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7 Tips for Building Trust With Foreign Clients

Jan 30, 2019 by

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development, with assistance from Lauren Hampton and the Podfly editorial team, and recaps the Center for REALTOR® Development Podcast – Episode 12.

As the global economy expands, international real estate transactions are becoming more commonplace. Your global business starts in your local marketplace. As times move forward, it’s going to be hard to avoid global business. It’s important to start proactively incorporating it into your own business and action plan now.

Here in the States, we often make reference to the American Dream, but we sometimes forget that around the world, everybody wants to have a safe place for their family. Homeownership is a dream for people everywhere. Mark Makoto Kitabayashi—who lives in Washington State and teaches classroom courses for NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation—joins host Monica Neubauer for Episode 12 of the Center for REALTOR® Development podcast to talk about global real estate transactions.

Kitabayashi has been a REALTOR® in Washington State since 2000. He is part of the management team at Windermere Real Estate Puyallup, has been a top producer for the last 10 years, and is actively involved with REALTOR® Associations at all levels. His extensive international marketing, R&D and sales experience of over 25 years add extra dimensions to his expertise.

Kitabayashi is a first-generation immigrant; his parents came here from Japan when he was 12 years old. He’s been doing real estate for about 17 years, and actually got into international real estate via his first real estate client, who was Vietnamese.

NAR’s CIPS designation is dedicated to teaching about foreign buyers or local buyers who are foreign-born. There are two types of international clients: The first are people local to your market who are foreign-born and probably speak English as a second language, looking for real estate locally; you could also have clients abroad that are looking for property in your area.

In this episode, Kitabayashi shares nuggets of wisdom from his classroom discussions about international transactions:

Understand that building trust is key. When working with foreign clients, the biggest thing you need to know is that they want to work with someone they can trust. Knowing their first language would be helpful, but is not required. “Making an effort to understand other cultures is the biggest part of this global economy,” explains Kitabayashi.

Start small to cultivate local international relationships. For people who want to start serving an international market, begin by incorporating modest international business-building activities into your business and action plan. This could be as simple as attending a local cultural event; it doesn’t necessarily mean you jump right into a foreign transaction. Down the road, once you have a good business model that serves foreigners, you can successfully help more of those same types of clients find a home, and also grow your own business at the same time.

Establish common ground. Kitabayashi shares some ideas of topics you can discuss with your clients to start the conversation. Food is usually a good icebreaker for any culture. You can ask for restaurant recommendations in your area. As an American REALTOR®, you can do some preemptive research about the culture where your client comes from to better understand what processes they’re used to. In addition, there is nothing wrong with asking questions or sharing what you understand to make sure that’s how they understand it, as well. It is better to ask than to assume. If you have friends from other cultures, you can also have an open conversation with them to learn more.

Develop an appreciation for different cultural ‘styles.’ There are two categories of cultural styles: high-context and low-context. In high-context cultures, the relationship is more important and personal space is wide (less physical contact). Low-context cultures are agreement-driven and personal space is limited. In high-context cultures, the relationship usually comes first before negotiations start—unlike low-context, where the start of a negotiation is usually the start of the relationship.

Understand that real estate practices can be different across the globe. In some cultures where back-and-forth negotiation is more common, as a representative of a domestic foreigner, you may find yourself in a situation where you are the go-between and can offer small concessions that function as a symbolic “win” for the negotiation script. As a representative of the seller, understanding our own client as well as the opposite side makes a whole lot of difference. Kitabayashi goes into some great examples in the episode.

Keep Fair Housing compliance in mind. When working within the context of global business, you have to remain Fair Housing compliant. There is a fine line between discrimination and preferences. As a REALTOR®, you have to be neutral and treat everybody equally. You also have to educate your clients about the fair housing laws in the U.S., so they don’t make unethical and unlawful request of you.

