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)

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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.

January 3, 2017

Cut Your Hair – Not Your Fee

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:00 pm by leighyork

time-is-moneyWhen a homeowner hears on the news that it is a “Seller’s Market” out there, they make a lot of assumptions.  They think it means their home, on their street, in their neighborhood.  They think they will get more than the property is worth.  They think it will be easy and they don’t need representation or professional help.

When they realize they do need representation and professional help, they still think it will be easy for the pro.  So, not surprisingly, they will ask you to cut your fee.  After all, you don’t have to work as hard in a Seller’s Market. Right?

Remember that they have realized they need you.  How did they get your name?  Another happy client? Maybe from an ad for a home you SOLD….  Know your value and demand it.  One of my favorite responses in the Cut Your Fee discussion is that other REALTORS will cut their fees because they have to.  If you aren’t worth it, you may need to cut your fee in order to compete.

If you are worth it, be prepared to defend it.  Why are you worth it? What are you going to do for them, specifically?  How much will you likely save them?  What about all the work/time/$$$ you put into their property with no guarantee it will sell?  Do you get paid if you don’t sell it?  Who is taking the risk here?

Don’t be offended by the question.  It’s normal for a person to shop for the best deal.  It’s also normal for them to compare quality.  When I’m shopping for shoes I don’t buy the cheapest.  I buy the prettiest that won’t hurt my feet and will last the longest.  I think that saves me money in the long run.

If you’re a great REALTOR providing excellent skills and advocacy for your client, you are the best value.  You save them money and time in the long run.

Cut your hair, not your fee.

July 11, 2016

Your REALTOR is Frustrated too.

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:54 pm by leighyork

frustratedLike many REALTORS in my market, I’m spending more and more time frustrated.  Please note that what I’m going to share here applies to fast moving markets around the country.  There is no blanket market condition for all of the United States.

Mine and many others are definitely a seller’s market. Of course, they still have to price it reasonably and present it in its’ most flattering condition. Right now, a home that is priced appropriately and marketed properly will have competing offers.  Buyers know that the list price for something that has been on the market for less than two days is simply the minimum NET a seller will accept right now.

We see buyers paying many fees that are traditionally seller expenses.  They regularly pay a difference between the appraisal value and the sales price because the market is moving so fast that appraisal data doesn’t keep up.

Yeah for sellers!  Right?  Yeah for most sellers.  Some sellers get a little overwhelmed with the multitude of lookers.  Then, they have to determine what is most important to them when they compare 15 legitimate offers on their property.  It isn’t always money.  Often it is time or the perception of how dependable the buyer is to close on the property. It takes a skilled REALTOR to navigate a seller through all the variables in an offer. Also, the REALTOR has to do this without regard to which offer makes the most money for the real estate firm.

Because interest rates are SO low and financing is available, buyers can get more for their money than ever before.  That gives them a sense of urgency.  They don’t want to wait too long.

What this means for the REALTOR is that we have to show more properties, not depend solely on our MLS and write many more offers in order to get a contract.  Then, we have to work harder to keep it together.  Why would we have to work harder to keep it together?  Here’s why:  The sellers had so much attention that they won’t budge on anything.  They feel like the value has gone up since they signed the contract and they can just sell it to someone else.  The buyers had to make a decision so quickly that they now are experiencing buyer’s remorse.  So, any little, normal, everyday occurrence can make them want to end it and start all over. Or worse, the dreaded word, “Wait”.  Ug.

As I said, the REALTORS are frustrated.  Again, why?  Because we care.  Yes, we do this to make money and support our families.  But we all get attached to our clients.  We know we shouldn’t.  The veterans will often say they’ve learned not to.  But the fact is, we want the best for our clients.

We pride ourselves on the clients’ real estate success. When a client doesn’t get the home they want or sell for what they expected, the REALTOR usually feels like they personally have failed in some way.  We shouldn’t but we do.

My advice to REALTORS:  It’s the same as always.  Be honest with the client.  Explain the market and what they should expect before they ever look at the first home.  If they don’t have the cash to compete in the current market, advise them to save and get in the game when they are better situated to compete.  They should decide to wait BEFORE you’ve spent your hours and fuel with them.  Take a negotiating course and apply what you learn. At the end of the day, take a deep breath, pray for yourselves and the client and leave it outside your home.  Don’t take the frustration home to your family

.calm

 

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