8 Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Home’s Value

Nov 12, 2019 by

Maintaining your home’s curb appeal shows more than pride of ownership; it shows respect for your neighbors. Plus, when or if you decide to sell, a well-maintained home means it will sell faster and likely for top dollar. Similarly, maintaining your home’s interior is likely to pay off in the end.

Real estate experts shared these eight missteps that could cost you in the long run with House Beautiful Magazine:

Landscaping Without Thinking Ahead. Trees planted too close to the house or driveway without much thought about how big they’ll get can cause major problems later, such as roots causing breaks in the pavement or interfering with sewer or water lines.

Letting the Entryway Languish. Unkempt shrubbery around the front entry, or a door that needs updating, makes people wonder what else has been let go inside.

Choosing Funky Paint Colors. Don’t choose an exterior paint color that is too far afield of neighboring homes. And stay away from contrasting trim colors that distract, instead of attract, the eye.

Neglecting the Small Stuff. Watch out for dirty windows, torn screens or broken light fixtures that show a distinct lack of care.

Hanging on to Old Appliances. Pay attention to the age and quality of your kitchen appliances. A stovetop too old and scratched to be cleaned properly is a turnoff. Also, appliances that aren’t energy-savers are costing too much money to run.

Skipping a Deep Clean. Details matter when it comes to home care. Look out for dirt in the window tracks, dirty grout in the tile or badly stained carpets.

Thinking Too Small. A small bathroom will seem smaller when tiled with small tiles rather than with larger ones. Peruse decor magazines for ideas that help to open your space.

Neglecting Wood Floors. If you can’t afford to refinish them, have them buffed every few years.

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5 Updates to Improve Curb Appeal

Nov 11, 2019 by

Curb appeal plays a major role in making guests feel welcome, not to mention attracting potential homebuyers when you decide to sell. While beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, there are a few surefire steps you can take to boost your home’s curb appeal. Here are five winning ideas from Ohio-based garage door manufacturer Clopay:

Update the Front Door. A fresh coat of paint can spruce up a ho-hum front door and help make a better first impression when someone is eyeing your home. A bold color will make your home stand out and up the personality factor. Or, consider replacing the front door altogether–you’ll recoup most, if not all, of the cost in value.

Lighten Things up. Outdoor lighting can add a touch of elegance to the front of your home, while adding an important safety feature at the same time. Think beyond the ordinary when it comes to outdoor lighting–spotlights accentuating your favorite trees, porch lights, solar caps on fence posts–for an additional “wow” factor.

Be Fastidious About Landscaping. Landscaping goes beyond flowers and fertilizer. Trim any overgrowth and pull weeds, and consider a low-height fence around the front yard to create an attractive and friendly boundary.

Set the Stage With Outdoor Furniture. Nothing says lifestyle like a couple of well-placed Adirondack chairs on the lawn or a bistro table on the patio. Not to mention some comfy rockers on the front porch!

Upgrade the Garage Door. The garage door is a big part of your home’s visage. At the very least, make sure it’s painted and well maintained. Or, consider replacing it with a customized version to complement the look of your home.

Make these updates, and you’ll boost your home’s curb appeal in no time.

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Exclusive Gala Honors Power Brokers, Features Keynote by ‘Shark Tank’ Star Copy

Nov 10, 2019 by

(Above) RISMedia’s 24th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

More than 600 brokerage executives and industry leaders came together for RISMedia’s 24th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this weekend, in celebration of the elite Power Brokers ranked in RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report.

During the exclusive event, held at the Fairmont San Francisco, attendees heard from Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” (In-depth coverage of John’s presentation coming soon to as well as Jim Imhoff, chairman of First Weber, and John P. Horning, executive vice president of Shorewest, REALTORS®, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2019 and 2020 Liasions for Large Firms & Industry Relations, respectively.

(Above) Daymond John, Founder and CEO of FUBU and Star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and John Featherston, President and CEO of RISMedia (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

(Above, L to R) 2020 NAR Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations John P. Horning, Executive Vice President, Shorewest, REALTORS®; Featherston; and 2019 NAR Liaison Jim Imhoff, Chairman, First Weber (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“I’d like to thank everyone who has been supportive of RISMedia and what our mission is in the industry, which is to support all the things you do to make homeownership a reality for many millions of people across the country,” said John Featherston, president and CEO of RISMedia, to kick off the evening.

“I want to thank you all for your support this year,” said Imhoff, welcoming the crowd on behalf of NAR. “Four years ago, we started a new program called the Corporate Ally program. This year, we hit $ 2.7 million in contributions, but that had a lot to do with you—the large brokers we targeted—so thank you for the support you’ve given me.”

