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Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Santiago Arana

Being a leader means not only being on top of your game, but also being in touch with the needs of your agents

Great leadership goes far beyond winning awards and hitting sales goals. From being transparent about your challenges to creating an environment of open communication, here are five ways to be a better leader for your agents.

Be a good listener

Listening is a powerful tool. Not only does it broaden your perspective, but it demonstrates that you have respect and regard for your team and colleagues, which helps build trust and rapport.

In an environment where listening is valued and voices are honored, your talented team will feel more comfortable bringing their ideas to you — and collaboration breeds success for everyone. I have also found that when you are a good listener, people will tend to listen more carefully to you, as well.

Lead by example

This is a tenet I am passionate about. In its most simple definition, leading by example means being a person of your word and modeling the behavior you want to see in your team members. You cannot say one thing and behave another way; that kind of behavior from a leader ruins your credibility and puts team members’ trust and respect in you in question.

For example, I often share the story of how I got started in real estate — how I came to the U.S. with $120 in my pocket and had to hustle. I bused tables while I earned my real estate license, then started hitting the pavement, knocking on doors every weekend and introducing myself to potential clients.

I sat at open houses — at listings that weren’t even mine — in an effort to generate my own database of clients. It took me seven or eight years until I started achieving success. My experience was not easy, and I often had to pick myself up and push to get through the next day.

As a leader, I reflect back on those times frequently, especially when I speak to my team members about perseverance and resilience. Using my own experience, I can encourage and guide authentically and empathetically.

Make time to connect

When you are in a leadership position, you often take on more responsibility, which means your schedule fills up — making it more challenging to find time for meaningful one-on-one conversations with new agents who could benefit from direct mentorship.

I remember how overwhelming it felt to be a new agent, and having a go-to expert source when issues arise helps immensely when it comes to navigating the buying and selling process.

Ideally, you will be able to find windows of time to connect, even if it’s brief. I make calls while I’m en route to a listing or meeting and share and receive voice memos throughout the day as I’m available. But if you’re feeling pressed for time and still want to provide some in-person support, make an introduction to a trusted, fellow professional who you feel could be helpful — and more readily available!

Alternatively, you can encourage new agents to find a coach who can walk them through certain sticking points — tap your contacts and make recommendations and introductions for this as well.

Never stop learning and sharing

This connects to “leading by example”— it’s important to model behaviors you want to instill in your colleagues and team members. Demonstrate your lifelong quest for knowledge, be sure to share great articles, book recommendations, podcasts and more at sales meetings or via email so newer agents can have got-to resources when they are ready to feel inspired, learn more or upskill.

Share what inspires and uplifts you

Life presents us with many challenges, and I truly feel that a good leader must be transparent about facing bumps in the road and share tools that help others shift gears and move past challenges.

Equally important is sharing what inspires you; what ignites your mind and soul. These can be simple things — a TedTalk, a TV show, a meditation practice, a song, a particular part of the beach or a certain hike. You never know if something that has resonated with you will speak to someone else who is looking for guidance.

As a huge mental health advocate, I also believe having strong mental fitness is essential. As a person in a leadership position with an elevated profile and platform, I readily embrace the opportunity to share what has worked for me. You can read about my five favorite mental health apps here.

Reframe and repeat: Choose to see challenges as opportunities

While I am not in favor of “toxic positivity” — a tactic that glosses over and doesn’t fully acknowledge a tough situation — I do feel leaders can cultivate in their teams an approach to setbacks that allows opportunities to grow, stretch and learn. It’s about acknowledging challenges, but not being leveled by them. Work to find the lesson in a setback.

I firmly believe that you can only see the light in the darkest moment. If everything is bright and you have all these good things happening, you might not make the right decisions. When it’s dark, that’s the only time where you can actually differentiate where the light is, and those are very life-changing moments.

Reframe and Repeat: 5 Ways to Be A Better Leader For Your Agents
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

What do you think is possible in your real estate business? Whatever you just thought, you're thinking too small.

Millions of readers have improved their lives and businesses by practicing the principles presented in the book The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J. Schwartz. The useful methods and mindsets in this classic self-improvement book are perfectly aligned with the traits top producing agents possess.

The following are seven principles found in the book that can lead to a fundamental change in the trajectory of growth for your business.

Believe you can succeed, and you will

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right,” Henry Ford famously said.

Belief, or lack thereof, drives action. Do you believe you can generate listings in this market? Do you believe you can generate buyer leads, effectively farm a neighborhood for listings, or add value to people in a way that generates referrals?

Early in my career I used two strategies to develop or increase my belief in what is possible for my real estate business.

The first way to increase belief is to spend time with people who have already accomplished what you wish to accomplish. Seeing truly is believing. Exposure to people who have done what you want to do is proof of what is possible and that proof leads to belief.

The second way to increase belief is to read books or articles, listen to podcast interviews, or watch video interviews with people who have done what you wish to do. Even though you may not meet them in person, their stories can inspire you to believe in the possibilities you have.

If you believe it is possible, you can achieve it!

Cure ‘excusitis’

Making excuses is what unsuccessful agents do. They say things like, “I don’t have the broker support I need to succeed,” or “I’m not good on video.” They make excuses for why they can’t achieve their goals instead of looking for ways to get better.

Successful real estate agents don’t make excuses, they take action. They find ways to learn the skills they need to succeed and when they encounter setbacks, they search for solutions.

Resistance and obstacles are a part of our business that every agent faces. How will you decide to handle them when you face them in your business?

When you stop making excuses and start taking action, big results follow.

Create an environment of thinking big

What is your ideal environment for thinking big? Is it a quiet time early in the morning? Is it surrounding yourself with big thinkers and positive people? Is it accountability from a mentor or coach? Everyone is different, but the environment you create around you is the soil that will either hinder or enhance your growth.

