Why You Really Don’t Have Enough Time

By Susanne Dwyer

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You may have decided to get into real estate so you could be your own boss, set up your own working hours and make a lot of money.

So, how’s that working for you?

The challenge with entrepreneurship is being laser-focused on dollar-productive activities. When you first get into the business, you need to learn the skills, implement systems, install new programs, deploy various platforms, study scripts, market and process transactions. That’s a full-time job, and you haven’t even begun to work with buyers and sellers.

But here’s where most agents fail: They get too busy working in the business and fail to work on their business.

By nature, our business is radically unpredictable. Buyers decide to buy, and sellers decide to sell on their own timetable—and we want to be there at that magic moment—but the intensity of showing buyers, servicing sellers and maintaining prospecting can be daunting unless you develop a plan to keep all the plates spinning and the income funnel full.

The plan is simple—but getting an agent to do it is the hard part.

No matter what’s happening, only you have the power to block your day. This begins with blocking out dollar-productive activities by using a My Perfect Week Planner.*

The system visually helps you lay out a perfect week so that you’re able to establish a rhythm of daily habits that result in regular, consistent income. Think of blocking your time using a traffic light as an example:

  • Red is for non-negotiable time. These hours are reserved for your personal “big rocks” like sleep, family time, etc.
  • Yellow is used to time-block a daily prospecting hour. I can imagine you rolling your eyes right about now, but prospecting is the key to getting paid regularly. Pretend that this is sacred time, even if it’s 15-30-minute increments five days a week, and stick to it. Whether you’re prospect-phobic or simply believe prospecting is limited to cold calls, think conversation, not solicitation. Rotate through your sphere of influence with scheduled calls to update contact information and to share a save-the-date for your future client appreciation party. These approaches are easy and friendly.
  • Green is the easiest time to block on your weekly calendar. These are appointments that are related to earning or receiving money, and are usually the most fun. Block in green the hours you’ve earmarked for closings, listing appointments or working with buyers.

The goal is to increase the green in your weekly calendar. You wouldn’t want to miss a closing, so why not block out a small increment of time to talk to more people in order to make more sales so you have more green in your week?

Sit down at the beginning of each week to plan. Real estate has plenty of opportunity for busy work that will rob you of energy and income, so take control of your week before the chaos hits so that you can do those activities that serve and pay you first. It’s also a good idea to get a good coach to help you learn new habits to plan for success, and hire out the administrative work so that you can focus on being the CEO, building your business every day, one day at a time.

*For a complimentary copy of My Perfect/Productive Week Scheduler, visit http://bit.ly/2raO1Dj

Terri Murphy is a communication engagement specialist, author, speaker and coach. She is the author/co-author of five books, and founder of MurphyOnRealEstate.com. Contact her at TerriMurphy.com or Terri@TerriMurphy.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Bring Calm to the Chaos in Your Business

By Susanne Dwyer

As the selling season continues to pick up, many agents find themselves busy and struggling to fit everything into their days. Although they’re grateful for the business, they worry that other important people and tasks are falling through the cracks. As a result, they may work long days in an effort to squeeze it all in and boost productivity, only to find themselves tired, frustrated and less productive. Here are some best practices for bringing calm to the chaos in your business…

  1. Prioritize
    When you have your priorities in place, you know where to spend your time. What are your priorities? On the business side, it could be to expand your database 25 percent or to surpass last year’s sales figures.

On the personal side, your priorities may be your children’s sports games or plays, a weekly lunch date with your spouse, a weekly morning meeting with a community group, or volunteering with a favorite organization. Your priorities are the things you don’t want to miss, no matter what. Pencil these in to your schedule before anything else.

  1. Organize
    Once your priorities are set, you can then organize everything else. Breaking the process into these four segments will allow you to regularly review your schedule so that you’re focusing on the things that are most important to you instead of becoming bogged down by less important tasks. This will help you become more productive, serve your clients better and honor your priorities.
  • Your year: Throughout the year, take out your calendar and pencil in your priorities—a family vacation, a long weekend, your children’s activities, industry workshops, client parties and other important days. Although nothing needs to be set in stone, including these things in your calendar will help you plan the rest of your year and ensure they don’t get overlooked.
  • Your month: Each month, review the priorities you’ve already accounted for on your annual calendar and add in other important activities that have come up since, such as workshops and seminars, holidays perfect for getting social with clients, etc.
  • Your week: At the beginning of the week, review what you have scheduled and include any important meetings, client lunches, etc.
  • Your day: In addition to making time for lead generation and your personal and business priorities, fill in the rest of your day accordingly. If you find yourself putting out a lot of fires, make time at the end of the day to handle all the unexpected challenges that arose during the day.
  1. Systemize
    A system will help you commit to both your priorities and your newly organized schedule. It provides a framework to follow so that you never have to wonder what you need to do each day to optimize your business. Over time, you’ll build the successful habits that are sure to cause your business to thrive. Remember to rely on a good CRM to help ensure you stick to the system and track your progress toward your goals.

