5 Questions to Ask Before You Build a Real Estate Team

Dec 10, 2018 by

If the thought of building a team has piqued your curiosity, but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got some help for you!

I started in real estate back in 2004, joining Bob and Fran Medley who had a small team here in Louisville, Ky. They were star power agents and learned from the best in the country. The Medleys retired in 2008—and I took over and started expanding, and grew the business to where it is today. I’ve been the leader of my 20-agent, five-admin team ever since. Last year we sold 419 homes, and this year we are on track to do about the same level of production.

We’ve compiled five questions to ask yourself that illustrates our recipe for success:

  1. Why are you interested in creating a team? Dave Ramsey says you need to have the heart of a teacher to be a real estate agent. Yet, to become a team leader, you not only need the heart of a teacher, but the enthusiasm of a cheerleader, street smarts, technology fingers and the brain of businessperson.

Don’t get scared if you don’t have all those parts—like me, you can grow into them with time and diligent practice. The very first step is determining how big a team you want, what your end goal is in terms of production, and how much time and energy you’re willing to devote to the process.

  1. How do your buyer’s agents make money? Once you’ve determined you have the drive and energy, you need to decide how you’re going to bring agents onto your team. Simply put, what is your value proposition to other agents in your market? A basic answer to that question might be summed up with one word: leads. Agents want to know what you’re going to do more of, or differently, to get listings—other than just sitting them in front of a phone or sending them out to knock doors. So, forming partnerships with lenders and other industry professionals is imperative to help offset the cost of inbound leads.

As a coach for Workman Success Systems, I can tell you most agents cannot work with more than 25 new leads per month. For a buyer’s agent, however, that may not be enough. So, you need leads coming in from a variety of sources, including personal pay-per-clicks, national lead-seller companies, sign calls and social media. Getting all these things to work together is a subject for another time; the bottom line is, we try to make sure our agents are getting more than 50 leads a month, knowing that at least half of those are going to be people who already have an agent.

  1. What type of team structure do you need? Before you start adding team members, make sure you’re busy enough to support the sharing of leads. Also, be sure to have at least one administrative assistant working with you—one who knows what they’re doing and who you can trust. The key to success is being able to duplicate processes over and over again. That’s why you need systems in place that are foolproof. Using a contact management system that cues your admin to upcoming events and needed reports is imperative. Knowing how to use part (or all) of that contact management system is important to you as a team leader.

One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to gear up for a team is to bring in a coach who has been in your position before and currently owns or manages their own team and knows the pitfalls of growing it. There are a lot of great coaches in our world, but the ones who learn what they’re doing from a book can’t compare to the team leaders who are in the trenches every day handling their own problems on the fly.

Finally, perfecting your office communication, integrating with current technology, adhering to a philosophy, setting and reaching goals, and developing and maintaining systems are absolutely indispensable to finding success in today’s market.

  1. How do you start to grow your salespeople? Growing your team can be as simple as walking up to an agent with whom you’ve done business and had a successful closing and asking if they’ve ever thought of being on a team. I’d love to tell you it’s that simple all the time, but it’s not. Your steps to growing should include communicating with your broker and explaining to them you’d like to create and grow a team.

Ask the broker to be on the lookout for anyone they think would be a good fit. Talk with other agents in your brokerage. Ask your broker to review agent metrics in your city and be on the lookout for people who have potential, but just don’t seem to be getting traction. You can also contact other agents in your marketplace with whom you’ve had positive experiences and build a relationship in which they would consider working for you.

Broadcasting your need for new agents (I would never say you’re “starting a team”) on social media with the words “We are growing again” is a great way to get attention. You also might consider forming a small budget for radio ads with local stations explaining you are growing again and need agents.

  1. How do you keep the team moving forward once you’ve created it? The best suggestion I can give you is summed up in one simple word: transparency. As you bring on more people, everything you do should be agreed on by the group. Once you have an administrative person and bring on your first agent, all other decisions should be made by the group. Sure, you will retain the final say over those decisions, but agents and administrative staff need to feel they’ve had a hand in shaping their destiny. Those who do are more likely to stay with you longer and be more dedicated to the final goal.

For example, say a new agent is identified by your broker. You invite that agent to the team meeting (which should be taking place at least once a week), have the agent sit in on what you do, and, at the end of the meeting, you as the team leader get up and leave the room. Give the agent permission to discuss you with your team, and ask your team to ask the agent questions about their personal goals. This gives your team an opportunity to gain insight into the prospective team member’s attitude and see if they’re a good fit. Any one of your agents objecting to the new team member needs to be acknowledged and any concerns worked out ahead of time.

