Tom Blythe here from B & R Enterprises Home Inspection Services and we wanted you to know that we care about you and we want to do all we can to help you succeed, in spite of this crazy market.  So here’s what we are doing:  We are searching high and low for great “Grow your Real Estate Business" tips and strategies from some of the best coaches and writers on the topic.  Our hope is that you will be able to take this information and implement it into your real estate business to help you grow.
So when I saw this article below, I knew I had to share it with you!

Cement Products and Cracks

Cement products commonly crack.  Generally speaking, some cracking is to be expected with most cement products.  However, for every crack there is a force that caused it, and it is beyond the ability of a home inspector to determine the cause of most cracks by looking at it one time.

What do all cracks have in common regardless of size?  They all started as a small crack.  Since our inspection is a pint in time, it just may be we are looking at tomorrow’s large crack when we see a hairline crack today.

The “apparent” cause of some cracks might be obvious, such as drainage or settlement problems.  We will report these conditions in our report with the appropriate recommendations for corrections and/or further evaluation.  However, cause is not always apparent, or the apparent cause can be deceiving or could be from multiple causes!!

The cause of cracks in cement products can be from a myriad of causes ranging from improper mixture of materials, placement and/or curing, to shrinkage, settlement, and/or racking.  Determining the cause of cracks is beyond the scope of a home inspection.  If needed, we can provide our clients with names of the appropriate person to determine the cause of the cracking.

Both CREIA and ASHI standards of practice do not require professional home inspectors to determine the cause of anything.  We are generalists who report what we see.

How To Make Your 3rd & 4th Quarters Strong
by Christy Crouch

I finally heard something on the news the other day about the recession being over and the housing market finally showing improvement.  Wow, what a breath of fresh air that was.  I’m sure you all agree with that?

I have spent the last week or two out of my business to work on it.  I went to the beach for a few days with my family and just took some time out of the grind to look at what I’ve been doing, and what I want to do as I move forward to the 3rd and 4th quarters of this year.  My intention is to make 2009 a great year despite what’s occured in the market and in the economy.

I wrote a small plan for myself for the remainder of this year and wanted to share it with you in hopes that it will help to inspire you to have a great 2nd half of this year as well.

I have committed to the following:

For at least one hour each day I am going to focus 100% of my time, focus, and energy toward generating brand new business. Talking, finding, mailing or door knocking to people that I’ve never talked to before and asking them if I can help them buy or sell real estate.

I am going to spend at least one hour per day following up on leads that I already have to generate appointments.

I am going to spend one hour each day communicating with and servicing my current clients.

I am going to spend 1 hour per week working in getting price reductions on my active listings.

I am going to spend 30 minutes each day working “ON" my business and not “IN" it.

I am going to take at least 15 minutes everyday in complete solitude to be grateful for and appreciate all that I have been blessed with and to visualize the things yet to come.

I am going to spend one hour a day exercising and/or stretching.

I am going to spend 2 quality hours per evening with my husband and two kids creating the family life that we all say we want, but don’t seem to take the
time to actually create.  (This will mean no tv in the evenings for us :).

I am going to call at least 5 past clients every single day to say hello and see if I can support them in any way.

This is only about 5 hours out of the business day and 2 after hours. This leaves plenty of time for showing houses, listing appointments, and necessary administrative work.

Surely you can agree that following a daily routine like this could improve your business, well being, and happiness, can’t you?

I invite you to commit to this and join me for the next few months and see what a difference it makes for you.

Remember, You’re The Difference so let’s be the difference together and Make 2009 Our Year!

Enhance Your Online Presence for Greatest Impact
by Robin Roth

In today’s market, having a strong online presence is essential. You probably already know that! Unfortunately, many (most?) of us tend to set up our websites, then ignore them for weeks or even months at a time.

An effective online presence requires continuous “care and feeding." Without that, your websites will stagnate, lose visitors, and eventually drop out of sight.

So, during this slower economy, set aside a day or two, to burnish your online image and spruce up your websites. Here are a few ideas that you might find helpful:

Overall impression: Look at each website with a critical eye. Is it neat, or cluttered? Is it modern, or old fashioned? Does it use too many colors? Are your name and company’s name lost in the array of information? Are you adhering to your company’s branding guidelines? Using a fresh look / template for your website will attract more consumers. Limiting the number of colors to 2 (in addition to black and white) will make the website easier to read.

Organization: How easy or difficult is it for consumers to locate information in your website? Do you have tabs or a navigational sidebar? How many sections are there? Research shows that 7 ± 2 is an appropriate number of items for any kind of list. You can help consumers locate information through the overall redesign, by renaming sections, by reordering sections, and by keeping the number of sections near 7.

