Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Katy Robinson
 
Workplace recognition is a core pillar of most companies and real estate brokerages — highlighting the work of star agents and those who have gone above and beyond on a regular basis.

In a year of such uncertainty like we experienced in 2020, recognitions like these may have been put on the back burner, especially as most people worked remotely.

According to a survey from Snappy Gifts, three out of five employees believe recognition is even more important while working from home. Still, only one in five say their company has created new ways to highlight accomplishments since the pandemic started.

As we reemerge post-pandemic, brokerages should place a renewed focus on recognizing agent achievements. Agents are interested in more real-time recognition of their accomplishments and a stronger connection within their virtual, socially distant work communities.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial for brokerages to implement programs that help give credit where it’s due and as a way to retain top talent.

Industry leaders have the opportunity to put agent appreciation at the forefront to highlight the great work they do, maintain morale and reduce the feeling of isolation in a virtual or hybrid work environment.

In the following sections, I’ll highlight four things leaders should consider when developing and implementing an agent recognition program.

1. Create a budget

Before you can move onto the exciting part of rewarding your agents, it’s critical to carve out a budget for the program. Not only does this help you determine what caliber of awards and incentives may be available for agents, it enables you to create a timeline for how often recognitions can take place.

Beyond celebrating top agents, it’s important to allocate funds to celebrate everyone within the brokerage. A good rule of thumb is to dedicate 60 percent of the budget for the entire group and 40 percent to the superstar performers.

When creating your program budget, keep in mind all plus-up events you may want to host — such as an awards dinner or virtual event — to recap the fantastic work throughout the year. 

2. Know your audience

One of the most critical aspects of creating an agent recognition program is understanding your agents’ business motivations and how they like to be celebrated for their achievements.

Also, consider personality types when giving out these awards. Some people might prefer a one-on-one lunch to celebrate versus a large luncheon and vice versa.

Whether it’s recognizing sales milestones, excellent customer service or efforts to educate clients, create awards that reflect the key business objectives of the brokerage as a whole.

3. Choose worthy awards

As far as the tangible award goes, consider that agents are always on the move, and the days of the antiquated trophy are long gone. Make sure the awards are modern, fun and representative of the great work the agents do.

This past October, we hosted RE/MAX Torchbearers, an annual celebration highlighting our top 40 agents under the age of 40 across our three U.S. regions. In light of the pandemic, we had to pivot our initial ideas for the 2020 program to a virtual platform for the event.

Despite the changes, we were able to make the experience and awards unique to the deserving recipients. For example, to build anticipation for the virtual event, we curated locked cases packed with info about the event, Torchbearers-branded swag and thoughtful items, including branded drones to help agents capture great content for marketing their listings.

When recognizing those who have excelled, it’s sometimes OK to go above and beyond to make the celebration extra special — especially amid all the uncertainty we have experienced.

Social media is a great tool for announcing these wins within your network. Templated images are a great way to streamline the process and create continuity on your platform, but make sure to take a personalized approach with the caption to highlight why the agent was selected, instead of copying and pasting something lackluster.

Another small but important detail is having social media assets sized to each platform at the ready for the team and individual to share on their channels. Pairing a physical award with a social media spotlight for the selected agent is a great way to bridge the gap between remote, in-person and hybrid agents.

4. Set a cadence

Once you create a budget, figure out what inspires your agents, and plan how to reward their work, it’s time to create a system for the recognition program in the form of a calendar. The first step to building a recognition calendar is determining which achievements you want to highlight
.
Across the industry, there are several agent and brokerage ranking lists released throughout the year. This is a great place to start. To go beyond this, consider implementing your own ranking program — if you don’t already have one — that tracks key milestones.

These monthly, quarterly and annual recognition opportunities give agents something to look forward to regularly. Having a set cadence to recognize agents will create an easy-to-follow program for the person managing it and most importantly, it’ll ensure these special callouts don’t fall through the cracks.

Once the cadence is in place, make sure you “don’t set it and forget it.” Revisit and refresh the program on a regular basis to adjust where needed based on what’s working and what could be improved.

Great work can easily fly under the radar, especially in the hustle and bustle of real estate. That’s even more true following a year of remote work and navigating business operations during a pandemic.

Building recognition programs to properly celebrate agents is of the utmost importance for brokerages as we transition to hybrid and in-person work environments in order to retain talent and create a lasting, positive culture.

Katy Robinson, senior director of events, engagement and education for RE/MAX INTEGRA in Ashland, Massachusetts.
4 Steps to Building an Effective Agent Recognition Program
GBAR

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Check out the June edition of the MAA Insider featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

Read the June MAA Insider. 
MAA Insider - June 2021
MAA

Did you miss our May Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the June BOMA Enews.

June 2021 E-News
BOMA
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess


Here are 7 activities to help you implement a new strategy each day over the next week
 
The most successful real estate agents don’t do things exactly the same way, but top producers share a framework that allows them to grow their businesses. These seven practices will help you leverage your time to grow your business like top producers do. 

1. They grow themselves

Top producers focus daily on growing their knowledge of how to be the very best version of themselves. They constantly search for new ways to conduct business with a focus on working better and growing faster. They tend to be early adopters who identify innovative ideas and test them to see how they work. 

Agents who listen to podcasts, participate in training, read books and watch YouTube videos about best practices benefit from the wisdom and experience of other people, and top producers use those ideas to grow themselves consistently.

As things begin to reopen following COVID, real estate conferences will provide excellent opportunities to network and learn new ways to improve your business from other agents. Nothing replaces time spent with other agents who are looking for ways to grow their business. Top producers search out mastermind groups where ideas are plentiful.

Be aware, too, that accountability plays a vital part in growth, and those agents who seek mentors and coaches will likely see the best gains because they’ve surrounded themselves with people who have accomplished what they hope to do themselves.

2. They use the hot-sheet 

Top producers live by the hot-sheet, and it should be an essential part of every agent’s daily activity. Top producers notice the new listings coming on the market, and they also watch the homes that are going pending and the sales data of the homes that have closed. This data gives them the opportunity to stay on top of any trends or shifts in the market.

But the primary use of the hot-sheet is to send new listings out to prospects who are ready to buy. Top producers keep their hottest buyers informed about new properties, price changes on homes that meet their search criteria, and how recent sales might impact their home values.

Top producers who utilize the hot-sheet to provide timely details about relevant properties for their prospects build deeper relationships. It also provides the opportunity for one transaction to lead to a lifetime client.

3. They create and modify systems 

 

Time is often the most significant challenge you’ll face in your work, and the top agents constantly seek ways to systemize their activity. By creating and consistently modifying those processes, top producers make better use of their time by looking for ways to do more work with less effort.

There are countless tools available to help us streamline things like sending handwritten communications and staying in touch with your top prospects. The agents who leverage those tools will likely see growth in their businesses as a result.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the enormous amount of systems your business needs. Make a list of the tasks you repeat, and put one system per month in place. 

Maybe this month, it’s a checklist for closing out a listing. Next month, maybe you create a pre-listing packet. Perhaps the third month, you implement an automated past-client follow-up system. 
If you just focus on one system per month, you will have a more efficient business poised for more growth and less work at the end of a year.

4. They send out CMAs

Top producers send out CMAs daily to various people: past clients, listing prospects, people within their sphere of influence or people in their database. Specifically, video CMAs allow you to stay in touch with your top prospects and give them information about the value of their homes in the current market.

Each 5- to 10-minute video takes about 30 minutes to create as you walk the prospect through recent activity, comparable homes in their area, and estimated closing costs to help them truly understand the potential value of selling their homes. 

Agents who send one of these each day will stay top-of-mind for their prospects. And when those owners decide to sell, they’ll have an opportunity to list these properties.

5. They make outbound calls

Real estate revolves around conversations, so though you can use texts, emails or other forms of outreach, there must be a phone conversation before any transactions happen.

Top producers don’t wait for things to come to them. Instead, they initiate conversations with past clients, people in their sphere of influence and their current prospects. They also use techniques, such as circle prospecting, to connect with the people in the area they are farming. No matter who they call, rest assured that top producers have real estate-related conversations every day.

The lesson is that if you want to have more closings, simply have more real estate conversations.

6. They add to their databases

Your database is the lifeblood of your real estate business. Your ability to add to it and then effectively communicate with the people in it will determine your future success. 

Top producers add new people to their database daily, but having an extensive database isn’t their only focus. They also purposefully communicate with their database to build rapport with the people in it.

Top producers add people to their database through several strategies, including open house attendees, farming efforts, circle prospecting conversations, door-knocking, online lead generation, or simply meeting people in the community. No matter which strategy you use, consistently adding to databases is a daily practice for top producers.

Once you’ve added people to the list, use weekly communications to help them begin to know, like and trust you on a deeper level. The more personalized your outreach is, the more likely you are to build relationships with your database.

The key is to systemize the outreach so that you’re consistently connecting and providing value, which will lead to more business.

7. They use to-do lists

Top producers stay in charge of their day by ensuring that they engage in the right activity instead of doing things that won’t grow their businesses. 

They create to-do lists before leaving the office each day or before they go to bed each night. They wake up in the morning with a plan for how they will grow their business that day.

