The Real Estate Office of the Future

Sep 14, 2019 by

(Above) Rudy L. Kusuma, President & CEO, Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty

Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty Sets Out to Chart a New Course

Rudy L. Kusuma learned early on that the standard approach to the real estate business was not the way to win. The traditional tactic of filling the funnel through cold calling and door knocking wasn’t his style.

“I was failing at prospecting and stumbled on this idea of reverse prospecting,” he explains.

And with a strategy focused on attracting customers instead of chasing them, Kusuma started the top-ranking Team Nuvision in 2008, and, this month, embarks as his own brokerage, Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty, where he plans to bring his team success formula to agents throughout Los Angeles and, eventually, the entire state.

Here’s why Kusuma believes he’s onto a model and a philosophy that just might change the real estate industry for good.

Maria Patterson: Rudy, please begin by telling us a bit about your background and how you first got into the real estate business.
Rudy L. Kusuma: Sure. I used to sell door-to-door promotional items, and one of my clients was a real estate broker. He told me I could be really good at real estate, so I got my license in 2007.

MP: Were real estate sales a lot different? What did you learn early on?
RK: As soon as I got my license, my broker told me that the first thing you do is prospecting: cold calling and door knocking. But I was struggling with cold calling, and it wasn’t successful for me. I thought, “Maybe my voice doesn’t sound good over the phone,” so I tried door knocking. The only difference with door knocking was that now people were mad at me face-to-face! That’s when I first realized that there was a problem in this business. Most real estate agents spend 70-80 percent of their time prospecting, but normal businesses are not this way.

MP: So how did you come up with a different approach?
RK: Back in 2007, I started to figure out how to attract customers to me instead of chasing them. I was failing at prospecting and stumbled on this idea of reverse prospecting. I started hosting Cashflow game nights based on the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. Every time people came to the office to play, I would always ask them, “How many are thinking about buying or selling?” By doing that, I would pick up three, four or five new clients. So instead of cold calling, I hosted the Cashflow game nights and created an investors’ club that taught people how to invest in real estate. By the end of my first month, I had picked up 20-25 clients.

MP: You then formed a team right away, correct?
RK: That’s right. I realized most agents were just busy looking for clients, whereas I suddenly had more clients than I could handle. In 2008, when I was working in a Coldwell Banker office, I asked the other agents if they wanted to partner up with me, and they all said yes. So, my first team was started by accident out of necessity.

MP: 2008 was an interesting time to be ramping up in real estate!
RK: Yes, in 2008 the market crashed. I looked around me, and even though people were not doing well, they were still talking about cold calling and the “long run.” For me, I had no “long run.” I had to pay bills now. I was a brand-new agent and my second baby had just been born. I couldn’t be thinking about doing branding and long-term campaigns. My long run was 60 days, not 20 years from now. So for me, it was about direct response marketing where you create compelling offers so that prospects chase you. And business continued to grow. My first year in 2008, my team in the Coldwell Banker office became No. 1 in the office. We then moved to RE/MAX, and for the past five years, our team has been the No. 1 team in RE/MAX.

MP: Talk about the evolution of your team.
RK: We started in 2008 as Team Nuvision. We focus on only one thing: generating buyers and sellers. We have about 2,000 buyers and sellers calling us each month. We operate on the same principle of reverse prospecting—using radio, billboards, direct mail, etc., so that people are calling us. We sold 550 homes last year, and we do not do any prospecting, cold calling or door knocking.

MP: How is the team structured?
RK: We have more than 17 people on the team. We have a marketing and media department, and a general administrative staff that inputs all inquiries into our CRM. We have an inside sales team who then follows up with inquiries to check on their timing and motivation. If they find out someone is moving in the next 3-6 months, they book an appointment with our outside sales team. If they’re not ready, they go to our customer service team. Our outside sales team uses my buyer’s and listing presentations. We’re not a franchise, but it’s a blueprint—a duplication of a system that works, instead of 10 different agents using 10 different listing systems.

Rudy L. Kusuma (front center) and members of his Outside Sales Agents department.

