January 15, 2019

What Has Your Industry Done For You?

Posted in Business, politics, Real Estate, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 3:38 pm by leighyork

association visual

Has your industry been good to you?  I mean, does it support your family? Make you feel good?

If the answer is no, your first thought may be, “Get another industry.”  That’s certainly something to consider.  But instead, let’s ask another question. “What have you done for your industry?”

We’re the players,  the movers and shakers as they say.  So, why would we sit around waiting on the industry to do something for us?  Figure out what the industry should be doing and go make it happen.  I realize that sounds like ‘pie in the sky’ mumbo jumbo.  Let me assure you, I’m no kum ba ya hippie chick.  But I do believe that we MAKE things happen.

The first thing to do, always, is to learn.  Do your research.  Know your industry.  Every trade has newsletters, magazines, reports, blogs, websites, etc.  Learn what’s going on in your field.  Most likely there is an association, usually volunteer, for your line of work.  Such as; the International Virtual Assistants Association or the National Speakers Association.  They usually have trade conventions offering education and a trip that you can write off on your taxes.  If travel isn’t an option, many have virtual meetings and conferences.

The next thing to do is get involved.  You’ll learn even more.  You don’t have to be the president of the group, just do something.  Serve on a committee or volunteer for a one time task.  The more you do, the more you’ll learn. You’ll be learning from your peers. You’ll be learning how things are done in other areas. You’ll hear about challenges in other markets and be better prepared for when you are faced with those same challenges. You might even be proactive because you got the ‘heads up’.  Facebook groups are great but they are no substitute for inter-industry networking.

By this time you’ll see that your industry is doing a lot for you.  If not, again…do something about it.  If you want the industry to support you, YOU MUST SUPPORT YOUR INDUSTRY.

The same goes for your community.  Hopefully you are doing business with people in your community.  If not, why?  Do you think that nobody in your po’dunk little town buys things online?  Seriously?  The old rules still hold true.  People like to do business with successful people and it’s even better if they know them.  They love to say, “Thank you.  I got it…..My friend owns…..You should try….”  Think about it.  You do it.  Why wouldn’t other people in your community?

Again, get involved.  When people see you caring for their community, they will care for you.  They will want you to be successful.  They’ll feel proud when you do well.  Not to mention, you’ll be doing good things.  Not only generating business for yourself.

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs.  Many successful people in my family had “jobs”.  However, the happiest of my ancestors were self-employed.  They worked the hardest and played the hardest.  Being self-employed carries a great deal of responsibility and weight.  It also brings flexibility and power.  Entrepreneurs choose their schedule and therefore have the power to do the things they believe in.  They have the power to set aside time to pick the kids up at school, be a room-mother, volunteer at a shelter, or any number of things that make us feel good.

Lastly, I say to you that serving your community and your industry will make you feel good.  It will also make you money.  J

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December 18, 2018

To Hire OR Not To Hire

Posted in Business, Real Estate, REALTOR info, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 2:58 pm by leighyork

Your business is growing.  Income seems steady.  You’re at that point where you may need an assistant to get to the next level.  Plus, you’re family misses you and the dog barks at you.  But, what if…….?

crooked tiara

Need Some Help?

It’s a tough decision.  Feels like you’ve just began to support yourself and now you must consider supporting an assistant.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Am I working as efficiently as possible now?  If not, work on that before hiring someone.  Get some systems in place and get comfortable using them.  Having good systems for every little thing you do will make you work smarter not harder.  You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
  • Am I really a leader? It’s ok if you’re not.  Some people just don’t play well with others.  They want things done their way in their time in their world.  That’s ok but it makes it hard to lead and grow staff.  If you’re not a leader, learn to be one.  Take a class or seminar before you hire someone.  If you don’t; you’ll both end up disappointed.
  • Who do you hire? Before you place an ad or interview, create the job description.  Put it in writing.  Also, budget.  How much time do you need out of an assistant? 10 hours, 20, 40?  Figure it out.  The written job description should help.  Take the amount of money you can spend and divide it by the number of hours you need.  Is this a reasonable hourly rate for what you’re asking of someone?  Again, work it out.  When you know what you need and what you can afford it is much easier to advertise for it and hire the right person.  Note*Tell your new hire what to expect.  If you are moody.  Let them know up front.  If you are a perfectionist, let them know.  If you fly by the seat of your pants, warn them.
  • If you only need someone for a few hours a week you might consider ‘sharing’ them with another agent in your office. This is a great solution but it does require that you work out the details with the other agent (and put it in writing) before you begin looking for the assistant.  The assistant will then be required to keep detailed time sheets showing what they were doing and for whom.

