Women in Real Estate: Business-Building Insights From RISMedia’s 2019 Newsmakers

Feb 3, 2019 by

A considerable number of this year’s RISMedia Real Estate Newsmakers are women who are making waves in the industry, advancing their businesses and significantly contributing to their communities. What’s the secret to their success? Strategies range from a focus on mentorship and coaching to relationship marketing and community involvement. Here are their approaches and insights on how fellow women in real estate can advance their business and reach their goals:

Mary Lee Blaylock
President/CEO – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Luminaries 

“Being hands-on allows me to better understand and fully respect the job of each agent and employee in the enterprise. No one is more important than another. We are all equal human beings with complimenting roles all working toward a single goal: to bring our customers home,” says Blaylock.

Blaylock also reminds real estate professionals to remain honest and ethical when making decisions to reach long-term success. Additionally, Blaylock emphasizes that women should stay confident.

“Put the natural self-doubt aside that we as women have and focus on if the job is the right fit for you,” adds Blaylock. “Make a sound business decision for you and your family. Obtain the input you need and then simply go for it. Remain agile in all you do and remember to respect all people, including yourself!”

Katie Clancy
Team Lead, REALTOR®, Speaker, Trainer – The Cape House Team, William Raveis
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Futurists  

“Achieving balance over the course of a day or week, especially with children, is impossible. As a mother, especially, I recommend that you strive for balance over the course of years instead,” says Clancy. “Intense, time-consuming, distracting motherhood is a season. Also, be patient. Stop fretting over your success like you have to achieve massive goals before you’re 40. In my early 40s, I was destitute, depressed and almost divorced. Now almost 10 years later, I’m enjoying success, happiness and (mostly) balance at levels I never thought possible.”

In terms of gauging success, it’s subjective. Many don’t fully understand the barometer for their impact—a fact represented by Clancy’s inner circle of inspiration.

“I have a ‘Board of Advisors’ which consists of people from all parts of my life and the country. Some of them don’t even know they’re on it. They’re all the people whom I try to emulate for certain things: confidence, sales, leadership, style, marriage, parenting, etc.,” says Clancy. 

Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor
COO/President – ERA Key Real Estate
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Achievers

“I strive to make sure that each of my employees and agents knows that I care about them, both personally and professionally,” says Eidinger-Taylor.

In order to reach business success, she recommends that real estate professionals: 

  • Never stop learning
  • Read business books, self-improvement books and industry-related news, and listen to podcasts
  • Take the time to care for themselves so they can be of assistance to others
  • Spend 10-20 minutes per day in reflection/meditation or prayer—great ideas need to percolate
  • Walk the talk and lead by example
  • Listen twice as much as they speak
  • Practice compassion
  • Give their time, talent and treasure to others less fortunate

“If we all strive for these major things, then we are valuable to our clients and customers, and we keep their best interests in the forefront. Serving others is a gift that gives back because it creates a feeling of fulfillment and purpose,” says Eidinger-Taylor.

Isatou Ceesay
Broker – isatouproperties, CENTURY 21 Real Estate Center
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Crusaders

“Determination is the key to success in real estate, in my opinion. Clients will not have the confidence in you if you are not passionate with what you do for them,” says Ceesay. “Women should not be intimidated by any assignment. You will always have someone to work you through the hurdles. You are not alone.”

This includes not being afraid to pursue leadership roles in business segments that often have few females in charge.

“Commercial real estate comes to my mind right away. It is dominated by men and I don’t know why,” says Ceesay.

Nicole Lopez
Team Leader – The PR Group, Intero Real Estate Services
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Trendsetters

“I’ve always felt a distinct urge to help women who have a passion but might lack direction. Passion for the industry is something you can’t teach; however, I can help equip them with the tools needed to elevate and enhance my agents’ careers and lives. It is the most fulfilling aspect of what we do within the team,” says Lopez.

“I believe that in any sales profession, attaining and keeping the consumer’s attention is a large factor to achieving success within the field. We strive daily to come up with creative ideas to gain and maintain the consumer’s attention. This has helped us retain agents, listings and buyers,” adds Lopez.

Her “$ 250 in Free Tacos” promotion for her listings is one example of this, becoming a huge success after it gained national-level exposure.

“We love creating memorable experiences that keep our current and past clients engaged in our business and referrals coming. It’s truly the small things and attention to detail that will help keep your business booming for years to come,” she says.

