “There are still rules and important elemental guidelines — you do not want to just delete all of the walls on your first floor. But by being selective in the design, materials and professionals you work with, you can easily achieve a space that does not merely react to, but anticipates, your bustling lifestyle.”

The two main considerations when designing a multifunctional space are wall placement and storage. While it may seem like an easy solution to knock down walls, Brick says there are other architectural solutions, like open doorways, that can give a similar effect while keeping the space architecturally interesting.

Being as honest as possible about individual organizational and storage needs is key when creating a multifunctional kitchen. For some owners who want to use the kitchen as a makeshift homework area or as a place to handle their bills, adding storage for these needs will be necessary. If your clients do a lot of cooking and entertaining for large groups, they will want to make sure the kitchen has space and storage to accommodate that process. If the family has small children, the kitchen can be designed with their safety in mind.

Brick has one final piece of advice when designing this type of kitchen space. “Honesty with your architect is key to creating a strong working relationship and delivering an equally beautiful and functional space in your home.”

Source: “How to create a live/work/play space at home,” The Washington Post (June 8, 2016)

via Now Trending: The Multifunctional Kitchen | Realtor Magazine