These are just a few tips to get you on the right track.  I know it’s scary to hire an assistant but you might consider how scary it will be if you don’t.

Good luck and good selling!

Hear and see more on this topic at Sell-A-Bration 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. https://crs.com/attend/sell-a-bration

July 26, 2018

5 Ways to Build a Noble Culture

Posted in Business tagged , , , , , , at 8:47 pm by leighyork

Visual Content Marketing infographic (1)

November 27, 2017

Being Noble

Posted in Business, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:55 pm by leighyork

noble definitionAn excerpt from A Noble Profession – the ebook, coming January 2018.

At some point we stop believing we can change the world.  We never stop wanting to.

Remember when you were a child.  There was likely an adult in your life that helped you believe you could do anything.  You could make a difference.  Remember that feeling?  That knowledge that the world was yours as you wanted it to be?  As adults, we’ve probably lost the feeling that we can change the world.  However, we NEVER stop Wanting to.

Consider Richard Branson, the Virgin guy (Virgin Enterprises).  He seems like a great guy. He doesn’t have to recruit.  People see what his companies do and they WANT to work for him. In his book,  Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life, he says “Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.”. If you must work for someone, that’s the guy!

When the team is happy at work, it bleeds to other aspects of their lives.  Their friends and family will notice.  They will ask.  Your team will talk about how great work is.  Pretty soon, others will want to work there too.  Are you following me?  This is great stuff but you have to manage it.

Now you have a great team and there are people who want to work for you. Be careful who you hire.  They must be excited and motivated.  It’s imperative they ‘buy in’ to the Noble team before joining. Consider how they will ‘fit’ in the office dynamic. Will the great team you already have embrace the new hire’s outspoken flair? Will they respect someone who doesn’t contribute new ideas?

 

August 21, 2017

Alexa, how much will they pay for my house?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:56 pm by leighyork

AlexaLike that headline? It’s not a joke. Seriously.

In today’s world of tech and smart homes, we have more and more homeowners recording audio and not just video.  Many people think that when they’re looking at a house; there might be a ‘nanny cam’.  Do they realize they could be recorded?  When they are oohing and aweing over this house and where their furniture will go, do they understand the seller might use that against them in negotiations?  Probably not.

There’s nothing we can do as REALTORS to stop this but we should be warning our prospective buyers BEFORE they enter a house.

While we’re on the topic of sales price and technology….let’s remind the public that what they see online is rarely accurate.  More and more people want to put a price on their homes based on its’ online value.  Remember, junk in equals junk out.  I don’t know of an automated value system (Zillow, Trulia, etc.) that has all the necessary information to value properties.  Most of the time they don’t even have accurate comparable sales data to work with.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is a place for those systems in the market but the consumer who depends on them as fact is only hurting themselves.

Technology is a beautiful thing.  I love all the advancements and new toys/tools.  New business models are getting VERY exciting. (That’s a whole other post.) Let’s just think about both sides of the equation and try to play fair and be aware.

August 7, 2017

Your Texas property may be in a water district. If so, it matters.

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:27 pm by leighyork

happy water tower

Water Districts in Texas are becoming a big deal.  Sadly, most people have no idea that they even exist. Many property owners are in a district and have no idea.

This note isn’t intended to explain to you what they are, how they work or how they tax property owners.  It’s just a reminder that buyers need to know before they buy property if they are in a water district.  Don’t say, “Oh, my REALTOR will tell me.”  Most REALTORS don’t know.  According to the state and the state promulgated sales contract, it is up to the buyer to determine.

