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We often get asked about the signs used with our toll-free capture and texting services.  What size are they?  Do you have riders? Are they color? Are they reusable? etc…  Here are some answers to many of the questions we have been asked about our Real Estate Yard Signs:

How much do your real estate yard signs cost?

  • 18″x 24″ 8mm (heavy duty) Cor-X Panels (including H-stake) are $37.00 each for quantities less than 10 and $34.00 each for quantities of 10 or more
  • 6″x24″ rider (Cor-X Panels or aluminum) are $15.00 each for quantities less than 10 and $10.00 each for for quantities of 10 or more
  • Shipping is included in the cost of the signs.

Are the real estate yard signs reusable?

  • Yes, they are!  Each sign will have a unique code on it.  This code is assigned to a listing when you set it up in our system.  Once you sell the listing you can reassign the code to another property and use the sign again.

Where are the holes in the riders placed?

  • The standard hole placement is: two center holes are 16″ on center and the two outside holes are 2 1/2″ to center from the outside edges both on top and bottom.  Hole placement can be however you’d like or you can have no holes at all. We will confirm the placement of holes with you before we order the signs.

I have my own Real Estate sign company, can I use them?

  • Yes, you can.  We will provide you with a template and guidelines on what is required on each sign.  You can then take this to your sign company and get them or use the guidelines to create your own unique sign.

Do I have to order signs to use your texting and toll-free capture service?

  • No, but if you want to get the most out of our service it is advisable.  We have many REALTORS® that promote their text messaging and toll-free call capture in many other mediums and are quite successful but they still place signs in the yard to get the most impact.

Are the signs full color? Double sided?

  • Yes and yes.  All signs are full color and double-sided.  The colors are designed to match your agency’s colors to provide consistent branding.

What do the signs and riders look like?

The post Texting and Toll-Free Capture Real Estate Yard Signs appeared first on Agent Sauce.

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In this episode we discuss 5 things that impact your marketing 2019. This isn’t a New Year Resolution list. It is great advice on things to update and do in 2019. 

Podcast Takeaways
  • SSL – More important than ever!
  • MOBILE FIRST – Sites must take into account how they work with mobile devices.
  • PODCAST – An easy and upcoming marketing medium.
  • VIDEO – Done right can be very powerful.
  • GOOGLE MY BUSINESS – If you’re local you need it!
2019 Real Estate Marketing Trends Podcast Transcript

Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to The Real Estate Marketing Minute. I’m your host Adam Small, and with us today is Doug Karr. Hi, Doug. How ya doing?
Douglas Karr: The long lost Doug Karr.
Adam Small: Yeah, I know. It’s been a little while since you’ve been on with us, hasn’t it?
Douglas Karr: Well, we closed down the studio, so now you and I have to just get together in different places.
Adam Small: Glad to have you back.
Douglas Karr: Good to be back.
Adam Small: Yeah. So, we were talking earlier, and we kind of decided it would be a cool thing to do a podcast on marketing trends for 2019.
Douglas Karr: I like that. What I hate though, is the resolution ones, like, this is what you’ve gotta do, you know?
Adam Small: Oh, where they tell you the-
Douglas Karr: Yeah.
Adam Small: Yeah, because I think half of those are wrong and then the other half of it’s either super expensive to implement or it’s only gonna help like maybe 5% of the people, right?
Douglas Karr: Right. Right. And I think in the real estate business, it’s built on relationships so it’s pretty consistent. You know work of mouth, and then we’re gonna talk about the things that can help with that.
Adam Small: Right, right, right, right.
Douglas Karr: We’ll start with SSL?
Adam Small: Sure, we’ll start with SSL. So, here over the last few years, SEL has always been a big thing for real estate marketing and you know any sort of marketing in general online.
Douglas Karr: Organic search, people searching for terms within google and finding houses from real estate agents.
Adam Small: Right and when you say google, it’s actually any search engine, right?
Douglas Karr: Sure.
Adam Small: But google has the lion share.
Douglas Karr: 99% of the market.
Adam Small: Yeah, so one of the things that google’s done here over the last year or so is in order to rank better and not have if you’re using google chrome, which is their browser, and let’s be honest, if you look at your analytics traffic on your website, probably 78% of the is in fact Google Chrome, so the lion share is google chrome.
Douglas Karr: Yeah. I think Safari’s starting to creep up and then I read lately that Microsoft is actually gonna use Chromium as a base, so I think we’ll start to see some changes.
Adam Small: Yeah.
Douglas Karr: But for the most part, it’s the same engine.
Adam Small: And my point in saying that is Google in their Google Chrome browser is saying if a site isn’t SSL, then they’re gonna flag it up top as not safe or not secure.
Douglas Karr: Yeah and Safari’s gonna do the same.
Adam Small: Right, and then the other piece of that is from an SEO perspective, search engine optimization perspective, Google also says that having that SSL certificate will have some impact on ranking.
Douglas Karr: Yeah.
Adam Small: And you know that’s as clear as they get, right? And they don’t tell you that this is a major ranking factor. They just say it will have some impact. How much that is, nobody really knows except them.
Douglas Karr: Well, I think there’s a couple reasons, right, in the eyes of Google, they want a good user experience and so almost every single website now, you put information into.
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: So even if it’s your real estate site, you’re gonna enter your contact information, maybe a phone number in a field.
Adam Small: Right. Well-
Douglas Karr: If they don’t have a secure certificate, then it’s just gonna be raw data that’s floating through the interwebs.
Adam Small: It’s gonna get transmitted over the internet in clear text so it can be seen by anybody in between.
Douglas Karr: Right and so I think on one side, they’re just trying to get a best practice-
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: … In there from a user standpoint. But on the other side, too, is it’s so easy now to spin up websites and domains and everything else that all these spammers out there, they could spin up 100 websites in a couple seconds and then spin them back down when they get caught, but configuring an SSL certificate and having them verify the business and everything else is a lot more difficult.
Adam Small: It does get more difficult and you know it’s funny because as Google is putting that requirement out there or that recommendation at the same time making it quote unquote harder for spammers to spin up websites, there are also tools out there that are making it easier to add SSL too you know-
Douglas Karr: Spin up SSL, yeah. It’s true.
Adam Small: Add SSL certificates, right, so let’s encrypt is a really good one that comes to mind because they’ve got a great little process where they can verify everything and you know it’s done through command line so it’s a little bit harder for the average Joe, but at the same time, it can also be automated and therefore it can be utilized by the spammers as well.
Douglas Karr: Yeah. You can, in the long run, yeah, but-
Adam Small: Also at the same time they’re making it easier to do SSL and Google’s requiring it for you know security and that sort of thing, it’s still a good thing one way or the other because it does help eliminate some of that work or it makes it harder, it does still make it harder for the spammers as well as make your site more secure and give people a better comfort factor like you said, a user’s experience when they come to visit your site.
Douglas Karr: The other thing too that I would add to that is if you’re on a web post that requires some kind of technical capability to install SSL, you’re probably on an older, slower web post.
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: SSL on an older site-
Adam Small: It can bring the site down.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, it can slow you down. So, I would really recommend people invest the money and get with a host that has a one click security install and everything else because they’ve probably got other tools to keep the site fast as well.
Adam Small: Right, that’s just a matter of keeping up with technology.
Douglas Karr: People might, you know, I won’t say the name, it begins with a color and ends with host. But they’re so slow, the sites are so bad that Google literally doesn’t index them well because they’re so slow.
Adam Small: Right, analyze it right because they can’t pull the data, right.
Douglas Karr: Yeah. And what people don’t understand is they might be paying ten bucks a month for that or whatever and a really really good host is 30 dollars a month.
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: And so, if you sold one more house a year-
Adam Small: Exactly. The return on it is amazing-
Douglas Karr: Unbelievable.
Adam Small: … for that small amount of investment, there’s no doubt.
Douglas Karr: Plus, the new ones have automatic back ups, they have security monitoring. They have everything that you need, so spend the money and get with a good host.
Adam Small: Exactly. Exactly. So, what’s the next thing on our topic there? Next topic on our list, Doug?
Douglas Karr: I think big time mobile first and what we mean by that is sometimes people won’t necessarily make a conscious purchase decision on a mobile device, but people are researching a ton via mobile so they’re, if I go check out a piece of equipment that I might wanna buy or something, I’m gonna sit and watch TV and have my phone out, be reading about it, looking it up, everything else, and then maybe the next day, I’ll get on my desktop and actually purchase it.
Adam Small: Right. Well, and from a real estate perspective, you know, the vast majority of real estate searches start online. I think the number, depending on the resources your look at, it’s anywhere from 80 to 95 percent start online and chances are good in today’s day and age, that starting online, it’s on a mobile device and probably an app of some sort and you know if I had to guess, it’s one of the big three in the real estate industries and the realtor.com, Zillow, maybe Trulia, that would be my guess. You know there are a couple others that are growing, but they haven’t quite got that penetration and such that those three have, so one way or another, it’s mobile first. It’s starting on mobile.
Douglas Karr: And so your site has to be mobile first as well.
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: If I go to your website and it’s not easy to navigate and-
Adam Small: It’s not easy to find the information you want, that when I go and I look at the listing, I can’t see the pictures because they’re distorted or load take forever to load up, or whatever it is for me to get through it, I’m just gonna move on, you know? I’m not even gonna get to the point where I go home and I look at it the next day, or if I’m sitting at my house, I say, well, I’m gonna get on my computer and see this better. That’s not gonna happen.
Douglas Karr: Right, we talked about it before from an SEO standpoint. So Google gives different results based on whether you’re mobile or desktop.
Adam Small: Right, right.
Douglas Karr: So if your site isn’t mobile friendly, even if your buttons are too close together or your links are too close together-
Adam Small: And it’s amazing that they actually check that stuff, there are actual programs that can help give you an idea of the, I mean, if that’s what’s going on, Google has tools that help you know about those errors on your site. So they actually do check.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, you can just, if you google mobile friendly test, it’ll tell you-
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: But the thing is though, if people are you know sitting at night and they’re punching into a browser you know houses for sale in this zip code or whatever, and your site is not optimized for mobile, you’re not even gonna show up-
Adam Small: You’re not gonna show up at all.
Douglas Karr: … on the page. Right. And so, if your competitors are and again, we’re talking about minimal investment. You can go get a site nowadays that’s mobile friendly and what do we pay for some of the themes that we-
Adam Small: Well, you know, for single, one time use, you can buy a great theme from some place like theme forest for anywhere for 40 to 100 bucks.
Douglas Karr: And it’s totally mobile optimized.
Adam Small: And it’s great themed, completely mobile optimized, amazing feature set, that sort of thing, you know, so I would definitely make sure that if your website’s a couple years old that you revisit it, not only looking at it on mobile making sure that it looks good, but make sure that it loads fast and that everything’s readable. Run that mobile friendly test on it from google and it’s really eye opening.
Douglas Karr: It is. And again, what we’re saying here is that you might have a beautiful website on desktop, but if people are going to it first on a mobile device and they’re not gonna take the time to go visit you tomorrow on desktop if they can’t see it, so make sure that your site is mobile optimized. What’s next on our list there?
Adam Small: Maybe we should talk about mediums a little bit, like real time videos and podcasting?
Douglas Karr: Oh yeah, absolutely. So you know, every year it seems like it’s gonna be the year of the video.
Adam Small: Yeah, right?
Douglas Karr: Right? For the last ten years.
Adam Small: And the same with podcasting for that matter, right. But I do feel like this coming year, 2019, they’re really coming into their own. Obviously if you’re listening to our podcasts, you’re a podcast listener, so it’s a great way to reach people. There are a lot of great advantages to doing a podcast because if you do one regularly, then you have regular content that you can refocus and put up on your website, take advantage of that. Put it on your social channels, take advantage of that. So, you know, that’s a big thing from just kind of a process perspective, but they’re also great ways of being found, right? We’ve been doing our podcast, we’re actually, I think this is our second year.
Douglas Karr: Nice.
Adam Small: Of doing our podcast. We finished up two full years of it now-
Douglas Karr: Woohoo.
Adam Small: Exactly. And what we’re finding is that our podcast downloads are increasing and it’s a weird kind of correlation, but at the same time our website visits are increasing and nobody’s ever said well you know I heard your podcast and so I checked out your site, but you know there’s a correlation between the two and maybe it’s just an overall marketing effort, but there’s something to it.
Douglas Karr: Well, and sometimes people if you’re on the way to work or you’re jogging on the treadmill or whatever a podcast comes in handy, where you’re reaching an audience that might not go and read your website or whatever and so you gotta remember that it’s not about you know that you gotta be everything to everybody, it’s literally that you got a segment of the population that they love podcasts, they’re listening to podcasts.
Adam Small: Well and you know like with Agent Soft, one of the thing that we do is text and toll free call capture, right? And we tell people when somebody texts or calls in, you respond to them in the same fashion because they’re telling you-
Douglas Karr: Oh, thank you.
Adam Small: They’re telling you the medium that they prefer to communicate with, that’s exactly what you’re talking about here. So yeah, we put the podcast out right, but the reason that we repurpose it and put out a transcript of it is because some people aren’t gonna sit and listen to it.
Douglas Karr: Exactly.
Adam Small: Right, they’re not gonna watch a video, but they will read something. But then other people, like, I’m not reading that, I’m gonna play that in the background you know while I’m doing something else or I’d rather see a video. So it’s all about finding the medium and being on those mediums when somebody’s looking for what you do.
Douglas Karr: You hit it on the head because I have an issue with my refrigerator where I have to, some kind of latch mechanism or whatever, I have to close the door funny on it. And so I called the refrigerator, I emailed the refrigerator company, you know it was info at and their domain.com. So I clicked email-
Adam Small: You have faith in that one, didn’t you?
Douglas Karr: I clicked it and it was a local refrigerator repair company, so it’s a legitimate business. But I clicked it, emailed them, they emailed me back and said call this number and we’ll make an appointment.
Adam Small: If I wanted to call, I would have called.
Douglas Karr: That’s exactly it and I never called them. I mean I didn’t call them because I was like you just took the time to respond via email. Why didn’t you just say yeah, we can come out and take a look, here’s some times, do they work for you?
Adam Small: Right. Right.
Douglas Karr: And it’s the same conversation I would have had on the phone.
Adam Small: Exactly.
Douglas Karr: It’s nuts.
Adam Small: Exactly.
Douglas Karr: So, and sometimes I don’t wanna talk to people.
Adam Small: So, you know that’s podcasting and honestly video is the same concept.
Douglas Karr: Well, let’s do one more thing on podcasting because before this podcast, we were actually talking about it and that’s the price of equipment has really plummeted.
Adam Small: Right, right, right, I was actually gonna bring that up. I’m glad you did.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, so. I mean, Adam and I are sitting across from each other, we have a Zoom H6, which is kind of the Cadillac of-
Adam Small: Boom recording devices.
Douglas Karr: Yeah, that’s right. We have two microphones, two stands, and a couple cables. All of this was probably, what, 400 bucks?
Adam Small: I would say 400 at most with the microphones and the cables and stuff, right?
Douglas Karr: Yeah.
Adam Small: And that’s you know, the Zoom H6 is the Cadillac. If you don’t wanna invest 400 bucks, you can go buy a Zoom H2 or H4, buy an H4 because then you can plug two microphones in and between that and the microphones, you’re looking at maybe 250 bucks, somewhere around there if you find a good deal.
Douglas Karr: And if you’re really, really terrible, you could just go get a microphone like a lav mic, and pass it back and forth on your-
Adam Small: On your phone.
Douglas Karr: On your android or your iPhone and still have pretty good audio.
Adam Small: It would sound okay.
Douglas Karr: And audio’s the key.
Adam Small: Exactly.
Douglas Karr: The reason why we spend a little bit of money on microphones and equipment is if there’s background noise or it’s difficult to hear somebody, it really is annoying when you’re listening.
Adam Small: Right, it’s gonna make it hard for somebody to pay attention, so investing a little bit, but even a couple hundred bucks isn’t a lot of money when you’re talking about something that you’re gonna use once a week or twice a month of something like that, you know, for a couple years on that.
Douglas Karr: It’s again, right?
Adam Small: Return on investment.
Douglas Karr: One house sale from someone listening to your podcast all year long is gonna pay for ten years of equipment.
Adam Small: Exactly. Exactly, so. So yeah, that’s a great point, I’m glad you brought that up and you know honestly, that point leads right into video too.
Douglas Karr: Yeah.
Adam Small: You know you don’t have to go out and buy that 2,000 dollar camcorder. You can if you want, you’re not gonna get based on general usage, you’re not gonna get the value out of it that you would if you just used your cell phone, you know. Or you could buy something in between, you know there are some great little gimble phones. I bought one, it’s cheaper now, I bought it a couple months ago, it’s about a hundred dollars cheaper now. It’s about 300 dollars and it’s a Remeview K1 and it’s basically a little gimble phone, it’s about a foot tall and 4K video and I plug a little 50 dollar microphone into it and it is amazing. And you guys see it on some of the real estate marketing video, minute videos that I do, where I’m outside or whatever, that’s what I’m using. But you don’t even have to do that really, you could just buy a little stand for your cell phone and most of them have great video quality for you know those quick, short minute videos, couple minute long videos that you’re making that are authentic and all that. They’re not gonna be pro quality finish or anything, but they’re great for doing YouTube videos and stuff like that.
Douglas Karr: I think if you put your android or iPhone video and you put it on a stand so it’s not shaking. You have a good microphone, like you said, a lav mic is fine you know for that, you can get a Rove lav mic online for 20 bucks or something like that.
Adam Small: Yeah, not much at all.
Douglas Karr: But now, if you wanna step it up a notch, I think the gimble ones are really nice.
Adam Small: Yeah, I’m really liking the gimble one that we got.
Douglas Karr: I’ve watched these guys, professionals that are walking while they’re talking-
Adam Small: And that thing isn’t moving, is it, you know and it’s like-
Douglas Karr: It’s beautiful.
Adam Small: Is somebody holding that for him or what?
Douglas Karr: And it captures your attention because it’s motion and it’s you know, it’s, yeah, I think the one thing with video is real time is becoming quite popular, so going live on Facebook and everything. What I would say with that though I see a lot of people and this is my opinion, I don’t have stats on this, but my opinion is there’s a lot of bad video out there and I don’t, I’m not talking about the quality, the quality is there. It’s that people don’t think about what they’re gonna say-
Adam Small: They’re not prepared.
Douglas Karr: Right.
Adam Small: Right.
Douglas Karr: And so they don’t have, if you’re gonna do a video, you gotta remember in the first few seconds,..