For me, I thrive in an office around other growth-focused agents. I spend time listening to inspiring stories from people who achieved greatness in their field of choice. I try to carve out time every week at one of our local beaches to be quiet and recalibrate my mind to a positive environment. Whatever it is for you, make sure you spend time in an environment that inspires you and around people who inspire you.

When you create an environment where big thinking can develop, your horizons of possibility expand.

Find good in others

Do you look for and expect the best in others? It can be difficult when you encounter less than professional agents or your client’s expectations are unreasonable. But you must become a “good finder” in others. To be the best realtor you can be, you must think and search for the best in others.

A large part of thinking big is not allowing negativity to hinder the size of your thinking. When we believe the best in others, we believe and see the best in ourselves.

Invest in your thinking

Investments can come in the form of your finances or your time. Are you investing money in coaching, training, or new skills? Are you investing your time in the pursuit of broadening your knowledge about this business?

Thinking bigger doesn’t just happen. It is a pursuit that includes a commitment. When you are committed and absolute in your pursuit of something, you invest in it. A famous quote says, where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.

When you invest your time and money in your thinking, the return on your investment is immeasurable.

Use small goals for momentum

Momentum is a powerful, unforeseen force. Once it begins, it gains strength with every win. The key to gaining momentum is to set yourself up for small wins.

Develop small goals like having five real estate-related conversations by 10 a.m. or emailing properties that meet their search criteria to four prospective buyers by 9 a.m. each morning. Maybe yours could be writing one handwritten thank you note before 9 a.m. or calling one past client by 10 a.m.

What are some goals you could set each morning to give you a small win and build momentum? Whatever they are, set yourself up for success with small goals to build your positive momentum.

Think bigger

What do you think is possible in your real estate business? Whatever you just thought, you’re thinking too small. You’ve been drawn to this business with a certain level of experiences and drive that give you a solid foundation on which to build. You’ve developed a certain level of skill that will continue to grow and expand what is possible for you. You are in this business at the very moment you are supposed to be in this business.

Think bigger. Believe for more. Take more action. Trust the process. Be patient and watch what happens. When your thinking is bigger, your results will grow as well.

Jimmy Burgess is the chief growth officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in northwest Florida.

The Magic of Thinking Big: 7 Essentials for Agents
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Marian McPherson

Four real estate dynamos share eight things real estate agents must do to effectively advocate for their clients, improve their skills, safeguard their finances and build a business that stands the test of time:

The real estate market has been on an incredible run for the past two years with real estate agents handily breaking their previous sales records. However, the market has begun to shift as rising mortgage rates, unhinged home price growth, rock bottom inventory and worries about an impending economic downturn cut at homebuyer sentiment and threatens market activity.

Despite these potential downshifts on the horizon, RE/MAX Victory + Affiliates Vice President Donna Deaton, The My Southern View Team broker-owner Alyssa Hellman,  Keller Williams Lucido Agency CEO and President Bob Lucido, and Chicago Properties Firm broker-owner Sam Shaffer said it’s possible to continue fueling success — but only if you’re willing to tune up your sales skills and tactics, business planning and development, finances and personal life to expertly navigate the twists and turns of the market.

First gear: Have an intimate understanding of trends in your market

As the market continues its extraordinary hot streak,  top-producing agents said the first step to success is to make sure you have an intimate understanding of your market with multiple sources and data points to provide a full picture of what is — or isn’t — happening.
For example, Shaffer said real-time data is crucial in helping his buyers understand Chicago’s unique market that ebbs and flows contrary to most narratives about seasonality.

“One trend that’s happened year after year is that a lot of people don’t recognize things really slow down in the summer,” Shaffer said. “People have already established their living situations, they’ve renewed leases, and they’re into their new homes for the school year.”
“Summer in Chicago is just a magical time where the weather’s nice, people are going away to lake homes, friends are getting married, we have holidays, so all of a sudden, all these weekends are starting to get filled up and people aren’t spending as much time focusing on their home search,” he said.

“So if someone asked me when the best time to buy, I wouldn’t have the typical response. Someone that’s looking to be opportunistic, summer — not the fall or winter — could be the time for them.”

Although Shaffer uses data to help buyers identify opportunities, Deaton said she uses her data stockpile to help her sellers understand the slight shift in the market sentiment that’s pushed buyers to back away from making exorbitant bids. As sellers continue to rachet up their listing prices, she said it’s increasingly important to explain not only price trends, but other terms that made deals happen.

“Who can blame a seller for not wanting to get as much as they can our house? No one can,” she said. “I went on a listing appointment last week and the seller’s expectations were, ‘Well, that house around the corner brought in $100,000 more than what you’re telling me I should list at.”

“I said, ‘Yeah, it did. But here are the terms of that house, someone brought cash and an appraisal wasn’t an issue,'” she added. “You have to really give them all the information —  you can’t just go in and say, ‘Well, your neighbor’s house sold for this much more than what yours seems to be valued at.'”

Hellman said detailed market research can make or break a deal, so that’s why she goes the extra mile to check in with fellow agents to get additional details on what’s happening in specific pockets of her market, learn what offer terms have been winning over sellers, and suss out other factors that can’t be packaged neatly into a report or spreadsheet.

“I connect with a lot of agents in terms of, ‘So what have you been seeing? Just to make sure that it’s still what I’m seeing as well?'” she said. “I think especially in our market, there’s kind of these little pockets that might be slightly more competitive or slightly less competitive than the market as a whole. So I’m kind of one always looking to identify where are those pockets.”

“One of the things that that we don’t oftentimes see — unless we’re receiving the offer — is where did everybody come in on due diligence, earnest money, or things like that,” she said. “Agents can’t really share that, but they can say, ‘Hey, I submitted an offer a few weeks ago with $10,000 in due diligence and I wasn’t even near the top.’ Those little kinds of insights that you can get can help you ballpark where you and your clients need to be in the market.”

