While the largest destinations for cross-border capital into the U.S. have lost momentum in recent years, Boston is gaining ground.
  
Foreign investment in office, multifamily, industrial, retail and hotel assets have averaged about $2B annually in Boston’s urban core in recent years, but increased to $3.1B in 2018, according to Real Capital Analytics. 
  
In downtown San Francisco, foreign investment fell from more than $3B in 2016 to $1.6B last year. Foreign investment in New York City real estate dropped by 50% between 2015 and 2018. “On the basis and return side, we’re an even more attractive market than New York or San Francisco right now,” CBRE Executive Vice President Scott Dragos said. “Boston has historically been behind, so that’s a breath of fresh air.” Read More.
  
Looking to learn more about Boston's growing international marketplace? Attend GBAR Global Council's International Connection: Working with International Clients program and hear from industry professionals about their work with foreign buyers, sellers and investors. More Information. 
 
Boston Gaining On New York, San Francisco As Foreign Investors’ Market Of Choice
 On Oct. 15, the long-awaited FHA Condo Rule went into effect. Make sure you are prepared. National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) staff discussed the long-awaited FHA Condo Rule, and its impact on REALTORS® and consumers in this video.
  
For many years, NAR urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to finalize changes to the previous rule that would ease restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums, thus enabling more first-time buyers, older adults, and low to moderate-income families to achieve the dream of homeownership. Read More
 
Down Payment Assistance Available Through MassHousing
 On Oct. 15, the long-awaited FHA Condo Rule went into effect. Make sure you are prepared. National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) staff discussed the long-awaited FHA Condo Rule, and its impact on REALTORS® and consumers in this video.
  
For many years, NAR urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to finalize changes to the previous rule that would ease restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums, thus enabling more first-time buyers, older adults, and low to moderate-income families to achieve the dream of homeownership. Read More
 
Long-Awaited FHA Condo Rule Takes Effect
Article Courtesy of Inman News
By: RYAN RODENBECK

These services streamline how we operate and give us insight and clarity:

There are many factors at play when it comes to making a real estate team more efficient. In a previous article, I covered what I consider to be the most important factor, which is building a company culture.

A close second to that is using the proper efficiency tools to help agents stay on track with tasks, office communication, ongoing training and, most importantly, measurement.

Over the years, I’ve used many different CRMs, task management software and websites, and the below list is composed of my favorite tech tools for running an effective and efficient team.  

1. Workplace by Facebook

This is by far my favorite piece of software that I’ve used in the past 12 years for training and creating a virtual company culture.

Think of it as your company’s own private Facebook without the advertisements and the strong political opinions of distant relatives.

We use it for all communication with our team members. We use this for agent onboarding, communication, training and project management.

One of our focuses here at Spyglass Realty is ongoing training, so we’ll video our monthly meeting and then cut it up into segments and take the edited videos and put them in our Agent Onboarding Channel, as well as Agent Training Chanel. We also label them properly so that an agent can search any subject and the proper video appears.  

We use the chat function (which is just like Facebook Messenger) to chat privately or with certain groups. I have paid admins and VAs in certain groups (like Content Marketing) and agents that are taking leads in others. You also have the ability to start a separate group with clients. 

I once started with an investor and met them on a Zoom call (which was broadcast in that group with myself, the investor and an assistant) and signed a buyer rep, toured properties via Workplace Live and closed on two duplexes without ever meeting the client or them visiting Austin.

2. Follow Up Boss

When it comes to customer relationship management systems (CRM), there are a lot of choices. I’ve used a variety of CRMs in the past, and my favorite one is Follow Up Boss. I will say there are CRMs out there that allow for more customization, have a few more bells and whistles, and can potentially do more if you know how to program or hire someone to program for you. 

But if you’re looking for the best, out-of-the-box CRM platform for real estate teams that doesn’t require a computer science degree, Follow Up Boss is my pick. The lead routing, action plans and reporting on this platform are easy to set up and use, and the API works with every lead source that I have encountered. 

You can also make “Smart Lists” based on the time that the lead came into the site, what tags they have, how many times they came back to the site and a number of other functions that allow you to save the criteria of the lead search. You can share these lists with the agents to use as their daily follow-up. 