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Today we’re going to be talking about YPN and why it’s a great organization for real estate agents to get involved.

Drew Fristoe

Kady Overton

Podcast Links Why YPN Is A Great Organization For Agents To Get Involved Takeaways
  • Show Up – just showing up to events will make a difference.
  • YPN helps young real estate professionals excel in their careers.
  • YPN Gives back to the local communities.
  • YPN isn’t about age, it is all inclusive.
Why YPN Is A Great Organization For Agents To Get Involved Podcast Transcription

Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to The Real Estate Marketing Minute. This your host, Adam Small, and today, we are in Akron, Ohio, and we’re speaking with the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors. And we’ve got a couple of special guests with us today, starting with, we’ve got Kimberly Small. Hi Kimberly. How are you?
Kimberly Small: Doing well.
Adam Small: Great. Nice to see you here. And with us is Kady Overton, an Akron Cleveland realtor. Hi Kady. How are you?
Kady Overton: I’m great. How are you?
Adam Small: Doing great, excited to have you here. And with us today, we also have Drew Fristoe, NARYPN Chair. Hi Drew, how are you today?
Drew Fristoe: I’m well. How are you?
Adam Small: Doing great, thank you. So today we’re going to be talking about YPN and why it’s a great organization for realtors to get involved with and stuff. And that’s why Drew’s here with us and Kady as well. She’s a former chair of the Akron Cleveland branch. So I want to kind of get started with a little bit of history on you guys. So we’ll start with Kady. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved with YPN to begin with?
Kady Overton: Great. So I became a realtor in 2014 and pretty quickly, I’m a joiner, so I realized that I needed a little bit of accountability and I needed to be around other like-minded individuals. So one of the realtors at the company where I was working at the time suggested that I joined the Young Professionals Network at our Board of Realtors, which is the Akron Cleveland Association. So I joined right away and I’ve been here ever since. I was the chair in 2017 and now just, I’ve enjoyed being an active member and helping with all of the great things that we accomplish.
Adam Small: Great. So now Drew, you’re on a national level, right?
Drew Fristoe: Yes, sir.
Adam Small: So why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you got involved in it?
Drew Fristoe: So I am from Fredericksburg, Virginia, which is an hour south of DC. I have been licensed for 10 years now, so I got my license in 2008, and when I got my license, the market was horrific.
Adam Small: Great time to jump into real estate, right?
Drew Fristoe: You will find I’m the smartest person in this room.
Adam Small: We started our business at the same time, so we understand.
Drew Fristoe: So when I got in, there weren’t that many young people that were still in the business. A lot of them had dropped out. So there were a few of us at my local that started a young YPN, and it was better than going to the events with all of the older agents that really didn’t care about this 24-year-old kid that was asking them too many questions. And it was being in a room of like-minded people.
Drew Fristoe: And so once I started doing that, I went to the NAR conference that year. And I have a realtor mom, and she told me that while we were in Orlando at the NAR conference that I was going to go to the YPN networking event. And I was by myself, and I went, and I was the awkward 24-year-old kid that I still am today. And I just went up and just started talking to people because I didn’t know anyone. I went to the meeting while I was there and I just kinda kept showing up things.
Drew Fristoe: So I was the chair of my local, I helped start my state network, and I was chair there. Then in the meantime, I had kept applying to be on the NAR Committee and not getting it, but it just kept showing up to the meetings and kept showing up to anything I could. And so finally, when the spot opened up, I think there were just like, just please give that kid Drew something to do so he can stop annoying us.
Adam Small: So the moral of that story is show up, right?
Drew Fristoe: Absolutely.
Adam Small: Absolutely. So great. All right, so why don’t we go ahead and kind of backtrack a little bit and explain what YPN is, how long it’s been around, and kind of go from there, what their goals are.
Drew Fristoe: So YPN started in 2006. The Realtor Magazine does a 30 Under 30, and they had been doing it for a few years, and they didn’t really know what to do with them. So they were like, why don’t we put together like a young professional network to kind of put these talented people that we have that are obviously doing great things in their business, but they didn’t know exactly how to plug them into the association. So they started the group for them.
Drew Fristoe: At first, it was just kind of a group that got together just to have a meeting and we have since kind of morphed into this group that’s actually doing a lot. But our mission statement for YPN, if you want me to read that-
Adam Small: Yeah, sure.
Drew Fristoe: YPN helps young real estate professionals excel in their careers by giving them the tools and encouragement to become involved in the four core areas. And the four core areas are realtor associations, so getting young realtors plugged into the local state and national, the real estate industry peers, so networking and then making sure that we’re involved in community.
Adam Small: Great. Great. So quite involved in the community now, right? What are some of the things you guys are doing in the community? I guess you’ve got a local area as well as a kind of on a national level, right?
Drew Fristoe: Yes. So at the national level, we just try to help give ideas to locals in states. We don’t do too much-
Adam Small: Directly.
Drew Fristoe: Directly for the national level. But some really cool events that we do to help out, the state of Iowa does some really, really cool things and one of them is they do an Ikea build. So they get Ikea furniture donated, then you pay to be a team to put that Ikea furniture together in a certain amount of time. And then you can come and watch them do that, and then you can also spend money so they have an extra tool or they have to use like a rubber ducky to put the whole thing together. So you can sabotage them. It’s been really successful for them and it just sounds so fun.
Adam Small: I don’t know, I wouldn’t say that putting Ikea furniture together with a rubber ducky would be fun. That’s just me. I’ve tried, not with a rubber ducky, but I’ve tried putting it together. So that’s my opinion. Anyhow, Kady, how about you guys on a local level? What have you guys been involved in?
Kady Overton: So on a local level, we are going to be participating in a Toys For Tots drive this winter, and we also do a lot with the existing community outreach committee that we have here at the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors. For instance, actually, this evening we have Operation Orange, which is with the Akron Cleveland Food Bank where we go and help them out. It’s a 24 hour span and everybody signs up for shifts. So we do get involved with that. We’ve done things in the past where whatever charity that Akron Cleveland Realtors is helping with, we kind of just piggyback onto those events collecting donations for a sock drive, a shoe drive, all of those different types of things.
Adam Small: Great. Great.
Kimberly Small: So Drew, you mentioned age a little bit when we first started the conversation. So I think anytime anybody sees an organization that has “young” in the description of the organization, they’re like, “Okay, what exactly is young?” I know that you started your career in your twenties. A lot of realtors start later in life. It’s kind of a second career for them. So who is the YPN Organization for? Is there an age demographic? Is it anybody that’s new to real estate or who fits in that category?
Drew Fristoe: Personally, my thoughts are Young Professional Network are for anyone young in age or young in the business. So I don’t think there’s an age cutoff personally for YPN, in my head. For the NARYPN Committee, I think we’ve kept it at 40 just for the committee itself, but to be involved or to come to events or to do anything, there’s no age limit on that. There have been a few group YPNs that changed their name from young to like Your Professional Network, which irritated me.
Drew Fristoe: I’m someone that likes the young part of it because I did get in at 24, and I do have a different viewpoint than some of these realtors that have been in for decades and decades. Their viewpoint is also very important because they have that historical knowledge that we don’t have, but I like the young part, and I like to lean on that because it does make me different. I’m not just that typical older realtor.
Kimberly Small: Okay. Well, and I think you speak to the point, there’s a lot of people that have been involved in the organization for a long time and they do sincerely have an interest in helping people get started. And so they’re a valuable asset to the group as well. And I think that there’s some people that hesitate to go to the group if this is their second career. So I’ve heard people talk about that or say, “Well I’m young at heart, so I figured it would fit in,” or something along those lines. So just wanted some clarification on what the objective is and make sure that everybody knows that it’s an inclusive group, and that you guys want to help people that are getting started.
Drew Fristoe: Yeah. Because when you get in as that second career, you are basically the same place that I was when I got into 24. You don’t really know how things go, you don’t know how they work. So part of why I’ve loved YPN is we’re that inclusive group where I know I can go and I can ask those really dumb questions, and I get it like an actual real response as opposed to-
Adam Small: As opposed to something sarcastic.
Drew Fristoe: Exactly.
Kimberly Small: So you’ve been involved in recently launching a new YPN site. Tell me a little bit about that. What were the goals for the new site? It’s ypn.realtor, is that correct?
Drew Fristoe: Yes ma’am.
Kimberly Small: Okay. So what are agents going to find when they go there? And what were you hoping to accomplish with launching the new site?
Drew Fristoe: So our new site, last year, we kind of sat down and realized that the site that we had was dated and not very good. It was good for when it began, but had been there for too many years. So we wanted a site that you could go to, you could find things, it was easy to maneuver. And when we got the money to do the site, we also got money as a national YPN advisory board to travel.
Drew Fristoe: So on the site, there is a lot of information, but you can go and you can see the National Association Advisory Board, and if a local association does want to invite one of us, you can find everyone on there and our contact information is on there. So you could reach out to one of us if you want to invite us, and then there’s also a state and local networks map. So if you don’t know if you’re local has one or if there’s one close to you, there is an actual interactive map that you can click on and it shows you all the different local and state YPNs that are out there.
Drew Fristoe: You can also, if you’d like to join YPN and you haven’t already, there’s a little place that you can join. And then there is an event bank idea, a startup kit. So if you do want to start one and you haven’t already, there’s a startup kit with some information and the NAR contact to talk to, and then the event bank if you want to do some events that you’ve never done before, there’s some in there. And if anyone has any great event ideas, they can submit them to the event bank to help share it with other people as well.
Adam Small: Wow. That is amazing. It sounds like the site has got a lot of great resources for the local YPN groups. What’s the URL of the website again?
Drew Fristoe: It is ypn.realtor.
Adam Small: Great. So pretty easy to remember too, right? We’ll make sure and put a link to that in the blog post as well. That way, anybody listening can see that right off the bat. So one of the things that you guys do every year is give out awards at the NAR Annual Conference or the YPN Reception at the NAR Annual Conference. So can you tell us a little bit about those rewards and maybe what some of the qualifications to win are?
Drew Fristoe: Absolutely. So we have four Network of the Year awards that we give out. The deadline to sign up for one of those was August, the end of August, so you’ve missed it for this year, but if you want to do it for next year, you can plan.
Adam Small: Start now.
Drew Fristoe: Exactly. So there is the application on there for you to download, but we want to help to acknowledge some networks that are doing some awesome things and are kind of well rounded. So the five things that we make sure is the YPN’s mission statement, make sure it is a member driven organization and that they are going along with NAR’s mission with the four pillars of what we’re looking for. So their network, their members are involved in the association with committees and on the board and giving back, that they are doing active role within the real estate industry, that they are doing some networking events, and they are giving back to the community. So we want to just acknowledge those networks out there that are doing cool events or just giving back to their community and also-
Adam Small: Really exemplifying the whole point of-
Drew Fristoe: Exactly. And they’re well rounded.
Adam Small: Right, right. Kady, on a local level, are there awards as well?
Kady Overton: On this … Well, at Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors, we do give away a Young Professional of the Year award every year. And that is basically just a member of the committee who has really exemplified our mission statement, which mirrors the National Association of Realtors’ YPN Statement. And so it’s a really great opportunity. There’s even a scholarship award for taking some of the continuing education and designation classes as well involved with that award. Plus, you get a cool trophy and you get to have that for your claim to fame on your resume that you were the Young Professional of the Year.
Kady Overton: And then also at our state level, at the Ohio Realtors, we do have a Young Professional Network of the Year award as well. And ACAR did win that in 2016. So we are a past winner and we have some strong networks here in Ohio, so we were really proud of that.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely. That’s amazing. Great. So it’s a great thing. So there’s national recognition for the local boards and then on a board level, and I would imagine a lot of states and localities have similar things to what you were just talking about. So there’s opportunity for recognition across the board there, which is really a great thing. So since I’m talking about local boards, how many local boards are there? Do you know?
Drew Fristoe: So I don’t know the exact number, but it’s, I think, a little less than 400. Don’t quote me on that, but I think it’s somewhere around that.
Adam Small: I’ll try not to hold you to it. But still, that’s pretty impressive. Even if it’s anywhere close to that, that’s pretty impressive numbers. That’s some good growth over a period of, what, about 12 years or so. That shows a lot of dedication, involvement, and strength of the group as well. So is there anything else that agents should know about YPN? Anything else you want to put out there about it? Just a promo, “Hey, come and sign up today.”
Kady Overton: Just get involved. It may feel like, oh, I’m just volunteering all of this time. How is this going to help me professionally and to build my business? But it’s really about you get what you give, and by being a part of Young Professionals Network, you are more knowledgeable about the industry, you’re able to help people in the communities where you work, which in turn, gives you better knowledge of the people in your communities and makes you a resource for them. It helps you to be as knowledgeable and professional as possible in addition to making some great connections and friendships.
Drew Fristoe: And something that I love about YPN is, and this is my own opinion, I feel like a lot of the younger generations, we like to share what works. So there’s some of those older realtors that have been doing it forever that just like to hold their secrets close, and they don’t like … They might take my business. Whereas we’re like, oh hey, we did this, it worked, and then I love when I can go to somewhere and I can say, “Oh, I volunteered my time, but I just found this cool idea that I can use in my business that’s going to help me make money at the end of the day.”
Adam Small: Right, right.
Drew Fristoe: Fantastic.
Adam Small: Right, so great networking opportunity. All right. So what I’m hearing from you guys is really kind of the summation of Drew’s intro story, which is show up. Right? Well, thank you so much for joining us, guys. Really do appreciate it. Appreciate it, Drew. Appreciate it, Kady. And thanks for listening to The Real Estate Marketing Minute. We’ll see you next time.

The post Why YPN is a great organization! | Podcast appeared first on Agent Sauce.

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A great session with Calvin Johnson of Westport Homes. We learned a ton of great stuff about how a real estate agent can work with new home builders and everyone come out happy.

