Real Estate Education

Is travel a waste of money?

 

imageI LOVE to travel! So much so that I would love to have a travel related job. I love going to new places and exploring everything that they have to offer.

 

I enjoy finding out about local culture. When I travel to Mexico I love to learn about the Mayans and the Aztec. I often buy related jewelry pieces. I have a unique name and can never find it on anything touristy. So a find I was able to score in the Mayan was a pendant with my name spelled out in their characters. Not only is it a conversation piece, but something unique to treasure.

 

 

I also really enjoyed exploring all the ruins. I was able to climb up the temple at Coba before it closed. I scampered up to the top like a monkey, even with all my camera equipment attached and was rewarded with an amazing view of the jungle. However, coming down was a whole entirely different experience. I quickly realized why so many slid down on their backsides! My own descent was not a whole lot different!

 

 

imageI enjoy the local history, which can also tie in with culture. Nothing is more amazing than exploring a grand Cathedral, intricate victorian, fairytale castle or an imposing fortress. So many impressive structures created hundreds or more years ago really make you wonder how it was possible with their tools and lack of modern technology. Most places also have a variety of museums or galleries to tour through as well. They can be a wealth of information and allow you to view objects and creatures you didn’t even know once existed.

 

 

 

 

I also really enjoy exploring the local flora and fauna. I enjoy discovering local plants that I cannot see here at home. I search for local wildlife and can sit for hours at a time, being entertained by their antics and rituals, while catching it all on film.

 

 

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Another thing I get lost in where ever I travel is the scenery. It doesn’t matter if it is ocean, mountain, forest, city, waterfall or rocky terrain. It is all beautiful and unique and can make for some amazing photography.

 

 

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Another aspect to travel is about the people you travel with. A large group can be hard to coordinate, but dining out in a Mexican restaurant with 13 friends, being serenaded by a Mariachi Band is an experience that we will all share and talk about for years to come.
So now, all these hi lights bring me back to my question: Is Travel a Waste Of Money?
While I know that there are many people that would answer yes, for me the answer is a resounding NO!

 

 

 

I will agree that travel can be very expensive, and it is a want, not a need. But the photos, experiences, little treasures and memories I come home with are priceless to me.

 

 

Being able to share them with the people I travelled with, to laugh over funny sights we saw, reminisce over things we did, share photos we took of each other is all well worth it.

 

 

It is also rewarding to me to share these same items and stories with people who have never been. Giving me a chance to relive the sights, sounds, and excitement over and over again. I also have a small group of friends that I enjoy scrapbooking my experiences with, another way to relive my trips long after I am home.
And while I do not have a “travel” job, my job in real estate does allow me to travel. I can book holidays to exotic locations on the downtimes, I am able to do various day trips exploring all the sights MB has to offer.

 

 

My Real Estate partner Tina and I enjoy the yearly Real Estate Conferences in various destinations where we can not only be filled with knowledge & tips to aid our business, but we get a chance to explore all the above points that I mentioned to the benefit of a tax write off!
And yes, I am awaiting to go on my next travel adventure, wherever that may be!

 

Eniko Crozier

Sutton Group-Kilkenny

What is Your Loyalty to Friends and Family Costing You?

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Sometimes loyalty is a bad idea.

Even to family.

Or friends.

And especially to the neighbor’s uncle’s cousin’s friend.

Like the woman whose loyalty is causing her crippling pain to continue.

She had been seeing a physical therapist to help her with the constant pain she was in. For all the therapy she’d been receiving, her condition was getting worse, not better. There were other therapists who were skilled at treating this very problem.

“Maybe it’s time to try another therapist,” I said.

“Oh! But I can’t do that! I know somebody who works there.”

I let her statement just hang in the air, hoping she’d hear the lunacy of it.

After a moment, I chided with my signature brand of sarcasm.

“Oh. Well, in that case, you’d better just stay in pain.”

She smirked. “Good point.”

I guess she felt like her leaving would mean the therapist would be out of a job.
Which, of course, is totally false.

Loyalty can be a bad idea in real estate too.

Too often people have hired a realtor because their face is on a sign (here’s why that’s a dumb idea) or worse, because their neighbor’s friend’s son is an agent.

Which apparently means you are obligated to hire them.

Let’s just let that hang in the air for a moment so we can hear the lunacy of it.

