Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

Overspending is a challenge that almost every real estate agent has to face. However, with the right strategies in place, you can rein in your spending and significantly grow your profits

Real estate agents have a lot of expenses to account for: Client dinners, marketing materials, office equipment, software, cell phone, training and even gas. It can be easy to overspend and break the bank, but thankfully, there are ways to rein it in without sacrificing quality or professionalism. Here are some tips and tricks for real estate agents to cut back on expenses and increase profitability.

Track expenses

The first step to reining in overspending is keeping track of your expenses and income. You can’t plug the leak if you don’t know where the hole is.

Separate your personal and business finances, and make sure to keep receipts and invoices for tax purposes. Once you have a clear picture of where your money is going, set a budget for each category of expenses, such as marketing, travel and office supplies. Taking time to do this every year will help you keep a clear picture of your finances and plan your spending accordingly. 

Set a budget 

We get it: You’re busy. From listing appointments to driving buyers around to ensuring closing tasks are on track, it can be easy to spend first and think later. When running a busy real estate business, it’s important to create a budget and stick to it. This will help you cut back on impulse buying and identify areas where you aren’t spending what you should.

Make a list of all your necessary expenses, like office rent, advertising expenses and administrative costs. Once you have established a budget, stick to it diligently. To ensure that you’re not overspending, compare your budget to your actual expenses on a monthly basis.

Work with a financial advisor

Working with a financial advisor is a great way to gain insights into money management. They can provide valuable advice on financial planning and how to spend wisely, tailored specifically to your needs.

A financial advisor can guide you toward investment opportunities that yield high returns, provide strategies to deal with debt and also help you save money on filing taxes. After all, you help your buyers and sellers connect with financial advisors to build their wealth; why wouldn’t you do the same for yourself?

Use free or low-cost marketing strategies

Marketing is essential for real estate agents, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many free or low-cost marketing strategies that can be just as effective as traditional advertising.

For example, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be used to showcase properties and connect with potential clients. Email marketing, blogging and search engine optimization (SEO) are also cost-effective ways to reach a wider audience. 

Before you spend money on advertising and marketing, always do a cost versus benefit analysis of your marketing expenses. Some marketing techniques are not worth your money, so it’s best to cut back on them. Another cost-saving strategy is to share office space with other agents or brokers. This way, you can split the rent and utilities and save money on amenities like printers and copiers.

Negotiate with vendors and service providers

Whether it’s office supplies, advertising, or software, there’s often room for negotiation when it comes to pricing. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors and service providers for discounts or deals. Research the market and compare prices to get a better idea of what’s reasonable, and be prepared to walk away if a vendor or service provider isn’t willing to negotiate. 

Before signing any contracts, make sure to review the terms and conditions carefully. You may be able to negotiate better rates or services based on your needs and budget constraints. As with electricity and the internet, take the time to regularly review your bills and negotiate for better rates with your service providers. You might be surprised at how many of them are willing to negotiate a good deal!

Use technology to increase efficiency

Real estate agents can save time and money by using technology to streamline their work processes. For example, customer relationship management (CRM) software can help organize client information, automate emails and track leads.

Online document signing platforms like DocuSign can eliminate printing and mailing costs for contracts and other documents. Point-of-sale (POS) systems can help efficiently manage transactions, inventory and sales data.

You can use free or low-cost tools like Google Docs, Trello or Asana for project management, communication and collaboration. Additionally, you can monitor your expenses with financial management tools that will provide insights into what areas to work on and which ones to prioritize.

Invest in professional development

Investing in professional development can often lead to long-term financial benefits. Attend real estate workshops, seminars and conferences to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. Networking with other industry professionals can also lead to potential leads and referrals. Also, seek out certification courses to enhance skills and knowledge, which can increase credibility and income potential. 

Avoid unnecessary expenses

Real estate agents often purchase expensive cars, clothing and travel business class for work, believing that appearing affluent will bring more money in. What buyers and sellers really care about, however, is competence and integrity, and they want to find an agent they can connect with and relate to. So, instead of spending money on these unnecessary things, focus on the long-term ROI rather than fleeting pleasures. 

Open a separate account for your operating expenses

If you haven’t already done so, separating your personal and business finances is essential to remaining financially stable. Open a separate account specifically for your work-related expenses. This account can hold funds for all office-related costs and taxes.

You can transfer your “paycheck” wirelessly so that you can keep your personal money and your business money separate, making it easier to stay within the spending limits you set for yourself. This not only helps to identify where the money is being spent in the business, but it also helps with tax filing. 

Stay disciplined and accountable

Finally, to curb overspending, you must stay disciplined and accountable. This means that you should stick to your budget, resist the temptation to make impulse purchases and log every expense for easy tracking later on.

You can also get an accountability partner or join mastermind groups where everyone commits to creating and sticking to their budget. When you know that someone is going to ask, it becomes easier to stay on the mark.

The takeaway

Overspending is a significant challenge that almost every real estate agent has to face. However, with the right strategies and practices in place, you can rein in your spending and significantly grow your profits. By creating a budget, adopting cost-saving measures, utilizing technology, reviewing your contracts, and staying disciplined and accountable, you’re guaranteed to decrease expenses and increase revenue, which will benefit your personal and professional lives. Keep these tips in mind as you continue on your journey to success as a real estate agent. 

Remember, every little bit counts, and small changes can lead to big results. 

Darryl Davis is the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars.

Overspending? Here’s How Real Estate Agents Can Rein It In
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Andrea Brambila

At the Realtors Legislative Meetings' Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum, Lawrence Yun predicted total home sales would bottom out this year before ticking up in 2024

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun started off his much-anticipated presentation on housing market trends Tuesday morning with a dig at the Federal Reserve for its latest interest rate increase aiming to curb inflation.

“They should not have done that,” Yun told attendees of the Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum at the Realtors Legislative Meetings, NAR’s midyear conference in Washington, D.C.

“The latest figure is that inflation is at 5 percent — not yet 2 percent, but moving in the right direction,” especially compared to a 9 percent peak last summer, he added.

Rent is one of the biggest drivers of inflation and that 5 percent inflation is coming at a time when rental rates are still accelerating — but not for much longer, according to Yun. Rents will come down because of “very, very robust” apartment construction, which is at a 40-year high.

“Therefore in my view the Fed made a mistake,” Yun said.

Yun noted that existing-home sales are currently below their pre-COVID rates, but may be stabilizing.

“We have to stop the bleeding before the improvement can take place,” Yun said.

On the other hand, new-home sales are back to their pre-COVID levels, according to Yun.

He attributed the difference to inventory: While existing homes on the market are about 40 percent below what they were in 2019, new-home inventory is higher than it has been for years.

The lack of existing-home inventory means that there’s no home-price collapse coming, according to Yun. Sixty percent of listings currently sell within a month and 28 percent are attracting multiple offers, he said.

“Seventy percent of the country is seeing positive gains [in home prices], 30 percent negative,” Yun added.

Demographics will continue to drive housing demand as the population grows and life events trigger home sales, according to Yun.

