There’s No Room for ‘B.S.’ in Today’s Brokerage Landscape

Aug 12, 2018 by

In early 2017, one of our upstart East Coast franchises, HomeSmart Realty Advisors in Philadelphia, adopted the phrase “No B.S.” (no broker splits) in their marketing to agents. This statement is powerful because it clearly summarizes the frustrations agents have with “traditional” models. It also explains why thousands of agents continue to look to a model like HomeSmart’s as the place where they want to grow their business.

A Transaction-Fee Business Model Is Not a Discount Brokerage

When I was an agent, there weren’t a lot of options. If you wanted to be an agent, you had to deal with broker splits—or B.S., as many agents would say. You gave up 20, 30, 40 percent or more of your commission every time you sold a house—and, you worked hard for that commission. Paperwork and file review was a slow and inefficient process. More time was spent chasing approval and signatures than getting leads and listings.

That’s why, the day I opened HomeSmart in 2000, I started building technology that, combined with brokerage business systems, would allow brokers to offer agents an alternative to brokerage splits (B.S.) by keeping 100 percent of their commissions, and, at the same time, run a profitable brokerage business.

Early on, there were dissenters and those who labeled us as a discount brokerage. Nearly 20 years later, the industry finally caught up to what I knew then. Technology, efficiency and customer service would become the recipe that enables growth for both the brokerage and its agents.

New Models, Old Problems

Today, there are new models and brokerage concepts emerging by the week, it seems. Some of them follow changing consumer preferences. Others promise ownership in various formats. All ask the agent to give up portions of their commission.

While these trends continue to get headlines, what we’re experiencing is that agents would rather have control of 100 percent of their commissions, and make their own personal decisions on how to invest in their businesses and their future.

Why the 100 Percent No B.S. System Wins

What many of today’s trending brokerages continue to ignore is balance. Some take the extreme position of being all-in on technology, but in ways, agents still end up paying heavily in commissions and extra fees. iBuyers have started to retrofit agents into the transaction, but not in a way that allows agents to be in control of their business.

Tech-enabled systems must help agents effortlessly navigate their day-to-day business and their sales transactions, so they can prioritize their relationship with their clients at every step. Balance of technology, process and people has always been the core focus of the HomeSmart brokerage business system, and, it works.

That same start-up franchise in Philadelphia adopted our model and grew from zero to just under 100 agents in one year. As our industry continues to grow and change, at HomeSmart, we’ll continue to stay focused on a business model that removes the B.S., leverages technology that supports operational efficiencies and allows our agents to provide exceptional customer service to their clients.

Widdows_Matt_85x100Matt Widdows is the CEO and founder of HomeSmart International. HomeSmart is built around technology that provides franchisees and agents with cutting-edge tools, which enable them to spend more time focusing on clients and the profitability of their businesses. Learn more about franchising opportunities at

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The post There’s No Room for ‘B.S.’ in Today’s Brokerage Landscape appeared first on RISMedia.


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Beige Is Back: And There’s No Blah About It

Jan 2, 2017 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Beige is pushing out gray as the hottest neutral color tone in homes heading into 2017, according to several color forecasters. Beige had once been cast aside in home design as too boring. But the beiges gaining popularity again and some of the newest shades are far from boring, if paired correctly.

Beige comes in many tones, dark and light.

Take a look at Sherwin-Williams’ 2017 Color of the Year: Poised Taupe (SW 6039).


Photo courtesy: Sherwin-Williams

This brownish-gray color has plenty of contrast to help make the whites in the room pop. Many beiges are more subtle. And it is true that too much of a softer neutral tone of tans could lack the same pizzazz. How can you spice up your beiges to avoid those beige blahs? A recent article by contributor Janet Dunn with Houzz offers tips on modernizing a beige backdrop.

Try bolder colored accessories. Make it pop up against higher energy colors that you bring in through accessories, like pillows, rugs, artwork, vases, or even chairs.

Berkeley Brown Shingle

Weave it in with browns. Yes, beige and brown can go together in a décor scheme. Just make sure you keep the tone differences enough to add depth and variety to the shades of browns you mix.

Living Room

Pair it with black and white. Add the contrast of black with some white to update a beige color palette. You’ll give a room a more modern edge.

St. Paul Carriage House

Try it with some pastels. Beachy brights, highlights of white, and pale aqua accessories or furnishings may also help to modernize up the beige walls.

Coastal/contemporary Project

Blend in some texture. Use a variety of textures so the neutral color backdrop doesn’t start to feel stale. For example, metallic, velvets, and natural linens can help give the beige walls a more updated feeling.

Traditional Living Room

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Let’s Talk Quartz: There’s Good Reason To

Sep 5, 2016 by


Photo by Cory Holland and designed by Sandra Gjesdahl and Scott Gjesdahl

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Granite no longer reigns. The most popular countertop material remodelers say they’re using is quartz, then followed by granite.

In 2015, 89 percent of National Kitchen and Bath Association members said they used quartz in their kitchen remodeling projects. Meanwhile, granites popularity has been declining over the last four years.

Quartz’ durability is winning over more fans; it’s known as being more resistant to heat and scratches. Plus, the resemblance to marble and its abundant color variations is also making it a more appealing option, says Mandie Maguire, an interior designer and broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Park Ridge, Ill.

Barbara Nazzaro, owner of A Simply Staged Home in the Boston area, also notes a trend toward more home owners opting for simple “waves” in the quartz countertop design finishes, moving away from the small fleck designs that have dominated.

New Construction White Kitchen Quartz Countertop ~ Medina, OH
Kitchen Update with Gray Quartz Countertops and Tile Backsplash ~ Strongsville
Intermezzo LG Viatera Quartz Colors

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There’s Something About Cameron Diaz’s $4.25M NYC Apartment

Nov 5, 2015 by

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ZillowThe Greenwich Village apartment has been featured in Elle Decor.