Imagine this loyalty applied to doctors. Using only doctors who someone knows, regardless of their skill level or expertise, would be stupid.

“Oh, you’re an OBGYN? Perfect. Because I have this heart condition…”

Or medications.

“Oh, this life-saving pill was made by Valeant? Sorry, I only buy from Pfizer because my dad worked there for twenty years.”

Do you hear the lunacy of it?

“Oh, you’re a realtor specializing in rural properties and digital marketing strategy? Sorry, my brother Bob always uses another agent, so I have to too.”

Your loyalty should not be treated so cheaply.

Don’t give it away.

Especially not just because someone thinks you should.

Loyalty is precious and should be earned.

When it’s not earned, it’s treated poorly. Then you get poor results.

What else could you expect from a doctor not skilled in your area of need? From a therapist that can’t help you? Please, at least find out about the services a real estate agent offers before you make a decision on who you will hire to represent you.

Make them earn your loyalty.

And if they can’t, they didn’t deserve it in the first place.

How To Surprise Colleagues & Win Clients Even in Slower Markets

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Whatever your business, slow markets or a sluggish economy can make things tough.

It’s natural to respond in fear and shift into self-preservation when that happens.

And it’s the worst thing you can do.

For one thing, it reveals that deep down inside, you believe you can’t make it. Which is a problem, and probably means you’re self-sabotaging in other ways to.

It is also really bad for business.

People operating in a fearful state of self-preservation often cut marketing dollars and put a stop on any investment in their own education.

Flipping on the autopilot and just trying to hang in there is a weak strategy for any business.

Even when money’s tight or when things aren’t selling as quickly as you’d like, it’s still important to invest in your business, your marketing, and yourself.

In fact, during market lulls may be the most important time to do that!

Here’s why.

While everyone else is hiding under their desk, hoping the same old strategies will keep them safe, you will be perfecting your skills and understanding of the very things that distinguish your business from the rest.

You’ll lay down a power card while everyone else is lying down.

You’ll pay handsomely with time and money to learn new skills. As you apply what you’ve learned, you’ll surprise your colleagues.

Here’s another point.

Keeping up with the latest trends is critical to your business, no matter what the market is doing.

Even now, where and how people shop for homes is changing. It’s critical to be aware of it, and then know what to do about it. As a real estate agent, I need to know where people are shopping, and how to get in front of them.
When times are tough, don’t hunker down and hope for the best.

Strategize.

Work to understand the trends in your industry. It will require an investment of hundreds of hours of reading and listening to podcasts and attending seminars and workshops. It will also take time to practice using the related new software, platforms, and technologies you’re bound to discover.

Then get out there and be surprisingly generous.

I’ll bet you’re still wondering how this helps one to win clients.

Here’s the thing.

With your keen understanding of the market and trends, (and after some practice and troubleshooting) you’ll know where the clients are and how to get in front of them. Once you’re in front of them, your reputation as a knowledgeable and generous professional will attract people.

I know because it’s how I am attracted to businesses and leaders and authors and speakers.

I also know because as I’ve been generous and applied what I’ve learned, colleagues, competitors, and even clients notice. And they seek me out to ask questions.

Strangers will walk up to me and say “Hey! You’re Tina! I read your blog.” Or they’ll hire me because they found me easily exactly where they were looking. (You know where that is, right?)

What about you?

How do you weather slow times in your business or industry?

Out of the office NOTICE

Eniko and I are attending the National Association of Realtors Conference and Expo in San Diego, California. We will be away from November 9-18, 2015 and staying at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. 

This is my third time attending the conference and each time I have had the privilege of seeing a part of the world I have not seen before. There is 100 classes with varying topics to choose from. I cannot think of a better time to educate ourselves and to encourage ourselves. In this transitioning market, when agents are grumbling, we need to be positively stimulated. I hope to come back with a refreshed enthusiasm about my career.

I am tremendously blessed to work with some very trustworthy agents and several have been there for me when I went away before. Bruce Kroeker, Wes Dowse, and Clare Braun have helped me out in the past. This time I have confidently left my workload to Ann Lemon and Rose Schroeder. 

See you when we return.

Your Debt Might Not Be Your Fault …

 

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You probably are up to your eyes in debt.

Most Canadians are.

Most find themselves owing $1500 for every $1000 of their after-tax earnings.