While he made jokes throughout his presentation, his loudest laugh line came when he predicted that when divorce data came out for 2022, it would be lower than in 2021.

“Why? You hate your spouse, but you realize you love your 3 percent mortgage rate,” he said, prompting guffaws from the audience.

He predicted that total home sales would bottom this year before ticking up next year as mortgage rates decline and job growth continues.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), also spoke at the forum and, not surprisingly, stressed the need to build more housing units to both boost inventory and reduce inflation, the latter of which he said could only be addressed by building “attainable affordable housing.”

According to Dietz, the primary obstacles to homebuilding include the cost of building materials, which are still hindered by supply chain issues, such as tariffs on Canadian lumber, regulations that can add up to $200,000 to the cost of a home in a high-cost market like California and a labor shortage of about 100,000 workers.

“The long-term labor shortage in the industry is going to remain with us,” Dietz said.

He said the country would need to build more than 1.1 million single-family homes a year to meaningfully reduce the inventory shortage, and the NAHB doesn’t expect that figure to rise above 1 million until 2025.
NAR Chief Economist: 'The Fed Made a Mistake'


Article Courtesy of: RealTrends
By: Scott Wright

A major element of owning a business is creating and growing value. It doesn’t always need to be the driving force of every tactical decision, but it should be considered as part of every real estate brokerage owner’s long-term strategy.  There are numerous factors that can drive value, but from a purely financial standpoint, increasing profitability is typically the most direct path to boosting value. The numbers don’t lie, so whether it’s padding the bank account or positioning for an acquisition, there are certain things owners can do to boost profits and enhance their value.

General ledger scrub

Get together with your CFO and run through your general ledger to see if there are areas where you can cut spending with minimal impact. Pay close attention to non-recurring and one-time expenses. Identifying those expenses during the valuation process is critical. As part of this scrub, also examine your vendor contracts.

Whether it’s technology, marketing, training, coaching, etc., are you getting the value from this vendor that you originally hoped? If not, look into concluding the contract or renegotiating it to a level that seems more economically feasible. Overall the general ledger scrub should be an annual event regardless of your posture on value creation. There’s no reason to spend money where you don’t have to!

Fee increase

Are you in a position to increase your fees? Interestingly, we find that most firms don’t adjust their fees for the increased cost of running their business. Restaurants, car manufacturers and even the Girl Scouts all pass on their rising input costs, so why can’t real estate brokerage firms?

This fee increase doesn’t need to be big, just incremental. If you don’t have a transaction fee, add one, and also consider writing into your ICAs and corporate manuals the right to adjust fees periodically to keep up with inflation. For example, tie the increase to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index.

In general, fee increases drop right to the bottom line, so every dollar you add here has the potential to increase your value by a factor of two to four times that dollar.

Footprint examination

While there’s still a place for brick-and-mortar offices, our increasingly high tech virtual world has alleviated the need for robust physical footprints. As such, it’s important to periodically examine your footprint. Are you in a position to consolidate offices or reduce square footage? While timing is slave to your lease commitments, plan accordingly when renewal is nigh.

Additional revenue streams

Brokerage is often a great feeder for affiliated services like title, mortgage, escrow, home warranty, insurance and even property management. Some of these may require certain scale and there may be jurisdictional restrictions, but if you can tap revenue stream diversification jump on it.


Full blown acquisitions can be costly and are not always accretive right away, but it’s a different story for roll-ins. A roll-in, also commonly referred to as a tuck-in or walkover, is a simple absorption of agents.  Occasionally, you’ll come across smaller brokerages or teams that are looking for a greener pasture, or a place to land if they’ve had struggles. In a roll-in you aren’t taking on any liabilities and there’s very little, if any, upfront payment. The owner/leader that rolls in is typically paid solely on an earn- out/override. Since you typically aren’t taking on leases, equipment contracts and employees the production of your newfound agents drops right to the bottom line. Keep your eyes peeled for these opportunities!  These factors and more can really drive profitability and ultimately value.

Scott Wright is a partner with RTC Consulting, a firm that specializes in real estate brokerage consulting, valuation and mergers and acquisitions.
Boost The Value of Your Real Estate Brokerage


Article Courtesy of: Inman News
by: Mark Johnson

Agents who are looking for greener pastures may be blaming you for their lack of listings in this tough market. Here's how to keep them onboard

Is it the market? 

Is it me?

Is it my broker? 

How often has one of your agents said, “I’m leaving because I can do better over at Brand X”?  Maybe that’s true; perhaps it’s not. Yet from my experience, it’s not you, it’s the market.

How can you ensure agents feel confident in what you’re offering?

I assume you have a defined niche, a clear idea of your ideal agent and a compelling value proposition. If not, you have work to do. Yet in my years of
experience, I’ve yet to meet a broker-owner or team leader who did not honestly care about the growth and well-being of their associates.

So, with that foundation, what’s the deal? You and I know it’s in the daily habits of our associates, in consistent and creative marketing, and delivering a solid experience from start to finish. 

My business partner, Ben Hess from Recruiting Insight, wrote an ebook on the “psychology of recruiting,” where he covers some of the basic science of human motivation. One of those concepts is that our brains are wired to jump to quick conclusions. This is useful in reacting quickly to the environment around us, yet sometimes fast conclusions lead to flawed conclusions.

What if there was a better way? What if you mastered the science behind what motivates your associates? If you understood the science and knew how to apply it, you wouldn’t have to guess at what strategy to use. You would know and could retain more agents in your team, office and firm. 

Build your mastery with this book list

There are several books that I’d recommend for building your mastery, like Atomic Habits, The Miracle Morning, The Power of Habit, Do Hard Things and more. If you took each of these books and had to summarize them into the basic drivers of what motivates us, it might look like this: 
• Developing daily habits 
• Cultivating a sense of belonging 
• Honoring your instincts 

In The Power of Habit and Atomic Habits, we learn how much of everything we do in a typical day is out of habit, without even thinking about it. Many times we don’t even remember how those habits got formed.

An important part of getting someone to create a new habit is breaking things into small steps. For example, in my work with Tom Ferry over several years and studies, we found that most agents have similar common habit challenges: 
• Relevant and consistent marketing 
• Prospecting consistently 
• Maintaining and working a database 
• Organization and time management 
• Maintaining a winning mindset 

So, what if you got really good at helping your associates solve those problems? For example: where are the listings? We know in this market where the listings are. The listings are in David Knox’s 7 D’s:

• Death
• Divorce
• Diplomas
• Diamonds (engagements)
• Downsizing (10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 every day)
• Daily grind (job changes)
• Discretionary income changes.

An essential part of getting your associates to create new prospecting habits is to break things into small steps.  So, can you break things down into a system “For success: Here’s how we do it here.” One example of the leading indicators to break down and make simple? New appointments created each day or week. What if you had a 90-new-appointment hustle in your team, office or firm? 