Biographical information: How stale is your biography / “about me" section? When is the last time you updated it? Have you accomplished anything at all, since you wrote the existing copy, that would make a good addition to your biography? Does your biography truly reflect who you are now, or is it dated? If you were a consumer, would your biography instill confidence and trust in you? This is one place where good friends may be of help. Ask your friends why they think you’re a good real estate professional, and why they would recommend you to their acquaintances. Then, weave their reasons into your biography. Warning: You may find that you have to start “from scratch"!
Images: If you have used clip art on your website, remove it. If you believe that the page must have an image, then use a high-quality photograph. Photos of your marketplace are the best, but you can purchase photos, relatively inexpensively, from services like Dreamstime, iStockphoto, and others.

Blogs: You should be updating every blog at least once each week, preferably two or three times. This is particularly critical for the blog on your main website. That’s where consumers will look for your marketplace information. Don’t neglect your independent blogs, either. If well done, and updated regularly, they will drive consumers to your main website. If you don’t yet have a blog that is independent of your website, I would recommend using Blogger, which is hosted by Google. It is a very easy-to-use platform, offers a variety of attractive templates, and facilitates including a number of useful widgets in your blog’s sidebar. If you are more comfortable with technology and know some HTML, then WordPress provides an excellent blogging platform. You can also apply to have your independent blogs listed on a local or industry aggregator website.

Listings: Do I really need to talk about listings on your website? Well, yes, unfortunately. You may not be guilty of this particular crime, but some real estate professionals do a terrible job of presenting their listings online. What do consumers want? Information and pictures — lots of both. So, every single listing you have should include as many good-quality, well-conceived images as you can fit into your template, a virtual tour, detailed information about the rooms and features of the property, a floorplan (when available), a map showing the property’s location, and links to other information, such as nearby schools.

Consumer information: If you’re like most real estate professionals, you include helpful information for consumers on your website. You may include information about the buying and selling processes, financing a purchase, community resources, up-coming events, and vendors / service providers you recommend. Information like this is valuable, but it can very quickly become obsolete — especially an events section. Mentally “flag" this part of your website for a thorough review, at least once a month, to ensure that all of the links still work, and the information is current.

Social media: After you have updated your primary real estate websites, apply the same analysis to each of your social media sites. And, if you’re not participating in, at least, these social networking forums, sign up!

When you have completed these tasks, and are pleased with the look and functionality of your websites, do not just pat yourself on your back and walk away. Before you break out the celebratory sparkling wine, create a plan to ensure that your online presence never again becomes stale.

You can do a lot in just 15–30 minutes a day, by selecting one website or one type of task for special focus. Make a list of website components that should be updated regularly (for example, listings, blogs, financial information, community information, images, and so on), and simply cycle through them, day by day.

Now, you’re ready to celebrate!

Believe in Yourself: 16 Basic Principles To Succeed

Believe in Yourself: 16 Basic Principles to Succeed
by Mark Leader

Anywhere, at any time, the real estate market is what you see it to be.

If you believe you can succeed in the market, then you can. If you believe that the market is a disaster for everyone, then you cannot.

If you think nothing else will happen today — then nothing will happen.

You can go to all the real estate classes you want and employ self-motivation to work harder, but if you do not believe in your own ability to succeed, it won’t happen.

Of course, real estate professionals have to be realistic about the market in which they work. You can’t constantly have 20% price increases along with 2% wage increases. That kind of market had to come to an end.

Real estate brokers and agents must face the truth of the current market. They must believe in their own abilities to manage and to sell homes in this market.

Everything else is teachable, but believing in yourself has to come first.

I’ve developed 16 basic principles that allow a sales professional to have not just a good year, but an extraordinary year, regardless of the real estate market.

1. Aim
You need to have a definite aim in life, not just a vague sense of what you’d like to be doing in a few years. This aim is what defines your days.

2. Self-confidence
Every sales professional needs to develop a strong sense of confidence in his ability to do anything. Success is impossible without self-confidence.

3. Initiative
If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance. Sales professionals are by nature risk-takers.

4. Imagination
Every successful sales professional needs to be creative in developing solutions to the problems that occur in every transaction and in finding new ways to attract new business.

5. Action
In order to be successful, you need to be active, not passive, particularly in a slow market.

6. Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm builds confidence in you and in your clients. No one wants to work with an agent who lacks passion about real estate.

7. Self-control
Times are tough, and agents, along with everyone else, can get frustrated. But expressing that frustration is one of the fastest ways to lose a client or a deal.

8. Perform more work and better work than you are paid to perform
The greatest gift a REALTOR® can give is great customer service, not an expensive closing gift.
9. Develop an attractive personality
Everyone in the sales community needs to recognize the traits that make others comfortable and pleasant to be around, and develop these traits themselves.