MP: How would you say your team differs from other real estate teams out there?
RK: The term “team” has been abused so much. Just because you’re under the same roof doesn’t make you a team. When we talk about a team, we mean that each individual person has a specific role in the transaction. We have been perfecting this model since 2007 to make sure it works.

MP: And now you have made the big step to turn your team into its own company. Why did you make this move?
RK: Yes, we have left RE/MAX and just launched Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty. I felt there was a problem in the traditional brand model, no matter what brand you’re talking about. For example, McDonald’s teaches you how to cook a hamburger. That’s why, wherever you go, you know that when you have a McDonald’s hamburger, it’s going to taste the same. However, in the real estate industry, in general, the system is broken, because at the end of the day, after all the shiny objects, each individual agent is still responsible for their own business. And the problem with that, just like me in 2007, comes down to the fact that it’s not humanly possible for an individual agent to do everything that needs to be done to be successful.

Our team system, however, redefines the job of the real estate agent. In our new company, we are going to focus on growing and developing real estate sales teams, and help as many real estate agents as possible grow and develop their own teams. We want to change how the real estate industry works.

The Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty model focuses on one thing, says Rudy L. Kusuma: generating buyers and sellers

MP: Will you base your company around the strategy of reverse prospecting?
RK: Yes. On our team, because there is no prospecting, we are focused on only one thing: servicing the client. We are teaching real estate agents how not to rely on the MLS, but, instead, how to set, negotiate and collect their own buyer’s agent fees so that they can show a buyer all the homes that meet their criteria, not just some of them. I believe that in the near future, buyer’s agents’ commissions on the MLS will go to zero, and everyone will have to negotiate their own fee. But no one is teaching the real estate agent how to do that. We are.

MP: How do you plan on attracting agents to your firm?
RK: My introduction to agents is that we are the only company that books you a face-to-face buyer or listing appointment. That’s our uniqueness. Leads are useless. The same lead goes to 20 people. We are the only company to focus on helping real estate agents grow. Our vision is to be the best place to work, buy and sell real estate in the state of California. We hope to have 50 teams in the next 12 months.

MP: Given your team model, what role will new recruits play in your company?
RK: Generally, there will be two types of agents. Some will join as outside sales agents, some as team leaders who want to build their own successful team. Usually, this is someone who is the No. 1 agent at their firm, and they’ve hit a plateau. I know the struggle because I was there. Right now, they’re a one-man show. They have no time for their family, health is usually an issue, and it’s just a matter of time before the machine breaks down. We will teach them how to leverage themselves with people and with technology.

MP: How will you help agents succeed in an increasingly competitive market?
RK: The real estate agent commission is under attack. The consumer is looking at the agent and asking, “What value are you bringing?” If your value proposition is that you’re just a nice guy, you will be eliminated. If the machine can do what you do, you should be worried because, one day, you will be replaced.

Our asset is training on how to do something the machine cannot do: negotiate. We give buyers access to homes they can’t find online. When you’re selling a house, instead of giving sellers a For Sale sign or drone photos, through our CRM, we give them a pool of 45,000 prospective buyers. Using AI, we do a search-and-match analysis, so we know which prospects are most likely to buy your home. Then we call all of those prospective buyers. Sellers hire us because we have already done all the work for them. Because we already have the buyers.

MP: So how will Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty stand apart from other real estate firms?
RK: The relationship between a broker and an agent today is often like a landlord and a tenant. We are the only company to teach real estate agents to grow and develop their own teams. You have to add value as a broker, and that’s what we will do. We’re teaching real estate agents to build their own system.

MP: Rudy, beyond your new firm, your M.O. has been all about teaching others, as evidenced by your seminars, videos, etc. Why is sharing knowledge so important to you?
RK: I was born and raised in Indonesia. My family never had money and never talked about money. My mom always focused on education, and paid for the education of myself and my four siblings. People can take everything away from you, but no one can take away knowledge and education. That was programmed into me since I was small.

In 2007, I saw a problem in this business. I could’ve kept that a secret, but that’s not my personality. I believe in the law of generosity: Whatever you want in life, give it away…including time and money. I believe we can change the world if each individual, team or agent has a cause. So every person who joins my company, as a requirement, has to choose a non-profit to give to. For example, last year, we were the No. 1 fundraising office for Children’s Hospital in LA.