Second Gear: Strengthen your relationships with agents and clients

After establishing baseline trust through showcasing your market expertise, Shaffer, Deaton, and Hellman said agents must put the pedal down on the basics of relationship building with clients and fellow agents. All three brokers said the volatility of the current market alongside worries of an impending housing bubble means there needs to be more hand-holding than they’re probably used to.

“It’s tough,” Deaton said. “We have to be a cheerleader and they can’t see that we’re stressing because we have to be there for them, we have to show them empathy and we have to communicate every single day — no excuses.”

Deaton said communication can include text messages, social media check-ins with past clients and other sorts of correspondence, such as emailed newsletters or handwritten cards. But in this market, she said nothing beats a phone call. “There are so many agents who have given up picking up the phone and calling someone — they either want a text or email,” she said. “But you’ve really got to make that personal connection.”

In addition to building strong ties with clients, Deaton said it’s equally important to build robust relationships with agents inside and outside of your brokerage. Strong agent relationships, she said, are invaluable in an uber-competitive and oversaturated market where agents are scrapping for the same clients.

“I tell agents all the time, ‘You may not like the way this deal is going, but we also have to remember that listing agent is overwhelmed as well and they’re just as stressed as we are, you know, on their side,'” she said. “So you do have to build that relationship and if [the transaction] doesn’t go well, then you send them like Starbucks card at the end of the thing and say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, it didn’t work out. Have a cup of coffee on me,’ or something like that.”

“It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way,” she added. “You don’t want to be known as an agent that’s difficult to work with.”

Hellman and Shaffer said tending to client and agent relationships helps build one of the most crucial business streams in today’s market: referrals.

“I would say probably about 85 to 90 percent of [me and my wife’s] business is referral base, and we’ve always spent a lot of time pouring into our past clients and pouring into our network of people that we know around town,” she said. “We’ve doubled down on [pouring into our network] because our goal is always if somebody’s thinking about real estate, we want to be right on the tip of their tongue.”

As they’re building relationships and their referral pipeline, Shaffer said agents have to remember the impact won’t likely be felt immediately. However, if they stay committed to the basics of excellent service, it will pay off in the long run.

“This is not a sprint, this is a marathon. There’s no magic pill to all of a sudden put you at the top; it’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s grinding every day, it’s communicating with your current database, it’s being as proactive as possible with your current clients and it’s really doing an incredible job for each and every client you work with.”

“It’s with the understanding that you’re not going to get rich from one client, but you’re going to build a business by treating each client with the best possible service, and then in exchange, you can build your referral base on how you’re currently taking care of the client in front of you,” he added. “For me, personally, I will not ask for a referral until I deliver.”

Speedbump: Manage buyer and seller expectations ASAP

In the process of building a solid relationship with clients, managing buyer and seller expectations can prove to be a major speedbump that leads to major client disappointment and dissatisfaction, and potentially lost business if they decide to find representation elsewhere or dissuade others from using your services.

Although agents can’t totally control a buyer or seller’s decisions, Shaffer and others said they can do clients the favor of being upfront and honest from the get-go about where the market is and how it can impact their real estate goals. For buyers, Shaffer said conversations are centered around maximizing opportunities and being fully prepared to strike when the iron is hot.

“What’s happening now in 2022 is a level of entitlement and almost arrogance from sellers or maybe listing agents to where they’re the best game in town. They’re really getting as much money for the homes as possible,” he said. “Buyers are in a tough spot where they’re overpaying potentially, and they are waiving certain contingencies.”

“[When managing buyer expectations], it’s really letting them know they have to have all their ducks in a row — they have to be pre-approved, they also have to be willing to be fast, quick and nimble because when a house gets listed, they have multiple bids in the first day,” he said. “The seller will call for highest and best with a short turnaround time, so really, for my buyers, I want them to know they must have a sense of urgency.”

In addition to explaining offer timelines, Deaton said buyers must understand how bidding wars will skew their initial budget downward to account for the extra money they may need to offer sellers.

“It is tricky right now,” she said. “We have to really let them know how the market is upfront and that we’re gonna have to come in strong. If you’re only pre-approved for $200,000 we’re going have to start about $160,000, and that kind of hurts their expectations a little bit, but that’s the market.”

Hellman said she always uses data to lead into touchy conversations with buyers and sellers since focusing on the numbers helps clients flip the switch from their emotions to the simple facts of the market.

“A big thing that I’ve been trying to do, at least with inventory, is setting those expectations early on,” she said. “I try to use that very unsexy, boring data that a lot of the time is sort of a snooze fest for folks. But it’s necessary to really show them what’s going on.”

“I’ll oftentimes pull out the market stats from now in comparison to where were we at this time last year or even the year prior because I think that really helps build that context for folks who are not dealing in this every day,” she added. “I mean, I even find those numbers amazing. We’re not truly seeing how much [the market has] changed in the last year or even two.”

Finally, Lucido said successfully setting client expectations also includes the ability to find out exactly what buyers and sellers value and putting some “skin” into the transaction so they know you’re equally invested in their success.

“I’m going to share something with you that will make a big difference: Anybody can sell a house. When I go on a listing. I tell people you can hire a discount broker and you can save commissions. But do you want a discounted commission? Or do you want to walk away with more money, what’s more important to you?” he said. “So what I do is I sell the end result — I sell the net.”

“My value proposition is you are going to make more money and I’ll even put a guarantee on it,” he said. “I just did one recently, I said, ‘If I don’t sell for $100,000 or above, my commission will only be ‘x.'” [Clients] like people who have skin in the game.”

Third Gear: Drum up inventory with some strategic real estate matchmaking

As the inventory shortage continues to worsen, Shaffer, Deaton, Hellman and Lucido said real estate agents have to sharpen their strategy skills and dig into their bag of tricks to create inventory opportunities for their clients. For Shaffer, having access to off-market and coming soon listings have been a godsend for his buyers.