To grow your business, adopt the practices that top producers use to maximize their time and make the most of their efforts. This list has seven activities to make it easier for you to implement one a day over the next week into your business. By doing so, your business will look more and more like the top producers in real estate, and soon after, your results too.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.
7 Daily Habits of Top Producers That'll Bolster Your Business
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Carl Medford

Fear commonly immobilizes buyers from making the choices that will ultimately enhance their lives. Here’s how to coach your clients to succeed despite the potential risks
 
After a buyer’s agent showed one of our listings, I recently called her. It turns out the buyers loved the home and were considering writing an offer. 

“They are afraid, however, and might not actually write,” stated their agent. 

I asked the obvious question, “What kind of fear would keep them from writing an offer?” 

The response floored me. “They are concerned the price may go way over the asking price, and so they are afraid to write.” 

In my world, fear usually flows from the possibility of potential harm or damage. A valid fear might be the thought of being alone with a lion due to the chance you might end up injured or even dead. On the other hand, what possible harm could come from writing an offer that does not effectively compete with other offers?

There is no end to valid potential homebuyer fears. Some are obvious: 
• “What happens if I lose my job down the road?” 
• “What happens if one of us gets sick?” 
• “What if we discover something horrible about the home after we move in?” 
• “What if the market collapses and my home loses a significant chunk of its’ value?” 
• “What if I discover I don’t like my home or neighborhood?” 
• “What if a sexual predator moves in next door?” 
• “What if a natural disaster damages my property?” 

Like it or not, life is all about risk. Whether asking someone out on that first date, visiting a new restaurant, or investing in the stock market, there is no end of uncertainty in just about every facet of our lives. That adage is true: No risk, no reward. 

It’s the same when working with buyers, especially in a volatile market such as the one in which we find ourselves. The key is to help buyers identify valid risks and then work with them to overcome their fear by providing appropriate responses.

First, you have to figure out if the fear is valid. Although every fear has a basis of some kind, some are more valid than others. When you hear words relating to fear (“afraid,” “concerned,” “anxious,” “worried,” “trepidation,” “apprehension”), try to find out what is under the fear itself. 

Using the “fear of writing an offer” as an example, if a buyer does not think they have a reasonable opportunity to win in any given offer scenario, they might be concerned that they will be wasting the sellers’ or their agent’s time. On the other hand, if they believe they might need to offer more for a property than they can afford, that is not fear: It’s common sense. 

Rather than letting “fear” prevent your buyers from writing an offer, coach them to write one that’s within their financial parameters. If their efforts are not enough, no harm, no foul. Move on. 

Although no sellers like receiving lowball offers or those with ridiculous terms, the only bad offer is the one that does not get written. Obviously, balance and common sense are required, but never make assumptions when writing offers. The highest-priced offer is not always the winner. Cash does not always triumph. Sellers do not always pick the obvious winner. And so on. 

We encourage our buyers to ascribe to the spaghetti theory when writing offers: “If you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, something will stick.” 

Hopefully, every time you write an offer but fail to secure a contract, you are using the knowledge gained to improve your future offers. It goes without saying that if a buyer continues to lose out when submitting offers, they need to change their parameters to put themselves in a category where they are more likely to win. 

The truth is, if your buyer has valid fears about writing offers, then it’s probably best they stop viewing homes until they get their concerns resolved. If they visit a home they love, but balk at writing an offer due to fear, sit down with them before showing them another property to find out what the source of the anxiety truly is. 

Ask searching questions. Once you have uncovered the real fear under their actions, then coach them forward. Here are the top four buyer fears and how to mitigate them:

1. Fear of buying the wrong home

With the pressure generated by a critical shortage of available homes and the resultant multiple offers on anything decent, many buyers are concerned that the decisions made in such a highly competitive and emotional environment might end in buyer’s remorse. This rings especially true for first-time buyers who are at-bat for the first time. 

Although they might end up in a home that either does not meet all their stated needs or is less than they hoped for, first-time buyers need to understand that their first home is, in the majority of cases, a steppingstone to the home of their dreams. Put another way, very seldom is their first home their “forever” home. 

With this in mind, it’s more critical to get a home than to find one that checks all their boxes. Buyers who approach the current market with an immutable list will be those still sitting on the sidelines while others are moving into their new homes. 

Due diligence is in order: Do all the proper inspections, scrutinize the home, and get rational boundaries in place. For example, a family of six should not be buying a two-bedroom condo. 

When coaching, help them understand that they might need to be flexible on other parameters, such as square footage, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, local schools, and even the city. 

Coach them to realize that though criteria are important, securing a home in the current environment is essential. Even if the house is not optimal, most buyers can live in less than ideal conditions for a few years until it’s possible to move up. 

2. Fear of financial loss

Buyers already stretching to their outside limits can reasonably be expected to be concerned about financial loss. From what I have seen, the primary concern in an escalating market is the fear of a possible collapse in prices. 

“Why buy now, if my home will go down in value in the near future?” they ask. The underlying issue here is thinking of your primary home as an investment rather than a place to live. 

If you buy an investment, you want it to do well. If you are buying a roof over your head, then what happens to the value does not matter: The key is whether you can continue to make the payments. 

Those who bought homes at the top of the market back in 2005-2006 were horrified when the market subsequently collapsed, and their values plummeted. Homeowners who sat tight and continued to make their monthly payments are now sitting in homes worth more than at the previous peak. 

Real estate is cyclical, and what goes down will eventually go back up. Even if a home goes down in value after purchase, as long as the buyers keep paying the mortgage, they are still reaping the benefits of homeownership, including accompanying tax benefits. 

Coach your buyers to understand that it’s more important to focus on their ability to make a monthly payment and reap all the benefits of homeownership than to be concerned about short-term fluctuations in market values. 

3. Fear of environmental harm

Living in the San Francisco Bay area, we experience frequent comments from those across the country questioning our sanity for living in an earthquake-prone area. I have the same misgivings about those living in areas affected by potential floods, tornados, hurricanes, wildfires and the like. 

Regardless of where you live, there is the potential for harm. Ironically, a recent survey revealed that approximately only 10 percent of Californians carried earthquake insurance. 

Other forms of harm can come from various sources, whether housefires, break-ins or other uncontrollable events. Coach nervous buyers by explaining the protection options available. 

4. Fear of personal harm

Fear-raising questions that plague buyers include the potential of job loss, sickness or even death. Again, there are protections available in varying types of insurance. Coach them to weigh all their options so they understand what might be best for them. Ironically, I am amazed at the number of buyers who don’t have any personal insurance. 

Life is full of risk. Those who succeed in reaching their goals are the ones who accept that risk lines the pathway to success and choose to go up the road anyway. You might fall off the path occasionally, but in the end, the benefits of owning real estate far outweigh the risks.

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.
4 Tips for Dealing With Buyers' Fears in an Overheated Market
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: MassHousing

Do you know about MassHousing? If not, you will want to get to know this state-sponsored lender that helps low- and moderate-income first-time home buyers. MassHousing is an affiliate member of the GBAR and Natasha Boye and Angelo Nuby are frequently out in the community spreading the word about MassHousing.

Over the past year, MassHousing has provided more than $800 million in first mortgage financing for 3,000 home buyers. MassHousing has been making loans to first time buyers since the 1970s. More than 90,000 homeowners across Massachusetts have used a MassHousing loan to finance their purchase.

MassHousing has a strong and growing commitment to empowering home buyers of color and helping them achieve generational wealth through homeownership. MassHousing makes more than 30% of its loans to borrowers of color and seeks to increase that dramatically over the next five years.  

Why would a REALTOR® recommend a MassHousing loan over a conventional loan? A few reasons.  

First, MassHousing has the most generous down payment assistance of any lender in Massachusetts.  Qualified buyers can receive down payment assistance of up to 5% of the purchase price or $25,000 (whichever is less) if they purchase in Boston or one of the Gateway Cities.* For other communities, down payment assistance of up $15,000 is available. Down payment funds must be used with a MassHousing loan.

Second, MassHousing is the only lender that offers job loss protection to borrowers who become unemployed. This unique protection comes at no extra cost to borrowers who obtain MassHousing’s MIPlus ® mortgage insurance. It helps cover principal and interest payments of up to $2,000 per month for as many as six months. 

Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan, which gives the first-time buyer peace of mind. Loans are serviced by MassHousing staff, not by an anonymous, out-of-state mega-servicer. MassHousing’s public mission is sustainable home ownership for the long term, and customer service staff take time to help first-time homeowners manage their payments whenever an issue arises.

MassHousing loans are originated by dozens of mortgage lenders, banks and credit unions across the state. No doubt you already have relationships with many of these MassHousing lenders. 

Latisha Steele of Boston is a great MassHousing success story.  Latisha had looked on and off for a home of her own for five years. Now, thanks to her persistence, and help from a small but expert homebuying team and MassHousing, she's happily settled into a new townhome in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood.

"The experience was wonderful," Latisha said. "I'm so glad that MassHousing is there to help people like myself purchase a home."

Latisha purchased her home using an affordable MassHousing Mortgage. She used MassHousing's Down Payment Assistance program along with down payment assistance from the City of Boston. She closed on her home with minimal initial costs, and paid off her mortgage insurance with a single, upfront premium. Because the loan is insured by MassHousing, Latisha still gets the added peace of mind that comes with MI Plus mortgage payment protection.