3. Trello

Every team needs a way to assign tasks to admin and agents. There are a number of tools that accomplish this. I’ve used Basecamp, Asana and Trello.

I find Trello to be the most user-friendly project management tool of them all. The dashboard looks like a game of solitaire and it’s easy to assign a member to each task, assign due dates, and move the card to the completed pile of cards. The key with any number of systems is documentation of these systems.  

4. Zapier

If you’re a team that runs multiple platforms for lead generation, you’ll find that many of these don’t talk to each other the correct way. Zapier is the solution for this.

It’s not just for leads, but in this business, that’s primarily what we use it for. To explain further, software platforms have what is called an API, which is a set of tools, protocols and routines. Each platform has one, and Zapier is software where users can make a workflow from one platform to another. 

There are simple integrations that a tech-savvy broker can implement, but if you’re working with multiple platforms and need a more intricate workflow, you might want to find a Zapier contractor who you can pay to put these together. 

5. Brokerflow

For anyone who’s running a team, it’s important to track growth and performance. Some brokers and team leaders (like myself) aren’t wired for this. For me, BrokerFlow was the answer.

This platform gives team leaders and brokers information on how much business they have done year to date, how that compared with previous years and what sources the business came from. 

You can look at historical data to see what months were the best for you or tell which lender or title company you’ve sent the most business to. It has a leaderboard that shows which agents are the most productive at any given time. It also does transaction management and issues commission disbursements from the platform and 1099 amounts at the end of the year. 

Like Follow Up Boss, there are a lot of services that do something similar, but the reason we like this one is the ease of use for the agents to enter transactions and the ability over the other platforms to measure the success of our team.

Where most platforms focus on transaction management, this one concentrates on providing insight into where business comes from, how that impacted the bottom line and how we’re growing.

Wondering what lead source X is worth it after six months? You can pull out your phone and in two or three clicks see how much business that source has generated. I can tell you exactly (again in a couple of clicks) how much revenue is generated by providing company leads.

This gives team leaders and brokers the peace of mind of knowing where the growth of their company is at any given time and confidence that the agents are progressing at the rate that you (the owner or team leader) set out in their goal-setting session.  

Ryan Rodenbeck is the broker-owner of Spyglass Realty and Investments in Austin. Connect with him on Instagram.
5 Tools That Will Boost Your Team's Productivity
GBREB NEWS

Short Term Rental Agreement Reached Between City of Boston and Airbnb

The City of Boston has agreed to a settlement agreement with Airbnb, establishing Airbnb's responsibilities under the City of Boston's short-term rental ordinance.   

Under the terms of the agreement, Boston will continue to require owners to register their units and continue the City's regulations about which units are eligible to be used as short-term rentals. On September 1, 2019, Airbnb's website will add a function to allow hosts to enter and display their required City-formatted registration number. By December 1, 2019, all listings will be required to display a City-formatted registration number, or the listings will be removed. Airbnb will inform users of the City's short-term rental standards, and work with users to ensure their listings are registered with the City of Boston.

In addition, Airbnb will also share key data with the City of Boston, including the listing's unique ID/URL, submitted registration number, unique host ID, listing information, and listing zip code.

Under the agreement, the City of Boston will have the power to notify Airbnb of any listing the City believes is ineligible under Boston's short-term rental ordinance. Unless the host complies with Boston's short-term rental registration process in thirty days, Airbnb will remove the listing from its platform.  

For additional information regarding the short-term rental law and the details of the settlement agreement please visit the City of Boston Inspectional Services website.



 

Short Term Rental Agreement Reached In Boston

Learn to be the best agent in your market place, dominate the competition and watch your closings and commission soar to near unlimited heights


Article Courtesy of Inman News
By: Matt Kaestner

The statistics for new agents entering into business are rather bleak. An overwhelming majority of new real estate agents fail in the first year or two in the business. New agents are eager yet don’t understand how to keep afloat and be profitable early on in their career.

Most new agents are ready to go, thinking riches will fall into their lap the moment they pass the real estate licensing exam. In today’s competitive market there is nothing further from the truth.

