Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Katie Lance

Be more intentional with your social media strategy. Here's where to start and how to keep it consistent all year long while growing your reach
 
Are you working on your social media game plan for 2021? I was honored to be a virtual speaker at Inman Connect where I gave a presentation all about putting together your 2021 social media plan. Whether you are a real estate agent or broker looking to up your social media game this year — I know you will get a lot out of this article based on my presentation. 

Social media often becomes this “bolt on” that we add onto our business when we have time. Instead, let’s be more intentional with our strategy! Here’s where to start. 

1. Time-block on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis

Start with time-blocking 10-15 minutes a day to “focus 5.” Scroll through your feed, and connect with at least five people. Don’t be a drive-by liker. Take a few minutes to like, comment and interact with others. These steps are so crucial because every platform has an algorithm. What we see depends on what we are engaging with on the platform. 

If you want to increase your engagement, spend as much time posting as engaging with others. Also, when you comment — leave meaningful comments. A meaningful comment is at least four words. So, instead of “Congrats!” say “Congrats Laura, I’m so happy for you!” 

Also, take the time daily to respond to all of your comments and notifications.

Set aside 30-60 minutes for the week ahead. What’s coming up next week? We don’t want to set it and forget it, but it’s essential to plan ahead. 

Every month, plan two to four hours to batch create your content (video, graphics, etc.), and plan one or two days annually to evaluate your plan from the year before and create your new plan for the year ahead. 

Just say no to generic content in 2021! Remember, the best content you can post is the content you create that is in your voice.

2. Create a pillar content plan that you can commit to each month

What is pillar content? Pillar content is something that might require time, money and resources. It’s valuable information in your voice (with your opinion). It’s not canned, boring or automated! For example, it could be recorded video, Facebook Lives, podcasts or blog content.

I recommend that you decide what type of content you’d like to create consistently. Pick a day once or twice a month that you will publish — add it to your calendar. Batch create your content once a month — schedule one day a month to create this content.

3. Brainstorm what your brand is all about, and find your voice for your content

Although you are most likely part of a brand with your office or franchise — you are your own brand too. 

Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you find your voice for your content: 

1. What type of clients do you love to work with (or not love)? Why?
2. Why do you love what you do?
3. What is most important to you professionally? Personally?

These questions will help you with your content, social media and all of your marketing. Remember, we can’t be all things to all people. Lean into who you are, and don’t be vanilla! 

4. Think beyond the now 

Next, decide on your distribution plan for your pillar content plus the type of content for the rest of your social media posts. 
If you decide to publish a video once a week — consider how you can repurpose it. 

Here’s a sample schedule:

Tuesday:
• Upload a new video to your Facebook business page 
• Upload the same video to your YouTube
• Upload a 1-minute version of the video to Instagram, and add a YouTube link to your IG profile 

Friday: 
Reshare the video as a new post on Facebook
Create an Instagram Story about the video

Sunday:
Upload the video to IGTV and promote on IG Stories 

In the example above — you can see how you can take one video and turn it into multiple posts. 

Then, you can fill in your schedule with additional posts such as:
• Monday market update post
• Wednesday wisdom
• Throwback Thursday
• Feature Friday
• Community info

5. Evaluate what has worked in the past (and what has not) 

Look at your Facebook, Instagram and YouTube analytics at least once or twice a year. Reflect and see what content is working on which platform. Review which posts received the highest level of reach, views and engagement. 

Did certain pieces of content perform better on one platform over another? Only by looking at analytics and the data can we get an accurate picture of what’s working and resonating with our audience.  

Lastly, I want to share a few of my favorite go-to apps I love!
1. Canva: For graphics
2. WordSwag: For graphics
3. Videoshop: For video editing
4. Videorama: For video editing
5. InShot: For video editing
6. Later.com: For social media scheduling
7. HootSuite: For social media scheduling

Remember that people do business with people they know, like, trust and relate to. This is the business reason behind social media for real estate agents and brokers. 

Katie Lance is the author of #GetSocialSmart and founder and CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, a social media strategy firm and founder of the #GetSocialSmart Academy. She’s been recognized by Inman News as one of the 100 most influential people in real estate and is a featured keynote speaker at many industry events. Katie is also is the author of the best-selling book, #GetSocialSmart.
How to Make 2021 Your Best Social Media Year Ever
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Berince Ross

Here are a few ways real estate agents can proactively persuade potential homesellers to put their properties on the market now

One of the hottest topics at Inman Connect was how to cope with the low-inventory market. Here are 12 ways to proactively persuade potential sellers to put their properties on the market now.  

Strategy 1: Listings hiding in plain sight

How many buyer leads did you ignore last year? According to the National Association of Realtors, about half of those buyer leads had a property they needed to sell to purchase. If you’re not following up on every buyer lead you receive and asking if they need to sell their current property to purchase their next home, you’re losing one listing for every two buyers you ignore.  