That’s a deep hole.  And sometimes, the hole we’re in isn’t even the result of poor decisions or spending habits. Sometimes it results from loss. Death, illness, layoffs in a slow economy – things we can’t control can have a lifelong impact on our finances.

Sometimes debt happens when we’re robbed.

Broken promises (like insurance companies refusing payouts for example), shattered relationships, unjust job loss, outright manipulation, even theft from competitors … there are lots of ways to be robbed. It’s staggering to realize how other people’s choices can have a direct and lasting impact on our finances.

Suddenly we’re way behind, playing catch-up. (I hate that game, but am playing it right along with you.)

But even down here in the deep, dark, debt-hole, there’s hope. Even if someone else dug the stupid hole and threw you in.

Financial restoration is possible.

It’s just going to take a lot of extra work. And I’m not getting any younger, so I’ll have to work fast too. That’s why I’m so focused on educating myself and growing my business. I want to catch up. I want financial restoration, and to bring others with me in the hope that debt is escapable.

How are you pursuing financial restoration under a load of debt?

How Safe is your Private Listing from Real Estate Agents?

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You’ve advertised your house For Sale By Owner.

Soon after, a real estate agent lands on your doorstep saying they have a buyer for you.

All you have to do is lock yourself into a listing contract, and the buyer will appear.

If you’ve ever agreed to sign based on that promise, you’ve also probably noticed that the elusive buyer never shows. Perhaps they conveniently changed their mind. Maybe they never existed.  Either way, you’re left empty handed, wondering if signing was the right thing to do.

Ever been there?

You’re not alone.

It’s an age-old tactic agents use to acquire listings. People easily fall for it, so the method continues to be used.

“But what if they really have a buyer? I don’t want to miss out!”

It’s true, they may have a buyer for you.   I let my buyers choose if they want to include private sales in their search. There are a lot of good agents who go to such lengths to seek out a property for their buyers. And they should be compensated for their effort. (No one likes working for free)

But here’s the thing – YOU certainly don’t need to fork over the entire listing with full commission!

Two Ways to Protect Yourself

You Can Offer the Agent a  Fee Agreement for Bringing a Buyer.

You want to sell, they want to be paid for working.

Both are great and make sense. Neither requires giving them the whole listing though.

Offering a set fee for bringing a buyer assures them you won’t swipe their contact (and paycheck) away from them if they do bring a buyer.

It also allows you to keep your private seller status, and saves you the cost of a full commission.

 

Sign for Only That Particular Client, or for a Specific Time

If the agent really has a buyer, they’ll be glad to be paid a commission for bringing their buyer. They did the work, and should be paid. They will gladly agree to a fee agreement.

If they balk, you can have a pretty good idea that they’re after the listing, not trying to bring a current, existing buyer.

FYI

*Please note that if you sell your house with the buyer’s agent that the buyer’s agent is representing the buyer and not representing you as a seller. You will still be legally responsible for your representation and documentation.

Tina’s personal thought. “If your goal is to sell and someone wants to buy it, then sell it. It does not make sense to turn away a sale in this market.” Negotiate a fee and start packing.

 

And, as always, if you know someone who is selling privately right now, share this with them!

Help them protect themselves, and save them a load of cash!

 

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The Huge Real Estate Referral Source You’re Not Using

image They say word of mouth is the best source of new clients. I’ve said it too. And it’s true… to a point. But here’s the thing. Everyone gets referrals. Even the most unreliable, unprofessional business person will occasionally satisfy a client. Those satisfied clients will gladly recommend them, because their experience was pleasant. Try this – put out a call on Facebook or Twitter for a professional they’d recommend. (It will be more interesting if you experiment with a trade or industry where you know some of the professionals and their reputations.) You’ll get all kinds of names. The funny thing is, you won’t know any more about those businesses than before you asked. You’ll still need to look them up, do your research, and make a decision. As a business person, how will referrals set you apart then?

Let me share a story. I recently hosted an open house in Niverville, when this young couple came in. We had never met, but as soon as they slapped eyes on me, they said, “You’re Tina!”
It’s a weird feeling when people do that by the way. For a half second I feel like I might be in trouble. I said something clever like, “Yeah…?” and tried not to look too confused.