“I’m constantly checking every resource possible to find a good match for my client. I have access to off-market and coming soon listings so a lot of times its kind of looking under the hood, so to speak, to find some of those not so readily available homes that might be a good fit for our clients,” he said.

Shaffer also said he’s subscribed to several platforms geared toward providing market insights for top-producing agents, which have also been helpful in his hunt for inventory. “There’s a publication that is for the top 10 percent brokers in Chicago that I’m a part of [and] I partnered with another company called Zen List, which is a feed for off-market and coming soon homes as well,” he said. “There’s a lot of different vehicles that I’m using to kind of be creative and resourceful for my clients.”

Meanwhile, Deaton is utilizing a more cost-effective platform to drum up inventory: Facebook groups.

“I get a ton of business from Facebook and it is kind of crazy,” she said. “The Facebook yard sale [groups] seems to be where I get the majority of people reaching out to me and it’s usually because I’m begging for someone to let me know if they’re going to sell because I have a buyer that I need to get a home.”

“Or I’ll place my listing on there and it generates a ton of buzz,” she added. “But you know, I think it’s just because it’s my generation. That’s where all the baby boomers are.”

In addition to accessing off-market listings, dipping back into their databases to find sellers — “I have a shared spreadsheet with my wife to match potential buyers and sellers,” Hellman said — Lucido said open houses are an inventory goldmine.

“The number one way to create inventory is having a strategy to conduct your open house,” he said.

Take the exit: Don’t forget about open houses

Open houses took a backseat for most of the pandemic due to social distancing guidelines and some sellers’ fears about having scores of people in their homes. However, open houses have come back with a vengeance this spring with several of them capturing social media headlines for miles-long lines of buyers.

To make an open house a listing goldmine, Lucido said agents must engage in some old-school, door-to-door advertising before and after the open house that he calls “circle prospecting.”

“Just don’t sit there,” he said. “Knock on doors before the open house and after the open house. After you’ve sold the house, circle the neighborhood again. Tell people you got 10 offers, got nine people lost out and you need more houses in the neighborhood. Do you know anybody in this neighborhood who would like to get an extraordinary price for their home right now?”

Lucido suggests door knocking at the ten homes to the left, right, front and back of your listing since they’ve most likely been keeping an eye on the progress of the sale. “There’s got to be more hand-to-hand combat, you’re not going to conduct sales sitting in front of a computer,” he said of the method.

Shaffer said his open house protocol hasn’t changed too much from pre-pandemic and his main goal is to set the tone for buyers, who might become future clients even if they don’t make an offer on the listing he’s showing. “It’s back to basics with running open houses,” he said. “I think it’s really important is to start marketing and promoting the open house as much time in advance as possible. I like to list the home on Monday or Tuesday and when I list the property, I also will plan for an open house for that weekend.”

“It’s been really helpful to get as much traffic as possible with giving everyone enough leeway heading into the weekend,” he added. “What’s really important too is a fact sheet that spells out all the specifics of the home — the ages of mechanical appliances, neighborhood information, association information, improvements that have been done, assessments are broken down, parking, etc. Everything’s spelled out and it sets the tone for a positive experience.”

For Deaton, the only change to her open house protocol is how often she does them. Instead of being a weekend occurrence, she said she hosts them any day of the week with the primary consideration being MLS ‘coming soon’ listing rules.

“We do the ‘coming soon’ listings, and in Cincinnati, you’re allowed to do 10 days of coming soon up to when it goes active,” she explained. “The day you go active, you hold the open house because that’s going to get the most people through the house and you often get so many offers that the seller says, ‘Oh, there’s too many offers, I’m overwhelmed. You know, I just want to take one and be done.'”

“I honestly never stopped doing them. I love open houses and they’re effective,” she added. “They are still happening — they’re just happening every day of the week.”

Fourth Gear: Refine your negotiation skills (Hint: A bigger offer doesn’t always win)

In addition to navigating inventory shortages, real estate agents must refine their negotiation skills to help homebuyers make a smart purchase that helps them not only now, but in the long run. Although beefing up an offer with extra cash is often the first thing that comes to mind, Deaton said speaking to a homeseller’s other needs, such as a longer closing timeline or offering a leaseback option, can be more effective.

“It’s not always the price. Sometimes it’s the terms that gets the deal,” Deaton said. “You’ve really got to do your due diligence as a buyer’s agent and get that information.”

“A lot of times the seller may need 60 days before they can get into the house that they’re buying or building, so flexibility with occupancy is huge,” she added. “Sometimes sellers are even willing to, if they need more than 60 days, do a leaseback and lease that home back off that buyer until they’re able to move forward to their next home.”

Deaton also said things like being willing to cover the buyer’s agent’s commission or cover a portion of the seller’s closing costs have worked too, alongside waiving contingencies or offering appraisal gaps with proof of funds.

“Buyers are willing to pay appraisal gaps in this market, but sellers wonder is it truly going to come true? Can you really afford that?” she said. “It’s important as a buyer’s agent, that if you’re going to offer that appraisal gap, you show proof of funds. A lot of agents, they’ll do the appraisal gap, but they don’t provide those funds, so that’s a huge factor.”

However, if you’re relying on extra cash to make the difference, Hellman said it’s not always necessary to offer four, five or six figures above the asking price to win. The Raleigh-based broker said she’s borrowed a strategy from “The Price Is Right,” where players often win by making their estimates only slightly higher than their competitors.

“Slightly higher numbers work,” she said. “If a lot of people are going to make an offer at $525,000, I suggest that my clients go in at $526K or $527K because my point to a lot of buyers is to think about how the seller is hearing that information — they’re probably getting those offers put together in some form of a spreadsheet so that the agent can go through all of the offer terms with them.”

“So what’s going to get you in that number one slot is sometimes something as small as an extra $500 or $1,000,” she added. “That can really make that decision for them.”

Hellman said making an offer is ultimately an educated guessing game, but she’s been able to get more wins by flagging listings and making a note of the difference between the listing and closing price. “That is giving me good insight and good data where I can better predict it when we’re going to submit an offer,” she said.