Be proficient in the technical aspects of global real estate. There are some technical aspects of foreign real estate to consider as well, such as currency conversion. Arrangements for closing dates, etc., may have to be made to accommodate the time it takes to convert the currency and get it sent to the correct channels. One thing Kitabayashi recommends is having your currency converted and sitting in a U.S. bank before you even begin any transactions. This will allow you to complete the transaction more quickly and can eliminate the exchange rate frustration, as well.

Our monthly podcast focuses on education in the real estate industry. It addresses formal education programs (such as those from NAR) and informal sources of industry knowledge (such as peers and mentors). Its intended audiences include REALTORS®, real estate professionals, allied professions (such as appraisers and lenders), educators, education providers, and consumers. To listen or subscribe, visit www.crdpodcast.com.

To learn much more about expanding your business internationally, consider taking one of the six individual international online courses developed by the Global Business and Alliances division of NAR. All of these online products can be used towards earning NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation and are on special at 25% off this month of January.

For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.

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3 Secrets to Building a Real Estate Team That Won’t Drive You Crazy

Aug 9, 2018 by

Real estate teams are incredible, but they’re not for everyone, according to 18-year real estate veteran Leigh Brown. Brown is a broker/owner of Leigh Brown and Associates with RE/MAX. The 2017 president of CRS, Brown is also a recipient of Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Fame and Circle of Legends recognitions with RE/MAX International.

Building a team will either be a smart idea or a money pit, according to Brown, and you need to know how to make it successful before you start hiring. It’s not just earning big numbers; it’s about the earning the right numbers. The three secrets to building a successful real estate team are:

  • Understand why you’re setting up a team
  • Create a solid foundation (hire the right administrator and agents)
  • Create a true team environment

“I know a team who was doing $ 50 million in volume, but the team leader was only taking home $ 50,000 in sales. That was a money pit situation,” Brown says.

Do your research so you don’t end up in the same situation.

1. Understand Why You’re Setting Up a Team
Is a team the way to go for you? It could be if:

You need better work/life management.
If you feel like you’re going to explode if the phone rings one more time, your work/life balance is probably “out of whack.” You’re burned out. A team can help you restore balance.

You consistently have excess opportunities.
Are you staying busy but still getting calls you can’t get to—or are you so busy you’re not able to give your clients the level of service you want to? A team may help you seize the opportunities you’re missing, and help improve the service to the clients you already have.

Your strength is management, not sales.
You love the field, but what you’re really good at is managing, marketing and lead generation. Part of setting up a team is understanding yourself, your strengths and your skills. As a team leader, you’ll need to be a good manager, or hire one. When you’re putting together a job description for yourself, be honest: What is it you really love to do?

Things to Consider Before Setting Up a Team

Lead Generation
You have to have enough leads coming in to sustain you, as well as your team. As a team leader, you’ll be responsible not only for your income, but the income of others.

Control Freak
Can you control your inner control freak? You need to understand that you’re not going to have a team that does things 100 percent like you do. Understanding that if your team does things “right” 80 percent of the time, you’re ahead of the game. When you allow people to make mistakes, they’ll stop walking on eggshells and start working harder to get things right. Learn to let other people shine and they will.

2. Create a Solid Foundation
Before you hire a team of agents, you need a foundation. That foundation begins with a talented administrator.

However, before you can hire an administrator, you need to run your financial numbers. Look at the number of hours you work per week, including administrative work, email, DocuSign, Dropbox, showing houses and making calls. Now, add up the commission dollars you’ve made and divide that by the hours you’ve worked. What do you earn per hour? What does it cost to hire in your market? How many hours a week will you need them? Five? Ten? Twenty? With those numbers in hand, you’re ready to start building your team, and the first person you need to hire is an assistant.

Assistant
Before you hire, you must know what you want your assistant to do, so create a detailed job description for the position. Create a checklist of any NRP (non-revenue producing) activities you want your assistant to handle, including paperwork, signs and lockboxes, putting out postcards, inputting people to your CRM and DocuSign requests.

Include “at-bats” (at least one lead generation or referral a month) in the job description. If you don’t ask people to bring you a referral, they won’t. 