Along the way, a is a valuable person to have in your corner as you try to calm the chaos. A good coach will provide an objective perspective on your business each step of the way; from helping you define your priorities to helping you organize your week. Additionally, they can help you pinpoint the aspects of your system that may prove the most beneficial to your business and help you achieve your goals within your desired timeframe. In short, a coach will help you reach your potential, optimize your productivity and build a thriving, successful business.

For more information, visit buffiniandcompany.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Ask the Coach: Show Your Agents How to Turn Open House Leads Into High-Volume Pipelines and Future Sales

By Susanne Dwyer

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It is officially open house season and truly the best opportunity for your agents to fill their pipeline of listing and buyer leads that, when effectively converted can turn into big profits within the next 90 days. Sunday is notoriously known as “real estate day” in every city in the country. Look at the open house as the best, free lead-generating system to be in front of potential buyers and sellers to create new business.

Use these 5 strategies to help coach and train your agents on how to maximize open houses right now to create listings and sales in the next three months:

  1. Pick the right house to hold open that will have a move-up buyer who also has a house to list. This way, you are getting two sales out of each client. Don’t sit first-time buyer open houses if you want to pick up listings. Also pick the price point that is in the highest demand—that’s where all the buyers will show up every week and create more leads.
  1. Prepare the open house in advance. If you prepare well for an open house you can drive more traffic to it. Post it up to three weeks in advance online to create urgency and showings before the open house. Invite the neighbors with a phone call and a post card. Run a boosted Facebook ad to target buyers to attend your open house.
  1. Offer value during the open house. The agent who provides the most value, gets hired, plain and simple. Offer a homebuyer guide or packet of information branded to you. Include information about mortgages, home inspections and steps in the buying process. Also add value in what you say to help convert the lead.
  1. Focus on getting appointments during the open house. You have a 90 percent greater chance of getting a yes to an appointment if you ask right then. Add value by offering to assist them before they put the house on the market. Letting prospects know you can save them time and money is one of my favorite value adds. Remember you’re just starting the relationship; you’re not going to go over their house to list it. You are cementing the relationship.
  1. Watch my webinar, “How to Make $50K at Your Next Open House.” This webinar makes for your next in-office lunch and learn or special training session to share proven strategies with new or experienced agents. My entire strategy shows agents how to properly prepare, plan and execute the most 2-3 profitable hours of their week. Email yourock@sherrijohnson.com to receive a FREE link of this priceless webinar. Your agents will have immediate results and approach open houses with a new mindset to convert more leads into listings and sales in the next 6-12 months.

Sherri Johnson is a national leader offering world-class real estate keynotes, consulting and coaching while delivering accelerated results. No other coach matches her distinguished 20 years of experience as a top agent and executive of a Top 3 National brokerage. She has recruited, trained and coached thousands of agents, and was responsible for leading over 700 real estate agents and over $1.6 billion in annual sales volume. Johnson’s relevant, real-life and proven strategies, coupled with her high energy, produce immediate results and can triple your income regardless of your current production. Johnson is the national speaker for Homes.com for its Secrets of Top Selling Agents national tour. Contact coaching@sherrijohnson.com or 844-989-2600 (toll-free) or visit www.sherrijohnson.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

How to Avoid Problems With Your Spring Renovations and Repairs

By Susanne Dwyer

As soon as winter weather starts giving way to fairer days, folks start itching to get any planned repairs, maintenance and renovations started.

If you want to protect yourself from rogue and incompetent builders, take some advice from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau’s Howard Schwartz, who suggests a few time-honored procedures.

Schwartz says it is essential to obtain multiple estimates before signing a contract. Study these estimates to learn what type of work is needed, the quality of materials they plan to use, how long the job may take, and its total cost.