On the listing side, Lucido said agents have to some sharp negotiation skills as well when it comes to working with sellers on the listing price. Although homes are still being snapped up like hotcakes, the KW expansion team leader said buyers are starting to skip overpriced listings.

“Right now I have a particular listing and it’s not selling because the seller overpriced, and if I wanted to be really blunt about it, I’d lose the listing,” he said. “So you have to lead into that conversation with lots of information. I have a program called the survival package — my assistant puts it together [and it] consists of comps, tax records and other strategies. And I go meet the client.”

“If you try to get price reductions over the phone or I have to give you bad news over the phone, you might get fired,” he added. “So you must meet with them in person and over-communicate in this challenging environment.”

Tire check: Reevaluate yourself and your business

The real estate market isn’t only competitive for homebuyers — it’s become increasingly competitive for real estate agents too. As the number of agents continues to outpace the number of homes available for sale, it can be hard for new agents to break through the noise and unsuspectingly easy for experienced agents to lose their progress if they’re not careful.

Lucido, who also serves as a coach for his more than 250 sales agents, said real estate agents must do an autopsy on their business and determine what is and isn’t working. Operating on auto-pilot, he said, won’t help agents remain successful as the market shifts into more thorny territory with rock-bottom inventory, rising interest rates and other factors that impact buyer and seller activity.

“People need to do an autopsy of where they’ve been; what has worked and what hasn’t worked for them,” he said. “How were your last six months or a year? How’s it gone? Is it working or not working? Not just what are your goals? Do you have a coach and countability partner to help you get there? What do you need to do to work on yourself? More training, more seminars, more podcasts, more engagement?”

“This is a highly competitive market [and] you’re going to need to convince people why they need to go with you,” he said. “It’s not going to be as easy as it used to be.”

Lucido said doing a business autopsy will require you to be honest about where you are, which can be difficult to do. With that in mind, he said its important to pull in a mentor, coach or accountability partner to help you get to the nitty-gritty of what’s thwarting your results.

“It’s been so easy for people to make money in this business that they look like heroes,” he said of the past few years. “We don’t need a college degree or master’s degree or a doctorate degree — my son’s a lawyer and just went through an incredible amount of studying — we don’t need that. So we need to be self-motivated in bettering ourselves.”

“So whether it’s public speaking, whether it’s dressing better, role-playing your presentation, or recording what you do, do it. What do you look like in your videos? Do you like how you look? How are you delivering?” he added. “I’ve got somebody on my team right now I’m coaching and I said, ‘What’s your challenge?’ and she said, ‘Well, I’m not getting as many listings.'”

“I said, ‘Do you have a prospecting challenge? Or a presentation challenge? Are you getting the meeting?’ And she said, ‘No, I’m not meeting people.’ I’m like, well, there’s your problem and she said she didn’t feel that confident. So we’ve got to work on her confidence. So if you work on your knowledge, knowledge gains power, and power is confidence.”

In addition to relying on a coach or mentor to help you improve, Deaton said agents need to use reviews as an opportunity to learn not only about what they did well, but what they fumbled on.

“We use for our platform reviews, and we have it set to where it’s got to be so many stars for it to post on social media automatically,” she said. “But it’s always good to know what you’ve done wrong so you can improve yourself.”

“Sometimes we just don’t gel with the client and that could be you know, the bad experience,” she added. “Or maybe I was too pushy or maybe I didn’t communicate enough. It’s always good to be able to learn from what mistakes you’ve made.”

Next, Deaton and Hellman said agents must get their finances in order so they can ride out upcoming market shifts that may slow down business from the past two years’ fever pitch pace.

“I always tell my agents to stockpile their money,” Deaton said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in this business — I wish I had a crystal ball to see what will happen next, but [the real estate market] is not something that you can literally dictate.”

“But it’s important that as agents we keep our finances in line because if it does slow down and you find yourself going a few months without closings, what’s going to pay your bills?” she said. “So you need to make sure that you stockpile your money.”

Hellman said she’s shifted her budget to focus on her current sphere rather than trying to pull hordes of new people in. “Our past clients already know us, trust in us and like us,” she said while noting the majority of her business comes from referrals.

She also said agents must make room in their budget to support their communities through organizations and causes, which is another effective way to connect with past, current and potential clients outside of real estate talk.

“We spend our money on local sponsorships and some of the stuff that we will sponsor is just near and dear to our heart, like our son plays basketball and so we’re heavy sponsors of that organization,” she said. “But the financial return on that I can’t always directly correlate to the amount of money I put into it. But I can correlate it to how much time I spend on it.”

“When we look at it back, and we say, ‘Hey, you know, we can’t even remember that event that we helped sponsor or we never heard anything more about such and such that we took out a page in there,’ those just don’t make sense to do again,” she added. “That’s kind of how we evaluate what makes sense in terms of future spending.

Meanwhile, Shaffer said he’s redirected his budget to redesign and rebrand his website, produce videos for marketing and social media — “It has become really impactful,” he said — and acquire more clients through Zillow.

“It has been a vehicle that I use to help supplement my current business,” he said. “I can’t rely 100 percent on Zillow, but what I do is I use that as another vehicle to try to pick up clients by marketing through that platform. The way that I view it is that you know that one client potentially can lead to more clients down the road, they can refer you to friends and family, or potentially in the future when they want to sell.”

“I just understand that I might not see an ROI on my investment right away, but I’m laying the groundwork and the foundation for the future,” he added.

Fifth Gear: Build momentum and keep it

Once you figure out what works and build momentum, all four brokers said the real work and reward comes with consistency.

“This is not a sprint, this is a marathon,” Shaffer said. There’s no magic pill to all of a sudden put you at the top. It’s a lot of work. It’s grinding every day, it’s communicating with your current database, and it’s being as proactive as possible with your current clients.”