Create a belonging culture where everyone contributes

Besides habits, a fundamental need — even more so now than ever — is the need to belong. As a broker, how do you rate yourself on creating a belonging culture? What if your associates felt like they belong at your firm by having a voice, and the ability to contribute so they feel important enough to stay? Is there a way in your firm to: 

• Give the work a deeper meaning (every home sold creates two jobs) 
• Make more people feel more valued more often
• Find a balance between collaboration and competition 
• Offer a venue to share wins, breakdowns and breakthroughs
• Connect the organization and community to the brighter future you envision 
• Be the collective voice of reason in all market conditions 
• Create a strategy to connect the languishing with the thriving 

Instinct, according to Gary Klein, Ph.D., is the way we translate our experience into judgment and actions. I suspect as you read parts of his article, you had some thoughts like: 
• I had a feeling about it.
• That was my hunch.
• I feel that in my gut.

So now it’s time to act. Just like your agents, break down one of these leading indicators and make it simple to execute. The ideas you just had reading this article are worthless without execution.

One of our clients is conducting a 14-day sprint at 8 a.m. every day on “How To Earn Listings In This Market.” Another is starting a book club. Yet another is hosting a weekly pizza, prospecting, and profit session.  

To win the day? Leave nothing to chance and do all you can to eliminate the “It’s my broker’s fault” mindset. 

Mark Johnson is an author, speaker and business partner in Recruiting Insight.
Beat the Broker Blame-Game. Hold Onto Agents in a Tough Market


Article Courtesy of: Inman News
by: Rainy Hake Austin

As agents adjust to changing realities, brokers and team leaders should make it clear that opportunities for growth don’t go away just because the market is in a transition

As leaders in the real estate industry, it’s our job to keep agents motivated. When the market slows, our ability to inspire and encourage team members becomes even more of an asset. Your team will look to you for guidance during these periods, and you have the power to keep them progressing forward.

As markets fluctuate, a slower season provides some breathing room to prepare for busier times ahead. Agents can use the time to strengthen client relationships, explore new niches, and reevaluate marketing strategies. Team leaders should make it clear that opportunities for growth don’t go away just because the market is in a transition.

Here are some ways you can motivate your agents to maintain forward momentum during a slower market:

1. Encourage networking

It can be challenging to expand your network when you’re preoccupied with showing and selling properties. Slow times are perfect for making new connections and getting prospective clients into your pipeline.

Encourage agents to take advantage of this moment by attending networking events, following up with contacts and engaging with the local community. I always encourage agents to visit the office to connect with colleagues and meet additional members of the brokerage in person. Nothing is more powerful than making connections in person. Connecting with fellow real estate professionals will keep your team and entire organization feeling inspired.

2. Work on your office atmosphere

The office environment can affect mood and overall performance. Consider reinventing your space to include an area with couches and small tables where agents can meet with clients in an informal, cheerful setting that feels welcoming. At The Agency, we were founded with the mission of collaboration. From our very first office in Beverly Hills where our CEO Mauricio Umansky and all agents have walls of glass and a completely open design to our over 75+ offices today, we have envisioned our offices to be a place to foster connection, collaboration and inspiration.

An inviting atmosphere — think open spaces and natural light — will boost morale and encourage connections among agents and staff. 

3. Acknowledge high performers

One of the best ways to motivate your agents is to publicly acknowledge when they do well.

Create a chart or leaderboard to visually remind your team of their accomplishments. You can also give individuals shoutouts during meetings or via email. Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. Spotlighting agents’ success stories will encourage them to keep moving and inspire other team members to follow their example.

4. Have one-on-one check-ins

During slower periods, check in with each of your agents to get a sense of their goals. Asking what you can do to support them will show that you care about their personal growth. Identify areas where team members have done well and let them know you’re taking notice.
You should also discuss how they can improve and suggest potential learning opportunities, such as training programs.

5. Share resources

When business slows down, you can reinvigorate your team by encouraging them to expand their knowledge base. Share book recommendations, podcasts and articles with your agents, or have them attend conferences and lectures. For example, we host educational content on The Agency’s University platform regularly, with sessions on everything from social media, the economy, to other tips for business. Your team will appreciate your commitment to providing the resources they need for success.

6. Create incentives

Another surefire way to stoke team motivation is to introduce reward incentives such as financial bonuses, complimentary dinners or trips, and other perks. It never hurts to give agents a reason to keep their eye on the prize and amp up their efforts when others might be slowing down.

7. Foster an encouraging environment

Having a strong, supportive company culture allows firms to weather slow seasons with ease. When you show your agents that you care about their growth, provide them with tools to succeed, and reward their accomplishments, you’ll find that your team is motivated and energized no matter what’s happening in the market.

Effective leaders know how to inspire. By employing the strategies mentioned above, you’ll ensure that your agents continue to thrive amid a slow market.

Rainy Hake Austin is President of The Agency in Los Angeles. 

7 Ways to Motivate Your Agents During a Slow Market

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has ordered new loan level pricing adjustments (LLPAs) at the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which mortgage lenders must be in compliance with as of May 1.  As a result, many homebuyers with mortgages insured by Fannie and Freddie are now paying higher upfront fees.  Importantly, the fees do not apply to Fannie and Freddie’s affordable mortgage programs, HomeReady and Home Possible, which let buyers put as little as 3 percent down, or to non-conventional government-backed loans, including FHA, VA and USDA loans and HUD Section 184 loans

Since 2008, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac have charged LLPAs to individual borrowers based on their credit score, down payment, and other risk factors.  With this latest change, many buyers who put 5% to 25% down and have credit scores above 680 are seeing fee increases, and the same can be expected for those with high-balance adjustable rate loans.  Notably, it was just last year the FHFA raised guarantee fees on second homes, conforming jumbo mortgages, and high-balance cash out refinancing loans.  Meanwhile, higher-risk borrowers with lower credit scores and large down payments are seeing reduced fees, though they can still expect to pay more than those with good credit.  In addition, changes made in 2022 that reduced or eliminated the LLPA fee for first-time buyers and those with low or moderate incomes are now being made permanent. 

While reduced fees for entry-level borrowers is welcomed news within the industry, the National Association of Realtors® has urged the FHFA to rescind the higher fees imposed on middle-wealth borrowers, noting that the fee increases exacerbate the 3 percentage point jump in mortgage rates over the past year and are completely unnecessary given the current financial strength of the GSEs.  Additionally, NAR is working alongside industry partners to oppose a new fee on borrowers with debt-to-income ratios (DTIs) greater than 40 percent that the FHFA has announced plans to impose beginning August 1.  For more background and explanation on the recent change in LLPAs, read more from Inman News.     

What You Need To Know About Mortgage Fee Hike

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

As the most user-friendly and visually focused social media platform, using Instagram effectively is a must for your marketing

Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, boasting over 2 billion active monthly users. With its highly visual nature, it becomes the perfect way to showcase your listings and become an online portfolio and lead generator.

The best part? Instagram is one of the most user-friendly platforms, so you can look like a pro right from Day One.