By Melissa Allison

Leave it to a Hollywood star to have 14 feet of closet space in her foyer.

Actress Cameron Diaz even dresses up those closets with a hand-troweled, onyx plaster finish.

Cameron Diaz arriving for the UK Premiere of 'What To Expect When You're Expecting' at the Imax Cinema, London. 22/05/2012 Pictu
Shutterstock/FeatureflashCameron Diaz

Her Greenwich Village apartment, now on the market for $ 4.25 million, is also great for entertaining, with a sunny living room decked out with handmade wallpaper, hand-stenciled ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace — all connected to a dining room decorated with antique rose-gold glass.

The design by Kelly Wearstler, featured in Elle Decor, is heavy on mirrors and vintage light fixtures.

“The apartment faces south so it gets a lot of bright light, and the mirrors accentuate that,” listing agent Rebecca Edwardson of Warburg Realty told The Wall Street Journal.

Deep emerald cabinets in the kitchen show off the brass counters, backsplash and sink fittings. Top-of-the-line appliances and a pull-out pantry make it a chef’s joy for cooking.

The master suite boasts additional custom closets and a bathroom with designer glass tiles and a parchment-covered vanity.

All the rooms come with electronic black-out shades for keeping out the lights of New York, and the original oak floors were treated with ebony stain, then cerused. The furniture is available to buy separately.


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Carpet vs. Wood Floors: In This Battle, There’s a Clean Winner

May 6, 2014 by

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Boy helping father sweep floor
Cultura RM/Alamy

If you’re wavering between installing new wood floors or new carpeting in your home, it can be worthwhile to consider the cleaning options for each. Of course whichever new flooring you choose will look great when it’s first installed, but even a few weeks of use can require enough sweeping, vacuuming and polishing to make you reconsider your choice.

Here are some factors to consider in cleaning wood floors versus carpet:

Resale value

Hardwood floors are more in style recently, and can make a home easier to sell, according to a survey by Lumber Liquidators: Among their respondents, 100 percent of real estate agents preferred hardwood floors over carpet. And according to the National Association of Realtors, buyers are willing to spend $ 2,080 more on a house with hardwood flooring, USA Today reports.

One of the major benefits of wood floors is that they are easy to clean. Oak is the most common, but bamboo is gaining popularity because it’s eco-friendly, says Brian Pullin, director of customer care at Lumber Liquidators in Toano, Virginia. Bamboo is technically not a hardwood at all, though it has the durability and look of wood. It’s a grass, which means it grows much faster, and can be harvested more sustainably.

Older homes often have oak floors under carpets, which offers a buyer the option to switch from carpet to hardwood fairly easily. But that original flooring may have been be damaged by moisture getting under the carpet, which could necessitate pulling it up and replacing it, Pullin says.

Do you prefer sweeping or vacuuming?

Sweeping is a lot easier than vacuuming, though wood floors will also require polishing, Pullin says. Dry mopping should be done every three to four days, and a cleaning solution meant for wood floors should be used every three to four weeks, he says. Don’t mop with the typical solution of water and vinegar, he says.

“The cleaning is quicker and easier, and it’s more cost effective than if you’re having someone come in and clean your floor,” Pullin says.

Carpet holds dust, germs

Carpets can become reservoirs of dust, hair, skin and other tiny particles, which can lead to eye and respiratory problems, Pullin says. While a wood floor won’t harbor all of those if you sweep it regularly, the trapping effects of carpet can be a benefit, says Kari Davis, sales representative for J+J Flooring Group, a Dalton, Georgia, business that specializes in carpeting.

Carpet holds on to allergens and keeps them out of the air, unlike wood floors where they can be kicked up by someone simply walking across the floor, Davis says. Vacuuming carpet frequently will remove them, she says. Many modern carpets also have antibacterial nano-silver coatings embedded into the threading, Davis says.

Professional carpet cleaning needed

Even if you vacuum your carpet daily, it will still need a professional cleaning that uses hot water extraction once or twice a year, Davis says.

Dirt is more easily tracked onto carpets than it is on wood, Pullin says, and carpet more readily shows walking patterns where traffic is heaviest. This will require a regular scrubbing, he says.

Cleaning up spills

Spilled liquid is a lot easier to deal with on a wood floor than on carpet, though both require quick cleanups to prevent the liquid from being absorbed. A wood floor shouldn’t be steam cleaned because the water will go into the wood, Pullin warns. On the other hand, too much water will make a carpet weaker by weakening the latex backing that holds the carpet down.

A spot cleaner can be used to remove a stain, though any carpet cleaning product should first be tested someplace inconspicuous to make sure it doesn’t affect the carpet’s color, she says.

Good carpet pads are very important because they create moisture barriers that keep stains on top of the carpet; otherwise, liquids can seep into the carpet and then come back up from the pad, Davis says.

Dropping something heavy

If you drop a can of green beans on a wood floor and it really dents the floor, the area can still be easily repaired by a professional, Pullin says. Slight buffing can remove some scratches, he says.

To avoid scratches to wood floors, he recommends using protection pads when moving furniture, or putting furniture on coasters to move. Or, pick up the furniture instead of sliding it.

Wood floors should last longer

Carpet should last about 10 years, which is the length of a typical warranty, Davis says.

“After that, it’s just going to ugly out,” she says. “It’s just going to look worn and outdated.”

The warranty for wood flooring is a “finish” warranty that generally range from 25 to 30 or more years, Pullin says. The Bellawood warranty is for 100 years and is transferrable to the next homeowner, he says.


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