He added, “It’s really doing an incredible job for each and every client you work with with the understanding that you’re not going to get rich from one client, but you’re going to build a business by treating each client with respect and giving them the best possible service.”

Deaton and Shaffer said a huge part of keeping momentum is continually investing in yourself personally and professionally so you’re ready for whatever the real estate market throws your way.

“I always tell agents always be learning; don’t ever cut yourself off from [earning] a certification or just going to a free marketing class because the marketing changes daily, the technology changes daily, and we have to stay on it,” she said. “Last year at the RE/MAX conference, I got my certification for the senior real estate specialist because baby boomers are the big generation right now. We’re getting ready to retire, we’re getting ready to downsize and I know how to handle them.”

“Another good certification from the National Association of Realtors is for short sale and foreclosure resource agents. Although it’s not going to be like it was before, it’s coming. That’s going to be something that we’re going to see happen,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I found that there were six foreclosures today in the MLS. Know how to handle them. You don’t have to know everything, but go learn a few things and how to expertly handle it.”

Lastly, Shaffer encouraged agents to invest in their physical and mental health. “I workout for both the physical attributes and the mental attributes, because I need to be able to take care of myself first and foremost so that I can take care of my clients and my family,” he said. “It’s my non negotiable. It gives me the physical and mental energy to approach each and every day with putting my best foot forward.”
8 Tips to Expertly Prepare for a Market Shift


Spring is here and so are the storms, rainfall, and flooding associated with the change of seasons.  Typically, March and April have a high precipitation level in the Bay State.  Currently, about 400,000 residents in Massachusetts live in areas that are likely to flood.  If your home is located in a flood plain, your mortgage lender will require flood insurance. But just because your home is not in a designated flood plain, don't assume you will never have damage from flooding.

The Division of Insurance, an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Regulation (OCABR), administers the state’s laws pertaining to the protection of the insurance consumer through the regulation of the insurance industry.  The good news for consumers in Massachusetts is you can purchase flood coverage at any time.

While we transition to yet another season in New England, it’s a great opportunity to evaluate your insurance plans.  OCABR compiled information about flood insurance in preparation of the weather on the way.

Flood insurance protects two types of insurable property: building and contents. The first covers your building, the second covers your possessions. Flood insurance does not cover the land that your building occupies.

Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums, apartments and nonresidential buildings, including commercial structures. A maximum of $250,000 of building coverage is available for single-family residential buildings; $250,000 per unit for residential condominiums. The limit for contents coverage on all residential buildings is $100,000, which is also available to renters. Commercial structures can be insured to a limit of $500,000 for the building and $500,000 for the contents.
Depending on where your home is located in Massachusetts, you may be able to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Administered by the federal government, the insurance is available to renters, homeowners and business owners through approximately 85 insurance companies in more than 20,800 participating communities nationwide.

If you believe you are in a high-risk area, and are interested in flood insurance, contact your insurance provider to find out if your community participates in the NFIP.  Visit the Division of Insurance’s website on flood assistance and flood insurance in Massachusetts.
Spring Flood Insurance Check


Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Lillian Dickerson

Real estate agents and their clients have struggled to deal with inventory issues for what feels like forever at this point.

The pandemic unleashed a slew of issues that’s brought the market to this moment — families suddenly needing larger homes, sellers unwilling to be caught in limbo without a new place to live during a public health crisis, and supply chain backlogs that have stunted the construction of new homes.

Agents and brokers continue to search for innovative ways to find or create inventory in their market to deal with the crisis that experts say could potentially plague buyers until 2025. Here, Inman has created a comprehensive resource for ways to find inventory when it seems like there’s nothing left on the shelves.

Tried and true methods

Some agents might have a tendency to overlook these traditional methods for finding or creating new inventory, which sometimes can be seen as outdated, but they shouldn’t be dismissed.

Look to your CRM

Review your CRM for long-term leads, other qualified leads you’ve been in touch with before, and past clients to reconnect and see if they’ve considered selling their home recently, Inman contributor Tom Toole advises. Both the market and individuals’ life circumstances can change quickly, and sometimes all it takes is the right real estate agent asking the question at the right time.

Go through your phone contacts

With this strategy, Toole recommends starting at the bottom of the alphabet and working backward, since people have a tendency to neglect individuals at the bottom of the list. Send a simple text that’s not real estate-related to see how they’re doing and what’s new in their lives — and wait to see if they bring up the market.

Work your referral network

Time and again, some of the most successful real estate agents have told Inman that their business is purely referral-based. The 2020 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers also showed that 67 percent of sellers either rehired their previous agent or obtained a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative. Referrals work, so continue to invest heavily in them.

Circle dialing

When you’re already working with a client in a particular neighborhood, take the opportunity to inform other residents through postcards or other methods about current housing statistics in the area. Remember to keep things personalized by using individuals’ names on any communication, Toole advises, so that residents don’t feel like they’re just another random person being blasted by a Realtor’s marketing.


Similar to circle dialing, choosing a neighborhood where residents might recognize your name to send out calls, direct mail and emails can be an effective way to generate new listings, Inman contributor Jimmy Burgess says. Remember, making these communications more personalized and specific will yield greater chances of success.


Each agent will have different opinions about this method, but at this point in the pandemic, it’s probably safe to go ahead and door-knock for seller leads, especially if you’re masked up. It’s definitely an old-school method, but can still produce results.

Open houses

Open houses are known for drawing curious neighbors in, which is one good reason that they can be beneficial to agents today who need more inventory. Chatting neighbors up about the current market conditions that are ripe for sellers is just one more way to generate new listings. Be sure to take the proper safety precautions when hosting an open house, as well.

Expired listings

Contacting expired listings is a no-brainer. These sellers or rental owners have already decided to sell (or at least rent) once, and as the real estate professional, it makes perfect sense to offer your services should they need a hand. Property owners who had trouble renting may very well be attracted by the prospects of selling if you provide them with the right market data to entice them. Speak with the agents that represented these listings and offer a fair referral fee to take them off their hands — and don’t forget to ask them about the seller’s motivations.