Schwartz says details may vary, but if one estimate is substantially lower than the others, ask why. Here are a few more tips:

Check bbb.org to learn how long a contractor has been in business, contact information, verified customer reviews, complaint details, and how the business responded.

Don’t be lured into signing a contract if someone offers a “today only” special. That is a sales tactic designed to get you to sign a contract or put down a deposit without giving you an opportunity to do your research.

Obtain references from recent customers. You may want to speak with other property owners who had work done recently.

Get everything in writing. All verbal promises should be contained in the contract, as well as a detailed description of the type of work needed, the quality of materials, how long the job may take, specifics about the deposit and payment schedule, and guarantees for the quality of work and materials.

Pulling permits. Contractors should obtain necessary permits as part of the job. If they’d rather not go for permits, it might be a warning sign.

Compare apples to apples. Choosing a prospective contractor is simpler if you ask for quotes based on the number of hours needed and the same quality of materials.

Finally, avoid putting down a large deposit. Schwartz says a typical schedule follows the “Rule of Thirds.” The first payment is made when signing the contract, the second when work begins, and the final payment when the job is finished and you are satisfied with the quality of work.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Planning Your Spring ‘To Do’ List? Don’t Forget to Go Outside!

By Susanne Dwyer

I know it’s warm and cozy doing your spring cleaning inside, but remember that spring cleaning plans should include a thorough walk around outside, as well.

The Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA) in Minneapolis tells homeowners that an early inspection and maintenance of their property is extremely important to prevent risk. To assist in that, MMA has compiled a checklist of things to inspect each year:

Review the roof. The company suggests starting by inspecting your roof for broken or missing shingles and interior rafters for water stains. Most water stains will be found around or below an inadequately flashed chimney, skylight and other openings.

Gut the gutters. MMA says gutters are able to perform when kept clean, so remove dirt and debris from all gutters and downspouts.

Look at lights. Lighting maintenance includes inspecting street lights, outdoor light fixtures, and indoor common-area lighting to promote safety and security. Make sure lights are clean and void of any dust, dirt or salt, which can result in lost energy and money. If lights are burnt out, think about replacing them with high efficiency CFL or LED bulbs.

Don’t miss the deck. When inspecting a deck or porch, look for peeling, splintering or rotting boards, and whether the wood is unprotected. If left unprotected, wood will soak up moisture and could lead to very serious damage. If a deck or porch needs to be resealed, clean it first with soap and water to clear off any mildew or mold, then after it is clean and dry, apply sealant, stain or paint.

Take care of trees. Remove dead wood and broken branches from trees or bushes. Replant shrubs, bushes and/or flowers that have worked their way out of the soil, and rake the ground.

Freshen with fertilizer. If necessary, add new soil, mulch and/or sod and lay fertilizer. Then, plant any new seeds or plants and implement a watering schedule.

Patch potholes. Finally, MMA says spring is a great time to repair cracks and potholes. First, determine the source of the issue so you can address and fix the root of the problem. It is always best to make these repairs as quickly as possible to prevent any type of hazardous conditions.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

How to Catch the Lowest Possible Airfares

By Susanne Dwyer

(TNS)—Let’s get one thing clear from the start. Airfares are volatile. While it’s true that flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday is cheaper than on a Friday or Sunday, there is no magic time of day, day of week or month of year to book a low airfare. Airfares can change in a heartbeat, high one minute and low the next, and the trick is to buy when a fare on your route becomes a bargain.

Fare Drop Alerts
First, sign up for airfare price drop alerts. Many websites now offer these at no charge, sending out lists of unusually cheap fares (some of them “fat finger” mistake fares), that while valid for travel over several months, usually expire quickly. Take a look at theflightdeal.com, hitlistapp.com, secretflying.com, exitfares.com and Fly4free.com. They often have the same deals, but I suggest signing up for all of them and to follow them on Twitter if you use it. Other sites, such as Kayak.com, Yapta.com and GoogleFlights.com, will track fares on specific flights and dates and alert you to price drops. When you see a great deal, buy it (you can always change your mind and cancel within 24 hours, per U.S. DOT regulations).