“Thank you to RISMedia and the Power Brokers for this dinner tonight. I hope to continue fostering the relationship between brokers and NAR, and sharing the resources that NAR has for brokers and teams,” added Horning.

Additionally during the event, Featherston and RISMedia Executive Vice President Darryl MacPherson presented RE/MAX Elite’s Carl Carter, Jr. with a donation to the Beverly Carter Foundation, established in honor of Carter, Jr.’s mother, slain REALTOR® Beverly Carter, and dedicated to REALTOR® safety.

“I have to start by acknowledging that I’m nowhere near the greatness of any of you sitting in these seats or my mom. It just goes to show the kindness within our industry and how we love each other and how we rally,” said Carter, Jr. “I’m so grateful for everyone, I’m so blessed and I’m so thankful for this moment to honor my mom. Together we can find creative solutions to make our industry safer.”

(Above, L to R) Featherston; Carl Carter, Jr., The Beverly Carter Foundation; and Darryl MacPherson, Executive Vice President, RISMedia (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

RISMedia presented five awards during the event. American Home Shield was awarded RISMedia’s Community Champion Award, recognizing those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in their commitments toward volunteerism, charitable efforts and public advocacy, and who embody the spirit of service, giving back, and improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. The award is sponsored by Realty ONE Group, and was presented by Cory Jo Vasquez, vice president, Corporate Communications for Realty ONE Group.

“On behalf of all of our associates at American Home Shield, we are honored to receive this award. We really believe in bringing the good and being involved in the community and we’ve kept this at our core. A sincere thank you to RISMedia and to Realty ONE Group. We are so very honored and we are humbled for this important and incredible award,” said Lisa Rice, divisional vice president of Real Estate Sales at American Home Shield, who accepted the award on behalf of the company.

(Above, L to R) Featherston; Lisa Rice, Divisional Vice President, Real Estate Sales, American Home Shield; Cory Jo Vasquez, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Realty ONE Group; and MacPherson (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Jason Mitchell, president of The Jason Mitchell Group, was awarded RISMedia’s National Homeownership Award, recognizing a member of the real estate community who continuously demonstrates extraordinary contributions toward increasing homeownership and building better communities. The award is sponsored by Quicken Loans, and was presented by Munt Alhussain, director, External Affairs for Quicken Loans.

“This is just amazing, and I really want to thank Quicken Loans for everything you’ve done for me as a human and for my company. I was doing very well until the recession hit and I got hit really hard. When I had to bring my career back, Quicken Loans gave me an opportunity and it’s been amazing,” said Mitchell. “I try to live my life by making sure that I put other people first. I really believe that if you do that, great things will happen. Thank you, everybody.”

(Above, L to R) Featherston; Jason Mitchell, President, The Jason Mitchell Group; and Munt Alhussain, Director, External Affairs, Quicken Loans (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Chuck Ochsner, broker/owner of RE/MAX Alliance and RE/MAX Equity Group, was awarded RISMedia’s ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ Award, recognizing those individuals whose efforts, works, deeds and character exemplify superior achievements in and for the real estate industry, yet whose efforts often go unnoticed. The award is sponsored by RE/MAX and was presented by Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings.

“Wow. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to accept this award on behalf of my friend, Chuck. He is very humbled and honored to accept this award. I would like to thank RISMedia and RE/MAX for this outstanding recognition. He’s not only my broker/owner, but also my dear friend. Thank you,” said Karen Levine, broker associate, RE/MAX Alliance, who accepted the award on Ochsner’s behalf.

(Above, L to R) Featherston; Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX Holdings; Karen Levine, Broker Associate, RE/MAX Alliance; and MacPherson (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Jim Fite, president and CEO of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, was awarded RISMedia’s Real Estate Leadership Award, recognizing an industry visionary who embraces innovation and exercises resilience to blaze new paths to success for real estate professionals and consumers alike. The award is sponsored by Buffini & Company, and was presented by Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company.

“Thank you to John Featherston and RISMedia. And thank you to my friends Brian and Dermot Buffini,” said Fite. “RISMedia has taught all of us a great deal throughout our careers and they continuously bring the best out of us and publish it for us so we learn from each other. So, John, I want to thank you for that. It really makes a difference in our careers and lives. And thank you to the Power Brokers. The fact is we are members of an industry that trusts and shares with each other, and we are better as a result of everybody in this room. Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight with you and for the incredible award that I will take home with great pleasure.”