Strategy 2: Overcome the contingent sale problem 

Knock’s Home Swap program has a powerful solution for those owners who need to sell their current home to purchase their next property. Home Swap establishes a value on the homeowners’ current home and also qualifies them for a new mortgage on their next home. 

This enables the homeowners to purchase their next property as an all-cash buyer. Knock provides up to $25,000 in repairs. If the property sells for more than the price Knock placed on the owner’s home originally, the owner receives the overage. 

This type of alternative lending program has become extremely popular with new-build homebuyers. Buyers can stay in their current home until their new home is ready rather than having to rent or obtain a bridge loan. Because these programs profit from the mortgage, escrow and title fees, the costs are significantly less than most other programs. 

To illustrate how this approach can work in your business, take a look at how Realty Austin is marketing its “Buy Before Your Sell Program” and their “Cash Bridge Program.”   

Strategy 3: Referrals are still the name of the game

Regardless of “threat” from iBuyers and Zillow, the 2020 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers reports that 67 percent of sellers either rehired their previous agent or obtained a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative. 

Consequently, you should spend at least two-thirds of your time and marketing dollars on converting leads from past clients and your sphere of influence. 

Strategy 4: The first one who gets face-to-face wins

The 2020 profile also reported 77 percent of recent sellers only interviewed one agent before listing their house. Previous NAR profiles have consistently found the agent who gets the listing is the first one who sees the sellers when they decide to sell, which is why it’s critical to be in face-to-face contact at least once a month with your top 150 contacts who are most likely to refer or do business with you.  

Strategy 5: Mind the ‘loyalty gap’

According to the 2020 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 89 percent of the sellers said they would rehire their agent for future services. Only 26 percent actually did because their agents failed to stay in touch with them. To avoid having a “loyalty gap” in your business, here’s a quick get-back-in-contact script:

Hi John, it’s Sally Agent. It’s been way too long since we caught up in person. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee. Does Friday morning or Saturday afternoon work for you? 

Strategy 6: Monitor their social media accounts for significant life changes

People are more likely to move when they go through a major milestone life event such as a wedding, birth, divorce, death, job promotion, etc. At Inman Connect, Lobb suggested using Facebook lists to track these events for your past clients and those in your sphere who are most likely to refer business to you.  
When someone is undergoing a difficult life change such as a death or divorce, reach out and ask how you can help. Be caring and supportive. This is not the time to discuss selling. Remember, the agent who is there face-to-face when they decide to sell has a 77 percent of getting the listing.    

Strategy 7: Prospect old expireds

This tried-and-true strategy has worked for decades. Search your MLS for listings that expired one to three years ago. Cross-check the public records to determine if the property has sold or changed title during that time. 

If not, contact the owner and offer them a complimentary evaluation of what their house is worth. Many owners have no idea how much prices have increased. Moreover, very few are aware of the various types of programs that eliminate the contingent sale problem, letting them become an all-cash buyer without selling their current home. 

Strategy 8: The boomer migration is on

Although many boomers are choosing to age in place, a substantial portion of homesellers are selling their current home to right-size into something smaller or to move closer to their children. To identify who these owners are (or create any list you would like to prospect), use REI Source. Here are three categories to consider searching:  

• The prime time to buy a second home between ages 50-60. Prospect past clients in your database and homeowners in this age bracket who make at least $100,000 per year. 
• Look for homeowners age 60 or older who have two-story homes or homes that are over 2,500 square feet. Due to mobility problems related to aging, many are searching for one-story homes, while others are interested in a “lock-and-leave” lifestyle in retirement. 
• Look for older single homeowners, especially women who own single-family residences. Many cannot adequately maintain their properties due to financial or other constraints and may opt for a condo or a lock-and-leave property. 

Strategy 9: Remote workers

A different type of list to search on REISource.com are owners of lofts and small condos who make $100,000 per year and would like to be in a larger space. Target industries like technology where employees will continue to be able to work remotely after the pandemic ends. 

Strategy 10: Non-owner occupied

I started training this approach back in the mid-1990s when we still had to search the public records using printed books or microfiche. One of my new agents found a single-family rental property and searched for the owner. She then cross-searched to see if he owned any other properties. It turned out he owned 12 other rental houses. 

Let’s say investors purchase two properties per year on average. Compare this to a traditional homeowner who will only move about once every 10 years. That means one investor client can be worth 20 times as many transactions as working with single-family owners. Your title company can usually pull up a list of non-owner-occupied properties. 

When you approach this type of investor, ask if it’s time for them to do a 1031 exchange into a different property to take advantage of the low interest rates plus maximizing the amount of depreciation they can claim for tax purposes. 