FSBOs and abandoned properties

Sellers who decide to go it alone might not realize how good they could have it with an agent representing them until the right one comes along and provides a compelling case. Be prepared with your data and other resources to create a persuasive argument for why you could get them a better deal than they’d get by going without agent representation.

Likewise, identifying seemingly abandoned properties and tracking down their owners (check county records or order an owner and encumbrances for a specific property from your title company) to educate them on what they’re missing out on by selling can be another helpful tactic. FSBO listings can be found on sites like,,, and

Be on the lookout for life changes

This should be ingrained in the brain of most agents, but anytime someone goes through one of those milestone life changes like marriage, divorce, getting a new job, having children or experiencing a death in the family, it usually means a move isn’t far off in their future.

As an agent, be ready to approach your contacts when they go through these changes to let them know you can help support them on a personal level as well as help sell their home. Scan newspaper announcements and social media for these life updates and be ready to approach your contacts with a simple ‘How are you doing?’ following them.

In particular, Baby Boomers are in a period of transition right now — some may be ready to move closer to adult children as they get older or downsize into a one-story home. Now’s the time to keep in touch with your contacts in this generation and be ready to help them through the transition.

Orphaned neighborhoods

Burgess notes that “orphaned neighborhoods,” or neighborhoods of homes that are roughly three- to five-years-old and track-built by national builders are a great target area for agents. These builders typically work with dedicated sales agents who move on to the next community with them, so in a few years when those homeowners are considering moving up, they’re going to need an agent to help them sell. Chances are if one resident chooses to sell with you, others might have their interest piqued as well.

Schedule face-to-face time

Real estate coach and Inman contributor Bernice Ross reminds Inman readers that, according to NAR statistics from 2020, 77 percent of recent homesellers only interviewed one real estate agent before listing their property. That means that the first agent who gets some kind of face time with a seller is typically the one who wins the listing.

Therefore, agents should prioritize having face-to-face meetings once a month with the 150 contacts in their sphere most likely to refer their business or do business with them.

Leveraging technology

Agents simply cannot hesitate when it comes to trying new technology if it can help their clients in this challenging market. Here are a few tech-focused tools that can help with the dearth of inventory.

Become familiar with apps like DropOffer and Vulcan7

Tools like DropOffer and Vulcan7 allow agents to tap into off-market listings, Inman contributor Greg Burns advises. With DropOffer, agents can access a vast network of off-market properties and submit offers electronically to them, and also access property-specific data. Vulcan7 provides agents with expired, rental owner and FSBO leads, and offers CRM, dialer and video email tools for agents.

Consider alternative lending services

Alternative lending companies like Knock provide homeowners with solutions that can be extremely helpful in a tight inventory market, where homeowners can buy their new home before selling their old one and avoid double mortgage payments. Knock covers the old home’s mortgage before it sells, while also enabling buyers with all-cash buying power. This kind of security can ultimately give homeowners the confidence they need to put their homes on the market.

Buy seller leads

There’s no shame in buying seller leads online. Getting leads via services like BoldLeads or Facebook ads can be helpful for some agents, and just might become part of their regular marketing budget. Online leads typically don’t see sizable conversion rates, Burgess warns, but it can still be helpful to some agents — you never know where they might lead.

Send out unsolicited video CMAs

“Adding value to owners without them asking is always a good idea,” Burgess said. That’s why recording a video of yourself creating a comprehensive market analysis on your computer (via something like Zoom or BombBomb) and sending it to a homeowner is a great idea.

They get a little free information from a professional who’s tuned into the pulse of the market, which opens up opportunity for further discussion. Past buyers, visitors to an open house, or individuals in your farm market are all viable candidates for an unsolicited video CMA.

Lean into social media

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, you name it — work your social media accounts to educate would-be sellers on the opportunities that await them this season. Once you make initial contact on social, follow up with more personalized touches, like a phone call or coffee date, Corcoran Group-affiliated brokers recommended at a recent Inman Connect Now event.

Thinking outside the box

In this market, agents have to get creative and potentially do a little more legwork to find the right inventory for their buyers. Consider the following strategies to find those elusive listings.

Connect with homebuilders, investors, real estate attorneys and asset managers

Forging relationships with homebuilders can help you gain first-hand knowledge about when the projects they’re working on will become available to homeowners, Inman’s Libertina Brandt reported. Likewise, searching for old, rundown homes on the MLS that sold within the last year or two can be a good way to connect with investors (who typically buy these properties) and find out if they’re ready to flip that property or others they might have.

Real estate attorneys and bank asset managers are also helpful professionals to create relationships with, because they’re often some of the first people to know about homeowners under threat of foreclosure. Agents who can get in front of those individuals have an opportunity to both find new inventory and help homeowners avoid foreclosure by selling.

Make a hard pitch for leasebacks

One of the biggest mental barriers for sellers right now is the thought that they might not have a place ready to move into after they sell their homes. Educate them on leaseback options so that they feel comfortable listing their home.

An agent Inman spoke with about recent market conditions in Cleveland said that homes with sellers who needed to lease back the properties have not only sold, but have also received multiple offers because there’s so much demand. Depending on your own market conditions, encourage sellers not to worry that a leaseback might put off potential buyers.

‘In search of … ‘ posts on social media

Create wanted ads on social media for your buyers that say something like, “In search of a four-bedroom house with a large backyard,” circulate it among your network and encourage your buyers to share it, too, Burgess advises. Likewise, if you see posts like this on social media, don’t hesitate to share — it just takes the right potential seller to see it for them to create more inventory.

Find non-owner-occupied homes

This strategy has been a long-term one for Ross, who notes that title companies can typically pull lists of non-owner-occupied properties. If agents can get in with an investor who owns several of these properties, it could potentially yield up to 20 times as many transactions as a typical client, Ross says, depending on their flipping volume, which could also yield more inventory for an agent’s buyer clients.