Be sure to tell your first-time buyers about MassHousing loans. In today’s hot market, they need every advantage they can get. The down payment assistance and job loss protection make all the difference for buyers who feel the pressure when it comes time to make an offer. 

Since MassHousing is a mission-oriented lender who puts people before profits, REALTORS® who recommend MassHousing loans will strengthen the bonds of trust they have with their clients. And that leads to future referrals and more business. 

For more information check out www.masshousing.comFacebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or call the relationship manager team at 1-888-843-6432 or email them at homeownership@masshousng.com.

Join MassHousing for a special upcoming event:  MassHousing and Freddie Mac invite you to attend "The State of the Market in Massachusetts," a free online event being held Tuesday, June 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Click here for more information and to register.

*The Gateway Cities are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.
MassHousing Loans Are Empowering First Time Buyers, Even In Hot Market
GBAR
GBREB and MAR are urging legislators to consider a more permanent online notarization law. In 2020, in response to the pandemic, Massachusetts temporarily allowed electronic notary services. 

Under the Act the notary, the client, as well as any participating witnesses, must be physically located in Massachusetts at the time of the videoconference and must sign the documents by hand in ink.

Several states have fully authorized remote online notarization which permits notarization by video using a third-party technology platform.  Many of you may be familiar with the proposed Federal Secure Notarization law which NAR supports.

It sets the floor—not the ceiling—for use of remote online notarization and does not prevent states from passing their own laws or setting their own regulations.  If lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement on how to modernize the process before the Act expires June 15, they will likely extend it for a few months to give all the parties time to reach a compromise.

For additional information, view this article from Banker & Tradesmen

We will keep you appraised of any further developments.
 
GBREB, MAR Urge for More Permanent Online Notarization Law
GBAR

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Veronika Bondarenko

Amid President Biden's proposal to raise the long-term capital gains tax to 39.6%, luxury agents are reporting a slew of panicked questions from 'extremely motivated' sellers

While much around the proposed capital gains tax remains up in the air, its potential effect on the country’s wealthiest residents is leading to a slew of questions being thrown at luxury agents and financial advisors.

As a way of funding the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan to help families with young children struggling with poverty, President Joe Biden recently outlined the next steps toward raising income taxes from 37 to 39.6 percent for households making more than $400,000 per year, and increasing the long-term capital gains rate from the current 20 percent cap to 39.6 percent for people who make over $1 million annually.

The capital gains tax would be applied when selling assets such as real estate (and also stocks and shares) that one has held for more than a year — that said, it is causing quite a stir in affluent enclaves like the Hamptons and Malibu.

“It’s something that we talk about in every other conversation,” Noel Roberts, the head of the local Nest Seekers’ Private Client boutique practice in the Hamptons and star of Million Dollar Beach House, told Inman. “As late as last year, it became a concern for clients who had a property that they were looking to sell last year. Because it was rumored that Biden would close the 1031 loophole [a section of the IRS tax code that allows investors to swap one property for another and defer the tax], they were extremely motivated to see a sale culminate by the end of the year.”

While places like Southampton and Malibu have average household incomes of below $200,000, these places are also home to a large number of residents who have millions of dollars in assets and multiple properties that they lease out as investments. Marco Rufo, a partner with The Agency in Pacific Palisades, said that clients who will be impacted most in the short-term are those who are looking to trade or unload expensive properties soon.

“In West LA, there are a lot of people making over a million dollars right per year, so their federal taxes are going to up more than 20 percent,” Rufo said. “That’s huge and the conversation that people are having is ‘how am I going to protect myself from that?’ Accountants and financial advisors are already looking for loopholes and, unfortunately, they’re probably going to find them.”

Over the last year, luxury sales have had the opposite effect from what many predicted at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. While many thought that financial uncertainty would cause a surplus of vacation properties on the market, low mortgage rates and travel restrictions have instead skyrocketed the number of people looking to buy luxurious, amenity-heavy homes in popular vacation destinations. Across the U.S., sales of luxury homes rose 41.6 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021.

On a larger scale, both Roberts and Rufo believe that luxury sales will continue to flourish. Moving investment properties around and finding ways to minimize tax impact has always been a strategy of those who live in this type of ultra-luxury world.

But because of the uncertainty around whether the capital gains tax will come into effect or whom it will affect, Roberts said that a number of ultra-high-net-worth clients who have been sitting on properties in the hopes to see prices grow are now motivated to sell in the next few months. Some even did so before the end of 2020 in worries that certain tax changes could become retroactive.

“This is something for [luxury agents] to be thinking about throughout the rest of this year,” Roberts said, bringing up an example of a developer client who traded one ultra-luxury investment property for three commercial properties and is now wondering whether selling it outright and taking a tax hit was the way to go. “I think we’re going to see a spurt of investment activity this year from clients who want to take advantage of the 1031 [exchange] or just sell at the [current] tax rate as opposed to that future rate which is nearly double.”

These types of concerns naturally appear outrageous to people who earn average salaries. As Biden frequently says at press conferences, the proposed tax changes are an attempt to level the playing field and address the kind of extreme inequality that is often observed in the world of luxury real estate compared to the average American.

But the effect of the tax hikes is something that high-earning developers and 1-percent individuals looking to sell in the short term are thinking about seriously. As many look for ways to minimize tax impact, the luxury real estate sphere could see a number of interesting sales and wider after-shock effects in the coming months.

“Biden has been talking about it for a while, but in the last two weeks, it became much more official,” Rufo said. “Now, everyone really has their eyes open.”
Proposed Capital Gains Tax Increase Could Lead to a Rush of Luxury Sales
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess 

 
Although the real estate market is red-hot, we can improve our buyers’ odds by presenting a deal that directly helps the sellers. Addressing price, time, convenience and certainty can go a long way in positioning our buyers to win the home.
 
In a seller’s market like the one we find ourselves in, our buyer clients will likely find themselves on the losing end of a multiple-offer negotiation — unless we assist them in making their offer stand out from the crowd.

To help them avoid the disappointment of missing out on a home they love, we can use a number of different techniques to make their offer more attractive to the buyer.

In a recent discussion with Brad Nix, co-founder and chief operating officer of Path & Post Real Estate out of Woodstock, Georgia, he identified four things sellers tend to concentrate on, and by addressing one or more of those four things, we can make our buyer’s offer stand out in a crowded field.

The following is a breakdown of the four areas sellers tend to focus on, and how to write offers that are more focused on the sellers’ needs and desires, making them more attractive to the sellers.

Money

Maximizing the sales price is often the seller’s main priority. When maximizing the sales price is the sellers’ focus, don’t hold anything back.

We may only get one shot to compete for the property, so offering the buyer’s highest and best price in the initial offer is often the best option. The following are a couple strategies you can use to make sure your offer stands out to the seller focused on price.

1. Escalation clauses
Escalation clauses are a great way to be as competitive as possible with regard to price. They provide an opportunity for buyers to win in multiple-offer negotiations even if their first offer price is not the highest price received. Brokerages may have different rules about these, so check with your Broker to understand your options.

2. Appraisal gap guarantees
Appraisal gap guarantees assure the seller that if the house appraises for less than the agreed-upon price, the buyer will pay the difference between the two.

This provides the seller some assurance the deal will close even if  the home’s appraisal falls short of the contract price. The appraisal gap guarantee can make your buyer’s offer more attractive even if the competing offer has a slightly higher price.

3. Seller’s closing costs
Offer to pay some or all of the seller’s closing costs. Price is one thing, but the bottom line net to the seller is what really matters. Buyers who are willing to pay some or all of the seller’s closing costs can make themselves more competitive by directly impacting the seller’s bottom line.

Timing

Sometimes sellers have certain dates they need to close by or after to meet their circumstances. Buyers who can be flexible with their own timelines can stand out from other offers by giving the seller additional control over the closing dates.

4. Closing date window
Provide a window for the closing date, allowing the seller to set a closing date anywhere inside a three to four-week period. Sometimes cash buyers assume that a quick closing is ideal, but the sellers need more time to move out of the home.

Flexible closing dates can remove that pressure for the sellers and make a buyer’s offer more attractive.

5. Post-closing move-out date
Leave room for the seller to be out of the house after closing. We can do this by scheduling the date that the buyer will take possession of the house at some point after closing, or by allowing the seller to lease the house back from the buyer after closing for a short period of time.

If, for example, you can schedule a closing on Friday but arrange to take possession of the house on the following Monday, you’ll leave the seller space to fully vacate the property without the extra pressure of moving and closing on the same day.

Understanding the seller’s needs in regard to timing can help us sweeten our buyer’s offer by addressing the seller’s needs or desires.

Convenience

Sellers want as few hassles as possible in the closing process, so anytime we can remove the potential challenges involved in selling a home, we can position our buyer’s offer to stand out.

The time and price issues we previously mentioned will overlap here to a certain extent, so if we address those challenges, we may be addressing convenience as well.

6. As-is contract
Increase the seller’s convenience by eliminating the concern of possible repairs called for in the home inspection. Choose an as-is contract with a short cancellation period to help the buyer avoid the likelihood of extensive repairs to the property, but also give the seller some comfort that the transaction will be smooth for them.