Why every real estate agent should be using Instagram 

Instagram is the perfect place to post pictures of your new listings, showcase your open houses and share the fun during your client appreciation events. Those pictures remain on your profile, becoming a portfolio of past listings for potential clients to see how you work. Plus, you can see exactly who likes or comments on your posts, so you can reach out and contact these people directly, as well as stay in touch with your existing clients.

Apps like Canva even make it super simple to design your posts with ready-made templates you can customize with ease. In fact, one of our favorite social media coaches, Katie Lance, even has a series of tutorials on YouTube — find a beginner’s guide here.

Setting up your profile 

You may already have a personal Instagram account, but having a separate one for your real estate business is strongly recommended. This is meant to be a reflection of you as a professional, so it’s best to keep your personal posts separate.

When creating your account, choose “business.” This will give you access to insights — information on who is viewing and engaging with your account. 
Pro tip: Facebook and Instagram share the same Meta platform, so if you already have a Facebook page set up, you can use the same email to set up IG and then link the two accounts together. When you post on Instagram, you can share that same post on Facebook at the same time. 

Choosing a name

Choosing your name is key to your Instagram success. Not only should you include your name, but also use a keyword from your business to help users find you more easily. It could be something like @JaneDoeRealEstate or @janedoe.clevelandrealty. You don’t want it too long, but either use your name or your business name, or a combination of the two. 

Adding a photo

Your headshot is the only photo you will have on your profile, and for the sake of consistency, use the same picture that you use on other social media sites as a headshot. This will let any potential clients searching recognize you across multiple platforms and work towards creating your brand. 

Write your bio

Unfortunately, the Instagram bio section is small, so you need to use the available space wisely. You can include things like how you love to help people buy and sell homes, what niche you are in, your location and neighborhood, and your contact information. 

Add your website

This is the place where you would put your website. Instagram now allows you to link to five websites but will not permit links within the body of your posts. 

Determine your branding 

Your posts should have a similar “feel” and, in a way, tell a story. You can accomplish this by choosing a certain filter and using that one for nearly every post, or by sticking to a certain color palette and font—something to tie your posts together to create a unified look. 

Choosing your target audience 

The key to making your Instagram account work for you is to understand what you are trying to accomplish with your posts. Are you looking to attract new leads? Are you wanting to use it as an online portfolio of your listings? When you know who your target audience is, it will be easier to create content that they will be interested in, and you will have a much better chance of connecting with the right leads at the right time. 

Posting content 

There are several types of posts you can create, from pictures to videos to tips to promos:
Basic listing post: One picture with information and a call to action included.
Branded “Layout” listing post: Several photos compiled into one image, usually one larger with two smaller below.
Artful and professional multi-photo post: Also called a carousel post, it’s a mini slide show of images.
Out and About posts: Images of you around town, usually featuring a local business or an event.
Company highlight: Feature a local business on your page as a recommendation.
Views and vistas
Text post: A motivational saying or a home tip
Under construction/coming soon post: New homes that are being built can be pre-emptively marketed.
Quick video segments and virtual tours
Seasonal and local posts
Agent promo
Videos: How-to’s and tips
Home decorating or renovation ideas 

Pro tip: If you work with a team of people, include posts of team events as well. Show the team conducting business in a way that highlights their competitive edge. 

Understanding insights 

When you make your Instagram account a business account, you will get access to Insights once you reach 100 followers. This will let you see who is following you, engaging with your posts and responding to your content. You can make sure that the audience you are attracting with your content fits the target profile that you created to find your ideal leads. 

You can also use the data to help you determine which posts perform best (in terms of engagement statistics and actions), which can guide the type of content you create in the future. You can also see which days and times your followers are most likely to be online, which can help you schedule future posts so that you can connect with your leads at the right time. 

Create a content calendar 

Regardless of who your target market is, you want to create a content schedule that includes three to five different content categories that you think your target market would like to see posts about. By cycling through these different categories, you can use the information from Insights to schedule your posts for the days and times that your target audience is on Instagram.

There are plenty of content scheduling and uploading tools that you can use, including one right inside Canva, which allows you to create your posts in advance, set the schedule and post. This can be convenient when you’re busy and may not have time to sit down and create the post at the time your target audience tends to be on Instagram. 

Use high-quality and high-resolution images 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram pictures are worth a thousand leads. Images that you choose to post should fit certain criteria.
They should be suitable for the square space you have for your post. Instagram will not post rectangular images, so when you take the pictures, keep that in mind.
They should harmonize with your brand’s color scheme, filters and overall image.
They should represent listings you are currently marketing. 

Use hashtags 

Hashtags are a key part of every post and act as a way to grab the attention of people searching for the type of content you are posting. In fact, real estate agents who use hashtags effectively have a 12 percent higher engagement rate than those who don’t use hashtags or use them ineffectively. The following hashtags are the most popular for real estate agents everywhere:
Highlight your location and farm area with #[neighborhood] and/or #[city]
Help people find you or your agency with #realestate, #realtor, #[yourrealestatename]
Advertise your listing or browse the hottest listings with #NewListing, #JustListed, #JustSold, #ForSale and #OpenHouse.
If you want to attract a certain category of buyer to support your niche, try hashtags like #[HomeStyle], #Beachfront, #bungalow, #Victorian, #Cabin, #Modern, etc.
Wanting to get even more specific with properties? Try #HouseHunting, #dreamhome, #StarterHome, #Flip, #Investment, #LuxuryLiving, #MillionDollarListing.
Some other useful hashtags that focus on concepts like renovations or interior decorating or show off before-and-after photos are #DIY, #CurbAppeal, and #UpdatedCharm.

Instagram is a lot of fun, and a beautiful tool for connecting with your current and past clients, as well as generating new leads with stunning images and helpful content. By following this guide, you will be engaging with people in no time.

Darryl Davis is the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. Connect with him on Facebook or YouTube. 

The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Marketing with Instagram

New Report: The Impact of Rent Control Across America

A new analysis shows recently enacted rent control polices in cities across America hurt housing supply.

The new NAA reports interviews with housing providers and developers from three different markets impacted by rent control policies and proposals: St. Paul, Minn; Santa Ana/Santa Barbara; Calif; and Portland/Eugene, Ore. The interviewees ranged from large firms operating thousands of units and having properties across the country to small mom-and-pop businesses with a handful of units and, often, invested in real estate as part of a retirement plan or second source of income.

The housing provider research was supplemented with an online public opinion poll across the United States in February 2023. The poll questions focused on housing availability, residential construction and policy perspectives. Below are the key findings from the interviews and public opinion poll.

Rent control reduces investment and development:  Over 70% of housing providers say rent control impacts their investment and development plans; actions include reducing investments, shifting plans to other markets, and canceling plans altogether.

Rent control deters maintenance and improvements, pushing owners to sell: With rent control in effect, housing providers are faced with the difficult financial strain of absorbing essential maintenance costs and are forced to reduce investments in improvements and nonessential maintenance. As a result, 54% said they expect to or would consider selling some assets.

Rent control policies subsidize high-income residents: 
Nearly 60% of rental housing providers know of higher-income residents who benefit from these policies. Additionally, almost half of poll respondents incorrectly believe rent control only provides affordable housing to low- and moderate-income households.