Referral Agent
You may not be ready or want to train, hire and manage a buyer agent right away. If so, you can seek out a like-minded agent who is great at closing, but who needs leads.

Expectations are the key here, Brown emphasizes. Know what you will pay them. Have systems in place for tracking leads and closings. Figure out what happens after the closing and what your role with the client is after the closing. Build a relationship on honor and trust with these agents.

Buyer Agent
The job description here is critical. Be very clear when setting and communicating your expectations. You should also take time to figure out what kind of personality you’ll work best with. Look for someone who will balance you, and whom you will balance.

Hiring tips:

  • “Hire the people who are great at what you suck at,” Brown says. “Check with REALTORS® who are not built for sales or who don’t want to put in ‘REALTOR® hours,’ but who want to be in the business.”
  • Pay a little more to get the best people possible. If everyone else is paying $ 10 an hour, you should pay $ 13-$ 15 an hour. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much more for you, but it will create loyalty in your employee. It also shows others you take care of your people.
  • Hire in your local market, not offshore. By hiring locally, you become known as a local employer, and people you hire can also refer people to you.
  • Hire part-time. You can hire someone for 5-10 hours a week and build. If you hire someone who will hustle and generate leads to increase your business and their hours, all the better.
  • Hire for qualities, not task performance. “Attitude matters more than skills,” Brown explains. “Phone skills, handwriting, personality and people skills matter.”
  • Take the DISC personality profile. Take it yourself first, then have them take the DISC personality profile to ensure you balance each other. Pay the $ 29 for the full test, not the free one. It’s more accurate.
  • Take your time hiring. Make hiring a multi-step process so you get the right person.

3. Create a True Team Environment
Once you’ve built a team, how do you stay the course? Start with the details. This includes meetings, goal-setting, team evaluations and individual reviews. Unless your team is one cohesive unit with excellent communication, specific goals and opportunities for everyone involved, your team won’t work.

In a recent webinar, Brown went into extended details about how to structure payment schedules, training, reviews and team-building. Get tips from Brown and watch the full webinar for more detailed steps to ensure you find, hire, train and retain the right people to get the best team members possible.

For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Building a Virtual Brokerage with Strong Agents and Superior Online Leads

Apr 2, 2018 by

Monroe_LucasFor Lucas Monroe, broker and chief executive officer of Kendrick Realty, Inc. in Pleasant Hill, Calif., it’s all about accountability, systems and success with online leads. In the following interview, learn how in just the first few months of the year, his office has already surpassed last year’s sales.  

Region served: Greater San Francisco Bay Area
Years in real estate: 8 in real estate, 2 years as a broker
Number of offices: 1 in California under Kendrick Realty, Inc., and a second in Florida under a different name
Number of agents: 17 in California; 19 in Florida
Average sales price: $ 550,000 in California; $ 285,000 in Florida
First thing you do when you arrive at the office? Power up the computer and have an assistant give me the daily schedule.

Can you tell me about your office structure? I got my start on the real estate investment side of things, and this approach has carried over to the way in which my co-owners Dan Sundberg, director of people and culture, and Lisa Sickman, director of learning and performance and I operate Kendrick Realty. Our view is agent investment-focused. We spend a lot of our time looking at our REALTORS® as individual businesses that we as a brokerage are investing in.

Do your agents work from your office or remotely? We own our office outright, and it’s available to our agents, but while we get agent traffic every day, not everyone comes in every day. For the most part, our agents are virtual, which is how we set up our business model. Our view is that agents are most productive when they’re out in front of clients, so we try to provide enough opportunities so that they can do that daily rather than spend time in the office.

Since your agents spend less time in the office, how are you creating camaraderie within your company? Once a week, we have a team huddle call, which is a quick phone call with each agent where we go through stats, goals and company announcements. Since real estate is all about community, we’re very involved in ours, so we participate in monthly charitable events. We rotate month to month between our covered counties. We might do a local beach cleanup or a food packaging day, and we invite our whole team to come help with those events to do something social together and give back. We also do a monthly all-hands meeting where we invite the entire team to our office to go over new company updates.