This gives you a very basic framework for growing a team; you can learn a lot more by attending masterminds around the country, communicating with other team members and listening to what coaches have to say about growing your team. Owning or managing your own team gives you more freedom, but it also brings on a lot more responsibility, and you must be prepared to handle that.

Bob Sokoler is a coach with Workman Success Systems, owner and team leader of The Sokoler Medley team at RE/MAX Properties East in Louisville, Ky., and a video specialist. Sokoler’s team sold over 400 homes in 2017 and approximately 440 properties in 2016. Before becoming a REALTOR® in 2004, Sokoler was a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist. For more information, please visit

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RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate Newsmakers: Inside the Issue

Dec 8, 2018 by

RISMedia is closing out 2018 with credit to the Newsmakers—individuals in the industry who’ve made news in positive ways. Affecting their colleagues and communities through efforts that include innovation, leadership and humanitarianism, RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers honors the impact they’ve had on the industry, and recognizes their success.

In the December issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, you’ll find the Newsmakers showcase, highlighting those recognized this year. To access by category, turn to:

  1. 32 – The Influencers
  2. 36 – The Trailblazers
  3. 42 – The Futurists
  4. 48 – The Achievers
  5. 54 – The Crusaders
  6. 58 – The Inspirations
  7. 64 – The Luminaries
  8. 70 – The Trendsetters

RISMedia announced a call-out for Newsmaker nominations over the summer, following the inaugural induction of the 2018 Class of Newsmakers this past spring. Our 2019 Class of Newsmakers—comprising more than 230 individuals—was unveiled this week.

“In RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers, you’ll find an inspirational overview of more than 230 industry leaders who are making a difference in the real estate and homeownership sectors, and whose actions have a far-reaching and profound impact on the real estate industry, from nationwide to their own local communities,” says John Featherston, CEO and publisher of RISMedia. “You’ll meet the thought leaders and the icons. The heroes and the champions of a better way. The ones who are breaking the mold and the ones who are leading the industry forward.”

Our 2019 Class of Newsmakers will be honored at the annual Newsmaker Awards Reception & Dinner, held in May 2019 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event includes an awards ceremony denoting the Hall of Fame, a group of Newsmakers selected specially for the year.

The December issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, which includes the Newsmakers showcase, is available for purchase on

Know a Newsmaker? For information on nominating or becoming a 2020 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, please email our executive editor, Maria Patterson, at Nominations will be accepted in early 2019.

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RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate Newsmakers: Positivity Shines

Dec 4, 2018 by

Whether advocating for a cause, challenging “what’s always been done” or inspiring the masses, RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate Newsmakers are linked by a shared thread: positivity. Our 2019 class contains the stories of more than 230 Newsmakers, or individuals in the industry making news in positive ways, from their backyard or on a bigger stage.

RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers was born out of what we cover every day: our readers’ stories. It’s our goal to highlight the impact you’ve had on the industry and your neighborhoods, from the full-fledged Futurists looking beyond the here and now, to the Luminaries who’ve made their mark in real estate, and every Newsmaker in between.

The 2018 Class of Newsmakers—our first—were honored during our Real Estate Newsmaker Awards Reception & Dinner this past spring. After that, we asked the industry for their Newsmakers— many who’ve been unsung until now. Countless nominations were submitted over the summer, and we’ve been inspired and motivated by what you’ve shared. Here, we showcase their stories.

Know a Newsmaker? For information on nominating or becoming a 2020 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, please email our executive editor, Maria Patterson, at Nominations will be accepted in early 2019.

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How Women Are Influencing the Face of Luxury Real Estate in the Modern Era

Nov 20, 2018 by

According to Time magazine, the number of female billionaires grew faster globally in 2017 than the number of male billionaires. This redistribution of wealth has seen an impact on luxury real estate both in its purchase and design attributes—and, obviously, this is important for REALTORS® to recognize when relating to their clients. Some reasons for this change could be credited to women making up more than 50 percent of all undergraduate and graduate enrollments, as well as living longer on average.

It is important to remember that when dealing with high-net worth clients that women’s lifestyles are not necessarily synonymous to their male counterparts. Women are much more likely to have breaks in their career, or multiphase careers. These differences in lifestyle can also lead to a difference in what they are looking for when purchasing a luxury home.