The as-is contract assures the seller that our buyer won’t ask for any repairs to the home, which provides flexibility and convenience for the seller.

7. Seller’s own home search
Overcome the biggest objection most sellers have now which is they aren’t sure they can find another home for themselves if they sell theirs. Flip the typical contingency so that instead of protecting the buyer’s ability to sell a house, it protects the seller’s ability to find a new property within a 30 or 60-day period.

This provides the seller the confidence that they won’t be left without a home to live in because of the contract. What we often find is that as soon as the seller’s home goes under contract, they become less picky because they see the likelihood of making money on the sale of their home, so they focus on the must-haves in their own home search instead of only the like-to-haves.

Certainty

Sometimes the seller wants to have certainty that the closing will happen as the contract reads. Sellers prioritize all-cash buyers because those deals are more likely to close, which makes them more attractive to the seller.

8. Cash offer
Programs like Home Partners of America and Ribbon can help us turn our buyer’s offer into a cash offer that will help them win a multiple-offer situation. These programs will cost the buyer a little bit extra, but they provide certainty to the seller that the deal won’t fall apart because of financing.

9. Bridge loans
Bridge loans allow buyers to get a loan on the equity in their existing home which can make them like cash buyers by eliminating the uncertainty of financing.

10. Guarantee/Penalty
Offer a guarantee that if the sale doesn’t close on the set closing day then you, as the buyer’s agent, will pay a penalty to the seller. Mary Maloney, the founder and owner of Hometown Realty powered by EXP in San Diego, California, told me she provides a $5,000 guarantee that the home will close on the agreed-upon date.

She can do this because she has a great relationship with her lender, but she also said that even if she misses on one or two transactions, she’d still rather win the deal at a smaller commission than lose the deal completely.

It also provides the opportunity to get a contract for our client we may not have otherwise been able to win. We can adjust the number of this guarantee, of course, according to the home prices in our areas.

11. Approved financing
Have your client’s financing completely approved as soon as possible. If your clients are able to have complete confidence in their financing going through, then explain the risks to the buyer and consider removing the financing contingency.

Removing the financing contingency will give the seller confidence that your buyer will close as the contract states.

Beyond the offer

Everything we do related to our buyer’s offer has the potential to impact the contract, so if we get impatient with the listing agent or respond badly to something, our buyer’s chances decrease. Here are a few ways to build rapport and confidence with the listing agent.

12. Patience
Be patient with the listing agent, understanding that we’ll be on the other side of this kind of transaction at some point, and we’ll want agents to be patient with us.

When we’re on the listing side of a multiple-offer negotiation, we should make a point to personally respond to the agents who submitted offers to build goodwill. Unfortunately, someone in that group is going to get disappointing news, and empathy from us will go a long way toward building relationships and potential future negotiations.

13. Communication
Communicate to the listing agent that you will do everything in your power to create a smooth transaction if your buyer’s offer is chosen. We can help with this by asking a few agents we’ve worked as co-brokers in the past to provide a recommendation about what it was like to work with us, and we can offer to do the same for them.

Say something like this:
I would like to write a quick review of how easy it was to work with you and I’d like for you to do the same for me. This won’t be used for marketing but will only be used agent-to-agent so that when I submit an offer in multiple offer situations, I can provide feedback from other agents who have worked with me to give that listing agent comfort that I will do everything I possibly can to create a smooth transaction.

Once you have these in place, submit them in a separate letter to the listing agent during multiple-offer negotiations.

14. Letters
Ask your buyers to write a letter explaining what they love about the house. This personal touch has the ability to create a bond with the seller and make the offer stand out from the others.

This strategy is not for everyone, but I have seen offers accepted that had lower prices and less advantageous terms by sellers due to their connection with the buyer from the letter.

15. Going the extra mile
Last but not least, go the extra mile when you are the listing agent on a multi-offer property. If we provide as much information and assistance to the other agents as we can, when we find ourselves on the buyer’s side of a multiple-offer negotiation, those agents will remember the effort we made, and it can help our buyer’s offer stand out.

Although the real estate market is red-hot, we can improve our buyers’ odds by presenting a deal that directly helps the sellers. Addressing price, time, convenience and certainty can position our buyers to win the home, and building relationships with the listing agents can do the same.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.
 
Buyers In A Bidding War? 15 Tactics to Help Them Stand Out to a Seller
GBAR

The BOMA Affiliate Spotlight promotes the excellent service and valuable products of BOMA Boston's Affiliate members. 
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REFA invites you to submit nominations for the Swain Award to be presented at the 2021 REFA Gala on October 26th


The Robert S. Swain Jr. Distinguished Service Award is an annual recognition of an outstanding contribution made to the real estate industry either by lifetime example or specific achievement. 
 
This year’s Gala will be a celebration of coming together and supporting each other and our community through a challenging time.  We recognize that so many have done so much. 
 
At REFA, and through the Swain Award, we want to recognize individuals, companies or groups in the CRE industry who have made a significant impact in the last year managing through the pandemic.  This could come in the form of assisting with COVID logistics, testing and vaccine rollout, offering housing or rent relief, financial contributions, above and beyond support for employees, or anything else that merits recognition.

Submit your REFA Gala Honoree Nomination
REFA

REFA Webinar Recap

The Impact of COVID-19: One Year Later
April 29th, 2021


Presented by:

Paul Ayoub, Chair, Nutter

Leslie Cohen, Principal, COO, Head of Asset Management, Samuels & Associates

Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO, The Davis Companies

Robin Lidington, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Bank

Robert Palter, Global Co-Head, Real Estate Practice, McKinsey & Company

Navjot Singh, Managing Partner, Boston Office, McKinsey & Company

John Wolff, SVP/Real Estate Market Executive, Commercial Real Estate Banking, Bank of America

If you missed it, you can view the webinar recording here.


Top Takeaways from our Speakers:

Click here to download the printable version.

Return to Work

  • The results of “the great working from home experiment” have been better than expected. 70-90% of employees like working from home and are productive at home, despite the challenges
  • However, the reality of remote work is that it has also made us more distant and is hard on younger colleagues, who are missing out on mentorship and training opportunities.
  • Moving forward, employees want to be together, but they also want the flexibility to work remotely.
  • Much of today’s office space will be reduced or redesigned for more collaboration and to meet the needs of tenants and workers in a hybrid world.
  • The race is on to find collaboration tools and technology to support hybrid working models.
  • Companies are considering different models, such as having multiple microhubs, having employees work fully remotely and leasing flex space only, or having a partially remote workforce and multiple hubs.

Banking Industry and Labor Capacity

  • The massive scale of the federal fiscal and monetary response to the crisis has been a welcome surprise to the real estate industry.
  • The life sciences market in Cambridge and Boston has seen tremendous growth in response to the pandemic.
  • The rebound in the capital markets has been strong, which has helped the banking and real estate sectors with liquidity which has helped restore/maintain asset values.
  • The economy may not be prepared for the consumer demand that is coming as a result of vaccines, pent-up demand, accumulated savings, and rising consumer confidence. Goods shortages, capacity and labor shortages are occurring and the possibility for sustained rising inflation exists. There will be increasing competition for CRE professionals in the coming years.

Residential, Retail, and Parking

  • The residential market in Boston over the past year was negatively impacted by the pandemic and the related school closings and decrease in international travel, but the market is now showing positive signs.
  • Many restaurants and retail outfits have closed, but the relief offered to tenants last year is allowing some tenants to reopen, and we are starting to see new retail tenant deals.
  • The industry must figure out how parking will work for office tenants moving forward in the hybrid model.

Leasing

  • Panelists predicted that this year will be a challenging time for owners and operators of office real estate. Net office demand will likely continue to decline and vacancy rates will rise. This trend is jarring in light of the robust economic growth that’s being predicted, but may be the new normal, at least in the near term.
  • There was a movement pre-pandemic toward more flexible leasing arrangements, which the pandemic accelerated.
  • The bulk of leasing being transacted now is short-term renewals because tenants do not want to make long-term commitments.
  • The desire to “reimagine the workplace” will increase the cost of leases and decrease lease renewal rates.

Lasting Positives and Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Era:

  • A renewed and greater push for diversity, equity and inclusion in the commercial real estate industry. We are seeing the promise of meaningful change in this area.
  • A deeper sense of corporate responsibility. The inequality gap was vastly accelerated by the pandemic. Companies that focus on social causes, giving back to the community, and the health and well-being of their employees will have a competitive advantage going forward.
  • The pandemic has produced a shift in personal preference in behavior. Many people are choosing to retire early or wish to relocate. These are challenges for the real estate industry, but also present opportunities for the next generation.
  • Communication with employees, colleagues, tenants, and residents is essential to keeping people calm, engaged, and informed.

This update is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered as advertising.


REFA COVID-19 Webinar Takeaways
REFA

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jim Dalrymple

Today's crazy market conditions are forcing agents to have sometimes-challenging conversations about what a bubble is and what might happen in a correction

Tom Bailey became a real estate agent in 2008 — as the housing market was going from really good to really bad. It wasn’t easy.
 
“I did everything,” Bailey, a broker with Margaret Rudd & Associates in Southport, North Carolina, recently told Inman. “I was calling expired listings. Calling [for-sale-by-owner listings]. I’d get out and knock on doors.”