Poorly marketed properties

Marketing certainly comes with the territory, but not every real estate agent is necessarily a savvy marketer. Therefore, it’s important for agents to be able to see beyond sloppy listing photos, feeble listing descriptions, and mislabeled properties to a house’s bones. Likewise, encourage buyers to see beyond cosmetic details and look for underlying potential, and reach out to listing agents for more details.

Search properties with estate and big garage sales

Someone who is looking to unload a lot of belongings via an estate or garage sale is also likely to be preparing for a life change, which may mean a move is in their future. Cross list these properties hosting sales with the MLS to see if any are currently listed, REH Real Estate recommends. Reach out to those that aren’t currently listed and offer a CMA or other market data to get the conversation started.

Pocket listings and The NLS

Any agent who delves into the world of pocket listings must ensure they’re up-to-date on NAR’s Clear Cooperation policy, which dictates that brokers cannot market properties publicly outside of their own staff or client sphere, and if they do, they must submit the listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property.

That said, brokers have found success building up a pocket listing network over their careers with potential sellers who are at various stages of being ready to sell. This takes a lot of time and effort, but may well be worth it in the long run.

Likewise, The National Listing Service (The NLS), which recently rebranded from the Property Listing Service and before that, the Pocket Listing Service (PLS), has similar opportunities for agents to get ahead of sellers. The now-public-facing site has reworked its design to be in line with the Clear Cooperation policy while providing new options to agents looking for inventory.

The NLS Private feature allows listing agents to share information about a property they hope to become the listing agent for by wooing buyer agents and their buyers, with the hope that if they present viable buyers to the would-be sellers, they might get the listing. The site feature NLS Wants also allows buyer agents to post quasi-wanted ads for their buyers and allow sellers who have either not chosen an agent yet or haven’t definitively decided to sell to be paired up with these agents who have a buyer match.

A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Inventory in Today's Market


ARticle Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Meagan O'Leary

Let these experts explain the exciting and developing world of the digital real estate transaction.

Confused by terms like cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFT, bitcoin, and metaverse? Wondering what the heck Elon Musk is talking about? If you’re not only slightly confused by these terms, but also wonder how the real estate industry may be impacted, you’re not alone! The future of real estate transactions on the blockchain is here and is quickly gaining momentum.

Although blockchain technology has created waves across multiple industries, the utilization of blockchain in real estate is still in its infancy. In this industry, blockchain has the potential to be used for legal contracts, financing, buying and selling property, and so much more! Due to the unknown, these topics may sound slightly overwhelming, and at first, the concept of blockchain may seem a bit complicated. In reality, it’s simply a type of database that chains together digital blocks of data, and is what makes it possible for the use of cryptocurrencies to exist in the first place.

With blockchain still fairly new to the industry, we all have a lot to learn. Elm Street Academy recently had the opportunity to bring together top thought leaders across the real estate sector to share their perspectives on the impact that blockchain is making, and will continue to make, in how day-to-day business is handled. As a leading technology company, Elm Street understands the need to focus on the present, while always keeping our eye on advancements that will impact the future of the real estate transaction. 

View this exciting 1-hour, on-demand webinar moderated by Matt Fagioli (Operating Partner, BKG™ – Brokerage Atlanta), and featuring Rob Hahn (7DS Associates), Chris Haran (MRED), Nobu Hata (Denver Assoc. of REALTORS), and Liz Sturrock (Miami Assoc. of REALTORS) on the current state of the digital transaction in real estate.

The panel addressed specific questions such as:

• What are the key things agents and brokers need to be aware of in regards to blockchain technology?
• Do agents and brokers need to be prepared for Web3?
• Will NFTs continue to be introduced into the real estate sector?
• Is blockchain technology secure?
• How can the real estate industry be best prepared?

Ultimately, they spoke about the challenges and hurdles that we face in adoption and how the real estate transaction could be forever changed.

Be sure to view the webinar so you don’t miss any of the great ideas shared.

Expand your skills with great educational content from Elm Street Academy

Check out upcoming webinars and in-person events here. Elm Street Academy exists to spread ideas, share best practices, challenge the status quo and help educate the industry to be the best we can be.
Elm Street’s portfolio of products and services allow busy real estate professionals the ability to streamline and automate their marketing and day-to-day business objectives by offering high-end IDX websites, lead generation tools, a powerful CRM, email, social, text, and blog marketing automation, recruiting and retention tools, and more. Learn more at
Blockchain and Its Impact on Real Estate

Education & Events

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Green Loan Panel: Navigating Green Home Products
May 26, 2022
The Verve Hotel
1360 Worcester Street
Natick, MA
Rentals The Right Way - Live Webinar
Jun 02, 2022 - Jun 03, 2022
Zoom Meeting Webinar
Manageable Monday Protecting the Protected Classes - Webinar
Jun 13, 2022
Cocktails In Cambridge
Jun 16, 2022
Royal Sonesta Boston
40 Edwin H. Land Blvd
Cambridge, MA
Realtor Day On The Hill
Jun 22, 2022
3 Center Plaza, Mezzanine Suite
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
Jun 23, 2022
Manageable Mondays: Selling Historic Properties - Webinar
Jul 11, 2022
YPN & Affiliate Networking Night
Jul 13, 2022
Splitsville Bowling & Topgolf Suites
220 Patriot Pl
Foxborough, MA
GBAR Awards & Networking Breakfast
Aug 04, 2022
Hilton Boston/Woburn
2 Forbes Road

Thank You to our 2022 Platinum Sponsor


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Green Loan Panel: Navigating Green Home Products
The Verve Hotel
Rentals The Right Way - Live Webinar
Zoom Meeting Webinar
Manageable Monday Protecting the Protected Classes - Webinar

For easy access to one of your top member benefits, check out our new RPR page!