Know Where to Target Potential Clients

Knowing where to look for potential clients is a key step in growing your business.  

Some interesting networking opportunities—many of which are explored in more depth during The Institute Training Courses—range from connecting through alumni groups, parental organizations, philanthropy boards and with influencers such as consultants, accountants and wealth managers.

By knowing where and how to connect with wealthy women, you are more likely to develop a relationship that could eventually turn into a client.

Key Home Features

Women and men have different needs and wants when it comes to home features, and with the turn of wealth, it is important to know exactly which features to highlight in a home.

Working women may appreciate having a home office that is separate from her husband’s. Women also love bringing the outdoors in and making great use of natural light, scenic views and natural materials.

Lastly, whether a master cook or not, women appreciate the importance of their kitchen and its focal influence during any social event. Designs are trending towards big, bold statements, colors, features and clever technology.

Do Your Research

With more and more women rising up in the workforce, it is important to do your research before interacting with a potential client—you never know who the main breadwinner in a family may be.

One Institute member told us a story about how she was showing a home and kept referring back to the husband about the financial aspects of the home purchase, etc. At the end of the tour, she went to ask him another question, only for him to inform her that she was speaking to the wrong spouse, as he was the stay-at-home dad! This faux pas almost cost her the client.

Be sure to do your research on your clients before a meeting so that you can be prepared and give the best and most relevant presentation possible. Having access to this type of information is part of The Institute’s Member Benefits 

Be Familiar With Cultural Differences

Wealthy women are not only on the rise in North America, but globally. It is important to be familiar with international clients’ customs before meeting them to leave the best possible professional impression and not cause offense. The Institute has arranged with McGraw-Hill Publishing to offer complimentary online access to the Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands website to their members, allowing you to properly ready yourself for any opportunity you may have to work with foreign clients.

For more information about interacting with wealthy women, as well as other types of high-net worth individuals, sign up for an Institute Training Course today!

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Revelation Real Estate: An Inspired Approach to Success

Nov 17, 2018 by

Angela and Chuck Fazio, Revelation Real Estate

Chuck and Angela Fazio are best friends, husband and wife, and co-owners of a dynamic and fast-growing Arizona real estate company ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “Top 10 Single-Office Brokerages in the Nation.” With Chuck’s marketing background and Angela as designated broker, Revelation Real Estate has become the top-producing single-office brokerage in the East Valley marketplace, growing from a team of 15 agents in 2005 to more than 800 agents currently on track to close $ 2 billion in sales this year.

In this exclusive interview, the Fazios discuss their passion for putting agents first, the Christian foundation that inspires them and their unique and multi-faceted approach to building a successful business.

Barbara Pronin: Can you tell us a bit about your personal backgrounds and how you came to lead Revelation Real Estate?
Chuck Fazio: I’m originally from New York. I did a lot of things in my years back East—even ran a nightclub for a while—but in 1998, I moved to Arizona in search of a better life. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, because that’s when I first went into real estate, and that’s when I met Angela.

Angela Fazio: I started in Arizona real estate in 2001, and Chuck and I partnered very soon after we met—but we had a hard time getting started. We would pray about it all the time, and soon everything seemed to open up for us. In 2002, we closed nearly $ 12 million in business, and we continued to increase sales: $ 17.5 million in 2003, $ 22 million in 2004, and $ 40 million in 2005. That year, our team, not including us, closed $ 89 million. At the end of that year, we started Revelation Real Estate—a name that truly reflects our faith—and we grew right through the recession years.

Revelation Real Estate’s office—The Forum—dominates the Valley.

More than just a home for the brokerage, The Forum offers areas for work and play.

BP: Your office building in Chandler houses more than 800 agents—plus all your support staff. Tell us a little about that.
CF: We have just one office building, which is a huge complex that dominates the Valley. It’s called The Forum. There are 21,000 square feet inside, as well as a 7,000-square-foot, resort-like patio area. We have a full-service cafe with a chef on staff that’s open to the public. In fact, we have areas that can be rented out for special events—and our on-staff event planner schedules live concerts, mystery dinners and other entertainment free of charge, where our agents can spend some quality time meeting, greeting and building relationships with their clients.

AF: The Forum not only houses Revelation Real Estate, event space and the bar/cafe, but also houses our real estate school, as well as six conference rooms and sound-proof “prospecting rooms” where agents can duck in to make or take important calls. We even have a game room equipped with a pool table and arcade games.