Podcast Takeaways
  • Communication keeps things smooth
  • Not having a real estate agent does not mean the buyer can get more concessions
  • There are options for faster closes on new home builds
Working With New Home Builders Podcast Transcript

Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Minute. I’m your host, Adam Small. Today we’re in Monrovia, Indiana, and we’re with Calvin Johnson of Westport Homes. Hi, Calvin, how are you?
Calvin Johnson: I’m doing great. How are you?
Adam Small: Great, and we also have Kimberly Small with us. Hi, Kim.
Kimberly Small: Hi, how are you?
Adam Small: Doing great, thanks. So today we’re going to be talking about how real estate agents can work with new construction companies. That’s why Calvin’s here, and he’s going to tell us a little bit about himself.
Calvin Johnson: Okay. I am a New Home Consultant for Westport Homes, and the Monrovia community we’re at is Homestead. I am in my third year with this company, and how I got started with this is sales has been a big background for me. I went to college for a communication major. I got involved with many aspects with that. I was a radio DJ, then I moved into the public relations and sales side of things, and then, after a few different positions in the communications related field, I got contacted by somebody who worked for new home construction. I always thought that somebody needed to be licensed, like a realtor, to be involved with new home construction, yeah.
Adam Small: New home construction, right. Well, it would kind of make sense, right?
Calvin Johnson: It would because you’re selling homes, technically.
Adam Small: Right.
Calvin Johnson: They’re just like, “No, you just come in.” They had a position. I started off as a sales associate, so almost like a assistant position but you’re training to become somebody.
Adam Small: Getting-the-coffee guy?
Calvin Johnson: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I was the organizer, I cleaned the offices, and really cut my teeth to get to where I am now as the consultant position where everybody wants to strive to be in the new home sales position. So that’s where I ended up here.
Adam Small: Great. So like you said, you thought that you needed to be licensed in order to work with new home construction, and you don’t. Does that create a little bit of tension between real estate agents and home builders, because they go through a lot of training, and they have continuing education, and there’s a lot that goes into being a real estate agent, so does that create some tension between you guys?
Calvin Johnson: Not so much. We create really strong relationships with our realtors whenever they come in. I was always taught to treat this almost like a retail when you go into a new home model office, because we have set hours, noon till 7:00, and we have to be there those set hours and act as the sales rep. But at the same time, there’s hardly any tension with that because the strong bond we share, we want to continue the sales with those reps as well. As somebody that is a real estate agent, they go through so much work to get licensed, and you would think that there was tension, whereas you walk into a new home construction company, looking for a job, and they’re just like, “Yeah, come on in, do your interview,” and you don’t have to go through those exams and things to get even qualified.
Adam Small: Right. So along those lines, you, as well as the realtors and the real estate agents, you both want happy customers. You don’t want somebody to come in a buy a home and then be dissatisfied for any number of reasons, right. So with that common goal, what do you do to make sure that you do have a good working relationship with agents?
Calvin Johnson: You keep them in the loop on everything. I always strive with a motto, the fortune’s in the follow up. Say the agent comes in with a customer, they’ve looked through 100 homes already, and it seems to be the going average lately. But, at the same time, when they come into our office and they end up seeing the fortune in what’s in new home construction at the time, they end up buying. You want to keep them through the process of groundbreaking to the construction phase, let them know that you care, not just about their customer but about them as well. That’s really important to me, as a salesperson, because it’s all about creating not just, you know, this is just a sale and we’re done with them. We want to create a relationship where the agent can come back in.
Adam Small: So it’s creating that genuine relationship there. Whether it be a friendship or a work relationship, it’s still genuine.
Calvin Johnson: Absolutely.
Adam Small: You’re honest, you’re upfront, you’re communicating what’s going on and making sure that everybody knows what’s what, right?
Calvin Johnson: Definitely. Absolutely.
Adam Small: Definitely. Great. Okay, so sometimes buyers come to you guys directly and sometimes a real estate agent will bring them to you, right? Some people, and I’m probably among them, I would think that coming to you guys directly would probably be better off for me. From a negotiation perspective, I may be able to get more out of you guys, or a lower sales price or something like that. Is that true or does it matter?
Calvin Johnson: Not necessarily true. You’re free to use a realtor at your disposal when you walk in. Basically, there’s a couple of different demographics when it comes to that, as well. When someone wants to work with an agent, a lot of times they still have a home to sell and they use that agent for that aspect, and then they need they help looking for something out there, something that isn’t necessarily a myth right now, and there’s a lot people that come in and tell me there’s low inventory out there, so-
Adam Small: Right. Right, it’s been flying off, which is part of why people are looking at so many homes right now, because they go and they look, and they take a day to decide, and somebody’s already bought it. You know, somebody’s put the offer in and it’s been accepted, right?
Calvin Johnson: Absolutely, and they go for maybe tens of thousands higher than the asking price because it’s a bidding war out there right now, and when a customer comes in, my first question with them is, are you currently working with a realtor? If they aren’t sure what they’re doing in terms of looking for a home because there’s nothing out there, I encourage that for them. I’m like, “Well, if you’d like to use a realtor, by all means, go ahead. It will probably help your process as well, but I’ll do everything in my power to help you out in the new home construction side of things.” It’s really up to them, and it’s not going to necessarily help or hurt them in any way.
Adam Small: So I’m not necessarily going to get more out of the new home build if I’m using a realtor, or less out of it if I’m using a realtor, right?
Calvin Johnson: Right. It’s basically, if you had a relationship with somebody when you walked in the door, keep on using them. I encourage it, especially if they know a lot about the new home construction phase. If they don’t, then more power to them, bring them in, too. I’d like to educate the realtor, as well, on the benefits of buying a new home versus preexisting, so yeah.
Adam Small: Right. Great.
Kimberly Small: So along with that, new home construction companies have a marketing budget and a budget that accounts for realtor fees in that, so it’s not taken out of the buyer’s pocket there, so …
Calvin Johnson: Right. Yeah. When a realtor is involved in the transaction, new home construction, we help them and give them commission on the current sale that is involved, and then we also, some new home construction companies also do programs with realtors if they sell homes with us, and sell a certain amount of homes. They do a tiered system and get more money out of it, the more you sell with new home construction, so some companies do that as well.
Kimberly Small: Okay. So you talked about, it’s been a seller’s market-
Calvin Johnson: IT has been.
Kimberly Small: … and there’s a lot of people that are in bidding wars and that kind of stuff, more so than … I mean, this is kind of a historical period for it being a seller’s market and-
Calvin Johnson: It really is.
Kimberly Small: … so that’s brought a lot of buyers that they … new home construction wasn’t even on their radar but they lose on the bidding wars, and so they’re looking at that as an option. Has that changed how you do things, or have you created more relationships with real estate agents because of that?
Calvin Johnson: I have, yes. A few of the sales I’ve made in the past three years involve agents in that aspect, where there’s, say, a home in Noblesville just got taken off the market the day they put an offer in, and they came in and wanted to see what product we had. I specialized in showing people the financing side and what benefits them on a monthly basis compared to what they could have done, say, renting. They see that, and the proof is in the pudding on that. So when you see a home, say, going for 180,000 and they see the monthly price on that, and they’re like, “This is way less, and I was feeling like I was throwing money away when I was renting,” that’s the big eye-opening factor for them, and the big sales factor for them. And, yeah, at the same time though, it’s very discouraging to see something that you thought you wanted out there, and somebody takes it right off your hands at the snap of a finger, so-
Kimberly Small: And you’re seeing that a lot. I hear that a lot from agents.
Calvin Johnson: They come in discouraged and it’s sad to see, but you’re also acting as that liaison in that, for, “Let me help you out here. Let’s see what we can do on our end.”
Kimberly Small: You talked about earlier the expertise of a real estate agent and having to go through their licensing and get CE credits and all that, and I’m sure you have a lot of training that you have to do in order … just to get up to par and know a lot more about construction and the process, and have that expertise that you can bring to the table. So somebody, an agent that is, maybe they just, in this market, they’ve had a couple of new home constructions and they’re like, “I really want to focus on working on new construction,” what should they know? What should they learn in order to be an asset to both a builder and to their client that is looking for new construction?
Calvin Johnson: There’s a couple of different things and the couple of different things are very major as well. When you buy a preexisting, a lot of time it’s not under warranty. A lot of new home construction is. It could be a 10-year structural warranty. Knowing more about the warranty programs that new builders have to offer is especially important because when you buy a home you don’t want to walk in and be like, “It’s all yours,” and if something breaks it’s all on you from then on. They want to come in and be like, “Okay, the warranty package is here, and we can see what’s-
Adam Small: It’s just that little extra bit of assurance, right?
Calvin Johnson: Yes, and that is a key factor, and then the timeframe it takes to build is actually, weather permitting, takes a lot less than people expect, depending on the size of the home. It could vary from four to six months, usually. A lot of people think it’s a lot longer than that. But at the same time, if you do your job right in new home construction and you keep that realtor in the loop on everything, they’ll see, photo by photo, the progress of what’s being done. Indiana is known for its wacky weather. I mean, it’s not even 50 degrees right now and we’re mid-October. But at the same time, realtors, I trust them on their opinion. I know not even half of what they do at this point, but they’re so knowledgeable to know the price of land, and when it comes to the process of building a brand new home.
Kimberly Small: So in the seller’s market, you were saying too, if somebody does have a house to sell and then they’re looking at new construction, four to six months, are there any … I know a lot of people find themselves either with family members or in apartments temporarily while their homes are being built. Is there anything that home builders or realtors can do to help with that, provide resources as far as options that they might consider for those time periods, or … ?
Calvin Johnson: Yeah, great question. A lot of times that it a factor, where … I tell the customer, too, it really varies on how fast the home’s going to sell. If you’re listing a home, it could take weeks to maybe hours, you just don’t know. One time I sold to somebody that was listing their home, they were like, “We’ve still got some things to do with it,” but they still listed it the next day. Within eight hours it had been accepted, and I was like, “I told you.” You just never-
Adam Small: Don’t have to do those things now, huh?
Calvin Johnson: You don’t, and that’s a very good thing, but it’s also a very stressful thing if you’re building a brand new home. So there’s a couple of factors to put into play with that. The good benefit of building new is there’s a couple of options. You can build, completely build your own home, choose your features you want, and do that four to six month timeframe waiting period after your home’s been accepted. But the thing about that is, that makes that stressful on people, is they do have to find someplace to go once they close on their home, so they either do … Yeah, they absolutely can move in with the in-laws, or they can move in with family, or they rent something month to month.
Calvin Johnson: If you’re a renter, as well, I always say, can you go month to month after your lease expires, and different factors like that. Some places are very strict on not doing that because it doesn’t benefit them too much and they want to give that to the next person up, but at the same time, some places are very relaxed with it. Yeah, up until the time of closing, you can do that.
Calvin Johnson: Then there’s also a factor where we build quick move-in homes, where, I like to call it the model without the furniture. It’s where the sales reps at the community choose the features for the homes based on community-wide preferences, things like that, and it’s at a set price already. So they have less time to think about moving in with somebody until closing, that home could be already ready to go, and they just listed and sold their home, they could move in in two months at that factor. And if they’re a cash buyer, then they can move in-
Adam Small: Then it’s a lot faster, right?
Calvin Johnson: Days, yeah, if it’s that ready. So there’s a couple of different factors with that.
Kimberly Small: So agents and even builders, maybe if somebody’s moving to a new area, maybe have relationships with short term rentals and places that they might be able to suggest to those people. I feel like I’ve had a lot of friends and they’re, “Okay, we’ve sold our house and our new one’s not ready, and going to the in-laws is not an option, so anybody know any short term properties that we can move into?” So I would assume that having those relationships with short term housing and stuff like that would be helpful for an agent to have.
Calvin Johnson: Absolutely.
Kimberly Small: So are agents paid their typical commission on new construction, and do they have to be approved with the home builder in advance, or is it just if they bring somebody to the table, then … and it may vary from builder to builder, as well.
Calvin Johnson: It may vary from builder to builder. I mean, typically, with us, it’s 3%. I don’t know what the going rate with that is, with different builders at the same time, but like I mentioned earlier, some builders have different programs they offer, the more sales you get, the more money you get, too. So it’s like a club that you join and it renews every year. That’s one way of doing that. You don’t have to sign up to be a preferred realtor with new home construction. If you’re involved with a client, we accept anybody at that point.
Kimberly Small: Okay.
Adam Small: Cool.
Kimberly Small: You mentioned that you have a program, like a tiered level and stuff like that, so are they automatically, the first time they bring somebody, they’re already initiating into that program and as they continue to bring new sales to you?
Calvin Johnson: Great question. A lot of times you’d have to sign up for it online. It’s not, like, a fee or anything you have to do. It’s more like application you fill out online, then you become a member, and then after that first sale, then the tiers start coming into play, too.
Kimberly Small: Okay.
Adam Small: Cool. So aside from bringing in potential buyers, right, what else can an agent do to be a valuable asset to a builder?
Calvin Johnson: Great question. One of the important things is just stay involved and in the know with what the area’s like. A good key for that is coming into our model and scheduling a realtor open house, letting customers that they’re involved with or clientele know about the product.
Adam Small: So the agents can host an open house in your sample homes, then?
Calvin Johnson: Absolutely.
Adam Small: Nice.
Calvin Johnson: We’ve done it many times before, and they can show the product, the quick move-in inventory. There could be communities that have six or seven different quick move-ins and they want to show them all at the same time, so what better way, aside from a sales rep, to have a realtor come in and show a clientele as well?
Adam Small: Right, absolutely. What about co-marketing? Do you guys do any co-marketing with real estate agents?
Calvin Johnson: At this time, not as much. It varies, person to person, builder to builder. A lot of people, a lot of sales reps, have that preferred realtor that they use for it, so just getting my feet under me at this new community, I’m finding anybody and everybody at this point, and it’s really varied by the person in that.
Adam Small: Okay, cool. What about mortgage agents, the ones that want to work with new construction loans? Do you guys work with them? I mean, I guess you could do referrals and stuff like that, but do you have people that you work with on a regular basis in that area, as well?
Calvin Johnson: We do, yes. We have more of a preferred agent program for that. We have a couple of different agents we use, builder to builder. They do, as well. Some builders even have their own agents in-house and they help out. But also, the benefit of being a sales rep is you get trained on the financing side, to give people not so much a worst case scenario, but, “Let me show you-
Adam Small: Well, you mentioned earlier, that was one of the things that you focused on insofar as showing them the benefits of home ownership versus renting, right.
Calvin Johnson: Right, and a lot of times I tell them, you know, “I can show you month to month what it could look like based on the price that we priced out today. I’m not the lender, though. They could give you a completely different number based on smaller factors that we haven’t accrued to [crosstalk 00:18:21]-
Adam Small: Well, and until you get approved with a certain interest rate, it could change drastically, right?
Calvin Johnson: Right. It changes by the day, and especially out here in Monrovia, it’s USDA, and that’s a different loan compared to a lot of different areas, as well. It has a zero down program and a lot of people don’t know about that when they come in here, but it varies by the area. Indiana has a couple of different areas that have USDA, VA. We do every type of loan program here, and-
Adam Small: So there’s no restriction on new construction buying insofar as the loans go?
Calvin Johnson: Right.
Adam Small: You’ve got VA programs, you’ve FHA, and all that, right?
Calvin Johnson: Yeah.
Adam Small: Cool.
Calvin Johnson: And our agents are, I mean, of course they’re specialized in showing them the exact one. Some customers think go in there with something in mind, exactly what they’re thinking about in a loan, and then the loan officer gets in touch with them and says, “Hey, I can get you set up [crosstalk 00:19:20]-
Adam Small: We can do better, yeah.
Calvin Johnson: … lower interest rate-
Adam Small: Great.
Calvin Johnson: … or PMI.
Adam Small: Yeah, that’s great. All right, so before we wrap up, do you have anything else that agents should know when it comes to new..

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In the studio today, we have Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors. She is the vice president of communications she is here today to talk to us about how agents can showcase their real estate expertise.