More than a decade later, Bailey’s then-fledgling career has survived and conditions are very different. Before, inventory was abundant. Now it’s tight. Before, many consumers had little equity in their homes. Now, most people put down 20 percent. And overall, despite ever-rising prices, most economists don’t currently think that the housing market is about to fall off a cliff.

Still, Bailey compared now to the bubble of 2008, explaining that he “started out in this business in another market similar to this one.”
The comment highlights that while the specifics today are very different than they were in 2008, other factors — work loads, stress levels, anxiety among consumers, among many other things — are, if not the same, at least similarly wild.

In that light, Inman recently spoke to over half a dozen agents who have been in the industry for more than a decade to see how this particular moment stacks up to the Great Recession.

The takeaway from these conversations is that much as in the past, surviving today requires a combination of grit, long-term thinking and extra work.

At the same time, there’s one big difference between now and the lead up to the last housing crash: Pretty much everyone is talking to each other about bubbles now, and agents are working extra hard to educate their clients about what a correction might look like.

How agents are having the "bubble talk"

One of the most noteworthy things that came up in Inman’s conversations with agents for this story was that every single one said they’ve had conversations with clients about whether or not the market is heading into a bubble. And that wasn’t generally the case for most consumers in 2006 and 2007, as the market continued climbing up and up seemingly with no stop.

Lorraine Baldwin, the designated broker at Nexus Realty in the Seattle area and a 22-year industry veteran, is among those who said her clients are bringing the topic up on their own.

“Everyone is like, ‘I want to wait for the foreclosures,'” she explained. “So I really explain the differences. You have people who have a large amount of equity in their homes now. And back then they didn’t. That’s just not the market we’re in right now. This is not the same scenario.”

Baldwin said the conversations — which also take place among the 80 other brokers she manages at her company — have become so common that she recently prepared a document to highlight the differences between the Great Recession and the present.

“It’s basically like a hypothetical scenario,” she said, noting that the document puts a home purchased over a decade ago side-by-side with one purchased today. “I explain what a balanced market is. We never had inventory levels this low, ever. So, there isn’t really anything you can go back to.”

Baldwin’s experience highlights a challenge many agents are currently facing, which is that while consumers are aware bubbles exist, they may not fully grasp the underlying economics that create them. Breaking down why some rising prices are a bubble and why some are most likely not, is consequently a task many agents are undertaking right now.

“It comes up,” Brent Robertson, a Douglas Elliman agent in the Palm Beach, Florida, area, told Inman. “Everyone wants to say it’s the next 2008, or compare it to 2008.”

Robertson said that his strategy has been to educate his clients on the causes of the last crash. He walks them through what the market was doing at that time and why the housing industry was on weak ground, then proceeds to highlight the differences between today’s market, pointing to things like inventory and rising material costs.

Most agents who spoke with Inman said they’re taking a similar approach, breaking down the differences between today and the 2008 bubble. But many also added that they’re having hard conversations about potential market corrections as well, telling their clients that today’s high appreciation rates are unlikely to last forever.

Traci Ratzlaff, for example, is an agent with Real Broker, in Hutchinson, Kansas. She said that like much of the country her area is seeing rapid price appreciation and multiple offers on most homes — things that are extremely unusual for the normally more docile local market.

And for Ratzlaff that has prompted her to proactively bring up the possibility of a bubble even when clients themselves don’t ask about it.

“I want to make sure we have that conversation,” she said. “I’d rather have it up front.”

The point in these conversations, Ratzlaff went on to explain, is to help her clients better understand how markets work. Though she, like others who spoke with Inman, doesn’t envision a sudden housing collapse on the horizon, she does explain to clients that corrections eventually happen and homeowners need to be prepared for the day when that comes. And so far, these discussions haven’t dissuaded anyone from actually buying.

“It hasn’t stopped them from making the purchase they want to make,” she said. “It hasn’t changed anyone’s mind.”

Stephanie Prisock Nix, who has been an agent since 1996 and is today with RE/MAX in the Jackson, Mississippi, area, also proactively brings up the possibility of a correction with her clients. She explains how prices do rise and fall over time, and that today’s conditions won’t last forever. For her, the conversation also typically involves investigating what a person’s long-term plans are for the property.

“I’ll ask them, ‘How long do you see yourself being in this property? Is it something you see yourself in long term?'” she said. “For those younger people who maybe want to move up in three to five years, there’s a potential there that if this is a bubble and it corrects, they could be hurt.”

Nix also specifically encourages clients not to buy at the absolutely limit of what they can afford. While these can be tough conversations to have, she sees them as important foundation-laying for future business.

“I don’t want them to come back and say, ‘You didn’t tell me this could happen,'” she said.

The agents who spoke with Inman for this story were ultimately evenly divided between those who bring up the possibility of a bubble, or at least a correction, and those who said their clients are mentioning the topic first. But either way, these conversations appear to be nearly ubiquitous right now, and they’re a big differentiating factor compared to the last housing crash.

In other words, while consumers are still apparently willing to pay top dollar for homes, both they and their agents are steeling themselves for a world that’s less certain than the one that appeared to exist in 2006 and 2007.

What agents learned from the last, craziest time in real estate

While today’s market bears little similarity to that of the Great Recession in terms of its financial underpinnings, the lived experience on the ground for some agents is not altogether dissimilar. For example, Ratzlaff — who joined the real estate industry in 2001 — recalled that during the collapse she adapted to work with short sellers, which meant “we worked 10 times as hard for that one transaction.”

“It was better than not having a transaction,” she noted.

Short selling isn’t especially common today. Homeowners typically have enough equity and enough demand from potential buyers that they don’t need to consider a short sale.

But Ratzlaff’s description of having to work significantly harder for each sale closely parallels the way numerous buyers’ agents have described today’s market. When there’s so little inventory, after all, agents spend more time with clients and have to hustle more than ever to close deals. The workload is greater.

Ratzlaff added that she also has seen at least one hint that the market may be leaning slightly back into bubble-like practices: “I heard about hard money lending for the first time last week since” the bubble in 2008.

“That triggered me,” she said. “That scared me. That gave me a sense of anxiety. It does give me a sense of anxiety about the future if that is something that is going to come back.”

Whether more bubble conditions return in any meaningful way remains to be seen. But other agents who spoke with Inman similarly said there are lessons to learn from the last, craziest time in the industry.

Andrew Oldham, a Bay Area agent who with his wife Jennifer Oldham runs the Oldham Group within Compass, has been in real estate for more than two decades and said that when the bubble popped last time, his brokerage at the time went from doing “120 deals a month to four or five.”

Like others who spoke with Inman, Oldham is having conversations about a potential correction with clients. But whatever happens he said that the takeaway from the last collapse is that it’s important to “keep your head about yourself.”

“Understand that markets shift and markets change,” he said. “What we saw in 2006 and 2007, really it was greed. That market was driven by greed and cheap money. This market is driven more by supply and demand. There’s a completely different aspect to it, but that doesn’t mean that the market isn’t going to shift.”

Which is to say, the universal truth that unites today and the past is that shifts do come, and agents have to prepare.

Other agents who weathered the last crisis offered similar advice, saying that they made it through hard times by sticking to fundamentals.

Nix, for instance, said that agents need to focus now on building relationships with clients because those relationships will be what gets them through leaner times in the future. And Baldwin said agents need to “save, save, save.”

“One of the things that I personally have learned is to save,” she said. “When you’ve got all these deals and it’s going really well — save. Because the market does change. I’m stacking my pennies right now.”
Managing Client Anxiety Amid ‘Bubble’ Talk
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

If your buyers lost out in a multiple-offer situation or you are looking for more listings, these tactics can tackle those problems while helping you build your database and positioning you as a go-to local expert
 
Circle prospecting is a proven process that can help us grow our business and find new customers. It allows us to build relationships with the people in a neighborhood by sharing information about the activity around them.

Circle prospecting helps us begin conversations that lead to relationships, and those relationships will ultimately lead to transactions.

What is circle prospecting?

Begin with a target house with some kind of activity that recently occurred or is about to happen: an upcoming open house, a recently listed house or a just-sold house. 

Years ago, circle prospecting got its name from the practice of using a map to draw a circle around the 20 homes closest to the target house and contacting those owners to let them know about the recent activity.

In today’s market, I would still begin with a target home, and from there, identify anyone interested in knowing what is happening or has happened with this house.

Consider how circle prospecting could help in these scenarios:
Your buyer lost a multiple-offer situation, which creates an opportunity to see if any other homeowners nearby would consider selling because you have a buyer interested in buying in their neighborhood.
Marketing a coming-soon listing to the nearby neighbors by providing them the opportunity to choose their next neighbor.
Just-sold listings where you can share the details of how the most recent sale in their neighborhood may have affected their home’s value.

To get started, consider the following steps needed to prepare for circle prospecting, and then we’ll review ideal scenarios that are working great right now.

Step 1: Find the homeowners’ information

The first step in circle prospecting is identifying the owners of the homes we will be calling. The local property appraiser’s website or a CRS Tax search in most MLS systems will provide the name and address of each homeowner. 
Once we have the owner’s name, then the next step is identifying the owner’s phone numbers. We can do that using apps, such as Forewarn, which is incredibly accurate, and TruthFinder and Cole Realty Resource.