So what does a new agent need to do regularly to succeed, grow and be profitable in their business and beyond? Here’s a list of eight things that new agents must do to prosper and succeed in their first year.


1. Focus on learning
What separates the good from the great and the great from the best? It’s not solely your talent or your drive because so many people have both of those traits. I believe it’s your skill set.

The learned traits that successful sales people and success real estate agents acquire and employ through intentional learning and practice is the foundation of a success real estate sales business.

In the real estate world, we are blessed in that we have no need to try and reinvent the wheel. Your broker or mentor can point the way to the scripts necessary to improve your skill set if you are willing to put in the work, practice your scripts and make them your own.

On top of that, being new, you’ll likely need to take time to learn the inner workings of a real estate transaction. Spend time with your broker or mentor to learn the finer points of your state’s purchase agreement, the disclosures and the way agents in your market structure deals.

If your broker has training platforms, schedule time every day or block out a few hours a week to explore their training to improve your knowledge and your skills week over week. Every market, every state, every region, every home in this country is different.

Learn the ins and outs of your market. Take an inspector to coffee, go into the title office, network with the lenders in your area and ask questions. Build your knowledge base, and fill in the gaps as situations arise in your practice.

2. Talk to your sphere of influence, and let them know you are in business

When you are new to selling real estate, this should be step one! Call everyone that you know, and let them know that you are in business, that you are working with a great team, and you’re there to help them with all of the their real estate needs.

These are the most important people in your database. They already know and trust you, which is half the battle. They are the most important people because they are the ones who are most likely to actually do business with you and refer their family and friends when they know someone in their circle that is looking to buy or sell.

3. Start dialing to grow your database

You need to be talking to people! We’re in a face-to-face, voice-to-voice business. Your main focus everyday is to talk to as many homeowners and potential buyers as possible.

Set time aside every single workday to focus on the task of connecting with prospects.

As you talk to those prospects and earn their trust, get their email addresses and continually add new people  to a database, an excel file or your customer relationship management platform (CRM). Keep track of who you are talking to with notes so that you can reference prior conversations and deepen the relationship with your follow-up calls.

Then proceed to send them regular emails to keep them informed and continue to connect periodically throughout the year to stay top-of-mind.

4. Get to know the local market
Being an actual market expert is difficult, claiming to be one is all too easy. So how can you gain an edge on the competition? Study, study, and then study some more.

Do you know that house on 123 Main St that sold six months ago? What style was it, what did it sell for, and what does it looks like inside?

There is so much data and info in your market that is all stored on your MLS. Start in a small region or a neighborhood. Learn about the homes and the prices and why one home sold for more or less. Know why people are moving in and out of the the area.

Get to know the local schools, the local sports teams and what is important to the people who live and work in the community you are selling in.

For most of us, the community part is easy because we often live in those same communities in which we sell. But don’t overlook the market stats and knowledge that a true expert has about the real estate in the area.

Take 20 minutes a day to search and study the MLS for actives, sold and pending homes. Learn key data points like price-per-square-foot, average days on market, absorption rate, etc., so that you are armed with data and can speak with confidence regarding the market when you have your next real estate conversation with a potential buyer or seller.

5. Start fresh with a dedicated social media presence

Set aside your old personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and start social media accounts that are focused on your real estate-related activity. This is a great way to announce your arrival into the business in your local market. But you cannot take a laissez-faire approach if you wish for your reach to grow.

Create a plan, and write out a content calendar for your social media postings. Share relevant material on each of the appropriate platforms that catches users’ attention and grows your follower base.

For example, pictures and videos go primarily on Instagram, daily activities on your IG and FB stories, relevant articles on Facebook and Twitter.  No need to reinvent the wheel your first year in business. To save time, use a system that you can schedule and post your content in advance.

Use the Facebook’s scheduler on the free business page to schedule content and posts in advance as well as using third-party services like Later to do the same thing on Instagram.

6. Identify a profitable farm, and work it
Everybody wants those easy “come list me calls.” How do many agents accomplish provoking inbound calls to come list? Farming, aka, continually marketing and providing service to a geographic region or neighborhood and having that collection of homeowners perceive you to be the area expert.

