Hacked By RxR HaCkEr
As I catch glimpses into the lives of busy Windermere Stellar Real Estate Brokers, I am constantly in awe. Between juggling challenges like tough inspections, weekend buyers, scarce inventory and the latest technology that you must learn now, it’s a wonder how you stay sane! You’re expected to know everything and be everything to everyone.
I vividly remember the feeling of just keeping my head above water to survive the demands of a hot marketplace when I was selling real estate. I fell victim to the practice of spending too much time working in my business rather than on my business. It was hard to think about future opportunities when I was immersed in the activities of the day.
Phone Calls: It’s About the Person on the Other End
But when the storm settled (as it always did) I’d panic. Without any clients in the queue, I wasn’t sure where my next sale was coming from, leading me to pick up the phone. Now, anyone who knows me will understand that this action wasn’t easy for me. I’m a social person, but on a deeper, more real level. I’m more apt to talk about what’s really going on — Are you fully engaged on this career path? Is your current situation bringing out the best in you? — rather than safe topics like the weather and sports. And the idea of reaching out to connect with you for the sole purpose of helping me made it even worse!
However, I’d finally set my nervousness aside and ring up past clients, old college buddies and new moms at my kids’ school. I was pleasantly surprised to hear happy voices on the other end. These people actually liked me as their friend, not just as their real estate agent, and were glad to hear from me!
I never made the conversation about me. That was a secondary topic that I didn’t even need to bring up. After hearing about their news — How is your new house? Do you like your neighbors? Is Tommy catching up in school? — the friend on the other end would eventually steer the conversation to my needs because they were genuinely interested in me. Since I just so happened to sell real estate, the conversations always ended with them remembering a cousin who was buying a house or a neighbor who was listing theirs. I never had to make the bold ask. The person on the other end did all the work for me!
Business Development Program: Help Us Help You
Although times have definitely changed since I actively sold real estate, the most monumental things remain the same. We’re in an industry that will always rely on human interaction. Without it, our business is in jeopardy. However, we realize that today’s variety of communications options make it harder to pick up the phone and high-volume producers will always be short on time.
That’s why we’ve created Windermere Stellar’s new Business Development Program to encourage proactive marketing. We want to help you with the things that are easy to push off — such as maintaining your database, sending mailers out, and more — so that you’re free to engage with your sphere for future business, while simultaneously handling the many details required by current clients and transactions.
Take a few minutes of proactive time this week to see how our Business Development Specialists can help you. I’m sure that back in the day the thought of “taking a few minutes of time” would have sent me into a fit of laughter. But if I had known that 15 minutes of stolen time here and there could impact my business in such a helpful way, I might have reconsidered. The thought of being able to kiss that daunting feeling goodbye — when I’d realize that my busyness had caused my future pipeline to look dim — would have greatly appealed to me. The relief might have inspired me toward making an extra phone call or two.
Don’t worry if you were not able to attend last month’s company meeting at the Multnomah Athletic Club. As always, Brian’s presentation addressing the packed crowd inspired us to take notes and share with those who missed it. Here are the highlights:
2014 Market Recap & Glance at 2015
We ended 2014 on a high note, which is a great sign of things to come. December’s unusually high closed sales represented the kind of momentum that’s been building up. 2015 will probably be one of the best years ever.
Price appreciation is at a much more sustainable level with real job and earnings growth occurring.
The big story will be inventory — not only is it extremely low in the city and Clark County, but what happens in the inner city has a ripple effect to the outer suburb areas, hitting there eventually. Appreciation is also hitting the outer areas now as well.
Tips for Success
It will be a footrace for today’s Broker. You’ll have to be clear on your mission — which should always be helping your clients accomplish their goals.
If that goal is to buy a home in one of the highly competitive areas that means helping your buyers construct a highly competitive offer. Coach your buyers to have their financing in order and be prepared to move quickly and aggressively when the right home hits the market.
Get out and educate the people you know. Now is the right time to list a home for sale (no cliché intended). Buyers will save money by buying and not renting in today’s market where renting is more expensive than paying a mortgage. Communicate the cost of waiting by comparing rental numbers to mortgage numbers.