Kiesha Curtis
Senior Buyer/Seller Specialist, REALTOR® – Realty Kings Properties
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Inspirations 

“A major key is being a student of my craft. I study real estate! In order to be an expert in this field or any field, you must know it and be able to convey your expertise to others in a way they can understand,” says Curtis. “Another key is understanding purpose…why you do what you do. Define that for yourself, because that is what will keep you going when nothing seems to be working.”

Overall, Curtis believes real estate professionals should place others first, valuing relationships over transactions.

“Make sure those you serve know that you can take care of business—the rest will take care of itself,” says Curtis. “You’ll be overflowing with repeat business and referrals.”

Jerri Udelson
Master Certified Coach – Entrepreneurial Coaching & Consulting
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Influencers

“As a coach, I partner with my clients, helping them create a vision for themselves and their business, acting as a sounding board and offering ideas and input when appropriate,” says Udelson. “I am often the cheerleader for clients who have no one else with whom they can feel comfortable and vulnerable in a highly-competitive environment.”

“Coaching has been key for women who have chosen to step up and start their own agencies or take their businesses to the next level by growing their teams,” adds Udelson.

The ideal atmosphere in which women thrive, according to Udelson? One of support and encouragement.

Know a Newsmaker? For information on nominating or becoming a 2020 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, please email our executive editor, Maria Patterson, at

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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7 Hot Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

Jan 28, 2019 by

What is trending in home design in the new year? The designers at Houzz chimed in with their top picks. Here are a few of their choices for top home decor trends:

Tile backsplash feature wall.

More kitchens are using tile for an accent wall, taking the tile from countertop to ceiling. The tile is even behind floating shelves and range hoods to create an eye-catching feature wall.

Glass and steel room dividers.

In recent years, we’ve seen increased popularity in glass and steel for front doors and shower enclosures on Houzz. But good ideas spread quickly. We’re seeing more glass and steel dividers between interior rooms and expect that to continue in 2019. They give an open feeling while still providing some privacy and noise control, along with a stylish graphic element or contrasting color to otherwise white walls.

The centerpiece tub.

Homeowners are spending more to increase the size of their bathroom and carve out a spa-like space. And they’re devoting a lot of attention to making the tub the all-star of their space.

Black is back.

Black is entering kitchens in a bigger way. Black range hoods, island accent colors, and all-black cabinets are popping up in more designs. Houzz predicts more kitchens featuring black cabinets paired with white walls, backsplash and countertops for a dynamic and sophisticated contrast.

Furniture benches in the dining area.

In the kitchen, built-in bench seating in a dining nook is not only trendy but also offers extra storage as an added bonus. Designers are bringing in bench furniture pieces, which offer an affordable and convenient alternative. “It turns almost any dining spot into more of a lounge area, and you can tuck a few storage baskets underneath for blankets, games, place settings and more, giving you the feeling of a banquette without the commitment,” Houzz notes.

Board and batten exterior.

The modern farmhouse look is still going strong throughout the home, but exteriors are also reflecting it now too. “The board and batten method of construction delivers that homey look and adds texture and interest to what might otherwise be a flat facade,” Houzz notes.

Wood vanities.

Wood vanities can help bring a large dose of warmth to the bathroom. Wooden vanities have long been popular on Houzz, but the latest designs are turning toward reclaimed wood or light wood with clear stains that draw out grain pattern details and knots.

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2019 Real Estate Trends and What They Mean for You

Jan 17, 2019 by

As we begin 2019, it’s important to take time to reflect on the best way to start your year. Planning at the beginning can give you a clear track to follow, setting you up for greater success. In order to plan your year, it can be helpful to look at what happened in 2018 to see where 2019 is heading.

While no one can be sure what will happen this year, there are some clues we can follow. Here are three trends to consider so you can go in to 2019 as strong as possible.