Alas, I wish it were as easy as it sounds. Time and persistent effort is primary to becoming successful in a farm, but before you put the energy into a farm, in your first year of business, you need to identify the right farm.
How do you identify a starter farm?

Here are six basic principles for finding and working the right farm:
1. Find a neighborhood with above average year-over-year turnover.
2. Select a farm with a number of properties you can actually work consistently. I recommend your first farm ranging from 250-400 homes.
3. Try to find a farm without a dominant agent already farming the area.
4. Continually provide value by connecting with the property owners to deepen the relationships like planning events (garage sales, community get-togethers, etc.) or providing valuable data and info that speaks to the homeowners in the area, like recent activity or a local event calendar
5. Volunteer to work other agents’ open houses, litter the neighborhood with your open house signs in the farm to strengthen your presence and the perception that you are to the go-to agent in the area.
6. Door-knock, and drop flyers to the homes regularly.

Spending time and purposeful actions in the farm will breed familiarity with you and your brand, and over time you’ll grow to be the go-to person who is top-of-mind when local property owners think about your neighborhood’s real estate needs.

7. Get an accountability partner or coach
Accountability to your business development and your personal development is what starts you on the path from new agent to mediocre agent and eventually will set you apart to change your life and your business into the super star agent you dream you can be. We all know we need to do the work.

Having a friend, a business partner, another agent, a broker or coach there by your side, continually pushing you forward and holding you accountable for your actions so that you can attain the goals you set for yourself is so incredibly helpful. You’re not in this alone, there are many people in your life who will be willing to keep you on track to achieve.

You can also find other like-minded individuals outside of your market or your profession in places like Facebook groups who can hold you to your word. In fact, writing this article was one of my tasks I posted in one of my frequently visited Facebook groups called “Hold Me Accountable.”

I told the group the task I needed to be held accountable for and what I would do if I didn’t finish my article today. I prefer to rather spend time writing today instead of the punishment I laid out for myself. Set a goal for the day, punishment if you don’t complete the task — and follow through.

For example, “I’ll make 25 contacts today on the phones, or I will not have dessert at dinner.” It’s easy, it’s clear, and it can provide the motivation to do the tasks that often get left by the wayside.

8. Stick to the plan
Focusing on constant progress is what makes any business great. So many salespeople, business owners and entrepreneurs take the bull by the horns and are shot out of a cannon the moment they start pursuing goal.  They work feverishly in the beginning, and the will they possess often fades over time.

You must realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The real processes of growing a successful real estate practice takes time. You must sustain your focus. You must never let that will to succeed fade.

Keep that candle burning bright by working on your mindset, saying a mantra everyday, reading and listening to empowering people and messages every day. Type in “motivation” into YouTube, and you’ll find more content than you could possibly watch or listen to in a lifetime.

Go to iTunes and see the tens of thousands of episodes of podcasts related to real estate, sales, mindset or motivation. Never stop adding fuel to your fire when you’re on the road driving. Never let that desire to be the best fade. You owe it to family, you owe it to your friends, and most importantly, you owe it to yourself to fulfill your potential.

These key actions will lay the foundation for a successful real estate practice. It’s up to you to follow through with the principles I’ve just laid out. You have the ability to be the best agent in your market place, to dominate the competition and watch your closings and commission soar to near unlimited heights.

Matt Kaestner is a Realtor Zutila, Inc.
What the Fed’s Rate Cut Means for Your Buyers

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless needs your help!

Dates: November 12 and 13, 2019 | Location: Greater Boston Area


GBAR and Gentle Giant Moving Company have partnered to help fill the furniture bank at the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless (MCH). Please participate in our furniture drive where we will have moving trucks collect items from  you, which will then be donated to families making the transition from homelessness into permanent housing. The families will “shop” at the MCH warehouse and select the items that will suit them best in their new home. 