Step 2: Gather sales information for the neighborhood

Prepare for the calls you’ll make by gathering data about the neighborhood. I always like to know and have the following information in front of me for reference while making calls. 
The houses in the neighborhood that have sold in the past six months
The price-per-square-foot information of the homes that have sold
Days-on-market details
General details (number of bedrooms and bathrooms) about each house
• Other houses that are currently for sale in the neighborhood
Homes currently under contract or in escrow in the neighborhood

Comparison of the neighborhood’s price-per-square-foot and days on market versus the overall market
This historical data can help us share details about what’s happening in the neighborhood and how that impacts their own homes.

Ideal scenarios for circle prospecting

Now that you know how to gather the needed contact info and details, here are a few scenarios that are ideal for circle prospecting. These are the scenarios that are yielding the highest results and creating the most opportunities right now. 

Scenario 1: Use circle prospecting when your buyers missed out on a multiple-offer negotiation

The first scenario involves calling owners who live near a house your buyers missed out on in a multiple-offer negotiation. Doing this provides an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your buyers by going the extra mile. The conversation with the buyers could go something like the following:
I know you are disappointed, and I will do everything in my power to find you the perfect home. I plan to reach out to the owners of homes near the one we missed out on immediately to see if they or someone they know in the neighborhood would consider selling.

This move shows the buyers you are willing to go the extra mile for them and provides the opportunity to deepen your relationship with them. Adversity like missing out on a multiple-offer negotiation creates a chance to build a client out of what was previously a potential customer.

It also provides an opportunity to call homeowners with ready, willing and able potential buyers for their home. These calls are purposeful and could sound something like this:

This is Sally Agent with ABC Realty, and I’m not sure if you know this, but the house a few doors down from you at 123 Live Oak came on the market two days ago, and the sellers received multiple offers. They’re under contract to sell their home, but I was working with one of the families who made an offer on the house that wasn’t accepted.They love this neighborhood, and I’m doing everything in my power to help them find the perfect home in your neighborhood, so I’m calling to see if you’ve heard of any of your neighbors who might consider selling.

Then, listen to what the homeowner has to say.

Notice I didn’t ask them if they were considering selling. If they are thinking of selling, they’ll tell you. If they aren’t, they’ll tell you, but they might ask about the home’s selling price. Explain that, though you won’t know that until closing, most homes have been selling for list price or higher, and let them know how that will impact the value of their own home.

Allow the conversation to flow naturally, but don’t hang up until you ask the most critical question.

Before we get off the phone, I’d be the worst Realtor in the world if I didn’t at least ask you: Is there a price at which you might consider selling your house?

Then,

I’d love to keep in touch and occasionally update you on what we are seeing with sales activity in the neighborhood. Would that be OK?
Great, I don’t want to bombard you with calls, so if it is OK, I prefer to keep in touch via email, and then if you see something you have questions about, you can give me a call. Is there an email address you prefer me to use when sending these updates
?

The notion that we should “always be closing” is a broken one that doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we should focus on building relationships. By introducing ourselves and providing information to people, we can start building a list of people who will turn to us when they need a real estate agent. When you are actively building relationships and having conversations, you will find listing opportunities.

Scenario 2: Use circle prospecting when listing a home

Call the owners in a neighborhood right before taking your listing live. This a great way to possibly find buyers for the listing through friends or family members of the current owners in the neighborhood. It also prompts conversations with homeowners who might be considering selling their homes as well. 

This is Sally Agent with ABC Realty, and we’re putting a home in your neighborhood on the market in the next few days. We love to let owners in the neighborhood know about these listings, so you have the opportunity to choose your neighbors if you have friends or family who might be considering buying in your great neighborhood.
If you know of anyone looking to move into your neighborhood, I’d be glad to share the information about this new listing with them, or I can give you the details, and you can pass the information on to them.

Doing this offers us a chance to add value to the homeowners in the neighborhood and position ourselves as the go-to resource for the area. It allows us to potentially own both sides of the sale if one of the homeowners knows of a potential buyer.

What’s more, it also allows us to begin a conversation with other homeowners who might be interested in knowing how this new listing will impact their home’s value. Always remember to ask the most critical question: 

In today’s market, we’ll likely see a lot of activity, and we might get multiple offers, meaning that someone will miss out on the house. I’d be the worst Realtor in the world if I didn’t at least ask you whether there’s a price at which you’d consider selling your house. 

Close the conversation the same way as well: 
I’d love to keep in touch and occasionally give you updates on what we are seeing with sales activity in the neighborhood. Would that be OK?
Great, I don’t want to bombard you with calls, so if it is OK, I prefer to keep in touch via email, and then if you see something you have questions about, you can give me a call. Is there an email address you prefer me to use when sending these updates?

Scenario 3: Use circle prospecting when a listing sells 

We can use circle prospecting to add value to the people in the neighborhood, even when the house that sells isn’t one of our listings. (Be careful not to imply that you sold the house, but use the transaction details to inform the homeowners.)

If the house is one that you sold, you’ll be able to share proof that you’re doing work in the neighborhood, but if you aren’t the listing or selling agent, you can still be the information source for the owners by reporting the sale details to them. 

This is Sally Agent with ABC Realty, and I wanted to let you know that we recently sold a house in your neighborhood (or, if not your listing or sale, let you know a home in your neighborhood was recently sold) after getting multiple offers. The sales price was pretty surprising, and it affected your home’s value. Would you like for me to share more details about this sale?

After providing details, say: 

Due to multiple offers on that home, several buyers missed out and might be willing to pay a premium for a house in your neighborhood right now, so we’re calling to see if you know of any of your neighbors who might consider selling.

Again, I do not ask them if they are considering selling as they will almost always bring it up if they are. Just as in the previous examples, end the phone call with the critical question about a price at which they might consider selling.

Building your database is critical for growth 

You will be gathering homeowners’ contact information through your circle prospecting efforts, and systematic communication to your database is a foundational strategy for business growth. Now, let’s put a plan together to add value to them in a way that generates business not only for you now but also into the future.

1. Have a consistent email going out to your entire database: Consistency is king, so whether you decide to email the database once a month or once a week, stay consistent. These should be a combination of market updates, community events, and blog posts or videos about local areas of interest. These are the brand-building emails that will keep us top-of-mind when the time comes for them to sell or buy a home.

2. Set them up on automated updates when a home, like theirs, comes on the market, goes under contract, or is sold in their neighborhood: This can be set up by most contact management programs or your local MLS. Again, consistency is vital, and automating this communication gives you the ability to reach more people with pertinent information about their homes.

3. Provide them a personalized unsolicited video CMA at least once a year: You can do this more often if they have stated they plan to sell in the next few years. Doing this involves recording your screen using a tool such as BombBomb or Zoom while going over the comparable sales and providing the homeowner with an updated estimation of their home’s value. This strategy, done consistently, will ensure that you will be top-of-mind when they get ready to sell. Click here for the full rundown of this personalized unsolicited CMA video.

Circle prospecting adds value to the homeowners in the neighborhood and helps deepen relationships with the people who live there. It initiates conversations, which develop into relationships, and which ultimately lead to your business growth.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.
Need Inventory? 3 Circle-Prospecting Strategies That Will Get You More Listings
GBAR
How You Can Thrive in This Challenging Market?

Go Back to Basics and Double Down on What Makes You Valuable

By: 2021 GBAR President Dino Confalone
Special to Banker & Tradesman (Appeared in April 19, 2021 Issue)

Anxiety. Confusion. Stress. These are just a few words that have been associated with the market buyers and sellers are entering into in the Greater Boston area now more than ever. What in the world is going on? And how can real estate professionals navigate these choppy waters? 

Several factors have created a vicious cycle of low inventory and high demand. This economic situation is one of the most challenging I've seen in my three decades in the business. The marketplace resembles a frozen tundra with flashes of fire rising into the sky. When a property hits the market, and if it’s priced right, we are seeing lines in the streets. Multiple offers are the norm and buyers are feeling the pressure. Sellers are definitely in the driver’s seat; however, they can still overprice a property. Educated buyers that have been living and breathing the market will not be fooled. 

Last year’s pandemic and charged political climate created a recurring theme of suburban homeowners hunkering down, with any plans of selling tossed out the window. Building material costs skyrocketed and getting on a general contractor’s schedule became a hot commodity. A lot of intended home improvements (prior to selling) came to a screeching halt. The eventual plan of downsizing and moving into the city took a backseat to shuffling rooms around to create multiple home offices. Our desperately needed inventory is just waiting to be unleashed. Still, we’ve turned the corner and we are seeing signs of thawing. With vaccinations increasing, optimism is abounding. 

Let’s Take It Old School 
How do professionals survive in this market? I suggest going old school. 

So, here is my Jerry Maguire letter. Yes, technology has increased productivity, educated our clients and provided a bit of social engagement. However, let’s not forget that Realtors are the ambassadors to the American dream. The discount–ification of our industry continues to rear its ugly head and we’ll always have to contend with it. But being that industry expert and trusted partner will never go away. First, be nicer to your fellow Realtors and other industry professionals. Competition gets the adrenaline running, but at the end of the day we are in this together. Clients come and go, but the Realtor in the office across the street will have a great listing in a few weeks. Do you really want to be the person known to be intentionally difficult? Did you have seven offers on that last listing? Guess what, it will not hurt you to call those seven buyer agents and let them down easy.  