Strategy 11: Prospect the rental expireds

Greg McDaniel has used this strategy for years, and it’s been a tremendous boon to his business. 

If your MLS posts lease listings, you need to note two different dates:

• First, if the property does lease, note the date it leased. Contact both the renter (with a postcard discussing down payment assistance to help them become homeowners rather than renters) and the owner who may be interested in selling or doing a 1031 exchange about two months before the lease would expire. 

• Second, prospect rental listings that did not lease. Those owners may be much more likely to list now. Send them an update on their property value, or better yet, contact them by phone or in-person to see if they are interested in selling or doing a 1031 exchange. 

Strategy 12: The ‘under contract’ opportunity

Although you can track when a property goes under contract on the MLS, the public doesn’t generally have access to this information. (Realtor.com does show whether a listing is “pending” or “contingent.” Redfin, Trulia and Zillow do not.)

Consequently, when you see a property go under contract, call 100 surrounding properties. Explain that you are calling because a neighboring property has gone under contract, and you were wondering if they would like you to contact them with the final sales price when it closes (provided this is legal in your state). Be sure to offer a CMA.

Alternatively, you could also do a postcard campaign that says, “A property near yours just went under contract. Contact me for details and to see the current value of your home.” 

The bottom line is you can persuade homeowners to list with you by tapping into their current needs, wants and any pain they may have in their current living situation, as Lobb and Staub discussed at Inman Connect. 

Also, focus on being in regular face-to-face contact with your past clients and key people in your sphere. You want to be sure you’re the one they’ve seen most recently face-to-face when they’re ready to list. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.
12 Ways to Generate Listings in a Low-Inventory Market
GBREB NEWS

Massachusetts Vaccine Information Resources

Massachusetts is currently Phase 1 of the MA COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline and Phase 2 is projected to start in February.  Phase 3 is projected to start in April and the majority of residents will fall into this phase.  

Visit When can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?to find out if you are eligible and where you can be vaccinated. As Massachusetts moves through the prioritization phases, additional information on where, when, and how to get the vaccine will be announced publicly and posted on the Covid-19 website.  This page is updated frequently.

For information on where you can get the vaccine based on your eligibility status, visit COVID-19 vaccine locations for individuals currently eligible to be vaccinated | Mass.gov.  The webpage includes a map of COVID-19 vaccination locations for individuals currently eligible to be vaccinated. Each location includes information on how to schedule an appointment.  At this time, the Department of Public Health is not scheduling appointments directly. 

For other Frequently Asked Questions including vaccine safety, eligibility and other common questions, please visit COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions | Mass.gov.

Information for COVID vaccine providers including vaccine guidance, prioritization and trainings can be found at www.mass.gov/CovidVaccineProviders

 

Vaccine Information

 

Article Courtesy of Inman News
By: Adam Hergenrother

Talented real estate agents want to grow and see their path forward. Here’s how I suss out leaders and nurture their leadership growth

“The days of top down, command and control managerial leaders are a thing of the past. Today’s leaders are vulnerable, collaborative, aspirational, and inspirational. Today’s leaders are globally connected and community focused,” I wrote in an open letter to leaders.
Continuing on that thought train, today’s leaders are just as committed to their inner growth and spiritual lives as they are to spreadsheets and bottom lines. Today’s leaders are building empires and leaving legacies.

If you are a leader in charge of growing and developing other leaders, this can feel like a tall order. And it is. Leading other leaders is not something anyone should take lightly. It’s a responsibility and a privilege. 

Often, we leaders look at top performers and assume that those are the agents we should be pouring into and developing into the next generation of leaders. But that’s not necessarily true. Great players (top real estate professionals) don’t always make great leaders, and that’s OK.

Take Michael Jordan, for example. Perhaps one of the greatest basketball players of all time with six championship wins. As an owner of the Charlotte Hornets, his record is less impressive. A great basketball player needs to become a different person to lead a team. Not everyone should go down that path. 

That said, talented individuals want to grow, and they want to see their path toward additional income, exciting projects, more significant challenges and a bigger life. I like to start agents off with two options: the individual contributor path and the leadership path. 

Individual contributor path

The individual contributor path looks like a top agent who loves sales, working with clients, negotiating, and closing deals but at some point will want some additional leverage in their life as they continue to crush the sales game. Great! 

That might look like creating opportunities, either at the brokerage level or on the team, for them to have a showing assistant or a personal assistant to keep doing what they do best (and what they enjoy the most) — working with clients.

It’s all about leverage. It’s hard to hire and train staff, so give your individual contributors the leverage by taking this off their plates, and doing the hiring and training for them. Make your agents’ lives easier.