She smiled and continued, “You sold the house adjacent to our back yard. We see your name and face everywhere – and you blog too!” They were complete and total strangers, and are not on my list of Facebook friends. I wondered how they’d seen my blog posts. She said a friend of hers had shared a post on her Facebook page. “Do you remember the subject?” I asked.
“Yup – For Those Who Smoke After” she smirked.
At this point her husband piped up, “What?”
“I’ll tell you after…” she leaned over to him, and winked at me before continuing, “In one of the last posts you talked about working with crazy people
The husband joined in, “I’ve seen your ads in the Property Guide. It seems like your advertising is more… upper class.” I thought about a recent ad I’d put out that had this picture of a shrub mooning a neighbor. The caption read, “Time to Move?” I wondered if he had seen it.
“Ah, thanks. It looks professional because I hire professionals to help me with my marketing.”

This couple was considering hiring me before we ever met, and it was not because someone referred them. It was because of what they’d seen in my marketing, and on my site.  And this happens all the time.  People come over from China and choose me. When I ask other clients – complete strangers who hired me out of the blue, “How did you get my name?”, they often answer, “I did a Google search.”

Here’s the deal – whether or not people are given recommendations, 68% research real estate agents online. When your potential client arrives at your site – and they will come – what will they find? What they hope to find is who you are. They don’t care about salesy photos and impersonal how-to tips. Tips, tricks and hacks can be found anywhere. They want to know about YOU.  Are you trustworthy. Are you successful. Are you professional. Are you real. Will you treat them with respect. And they want to find this out online.

The most overlooked source of referrals is a real estate agent’s website. Most don’t have one, and of those who do, few blog. Nearly three quarters of potential clients research agents online. You need to be as personable and friendly and professional there as you would be in person.

Whether they’re coming to your site because of word-of-mouth, or because of Google rankings, potential clients are looking for you.  …Are you there?

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If Home Sellers Did This With Their Restaurants, They’d Go Broke

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Real Estate is full of anomalies that would never fly in any other industry. It’s not just because of agents either – sometimes it’s the clients themselves who pull crazy things that would never fly anywhere else.

The buyers and sellers I work with are, for the most part, fantastic. I love helping them, working with them, and discovering who they are. But some people – you know, other agents’ clients – I don’t know what happens to their brains when they decide to sell their house. Suddenly they’re not acting like people who have something to sell, but rather like spoiled royal heirs to whom all others must bow. It’s bizarre. All I know is that their salesmanship would bankrupt any restaurant.

If Home Sellers Did This with their Restaurants, They’d Go Broke  

We’re Open… NOT

You enter the restaurant, eager for the kind of sauce-laden burger you’ve enjoyed there before. A waitress rushes to greet you at the door, “Sorry, but we’re closed.” You argue that the open sign and hours of operation posted on the door suggest otherwise. She folds her arms and shakes her head. “We’re closed.” You point to the staff wandering about the restaurant serving no one, and to the chef who stands in the kitchen with nothing to do. “Well, I don’t care about any of that,” she argues back, “I have a headache and don’t feel up to this today, so we’re closed. Try again tomorrow.” She then proceeds to shove you out the door. Try again tomorrow? Fat chance.

Super Price Me

Still salivating for a big, saucy burger, you see a diner across the street. It’s an unheard of hole-in-the-wall place, but they have a burger on the sign, so you go in.

You open the laminated two-page menu to discover a wide selection of burgers. Prices start at $50 each, fries are extra. You summon the waitress, and explain there must be some mistake. You have never heard of such burger prices in your life. Others sell for $8. “People can sell their burgers for whatever they like. Mine start at $50.”

You scratch a dried ketchup stain from the menu, and ask what makes these diner burgers so special. “I made them from a recipe handed down to me through four generations. I have great sentimental attachment to each burger I make, and that’s what makes them so valuable.”  You really, really wish you could eat a burger, but cannot bring yourself to pay obscene prices. Alas, you must move on and leave the woman with her beloved burgers.

Do You Have The Time?

Wondering if you’ll ever get to eat a burger, you discover another restaurant and try once more. The place is, in fact, open, and the prices on the menu are reasonable. Hope sets in as you wait for your server to arrive at the table. Other customers at tables crane their necks, searching for the server who is nowhere to be seen. Finally, she bursts in and dashes table to table. She takes no orders, she delivers nothing. She only leans in, says a few words, and moves to the next table.