10. Accurate thought
Would you want to work with a scatterbrain while making the largest investment of your lifetime?

11. Concentration
Clients need focused, thoughtful support more than ever.

12. Persistency
There is not one giant step that does everything. It’s a lot of little steps.

13. Failures
Learn to look at your failures as lessons to be learned, and they will have a positive impact on your life and career.

14. Tolerance and sympathy
If someone hurts you, learn to forgive them, and try to be understanding. Success is the greatest revenge.

15. Work ethic
Develop the good work habits that earn you a reputation as one of the hardest-working agents in your market.

16. The Golden Rule
Ultimately, in real estate as in life, you reap what you sow.

Effective Open House

Posted by Rich Levin at 9/28/2009 1:29 PM
Categories: Coaching
Tags: rich levin open house

The following is an excerpt from an email I received from a client.

I have consistently and systematically used your open house techniques and strategies, and the simplicity of the plan works EVERY time.  I am asking for the appointments AT the opens, and people are saying yes…in fact I did a pre-qualification meeting last evening with a couple whom I just met Sunday past.
My broker mentioned my four July sales, and asked where I obtained the leads.  I told him it was an “overnight" success from doing open houses for 18 months worth of weekends! I just wanted to say Thank you.

Here is a bit of what this Agent is doing to succeed.

The goal of the Open House is to sell the property. As soon as you determine that the Guest is not interested in the property the goal becomes making an appointment with the Guest to meet with you for a buyer presentation.

Here in part are some ideas for Effective Open Houses

1.  Have the seller make the house look its best. If you have to, do some tidying up yourself.

2.  Send invitations to portions of your Sphere of Influence/Clients and Farm Markets. Ask the Sellers if they would like to invite the people on the block.

3.  Turn on every light. Open every curtain. Make the house look, smell and sound great.

4.  Bring fact sheets, switch properties, closing cost worksheets, business cards, personal brochures, a sample purchase offer, and anything that makes the buyers pause.

5.  Consider posting some professional looking small placards with notes like:
• New energy and cost savings Pella Windows
• Trash compactor
• Peak around the corner for the jacuzzi bath
• Central vacuum
• High energy efficient furnace
• Intercom

6.  Put different groups of switch properties in order of location, price, style, and any other feature that may be an attraction to buyers of the subject property.

7.  Greet each buyer. Thank them for coming. Tell them your name and offer your hand. Offer a fact sheet. Tell a few key items about the house and tell them to feel free to wander on their own.  Then ask, “May I have your name and phone number please?”  Or, ask them to sign an Open House Register or complete a registration card.

8.  Gently ask … “Do you live in the area?”

9. Let them wander. Give them some space and time. Then catch up to them, and ask: “What was it about this property that attracted you to the Open House? Would you like to see some information on other houses with (had whatever they were attracted by)?”

10. Write private, detailed notes so you can recall them,

11. Ask for an appointment at the open house!
Most importantly, ask each Guest to meet with you to discuss helping them in their efforts to find, finance, and purchase their next home.

Realtors &Rattlesnakes
Posted by Paul Pastore

What can real estate agents learn from the pesky, western diamondback rattlesnake? The same lessons agents can learn by staying away from toxic buyers & sellers. First, if in doubt, don’t go near their habitats. Second, be on the look out for their presence. And lastly, listen for their distinctive sounds.

For over three decades I’ve run in the mountains surrounding Phoenix. On at least a dozen occasions I’ve come within a few feet of a rattlesnake. On every outing the snake felt me coming before I heard its distinctive rattle. Wisely, I chose to avoid the strike zone of the venomous viper.

There are buyers and sellers that every agent should also avoid.They reside in every country and county. Their poison can be toxic on yourtime, and sometimes impervious to an errors & omission policy. The canparalyze your sanity, and pollute your stream of referrals.

For example, the other day I visited an expired listing. The exterior of the house had what appeared to be overgrown landscaping. The interior had well-worn, yellow sculptured carpeting. The pad was nonexistent in the main traffic areas. The bedrooms were cluttered. My experience told me this could be a snake pit.

Fortunately, the owner seemed friendly. When I asked why the house didn’t sell with the previous agent, I heard the rattling sound. “I don’thave to sell & I’m not coming down on my price". The owner ‘hissed’ and said she had one low offer and she believed there were other ‘verbal’ offers that were never presented.

Snakes can be stubborn, and when confronted can become hostile. This seller knew all the comps, pendings, and active listings in her area. She believed the “feng shui" and “energy" in her home should command a premium price. When a seller tells me their ‘unique selling proposition (USP) is an energy force, it is a signal to leave this ‘twilightzone’ before the snakes begin to slither.