As a property owner, you may not care if you’re in a water district.  In many cases, it’s not any big deal.  However, don’t you want to know before you invest?  When something changes and your bill goes up or you get an unexpected bill, that’s not the time to learn that you’re in a water district. The following link will allow you to look at a map and determine if you’re in a district and if so, which one.  I hope it helps you out!

https://gisweb.tceq.texas.gov/iWudSpatial/Controller/index.jsp?ccn=&zipCode=

Again, there’s a lot to know about water districts in Texas.  This is just your heads up before you buy.

 

July 19, 2017

It’s hot! I’m mad. I don’t understand. I don’t have time for this! I don’t want to do it!

Posted in Business, Real Estate, REALTOR info, Selling Property, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:37 pm by leighyork

This is a repeat but worth it.  Happy summer!

hot bulldogLet’s face it.  It’s hot out there.  Every year this happens.

When it’s hot out, people get hot.  Literally and figuratively.  The best thing you can do to manage expectations and emotions is to keep yourself and the clients cool.  Keep cold, bottled water on hand.  When I’ve scheduled a few hours of showings, I put a small ice chest in my vehicle with bottled water.  It seems like a small thing but it’s huge.

Just think about it.  When you get hot and sweaty, it makes you tired.  When you’re tired it is hard to think.  Imagine trying to make a decision about what is probably the single biggest expenditure in your life thus far when you feel like that.  Could you think straight?

It’s not just the clients.  REALTORS and agents have the same challenge.  You go from client to client in the heat all day.  Each one has their own little quirks that in January you find endearing.  In July, those quirks are mental illnesses and someone is a danger to society.  Keep your cool.

If you’re feeling hot and tired, the client probably is too.  Like I said, bottled water is great to have on hand but it’s not the only option.  Stop for a cold treat.  Maybe ice cream, fro yo or a smoothie.  Is that something they expect from their REALTOR?  It shouldn’t be.  It is great customer service though.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to voice what the problem is.  You can say, “I know you’re feeling hot and tired.  I am too.  Let’s cool off and relax and go from there…”

Keep everybody cool and sane.  Summer will go much smoother.  Good selling!

July 17, 2017

Where the West Begins!

Posted in Business, Real Estate, Selling Property, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by leighyork

FW skyline (390x278)

Fort Worth is where the West Begins. I love my city and I’d like to share some interesting history with you.  But first, I’d like to remind you why the city is famous for its’ Cowboys and Culture.

The Fort Worth Zoo is the oldest zoo in Texas, founded in 1909.  Repeatedly, it is ranked the #5 BEST zoo in the nation by the US Travel Guide.  Just up the street from the zoo you’ll find the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.  110 acres of gardens just outside the downtown area.

The Cultural District in Fort Worth is home to 7 museums, 6 of them nationally ranked.  If you’re one of the over one-million visitors to the Cultural District each year you’ll also find 4 galleries and a host of restaurants and shopping.

Smack in the middle of our lovely cultural district is the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.  This is home to the second largest stock show and rodeo in the world.  For three weeks every year it hosts the Fort Worth Stock show!

But let’s talk about Cowtown.  Between 1866 and 1890, over four million head of cattle were driven up the Chisolm Trail and into Fort Worth.  It was the last stop before the cattle drive had to cross the Red River and go into Indian Territory.  As you can imagine, just like many Texas cities in those times, a Hell’s Half Acre arose.  The Acre was widely considered to be the most rambunctious and dangerous and downright fun in the land.

In 1876 the rail came to town.  It was certainly better business for ranchers to put cattle on the rail and so they did.  In 1887 the stock yards were built.

By 1900, Fort Worth entrepreneurs recognized the money was in the meat.  So they convinced two major packing houses to build next to the stockyards.  There were two sites available for the plants and Swift & Co. and Armour & Co. flipped a coin to decide who got which spot.

Quickly, the new Livestock & Exchange Building was built in 1902 and became known as the Wall Street of the West.  It’s just next door to Cowtown Coliseum where the world’s first indoor rodeo was held and still goes on every weekend.

In 1911, a massive fire raged through the stockyards and the Acre.  The stockyards were rebuilt and the Acre was not.

During World War I, the area was the largest horse and mule market in the world and supplied most Allied Countries.