All of our agents have a unique level of access to us as owners. We make ourselves accessible for one-on-one discussions to make sure our agents can continue learning and overcome difficulties to maximize productivity.

Who pays for the marketing and advertising? We put our money where our mouth is: we invest about $ 4,000 a month per agent, just in lead generation.

What gives you confidence that these opportunities are not wasted? Our custom CRM gives us a lot of transparency. We can look at agent leads and see how our agents are planning their day to make sure nothing falls between the cracks. We also have a core team of 20 full-time employees that we refer to as our client concierge. They are responsible for following up with our pipeline of leads and focusing on lead engagement.

Where are you getting your leads? We get the majority of our leads from realtor.com®.

What kind of results are you getting? Realtor.com® has allowed us, as a brand-new company just over a year old, to build up a lead pipeline of about 22,000 leads between California and Florida, which is incredible for any brokerage, but especially for one as young as ours. In addition, realtor.com® has enabled us to grow and scale into new areas, providing us with a predictable look at a fixed cost and a fairly consistent pipeline.

How do you train your agents to close online leads? Dan and Lisa have put together a new agent boot camp that all our agents go through. This boot camp is a week-long, eight-hour-a-day intensive intro to the way Kendrick Realty approaches the business, and a big part of that is focusing on how to be successful with online leads. The biggest problem other real estate professionals typically have with online leads is a lack of consistency. A typical real estate professional investing in their own business might spend $ 400 – $ 700 a month and that might bring in 4 – 8 leads, which is not a sufficient volume. So, a big focus for us is making sure we have enough lead scale that we’re able to sift through everything. Some will be golden, easy sales, some will be hard work, and some won’t turn into anything. But with a sufficient volume, we’re able to make consistent money for our agents and ourselves as a brokerage.

Any projections for the future of the company? We have intentions to open two additional offices this year. On the financial end, our sales from January and February 2018—plus what we have in contract—is already equal to our entire sales for all of last year. So, we’re having phenomenal growth. Last year was all about making sure our fundamentals were strong, that our systems were in place. Now, we’re looking forward to continuing to grow in 2018.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/brokerwin.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Facebook and Google Building Homes

Jul 12, 2017 by

Does Facebook and Google building homes surprise you?  Not us, and it’s happening now.

The post Facebook and Google Building Homes appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

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Report: The Future of Community Building Lies in Women, Immigrants, Retirees

Oct 12, 2016 by

Rising numbers of female executives, affluent immigrants, younger and older workers, and retirees will have a profound influence on community building in the U.S. over the next 10 years, according to a new Urban Land Institute (ULI) report, Demographic Strategies for Real Estate.

The report, by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC, identifies several key trends related to demographics and household formation that will affect real estate investment and development through 2025. The report was sponsored by ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, in collaboration with ULI’s Residential Neighborhood Council, whose members provided input for the analyses of the trends.

According to the report, these key demographic drivers present lucrative opportunities for real estate professionals:

  • The continued rise of working women– Women now earn 58 percent of all college degrees in the country, and they earn more than their spouses 38 percent of the time. By 2025, the number of women in the workforce will rise to 78 million, 8 million above the level in 2015.
  • A rising number of affluent immigrants– Immigration will account for more than half the U.S. population growth by 2025, assuming current trends continue. Contrary to some perceptions, many immigrants coming to the U.S. are highly educated middle- and upper-class families with substantial purchasing power.
  • The graying of America– By 2025, 66 million Americans will be over age 65—38 percent more than in 2015. This will create lucrative opportunities for customer segmentation, given the widely varied needs and lifestyles of younger retirees versus older ones.  The surge in retirees will also create more opportunities for workers, driving incomes up for many occupations.
  • Young adults driving household formation– 44 million 18-to-27 year olds born in the 1990s will lead the majority of new household growth over the next decade, despite forming households more slowly than their predecessors. They are expected to create 14 million households by 2025.