  1. Buying a home may be more difficult.
    There are a few reasons why buying a home may be more challenging this year. Initially, mortgage rates that had been steadily climbing in 2018 are estimated to reach their peak this year at 5.8 percent. Coupled with this—because most homebuyers determine their affordability by the monthly payments—with the increase in mortgage rates, many will slip into a lower price point. As a result of these factors, and rapid increase of housing prices, it’s likely that overall home sales will decrease, but only slightly.
  1. Inventory will increase.
    In the past couple years, inventory has not been able to keep up with the demand. This year, inventory is expected to increase, but only by about 7 percent. While this is not a huge increase, it is expected to help ease the deficit from past years. At the same time, since the increase is relatively small, it will still help sellers to stay on top. In addition to this, it’s largely expected that the increase will come from luxury homes that hit the market. Because of this, agents who have held off working with luxury homebuyers or sellers could take advantage of this change to test their skills.
  1. Millennials will continue to be the top buyers.
    As we’ve seen in past years, millennials will continue to be the biggest buyers this year. However, since the majority of the millennial group is now approaching their 30s, many of these will not be first-time homebuyers. Instead, they’ll likely be looking to expand, as they search for middle- and upper-priced homes. At the same time, though, it’s expected that millennials will be the most price-conscientious group, as many still carry the burden of student debt. It’s predicted that they will sacrifice on location, amenities or space in order to save money.

What does this mean for you?
Since these trends will cause some shifts in the real estate world, it’s important to begin planning how to use this to your advantage. For example, while it’s expected that more luxury homes will hit the market this year, consider whether you should pursue these types of homebuyers. In addition to this, if you haven’t been working with millennials before, this could be the opportune time to jump in. On the other hand, if you have been working with millennials but only as first-time buyers, this is a good time to reframe your focus and think about them as repeat buyers.

As some of these trends permeate 2019, make sure you are implementing new tactics into your marketing to take advantage of them. If you are looking to attract millennial homebuyers, has you covered. Now, it’s easier than ever for millennials to find their must-have home; it’s up to you to help them get from “This is interesting” to “This is ours!” Find out about’s new advertising opportunities here and start reaching millennial homebuyers today.

Joe Sesso is an author and national speaker for For more information, please visit

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Now Business, Future Business and Financial Freedom: Essentials for 2019 Success

Jan 13, 2019 by

After helping real estate professionals create breakthrough career success for more than 27 years, one thing is certain: There’s no one path to success for everyone.

However, there are smart strategies that can help agents get to their Next Level™ faster than others. Recently, we’ve reimagined real estate business planning. We start with an EZ Business Plan that allows them to crunch numbers so they can assess the activities they need to hit their financial goals. Then we share a three-tiered plan that can help agents better navigate three important areas of building wealth: now business, future business and financial freedom.

Agents often fall into one of three categories: 

  1. Survival Level, or those struggling financially, living month-to-month and worried about where their next commission is coming from. These folks need a quick fix and coaching to create a cash infusion by putting “now business” in place within 30-60 days.
  1. Maintenance Level, or folks who steadily get their bills covered throughout the year. They are making enough to get by, but not really able to save or create financial growth.
  1. Next Level™: These are the agents that have built strong business foundations, have systems in place and constant cash flow coming in. They are now in the business of preparing for eventual retirement and financial freedom.

First, know your numbers logically. I had a coaching conversation with a student who felt as if he were doing worse this year over last. I had him write everything down. How many listings? Sales? Dollar volume? Commissions? After analyzing, he realized he had made more in the current year, but spent much more, revealing the disparity. 

Assessment Formula 

  1. Business Bills – What are you spending each year on business survival? What is your break-even? Dues, advertising, stationery, E&O insurance, office fees…these are fixed bills.
  2. Personal Survival Bills – House, utilities, car, insurance, etc.
  3. Add the two.
  4. Add taxes. This becomes your overall break-even.
  5. Add how much you want to put toward retirement and what you’ll need to live debt-free (pay off credit, put in savings, investments). This will take you from survival to Next LevelTM.

Consider the three areas of business planning necessary for long-term success to determine where you need to start:

Now Business
If you need money in next 30-60 days, wake up every morning with one focus: get a listing. How? The quickest way to generate listing appointments now is to call FSBOs and expireds:

  1. Get a good file system that will help you generate and organize these leads.
  2. Schedule certain days for calls and commit to those hours.
  3. Have a strong listing appointment, which gives you the confidence to prospect.
  4. Use a visual chart to help stay motivated and focused
  5. Have external accountability (another agent, manager, integrity partner, etc.).

Future Business
Now that you’ve got inventory and cash flow, it’s time to focus on building your business to your Next LevelTM. That requires planting seeds of self-promotion for niche markets or geographic farms. Here are some things to consider: 

  • It takes 6-9 months before it starts paying for itself.
  • Create a plan for a concentrated neighborhood approach that includes door-knocking, community events, working those Facebook closed groups and mailings.
  • Have funding for at least six months of marketing before you get started.
  • Consistency is key—statistically, it takes at least five touches to get a response.
  • Consider co-branding with a vendor to offset costs such as an attorney, moving company, etc.