A little kindness will go a long way. Return phone calls or texts. Smile – it will even make you feel better. Being a good person is infectious. I’ve personally had a seller ask me which buyer’s agent would be good to work with. 

Next, get educated. Let’s go back to broker open houses on Thursdays and Fridays – obviously adhering to the Center of Disease Control guidelines and incorporating a safety-first principle. Even if you do not have a buyer for a specific home, go and see it! Knowing your market will come back to help you when you’re on that next listing and the subject comes up. This will also provide a bit of camaraderie with your fellow Realtors. Oh, how I miss the broker caravan with sandwiches provided from your local lender. This needs to make a comeback. 

Buyer agents must also obtain their ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) designation. With the National Association of Realtors and the federal Department of Justice settlement, clarification is on the way. If you don’t know what I am talking about, that is a problem. Get engaged with your local Realtor association – that is what we are here for! 

Know Your Value 
It’s also important to understand that there is a massive attempt to discount our industry. Know how to work within this constant barrage of “technology” companies trying to get rid of us. Do not forget that a buyer or seller still wants to talk with someone that knows the ins and outs of their specific neighborhood. These companies will never take that away from us. All real estate is local and we have trusted industry professionals to get it done. We are the quarterbacks and have the plays memorized, let your clients know that. Let’s look at the long game. 

We also have to constantly address the subject of fair housing and take steps to eliminate our unintended biases. Our association has provided several opportunities to understand the various housing options, take the initiative to get educated. One exposure to a fair housing violation is the buyer “love letter.” You have to stop using them, as they are only opening you up to liability. If you want to provide a differentiating factor, talk about subjects such as their financing or not having to sell a home to buy. 
And last, but not least: Stay positive. Markets fluctuate, keep your eye on the horizon as change will inevitably come. 

As the laws of supply and demand fluctuate one thing is for sure: We’re in this together. Let’s strive to be a better industry and not get caught up in all of the drama. Fundamentals are critical, be creative and work on your database. In every industry it’s the same concept: Good customer service and providing value will lead to success and longevity. The spring market is upon us, so get out there (safely) and make some connections!  We will get through this, together. 

Dino Confalone is the 2021 president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors and a Realtor with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty. 
How You Can Thrive in This Challenging Market
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Check out the May edition of the MAA Insider featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

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MAA Insider - May 2021
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Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Lillian Dickerson

Holding an open house has always been a bit risky and has become even more so during the pandemic. To safely continue the practice, agents should keep these factors in mind
 
The practice of using an open house to market properties has been around for more than 100 years. Although they’ve changed a lot during in the last century, the general procedure during open houses has largely remained the same. Or, at least it had, until the COVID-19 pandemic threw all norms out the window.

Most open houses were put on pause at the start of the pandemic due to public health concerns, and some agents still haven’t started them up again. Even before the public health crisis, some started to question the benefits of open houses versus their potential risks, with the ability for basically anyone to come and go unvetted. Just in June of 2020, one Keller Williams real estate agent in Huddleston, Virginia, was brutally attacked at an open house, suffering skull fractures and other head injuries.

Given these potential risks, how can agents most safely approach hosting an open house? Keep the following steps in mind.

Advance prep for open houses

As you and your seller start to discuss hosting an open house, be sure to first check all current state and local COVID-19 mandates, both with your Realtors’ association and local governments, regarding permissible activities and relevant guidelines on maximum number of persons in one space, etc., to determine if an open house is possible now in your area.

Most areas are allowing open houses to be held, but there may be some restrictions.

In some states like New York and Washington, for instance, agents need to limit the number of individuals coming into a property at the same time (Washington suggests 10 people max, New York is more vague in its guidance), stagger showings, and generally avoid congregations.

In California, open houses are still banned, all home showings require an appointment, and anyone who enters the property (including, seller, buyer and agents) must complete a Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) form. Other places like North Carolina, however, currently only recommend that gatherings indoors be limited to 50 people while wearing face coverings.

Many of the major brokerages have also issued safe open house guidelines to agents, which are often a compilation of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and/or state governments, as well as brokerage-specific recommendations.

Basically all top brokerages are also continuing to remind agents of virtual open house solutions offered through partners, and providing with agents resources on how to effectively conduct those for clients, so be sure to review all of these sources from your brokerage.

Also stay up to date on what iBuyers are offering now in terms of tours, in case you have clients who go this route. Opendoor, for instance, is continuing to offer self-tours of vacant homes, and ensures that only one buyer visits a property at a time. Likewise, Offerpad still allows for self-tours of vacant homes as well, ensuring homes are sanitized and that showings are limited to one person at a time. Both iBuyers also have virtual viewing options available, too.

Once up to date on all recommendations and restrictions in your region, have a detailed discussion with your sellers about what they’re comfortable with — maybe they prefer their bedroom be sequestered off, or that there be a cap on total number of visitors. Take the time to tell them all precautions you plan to take and ask about their specific requests.

One tactic many agents have found useful to minimize contact within the home during this time is to arrive to the property early to turn on all lights and open all doors, cabinets, window coverings and related items.

“We go in, turn all the lights on, all the doors open, so no one’s really touching anything and then we wear masks. We’ve actually had a few people come in and say they’re vaccinated, so we just kind of feel how the clients coming into it are,” Greg Steward, team leader of the Greg Steward Team at RE/MAX Precision near Des Moines, told Inman.

The CDC has also said that ample ventilation can help break up concentrated particles of COVID-19 and thereby decrease a person’s risk of contracting the virus. So, try to increase air flow within the property in advance by opening windows and screen doors and turning on ceiling fans.

Gather supplies and set expectations

In all of your marketing communication for open houses, it’s important to be clear about how things will go. A lot will depend on restrictions or guidelines specific to your region, but let people know if there will be a limit on the number of people in the house at a time; if you expect them to wear face coverings, gloves and/or booties; how waiting and lines will be arranged; etc.

Tiffany Hahne, an agent at Savvy + Co. in Charlotte, told Inman that her brokerage also puts an explanatory sign outside of homes during open houses stating that the number of entrants will be limited, so that people know what to expect.

“It just basically says, ‘Welcome to our open houses. Per the CDC guidelines, we’re limiting the number of individuals.’ We used to have a number on there — we don’t have a number on there anymore because it’s constantly changing.”

Hand sanitizer has become a staple for most people today, but be sure to have some available in different, accessible areas of the house you’re showing. “I look to put it in the very front of the home when you enter, if there’s a place to do it, and then I like to have another one in the area where there’s brochures and sign-in sheets and that sort of thing,” Hahne said.

Hahne brings a big plastic baggie of pens for people to use to sign in to the open house on a sign-in sheet. Then, she brings an empty baggie for dirty pens and labels it, so no one is using the same pen.

It’s also a good idea to be armed with extra face masks that you can place near the entrance of the home, especially in the case of passersby who just want to pop in but didn’t bring a mask on their walk. Depending on your seller’s wishes, you might also opt to bring a box of gloves and foot coverings to the property for visitors to wear inside.

Best practices during open houses


Agents need to be ready to hit the ground running when hosting open houses during this hot market. Having a partner to help co-host will help keep crowds in check and ensure that everyone is following the proper safety protocols.

But, COVID-19 issues aside, having another member of your team help you is smart in terms of any crime or other safety concerns that sometimes come with hosting open houses. Choose caution, and remember there’s safety in numbers.

A few agents Inman spoke with mentioned that they like to keep one person at or outside of the entrance to the property to direct traffic flow. Others said they’ve been locking the front door to the home and letting people in as space is available.

“[My assistant is] slowing down the flow of people going in and out. They make sure they’re not all over each other,” Jason Soto, a broker at Spyglass Realty in Austin, told Inman. (Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently lifted the state’s mask mandate. Private businesses may still require patrons to wear masks, however.) “[We’re] kind of staging everybody outside and letting them in at a controlled pace.”

As guests enter the property, per recommendations from NAR, have them record their names on a sign-in sheet and their contact information to enable contact tracing in the event that you later learn that someone who was positive for COVID-19 visited the property.

It’s also a good idea to ask people how they’re feeling as they approach the house, and if they’re exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. It is completely acceptable to ask people to leave if they appear visibly ill, for everyone’s safety.

Unless you require visitors to wear gloves inside the property, it’s best to ask them to not touch anything. Bring a pair of gloves for yourself, if nothing else, so that you can turn on faucets or other similar items if someone wants to see how well the plumbing functions.

If traffic really starts mounting as it has for some of Hahne’s open houses recently (sometimes up to about 70 people within two hours), she also likes to greet parties as they come onto the property, explain to them how long they may have to wait to get inside, and encourage them to explore the backyard or other areas of the property outside of the home while they wait to be let inside.

Agents should also be prepared to question parties of more than two that show up to an open house. At this point, it’s still safest for everyone if no more than the necessary number of people come into contact with one another indoors.

NAR recommends agents limit the number of people in an open house at one time to 10 persons, per CDC recommendations. However, NAR also suggests agents consider conducting showings by appointment instead of holding open houses.