Podcast Links Showcasing Your Real Estate Expertise Podcast Transcription

Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Minute, powered by Agent Sauce. With me today is Kimberly Small.
Kimberly Small: Hi.
Adam Small: How you doing today, Kim?
Kimberly Small: Doing great.
Adam Small: Great, great. And we have a special guest in the room with us today. This is actually our second time with her. It’s Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors, and she is the Vice President of Communications there. Hi, Stacey. How are you?
Stacey Hartman: Hi, Adam. I’m very well. Hi, Kimberly. Hi everybody.
Adam Small: Great. So Stacey, we wanted to talk to you today a little bit about agents and showcasing their expertise, but before we get into that, let’s learn a little bit about you. So, how long have you been with the Indiana Association of Realtors?
Stacey Hartman: In May, I celebrated my 11th anniversary, working for the Indiana Association of Realtors. I have enjoyed every minute. Every day is a different day, just like it is for our brokers.
Adam Small: So 11 years, and in that time, you probably learned an awful lot about real estate agents. What did you do before that though?
Stacey Hartman: Gosh, Adam, I didn’t realize that we were going to dig deep here. No, I’m happy to tell you. I attended Ball State University where I pursued a degree in political science and psychology. My first job out of the gate was working for the Indiana General Assembly. I fulfilled a couple a roles there. I worked in a media office where I cranked out press releases on what our legislators were doing, and then I also served as an assistant to a handful of state legislators. So, lots of constituent work. Keeping calendars, keeping organized. And then one of the legislators that I had worked for ran successfully as mayor of Evansville, and so I moved to Evansville and spent some time down there as his communications director, and did a lot of city government and stuff. Then got married, moved back to central Indiana, which is where I’m from, and have been with the realtors ever since.
Adam Small: So, really a lot of experience in dealing with legislative stuff, and big organizational stuff as well on a state level and all that, so and then you transitioned over into working with real estate agents. So, 11 years and you say you enjoy every day.
Stacey Hartman: I do.
Adam Small: Yeah. So that’s incredible.
Stacey Hartman: And then also married to a realtor, so I not only do this during the day, advocate and talk about their business, but then I go home and really get to see what they’re doing on a day to day basis. It’s a great reminder of how we should be communicating with people, and so yeah, I get it both ends.
Adam Small: Yeah, so you got a lot of perspective to draw on, right?
Stacey Hartman: I do, I do.
Adam Small: Great. So what are some of the things that IAR has to offer that helps agents increase their knowledge in areas in which they work, and basically from a local perspective. Because you guys cover a whole state, and there’s a lot of ground to cover in a state. So what do you do to help them on a local level?
Stacey Hartman: Well there’s a common phrase in politics that was coined by a former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill. It’s, “All politics is local,” and that’s the case with real estate. When I talk about our members to non-members, to those not in the real estate industry, I would say that realtors are truly the backbones of their communities. They are people who know what’s what. They know that the property on the corner used to be Dan’s Barber Shop, and before that it was the McHenry Insurance Company. They know the history of their communities. They know the big decisions that have been turning points in their communities. They know where to get information and so, I wouldn’t presume that the Indiana Association of Realtors lends a lot to that, because I think they come to us with that local information, but here’s what I say that we can offer.
Stacey Hartman: So, every year our association elects to do, our national association does a profile of home buyers and sellers. And we elect to do an oversample to that. So, basically we do a little extra survey work and we talk to those who have purchased property in the last calendar year, and we quiz them on about 800 different questions. Maybe not that many but it sure seems like it. So that annual profile is an amazing insight to our members’ clients. It talks about how they came to the home search process, how they chose their agent. What their thoughts were, what the biggest challenges they are. I mean it’s really, it really digs into what clients and perspective clients are thinking, and so I would suggest that everybody take a look at that, because it’s what your people are thinking.
Stacey Hartman: Then also, I would say that we, our national association actually, offers a website in an effort called House Logic. So, sometimes when you’re doing client work, it can be hard to give the advice that you need to, and so House Logic is a great resource for our members to share. It comes from a third party and it talks about home improvements, and the way to get your property sold and maybe some things, gives some advice maybe that it might be hard to get in person.
Adam Small: Kind of takes the sting out of it being personal, right?
Stacey Hartman: Exactly. Exactly.
Adam Small: Yeah, yeah. We had a customer one time tell us that they loved our drip campaigns because it was a great way for her to be able to put information like that in front of a customer without it directly coming from her, and if they didn’t appreciate it, she’d say, “Oh well, it was just automated. Don’t worry about it.” You know?
Stacey Hartman: Absolutely. That’s great. So I yeah, I would say to our members, “Go take a look at House Logic. Its got some good materials that you can use with your clients. Get to know those clients through the home buyers and sellers profile that IAR publish.” We also do market stats on a monthly basis. And our members know their neighborhoods. They can drill down and give this information, but the reason that we do it is, it tells the good, well the true and good story of real estate in Indiana. It’s a part of our lobbyist tool box, but I would say for our members, here’s why it’s valuable. And not so much with clients per se, because you’re gonna have that information in your listing services, but our report allows you to compare and contrast your area with other areas in the state, which can be a really powerful message for you to give to your local elected officials.
Stacey Hartman: Your city council people, and your mayors, and your county commissioners, to give to your community organizations, maybe you belong to a rotary, or another group or club like that, and it really lets you be the expert, but it lets you do that from a third party, so it’s not just you, Joe Smith as the broker or with a particular firm, but you’ve got a third party standing up behind you.
Adam Small: Backing you up.
Stacey Hartman: Yeah, backing you up.
Adam Small: Yeah. Nice.
Kimberly Small: So some of the other things that agents will wanna know about in the areas that they work, school’s a big one. A lot of people make moves and school is a huge consideration if they have children. So they wanna know the information about their schools. Tax information, any zoning information that might be applicable to the buyer and that kind of thing. What else should they know about, and do you have tools that address any of those?
Stacey Hartman: Yeah, actually I would say to folks, we partner with the Indiana Business Research Center within the IU’s School of Business, the Kelley School of Business, and IBRC is kind of the keeper of data for the state. Census data and all kinds of things that you might wanna know. And so, you can find out what your local government finances are like. You can give folks an idea of how your local schools are performing, utility rates, I mean you name it. What the demographics look like, and it really is a place for you to be able to show your clients that you really do know the community. So I would say that, Stats Indiana, is the name of that effort and so you can check that website out. But certainly, be knowledgeable in your schools, know what’s going on with regard to your local taxes. Know when your exemptions must be filed, and just like we at IAR serve to reduce your risk, I would say to you that some of your value as a broker is reducing your client’s risk.
Kimberly Small: We talk to our agents all the time about differentiating themselves. There’s so many realtors in any given area, and being able to stand out is sometimes hard. So, we talk to them about knowing vendors in the area, being that resource even after the sales, that you show your customer, your buyers and sellers that you know people that can help them when they’re, you know have an AC emergency or those types of things. Being that resource to them and kind of setting themself apart and continuing that relationship with the buyers and sellers after the sale or buying of the house. Knowing the restaurants and the other businesses in the area, showcasing some of those, and really just showing that you know the area in which you work.
Kimberly Small: The telling people, people work with people that they like, and so if they can show what they’re involved in, show they’re proud of the areas that they work in, show what charity things that they’re involved in. Inviting people out to join them and those types of things, but really standing out above and beyond shows not only your expertise but your commitment to the area and your knowledge of the area as well. So, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of agents do a lot of different things in order to stand out. Tell me about some of the things that have been really great.
Stacey Hartman: I think for our members really wondering about this question, you probably need not look any further than yourself. What is it that you expect from other people? What do you expect in a restaurant or a utility, or a cable company, or something like that? What kind of service do you expect? And so I would say, the agents who really know what consumers want are the agents that are standing out. Those agents who are providing information by text, who are doing video tours at their property, who just make it really easy for those consumers to reach out and contact you. Those folks who are incorporating maybe some aerial, some drone footage, giving folks the perspective, those are all really great ideas.
Stacey Hartman: And I think the agents who are also on social media online, who have a really strong online presence but who are thinking about their online presence as a dating profile and not necessarily as a resume. Those people who are personalizing themselves, making themselves approachable. So maybe on social media, you’re not just sharing your listings, but you’re sharing some of your community work and that maybe you were with your eight year old granddaughter doing this. You’re making yourself somebody that you’d like to sit down and have a beer.
Adam Small: Approachable, right?
Stacey Hartman: Yeah, approachable, that’s right. So, don’t just be about your job. Let somebody have a little insight, and I think that’s what you would expect out of somebody else that you’re gonna do business with.
Kimberly Small: Yeah, that’s great. So, on the flip side, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of things that you might cringe at that agents have done. Don’t mention any names, but …
Stacey Hartman: Oh, Kimberly, what a tight spot you’re putting me in.
Kimberly Small: But what are some of the things that you tell agents or wish agents wouldn’t do?
Stacey Hartman: Gee, how do I answer this? I would say to brokers and members listening out there is that, always keep your clients in mind. I’ll say that in my 11 years with the association, one thing that has gotten folks in the most trouble has been they forget that client relationship, and maybe they post a picture of an unsavory property on social media, or describe a client interaction that wasn’t so positive. I think that makes people question your trustworthiness and maybe how you would handle them as a client. And so I would say to our members, just keep your client first.
Kimberly Small: That makes sense.
Adam Small: So Stacey, tell me. How can agents get involved with IAR, or their local state association, and why should they be involved?
Stacey Hartman: Well make sure we have a way to communicate with you. Make sure that your local association has your best email address. We do most of our communication like everybody else through email, and I would say to you, maybe not everything is for you, but you should be getting the information that you’re entitled to, because of your membership. Follow us on social media. We’re particularly active on Facebook and Twitter. That’s a way that we share information. Ask questions. We don’t get a lot of inner activity, and so I would challenge folks, ask a question on social media. Let us know. Give us the feedback with regard to the perception of your membership. Come to some events. It’s not just about us, but it’s connecting with your peer groups all around the state. Sometimes I … This is an interesting industry, Adam, and I think we’re all competitors but we all have to get along to get to the closing table, right? And so it can be difficult for those new in the business to find mentors and good advice, because the guy next to you is your competitor, right?
Adam Small: Right, right.
Stacey Hartman: And so a statewide event helps you overcome that. Let’s say that you’re in Evansville, you can talk to somebody in Fort Wayne who’s doing the same thing to you. And it’s a little savor, same thing-
Adam Small: A little safer, right? Because …
Stacey Hartman: Yeah a little safer conversation.
Adam Small: They’re mentoring you, but they’re not in the same area, so they’re not competing with you as much, right?
Stacey Hartman: They don’t feel like they’re giving it away, if you will.
Adam Small: Right, right, right.
Stacey Hartman: So come to some events. It really will open your eyes as to what other agents are doing around the state, give you some contacts, give you a sounding board. Make you understand why the politics is so important. One thing that we don’t do a very good job at is we talk about legislation in terms of the things that we’ve been able to do proactively, but a big part of our job is the things that don’t happen. The things that we defeat. And we don’t do a great job of telling that story, so I would say, come find out why it matters and, least of all, we’re only gonna keep you for a little bit. Probably feed you, and make a friend or two and have a little fun. So, come to an event.
Adam Small: Hey, it’s a free meal it sounds like to me, I mean, I’m always up for that. Right?
Stacey Hartman: Come on Adam and Kimberly, you’re always welcome. You’re always welcome.
Adam Small: All right, great. Kim, you got anything else?
Kimberly Small: No, I think this has been great. Our agents ask us all the time, “How can I differentiate myself?” And they utilize our tools to do that, but this has been great, just getting another perspective on what they can do to stand out, and make sure that they’re always putting the customer first.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely.
Kimberly Small: So, I appreciate you being here.
Adam Small: Stacey, any final words? Anything else that you wanna throw out there?
Stacey Hartman: Happy selling. It’s a busy market and it’s a difficult market as I hear people say. They start out the gate, right now transactions. Everybody’s angry because it is such a good market. So you price the property where you think it should be, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got competing offers. And so, all of a sudden your sellers are upset with you because they think-
Adam Small: You underpriced it.
Stacey Hartman: … that you should have started high, yes. And so it’s a really competitive, interesting, hot market. And so, I would just say to you guys, I know you’re working really hard and you’re working through some tough situations. Know that we appreciate you and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.
Kimberly Small: And they can visit you at indianarealtors.com?
Stacey Hartman: That’s right, indianarealtors.com.
Adam Small: All right, great. Well, thanks for joining us today, Stacey. We really appreciate it, and I’m sure our listeners do, too. And thanks for listening, if you like what you hear, don’t forget to like us or subscribe. Have a great day.

The post Showcasing Your Real Estate Expertise appeared first on Agent Sauce.

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In the studio today, we have Katie Hughes and Michael Kerkhof from Caliber Home Loans and they are going to teach us all about Home Renovation Loans.