(Above, L to R) Featherston; Jim Fite, President and CEO, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company; and Dermot Buffini, CEO, Buffini & Company (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Dan Elsea, president, Brokerage Services, and Stuart Elsea, president, Financial Services for the Real Estate One Family of Companies, were awarded RISMedia’s Tech Titan Award, recognizing brokerage leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional ability to adapt and integrate new and innovative tools and services within their organization to improve and enhance the overall consumer experience. The award is sponsored by, and was presented by David Mele, president of

“Thank you to RISMedia, Dave Mele and It really is a great honor. It means a lot. The baseline, not just for our business, but for any commerce, is that we can always have someone in a garage coming up with a new idea that’s faster, more innovative and more interesting than the last. And I’ve learned great ideas from all of you, so keep them coming,” said Dan Elsea.

(Above, L to R) David Mele, President,; Dan Elsea, President, Brokerage Services, Real Estate One Family of Companies; and Featherston (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

In addition to Platinum Sponsors Buffini & Company,, Quicken Loans®, Realty ONE Group and RE/MAX, RISMedia’s Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner was presented by: Master Sponsors American Home Shield, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, ERA Real Estate, HSA Home Warranty, the National Association of REALTORS®, and Real Estate Webmasters; Host Sponsors Inside Real Estate, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, Real Estate Express,®, and Realtors Property Resource®; and Event Sponsors ActivePipe, Adwerx, Buyside, CINC (Commissions Inc), Cinch Home Services, CoreLogic, David Knox Productions, Deluxe Branded Marketing, Earnnest, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Local Logic, Lone Wolf Technologies, MoxiWorks, REACH, PlanOmatic, Propertybase, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting, Workman Success Systems, and Zillow Group.

For continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, including RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum, please visit

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Teaming Up for a Changing Landscape

Nov 9, 2019 by

Better Homes Realty and La Rosa Realty Strategically Align to Meet the Demands of Today’s Real Estate Business

Even though their firms are located in opposite corners of the U.S., it didn’t take Chuck Scoble and Joe La Rosa long to discover that they were kindred spirits. They both shared core values and a business philosophy that made them realize they could turn their similarities into a strategic alliance that allows both firms to retain their brand identities yet capitalize on their synergies. Their goal? To become the brands of choice for real estate agents and to be the leaders in the “agent-centric, consumer-first era of real estate.”

In this interview, we find out more about this unique alliance, and how it’s already leading to exponential growth.

Maria Patterson: Let’s begin by finding out a bit more about your firms’ respective histories.
Chuck Scoble:
Better Homes Realty was founded in 1964 and was based primarily in Northern California. La Rosa Realty was founded in 2004 as a traditional real estate company, primarily serving the Central Florida market.

Joe La Rosa: In 2011, La Rosa Realty shifted from a broker-centric model to an agent-centric model of real estate, offering more tools and value to the agents while offering a 100-percent commission split. La Rosa Realty has grown quickly since 2011 and has been named one of the Top 75 Residential Real Estate Firms by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for the past three years. In 2019, we began franchising and converted several of our largest offices in Florida to franchises. Since that time, we have opened, or are about to launch (at press time), 21 other franchise locations.

MP: So how did your two companies cross paths, being on opposite ends of the country?
I had been watching La Rosa’s growth and reached out to Joe. We touched base and hit it off. One thing led to another. La Rosa has an up-and-coming model and team, which has been put together very methodically.

JL: I’ve been predominantly out on the East Coast and had known about Better Homes Realty for a while. Chuck and I had a mutual friend in the business who thought we both handled our businesses in similar ways and had similar core values. He recommended that we speak, and we really enjoyed getting to know each other and sharing war stories. That eventually transitioned into, “Hey, what can we do together?”

MP: So with the strategic alliance, how many offices and agents/employees does the firm currently have?
Between the two brands, there are approximately 50 offices and close to 3,000 agents located in Florida, California, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia, South Carolina and Mexico. New offices are scheduled to open in Panama, Peru, Columbia, Puerto Rico and Turkey starting as early as this month (at press time).

MP: What is the goal of your strategic alliance, and what are your plans in terms of expansion?
The strategic alliance between Better Homes Realty and La Rosa is very unique.
La Rosa Realty and Better Homes Realty are not merging together, but joining forces to create a strategic alliance to be better prepared and positioned as our industry and way of doing business changes. Our goal by joining forces is to create a stronger alliance and foundation and to provide the tools, tech and training that our owners and agents need to thrive in the changing landscape.