“This research reaffirms the extraordinary impact that demographic shifts have on real estate investment and development decisions,” says Robert Bowman, chairman of the blue flight of ULI’s Residential Neighborhood Council and president of Charter Homes & Neighborhoods in Lancaster, Pa. “Being successful in this industry means being on the front end of trends, thinking about what those trends mean for the long-term, and being able to correctly anticipate how and where people will want to live and work in the years ahead. Those who understand major demographic changes will have a competitive edge.”

“By breaking the generations down into easier to understand groups, and building a framework we call the 4-5-6 Rule, we think we have created a great tool for real estate executives,” says John Burns, chief executive officer of John Burns Real Estate Consulting.  “Government policies, economic cycles, new technologies, and shifts in social acceptability have driven massive shifts in real estate demand over the decades.  The executives who identify the trends early and adapt always win.”

In terms of land use and development, the report predicts that despite the continued revival of urban downtowns, the suburbs will draw about 79 percent of the coming wave of new households, as younger families seek “surban” (a termed coined by John Burns Real Estate Consulting) communities that combine the best of urban and suburban living. Many will choose to rent rather than own homes, pushing up demand for single-family rentals in particular.

The report groups the U.S. population by decade born, rather than by generation, to draw conclusions about behaviors shaping trends, with the most influential (and largest) groups being:

  • Innovators, born 1950-1959, who led a technology revolution;
  • Equalers, born 1960-69, which became the first group with women achieving higher education levels than men;
  • Balancers, born 1970-79, who led a shift toward achieving a better work-family balance;
  • Sharers, born 1980-89, who led the transition to the sharing economy, which includes a higher preference to rent;
  • Connectors, born 1990-1999, who led 24/7 wireless connectivity; and
  • Globals, born 2000-2009, who think and interact globally due to their many multi-cultural connections and free-flowing information.

Among the trends shaped by these groups:

“Surban” developments will replace shopping centers – More retail stores will be transformed into places that sell experiences, rather than goods, and more development will combine housing and retail to satisfy consumer demand for places that offer convenient, car-free shopping. An 86-percent surge in household formations in the coming decade will drive retail activity, particularly purchases by renters, who will comprise 58 percent of the net new number of households.

Suburban office demand will return – As 1980s-born Sharers move into more senior management roles and start families, many will move from urban cores to the suburbs to live in areas with good schools, but which are also near employment hubs and entertainment and recreational amenities. They will be willing to share space and work remotely. Women earned more than half of the college degrees obtained by Sharers; as a result, female executives will play a stronger role in office space selection.

Housing rental rates will surge over the long term – The sharing economy’s de-emphasis on ownership will be reflected in soaring demand for rental units. Well over half of the 12.5 million net new households created over the next decade will rent, including those who have never owned, and those making the switch from owning to renting as they age.

Homeownership will decline, with the national rate anticipated to be 60.8 percent by 2025, the lowest point since the 1950s. As more Innovators join the already large number of retirees, competition for workers will push up wages, contributing to a favorable environment for rent increases.

Southern suburban migration to continue – The southern regions where 42 percent of Americans currently live will receive 62 percent of the household growth in the U.S. over the next decade. Demand will continue to rise for affordable rental housing, townhomes and small-lot detached housing, as 1990s-born Connectors join Sharers in raising families.

Municipalities will take a stronger role in encouraging successful growth – Local government redevelopment investments have revitalized urban and suburban areas, and the most astute suburban—or surban—municipal leaders will continue changing zoning regulations to encourage mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development that accommodates the preferences and needs of new households.

The predictions in the report are based on several macroeconomic assumptions – 1) the economy will slow in the next few years, and achieve 2 percent average real GDP growth over the decade; 2) the influx of immigrants will remain at about 1.2 million per year; 3) there will be no significant changes to federal entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare; 4) rising college tuition costs and student debt will continue to delay marriage and childbirth; 5) life-extending technology will allow women to have children later in life and allow older adults to remain active; 6) slightly higher mortgage rates will make homeownership more expensive; and 7) rents and home prices will rise slightly faster than incomes each year.

For more information, visit www.uli.org.

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