The report concluded that while the notion of rent control policies may appear as an appealing solution to housing affordability, it is critical to acknowledge their potentially counterproductive and damaging consequences. Rent control has been proven to negatively impact renters, housing providers and even entire communities. This research shows that rent control policies can inadvertently lead to reduced housing supply, lower property values and decreased quality of available properties. Additionally, rent control disincentivizes new construction, which could exacerbate the housing affordability crisis

Click here to read the report.

Rent Control Policies Across America
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

The authors of 'Exactly What to Say for Real Estate Agents' provided 30 magic words to help agents have the tough conversations. Here, Bernice Ross boils down the top takeaways

Best-selling author Chris Smith and Jimmy Mackin, the co-founders of Curaytor, joined forces with legendary sales trainer Phil M. Jones to create a book packed with the “magic words” that can help real estate agents be more effective and close more transactions than ever before.  

In Exactly What to Say for Real Estate Agents, they provide “30 Magic Words” to help real estate agents with the most common critical and difficult conversations they face today. 

Smith and Mackin are well-known in the real estate business, but most real estate professionals don’t know Jones. As Mackin puts it, “He’s a modern day Zig Ziglar.” Jones says that he has trained more than 2 million salespeople.

Don’t tell and sell. Ask questions 

Top producers know what to say, how to say it and when to say it. In the book, Jones explains how certain “magic words talk straight to the subconscious brain.”
Because these words circumvent maybe answers by creating yes and no answers, they enable your clients to make decisions without over-analyzing them. 
“Change your words, change your world,” the authors say. 

Most scripts and strategies are based on the old sales strategy known as “Hunt ’em, tell ’em, and sell ’em.”

However, for the 35-plus years I’ve been in the business, there’s one negotiation maxim that I have always found to be true: The person asking the questions is the person who is control of the conversation. 

And despite their focus on messaging, the authors agree. Questions are important because:

They start conversations. 
Conversations build relationships.
Relationships create opportunities.
Opportunities lead to decisions. 

Consequently, the secret of sales success — and communicating more effectively in any situation — is asking better questions. 
Below are just a few of the many powerful takeaways from Exactly What to Say for Real Estate Agents.  

Getting past rejection

Unless you’re part of that very small percentage of people who are immune to rejection, you are constantly missing opportunities to introduce yourself, your services or a property to someone who could benefit from that introduction. 

According to Jones:
It was for this reason that I figured the best place to start is with a set of Magic Words you can use to introduce just about anything to just about anybody, at just about any point in time, that is completely rejection free. The words in the questions are: 
“I’m not sure if it’s for you, but … ”

Here’s why this works:  
The clients don’t feel pressure.
Suggesting that “it” might not be right for them intrigues them because their curiosity is spiked, and they’ll want to know what it is.
This approach, “fires an internal driver that tells them a decision needs to be made and it is their decision to make.” 
The effect on your client’s brain is, “You might want to take a look at this.” 

Jones goes on to explain that the real magic word here is “but.” 

In most cases, you want to avoid using the word “but” because it negates everything that comes before it. 

For example, if your client says, “We really like what you’ve told us about listing our home, but … ,” you can already tell you’re not getting the listing. Here are two examples from the book: 
I’m not sure if it’s for you, but there is a new listing coming up next week that could be a good fit. 
I’m not sure if it’s for you, but there is an open house on Saturday, and you’re welcome to join us. 
At this point the listener will either ask for more information or give it some thought and peg the conversation to recall at a later date.

Why word choice matters

Mackin and Smith have created an invaluable field guide that takes Jones’ 30 “Magic Words” and applies them to prospecting, working with buyers and sellers, closing and overcoming common objections. Here are some additional examples from their field guide, plus a bonus of seven words you should never say during negotiations: 

‘Help me understand the benefits of selling without an agent’
Instead of telling someone you don’t understand them, make your lack of understanding your fault. This removes their defensiveness because you’re creating a situation where you are allowing them to teach you something. 

‘Just imagine’

The authors ask, “Did you know that every decision any human makes is made at least twice? The decision is first made in your mind hypothetically before it is ever made in reality.”

The power of this phrase comes from creating a story. “Just imagine” causes the subconscious brain to kick in and the person pictures the scenario that you’re creating.

For example: 
Just imagine your kids’ faces when they see this backyard.
Just imagine the memories you will make in this home.  

‘Most people’
Jones explains that these two words “most people” are probably responsible for more of his negotiating success than any other strategy he has ever used. People draw confidence from the fact that others have made the same decision, and it worked out well. 
Second, people don’t like being told what to do. Using the phrase “most people” allows you to share advice without bumping into this issue. 
This approach also triggers a response in their subconscious brain that, “I’m like most people, so if this is what most people would do, then perhaps it is what I should do too.”

Two examples include:
Most people who list with me sell over asking price.
Most people find the first offer they receive is typically the best one. 

If you’re ready to upgrade your negotiation skills and to make more money this year, Exactly What to Say for Real Estate Agents is definitely the one guide you need today to achieve that goal.

For more of these kinds of useful insights, you can also watch an interview I conducted with Jimmy Mackin here.

Most people do, and just imagine what could happen to your sales if you did.

Bonus: 7 words you should avoid during negotiations

Have you ever been in a negotiation where everything seemed to be going well, and it fell apart for no apparent reason? Although there are thousands of reasons deals go wrong, there are seven seemingly innocuous words that often cause negotiations to fall apart. Eliminating these words from your negotiation vocabulary will help you be stronger and more confident at the negotiation table.

1. But
2. Can’t
3. Hope
4. If
5. No / not
6. Should
7. Try

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and, 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 and her new agent sales training at
Ever Struggle For Words? Here’s How to Nail Client Conversations
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jim Darlrymple II

Quick, what’s the most tedious part of working as a real estate agent?

Perhaps it’s writing one listing description after another until they all blur together. Or maybe it’s filling out paperwork again and again and again, or responding to the early-morning emails or late-night text messages.

Whatever the task may be, now imagine not having to do it again. Instead, a hyper-intelligent computer takes over. It fills in the blanks on your forms. It writes engaging copy for that blog. It generates one new listing description after another, each unique, forever.

That may not quite be the reality yet. But thanks to a recent explosion in artificial intelligence technology, it is a future that’s easier to imagine now than ever before.

That explosion has included the rise of several new high-profile chatbots, a series of AI-powered image generators and a host of other tools that can make anything from video to music. What follows is a discussion of just one piece of the AI field — chatbots — and how they’re already changing the real estate industry. And while this field is still in its infancy, it’s clear that it has the potential to be dramatically transformative.

However, industry professionals also believe the tech is most likely to enhance agents’ jobs rather than replace them.

Why is AI everywhere now? (A little bit of history)

Chatbots have existed for many years, including in the real estate industry where high-profile companies, such as OJO have made them core parts of their product lineups.

But the reason everyone is suddenly talking about AI is largely thanks to a company called OpenAI, which set the world ablaze with the debut in December of a free public version of its chatbot, dubbed ChatGPT.