She approaches you, breathless, “You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had. Between the traffic, meeting the banker and returning calls, it’s tough to find time to work!” She ignores your attempt to get a word in, “So anyway, I have to bring my cat to the vet and pick up some groceries, but then I’ll be back to take your order. Thanks for understanding my demanding schedule.” Her swift exit leaves you puzzled, infuriated, and realizing you may never again taste a restaurant burger.

 

You might think I’m exaggerating, but these are actual attitudes and behaviours agents and buyers must endure. Please help spread the word that the kinds of numbskullery illustrated here help no one sell their house.

As a buyer or agent, which of these situations have you encountered in your attempt to buy a home?

Playing Your Power Card in a Changing Market

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The local market has slowed a bit, and it’s making people nervous.
Real estate agents are leaving the profession.
Sellers are nervous. And cautious, fearful remarks are being made about people not being able to do in this market what could be done last year. Some plan to spend less on marketing to weather the year.

May I suggest an alternative?  Whether you’re a developer, REALTOR® or an investor, this could actually be your best year yet. Know why? Because while others are busy being afraid, you can play your power card.

Consider what you were awesome at last year:

Did you invest in marketing your business?

Did you learn new ways to serve your clients well?

Did you market for your clients like crazy?

Did you deliver high quality service?
If you’ve got all those (or even some of them) you’re ahead in the game already.

 

Here’s the deal. You are the same business person you were last year. (maybe even better!) And no matter what the market, two things are sure: people are always buying and selling, and they want high quality, professional service.

 

Your power card is your unique offering. I’m not talking about ‘sell with me and I’ll give you a free widget’. I’m talking about what you do better than anyone else.

If you’re a trained ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), that’s something unique to offer in a buyer’s market.
If you’re specially trained to serve seniors, (you have a SRES® perhaps), that’s a niche market you can serve too.

In a seller’s market, being highly trained in Seller Representation (SRS® designation) can be an asset too.

Maybe your edge is that you are highly mobile or an authority in your industry.

If you are continuing to learn, and striving to serve your clients excellently, you have an edge.
There is something you have that others don’t. That’s your powercard. And when everyone else is cowering in their boots, holding back and hunkering down, that’s the time to play it.

Play that power card, baby.

What’s your power card?

 

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4 Ipad Apps Essential to my Business (or The Mobile Office Advantage)

imageDon’t let the zebra print fool you. This ipad is no toy. This is my office.

Some think that the brick and mortar office has an advantage in the marketplace. And that certainly was true a decade or two ago. Once upon a time, establishing one’s business in a solid building implied a solid place in the market. But times have changed.

Digital offices are the new way. They’re efficient, mobile, and accessible. Everything is online, and consumers expect to be able to find you there. I market tested this theory even back in my first years when I worked with a brick and mortar type of office. For a year, every single client I met with, I asked the same question. “Would you like to meet at… a) my (brick and mortar) office, b) in your home, or c) in a coffee shop or your favorite restaurant?” Know what happened? Not one single person EVER requested to meet me in the big building in which I worked.

Not one.  

I soon moved to an autonomous mobile agent situation (for several reasons), and continued to build a solid business. Mine is not built with concrete, but on solid, consistent, highly personalized service.

But. To have a mobile office requires tech savvy.  Heck, whether one has brick and mortar or not, one needs to still be tech savvy. If you are not online (where your clients are!), you’re missing out on over 60% of the market!  

One great way to start is to introduce your business to the ipad. You won’t believe what you can do with it, and how quickly.  I was asked recently how I use my ipad for business, so thought I’d share here too.

The 4 Ipad Apps Essential To My Business

Scanner Pro is my preferred app for scanning. I can scan documents, signatures and all, and send them instantly.

PDF Expert is my favorite app for typing or writing on a document.

Evernote is my favorite app for buyer files.

Dropbox or Google Drive are online file storages,  that are accessible from anywhere. This is where offers and all other documents related to a deal are stored in perfectly organized files.

In Real Estate, we have to respond to someone in a timely matter – immediately at times. Sending an offer in a hurry is a breeze with these apps. I can get my client’s signature right there in the restaurant, scan the document with the in app camera and it automatically converts to pdf right there. The PDF can email directly and on time, so we can close the deal.

What is keeping you from mobilizing your business online?

If you are already online, what is your favorite digital business tool? (and why?)

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