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.

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.

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Boomer, Millennial Homeowners to Drive Remodels Over Next Decade

Mar 1, 2017 by

Generational shifts are set to give rise to more investment in remodeling, as baby boomer homeowners adopt accessible living, Gen Xer homeowners complete put-off projects and millennials become homeowners, according to a recently released report by the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. Higher remodeling spending broadly signals confidence in the economy, household finances and the housing market.

The report, Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook, projects remodeling spending to grow an average 2 percent each year through 2025, driven primarily by rising home values and incomes. Homeowner and renter spending on remodels hit a record $ 340 billion in 2015.

“With national house prices rising sufficiently to help owners rebuild home equity lost during the downturn, and with both household incomes and existing-home sales on the rise, we expect to see continued growth in the home improvement market,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center.

Baby boomer homeowners will focus on improvements that support an aging-in-place lifestyle, according to the report, spending the most of the three generations at a 56 percent share. Millennial homeowners—with limited resources—will move to upgrade for automation and energy efficiency.

The majority of remodeling spending occurs in housing markets with high home values and incomes—a derailing trend, if affordability pressures continue to hamper millennial home-buying. In still-affordable Cincinnati and Detroit, for example, remodeling spending by millennials was more than double than that in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2015. Millennial homeowners of houses built before 1980, also in 2015, spent 16 percent more than the national average. In 2017, remodeling spending overall is projected to increase the most in the East and Midwest.

Other shifts, however, could have a softening effect. The share of homeowners 65 and older—who typically spend less on remodeling—will grow in tandem with other generations, along with minority homeowners and homeowners without young children, who also spend less.

“Despite these challenges, the remodeling industry should see numerous growth opportunities over the next decade,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center. “Strong demand for rental housing has opened up that segment to a new wave of capital investment, and the shortage of affordable housing in much of the country makes the stock of older homes an attractive option for buyers willing to in invest in upgrades.”

Source: Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies

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Five Ways to Drive Real Estate Leads with SEO

Dec 1, 2016 by

Having a hard time getting found online? How’s your social media footprint? Are your business profile, website and Facebook page drawing all the attention to your business that they could be? Here’s your chance to find out if you’re doing everything you can to point people to your website, social pages and listings. Senior SEO Strategist for Boostability Colton Miller recently shared the factors that make or break local SEO for real estate in the recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar “5 Tactics You Need to Get Found.”

An online presence is more than just using the right SEO keywords. It means having quality content, blogs, videos, photos, testimonials, and articles that appeal to your local audience and prove to readers that you’re the local real estate expert. While no agent wants to spend all day in front of a computer writing, spending 5-10 minutes a day on your website can build content, credibility, and your online presence quickly.

What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s how the internet determines how, where, and what website to send visitors to based on keywords and phrases. Savvy businesses use SEO to make them stand out as an authority in certain areas to increase the number of visitors coming to their site.

Search engines “think” and ask questions. Learn what questions search engines ask before deciding what sites to send a visitor to. By using the right phrases and keywords, or SEO, you can boost traffic to your site and not only generate more leads, but also more qualified, serious, “I want to buy a house now” leads. Miller encourages agents to establish a strong, credible web presence by using tools like Google My Business, social media, and a strong website—and, most importantly, by asking five critical questions.

5 Things Search Engines Want to Know about You and Your Website
Like a good newspaper reporter, search engines want to know the who, what, where, why and how of you and your business, said Miller. Knowing the answer to each of those questions helps you determine exactly what words and phrases to use to boost traffic to your site and generate more leads.

What: What would you search for if you were looking to buy a home you offer? Would you search for “homes,” or would you search for “$ 250k condo in Provo Utah?” Homebuyers in the early stages of their search generally start with more general terms, like “homes,” Miller said. Focused buyers who know what they want are more likely to use a specific price range, product and location. They’re further along in the buying cycle and more likely to be a serious buyer. If you’re a real estate agent in Provo, Utah, you want that “$ 250K condo in Provo Utah” to be in your headline, body and every SEO tag you generate. That’s how you attract buyers, leads, and more traffic, he said.

How: Research what your online competition is doing correctly to appear at the top of Google’s rankings—for instance, on their websites to find out “what they’re providing, what kind of information they’re talking about, and what phrases they’re using to show up in the top rankings,” Miller said.

Where: When someone decides to enter into a real estate transaction, they start looking for the right agent to help them, and the most likely place they’ll look for that person is online. Since you only get one chance to make a great first impression, make sure your online presence is up-to-date and packed with relevant information that will help your potential client spot you as the “go-to” agent they want to do business with.

Why: This is the question that causes people to take action. It’s the trigger you have to satisfy when people are looking for that dream home. Think about the emotion you’re trying to satisfy, the itch you’re trying to scratch, and the desire you’re trying to capture, and what words describe those triggers. Videos, local market reports, testimonials—anything that drives an emotion that makes a client want to do business with you is a good thing to have on your website or profile.

Who: This is you, your personality, and the way you write and say things. This is what attracts people to you—it’s your style of how you communicate, help and interact with people. It’s whether you’re introverted, extroverted, the expert, the listener, the assertive agent or the laid back agent.

Learn more about establishing your online presence, social media and SEO by listening to Colton Miller on Secrets of Top Selling Agents. Coming up Dec. 7, catch Tom Ferry live as he presents “Create Your Best Year Ever! Have you completed your 2017 business plan? Register now, as seats are extremely limited.

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Shortage of New-home Lots Promises to Drive Up Home Prices

Sep 7, 2016 by

A growing shortage of lots for new homes will push up home prices in many U.S. markets.

That’s the word from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which says the availability of new-home lots is at a historic low. In the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index survey for May, 64 percent of home builders reported the supply of new-home lots in their areas was “low” or “very low.” That’s the highest percentage since NAHB started collecting this data in 1997.

“As long as the supply remains constrained and demand remains strong, new-home prices will continue to rise,” says David Brown, regional senior vice president at Metrostudy, which tracks U.S. housing trends.

In April 2016, the average price of a new home in the U.S. was $ 379,800, up 13.5 percent from April 2015, according to NAHB.

Brown attributes the lot shortage to a tight market for real estate loans and high land prices in popular areas.

NAHB says the record-high shortage comes as new homes are being started at a rate of less than 1.2 million a year. In 2005, when housing starts climbed past 2 million, the share of builders reporting a lot shortage stood at 53 percent.

“The lack of availability of buildable lots has quickly become one of the biggest issues facing our members,” says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder in Bloomington, Ill. “While labor shortages and regulatory burdens remain struggles as well, lot shortages are preventing our builders from responding to growing demand for housing.”

NAHB’s Chief Economist Robert Dietz says the lack of lots for new homes “will have negative impacts on housing affordability in many markets.”

While the lot shortage is affecting markets across the country, the deficit is most acute in the West, according to NAHB. In that region, 39 percent of builders surveyed indicated the lot supply was “very low,” compared with 23 percent in the South and 18 percent in the Midwest and North.

Brown, the Metrostudy executive, says the areas where lot shortages are especially acute are:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • New Jersey and New York suburbs of New York City
  • Northern Calif.
  • Portland, Ore.
  • Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle
  • Southern Calif.

Each of those markets has a less than two-year supply of lots available for new homes, Brown says.

“Since 2010, lot inventory has dropped 25 percent at the same time that housing starts have increased 90 percent,” Brown says. “Development activity has grown but still has not caught up with the pace that lots are getting absorbed.”

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, an Austin, Texas-based startup online platform that helps people find, schedule, pay for and manage lawn care services.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.


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