More than 1 million people signed up for ChatGPT within five days of its launch, according to company leaders.

ChatGPT has reportedly grown to more than 100 million users. Rivals have since entered the market, but ChatGPT was really the thing that ignited the current hype cycle around AI.

The three most important chatbots right now

While the debut of ChatGPT created tremendous hype, Kent Czechowski, chief data scientist at OJO, told Inman in an email that “there is real substance” behind that hype.

“The latest generation of AI technologies will have a significant impact on the real estate industry, improving efficiency, enhancing customer experience, and enabling better decision-making,” Czechowski argued.

Numerous tools are on the market right now, but for the time being everyone should at least know about three big chatbots. To get a sense of how the big three perform, Inman experimented by asking each of them to produce a basic listing description using this prompt:

Write a four sentence real estate listing for a home in Los Angeles. The home is located in the Echo Park neighborhood, has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a one-car garage and views of downtown.

Here’s what they spit out and how they work:


For the reasons mentioned above, ChatGPT is the granddad of AI chatbots. Users have to sign up to use ChatGPT, but so far the tool remains free — though access can be restricted when demand is high. There is, however, a paid “plus” version that costs $20 per month and which gives users access regardless of demand.

Here’s what ChatGPT produced in response to the prompt:
Introducing a stunning home located in Echo Park, offering stunning views of downtown Los Angeles. This 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom residence is the perfect place to call home. The one-car garage provides security and convenience, while the tasteful finishes throughout the home will impress any buyer. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to own a home in one of LA’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

That’s not a terrible response. It’s a little bland, but with a few edits, it would be usable. And of course there are, sadly, many worse listing descriptions out there in the real world. Which is to say ChatGPT might not on its own be able to replace the best writers in real estate right now, but it’s competitive against the worst.

Google Bard

Bard was Google’s response to ChatGPT. Though Google had already experimented with such tools, ChatGPT’s immediate popularity reportedly prompted Google leadership to declare a “code red” situation and reassign teams to build a rival.

Bard subsequently debuted in February. It’s free to use, though would-be users have to sign up for a waitlist.

The response to Bard has been more tempered than what ChatGPT generated. And the tool’s response to the listing prompt may explain why:

• Charming 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home in Echo Park. 
• Enjoy stunning views of downtown from your private balcony. 
• Just steps to the park, restaurants, and shops. 
• Don’t miss this rare opportunity to own a piece of Echo Park history.

Unlike ChatGPT, Bard opted for a bulleted list, which is not a standard or useable format for a real estate listing. It also invented details, such as a “private balcony,” that weren’t in the prompt and which might not be accurate.

So this response is basically trash.

However, one useful thing about all of these new chatbots is that users can ask for revised responses. In this case, Inman asked Bard to rewrite the response without the bullet points. It worked, but the response was nearly word-for-word the same, just without the bullets. A back-and-forth with the bot could likely have refined the answer and made it more useful, but at a certain point, it’s simply faster for a human to write the listing.


Microsoft’s Bing has been around for years as an also-ran search engine that was overwhelmingly eclipsed by Google. However, in February the company rolled out the “New Bing,” which is a chatbot powered by ChatGPT technology.

Bing’s chatbot requires users to download and use Microsoft Edge, which is the company’s web browser. It’s a standard app installation process, but it’s an extra step that other chatbots don’t require and is thus probably enough to deter many users. On the other hand, once you have Edge, Bing offers a number of useful prompt categories to help users imagine what the tool can do, and it has different conversation style options.

Here’s what Bing generated in response to the prompt:

Originally built in 1914, this charming 2 bedroom 1 bath has been modified throughout the years with modern amenities including partially updated windows, renovated kitchen and bathroom, upgraded 200 AMP main service panel, foundation upgrades, along with an AC split system in the main living area to name a few.
Two bedrooms and one bathroom, along with the kitchen and living spaces, on the main floor are replete with upgrades. From the living room, you can peer at the beautiful downtown LA skyline, or up the hill at a palm-tree-dotted horizon. The entire house has mini-split systems.
Wonderful opportunity to own two charming California bungalows in LA’s thriving Echo Park neighborhood! The front house is a cozy two bedroom, one bathroom home that has several original features like a coffered ceiling in the living room, built-in cabinetry and wood-burning fireplace.
Echo Park Home for Sale: We are pleased to present an eight (8) unit multifamily property located at 2436 Echo Park Avenue in Los Angeles, California. The property is situated in a prime Echo Park location at the top of a hill in Elysian Heights, south of Riverside Drive and west of Stadium Way.

Like Bard, this response includes details that weren’t justified by the initial prompt. On the other hand, this is definitely the most colorful and interesting of the three examples, and Bing managed to get a lot more mileage out of the four-sentence limitation than its competitors.

But perhaps the most interesting component of this result is that it mentions a specific address. And it turns out that address corresponds with a real home that, as of the time of this writing, is actually for sale. A few of the details mentioned in Bing’s response appear to be lifted directly from that listing, which highlights a fundamental feature, and potential flaw, of AI content: These chatbots are trained on the internet and draw on existing content, meaning they run the risk of inadvertently plagiarizing other work (scroll down for more on that issue).

Concerns aside, though, Bing also included prompts for follow-up questions as well as links to sites, such as Redfin and Zillow where a user could find out more about related topics. As a result, the tool felt more integrated with the broader web than Bard or ChatGPT.

How are real estate pros using these tools?  

Probably the most obvious way for real estate pros to use these types of tools right now is along the lines of the experiment Inman ran above.

Deena Serna is a Compass agent in Vero Beach, Florida, who told Inman that she has been experimenting with writing listing descriptions with ChatGPT. Though Serna has yet to deploy such descriptions for an actual listing in the real world, her impression so far is that the bot is “really good if you want to type up a blurb about communities” or a house. Asked why an agent, who presumably is experienced and fast at writing such content, would need a chatbot, Serna explained that the tool can help break up a person’s tendency to repeat words and language.

“When you list properties you kind of always go to the same points, so I think it shakes it up a little bit,” she said.
Clarity Odd, an agent with HomeSmart Realty Group in Portland, Oregon, has also been experimenting with ChatGPT. She sees such tools as potentially taking repetitive tasks off agents’ plates, and noted that when asked to describe a property, “ChatGPT can spit out this really beautiful well composed paragraph.”

But that doesn’t mean chatbots immediately solve all agents’ problems.

“There is an absolute learning curve,” Odd said. “You have to be able to prompt ChatGPT in the right way to elicit the proper response. If you don’t prompt it correctly, it’s going to give you really generic, cookie-cutter responses.”

Similar comments came up in other conversations for this story, and they highlight the fact that it takes time, effort and know-how for agents to take advantage of AI tools. The potential is huge, in other words, but harnessing it is a skill.

To wit: The relatively specific prompt in the section above was not Inman’s first attempt at getting the chatbots to churn out useful listing descriptions. In fact, Inman started with simple sentences such as “write a real estate listing,” but the results were consistently lackluster.