Here’s What I Use
My go-to sites when I arrange personal travel are Kayak.com (I love using its flexible month and flexible weekend options) and two Google offerings: Google.com/flights/explore and Google.com/flights. The “explore” site allows you to choose a trip length, departure city and an arrival city or region (such as “United States,” “Europe” or “Boston”) and then displays a selection of the lowest fares available over the next few months. It’s perfect for anyone with flexible travel dates and destinations. The “flights” site asks you to choose origin city and destination along with specific travel dates so it’s more geared to those with less flexibility; however, none of these sites include Southwest Airlines, so you also need to compare at Southwest.com. If you’re date-flexible, use Southwest’s low-fare calendar option.

Don’t Forget Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
It may be cheaper to fly out on one airline and back on another using one-way fares, and OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline are a good place to find out. They also sell air plus hotel packages that usually cost less than buying separately and they sometimes have fares that are much lower than the same flights and dates sold directly by the airline sites (I recently saw fares on Priceline to South Africa on Dutch airline KLM that were hundreds less than if bought on KLM.com and fares on Delta to Italy that were much cheaper on Expedia than on Delta.com).

Make Sure the Site Covers Delta
Speaking of Delta, that airline restricts where its airfare data appear on some popular third-party sites such as Hopper, Hipmunk, TripAdvisor and FareCompare.com, so beware. JetBlue recently removed its fare data from several “meta search” sites as well.

Choose ‘Basic Economy’ Fares With Care
Copying ultra-low-cost airlines such as Spirit and Frontier, now Delta, American and United also sell bare-bones economy class fares. On domestic routes, they typically cost $40-$60 (round trip) less than regular economy, although the savings can be greater to international destinations. Buy one of these fares and, except on Delta, you’ll pay even for a carry-on bag, unless it’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of you; you won’t be able to choose a specific seat before check-in (which means you’ll end up in a dreaded middle seat); and your fare will be entirely non-refundable and non-changeable. Although I’d never buy one of these airfares, my millennial friends, who apparently travel with just a change of clothes and a toothbrush stuffed into a backpack that slides under the seat, tell me that they’re worth the inconvenience.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Spring: Time to Rev Your ‘High-Performing’ Home

By Susanne Dwyer

Did you know that just three basic home improvements—updating insulation, maintaining heating systems, and checking for proper ventilation and air-sealing—can transform your humble abode into a “high-performing,” clean, efficient and healthy home?

Experts at the utility company Eversource developed these three tips homeowners and renters can follow to make your home is high-performing:

1. Make sure your home is air-tight with proper insulation.
Don’t let frosty air into your home. Sealing cracks and gaps in walls, attics and crawl spaces, as well as around wires, pipes, windows and door frames, will help keep the warm inside air from escaping. Don’t forget about properly insulating those same walls, attics, and crawl spaces, and around your ducts, too.

2. Keep on top of home energy maintenance.
Be sure you have your heating and cooling system serviced annually by a qualified professional. Clean or change air filters every three months, or more often if you smoke or have pets. Consider upgrading to a smart Wi-Fi thermostat, which automatically adjusts the temperature and cuts down on energy usage when you’re not home.

3. Go for top-quality indoor climate and air.
Enjoying clean air and a comfortable climate in your home begins with proper ventilation and air-sealing, which not only keeps pollen and dust at bay, but also moderates humidity levels and temperature swings. Proper ventilation and air flow also reduces the chance for mold growth, whether it’s from leaky ducts or condensation in your attic and crawl spaces.

According to the U.S. EPA, there are many home pollutants that can accumulate in a poorly ventilated home, and can cause health problems such as sore eyes, burning in the nose and throat, headaches or fatigue. Other pollutants cause or worsen allergies, respiratory illnesses (such as asthma), heart disease, cancer and other serious long-term conditions.

Learn more about household pollutants that may be compromising the air you breathe at www.epa.gov.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

How Should You Gauge Your Home for Hazards and Disasters?

By Susanne Dwyer

Do you know how disaster-prone your home or community really is? Smack in the southern end of California—one of the nation’s most disaster-weary states—bloggers at inscenter.com started reaching out to clients years ago to share important data regarding residential risk assessment.

In 1992, University of Colorado’s Dr. William Gray accurately forecasted Hurricane Andrew, and predicted a sharp rise in the number and severity of hurricanes in the near future. The website also flags eerily accurate predictions about floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes, too.

While many states and localities have adopted building codes aimed at reducing damage caused by wind, flood and earthquakes, those codes may not always be enforced. Take Hurricane Andrew, for instance.

Construction industry experts found that Andrew’s posted losses could have been reduced by 30-40 percent had existing building codes been properly enforced.