Financial Freedom
There is no better feeling than being debt-free. The only debt that is good debt is mortgages (one per house!) and car loans or leases—all single-digit loans. Any cost of money that is in the double-digits is hurting, not helping—meaning over 10 percent interest needs to go.

  • Map out a plan to pay off any debt that has double-digit interest first.
  • Savings has to be habitual. Every month a set amount needs to go towards your future.
  • Here’s the formula I taught my son: After bills, 50 percent of your money goes towards spending, 20 percent to savings, 20 percent to investing and 10 percent to God. If you have credit card debt, that formula would be 25 percent to spending, 25 percent to debt, 20 percent to savings, 20 percent to investing and 10 percent to God.

Watch for more training on this topic as we roll out the first quarter of 2019. We’re here to help. 

Darryl Davis, CSP, an author, coach and speaker, has spoken to, trained and coached more than 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe. He is a best-selling author for McGraw-Hill Publishing, and his book, “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate,” tops Amazon’s charts for most sold book to real estate agents. He is the founder of the Next Level™ real estate training system The Power Program®, which has proven to help agents double their production over their previous year. Davis has earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, held by less than 2 percent of all speakers worldwide. For more information, please visit

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High-Tech Home Design From CES 2019

Jan 10, 2019 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

As more homes get teched out, how do you make a home smart but stylish too? CES 2019—Las Vegas’ annual mega tech show—is showing off thousands of high-tech products, including a growing number to outfit a smart home.

From smart mirrors to rollable TV screens, CES 2019 vendors are evolving the look and function of many everyday household items. Particularly interesting is a gradual movement to the attention of detail in how these high-tech products are being integrated into a home’s design. It’s becoming less about having a massive monitor on display or smart speaker on your coffee table, and more about integrating and blending the tech into the home subtly.

The Rollable TV

Photo Credit: LG

The bulky, rectangular television set has long been a centerpiece of many family rooms. But LG Signature’s OLED TV R is disguising it. This rollable 65-inch television disappears into a box below a modern, silver credenza when not in use. When you do need it, it unrolls to its full height in seconds. You can also put the TV in “line view,” so that only about a quarter of the screen is showing. In this wide, rectangular view, the TV can be set to just display a clock, weather, personal photos, or other designs.

LG debuted a prototype of the wallpaper TV back at CES 2018, but it will be available to the public starting in the second half of 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Not Just Any Wood

Photo Credit: Mui

That two-by-four piece of wood on the wall looks like a stylish accent that blends into the room, but it’s actually a smart home assistant. Voice-assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, are getting stylish makeovers and embedded into more products. The Mui smart block can be controlled via voice. Homeowners can take control over music, lighting, thermostats, and more through this discreet Google Assistant. When it’s not being used, the LCD display turns off and it looks like just any other piece of wood again. When activated, words appear on the screen and you can talk to it. It’ll be available in early 2019 for $ 999.

Picture Frame and Wireless Charger

Tech chargers aren’t exactly the prettiest accessory to leave lying around. Enter Twelve South’s PowerPic. It’s a picture frame that doubles as a wireless charger for your devices. It appears as a typical wooden 5×7 picture frame, but it contains a hidden wireless charger behind that favorite photo being displayed. You can place an iPhone or other compatible device inside of it to start charging. (This retails for $ 80.)


A Smart Mirror

This isn’t your ordinary mirror. It’s a touchscreen mirror with Google Assistant-embedded inside. This smart mirror from Capstone Connected Home allows you to ask it anything you typically would of a standard voice assistant. You can even compose email and messages from it and type directly into the mirror. The mirror is available in various sizes, starting at 19-inch by 22-inch. It’ll be available in early 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.


Mood lighting

Photo Credit: Philips Hue

Pick a mood and let your lights match it. Philips Hue offers a range of smart bulbs that allow you to take control over the lighting to fit the setting. Adjust your dining room lighting to create an ambient atmosphere for a dinner party, or turn a living room into a home theater with dimmed lights. Many of the bulbs can also now be controlled via voice, allowing you to change lighting without ever having to flip a switch.

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