Client Psychology 101
Brian said that “people buy emotionally and justify intellectually.” He posed a question for you to ask your clients: Whose mortgage do you want to pay? Yours or your landlords? Clients first make decisions like that based on emotion and then examine the numbers (rental costs vs. mortgage) to justify what’s already been decided.
They also work with you because you emotionally connect with them from the start. They might investigate your experience (like how many homes you’ve sold in their neighborhood) later to justify working with you — a decision they’ve already made shortly after meeting you.
A key demographic for you to get to know is the millennials (16 – 32 year olds) because they will be the largest group of home buyers by the end of 2015.
The mailers and emails should be the foundation of what you do but not all that you do. As the world moves toward mass marketing, you need to be the contrary. For example, participate in direct mail versus email. Most importantly, talk to as many people in your sphere as possible each week. Take advantage of any new listings you have to market yourself to the neighborhood. Invite neighbors to an exclusive “Neighbors Only” open house.
The second part of the meeting was also a hit, featuring the 2012 Toastmasters World Campion, Ryan Avery. I am not sure any notes could do the Portland resident and obvious Millennial any justice. He hit it off with the crowd by delving into personal stories that had us laughing and engaged, while offering his tips for connecting with people through communication. His bottom line message is to learn how to tell you own story. Your clients need to connect with you first and what you can do for them second.
*For access to Brian’s entire presentation, the public can contact Windermere Staff or Windermere Brokers can visit MyWindernet.
As we all braved last week’s blustery storm to attend the unveiling party for the newly transformed Lloyd Tower office, I was reminded of how our work environment can help us thrive. We spend most of our days working, but the space is often overlooked by many, especially real estate brokers who argue that business isn’t done in the office. It’s true that technology allows us to work from wherever we want, but public workspaces can be important for the average real estate professional.
Your jobs are some of the toughest out there. There aren’t many careers where you’re openly putting yourself on the line by offering your precious time, knowledge and sometimes personal funds without guarantee of gaining anything in return. Even the daily battles of a job in real estate can be tough, with a warm office environment providing a welcome respite. You can kick off your shoes, pour a soothing cup of tea and, most importantly, bounce ideas off of your real estate colleagues.
A new common area at Lloyd Tower, otherwise known as “the Café,” encourages brokers to do just that. When I bumped into Susie Hunt Moran, who works in the Lloyd Tower office with a team of three, she said her team loves the new Café because it allows them to interact with other officemates during breaks.
“Even though we are getting work done by talking about the market and industry topics, the uninhibited space makes it feel less like work and more like you’re just chatting with friends in your kitchen,” Susie said.
Susie has noticed more brokers coming into Lloyd Tower for work, instead of operating out of their homes, allowing for camaraderie, collaboration and more use of the technology.
“Working from an office can be a critical piece of a real estate career, where the foundation of success is based on routine and boundaries,” Susie said. “Even though each day in real estate is never the same, the office is buzzing in the morning hours. The days when I’m feeling off-kilter are when I haven’t been able to make it into the office during this morning time.”
In a quest to freshen the overall look by infusing sophisticated mid-century influence into the space, we examined the general flow of the entire office, redesigning it to bring people together while also providing options for privacy.
What are your tips for creating a successful working environment? Do you have “office hours” that you adhere to, or do you flourish in the quiet of your own home? Respond here and tell us what works for you!
Today the Windermere Foundation received this thank you letter from Maverick Main Stage Productions, a nonprofit that provides low-income youth in Northeast Portland the opportunity to express their creativity and talent through theater. It is one of the many organizations the Foundation has supported in the third quarter of this year.
Looking back over the donations made throughout July, August and September, the Windermere Foundation donated $20,750 to 10 nonprofits in the Portland metro and north Oregon coast area!
- Assistance League of Columbia Pacific – Provides new clothing to low-income youth so they can start the new school year with confidence.
- Astoria Rescue Mission – Supports homeless families during times of crisis by providing food, shelter, clothing and transitional services.
- Betties360 – Builds self-esteem and a sense of possibility in low-income girls through outdoor and athletic adventure, from rock climbing to roller derby!
- Community Transitional School – Creates a stable educational environment for homeless youth by providing transportation to and from school, regardless of when, where or how often the students are moved or displaced.
- De la Salle North Catholic High School – Provides college preparatory education to low-income, underserved students in North Portland.