Leadership path

Now, let’s dive into the leadership path. The leadership path looks like someone who wants to achieve success through others. They don’t necessarily want to continue working with clients and would prefer to build a team of sales agents, operational staff and other leaders around them to handle the day-to-day business. One path is not better than another. They are simply two different jobs, and people gravitate toward one over the other. 

Once you have identified which agents genuinely want to go down the path of leadership (or if they have raised their hand and expressed the desire to move down that path), the work begins for both of you. 

If your agents have their minds on leadership and leadership on their minds, they’ve got to ask themselves if they are willing to change and grow into the person they need to be (which takes years of purposeful effort). 

Ask prospective agent leaders the following questions. These are great questions to run through if you’re thinking about tapping an agent on the shoulder for a leadership opportunity. Heck, ask yourself if you are leading from this place too! 
Are you willing to go above and beyond the daily job requirements? 
Are you a team player? 
Are you willing to consistently put the good of the team and the company above your individual success? 
Are you leading yourself first by creating a daily routine of journaling, reading, meditating, exercise, etc.? 
Are you teaching others how to think differently by asking powerful and purposeful questions? 
Are you role-modeling the behavior of a leader? 
Are you adding massive value to others and intent on making someone else’s life better? 
Do people come to you regularly for leadership advice and guidance?

Were you able to answer “yes” to all of these questions about your agent leaders (and yourself)? Good. You’re on the right track. Did you discover that they still have some work to do? Great. It’s not going to be easy, but awareness is the first step. Now it’s about taking the steps needed to develop influence and build their leadership skills.

Here are some specific ways to grow agent leaders in your brokerage or on your team: 

Host a book club 

Your output is only as good as your input. Whether that’s a book club, audio series or podcast, getting agent leaders engaged in the conversation is vital. Let the books (or other content) do the heavy lifting. 

You simply need to facilitate the conversation, ask great questions, and encourage your agent leaders to share both in the group and with others. That is leadership. Here are some fantastic book recommendations from readers, a list of 2019 top reads (a 2020 list is coming) and books for new agents.

Create an agent leadership council 

Does your brokerage or team have an agent leadership council? Our Keller Williams offices and our team each have one. If you don’t, it’s a great time to tap into your agent leaders to create one.

The council’s responsibility is to weigh in on decisions that could affect all agents on your team or in your brokerage and proactively come up with ideas to better serve the company as a whole, including wellness challenges, additional administrative services, community outreach, to financial restructuring and more. 
See who show ups and takes the lead on committees or initiative. Those are your future leaders at a larger level. 

Host monthly leadership masterminds 

Many brokerages and teams host agent masterminds where they dive into script practice, contracts, negotiations, best practices for prospecting, etc. But what about leadership masterminds? These mind-melds could be combined with monthly book clubs or not. 

These masterminds are a great time to bring in guest speakers — from inside or outside the industry — to discuss topics such as how to recruit and hire talent, financial management, leadership principles, how to hold team members accountable, time management, personal growth plans and more. 

Invest in coaching 

Coaching is one of the best investments you can make in yourself or a team member — both in the short and long term. There are many different types of coaching — including sales and productivity coaching, life coaching, leadership coaching and more. 

Agent leaders can benefit from a coach who challenges their thinking, calls them out on their bad habits and behaviors, encourages them to have uncomfortable conversations, and serves as a sounding board when the tough leadership decisions come up. A coach can help your agent leaders grow faster. 

Focus on personal growth 

I saved the best for last. Growing great agent leaders means that they first have to lead themselves, and the best way to do that is to create an intentional personal growth plan. Start with helping your agent leaders map out a morning routine, complete with success habits such as meditation, journaling, exercise, yoga and more. 

From there, start building out the ideal daily schedule to maximize your agent leaders’ ability to learn, work and play daily. 

True leaders are rare, and the world needs more of them. If you are in a position to develop other leaders, don’t take that responsibility lightly. Leadership is the ultimate test of vulnerability and perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give to the people around you. 

When others are sitting back resting on their laurels, keeping their heads down and their mouths shut — be bold. Be brave. Stand up, and lead. And along the way, you will grow other leaders. 

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality.
How to Grow Agent Leaders Within Your Team or Brokerage
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Andrew Bearen

There are many facets to consider when working with buyers who want to go the new construction route, especially with COVID, tariffs and uncertainty at play. These questions tackle some major issues clients could face

Representing the best interest of clients is always a challenge, but when builders use their own contracts, it’s especially difficult. Many builders are adopting the TREC New Construction Contract or the standard contract from the Home Builders Association, but most large builders have created their own.

All the contracts contain similar provisions, but finding the information in a 26-page contract created in 8.5 font is hard. Agents need to set good expectations, and asking good questions of the builder is the first step.

Agents need to know the most critical information that a client might need. The following is a quick list of the most important questions to ask pertaining to the new home transaction.  