In any case, Dave Jones, co-owner of Windermere Abode in Tacoma, Washington, was among those who made a similar point about agents needing to surmount a learning curve, noting that “not every prompt is created equal.”

“You still have to understand what you’re doing to fully realize the capabilities of this software,” he said. “We have to make this mindset shift from being a researcher to an engineer.”

Dean Cacioppo, founder and CEO of real estate marketing firm One Click SEO, suggested that new chatbot users “layer” their prompts, asking one question after another, with each response adding to a larger piece of content. In his case, he often starts by asking ChatGPT to create an outline, then having it fill in the blanks for each part of the outline.

Cacioppo also said that chatbot users have to think about the tone they’re trying to capture, then specifically ask the bot to write in that style.

“If you just say, ‘write this article’ it’s going to be really bad,” Cacioppo said. “If you don’t give it the tone, so for example saying ‘write this in a humorous way,’ you’ll get very very dry, very obviously AI-written stuff.”

As industry pros get more familiar with chatbots, they’re also using the technology for more diverse tasks. Cacioppo, for instance, is deploying ChatGPT to create SEO-optimized business descriptions.

“Right now we’re using it a whole lot for Google business profiles,” he explained.

In Odd’s case, she’s beginning to use ChatGPT to write scripts for her new YouTube channel. Meanwhile, Jones is already using ChatGPT to generate questions that he asks on his podcast.

“I haven’t written down questions for a podcast in two months,” Jones said.

Czechowski painted an even more sweeping picture, telling Inman that AI can deliver large-scale data insights based on millions of current and historical listings. It’ll also allow for new levels of personalization, and “an explosion of hyper-localized and highly-targeted content.” It’ll pioneer a form of “interactive discovery,” he said.

“Users can eventually get to answers even when they cannot fully articulate the question,” he said. “In real estate, interactive dialog tools like ChatGPT are a convenient way for inexperienced consumers to find their bearings in an overwhelming real estate market.”

AI isn’t just for writing copy

While the real estate industry is racing to adopt chatbot technology for things like listing descriptions, it’s also clear that one of the biggest limitations is simply users’ imaginations.

For example, ChatGPT can also write in various programming languages, such as JavaScript and CSS. That means users can ask the tool to write codes that embed images, buttons and other items on their sites. For instance, Inman asked ChatGPT to “write code that will embed a gif of a real estate agent in WordPress.”

This was the (hilarious and somewhat confusing) result:

Whether you think that gif is an accurate representation of real estate agents or not isn’t really the point. Instead, the key thing to keep in mind is that the “content” ChatGPT wrote is coding language that exists on the backend of this post. The process wasn’t perfect — the gif was initially displaying as a thumbnail and Inman had to tweak it to make it full size — but it’s still worth considering that chatbot content can take on many forms.

Inman additionally asked ChatGPT to “write a recipe for gluten-free double chocolate cookies.” And it delivered (though Inman has not yet tried baking this recipe):

The real point here is that consumer-facing content, such as listing descriptions and blog posts is just the tip of the iceberg.
AI content is also becoming even more interactive. For example, Instacart has a ChatGPT plugin that allows users to generate recipes and add ingredients to their online shopping carts in one swoop.

Restaurant reservation company OpenTable is doing something similar; the company has a ChatGPT plugin that combines the process of finding a place to eat and reserving a table.

Real estate technology companies are experimenting with similar technology, though we’ll dive into that topic in a future post. For now, the point is that chatbots can do a lot more than just chat.

“I suspect the most impactful innovations will be AI-powered features that enhance existing products,” Czechowski concluded.

Is AI going to destroy the world?

As with any new technology, the rise of intelligent chatbots has elicited a host of concerns. Perhaps most alarmingly, a group of famous technology leaders including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak recently argued that “AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth” and “can pose profound risks to society and humanity.” The leaders consequently want companies to pause their AI experiments.

In the meantime, and before the robot uprising becomes real, more practical issues abound: For instance, copyrights. If a human writes something, that person owns the copyright to that content. If an AI chatbot then lifts passages from that content, it would be guilty of plagiarism. Explicit plagiarism is likely rare, given that chatbots draw on vast troves of sources, but it may also be hard for users to even know if the responses they get are stolen or not.

It’s also unclear who owns the content that AI generates. In general, writing is only considered copyrighted when created by a human — meaning AI content would not typically be protected. The U.S. Copyright Office has indicated it may begin granting copyright status to AI-generated material, but only on a case-by-case basis.

What this means is that chatbot users may not own the content they’re using. Someone could create a unique blog post, and then watch helplessly as another personcopies that post onto another website — something that isn’t allowed with traditional human-generated content.

Other concerns include the potential for bias to be baked into a bot’s programming, factual errors and the possibility of AI servers becoming overwhelmed and cutting off access.

But probably the biggest concern floating around right now is that ChatGPT and similar tech could ultimately replace human jobs. Odd, for instance, noted that some of her real estate peers seem to hold the tech at arm’s length, afraid that it might ultimately render agents obsolete.

However, all of the industry members who spoke to Inman said that chatbots are not on the verge of replacing real estate professionals. Cacioppo, for one, repeatedly said the content that chatbots create is simply not good enough to eliminate human involvement.

“You always will need a level of human intervention,” he argued. “AI does not do a good job of discriminating fact from fiction.”
Odd made a similar point, noting that “one thing AI can’t do is replace invaluable experience and knowledge.”

“Those agents who have 30 years of experience,” she said, “there’s no way AI can replace their knowledge.”

Czechowski, meanwhile, argued that AI will lead to greater efficiency. And he sees agents as retaining their place in the industry, even as “most of the information-providing aspects of the job will be delegated to AI-powered tools.” At the same time, he continued, the technology will “supercharge real estate professionals.”

“It will enable the rise of the truly tech-enabled real estate agent — one who can serve more consumers on a more consistent basis, and provide an even higher quality of service,” Czechowski said. “It will lead to a huge productivity boost in many job types across the entire real estate industry, as it helps to automate most of the more tedious aspects of daily work to free up time to focus on the more creative parts of the job.”
The Chatbot Revolution Has Begun Here's What Agents Need to Know
Back in 2020, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted a law allowing the remote notarization of documents, commercial and residential alike, during the state of emergency triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Although that law is set to expire, it has now been replaced with new statutory provisions designed to make remote notarization a permanent alternative to in-person acknowledgments. The new statute won’t take effect until January 1, 2024. In the meantime, the Secretary of State will need to promulgate rules and regulations specifying how remote notarization will work. In addition, any notary wishing to perform remote notarizations will be required to register with the Secretary, who is authorized to require candidates to complete an educational course on the subject. 

