News Brief

Top comments of the week April 18-22

We love it when articles turn into conversations

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Over the past several days, our readers have talked a lot about what it means to add true value to the transaction, weighing freedom of choice against brokerage support, the perfect open house and how to take the high road with combative clients. Here’s your weekly round-up of interesting thoughts, ideas and experiences from the trenches.


K Kellett Stevens · Commented on Integrating the 5 senses for a smashing open house | Inman

I operated my retail store in this manner for years and found it very successful … soft, inviting music — and I sold what I played, tasting of products sold for the gourmet, very tactile home decor items to touch or view as in the artwork, delightful potpourris always reflecting a scent for the season.

My client base thought visiting K’s was an experience to be remembered–just the way I wanted it told at their next party!

Now, I am full steam ahead with my open houses.

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Tim Burrell · Commented on Leigh Brown: Quit complaining and tell educators what you want | Inman

You are so right! I teach classes and welcome the reviews from the students so I can make the presentation better.

Reviews that tell me what they want to learn [and] allow me to be a better teacher. Then, I have learned to laugh at the comments where the agents want more choices of candy, a larger selection of snacks than the 20 different kinds we offer and special kinds of teas.

You have to wonder if some of them are looking for an education or a meal. Great article, Leigh.


Mark Pfeifer · Commented on Why NAR, not the FHA, should have a sale | Inman

Well, I can see some merit in this approach. Reducing the commission would be some assistance for buyers and sellers. However, the article missed the point in terms of getting paid for your value. If you are a listing agent and you can raise the offer prices through various techniques, you are proving your worth. However, if you do not provide any value, your commission should be reduced.

In my mind, you are worth and should get the value you bring to your clients. What is better for the client, getting $10K more and paying a slightly higher commission or reducing your commission by $5K and possibly not trying to market the home in the best light to save some money?

All comes down to value and how the public perceives the industry right now. Every agent needs to show value or we will always be compared to used car salesman and asked to reduce commissions.


Michael Brennan · Commented on 6 massive pricing mistakes homesellers need to evade | Inman

Good article, however, we are finding in Chicago area because of the lack of new construction (starting to catch up just now) homes that do have the newer updates in them sell fast and at a significant premium.

We see flippers making tons by upgrading homes and condos. So, in short — yes, change that laminate counter top to a stone, and it will increase value and chance of selling!


Stephen Skinner · Commented on Is your broker’s technology holding you hostage? | Inman

Although I’m an advocate of free choice, the author fails to take into account the many areas where broker tech provides real value to agents.

Information security, business continuity and disaster recovery are great examples of this, and includes broker-provided email encryption, data loss prevention, web threat assessment, endpoint protection, backup, recovery and more.

Using an email address provided by a Broker gives Agents the benefit of enterprise-grade security to protect against spam, malware, fraud and cybercrime. Brokers invest heavily in the brand, their online marketing and technology infrastructure. Smart agents find the right combination of third-party tools and resources provided by their broker to build a roadmap for success.

The business of the MLS is to create a marketplace for properties, based on an offer of cooperation and compensation. Only a few MLSs nationwide are offering unique value propositions in RE tech. As a former Agent, I would not base MY business solely on the tools offered by any MLS, association or broker.


Teri Pacitto · Commented on Are you an individual agent or just a team in disguise? | Inman

As a licensed Broker and team leader I’m always interested in team structure from others who operate their business in a similar manner.

I have structured my business as a team and before it was the new trend. Unfortunately, I find that even today, while there are teams there is not really any business structure training for those of us who not only operate this way but want to excel and propel the team concept.

Putting together a team and having it thrive have is more complex than working solo and that’s something the average real estate agent doesn’t often understand. Without thought and planning of operating effectively, it can create a broken team. That is often why other agents and the public sometimes see teams in a negative manner. I agree that one should reach the highest level that fulfills them — solo or team.


Kenneth Jenny · Commented on How to use agent review data to get customer insights | Inman

In every other business taking responsibility for the delivery of an exceptional consumer experience is not an option. And the consumer data collected for the measurement of the satisfaction in conducting that transaction is not directed by the agent or the broker. With hundreds of thousands of agents that are licensed but really should not be at the helm of a transaction — such measurements of satisfaction, the ratings — have the potential to be brutally honest and that is good — and telling.

I am now convinced that the best form for creating new industry performance standards is to provide real transparency into the facts about the true rating of the performance of the agent by the consumer.

This is not about “marketing an agent” to anyone, this is about understanding the good and the bad related to the actual performance without the option for agent censorship. This is about taking responsibility for what happens that is good and what happens that is not so good. As in facing the realities of any service related business. Maybe one day soon we will catch up with the rest of the world of business. Just maybe.


Donna Walters · Commented on How to keep your composure when your clients lose their cool | Inman

From a “Southern Girl” who has been in this profession for 30 years, usually, “Bless Their Heart” is a nice way of saying–someone needs to bless them, because I sure do want to smack them…

I think technology and instantaneous gratification has affected our business in a negative way when it comes to patience on the client’s part. They think we should respond to them within a few minutes. I try to alleviate that expectation up front by telling them it takes more than one client and one property for us to stay in business.

I have turned down listings and/or refused to work with certain buyers if they are combative out of the gate. Not worth my time or efforts to be abused for my knowledge.

Just yesterday, a potential buyer called on a competitor’s listing asking questions that should only be answered or provided if they are a client. I told him I would be happy to provide information and assist him in buying a home and would like to set up a time to meet at my office.

He then proceeded to tell me he would not provide me with his last name and did not want to be bothered by real estate agents contacting him. SO, BLESS HIS HEART, once I explained to him in a professional manner that without a full name and more information I would be unable and unwilling to help him, he then apologized for seeming uncooperative. We will see where this goes!!


Rob Hahn · Commented on Will Bernie Sanders’ affordable housing idealism go up in smoke? | Inman

There’s a lot of detail I could get into… but let me limit it to one fundamental quesiton that I haven’t seen answered by anyone advancing an “affordable housing” program of any kind.

– Should the rent in an affordable housing rental unit be more or less than the cost of a monthly mortgage in that area?

If the answer is “less,” then I do wonder how that encourages homeownership, “one of the best ways for families to build wealth and enter the middle class.” Note that in 2010, 2,300 people living in rent-controlled apartments in NYC made over $500K per year, because their housing cost is LESS with truly affordable rent than it would be to purchase (which they can afford to do).

But if the answer is “more”, then how exactly is that affordable housing? How is a low-income family supposed to save up for down payment on a home (again, the way to build wealth) while paying more for housing than the already wealthy middle-class owner-class?

Seems to me that politicians (us/we/the nation/society) have to make a choice between homeownership as the positive good or rentership as the positive good. Can you really have it both ways somehow?


Sarah Schnell Jones · Commented on Will Bernie Sanders’ affordable housing idealism go up in smoke? | Inman [In response to above comment]

Real estate industry blinders: If affordable housing initiatives promote homeownership, then industry is in favor. If affordable housing initiatives do not promote homeownership, then the industry is not in favor. Why is that?

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