“When I’m out with clients showing them homes, I encourage them to leave all non-decision makers at home,” Holly Connaker, an agent with the Steadman Team at Coldwell Banker, told Inman. “If you’re not a decision maker, you really should not be going into a property and looking at it.”

What to clean and how often

The CDC recently updated its guidelines for how frequently and thoroughly surfaces need to be disinfected, given what the agency has learned about the virus and its transmission over the last year.

Under the new guidelines, the CDC says that merely cleaning surface areas, rather than disinfecting them (this involves using stronger cleaning agents that typically must sit on a surface for a specified amount of time, or using Clorox or Lysol wipes), will be sufficient to help prevent spread of the virus in most cases.

Generally, the CDC says that the risk of individuals contracting the virus from touching a surface is low. Therefore, if individuals regularly wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer, and use masks in a shared space, they can greatly reduce their risk of infection.

The exceptions to this are if a sick individual has been in a space within the last 24 hours, if there are high transmission rates of COVID-19 within your community, people not wearing masks have been in the space within 24 hours, and individuals who have poor or infrequent hand hygiene have been in the space within 24 hours.

Assessing these risk factors in your specific situation can, therefore, help determine how much cleaning or disinfecting needs to be done before or after an open house.

If your sellers have only been out of the house for a few hours before your open house is about to start, you should probably do a quick wipe down of any high-touch surfaces (door knobs,light switches, counters, handles, stair rails, faucets, sinks, etc.) with a Clorox or similar wipe just to be extra cautious in case visitors touch anything.

When the open house has ended, cleaning any and all high-touch surfaces with a sanitizing wipe again is a nice courtesy to the seller, and recommended by NAR. The CDC notes that cleaning high-touch surfaces once a day should be sufficient to remove virus that may be on surfaces.

However, if there’s reason to believe that children or “others who may not consistently wear masks, wash hands, or cover coughs and sneezes” have been circulating in the space during the open house, you should disinfect those high-touch surfaces afterwards, according to CDC guidance.

Reference the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) List N, which details different products that serve as disinfectants for COVID-19. (Remember to read all product instructions, as some need to sit on a surface area for several minutes in order to fully disinfect an area.)

Also, don’t forget to give the key and lockbox a wipe with a sanitizing product as you leave the house.

Of course, for a busy agent who anticipates a lot of traffic at these events and has the budget for it, it may be worth it to hire a cleaning service to come through a home after an open house and be sure to tackle all those high-contact areas. It could potentially save you time, and may give the seller some extra peace of mind.

Be aware of the risks in your area

A lot of the guidance outlined in this handbook thus far has been contingent upon the circumstances in any one agent’s specific location. More than one year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the situation continues to vary widely from state to state, and sometimes even city to city. And things could continue to change swiftly in upcoming months.

So, it’s as important now as ever that agents stay up to date on local government and Realtors association guidance and regulations. Additionally, stay abreast of what COVID-19 case rates are in your city and state — as well as the presence of COVID-19 variants, which vaccines have varying effectiveness on — so that you can better assess how risky an open house is in your area.

On the crime and safety side of things, stay on top of local news and updates from your Realtors association so that you’re aware if there’s an incident at an open house in your market. Stay connected with other agents in your area as well so that you can be on guard if there are any strange happenings in the neighborhood.

Make the seller’s experience a good one

The emphasis on this year’s market so far has been how tough buyers have it, duking it out among other buyers, scrambling just to get a sliver of the pie. But don’t forget that this time is stressful for sellers, too.

Continue to reassure sellers and take all the precautions they ask for. It can still feel like a big step for some people to spend an extended amount of time outside of their home right now. Connaker takes time to have those discussions with her sellers and tries to set them up for a positive experience that will hopefully have a rewarding outcome.

“A lot of times what I’m suggesting is that we have an open house on the weekend and that they head out of town for the weekend so they’re not in the house. That way it allows us to do the open houses, do the showings [and] they don’t have to be in and out of the house worrying about that,” she said. “We’re typically getting multiple offers before the end of the weekend, and then they can come home and life is kind of back to normal.”

At this point into the pandemic, sellers’ comfort level with holding open houses can run the gamut, so just continue to have those conversations with them and meet them wherever they’re at.

“I think that a lot of the [question of holding an] open house just comes down to the style of the agent and the needs and wants of the seller,” Hahne said. “Some sellers are like, ‘Bring on the people, I want all the offers,’ and other people are like, ‘I don’t want people in my house. I’ll take sight unseen because I would rather not have people in my space.'”

Tech alternatives

The pandemic forced many agents to become at least acquainted with, if not downright savvy, at holding virtual home tours or providing 3D walkthroughs for buyers. Even as people become more comfortable doing in-person activities, virtual tour solutions continue to be a great way to access homebuyers and draw them into a property.

Many brokerages also partner with virtual tour providers like BoxBrownie, Matterport or RICOH Tours, and have training resources for agents with tips for how to make a virtual tour shine.

Property showing apps like ShowingTime and up-and-coming Instashowing also make virtual showing solutions simple for agents.

If nothing else, it’s pretty easy for an agent to just use their smartphone to stream a walkthrough of a property using options like Facebook Live or Periscope. Video tours aren’t at risk of going out of style anytime soon, and the convenience factor they provide buyers make it worthwhile to provide them for any listing.

Even a brief window of time for a virtual showing can be worth it. “I FaceTime with clients, and we also have an app through our showing program called ShowingTime and that allows us to do a virtual showing as well,” Connaker told Inman. “I’ve done some virtual showings, I’ve done virtual open houses, where I have it open for like a 30-minute period where people can kind of tune in.”

Virtual staging solutions have also become more robust over the last year. For a vacant home, virtual staging can really help make a property pop out to buyers. And it’s often more cost-effective than other staging options. Padstyler, VHT Studios and BoxBrownie are just a few solutions recently recommended on Inman by Megan Eskey, founder and CEO of real estate digital marketing company Reloquence.

Ask Yourself: Is an Open House Worth It?

Agents that Inman spoke with for this story were split as far as whether or not they were opting to hold open houses during this time. For many, the combined safety factors surrounding the pandemic, as well as the rapid-fire pace of the market, made open houses pretty unnecessary right now.

“Between the COVID issue [and the fact that] our market is so hot, anybody interested comes roaring in the first day it comes on the market,” John Farrell, associate broker at Exit Realty Homeward Bound near Binghamton, New York, told Inman.

In Detroit, Ta’Nia Thomas, broker and team leader of Trinity Realty at Keller Williams, said that just by pre-marketing her “Coming Soon” status listings, properties were flying off the market.

“The market is so hot right now we just do a lot of pre-marketing so that we don’t have to do open houses,” Thomas said. “Instead of having multiple people in at one time, we just elected to stop doing open houses during the pandemic.”

Soto said that if he doesn’t do open houses on the first or second day of the listing, “there’s not really a need to do it” because homes are getting offers so quickly in Austin.

Farrell, who has been in the industry for nearly 40 years, said that prior to the current hot market, he hosted open houses regularly, even though he was very much aware that data has shown that open houses alone don’t often result in a sale.

A report released in 2019 by NAR showed that just 4 percent of homebuyers visited open houses as their first step in the homebuying process. Furthermore, only 14 percent of buyers frequently used open houses as a source of information.

“It’s typically been for the agent’s benefit more than the seller’s benefit,” Farrell said. “Two years ago, we as a company, we would do like 25 open houses a Sunday because it gives the agents something to do. But nowadays, between the video tours and the intensity of the market, what’s the point?”

Hahne also said she felt that open houses benefit agents in many ways, aside from just marketing a property for one particular client.

“I do think they’re very beneficial for a lot of reasons — being out and about and talking to people, and staying up to date on the things they’re interested in. Because things change as the world changes, and different neighborhoods have different clientele and they want to know different things. I just think it’s smart to get out there and be in front of people, be in front of buyers.”

“But I would say, particularly right now with inventory being so low, sometimes open houses are the only opportunities that buyers have to come see the home because all the showing times are booked,” she added.

How to Safely Handle an Open House
GBAR
Many materials and products in the home can be harmful to your health and our environment. Household hazardous waste can be generated during cleanouts, general upkeep and cleaning of your home, and during renovations. It is important to note that items such as fluorescent bulbs, thermostats, thermometers, and certain antique items may contain mercury, a toxic element that can lead to expensive environmental and health issues, if spilled. These items are an example of universal waste. Household cleaners, pesticides, and paints such as oil-based paints, paint thinners, and used motor oil, are classified as hazardous waste and also should never go into the trash. Many communities have universal waste collection at their drop off centers and/or hold hazardous waste collection days for residents to bring these items for proper disposal. Please check with your city or town to find out when upcoming days are scheduled. 

When spring cleaning, don’t forget your good recycling habits.  If you have questions about what is recyclable in Massachusetts, check out MassDEP’s RecycleSmart, Recyclopedia. Did you know that plastic bags and other tanglers are the biggest problems in our recycling stream?

The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) is partnered with Covanta to keep mercury and other difficult to manage items out of the waste stream.  CET is an environmental nonprofit that helps businesses and people save energy and reduce waste.  Covanta’s Energy-From-Waste facilities in Rochester and Haverhill generate enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes with clean renewable energy.  
 
Spring Cleaning: A Reminder About Household Hazardous Waste
GBAR

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