Katie Hughes

Michael Kerkhof

Podcast Links Home Renovation Loans Podcast Transcription

Adam Small: Hello and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Minute. I’m your host Adam Small and with me today is Kimberly Small. Hi, Kim. How are you?
Kimberly Small: Doing great.
Adam Small: Great. And we have two special guests in the room today. The first one is Katie Hughes. Hi, Katie.
Katie Hughes: Hello. How are you?
Adam Small: Doing well, and you?
Katie Hughes: Great, thank you.
Adam Small: Great. And we also have Michael Kerkhof. Hi, Michael. How are you?
Michael Kerkhof: Doing super. Thanks for asking.
Adam Small: Great. Great. Michael and Katie both are loan consultants, and Michael’s got a special designation that he’ll talk about and Katie does too. Let’s start with you, Katie, and let’s just introduce yourself, give us a little bit of your background, and tell us a little bit about you.
Katie Hughes: Yeah, so, my name’s Katie Hughes. I’m with Caliber Home Loans. I’ve been in the real estate and finance industry for eight years. Love lending. I love the problem-solving piece and love helping people realize the home ownership dream.
Adam Small: Great. Great. And Michael.
Michael Kerkhof: Hello, everyone. I am Michael Kerkhof with Caliber Home Loans. I am a designated renovation loan consultant for the company, and Katie and I actually work together as a team. Thanks for having us today.
Adam Small: Well, thanks for being here. We appreciate it. There are a number of reasons why somebody might get into a renovation loan. You know, they’re selling a property, want to update it before they sell it so they can hopefully get more money out of it, they’re going to buy a new one that’s a fixer-upper, that sort of thing, or they just want the place they’re currently living in to look better. What are some of the other scenarios where somebody might use a home renovation loan?
Michael Kerkhof: Renovation loans typically are a choice or a solution from a borrower. Anytime an inspection response may come back that is going to require certain repairs to be done, the seller doesn’t have the funds to do so, a renovation loan’s a really good fit for that scenario. Again, getting back to a customer choice simply allows them to make the repairs more specific to their needs and wants.
Adam Small: Okay. Are there any differences in how each situation should be approached basically depending on what the end goal is. Should they be approached differently?
Michael Kerkhof: No. Renovation loans are all literally done under the same blanket. It’s more specific to the repairs that are actually either required or are the repairs wanting to be done.
Adam Small: Okay.
Kimberly Small: What type of loans are available for renovations?
Katie Hughes: There’s a few different types. FHA 203k is the first one, a 203k Limited versus a Standard, so there’s actually two types of FHA 203ks. For the first one, the 203k Limited is for a minor cosmetic type of repair, so perhaps you want to add in an HVAC to your purchase, perhaps you want to kitchen remodel. But then there’s the FHA Full which is a little more comprehensive and a little bit bigger, so if you’re rebuilding an entire house that’s going to be a great option. Then flipping over to a conventional FNMA Homestyle loan, the Homestyle allows for more flexibility for purchasers or owners and doesn’t necessarily have to have minor restrictions that the FHA 203k has.
Kimberly Small: Are there any loans that are unique and have different qualifications, so it is different for first-time buyers or are there other unique circumstances?
Michael Kerkhof: For renovation, there’s certainly not anything that is specific for any borrower or purchaser and any parameters that they have to meet. It’s available literally to any customer.
Adam Small: It doesn’t matter the type of loan that they already have on their home? Say I’m wanting to renovate my home and I’ve got a VA loan, you know, which they have various requirements and stuff like that for a VA loan. Is a renovation loan impacted by that sort of, the existing mortgage I guess would be the question I have.
Michael Kerkhof: Any existing mortgage is simply treated as a payoff.
Adam Small: Okay.
Michael Kerkhof: Any new renovation product is going to supersede that and also be paid off as well.
Adam Small: Okay.
Katie Hughes: And there is the difference between what we’re talking about, which is a 203k product. That’s replacing what’s called your first mortgage. What it sounds like maybe you’re referring to is a second mortgage.
Adam Small: Right. Right.
Katie Hughes: So, what we’re talking about, first.
Adam Small: So, we’re talking about is replacing the first mortgage. Okay.
Katie Hughes: Exactly.
Adam Small: Okay.
Kimberly Small: In the loan types that you talked about, is it different for each location throughout the United States or are those pretty standard across the board?
Katie Hughes: They’re fairly standard across the board. Indiana will have some specific designations for various borrowers, however the general guidelines are going to be the same.
Kimberly Small: Okay. If someone’s buying a property, is there a benefit to them using the same mortgage company for both their mortgage loan and a renovation loan? You said if it’s a large …
Adam Small: Well, that kind of gets back to the question that we just asked where she was …
Katie Hughes: Right.
Adam Small: … telling us that this is a replacement loan. I shouldn’t really call it a replacement loan per say, but you’re essentially paying off the …
Katie Hughes: It’s a refinance.
Adam Small: With extra for renovation. Right?
Katie Hughes: Correct.
Kimberly Small: Is that just for the one type? If they’re doing minor modifications, is that also a replacement?
Katie Hughes: That would also be the replacement as well …
Kimberly Small: Okay.
Katie Hughes: … regarding what we are talking about.
Kimberly Small: Okay.
Michael Kerkhof: One of the things too that’s pretty key to understand here is whether it’s a refinance or a purchase these loans are available for both refinance and purchase transactions and it’s all one loan and it’s a first lien position loan. It’s not necessarily a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage. It’s amortized over 30 years. They also have a choice with Fannie Mae Homestyle if they want to do it on a lower term for 15 years and so forth. FHA loans are amortized over that 30-year timeframe.
Adam Small: We’re really not talking about a second mortgage at all here, right? We’re talking about kind of what you see on the home renovation shows where they see three houses and they buy the one that’s in the absolute worse shape and they fix it up at the same time before they actually move into it, right? It’s really just one loan with enough left over to not only cover the cost of the house but fix the home up as well.
Katie Hughes: Right.
Adam Small: That’s what you’re talking about?
Katie Hughes: Yes, exactly, except don’t keep giving us expectations like HGTV because those are still …
Adam Small: Right. Well, you know, that’s a formula, right?
Katie Hughes: Right. Exactly.
Adam Small: Yeah, it’s only going to cost $10,000.00 and you know what? Now, we need to replace all of your electrical wiring and that’s going to be $50,000.00.
Katie Hughes: Right.
Adam Small: Right?
Katie Hughes: Right.
Adam Small: Yeah, yeah. But the concept is the same where you buy the home and you get enough left over to, I say left over, enough money to actually fix the home up in the way that you want, whether it’d be just adding an HVAC or doing a complete remodel.
Michael Kerkhof: Thank you, Adam, very much for bringing that up. One of the I would guess is simply a misconception with a lot of the television shows and reality TV shows out there is that individuals can come in, they can renovate these properties, and they can do extensive renovation repairs and it only costs $25,000.00. That’s pretty much a big misconception because a lot of these television shows have budgets, they have production budgets, what have you.
Adam Small: Right.
Michael Kerkhof: You’re not going to be able to repair and put bamboo flooring in 1,500 square feet for $1,800.00. That’s just not going to work.
Adam Small: I wish it did though …
Michael Kerkhof: We all wish it did.
Adam Small: … you know. That’d be amazing, right?
Michael Kerkhof: That would be great and our clients would be thrilled. Our contractors would probably beat us with a stick, but other than that. I mean, that’s one of the misconceptions that certainly is out there. We always set that expectation for our clients just to be aware and know what are the means within their budget. That way everyone’s on the same page. More specific, whether it’s our realtor referral partners, our specific buyers, our contractors as well, they’re getting a better understanding of what that customer’s needs and wants are, and that’s where we continually have our focal point.
Adam Small: Great.
Kimberly Small: You work with the customer to make sure that they have a contingency fee or contingency amount in place for unexpected things within the renovation?
Michael Kerkhof: Absolutely, and thanks for bringing that up as well, Kimberly. One of the things with these loans is they are always set with a specific contingency reserve for repairs that are just simply unforeseen. Whether they’re coming in to redo flooring, they find out the subflooring is in disrepair and needs to be completely replaced, that’s what that contingency reserve is for. Ironically enough, the contingency can also be used for repairs that they did not include in the bid and they want to also utilize those funds as well. If they don’t use the contingency reserve, where does that money go? Well, it certainly doesn’t just disappear. It’s actually going to be a principal reduction on their actual loan if it is not used.
Adam Small: They don’t get to just pocket it?
Michael Kerkhof: They can’t pocket it. Boy, that would be nice if they could. No, that goes directly to a principal, what’s called a principal reduction.
Adam Small: Right.
Michael Kerkhof: Now, there are other fees that are associated with any renovation loan. Those fees are and can be of course financed into the overall package. Those typical fees are going to be any type of title update fees, appraisal inspection fees if needed, consultant inspection fees, as well as any consultant fees thereto as well.
Kimberly Small: Is an inspection required in order to do a renovation loan?
Michael Kerkhof: Absolutely.
Kimberly Small: Okay.
Michael Kerkhof: Several inspections can be done. That is just primarily the watchdog from a consultant standpoint of is the workflow being completed and being completed in a workmanship-like fashion. That’s what those inspections are designed for.
Kimberly Small: So, you have parameters in place to help guide the process and make sure that there’s not a giant red flag in the property basically, that something big wasn’t disclosed and the homeowners didn’t know about?
Michael Kerkhof: Absolutely. That’s one of the things as well as when we … The due diligence that’s conducted on the entire process with these loans appraisal-wise, consultants for any of those larger projects are for that specific reason.
Kimberly Small: Okay. You had mentioned home equity loans as well. What would make a difference as far as, or are there other types of loans that somebody doing a renovation should consider as opposed to doing a renovation loan?
Katie Hughes: The main difference between the two products, really with the renovation loan you are replacing your first mortgage and then with a home equity it would be considered a second mortgage. The benefit with doing the renovation loan would be if you’re doing larger renovations. It’s going to allow us to go in and really gut the house. If you need a new HVAC and you already own the home, it may not be beneficial to do the renovation loan, then you can look at doing a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. Another benefit would be that the renovation loan is amortized over 30 years, so you have longer to pay it, which means lower payment, which might be more comfortable for you versus the home equity products which are going to be 10, 15, maybe 20 on the high end.
Adam Small: Right. You know, along those lines you just kind of said if you’re just getting your air conditioner replaced or something like that you probably don’t want to go with a home renovation loan, so who else might not be a good candidate? What other situations might not make you a good candidate for this type of loan as opposed to maybe a home equity or something like that?
Michael Kerkhof: I would have to say it’s based really on that individual. If they’re doing, of course, minor repairs to that extent, whether “Hey, we need to replace a water softener,” or “We didn’t need a full HVAC repair and bottom line it comes out to about $4,000.00 in overall costs,” a renovation loan’s just simply not a good fit for that just with the expense that’s going to come out for those repairs. Any individual that is, I guess would understand the fact that they are going to have contractors in their home for a short period of time.
Adam Small: Right.
Michael Kerkhof: If that’s a privacy problem, a renovation loan is the not for them because they’re going to have contractors in and out of the property.
Adam Small: Somebody’s going to be in that house, right?
Michael Kerkhof: Exactly. That’s why it is imperative that a solid relationship with the contractor is established, of course and that is always the goal as we try to do that.
Katie Hughes: I think it’s been described as a short-term marriage before, so.
Michael Kerkhof: I would say short-term marriage is probably the best way to describe it because here you can only, I guess, put yourself in that position to where you’re coming home from work, you don’t have countertops, how are going to feed the kids tonight, are we doing pizza again, and Bob’s underneath the sink making all sorts of noise and whatever that may be. Those are considerations that need to [inaudible 00:13:47].
Adam Small: A few choice words too.
Michael Kerkhof: Right. Precisely. One of the things as I explain this, especially when I get a customer that’s doing an extensive build out, it’s kind of like that movie the Money Pit. You know, the end result?
Adam Small: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Michael Kerkhof: And the end result is there, but boy it was hysterical getting there.
Adam Small: Not at the time though.
Michael Kerkhof: Not at the time, but, boy, at the end it was well worth the …
Adam Small: Right.
Michael Kerkhof: … well worth the project.
Kimberly Small: Well, and just to piggyback off that, when somebody buys a new home and they have these big dreams of what it’s going to look like if they’re planning to renovate or expand there are some considerations that they really need to think about. For instance, are they in a neighborhood where there’s a homeowners association and are they going to stop anything that they’re trying to do, or are they going to get permitted by the city for any extensions or those types of things. Is that something that you guys help with as well or do they need to come armed with all of that information before even talking to you?
Michael Kerkhof: Absolutely, Kimberly. That brings up a lot of validity. Permits are going to be required on specific jobs. Literally every county in the state has a list of certain permits because it is county-related. We require those permits to be noted within the bid and also those permits be pulled before work can begin after the fact. That’s one thing our renovation team establishes once we actually close the loan itself.
Michael Kerkhof: Homeowners association approval. It’s imperative that the new buyer make sure that the association doesn’t have specific requirements that are going to need approval through that homeowners association. Any kind of exterior painting, specific shingles on a property, there are some associations that have certain requirements that the homeowners within that neighborhood or that PUD, which it’s called, or a planned unit development, is going to require. They can’t come in and obviously paint a house a very light pink with, you know, some mauve shutters or whatever that may be.
Adam Small: Right. Right. Right.
Michael Kerkhof: They’re going to have to follow some specific rules.
Kimberly Small: Let’s talk about the scenario that someone gets a renovation loan and they have a contingency in place but either they realize throughout the process that their tastes are a little bit more expensive than they originally thought or they find something that despite having an inspection shows up that requires being addressed and there’s not enough funds. How are those situations handled?
Michael Kerkhof: It’s always better to have that budgeted upfront because a scenario works in this instance anytime. If there’s an overage in contingency, those funds have to come from the individual borrower, so that is a big difference there. They need to make sure that they have ample funds, that they’re contractor has bidded ample funds that are available for any repair, especially if they’re doing some extensive, you know, either higher-end items, so whether it’s that granite countertop compared to something that’s a little different that’s thousands of dollars more. It’s much more recommended that they have that at the higher end prior to close than having to come out of pocket to do so.
Adam Small: So, they should, if they’re going to fudge the numbers, fudge them higher than lower?
Michael Kerkhof: Exactly, or as far as the budget is concerned they want to make sure that they budgeted ample funds …
Adam Small: Right.
Michael Kerkhof: … for the project itself and even on that higher end because, I mean, the bottom line is that it comes down to it. If those funds aren’t used, they can be used for something else that wasn’t on the project. As I go and I talk to customers it’s like, “Hey, we budgeted $15,000.00 for this kitchen repair,” which is usually that’s a pretty good figure on an extensive, high-end kitchen remodel with some of the smaller homes. It’s like, “Hey, but we had an extra four grand that’s let here.” Blow out and put a beautiful deck on the home. That’s some of the things that you’re going to be entertaining.
Adam Small: Right.
Michael Kerkhof: You know, those are some of the items that I always like to share with our borrowers just to make sure that they understand and it’s meeting that expectation and it’s like, “Okay, now I know how this works and I’m not confused. I don’t want to put myself in a trap.” There’s nothing worse than having that scenario …
Adam Small: Yeah.
Michael Kerkhof: … or making that phone call. You guys have to pony up $3,000.00 or work with your contractor.
Adam Small: Right.
Kimberly Small: Right.
Adam Small: Right.
Kimberly Small: As you mentioned earlier, if they are under budget that can go towards principal as well instead of another project.
Michael Kerkhof: Absolutely.
Kimberly Small: Okay.
Michael Kerkhof: Absolutely.
Adam Small: Cool. Do you have any suggestions for real estate agents that are working with clients that want to buy a property that requires a renovation? Or maybe even they’re selling the listing as well?
Katie Hughes: Well, realtors can really integrate this into their business model and develop their network in the right way. Networking with the right lender, contractor, and consultant is key to allowing this process to become successful. As we mentioned, it’s a short-term marriage. Communication is key in marriage, so communication is going to be key with this realtor, with understanding, because they might have that little bit of a deeper relationship with the borrower.
Adam Small: Right.
Katie Hughes: Letting us know if that anxiety is starting to get high so then we can all just keep everybody on track. That’s really important.
Adam Small: So, really sounds like a get-to-know-me sort of thing, right? You know, …

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We had a great interview with Cindy Hartman of Nationwide Inventory Professionals about Home Inventories and their value.

Home Inventories And Their Benefits Reasons To Inventory
  • Loss – Knowing make, model, serial number, and quantity will help tremendously in case of fire or burglary.
  • Estate Planning – Inventories can help establish inheritance wishes.
  • Divorce/Prenuptial – Knowing the value of assets pre and post marriage.
  • Proper Insurance – Making sure you aren’t underinsured.
Home Inventories And Their Benefits Podcast Transcript

Adam Small: Hello and welcome to Real Estate Marketing Minute. I’m your host, Adam Small. And with me today, we have Kimberly Small from Agent Sauce.
Kimberly Small: Hi. How are you?
Adam Small: Doing well. And you?
Kimberly Small: Good.
Adam Small: Good. And our special guest today is Cindy Hartman from Nationwide Inventory Professionals. Hi, Cindy, how are you?
Cindy Hartman: Hi. I’m great. Thanks.
Adam Small: Great. So today we’re going to be talking to Cindy about Nationwide Inventory Professionals. So Cindy, why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and your background before we kick into the inventory aspect of things?
Cindy Hartman: I was born in Ohio. We moved to Indianapolis in the late 1980s. I was in the corporate world for over 30 years. Decided to go out and try entrepreneurship. Which has-
Adam Small: Big leap there after being in the corporate for a long time.
Cindy Hartman: It was scary and fun all at the same time.
Adam Small: Yeah
Cindy Hartman: I’m a mother of two sons, four grandchildren, and have been married to my husband, Mike, for 47 years.
Adam Small: Wow. Congratulations. That’s a long time.
Cindy Hartman: Thank you. It has been very long.
Adam Small: Not ready to kill him yet?
Cindy Hartman: A couple times maybe.
Adam Small: Couple of times, there you go, so. Alright, so you’re with Nationwide Inventory Professionals and what is it that you guys do there?
Cindy Hartman: Well, Nationwide Inventory Professionals is a licensing agreement with other professionals who have started a home inventory business.
Adam Small: Okay
Cindy Hartman: We assist them to do that. We started out on this journey as being home inventory professionals.
Adam Small: Okay. And, what is a home inventory? I mean it sounds obvious but it seems to me there’s probably a lot more to it than just what it sounds like.
Cindy Hartman: Well, basically you’re pretty much right it’s exactly what it sounds like. We inventory the contents of a persons home.
Adam Small: Okay
Cindy Hartman: We take photographs and also do a written report including all of the big ticket items that would list the contents throughout the home as well as the garage and the exterior.
Adam Small: Okay. So, there’s a lot of documentation in there so, very interesting.
Kimberly Small: And you do the services for businesses as well? In addition to homes?
Cindy Hartman: Yes, we do. We do the assets for businesses, non-profits, government buildings as well as homes.
Kimberly Small: What caused you to get interested in that kind of business? You’ve been in corporate world…I’ve known you…several years now so what caused you to switch over and get into this business in particular?
Cindy Hartman: Well, what caused the move to entrepreneurship was me losing my job. You know, sometimes those big life events force you to do something that you’ve been thinking of for years and years and years and-
Adam Small: It was an opportunity?
Cindy Hartman: There you go.
Adam Small: Is what you’re saying right?
Cindy Hartman: Totally, opportunity. And, Mike and I had talked about starting our own business for a long time. And when I was jobless, after a few months of sitting on the deck soaking up the sun, Mike kind of encouraged me to get back to working. And I thought I don’t want to go back.
Adam Small: You need to get a job.
Cindy Hartman: Yeah! I don’t know why. So, I started looking around to find another job and couldn’t find anything I really wanted to do. So, one day Mike got home from work and I said yeah I’m gonna start my own business. And his reply was well find something we can do together because you know I don’t like my job. And that really wasn’t my intent, but we decided to go into business together. It’s just been great. We’ve totally enjoyed working together as well.
Cindy Hartman: So, that’s what gave me the catalyst to get into starting our own business. Why we chose this business is we had been burglarized once. Very small. We remembered everything we had but it was still a whole Sunday of going through the paper, finding things similar to what we lost, writing it out, filing our claim.
Cindy Hartman: Well then a few years later, we had another major theft and we lost thousands of dollars worth of items.
Adam Small: Wow…
Cindy Hartman: Mainly because we couldn’t remember what all we had in the garage. And so two years later, Mike would go out to get a tool. Comes back in the house, well there’s something else we forgot to list. And after we totaled up everything over the years that we had remembered later, too late to file the claim, it totaled thousands of dollars.
Adam Small: Significant loss.
Cindy Hartman: It was terrible. And the time factor of trying to remember everything and you know you look in the garage and there’s a space there and think what the heck was there.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: I don’t remember either. And it was just awful. So, it was months long process, just for the garage. I can’t imagine having to do it for a whole house.
Adam Small: Right, right.
Cindy Hartman: So, when we were looking for something to do we found that type of service on the internet and we thought, you know, bingo this is really what we would love to do. Because we were looking for a service and something where we could help people. And something that could be done out of the home. So, it met all of those criteria. That Hartman inventory was begun.
Adam Small: Cool
Kimberly Small: You mention burglary. There’s a lot of other reasons that people would want to have an inventory and things that it helps with. Can you kind of go in to detail other reasons people would need to have an inventory on hand?
Cindy Hartman: Sure. Besides burglaries, of course natural disasters, weather, tornadoes, or floods, or hurricanes. Also, for an estate. If you’re the executor of your parents or siblings estate, to settle that estate, you’re required to file a list of all the possessions so that they can be added to the value of the estate.
Cindy Hartman: And that’s a rough time for the executor to go through. You’ve just lost somebody, a dear relative or a parent, and now you’re the one responsible to pull all that information together. A major part of our business is doing the estate inventories. Other times, for divorce, separation of assets a more polite way to word it.
Cindy Hartman: Or pre-nuptials. Many times when it’s…when people have adult children and they’re merging these two families and the children want to make sure they receive they family items when that time comes. Having that inventory for all of those reasons is very helpful.
Cindy Hartman: One of the things on our written report that we include is a bequest column. So that when you do your initial inventory, you can state who you would want to have that item. So when the end is there and people are splitting up your belongings that kind of stops a lot of the family fighting because you know the wishes of the person who just passed.
Adam Small: Right, very-
Cindy Hartman: It’s a very helpful tool.
Adam Small: Very interesting. You kind of touched on this earlier. When you mentioned your own issue with burglary and theft with insurance. Explain why you would need a home inventory if you do in fact have insurance.
Cindy Hartman: Well the contents insurance is based on the percentage of what your home is insured for. That’s based on the value of your house. So, you’ll receive based on your insurance policy somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of what your policy is for the home, that’s what they’ll register you, or insure you for, for the contents.
Cindy Hartman: The importance of having that list is when you have a loss the insurance company won’t just send a check in the mail a lot of people think that. Oh, if I have a loss I’ll just get a check for the amount of my insurance. There’s two main reasons why they won’t do that. For one, since it’s just based on the value of your home you could have a lot more items then the value. As and example, we inventoried a home that was valued at $200,000. Their contents were worth over $400,000 because they had a lot of antiques and fine art.
Adam Small: Right
Cindy Hartman: That’s one time you would want that inventory beforehand so you know you’re insured properly.
Adam Small: Right
Cindy Hartman: If you’re using the percentage based on the value of your home, let’s say you just had a kitchen fire. They can’t give you a full amount of the total insurance because that would include everything in your home. So you would have to take the time list everything that you need replaced so the insurance company knows what to give you.
Adam Small: Okay. So are there any reasons besides disaster, or fire, or burglary, or something like that. That a homeowner would want, or need, an inventory?
Cindy Hartman: Sure, there’s quite a few. We do have clients who want to have collectibles listed and photographed, item by item. That’s a major difference between a regular home inventory and a collectibles inventory.
Adam Small: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Cindy Hartman: Because on a collectibles we would list each item, piece by piece, name the item like if it was figurines, we would list the name of the figurine, usually there’s a number identifying that figurine. And then we would take an individual photo of each. So a lot of people want that as collectibles so they can have that itemized list. A lot of times people are trying to complete a collectible.
Adam Small: A collection, right
Cindy Hartman: A collection. And by having that individual..those individual pieces listed, they won’t over buy. We’ve met so many people, that oh, I didn’t know I had that and I already bought another one. So this way, they can always check before they purchase a duplicate item.
Adam Small: Oh oka.
Cindy Hartman: And then they’ll also be able to take the full item of a collection and know what pieces they still need to look for. Another reason would be sports memorabilia. Those can be pretty valuable at times.
Adam Small: Pretty expensive collectibles there right.
Cindy Hartman: Antiques and then of course china and silver. A lot of times they would want those to be itemized individually as a collectible, instead of just under the normal home inventory. Then for realtors. With the industry that you’re in, there are two main needs for people who want to have an inventory and for realtors that would know about this to help their clients.
Cindy Hartman: Like if somebody is getting ready to move, often, if they’re moving in town it’s nice to have that inventory prior to loading the truck. Well that would be for in town or out of town. You’re loading the truck, the moving company will do an inventory, but they’ll inventory just how many boxes. The don’t inventory everything that’s in each box.
Adam Small: Right
Cindy Hartman: A great example of that is Mike and I met this couple who were moving to Indianapolis from California. The truck was in an accident and caught on fire. All of their possessions were burned up.
Adam Small: Wow, oh man.
Cindy Hartman: When they went to the moving company to get their inventory, it listed all of the furniture piece by piece but then they had X number of boxes. No idea what was in those boxes.
Adam Small: Right
Cindy Hartman: So they could only do a best guess, try to remember and she said, you know there’s no way they’ll ever recover. So for a realtor, when they know their customer is moving, it’s better to get a full inventory by a professional. Rather than-
PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:11:04]
Cindy Hartman: It’s better to get a full inventory by a professional rather than count on the moving company because they won’t have that detail.
Adam Small: Okay, so moving is actually a good time to do it both from a perspective of access to the home and things coming out as well as insurance purposes is essentially what you’re getting at?
Cindy Hartman: Right. Because if you don’t have a list of everything you had, then the moving company is certainly not going to believe you-
Adam Small: Right. Right.
Cindy Hartman: Unless you have a good itemized list. Then, also the photos to prove that what you’re listing-
Adam Small: Right. Right.
Cindy Hartman: You have the proof that the photos are going to back up everything that you’ve listed. Then, also if you’re placing items in storage. A lot of times realtors know of people moving, and then there’s a month delay before they can get into their new home.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: When your items are not on your property, you don’t have insurance on those items. Some storage units require insurance, others do not, so it’s always good to check with your insurance agent. I know a lot of people say, “Well, it’s safe, because the storage units are-”
Adam Small: Right. It’s in an enclosed place and all that.
Cindy Hartman: Yeah. But all you need is the key.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: The numbers to get into the facility.
Adam Small: Facility, right.
Cindy Hartman: Then, on the other side, often, we’ve talked to people that own the units as well as police officers often as people that have a unit that are the thieves of other units, so they have easy access. Then, of course, opportunity for floods and sometimes a fire. Strange things happen, so it’s really good to have that, again, a list of everything in that storage unit.
Cindy Hartman: In fact, we had a client who did that, had things in storage and they moved to Granger, Indiana. Well, she called and she goes, “Do you still have our inventory? We can’t remember if we had such and such in there or if we misplaced it.” It comes in very handy no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going to have that list.
Adam Small: Right. Right.
Cindy Hartman: Then, another reason is if people are buying a new home, bigger home.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: You’ve had a few more children and to have a list of everything as you buy it is a great time to start that inventory. You’re getting new items, you can have a really good … You’ll have the price right there and everything else you need. Or for people, especially seniors who are down sizing. They’re going to be getting rid of things. Then, that’s another good time to have an inventory because then, that’s when that can especially start that bequest column because they’re getting older.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: They start to think about who’s going to want this.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: In fact, we have our list and we had our grandkids walk through the house one day and point out things they wanted.
Adam Small: Well, that’s a nice morbid activity. Sorry.
Cindy Hartman: Well, we made it fun. We started when our grandson was the youngest at the time. He was four.
Adam Small: Oh yeah?
Cindy Hartman: Kids that age don’t get freaked out-
Adam Small: Right, right.
Cindy Hartman: About death, so it was just, “Hey, what would you have of grandma’s if you could have anything in here.”
Adam Small: Yeah, yeah.
Cindy Hartman: That lightened things up and then, we just went from grandchild to grandchild.
Adam Small: Yeah, yeah.
Cindy Hartman: It was really nice and now, we know who wants what.
Adam Small: Right, right. Absolutely.
Kimberly Small: You go through and you do this process for clients and bring it to their attention that they need it. If people ask you about, “Well, why don’t I just do this myself? I’ve got my iPhone. I can take pictures and go room to room and do inventory and throw stuff on an Excel sheet.” It’s like the to-do list on your homes. You can do things but tell me a little bit about what you do that a normal person wouldn’t necessarily think of in order to document those things.
Cindy Hartman: Okay. Well, and to your point, we have that people say to us, “Well, why would I hire you? I could do it myself.” Mike and I both immediately answer, “Have you done it yet then?”
Kimberly Small: Good answer.
Adam Small: That’s the first answer, right? Yeah, yeah.
Cindy Hartman: They usually go, “No.” Some people have and we always say, “Way to go.” We’re really excited because there’s just such a few percentage of people who actually have a really good thorough inventory.
Cindy Hartman: We have found that a lot of people will go and do a real quick video of their home and that’s better than nothing. But the key is to have the written report. The purpose of that is on a written report, you’ll have model numbers and serial numbers where if you’re just doing a quick video, most people don’t talk into the phone to record everything that way. The importance of having a serial number is if you have a theft and the police recover your goods, which is much better than having to file the claim-
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: They will need proof that it’s yours. If you don’t have serial number, it’s pretty hard to prove that it’s yours-
Adam Small: It’s not yours, right?
Cindy Hartman: Unless you’ve got your name engraved on it.
Adam Small: Right.
Cindy Hartman: We know of a business owner who is no longer in business because she had her office broken into and they stole all of her computers. The police called her and said, “We have recovered a bunch of computers. Come down and see if any are yours.” Well, she walked into a room the size of a school classroom. Nothing but computers. Table after table after table. They all looked alike. She didn’t have the serial numbers, so she never was able to open her business again because she couldn’t recover from that loss.
Adam Small: That’s terrible.
Cindy Hartman: That’s the importance of a serial number.
Adam Small: Yeah.
Cindy Hartman: Also, model numbers are good because when you go to replace it, that model number will help you prove to the insurance company if you have a, let’s say it’s a power tool and you bought a circular saw. Well, was it $15 one at Walmart or was it the top of the line from DeWalt.
Adam Small: Right. Right.
Cindy Hartman: The only way to know that or the best way to prove it is that model number because that model number tells exactly what that value was.
Adam Small: What it was, right. Right.
Cindy Hartman: That’s why those numbers are so important and when people do a video, they rarely think to record that stuff as well.
Adam Small: Right.
Kimberly Small: You’ve been doing this for a while and you have relationships with insurance..