Often, the seller’s representative is more willing to speak without the client present, so agents should address the questions to the seller’s representative and later disclose the answers to our clients. If there are any further questions or concerns, the client can always consult with an attorney.

Questions about the contract include:

How does the builder document procuring cause?
Are there any other fees or charges after the contract is signed?
What are the buyer incentives, and what are the restrictions on those incentives? Can we use our own mortgage company and title company?
What does the contract say about earnest money and canceling the contract? If there is a dispute, what is the procedure, and what are the rights of the customer? What buyer’s specific performance is required by the contract in regards to closing?  
In the contract, what builder specific performance is outlined including quality and closing date?
What is the warranty on the home? What is the procedure for warranty claims?  How quick are repairs made?

Here are questions about the process as stated in the contract:

Are there any restrictions on a customer using a home inspector? How will the builder respond to the inspector’s report?
How are change orders handled, and what are the additional charges?
Is there anything on the lot survey other than standard utility easements?
It is not in the best interest of any party to have verbal agreements. Will the builder put everything in writing throughout the process, including the “punch list” with items to be completed before closing?
What is the builder’s definition of a complete home? What is the builder’s standard of finish out quality? Can the buyer preview a property that is set to close at the end of the month to see an example of finish out quality

Many agents are intimidated by representing their client in a new home construction transaction. There are too many variables, and no builder does things the same way as another. There is a lot of room for error.

This list, though not exhaustive, should address the major issues a client might face. Agents who do their due diligence will be able to represent their client as competently as possible.

Andy Bearden is the managing broker with Insight Realty Network in Texas.
10 New Build Contract Questions Every Agent Should Ask
After years of advocacy, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) is celebrating the passage of a new housing production law! The Housing Choices law implements zoning reform to help cities and towns approve smart growth zoning and affordable housing by lowering the required vote threshold for a range of housing-related zoning changes and special permits at the local level from a two-thirds supermajority to a simple majority. This will make it easier for municipalities to rezone for denser, transit- or downtown-oriented, new housing development. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the creation of a new zoning type that will allow for increased production near MBTA stations and other public transportation hubs, as well as $60 million in new affordable housing funding as part of a larger economic development bill signed in the final days of the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Significantly, GBREB/GBAR and the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® not only worked tirelessly to support the Housing Choices measure, but also led a coalition of industry groups to oppose two onerous provisions of the economic development bill that would have hurt property owners. Most notably, the legislation sent by the state lawmakers to the Governor’s desk included “Right of First Refusal” language that would have required multifamily property owners at the time of sale to provide tenants with the opportunity to purchase the dwelling. If passed, this provision would have caused significant delays in the property transaction. However, GBREB, MAR and other industry groups worked successfully to urge Gov. Baker to veto this provision of the bill which he did on January 14. The economic development bill also provided for a new surcharge for hotels and motels, but REALTOR® advocacy efforts helped to protect short-term rentals from having to pay this additional fee.

Finally, Gov. Baker vetoed language in the legislation that would have sealed all records in eviction cases from public view, a move backed by GBREB. In taking the action, the Governor explained that the provision would have allowed for the sealing of no-fault eviction cases, but also cases where a tenant endangers others or engages in criminal activity. “Keeping this kind of information sealed is unfair to landlords and creates unnecessary risk for other tenants,” Baker stated. 




New Housing Production Law Passes

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Erica Ramus
 
It's the start of a new year, otherwise known in the broker world as agent musical chairs season. This month, brokers will watch as agents switch brokerages back and forth as they chase promises of more leads or higher splits or lower fees.

If you’ve been a broker or manager for a few years, you learn to watch for signs an agent is getting ready to leave. Here are a few telltale signs to look for in your agents’ behavior.

Change in attitude 

This sign is an easy one to spot. Cranky or whiny agents are easy pickings for recruiting brokers. An agent who complains at the closing table that things are not all rainbows and roses at his office might find himself being recruited by the co-operating agent’s broker later.

“Find their pain” is one way brokers get inside the heads of agents they are targeting. 

An agent who comes to the office talking about higher splits at other offices or a certain fee at your brokerage might be comparing compensation plans, thinking they will make more money at a different firm.

The split or fees are only one component of what makes a perfect office fit, but it’s the easiest way to compare offices when searching for a new place to work. Once a competing broker plants the seed of doubt, it can be hard to weed out a dissatisfied salesperson.

Change in routine 

This “tell” requires you to pay attention to your agents and know their habits. Someone who suddenly doesn’t have the time to make sales meetings might be avoiding face-to-face interactions with you or the staff. If agents who generally come into the office daily or weekly don’t seem to be around much anymore, they might be distancing from the office on purpose.