- Franklin High School Foods Program – Allows low-income students the opportunity to learn about nutrition by cooking and sharing meals with homeless youth.
- Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest – Empowers girls to realize their greater potential through gender-specific programming, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math studies and careers.
- Maverick Main Stage Productions – Cultivates the creativity and talent of underserved youth through theatrical production.
- Portland YouthBuilders – Develops and supports education and career aspirations for students who have dropped out of high school.
- REACH Community Development – Provides housing assistance and economic stability programming to low-income families.
Found these photos from another life, circa 1987. Remnants of an interim modeling job—a time between being a mostly stay at home mom with part-time teaching gigs and a single mom needing to bring home real bacon. How did I get into Real Estate as a career? I met a guy…(not Brian) through modeling and commercial work who suggested I look into Real Estate as a career. It was attractive to me because I didn’t want to be around just kids all the time (teaching) and I thought it would be flexible so I could still be a good mom. I also had extensive moving experience with the former Mr. and thought I could bring that to the table. The craziest part was that I had moved to Seattle with no friends or family—except the three kiddos. I got my license in one month—taking classes every night. My new Managing Principal Broker took a huge chance on me succeeding in sales because I had NO network in the area, but I turned out to have a knack and did very well. My kids might say the flexibility part was a bad assumption and I’m pretty sure they thought the phone had merged with my ear. They still have a flinch reflex when they see me on the phone.
Why did you decide on real estate as a career?
Buying a home is a wise investment and can be an exciting decision in your life, but you might be wondering where to begin. This checklist is a nice breakdown of where to start, the important steps to take and what you can expect. Happy house hunting!
Real estate offices are bustling, busy places where a friendly buzz of chatter can be overheard. The hottest new listings, tips on smooth transactions and of course the popular question,“where did you get those shoes?” are all important topics you’ll glean when you work among exciting, helpful real estate pros. But underneath it all, a much more serious conversation about safety constantly exists.
In the wake of the tragic loss of one of our own from Arkansas, we are reminded of how frequently this industry leaves us exposed. We trust that weekends spent with buyers will turn into sales. We believe that cooperating brokers will fairly present our clients’ side of the story. But our nearly naked exposure is most extreme when putting our faith in strangers.
Believe me, I know how it feels to open a door for a stranger. Before the opportunity to lead Windermere Stellar surfaced, I was also in your shoes, pounding the pavement as a real estate broker. Here are some snippets of the safety conversations I’ve had during my 26 years in the industry:
- Park on the street when showing a house so that you are not blocked into the driveway in case you need to make a quick getaway. This goes for open houses too.
- Keep your cell phone on and in your pocket at all times.
- Keep your car keys with you. Don’t lay them on the table as you walk in the door. You may be able to hit the red panic button on your key fob if you feel like you want to set off your car alarm.
- Always let someone know where you are and include the address.
- Try not to show a house alone to a stranger. Take a buddy! A new real estate broker would love to see you in action. Many of your Principal Brokers have offered to accompany you.
- If you must show a house to a stranger, make it a rule to have them meet you at your office first and then caravan to the listing. Many of the dangerous people will disappear after this request because it means that others in the office will have set eyes on this stranger. The rules also show that you are aware and to be taken seriously.
- In Arkansas the realtors are going to get a photo of potential clients’ driver’s licenses before going out with them. Think about it. Car dealerships make you show your DL before letting you test drive a car.
- Make sure to drive your own car when showing a house to a stranger.
- Some brokers elect to remove their headshots from property marketing. They claim it allows more pictures of the listing to be incorporated, however some safety factors might also be relevant.
- Most importantly, trust your gut. If you are with clients and you feel uncomfortable, just leave the home. Go outside and get in your car. It is not your job to protect someone’s home at your own peril. I was once showing a home and a pit bull followed me into every room. The owner was there and told me that her pit bull was acting strange lately so she didn’t let her five-year-old grandson play with him anymore. I was so scared I left the house with my buyer in the house and waited for him in the car. When he came out, I told him that if he wanted to buy that house he had to get another realtor because I was never going back in there again. He was fine with what I did and he didn’t buy the house.
Since these tips are from wise industry professionals (maybe one of them is from you!), please chime in and share your tips with us in the comments section or on our private Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/windermeregroup/
Look for upcoming classes on safety coming to your office or an office near you.