To schedule a pickup, please contact Gentle Giant Moving Co. at 1-800-442-6863. The deadline to request a pickup is November 1st. You must provide Gentle Giant with an explanation of items you are donating so that they are able to  efficiently plan the truck route. The people who receive the donated furniture move the furniture themselves into their new home.  They often move into second-floor walk-up apartments.  Our goal is to give them furniture that can fit up the stairs and into their new home, so we will not be able to accept oversized furniture. 

Gentle Giant will gladly accept smaller items such as radios/TV’s, lamps, and small appliances if the trucks are at your home to pick up larger furniture, or you can drop items of at Gentle Giant (29 Harding St. Somerville) or the MCH warehouse (73 Buffum St, Lynn). 

Acceptable items include: 

Desks | Sofas/Love Seats | Dining Tables | Head and Footboards | Nightstands |  Recliners/ Ottomans | Bed  Frames / Cribs | Dressers | Buffets or Sideboards |  Book Shelves | Rugs | Coffee/ End Tables

**All items must be in clean and usable condition. Please no over-sized items. No rips or tears. GBAR reserves the right to refuse unsuitable items**

For additional questions or to help determine if an item will be acceptable, please contact the MCH at 781-595-7571.

Shareable Flyer



        
Furnish the Future: Fall Furniture Drive

New in 2019, GBAR will be highlighting our Platinum Partner Sponsors via industry-focused articles, which contain information for our REALTOR® members. Below is our first in our series this year, presented by Metro Credit Union.

Metro Credit Union is a leader in residential mortgage lending, offering a wide variety of mortgage products that meet the varied needs of borrowers, including purchase mortgages, refinances, and home equity loans. With a focus on first-time homebuyers, we offer ongoing Informational seminars and multiple programs including HomeReady™, HomePossible® and Operation Welcome Home. The Portfolio Plus Mortgage, one of the more innovative programs available, was specifically created to give those with less savings but good credit the chance to become homeowners. Our credit union also participates in many government programs including the FHA, MassHousing and At Home mortgage programs.  Most mortgages are kept in-portfolio and are serviced by our team in Chelsea, Massachusetts, providing our members with local service and support. Visit MetroCU.org for more information about our mortgage options.

Do you know about 100 million Americans have chosen a credit union for their banking needs?  What is a credit union, and why should you join Metro?

A credit union is a member-owned, community-oriented, not-for-profit financial institution. Banks and credit unions work similarly, but have different goals. You are a customer of a bank, but a co-owner of a credit union. Because banks are for-profit institutions, their goal is often to generate profit for their stock holders. Credit unions are nonprofits whose goal is to help their members. 

Metro Credit Union was founded on the principal of People Helping People.  As part of their mission, our credit union gives back to its local communities by volunteering and supporting local organizations. The credit union’s earnings are returned to members in the form of better rates, lower fees, and competitive products and services. By design, all credit unions are democratically run, and as a member you have the opportunity to vote on important topics at membership meetings. Unlike at large financial institutions, credit union boards are comprised of democratically-elected volunteers who are not paid.  

There are many benefits to joining Metro: lower loan interest rates and fees, higher savings rates, and access to trusted professionals who help members plan for their future. Plus, the credit union offers tools and services geared towards increasing members’ financial wellness. These include free credit report monitoring, free seminars on important financial education topics, and workplace banking programs. And deposits are fully insured with combined deposit insurance through the National Credit Union Administration and the Massachusetts Credit Union Share Insurance Corporation, offering our members peace of mind in knowing their deposits are protected.  

In addition to comprehensive mortgage loans, Metro offers home equity, car, and business loans, and credit cards, as well as different types of insurance and investment programs. Our credit union offers the full range of deposit products including checking accounts, savings accounts, Christmas and Vacation Club Accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. Plus, with a My Reward Checking account, members enjoy no ATM fees nationwide and even internationally! 

Becoming a member of Metro is easy.  All that is required is a $5.00 deposit, which is considered your share of ownership in the credit union.  You are eligible to join if you live, work or have a place of business in Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, or Worcester county in Massachusetts, and Rockingham or Hillsborough county in New Hampshire.

Interested in joining a banking institution that values members over profits? Achieve your financial goals and join the more than 213,000 members who enjoy the benefits of Metro Credit Union! Visit MetroCU.org or call 877.696.3876 today!