You must understand that your business is designed for others and you’re a channel of that. The more you add value for people, the more money you will make per transaction. Focus on adding more value than the machine can offer; otherwise, we’re looking at the commoditization of the industry. Income will continue to go down if we fight over who has the fastest technology.

For more information, please visit or call (626) 789-0159. 

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

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The Future of Fair Housing: It’s Our Story to Write

Apr 13, 2019 by


The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) last year commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, historic legislation that established this nation’s commitment to equal housing opportunities.

While significant progress has been made since 1968, there’s more work to be done. As a nation, we are continually improving our commitment to fair housing. April may be Fair Housing Month, but we need to raise awareness and take action every day of the year. As a broker, you play a vital role in keeping fair housing front and center, starting with new-agent training. Make fair housing a topic of discussion in your brokerage and a focus for specific activities throughout the year.

Stay Informed
It’s essential to keep current on what’s happening in your community. Use Fair Housing Month as a reason to redouble your efforts to understand local fair housing ordinances and reflect on how your actions and words can impact housing choice. Local fair housing organizations are great resources for up-to-date fair housing information, training classes and materials for your customers and clients.

Fair housing is good business. Your livelihood depends on free and open markets that embrace equal housing opportunities. Discrimination that denies opportunity to one or more demographic groups impedes free markets and can have a negative effect on the school system and the health of your community. It is important to raise and discuss these issues within your local association and seek solutions that build on market strengths and support private property rights and homeownership.

Take Action
What actions can you take individually and within your brokerage to be a catalyst for change? Be creative in finding solutions, drawing upon resources offered within your real estate franchise, as well as NAR:

  • If you see discrimination, challenge it and report it to your local REALTOR® Association or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Ask yourself, “Which fair housing issues impact my ability to provide real estate services?”
  • Engage in community dialogue about the issues tied to housing choices, including schools, healthy communities, residential displacement and economic opportunity.
  • Support efforts to get Congress to take action to expand protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

You can also work in collaboration with the local chapters of NAR’s partners and allies in the fair housing mission, including the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America and the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

NAR’s Efforts
As a champion for private property rights and homeownership, NAR continues to raise awareness about the importance of equal housing opportunities and advocates for anti-discriminatory policies and practices at the federal level.

For example, NAR is currently spearheading efforts to amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

NAR also provides a variety of communication resources, presentation materials, showcase stories and videos that are excellent tools for sparking fair housing discussions within your brokerage or sharing through social media and other communication outlets.

Learn More
As the REALTOR® community, let’s take ownership of fair housing rights and uphold the promise of the Fair Housing Act. To learn more and access NAR’s extensive collection of fair housing resources, please visit

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The Future of Real Estate Investment: Opportunity Zones

Feb 17, 2019 by

According to the 2017 Distressed Communities Index by the Economic Innovation Group, one in six Americans, approximately 17 percent of the population, live in economically-distressed communities, and the average state has 15.2 percent of its population living in these struggling areas.

The new Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax incentive was created as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage investment in low- to moderate-income communities across the country through tax benefits, such as deferring tax on capital gains by making an investment in any of the designated zones. So far, 8,761 communities covering all 50 states, including the five U.S. territories, have been designated as opportunity zones, and they will keep this status for 10 years.

The Investing in Opportunity Act has the potential to have a direct social and economic impact upon underserved communities, benefiting investors, communities and taxpayers alike. It is predicted to be a pivotal catalyst for economic recovery, business development and affordable housing, which could help countless individuals achieve financial stability and economic growth for themselves and future generations.

Real estate investors and high-net worth individuals are seeking to take advantage of opportunity zones to use their capital, which otherwise would be sitting on the table, to help their surrounding communities. Thus, industry professionals, especially those in the commercial space, should be informed about the benefits and potential pitfalls of this new investment trend.