For now, here’s an outline of what to expect:
• Remote notarization will need to utilize a “tamper-evident” technology which can be counted on to identify any changes made to the notary’s records.
• Notaries will be permitted to sign and stamp documents electronically.
• A tangible copy of an electronic notarization, certified as accurate by the notary, will be sufficient for recording at the Registry of Deeds, although special rules may apply to so-called “registered land” under the jurisdiction of the Land Court.
• The notarization must be performed during a “single, real-time session”.
• The notary will be responsible for creating an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarization. These recordings must be retained for at least ten years and made available to the parties to the relevant transaction as well as title insurers and legal enforcement agencies. 
• Remote notarization is unavailable in the case of election documents or wills.
• A notary performing a remote notarization must be physically located in Massachusetts and be able to confirm the identity of the person whose signature is being acknowledged; alternative forms of identification include personal knowledge, the affirmation of a credible, disinterested witness personally known to the notary or two forms of “identity proofing” to be established by the Secretary.
• If a document is notarized remotely, the notary’s  certificate must so indicate, identifying the notary’s location and that of the person whose signature was acknowledged.
• In the case of sales or financings involving a one-four family residential dwelling, remote notarizations may be performed only by an attorney or a person supervised by or acting pursuant to a direct request by the attorney handling the closing. 
More information will be available once the Secretary’s rules and regulations are in place. 

Philip S. Lapatin
Holland & Knight LLP
March 31, 2023

New State Law Will Allow Remote Notarization
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

By focusing on optimizing the efficiencies in your business and serving others with the highest level of service possible, your continued success is inevitable

The real estate market has changed and top-producing agents realize they must change as well. They understand the success they’ve achieved in the past will not continue unless they adjust to the new market environment and optimize their operation.

The following are the seven power moves top-producing agents are making right now.

1. They’re evaluating expenses

With fewer transactions available real estate professionals are evaluating all of their expenses. They are deciding which expenses are yielding an acceptable return on their investment and which expenses should be reduced or eliminated.

The savings from expense reductions flow straight to the bottom line, and this practice not only increases profitability, but it also offers an opportunity to identify expenses that may need to be increased due to the positive return they render.

If you’re wondering how to evaluate the expenses in your business, start by making a list of all expenses you’ve incurred over the past 90 days. If these aren’t readily available, begin keeping an expense diary for the next 30 days.

Evaluate and quantify the value, or lack thereof, for each expense. I like to break these down into four categories:
• Must keep: Expenses that cannot be eliminated or reduced due to their positive impact on the business.
• Keep but reduce: Expenses that help the business but could be reduced in the short term and reevaluated when the business improves.
• Eliminate now but reconsider later: Expenses that are unnecessary in the current market environment but they may return to viability in an improved market.
• Eliminate immediately or as soon as possible: These are expenses with no merit now or in the foreseeable future.

Anything you inspect, you can expect to perform better. Evaluating all your business expenses is a great place to begin optimizing your business for success.

2. They’re evaluating income

Top-producing Realtors are examining where their income originates. They are identifying the areas that have been the most and least productive. Once they identify these areas, they are choosing to spend more time and effort on the activities yielding transactions while eliminating the ones that are less productive.

If you’re wondering how to evaluate your business income, start by making a list of all your transactions over the past three years. Off to the side of each transaction, identify what activity initiated that transaction. Was it 
• a referral
• someone you met originally at an open house
• an internet lead
• a lead from your geographical farming efforts
• a customer from another activity you may have been doing
Once you have an activity identified beside each transaction, total how many transactions have come from each activity. Then divide the number of transactions that came from that activity by the total number of transactions. These percentages will clearly identify the most productive income-generating activities you have in your business.

By focusing your efforts on the activities with the best results, the efficiency in, and in turn income, of your business will increase.

3. They’re building systems

Top real estate agents are using this time to build systems in their businesses. They understand the pace with which the business moved over the past few years made it difficult to slow down enough to build systems. That is not the case today.

These top agents are using this slowdown in transactions as an opportunity to prepare their business to not only run more efficiently now, but to have the capacity to handle more business in the future.

The best way to build systems for your business is to identify repetitive activities that can be systemized via checklists or automation. Checklists for a new listing, contract-to-close activities, post-closing activities, marketing plans for a new listing, or other similar activities are a great way to make sure nothing is missed throughout the process.

Developing automated follow-up systems for online leads, drip campaigns for nurturing future clients, building marketing plans for expired listings and FSBOs, or any other plans of action that can be outlined and easily followed provides the leverage needed to expand the business.

The systems put in place today are the seeds for future business expansion. Make sure you’re utilizing this time to prepare your business for future growth.

4. They’re upgrading the talent around them

The best real estate agents are taking this time to upgrade the talent around them. They’re evaluating every person they have on their team. 

The paid employees being evaluated might include their personal assistant, their transaction coordinator, or their buyer’s agent. They’re also evaluating the people they depend on to assist their clients, including but not limited to, their preferred lender, their preferred home inspector, and the handyman they refer clients to.

They realize this is not a time to accept mediocrity in regard to any members of their team whether employed by them or someone they refer business to. They are identifying the service providers who have not only provided great service but who have also returned the favor by referring business to them. By doing so, they can identify whether the relationship has the potential to be a two-way street of growing together or not.

Now is the time to assemble the most talented team possible to serve your clients at the highest level possible. The people around you will determine how much growth your business is capable of having.

5. They’re focusing on where the puck will be instead of where it has been

This is a play on the famous quote from Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Top agents realize there are certain activities they can focus on now that will position them for success both in the short term and for the long term. They’re spending time on areas like producing evergreen video content that will work for them while they sleep for years to come. 

They’re focusing on their Google Business Profile page with an understanding that time spent optimizing their page today provides compounding opportunities now and in the future. 

They’re building their social media presence with an understanding that the value of an engaged social media following will reap an abundant harvest in the coming years.

By focusing on these and other core activities, they are setting the stage for unprecedented growth in the future.

6. They’re having more real estate-related conversations

The best real estate agents realize the most valuable assets they have are their relationships. Top agents are utilizing this time to check-in with their past clients and their sphere of influence.

They’re also expanding their reach by engaging with as many new people as possible. 

They’re hosting more open houses to increase their ability to have conversations with new potential clients. They’re letting the neighbors know about their new listing either by door knocking or circle prospecting. They’re joining clubs, service organizations or charitable groups to expand the number of relationships they have.

They understand the number of transactions they close this year and in the future will be a direct result of the number of real estate-related conversations they have.

7. They’re getting greedy while other agents are fearful

This is a play on the famous Warren Buffett quote: “I get fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

The market today includes a lot of agents who are fearful and unsure of what to do. Top producers understand that chaos creates opportunity. While other agents are fearful, top agents are getting greedy.

They’re getting greedy about producing more content allowing them to broaden their reach and market share. They’re getting greedy by taking on more geographical farm areas while others are pulling back or leaving the business. 

They’re getting greedy by focusing on adding more value than ever before to the market with an understanding that by giving more today, they’re gaining market share even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

They understand the real estate market is cyclical, and they recognize now is the opportunity to take market share by doing the business the right way while others struggle to survive.

Is your desire to grow your business this year? What are you doing right now that your competition isn’t? By focusing on optimizing the efficiencies in your business and serving others with the highest level of service possible, your continued success is inevitable.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.
7 Power Moves Top Agents Are Making Right Now


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