During World War II, we experienced our peak processing years with over five million head going through the Swift & Armour plants.

Today this area is alive and well.  The packing plants are closed and on the weekends it may resemble The Acre more than the Wall Street of the West.  You’ll enjoy shopping, dining and art galleries with special discounts just for you.  Don’t forget to stop by the Maverick.  It’s a great general store and they give you beer when you walk in the door.

Most famous is Billy Bob’s Texas!  This is the largest honky tonk in the world.  There’s lots of history on the walls, a bull riding arena, general store, bar b q restaurant, 40 bars, lots of photo ops and a live band.

There’s a lot more about Fort Worth to love.  I hope you’ll visit our city and experience the warm and friendly, laid back lifestyle we enjoy so much!  Come on over!

March 2, 2017

Changing Brokers? Taking those listings and buyers with you?

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:11 pm by leighyork

take-offNot likely.  Unless your employment/independent contractor agreement with your broker specifically says that you can keep them, you must leave them.

Even if your agreement says they can go, you must give the consumer the choice.  Don’t just automatically switch them.

Most state’s license law reflect that buyers and sellers are in agency agreements with the designated broker, not the sales agent.  Nationwide, the REALTORS Code of Ethics (Article 16 Standards of Practice 16-20) says that you shall NOT INDUCE those clients to cancel their agreements with the brokerage firm.

In addition, by inducing or just encouraging a consumer to violate their agency agreement, you have interfered with a legal contract.  In every state, this is against the law.

So, read your agreement with your broker and carefully consider how you might handle these conversations with the consumers.  Best practice is always to be honest with all parties involved.  Meaning, the broker and the consumer.  Don’t just sneak out in the night with a box full of files.  It will come back to haunt you.

January 16, 2017

What are you doing to sell my home?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:59 pm by leighyork

angry face girl (2)It’s not unusual for a seller to ask this question.  It’s reasonable for them to ask if we’re not telling them.  Have you ever thought to ask them what they are doing to help sell the home?  Most of the time we all believe we are doing everything we can.  However, as REALTORS, we’re supposed to know what to do.  We can’t expect the sellers to know if we don’t tell them.

Here’s a short list.

  1. Thoroughly clean the house and keep it that way.  When a prospect looks at a home and notices any dirt, dust, debris, etc. they ask themselves “What else aren’t the owners doing?  Maintenance?”
  2. Don’t talk negatively about the property or the neighborhood.  This seems like a no-brainer but a seller will complain about the neighborhood to someone in their sphere of influence and say, “Oh, it’s just….it doesn’t matter.”  Wrong.  It’s a small world and people share.
  3. Maintain the property, inside and outside.  If there is anything that isn’t done buyer’s automatically say “There a lot to be done.”  Or, “I would spend too much money having things done.” Or, “I don’t want a property that would take all of my time to maintain.” Ug. People. Also, curb appeal is king.  Make them want to come in.
  4. Price it appropriately to the market and the property condition. In most markets, if the property is priced higher than what the average buyer will pay; the prospects won’t even look.  Pricing a home with room to negotiate often prices the property right off the radar.
  5. Follow the property online.  Not all REALTORS like this one but I do.  It’s impossible for me to keep up with every place on the internet that a listing will be.  Of course, I don’t have control over all of those sites either.  If I explain to my client that these sites pick up listings and consistently get the data wrong, the seller can help me be on the lookout and I know when I need to try to get something corrected.  If nothing else, I can sometimes post comments that correct the misinformation.
  6. Pay your bills. Again, I shouldn’t have to say it but keep the utilities on and make your mortgage payments. Besides the inconvenience of not paying them, a prospect assumes the worse and thinks “I don’t want to mess with this one.”
  7. You’ve hired a professional.  Listen to them.  One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is they pay a listing agent and don’t take their advice.  A listing agent has seen what works and what doesn’t.  Your house isn’t as special as you think.  If you hired a good agent you should follow their advice and trust their judgement.

I’ll close with a reminder to REALTORS.  Communicate with your client.  The most common complaint from homeowners is that they list a home and then never hear from their agent.  Tell them what’s going on, what you’re doing and how they can help.

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