  • A Win-Win Situation – Aside from receiving a tax break on their capital gains, investors have an opportunity to make an impact in their local communities.
  • Low-Cost and Low-Risk – This new legislation is a low-cost and low-risk opportunity for taxpayers. Investors bear the brunt of the risk for their originally deferred capital gains, although they do receive a tax reduction for long-term holdings.
  • Direct Impact for Economically-Distressed Communities – Low-income and economically-distressed cities and towns—which include over 52 million American citizens—are benefited by having funds funneled directly into programs that can help with job growth, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, and more.
  • Long-Term Investment – The Act encourages long-term investment by offering a reduction in capital gains taxes owned on their original investments after holding them for five to seven years. In addition, if investors have qualified investments held for more than 10 years, those assets will be exempted from further capital gains recognition over what was deferred originally.


Opportunity zones are anticipated to be influential in putting capital into areas that need it most, which otherwise would have been left on the table; however, a concerted effort will have to be made to make sure that rural areas are not overlooked for investment in fear of small returns compared to more populated city centers in states such as New York and California.

Revitalizing our distressed communities will help bring more jobs to citizens—especially in the development of hospitality businesses—reduce crime rates, and provide resources and opportunities for more Americans to reach their full potential and improve their quality of life. 

Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. 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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Cost of a Better Future? It’s Only a Dollar With the Broker Public Portal

Jan 2, 2019 by

When the Broker Public Portal (BPP) was coming into fruition, the leadership of Northwest Multiple Listing Service was supportive of a consumer-facing portal controlled and operated by the industry with much more input from brokers. At the time, our two biggest brands in the Northwest MLS (NWMLS) were Windermere and John L. Scott. Both were founding members of the BPP, and so was NWMLS.

We saw the BPP as an opportunity to help preserve—and even raise—the stature and reputation of brokerage firms with consumers. But the challenge for our MLS, which is broker-owned, was to overcome the resistance our owners have to anything coming between them and their consumers.

Broker Public Portal, fortunately, did the opposite. The BPP was created by the industry, for the industry, to deliver consumers directly to our brokerages’ agents and teams.

How did we convince the NWMLS Board that BPP was the right call?

A Fortuitous, Pivotal Event

When our Board was considering the BPP, I attended a meeting of the American Society of Association Executives. One panel featured Country Music Association leaders. They discussed how they managed a dramatic decline in their revenue as consumers went from CDs to streaming, and disruptors like Napster gave away their product for free.

The impact of this transition on the music industry was astonishing. Imagine an industry that today generates one two-hundredths of the revenue that it generated 20 years ago. I was shocked.

Afterwards, I asked some of the panelists if they knew much about real estate and how MLSs work. They chuckled, “Yeah, we know what the MLS is.” I asked, “What can our industry do to not go through what you did?”

They said, “There’s only one answer: Your members need to get control, run their own service and not use another company, because they will take you down.”

I reported that conversation back to our Board right before the Broker Public Portal decision. Although the BPP was in its early stages, it was following Fair Display Guidelines, an essential requirement of our Board, and we decided to pledge our support.

Deploying BPP With Homesnap

Since then, BPP with Homesnap has emerged. Last year, NWMLS made it available for our members. We understand it’s the most rapid adoption of Homesnap technology by any large MLS in BPP history.

Many of our broker members already have mobile apps. You’d think NWMLS would never deploy a competitive technology, right? That’s not how our broker/owners see Homesnap; that view misses the bigger picture of the true value of the BPP.

The Big Picture: Protecting Your Future

Before adopting BPP with Homesnap, we assembled an Advisor Group, headed by John Deely, head of Seattle’s Coldwell Banker Bain. The group was comprised of the three biggest brokerages in the area and smaller independents, too.

Our Northwest marketplace challenge is that many of the larger individual firms want to maintain “consumer-direct-to-their-website” control. But with the largest commercial portal headquartered in our backyard impacting everyone’s business, the consensus was that we needed to do something to level the playing field with technology that serves broker-agent needs.

The one dollar per agent a month that it costs to offer Homesnap does more than deliver free leads; it helps protect our industry’s future. It gives control back to real estate experts instead of advertising salespeople. That’s what consumers and agents deserve.

Ask any agent in your market if one dollar a month for BPP with Homesnap is worth it to ensure a better future for all of us. Our answer at NWMLS was clear and definite.

Tom Hurdelbrink is president and CEO of Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 28,000 real estate brokers serving 23 counties in Washington state. For more information, please visit or

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