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In the studio today, we have Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors. She is the vice president of communications she is here today to talk to us about the benefits of being a member of your state Association.

Podcast Links Benefits of State Association Membership Takeaways
  • There is a legal hotline! While they won’t represent you they will provide guidance.
  • The forms provide by the state association are drawn up by their attorney’s to be compliant statewide.
  • The state association lobbies for you and your profession with the state government and represents at national conferences.
Benefits of State Association Membership Podcast Transcription

Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to The Real Estate Marketing Minute powered by Agent Sauce. This is Adam Small and with me today we have Kimberly Small of Agent Sauce.
Kimberly Small: Hi. How are you?
Adam Small: Doing well, Kim. How are you?
Kimberly Small: Good.
Adam Small: Good. Good. In the studio, we have a special guest. It’s Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors. She is the vice president of communications there. Hi, Stacey. How are you?
Stacey Hartman: Hi, Adam. Thank you, Kimberly, for having me.
Adam Small: Great to have you here. Really looking forward to it. Stacey’s here today and she’s going to talk to us about the benefits of being a member and being involved in the Indiana Association of Realtors. Since we’re talking about member benefits, what’s the number one? Can you sum up the number one benefit for us, Stacey, of what being a member of the Indiana Association of Realtors is?
Stacey Hartman: It’s your forms. It’s statewide transactional forms. Our attorneys draft them, and this is the same … This case is the same with any statewide association. Most statewide realtor associations do this, but here in Indiana our attorneys draft them to protect our members and their transactions. Members review them to keep them current with the market. They’re statewide to cross board and listing service lines. I would just challenge our members to think of the time and money that you save by not having to consult an attorney for each move during a transaction, not to mention counseling the guy or the gal on the other side of the transaction.
Stacey Hartman: They’re secured. They’re familiar, and they help you get your job done.
Adam Small: That’s the number one benefit. It’s amazing because you said that they actually work statewide. They’re valid statewide. Knowing that if I use a form the Indiana Association of Realtors in Indiana, it’s a valid form. There’s not going to be a problem with it.
Stacey Hartman: That’s correct.
Adam Small: That’s a real peace of mind there. Now you said attorneys drawn it up. You have attorneys on staff?
Stacey Hartman: We do. We’ve got a couple of full-time attorneys on our staff. One of their main daily jobs is to man our legal hotline. Again this is very common among state realtor associations, but here in Indiana managing brokers have the ability to call into a legal hotline. They can also designate an agent to be able to do that. They have unlimited toll-free access to an IAR attorney. That’s a huge benefit when you consider what attorney fees run. The legal hotline definitely saves our members money. It reduces their risk.
Stacey Hartman: There are times that the answer is no or call an attorney because we can’t get involved in litigation, but guidance and peace of mind are valuable on their own.
Adam Small: Just having that resource as a, “Hey, here’s something that we’re not quite sure how to handle. What do we need to do?” Even if they have to say ta that point, “Look, you need to go consult with an attorney to represent you,” at least you know that you’ve got something that needs real attention, instead of it being something that you can say, “Well, you know, I can just respond to it myself.”
Stacey Hartman: That’s right. You’ve got a touch stone at the Indiana Association of Realtors and that’s good for peace of mind.
Adam Small: Yeah. A real valuable asset there.
Kimberly Small: What kind of questions do they get on the hotline?
Stacey Hartman: Oh, Kimberly, the questions run the gamut as you can imagine. If you’re a property owner yourself, you can just think back to what your transaction was like. We get questions on fair housing. We get questions on insurance, on local ordinances. We get questions on utilities. It really runs the gamut. Think of what it means to be a property owner and that tells you what our attorneys are talking about everyday.
Adam Small: All right. What other benefits? I mean you summed up the main benefit as being forms and it seems like probably the second greatest benefit is the legal advice or legal counsel or access is the word I’m trying to say. What other benefits are there in the way of being a member of the IAR or associating and getting involved with them?
Stacey Hartman: At a state level, and this is true again with a lot of state realtor associations, other types of state associations, your membership with the Indiana Association of REALTORS® gets you full-time lobbyists that defend your profession, your clients, your communities with state legislators and agencies. We also provide counsel to local associations and doing the same with city and county governments. We work really hard to solve political problems before they become your business problems. Having somebody out there proactively defending your profession, promoting it, is worth a lot.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely. Not only are there resources like you were saying the forms and stuff like that, technical resources there, but you’re also out advocating is really what I’m hearing you say, right? On a political level, trying to make sure that laws that get passed don’t have a negative impact on the real estate profession in general, right?
Stacey Hartman: That’s right. We’re talking about promoting strong communities, quality of life issues, making sure that the profession can operate freely, protecting property rights.
Adam Small: Wow. That’s a lot.
Kimberly Small: Along those lines, talk a little bit about RPAC. A lot of people have heard that either on a national or a local level. Tells us a little bit about what does that stand for and what do they offer?
Stacey Hartman: Well, I would say that in our current environment, politics can certainly make folks turn their eye or turn their cheek. RPAC, which stands for the Realtors Political Action Committee, those are important tools in our lobbyist toolbox to put … Think about it this way, RPAC is like an insurance policy. We use RPAC to put real estate friendly and knowledgeable candidates into office and once there help them enact real estate friendly policy. We think about it in terms of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s RPAC, but we should still have the cure just in case. That’s where our Realtors Defense Fund comes into play.
Stacey Hartman: We use the Realtors Defense Fund to advocate on issues. While RPAC would be candidate contributions, the Defense Fund would be issues to advocacy. If there were something important in your community that you wanted to support, let’s say mass transit rail up in the Northwest part of the state, water issues, those are what we would use the Defense Fund for.
Kimberly Small: You also an organization provide educational opportunities for agents. Tell me a little bit about what programs that you offer, what makes yours unique?
Stacey Hartman: Sure. I’d be happy to. We really have three places that we operate in an educational and professional development arena. First we have a Realtors Leadership Academy. It’s a year long program. It helps identify emerging leaders from local associations. It trains and motivates them to exert a positive influence on the future of the realtor organization. We also operate or put on two main events every year. These are our legislative and leadership conferences. Then we can’t go much further without talking about our school. That’s the Real Estate Certification Program or more commonly known as RECP.
Stacey Hartman: The benefit, first of all, I would say to any agents, broker out there listening, you have a lot of choices when it comes to your pre-licensing and continuing education, but I want you to think about it this way. Our school develops its courses with the help IAR attorneys and industry experts whose focus is on Indiana. Our attorneys, as we’ve already talked about, spend their days listening to realtors via the legal hotline. They know what’s going on in local markets. They also work with our lobbyists to fix realtor concerns legislatively and to know what’s coming down the pike.
Stacey Hartman: This relationship really positions RECP to provide the most timely and relevant education out there.
Kimberly Small: You guys host events for agents in addition to your staff goes to national events so that you can better educate yourself about what’s going on in the industry on a national level as well. Tell me about some of the events that you guys go to and then also the events that are open to agents to go to.
Stacey Hartman: Sure. Actually it’s really all of the above. Agents are welcome at almost every event that our national association and our association here at the state level put on. We at IAR, our staff and our leadership, support and attend to our two main national events. That would be the legislative conference generally in May where we bring realtors from all over the country to go to Capitol Hill and talk about issues, and then in the fall, generally there’s an annual meetings. It’s really focused on more the craft of your business, so real estate topics, be it technology, your communications, those kinds of things. We participate in those.
Stacey Hartman: Any realtor is welcome. Then we mirror that a little bit at the state level. We have a legislative conference generally the end of January, first of February, where we ask realtors from all over Indiana to come to the state house, advocate for themselves, their communities, their profession. There’s really strength in numbers. I would just encourage that person out there listening who might not be interested in politics or who just is getting a really poor taste about it in our current climate, I would tell you this, there’s a really popular saying in politics and that is that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
Stacey Hartman: That’s what we try to do at our legislative conference. We try to show our legislators that there are strength in numbers, that we’re united. We can rally around our industry. It’s a great networking time too. Now our annual conference differs from our national association’s annual conference a little bit in thinking in terms of our value proposition, the place that we know our members can get a lot of information a lot of different places via their firm, their broker, the managing broker, their peer groups, their communities, national organizations.
Stacey Hartman: With our annual events, we’ve tried to get out of the business of teaching our members how to do their craft. They know how to do their craft. We’ve turned our annual conference into a little bit of a leadership conference. It’s meant to pull leaders at local associations, those who want to get involved. Again this is a great place for somebody to step in and open the door. We ask people from around the state to come together and we talk about association things and also how to better represent the association and advocate for it and really how to become immersed in our communities.
Stacey Hartman: Realtors are already doing that, but it’s more of a way to do it together and make a more powerful impact. I would say if there’s somebody out there who’s listening who maybe gets emails from me, Stacey Hartman, and hasn’t given too much thought, you might scan those things. Come. Show up one time. It’s a great networking opportunity if anything. Get a little taste of what we do at the state house and see why it matters. Come meet folks who care about the industry just as much as you do. It’s a day, day and a half.
Kimberly Small: Great. I know that every state has a state organization like yours. There’s also obviously the local boards of different areas. How do those work together? Especially for a new agent that’s coming in and wanting to get involved, what’s the overlap there? What would you have to say as far as them getting involved in both organizations?
Stacey Hartman: Sure. The realtor organization is a three part organization. When you join, you become a realtor, you join a local association first. By virtue of that membership, you are a member of the National Association of Realtors and the state association of realtors. At your local association, you’re going to get a lot more hands-on things. You are going to get more networking with the people generally that you’re doing business with. You’re going to get the tools of your trade, say lockboxes and technology and your listing services and those types of things. At the state and national level, we are a little more policy oriented.
Stacey Hartman: We’re typically a trends and advocacy organization. Here at the state association, we do that on a state level with our legislators, with our state agencies. The national association they do that, of course, on Capitol Hill with members of Congress. The same is true with regard to trends. We have attorneys at both levels. Our attorneys are going to be focused on what’s happening within our state courts and regional courts. The national association is, of course, going to take a broader view. Just all three of us taken together, we’re protecting you and your ability to do what it is that you do on a daily basis.
Kimberly Small: Great. Anything we haven’t covered? Anything that agents come to you and are like, “Wow. I’m surprised. I didn’t know that you did that or that I had the opportunity to be involved in that.” Anything we didn’t cover?
Stacey Hartman: Well, I think there’s one great resource that we don’t talk about enough. Our attorneys publish a variety of publications, little articles, updates, etcetera. We house those on our website at indianarealtors.com. That’s a great place to check out. They’ve probably written about anti-trust or social media policy. It’s just a good reference place. I don’t think we do enough to talk about that. Then in general, I would just invite to get involved. Time is our most precious commodity. It gets harder and harder to get folks to events and I understand that. I’m just like you. I am very choosy with what I do with my time, but I would challenge you this.
Stacey Hartman: Your business is real estate and generally this is your passion. It’s helping people buy and sell, whether it’s a home or a place to start their business, to grow their business, or follow their passion. I would just say that when you come to our events, you are meeting up with people who are just like you. You can learn a lot from one another and we have a lot of fun too. I would say be on the lookout for a couple of our events. Go to our website indianarealtors.com. Check out the legal resources area. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We do share information that way.
Stacey Hartman: Of course, tell your local board your best email address because that’s how we communicate with you and just would hate for you to miss out on information that you’re entitled to as a member.
Adam Small: If I’m a realtor and I’m listening to you and you’ve convinced me, now I want to get involved with the organization, with the association, who do I contact? What can I do? How do I get started with getting involved?
Stacey Hartman: Well, I would say start at indianarealtors.com. The next thing that I would say is that our leadership at the state association, and this is true across the three tiered organization generally so, but our leadership is … They’re volunteer leaders. We elect those folks. I would be on the lookout for a ballot this September. Find out more about your candidates. This would be a place for me to advocate voting as well in your state and local, national elections, but it does matter. Get to know those folks who are representing you at the table. Come to an event and of course, you’re welcome to contact me. My email address is shartman@indianarealtors.com.
Stacey Hartman: I know that’s a mouthful, but yeah, reach out. Let me know what it is that you’re thinking. Give me your feedback on stuff that we publish. Let me know if there’s something that we’re not doing. We’d just love to hear from you.
Adam Small: All right. Great. Kim, you got anything else?
Kimberly Small: No, I think I’m good. It’s been great talking to you.
Adam Small: It has been.
Stacey Hartman: Thank you, guys.
Adam Small: Thanks for joining us, Stacey. We really appreciate it.
Stacey Hartman: Thanks for the opportunity.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely. For all you listeners out there, thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to like us or subscribe and have a great day.