Brokers who can see the back-end of company CRM platforms can check who is logging in daily and who has stopped contacting leads. Check your transaction management software to see who is putting together new deals. If someone working in the system regularly now rarely logs in, they could be planning on transitioning to a new office.

Change in deal flow 

Look at current listing inventory and pending sales. An agent who routinely closes two deals a month who has nothing in the pipeline might be closing out his or her last few transactions with you. A strong listing agent who hasn’t brought in a new listing in a while or who is quietly withdrawing listings might be cleaning up his or her plate to start fresh at another firm. 

Even if an agent is not planning on switching firms, you should be aware of each agent and their pipeline. This opportunity is perfect to re-recruit and let agents know you are concerned about their success and want to help them achieve their goals.

Change in communication  

If you have more than one agent in the office, you’re going to have different personalities and communication styles. Some agents might check in with the broker or manager only when they have a problem. Others enjoy a regular phone call or in-office meeting to go over deals and issues. 

Becoming quiet or checking in less is an obvious red flag. But when an agent who is typically more distant starts calling the broker more often, what’s up? They might be seeking out attention without coming right out and saying this is the case. It could be a form of expressing their dissatisfaction. 

For example, one broker started receiving calls from an agent who had been with the company for almost a decade. She told the broker that they never really talked much anymore and asked questions about how the brokerage distributes leads. These were subtle signs that she was dissatisfied with their relationship and had one foot out the door. 

When you notice one (or more) of the four red flags above in one of your agents, take note of how you feel. Are you relieved? Some agents just don’t fit your office culture or are downright liabilities. Let them go, and help make their transition out the door easy. But if you are concerned and don’t want to lose the agent, take steps to keep them in the fold. 

Let them know you are worried because you’ve noticed a change. Ask if there are particular concerns or problems with which you can assist them. For example, if they want more leads, offer to coach them on how to fill their funnel. 

People cite “more money” or higher splits as the main reason they consider switching brokerages. It’s never that simple. Most importantly, your agents want to know you care. Be there to support them, take their calls, and coach them to success. We talk a lot about recruiting. Remember: Re-recruiting your salespeople is also a form of recruiting. 

People rarely up and quit with zero warnings or red flags. Don’t be so busy that you don’t know what’s going on with your agents. If you pay attention and show you care about them as people (not just as transaction closers), hopefully, you’ll have less agent churn no matter what the season is.

Erica Ramus, MRE, is the broker/owner of RAMUS Real Estate. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
4 Telltale Signs an Agent is Planning to Exit Your Brokerage

 

Many of the “core documents” to a real estate transaction have retention requirements codified in regulations:

Agency Disclosure: 254 CMR 3.00 requires brokers to retain the Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure, as well as Consent to Dual Agency Disclosures and Designated Agency Disclosures for a period of three (3) years from the date of the notice.

Escrow records: 254 CMR 3.10(b) requires brokers to maintain records of all funds held in their escrow accounts. Such records should include the date the money was received, the source of the funds, the date the funds were deposited, check number, the date of withdrawal, and “other pertinent information concerning the transaction … and to whom the money belongs.” Copies of checks deposited into and withdrawn from the escrow account should be maintained for three (3) years from the date of issuance.

Lead Paint: 24 CFR § 35.175 requires brokers to retain the Lead Paint Form for three (3) years. HUD recommends maintaining lead paint notification and disclosure forms, as well as inspection, remediation and, maintenance records indefinitely due to the liability associated with lead paint.

Rental Documents: 254 CMR 7.00 (2) requires the following items to be retained for a period of three (3) years:  the Tenant Fee Disclosure, from the date on which the notice was provided; “all rental listings and written documents that demonstrate the availability of an apartment at the time it is advertised for rental” from the date on which the apartment was rented; and “a copy of any check, money order and written cash receipt for any fees, deposits or payments made by a prospective tenant or actual tenant” from the date of issuance.

Regardless of the specific retention requirements noted above, it is a good idea to keep all transaction documents for seven (7) years. This includes, but is not limited to: listing agreements, buyer representation agreements, purchase contracts, and communications with the client(s) and other broker(s). The statute of limitations for most contract actions is six (6) years, so it is important to retain documents for at least this long to protect your interests in any potential lawsuit. Certain documents, such as corporate records, partnership agreements, audit reports, general ledgers, tax returns and deeds should be kept permanently. In most cases, it is acceptable to store these documents electronically, as long as you are safely and securely backing up all of your data. Brokerages should work with an attorney and/or accountant to develop and maintain a record retention policy for their office(s).

Written by: Justin Davidson, General Counsel; Catherine Taylor, Associate Counsel; and Jonathan Schreiber, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®
What Records Am I Required to Maintain?
On December 31, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020 into law, which makes important changes to the requirements associated with sending a Notice to Quit. The New Law also affords tenants the right to seek a stay during such time as they have a pending application for rental assistance.   It was attached to the late arriving General Appropriation Bill, as lawmakers attempted to get the budgeting cycles back on schedule for fiscal 2022.  