Don't Overlook Credit Unions as a Mortgage Lending Provider

On June 11, the Massachusetts Legislature and the Baker-Polito Administration officially enacted legislation to delay the start of employer and employee contributions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program (PFML) by three months to October 1, 2019.

This delay will allow employers across the Commonwealth more time to prepare their organizations and workforces for PFML. Please read below to see how this delay will affect you and your responsibilities under the law.
 
Required Withholding Now Starts October 1
The start date for required PFML contributions is now October 1, 2019. On that date, employers must begin withholding PFML contributions from employee qualifying earnings.  Employers will be responsible for remitting employee and (if applicable) employer contributions for the October 1 to December 31 quarter through MassTaxConnect by January 31, 2020.
 
Contribution Rate Change
The PFML law requires that the Department adjust the contribution rate to offset the shorter period for collections that will result from the three month delay. As a result, the total contribution rate has been adjusted from 0.63% to 0.75% of employee qualifying earnings. This adjustment will ensure that full funding will be in place for the commencement of benefit payments in January 2021. 
 
Timeline Extended for Required Employee Notices
Employers now have until September 30, 2019, to notify all covered individuals of their rights and obligations under PFML. Check the Department website at mass.gov/pfml in the coming days for updated notices to provide to your workforce.
 
Timeline Extended for Exemption Applications
Employers that offer paid leave benefits that are at least as generous as those required under the PFML law may apply to the Department for an exemption from making contributions. Employers will now have until December 20, 2019, to apply for an exemption that will excuse them from the obligation to remit contributions for the full period commencing with the October 1 start date.
 
PFML Regulations Will Be Final and Effective on July 1, 2019
The final regulations will be posted on the Department website at mass.gov/pfml on Monday, June 17, 2019. The regulations will be formally published under the title 458 CMR 2.00 DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE. MAR will provide further updates after the regulations are posted.
 
More about PFML
Beginning in 2021, PFML will provide temporary income replacement to eligible workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, dealing with a serious illness or injury, caring for an ailing relative, or dealing with complications resulting from the military deployment of a family member. The program is funded by payroll-based contributions from employers, employees, and certain contract workers.

If you are interested in more information about PFML, a webinar on the issue is available here.  If you have any questions or would like help understanding your responsibility under the law, please call the MAR legal hotline at 800-370-5342 or email at legalhotline@marealtor.com.
Three Month Delay Approved for Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Act

Annual GBREB Scholarship Event






For additional information, please visit the Foundation page, here
Annual GBREB Scholarship

Learn to be the best agent in your market place, dominate the competition and watch your closings and commission soar to near unlimited heights


Article Courtesy of Inman News
By: Matt Kaestner

The statistics for new agents entering into business are rather bleak. An overwhelming majority of new real estate agents fail in the first year or two in the business. New agents are eager yet don’t understand how to keep afloat and be profitable early on in their career.

Most new agents are ready to go, thinking riches will fall into their lap the moment they pass the real estate licensing exam. In today’s competitive market there is nothing further from the truth.

So what does a new agent need to do regularly to succeed, grow and be profitable in their business and beyond? Here’s a list of eight things that new agents must do to prosper and succeed in their first year.


1. Focus on learning
What separates the good from the great and the great from the best? It’s not solely your talent or your drive because so many people have both of those traits. I believe it’s your skill set.

The learned traits that successful sales people and success real estate agents acquire and employ through intentional learning and practice is the foundation of a success real estate sales business.

In the real estate world, we are blessed in that we have no need to try and reinvent the wheel. Your broker or mentor can point the way to the scripts necessary to improve your skill set if you are willing to put in the work, practice your scripts and make them your own.

On top of that, being new, you’ll likely need to take time to learn the inner workings of a real estate transaction. Spend time with your broker or mentor to learn the finer points of your state’s purchase agreement, the disclosures and the way agents in your market structure deals.

If your broker has training platforms, schedule time every day or block out a few hours a week to explore their training to improve your knowledge and your skills week over week. Every market, every state, every region, every home in this country is different.