JL: Our goal is to become the brands of choice for real estate agents and to be the leaders in the agent-centric, consumer-first era of real estate. We are committed to empowering our agents through our technology and training platforms to deliver an unparalleled customer experience. We will continue to build off of the momentum that both brands have created and continue to expand within the United States, as well as throughout the world.

MP: How will the strategic alliance be different than a merger?
By joining forces and creating an alliance, we’ll be able to position ourselves in the right place as the industry shifts. We’re always focused on creating opportunities for agents.

CS: It’s more about tapping into the resources and systems that Joe has put together in order to benefit Better Homes Realty agents. We’ll be able to take advantage of better technology and training and systems, and that’s a huge benefit. It’s about sharing the platform that Joe has built.

MP: Please tell us more about how you developed the global arm of the business. Why is this an important part of your future?
Over the years within La Rosa Realty, the majority of our growth has been organic—even now, we’re converting offices into franchises without having done a major national marketing campaign. We weren’t going to attack our international plan until mid-2020, but the moment I announced earlier this year at the Florida convention that we would become a franchise, folks within our own company immediately wanted to know how they could take advantage. Several key folks in our company wanted to know how they could bring the brand to other countries, such as Panama, Peru, Columbia and Turkey. I’m excited to understand how real estate is done in other countries. Can we come into those marketplaces with our agent-centric model and be a disruptor?

MP: How is your agent-centric model different than others?
Everybody is following the headlines over the last few years and shifting from a broker-centric to agent-centric model, offering 100-percent commission. But you have to break it down. Are there hidden fees and costs? There are multiple reasons why agents will hang a license with a broker: technology, education, culture and also value. We give agents the most value by offering a true business in a box. A complete package with a full menu of items so that agents can choose what makes sense for them—technology, marketing, social media, etc. They can pick and choose with no hidden fees.

MP: Do you feel this sets your firm apart from the competition?
Yes, because we are not just using the term “agent-centric,” we are redefining it. Our two iconic brands have vast offerings and business solutions for agents and owners. We make it incredibly simple and affordable to own and grow a business and provide state-of-the-art, revolutionary technology solutions and training for agents and owners.

MP: How would you describe the current state of your real estate markets?
Most markets are at some stage of shifting from a seller’s market to that of a more stable and normalized market. Low interest rates and continued demand are still offering plenty of opportunities for agents to thrive and grow their businesses.

MP: How is your value proposition meeting the needs of today’s real estate consumer?
We are both longtime brokers who embrace the continuing challenges facing salespeople, as well as those facing broker/owners trying to stay relevant in a very fast-changing environment. For both salespeople and franchisees, it’s a challenging market to make a profit.

JL: That’s why we’re empowering our agents to become leaders in this next generation of real estate by focusing first on being a true agent-centric office and brand that equips them with every possible tool, from technology to training and coaching, that then translates into the creation of endless opportunities to provide the consumer with the ultimate customer experience. With technology leading to customers wanting everything virtually on-demand, we want to be able to appeal to that through the platforms we put together.

MP: Can you elaborate on the types of training and technology you’re offering for agents?
We feel that we have it covered from every angle. We provide information on-demand for agents to market themselves in countless different ways. We provide websites and CRMs that allow us to push along data to consumers so that they can tap into the information they need. We’re also helping agents understand that social media is playing a larger role every day, so we have it set up for them on an autopilot system so they can work smarter, not harder. We also have a back-end so they can work more efficiently and send files and execute documents from their car. The company intranet allows communication to take place and creates synergy to blossom.

The company’s technology services allow agents to work smarter, not harder.

MP: Please describe your firm’s culture and leadership philosophy.
La Rosa Realty’s culture has always been defined by three words: family, passion and growth. We understand that for many, family can be one of the most important things in the world. The bond that links La Rosa REALTORS® is not that of blood, but one of respect and loyalty. Collectively, we share each other’s goals and values. Together, we are much stronger than we are alone.

With passion, we put our hearts, minds and souls into helping our agents achieve their dreams and aspirations. Through education, training, coaching, technology and support, our agents are positioned to become more productive, as well as provide a better quality of life for their families. Last, but definitely not least, with growth, we understand that in life and in your career, if you are not growing, you are dying. Our purpose is to assist and identify each agent’s unique talent and potential in order to help them obtain their goals.