Did you know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains a Building Science Branch for developing and producing guidance on creating disaster-resilient communities? They conduct post-disaster engineering investigations for both man-made and natural hazard events.

These building scientists take a lead in developing publications, materials, tools, technical bulletins and recovery advisories incorporating the most up-to-date building codes, floodproofing requirements, seismic design standards, and wind-related requirements for new construction, and the repair of existing buildings.

For property owners, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance or HMA grants provide funding for pre- and post-disaster mitigation with a goal of reducing the risk of loss of life and property due to natural hazards.

The agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) assists in implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following Presidential disaster declarations, and its Pre-Disaster Mitigation or PDM initiative provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning—and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster.

The goal of the PDM program is to reduce overall risk to populations and structures while reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations.

Source: FEMA.gov/protecting-homes

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Do You Have the Right Tools to Dig Into Spring Gardening?

By Susanne Dwyer

As sure as winter will turn to spring, before too long folks will be looking forward to planting gardens and digging into landscaping projects around the yard. So we turned to research from gardenoid.com, which gathered 34 gardening experts to find out their opinions on the top must-have tools for making your garden look stylish in 2018.

Among the most popular tools touted for gardeners is a mattock, which is used for clearing the ground, removing stones and digging out deep roots that create roadblocks.

Composting is another way that homeowners can promote environmental responsibility. Making compost can now become much easier when you make use of a chipper shredder. While a leaf shredder can be used primarily for shredding small-sized leaves and twigs, if you want to chop and shred branches, then gardenoid.com recommends buying a chipper.

At Gardendesign.com, Jennifer Nelson says gardening can turn into a thorny and splintery hassle without the right pair of gloves.

Madaline Sparks at Realsimple.com agrees that while one good pair of garden gloves can be as essential a tool as a shovel or a rake, owning three pairs will make a multitude of tasks easier:

Washable synthetic gloves – For general maintenance, such as deadheading, weeding in dry soil, and handling seeds, the thin fabric and snug fit allow fingers maximum dexterity.

Latex-coated cotton gloves – For dirty, wet jobs, like picking up leaves or planting shrubs, and for working with thorny plants (the latex coating is puncture-resistant)

Heavy-duty leather gloves – For tough jobs, like digging holes, clearing brush, and carrying firewood

Brendan Huggins of Moore Farms Botanical Garden (moorefarmsbg.org) says pruners are one of the most used tools in the garden, and are often one that people skimp on, but a high-quality set of pruners can last a lifetime.

Huggins suggests looking for replaceable blades, a sturdy lock, a replaceable spring, and a place that you can readily purchase replacement parts from when deciding what pruners to buy.

Moore Farms’ Kirk Laminack, on the other hand, says a Japanese planting hoe is an ideal addition to your gardening arsenal when it comes to loosening soil and removing weeds.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

All You Need to Know About Garage Security

By Susanne Dwyer

According to SafeBee.com, recent reports and social media posts are advising homeowners to use a zip tie to secure their door release mechanisms on the emergency latch present on automatic garage door openers. Although the advice is meant to help reduce burglaries, SafeBee.com says the practice can put homeowners in danger.

Using a zip tie to “lock” this mechanism basically removes this safety feature from the door operator system, putting homeowners and others at risk, as the safety function may not work when needed.

Although reports recommend the addition of the zip tie to avoid garage break-ins, those reports leave out the important safety function that may be disabled by doing so.

To enhance the security of your home while helping to ensure the safe operation of your garage door, SafeBee.com shares these tips from UL and the Door and Access Systems Manufacturer’s Association (DASMA):

  • Never interfere with or defeat the manual emergency release mechanism on your garage door operator.
  • Check with your garage door opener dealer or retailer to see what other safety or security features are available for your particular opener or door model.
  • Consider adding an automatic lock, if available, for your opener.
  • Always lock the entry door between the garage and your house, and any other door or windows that may be in your garage.
  • Consider arming your home or premises with a security system.
  • Do not leave valuables, such as bicycles, tools and equipment, visible from an open garage.
  • Do not leave the garage door transmitter visible in your car, and keep car doors locked if a transmitter is inside the car.
  • For garage doors with windows, use a frosted glass coating, if possible.
  • Finally, if your garage door operator has this feature, enable “vacation mode” when leaving home for an extended period of time, which locks out remote controls from activating the door.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893