Learn the ins and outs of your market. Take an inspector to coffee, go into the title office, network with the lenders in your area and ask questions. Build your knowledge base, and fill in the gaps as situations arise in your practice.

2. Talk to your sphere of influence, and let them know you are in business

When you are new to selling real estate, this should be step one! Call everyone that you know, and let them know that you are in business, that you are working with a great team, and you’re there to help them with all of the their real estate needs.

These are the most important people in your database. They already know and trust you, which is half the battle. They are the most important people because they are the ones who are most likely to actually do business with you and refer their family and friends when they know someone in their circle that is looking to buy or sell.

3. Start dialing to grow your database

You need to be talking to people! We’re in a face-to-face, voice-to-voice business. Your main focus everyday is to talk to as many homeowners and potential buyers as possible.

Set time aside every single workday to focus on the task of connecting with prospects.

As you talk to those prospects and earn their trust, get their email addresses and continually add new people  to a database, an excel file or your customer relationship management platform (CRM). Keep track of who you are talking to with notes so that you can reference prior conversations and deepen the relationship with your follow-up calls.

Then proceed to send them regular emails to keep them informed and continue to connect periodically throughout the year to stay top-of-mind.

4. Get to know the local market
Being an actual market expert is difficult, claiming to be one is all too easy. So how can you gain an edge on the competition? Study, study, and then study some more.

Do you know that house on 123 Main St that sold six months ago? What style was it, what did it sell for, and what does it looks like inside?

There is so much data and info in your market that is all stored on your MLS. Start in a small region or a neighborhood. Learn about the homes and the prices and why one home sold for more or less. Know why people are moving in and out of the the area.

Get to know the local schools, the local sports teams and what is important to the people who live and work in the community you are selling in.

For most of us, the community part is easy because we often live in those same communities in which we sell. But don’t overlook the market stats and knowledge that a true expert has about the real estate in the area.

Take 20 minutes a day to search and study the MLS for actives, sold and pending homes. Learn key data points like price-per-square-foot, average days on market, absorption rate, etc., so that you are armed with data and can speak with confidence regarding the market when you have your next real estate conversation with a potential buyer or seller.

5. Start fresh with a dedicated social media presence

Set aside your old personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and start social media accounts that are focused on your real estate-related activity. This is a great way to announce your arrival into the business in your local market. But you cannot take a laissez-faire approach if you wish for your reach to grow.

Create a plan, and write out a content calendar for your social media postings. Share relevant material on each of the appropriate platforms that catches users’ attention and grows your follower base.

For example, pictures and videos go primarily on Instagram, daily activities on your IG and FB stories, relevant articles on Facebook and Twitter.  No need to reinvent the wheel your first year in business. To save time, use a system that you can schedule and post your content in advance.

Use the Facebook’s scheduler on the free business page to schedule content and posts in advance as well as using third-party services like Later to do the same thing on Instagram.

6. Identify a profitable farm, and work it
Everybody wants those easy “come list me calls.” How do many agents accomplish provoking inbound calls to come list? Farming, aka, continually marketing and providing service to a geographic region or neighborhood and having that collection of homeowners perceive you to be the area expert.

Alas, I wish it were as easy as it sounds. Time and persistent effort is primary to becoming successful in a farm, but before you put the energy into a farm, in your first year of business, you need to identify the right farm.
How do you identify a starter farm?

Here are six basic principles for finding and working the right farm:
1. Find a neighborhood with above average year-over-year turnover.
2. Select a farm with a number of properties you can actually work consistently. I recommend your first farm ranging from 250-400 homes.
3. Try to find a farm without a dominant agent already farming the area.
4. Continually provide value by connecting with the property owners to deepen the relationships like planning events (garage sales, community get-togethers, etc.) or providing valuable data and info that speaks to the homeowners in the area, like recent activity or a local event calendar
5. Volunteer to work other agents’ open houses, litter the neighborhood with your open house signs in the farm to strengthen your presence and the perception that you are to the go-to agent in the area.
6. Door-knock, and drop flyers to the homes regularly.

Spending time and purposeful actions in the farm will breed familiarity with you and your brand, and over time you’ll grow to be the go-to person who is top-of-mind when local property owners think about your neighborhood’s real estate needs.