The post Benefits of State Association Membership appeared first on Agent Sauce.

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In this podcast we look at what flipping houses is really like with Wendy Russell, a real estate investor and TV personality out of Toronto, Canada.

Wendy Russell

Home Flipping Tips Takeaways
  • Watch out for the hidden expenses!
  • Build a team of contractors, real estate agents and bankers.
  • Always get the inspection.
Home Flipping Tips Links


Home Flipping Tips Podcast Transcription

Adam Small: Hello and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Minute. Today, we’re going to be talking about tips for real estate investing and we’ve got a couple of people here in the studio with us. One is Kimberly small, hi Kimberly, how are you?
Kimberly Small: Doing well.
Adam Small: Great and then, the other is our special guest Wendy Russell. Wendy is a real estate investor and TV personality out of Toronto, Canada. Hi Wendy, how are you?
Wendy Russell: I’m good. How are you guys?
Adam Small: Doing great, thanks. Wendy, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and kind of how you got into real estate investing?
Wendy Russell: Yeah, it started a long, long time ago. I grew up with a stepfather, who was a master carpenter and a contractor. We were constantly living through homes being renovated when we were growing up. At the tender age of 13 or 14, he had me painting baseboards and window casings and I was very unhappy about it. I had much better things to do, like go to the mall with my friends and things like that. Ultimately, he gave me my greatest gift, which was to teach me how to put sweat equity into home. He taught me how to be a do-it-yourselfer. From there being super crafty and handy, I ended up hosting a show for HGTV Canada, called She’s Crafty. It was very much about creating do-it-yourself projects for your home, home decor things.
Adam Small: Nice.
Wendy Russell: Yeah, it aired in the States for a number of years actually on Ion Life. Got some amazing loyal fans across North America, it’s amazing and then, the show ended up airing in random countries like Japan and Colombia and France.
Adam Small: You’re an international superstar?
Wendy Russell: Well, you know, I don’t know that. Yeah, so that’s sort of where that led to. My husband, his father was a contractor as well, so he always learned how to use the power tools too.
Adam Small: It’s in the blood.
Wendy Russell: We had no fear, yeah, no fear going into it together.
Adam Small: Great.
Kimberly Small: You mentioned HGTV and I know in working with realtors, they always talk about misconceptions that buyers and sellers have. Based on that show, they make flipping houses look very easy and all of that. What are some of the skills required for somebody that wants to tackle that?
Wendy Russell: Sure, listen, first and foremost, let’s do the math people. I think what those TV shows don’t reveal is the net profit on a flip. They only talk about the gross profit, which is far sexier for television of course.
Adam Small: Little misleading, right?
Wendy Russell: Very misleading, so they don’t talk about all the expenses that are incurred to actually get a house sold when you’re flipping it. If you’ve ever seen any of the TV shows, like First-Time Flippers or Renovation Realities that is actually the reality of people doing their first flip and it reveals how challenging they really are. That’s great and it’s sometimes a great example of what not to do in terms of us as real-estate investors, we go into homes. We see so many bad flips and that’s pretty concerning because if the finishes are bad to the eye as you walk in the room, you can imagine what it looks like behind the walls. The other thing in real estate in terms of one of the mantras that we live by is usually the fastest money you make in real estate is usually the least amount of money that you’re going to make in real estate.
Kimberly Small: Somebody that’s just getting into real estate investing, what are some of the strategic partnerships that they should look to establishing?
Wendy Russell: I think as a real estate investor, you absolutely need to have a great team to work with and that includes a great agent, a lawyer, accountant, home inspector, a plumber, electrician, the gamut because you’re going to be working with these people over and over again. It’s key though absolutely to have your lawyer, your solicitor and an accountant to be experts in real estate and real estate investing. It’s actually preferred if they are real estate investors themselves because they will know the nuances that other accountants and lawyers may not. Those two, if you’re going to choose any two of your service providers that you’re going to team up with and create your sort of long-term team, those two would definitely you want to look at to be real estate investors themselves.
Kimberly Small: Okay, when looking for properties, let’s talk about permits, how do you verify that a space that you’re buying has the proper permits and that what you hope to do with the property is going to be allowed?
Wendy Russell: Well, this is where you make really good friends at City Hall. Get your butt down to City Hall and you can find out this information. Either depending on where you live, you may be able to either call into City Hall and verify that information over the phone. I, on the other hand, like to go down in person and make friends with the zoning department, so they reveal everything that’s ever been done to the home legally through permits. If I’m looking at a property that has an addition on it, I want to verify that that addition has been done through the city legally that it’s up to current building code that kind of thing. They’ll reveal all that information. That may have some bearing on whether or not you buy the property or not, depending on what you want to do with it.
There’s that and then, on top of that the other thing that the city will share with you is they’re going to tell you what your maximum density is in terms of how large you can build on your particular lot. If your lot is 20 feet wide by 100 feet long that your lot size is 2,000 square feet. In my particular neighborhood, this little house that we just bought, our maximum lot density in terms of build is 0.8%, so 80% of the lot size. I can build up to a 1600 square foot home on my particular lot. We purchased this tiny bungalow at 610 square feet. We can add almost a 1,000 square feet, which is exciting and all of a sudden that adds huge-
Adam Small: Wow.
Wendy Russell: … value and major ROI at the end of the day in terms of building that much square footage onto the home.
Kimberly Small: if you find out that there’s an addition on a property that you’re interested in and the permit does not exist for that addition, is there any way of rectifying that?
Wendy Russell: It’s almost one of those things, where you can either decide to tear it down and start from scratch and actually, go through the proper channels to build it and build it safely because ultimately, you don’t know what’s under the walls, how they’ve done the foundation, all of those things that may have not been run by a structural engineer and signed off on by the city. It’s totally a personal decision. If you are planning to add on to the property anyways, you can probably consider taking down that addition that wasn’t done legally or properly through the city and then, start from scratch. There may be some ways if you want to keep what they’ve done, but rectify it as it were, you could bring in a structural engineer to really have them assess and look at, do a deep dive into what’s been done. Then, he’ll give suggestions on how to possibly improve on what’s been done to make sure it’s safe.
Adam Small: One of the things I see on a lot of these flip shows is where they buy the house, site unseen, no inspection that sort of thing. Is an inspection really necessary? I mean when you’re buying a home to live in, they always tell you, “You need to get an inspection.” Some states even mandate it, at least down here in the US. What’s your experience with that inspection necessary, yes, no on your flipping?
Wendy Russell: I still say yes to the inspection and the reason I do that is because we end up using the home inspection as our to-do list. It’s a great tool to have, not only when you’re flipping it, you can then present it to the potential buyer and say, “This was the inspection that was done when we purchased it and we have literally repaired all of the things on this list, so the house is now either up to code or up to date in terms of what needed to be done.” We use it as our to-do list. I think it’s one of those great things that it’s just an advantage in terms of especially when you’re flipping it, it makes the seller that much more confident in their purchase. That said, in addition to a home inspector, we actually bring along our electrician and our plumber. We hire them to come along and I know it sounds extreme, but here’s why because home inspectors are not necessarily picking up on latent defects. Those are the items behind walls and under the house in the ground, whereas like a plumber can throw the snake camera down the pipes and see what’s actually going on under the house. For that extra $250 or $300, whatever they’ll charge to come out and do that it’s totally worth it.
In fact, if we’d done it on the first two houses we purchased, it would have saved us over $25,000 in fixes and we would have had some sort of negotiating room with the seller because basically what had had happened in one of our homes, there was a huge tree in the front yard. It had broken all of the clay pipes under the house. The basement had been flooding for years. The seller did not disclose that. He’s got bad karma all around, but I have other things I could say about that but I won’t. Yes, he’s got the bad karma and we bought the house without having known that the basement was flooding. We were in the house for about three weeks before the basement had completely flooded. I then had to pack up my elderly father, get him into a hotel for three weeks before the basement that had to be repaired. It was about all told $25,000 once they dug up the driveway. We had to repave the driveway, fix the front flowerbed. Call in the contractor, who tore up the floor and had to replace the tile, like it was just an absolute disaster. For $300, I say save 25,000.
Adam Small: Sounds good to me.
Wendy Russell: Yeah.
Adam Small: When you’re looking at these places and trying to determine if there’s a good ROI or whether you flip it or rent it out or whatever, is there a particular science, you’re using a methodology that kind of says, “Yeah, this one’s going to work and that one’s not.”
Wendy Russell: Yeah, absolutely, I mean at the end of the day as a real estate investor, one of the most important things you can do is run the numbers. If you’re thinking about an income property, you have to make sure the numbers work. What I mean by that is that the ultimate endgame is that you are always cash flowing. If this property is going to cost you month to month, don’t do it. There is no reason in the world that you should be paying into your income property. That’s the whole point of this game is to make sure that you’re cash flowing. The reason that you likely want to get into real estate investing is to create passive income for you and your family and your future. If that money is going out of your pocket every month, totally defeating the purpose. I think also if you’re deciding on whether or not you should rent out the property or flip it, it really depends on where you’re purchasing the property. There are some cities, where it actually doesn’t make sense to flip because your net profit is going to be next to nothing, so it’s better to hang on to it and do a long term buy and hold.
Again, at the end of the day, you always have to be in the black, not the red or you’re defeating the purpose.
Adam Small: It’s really pretty simple equation, if you will, if you’re making money, great and if you’re not, then move on, don’t do it, right?
Wendy Russell: Absolutely and I think there are a lot of things to that when you’re running the numbers that rookie real estate investors maybe don’t consider in terms of what they need to put into that calculation, there are things like don’t forget to add your property tax, your monthly insurance. You can actually account for other things for income. If you can rent out a parking space or rent out the garage that also will count as income, but there are so many things on this long list of expenses that people forget that it’s really key to calculate in there.
Adam Small: Great, so what about like incentives from cities, a lot of cities have areas that have been run down a little bit and they’re trying to go in and revitalize them. We see here in Indianapolis, there have been some, where they provide an incentive to somebody to come in and fix up a place. Have you encountered that yourself?
Wendy Russell: Yeah, this one is another one of those, it totally depends on the city. You’re exactly right Adam, how hard was that area hit in the housing crisis, were people were actually walking away from their homes and now those towns and cities are urban blight? Those will be the cities that are providing incentives to real-estate investors and developers or even someone that’s like, “Hey, you know what, this might be a great city for me to get started with my real estate portfolio because I can purchase a home for $20,000 and rehab it and go from there.” Again, you want to start digging probably at your local City Hall to see if they’re offering anything and even your local city councilor or somebody, go to the mayor, whoever it is in the town that you live in, they will know where to go to find out about any incentives being offered.
Kimberly Small: You talk about making the numbers work. A lot of times you’ll see that investors will do full cash offers. Is that what it takes?
Wendy Russell: Again, it’s back to really running the numbers and it really also depends on where you’re purchasing a home. For example, in Indianapolis, you may be able to purchase a home for $20,000, $30,000, $40,000. In Toronto, where I’m at, it’s a hard press to find a house for $600,000. Full cash offers here doesn’t make sense. In cities where you can actually purchase it with cash that’s another thing. Now, one of the things that you need to know, another mantra, rule that we live by as real estate investors is we’re actually not trying to pay off our properties. The most successful people in real estate actually don’t pay anything off. Obviously, they’re making their monthly payments, but they are fully leveraged and they are not in a rush to pay anything off. That’s something you want to think about too. The more cash that you’re putting on a home, the less you have in your pocket perhaps to rehab the property, renovate the property and get it to a place, where you either want to live in it or are going to be able to rent it out.
Kimberly Small: Especially in a seller’s market, you’re going to see bidding wars. As an investor, what are your thoughts on that? How you should approach getting the property at the right price?
Wendy Russell: I follow the avoid bidding wars like the plague rule. I think that if you’re looking for an income property, don’t buy one that you get into a bidding war over. You could potentially leave that for your principal residence, if you must, but you really, really want the properties that have been sitting around for a while, so you have some room to negotiate, which will ultimately help your bottom line. Also, if you’re looking at a property with an offer date, avoid it because they are looking to get an over asking price and you’ll never have time to get to City Hall to do the research that you need to. For me, I avoid bidding wars like the plague because if you’re flipping or if you’re doing an income property, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make sense, unless of course, the price is so crazy ridiculously low that you can’t not have it. Where I’m at right now, in terms of in the big city of Toronto, it’s not a good plan because you’ll end up in the hole.
Kimberly Small: You talked about some of the hidden costs that people don’t think about and also some of the things that lessons you learned by not having an inspection and other stuff, any other tips for somebody that’s just getting started in real estate investing, something that might help them out and-
Wendy Russell: Sure.
Kimberly Small: … save them some pain based on your experience?
Wendy Russell: I think in terms of hidden costs that’s going to vary property by property, depending on what you decide to do to it. Is it a full rehab, is it maybe underperforming in some way, so it’s not a full renovation, but it’s underperforming or is it a turnkey property? For example, if you’re going to do a full rehab, you need to budget for an architect, a structural engineer, your land survey, temporary fence rentals, a Porta Potti. All of these things, where you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I forgot I had to have a fence and a Porta Potti,” because once you take the plumbing out of the house that’s it. If you’re working with an architect, this sounds really silly, but you want to find one that’s got a large scale printer in their office and they’re actually going to include those 24 by 36 drawings for you because otherwise, you go to a printing company, they’re going to charge you anywhere from $300 to $500. Hopefully, you’ve got an architect, it’s included in your flat rate that you negotiate with them that they’ll give you these drawings because it’s not cheap.
The other thing is in terms of not so obvious costs, I guess if you’re going to do the demolition yourself, you also need to budget for disposal bins, tool rentals, maybe even some tool purchases, if you find yourself using the same tool over and over again. You’re like, “Okay, I finally need to buy that demolition hammer because I’m using it all the time.” Those types of things need to be included.
Kimberly Small: Okay, little amounts can all add up too.
Wendy Russell: Oh boy, do they ever?
Adam Small: Yeah, I’ve never run into that myself. That’s for sure.
Wendy Russell: No, oh, you’re lucky. You’re magical, you’re like the Unicorn.
Adam Small: Yeah, no sarcasm there. It’s funny the people that do get into real estate investing, some of them are real estate agents, decide they want to try their hand at flipping homes just because they come across these deals. Then, others are people, who are not real estate agents, but they have to have a real estate agent involved in the transaction or help them get the place sold. I shouldn’t say have to, but most the time.
Kimberly Small: In your experience, what are some of the things that you look for when you’re working with an agent and deciding to work with them in this particular area, flipping and renting that sort of thing? Is that really kind of the traditional buyer-seller relationship or is it different?
Wendy Russell: I think it’s a little bit of both. That’s a great question. I think as a real estate investor, you want an agent that you’re okay with being in a long-term relationship with. This is somebody you’re going to be, for lack of a better term, in bed with for a long time, someone you can trust and someone, you genuinely like because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. If you’re serious about real estate investing that’s going to be your right hand. I use the analogy, if you’d actually go and sit down and have a meal and a beer with them and you trust them on that level that, “I like this person enough, I can have a beer with you.” You need someone you can trust to actually bring you off market deals or pocket deals that kind of thing, so those are the kind of conversations that you want to have with them and say, “Hey listen, if you get a line on something about your cousin’s husband’s uncle is selling their house and it hasn’t hit the market yet, let me know.” Those pocket deals are a great way to make money in real estate. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
An example is my agent knew that we were looking for a home that we could split into three units. We were going to live in one of the units, rent out the other two. She knew a gentleman that she worked with years ago, he’d gotten himself in a bit of financial trouble and he was getting pretty desperate to sell, but on the other hand, was also kind of this older stubborn kind of introverted guy, who didn’t want a bunch of people traipsing through his house. He gave her all sorts of parameters. He said, “If you are going to sell my house, here are the rules, no for sale sign on the front yard, no showings after 7:00 p.m., if you are doing showings, I need to be there and no open houses.” She’s like, “Oh that’s great, how am I supposed to sell your house?” Wow.
Adam Small: Yeah that make it easy.
Wendy Russell: She said, “Well, here’s the situation for you, I have a couple that’s interested, which will avoid the..