MP: What are some of your most innovative marketing strategies? How are they helping you connect with consumers?
Our platform and the opportunity we offer as a franchise is flexible, one that can be delivered to consumers through a 300-agent, semi-virtual office or a 10-agent office on Main Street. Recruiting productive salespeople and enhancing lead generation opportunities for our agents is our focus. We understand that the days of the agents being in the forefront with technology as a resource has changed to where technology is now in the forefront, relying on agents to utilize it to their advantage. Both brands have now taken the proper steps to ensure that we are both aligned with the right technology that allows us to deliver the ultimate customer experience.

MP: When it comes to lead gen, what are you doing to help agents convert and close leads?
Through our coaching program, we monitor closely agents’ ability to convert leads into appointments and then into closings. Coaching is not only to hold them accountable, but to examine where their strengths and weaknesses are. Chuck and I are both big football fans, and the first thing a football coach does after a game is go back and review the film to see where players excelled and where they had challenges. We do the same thing. We want to dig deeper to help them develop a plan to improve.

MP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
Our combined leadership team, franchisees and progressive associates are always on top of what is coming down the path, giving us insight as to the value and opportunity of new solutions or tools. Our focus is always on being able to improve our technology platform so that it remains ahead of the curve and is always the leading and most cutting-edge technology available to both agents and consumers. Technology is constantly evolving, and so are we.

MP: Finally, gentlemen, what’s on deck for the future of the firm?
We’re looking at global expansion to include 100-plus offices and 5,000-plus associates within 24 months. I’m excited to work alongside Chuck. We share the same vision and goals, and we look forward to much success.

CS: Yes—it’s the USA version of East meets West! My offices will really benefit from the new network.

For more information, please email or visit and

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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How Sugar Can Affect Your Health

Nov 8, 2019 by

Sugar can cause a lot more problems than cavities and weight gain.

A high-sugar diet can increase your risk of heart, liver and kidney disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Too much sugar can cause acne and wrinkles and can make your cells age prematurely.

Rapid changes in blood sugar levels can cause a burst of energy followed by a crash and fatigue.

Eating too much sugar may even increase your chances of developing depression and dementia.

Check nutrition labels. You may be shocked by the amounts of sugar in common processed foods.

Cook at home more so you know how much sugar is in the foods you eat.

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From Restaurateur to REALTOR®: Converting Leads in a Competitive Landscape

Nov 7, 2019 by

In the following interview, Mike Novak, team leader and REALTOR®, The Novak Team, eXp Realty in Everett, Wash., discusses his journey into real estate, generating leads, and more.

Region Served: King and Snohomish Counties
Years in Real Estate: 2.5
Number of Team Members: 20
Had a Team Since: The end of 2017

You were a well-known restaurateur prior to joining the real estate industry. Why did you ultimately give up restaurants for real estate?
It’s a long story, but the short of it centers around the fact that Washington State changed its minimum wage in October 2016. We had 400 employees at that point, which changed our overhead $ 50,000 a month—putting us in a position that was no longer economically viable. Luckily, we saw the headwinds coming, so we decided to get our real estate licenses as all of this was taking place because we didn’t think there was a way to survive. I had worked as a real estate developer and builder prior to getting into the restaurant business, so it was a natural place to go back to.

Being new to the business, where did you source your customers?
While we jumped into pay-per-click (PPC) immediately, as it was a cheap and easy way to get started, we transitioned over to® last May after meeting the team at an industry conference. In getting to know the company, it became clear to us just how ready their leads were when compared to those being generated through a pay-per-click strategy. This is what ultimately gave us the incentive to dabble in and eventually scale it. It didn’t take long to discover that the leads we were getting from were warmer, which led to them converting at a much higher level.

What else are you doing to let local homeowners know about your successful new company?
We do a lot of video marketing on social media, in addition to continuing to take advantage of PPC and, as well as a variety of mass media marketing. As far as the videos we’re sharing on social media, most are either market reports or educational videos that we use to help people understand common misconceptions or myths surrounding the home-buying or -selling process. Additionally, we recently began using Local ExpertTM, which seems to be going well so far. Since we have 50 percent of the marketshare, we have a lot of impressions, and we’re excited to see where that goes as we head toward the future.

How is it working now that you’re this far along with the lead programs?
We’re seeing high conversion rates, north of 5 percent, which is really good when you consider the fact that PPC leads typically convert anywhere from 1-2 percent, while Facebook is closer to 0.5-1 percent. In 2018, we closed nearly $ 400,000 gross commission income (GCI) with

Final Question…

What influenced your decision to form a team?
Wanting to help other agents become productive and thrive, while at the same time being able to help more buyers and sellers that we couldn’t get to ourselves.

For more information, please visit

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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