During the budget deliberations, GBREB monitored over 2,000 Amendments that were offered including 777 Amendments that were filed in House and 475 offered by lawmakers in the Senate.  Among those that were not included which GBREB opposed were amendments to extend the eviction moratorium, establish a real estate sales tax, dilute 40B, and require anyone who cleaned a drain to be licensed.

For the first time in 25 years the legislature amended its rules allowing them to continue working in a lame duck session through the end of the year.   The current two-year legislative cycle will end on January 5th and new lawmakers will be sworn in the next day to begin a new two-year session.  GBREB will be providing a subsequent update on several big bills before the legislature including a climate change and emissions reduction bill and economic development bill once time for debate expires at midnight on January 5th.

Please visit the Legal/Advocacy section for updated and guidance on how to comply with the new law. 
 
New Eviction Protection Law Amends Notice to Quit Requirements
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Carl Medford


Here's how to differentiate and showcase your value from the get-go at the listing appointment:
 
Somewhere along the line, our society has transitioned from being service-based to commodity-based. With service no longer anticipated in most areas of our lives, we focus on securing commodities in its place. 

If we can reduce anything we want to a basic commodity, then regardless of what it is (an appliance, a phone or even a car), the natural progression focuses on getting it at the lowest possible price.

For example, we now call the service stations of yesteryear gas stations. Instead of going for service, we search for the station with the lowest fuel prices and pump our own gas.

Rather than going to one location for a full-service experience, including auto repairs, we have segmented repairs into basic components (commodities), such as oil changing stations, brake replacement companies and so on. Once again, we search for the company that will provide the commodity we want for the lowest possible price.

In a commodity-based world, sellers now search for real estate agents who will sell their house for the lowest possible commission. I frequently hear, during listing presentations, “You guys are all the same. You provide the same things as everyone else I’ve talked to — why should I choose you?”

In short, everything we do as agents to sell a home has become a commodity rather than a service. If sellers cannot discern the difference between us, they will naturally search for the lowest possible price.

Ironically, most agents counter this argument by insisting that their level of “service” is better than the others — all the while missing the fact that sellers don’t see the “services provided” as service at all. They are seeing the overall package provided by a listing agent as a commodity.

Although the standard “package of services” provided by any specific agent might vary from market to market across the country (property prep, staging, professional pictures, 3D tours, brochures, open houses, social media advertising and so on), at the end of the day, sellers still see the package as a commodity.

If this is true, if you wish to preserve your commission, the goal in a listing appointment is to demonstrate to the seller how you provide much more than a basic commodity. Here are our three recommendations:

1. Start with your value proposition 


A value proposition is a concise statement that: 
1. Clearly defines the differences between you and everyone else
2. Definitively states why they should do business with you

Many agents have a value proposition that states they provide the best service. The fundamental problem with “service” is it is largely intangible. Although a commodity is concrete — you can see it, touch it, measure it — service is difficult to measure. You know excellent service when you receive it, but how is it qualified or quantified?

Rather than focus on service, identify the typical pain points in transactions in your market, and state how you can uniquely alleviate the stress. 

For example, have you ever tried waving down a New York City cab, only to feel frustrated while trying to communicate where you want to go and annoyed when the cab driver only takes cash?

Then Uber’s value proposition makes total sense: “Tap the app, get a ride. Uber is the smartest way to get around.” 

Uber further clarifies how it diminishes typical taxi pain points, “One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.” Regardless of how you view Uber, its value proposition is brilliant.

2. Follow up with stories

Everyone loves a great story. It is one reason online reviews are so valuable — they are past clients explaining, in short stories, why working with you was so awesome. That alone is the No. 1 reason you should be actively working to build as large a review base as possible. The larger the number of positive reviews you have, the greater the pool of stories available to tout your value proposition.

When a seller asks me why they shouldn’t just go with a discount broker, one of the stories I share is about a vacant listing targeted by our local homeless population. The seller, an elderly lady, had already relocated to a distant retirement home and could not be a meaningful part of the solution. Also, we were upgrading her functionally obsolescent house so it would sell for top dollar. If we were going to put the home on the market, we would have to resolve the issues.

Directly behind the property was a right-of-way that housed a homeless encampment whose occupants kept breaking in, stealing our improvements (including 20 existing solar panels), knocking holes in walls and so on. 

It was not an easy process, but we prevailed. The first evening we had our temporary occupant in place, a local community member climbed the back fence and headed toward the house.

He beat a hasty retreat when he discovered our occupant standing on the back porch with a wooden sporting implement in his hands.