7. Get an accountability partner or coach
Accountability to your business development and your personal development is what starts you on the path from new agent to mediocre agent and eventually will set you apart to change your life and your business into the super star agent you dream you can be. We all know we need to do the work.

Having a friend, a business partner, another agent, a broker or coach there by your side, continually pushing you forward and holding you accountable for your actions so that you can attain the goals you set for yourself is so incredibly helpful. You’re not in this alone, there are many people in your life who will be willing to keep you on track to achieve.

You can also find other like-minded individuals outside of your market or your profession in places like Facebook groups who can hold you to your word. In fact, writing this article was one of my tasks I posted in one of my frequently visited Facebook groups called “Hold Me Accountable.”

I told the group the task I needed to be held accountable for and what I would do if I didn’t finish my article today. I prefer to rather spend time writing today instead of the punishment I laid out for myself. Set a goal for the day, punishment if you don’t complete the task — and follow through.

For example, “I’ll make 25 contacts today on the phones, or I will not have dessert at dinner.” It’s easy, it’s clear, and it can provide the motivation to do the tasks that often get left by the wayside.

8. Stick to the plan
Focusing on constant progress is what makes any business great. So many salespeople, business owners and entrepreneurs take the bull by the horns and are shot out of a cannon the moment they start pursuing goal.  They work feverishly in the beginning, and the will they possess often fades over time.

You must realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The real processes of growing a successful real estate practice takes time. You must sustain your focus. You must never let that will to succeed fade.

Keep that candle burning bright by working on your mindset, saying a mantra everyday, reading and listening to empowering people and messages every day. Type in “motivation” into YouTube, and you’ll find more content than you could possibly watch or listen to in a lifetime.

Go to iTunes and see the tens of thousands of episodes of podcasts related to real estate, sales, mindset or motivation. Never stop adding fuel to your fire when you’re on the road driving. Never let that desire to be the best fade. You owe it to family, you owe it to your friends, and most importantly, you owe it to yourself to fulfill your potential.

These key actions will lay the foundation for a successful real estate practice. It’s up to you to follow through with the principles I’ve just laid out. You have the ability to be the best agent in your market place, to dominate the competition and watch your closings and commission soar to near unlimited heights.

Matt Kaestner is a Realtor Zutila, Inc.
REALTORS® Applaud Long-Awaited FHA Condo Rule
GBREB NEWS

Monday 3/18 & Tuesday 3/19 Public Hearing On Wetlands By-Law and Real Estate Sales Tax

The Boston City Council will be holding two public hearings next week of interest to the real estate industry.    Both hearings will be held at Boston City Hall in the Iannella Chamber, 1 City Hall Square 5th Floor.  Members of the public are welcome to attend.

WHAT:  Wetlands ByLaw
DATE:  Monday, March 18th
TIME:  11:30
Docket #0250 - An ordinance protecting local wetlands and promoting climate change adaptation in the City of Boston.
SPONSORS:  Councilors Wu, O'Malley, Flaherty, Edwards, Essaibi-George, Flynn, Janey, McCarthy, Zakim and Campbell

WHAT: Real Estate Transfer Tax
DATE:  Tuesday, March 19th
TIME:  2:00 p.m.
Docket #0187 - A hearing regarding a petition for a special law re: An Act Authorizing the City of Boston to Establish an Investor and Commercial Properties Transfer Fee.
SPONSORS:  Edwards, Janey, Wu, Ciommo, Essaibi-George, Flynn, Garrison, O’Malley, Zakim and Campbell

Boston Wetlands, Real Estate Sales Tax Hearing

Calendar

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Event
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GBAR New Member Orientation (Natick, MA)
Crowne Plaza
9:00am
 
Hall Talk: Conversation With Officials From Boston City Hall
Wilmer Hale
10:00am
 
Rentals The Right Way!
Greater Boston Real Estate Board
8:30am
 
GBAR New Member Orientation (Woburn, MA)
Hilton Boston Woburn
9:00am
 
CE Webinar- Lead Paint Residential Sales & Rentals
9:00am