BP: How did you develop this very creative approach to your business?
AF: By the grace of God, the strength of our own relationship and a strong commitment to enriching the lives and the mindset of our agents. We have six children ourselves, so we understand the importance of family and how vital it is to balance your work with your home life. We put a lot of time, money and effort into seeing that our agents are happy and fulfilled, because happy agents tend to be the most productive.

CF: We also have a great team—a staff of 20 or more who are dedicated to the success of our agents. From Tracey Couture, our CEO, and Catherine Shaeffer, our managing broker, to our amazing corps of training, marketing and agent support leaders, this is a team like no other. Jennifer Aldridge, our office manager extraordinaire, helps keep everything going. In all, caring is the secret sauce that creates our amazing culture—which, as Angela said, helps make our agents the very best in the business.

BP: Your firm has certainly enjoyed a spectacular growth rate. Tell us a bit about your recruiting strategy and your agent retention rate.
CF: We’re very picky, because we provide such a high level of value to our agents, but our recruiting team leader, Kristen Cantrell, is one of the best in the business. Some referrals come from agents already on board—and many agents in the region seek us out because they’re drawn to our business model.

AF: That’s why we continue to grow quickly—in just the last two years, for example, from 500 to about 800 agents. Many of our agents and staff have been with us for a long time. Chuck and I have an intensity that many people don’t have, and we apply that intensity to enriching the lives of our agents. They know the deep caring we have for them.

BP: What’s your approach to training and coaching?
CF: We have our own real estate school, so we know our agents are getting a good start. And we’re very hands-on and personal in our training and coaching. We want our agents to reach the very top of the mountain.

AF: I used to be a teacher, so training is important to me. New agents can choose our mentorship program that lasts a year. Experienced agents receive ongoing training and coaching on a variety of levels for as long as they’re with us. It’s critical for us, and I’m personally gratified when an agent tells us, “I’ve learned more in this one class or this one training program than I’ve learned in my whole career.”

BP: What about your marketing strategies? How are you connecting with consumers?
CF: Primarily through social media, and through our own very personal approach to business. We have media resource rooms in our building, and a staff to help agents prepare videos, provide awesome presentations and other necessary marketing visuals. We also have staff working our agents’ databases on their behalf, keeping in touch, sending out videos and providing a calendar of social events designed to keep agents connected to customers. Nicole Shambre and Sheridan Caprisecca lead in those areas.

BP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology?
AF: We ask the young people! No, really. Our daughter, Danielle Neilson, is a whiz at social media and works as our resident social media guru. She creates and manages the company brand and media specifically for the purpose of business development.

CF: Social media and technology aside, we encourage our agents to maintain meaningful connections, especially with past and present clients. We hold what we call “mindset meetings” every Monday morning—a 45-minute time designed to prepare agents to meet the challenge of the week ahead. Agents don’t have to be there in person—maybe 30 to 40 agents are there on any given Monday—but hundreds watch each week on Facebook. We focus on mindset, and on the realization that we aren’t here just to sell real estate, but to connect with people in meaningful ways. We even wrote a book to help our agents out. It’s called “Marketing Your Real Estate Career.”

BP: How would you describe the state of your market? What are your challenges and opportunities?
AF: In certain price ranges, there’s still a shortage of inventory, which makes for a hot market—and we also have a very strong rental market. In all, the business environment is good, and unemployment is low. The opportunities are really unlimited. It’s a great time to be selling real estate.

CF: Our biggest challenge is time—time to manage our complex business lives and make time for our kids and our grandbaby. But we’re builders and creators and motivators by nature. We’re dedicated to inspiring more agents to be happy and successful, because they, in turn, inspire the success and well-being of the company.

Chuck and Angela Fazio have big plans for the future as they look to widen their circle of customers and friends.









BP: What’s on deck for the future of the firm?
CF: We’re excited about the future. Of course, we will continue to grow Revelation here in the Valley, but God has called on me to do more. I know I can positively affect many more agents. Revelation isn’t duplicatable, but I have big plans to attract a team of talent nationwide and invest into their business with the same intensity as I do here locally. That’s why I moved my license to eXp Realty. Part of the plan is to share my expertise with anyone who wants to excel in business and could benefit from my scripturally-based coaching and training.

AF: Our company culture is based on scripture—specifically Proverbs 27:17, which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We see this as the next stage of our own development, and, we hope, as an opportunity to widen our circle of customers and friends.

For more information, please visit

Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia. 

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