We finished the upgrades, professionally staged it at our expense, took a full range of pictures, including drone footage and a Matterport 3D tour — and sold it within a week for substantially over asking price, setting a new high for the neighborhood.

After completing my story, I ask the seller a simple question: “Do you know of any discount agent who would do what we did?” Then I stop talking, sit still and look at the sellers until they respond. 

3. Finish with distinctions that set you apart

With everyone purportedly providing the same service level, and with consumers seeing that service as a commodity, there must be something else separating you from the pack. In my case, I leverage experience.

Most sellers see commissions as the penalty they must pay to get their home sold, and therefore, they strive to keep that penalty as low as possible. 

In contrast, we help sellers understand that the commission is the investment they make in securing the most experienced team in the region. With that experience comes access to an entire bench of professionals, including our in-house Transformations Team, Staging Crew, Listing Team and more. Additionally, we have more experience negotiating than almost anyone else in the region because of our volume.

I ask sellers a simple question: “If you are going to have Lasik surgery, are you more interested in getting a rock-bottom price from someone offering discounts to get business, or do you want someone with extensive experience? Would you be willing to trust your eyes to someone with limited experience, or do you really want someone with extensive proven results?” 

In most cases, sellers tell me they want the experience. At that point, I ask them, “If that is true, are you willing to trust your largest financial transaction to an agent with less experience?”

Although not everyone can use their experience to distinguish, newbies can claim their office’s or mentor’s overall experience. In reality, every agent has their own unique superpower they can leverage — some careful strategic thinking can help you identify your distinctions.

In our new commodity-based world, the choice is simple: Remain a commodity and face continued downward pressure on your commissions, or learn to effectively separate yourself from the rest of the pack by developing and sharing an engaging value proposition, telling stories that demonstrate your value, and effectively communicating your superpower.

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.
Defend Your Commission! 3 Steps For Showing Sellers You’re Worth It
On December 31, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020 into law, which makes important changes to the requirements associated with sending a Notice to Quit. The New Law also affords tenants the right to seek a stay during such time as they have a pending application for rental assistance.   It was attached to the late arriving General Appropriation Bill, as lawmakers attempted to get the budgeting cycles back on schedule for fiscal 2022.  

During the budget deliberations, GBREB monitored over 2,000 Amendments that were offered including 777 Amendments that were filed in House and 475 offered by lawmakers in the Senate.  Among those that were not included which GBREB opposed were amendments to extend the eviction moratorium, establish a real estate sales tax, dilute 40B, and require anyone who cleaned a drain to be licensed.

For a memorandum highlighting the new requirements as well as guidance on how to comply with the new law, click here.
New Eviction Protection Law Amends Notice to Quit Requirements
After years of advocacy, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) is celebrating the passage of a new housing production law! The Housing Choices law implements zoning reform to help cities and towns approve smart growth zoning and affordable housing by lowering the required vote threshold for a range of housing-related zoning changes and special permits at the local level from a two-thirds supermajority to a simple majority. This will make it easier for municipalities to rezone for denser, transit- or downtown-oriented, new housing development. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the creation of a new zoning type that will allow for increased production near MBTA stations and other public transportation hubs, as well as $60 million in new affordable housing funding as part of a larger economic development bill signed in the final days of the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Significantly, GBREB/GBAR and the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® not only worked tirelessly to support the Housing Choices measure, but also led a coalition of industry groups to oppose two onerous provisions of the economic development bill that would have hurt property owners. Most notably, the legislation sent by the state lawmakers to the Governor’s desk included “Right of First Refusal” language that would have required multifamily property owners at the time of sale to provide tenants with the opportunity to purchase the dwelling. If passed, this provision would have caused significant delays in the property transaction. However, GBREB, MAR and other industry groups worked successfully to urge Gov. Baker to veto this provision of the bill which he did on January 14. The economic development bill also provided for a new surcharge for hotels and motels, but REALTOR® advocacy efforts helped to protect short-term rentals from having to pay this additional fee.

Finally, Gov. Baker vetoed language in the legislation that would have sealed all records in eviction cases from public view, a move backed by GBREB. In taking the action, the Governor explained that the provision would have allowed for the sealing of no-fault eviction cases, but also cases where a tenant endangers others or engages in criminal activity. “Keeping this kind of information sealed is unfair to landlords and creates unnecessary risk for other tenants,” Baker stated. 




New Housing Production Law Passes

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Accredited Buyer Representative Designation (ABR) Webinar
Live Webinar Course
9:00am
 
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
GBAR Webinar
10:00am
 
Brunch & Learn: Purchase & Sale Agreement
Live Webinar Course
9:00am
 
Real Estate Professional Ethics - Webinar
Webinar
2:00pm
 
Rentals The Right Way! Live Webinar
Live Webinar Course
9:00am