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A great discussion with Donna Gordon-Willoughby and Nelson Weaver of Kentucky Realtor Association on why agents should attend local, state and national conventions.

Why Real Estate Agents Should Attend Conventions Takeaways
  • There are specific programs for New Agents at the conferences.
  • CRS Agents Make significantly more than non CRS agents.
  • Visit the booths- you may find that one thing that makes all the difference for your business.
  • Grow your network!
Why Real Estate Agents Should Attend Conventions Podcast Transcription

Adam Small: Hello and welcome to the Real Estate Marketing Minute, I’m your host Adam Small and with us today is Kimberly Small. Hi Kimberly, how are you?
Kimberly Small: Doing great.
Adam Small: Great and today we are actually in Louisville, Kentucky, and we are at the Kentucky Realtors Annual Convention and we are sitting with a couple of special guests here today. Our first one is Mr. Nelson Weaver and he is a broker, owner, and delegate at large. Hi Nelson how are you?
Nelson Weaver: Hey, I’m good Adam. How are you today?
Adam Small: Doing great, thank you. Nelson why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in conventions?
Nelson Weaver: Well I actually got in the business 1999 so been in almost 19 years. I’ve been a broker owner since 2001 and actually went to my first convention in 2001 in Lexington. At that point realized how vital the convention in itself could be toward my business and the growth thereof and pretty well have attended every single convention since that point.
Adam Small: Great. Our other guest is Ms. Donna Gordon-Willoughby, and she is the convention chair this year and she was also the vice chair last year, is that right?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: That’s correct.
Adam Small: So Donna why don’t you tell us a little bit about your history and how you got involved in conventions?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Okay, thanks Adam and it’s nice to be here with you and Kimberly today. I got involved originally I served on a local level in Louisville and they pulled me into the state, got me involved with coming to convention and that eventually led into leadership. So getting into leadership you move your way up working through different chair programs, and realized the significance of being around the rest of the state realtors, the brokers and the involvement that that goes along with at the networking that you build.
Adam Small: Right, great. So listen, we’re going to be talking today about why it’s important for agents to attend conferences so you know one of the things involved with conferences, obviously they take a lot of time. Right? There’s a time commitment, there’s a financial commitment as well so what do you guys say to an agent that concerned about stepping away from their business for an entire week at times and the cost involved with it because of travel and all the other things associated with that?
Nelson Weaver: Well I think I could start with that, it’s certainly something that we had to consider and being a younger agent, or a newer agent in the business, oftentimes money and time can be a hard situation. Especially the money, you actually do have more time.
Adam Small: Well everybody knows that starting out agents they’ve got all the money in the world because they make so much from commission, right? So what would you say then to say okay, I understand money is an issue but this is really important?
Nelson Weaver: You know it’s all about scheduling and the priorities in our life and within our industry. Once you realize the value of what you can glean from the convention in itself, at that point it almost, if you look at the sense of you can’t afford not to attend because of, I mean just what you’ve got besides the connections and the networking that you meet, you’ve got all the information from the classes offered which usually at the state convention we pull in some of the best national speakers that are available. Then you’ve got just the motivation that you pick up from seeing these people. Whether you’re a new agent, excited to learn or an older agent that’s kind of still-
Adam Small: 19 years or so?
Nelson Weaver: Exactly. I’ve never came to a convention that I didn’t get inspired or I didn’t pick up one piece of information that I could take back to, whether it’s myself or take back to my agents, and that made me more money than whatever missed opportunities I might have had while I was there.
Adam Small: Okay, so like you said earlier, it’s just a can’t miss opportunity, is what you said right?
Nelson Weaver: Exactly.
Adam Small: Donna, what are your thoughts?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: In regards to the amount of time and the cost to come, it is made up very easy by your continuing ed that you get. The ability to meet people like you guys-
Adam Small: Well thank you. You make me feel special.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: But the ability to look at new and innovative marketing ideas that come through in the trade show. The trade show is a big part of the convention and it exposes these agents that maybe aren’t able to get out and look at new marketing ideas and plans, to be able to come across folks like you and take an opportunity to talk and get some background information, go back home, and start to put that into their marketing finance plan.
Adam Small: Right, so again, the opportunity to grow their business really is what it comes down to. It’s just an excellent opportunity. Kinda pulls them out of their comfort zone of being at home, their nice little bubble and all that, and kinda breaks up that mindset so that they’re able to be exposed to better things or other things, and hopefully grow their business is what it sounds like.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Yeah, I always tell my agents, activity breeds activity. You can be sitting at home on the couch or fumbling through Facebook, or whatever it is that you do on your downtime. We all have that downtime. Come here, use your downtime. If you get busy we all have phones. We’re all capable of working on the go.
Adam Small: Exactly. Nelson, you kinda touched on this earlier about new agents. You were talking about new agents just a moment ago. But are there any unique benefits for a new agent that’s just starting out to attend a state conference? Is it even more important for a new agent to attend maybe?
Nelson Weaver: You know, when I look at it maybe from a broker’s standpoint, and I know everybody does things differently, and I was fortunate enough to get involved early on as a new agent, that’s when we’re most excited, it seems like in the business.
Adam Small: Right.
Nelson Weaver: But setting that tone pretty much for the rest of your career. It seems like a lot of the planners, and Donna could probably speak to this later, but there are so many different things that they have for first time attendees, and it seems like also the expos and the vendors set up there have a lot of different products that you walk in and you’re just blown away with some of these marketing ideas and tools that are available that you just had no idea were out there.
Nelson Weaver: First of all, you get to see all that, but then you get to see the inner workings of, I guess it would be the less-exciting part of the industry, but how the organization in itself works, and how important it is for the delegates and the directors to come together, forging our industry forward, and realizing how important that if we’ve got problems with our business, or learning to grow our business, or things aren’t the way we exactly want it to be, we realize that at the convention in the meetings, we have an opportunity, we have a say. We can talk to our delegates and directors and say we need to fix this. And it was for me, early on with the conventions and the meetings, I realized hey I’ve got a say. I’m a member and I can actually help forge the direction of our industry.
Nelson Weaver: And that excited me, and that’s why I’ve been involved. And the convention is the perfect place to learn to be involved. And one of the biggest benefits and programs I’ve seen, and Donna can speak to this a little more, they’ve got a program called the Leadership KYR, and as a younger agent or new in the business, or a seasoned agent, this is an opportunity that can lead you to further leadership within the organization.
Adam Small: So it sounds like there’s just a lot of opportunity for a new agent to come in and learn a lot with stuff that’s really geared toward them and their challenges, specific to them, not that it’s not great for agents that are much more experienced, but there are specific programs for new agents here, right?
Nelson Weaver: That’s correct. We specifically reach out to some of the new agents.
Adam Small: Right. Donna, what are your thoughts?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Well really just to piggyback on what Nelson said, but a new agent coming in can be very intimidated by the amount of information that’s out there, and being around seasoned agents. Coming here, to me it felt like it leveled the playing field a little more, because I was abruptly thrown into information and tactics that might have otherwise taken me two years to understand or even have a conversation with someone about, because the exposure is statewide, you’re not just talking about local agents.
Adam Small: You mentioned earlier that stepping away from your business and taking time to do this is a big part of growth and learning how to grow your business as well. So, can one of you guys tell me about your process for selecting speakers that come to these conventions, and why being present in the room with that person when they’re speaking is so much better than just sitting down and watching a video on YouTube?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: I’ve experienced this now for the last two years, and it was very eye-opening, did not understand the process prior to being on the committee for the selection. But being able to sort through the number of very talented people out there that are set up to motivate and educate agents across the country, was a fun experience. So the committee will look at as many as 10 different speakers before they decide on picking a keynote and then educational instructors that specifically have talks that are geared towards things that are happening at the time, such as, at this particular convention, our keynote speaker is mostly a motivator but he’s going to talk a lot about social media marketing, advertising, that way. We also are bringing in specialist in wire fraud, FBI, source-
Adam Small: That’s a big one lately.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: … and all of these things are important for agents to know. You never know. There’s never a problem until there’s a problem. By bringing in this spokes we can cover … The bigger city sometimes have their own legal people, but some of the smaller counties aren’t privy to that. So, by bringing in educators that have dealt with wire fraud, we can educate and help protect those agents while they’re here.
Adam Small: So, you’re looking at people that, things are happening in the industry and people that can speak to those things as opposed to just putting a couple of names in a hat and saying, “Oh Yeah, Bill Gates. Sure. Let’s try to get him here.” Right?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Yes, it is a very thought out process and of course, we’re under budgetary restraints, but at the same time- [crosstalk 00:11:12]
Adam Small: Are you sure? I’m not sure.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: No, most of them just like to do it because they love it, but yes, you have a budget that you have to go by, but when you’ve got a really good speaker and they can motivate you and get you fired up on online you’re like, “Wow, I can’t wait for this guy to walk in the room.” You walk out of that room excited and ready to go, ready to get back to your office and start implementing whatever it is that they’ve brought out.
Adam Small: Right. So, speaker can make all the difference. Very motivational at times. We just went to a Conex conference in Toronto last month and the last speaker and I’ll botch his name. I can’t even say his name because I can’t entirely remember it, but he was speaking about mobile marketing and the entire time he spoke he was just running around that stage and he was practically shouting at you. He was very energetic and he was also quite inspirational because he was talking about how he did things out of the norm and he worked with Oreo cookies. He was the guy that broke the, I’m sure you all remember. Maybe not. Maybe you don’t, Donna, you may be too young for this, but growing up it was Oreo was kind of their thing. He’s the one that broke away from that and 50 years of that and they were like, “I don’t think we should do this.” He’s like, “Yeah, just run with it.” But it turned out to be very much a success.
Adam Small: I can’t remember, there were a couple of different things they did, but the whole point of it was walked away entirely motivated to step up and address our marketing and our business and what we can do in order to grow it as well. So, great to hear the process there and how much thought you guys put into what’s going on in the industry and how can we get speakers that can help our constituents or realtors address that. So, really great to hear that.
Kimberly Small: Talking about education and being motivated, agents have to get so many CE credits every year, and conferences are providing those opportunities to them. Is it true that an agent can come to a conference like this and get all the education, the CE credits that they need for a year?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Absolutely. That’s going back to one of the other questions was cost and time away from work. Those are things that agents have to invest in themselves anyway. So, coming to a convention is an investment but you get a return on that investment because otherwise those classes have to be taken elsewhere, those hours have to be turned in by the end of the year and you’re getting all that at one time along with all of the motivation and the inspirational talks. So, yes, they can come, they can get in Kentucky, all states are different, but in Kentucky, you are required for six hours of continuing ed. Three of those have to be in law and there’s several opportunities during the three or four days that we have convention to get that time in.
Kimberly Small: Great. So, the CRS which Certified Residential Specialist, it’s a designation highest credential awarded to residential sales agents. Tell me a little bit about this designation and what does it do for them?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: The CRS, there was a couple of different ways that you can attain your CRS. One is by volume, just sheer volume, the number of cells that you have. The other is going by the years in the business. There’s a process that they follow to qualify people for the CRS, but it has been proven that people with a CRS designation, as much as triple what a regular licensee makes.
Adam Small: That gets back to investing in yourself, investing in your business. This is an excellent opportunity to be able to do that at the same time.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Yes. Not only do you get the standing education, but the networking and referral system is very beneficial through the CRS. Through the process of obtaining the designation, professionalism is raised and it’s proven that CRS agents make significantly more salary [inaudible 00:15:33]. They close more transactions and they have a higher success rate of becoming successful. Convention helps with this because a lot of the classes are offered during the convention or a meeting when it’s being held. There is also a CRS booth that’s available for new members to visit at almost all of the conventions so that new agents can come by and find out what the qualifications need to be, what classes need to be taken and there’s always a member there of the CRS committee that’s willing to sit and talk with those agents.
Adam Small: New members get out there and find that booth, right?
Nelson Weaver: Exactly.
Adam Small: All right. One of the things at these conventions is that there’s usually a vendor fair of some sort and then obviously, the agents go through those, so, what kind of advice do you guys have to both vendors and agents how they can get the most out of these expos?
Nelson Weaver: I think the expo is awesome. I remember the first time as a young excited agent coming to my first convention and just walking through there. It’s almost like a kid at a candy store and-
Adam Small: [inaudible 00:16:49] kids are given way all the [inaudible 00:16:50]
Nelson Weaver: … Exactly, but there’s lots of technology marketing ideas and tools out there. Multiple mortgage companies, home warranties, different inspection service companies and you’re walking through there and she did mention, Donna had mentioned, it can be overwhelming but at the same time it’s exciting. You’re in this business and you see all the-
Adam Small: It’s quite an eye opening at times too, right?
Nelson Weaver: … It sure is and I would have her speak toward as a planning out a convention, how do you, I would like to know myself, how do you come across some of these vendors that are at the convention? I don’t know what the criteria selection, but as a consumer, as a member coming to this, I’m excited to know myself, do we reach out to them or do they come to us because they’re just awesome?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: What happens in that process is we as a part of the convention committee reach out to different vendors that we use on a daily basis. Your home inspectors, your mortgage companies, roofers, sign companies. Anything that touches your business, or anybody that has the ability to make your business run and work better, we reach out to. They’re not the only ones we reach out to, of course, there’s fun stuff. We want the women to have some jewelry and purses to look at to, to break up the monotony of mortgage companies and then [inaudible 00:18:27] stuff, but as far as the vendors themselves go, they get a booth, they are able to expose their business, they have an opportunity to talk to three to 600 agents depending on the size of the convention, get that exposure.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: I always tell them vendors, the best thing you can do is have something that these guys are going to remember you by to maybe leave them with or have a fun booth. Have something where they throw a ball in something. There’s different ways that we go about attracting those vendors too, above and beyond the exposure they’re going to get.
Adam Small: What would you say to a to an agent to get the most out of the expo?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Well, we always used to use a bingo card that allowed the agents the opportunity to visit every booth and pick up a stamp. That ensured that not only did the vendor get an opportunity to get in front of that agent, but it also made sure that the agent at least made the effort to visit each booth because you never know what’s going to be used-
Adam Small: That make them to cross out one thing that they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Right?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: … Absolutely.
Adam Small: So, really, just make sure you visit the booths and check out everything because you may find that one thing that you really didn’t know about and may really want to.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: Yeah.
Adam Small: Yeah, great.
Kimberly Small: You mentioned elections earlier. Tell us a little bit about what agents can expect to do as far as participating in those elections and being involved and what can they do in advance to prepare themselves for that.
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: As the convention approaches, our state association makes sure that all licensees are notified of the convention, where it will be, the opportunities to sign up for an early bird discount. Quite honestly, the convention as a whole, to sign up, just to get in convention is really inexpensive. I don’t want to say cheap, but-
Adam Small: Nobody likes that word. Let’s be honest. Right?
Donna Gordon-Willoughby: But inexpensive for what you get. We’ve kind of beat that horse in this conversation, but the other opportunity is to meet the state leadership because the state leadership is who puts on the convention. During the annual convention is when we do vote in new leadership. So if you are a delegate, you have the opportunity to vote for incoming president, treasurer, your NAR directors. Those are your people that are representing you not just on the state level, but now they’re moving up to Washington and they’re being able to talk to those legislators and those people very much the same way we do here on a state level. But now they’re with the national guys. They’re with the guys that are making decisions that is going to move the housing industry forward. Collectively, we’re all in this business to make the housing industry the best we can make it.
Adam Small: Great. So what I hear you saying is that coming to the conventions helps you express your voice, voice your concerns and gives you a voice in the community as a whole. Is that correct?
Nelson Weaver: That is correct, and again, that was something I alluded to earlier that was important to me. It inspired me early on to get involved and to realize that I had a voice of the people I selected, of things that were going on in my industry that I thought that I could either make better or fix something that I didn’t feel was correct.
Adam Small: Right.
Nelson Weaver: Just having that voice is empowering, and just being able to elect and the opportunities through programs that they offer with leadership KYR or going to the CRS booth and moving to a greater sense of professionalism in our business.
Adam Small: Right, right, right, absolutely.
Kimberly Small: So we’ve talked about education and investing in yourself and all that stuff during this podcast, but let’s talk about the fun. There’s some fun with these conferences too.

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